Pre-1872 Cerbere and Belier: what are these ships?

KorbenDallas

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I meant to start this thread as soon as I had a chance to observe these two ironclads docked in Cherbourg, France. (Courtesy of @jd755) The below photo was allegedly taken in 1882, if we were to believe the backside of the photograph, which could actually be a postcard.
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I am not sure if those boards on the front of these ships have their actual names on them, but here they are at a max zoom

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One of them appears to be "CERBERE", and the other one I can not really make out, something "??LIER".

It's hard to say if any rivets were used constructing these ships, but they do not look riveted when you zoom in.

It would be interesting to ID these ships, to see if could get some back ground. They were obviously made prior to 1882, and look too futuristic for 1882, in my opinion. To be honest, the look upside down, and just straight up weird.

The above two reminded me the below Russian battleship Tsesarevich, which was made (allegedly) between 1899 and 1901.

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KD: Anyways, if you have any idea what the above Cerbere & Incognito are, please share. Those are two very interesting ships, at least they appear to be.

Update: Per @NorthernLion's research, updated the thread title with "Belier".
 

NorthernLion

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Korben,

Good find. What you're looking at is the Cerbere class warship active in (we are told) the mid to late 1800's as French coastal defense ships. They are the Cerbere and Belier specifically.

Apparently these were designed to RAM other ships, and they only made (found? bought? stole?) four of them.

List of battleships of France (Look under "Battleship Rams")

Also:
French armoured ram Cerbère 1865-1887
The first Ironclads 1859-1872
French Navy - 1852-1870 - Second Empire

Naval history is a strangely obsessive past time and I have done quite a bit of research into other ships for things like genealogical research. There is always a "paper trail", and you can usually find where the ships where built, dates of service, decommissioning, etc. With these, they exist, then disappear into thin air. Little to no information on them that I can find, which is very strange.

Please, if anyone else can find what happened to these I think we'd all be very interested.

Also great observation on the lack of rivets, similar to the Titanic observations, etc. These were said to be built in the 1860's yet there was no welding being used in shipbuilding until much later. We are told these had wooden superstructures with 8 inch thick iron plating as a shell. Show me a rivet that can accommodate that. I would also be very suspicious of that claim given the incredible mechanical stress a ramming vessel would be placed under.

I think your observations are spot on.
 
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KorbenDallas

KorbenDallas

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Appreciate looking into it. Nice links too. Interesting how this Cerbere Class has no info at all in the Wiki. The only one with a working link, Tigre, does not even have our ship listed there.

Cerbère class 3,532 tons.
  • Bélier (1870) – stricken 1896.
  • Bouledogue (1872) – stricken 1897.
  • Cerbère (1868) – stricken 1887.
  • Tigre (1871) – stricken 1892.
Here is one additional photograph of Belier.

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Was able to find some info on this Tigre. It is hardly authentic, but we have what we have.

A whole lot of info, right? The Volume 4 book, linked up above, has quite a few interesting things in it. Separate threads for everything not related to this "ram" ships please.

Bouledogue
Allegedly Bouledogue, taken from here.

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Here is a colored art of the two OP ships. Nice looks they have. Very much 1880s, or whatever they really were.

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jd755

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google machine translation from French to English from here Gardes-côtes cuirassés

historical
Cerberus
1870: Reunites Cherbourg.
8-1870: Le Havre. 1
870-71: Brest 1
872-84: Cherbourg.
1885-86: disarmed.
12-11-1886: scratched.
1887: demolition in Cherbourg.

Bulldog
1886: Central mobile defense building in Lorient - makes his career in the port of Lorient.
21-3-1897: sold to Mr Pittel de Brest - demolished in the arsenal.

Aries
based in Cherbourg all his career.

Tiger
9-1874: join Brest.
1876-81: in reserve.
1893: demolished in Brest
 
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