Tag Archives: Jean Bart

Big Water Flattop

Continuing in the same vein of pre-WWII American carriers that made it to the post-war (see yesterday’s post on Enterprise), flashing back some 75 years ago today, I give you the USS Ranger CV-4 in the Mississippi River, coming into view of New Orleans. 

Ranger, who we have talked about extensively on a past Warship Wednesday, only earned two battle stars for her wartime service, which was spent in the Atlantic as she was deemed too slight to fight it out with the Empire of Japan, only finally being sent to the Pacific in July 1945. Nonetheless, she struck blows against the Vichy French and Germans spread out from Morocco to Norway.

As detailed by DANFS, the end of her career was a postscript.

Departing San Diego 30 September 1945, Ranger embarked civilian and military passengers at Balboa and then steamed for New Orleans, arriving 18 October. Following Navy Day celebrations there, she sailed 30 October for brief operations at Pensacola [it was thought she would be a training carrier there but was found to be in poor condition and the job was instead handed over to USS Saipan (CVL-28) then later USS Monterey (CVL-26)].

After calling at Norfolk, she entered the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard 18 November for overhaul. She remained on the eastern seaboard until decommissioned at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard 18 October 1946. Struck from the Navy list 29 October 1946, she was sold for scrap to Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Chester, Pa., 28 January 1947.

Warship Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020: Avalanche, Darby, Husky & Fritz

Here at LSOZI, we take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1833-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places. – Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020: Avalanche, Darby, Husky & Fritz

NH 108686

Here we see a great bow-on view of the Brooklyn-class light cruiser USS Savannah (CL-42) in 1938, likely on her visit to her namesake East Coast Georgia city.

The nine Brooklyns, all ordered in 1933, was an improvement on the preceding New Orleans class with a London Naval Treaty-compliant 10,000-ton (listed) displacement. In true cruise fashion, while the armor was thin (just 2-inches on most of the belt), they were fast at 32+ knots and had one of the strongest gun armament of their type in the world. This was centered around fifteen (15) 6″/47 (15.2 cm) Mark 16 guns in five three-gun turrets capable of a 60-degree elevation.

Empty shell cases litter the deck near the forward 6-inch/47-caliber gun turrets of USS Brooklyn (CL-40) after she had bombarded Licata, Sicily, during the early hours of the invasion, 10 July 1943. (80-G-42522).

Each of these could lift a 130-pound super heavy AP shell or a 105 HC shell to a maximum of 26,000 yards. Further, they could be loaded extremely fast, an average of 8-to-10 shells a minute per gun. During gunnery trials in March 1939, USS Savannah (CL-42) fired 138 6-inch rounds in one furious minute.

As with the rest of her class, she had extensive aviation facilities, actually greater than that of a small seaplane tender. This included a large hangar, two stern catapults, and the ability to carry as many as six single-engine floatplanes with two more stored on deck. Larger flying boats, while they could not be accommodated onboard, could be fueled alongside.

SOC-3 Seagull aircraft stripped for maintenance in the hangar of light cruiser Savannah, 1938; note the close up of the Pratt and Whitney R-1340 9-cylinder radial engine and caster tracks to roll the planes out of the hangar on its truck and on deck for launch NH 85630

A stern shot of Savannah in 1938, showing her cats and two Seagulls on deck. NH 108693

Laid down 31 May 1934 at New York Shipbuilding in Camden, New Jersey, Savannah was the fourth on the Naval List since 1799, the most important of which was the Brandywine-class frigate that helped captured California from Mexico and go on to bag several Rebel blockade runners in the Civil War. She was commissioned 10 March 1938.

Her peacetime service was spent in a series of memory-making cruises including visiting her hometown, ranging to England, visiting the Caribbean, and clocking in with the Pacific Fleet, taking part in Fleet Problems XX and XXI.

Savannah in Savannah, 1938, passing City Hall. NH 108687

At Savannah Georgia passing to turning slip April 14, 1939. NH 108694

USS Savannah (CL-42) entering Havana Harbor, Cuba, during her shakedown cruise, 20 May 1938. Note her signal flags, displaying the call letters NAQL. Courtesy of Louis A. Davidson, 1977. NH 85625

As part of the Atlantic Fleet, once the balloon went up in Europe, Savannah was detailed to FDR’s Neutrality Patrol as CruDiv 8’s flagship.

Then came war

On December 7, 1941, she was at anchor in New York Harbor and quickly made ready for a real-life shooting war.

Spending most of 1942 screening the carrier USS Ranger (CV-4) in the Atlantic, she ranged as far south as Brazil and as far north as iceberg alley, cruising through U-boat infested waters. That October, she joined Adm. Hewitt’s Western Naval Task Force, part of the Operation Torch landings in Vichy French Morocco.

U.S. troops aboard a landing craft head for the beaches during Operation Torch of the North African Campaign Oran, Algeria. 8 November 1942. Imperial War Museum photo. Hudson, F A (Lt), Royal Navy official photographer

On 8 November 1942, she covered the landing beaches for elements of Lucian K. Truscott’s 9th Infantry across Red, Red 1, Green, Blue, and Yellow Beaches while the planes of her old companion, Ranger, flew top cover. Her guns fired for the first time in anger, silencing several Vichy batteries near the old masonry fortress at Kasba, the latter of which was held by French Foreign Legionnaires.

In all, Savannah fired 1,196 6-inch and 406 5-inch shells by nightfall. The next day, she added another 892 6- and 236 5-inchers to that tally, helping to stop a column of Renault R35 light tanks and work over additional French batteries in support of Truscott’s move inland.

Her humble Seagulls also got in some kills– with the unusual tactic of dropping depth charges on land targets.

Per DANFS:

During that same day, Savannah’s scout planes set a new style in warfare by successfully bombing tank columns with depth charges, whose fuses had been altered to detonate on impact. The scout planes, maintaining eight hours of flying time daily, struck at other shore targets, and also kept up antisubmarine patrol. One of Savannah’s planes located an enemy 75-millimeter battery which had been firing on Dallas and eliminated it with two well-placed depth charges. The cruiser added to the carnage when one of her 5-inch salvoes touched off a nearby ammunition dump.

