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Fr05ty

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I've read in a few places that there were a couple of proposals (one from the US and another by the French after the war's end) to turn the unfinished French battleship Jean Bart into an aircraft carrier (which were obviously refused). Tzoli seems to have made a mockup of how it might've looked, but has anybody got actual data on the designs? Length, width, displacement, armour, airplane capacity, weaponry, etc. Any help or sources would be very useful!
 

Archibald

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The english Wikipedia explains all too well why JB was not turned into a carrier OTL. Drat.

We did exactly that for France fights on. NOTA BENE: FFO is fictional
(alternate history: after the death of his shrew mistress in a very opportunistic car accident early June 1940, Paul Reynaud grow a spine. And on June 17, 1940 Pétain is told to go fuck himself, blow an aneurysm, and good riddance.
Reynaud, De Gaulle, Mandel and a whole bunch of goodwill people decides France must keep fighting, from Algiers. So for the next two months, everything but the kitchen sink is moved to Algeria).

Since the Jean Bart already made its daring escape, after Bearn is lost by the LW defending Corsica against Operation Merkur (not Crete), Jean Bart will replace it.


 
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Tzoli

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I have the book French Battleships, 1922-1956 by Robert Dumas, I will check if it mentions the carrier and BBCV conversions (It did mentions and describes briefly the BBG and BBAA conversion proposals.
 

Archibald

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I remember another JB carrier drawing made by another Tzoli... oh wait that was you, forget it.
 

Tzoli

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Sadly the book mentions the carrier conversions, a little bit of more data on the post war French variant but basically nothing on the 1943 US version.
The 1943:


The Post war:


My drawing shows the 1943/44 American version though at that time I only know about the late war idea for conversion:
 

Fr05ty

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I found a bit more about the Jean Bart conversion here: http://www.institut-strategie.fr/pub_mo3_Querel.html

But there doesn't seem to be any detailed data for it anywhere I can find

The english Wikipedia explains all too well why JB was not turned into a carrier OTL. Drat.

We did exactly that for France fights on. NOTA BENE: FFO is fictional
(alternate history: after the death of his shrew mistress in a very opportunistic car accident early June 1940, Paul Reynaud grow a spine. And on June 17, 1940 Pétain is told to go fuck himself, blow an aneurysm, and good riddance.
Reynaud, De Gaulle, Mandel and a whole bunch of goodwill people decides France must keep fighting, from Algiers. So for the next two months, everything but the kitchen sink is moved to Algeria).

Since the Jean Bart already made its daring escape, after Bearn is lost by the LW defending Corsica against Operation Merkur (not Crete), Jean Bart will replace it.


I see mentions of OTL and FTL there, mind clarifying what those mean?
They offer some measurements and details in the first few comments of this thread: http://1940lafrancecontinue.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=65474&sid=4651fd6ba34fd9f6ec57df379d800068 but I'm not sure if that's official or if they've made them up
 

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OTL = Our Time Line, in other words real history.
FTL = Fictional Time Line.
 

uk 75

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any use?
 

Grey Havoc

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So there was a 1940 (pre-Fall of France) proposal as well? And an additional USN proposal from 1945, this one for conversion to a full fleet carrier.
 

Tzoli

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The 1940 proposals was the Hybrid BBCV one, there was an 1943/44 USN and there was an 1945/46 French proposal for a CV
 

Fr05ty

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The 1940 proposals was the Hybrid BBCV one, there was an 1943/44 USN and there was an 1945/46 French proposal for a CV
And those last 2 are the ones I'm looking for details on. For the 1945/46 proposal, I read that it had 8x2 130mm guns on DP mounts of a modified pattern from the Dunkerque class, a 90mm armoured flight deck and a capacity of 54 planes (40 +14 hanging from the hangar ceiling), but that's not much information.

I'm happy to read any information on the hybrid BBCV one as well, but it's not my main focus.
 

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So there was a 1940 (pre-Fall of France) proposal as well?
Nope, before France collapse the Jean Bart was to be a Richelieu clone. 100% battleship. It then escaped from Nantes, briefly vacillated between going to Scotland or to Casablanca, and decided for the later. Only to shoot at Operation Torch, being heavily damaged in the fight.
After what the Free French asked Uncle Sam to turn it into a carrier. Too long, too complicated, a proposal was made to put instead, Bretagne 340 mm spare guns on it. nothing happened during WWII, then France alone vacillated between carrier or battleship,and despite Richelieu, went for second plan, getting two perfectly unuseful giant white elephants in the process. After a Vanguard-like career, they were retired in the early 60's to make room for the Clemenceaus, and the Force de Frappe submarines...
 

