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Better Armored Cruisers


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#1 Jim O'Neil

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Posted 05 March 2024 - 03:04 PM

Yesterday  was reading an AAR of Calabria fought with poorer weather. HMS Orion came out of a Squall, leading a column of British cruisers and discovered four Zara class Cruisers 12,000 yards away. She opened fire, closed to inside 9,000 yards and using rapid fire,  mugged Zara while her consorts did much the same.

 

Anyone see the problem?

 

RM Zara and her sisters are not CA armored cruisers! They have BD armor for belt and turrets (as well as conning tower and director).

They are all but impervious to 6" fire, and when this was applied post game, Orion got the short end of the deal, turned away and made smoke while calling for bigger ships. 

 

The problem exists because way back when, as GQ3 was being amended and clarified, it did not seem all that important. Further, listing them as BD (BD) made people want to use that row for torpedo, collision and mine damage. It was just easier to leave them CA ... unless you happen to be commanding those ships.  And the Zara class is not alone; starting with the New Orleans class, the US Navy started up armoring it's ships as well. Thus the following classes should be CRUISERS who have BD armor.

 

Zara Class-

5.9” belt; 5.9” Barbettes

5.9” turret faces; 5.9” conning tower; 4.7” Director;  2.8” deck

 

New Orleans Class-

5” belt, 5” barbettes excepting San Francisco with 6.5” barbettes.

8” turret faces.

 

Wichita Class-

6.4” belt; 7” Barbettes

8” turret faces; 6” conning tower; 2.25” deck

 

Baltimore Class -*

6-4” belt,6.3” barbettes

8” turret faces; 6.5” conning tower; 2.25” deck

 

Brooklyn Class-*

5” belt, 6” barbettes 

6.5” turret faces; 2” deck; 5” conning tower

 

Cleveland Class-*

3.25-5” belt, 6” barbettes 

6.5” turret faces; 2” deck; 2.25-5” conning tower

 

*The belt was thinned over the turret area of the hull because the Barbettes provided additional protection.



#2 Thomas Ruta

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Posted 05 March 2024 - 10:07 PM

Hello Jim,

 

I see your point, but I also see a potential problem.  If you apply the same logic to gun penetration, the British 6" gun (50cal Mk XXIII) can penetrate more than 6" of armor at close ranges and should probably be upgraded to BD penetration at about 4,000 yards.  (Source: www.navweaps.com)  Orion should still be able to drop its world-of-rapid-fire-hurt on Zara, but would have to get closer.

 

Admittedly, I have not done the detailed research to definitively say what the gun penetration class should be at each range and I'm only referencing one source.  There is also the issue that not all armor is equally effective.  Regardless, I do recommend caution in changing ship stats without considering both sides of the equation. 

 

The bottom line is that there is no way I will accept Brooklyn wearing BD  armor.  That ship is vicious enough as it is without giving her a tougher skin.

 

Regards,

 

Tom.

 

 



#3 W. Clark

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Posted 06 March 2024 - 07:36 AM

My fault guys. The conversation about the Zara's armor if I recall correctly occurred about 5-6 years while we were working on a Med Campaign (that is still on the shelf). Arguments were made for making the Zaras BD/BD and we even played them that way for a bit. Then there were the counter arguments that they should remain CA/CA. I have a test set of ship logs (that I had forgotten about) from Lonnie that compromised and made them CA/BD but as I said I had forgotten them, and I used the deluxe logs which still have them as CA/CA. Personally, I prefer the compromise as it protects their turrets and does not turn them into mini dreadnoughts against torpedoes.

 

But the real reason I prefer the compromise is that the RN in the Med has no answer to them. It takes a 15-inch ship to handle them, and the 15-inch ships are too slow to catch them. So, the RN in the Med with those stats has to shelter under their 15-inch ships with the limitations that imposes during a campaign. That bears no resemblance to what happened historically and if accurate basically says that the admirals on both sides were too stupid to understand the reality. I just do not see that as the case.

