Dread Nought but the Fury of the Seas

Nice ship !
As expected the French and Italian are responding to each other programs (even if it's not necessarily the main reason). And since the weight constraints are heavy, both nation are loosing the torpedoes launchers !! I think the French design is slightly better and more balanced than the Italian's
I note that, if both country have the cash, they can spam one such ship (or their respective improvements) every 14 month while staying inside the treaty limits.
Even with the number of ships ordered (5, 3 French and 2 Italians), it will change the balance of power in the Mediterranean. They give a renewed advantage on Greece and the Ottoman ships. And it might force the RN to respond with fast ship in the theater.

On a side note, OTL the French used the left over machinery from the Normandy class ships to re-motorized the surviving Courbet class ships during the 20's, specially the Courbet which had 2 engine fires, and the Béarn Aircraft carrier. It wasn't a resounding success as the refitted battleships were limited to 19kt, but ITTL, they have more engine sets (without the Béarn), so they might be tempted to go full oil firing (against the mixed machinery of OTL). A more comprehensive refit is probably necessary to make the Courbet class anything more than overpriced training ships.
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As you say the Greeks and Ottomans are close to a choice - do they continue to take part in the dreadnought race or not.
Arguably, the Greeks would be better off swapping their pre-dreadnoughts for a pair of decent cruisers and leaving it there. The Ottomans can be masters of the Black Sea without too much effort. Preferably some destroyers for both.

Tricky one the Coubets. With France and the Dantons gone, they can build 126,000tons (9 'light battleships'), before they have to think about scrapping them to stay within Treaty limits - i.e. not before the current Treaty expires. They might therefore want them to see another 10 years' service.
On the other hand, they're probably the worst dreadnoughts in service with any of the major powers, so why waste the money when they can build new ones.
The somewhat better Bretagnes could benefit from modernisation, and in a Treaty world they're going to be around until the mid-late 30s.
 
Holy!...

Just one thought, partly because I kind of have soft spot for OTL design but also because I can't see the French even with TTL changes and, actually, especially with them, avoiding the all forward layout, because the main rationals behind it was weight saving measure by putting the main magazines in one place and because that layout allow the concentration of fire, and both not dispersed through the ship , which given that is a LBC, I would think that there is better more reason for that here, I know that the other reason for the all-forward were the Deutschland but with an even closer competitor in the Vesuvius's, it still make some sense in my perspective.

Bud could you detail a bit on that please? I mean, why the French won't use it here?.
All forward would be equally valid, but I didn't go that way for a couple of reasons.
It makes more sense when adopting a British-style version of all or nothing - i.e. thickest armour over magazines, and lesser (but still thick) armour over engines. Even then, there are vulnerabilities, such as the secondary magazines being less well protected than the main ones.
This ship has a uniform belt, which is already sufficiently thin that cutting it down over engines would make them very vulnerable. The weight-saving advantages therefore aren't really there.

The other reason is topweight. In general terms, these ships are like OTL Dunkerque, but about 10' less beamy. There is therefore less margin of stability available.
A superfiring turret adds a lot of weight high up in the ship. In the fore-aft arrangement, both turrets have shorter, lighter barbettes which are low down in the ship.
 
LOVE the French ship, she's a handsome lass for sure, and the French get three of them in service, thats a decent number and would allow them to replace the now utterly obsolete Courbet class ships and then start looking at getting rid of the Bretagne's in the future with something bigger, probably with a 15-inch gun.
 
Guys, quick side note question and answer: how reliable were WWI vintage German engines?, at least when compared to the British.
Much the same for both, partly because the German designs tended to be licence-built British ones, to which the Germans then made their own improvements.
All engines of the period suffered from what the British called 'condenseritis' - essentially leaks in the condensers that reduced performance and ultimately allowed seawater contamination. It was caused by a mixture of poor construction and inadequate materials, and was only finally solved in the '30s with new alloys.

As @Thoresby says, Welsh steam coal gave the British an advantage - it is remarkable stuff; relatively clean burning (meaning few stones and little ash), with 10-20% more energy density than most other coals.
Britain was also ahead in the use of oil firing, and oil spraying into coal furnaces, which allowed RN ships to sustain high speed for longer without the need to replenish ready-use bunkers located near the boilers.
 
