World of Warships

“Hit Hard, Hit Fast”: A Better, More Historical USN Fast BB Line Split Proposal

WorldOfWarships2 - "Hit Hard, Hit Fast": A Better, More Historical USN Fast BB Line Split Proposal
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After seeing the underwhelming USN battleship line split, I decided to come up with my own ideas for such a split. Where Wargaming went with a slow line, I have decided to take an opposite approach: the "fast" line of the USN battleships. As part of the proposal, some changes to the existing "slow" USN line will also be made. The line is designed around a more aggressive, mobile, and fast-paced playstyle for battleships, while remaining unique from existing battleship lines.

While the proposal doesn't contain many in-game stats, the line principles below should give an approximation of the said numbers. The descriptions below provide background on the ships, and illustrations have been provided for some of the more obscure designs.

Line Guide/Principles

  • The line split starts at Tier VI. Iowa will be moved from the current existing line to the fast one.
  • The split line will share a similar deck armor scheme to existing USN BBs of the same tier. This includes the 38mm medium deck section currently found on high-tier USN battleships, which will also be a feature of the fast line. Torpedo belt protection, however, will be consistently mediocre.
  • All battleships of the split line will possess excellent speed for their respective tier. Rudder shift times and turning radii will also be superior to the slow line USN battleships, and be above average for battleships of the same tier.
  • AA values will be similar to existing USN ships of the same tier. The listed values in the statistics below are only for historical reference.
  • Battleships of the new fast line will have a reload time of 30 seconds. Tiers 6 and 7 will have a sigma of 1.8; tiers 8-10 will have a sigma of 1.9. USN dispersion formula will be kept the same just like the current existing USN battleships.
  • The ship will use default consumables, except for the following: Damage Control Party will have action time/cooldown of 5 and 60 seconds respectively; Repair Party will have a cooldown of 60 seconds. The number of charges will be identical to the current USN line.

Tier 6: July 1934 fast battleship design study (Scheme 2)

rFWgSke - "Hit Hard, Hit Fast": A Better, More Historical USN Fast BB Line Split Proposal


https://i.imgur.com/rFWgSke.jpg

(Source: Friedman)

  • Dimensions: 670 feet long, 99.5 feet wide
  • Displacement: 31,000 tons standard, 33,900 normal
  • Speed: 30 knots
  • Main battery: 3×3 14"/50 (356mm) guns
  • Secondary battery: 6×2 5"/38 (127mm) guns
  • Anti-aircraft battery: 4×4 1.1"/75 (28mm) guns
  • Consumables: Damage Control Party, Repair Party, Fighter/Spotter Aircraft
  • Proposed name: USS Rhode Island

This particular design grew out of a series of design studies concerning fast battleships that began in 1933. USN designers were concerned that because other naval powers such as Britain, France, or Japan had high speed capital ships that US cruisers would not be able to operate freely in wartime, while the existing 21-knot battle line would be restricted. This problem could be addressed by a small number of fast battleships capable of at least 29 knots and engaging small, fast capital ships like the Dunkerque and the Kongo-class.

Development was assisted by the fact that thanks to advances in naval powerplant technology used in the Yorktown-class aircraft carriers, it was possible to fit more powerful engines in less space than it was before. By 1934, a preliminary design had been produced, with the specifications above. Protection consisted of a 13-inch belt and a 5-inch deck, which was considered adequate against the 14"/50 caliber gun, but not the 16"/50. This was, however, still much better than battlecruisers.

In-game, the Rhode Island possesses mobility unmatched at its tier by any other battleship. It is capable of operating either on the flanks and using its mobility to create cross-fires, or taking a more central position to quickly respond to any changing situation on the map. The combination of mobility and firepower makes it a significant threat to any cruiser in its matchmaking tier. Against battleships – particularly those with either superior firepower or protection – the Rhode Island must pick and choose its fights, since in a straight up fight it will lose against other battleships at its tier or higher.

