Expanding on their revolutionary concept of putting all a capital ship's main armament in quadruple gun turrets in the bow, the French started building Richelieu and Jean Bart before World War 2. This class was well armored and very fast.
However, with the Fall of France in summer 1940, both ships had to flee France: Richelieu making for the French West Africa port of Dakar and Jean Bart for Oran in Algeria. Having killed so many French sailors at Mers el Kebir, the British feared Richelieu might join the Axis and tried to cripple her at Dakar. They did not entirely succeed, but after France fully joined the Allies in late 1942, Richelieu sailed for America and refit. Interestingly, from Nov43 to Mar44, she was stationed with the British Home Fleet in hopes of bringing the German super battleship Tirpitz to battle.
Later wartime service was in the Indian Ocean with the Royal Navy.
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