Post by brucesim2003 on Jul 13, 2015 2:29:23 GMT -5
Considering that armoured cruiser below was the workhorse of my American fleet for the whole game, and was the basis for the starting pre-dreadnought (bigger guns, more armour, slower), AND every CA that came after was an upgrade of the preceding class, AND every battleship and dreadnought was an upgrade of the preceding class, I would say this had a MAJOR impact in the game. Speed was specifically chosen so it could catch most opponents, and the 10" was chosen as the main artillery because it was the heaviest hitting gun that could be reasonably put in a cruiser.
The New York class is, through a long process a direct descendant. This class used 8" guns so as to use rate of fire rather than weight of fire. These guys are heavy scouts and patrol cruisers. Any skipper that tries to slug it out with a capital ship would be summarily cashiered (assuming they survived.)
And the New Jersey is the heavy hitter of the battle line. She was unique in the fleet at games end, though a second was under construction. Like the New York, she is a descendant of the Brooklyn above via the battleship equivalent.
You can NEVER have too much armour. Ok....sometimes you can.
The Nisshin class (2 ships) were my most successful ACs and great survivors, which were originally finished in 1904 and somehow managed to stay in my reserve fleet until the game's end. Initially built as fast, light proto-battlecruisers with 22kt speed and heavy armament (their original configuration had 10x8" secondary guns), they found a second life as effective raiders with a bite after a refit in 1915 which replaced machinery and removed most of their secondary battery, giving them a respectable 27kt speed. The pair of Nisshins claimed at least 3 German and French CLs in the course of their career.
I originally didn't want to build the Nisshins, but the glut of 21-22 enemy cruisers pestering me early in the game, combined with my chronic shortage of battleships, convinced me to give them a try. They proved themselves better than I expected, and were followed by the Aoba class, which followed the same design principle but were lighter and cheaper, and used double secondary turrets. However, the older and bigger Nisshin class proved easier to rebuild into an effective raider once its first life as a fleet CA was over.
The American-built Satsuma class of 1910 were my first pair of dreadnoughts, and they proved fortuitous from the start. Already designed for an impressive 23kt speed, they easily exceeded it on completion and 24kt became my new line standard from early on. The same happened to their half-sisters, the Kashima class which had one more turret and half an inch less armor. I was so pleased with these American ships that I immediately ordered another two pairs of Satsumas and Kashimas - they were an unbeatable deal for a 24kt battleship at the time.
This battle fleet only fought one major engagement, against a French force off Formosa in 1921. The Satsumas took a slogging and had trouble keeping their turrets in operation, but held up better than Kashimas, which lost the lead ship of the class in the battle. Admittedly, the Satsumas were not a great line-of-battle ship and were almost more a battlecruiser, but that generally worked in their favour in the Pacific, where they never had to face large European home fleets. Their excellent speed was a stroke of luck, but proved very useful.
The Tsukuba class, a pair completed in 1917, were my first completed battlecruisers, and the only ones to see action in the campaign, each of them having an encounter with French BCs. Better-armored than my battleships of the time, they nonetheless didn't seem very effective against comparable BCs, always losing turrets in battle - but survived heavy bombardments (both made it through 15+ heavy hits without losing speed) and proved excellent cruiser-killers and leaders for scouting forces.
The Ise class, American-built like most of my battleships, were my 40k superdreadnoughts. A promising, high-tech design, they did not arrive in time to see any action - but were completed just before an international treaty banned the construction of ships greater than 20,000t.
My favorite ship from my first campaign(as France) was my Jules Ferry-class CA. It and its sister Edgar Quinet were completed in 1904, the final armored cruisers constructed for the Marine Nationale. They were very much proto-battlecruisers which were conceived after my legacy CA's(which could only muster a broadside of 3 7" guns) were badly bloodied by the Italians during a mercifully brief early war. I required a ship that could turn the cruiser battles in my favor and also serve in the battle line if necessary, and that's exactly what I got. They were the best ships of their kind constructed in the campaign, as they were faster than any non-DDs in the world when commissioned and had enough armor to resist the guns on all non-battleships. I will post the pictures when I get home, but the specification were as follows: 4*10", 8*8", 12*4", 24 knots, 14,000-ton displacement, 6" belt, 6" turret, 6.5" CT, 1.5" deck.
