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EvyL

Type A 1941 cruiser: the "Zao"/"Senjo"/"Unzen"

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Super Tester
1,677 posts

Man been kinda too long since I badposted.

 

Ever since the beginning, there was one lumpy cruiser that caught my interest since the ship was literally a new deviation on how Japan wanted to cruiser. If someone asks an archetypal IJN cruiser, three distinct cruisers should typically come out to one's mind: the Myoko, the Takao, and the Mogami. Tone was used as a scouting cruiser yet could fight as a regular heavy cruiser and Ibuki went full ret- CARRIER so she isn't really that.

 

I PRESENT TO YOU THE ZAO.

 

Class_A_1941.jpgGLORIOUS HEAVY CRUISER

 

This shipbucketer, BB1987 made some never-were's and one of them was the prospect of Zao. Actually, I really REALLY want the old name "Senjo" back. Zao feels "off" for an IJN cruiser. I mean sure Zao is a freakin mountain because heavy cruisers were named for mountains and light cruisers for rivers (Mogami is an exception because they attempted to cheat) but ain't Senjo a freakin' mountain as well?! Dahell WG Japan.

 

In most cases, the requirements for Zao are actually there. Sure the design iterations were torched because lolsekrits (hell, it took the US guys combined with the Japanese information raiders to actually find stuff about the Yamato due to said torching because lolsekrits) but what the navy asked still kinda exists and it was part of the Circle Six Naval Rearming Program and it was the 1941 Type A cruiser. Basically, the navy went to the design boards and just outright said:

 

"Right then ya silly designers, give as a supercruiser that can flex to any situations ranging from flotilla leader to basic heavy cruiser duties because in the decisive battle, it shall be our lynchpin. It must be able to take punishment from 8 inch guns, the deck being capable of eating 500 lb bombs, can run at 35 kt max, and has twelve 203's to boot."

 

Since the whole design iterations are gone, there were some concepts made, one of which was this which the RUdevs went and ran with and adding said shipbucketer's own iteration:

 

Magazine.jpg

THIS was said to be "fake" yet used the same requirements of the 1941 Type A cruiser. Dunno what magazine this was peeled but according to some bits long ago, this thing was named "Unzen" by the magazine that pub'd it.

 

In a more interesting sense, the Japanese were hardcore cruiser nuts because it was actually found out that the mighty battleship doesn't make the difference in APAC, it was the humble cruiser, with all her stalwart reliability, that made some of the more insane skirmishes in the Pacific theater. It wasn't that surprising for their cruisers like Myoko to cram a lot of seaplanes for recon or spotting but it was one reason why their cruisers had TWO slingshots aboard since if we say it in retrospect, then IJN cruisers are "striking" cruisers, not the general all round ships like the USN ones. The Zao feels like it was a new change on how they wanted to cruiser since the lumpy ship only had one slingshot and most of her arrays and arrangements on board were rather strange. For starters, the concept has a LOT OF lolboats. Now while most ships have dinghy's and rowboats, cramming the cruiser chuck full of boats is strange where it could be laced with AA gun nests. The second one I noticed was the torpedo placement. In all honesty, the Takao layout was GOOD since it gives you good angles to dump your torpedoes but Zao needs you to run away in order to fire torpedo runs. Now while this is a tactical maneuver, having tubes NEAR THE STERN AND PROPULSION with each tube carrying that volatile Long Lance (cases in point: Suzuya got hurt bad when a near-miss rocked the cruiser and set off her torpedoes and Chokai just derped when a 5 inch gun from White Plains scored a hit on her tubes) means her entire stern and the shaft with it goes bye bye if it explodes, something that even Yuzuru Hiiraga had observed potentially dangerous. Since this is the ball WG went and started rolling with, we can't really tell what the actual Type A 1941 cruiser would have looked like but as far as it goes, this concept is really pretty IMHO and I can kinda understand why this thing can technically be said as a pinnacle for IJN heavy cruisers.

