In addition, they had quadruple 13.2 mm mounts and two triple 550 mm torpedo tubes banks. However, this limit paradoxically led to two consequences: The French navy was able to not disperse itself, concentrating on the most important ships and building a coherent and innovative navy, of far better shape than in 1914. The latter had only two, and were at the time among the most powerful destroyers in the world with 3,400 tons at full load, 37-42 knots and five guns of 140 mm. The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) grew to a considerable size during WW2, to the point it was in tonnage in 1945, the world’s fourth largest. They were part of the wave of so-called “super-destroyers”, more than leaders, light cruisers in reduction. There are a total of [ 135 ] WW2 Navy Aircraft (1939-1945) entries in the Military Factory. ONI203 booklet for identification of ships of the French Navy, published by the Division of Naval Inteligence of the Navy Department of the United States (9 November 1942) (cc). Information on Naval Aircraft. 17 more, (CH1-CH5) were operational in June 1940, and four others under construction. They also had larger dimensions (252 meters overall versus 248) for a tonnage reaching 51,000 tons fully loaded. The city is burnt to the ground by waves of Goering’s bombers, but the Luftwaffe fails to kill the gathering troops on the beaches, and in the matter of less than a week, most of the British Expeditionary Force and thousands of French soldiers are successfully repatriated in Great Britain. 1980 to Present. Approved in 1937, the new class (later named De Grasse, Chateaurenault and guichen), was ordered in 1938 and construction of the lead ship started at Arsenal de Lorient in November 1938. But they were never completed due to repeated sabotage from local workers, and they were eventually burned after the Allied landings of Normandy. But this was also the last heavy cruiser class as France was signatory to the 1930 London treaty, limiting the tonnage of 8-in armed cruisers; The intended new class was planned to replace the Duquesne class crusiers, voted in 1939 after the 1936 second London treaty’s accomodations. The Cdt Teste was proceeding of an old concept of air reconnaissance that was stuck in ww1 naval tactics and of little use in ww2. In fact, afer the armistice, the Vichy regime was allowed to resume construction on its own account, but problems labour shortage remained. 1945. COUNTRIES. Two more, this time tailor-designed, of the Joffre class, were added to the programme at the end of the 1930s but suffering delays, they would never be completed. The Germans no longer felt bound by the conditions of armistice after the American landing in North Africa, and seized the French ships based at Bizerte, and tried to recuperate some units scuttled in Toulon. MODERN AIR FORCES. HOME. Aircraft History Cards. This Desaix class was approved in May 1938 and included Desaix, Hoche, Kleber and Marceau, followed by another serie of six ships, the Bayard class, approved in April 1940. Sep 14, 2015 - Carrier and Marine Aircraft. But lacking in AA artillery, radars, ASW capabilities or effective air support, there was room for improvement. In addition to the Richelieu-class BBs, two other sister-ships were planned for the next naval section, following B3 specification of 1938. Naval Guns of France. The French suffered mightily at the hands of the Germans during World War 2 - its air service nonetheless put up a valiant fight. It had a top speed of 188 kts. French Destroyer Frondeur of the L’Adroit-class – Official U.S. Navy photo NH 55990 from the U.S. Navy Naval History and Heritage Command. The most active were the three later ships of the Bretagne (Brittany) class (Bretagne, Provence, Lorraine, 1913). Shipyards had to be reequipped after 1918, resume construction of the ships started before the war (like the interesting Bearn and Lion class battleships) but there were other priorities ahead, and the funds were not allocated yet. It is stated by all who carry out this research that nothing is certain and reference to photographs is always advised. Originally a planned order for French aircraft carrier PA2 was based on the design of the British Queen Elizabeth -class aircraft carrier recently constructed and launched for the British Royal Navy. By the way, both Italy and France developed locally a tradition of “tin clad cruisers”, lightly built, but very fast. Like Great Britain and Germany, the French Navy evaluated in a positive way the concept of submarine cruiser as a raiding asset against commerce. The Desaix class was closely derived from the Mogador, including the “pseudo-turrets” twin 130 mm. The first years were spent in the Mediterranean, with clear skies ideal for onboard aviation, and she was based in North Africa. Author’s illustration. These were the destroyers Tigre (FR23), Panthere (FR22), Valmy, Lion (FR24, FR21), several units of the class Le Hardi, FR32 to 37, torpedo boats (class La Melpomène) FR41, 42 and 43, submersibles Such as the former Requin class (FR111-114), the FR117 (ex-Circe), FR112 and 116 (ex-Saphir and Turquoise) were thus expected to reinforce the naval forces of the Kriegsmarine in the Mediterranean or the Regia Marina. In the case of destroyers, France like Great Britain, Japan and the USA developed “standard” types and “squadron leaders”, or heavy destroyers. AV-8B Harrier V/STOL ground attack aircraft used by the United States Marine Corps 3. More crucially, still in 1940 the French navy completely lacked any radar. Site Map Updates Forums Contact Search help. Four torpedo tubes in two axial banks completed the armament. French ships were found either sunk, fighting the allies, or scuttled. Dunkirk and Strasbourg were started in 1932-34, entering service in 1937-38, and were responded by the Italians with their Littorio. In September 1939 the French Navy, like in 1914 was caught a bit off-guard, but far less than the poor state she was in prior to vigorous reforms and naval plans of 1912. If they had been built, they would probably have been in service in 1943-44, very comparable to the US Navy Baltimore class. A-29B Super Tucano special operations support/counterinsurgency 2. Tailor-built with a large hold for captured crews, a pair of 8 in guns and a reconnaissance floatplane, the Surcouf remains the largest French submarine before 1967 (SSBN Le Triomphant). In Syria, this situation saw the French fighting Australians, and another British raid on Diego-Suarez, off Madagascar in the fall of 1941. French Destroyer Le Fantasque (ONI USN archives) (cc). On the other hand, the new 3900 tonnes Desaix class destroyers would have been improved Mogador, considered as “super destroyers”, cultivating an impressive 42 knots top speed and powerful main armament worthy of “pocket cruisers”. Petain also used the fleet as a lever to smooth up armistice application whenever possible. Unfortunately, construction never started and stayed at paper level. There were a whole range of new ships in the yards back then that would have been completed, from the new Joffre class aircraft carriers, Gascoigne class battleships, to the St Louis and De Grasse class cruisers. But she bore within herself her own limitations. 1/300th Naval range. In 1938, the Ocean was renamed Jean Bart and assigned to Brest as a training ship. Lion (6 units in 1924), Gepard (6 others in 1928), Aigle (6 ships in 1930-31), Vauquelin (6 in 1931-32), and finally Le Fantasque (6 buildings, 1934) class, all very recognizable with their three or four funnels. Their on-board aviation was moved to the center and radars were planned for them, a ballistic computer and radar-assisted rangefinders and fire directors. Technically, they were true sister-ships, the only significant difference being their second quadruple turret relocated aft, to enable retreat fire, while the secondary artillery was relocated forward. Moreover, AA artillery was poor at best, even by 1940 standards. In spite of the little success of General Giraud to rally Vichy French authorities to the allied cause at first, the latter reversal of Admiral Darlan had a major consequence for the fleet remaining in North Africa, which de facto passed on the allied side, as well as in metropolitan France. As a result, the new class, to be named Saint Louis (after a famous French medieval King) and was to include four ships, of a completely different standard. The long-form official designation is Force maritime de l'aéronautique navale. Flag images indicative of country of origin and not necessarily the primary operator. Soon, facing the formidable combined German tactics, the front crumbles from all sides. The first was launched in 1943 but never completed and her hull destroyed during an allied air raid in 1944. The Béarn was a small aircraft carrier, unfit for more modern monoplanes, and slow. The Lyon class in particular, would have been game changers in the Mediterranean if completed, and IF modernized the proper way. This fine instrument, which had been ready in 1939, had been saved from the budgetary misconceptions of aviation or the erroneous tactics of the Army. In June 1940, with shortage of workforce and equipment, construction of the hull was suspended. The Ki-36 scout plane was designated as a cooperation aircraft by the Imperial Japanese Army during WWII. La Marine Française (French Navy) is still called “La Royale” to this day (“Royal” (navy)) according to its pre-revolutionary traditions. The wole operation was above all Churchill’s means of proving to all his implacable resolve to continue the war, whatever the price to pay…. Bretagne class Dreadnought Battleships (1914), Courbet class Dreadnought Battleships (1911), Aircraft carrier: 1 (2 under construction). This list may not reflect recent