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Lorraine (similar profile)

Line drawing of Alsace

Photo of Alsace underway at sea

Adaptation of Imperial War Museum photo
Displacement Alsace
48,000 tons
35,000 tons
Armament 3 x 4   16"
3 x 4   13"
Speed 31 knots 33 knots
VTS Rating(s)   7   8   6   5   4   7

The Lorraine, first of the full-sized Treaty battlewagons for France, was a lengthened and strengthened Dunkerque, housing an additional four-gun heavy turret toward the stern for a more "traditional" look. In the French mind at least, she surpassed the Hood's and Lexington's as speedy, formidable warships; her faster firing cycle making up for her lesser-caliber guns. She and Gascogne were two variations on the large battlecruiser concept that France dropped in favor of better-protected and only slightly slower fast battleships.

Lorraine was interred in Ceylon, after France fell, until 1943 when she joined the Allies in the Far Eastern Fleet. She was the largest ship sunk by Kamikazes, being the first and only capital ship victim of the "Doshaburi" human-guided rocket-bombs.

Alsace was the first French ship built without regard to Treaty limitations. She was designed to be the premier warship and prestigious flagship of the French Navy. The design layout was previously tested in the smaller but faster battlecruiser Lorraine. The longest ship in the world when built, except for the Incomparable/Superb "freaks", Alsace was arguably the most powerful.

In June of 1940 the almost-complete Alsace couldn't be made ready for sea before the Germans showed up in Brest, so many essential and unique parts became "missing" upon takeover. French intransigence kept Alsace disabled in port but when Operation Torch landed the Germans tortured the crew until the "missing" parts were found. Patriotic sailors loyal to Free France detonated her magazines at 3 am and the remains of the ship were scrapped after the war.

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