Their performance in combat was consistently excellent. I fought a major war with Germany from mid-1906 to late-1908 which, despite being a white peace due to the French army's incompetence and socialist unrest(no, your bread is not more important than laying down an extra battlecruiser you filthy peasants!), was a huge success on the waves. I sank a total of 8 German CAs(out of 11 to start the war) and 2 Bs(out of 10) along with several smaller ships without losing a single capital ship. Jules Ferry and her sister were absolutely crucial to this success, as they manhandled the every cruiser the Kaiser sent against them and helped chase down and destroy stragglers after successful fleet battles. More than once they also covered retreats on less fortunate days. Their most impressive aspect was probably their survivability, as they seemed to absorb 6"-8" shells like sponges as long as they stayed at range. Edgar Quinet once took more than 50 medium caliber hits in one battle yet only lost 3 knots of speed and was out of the yard in 2 months.
Once the Duquesne and then Marignan-class BCs started to be commissioned in 1909, Jules Ferry and her sister were sent around the world to become the core of the East Indies Squadron and deter aggression from Imperial Japan. They remain there in 1916, and as a reward for their decorated service I hope to keep them around for the duration of the campaign.
Alright, I absolutely have to share this lovely family (of 4 classes for a total of 10 ships) from my USA campaign! I call them my "treaty treats", as they developed from treaty restrictions that limited ships of all nations to 20,000t. This has already made for an interesting game.
Not wanting to invest into Bs or CAs early in the game, but not able to build true dreadnoughts yet, I decided to start by building what I would called a "predreadnought BC" in late 1902, which was the Ranger:
Though called a BC by the game, the Ranger is basically a very large AC crossed with the fixings of a battleship. I only meant it as a provisional design that would take a secondary role supporting my not-yet-possible dreadnoughts (the gun arrangements for them hadn't yet been invented in 1902) and making every starting cruiser and all pre-dreadnoughts totally obsolete with just one ship type.
However, the treaty kicked in from 1904 and cancelled those plans pretty quickly - and made the Ranger look like a very attractive design. At the time I had 4 of them under construction, along with my first dreadnought design of 23,000t with wing turrets. That one was scrapped by the treaty, and I could not find any way to satisfactorily reduce that design to below 20,000t so I just abandoned it, and got to work with the Ranger as my base...
The first thing I did was basically grow the Ranger design to the treaty limit, and the result as the "Connie" - a class of two ships where all the extra displacement was used for armor, otherwise keeping the same armament and 23kt speed. The Connies proved to be absolutely delightful ships - fast, accurate and deadly. Their speed and protection matched or exceeded every other nation's "true" BCs and even BBs, and rather than hampering them, the fast-firing 9in batteries proved capable of chewing through any cruiser they encountered in minutes. So far, in just a few months of war with the British, the two Connies have already killed several cruisers in the Caribbean. They look great too, I think!
Although classified as a battleship, the Connecticut is the very same "Connie", but in a primitive dreadnought configuration. Ironically, despite what the classification suggests, it is actually more lightly armored then the BC it was derived from - however, it features better torpedo protection. Only 20,000t to work with meant that an effective 8-turret arrangement wasn't practical, but by the time the Connecticut was ordered in 1905 (after the Rangers launched), long-range gunnery seemed to be developing and I felt worried enough about hostile dreadnoughts to justify even a provisional dreadnought like the Connecticut, of which I laid down two.
However, just a few months later, my technology advanced a bit more, and I was able to lay down the Wyoming class to bring back two things I missed about the Connies - a heavier secondary battery, and a bit more armour. Neither were as heavy as the original battlecruiser's, but between the better torpedo protection and much better main armament, the Wyoming seems to be capable of taking on any opponent in the 1911 world where all the major ships are treaty-restricted.
In battle, encountering British dreadnoughts and pre-dreadnoughts, the Connecticuts and the Wyomings proved to be the superior ships. After taking a dozen 12" hits, they were still able to maintain nearly their full speed, rarely lost turrets, and dished out fire with superior accuracy. At least in this particular game, it seemed to be a case where what are basically pre-dreadnought ships descended from ACs have proven better than (treaty-limited) true dreadnoughts.
