Wednesday 27 September 2023

French Fleet Completed

The last of the six fleets and the completion of my WWII naval project, this contingent was the quickest to paint. The main reason for this is that the French fleet was for the large part taken out of action early in the war, before the more intricate camouflage schemes were applied.

The French navy included some state of the art ships which were some of the fastest at the time, including the recently built Richelieu class in the Richelieu, Jean Bart and Clemenceau. The Richelieu was initially twice attacked by the British but was eventually repaired in the USA before serving with the British Home Fleet and then being transferred for action in the Pacific, while the Jean Bart fought a duel against the USS Massachusetts during operation Torch before surrendering to the Allies:











The Dunkerque and Strasbourg were similar to the Richelieu class in that their main armament was all placed forward. This was a distinct disadvantage when attacked by the British at Mers-el-Kebir as part of the controversial Operation Catapult, as they had been docked in the harbour with their sterns facing the open water which meant they were initially unable to return fire:











I also included three ex-WWI battleships in the Bretagne, Provence and Lorraine, the difference in construction over the preceding twenty years or so being quite noticeable:











Three Suffren class heavy cruisers include the Foch, Colbert and Dupleix, seen here alongside the one-of-a-kind Algerie:











With the Duquesne and Tourville completing the small contingent of heavy cruisers:











Six light cruisers include the Duguay Trouin, Primaguet and Lammotte-Picquet:











With the La Galissonniere, Montcalm and Marseillaise completing the half dozen:











Some of the French destroyers remind me of the larger Japanese destroyers in that they are almost the size of small light cruisers but maintain the advantage of being fast, such as the 36 knots achievable by the Vauqelin class, with the Vauqelin seen here alongside her sister ships Kersaint, Cassard and Tartu:











The Fantasque class was similarly large and fast, and I completed four with the Fantasque herself, the Audacieux, Terrible and Malin:











Three Le Hardi class destroyers with the Le Hardi, Mameluk and Casque complete the contingent of French destroyers:











The last ship in the fleet is the French aircraft carrier Bearn which, even though it actually launched aircraft and completed pilot training in the early part of the war, spent most of WWII out of action in the French West Indies:











Here are all thirty-two of the French fleet in their storage box:











The Nimitz ruleset we are currently using did not originally contain game cards for the French navy and I was readying myself to spend a bit of time creating in them, but a visit to Sam Mustafa's website shows they have now been released in the last week or so.

I did a quick count across all six fleets which shows I have managed to complete a grand total of three hundred and nineteen vessels, all but twenty-five of them over the past four months. I also purchased a batch of GHQ 1/2400 scale planes which I may also get around to completing at some stage, but since most rulesets use tokens or counters to represent the aerial component of WWII naval gaming these are not a high priority and will really only be used as table dressing.

Next up, a return to my ECW project with a few Parliamentarian foot regiments prepared and ready to be painted.

18 comments:

  1. The French navy is superb and your whole WWII project is an amazing accomplishment. Well done and congratulations!

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    1. Thanks Jonathan. It was nice to see the six or seven boxes which they have been languishing in finally unpacked and completed.

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  2. Lovely work once again Lawrence, they look all ready for the RN to sink at Mers-el-KĂ©bir!

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    1. That is one of the interesting things about the French fleet, in that they can be put up against any of the other five in a plausible scenario.

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  3. Amazing ships Lawrence. 300 plus vessels... great job on the project.

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    1. Thanks Richard. Once I had started I wanted to keep going while I remembered how to approach them, and before the paint sets I had purchased for the job dried up.

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  4. Great looking fleet so rarely on the table. Nicely laid out.

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    1. Thanks for that. Having just completed them I'm now keen to get them into a game or two.

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  5. Excellent as always, but no dazzle-painted Gloire? ;)

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    1. Cheers Greg. I wanted to keep them all early war so they could theoretically operate together, but the Gloire in 1944 livery would have been a real standout. It probably would have taken me as long as the rest of the French fleet put together,

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    1. Thanks Matt. It is always nice to be able to complete a project.

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  7. Congratulations, but OMG 316 ships...that is a significant collection. I hope you achieved preferred customer status with GHQ!

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    1. Thanks Mark, I have painted everything I wanted. I purchased most of the ships either when GHQ had their 15% sale on or off Noble Knight who I found were consistently 15% lower than RRP anyway and who were great to deal with.

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  8. Another excellent fleet! Don't know what the RN could do really after the fall of France? Very impressive collection in a short time! Looking forward to you resuming the ECW!
    Best Iain

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    1. Thanks Iain. There was criticism that the British negotiations were high-handed, but at the same time some ships fell into Vichy hands and were later used to obstruct Allied operations, so it was a real conundrum. It is something I wouldn't mind reading a little more about, if I can find a decent book on the subject.

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  9. A very impressive fleet...with very impressive details on each of the ship, cracking job!

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    1. Thanks Phil. The French are yet to see action, but hopefully will do so over the coming months.

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