French battleship Richelieu

Richelieu was a French fast battleship, the lead ship of the Richelieu class. Built as a response to the Italian Littorio class, the Richelieus were based on their immediate predecessors of the Dunkerque class with the same unconventional arrangement that grouped their main battery forward in two quadruple gun turrets. They were scaled up to accommodate a much more powerful main battery of eight 380 mm (15 in) guns (compared to the 330 mm (13 in) guns of the Dunkerques), with increased armor to protect them from guns of the same caliber. Richelieu was laid down in 1935 and was launched in 1939, just before the outbreak of World War II in Europe. As war with Germany became increasingly likely, work on the ship was rushed to prepare her for commissioning in April 1940.

Completed just days before the Germans won the Battle of France in June, Richelieu fled to Dakar in French West Africa to keep her under French control. There, she came under repeated British attacks that had been intended to either compel the battleship to join the Free French Naval Forces or sink her; these included during Operation Catapult in July 1940 and the Battle of Dakar in September. Damaged in both attacks, the ship was slowly repaired before eventually turning over to Free French control after the Allied invasion of North Africa in November 1942. After being sent to the United States for repairs and an extensive modernization, the ship served with the British Home Fleet in early 1944 before being deployed to the Eastern Fleet for operations against the Japanese in the Indian Ocean. These included several bombardment operations and in May 1945 she was present during the Battle of the Malacca Strait, though she was too far away to engage the Japanese ships before they were sunk.

Richelieu was part of the force that liberated Singapore following the Japanese surrender in September, and she thereafter operated in French Indochina as part of the initial effort to restore French colonial rule. Recalled to France in December 1945, she was repaired and modernized slightly in 1946. The ship saw relatively limited peacetime training in the immediate postwar years and in 1952, she was removed from active service for use as a gunnery training ship. In 1956, she was placed in reserve and was thereafter used as a stationary training vessel and barracks ship until 1967, when the French Navy decided to discard her. Sold for scrap in 1968, she was broken up in Italy from 1968 to 1969.

Richelieu 1943
Richelieu in September 1943 after her refit
Name: Richelieu
Namesake: Cardinal de Richelieu
Builder: Arsenal de Brest
Laid down: 22 October 1935
Launched: 17 January 1939
Commissioned: 1 April 1940
Decommissioned: 1967
Struck: 1968
Fate: Broken up, 1968
General characteristics Original configuration
Class and type: Richelieu-class battleship
Length: 247.85 m (813 ft 2 in)
Beam: 33.08 m (108 ft 6 in)
Draft: Full load: 9.9 m (32 ft 6 in)
Installed power:
  • 6 × Indret Sural boilers
  • 155,000 shp (116,000 kW)
Speed: 32 knots (59 km/h; 37 mph)
Range: 9,500 nautical miles (17,600 km; 10,900 mi) at 15 kn (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Complement: 1,569
Aircraft carried: 4 × Loire 130 seaplanes
Aviation facilities: 2 × catapults
General characteristics 1943 refit
  • Standard: 43,957 t (43,263 long tons)
  • Full load: 47,728 t (46,974 long tons)
Draft: Full load: 10.68 m (35 ft)
Complement: 1,930
Sensors and
processing systems:


Recognition drawing of Richelieu in her original configuration

When in 1934 Italy announced that it would begin building two Littorio-class battleships armed with 380 mm (15 in) guns, the French Navy immediately began preparations to counter them. The small Dunkerque-class battleships that had been ordered provided the template for the next French battleship design, but it needed to be scaled up to match the new Italian vessels, both in terms of offensive and defensive characteristics. The design staff considered 380 and 406 mm (16 in) guns, but the latter could not be incorporated in a design that remained within the 35,000 long tons (35,560 t) limit imposed by the Washington Naval Treaty and was quickly discarded. The Dunkerques carried their armament in two quadruple gun turrets arrayed in a superfiring pair forward of the superstructure, and the designers experimented with other arrangements, including combinations of triple and twin turrets, but the need to minimize the length of the armor belt (and thus its weight) necessitated the Dunkerque layout.[1]

Richelieu displaced 37,250 long tons (37,850 t) standard and 43,992 long tons (44,698 t) fully loaded, with an overall length of 247.85 m (813 ft 2 in), a beam of 33.08 m (108 ft 6 in) and a maximum draft of 9.9 m (32 ft 6 in). She was powered by four Parsons geared steam turbines and six oil-fired Sural water-tube boilers, which developed a total of 155,000 shaft horsepower (116,000 kW) and yielded a maximum speed of 32 knots (59 km/h; 37 mph). At a cruising speed of 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph), the ship could steam for 9,500 nautical miles (17,600 km; 10,900 mi). Her crew numbered 1,569 officers and men. The ship carried four Loire 130 seaplanes on the fantail, and the aircraft facilities consisted of a steam catapult and a crane to handle the floatplanes.[2][3]

She was armed with eight 380 mm/45 Modèle (Mle) 1935 guns arranged in two quadruple gun turrets,[a] both of which were placed in a superfiring pair forward of the superstructure. Her secondary armament consisted of nine 152 mm (6 in) /55 Mle 1930 guns mounted in three triple turrets, arranged on the rear superstructure. Heavy anti-aircraft (AA) defense consisted of twelve 100 mm (3.9 in) /45 Mle 1930 anti-aircraft guns in twin turrets. Close range anti-aircraft defense was provided by a battery of eight 37 mm (1.5 in) guns in twin mounts and twenty 13.2 mm (0.52 in) machine guns in four quadruple and two twin mounts. The ship's belt armor was 330 mm (13 in) thick amidships, and the main battery turrets were protected by 430 mm (17 in) of armor plate on the faces. The main armored deck was 170 mm (6.7 in) thick, and the conning tower had 340 mm (13 in) thick sides.[2][4]



The contract for Richelieu was awarded to the Arsenal de Brest on 31 August 1935, and the keel for the new ship was laid down on 22 October in the No. 4 dock that had recently built Dunkerque. The slipway was not long enough to accommodate the entire length of the new battleship, and so the hull had to be built in pieces. The main section of the hull, which amounted to 197 m (646 ft), was built on the slipway, while a 43 m (141 ft) length of the bow and an 8 m (26 ft) length of her stern were built elsewhere and attached after the rest of the ship was launched on 17 January 1939. The French decision to lay down Richelieu in 1935 put the country in violation of the Washington Treaty, which was to expire on 31 December 1936, as the combined tonnage of the two Dunkerques and Richelieu exceeded the 70,000 long tons (71,000 t) that had been allotted to France during the moratorium on new battleship construction. France used the Anglo-German Naval Agreement, which Britain had unilaterally signed with Germany in June 1935 to dismiss British objections to the new ship, though they nevertheless slowed construction of Richelieu to ease British concerns. Work was also slowed by strikes in the shipyards for better pay and working conditions.[2][5]

By the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, the hull had been assembled; the start of the war led the naval command to decide to slow work on other, less complete vessels to focus efforts on Richelieu and her sister ship Jean Bart. The ship began initial testing on 15 October while still fitting-out in an effort to rush the ship into service; the same day, the ship's first commander, Capitaine de vaisseau (CV—Ship-of-the-line captain) Marzin came aboard. Engine testing began on 14 January 1940, and a week later her main battery was completed when the last barrel was installed. Further engine testing was carried out between 31 March and 7 April; during this period, she was commissioned on 1 April. Formal acceptance trials began on 14 April. Repair work was conducted in Brest from 19 to 27 May, and fire control equipment for the main and secondary batteries were installed. Richelieu conducted full power trials on 13 June, reaching 32.63 knots (60.43 km/h; 37.55 mph) from 179,000 shp (133,000 kW), exceeding her design performance. Test firings of the guns were conducted on 13 and 14 June. Work on the ship was completed on 15 June 1940, days before France surrendered to Germany after the Battle of France.[6]

World War II

Under Vichy control: 1940–1942

With German troops advancing across France by mid-June, the Navy decided to evacuate Richelieu to Dakar in French West Africa; while earlier plans had been to send the fleet to British ports to continue the war, when the possibility of a negotiated armistice arose, the government decided that the fleet would be a useful bargaining chip. As a result, vessels should be preserved under French control, away from German occupation. At 06:45, the ship took on a load of ammunition and fuel, though she received only 198 quarter charges of propellant for her main battery, which amounted to powder sufficient for 49 shots. Material that had not yet been installed was also hastily loaded onto the ship, to be fitted once Richelieu reached the safety of Dakar. She also took aboard gold reserves from the Bank of France and 250 cadets from the École Navale (Naval Academy). There was insufficient time to allow the full complement to assemble and board the ship, and at 04:00 the next morning, Richelieu got underway while German troops approached Brest. Richelieu steamed in company with the destroyers Fougueux and Frondeur while German aircraft made several ineffective attacks against the ships. The battleship's anti-aircraft guns returned fire without success. Initially cruising at a speed of 22 kn (41 km/h; 25 mph), boiler trouble forced the ships to decrease speed to 18 kn (33 km/h; 21 mph). The motors for her rudder also repeatedly broke down on the voyage, though the crew was able to repair them. While cruising off Casablanca, French Morocco at 17:00 on 20 June, the torpedo boats were detached to refuel, their place being taken by the new destroyer Fleuret. The two vessels then proceeded on to Dakar, where they arrived at 17:44 on 23 June.[7][8]

Richelieu in Dakar in 1940

On arriving in Dakar, an uneasy situation confronted Richelieu while armistice negotiations were still underway. The commander of French naval forces in the region, Contre-amiral (CA—Rear Admiral) Plançon and the governor-general of French West Africa, Léon Cayla, were inclined to remain in the war against Germany. Also, significant British naval units were in the area, including the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes moored in Dakar and the British South Atlantic Squadron, which was nearby. At the same time, Richelieu had used half of her fuel to escape Brest, and she could perform little sustained firing of her main or secondary guns. Admiral François Darlan, the Chief of Staff of the French Navy, sent a telegraph on the night of 23–24 June to warn Marzin that the British might attack the vessel to neutralize it in the event of a French surrender, and ordered him to begin preparations to scuttle the ship if the need arose. Meanwhile, on 23 June, the British heavy cruiser Dorsetshire departed Freetown to observe Richelieu's activities in Dakar.[8][9]

On 25 June, Marzin received word that the French government had signed the Armistice with Germany. Darlan instructed him that the ship was to remain under French control, and if that proved to be impossible, he was to scuttle the ship or attempt to escape to the then-neutral United States. Marzin decided that, given the threat of British warships in the area, the best course of action was to try to escape to Casablanca and join the French fleet there, and so at 14:30 Richelieu got underway in company with Fleuret. Hermes raised anchor as well and began to follow Richelieu with her Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers on her flight deck, but the coastal artillery trained their guns on the ship, convincing Hermes' commander to return to port. Dorsetshire nevertheless shadowed Richelieu while she was at sea. The next morning, Darlan, who feared that Marzin was trying to defect to the Free French forces, ordered him to return to Dakar. Marzin complied and turned the ships back to port, but while on the way, he received amended orders instructing him to wait some 120 nmi (220 km; 140 mi) north of Cape Verde to escort the 1st Division of Armed Merchant Cruisers to Dakar, as they were carrying another load of gold reserves from the Bank of France. Richelieu failed to make contact at the prescribed rendezvous point, and since she had not embarked any of her floatplanes before fleeing Brest, she could not conduct an aerial search. Marzin instead returned to Dakar on 28 June; the convoy arrived, having been significantly delayed, on 4 July.[8][10]

After returning to port, work began to prepare the ship for action as quickly as possible. Marzin ordered that a stockpile of 330 mm propellant charges that had been stocked for the battleship Strasbourg before France's surrender to be converted into charges that were usable by Richelieu. The secondary guns were readied for action ten days later, but they lacked a director capable of tracking aerial targets, so they could be used against surface ships only. Under the terms of the armistice, Richelieu was to be returned to Toulon, where she would be demobilized, though the Germans later decided against permitting the move, as they feared the British would try to seize the ship during the passed through the Strait of Gibraltar; the British, meanwhile, were under the mistaken impression that the Germans sought to seize the French fleet for their own use. This led to Operation Catapult, a series of attacks on French warships to neutralize vessels that would not defect to the Free French.[11]

HMS Hermes June 1940
HMS Hermes (center) and Dorsetshire (background) off Dakar during the operation against Richelieu

