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  1. Dramatic photo of the Japanese heavy cruiser Chikuma, Tone-class, underway. Date unknown. History Tone was the last heavy cruiser class constructed for the Imperial Japanese Navy prior to Japan’s entrance into World War II. The design for Tone (pronounced “toe-nay”) was a major modification of the Mogami-class, retaining heavy cruiser firepower while also providing its fleet with aerial reconnaissance as part of the IJN’s interwar “decisive battle” doctrine. Tone and Chikuma were originally designed as the fifth and sixth members of the Mogami-class cruiser (a light cruiser at the time, albeit designed from the start to accept a turret swap from triple 155 mm turrets to dual 203 mm turrets and subsequent reclassification as a heavy cruiser). However, Tone was redesigned in 1936-1937 while the ship was being laid down, as Japan had announced their withdrawal from the London Naval Treaty. Tone was equipped with eight 203 mm/50 cal. guns in twin gun mounts, while retaining the same triple torpedo mounts as the Mogami-class. The IJN doctrine dictated that all carrier-based planes were reserved for attack or defense, leaving most reconnaissance duties to the catapult floatplanes of the carrier escort fleet. Therefore, to accommodate both design criteria, Tone’s unique design placed all eight 203 mm guns in twin gun mounts in the forward section of the ship between the bow and the conning tower, leaving the aft section for seaplane storage and catapults. Tone was designed to carry eight seaplanes for reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare (ASW), however in practice neither Tone nor Chikuma carried more than five. Tone and her sister ship Chikuma often operated together as Cruiser Division 8 attached to the Kido Butai (Mobile Striking Force; the first massed carrier fleet in the world), providing anti-aircraft and recon support. The ships and their spotter planes played important roles in the Pearl Harbor attack and the Battle of Midway. Tone and Chikuma participated in the great battles around Guadalcanal and the Solomon Islands, after which their anti-aircraft protection was steadily built up (albeit with many of the outdated and lackluster 25 mm AA guns). As the tide of the Pacific War turned and Imperial Japan's desperation to fight a decisive battle became overwhelming, the two cruisers were committed to fight in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Chikuma was sunk by aerial torpedo attacks during the Battle off Samar in October 1944, and after the IJN's ability to wage an offensive war was expended Tone was bombed and sunk at her moorings in July 1945. It can be said that while the ships were able to fulfill their intended role as a hybrid heavy cruiser and seaplane carrier in the early days of the Pacific War, the concept of seaplane-based reconnaissance was outdated by war's end. Black and white may be period-authentic, but Irootoku Jr.'s colorized photos seems to draw out how large these vessels were - and how destructive the weapons in World War II actually were. Tone in World of Warships (Update 0.10.8) Gameplay Tone’s gameplay is similar to Atago and Myoko in many respects, but the differences are so exceptional that they warrant a detailed look. Tone has virtually identical gun performance as Atago, minus a twin turret. Tone also possesses the high-alpha IJN torpedoes in triple launchers from Myoko with good rear-firing angles and reload time. Tone’s minimum concealment is the best of all Tier VIII cruisers, and maneuverability and speed are very good. Just like typical IJN heavy cruisers, Tone prefers to rack up fire damage on large targets from the second line, using its maneuverability to dodge return fire. Tone’s concealment, dispersion, and HE alpha allows it to push up to a cap with support and hit DDs hard. Tone’s preferred habitat is kiting, allowing all its shipboard weapons to fire on enemies that decide to follow you. But in a desperate situation, Tone can risk its health to push a battleship or cruiser, angling its 27 mm exterior side hull armor to bounce 15” AP shells before performing a torpedo joust. Where Tone’s gameplay differs from Atago are the new tactical opportunities unique to this hybrid cruiser. Tone’s all-guns-fore arrangement allows the ship to use terrain to fire full salvos unspotted (!!). Tone can hide behind an island, poking its bow out to fire all main batteries while the detection point of the ship (the mainmast) remains hidden. The ability to fire unspotted allows Tone to rack up fire damage while taking virtually no damage in return, a huge advantage. This tactic is best used at the start of the game, when allied spotting is consistently available. It does take some practice to align the ship properly behind the island without getting stuck on underwater terrain. After many years, Tone is now in World of Warships. Another new tactical opportunity, albeit not as consistently advantageous, are the squadron of floatplane torpedo bombers. Players who have the hybrid carrier-battleship Ise are familiar with this new weapon type. The torpedo bombers have a 3-minute reload and launch from the ship by pressing a key. Once airborne, you lose direct control of your ship while flying the planes (basic remote control is possible via autopilot). The torpedo planes have a ten-second rocket booster on takeoff to provide great initial speed; in close range attacks these boosters can be jettisoned by pressing the S key. These torpedo bombers are almost