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The French speaking persons here should ask around on this French forum for any info (Or if anybody knows the email address of Robert Dumas and John Jordan )
 

Grey Havoc

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then France alone vacillated between carrier or battleship,and despite Richelieu, went for second plan, getting two perfectly unuseful giant white elephants in the process. After a Vanguard-like career, they were retired in the early 60's to make room for the Clemenceaus, and the Force de Frappe submarines...
To be fair, they could have proven very useful in French Indochina during the early '50s (Richelieu actually served there in the immediate post-WWII period), but were held back, initially as part of France's commitment to the newly formed NATO. The original intention was I believe to ultimately equip them with atomic shells and enhanced AA suites among other upgrades. In 1952 however, apparently due to political manoeuvring by the pro-carrier faction along with other anti-battleship plotters within the French Navy, Richelieu was downgraded to a gunnery training vessel rather than undergo a planned major repair & retrofit. After further downgrades in status, she was ultimately sold for scrap around 1968. The same politicking also played a role in Jean Bart's not being able return to service until 1955, where upon she served mostly as a flagship, though she did perform some useful fire support work during the Suez Crisis. I think there was then a plan to upgrade her in her role as a command battleship with more advanced electronics, but instead the anti-battleship factions were able to get her reduced to reserve in 1957; she served for a time as a barracks ship and then was more or less mothballed until 1970 when she was controversially sold for scrap (bribes may possibly have been involved). All this happened despite the political damage that the French naval air arm and other anti-battleship advocates had suffered with the fall of French Indochina (said advocates having airily assured all and sundry that among other things there would be no need for the battleships there thanks to modern airpower). Even after this humiliating defeat for France, they still retained enough political juice (especially those associated with the SSBN program) to frustrate various reactivation and modernisation schemes for both Jean Bart and Richelieu.
 

Fr05ty

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The French speaking persons here should ask around on this French forum for any info (Or if anybody knows the email address of Robert Dumas and John Jordan )
I can only read French, can't write it. Is anybody else capable of posting there? Getting to contact John Jordan and Robert Dumas would be amazing, but don't think it's likely to happen.
 

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Baseless. During the Indochina conflict, most battles took place inland, in North Vietnam's central highlands or along the borders with China and Laos. Cao Bang 1950, Na San 1952, and the vast majority of Army operations were hundreds of kilometres from the seashore.
By late 1949, unlike earlier on in the First Indochina War, French naval forces on station off French Indochina had been significantly reduced for a number of reasons, including arguably some very false economies. It was thought that airpower and local colonial forces along with army riverine units would be able to more than make up the difference. This quickly proved to be optimistic (though the Dinassaut units did see their fair share of successes, especially in the south). The local forces though they fought valiantly suffered from much of the new equipment and manpower that they had been promised never materialising. Airpower couldn't really make up the shortfall, especially during the period in 1949 / 1950 when the French Navy had no carriers to spare for deployment to the theatre, having to rely on land based aircraft and seaplanes to maintain some coverage. This allowed the communist insurgents, at times with direct assistance from PRC naval units (it is unclear if there was any direct involvement of the Soviet Navy in the conflict apart from some disguised freighters and the like used to ship supplies), to grab large chunks of coastal areas including a number of ports and harbours, especially in the north of the country. This in turn allowed them to cut off some French sea supply lines while allowing them to operate a number of their own relatively unmolested. The Việt Minh advances into coastal areas was only (temporarily) halted at the Battle of the Day River. So basically it was a case of much of the coastal regions inadvertently ending up being a 'refused flank', rather than there being any lack of trade for naval forces, including battleships had they been available.

And even during the Vietnam war where many fights took place in coastal areas, pulling an Iowa battleship from mothball for shore bombardment did not spare the Americans an humiliating defeat.
I think we can agree that politicians have no problem losing a war regards of the actual situation on the battlefield.

'bribes may possibly have been involved' : provide evidence or credible source. BTW decommissioned naval ships do not belong anymore to Marine Nationale.
I suggested the possibility because during that period there were concerns about ships being sold off for less than even their scrap value. In some cases the sales had apparently been agreed before they were even removed from the naval register. No formal investigation into this was ever launched though, AFAIK. The Jean Bart herself was sold for a bargain price I believe. Of course it was the then Ministry of Defence that had the say over such sales rather than the navy, apologies for not being clear on that point.

Of course, France was not the only country by far to suffer from problems of this sort at the time, the 1970s were a hotbed of corruption so far as Western countries was concerned (with much of the roots being planted during the '60s), one of the reasons the Soviet Union and its allies were by and large winning the Cold War by the latter part of that decade. Though they had corruption problems of their own and when they got out of control in the 1980s during the Gorbachev era they would ultimately help spell the end of the Eastern Bloc and subsequently the Soviet Union herself.

It was much less an issue of yet another conspiracy theory, this time against battleships in MN, than one of ressources and shifting priorities. As shown in the now-deleted topic on Marine Nationale guided missiles ship projects in the 50s and 60s, the then-CEMM amiral Henri Nomy, at the same time as he was the creator of post-war Aéronavale, building a capability that is still a major naval asset today with Charles de Gaulle carrier, also proposed to keep the two battleships after converting them to missile-ship, either with missile types then being developed in France by DCCAN, ECAN Ruelle and Latécoère, or Terrier, Tartar and Regulus proposed by the Americans in 1957.
Amiral Nomy himself may have wanted to keep the battleships in some form, but that doesn't change the fact that there were powerful interests who wanted them out of the way.

On a separate note, with regards as to Amiral Henri Nomy, was there a proposal for a nuclear powered missile cruiser class bearing his name during the 1980s, do you know?
 
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uk 75

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I like this Admiral Nomy, even though this is the first time I have read about him. Could someone start a new thread with:
-his plans for Jean Bart and Richelieu ( echoes of RN ideas for the KGVs)
-his Aeronavale plans. Getting Foch and Clemenceau built compares pretty well with UK and I am sure he wanted bigger ones with more sexy Dassault planes
-a nuclear Air Defence cruiser named after him. With a Colbert and Richelieu too..
This is the sort of stuff what if is about. Maybe someone in France could do one of their great graphic novels about him.
 
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