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Flagship1

Richelieu-class battleship, objectively a better design than Bismarck class?

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You are assigning an efficiency to the German 105mm that isn’t true. Both in RPC and accuracy over time via the director as explained in Friedman’s naval aa book. Both ships initially had poor 37mm aa guns. 

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Note the triaxial mounting in the picture below. This was intended to be able to compensate for the motion of the ship and so maintain target lock. Unfortunately, this mounting proved to be susceptible to electrical faults as it was not sufficiently waterproofed and the mountings were opened to the weather. These earlier mounts had limited RPC. The "H" class battleships were to have much improved enclosed mounts with full RPC, but these ships were never completed.

http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNGER_41-65_skc33.php

 

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On 4/14/2020 at 2:34 PM, SireneRacker said:

I wish I was. Bagnasco gives some detail on this, tho unfortunately due to quarantine I don't have access to the book at the moment, but off memory post war they conducted firing trials with Richelieu and found spreads of over 1,000m at 20km. With the refit in the late 40s, which added delay coils to the guns, those dispersion issues were solved. If you look at the turret, it makes very much sense that the dispersion would be horrendous. You have high velocity large caliber guns that are placed extremely closely to each other (1.95m for the outer guns, compare to 3.75m on Bismarck). Even with a delay coil I would expect dispersion to be worse than average.

Effective range is more than ballistic properties. Putting aside that Richelieu's maximum range is also due to the greater barrel elevation and instead considering that the French lowered the muzzle velocity of those guns in 1942, and adding in the rather bad judgement that Friedman give to French rangefinders (for the 12m RF it's a range error of 175m at 20km, compare to 39-108m at same range for the German 10.5m RF) and keeping in mind the dispersion issues, you'll struggle to sell the French gun to have a larger effective range when combined with the ship.

I mean, I could go a bit inside the vital areas and dig around there. Like for example the fact that the French subdivided their machinery into only four compartments, two boiler rooms and two turbine rooms, meaning that  Richelieu could realistically lose half her engine power from a single hit. How this compares to the Bismarck class with three turbine rooms and six boiler rooms...

Also according to Garzke & Dulin the foam was only applied to the locations where the TDS had to be thinned down. I quote:

 

It depends on what you are looking at first and foremost, because there are numerous types of armor that can be used on various ships. So for example the armor that one would use on a 50mm belt on a light cruiser would be different from a 300mm belt for a battleship, which chould again differ from the anti-splinter protection on for example a rangefinder, and who knows what kind of steel gets used for torpedo bulkheads.

In terms of cemented armor in the range of battleship plates and looking at how much relative protection is gained from a certain thickness the Italian had the best cemented armor plates, so the belt armor, turret faces, barbettes would be of a better quality. The British were slightly behind the Italians in that regard, followed by the Germans, then the Americans, then the Japanese, and given the rather rare information on French armor testing god knows where exactly they would sit.

If one looks at deck armor, the ranking changes. The Amerians and British are shared top here, followed by the Japanese, then the Germans and then the Italians.

To get some examples, I pointed out how Tirpitz' 315mm KC belt was 343mm of Class A armor in terms of effectiveness. Same effective thicknesses you could expect from a 292mm strong Terni Cemented (Italian) plate, or from a 307mm strong British cemented plate. A 353mm plate of VH (Japan) has roughly the same effectiveness as well.

The values however can change rather drastically when plates get thinner or thicker, because the various armor types have a different scaling effect (for example in the range of 152mm and thinner, American Class A is superior to all the other armor types).

I should mention that this does not necessarily allow one to read those as "steel quality" values. There was no one way to cement steel that everyone did exactly the same way, and the only difference between each plate would be the pureness of the raw material and the quality of tools. The relative thickness of the cemented portions, the hardened portion, the graduate decrease in hardness in the steel, they differed between the different manufacturing procedures, and so would the mixture in the steel. Naval armor is something that one could write novels about, and still leave large holes.

