New life of the French cardinal. How did Richelieu change?

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In an article from the creators of World of Warships story modernization of the battleship "Richelieu", which during the Second World War had a chance to fight on both sides of the conflict.


The most powerful battleships of France are Jean Bar and Richelieu. The second of them got its name in honor of Cardinal Richelieu, whose personality is associated with one of the best periods of French history. Larger artillery caliber, more powerful armor - this was a logical development of the previous ships: "Strasbourg" and "Dunkirk". "Richelieu" was created to deal with Italian and German ships.



However, due to the defeat of France in June 1940, the battleship, which was being completed in Brest, was forced to abandon it. In order not to fall into the hands of the enemy, the “steel duke” went to Dakar, a naval base on the western tip of Africa. Here the battleship came under fire from yesterday's allies: a formation of British ships attacked the French on the night of July 8, 1940. The British boat was able to drop four depth charges right on the side of the battleship Richelieu, but they did not explode. And a torpedo from a British Swordfish aircraft exploded under the stern of the battleship, causing serious damage.


"Richelieu" in Dakar, 1940

On September 23-25, when Dakar was trying to capture the troops of the Free French loyal to De Gaulle, the battleship again had a chance to fight. And again he was injured. In the next two years, the crew of the ship kept the artillery operational.

The situation changed on November 8, 1942, when the Allies began landings in Algiers and Morocco. The commander of the armed forces of the Vichy government, Admiral Darlan, entered into a dialogue with the allies and transferred French naval forces in North and West Africa under their control.

"Richelieu" was the first ship to be upgraded, as it remained the only combat-ready modern French battleship. This was justified by the threat from the Axis. Tirpitz and Scharnhorst were dangerous in the Atlantic, and the new Italian Vittorio Veneto, Littorio and Roma were in the Mediterranean. So the need for a French ship was very tangible.

The Richelieu sailed for American shores on January 30, 1943, arriving in New York on February 11. French sailors were met with snow and fog, which was completely unusual for them after the climatic conditions of Africa. The American public reacted very positively to the arrival of the battleship. Newspaper editorials read: "The French fleet is back in action - the Richelieu is here!"

The battleship's modernization work was quite intensive - 2 workers, divided into three shifts, worked 000 hours a day, 24 days a week from February to August 7. Initially, general repairs were required, and after inspection at the Brooklyn shipyard, it was found that the Richelieu's hull had undergone little corrosion. Serious work was required to eliminate the consequences of a torpedo hit - steel sheets with a length of 1943 meters had to be replaced. I also had to change the inner propeller shaft on the starboard side, as it was bent so much that it could not be restored. Most of the mechanisms and electronics have been repaired or replaced.


"Richelieu" after modernization, 1943

The damage to the three guns of the second turret of the main caliber became a great difficulty, because on navy The USA was not like that. The missing guns were removed from the battleship Jean Bar. There were not enough shells either. Their production was provided by the American company Crucible Steel according to the drawings received from Dakar. The shells for the auxiliary caliber corresponded to the shells for the American 152-mm Mark 16 guns, which were in service with light cruisers.


"Jean Bar", 1940

Of the air defenses, only 100-mm guns in twin mounts were retained, all the rest were replaced with 20-mm Oerlikon anti-aircraft guns and 40-mm Bofors mounts. The latter installed 14 quadruple installations: eight on the superstructures, four in the aft and two on the deck side by side. The total number of anti-aircraft guns of 20 and 40 mm caliber on board was brought up to 106 pieces. This became possible due to the dismantling of equipment that was recognized as not corresponding to modern realities. The crane and catapults for seaplanes were removed back in Dakar, and in New York they reduced the height of the upper tier of the aircraft hangar.

The radars installed on the Richelieu were capable of detecting air targets at a distance of up to 68 kilometers, and surface targets at a distance of 22 km, which corresponded to British radars of that period. However, there were noticeably more radars on British battleships.


"Richelieu" on trials in New York

The modernization was completed in the late summer of 1943, and the testing period began in August and September. Despite the total displacement increased to 47 tons, the battleship was able to reach a maximum speed of 728 knots. More than three years after the forced departure from its native shores, the ship received a new life and a second chance to join the battle. Ahead were fighting off the coast of Norway and operations against the Japanese in the Indian Ocean.

Today, the destroyer Maillet Brezet stands in the city of Nantes, the only French surface warship that has been preserved as a museum. Interestingly, it is named after the admiral, who was the nephew of Cardinal Richelieu. Learn more about this ship in a video from Wargaming.