Following the French capitulation, she returned to Norfolk, in the same train as the battleship Texas and other cruisers, at the end of November. She was soon assigned to Task Group 23.1 (Cruiser Division Two), with a duty to prowl South American waters for German blockade runners and commerce raiders.

On 10 March 1943, while on patrol with the destroyer USS Eberle (DD-430), she came across the armed Dutch freighter Kota Tjandi, which had been captured by the German Hilfskreuzer (auxiliary cruiser) Komet manned by a prize crew who had hopes of sailing her past the blockade to the Fatherland with her valuable cargo of 4,000 tons of tin and rubber. After firing shots across her bow and one of her Seagulls stitched up the sea in front of the blockade runner with a machine gun blast, a boarding crew moved to take control of the vessel but the Germans were too quick and sank her with scuttling charges.

German blockade runner MV Karin (Dutch freighter Kota Tjandi) aflame from fires, set by her crew before they abandoned ship, after being stopped in the South Atlantic by two units of the United States Fourth Fleet—the light cruiser USS Savannah (CL-42) and the destroyer Eberle (DD-430). A short time later, delayed-detonation scuttling charges exploded, killing all but three members of a boarding party from the Eberle attempting to salvage the vessel. The painting is by Richard DE Rosset via http://www.davidbruhn.com/

Savannah took on board the 75 German survivors, a mix of navy and merchant mariners, and their captors searched and placed the POWs under guard below decks, landing them in the U.S. on 28 March. She also reportedly picked up floating stores to include “Japanese rice beer, French champagne, canned salmon and sardines, oranges, bread still warm from the oven, and women’s shoes with Hong Kong labels.” Brazilian fishermen also recovered tons of rubber bales from the sea.

In May, she departed New York for Oran, escorting a troop convoy of Patton’s 7th Army to the Med. There was more work to be done.

USS Savannah (CL-42) off New York City, with a barge and tug alongside, 1 May 1943. Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives. Catalog #: 19-N-44025

Then came a trip to Sicily.

Operation Husky

The invasion of Sicily, code-named Operation Husky kicked off on the night of 9 July and Savannah played a pivotal role in the landings.

Lt. Col. William Orlando Darby, head and founder of the 1st Ranger Battalion, led his men ashore at Gela, fighting across the beach, through Italian coast defenses and withstood two days of counterattacks against German armor in the streets of the sea town, then captured the incredibly tough strategic nut that was the fortress town of Butera in a night attack at the top of a 4,000-foot hill. The very definition of light infantry, the largest ordnance Darby stormed ashore with was a single 37mm anti-tank gun, this meant that his fire support depended on the Navy, which had detailed Savannah to back him up.

In the official Army history of the Rangers in Italy, the CMH notes dryly that, “For all the courage of individual Rangers, naval gunfire support proved decisive in holding the town.”

As detailed in an interesting 185-page paper at the Joint Forces Staff College on the subject of Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS) capabilities, past, present and future– penned by an Army colonel– Darby’s experiences ashore under Savannah’s 15 6-inch guns is detailed in the Ranger daddy’s own words:

We were in a very desperate situation…we just couldn’t move. They had a tremendous amount of small arms fire and they had a very well dug-in and well-built position –concrete emplacements, pillboxes, and all. I had this little lieutenant of Artillery with me, who had all the naval gunfire of the Savannah at his control, and I decided to put him to use. I had one of my men who was in position on top of the hill up here and who could see the gun batteries that were firing on us, some five 149 and 150 howitzer batteries that were blazing away. I never realized naval gunfire could be so accurate. We started firing with Savannah and before we finished… forced five batteries to stop shooting. We examined those gun positions and in every battery position, we found at least one gun with a direct hit and at least one stack of ammunition blown in each place…

Before I took Butera she was giving fire support to me – and accurate fire support – at a range of 22,000 yards, which I think is something for people to remember. Naval gunfire support with ground observation and good communications is just like anybody else’s artillery: It is good. As a matter of fact, it is awfully fine artillery because when you say, “fire for effect”, you have 45 rounds of 6-inch shells in one minute. They have 15 guns and fire about three rounds a minute.

According to Savannah’s logs, she fired about 1,890 rounds of 6″/47 HC Mk.34 projectiles in 97 hours supporting the Rangers and other troops ashore, about two-thirds of her magazines.

In an attempt to coordinate the fire ashore, her AV det suffered greatly at the hands of German fighters, her lumbering Seagull observation biplanes– with a top speed of 143 knots and a self-defense armament of just two .30-caliber guns– were no match for pairs of Messerschmitt Bf 109s. Three of four were splashed on their first sortie.

Via NARA

Heading back to Algiers to replenish her magazines, it was there that she found herself amid a maritime disaster.

DANFS-

While Norwegian cargo ship Bjørkhaug loaded Italian landmines in the harbor of Algiers on 16 July 1943, one of the mines exploded. The blast effectively destroyed the ship, and inflicted hundreds of casualties on people in the area. The flames threatened British cargo ship Fort Confidence, which carried a load of oil, and Dutch tug Hudson bravely took her in tow out to sea, where the crew beached her to prevent further loss. Savannah stood by to render assistance during the fiery ordeal.

Savannah stands by to render assistance as vessels burn after Norwegian cargo ship Bjørkhaug explodes in Algiers harbor, 16 July 1943. 80-G-K-3965

After rearming, it was off to Italy itself.

Operation Avalanche

Operation Avalanche, the Allied landings near the key port of Salerno on Italy’s boot, kicked off on 9 September 1943. Savannah was the first ship to open fire against the German shore defenses in Salerno Bay, providing fire support for the U.S. 5th Army until the 11th, when her world was rocked.

That morning at about 10:00 local, a Dornier Do 217K-2 bomber of III./KG 100 landed a 3,000-pound Ruhrstahl X-1 precision-guided, armor-piercing bomb on Savannah. The early smart bomb, known to the Allies as the Fritz X, hit the top of the ship’s number three 6/47 gun turret and penetrated deep into her hull before its 710-pound amatol warhead exploded.

