alecsandros wrote:You are focusing on secondary points which are not of great concern to me. The scenario involved KGV vs Richelieu, both in fighting condition. So, of course teh Richelieu should have been finished, crew trained, etc, etc.
Ok now that we've established we're talking about a finished ship -
You have written instead about the damage suffered by JB at Casablanca - via bombs. I don't know which photos of the damage you've seen or what damage analysis you've read, but from G&D Allied BBs I have a completely different picture than you do: the ship's armor was severely torn, extensive flooding was noted:
I've discussed bomb damage at Cassablanca because you've used it as evidence of poor quality of armor. Regretably my access to Allied BBs is from the local library so I can't fully comment at the moment - however I do own Dumas' French Battleships book and their description is more or less inline with what you posted. Notice that in all the text you quote not once do G&D mention *armor* instead they reffer to "shell plating" - ie the (relatively) thin unarmored steel that makes up the outside shape of the ship. If I had immediate access to a scanner I'd post the armor diagram of the Richelieu class but according to Dumas the first bomb:
"hit the forecastle near the capstan; it obliterated the capstan itself, lifted the forecastle deckand started a fire. There were large breaches in the hull above the main deck between frames 195 and 226 to starboard and frames 217 and 224 to port."
The battleship's primary protection ended at frame 182 and in common with all All Or Nothing ships her ends were soft and vulnerable to HE shell and bomb hits.
Note in this well known shot the damage is centered at the forecastle breakwater and forward - her armored deck on the other hand ends not even half the barrel length in front of the Turrets.
Again from Dumas "The other bomb hit the quarter deck just forward of the starboard catapult pivot
and caused damage so extensive that the official inquiry was convinced that 2 bombs had hit the same area. Although the 100mm inclined deck over the shafts was not breached, a large section of hull platingabove this level was completely destroyed (frames 25-55) and the upper deck was lifted and bent back over the quarter deck; it looked to all intents and purposes as if the stern of the ship had been opened with a giant can opener. There were also deformations in the after part of the shelter deck abeam the hanger."
Again the hit happened around the catapult mount which was in the vincinty of frame 26 while the main portion of the armored deck ended at frame 51.
Notice in the other well known image of the damage it largely ends aft of the secondary barbette and despite the spectacular visual effect does not penetrate past the main armored deck or bulkhead just forward and below the hole.
In otherwords it's not, as you implied that french armor is defective but rather that the ends of AoN ships are deliberately left "soft" and hence vulnerable to HE shells and bombs.
You have written several pages about how good the work of the US repair and rebuild team was, about how quickly the JB could have been repaired, and so on and so forth. Nothing about the essential problems of the class
Likewise I only commented at length because you had tried to use the length that repairs took as evidence of poor design.
- Richelieu was nearly sunk by one torpedo (and it was 95% completed, not 77% as the JB)
95% finished does not mean 95% of opperational capability - she was undermanned and her crew was untrainned - she only used 1 turret at a time for example at Dakar due to the lack of personel.
Regardless "nearly sunk by one Torpedo" is a selective statement of the facts. More accurate would be "'nearly sunk' by one Torpedo to the shafts
in shallow water
." Some defects were indeed exposed by the damage - including the poor quality of some welds - though I've been back and forth over Dumas and cannot find any reference to either the upper or lower belts being damaged at all - the torpedo having hit AFT of the armored portion of the hull. What was
considered more serious was the faulty design of the cable glands which let the flooding spread farther than it should, the shortage of pumping capacity (though the same can be said of many of her contemporaries and in her case the situation was greatly exacerbated by the fact they needed to be kept going not for days until she reached port but rather months
until repairs could be improvised. Also the rigid mounted machinery was vulnerable to shock damage - though again she was no worse than her foreign contemporaries in that regard (look at HMS Belfast for example after she was mined).
I don't think any
of her contemporaries would have faired much better in similar circumstances - indeed PoW was fatally wounded by a single torpedo in a similar location (albeit with the shaft in motion which accounts for the difference.)
- Jean Bart took a 406mm Mk6 shell through 150 + 40mm of deck armor at ~ 22km, meaning that the armor was 124mm proof at best
I'm not sure what their source is but Dumas & Jordan show a 33 degree angle of penetration which, hopefully someone more knowledgeable than I can comment on but certainly looks like from the navweaps site as being within the realm of possibility for a 16"45 gun?