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Verdun French Aircraft Carrier (images)

Jackryan

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I have been looking for some drawings or pictures of the unbuilt Verdun aircraft carrier that the French government ordered at the end of the 1950s, but I've been unable to find any. According to wiki, it would have had size and displacement similar to today's Marine Nationale CDG, albeit with a different main purpose of carrying a full nuclear strike-orientated air wing (some sources say navalized Mirage IV).

Regarding the project's life, I haven't found anything relevant, but I have speculated with its birth as a means of nuclear deterrent after de Gaulle's rise to power in 1958 and his withdrawal from NATO's deterrent programme (wiki dates the project's order in 1958) in order to pursue France's own independent strike capability. Likewise, I imagine it was cancelled in favour of the much sought-after SSBN programme (experimental Gymnotte was ordered in 1961, the date of the cancellation once again according to wiki).

P.S. I have used the search engine in this site to look for any previous related topics, which I've been unable to find. If there are any, I apologise.
 

Grey Havoc

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No luck on drawings so far, but I did dig up an entry on it over on the French version of Wikipedia with some more info: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verdun_(porte-avions)

Bing translation
 

Grey Havoc

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You may have already come across this Key Publishing forum topic: http://forum.keypublishing.com/showthread.php?p=933909 (unfortunately, the relevant image links seem to be defunct.)
 

RIPPER

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I am not sure where I downloaded these images from. I think it might have been from the Photobucket link from "Badger1968" post.


RIPPER
 

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JFC Fuller

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Found whilst looking for information about early Masurca ship plans, from: http://lefauteuildecolbert.blogspot.jp/2011/03/pa-58-du-pa2-vers-le-pa3.html
 

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JFC Fuller

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Found a larger version, looks like a Masurca launcher aft on each corner with an associated director stepped slightly above but still on the same sponson/deck cutout as the launcher. Forward of the forward 100mm guns is what is probably a Malafon launcher, apparently one on each beam too.
 

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JohnR

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The aircraft on the aft part of the deck appear to be of the Etendar family. But the forward ones appear to be Mirage, but I have never seen any details of a maritime version of the Mirage, any details please?

Regards.
 

JFC Fuller

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Mirage IV-M, I have not been able to identify the exact role but my understanding is that it was intended both as a heavy interceptor and nuclear strike aircraft for PA58.

The following seems relatively comprehensive: http://www.mirage4p.com/slides/Historique/p03.html

If I am reading it correctly it was based on the Mirage IV-C interceptor proposal of October 1956 with the navigator position and associated equipment deleted, the engines moved forward, fuel capacity limited to 6,000l, nose shortened and made foldable (possibly including the cockpit itself) and the tail able to be folded down.

Edit: The existing secret projects thread on the Mirage IV-M: http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=30.0

I keep seeing references to an AEW Alize too.
 

JFC Fuller

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Also, the more I look at the picture of the PA58 model the more I think the MASURCA launchers (aft of the 100mm guns on the aft sponsons) are single-arm and not twin-arm as they are shown in most drawings. Firstly they just don't look like they are twin-armed and secondly there only appears to be one missile loading hatch under the flight deck (visible, I believe, as a black square just under the flight-deck adjacent to the launcher) whereas the twin-armed launchers used on Colbert and the Suffren class obviously had two missile loading hatches.

Furthermore, looking closely at the image it looks like the missile is actually sitting on top of the launcher (not unlike MALAFON) rather than hanging underneath as it would be on the standard twin launcher. I may however be reading too much into quite a low resolution image of what looks like quite a small model.
 

SlickDriver

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I found a different drawing and it does state 2 x Masurca SAM am not sure on the accuracy though

at http://thekristoffersuniverseinwar.wikia.com/wiki/Verdun_class_aircraft_carrier

and this:

Career (France)
Ordered: 1958
Fate: Cancelled in 1961
General characteristics
Displacement: 45,000 tons
Length: 262 m (860 ft)
Beam: 34 m (112 ft)
Propulsion: Steam turbines
4 shafts
200,000 shp
Speed: 33 knots (61 km/h; 38 mph)
Armament: 2 × Masurca SAM
4 × 100 mm DP guns
Aircraft carried: Unknown

https://www.onwar.com/weapons/warships/boats/French-aircraft-carrier-Verdun.html
 

Tzoli

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That site is for fictional ships in a fictional universe.

