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Supertest: Italian Tier IX Premium Battleship Marco Polo

7 min read

So… let’s talk about the Marco Polo. Being revealed as the tier IX Premium Italian battleship, Marco Polo is inspired by the design UP.41. from Ansaldo.

For the description of the design, credits to Phoenix_jz, one of our great naval history enthusiasts on Discord. I sadly lack knowledge on Italian designs but he, on the other hand, really knows a lot about them.

UP.41 was modified from an Italian design by Ansaldo to sell to the Soviets, thus creating a new design specifically for the USSR. However, that base design existed beforehand and continued to be worked on by the Regia Marina past the point that UP.41 was sent to the USSR. Rather specifically, this stemmed from the planning for the 1935/36 naval program, which sought to construct a considerably more powerful fleet by 1942, including an oceanic component from a new base in Somalia, which gave the potential for the Regia Marina to convince Mussolini on plans for 41 000 tons battleships to succeed the Littorio-class, which had already had studies undertaken since 1935. The design almost immediately grew to 42 000 tons, but had similar dimensions and machinery to UP.41 (they weren’t changed by Ansaldo apparently), with an armament of 3×3 406mm, 4×3 152/55, and 12×2 100/47. Ultimately, the ‘oceanic/breakout fleet’ program was scrapped by Mussolini, due to the drop in tensions with Britain after a relatively short war conquering Ethiopia. However, the RM kept working on the design, hoping to work it into future programs.
The design as it was in early 1936 was modified by Ansaldo and sold to the USSR, which became what we know as UP.41. However, the home-grown design continued to be worked on and modified through 1936 and beyond, growing to 45 000 tons. In December 1937 the ability to lay down two new battleships for the 1938/39 naval program was, after some debate, taken in favor of repeat Littorio’s, as the CSMM (Cavagnari) decided he wanted an already tested design that could be built quickly, due to the tense situation in the Mediterranean. Thus, the 406mm battleships lost their first chance.
They were again included in the 1939/40 naval program, to lay down after the launch of the repeat Littorio’s, but said program collapsed due to the escalating situation in Europe and then finally the outbreak of war sealed their fate, though the design was still being modified as late as mid-1941.

Now I say that Marco Polo is inspired by the UP.41 because there are a few differences. Firstly, the layout for the secondary battery is different. On the Marco Polo, the 90 mm secondaries are close to each other around the superstructure while on the UP.41, they were meant to be split into groups of 3 turrets.
There is also the issue of the engine power. Where the UP.41 was planned to have 180 000 HP, Marco Polo only has 140 000 HP.
From what I understood, there are also issues with the armor scheme that shouldn’t look like that/doesn’t fit in terms of thickness.

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.

WG_SPb_WoWs_WIP-icon_black

Modules
Hull
Engine
Gun Fire Control System
Main battery

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Marco Polo

icon_module_Engine_installed

Propulsion: 140 000 hp

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SDT 9

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406 mm/50 OTO 1940

Characteristics
GeneralMain BatterySecondariesAir DefenseConsumables
Tier IX
Health 69 100 HP
Torpedo Damage Reduction 28 %
Displacement 49 317 tons
Main Armament
Maximum Firing Range 19 020 km
406 mm/50 OTO 1940
3 x 3 406 mm
Secondary Armament
Maximum Firing Range 5.000 km
152 mm/55 OTO 1936
90 mm/50 OTO 1939
4 x 3 152 mm
12 x 2 90 mm
Maximum speed 32 knots
Turning Circle Radius 860 m
Rudder Shift Time 16.7 s
Surface Detectability 15.3 km
Air Detectability 11.83 km
Detectability After Firing Main Guns in Smoke 14.76 km

3 x 3 406 mm/50 OTO 1940
 Maximum Firing Range 19.020 km
 Reloading Time 33.0 s
180 Degree Turn Time 30.0 s
Optimal firing angles at the front 30°
Optimal firing angles at the rear 30°
Sigma 1.80 sigma
Maximum Dispersion 252 m
Shells
Type of Projectile  SAP – 406 mm proiettili CS 1940
Alpha Damage 15 750 HP
Penetration capacity  102 mm
Projectile Speed 836 m/s
Air Drag 0.248
Projectile Mass 1 071 kg
Ricochet Angles 70° – 80°
Type of Projectile AP – 406 mm proiettili AP 1940
Alpha Damage 13 050 HP
Projectile Speed 836 m/s
Air Drag 0.248
Projectile Mass 1 071 kg
Projectile Krupp 2 400
Projectile Detonator 0.033 s
Detonator threshold 68 mm
Ricochet Angles 45° – 60°

 

4 x 3 152 mm/55 OTO 1936
Maximum Firing Range 5.000 km
Reloading Time 12 s
Sigma 1.00 sigma
Shells
Type of Projectile HE – 152 mm proiettili HE
Alpha Damage 2 100 HP
Damage 1 120 HP
HE penetration 25 mm
Explosion Size 0.51
Chance to Cause Fire 7 %
Projectile Speed 950 m/s
Air Drag 0.325
Projectile Mass 44.3 kg
12 x 2 90 mm/50 OTO 1939
Maximum Firing Range 5.000 km
Reloading Time 4 s
Sigma 1.00 sigma
Shells
Type of Projectile HE – 90 mm proiettili HE
Alpha Damage 1 300 HP
Damage 240 HP
HE penetration 15 mm
Explosion Size 0.25
Chance to Cause Fire 5 %
Projectile Speed 860 m/s
Air Drag 0.414
Projectile Mass 10.1 kg

