We have already talked about the long road that designers have been Italian light cruisers with their “condottieri”, which began with a frankly weak “Bande Nere” and culminating in the powerful “Giuseppe Garibaldi” and “Abruzzi”. For their successive steps, each of which led to the emergence of more and more protected and balanced ship, closely followed Mediterranean their eternal rivals and neighbours the French. Up to a certain point in Paris believed that the events develop in favourable terms: they are the powerful leaders may be able to compete with not too “covered” by the cruisers of Mussolini. But with every new series of “potential enemy” the hopes of this kind were becoming ephemera. The fracture occurred on the “Raimondo montecuccoli” and “Aosta valley”, which has carried a solid side armor, it is able to protect from the French 138-millimetrovogo in the medium range and a disadvantage for projectile angles of the meeting.
It was necessary to develop an antidote. It is clear that no improvement of the characteristics of leaders has not helped: it was required to create their own light cruiser, well protected and heavily armed. But the process of designing and building a highly pressured financial circumstances, which, as usual, remained poor. In such circumstances it is not surprising that the prototype was the last elected representative of the class, “Emile Bertin”. But this a single cruiser-Mensah, very fast, in fact, had absolutely no armor. The designers had a big job, and they fulfilled it successfully. In 1931, at the public shipyards, the arsenals of loriana and Brest, the laying of two head units of a fundamentally new cruising France, “La Galissoniere” and “Jean de Vienne”. In appearance they strongly resembled the prototype, “Bertin”, but far superior to him in fighting qualities.
Of course, had to make sacrifices, the first and chief of which was a record speed. It, like its main competitors — the Italians — was reduced to the project 31 — 32 knots, actually the test was able to achieve more than decent values — up to 35 knots, even for a short time. But at the same time managed to significantly reduce the length of engine and boiler rooms, but which has received decent protection, including underwater. High 105-mm zone covered the Central part of the housing and closed with the “ends” of the 60-mm armoured bulkheads, and the top — 38-mm deck, forming a powerful armored “box”. Two more such “breisundet” concealed in itself the bow and stern cellar; they had the same thickness, but the height was much less, allowing you to save significant weight without significant damage to the case. (Unlike the English and American variants of such protection, hidden in the depth of the case, the French chose and then have the armored Board, limiting possible flooding.) Finally, in the stern was another, thinner-walled box, covering the steering gear. Very reasonably defended turret main artillery. Their front plate had a thickness of 100 mm, while the side and roof, falling which had under unfavorable angles — only half, and the back wall were even thinner. The French even managed to restore the status of the real armor of the conning tower. In General, the armor had almost fifteen hundred tons — an excellent result for the 7600-ton ship, which “imparted immunity” from 6-inch shells.
Under a reservation seemed and artillery. The basis of it was heavy 152 of graph paper, tested on the “Bertin”. Somewhat better was with the “Achilles heel” of the French cruisers, anti-aircraft protection. Now it consisted of four 90-mm Sparky, quite modern and quite effective for 30 years. But finally the ill-fated to cover this “heel” failed: “galissoniere” did not have machine guns for close defense, which was limited to 13.2-mm “guccisima”, guns are good, but clearly insufficient, even according to prewar standards. Only in 1941, some of the surviving units of the series received a 37-mm spark — a pitiful sight in comparison with Anglo-American 40-millimetrovie. Meanwhile, reserves for modernisation seems to be quite “dense” project there. “Gluar”, “Montcalm” and “George, Leigh”, escaped after the surrender of France to the allies in 1943 were a solid upgrade, during which he received six four-barrel 40-mm “Bogorov” and sixteen 20-mm “Arlekino”. And that’s not counting new installations with a mechanical actuator for 90-mm guns, not to mention the almost mandatory set of radar and improved fire control system. Although displacement has close to 11 thousand tons, “French” was still able to run 32-node speed, showing that the engineers were able initially to create a great project.
Unfortunately, luck is not everything. Of 6 built units, exactly half of the mediocre died in the sinking of the fleet in Toulon in November 1942, when the territory of the Arsenal came the German tanks. But the remaining trio managed to make war with allies, remarkably suffering no damage from the German torpedoes, mines or bombs. After the Second world war “Gluar” and “George, Leigh” took part in the fighting in Indochina. (“Montcalm” was held at this time a lot of renovation.) All of them successfully served the required 20 years, and then went to be scrapped or, as the same “Moncalm”, moved into the category of a floating barracks.