I've been away from this thread too long. Not just one, but two sets of brand-new battlecruisers have sailed in since I last commented.
And they are very pretty ships too, as you'd expect from the French and Italians - thanks for the pictures. And am I the only one to think that the two countries may be using the same design bureau? I'd struggle to tell Lille and Etna apart at 20,000 yards, though there are some nice individual touches, like Lille having a cruiser stern and that separate conning(?) tower just forward of the main bridge structure.
Glad you like them, it's not really my focus, but I do have fun with the occasional picture.
0/10 in ship recognition class, then ... I'll point out one is flush-decked, the other isn't. :)
Yes, it's a conning tower.

As far as the stats go, I'm with the commentators that think that both countries have got rather a lot of ship for their 23,000 tons. Particularly the Italians. 3 turrets, 12" belt and 30+ knots? steamboy posted the OTL Italian design I'd referred to before and while that had 15" guns it was only 6 of them, 9.5" belt and 29 knots. (Mind you, looking at the OTL design again it had 5" decks and 12 rather than 4 100mm AA, so maybe it balances out). I suspect that the 12" belt is both short and shallow and the speeds quoted are possibly optimistic (particularly after adding another 1,000 tons of AA). The Lille is more what I'd expect to be possible , and even there the armour is thicker than I'd expect for a true BCL.
There's no better way of adding weigh than a thick deck. A 5" deck would weight about the same as a 20' deep 12" belt, it's a lot of steel.
I briefly modelled the Vesuvios with a 15' deep belt, and the deck is much thinner.
The 33kt trial speed was at a ridiculously low displacement (as was Italian practice at the time - they occasionally ran trials without turrets!), with the machinery heavily forced. Real world, they'd be 30-knotters, when clean and in good condition.
Quibbling apart, the ships make sense in context. Both France and Italy are stuck with ageing battlelines that compare poorly to the late-WW1 ships being fielded by the local minor powers and neither can afford a big construction program (even if it wasn't 6 years' Treaty allowance I doubt either could afford 2 36,000 tonners and relying on a single supership has obvious risks).

So, the "light battleship" exemption rears its head. And the French and Italians have done what i thought was the foolish thing and gone the fast-battleship route, rather than a slow BBL with full battleship armour or a true "faster than anything stronger" BCL. Except that maybe in the context of the Mediterranean powers it isn't a foolish move. Yes, Rodney, Hood or Kii would knock one of these ships to pieces, but they're not planning on fighting the British or Japanese. They'd be weak link in a British or American battle line, but they're solid enough to stand with the Courbets or Cavours in a fleet action (in fact, one of these could probably take a Courbet or Cavour one-on-one) and they can walk away from anything in the Med big enough to hurt then except for each other.

And quite unintentionally, they've rather thrown down the gauntlet to contemporary RN and USN designers. These things are pure murder on 1920s cruisers - many of which don't even have the speed to get away - and the only ships that can reliably chase one down are the glass cannons - Lexington, Furious and Repulse. Two or three can probably be handled, but if a potential opponent builds a dozen of them? And more generally, if 29 knots is the new normal, is the 23-25 knot battleline still viable? I suspect we'll see another look at Kii-style fast battleships or Rodney-style heavy battlecruisers even if they have to go over the 36,000-ton barrier.
They're just ... awkward ships, as I'm sure would be realised in London and Washington at about this time. How to deal with a cruiser-killer/raider that can walk away from most battleships.
A few half-sisters for Rodney and Lexington are probably beginning to look like a good idea, particularly with Kii in the background.
 
Tricky one the Coubets. With France and the Dantons gone, they can build 126,000tons (9 'light battleships'), before they have to think about scrapping them to stay within Treaty limits - i.e. not before the current Treaty expires. They might therefore want them to see another 10 years' service.
On the other hand, they're probably the worst dreadnoughts in service with any of the major powers, so why waste the money when they can build new ones.
The somewhat better Bretagnes could benefit from modernisation, and in a Treaty world they're going to be around until the mid-late 30s.
You're right, the French will be better of if they modernize the Bretagne than the Courbet. The problem is that the Courbet are death traps against all the Italians ships, even the un-modernized Conte di Cavour and Andre Doria classes, and the Greek and Ottoman ships.
On the modernization of the Bretagne, OTL there weren't a comprehensive program, but all three ships were progressively converted to all oil firing, got a heavy tripod mast and increased the elevation of the guns to 18 degrees. ITTL, the French might want to modernize them quicker at the expanse of the Courbet.
 