 

I don't have a problem with the Wichita and Baltimore classes being CA/BD. Once again it protects their turrets without giving then unwarranted strength against torpedoes. So, until GQ3.3 formally makes them BD/BD I'll play the RAW and be happy about it.

 

WMC


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#4 Jim O'Neil

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Posted 06 March 2024 - 09:36 PM

Tom,

Most guns will penetrate shell diameter at very close ranges, 4,000 yards is quite a bit better than the norm for sure. At 12-9,000 yards that 6" is sucking wind versus thick armor. Nor would I recommend trying to close and fight at those ranges. If you end up there, then go for it.

I realize I am rocking the boat, doing it on purpose, since as we get better information, we need to apply it, not just ignore it because we have always done it that way..

The better method of dealing with these ships is torpedoes. Both the IJN and RN have decent torpedoes and doctrine, use it. It makes the battles look a bit more like the reality of the time.



#5 Jim O'Neil

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Posted 11 March 2024 - 12:39 PM

OK, To Follow up, I checked NavWeaps and did not find Tom's quoted entry, although it may be true and he didn't remember the source correctly. There is nothing about the penetration of the 6"/47 130 lb round either (the US Gun).

 

I did some checking with very knowledgable friends and the following give the Armor types for the US Cruisers.

 

These ships had Class B armor:

CL-40  Brooklyn

CL-41  Philidelphia

CL-42  Savannah

CL-43  Nashville

 

These Ships had Class A armor

CL-46  Phoenix

CL-47  Boise

CL-48  Honolulu

CL-49  St Louis

CL-50  Helena

All the Cleveland Class  CLs 55-58, 60,62-67, 80-83,86,87,89-93,101-105

CA-45  Wichita

All the Baltimore Class  CAs 68-75, 130-136

 

This does make  a significant difference in protection levels; to quote Friedman in US NAVY CRUISERS a IJN 8" APC shell pierced the Turret face on No. 2 gun on a New Orleans class cruiser (Vincennes from memory)  and exploded in the turret! That was an 8" thick homogenous armor plate, and while there are many unaddressed factors involved, that is impressive. On another occasion, a similar shell was stopped by the 6.5" Class A face plate of a later Brooklyn class Cruiser!  So yes, your fear of the vicious monster cruiser is well founded

​It's also accurate!  Note that the USN withdrew all 8" cruisers from the Solomon's as soon as they had enough 6" cruisers to cover the needs.  The Clevelands have BD turrets anyway.  The New Orleans class should not have BD turrets.

I doubt the US 6"/47 130 lb APC gives away anything to the British 112 Lb CBC in penetration.



#6 Lonnie Gill

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Posted 13 March 2024 - 12:46 AM

G' Day crew,

 

This thread goes back to some lengthy discussions we had while doing some preliminary research for a Med Campaign awhile back.  After quite a lot of digging and discussion using data that had not been available when the Ship Log stats were originally developed, we determined that the Italian Zara class was undervalued and a revision was in order.  While the Med project is still in the que, behind several other projects being finished first, it's time to incorporate the revision.  Here is my conclusion and rationale without getting into the depth of many extensive discussions and data reviews.

 

1.  The Zaras should be increased to eight Hull Boxes.  The Hull Boxes in the Ship Logs are based primarily on standard displacement, and more recent data makes it clear that the Zara's standard displacement is inline with the later US heavy cruiser classes such as the Baltimore's and the Wichita - not to mention later classes - which used a similar design approach to provide a cruiser with substantial protection and size to withstand hits from other cruisers.  It's been disclosed for some time that the later US cruisers had considerably more than the "10,000 ton" standard displacement listed in all the old, traditional sources.  In addition, while most Italian ships are viewed as being lightly built (due to the general Italian design approach and the lasting effects of British propaganda), the Zaras were not.  Their design was a significant departure from the normal Italian approach.  A review of them using modern sources indicates a sturdy, well thought out design more akin to the later US heavy cruisers.  An advanced design with size, sturdy construction, compartmentalization and protection to take a fair amount of damage and keep on functioning. Quite far from the "treaty clad" designs that dominated most of the interwar period.  The RMI even conceived that they could take a place in the battle line in an emergency against the anticipated French naval opponents if needed.  Eight Hull Boxes reflects the sturdy design (unlike other Italian cruisers and destroyers) and brings them in line with their contemporaries in other navies.

