Big gun Takao/Myoko class cruiser

Discussion in 'Ship Comparison' started by coyote, Sep 16, 2021.

  1. coyote

    coyote Member

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    I'm curious if anyone has ever built or heard of a big-gun take on either of these classes? Mind, I'm aware large cruisers are neither popular nor necessarily recommended in big gun, but thought to ask anyhow.
     
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  2. Kotori87

    Kotori87 Well-Known Member

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    Not those ships specifically, but I have seen a Mogami and Haguro. Both were armed primarily with torpedoes, and one or more main guns. The Mogami originally used fixed bb guns, taking advantage of its many turrets to cover many firing arcs, and reloading torpedoes with 5-round magazines. It ran as a vulture, circling the pond far from shore, waiting for a ship to break down or a transport to wander by and then swooping in for the kill with torpedoes. It was quite good at that role, right up until other people started building torpedo-armed light cruisers that could chase it down. At that point, its reliability issues became a problem and it went back into the yards for conversion back into its oversized light cruiser form. It returned a year later with torpedoes and a single rotating triple .177" turret. Unfortunately it still had reliability issues and was retired.
    The Haguro had a slightly different armament. Non-reloading torpedoes and a single-barrel rotating bow gun. This one was more reliable, but it was not as maneuverable as other torpedo-cruisers on the water at the time. The rotating bow gun was a very good idea, but didn't have a good control mechanism. It was a small DC motor with a rubber band, that would cause the cannon to spin rapidly with the lightest touch of the stick. It was effectively a completely random position every time you tried to rotate, so it was not useful in combat. The ship ended up running as an oversized, underpowered, and unmaneuverable torpedo-cruiser. It still had some success, but not as much as it could have.

    So here's my take on the whole thing. A Japanese super-cruiser can be highly effective as a mixed-armament ship. You need the torpedoes to give it real ship-killing power when you are able to close in for the kill. But unlike smaller torpedo-cruisers, you've got the space for a rotating double or triple bow gun. That gives you the ability to harass opponents from a range. Experience has shown that the 3/16" rounds you get for 8" guns is not a noticeable improvement over the .177" rounds for 6" guns, so you're better off with a triple .177" turret than twin 3/16" turret. Since there is limited weight and space, you should only arm one forward turret and torpedoes. Make sure the turret has good firing arc, it should be able to quickly cover at least 270 degrees. That'll give you a good over-the-shoulder shot which is effective against smaller, faster torpedo-cruisers. Don't even bother with stern guns, you'll spend most of your time chasing the enemy and the aft end will be pretty crowded already. Also make sure you're building a ship with twin tandem rudders, IIRC some of them had either single or series rudders which are less effective. The torpedoes can either be magazine-fed or non-reloadable. If they are non-reloadable, you get to regularly pull your ship from the water to reload it, and you can take the opportunity to inspect damage and fix minor issues like shifted ballast, superstructure issues, etc. If they are magazine-fed, you can maintain constant pressure on an opponent because a single shot doesn't cut your firepower in half.
    In battle, you have several options for how to operate, depending on what opponents are available. Against battleships, you act like a regular torpedo-cruiser, since you have the speed and maneuverability to attack them with impunity. Against cruisers and destroyers, however, you act like the big kid on the playground. You have the size and toughness to bully them, so they can't just trade torpedoes or they'll lose. When they run, you just drive after them and bombard them with your bow gun. If they try an attack run on you, just put your rudder hard over and swing your bow gun around for a nasty over-the-shoulder shot.

    Japanese super-cruisers occupy a fairly unique niche in the Big Gun world. They're not mini-battleships, like the German pocket battleships. They're not gun cruisers, like American cruisers. They're one of the few ship types that is both large enough to carry a mixed armament and fast enough to effectively use it. And of course, if you go much bigger then you're in full-scale battleship territory. While I have yet to see one operated effectively, I thought about their use for my entire time in the WWCC. It was going to be my next ship, until I joined the navy and all Big Gun construction got put on hold. BTW I am currently stationed in Washington, so if you ever want to come by and inspect the fleet then let me know.
     
