April 1931 The Naval Secretary told me that he thought we needed submarines more than battleships, and that he would take over convincing the Prime Minister. (In game terms: got a second event to build 21 submarines, accepted, and the BB build requirement vanished.)
May 1931 A rebellion against Great Britain broke out in Nigeria.
June 1931 Tensions with Italy are rising.
July 1931 Our naval architects report that they have discovered that the all-forward armaments of Great Britain's latest battleships allow decreased armor weight.
September 1931 Again, fighter proposals are disappointing. I requested proposals for a range and bomb-load focused medium bomber.
November 1931 Italy and Japan signed an alliance. I purchased information on loading mechanization from the United States.
December 1931 Great Britain replaces Japan in the alliance.
February 1932 The admiralty approves twin guns on DDs, and first Arromanches-class CVL is completed. It too exceeds its design speed in trials. I consider options for a new destroyer, taking advantage of 2000t displacement and twin guns.
Last Edit: Jul 10, 2019 19:40:41 GMT -5 by Blothorn
April 1932 3" and 4" twin DP mounts researched. CV Joffre comissioned. Slightly modified the Escopette design to take advantage of twin 4" mounts by increasing the LAA/MAA complement. Germany and Great Britain signed a treaty.
May 1932 Ordered 12 Escopettes, consuming all budget until the two remaining Arromanches are completed.
June 1932 A new MB design offered a 33% increase in speed, 80% increase in range, torpedo capability, and useful improvements in maneuverability and toughness. A RFP was issued for a new torpedo bomber. In light of high tensions with the Great Britain, the airbases in France were expanded and squadrons started training at them.
July 1932 I turned down a request to build three new battleships due to inadequate budget.
September 1932 Gunmakers offer a 12" quality 1 gun. I assess options for a 5k budget surplus available in two months: - Germany has been building some 30-knot battlecruisers with 6x11" guns. These can outrun all our capital ships, but only really pose a threat to our old 25-knot CLs and are vulnerable to airstrike. Great Britain has a 50kt BB and a 42kt BC expected to be commissioned in 1934. There is no other recent BB/BC construction, so the strategic position remains essentially unchanged from last review: an additional FBB would be of minor use in a conflict with GB and superfluous against all other opponents. - Japan is building two 15kt CAs of unknown capability, Italy has commissioned a 15kt CA with 9x10" guns, and AH is building an 11kt CA. A high-end CA would be useful, but there is still no urgent need for such. - No CVs are under construction, with the USA and GB each having a large, well-armored carrier capable of carrying only 27 planes compared to France's three CVs totalling 202 planes. CVLs are more evenly matched, with France expecting a capacity of 102 planes within two months. I expect Germany to field CVLs totalling ~100 planes within a year, and Japan totals has five CVLs with total capacity of 139 planes. - The CL situation is essentially unchanged, aside from GB building a single 7500t CL of unknown capability. - Several countries are building/have recently build DDs in the 1500-2000t range, but the Escopette class exceeds all in number in capability. Overall, this situation looks favorable--France has a decisive capital-and-CL superiority over all opponents save Great Britain, against whom she can field six times as many carrier-based aircraft. The most fruitful directions I see are: - Build two CAs to address the one area of inferiority vs. other 2nd/3rd tier powers and threaten GB's colonial cruiser fleets. An initial sketch suggests an 8x10", 32-knot, 17.5kt CA with heavy armor would be able to outrun and outfight all foreign ships. - Build a FBB to limit GB's superiority in that area. A 2x4 17" ship could mount 5" deck armor on 40kt, or 5.5" on slightly increased displacement. - Extend the lead in carriers. The CVL disparity being addressed against all opponents except Japan, another 100-aircraft fleet carrier would probably best help in the event of a war against Great Britain.
October 1932 Ordered design of the BB1932A study as the Solferino class.
November 1932 Secondary turrets on BBs researched.
December 1932 Bought the technology for triple turrets on CLs from the US. The Italian CL is revealed to carry 29 aircraft but only be capable of 25 knots.
