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Battlecruiser Wednesdays: TCG Yavuz Sultan Selim (TUR)12/14/2016 9:06:32 PM
Published By: Fr05ty

TCG Yavuz Sultan Selim Battlecruiser


Figure 1 - TCG Yavuz in the Bosphorus (1931)

The Yavuz began its life as SMS Goeben, the second member of the Moltke-class of German battlecruisers, being commissioned into the Imperial German Navy in 1912. Months after her commissioning, Goeben was assigned to the newly created Mediterranean Division along with the cruiser Breslau, where they patrolled the Mediterranean during the Balkan Wars. When World War I began, Goeben and Breslau were still in the Mediterranean and briefly bombarded French positions in North Africa before fleeing to Constantinople with British ships on their tail. Upon arriving to Constantinople, they were “bought” ceremoniously by the Ottoman Navy and their German crews were retained, albeit with new Ottoman Navy garb and fezzes. The Goeben was adopted into the Ottoman Navy as the Yavuz Sultan Selim and immediately made its flagship, with its captain being chosen as the leader of the Ottoman Navy; a decision that would be fateful in the days to come.

The newly named Yavuz Sultan Selim bombarded the Russian city of Sevastopol, forcing the Ottoman Empire which had until then been neutral into the war on the side of Germany. During the war, she faced off numerous times against Russian and British forces, sinking two British monitors in the process. She was struck by three mines while returning from sinking those monitors which left Yavuz in a bad state. She did not perform any further sorties after sinking the monitors and it was slated to be handed over to the Royal Navy as war reparations for the Ottoman Empire, something that never happened. When the young Turkish Republic was established it was allowed to keep most of the Ottoman Navy for itself and that included Yavuz.

Yavuz continued to be the flagship of the Turkish Navy, where she was used to ferry VPs such as the Shah of Iran, the Prime Minister of the Republic and even the remains of the father of the Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. She continued to be refitted and modernized periodically up until her decommissioning in 1950. She was offered back to the West German government in 1963 as a museum ship but the offer was declined and she was finally sold for scrapping in 1971. She was the last dreadnought in existence outside the United States.

The Yavuz Sultan Selim would have to be implemented as a very heavily armoured but somewhat slow battlecruiser. I have done the following analysis assuming that the Yavuz would be slotted in the game as a Tier 4 premium Battleship for the Turkish Navy.

Weight

25,400 tonnes – 40,840 HP

Length: 186.6m

Beam: 30m

Draught: 9.2m

The displacement of the Yavuz places it firmly in between tier 3 and tier 4, being lighter than all existing tier 4 battleships while being heavier than all tier 3 battleships with the exception of the Konig Albert (which we all know is really a tier 4 battleship sitting at tier 3). This displacement is due to the Yavuz being the second generation of German battlecruisers, designed before super dreadnoughts increased the displacement of ships massively. I’d be more inclined to place the Yavuz at tier 3 based on its armour and displacement, but it has a few hidden aces that work better at tier 4.

Armour

Belt: 270-100mm

Upper belt: 200mm

Bulkheads: 200mm

Armoured Deck: 25mm + 50mm

Turrets: 250mm (faces), 200mm (sides), 210mm (rear), 100-70mm (roofs)

Barbettes: 265mm

Casemates: 130mm

Conning tower: 350-200mm

Underwater protection: 50-30mm torpedo bulkhead

As befits a German battlecruiser, the Yavuz is quite heavily armoured, being more on par with a battleship’s armour than with a battlecruiser. The main belt has a thickness of 270mm which should prove to be adequate at stopping most fire that comes against you with a bit of angling required against the bigger guns you’ll face. The armour throughout the ship is quite solid, with no particular part of the ship showing a weakness that could easily be exploited. It even has a torpedo bulkhead to mitigate some torpedo damage!

