April 1689 of the year. English Channel. 24-gun French frigate "Serpan" engages with the Dutch ship. The French are at a distinct disadvantage. On board the "Serpana" cargo barrels of gunpowder - the frigate can at any time take off into the air. At this point, ship captain Jean Bar notices an 12-year-old Jung, who squatted in fear. The captain in a rage shouts to the sailors: “Tie him to the mast. If he does not know how to look death in the eyes, he is not worthy to live. ”
The 12-year-old boy was Francois-Cornel Bar, the son of Jean Bar and the future French admiral fleet.
Oh, and the family was cruel!
Dad is especially famous - the legendary Jean Bar of Dunkirk, the most impudent and lucky of the 17th century French corsairs. It was in his honor that the best battleship of the French Navy during the Second World War was named. "Jean Bar" - the second ship in a series of battleships "Richelieu", to whose share a surprisingly long and eventful life fell.
French battleships of the "Richelieu" type are considered to be the most balanced and perfect battleships of the prewar period. They had many virtues and almost no serious flaws. Small defects in their design were gradually eliminated over the long years of their service.
At the time of construction, these were the fastest battleships in the world (32 of the node), which were noticeably inferior in combat power to only one Yamato and roughly equivalent to the German Bismarck. But at the same time, the French “35000-toners” along with the American “North Caroline” remained the smallest ships in their class.
Excellent performance was achieved with the help of a special layout, with the placement of two four-armored towers of the Civil Code in the bow of the ship. This saved on the mass of the towers (the four-gun turret weighed less than two two-guns) and also reduced the length of the citadel (the “meter” of which weighed 25 tons) by converting the allocated load reserve into additional armor thickness.
From the point of view of combat characteristics, the “all guns forward” scheme also had its advantages: the ability to fire full salvoes at the nasal corners could be useful in pursuing enemy raiders and heavy cruisers. The guns grouped in the nose had a smaller scatter of volleys and simplified fire control. Due to the unloading of the aft tip and the displacement of the scales to the midsection, the ship’s seaworthiness improved, the hull strength increased. Placed in the stern of the boat and seaplanes are no longer at risk of exposure to muzzle gases.
The drawback of the scheme was the “dead zone” on the aft corners. The problem was partially solved by the unprecedentedly large angles of shelling of the towers of the main caliber - from 300 ° to 312 °.
Four guns in one turret created the threat of losing half of the entire GK artillery from a single “stray” projectile hit. In order to increase the combat survivability of the Richelieu tower, they were divided by an armored partition, each pair of guns had its own independent ammunition supply system.
380 mm French guns surpassed all existing German and British naval guns in terms of armor penetration. The French 844-kg armor-piercing projectile could penetrate 378 mm armor at a distance of 20 000 m.
The rapid slope of the chimney - the brand name of the French battleships
The installation of nine medium-caliber guns (152 mm) was not a very rational solution: their high power and armor penetration did not matter in repelling destroyer attacks, while the insufficient pick-up speed and low rate of fire made them almost useless in repelling air attacks. It was possible to achieve acceptable characteristics only after the war, when there was no longer any sense in it.
In general, the question of everything with regard to air defense and fire control systems "hung in the air": in view of the specific conditions for their completion, the Richelieu and Jean Bar were left without modern radar. Given that before the war, France occupied a leading position in the development of radio-electronic means.
However, the Richelieu managed to get a full set of modern radio equipment during the repair in the USA at 1943. Jean Bar, rehabilitated on its own, also received the best MSAs of its time. By 1949, 16 radar stations of various ranges and purposes were installed on its board.
"Richelieu" arrives in New York
The air defense system of the late period looked very cool: 24 universal 100 mm guns in twin units, coupled with 28 anti-aircraft guns of 57 mm caliber. All guns had centralized guidance according to radar. “Jean Bar”, without exaggeration, received an outstanding air defense system - the best of all ever installed on battleships. However, the approaching era of jet aviation made other demands on anti-aircraft systems.
A few words about the armor protection of battleships:
Battleships of the "Richelieu" type had the best horizontal booking among all the ships of the world. The main armored hull 150 ... 170 mm thick, supported by the 40 mm lower armored deck with 50 mm bevels - even the great Yamato could not boast of such indicators. Horizontal booking of battleships "Richelieu" was not limited to the citadel: 100 mm armored decks with bevels (150 mm above the steering gear compartment) went into the stern.
