After another 200 or so battles in the Stronkshtadt Kronshtadt, I figured I might as well write a guide on her.
Anyway, down to the guide. Listen to this while you're reading.
Guide written as of: 0.7.7-0.7.8
Project 69 Heavy Cruiser
The Stalinium Cruiser Battleship
Yes, you read that right, Kronshtadt is considered a heavy cruiser by Soviet standards. This might seem outrageous, but Soviet designs are very big for their armament. Time for a history lesson from a Russian perspective!
Anyway, down to comparisons.
Most Relatable Ships: Stalingrad Alaska Scharnhorst
Resemblance: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique
In terms of being unique, Kronshtadt is pretty high up. She’s only barely related to Stalingrad and otherwise just has a similar role to Stalingrad, Alaska and Scharnhorst as fast-firing cruiser killers. Think of playing Kronshtadt as a less aggressive Scharnhorst, more like a British battleship. You stay at range, shooting at people when the opportunities arise.
Speaking of how to play, we should break down the skill requirements.
For those of you who don’t know what these are, “skill floor” is the experience needed to play the ship. “Skill ceiling” is the max amount of effect you can have on a match.
Skill Floor: Low / Low-Medium / Medium / Medium-High / High / Extreme
Skill Ceiling: Low / Low-Medium / Medium / Medium-High / High / Extreme
This ship is pretty easy to play. It doesn’t require much attention to detail, but taking advantage of opportunities in this ship can be extremely beneficial. With the amount of vision control one has with a spotter plane AND radar mounted simultaneously, you can bully cruisers around with your big guns, scare battleships off, and chase destroyers with radar.
The only thing you can’t do anything against is carriers, trusting your comrades’ AA fire is how you’re gonna have to live. Equipping defensive fire is pretty meaningless, cause your AA mounts get knocked out fast, and your AA is still poor anyway.
Large HP pool beating Tier VIII battleships. Only cruiser that has more is comrade Stalingrad.
Turrets are very well protected against cruisers
230mm belt and very low citadel makes her basically immune to cruiser AP citadels.
305mm guns have massive amount of penetration, equivalent to 406mm guns in some regards.
Rate of fire is pretty good for such powerful guns.
Turret arcs are insanely good, you can fire all your turrets while safely angled.
Very high speed for a ship of such large size, extremely good engine response due to a very large engine output of 231,000 shp, only beaten by Hakuryu (240,000), and Stalingrad (280,000).
Long range radar at 11.7 km, can drive away destroyers and British cruisers just with the fear factor, and is great for pushing caps.
Very good turning radius and response for such a large ship.
Concealment, when fully built, is 700 meters from your radar range, making it very possible to detect destroyers that wander into your spotting range. An easy tactic is to get spotted, wait a few seconds, then radar, and kite away.
Has unrivaled vision control with the ability to mount Spotter Plane and Radar at the SAME time.
Massive citadel rivaling the Soviet Union in length, has extended citadel hitboxes on the ends that can be overmatched.
The entire ship outside of the 230mm main belt and turrets has no armor, making her susceptible to HE spam and AP overmatch. Do not bow-tank with her.
Fires last 45 seconds instead of 30 seconds.
Gun turrets eat a lot of penetrations from battleships, causing incapacitations.
AP bounces if your target is angled even slightly.
AP flies a bit too fast at times, it will overpenetrate most cruisers below 10 km if you aren’t going for underwater penetrations.
You outturn your turrets with Main Battery Mod 3, even with Expert Marksman to help mitigate it.
Dispersion ellipse is about as big as the Soviet Union, even with 2.05 sigma, the ship will sometimes completely miss battleships.
The AA is about as effective as Stalin’s Five Year Plan on the Soviet Economy
You will get citadeled by AP bombs and you will go to Gulag.
Rudder shift time is sluggish, very slow compared to most cruisers.
Radar lasts a measly 20 seconds, enough for you to, at most, get off 2 salvos at your target (this can be fixed to an extent with equipping Surveillance Radar Modification 1, making you guarantee 2 salvos usually).
With how much AA is at T8-10, spotter planes will get destroyed pretty fast if you are using them too close.
Long and Comprehensive Review
Kitting Out Your Battlecruiser
Long story short, I can tell you what to do, or you can ultimately decide what you want yourself based on what I’ve told you. I hope at this point you’ve come to realize several things.
The ship’s AA is horrible, don’t even bother trying to improve it, sooner or later CVs would be a dead race.
Getting close and then start kiting is how the ship should be played, building for concealment and survivability is a good thing, given that the ship has good survivability in the first place.
The accuracy is bad, accuracy gets better when you are closer.
I will recommend you the following upgrades (choices).
Slot 1: Spotter Plane Modification 1, for extended spotter plane duration and extra spotting. If you cannot obtain it, take Main Armaments Modification 1 to make your turrets more survivable.
Slot 2: Surveillance Radar Modification 1, for extending the 20 second radar duration. If you cannot obtain it, take Damage Control System Modification 1, to help reduce the chance of fire and floods.
Slot 3: Aiming Systems Modification 1. It reduces the dispersion to help mitigate the bad accuracy, if only slightly.
Slot 4: Either Damage Control System Modification 2 or Steering Gears Modification 2. The former will reduce your fire and flood duration, ultimately making the ship able to take more hits, while the latter allows you to evade a bit more comfortably.
Slot 5: Concealment System Modification 1, no brainer here, concealment is king, especially when you want to get close to your radar range.
Slot 6: Main Battery Modification 3, to help compensate for the long reload by putting more shots off per minute. Your traverse will take a hit, but it’s worth the reload reduction.
And for the commander skills.
First Skill (1 point): take Priority Target, as it will help you see who is shooting you at all times.
Second Skill (3 points): take Adrenaline Rush, faster reload is always good.
Third Skill (6 points): take Superintendent, for extra charges of spotter plane, radar, and heals.
Fourth Skill (10 points): take Concealment Expert, as concealment is the key to playing this ship like a vision control machine.
From there, you can choose a variety of skills. Expert Marksman is recommended because of the turrets sluggish traverse. Jack of All Trades is a good one too, for reduced consumable cooldown. Basics of Survivability is another good one, further reducing flood/fire durations. Fire Prevention can be taken too.
All in all, this ship is very good for training a Soviet cruiser captain, at least for the core skills. From the 5th skill onwards you can specialize it to cruiser or battleship, but all you really need are the four skills specifically mentioned in bullets.
Worth the Price?
This is the biggest question people often ask about Free XP Premiums, are they worth it? If you want to start training a Soviet battleship captain, this ship is a very good basis. In terms of starting a Soviet cruiser captain, she’s quite good too.
How are her economic gains? I personally would put her in between Missouri and Musashi. She’s a lot better at influencing a match than battleships are, so you’ll probably be earning more anyway.
The biggest thing that I see with this ship in question is the fun factor. Is she fun to play? Well, if making lots of money and pretending to be a battleship as a cruiser is fun, I think you’ll thoroughly enjoy Kronshtadt. Kronshtadt dominates a cruiser-heavy meta, but suffers from a destroyer meta or when there’s a carrier in the match. I’d advise getting her now and enjoy her before the British Destroyer storm comes in.
And that concludes my guide! I want to thank you for spending the time to read it, even if only part of it, or even if you didn’t, just clicking on the link. I want to especially thank everyone who helped me writing this guide, notably @Phoenix_jz for Alaska's info and @LittleWhiteMousefor teaching me how to calculate turn rate. Thank you all and have a great day!
EDIT: Minor fixes and formatting errors, also added some pictures.