The armour scheme of the Yavuz looks even more impressive once you consider it would be sharing a tier with the remarkably flimsy Ishizuchi or that the Myogi’s belt is 205mm. Overall, the armour scheme is not the best nor the worst at its tier, but it should ensure that the Yavuz doesn’t get penetrating hits from cruiser weapons and from battleship guns, if properly angled that is.

Main Battery

5x2 283mm/47 (11.1”) SK L/50 C/09 guns

The Yavuz’s guns are in between tier 3 and 4. The Nassau has a comparable loadout, having six twin turrets of 283mm guns, albeit of an earlier model, while the Yavuz has only five twin turrets of 283mm guns. There are a few key strengths to these guns, they had a rate of fire of 3 rounds per minute, meaning that they’d be the fastest firing guns for a battleship at the tier and they had a great muzzle velocity of 895m/s which means that you won’t have to add a lot of lead to your shots.

The five turrets were arranged with a single turret at the front, two turrets in superfiring arrangement at the aft and a single wing turret on each side in echelon with a bit of room where all five turrets can fire to a broadside just like the Kaiser does. At lower tiers, we all know that the balance isn’t quite as good as in upper tiers so we get a bit more leeway with what should go at which tier, however in this case, I think tier 4 is appropriate. The range of these guns was better than the Nassau’s (I’d suggest 13.5km) and they were slightly punchier, with the extra muzzle velocity leading the AP shells to deal 7,400 damage (200 better than the Nassau’s) and the HE shells 3,200 damage with a 19% chance to start a fire. Turret rotation is a bit slower than the Nassau’s with 3.3 degrees/second instead of 3.5 and thus it would take 54.5s to rotate the turrets 180 degrees, which is a bit better than the Kaiser’s. It does seem like the Nassau is a bit under-armed for tier 4, but the guns are punchy enough to cause even tier 5 battleships issues and assuming that they don’t have the same issue as the Ishizuchi in which gun range is significantly smaller than detection, I think it would be able to prove its worth in battle.

Secondary Battery

10x1 150mm/42 (6”) SK L/45 C/09 guns, 6x1 88mm/45 SK L/45 C/13

The secondary battery of the Yavuz was quite powerful in its beginnings, however as it was refitted, more of the 88mm guns were removed to make space for more anti-aicraft armament. Nevertheless, the Yavuz’s secondary battery is still much better than that used by same-tier American or Japanese battleships, and includes ten 150mm guns and six 88mm guns. These are the same guns used in the secondary battery of the upgraded Nassau. The 150mm guns fire an AP round which deals 3,700 damage seven times per minute while the 88mm guns fire an HE round which deals 1,100 damage and has a 7% chance to start a fire fifteen times per minute.

The Yavuz can fire five of the casemanted 150mm guns to each side with an additional three 88mm guns also being able to fire to each side, granting a full broadside of 8 guns per side. This doesn’t sound like something so great, however it must be said that this secondary battery would have a range of 4.5km and thus it will engage enemies before their secondary battery engages you. It is underwhelming as a secondary battery when compared to German battleships, but it is not bad when compared to other same-tier battleships by virtue of its range and rate of fire.

Figure 2 - SMS Goeben at steam

AA Battery

6x1 88/45 SK L/45 C/13 (10dps @3km), 12x1 40/39 Vickers 2pdr QF MkVIII (66dps @2.5km), 10x1 40/56 Bofors Mk1 (75dps @3.5km), 24x1 20/70 Oerlikon MKII/IV (87dps @2km)

The Yavuz’s AA suite represents nearly 35 years of modernizations, with the last refits coming in the 1940’s, when the threat of airplanes to warships had been well and truly understood. It is a very powerful area, albeit short-ranged, which should ensure that any enemy airplanes won’t have an easy ride to strike the Yavuz. It is easy to think of the Yavuz as having a similar AA setup as the Texas, both of them are very powerful for their tiers but they’re both very short ranged. In terms of raw DPS, the AA battery of the Yavuz is fitting of a tier 6 battleship, outputting even more DPS than the New Mexico’s AA suite. The biggest downside which limits the AA suite’s effectiveness is the fact that it doesn’t reach beyond 3.5km, and most of the AA power is concentrated in the 2.5km and 2km auras, thus meaning that if these auras are being used, there’s precious little time left before ordnance is dropped on you. In truth, since the Yavuz only meets tier 5 carriers at the worst, the powerful AA aura ensures that no carrier will want to risk losing aircraft to hit you unless you’re the last target fighting.