The component of Catapult that targeted Richelieu consisted of the carrier Hermes, which joined the cruisers HMAS Australia and Dorsetshire off Dakar. On 4 July, the day after the British had attacked Mers-el-Kébir, Plançon ordered the submarines Le Glorieux and Le Héros to attack Dorsetshire while it cruised off the port. He also instructed the coastal batteries to open fire if she closed to within 15 km (9.3 mi), though Dorsetshire remained at a distance. Marzin moved Richelieu to a position near the island of Gorée, pointed south so that the ship's main battery could aim at any vessels that approached Dakar. The British had intended to send Force H to Dakar after the attack on Mers-el-Kébir, but the need to return to destroy Dunkerque forced the British to resort to Hermes; on 7 July, the sloop HMS Milford was sent to contact Plançon and issue the ultimatum to either surrender his ship to British control or be sunk.[12][13]

Marzin prepared his ship to sortie the next morning; he intended to use the eight rounds loaded in his main guns to attack Hermes. Other forces in Dakar were put on alert and Le Héros again sortied to assist in the attack. While the French preparations were ongoing, the British sent a motorboat from Milford to drop four depth charges under Richelieu's stern to disable her screws, though this attempt failed. At 04:15, a group of Swordfish launched from Hermes as Richelieu was about to get underway. One of their torpedoes struck the ship aft on the starboard side and tore a hole that was 9.3 by 8.5 m (31 by 28 ft) between the propeller shafts. The resulting shock disabled many of the ship's systems. Two of her fire control directors were knocked off their tracks, the starboard propeller shafts were bent, and the blast caused significant flooding. Damage control teams pumped fuel out of the bunkers to counteract the loss of buoyancy aft and the ship was towed into port for repairs. Anti-torpedo nets were set up around the vessel, which had taken on some 2,400 t (2,400 long tons) of water and at low tide rested on the harbor bottom.[13][14][15]

Later that afternoon, tankers came alongside and began pumping oil out of the ship's bunkers to reduce her draft, but water continued to leak into the hull through the cable tunnels. Pumps attached to the ship helped to control the flooding, but the hoses repeatedly pulled loose as Richelieu rose and fell with the waves. To further complicate the effort to repair the ship, Dakar lacked a dry dock sufficient to accommodate Richelieu; the battleship could not simply be drained and plated over. Instead, damaged bulkheads had to be patched and pumped out individually; by 28 August, some 1,300 t (1,300 long tons) of water remained aboard the ship. Heavy use of the pumps caused frequent breakdowns, which further slowed work. In his report on the attack and subsequent repairs, Marin criticized faulty design and construction practices that hindered damage control efforts, including insufficient pumping equipment, poor quality control for the welding of bulkheads, and a failure to ensure that critical components like the turret trunks were watertight.[16]

While work to control and reverse the flooding was ongoing, other repairs were necessary to return the ship to operational status. The fire-control directors needed to be re-seated in their tracks, wiring that had been damaged by flooding or leaking fuel oil had to be replaced, and several of the electrical generators, which had been badly shaken by the blast, needed to be rebuilt. Given the limited ability to repair the damage to the ship, Marzin focused efforts on ensuring that the main and secondary batteries could be effectively used, even if the ship could only be employed as a static floating battery against an expected second attack from British forces. Amiral (Admiral) Jean de Laborde flew to Dakar to conduct an inspection and help to organize the defenses. As part of these preparations, both Plançon and Cayla, who were suspected of being pro-British, were removed from their posts, with Plançon's place taken by CA Platon and then CA Landriau.[17]

Workers in the local shipyard scavenged metal from other ships in the harbor to fabricate an 11.5 m (38 ft) square patch to cover the torpedo hole, which was planned to be installed by 10 September. This would allow the rear magazines for the 152 mm and 37 mm guns to be drained. At the same time, the shipyard began building a steel cofferdam around the ship that was to have been completed by late October, which would allow the rest of the hull to be pumped dry. With the hull pumped out, permanent repairs were to have been completed by January 1941. While this work was being carried out, the crew cleaned and painted the ship and continued to work on readying the armament. A total of 150 complete charges for the main battery were created by remanufacturing the stockpile intended for Strasbourg. Parts of the crew were dispersed for other tasks: 106 were sent to man the armed merchant cruisers in the harbor, whose reservist crews had to be demobilized, and the 64-man crew of the forward gun turret were sent to man the coastal battery at Cap Manuel. After another 132 reservists from Richelieu were demobilized, a total of 1,039 officers and men were left aboard the ship. The 100-, 37-, and 13.2 mm guns were kept manned continuously given the threat of further British air attacks.[18]

HMS Barham FL1472
HMS Barham, Richelieu's primary opponent during the battle

While repairs were being carried out in August, the British began preparations for another attack, codenamed Operation Menace. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill sought to use a contingent of Free French forces led by Charles de Gaulle to invade the colony and seize the ship for use against Germany. By late August, a convoy had been assembled with five ships carrying weapons and supplies got underway, later rendezvousing with a second convoy of six troop ships carrying some 2,400 Free French soldiers and 4,270 British soldiers. The naval support force consisted of the aircraft carrier Ark Royal and the battleships Barham and Resolution, along with four cruisers and numerous other warships. The plan called for de Gaulle to use his French forces to attempt to secure the colony, only calling on British support if the Vichy forces resisted him. At the same time, several French colonies in Africa defected to Free France, prompting the Vichy government to secure authorization from the German Armistice Commission to send several light cruisers and destroyers to reinforce their holdings in Africa, designated Force Y. Owing to the risk of encountering British vessels on the passage, the destroyers were temporarily left in Casablanca while the three cruisers, carrying supplies and additional men to crew the coastal batteries, raced south at high speed. They reached Dakar on 14 September, and after disembarking the men and supplies, continued on south to French Equatorial Africa (in what is now present-day Gabon).[19][20]

The British believed that the arrival of Force Y indicated that the French were aware of Operation Menace, but de Gaulle decided to proceed with the attack regardless. While Force Y steamed south, two of the three cruisers were intercepted by British cruisers and forced to fall back to Dakar, arriving there again on 20 September, by which time the destroyers had arrived. On 22 September, the liner SS Banfora was due to arrive with a load of 380 mm shells, and as a result, French search aircraft were arrayed to the north to cover the liner's approach; they were completely surprised by the arrival of the Anglo-Free French force on the morning of 23 September. A small party of Free French troops sent to rally the port to de Gaulle was repulsed with machine-gun fire and Richelieu's 100 mm guns fired warning shots toward the Free French aviso Savorgnan de Brazza shortly after 07:00. On the approach of the sloops Commandant Dominé and Commandant Duboc at 08:10, Richelieu again fired warning shots from her 100 mm guns. The British warships approached the port and came under fire from the coastal batteries, leading the Anglo-Free French commanders, de Gaulle and Admiral Andrew Cunningham to conclude that they would have to directly attack the port if the operation was to succeed.[20][21][22]

Barham and Resolution opened fire on Richelieu at 11:05, but poor visibility hampered the British shooting and they checked fire after twenty minutes, having inflicted only splinter damage to the cruiser Montcalm and the destroyer Le Malin. The French coastal batteries hit several of the cruisers and destroyers, but Richelieu was moored facing north, which prevented her from taking part in the initial duel. Following the British withdrawal, Marzin used tugboats to turn the ship far enough to enable her to bring her main battery to bear. The defenses of Dakar now alerted, the Free French then attempted to land further east at Rufisque, but the landing there was repulsed as well. The British and Free French withdrew to regroup for another attack the next day. Between 06:25 and 08:00 on 24 September, the British launched three strikes with Swordfish and Blackburn Skua bombers. These attacks scored no hits on Richelieu owing to poor visibility, though they made several near-misses that inflicted no damage. In return, Richelieu's gunners claimed three of the six aircraft that were shot down, and damaged another. An hour and a half later, the British battleships and two heavy cruisers approached and took Richelieu under fire with their 380 mm main batteries.[20][23][24]

Richelieu returned fire at 09:40, but her No. 7 gun was destroyed by a shell that detonated in the barrel and the No. 8 gun was also badly damaged. This was first traced to the use of the remanufactured propellant from Strasbourg, but during a later inquiry in 1941, it was determined that the explosions were caused by a flaw in the design of the shell base.[25][26] Guns Nos. 5 and 6 remained in action but they failed to score any hits. At 09:57, one of Richelieu's secondary guns hit Barham, though the British ships inflicted little damage in return, apart from minor splinter damage before breaking off at 10:07. During this period, the French counted some 160 shells that hit near the ship, but they did little damage. The French then laid smoke screens to obscure Richelieu before the British returned to the action at 12:53, initially targeting a destroyer before bombarding the port for the next half an hour. Richelieu was not struck in the barrage, during which at 12:56, she used guns 5 and 6 to engage the British cruisers, quickly straddling one of them and convincing them to disengage. She fired four 380 mm shells at Barham at 13:11–13:12 but failed to hit with any, though both British battleships had been hit several times by the coastal batteries. After disengaging for the day, de Gaulle decided to abandon the operation, but Cunningham convinced him to allow a final attempt the next morning. In the meantime, Marzin decided to transfer the crews from turret 2 to turret 1, which also required moving the shells and propellant between magazines.[27][28]

As the British approached on the morning of 25 September, Marzin decided to engage Barham with his main battery and Resolution with his 152 mm guns. While the British were approaching their bombardment positions, Richelieu shot down one of the reconnaissance planes shortly before 07:00. She opened fire at 09:04 with her main battery, firing two shots that fell short, and the coastal guns and Force Y cruisers followed suit shortly thereafter. While the British battleships were turning to unmask their rear guns, the submarine Bévéziers torpedoed and badly damaged Resolution. Barham avoided the torpedoes and opened fire, quickly straddling Richelieu and at 09:15, she scored a hit amidships that penetrated above the side armor, though it caused no casualties. In return, Richelieu hit Barham in the bow, but it did little damage. At 09:25, the British disengaged to cover Resolution's withdrawal. After the British were gone, the gun crew attempted to clear the shells that had been loaded in guns 5 and 6 and the shell in No. 5 also exploded, leaving No. 6 the only operable gun in the turret. In total, French warships in the harbor lost 100 dead and 182 wounded, while another 84 were killed and 197 wounded among the civilian population.[20][29][30]

Beginning on 29 September, the battlecruiser HMS Renown and escorting destroyers were detached from Force H to patrol off Dakar, as the British believed Richelieu would be transferred to metropolitan France for repairs. The British ships remained in the area until 1 October when it became clear that the ship would not be moved.[31]

Richelieu at Dakar in 1941

Repair work resumed immediately. The hit from Barham did little serious damage to the ship, but it nevertheless caused extensive deformation of interior bulkheads, the armor deck was forced down where the shell hit it, and the uptakes from the boilers were damaged. Wiring in the area was also cut by fragments and needed to be replaced. On 10 October, the workers attempted to attach the patch that had been manufactured, but it did not work; it did not create a watertight seal, which meant the compartments could not be pumped out. The patch was abandoned in the hopes that the cofferdam, then nearing completion, would work. The cofferdam was modeled to conform to the hull and was built with an interior void that could be used as a ballast tank so it could be floated in position and sunk in place. The cofferdam was ready by late December, which allowed the hull to be pumped dry and then sealed with welded plates and cement; the hull was finally sealed by 28 February 1941. Further repairs were hampered by the German Armistice Commission, which attempted to slow progress to prevent the ship from returning to full operational status. They blocked the shipment of new guns or a new propeller shaft, and severely constrained the transfer of other equipment. During this period, on 27 February, CV Deramond replaced Marzin as the ship's commander.[32]

As repairs were carried out, the ship saw little activity through late 1942 apart from engaging unidentified aircraft on 28 July and 29 September 1941 and 26 February and 12 May 1942.[33] During this period, in April 1941, the ship received the first radar set installed on a French battleship. And in July, her Loire seaplanes finally arrived; tests with the catapults were conducted in October.[34] On 10 April 1942, the ship conducted a test firing with gun No. 6 to demonstrate that the shell design problem had been corrected; all six shells were fired without incident. On 8 November, American and British forces landed in French North Africa (code-named Operation Torch), which prompted the Germans to invade the rest of Vichy France, which in turn led Darlan to defect to the Allies with the rest of the fleet.[33]

