The Dunkerque-class battleship
was a type of warship constructed for the French Navy
in the 1930s.
s were designed to counter the German Deutschland-class pocket battleships
. Their main armament was two quadruple 330 mm
turrets forward, with a 225 mm (8.9 in) thick armored belt. They were smaller, with a 26,500- to 27,300-ton standard displacement and a smaller main artillery caliber, than the battleships authorized by the Washington Naval Treaty
, but their speed was 7 knots higher than any of the battleships built from 1920 to 1937. When they were commissioned
, only the last existing battlecruisers of the British Royal Navy and the Imperial Japanese Navy were their equals.[citation needed
Given their characteristics, they were alternatively classified as fast battleships
, small battleships, battlecruisers
and even as "ships of the line"
(Fr. navires de ligne
Two ships, Dunkerque
, were completed. Together they formed the 1ère Division de Ligne
("1st Division of the Line"), and saw service during the early years of the Second World War
. While they never encountered the German pocket battleships they were designed to counter, they suffered the British attack of Mers-el-Kebir
, and stayed under the Vichy
authorities control until they were scuttled at Toulon
in November 1942.