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Sister ships: JEAN BART, CLEMENCEAU; half-sister GASCOIGNE plus two more ships (see Notes)
Notes: The first two ships (originally slated to be named FRANCE and VERDUN) of the class were authorized as a part of the 1935 Program, with two more approved as a part of the 1938 Program. They were originally designed to carry 15 - 6" guns, but the design was modified to nine 6" guns in three triple turrets while building, due to circumstances of the start of World War II. (The design of GASCOIGNE was further modified, and it was planned to mount one 15" turret forward and one aft. However, she was never laid down; nor were two further ships, approved in April, 1940.) They followed the general design of the DUNKERQUE class battlecruisers, with a high proportion of the allotted tonnage devoted to protection (37%), and were designed to withstand 15" gunfire.
RICHELIEU was 95% complete when France fell, and she sailed to Dakar on 18 June 1940 to join the remainder of the French Fleet. During her escape from Brest, she was bombed by German aircraft, which scored one hit that did little damage. RICHELIEU was damaged in the British attacks on Dakar on 8 July 1940 by torpedo planes from the aircraft carrier HERMES. She was further damaged by gunfire from the British battleships BARHAM and RESOLUTION on 23-25 September 1940. In 1942, RICHELIEU joined the Allied forces, and sailed to New York for a major refit (arriving on 15 February 1943). During the refit, her aircraft and catapults were removed, as was her light AA guns; in their place, 56 - 40mm (14x4) and 48 single 20mm mounts were added, and she was fitted with radar. RICHELIEU served with the British Home Fleet from November, 1943 through March, 1944, and served as an escort for a carrier task force in operations against targets in Norway. RICHELIEU was then transferred to the British Eastern Fleet in April, 1944 through December, 1945. She remained in service in the Pacific and saw service off French Indochina. RICHELIEU returned to home waters in March, 1946. During the post-World War II period, many of her light AA guns were removed. In 1956, RICHELIEU was placed in reserve, and she was paid off in 1959 and was hulked at Brest as an accommodation ship. In the summer of 1965, RICHELIEU was sold to the breakers, and was towed to Spezia and broken up in August, 1968.