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  1. Greetings all, The cycle for the RN CAs development is drawing to a close. Being an aficionado of most things RN, I should have been excited when I first saw this ships. I wasn't expecting them so soon, not a priority, but here they are. And my initial reaction was cautious, and has since sunk to a deep disappointment and contempt. For, at least in my opinion and based on what I know, the gameplay and historical accuracy of these ships is rather lacking. I'll list the historical stuff first. Gameplay stuff at the bottom. Maybe dump the proposed statistics I have for the Trainspite patent superior RN CA line™ in a different thread later down the line. If you don't care for what effectively mounts to historical nitpicking and whinging about fake ships, fair warning. I'll try not to get too sidetracked from my purpose of pointing out perceived mistakes, WG have done some good, and a whole lot of not so good with the line. Hawkins Personally, the obvious choice for a T5 RN CA, a class that was the forefather of the WNT CAs. The ship has been modelled in her 1930s condition, after a refit which converted her from coal to oil firing. The A-hull represents Hawkins quite well in this form. There are still a few issues though, especially with the B-hull. - For both hulls, Hawkins has twin torpedo tubes mounted on the deck. Historically, the class had six, later reduced to four fixed tubes in fixed beam mounts.This is a gameplay decision, much like with Furutaka, Trento and Zara, to avoid having a regular cruiser without them. Perhaps they could only appear on the B-hull, but I digress, such sacrifices are sometimes necessary. Others though aren't. - The A-hull has what seems to be an acceptable AA scheme, perhaps representative of just after Hawkin's reactivation in 1940. Personally I would switch one pair of 40mm for the 7.7mm in the bridge wings, making more sense given that is where further AA was fitted. - The B-hull AA is mostly fictional. Hawkins never carried any quad 12.7mm. The quad 40mm pompoms on the stern are nonsensical. Effectively WG haven't modelled any other AA positions, and inserted whichever AA they felt like at the time. At least the part that is correct are the quad 40mm pompoms in the bridge wings. I made a nice little graphic from an IWM image of Hawkins, showing her 1944/1945 AA outfit. This would be best the AA should get. And it's not like it is bad for T5 either. Applying this AA outfit to the 1930s model of Hawkins is a better solution than just making an entirely new AA suite up. - One thing that is noticeable from the above image compared to the in game Hawkins B-hull is the secondary 102mm / 4" armament. After refits in the 1920s which removed the original 76mm secondary guns, Hawkins would carry 4 single 102mm to her end. In game, for some inexplicable reason, Hawkins has these replaced by very out of place dual 102mm (Mk.XVI) which barely fit in the places where the single 102mm (QF Mk.V) should be. - Onto a more specific model issue, the director behind the aft funnel is in it's later 1940s condition, being anachronistic with the otherwise 1930s model of the ship. Below are two pictures from the 1930s of Hawkins with this earlier, more prominent director, compared with the wartime director which Hawkins has in game on below. Note the central location of the rangefinder on the structure, along with it's height above said structure. This director is also shown in the profiles in the Perkins Identification Guide Volume 3 for Hawkins. - Alongside the aforementioned issues, Hawkins may also have an armour mistake, with the sections of armour circled below being 51/57mm in game, but should be 38mm (at least according to Jane's). I'm unsure of this one since I haven't got any other sources for it, but it is worth noting nonetheless. Devonshire Devonshire is not exactly the regular County class representative most predicted. The sub-class leaders/name ships were Kent, London and Norfolk. However, WG have only modelled the London sub-class hull. The Kents had hulls with significant differences, so personally I would use the very similar Norfolk as the regular ship over Devon. Certainly there is no particular reason to include Devon other than London being a premium and Kent and Norfolk not being modelled. Also personally, this ship should be at T7, the conceptually similar Surrey being my proof of this. - Devonshire has been modelled in her 1944/1945 refitted condition. This refit removed her catapult and aircraft facilities, alongside her X-turret, removed in favour of extra AA. Once again, the model seems relatively accurate, but with one big exception. Devonshire retains X-turret. Which casts confusion as to why WG decided to model Devonshire in a condition where she only ever had 3x 2 203mm turrets. - Because Devonshire has the original eight 203mm guns, the AA is obviously thrown into wack. Two quadruple 40mm pompoms and various 20mm oerlikons are missing as a result. The B-hull upgrades this to have octuple 40mm pompoms, and many sources back this