That said, I'm not making any bets on that continuing, and in fact my next ship was designed from scratch as a full-on 4-turret dreadnought - it will still keep the 23kt speed, but is otherwise a very different design.
Post by hschuster44 on Jul 15, 2015 13:45:03 GMT -5
BTW: How about an additional thread "Post historic ship designs here"? I'm thinking about files for some additional types like e.g. coastal defence ships (KüPas). And especially gun boats (e.g. SMS Panther!) for some navies could be interesting for overseas duties and political implications/ tensions ... ("Gun Boat diplomacy"). These could be drafted by players using (small) CLs as relevant ship class?
Here is part of my fleet from "tutorial" USA game:
8 Chicago-class cruisers were built in 1899 to protect all US coast from enemy raiders. And they did it! In every engagement they won (sometimes with support of CA, of course). Columbia was the only one lost - lucky shot in forward turret blow her up with all crew... Others are in service even now, in 1921, and still have potential to modernization. Fanning-class destroyers built for coastal defence suddenly became most efficient ships in entire fleet-they sink 3 CAs: 2 French and one Russian! And then their elite crews clean off the sea from subs, sinking 2-3 every month. Most unusual ships in fleet are two Augustas, they were laid down in 1905, but were ended only 3 years later, nearly losing opportunity to show their best sides: Another two were delayed for a year and scrapped after dreadnought race begun.
14x6in, 23kt light cruiser? That Chicago looks like a great starting ship! I might have to borrow that for my next game - it's definitely a ship that has about a 5 year lead on its opponents, and at that size I'm sure it was good for refitting, too.
As for my continuing US game, it seems I spoke too soon about the days of my 20k/12in treaty ships being numbered! After the conclusion of a war with Germany, there was another treaty that came into effect - and it couldn't have come at a better time, since I'd just finished a building program of 30,000t ships and so as a result, not a single of my projects was cancelled (which basically made me the strongest naval power in the world in an instant). However, during the effects of this treaty, I quickly revisited my beloved "Connies" - every one of that I showed off above received a refit, bringing their speed up to a uniform 26kt and adding a variety of other improvements.
I also laid down two more classes of Constellation-likes:
The Ohio class are a direct descendant of the Wyoming that I showed off above - and were an overall subtle improvement, beefing up protection and revising the aft turrets into a proper superfiring arrangement.
The Idaho class are a treaty battleship ship meant to keep up with my 23kt, 30,000t dreadnoughts that I built in the brief period between treaties. Slightly less armored, their main firepower was increased by replacing the double turrets with triples.
It is now 1923, and my "war to end all wars" against Great Britain, the only power that poses any threat to me, has just begun. Of my 26 ships-of-the-line, 14 are built to the above Ranger/Constellation treaty configuration. Let's see how they prove themselves against the toughest opponents possible!
I don’t like marches. I'll tell you why: war. It's very similar to disco. -Don Van Vliet (aka Captain Beefheart)
Those seem like very clean and practical predreadnought designs! I suspect the Caio Duilio will get obsolete quickly enough, but I can see that AC sticking around in the fleet for a long time with some rebuilds.
I have to show my craziest predread design then:
The California was laid down in 1903 and somehow stuck around all the way until the end of the game, without even losing any of her inane number of secondaries - I even considered rebuilding her again into a 26kt (!) ship, but eventually it wasn't needed. It was a combat-untested ship, spending her entire career stationed in the quiet Pacific theater.
Meanwhile, I'm happy to report that at the end of the game, my treaty "Connies" had fully vindicated themselves. The only one of that 14-ship family lost was the Ranger-class BC Lexington in 1924, outgunned in a battle against British 30,000t, 15" armed ships. Her sisters survived and helped the rest of my force finish the job - not bad for a class of overgrown ACs of 18,000t and 12" guns, laid down in 1902!
The Constitution herself lived on to become my only 4-star ship yet!
And if you're wondering what I had by the end of this game - my final creation, which only just missed my beating of Britain, were these monsters: