The Kansas, starting the sub-branch of U.S. battleships is based on the planned South-Dakota-class from 1920.
The South Dakota-class was the first class of battleships built under the Naval Act of 1916. With this new law, the Navy was finally receiving proper funding from the Congress, allowing them to up their game compared to the previous classes of standard battleships. The previous classes of 2 to 3 units all had fairly similar characteristics to allow them to operate as a fleet. These limitations were putting the U.S. Navy at risk to be left behind in the global arms race as the potential enemies all had faster battleships, giving them the advantage of being able to withdraw when needed or alternatively, to block the U.S. battleship from retreating.
With the South Dakota, since they finally had the funds for it, the design was more than 10 000 tons heavier than the previous Colorado-class. This allowed for bigger engines that would push the speed to 23 knots as well as better protection and a main battery that would consist of no less than 12 406 mm guns in 4 triple turrets. The guns were also meant to be 50 caliber instead of Colorado’s 45 caliber which would give them a longer range and better punching power. This firepower was well above what any other nation could present at the time.
Sadly, with the arrival of the Washington Naval Treaty, limiting the displacement of battleships to 35 000 tons, all 6 ships had to be scrapped.
In World of Warships, we are getting a weird World War 2 modernized version of the South Dakota. Unlike the next ship, it doesn’t seem to be a full rebuild like, for example, on the California as the superstructure still presents old elements of the initial design like the funnels.
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.
With outdated designs come outdated armor schemes. The Kansas presents the same armor scheme as the low tier U.S battleships such as the New Mexico or the Colorado. She has a spaced armor, an underwater citadel and a MASSIVE torpedo bulge.
The downside is pretty significant though. This ship is entirely covered with 32 mm of armor.
The bow section
The bow is almost entirely covered with 32 mm of armor except for a tiny bit of her 273 mm extended belt.
As you can see, a large part of it is covered by the torpedo bulge so it will suck a bit of the damage from HE shells.
Behind her torpedo bulge and below the waterline, she has a 273 mm thick extended belt with a bulkhead inside the bow that connects both sides.
For the protection of the middle section, the upper casemate is 25 mm thick, and right under it, there is a 343 mm bulkhead. The citadel athwartship is 38 mm thick but considering the position, there is very little chance to ever reach it.
The middle section
The middle section is entirely covered with 32 mm of armor. In a similar way to the California for example, the sides of the Kansas are for a large part covered by the torpedo bulge so it will at least limit a bit the damage she will take.
For the internal main belt, the upper part is 343 mm thick and the lower underwater part is 274 mm thick.
The citadel sides, under the waterline, are 86 mm thick. This ship will be VERY hard to citadel. I’m even tempted to say that it’s the return of the old British battleships that you almost couldn’t citadel at all.
When it comes to horizontal protection… it’s one of these days where I wish you could have an alternative to the filtering of the plating by thickness on gamemodels3D…
Basically, there is the 32 mm weather deck, then another 32 mm internal deck, then the 89 mm armored deck and finally, the 32 mm citadel deck. Considering the number of layers and the depth of the citadel, I would say that this ship is protected nicely against AP bombs. The bombs will most likely detonate before reaching the citadel.
The stern section
The stern is entirely covered by 32 mm of armor. Unlike what we could find on the bow, only a small part of the stern is covered by the torpedo bulge.
Inside her stern, the Kansas has a nice armored deck with the biggest part being 152 mm thick and the sloped sides are 241 mm thick. It is quite deep underwater and will protect the weaker part of the citadel athwartship.
For the protection of the middle section, it’s basically the same as the one at the front with one exception, the 343 mm bulkhead also covers the top of the citadel athwartship which is above the armored deck and as such, exposed to AP shells that might penetrate the stern.
The superstructure is covered with 19 mm of armor, except for the secondary turrets that are protected by 54 mm of armor. This superstructure is very large so a nice damage pinata for small caliber guns.
The turret face is 457 mm thick and sloped at 40° while the sides and back are 230 mm thick and finally, the roof is 152 mm thick.
For the barbette, it’s protected by 343 mm of armor for the upper part and only by 76 mm of armor for the lower part.
Well… I’m having some California PTSD right now…
The Kansas is taking the design of the California (minus the AA power because she has worse anti-air than the other U.S. tier VIII battleships) but is somewhat improving it.
You are still stuck with the horrible speed, weak armor against HE and an even longer reload (in fact, the longest main battery reload of the game) but at least this time, the ship gets a broadside of 12 406 mm guns. The problem with that horrible reload, coupled with a 1.7 sigma is that the ship, in the end, has pretty much worse firepower than the other U.S. battleships at this tier, especially since she is using the same guns as those of the Colorado.
As of right now, I just don’t see how that design can work. Not with that speed that blocks you from taking any sort of aggressive position, not with these guns and not with such light armor.