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Found 15 results

  1. The following is a review of Giulio Cesare, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of October 20th, 2017. This was a triumph. (I'm making a note here: "Huge success".) It's hard to overstate my satisfaction. Quick Summary: Giulio Cesare feels like a traditional battlecruiser -- fast, hard hitting but with a poor protection scheme. She's incredibly agile for a ship of her size. Cost: $24.99 USD with a port slot. Patch and Date Written: 0.6.11.1 to 0.6.12.0, October 12th to October 19th, 2017 Closest in-Game Contemporary Kongo, tier V Japanese Battleship Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique Kongo is about as close as you'll get to a ship with similar game play style to Giulio Cesare, but this is still a rather far cry from the Italian Battleship. Cesare is stealthy while Kongo is not. Cesare is agile while Kongo is not. Both ships excel at engaging enemy ships at medium distances, using their speed to dictate the range. Cesare exerts far more control than Kongo between her superior firepower, gun handling, agility and stealth. PROs Extended waterline belt armour helps bounce shells when properly angled. The inside of the prow has an 85mm armoured "beak" which makes citadel penetrations through the bow more difficult. Guns feel very accurate with a combination of a 1.9 sigma value and the turrets being mounted close together. HE shells have an excellent base fire chance of 35% and a rather large splash radius of 28m for damaging modules. Fast gun traverse of 5.0º/s Small, 640m turning circle, good rudder shift time of 13.0s and a fast top speed of 27.0kts, making her one of the most agile battleships currently in the game (yes, even more agile than Warspite). She's a small target, smaller than many light cruisers with an excellent surface detection range of 13.7km. CONs Exceedingly fragile with poor torpedo defense, low hit point total, a large exposed citadel and poor armour values overall. Secondaries are lackluster with a modest rate of fire and a combination of HE and AP shell fire. Poor anti-aircraft firepower and range. Feels blind without any form of spotter aircraft, float plane fighter or similar vision-assisting consumable. The Italian Battleships are here! Well, kinda. Giulio Cesare is an Italian battleship but for those who were hoping to be able to pin point what sort of flavour or gimmick they would have to differentiate themselves from the Germans, British, American and Japanese, you're going to be a bit disappointed. Giulio Cesare got the Dunkerque treatment in that there's nothing about her that points to some special flavour of the Regia Marina dreadnoughts. We shouldn't be too surprised given what's come before like with Hood and Tirpitz which were each poor indicators for the ship lines that came after. This doesn't preclude Giulio Cesare from being an interesting ship in its own right as you will see. I have to admit, even as a die-hard Royal Navy fangirl -- the Italian ships are simply gorgeous. Options Pretty run of the mill stuff here. Giulio Cesare has a standard battleship Damage Control Party with a 15s active period and a 120s / 80s reset timer depending on whether or not you go for a premium version. Her Repair Party is also standard for a battleship. Consumables: Damage Control Party Repair Party Premium Camouflage: Type 9/10. As of patch 0.6.12.0, type 9 and 10 camouflage patterns are identical. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. Module Upgrades: Three slots, standard non-American battleship options. In your first slot, take Main Armaments Modification 1. In your second slot, take Aiming System Modification 1. If you really hate aircraft, you can take AA Guns Modification 2 instead. While this will help dissuade tier IV and V carriers, be advised this will not save you against tier VI+ carriers, even with a full anti-aircraft build. In your third slot, take Damage Control Systems Modification 1. Firepower Primary Battery: Ten 320mm rifles in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Twelve 120mm guns in 6x2 turrets and eight 100mm guns in 4x2 turrets I got so terribly excited when I saw the load-out of Giulio Cesare's secondaries on paper: a ten gun broadsides? That's almost German-good! Sure, this would be hamstrung somewhat by the 4.0km range, but I was gonna be happy and I was going to pew pew stuff in the face and be all, "Veni, vidi, vici!" on all of those gunship destroyers that think they're so great at tiers IV and V. Yeah, no. There are two little issues with my dreams of close-quarter conquests with a phalanx of secondary fire. Giulio Cesare's secondaries don't have quite the rate of fire I was hoping. Each gun fires 10rpm -- a whisker shy of the 12rpm I hope to see on secondaries at a minimum -- especially for low caliber weapons like 100mm guns. I mean, 10rpm isn't terrible but it's not ideal. Anyway, I could over look this in of itself... ...except that point number two is that her 120mm guns (which form the backbone of her secondary armament) fire AP shells. Blech. Now, don't get me wrong. In of itself, AP shells from secondaries can be good if they've got a lot of hitting power. But these ones don't. They have a maximum alpha strike of 2,000 damage per if they citadel and they're not going to do that often. It's like asking a cross-eyed Farragut to save your life from a rampaging Podvoisky and the fool loads AP instead of HE. As it turned out, getting that close with Giulio Cesare is generally a loser move anyway (see her protection scheme below), so having mediocre secondaries isn't that much of a loss. Still, it's a shame. I do love my low tier brawls. As it would fall out, I did find an elegant solution to that charging gunship-destroyer problem. Meet the problem solver. Giulio Cesare is one of the most comfortable gunnery experiences I've enjoyed in a battleship. It's kind of hard for me to believe she's stricken with German dispersion values. These are the worst in the game. Her guns feel far more accurate than what her dispersion value would suggest. This comes down to three factors: Her sigma value, the size of the ship and the number of guns she wields. Giulio Cesare boasts a sigma value of 1.9 which is a marginal improvement over the usual 1.8 value found on tier V battleships. The higher the sigma value, the more likely shells will land towards the center of the dispersion field. In practice this means there are fewer 'wonky' shots where shells fly every which way. They still occur, but more rarely than on other battleships like König or Iron Duke. The second factor is the proximity of Cesare's guns to one another. Cesare isn't a very large vessel -- she's shorter in length than many of the cruisers within her matchmaking spread. As a result, her guns are crammed closer together. This has the effect of reducing dispersion further This is part of why a ship like New Mexico feels more accurate than Fuso even though the latter has better dispersion values. Finally, Cesare has a ten-gun broadside. Had she only eight like Kongo, her dispersion wouldn't feel as generous. The sheer volume of fire does much to diffuse any perceptions of occasional inaccuracy grace that if you throw enough shells at a target, something's likely to hit. So despite the flaw of a large base dispersion value, you're seldom going to feel it. .Giulio Cesare's guns should be considered "good enough" in all other respects. She doesn't win out on DPM, alpha strike, penetration, or even fire chance (she's bested by Iron Duke, Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya, New York, and Iron Duke again, respectively). However, she's a contender in each category without any serious weak spots. She has the second highest DPM for a battleship at her tier. Cesare's HE penetration value is artificially high. For a 320mm gun, we should expect her to be able to penetrate 52mm of armor. She can instead penetrate 55mm. This isn't an enormous difference, but it is a bonus. Cesare has a very high fire chance at 35% per hit. This contrasts with a more modest HE shell damage of 4,800 which is respectable but not great. Cesare's module blast radius is respectable for her tier at 28.35m even with her smaller caliber guns. Cesare is great at causing critical damage to enemy ships, including setting off magazines of light cruisers and destroyers. This just leaves Cesare's AP penetration to talk about. It's not terrible, but it's not great. Her shells have comparable penetration performance to Royal Navy 381mm guns found on Hood and Queen Elizabeth. This is perfectly serviceable at tier V and VI though it starts feeling a bit lackluster against some of the more heavily armoured American and German belt armour, especially at close to maximum range. Image courtesy of Wargaming's Armada video on Giulio Cesare. Cesare's penetration values lack the raw potential up close, though they preserve their power well over distance. Giulio Cesare is a battleship where you could be forgiven for spamming a single ammunition type and either one would yield good results. To be clear: Her AP shells are better than her HE shells, but the latter are no slouches. A player who elects to use just a single shell type won't perform as optimally as someone that's more dynamic with their ammunition choices. However, they will still do reasonably well. The only real weakness of Cesare's main battery armament (and I am really stretching things to call it a weakness) are her gun fire angles. They're not bad but they're not excellent. Her forward guns have a 288º fire angle. Her rear have a 290º fire angle. This means that to bring all eight guns on a target ahead, she needs to angle out to 35º -- this isn't auto-bounce territory (30º) so she needs to be careful lest she eat unwanted citadel hits. Towards the rear this is slightly worse at a 36º fire angle. Overall, Cesare has an excellent main battery armament that's not only easy to use but quite powerful. Summary: Good traverse rates and decent accuracy makes her guns very comfortable to use. Her per-shell damage may not be phenomenal, but the number of hits she can land more than makes up for this. Dynamic ammunition choice will yield the best results, but homogeneous fire of AP or HE can still score some impressive damage totals. Her secondaries are unfortunately lackluster despite the impressive number of weapon mounts. Giulio Cesare has got it where it counts. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 27.0knotsTurning Radius: 640mRudder Shift: 13.0s Maximum Turn Rate: 4.9º/s Cesare is fast and Cesare is agile. Her twenty-seven knot top speed at tier V is excellent. She's not the fastest ship in her tier -- that honour goes to Kongo -- but she is much faster than all of her other contemporaries. What's more, she doesn't pay for this speed with horrible handling. In fact, Cesare is one of the most agile battleships in the game. While Warspite may boast a smaller turning circle, Cesare preserves more speed with her rudder hard over, allowing the ship to rotate faster and change direction more suddenly than every other battleship she faces. This gives her a maximum rate of turn of 4.9º/s compared to 4.7º/s of Warspite. As you can imagine, this makes Cesare great at dodging incoming shells and other forms of attack. Speed is life for Giulio Cesare. The value of being able to control engagement distances must not be underestimated. Cesare's speed wanes as you face higher tiered ships, however. While her twenty-seven knots feels blinding fast in the small, claustrophobic maps of tiers IV and V, when you're up-tiered, it doesn't quite measure up. The maps get significantly larger and you begin to face opposition that is as fleet footed (or faster) than you are. Still, like with Nagato, Cesare's 27 knot top speed is sufficient at tier VII though not especially quick. It pays to be a little more cautious because of it. One of the most satisfying elements of Cesare's speed and agility is that she is all but immune to torpedo attack form tier IV and V aircraft carriers, provided you keep your wits about you. Turning radius difference between Giulio Cesare (left) and Kongo (middle), and Warspite (right) using navigational buoys on the Ocean map as markers. One frame = approximately 3.0s. DurabilityHit Points: 45,500Maximum Citadel Protection: 250mm +24mm turtleback + 40mm Min Bow & Deck Armour: 19mm Torpedo Damage Reduction: 19% All of Cesare's speed comes at a price. She doesn't have a lot of hit points, for one. This in turn means that her Repair Party consumable isn't terribly impressive, healing back a maximum of 6,370hp per charge. For another, she's almost sufficiently protected, but there are significant problems with her armor scheme. First and foremost, there is no avoiding Cesare's most crippling flaw: Her citadel sits high over the waterline, stretching from in front of B turret to all of the way back behind X turret. Her citadel continues, submerged, beneath A and Y turrets. She doesn't have good armour protection around her citadel either -- not with how high it stands. The maximum citadel protection she receives is a bit of an illusion as her citadel sits so high that her turtleback will not always come into play -- nor will her thickest belt armour which is also submerged. Often, Cesare is forced to try and protect her machine spaces with as little as a 130mm upper belt armor and a 40mm citadel wall which doesn't stand up to punishment, even at very long ranges. If you give up this ship's side, you can expect to take citadel damage as a matter of course. Bow on, the story changes. While she has an extended belt armour which helps her face tank some shells, there's still a large section of 19mm worth of armor that can be overmatched directly head on. However, she is unlikely to take citadel hits from this angle as there's an interior 85mm armoured "beak" inside the bow to help deflect shells away from her magazines and barbettes. This wedge is a mixed blessing. While it does largely prevent citadel hits, it also upgrades many hits that would simply be overpenetrations into penetrating hits instead. So while it's unlikely for Cesare to take catastrophic hits when sailing directly bow onto an enemy, she'll still take large damaging hits as a matter of course. Cesare's extended belt armour covers her entire waterline to the rear, however, making her surprisingly tanky on the retreat. Just make sure you're aware of her worse gun fire angles when shooting over the shoulder so as to avoid giving up too much side when firing A and B turrets. Given these deficiencies in her armour scheme, it's best to take on a 15º to 20º angle towards enemies either on the attack or retreat to maximize the protection provided by your belt. Use her excellent agility to bait and dodge shells while unmasking your guns to return fire. Her agility should not be underestimated. Speed and camouflage will be your best defense in gunnery duels. Oh, and you can forget about Cesare having good protection against torpedoes. They hurt more than being stabbed twenty-three times. Concealment & Camouflage Base Surface Detection Range: 13.68km Air Detection Range: 9.42km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 11.41km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 10.86km Main Battery Firing Range: 16.37km Surface Detection Rank within Tier: Tied for first with Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya Surface Detection Rank within Matchmaking: Tied for fourth with Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya Giulio Cesare is incredibly stealthy for a battleship. When she's top tier, the only ships that have better potential concealment are rare premiums, Nikolai I and Arkansas Beta. When she's bottom tier, the closest tier VI ships are New Mexico and Warspite with Cesare enjoying a 400m advantage. The closest tier VII is King George V with Cesare enjoying a 700m advantage. Combining her great handling and top speed, Cesare can dictate engagement ranges when fighting other battleships, which is a good thing. She will be uptiered often and this measure of control makes such matches far more comfortable than they would be otherwise. Silencing her guns and turning tail will allow you to disengage from unfavourable encounters. This goes a long way towards increasing her survivability. This is especially important given how blind she is. Cesare suffers like many battleships do that lack float plane fighters or some gimmicky consumable like Hydroacoustic Search. When forced to do her own spotting, she's groping in the dark which makes spits of land all the more dangerous and dealing with enemy destroyers far more challenging. It's worth noting just how small Giulio Cesare is. Even Duca d'Aosta, a light cruiser, is longer than the new battleship. She has a comparable length to the short and squat (and very cute) USS Texas but with even better concealment values. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 100mm / 37mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 4.0km / 3.5km / 2.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 26 / 70 / 27 Planes are a problem for Giulio Cesare. For one thing, they have a nasty habit of negating Cesare's impressive surface detection range. For another, they like to drop explody things that make me have a sad. As mentioned previously, Cesare's agility will largely keep you safe from munitions from tier IV and V carriers so long as you keep a wary eye out. Cross drops from an expertly played Zuiho can still cause issues. Her anti-aircraft armament isn't terrible, but it's not good. At best you could say that she doesn't have the worst AA power among battleships of her tier. Her large caliber guns are hamstrung by a 4.0km aura. For much of the playtesting period, I used AA Guns Modification 2 to help compensate for this (mostly because Aiming Systems Mod 1 was not available to testers) and this provided her with enough teeth to shoot down two or three aircraft from same or lower tier carriers per attack run. When facing higher tiered planes, killing one plane was a victory. Killing two was a triumph. So keep an eye on the skies. You'll need to manoeuvre to avoid attack and that can leave you open to incoming fire. Be sure to evaluate threats appropriately. How to Train your Publius Crassus Your first ten skill points in Giulio Cesare are rather standard for a stealthy battleship. Start with Priority Target. For those players comfortable with their situational awareness, this can be swapped for Preventative Maintenance or Expert Loader. At the next tier, take Expert Marksman. You're going to be throwing Cesare about often in heavy manoeuvres. Her turrets can barely keep up with her maximum rotation rate and this will help get your guns back on target. Superintendent is your best purchase next to give you an extra charge of your Repair Party. And finally, take Concealment Expert at top tier to drop your surface detection range down to 11.4km. This will help you control fights, especially when you're bottom tier in the Matchmaker. The current meta will reward you best for taking survivability based skills after this. Fire Prevention (4) and Basics of Survivability (3), should all be considered high value skills. Fire damage is especially prevalent at lower tiers. For the remaining two points, Adrenaline Rush (2) is your best investment. If you're especially salty about aircraft and want to feel like a big fish in a small pond, you can build for AA-power with Advanced Fire Training (4) and Basic Fire Training (3) instead. Combined with AA Guns Modification 2, this will give you a rather healthy flak umbrella that will make tier IV and V carriers rather salty when they engage you. However, be advised this build is not only sub-optimal, it's all but useless when facing tier VI and VII carriers. Cool battleships don't look at exploding aircraft. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Giulio Cesare has one lesson to teach novice players -- don't show your sides. Beyond that, she's not a terribly complicated ships, with very forgiving attributes. She's agile enough to respond to belatedly addressed threats. Her AP and HE shells are both competitive even when the wrong ammunition choice for a task is selected. She's not so fast that you will easily outstrip your support. Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Veterans will love her concealment value, agility and speed while celebrating the punishing hitting power of her guns. If she wasn't blind, she would be the perfect mid-tier battleship. She presents an interesting challenge on how best to maximize her armour and what few hit points she has. Mouse's Summary: 1.9 sigma, good muzzle velocity and her gun layout makes her feel more accurate than her dispersion stats would otherwise indicate. She does not stand up well to abuse. She's got enough armour to shrug off a few hits but under concerted fire, she's not going to last very long. Make sure the things that are shooting at you die painful deaths. Fast, agile, stealthy. She hates planes. She also hates torpedoes. Giulio Cesare had an interesting development cycle. Her first iteration was disgustingly overpowered with the ship enjoying the same horizontal dispersion value as Japanese Heavy Cruisers (!) with a 1.5 sigma value. The second iteration was the ship we see now but without the Aiming System Modification 1 upgrade which is what this review is based upon. As I write this, I haven't had a chance to play her with the accuracy increase and I'm very much looking forward to that. It's only going to make playing her more fun. Giulio Cesare is a battleship that rewards good gunnery and awareness skills -- so much so that I honestly believe she might be just a little overpowered but I'm on the fence. This ship is going to spit so much damage so regularly, that I anticipate she's going to end up near the top of the pile on the damage meters. The only thing that will hold her back is her survivability and that's not nearly as bad as some may be dreading. Overall, she's a very powerful ship in the right hands. What I found worked best was keeping engagement distances out to about 10km to 12km and holding it there. This let Cesare's guns land hits regularly while still giving her enough time to angle or avoid incoming fire. Against more serious threats like the Scharnhorst-class battleships, extending this range to 14km helped, as well as switching ammunition based on the opportunities provided. Cesare feels a bit idiot proof in that you can spam HE and get good numbers. I found myself leaning upon this ammunition a little more than perhaps I should have. As a consequence, this lead to more than a few detonations of enemy vessels -- a total of five out of forty-six games played. This number shouldn't be considered anomalous -- any battleship that spams HE at soft targets like cruisers and destroyers could get similar results provided they can land the hits in the vicinity of the ammunition lockers. Cesare was uniquely suited to this with not only her improved accuracy but also her speed which let me get her into positions to hammer these softer targets early on in a match. Much will be made of Cesare being a tier V battleship and suffering the ills of the current Matchmaking. This is a battleship that up-tiers very well -- at least provided there are no aircraft carriers present. In pure gunship fights, she has all of the tools necessary to contend with these larger vessels. I did not feel horribly disadvantaged facing a Colorado, Nagato or King George V. It was a challenge facing these ships, to be sure, but it wasn't a forgone conclusion like it might be had I been sailing a New York or König. When Cesare is top tier, it's really not very fair. There are only a few ships to give me pause in such match-ups. A well played Hosho, Kamikaze or Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya might make me play a little more cautiously, but Cesare provides so many advantages it's hard not to feel confident when Matchmaker spat me out into such a game. Like the French cruiser, De Grasse, Giulio Cesare surprised me with how much fun she was to play. This is a ship I will be happily revisiting in my spare time when I can get her on my personal account. Would I Recommend? Well, I want her... PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Giulio Cesare is a real bully in PVE battles. Her operational costs are 11,500 to repair and typical ammunition costs amounting to this value again. This is an easy sum to recover in Co-Op. I highly recommend her for players that enjoy battering bots. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Giulio Cesare is a monster in Random Battles. She's got all of the tools needed to carry the day here. She's an easy recommendation for battleship lovers. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. I'm torn here and I think I would give her a pass. Giulio Cesare thrives in the chaos of a disorganized melee of Random or Co-Op battles. In the more structured (and often static) environment of a competitive arena, she may not fare as well where fire is often quite focused and manoeuvre plays second fiddle to hugging islands and concealment. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Giulio Cesare is one of the few battleships in WWII to have engaged in surface action against other battleships -- namely, HMS Warspite. For that reason alone (and her association with my favourite bae-bote), she gets a nod here, especially for those that like to recreate historical engagements in training rooms. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Very yes. I had a lot of fun playing this ship. It reminded me of the good ol' days of playing Kongo back in Beta. What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - Grossly uncompetitive and badly in need of buffs.Mehbote - Average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable, but certainly not advantageous.Gudbote - A strong ship that has obvious competitive strengths and unique features that make it very appealing.OVERPOWERED - A ship with very clear advantages over all of its competitors and unbalancing the game with its inclusion.
  2. Hello there! Welcome to a post where I decide to stop doing single ADLAs on ships and instead try my best at guessing what a tech-tree line might look like. Here's my proposal for the Italian Aircraft Carriers tech-tree line. Italian Regia Marina Aircraft Carriers Foreword The Italian Regia Marina was hampered in its efforts to have aircraft carriers and operational naval aviation due to the interference and political machinations of the Regia Aeronautica. The Regia Marina was well aware of the power of aircraft carriers and had proposed their construction and adoption into the fleet from the early 1910s and kept fighting for their construction until the end of the Second World War. Mussolini and other political figures ensured that the Regia Marina never got their wish for aircraft carriers, but the detailed plans that the Navy created in each iteration show how the tactical doctrine and requirements of Italian aircraft carriers developed. It is from those designs that this line stems, and while ships might have some modifications where weaponry is concerned, all designs presented here were designs that the Regia Marina considered for service until they were struck down in political maneuvers. I have used the airplanes proposed for naval duty when possible, but in many cases I “navalised” aircraft used by the Regia Aeronautica. Traits The Italian aircraft carriers have planes that for the most part have been developed from fighter planes, so they all have the uniform 40kts boost speed and can sustain the boost for a longer period of time. Additionally, they all have better than average maneuverability and deploy an additional fighter in the squadrons summoned by fighter consumables. The Italian plane squadrons all have some unique characteristics that change the way that they need to be played in order to attain maximum efficiency. Italian rocket strike craft tend to carry fewer rockets than comparable aircraft from other nations, and the rockets themselves do not have very good characteristics; this however is somewhat counteracted by the good durability of the planes, their great maneuverability and the increased squadron and attack flight sizes. Italian dive bombers have the previously mentioned improved boost and maneuverability, however they are slower than most other dive bombers. A key characteristic of Italian dive bombers is the choice between two weapon types; they can either carry a few large HE bombs or a larger amount of smaller SAP bombs. This means that you may choose the potential for higher alpha strike of the SAP bombs over the possible damage over time of HE bombs, however do be aware that SAP bombs can fail to penetrate and bounce just like AP shells so you’ll have to be even more careful while aiming. Lastly, the Italian torpedo bombers feature the same improved boost and maneuverability as previously mentioned, but they also gain improved stability when aiming during the attack run which means you will be able to do more aggressive maneuvers while aiming without throwing off your aim too much. Additionally, the Italian torpedo bombers carry a rather decent torpedo with good damage and speed but a poor range which means that aiming properly and dropping torpedoes as close as possible to enemies will be crucial. Additional fighter consumable & additional fighter in fighter squadrons Slower than average plane replacement Below-average Rocket Strike Aircraft Average speed (Slower than USN & faster than RN) Good durability (Above average hitpoint pool) Great maneuverability Weak & not very numerous rockets Increased squadron & attack flight size Good dive bombers Improved boost speed & duration (40kts vs 35kts) Slow (only slightly faster than USN) Decent durability Choice of bombs: Medium SAP bombs Larger but fewer HE bombs Improved maneuverability Decent torpedo bombers Average speed (Slower than IJN & equal to RN) Improved boost speed & duration (40kts vs 35kts) Improved maneuverability Improved stability when aiming on attack run Decent torpedoes (good damage & speed, poor range) Warships Tier CV Prem. 1 2 3 4 Nibbio 5 6 Falco Sparviero 1942 7 8 Aquila 9 10 Avvoltoio Tech-Tree Aircraft Carriers Nibbio class Aircraft Carrier (T4) A design to convert the half-built hull of the Francesco Caracciolo to the Italian Regia Marina’s first aircraft carrier. Due to interference from the Regia Aeronautica and budgetary constraints, she was never converted and instead was scrapped. Survivability Displacement: ~22,000t standard; ~26,500t full (32,500hp standard; 34,800hp full) Armour: 180mm belt, 50-24mm deck Flight Group Flight group: ~30 Aircraft Attack Aircraft: IMAM Ro.37 Speed: 112kts (40kts boost) Durability: 1380 Payload: 2x 5-inch FFAR (1900 damage, 7% fire, 27mm penetration) Attack flight (Squad size): 4 (8) Aircraft restoration time: 45 seconds Torpedo Bombers: Fiat B.R.1 Speed: 99kts (40kts boost) Durability: 1450 Payload: 1x 45cm F200/450 Torpedo (5500 damage, 45% flood, 3km @40kts) Attack flight (Squad size): 2 (6) Aircraft restoration time: 60 seconds Dive Bombers: IMAM Ro.1 Speed: 98kts (40kts boost) Durability: 1540 Payload: 4x 24kg G.P H.E. bomb (3100 damage, 17% fire, 18.5mm penetration) Attack flight (Squad size): 2 (6) Aircraft restoration time: 55 seconds Weaponry AA Battery: 4x2 37mm/54 Breda M1932 autocannons (dmg = 102dps @3.5km 100% acc), 4x2 20mm/65 Breda M1935 guns (dmg = 32dps @2km 95% acc) Mobility Speed: 28kts - 85,000hp Size: 213m long, 31m wide, 7.5m deep Consumables Standard Damage Control Party Improved Fighter Squadron Standard Squadron Consumables Notes Original AA: 8x2 13.2mm/76 Breda 1931 (dmg = 126dps @1.5km 95% acc) AA guns Caracciolo Pg 582 carrier conversion Details can be found in "La Nave Virtuale" by Enrico Cernuschi published in Storia Militare but this picture is from "Le Navi da Battaglia Classe Caracciolo" by Antonio Mascolo From Sappino’s book: Pg 582: Flight deck: 185x25m https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/threads/older-italian-ships.1805/#post-15309 Analysis The Nibbio has several characteristics which make him unique among the aircraft carriers at T4. Ship-wise, it is by far the largest, most heavily armoured of the aircraft carriers as befits its origins as a super-dreadnought battleship. The Nibbio has more hitpoints and a higher speed than any other aircraft carrier as well, but it pays for this by having a rather poor concealment, having no secondary weapons and a rather average anti-aircraft suite. The Nibbio has the added benefit that its fighter consumable summons a 5-plane squadron instead of a 4-plane squadron to protect itself, offering it a slight defensive boost as well against enemy aviation. It’s the tankiest aircraft carrier at its tier, but as any aircraft carrier knows, the moment you get spotted means that your time on the battlefield is coming to an end. Aircraft-wise, your bombers offer a middle-of-the-road performance as they carry 4 bombs each which means that you’ll have an easier time causing damage even if it isn’t devastating; your fighters are decently fast and have a large attack flight which means that it losing a plane or two will not be quite as bad although the planes do not carry as many rockets; and your torpedo bombers have all around decent characteristics to deliver the torpedo with some reliability. The planes may not be as different from other lines, but at tier 4 it is better to be simple than to overcomplicate, and the Nibbio will be a good training aircraft carrier for the upper tiers. Falco class Aircraft Carrier (T6) A design proposed by Filippo Bonfiglietti, it was meant to provide the Italian Regia Marina with attack and scouting capabilities. It was a very modern design that incorporated many of the best design practices from foreign navies. Budgetary constraints and political interference meant it was never built. Survivability Displacement: 15,240t standard; 17,540t full (40,050hp standard; 41,650hp full) Armour: 60mm belt, 50mm avgas tanks, 20mm hangar sides, 35mm flight deck, 40mm weather deck, 60mm armoured deck, 30mm over magazines and steering gear Flight Group Flight group: 40 Aircraft (18 Fighters, 12 Recon, 6-12 Attack Planes) Attack Aircraft: Macchi C.200 Saetta Speed: 145kts (40kts boost) Durability: 1550 Payload: 4x 5-inch FFAR (1900 damage, 7% fire, 27mm penetration) Attack flight (Squad size): 3 (9) Aircraft restoration time: 60 seconds Torpedo Bombers: Caproni Ca.310 Speed: 121kts (40kts boost) Durability: 1620 Payload: 1x 45cm Si200/450 Torpedo (5783 damage, 48% flood, 3km @40kts) Attack flight (Squad size): 2 (8) Aircraft restoration time: 75 seconds Dive Bombers: Breda Ba.65 Speed: 120kts (40kts boost) Durability: 1700 Payload (HE): 2x 100kg G.P H.E. bomb (5150 damage, 29% fire, 30.4mm penetration) Payload (SAP): 3x 104kg S.A.P. bomb (5850 damage, 53mm penetration) Attack flight (Squad size): 2 (8) Aircraft restoration time: 65 seconds Weaponry Secondary Battery: 4x2 152mm/53 M1926 guns, 8x2 100mm/47 OTO M1928 DP guns Reload: 15s (4) / 6s (10) Shell: 44.3kg @950m/s (3850 damage) SAP / 13.8kg @850m/s (1500 damage, 6% fire) HE AA Battery: 8x2 100mm/47 OTO M1928 DP guns (dmg = 84dps @4.6km 100% acc), 6x2 37mm/54 Breda M1932 autocannons (dmg = 153dps @3.5km 100% acc), 4x2 20mm/65 Breda M1935 guns (dmg = 32dps @2km 95% acc), 2x1 20mm/65 Breda M1938 guns (dmg = 20dps @2km 95% acc) Mobility Speed: 29kts - 70,000hp Size: 220m long, 30m wide, 6.12m deep Consumables Standard Damage Control Party Improved Fighter Squadron Improved Patrol Fighters Squadron Consumable Notes Original AA: 8x2 100mm/47 OTO M1928 DP guns (24dmg = 84dps @4.6km 100% acc), 4x2 37mm/54 Breda M1932 (30dmg = 105dps @3.5km 100% acc) Base planes: Fiat G.50 bis/A Freccia (attack aircraft) Caproni Ca.111 (torpedo bomber) Fiat CR.32 (dive bomber) Bonfiglietti 1929 design http://www.regiamarina.net/detail_text.asp?nid=56&lid=1 https://books.google.com.mx/books?id=Zpo_CQAAQBAJ&pg=PA60&lpg=PA60&dq=bonfiglietti+carrier&source=bl&ots=-hLJohHJiz&sig=ACfU3U2D4_lRzlHRVzhN4apaDLkIId7GUg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi5zOjQkcroAhUPnq0KHfFIChYQ6AEwDXoECFcQKQ#v=onepage&q=bonfiglietti carrier&f=false http://roetengco.blogspot.com/2012/02/regia-marina-their-aircraft-carriers-of.html Analysis The Falco is the perfect example of Italian aircraft carrier aspirations in the interwar period and is overall a fairly advanced design for its time. The ship itself has a decent anti-aircraft armament, speed and protection, and it has an above average amount of hitpoints. Aircraft-wise, the aircraft follow the normal design expectations for the line, however there are benefits that start to show. The larger attack flights employed by the attack aircraft mean that even though they individually carry fewer rockets than their counterparts, the extra plane starts bringing parity when it comes to overall payload delivery. The torpedo bombers have received an improved torpedo which causes more damage, while the airframe carrying it is relatively sturdy and allows for active maneuvering even while on an attack run. Finally, the dive bombers provide the option of using SAP bombs or HE bombs, with the SAP bombs providing an advantage when striking against heavily-armoured decks and HE bombs providing the possibility for damage over time, module breaking and an easier chance to land hits as there is no autobounce check. The Falco is a decent ship while it carries planes that should be able to adequately perform against all enemies, though they aren’t as specialised as others to more effectively deal with a particular class of ship. The Falco is a good tier 6 aircraft carrier, and the best looking one for sure! Aquila class Aircraft Carrier (T8) A wartime proposal to convert the carrier Roma into an aircraft carrier. She featured two catapults, a propulsion system gathered from two light cruisers, plating on crucial sections and numerous anti-aircraft weapons. Building work was not completed in time during the war. Survivability Displacement: 23,350t standard; 28,800t full (44,600hp standard; 48,450hp full) Armour: 60mm-80mm magazine & fuel tanks Flight Group Flight group: 51 (fixed) - 66 (folded) Aircraft (Reggiane 2001 OR) Attack Aircraft: Reggiane Re.2001 OR Falco II Speed: 151kts (40kts boost) Durability: 1720 Payload: 6x HVAR 127mm (2000 damage, 7% fire, 33mm penetration) Attack flight (Squad size): 3 (9) Aircraft restoration time: 65 seconds Torpedo Bombers: Reggiane Re.2001 OR Falco II Speed: 131kts (40kts boost) Durability: 1790 Payload: 1x 45cm Si200/450 Torpedo (5783 damage, 48% flood, 3km @40kts) Attack flight (Squad size): 3 (9) Aircraft restoration time: 75 seconds Dive Bombers: Reggiane Re.2001 OR Falco II Speed: 126kts (40kts boost) Durability: 1860 Payload (HE): 2x 250kg G.P H.E. bomb (7150 damage, 41% fire, 43.4mm penetration) Payload (SAP): 4x 100kg S.A.P. bomb (5950 damage, 54mm penetration) Attack flight (Squad size): 3 (9) Aircraft restoration time: 70 seconds Weaponry Secondary Battery: 4x2 135mm/45 guns Reload: 8.5-10s (6-7) Shell: 32.7kg @875m/s (1950 damage, 9% fire) HE AA Battery: 4x2 135mm/45 M1942 guns (dmg = 56dps @5km 100% acc), 12x1 65mm/64 M1939 guns (54dmg = 190dps @3.7km 100% acc), 22x6 20mm/70 Breda M1941 guns (88dmg = 308dps @2km 95% acc), 8x1 20mm/65 Breda M1938 guns (dmg = 78dps @2km 95% acc) Mobility Speed: 30kts - 151,000hp Size: 232.5m long, 30.1m wide, 7.31m deep Consumables Standard Damage Control Party Improved Fighter Squadron Improved Patrol Fighters Squadron Consumable Notes Original AA: 12x1 65mm/64 M1939 guns (54dmg = 190dps @3.7km 100% acc), 22x6 20mm/70 Breda M1941 guns (88dmg = 308dps @2km 95% acc) Original Secondary Battery: 8x1 135mm/45 guns Base planes: Reggiane Re.2000 Falco I (attack aircraft) Caproni Ca.314 (torpedo bomber) Breda Ba.201 (dive bomber) Analysis The Aquila was the closest the Regia Marina got to having its own aircraft carrier in during the war, with it being quite far along when the Armistice was signed. The Aquila has rather poor anti-aircraft capabilities as it only has a better sustained damage per second than the Shokaku, it is slower, lighter and carries thinner plating than other aircraft carriers as well, but it does have rather good concealment. Thankfully, concealment is one of the most important figures for aircraft carriers, and planes are the most important one. The Aquila’s planes are where the Italian aircraft carrier line starts to shine. The attack aircraft have a very good combination of above average speed, good durability and maneuverability along with an improved payload over the previous tier. They carry a good amount of rockets which now have 33mm penetration which means that they can deal damage to any enemy target if you aim at their thinner plating or superstructures. The torpedo bombers are not the best individually, but they combine average speed with decent durability, good maneuverability even while preparing to drop ordnance and a 3-plane attack flight which means that they will not suffer too much when trying to deal damage reliably to enemy ships. The dive bombers are probably the weakest of the three aircraft types, being slower than average and not carrying as much ordnance as other squadrons as they only get the choice between 2 large HE bombs and 4 medium SAP bombs. Their saving grace however is the fact that both of the ordnance choices have good penetration and thus should have an easy time penetrating the decks of almost every enemy they face, and with the improved maneuverability should reliably land their bombs on target. The Aquila is not the most impressive aircraft carrier, but it is more than capable of standing up against other tier 8 carriers in a match and making its presence felt. Avvoltoio class Aircraft Carrier (T10) This design proposed the conversion of the incomplete battleship Impero from the Vittorio Veneto class into a fleet carrier. It featured several advanced features such as a long-range rocket launching system, a ski-slope catapult ramp, new dual-purpose weapons and a bulbous bow. Design was incomplete at the time of the Armistice. Survivability Displacement: 45,000t standard; ~52,000t full (59,950hp standard; 64,900hp full) Armour: 220mm (Reduced Vittorio Veneto belt), 162-90mm deck Flight Group Flight group: 70 (fixed) Aircraft (Reggiane Re.2006 Sagittario 2) Attack Aircraft: Reggiane Re.2006 Sagittario 2 Speed: 168kts (40kts boost) Durability: 1890 Payload: 8x HVAR 127mm (2000 damage, 7% fire, 33mm penetration) Attack flight (Squad size): 4 (12) Aircraft restoration time: 70 seconds Torpedo Bombers: Reggiane Re.2006 Sagittario 2 Speed: 145kts (40kts boost) Durability: 1960 Payload: 1x 45cm Si200/450 Torpedo (5783 damage, 48% flood, 3km @40kts) Attack flight (Squad size): 4 (12) Aircraft restoration time: 80 seconds Dive Bombers: Reggiane Re.2006 Sagittario 2 Speed: 140kts (40kts boost) Durability: 2020 Payload (HE): 2x 500kg G.P H.E. bomb (9100 damage, 53% fire, 54mm penetration) Payload (SAP): 6x 100kg S.A.P. bomb (5950 damage, 54mm penetration) Attack flight (Squad size): 4 (12) Aircraft restoration time: 75 seconds Weaponry Secondary Battery: 6x2 120mm/50 M1939 DP guns Reload: 5s (12) Shell: 32.15kg @800m/s (damage) AA Battery: 6x2 120mm/50 M1939 DP guns (?dmg = 150dps @5.2km 100% acc), 2x2 64mm/64 Breda 1939 AA guns (dmg = 45dps @3.7km 100% acc), 14x2 37mm/54 Breda M1938 guns (dmg = 357dps @3.5km 100% acc), 3x2 20mm/65 Breda M1935 guns (dmg = 25dps @2km 95% acc), 8x1 20mm/65 Breda M1938 guns (dmg = 78dps @2km 95% acc) Mobility Speed: 30kts - 130,000hp Size: 240m long, 42.7m wide, 10.4m deep Consumables Standard Damage Control Party Improved Fighter Squadron Improved Patrol Fighters Squadron Notes Original AA: 6x1 120mm/50 M1939 DP guns (?dmg = 105dps @5.2km 100% acc), 12x2 37mm/54 Breda M1938 guns (dmg = 306dps @3.5km 100% acc), 22x1 20mm/65 Breda M1938 guns (dmg = 216dps @2km 95% acc) Base planes: Reggiane Re.2005 Sagittario (attack aircraft) Reggiane Re.2005 Sagittario (torpedo bomber) Reggiane Re.2005 Sagittario (dive bomber) Impero’s CV aircraft conversion https://forum.worldofwarships.com/topic/25247-fan-made-italian-tech-tree/?page=3#entry837056 https://stefsap.wordpress.com/2015/11/05/rn-impero-battleship-to-aircraft-carrier-conversion-study-1200-model/ Analysis The Avvoltoio is the first fleet carrier that the Italian Regia Marina wanted to build using the incomplete Impero’s hull as a basis. It featured revolutionary features for an aircraft carrier that would become commonplace for aircraft carriers after the war, and while those features are hard to show in-game, the Avvoltoio would’ve been an excellent aircraft carrier. As implemented in the game, the Avvoltoio still shows part of its origins as a battleship with its 220mm armoured belt and extensive armoured deck which makes it probably the most heavily armoured aircraft carrier at tier 10, it also has one of the best concealments as it is rather low on the water when compared to some of its tiermates. The downside to such origins however is the relatively poor speed of 30kts which is the worst at its tier (though still acceptable) and the relatively average anti-aircraft capabilities, which while excellent for an Italian ship, still lag far behind some of its tiermates. Plane-wise, the Avvoltoio carries the most advanced aircraft developed by Italy during the war and their performance is suitably good. The attack aircraft now pack a punch by virtue of carrying 8 rockets a piece, and their unique attack-flight size of 4 means that there will always be a lot of rockets being delivered to enemies, even through some heavy AA. They are also quite fast and durable, which will ensure that they spend fewer time under threat of enemy AA batteries and that they’ll be able to resist quite a bit of damage before being shot down. The torpedo bombers also benefit from the larger attack flight size which means that although they each drop a single torpedo they can still cause considerable damage onto enemies and that should be helped by the improved maneuverability and improved aiming. Their speed, improved boost and durability should ensure that they can drop ordnance even onto relatively protected enemies. Lastly, the dive bombers can now shine with their good speed, durability, maneuverability and boost all helping the bombers through enemy AA fire to then drop ordnance on enemies. The choice of ordnance becomes more poignant now as there will be a lot more enemy ships that have decks capable of bouncing SAP bombs if they’re not properly aimed, while the HE bombs do not have such an issue, so it becomes a case of choosing between reliable HE damage with a good chance to cause damage over time or trying your luck at using SAP bombs and dropping a barrage of them on enemies hoping on a big alpha strike. The increased attack flight size will help make sure that whatever choice you make, a lot of ordnance is dropped onto enemies. Overall, the Avvoltoio is the culmination of Italian aircraft carrier design, having a series of navalized and modified fighters in all roles, giving it the chance to defeat enemies through large attack flight strikes and should be a rather interesting tier 10 aircraft carrier.
