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Thank you!

I want to post a THANK YOU to all my readers, 6,200 read and discussed controversial about the controversial design of Le Nouveau FRANCE ... As a soothing I post this design idea of mine.

ss NORMANDIE 1935-1942 XIII - Le NORMANDIE the great triumph and tragic end of the greatest ship of France

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NORMANDIE at sea - courtsey coloured by Daryl LeBlanc
Le NORMANDIE, the greates ship of France, was a great triumph for the French industry, economy the most gracious ambassador of France - a symbol of cultur and Savoir de Vivre. NORMANDIE never surppassed by any liner. But whom the gods love, they beat him to a tragic ending.
In case of NORMANDIE the gods let do their dirty job by careless, ignorant and arrogant US Navy officials and their sub contractors. 
by Earl of Cruise 
NORMANDIE had 4 years of living and the chance to bring Glitz, Glamour and Luster into a world that was just in front of an abyss since October 1929. Sailing with NORMANDIE, created to cater primarily the First Clas clientele, and enjoying life on board seems to me today, as a Dance on the Volcano, that errupted in 1939.
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Longitudinal cutaway of PARIS - own collection copy from a CGT broshure
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ÎLE DE FRANCE, Cie Gle TRANSATLANTIQUE provoking ART DÉCO liner - own collection 
In the early 1930’s the French Line felt the need to augment the PARIS and ÎLE DE FRANCE, the Line’s premier ships on the transatlantic ferry route. The line would commission the largest and perhaps the most beautiful ship that the nation of France would build up to the 1930’s. That ship would be NORMANDIE.
COMPAGNIE GÉNÉRALE TRANSATLANTIQUE was started in the 1850’s with the support of the French government to address France’s lack of a merchant marine. Entering into the 20th Century the line would attempt get itself into the transatlantic ferry business with a series of ships of increasing size and tonnage. The French Line’s selling point was service in the true French style and the line provided that with true French panache in it’s growing fleet of ships on the transatlantic route starting with FRANCE in 1912 - Versailles at sea, the larger PARIS - ART NOUVEAU wonder in 1921 and ÎLE DE FRANCE in 1927 in the then contemporary brand new ART DÉCO. 
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ÎLE DE FRANCE in a 1956 magazine advert of Cie Gle TRANSATLANTIQUE - own collection
ÎLE DE FRANCE actually had a fascinating career before being a star in a low budget thriller just before being scrapped. Right from the start the ship had an exciting time just getting out of St Nazaire for trials, due to the typical confusion caused by hurrying to depart from the confined port at high tide. The ship went on to glory as TRANSAT’s premier liner. The ship was known for its style - ART DÉCO, excellent cuisine and service. This made the ship a favorite with wealthy First Class passengers. The ship was also responsible for the first transatlantic air mail delivery from a plane launched from her deck. ÎLE DE FRANCE had a long and glorious career. L´ÎLE DE FRANCE made spectacular headlines in 1956, when he arrived on the scene of the wrecked ANDREA DORIA. And according to a Navy serviceman, who was at the secene: "ÎLE DE FRANCE made quite an entrance at the scene, when all the lights where lit up at once, to give light to the rescue parties." The rest of ÎLE´s career he was nicknamed "Saint Bernard de l´Atlantique". He also outlasted his successor by thirteen years, being scrapped in 1959, but prior to that disgraced as stage for a 3rd class film, where actors staged who acted as coming just from the trees.
Still it is the grand ship, le NORMANDIE, that came in 1935, that is my story here. After the immediate success of ÎLE DE FRANCE the directors of the board of Cie Gle TRANSATLANTIQUE decided to build an even larger and much more spectacular vessel. T6, the construction code for that vessel, that would be the NORMANDIE started as a Super ÎLE DE FRANCE idea. NORMANDIE was an exercise in French optimism. A grand one! Like his predecessors he would be built at Pennhoët shipbuilding at St Nazaire. The ship would be the largest vessel so far for the French line.
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Genius Vladimir Yurkevich with a NORMANDIE Model - copy from my book NORMANDIE, published by Herscher 1985
NORMANDIE’s hull was designed by Russian emigrant and naval architect Vladimir Yurkevich. Being on the White side of the Russian revolution he was forced into exile in 1920, after the defeat of Wrangel's army in Crimea, he emigrated to Turkey. He wholly experienced all the hardships of living in a foreign country, including the absolute impossibility of working at his profession. He found a job as a stevedore. Then, with a group of immigrants, he set up an old car repair shop. Two years later he found himself in Paris. Prior to the Russian Revolution, Yurkevich had been responsible for the design of a class of Russian navy submarines and started the design of a class of battleships that would never be built due to WWI. Even at that time, Yourkevitch was an outstanding engineer. However, he had to work as a turner at the Renault car factory and as a draughtsman at a shipyard. He was trying to convince British shipbuilders to use the hull design, he developed in Russia, for the project 534, QUEEN MARY, claiming it would be equivalent to a power boost of 1/6 but was rejected - "We know how to build propper ships!". Finally Yurkevich ended up working for Pennhoët and TRANSAT, where his design for the hull of NORMANDIE far outperformed the other models, favored by the French admirality, in tank tests in France and in Hamburg at Hamburgische Schiffbau Versuchsanstalt.
The hull was not the only interesting technical choice. The ship also had turbo electric propulsion. Which means giving NORMANDIE the prefix "ss" is false, it should be "te", for turbo electric. Indeed NORMANDIE, at 160,000 hp, probably was the largest turbo electric system ever installed in a ship, the largest ship in the world when T6 was launched in 1932. 
Here are some pictures of NORMANDIE under construction.
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NORMANDIE under construction, on the slip errected for NORMANDIE to be constructed - own collection
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NORMANDIE under construction, the funnels are still without their body, clearly visable the parted funnel casings - own collection
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 NORMANDIE under construction, the funnels get their body - own collection
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NORMANDIE under construction, while the funnels get their body, the lifeboats are installed

