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World of Warships Final Review: Japanese Tier VIII Premium Submarine I-56

9 min read

So… what was meant to happen is now happening, here is the first final review of a submarine. I-56 alongside S-189 will become available with Update 0.11.9. Both will be part of a random bundle that includes 54 bundles, each costing 1 000 doubloons. The ships will, later on, be available in the Armory and Premium shop with one of the first updates of 2023.

Also, today is a great day. I finally understood how Wargaming was labeling the torpedo firing angles for submarine torpedoes and wiggling torpedoes in the game files. A massive thank you to asalonen for that!

So… is I-56 worth it? Is her deck gun anything more than a noob trap gimmick? Here is my opinion.

Historical background

I-56 was a Type B3 submarine of the Imperial Japanese Navy. She was laid down in September 1942, launched in June 1943, and commissioned in June 1944.

During her first patrol in October 1944, I-56 took part in the Battle of Leyte. She fired three torpedoes at a U.S. Task Group but some detonated too early due to their magnetic exploder. She still damaged the tank landing ship USS LST-695 but the ship remained afloat and managed to reach Guam under tow.
On the 25th of October, she came across Taffy 1 and fired five torpedoes but none managed to hit the target. The destroyer escort USS Coolbaugh counterattacked and caused several leaks aboard the submarine that was forced to retreat. She return to Japan in early November and was converted into a Kaiten carrier, able to carry four of them.

After her conversion, I-56 was deployed for two Kaiten missions in January 1945 and in late March 1945 but none of them was successful, mostly due to increased anti-submarine patrols.

The circumstances of the loss of I-56 are still unclear up to this day. Both Japanese and U.S. historians have diverging explanations of what sunk her in April 1945. The most probable scenario would be a coordinated attack from the aircraft launched USS Bataan as well as the destroyers USS Collett, USS McCord, and USS Mertz on the 18th. The submarine that was sunk on that day was never identified but I-56 is one of the likely candidates.
In any case, on the 2nd of May 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy declared that the ship had been lost with all crew aboard as well as six kaiten pilots.

In World of Warships, we are getting I-56 as she was at the beginning of her career, being the first submarine in the game with a controllable main battery. Compared to other submarines, she isn’t able to spot enemy submarines underwater and also has a limited number of Hydrophone charges.

Ship’s preview

Ship’s commemorative flag

The camouflages

The permanent camouflage of I-56 comes with the standard permanent tier VIII economic bonuses:

  • +5% Credits
  • +50% XP
  • +50% Commander XP
  • +50% Free XP

The Good and the Bad

The Good

  • Controllable deck gun
  • SAP shells with very little risk of ricochet
  • Very fast main battery reload
  • Same main battery dispersion as Elbing
  • Standard torpedoes with high firing range
  • Very fast torpedo reload time
  • Tightest torpedo spread at tier VIII with homing torpedoes
  • Highest HP pool of all submarines
  • Fastest battery recharge rate
  • Access to the Reserve Battery Unit consumable

The Bad

  • Low DPM on the main battery
  • Terrible ballistics on the main battery
  • Acoustic homing torpedoes with very short range
  • Torpedoes only at the bow
  • Terribly low battery duration
  • Poor maneuverability, especially underwater
  • Worst concealment of any submarine by far
  • Unable to spot submarines underwater
  • Limited charges of Hydrophone
  • Largest submarine in the game so far