up, however from photographs, such as the one below, it appears only quadruple 40mm are fitted, which is a bit unusual. Also note the suspiciously absent X-turret. - The shells Devonshire uses in game are incorrect. According to the statistics from gamemodels3d, these shells are the type supposed to be fired from the new 203mm guns that would arm 1940s new build RN CAs. This is evidenced most easily through the 811mps muzzle velocity, opposed to the correct 855mps that can be found on London and Exeter. - The permanent camouflage is also accurate for the period of 1944/1945 for Devonshire, except that the colours are incorrect, since WG are basing these camouflages on a book that misrepresents several RN camouflage colours. As much as a like my green shades, the RN didn't really have them based on historical analysis by others. This also applies to the camouflages of Surrey, Albemarle, Drake and Goliath, which are based off schemes worn by Norfolk, Sussex, Suffolk and Kent respectively. - Surrey Surrey is a bit of a mess in game. It should be simple enough, the planned ships are not a mystery. The model for Surrey looks incredibly rushed over with regard to some details, as if some details have just been excluded or passed over. Especially around the amidships deck area. Which is a shame since otherwise it follows what I would expect. At least one previous issue did get fixed for Surrey, so maybe I can cross some off the list below in the future. For now though, they massacred my boy. - For reference, I'll use a shipbucket drawing of the Surrey-class as potentially completed. As far as I know, the plans for Surrey and Northumberland never included the Exeter-style bridge, but the two planned cruisers afterwards did. It seems likely that the former two ships would get this addition though. - Surrey has the same problem as Devonshire regarding the shells used. They are also of the wrong, more modern 1940-era type. - The bridge in game is excessively tall. Effectively two entire deck levels too tall. Compare to the drawing above, or Exeter, or Leander, and Surrey in game. Personally this ruins the ships looks, giving the ship an ungainly forward heavy appearance. It isn't RN practice around the time this ship would have been built either. - The Surrey class as planned and likely built would have the same catapults as Exeter, two fixed catapults on deck, angled off each side. In game, Surrey has a single rotating catapult, which was a feature of earlier preliminary designs, but Surrey and further heavy cruisers of her type would most likely not be completed with one. - The belt armour in game is a straight 152mm, while I have only ever seen the Surrey-class and two follow on cruisers quoted with a 5.75" belt (146mm). Backing plate differences might explain this, but I can't confirm. - The tripod masts are exceptionally tall, in particular the tripod legs, which again adds to the ungainly appearance. I would suggest at least reducing the height of the legs so they meet the mast lower down. - In game, Surrey gets rebuilt from her planned 4x 1 102mm/45 QF Mk.V, to having 6x 2 102mm/45 QF Mk.XVI. All other County class cruisers only had 4 of these mounts fitted, so Surrey being fitted with six in rather basic fashion along her sides with small overhangs on her hull feels forced on WG's part. - Regarding AA, Surrey would have been originally built with 2 Octuple 40mm pompoms. This should really be represented on the A-hull, but isn't since only quadruples are present. - The machinery module for Surrey in game displays a value of 110,00shp. Surrey was planned with a 60,000shp powerplant, which was the cause of the lower 30/30.25 knot speed. Improved versions were considered, and could potentially be module upgrades. Albemarle This ship is another Frankenstein's monster product, as it is the hull of Neptune, outfitted with a different superstructure and the triple 203mm turrets alongside other statistics from the 1939/40/41 RN CA designs. In other words, a fake or fictional ship. At least it's name was changed to something more appropriate of a period RN CA (still waiting on Cheshire to follow suit). - It is easy to tell that this ship is derived from Neptune, a 1944 design, rather than the authentic RN CA designs which died out beforehand in 1942/3 From the slope of the transom stern, the lack of a knuckle on the bow, to the raked funnels and the structure of the armour scheme. I even counted and noted the position of the portholes/scuttles and they matched near perfectly. Call that boredom, insanity or dedication as you seem appropriate. - The superstructure has obviously been changed from Neptune, but it doesn't resemble what an RN CA from 1940 would look like. The bridge has some serious overhang, especially compared to contemporary RN cruisers like Superb and Swiftsure. The funnels on new builds CAs would be straight with no funnel caps, as opposed to the raked Neptune funnels on Albemarle. - Compared to the January 1940 15,500t cruiser design (shown below) that I presume this ship is pretending to be, the hangar is in the wrong place, as