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Supertest: French Tier VI Premium Aircraft Carrier Béarn

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Historical Background

So… we are getting Béarn… as a tier VI… and it’s a premium. I have a rough idea of WG’s plans for a French carriers line but it still annoys me that our only carrier was turned into a premium ship.
Also… 21.5 knots at tier VI is gonna be really painful if it’s ever needed to reposition.

Anyway…

The Béarn was an aircraft carrier converted from the incomplete hull of a Normandie-class battleship. Béarn was, until the Clémenceau and Foch in the 1950s/1960s, the first and only French-built carrier to serve in the Marine Nationale.
The ship was laid down in January 1914, launched in April 1920 and commissioned in December 1927.

Overall, Béarn had a fairly quiet career and actually never launched aircraft in combat. She was mostly used to train pilots and test aircraft as she was far too slow for any sort of fleet operation. Her terrible elevator system also limited her effectiveness at launching/landing aircraft.

The plan was to have the planned carriers Joffre and Painlevé replacing her as both would be able to operate in a fleet thanks to their greater speed. Béarn would then serve as a backup until the construction of more advanced aircraft carriers.

In May 1940, Béarn was used to ship 147 metric tons of gold from France to the U.S. to pay for the planes France just purchased and to later bring them back home.
This plan never came to be as France fell in June and once the Armistice was signed, Béarn was ordered to sail for the Antilles after delivering the gold. The Vichy government ordered that the ship be sabotaged alongside her escort but Admiral Georges Robert refused and instead, she was run aground.

Once the Antille joined the Free France, Béarn was refloated and towed back to Puerto Rico. During the next months, the ship was repaired and refitted. Due to her age and limited performances, she was converted into an aircraft transport and it was not until February 1945 that she was brought back into service.
After the war, she was used to transport troops, vehicles and material to French Indochina as part of an attempt from France to reassert their colonial rule. We all know how well that went…

Later, the ship was reactivated as the flagship of the Marine Nationale’s submarine and anti-submarine group and also served as a submarine tender.
As years went on, the ship ended up being relegated to a barrack ship for submarine crews until her maintenance cost became so high that it was cheaper to just build barracks.

In September 1967, Béarn was sold for scrap to Italy.

In World of Warships, we are getting Béarn as she was at the start of the Second World War but her air group is actually… a bit of a What-if. In this case, it’s implied that after she received the Vought V-156F (SB2U Vindicator) from the U.S.A., she was able to use them during the war. In reality, she was only a test platform for them.

She has a unique loadout as she can only use HE skip bombers and AP dive bombers. Also, her fighters are quite interesting. Each of her squadrons has 8 charges of Patrol Fighters with increased patrol radius, consumable duration and no less than 8 fighters per deployment. In counterpart, the fighters can only spot enemy ships and planes at less than 2.0 km from them. I honestly think that it’s quite an interesting gimmick and it’s also more healthy as it reduces the amount of spotting she could generate. I wish all Patrol Fighters were like this…

Ship’s preview

Ship’s commemorative flag

Camouflage

For the classic reminder, this is a ship in testing, anything can change so don’t look at her like she would already be released.

WG_SPb_WoWs_WIP-icon_black

Modules

Hull
Dive Bombers
Skip Bombers
Propulsion
icon_module_Hull_installedBéarn

Vought V-156F

Vought V-156F

icon_module_Engine_installedPropulsion: 39 000 hp

General Characteristics

Tier VI
Health 44 700 HP
Torpedo damage reduction 19 %
Displacement 28 900 tons
Dimensions
Overall length 182.5 m
Beam 34.4 m
Overall height (keel to the highest point on the ship) 30.2 m
Freeboard 15.5 m
Aircraft on deck
Dive Bombers 16
Skip Bombers 16
Secondary Armament
155 mm/50 Mle 1920 8 x 1 155 mm
Maximum Firing Range 5.000 km
Anti-Air Armament
75 mm/50 Mle 1922
37 mm/50 CAS Mle 1925
6 x 1 75 mm
8 x 1 37 mm
13.2 mm/76 CAD Mle 1929 16 x 2 13.2 mm
Maximum speed 21.5 knots
Turning Circle Radius 790 m
Rudder Shift Time 12.9 s
Surface Detectability 12.96 km
Air Detectability 9.18 km
Consumables
Slot 1
Slot 2
Damage Control Party
Work time: 60 s
Cooldown: 90 s
Fighter
Number of charges: 6
Work time: 600 s
Cooldown: 40 s
Patrol Radius: 3.0 km
Planes in a squadron: 8