February 1933 Ordered the Solferino (slightly modified to carry its secondary guns in twin turrets). Ordered a new TB with 27% better range than its predecessor. Issued an RFP for a new flying boat.
March 1933 Sold forced circulation to AH.
April 1933 CVL Nice is torpedoed during excercises--based on location, almost certainly by a British submarine. France declares war on Great Britain, and Italy on France.
France opens the war by attacking a British convoy, fielding three BBs, two BCs, and two fleet carriers plus supporting ships. Due to navigational errors the fleet arrives close to the estimated target position late, at 1630, and in desperation to make French airpower tell launches a blind strike. 16 capital ships are spotted at 17:11; disengagement is ordered, but the French battle cruisers ignore all signals and charge for the enemy position, making contact at 19ky at 18:19. French aircraft find enemy ships at 18:23 and claim three torpedo strikes on two ships, while the battlecruisers start taking hits. They finally see sense and turn away, losing contact at 18:33. Shortly before then a small British TB strike arrives, but vigorous anti-aircraft fire breaks up the attack. After dark the battlecruisers again charged the last known position of the British fleet; the battleships reluctantly moved to support. The battlecruisers were finally convinced to return to station at 22:00. The French fleet then cruised slowly toward the nearest British port, hoping to get off a second airstrike at dawn. Again a blind strike was chosen to avoid missing the opportunity.
At dawn (0351) a detached destroyer reported a solitary contact 30 nm to port of the French battleships, minutes before the first parts of the airstrike took off. It was never identified and the destroyer failed to maintain contact. At 04:25 Emile Bertin reported another solitary contact ahead of the fleet at 6.5nm (20nm from the battleships). Finally, at 04:30 La Galissonnierre identified what seemed to be the British convoy 15nm to port. The British battlefleet was soon sighted beyond and behind it, and a secondary airstrike was prepared. Four battlecruisers or battleships chased the La Galissonnierre, and started exchanging with French battleships at 25,000 yards around 04:45. The British battleships drew first blood with a BE hit on Flandre from 23,500 yards, and the French battleships abandoned hope of reaching the convoy and turned to open range. Meanwhile, the dawn carrier strike arrived on target at 04:53, reporting six torpedo hits on warship (mostly on unidentified targets, although two hits on a CVL were claimed), a number of torpedo hits on transports, and two bomb hits each on a destroyer and transport. The British battlecruisers, having retreated toward their main fleet, again charged the French line; the French drew first blood in this reengagement, hitting a Glorious-class BC with two 17" shells at 20,600 yards.
At this point the battle consisted of the five French capitals sailing northeast at 25 knots. Four British battlecruisers sailed on a converging course around 16,700 yards, while a large fleet of British battleships sailed perpendicularly toward a point 6nm behind the last of the French capitals. The French battleships and British battlecruisers traded fire but without decisive result until a penetrating hit from 16,800 destroyed one of Normandie's turrets at 05:20. Notably, this is outside the range 16" fire was expected to be effective against the 16" turret face armor. However, the Flandre was in trouble--the single BE hit, the first heavy hit of the day, had caused extensive flooding, limiting it to 22 knots. The French battleships lowered speed and turned to disengage, taking advantage of a similar turn by the British battlecruisers. At 06:54 the followup airstrike arrived, claiming three torpedo hits on a battlecruiser in the main fleet and two on transports. A third strike was launched with planes returning from the first strike, partially loaded with bombs due to a shortage of torpedoes. All British ships save the shadowing battlecruisers turned away at 06:15. The third strike claimed four bomb hits and three torpedo hits on battleships at around 07:00, and shortly afterward a fourth airstrike convinced the shadowing battlecruisers to give up despite scoring no hits, and a fifth strike was launched against the retreating ships.
By 07:50 there was no contact between fleets, but Flandre (still having received only a single BE hit) ruptured a bulkhead and began flooding rapidly (212 in-game). Fleet speed was reduced to 12 knots. The final air strike claimed two torpedo hits on a CL, seven bomb hits on BBs (three by TBs with 1600lb bombs), and one on a TR.