As for the Torpedo Foam/Ebonite Mousse, that statement really doesnt seem to indicate that they only added the foam to area's where the torpedo bulkhead was thinned. This diagram seems to show that the Ebonite Mousse was along the entire torpedo bulkhead. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richelieu-class_battleship#/media/File:Richelieu_class_battleships_frame_167_35_aft.svg

 

I still dont see any way that Bismarck could actually win an engagement with Richelieu. At long range, Richelieu's thick deck wont be getting punched through like HMS Hood's thin deck was. Which means the battle would move into mid range...or closer. Once they are at closer range, Richelieu's dispersion problem becomes irrelevant, some hits will be bound to find their mark. So it turns into a slug fest..at that point my money would be on the ship with the best armor and most powerful shells (Richy). But it would be unlikely to get to this point...as Bismarck would likely try to retreat..unfortunately she cannot outrun the faster Richelieu..and when she turns her back, Bismarck can now only fire 4 of her guns, while Richelieu will be chasing with all 8 guns blazing.

Edited by Flagship1

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41 minutes ago, Flagship1 said:

As for the Torpedo Foam/Ebonite Mousse, that statement really doesnt seem to indicate that they only added the foam to area's where the torpedo bulkhead was thinned. This diagram seems to show that the Ebonite Mousse was along the entire torpedo bulkhead. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richelieu-class_battleship#/media/File:Richelieu_class_battleships_frame_167_35_aft.svg 

It does quite literally say it:

"was used in the underwater protection system in way of the main-battery magazines and in the compartment just forward of the armored citadel"

43 minutes ago, Flagship1 said:

I still dont see any way that Bismarck could actually win an engagement with Richelieu. At long range, Richelieu's thick deck wont be getting punched through like HMS Hood's thin deck was. Which means the battle would move into mid range...or closer. Once they are at closer range, Richelieu's dispersion problem becomes irrelevant, some hits will be bound to find their mark. So it turns into a slug fest..at that point my money would be on the ship with the best armor and most powerful shells (Richy). But it would be unlikely to get to this point...as Bismarck would likely try to retreat..unfortunately she cannot outrun the faster Richelieu..and when she turns her back, Bismarck can now only fire 4 of her guns, while Richelieu will be chasing with all 8 guns blazing.

At 20km range Bismarck can still penetrate 400mm of KC armor with the shells remaining intact. With the way you try to present Richelieu, aka her showing her bow to present a smaller target, that is more than enough to penetrate the 355mm forward bulkhead, assuming Richelieu's armor provides the effectiveness of KC. She does not have to plunge through anything. In fact, at that range Bismarck would also be able to penetrate the barbettes, although the functionality of the shell may or may not get destroyed the impact. But that wouldn't matter now, would it, as a penetration would most definitely disable the turret.

 

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9 hours ago, SireneRacker said:

It does quite literally say it:

"was used in the underwater protection system in way of the main-battery magazines and in the compartment just forward of the armored citadel"

At 20km range Bismarck can still penetrate 400mm of KC armor with the shells remaining intact. With the way you try to present Richelieu, aka her showing her bow to present a smaller target, that is more than enough to penetrate the 355mm forward bulkhead, assuming Richelieu's armor provides the effectiveness of KC. She does not have to plunge through anything. In fact, at that range Bismarck would also be able to penetrate the barbettes, although the functionality of the shell may or may not get destroyed the impact. But that wouldn't matter now, would it, as a penetration would most definitely disable the turret.

 

Before it even gets to that Bulkhead, doesnt the shell have to rip through the fore end plating which was 32mm armor, shooting it head on means at an extreme angle, which increases the amount you're shooting through by a considerable amount. Then the shell has to go through what ever is inside that part of the ship before it gets to the forward Bulkhead, by that point the shells been destabilized and stripped. Not to mention Bismarck's accuracy wasn't THAT good, the hit on HMS Hood for example is generally considered to have been a fluke, not something can reliable be replicated in combat conditions. 

It just seems like Richelieu has too many advantages for Bismarck's accuracy alone to carry the day.