Modules

Hull
Engine
Sonar
Main battery
Torpedoes

icon_module_Hull_installed

I-56

icon_module_Engine_installed

Propulsion: 9 400 HP

‎Type8 mod. 1

icon_module_Artillery_installed

140 mm/40 11th Year Type

icon_module_Torpedoes_installed
Type95 mod. 3 and Type95 mod. 3 MZ

General Characteristics and Playstyle

TierVIII
Health24 200 HP
Torpedo Damage Reduction0 %
Displacement3 747 tons
Dimensions
Overall length107.0 m
Beam9.1 m
Overall height (keel to the highest point on the ship)7.58 m
Freeboard2.29 m
Main Armament
Maximum Firing Range8.500 km
140 mm/40 11th Year Type1 x 1 140 mm
Torpedo Armament
Maximum Firing Range6.000 km/12.500 km
533 mm1 x 6 533 mm
Dive capacity
Battery capacity120 units
Dive capacity depletion1.0 unit/s
Dive capacity recharge rate2.0 unit/s
Surface maneuverability
Maximum speed29.0 knots
Turning radius670 m
Rudder shift time9.0 s
Underwater maneuverability
Maximum speed13.0 knots
Diving plane shift time25.9 s
Maximum dive and ascent speed2.4 m/s
Detectability
Surface detectability7.12 km
Periscope depth detectability2.63 km
Air detectability2.63 km
Detectability After Firing Main Guns in Smoke2.96 km
Consumables
Slot 1
Slot 2
Slot 3
Damage Control Party
consumable_PCY009_CrashCrewPremiumNumber of charges: 3
Work time: 15 s
Cooldown: 60 s
Hydrophone
Number of charges: 1
Work time: 30 s
Cooldown: 80 s
Interval between pings: 6 s
Ship bearing: 7.0 km
Reserve Battery Unit
Number of charges: 2
Work time: 30 s
Cooldown: 90 s

I-56 is a particularly odd submarine in comparison to her peers. To begin with, unlike most submarines, you will be spending a lot of time on the surface. This is due to her quite miserable battery capacity giving you only 120 seconds underwater before having to recharge the batteries. This forces you to plan quite carefully when and where you want to dive if you don’t want to find yourself pants down when it will matter. Obviously, you can use the Reserve Battery Unit consumable but it’s only up to three charges with each of them lasting 30 seconds. You need to also be mindful of their usage. Comes then the second problem. While she has the fastest battery recharge speed at 2.0 units/s, her surface detectability is absolutely atrocious at 7.1 km. The large majority of destroyers will be able to outspot her, forcing you to be particularly mindful of your positioning and the potential presence of destroyers nearby.

On top of having horrible concealment, I-56 also suffers from terrible maneuverability with a large turning radius and poor rudder shift time. It gets even worse underwater as she has horrible speed, diving plane shift time as well as diving and ascending speed. Long story short, among submarines, I-56 handles like a school bus. She also happens to be a particularly large submarine.

Credits to Ch0m1n

Sadly, it doesn’t stop there as she suffers from another problem, her capacity to see things. In the first place, unlike other submarines, she has no Submarine Surveillance consumable. She is literally blind against other submarines underwater. There might be one right next to her, she will never be able to know and if the enemy uses their consumable well they will have absolutely no problem nailing this submarine due to her maneuverability issues.

The only redeeming characteristic of I-56 is her huge HP pool that will allow her to tank quite a few shots before going down.

At the end of the day, I-56 is going to be mostly played in a more passive role, basically playing as a weird destroyer and spamming standard torpedoes. That’s basically the one thing she excels at. Dumping torpedoes every 35 seconds. Due to their range and speed, they aren’t particularly hard to hit. For the homing torpedoes… well they have their use but mostly against cruisers and destroyers may it be for shotgunning them or with the homing active.

When it comes to her “main battery” AKA the peashooter slapped on her deck, let’s go with proper explanations, shall we?

