The French light cruiser EMILE BERTIN was named after the famous 19th
century French naval architect and was designed as a minelayer and
destroyer flotilla leader. Launched in 1932 and commissioned in 1935,
she was the first French warship to mount triple gun turrets.
Active early in the war, the ship participated in the ill fated Norwegian campaign in April and May 1940, suffering damage from Luftwaffe bombings. In June she was employed transporting French gold reserves to Canada, and when the Armistice was declared, she was ordered to Fort-de-France Martinique. There, she, the cruiser JEANNE D'ARC and the carrier BEARN sat immobile until they joined the Free French Forces in June 1943. EMILE BERTIN then sailed to Philadephia where she was refitted and provided with more modern U.S. weapons. After that the ship served in the Mediterranean. In late 1945 the ship sailed to Indochina where she served until mid 1946, after which she returned to France and served as a gunnery training ship until decommissioned in 1951. The ship was scrapped in 1959.
A number of 1:1200/1250 models of this ship have been made starting as far back as the 1930's, including models by Wiking, Comet Authentcast, and Argonaut, but very few models have been made depicting the ship after her refit in the U.S. in 1943. Two notable models were the one made during the war by Framburg, and the model made long after by Superior, using the Framburg casting.
Neptun makes a very fine model of the ship as built and this served as the basis for the modified model shown here. As is often the case, more work than expected was necessary to accomplish this refit. As one can see from the photos the torpedo tubes and catapult had to be removed and the hanger modified. This refit represents the ship as she was after her first refit in the U.S. Because of the need to recreate ammunition and replacement tubes for the 152mm guns of this and the three remaining LA GALISSONNIERE Class ships, the middle gun on turret two was removed for use by U.S. manufacturers. This gun was not restored to the ship until mid 1945 after the ship had returned to France. So in order to depict the ship as she was in 1943-44, I removed this barrel.
The ship was painted in Ms 22, typical of the majority of French ships serving with the Allies from 1943-45.