Vertical booking of French battleships is no less admirable. The 330 mm armor resistance, taking into account its inclination to 15 ° from the vertical, the boarding and the 18 mm lining made of STS steel, was equivalent to homogeneous armor 478 mm thick. And at a meeting angle of 10 ° from the normal, the resistance increased to 546 mm!
Thickness-differentiated armor traverses (233-355 mm), powerful conning tower, where walls were 340 mm solid metal (+ 2 lining from STS, 34 mm in total) thick, excellent tower protection (430 mm forehead, 300 mm side, 260) -270 mm rear), 405 mm barbettes (80 mm below the main armored deck), local anti-fragmentation booking of important posts - nothing to complain about.
Special attention was paid to the issues of anti-torpedo protection: the depth of the PTZ ranged from 4,12 meters (in the area of the nose beam) to 7 meters (mid-frame). In the course of the post-war modernization, “Jean Baru” added 122-meter boules with a width of 1,27 m. This further increased the depth of the PTZ, which according to calculations could withstand an underwater explosion of up to 500 kg of TNT.
And all this splendor fit in the body with a full displacement of the entire 48 950 tons. The given value corresponds to the “Jean Baru” of model 1949 after its completion and all post-war activities for the modernization of the battleship.
Richelieu and Jean Bart. Powerful, beautiful and very original ships, which favorably differed from other battleships with their well-thought-out balanced design. Despite the large number of implemented innovations, the French never had to regret their bold decisions. The coppers of the Sural-Indre system, in which the combustion of the fuel took place under excessive pressure in 2 atm, operated smoothly. The design of battleships demonstrated excellent combat stability. "Jean Bar", being in an unfinished state, was able to withstand five to seven hits of American 406 mm shells, each of which weighed a ton and a quarter. It is easy to imagine the destructive power of these "pigs"!
It is safe to say that in the face of "Richelieu" and "Jean Bara" any battleship of the Second World War would have met a worthy opponent, the outcome of the one-on-one duel that hardly anyone could have predicted.
- “French LC" Richelieu "and" Jean Bar "”, S. Suliga
Courage, betrayal and redemption
10 May 1940 German troops invaded France. At that moment, the unfinished battleship “Jean Bar” was in St. Nazaire, whose entry into service was scheduled for October of the same year. Already 17 in May, the situation became so serious that the French had to think about the immediate withdrawal of the battleship from Saint-Nazaire.
This could be done no earlier than on the night of 20 on 21 June - at the full moon, when the tide reaches its highest point. But before that, it was necessary to expand and deepen the canal leading to the Loire for the unhindered withdrawal of a huge ship.
Finally, it was necessary to complete the battleship itself - to partially commission its power plant, electricity generators, a radio station, install screws and equip the battleship with the necessary means of navigation. Connect the galley, ensure the habitability of the compartments to accommodate personnel. It was not possible to establish the entire planned composition of armaments - but the French planned to commission at least one main-caliber turret.
This entire complex of works should be completed in one month. At the slightest delay, the French had no choice but to blow up the battleship.
The shipyard workers at Saint Nazaire started the race against time. Under German bombing, working on 12 hours per shift, 3500 people tried to accomplish the impossible.
22 May was drained by the dock in which stood the "Jean Bar". Workers started painting its underwater part.
3 June on the inner shaft of the left side was installed screw (from the set of spare parts for "Richelieu", delivered from the Brest shipyard). Four days later, set the screw on the inner shaft of the right side.
June 9 put into operation some auxiliary mechanisms, steering gear and galley.
On June 13, 12 commissioned three boilers and began work on balancing propellers.
Towers of medium caliber by the appointed date not arrived. A compromise solution was urgently developed - to mount in their place paired 90 mm anti-aircraft guns (sample 1926). The guns and ammunition delivery systems were installed in a matter of days, but the ammunition sent from Brest was late for the departure of the ship. The battleship was left without a medium and universal caliber.
13 and 14 June was a difficult and time-consuming operation to install four 380 mm guns of the main caliber turret.
June 16 were put into operation the main turbines and generators in the boilers of the battleship raised pairs.