They're just ... awkward ships, as I'm sure would be realised in London and Washington at about this time. How to deal with a cruiser-killer/raider that can walk away from most battleships.
A few half-sisters for Rodney and Lexington are probably beginning to look like a good idea, particularly with Kii in the background.
There's also the factor that from the perspective of the Admiralty a "difficult" ship with French or Italian colours isn't actually that difficult, you know that when push comes to shove the RN has sufficient margin of superiority that any problem can be solved. The IJN is big and concentrated a long way away and should conflict arise the RN will at best have a small margin and might not even have parity. That makes the Kii's much more worrying.
 
As you say the Greeks and Ottomans are close to a choice - do they continue to take part in the dreadnought race or not.
Arguably, the Greeks would be better off swapping their pre-dreadnoughts for a pair of decent cruisers and leaving it there. The Ottomans can be masters of the Black Sea without too much effort. Preferably some destroyers for both.
In OTL the Greeks were hopping to do just that, the pre-dreadnoughts were just a stopgap solution in 1914... but TTL the Ottomans already have 2 dreadnoughts to 1 Greek (granted if a torpedo as much as sees Sultan Osman it's likely to break in half but still) and the Ottoman naval program was calling for 6.

Now to get into some numbers between 1925 and 1932, the Greeks spent about 3.4 million pounds for new warships and reconstructions and were willing to fork out about 3.8 million more to complete Salamis in 1929. This while dedicating some 80 million pounds to resettling and feeding their refugee population. The 3.4 million pounds amounts to roughly 0.5% of GDP per year in 1925-32. Now TTL the Greeks first have roughly twice the GDP of OTL post 1921 (OTL in 1921-23 Greek GDP dropped from 169 million pounds in 1918 to 55 before stabilizing at 84 million in 1924) are not fighting a war in 1918-24 and also don't have to spend massive amounts on their refugees.
Applying OTL's 0.5% for 1918-1932 gets you a building budget of about 13.2 million pounds without touching on the refugee costs or taking into account the funds the Greeks were willing to spend for Salamis. Add between 3.8 (proposed radically modernized Salamis in 1929) and 8 million (a conservative 10% of refugee costs) and you get to 17-212 million.

For comparison the building program proposed by the British naval mission in 1919 amounted to 1.2 million pounds a year. Applying that for 1918-1932 gets you 18 million. I'll continue with that figure as it is towards the low end of what was calculated above.

Now lets break down costs

1.55 million for reconstructions etc just like OTL
1.5 million for the light cruisers HMS Chester and HMS Birkenhead, 6 S class destroyers and 2 H class submarines (OTL British offer to Greece)
1.19 million for 10 submarines (the 6 OTL boats had cost 714,000)
0.26 million for a full reconstruction of Averof (proposed but not done OTL 1925)
2 million for 8 new destroyers
1 million for Salamis in 1919 (going by the proce of Lattore at the same time )

Now the above amount to 8.16 million with about 10 left . I'd suggest that the Greeks did post that///take up the British offer to complete Cohrane for them mentioned in one of the earlier posts, this would give them by 1922 or so a second 14in gun battleship at a bargain price.
 
In OTL the Greeks were hopping to do just that, the pre-dreadnoughts were just a stopgap solution in 1914... but TTL the Ottomans already have 2 dreadnoughts to 1 Greek (granted if a torpedo as much as sees Sultan Osman it's likely to break in half but still) and the Ottoman naval program was calling for 6.

Now to get into some numbers between 1925 and 1932, the Greeks spent about 3.4 million pounds for new warships and reconstructions and were willing to fork out about 3.8 million more to complete Salamis in 1929. This while dedicating some 80 million pounds to resettling and feeding their refugee population. The 3.4 million pounds amounts to roughly 0.5% of GDP per year in 1925-32. Now TTL the Greeks first have roughly twice the GDP of OTL post 1921 (OTL in 1921-23 Greek GDP dropped from 169 million pounds in 1918 to 55 before stabilizing at 84 million in 1924) are not fighting a war in 1918-24 and also don't have to spend massive amounts on their refugees.
Applying OTL's 0.5% for 1918-1932 gets you a building budget of about 13.2 million pounds without touching on the refugee costs or taking into account the funds the Greeks were willing to spend for Salamis. Add between 3.8 (proposed radically modernized Salamis in 1929) and 8 million (a conservative 10% of refugee costs) and you get to 17-212 million.

