"Since the ‘seventies French designs had exhibited a strong leaning toward the bizarre and "fierce-face." Piled-up superstructure, preposterous masts, uncouth funnels, tumble-home sides and long ram bows without any attempt at achieving any symmetry or balance in profile produced an aggressive appearance in marked contrast to the more restrained and more harmoniously efficient ensemble of our own ships. They favored small turrets which made the guns look overlong, and grouped their secondary guns near the main armament for reasons of protection and magazine distribution – although providing grounds for criticism that one well-placed shell could put the whole group out of action."
- British Battleships, 1971, Oscar Parkes, p. 376
From the last decade of the 19th century through the first decade of the 20th, these iron and steel behemoths ruled the oceans without peer, often appearing offshore from colonial possessions, their "fierce face" design intended to 'scare the natives.'
I've always had a love for these 'ugly-beauties' and from my beginnings in WoWs have had the hope they might eventually be included--if not for the obvious colour and character they would bring, at least to spice up Tier II and perhaps Tier III as well. At present there is only the Mikasa, Admiral Tōgō's flagship in the Battle of Tsushima Strait. One Tier II battleship per nation and a few special premiums as well would round out every nation's battleship line--there may be a few that just might squeak through into Tier III depending on their specs; e.g. the German pre-dreadnought Deutschland, or Pommern which was the only battleship sunk in the Battle of Jutland. Let's not forget that the largest sea battle before Jutland was the Battle of Tsushima fought entirely with pre-dreadnoughts as well as the first major naval engagement to make use of wireless.
I've heard arguments against having pre-dreadnoughts but the fact is that including the Mikasa has already broken the taboo as it were--I say bring on more. You don't have to admire the steampunk look of these unique ships to appreciate their history and what they could add to low-tier play. They would surely broaden the interest base of new players for WoWs and would be welcome additions for collectors.
Vote yes if inclined and send WG a message.
That said, here's a selection of 32 likely candidates with historical notes given for each. Also included are a few unique dreadnoughts and three battlecruisers from this era, indicated (*). So far, six of the ships listed below have appeared in the game (Mikasa, Danton, Izmail, Gangut, Dreadnought and Viribus Unitis) and are indicated in red.
Imperator Pavel I
Gangut (Oktabryskaya Revolutsiya)
von der Tann*
An excellent article on these ships and why they opted for the tumblehome hull design:
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