Tier 7: September 1934 fast battleship design study (Scheme 2)

qpwyhBu - "Hit Hard, Hit Fast": A Better, More Historical USN Fast BB Line Split Proposal


https://i.imgur.com/qpwyhBu.jpg

(Source: Friedman)

  • Dimensions: 710 feet long, 101.6 feet wide
  • Displacement: 35,000 tons standard, 38,500 normal
  • Speed: 30.5 knots
  • Main battery: 4×2 16"/45 (406mm) guns
  • Secondary battery: 7×2 5"/38 (127mm) guns
  • Anti-aircraft battery: 4×4 1.1"/75 (28mm) guns (Planned)
  • Consumables: Damage Control Party, Repair Party, Fighter/Spotter Aircraft
  • Proposed name: USS Indiana

US Navy designers didn't stop exploring fast battleships with the July design. Design studies continued into September and included proposals that increased the displacement to 35,000 tons (standard). In most regards the design stayed quite similar, with the main upgrade coming to the ship's armament. The guns were now upgraded to eight 16-inch guns similar to those mounted in the older Colorado-class. Protection was, if anything, slightly downgraded, with both deck and belt armor losing a quarter inch of thickness.

The ship is described as a "Hood-type" battleship, and it appears that this design was meant as a response to the Hood. It is noted that the protection of the ship was "equal to or better" that of the British ship.

In-game, the Indiana takes the gameplay of its predecessor and increases its ability to threaten other battleships. Eight 406mm guns represents an increase in the ability for the ship to threaten other battleships. It maintains the superior speed and maneuverability that are characteristic of the line; the combination of mobility and increased firepower allows it to deal with the more dangerous threats that a tier 7 ship will start to encounter. The unchanged protection, however, increases the risk to itself when the Indiana is bottom tier.

Tier 8: 1935 North Carolina preliminary design (Scheme C)

l1w7g2p - "Hit Hard, Hit Fast": A Better, More Historical USN Fast BB Line Split Proposal


https://i.imgur.com/l1w7g2p.png

(Source:
viewtopic - "Hit Hard, Hit Fast": A Better, More Historical USN Fast BB Line Split Proposal

Shipbucket)
  • Dimensions: 710 feet long, 106 feet wide
  • Displacement: 36,500 tons standard, 39,430 normal
  • Speed: 30.5 knots
  • Main battery: 4×2 16"/45 (406mm) guns
  • Secondary battery: 6×3 5"/38 (127mm) guns
  • Anti-aircraft battery: 4×4 1.1"/75 (28mm) guns (Planned)
  • Consumables: Damage Control Party, Repair Party, Fighter/Spotter Aircraft
  • Proposed name: USS Illinois

The design process of what would become the North Carolina-class began when US Navy planners requested design studies in May 1935. The process began with three sketches for fast battleships. While all were capable of 30 knots, the armament differed significantly.

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Schemes A and B reverted to 14" weapons due to the weight considerations and the treaty regime. Scheme C was armed similarly to earlier fast battleship designs with eight 16"/45 caliber guns, eighteen 5"/38 caliber guns in six triple turrets, and four quadruple 1.1" antiaircraft guns. This design also incorporates a 13.25-inch belt and 5.25-inch deck armor, which was regarded as sufficient to deal with the 1,400-pound shell from a 14"/50 gun. Ultimately, however, the design process of the what would become the North Carolina moved on in an attempt to compromise speed, protection, and firepower into a 35,000-ton hull.

In-game, the guns represent a significant upgrade over the Indiana. They fire the same super-heavy shell as other high-tier US battleships, providing significant firepower against all classes. An upgraded secondary battery improves its ability to protect itself against carrier strikes. 32mm extremities and a 38mm middle deck section improves the ship's overall protection, especially against high explosive shells. On the downside, while the ship remains speedy at 30.5 knots this is no longer the edge it was at earlier tiers; the marginal improvement in the ship's belt increases the risk in battleship-on-battleship engagements.

Tier 9: USS Iowa

  • Dimensions: 860 feet long, 108 feet wide
  • Displacement: 45,000 tons (standard), 56,720 (full load)
  • Speed: 33 knots
  • Main battery: 3×3 16"/50 (406mm) guns
  • Secondary battery: 10×2 5"/38 (127mm) guns
  • Anti-aircraft battery: 49×1 20mm Oerlikon, 20×4 40mm Bofors (As built)
  • Consumables: Damage Control Party, Repair Party, Fighter/Spotter Aircraft

The Iowa is moved from its current place in the normal USN battleship line as part of the "fast" line; its replacement in the normal USN tech tree will be discussed later. Most of its characteristics will remain unchanged, with the exception of its consumables and handling characteristics which will be modified to meet the norms of the rest of the line. In-game, this version of the Iowa will meet the characteristics of the line: excellent speed and manueverability, good firepower, but at a price of less than ideal protection against other battleships.