  3. Welcome to my latest tech tree proposal! Here's the revised version: Read full article This article will touch on both the tech-tree regular ships and premium ships. For each ship, I provide the layout of how the ship's weaponry is distributed, its technical specifications and with the same formulas I used for the ADLA articles, their in-game values. Finally, I provide a small piece of analysis of what I think about the ship and how it'd fit with its tiermates. Essentially, each of the ships gets a mini-ADLA with all the information you might be looking for to compare it to its tiermates that are already in-game. Let's hope we see these ships in the virtual seas soon! Read Full Article... or the Revised Version Let me know what you think of this! I'm working on the Italian and French CV tech-tree lines so I can incorporate your suggestions for it! All feedback and comments are welcome! IL RISORGIMENTO DI LA CORAZZATA ITALIANA! PS: No ship in this line is 100% fictional, though the T10's both are designs based in part on historical designs.
  4. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: Roma

    The following is a review of Roma, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. As far as I am aware, this is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of January 12th, 2018. However, things may change before release. GARBAGE - The boat is unbalanced, not fun to play and weak. The ship desperately needs some buffs or some quality of life changes. Mehbote - An average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable however she's not going to be considered optimal. Gudbote - A powerful ship, often one of the best ships at a given role within its tier. Usually considered optimal for a given task. OVERPOWERED - The boat is unbalanced and powerful. Typically she's either horrible to play against or she redefines the meta entirely. Quick Summary: A fast, sneaky battleship with excellent gun handling on its nine 381mm rifles. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publishing. Patch & Date Written: Patch 0.6.15.1 to January 1st through 12th, 2018. PROs Has an extended belt which reaches halfway up the prow. Excellent gun handling with fast turret traverse. Phenomenal muzzle velocity and energy retention, giving her fast shell flight times over distance. Great AP penetration power over range. Good concealment with a 14.9km surface detection range which can be reduced down to 11.2km. CONs Citadel sits well above the waterline. Short ranged for a tier VIII battleship at 18.1km. Her guns misbehave, with poor dispersion values, overmatch problems and overpenetration after overpenetration. Awful HE performance with low alpha strike, poor fire chance and mediocre module damage. Anti-aircraft firepower is short ranged with only modest DPS. Large turning radius, mediocre ship rotation rate. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme The ease of her game play is facilitated by her excellent gun handling and good concealment values which will make her more forgiving to novice players. However, her raised citadel and gun accuracy will cause them problems. The combination of high concealment, speed and firepower will be of interest to Veterans and the power of these traits must not be overlooked. Roma's citadel and her smaller-caliber AP shells will hold her back from being a true monster, though. Roma is not a complicated battleship to play. She has no gimmicks to espouse. The summation of her various traits is as follows, with a more thorough breakdown found below in the larger sections. GARBAGE - One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. MEH - Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either.GUD - Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer.BEST - No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. Roma is no up-scaled Giulio Cesare. Her guns are average and she has mediocre durability and agility. She has no gimmicks to speak of. The only thing she does well is hide and her AA power is hot garbage With all of these disparate traits, she probably doesn't look very appealing. So how the heck did I reach a "Gudbote" conclusion? Well, let's look into that... Options Like the Japanese premium battleships Kii and Ashitaka, Roma is receiving a special camouflage designed by Makoto Kobayashi. This is not just a skin, but a full on geometry change for the ship, including the infamous "beer can" where her rangefinders would be. It will likely be available through the larger bundle packages when you buy the ship through the online store. Consumables: Roma's Damage Control Party is standard for a non-American / Japanese battleship with a 15s active period and a 120s / 80s reset timer depending on which version you purchase. Her Repair Party is also standard, healing back 14% of her maximum health over 28s. Finally, her Spotter Aircraft is normal. You can swap this out for a Float Plane Fighter which provides 57 DPS and boasts 1,590hp. She has higher DPS than Japanese or American float plane fighters and more hit points than Japanese, American or British fighters. Premium Camouflage: There are two available: The default, Standard Type 10 camouflage provides 50% bonus experience gains, a 10% reduction to maintenance costs, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. The Makoto Kobayashi - Roma camouflage provides 100% bonus experience gains, -50% to the post-battle service costs, +20% bonus credit earning, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. When I first saw this alternative camouflage scheme, I thought it looked ridiculous. However it has really grown on me. The amount of small detail is spectacular. Plus, it looks like Roma is wearing a hat. I like it when not-people things wear hats. Ergo, I like this camo. Module Upgrades: Five slots, standard battleship options. In your first slot, take Main Armaments Modification 1. Next, take Damage Control Modification 1. In your third slot, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is optimal. It's not worth trying to upgrade her AA Guns or Secondaries. Damage Control Modification 2 is optimal for her fourth slot. You may be tempted to take Steering Gears Modification 2 but this will not significantly improve her agility . Finally, take Concealment Modification 1 in your final slot. This will reduce her surface detection down to 13.04km with camouflage before Commander Skills or 11.22km with camouflage and Concealment Expert Firepower Primary Battery: Nine 381mm rifles in three turrets in an A-B-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Twelve 152mm rifles in four turrets, Twelve dual-purpose 90mm rifles in single turrets. Roma's main battery guns will deceive you. You're going to imagine them as being far more effective than they truly are. The deceptive veil she'll cast over your eyes has three layers; namely gun handling, shell flight time and penetration. They will cloud your vision and make you less aware of two flaws -- one minor but one pronounced -- the latter of which has the potential to greatly sour your enjoyment of this ship, no matter how comfortable her earlier lies may have felt. Beautiful Lie #1: Gun Handling The first beauty-mark you'll note is Roma's turret traverse rate and she may win you over with just this aspect. Her gun handling is simply gorgeous with her turrets rotating at 6º per second (a mere 30 seconds for 180º). This is 50% faster than the 4º per second rotation of ships like Kii, North Carolina and Monarch and a whole degree per second faster than Bismarck and Tirpitz. Thanks to this, laying her guns on target is a breeze and there's no chance of her aim slipping off target even while under heavy manoeuvres. In brawls, Roma can easily track enemies even on close approaches. Her forward fire angles are similarly wonderful. They almost hit the highly sought after (but so seldom realized) 30º-off-the-bow benchmark which defines truly excellent fire arcs. Her X-turret can engage enemies 31º off her forward centerline, allowing Roma to take very aggressive bow-on attack angles and necessitating only the slightest touches of a rudder to unload all nine guns. In short, Roma's gun handling is fun. You will never feel like you're fighting with this ship to bring your weapons to bear. Beautiful Lie #2: Shell Flight Time Roma has one of the fastest muzzle velocities of any tier VIII battleship, making gunnery a delight. What's more, her shells preserve this energy beautifully over distance which in turn leads to lower shell flight times. She can put a shell out to 10km in less than five seconds and one out to 15km in less then eight. This is something which Bismarck, Amagi, Monarch and North Carolina cannot boast. In the time it takes North Carolina to throw a shell out to 17km, Roma can bullseye a target at 20km. Her short lead times greatly cuts into the reaction time enemy ships have to evade your shells, even at range. Beautiful Lie #3: Penetration The high velocity of Roma's shells translates to great kinetic energy. It's the preservation of said energy over distance which makes Roma's penetration values so frightening. She doesn't have the same raw penetration power at point blank ranges of the Japanese 410mm shells. However, at ranges greater than 10km, Roma takes primacy, outstripping every other battleship with her energy retention. She has comparable and better penetration at 20km than Bismarck and Monarch (respectively) have at 15km. Roma is thus a threat at all ranges, capable of stacking damage even against thick hided battleships within reach of her weapons. These three traits will deceive you into thinking she's well set up to land damaging hits against enemy vessels. Her guns can snap onto a target quickly. Her muzzle velocity makes leading said targets easy, allowing you to catch targets before they're able to dodge or angle. Her penetration power all but guarantees that any hits you land will be damaging ones. That's all well and fine in theory, but in practice, problems arise. Roma boasts good fire arcs forward thanks to the excellent sweep of her X-turret. Her rearward arcs are terrible, forcing you to expose far too much of your broadside. Anytime you fire to your rear, you risk taking catastrophic damage. Harsh Truths No one can take away the awesomeness that is Roma's turret traverse rate and shell flight time. Let me be clear: few battleships have as smooth and comfortable a rotation and short lead times of their main battery as this Italian beauty. However, not everything about her guns lends to good performance. Roma's fire angles are the first let down. It's true, her forward fire angles are wonderful. However, rearward, it's a completely different story. Firing from A or B turret while on the retreat will get you sunk in a hurry. This isn't a problem unique to Roma, but few battleships can be punished as readily as Roma when they over angle due to her high water citadel (more on that later). I've found it preferable to use (and abuse) Roma's concealment if forced to retreat. At close range, her high muzzle velocity can also be a detriment. With the standard 0.033s fuse timer, Roma's shells risk blowing clean through more lightly armoured cruisers, especially at short ranges. To test this, I used a Reference-Omaha™ and found that Roma must be at least 13.3km out in order to land citadel hits on a target showing her flat broadside, provided the shells didn't strike water first. North Carolina can manage the same at 5.0km, owing to her lower muzzle velocity and steeper angle of her shell fall. This is a problem that extends beyond Reference-Omaha™ and it can be infuriating to catch a cruiser broadside with perfectly aimed (and dispersing) AP shells only to watch them all over penetrate a Chapayev or Edinburgh. Being unable to overmatch the bows of select cruisers just exacerbates matters. This leads me to stare down the problems Roma has with AP penetration with her 381mm rifles. She cannot overmatch the 27mm extremities found on many heavy cruisers at tier VIII+. It's surprising how much of an issue this causes. A properly angled American or Japanese heavy cruiser can simply bounce her AP shells for days with the appropriate stance. When combined with the fuse problems mentioned above, Roma must juggle different optimal fire ranges when engaging different targets. To penetrate small, lightly armoured vessels like Nurnberg-class, French or Royal Navy light cruisers you need distance. You may have to wait until the target angles slightly before sending your shells off. For tier VIII+ heavy cruisers, you need to catch them broadside or risk seeing your volleys bounce ineffectively. Roma's dispersion with Aiming Systems Modification 1 installed. 180 shells fired, salvo by salvo at 15km, locked onto a stationary Fuso. One of Roma's more pronounced gunnery weaknesses is her poor dispersion. This isn't so much a trait of her 1.8 sigma, but more of her long vertical dispersion axis which you can see here causing tremendous levels of overshooting and undershooting the target by a whole ship length to either side. This is approximately 50% larger than comparable area of battleship Alabama and Massachusetts which cannot mount any dispersion modification. The Big Fail: Dispersion and HE. Roma's most telling flaw with her guns is her dispersion. The Italian battleships of the Regia Marina use German dispersion patterns. In this regard, Roma's gunnery is most akin to Bismarck with one extra gun barrel and 4 seconds longer on her reload. The high velocity of her guns causes many shots to land long or short. Couple this with the wider base horizontal dispersion than any other battleship group in the game, and Roma's German dispersion leads to a lot of wonky shell groupings. It's not like Roma can simply reach for HE and solve her penetration issues either. Roma's HE shells deal a low amount of damage at 5,100 maximum per shell. That's 1,683 per penetrating hit and 852 damage per saturated penetrating hit. These values do not compare well to the 1,200 damage done by one of Roma's over penetrating AP shells. Her fire chance is abysmal at a mere 24%. She doesn't even have an especially large module-damage radius. For all this lackluster performance, she doesn't even get to enjoy the German bonus HE penetration. You largely want to avoid having to resort to these shells unless circumstance deem it necessary. Relying on Roma's HE shells too often will see her damage potential plummet. In summary Roma's gunnery is inconsistent -- more so than many other battleships. While it is easy to bring her guns on target with her fast traverse and anticipate their manoeuvres with her high muzzle velocity, Roma is unreliable at landing solid, damaging hits. This is very frustrating for a ship where the gunnery otherwise feels very comfortable. Her dispersion forces you suffer the whims of RNG. Even when you line up the perfect shot, over penetrations and ricochets will abound and her HE shells are downright anemic. Roma has two secondary gun types and neither is effective. They lack range, with a 5.0km base reach. In addition, one mount does not fire fast enough and the other is too small in caliber. The most dramatic of the pair are her 152mm rifles, mounted in triple gun turrets, two per side flanking B and X turret respectively. They are incredibly slow firing with a horrendous 12.0 second reload and they use AP ammunition. The best thing that could be said about this particular mount is that the muzzle blast is enormous and your opponents may mistake it for you firing your main battery guns in a brawl and expose their sides, thinking themselves safe to fire back. Roma's 90mm guns fire much more quickly with a 4.0s reload. Though they fire HE, their fire chance isn't particularly good. What's more, their small gun caliber makes them ineffective at dealing direct damage enemy ships. Even most destroyers in her matchmaking spread can boast enough armour to foil the penetration value of her HE shells. Short of peppering superstructures, these guns aren't going to do much in the way of direct damage themselves. Taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells will increase her penetration enough to allow her to directly damage destroyers and some light cruisers with these guns, but that's a heavy investment for questionable gains. In general, it is not worth sinking upgrades, consumables or skills into Roma's secondaries. Conclusions It's hard to call any of Roma's weapon systems "good". Roma's 381mm guns do not enjoy the rate of fire bonus found on Monarch, Tirpitz and Bismarck. Maybe if she had that phenomenal rate of fire or some accuracy tweak, I could shower them with praise with good conscience. However, with a piss-poor HE shell and forgettable secondaries, Roma is reliant upon her main battery AP shells to carry the day. Fortunately, they're sufficient to the task. And maybe that's the best way to define Roma's AP gunnery: It's comfortable and it's sufficient. She won't win any prizes but she'll hold her own. Summary: Roma's gunnery feels so comfortable. Her gunnery performance is spotty. They seem to do really well against battleships (up until they angle) but against cruisers, it's a lot more inconsistent depending on angle, ship type and range. Her secondaries aren't worth specializing into. Evaluation: MEH What it would have needed to be GUD: Roma's dispersion can be very unkind. A buff to her sigma value would alleviate this. An alternative solution would be shaving a second or two off her reload time. With so many misunderstandings about the reload time of the Littorio-class, I suppose we should be glad that Wargaming kept it to a mere 30 seconds. Manoeuvrability Top Speed: 30.0 knotsTurning Radius: 810mRudder Shift: 15.6s Maximum Turn Rate: 4.2º/s Tier 8 Battleship speed, turning radius and rate of turn. Roma doesn't excel in any one area nor does she have any glaring weaknesses. Roma is on the good-side of average for manoevrability for a tier VIII battleship. Her top speed is okay but there are faster ships. Her rate of turn is alright, but she's not exactly agile like the South Dakota-class sisters. Her turning circle isn't terrible, though its certainly not great. Overall, her handling is best compared to Bismarck -- a ship that isn't lacking overall in comparable agility but not a ship anyone would dare say has "good" manoeuvrability. The reason Roma feels so agile is probably due to her gun traverse. At 6º per second, it's rare that you ever need to use your rudder to accelerate bringing your guns to bear onto a new target. It's impossible for this ship to out turn her turrets, so there's little strain on her handling to keep her weapons singing. The best trait about her here is her top speed. 30 knots, while unremarkable at high tiers, is the benchmark I want to see. Anything less is an obvious flaw. Roma has the flexibility to go where she's needed and she's fast enough to make pursuit and escape possible when required. This also allows her to make better use of her concealment to better position herself. Most important of all, Roma's manoeuvrability is sufficient to protect her vulnerable citadel while still maintaining a steady rate of fire with all nine of her guns. Evaluation: MEH What it would have needed to be GUD: Roma already sits on the cusp of being 'GUD', she would just need a little help. An extra knot of speed, getting her turning radius below 800m or increasing her rotation rate by another two tenths of a degree per second would each tip her over the edge to something quite remarkable. Fortunately, you can pull this off yourself with the use of a Sierra Mike signal. Rate of Turn There are several factors which affect how quickly a ship comes about. The most significant are the ship's forward momentum and the size of her turning radius. As a ship slows down, their turning radius changes, but not always for the better. To make things more complicated, different ships also preserve speed better in a turn. When it comes to changing your heading, maintain speed whenever possible. If you want a tighter turning circle, slow down to 3/4 engine power -- but be aware that your ship will not manoeuvre as quickly. Steering Gears Modification 2 reduces Roma's rudder shift time from 15.6s down to 12.5s. However, this does not appreciably affect her turning values. This upgrade can be seen as more of a placebo than a practical bonus. When attempting to measure the gains made, some of the results fell within the margin of error of my own reaction time -- meaning that a good night's sleep or a cup of tea had more effect on the timed rate of turn than whether or not Roma had this module installed. With torpedo and shell reaction times often being less than 8 to 10 seconds, having this module installed will not help you. You would be better served by having a cup of coffee. Thus, I strongly recommend installing Damage Control Modification 2 in your fourth upgrade slot instead. None of the values found on Roma were far from what was expected. Her measured turning radius was slightly higher than that found in port and she bled the usual 25% maximum speed with her rudder hard over. 360º Rotation Rate (Ship Maximums): 1/4 speed (7.3 knots): 1.0º/s rotation, ~1099m turning radius 1/2 speed (13.8 knots): 2.5º/s rotation, ~851m turning radius 3/4 speed (18.6 knots): 3.6º/s rotation, ~800m turning radius 4/4 speed (22.4 knots): 4.2º/s rotation, ~829m turning radius 90º Rotation Rate (Stock): 1/4 speed: 1.0º/s rotation for 90.7s 1/2 speed: 2.3º/s rotation for 39.0s 3/4 speed: 3.2º/s rotation for 28.5s 4/4 speed: 3.6/s rotation for 25.0s 90º Rotation Rate (Steering Gears Modification 2) 1/4 speed: 1.0/s rotation for 90.6s 1/2 speed: 2.4º/s rotation for 38.4s 3/4 speed: 3.3º/s rotation for 27.4s 4/4 speed: 3.7º/s rotation for 24.2s Roma sits upon the cusp of greatness where her agility is concerned, but she falls short. You're not likely to notice though -- you'll be too enamored with how well her turrets traverse. DurabilityHit Points: 65,400 Maximum Citadel Protection: 375mm + 40mm Min Bow & Deck Armour: 32mmTorpedo Damage Reduction: 38% Let's start with the bad news: Roma wears a really short skirt. While I appreciate that she wants to show off her lines, her citadel is left exposed over the water's surface by a not-insignificant margin. The exact height of her citadel is easy to see: it's directly behind her 375mm armoured belt. Veterans of the American battleship line that played the ships before the citadels were lowered in early 2017 will remember well what this entails. Roma can and will suddenly explode in a horrendous space-kablooie when she's caught broadside. There's nothing you can do about it but [edited]. There's another piece of not-so-great news. Her A-Turret barbette also seems to be part of the citadel, comprising a rounded 210mm bulge to her transverse bulkhead. This gives shells that might have skipped over a flat surface another bite at the apple if they catch this rounded surface. It's just another little quibble to sour Roma's armour protection. Alright, with that out of the way, let's talk about the good stuff: Her main deck is 45mm thick. This is proof against 152mm HE spam. Hooray! She has a 130mm extended forward armoured belt. When she angles, can foil even 460mm shells. Rejoice! Her upper hull is 70mm thick. This is proof against HE from 420mm or smaller unless it's British BB or German BB & CA thrown. This will also provide you with some very comfortable bounces when you angle just right. Her torpedo damage reduction is pretty darned good, so to speak. At tier VIII, torpedo defenses are either amazaballs (Amagi, South Dakota sisters) or they suck moose balls (everyone else). Roma's in the good half of the dichotomy. Her deck armour profile is a bit of a mixed blessing when it comes to armour piercing bombs, however. In testing, American AP bombs just didn't seem to be able to stack damage quickly. Without heals, it took over 20 bomb hits to sink her from American planes. Graf Zeppelin's (admittedly still in testing) bombs weren't automatic world-enders, but she could reliably sink Roma with two squadrons. On the whole, if it weren't for Roma's citadel situation, she'd have a great armour profile. As it is, it's only okay. Roma face tanks like a boss, particularly at medium ranges (between 8km and 14km) but when things go wrong, she comes apart in a hurry. Roma's armour, including details of her citadel. Evaluation: MEH What it would have needed to be GUD: Lower her bloody citadel. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 90mm / 37mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 4.0km / 3.5km / 2.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 114 / 128.4 / 54.4 The graph on the left shows the raw AA values per aura range of the AA mounts of tier 8 Battleships. The graph on the right applies a formula {AA DPS x ( Range - 1.0km )} to calculate the overall effectiveness of the ship's AA power. This weights longer ranged weapons as being much more valuable as planes will linger within their effect longer. Weapons with less than a 2km range are only really effective if the enemy aircraft carrier parks planes on top of you. If there's one good thing you could say about Roma's anti-aircraft firepower, it would be that it's at least better than that found on Tirpitz. Roma's AA rating sits squarely in between the German premium and Amagi, and this isn't a good place to be. Worse, it's not like Roma's anti-aircraft guns are a straight up improvement over the performance of the German premium -- she just has more of them. Roma's large caliber, 90mm guns are hands down inferior to the 105s that Tirpitz uses. They have 500m less range and they do less DPS over all, which makes the effective AA defense worse were it not for Roma's 37mm autocannons and Tirpitz's near lack of medium caliber guns. It takes a rather heavy investment to get Roma's anti-aircraft firepower anywhere near effective in terms of range, and it's downright impossible to make it effective in terms of damage done. With Advanced Fire Training and AA Guns Modification 2, you can increase the reach fo her 90mm guns from 4.0km up to 5.76km but they'll never have the punch to make anything but a stock tier VI aircraft carrier balk. Taking a Float Plane Fighter can add a very helpful disruption effect to an incoming wave which can save your ship, but it's so short lived and difficult to rely upon. Roma doesn't have the agility to easily dodge air dropped torpedoes, nor does she have the armour profile to spare her the nightmare of being one-shot by German AP dive bombers. Roma, when isolated from allies, is easy prey for an enemy aircraft carrier and she must be played with this weakness in mind. Evaluation: GARBAGE What it would have needed to be MEH: Roma really needs more range. The 4.0km reach of her large caliber, dual purpose guns does her no favours. Alternatively, it would take a huge DPS boost to make her AA power competitive which is a much more significant change. None of Roma's AA mounts are especially durable. Even her dual purpose AA guns can only boast 800hp with her 37mm and 20mm guns having only 200. A few HE hits will strip her of most of her AA power. Vision Control Base Surface Detection Range: 14.94km Air Detection Range: 13.35km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 11.22km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 13.68km Main Battery Firing Range: 18.12km Detection Consumables: Spotter Aircraft / Float Plane Fighter Short of the famous and historical HMS Monarch, Roma is the stealthiest battleship within her matchmaking spread. What's perhaps more frightening is that she's stealthier than almost half the cruisers she faces, even when they're rigged for full concealment. Tier VI and VII cruisers are especially vulnerable with 11 out of 24 ships unable to hide from Roma and another 7 unable to hide if they don't have a full concealment build. When top tier, especially against inexperienced commanders, Roma becomes truly a monster. Without spotting aircraft or a destroyer screen, she can move about the battlefield at will, confident she can outfight anything that detects her. Let me stress this: Without aircraft or destroyers, Roma is quite capable of being the stealthiest ship on the playing field. Unlike the famous and historical HMS Monarch, Roma has the speed to better exploit this concealment. And it's here, with this combination of speed and concealment where Roma becomes a truly frightening vessel. Novice players take note: these are traits that expert players exploit to win matches. The longer a match goes on, the more powerful this advantage of speed and stealth becomes. It gives Roma time to heal, to flank, to secure objectives or escape. She can dictate engagement distances, abuse cover and surprise enemies. This is the game changer for this ship. This is what glosses over all of her other mediocre ratings and propels her towards excellence. Now this all said, this is a very difficult advantage to exploit properly and it can be outright negated by aircraft (especially given Roma's poor AA rating) and destroyers. Proper use of her aircraft consumable (with the skills to support it) will help her control vision and make lurking around islands less dangerous. But, it's knowing when to keep her guns singing and when it's best to hold your fire that really defines Roma's use and abuse of her concealment. Evaluation: GUD What it would have needed to be BEST : Monarch has a smaller surface detection range and similar consumable options. The alternative to making her sneakier than Monarch would have been to provide her with some detection consumable like Hydroacoustic Search or Surveillance Radar which is bloody unlikely. I think we can all be happy that Roma's concealment is as amazing as it is. Nursing the Twins For Roma, a survivability build is best after grabbing your concealment skills. Start with Priority Target unless you've seen the oracle and you already know the future. Then you can go for skills like Direction Center for Catapult Aircraft instead for your first choice. Next up, we want Adrenaline Rush to increase her sluggish rate of fire. After that, you have your choice of Basics of Survivability or Superintendent depending on how much you hate fire damage. Finally, grab Concealment Expert to level up Roma to her final form. For your next 9pts, I strongly recommend Fire Prevention, whichever tier 3 skill you skipped and your choice of Expert Marksman (cause why not?), Jack of All Trades or High Alert. Now get out there and murder your brother. Tier for tier, Giulio Cesare is the better of the two Italian Battleships. However, the Makoto Kobayashi: Roma camouflage combined with Roma's higher tier will make her the better potential earner. Final Evaluation Mouse's Summary: Concealment and comfort define this ship. I stress that Roma's high water citadel will be a deal breaker for some. As cool as Roma's secondaries and AA batteries look, they're pretty darned useless. Roma's scorecard looks a little better than my first evaluation once you peel back the layers and take a closer look. Her great concealment might functionally be the best within her Matchmaking spread thanks to her speed. Similarly, her agility is also reasonably good, just not quite enough to make her remarkable. This synergy between speed, gun handling and concealment has all the hallmarks of a competitive ship. Her gunnery and durability are the let downs, though. Her weapons are inconsistent -- prone to bouts of greatness and then some frustrating droughts of non-performance until you figure out her penetration. Knowing what ships you can and cannot handle at which ranges mitigates some of this lack, but only just. Contrarily, her secondaries, like her AA guns are garbage no matter what you do.. Then there's that citadel of hers -- that fly in the ointment that will preclude her from ever being the darling of the competitive scene. In Randoms, with proper positioning, it's not really a big deal, but when it lets you down, it lets you down hard. Roma is so much fun to drive it's hard to dismiss her out of hand, even despite these setbacks. My own experiences in Roma were decidedly mixed. It took me a while to figure her out. Once I accepted I was throwing around what amounted to a squishy, nine-gun Bismarck with no secondaries, things got a little better. To say my performance in her was inconsistent would be an understatement. The number of losses I suffered during the latter half of play testing wasn't fun, however this was broken up by some ridiculously high performing games. Boiled down, Roma is a medium-range brawler. Her gun accuracy and armour profile both excel if she can hold this range -- just on the cusp of her detection radius, and hammer the enemy over and over and over again. Ideally you want to sneak to a vantage where your opponents can't help but give up their side to either you or their allies. If they choose to face you, tank them and do the best you can to hurt them back -- it's not going to be easy with those 381mm guns. If they choose to face your allies, tear them a new one until they smarten up and fall back. The final question is if this is a role that's asked for in the current meta. She's not a brawler like Bismarck or Tirpitz, a DPM juggernaut like Amagi, and she doesn't werf the flammen like the famous, historical battleship Monarch. Roma encroaches upon the flanking meta espoused by the American battleships. She's certainly faster than North Carolina or the South Dakota sisters. She's also more stealthy. However, she lacks the AA power to afford her autonomy when enemy aircraft carriers are in play. -- not that they're out there that often. It's still difficult to call just based on that. Things change when you look at her tiering. Top tier, she's an absolute monster. She would easily hold my pick for one of the best battleships for clubbing lower tiered vessels and this in of itself should say something. That comfort and control pays dividends and her armour maximizes in these encounters where shell penetration may not be enough to seriously threaten Roma's raised citadel. She uptiers alright against tier IX ships, but like all tier VIIIs, she really struggles in tier X matches. If I could guarantee she would never see tier X games, I could slap an "OVERPOWERED" label on her and be done with it, but no such luck. As it is, I'm inclined to say Roma has earned her laurels. Would I Recommend? Some caveats must be exercised here. The Italian Regia Marina is solely comprised of premium ships at the moment. Between the battleships Roma and Giulio Cesare there are also the light cruisers Duca d'Aosta and the upcoming Duca degli Abruzzi. If you had to choose one and only one, Giulio Cesare is still the front runner performance wise, even at tier V. Roma does not displace her. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? We have no tier VIII scenarios (yet), but Roma's a decent ship to take against bots. Her AP shells struggle a little against cruisers at the point blank ranges which so often result. Her running costs are 35,438 credits including the 10% discount provided by her camouflage (this drops to 19,688 credits with Makoto Kobayashi: Roma camo) while you can make around 100k on a decent win. Skip those premium consumables. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. She's a tier VIII premium, so economy wise, she'll do you just fine. The increased earnings will also make her a wonderful trainer. Note if you have the Makoto Kobayashi: Roma camouflage, her earning dividends just got that much better. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. I have to give her a firm pass here. Between her high water citadel, 381mm teething issues and poor AA power, she's not ideal. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. What are you, new? It's not only the first Littorio-class battleships it's Roma. Even as a port queen, she's gorgeous to look at. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Hells to the yeah. Roma doesn't always behave, but when she does... In Closing That about wraps it up for Roma -- arguably the most anticipated premium of 2017. Hey, stop looking at your calendar! She's here and she's not terrible; that's a win. I keep a list of premium ships that I enjoy playing; that I reach for whenever I just want to play World of Warships and unplug my brain from all of this analytical nonsense. These are ships that I play simply for the love of the game. I think it's high praise when a new premium ousts one of the old guard and muscles in on this list. Roma isn't there yet -- we're fighting, truth be told. She's got a long ways to go if she thinks she can earn her keep. I'm very happy with the balanced state of Roma. I'm very happy to have this review done. The next review coming up will be Musashi, the tier IX Japanese battleship that's causing all kinds of controversy. Roma and Musashi both came off of the content-embargo on the same date, but I had no warning about the latter. You can expect this next review in about a week's time with an undue level of snark laced throughout. A very special thank you to Lert for his continued editing efforts and to my patrons on Patreon. With as much time and energy I devote to these reviews, I cannot afford to do it alone anymore. Your continued support means the world to me and allows me to keep my head down and working hard with less worry. Thank you for reading and for all of your feedback, criticism and fun gifs too! My current ten favourite ships. Top Row: Fujin, Atlanta, De Grasse, Prinz Eugen, Atago. Bottom Row: Scharnhorst, Nelson, Harekaze, König Albert, Warspite. Will Roma or Musashi earn a spot? Tune in next week! iChase put together a wonderful little history piece for those who want more Roma in your Roma review!
