French aircraft carrier Joffre

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Career (France)
Builder: AC de St. Nazaire Penhoët
Laid down: 26 November 1938
Launched: Cancelled
Fate: Construction stopped in 1940
Notes: 2 lifts, 9 arrester wires, flight deck 200 × 28m
General characteristics
Displacement: 20,000 tons (normal)
Length: 236 m (774 ft) (228m between perpendiculars)
Beam: 24.5 m (80 ft) (waterline), 35m (overall)
Draught: 6.5 m (21 ft)
Propulsion: Steam turbines; 8 boilers driving 2 shafts; 125,000 shp
Speed: 33 knots (61 km/h; 38 mph)
Range: 7,000 nmi (13,000 km; 8,100 mi) at 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph), 3000 nm at 33kts
Complement: 1,251
Armament: 8 × 130 mm DP guns
8 × 37 mm AA guns
24 × 13.2 mm AA guns
Armour: 100 mm belt
40 to 70 inch deck
Aircraft carried: 40

Joffre was the planned lead ship of her class of aircraft carriers for the French Navy. She was named in honour of Joseph Joffre. The ship was laid down in 1938, but never launched.


After several experimentations on the aircraft carrier Béarn, the French Navy decided to have two full-fledged aircraft carriers built as replacement. They were to be 18,000 tons (Washington) with a protection limited to the hull and comparable to that of a light cruiser. Armament was to include dual-purpose guns fore and aft of the island, and several light AA guns. The flight deck, which was offset to port to counterbalance the weight of the unusually large island, ran to the bows but stopped before the poop because one external lift was to be installed aft of the flight deck. The other lift was T-shaped and installed in front of the island. The ship had two superimposed hangars, the upper being 159 × 21m and the lower 70 × 16m.

The ships were to operate an air group of around 40 planes, including 15 Dewoitine D-790 fighters (a navalised version of D-520) and 25 Breguet 810 twin-engine attack planes (a navalised version of the Br-693) for level bombing, torpedo missions and scouting.


Joffre was laid down on 26 November 1938 at the shipyards of AC de St. Nazaire Penhoët, but work was slowed by the start of World War II and ultimately halted in June 1940 when France fell to German invasion. At this time, the ship was 20% complete. The assembled hull was later scrapped in the dock.

See also[edit]


  • Francis Dousset, Les porte-avions français des origines (1911) à nos jours, 1978 éditions de la Cité, ISBN 2-85186-015-1