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French Battleship Le' Richelieu
era 1943 naval ship model.

Kit consist of 366 parts on 14 sprues added features are the lower hull, upper hull,
stand and waterline plate. Kit # BB301 $37.95  this model is 14" long.

Richelieu was an unusual ship in appearance, but not ugly. She had a very long fore deck with two widely spaced main battery turrets, a tower superstructure, and a combined funnel and after superstructure. The quarterdeck was cut away and some AA guns were placed there. The catapults and aircraft were originally placed amidships, between the fore and aft superstructures. The front half of the ship resembled the earlier Dunkerque class, but the back half was completely different, and more attractive.

Richelieu's specifications:

Displacement: 35,000t standard, 43,293t normal, 47,548t deep load Dimensions: 794ft pp, 813ft 2in oa x 108ft 3in x 31ft 7in Machinery: 4-shaft Parsons geared turbines, 6 Indret boilers, 150,000shp = 30 knots. Oil = 6796t Armor: Main belt 13.5in-9.75in (fore bulkhead 15in-9.75in), longitudinal torpedo bulkhead 2in-1.25in, main deck 6.75in-6in, lower deck 2in-1.5in, main turrets 17.5in-6.75in, secondary turrets 5in-2.75in. Armament: (in 1940) 8-15in/45 (2x4), 9-6in/55 DP (3x3), 12-3.9in/45 AA (6x2), 8-37mm AA (4x2), 16-13.2mm AA (4x4), 3 aircraft Complement: 1670 (in 1943) Range: 5500/2500/1800nm at 18/26/32 knots

Richelieu was laid down on 10 October 1935 and completed in July 1940. She was 95% complete when France was over run, and sailed to Dakar to escape being seized by the Germans. There she was damaged when the British attacked. She survived and joined the Allied cause as a Free French ship in 1942, when she was sent to America for a complete refit. She served with the British Eastern Fleet in 1944-1945. She later served during the war against the Communists in French Indo-China (Vietnam). She was decommissioned in 1959.

I have never heard any negative reports about her quadruple 15in turrets, so presumably they worked as designed. Regardless, I am very suspicious of quadruple turrets. And I do not approve of just two main battery turrets, no matter how many guns they contain. And any design that concentrates all the main battery guns forward (and all secondary guns aft) seems seriously flawed to me. Nevertheless, I am forced to admit that Richelieu proved satisfactory in service and was superior to the rival Littorio class in the opinion of most experts. I would rate them about equal in ship to ship fighting power, and give Richelieu the nod in most other areas. Not bad for a ship that actually conformed to the letter of the Treaty. As noted earlier, Richelieu is a strong contender for the title "Best of the Treaty Battleships."