Gustave Zédé (1893)

Launch of Gustave Zédé at Toulon, June 1893. Copyright expired.

Nation
Ship Type
Laid Down
1891
Launched
1893
Commissioned
1900
Decommissioned
1908
AD/BC
AD
History

Gustave Zédé was an early French submarine, ordered in October, 1890. Launched 1 June, 1893, she was thoroughly tested over the next fifteen years. Interestingly, the decision was made to build her hull out of bronze, to help ward off corrosion. She was equipped with electric motors only, giving her a top speed of 15 knots, but after an explosion in the battery cells caused a fire, the number of cells was cut in half, reducing speed to 8 knots. The periscope was not optimal, distorting the view, making it of limited use for targeting. Gustave Zédé carried two torpedoes on external racks, which she used to attack the target ship Magenta successfully in 1898 and 1899. The second demonstration was in front of the Minister of Marine, and a bunch of journalists, and gave the French Navy a larger budget for their submarine force. Gustave Zédé was finally commissioned in 1900, and served until 1908. She was sold for scrap 2 August, 1911.

Bonus Photos

Gustave Zédé underway. Photo by Marius Barr.