Ships of France
Largely spared from the deep military budget cuts brought about by the Treaty of Versailles during the interwar period, the Marine Nationale took part in the Battle of the Atlantic, Operation Weserübung, and Operation Dynamo at the onset of the Second World War. However, the signing of the Armistice of 22 June 1940 with Germany meant that all operations with the Allies had to be suspended under the new Vichy France client state, with the exception of those who were able to join the Free French Naval Forces. While the terms of the Armistice meant that France was officially neutral, the British did not want to risk having the most powerful vessels of the Marine Nationale fall into enemy hands. Thus, the Royal Navy was directed to execute Operation Catapult, an attack on the French naval forces docked at Mers-el-Kébir, Algeria, on 3 July 1940, greatly souring relations between the two powers for years to come. Nevertheless, rather than allow them to be captured by the Germans as part of Case Anton, French sailors scuttled the remainder of their fleet in Toulon on 27 November 1942, retaining their honor till the very end.
Large, fast, and heavily-armed, French destroyers (classified by the Marine Nationale as destroyer leaders) are dangerous gunboats. French destroyers have powerful guns and great speed, but lack the Smoke Generator consumable that are so commonplace with other nations' destroyers. To compensate for the lack of a smokescreen, they have enhanced damage saturation characteristics that allows them to take a surprising amount of punishment and receive very little damage in the process. This makes them more durable under fire. The presence of the special French Engine Boost consumable allow these ships to reach high velocities, making it harder for enemy ships to aim effectively at them. Starting at Tier VI, they also have access to the Main Battery Reload Booster consumable, which compensates for the longer reload of their main battery guns by allowing them to fire several salvoes in a short period of time. This will be used most efficiently when finishing off enemy destroyers or other low health targets. From Tier VIII through Tier X, French destroyers boast great AP shells with high velocities and a flat trajectory. These shells will allow these destroyers to penetrate citadels of lightly armored cruisers at medium ranges. French destroyers generally don't have the best concealment, nor a long torpedo range, which makes them quite similar to the Russian destroyer line, performing best as gunboats. Hit hard, hit fast, hit often. That is the playstyle of the French DD line.
French cruisers are very fast, enabling them to fulfill a variety of roles. They are capable of being effective destroyer hunters and cruiser killers. These cruisers are excellent fire-starters, benefitting from a high fire chance. This can be used to great effect against battleships. However, it is important to be careful because with the exception of the Tier II ship, Jurien de la Gravière, French cruisers below Tier VII are not well-armored. At lower tiers, it is important to preserve health and avoid extended gunfights with other cruisers and battleships.
At Tier V, Émile Bertin has access to the Hydroacoustic Search consumable; torpedo range is also improved to 9 kilometers, which remains the same throughout subsequent tiers. At Tier VI, La Galissonnière and premium ship De Grasse are the first cruisers that have access to an upgraded version of the Engine Boost consumable. While active, the ship's speed is increased by 15-20%. All French cruisers that are Tier VI and above can mount the standard or premium version of this consumable. At Tier VI, these cruisers also gain access to the Defensive AA Fire consumable, which can be mounted by replacing Hydroacoustic Search. The anti-aircraft armaments of French cruisers are sub-optimal, so the use of Defensive AA Fire should be timed well to ensure that enemy aircraft squadrons cannot drop bombs and torpedoes accurately.
Boasting up to 110 millimeters of armor at Tier VII, Algérie is the first of the French heavy cruisers. With the addition of some armor, these higher-tier French cruisers can take some slight punishment; however, the armor should still not be primarily relied upon. Proper positioning, evasive maneuvers, and the use of cover are tactics that will ensure the survival of French cruisers throughout a match. At Tier X, players can look forward to Henri IV. This cruiser can be a formidable opponent. With the Engine Boost consumable active, Henri IV can reach 43.9 knots, which is faster than most destroyers! This allows her to quickly reposition should the need arise, or even dodge incoming fire with the right timing and skill. Henri IV is a heavy hitter, sporting 240 millimeter main guns with a 12.3 second reload time. These guns have good Alpha Damage on both their Armor Piercing and High Explosive, furthermore, triggering the Main Battery Reload Booster consumable will cut the reload time by 50%, allowing for some monstrous burst damage if timed and/or positioned correctly. As with all Tier X cruisers, Henri IV is capable of restoring some health with access to the Repair Party consumable.
Alternatively, a line of Super-Heavy Cruisers based on the Dunkerque Class of Battleships was added in Update 0.11.4, branching off from the Tier VII Algérie. These vessels are armed with battleship-caliber guns concentrated at the fronts of the ships. These have excellent penetration and ballistics which allow them to severely punish the broadsides of enemy cruisers and even battleships with Armor Piercing. They are also equipped with the same Main Battery Reload Booster and Engine Boost consumables found on the other French lines. This allows them to temporarily shorten the long reload of their artillery and dramatically increase their speed. Complementing these fearsome Main Batteries are effective Secondary Batteries with increased accuracy. There are drawbacks however, as the fore and aft armor plating of these super cruisers is only 25mm thick, which makes them vulnerable to Overmatch from high-caliber battleship shells. They also share a battleship's vulnerability to high explosive and fire damage, with fires taking a full 60 seconds to burn out without any upgrades or commander skills being taken into consideration. A final thing to mention is their lack of torpedo armament. The Marseille awaits captains at Tier X, with nine 330mm cannons arranged in 3 turrets concentrated at the bow. She's just as fast as her Heavy Cruiser counterpart the Henri IV and even more hard-hitting.
Added in Update 0.7.2, French battleships start at low tier with traditional dreadnought-style designs, but shift to designs more akin to fast battleships at higher tiers. They are very fast for their size, and from Tier VIII onward they get access to the Engine Boost consumable, further adding to their speed. Starting from Tier VI, they typically arrange their main battery guns in quadruple turrets, giving them a large volume of fire that is quite accurate and has good characteristics, though the guns themselves tend to be smaller in caliber. Their secondary guns are nothing to sneeze at either, matching or even exceeding the secondaries of those found on Japanese battleships (though still inferior to those of the Germans) and their anti-air capabilities are above-par once you get to Tier VII (though they have weak anti-air prior to that point). Unfortunately, French battleships also stick out like a sore thumb, having absolutely horrid detection values that let enemies see them coming from long distances. They also tend to have sub-par armor when compared to the battleships of other nations, making it easy for their counterparts to land full damage penetrations or citadel hits. Much of their armor at higher tiers tends to be 32mm plating, making them vulnerable to high explosive shells from cruisers. Additionally, their anti-aircraft and secondary batteries tend to be quite fragile; sustained enemy fire from high explosive shells can quickly wreck their defenses. Finally, their main guns are somewhat vulnerable to being knocked out or destroyed, which can be particularly devastating on some ships due to only having two main turrets (such as Richelieu). Overall, the French battleships can best be thought of as glass cannons compared to other nations, trading durability for firepower and speed.At Tier X, players can look forward to République. This battleship boasts unrivaled speed in its class when making use of her Engine Boost , has very accurate main guns that have a better rate of fire than its counterparts, excellent anti-air capabilities, and numerous secondary guns with excellent range.
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French Destroyers. How to Play? - Aug 7, 2019 - World of Warships Official Channel - YouTube
French Cruisers on the Horizon - Apr 12, 2017 - World of Warships Official Channel - YouTube
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French Cruisers - Apr 20, 2017 - World of Warships Official Channel - YouTube
French Battleships. Cinematic Trailer - Jan 12, 2018 - World of Warships Official Channel - YouTube
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