 

2.  The hull armor for the Zaras and the US cruisers mentioned above will be maintained at CA  The classifications used in GQ 3.3 for vertical armor are CA = 4" - 5" and BD = 6" - 8".  I deliberately left a gap between the classifications to allow for unique ships that didn't fit easily within the normal boundaries.  Ships which are right at the lower edge of these ranges are cases where judgement applies.  Further, the Hull classification in GQ 3.3 is also used to reflect hull size, compartmentalization, sturdiness and the extent of damage columns on the various bomb, gunfire, mine and torpedo damage CRTs.  A BD classification reflects a much larger (in effect a small capital ship) type hull on these CRTs. To rate the Zaras and other cruisers listed in the above post with BD Hull armor would require special, complex adjustment rules for each of these damage CRTs. These ships are cruisers, large and well protected, but clearly cruisers in size,  compartmentalization and ability to withstand damage from bomb, mine shell and torpedo hits.  In the case of the Zaras, it's easy: 150mm maximum belt armor = 5.9", a little less than the minimum BD classification.  They are CAs.  That also applies to the US cruisers listed in the above post as most of them are right at or on the lower cusp with less than 6" belt armor or belts that range between 6" - 4" along their hull sides.   Armor falling just at or a little below the minimum BD armor rating does not justify a BD rating in the larger context of various types of damage. Thus, within the GQ.3.3 system, they remain cruisers.

 

3. The Zaras should have their turret armor increased to BD.  This is a more difficult judgement call.  They are right at the lower margin of the BD armor range, but a BD classification provides a reasonable reflection of the effect of their heavily armored capacity and well armored barbettes against the lighter and less protected British and French cruisers in the Med.  It also does not affect the damage column used on the damage CRTs.  Given that this is a tough call, we playtested moving the Zaras to both BD (BD) ratings and CA (BD) ratings in the GQ 3.3 system.  The CA (BD) rating worked effectively to reflect they were larger, better protected and a tough challenge for their european cruiser opponents, while the BD (BD) rating made them unrealistically dominant and significantly distorted combat results.  So, the CA (BD) rating is a sensible change to reflect the strong Italian design, quite different from their other cruisers.  Hence, this will become an official GQ 3.3 revision.

 

4. The US cruisers will retain their existing turret armor ratings.  The Baltimores and Wichita are already rated CA (BD)which is a fair reflection of these tough ships with 8" turret faces and 7" or more barbettes.  The New Orleans class on the other hand had 8" turret faces, but only 5" barbettes (6.5" in two cases) which puts the composite main arment protection at the lower cusp of the BD rating at best.  And, the Brooklyns and Clevelands - dear as they are to my heart - have turret faces and barbettes right at the lower limit of the BD rating.  Playtesting with the  higher BD turret rating for these classes made them truly unrealistically dominant - especially the Brooklyns and Clevelands with rapid fire capacity at night, etc.  Thus, my determination is to keep the New Orleans, Brooklyn and Cleveland classes at the original CA turret armor rating.  

 

Some of these choices could in theory be called either way.  I applied judgement to finalize the "on the edge" classification decisions to reflect historical type results within the interrelated GQ 3.3 systems and CRTs - which has been borne out by playtesting the proposed alternatives.  You, of course, can make your own decisions.    I provided the fairly extensive explanation above to assist you in reaching your own conclusions.

 

I have updated the Italian RMI Ship Log sheet to incorporate the change in the Zaras' armor classifications to  CA (BD) and eight Hull Boxes.  This will be posted in the Bonus files in the next couple of days for your download and use. It will be considered an official revision.  Those that do not agree can continue to use the original Ship Log sheet as is.

 

LONNIE 


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#7 Kenny Noe

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Posted 16 March 2024 - 04:15 PM

The updated ship logs with the changes Lonnie spoke have been uploaded to the GQ3 Bonus Files located in the GQ3 Private Access Library.  Please DL this to replace the one currently in the rules. 

 

File name is RMI Ship Log-rev B.pdf

 

Thanks



#8 Jim O'Neil

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Posted 16 March 2024 - 04:20 PM

Lonnie, 

Simpler for sure. My method was to clearly state ZARA's were cruisers for all underwater damage.

Lines have to be drawn somewhere, so 5.91" is less than six inches.  I understand your points.

My issue is the British rapid fire 6" has limited effect against the hull, as the armored portions are unaffected, but other portions are ... the complications we don't wish to deal with, so truce I suppose [for the uniformed this discussion has been going on for about 10 years now]. My concern is some lucky rolling player is going to smash a lot of hull boxes with a good roll or two, when it is historically not possible. Not everyone rolls like I do.

 

I was clearly wrong on the New Orleans class, which surprised even me. The USN was very clearly a Gun Battle based Navy that was trying to squeeze every advantage out of armor versus guns. The ships were sturdily built and had decent anti-torpedo defenses [as the New Orleans class showed along with several less armored classes], but they were really trying every trick they could think of to protect from gunfire, which seems to have failed. I am surprised. 

The Light cruiser classes we'll have to arm wrestle over ;-) as the Improvement gained from Class A armor was impressive. 6.5" of class A stopping an 8" APC is impressive as FH armor tends to fail if seriously over matched, although we know nothing of range, angle of impact and the many variables that could affect that. As you know, I like to play it like it was, and if some improvement gave a ship a big edge, so be it. 

We honor fast firing guns and great torpedoes, so I wish to honor good defensive design as well. Interestingly the ZARA class actually weighed about 11,600 tons standard with it's heavy protection while Hipper was well over 14,000 tons with 100 mm belt protection. 

Anyway, Good Gaming to all. Open, honest and polite discussion is the key to improving all we know.

Jim


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#9 Thomas Ruta

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Posted 18 March 2024 - 09:24 PM

Lonnie,

 

Thanks for the explanation, and thanks for the update.  Your reasoning is sound and I can agree with your logic.  I appreciate the research and playtesting you and your crew have done.  GQ is truly a great game and has provided many hours of enjoyment over the years... err, make that 'Decades'.

 

To Jim, I will concede the point that there's room in the ratings for reasonable changes, edits, or improvements.  If we ever meet at a convention, the first round is on me.  

 

Regards,

 

Tom.



#10 Jim O'Neil

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Posted 18 March 2024 - 10:22 PM

Tom,

I fear that's not too likely, but that's my loss. I live in SE Arizona, which is close to Mexico and little else ;-)

Trips to the East Coast are becoming difficult due to age and infirmity. Still, we just never know.

 

We have a small group online that debate and play scenarios as best we can.  Lonnie is mostly on the info end, as he is always busy. WMC [Bill Clark] and I chat a lot and swap scenario ideas. We go back about 43 years. You are welcome to join in if you wish, assuming you can stand our tinkering with things. There are at least two others who join in at times. Mostly it's just us geezers trying to find things to do. 



#11 W. Clark

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Posted 18 March 2024 - 11:08 PM

Tom

 

You are surely welcome.

 

WMC



#12 W. Clark

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Posted 26 March 2024 - 12:33 AM

OK, we've been talking about the perceived distortions that occur near the tops and bottoms of armor classes. Specifically, CA/BD. What's been discussed is how to model this without going overboard or having to do a major rewrite of the RAW including CRTs.

