Short history and operational service
The battleship Richelieu was, together with her sister ship Jean Bart (that entered in service several years after the end of 2nd W.W. indeed), the best battleship ever produced by the French military naval industry during the war period.
Her distinctive features were derived from the Dunkerque class battleships, of which she has the same main armament arrangement and general design; but she was dramatically improved as to the older sisters, with her main 380 mm. guns (instead of 330 mm. of the Dunkerque class), thicker armoured belt and new solutions for her general arrangements; in short, she was recognized to have a very good seaworthiness and protection.
The Richelieu was commissioned in 1940 and represented the French “alter ego” to the German battleships Bismarck and Tirpitz and to the Italian Vittorio Veneto class, which she hypothetically would have to face (but she never did).
One of her most distinctive feature, was the concentration of the two 380 mm. quadruple gun turrets forward the main tower (like the older British battleships HMS Rodney and HMS Nelson, with the difference of their three 406 mm. triple gun turrets indeed), while the secondary batteries of 152 mm. were arranged in three triple turrets, near the stern.
But the most distinctive feature was, with no doubt, the funnel, that was incorporated to the second tower and represented one of the first examples, if not the first, of this kind of naval construction.
As concerned for her operational life, the Richelieu had not a good start. In 1940, she was damaged by the hits of the 380 mm. guns of the British battleships HMS Barham and HMS Resolution, while she was at anchor, still incomplete, in Dakar harbour.
In 1942, when the Free France Navy drew up her ships together with allied ships against the Axis forces, the Richelieu was sent to the United States, where she would have been submitted to a general refit that would have completely changed the a.a. guns and radar apparatus, up to dating her to the new naval technologies and weapons.
At the end of the refit, in September 1943, the battleship leaved the U.S. for Europe and joined the Home Fleet at Scapa Flow, ready to fight the German warships on the North Atlantic and North Sea.
In 1944, she was sent to the Far East, where she joined the allied forces that fought against the Imperial Japanese Navy, and she participated to the war actions against Surabaya, Sabang and Andaman Islands.
She was decommissioned in 1959, after a twenty years operational service; in 1968 she was sold and scrapped in La Spezia (Italy).
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in nannu pec