|Builders:||Plans by Jacques-Noël Sané|
|Succeeded by:||Commerce de Paris class|
|Type:||Ship of the line|
5,098 tonnes (before conversion to steam),Ville de Paris in 1858: 5,302 tonnes
|Tons burthen:||2,746 tonnes|
65.18 m (213 ft 10 in) (196.6 French feet),Ville de Paris in 1858: 69.05 m (226 ft 7 in)
|Beam:||16.24 m (53 ft 3 in) (50 French feet)|
|Draught:||8.12 m (26 ft 8 in) (25 French feet)|
|Propulsion:||sail, 3,265 m2 (35,140 sq ft)|
|Speed:||10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)|
The Océan-class ships of the line were a series of 118-gun three-decker ships of the line of the French Navy, designed by engineer Jacques-Noël Sané. Fifteen were completed from 1788 on, with the last one entering service in 1854; a sixteenth was never completed, and four more were never laid down.
The first two of the series were Commerce de Marseille and États de Bourgogne in the late 1780s. Three ships to the same design followed during the 1790s (a further four ordered in 1793-94 were never built). A second group of eleven were ordered during the First Empire; sometimes described as the Austerlitz class after the first to be ordered, some of the later ships were not launched until after the end of the Napoleonic era, and one was not completed but broken up on the stocks. A 'reduced' (i.e. shortened) version of this design, called the Commerce de Paris class, with only 110 guns, was produced later, of which two examples were completed.
The 5,095-ton 118-gun type was the largest type of ship built up to then, besting the Spanish ship Santísima Trinidad. Up to 1790 Great Britain, the largest of the battle fleet nations, had not built especially large battleships because the need for large numbers of ships had influenced its battleship policy. The French initiated a new phase in battleship competition when they laid down a large number of three-deckers of over 5,000 tons.
Along with the 74-gun of the Téméraire type and the 80-gun of the Tonnant type, the Océan 120-gun type was to become one of the three French standard types of battleships during the war period 1793 to 1815.
These were the most powerful ships of the Napoleonic Wars and a total of ten served during that time. These ships, however, were quite expensive in terms of building materials, artillery and manpower and so were reserved for admirals as their fleet flagships.
Some of the ships spent 40 years on the stocks and were still in service in 1860, three of them having been equipped with auxiliary steam engines in the 1850s.
The design for the first 118-gun three-decker warships originated in 1782 with a design prepared by the shipwright Antoine Groignard. Carrying an extra pair of cannon on each deck (including the quarterdeck), this raised the firepower of these capital ships from 110 to 118 guns, including an unprecedented thirty-two 36-pounder guns in the lowest tier. The French Navy ordered two of these, to be built at Toulon and at Brest, the shipwright entrusted with the construction of the latter ship being Jacques-Noël Sané. However, with the onset of peace following the conclusion of the American War of Independence, these two ships were cancelled in 1783, along with several others. The concept was revived in 1785 when Sané, in conjunction with Jean-Charles de Borda, developed the design of Commerce de Marseille, marking a leap in the evolution of ship of the line design, when the first two ships were re-ordered at Toulon and Brest. The hull was simple with straight horizontal lines, minimal ornaments, and tumblehome. The poop deck was almost integral the gunwale, and the forecastle was minimal.
They were highly successful as gun platforms and sailers, a fact which indicates that great improvements had been made in warship design since the late 17th century when battleships of less than half their size were regarded as unwieldy giants which ought to be brought into harbour before the September gales began. However, at least the first two of this class appear to have had less strength than necessary - one (Commerce de Marseille) which was taken by the British in 1793, was never used by them, and the other (by now renamed Ocean) had to be extensively rebuilt after a decade. This indicates that the growth in size of wooden warships caused structural problems which only gradually were solved.
Although these ships were costly, their design changed to become even larger in terms of overall tonnage with the introduction of a second (modified) group in 1806. Mounting 18-pounder cannon on her third gun deck (unheard of in French three-decked ships of the period), Austerlitz set the example for all of the French 118-gun ships to follow.
(listed under their names at time of launching, and in order of their launching dates)
(listed under their names at time of launching, and in order of their launching dates) Although these constituted a second batch of the Océan class, built to the same dimensions, the design was modified and they had a heavier displacement, and were often referred to as the Austerlitz class.
|130 gun three-decker||Bretagne|
|110-120 gun three-decker||Sans-Pareil class||Océan class|
|Terrible class||Commerce de Paris class|
|90-100 gun two-decker||Napoléon class|
|80-gun two-decker||Saint-Esprit class|
|Deux Frères||Bucentaure class|
|74-gun two-decker||Hector class|