Intelligence reports from the battle were disappointing--British losses seemed to consist of a mere four transports and one destroyer, with heavy damage to several major warships--a disappointing tally for 18 bomb and 19 torpedo hits. French damage was comparatively light, with only the Flandre and a destroyer taking significant damage.
Thoughts The French aircraft were accurate, but distribution of fire and poor weapon effectiveness negated the opportunity. The ability of the British battlecruisers to force engagement was also demonstrated, and the sever trouble Flandre suffered from a single non-citadel hit most concerning.
Follow-up Initiated construction of an airbase at Bonifacio, brought air groups on the channel coast up to full strength (fighter/flying boat/TB/MB). Activated the entire fleet, setting TP as appropriate. Ordered four more Escopettes as the best balance between capability and build time.
April 1933 Italy invades Dalmatia. K-guns researched. 6"/+1 guns researched. Germany and Japan declare war. DDs Stylet and Cognee strikes mines and sink, KE Bourbaki sunk by submarine gunfire. 15 enemy submarines sunk.
Japan declines a convoy attack in southeast asia.
May 1933 Submarines damage two British battleships. KE Diamant sunk by a mine. 16 enemy submarines sunk. A force comprising both Dunkerque class battlecruisers and the Joffre and Vosges encounters a German/UK patrol in the North sea at dusk--two Blucher class small battlecruisers and two formidable Niobe class battlecruisers. Contact is lost as night falls, and they are next sighted at a mere 1400 yards. a brief flurry of fire is decidedly in France's favor (four 16", four 5", and three 4" hits against one 6" and one 11") before contact is lost. While reengaging Duquesne sights an AV and pursues briefly, a flurry of point-blank fire quickly reducing it to a flaming hulk, while the destroyers encounter the German BCs long enough for Joigny to take fatal fire, but without finding a solution for torpedo fire. A second re-encounter leaves one Blucher class dead in the water and the other limping, but the British battlecruisers found the distracted French battlecruisers and hit them nine times in minutes. Continuing their turn upset their gunnery, and the French battlecruisers started a withering fire of their own. Shortly the heavies again disengaged.
At 22:25 the destroyers encountered the battleships, claiming three torpedo hits each on a "CA" and the Niobe-class. Two minutes later the Niobe emerged from its evasive manuevers 3100 yards off the beam of the Duquesne, and a frantic salvo was met with a colossal explosion: the second-newest and largest ship in the Royal Navy had just blown up. Meanwhile, the destroyers landed another torpedo hit on the other Niobe, and a second on the second Blucher. Duqesne found the Blucher and soon it too was dead in the water. At this point the only combat-capable allied ship was the second Niobe, slowed to 15 knots by torpedo hits and pursued by the two French battlecruisers. At 23:02 it was rendered dead in the water and its guns ceased fire, the French ships returned to port.
The only other action of the battle was an attack by medium bombers on the retreating ships, which yielded no hits, and a destroyer torpedoed and sunk by a submarine.
Summary The battle was a tremendous success--both German battlecruisers and Great Britains two best sunk by an inferior force without air support at the cost of only two destroyers. Both French destroyers and battlecruisers contributed considerably.
Follow-up Germany was now blockaded, but all efforts would need to be made to break the British blockade in order to move ships to the Mediterranean.