PA 58 - Verdun would carry two twin Masurca SAM

Many accurate sites and books state this.
Also:
http://forum.keypublishing.com/showthread.php?58143-PA-58-Verdun

In 1958, while Clemenceau and Foch were still under construction, a third carrier was approved. The PA 58 design was larger and heavier, and although it bore a superficial resemblance to PA 54, was clearly influenced by the new 'super carriers' built by the US Navy. The shape of the flight deck, which was given considerable overhang on either side amidships, enabled the island to be positioned farther outboard. Parking space amidships was thereby increased, and the 200m hangar was positioned centrally. Two deck-edge lifts, each 17m x 14m, were sited forward and aft of the island to starboard. The length of the catapults was increased to about 75m so that larger aircraft could be handled. They were, however, positioned in the same way as those on Clemenceau so that there was a clear separation between flying operations, which were confined to the port side of the ship, and parking and handling operations. The angled deck measured 192m and was angled at 8° as on Clemenceau.
The significant increase in power needed to sustain fleet speed led to a corresponding increase in the number of shafts from two to four. Protection of flight deck and machinery was on a similar pattern to Clemenceau, but the thickness of the armour was slightly increased.
The eight single 100mm of Clemenceau were to be retained but, in addition, it was planned to fit a twin launcher for the new Masurca SAMs on either side of the flight deck aft (as in the US Navy's Kitty Hawk).
In addition to Alize ASW aircraft and Etendard fighter-bombers, PA 58 was to operate Mirage IVM heavy strike aircraft. The latter, under development for the Navy since 1956, had a length of 19m, a wing-span of 12m, and a take-off weight of 20t.
PA 58, possibly to be named Verdun, was delayed by financial problems, and the Defence Staff considered a smaller design, derived from Clemenceau, in which the after guns would have been replaced by Masurca before the project was finally abandoned in 1961.
 

SlickDriver

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Agreed on the fantasy site, but Haze Gray has this for the Verdun:


Displacement: 45,000 tons full load
Dimensions: 860 x 112 x ?? feet/262 x 34 x ?? meters
Extreme Dimensions: 939 x 190 x ?? feet/286.3 x 58 x ?? meters
Propulsion: Steam turbines, 4 shafts, 200,000 shp, 33 knots
Crew: ???
Armor: none
Armament: 2 Masurca SAM, 8 single 100 mm DP
Aircraft: unknown
Concept/Program: A larger carrier, intended as a nuclear-strike ship. Cancelled due to cost; one of a series of projects to meet this fate.
 

JFC Fuller

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Let me just put some observations down.

Firstly, the drawings/diagrams of the PA58 design that have made it online all seem to be either the drawing used in the Conway volumes or a derivative of it. These drawings were posted in Ripper's 2012 post above and they show distinct detail differences with the photo of the model I posted, most significantly in terms of armament layout which suggests the Conway drawing is not based on the model. My suggestion therefore is that these drawings are inaccurate in some details- it wouldn't be the first time this has been the case with drawings in Conway publications.

Secondly, the photo of the model I posted is, I understand, from the book 'Les porte-avions français des origines (1911) à dos jours' by Francis Dousset which as far as I can tell is the go-to text for French aircraft carriers. I have just ordered what I believe to be a 1996 reprint that will hopefully provide more answers to this subject though I won't have it for over a week.

Finally, it doesn't matter how I look at that picture of the model I can not find any evidence for the Masurca launcher being a twin launcher, there is only one missile loading hatch, and the launcher itself looks too small compared to the 100mm guns to be a twin launcher.
 

SlickDriver

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Thank you for the title - going on my got to have list PDQ.

I was not being critical - am just looking for answers too. Subject is one that interests me and I know too little and do consider Haze Gray to be an fairly good authority (in that I may be incorrect).
 

JohnR

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I assume that it is only available in French. Unfortunately my French; and languages in general, make Allo Allo look fluent.

Regards.
 

Tzoli

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Try look at this French naval forum:
http://forummarine.forumactif.com/forum

The topic about the French carriers:
http://forummarine.forumactif.com/t4793-des-limbes-de-l-histoire-2-les-porte-avions
It states 2 Masurca and/or 2 Malafon launchers
according to google's very bad grammar translator!
 

JFC Fuller

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There is no dispute over the number of launchers, there are definitely two, the question is whether they are single or twin rail launchers. The photos of the model suggest they are single rail launchers.

