After taking a look at the Soviet Atlanta, let’s now focus on the French version.
At the end of World War II, the French navy found itself in really bad shape, having lost a huge part of its fleet especially with the scuttling of Toulon in 1942.
In an effort to rebuild a navy, work started on new ships during the 1950s with for example the T-47 or Surcouf class of destroyers. France also recovered the hull of a light cruiser that Germany captured to convert it into a light aircraft carrier, the De Grasse. Since, in the end, no work was ever started on the hull, the French Navy could finish it on their own.
The decision was made to finish the ship as an anti-air cruiser to defend the fleet since everybody understood with World War 2 that aircraft carriers were massively overpowered in reality (and no, I’m not saying that they are OP in the game with the exception of things like Midway.)
A second ship was started in 1953, the Colbert (the t is silent). The ship would be launched in 1956 and officially entered service in 1959. She was used as a command ship, for fleet covering with her powerful anti-air armament and shore bombardment. The Colbert also served as a foreign representative of France during her whole carrier.
Due to the fast evolution of naval warfare during the second part of the 20th century, the Colbert found herself in bad need of a refit to keep her relevant. This is why, in 1972, she would be converted into a missile cruiser.
It’s in 1991, during the Gulf War that she will know her only active service, just a few months before being decommissioned.
She was turned into a museum ship between 1993 and 2007. Despite its popularity, due to recurring financial problems (that the state was supposed to take care of…) and with associations like “Let’s sink the Colbert” (band of idiots) the museum closed in 2006. It’s only in 2016 that scrapping began for her after a few years of cannibalism with the Navy taking parts from her to maintain other ships like the Jeanne D’Arc in good shape.
In World of Warships, we are getting the Colbert as she was built with 8 twin 127 mm as her main battery.
The armor of the Colbert is a bit of a mess. She possesses both good armor protection for a cruiser but at the same time, some sections are terribly vulnerable.
The bow section
So, this seems to be the new standard for light cruisers, her bow is only 13 mm thick so 203 mm AP shells and bigger can overmatch it. I still don’t like this idea considering how many heavy cruisers are in this game.
The upper part of the casemate is 21 mm thick. It won’t protect you much but it’s here.
For the lower casemate and the citadel’s athwartship (surrounded in black), they are 38 mm thick. Yeah… any cruiser that can overmatch your bow will have no issue to reach that citadel. It’s especially annoying considering how high the citadel is.
For the lower part of the citadel’s athwartship, it is 16 mm thick. Thankfully, it is below water so it will be harder to reach.
The middle section
The upper deck and sides are 30 mm thick so you will be able to bounce AP shells up to a caliber of 420 mm (technically 429 mm even but there are no guns like this in the game).
The lower deck and sides are however 50 mm thick so that will really help to limit the damage with HE shattering on it and even Yamato shells bouncing on that plating.
As for the main belt (citadel), it is 80 mm thick. Unlike the rest of the French cruisers, it is not a spaced armor. The citadel is fully exposed.
Now… we have a massive issue. The roof of the citadel is only 10 mm thick. This means that 152 mm AP shells will be able to overmatch it. I SERIOUSLY hope that Wargaming buffs that armor because otherwise, AP will hurt that ship a lot. A good thing is that AP bombs will go through the ship like it was butter.
The stern section
Just like the bow, the stern is only 13 mm thick.
The casemate and the upper part of the citadel’s athwartship (surrounded in black) are 38 mm thick. Once again, you don’t want cruisers to shoot AP at you will you are kiting.
The lower part of the citadel is 16 mm thick.
The superstructure is just like the other light cruisers 13 mm thick.
These are post World War 2 turrets so people stopped caring about giving them proper armor. These turrets are entirely covered by 10 mm. That explains why the turrets on République are so fragile since they are the exact same.
A big HE volley from a battleship could cripple a few of these so Wargaming might have to increase the HP on them or alternatively the armor.
For the barbette, the upper part is 15 mm thick and the lower part 25 mm thick.
Personal opinion on the ship
I’m for now not really convinced by the Colbert. The firepower and agility are great but then when it comes to staying alive, it will be a massive challenge with this ship, even with the maneuverability and the 41.6 knots maximum speed.
I can already bet that Wargaming will give her a super-heal to compensate from the weak armor.
At least, a good thing with that ship is that the anti-air is pretty nuts and considering the fact that you will certainly have to take things like Basic Firing Training or maybe AFT, she will be shredding planes quite nicely.