  5. Phoenix_jz’s Italian Battleship Tech Tree Hello all, I’m back at it again with tech trees, and this time I’m throwing out an idea for the Regia Marina, and its options for a battleship line. Now, as of we’ve got two Italian battleships in the game – the tier V rebuilt Cavour-class battleship Giulio Cesare, and the tier VIII Littorio-class battleship Roma. Italian battleships are fairly well represented by these two. Italian battleships fall short on AA, and their citadels tend to be somewhat tall (No magic boilers like in the Royal Navy, I guess) – but they’re usually fairly well protected. They’re quite mobile and tend to handle well for their size, and carry powerful, high-velocity guns with questionable accuracy. They tend to be quite stealthy for battleships, but at the cost of range. While I did initially draft out two lines, for this post I decided to only post the ‘main’ line, while I will perhaps make a post on the second at a later date (Spoiler – It’s lots of Ferrati designs - #outquadthefrogs). This main line is essentially the majority of what historical Italian battleships were. Like many Italian designs, speed tended to triumph over armor in order to sustain firepower – in order to defend Italy’s long coastlines from attack, Italian ships had to be able to rapidly deploy against enemy ships, dashing up or down the coast. Likewise, they also stressed artillery performance at range, thus the use of heavier than average shells at infamously high velocities. As a note, I’m not going to try and guess AA suites for B-hulls, but hitpoints would be for a B-hull. Major Line Features: You get: High Speed/Mobility – Generally speaking, these ships will be faster and have better handling than most other battleships Generally good levels of stealth, better than other battleships at the same tier Powerful guns with very high velocities, leading to high penetration, and good gun handling with their fast turret traverse times Unique SAP/AP flavor - Explained below Armor profile starts out as sub-par to mediocre, but becomes very powerful in higher tiers La bella figura– these ships look good. At the cost of; Generally sub-par AA for their tier The main battery range tends to be average to poor The guns share the poor dispersion of German and French battleships, offsetting their ease-of-aim. The main battery lacks HE The health pool of these ships is generally average, but at higher tiers falls behind the competition to a serious degree. They also have relatively high citadels compared to other lines with lower citadels (or physics-bending like the British) The SAP/AP Flavor, and Lack of HE There is only one part of the Italian battleship line’s flavor that can be defined as gimmicky, in the same way the French battleship’s speed boost, the German super-hydro, or British… everything? I’m not even sure where to start with them. This gimmick is that Italian battleships are unable to fire High-Explosive shells from their main battery. Why? Because that’s what the Italians did historically. Unlike their cruisers and destroyers, Italian battleships did not carry HE shells (In Italian; Granata Dirompente – I may refer to this round as ‘GD’ later in this write-up. These shells had an instant fuse and a bursting charge of 5-7% the mass of the shell). Rather, Italian battleship fired two types of Armor-Piercing shells; Palla (or sometimes Proiettile Perforante - PP) – These rounds were the pure Armor-Piercing rounds used by the Italian navy, designed to punch through as much armor as possible, and had small bursting charges of between 1-2% of the shell’s mass. Palla translates to literally ‘ball’, although it can also be used to describe a bullet. Proiettile Perforante would be in a literal sense Piercing Projectile, but the term is analogous to an Armor-Piercing shell in English. These terms describe the same kind of round regardless. This was the primary round to be used against the heavy armor on enemy battleships, and that was essentially their only purpose – the only exception is a curious note from a September 1942 document that advises the use of 320mm Palla against the American Baltimore-class heavy cruisers. This round was used outside of battleships only as the armor-piercing rounds of the 152mm guns used aboard Italian light cruisers. Granata Perforante (GP) – This type of round, with a name that blended that of the two other types of round, is often erroneously dubbed a High-Explosive by English sources (such as navweaps.com, and English translations of Italian books). Their name translating directly as Piercing Shell, these shells were essentially a Semi Armor-Piercing shell, with more explosive power than the pure AP rounds but less penetration, and like the AP used a delay fuse. These shells tended to be about 90% of the mass of Palla, and had on average only about 55-60% of the penetrative potential at most given ranges, but their bursting charges tended to be 2-5% the mass of the shells. This was the general-use round on Italian battleships, and was meant for use against carriers, cruisers, destroyers, and even the lighter armor of some battleships. These rounds also performed as the primary Armor-Piercing ammunition for the 203mm guns of Italian heavy cruisers as well as Italian 120 to 135mm destroyer guns – however performance did vary. As Italian heavy cruisers were still meant to duel and defeat enemy cruisers their shells tended to favor ‘palla’-style performance and had a smaller than average bursting charge, while the destroyers had higher values approaching those of GD rounds, as they were meant for use against very light armor only. An example of the qualitative differences of the two Italian AP types from official documents Essentially, what this boils down to is that Palla is the ‘Anti-Battleship’ round, while Granata Perforante is the ‘whatever else’ shell for Italian battleships, and that’s the flavor that will be reflected in the line. The performance of the round types thus will be as such: Palla (AP)– The same AP shells you’ve always known, these shells have the normal fuse time, and have high penetration. They’re great against battleships, being very punishing even against heavy belts because of their high penetration – however against cruisers, due to that penetration and their velocity retention, this will lead to over-penetrations in many cases. Weaker AP like that found on the 320mm and 305mm Italian guns will still be appropriate for use on cruisers, especially those with heavier armor, as their lower overall penetration and also higher tendency to lose speed (the WWI-era 305mm shells having poor drag performance typical of the era, while the 320mm shells of these guns when re-bored was still rather poor at about 4crh). Granata Perforante (SAP)–These shells will perform differently than regular AP. With higher velocity usually, these lighter shells might feel easier to aim, but they have fundamental differences. They deal less damage than the pure AP, and have much less penetration – they’re not going to do well against the main armor belts of enemy dreadnoughts. They also have short fuses similar to British battleship AP, meaning they’ll have a harder time reaching battleship citadels. However, the combination of less penetration and a shorter fuse time means they’ll tend to over-penetrate cruisers less in the way that Roma’s 381mm Palla does chronically in-game. They’ll also be better for hitting destroyers then regular AP, as well getting regular penetration against the softer areas of battleships that are too angled to penetrate – this will mean excellent damage farming off of German battleships, who’s incremental armor schemes guarantee regular 33% penetrations with ammunition of this type. To compensate for the lack of 'auto damage' that HE gives from raw penetration and fires, these shells have auto-ricochet angles identical to those of Hood's AP - 60° and 67.5°, rather than the normal 45° and 60°> The Tree: Quick Breakdown: III: Cuniberti 17t – Designer Vittorio Cuniberti’s 17000t dreadnought design – the real first dreadnought. IV: Dante Alighieri – Italy’s first dreadnought, Nikolai Iis a Russian version of her. V: Conte di Cavour – The original version of what Cesare’s sister once was, a heavy broadside defines this WWI battleship, with thirteen guns. VI: Caio Duilio – The successor class to the Cavour as rebuilt, this is essentially a better Giulio Cesare. VII: BB1935 – A design that existed beforeLittorio, it uses the 320mm guns in a modern layout with high speed and balanced armor VIII: Littorio – Roma’s sister, she’s similar to Romabut a more comfortable ship with more reliable performance IX: Impero – The third Littorio, this is Littorio as intended, essentially the tier VIII turned up to 10, if the Littorio’s performance was tuned down to 8 (which it kind of is) X: BB1936 – The 406mm design that existed next to Littorio, it was the ultimate expression of Italian battleship design – she’s dwarfed by the tier X BBs of other nations, but is faster, well protected, and has a very strong armament. Tier III – (Cuniberti 17000t) Napoli The design that started it all. The Italian Naval Engineer Vittorio Cuniberti first put his name on the map when he designed the 1901 Regina Elena-class battleships. Pre-dreadnoughts, they had followed the high speed stereotype Italian ships had already gathered for themselves in the latter half of the 1800s, despite the country being so young. At 22 knots, they were the fastest battleships in the world, even after the first dreadnoughts were completed. This, of course, came at the cost of armor (their belt was 250mm, which actually was fairly average for the era). These pre-dreadnoughts were unusual as although their medium battery of guns was exceptionally heavy (6x2 203mm guns, six to a broadside), their heavy battery was very light – only two 305mm/40’s in single turrets, one fore, one aft. The reason for this was more important than one might think, at first glance. The Regina Elena-class in fact had its origins in Cuniberti’s own work, on a 1899 design for a powerful 8000 ton armored cruiser featuring a uniform main battery of twelve 203mm guns, a top speed of 22 knots, and a 150mm belt. It was to be the ultimate Armored Cruiser, faster and better armed than any other. Such a design would ultimately be realized eight years later by the German Kaiserliche Marine in the Armored Cruiser Blücher of 1907 (6x2 210mm, 25 knots, 180mm belt), but not so for the Regia Marina. The design was rejected, and Cuniberti turned it into the 13000 ton ‘battlecruiser’-style Regina Elena-class, whose design philosophy was to be faster than any enemy battleship, and far outgun any enemy cruiser – which it accomplished for its era. Two were built, the Regina Elena and Vittorio Emmanuelle, both laid down in 1901. However, the Italian navy wanted two more battleships, and this time Cuniberti decided to revisit his old concept, and put it on a battleship as he had originally envisioned it – the ‘all-big-gun’ battleship. Thus he took the Regina Elena design to the same place he had taken his armored cruiser design – the ship grew to a displacement of 17000 tons, and featured the single most powerful armament ever put to sea – twelve 305mm guns in four twin and four single turrets. It is important to understand the context in which this came about. Fire Control Systems had come far from their origins, but were still extremely primitive in this era. The range to which they were effective was out to a few thousand yards – massively superior to where they had been only a few decades prior, where a few hundred yards was the extreme limit of naval gunnery. For this reason, the big guns of a battleship were of less use. At the ranges they fought, their main guns had more than enough penetration, and fired slowly. Smaller-caliber weapons still had enough penetration, but could fire faster, and more could be mounted for much less weight. Thus, they were much more effective at closer ranges. However, Cuniberti envisioned that as fire control became better, battles would increasingly be dominated by longer-ranged gunnery from the heavy guns. His ‘all-big-gun’ battleship would simply be able to overwhelm the enemy with large-caliber fire, smashing them under a deluge of heavy shells, and moving on to the next in line. The ships’ own armor would be strong enough to resist enemy fire in return. One of these ships would be worth many of the enemy’s battleships, and six of these would be a force powerful enough to deter any fleet in the world from challenging them. This behemoth was meant to go 24 knots as well, thus being able to run down any major warship in the world – but this is unlikely on a 17000 ton hull, 21 knots being a more realistic speed given the size of machinery of the era. 24 knots would have required a much greater displacement of about 21000 tons. Ultimately the Italian navy rejected the design due to its prohibited cost, but allowed Cuniberti to publish his idea in Jane’s All the World’s Fighting Ships 1903, where he recommended the design be pursued by the British Royal Navy. Meanwhile, the Italian navy built two further Regina Elena’s, laid down in 1903 as Roma and Napoli (hence why I’ve adopted the name Napoli for ours in-game). In May 1905, Cuniberti’s ideas were vindicated. The Russo-Japanese War saw the Battle of Tsushima fought, which was decided primarily by long-range gunnery, at staggering ranges exceeding 5 km reaching all the way to 7 km. The evidence was enough for Britain’s First Sea Lord Admiral Sir John Fisher, who had been exploring the idea of these big-gun ships already. That October, Britain laid down their first all-big gun battleship as the HMS Dreadnought, obsoleting every battleship afloat overnight. Roma, the sister to the Napoli that was ultimately built. Napoli was Italy's last pre-dreadnought battleship. Survivability: 21800 tons – 36600 HP Belt: 305mm belt, 305mm turrets and barbettes Main Armament: 4x2, 4x1 305mm/40 RoF: 2 rpm (30 sec) Dispersion/Sigma: German, 1.8 Traverse: ?º/sec AP: MV: 780mps Mass/Dmg: 417 kg (MaxDmg: 8100) SAP: MV: 780mps Mass/Dmg: 386 kg (MaxDmg: 7800) Secondary Battery: 12x1 76mm/40 Ansaldo 1916 RoF: 15 rpm (4 sec) HE: MV: 680mps Mass/Dmg: 6.5 kg (MaxDmg: 1100, 4% FC) Maneuverability: Engine Power: 50606 shp Top Speed: 24 knots All in all she’s your pretty standard tier III – probably faster than most, but still only having an eight-gun broadside. You’ll be out of it in a second, so I don’t think I need to elaborate on her. Sail around derping eight-gun broadsides into enemy ships, and profit, like any other battleship at this tier. Tier IV – Dante Alighieri … con l’animo che vince ogni battaglia The first Italian dreadnought, the Alighieri was unusual and ambitious. Her design was meant to maximize Cuniberti’s vision, by allowing all of the ship’s main guns to fire to her broadside. She was light for her size, but had a heavy broadside of twelve 305mm guns, with a sub-par 254mm belt and a top speed of 22 knots. She carries the distinction of being the only battleship to ever be named after a Poet, but make no mistake – Dante Alighieri is no mere poet, at least not in Italy. While to most he is the famed author of la Divina Commedia, in Italy he is something more, considered the father of the modern Italian language. La Commedia was one of the first European works written outside of Latin, and Alighieri chose to write it in a Tuscan dialect he referred to as ‘Italian’ – marking one of the first ‘modern’ appearances of the concept as Italy as a nation and an identify. This was grasped onto by the Risorgimento movement, and formed an important pillar of the Italian identity used to unify the peninsula. Laid down on the 9th of June 1909, she was the first battleship to be laid down with its armament mounted in triple turrets, and was completed in 1913. Her career remained uneventful, and despite taking part in the First World War and several Adriatic operations, due to the nature of Adriatic Theater in WWI she never saw action against Austrian dreadnoughts. She served as a testing platform for important gunnery and fire control technologies, and was scrapped in 1928. Her motto, “… con l’animo che vince ogni battaglia” comes from Canto 24 of L’Inferno, words Virgil speaks to Alighieri to boost his moral – the line is usually translated in (modern) English as “...with the spirit that overcomes every battle”. Survivability: 21800 tons – 36600 HP Belt: 254mm between end barbettes, 100mm to bow. Main deck is 50mm with 50mm turtleback slopes, upper deck is 30 or 38mm. 254mm turret faces. Main Armament: 4x3 305mm/46 Modello 1909 (Broadside: 12 guns) RoF: 2 rpm (30 sec) Dispersion/Sigma: German, 1.8 Traverse: ?º/sec AP: MV: 840mps Mass/Dmg: 452 kg (MaxDmg: 8700) SAP: MV: 840mps Mass/Dmg: 401.2 kg (MaxDmg: 8200) Secondary Battery: 4x2, 12x1 120mm/50 Modello 1909 (Broadside: 10) RoF: 6 rpm (10 sec) HE: MV: 850mps Mass/Dmg: 22.1 kg (MaxDmg: 1700, 6% FC) Anti-Aircraft Battery: 4x1 76mm/50 Modello 1909 - 16.8 dps @ 3.00 km 2x1 40mm/39 Vickers 1917 - 11.2 dps @ 2.01 km Maneuverability: Engine Power: 32190 shp Top Speed: 22.8 knots Dante Alighieri is going to look somewhat similar to some people, because of Russia’s own version – the Imperator Nikolai I. While it is true that Italian design did have influence on Russian dreadnought design of the period, it has not actually been indicated by any surviving documents that the Russian 4x3 designs, very similar to the Alighieri, were actually inspired by it, and so such Russian battleship design appears to be an independent development. So, what you should expect from Dante is something of a Nikolai-lite. While less armored, she has similarly powerful guns – a lighter shell (452 kg vs 470.9 kg), but fired at a much higher velocity (840 mps vs 762 mps). She’s got a 1.8 knot speed edge over the Russian dreadnought, but overall weaker armor (270mm belt on Nikolai) and their secondary battery being about equal – both having a 10-gun broadside, the Russian battleship bringing larger 130mm guns while the Italian 120mm guns fire faster. AA armament of both is rather minimal. However, the playstyle will be similar. Despite her thinner armor, Dante is well suited to bow-on tactics, and with three of her four turrets facing forwards, is well suited to swapping fire from port to starboard rapidly, regardless of what her turret traverse may be. Tier V – Conte di Cavour A nessuno secondo The follow-on class to Italy’s first dreadnought, the Cavour-class battleship was meant to be a response to French building, but as Italy lacked a 13.5” (343mm) gun to upgrade to for their battleships, they sought to use an even heavier armament of 12” guns – this time mounting thirteen 305mm rifles. The same as those used on Dante, these had a superior layout, a triple turret with a twin turret super-firing over it both fore and aft, while a single triple turret found a home amidships. Less ambitious in speed, it saw an engine power increase to compensate the increased displacement, and typical of Italian design, to achieve a speed advantage of 1-2 knots over the 20-21 knot dreadnoughts of foreign navies. Armor was slightly improved over the Alighieri, but speed saw a decrease - despite the target speed of 22.5 knots, the top speed was only 22 knots. Cavour was named for the Count of Cavour, Camilo Benso. Prime Minister of Sardinia-Pedimonte, he was instrumental in the formation of Italy as a nation, essentially Italy’s counterpart to Otto von Bismarck. He became the country’s first Prime Minister. Her motto was ‘Second to none’, written by the famous writer, war hero, and eventual proto-fascist Gabriele D’Annunzio. Survivability: 24250 tons – 39500 HP Belt: 250mm between end barbettes, 80mm to bow. Main deck is 50mm with 50mm turtleback slopes, upper deck is 30 or 38mm. 280mm turret faces. Main Armament: 2x2, 3x3 305mm/46 Modello 1909 (Broadside: 13 guns) RoF: 2 rpm (30 sec) Dispersion/Sigma: German, 1.8 Traverse: Dunno lol AP: MV: 840mps Mass/Dmg: 452 kg (MaxDmg: 8700) SAP: MV: 840mps Mass/Dmg: 401.2 kg (MaxDmg: 8200) Secondary Battery: 18x1 120mm/45 Modello 1909 (Broadside: 9) RoF: 6 rpm (10 sec) HE: MV: 850mps Mass/Dmg: 22.1 kg (MaxDmg: 1700, 6% FC) Anti-Aircraft Battery: 6x1 76mm/50 Modello 1909 - 25.2 dps @ 3.00 km 2x1 40mm/39 Vickers 1917 - 11.2 dps @ 2.01 km Maneuverability: Engine Power: 31278 shp Top Speed: 22.3 knots Conte di Cavour is an interesting ship, especially considering that her sister, Giulio Cesare, is Italy’s tier V premium battleship. Well, here’s the thing to keep in mind. Cesare is utterly OP at tier V. It’s outright comedic how well she does, and legend has it that in a lost Canto, Dante places her in the forgotten tenth circle of hell where not even the Devil himself was made to suffer. So we’re not comparing these sisters. No, rather, we’re comparing Cavour to other WWI dreadnoughts like Bretagne, Iron Duke, and König. With an identical turret layout to these ships, they’re pretty easy to compare. König, with her thick belt and turtleback, is by far the most durable, Iron Duke not far behind her, with Cavour trailing and Bretagne in last. Pretty much the same order follows for speed, at 24, 22.5, 22.0, and 21 knots. Firepower is where they vary. The Entente dreadnoughts bring 10x 340/343mm guns firing 2 rpm, and while König brings 10 guns as well, they’re only 305mm guns… but fire faster, at 2.3 rpm. Cavour only fires at 2 rpm with 305mm guns… but has 13 of them. Her penetration should be the best among 12” guns, and the extra three barrels allows her to easily keep up in shell output. Meanwhile, the extra barrels also let her compete with the damage output of the British and French battleships, which she also has more penetration than. Thus, she has similar flexibility to the other battleships with her speed, and although her armor is hardly stellar, it’s adequate. Her main battery is fearsome, thirteen guns throwing heavy shells at high speeds allowing her to hit hard father away then her caliber would seem to suggest. Like many other Italian battleships, her weakness is her mediocre-at-best AA battery, and relatively low health pool for her tier. Tier VI – Caio Duilio Nomen numen The Caio Duilio-class battleships were a follow-on of the prior Cavour-class, and a response to the French Bretagne-class battleships. Since the Regia Marina was satisfied with the prior class and considered them on-par with the Bretagne-class, the Duilio-class ultimately ended up being largely an improved version of the Cavour-class with a revised secondary battery, superstructure, and the decision to accept a lower speed being the primary differences. Caio Duilio was named for the famous Roman admiral Gaius Duilius, who commanded the republic’s fleet at the Battle of Mylae and won Roma’s astounding first naval victory against Hannibal Gisco’s superior Carthaginian fleet. In the inter-war period, as tensions rapidly shot up in the 1930s the Regia Marina began a major revision to its main battleline, which had changed little since the end of the First World War, save for the losses of Dante Alighieri and Leonardo da Vinci and minor modernizations to the battleships as a whole. In response to the French construction of the Dunkerque, the Italian Navy essentially rebuilt the Cavour-class, leaving barely 40% of the original ships behind. As tensions continued to rise, and it became clear that war with Britain was likely, the Regia Marina sought to bring its battleline up to snuff as rapidly as possible, and thus the decision was made to rebuild the Duilio-class in the same radical manner as the Cavour’s. An improved version of the Cavour project, the rebuilding of Caio Duilio and Andrea Doria saw something similar to the Cavour rebuilds, with several notable differences. Like the Cavour-class, their armor was slightly increased, the hull lengthened, and machinery replaced, making the ships capable of 26 knots (one knot slower than the Cavour rebuilds which could make 27 knots, but both classes were still able to force up to 28 knots). The middle turret was removed, and the other guns were bored out from 305/46’s to 320/44’s, greatly increasing their punching power. The Duilio-class had an extra 3º of elevation compared to the Cavourrebuilds giving them an extra 800m of range, but more importantly had a better Fire Control System, making them more capable of engaging targets at range. Their AA battery was far superior to Cavour’s, mounting a battery of 10x1 of the excellent 90mm/50 AA guns rather than the obsolete 100mm/47’s. It also included more 37mm AA guns. Finally, instead of the 6x2 120mm battery of Cavour, Duilio had a 4x3 battery of 135mm guns. Survivability: 24250 tons – 39500 HP Belt: 250mm between end barbettes, 80mm to bow. Main deck is 100mm over magazines, 80mm over machinery spaces, 30mm outboard. A lower portion of deck armor (vertical armor was 70mm) was 74mm thick 24mm turtleback, upper deck is 44mm. 240mm turret faces. Main Armament: 2x2, 2x3 320mm/44 Ansaldo Modello 1936 (Broadside: 10 guns) RoF: 2 rpm (30 sec) Dispersion/Sigma: German, 1.9 Traverse: 5º/sec (36 sec) AP: MV: 830mps Mass/Dmg: 525 kg (MaxDmg: 9300) SAP: MV: 830mps Mass/Dmg: 475 kg (MaxDmg: 8900) Secondary Battery: 4x3 135mm/50 Modello 1937 (Broadside: 6) RoF: 7 rpm (8.57 sec) HE: MV: 825mps Mass/Dmg: 32.7 kg (MaxDmg: 2000, 7% FC) 10x1 90mm/50 OTO Modello 1939 (Broadside: 5) RoF: 15 rpm (4.0 sec) HE: MV: 860mps Mass/Dmg: 10.1 kg (MaxDmg: 1300, 5% FC) Anti-Aircraft Battery: 10x1 90mm/50 OTO Modello 1939 - 95.0 dps @ 3.99 km 6x2 37mm/54 Breda 1932 - 69.6 dps @ 3.51 km 3x1 37mm/54 RM 1939 - 26.7 dps @ 3.51 km 8x2 20mm/65 Breda 1935 - 27.2 dps @ 2.01 km Maneuverability: Engine Power: 75000 shp Top Speed: 26.0 knots Special Consumables: Speed Boost - Standard So, what is Caio Duilio at her core? Well, she looks very similar to Cesare on the surface, and… well, simply put, that’s exactly what the case is. The class was originally built very similarly, and the rebuilds followed a similar path. The biggest diversion between the two ships comes in raw speed and secondary/AA firepower. Duilio’s broadside of six 135mm guns hit harder than the six 120mm guns of Cesare… but fires more slowly (7 rpm vs 10 rpm), albeit firing HE rather than AP. The 90mm guns on Doria are more numerous and fire faster, although less damaging (40x 100mm shells per minute versus 75x 90mm shells per minute). Her AA firepower is head and shoulders above that of Cesare, but she’s also one knot slower for her base speed. Given the fact that Cesare is OP as sin at tier V regardless of being uptiered… Caio Duilio makes for a strong contender at tier VI, being fast, stealthy, and still hard-hitting. She’s got the speed and stealth to escape ships that are more powerful than her, and yet she’s fast enough to run down other battleships at similar tiers, as well as chase down cruisers that are doing the wiggles – especially with her speed boost, which allows her to force her engine power in order to reach just over 28 knots (28.08 knots). However, she will struggle more at higher tiers. Being able to meet tier VIII battleships, she will encounter battleships that are faster, better armored, and better armed than her. For this, her great level of stealth inherited from Cesare will need to be exploited. The motto is an ancient Roman phrase that explains itself handily; "The name means power.” Tier VII – (BB1935) Leonardo da Vinci Non si volta chi a stella è fiso ‘BB1935’ finds its origins in one of the 1935 studies for a 26500 ton battleship to counter French construction following their decision to build the Dunkerque. The study called for a 26500 ton battleship armed with main guns of either 305 or 320mm, and a top speed of 30 knots. General Pugliese, who was in charge of the project, went around to over a dozen Admirals in attempt to get a consensus of what was most wanted. Although I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you the obvious, the results were… diverse, to say the least. Layouts varied drastically, using everything from triples to twins to quads. In total some 9 different designs were drawn up, which looked like everything from Nelson to Dunkerqueto reverse King George V... well, you get the idea. Oh, and Admiral de Feo had a design in there too, which is pretty much all you need to know about thatone. The one we’re looking at is one of the larger designs, which managed to grow to 30000 tons. It featured a main battery of 3x3 320mm guns, a top speed of 30 knots, and protection similar to Littorio. The secondary battery included 140mm guns in either triple or quad turrets, but since no 140mm guns existed within the Regia Marina, I’d assume the most likely choice of armament would have been the 135mm/45. The intended TDS system was Pugliese’s own. The name I’m borrowing form the third member of the Conte di Cavour-class battleships, which suffered a magazine detonation in port and was ultimately scrapped after an ambitious yet expensive recovery operation. Unlike some of the other names on this list, I’m sure I don’t need to cover her name, as da Vinci is quite famous and well-known far beyond Italy’s borders. The motto is a quote from the MC himself, which in English usually comes out as “He who is fixed to a star does not change his mind” Survivability: 30000 tons – 46300 HP Belt: 350mm between end barbettes inclined, at 11º, Main deck most likely at least 100mm on 12mm plating with a 36mm on 9mm upper deck. Upper belt perhaps 70mm. Main Armament: 3x3 320mm/44 Ansaldo Modello 1936 (Broadside: 9 guns) RoF: 2 rpm (30 sec) Dispersion/Sigma: German, 2.0 Traverse: 5º/sec (36 sec) AP: MV: 830mps Mass/Dmg: 525 kg (MaxDmg: 9300) SAP: MV: 830mps Mass/Dmg: 475 kg (MaxDmg: 8900) Secondary Battery: 4x3 135mm/45 Modello 1937 (Broadside: 