Will the real French cruisers please stand up!

After Jeanne D’Arc there are 3 French Cruisers of BR 5.0-5.3.

They all share the lack of armour of Jeanne D’Arc and blow up rather too often to be healthy, but at least it seem the number of DD guns doing the damage is a little less - Torpedoes are still jsut as bad.

All of them have much less AA - being a few 75 or 90mm heavy AA and single-shot 37mm and 13.2mm machineguns - these will get the occasional hit and kill, but certainly can’t be relied upon to deter air attack.

Primauguete at 5.0 has the same main guns as JdA - 8 x 155mm M1920’s - as 155mm guns go these are OK, but what it has that seems to be worth an extra BR level is 12 torpedo tubes, 6 per side, with 6 additional reloads per side. Given the abysmal AAA I don’t really think this is a great trade - I got a few torpedo hits and/or kills while spading, but … well… meh…

The comes Colbert and Emile Bertin both at 5.3 - and at last we have some ships that FEEL like proper cruisers. Neither of htem are going to last long vs the 6.0 monsters - at 5.3 you don’t expect that - but at least they seem a bit more survivable and with reasonable firepower.

Emil Bertin was subject to a dev blog - [Development] Émile Bertin light cruiser: hit and run - News - War Thunder

Armament wise it has 9 M1930 155mm guns, in 3 x triple turrets - these have a good rate of fire, and the turrets traverse quickly even without modifications. 6 TT’s - 3 each side - are welcome but hardly decisive.

AAA is 4 x 90mm guns for heave AA, 8 x single shot 37mm, and 25 13.2mm machineguns - again it will
get you a few kills, especially if planes press attacks to within machinegun range!! But it is not really impressive.

There is a tiny bit of armour - 30mm on the magazines, 20mm on the bridge, and 10mm on the 90mm gun shields - perhaps this is why it seems to be able to take a noticeable amount more damage? But torpedo hits adjacent to the magazines still blow them up! And both Soviet 130mm and US 5" SAP shells seem perfectly capable to doing so too.

For some reason the fuel tanks along the sides of the engine rooms do not show up as protection - hopefully it’s just a visual bug!

The EB is fast for a cruiser - hitting 87kph in Arcade - but TBH I’d be happy to drop 10 kph and have some more steel plate!

Lastly there is the Colbert - with 8 x M1924 203mm guns I guess this is a heavy cruiser - these have a decent rate of fire and can deal out adequate damage. But it’s still a “heavy cruiser” that only rates 5.3 and there’s no doubt why that is!

AA is 8 x 90mm, 10 37mm and 20 13.2mm - a bit more at the heavier end than the EB, but still pretty weak.

6 torpedo tubes are arranged 3 per side, with 2 reloads per side - the reloads are extremely slow to become available.

As is now expected, armor is lacking - there is thin plating for much of the hull - 18-26mm for bulkheads and deck. Belt armor is 50mm, with an internal belt of 30mm for part of the engine rooms which has to be useful - but there’s a great big gap in the side of the ship under the deck at the forward engine room that seems like a serious design error! Fuel tanks are modelled as protection.


I wonder if the french cruisers really had radar in their 1942 configuration. Even as there is no radar antenna visible (Colbert)

The French were investigating radar in the 1930’s just like everyone else, even continuing it for a couple of years under occupation. A naval version had been developed by 1939 - see Clandestine radar studies in France under the German occupation (1940–1942) | IEEE Conference Publication | IEEE Xplore

I have no idea whether Colbert had anything fitted though.

An experimental set was fitted on SS Normandie (cruise liner) in 1935 - although it had separate sending and receiving antennae -

Also featured in the December 1935 Popular Mechanic -

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