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France's Béarn aircraft carrier

Photos

Aircraft carrier Béarn:
France's Aircraft carrier Béarn
Imperial War Museum Q-48219
Aircraft carrier Béarn:
France's Aircraft carrier Béarn
Imperial War Museum Q-48221

Design

In 1922 it was decided to convert an uncompleted Normandie class battleship into an aircraft carrier.1,3 Plans for the HMS Eagle were used to help design the Béarn.3

The hull armor was reduced.3

Engines

The geared turbines drove the inner shafts and the reciprocating engines the outer shafts.3

The engine exhaust went out through the island.3

Flight Deck

There were two 50' x 50' elevators and a single 27' x 40' elevator installed in the flight deck.1 The flight deck was 51' above the waterline.3

There was a crane aft of the starboard island.3

hangar

The hangar was 405'3 / 406' 9" long.1

There were workshops and additional storage for aircraft under the hangar deck.1

Ships

Béarn

  • Converted from Normandie.1
  • Manufacturer: F C de la Méditerranée at La Seyne1, F Ch de la Med3
  • January 10, 1914: Laid down.3
  • April 1920: Launched.1,3
  • August 1923: Conversion started.1
  • 1927, May 19271,3: Commissioned.1,2,3
  • 1935: Conversion finished.1 Refit.3 Additional vents added to island.3
  • May 1942: Demilitarized in Martinique.1,3
  • June 30, 1943: Joined Les Forces Navales Françaises Libres (Free French naval forces).1
  • Late 1943 - 19443, 1944 - 1945: Converted to aircraft ferry in the United States.1,3 French armament removed and replaced.3 Flight deck shortened.3
  • March 1945: Conversion completed.1

Specifications

  Béarn
Crew 8652,3, 8751
Displacement 22,100 tons3, 22,146 tons1, 22,150 tons2
Displacement - Loaded 28,400 tons1,3
Physical Characteristics  
Length 599'1, 599' 1"3
182.6 m1,3
Length - Water Line 574' 2"3
175 m3
Length - Between Perpendiculars 559' 1"3, 559' 9"1
170 m1, 170.6 m3
Beam 88' 11"3, 89'1
27.1 m3, 27.13 m1
Draft / Height 30' 6"1,3
9.3 m1,3
Flight Deck 580' x 70'3, 590' 9"1
176.8 m x 21.34 m3
Flight Deck - Late 1943 510'3
Performance  
Speed 21.5 knots1,2,3
Range  
Range at 10 knots 6,000 nautical miles1, 7,000 nautical miles3
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft 6" L/55 Mod 211, 6.1"3: 81,3
3"1, 75 mm3: 61,3
37 mm1,3: 81,3
Machine Guns1: 161
Anti-Aircraft - Late 1943 5" L/383: 43
40 mm3: 243
20 mm3: 263
Anti-Aircraft - March 1945 5" L/381: 41
40 mm quad mounts1: 61
20 mm1: 261
Torpedoes 21.7"1,3: 41,3
Aircraft 401,2,3
Armor  
Casements 2.75"1
Deck - Lower 1" - 2.8"3, 2.75"1
Deck - Main 1"1,3
Deck - Upper 2"3
Flight Deck 1"1,3
Main Belt 3"1, 3.2"3
Engines  
Boilers Normand du Temple: 61
du Temple3: 123
Engines Reciprocating: 21
Shafts 41,3
Turbines 21, Parsons3
HP 40,0003
HP - Inner Shafts 22,5001
HP - Outer Shafts 15,0001
Oil 2,160 tons1,3
Aviation Fuel 26,000 tons3

Sources:

  1. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, Robert Gardiner, 1987
  2. World War II The Encyclopedia of Facts and Figures, John Ellis, 1993
  3. The World's Aircraft Carriers 1914 - 1945, Roger Chesneau, 1986
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site