Back in October 2016, Wargaming introduced the first British ship line of the game, the British light cruisers. Alongside them also arrived a certain premium ship… This ship was HMS Belfast, sitting at Tier VII with the quite… unique combination of having a Smoke Generator, a Hydroacoustic Search AND a Surveillance Radar. All of these were combined with strong firepower for her tier and unlike the tech-tree ships, she had access to HE shells.
Edit: Ah, also access to the tier VIII upgrades. I managed to forget that “detail”.
Pretty much anyone I know was saying that the ship was overpowered before her release but Wargaming still went through and brought us one of the most overpowered ships of the game alongside the Imperator Nikolai, the Giulio Cesare, the Enterprise, the Kamikaze or (at least back in the days) the Mikhail Kutuzov.
Life went on and then one day, Wargaming decided to change the way spotting worked with ships firing in smoke (and also to remove stealth firing in open water if I remember correctly but I’m not entirely sure). Since the change was also affecting Belfast and Kutuzov, they used that excuse to remove them from the Premium shop.
At some point, Wargaming tried to rebalance the ships they removed, starting with Giulio Cesare. The problem is that while the community cried about ships being overpowered, they also went crazy about that proposal because they didn’t want to lose these ships as they were.
Try to figure out…
In the end, the idea was dropped and these ships are permanently locked in the loot boxes hell. However, it’s in July of this year that things evolved since Wargaming decided to bring back the Belfast as a whole new ship, presenting her as she was during World War II. This actually opens quite a few possibilities and I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up seeing an Enterprise 1940 or something like that.
When it comes to the history of the Belfast, the ship was commissioned in August 1939 and saw active service both during World War II and later on during the 1950s.
The ship started the war as a part of the British defense force against Germany. Her career almost ended in January 1940 when she struck a mine that almost lead to her being scrapped due to the large damage sustained by the ship’s hull structure. She would instead spend 2 years in drydock for repairs and would be back in action in November 1942.
She was then deployed to escort the Arctic convoys and would also play a great role in the sinking of the German battleship Scharnhorst.
The ship would also be part of the escorting fleet of Operation Tungsten, one of many attacks on the Tirpitz and later helped in the D-Day landing. She was later refitted to be deployed in the Far East but the Japanese surrendered before she could do anything there.
The Belfast was also deployed during the Korean War, performing coastal patrols.
It’s in 1956 that started an extensive modernization of the ship, to protect key areas from nuclear, biological or chemical attacks, improving her radar systems, etc. From 1963 to 1971, she was placed in reserve and it was considered to scrap her. However, she was saved from that fate and became a museum ship in October 1971. To this day, it is still possible to visit the ship.
If you want to know a bit more about the Town-class cruisers, here is a video from Drachinifel about them:
Now, for World of Warships, Belfast 1943 represents the Town-class light cruiser as she would have appeared in the year 1943. Her model differs from the one of cruiser “Belfast” in having a higher number of dual-purpose guns and AA mounts, a slightly different superstructure geometry, and a Fighter catapult. The ship is equipped with twelve 152 mm guns with powerful HE shells, a torpedo armament with the ability to launch individual torpedoes, decent concealment, a “Short-Burst Smoke Generator” consumable, and a “Surveillance Radar” consumable with the 9 km ship detection range.
Thanks to her good concealment and “Surveillance Radar” consumable, Belfast ’43 can help allies in fighting for caps and hunting for destroyers. Her special Smoke Generator – with its shorter reload and smoke screen dispersion times – will be useful when there is a need to retreat, but it doesn’t allow to effectively fire at targets from inside the smoke.
For the classic reminder, this is a ship in testing, anything can change so don’t look at her like she would already be released.
The Belfast ’43 has, as you would expect, almost the exact same armor profile as the Edinburgh. It will be either an overpenetration fiesta or she will lose half of her HP the moment a battleship looks at her. The big issue is that unlike Edinburgh with the British cruiser Repair Party or the Smoke as a survival tool… the Belfast has pretty much nothing except that terrible Smoke Generator.
The bow section
For the bow, the external plating is only 16 mm thick. Anything that you can potentially face can penetrate that with HE and any 234 mm AP shell or larger can overmatch it.
For the protection of the middle section, there is only the upper casemate that is 19 mm thick and the citadel athwartship with 63 mm of armor.
The middle section
For the most part, the deck and the upper sides are 19 mm thick. This will at least limit the number of ships with an AP able to overmatch this middle section to 283 mm guns and bigger.
For the rest, the main belt is 114 mm thick. There is a part of it that rises up to the deck level around the engines but don’t worry, that raised section isn’t part of the citadel. At the same level, the weather deck gets much thick with 54 mm of armor.
When it comes to the horizontal protection.. well… what do you exactly expect from a light cruiser?
The Belfast has, at first, the 54 mm weather deck above the engines and that extends under the superstructure as the citadel deck. Below the exposed armored deck, the citadel deck is only 6 mm thick.
Finally, below the turrets, the citadel deck is 76 mm thick.
The ship has no real protection against AP bombs and with that 6 mm deck, due to the shells arming on the raised belt and with the good impact angle, she is quite easy to citadel.
The superstructure is 13 mm thick and extends from the B turret all the way to the Y turret, offering a fairly large target.
The turrets are far from being the toughest. The face is 102 mm thick with a small 24° slope and for the rest, they are entirely covered with 51 mm of armor. This means that HE shells from supercruisers with 305 mm guns can penetrate and even cripple these turrets.
The protection of the barbette is even worse with only 25 mm of armor on them.
Wargaming want this ship to not be overpowered like the original Belfast. Well… that’s for sure, this is a success. as she is literally the opposite of that.
She manages to combine a terribly long reload for a light cruiser, bad survivability, a Short-burst Smoke Generator with only 2 charges for some reason which greatly reduces the effectiveness of such smoke, only 2 charges of Surveillance radar, terrible anti-air, terrible firing angles and also short main battery range. That’s for sure, that ship will certainly not be overpowered in her current state…