By the way, if you want to see the ship in action, here is a commented replay of one of my games:

Main Armament

1 x 1 140 mm/40 11th Year Type
The gun mount can turn at 360°
Maximum Firing Range8.500 km
Reloading Time1.8 s
180 Degree Turn Time7.2 s
Optimal firing angles at the front15°
Optimal firing angles at the rear
Sigma2.00 sigma
Maximum Dispersion45 m
Shells
Type of ProjectileSAP – 140 mm CS Type 0
Alpha Damage2 750
Penetration capacity39 mm
Projectile Speed700 m/s
Air Drag0.34
Projectile Mass38.0 kg
Ricochet Angles80° – 85°

Let’s just put it this way. The deck gun of I-56 is a massive noob trap. While the idea of roleplaying the U-boats in Greyhound sounds nice, you have to keep in mind a few things. For one, it’s only a single gun that you are firing and as such, the DPM will be pretty damn limited. Also, the enemy shooting back at you will have an easy time doing damage because of how large I-56 is compared to other submarines. Add to that the fact that she isn’t particularly mobile and at this point, you need to think ten times before considering using the deck gun. By all means, that gun should only be used on enemies with very low HP. However, as I said, you need to be particularly sure that there isn’t a battleship or cruiser nearby to drop all the depth charges in the Universe on your face.

Now, when it comes to the gun itself, as you can see, it fires SAP shells with high penetration and which are very unlikely to ricochet. It also follows the same dispersion as German large destroyers. As such, it is particularly accurate. The problem is that, at the same time, the ballistics of those SAP shells is atrocious due to a combined low initial velocity, high air drag, and low weight. This means that it will be a pain in the ass to hit enemy destroyers actively maneuvering at “long” range.

Torpedo Armament and Sonar

Sonar Type8 mod. 1

Reloading Time6.5 s
Maximum Distance6.000 km
Ping effect duration on a sector highlighted once25 s
Ping effect duration on a sector highlighted twice55 s
Ping velocity600 m/s
Ping width18 m
6 x 1 533 mm bow torpedo launchers
Acoustic Homing Torpedo Type95 mod. 3

Reloading Time35 s
Maximum Distance6.000 km
Firing angles at the front0 – 14.9°
Damage10 800
Flooding Chance62%
Speed78 knots
Arming distance419 m
Surface Detectability2.1 km
Torpedo Type95 mod. 3 MZ

Reloading Time35 s
Maximum Distance12.500 km
Firing angles at the front0 – 14.9°
Damage14 300
Flooding Chance85%
Speed70 knots
Armind distance902 m
Surface Detectability1.9 km

I-56’s torpedo armament is a strange one. The homing torpedoes have particularly limited use due to their short firing range. Generally speaking, you will stick to using them for shotgunning destroyers and cruisers or battleships that already got chunked hard. In that regard, she has the advantage of having a particularly tight spread.

Credits to Ch0m1n

You can risk using them with the homing active but with how close you have to be to drop them, chances are that you will have depth charges airstrikes dropped on your face. It is especially true when you consider her terrible underwater mobility that won’t allow her to escape the depth charges if they are aimed properly.

As such, you will heavily rely on using the conventional torpedoes which boast a high range, decent damage, and high speed. What makes them particularly good is the incredibly fast reload time allowing you to launch them every 35 seconds. If you get on the flank of battleships, you can quite easily ruin their days with these torpedoes. You will still need to keep your eyes open for potential enemy destroyers though.

The Armor

Light hull:

Pressure hull:

Final Opinion

Well… I definitely wouldn’t recommend that submarine. She has a particularly high-skill floor due to her many limitations in terms of speed, maneuverability, concealment, and battery duration.
The deck gun is, by all means, an incredible niche gimmick and most of all a noob trap. When it comes to torpedoes, since you heavily rely on the conventional ones, you will need your aim to be on point. You will also need to have a proper mastery of the timing for plane shifting time and be right at the edge between full dive and periscope depth. If you manage that, enemies at close range will have pretty much no way to spot you.

Recommended Build

For the I-56, I recommend the following commander build and upgrades:

This concludes my review of I-56. Thank you for reading this article!

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Also if you are new to the game or want to get back to it, feel free to use my Recruiting Station code for free goodies such as Premium ships, premium time, and more: https://warships.net/yuzorah

Have a good one and see you soon!