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The BEARN Carrier

Discussion in 'Surface and Air Forces' started by Skipper, Apr 15, 2013.

  1. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Yesterday I found an amazing 60 cm x 60cm large orignal picture from the French Aircraft carrier le BEARN dated from 1937 (prior to her first conversion) .

    The frame needed cleaning (pictures of the whole ship will come later) , so I thought it would be sweet to scan the picture and see all the details!

    The Bearn was further converted in 1940 so it could host US curtiss aircrafts bought by France. After the Battle of France, it managed to escape to the West Indies and joined the U.S. where it was further converted. Howeve rit was judged too obsolete for battle and was used as a transport vessel instead. It served during the whole war and was sent to Indochina in 1945. It even served in Algeria up to 1962. It was finally scapped in 1967.


    [​IMG]
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  2. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    looked her up on Wiki. Pity she could not have found a role as a ASW carrier either for convoy's or a Hunter-Killer group, but then politic's often screw up a promising idea.
     
  4. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Well, it's understanding .While she was modern in the 1920s, she was already outdated in the 1930s. She was modernised twice, but when you look at some details you"ll find her way too fragile to match modern Japanese aircrafts:

    1) Look at the doors that are extremely low and wide , like on ferry boats: a lovely target

    2)the runway is above pillars , hit them and the runway is gone.

    3)the canons are on the side, this does not allow a 360 shooting.

    The old lady did her share and ended up being the Veteran of three wars , which is quite exceptionnal.
     
  5. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    I was thinking more in the area of a nemesis for U-boats rather than acting as a fleet or light carrier, but agreed she did her best.
     
  6. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Here is the whole frame and the poster back inside. This is how I found it, but terribly dirty.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    Skipper, there were more than a few "WWII" carriers that had supported flight decks like that! Many of the IJN's come to mind.

    THIS for instance is 1939-40 "obsolete"... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Glorious ...but needs must!
     
  8. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    The Argus and Furious were not exactly the bees knees as they say..like Lou I'd have liked to see the Bearn in the Atlantic on convoy protection etc....Flaming good pics Skip...
     
  9. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Not bad, isn't it? Btw can anybody identify the aircraft? I thought about a Nieuwport, but I'm not sure at all.
     
  10. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    I never get these bi planes...Its not a spad is it?
     
  11. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Levasseur PL.7
     
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  12. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Wonderful , cheers Takao.
     
  13. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    [​IMG]




    Hey found a PL10 taking off from what apears to be the pillar bridge of the Bearn




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    and the PL7 . This site says both aircrafts were used from 1931 to 1939 and that in 1940 they were replaced by the Vought 156f

    [​IMG]



    http://fandavion.free.fr/bearn.htm
     
  14. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    I dug further on the missions of the Bearn. The least we can say is that she was ill fated

    1914 : construction began , but interrupted by WW1
    1920 : it went on
    1928: first conversion.
    1930s more conversion and repairs
    1940 : she could escape from France and go to the west Indies , but only to fall in Vichy hands.
    1943: the french west Indies sides with the allies, the Bearn went into dry docks in the U.S.
    March 1945: she was finally ready to sail to the UK, but she accidentally rammed the U.S. ship MC Andrew killing 70 sailors and loosing 4 of her own crew. She was towed to Cassablanca where she underwent repairs until the end of the war.
     
  15. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Some ships are just not lucky it seems.
     
  16. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    and what a waste of money..... In 1914 it was initially meant to be a battleship , obviously the priority went to infantry those days and when it was finally tested in 1920, it was decided it would be better as a carrier.....

    What people don't know it that in 1940 it carried some of the French gold to the West Indies.
     
  17. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    Thats what I like about this forum...surprises everywhere...I love these unspoken of things in history. I never knew this lady even existed.
     
  18. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    I didn't either Urgh and without finding that frame leaning on a table at a local flea market, I would still not know about it.
     
  19. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper Patron  

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    Makes sense now, that it was to be a battleship. Would explain the guns mounted below flight deck. Nice bit Skipper.
     
  20. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Like the other battleship conversion (HMS Eagle) she suffered from a slow speed that reduced the aircraft launching capabilty. Kaga was designed as a fast battleship, though she had quite a lot of engine trouble, and battle cruiser conversions (Akagi and the Lexington and Glorious classes) benefitted from a better original design speed.
    The slow speed would make it difficult to operate her as a fleet carrier though the RN used Eagle and even some auxilliary carriers for the role. For ocean escort she was horribly more expensive to operate compared to a CVE and by the time she was available to the allies CVE where being introduced in large numbers,
     
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