ShipComrade

Premium Ship Review: Kronshtadt

The following is a review of Kronshtadt, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of May 30th, 2018.
Cruiser my butt.


Quick Summary:  
A large Soviet cruiser with battleship caliber guns.

Cost:  750,000 free experience + 1 credit.
Patch & Date Written:  0.7.5 Public Test Server, 0.7.5 Live Server, May 24th to 30th, 2018.
PROS:
  • Enormous hit point pool of 71,050hp
  • Excellent armour protection for a cruiser with 230mm belt armour.
  • Excellent anti-torpedo protection for a cruiser at 34% damage reduction.
  • Good range for a tier IX cruiser at 18.19km.
  • Great gun handling for her main battery including excellent fire arcs.
  • Powerful AP shells with high alpha strike, excellent ballistics and penetration.
  • Fast reload for battleship caliber guns at 18.5 seconds.
  • Access to Soviet Surveillance Radar consumable.
CONS:
  • Citadel is very long with two large weak points at the fore and aft of the ship.
  • Poor HE performance with very low DPM and fires per minute.
  • Poor anti-aircraft firepower.
  • Large 830m turning radius and poor rudder shift time of 14.9 seconds.
  • Enormous surface detection range of 16.2km.
  • No access to Hydroacoustic Search.
Overview
Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult
Skill Ceiling: 
Low / Moderate / High / Extreme
 The first mistake that many novice players will make is to play Kronshtadt like a battleship.  Despite her main battery guns behaving like those of a dreadnought, she doesn’t have the protection scheme to tank their return fire.  The challenges compound with poor concealment.  This is a heavy cruiser and she needs to be treated as such.  Once you get over that initial little bump, you’re off to the races.  Keep your distance, own face.  Kronshtadt will reward novices well.  Her fast rate of fire and high damage per hit rewards even poor aim.
Kronshtadt’s “tanky-but-not” durability won’t throw any surprises for veterans who are already aware of overmatch mechanics and the monstrous levels of penetration possessed by enemy battleships at high tiers.  Kronshtadt’s striking power is excellent, but her vulnerability (especially at close range) and lack of flexibility due to her poor concealment may sour her to some veterans that were hoping for more.
 – One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness.
 – Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either.
 – Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer.
 – No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship.
  •  Primacy at tier IX for Offense is hotly contested.  There’s excellent arguments to be made for ships like Buffalo, Neptune and Roon for having the best offensive capabilities here.  This is why there’s an asterix here.  I’m giving  to Kronshtadt due to her overwhelming alpha strike and penetration power with her AP shells.  However, my readers should be aware the race is nearly too close to call and I mulled this over for a long time before reaching this decision.
  • There’s no contest for Defense.  Kronshtatd is the .  She has battleship levels of protection compared to the cruiser levels of everyone else (admittedly it is low tier battleship protection, but battleship protection just the same).  Her large hit point pool also guarantees her more health regeneration  grace of her Repair Party than anything other than Neptune.
  • In the rest of the categories, Kronshtadt is predictably .  She out turns Dmitri Donskoi but she’s slower.  Her Anti-Air power is weak and is only functional thanks to access to Defensive Fire.  She’s the largest ship at her tier and her only redeeming quality in Vision Control (Refrigerator) is her Soviet Surveillance Radar.
Consumables:


Kronshtadt has only a single option with her consumables — the choice between Defensive Fire and a Spotter Aircraft in her second consumable slot.  All of her consumables are otherwise standard for a tier IX Soviet Cruiser, including her Surveillance Radar with its 11.7km range and a 20 second active period.

Upgrades


Your upgrade options for Kronshtadt shouldn’t be too surprising. She doesn’t have the anti-aircraft firepower to worth specializing into so you want to emphasize gunnery and mitigating and/or avoiding damage.