6) RoF: 7 rpm (8.57 sec) HE: MV: 825mps Mass/Dmg: 32.7 kg (MaxDmg: 2000, 7% FC) 12x1 90mm/50 OTO Modello 1939 (Broadside: 6) RoF: 15 rpm (4.0 sec) HE: MV: 860mps Mass/Dmg: 10.1 kg (MaxDmg: 1300, 5% FC) Anti-Aircraft Battery: 12x1 90mm/50 OTO Modello 1939 - 114.0 dps @ 4.50 km 6x2 37mm/54 Breda 1932 - 69.6 dps @ 3.51 km 3x1 37mm/54 RM 1939 - 26.7 dps @ 3.51 km 8x2 20mm/65 Breda 1935 - 27.2 dps @ 2.01 km Maneuverability: Engine Power: 100000 shp Top Speed: 30.0 knots Perhaps best described as a link between Caio Duilio and Littorio, the 1935 mini-Littorio design (Littorino?) combined the firepower of the Italian rebuilds with the speed and protection that the Littorio-class was to have. Littorino would find such an ‘in-between’ playstyle in-game, the first truly tanky Italian battleship, with a similar combination of the tankiness and mobility available to Roma, with a similar AA suite. The main battery, three triple 320mm mounts, would start to sag, the guns being excellent at tier V, comfortably adequate at tier VI, but starting to get long in the tooth at tier VII, where tier IX battleships are a potential opponent. However, this weakness in firepower is the price that will have to be paid for having such a capable hull – 30 knots at tier VII with a hull that’s supposed to be as durable as Roma, and similar anti-aircraft firepower. I’ve also decided to extend the range of the 90mm/50 AA guns to 4.5 km, as: A) 4.0 km range on a tier VII+ BB is just stupid (side glance at Roma) B) This shows the greater performance of the 90mm mounts on Littorio versus Caio Duilio– the smaller battleship’s mounts were simply to close to the waterline and invasion of water was impossible to prevent – thus their RPC systems had to be disabled, while Littorio’s RPC systems remained intact for the 90mm AA guns It’s possibly the guns would need a RoF higher than 2 rpm in order to stay competitive, but as of now I’ve kept it there because I desire to avoid dipping into unrealistic reload times, and 2 rpm is the highest I’ve seen for these guns. Tier VIII – Littorio Molte nemici, molto onore The largest and most powerful class of battleships built by the Italian Navy, the ‘35000 ton’ (standard displacement was in excess of 40000 tons in reality) Littorio-class was a response to France building a second Dunkerque-class battleship and the subsequent breakdown in negotiations of battleship construction that had been taking place between the two nations. The design ended up being a bit of a test bed for the Italian Navy, featuring Pugliese’s torpedo defense system in full, and a new system of armor defense revolving around decapping of Armor-Piercing projectiles. The deck armor system had a 36mm upper deck laminated on 9mm plating to decap incoming shells, while the main deck was either 100mm (machinery) or 150mm (magazines) laminated on 12mm plating. The result was somewhat contradictory – her magazines were probably better protected from deck penetration than those of any other battleship save Yamato, but its machinery deck protection rates as one of the worst of the modern fast battleships, closer to ships like Bismarck and North Carolina than South Dakota, Iowa, Yamato, or Richelieu. However the belt was a different matter, a composite structure consisting of a 70mm homogenous armor decapping plate, a 250mm gap filled with cellulite, and a 280mm belt of Terni Cemented FH armor. The result was a belt that was largely immune to penetration from almost any gun ever put to sea – and even if splinters should result, two layers of splinter bulkheads existed within the ship before the splinters could actually hit the citadel bulkhead itself. The Littorio also mounted the most powerful guns ever mounted on an Italian battleship, the 381mm/50 Modello 1934. Firing an 884.8 kg Armor-Piercing shell at 850mps, and an 824.3 kg SAP shell at 880mps, it was the most powerful 15” rifle ever created, with belt penetration surpassing that of the American 16”/50 Mk.7 (WWII shells) or the Japanese 46cm/45 – although its deck penetration was inferior by a wide margin due to the shallow angles of impact. Although the full engine power was 160,000 shp, a lower operating speed of 128,200 shp was generally used during the wartime, on which she could make 30 knots. In-game, she’s largely a variation of Roma. Littorio was named after the Lictor, the one who would carry the fasces in ancient Rome – the fasces being the symbol of fascism. The motto used an oft-used saying of fascism – “Many enemies, much honor”. Littorio was the only ship of her class to use a motto. In what is probably the most famous picture of the class, Littorio and Vittorio Veneto conduct gunnery exercises together Survivability: 45236 tons – 64300 HP Belt: 375mm between end barbettes inclined at 11º with an internal 40mm bulkhead (yes, I'm keeping the nerfed internal armor, for the sake of balance with Roma), Main deck is 162-112mm with a 45mm upper deck. Upper belt is 70mm. Turret Faces are 380mm sloped at 30º Main Armament: 3x3 381mm/50 Ansaldo Modello 1934 (Broadside: 9 guns) RoF: 2 rpm (30 sec) Dispersion/Sigma: German, 1.8 Traverse: 6º/sec (30 sec) AP: MV: 850mps Mass/Dmg: 884.8 kg (MaxDmg: 12000) SAP: MV: 880mps Mass/Dmg: 824.3 kg (MaxDmg: 11800) Secondary Battery: 4x3 152mm/55 OTO Modello 1936 (Broadside: 6) RoF: 5 rpm (12 sec) AP: MV: 910mps Mass/Dmg: 50 kg (MaxDmg: 3100) 12x1 90mm/50 OTO Modello 1939 (Broadside: 6) RoF: 15 rpm (4.0 sec) HE: MV: 860mps Mass/Dmg: 10.1 kg (MaxDmg: 1300, 5% FC) Anti-Aircraft Battery: 12x1 90mm/50 OTO Modello 1939 - 114.0 dps @ 4.50 km 8x2 37mm/54 Breda 1932 - 92.8 dps @ 3.51 km 4x1 37mm/54 RM 1939 - 35.6 dps @ 3.51 km 8x2 20mm/65 Breda 1935 - 27.2 dps @ 2.01 km Maneuverability: Engine Power: 128200 shp Top Speed: 30.0 knots So, how does Littorio differ from Roma, our already existing premium? In subtle, but telling ways, as she’s not a straight clone. First and foremost, she loses out on durability, with 1100 less hitpoints and a less effective TDS (-10% - and yes, I know I haven't been listing TDS. This is the only time it really mattered). She also trades away her generally ineffective HE for the trademark Italian SAP rounds. She also isn’t as stealthy, visible from 820m further than Roma (from 14.94 km to 15.76 km, or a drop from the fully built 11.22 km to 11.82 km), but also able to fire farther away, base range increasing from 18.12 km to 18.94 km (21.74 to 22.73 km with a spotter aloft). You also have a considerably more capable mid-range AA suite and an extra 500m range on your long-range AA, making you somewhat more capable of defending yourself. With this changes, Littorio will still play similarly to Roma, but with a greater emphasis on staying a little farther away, as well as being less reliant on someone else’s AA. You’re not as stealthy, and torpedoes will hurt you more, not to mention you’ve got slightly less health overall – but at least you’ve got a little more breathing room when it comes to firing back, and you’ve got SAP shells to use so you don’t overpen cruisers quite as often. Tier IX – Impero Laid down as the third Littorio sister but never completed, Impero was one of the ‘second’ generation Littorio-class battleships along with her sister Roma, making the pair somewhat of a slightly different set of siblings… perhaps a second set of twins, if you consider both pairs to be Irish twins? Originally the successors to the Littorio-class would have been the ‘BB1936’ designs (which was adapted into the Ansaldo’s Project 41, which was then sold to the Soviet Union and played an important role in the design of the Projekt 23 Sovetsky Soyuz-class’s design), essentially much larger, 406mm gun armed Littorio’s, but as raw material came harder to come by in the years running up to WWII (due to Allied sanctions), and the need to finish the projects quickly for a 1943/44 war, a second set of slightly improved Littorio’s was chosen instead – Impero laid down in May of 1938, and Roma four months later. Impero, as I’m choosing to represent her here, is the Littorio-class unleashed. As we know it in-game (Roma), the class underperforms in many aspects, especially protection (many of the interior bulkheads scrapped) and the efficiency of the main belt, 375mm in game… which is a fraction of what it was capable. While technically speaking the MAB’s strength is a blank check (decapping against Face-Hardened is different then against homogenous – essentially if you decap the shell, it’s just going to either fail to penetrate, or just shatter, unless it’s of sufficient caliber. You’d need a 470mm shell to actually guarantee punching through Littorio’s belt), we do have one strength figure – able to resist her own shells at 16 km through tests. In-game, Roma has just over 490mm of penetration at this range. Likewise, the engine only operates at about 80% power in-game, compared to its 160000 shp full output. On top of that output, it was able to boost power by a further 12% in emergency situations – getting you just short of 180000 shp. In terms of their actual ability, Littorio somewhat straddles the line between tier VIII and IX with our in-game system – her biggest drawbacks are the raw dpm cap of only nine 381mm guns at tier IX, the low health, and the weak AA… but her protection, speed, and absurd penetration balance this out considerable. Impero (lit. “Empire” in English) was named for the new ‘Italian Empire’ proclaimed by Mussolini. Survivability: 45236 tons – 64300 HP Belt: 420mm between end barbettes inclined at 11º with an internal 36mm bulkhead, with a 24mm bulkhead ~4 meters further inside the hull. Main deck is 162-112mm with a 45mm upper deck. Upper belt is 70mm. Turret Faces are 380mm sloped at 30º Main Armament: 3x3 381mm/50 Ansaldo Modello 1934 (Broadside: 9 guns) RoF: 2.14 rpm (28 sec) Dispersion/Sigma: German, 2.0 Traverse: 6º/sec (30 sec) AP: MV: 850mps Mass/Dmg: 884.8 kg (MaxDmg: 12000) SAP: MV: 880mps Mass/Dmg: 824.3 kg (MaxDmg: 11800) Secondary Battery: 4x3 152mm/55 OTO Modello 1936 (Broadside: 6) RoF: 5 rpm (12 sec) AP: MV: 910mps Mass/Dmg: 50 kg (MaxDmg: 3100) 12x1 90mm/50 OTO Modello 1939 (Broadside: 6) RoF: 15 rpm (4.0 sec) HE: MV: 860mps Mass/Dmg: 10.1 kg (MaxDmg: 1300, 5% FC) Anti-Aircraft Battery: 12x1 90mm/50 OTO Modello 1939 - 114.0 dps @ 4.50 km 8x2 37mm/54 Breda 1932 - 92.8 dps @ 3.51 km 4x1 37mm/54 RM 1939 - 35.6 dps @ 3.51 km 8x2 20mm/65 Breda 1935 - 27.2 dps @ 2.01 km Maneuverability: Engine Power: 160000 shp Top Speed: 32.0 knots Impero becomes Roma on steroids. Or rather, she’s Roma, but without a broken ankle and a few cracked ribs. She’s fast at 32 knots, second only to the 32 knot + speed boost French battleships and the American battleships Iowa and Missouri. Her armor gives her fantastic resistance – the 70mm upper belt and 45mm upper deck giving very good protection against HE spam, and her defense against AP being out of this world. Her 420mm/11º main armor belt (the thickness being a compromise) is quite strong, allowing her to resist her own shells at just past 18.5 km broadside, and angled at only 30º she can resist her own shells at 15 km, the American 16”/50 within 16 km, and the Japanese 18.1”/45 at just over 19 km… without taking into account her internal bulkheads, and her thin citadel, despite how thin it is… because WG removed her innermost citadel bulkhead… Blue is actual, green is the current citadel. Even if they punch through the main belt, it’s almost impossible for any short fuse (hi, Royal Navy) BBs to thus hit the citadel – which means it has to be travelling at least 164mps. Shooting a broadside Impero at 10 km or greater with the French 380/45 would penetrate the belt, sure (well, until you hit 18 km) – but the shell won’t actually reach the citadel. You’ve got to be within 10 km to still have enough time to hit the belt before the shell’s fuse runs out after going through the main belt and first splinter bulkhead. In terms of firepower, she uses the same guns as Roma, but this time comes with 2.0 sigma, and a 28 second reload – somewhat offsetting the fact that you’re somewhat hurt by autobounce and having just nine barrels (Alsace still had similar caliber-weapons, but has twelve of them!). In terms of her actually getting hits, however, she should be fine. Alsace generally averages higher rates of hitting than Richelieu(7.9 shells per minute versus Richelieu’s 4.9 rpm), but that’s only a product of having 12 vs 8 guns and access to the RoF module. Without said module, it drops to 7 shells per minute, and with only 8 guns this would be 4.6 shells – Richelieu’s higher sigma (1.8 vs 1.7) coming into play. Roma, with 1.8 sigma, averages 5.4 shells. Keeping that sigma would give you 5.8 spm, 6.6 spm with the reload module. With 2.0 sigma, you’re easily seeing a similar number of shells as what Alsace achieves… and the 381/50’s AP is stronger than that of the 380/45. She’s Roma turned up to 12. Her AA is still anything but stellar, but it’s at least somewhere just under ‘on-par’ for tier IX. She’s fast, she’s durable, and she still hits hard – just more often. Tier X – (BB1936) Piave The ultimate evolution of the Italian battleship, ‘BB1936’, often known as UP.41 (Ufficiale Progetto 41 by Ansaldo’s nomenclature), this wasn’t so much an evolution past Littorio so much as it was the original idea. The Littorio’s design work was largely done under the jurisdiction of the WNT, which limited battleship design to 35000 tons standard displacement with an armament not exceeding 406mm. Naturally, just as every country had rushed to design a ship fitting the most 203mm (maximal caliber) guns as possible on a 10000 ton hull with their heavy cruisers, they did the same as with the battleships. This evolution was part of the same process that lead to Littorio, but the designers struggled as they felt it was too difficult to for nine 406mm guns on a sufficiently protected hull and get it to go 30 knots under an operational load. The weight reduction in terms of armament from choosing lower caliber weapons, in combination with the relative ease of developing new 381mm guns versus 406mm guns, lead them to shrink the armament down to ‘only’ nine 381mm guns as the project developed into what eventually became Littorio. However, development did not stop there, as Ansaldo continued to play with the design, and it grew, BB1936 being the ultimate product of these efforts, a 45000 ton vessel. However, the design did not take advantage of the more advanced protection methods used in Littorio’s armoring (such as the composite belt). Ultimately, as war came ever closer, despite the effort made to upgrade the Navy’s facilities to build and operate these large ships, it was decided to go with a repeat of the Littorio-class for the next battleship order (and thus Impero and Roma were ordered). However, Ansaldo had also sold the design to Russia, as UP.41 – with heavy modification to Russian preferences, and without the Pugliese TDS. This is the project we have data for, but needless to say it varies significantly from any design that would’ve succeeded Littorio. So, stat-wise, that is why I will try to recreate (including a composite belt, to explain the increased thickness). Her name is an interesting leap of logic for me – while personally speaking I’d love to name her Giuseppe Garibaldi, the fact of the matter is that A) by tradition only cruisers bared his name and B) By this period battleships were no longer named after people – that went out with the rise to power of the Fascists. Thus, the names of Italian battleships afterwards usually had to do with the glory of fascism (Littorio), a new Roman Empire (Impero), while Roma had a somewhat less neutral name, being named after the eternal city of Rome itself, although that still had ancient connotations to bit, as Rome always will. However, one of these ships had a name that that did not call back to a long-ago past, or a new fascist age. One ship had a name that simply spoke to Italy, the relatively young nation that existed here and now – the one that actually mattered. This was the Vittorio Veneto, named after the major victory achieved by Italy over Austria in 1918 that brought down the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Such a name was a powerful symbol that spoke more about a modern Italy – the one that mattered – than any name harking to some militaristic past or future that involved the subjugation of foreign nations. The Battle of Vittorio Veneto marked an important moment in Italian history – the final defeat, after hundreds of years of struggle, of the Hapsburg Empire, who had dominated Italy for about half a millennium. The victory not only avenged the defeat at Caporetto a year earlier, but also the centuries of foreign rule suffered by the Italian states. Thus the name I decided to go with was named after an earlier battle, but equally important, fought not long after Caporetto. Fought a little over 100 years ago, the Battle of the Piave River was where Italian troops halted and broke the Austrian offensive after the route at Caporetto. This was done in spite of the fact the Entente powers insist they fall further back, as they did not believe the Piave could be held... But hold it did. The Austrians were beaten back again on the Piave when they attempted their last offensive with a counter-attack launched 100 years ago today, and the utter defeat of this effort marked the first point where the Central Power’s command staff realized the war was beginning to end, despite the triumphs of 1917. Piave, although typically unanimously ignored by histories outside of Italy, stood as an important moment, a 20thcentury Legnano, and because of that I think that such a name is appropriate for Italy’s tier X battleship. Survivability: 49506 tons – 69300 HP Belt: 450mm between end barbettes inclined at 11º with an internal 36mm bulkhead, with a 24mm bulkhead ~4 meters further inside the hull. Main deck is 162mm with a 55mm upper deck. Upper belt is 150mm. Turret Faces are 400mm sloped at 30º Main Armament: 3x3 406mm/56 Ansaldo Modello 1936 (Broadside: 9 guns) RoF: 2.0 rpm (30 sec) Dispersion/Sigma: German, 2.0 Traverse: 6º/sec (30 sec) AP: MV: 850mps Mass/Dmg: 1350 kg (MaxDmg: 14800) SAP: MV: 870mps Mass/Dmg: 1100 kg (MaxDmg: 13500) Secondary Battery: 4x3 152mm/55 OTO Modello 1936 (Broadside: 6) RoF: 5 rpm (12 sec) AP: MV: 910mps Mass/Dmg: 50 kg (MaxDmg: 3100) 12x2 90mm/50 OTO Modello 1939 (Broadside: 6) RoF: 15 rpm (4.0 sec) HE: MV: 860mps Mass/Dmg: 10.1 kg (MaxDmg: 1300, 5% FC) Anti-Aircraft Battery: 12x2 90mm/50 OTO Modello 1939 - 160.8 dps @ 4.50 km 24x2 37mm/54 Breda 1932 - 378.4 dps @ 3.51 km 4x1 37mm/54 RM 1939 - 35.6 dps @ 3.51 km 24x2 20mm/65 Breda 1935 - 81.6 dps @ 2.01 km Maneuverability: Engine Power: 180000 shp Top Speed: 32.0 knots Alright, so I lied. This is not quite true to BB1936. That design intended to use a 406/50, with characteristics similar to the Russian 406mm/50 B-37, which the Italians helped develop. The planed 406/50 was to extend the given range of penetration compared to the 381/50 gun by 2000 meters – meaning it far exceeded any other gun that actually saw service in raw power. This ship doesn’t use that gun. Instead, this ship uses the monstrous 406mm/56 that was considered for the 4-16/16-40, a monstrous design that was intended to mount sixteenof these guns on a hull with 406mm of steeply inclined hull armor, and a top speed of 29 knots. The gun is your Vittorio Veneto, with the ability to rip through just short of 700mm of armor at 20 km, even the most heavily armored battleships will struggle to protect themselves from these guns, the raw penetrative power of a 1350-kilogram projectile fired at an initial muzzle velocity of 850 meters per second more than making up for the smaller caliber and the low gun count for that caliber. The raw kinetic force behind its armor-piecing gives it as high a damage potential as Yamato’s monstrous 460mm guns, and the SAP as much as American SHS! With the ridiculous velocity retention of such heavy shells, you’ll likely have issues over-penetrating cruisers just with your SAP shells – these might just be a more viable weapon than your AP at closer ranges against battleships! If your offensive armament is your Vittorio Veneto, then your armor is your Piave, because it’s a tough nut to crack. With 450mm of armor inclined at 11º, your belt is essentially 18” before angle of fall is even considered. Such a belt is seriously thick, and you retain the series of internal bulkheads to keep your citadel safe from stray rounds and the like. Angled at 45º, even Yamato’s 460mm APC won’t penetrate the belt by itself beyond 11 km. Your thick main armor deck is highly resistant to AP bombers, while your overall HE protection is improved. With a 55mm upper deck, even German 203mm HE will shatter on it, as will regular HE up to 330mm. IFHE will need to be greater than 254mm to penetrate it, and higher-penetration HE with IFHE will need to be 170mm or greater. Your 150mm upper belt provides significant protection against destroyers and light cruiser AP, and is immune to HE and IFHE of any penetration type. Even your AA protection isn’t terrible, although nor is it fantastic. Adequate is the best way to describe it. And if your armor is your Piave, then your mobility is your Carica della Savoia Cavalleria, because it’s going to get you out of (and into) trouble. Able to make 32 knots, you’re in the fastest tier X battleship, and because of your relatively small size, you’re probably able to turn much better than any other tier X battleship, too, handling more like a tier VIII than anything else. This will combine well with your good stealth. Exploit this brutally. However, that brings us on to the final point, which is your endurance. Watch how far you extend yourself, or it will be your Caporetto. You pack a huge wallop offensively, you’re fast, and you’re well armored, a tough nut to crack. However if that nut is cracked? Well, you’re light, and that means you’ve got a fairly small healthpool. You’re sitting on less than 70000 health at a tier where the lightest competitor has 82900 health, over 10000 more than you. That’s the price you pay for this unusual combination of characteristics. The Line overall So how does the line overall bring something new to WoWs? A good line can’t just be ‘more stuff’. It should bring something new to the table, and ideally do it without relying on a crazy gimmick, such as a super heal or speed boost. Nor should it rely on incredibly unrealistic rebuilding (side glance at Normandie and Lyon), or massive buffs to shell penetration (side glance at French 305 and 340mm guns). The Italian battleships start out being fairly unique from the start. While Napoli is fairly standard for a tier III battleship, SAP rounds aside, Dante Alighieri immediately takes you for something unique – a unique armament layout allowing you to bring twelve powerful 305mm barrels to bear against enemy ships at a tier where most ships can only manage ten barrels at best. Your armor is less than most of your foes, but your speed is better than most. Conte di Cavouris your last dance with a WWI-era battleship, which is a nice development – most nations don’t ditch the WWI battleships until tier VII. She again stresses a powerful broadside, boasting thirteen barrels to a broadside, and very nice firing angles – the lower turrets can traverse ±150º, and the superfiring turrets ±155º - past autobounce angles! The amidships ‘Q’-turret, meanwhile, rotates a full 360º. The armor and speed are hardly spectacular, armor being average to sub-par for the tier, and unlike before, where only the Japanese battlecruisers beat Dante in speed at tier IV – at tier V, Cavour is only about as fast as Iron Duke – well behind Kongo and Cesare, and an appreciable gap between her and König. At tier VI you start to push into the higher-tier face of the Italian battleship line, and playstyle starts to become more unique. Higher speeds with better handling, punchier guns with fast traverse and fairly sneaky for you tier. Your healthpool also starts to look a little short. However, you’re still carting over the poor armor of your predecessor with a citadel a deck over the waterline, and you’re not that fast. Both French tier VI battleships are faster than you, as is Mutsu, and Bayern’s only behind by a knot. However, with speed boost active, only the French battleships are faster than you. Tier VIII battleships will be a major threat given your low health and poor armor, and the fact that many are faster than you. Your AP is punchy, however – you’ve got more penetration than Bayern’s 380mm guns! Use your stealth to get where you need to be, and surprise enemies with powerful AP volleys. You’re probably not going to want to directly fight many other tier VI or VII battleships, but you can certainly hold your own against them. In tier VIII games, play in support of cruisers and destroyers, using your SAP rounds to gut targets most battleships would simply overpenetrate. At tier VII, you’ll be finding yourself having to do something similar, albeit with much, much thicker armor and a full 30 knots – no more speed boost, however! This puts you ahead of most, ultimately – tied only with Ashitaka and 2 knots behind Hood and Gneisenau. With a 2.0 sigma, however, your shells are going to be quite accurate, so good aim will be rewarded. As a famous American admiral said; Hit hard, Hit fast, Hit often. Your guns will be feeling fairly anemic by this point, comparing poorly to the other guns of tier VII battleships, so speed, stealth, and armor must be exploited ruthlessly in order to come out on top. Finally at tier VIII you hit Littorio. With it’s powerful, high-velocity guns and strong belt, those familiar with Roma will be at home, although the Littorio trades TDS for better AA, especially with upgrades adding to light AA. Unlike Roma, while Littorio lacks HE, its SAP rounds help it significantly to aid with one of Roma’s major issues with her main battery – chronic overpenetration of light armor. With still well over 200mm of penetration at 20 km, the 381mm SAP rounds and their shorter fuses make ideal weapons for shots against cruisers, or the upper works of angled battleships, while the AP shells will simply punch through almost any battleship armor one might expect to find in her MM range. At 30 knots you’re in the average for tier VIII battleships, but your handling is still slightly above average for the 30-knot+ club. Tier IX gives you quite a gem. Impero is a capable battleship, using the same guns but with much-improved sigma and a slight RoF boost (to 28 seconds – about the fastest RoF at loading angle the guns achieved that is known of). She’s also 2 knots faster, and has a thicker armor belt – whereas in-game Roma is proof against her guns at 22 km and beyond, Impero is proof at ranges of 18.7 km and beyond – still not quite the 16 km figure the belt was rated at (this would require a 462mm/11º belt), but still quite powerful – a moderate angle of 30º will see you safe from the American 16”/50 Mk.7 at beyond 15 km, and even Yamato’s monster 460mm guns can’t penetrate your belt from outside of 24 km, or about 19 km at a 30º angle. This drops to 13 km at 45º. However, you do pay for this with lower than average health for the tier. Tier X gives you the pinnacle of the line, Piave. This tier X battleship has stupidly strong guns and its main AP rounds may be seldom used due to the ridiculous penetration, able to punch past the belts of even well angled tier X battleships at the range of 20 km. The gun averages 9-10” more penetration at a given range than the vaunted American 16”/50 Mk.7, the most powerful 406mm gun to ever see service. At sub-5 km ranges, this 406mm Palla can penetrate over a meter of armor. Your own armor isn’t too shabby, 450mm of inclined armor, the most powerful belt at tier X. However, you’re light for your tier, and you don’t have the power of overmatch over 30mm+ plating – with only nine guns to boot! Using your stealth, speed, handling, and armor to survive will be vital to success, as otherwise damage will stack up rapidly. Thus while the lower tiers may feel very vanilla – a high gun count, but otherwise a familiar story aside from the lack of HE – the mid and higher tiers adopt their own unique flavor. Mid tiers are more modern and faster than many counterparts, but often just don’t compare in the armor department, and start to look a little underweight. This is somewhat of an experimental version of the tree, but I wanted to try it because I tend to like avoiding paper where possible, and I also though the 406/56 was simply too awesome not to use. So I do acknowledge that the tree does have other options for tier IX & X. For example, Deamon93’s version sees BB1936/UP.41, with the 406/50, at tier IX, with tier X being an unknown – the 4-16/16-40 somewhat being a placeholder due to the fact it would be absurdly overpowered in-game. That being said, there are easily other options if WG fudges it like the last three tier X BBs – a 10-gun BB with either 406mm gun would work well if still fast and well armored, using the iconic gun layout of the Abruzzi-class and the rebuilt battleships. It would also not be unrealistic to see on a modern Italian battleship – at one point this familiar layout was considered for Littorio in order to equally divide firepower fore and aft. Obviously, that route was not taken, due to weight concerns. Likewise, I should point out – the weight for many of the SAP rounds are guesstimated. I only have data for the 320mm and 381mm Granata Perforante, so I could only guess based on those shells for those that equip other guns. So, what do you guys think? As always, constructive criticism is welcome (and I'm sure I'll hear it on the tier X...). Happy Hunting!
