:: RICHELIEU (1939) ::

Richelieu battleship (1939) High resolution picture

The Richelieu was a French battleship launched in 1939; along with her twin Jean Bart she was built as a response to the Italian battleships of the Littorio class and conceived as a heavier version of the fast battleships of the Dunkerque class, with which shared the characteristic distribution of the main armament. Even if the ships of the Dunkerque class were excellent units, France would need "true" battleships to keep up with the new battleships that the other prime nations would inevitably build in the future. They were powerful ships, but they would have been more efficient if they had a complete secondary armament.

The third and fourth ships of the class (Clemenceau and Gascogne) were projected (with considerable modifications in the design) but never completed. The Richelieu was virtually completed when France fell to Germany and definitely completed in United States, where her antiaircraft armament was extraordinarily increased, while the Jean Bart was in a very early phase of construction, not being completed until 1952, so that she presented a rather different appearance in respect of her twin (particularly on the funnels, superstructures and antiaircraft artillery).

The Richelieu was decommissioned in 1956 and finally scrapped in 1968, and one year later it was the turn of the Jean Bart. These two splendid ships were the last battleships existing in Europe. The illustration shows the Richelieu as she was in 1950, fitted with a powerful antiaircraft battery.

Class: Richelieu (2 units - Jean Bart, Richelieu)

Type: Battleship

Length: 248 meters

Beam: 33 meters

Draught: 10.5 meters

Displacement (standard): 39116 tonnes

Propulsion: 4 x shaft, 4 x steam turbine Parsons, 6 x boiler Indret, 155000 horsepower

Speed: 32 knots (59 kilometers/hour)

Range: 8500 nautical miles (15740 kilometers) at 14 knots

Complement: 1670 as built

Armament (as built): 8 x 380-millimeter 45-caliber cannon, 9 x 152-millimeter 55-caliber cannon, 12 x 100-millimeter cannon, 16 x 37-millimeter cannon, 28 x 13.2-millimeter machine gun

Armament (in 1944): 8 x 380-millimeter 45-caliber cannon, 9 x 152-millimeter 55-caliber cannon, 12 x 100-millimeter cannon, 56 x 40-millimeter cannon, 48 x 20-millimeter cannon

Armor: 225-400 millimeters in belt, 130-170 millimeters in main deck, 40-50 millimeters in middle deck, 405 millimeters in barbettes, 170-430 millimeters in main turrets, 130 millimeters in secondary turrets, 340 millimeters in conning tower

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