Ladies and Gentlemen, I salute you. Today, we will have a look at the Smolensk, the new upcoming Tier X premium Soviet cruiser. I wish that this article came earlier but the schedule was just too crowded.
The Smolensk is based on a project of small light cruisers from the Soviet Navy that started after World War 2. These cruisers were meant as Anti-air cruisers to support the capital ships (Project 24 for example) that were also still in the minds of Stalin and co.
The armament varied quite a lot from one design to the other with either 4, 5 or 6 twin turrets with 130 mm for one part. These turrets were either those carried by Grozovoi or the secondaries of Moskva, Stalingrad and Kreml. Some other designs were carrying 152 mm guns either in 4 twin turrets or in 3 triple turrets. Then, among all these designs, there is a particular design that caught the interest of Wargaming.
One of the designs was indeed carrying 16 130 mm guns in 4 quadruple turrets and this design was chosen to create Smolensk. If you want to see a bit more about these AA cruiser designs, here is a link to some documentation about them. It’s in Russian though.
The 3D preview is sadly not available for now but I will update the article when I will get it.
The Smolensk’s armor fits quite well to her role of AA cruiser. It is quite thin to say the least and just like the Bayard that is currently in testing, she has 13 mm thick bow and stern. Looks like it’s a new trend from Wargaming, possibly linked to what they announced a while ago about changing the armor plating of cruisers.
The bow section
As I said above, her bow section is only protected by 13 mm of armor. This means that 203 mm AP shells and above (which is extremely common at tier X) will be able to overmatch the ship.
For the protection of the middle section, the casemate and the upper part of the citadel’s athwartship (surrounded in black) are 100 mm thick. However, the lower part of the citadel’s athwartship that is deep below water is only 16 mm thick. Basically, with this ship, you never want to be bow-on to a ship shooting AP at you. Otherwise, you will really not last long.
The middle section
The plating on the middle section is fairly standard for a tier X cruiser. The deck and the sides are 30 mm thick. The main belt (AKA the citadel) is only 70 mm thick so nobody will have troubles at penetrating it.
For the horizontal protection, the roof of the citadel is 50 mm thick. With some luck, AP bombs might just go through that ship but it remains to be seen.
The stern section
As for the stern, it is covered by 13 mm of armor with the exception of the steering gears, protected by 20 mm of armor. These steering gears are exposed so HE shells will be able to jam them. You will consider running last stand with this ship.
For the protection of the middle section, the casemate and the upper part of the citadel’s athwartship are 100 mm thick.
For the lower part of the citadel, it is only 16 mm thick so once again, people shooting AP at you will have no issue at going through this.
The Superstructure is protected by 13 mm of armor just like the Minotaur for example.
Even though overall, the ship has paper armor, the turrets are surprisingly resistant. The face is 100 mm thick, the sides are 80 mm thick, the back is 50 mm thick and the roof is 70 mm thick.
As for the barbette, it is 70 mm thick.
Personal opinion on the ship
The design of this ship is pretty interesting. While the armor is not great, the firepower of this ship is just nuts. 16 Grozovoi guns firing all at once, I seriously can’t wait to see that. The anti-air will be quite brutal as well with that long range.
Also, the smoke generator will help the ship to compensate from the lack of armor so she isn’t completely naked.
Overall, this ship will need some kind of hybrid build between destroyer and cruisers so for a captain trainer, might not be the best.
On a side note, seriously, who wouldn’t be hyped by this?
Boy, these turrets are so cool! I just have no idea of how the loading system was working with the 2 guns on the top being right above the others.