anchor chain


Drawing of Lille

Displacement 32,000 tons
Armament 4 x 4 13.4"
Light guns + AA
Speed 25 knots
VTS Rating   5   4   4

The first of many French capital ships to use a four-gun turret, Lille was only half-completed (and two sisters newly laid down) when WW I intervened. Impoverished by the war, France completed only the Lille (as a battleship) and a similar hull as the CV Bearn. Though not a match for the British or American post-war giants, Lille was still better than anything the Italians had, and was the most powerful warship in the French Navy for nearly 15 years.

Stuck in the Western Mediterranean when the Italians sailed East in 1940, Lille saw no action but arrived in Dakar in time to be bottomed in port by British air attacks. Now decidedly Vichy, Lille was slowly being repaired on Admiral Darlan's insistence. Fully seaworthy in 1943 but in marginal fighting trim, Lille attempted to return to Brest. Intercepted by two battleships of the Brazilian Fleet, Lille managed to sink the Sao Paolo early in the engagement, but had taken several hits. Now it was the sixteen guns in the four turrets of Lille vs. the fourteen guns in the seven (!) turrets of the Rio de Janeiro. In sinking condition after a long fight, Lille struck her colors and surrendered to the Rio.

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