18 June, the Germans entered Nantes, which lies just 65 km east of Saint-Nazaire. On this day the tricolor flag of France was raised on the battleship. The supply of electricity from the shore stopped, and now all the necessary electricity was generated by a single turbine generator aboard the “Zhana Bara”.
By this time, working dredgers managed to clear the channel width of the entire 46,5 m (with the width of the body of the battleship 33 meter!). The crew of "Jean Bar" was required remarkable courage and luck for the safe wiring of the battleship in such a narrow way.
The operation was scheduled for the following night. Despite the absence of most of the armament on the battleship and the minimum amount of oil on board (125 tons), the estimated depth under the keel did not exceed 20-30 centimeters.
The tugs pulled the Jean Bar out of the dock, but after 40 meters of movement, the battleship's nose was buried in the mud. He was dragged from the ground, but after a couple of minutes, the ground gnawed under the bottom again. This time the consequences were more serious - the battleship damaged part of the bottom plating and the right screw.
By morning 5, when Jean-Bar, helping with its own vehicles, was already going out to the middle of the river, Luftwaffe planes appeared in the sky. One of the dropped bombs broke through the upper deck between the barbets of the GK towers and exploded in the internal compartments, creating a swelling of the deck deck. The fire that occurred was quickly extinguished by water from a broken pipeline.
At this time, the battleship was already confidently moving towards the open ocean, developing the speed of 12 nodes. At the exit from the harbor two tankers and a few escort from French destroyers were waiting for him.
Now, when the horrors of imprisonment in Saint-Nazaire were left behind, the obvious question arose before the battleship commander Pierre Ronark: Where to go?
Despite the unfinished condition and the absence of the majority of the crew (there were only 570 people on board, including 200 civilians - shipyard workers), in the evening of 22 June 1940, the battleship “Jean Bar” arrived safely in Casablanca. On the same day she entered news on a truce with the Germans.
The next two years, the Jean Bar quietly rusted at the pier in Casablanca; he was strictly forbidden to leave the harbor. The battleship was closely watched by the German and Italian authorities. From the air, the situation was watched by British reconnaissance aircraft (one of which was shot down by anti-aircraft fire from the battleship).
The French, hoping for the best, continued to maintain the “Jean Bar” mechanisms in working condition, engaged in self-made repair and modernization of the armament composition. Filled the hole from the German bomb sheets of ordinary steel. The barbet of the unfinished tower II was poured with cement in order to reduce the trim on the stern. A set of range finders was delivered from Toulon to control the fire of the main and universal caliber taken from the Dunkirk battleship undergoing repair. The anti-aircraft armament was enhanced by five turrets with twin 90 mm guns. A search radar appeared on the roof of the superstructure.
Finally, on May 19, 1942, it came to the main caliber. With the permission of the occupation authorities, Jean Bar fired five four-gun salvoes towards the sea. The tests were successful, but the event did not go unnoticed (and even more so - unheard) for the American consul in Casablanca. A dispatch was sent to Washington about the presence of a powerful combat-ready battleship off the coast of North Africa, which could pose a threat to the allies. During the planned November 1942 operation "Torch" (the landing of Anglo-American troops in North Africa), "Jean Bar" was included in the list of priority targets.
At dawn 8 November 1942, a message was received aboard the battleship on the movement of a group of unknown ships off the coast. In 6: 00 local time, the team ranked according to the combat schedule, guns of the main caliber were loaded. Closer to the 8 in the morning, through the clouds of smoke from the destroyers who were stationed in the harbor, silhouettes of a battleship and two cruisers were seen.
The Americans were serious - the TG 34.1 battle group, as part of the newest Massachusetts battleship with 406 mm main caliber, was approaching Casablanca, with the support of the heavy cruisers Wichita and Tuskalouse surrounded by a destroyer squad.
Ship Museum USS Massachusetts, Fall River, our days
The first strike was inflicted by the Dontless 9 dive bombers, who took off from the Ranger aircraft carrier located 30 miles from the coast. One of the bombs hit the rear of the Jean Bar. Breaking through several decks and the bottom, she caused the flooding of the manual steering compartment. Another bomb hit the embankment nearby - the battleship was showered with stonework, the skin received cosmetic damage.