  • If you have access to one, then Surveillance Radar Modification 1 is optimal for the second slot. This is a highly prized upgrade, however, and you may have other ships you would prefer to place it upon. Still, if you have one to spare, Kronshtadt (and your team) benefits well from you having this equipped. You should default to Damage Control System Modification 1 otherwise.
  • Defensively, Steering Gears Modification 2 is a better choice over Damage Control Modification 2. Kronshtadt burns for 45 seconds base instead of 30 seconds for a cruiser (or 60 seconds for a battleship). While reducing fire damage helps, avoiding attack altogether by responding more quickly to threats is better. With the shorter reset timer upon her Damage Control Party, fires burning for their full duration is less of a concern.
  • Offensively, you have the choice between higher damage per minute (DPM) totals or increasing the range at which Kronshtadt shoots. With Main Battery Modification 3, her reload time drops to just below 16.3s. With Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 you can upgrade her range to a very comfortable 21.1km reach.
Camouflage
Kronshtadt comes with a tier IX, Type 10 Camouflage. This provides 100% bonus experience gains, a 20% reduction to service costs, 3% reduced surface detection range and increases dispersion of incoming fire by 4%
Firepower
Main Battery: Nine 305mm guns in 3×3 turrets in an A-B-X superfiring configuration.
Secondary Battery: Eight rear facing 100mm guns in 4×2 turrets and eight forward facing 152mm guns in 4×2 turrets.
Kronshtadt is not a battleship. She does have battleship caliber guns though. These are the real deal — there’s no massaging of any of their soft statistics. They perform exactly as advertised and they’re pretty damn terrifying. Kronshtadt boasts good range, a phenomenal rate of fire, excellent ballistic arcs, good accuracy and some of the best forward firing gun angles you could ask for in guns of this size. Their downsides are few, largely limited to her damage per minute and fire setting with HE shells compared to other cruisers and her inability to overmatch anything except light cruisers and cruisers at tier VII.

Her AP shells are ridiculous. They have the equivalent penetration power of German 380mm L/52 battleship guns found on Gneisenau, Tirpitz and Bismarck. Their penetration allows them to contest the belt armour of even the highest tier battleships inside of 15km. Damage per shell is where they lack, weighing in somewhere between a German 305mm shell and a French 340mm equivalent. This will be the default ammunition you use in most encounters, primarily because her HE shells are lackluster. This is a problem at very close ranges against enemy cruisers where, like Roma before her, Kronshtadt has a little too much penetration and will overpen cruisers. It’s important to keep engagement distances at arm’s length as a result.

Kronshtadt’s HE shells have comparable hitting power to the 305mm HE shells from the American battleship Wyoming at tier IV — that is to say not very good. A damaging hit against an unsaturated area yields a mere 1,386 damage per hit compared to the 900 of an AP overpenetration — it makes it difficult to justify switching ammunition types. Even with an accelerated rate of fire with a battleship-caliber gun, she’s not a good at setting enemy ships ablaze compared to other tier IX cruisers. However, with 51mm of penetration, they are fully capable of damaging most battleships and cruisers she faces just about anywhere along their hull that isn’t belt when they try to bow tank. If you need to scrape in a bit of extra damage it’s worth it, but beyond that, stick to her AP shells when possible.
Kronshtadt’s AP dispersion at 15km, locked on a stationary Fuso while equipped with Aiming System Modification 1. Kronshtadt has identical horizontal dispersion to American, Soviet and British battleships but her vertical dispersion is greatly exaggerated with her high muzzle velocity and low shell drag. This creates a flat trajectory over distance but it does mean she has a tendency to overshoot and undershoot her target in a similar way to battleship Roma or Gascogne.
Her secondaries are lamentable. They could have been so much better. They only have a 5km range. Her forward battery comprises of slow-firing 152mm guns and at best, you can hope they’ll harass an enemy. More likely, they’ll simply welcome them into brawling ranges.Kronshtadt is only fast enough to dictate engagement ranges to enemy battleships — and they’ll almost universally will celebrate closing to such distances with you. Things might have been different with another 1km of range or if her entire secondary armament was made up of her fast-firing 100mm dual-purpose mounts.
Kronshtadt, what is best in life?
It’s difficult to evaluate how effective Kronshtadt’s firepower is compared to other tier IX cruisers. She eschews the DPM race altogether and instead elects to drop alpha strikes like a battleship — blow out citadels in spectacular fashion. Confidently saying that Kronshtadt’s artillery is the  among tier IX cruisers is disingenuous. It is certainly incredibly effective but it faces serious competition from ships like Buffalo’s twelve 203mm shells or the torrent of fire backed by torpedoes of Britain’s Neptune.
If you were to weigh her against the battleships at her tier, she has DPM and accuracy going for her. She’d scarcely rank more than a evaluation and no one would bat an eyelash. But, Kronshtadt is a cruiser. She’s weighted in Matchmaker as a cruiser so it’s against other cruisers that she’s measured.
Kronshtadt’s firepower is amazing — arguably the best at its tier if for no other reason that it’s so simple and easy to use. Point. Click. Hoover up big damage totals. Rinse and repeat til victory comes or until you have to complain on Reddit that your n00b team lost the match you were so clearly winning all by yourself. Kronshtadt’s gunnery is so very easy to use and she’ll reward even average players with some great damage totals for mediocre work.

