With the release of the Italian tech tree in the next update 0.8.9 (Hooray!) and its cruiser line, its quite obvious that Italian ships fans can expect a lot more in the future. And probably, one of the most awaited lines in the tech tree is the battleships line. The Italian BB line could be completed from tier III to X without too many problems. There are only 2 Italian battleships in game at the moment, both of them premium, the tier V "Giulio Cesare", and the tier VIII "Roma". Between the First and Second World War, several battleships and large battlecruisers were built in Italy, and amongst them, the most advanced and powerful ones were those of the "Littorio" class, composed by 4 ships: "Littorio", "Vittorio Veneto", "Roma" and "Impero". The "Littorio" class, as we have already seen with "Roma", is the perfect candidate to place at tier VIII, so it's logical to assume that in an Italian BB line we'll have the "Littorio" as the regular tier VIII. But after this, here appears a problem that those who are familiar with the Italian Navy will probably know too well. The high tier battleships will have to be based on blueprints and projects, as no other battleship was built after the "Littorio" class. But the problem is quite easy to resolve, as there is a candidate for both tier IX (almost certain) and tier X.
The tier IX, in my opinion, will be the project called "U.P.41", that i'm sure lots of you already know. An improved and most advanced version of the "Littorio" class armed with 406 mm guns. This ship is the perfect successor for the "Littorio", and balancing features and name aside, i'm sure we'll see this ship at tier IX when the Italian BB line will be presented.
The tier X should be something that resembles all the previous ships, and at the same time adds something valuable and notable to all the line. For this reason i think that the best candidate for the top of the line is the ship i'm gonna talk to you about.
The Ferdinando Cassone Project
In 1921 the italian engineer Ferdinando Cassone, published an article in "Rivista Marittima" in which presented the idea of a large (very large) battlecruiser like no other before. This ship was the largest and most powerful ever discussed for the Regia Marina. An innovative design with interesting featurs, Cassone's battlecruiser would have been one of the most powerful battleships in the world, but unfortunately remained only a blueprint. There are two variants of the project.
I'm quite sure that most of the players who like Italian ships are quite familiar with this project just like the "U.P.41", 'cause the ship itself it's not a mistery, and a ship with these features wouldn't be too hard to place in game, the only real problem regarding the Ferdinando Cassone is literally its appearance. Beeing a project made in 1921, a ship like that would look out of place among the others, but we know that even this is not a real problem, because in the case the ship would be designated as the top of the Italian BB line, old or not, the developers would think to fix it. But not knowing if this will happen and if this ship will actually be inserted in game, i decided to try to give Cassone's battleship a new design myself. After having documented on the subject, and comparing the old ship to the newer ones of the Regia Marina, assuming that it would have been the successor of the "U.P,41", and after a long work of almost 9 months done in my free time (long but funny and satisfying), i've completed the new appearance of the ship, so without further delay, i present you what should be (according to me) the top of the line of the Italian bettleships.
The "Regia Nave Imperatore Augusto"!
First, i used the ship profile as model and colored it with Photoshop, for having a first idea of what the ship could become.
As you can see, i chose the first version as model, since i thought that the second one, despite having a more compact structure was lacking the secondary turrets, that in my opinion, made the ship more interesting (and more beautiful) to other players. And after this began the real challenge. The creation of the hull, the bridges, the turrets and all the features and details of the battleship. Again, i made it with Photoshop and it was really (reeeeeally) complex to finalize, as the dimensions of the file, the quality of details, number of layers and groups is obscenely high (the program response was slowed down of 2-3 s sometimes) despite the Paint-like appearance, so here it is, my work completed.
For the bridges and the turrets i took inspiration from both "U.P.41" and "Littorio" classes, creating an evolution from tier VIII to X as much natural as possible. The main armament of the ship is composed by 4 turrets with dual 456mm/46 guns, that is the largest caliber ever installed on an Italian ship. The secondaries are composed by 3 types of guns, the 152mm/55 that serve as normal anti-ship guns, the 135mm/45 and the 90mm/53, which are both used as dual purpose guns. And for last, the AA armament is made with 37mm/54 autocannons. The ship possesses also 2 catapults that can be used by a Scout or a Fighter. Some of the ship features such as part of the armor and engine power where specified by engineer Cassone and are quite impressive. The armor belt is 456/350/150 mm, and the deck is 50+120 mm, quite similar to battleships like Montana. The engine power is 216000 HP, that in the original project would have given a top speed of 35-40 knots, but the original project was also estimated to reach a weight of 45000 tons, other fonts claim 57000 t, but considering the new technology and the new structures added, i opted for a weight similar to that of ships like G.Kurfurst and Montana, 65000 t, and for a top speed of 31 knots, a good speed for a battleship of its kind.
