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The French Richelieu class battleships were among the fastest battleships ever laid down.
This high speed was achieved through the use of a hydrodynamically excellent hull form as well as powerful machinery.
The French had introduced a new style of boiler on the Richelieu class, the forced circulation type. These boilers were more compact than traditional boilers, allowing the machinery space to be reduced. They fed four turbine motors, each developing 38,750 shp.
Though rated at 155,000shp to allow for a speed of 32 knots, the powerplant of the Richelieu class was designed to safely operate at 175,000shp via forced draft (Also known as Design Overload). Richelieu later exceeded these figures on her trials, generating an impressive 179,000shp and reaching an amazing 32.6 knots.
Following her refit in New York City, Richelieu almost replicated those numbers. Despite her displacement growing by over 3,000 tons, Richelieu steamed at 31.5 knots for half an hour. This is even more impressive considering her forward hull was still slightly deformed from prior battle damage.
Following her completion, Jean Bart also displayed respectable speeds though not quite as high as her older sister. Due to her modernization, Jean Bart had a higher displacement compared to her sister. She was also refitted with bulges along her hull that were not present on Richelieu. Despite this, Jean Bart still managed 31 knots during her trials.
Impressive speeds for equally impressive warships.

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