The United States Navy sent a group to evaluate the ships under Darlan's control to determine which should be modernized in the United States. The only French battleship still in service, Richelieu was an obvious candidate. The US Navy had not initially been interested in repairing Richelieu; while the Germans and Italians retained a number of powerful battleships, the United States had recently commissioned or would soon complete eight fast battleships, more than sufficient to cover US requirements for the Pacific War and to send to Europe to reinforce the Royal Navy. In addition, repairing and modernizing a ship the size of Richelieu would require significant resources that could be used for other purposes. But pressure from Britain and the Free French convinced the Navy to agree to the project. For France, she was the only surviving modern battleship and thus a major symbol of national prestige, while the British had long sought to acquire the vessel to stiffen the Mediterranean Fleet, which at that time had just two new battleships to oppose their three Italian counterparts.[35]

French battleship Richelieu in New York
Richelieu in the United States for repairs

She ran sea trials from 25 to 29 January 1943 to evaluate the state of her engines, which had not been used since July 1940. Her aircraft facilities and anti-aircraft armament were removed during the evaluation period, as they would be replaced by US equipment. On 30 January, she departed Dakar with Montcalm, bound for New York City, where both vessels would be modernized. Richelieu steamed at a speed of 14 kn (26 km/h; 16 mph) and her rudder had to be held to seven degrees to account for the hull deformation. The ships arrived on 11 February and on the 18th, Richelieu was taken into Dock No. 5 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard to begin the modernization.[33][36]

Free-French career: 1943–1945

Political tensions between the United States and France played a major role in determining how much Richelieu would be modernized. The US Navy refused to transfer the latest radar equipment on the basis that it was too sensitive to be released. As a result, much of the improvement was limited to the installation of a new anti-aircraft battery of the latest US weapons and auxiliary equipment in addition to a thorough overhaul and permanent repairs to the torpedo damage. Three shifts of workers, totaling some 2,000 men, worked on the ship twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, for five months to rush the ship back into service. The modifications to the ship increased her displacement by about 3,000 t (3,000 long tons). While the ship was being modernized, CV Lambert replaced Deramont as the ship's commander on 29 April.[37]

Richelieu Ney York
Richelieu arrives in New York with her damaged turret. The uppermost fire control director on the fore tower had to be dismantled for her to pass under the Brooklyn Bridge to the New York Navy Yard

The ship's armament required extensive repairs and modifications to bring Richelieu up to modern standards. First, three of the eight main battery guns had to be replaced, which required removing the turret roof. Since the gun cradles were undamaged, the guns were simply replaced by barrels taken from Jean Bart, which had been recovered at Casablanca during Operation Torch. The shell handling equipment of both the primary and secondary guns was thoroughly overhauled, with wiring being replaced and the shell and propellant lifts being rebuilt—the latter had never been made to function correctly while the ship was in Dakar. Ammunition for the primary and secondary guns was now a problem, as the source, factories in France, was occupied by German forces. Drawings of the plans for the 380 mm shells were prepared in Dakar and forwarded to the United States, where a contract to produce 930 shells was ordered from Crucible Steel. American 6-inch/47 Mk 16 shells were used as a starting point to supply the 152 mm guns, as they were the same caliber and required relatively minor modifications for use in the French weapons.[38]

Her 100 mm guns were retained, but her light anti-aircraft battery now consisted of fifty-six 40 mm (1.6 in) Bofors guns in quadruple mounts, all placed with their own Mk 51 gun director. These were arranged with two abreast the superfiring turret, two on either side of the forward tower, another two per side of the aft tower, and the remaining four on the quarterdeck, where the aircraft catapults had been. These guns were supplemented with fifty 20 mm (0.79 in) Oerlikon cannons, all in individual or twin mounts. Nine were placed on the forecastle aft of the breakwater, four were mounted on the superfiring turret, nine were placed on the former aircraft hangar, with the rest dispersed around the superstructure, including on the towers and the shelter deck.[39]

Richelieu's tower foremast was heavily reconfigured; the upper main battery director (which had never been operational) had been removed to allow the ship to clear the Brooklyn Bridge, was left off. In its place, the radome for the SF surface search radar was installed, along with the mattress antenna for the SA-2 air search radar; these were short-range sets that had been designed for small craft, the SA-2 intended for PT boats. Most of the command spaces in the tower were converted for other uses. The fire control systems for the main battery had to be replaced and those for the secondary guns were repaired with new wiring and telephones. The ship's original Anschütz gyrocompasses were replaced with Sperry models. The ship's propulsion system was thoroughly overhauled: the turbines were thoroughly repaired and the boilers were re-tubed. Much of the wiring throughout the ship was replaced, and a degaussing cable was installed.[40]

To repair the hull, the concrete was broken up and removed, the sections that had been most badly damaged by the torpedo were stripped of all fittings, and deformed bulkheads and plating were cut out. After more than two and a half years without being dry-docked in a tropical port, the hull needed maintenance beyond simply repairing the torpedo damage, though given the conditions to which it had been subjected, it was in fairly good condition. It was sandblasted and those sections of plating that exhibited pitting had new plates welded over top. The starboard propeller shafts also required repairs: the mounting brackets were straightened, but the inboard shaft was too badly damaged and had to be replaced. Bethlehem Steel fabricated a replacement that was installed in June. The bottom row of portholes were closed off, as the increase in displacement pushed them closer to the waterline.[41]

Beginning in late August and continuing into mid-September, Richelieu began firing trials in the Chesapeake Bay; firing the main battery forward on 29 August revealed the need for a blast screen to protect the forecastle 20 mm guns, as the test accidentally destroyed two of the guns and their ammunition lockers. With her normal displacement now at 43,600 t (42,900 long tons) and her hull slightly bowed (possibly caused by the torpedo hit), Richelieu began machinery trials in late September. On 25 September, the ship reached her new top speed of 31.5 kn (58.3 km/h; 36.2 mph), cruising at that speed for thirty minutes, despite the deformation of her hull and the significant increase in displacement. The following day, she steamed for six hours at 26.5 kn (49.1 km/h; 30.5 mph), for two hours at 28.9 kn (53.5 km/h; 33.3 mph), and finally for fifty minutes at 30.2 kn (55.9 km/h; 34.8 mph).[42]

As completed, the ship's displacement had grown to 43,957 t (43,263 long tons) normally and 47,728 t (46,974 long tons) fully loaded; draft correspondingly increased to 9.22 m (30.2 ft) and 10.68 m (35 ft), respectively. Compared to her original wartime crew of 1,569 officers and men, Richelieu was now to be manned by a total of 1,930, amounting to 86 officers, 287 petty officers, and 1,557 men. The major increase in complement was largely the result of the additional anti-aircraft guns and radar systems. The ship conducted further trials into October, and on the 14th the ship was finally ready to get underway for European waters.[43]

The Royal Navy during the Second World War A20935-colourised
Anti-aircraft gunners aboard Richelieu during target practice with the British fleet

Escorted by the destroyers USS Tarbell and Ellet, Richelieu departed the US on 14 October, nominally bound for Gibraltar. The destroyers departed while underway, allowing Richelieu to keep up a speed of 24 knots (44 km/h; 28 mph) in heavy seas. The ship stopped in the Azores, Portugal, where she met the French destroyers Le Fantasque and Le Terrible and the British destroyer Active, which was limited to a speed of 20 kn (37 km/h; 23 mph); Active quickly left the group, which proceeded not to Gibraltar, but to Mers El Kébir. There, she replenished supplies; it had been intended to deploy the ship with the Mediterranean Fleet, but Italy had surrendered in September, removing the threat posed by the Italian Littorio-class battleships. Richelieu was instead sent north to join the Home Fleet, which included the four surviving King George V-class battleships. When Richelieu departed the Mediterranean, Cunningham, now the commander of the Mediterranean Fleet, recommended to the Admiralty that she be fitted with gunnery radars. The ship was escorted by the destroyers HMS Musketeer and HMS Scourge, and on arrival in Scapa Flow, Admiral Bruce Fraser, the Home Fleet commander, inspected the battleship on 24 November. Work began immediately on installing a Type 284 gunnery radar while the ship began an intensive period of training to acclimate the ship's crew to operating with British units.[44]

The ship saw little activity over the winter of 1943–1944 until February 1944, when she took part in Operation Posthorn. Richelieu, the battleship Anson, and the carrier Furious departed Scapa Flow on 10 February for a raid on German shipping off occupied Norway. The objective was to lure the German heavy cruisers in the area so that the two battleships could destroy them. The carrier aircraft achieved little, sinking a single freighter of 3,000 tons and damaging a repair ship while trading one of the Supermarine Seafire fighters for a German Bf 109 fighter. The fleet returned to port on the 12th, and Richelieu thereafter went to Rosyth for ten days to rest the crew. A repeat sweep was to have taken place at the end of the month, but two of the escorting destroyers collided while leaving Scapa Flow, leading to a postponement that became permanent as a result of bad weather. In March, the Allies determined that five battleships to counter the battleship Tirpitz (which had been damaged in September 1943) was excessive. As a result, Richelieu was detached for other operations. The Allied command initially considered employing her to support the invasion of Normandy, but as she was only supplied with armor-piercing shells, she was instead sent to reinforce the British Eastern Fleet, along with a group of escort aircraft carriers.[45][46]

The ship accordingly steamed to Greenock to take on fuel and ammunition, before cruising south to the Mediterranean with an escort of three British destroyers. She stopped in Algiers on 26 March to take on additional supplies; there, she was visited by General Henri Giraud and Admiral André Lemonnier. Richelieu thereafter departed for the Suez Canal, steaming at a speed of 25 kn (46 km/h; 29 mph); while underway, she began to experience significant boiler problems. The boiler blowers were not providing sufficient oxygen, so the boilers were not fully burning the fuel. As a result, the boiler tubes quickly became fouled and caused overheating. Richelieu stopped in Aden for repairs to the boiler tubes, but the problem was not corrected.[47]

Richelieu (top left) with the battlecruiser Renown (center) and the battleship Valiant (top right) during Operation Transom on 12 May 1944

On entering the Indian Ocean, Richelieu picked up an escort consisting of the destroyers Rotherham, Racehorse, and Quadrant. The four ships arrived in Trincomalee, Ceylon on 10 April, where they joined an Allied fleet that included the carriers Illustrious and USS Saratoga, the battleships Valiant and Queen Elizabeth, and numerous cruisers and destroyers, commanded by Admiral James Somerville. On 16 April, the Eastern Fleet got underway for Operation Cockpit, a diversionary raid to distract the Japanese while American forces landed at Hollandia in New Guinea. Somerville divided his fleet into two squadrons; Richelieu served in Force 69, the main element, with Queen Elizabeth and Valiant, while Renown operated with the two carriers. The plan for Operation Cockpit called for carrier strikes on the port of Sabang, Netherlands East Indies. The fleet arrived in position early on 19 April, and after the carrier aircraft struck the port, Japanese bombers counter-attacked and Richelieu engaged the aircraft with her 100 mm and 40 mm batteries.[48][49]

The next major operation conducted by the Eastern Fleet, Operation Transom, was timed to coincide with American operations in the Central Pacific to keep the attention of the Japanese fleet based in Singapore focused away from the American fleet. For this operation, the target was the major base at Surabaya, which also had significant oil refinery facilities. The Eastern Fleet got underway on 7 May and stopped to refuel on 15 May before arriving two days later. The strike proceeded uneventfully for Richelieu and on 18 May the American contingent detached to rejoin the main American fleet in the Pacific while the Eastern Fleet returned to Trincomalee, arriving on 27 May. Two days later, Richelieu, Queen Elizabeth, and six destroyers steamed to Colombo to rest their crews. While there, Richelieu was visited by Admiral Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander of the South-East Asia Theatre. On 31 May, CV Merveilleux du Vignaux replaced Marzin as the ship's commander.[50][51][52]

Somerville planned another raid for mid-June: Operation Pedal, a carrier attack on the harbor of Port Blair in the Andaman Islands. The purpose of the attack was to again distract the Japanese fleet units in Singapore while American forces embarked on Operation Forager, the invasion of the Marianas Islands. For the Anglo-French operation, Somerville took only the fast ships, including Richelieu, Renown, and Illustrious with their accompanying cruiser and destroyer screens. These ships, designated Force 60, sortied on 19 June and two days later, Illustrious' aircraft struck Japanese targets in the port. The ships arrived back in Trincomalee on 23 June. Operation Crimson followed in July, and given the lack of a response from the Japanese fleet to the earlier raids, Somerville decided to use his battleships and battlecruiser to bombard Sabang and Sumatra. Richelieu and the other ships conducted shooting practice on 7, 14–15, and 17 July in preparation for the raid. The plan called for Richelieu, Valiant, Queen Elizabeth, and Renown, supported by cruisers, to shell the port at longer range while the Dutch cruiser Tromp led a group of destroyers in a close-range attack. Illustrious, joined by the carrier Victorious, which had recently arrived, provided air cover to the fleet.[53][54][55]