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7 hours ago, Flagship1 said:

Before it even gets to that Bulkhead, doesnt the shell have to rip through the fore end plating which was 32mm armor, shooting it head on means at an extreme angle, which increases the amount you're shooting through by a considerable amount. Then the shell has to go through what ever is inside that part of the ship before it gets to the forward Bulkhead, by that point the shells been destabilized and stripped

You are confusing WoWs with reality here, Richelieu did not have a 32mm armor covering the bow. No ship really did, the closest you can get with a modern battleship is the 35mm plating that covered a large section of Bismarck's bow at the sides (though not entirely). On the Richelieu class the weather deck for example, as I pointed out in my first post in this thread, looked basically like this:

Quote

Massachusetts penetrated the weather deck (51mm of wood and 5mm of steel)

The protection that wood offers in this era is rather limited, 150 years earlier it might have accounted to something, and the 5mm is with a very high probability structural steel, not meant to protect the ship but rather keep the crew from falling outside during a turn.

I took the liberty of taking the side plan of Richelieu and adding a to scale trajectory that a German 380mm shell at 20km would have to take to enter the citadel through the frontal bulkhead:

1843851820_Richelieuhit.thumb.png.148f0c9492ae6b28d0491aab20b04456.png

It does not take that much travel through ship to get there, roundabout 20m through what on other ships are either mess halls or crew spaces (but not the wine cellar, that room is about as save as it could be). I unfortunately don't know what the French did in those areas, but it's safe to assume it does not deviate all that much. In fact I did not even notice that there was also a significantly less protected bulkhead above, can be seen on the diagram.

Anyway, if you do some quick math you'll find that the steel in the weather deck will amount to 17.6mm of steel. I seriously doubt that this does anything of notice to the shell. For the decks beneath my diagrams don't even give a thickness.

So I doubt that enough will happen to Bismarck's shell to justify your belief that the shell will loose enough penetration to not penetrate that bulkhead, especially the thinner piece above.

7 hours ago, Flagship1 said:

Not to mention Bismarck's accuracy wasn't THAT good, the hit on HMS Hood for example is generally considered to have been a fluke, not something can reliable be replicated in combat conditions.

Deliberately it would not be replicable, because gunnery rarely aims for specific parts of the ship and will be happy to land hits in the first place.

But looking at German firing tables, once again, the 50% vertical dispersion of the German 380mm gun at 20km is listed as ~110m. Double that you get 220m of longitudal dispersion. Just for reference, 1,460m of longitudal dispersion that the French observed at the same range, or for another reference, Richelieu's length of 247.9m.

Of course Bismarck does not have only the bulkheads to go through, the barbettes are also an option. And if you look at for example the diagram and look how many options there'd be to hit something of importance (bulkhead, barbettes, turrets, turret roofs as well as elaborated earlier, conning tower), you'll find that there is a fair chance that when Bismarck hits, she hits where it hurts. This btw also happened to Hood when one of Bismarck's shells pierced the fire control tower, causing Hood to loose her central fire control.

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On 4/17/2020 at 2:01 AM, SireneRacker said:

You are confusing WoWs with reality here, Richelieu did not have a 32mm armor covering the bow. No ship really did, the closest you can get with a modern battleship is the 35mm plating that covered a large section of Bismarck's bow at the sides (though not entirely). On the Richelieu class the weather deck for example, as I pointed out in my first post in this thread, looked basically like this:

The protection that wood offers in this era is rather limited, 150 years earlier it might have accounted to something, and the 5mm is with a very high probability structural steel, not meant to protect the ship but rather keep the crew from falling outside during a turn.

I took the liberty of taking the side plan of Richelieu and adding a to scale trajectory that a German 380mm shell at 20km would have to take to enter the citadel through the frontal bulkhead:

1843851820_Richelieuhit.thumb.png.148f0c9492ae6b28d0491aab20b04456.png

It does not take that much travel through ship to get there, roundabout 20m through what on other ships are either mess halls or crew spaces (but not the wine cellar, that room is about as save as it could be). I unfortunately don't know what the French did in those areas, but it's safe to assume it does not deviate all that much. In fact I did not even notice that there was also a significantly less protected bulkhead above, can be seen on the diagram.

Anyway, if you do some quick math you'll find that the steel in the weather deck will amount to 17.6mm of steel. I seriously doubt that this does anything of notice to the shell. For the decks beneath my diagrams don't even give a thickness.

So I doubt that enough will happen to Bismarck's shell to justify your belief that the shell will loose enough penetration to not penetrate that bulkhead, especially the thinner piece above.