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  3. Z Boat

    Z Boat Well-Known Member

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    This week end I will be fighting a Mogami that has 3 single rotating BB guns and 6 1/4"reloading torpedo guns. These BB guns shoot very hard on a .5 tank and use very little air so my regulator will not freeze up. We are trying a 2 second rate of fire for BB guns in hopes that ppl will use the Vaccu boats and fast guns to take advantage of manufactured equipment. This is not a starter boat.









    IMG_1411.jpg IMG_1412.jpg IMG_1413.jpg
     
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  4. Nibbles1

    Nibbles1 Well-Known Member

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    I have a Haguro actually. She belonged to an older member who passed away and I've been maintaining her. She has yet to see combat, although if the new propulsion system I installed works then she might see combat on Saturday.
    I know Z Boat has a Mogami that may see action, Im not sure. Mogami has twin rudders so she's probably a bit better than other IJN heavy cruisers (along with high speed as a light cruiser).
    Even though they aren't super popular, they still work ok, they have torpedoes, room for guns, and aren't bad in general (Also they look really nice :))
    Edit: I started this post before Z Boat got here and posted it after so definitely read his thing as I will now
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2021
  5. coyote

    coyote Member

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    Thank you greatly for this marvellously detailed and informative response. I would indeed be delighted to come see your fleet sometime! Do you see yourself getting more active in Big Gun in future? After lurking on this site for some years I'm at a point in life where I'd like to start building something, so having someone with your level of Big Gun experience here in Washington to learn from would be lovely. I have a Takao/Myoko hull coming - the Haguro you've described here might be a good inspiration for arming her - although as Z Boat says below I gather a Japanese cruiser is, while certainly intriguing, perhaps not the ideal beginner ship.
     
  6. Kotori87

    Kotori87 Well-Known Member

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    @coyote yeah, a Japanese cruiser is not really a beginner boat. It is both difficult to build and difficult to battle. There are a couple of combat clubs up here in Washington, but they have very little internet presence. There is a Fast Gun club near Seattle, and then there's the 1:72 scale Queen's Own club. But they are super-conservative about posting anything online, so I only find out about events long after they're done. I am now back on a ship, so I don't know how much time for new construction I will have. Certainly for the next few months I'll have my hands full just refitting after the 2021 Nats.
     
  7. coyote

    coyote Member

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    Yeah, I've heard of the local Fast Gun club, but as the Big Gun approach to combat has more appeal for me I've not been motivated yet to come watch one of their events. If there's any particular time in the next couple months when you're free to show off your fleet and talk boats though, please let me know.
    Regarding ideal starter ships in Big Gun, have you seen many Japanese battleships built? I tend to be most attracted to IJN ships, but haven't seen them mentioned much in the old 'starter ship' threads I've been reading.
     
  8. Kotori87

    Kotori87 Well-Known Member

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    Japanese battleships tend to do poorly in Big Gun for the same reasons they are popular in Fast Gun. Lots of turrets means plentiful arming choices for Fast Gun, but in Big Gun it means lots of extra complexity, cost, and reduced internal space. For example, the Kongos have four twin turrets spread out over much of their length. Arming them with Big Gun cannons leaves very little space for CO2 bottle, batteries, or other hardware along the ship's centerline. The ship also only gets 7/32" guns, 3/32" armor, and 30kts speed. She ends up being completely outclassed by almost every Treaty battleship. Nagatos also fare poorly in Big Gun. While they do get heavier 1/4" guns and 1/8" armor, they only go 25 knots. That puts them in the same category as Warspite and Baden, and both of those ships have simpler hull shapes and shorter LOA, so they are easier to build and handle better. Yamato is an incredibly powerful battleship in Fast Gun, and she certainly has impressive stats in Big Gun. But you can get the same capabilities from South Dakota class without breaking your back, so most people prefer that.
    While few of the Japanese battleships are actively bad in Big Gun, most are outperformed by ships from other nations. They are ships you build because you like them, not because they are the best.

    I just reported to my new ship a few days ago, and I haven't been added to the duty section rotation yet. Once I know what my schedule will be, I'll let you know.
     
  9. coyote

    coyote Member

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    Again, thank you. I am certainly more attracted to building ships I like vs those objectively best at battling, but still much to think about. It would appear Japanese ships generally are not (in Big Gun) ideal first ships, unless as a convoy.
     
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