Dive Bombers

Dive bomber – ‎Vought V-156F

Tier VI
Hitpoints per plane 1 490
Cruise speed 123 knots
Maximum speed 158 knots
Engine boost time 20 s
Engine boost reload time 40 s
Size of attacking flight 2
Aircraft per squadron 8
Bomb type AP 500-kg G.P. Mle 1930
Bomb per plane 1
Maximum bomb damage 6 300
AP penetration capacity 219 mm
Detectability range 10.0 km
Aircraft restoration time 65 s
Aircraft on deck 16
Consumables
Slot 1
Slot 2
Engine Cooling
consumable_PCY034_ForsageBooster
Number of Charges: 2
Work time: 5 s
Cooldown: 80 s
Patrol fighter
Number of Charges: 8
Work time: 100 s
Cooldown: 10 s
Aircraft per squadron: 8
Patrol radius: 3.0 km

Skip Bombers

Skip bomber – ‎Vought V-156F

Tier VI
Hitpoints per plane 1 490
Cruise speed 123 knots
Maximum speed 158 knots
Engine boost time 20 s
Engine boost reload time 40 s
Size of attacking flight 2
Aircraft per squadron 8
Bomb type HE 500-kg G.P. Mle 1930
Bomb per plane 1
Maximum bomb damage 11 000
HE penetration capacity 68 mm
Explosion size 2.79
Fire chance 63 %
Number of skips 2
Detectability range 10.0 km
Aircraft restoration time 65 s
Aircraft on deck 16
Consumables
Slot 1
Slot 2
Engine Cooling
consumable_PCY034_ForsageBooster
Number of Charges: 2
Work time: 5 s
Cooldown: 80 s
Patrol fighter
Number of Charges: 8
Work time: 100 s
Cooldown: 10 s
Aircraft per squadron: 8
Patrol radius: 3.0 km

Secondary Armament

8 x 1 155 mm/50 Mle 1920
Maximum Firing Range 5.000 km
Reloading Time 9.0 s
Sigma 1.00 sigma
Shells
Type of Projectile HE – 155 mm HE OEA Mle 1920
Alpha Damage 2 200 HP
Damage 780 HP
HE penetration 26 mm
Explosion Size 0.56
Chance to Cause Fire 11 %
Projectile Speed 870 m/s
Air Drag 0.34
Projectile Mass 59 kg

Anti-air Armament

8 x 2 75 mm/50 Mle 1922
6 x 1 37 mm/50 CAS Mle 1925
Sector range 0.1 km – 3.0 km
Hit chance 100 %
Sector’s damage 28
Sector’s damage frequency 0.29 s
Sector’s damage per second 98
6 x 2 13.2 mm/76 CAD Mle 1929
Sector range 0.1 km – 1.5 km
Hit chance 100 %
Sector’s damage 20
Sector’s damage frequency 0.29 s
Sector’s damage per second 70

The Armor

External armor protection

Turtleback

Citadel armor protection

Hidden armor protection inside the bow and stern:

Personal Opinion

Overall, the Béarn looks fairly good. My main complaint would be that she is missing torpedo bombers which are… basically my favourite plane type as they are the least reliant on RNG. However, the thing is that while she lacks torpedo bombers, she has AP bombers at a tier where horizontal protection is still unreliable and her skip bombs will slap hard anything as they have the same stats as the HE bombs of the Midway.

As for the fighter gimmick, honestly, why not? Due to her loadout, a fighter build is basically a no brainer as there is literally nothing else to spec for. Also at this tier, planes remain fairly slow so with 8 fighters and the Enhanced Reaction skill, if you place the fighters properly, it might get dirty.

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4 thoughts on “Supertest: French Tier VI Premium Aircraft Carrier Béarn

  1. I mean you called it already, its clear that Joffre will be tier 6, Algiere conversion at tier 8 and Alsace conversion at tier 10.

    1. Nah, way too much effort for WG nowadays.. Sure, they could do some conversion CVs but that would be more work than simply use ex-USS Belleau Wood on T8 and then create a model for HMS Colossus, which they could then recyle for a

      … commonwealth HMAS Vengeance premium CV
      … dutch HNLMS Karel Doormann premium CV
      … future second RN cv tree build around CVL with more of a support role

      I hope that I’m wrong and you’re right, but given how much WG is into recyling stuff and creating ships the “cheap” way…

    2. Except that there never were plans for a conversion of the Algérie and there still are plenty of projects that can be exploited without the need to go for a what-if Alsace conversion.

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