this design rather unusually had the hangar just fore of the second funnel, as opposed to the more familiar hangar that is attached to the back of the bridge and forward superstructure, which was a feature of later 1940 and 1941 RN CA designs. - The torpedoes are in a cut out in the hull, and this is decidedly against RN practice of the time. Future 1941 CA designs that followed on had torpedoes added on deck, and there is no reason to believe a cutout would be needed. The cutouts in Surrey are a one off I believe, to save deck space and topweight. There were no such concerns for the vast majority of later CA designs. As such, a more appropriate place for the torpedoes would be on the deck, roughly alongside the second funnel on the drawing below. - Once again compared to the design, Albemarle has 6x 2 4.5" Mk.V, ripped off of Neptune. The 4.5" secondaries were only introduced to 8" armed cruisers in 1941 from my memory. In any case, the 1940 design that is most well known about has 6x 2 102mm instead (as per Edinburgh and in game Surrey). - The 1940 design above shows the general arrangement of the ship, the shipbucket drawing based on two known reproductions of the original plans. The hull of this design is similar to Neptune's in dimensions, but not the same, and comes from an earlier generation of cruiser. - The machinery estimate for this design was 125,000shp, Albemarle in game has 110,000shp listed. That seems to have been inherited from Neptune too. Either that or it is combining stats from the later 1941 CA designs which had significantly cut back armour. - The AP shell of Albemarle's 203mm gun (the Mk. IX / Mk. X) has the incorrect weight, since they are 116.1kg in game, the same as the AP shells from the earlier 203mm Mk.VIII on the County class. 131.5kg was the weight of the new AP round for the new gun as reported. It's a funny situation when Devon and Surrey have taken the shells from Albemarle, yet Albemarle's AP takes somewhat from the earlier shells (still got the newer velocity, drag and other values). Drake Personally, I would like to see this ship as a T10. It's certainly capable of it (or at least was - I'll keep quiet until it is released for good). I believe this ship is one designed by W.G. John, one of the series of larger cruisers he had looked into from 1938-1940. However, either WG have chosen a very experimental version of the design that I am not aware of, or they have made a number of silly mistakes that defy what the RN would have done (Kind of like how the fictional ship Dallas defies a few USN practices). Which is a shame, since I have suggested the 9x 9.2" RN cruiser design under the name Drake for 2 and a half years at this point, and I obviously have a bit more of a keen interest in this RN CA over the others. - Starting with the most major issue to my eyes, and it is underneath the waterline. The Royal Navy wouldn't use a triple shaft arrangement for a modern cruiser, during the 1930s/1940s, it was basically an exclusive arrangement to the new aircraft carriers like Ark Royal. Every single other cruiser built for the Royal Navy in the 20th Century had either 2 or 4 shafts (except one, the Topaze-class HMS Amethyst). The best explanation I can think of is that there was a 3-shaft version of the design that attempts to save some weight, but that is purely speculative, I would love to visit the archives to find out. - I suspect this is a knock on effect from the triple shaft arrangement, but the X-turret sits needlessly high up, which is a waste of topweight, and creates a large exposed barbette to hit. It wouldn't be part of a chosen RN cruiser design. - The same issue as Albemarle (and all the T8-10 RN cruisers for that matter). The torpedo cut outs. As already said, they were basically a one off for Surrey, and most new RN cruiser designs like the 1941 designed CAs had the torpedoes mounted on the deck, generally around the aft superstructure. - I do question the type of 4.5" (113/114mm) secondary used on Drake. As design in 1939/1940, the 4.5" mount used during the designing stage would most likely be the Mk.II BD as seen on Queen Elizabeth, Illustrious and Implacable. If completed during the war, it would most likely be these mounts on the new cruiser. If construction dragged into the post-war period, the 4.5" Mk. V as seen on Daring and Neptune would probably be substituted in. The current Mk.IV mount just seems unlikely. - The style of the 9.2" (234mm) turrets is also questionable. It follows the design pattern of the Battleship calibre turrets with flat fronts. No design of a triple or twin 9.2" turret was ever completed, (or a triple 8" for that matter either), but it seems more likely to me that the design would follow the previous cruiser turret styles, with a sloped front and the middle gun moved back. This style of turret is modelled for the triple 8" on Albemarle, but the 9.2”-armed ships get this flat faced turret, as if they are trying to imitate RN BBs. - The machinery of Drake is listed at 102,000shp, which is suspiciously on the low end of things. Considering the 9x 9.2" design