It really is a shame Kronshtadt doesn’t have better secondaries. Her firing angles and turret rotation speed would be amazing for brawling. Oh well.
Evaluation: *
What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to :  (*) It’s too close a race to call.  I personally feel that Buffalo and Neptune are close competitors for the best cruiser firepower at tier IX, so it wouldn’t take much for Kronshtadt to lose her crown.  Her big strength over her competitors is just how easy she is to use, gunnery wise.
Defense
Hit Points: 71,050hp
Maximum Citadel Protection: 

  • 25mm prow + 330mm transverse bulkhead (bow on)
  • 230mm belt + 90mm citadel wall (broadside)

Minimum Extremities & Deck Armour: 25mm
Torpedo Damage Reduction: 34%

This is one tough cruiser.

Kronshtadt has a lot of hit points, not only for a cruiser but for any ship. She has more hit points than all the tier VIII battleships (including fatties like Bismarck and Tirpitz). She exceeds all other cruisers in the game but Stalingrad at tier X. This in turn gives her a huge slug of healing every time she activates her Repair Party consumable. This combination of heals and hit points allows her to suffer more direct damage than any other tier IX cruiser. Armour wise, she’s also tops. Kronshtadt boasts a 230mm belt running down the length of the ship. Her citadel, while enormous, is all found at the waterline, and is well protected — well mostly.


The armour profile of Kronsthadt’s interior, also demonstrating the absolute enormity of her citadel spaces.  When taking broadside shots, the only safe areas for her to be struck are the very tip of her bow and stern.  Even when angling, you want to try and bait shots at the belt beneath the #2 turret.  Large caliber (220mm+) shots aimed at the #1 turret that are aimed high risk overmatching the 15mm roof of Kronshtadt’s citadel.
One of the oddities of Kronshtadt’s citadel are two bulges fore and aft of her turrets. Short of her prow and stern, the length of the ship is one big citadel; I wasn’t kidding when I said it was enormous. These bulges flare out to abut against the outer hull of the vessel. Their transverse bulkheads have very thick armour, but with Kronshtadt’s extremities being a mere 25mm, she can be overmatched by anything bigger than a 356mm AP shell. The penetration power that most battleships are packing won’t balk at a mere 330mm bulkhead and that’s only if they strike that plate.
To make matters worse, the roof of Kronshtadt’s citadel is thin — a mere 15mm on the bulges and 30mm elsewhere. Henri IV and Moskva can both overmatch the 15mm sections with their AP shells, never mind all the battleships within her matchmaking spread. Her 30mm sections are  vulnerable to République, Musashi, Yamato’s and Thunderer (Conqueror 457mm)’s AP shells overmatching it too. Generally speaking though, if you’re getting bow or broadside penetrations from battleships, things have already gone to Hell anyway. You’re not going to survive long under that kind of abuse.
The result of this armour design is that while Kronshtadt suffers from an abnormally large citadel, she is incredibly well protected for a cruiser. To be clear, this isn’t on battleship levels. If you treat her as such, you’re in for a world of hurt. It’s quite possible to bait shots into her belt and ricochet attacks that would simply obliterate another cruiser. Her belt armour is as long as her citadel, covering almost the full length of the ship. Baiting shots into your belt is risky — if the shells fly high they will simply overmatch her 25mm hull and then risk dropping into the 15mm roof of the citadel but it’s just as likely they will shatter and ricochet off her 230mm strip of plate.
Torpedoes & Fire
Special mention needs be made to these two forms of attack.  Let’s start with fire:  Kronshtadt burns for 45 seconds when she’s set ablaze as opposed to 60s for a battleship and 30s for a cruiser.  This makes skills like Basics of Survivability and the Damage Control Modification 2 upgrade more valuable on Kronshtadt than they would be on a cruiser but less valuable than they would be on a battleship.  This is generally good news for using her as a training ship — you don’t need some special survivability build foreign to other Soviet cruisers to make her competitive.
Torpedo wise, it’s mixed.  Kronshtadt has battleship levels of torpedo protection.  That’s the good news.  She reduces the damage of incoming hits by over a third which is amazing.  The bad news is that with her citadel being as long as it is, it’s practically impossible to take torpedo hits without them being citadel damage of some description.  This limits the amount you can repair to a mere 10%, even when you’re taking hits on the stern or bows.
Evaluation: 
What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to :  There’s no way any ship is touching Kronshtadt’s dominance for some time in this regard.  Maybe if Alaska or Royal Navy battlecruisers get introduced into the game as tier IX cruisers will Kronshtadt have some form of competition.
Agility
Top Speed: 33.5kts
Turning Radius: 840m
Rudder Shift Time: 14.9s
Maximum Rate of Turn: 4.9º/s
Agility wise, Kronsthadt would make a great battleship.  Unfortunately, that makes her a poor cruiser.   She has neither the straight-line speed nor the tight turning radius to make her feel like anything other than a three-legged hippo.
Evaluation:  
What it would have needed to be :  Kronshtadt’s cardinal sin is not having enough speed.  Even a knot more juice would alleviate many of her manoeuvrability woes.
 Anti-Aircraft Defense
AA Battery Calibers: 100mm / 37mm / 13.2mm
AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.5km / 1.2km
AA DPS per Aura: 59.4 / 85.4 / 30.6
The suck-party continues with Kronshtadt’s anti-aircraft firepower.
The warning signs are pretty clear:  Kronshtadt still uses heavy machine guns for her small-caliber AA mounts which never bodes well.  She lacks a fully modernized AA suite with hers being more akin to the design of a ship like Budyonny at tier VI.  Given her size this puts up enough firepower to make a respectable showing for a tier VII ship but it’s utterly insufficient at tier IX.  Without Defensive Fire, Kronshtadt has no hope of avoiding the predation of enemy aircraft carriers.  The one ray of silver lining is that her large-caliber and medium-caliber mounts aren’t bad in of themselves and take well to upgrades.  If you were to use an anti-aircraft specialized commander and place them in Kronshtadt, with Defensive Fire going, you’re still going to be a thorny target.
So she’s not Musashi-, at least.
 
