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NagatoKaiNi

The armor of the Nagato class battleship

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Now I don't actually want to talk about their belt or deck armor as the title may imply, because (aside from maybe the citadel top armor) it's as correct as WG could be.

But actually wish to speak of the strange and oddly specific 19mm plate that protects Nagato's steering gear.

image.png.8b555172ddf390e56b2f803e39219aa7.png

This piece of "armor" isn't shared by her sister (Mutsu), however that could be due to the fact that both ships received an extreme makeover that almost completely changed the shape of their hulls, and Mutsu representing the class prior to that might not have this piece of "armor". But the reason I bring this piece up is that this particular piece covers the steering gear. However all this plate seems to end up doing is allow any round that hits it or explodes very near it knocks the steering gear out. Which becomes very inconvenient in battle particularly if you have a strong need to turn. And what's strange about it is that no other ship in the game just loses armor around it's vitals. Not Mutsu, as stated above, not Kongo or Fuso (who were also lengthened during the mid-30s and would likely also have this flaw), or Amagi who for all intents and purposes is just a long Nagato.

I checked quite a few patchnotes from as far back as two years ago since I don't remember her having this annoying flaw that far back and I'm extremely curious as to why they did this. Unfortunately I couldn't find anything that explains this nor could I find a source saying she was historically like this (although I'm poor so I don't have firsthand access to the expensive source books). So if anyone has the patchnote that talks about this or even the reason as to why they did this please leave it below.

 

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I will see if an IJN book I have cover this or not, but off hand I would say the thinning of the armor is a common weight saving trick that is common on armored vehicles. While you want the sides and top surfaces to have as much armor as you can give them, weight can become an issue. So a common way to solve those was to not armor or thinly armor the bottom surface of a tank or ship where the odds of taking an explosive or armor piercing hit was far less.

But as I said I will have to take a look to see if I can find info on Nagato in particular. But if I can’t find the specific answer then there are others in the Forum that likely will have the deeper resources to find the info.

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Well, I understand that weight saving is a big issue, but as far as I've been able to find the Nagato's weren't overweight. There was the naval treaties, of course, but the Japanese were already cheating on them and would flat out leave them just after the ships entered modernization.

I'm not saying for certain they didn't do it, but suddenly reducing hull thickness and in such a strange area is very puzzling. For game balance however not so much, but that would bring up the question as to why they didn't hit a ship with better stats?

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Its probably a mistake because that strip in most ships is thicker to protect the steering gears. I will say the Nagato is a bit of a odd armor duck, I've citadel them before bow on to my New Mexico, I've bounced incoming 16" shells and the next salvo at the same angle would result in a double citadel. To say its armor is trolly is a understatement

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On ‎8‎/‎25‎/‎2019 at 10:53 PM, ototsto74 said:

Now I don't actually want to talk about their belt or deck armor as the title may imply, because (aside from maybe the citadel top armor) it's as correct as WG could be.

But actually wish to speak of the strange and oddly specific 19mm plate that protects Nagato's steering gear.

image.png.8b555172ddf390e56b2f803e39219aa7.png

This piece of "armor" isn't shared by her sister (Mutsu), however that could be due to the fact that both ships received an extreme makeover that almost completely changed the shape of their hulls, and Mutsu representing the class prior to that might not have this piece of "armor". But the reason I bring this piece up is that this particular piece covers the steering gear. However all this plate seems to end up doing is allow any round that hits it or explodes very near it knocks the steering gear out. Which becomes very inconvenient in battle particularly if you have a strong need to turn. And what's strange about it is that no other ship in the game just loses armor around it's vitals. Not Mutsu, as stated above, not Kongo or Fuso (who were also lengthened during the mid-30s and would likely also have this flaw), or Amagi who for all intents and purposes is just a long Nagato.

I checked quite a few patchnotes from as far back as two years ago since I don't remember her having this annoying flaw that far back and I'm extremely curious as to why they did this. Unfortunately I couldn't find anything that explains this nor could I find a source saying she was historically like this (although I'm poor so I don't have firsthand access to the expensive source books). So if anyone has the patchnote that talks about this or even the reason as to why they did this please leave it below.

 

There is probably a piece of armor that is not covered on armor viewer. Look at the Alabama and the rear citadel armor, not viewable is an armored box protecting it.

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3 hours ago, StoneRhino said:

There is probably a piece of armor that is not covered on armor viewer. Look at the Alabama and the rear citadel armor, not viewable is an armored box protecting it.

I have considered that, but I checked the website that has the full armor model visible (gamemodels.com i think?) and it shows her having a full armored box around the steering gear... except right in that 19mm spot where the only protection is a flimsy 19mm. Of course that site might also be wrong but it's proven to be very reliable in the past.

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I did some checking in an IJN book and it was saying that armor ended up being 38.1mm over machinery spaces, so I would think that would include Steering Room? Sadly there was not too many details to say whether or not there was thinner armor in one spot in the stern or not.

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21 hours ago, ototsto74 said:

I have considered that, but I checked the website that has the full armor model visible (gamemodels.com i think?) and it shows her having a full armored box around the steering gear... except right in that 19mm spot where the only protection is a flimsy 19mm. Of course that site might also be wrong but it's proven to be very reliable in the past.