of February 1940 was slated to require around 160,000shp to get it moving at 33 knots. - The citadel end armour should be 114mm, not 177mm thick IIRC. - The biggest issue is the guns, and I will detail them more with Goliath below. Suffice to say, nearly everything about them looks to be incorrect. From shell, to designation, to turret. Goliath This ship was confusing to me at first, and still is to some extent. Umbaretz mentioned in a developer thread that this was Scheme III from 1938, again from the pre-war large cruiser designs armed with 9.2" guns. And some parts of Goliath back this up. These designs had a 203mm thick belt initially. But the appearance of this ship always threw me off. It's decidedly modern, decidedly post-WW2. Lattice masts, Vanguard style funnels, 4.5" Mk.V mounts and a flush hull with no knuckle on the bow for seakeeping. A lot of these features can just be waved away as being refitted to a ship in construction, but eventually I have reached a conclusion that at this point I feel is the most likely case. Goliath is most likely a fictional ship created by WG (surprising, there are so many of them these days). The basis for the design may lie with the 1938 designs, but the ship has been modelled in a way as if it was constructed entirely during and post-WW2 akin to Vanguard, with a large block like superstructure (with an ugly overhang on the bridge). Some of the basic statistics and features of the 1938 designs may have carried over, but this is a substantially new ship, a new ship created in St Petersburg. That being said, I would love further information, from the length of the model, to any sort of response from WG. I can't be completely sure of my theory; I have neither the time or money right now to book visits to archives in the National Maritime Museum and check. I'd love to in the future. If any information is around that would question my points in this thread, I would welcome it. - Getting back to the ship, it has a familiar issue. The torpedo cutouts are unsuitable as mentioned before. The 9.2" turrets are of an unlikely style. But I did say when going over Drake that I would talk about the 9.2" guns, and how they appear to be completely wrong, and thus I shall. - In game, Drake and Goliath use the 9" / 234mm/50 Mk.II, it has a muzzle velocity of 841mps, a shell weight of 185kg and shells simply being AP and HE 6crh. This weapon doesn't exist., and the combination of statistics are implausible. The 9"/51 Mk.XII was a gun built in limited numbers that saw service on the Norwegian turned British monitors Gorgon and Glatton. These guns were all gone before the 1930s and certainly weren't in contention for arming any new build heavy cruisers. The muzzle velocity was originally 881mps, from the Mk.XI gun, (not the 896/933mps of the Mk.XII), 841mps, alongside the 185kg shell weight weren't part of any 9.2" RN weapon system. The most likely option to arm new CAs with 9.2" would be the 9.2"/47 Mk.X, armed with new Mk.XIIa APC shells To quote a friend of mine; The 9.2" Mk.X was a much more numerous and successful weapon, with enough barrels left to arm 2 to 4 new heavy cruisers. Using supercharged values, the muzzle velocity would be 875mps, opposed to 838mps normally. The new shells were 177.4kg in weight. To sum up, the 9.2" in game arming Cheshire, Drake and Goliath don't match anything I know of regarding the 9.2" RN guns. Maybe others can try and shed light on that. London and Cheshire also aren't available to the public, so I'll be brief. London miraculously is almost completely accurate for her 1943 condition. Which sometimes takes my mind off London being one of the worst experiences in the entire game to play, but that is dangerous territory to talk about.The one thing that lets London down historically is the camouflage, again being based on a flawed understanding of RN camouflages. In this case, London sports a scheme an all over Green and Grey scheme from 1943. From looking at a few photographs of London from the period, it should be rather obvious the ship was not painted in all over olive green. The correct scheme by my reckoning is a base of light grey (507C/G45), with dark grey (507A/G10) patches on the hull, with B30 blue patches on the forward superstructure and funnels. I made a stunning piece of artwork to show what I believe London's camouflage should be. Cheshire is the fake brother of Albemarle. Same damn cloned Neptune hull, with twin 9.2" slapped on it. Only this time it gets the RN post-war treatment, with an extra pair of 4.5" mounts at the expense of the catapult and lattice masts. Same abnormal torpedo cutout, same questionable style of 9.2" turret as the T9/10, all the same 9.2" issues as said above, same old fake/fictional ship. Hopefully it goes back to the fires in the pit of hell from whence it came (and it can take the other fictional RN ships back with it - Monarch, Conqueror/Thunderer, Goliath and Albemarle). Gameplay It's meh. It could be a lot, lot worse. The ships could be gimmicked to high hell and back like the RN CLs, or DDs, but they aren't. Which is something