USS Savannah (CL-42) is hit by a German radio-controlled bomb, while supporting Allied forces ashore during the Salerno operation, 11 September 1943. The photograph shows the explosion venting through the top of the turret and also through Savannah’s hull below the waterline. A motor torpedo boat (PT) is passing by in the foreground. Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation. Collection of Admiral H. Kent Hewett, USN. NH 95562

USS Savannah (CL-42) afire immediately after she was hit by a German guided bomb during the Salerno operation, 11 September 1943. Smoke is pouring from the bomb’s impact hole atop the ship’s number three 6/47 gun turret. Photograph from the Army Signal Corps Collection in the U.S. National Archives. SC 243636

The damage was crippling, blowing out the bottom of the ship’s hull, immediately flooding her magazines– which may have ironically saved the ship as it prevented them from detonating– and killed 197 of her crew. In respect to the flooding, Richard Worth, in his Fleets of World War II, observed that the lightweight “treaty cruiser” armor plan of the Brooklyns may have helped saying, “it sometimes seemed their flimsiness was a blessing.”

The detail from the ship’s war diary:

USS Savannah (CL-42) corpsmen attend casualties on the ship’s forecastle, after a German radio-controlled bomb hit her # 3 six-inch gun turret during the Salerno operation, 11 September 1943. National Archives. 80-G-54355

USS Savannah (CL 42), Struck by a German bomb, men take care of the casualties and make hasty repairs to continues to bombard shore installations of Salerno, Italy. While wounded men were given treatment, a crewman aims a stream of water down the smoking hole made by the bomb. 80-G-54357

USS Savannah (CL-42) bomb penetration hole atop her number three 6/47-gun turret, while the ship was undergoing initial repairs off Salerno, Italy. Note life rafts atop the turret, one of which has been cut in two by the bomb. Also, note the turret’s armored faceplate. The view looks forward, with number two 6/47 gun turret in the immediate background. The original photo caption, released on 2 November 1943, reads (in part): A round, clean hole marks the point of entry of a Nazi bomb on the cruiser Savannah. Inside, all was chaos, smoke, blood, and death. NH 97959

After eight hours dead in the water, Savannah was able to reignite her boilers and get up enough steam to make it to Malta under her own power, an impressive feat for a ship of any size that just took a major hit and had water inside one-sixth of her hull. Of note, German Fritz bombs on the same day sank the Italian battleship Roma, the flagship of the surrendering Italian fleet and on the16th hit the storied British battleship HMS Warspite, which had to be towed to Malta and was never fully repaired.

Over the next eight months, Savannah was extensively repaired to the point of being almost rebuilt, with new side bulges fitted and an updated 5-inch gun battery with modern fire control directors.

The USS Savannah during a day firing, May 1944. Note her newly-installed 5″/38DP mount. Truman Library 63-1398-148

5 September 1944 photo as rebuilt after FX-1400 guided bomb damage off Salerno. Hull is blistered up to the main deck and her former single 5″/25 guns have been replaced with twin 5″/38s. She is also fitted with a new bridge and new lightweight antiaircraft guns and the arrangement of those guns. The entire Brooklyn class was planned to be so modified but this was canceled at the end of the war. Via Navsource https://www.navsource.org/archives/04/042/04042.htm

Post-reconstructed USS Savannah (CL-42) photographed from a blimp of squadron ZP-11, while underway off the New England coast on 30 October 1944. NH 97956

The rest of her war was much less active, although the reconstructed cruiser to part in the escort of President Franklin D. Roosevelt to the Mediterranean in January and February 1945 on his way to the Yalta conference. She finished WWII as a school ship in the Chesapeake, carrying out weekly training cruises. After VE-Day, she was used on two Magic Carpet cruises returning GIs from France.

She also made one last stop in her “hometown.”

Starboard-bow view while steaming in the Savannah River, Savannah Georgia while attending Navy Day celebrations on or about 27 October 1945.

Entering an inactivation overhaul at the end of 1945, Savannah was placed in reserve the next year and decommissioned on 3 February 1947. She earned three battle stars for her wartime service and would never sail under her own power again. Her service lasted just shy of nine years.

Epilogue 

Some of her sisters never made it to the end of the war, with Helena (CL-50) hit by three Japanese Long Lance torpedoes in 1943 during the confused night action at the Kula Gulf. Of the eight Brooklyns that passed into mothballs after the war, six were transferred to the navies of Argentina, Chile, and Brazil in 1951 to include the class leader who, as ARA General Belgrano, was sunk by a British submarine in the Falklands in 1982.

In the end, Savannah was the last of her class the U.S. fleet, with fellow sister Honolulu (CL-48) disposed of in 1959. In the end, she was sold for $172,090 to Bethlehem Steel Co., of Bethlehem, Pa., for scrapping on 6 January 1960, and on the 25th of that month, she was removed from Navy custody.

Her 21-page war diary as well as dozens of monthly diaries and logs are digitized in the National Archives.

Savannah is well-remembered in her namesake city and many artifacts and relics are dotted around town, as are markers.

There is also an array of contemporary maritime art in circulation including paintings and postcards.

The fifth Savannah, a name surely fit for a warship, was instead issued to a fleet replenishment oiler (AOR-4) in 1970 that served for 25 years.

The sixth Savannah, an Independence-class littoral combat ship, (LCS-28) is under construction in Mobile and was recently launched. Yes, she is an LCS, but at least she is a fighting ship.

Specs:

NH 67861

NH 108696

Displacement 9,475 (designed) 12,207-tons full load 1945
Length 608
Beam 69′
Draft 19’2″
Machinery:
8 × Babcock & Wilcox boilers, 4 × Parsons geared turbines, 4 shafts 100,000shp
Speed: 32 knots
Complement 868
Armor:
Main Belt
At Machinery: 5 in
At Magazines: 2 in
Deck: 2 in
Barbettes: 6 in
Gun turret
Turret roofs: 2 in
Turret sides: 1.25 in
Turret face: 6.5 in
Conning tower: 5 in
Armament:
(1938)
15 6″/47 DP
8 5-inch/25 cal singles
8 .50-caliber water-cooled machine guns
(1945)
15 6″/47 DP
8 5″/38 caliber anti-aircraft guns in four dual mounts
28 40mm/60 Bofors in 4 quads and 6 twin mounts
12 20 mm Oerlikon singles
Aircraft: Up to 8 seaplanes, typically 4 carried. Usually Curtiss SOC Seagulls but by 1945 SC-1 Seahawks.

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SBD of Morocco

Yes, a Navy dive bomber on a dirt road in North Africa. It happened.

