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  1. Hi All, So never being satisfied with having just three things on the go - largely because of undiagnosed attention issues - I thought i should start the build log for the next in the project of Treaty class battleships, as a reminder these are; Admiral Graf Spee Strasbourg (having built Dunkerque) Littorio Scharnhorst 1940 Richelieu Prince of Wales North Carolina Massachusetts So there is a way to go! Part of the reason to start this one is its sat out on the desk and i keep fiddling with bits for it, the other is she'll be in a light grey and i tend to do airbrush sessions so doing a painting morning on parts for Strasbourg and Graf Spee seems sensible. As some of you know, I built the namesake for this class, Dunkerque, a couple of years ago pre my aircraft carrier saga (still on going), as the idea of the project came up right at the end of the build, and as i love the look of these ships doing Strasbourg was a must. The two ships differed quite markedly in areas, but were near identical in others. The most obvious change was the layout and decks of the forward superstructure. Strasbourg was equipped to act as a fleet flagship and as such has an additional deck above the main bridge as well as further additions to aid this function higher up in the tower, making her taller than her younger sister. Due to the age and compromised designs of the older French warships at the time of the Washington naval treaty, and the loss of one ship, France was in a 'beneficial' position of being able to replace some of her older units earlier than other navies. This is good of course if conflict occurs in that period between the ships completion and the potential opponents upgrading but bad if war comes slightly later. As it happened it turned out to be a bit of both for the French. There was a fast pace of change in the navies of Germany and Italy in the last 1920's/early 30's and the marine nationale saw these countries as their most likely adversaries in any war and so the design went through a series of iterations. Pre the launch of the German panzerschiffe there had been designs as small as 17,500t, others 23,500t. The conditions of the washington treaty, now followed by the London treaty allowed France to use up to 70,000t of displacement. With the launch of the Deutschland, the smaller designs were disregarded as being too lightly armoured but further consideration as given to the larger options with further upgrades. The conception for the design was largely the same of course. These ships were designed with two primary purposes; 1, Counter Germany's Panzerschiffe 2, Counter Italy's older dreadnoughts and modern heavy cruisers in the Mediterranean To fulfil the first role they would need to be able to counter the 11in guns carried on the German ships and be fast enough to catch them. The designs were uprated to increased speed to 30knts or thereabouts and to carry guns greater than 12in. This and the armour deemed required for protection against the new German guns increased displacement to 26,500t, The final design was heavily influenced by the Nelson Class recently commissioned by the Royal Navy. The tower superstructure, inclined armoured belt and all forward main weapons are the most obvious things 'borrowed' from the British ships. The big advantage of having the main weapons forward is it shortens the armoured citadel required, allowing thicker armour to be fitted for the same weight or less armour to reduce overall tonnage if the same thickness is kept. Dunkerque and Strasbourg however took these ideas even further by using quadruple turrets for eight guns but importantly with the turrets effectively built as a conjoined pair of two gun turrets rather than a single gun house with 4 barrels. This allowed further compression of the design and meant that the machine spaces could be located closer amidships, in turn allowing for the secondary turrets to shift forward again reducing the armoured portion of the hull in length. It also allowed for aviation facilities to be fitted to the stern and is a design feature that would carry into the next class of ships, Richelieu and Jean Bart but more on them when i get there. This configuration for the aircraft handling lined up with French naval policy which insisted that the planes fuel be kept outside of the main armoured citadel. France faced an issue in building these new ships though, she didn't have enough facilities available to deliver them as quickly as she needed. The fast pace of the German construction and nascent Italian plans to upgrade her older ships had turned a project that at times had been in no hurry to deliver its output, into one under considerable pressure. Until these ships were delivered, France would not have anything on paper that catch the German vessels. Dunkerque was duly ordered in 1932 and the Marine Nationale pushed hard for a second ship of the class as soon as possible. The proverbial hit the fan though when Mussolini announced that Italy would be building 35,000t ships, ones which Dunkerque and Stasbourg couldn't match. France now faced a dilemma, continue with the project or scrap it and wait for new designs. In the end a compromise was reached as the delay of a year or more for new designs as unacceptable. This meant Dunkerque would be built largely to design but Starsbourg's design would be improved to increase her vertical protection to give her more of a chance if confronted by one of the new Italian ships, if only to run for it! In the end Strasbourg was laid down in Nov 1934 and completed just under 4 years later in Sept 1938. Her key facts and figures are below; Displacement Standard: 27,700 long tons (28,100 t) Full load: 35,500 long tons (36,100 t) Length 214.5 m (703 ft 9 in) (loa) Beam 31.08 m (102 ft) Draft 8.7 m (28 ft 7 in) Speed 29.5 knots (54.6 km/h; 33.9 mph) Range 13,900 km (7,500 nmi; 8,600 mi) Armament 8 × 330mm/50 Modèle 1931 guns 16 × 130mm dual-purpose guns 8 × 37 mm (1.5 in) anti-aircraft (AA) guns 32 × 13.2mm AA machine guns Armor Belt: 283 mm (11.1 in) Deck: 127 mm (5 in) Turrets: 360 mm (14.2 in) Conning tower: 270 mm (10.6 in) Aircraft carried 2 floatplanes A few photos of the real thing, I've run out of time for lunch now so i'll post some in progress shots shortly of the model, thanks Sam
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