Richelieu from Saratoga May 1944
Richelieu on 18 May 1944 after the conclusion of Operation Transom, taken from USS Saratoga

The Eastern Fleet departed on 22 July and reached the target on the morning of 25 July; the carriers launched their combat air patrols and the surface combatants steamed to approach their targets. Richelieu was the last vessel in the line, astern of Renown. Queen Elizabeth, the leading battleship, opened fire at 06:54 at a range of 6,000 m (20,000 ft). The other ships quickly followed suit and F4U Corsair fighters circled overhead to spot for the ships' guns. Richelieu fired four-gun salvos, with two guns per turret, and she scored hits with the second salvo, demolishing several buildings and damaging the power station. Her secondary turrets neutralized a Japanese coastal artillery battery that had been engaging Tromp. At 07:15, the ships ceased firing, and in the brief bombardment, Richelieu had fired 81 main battery shells—this amounted to a rate of fire of a salvo every 50 seconds, nearly twice as fast as the British ships. Japanese aircraft attacked the fleet as it withdrew, but they were kept at bay by the carriers' fighters and heavy anti-aircraft fire from the ships. The fleet arrived back in Trincomalee on 27 July.[56]

By this time, Richelieu was beginning to suffer from reduced speed, the result of continued boiler trouble and biofouling of her hull. Admiral Laurence E. Power, who had replaced Somerville as the fleet commander, detached Richelieu for a refit. The British had initially offered the floating dry-dock AFD-28, but Merveilleux du Vignaux believed that the dry-dock would not be able to accommodate a vessel the size of his ship (he proved to be correct when on 8 August, AFD-28 nearly capsized with Valiant aboard). Richelieu left on 6 September, bound for Algiers with three escorting destroyers. Le Terrible and Le Fantasque took over escort duties after Richelieu passed through the Suez Canal, and on 23 September the three ships arrived in Algiers. Richelieu then steamed north to Toulon on 1 October where she was visited again by Lemonnier, but the shipyard there was in ruins, so she moved to Casablanca on 10 October to be refitted. In addition to the hull cleaning and boiler repairs, she had new fire control and search radars installed, including a US SG-1 search radar, British Type-281B air search radar, and Type-285P fire control radars, in addition to other equipment, including an FV1 jammer and high-frequency direction finding gear.[57][58]

The Royal Navy during the Second World War A23486
Seen from the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth are Valiant (center-right) and Richelieu (right background)

On 23 January 1945, Richelieu left Casablanca for Gibraltar, arriving there two days later to have her hull cleaned and repainted. The French sought to deploy an independent task force consisting of Richelieu, the four light cruisers still in service, and four destroyers, with a view toward reestablishing French control in Indochina. But the United States opposed the move and refused to allocate the necessary aircraft carriers and support ships that would have been necessary for another independent fleet, and so Richelieu could only be sent, alone, back to the Eastern Fleet. The ship conducted trials in February that revealed the problem with her boilers had finally been corrected and she thereafter got underway for Trincomalee, arriving on 20 March. By this time, the modern elements of the Eastern Fleet had been detached to form the British Pacific Fleet, with the Eastern Fleet being renamed the East Indies Fleet. This unit, still under Power's command, consisted of Queen Elizabeth and Renown, nine cruisers, ten escort carriers, and twenty destroyers. Japanese naval strength at Singapore had also significantly decreased to just four heavy cruisers and several destroyers.[59][60]

For the next few weeks, Richelieu was occupied with shooting drills with her primary and secondary batteries and tests for the anti-aircraft radars and command systems. Now assigned to Force 63 of the East Indies Fleet, Richelieu sortied on 8 April to take part in Operation Sunfish, another bombardment of Sabang while aircraft scouted possible landing beaches near the city of Padang on the coast of Sumatra. The ships allocated for the operation consisted of Richelieu, Queen Elizabeth, two heavy cruisers, two escort carriers, and five destroyers. Early on 11 April, the two battleships, one of the cruisers, and three destroyers bombarded the island while the other vessels conducted the reconnaissance operation. Richelieu fired seven salvos with her main battery and used her secondary guns to once again silence the coastal battery on the island. Japanese aircraft launched a poorly-coordinated attack on the battleships but they failed to score any hits. After further carrier operations around Padang, the fleet returned to port on 20 April.[61][62]

The next major operation followed a week later. Operation Bishop, a strike against Japanese airfields in the Nicobar and Andaman Islands, was to cover British Army landings at Rangoon in Burma. The plan called for the East Indies Fleet to be divided into multiple groups, each with escorting cruisers and destroyers: four of the escort carriers were to directly support the landings, Richelieu and Queen Elizabeth each formed independent surface action groups, and another pair of escort carriers provided air protection for the surface groups. The fleet got underway on 27 April and reached Car Nicobar two days later. Richelieu bombarded the airfields at a range of 23,600 m (77,400 ft), firing a total of 80 main and 45 secondary shells. She incurred minor damage to her bow 20 mm guns from the blast effects of firing the main battery nearly directly forward. The fleet then proceeded to the Andamans, and at 17:30, Richelieu opened fire at Port Blair; poor visibility hampered her shooting, and she ceased fire at 18:07, by now having expended the main battery ammunition that had been allotted for the bombardment. She nevertheless returned on 2 May to shell the harbor with her secondary guns, firing 120 rounds and inflicting significant damage to the harbor facilities. The fleet steamed north to Rangoon to support the landings, but it was discovered that the Japanese had already withdrawn, allowing the fleet to return to Trincomalee on 8 May.[63][64]

The Royal Navy during the Second World War A23483 cropped
Richelieu astern of Valiant during Operation Bishop

A decrypted Japanese radio signal revealed that the cruiser Haguro and the destroyer Kamikaze were to steam from Singapore to Port Blair to evacuate the garrison there on the night of 12–13 May while another transport vessel would pick up the troops at Car Nicobar. On 9 May, a pair of British submarines spotted Haguro was it passed through the Malacca Strait, so the East Indies Fleet launched Operation Dukedom to intercept the Japanese ships. Richelieu steamed with the heavy cruiser HMS Cumberland as Group 3 of Force 61. Aware that Allied ships were at sea, Haguro and Kamikaze turned back, though they were spotted by aircraft from the escort carriers and then sunk by destroyers of the 26th Destroyer Flotilla before Richelieu and Cumberland could arrive. Japanese aircraft attacked the fleet as it withdrew back to Trincomalee but were, once again, poorly coordinated and they failed to damage the ships. Richelieu arrived in port on 18 May.[65][66]

On arrival, the ship took on additional ammunition and fuel, and over the coming weeks, she underwent repairs to her boilers and took part in shooting practice. The bombardments carried out earlier in the year had revealed excessive dispersion of the main battery shells, particularly if both guns on one side of the turret were fired at the same time. The crew at that time was unable to determine the cause of the problem, though tests with the remanufactured Strasbourg charges reduced the problem. On 3 June, the destroyer Le Triomphant arrived with spare equipment for Richelieu, which was sent to Durban for another refit. Her hull again needed to be scraped and her boilers required a re-tubing. The ship had to stop in Diego Suarez on the way to disembark non-white crewmen at the request of the racist government of South Africa; though this caused resentment among the crew, the French nevertheless complied. Richelieu arrived on 18 July and work lasted from 31 July to 10 August. Thirteen of the ship's 20 mm guns were replaced with four 40 mm guns, as the lighter weapons had proved to be ineffective against kamikazes. The ship conducted training and trials of South Africa before departing for Diego Suarez, ultimately arriving back in Trincomalee on 18 August, by which time Japan had surrendered.[67][68]

Postwar era

Immediately after the surrender of Japan, French and British forces began their attempts to reassert control in their Japanese-occupied colonies. On 7 September, Richelieu got underway in company with the British battleship Nelson to take part in Operation Zipper, the amphibious landing on Sumatra. Two days later, Richelieu detonated a magnetic mine, though she suffered only minor damage; the force of the blast pushed in some hull plates by 10 to 12 cm (3.9 to 4.7 in) and inflicted minor shock damage to the lighting system, but the vessel remained with the fleet. After landing the troops with no opposition, Richelieu moved to Singapore on 11 September to participate in Operation Tiderace, the liberation of the city, the following day. She returned to Trincomalee on 16 September before getting underway again on 27 September, bound for Indochina. She steamed with Le Triomphant as escorts for the transport ships Queen Emma and Princess Beatrix, which carried French soldiers to restore colonial rule in Indochina. French rule was opposed by the Viet Minh, and on arrival Richelieu was used to support the forces ashore in a variety of capacities: she served as a staging area, hospital, artillery support, and troop transport. She also contributed a landing party to the forces fighting to reassert French control.[69][70][71]

Richelieu, Le Triomphant, and Le Fantasque took part in Operation Mapor at Nha Trang from 20 to 26 November, providing heavy fire support to soldiers fighting in the area. By this time, a French squadron consisting of the aircraft carrier Béarn and the cruisers Gloire, Suffren, and Émile Bertin had arrived in mid-October, allowing Richelieu to be returned to France. Before leaving, Richelieu sent her four single 40 mm guns and most of her 20 mm guns ashore, along with a considerable stockpile of ammunition for the guns and 152 mm shells. She departed on 29 December and arrived in Toulon on 11 February 1946, thereafter taking part in the transport effort to send French soldiers back from France to North Africa. With that completed, she steamed north to Cherbourg, arriving to be dry-docked on 16 March. Repairs lasted until 20 July, and consisted of replacing the starboard propeller, correcting the hull damage from the mine in September 1945, and thoroughly overhauling her boilers.[69][72]

With the repairs completed, Richelieu sailed to Britain to carry the crew for the aircraft carrier HMS Colossus, which was to be loaned to the French for five years, serving as Arromanches. Richelieu thereafter began a training cruise that included stops in Casablanca, Mers-el-Kébir, and Dakar. Later that year, she visited Portugal in company with Arromanches. She returned to Brest for modifications to the secondary battery from February to March 1947. The ship thereafter formed the core of a battle group that included three ex-German destroyers, based in Cherbourg. The group, along with a carrier group centered on Arromanches and cruiser group, both based in Toulon, were combined to form the Force d'Intervention, with Richelieu as the flagship of Vice Amiral (Vice Admiral) Robert Jaujard. The unit embarked on a training cruise to Africa in May and June, beginning with the three groups assembling in Casablanca on 8 May. Richelieu arrived back in Cherbourg on 13 June and began a period of maintenance and training of new crew members. Another training cruise to North Africa followed late in 1947, and while there she conducted shooting practice to try to determine the cause of the excessive shell dispersion. The subsequent installation of 60-millisecond delays to the firing circuits of the outer guns in the turrets created enough space between the shells that they did not disrupt each other in flight, significantly improving the issue.[73][74][75]

The Force d'Intervention was reactivated for another cruise in early 1948; the three constituent groups rendezvoused at Toulon and then conducted training exercises off North Africa. While in Mers-el-Kébir, the ship was slightly damaged while being moored in the port. Following the conclusion of the maneuvers, the force was disbanded and Richelieu steamed north to Brest, arriving on 29 May. The ship was in need of a thorough refit, and she was dry-docked in Cherbourg from August to September to survey the work that would be needed to be done. Jaujard left the ship and her crew was reduced to 750 men. Since the French naval budget was in a very limited state owing to the wrecked French economy in the immediate postwar years, Richelieu's refit was postponed to allow the funds to be used to complete Jean Bart instead. Richelieu was accordingly placed in reserve on 1 April 1949. The refit eventually began on 1 January 1950 and lasted until 24 October 1951, and it included a thorough overhaul of her propulsion machinery, replacement of her worn main and secondary battery guns, and repairs to her anti-aircraft battery, along with other modifications.[76]

Canon Richelieu Brest
One of the two remaining 380 mm guns of Richelieu, by the Penfeld river in Brest

During the refit, it was decided that the ship's anti-aircraft battery was too dated to allow the ship to operate in the era of jet aircraft; coupled with the need to update the ship's radar and electronics and install more capable command spaces, the costs would have been prohibitively high for the French Navy. Instead of fully modernizing the vessel, the navy decided to employ Richelieu as a training ship in the gunnery school in February 1951. After completing the refit, the ship underwent trials in November that involved firing nine rounds per gun from the main battery; this would be the last time Richelieu fired the 380 mm guns. Beginning in May 1952, the ship was based in Toulon as the flagship of CA Champion, and she spent the next few years conducting shooting practice with the secondary and smaller weapons to train the fleet's gunners. Another refit followed from October 1953 to February 1954. This involved replacing the British gunnery radar with a French-built set.[77]

For the first and last time of either of their careers, Richelieu and Jean Bart cruised together on 30 January 1956. The ship's career as a sea-going gunnery ship ended in February, when she was laid up in Brest. To prepare Richelieu for reserve, dehumidifiers were installed in the secondary turrets to inhibit rust and the 100 mm and 40 mm quad mounts were covered. The single 40 mm guns and all of the 20 mm guns still aboard the vessel were removed. She was thereafter used as a stationary school ship for reserve officers and as a floating barracks until 30 September 1967, when she was struck from the naval register. Renamed Q432, she was condemned on 16 January 1968 and sold to the Genoa-based ship breaker Cantieri Navali Santa Maria in September. Before departing Brest, her 380 mm guns were removed and two were later preserved, one in Brest and the other in Ruelle. Richelieu was then towed to La Spezia, where she was broken up for scrap over the course of the following year.[78][79]



  1. ^ /45 refers to the length of the gun in terms of calibers; a /45 gun is 45 times long as it is in bore diameter.