Evaluation:  
What it would have needed to be :  The best way to nudge her up would be to replace her 152mm secondaries with more dual-purpose 100mm mounts instead.  This would give her some long-range teeth and make her at least comparable to the other tier IX cruisers.
Refrigerator
Base Surface Detection Range: 16.2km
Air Detection Range: 13.02km
Minimum Surface Detection Range: 12.44km (!)
Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 12.45km
Main Battery Firing Range: 18.19km
Kronshtadt could suck-start a Harley with how bad she is at Vision Control. (There, Lert, you happy? I said it!)
At the time of this review, Kronshtadt is fourth from the bottom in regards to her surface detection. The only ships worse are (in order): Stalingrad, Moskva and Henri IV — all tier X cruisers. She has the same surface detection radius as the Iowa-class battleships. This means she’s outspotted by all the Royal Navy battleships at tier VIII+ along with North Carolina, Alabama, Alabama ST and Massachusetts from the Americans. You can also toss the Bismarck-sisters on that pile as well, though they may be running heavy secondary builds which might prevent them from taking Concealment Expert.
Long story short: You’re visible from orbit. You can’t hide Kronshtadt. You can’t lob shells over many islands, either.
The only saving grace she has in regards to her Vision Control is her Soviet Surveillance Radar. With her 12.7km range, she has the potential to give your team with some nice utility. Now I stress, potential. Given Kronshtad’s shared cruiser-allergy to all large-caliber AP shells, she’s not always going to be in the best position to dispense her consumable when they need it most. This is chronic of most of the Soviet radar-equipped ships though, so it’s not like Kronshtadt is a special case. You can alternatively make use of her Spotter Aircraft to help extend her vision over islands and smoke, but it doesn’t last nearly as long as a fighter would.
Evaluation:  
What it would have needed to be :   At a mininum, she would have to lose a kilometer or more off her surface detection.  Access to Hydroacoustic Search or a Catapult Fighter wouldn’t hurt either.
Walking like a Duck
 Kronshtadt is very forgiving when it comes to commander skills.  While there is still an optimal build, she’s flexible enough to do well without one.  This makes her ideal for training up and coming commanders which is quite welcome.  Here’s what her ideal build looks like:
  • Start with Priority Target.
  • Take Adrenaline Rush at tier two.
  • Then follow it up with Superintendent at tier three.
  • And finally get Concealment Expert at tier four.
From here, it’s really up to you on what you want to take.  If you want to prioritize her long range AA power, you could take Advanced Fire Training and Manual Fire Control for AA Armament to try and give her some pretense of AA defense against lower-tiered carriers.  Alternatively, you could go for a balanced build with skills like Expert Marksman, Basics of Survivability, and Advanced Fire Training.
 
This is a simple, generalist build for Kronshtadt.  Note, if you’re using a special Soviet commander with his bonus perks, then consider dropping Basics of Survivability for Preventative Maintenance and High Alert.
Final Evaluation
  • It’s a cruiser.
  • No, really, it’s a cruiser.  She’ll try and fool you though.
  • The only time she plays like a battleship occurs when there are no other battleships around.  Then all of the good and bad of battleship play makes itself felt in full.

Quack quack quack.

