At the same time, several French colonies in Africa defected to Free France, prompting the Vichy government to secure authorization from the German Armistice Commission to send several light cruisers and destroyers to reinforce their holdings in Africa, designated Force Y. Owing to the risk of encountering British vessels on the passage, the destroyers were temporarily left in Casablanca while the three cruisers, carrying supplies and additional men to crew the coastal batteries, raced south at high speed. And in July, her Loire seaplanes finally arrived; tests with the catapults were conducted in October. Marzin ordered that a stockpile of 330 mm propellant charges that had been stocked for the battleship Strasbourg before France's surrender to be converted into charges that were usable by Richelieu. While in Mers-el-Kébir, the ship was slightly damaged while being moored in the port. The turrets allowed elevation to 35 degrees, which provided a maximum range of 41,500 m (136,200 ft); the guns could depress to -5 degrees. [63][64], A decrypted Japanese radio signal revealed that the cruiser Haguro and the destroyer Kamikaze were to steam from Singapore to Port Blair to evacuate the garrison there on the night of 12–13 May while another transport vessel would pick up the troops at Car Nicobar. These included escorting British and American aircraft carriers as they struck Japanese facilities in the occupied Dutch East Indies and several bombardment operations that revealed problems with excessive shell dispersion from her main battery guns. [2][3], She was armed with eight 380 mm/45 Modèle (Mle) 1935 guns arranged in two quadruple gun turrets,[a] both of which were placed in a superfiring pair forward of the superstructure. [7][9], The Richelieu-class ships were powered by four Parsons geared steam turbines and six oil-fired Sural forced-circulation boilers manufactured by Indret for Richelieu and by Penhoët and AC de la Loire for Jean Bart. She was sent to the United States for permanent repairs and modernization to bring the ship up to the latest American and British standards, including a powerful anti-aircraft battery of fifty-six 40 mm (1.6 in) Bofors guns and forty-eight 20 mm (0.79 in) Oerlikon autocannon, though the US Navy refused to share its most advanced radars with the French. She departed on 29 December and arrived in Toulon on 11 February 1946, thereafter taking part in the transport effort to send French soldiers back from France to North Africa. In 1956, she was placed in reserve and was thereafter used as a stationary training vessel and barracks ship until 1967, when the French Navy decided to discard her. The Richelieus were based on the preceding Dunkerque class, but scaled up to accommodate more powerful 380 mm (15 in) guns and armor to protect them from guns of the same caliber. Damage control teams pumped fuel out of the bunkers to counteract the loss of buoyancy aft and the ship was towed into port for repairs. German naval construction was at that time directed against France; the two Scharnhorst-class battleships had been laid down to counter the Dunkerques and the two Bismarck-class battleships had been ordered to match the two Richelieus. [43], Escorted by the destroyers USS Tarbell and Ellet, Richelieu departed the US on 14 October, nominally bound for Gibraltar. Like the Dunkerques, the Richelieus used the unit system of machinery for their propulsion system, which split the machinery into two separate systems. Richelieu arrived in port on 18 May. Secondary armament for the designs amounted to twelve 130 mm (5.1 in) guns in quadruple turrets as on the Dunkerques. With German forces approaching Saint-Nazaire, Jean Bart was rushed through a hastily-dredged channel to escape via the Atlantic Ocean south to Casablanca. [45][46], While in Casablanca, the French attempted to prepare the ship for action as much as was possible in light of limited infrastructure and the lack of many necessary parts to complete the vessel. Richelieu was a French fast battleship, the lead ship of the Richelieu class. At its lower edge, the belt tapered to 177 mm (7 in). Germany didn't. Standard displacement was kept at 35,000 tons to comply with the Washington Treaty limits, but full load displacement increased slightly to 44,100 long tons (44,800 t) owing to the additional anti-aircraft guns. You are confusing her with her Atlantic-built contemporaries, which had large range, and were susceptible to being "mission killed" via battle damage (see Bismarck). [69][72], With the repairs completed, Richelieu sailed to Britain to carry the crew for the aircraft carrier HMS Colossus, which was to be loaned to the French for five years, serving as Arromanches. Two days later, Richelieu detonated a magnetic mine, though she suffered only minor damage; the force of the blast