Louis-Emile Bertin was a 19th Century ship architect, and the namesake of the Emile Bertin cruiser!
On 18 August 1931, the Light Cruiser Emile Bertin was laid down. It was designed as a large Destroyer Flotilla Leader and Minelayer.
The design was extremely large by destroyer flotilla leader standards, but arguably very small by light cruiser standards. Fun fact: this was the first ship in the Marine Nationale fleet to utilize triple turrets!
On 9 May 1933, Emile Bertin was launched, and was commissioned after trials on 28 January 1935. During speed trials, the Emile Bertin achieved an incredible 40 knots top speed.
Between her commission date, and the start of France's involvement in World War II, the Emile Bertin served as the flagship of a destroyer flotilla which included Le Fantasque and Vauquelin class destroyers. After the break out of World War II, she was stationed at Toulon.
What is historically noteworthy about Emile Bertin?
Well, on 23 September 1939, the Emile Bertin landed in port at Lebanon, was secretly loaded with the Polish State Gold reserves (57 tons of gold), and left back to Toulon to transfer the reserves before the Germans could seize them.
In April 1940, she was reassigned as the flagship of group Z. This was the Marine Nationale Taskforce assigned to Norwegian support. Admiral Edmond Derrien was her commanding officer during this campaign.
From 10 May 1940 until the French Armistice, she made 2 runs from Brest to Halifax, Nova Scotia carrying gold from the Bank of France. The armistice was signed as she docked on the second trip, and the Emile Bertin was redirected by the admiralty to Fort-de-France, Martinique to relocate the gold.
After she unloaded at Fort-de-France, Martinique, the Emile Bertin was docked in Martinique until 16 May 1942, when the Vichy French regime ordered the ship mobilized in case of threat from the United States.
In June 1943, the Emile Bertin joined allied forces under French colors, and underwent refit for modernization in the Philadelphia Naval Yard.
After her refit, the Emile Bertin patrolled the Mediterranean until she was ordered to assist in Operation Dragoon to invade southern France in 1944. She also participated in the shore bombardment of Italy in 1944.
The Emile Bertin underwent her final refit at Toulon until October 1945. After the last refit, the Emile Bertin was made flagship of the Marine Nationale Indochina fleet until 2 July 1946 when she returned to France with the cruiser Tourville.
Her last station was a gunnery training vessel until decommission in October 1959.
Emile Bertin plays very much like a hybrid between a light cruiser and a destroyer flotilla leader. The 152mm guns can be quite devastating, especially when paired with IFHE. The Emile actually tends to be able to withstand uptiering relatively well because the 40 knot top speed makes her very difficult to hit for other ships. The torpedoes are strong for tier 5, and it is honestly my favorite tier 5 cruiser. If you enjoy Russian gunboat DDs, or a hit and run playstyle, this ship is very much worth consideration!
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