Palau – 2010 – 500 Dollars – Richeleu Battleship Series (PROOF)
Metal: Gold .9999
Weight: 2.5 OZ
Diameter: 42×42 mm
Mintage: 77 pcs.
With a top speed of 32 knots the Richelieu was one of the fastest battleships ever built. She was commissioned in 1935 and launched in early 1940 for trial trips. She was named after Cardinal Richelieu, by profession statesman and advisor of Ludwig XIII and a great Habsburg antagonist. The ships technical data was convincing. She had a displacement of 40’000 tons and was driven by four steam turbines with a capacity of more than 170’000 horsepower. Alone the armour of the front turrets presented a diameter of 429 mm. However the arms had a big disadvantage: The artillery was built in metric measurements which led to ammunition shortage during the whole war – because of the tariff system the American and English shells could not be used.
Due to an expected German troop invasion France transferred the Richelieu from Brest to Dakar in June 1940. Without an offi cial order the commander at that time took the ship to Casablanca in the same month. Because the British held the French navy for unreliable and pro-German they thought this was an attempted escape and therefore followed the Richelieu. Only after strict orders did the ship return, not to a British harbour, but rather to the French Dakar.
In September 1940 it was British battleships that partially destroyed the Richelieu. After the fall of Dakar in 1942 the British took over the city and therefore also the Richelieu. In order to modernise the Richelieu she was brought to New York in 1943. Up until the end of the Second World War she sailed under the British flag. After the Second World War she was used in the Indochina War and later in 1956 during the Suez Crisis, once again under the French flag. In 1967 she was cancelled on the French fleet list and one year later, despite attempts to use her as a museum ship, she was scrapped.