 

What we are proposing in our opinion covers pretty much all the bases of concern. We are proposing a CA+ level of armor. And we think it should primarily be applied to turret armor that is right at the top of CA but not quite over into BD (the Zara class as an example).

 

There would be no change to the CRTs. A gun(s) that penetrates CA armor would shoot at CA+ using the same CRT column. If you obtain a hit(s) then you would roll normally on the appropriate WWII Gunfire Damage CRT. A result of 4 or 5 would not penetrate CA+ armor but it would penetrate on a result of 11. Thus CA+ armor would reduce the vulnerability of CA armor by 2/3. A gun(s) that penetrates better than CA+ (BD or higher) would resolve normally. As an example, an 8-inch cruiser firing at CA(CA+) armor inside 15,000 yards would penetrate the CA belt, but not necessarily the (CA+) turret armor unless its damage die roll had an 11 as result. That same cruiser firing at 9,000 yards would penetrate the turret armor normally.

 

You would use the same EDR as before. In addition, a critical hit on the magazine would still resolve versus the belt armor and provides a second way (if you flood) to lose a turret.

 

The intent is to model those classes of ships whose turret armor is right on the line so to speak without turning them into mini dreadnoughts and all the unintended consequences that brings. So, the RAW remains essentially the same as do the CRTs and how you use them except for this small modification.

 

But this is a proposal only and we need it play tested. I intend to do this myself. But more is better. So, those of you who are interested please feel free to try this and then chime in with your findings, ideas and opinions. We think this will work without some major rewrite, but the proof is in the testing.

 

WMC



#13 Jim O'Neil

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Posted 26 March 2024 - 05:04 PM

Well that was one proposal, I don't care for it as much as just making CA+ the second row down of CA armor penetration for each pertinent gun type. The 3,000 meter reduction in range gives better velocity and less angle of fall, making penetration greater. It's a simplification, but gives the somewhat thicker armor some value. As to why Turrets/barbettes get credit for thicker armor and belt armor doesn't ... no clue. to me 5.9"-6" armor is what it is regardless of where it is placed. Bill's concept above does not recognize that.

 

I wasn't going to post, but since we are now looking for outside ideas and comments, I figured I might as well balance the view being debated. Obviously we do NOT want to have to reprint a lot of forms, documents and charts.

 

Simple is very desirable, because if you want the complexity of more realism, you can choose several other sets of rules that try to deliver that. We want the flavor and thinking forced by different ships and situations without the potential complexities of trying to simulate the realities precisely.



#14 W. Clark

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Posted 26 March 2024 - 05:12 PM

Its more Lonnie's proposal than it is mine, but I agree with it completely for the reasons I stated above.

 

WMC



#15 Lonnie Gill

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Posted 03 April 2024 - 05:41 PM

Well, this was not a discussion I was going to get into until we had an opportunity to test it out and see if it keeps things simple and works out better than my previous post.  If it does, I will let you know and also post a CA+ Armor Classification Analysis done to help explain why this potential change was developed. 

 

One thing I would point out to keep in mind is that the armor classifications used in GQ 3.3 reflect both vertical and horizontal armor as they apply to both short range, low elevation fire and long range plunging fire as shown in Section 1.6 on page 1 - 11.  When you combine the belt (vertical) armor with the Deck (horizontal) armor of the cruisers discussed in the previous posts on this topic, they rate the CA Hull armor classification as provided on the Ship Logs.  So the issue we are dealing with is focused on the Turret armor classification of several cruisers that had heavily armored turret faces and barbettes combined with less heavily armored turret roofs.  Thus the effect, if adopted, would be limited to Main Battery Turret hits and Ammunition critical hits.  The various hull related EDRs, etc. would continue to have CA protection in accordance with Section 1.6.

 

Let's do some more play testing to see if this is a change worth implementing. 

 

LONNIE






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