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Battlecruiser Suggestion Thread #4637 Part Ni: Uma o taoshi tsudzukemasu!

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In our continuing series of "Will it battlecruiser?" We'll take a look at a nation that frankly, is long overdue for some new blood that isn't a derivative premium: Japan. While Japanese battlecruiser lines have been theorized on the forum before, many of them were derived from the idea that the BBs and BCs needed to be completely divorced from one another and exist in two separate lines, a la Britain and Germany. However, it's important to note that as the oldest BB line in the entire game it also happens to be the most BC forward of them as well. What I mean is that with 3 genuine BCs as part of the lineup (Myogi, Kongo, Amagi) not to mention 2 1/2 premium ones as well (I consider Kii to be kind of a BC, really just at true fast BB) BCs have not only been implemented successfully in WoWs, they've been clear path to the IJN's... flavour if you will in the game.

Therefore, my proposal for a BC line would really be more of a split instead of a true 2nd line. Save those again, for Germany and Britain. So lets dive right in with the theorycrafting and see how this could look. Strap yourselves in though, the following ships are doozies! :cap_cool:

The first thing we need to look at is where does the split occur? Well, conventional wisdom might say it occurs from the tier III Kawachi, as it was a true Dreadnought and everything that comes after (until tier VI that is) is a BC. So just backfill with some other BB designs and you're good to go right? NO! While there are a few notable and well documented early BBs that could fit in that timeframe, including some early Fuso designs shown here: (H/T @Tzoli for all the amazing drawings I'm going to use in this post!)
Fuso Preliminary Design A-55 Fuso Preliminary Design A-57

These ships by the way would be armed with 12"/50 and 14" guns respectively so while they would work, I'm not going to incorporate them here. My idea is instead to have the BC--> Fast BB line become the main line and more traditional heavy armor/ firepower BB's be the branch or spur line. Should we ever get to the point where we can start to see BB tiers lower than III at any point in the future, than yes we can revisit these designs to offer a better flow for the BB split. For now though, Kawachi remains a perfectly cromulent staring point.

Our actual point of deviation will be with tier VI, branching off of the Kongo as one would expect. Therefore the actual Fuso becomes the start of that new (old?) BB branch, so what then would we see for tier VI in the BC line? Well...

B61.thumb.jpg.69666f9b0bc53825a73c41b4c006130e.jpgB-62.jpg.ef97200819e8733d76698f5412db5fa4.jpg

What you're looking at are blueprints from the excellent archive of the late Vice Admiral Baron Yuzuaru Hiraga. Hiraga-san was one of Japan's chief naval architects during this time, and had left his entire body of work and portfolio (over 40.000 artifacts in fact!) to the University of Tokyo, much of which you can view online! Why tell you all this? Because Hiraga-san is really going to be the primary source for any other designs that had come about during this period, and, while vague are certainly better than nothing. The designs shown above in particular are various design studies for battlecruisers that will eventually morph into the Amagi-class at tier VIII. The designs ran from project number B-58 all the way to B-64, which became the Amagi. The B-62 designs, with 6 subvariants A-F, are the most likely ones to fill out both tiers VI and VII. Essentially just bigger, longer and faster versions of the Nagato ranging in displacement from 35.000-46.000 tonnes and armed with 8x2 14" or 16.1" guns. Armor also varied to anywhere from 8-10" on the belt, and speed was generally between 32-35kts depending on the subvariant in question. There is more than enough information here to flesh out 2 complete ships for tiers VI and VII, provided they're given the same theoretical refits that the real-steel ships received. 

Tier VIII then, is simply the same old Amagi, we all know and love:

File:Amagi wows main.jpg

Obviously this will leave a gap at tier VIII for the BB line, the only gap in fact. So what is going to fill that Amagi shaped hole? Well, if you know your ships or have been following along in the forums for a while you'll know that it's the Amagi's smaller, slower thiccer cousin, the Tosa-class:

Wonderduck's Pond

 

Finally we get to the good stuff. Tiers IX and X. And for those of you wondering, no there won't be a No. 13 design in sight! Instead, we're going to offer some slightly more eclectic designs starting with this one:

Fujimotooriginal

This image once again is provided to us by Hiraga's archive, but was actually designed by a man named Kikuo Fujimoto. Both men had been part of a program in the late 20 and early 30's to design a replacement ship for the Kongo-class. With the London Naval Treaty looming, the ships were largely derivative in design and all between 25.000-35.000 tonnes to comply with the treaty. Speed would have been somewhat low for Hiraga-san's designs all clocking in at between 25 and 26 knots. In fact, one of these designs is fairly well known and even a physical model of the design was made to show off to the Naval General Staff:

Capture-1A

Unfortunately, despite the promise of a 10 gun, 16.1" broadside on this treaty battleship, this is not the design I am using. While there is a lot of vagueness to Fujimoto-san's design, it was able to cram 3x3 41cm guns into a 35.000 tonne ship and presumably achieve speeds in excess of 26 knots.  But we don't know that for sure. As a backup though, Hiraga-san did come up with an, "unleashed" design if you will to achieve maximum performance within the specifications:

Hiraga 1929

This by the way, is the earliest genesis of the Yamato-class.

Last but not least, is tier X:

Ezaki Design 1934 A

Since the Hizen is now going to be a premium in the game, it pretty much takes the wind out of the sails for a so called "light Yamato" that can rather nicely fit in the top end of this tree. So instead, you get this thing. A 67.000 tonne fast battleship from 1934. Designed by a man named Ezaki Iwiakichi, an understudy of Fujimoto-san. These designs were part of a preliminary 1934 program for new battleships, prior to the official A-140 program that would result in the Yamato. The ship was supposed to achieve a top speed between 31 and 33 knots, and be armed with the same 18.1" guns as Yamato. Unfortuantely, not much is known about its armor profile, likely those design specs were lost to time and the war, but it does provide a great starting point for WG to adjust the values as they see fit for a fast, quasi-Yammy. 

So there you have it. Japan's missing links to create a true fast battleship line. And for those of you wondering why I didn't just find some No. 13 battleship designs to make this, it's simply because these designs are just more modern. They're post treaty ships and just fit more naturally than trying to stuff 1920's era ships into a WWII timeframe, no matter how many fantasy refits you give it. :cough: Vermont :cough:.

As always, comments and feedback are most welcome! 

 

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