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NORMANDIE under construction, workers leaving at shift end - own collection
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NORMANDIE under construction, outfitting of the First Class promenade - Source: Paquebots & Navires d´´ Autrefois, photo F.Kollar
NORMANDIE´s launch - Source: Youtube
After the silent movie (above), one with sound and La Marseillaise
Prior to the bottle of champagne, smahed at his bow, NORMANDIE was eager to get into his element ... 
T6, NORMANDIE, was primarily funded by the French government and required FF 812 million for construction and outfitting. France was hit at last by the economic crisis, that slammed the world after October 1929. And from 1930 to 1931 the passenger numbers on the Atlantic declined dramatically.
ss Normandie 1935-1942
source: Arnold Kludas, Die Schnelldampfer Bremen und Europa
WWII started in Europe September 1st, 1939 with the German attack on Poland
In the 1920s, passenger trade on the Northatlantic soared because of the economic recovering, fueled by the German war reparation and US loans given to the former war Allies and Germany. the traffic was demanding for new tonnage. The German COLUMBUS became an immediate success on the Atlantic as the BALLIN Class liners, as the British liners and other nations liners, and the French Liners seemed to be flocked most by the US American rich, who loved the "special" Laizes Faires and "Savoir Vivre" of the French liners. And their First Class had a more than good occupation.
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BREMEN, German high tech surprising the world only ten years after the Versailles Treaty - courstsey coloured by Daryl LeBlanc
Similar to NORDDEUTSCHER LLOYD, COMPAGNIE GÉNÉRALE TRANSATLANTIQUE was starting the project T6 with a smaller vessel, the Super ÎLE DE FRANCE, but the board and the foresight of John Dal Piaz turned the "small" Transatlantic liner into the biggest liner, the biggest moving object of mankind up to that date - T6, NORMANDIE. And it was Henri Cangardel, as mediator at FRENCH LINE, who pushed the project forward to finalisation.
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 Henri Cangardel - copy from my book NORMANDIE, published by Herscher 1985
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John Dal Piaz - copy from my book NORMANDIE, published by Herscher 1985
You can’t really talk about NORMANDIE without using superlatives. Certainly the ship’s exterior was superlative. Had BREMEN and EUROPA´s exterior in 1929 and 1930 been provokingly and radical modern, their interior was more traditional than exterior classical designed ÎLE DEFRANCE. Critics argued and argue still NORDDEUTSCHER LLOYD schould have taken the BAUHAUS design. To them BREMEN and EUROPA seemed to be old wine in new bottles. Where ILE was interior provokingly strict ART DÉCO angain français total, PARIS was with ART NOUVEAU. While the German Greyhouds had been the first real modern streamlined steamlines liners at all.
NORMANDIE made even them looking old. NORMANDIE´s exterior was the peak of streamline design. He looked like something from another planet, accidently landed on the oceans of old earth, and rendered any other ocean liner obsolete. It took decades before anyone even came close catching up with this ship and with its thrilling lines, and they are still tryling. But the interiors of NORMANDIE are what set the ship apart.
ART DÉCO was and is a design movement and had its national expressions depending on each countries common tasts, minset and feelings. The French ART DÉCO was most provoking modern, as the French are embrancing la moderne, but know their traditions.
ART DÉCO, a movement, a feeling, which covered all aspects, was not a school as BAUHAUS. Therefore ART DÉCO was developing rapidly and freely since its first big international public entrance in the Parisienne show  EXPOSITION INTERNATIONALE des ARTS DÉCORATIFS et INDUSTRIELS MODERNE 1925.
NORMANDIE’s great spaces were lavishly decorated in the latest ART DÉCO by premier designer, artists as Roger-Henri Expert, Jean Dunand, Jaques-Émile Ruhlmann, Louie Süe, André Mare, Raymond Henri Subesand and design houses such as René Lalique. NORMANDIE, then the peak of chic, was an ART DÉCO palace. NORMANDIE became in times of despression a national symbol of economic strength and a symbol of Keynesian economic policy. NORMANDIE became a national project, and to be true a European, as numbers a parts for the new liner did come from all over Europe. From everywhere the best for the best French engineering could construct.
Some drawings, made by Paul Iribe for the inauguraral promotion broshure
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Overlooking the stern with the open deckspace for First and Second Class
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The Kindergarden First class
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The indoor pool, the non swimmers area
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The dining room / Grand Salle à Manger First Class, 9,5 m high cieling, with LALIQUE light installations