For comparison the building program proposed by the British naval mission in 1919 amounted to 1.2 million pounds a year. Applying that for 1918-1932 gets you 18 million. I'll continue with that figure as it is towards the low end of what was calculated above.

Now lets break down costs

1.55 million for reconstructions etc just like OTL
1.5 million for the light cruisers HMS Chester and HMS Birkenhead, 6 S class destroyers and 2 H class submarines (OTL British offer to Greece)
1.19 million for 10 submarines (the 6 OTL boats had cost 714,000)
0.26 million for a full reconstruction of Averof (proposed but not done OTL 1925)
2 million for 8 new destroyers
1 million for Salamis in 1919 (going by the proce of Lattore at the same time )

Now the above amount to 8.16 million with about 10 left . I'd suggest that the Greeks did post that///take up the British offer to complete Cohrane for them mentioned in one of the earlier posts, this would give them by 1922 or so a second 14in gun battleship at a bargain price.
Hummm... That seems a juicy business if done correctly, especially the part were Averof is modernized, am interest to see her as a 25-26 knot ship, if not more. (I know that's over optimistic but I can't resist)
 
In OTL the Greeks were hopping to do just that, the pre-dreadnoughts were just a stopgap solution in 1914... but TTL the Ottomans already have 2 dreadnoughts to 1 Greek (granted if a torpedo as much as sees Sultan Osman it's likely to break in half but still) and the Ottoman naval program was calling for 6.

Now to get into some numbers between 1925 and 1932, the Greeks spent about 3.4 million pounds for new warships and reconstructions and were willing to fork out about 3.8 million more to complete Salamis in 1929. This while dedicating some 80 million pounds to resettling and feeding their refugee population. The 3.4 million pounds amounts to roughly 0.5% of GDP per year in 1925-32. Now TTL the Greeks first have roughly twice the GDP of OTL post 1921 (OTL in 1921-23 Greek GDP dropped from 169 million pounds in 1918 to 55 before stabilizing at 84 million in 1924) are not fighting a war in 1918-24 and also don't have to spend massive amounts on their refugees.
Applying OTL's 0.5% for 1918-1932 gets you a building budget of about 13.2 million pounds without touching on the refugee costs or taking into account the funds the Greeks were willing to spend for Salamis. Add between 3.8 (proposed radically modernized Salamis in 1929) and 8 million (a conservative 10% of refugee costs) and you get to 17-212 million.

For comparison the building program proposed by the British naval mission in 1919 amounted to 1.2 million pounds a year. Applying that for 1918-1932 gets you 18 million. I'll continue with that figure as it is towards the low end of what was calculated above.

Now lets break down costs

1.55 million for reconstructions etc just like OTL
1.5 million for the light cruisers HMS Chester and HMS Birkenhead, 6 S class destroyers and 2 H class submarines (OTL British offer to Greece)
1.19 million for 10 submarines (the 6 OTL boats had cost 714,000)
0.26 million for a full reconstruction of Averof (proposed but not done OTL 1925)
2 million for 8 new destroyers
1 million for Salamis in 1919 (going by the proce of Lattore at the same time )

Now the above amount to 8.16 million with about 10 left . I'd suggest that the Greeks did post that///take up the British offer to complete Cohrane for them mentioned in one of the earlier posts, this would give them by 1922 or so a second 14in gun battleship at a bargain price.
That's useful stuff, thank you. Both Greek and Ottoman fleets do have a future, although as minor players of course.
Going forward, a little naval tension in the Med is exactly the sort of thing that can tie up a lot of resources for other powers, or trigger a war.
 