Deliberately it would not be replicable, because gunnery rarely aims for specific parts of the ship and will be happy to land hits in the first place.

But looking at German firing tables, once again, the 50% vertical dispersion of the German 380mm gun at 20km is listed as ~110m. Double that you get 220m of longitudal dispersion. Just for reference, 1,460m of longitudal dispersion that the French observed at the same range, or for another reference, Richelieu's length of 247.9m.

Of course Bismarck does not have only the bulkheads to go through, the barbettes are also an option. And if you look at for example the diagram and look how many options there'd be to hit something of importance (bulkhead, barbettes, turrets, turret roofs as well as elaborated earlier, conning tower), you'll find that there is a fair chance that when Bismarck hits, she hits where it hurts. This btw also happened to Hood when one of Bismarck's shells pierced the fire control tower, causing Hood to loose her central fire control.

Just going to point out that Richelieu was built to withstand her own guns, which are more powerful than Bismarck's. Another thing to note is that apparently Bismarck's turrets can be penetrated by Richelieu's guns (or most BB guns of the era) at any range. While Richelieu's turrets and barbettes are 430mm and 400mm thick respectively, so likely only vulnerable at the closest ranges. Plunging fire onto the roof coming in at an angle isnt likely to go through either, while the conning tower being 340mm thick might be somewhat vulnerable at mid to short range. Now on that diagram you show, the shell is again coming in at an angle, so if it does hit the bulkhead, because its hitting it at an angle, the effective armor becomes higher than what its nominal thickness indicates. 

In this scenario you seem to be going off the assumption that everything goes right for Bismarck, and everything goes wrong for Richelieu. If Richelieu is coming in at an angle, Bismarck's guns are going to become ineffective, if Richelieu can survive long enough to use her speed to get in close range of Bismarck to assure direct hits, the fight is over, Bismarck's turrets cant withstand direct hits, her conning tower cant survive direct hits.

Later in the war Richelieu showed a rate of fire of "Richelieu had fired 81 main battery shells—this amounted to a rate of fire of a salvo every 50 seconds, nearly twice as fast as the British ships" Can Bismarck compete with that rate of fire? Battleships generally carry around 800-1000 rounds of ammunition for main guns...thats enough that Richelieu can fire away without running out in a battle (And afterwards can quickly steam to Britain or France to restock on ammunition).

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2 hours ago, Flagship1 said:

Just going to point out that Richelieu was built to withstand her own guns, which are more powerful than Bismarck's.

There are wonderful penetration tables made by Nathan Okun, which provide even more wonderful data to use. Let's go through them:

This is the table for the 380mm gun used on the Bismarck class. As stated before, assumption is that French armor offers the same protection as KC. Since we would want to the shell fuse to remain intact, we want to the penetration values under EFF (effective penetration). At 20km, which is roundabout 22,000yds, that gives 15.7in of armor. 15.7in x 25.4mm/in = 398.8mm. I should add that this is a belt penetration value, so it already has the angle of fall included.

Now looking at the main belt of the Richelieu-class. A 328mm belt angled at 15.24° provides 339.96mm of protection, as per this calculator.

Is 398.8 > 339.96 ? Most definitely. Is 398.8 > 355 (forward bulkhead)? Most definitely.

And to clear something up here. Okun also made this table for Richelieu's guns, in all three configurations (French shell + Richelieu's powder bags, French shell + Dunkerque's powder bags and US shell + US powder). Since you'll most likely cling to the first version, here a direct link. Against the same armor at the same range, Richelieu will penetrate insignificantly less, but nonetheless, she has a lower penetration at that range.

I hope this clears things up for you.

2 hours ago, Flagship1 said:

While Richelieu's turrets and barbettes are 430mm and 400mm thick respectively, so likely only vulnerable at the closest ranges.

Nope. I already talked about the barbettes, but you seem to have missed it. Here once again:

On 4/16/2020 at 4:41 PM, SireneRacker said:

In fact, at that range Bismarck would also be able to penetrate the barbettes, although the functionality of the shell may or may not get destroyed the impact. But that wouldn't matter now, would it, as a penetration would most definitely disable the turret.