  1. ^ Jordan & Dumas, pp. 94–97.
  2. ^ a b c Gardiner & Chesneau, p. 260.
  3. ^ Jordan & Dumas, pp. 99–101.
  4. ^ Jordan & Dumas, p. 99.
  5. ^ Jordan & Dumas, pp. 98, 122.
  6. ^ Jordan & Dumas, pp. 123–124.
  7. ^ Jordan & Dumas, pp. 124–125.
  8. ^ a b c Rohwer, p. 29.
  9. ^ Jordan & Dumas, p. 125.
  10. ^ Jordan & Dumas, pp. 125–126.
  11. ^ Jordan & Dumas, pp. 72, 126.
  12. ^ Jordan & Dumas, p. 126.
  13. ^ a b Rohwer, p. 32.
  14. ^ Jordan & Dumas, p. 127.
  15. ^ Williams, pp. 93–94.
  16. ^ Jordan & Dumas, pp. 128, 137.
  17. ^ Jordan & Dumas, pp. 137–138.
  18. ^ Jordan & Dumas, pp. 138–139.
  19. ^ Jordan & Dumas, pp. 139–141.
  20. ^ a b c d Rohwer, p. 42.
  21. ^ Jordan & Dumas, p. 141.
  22. ^ Williams, pp. 109–114.
  23. ^ Jordan & Dumas, pp. 141–142.
  24. ^ Williams, pp. 137–139.
  25. ^ Dumas, pp. 77–78.
  26. ^ Jordan & Dumas, pp. 143, 149.
  27. ^ Jordan & Dumas, pp. 143–145.
  28. ^ Williams, p. 140.
  29. ^ Jordan & Dumas, p. 147.
  30. ^ Williams, pp. 152–154.
  31. ^ Rohwer, p. 43.
  32. ^ Jordan & Dumas, pp. 125, 147–149.
  33. ^ a b c Jordan & Dumas, p. 150.
  34. ^ Dumas, pp. 34, 50.
  35. ^ Jordan & Dumas, pp. 150, 181.
  36. ^ Dumas, pp. 37, 50.
  37. ^ Jordan & Dumas, pp. 125, 181–182, 186.
  38. ^ Jordan & Dumas, pp. 186–187.
  39. ^ Jordan & Dumas, pp. 186–188.
  40. ^ Jordan & Dumas, pp. 186, 188–189.
  41. ^ Jordan & Dumas, p. 182.
  42. ^ Jordan & Dumas, pp. 186, 188.
  43. ^ Jordan & Dumas, p. 189.
  44. ^ Jordan & Dumas, p. 190.
  45. ^ Jordan & Dumas, pp. 190–191.
  46. ^ Rohwer, pp. 307, 313.
  47. ^ Jordan & Dumas, p. 192.
  48. ^ Jordan & Dumas, pp. 192–193.
  49. ^ Rohwer, p. 319.
  50. ^ Jordan & Dumas, pp. 193–194, 199.
  51. ^ Lepotier, pp. 204–205.
  52. ^ Rohwer, p. 323.
  53. ^ Jordan & Dumas, p. 194.
  54. ^ Lepotier, pp. 206–207, 209–214.
  55. ^ Rohwer, pp. 334, 344.
  56. ^ Jordan & Dumas, pp. 194–195.
  57. ^ Jordan & Dumas, p. 195.
  58. ^ Lepotier, p. 217.
  59. ^ Jordan & Dumas, p. 196.
  60. ^ Lepotier, pp. 195–217.
  61. ^ Jordan & Dumas, p. 197.
  62. ^ Rohwer, p. 408.
  63. ^ Jordan & Dumas, pp. 198–199.
  64. ^ Rohwer, p. 412.
  65. ^ Jordan & Dumas, p. 199.
  66. ^ Rohwer, p. 417.
  67. ^ Jordan & Dumas, pp. 199–200.
  68. ^ Sarnet & Le Vaillant, pp. 325, 329.
  69. ^ a b Jordan & Dumas, pp. 200–201.
  70. ^ Sarnet & Le Vaillant, pp. 330–334.
  71. ^ Rohwer, pp. 429, 432.
  72. ^ Rohwer, p. 432.
  73. ^ Jordan & Dumas, pp. 201–204.
  74. ^ Lepotier, pp. 285–289.
  75. ^ Dumas, pp. 43, 74.
  76. ^ Jordan & Dumas, pp. 204–205.
  77. ^ Jordan & Dumas, pp. 205–206.
  78. ^ Jordan & Dumas, p. 206.
  79. ^ Dumas, p. 60.


  • Dumas, Robert (2001). Le cuirassé Richelieu 1935–1968 [The Battleship Richelieu 1935–1968] (in French). Nantes: Marines édition. OCLC 248848350.
  • Gardiner, Robert & Chesneau, Roger, eds. (1980). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships, 1922–1946. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-0-87021-913-9.
  • Jordan, John & Dumas, Robert (2009). French Battleships 1922–1956. Barnsley: Seaforth Punblishing. ISBN 978-1-84832-034-5.
  • Lepotier, Adolphe (1967). Les Derniers Cuirassés [The Last Battleships] (in French). Paris: Éditions France-Empire. OCLC 491030583.
  • Rohwer, Jurgen (2005). Chronology of the War at Sea 1939–1945 – The Naval History of World War II. London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-59114-119-8.
  • Sarnet, René & Le Vaillant, Eric (1997). Richelieu (in French). Nantes: Marines édition. ISBN 978-2-909675-32-9.
  • Williams, John (1976). The Guns of Dakar: September 1940. London: William Heinemann Ltd. ISBN 978-0-434-86630-4.

External links

810 Naval Air Squadron

810 Naval Air Squadron was a Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm carrier based squadron formed on 3 April 1933 with the amalgamation of the 12 Blackburn Dart aircraft from 463 and 44 Flight (Fleet Torpedo) Flights Royal Air Force to the Fleet Air Arm. The squadron saw action during the Second World War, the Suez Crisis and the Korean War.

814 Naval Air Squadron

814 Naval Air Squadron or 814 NAS, nicknamed the Flying Tigers, is a squadron of the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm. It is currently equipped with the AgustaWestland Merlin HM2 anti-submarine warfare helicopter and is based at Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Culdrose in Cornwall. The squadron was formed in December 1938 and has been disbanded and reformed several times.

Battle of Elephant Point

The Battle of Elephant Point was an airborne operation conducted by a composite Gurkha airborne battalion that took place on 1 May 1945. In March 1945, plans were made for an assault on Rangoon, the capital of Burma, as a stepping-stone on the way to recapturing Malaya and Singapore. Initial plans for the assault on the city had called for a purely land-based approach by British Fourteenth Army, but concerns about heavy Japanese resistance led to this being modified with the addition of a joint amphibious-airborne assault. This assault, led by 26th Indian Division, would sail up the Rangoon River, but before it could do so, the river would have to be cleared of Japanese and British mines. In order to achieve this, coastal defences along the river would have to be neutralized, including a battery at Elephant Point.

This task was given to 44th Indian Airborne Division, but the division was in the middle of a reorganization, and as such a composite battalion was formed from two Gurkha parachute battalions. The battalion assembled and then trained throughout April, and then early in the morning of 1 May was dropped near Elephant Point. As it advanced towards the battery one of the battalion's companies was attacked by American bombers, causing a number of casualties. Despite this, and torrential rain, the battalion successfully assaulted Elephant Point and neutralized the battery there after a fierce firefight. It remained around Elephant Point until 2 May, when 26th Indian Division conducted its amphibious assault and secured Rangoon.

Bryn Allen

Brynley William Allen (23 March 1921 – 21 July 2005) was a Welsh professional footballer who played as an inside forward for various clubs in the 1940s and 1950s and made two appearances for Wales.

French West Africa in World War II

In World War II, French West Africa (Afrique occidentale française, AOF) was not the scene of major fighting. Only one large-scale action took place there: the Battle of Dakar (23–25 September 1940). The region remained under the control of Vichy France after the fall of France (25 June 1940) and until the Allied invasion of North Africa (8–16 November 1942). French Gabon, the only colony of French Equatorial Africa not to join Free France after the armistice, fell to invading Free French Forces from the neighbouring colonies after the Battle of Gabon (8–12 November 1940), further isolating West Africa.

Unlike in metropolitan France, the French Colonial Troops in West Africa were not reduced after the 1940 armistice and the region was little interfered with by the Axis powers, providing a valuable addition to the forces of Free France after it had been liberated. Before this happened, there was some tension between the French and the neighbouring British colonies, particularly Sierra Leone, leading to the formation of the Freetown Defence Flight in June 1941, but no military incidents took place.

French ship Richelieu

Four ships of the French Navy have been named in honour of Armand-Jean du Plessis, Cardinal Richelieu, considered to be one of the founders of the French Navy.

HMS Anson (79)

HMS Anson was a King George V-class battleship of the Royal Navy, named after Admiral George Anson. She was built by Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson Shipyard and launched on 24 February 1940, being completed on 22 June 1942. Her completion was delayed to allow the fitting of fire-control radar and additional anti-aircraft weapons. She was originally to have been named Jellicoe, but was renamed Anson in February 1940.

Anson saw service in the Second World War, escorting nine Russian convoys in the Arctic by December 1943. She took part in diversionary moves to draw attention away from Operation Husky in July 1943. In October the same year she took part in Operation Leader. In February 1944 she provided cover for Operation Tungsten, the successful air strike against the German battleship Tirpitz. Rear Admiral Cecil Harcourt accepted the surrender of Japanese forces occupying Hong Kong on board Anson in August 1945, and after the end of the war the vessel became the flagship of the 1st Battle Squadron of the British Pacific Fleet.

Anson arrived back in British waters on 29 July 1946, spending the next three years in active service with the post-war navy. She was finally placed in reserve and "mothballed" in 1949, spending eight years in this condition. On 17 December 1957 she was purchased for scrap by Shipbreaking Industries, Faslane.

HMS Hermes (95)

HMS Hermes was a British aircraft carrier built for the Royal Navy and was the world's first ship to be designed as an aircraft carrier, although the Imperial Japanese Navy's Hōshō was the first to be launched and commissioned. The ship's construction began during the First World War but not completed until after the end of the war, delayed by multiple changes in her design after she was laid down. After she was launched, the Armstrong Whitworth shipyard which built her closed, and her fitting out was suspended. Most of the changes made were to optimise her design, in light of the results of experiments with operational carriers.

Finally commissioned in 1924, Hermes served briefly with the Atlantic Fleet before spending the bulk of her career assigned to the Mediterranean Fleet and the China Station. In the Mediterranean, she worked with other carriers developing multi-carrier tactics. While showing the flag at the China Station, she helped to suppress piracy in Chinese waters. Hermes returned home in 1937 and was placed in reserve before becoming a training ship in 1938.

