Welcome back to your weekly installment of the ship of the week! Back again by unpopular request, I'm sealclubbing moderator Tsukiumi. Today, we’re gonna have some fun at the expense of noods! That’s right!
DEEP TROPOD IMPAT TIME!
In order to correct the deficiencies found in previous Japanese destroyers, the designers of the Shiratsuyu-class sacrificed performance for design integrity, a decision they were unable to rectify until Japan withdrew from the London Naval Treaties. The Asashio-class of destroyers (part of the 1934 Navy program) were borne out of that necessity of improvement, and history would venerate this class of 10 destroyers to be proficient and capable vessels; they would be the template for all future Japanese destroyer designs till the end of the Second World War.
With the shackles of treaty limitations cast aside, the designers opted to push standard displacement past 2,000 tons; the first native destroyer design to do so. The increase in length had the positive ramification of improving crew quarters. While the propulsion set-up was identical to the previous class — 3 Kampon boilers feeding into two turbines, each driving a shaft — the designers opted to use the latest available machinery that ran at higher temperatures and pressures. The outcome was an increase of output to about 50,000 shaft horsepower. Despite the increase of tonnage, the class managed to attain speeds to 35 knots. The setup was not perfect, however; Asashio showed instabilities while turning, which prompted the installation of a modified stern and rudder for the remaining vessels in the class that managed to decrease the turning radius. Other troubles included teething issues with the turbines, which took years to rectify.
The most striking feature was the return to the dual-gun only armament setup pioneered on the Fubuki-class. Asashio featured six 127mm guns found in three turrets: one forward with a super firing pair aft. Unlike her predecessors the 'X'-turret was placed elevated on the shelter deck. The design called for the reuse of the Type C turret mounts, which traded gun elevation angle for a lighter, yet fully enclosed, armor shell. As well, the class retained the improved torpedo layout of their predecessors: two (2) quadruple-tube torpedo launchers positioned along the centerline, with a reload stored for each pack in a deck house. For anti-aircraft defense, the destroyers were armed with a meager pair of the new Type 96 25mm cannons in dual-mounts.
The bulk of wartime modifications bolstered the sub-par anti-aircraft abilities of the class. The first phase of refits in late 1942 replaced the dual-mounted 25mm guns with triple mounts. The largest refit saw the removal of 'X'-turret in order to install a further pair of triple-mount 25mm guns, and was completed in mid-1944. Late 1944 saw the addition of single-mount 25mm guns all across the forward superstructure. Additionally, all ships of the class received the No. 22 and No. 13 radar sets, installed on the fore and mainmasts, respectively.
Asashio (朝潮, lit. "Morning Tide"), the lead ship of the class, was the first ship to be laid down on 7 September 1935 at the Sasebo Naval Arsenal. Launched 16 December 1936, she was completed 31 August 1937.
Asashio was the first destroyer of the IJN to have a displacement greater than 2,000 tons. During her initial trials, she suffered from steering problems and issues with her unreliable new 50,000 shaft horsepower turbines, but these flaws were ironed out for the class as a whole by the beginning of the Second World War. Issues aside, the overall design for Asashio was considered successful, and her design was repeated in the later Kagero and Yūgumo classes. Asashio herself spent her pre-war service in training and modernization to fix her outstanding issues, before Japan joined the war.
