French Battleships 1922-1956 (Hardback)
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The battleships of the Dunkerque and Richelieu classes were the most radical and influential designs of the interwar period, and were coveted by the British, the Germans and the Italians following the Armistice of June 1940. After an extensive refit in the USA, Richelieu went on to serve alongside the Royal Navy during 1943-45.
Using a wealth of primary-source material, some of which has only recently been made available, John Jordan and Robert Dumas have embarked on a completely new study of these important and technically interesting ships. A full account of their development is followed by a detailed analysis of their design characteristics, profusely illustrated by inboard profiles and schematic drawings. The technical chapters are interspersed with operational histories of the ships, with a particular focus on the operations in which they engaged other heavy units: Mers el-Kebir, Dakar and Casablanca. These accounts include a detailed analysis of their performance in action and the damage sustained, and are supported by specially-drawn maps and by the logs of Strasbourg and Richelieu.
Twenty-two colour profile and plan views illustrate the ships' appearance at the various stages of their careers.
I seriously wish more warship monographs were like this. It's a very tight, concise work which doesn't mess around with extraneous details. It manages to deliver a solid dose of historical and technical details without totally overwhelming the reader. It has a couple flaws here and there (propulsion details are a little sketchy, and there isn't much in the way of analysis of strengths and flaws), but it's still among my favorite naval references.Israel Book Review
Read the complete review online here.
The new book adds a "pre-history" chapter on French capital ship designs of the "Dreadnought era" through World War I, absent in the earlier French books, plus adds significant new material on designs formulated during the 1920s. Drawings and data have been found and published for designs for battle cruisers of about 23,000 and 35,000-tons developed during 1927 to 1930 ("that recently came to light in the Archives de l'Armament, Chatellerault"), adding very interesting insight into the origins of the Dunkerque class. Considerable additional data and illustrations have been added throughout concerning the ordnance installations on these ships. A number of very useful maps have been added.Warship International Fleet Review
Overall, the new English language edition of the books originally published by Mr. Dumas add a great deal of important information on these ships.
For its final battleship design Italy ignored all treaty restrictions on tonnage, and produced one of Europe's largest and most powerful capital ships, comparable with Germany's Bismarck class, similarly built in defiance of international agreements. The three ships of the Littorio class were typical of Italian design, being fast and elegant, but also boasting a revolutionary protective scheme – which was tested to the limits, as all three were to be heavily damaged in the hard-fought naval war in the Mediterranean; Roma had the unfortunate distinction of being the first capital ship sunk by…By Ermino Bagnasco
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