Here's a summary of its features and of some values it could have in game:
DIMENSIONS: LENGTH: 274,75 m
BEAM: 40 m
DISPLACEMENT: 65000 t
ARMOR BELT: 456 mm , 350 mm, 150 mm
DECK: MAIN: 50 mm
SECOND: 120 mm
HIT POINTS: 99800
MAIN BATTERY: 456mm/46 OTO 1942 4x2
RATE OF FIRE: 2,31 shots/min
RELOAD TIME: 26 s
MAX AP DAMAGE: 15000
FIRING RANGE: 23,75 km
SECONDARY ARMAMENT #1: 152mm/55 OTO 1936 2x3
RATE OF FIRE: 5 shots/min
RELOAD TIME: 12 s
MAX HE DAMAGE: 2100
FIRING RANGE: 6 km
SECONDARY ARMAMENT #2: 135mm/45 OTO 1938 8x2
RATE OF FIRE: 9 shots/min
RELOAD TIME: 6,67 s
MAX HE DAMAGE: 1900
FIRING RANGE: 6 km
SECONDARY ARMAMENT #3: 90mm/53 OTO 1939 16x2
RATE OF FIRE: 15 shots/min
RELOAD TIME: 4 s
MAX HE DAMAGE: 1300
FIRING RANGE: 6 km
AA DEFENSE: 135mm/45 OTO 1938 8x2
FIRING RANGE: 5,2 km
90mm/53 OTO 1939 16x2
FIRING RANGE: 4,55 km
37mm/54 Breda 1933 12x4
FIRING RANGE: 3,51 km
PROPULSION: 216000 hp
MAXIMUM SPEED: 31 knots
Obviously these features are arranged, i tried to adapt the original model to the actual ships and i think the result is quite well done. Features of the italian battleships as far as we have seen, are good (or even excellent) penetration and high damage with main guns, good mobility and agility, great armor and torpedo protection but weak citadel (especially "Roma", considering that the real ship citadel was placed under the water surface and not so easy to hit, and this is something that in my opinion should be fixed, but this is another story), and secondaries and AA weaker than other counterparts. Cassone's project is an example of what we could expect from a tier X ship. Powerful guns, great secondaries, good AA, good mobility and excellent armor. In few words, a well balanced ship. Obviously even this ship has its weak points, for example dimensions. 274,75 m of length is a big number considering that Yamato is 263 m long, and the super structure is also big so this would make her quite an easy target to spot and to attack. Also, the number of main guns is quite low, only 8 guns when other nations have 9 or 12 cannons on their side, so even if the damage is high and the reload speed is low the DPM can be outclassed by other ships. The armor belt is very thick and the citadel is well protected, but broadsides for short range or accurate shots from great distances could put the ship in serious trouble. And the AA defense is powerful but its firing range is still quite low. Anyway as i already said, these features are arranged and i haven't considered things such as dispersion and initial velocity of the shells, the chance of fire caused by HE shells, the possibility of having the Semi AP shells even on this line and its damage, the maneuverability and the concealment and so on... I've made all of this to give an idea of what this ship originally was and of what it could be if inserted in game, and i sincerely think that i've done it quite well.
To sum up, i think that this ship is the best candidate for the top of the Italian BB line, and also being a real project instead of an invented one makes it even more suitable for this role. So i hope that when the time comes, WG will use this project for the BB line, and it would be an honor to see a battleship similar to mine in the tech tree (it would be an even greater honor to see my ship in game with my signature XD).
P.S.: The name i chose, "Imperatore Augusto", is due to the fact that the Roman Emperor, Augusto, was one of the greatest rulers of the Roman Empire, and the nephew and heir of the greatest and most famous Roman Emperor of all times, Giulio Cesare. And having the "Giulio Cesare" as a premium tier V battleship, i think that this is a nice and appropriate name to give to the tier X.
I plan to make a restyle of another project for a possible tier X premium Italian battleship, when i'll have enough time. And once finished, i'll prepare another article, but i don't anticipate anything not to spoil the surprise ;)
Hoping to see the Italian battleships in game as soon as possible, thanks for your patience and for reading my article!
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