  6. The following is a review of Duca degli Abruzzi, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of April 27th, 2018. The markings on her bow are caution stripes: "Danger, contents under pressure and may explode if penetrated". Quick Summary: A fast but fragile light cruiser that lacks in hitting power. Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publishing. Patch & Date Written: 0.7.2 to 0.7.4. March 1st through April 27th, 2018. PROS: Extended waterline belt armour of 30mm allows her to pull off some surprising close-range bounces. Decent anti-torpedo protection for a cruiser. Her torpedoes have excellent range of 12km. Very fast with a top speed of 35 knots. Good rate of turn of over 6.3º/s. Decent stock 11.2km surface detection range. Abruzzi has access to both Hydroacoustic Search and Defensive AA Fire at the same time. Access to the Repair Party consumable (!). CONS Enormous, vulnerable citadel sitting high over the water's surface. She eats citadels from battleships for days. I actually have some live footage of Abruzzi gobbling up a bowl full of citadel hits. Seriously, just when you think she couldn't possibly pack in another citadel hit, she goes and surprises you. Small main battery for a tier VII cruiser with only ten 152mm rifles with mediocre DPM. Low AP shell penetration values. Poor fire chance on her HE shells making her incredibly dependent on a commander with at least 10 to 14 skill points to inflict reasonable amounts of damage. Her torpedoes are very slow at 51 knots and she doesn't have enough of them. Short of having access to Defensive Fire, her AA firepower and range are both terrible. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Welcome to Hell. Duca degli Abruzzi is not a ship for inexperienced commanders. Owing to her fragility and poor attack power, she's going to punish novices. Veterans who know how to use and abuse concealment, cover and WASD hax can generate some decent numbers, but these tricks will only save you until a battleship casually swats you for all of your health. While Abruzzi can perform, it's a lot of (unnecessary) work. Her components break down as follows: - One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. - Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either. - Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer. - No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship Her guns under perform and so do her torpedoes. She's vulnerable as all get out to sudden deletion if a battleship even looks at her. Abruzzi's AA firepower is terrible, even with Defensive Fire. Her only good points are her agility and her Repair Party consumable, but the latter is shackled to a citadel that explodes if you look at it funny. She's fast and she has decent handling -- not the best at her tier, but one of the best overall. Her concealment and vision control (Refrigerator) is okay but she's nowhere near the best at it within her tier. Candy-cane striping won't save this ship. Options One of the defining characteristics of the Italian cruisers is their consumables. Other cruisers are forced to choose between Hydroacoustic Search and Defensive Fire, if they're given a choice at all. Abruzzi and d'Aosta have access to both at the same time, giving them more flexibility, but at the cost of lacking any form of specialization, such as extra range on German Hydroacoustic Search or an extra charge of American Defensive Fire. However, Abruzzi must choose between Defensive AA Fire and her Spotter Aircraft which is an uncomfortable choice. Unlike most tier VII cruisers, she has access to Repair Party. Overall, Abruzzi's options are "safe". They're convenient rather than competitive, differing from the game-winning combinations of Smoke Generator and Radar of Belfast, for example. Consumables: Abruzzi has access to four consumable slots. Abruzzi's Damage Control Party is standard. Hydroacoustic Search is also standard in her second slot. or In her third slot, you must choose between Defensive Fire and a Spotter Aircraft. Abruzzi rounds out her consumables with Repair Party. This is a tier IX cruiser version of the consumable, healing back up to 14% of her maximum health over 28 seconds. She can queue up 33% of damage to her citadel, 50% of any penetrating hits and 100% of flooding, fire, ram and over penetration damage. Camouflage: Abruzzi uses Type 10 Camouflage. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, a 10% reduction to repair costs, 3% reduced surface detection range and increases dispersion of incoming fire by 4% Upgrades: Abruzzi has four upgrade slots with standard cruiser options. There are no Special Upgrades worth considering for this ship. Take Main Armaments Modification 1 for your first slot. or or Damage Control Modification 1 for your second slot. Alternatively, Steering Gears Modification 1 is a good choice given how frequently her rudder breaks. It's almost chronic with this ship. If you have access to Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 and no better ship to put it on, it's not out of place here. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is optimal for your third slot. Don't bother with AA Guns Modification 2 -- you can't salvage her AA power. or Steering Gears Modification 2 is arguably the best of the fourth-slot options. Alternatively, if you want to improve her mitigation of fire damage for the sake of maximizing your Repair Party consumable, you may take Damage Control Modification 2. Offense Primary Battery: Ten 152mm naval rifles in a 3-2-2-3, A-B-X-Y arrangement. Secondary Battery: Eight 100mm guns in 4x2 turrets with one facing forward and the other backward on each side. Torpedo Launchers: Six tubes in 2x3 launchers with one to each side between the funnels. Abruzzi's guns are terrible. Her AP shells have bad penetration performance. Her HE shells are anemic with low damage and low fire chance. She only has 10 guns compared to the 12 guns found on all other tier VII light cruisers. She does not have an accelerated reload / normalization / autobounce angles to facilitate doing damage despite these disparities. Her fire arcs are bad. Generally speaking for mid-tier cruisers, 152mm guns are the best gun caliber in the game currently. They sit in this wonderful spot where taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells gives them tremendous damage output. While this skill is considered mandatory, their high explosive (HE) shells benefit so much from it that the four point cost seems a bargain. With the boosted penetration provided by this skill, they can spam HE against any targets they encounter and gradually tear them apart. Though they pay for this bonus with a slight dip in fire-setting efficiency, the trade off is largely considered worthwhile to emphasize their enormous damage-per-minute (DPM) potential. Would that Abruzzi also benefited. Abruzzi's fire angles are almost amazing, but her X-Turret ruins everything. She effectively turns Abruzzi into an 8-gun cruiser most of the time. Inertial Fuse for HE Shells (IFHE) should still be considered mandatory for Abruzzi. And yes, she does enjoy the same spike in penetration power which lets her hammer tier VIII and IX cruisers and capital ships for damage with this skill. However, she does not have the DPM of her contemporaries. Abruzzi's damage per shell is comparable and so is her rate of fire but she has less guns. Abruzzi's base fire chance per shell is also terrible and IFHE just makes it appalling. She sets less fires on average than the other tier VII cruisers which will light half again as many as Abruzzi will over time. The damage-stack from these damage-over-time effects are critical for burning down larger enemies and Abruzzi is left wanting in this regard. This might not be terrible if her AP shells were more reliable, but they're not. They suck, frankly. Unlike German cruisers which also suffer from anemic HE shells, Abruzzi does not have improved AP damage to compensate. Abruzzi's AP rounds are run of the mill, comparable in damage to Belfast's shells but with even worse penetration. Seriously. Abruzzi has the worst AP penetration of any of the 152mm light cruisers at tier VII+. They're even worse than the penetration values on Duca d'Aosta's guns at tier VI. For whatever reason, Abruzzi's AP shells have horrible shell drag and lower Krupp value than the other Italian premium cruiser. You're going to have to rely on HE shells to do the heavy lifting. Abruzzi is largely incapable of landing citadel damage against enemy cruisers at ranges at 9km and beyond. Source: proships.ru/stat/ships/ Which brings us back to how awful her HE shells are. There's nothing redeemable about these weapons at all. Bad damage. Bad rotation speed. Bad fire setting. You're going to need a 14pt commander (with Concealment Expert and IFHE) just to make her gunnery not be a painful sack of [edited]. The cardinal sin of Abruzzi's main battery armament, however, is their poor fire angles -- especially on X turret. You're already in the hole when it comes to DPM races and the wonky arc of fire on X-turret is just the king pisser. However, anytime you open fire with X-turret (or even with Y-turret), you open yourself up to taking massive amounts of damage in reprisals and this will quickly spell the end of your ship. And don't think your torpedoes can save you... While Abruzzi's guns are objectively worse than Duca d'Aosta, at least they both share the same torpedo armament. These are super long ranged (for a cruiser) and super slow (for anyone). With only a pair of triple launchers, they don't hit especially hard and short of point blank launches, it's difficult to land more than a single hit on anything. In short, her torpedoes aren't going to save her damage output. They reload reasonably fast, so drop them whenever you can safely. You never know -- you might actually hit something at long range. Summary: ThoughAbruzzi is a 10-gun cruiser, she's effectively an 8-gun cruiser because of her poor fire arc on X-turret. Given the poor performance of AP shells and bad arcs, she's functionally worse than Duca d'Aosta at tier VI most of the the time. Her torpedoes are water mines. Drop them regularly in the vague direction of the enemy and cross your fingers. You may get lucky. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : My vote would be to give her 1/4 HE penetration. This would free her up from being shackled to IFHE which would also give her an artificial boost to her fire chance. Defense Hit Points: 32,500 Maximum Citadel Protection: 30mm + 130mm Minimum Bow, Deck & Stern Armour: 16mm Torpedo Damage Reduction: 16% Allow me to illustrate Abruzzi's single biggest issue in regards to her survivability: At least she can't be citadelled by HE shells. The entire thing is internal. That's her citadel. It runs half the length of the ship. It sits high over the water line. There's not enough armour to keep enemy AP shells out but more than enough to make sure that when they penetrate, they stay in. Abruzzi's armour scheme is designed to foil AP shells from other cruisers and, to it's credit, it doesn't do a terrible job at this. At close range, provided you can keep the ship angled, your machine spaces and magazines are proof against AP fire from just about any cruiser you may encounter. This is largely due to her extended waterline belt, which is 30mm thick and cannot be overmatched by anything a cruiser will throw at you. In order to take advantage of this, though, Abruzzi needs to close the distance so that shell trajectories remain flat and attempts to citadel her must pass through this belt protection. Of course, this all falls apart when there's a battleship somewhere on the map. And those Battleships will murder- Abruzzi so hard you'd think they were trying to manifest Slaanesh. Now let's talk about her Repair Party. Abruzzi has one! Urra! Normally this would be enough to propel a ship up the durability ranks. However, it really doesn't do that much good here. Abruzzi does not have any issues when facing destroyers and cruisers, which is largely where her Repair Party will prove functional. In this regard, she feels very tanky, able to recover from small-caliber AP and HE penetrations and shrugging of fires like they were nothing. This is what elevated her from to , btw. Abruzzi can be an annoying ship to take out if you can't citadel her. In fact, she can be downright trollish in this regard, particularly against enemy cruisers and destroyers. Fires are of little concern which eases the taxation of your Damage Control Party. This is good given Abruzzi's unfortunate habit of losing her rudder. To this end, Last Stand isn't a bad investment to keep it functional during its frequent breaks -- this will let your Damage Control Party be on hand to address blazes and floods where your Repair Party can top off any lost health. The flip side of this is that her Repair Party all but guarantees Abruzzi will be at full health when a battleship does deign to bless you with the presence of their 283mm+ AP shells. Then her consumable avails you not as your innards get sprayed over the surface of the ocean in a thunderclap of 'sucks to be you'. Abruzzi hands this medal out a lot. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Where to start? Without her Repair Party consumable, I rate Abruzzi as being less durable than Atlanta and Flint -- two light cruisers with almost 5,000 less hit points. Her biggest flaw is the height of her citadel. Lowering that would help tremendously. It needn't be submerged entirely, but Abruzzi is little more than an experience pinata for battleships at the moment and there's very little she can do about it. Image courtesy of gamemodels3d.com, showing the extended, 30mm waterline belt of Abruzzi. This belt can frustrate battleship and cruiser attempts to citadel you at point blank range if you angle aggressively. Good luck with that, though. Agility Top Speed: 35.0 knotsTurning Radius: 680mRudder Shift: 8.9s Maximum Turn Rate: 6.3º/s at 4/4 speed Abruzzi's best characteristic is her speed and handling. Still, she does not stand out in any one aspect of her agility. She is not the fastest ship at tier VII -- Shchors is faster and Myoko is just as quick. She does not have the smallest turning radius. That distinction lies firmly with Atlanta and Flint. Her Rudder Shift is on the slow side, but Indianapolis, Algérie and Belfast are worse. She's right in the middle of the pack when it comes to bringing her bow about, with a rate of turn that sits comfortably in the middle. Yet as an overall whole, she stands apart. She combines straight line speed of the Soviet and Japanese cruisers with the American rates of turn. This flexibility is welcome for such a fragile vessel. Opponents will tend to underestimate the lead time necessary to catch Abruzzi when she's going flat out at range. In addition, she can dodge with the best of them. I have nothing but praise for Abruzzi's handling and only wish the rest of the ship was so comfortable. Test run at 4/4 speed. Nothing unexpected here. Abruzzi's turning circle isn't abnormally large and she loses the usual 20% speed in a turn like most cruisers. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Be British. Fiji is remarkably agile, quick to accelerate and handles beautifully. Fiji's speed in a turn is greater than Algérie's in a straight line. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 100mm / 37mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 4.0km / 3.5km / 2.0km AA DPS per Aura: 26.4 / 46.4 / 18.2 Abruzzi's raw anti-aircraft firepower is terrible -- it's the worst of the cruisers at her tier by a large margin. If Defensive Fire wasn't so good, I would pan her AA guns as all but useless and label this ship as fodder for CVs as much as she is battleships. As it is, her anti-aircraft defense is for personal defense only and it cannot be relied upon the do anything other than bruise incoming aircraft squadrons. They will drop ordnance. Your consumable will merely scatter it. There's nothing here really worth improving. Save your skill points and upgrade slots. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : A whole lot of buffs to range and firepower, or some stupid gimmick. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection Range: 11.16km Air Detection Range: 7.65km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 9.53km Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 5.16km Main Battery Firing Range: 15.06km Abruzzi has decent concealment when fully specialized with a stealth build. However, she does not have the tools or ability to dominate stealth. Even at her own tier, she's bested by the British cruisers, Fiji and Belfast. She also sits behind Atlanta and Flint. This list grows longer when you look within her matchmaking spread, including more British cruisers and even some of the Japanese heavies like Atago. Combined with her speed, stealth and Hydroacoustic Search consumable, on paper she makes a decent potential destroyer and light cruiser hunter. She should also be able to dictate engagement ranges against most opponents. However, Abruzzi cannot safely engage enemies while in the line of fire of enemy battleships. She has two means of defense against fire from these large capital ships -- be behind hard cover, or be far enough away that she can avoid their shot. Engaging battleships at the extent of her normal range does not give her enough time to realistically dodge. While her torpedoes may be safely launched from stealth, they travel too slowly to have a realistic chance of delivering many hits without luck and experience. This just leaves island humping, lobbing shells over hard cover as the only appreciable way for Abruzzi to engage battleships. This is a good skill to learn as it will serve you well with higher tiered American cruisers. However, Abruzzi's fragility will make the pains of learning this lesson far more acute than it needs to be. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Abruzzi loses out big to three other premium ships that all have much better vision control -- Belfast, Flint and Atlanta. Belfast reigns best overall with good concealment and her broken combination of consumables that allows her to utterly dominate stealth and detection at tier VII. Behind her, Flint and Atlanta are also stealthier than Abruzzi and bring either smoke or radar respectively to the table. I would even rate Fiji better than Abruzzi, even though the British tech tree cruiser has a larger surface detection range. Smoke is invaluable and negates any range issues this ship may have had. Duca, Duca, Goose Performance in Duca degli Abruzzi is heavily dependent on having a commander with enough skill points. The two big hurdles are acquiring first 10 skill points and then your 14th skill point. One could argue your 17th is equally important too. Follow along and try out your own builds with ShipComrade's Captain Skill Calculator. Start with Priority Target. Don't skimp out on this one -- it's almost a must with this ship. If it ever ticks over to "2" and there's a battleship in the vicinity, it's time to stop firing and hide. You have a choice at tier 2. Last Stand is helpful -- Abruzzi's steering gear in particular is prone to breaking. If you feel brave enough to manage your Damage Control Party without it, then Adrenaline Rush should be your port of call as the optimal skill to pick at this tier. Next up, Superintendent is the best skill at tier 3 to get you an extra charge of Repair Party (and everything else). The order in which you spend your next eight points is irrelevant. In either case, you'll spend four and then immediately wish you could spend four more. Concealment Expert and Inertial Fuse for HE Shells are both defining skills for Abruzzi, with the former making play easier (but never forgiving) and the latter facilitating damage dealing (while never making her good at it). Drop back down to tier 3 and pick up Demolition Expert for your 17th skill point. And finally round out your selection with whichever skill you skipped at tier 2 the first time through or Expert Marksman to improve your gun traverse. Final Evaluation Mouse's Summary: It's an uphill battle to tally a decent damage total. It can be done, but man, you're going to have to work at it. Abruzzi will make you think that she's a lot tougher than she is. You might have a nice streak of games where your Repair Party lets you tank effectively. But just as likely, you may have a not-so nice streak of games where you get deleted. This ship really encourages passive play as a result. You're doing small amounts of chip damage over time, skulking at the periphery and trying to be the least appetizing target you can be. I don't like this ship. Ship Jesus help me, I really tried to enjoy my time in her. I would like to imagine that I'm a patient player. Abruzzi tested my limits. I can stomach glass cannons -- Atlanta is one of my favourite ships in the game, for example. Abruzzi has the 'glass' part down, but she's really lacking the cannon element. I have already gone on at length about her firepower deficiencies. With her X-turret being so badly positioned, Abruzzi is no better armed than Duca d'Aosta much of the time. So she's stuck with tier VI firepower (and admittedly weak tier VI firepower) through much of her engagements. This should indicate that she's meant to be a bit of a tank, but she's just a victim when facing anything other than cruisers or destroyers which makes me have a sad. Abruzzi isn't the first cruiser (or even the first premium cruiser) that gargles on battleship AP shells so expertly that dreadnoughts can't help but whip their guns out her way. Testing Abruzzi has taught me that if I see her on the enemy roster while I'm in one of my battleships that I should make her a priority target -- not because she's a threat, but that because like Pensacola and the Omaha-sisters before her, I'm likely to be rewarded with a super-easy kill. As knowledge of Abruzzi's citadel weakness become more widespread, this problem will prove chronic and I feel bad for those players who find this instant deletion frustrating. I will admit, in those situations where Abruzzi can engage cruisers and destroyers without battleship interference, she's a lot of fun to play. However, those engagements aren't commonplace. The first you'll often note about battleship attentions is losing most (if not all) of your health. Suffice to say, Abruzzi and I were not a good fit for one another. I am sure some people will enjoy her and even rack up some impressive games with her. Performance wise, I was able to do the same, but the amount of work needed wasn't to my liking. Abruzzi only really punishes you against battleships -- in most other respects, she's alright and certainly not broken. It's just the passive game play needed to make her perform isn't competitive and I don't find it very fun. A string of three good games in Abruzzi. I was alarmed. Thankfully the fourth game sets things straight as I got casually deleted by a battleship from 16km away before I could manage 14,000 damage. Good games are possible, but terrible games will happen too no matter how skilled you are. Would I Recommend? At the time of writing, Duca d'Aosta is available across all servers both in the stores and within the tech tree for 4,700 doubloons. Controversial as Duca d'Aosta is, she's a much better purchase than Abruzzi for someone looking for an Italian light cruiser. PVE Battles How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Meh. I want to say 'no', but she will probably be alright in scenarios. Co-op will be hit or miss. She will struggle to hit the top of the team lists -- she just doesn't output damage fast enough. Random Battle Grinding:This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. No, no, no, no, no. For Competitive Gaming:Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. No, there are much better premiums you could bring for competitive game modes like Ranked Battles. For Collectors:If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. Yes. She is gorgeous -- there's no denying that. She was also built in steel and survived the war, so there's that going for her too. For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? Blech. No. What's the Final Verdict?How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered? GARBAGE - The boat is unbalanced, not fun to play and weak. The ship desperately needs some buffs or some quality of life changes.Mehbote - An average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable however she's not going to be considered optimal.Gudbote - A powerful ship, often one of the best ships at a given role within its tier. Usually considered optimal for a given task.OVERPOWERED - The boat is unbalanced and powerful. Typically she's either horrible to play against or she redefines the meta entirely. Conclusion Two months I have been working on this review, on and off. Most of it was written by mid-March but then word came down that the test-build for Abruzzi was going to be upgraded with a Repair Party consumable. I held my breath hoping it would salvage this ship from a looming Garbage evaluation. It did -- which says a lot about the power level of a Repair Party when it's not commonly available to most other ships. It just didn't save this ship for me. This is one of those ships I'm not likely going to want to come back to. This is why it was so satisfying to animate blowing it up. Thank you all for reading. As this is being written, I am just shy of halfway through my updated Prinz Eugen review, crunching through Defense and AA graphics. I suspect she may be pushed to the back-burner to get an evaluation of Z-39 done, but we'll see. Maybe I can push through a miracle or two this weekend. I do want to push out Prinz Eugen sooner rather than later in thanks to my supporters on Patreon. Their patronage helps keep me fed and the lights on and I'm grateful to anyone that can help this way. Until next time! Someone suggested I market LWM Bobble Heads. I dunno, they kinda freak me out. Appendix
  7. I highlight the main details of World of Warships update 0-8-10 - and how to maximize the containers and tokens you can earn to give you the best chance to complete the new Italian collection: Resolute and rapid in this update to attain the Excellent unique Italian commander: Luigi Sansonetti. Good luck, I hope this helps! Kar
  8. Simple clean lines and a nice event camo for other ships to boot. Thanks so much for not going garish WG! For anyone interested some history from@Phoenix_jz that is a bit more detailed than the portal page. Go find one of his threads and give him all the upvotes. Fotos I have taken of the portrait in question. If you have a chance go see the museum. :)
  9. Hello! I thought this would be an interesting question. If it was already asked already, feel free to close the thread. A big factor concerning the Second World War was the Marine Nationale. Aside from a few skirmishes and battles here and there, they were mostly a non-factor in the entire conflict, neither supporting the Allies or Axis in large offensives. Nevertheless, they could've been a big tipping point prior to the massive scuttling in Toulon due to their relatively big numbers and good technology. While we can conclude that a full-on Allied Marine Nationale would've helped end the war faster, at least on the high seas, what about a fully loyal Axis Marine Nationale? What I mean is a Marine Nationale that is fully committed to the Axis cause. While that would definitely not work from a historical and political perspective, I'm mostly looking at this from a military perspective, so that is ignoring politics overall. While I'm also aware that the French had naval assets in the Pacific as well, I recall that they were very limited, so they probably wouldn't have too much of an effect on the war there. That is why I'm focusing on the Atlantic and Mediterranean theaters since the French Navy was very big in those sectors. XX For this question, I was either thinking around the time of France's formal surrender, which led to the creation of the Vichy French regime. Ignoring De Gaulle and the French French movement, lets just say that they have no naval assets and the French navy is mostly 100% fine with formally helping the Axis. If the Marine Nationale joined the Axis with French personnel and material, how would've that affected the British Royal Navy in terms of planning and logistics, especially if the French were working alongside the German and Italian navies in their operations? How would've that affected American planning when the United States Navy inevitably join the war effort after Pearl Harbor since they did have units in the Atlantic? Could the Axis overpower the Allies in Europe with the Marine Nationale on their side? If the war is won by the Allies, what do you think would be the fate of the Marine Nationale? After all, the Axis navies post-war were dissolved and their more important units were split up among the winners...with some small exceptions (i.e. the Andrea Doria-class battleships staying with Italy).
  10. Tier V Italian Cruiser Premium Scipione Africano Navigare et audere The Italian Capitani Romani-class light cruisers are, more so than any other type of warship actually built, closest to the line between cruiser and destroyer. Originally intended to be an evolution of the esploratore concept, the class was to be esploratori oceanici, literally ‘ocean scouts’, they were designed to be longer-ranged scouts capable of operating outside of the Mediterranean, and also were designed to counter the threat of the French Le Fantasque and Mogador-class contre-torpilleurs. Due to their category being abolished in the Regia Marina in 1938, all esploratori leggeri being classed as destroyers, and the larger units being classed as light cruisers, they were grouped as light cruisers, in spite of being much smaller and more lightly armed than other light cruisers, and lacking any armor. That being said, they were also too large to be described as destroyers. They ultimately came too late in the war to have much of an impact, but here we’ll have a look at their design history, capabilities, the service career of one of their more famous members, and then see where they fit best in-game. Origins 'Esploratori' had been a long-running concept in the Regia Marina dating back to WWI, involving ships that essentially straddled the line between cruisers and destroyers. Meant to operate as fast and powerful scouts, they were to provide the fleet with reconnaissance of the enemy forces, capable from running from (or chasing down) almost any other ship, and being to easily out-gun any destroyer-sized vessel (which were most likely to be of similar speed). The concept was first inspired by the fast protected cruiser Quarto, laid down in 1909, which was capable of 28 knots. The esploratori began life with the Poerio-class esploratori leggeri (light scouts), laid down in 1913, 1216 tons fully loaded, armed with six single 102mm gun mounts (four to a broadside), two twin 450mm torpedo mounts, and capable of 31.5 knots. Scarcely a year later the 1914 Mirabello-class was laid down, and were far larger – 1972 tons fully loaded, and armed with eight single 102mm mounts (six to a broadside), and identical torpedo armament, and capable of 35 knots. Alessandro Poerio at sea, 1915 In 1917 the Leone-class was ordered, but due to material shortages, they could only be laid down in 1921. Again an increase in displacement came, to 2289 tons fully loaded, and although speed fell to 34 knots, armament was again eight guns, but 120mm and in twin mounts, all centerline, so all could be fired to a broadside. Torpedo mounts became triples. This last class became influential abroad, and provoked a response from the Regia Marina’s new rivals, the French Marine Nationale. They began creating their own counters to the esploratori leggeri, the destroyer-hunting 'contre-torpilleurs', designed to be fast and heavily armed. First came the Jaguar-class of 1922, very large ships weighing in at about 3000 tons, armed with five 130mm guns and making 35.5 knots. 200 tons heavier was the 1927 Guépard-class, which had 138.6mm guns. The Italian response was the Navigatori-class, 2580 ton destroyers designed for 38 knots, with three twin 120mm mounts of a more modern design. While a strong competitor to early French designs, newer contre-torpilluersonly became larger and more powerful, which lead the Italians to commission large scout ships specifically geared towards defeating the French ‘superdestroyers’ – the 6844 ton Giussano-class, capable of 37 knots and armed with eight 152mm guns in power-operated turrets. Eventually re-rated as light cruisers, the Regia Marina was not satisfied with these ships, or the improved Cadorna-class – too much had been sacrificed on such large units for their high speed and armament, and their lack of effective protection was unacceptable for their displacement (on top of numerous other flaws). Still, the French did not leave this unanswered, and responded with their largest destroyers yet – the Le Fantasque (1929) and Mogador (1934) classes, both capable of up to 40 knots, Le Fantasque some 3417 tons with five 138.6mm guns, and Mogador reaching 4026 tons with eight 138.6mm guns. Volta, one of the Mogador-class contre-torpilleurs, at Quiberon Bay, 14 march 1939 Thus, by the late 1930s France had thirty contre-torpilleurs serving with two more soon to complete, while the Regia Marina could answer with only the twelve Navigatori-class esploratori leggeri (the older esploratori were considered too old, and had been rated second-line units) and the six Giussano-class & Cadorna-class large esploratori – eighteen ships total. As French doctrine considered that three superdestroyers should be able to defeat a single cruiser, the forces were roughly equal in number of ships, but the reality of the capability of the light scouts of the Navigatori-class against the 138.6mm ships meant that really the Italians were well outnumbered in this regard. Thus, design work began in 1937 for a class of twelve esplotatori oceanici, long-ranged scouts that would be superior to the newest French ships. The primary contractor was chosen to be Odero-Terni-Orlando, as they already had experience with large fast designs, having designed and built the high-speed destroyer leader Tashkent, 2893 tons standard, 4175 full loaded, theoretically capable of 39 knots on 110,000 shp, but on trials at 3422 tons made 43.53 knots on 130,000 shp. Design Thus, in many respects the design was a larger version of the OTO project, with similar power from its machinery. Standard displacement was to be 3,745 tons, and the ship adopted a flush-deck form with a deckhouse that stretched to encompass the barbettes of ‘B’ and ‘C’ turrets. Hull structure was designed for strength and seaworthiness in spite of high speed, and was constructed mostly out of high-strength ER steel, although nickel-steel alloys were used in other areas. The ship was effectively unarmored, with the only armor plates being 15mm around the bridge structure, and the turrets having 20mm faces and 6mm protection elsewhere. Minor protection against splinters came as a virtue of the hull construction (ER steel, for context, is about 90% the armor strength of American STS plates), but would do nothing against shell impacts (to reach the ‘citadel’ of the ship, only a 9mm plate and then 4mm plate would be needed to be breached). 15 transverse bulkheads divided the hull into 17 sections. Normal displacement was to be 5,035 tons, and full load was 5,420 tons. Machinery was arranged en echelon, the two groups each being made up of two Thornycroft Boilers operating at 320ºC and a pressure of 26 kg/cm2 feeding a Beluzzo geared steam turbine (technically 29 kg, but it was fed to the turbines as 26 kg). These two groups, one ahead of the other drove two shafts for 110,000 shp normal power. The fore group corresponded to the starboard shaft, and the aft group to the portside shaft. Maximum fuel load was 1400 tons, for a range of 4,252 nm at 18 knots. The main battery was composed of eight 135mm/45 cannons, model 1938, arranged in four twin turrets in superfiring pairs fore and aft. They fired 33.0 kg shells at 825 mps to a maximum range of 19.6 km at 45º, their maximum elevation. This low elevation of 45º precluded the ability of the guns to act as dual-purpose weapons. Turrets were power-operated and fitted with the most advanced stabilization and RPC systems available to the Regia Marina at the time, with each gun capable of firing a round every 8 seconds. Rammers were recoil powered, but as these were too weak to operate at higher elevations, rounds were manually loaded at elevations over +30º. Electric lifts gave a maximum replenishment rate of 18 rounds per gun per minute, but if forced to operate under manual conditions this fell to about 9 rounds per minute per gun. Ammunition load was 160 rounds per gun, each turret magazine holding 110 rounds of SAP, 189 rounds of HE, and 21 anti-aircraft shells, all of which had 8.88 kg flashless charges. 