12 x 2 90 mm/50 OTO 1939
Sector range 0.1 km – 4.6 km
Hit chance 75 %
Sector’s damage 56
Sector’s damage frequency 0.29 s
Sector’s damage per second 196
Flak clouds number 8
Flak cloud damage 1 330
10 x 2 37 mm/54 Breda 1932
Sector range 0.1 km – 3.5 km
Hit chance 75 %
Sector’s damage 57
Sector’s damage frequency 0.29 s
Sector’s damage per second 200
16 x 6 20 mm/70 Breda 1941
Sector range 0.1 km – 2.0 km
Hit chance 70 %
Sector’s damage 59
Sector’s damage frequency 0.29 s
Sector’s damage per second 207

Slot 1
Slot 2
Slot 3
Damage Control Party
consumable_PCY009_CrashCrewPremiumWork time: 15 s
Cooldown: 80 s
Repair Party
Number of charges: 4
Work time: 28 s
Cooldown: 80 s
HP regeneration speed: +0.5%/s
Spotting Aircraft
Number of charges: 4
Work time: 100 s
Cooldown: 240 s
Maximum firing range: +20%
Fighter
Number of charges: 3
Work time: 60 s
Cooldown: 90 s
HP
Patrol radius: 3.0 km
Number of planes in the squadron: 3

The Armor

To compensate for her low HP pool, the Marco Polo presents some really good armor protection which, coupled with her good handling and good firing angles will allow her to mitigate the damage against AP or simply shatter the HE of enemy cruisers.

The bow section

The bow is mostly covered by the usual 32 mm plating. except for a 130 mm extended belt.

The extended belt ends with an internal 70 mm bulkhead to help dealing with shells that would possibly penetrate the bow.

Behind that bulkhead, there are 2 armored decks above each other. These are 100 mm thick and combined with the rest, will effectively protect the ship from getting citadelled through the bow.

For the protection of the middle section, the upper casemate is 150 mm thick. Then, there is a 300 mm bulkhead that includes the upper part of the citadel athwartship and finally, a lower, underwater casemate that is 38 mm thick.

The middle section

When it comes to the middle section, the deck is 55 mm thick granting her an immunity against the HE of most cruisers outside of the British 234 mm, Graf Spee, Ägir and Siegfried (without counting IFHE).

For the sides, the upper belt is 70 mm thick except for a tiny little 60 mm strip before the main belt. The said main belt is 350 mm thick and finally, the underwater torpedo bulge is 38 mm.

The internal protection of the Marco Polo is simply crazy. Firstly, behind the main belt, she has an additional 40 mm thick armored belt. After that, she has… somewhat of a mix of turtleback and sloped citadel deck at 62° to 70° which is 35 mm thick.

Finally, the lower part of the citadel is 60 mm thick.

So yes, 2 belts to go through and then either the sloped deck or the turtleback. This ship will be very hard to citadel for sure…

…Unless it’s against carriers with AP bombs in which case, it looks fairly easy.

Below the 55 mm weather deck, there is a first 25 mm deck and then the main armor deck which is 90 mm thick on the sides and 100 mm thick for the citadel deck. In total, it doesn’t seem to be much but the different layers are potentially far enough from each other for the bombs to explode before reaching the citadel.

For the external protection of the stern, it is the classic 32 mm plating.

Inside the stern, there is an internal armored deck which is 130 mm thick for the sloped sides and 100 mm thick in the middle.

For the protection of the middle section, the upper casemate is 150 mm thick then you have the 300 mm thick bulkhead and the lower casemate with 38 mm of armor.

The superstructure

When it comes to the superstructure, it’s is fairly small and narrow. It is for the most part protected by 19 mm of armor except for the conning towers with 250 mm to 370 mm of armor.

There are also the barbettes of the 90 mm secondaries standing high with 80 mm of armor.

The turrets

The turrets of the Marco Polo are fairly well protected. The face is 410 mm thick with a 20° slope, the sides are 150 mm thick, the back is 400 mm thick and for the roof, it’s 220 mm thick at the front and 190 mm thick and the rear.

For the barbette, the top is 100 mm thick, the upper part is 350 mm thick and the lower part is 200 mm thick.

Personal opinion

The ship has one major downside in the form of the second-lowest HP pool of all non-stock tier IX battleships. Except that… she frankly looks pretty damn strong. The guns will be fairly nasty with the SAP boosting 102 mm of penetration, being able to overmatch anything under 30 mm of armor AND the high alpha. The AP is also nothing to laugh at since it’s one of the best performing 406 mm AP shells after the Izumo, Champagne and Slava.

The combination of strong armor, speed, agility and concealment will also be a good compensation for the lack of HP.

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