Of all the threats faced by the Royal Navy during the first years of the twentieth century, the one which stood out was the risk to Britain’s sea lines of communication posed by France’s armoured cruisers. Fast, well-armed and well-protected, these ships could have evaded any attempted blockade of the French ports and, supported by a worldwide network of overseas bases, could potentially have caused havoc on the trade routes. Between 1898 and 1901 the French laid down thirteen ships, and completed nine in 1903–4 alone.
This book has as its subject the French armoured cruisers built from the late 1880s until shortly before the outbreak of the Great War, beginning with the revolutionary Dupuy-de-Lôme, the world’s first modern armoured cruiser, and ending with the impressive six-funnelled Edgar Quinet and Waldeck-Rousseau. The primary focus of the book is on the technical characteristics of the ships. Detailed and labelled drawings based on the official plans are provided by John Jordan, and each individual class of ship is illustrated by photographs from the extensive personal collection of Philippe Caresse. The technical section is followed by a history in two parts, covering the Great War (1914–18) and the postwar years, during which the surviving ships saw extensive deployment as ‘station’ cruisers overseas and as training ships. This is the most comprehensive account published in English or in French, and is destined be the standard reference for many years to come.
The important thing about this book is the amazing detail to be seen in the plans that John Jordan has brought to the table, along with some amazing photographs. A massive, stunning book.Books Monthly
A successful partnership of two leading maritime history authors looks at the development and deployment of French armoured cruisers 1887-1932. Careful research, well-written, and impeccably illustrated this is another definitive maritime history from the leading publishers in their field – Most Highly Recommended.Firetrench
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This book fits neatly into the Seaforth fleet of warship histories. The quality of the archive photography is as wonderful as always and the technical stuff is presented clearly for novice and expert alike. I like these books on many levels, from superficial pleasure with the glorious photography to meatier stuff I have gradually learned to appreciate and occasionally understand.War History Online, Mark Barnes
I really cannot get enough of books like this. Above all this book emphasises the importance of the cutting-edge design work carried out in France to lead the way with the armoured cruiser concept. The ships themselves bear a gallic individuality we can only admire from afar. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.
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The only comprehensive study of French armoured cruisers in English.Bookseller Buyers Guide