65 illumination rounds were also carried in each magazine, although only half of these had flashless charges. The High-Explosive ammunition had 5.45% filler (1.8 kg) and was fitted with an instant nose-fuse, while the Semi Armor-Piercing had 4.44% filler (1.465 kg) with a instant base-fuse, and according to 1942 fleet instructions could penetrate over 53mm of armor at 11 km, 49mm at 13 km, and 38mm at 16 km. The fire control system used aboard the Capitani were evolutions of the mainstay cruiser fire control system of the 1930s, although the scale was reduced as a result of the ship size. The primary director, fitted atop the conning tower, was fitted with the new 4-meter rangefinders, while the backup director was fitted atop the aft superstructure, abaft the second funnel, holding only a single 4-meter rangefinder. Curiously, while it had an APG unit (an inclinometer), it was separate to the director structure. Due to the small size of the turrets, unlike most Italian cruisers the turrets did not hold rangefinders of their own. For night combat, two special night directors flanked the bridge, and two remote or manually controlled searchlights were fitted on either side of the second funnel. This information would be fed to a RM Type-1 version 3 (RM-13) fire control computer. This computer was directly derived from the RM-13 computer, which equipped most of the Italian cruisers of the 1930s (all but the Giussano-class). The main difference was the implementation of the Type 4 Gimetro in the RM-13, necessary for the more advanced stabilization systems, while the RM-12 used the older Type 2. Compared to the Type 2, the Type 4 measured the rotational velocity of line of sight automatically rather than manually (introduced on the Type 3, carried over to the Type 4), and used a dedicated gyrostat to measure the heel/list of the ship. The Type 4 itself was stabilized, greatly increasing the accuracy of the system. It was capable of engaging at own ship speeds of up to 40 knots, and target enemy ships making up to 40 knots, with a maximum range rate of 77.75 knots. Wind speed could be up to 40 meters/second, and heel/list could be as great as 15º. Up to two enemy ships could be targeted at a time, with the fore guns falling under control of the primary directors, and the aft guns being controlled by the reserve director. Although AA shells were carried, the fire control system did not provide control for anti-aircraft work. Although it had originally been planned for the midrange AA armament to be made up of the new Ansaldo 65mm/64 automatic anti-aircraft cannon, this was not to be. It fired 4.08 kg shells at a velocity of 950 mps to a maximum effective range of 7500 meters at 45º, and had a ceiling of 5000 meters. Originally it had been planned to utilize electric loading to generate a rate of fire of 50-60 rounds per minute, but as the rammer was plagued with trouble it was reverted to a hand-loading system capable of 20 rpm, which made the system far less valuable, and due to the slow procurement of the system eventually the RM gave up on it in favor a tried and true design. Instead, the Breda 37mm/54 in RM 1939 single mounts was chosen, which had given good service already in the war on destroyers, and was very well liked by AA crews. Firing a 823-gram shell to a maximum effective range of 4000 meters, the Breda 37mm gun was capable of a practical rate of fire of 140 rounds per minute, and eight guns were mounted total (four to a broadside), six abreast the forward superstructure, and two abreast the aft tower. Ammunition lockers were beneath the mounts, and were brought up via electric lifts (with manual reserve drives). Total capacity for the ship was 12,000 rounds. In addition, for close-range AA work four Breda 20mm/65 M1935 twin mounts were placed on the structure around the second funnel. They fired a 123-gram shell to an effective range of 1200 meters, with a practical rate of fire of 150 rounds per minute. Ammunition replenishment was as for the 37mm cannons, with 19,200 rounds stored. For use against heavier targets, a battery of eight torpedo tubes was carried, in two quadruple ‘four-leaf-clover’ mounts that stacked the tubes in a 2x2 layout rather than the conventional side-by-side system. They were placed on centerline mounts above the turbine rooms, within the deckhouse, in a similar layout to that used by the Japanese Yubari and Agano-class light cruisers. They fired Si 270 ‘M’ 533mm torpedoes, the standard Italian surface-ship torpedo, which had a 270 kg TNT warhead, and settings for 4000, 8000, and 12000 meters (for speeds of 48, 38, and 30 knots respectively). Four torpedoes could be carried in reserve, for the forward mount. These ships were far from one-trick ponies, however, and also carried equipment for underwater warfare. Provisions for launching 100-kg depth charges were fitted, with two throwers fitted. Likewise, the ships could carry mines, number varying depending on type; 136 ‘Elia’ 145 kg TNT anti-submarine contact mines 120 ‘Bollo’ 125 kg TNT contact mines 114 'P200' 200 kg TNT dual-purpose mines (contact only early-war, later also acoustic. Anti-sub & anti-ship) As carrying such a massive number of mines at a given time would greatly reduce combat ability (impossible to use torpedo tubes or No.4 135mm mount), usually combat loads would only consist of 52, 48, and 40 mines respectively. For concealment, the ships carried smoke generators, both for additives to the main funnels, but also a stern-mounted hydrogen-chloride smokescreen generator. The ships were also some of the only Italian ships to enter service with radar, fitting the EC-3/ter ‘Gufo’ search radar. Operating on 400 MHz, it had a power output of 10 kW on a 75cm wavelength. It was mounted about 23.6 meters above the waterline, and could detect aircraft out to a range of 80 km, and medium-sized surface ships out to a range of a little less than 24 km. Although it was meant only as a search radar, it could also be manually fixed on a given azimuth to refine range and bearing information. In spite of this, it was not accurate enough in bearing to facilitate radar blind fire (radar controlled gunnery without the aid optical instruments). Such an ability would not be availed until the Gufo G.III fire control radar, but this arrived too late in the war to be fitted to any Italian warships. History Construction and service until the Armistice of Cassibile Ordered as part of the 1938 naval program, the tenth member of the class would be laid down as the Scipione Africano on 28 September 1939 at the yards of OTO Livorno. Like all her sisters, her name was taken from an ancient Roman leader, making the class unique in the history of the Regia Marina and Marina Militare. Scipione Africano was named for the famous Roman Consul who lead major armies of the Roman Republic in the Second Punic War, defeating the Carthaginians in Iberia and then later defeating the famous Hannibal Barca in the Battle of Zama, on Carthage’s very shores. Due to material shortages resulting from sanctions placed on Italy by France and Great Britain, her construction time was exacerbated, but she skipped the first ‘culling’ of the Capitani, where four were cancelled shortly after Italy’s entry into the war due to the need for raw materials, and subsequently scrapped. Construction of the hull continued slowly, but on 12 January 1941, 15 & ½ months after being laid down, Scipione Africano was launched. Work on her continued, but overall pace was slow due to lack of raw material, and it was not until 23 April 1943 that she would be completed, and shortly after commissioned into the Regia Marina with the motto Navigare et audere, or ‘Dare to sail’. She was only the second sister of her class to be commissioned, and her small increase to the strength of the Regia Marina could do little to offset the loss of the heavy cruiser Trieste and heavy damage to Gorizia suffered two weeks earlier. Upon entering service she was assigned to the Fleet Destroyer Group with her sister Attilio Regolo. Scipione Africano in construction, some time in 1941-1942 Scipione Africano’s life was not expected to be long, and nor was the remainder of most of the fleet. The fact the end of the war was approaching for Italy was all too clear, and the Regia Marina had already decided the end of the war would not be faced with white flags or scuttling charges. That being said, the navy had no intention of throwing lives away for no benefit, and due to the fact no effective air cover could be provided that far south, action in the Central Mediterranean was ruled out. If Sicily was invaded, it would have to be on it’s own. Sardinia and Corsica, however, were on the table to defend. As a result, in May of 1943 the Regia Marina’s Naval Battle Force (FBN) embarked on its largest exercise since being formed (and one of the largest conducted by the RM in the entire war). In these exercises, Scipione Africano had the unfortunate distinguishing role of being responsible for all the failure-to-fires of 135mm guns in the fleet, 46 of the 675 rounds fired by her and Atillio Regolo failing to fire properly. 12 of these were due to equipment failures, and 34 due to personnel. Ironically, this gave the 135mm guns the highest failure rate out (7%) of any weapon in the fleet, and given much of that was due to the newness of the ship to the crew, it spoke well of the reliability of the fleet’s weaponry. The next highest rate came from the 37mm cannons at 4.8%, 80% of which was due to equipment failures. Scipione Africano at sea, in mid-1943 June was spent in a state of much frustration, as the FBN was left largely in port, where risk was not much less than in battle due to the presence of powerful USAAC heavy bomber raids, which had temporarily put the battleships Vittorio Veneto and Roma out of action. Vittorio Veneto was repaired and put to readiness in early July, and not a moment to soon. On the night July 10th, the Allies launched Operation Husky: the invasion of Sicily. Although the fleet fired up its boilers, due to missing two of the battleships (Vittorio Veneto was not yet fully ready for action) and the insufficient air cover that could supplied, it was decided not to employ the FBN. In the meantime, however, it was decided to reactive and boost the force in the Ionian Sea, using crew from the heavy cruisers Trieste and Gorizia to reactivate the battleships Caio Duilio and Andrea Doria. It was decided to send the Scipione Africano to reinforce this force, before the Straits of Messina were cut off permanently. Scipione Africano departed La Spezia under the command of Captain Ernesto de Pellegrini dai Coi on the 15th for Operazione Scilla (Operation Scylla), but was forced to briefly stop in Naples after being sighted by a British seaplane. In her stopover in Naples she embarked an air liason and Metox equipment (a German radar warning system, activated by enemy radar). She continued her mission on the 16th, leaving at 1815 and in the early hours of the 17th of July approached the straits. By this time, most of the southern half of Sicily had fallen into Allied hands, and with it the port of Augusta. As a measure to prevent the Axis from evacuating Sicily, the Allies had begun basing MTB squadrons there in order to attack whatever came through. Therefore, on the night of the 16th, the British 10th MTB Flotilla was stationed in the straights, made up of four Elco-type MTBs (MTB 260, 313, 315, & 316). Running at 24 knots, at 0200 Scipione picked up the four MTB’s on her radar at a range of 10,000 meters. Initially mistaken as friendly barges, it was not until 0213 that the movement of the MTBs, previously stopped, convinced Captain Pellegrini that they were hostile, and he immediately ordered combat stations, the cruiser accelerating up to 30 knots. As the cruiser accelerated into action, the British likewise sprung into action, the flotilla attempting position themselves to attack from either side. The Lieutenant in command (Lieutenant Dennis Jermain), aboard MTB 315, was entirely surprised but the sudden appearance of the small cruiser, but his reactions were quick and allowed his boat and MTB 316 to maneuver in order to attack from the east (Scipione Africano’s portside), with the other two engaging from the west. In spite of this, the incoming warship continued to be a surprise, the high speed of the Scipione bringing her into action sooner than anyone expected as she hurtled towards 37 knots. The British MTB’s uncorked their torpedoes at close range, and at great cost. 260 and 313 fired off three torpedoes at 300 yards, but before they even hit the water the cruiser opened fire on the Captain’s order. The speed and violence at which she brought her weaponry into action surprised all involved, even Pelligrini, as her main guns and autocannons blazed. MTB 313 took damage and suffered a causality and KIA, forced to limp away, while MTB 260 was set aflame and retreated, neither boat firing anymore torpedoes. As the cruiser threaded the torpedoes, she engaged MTB 316 at a range of just 50 yards, detonating the boat with a single salvo before she could launch. The explosion was so violent, debris from the MTB fell aboard the Italian cruiser. MTB 315 avoided any damage and launched two torpedoes, but failed to score any hits. She attempted to pursu4e further but was driven off by fire from the autocannons. The Scipione Africano, still accelerating, continued at high speed, working up to 40 knots according to some sources, and 43 knots according to others (including Pelligrini's report of the action). The fight with the Elco’s had left the cruiser unscathed, but her luck was not to hold, as moments after she came under fire from Axis coastal batteries on either side of the Straits, and she suffered two wounded. Flashing recognition signals, she made good her escape with her high speed, and finally made port at Taranto at 0940 later that morning, and was assigned to the Taranto light cruiser group alongside her other sister, Pompeo Magno, and the old light cruiser Luigi Cadorna. Making use of her minelaying capabilities, she and Cadorna laid four defensive fields in the Gulf of Taranto and Gulf of Squillace between the 4th and 17th of August, and used her high speed to conduct missions to discourage allied attempts to stop the evacuation from Sicily of German and Italian forces, as the island’s defense continued to collapse. However, it was clear that time was running out, and the situation of the Taranto squadron was beyond hopeless. Although the battleships Caio Duilio and Andrea Doria had been reactivated, they were only 23887-ton warships armed with 320mm guns and capable of 26 knots. With them were three small light cruisers, the aged Cadorna, and the two Capitani. The only escorts available were three destroyers and three torpedo boats. If they sortied, they would have to face the British battleships King George V and Howe, both 36727-ton battleships armed with 356mm guns and capable of 27 knots, and fitted with much heavier armor… plus their escorts. Still, as the clock ticked down to the 8th of September, it became clear that one way or another their fates would be resolved – likely, it seemed, as a distraction for the intervention of the main battle fleet against the Allied landings at Anzio. By this point, she had barely been four months in service, and had steamed only 2,759 nm in operations, with a single surface action to her name. Eleven of her fifteen missions had been exercises, the others being made up of the recent mine-laying operation and three transfer missions (one of these being Operation Scylla). Scipione Africano in Taranto, 27 October 1943 The Armistice In the early evening of the 8th, however, the situation changed entirely when the Armistice of Cassibile was announced. Italy had surrendered to the Allied Powers, but her war was far from over, and so was Scipione Africano’s. The Germans had pre-empted the Italian move and moved additional troops into the country. When the armistice was announced, they went to war with their former allies, immediately moving to seize Italian military units. Chaos broke out, as various groups of the armed forces were dis-armed, resisted, or decided to join the Germans. While various parts of the Italian army and air force disintegrated, the Regia Marina knew where its loyalties lay, and almost unanimously sided with the Kingdom of Italy. Conflict between parts of the Regia Marina and various German units would erupt in various ports as the two sides engaged in open combat. That very night, the two German S-boats S-54 and S-61 had wisely fled Taranto, but not before they laid mines. At 0600 on the morning of the 9th, Scipione Africano was ordered to head north, into the Adriatic. Her mission was perhaps the most important of any Italian warship in that tumultuous period – she was to head to Pescara, in Abruzzo, in order to rescue the heads of Government, as it became clear that Rome could not be held against the Germans. At roughly 1400 Scipione Africano was making 28 knots just off the Cape of Otranto, when she encountered the same two S-boats and MPF F478. The S-boats had in fact just sunk the auxiliary minesweeper Vulcania (R240) a mile and a half outside the small port of Santa Maria di Leuca, and had been chased away by Italian shore batteries. Although Pellegrini had no knowledge of the loss of the 91-ton minesweeper and the subsequent action, the S-boats panicked, and scuttled the slow MPF after taking its crew aboard. As the F478 blew apart, they fled with the aid of a smokescreen. Although the theatrics put on by the Germans certainly caught his attention, Pellegrini decided not to pursue, as the German ships had not attempted to attack his ship, and he had a more important mission to attend to. Thus, Scipione Africano continued north. Not long after, she received the signal from Admiral Brivonesi (the ranking officer at Taranto) warning of the hostile action of the two S-boats, which he had himself only learned of at 1300. This would prove to have significant repercussions, as the two S-boats worked their way up the Adriatic ambushing numerous small vessels over the coming days. Scipione reached Pescara shortly after midnight, but the corvette she was meant to protect, Baionetta, had already departed with her precious cargo – much of the surviving Italian high command. She had continued to Ortona, further south, and picked up King Vittorio Emmanuelle III and his family at about 0110, and then left port, Scipione Africano catching up to her at 0700. From there she escorted the corvette to the safe port of Brindisi, arriving at 1600. The journey had thankfully been fairly uneventful save for German air attack, which was driven off by Scipione’s anti-aircraft fire. Scipione had managed to navigate the armistice period successfully, but this was no so for all of her sisters, many of whom witnessed some of the darker examples of the dramas that played out across the Mediterranean. Attilo Regolo, who stayed with the main battlefleet, was present when the battleship Roma was lost due to air attack and suffering two blows from PC 1400X guided bombs, and helped rescue survivors before sailing to the Balerics to deposit the wounded, refusing to be interned or surrender any control over the ship. Pompeo Magno sailed with Admiral Da Zara’s force (battleships Caio Duilio, Andrea Doria, light cruiser Luigi Cadorna, and destroyer Nicosolo da Recco). The Rear Admiral originally in charge of her and the other light cruisers, Giovanni Galati, had been placed under arrest by the aforementioned Admiral Brivonesi – having no intention to sail to Malta, he instead declared that he would take his cruisers north, and seek an end to his force in battle with Allied forces. The implications of such an action would have been disastrous, and Brivonesi’s hand was forced when Galati refused to back down. Ultimately, the ships of the Taranto force were the first Italian force to arrive at Malta at 1700, and began to wage the war of nerves against the British forces. The British demanded the ships be dis-armed save for AA guns, seal the radio room, place all crew weapons in the stern, and remove any scuttling charges. Da Zara’s force refused. The following days would see a tense situation develop, the British intending the Italians ultimately surrender their ships, and the Italians having no intention to do so. Perhaps no one described the situation better than the British Admiral Cunningham, when he signaled the Admiralty “Be pleased to inform their Lordships that the Italian Battle fleet now lays at anchor under the guns of the fortress of Malta.” - the Italian battlefleet (Da Zara’s force being joined by the main battlefleet) was at anchor in Malta, but that was all, and the Allied Powers exercised no power over the Italian fleet. Giulio Germanico had perhaps the most dramatic and tragic tale. At 94% complete, she was not yet fully operational, but her crew was already aboard her when the Germans arrived at Castellammare di Stabia (the town who’s shipyards she was built at). Her commander, Lieutenant Commander Domenico Biffago, had no intention of surrendering his ships, and organized local crews and carabineri to defend the shipyards and the town, with the Giulio Germanico providing support with her armament. The plan was to hold out until Allied troops relieved them. However, what the crews could no and did not know was that no reinforcements were coming to help them. For three days they repulsed assault after assault by German forces, until the cruiser finally ran out of ammunition. Baffigo was invited by the Germans to negotiate, and Baffigo accepted. Unfortunately, like many Italian officers who had resisted the German invasion, he and those accompanying him (two lieutenants and a seaman) discovered what negotiation with the Germans actually meant. The Germans took him prisoner, and brought him to Naples, where he and those with him were promptly executed. Giulio Germanico was ultimately scuttled by the Germans as they fled Naples after being ejected by the local population. She would later be raised by the Marina Militare (the Italian Navy post-war), was rebuilt, and commissioned as the San Marco, serving into the 1970s. On the 29th of September, Scipione Africano left Brindisi with Marshal Badoglio on board, bound for Malta. They made port on the same day, where the terms of the ‘long armistice’ were signed on board the battleship Nelson. Although more formal than anything else, it confirmed the unconditional surrender, on an official if not practical level, of the Kingdom of Italy, and made official its entry into the war on the side of the Allies as a co-belligerent, but not Allied, power. Co-Belligerency and Post-War Italy retained control of its armed forces, although precious little remained of coherent formations of the army and air force. The navy was a different story, and although the two Littorio-class battleships were interned in the Great Bitter Lakes, most of the rest of the Italian fleet remained operational and purely under Italian control, and went on to serve with the Allies in a variety of capacities. Many of the cruisers would serve on anti-commerce patrols against German raiders in the Atlantic, while destroyers and torpedo boats would serve escorting allied convoys in the Mediterranean, freeing up Allied ships for other duties. Some were also involved in island campaigns in company with the British, in the struggle for the Aegean Sea. Italian torpedo boats and submarines, due to their familiarity with Axis tactics and their experience fighting Allied vessels, were used to help train Allied submarine and anti-submarine forces, as they were able to offer much more realistic opponents than what had been available before. Up until the Armistice, Scipione Africano had seen only brief service, carrying out 15 missions for a total of 2,759 nm steamed and 195 hours in operation over the course of four months. However, she was given new life in the Co-Belligerent Regia Marina. On 6 October she was made the command ship of the Light Cruiser & Destroyer Squadron, although in truth she was the only cruiser to be part of it, the rest serving elsewhere. She served in this capacity until 1 February 1944, when she was moved to 7ª Divisione. During the co-belligerency period she was very active, carrying out 146 missions (acting as a transport for 102 of them), and steaming 56,637 nm over 2,443 hours until the end of the war in Europe. Scipione Africano and four torpedo-boats at La Spezia, some time in 1946 At the end of the war she was moved to La Spezia in preparation for the clauses of the post-war treaties, as she was to be given as repatriations for war damages. She was decommissioned from the Marina Militare (the new name of the Italian Navy, since the monarchy had been abolished in 1946) on 8 August 1948, and sold to France as the ‘S.7’ on 15 August, in the port of Toulon. Scipione Africano in Taranto, 27 February 1947 Service in the Marine Nationale On 23 July 1948, the French re-commissioned S.7 as the Guichen, and placed into the 2nd Light Cruiser Division on 7 Septmeber. In 1949 she helped transport French gold reserves, evacuated in 1940, back to France, taking the gold from Oran to Toulon. In 1950, Guichen was involved in sonar tests. In March 1951, she was re-designated a 'destroyer-escorteur de 1re classe' (1st class destroyer escort), but this was short lived as on 14 July 1951 she started a major reconstruction process that would totally alter the face and utility of the ship. The entirety of the armament was removed and the upper works rebuilt, with a heavy focus on anti-aircraft firepower. Her main armament was composed of six German 10.5cm/65 SK C/33 in C/37 twin mounts, one mount place on the bow and two placed aft in a super-firing arrangement. Dual-Purpose weapons in mounts identical to those that armed the Bismarck-class battleships, they fired 15.1 kg shells at a velocity of 900 meters per second. Their effective anti-aircraft range was 9500 meters, and 12000 meters against ships. They fired at a rate of 10 to 15 rounds per minute. They were controlled by a director fitted with a DRBC 11 fire control radar. She was also armed with ten Bofors 57mm/60 autocannons, in five twin mounts (one above and behind the fore 10.5cm mount, and four just aft of the aft funnel). Powerful anti-aircraft guns fitted to many French warships (including the battleship Jean Bart), they could fire 120 projectiles weighing 2.6 kg at a velocity of 865 mps each minute. Two directors were fitted, each with a DRBC 30 fire control radar. Guichen also found herself fitted with a considerable torpedo battery, four triple 550mm Mle KT 50 mounts mounted forward on the ship, which were fitted with anti-submarine torpedoes. The overall length of the ship decreased by 1.1 meters, while her tonnage at full load increased by 80 tons. With a crew of 353, she required only 84.4% of the manpower she did before. Although machinery did not change, operational range fell from 4,252 nm at 18 knots to 3600 nm at 18 knots, so it seems likely that fuel load dropped from the original 1400 tons (that, or a difference in fuel quality available?). Work was completed on 26 August 1953, re-commissioning took place in 1954, and she returned to service on 9 April 1955, and re-rated an 'Escorteur d'Escadre; (Fleet Escort) with the NATO designation D607. Guichen was assigned to the 2nd Division, which based out of Bizerte in Algeria. Overall, the modernization of the two Capitani (Guichen and Châteaurenault, the ex-Attilio Regolo) was rather un-successful, despite the best intentions. The positioning by the French of so much armament relatively high up in the ship severely impacted the stability vessel, and rendered the armament unusable in poor weather. Although the top speed in theory dropped to 39 knots, in practical terms it was found the maximum speed had dropped to 34 knots, adequate for their new task (the new T47-class destroyers were of the same top speed), but also illustrative as to how damaging the reconstruction was to the stability and handling characteristics of the ship. In 1957, she underwent another major refit, to make her a command ship for l'Escadre Lègere, ‘The Light Fleet’. The work removed an aft 10.5cm mount and a pair of her torpedo banks, adding radar and command faculties. The refit finished in 1958, and on 14 October Guichen became the flagship of The Atlantic Light Fleet, based in Brest. She as involved in most French operations until she and the brand-new submarine Marsouin accidentally collided off Lisbon on 20 June 1959 and had to be repaired – but the repairs were brief and she was back in service in time for a naval parade on 16 July. However, Guichen was replaced by her sister Châteaurenault on 16 April 1961, and was put into reserve. She was disarmed in June 1963, and used as a floating platform for the Lanvéoc Poulmic naval school. She was struck from the French naval register on 1 June 1976, and given the serial number Q554, and was finally sold for demolition in January 1982. This made her one of the last of her sisters, as only the San Giorgio (ex-Pompeo Magno) outlived her, being scrapped in 1987, the last cruiser of the old Regia Marina. Scipione Africano In-Game Well, as you’ve read above, Scipione Africano and her sisters were built to kill the French super destroyers, specifically those like Le Terrible (placed at tier VIII in-game). And that’s probably why you’re wondering why the title of this thread says tier V cruiser, rather than tier VIII, IX, or X. My logic is simple, in this case. Unlike the French ships, which are built as destroyers, the Scipione is not, and she’s a much taller ship than even Mogador. Thus, you’re sailing around with a ship that will likely have similar detection to something like Khabarovsk, with the same speed, but lacks the same armor protection, because it is not blessed by Stalin’s design bureau, where the laws of physics are a secondary concern. I think you can imagine why that would be painful. Now, I’m fairly sure that as a tech tree ship, Attilio Regolo (as the class leader) will probably be at that high of a tier, with similar a-historical performance buffs as something like Le Terrible. After all, improved versions of the 135mm gun were developed post war, with rates of fire of up to 20 rpm (or 25 rpm for the 135/53). But for a ship that sticks with purely historical statistics, the fact of the matter is that Scipione Africano is simply not suited to higher tiers, where many of her advantages are either not present, or are disadvantages. Thus, tier V is something she is far better suited to, as a cruiser, due to the very comparable French light cruiser Émile Bertin. Bertin is likewise lacking in armor, and as such only uses the standard extremity armor plating for her hull armor – the same goes for Scipione, making them effectively equal in that regard. With that set as a starting point, let me outline the stats Scipione Africano would have, that way we can compare them tit-for-tat. The obvious case here is that Scipione Africano is a much smaller ship, both in dimensions (177.0 meters length versus 142.9 meters), and tonnage, and as a result the Scipione has significantly less hitpoints – 26,500 versus 20,000 – 75% of what the French cruiser has. The smaller cruiser is 4 knots faster, with a tighter turn radius and faster rudder shift, and 2400 meters less detection range by sea. Armor is essentially equal, so while Émile Bertin can afford to take more hits, she’s also much easier to hit overall, greatly balancing out their disparity in survivability. The same story is true of their main battery. As expected of 152mm guns, the French cruiser has greater reach (by 2850 meters), and individually her shells hit much harder – 3300 versus 2500 damage for the AP (100mm greater penetration at 0 km), and HE rated at 2200/12% versus 2000/7%, with 2mm greater penetration. Émile Bertin even has more guns to a broadside, 9 versus 8. However, this tends to be balanced out by the fact the Scipione’s guns fire 63% faster than Bertin’s, for 60 versus 41 shells per minute, and a higher dpm overall despite the lesser hitting power. Anti-aircraft firepower is effectively equal between the two ships, while Scipione has slower-loading, but more powerful torpedoes than Bertin – but on much more limited firing arcs (think Yubari) in spite of the ability to fire eight to a broadside compared to three. Scipione Africano provides a unique style of gameplay for tier V cruisers, due to its small size but greater modernity than same-tier competition. The biggest differences are the emphasis on the Fisher-esque Speed is armor mantra Scipione must follow, as dodging shells at over 40 knots will be her greatest asset in avoiding damage – her citadel protection consists of little more than two 13mm plates, so while proof against HE citadels like Émile Bertin, she is still plenty vulnerable to APC shells, if they can fuse within her citadel, and 203mm shells will overmatch this plating. Most other same-tier cruisers, as the below chart demonstrates, carry relatively significant armor, but operate at much lower speeds, and rely on different methods of damage mitigation. Likewise, your damage output is going to rely much more heavily on raw dpm, given most of these ships are matching 152mm guns (180-203mm for some) to your 135mm guns. You lesser individual hitting power means you need to place more rounds on target, but your destroyer dispersion and rate of fire should help with that. So, what role does Scipione occupy in battle? Well, for one, you speed should help you determine that. Much as she was the fastest surface combatant of WWII, at tier V you’re the fastest ship around. Most cruisers go around 32-35 knots, with the exception of 39-knot Émile Bertin, and destroyers are 35-37 knots for the most part, save for 39-knot Minekaze and 42-knot Podvoisky. Thus, you can chase down, or escape from, anything you’ll meet. At 10.2 km surface detection (effectively 9.89 km with complimentary camouflage, and 8.9 km with CE), you won’t sneak up on any destroyers, but at the same time it can get you close enough for your speed to not make it matter – especially if they decide to fire back. You’re also considerably more stealthy than any cruiser, save for Emerald, which means you can easily pick and chose your fights against any cruisers, having both the speed and stealth to disengage at a whim. Against enemy destroyers, your superior speed will make it difficult for them to disengage, and due to the hitting power of your shells, your individual hits will deal heavy damage – only 17-20 hits are needed to put down any destroyer at this tier, or the equivalent of 3 broadsides – so it should only take 16-24 seconds to put down any tier V destroyer. Enemy cruisers will be a different story, with significantly more health, and armor. That being said, you have a significantly higher speed than them, and due to your handling can so an even better job at long-range dodging than the larger Émile Bertin. It is doubtful, at long range, that your AP will be effective against them – with lighter shells than those of Le Terrible’s 138.6mm guns (33 versus 39.9 kg), even though yours are fired at marginally higher velocity, penetration will still be lesser than the 138.6/50 at most ranges – so you shouldn’t try for AP unless the enemy cruiser is within 10 km and not angled well (unless, perhaps, it’s an Émile Bertin). If in a close-quarters fight, however, you should have more than enough penetration to deal with their armor, and ignoring even that, you’ve got eight torpedoes to fire to a broadside – so one way or another, whatever sails next to you is going to be very dead, very fast. Battleships will be difficult targets in many respects. AP obviously won’t be very effective, and although you have impressive volume for tier V, individually the HE shells aren’t anything special next to other cruiser HE shells. You’re going to have to rely on long-range HE spam to take care of them, but ideally you really shouldn’t be tying yourself down on slow battleships when your high speed could be a greater asset elsewhere. Other teammates are likely better suited to countering battleships, and given that, you should relieve pressure elsewhere. That being said, if you must deal with battleships, remember that like Émile Bertin, you have no armor for your citadel – so the same rules apply. Bertin captains should be well aware that they’re better off going broadside to battleships to facilitate overpens, and that angling will result in full penetrations or citadels. For Scipione, this is likewise true – although as your beam is only 14.4 meters versus the 16 meters of the French cruiser, you’re actually ‘better’ at getting over-penetrated by shells than Bertin. Also remember that, if forced to face a battleship up-close… you do have that eight-torpedo broadside. I wouldn’t advise looking for a close encounter of the brown-pants kind, but you’ve got a maximum damage output of 109,336 from your torpedoes. You’re more than capable of wiping out any battleship you’ll encounter in a single pass, and at such a close range, shots against your broadside are guaranteed to overpenetrate. Carriers… well, let’s be frank. Most cruisers don’t have very effective AA at tier V, and while Scipione has pretty great output from her medium AA guns – she lacks any AA beyond 3.5 km due to the lack of heavy guns. More likely than not, what will save you from bombs and torpedoes won’t be the Breda autocannons blazing away, but your own speed and handling. Conclusions Scipione Africano hopefully should be one of the more fun Italian ships to exist as a premium, without just being as blatantly OP as something like Giulio Cesare. She’s a small, fragile, but insanely fast cruiser with a surprisingly potent bite – and to be frank, that’s all you really need to know. She’s the fastest cruiser in the game, and the only destroyer faster than her is the tier VIII Le Terrible, with the aid of the unique French speed boost. From a gameplay perspective, she’s a fairly solid, and certainly unique ship. From a historical perspective, she’s also quite an attractive ship. She had a longer service life than anyone expected when she was completed, and played an important role during the turbulent period of the Armistice. She also secured her place in history as, with her sisters, being the fastest surface combatants of WWII - as although destroyers and some cruisers would claim higher figures in trials, none of them would achieve the same speeds in service. Scipione Africano did, and perhaps more importantly than anything else, she could also engage in effective gunnery while doing so, something none of the other ‘fast’ ships (such as the Le Fantasque and Mogador classes) could claim. During Operation Scylla she laid claim to the highest-speed gunnery ever fought at sea, and she was the only Italian ship during WWII to use radar at night to help destroy enemy targets. Regardless of how you cut it, she’s earned her premium spot, and she offers unique gameplay for the position, too.
  11. pastore123

    The state of the Leone

    If you’re clicking on this thread hoping for some info on this up tiered dd, you will find I have no news or updates on this dd. This is me explaining how frustrating it is hoping for more Italian ships and receiving this lump of steel. To begin, I have been looking for new videos of Leone game play. However, I have only found a small handful. Flamu and majesh being the two that have really done a review on this ship. (The other few videos are in different languages). These two players do not find this ship interesting whatsoever. I even listened to the world of warships podcast only to hear other players find it hard to even want to play this ship to even test it. With this being said, I am excited that more Italian ships are making their way to this game. However, I feel like there exists a rule that If the said ship isn’t a bb, it gets shafted. I really hope this ship either gets down tiered or gets some love.