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  1. 0
    February 11 2022
    The missing guns were removed from the battleship Jean Bar.

    "Jean Bar"


    The Jean Bars opened fire again, continuing to bombard the Allied ships and narrowly missed the cruiser USS Augusta. The hard answer was not long in coming. In response, dive bombers from the Ranger aircraft carrier scored two hits (on the bow and stern of the ship), as a result of which the Jean Bar landed on the ground in the harbor.
  2. +2
    February 11 2022
    who during the Second World War had a chance to fight on both sides of the conflict.
    This passage is not very clear to me. During that war, this battleship fought on only one side ... from France. And it's not his fault that the former allies suddenly decided to attack him.
    1. +1
      February 11 2022
      “I fought only on one side ... on the side of France” - WWII was a war of coalitions, no one fought alone.
      1. -2
        February 11 2022
        Quote: Sergey Valov
        no one fought alone.

        Are you sure? Well then, remind me which coalition included the same Switzerland
        1. +1
          February 11 2022
          Did she fight in WWII? Did you study at school?
          1. 0
            February 11 2022
            Quote: Sergey Valov
            Did she fight in WWII?

            Yes. She was very successful in defending her borders against both coalitions. and their Armed Forces showed a very high level of training and readiness to fight. And you didn't know about it?
            Quote: Sergey Valov
            Did you go to school?

            And not only in it. Behind shoulders and other educational institutions, higher levels
            1. 0
              February 11 2022
              “Yes”, “And not only in her” - I sympathize.
              1. -1
                February 11 2022
                Quote: Sergey Valov
                "Yes"

                Learn history not only from school textbooks
            2. +2
              February 11 2022
              She defended her borders very successfully against both coalitions. and their Armed Forces showed a very high level of training and readiness to fight

              This is called "armed neutrality". In general, thanks to the accepted political compromises, it was beneficial to both parties as a loyal buffer / neutral territory.
              1. +3
                February 11 2022
                Quote: Oleg812spb
                This is called "armed neutrality".

                Yes, not like the Czechs, "they didn't raise their paws ..."
                On May 10, 1940, the German Dornier Do.17 bomber was intercepted by Swiss Air Force fighters and landed at the Altenhain airfield. On June 1, 1940, a formation of 36 He.111 bombers, flying on a mission in the Marseille region, decided to "cut the corner" through the airspace of a neutral country. 12 Swiss Messerschmitts were raised to intercept - the violators tried to resist. As a result, two German aircraft were destroyed. The Swiss suffered no losses. On June 4, 1940, an “action of retaliation” took place - a lone He.111 lured 12 Swiss Bf.109Es into France, where they were hit by 28 Luftwaffe fighters. As a result of a short skirmish, an intruder bomber and two German Me.110s were shot down. Swiss own losses amounted to 1 aircraft.
                8 June 1940 launched an open raid into Swiss territory - a group of He.111 bombers (KG 1) under 32 Bf.110C escort (from II / ZG 76) attempted to strike at Swiss air forces airfields. The plans of the Nazis prevented the case - in the way of the group was a patrol EKW C-35. The Kukuruznik was immediately shot down, but before his death he managed to raise the alarm. Twelve Bf.109 immediately flew to intercept. In the ensuing air battle, the Swiss pilots managed to shoot down three Messerschmitt in exchange for the loss of one of their aircraft.
                On June 16, 1940, a German sabotage group of 10 people was captured in full force by the Swiss military.
                Since mid-1940, a fragile truce has been restored on the German-Swiss border. Both sides did not take any hostile actions towards each other. Only occasionally German planes that went off course were intercepted by Swiss fighters and forced to land on Swiss airfields. Interned aircraft were included in the Swiss Air Force
                From the middle of the war, the main enemy of the Swiss Air Force became Allied aircraft, which regularly intruded into the airspace of the country. The wrecked and strayed cars were forcibly landed at Swiss airfields. Over a hundred such incidents were recorded during the war years. As expected, aircraft and pilots were interned on the territory of a neutral state until the end of the war. British and American pilots were stationed in ski resorts cut off from the rest of the world by war, mountains and snow. With the beginning of the Allied landings in Normandy, about 940 pilots of the Allied countries arbitrarily left their place of imprisonment and tried to cross the border into France. 183 fugitives were detained by the Swiss police and placed in a POW camp in the Lucerne area with a much tougher regime than before. They were released only in November 1944. However, not everyone got a chance to settle in an alpine chalet - on April 13, 1944, a damaged American aircraft was ruthlessly shot down in Swiss airspace, despite the fact that it defiantly released the landing gear (which, according to international rules, meant “following the airfield you indicated”). Seven Americans were killed. But the real "action" is connected with the raids of strategic bombers - throughout the war, Swiss territory was regularly bombed. The following episodes are best known: - On April 1, 1944, a formation of 50 "Liberators" brought down its deadly cargo on Schaffhausen (instead of the designated target in Germany, 235 km to the north). The victims of the bombing were 40 Swiss; - December 25, 1944. Taingen was subjected to a powerful bombardment; - February 22, 1945, the Yankees bombed 13 settlements in Switzerland; - March 4, 1945 American strategic bombers simultaneously bombed Basel and Zurich. It is noteworthy that the real target was located 290 km north of Frankfurt am Main; There have been bombings before. During 1940, the largest cities in Switzerland (Geneva, Basel, Zurich) were periodically bombed by the Royal Air Force of Great Britain.
                1. +1
                  February 11 2022
                  As for Benes, I agree. And the rest - "The Swiss government showed a willingness to come to a reasonable compromise: an agreement that gives some advantages to the Axis countries surrounding Switzerland on all sides, and at the same time does not detract from the sovereignty and neutrality of Switzerland. Despite the existing tension in relations, Switzerland was obviously more useful for Germany as a partner than as an enemy.Under an agreement concluded in August 1940, Switzerland provided the most favorable regime for the transit of German goods (including military) through its territory, undertook to sell Germany gold and other precious metals for Reichsmarks , and, in addition, provided Germany with a long-term loan of 150 Swiss francs.
                  Shortly after the conclusion of this agreement, the German 12th Army was redirected to participate in operations in the Balkans.
                  1. +1
                    February 12 2022
                    Quote: Oleg812spb
                    showed a willingness to come to a reasonable compromise:

