World War II Vehicles, Tanks and Airplanes, picture of P-51 Mustang
World War II Vehicles, Tanks and Airplanes, picture of T-34/85
World War II Vehicles, Tanks and Airplanes, picture of Fw-190
World War II Vehicles, Tanks and Airplanes, picture of Churchill
wwiivehicles.com ©2016
Search:
France's flag

France's Courbet class Battleships

Photos

Courbet in 1913:
Courbet in 1913
Imperial War Museum, Q-22265
Courbet in 1913:
Courbet in 1913
Imperial War Museum, Q-22266
Courbet:
Courbet
Imperial War Museum, Q-48262
Paris leaving Devonport in July 1940:
Paris leaving Devonport in July 1940
Imperial War Museum, A-776
Paris leaving Devonport in July 1940:
Paris leaving Devonport in July 1940
Imperial War Museum, A-777
Paris leaving Devonport in July 1940:
Paris leaving Devonport in July 1940
Imperial War Museum, A-778

Design

France had a Program of 1906 that called for the construction of 16 dreadnoughts by 1919.

In October 1907 the Counseil Supérieur de la Marine had come up with the specifications for the ships to be constructed from 1909 -1910. They were to be of 21,000 tons, have four 12" guns, and be able to go 20 knots. In July of 1908 two designs were submitted by M. Lyasse, one that was similar to the specifications and the other had twelve 12" guns.

The Courbet and Jean Bart were ordered on August 11, 1910 and Paris and France ordered in 1911.

Armament

The 12" L/45 (30.5 cm) M1906-10 guns could fire an 852 lb armor piercing shell out to 13,660 yards at 2,569'/sec. The maximum elevation was 12°.

The secondary armament were 5.45" L/55 (13.86 cm) M1910 guns that could fire an 87 lb shell out to 17,600 yards at a maximum elevation of 25°.

There were also four 47 mm M1902 guns on either side of the bridge.

There were four 17.7" M1909 torpedo tubes below the waterline.

Ships

Courbet

  • Manufacturer: Arsenale de Brest, Lorient
  • September 1910, September 1, 1910: Laid down.
  • September 3, 1911, September 23, 1911: Launched.
  • September 1913, November 1913: Completed.
  • November 1913: Joined 1st Division, 1st Squadron, of Mediterranean Fleet in Toulon.
  • 1914 - April 12, 1915: Vice-Amiral Bouet de Lapeyrère's flagship.
  • August 16, 1914: Supporting Montenegrin Army against Austrians. Battled against Austro-Hungarian cruiser Zenta and destroyer Uhlan. Zenta was sunk but Uhlan escaped.
  • July 16, 1915: Contre-Amiral Sagot-Duvaroux's flagship in Western Mediterranean Squadron.
  • 1918: Mainmast cut down to allow the use of a kite balloon.
  • June 6, 1919 - October 20, 1920: Vice-Amiral Charlier's flagship.
  • 1921: Gunnery training ship.
  • June 1923: No. 2 Boiler Room fire.
  • July 9, 1923 - April 1924: Refit at La Seyne. Bow armor improved to help with seaworthiness. Group of coal boilers replaced by oil. Elevation of 12" guns increased to 23°.
  • April 1924: Member of 3rd Division in Toulon.
  • August 1924: Boiler Room fire.
  • August - December 1924: Repairs.
  • January 1927 - January 1931: Refit. Group of coal boilers replaced by oil. Direct drive turbines replaced by geared. Funnels combined into one. 75 mm guns upgraded to M1922 version and increased to seven. The cranes and searchlights were also improved.
  • July 1930 - 1937: Gunnery training ship.
  • 1937 - 1939: Navigation school.
  • April 1937 - September 1938: Refit. All boilers overhauled. Torpedo tubes removed.
  • 1939?: Six 13.2 mm Hotchkiss twin mounts and two 13.2 mm Brownings were added.
  • 1939: Gunnery training ship. Member of training squadron of the 3rd Battleship Division, 5th Division. Sent to Brest and Quiberon.
  • May 21, 1940: Amiral Mord ordered her back into operational status. Supported Cherbourg peninsula against German 7th Armored Division. Covered withdrawal of 30,630 troops from Cherbourg.
  • June 20, 1940: Went to Great Britain.
  • July 3, 1940: Seized by Royal Navy in Operation Catapult.
  • July 10, 1940: Turned over to Free French. Used as depot and anti-aircraft ship at Portsmouth.
  • March 31, 1941: Disarmed.
  • June 9, 1944: Sunk as block ship at Normandy.

Océan

  • Originally the Jean Bart.
  • Manufacturer: Arsenale de Brest
  • October 15, 1910: Laid down.
  • September 22, 1911: Launched.
  • June 15, 1913: Completed.
  • December 21, 1914: Torpedoed by U12. Repaired at Malta for three months.
  • 1936, 1937: Renamed Océan. Renamed Jean Bart.
  • 1938: Disarmed and became training ship.
  • November 1942: Captured by the Germans.
  • March 7, 1944: Damaged by Allied air raid.
  • 1944, March 15, 1944: Sunk. Used by Germans in an explosives test.