At ~18km Bismarck would be able to effectively penetrate the turret face. Hardly "the closest ranges".

2 hours ago, Flagship1 said:

Plunging fire onto the roof coming in at an angle isnt likely to go through either

I also talked about that one already, when talking about the questionable choice of cemented armor for the turret roofs. Again:

Quote

the one case where a French main turret roof - a 5.91" (15cm) roof plate on the battle-cruiser DUNKERQUE - was hit was not by an aircraft bomb, but by a 15" (38.1cm) 1938-pound hard-capped armor-piercing projectile at about 70-75° obliquity fired by the HMS HOOD at close range. The projectile broke in half and the nose ricocheted off, but the projectile lower body did not ricochet and the plate ended up with a large, projectile-shaped hole in it (it actually seems to be an outline of the British projectile on its side pushed into the plate!), throwing a large amount of plate material into the turret at high velocity, followed by the lower portion of the projectile, which then exploded (probably a less-than-full-strength explosion, but what difference did it make?) inside the turret, knocking out the right half of the split 4-gun mount (each turret was divided by heavy internal armored bulkheads into two adjacent 2-gun turrets on one mount, a unique French design). If the armor had been homogeneous, the projectile would have ricocheted off in one piece and probably no armor would have been ejected from the plate hit.

 

2 hours ago, Flagship1 said:

In this scenario you seem to be going off the assumption that everything goes right for Bismarck, and everything goes wrong for Richelieu.

Not quite, I am going off of things you stated and corrected them because you are having some horribly skewed views. Your belief that Bismarck would not be able to deal effective damage to Richelieu is one of them.

2 hours ago, Flagship1 said:

Can Bismarck compete with that rate of fire?

Yes, she can. This is from a Kriegsmarine-internal handbook, on the practically achievable fire rates. The Bismarck class is listed there with two rounds per minute and barrel.

image.png.34490d745d4561dcfedd177cc39ad7b4.png

Looking at the French gun, navweaps gives this wonderful little tidbit:

Quote

Reportedly, gunnery trials in the spring of 1940 for Richelieu achieved no more than 1.33 rounds per minute.

 

2 hours ago, Flagship1 said:

Battleships generally carry around 800-1000 rounds of ammunition for main guns...thats enough that Richelieu can fire away without running out in a battle(And afterwards can quickly steam to Britain or France to restock on ammunition)

Just saying, if Richelieu does what you claim she would do (rush into close range), there'd be no such thing as "quickly steam [away]". In Naval warfare there is rarely such a thing as "quickly". Let's assume Richelieu runs at 33kn and Bismarck at 30kn (which is below what was achieved, but whatever). For Richelieu to open the distance from 15km (not really close range, but whatever) to 25km (not really out of range, but whatever) it would take her almost two hours (111 minutes, but whatever), assuming both ships are running in a straight line with Bismarck chasing her.

Of course if you go under the assumption that Bismarck is too blind to hit Richelieu while she charges her, and is too idiotic to fire back when Richelieu sits next to her, there is no Bismarck to chase.

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26 minutes ago, SireneRacker said:

Just saying, if Richelieu does what you claim she would do (rush into close range), there'd be no such thing as "quickly steam [away]". In Naval warfare there is rarely such a thing as "quickly". Let's assume Richelieu runs at 33kn and Bismarck at 30kn (which is below what was achieved, but whatever). For Richelieu to open the distance from 15km (not really close range, but whatever) to 25km (not really out of range, but whatever) it would take her almost two hours (111 minutes, but whatever), assuming both ships are running in a straight line with Bismarck chasing her.

Of course if you go under the assumption that Bismarck is too blind to hit Richelieu while she charges her, and is too idiotic to fire back when Richelieu sits next to her, there is no Bismarck to chase.

I agree, and Bismarck was ahead of the curve in getting Radar to use for targeting enemy ships when at the time the allies would either not have radar or else would use it merely for detection of ships. Add in the fact that the Germans tended to be accurate shots, so between that and the radar they would have been able to hit the Richelieu unless the radar and range finders had all be destroyed.

Meanwhile I am not certain if Richelieu had radar back when she would have potentially engaged Bismarck. Wikipedia states the ship had radar, but that could have easily been thanks to a later refit. So there is a chance Richelieu would have been the blinded ship depending on the weather conditions.