Last Edit: Jul 16, 2019 19:17:21 GMT -5 by Blothorn
June 1933 Ordered a private-venture flying boat with considerably improved speed, maneuverability, and payload. A French submarine sank an Italian KE by gunfire, and an enemy submarine our KE Gloire. 9 of 251 enemy subs were sunk. Accepted a convoy defense mission, featuring all our battlecruisers and two fleet carriers. At 13:12 scouts reported 1 BC at 18nm and 3 BCs at 34nm; a strike was quickly launched at the further contact report and the French BCs moved to investigate. Aircraft found the enemy ships at 14:00 but reported no hits until a CA was hit at 14:18. Scouting CLs reported contacts at 12nm at 14:13, and within 10 minutes these reports were clarified to three BCs, all obsolete 1915 types (albeit including two British ships known to mount a dangerous 10x15" battery). Duquesne managed the first hit at 14:26 from a mere 13,100 yards in poor visibility. Despite nominal French superiority and guns and armor, two engine-room penetrations to Dunkerque and Dunquesne soon slowed the French battlecruisers to 19 knots. The allied BCs turned away while the French BCs pursued and a second airstrike was launched as aircraft returned. Little happened until 17:00, when the allied BCs ceased retreating and took a number of hits at around 16,000 yards. They again turned away but one Lion was slowed to 15 knots and slowly overtaken and sunk. At 19:19 the other Lion turned toward the French BCs; they closed to 10,000 yards before it turned away, also slowed to 15 knots. At 19:33 it blew up and the French BCs turned away, ammo exhausted and not wishing to tangle with the allied destroyers at night.
Summary: Another solid victory, with two British battlecruisers sunk for only minimal damage and no loss. Naval air performance was quite poor, managing no evident damage in nearly 100 offensive sorties.
July 1933 The blockade continues. Dunkerque is damaged by a mine. 15 hostile submarines sunk. Germany declines a fleet battle. Italy attempts a coastal raid opposed by the CL Jeann de Vienne and assorted destroyers. The enemy ship was sighted at 12:15, following reports from a KE she attacked and sunk--and revealed to be a Zara class CA, far outclassing the French CL. However, the Zara attempted to pursue the CL past a coastal battery and took moderate damage; the CL attempted to take advantage of the opportunity and closed. Trading hits at 5000 yards her commander ordered his escorting destroyers to attack, and while the first wave of torpedoes missed the cruiser her attempts at evasion disrupted her gunfire and allowed the de Vienne to find the range, achieving 15 hits in three minutes. Shortly, however, her own maneuvers to keep the Zara in arc slowed her gunfire, and a single 10" hit slowed her to 21 knots. She began to disengage, but while doing so a lucky hit slowed the Zara to five knots, just as a destroyer captain managed a successful approach. The destroyer put two torpedoes into the Zara from point-blank range and the Italians abandoned ship.
August 1933 The first seven Episcopettes are commissioned. The admiralty approves dual-purpose primary guns for DDs. Enemy submarines sink three KEs and a DD. 12 enemy submarines are sunk. An Italian convoy to support the invasion of Dalmatia is cancelled due to lack of fleet support, despite France only having 1 CL in the area. A design for a new CL mounting 9x6" guns is ordered, taking advantage of the improved 6" guns and hopefully allowing retirement of the obsolete 25-knot CLs.
September 1933 Britain invades Cochin China. A British revolutionary is funded. A proposal for a flying boat with twice the range of our existing models is ordered. French submarines sink the Italian AV Ravenna and BC Vettor Pisani, while enemy submarines sink two destroyers and a KE. Japan sinks the US CL Columbia. Italy is again unable to support her land forces.
October 1933 Intelligence reports domestic unrest in Great Britain. 5" DP and improved 4" guns are introduced, and a destroyer design leveraging them ordered. French submarines sink a German CVL; enemy submarines and mines sink three destroyers and a KE and damage a CL. In the Mediterranean the Jeanne d'Arc encounters an enemy CL at 2.2nm at night; the watch identifies it as a battleship but only light gunfire is noticed. Six hits are quickly scored before turning away in case it mounts torpedoes. The lookout also claims a transport beyond it--as a lone escorted transport seems unlikely, the Jeanne d'Arc pursues in case it is actually the CVL Falco, but the BB opens up with heavy guns and forces the CL away. This action, however, distracted the BB from the actions of the DD Flamberge, which deftly positions itself 5000 yards of the battleships port bow and hits with all three of its bearing torpedoes. Flooding from a heavy hit to the bow it disengages for port, its role in the battle admirably executed. The CL pursues the last known position of the potential CVL but fails to make contact. Intelligence reports that the battleship did later make port.
November 1933 The German government declares total war. An offer of improved 13" guns from the US is turned down. The Jeanne d'Arc again encounters the Regina Elena--except in daylight, and declines long-range combat.