Kronshtadt looks, shoots and fights like a battleship, but she’s clearly not a duck — I mean, battleship.  That’s not entirely fair, though.  She plays like fast VII battleship with steroids pumped into her shell penetration and reload timer.   Kronshtadt would have made an amazing tier VII battleship, full of fun and flavour (just nerf that amazing reload timer) but here she is at high tiers as a cruiser instead.  Colour me confused.
I like Kronshtadt.  Wargaming didn’t have to slather many gimmicks on her to make her work, even with the ship-type disparity.  It kinda gives me hope that we’ll see something fun done eventually for the Royal Navy battlecruisers if Kronshtadt is any indication.  It turns out if you have a low-armour battleship, you can just slap a cruiser label on it, massage her reload timers and you are good to go. For those eagerly awaiting USS Alaska, this should be a welcome ray of sunshine.
Kronshtadt is a welcome addition to the game.  She doesn’t rock the boat, even with the oddity of her classification.  She makes a great tier IX cruiser, but let’s be perfectly clear:  She would have only made an okay battleship.
Would I Recommend?
Kronshtadt has the same asking price as Musashi and Missouri before her — 750,000 free experience + 1 credit.  This works out to the equivalent of exchanging 30,000 doubloons at a 1:25 doubloon to free-experience exchange rate or 21,429 doubloons if you wait for a 1:35 exchange special.  If you paid full cost, you’re looking for at as much as $130 USD for this ship. 
Remember though, you can set your own price.  If you have your heart set on this ship (or any other free experience vessel), you can collect a surprising amount of free-experience by playing scenarios in a premade group with friends.  Four or five star successes are all but guaranteed and you can burn through signal flags and camouflages you have accumulated to best effect.  The longer you grind, the less expensive acquiring Kronshtadt (or Nelson, or Musashi) becomes.
Note that Kronshtadt’s earning potential is identical (or close enough to) Musashi’s own.  This is superior to other tier VIII premiums but less than a tier VIII premium with the Makoto Kobayashi camouflage (Kii / Roma) or the original tier IX premium, Missouri.

  • PVE Battles
    How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots?

Yes.  Kronshtadt plays like a battleship in co-op and battleships rule the roost in this game mode.

  • Random Battle Grinding:
    This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements.

Yes.  You don’t need a specialized commander to do well in Kronshtadt so she makes a good trainer for a commander of any ship type.  She has all of the right tools for farming medals too.

  • For Competitive Gaming:
    Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding.

Yes.   While there hasn’t been a tier IX Ranked or Clan Wars, she’d be well suited to it.  As it is, if you’re looking to pad your cruiser numbers for farming up some of those badges, you can’t go wrong with Kronshtadt.

  • For Collectors:
    If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you.

No.  I’m sure the design of Kronshtadt has some wonderful bit of history to it, but I’m not aware of it.

  • For Fun Factor:
    Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play?

Yes.  Kronshtadt did me no wrongs during testing.

  • What’s the Final Verdict?
    How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage – Meh – Gud – Overpowered?

GARBAGE – The boat is unbalanced, not fun to play and weak. The ship desperately needs some buffs or some quality of life changes.
Mehbote – An average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn’t need buffs to be viable however she’s not going to be considered optimal.
Gudbote – A powerful ship, often one of the best ships at a given role within its tier. Usually considered optimal for a given task.
OVERPOWERED – The boat is unbalanced and powerful. Typically she’s either horrible to play against or she redefines the meta entirely.

In Closing
June is looking to be a very interesting month. It looks like I’m going to have five (yes five) Premium Ship Reviews to do over the next thirty days. So that’s one down and four to go. Monaghan was originally going to be the next one I tackle as she’s available through the American Cruiser crates. However, she may be getting bumped in favour of something that’s a little more high priority. We’ll see. I have other projects to attend to as well, including attending to some Patreon goals as well. My wonderful patrons have helped me reach my first funding goal and I owe them a nice bit of custom content for their generousity, so that will be squeezed in as well. June is going to be a busy month. I’m looking forward to it.

For those of you combing through images looking for Community Contributor codes, you can relax. I didn’t put any in there. All of my codes for May are already used up and I’m not expecting more until June rolls around.

Appendix

A list of sites, programs and people I rely upon to create my reviews.
Research:

Artwork:

For Graphics:

Programs Used:

  • World of Warships (duh)
  • Notepad (seriously)
  • MS Paint (also, seriously)
  • iPhone Stopwatch App (yep)

Hardware: Mouse toils away on an old i7-2600K 3.40GHz computer with 16GB RAM and an Nvidia 560Ti GPU running a 64bit OS.

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