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We all know that Richelieu had dispersion issues while the Bismarck didn't. Also, the Modele 1935 guns suffered from a defective shell design, which led to the No.7 and No.8 guns in the second turret being severely damaged during live-fire trials. The SK C/34, on the other hand, because it was based off of the Drh LC/1913 rifles that had been used to equip the Baden-class dreadnoughts, suffered none of the teething problems. ( Albeit, there was very little shared between the two guns, as the SK weapon was a far newer and far more advanced design ). I won't even touch on the other matters because the others have shown adequate evidence to contradict your statements.

Besides, all you need to do is swap in the Tirpitz and all of a sudden, it's not really a fair fight for the Baguette, now is it?:Smile_trollface:

-Shrayes

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I think I fall in the camp that the Richelieu class could take on the Bismarck class, especially if both were in their prime. I mean the French decided that they would take the same ship, move a couple things around and that would be their Bismarck counter, hence Clemenceau and Gascogne. 
 

Also if you take out the turret traverse, couldn’t Riche just turn in place of the turret, I mean sure it limits the volume of fire and accuracy, but theoretically the gun would still work if loading survived the hit. Of course don’t forget the two turrets one mount thing.

 

One in a million shots aside, according to the examination of the Bismarck wreck, the underwater protection appears to have been unsuccessful and even a weak point. That isn’t exactly a small target. I feel that a ship class believed to have a chance against biscuit duking it out, exploiting a weakness nobody at the time knew of, would win the majority of the time.

 

Either way I don’t think it’s debatable that Richelieu is a superior design to Bismarck, despite being smaller this discussion about if it could beat Bismarck exists. As well as being more efficient and there weren’t major flaws that couldn’t be fixed with a retrofit unlike armor or obesity.

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It's hard to say objectively but it's much easier to make an argument for the Richelieu class than the Bismarcks IMO. Stronger guns and the design allows the ship to bowtank while still being able to fire a full broadside. Slightly faster, pretty much same armor and not having to show the citadel to engage would be worth quite a bit if these two fought. Bismarck proved to be one hell of a durable ship but pointing to Bismarcks feats to suggest she'd win doesn't seem fair when Richelieu wasn't put in those situations.

Based on WOWS experience playing Tirpitz and Richelieu I feel very strongly that Richelieu is the better ship. I just really like the design, shame it never really got to test itself think it was the best European BB of WW2.

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On 4/15/2020 at 1:37 AM, Flagship1 said:

We should break it down into a list of pros and cons for each ship. Feel free to add in things to the list if you feel I missed anything. I intentionally left out armor quality, since we dont actually know if German steel armor was any better than French steel armor, Germans seem to be mid tier on Battleship armor quality, and I dont see the French being so bad at making cemented steel armor that they'd be below average.

Richelieu                                                                     Bismarck

+Faster tactical speed                                               +Better accuracy on main guns

+Better all around armor and protection                +Farther operational range

+More powerful shells                                               +Somewhat better anti air gun suite than Richelieu 1940 version

+Facing forward, smaller target                               -Cannot escape from Richelieu if the tide turns against Bismarck 

+ (in theory) Longer range guns                               -excessive weight, with little gained from it                                            

-Significant dispersion problems                             -Fuel guzzler, for a nation with insufficient access to petroleum products (Limited fuel supplies could affect a battle).

-Less ammunition than Bismarck                           -Must expose broadside to fire all its guns, creating a bigger target to hit.

-Damage to turret rotation can disable

50% of guns

There's one major flaw in your thinking, being end on to be a smaller target, and having to go broadside didn't work in real life as it does in game.

With the fire control systems of the day, getting the correct bearing to target was relatively easy, and ships rarely missed their target in deflection. Guns are also fairly accurate in deflection, as the biggest source of errors is from the mechanical alignment of the guns to each other, and the fire control system.

Getting the correct range was another matter, and errors in range to target were common, plus spotting shells that go long was be problematic. Minor variations in muzzle velocity and elevation will produce significant variations in range.