When the Second World War began in September 1939, the ship was briefly assigned to the Home Fleet and conducted anti-submarine patrols in the Western Approaches. She was transferred to Dakar in October to cooperate with the French Navy in hunting down German commerce raiders and blockade runners. Aside from a brief refit, Hermes remained there until the fall of France and the establishment of Vichy France at the end of June 1940. Supported by several cruisers, the ship then blockaded Dakar and attempted to sink the French battleship Richelieu by exploding depth charges underneath her stern, as well as sending Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers to attack her at night. While returning from this mission, Hermes rammed a British armed merchant cruiser in a storm and required several months of repairs in South Africa, then resumed patrolling for Axis shipping in the South Atlantic and the Indian Ocean.

In February 1941, the ship supported Commonwealth forces in Italian Somaliland during the East African Campaign and did much the same two months later in the Persian Gulf during the Anglo-Iraqi War. After that campaign, Hermes spent most of the rest of the year patrolling the Indian Ocean. She was refitted in South Africa between November 1941 and February 1942 and then joined the Eastern Fleet at Ceylon.

Hermes was berthed in Trincomalee on 8 April when a warning of an Indian Ocean raid by the Japanese fleet was received, and she sailed that day for the Maldives with no aircraft on board. On 9 April a Japanese scout plane spotted her near Batticaloa, and she was attacked by several dozen dive bombers shortly afterwards. With no air cover, the carrier was quickly sunk by the Japanese aircraft. Most of the survivors were rescued by a nearby hospital ship, although 307 men from Hermes were lost in the sinking.

HMS Resolution (09)

HMS Resolution (pennant number: 09) was one of five Revenge-class battleships built for the Royal Navy during the First World War. The ships were developments of the Queen Elizabeth-class battleships, with reductions in size and speed to offset increases in armour protection whilst retaining the same battery of eight 15-inch (381 mm) guns. Completed in December 1916, Resolution saw no combat during the war as both the British and German fleets adopted a more cautious strategy after the Battle of Jutland in May owing to the increasing threat of naval mines and submarines,.

Resolution spent the 1920s and 1930s alternating between the Atlantic Fleet and the Mediterranean Fleet. Whilst serving in the Mediterranean in the early 1920s, the ship went to Turkey twice in response to crises arising from the Greco-Turkish War, including the Great Fire of Smyrna in 1922. She also saw limited involvement during the Franco-British intervention in the Russian Civil War in the Black Sea in 1920. The ship's interwar career was otherwise uneventful. With the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, Resolution was assigned to the Channel Force before being transferred to convoy escort duties in the North Atlantic. In May 1940, she participated in the Battles of Narvik until German air attacks drove her off.

In June 1940, the ship was transferred to Force H, where she took part in the destruction of the French Fleet at Mers-el-Kebir in July after the French surrender to Germany. She was also involved in the Battle of Dakar, an attempt to neutralise the French battleship Richelieu that ended with Resolution's torpedoing by the French submarine Bévéziers. Badly damaged, Resolution was repaired first in Freetown, Sierra Leone and then the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard under Lend-Lease. Thereafter assigned to the Eastern Fleet, her age kept her from seeing action against the Japanese fleet, and she instead escorted convoys off the eastern coast of Africa. She returned to Britain in September 1943 and was decommissioned, thereafter seeing service with the training establishment HMS Imperieuse, a role she filled until February 1948, when she was paid off, sold for scrap, and broken up at Faslane.

HMS Roebuck (H95)

HMS Roebuck was an R-class destroyer of the British Royal Navy that saw service during World War II. She was the fifteenth ship to carry this traditional ship name, after a small deer native to the British Isles, which was used as far back as the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

Index of World War II articles (F)

F-34 tank gun

F Kikan

F. Burke Jones

F. F. E. Yeo-Thomas

F. F. Worthington

F. H. Maynard

F. Lorée

F. Rogues

F. Ross Holland, Jr.

F. S. Bell

F. W. Winterbotham


Förbundet Arbetarfront

F1 grenade (Russia)

Fab Morvan

Fabian Bourzat

Fabian von Schlabrendorff

Fabien Barthez

Fabien Galthié

Fabrice Abriel

Fabrice Fiorèse

Fabrice Moreau

Fabrice Pancrate

Fabrice Poullain


Faces of War

FAI armoured car

Faidherbe - Chaligny (Paris Métro)

Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife

Fairchild K-20

Fairchild PT-19

Fairey Firefly

Fairey Fulmar

Fairfax Airport

Fairmont Army Airfield


Faisal of Saudi Arabia

Faithful Service Medal

Faja de Oro

Falaise pocket

Fall Grün (Czechoslovakia)

Fall of Berlin - 1945

Fall Weiss (1939)

Fallschirm-Panzer Division 1 Hermann Göring

Fallschirmjäger-Regiment Hübner


Falstad concentration camp

Faneva Imà Andriantsima

Fang Zhenwu

Fannrem concentration camp

Fantasy in the Sky


Far East Air Force (United States)

Far East Prisoners of War

Far Eastern Commission

Far Eastern Front (Soviet Union)

Far Eastern Liaison Office

Fareinigte Partizaner Organizacje

Farewell of Slavianka

Farewell to Manzanar


Farley Mowat

Farouk of Egypt

Fascism and Big Business

Fascism as an international phenomenon

Fast Attack Craft War Badge

Fast Carrier Task Force

Fat Man and Little Boy

Fat Man

Fateless (film)

Fatema Mernissi

Father (film)

Father Goose (film)

Father Jean Bernard

Father Raskin

Fatherland (novel)

Fathom Five (novel)

Fats Everett

Faurisson affair

Faux Soir

Favorite (Q195)

Fay B. Begor

Fazal Din

FBI Silvermaster File

FC Grenoble

FC Nantes

FCM 36


Featherston prisoner of war camp

February strike


Federal Expellee Law

Federal State of Croatia

Federation of Expellees

Fedor Dragojlov

Fedor Tokarev

Fedor von Bock

Feldafing displaced persons camp


Feldmann case

Feldzug in Polen

Felice Schragenheim

Felicity Peake

Feliks Konarski

Felix Alfarth

Felix Bloch

Felix Fechenbach

Felix Kersten

Felix L. Sparks

Felix Landau

Felix Nussbaum

Felix of Bourbon-Parma

Felix Pollaczek

Felix Steiner

Felix Stump

Felix Z. Longoria, Jr.

Fellowship of the Bellows


Female guards in Nazi concentration camps

Female roles in the world wars

Femaru 37M

Feng-Shan Ho

Feng Baiju

Feng Chian

Feng Qinzai

Feng Yuxiang

Feng Zhanhai

Feng Zhi'an

Fenris (comics)

Ferdinand Ďurčanský

Ferdinand André Fouqué

Ferdinand Brunetière

Ferdinand de Lesseps

Ferdinand Foch

Ferdinand Heim

Ferdinand J. Chesarek

Ferdinand James von Rothschild

Ferdinand Lot

Ferdinand Marcos

Ferdinand Maurice Felix West

Ferdinand Oliver Porsche

Ferdinand Schörner

Ferdinand von Bredow

Ferdinand von Lüninck

Ferdinand von Sammern-Frankenegg

Ferdinand Walsin Esterhazy

Ferdynand Antoni Ossendowski

Ferenc Hirzer

Ferenc Keserű

Ferenc Muller

Ferenc Szálasi

Fernand Bonnier de La Chapelle

Fernand Braudel

Fernand Canelle

Fernand Cormon

Fernand de Brinon

Fernand Delarge

Fernand Feyaerts

Fernand Gambiez

Fernand Holweck

Fernand Sanz

Fernande Bochatay

Fernando Henrique Cardoso

Fernando Mezzasoma

Ferruccio Parri

Festung Norwegen

Festung Warschau

FG 42

FH Phantom

Fiat-Revelli Modello 1935

Fiat BR.20

Fiat CR.32

Fiat CR.42

Fiat G.12

Fiat G.50

Fiat G.55

Fiat L6/40

Fiat M11/39

Fiat M13/40

Fiat M14/41

Fiction based on World War II

Fidel LaBarba

Fidél Pálffy

Field Army Bernolák

Field Artillery Tractor

Fieseler Fi 156

Fieseler Fi 167

Fieseler Fi 98


Fifteenth Air Force

Fifteenth Army (Japan)

Fifteenth United States Army

Fifth Air Force

Fifth Army (United Kingdom)

Fifth Encirclement Campaign

Fifth Encirclement Campaign

Fifth United States Army

Fiftieth Army (Japan)

Fifty-Eighth Army (Japan)

Fifty-Fifth Army (Japan)

Fifty-First Army (Japan)

Fifty-Fourth Army (Japan)

Fifty-Ninth Army (Japan)

Fifty-Second Army (Japan)

Fifty-Seventh Army (Japan)

Fifty-Sixth Army (Japan)

Fifty-Third Army (Japan)

Fighter Ace

Fighter Pilots Conspiracy

Fighter Squadron: The Screamin' Demons Over Europe

Fighter Squadron

Fighter: The True Story of the Battle of Britain

Fighting for Freedom

Fighting Norway

Fighting Steel

Filimon Sârbu

Filip Müller

Filipe Teixeira

Filipp Oktyabrskiy

Filles du Calvaire (Paris Métro)

Filthy Thirteen

Final Impact

Final Round - WWII miniatures wargame

Final Solution

Finisterre Range campaign

Finito Benito

Finnish 3rd Division (Continuation War)

Finnish 4th Division (Winter War)

Finnish 6th Division (Continuation War)

Finnish 6th Division (Winter War)

Finnish Armoured Division

Finnish Army (1939)

Finnish coastal defence ship Ilmarinen

Finnish coastal defence ship Väinämöinen

Finnish conquest of East Karelia (1941)

Finnish Democratic Republic

Finnish frigate Hämeenmaa

Finnish frigate Matti Kurki

Finnish frigate Uusimaa

Finnish gunboat Hämeenmaa

Finnish gunboat Karjala

Finnish gunboat Klas Horn

Finnish gunboat Matti Kurki

Finnish gunboat Turunmaa

Finnish gunboat Uusimaa

Finnish I Corps (Winter War)

Finnish II Corps (Winter War)

Finnish III Corps (Continuation War)

Finnish III Corps (Winter War)

Finnish Infantry Regiment 200

Finnish IV Corps (Winter War)

Finnish prisoners of war in the Soviet Union

Finnish reconquest of Ladoga Karelia (1941)

Finnish reconquest of the Karelian Isthmus (1941)

Finnish Volunteer Battalion of the Waffen-SS

Finnish war children

Fire and Ice: The Winter War of Finland and Russia

Fire balloon

Fire Control Towers

Fire on the Mountain (1996 film)

Firepower (video game)

Fires on the Plain (film)

Fires on the Plain

Fires Were Started

Firmin Didot

First Air Force

First air raid on Singapore

First Allied Airborne Army

First American shots fired in World War II

First anti-Partisan offensive

First Army (Australia)

First Army (Bulgaria)

First Army (Hungary)

First Army (Italy)

First Army (United Kingdom)

First Army (Yugoslavia)

First Battalion

First Battle of El Alamein

First Battle of Sirte

First Canadian Army

First Encirclement Campaign against Hubei-Henan-Anhui Soviet

First Encirclement Campaign against Hubei-Henan-Shaanxi Soviet

First Encirclement Campaign against Honghu Soviet

First Encirclement Campaign against Jiangxi Soviet

First Encirclement Campaign against Shaanxi-Gansu Soviet

First Indian National Army

First period of World War II

First Sisak Partisan Detachment

First Taiwan Strait Crisis

First they came...