  12. Phoenix_jz

    Pugliese Revisited

    Pugliese Revisited Littorio underway in 1943 Introductions: Designed by General Umberto Pugliese (1880-1961), the infamous cylinder-based Torpedo Defense System he developed, generally known simply as ‘Pugliese’ or the ‘Pugliese system’, has over the years since WWII attracted much attention, and generally negative. While many of the assessments, them often without much of a base, have been criticized more heavily over recent years as more material and information from Italian sources has made its way into the English-speaking spheres of naval discussion (whereas previously much assessment was derived from German and British sources), and much of its capability could not be effectively judged as too much information was still unknown as to its testing. However, fortunately, that has changed quite recently, thanks to the book Aircraft Carrier Impero, by Davide F. Jabes and Stefano Sappino, the latter of which some may be familiar with as he interacted on the EU forums and ran the website Battleships & Knights (under the username ‘stefsap’) until his recent passing. Much of what the book is based on comes from the research of Stefano into the until recently unexplored archives belonging to Lino Campagnoli (1911-1975), one of the five great engineers who worked at Ansaldo from the 1930s until well after the Second World War. Within his personal archives was much information in regards to the preliminary work on the Littorio-class (particularly in regards to hull’s shape underwater), and on the conversion of the battleship Impero to an aircraft carrier. What is most significant to us in regards to our line of questioning is Stefano’s research in the Archives in regards to Ansaldo’s work with the Soviet Union and their tests with their version of the Pugliese system, as well as more recently discovered (not from the Campagnoli archive) information from Germany about the Kreigsmarine’s testing of the Impero’s hull against underwater explosions. The largest criticisms in regards to the Pugliese system are these; The system was vulnerable to repeated hits in the same location. The system was too complicated and thus resulted in long repair times. The system took up too much space that could have been used otherwise (ex, greater ballistic protection by increasing the height of the belt below the waterline). The system overall failed to adequately perform in defending the ships from torpedo attack, as evidenced by damage taken during the war. Thus, in this article, with all evidence available from the tests conducted against the system (and its derivatives) by the Russians and Germans, as well as looking at the affects of the wartime damage sustained by the ships equipped with this system, we shall seek to do the following; Establish which criticisms of the system are well founded, and fully or partially correct. Establish which criticisms of the system are categorically unfounded and false. Attempt to establish a realistic approximation of the strength of the system. The Pugliese SPS: The idea for this SPS system (Commonly known as TDS, or Torpedo Defense System in English, in Italian Sistema di Protezione da Siluro, which ironically has the same abbreviation for the USN term for their TDS – SPS, or Side Protection System) came to Pugliese when he was still a Lieutenant Colonel, in 1917. WWI had seen the loss of many battleships (dreadnought and pre-dreadnought) and armored cruisers to torpedoes and mines, and much was still up in the air as to effective defense against these underwater threats. The most common solution in that era was the use of external bulges added to the side of the warships, to put more space between the source of the explosion (the point at which the torpedo detonates, be it contact, or magnetic in later years), and the vitals of the ship. This was, albeit not terribly effective, better than nothing, but it also altered the underwater shape of the hulls of the ships that utilized it, which affected stability and speed of the ships. Seeing as this could easily shed 1-2 knots of speed from warships, Pugliese wished to find a way around this. Thus, his SPS system was conceived. When fitted to a ship, the system would create very little bulge on the outside of the ship, thereby not affecting stability and only causing a minor if any loss of speed. It also had the benefit of weighing less than conventional multi-layer bulkhead systems, which meant more tonnage could be used elsewhere. The system, pictured above, worked by funneling the force of the blast on the path of least resistance, without damaging the bulkheads leading to the rest of the ship. The system was essentially two concentric cylinders. The inner, known as the absorbing cylinder, was within a larger cylinder, and the space between them was filled with liquid (potable water or fuel oil). Externally of this outer cylinder were dry cells. When a torpedo hit the system, the dry cells would immediately be destroyed, leaving the liquid spaces to take the brunt of the blast. Because liquids don’t compress like air, they would press against the cylinders. The inner cylinder was designed to fail at this point, and be crushed by the pressure, absorbing most of it so that the armored holding bulkheads would take minimal force and thus not be compromised. Flooding could be minimized as only the space where the inner cylinder was would be flooded and the ruptured dry cell channels, which, connected to those on the other side of the hull via the double bottom, would allow flooding to equally distribute the weight of the shipped water. If the holding bulkhead were ruptured as well, then the same system would apply for the ship’s triple bottom, while final bulkhead would prevent flooding in the ship’s vitals. The outer wall of the dry cells was 14-15mm of ER plating (Elevato Resistenza, or High-Resistance Steel), with the inner wall being 10mm ER. The holding bulkhead was 40mm ER, and the absorbing cylinder was made of 7mm ER. The final watertight bulkhead was 7-9mm ER. At optimal thickness (aboard the Littorio-class) amidships, the depth was about 7.22m, and the absorbing cylinder was 3.8m in diameter. Designed to defeat torpedoes with warheads of 320 kg TNT (705 lbs.), it covered the entire length of the citadel, but due to hull shape it was reduced at the ends of the citadel, so that abreast the foremost and aft most 381mm turrets the absorbing cylinder was reduced to 2.28m (or 60% of the optimal diameter. Although not explicitly stated in any text, I extrapolate that the system depth would thus likely be 4.33m). Abreast the No.2 381mm turret, this value would be 3.04m (5.78m total depth extrapolated). Due to the complex demands of properly mounting the system, it was only possible to implement on ships as they were built (such as the Littorio-class), or when the ship was being totally rebuilt (as on the Conte di Cavour and Caio Duilio-classes). By early 1935, however, Italian designers feared that the potential of torpedo warheads would rapidly begin to increase in power, thus potentially obsoleting the system aboard any Italian battleships by the time it came to war. This fear was not unfounded – while the torpedoes of their chief rivals, the French, had increased steadily in the interwar period from 238 kg of Picric Acid (a little over 260 kg of TNT) to 310 kg of TNT in their later torpedoes, the British were implementing surface & submarine-launched torpedoes with 340 kg TNT warheads, and with the introduction of Torpex in late 1942, this threat exploded (no pun intended), and versions of torpedoes that once contained 327 kg of TNT would being fielding 365 kg Torpex – which was equal to about 547.5 kg of TNT (1,207 lbs.)! Because of this, a series of tests were conducted against purpose-built structures “under the most realistic conditions” with various blasts up to and including a 640 kg (1,411 lbs.) TNT test. The ability of the system to absorb the blast was considered satisfactory, although lack of detail as to how it did so exactly reduces the usefulness of the test for our purposes – was ‘satisfactory’ simply that it resisted blasts well past the 320 kg intention, or because it was able to actually resist up to 640 kg? Regardless, it is likely safe to assume that the tests were conducted against a structure simulating the amidships (optimal) section of the hull. Judging Pugliese – Obvious issues, and point #1 As of this point, certain flaws within the system can be observed already. • As the system reaches the edge of the citadel, the taper reduces the effectiveness of the system due to reduced depth, 80% of the depth abreast No.2 381mm turret, and 60% abreast the No.1 & 3 turrets. The system ends at the citadel. Because of this, it cannot protect extremities such as the bow or stern (rudders, props). Since the cylinder obviously cannot collapse further once it has done so, the Pugliese system cannot take more than one hit in the same spot. The system is meant to deal with contact torpedoes. Magnetic torpedoes tend to go off under the hull, where only the double and triple bottoms are able to absorb the blast. This is a major weakness. These points are obvious, and it has been used to criticize the system repeatedly. However, most of these are laughably invalid because they are standards that authors have curiously only held the Pugliese system to when comparing SPS systems. Most notably, the night of the Taranto attack is often brought up, when the rebuilt battleships Conte di Cavour and Caio Duilio were both seriously damaged by a single torpedo, and Littorio had to be grounded after taking three. The damage suffered by the two rebuilds would seem to be the best point to criticized, as they both had to be grounded after suffering a single hit each, at both points abreast some section of the citadel, thus where the Pugliese system was meant to protect. It is worth noting from the start the systems in the rebuilds were inferior to those aboard Littorio – their maximum diameter of the absorbing cylinder was only 3.4m, just under 90% that of Littorio’s. That being said, they also both were hit by aerial torpedoes with only 176 kg TNT warheads – just over half the strength Littorio’s was intended to defeat. So what happened? Well, the torpedoes failed to hit the Pugliese system. Being magnetic, they went largely under the hull, and detonated in a manner illustrated by the image below; The impact, on Cavour and Duilio, respectively So was it a failure of the system to defeat this attack? Simply put, it could not be fair to assume this as no TDS system placed aboard any warship in WWII was capable of defending the ship against blasts from underneath the hull. These battleships were light, 24,000 – 29,000 ton ships with a draft less than most other modern battleships, which aided considerably in how the torpedoes were able to run almost under the hull (seeing as the same type of torpedo did not do the same to Littorio on the same night). The damage from the torpedo hit on the Conte di Cavour Likewise, the result of torpedo hits in the extreme bow (Littorio’s third hit on the night of Taranto, and her torpedo hit on 16 June 1942 in the same spot of the third hit at Taranto) or extreme stern (Littorio’s second hit at Taranto, and Vittorio Veneto’s torpedo hit at Cape Matapan on 28 March 1941) is unfair to use in order to critique the system as again, no battleship in the world had a TDS extending to this part of the ship. So, to suggest that this represents a deficiency with the TDS system is ludicrous in all respects. The fact that the TDS tapers as it reached the ends of the citadel is likewise a commonality with every torpedo defense system ever deployed at sea, and likewise is the inability to take multiple hits in the same location. Once the integrity of a given area is compromised in any TDS, it is no longer capable of resisting subsequent torpedo hits. Once one realizes that such critiques are against features common in all battleships, one has to question why they are so often brought against the Pugliese system as if unique faults. Point #2 – Repair Times Having dealt with the points above, and the first point from out original list, we shall move on to point #2 from that list. This being; “The system was too complicated and thus resulted in long repair times”. Since WWII gives us ample examples of warships that took damage to their TDS systems, this is exactly what we shall do. According to Garzke & Duilin “its complex shape must have made the repair of battle damage particularly difficult”, which should be easy enough to examine by comparing repair times. This chart makes things rather simple to digest. The TDS’s of battleships were not engaged frequently during WWII, but in general the Pugliese system had the shortest repair times - the two longest times were because much more than the ship’s TDS was damaged, and involved the time taken to de-ground and raise the ships (although this chart only lists the time taken for repairs). Cavour’s repair time was indefinite because she was given low priority (Mussolini wished to repair her for prestige reasons, but the Regia Marina saw little value given its inferiority to the Caio Duilio-class. Thus although the effort to repair and refit her with an even greater anti-aircraft suite was carried out, it was secondary to other concerns such as the construction of escort ships for the vital convo routes). The time taken by the Scharnhorst sisters to repair, for example, was well over twice the time Vittorio Veneto needed for a similar hit. The complexity of the design, it seems, did not hinder repair times. This again established another criticism of the Pugliese system as being categorically false. Point #3 – Space and Optimizing for space Point number three is probably the most realistic critique of the system, and is the most valid. The Pugliese system was recognized at the time in Italy that it took far to much volume to work. Only large hulls could take the system, and smaller battleships could only take reduced versions, which greatly reduced its effectiveness. Alternate designs, such as the Ansaldo 5-layer system, could be implemented with similar depth and greater resistance against torpedoes, and be used to greater benefit. For example, such a benefit would be extending the main armor belt further below the waterline, improving the already impressive protection of the ship against ballistic threats. This is criticism that sticks and remained a valid point against the use of Pugliese, as it was in Italian naval circles in the 1940s. Point #4 – The actual resistance of the system Point No.4 (restated below) is perhaps the most complicated point, as directly relates to the efficiency of the system in wartime. The system overall failed to adequately perform in defending the ships from torpedo attack, as evidenced by damage taken during the war. Thus, we shall go over each instance of the system taking damage during the war, as well as Soviet and German tests against the system, and attempt to establish some idea of its strength. Littorio torpedoed at Taranto The first time any battleships utilizing this system were torpedoed was on the night of 11-12 November 1940 at the British raid on Taranto. The aircraft utilized the 18” (actually 17.7”) Mk.XII Aerial torpedo, which had a 176 kg TNT (388 lbs.) magnetic warhead, the standard British aerial torpedo until 1943. Conte di Cavour and Caio Duilio both fail to offer valid comparisons, as the TDS system was not involved in their loss, and no battleship of their displacement would offer an effective defense in such a situation against torpedoes. The first hit sustained by Littorio at 23:15 at frames 162-163, which is directly abreast the fore 381mm turrets, and within the area protected by the TDS. At this point in the hull the absorbing cylinder would be just about two and two thirds of a meter in diameter, or about 70% of the maximum value. This first torpedo blasted at 10x7.5m breech into the dry cells of the TDS, but failed to breech the 40mm armored bulkhead, the system working almost perfectly. That being said, there was minor flooding, due to a 2.8cm crack at the bottom of the armored bulkhead, and another minor one in the 7-9mm longitudinal watertight bulkhead, causing some flooding in the No.1 turret magazine, likely due to defective seams resulting from the welding. Upon analysis by Admiral Bergamini, who was the inspector for the damaged ships, and also in charge of the fitting-out of the battleship Impero, concluded that several issues faced by the ship’s resistance to torpedo damage and flooding that night (mostly directed to the third hit) resulted from a rushed and thus lower-quality fitting-out compared to her sister Vittorio Veneto. Thus, in spite of the minor defect, the system worked. Giulio Cesare bombed in Naples The next time the system was tested was in January of 1941, when a British air raid on Naples resulted in a 250kg bomb detonating about 4 meters from the hull of the rebuilt Cavour-class battleship Giulio Cesare. The explosion, roughly about 130 kg of TNT, was abreast the forward engine room. Although the outer dry cells were destroyed, the armored bulkhead had no damage and the ship sustained no internal flooding, with the absorbing cylinder in the location of the blast was crushed as intended. Repairs only took 12 days. It is worth nothing that the system was inferior to that of Littorio’s, with 89% of the diameter. However, this is more than the section of hull that took the Mk.XII on the night of 11 November 1940 (70 %), and the blast was lesser, no more than 130 kg of TNT. Nevertheless, it showed that the system did in fact work in theory as predicted. It is also the only time the Pugliese system was engaged on one of the rebuilt battleships. Vittorio Veneto torpedoed by Urge It was not until December 1941 that any ships would again take damage to the TDS, and this was the Vittorio Veneto, during Operation M.41, torpedoed by the submarine Urge. The impact was with a Mk.VIII torpedo fitted with a 21” 340 kg TNT (750 lbs.) warhead, striking the portside abreast the No.3 turret. As you will recall from earlier in the article, at this location the cylinder diameter was only 2.28m (60%). In this example, the system was overwhelmed and failed, both the armored bulkhead failing and the longitudinal watertight bulkhead. The ship immediately took on a 3.5º list as 2,700 tons of water flooded into the ship, but the balancing channels resulted in this being rapidly corrected to only 1º (with the aid of 300 tons of counterflooding). The ship’s damage control systems worked effectively, not only with regards to the list being corrected but also the venting of toxic gasses and effectiveness of the high-capacity pumps in combating the spreading of flooding. Thus, the machinery remained operational with no direct damage, but the aft 381mm magazine was flooded. The propulsion machinery was able to make full normal power, so Vittorio Veneto rejoined formation, catching up to her sister Littorio, and returned to port at 23.5 knots without further concern. Repairs only took two months. At the end of the day, while solid construction and effective damage control had prevented any serious threat to the ship’s safety (although it made the aft main battery turret unable), the TDS had failed the ship allowing such a breech and flooding to occur. Littorio damaged by a PC 1400X "Fritz X" The last time Pugliese would be tested in combat would be on the fateful day of 9 December 1943, when the battleship Roma was lost to PC 1400 X radio-guided glide-bombs (The “Fritz X”). In the same attack, the battleship Italia (the ex-Littorio) would also receive damage. Ironically, the relevant location was in much the same spot as the torpedo that stuck at Taranto – between the fore turrets, starboard side. The bomb had actually struck the upper deck (36mm on 9mm laminate), continued down to the ‘main’ deck (12mm) and then passed out through the 70mm plating that made up the upper belt. It then continued on into the water about 6 meters from the hull before exploding. Its warhead was 320 kg TNT (705 lbs.), and had much of the same effect as a torpedo. As mentioned previously, the absorbing cylinder was at about 70% diameter in this location. In this case, a 7.5x6m breech was made in the dry cells, and crushed two of the cylinders. However, the armored bulkhead suffered no damage and neither did the watertight longitudinal bulkhead. 1,066 tons of water filled the TDS spaces causing a 3º list, but with the automatic balancing channels and the pumping of 180 tons of water into bulges this was corrected. The ship continued with no serious issues, unimpaired, and although never repaired, the estimated time to repair was 1 & ½ months. Thus ends the combat record of the Pugliese system. Kreigsmarine tests of Impero’s hull The next time it would become relevant was July of 1944, when the Kreigsmarine began conducting tests on the hull of Impero. The first two tests had the internal cells of the system dry, but they were not affected by the tests, as these were conducted in the forward section of the ship. However, the third test, with the system fully operational, was conducted abreast the forward machinery spaces (where the system was fully implemented). A 330 kg charge of S1, or 511.5 kg TNT (1,128 lbs.), was placed directly against the hull, and detonated. The majority of the blast was absorbed by the system, and the longitudinal bulkhead remained undamaged, although the armored bulkhead seems to have been breached (the text does not explicitly state so) with some flooding beyond it, but this was taken care of by the balance ducts (implication seems to be that of the triple bottom, which is where I derive the assumption of the armored bulkhead being breeched). The Kreigsmarine was impressed with these tests, as tests with 300 kg S1, or 465 kg of TNT (1,025 lbs.), against the systems of the Deutschland-class cruisers, Scharnhorst-class battleships, and Bismarck-class battleships, had all overwhelmed the entirety of the systems. It is perhaps worth nothing that USN Post-War technical missions rated the TDS of the Bismarck-class was rated at 900 lbs. TNT, or 408 kg (The document actually states ‘900 kg’, but this is obviously an error, as that would mean the TDS could resist almost 2000 lbs. of TNT). A final test was conducted with three charges of 300 kg S3 (459 kg TNT each, or 1377 kg/3,035 lbs. TNT) at 7 meters depth and 17 meters off the portside of the ship. In this case, the system was breeched, resulting in flooding between frames 123 and 129. Ansaldo projects for the USSR & Soviet testing of Pugliese The last examples we will look at don’t quite match up in terms of the path we’ve been taking (linear through time). We’re going to rewind the clock, back before the war started. As is well known, the Italian companies and the Soviet Union had substantial cooperation prior to WWII, and essentially every modern design produced in the USSR evolved from Italian designs, modified to suit soviet preference. This was no different in regards to battleships, and Ansaldo sold a derivative of the 406mm battleship project (the 1935 version specifically) to the Soviet Union as UP.41. Although commonly referred to as a larger, better armed and armored version of the Littorio-class, it’s not clear how true that was given the armor scheme appears to be largely inferior, and it also utilized a three layer Ansaldo TDS rather than the Pugliese system. However, through a special agreement information about a system similar to Pugliese was shared, and the Soviets were ultimately able to come by the full information about the TDS (espionage?). Although the Soviets did not choose UP.41 for their next class of battleship, it did heavily influence the resulting design, Projekt 23. When examining different systems for use, they decided to test seven systems; that of UP.41, the Pugliese system as on Littorio, a 7-layer system from the American West Virginia-class battleships, the original Pugliese system fitted to two Italian tankers, the TDS of the British battlecruiser Hood, and two native Soviet designs. The tests found the Pugliese (Littorio) and the 7-layer West Virginia system to be the best systems, but due to the greater difficulty of building the Pugliese system for Soviet industry, it was proposed to use the American system instead. Further tests were conducted in October of 1938, where 400 kg and 500 kg blasts (against the American and Pugliese systems respectively) left the inner bulkheads of the systems undamaged. Ultimately the Soviets decided to implement the Pugliese system, albeit with some modifications. In August 1942, due to the fall of Sevastopol to Axis armies, Ansaldo had the opportunity to examine the hull of the incomplete Sovetskaya Ukraina, and her modified TDS. The Ansaldo technicians determined the system was inferior due to a number of important reasons. Due to the continuous welding techniques needed for the armored bulkhead being beyond Soviet capabilities at the time, Pr.23 used welding points and heat riveting, which compromised the strength of the system. Based on their own testing, the Soviets thinned this bulkhead to 30mm, 35mm where the system was thickest (whereas in Italian practice it was 40mm). The design did not incorporate a triple bottom, instead only relying on a double bottom. Despite these shortcomings, the Soviets seemed confident in their version of the system being able to do the same job, and thus this made up the majority of the torpedo defense system of the Sovetsky Soyuz-class (Pr.23) battleships. Concluding resistance In regards to its ability to resist damage, we have an easy list of examples of the system’s resistance to damage via tests and combat record: As one can see above, the taper of the system greatly affected its capability. Where the system was fully implemented, it worked incredibly well, resisting blasts in excess of 500 kg. However, abreast the No.2 turret the system’s diameter was reduced to 80%, and abreast the No.1 & No.3 turrets it was only 60%. A rough graphic of the taper This plainly reflects itself in the performance of the system during the war. When a PC 1400 X detonated off Littorio’s portside with the force of 320 kg of TNT, the system was able to resist it perfectly. The diameter was only 70%. When the same result was delivered by a 176 kg warhead from a Mk.XII aerial torpedo, the system also resisted it. However, when a Mk.VIII torpedo with a 340 kg TNT warhead detonated abreast the No.3 turret where the system was only 60% capacity, the system failed, which put the No.3 turret out of action as a result. Of course, when a 1377 kg of TNT went off against her side, the system failed – but nothing would resist that. Unfortunately, we lack much in the way of examples of modern warships to compare it to, as there aren’t many that took torpedoes and, well… survived. Prince of Wales, Bismarck– We’re looking at you. Perhaps two of the few examples that are usable are Scharnhorstand North Carolina– since both suffered individual hits at one point in their life. Scharnhorst was struck by a Mk.VIII torpedo (340 kg TNT) abreast the No.3 turret (launched by Acasta during the sinking of the Glorious). Her system, 4.5 meters in depth amidships, and was designed to resist 250 kg of TNT. Abreast the No.3 turret, it thinned to only 3 meters (66%), where it was only considered capable of stopping 200 kg of TNT – and was totally overwhelmed on impact. The impact was similar to the hit of Urge on Vittorio Veneto. The damage was much more extensive on Scharnhorst, as although the flooding of the aft main magazines (taking the No.3 turret out of action) occurred on both ships, elsewhere was not the case. Vittorio Veneto took more overall flooding (2700 vs. 2500 tons), but it was rapidly stemmed and did not spread elsewhere. The engines remained undamaged and the ship was able to continue on normally at a cruising speed of 23.5 knots. The German battleship, however, suffered much more extensive damage and flooding, which disabled both the starboard and center turbines, not to mention destroying the starboard shaft. Relying on the port turbine, the Scharnhorst limped back to port unable to make more than 20 knots. It is perhaps also worth noting the initial impacts gave Vittorio Veneto a 3.5º list and she was down 2.2 meters to the stern, but counterflooding of 300 tons corrected the list to 1º. Scharnhorst in contrast took a 5º list and was down 3 meters by the stern. Vittorio Veneto took 2 months to repair. Scharnhorst, 5 months. North Carolina took a one of I-19’s 533mm Type 95 torpedoes in a spread that famously sunk the carrier Wasp and the destroyer O’Brien. The 405 kg Type 97 warhead (433 kg TNT) detonated abreast the No.I turret, where the depth of the system was reduced to 77% of its maximum strength (~4.34m vs. 5.64m). The torpedo, detonated 6 meters below the waterline and blew a 9.75x5.5m hole in the side of the ship, ripping past the four torpedo defense bulkheads and causing a breech in the last bulkhead, a section of class B armor that tapered from 89mm down to 53mm in place of the usual bulkhead elsewhere in the system. A flash was reported in the fore magazines, risking a magazine detonation, and the ship immediately took on a 5.6º list to port. Fortunately, due to the fact the liquid spaces in the protective systems was largely full, only 970 tons of flooding was taken on, with an additional 480 tons of water taken on as counterflooding, removing the list (but not trim), and bringing the total tonnage taken on to 1,450 tons. She was able to continue on, her maximum speed now limited to 25 knots, but not substantially worse for wear despite the flooding into her magazines. This is far from perfectly analogous to the any hit taken by the Littorio’s, but it best compares to the starboard-side detonations taken between the No.1 & No.2 turrets, where her TDS was only at 70% depth – and resisted explosions of both 176 kg and 320 kg TNT, the latter flawlessly. No direct comparison can be made from these, as the warheads were of significantly different strength – the hit North Carolina sustained was a third again as powerful as those Littorio sustained. However, it is at least worth noting that the Littorio’s system strength was reduced more so than North Carolina’s in this area (70% vs. 77%), and also lacked any additions to increase resistance despite this – namely, the Class B armor plate dropped around North Carolina’s fore magazines as additional protection. That being said, it should also be noted that the fact Littorio’s SPS depth was reduced further than North Carolina’s despite being the spot in question being behind the No.1 turret rather than abreast it (as on the American battleship) is not a good thing for Littorio – it does show that the system depth is further reduced in extremities than compared to other ships. In fact, Littorio’s system would’ve only been 60% diameter at the same location. And, as we've shown before - 60% diameter was unable to resist 340 kg of TNT. The same would be true of a 433 kg TNT blast. Thus, in regards to the systems strength, it is abundantly clear that it is very strong, with the ability to resist over 500 kg of TNT (1100 lb.). This puts it up as one of the strongest systems of the war – to compare with the other ‘final’ Axis battleships, US technical missions post-war rated Bismarck’s system at 408 kg TNT, and Yamato 236 kg of TNT. USN Fast Battleships were all rated at 317.5 kg TNT (700 lb.), but on North Carolina at the very least it proved to be able to resist much more than that – falling just short of resisting 433 kg TNT at 77% depth, although it should be noted the addition of the Class B armor plate greatly helped her ability to resist it. The reduction towards the extremity hurts the strength of the system significantly – as evidenced by failing to resist a 340 kg TNT blast at 60% diameter. So, should the taper be considered a great disadvantage of the system compared to others? As mentioned, North Carolina’s taper was far less. Compiling a list of tapers yields this; Thus, the average taper lines up with Littorio’s almost perfectly – 60%. Thus, the taper of the Pugliese system on this ship, while not good (merely average), is far from an Achilles heel of the ship. In fact, if we establish a linear relationship between the absorbing cylinder diameter and the blast resistance, it explains these hits perfectly. 100% resisted 500 kg. 70% resisted 320 kg, and 500 * .7 = 350 kg. 60% failed against 340 kg, and 500 * .6 = 300 kg. This produces a graph as such; Of course, this graph should be taken with a major grain of salt – we simply lack enough data points to determine how accurate such a line could be – it works, but it’s vague. We lack any data on hits abreast No.2 turret (or forward of No.3), where this system is 80% diameter, and likewise we only have a point of value for 60% diameter. For all we know, this could be a ‘critical diameter’ where the system will fail against anything, but any greater diameter will resist it. It sounds ridiculous – but, again, that also fits the available data. At the very least, we do know the system for the most part is strong enough to resist the blasts it was designed to, for the most part. Able to absorb the planned 320 kg TNT blasts at 70% diameter, just aft (or fore) of the turrets located at the extremes of the citadel, the vast majority of the system does meet the design requirement – and indeed for its greatest portion (abreast the machinery) it proved to be able to absorb blasts 60% greater than what the system was designed for, no small feat. Whether the very ends of the protective system meet the requirement, however, is unknown. Some last notes on misconceptions This last section I’m going to dedicate specifically to the misconceptions shared by Garzke & Dulin in their chapter on the Littorio-class. One of their prime points of criticisms is “the susceptibility of the system to failure under heavy loadings from non-contact detonations, due to the inadequacy of the riveted joint joining the protective system to the bottom structure of the hull girder”, which they credit the loss of the Roma to. This however is largely impossible, as the first PC 1400 X that struck Roma detonated under the hull and had no interaction with the system - flooding came up through the bottom, not through the sides of the ship. The second hit detonated within the hull and set of the magazines, and had nothing to do with the Pugliese system either. Likewise, the system did not make use of rivets, and it is not clear why the authors believed this was the case. It is perhaps possible they based the consideration on the Soviet copy of the system, which did make use of riveting. Conclusion So finally we must come to a conclusion about Pugliese in light of reviewing its performance and past assessments. To put it simply, I am largely in agreement with the opinions Stefano has shared both in the book and in posts on the forums & his website. Many of the classic criticisms of the system seem to be unfounded, and compounded by incorrect information about the system and its wartime performance. Likewise, unusual standards applied to the system have also factored into these critiques, including the failure to protect extremities and the loss of system effectiveness at citadel extremities due to taper. Even when damaged, repair times were not above average, and that’s despite the fact that such time was usually also taken to improve internal systems and damage control capabilities. Thus; criticisms expressed like this from navweaps.com, from Joseph Czarnecki’s page on TDS systems; …Do not necessarily hold up. Myth-busting, and the strengths of the System: For example, both Conte di Cavour and Caio Duilio are cited as examples of the system failing when they were not involved, and nor could any contemporary TDS system. Only one of Littorio’s three hits was against the TDS, and this had little affect on her… and then of the examples cited at sea, only one actually hit the TDS, the rest being in the extremities of the ships. Of the examples cited above there are eight torpedo hits – only two actually interacted with the TDS and thus can be used to judge it. Long repair times also seems to be an excessive criticism, given repair times were not above average for other battleships taking torpedo hits to their torpedo belt. In fact, they were more rapid compared to many of their contemporaries. To be perfectly blunt - I lack any professional education in metallurgy and hydrodynamics. Thus, I cannot contest such an assertion, from a physics point of view, that the blast would ignore the absorbing cylinder and instead concentrate it’s force on the 40mm ER bulkhead. That being said, what I can say is that such an assertion was largely disproven in practice, given the multiple successful tests of the system in combat and in (literal) tests. There is only one actual example of the system outright failing in combat, at the point where the system is at its absolute weakest. Likewise, if such a defect in the very theory the system was predicated on existed, than it would have most surely revealed itself in the 1935 tests which tested the Pugliese cylinders with TNT charges of up to 640 kg. In practice, the ‘meat’ of the system, that is, the portion abreast the machinery, which is the thickest on every TDS design, proved to be one of the strongest systems to be fielded on any battleship of the Second World War. Able to resist blasts of up to at least 512 kg, this puts her on the same level as systems such as those used by the North Carolina-class battleships, who have the reputation of perhaps the strongest SPS system fitted to any American battleship, and by extension (given the usually excellent quality of American SPS), to any battleship ever constructed. It is clearly stronger than those of her Axis competitors, but against a few others it is not so clear. These ‘few others’ are: King George V – Only Prince of Wales was torpedoed, but she was swarmed and her loss was due to a tragically unlucky hit, perhaps the unluckiest in the entirety of naval warfare. A Japanese aerial torpedo with a 150 kg Type 97 (160.5 kg TNT) hit her directly where one of her outboard shafts met the hull, breaking it and causing the shaft to literally gut the ship, ripping apart the watertight bulkheads in the interior and allowing massive flooding directly into the engine room. Given the TDS of the King George V-class battleships was designed to resist 1,000 lb. of TNT (454 kg), it is almost assuredly that the system resisted the torpedo hits along it. However, no system could save a ship from such an unfortunate hit. That being said, we don’t have any real data on the resistance of the system so it makes it difficult to judge. It was overall one of the shallowest system of any modern battleship, with a maximum depth of just 4.0 meters. Dunkerque & Richelieu – Despite the latter being much larger, their TDS was practically identical. Paradoxically, it was actually half a meter deeper on the Dunkerque-class (7.5 m vs. 7.0 m). On the aforementioned class it was designed to defeat a 300 kg TNT blast. However, I lack any data on French tests of the system, and likewise they were not tested in combat. South Dakota & Iowa – These battleships use a largely identical system, designed to resist up to 700 lb. of TNT (317.5 kg), as was North Carolina’s. However, it differed due to the decision to use a more inclined belt and a lower belt to protect against diving shells. However because of this it has generally been judged as inferior to North Carolina’s excellent system (essentially, the Americans made a trade – ballistic protection in favor of torpedo protection). That being said, it is still unknown as to what the real effectiveness of the system is, due the fact the last Iowa-class battleships (Iowa and Wisconsin) were stuck from the naval register only in 2006, twelve years prior to this being written, and the data is still classified. It is worth nothing that Iowa’s system is slightly improved from South Dakota’s; most notably in the fact the joint between the lower belt and the triple bottom is stronger (and the lower belt is also thicker in this location on Iowa compared to South Dakota). So, if we’ve gone over all the flaws that didn’t exist within the system despite their repetition for so long, as well as establishing how strong the system was… let’s conclude on their weaknesses and a final assessment. First of all – the taper. Without a doubt, the taper greatly affected the torpedo resistance of the Littorio-class, and although the torpedo it failed against was 20 kg stronger of a yield than what the system was designed to counter, as evidenced by other blasts this was far less than what the system could resist in practice. Although earlier we did establish that this was hardly unique – in fact the taper is ‘just average’ compared to other battleships – that is hardly an excuse. While better than the taper of the other European battleships, and of course the elongated Iowa, it is still a massive reduction that is not (nearly) as present on the excellent system used by North Carolina, and even King George V, while hardly boasting a deep system, is at least much more consistent than that of Littorio. This also leads into my next point. The true prime flaw of the Pugliese system: At the end of the day, for all its strengths, the Pugliese system is very inefficient. They system takes up an enormous volume, and I am in total agreement with the final paragraph of Czarnecki’s statement about the Pugliese system. The system ate up a huge volume on the ship, which was space and weight that could’ve gone to more productive use. The great height of the cylinder removed any possibility of a lower belt, which reduced the vertical protection of the ship (which was otherwise perhaps the strongest of any ship of WWII). It also reduced the internal volume available for what goes in the citadel itself – namely, greater ammunition storage and more powerful machinery (which was one of the early sacrifices of the design). Ultimately, within Italy other systems did exist that were more conventionally based, that would not only take up less volume and more easily integrate with the ballistic protection of the warship, but were also at the end of the day, an all-round stronger system (namely, the Ansaldo 5-layer system). The final assessment: In the end, I do agree with Czarnecki’s last line, although certainly not in the way he intended. The Pugliese system was innovative, and was overall effective, but not for what it cost the ship. It was not so much a step backwards, but a step sideways – a more effective design than what preceded it, but not a replacement for more conventional methods, which on the same depth could produce superior results. That being said, compared to contemporary systems it performed its job well and successfully, and was stronger than most other systems fielded. At the end of the day, had a stronger system been fitted it would not have made any difference in the employment of the Italian battleships, and nor would it have made them any more effective (assuming benefits brought from reduced TDS volume). No system could save the rebuilds at Taranto, and no system could prevent the damage from the hits sustained outside of the citadel – which are the ones that had the greatest affect (Littorio at Taranto, and Vittorio Veneto off of Gavdos). What truly hindered the employment of the Italian battleships was threefold; lack of fuel oil in 1942 & 1943, the lack of effective air cover for most of the war from either the Regia Aeronautica or the Luftwaffe (both in providing fighter cover, and effective scouting), and a lack of radar to effectively employ the battleships at night (where aircraft were less of a threat, not to mention reducing the need for aircraft as scouts in day or night). The combination of these factors limited the ability of the Italian battleships to make contact with the enemy, accurately judge their strength, sustain contact, and engage in equal terms in poor visibility conditions – and eventually, limiting their ability to sortie in the first place. Sources:
  13. TheDgamesD

    Battle of Espero Convoy

    The Battle of the Espero Convoy (Battaglia del convoglio Espero) on 28 June 1940, was the first surface engagement between Italian and Allied warships of the Second World War. Three modern 36 kn (41 mph; 67 km/h) Italian destroyers made a run from Taranto for Tobruk in Libya to transport Blackshirt (Milizia Volontaria per la Sicurezza Nazionale) anti-tank units, in case of a British tank attack from Egypt. By coincidence, the Mediterranean Fleet was at sea to conduct a destroyer anti-submarine sweep around Crete and provide cover for three Allied convoys to Egypt, one from Turkey and two from Malta. British aircraft from Malta spotted the Italian destroyers and the 7th Cruiser Squadron turned to intercept them and a running fight took place south-west of Crete, in which the destroyers were impeded by their cargoes and an adverse sea. The Italian destroyer Espero (Capitano di Vascello Enrico Baroni) was sunk while covering the escape of Zeffiro and Ostro to Benghazi; 53 of the 225 crew and passengers were rescued, three of whom died of their wounds. The British and Australian cruisers expended a huge amount of ammunition and the Malta convoys had to be postponed until they had replenished from the 800 6-inch shells in reserve. Convoy AS 1 from Turkey arrived safely by 3 July. On 10 June 1940, Italy declared war on Britain and France. Comando Supremo (Italian Supreme Command of the armed forces) expected a British advance into Cyrenaica (eastern Libya) led by armored forces. An anti-tank unit comprising 162 gunners, ten anti-tank guns and 120 short tons (110 t) of ammunition was ordered to Tobruk by a fast destroyer convoy. On 27 June, five destroyers were to sail from Alexandria on an anti-submarine sweep near the Ionian island of Kythira and them sail on to Malta to form the close escort for convoys MF 1 and MS 2 to Alexandria. Intelligence about Italian submarines led to the sweep being diverted through the Kasos Strait east of Crete, then north of the island, thence past Kythira to Malta. Short Sunderland flying boats of 201 Group RAF, based in Malta, were to co-operate with the naval operations in the Ionian Sea. On the Italian declaration of war, the passenger liner El Nil, en route for Egypt from Marseilles, Knight of Malta and interned Italian ship Rodi were in Malta and in Operation MA 3 these ships formed the fast convoy MF 1 [13 kn (15 mph; 24 km/h)]. Five slower ships, Zeeland, Kirkland, Masirah, Novasli and Tweed carrying naval stores for Alexandria, formed the slow convoy MS 1 [9 kn (10 mph; 17 km/h)] were to depart from Malta for Alexandria. MF 1 carried civilians being evacuated from Malta and all of the Mediterranean Fleet was to sortie to protect them in Operation MA 5. Convoy AS1, with seven ships, was to sail from the Dardanelles to Egypt, with four ships joining from Salonika, Piraeus and Smyrna (İzmir), escorted by the light cruisers HMS Capetown and Caledon of the 3rd Cruiser Squadron and the destroyers HMS Garland, Nubian, Mohawk and Vampire, due to depart from Cape Helles early on 28 June. The timing of the departures was arranged so that on 30 June the three convoys would be at Position K (35°N, 22°E), south of Cape Matapan, about halfway between Malta and Alexandria. Five cruisers of the 7th Cruiser Squadron (also known as Force C, Vice-Admiral John Tovey) with the 1st Cruiser Division, the Leander class cruisers (eight 6-inch guns) HMS Orion (flagship), Neptune, HMAS Sydney and the 2nd Cruiser Division, the Town (Gloucester) class cruisers (twelve 6-inch guns) Liverpool and Gloucester, were to sail west of Crete near Position K. The 1st Battle Squadron (Rear-Admiral Henry Pridham-Wippell) with HMS Royal Sovereign Ramillies, the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle and the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla, were to be south-west of Crete also near Position K, ready to intervene according to circumstances. At 6:00 p.m. on 26 June, Caledon, Garland and Vampire sailed from Alexandria to rendezvous with Capetown, Nubian and Mohawk the next day while heading for the Dardanelles. A dawn on 27 June, five ships of the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla departed Alexandria and at 11:00 a.m., the 7th Cruiser Squadron left for Position K. The Italians chose the Turbine-class destroyers Espero (flagship, Capitano di Vascello Enrico Baroni), Zeffiro and Ostro to transport the anti-tank units, for their high speed [36 kn (41 mph; 67 km/h)] and loading capacity. Two smaller First World War era escort vessels, Pilo and Giuseppe Missori, which carried 52 troops and additional supplies, departed independently for Tobruk some hours later. As the sun set, the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla of Voyager, Dainty, Decoy, Defender and Ilex were 200 nmi (230 mi; 370 km) north of Alexandria. At 6:28 p.m. while 100 nmi (115 mi; 185 km) south-east of Crete, the flotilla spotted a submarine, Console Generale Liuzzi, which quickly dived. Four of the destroyers made depth-charge attacks and after the fifth an oil slick was seen and trailed by Dainty. The submarine had been badly damaged by the depth charging and was eventually forced to the surface. After a hunt of ninety minutes the submarine was seen again at 2,500 yd (2,300 m) and two destroyers fired on the submarines until a white light was taken to indicate a surrender. Dainty moved closer and began to take on survivors, along with other destroyers which lowered boats to pick up the Italians who had taken to the water. Three hours fifteen minutes lapsed before the last two men from the submarine were taken off and the boat sunk with depth charges. The Italian destroyers were spotted at 12:10 p.m. by a 228 Squadron Sunderland (L.5806) from Malta, about 50 nmi (58 mi; 93 km) west of Zakynthos in the Ionian Sea, west of Greece and about 150 nmi (173 mi; 278 km) from Position K. No course was given by the Sunderland crew and the Italian ships were thought to be heading for Kythira; at 4:10 p.m. the 7th Cruiser squadron turned north to intercept the Italian ships. At 4:40 p.m. a sighting by Sunderland (L.5803) had them still heading south, about 35 nmi (40 mi; 65 km) from Orion. Tovey ordered a turn to the south-west and an increase in speed to 25 kn (29 mph; 46 km/h). The cruisers sailed on a course of 180°, the 1st Cruiser Division, Orion, Neptune and Sydney to overhaul the Italians to starboard and the 2nd Cruiser Division, about 5 nmi (6 mi; 9 km) apart from Liverpool and Manchester to overtake them to port. The Italian destroyers were steaming south-east at high speed when they were spotted by Liverpool at 6:30 p.m., about 100 nmi (120 mi; 190 km) north of Tobruk; the cruiser commenced firing three minutes later at 18,000 yd (8.9 nmi; 10 mi; 16 km). The Italian ships had the notional speed to outrun the cruisers but their age, heavy loads and the sea state meant that the British ships slowly caught up. The Italians had been taken by surprise and could not launch torpedoes because of their deck cargoes but they were difficult to hit as they made smoke, darkness gathered and the ships sailed towards the afterglow of the sun. At 7:05 p.m. Neptune reported torpedoes and the British ships changed course to comb the spread. The 2nd Cruiser Division concentrated on Espero and by 7:20 p.m. had closed the range to 14,000 yd (7 nmi; 8 mi; 13 km) and the 1st Division turned 50° to starboard to bring all their turrets to bear ("opening 'A' arcs") but Espero was not hit until the fifteenth salvo. Baroni realized that his faster ships were doomed and decided to sacrifice Espero to enable the other two to escape, laid smoke and maneuvered evasively as Zeffiro and Ostro raced south-west. At 8:00 p.m. Espero was hit and brought to a stop. As night was falling and short of ammunition, Tovey abandoned the chase ten minutes later and changed course for Malta. Tovey ordered Sydney to finish off Espero and when at 6,000 yd (3 nmi; 3 mi; 5 km) received two shells from Espero and replied with four salvos, scoring hits. Espero began to burn from the bow to midships and at 8:35 p.m., Sydney closed to 2,000 yd (1,829 m) astern of the destroyer. Men jumped from the burning ship and there was an explosion near the bridge. At 8:40 p.m., with a list of almost 90°, Espero sank at 35° 18' N; 20° 8' E. Sydney lowered both of its boats to rescue survivors and used Jacob's ladders and Bosun's chairs to bring them aboard. The glare from Espero before it sank and the presence of Italian submarines led to the rescue effort being ended at 10:19 p.m. when all 47 survivors in sight had been collected. before Sydney sailed away, one of the cutters with oars, sails, foodstuffs, water and rifles was left behind and with a signal projector illuminated so that remaining survivors could board it. Three of the survivors died before the ship reached Alexandria and six others were found alive on a raft by the Italian submarine Topazio fourteen days later. At dawn, the 2nd Destroyer Flotilla was 160 nmi (184 mi; 296 km) west of Crete when the submarine Uebi Scebeli was caught on the surface. The submarine dived and was depth charged by three of the destroyers which forced Uebi Scebeli to the surface, where survivors were rescued. Dainty sank the submarine with gunfire at 8:20 am.; the destroyers made for Alexandria, arriving at about 7:00 p.m. on 30 June. Information was gleaned from the prisoners, of a submarine patrol line between Crete and the African coast; two destroyers were dispatched from Alexandria on an anti-submarine sortie near Derna, detected a submerged submarine on 1 July and claimed its sinking, although this was disproved when the ships returned on 2 July. Zeffiro and Ostro had reached Benghazi on 29 June and arrived at Tobruk shortly after; two-thirds of the convoy had survived. The smaller Pilo and Missori also reached Libya after being diverted to the port of Tripoli. The engagement had lasted for about 130 minutes and the 7th Cruiser Squadron fired about 5,000 shells. An Italian 4.7 in (120 mm) shell hit Liverpool 3 ft (0.91 m) above the waterline but caused little damage. Some of the prisoners on Sydney disclosed the purpose of the operation, that Espero had a company of 225 men and passengers embarked and that Baroni had been killed in the explosion near the bridge. The ammunition consumption of the British cruisers exacerbated a shortage of ammunition at Alexandria, where only 800 6-inch shells were in stock. The Battle of the Espero Convoy demonstrated that a daylight naval action at long range was likely to be indecisive and extravagant of ammunition. The 2nd Cruiser Division was so short of ammunition that it returned to Alexandria and the Malta convoys were postponed. The 1st Cruiser Division reached Alexandria on 1 July, having also been ineffectually bombed. Convoy AS 1 from the Aegean was attacked from 29 June to 1 July by Italian aircraft based in the Dodecanese Islands but reached Alexandria and Port Said undamaged on 2 and 3 July. In 1998, Green and Massignani wrote that had Italian aircraft spotted the Allied cruisers before they came within range, all three destroyers could have escaped. Baroni was posthumously awarded the Medaglia D´oro Al Valor Militare. The lack of ammunition and the danger of Italian submarines, led to the two Malta convoy sailings being postponed for two weeks, followed by Operation MF 5, culminating in the Battle of Punta Stilo (9 July 1940). On 5 July, nine Fairey Swordfish torpedo-bombers of 813 Naval Air Squadron, Fleet Air Arm flew from Sidi Barrani near the Egypt–Libya frontier, to attack the ships in Tobruk harbour. Twelve fighters of 33 Squadron covered the Swordfish and 211 Squadron attacked the airfield, damaged eight Fiat CR.42 fighters and flew reconnaissance sorties. The Swordfish dropped seven torpedoes in the harbour, sank Zeffiro and damaged the destroyer Euro; the merchantmen Manzoni and Serenitas were also sunk and the liner Liguria was damaged. On the evening after the attack on Tobruk, 830 Naval Air Squadron from Malta bombed the airfield at Catania in Sicily. Capetown and Caledon of the 3rd Cruiser Squadron with four destroyers, bombarded the port Bardia from 9,000 yd (5.1 mi; 8.2 km) at dawn on 6 July and hit two ships, before making ready to assist the crews of any aircraft damaged on the Tobruk raid; Italian aircraft attacked the ships to no effect. The guns of Zeffiro were salvaged from the harbour and sent to Bardia to augment the coastal defences.