                    Yes, nevertheless, knowing full well that Switzerland would not survive in a direct clash, they were forced to compromise. And yet they proved that the seizure of their territory is "expensive"
                    1. +1
                      February 12 2022
                      Yes, the then Minister of Defense of Switzerland made it clear that they would destroy all infrastructure, go into the mountains and wage a guerrilla war.
                      1. +1
                        February 12 2022
                        And they would do it...
            3. +1
              February 12 2022
              Quote: svp67
              She was very successful in defending her borders,

              Only the enemies did not come lol Nobody declared war on her, but about the "high level" - this is blah blah, war can only show. hi
              1. +1
                February 13 2022
                Quote: fa2998
                Only the enemies did not come

                Yeah ... yes, not in such quantities as to us
                Quote: fa2998
                No one declared war on her

                Did this make it easier for those who died or were injured in these clashes?
                Quote: fa2998
                about the "high level" is blah blah, war can only show

                For this, several large clashes are enough, which the Swiss showed. Their pilots outperformed the Luftwaffe, and the ground forces were able to neutralize the RDGs that were trying to get through to them.
                1. +1
                  February 13 2022
                  Quote: svp67
                  Their pilots surpassed those of the Luftwaffe,

                  Fighting on the Me-109 laughing And if the "enemies" do not send spare parts? wassat hi
                  1. 0
                    February 13 2022
                    Quote: fa2998
                    Fighting on the Me-109

                    And the more significant their victory.
                    Quote: fa2998
                    And if the "enemies" do not send spare parts?

                    They would have found an opportunity to buy planes from others. The country was still not poor
  3. 0
    February 12 2022
    In the sources that came across to me about the 380 mm Richelieu guns, it was indicated that the Americans re-barreled them by 381 mm under the available shells by installing new liners.
    1. +1
      February 12 2022
      Quote: Oleg812spb
      under the available shells by installing new liners.

      What about charging chambers? That millimeter is not so important here, since when shooting, the diameter still increases due to wear of the bore, but the shape of the charging chamber is made for specific ammunition
      1. +1
        February 12 2022
        It was pointed to the liners. After all, the liner of a large-caliber weapon of separate loading is usually made for the entire length of the barrel, so it also includes a charging chamber, which does not need to be given the geometry of the sleeve. Well, from the charging chamber, with separate loading, it is required that the half-charges fit in. By the way, the Americans reworked the Richelieu guns for English 15 "ammunition, after modernization he went to England and served in the British fleet until the end of WWII. Such a zigzag of history ...

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