Below we have a U.S. Navy SBD (Scout Bomber, Douglas) Dauntless dive bomber, likely of Carrier Air Group 4’s VS-41 “Tophatters,” using a road as a makeshift runway, near Safi, Morocco, in November 1942. The historic port, about 140 nautical miles south of Casablanca, had been captured just hours before by three WWI-era U.S. Navy destroyers carrying a raiding force of light infantry in the opening moves of Operation Torch, the invasion of French North Africa.

NHHC 208-N-6070

Note special insignia used during this operation, with a wide white circle around the regular star & circle emblem, predating the Invasion Stripes of D-Day.

Developed by the famous ‎Ed Heinemann (father of the A-20 Havoc, A-26 Invader, A-1 Skyraider, A-4 Skyhawk, et al), the SBD was perhaps the most iconic carrier-borne strike plane of the war, with four squadrons of them responsible for scratching all four Japanese flattops at Midway, disabling three of them in the span of just six minutes. They also proved their mettle at the Coral Sea and in the Guadalcanal campaign with many, as evidenced above, operated from shore.

The SBD was probably from USS Ranger (CV-4) who for the Torch Landings had 18 such aircraft in VS-41. Another 18 SBDs were carried, nine each, on *two escort carriers USS Sangamon (ACV-26) and USS Santee (ACV-29). SBDs from Ranger, besides proving their worth plastering land-based targets, had also socked the French battleship Jean Bart on 10 November 1942 in Casablanca harbor with a pair of 1,000-pound bombs, finishing what the battleship USS Massachusetts had started.

VS-41 lost three aviators in North Africa– ARM George E. Biggs, Ens Charles E. Duffy, and ARM Aubra T. Patterson– and had four others shot down and captured (briefly) by the French. Founded in 1919, VS-41’s lineage is today carried by VFA-14, flying F/A-18Es.

*Two other escort carriers took part in the Torch landings but did not carry SBDs: USS Suwanee (ACV-27) with 29 F4F Wildcats and nine TBFs, and USS Chenango (ACV-28) carrying a load of 76 Army P-40Fs on a one-way trip.

More on Torch’s naval actions here.

Volunteering to clean some of the largest guns in New England

The 16″/45cal guns on the USS Massachusetts were used to plaster enemy ships and troops during World War II but are in need of some attention to last another 75 years.

Decommissioned in 1947, she has been on display at Battleship Cove in Fall River, Massachusetts, since 1965 and an all volunteer group from the museum has spend a good deal of time cleaning the accumulated rust and layers of paint off one of her nine 16-inchers, bringing it down to the bare metal for the first time in some 75 years, then priming and painting the tube to protect it from the harsh Massachusetts weather and salt air.

11 Volunteering to clean some of the largest guns in New England (10) 12 Volunteering to clean some of the largest guns in New England (11) 7 Volunteering to clean some of the largest guns in New England (3) 6 Volunteering to clean some of the largest guns in New England (4)

More in my column at Guns.com

Warship Wednesday April 6, 2016: The evolutionary link of Casablanca

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1859-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all of their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places. – Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday April 6, 2016: The evolutionary link of Casablanca

Naval Aviation Museum Accession Number 1996.488.013.011.

Naval Aviation Museum Accession Number 1996.488.013.011.

Here we see the unique aircraft carrier, the first of its kind produced from the keel up for the U.S. Navy, USS Ranger (CV-4) as she lies at anchor in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. 1939.

Although one of just seven carriers in the fleet when World War II broke out, her service was far different from the other six flattops who slugged it out with the Japanese from the Coral Sea to Tokyo Bay.

While the Navy’s “covered wagon” USS Langley (CV-1) was converted from a collier in 1922, and the follow-on Lexington and Saratoga were converted from incomplete battlecruisers in 1927, Ranger was the first carrier for the fleet designed from the onset to be one.

Larger than the Langley and smaller than the Lexingtons, the 769-foot one-off ship could make 29 knots, cruise for 10,000 nautical miles at half that, had three elevators, and carry as many as 86 aircraft as designed. Importantly, she also carried a relatively heavy AAA armament for her day (40 .50-cal machine guns). Best of all, at just 17,000-tons she sipped at the allowable tonnage under the Washington Naval Treaty.

Designed in the late 1920s, Ranger was ordered in 1930 from Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co in Virginia and laid down 26 September 1931.

There were over a half-dozen prior Rangers in the Navy dating back to John Paul Jones’ 18-gun sloop built in 1777.

RangerVsDrakeIn a rare case of extreme overlap, two different Rangers were active on the Navy List in WWI (SP-237 and SP-369) while two different Lexington-class battlecruisers (irony!) of the same era were at one time or another to carry the moniker.

Commissioned 4 June 1934, the subject of our tale had a very clean look to her, though was very different from John Paul Jones’ vessel.

At Norfolk Naval base, Virginia, on 7 June 1934 just three days after joining the fleet, she would land her first plane in two weeks. Photographed from a USAAC plane. Description: NHHC Catalog #: NH 93546

At Norfolk Naval base, Virginia, on 7 June 1934 just three days after joining the fleet, she would land her first plane in two weeks. Photographed from a USAAC plane. Description: NHHC Catalog #: NH 93546

First landing on the USS Ranger. Lt Cmdr. A. C. Davis, pilot, H. E. Wallace, ACMM, passenger. June 21, 1934

First landing on the USS Ranger. Lt Cmdr. A. C. Davis, pilot, H. E. Wallace, ACMM, passenger. June 21, 1934

One of the reasons a 17,000-ton ship could carry over 80 aircraft was due to a unique outrigger system that allowed deck parking with a minimum of space. (No folding wings back then).

picture30

Ranger embarked the brand-new Air Group Four consisting of VT-4, VB-4, and VF-4, stood up specifically for the ship. She soon set off for the Pacific and spent almost the entire prewar period in those warm waters.

Well, not always warm…

In early 1936 Ranger and her aircrew, which included Coast Guard aviators at the time, conducted the first-ever carrier cold weather test trials in Alaska waters, proving the concept.

View taken 6 February 1936 showing members of the "Cold weather Test Detachment" that had been embarked for special operations in Alaskan Waters. (The Detachment had been formed 25 November 1935, and was disbanded 25 February 1936) NHHC Catalog #: 80-CF-8005-3

View taken 6 February 1936 showing members of the “Cold weather Test Detachment” that had been embarked for special operations in Alaskan Waters. (The Detachment had been formed 25 November 1935, and was disbanded 25 February 1936) NHHC Catalog #: 80-CF-8005-3

Then followed more normal peacetime service.