First United Front

First United States Army Group

First United States Army

First Vienna Award

Fischia il vento

Fission Product Pilot Plant

Fitzroy Maclean

Five for Hell

Five Graves to Cairo

Flag Group

Flag of Manchukuo

Flags of Our Fathers (film)

Flags of Our Fathers

Flak Bait

Flak tower

Flakpanzer 38(t)

Flame of Liberty

Flamethrower, Portable, No 2

Flammenwerfer 35

Fleet Faction

Flemming Muus

Flensburg government

Flensburg radar detector

Fletcher Thompson

Flettner Fl 184

Flettner Fl 282


Flick Trial


Fliegerführer Afrika

Flight and expulsion of Germans from Poland during and after World War II

Flight and expulsion of Germans from Romania during and after World War II

Flight from Ashiya

Flight Lieutenant (film)

Flight of the Norwegian National Treasury

Florence American Cemetery and Memorial

Florence Delay

Florence Jaffray Harriman

Florence Kirsch Du Brul

Florence Picaut

Florent Carton Dancourt

Florentine Rost van Tonningen

Florentius Volusenus

Florian Marciniak

Florian Maurice

Florida Holocaust Museum

Florida World War II Army Airfields

Florin Bratu

Flossenbürg concentration camp

Flower-class corvette

Floyd Hicks

Floyd K. Lindstrom

Floyd Matthews

Fluctuat nec mergitur

Flugmotorenwerke Ostmark

Flugzeugträger B

Flyboys: A True Story of Courage

Flying Leathernecks

Flying Regiment 19, Finnish Air Force

Flying Regiment 4, Finnish Air Force

Flying submarine

Flying Tigers (film)

Flying Tigers

FM 24/29 light machine gun


Führer Begleit Brigade

Führer Grenadier Brigade

Führer Headquarters




Fürstengrube subcamp


Focke-Wulf Fw 187

Focke-Wulf Fw 189

Focke-Wulf Fw 190

Focke-Wulf Fw 191

Focke-Wulf Fw 200

Focke-Wulf Fw 300

Focke-Wulf Fw 42

Focke-Wulf Fw 44

Focke-Wulf Fw 56

Focke-Wulf Fw 57

Focke-Wulf Fw 58

Focke-Wulf Fw 61

Focke-Wulf Project I

Focke-Wulf Project II

Focke-Wulf Project III

Focke-Wulf Project VII

Focke-Wulf Project VIII

Focke-Wulf Ta 152

Focke-Wulf Ta 153

Focke-Wulf Ta 154

Focke-Wulf Ta 183

Focke-Wulf Ta 283

Focke-Wulf Ta 400

Focke-Wulfe Fw 57

Focke Achgelis Fa 223

Focke Achgelis Fa 330

Fodil Hadjadj

Fog Investigation and Dispersal Operation (FIDO)

Foibe massacres

Fokker A.I

Fokker B.I (1915)

Fokker B.II (1916)

Fokker C.I

Fokker D.I

Fokker D.II

Fokker D.III

Fokker D.IV

Fokker D.V

Fokker D.VI

Fokker D.VII

Fokker D.VIII

Fokker Dr.I

Fokker E.I

Fokker E.II

Fokker E.III

Fokker E.IV

Fokker F.I (1917)

Fokker K.I

Fokker M.16

Fokker M.5

Fokker M.7

Fokker V.1

Fokker V.17

Fokker V.2

Fokker V.27

Fokker V.4

Fokker V.6

Fokker V.7

Fokker V.9

Folies Bergère

Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques

Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah

Fontaine-Michalon (Paris RER)

Foo fighter

Food for Fighters

Forbes Howie

Forbidden (1984 film)

Forbidden Games

Force 10 from Navarone (film)

Force 10 From Navarone (novel)

Force 136

Force Acts

Force K

Forced labor in Germany during World War II

Forced labor of Germans in the Soviet Union

Forced labor of Hungarians in the Soviet Union

Forced Landing

Forced prostitution in German armed forces

Ford Fordor

Ford GPA

Ford Island

Foreign Economic Administration

Foreign forced labor in the Soviet Union

Foreign relations of Vichy France

Foreign U-Boats

Forest Brothers

Forest of the Gods

Forest of the Martyrs

Forest swastika

Forgiving Dr. Mengele

Forgotten Voices of the Second World War

Formations of the United States Army during World War II

Former Indian National Army Monument

Forrest B. Royal

Forrest E. Everhart

Forrest E. Peden

Forrest L. Vosler

Forrest Pogue

Forrest S. Petersen

Fort Banks

Fort Bell Army Airfield

Fort Breendonk

Fort d'Aubervilliers (Paris Métro)

Fort Devens, Massachusetts

Fort Hommet 10.5 cm Coastal Defence Gun Casement Bunker

Fort Lincoln Internment Camp

Fort Missoula Internment Camp

Fort Stockton-Pecos County Airport

Fortieth Army (Japan)

Fortunes of War (tv series)

Forty-First Army (Japan)

Forty-Fourth Army (Japan)

Forty-Third Army (Japan)

Foster Furcolo

Fotis Kafatos

Fouad Bouguerra

Four-Power Authorities

Four Chaplains

Four Freedoms (Norman Rockwell)

Four Freedoms Monument

Four Freedoms

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (film)

Four Policemen

Four Year Plan

Fourteenth Air Force

Fourteenth Army (United Kingdom)

Fourteenth United States Army

Fourth Air Force

Fourth Army (National Revolutionary Army)

Fourth Army (United Kingdom)

Fourth Encirclement Campaign against Hubei-Henan-Anhui Soviet

Fourth Encirclement Campaign against Jiangxi Soviet

Fourth strategic offensive

Fourth United States Army

Fousseni Diawara

Fox Armoured Car

Fox on the Rhine


Foxhall P. Keene

Foy Draper

Foyle's War

FP-45 Liberator

FR Suffren

Frøslev Prison Camp

Fragmentation grenade wz.1933

Fran Albreht

Franc Frakelj

Franc Rozman

France Antelme

France Bloch-Serazin

France Falls

France Gall

France in the twentieth century

Frane Katalinić

Francesco De Martini

Francesco Domenico Chiarello

Francesco Mimbelli

Francine Neago

Francis (1950 film)

Francis Anthony Blair Fasson

Francis Arthur Jefferson

Francis B. Wai

Francis Balle

Francis Biddle

Francis Burchell

Francis C. Flaherty

Francis Cammaerts

Francis Cherry

Francis Clark Howell

Francis Crick

Francis Curzon, 5th Earl Howe

Francis E. Walter

Francis Festing

Francis G. Slack

Francis George Miles

Francis Grevemberg

Francis H. McAdams

Francis Hassett

Francis Hunter

Francis J. Clark

Francis Junior Pierce

Francis Llacer

Francis P. Matthews

Francis Piasecki

Francis Poulenc

Francis Pym

Francis Pélissier

Francis Rodd, 2nd Baron Rennell

Francis S. Currey

Francis Simon

Francis Smerecki

Francis Steinmetz

Francis Stuart

Francis Suttill

Francis Tuker

Francis W. Nye

Francis Wilson (rugby union footballer)

Francis X. McGraw

Francisc Panet

Francisco Boix

Francisco Franco

Francisco Mercado, Jr.

Franciszek Błażej

Franciszek Gajowniczek

Franciszek Gruszka

Franciszek Kleeberg

Franciszek Pokorny

Franciszek Szymczyk

Franck Dja Djedje

Franck Gava

Franck Report

Franck Signorino

Franco-Polish Military Alliance

Franco-Soviet Treaty of Mutual Assistance

Franco Bordoni

Franco Nones


Franja Partisan Hospital

Franjo Džal

Franjo Šimić

Franjo Kluz

Franjo Tuđman

Frank A. Armstrong

Frank Barlow (Coronation Street)

Frank Beaurepaire

Frank Bell (educator)

Frank Bleichman

Frank Bonilla

Frank Buckles

Frank Burke (Medal of Honor recipient)

Frank Byers

Frank Capra

Frank Church

Frank Crowther Roberts

Frank D. Peregory

Frank Durbin

Frank E. Rodgers

Frank F. Everest

Frank Foley

Frank G. Clement

Frank Gerald Blaker

Frank Goettge

Frank H. Ono

Frank Herbert

Frank Horton Berryman

Frank Hughes (sport shooter)

Frank Hussey

Frank J. Jirka, Jr.

Frank J. Petrarca

Frank Jack Fletcher

Frank Jarvis

Frank John Partridge

Frank Kelly Freas

Frank Kendall Everest, Jr.

Frank Knox

Frank Kowalski

Frank Kriz

Frank Kurtz

Frank Lautenberg

Frank Lilley

Frank M. Clark

Frank M. Coffin

Frank MacKey

Frank Mancuso

Frank Margerin

Frank Maxwell Andrews

Frank Merrill

Frank Messer

Frank Messervy

Frank Minis Johnson

Frank Murphy

Frank N. Ikard

Frank N. Mitchell

Frank Newhook

Frank O'Hara

Frank O. Slater

Frank Oppenheimer

Frank P. Witek

Frank Pace

Frank Pantridge

Frank Pickersgill

Frank Press

Frank Pullen

Frank R. Walker

Frank Reginald Carey

Frank Renouf

Frank Rosenfelt

Frank Ryan (Irish republican)

Frank S. Besson, Jr.

Frank Sheeran

Frank Spedding

Frank Steer

Frank Sutton

Frank Tripucka

Frank W. Mayborn

Frank W. Milburn

Frank Walus

Frank William Foster

Frank Wisner

Frank Woodrow O’Flaherty

Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials

Frankie Albert

Frankie Yankovic

Franklin A. Hart

Franklin Charles Gimson

Franklin D. Roosevelt (Paris Métro)

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jr.

Franklin E. Sigler

Franklin Littell

Franklin Sousley

Franklin Van Valkenburgh

Frankolovo crime

Franky Vercauteren

František Fajtl

František Janda-Suk

František Moravec

František Peřina

Frantz Reichel

Franz-Josef Beerenbrock

Franz Aigner (weightlifter)

Franz Alt (mathematician)

Franz Altheim

Franz Anton Basch

Franz Augsberger

Franz Böckli

Franz Böhme

Franz Bürkl

Franz Buchner

Franz Burri

Franz Bäke

Franz Dörr

Franz Duhne

Franz Eisenach

Franz Gürtner

Franz Griesbach

Franz Halder

Franz Hayler

Franz Hofer

Franz Joseph II, Prince of Liechtenstein

Franz Jägerstätter

Franz Kaufmann

Franz Kemper

Franz Künstler

Franz Kröwerath

Franz Kraus

Franz Krienbühl

Franz Krumm

Franz Kutschera

Franz Leopold Neumann

Franz Liebkind

Franz Machon

Franz Mesmer

Franz Pfeffer von Salomon

Franz Rademacher

Franz Reizenstein

Franz Ritter von Epp

Franz Ruff

Franz Schall

Franz Schiess

Franz Schlegelberger

Franz Schwede

Franz Seldte

Franz Six

Franz Stangl

Franz Stock

Franz von Papen

Franz von Werra

Franz Walter Stahlecker

Franz Xaver Schwarz

Franz Ziereis

Franz, Duke of Bavaria

François-Auguste Parseval-Grandmaison

François-Eudes de Mézeray

François-Henri de Montmorency, duc de Luxembourg

François-Joachim de Pierre de Bernis

François-Joseph-Philippe de Riquet

François-Joseph Talma

François-Michel le Tellier, Marquis de Louvois

François-René de Chateaubriand

François-Timoléon de Choisy

François-Urbain Domergue

François-Xavier-Joseph Droz

François Andrieux

François Arago

François Barois

François Boucher

François Brandt

François Brisson

François Charpentier

François Cheng

François Christophe de Kellermann

François Connan

François Coppée

François Coty

François Couperin

François Darlan

François Dauverné

François de Beauvilliers, 1st duc de Saint-Aignan

François de Callières

François de Clermont-Tonnerre

François de Harlay de Champvallon

François de La Mothe Le Vayer

François de La Rocque

François de Neufchâteau

François Debeauvais

François Ducaud-Bourget

François Duprat

François Furet

François Félix

François Fénelon

François Gangloff

François Guizot

François Jacob

François Joseph Lefebvre

François Juste Marie Raynouard

François Le Leve

François le Métel de Boisrobert

François Lemasson

François M'Pelé

François Magendie

François Maspero

François Mauriac

François Maynard

François Mignet

François Mitterrand

François Nourissier

François Ponsard

François Pétis de la Croix

François Simiand

François Spirito

François Tristan l'Hermite

François Truffaut

François Villon

Françoise-Marguerite de Sévigné

Françoise d'Eaubonne

Françoise Dior

Françoise Dorléac

Françoise Hardy

Françoise Héritier

Françoise Rosay

Frascati bombing raid September 8, 1943

Frau Solf Tea Party


Fred A. Leuchter

Fred Anton Maier

Fred B. Rooney

Fred Baker

Fred Bardshar

Fred Blassie

Fred Chaney, senior

Fred Cogswell

Fred Dutton

Fred Faulkner Lester

Fred Fisher (lawyer)

Fred Hargesheimer

Fred J. Christensen

Fred Jones (comics)

Fred Kenneth Moore

Fred Kite

Fred Korematsu

Fred Lauer

Fred Marsh

Fred O'Conner

Fred Tootell

Fred Tuttle

Fred Wander

Fred Wick

Freddie Anderson

Freddie Cox

Freddie de Guingand

Freddie Spencer Chapman

Freddy Schmidt

Frederic Bennett

Frederic H. Smith, Jr.