Paris

  • Manufacturer: Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée at La Seyne, La Seyne
  • November 1911, November 10, 1911: Laid down.
  • September 28, 1912: Launched.
  • August 1914, August 1, 1914: Completed.
  • September 14, 1914: Flagship of 1st Division, 2nd Squadron.
  • 1914 - 1918: Convoy escort.
  • December 12, 1918 - March 25, 1919: At Pola to supervise surrender of Austro-Hungarian fleet.
  • May 1919: Covered Greek troop landing at Turkish town of Smyrna.
  • June 30, 1919: Returned to Toulon.
  • 1920: Flying off platform on B turret.
  • 1920 - 1928: Member of Western Mediterranean Squadron.
  • October 1922 - November 1923: Refit at Brest. One group of coal boilers replaced by oil. 12" elevation increased.
  • 1923: Member of 3rd Division.
  • Summer 1925: With Franco-Spanish fleet during Riff war.
  • August 16, 1927 - January 15, 1929: Refit at Toulon. New rangefinders. Crane upgraded to handle seaplanes. Funnels moved closer together.
  • January 1929: Became flagship of 2nd Division, 1st Squadron.
  • October 1, 1931 - 1935: Training ship for torpedo men and electricians.
  • July 1934 - May 1935: Refit at Toulon. Boilers overhauled. 75 mm guns were upgraded to M1922 model.
  • 1935 - 1939: Training ship for coxswains, stokers, and gunners.
  • 1939 - May 1940: Member of 5th Squadron, 3rd Division.
  • May 21, 1940: Ordered to be rearmed. Under command of Amiral Abrial in defense of ports along English Channel.
  • May 1940: Six 13.2 mm Hotchkiss twin mounts added. Two 13.2 mm Brownings added.
  • 1940?: 24 8 mm Hotchkiss added.
  • June 6, 1940: Arrived in Le Havre.
  • June 11, 1940: Hit by bomb. Heavily damaged and left for Brest.
  • June 14, 1940: Arrived in Brest.
  • June 18, 1940: Sailed to Plymouth with 2,800 men.
  • July 3, 1940: Seized by Royal Navy in Operation Catapult. Became depot ship for smaller ships. Also barracks for Polish Navy.
  • July 1945: Returned to Brest under tow. Became depot ship for 2nd Maritime Region.

France

  • Manufacturer: Ateliers et Chanteiers de la Loire at St-Nazaire.
  • November 7, 1912: Launched.
  • August 26, 1922: Sunk when struck a reef off la Teignouse. Three men died.

Specifications

  Courbet class
Crew 1,068, 1,108
Displacement 22,189 tons, 23,475 tons
Displacement - Loaded 25,850 tons, 25,988 tons
Physical Characteristics  
Length 544' 6", 551'
166 m
Length - Water Line  
Length - Between Perpendiculars 541', 541' 2"
165 m
Beam 88' 7", 92' 6"
27 m
Draft / Height 29', 32' 6"
8.85 m
Performance  
Speed 20 knots, 21 knots
Range  
Range at 10 knots 4,200 nautical miles
Range at 18.75 knots 2,700 nautical miles
Armament 12" twin turrets: 6
12" L45: 12
5.5": 22
5.5" L/55 M1910: 22
Anti-Aircraft 75 mm: 7
3" M1922: 7
47 mm: 2
Torpedo Tubes - Below Waterline 18": 4
Armor  
Barbettes 27 cm
Belt - Bow and Stern 7"
18 cm
Belt - Main 10.75"
27 cm
Belt - Upper 18 cm
Control Tower 11.75"
30 cm
Deck 2.75"
5 cm
Deck - Forecastle 3 cm
Deck - Lower 6" - 10"
Deck - Main 7 cm
Turret - Bases 11"
Turrets 12.5"
32 cm
Engines  
Boilers Belleville: 24
Engines  
Shafts 4
Turbines Parsons
Parsons geared
HP 28,000, 43,000
Coal 2,700 tons, 2,706 tons
Oil 310 tons
  Courbet
Crew  
Displacement  
Displacement - Loaded  
Physical Characteristics  
Length  
Length - Water Line  
Length - Between Perpendiculars  
Beam  
Draft / Height  
Performance  
Speed  
Range  
Armament  
Anti-Aircraft  
Aircraft  
Armor  
Engines  
Boilers Niclausse: 24
Engines  
Shafts  
Turbines  
HP  
Oil  

Sources:

  1. Battleships of World War Two An International Encyclopedia, M. J. Whitley, 1998
  2. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946, Robert Gardiner, 1987
  3. World War II The Encyclopedia of Facts and Figures, John Ellis, 1993
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site