at least. The main traits of the line as I see it are: - HP Repair - Increased HE Damage/Fire Chance - Low RoF / restricting damage - More minor things like single fire torps and good concealment. A problem I perceive is that the T6 and T9 ships are currently one tier below where their natural tier should be. Surrey is definitive proof of concept that Devon (and London by extension) should be T7 ships. They are not dissimilar in stats, and Surrey is the far more enjoyable and effective ship to play. Comparing this to T6 Devon, it feels limited by range and reload, making it a rather frustrating experience to play. One moment you can rule the roost, and the next you are utterly useless with little effective damage and no capacity to fight back. London is like that to an extreme degree, and is one of the most awful experiences and pieces of game design thusfar. Plus, there is the bonus of having the historically active ships from T5-7 if the County class was at T7. Could get a T6 York along the lines of the initial version of Exeter with that. Albemarle suffers from being a cloned Neptune hull, with a cloned Neptune citadel. It is massive, and thus the ship isn't adept at dodging unlike Surrey and has a pronounced vulnerability unlike the other RN CAs. It is a fake ship though, so I care little for balance. It deserves to suck, I wouldn't try and buff it to compete with the overpowered Baltimore or Charles Martel. Hawkins has the potential to be decent, but there are a few things that really hold the ship back. The massive citadel surprisingly isn't one of them, as in my opinion, the 9s rudder shift, combined with a 14s reload, and poor firing arcs on the rear 3 turrets make Hawkins very awkward to use effectively. The ship feels as if it is working against you. A buff to a 7s rudder shift comparable to Furutaka would allow some greater flexibility, alongside allowing the turrets to traverse to their maximum potential firing angle. The ship is a decent fire-setter can should usually be played that way, so strictly speaking, the reload doesn't really need to be buffed. But lowering it would make the ship more comfortable and reliable. The T9 and T10 are still not in public hands, so I have to be limited in what I say. Nothing too detailed, I'm no CC afterall. Else the KGB Black Ladas move in on my location. I think their armaments have their damage capacity stifled to too great a degree. Having relatively poor shell arcs for the size, combined with near 20s reload makes the damage severely situational. Not far off acceptable, but uncompetitive as of current. Perhaps one of the more obvious problems with their gameplay, at least for me, is that the ships are relatively unexciting to play. In their current state, they don't really have a place outside of taking up a cruiser slot on the team. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean there is no incentive to play them. Due to the historical ships being shoved a tier down, there are only two of them in the line, opposed to 4 paper ships, and 2 of those paper ships are fictional designs, you won't play these cruisers because they are British or because they have any historical gravitas behind them. They aren't suitable for competitive modes since they lack options, a defined role and flexibility. In random battles they are just about acceptable, and that is the best that can be said of them. I have compared the line to a mix of Japanese and Italian cruisers in the past. Japanese for the focus on HE, Italian for the relatively long reloads and having ships that are 1 tier below where they should be. Obviously it is not as simple as that, but that is the feeling I get. Personally I would make a number of significant changes to the line, but then I would, wouldn't I. I'm itching to lead a crusade against some of the unnecessary fictional/fake ships in game. Albemarle would have to be re-modelled from scratch barring the turrets and parts of the superstructure. The other less egregious models likewise. My main proposal for balancing RN CAs before this lacklustre attempt from WG was to give the ships increased plating. Enough to be able to auto-bounce roughly half of the BB calibre AP shells at that ships tier. The T10 would have 30mm fore and aft plating, and 32mm amidships and the T6 would have 25/27mm for example. It has it's balancing ups and downs, but it could create a line of tougher CAs, with a distinct playstyle. Certain aspects from the current CA line would carry over too, we just don't go overboard on gimmicks, other features would be no super HP repair, and HP repair, along with radar, gets added at T8, though probably in the same slot as HP repair to force some choice. Right now, the role these ships have is filled in a much better way by existing ships, which is not great, not terrible. The 3.6 Roentgen of cruiser lines. I would probably go create a thread about my 'superior' CA line in itself, considering I have had most of the statistics bobbing around since 2017. I'll link it here if I post it on this forum. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.