It was only the first cruel hello, which the Yankees welcomed the ships of Vichy France. In 08: 04, ships in the Casablanca harbor opened fire with the main caliber battleship and US Navy cruisers. Over the next 2,5 hours, the Massachusetts from the 22 distance 000 meters released 9 French full bursts of 9 shells and 38 bombs of 3 and 6 shells having achieved five direct hits at Jean Bar.
The meeting with a supersonic 1226 kg alloy steel bar did not bode well. The greatest consequences could have been the hit of a shell that pierced the deck in the aft part of the battleship and broke out in the cellar of the towers of medium caliber (fortunately for the French - empty). Damage from the remaining four hits can be classified as moderate.
A piece of armor-piercing projectile trapped in "Jean Bar"
One of the shells pierced through part of the pipe and superstructure, and exploded outside, causing fragmental damage to the side. Closer to 9 in the morning, the ship shuddered from two direct hits on the barbets of the GK towers. The fifth projectile struck again in the stern, in a place already damaged by a bomb. Also, there are discrepancies about the two close breaks: the French claim that there was a direct hit on the armor belt and the battleship's bulb.
Due to the strong smoke of the harbor, “Jean Bar” managed to give only 4 salvo in response, after which the adjustment of the fire was impossible.
Having shot the still unfinished battleship, the Yankees considered the task accomplished, and retreated in full swing towards the open sea. However, already by six in the evening of the same day, “Jean Bar” restored combat capability. The next day, his universal artillery fired 250 shells at the oncoming Anglo-American forces, but the main caliber was not used to not reveal all the trump cards to the end.
On November 10 the American heavy cruiser Augusta arrogantly approached Casablanca. At that moment, “Jean Bar” launched a sighting volley from 380 mm guns. The Yankees flew off in terror in horror, radiograms of a giant awakened giant rushed to the open air. The payback was brutal: three hours later, the Dontsessy attacked the French battleship from the Ranger aircraft carrier, achieving two hits from the 1000-fnl. bombs.
In total, as a result of artillery shelling and air strikes, Jean Bar suffered heavy injuries, lost most of its electricity, received 4500 tons of water and sat astern on the ground. The crew’s irretrievable loss was 22 man (among the sailors aboard the 700). Great booking until the end fulfilled its purpose. For comparison - on board of the light cruiser Primog, which was nearby, 90 people died.
Speaking about the damage of "Jean Bar", it is worth taking into account that the ship was unfinished, many of its compartments were unsealed. The only turbogenerator turned out to be damaged - the power supply was carried out using emergency diesel generators. On board the ship was abbreviated crew. And nevertheless, the fixed battleship turned out to be a "tough nut to crack" and coolly ruffled the nerves of the allies.
After the accession of the French forces in Africa to the Allies, "Jean Bar" was removed from the ground and prepared to be sent under its own power for repair in the United States. However, unlike his head "Richelieu", "Jean Baru" required extensive refurbishment with the manufacture of the missing main caliber tower. The problem was complicated by the lack of drawings of the mechanisms of the tower and the complexity with the transition to the metric system of measures and weights. The process was delayed, as a result, the work on the restoration of "Jean Bara" started on its own only after the war.
They considered bold projects for converting the Jean Bara into an aircraft carrier or an exotic "air defense battleship" with the installation of 34 paired universal five-inch guns and 80 Bofors anti-aircraft guns. As a result of all the discussions, the designers returned with the simplest, cheapest and most obvious option. Completion of the battleship according to the original project with the introduction of the latest achievements in the field of automation and radio engineering.
The updated battleship returned to service in April 1950. Over the following years, "Jean Bar" was used as the flagship of the Mediterranean fleet of the French Navy. The ship made many visits to European ports, made a visit to the United States. The last time Jean Bar was in a combat zone in 1956, during the Suez crisis. In the case of the stubbornness of the Egyptian leadership, the French command planned to use the guns of the battleship for the bombing of Egyptian cities.
In the period from 1961 to 1969, the year Jean Bar was used as a training ship at an artillery school in Toulon. In January 1970, the last of the French battleships was finally excluded from the fleet and put up for sale. In the summer of the same year, he was towed to La Diet for disassembly into metal.
Veteran rests on the laurels of glory on the French Riviera
According to the materials of the monograph "French LC" Richelieu "and" Jean Bar "" Sergei Suligi.