NORMANDIE was finally commissioned 1935. Money that NORMANDIE hardly could pay back in the midst of the great depression. A fact that are only interesting for small chandler souls. Despite the running costs could be covered even if NORMANDIE´s First Class was filled only half. The few "simple" First Class accomodations were sold at US$ 295.00 (2017 US$5,090.00, using the Consumer Price Index), while the top suites Beauville and Trouville were at US$ 1,400.00 (2017 US$ 24,200.00, using the Consumer Price Index ) - per passenger!
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Passenger posing proud and joyious on deck, underneath the bridge - Source: Gare Maritime
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NORMANDIE passengers in the Wintergarden Jardin d´Hiver - courtsey coloured by Daryl LeBlanc
Marlene Dietrich in the Deauville Suite of NORMANDIE, her normal booking for crossing with the peak of chic - own collection
In the years after the New York Stock Exchange crash of October 1929 raged a depression which was affecting all economies and with that all people! The first victim was Germany, which got all loans terminated, the next was United Kingdom with its own London Stock Exchange crash.
John Dal Piaz passed away in 1928 and a new director was found. But by 1933, when COMPAGNIE GÉNÉRALE TRANSATLANTIQUE underwent a major takeover by the State following its near bankruptcy. A new board was installed by the government, and Henri Cangardel was called in to assist the new president of the company, the Governor General of the colonies Marcel Olivier. In fact, if Olivier assumes a great media role and allows the company to attract many new contacts, it is Henri Cangardel who directs the maritime aspects. As a director and CEO, he is leading the completion of the construction of NORMANDIE and is very much involved in defending what is seen by some of the public as an unjustified expense.
The funny aspect in the takeover and financing of this huge prestige project is, that the then government of France was a coalition where the Socialist Party was partner. And later, 1936, France was governed by a socialist popular front government ...
Here is the ship at her final outfitting.
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 NORMANDIE towed into the dock at Pennhoët - courtsey coloured by Daryl LeBlanc
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 NORMANDIE in drydock at Pennhoët - courtsey coloured by Zachary Williams
NORMANDIE in drydock at Pennhoët - courtsey coloured by Steve Walker
Because of the economic deadly surroundings, Cie Gle TRANSATLANTIQUE decided to prolongue the outfitting process of NORMADIE - while across the chanel, in Britain, the competitors hull No534 was doomed to rustle away.
When finally the brand new liner, le NORMANDIE, emerged from his builders for sea trials, handling and speed, in the Bay of Biscay, off Les Glénans, the fishermen and the navy servicemen of a French war ship, who sighted NORMANDIE, had been more than astonished about the seakeeping of the marvel they saw, and been surprised by missing of any turbulences in the water, especially the extraordinary smooth wakeline. Later a fisherman recalled: "As if he was gliding like a gull over the water." The hydrodynamic water tank tests proved working in reality. The test were a proof, as if a proof needed, of the extraordinary qualities of the stunning hull wrought by Vladimir Yourkevich. And NORMANDIE achived off coast the Bretagne for a short time 32 kts ... NORMANDIE had nearly 79,280 GT, 71,000 t displacement, 313,75 m length, 36,4 m beam, 11,2 m draught with 160,000 hp.
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NORMANDIE photgraphed during sea trials - own collection
After a row of great festivities, for which extra trains brought the Parisienne society to Le Havre, Gare Maritime, a short black out on board, NORMANDIE started May 29th for a most spectacular and barnstorming maiden maiden voyage. His inaugural was not only remarkable, because Parisienne society made NORMANDIE its temporary headquarter, but technical problems, water breaking in caused a shut down of boilers, but because of his electic motors, only 25% of energy was lost, but with the remaining 75% a pseed of 28 kts had been achivable. And after repairs NORMANDIE dashed across a not very friendly Atlantic to New York - after 4 days, 3 hours and 25 minutes, with an average speed of 29,98 kts ... this was nearly the 4 day liner!
NORMANDIE, decks and cutaway - copy from The Shipbuilders, Oceanliners of the Past NORMANDIE
In New York NORMANDIE got a reception that had never been surpassed.
Thousands of people filled windows in the skyscrapers, or lined ashore the Hudson, on beaches and the docks, or took one of the boats cruising out to NORMANDIE.
Cie Gle TRANSATLANTIQUE anxious to announce the attempt to a record breaking crossing, the inaugural crossing and media disasters of REX and CONTE DI SAVOIA in mind, but had been well prepared. The all to be seen sign for their conviction to succeed was a 30 m pennant, that was enrolled at NORMANDIE´s aft mast.
