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Richelieu class battleship: Wikis

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Richelieu
Class overview
Name: Richelieu
Preceded by: Dunkerque-class
Succeeded by: Alsace-class (planned)
Planned: 4
Completed: 2
Richelieu
Jean Bart
Cancelled: 2
General characteristics
Type: Battleship
Displacement: 48,950 tonnes
Length: 248 m
Beam: 35 m
Draught: 9.60 m
Propulsion: four Parsons geared turbines, 150,000 hp (112 MW)
Speed: 32 knots (59 km/h)
Range: 7,671 nautical miles (14,207 km) at 20 knots (37 km/h); 3181 nautical miles (5,891 km) at 30 knots (56 km/h)
Complement:

911 men in 1950 (incomplete)

1,280 men during the Suez affair.
Armament:

8 x 380mm/45 Modèle 1935 guns in quadruple mounts at bow
9 × 152 mm AA in 3 triple turrets at the aft
24 × 100 mm AA in 12 twin turrets
8 × 40 mm AA
28 × 57 mm AA in 14 twin turrets

20 × 20 mm AA.
Armour:

belt: 330 mm
upper armoured deck: 150 mm

lower armoured deck: 40 mm

The Richelieu class battleships were the last and largest of the battleships of the French Navy, staying in service into the 60s.

Contents

Background

They were derived from the Dunkerque class, and designed to counter the threat of the Italian Navy. Their speed, shielding, armament and overall technology were state of the art (note the unusual 4-gun turret arrangement).

In the context of the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922, the quad arrangement had the advantage of saving weight on turret armouring, compared to four double turrets, while retaining the same firepower. The drawback was that a single lucky shot immobilising one of the turrets would effectively put half the main artillery out of action. On the other hand, the entirety of the main artillery was able to fire forwards, as the ship closed in to her enemy, in an angle where she made the smallest possible target.

History

Originally, four units were planned, but only the first two, the Richelieu and the Jean Bart, were fitting at the outbreak of the Second World War.

The third unit, the Clemenceau, was broken up while still under construction. The fourth unit, the planned Gascogne, was never started. She was planned to bear her second turret on the aft of the ship, bringing back a more traditional design.

The Richelieu and the Jean Bart saw action during the war, initially under Vichy France, and with the Free French Forces after the Allies captured North Africa.

They saw action again during the First Indochina War and the Suez Crisis.

Image gallery

See also

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