France entered the dreadnought age in 1907 with a curious mix of old and new. The Danton-class, of which six originally were planned but only four realized on grounds of cost, had undergone a lenghty design process, and a dozen variants from between 16.000 and 21.000 tons with VTE-, VQE- or Turbine-propulsion, with mixed (4x305mm, 12x240mm) or single-caliber (20x240mm, 16x274mm, 10x305mm or 12x305mm) armament, and with armour schemes ranging from paper-thin to barely adequate, had been studied. In the end, the surprisingly rational decision was made to accept a lower number of hulls in order to achieve higher individual performance. The final design displaced 19.760 tons at normal load, was 152 meters long, 26,60 meters wide and had a normal draught of 8,8 meters (9,2 meters at full load). They had four-shaft turbine propulsion for 20 knots and a 270mm belt thinning to 150mm at the ship's ends and topped by a thin upper belt of 50mm to detonate enemy shells before they reached the upper of two 45mm decks. Armament was six twin turrets of the new 45-caliber 305mm gun, a powerful weapon firing 445kg-shells which were more destructive than their British counterparts and on par with their German ones. As was en-vogue at this time, the secondary battery was limited to 20 75mm guns to chase off torpedo boats. They still had some typically french defects, like the high unprotected forecastle running all the way back to the mainmast and the large silhouette with four widely spaced funnels, but in general they were viewed a huge improvement with a heavier broadside than HMS Dreadnought, despite their old-fashioned looks. Danton and Condorcet were laid down in 1907 and completed in 1911, Mirabeau and Voltaire in 1908 and completed in 1912.
Modifications and service notes in the Thiariaverse (invariably more lively than in OTL) will follow later.