pushed in some hull plates by 10 to 12 cm (3.9 to 4.7 in) and inflicted minor shock damage to the lighting system, but the vessel remained with the fleet. The US Navy refused to transfer the latest radar equipment on the basis that it was too sensitive to be released. The refit eventually began on 1 January 1950 and lasted until 24 October 1951, and it included a thorough overhaul of her propulsion machinery, replacement of her worn main and secondary battery guns, and repairs to her anti-aircraft battery, along with other modifications. On 25 September, the ship reached her new top speed of 31.5 kn (58.3 km/h; 36.2 mph), cruising at that speed for thirty minutes, despite the deformation of her hull and the significant increase in displacement. The voyage to find history's two greatest battleships. [61] Allied bombers sank the hulk on 27 August 1944 and after the war, the navy placed the wreck for sale on 23 February 1948. [55][56][57][58], Clemenceau was laid down on 17 January 1939 at the Salou No. [3], The naval command quickly settled on Project 1, as it had the most balanced combination of speed and combat power—offensively and defensively—that could realistically be achieved within the displacement constraints imposed by the Washington Treaty (and the existing French shipyard facilities). Britain objected to the construction program, but France dismissed them by pointing out that Britain had unilaterally signed the Anglo-German Naval Agreement earlier in 1935, effectively abrogating the disarmament clauses of the Treaty of Versailles that had severely constrained the size and effectiveness of the German fleet. Illustrious, joined by the carrier Victorious, which had recently arrived, provided air cover to the fleet. Both vessels fled to French colonies in Africa: Richelieu steamed to Dakar and Jean Bart went to Casablanca. [6], With German troops advancing across France by mid-June, the Navy decided to evacuate Richelieu to Dakar in French West Africa; while earlier plans had been to send the fleet to British ports to continue the war, when the possibility of a negotiated armistice arose, the government decided that the fleet would be a useful bargaining chip. The fleet arrived in position early on 19 April, and after the carrier aircraft struck the port, Japanese bombers counter-attacked and Richelieu engaged the aircraft with her 100 mm and 40 mm batteries. When German forces approached Brest, the shipyard workers flooded the drydock. The Eastern Fleet got underway on 7 May and stopped to refuel on 15 May before arriving two days later. A total of 150 complete charges for the main battery were created by remanufacturing the stockpile intended for Strasbourg. These light guns were complemented with a battery of twenty-four 13.2 mm (0.52 in) machine guns in six quadruple mounts. What men were available were allocated to Richelieu, since she was nearing completion. Richelieu was laid down in 1935 and was launched in 1939, just before the outbreak of World War II in Europe. Between 06:25 and 08:00 on 24 September, the British launched three strikes with Swordfish and Blackburn Skua bombers. All three basic formats included several variations that incorporated changes to the composition and arrangement of the secondary and anti-aircraft batteries. The naval command ultimately decided on 14 April 1935 that new dual-purpose mounts for the 152 mm guns would have to be developed. The two upper directors for the secondary battery on the foremast had 8- and 6 m (20 ft) rangefinders while the mack director also had a 6 m rangefinder. In the meantime, Marzin decided to transfer the crews from turret 2 to turret 1, which also required moving the shells and propellant between magazines. Her secondary turrets neutralized a Japanese coastal artillery battery that had been engaging Tromp. These included several bombardment operations and in May 1945 she was present during the Battle of the Malacca Strait, though she was too far away to engage the Japanese ships before they were sunk. Now assigned to Force 63 of the East Indies Fleet, Richelieu sortied on 8 April to take part in Operation Sunfish, another bombardment of Sabang while aircraft scouted possible landing beaches near the city of Padang on the coast of Sumatra. Richelieu was finished shortly before the French defeat in the Battle of France, while Jean Bart was hurriedly prepared to be ready to go to sea during the campaign. She was thereafter used as a stationary school ship for reserve officers and as a floating barracks until 30 September 1967, when she was struck from the naval register. Richelieu failed to make contact at the prescribed rendezvous point, and since she had not embarked any of her floatplanes before fleeing Brest, she could not conduct an aerial search. 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