changes (). Antiaircraft artillery consisted of six dueal purpose rapid firing 90 mm in three twin turrets (placed at the rear), as well as five 25 mm in single mounts, rapid-fire model. Guderian’s race to sea encloses half of the Allied forces, now retreating from the north, in a pocket centered around the old city port of Dunkirk. Sailors went in the trenches, and often navy officers and future prominent admirals like Muselier and Darlan would learn their artillery trade on the Western Front. The announcement by Macron would effectively start the program with detailed design followed by the construction. These were the Richelieu and the Jean Bart, two units of 35,000 tons, begun in 1935 (for the first) and January 1939 (for the second). This 1910 design became the basis of future submersibles for many nations. In backup, there was an airbase with bombers and recently acquired American-built Curtiss H75 (that will shot down a British Skua), plus coastal heavy guns and fortifications. From the 1920s mass-produced “three-pipers” to the 40 knots, super-destroyers of the Mogador class, destroyer development in France went a long way. In 1918, the French Navy emerged in a sorry state. Colorized photo of the French cruiser Algérie, sadly the last french heavy cruiser before long. Later some (symbolic) AA was added. If built, they would have been formidable adversaries for any destroyer and more than a match for some light cruisers liike the Italian Guissano class. Europe needed reconstruction, and in general there was a will of de-militarizing society, also shown by the creation of the League of Nations, pet project of President Wilson. Praised by naval analysts around the globe then as the best possible compromise, she was to constitute the prototype of the future “Saint Louis”, approved in March 1940 but never built, all to be given nine guns in three triple turrets. In this new role, she served until 1976 (see the cold war section). Their short career was active, especially between September 1939 and June 1940 when they hunted the German Graf Spee, but sadly ended in November 1943 in Toulon. So she must be discounted in this picture. The first was planned the completion around 1942, 1943 fo the next one. Approved in 1937 for the first two (De Grasse and Chateaurenault), and 1938 for the other two (Only the Guichen was started), they will be caught in the turmoil of June 1940. Tomlin, H W (Lt) Royal Navy official photographer (cc). It was at the same time for De Gaulle’s Free France project, the expectation to see the “French Empire” switch side to the side of the allies, as it did. This ship was indeed equipped with two heavy cruiser cannons, 12 torpedo tubes With a comfortable supply, two 37mm AA guns and two 13.2mm double machine guns for close AA defence (impressive by 1925 standards), and featured a hangar and catapult for a reconnaissance floatplane. First: What if the French Navy has maintained its naval construction programme from 1912, including the two new classes of battleships and battlecruisers in the Great war. The strength of the FNFL (Forces Navales Françaises Libres) had increased significantly since January 1943: Battleship Richelieu, which joined NyD (New York) from Dakar, light cruisers Montcalm, Georges Leygues, Gloire, Emile Bertin, old battleships Courbet, Paris and Lorraine, soon Relegated to secondary roles, aircraft carrier Béarn (used as aircraft transport), heavy cruisers Duquesne, Tourville, Suffren, light cruisers Duguay Trouin, Jeanne d’Arc, upgraded to the standards of the US Navy, destroyers Leopard, Albatros, Le triomphant, Le Fantasque, Le Malin, Tempête, Mistral, Trombe, L’Alcyon, Le Fortuné, Forbin, Basque, Torpedo boats Melpomène, submarines Marsouin, Archimède, Argo, Protée, Pégase, Le Glorieux, Le Centaure, Casabianca, Rubis, Perle, Antiope, Amazone, Orphée, Junon, Minerve; Or the Savorgnan de Brazza sloop, 9 Elan class minesweepers, and 4 Chamois, representing about half the naval strength of the French Navy in 1940. Now let’s uninflate this straight on: The French navy, despite some appareances was not this modern, high quality navy sacrificed by events history often depicts. Last heavy French cruiser, she had a singular silhouette: lower “flush deck” bridge, single mast-chimney, and tower as on the Dunkirk instead of a tripod. Toulon scuttling of the fleet. The future flag ship of the Marine Nationale is intended to replace the existing "Charles de Gaulle" around 2038. The others were completed during or after the war). Tourville, of the Duquesne class (1925) – State Library of Victoria, Allan C. Green collection of glass negatives Allan C. Green (cc). It should be noted also that so close guns would also meant more shells dispersion and a lucky hit could disable half the artillery (individual cannons protections were added on the Richelieu). 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