Pacific flattops, front to back, the carriers Ranger (CV-4), Lexington (CV-2), and Saratoga (CV-3) pictured at anchor off Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii. 4 August 1936

All of the the Navy’s flattops, front to back, the carriers Ranger (CV-4), Lexington (CV-2), and Saratoga (CV-3) pictured at anchor off Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii. 4 August 1936. Langley by this time was being converted to a seaplane tender and Yorktown CV-5, would not commission until 30 September 1937. Also, the Ranger, front, is deceptively large due to perspective. Lex and Sara went well over 40,000 tons

The aircraft carrier Ranger (CV-4) lies at anchor near Hawaii in 1937. Naval Aviation Museum Accession Number 1996.488.013.005

The aircraft carrier Ranger (CV-4) lies at anchor near Hawaii in 1937. Naval Aviation Museum Accession Number 1996.488.013.005

The USS Ranger (CV-4) is moored at North Island, California with aircraft on her deck. 03/14/1938. Naval Aviation Museum Accession Number 1996.488.013.010.

The USS Ranger (CV-4) is moored at North Island, California with aircraft on her deck. 03/14/1938. Naval Aviation Museum Accession Number 1996.488.013.010.

USS Ranger CV-4 off Honolulu, Hawaii during Fleet Problem XIX, 8 April 1938

USS Ranger CV-4 off Honolulu, Hawaii during Fleet Problem XIX, 8 April 1938

Underway at sea during the latter 1930s. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. NHC Catalog #: 80-G-428440

Underway at sea during the latter 1930s. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. NHC Catalog #: 80-G-428440

USS Ranger 1939 via Postales Navales

However, with the war drums beating in far-off Europe, and the new Yorktown-class carriers taking her place in the Pac, Ranger chopped to the Atlantic Fleet in 1939. Once the war popped off, she began armed Neutrality Patrol operations in the North Atlantic.

The USS Ranger (CV-4) lies at anchor with aircraft neatly aligned on her deck. 1940. Naval Aviation Museum Accession Number 1996.488.013.013.

The USS Ranger (CV-4) lies at anchor with aircraft neatly aligned on her deck. 1940. Naval Aviation Museum Accession Number 1996.488.013.013.

Flight deck operations, 19 November 1941, showing Vought SB2U "Vindicators" of VS-41 and VS-42 getting ready for a patrol flight, and a Grumman F4F-3 "Wildcat" of VF-41 (right). Note marking schemes in use on planes, white codes, crew of plane in foreground in cold weather gear. Description: NHC Catalog #: 80-G-391590

Flight deck operations, 19 November 1941, showing Vought SB2U “Vindicators” of VS-41 and VS-42 getting ready for a patrol flight, and a Grumman F4F-3 “Wildcat” of VF-41 (right). Note marking schemes in use on planes, white codes, crew of plane in foreground in cold weather gear. Description: NHC Catalog #: 80-G-391590

After Pear Harbor, she was one of the first ships to pick up a borderline experimental RCA CXAM-1 radar, able to detect single aircraft at 50 miles and to detect large ships at 14 miles. Conducting sea patrols in the Atlantic, she also ferried Army P-40 Warhawks to Africa for transshipment to the American Volunteer Group Flying Tigers fighting the Japanese in the Far East.

Curtis P-40F Warhawks taking off from the USS Ranger in the North Africa theater. They were not carrier-based but were transported to North Africa on carriers and subsequently took off from the carriers to reach their assigned bases

Loading 50-caliber machine gun of Army P40-F aboard the USS Ranger while in route to North Africa. January 17, 1943. In all she would ship 215 P-40s and 70 P-38s to Africa in four separate trips for the Army between April 1942 and April 1944

Loading 50-caliber machine gun of Army P40-F aboard the USS Ranger while in route to North Africa. January 17, 1943. In all she would ship 215 P-40s and 70 P-38s to Africa in four separate trips for the Army between April 1942 and April 1944

Douglas SBD Dauntless scout bomber Goes around for another landing attempt, after being waved off by the Landing Signal Officer on USS Ranger (CV-4), circa June 1942. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. NHHC Catalog #: 80-G-K-741

Douglas SBD Dauntless scout bomber Goes around for another landing attempt, after being waved off by the Landing Signal Officer on USS Ranger (CV-4), circa June 1942. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. NHHC Catalog #: 80-G-K-741

Aircraft carrier USS Ranger CV-4 making a tight turn to port, 1941.

Aircraft carrier USS Ranger CV-4 making a tight turn to port, 1942.

Underway in Hampton Roads, Virginia, 18 August 1942. Note partially lowered after elevator and flight deck identification letters R N G R still visible just ahead of the ramp. Also note that her stacks have been lowered. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. NHC Catalog #: 80-G-10786

Underway in Hampton Roads, Virginia, 18 August 1942. Note partially lowered after elevator and flight deck identification letters R N G R still visible just ahead of the ramp. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. NHC Catalog #: 80-G-10786

Setting sail for North Africa, she was the center of the Allied air fleet covering the Torch Landings in November 1942, accompanied by four new Sangamon-class escort carriers (which were technically heavier than Ranger at over 22,000-tons, though with a much smaller flight deck and hangar).