  14. TheDgamesD

    Carlo Fecia Di Cossato

    Captain Carlo Fecia Di Cossato's life and legacy: Fecia di Cossato was born in Rome in 1908 from a family of the Piedmontese nobility. In his youth, he attended the Royal Military College of Moncalieri and then the Italian Naval Academy in Livorno, where he graduated in 1928 as an Ensign. Immediately after graduation, he was assigned on the submarine Bausan. In 1929, after promotion to Sub-Lieutenant, Fecia di Cossato was assigned to the Italian Naval Detachment in Beijing and sent to China on the scout cruiser Libia. He returned to Italy in 1933, was promoted to Lieutenant and was assigned on the light cruiser Bari, stationed in Massawa during the Second Italo-Ethiopian War. He then participated in two special missions on submarines during the Spanish Civil War. In 1939 Fecia di Cossato attended the Italian Navy Submarine School in Pola, after which he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and given command of a submarine. When Italy entered World War II, Fecia di Cossato was the commanding officer of the submarine Ciro Menotti, based in Messina as part of the 33rd Submarine Squadron. In this role he participated in several missions in the Mediterranean Sea. In the autumn of 1940 he was transferred to the BETASOM submarine base, in occupied France, where he started his participation in the Battle of the Atlantic as executive officer of the submarine Enrico Tazzoli, whose commanding officer was Lieutenant Commander Vittore Raccanelli. On 5 April 1941 Fecia di Cossato was given command of Tazzoli, with Lieutenant Gianfranco Gazzana-Priaroggia as executive officer. Fecia di Cossato and Gazzana Priaroggia (who was later given command of the submarines Archimede and Leonardo da Vinci) were to become Italy's most successful submariners in World War II. On April 7, 1941 Tazzoli left Bordeaux for its first mission under Fecia di Cossato. After reaching a patrol area off the coast of West Africa, on April 12 the submarine attacked two British cruisers with torpedoes, but no hits were obtained. On April 15, Tazzoli sank the British steamer Aurillac (4,733 GRT) with torpedoes and gunfire. On May 7th, Tazzoli sank the Norwegian steamer Fernlane (4,310 GRT) and two days later the Norwegian tanker Alfred Olsen (8,817 GRT). The latter required two days of pursuit, all remaining torpedoes and a hundred artillery rounds, forcing Tazzoli to return to base after sinking it. On the way back, Tazzoli was attacked by an enemy plane, but the reaction of its machine guns damaged the plane and forced it to fly away. On May 25, Tazzoli reached Bordeaux, where Fecia di Cossato was awarded a Silver Medal of Military Valor. On July 15, 1941, Fecia di Cossato sailed for a new mission during which, on August 12, he destroyed the grounded wreck of the British steamer Sangara (5,449 GRT, already damaged by a previous attack by the German submarine U 69) and on August 19 he sank the Norwegian tanker Sildra (7,313 GRT) about fifty miles off Freetown. He returned to base on September 11 and was awarded a Bronze Medal of Military Valor and an Iron Cross Second Class. In December 1941 Tazzoli left Bordeaux to take part in the rescue of 400 survivors from the German commerce raider Atlantis and the German supply ship Python, that had been sunk off the Cape Verde islands. German U-Boats had rescued the survivors from the sea, but did not have enough space to adequately house them, therefore the German command requested the intervention of the larger Italian submarines. Tazzoli and three other Betasom submarines (Torelli, Calvi and Finzi) thus sailed from Bordeaux after disembarking nonessential personnel and loading substantial supplies of food and water. At the rendez-vous with the German U-Boats, Tazzoli took onboard about 70 survivors, including Atlantis' executive officer Ulrich Mohr. On Christmas Eve Tazzoli, sailing on the surface, was attacked by an enemy plane and forced to crash dive. On the following day, the submarine reached Saint-Nazaire, where the survivors were landed. For his part in the rescue of the survivors from the two German ships, Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz awarded Fecia di Cossato the Iron Cross First Class. On 11 February 1942, after the United States’ entry into the war, Tazzoli under Fecia di Cossato left for a new mission, off the coasts of America. On 6 March the submarine sank the Dutch steamer Astrea (1,406 GRT), and on the following day the Norwegian motorship Torsbergfjord (3,156 GRT). On 9 March Tazzoli sank the Uruguayan steamer Montevideo (5,785 GRT), on 11 March the Panama-flagged steamer Cygnet (3,628 GRT), on 13 March the British steamer Daytonian (6,434 GRT) and two days later the British tanker Athelqueen (8,780 GRT). In the fight against the latter, Tazzoli suffered some damage, following which Di Cossato decided to return to base, where he arrived on 31 March. Following this mission Fecia di Cossato was awarded another Silver Medal of Military Valor by the Italian authorities and an Iron Cross Second Class with Sword by the German authorities. On 18 June 1942 Di Cossato sailed with Tazzoli for a new mission in the Caribbean. On 2 August he attacked and sank the Greek merchant Castor (1,830 GRT), an four days later he sank the Norwegian tanker Havsten (6,161 GRT), allowing her crew to abandon ship and be rescued by a nearby Argentinian ship, before sinking her. On 5 September, Tazzoli returned to base; for this mission Fecia di Cossato received a Bronze Medal of Military Valor. On 14 November 1942 Fecia Di Cossato sailed for his last mission on Tazzoli. On 12 December the submarine sank the British steamer Empire Hawk (5,032 GRT) and the Dutch merchant Ombilin (5,658 GRT); on 21 December the British steamer Queen City (4,814 GRT) became Tazzoli's next victim, followed on Christmas by the American motorship Dona Aurora (5,011 GRT). During the return voyage, the submarine was attacked by a British four-engined plane, that was shot down by Tazzoli's machine gunners. On 2 February 1943, Tazzoli ended her patrol in Bordeaux. On 19 March 1943, Fecia di Cossato was awarded a Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross by the German authorities, for his successes in the Atlantic. n February 1943 Fecia di Cossato left the command of Tazzoli, was promoted to Commander and was then given command of the brand new Ciclone-class torpedo boat Aliseo and of the 3rd Torpedo Boat Squadron. He assumed command of Aliseo on 17 April 1943. In May 1943 Di Cossato learned that Tazzoli, having been converted into a transport submarine, had disappeared with all hands after sailing towards the Far East; the loss of his old crew deeply affected him. On 22 July 1943 Aliseo left Pozzuoli together with the German torpedo boat TA11 and two submarine chaser, escorting the steamers Adernò and Colleville towards Civitavecchia. In the morning of 23 July, the convoy was attacked by Allied aircraft; one of the attacking planes was shot down, while one of the Axis escorting planes was damaged and forced to ditch. Aliseo was strafed, and suffered minor damage to her deck and rudder. Fecia di Cossato ordered the convoy to go on, then Aliseo took the ditched plane in tow and towed it towards the coast, while the damage to the rudder was repaired; Aliseo rejoined the convoy at 17:30. Around 19:30, the convoy was attacked by the submarine HMS Torbay, that torpedoed Adernò, sinking her. Aliseo launched a motorboat to pick up the survivors, then hunted the attacking submarine for several hours, but without result. Following other escort missions in the Tyrrhenian Sea, Fecia di Cossato was awarded another Bronze Medal of Military Valor by the Italian authorities, and a War Merit Cross by the German authorities. When the armistice between Italy and the Allied forces was announced, on the evening of 8 September 1943, Aliseo was moored in the harbour of Bastia, in Italian-occupied Corsica. The harbour was packed with several vessels, both Italian and German; besides Aliseo, these included her sistership Ardito, the Italian merchant ships Sassari and Humanitas, and a small German flotilla which included the submarine chasers UJ 2203 (former French survey vessel Austral) and UJ 2219 (former Belgian yacht Insuma) and five Marinefährprahme (F 366, F 387, F 459, F 612 and F 623). The local Italian and German commanders soon reached a "gentlemen’s agreement" according to which the German forces would be allowed to safely retreat to mainland Italy. Meanwhile, however, the German forces secretly prepared to launch a surprise attack on the Italian ships moored inside the harbour, planning to capture them. The attack started at 23:45 on 8 September, when two groups of German soldiers, after hearing a whistle (the signal to attack), stormed Ardito; the torpedo boat was heavily damaged (70 of her 180 crew were killed) and captured, and the merchant ships Sassari and Humanitas also fell into German hands. Aliseo had just left the harbour when the German attack began. Shortly after dawn on 9 September, a combat group of the Tenth Bersaglieri Group (10° Raggruppamento Celere Bersaglieri) staged a counterattack which led to the recapture of the port, as well as of Ardito, Sassari and Humanitas; the German flotilla was ordered to leave the harbour, but the ships were immediately fired upon by the Italian coastal batteries, which damaged UJ 2203 and some of the MFPs. Aliseo, under the command of Fecia di Cossato, was then ordered by the port commander to attack and destroy the German units. Shortly after 7:00 the flotilla, proceeding in a column led by UJ 2203, opened fire on Aliseo, which returned fire at 7:06, from a distance of 8,300 metres (9,100 yd); at 7:30 Aliseo was hit by an 88 mm shell in the engine room and temporarily left dead in the water, but the damage was quickly repaired and the torpedo boat closed in and engaged her adversaries in succession, destroying them one after the other. At 8:20 UJ 2203, after suffering several hits, blew up; ten minutes later UJ 2219 was also destroyed when her magazines exploded. Between 8:30 and 8:35 Aliseo also sank F 366, F 459 and F 623; the corvette Cormorano intervened during the final phase of the battle and, together with Aliseo, forced F 387 and F 612 to run aground, after which they were abandoned and destroyed. Aliseo picked up 25 German survivors, then proceeded towards Portoferraio, as ordered, together with the damaged Ardito. Elba Island had become the collection point for Italian torpedo boats, corvettes and minor ships escaping from harbours on the northern Tyrrhenian coast; Aliseo and Ardito reached Portoferrario at 17:58 on 9 September. In the morning of 11 September, Aliseo left Portoferraio along with six other torpedo boats (including sisterships Animoso, Ardimentoso, Indomito and Fortunale) and some corvettes and smaller vessels, heading for Allied-controlled Palermo, where the group arrived at 10:00 on 12 September. The ships remained in the roads till 18 September, when they entered the harbor in order to receive water and food supplies; on 20 September they left Palermo and reached Malta, where Aliseo delivered part of the foodstuff she had been given to the Italian warships that had arrived there in the previous days. On 5 October 1943, Aliseo left Malta and returned to Italy. For both his achievements in the Battle of the Atlantic and his victorious action off Bastia, Fecia di Cossato was awarded a Gold Medal of Military Valor. Based in Taranto, Aliseo carried out numerous escort missions during the co-belligerence between Italy and the Allies, always under Di Cossato's command. In June 1944, the new government chaired by Ivanoe Bonomi refused to swear loyalty to the king; on 22 June Fecia di Cossato, a staunch monarchist, refused in turn to swear loyalty to the new government, which he considered illegitimate. On the same day, Fecia di Cossato was relieved of command, charged with insubordination and imprisoned. His huge popularity, however, led to immediate unrest among the crews of his and other ships, who refused to put to sea and demanded that he be freed and reinstated in his role. Shortly thereafter, Fecia di Cossato was released from prison, but he was given a mandatory three months' leave. With the armistice and the following events, Fecia di Cossato had seen the ideals that had guided him throughout his life – the Fatherland, the Monarchy, the Regia Marina – crumble around him. He perceived the events of 8 September 1943 as a "shameful surrender" for the Royal Italian Navy, which, he felt, had produced no positive effects for Italy; the country was now divided and occupied by opposing foreign armies, and the armistice and the change of sides would become a stain on Italy's honour and reputation for a long time "We have been unworthily betrayed and we discovered to have committed an ignominius act without any result". Di Cossato felt that his personal honor was stained by the surrender; furthermore, he was worried by the rumors that, despite their participation in the co-belligerence against the Germans, the surviving ships of the Italian Navy would still be handed over to the Allies at the end of the war. He was also haunted by the loss of his old crew on Tazzoli; on the letter he wrote before committing suicide, he also wrote "For months, all I've done is thinking about my crew, who rest honorably at the bottom of the sea. I think that my place is with them". Since his family lived in German-occupied Northern Italy, out of his reach, he had to live in a friend's house in Naples. On 21 August 1944, as his mandatory leave was nearing its end, Fecia di Cossato wrote a last letter to his mother, where he explained the reasons for his extreme gesture; on 27 August 1944 he committed suicide by shooting himself in his friend's house in Naples. He is buried in Bologna. This is a man, who in my eyes atleast, more than any other Italian Commander deserves to be put into World Of Warships as a Unique Commander, regardless of the fact he was a Submariner, due to the legacy and life he lived, only to see his very reasons for fighting disappear with the single stroke of a pen. May he rest in peace. None of the military forces of the major participant powers in World War II have been as unjustly maligned as those of the Kingdom of Italy. Italian defeats have been exaggerated and Italian successes often downplayed or ignored entirely. Because of this, the details of the Italian submarine campaign will no doubt come as a surprise to a great many people. However, the Regia Marina (Italian Royal Navy) entered the war with the largest submarine fleet in the world by tonnage and while most tend to think of the “Battle of the Atlantic” as solely a fight between German U-boat “wolf packs” and Allied convoys, the Italians participated as well, in fact, at one point there were more Italian submarines operating in the Atlantic than German ones. Italian boats also saw extensive service in the Mediterranean (naturally) and the Indian Ocean as well as undertaking operations to East Asian waters and the South Atlantic; areas beyond the range of the smaller, typical Type-VIIC German U-boats. Finally, Italian submarines did a great deal of damage, despite facing many difficulties, against the Allies. When the Kingdom of Italy entered World War II with the declarations of war against Britain and France in June of 1940 the Regia Marina possessed 84 operational submarines under the overall command of Admiral Mario Falangola, succeeded at the end of the following year by Admiral Antonio Legnani. At the outset, their failures outnumbered their successes, which is not too surprising as, aside from some secretive operations in support of Franco in the Spanish Civil War, they had never been tested and both men and boats had bugs that needed working out. However, they had a spirit and determination that would prove formidable. The Smeraldo, for example, a Sirena-class boat of the short to medium range 600 series made the first torpedo attack on British shipping by an Italian submarine but the heavy seas caused the torpedo to miss. However, this same boat later endured the most intense anti-submarine warfare attack of any boat in history with British ships dropping 200 depth charges on her, and she still survived (ultimately this boat was sunk by running into a British mine some time later). After the conquest of France and the establishment of German naval bases on the French west coast, Italian submarines were invited to participate in the campaign to strangle the British Isles. This, of course, meant a dangerous passage through the Straits of Gibraltar under the very noses of the British Royal Navy. Many German U-boats were lost in the straits but, though few are aware of it, no Italian submarine was ever sunk slipping through these dangerous waters. The Italians established themselves at Bordeaux under the name BETASOM (Beta [Bordeaux] Som [Sommergibili]) with 27 submarines in early 1941. Originally, the idea was the German and Italian submarines would work together in coordinated attacks against Allied shipping, however, this soon proved to be more troublesome than effective and few seem to understand why. Ultimately the cause was a difference in training and how German and Italian boats operated as well as the Germans not being what we would call “team players”. Fairly quickly in the war, German submarines developed a preferred tactic of attacking on the surface at night, submerging to escape counterattack. Italian submarines, however, usually made underwater attacks during the daytime. This was one of the differences that made cooperation difficult. Probably the most significant, however, was the unwillingness of the Germans to place a German communications officer on Italian submarines, though they held overall command of joint-operations. The result of this was that an Italian submarine making contact with the enemy would have to signal Bordeaux which would then have to send the message to Paris to the German naval command which would then relay the message out to the German submarines in the area. Needless to say, this meant that by the time the Germans were told of an enemy convoy, it was too late for them to do anything about it. There was also an unwillingness on the part of the Germans to train the Italians to fit in with their preferred way of doing things and what training they did provide was inadequate, expecting the Italians to learn in only two months what it had taken the Germans years to develop and become proficient at. There is evidence that when Italian submarine captains were allowed to train with the Germans, the results were obvious. One such officer was Commander Primo Longobardo, one of the few to train with the Germans, and he proved one of the most successful Italian submarine commanders of the war. As captain of the submarine Torelli he once sank four Allied ships on a single patrol and ultimately accounted for 42,000 tons of Allied shipping sunk. In any event, when coordinated training was finally agreed to, joint operations had already been canceled and each submarine force operated on their own with the Italians mostly hunting in waters around the Azores and some boats dispatched for the South Atlantic, such as in the Brazilian shipping lanes, which they were able to reach more easily because of their greater range. A lack of cooperation was also evident in the reluctance of the Germans to share their torpedo technology with the Italians. The Germans tried many innovations with their torpedoes, causing some problems as certain designs didn’t work but ultimately resulting in a more effective weapon. The Italians, on the other hand, simply stuck to their older but more reliable model which was not as effective and the Germans would not share their magnetic trigger technology with Italy until it was too late to be of best use. It is for this reason that Italian submarines frequently engaged in surface action as quite often they would make a successful underwater attack using their torpedoes but the target would be badly damaged but not sunk at which point the Italian submarine would surface and finish off the enemy with their deck gun. Italian sub crews also became, out of necessity, quite adept anti-aircraft gunners and this came about due to the nature of their boats. A submarine on the surface is vulnerable and aircraft are a particularly dangerous enemy. They can be upon you very quickly and do immense damage, making it a life or death matter for a submarine to be able to submerge as fast as possible. As Italian submarines tended to be larger than their average German counterpart, this meant that they were slower to dive. A typical German submarine could submerge in about 20 seconds, whereas the average Italian submarine took between 60 and 120 seconds to get below the waves. One result of this was that, by the time an enemy aircraft was spotted, it was often better to take your chances shooting it out on the surface than be shot full of holes while trying to dive. It was not an enviable situation but it did make Italian AA fire more effective than in other navies. In fact, it was an Italian submarine, which had been shifted to the Germans after 1943 and then to the Japanese after the German surrender, which fired the last shots of World War II, using her AA battery against American bombers while in port in Japan. In spite of their boats having their limitations, torpedoes that were not the best and a less than fully cooperative ally, Italian submarines still did a great deal of damage thanks to having some extremely skilled commanders. None was more famous than Gianfranco Gazzana-Priaroggia, captain of the Leonardo DaVinci, the most successful Italian submarine of the war. Nicknamed “Ursus atlanticus”, Gazzana-Priaroggia would ultimately sink over 90,000 tons of Allied shipping, his biggest score being the massive British troopship the Empress of Canada. He was even set to lead a special forces submarine attack on New York harbor but this was postponed and ultimately never carried out due to the 1943 armistice. Earlier that year, Gazzana-Priaroggia was sadly killed in action but was posthumously awarded both the Gold Medal for Military Valor by the King of Italy and the Knights Iron Cross by the Germans for his achievements. By most accounts (there is some dispute as the U.S. ‘updated’ their stats several times after the war) Gazzana-Priaroggia was the most successful non-German submarine commander of all time. However, the Mediterranean Sea was, of course, always supposed to be the primary area of operations for all units of the Regia Marina and it was an enclosed sea of hazards with major British naval installations at Gibraltar, Malta, Alexandria and Cyprus. Italian submarine commanders pulled off some extremely daring victories against the British in these waters and aside from merchant shipping also took a heavy toll on Royal Navy warships. Notable successes include the cruisers HMS Bonaventure, HMS Calypso and HMS Coventry which were all sunk by Italian submarines in 1940-41. However, Italian industry could not produce new boats fast enough and the Allied breaking of Axis codes was also a huge blow to the submarine campaign. Nonetheless, Italian submarines in the Mediterranean would open up a new type of undersea warfare which had dramatic results, producing a new type of warrior who could be seen as the precursor of America’s feared SEAL teams. A special unit, composed of both fast-attack surface craft and undersea weapons known as “human torpedoes” was formed known as the Decima Flottiglia MAS (for Mezzi d’Assalto) or X-MAS (in English, ‘Tenth Assault Vehicle Flotilla’). One man very much associated with this new unit was Prince Junio Valerio Borghese, captain of the submarine Sciré. The “human torpedoes”, as they are often called, were actually nothing of the sort as no torpedoes were involved and, while highly dangerous, were not suicide weapons. The Italians referred to them as ‘maiale’ or ‘pigs’ because these were basically miniature submarines that Italian sailors would ride ‘piggy-back’ into an enemy harbor after being brought into the vicinity by a submarine making a submerged approach. They would cut through any anti-submarine nets, approach the underside of major ships in the harbor and attach mines to the hull. Once they were safely away the mines would detonate and the ships would be crippled or sunk. The sailors would have no hope of returning to their submarine and so could either try to make it to neutral territory or simply surrender after accomplishing their mission. In December of 1941 such an attack was launched on the British naval base at Alexandria, Egypt with the battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Valiant being crippled, a Norwegian tanker sunk and a destroyer, HMS Jervis, being badly damaged. Men of the X-MAS, brought in by the submarine Sciré, launched a similar attack on Gibraltar in September, sinking three enemy ships. Later, operating out of an old tanker in the Spanish port of Algeciras more attacks on Gibraltar were made in December of 1942, sinking two ships and damaging two more. Two more British freighters and an American Liberty Ship were sunk in 1943 prior to the armistice. These attacks, which were almost impossible to guard against, caused considerable panic in the Allied naval forces operating in the Mediterranean. Ultimately, the armistice, division of Italy and finally the end of the war all caused confusion among the Italian submariners. Most remained loyal to the King and followed orders, turning their boats over to their former enemies, some were seized and forced into the German and later Japanese navies and some, like Prince Borghese, cast their lots with Mussolini and the Germans, to carry on to the bitter end. A most tragic case was that of Captain Carlo Fecia Di Cossato, (whom I'll be going into more depth about shortly, as this is all precursor background knowledge) the man who sank more ships than any other Italian submarine commander at the helm of the Tazzoli. Loyal to his King above all, when the armistice came, he followed orders and even sunk seven more ships, German this time, in his new command. However, the abrupt change troubled him, becoming worse as it became clear that the Allies still considered Italy a defeated enemy and would strip Italy of her empire, even territory gained well before the Fascist Era. He was torn apart by conflicting feelings of loyalty and dishonor until he committed suicide in Naples in 1944. When the war was finally over, with all of the confusion, bitterness and divisions which that caused, the feats of the Italian submarine campaign stand out as further proof of how wrong the popular misconception is of the Royal Italian military in World War II. Italian submarines sank about a million tons of Allied shipping from mid-1940 to 1943. This was almost as much, indeed somewhat more according to some statistics as the ultimately far larger submarine force the Imperial Japanese Navy sunk from the end of 1941 to 1945, the disparity in numbers all the more significant given that over-worked Italian industrial capacity meant that Italy could only commission 30 new boats during the war years whereas Japan commissioned 126 additional subs (not counting midget boats) during the conflict. Italy was also not very far behind the tonnage sunk by the British Royal Navy during the entire course of the war from 1939 to 1945. They played a significant part, did considerable damage to the Allied fleets and did so with skill, heroism and gallantry in the face of immense odds.
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