 

Zao_04-700x387.png

 

The 203's aboard are most likely improved versions on the 203/50 type 3 guns that were then lugged around as standard for heavy cruisers and the secondaries are off from the Akizuki's own 100mm gun turrets so the cruiser can have a good AA suite as well as a reasonable secondary battery. The whole Bofors "Chi" mounts should be WG's iteration for Zao as way I remembered, they didnt cram these guns when they "borrowed" some from the Singaporean defenders and decided to create a copy to any ship, capital or workhorse that I know of (to boot, Ibuki packing em is actually funny), and the usual lol25mm guns they used. The torpedoes should still be some Long Lances since the F8 torpedo was just experimental, sure its fast at 62+ knots but it wasn't tested enough to see if it was glorious enough to cram on cruisers, however in here this lumpy torpedo is THE fastest torpedo to swim in the water and should any ship carrying this get close enough to dump them, it would literally be how the Japanese would say "sure kill" (any JP or someone speaking JP translate this please? XD).

 

In-game wise, she's quite a handful when facing as another cruiser because of that crazy shell speed and its not even remotely funny to see this cruiser shoot you from invisibility with her HE shells being reminiscent to TF2 Pyro's muffled laugh as he burns everything with his flamer. I would also like to add the fact that a potential scum build for Zao that involves the lumpy cruiser being seen at 9.7km which is utterly absurd and people getting close enough to pop some rounds and dump torps then run away like a madman.

 

Zao.jpg

SOOON~

 

Derp.exe has stopped working.

 

THAT IS ALL.

Edited by EvyL

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Member
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Is there any actual document or image of one that shows the genuine plans for this ship? It's always interested me...

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Alpha Tester
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Is there any actual document or image of one that shows the genuine plans for this ship? It's always interested me...

 

many document for Experimental Weapon and Vessels are scarce especially onthe defeated Side of war

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Super Tester
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Is there any actual document or image of one that shows the genuine plans for this ship? It's always interested me...

 

Sadly, no surviving line drawings ever made it out because as state secrets, it must be torched on the eve of surrender. How'd you think they actually retraced Yamato then? The original requirements for the supercruiser the navy asked (when I say supercruiser, this thing was meant to do everything that was asked of both light and heavy cruisers: flotilla lead, screening duties, surface action, you name it) still exists but Zao's appearance is actually of concept of how she MIGHT have looked like. Given that Ibuki had she not been converted to carrier would have been the more solid Mogami repeat without any structural problems, this Zao design isn't that far off of what would look like of 1941... well... her hull is actually 1944 in the in-game files to make it slide that they installed Type 5 Bofors Chi
Edited by EvyL

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Member
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I'm aware of the torching of the documents (RIP Super Yamato). I was actually wondering about the original source that the requests and basic plans for the supercruiser came from eg. the date and outline of the navy asking for it. Sorry if I was unclear.

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Super Tester
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Ah. It was part of the Maru 6 Keikaku/6th Naval Armaments Supplement Programme if the docos are still out there (the shipbucketer used the Type A cruiser's requirements as the mean to design theirs)

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The Japanese sources stated that the new 20cm No.3 was tested in early 1930 (?) was a success and great result, the longer caliber allow using more powerful charges giving its excellent shell trajectory and good penetration. Sadly, they don't have the data what of type shell the gun tested (no information about 155kg shell either, all were lost) so i just assuming 920 m/s for 125kg is reasonable, because a 155kg with that such velocity going to have terrible barrel wear and degrade dispersion.

 

Funny enough, the new 203mm/55 No.3 was mean to counter against US older and outdated 8"/45 (lol) instead the 8"/50 from Treaty-cruiser series (is jus IJN doctrine of individual superiority).

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Super Tester
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The Japanese sources stated that the new 20cm No.3 was tested in early 1930 (?) was a success and great result, the longer caliber allow using more powerful charges giving its excellent shell trajectory and good penetration. Sadly, they don't have the data what of type shell the gun tested (no information about 155kg shell either, all were lost) so i just assuming 920 m/s for 125kg is reasonable, because a 155kg with that such velocity going to have terrible barrel wear and degrade dispersion.

 

Funny enough, the new 203mm/55 No.3 was mean to counter against US older and outdated 8"/45 (lol) instead the 8"/50 from Treaty-cruiser series (is jus IJN doctrine of individual superiority).

 

Its likely still the Type 91 AP iteration since that type had good shell ballistics and such should greatly benefit from the longer length of the gun barrel. After all, their cruisers are meant to kill their counterparts with sheer guns alone apart fro the "do everything" shtick

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