North Africa Operation, November 1942 - testing machine guns of Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat fighters aboard USS Ranger (CV 4), while en route from the U.S. to North African waters, circa early November 1942. Note the special markings used during this operation, with a yellow ring painted around the national insignia on aircraft fuselages. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Catalog #: 80-G-30362

North Africa Operation, November 1942 – testing machine guns of Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat fighters aboard USS Ranger (CV 4), while en route from the U.S. to North African waters, circa early November 1942. Note the special markings used during this operation, with a yellow ring painted around the national insignia on aircraft fuselages. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. Catalog #: 80-G-30362

A Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat fighter taking off from USS Ranger (CV-4) to attack targets ashore during the invasion of Morocco, circa 8 November 1942. Note: Army observation planes in the left middle distance; Loudspeakers and distinctive CXAM radar antenna on Ranger's mast. Her group at the time consisted of 72 operational planes (1 CRAG, 17 VS-41, 26 VF-9, and 28 VF-41) Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. NHC Catalog #: 80-G-30244

A Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat fighter taking off from USS Ranger (CV-4) to attack targets ashore during the invasion of Morocco, circa 8 November 1942. Note: Army observation planes in the left middle distance; Loudspeakers and distinctive CXAM radar antenna on Ranger’s mast. Her group at the time consisted of 72 operational planes (1 CRAG, 17 VS-41, 26 VF-9, and 28 VF-41) Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. NHC Catalog #: 80-G-30244

Conducting almost 500 combat sorties in 72 hours, Ranger‘s aircraft destroyed at least 28 Vichy French planes on the ground in strikes on the Rabat and Rabat-Sale aerodromes, wiped out over 100 military vehicles, strafed four French destroyers at Casablanca, plastered the Richelieu-class battleship Jean Bart, bombed the destroyer Albatross, and severely damaged the Duguay-class light cruiser Primauguet.

The French battleship Jean Bart, photographed by USN Photographers Mate Third Class Bill Wade from an airplane of the USS Ranger, Nov 8 1942

The French battleship Jean Bart, photographed by USN Photographers Mate Third Class Bill Wade from an airplane of the USS Ranger, Nov 8 1942

Jean Bart French battleship at Casablanca 1942 via All Hands 1943

Ranger lost 16 planes in the Torch operation and cost the lives of ten airmen.

Her next solid combat was in a raid in occupied Norwegian waters in 1943. Attacking the Bodo roadstead, SBD dive-bombers escorted by Wildcats sank four steamers and logged hits on the 8,000-ton freighter LaPlata and a 10,000-ton oiler.

Aircraft attack on enemy shipping, Bodo Harbor, Norway, showing direct hit amidships on 5000 GT M/V, 4 October 1943. NHC Catalog #: NH 84270

Aircraft attack on enemy shipping, Bodo Harbor, Norway, showing direct hit amidships on 5000 GT M/V, 4 October 1943. NHC Catalog #: NH 84270

Aircraft attack on enemy shipping, Bodo Harbor, Norway, showing SAAR under attack, 4 October 1943. NHHC Catalog #: NH 84271

Aircraft attack on enemy shipping, Bodo Harbor, Norway, showing SAAR under attack, 4 October 1943. NHHC Catalog #: NH 84271

With newer, faster, better armored, and larger fleet carriers joining the fleet, Ranger had by 1944 become more than just somewhat obsolescent and was converted to a training carrier.

An aerial view of the USS Ranger (CV-4) as she lies at anchor with crewmembers lining her deck. 1944. Naval Aviation Museum Accession Number 1996.488.013.024

An aerial view of the USS Ranger (CV-4) as she lies at anchor with crewmembers lining her deck. 1944. Note the 40mm mount on her bow. Naval Aviation Museum Accession Number 1996.488.013.024

She picked up a camo scheme, landed her old 5″/25s and puny .50 cals, replaced them with 40mm and 20mm AAA guns, had catapults installed, and got to the business of qualifying naval aviators.

Photographed from a Naval Air Station, Hampton Roads, Virginia, aircraft on 6 July 1944. Note her camouflage paint scheme. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. NHC Catalog #: 80-G-236719

Photographed from a Naval Air Station, Hampton Roads, Virginia, aircraft on 6 July 1944. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. NHC Catalog #: 80-G-236719

Sailing for the Pacific, she arrived in Hawaiian waters in August 1944 and quickly began carrier qualification cruises, concentrating on Navy and Marine night fighter squadrons, securing 35,784 landings by the end of the war.

View from a Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat as it approaches the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CV-4) in 1944-45, when Ranger was used as a training carrier.

View from a Grumman F6F-5 Hellcat as it approaches the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CV-4) in 1944-45, when Ranger was used as a training carrier.

Totally obsolete in a fleet of new Essex-class vessels, she was used in Pensacola for a while then was decommissioned at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard on 18 October 1946. She won two battlestars for her wartime service.

Winging over the water, three Navy Curtiss Helldivers provide speedy and deadly air protection for the USS Ranger (CV-4) sun-gilded as it moves through the Pacific on a war mission. April 12th, 1945

Ranger was sold for $259,000 in scrap metal pricing on 31 January 1947 and subsequently broken up.

She minted brass on an unparalleled scale, with all ten of her skippers between 4 June 1934 and 1 May 1946 going on to become admirals including ADM. John Sidney (“Mac”) McCain Sr. His grandson is the current senator from Arizona.

Ranger had lots of “onlys” in the fact that she was the only pre-war US carrier to have never engaged Japanese forces in battle (even Langley was sunk by the Combined Fleet), the only U.S. carrier to perform flight operations above the Arctic Circle (during Operation Leader off the coast of Norway) during WWII, the only carrier not to receive a Unit Citation for her performance in Operation Torch (the four escort carriers which accomplished less all received one), the only carrier whose airgroup used green painted tail assemblies, and was the first U.S. fleet carrier to be scrapped.

Her bell is preserved in Pensacola, the cradle of Naval Aviation, and her builder’s plate is at the Hampton Roads Naval Museum.

Ship's Bell, on display outside of the National Naval Aviation Museum, Pensacola, Florida. Photos taken on 13 June 2008. Via Navsource.

Ship’s Bell, on display outside of the National Naval Aviation Museum, Pensacola, Florida. Photos taken on 13 June 2008. Via Navsource.

47-040-B

The Forrestal-class supercarrier (CV-61) of the same name ordered in 1954 and sold for scrap in 2014 maintained her legacy.

A vibrant veteran’s group, which celebrates the armada of past Rangers, is very active.

Specs:

020424
Displacement: 14,576 tons standard; 17,577 tons full load
Dimensions (wl): 730′ x 80′ x 22′ 4.875″ (full load)
Dimensions (max.): 769′ x 109.5′
Armor: 2″ (sides and bulkheads)-1″ (top) over steering gear
Power plant: 6 boilers; steam turbines; 2 shafts; 53,500 shp
Speed: 29.25 knots
Endurance (design): 10,000 nautical miles @ 15 knots
Armament: 8 single 5″/25 gun mounts; 40 .50-cal machine guns (1934)
24 40 mm (6x quad mounts); 46 20mm single mounts (1943)
Aircraft: 86
Aviation facilities: 3 elevators; no catapult
Crew: 2,148 (ship’s company + air wing) (1941 figure)

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Warship Wednesday, April 15, 2015: Big Jean and the Boston Brawler

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1859-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places. – Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday, April 15, 2015: Big Jean

Here we see the Richelieu-class battleship of the French Republic’s Marine Nationale Jean Bart racing forward on speed trials in 1949. Her distinctive all-forward main battery of eight 15-inch guns in twin quad turrets is very apparent.

