In 1860 the French launched the world’s first ironclad warship, the Gloire. The Royal Navy responded by building and completing the Warrior before the end of the same year.
The French navy had planned to build dozens of ironclads, but could only manage to complete three sister ships for the Gloire. Unlike the French, the Royal Navy could build as many ironclads as it needed.
Warrior was entirely built out of wrought iron, and demonstrated how much quicker British shipyards were in building ships than anywhere else. The Admiralty had waited for another country to act first before ordering Warrior, as they were confident that the Royal Navy could build more ironclads than any of its rivals.
Warrior was superior to her French counterparts in every way. She was better protected, had more powerful engines as well as guns. She had 40 guns of varying sizes arranged in a traditional broadside. Its engines were able to generate enough power to reach 14 knots despite displacing 9,000 tons fully loaded.
Oddly enough Warrior was not scrapped when decommissioned and can now be visited in Portsmouth.
Johnston I and McAuley R (2000) The Battleships, 4 Books, London
Kennedy P (1976) The Rise and fall of British Naval Mastery, Penguin, London