identical to Ise’s torpedo bombers, which are a problem because they are tier VI in health, speed, and damage. They deal 2700 damage before reductions, drop in a wide fan pattern, and have poor flood chance. At tier VI these torpedo bombers are potent due to the 2-minute reload time, however the same torpedo bombers are severely lacking at tier VIII and with a longer reload time. These torpedo bombers are useful in four situations: Dropping to force a ship to turn in a desired direction. This can be used in concert with ship torpedoes or an allied CV. This requires precise timing, so all the torpedoes arrive at the same time. Spotting a DD then quickly swapping to guns to shoot the DD. The planes continue spotting the DD for a couple seconds until they reach the invulnerability altitude, upon which time they despawn. This tactic requires locking the guns ahead of time so they can be on target immediately after dropping the payload. Dropping on surprised ships (behind islands, in smoke). This can sometimes force a ship to panic and run out of cover, but the wide fan drop pattern makes hitting more than one torpedo unlikely. Providing spotting for your team in critical situations, such as resetting a cap or finishing off a low health target. WoWs doesn’t reward spotting as much as damage, kills, or cap/defends in terms of base XP, so using planes to spot is solely for influencing the battle towards a win. In random battles, I found it better to use the main batteries as often as possible and only use the torpedo bombers when I was unable to shoot any target due to terrain, undetection, or range; or if the need to spot a ship exceeded the need to deal damage, such as spotting a DD in a cap. The value of the torpedo bombers increases with fewer opponents and in the late game when enemy AA is weakened. In 7v7 ranked battles, Tone’s torpedo bombers have greater influence by spotting all the ships on Tone’s side of the map, or spotting the only DD on a flank for allied DDs to shoot at. "Much Ado About Nothing" - These planes look impressive on Tone's aft deck, but their lack of health, speed, and damage limit them mostly to their real-life role of spotting. And who said historical accuracy was no longer in World of Warships? Survivability Tone comes with a tier 7 hydroacoustic search (4 km ship detection) and four Atago heals by default (five heals with Superintendent captain skill). However, as the heal consumable doesn’t repair citadel damage in any meaningful amount, the opportunity to use all of your heals to their maximum potential is rare. Extra heal consumables sound great on paper but isn’t practical. Don’t be afraid to spam the heal. Rarely did I find a game where I survived with all five heals used up. Tone’s armor is similar to Mogami. The center portion of the ship is protected with 27 mm exterior upper-side and deck armor which can bounce 15” shells at close range when angled, but the bow and stern are 25 mm. Tone’s thin deck armor becomes pronounced at longer ranges, and the angled citadel slopes invite battleship AP to enter the citadel. Tone’s most reliable defense is open water maneuvering to avoid battleship shells entirely. Expect to eat penetrating hits and the occasional citadels when dodging and be pleasantly surprised when they miss; expect to lose half your health or more if you don’t dodge. Like other IJN heavy cruisers, the key to survival is knowing when to open fire and when to go undetected, and how to best use the WASD keys to avoid taking damage. I should also note that due to autopilot being incredibly and maliciously bad, if you are flying the planes and Tone is detected you should ditch the planes immediately. It isn’t worth dropping a battleship for an unlikely maximum of 10k in exchange for dying and having no further influence on the game. The AA guns are mostly for decoration. It is disappointing that Tone has no ability to discourage an enemy CV attack. She doesn’t even get a catapult fighter for defense, for reasons unknown. Tone also has no ASW capability, again for reasons unknown. Surface Weapons Tone has comfortable main battery performance while somewhat lacking in damage potential. There’s a perception that Tone’s guns have incredibly tight dispersion because of having all main batteries clustered together, but Tone has the same gun and shell as Atago with a slightly shorter range; the dispersion ellipse and sigma remain unchanged. The main battery firing angles are excellent; the B, C, and D turrets have good rear firing angles and can swing through the centerline, allowing you to maneuver to either side and continue firing. They also have excellent forward firing angles, allowing the ship to remain fully angled 25 degrees off the bow while firing all eight guns. Tone has the same number of 8” guns as Admiral Hipper/Prinz Eugen, however the German heavy cruisers have better AP performance and faster reload while on a ship with better overall armor. Tone attempts to make up for shell deficiencies with good fire chance typical from the IJN heavy cruiser line. However, like all chance-based mechanics, success is just as much the chance to win as how often you can roll, which Tone struggles to do with eight guns and a 14 second reload. I don’t mean to disparage IJN heavy cruiser shells and guns, even on Tone they are very good at hitting destroyers and cruisers with high alpha damage and battleships with fires. My criticism here is leveled at the small number of slow-reload guns which encounter such opponents as Petropavlovsk and