December 1933 A new variant of the PL.121 offers increased range. Two destroyers are sunk and two more damaged by torpedoes and mines; eight enemy submarines are sunk. Italy again cancels operations in support of their invasion.
January 1934 Great Britain invades Annam. The US sells improved torpedo warhead tech. A new version of the ND.116 offers improved speed and range. One DD is lost to enemy submarines; 6 enemy and 3 French submarines are sunk. A battle off Annam is inconclusive.
February 1934 Sold dual-purpose primary DD guns to the US. French submarines sank an Italian KE; enemy submarines and mines sank two DDs and damaged a third. 12 enemy submarines are sunk, bringing the total down to 181.
March 1934 Italy takes over Dalmatia, Great Britain invades Senegal. Tourville is damaged by a mine; 12 enemy submarines are sunk. Our fleet clashed with the Grand Fleet off the southern coast of Ireland. Again, approach came late, 80 minutes from nightfall, preventing an airstrike before nightfall. Contact was never made, but the CL HMS Conquest was sunk by a submarine.
April 1934 French submarines sink an Italian KE; enemy submarines sink a French DD. 6 enemy submarines are lost. Off Senegal, British forces attack a convoy escorted by two Chasseloup Laubat-class CLs. Contact is made at 11:35; enemy forces are identified as two destroyers. A single 6" hit at 11,700 yards is all the French CLs can manage before the destroyers disengage.
May 1934 A rebellion against Italy breaks out in Libya. Germany is building another 6x11" BC. Torpedo reloads are researched. French ships and submarines sink a KE and 9 submarines without loss. Enemy submarine forces are now estimated at 150; 40% down from their peak. Great Britain declines battle near Ireland, yet somehow maintains their blockade. In the Mediterranean, British CLs surprise a convoy escorted only by destroyers. An engine-room hit from 11,000 yards puts the Flamburge out of the fight, although it manages to retreat while the CLs are busy with the transports. The CLs pursue some coastal force destroyers but are deterred by accurate 5" fire and the threat of torpedoes. Ultimately, however, the British attack is a considerable success--60% of the convoy destroyed without significant damage.
With the broken invasion mechanics (AI can do a lot, even in first month of war, player can do very little) and the broken peace deal mechanics (white peace even if whole enemy fleet is destroyed, not even return of colonies in white peace), it might as well be the end of the New French Empire. Despite the landslide VP ratio.
June 1934 Scientists convince the admiralty that radio reflections could be used for detection and ranging. Air/sea rescue is introduced. Enemy submarines sink a DD, and 10 are lost. A new fighter and torpedo bomber are ordered. A Pearl-class CL attacked a convoy escorted by the CL Bugead; shortly after turning broadside, the Bugead sighted a second ship, suspected to be a battlecruiser. Bugead finally managed a hit at 4800 yards, but was driven off by the threat of pursuit by the 26-knot BC. At 09:50 the BC, having closed within 8000 yards, landed a well-placed hit that disabled all machinery aboard the CL; shortly afterward it began to sink, having inflicted only inconsequential damage. It had, at least, drawn off the BC; no damage was inflicted on the convoy.
