So, been examining this issue for a while now, and here are my thoughts on the matter.
As it currently is, Azuma is the least well protected of the super-cruisers. In practical terms, she's also effectively LESS protected than the regular tier IX cruisers, here's a comparison with Ibuki to demontrate.
Both Ibuki and Azuma have 25mm plating over the entire ship, with an exception. Ibuki's central deck is actually 32mm, allowing her to bounce battleship shells smaller than Yamato's which hit her deck.
Ibuki central deck armour
Azuma doesn't even have this, simply a flat 25mm all over.
In terms of citadel protection? Well it gets even worse. Here's some edited screenshots I made to show the above water citadel areas of both ships
Ibuki above water citadel areas
Azuma above water citadel areas
You can clearly see, Azuma's citadel makes for a far larger target. This is in addition to already being a bigger target than Ibuki, that turns slower, and has worse camo. You have more health sure, but in practice this isn't going to do you much good considering the frequency of citadel hits.
I could throw in Alaska here too, but I don't need a screenshot to point out her citadel is entirely on or below the waterline, it doesn't stick up at all, plus she also has 27-28mm plating, a 36mm deck, and better belt armour than Azuma.
In light of this (IMO) severe problem, I would propose one of the following too changes to both Azuma and Yoshino, so that they are able to compete more equally with other cruisers and super cruisers.
My plan is to lower the citadel, allowing Azuma/Yoshino greater longevity, and meaning you might actually get a chance to heal back some of the damage you take.
First suggestion (everything above the red line)
My first and more radical change would be to eliminate the areas of citadel that poke up above the water entirely, allowing her to compete more fairly with Alaska. She'll still take regular penetrations incredibly easily, but it will be much harder to destroy her outright, allowing time to recover and heal
Second suggestion (everything above the red line)
My second less drastic change would be to remove the smaller area of citadel with the sloped edges. She'll still fairly easily take citadels, but the target will be slightly smaller, and the elimination of the sloped areas means more chance of bouncing plunging fire off her deck armour.
I'm sorry if this seems rushed, but i'm trying to get it done before I have to head to work, let me know what you think below!
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