Nevsky, with equivalent or more guns with much faster reload and shell performance. If this ship were released in 2018, these guns might be viewed as average; in 2021 they are lacking. If we look at Tone’s damage potential through the lens of a heavy cruiser, she is 4/5ths an Atago at best; compared to other newer Tier 8 cruisers, she is maybe 3/4 a heavy cruiser. But the ability to temporarily become a mini-CV cannot be discounted; the advantage of stripping enemy detection (even if it’s once every three minutes) is a huge advantage to Tone’s allies, and the ability to create crossdrops in concert with a CV or your own torpedoes is another advantage. Tone’s torpedoes are the conventional torpedoes found on Myoko, with high alpha damage and fast reload. Tone has two triple launchers per side with good arcs on the rear but terrible arcs on the front, requiring you to be completely broadside to fire them at targets ahead of you. They are secondary weapons to be used when kiting an enemy ship or jousting an enemy cruiser or battleship in a desperate situation. And if you thought you could pull a reverse of the “poke the bow out” trick with the main batteries, sadly Tone’s torpedo launchers are too close to the ship’s center to permit firing them while keeping the ship undetected behind an island. However, the angles are good enough that you can bait an enemy battleship to push around your island while moving forward and keeping some of your citadel hidden behind island outcroppings. In Conclusion... It’s challenging to describe Tone as strong or weak because of the variety of game mechanics she wields; it is very much comparing apples to oranges. Tone is a ship that is more than the sum of its parts. The combination of guns, gun emplacements, and planes offer unique opportunities to influence the battle. A skilled player knows when and where to use each weapon type to use Tone’s strengths to the extreme while minimizing her weaknesses. Ultimately, the performance of this ship depends heavily on the player’s ability to wield its tools in situations where those tools give their maximum potential while minimizing risks. As for whether I recommend for or against purchasing this ship, I would say it depends what you’re looking for. Compared to her Tier VIII cruiser peers, Tone doesn’t pump out insane damage like Mainz or is easy to play like Pyotr Bagration, but she offers a unique experience making her fun (i.e. not boring) to play. There were times when I swapped over to my grind on the Albemarle and wished I had the ability to launch planes to spot a target or do the “poke the bow out” trick to fire all guns undetected. If you’re new to IJN heavy cruisers or find them difficult/unenjoyable to play, you may find it difficult to judge when to use each weapon type and thus the ship’s variety may be overwhelming to you. In that case, Atago is a better and more reliable premium. If you’re familiar with this type of gameplay, Tone refreshes it with access to torpedo bombers and new opportunities to influence the battle. Tone is a Swiss army knife with situationally useful tools; use the right tool for the job and you will succeed. "An exceptionally clear photo of the Tone weighing anchor to get underway with Vice Admiral Nagumo Chuichi's Mobile Force. The picture was taken early in 1942 from the Hiei, of the First Section of Sentai 3. Four seaplanes, one Type 95 spotter and three Type 0 reconnaissance planes, were stowed aft. The flag of Rear Admiral Abe Hiroaki, flag officer of Sentai 8, was flying from the maintop. Sentai 8 operated with Nagumo's force in the Bismarcks, the Dutch Indies, and the Indian Ocean January-April 1942. (Maru Special)" - from Japanese Cruisers of the Pacific War Closing Thoughts Many thanks to those who have read my first Ship Spotlight, which at the time was a historical ship writeup competition hosted by the WoWs subreddit in 2019. I decided to revive this format of half-historical, half WoWs ship commentary out of love for this weird and unique ship. Thanks to Funnybricks for reviewing my draft. Readers, I realize this format may seem weird; this is a weird ship and it's very hard to crunch every aspect down into neat little topics due to how this ship's weapon systems are so closely interrelated. There aren't many guides or YouTube videos showcasing this ship's nuances, and thus I felt the need to describe in detail. Please let me know how I've done! Most of my sources are from the excellent Lacroix and Wells' Japanese Cruisers of the Pacific War, a veritable treasure trove of IJN cruiser factoids that I recommend for the IJN cruiser enthusiast. One day I hope this book gets a much needed reprint. Again please feel free to comment below, I welcome feedback. Cheers and hope to see you playing Tone!
  2. Just starting to use my new TONE, brought my Yamamoto to it, and did this build, but noticed the INCONSISTNECY: SWIFT FISH provides +5% speed to ship's torpedos, but NOT TO AIRPLANES' TORPEDOS Enhanced Torpedo Explosive Charge provides +15% damage to ship's torpedos and also to airplanes' torpedos! Since they are similar skills, in same column, applying to the same ship and airplanes, both skills must behave the same way. It's fair to make SWITFT FISH provide %5% speed to both ship's and airplanes' torpedo speed. Since those torps are so slow, the increase is minor, 1,75kt, raising from 35 to 37 knots.
  3. WG, if you don't even up the balance on teams that get these hybrids then the additional CV spotting advantage is turning the game into utter [edited].