Given how massive the Masurca system was it certainly wouldn't surprise me if the French did opt for single rail launchers on the PA58 design.
 

Tzoli

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Or a more logical conclusion that there were different versions studied and we only know about these two versions now.
 

JFC Fuller

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Well of course multiple versions would have been studied, thats generally how warship design happens. But at some point a final design would have been produced; that a model existed suggests that may have been the final design.
 

Pioneer

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Interesting topic Jackryan, thank for bring it up!!
Seems it would have been more versatile in the actual wars/Operations France was involved, compared to the single role SSBN's!!


Regards
Pioneer
 

JFC Fuller

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I now have my copy of 'Les porte-avions français des origines (1911) à dos jours' by Francis Dousset. Having spent a bit of time with it I am starting to think it may be the original source of the confusion, see below:

1) This book does contain the photo of the model posted previously, even under a magnifying glass the Masurca launcher still looks single armed
2) At no point does the text say anything other than two launchers- there is no text reference to twin-arm launchers
3) In the appendix there is a line drawing of PA58- however this not an accurate drawing and the accompanying text states that. The drawing is described as a reconstruction and it is stated the armament and radar is indicative. The drawing shows twin-armed launchers- I suspect this is inaccurate and just a product of the only Masurca launcher being known to the person responsible for the drawing being the twin-armed version

More widely, the book is excellent with multiple unbuilt aircraft included.
 

Pioneer

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G'day gents
Taking a look back at this topic, and I would like to ask, in the following posted text of the Conway's article.

In 1958, while Clemenceau and Foch were still under construction, a third carrier was approved. The PA 58 design was larger and heavier, and although it bore a superficial resemblance to PA 54, was clearly influenced by the new 'super carriers' built by the US Navy. The shape of the flight deck, which was given considerable overhang on either side amidships, enabled the island to be positioned farther outboard. Parking space amidships was thereby increased, and the 200m hangar was positioned centrally. Two deck-edge lifts, each 17m x 14m, were sited forward and aft of the island to starboard. The length of the catapults was increased to about 75m so that larger aircraft could be handled. They were, however, positioned in the same way as those on Clemenceau so that there was a clear separation between flying operations, which were confined to the port side of the ship, and parking and handling operations. The angled deck measured 192m and was angled at 8° as on Clemenceau.
The significant increase in power needed to sustain fleet speed led to a corresponding increase in the number of shafts from two to four. Protection of flight deck and machinery was on a similar pattern to Clemenceau, but the thickness of the armour was slightly increased.
The eight single 100mm of Clemenceau were to be retained but, in addition, it was planned to fit a twin launcher for the new Masurca SAMs on either side of the flight deck aft (as in the US Navy's Kitty Hawk).
In addition to Alize ASW aircraft and Etendard fighter-bombers, PA 58 was to operate Mirage IVM heavy strike aircraft. The latter, under development for the Navy since 1956, had a length of 19m, a wing-span of 12m, and a take-off weight of 20t.
PA 58, possibly to be named Verdun, was delayed by financial problems, and the Defence Staff considered a smaller design, derived from Clemenceau, in which the after guns would have been replaced by Masurca before the project was finally abandoned in 1961.


Can I request the forums knowledge about anything to do with the ending context regarding -
the Defence Staff considered a smaller design, derived from Clemenceau, in which the after guns would have been replaced by Masurca before the project was finally abandoned in 1961.

I'd be very interested in knowing more about anything to do with this proposed/studied smaller design, derived from Clemenceau

Regards
Pioneer
 
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Kugelblitz

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I have notes saying a 3rd Clemenceau with Terrier was wanted in a (post PA58) 1959-64 plan, but abandoned in 1961.

Sadly I have no source for this.

The French navy did begin converting DD´s with US SAMs from 1961, so if a US SAM was a better fit in size and/or finances for the next carrier, that might have been so.
 

Archibald

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The French Navy however picked the medium-range Tartar for six T-47 / T-53 frigates. Never heard of the long range Terrier before.
 

Pioneer

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Thank you Kugelblitz for that information - very interesting!!
If you have/find those
notes saying a 3rd Clemenceau with Terrier was wanted in a (post PA58) 1959-64 plan, but abandoned in 1961.
, Id love to see them!!
Anyone else on the forum know of this
3rd Clemenceau with Terrier
?

Regards
Pioneer
 
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