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kvasius
Post subject: Satsuma-class FBB (Personal design)Posted: May 13th, 2018, 5:16 pm
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Joined: May 9th, 2018, 5:06 pm
Hey there! Here's my first drawing (and a first design as well ;) )
[ img ]

Displacement: 41000 ton standart, 47000 ton full load
Speed: 30kt maximum, Range: 7500nm at 18kts
Propulsion: 140 000 shp
Protection: 51-305mm belt, 39-63mm deck, 356mm CT.
Dimensions: 251m length, 29m width (32m at bulges).
Armament:
2x3 41 cm/45 Type 3 guns (100 shells per gun)
2x2 41 cm/45 Type 3 guns
4x3 15.5 cm/60 Type 3 guns (150 shells per gun)
10x2 12.7 cm/40 Type 89 (200 shells per gun)
15x3 25 mm Type 96 (1500 shells per gun)
4x4 13mm Type 93 (2000 rounds per gun)
2x1 13mm Type 93

The concept of a fast battleship was'nt new to IJN, especially after the reconstruction of four Kongo-class BC's into fast battleships were approved, however, at least half of battleships at their disposal were quite old. Serving as an attache in UK, Captain Shimazu Tadashige knew it too well. Compared to Royal Navy's ships like R- and QE-class battleships, a good percentage of Japanese ships lacked firepower, speed and protection, while also having a lot of hidden flaws. At the same time, he was fascinated by "The Mighty Hood" and the british theories on new battleship designs. In his eyes, IJN desperately needed to build more new battleships. By the time he got home in late 1932, the ideas united in his vision of new battleship: fast enough to match up with heavy cruisers, decently armoured to withstand 8" cruiser fire and powerful enough to, in his words, "demolish any opposition with a swift and accurate strike".
But sadly, his ideas were at an impasse. By 1935, his concept was ironed out to solid requirements, yet, Navy General Staff was very hesitant about replacing any battleships with new ones, so, now as a Rear-Admiral, he decided to take a risk by directly proposing his design to the Emperor and Vice Admiral Baron Hiraga at the next Imperial General Headquarters conference. Contrary to his expectations, Emperor became quite interested in the idea, and by beginning of 1936 the work on a new design, nicknamed "Satsuma" after the province Shimazu clan used to govern before Meiji restoration, were in full swing.

The ship itself was an amalgation of compromises, earlier Hiraga's designs and new ideas, improving upon existing knowledge in protection, engine efficiency and fire control, taking parts not only from existing battleship projects, but also from various heavy cruisers. It also became a testbed for new equipment created for equipment created for new Yamato-class BB's, which were designed in parallel to each other. However, nobody knows why, but Tadashige made a lot of arrangements to make sure the new ship is "as spacious and comfortable as my palace in Tokyo", which came at a cost. Ship became quite overbuilt with its big, complex superstructures that raised suspicions between the specialists. However, small-scale tests confirmed that ship was stable and sturdy enough, so this issue was overlooked and forgotten.

Main problems started when the ship was approved to be built because there were only two slipways available for building (instead of 4 agreed upon in 1936) due to Yamato-class ships taking priority over Shimazu-derived design. By 1938, his ideas were pretty much forgotten, but thanks to connections, persuasion and earlier written agreements, he got his two slipways for construction of two new ships: Satsuma (in Kobe) and Tosa (in Nagasaki). Both ships were laid down 18th December 1938 to be commisioned in early may of 1941. At sea trials, all scepticism was gone: ship proved itself to be a decent seaboat capable of reaching all planned targets. After that, Tadashige was planning to retire, but war destroyed any sign of hope for his quiet life on imperial pension. He was put in command of a newly-formed Battleship Division 5, consisting of the ships of his own design and several Special-class destroyers.

The ships themselves had very different hopes. In their first engagement, Battle of Guadalcanal, Tosa was sunk by gunfire from USS Washington, buying Satsuma and Kirishima enough time to sink South Dakota and pincer Washington using their superior speed. After that, Satsuma underwent serious internal modernisation to improve her survivability and AA weaponry, however, she didnt see combat for another 2 years until Battle in Leyte Gulf. For this reason, and for her spacious interiors, Satsuma became knows as "The Wooden Inn in Satsuma", reflecting the relative comfort and seemingly low survivability of the ship. Contrary to popular belief, Satsuma showed her worth in the Leyte Gulf, sinking USS Kalinin Bay, surviving 4 torpedo and 5 bomb hits, returning in Nagasaki for repairs in 12th November. In 1945, the ship was planned to participate in operation Ten-Go, however, after the ship left Nagasaki to unite with the operation fleet, any contact to the ship was lost and she was assumed sank by US plane action. However, in 1949, she appeared in Vladivostok, alive and unscathed. Not wanting to lose his pride in form of his battleship, Shimazu interned Satsuma in a neutral port belonging to Zeleny Krai Republic. Satsuma became their flagship, Blagovischens'k, and served into their Navy till 1966. In 1966, in a symbolic friendship gesture, Satsuma was returned to her 1945 state and became a museum ship, defiantly waving her japanese flag to ships coming into the Vladivostok harbour. However, in 1978, due to the financial constraints, in another symbolic gesture commemorating 10 years since Tadashige's departure , for the symbolic price Satsuma was transferred back into Kobe, where to this day she stays open for visitors as a museum ship.



Well, this was quite a mouthful of fluff, and i might've gone a little bit overboard with story and hints on my next ideas.
The ship was floating around in making for a few days, and i've already got quite a lot of useful input from Discord, but any additional criticism and comments are appreciated!

Signing off (for now),
kvasius.


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