It looks only hit able from beneath. Maybe a huge torpedo weakness but don't see a surface ship hitting it at all.

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16 hours ago, StoneRhino said:

It looks only hit able from beneath. Maybe a huge torpedo weakness but don't see a surface ship hitting it at all.

Yeah you can only actually hit it from underneath, but that's not why I made this thread. The problem is all the HE spam that can come at you during battle will knock out your steering gear, and it happens way more than it should, especially since it's coming from HE. And the only way that can happen is if either the HE rounds are ignoring the 120mm of armor on top of the steering gear or if shells are exploding underneath the water and bypassing the 19mm plate.

Which is why I was trying to see if there was any historical precedent for having a random thin plate or if it's just a terrible attempt by WG to balance the ship.

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On 8/30/2019 at 4:07 PM, NagatoKaiNi said:

Yeah you can only actually hit it from underneath, but that's not why I made this thread. The problem is all the HE spam that can come at you during battle will knock out your steering gear, and it happens way more than it should, especially since it's coming from HE. And the only way that can happen is if either the HE rounds are ignoring the 120mm of armor on top of the steering gear or if shells are exploding underneath the water and bypassing the 19mm plate.

Which is why I was trying to see if there was any historical precedent for having a random thin plate or if it's just a terrible attempt by WG to balance the ship.

An interesting topic of discussion.  I've learned something new from what has been shared, thus far, and I'm curious to learn more and see how this plays out.
Thank you all for the original post and the discussion/research.

While it won't cure the situation, having a WOWs Captain learn the skill "Last Stand" may reduce how badly a ship is affected if it's steering gears are hit with enough force to incapacitate them in a battle.

"Kampai!"  :-)

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Nagato is a pre-Jutland  design though she entered service after the battle. The plate in question is for fragment protection. When she was designed projectiles did not have delay fuses and used picric acid as an explosive filler. Projectiles would detonate on impact with the water. So this plate below the waterline was originally intended to stop fragments. Three feet of water can significantly slow a fragment's velocity dramatically. You would need about 2-2.5 inches of armor to stop battleship caliber fragments in air. By WWII reliable delay fuses had been invented so that intact shells could deeply penetrate ship hulls. All the older Japanese battleships have weak steering gear protection because they are all pre-Jutland designs until you get to Yamato. The torpedo bulge added later simply did not cover up this area. So by WWII there is not much they could do due to the narrowness of the hull so they are hoping this area does not take a direct hit.

Most people learn battleship development in reverse meaning they learn about Yamato and Iowa first or the last generation of battleship designs. In 1910-1915 armor was ahead of projectiles. What was called AP was really designed to knock a hole in an armor plate the projectile still had a non-delay fuse and in the case of British and Japanese projectiles had a too sensitive explosive filler or picric acid so they acted more like HE shells then what we imagine our WWII AP shells to be. So an AP shell of this time period might travel one shell length after its initial nose impacts the first plate before it detonates. This is simply due to the time it takes the shock wave to travel from the nose to the base of the shell and activate the fuse which took about 0.003 seconds. That is why they have laminated deck armor to also stop fragments. So the outer armor plates are intended to detonate the shells and the internal laminated deck armor plates are designed to stop fragments and any armor plug punched out but she was never designed to stop intact shells because they had not really been invented yet when her armor protection was designed. After Jutland the British changed their explosive filler but the Japanese would not abandon picric acid until the Type 91 AP shells. This still lead to their Type 88 projectiles exploding prematurely despite the development of a reliable delay fuse. Fire had destroyed the Russian fleet and picric acid burns very hot and was good at setting fires and the Japanese were reluctant to give up this quality.

For the Nagato in her final configuration the Japanese built and increased her armor protection by making an armored box around her turrets, barbettes, and magazines. If you look at the massive increase in armor for her turrets and barbettes and deck armor for these areas you get the idea of just how much projectiles had improved. This gave her a 20,000-30,000 yard immune zone for her armament against her own 16-inch guns firing a Type 91 projectile. However, her machinery is very vulnerable to the WWII projectiles. This includes her engine rooms which really share one large compartment that is separated into three compartments by a mere 1/4" plate. When the crew of the Iowa captured her when Japan surrender they made notes and one of the comments was how a single shell could take out all four engines. This was from the National Archives under Capture Japanese Ships. 

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Yes, I'm sure that somebody will learn something new from that. However the problem here isn't how effective her armor was (a topic no two sources can seem to agree on). The problem here is that her hull is not a uniform thickness.

And given the fact that the armor of the two ships was increased during their 1933-34 remodels. This means that Mutsu, who is also very present in the game, should have the same plate problem that her sister does, which she does not. And on top of that no other ship in the game has a shell that isn't uniform in thickness, particularly in that area (irregularity due to pre-AON armor scheme not included). And then to make matters worse if you go to a third party site to check the hidden armor of the ship she has 100+mm of armor on the top and upper sides of the steering box as well 50 (or 44 it's around that)mm of armor as the bottom of the steering box. Armor around the steering gear everywhere except that one spot, which is very suspicious.

I've scoured every source on Nagato or ships of the time in general that I could get my hands on and very few, if any ships have varying thickness hull plating. Which can only mean it's either a bug or WG has decided to just hit her with a random nerf and then forget to mention it in ANY of the changelogs dating to at least 2 years back, maybe even farther.

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