QUEEN MARY needed 35,000 hp more to reach 0,5 kts more than NORMANDIE. And when NORMANDIE recaptured the BLUE RIBAND in 1937, QUEEN MARY need a power tuning to get the trophy back ... till UNITED STATES´s brutal force declassed the British QUEEN.
NORMANDIE would enjoy 139 westward crossings as the 1930’s progressed. This was an uneventful time for the ship, except for the passengers on board, enjoying NORMANDIE´s luxuries,  even as the war clouds grew. According to my aunt, travelling on NORMANDIE, some parties had not been "appropreate" for recalling.
Anybody who was somebody in continental society or those across the pond, travelled on NORMANDIE, which was the "must to be on" stage for the "ship-set" society of the Flirty Thirties.
Le paquebot NORMANDIE en couleur - a film made 2005 for THALASSA by Eric Lange and Claude Villers, the son of the original producer of the film in 1939, it went out to be the last crossing of NORANDIE - youtube
Those war clouds caught the ship in New York as war started in 1939. For the next two years, Normandie stayed a pier 88 with an uncertain future hanging over her head. That changed in December 1941 when the US entered the war, after the Lapanese attack on Pearl Harbor. NORMANDIE was promptly seized as he should have been an important war asset.
France surrendered 1940 and was occupied by the German Reichswehr. Satelite state was established in Vichy, where Marshall Petain ruled as an autocrat and German Allie ...
Neither the Vichy regime, nor the two French exile governments wanted to have NORMANDIE near the war scene in Europe, he still was the symbol of France.
There was some irrational talk of converting the NORMANDIE into an aircraft carrier, but the logical choice was to convert the ship to transport service like the two queens and work commenced in early 1942.
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NORMANDIE ablaze - screenshot from a ZDF TV show
But the two QUEEN´s had been prepared while building for eventual war service and NORMANDIE never! And what was started with NORMANDIE was the rediculous aim of transfering him into a war machine. this was combined with quarrels about competences and reliabilities, and long ways of conversation. the right hand, more or less did not know what the left did.
Understandable is only a hurry in which the USA was in total after Pearl Harbor. But too much summed up in and with NORMANDIE, an incompetend Admiral, supcontractors, and irrational agnst of sabotage - but supcontractors workers hadn´t been controlled ... And the US officials needed an interna propaganda suddess, therefore NORMANDIE was transformed right under the eyes of the public in New York.
What happened next on the caotic construction site, what NORMANDIE was made into, is a perfect example of the damage that carelessnes, arrogance, incompetence and stupidity can do in high pressure work situations.
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NORMANDIE ablaze, endless tons of water flodding out of the listing victim - screenshot from a ZDF TV show
The grand salon was an "obvious" place to store life preservers while they were being distributed to the cabins. There was also work being done to remove the lighting stanchions in the grand salon, with torches, which had to happen quick and out of the mood of some officer who wanted to transform them into war map tables ... As the last stanchion was being cut, one of the untrained securing workers moved too early the protection shield, and sparks fell onto the kapok life preservers which promptly caught fire. These kapok lifepreservers are hazardous in itself, and wrapped in oiled paper! What happened next was a Marks Brother-esque  slapstick comedy of trippings, mistakes, miscommunication and non working fireprotections - as NORMANDIE, now renamed grand into LAFAYETTE, had been completely shut down! No machine, no electrcity, no availability of the over the state of the art fireprotection of NORMANDIE. Not even a propper trained fireguard!
Those who knew the ship had been send off board as a potential threat to sabotage! And nowbody was able or willing reading the manuals.
That probably did more damage to the war effort than just about anything else in 1942. There were no fire extinguishers handy, so there was no way for anybody to stop immediately the fire. When the fire department showed up, jsut about everything in the department, they started to pour water willy nilly in the fire, which made the ship top heavy. Vladimir Yurkevich was now living in NYC and showed up to offer to take a crew down to open the sea cocks. The navy refused, and the above mentioned high decorated "Admiral" answered: "This is a Navy job!", which was probably never the right call, but this arrogance and incompetence meant that the inevitable was going to happen.
The 80,000 ton ship rolled over at the pier.
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NORMANDIE with deconstructed superstructure - own collection
There still was some hope with the officials to restored the wrecked liner into a usable trooper, but ...
And the most ridiculous propositions had been offered to the Navy for lifting the hulk, that once was peak of chic, le Seigneur de l´Atlantique, le Vaisseau de Lumière, la Déesse de la Mer ... NORMANDIE.