At the time of Pearl Harbor, Asashio was the lead ship of the 8th Destroyer Division, consisting of Asashio, Ōshio, Michishio and Arashio, stationed in the South China Sea escorting transports bound for British Malaya and the Dutch East Indies. On 19 February 1942, while DesDiv8 were escorting two transports near Bali in the Dutch East Indies, the destroyers came under attack from a combined Dutch-American-British force consisting of two submarines, seven destroyers, and three cruisers. While the three Dutch light cruisers were decently modern vessels, the American Clemson-class destroyers were sorely outdated compared to the four Asashio-class destroyers. In the resulting Battle of Badung Strait, Asashio herself successfully struck the Dutch destroyer HNLMS Piet Hein with a 61cm torpedo, sinking the Dutch destroyer immediately, suffering only light damage in return. She continued to serve around the Dutch East Indies until late May, when she and her division transferred to the central Pacific. She was present at the Battle of Midway, escorting the Support Group that was covering the troop convoys to Midway. On 6 June during the battle, she came under attack by US planes, taking a hit from a 500-pound bomb and sustaining medium damage. She and sister-ship Arashio rescued 240 survivors from the sinking heavy cruiser Mikuma, and then escorted badly-damaged Mogami back to Truk on 14 June. Following repairs that stretched into late October 1942, Asashio returned to the front lines to take part in the Guadalcanal campaign. She saw no combat during her time serving in the Solomon Islands, making several successful transport runs in the area for the rest of 1942. During this time, she helped light cruiser Isuzu limp back to port after suffering damage from the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, then towed Shiratsuyu-class destroyer Umikaze back to the island of Rabaul for repairs, and later escorted Zuikaku, Mutsu, and Suzuya from Truk to mainland Japan. By mid-February 1943 she was back on duty in the southwestern Pacific. While escorting a troop convoy in the Bismarck Sea, she came under attack by a joint US-AUS air strike. The first wave of attacks was devastating: all seven transports took hits that left them burning or sinking, and destroyers Tokitsukaze, Shirayuki and Arashio were sunk. The fourth destroyer and final destroyer to sink was Asashio. While picking up survivors from Arashio the following morning of the strike, a second wave attacked, with a B-17 striking her amidships with a 500-pound bomb, damaging her beyond repair. She sank quickly, going down with roughly 200 of her crew of 226 enlisted men and officers.
So, what’s she like in game?
Have you ever had the feeling that enemies are scared just because you EXIST? If you want that feeling, play the Asashio. Nothing may make an enemy battleship more paranoid than knowing the enemy can have a DD two caps away, who can still torp you. Asashio is capable of holding entire flanks free from BB pushes due to fear alone. Your worst games will often be wins, where the enemy BBs just plain ran away, leaving you nothing to do other than watch the game turn in your favor. It’s all fun and games until the enemy cruisers realize that you’re almost powerless against them.
How to play the Sassy Ho:
Just do this as best as you can
Asashio is one of the few ships in game to be blessed with access to both a smoke screen and a
torpedo tropod reload booster. I love reload boosters- they offer two nice options for sinking enemies: Launching the booster on the same target, or if you have two oblivious enemies, launching salvoes at each. If you split the booster amongst two enemies, you likely won’t sink them both, and if you do, Double Strikes are even less common. But, the odds are that using your booster this way will result in at least one kill. Using the booster to blanket areas can also work well, though remember: Asashio can only hit battleships and cancer with her torpedoes. You can’t employ the booster to hit giant ship lumps like you can with a DD like the Shiratsuyu.
You have 20km torpedo range, so yes, you can stay in the back. But, you’re not using the power of your ship then. With concealment expert, you can bring your detection range down to 5.4 km. That’s as low as you’ll see on a full-spec Kamikaze. And while most people won’t try them, the girl’s packing heat. For a Japanese DD, your guns are really punchy. You won’t want to do anything stupid and gunfight a Kiev for example, but against a lower tiered DD, or even some equal tiered DDs, you can make them run away or die to your shelling. 5.4km detection means that you are the ultimate capping machine as well! You can outspot a lot of the enemy DDs, and just keep them lit for your team. If you’re radared, but can get behind cover, watch as the entire enemy BB force just makes a U-Turn and gets out of Dodge.
Some players recommend taking torpedo acceleration on the Asashio, but I’ve never seen the need to. I just run my standard Fujin captain. You torp enemies that think they are safe, with super stealthy torps. You’ll nail a lot of things that are just simply oblivious to the fact that they’ve been targeted. TA can’t hurt with her long range, but I’d rather use my points elsewhere.
Asashio’s beauty is more than skin-deep: You can make things hurt with your torpedoes, and just flat-out nuke things. But, you also have a really nice toolkit to employ: Speed boost, smoke, reload booster, great concealment, and guns to use in a pinch. Using this toolkit to its potential will yield an extremely strong DD. Sitting in the back, launching deepwater torps at 18km away will not employ any of this power, and will likely lead to you rarely being able to claim that you were able to impat a nood. DON’T BE THAT ASASHIO. Be the one that takes caps with caution, spots DDs, and uses the guns when opportunities come up. Your team will love you. And the enemy team…. They’ll be wet up to their lower lip…. And then someone’s gonna hear about it!
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