French Battleships

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paul.mercer
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French Battleships

Postby paul.mercer » Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:12 pm

Gentlemen,
We have discussed German, British, US and Italian battleships in these forums, what about the French fleet, could any of them mounted a serious challenge to any of the German or British battleships - and I include the twins ?

Tiornu
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Re: French Battleships

Postby Tiornu » Wed Dec 22, 2010 9:39 pm

The modern French ships were top-notch. Their primary shortcoming was the inefficiency of their main batteries. Circumstances being what they were, they didn't get delay coils until 1942 (I think).

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Re: French Battleships

Postby Djoser » Thu Dec 23, 2010 3:15 pm

It is easy to imagine a little higher priority being given these fine ships' development, such that the flaws in the main battery could have been worked out, soon enough to perhaps make a duel of the French BBs and/or BCs with the German BBs and/or BCs a possibility.

I have a copy of Fighting Steel, but haven't figured out how to use it with the Bootcamp I installed on my Macbook Pro yet, or if it will work with this arrangement. My poor old HP laptop was good when I first got it 5-6 years ago, but has acquired several viral infections and is hardly operable. As soon as I can get it running, this might be an excellent scenario to try to play--maybe even both BBs and both BCs on each side going at it. That would be quite a battle!

I suspect the Germans would have a very slight edge, but I think it would be a very close run affair...

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Gary
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Re: French Battleships

Postby Gary » Tue Dec 28, 2010 12:38 pm

Richelieu was a beast, I really like her.
I think she would have given Bismarck a serious run for her money.

Strasbourg would be a serious contender for a Scharnhorst but Dunkerque may be a little thin skinned to compete with either of the twins

This is a pretty good book on the French BB's
http://www.amazon.com/French-Battleship ... 238&sr=1-1
God created the world in 6 days.........and on the 7th day he built the Scharnhorst

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Re: French Battleships

Postby Djoser » Tue Dec 28, 2010 8:13 pm

Gary wrote:Richelieu was a beast, I really like her.
I think she would have given Bismarck a serious run for her money.

Strasbourg would be a serious contender for a Scharnhorst but Dunkerque may be a little thin skinned to compete with either of the twins

This is a pretty good book on the French BB's
http://www.amazon.com/French-Battleship ... 238&sr=1-1


Thanks for the link! I added it to my wish list and will keep an eye out for a cheaper used copy.

But I don't understand why the Strasbourg would be any better than Dunkerque in a duel with one of the twins, since they were also sister ships of the same class. Were there some differences in her construction that improved protection? I do know the German twins were as well protected (or better) than many of the BBs fighting in WW II (particularly the older ones of course). But yeah that would be a close one!

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Re: French Battleships

Postby Tiornu » Tue Dec 28, 2010 8:32 pm

Strasbourg had some thicker armor than Dunkerque, but Dunkerque was not poorly armored either. The French designed her to resist 12in gunfire.

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Gary
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Re: French Battleships

Postby Gary » Mon Jan 03, 2011 6:08 pm

Hi Djosser

The book I mentioned describes in good detail with some drawings, the 15inch hits Dunkerque recieved at Mers El Kebir.
Its well worth getting but it is a little pricey - The Dunkerque's were pretty nice ships
God created the world in 6 days.........and on the 7th day he built the Scharnhorst

WestPhilly
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Re: French Battleships

Postby WestPhilly » Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:02 am

The Dunkerque was at least as well protected (and Strasbourg still better) against 11-inch shellfire as the German twins were against French 13-inch shellfire. The same is almost certainly true of Richelieu as compared to other contemporary European Battleships.

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Karl Heidenreich
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Re: French Battleships

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Sun May 15, 2011 11:33 pm

I many previous topics I have pointed out the many disadvantages the French Richeliue Class had, aside from those already mentioned here.
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
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Re: French Battleships

Postby Francis Marliere » Tue May 17, 2011 12:45 pm

Tiornu wrote:Their primary shortcoming was the inefficiency of their main batteries. Circumstances being what they were, they didn't get delay coils until 1942 (I think).


Tiornu, I understand that the inefficiendy of their main battery you are talking about was hudge dispersion because of shell interference (the barrels were too close each others). I don't understand why would the ships suffer from dispersion when not firing full broadsides. Why couldn't they fire guns 1 and 3 of each turret then 2 and 4 ? Did I miss something ?

Best regards,

Francis

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Re: French Battleships

Postby Tiornu » Tue May 17, 2011 3:35 pm

The paired guns in each quad turret had limited independence; for the most part they had to elevate together. For them to fire in separate salvos, their rate of fire would have to be slowed. I think the rate of fire, rather than dispersion, is the primary symptom of the main batteries' inefficiency. The arrangement of the guns and ammo spaces made for added complexity, and the problem increased at extreme ranges. I'll give my guess that part of the problem derived from a lack of power for auxiliary systems, which was a common situation in French warship designs at the time.

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Re: French Battleships

Postby Francis Marliere » Thu May 19, 2011 12:11 pm

Tiornu,

thanks for your kind answer. However I don't really understand why the rate of fire would be slowed. You can fire guns 1 and 3, then one or two seconds later, guns 2 and 4 ; a few seconds won't make any difference. Would you mind explain me ?

Best regards,

Francis

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Re: French Battleships

Postby Bgile » Thu May 19, 2011 6:03 pm

However many seconds it is, that lengthens the firing cycle of both guns in the pair by that many seconds.

Also, any delay in loading effects both guns. If a powder bag is torn or any other error in drill delays the return of one gun to firing elevation, it effects both guns. Instead of having one gun miss one or more salvoes you have two guns missing one or more salvoes.

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Re: French Battleships

Postby RobertsonN » Fri May 20, 2011 8:15 am

From what I've read so far the book by Jordan and Dumas does not really answer the question of whether the slow rof of the Riehelieu was ever improved. It gives the rof of Dunkerque as 1.5 to 2 rpm, a bit below average but not serious, although they had excessive dispersion problems too. The electic power output of the Richelieu was higher than that in the Bismarck, so lack of power would not seem to be the problem.
The dispersion arose from the insertion of a 40 mm splinter bulkhead in the turrets, as a means of mitigating the excessive concentration of armament in the two turrets, and resultant close pairing of guns. The quads in the KGV class had no bulkhead, a uniform and larger gun spacing and no dispersion problem. Rate of fire was 2 rpm, I believe, although they did have more problems than other turrets and mountings, especially compared with the twin 15 in. Other ships, e.g., Bismarck could fire salvos in different modes, e.g. alternating fore and aft turrets (which was preferred) or one gun in each turret.
The problem with rof may have arisen from overcomplication. My impression from the above book is that the French favoured complication, unlike the British who preferred simplicity. An example are the French shells with dye bags and detonators for these in the nose, and canisters for poison gas in the base. The latter were the cause of shells exploding in the barrels at Dakar. If they'd kept them simpler they might have been better.

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Re: French Battleships

Postby Bgile » Fri May 20, 2011 10:50 am

The US triple turrets in the fast battleships had bulkheads between guns, and widely spaced guns compared to those used in Richelieu (and KGV for that matter). They also used a 60ms delay between each gun (left, right, center). I suspect the British got around the interference problem by firing half salvoes from alternate guns, whereas the USN normally fired all three guns together.


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