The SB2U were purchased with a franchise to be later built in France, called V156F. Thanks to this system, Béarn could reach 21.5 knots (39.8 km/h; 24.7 mph) at max power, carrying 2,160 long tons (2,190 t) of fuel oil, enough for 6,000 nautical miles (11,000 km; 6,900 mi) at cruising speed of 10 kn (19 km/h; 12 mph). The second point is of course the flight deck, which was 25 mm thick, in relation to the usual figures for armoured ship’s less exposed vertical surface at that time. Standard displacement was 22,146 long tons (22,501 t) up to 28,400 long tons (28,900 t) at the end of the conversion. Gardiner Conway’s all the world’s fighting Ships 1921-1947. The carrier's aircraft were unloaded ashore, where a significant number of them were destroyed either by exposure to the elements or scavenging. Despite of this, American authorities feared an for example over the Panam canal action after the British bombarded Mers-el-Kebit and interned the French fleet. , On 14 May 1942, the United States pressured Martinique to demilitarize the ship due to the pro-Vichy leanings of her crew. She was generally comparable to other early carriers developed by the major navies of the world. by Michael D. Hull When the armistice between France and Germany was put into force on June 25, 1940, the fate of the powerful French Navy—the fourth largest in the world—was of … The Joffre was designed to give the French Navy a fleet carrier of greater capability than the existing Béarn. (cc), Levasseur PL101 (1933). The former aircraft carrier received some repairs in France during the summer of 1945, and was then immediately assigned to CEFEO, the combat force fighting communists in French Indochina. Learn how your comment data is processed. However, France did not produce a further replacement and as naval aviation lagged in France, Béarn continued to serve past her time of obsolescence. Most aircraft carriers today are nuclear-powered. Diplomatic relations of Vichy-France were broken with the British and icy with the Americans to this point. The ship's gun armament comprised eight 6.1 in (150 mm) /55 Mod 21 guns in casemates for defense against surface attack, and six 76 mm (3.0 in) anti-aircraft (AA) guns, eight 37 mm (1.5 in) AA guns, and sixteen machine guns. This 3150 kg plane, 14.20m wide and propelled by an Hispano-Suiza 12Lb 600hp (220kph), like other Levasseur planes was able to survive a sea crash thanks to its hydroplane features. She also had six 76 mm (3.0 in) AA guns and eight more modern 37 mm (1.5 in) AA guns. She was to be converted to the Avondale shipyard. Béarn was originally designed as a Normandie-class battleship; she was laid down at the Société Nouvelle des Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée shipyard in La Seyne on 10 January 1914. Alexandria, Egypt . On March 13, 1945, she collided with an American troops transport to take (4 dead on Béarn) and had to stop on the Azores for makeshift repairs. With the manpower resources of the British Empire of Germany, it could have been so, but not in the current situation. Much of the material from breaking up these ships was used to complete Béarn and several cruisers also ordered in 1922. Over the course of her long career, Béarn never launched her aircraft in combat. During the Japanese surrender, it was seized by the … Indeed pilot Paul Teste multiplied landing experiments until October 1920 and advised the Marine Nationale to convert the ship for experimental purposes, to allow time to design proper scratch-built aircraft carriers (which will be the Joffre and Painlevé).  A month later, the carrier was tasked with hunting down the German cruiser Admiral Graf Spee, as part of an immense effort to destroy the commerce raider. Béarn-class Aircraft Carrier: Builder: Société Nouvelle des Forges et Chantiers de la Méditerranée, La Seyne-sur-Mer, France: Laid Down: 10 Jan 1914: Commissioned: 27 May 1927: Displacement: 22,501 tons standard; 28,900 tons full: Length: 599 feet: Beam: 116 feet: Draft: 31 feet: Machinery: Two steam engines, two Parsons geared turbines, four shafts: Power Output: 22,500 SHP Béarn will undergo a transformation into an aviation transport. Gardiner, Robert; Gray, Randal, eds (1985). She was to be escorted, partially demilitarized, sailing on a floating drydock for New Orleans on September 8, 1943. , Before the decision to convert Béarn into an aircraft carrier was made, the French Navy decided to construct a mocked-up flight deck on the unfinished hull after it was launched in April 1920. Her sister-ships, the four unfinished battleships of the Normandie class would be scrapped and materials recycled into the light cruisers of the Primauguet class and further constructions. Below the hangar, there were aircraft maintenance facilities and storage for spare parts.  Over the course of her long career, Béarn never launched her aircraft in combat. , At the French declaration of war against Germany on 3 September 1939, Béarn was assigned to the Force de Raid, under the command of Admiral Gensoul, along with the battleships Dunkerque and Strasbourg, three light cruisers, and eight destroyers. The idea was to reduce air turbulence over the flight deck. The Béarn was 170.6 m (560 ft) long and up to 182.6 m (599 ft) overall, useful length to build the flight deck, large enough to authorize both landings and simultaneous flight-offs. This was brief as at the end of May 1940 already she was back at Halifax to load planes ordered from the United States. Support Naval Encyclopedia, get your poster or wallpaper now ! The Bearn sailed to Martinique, Fort de France (French Caribean) arriving May 27 where she met the cruiser Emile Bertin. Therefore in 1922 the new Washington treaty obliged the French to make choices, left with the same tonnage as Italy, which was felt insufficient by the naval staff to defend the French Empire, but realistic on the economic point of view. Béarn was a aircraft carrier which served with the Marine nationale (French Navy) in World War II and beyond. Full titles read: "NAVAL MIGHT OF FRANCE"Very good footage of the French Navy. She carried up to twelve different types of aircraft at this time of naval aviation experimentation. Koenig had at is