July 1934 Libya declares independence. Great Britain takes over Annam. A DD and KE are sunk by submarines, along with six hostile subs. The French fleet, unfortunately short one BB, two CVs, and all the CVLs, attacks a British convoy. FIrst contact is made at 14:22; soon revealed to be four British 16" BCs, followed by two long lines of battleships. An airstrike was quickly launched. Curiously the British ships turned away, and the French battleline pursued to attempt to discover the merchants. These were sighted at 30,000 yards at 15:10. The first airstrike arrived shortly after, claiming three bombs on a BB, a torpedo in a CV, and two torpedoes in a CL. Meanwhile Flandre managed a hit on a battleship at 25,000 yards before shifting fire to the Merchants as the British battlefleet retreated through the convoy. Fire was soon shifted back toward the battleships, with the exchange generally favoring the long-ranged French 17" guns. As the French fleet attempted to turn away Dunkerque's rudder was disabled; she took heavy fire as the British battlecruisers closed within 7000 yards before turning back due to threat from the destroyers. The next few hours followed a steady pattern--the French ships zig-zagging away to keep between their home ports and the British fleet while keeping their broadsides bearing, exchanging fire at ranges from ten to twenty thousand yards. The next major development came at 17:32, when the HMS Resolution, England's largest warship and leading the pursuit, blew up after being hit by a salvo from the Duquesne. At 18:02 the aircraft finally made an impact, claiming three hits on an old Canopus-class battleship and two on the modern Royal Oak. This induced the British fleet to turn home for good, and contact was lost at 18:40, shortly before dusk. The French fleet slowed to 10 knots for the sake of several ships nursing heavy damage--Dunkerque had suffered 26 heavy hits and while its machinery was intact and it could make nearly 20 knots, its deck was nearly awash. Flandre had taken 32 hits, and while its hull was in better shape its funnel had been thoroughly riddled. Several destroyers had also been heavily damaged, but fortunately the seas were calm. Scouts at dawn failed to find any ships at sea.
Aftermath All French ships managed to limp back to port. Intelligence reported that the obsolete HMS Illustrious also failed to reach port (in-game: this was the "CV" torpedoed by the first airstrike). Every French ship not in the carrier group bore scars--French gunnery and damage reports note 68 claimed hits against 83 suffered, over 20 hits for each capital ship engaged. Nonetheless, the French fleet, minus one third of its battleships and nearly three quarters of its carrier strength, had met the full strength of the Royal Navy, at times trading gunfire within 8000 yards, and come away victorious. The shortage of air power was dearly felt, but the air power had acquitted itself well, with the final five torpedo hits proving decisive when it seemed the British battleships might overwhelm the French battleline before dark.
September 1934 Enemy submarines and mines sink two KEs and four DDs; nine submarines are sunk. The Coetlogon encounters a British CL off the Tunisian coast. Both open fire at 11,000 yards, but the first hit comes 15 minutes later when a 7400-yard salvo lands three rounds on the British CL. After further exchange of fire the fifth hit causes the British CL to slow, and 25 minutes into the engagement it makes a futile turn to disengage, making 5 knots. The Coetlogon makes a torpedo pass at 4000 yards, landing one hit, and the British crew abandons ship.
October 1934 Algeria is invaded. 6 enemy submarines are sunk, at a loss of two DDs. The Descartes encounters a CL and DD off Senegal. The CL turns out to be one of the Italian Alberto da Giussano class, mounting a broadside of 5 4" guns and heavily outgunned by even the Escopettes. The Italian CL broadsides from 12,000 yards, while the Descartes aggressively closes range to get as close as possible before the Italian captain sees sense and leverages his 6-knot advantage. The first hit goes to the French, at 6600 yards; the Italian CL turns away--but only making 20 knots. The escorting DD makes a torpedo pass and the Descartes turns away, and the Italian CL takes advantage of this distraction to turn back. However, its three minor hits are rapidly answered by eight hits in two broadsides. This lopsided exchange of fire continues between 4000 and 7000 yards, with the Descartes noting four hits and claiming 28. Eventually the Italian CL, attempting to run for good, stops dead in the water and the Descartes lands a torpedo. She chases the British DD but it declines engagement.
November 1934 Britain captures Algeria. Three CLs of the Admiral Cecille type are ordered. Two DDs are sunk by mines; 9 enemy submarines are sunk. The Descartes encounters four destroyers off Senegal; the Descartes has the better of the exchange until a 5" shell causes a flash fire and magazine detonation. Intelligence reports that all British destroyers returned to port, albeit some with severe damage.
December 1934 2 DDs are sunk by mines and torpedoes; 9 enemy submarines are sunk. In a confused engagement on a dark, rainy night, nine French destroyers encounter seven German destroyers and sink six (plus a large KE encountered during pursuit) while suffering only minor casualties, although the Somali was sunk by a submarine while returning to port.
And thus ends my tenure. Serenissima, I believe you are up, as wevets should still be unavailable.