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Trophy_Wench

Building Better Tech Trees Part 4: On Armored Cruisers

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Welcome back! Today we'll be taking a look at how the Armored Cruiser (ACR) could fit into World of Warships. To catch up, check out: Part 1Part 2Parts 3aand 3b

ACR's are, well, weird when it comes to this game. Essentially the precursor to the WWI era Battlecruiser (not the more modern concept of the Heavy Cruiser as is widely believed), the ships nonetheless fill the same roles as, and would have roughly equivalent, relative firepower to heavy or even large cruisers, just 50 years older. In the context of World of Warships, it raises a lot of questions about where they would go tier wise, and how they would be balanced. In fact in the entire game up to this point there has only ever been one ACR ever; The St. Louis- class, which was really just an ACR in name only and in practical terms was simply just a really big protected cruiser... so it works.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

So, provided that the plan is to implement a series of true ACRs into the tier's were talking about this whole time, how would having these ships work down there? Well, as I mentioned before the class ultimately transmogrified themselves into the Battlecruiser. And wouldn't ya know it! We just happen to know of a country that has a (potentially) whole line of those ships! This also means that other nations chiefly Germany, Japan and even the US to an extent can more seamlessly integrate their ACRs into the game, provided they also get battlecruiser lines. Other countries though... not so much. Nations like Russia (credited with creating the first true ACR, the amusingly named General-Admiral), France, Italy, A-H and even obscure ones like Spain and the Ottoman Empire, while having them didn't follow up with any significant battlecruiser development. Thus making the ACR, in some ways a dead end technology. While a few notable examples could be implemented as one-off premiums (the Greek Georgios Averof for instance) ACRs might be relegated to bit players in the grand scheme of things, with only the major naval powers getting any techline options.

So with that out of the way, lets take a look at what our hypothetical, extended British battlecrusier line would have for some ACRs. 

Tier I - Duke of Edinburgh- class

Duke of Edinburgh Class <i>Black Prince </i>1914

I chose this specific class for a very important reason. The DoE's were the first class of ACRs in the Royal Navy to actually work alongside the battlefleet. Up until then, ACRs primary roles were to protect trade routes and essentially lend extra firepower to overseas stations, where a full battleship wasn't needed. Since this line will ultimately turn into BCs this was a good place to start. Her main armament consists of 6x1 9.2" guns in a hex arrangement, and a secondary battery of 10x1 (later revised) 6"/50cal guns. Top speed was 23 knots and featured a nice 6" armor belt. Overall, expect this thing to fight like a tiny battleship, but one that has juuust enough armor that if another ACR or worse a battleships AP hits, it'll bite in for likely big damage. I would also expect torpedo protection to be pretty weak too but this is tier I so what does have good torpedo protection?

Tier II - Minotaur Shannon- class

Minotaur Class Armored Cruisers | Weapons and Warfare <i>Minotaur </i>1909

Boy they really do love the name Minotaur on ships. Anyway, this Minotaur-class was the last ACR class commissioned by the Royal Navy, and by most accounts were pretty crappy ships. They were heavily over-armed and oversized, while also being somewhat under armored to compensate for all the extra weight of the guns. Main armament was now 2x2 9.2" guns (newer variant now) and 10x1 (!) 7.5" guns, 5 on each broadside. While speed was still maintained at 23 knots the armor was still just 6" at the belt with no upper belt armor, as they considered it superfluous since all the guns were now in armored turrets rather than casemate mounts. These ships were characterized by one naval historian as just miniature Lord Nelsons and for good reason! While her firepower would be impressive once in secondary range, she would be a bit of a glass cannon especially in the face of proper Dreadnoughts and even against her own successors. 

This concludes our look at the Armored Cruisers. In part 5, I'll be talking briefly about aircraft carriers and submarines. Stay tuned!

Edited by Trophy_Wench
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On 6/24/2021 at 8:01 PM, Trophy_Wench said:

In fact in the entire game up to this point there has only ever been one ACR ever; The St. Louis- class, which was really just an ACR in name only and in practical terms was simply just a really big protected cruiser... so it works. 

You're forgetting Jurien de la Graviere.

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Obviously you would have to move the actual Tier 1 introductory ships to Tier 0 if you're going to have an actual warship at Tier 1.  An Idea I like since it opens up a world of new ships at the lower tiers.

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2 hours ago, black_hull4 said:

You're forgetting Jurien de la Graviere.

Nope. She was a protected cruiser. A massive one granted, but at no point did the French ever consider her an ACR.

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