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Côte d'Azur

Line drawing of Côte d'Azur

Displacement 16,500 tons
Armament 4 x 4   8"
Medium AA
Speed 33 knots
VTS Rating   2   2   7

France showed off her fine battlecruisers in the mid-thirties but had few modern heavy cruisers to go with them. Hoping to economize her fleet, France began building super-cruisers (Croisseur de Combat) that could act like two cruisers by having twice the armament of a typical heavy cruiser. Four 8" guns were placed in each of four turrets on the centerline. The larger ship would need neither double the tonnage nor manpower required for two 10,000-ton, 8-8" cruisers.

Côte d'Azur, just completed in Toulon when the Germans hit Paris, escaped to North Africa to fight for Free France, but the incomplete sister ship Côte d'Emeraude was demolished on the stocks in Brest when the Germans appeared there. A Franco-American Force "H" out of Gibraltar with CV Lafayette and Côte d'Azur chased down a German battle squadron off Cape Town. Côte d'Azur caught up with the lagging Lützow. Still in a stern chase, Côte d'Azur's eight 8" guns forward rained shells on the pocket battleship (once within range) while the single three-gun turret of the Lützow tried desperately to stave her off. The "Combat Cruiser" prevailed. Continuing eastward into the Indian Ocean, Côte d'Azur found and demolished a Japanese heavy cruiser tending to a stricken destroyer, but over the horizon was the CV Katsuragi and swarms of "Judy" dive bombers. Côte d'Azur's weak AA and fast speed was no match for the dive bombers, and she sank within twenty minutes.

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