Continuing our work on the new ships of the Update 0.8.8, here is the tier VII Premium battleship California.
The California (BB-44) was the second ship of the Tennessee-class of battleships from the U.S. Navy. Launched in November 1919, the ship served at first as the flagship of the Pacific Fleet during the peacetime period.
When World War 2 started, she received the information the hard way. In fact, she was moored in Pearl Harbor on the day of the attack. The ship was hit by 2 torpedoes and a bomb which themselves didn’t cause very important damage. However, the fire that followed disabled the electrical systems of the ship, blocking the damage control party from starting the pumps to counter the flooding. In the end, after 3 days of efforts, the ship sank in the harbor with her crew suffering heavy casualties as well.
Thankfully for her, this wasn’t the end. In April 1942, the ship was refloated and underwent a full rebuild. Basically, it turned her into a completely new ship and any free space available disappeared for more and more guns. The ship returned to active service in 1944. She then spent most of the war doing shore bombardment except for the battle of the Leyte Golf where she fought with Yamashiro and sunk her with the help of West Virginia and Tenessee. She was also hit by a kamikaze attack on November 1944, killing 44 men and wounding 155.
After the end of the war, the ship traveled the world before reaching Philadelphia where she was put in reserve and then scrapped in 1959.
The armor of the California can be summarized the following way: Bad against HE but pretty good against AP (except for the part with her getting overmatched by 380 mm guns and above…)
The bow section
The external protection of the bow is 25 mm thick. It’s the classic at tier VII but I wish that it was thicker considering all the 380 mm guns and above that you face at this tier.
For the frontal protection of the middle section, the general casemate is 25 mm. For the casemate in red, which includes a small part of the citadel, it is 343 mm thick. For the lower part of the citadel’s athwartship, it is 35 mm. Speaking of the citadel, it is important to note that it’s entirely below the waterline. Scoring citadels on this ship will be pretty damn hard.
The middle section
For the middle section plating, it’s a bit all over the place.
The upper deck and a part of the side armor are 25 mm thick. Just like the bow, they will give little protection against AP and HE shells in general.
The lower deck that is exposed behind the superstructure is 31 mm thick. This will allow the ship to bounce AP shells from battleships unless she meets Georgia or Musashi.
The torpedo bulge, surprisingly, is 35 mm thick and since it’s for a good part above the waterline, it will also allow the ship to bounce big caliber AP shells.
For the main belt, it’s 343 mm thick for the upper part and then, there is a small 273 mm portion well below the waterline.
Finally, for the citadel, its sides are 44 mm thick and in spaced armor configuration behind the main belt. If you thought that the old Conqueror was hard to citadel, well California is basically at the same level.
Looking at the horizontal protection now and this ship is simply impossible to citadel with AP bombs. Just below the 25 mm upper deck and 31 mm lower deck, the main main armor deck is 165 mm thick under the turrets and 140 mm thick above the engine.
If that wasn’t enough, under the main armor deck is the splinter deck (which corresponds to the citadel) with 38 mm of armor. All of these layers combined with the underwater citadel mean that it should be pretty much impossible to reach the citadel with AP bombs.
The stern section
For the stern, it’s 25 mm thick except for an extended belt of 203 mm.
Inside the stern, there is a 159 mm thick armored deck that will prevent any AP shell from reaching the citadel’s athwartship.
For the protection of the middle section, it’s like at the front. There is a 25 mm thick upper casemate and then a 343 mm thick plating, including the upper part of the citadel’s athwartship. Finally, at the bottom, the lower part of the citadel protected by 35 mm of armor.
The superstructure is 16 mm thick except for the secondary turrets that are 25 mm thick.
For the turrets, the face is 457 mm thick, the sides are 254 mm thick and then 229 mm thick, the back is 229 mm thick and finally the roof is 127 mm thick.
Overall, these are well-protected turrets, especially the face which will be able to deal with large-caliber AP shells thanks to the thick armor and important slope.
Eeeeeeeeh… While the ship has good firepower, armor and anti-air, 20.5 knots top speed is painfully slow. In fact, without counting Colorado’s stock hull with 18.6 knots, it is the slowest of all tier VII battleships. That slow speed will force you to have a very good positioning because otherwise, the ship is screwed and has pretty much no chance to escape from much faster enemy ships. In a tier IX match, it will definitely not be a fun experience.
For the effectiveness of her guns, I will wait to see them in action but hopefully, the accuracy should make then better than the shot-guns of New Mexico.
The ship does, however, have a very interesting feature though and it’s her great concealment. With concealment expert, she can reach 11.78 km detection range which will help her to move around the map without risking to expose itself too much.