Alright, there are 15 ships that require a stat review so let’s not lose time and have a look at the tier VIII premium French cruiser Bayard.
When the Bayard was first revealed, I said that I had no idea of what was the ship. Turns out that it’s an actual project. To be more precise, it was a project from 1945 regarding a light cruiser carrying 4 triple turrets with 152 mm guns. Works were abandoned on this project in January 1948. In the end, the French navy only built/completed the anti-air cruisers De Grasse and Colbert.
The Bayard, as we have it in game, retains a similar superstructure to the De Grasse and Colbert but with that 4 x 3 152 mm setup.
The ship also has a unique HE penetration rule (caliber/5) which allows her to penetrate 29 mm of armor and 38 mm with IFHE.
The armor analysis
The Bayard is…. quite a weird ship when it comes to armor. There are both really good parts and… really bad parts.
Overall, what I see is a ship that will be extremely trolly to shoot at. It really looks like an overpenetration fiesta.
The bow section
“When you see a bow that green, it can’t be good”. This is literally what I thought when I first look at the model.
Well… turns out that I was right because the bow armor is 13 mm thick. It is terribly bad. 13 mm means that AP shells with a caliber of 203 mm and higher will overmatch this bow. Considering the number of heavy cruisers in high tier, it will not be very fun because you will not be able to effectively angle against their AP the way you would do with another cruiser.
I’m just crossing fingers that Wargaming buffs that at least to 16 mm.
For the protection of the middle section, the upper part is 28 mm thick so…. well it won’t protect much but big caliber shell won’t easily arm on it.
The athwartship of the citadel, as well as the small bit of casemate just above, is a bit of saving grace. The citadel’s athwartship is indeed exactly starting at the waterline with first a 90 mm plate and then lower a 45 mm plate.
Here are 2 other visuals to see the citadel (surrounded in black on the left and red on the right) a bit better.
Overall, it represents a very small surface compared to the rest of the middle section’s protection.
The middle section
Who says French cruisers automatically says spaced armor and Bayard doesn’t fail to this rule. The citadel has indeed a similar shape to the one of the Henri IV.
The deck and the side armor of the Bayard are 27 mm thick. This is a good point because it will allow the ship to bounce the AP from 380 or 381 mm guns which are relatively common calibers at this tier.
The main belt (in red) is 105 mm thick for the most part except under the turrets where it gets up to 120 mm.
The main armor deck protecting the citadel is 38 mm thick for the middle part and 19 mm thick under the turrets. With some luck, IJN AP bombs will overpenetrate the middle section and battleship AP will do the same for the extremities but needs to be seen.
The citadel’s side armor is 25 mm thick and as you can see on the 2nd picture, the citadel is very narrow. This could possibly lead to quite a lot of overpenetrations (or to a sudden and painful devastating strike due to the thin armor) but when I see how the citadel can be trolly on Henri IV, I have good faith on that one.
One thing to note is that it is going above the waterline for the middle part.
The armor protecting the section where the citadel is rising is 90 mm at the front and 70 mm at the rear.
The stern section
Remember the 13 mm bow armor? Well, it is the same for the stern. On top of that, it, of course, has the good old weak french cruisers rudder (with the exception of Henri IV) which means that the rudder will get jammed quite easily.
For the rear protection of the middle section, the upper part is 28 mm thick so once again, it will not protect you much.
For the lower part including the citadel (surrounded in black), it is 70 mm thick and then 38 mm thick. Just like at the front, the citadel is starting right at the waterline and thanks to its small size, should be relatively hard to hit.
The superstructure is protected by 13 mm of armor and I’m not sure if it’s just me but it looks quite big compared to the rest of the ship.
Overall, it really seems to represent a fairly large target for HE spam.
Well, these are light cruiser turrets so don’t expect something amazing. The face is 100 mm thick, the sides, as well as the roof, are 50 mm thick and the back is 40 mm thick.
For the barbette, the upper part is 95 mm thick and the lower part is 70 mm thick.
Personal opinion on the ship
I am seriously split. On one hand, the ship looks like a solid HE spammer and roaming cruiser. The DPM is indeed pretty good with on top of that the reload booster and with the engine boost and flag, she can reach 42.8 knots.
On the other hand, the armor seems to be a bit of a massive gamble. From the look of it, it will either be a cold and instantaneous deletion or an overpenetration fiesta. The firing angles, get me a bit worried as well. Also, the HP pool is relatively low so I think that this ship will require careful play.
As for the anti-air, I think that CVs will not appreciate to meet you.
Well, in the end, we will just see…