disposal a fighting strength of 3,000 men, a rear echelon of about 600 men, mortars, a few artillery pieces and AT rifles, no tanks but sixty-three Bren Gun Carriers divided into three squadrons. Apart the Foudre, an early seaplane carrier of 1911 converted from a 1890s torpedo-boat carrier, the wartime aircraft depot ships Campinas and Nord, France did not relied a lot on ship-based aviation during the great war, certainly not on the scale of the Royal Navy. The Kriegsmarine began design work on a new class of aircraft carriers in the mid-1930s; the first proposal was for a 22,000-long-ton (22,000 t) ship with a capacity of 50 aircraft, prepared in 1935. Each carrier at the time would have over thousand sailors and upwards of 30 aircraft. Steam was supplied by six Normand du Temple water-tube boilers. US neutrality prevented indeed French ships from loading directly from any US harbor. This was later ratified by the Admiralty on 18 April 1922, not long after the hull was made available for completion on a new design. There was one main lift for crashed aircraft recovery and lifting storage and payloads on board. The lead ship was laid dow… Béarn remained in this duty until she was sold on 31 May 1967 to shipbreakers in Italy, where she was subsequently dismantled. The first years were spent in the Mediterranean, with clear skies ideal for onboard aviation, and she was based in North Africa. As a former battleship, the hull was stripped of all and any armor, with only a symbolic 80 mm belt on the central section of the ship, with a buttress of ASW compartmentation behind. Firing on the French Fleet at Mers-el-Kebir was horrific but necessary for British security. In addition to a radar and more modern equipments, her flight deck fore and aft was curtailed and she was rearmed with four USN standard 5-in (127 mm), 24 2-in (40 mm) in 6 quadruple mounts and 26 single Oerlikon guns. Béarn off Martinique Island 1942 (src U.S. Navy All Hands magazine January 1948).  By that time, work on Béarn had not significantly progressed: her hull was only 8–10 percent complete and her engines were only 25 percent finished. She was equipped with two sets of steam turbines that drove the inner pair of propeller shafts, with steam supplied by six Normand du Temple water-tube boilers. At a time air power was still not well defined, having a ship well armored and capable to fight cruisers with a barbette armament and turrets was seductive. The DGA and French Navy previously conducted a test campaign to study the use of a UCAV in a naval environment: In July 2016, the nEUROn unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) demonstrator made several low altitude vertical passes above aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. The most recognizable feature at first was a retractable charthouse installed in the flight deck near the bow, something inspired by HMS Argus and the first British aircraft carriers. Only one of the new carriers was built, but France disposed of both carriers, selling the Foch to Brazil, and the Clemenceau to a scrapyard. The primary mission of the aircraft carrier is to deploy and recover aircraft – effectively operating as a seagoing airbase. A pair of reciprocating engines powered the outer shafts; Béarn's propulsion system enabled her to steam at a top speed of 21.5 knots (39.8 km/h; 24.7 mph). It started in April-May 1943 but only concluded in March 1945. They came out with the idea of a complete transformation of the unfinished ship, named Project 171. Fighters -Hanriot HD.12 (1920) -Nieuport 21 (1920) -Nieuport-Delage NiD-32RH (1920) -Ansaldo/Dewoitine D.1ter -Wibault 74 (1928) -Loire-Gourdou-Lesseure LGL.32 (1932) -Dewoitine D.373/D.376 (1937/39), Bombers/Torpedo-bombers -Levasseur PL 2 (1926) -Levasseur PL 4 (1930) -Levasseur PL 5 (1932) -Levasseur PL 7 (1933) -Levasseur PL 101 (1937), Fighters -Dewoitine D.790 (Navalized Dewoitine D.520) -Latécoère 675 -Grumman F4F Wildcat (as carrier 1943-45), Bombers/Torpedo-bombers -Latécoère 299 -Loire-Nieuport LN.401 -Vought SB2U Vindicator (called Vought V156F): 40 delivered, Vought 156F tested on board in 1940, here in the hangar (a French version of the Vought SB2U Vindicator). Modified as repair ship in 1907, minelayer in 1910, seaplane depot ship/transport in 1911, and seaplane carrier in 1913.. During WWI she was employed in many duties, … Before these aircraft could reach their destination, the armistice with Germany was signed, and Béarn instead sought harbor in Martinique, her crew showing little inclination to join the British in their continued fight against the Nazis. [Another view of Foudre as a seaplane carrier].Built by Ch de la Gironde. In 1920, a French naval delegation was sent to visit HMS Argus, making observations about operations, aircraft handling, etc. The main reason was new ships had been acquired by the fleet for the Mediterranean and Béarn was to be replaced here by the two brand new Joffre class in 1939. With the Allied invasion of French North Africa, the Germans sought to take the ships, but were prevented from doing so when the French crews scuttled them. , Béarn's primary weapon was her complement of aircraft, which numbered 40 planes. When fully repaired, the Béarn was used to transport the French Expeditionary Force in the Far East (CEFEO) in October 1945 and was deployed to support it until June 1946. (cc). In case of emergency, the whole machinery could deliver up to 37,000 hp, that is 22,500 shp (16,800 kW) with the turbines alone and 15,000 ihp (11,000 kW) with the reciprocating VTE engines. Planes landed, and stored in open air. The French suffered mightily at the hands of the Germans during World War 2 - its air service nonetheless put up a valiant fight. Operation Lila was an effort by German forces to capture the French fleet at Toulon in November 1942. Her defense, in addition to light AA guns, was ensured by the old barbette guns of the battleship. Completely worn out when the Indochina war ended, she returned to mainland France, Toulon on July 23, 1946.  The incomplete hull was launched in April 1920 to clear the slipway, though the Navy had not yet decided what to do with it. 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