The French Navy also operated its own air service. By the Armistice the French Navy had 1,264 aircraft (mostly seaplanes) and 37 airships. These mainly operated from coastal stations as reconnaissance and for light bombing operations.
After 1915 the French Navy was expected to concentrate on protecting French and British shipping in the Mediterranean. Unable to cope with German U-boats, more than 500 French merchant ships were sunk during the war. The French Navy's total losses in action was 4 battleships, 6 cruisers, 23 destroyers and torpedo boats, 14 submarines and 46 various patrol craft.