Second-Rate Battleship
Second-Rate Battleship

By 1923, the Royal Netherlands Navy had grown to the point where it could operate its fleet of ex-German warships. However, the threats it faced overseas were evolving, and the Java (the former German battlecruiser Lutzow) had proved to be something of a disappointment. Hastily completed in wartime and damaged in action at Stavanger, she was proving to be the least reliable of the four Dutch capital ships.
The Washington Treaty imposed few limits on the Dutch; their limits were more the realities of limited manpower and facilities. Since the war, they had completed two 6,700-ton cruisers armed with 5.9” guns, and design work had commenced on a 10,000-ton cruiser when news of the Japanese ‘Myoko’ class reached The Hague. Intelligence suggested an armament of ten 8” guns and a high speed, probably on a displacement of well over the 10,000 tons the Japanese had declared.

Aware of the inadequacies of the Java, the Dutch government decided to build a larger vessel in place of the large cruiser. She would be built in Holland, but with major components contracted out to German firms, and use of battleship tonnage was quite acceptable, as the Netherlands had plenty of Treaty tonnage to spare. After consideration of a variety of design, the one chosen was a 658’ ship armed with nine German-built 24-cm guns in triple turrets, one forward and a superfiring pair aft, separated by a machinery room.
Armour consisted of a deep and extensive 6” belt, with 6” barbettes and turrets, a 2.5” deck and 1.5” torpedo bulkhead, all intended to resist 8” fire at any likely range.
Assisted by the lure of a low price for certain components, the German-Dutch design team were allowed to experiment, and the ship had 120,000shp on three shafts, with a 6,000hp auxiliary diesel engine on the centre shaft for cruising. Displacement was 18,950 tons Standard, and 22,800 tons Full Load. The Eendracht was laid down in November 1923 and was completed in 1927, and proved to be as fast as was promised, achieving 32.1 knots on trials when only 450 tons off Full Load.

Across the Atlantic, the construction of the French and Italian light battleships had been noted and largely ignored, however the ‘Myokos’ and the Eendracht had a far greater effect. These fast, powerful cruisers and cruiser-killers would be deployed on the periphery of America’s overseas territories. Meanwhile, the US Navy had wanted a battlecruiser force for many years, but in 1924, it only had two such ships; the Lexington and the Constellation.

However, the authorisation for their four sister-ships had never been formally cancelled, only their construction and financing, as it was considered impossible to build them under the restrictions imposed by the Treaty.
Through 1922 and ’23, the US Navy commissioned their two giant battlecruisers and studied various options as to how they might best be deployed. The reality was that they needed to operate as a pair in the face of strong foreign battlecruiser forces; the Japanese ‘Amagis’ or the British ‘Admirals’. Individually, they were strong ships, but were perhaps rather large for the role of reinforcing cruiser squadrons and dealing with the threat of ships such as Myoko.

By the autumn of 1923, the Navy had once again concluded that the ‘battle scout’ showed great potential in counterbalancing foreign fleets, but that they would need more than two of them to do so effectively. Use of the existing authorisations made that possible, although for different reasons neither the Navy Department nor the Treasury were keen to build four 36,000-ton ‘small Lexingtons’.
By a combination of improved technology and gaming the Treaty, the US Navy would finally lay down the first pair light battlecruisers in 1924. A further pair would follow in 1925.

On such a small displacement as 23,000 tons, sacrifices had to be made and the ships’ torpedo protection was not up to the usual American standard. A very thin, three-layer version of the normal five-layer system was backed by just a ¾” bulkhead, with the intention of limiting damage rather than keeping it out of the ship entirely. However, the designers tried to ensure that no one (or even two) torpedo hits could ever cripple the ship, by alternating the machinery and fire rooms, as was being done in cruisers. A hit might knock one ‘unit’, but the others would be far away from the explosion and might therefore be unaffected.

Main armament was the subject of much debate, with arguments for four or six 16” guns ranged against eight or nine 14”. In the end, an arrangement of eight 14”/45 guns was selected, but for somewhat unfortunate reasons. Four or six guns was considered too few, and while the idea of nine guns in three turrets was attractive, the 14”/50 guns and their triple turrets were rejected, as they were proving to be miserably inaccurate in service, so much so that the lower-powered 45-calibre weapons were considered to be superior at the time the ships were being designed.
Less than a year after the ships were laid down, the problems with the 50-calibre guns were overcome, ironically thanks to the new shell that was being designed for the 14”/45 guns of the light battlecruisers. A scaled-down version of the ‘long’ (one ton) 16” shell, the new 14” shell was heavier and longer than the old one. Quite by accident, that was found to be partly the cause of the trouble, as the shorter old shells sometimes slipped back out into the chamber after they were loaded.
However, it was too late to change the design, and the ships would be built with eight 14”/45 guns, which could fire a 1,500-lb shell at 2,525 ft/sec, capable of penetrating a 12” vertical plate at 20,000 yards.