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Like a giagantic beach whale, NORMANDIE lying on backboard at pier 88 - own collection
So now the salvage started. All through 1942, first the superstructure was removed as well as the propellers and other external parts. Then the ship was slowly pumped out until the hull righted in August 1943. After the ship was righted the hulk, now less than when launched afew years ago, was taken to the Brooklyn Navy yard for examination and to figure out what to do with it. It turned out that that was nothing. At that point, even replacing the superstructure with some sort of temporary superstructure would take longer than could be justified and take effort that was needed for the repair of actual warships. So the hulk became a nuissance until the war ended. With the war over, the cost of restoring the ship was unreasonable, COMPAGNIE GÉNÉRALE TRANSATLANTIQUE apparently did not want it back and took a check instead ... so the hulk was put up for auction. The hulk was purchased for scrap for US$ 600,000 by the LIPSETT company and made one last voyage across New York harbor to it’s last stop at the breaker in New Jersey.
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NORMANDIE on the last voyage, even as hulk with beautiful lines - own collection
The end of an all too brief career.

Whom the gods love, they punish him ... or sends American ...

France, as all Western Europe benefitted from the Marschall Plan, money that helped restore Europe. Within these fonds had been special loans to Cie Gle TRANSATALTIQUE, which enabled the company to construct the near sisters FLANDRE and ANTILLES. Further TRANSAT got hold of the US seized EUROPA and started to restore the worn out vessel into their new flagship LIBERTÉ. During outfitting LIBERTÉ nearly got lost during a storm, when he collided with the wreck of PARIS and sank. French engineering once again did wonders ...

You may be surprised why I am calling the French ships "male" ... as it is the French original gender for ships: le bateaux, le naviere, le paquebot and out of respect for the language


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RITZ-CARLTON is building three luxury cruise vessels

I once wrote, being new in the cruise market, you have to be outstanding, and these three new cruise vessels for RITZ-CARLTON HOTEL COMPANY, L.L.C. There is NO other chance for a newcomer in this megalodon driven industry, as to be totally contrary to what these mass market tourist ventures are offering - e.g. VIRGIN VOYAGES or now RITZ-CARLTON YACHT COLLECTION.
by Earl of Cruise RITZ-CARLTON YACHT COLLECTION new luxury cruise ships - rendering courtesy RITZ-CARLTON YACHT COLLECTION RITZ-CARLTON HOTEL COMPANY, L.L.C., Chevy Chase, Maryland (USA), with over 90 hotels and resorts in over 40 countries, is a 100% subsidiary of MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR), has announced its entry into the yachting cruise industry. A branch in the mega trend industry which is catering the well-off people. The RITZ-CARLTON is the first luxury hotel brand to bring its award-winning service and timeless style of the hotels to the high seas. Its industry-first brand extension, the RITZ-CARLTON YACHT…