France rather tried to distance themselves from the modern dreadnought game after the end of World War I, figuring that with the destruction of the Austrian battleships in the Med, and the Kaiser’s battleships at Scapa Flow in 1920; all was well in the world. Then came Hitler and his rebuilding of the German Navy to include the Deutschland class pocket battleships while Mussolini came to power in Italy and the new fascist government there building their very modern 40,000-ton Littorio-class battleships. As an answer to the first, the Republic ordered two 25,000-ton Dunkerque-class battleships in the early 1930s and as an answer to the latter (as well as the pair of German 38,000-ton Scharnhorst-class battleships laid down in 1935), the French ordered a quartet of massive new warships– the Richelieu‘s.

Class leader Richelieu

Class leader Richelieu in a beautiful color portrait. Click to big up

With a standard displacement of 35,000-tons to comply with the Washington and London Naval treaties (although this would balloon to nearly 50,000 when fully loaded), these 813-foot long beasts were among the largest battleships ever built and remain the largest French warships ever to put to sea. Even today, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (R91), the flagship of the French Navy and largest European warship afloat, only maxes out at 42,000-tons.

Unlike many battlewagons before them, these were fast battleships, capable of breaking 30-knots if needed due to a quartet of Parsons geared turbines that generated more than 150,000 shp. With long legs, these ships were capable of a 10,000-mile cruise at 16-knots, enabling them to travel to far off Pacific territories such as Indochina if needed (more on this later).

Designed to be able to take German 28 cm/54.5 (11 inch) SK C/34 fire as well as that from Italian 381 mm (15.0 in) L/50 guns, these leviathans were girded in as much as 17-inches of armor plate and mounted eight 15-inch 380mm/45 Modèle 1935 guns, the largest caliber naval gun ever fielded in French service. They could fire a 1950-pound diving shell to a range of 45,600 yds. The secondary armament of 9x152mm guns in three triple turrets over the stern could handle light work.

Those are pretty impressive turrets

Those are pretty impressive turrets

Laid down at Chantiers de Penhoët, Saint-Nazaire on 12 December 1936, the second ship of the Richelieu-class was named Jean Bart after a notorious pirate privateer and naval commander.

This Flemish swashbuckler from Dunkirk, who spelled his name “Jan Baert,” was much man, at over 6 ft. 8” and topping some 400-pounds. This size didn’t stop big Jan/Jean, who cut his teeth in the Dutch Navy, from capturing an amazing 386 ships as a privateer during the late 17th Century and rising to the rank of full Admiral in the French Navy. A rather incorrect svelte statue stands to him in Dunkirk today and no less than 27 ships of the French Navy have carried his moniker, including their last completed battleship.

The French corsair

The French corsair

When World War II came, class leader, Richelieu was nearing completion at Brest while Jean Bart was still a bit further away. Only 75 percent complete and mounting just half of her big guns, she took to the sea on June 19, 1940, as Metropolitan France was surrendering to the Germans, and made a break for the French North African port of Casablanca.

The third and fourth members of the class, Clemenceau, and Gascogne were not far enough along in their construction to even be considered ships (and were never completed).

How she looked in 1940 via http://www.shipbucket.com/images.php?dir=Real%20Designs/France/BB%20Jean%20Bart%201940-2.png click to very much big up

How she looked in 1940 via shipbucket click to very much big up

Jean sat at Casablanca during the awkward Vichy French years, spending the next 29 months of the war languishing as there were no construction facilities to complete her and most of her smaller caliber guns were landed ashore to set up coast defense and AAA batteries in the city and harbor.

A view of Jean Bart’s forecastle in Casablanca Harbor, before the Allied invasion. Note the incomplete Turret II; despite its armored top not being installed, the structure is sealed. The French concreted over the otherwise-hollow structure to protect the ship against aerial bombs while she lay in harbor awaiting completion. Submarines are moored off to the left along the jetty, and what looks like a light cruiser is to the right with about half the ship out of the frame.

The French battleship Jean Bart, photographed by USN Photographers Mate Third Class Bill Wade from an airplane of the USS Ranger, Nov 8 1942

The French battleship Jean Bart, photographed by USN Photographers Mate Third Class Bill Wade from an airplane of the USS Ranger, Nov 8, 1942

Then, on Nov 8, 1942, the Allied Torch landings occurred and Jean Bart defended her colonial harbor from dockside from the 16-inch guns of the new SoDak-class battleship USS Massachusetts (BB-59) and the Dauntless dive bombers and Avenger torpedo planes of the carrier USS Ranger (CV-4) over the next three days she fired 25 shells from her one operational 15-inch turret which narrowly missed the Mass and the cruiser Augusta.

Nevertheless, with the Bart stationary, incomplete and by far outnumbered, the battle was a foregone conclusion. At least seven 16-inch shells (fired from Massachusetts from a range of over 24,000 yards) and several bombs hit her, sinking in with her decks awash.

A cartoon from the BB-59's cruise book recounting how close the Jean Bart's shells came to wrecking her day. USN photo courtesy of James E. Hesson, plank-owner of the Massachusetts (BB-59). Photo submitted in his memory by his son, Joe Hesson. Via Navsource

A cartoon from the BB-59’s cruise book recounting how close the Jean Bart’s shells came to wreck her day. USN photo courtesy of James E. Hesson, plank-owner of Massachusetts (BB-59). Photo submitted in his memory by his son, Joe Hesson. Via Navsource

It was the only time that U.S. and French battleships fought in the steel era and she gave a good account of herself for all of her handicaps.