Tier 10: 1940 Montana preliminary design (BB65-7)


https://i.imgur.com/RMjl25f.png

(Source: Shipbucket) (This illustration is of BB65-8, but the overall configuration would have been very similar to BB65-7.)

  • Dimensions: 1000 feet long, 118 feet wide
  • Displacement: 65,000 tons standard, 77,000 (loaded)
  • Speed: 33 knots
  • Main battery: 4×3 16"/50 (406mm) guns
  • Secondary battery: 10×2 5"/54 (127mm) guns
  • Anti-aircraft battery: 56×1 20mm Oerlikon, 10×4 40mm Bofors (Planned)
  • Consumables: Damage Control Party, Repair Party, Fighter/Spotter Aircraft
  • Proposed name: USS New Hampshire

What eventually became the Montana-class design had been born out of more traditional alternatives to the Iowa that had been carried out in 1939. However, during the design process for these new battleships, US Navy designers also carried out design studies for 12-gun ships that could just as easily match the Iowas knot for knot.

One of these preliminary designs that came out of stdies in 1940 was designated BB65-7. This design was the smaller of two designs from the BB65 series that had both twelve 16"/50 guns and could go 33 knots. To do this required an extreme amount of horsepower: plans called for 320,000 SHP, a number that (officially) is still not exceeded today, even by nuclear-powered supercarriers. In terms of protection its 14.6-inch belt and the 5.5-inch deck were both improvements over the Iowa, but was still inferior to the final Montana design.

In-game, the New Hampshire sets the pace for all T10 battleships. Its firepower is just as outstanding, with both DPM and per-salvo damage being exceptionally good. On the downside, its belt armor is inferior to other battleships at its tier, and while its 38mm middle deck makes it slightly resistant to HE spam its sheer size also makes it a tempting target for spammers in general. Like the other ships in its line, the New Hampshire must use its mobility to pick fights it can win and evade fights that it cannot.

Modifications to the existing line

To accentuate differences between the "fast" line and the "slow" line, as well as address power creep issues, some modifications will be made to the existing USN battleships. A new T9 ship will also replace the Iowa.

  • All slow line battleships from T8 to T10 receive improved ricochet angles; the automatic ricochet angle is increased to 65 degrees.
  • Montana's speed is reduced to 28 knots.

Tier 9: 1939 Montana preliminary design (BB65G)

  • Dimensions: 800 feet long, 108 feet wide
  • Displacement: 44,654 tons (standard)
  • Speed: 27 knots
  • Main battery: 3×3 16"/50 (406mm) guns
  • Secondary battery: 10×2 5"/38 (127mm) guns
  • Anti-aircraft battery: 49×1 20mm Oerlikon, 20×4 40mm Bofors (As on Iowa)
  • Consumables: Damage Control Party, Repair Party, Fighter/Spotter Aircraft
  • Proposed name: USS Kentucky

As mentioned in the discussion on the New Hampshire, the US Navy completed design studies for a slower, more heavily armored counterpart to the Iowa in 1939. BB65G was one of these studies. BB65G took a hull that was slightly shorter than the Iowa, the same guns as the Iowa, and took the machinery from the earlier South Dakota-class to produce a ship with the relatively pedestrian speed of 27 knots. This combination resulted in a standard displacement of just under 45,000 tons.

The difference was in the armor. Whereas the Iowa had a belt of 12.2 inches, this design had a significantly thicker belt at 15.4 inches. The deck armor was also slightly improved at 6.2 inches. For a ship with this displacement, this was an incredible amount of protection and compared favorably with ships with much more displacement like the final Montana design and the Yamato.

In-game, the Kentucky is a ship designed to both dish out and absorb punishment. Nine 16-inch guns (sigma value of 1.9) firing super-heavy shells is firepower that must be respected by any opponent, and improved penetration angles mean that even angled targets aren't entirely safe. On the downside, clumsy handling and mediocre torpedo protection means that torpedoes from destroyers and cruisers pose a serious threat to the Kentucky.

Thanks for getting this far! Feedback, suggestions, and comments are welcome.

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