So, aligning the largest dimension of your ship to the direction you opponent is most likely to miss in doesn't work real well. Both Richelieu and Bismarck were designed to fight roughly broadside to their targets.

The reason for Richelieu to have all her main guns mounted forward in quad turrets was to reduce the length of the armored citadel, which is a great weight savings. It also simplifies the ships structure by not having to support heavy turrets and barbettes on top of the inboard shaft alleys, which also helps save weight. It also allows you to shift the entire power plant aft in the hull, which will shorten the shafts, which is even more weight savings.

Richelieu is a very weight efficient ship. While Bismarck is broadly similar in capabilities, it is quite the opposite.

Edited by SgtBeltfed

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For WoWS there's some major pro's and con's going on between Richelieu and Bismarck.  Which is better depends on what you deem more important.  Both are rather good in something, and then weak in others.

 

Bismarck - A fast, mobile, very well protected Battleship for surface combat and gets better in a brawl.  Her guns are dubious and her shells are even worse.  But the weakness to air attacks is a major concern.  She is a Brawling Specialist, and if forced to fight at intermediate or longer ranges, she looks worse in the highly competitive Tier VIII Battleship crowd.

++ Well armored;  Stubbornly protects her Citadel in a surface engagement.

+ 50mm deck armor can't be Overmatched by IJN 460mm / 510mm AP.

+ Secondaries have good HE Pen, ROF, and range.

+ Hydro.

+ Good reload speed of 26 seconds for her main battery.

+ Good speed of 31kts.

- German 380mm AP sucks a** in Penetration.  Even if she can land hits at range, her shells will let her down.

- WG may have buffed German BBs to adopt the USN / RN Battleship Dispersion Model, but 1.8 Sigma for 8 BB guns is still not impressive.

- 22% TDS;  Awful Torpedo damage reduction.  Any torps that hit are going to do well against you.

- All German and Russian Battleships are highly susceptible to getting Citadeled by AP Bombers compared to all other BB Lines.

- If that wasn't bad enough, Bismarck's AA is trash.  We are after all talking about the Modern WWII Battleship that got a** r***d by 15 canvas skinned Swordfish torpedo bombers.  This worsens Bismarck-class weakness to AP Bombers.  In addition, because of the 22% TDS, even Torpedo Bombers will be a major threat that will do good damage against you.

 

Richelieu - Great map mobility due to her speed.  The guns are very wonky but if RNG blesses thy Salvo, her great shells will reward you (she has better Dmg Avg than Bismarck).  Yamato-class / Shikashima AP and HE Spammers are a major threat.

++ Good 32kt speed but Engine Boost access can really make her move for a good part of a match.  This is a very strong point of hers.

+ French 380mm AP is some of the best for that size.  The penetration even rivals that of a number of larger 406mm / 410mm shells.

+ While Richelieu can still get Citadeled by AP Bombs, it's not as easy to do that against her compared to RU & German Battleships.

+ Good 35% TDS value;  Torpedo damage reduction is on the good side.

+/- Citadel protection is kind of trollish.  Sometimes she gives up only Overpens and sometimes she gets Citadeled good.

- French Battleships are the only BB Line stuck with the worst Battleship Dispersion Model in the game.

- Just like Bismarck, 1.8 Sigma for 8 BB rifles doesn't impress me.

- 32mm armor all over the hull makes Richelieu highly vulnerable to HE Spam and IJN 460-510mm AP Overmatch.  FR BBs up and down the tiers are all vulnerable to HE Spam.

- Richelieu's AA is not what is used to be.  In the RTS CV Days with AA Spec, she was pretty good.  But the CV Rebork has gutted her AA.  Still... It's not Bismarck Bad.

 

Offensively, I rate Richelieu the better ship due to her far superior shells despite the wonkier guns.  Her great speed is an asset both offensively and defensively.  But FR BBs get mercilessly HE Farmed while German BBs and their 50mm deck armor can mitigate the hail of HE shells and cause a bunch of Non-Pens.  Bismarck's armor scheme is far superior for surface combat in WoWS, protecting her Citadel well.  Defensively Bismarck looks quite solid.  But her protection scheme completely falls apart when there are Carriers.  Her truly awful AA only magnifies that weakness.

Edited by HazeGrayUnderway

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