Jean Bart French battleship at Casablanca 1942 via All Hands 1943

bomba de 454Kg en el Jean Bart, en Casablanca

The effect of a 1,000lb bomb from Ranger’s SBDs

She spent the rest of the war as a hulk in Casablanca and her four 380 mm guns were salvaged and sent to New York where they were emplaced on Richelieu who had gone over to the Free French Navy and was being refitted there.

re floated at Casablanca

refloated at Casablanca

That sistership put Bart’s guns to good use in both the European and Pacific Theaters of operation as well as in French Indochina.

Battleship Richelieu arriving in New York for refit. The fire control director on the fore tower had to be dismantled for her to pass under the Brooklyn Bridge. Note damaged turret

Battleship Richelieu arriving in New York for refit. The fire control director on the fore tower had to be dismantled for her to pass under the Brooklyn Bridge. Note damaged turret

French battleship Richelieu at sea, September 1943 after her refit in New York. Half her main guns in this image came from Jean Bart and had fired at Casablanca. Click to big up

French battleship Richelieu at sea, September 1943 after her refit in New York. Half her main guns in this image came from Jean Bart and had fired at Casablanca. Click to big up

Bow view, the French battleship Richelieu in New York Harbor on August 14, 1943. USN photo 19-LCM-51074

Finally, four months after Hitler ate a bullet, big Jean was sent back to France and work began to complete her at Cherbourg.

Incomplete French battleship Jean Bart sailing from Casablanca to Cherbourg for repairs in 1945

Incomplete French battleship Jean Bart sailing from Casablanca to Cherbourg for repairs in 1945

How she looked in 1945 with wartime repairs and no armament fitted via Ship Bucket http://www.shipbucket.com/images.php?dir=Real%20Designs/France/BB%20Jean%20Bart%201945.png click to very much big up

How she looked in 1945 with wartime repairs and no armament fitted via Ship Bucket  click to very much big up

Commissioned on 16 January 1949, she made 32-knots on her speed trials and was finally ready for sea duty– and for the first time was fully armed.

Getting her new 380mm Model 35s installed, 1948. As far as I can tell, these were the last battleship guns ever installed in a new battleship (barring the 1950s re-barreling of the Iowa class in the U.S.)

Getting her new 380mm Model 35s installed, 1948. As far as I can tell, these were the last battleship guns ever installed in a new battleship (barring the 1950s re-barreling of the Iowa class in the U.S.)

1948 off St. Nazaire, France

In the early 1950s, she sailed on many goodwill trips around Europe and to New York but was never fully manned; only carrying half-crews due to postwar funding shortfalls. She was more of a heavily armed and armored cruise ship and flag-waver than an active ship of the line.

Jean Bart alongside cruisers Suffren and Montcalm, 1950s

Jean Bart alongside cruisers Suffren and Montcalm, the 1950s

click to big up

Click to big up

In the Suez Crisis of 1956, she sailed with the joint Anglo-French fleet with an augmented near-full sized crew and provided some brief naval gunfire support, firing her big 15-inchers in anger once more, losing just four shells at the Egyptian defenses.

JEAN BART at Algiers on 1 November 1956, having embarked the élite Commando Hubert and soldiers of the 1st Parachute Regiment, Foreign Legion for Anglo-French Suez intervention

Jean Bart in true color, anchored at Toulon during the late 1950s after her brief participation in the Suez Crisis and the termination of her short service life

As a sad note, on the afternoon of 30 January 1956, she was briefly reunited with her old classmate Richelieu while at sea, the one and only time the two French ships maneuvered together underway.

Battleship Jean Bart in Harbour of Toulon 1968

Battleship Jean Bart in Harbor of Toulon 1968

Placed in reserve in 1957 after just an eight-year career, she was decommissioned soon afterward. Cantieri Navali Santa Maria of Genoa scrapped Richelieu in September 1968 while Jean Bart, the last European battleship afloat, was scrapped 24 June 1970 at Brégaillon near Toulon.

Today, at least six of Richelieu/Jean Bart‘s guns are maintained as museum pieces around France. However, you can visit the USS Massachusetts, the winner of the Great Casablanca Battlewagon Duel, at Falls River where she has been on display since 1965.

Battleship_Massachusetts,_2012 (Photo via Wiki)

Battleship_Massachusetts,_2012 (Photo via Wiki)

Specs

Jean Bart in her final form 1955 via Shipbucket http://www.shipbucket.com/images.php?dir=Real%20Designs/France/BB%20Jean%20Bart%201955.png click to very much big up

Jean Bart in her final form 1955 via Shipbucket click to very much big up

Displacement: 35,000 tons standard as designed, 48,950 t at full load, in 1949
Length: 813 feet
Beam: 114 feet
Draught: 33 feet
Propulsion: four Parsons geared turbines, six Indret boilers. 150,000 hp (112 MW)
Speed: 32 knots at trials, 20 design
Range: 9800 nautical miles at 16 knots, 7671 nautical miles at 20 knots; 3181 nautical miles at 30 knots
Complement: 1620 designed, 911 men in 1950 (incomplete), 1,280 men during the Suez affair
Armament:
As Designed:
8 × 380mm (15 inch)/45 Modèle 1935 guns in quadruple mounts at bow
9 × 152 mm (6 inch) secondary (3 × 3 mounted aft)
12 × 100 mm (3.9 inch) Anti-Aircraft guns (6 × 2)
As completed 1949
8 × 380mm/45 Modèle 1935 guns in quadruple mounts at bow
9 × 152 mm AA in 3 triple turrets at the aft till 1952–53
8 × 40 mm AA
20 × 20 mm AA
From 1953–54
Two 15-inch turrets fitted, only one operational
24 × 100 mm in 12 twin mountings CAD Model 1945
28 × 57 mm in 14 twin mountings ACAD Model 1950
Armor: Belt: 330 mm
Upper armored deck: 150–170 mm
Lower armored deck: 40 mm
Aircraft: Designed for four seaplanes, never fitted.

If you liked this column, please consider joining the International Naval Research Organization (INRO), Publishers of Warship International.

They are possibly one of the best sources of naval study, images, and fellowship you can find http://www.warship.org/

The International Naval Research Organization is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the encouragement of the study of naval vessels and their histories, principally in the era of iron and steel warships (about 1860 to date). Its purpose is to provide information and a means of contact for those interested in warships.

Nearing their 50th Anniversary, Warship International, the written tome of the INRO has published hundreds of articles, most of which are unique in their sweep and subject.

I’m a member, so should you be!