Armour was somewhat lighter than the Lexingtons, with a 436’ long, 14’ deep, 9” belt and a 2.5” deck, covering machinery and magazines in the usual American ‘all or nothing’ arrangement. However, this would be partially augmented by 1” splinter protection that ran along the edges of the upper deck for the entire length of the belt. Primarily intended to protect AA guns and keep out small bombs, it would be fitted as part of improvements to air defence, as permitted by the Treaty. Elsewhere, armour was relatively light by American standards, with 9” barbettes, 10” turret faces and thin 1” splinter protection to the secondary battery of ten 5” guns.
Several weights were omitted from the declared ‘Standard’ displacement, as the designers considered that they were not part of the equipment needed to make the ship ‘ready for battle’. These included the two scout aircraft, their fuel, cranes and stores, and there was an allocation of only 60 rounds-per-gun for both 14” and 5” armament, a saving of 340 tons over the magazines’ full capacity of 100 and 250 respectively.
The design came out at 23,060 tons, which the designers considered quite acceptable.

However, they then took advantage of the 3,000-ton modification allowance to retro-fit the ships with six 4” anti-aircraft guns, plus the weight of their magazines, hoists, spotting and sighting positions. The 1” deck and other details of splinter protection were added as part of these improvements. In the condition in which the ships would actually sail, true Standard displacement would be about 24,300 tons, while Full Load was close to 29,000 tons.

Power output was to be 108,000 shp using lightweight geared turbines and the fine, deep hull was intended to provide considerable speed. However, propulsive coefficient was somewhat disappointing and the ships were overweight, and so they never reached their design speed of 32 knots, except when run light. On trials in 1927, at a relatively realistic seagoing displacement of 27,050 tons, USS Alaska achieved 31.43 knots with 114,200 shp, although it was noted that the machinery could probably have been forced harder.
In service they proved a bit inclined to roll, but were otherwise good steamers, capable of 30 knots in most weathers thanks to their high, flared bows.

It was originally proposed to use the names of the four cancelled ‘Lexingtons’, but there were objections to the use of the name USS United States on a comparatively small ship, while the accidental loss of the France a few years earlier had provided a further warning that naming vessels after the nation itself could have unfortunate drawbacks.
Nevertheless, the Navy did not consider them battleships, traditionally named after States of the Union, nor were they ordinary cruisers, named after towns and cities. Ultimately, a compromise was reached; larger than a town, smaller than a state, and the lead ship, USS Columbia, would give her name to the class.


Columbia BCa.png

USS Hawaii as completed​

The Italians had been first to take advantage of a loophole in the Treaty, although through a combination of financial constraints and the need to use existing equipment meant that they hadn’t exploited it as fully as they might have done.
Quite independently, but a little later, the French had taken full advantage of the ‘Light Battleship’ clause, while the Americans had stretched it to a point at which they were arguably cheating, by making almost immediate use of the 3,000-ton growth allowance that was allowed under the Treaty.

Unfortunately for all of them, the British would then choose to show that they were no strangers to bending the rules.
 
Very handsome lady for sure! 8 x 14-inch guns makes her well armed for sure and she's probably a superior ship to the Lexingtons as they have a LOT of hull space that's not protected. I'm curious to see what the RN will come up with :D

The Eendracht also sounds like a fine ship, the layout sounds like the OTL German light cruisers, one forwards, two aft, the 9.4's I assume are new guns as the last 9.4's the Germans made were for the Furst Bismark back in the 1800's..
 
Very interesting ships but isn't the US reacting a bit fast, none of the foreign light battleships have even hit the water when the Columbia's are ordered. I would have thought that the British and US light battlecruisers would wait until they had seen them in service elsewhere and had had time to ponder the strategic impact of BCL's all over the place.
 
I like the stretched Pensacola look. Nice ships for the limits, some of those in the Solomons(or TTL version of that) could be very interesting. Maybe put one in the Philippines to be a pain to the Japanese?
 
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