Frederic John Walker

Frederic Seebohm, Baron Seebohm

Frederic Tuten

Frederic Wake-Walker

Frederick Agnew Gill

Frederick Albert Tilston

Frederick Ashworth

Frederick Augustus Irving

Frederick B. Dent

Frederick Bayer

Frederick Bowhill

Frederick Boylstein

Frederick Browning

Frederick C. Bock

Frederick C. Murphy

Frederick Charles Adler

Frederick Christian (cricketer)

Frederick Corfield

Frederick Cuming

Frederick Curtice Davis

Frederick Cushing Cross, Jr.

Frederick Dalrymple-Hamilton

Frederick E. Morgan

Frederick Etchen

Frederick Freake

Frederick Funston-class attack transport

Frederick George Topham

Frederick Gordon-Lennox, 9th Duke of Richmond

Frederick J. Clarke

Frederick J. Karch

Frederick Kisch

Frederick Kroesen

Frederick Lane

Frederick Leathers, 1st Viscount Leathers

Frederick Lois Riefkohl

Frederick Luke

Frederick Moloney

Frederick Moosbrugger

Frederick Mulley

Frederick Nolting

Frederick Ponsonby, 10th Earl of Bessborough

Frederick Randall

Frederick Rosier

Frederick Sanger

Frederick Sheffield

Frederick Styles Agate

Frederick Thornton Peters

Frederick W. Mote

Frederick Walker Castle

Frederick Warner (diplomat)

Frederick Warren Purdy

Frederick William Kaltenbach

Frederick William Palmer

Fredric Landelius

Fredric Warburg

Fredrik Jensen

Free Belgian Forces

Free China (Second Sino-Japanese War)

Free French Air Force

Free French Forces

Free French Naval Air Service

Free French Naval Forces

Free Republic of Schwarzenberg

Free Society of Teutonia

Free Thai Movement

Free World (World War II)

Freedom Comes High

Freedom from Fear (painting)

Freedom from Want (painting)

Freedom of Speech (painting)

Freedom to Worship (painting)

Freeman Barnardo

Freeman Dyson

Freeman Field Mutiny

Freeman V. Horner

Freiberg subcamp

French-Canadian Brigade

French-Thai War

French 9th Armoured Company (World War II)

French Academy of Sciences

French aircraft carrier Béarn

French and European Nationalist Party

French armoured fighting vehicle production during World War II

French battleship Bretagne

French battleship Courbet (1911)

French battleship Dunkerque

French battleship Jean Bart (1940)

French battleship Lorraine

French battleship Paris

French battleship Provence

French battleship Richelieu

French battleship Strasbourg

French Committee of National Liberation

French corvette Aconit

French Crown Jewels

French cruiser Émile Bertin

French cruiser Algérie

French cruiser Colbert (1928)

French cruiser Duguay-Trouin

French cruiser Dupleix

French cruiser Duquesne

French cruiser Foch

French cruiser Georges Leygues

French cruiser Gloire (1935)

French cruiser Jean de Vienne

French cruiser Jeanne d'Arc (1930)

French cruiser La Galissonnière

French cruiser Lamotte-Piquet

French cruiser Marseillaise (1935)

French cruiser Montcalm

French cruiser Pluton

French cruiser Primauguet (1924)

French cruiser Suffren

French cruiser Tourville

French destroyer La Combattante

French destroyer Le Fantasque

French destroyer Le Terrible

French destroyer Le Triomphant

French destroyer Maillé Brézé (1931)

French destroyer Ouragan

French films of 1944

French Forces of the Interior

French frigate Oise

French Open (tennis)

French Resistance

French submarine Curie (P67)

Fresno Yosemite International Airport

Freundeskreis der Wirtschaft

Freya radar

Freya Stark

Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin

Frieda Belinfante

Frieda Jahnke

Friedhelm Busse

Friedl Dicker-Brandeis

Friedrich-Karl "Nasen" Müller

Friedrich-Karl "Tutti" Müller

Friedrich-Paul von Groszheim

Friedrich-Wilhelm Bock

Friedrich-Wilhelm Müller

Friedrich (novel)

Friedrich Adler (artist)

Friedrich Aue

Friedrich August Freiherr von der Heydte

Friedrich Beckh

Friedrich Bernhard

Friedrich Bertram Sixt von Armin

Friedrich Bonte

Friedrich Born

Friedrich Christiansen

Friedrich Dollmann

Friedrich Franz, Hereditary Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin

Friedrich Fromm

Friedrich Geisshardt

Friedrich Graf von Wrangel

Friedrich Gustav Jaeger

Friedrich Hildebrandt

Friedrich Hirzebruch

Friedrich Hoßbach

Friedrich Hollaender

Friedrich Jeckeln

Friedrich Körner

Friedrich Karl Florian

Friedrich Kellner

Friedrich Kirchner

Friedrich Klausing

Friedrich Krüger

Friedrich Lang

Friedrich Lüthi

Friedrich Lorenz

Friedrich Materna

Friedrich Mauz

Friedrich Meinecke

Friedrich Münzer

Friedrich Obleser

Friedrich Olbricht

Friedrich Panse

Friedrich Paulus

Friedrich Pein

Friedrich Peter

Friedrich Rainer

Friedrich Ruge

Friedrich Schulz

Friedrich Syrup

Friedrich T. Noltenius

Friedrich Thielen

Friedrich von Mellenthin

Friedrich Weber

Friedrich Wegener

Friedrich Werner von der Schulenburg

Friedrich Wilhelm Kritzinger

Friedrichshafen FF.29

Friedrichshafen FF.31

Friedrichshafen FF.33

Friedrichshafen FF.34

Friedrichshafen FF.35

Friedrichshafen FF.40

Friedrichshafen FF.41

Friedrichshafen FF.43

Friedrichshafen FF.48

Friedrichshafen FF.49

Friedrichshafen FF.53

Friedrichshafen FF.64

Friedrichshafen G.I

Friedrichshafen G.II

Friedrichshafen G.III

Friedrichshafen G.IV

Friends' Ambulance Unit

Friends of New Germany

Friesack Camp


Frikorps Danmark

Fritjof Hillén

Frits Clausen

Frits Philips

Fritz-Dietlof von der Schulenburg

Fritz-Hubert Gräser

Fritz-Rudolf Schultz

Fritz Bayerlein

Fritz Bracht

Fritz Busch

Fritz Christen

Fritz Fischer (medical doctor)

Fritz Fischer

Fritz Frauenheim

Fritz Fullriede

Fritz G. A. Kraemer

Fritz Gerlich

Fritz Grünbaum

Fritz Hagmann

Fritz Hartjenstein

Fritz Hippler

Fritz Hünenberger

Fritz Houtermans

Fritz John

Fritz Joubert Duquesne

Fritz Julius Kuhn

Fritz Katzmann

Fritz Klein (Nazi)

Fritz Klingenberg

Fritz Knoechlein

Fritz Kolbe

Fritz Krämer

Fritz Lenz

Fritz Lüddecke

Fritz Losigkeit

Fritz Manteuffel

Fritz Morzik

Fritz Nachmann

Fritz Pfeffer

Fritz Pröll

Fritz Reinhardt

Fritz Rumey

Fritz Sauckel

Fritz Stern

Fritz Stiedry

Fritz Strassmann

Fritz ter Meer

Fritz Thiele

Fritz Thyssen

Fritz Todt

Fritz von Scholz

Fritz Walter

Fritz Wendel

Fritz Witt

Fritz X

Frode Jakobsen

Frode Kirkebjerg

From Here to Eternity (novel)

From Here to Eternity

From Swastika to Jim Crow

Fromental Halévy

Frommer Stop

Front (Soviet Army)

Front de Seine

Front Flying Clasp of the Luftwaffe

Front Lot (Walt Disney Studios Park)


Frontierland Shootin' Arcade



Frédéric Alfred Pierre, comte de Falloux

Frédéric Chopin

Frédéric Da Rocha

Frédéric de Courcy

Frédéric Déhu

Frédéric Joliot-Curie

Frédéric Masson

Frédéric Vitoux

Fräulein (1958 film)

Fu Zuoyi

Fubuki-class destroyer

Fuchi (Qiandaohu) class

Fugu Plan


Fuji-class battleship

Fukuromachi Elementary School Peace Museum


Fukushima Yasumasa

Fulgence Bienvenüe

Fulgencio Batista

Full House (aircraft)

Fuller Warren

Fulton Mackay

Fumimaro Konoe

Functionalism versus intentionalism

Fundusz Obrony Narodowej

Furietti Centaurs

Furman L. Smith

Furutaka-class cruiser

Fury in the Pacific

Fusanosuke Kuhara

Fusō-class battleship

Fusu (Nancang) class

Fuzzy wuzzy angels


Fyodor Isodorovich Kuznetsov

Fyodor Tolbukhin

Fântâna Albă massacre

Félicien-César David

Félicien Marceau

Félix Éboué

Félix Bédouret

Félix Dupanloup

Félix Faure

Félix Ziem

Féodor Atkine

Färit Yarullin

Maritime, Fluvial and Harbour Museum of Rouen

The Maritime, Fluvial and Harbour Museum of Rouen (French: musée maritime fluvial et portuaire de Rouen) is a museum dedicated to the history of the port of Rouen, which is one of the greatest ports of France. The museum opened in 1999, during the Rouen Armada, a festival of tall ships which takes place every five years.

Operation Cockpit

Operation Cockpit was a bombing raid by aircraft from two Allied naval forces (Force 69 and Force 70) on 19 April 1944. The targets were Japanese port and oil facilities on Sabang Island (off the northern tip of Sumatra).

Operation Crimson

Operation Crimson was a British-led naval operation in World War II, the objective being simultaneous naval bombardment and aerial strikes on Japanese airfields in the Indonesian cities of Sabang, Lhoknga and Kutaraja, to be launched from aircraft carriers in the Indian Ocean on 25 July 1944.

Operation Diplomat

During World War II, Operation Diplomat was an Allied naval training operation. It was executed in March 1944 by the British Eastern Fleet to practice operational procedures that would be used by ships allocated to the British Pacific Fleet.

Part of the Eastern Fleet left Trincomalee and Colombo on 21 March and arrived at a point some 850 miles south of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). They rendezvoused, on 24 March, with three tankers escorted by the Dutch cruiser HNLMS Tromp and practised refuelling at sea for the next two days. Later, on 27 March, they met up with the US Task Group 58.5 which consisted of the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga and her three attendant destroyers (USS Dunlap, USS Cummings, and USS Fanning).

The joint fleet returned to Trincomalee, and British Fleet Air Arm aircrew took two intensive days to learn the necessary procedures from American aircrews and learn from their experience. Sources differ on the exact dates of these events. [1] Journal of the Royal New Zealand Navy, implies that training ("exercises") with Saratoga took place before the fleet returned to Trincomalee on 31 March, but [2] The Dictionary of American Fighting Ships, says training occurred after the arrival of the French battleship Richelieu on 12 April. [3] Williams, in the History of the HMS Ceylon, states that the joint fleet returned to Trincomalee on 2 April, whereas [4] Journal ibid, quotes 31 March.

The ships from the Eastern Fleet were HMS Renown (flagship of vice admiral second-in-command Eastern Fleet), HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Valiant, the fleet carrier HMS Illustrious, cruisers HMS London, HMS Cumberland, HMS Gambia, HMS Ceylon, and ten destroyers.

Operation Sunfish

Operation Sunfish was a military operation by Allied troops in April 1945.

It involved the battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth and the French battleship Richelieu.

Their aircraft carried out a photo reconnaissance sweep of the area around Port Swettenham, 200 miles north of Singapore, on 14–16 April, before concluding the raid with an attack on Emmahaven (northern Sumatra) and Padang.It had its origins in the proposed Operation Sounder.

Operation Tiderace

Operation Tiderace was the codename of the British plan to retake Singapore following the Japanese surrender in 1945. The liberation force was led by Lord Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander of South East Asia Command. Tiderace was initiated in coordination with Operation Zipper, which involved the liberation of Malaya.

French naval ship classes of World War II
Aircraft carriers
Heavy cruisers
Light cruisers
Large destroyers
Torpedo boats


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