Speed

25.5kts – 52,000hp

28kts – 84,500hp (Forced)

The Yavuz would not be the fastest battleship at tier 4 with its 25.5kts, in fact it would be the 3rd fastest, behind the Myogi and the Ishizuchi, both of which are actually battlecruisers. The Yavuz has a 2.5kt advantage over the next fastest battleship, the Kaiser, and is 2.5kts slower than the Myogi. It is what you’d expect of a German battlecruiser, heavy armour and smaller guns than a battleship but with better speed, whereas the Japanese battleships followed the British battlecruiser designs, with big guns and lighter armour than a battleship but with a much better speed. The Yavuz will be able to support its team by using its good speed and rate of fire to provide a bigger punch to cruiser squadrons, and if necessary, can even use its engine boost consumable to reach 27.5kts and get where it’s going, or flee, in an easier fashion.

Consumables

The Yavuz will have the standard tier 4 battleship consumables with a single charge of the Engine Boost consumable to represent how the Yavuz’s power plant could be forced to propel the ship at much higher speeds for short amounts of time.

Conclusion

The Yavuz is a complex ship, much like its history. It is a tier 4 battlecruiser that isn’t quite as fast as the japanese battleships but is much more durable than they are with its thick armour belt, it doesn’t have the most guns nor the highest caliber of guns, but it has the best rate of fire with those guns and finally, it doesn’t have the best secondary battery. What the Yavuz does have however is a solid set of characteristics which although they are not the best in each category, ensure that she’s adequate for any type of job. The arrangement of guns means that a full broadside from the Yavuz would require exposing all its broadside, but it also means that when fleeing from an enemy, you might be able to bring about four turrets to bear with just a bit of wiggling and the 283mm caliber of your shells will overmatch the bow armour of any cruisers you will encounter. The rate of fire of these guns with the addition of their placement all around the ship means that so long as you can bear your turrets to your target, a hail of fire will follow, making the miss of a volley due to incorrect lead easier to bear and destroyers quake in fear. Its speed of 25.5kts will not enable you to escape from all enemies, but with the use of the Engine Boost consumable you will reach 27.2 knots which is much more respectable and should allow you to relocate to where you’re needed and even get away from dreadnoughts. It is most important to remember that although your armour is good, it is not great and you will suffer against proper battleships in a straight fight, especially since the Yavuz is a bit lightweight in terms of its hitpoint pool. The Yavuz doesn’t care much for aircraft as this is her iteration when she was refitted after the dangers of air attacks had been realised and as such her AA is very powerful, if short-ranged.

Overall, the Yavuz is a somewhat unbalanced ship. It is light in hitpoints and main-gun caliber but she does have a terrific rate of fire with her guns, a very thick belt for something that moves so quick at a low tier and an absolutely fearsome AA aura that should ensure you’re the last choice for an airstrike by those low-tier carriers that love sniping battleships. I don’t expect the Yavuz to be the best battleship in its tier, but I can assure you that any cruiser near it will absolutely dread the sight of those guns honing in on it, as the volleys from the Yavuz will come fast and furious, shredding it to pieces. Should be fun to see how the Yavuz handles a Kuma...

Pros

  • Good rate of fire

  • Decent armour

  • Great AA

  • Good speed

  • ENGINE BOOST!

Cons

  • Small HP pool

  • Small gun caliber

  • Meagre secondary battery

  • Awkward wing turret placement

Figure 3 - Line drawing of Yavuz as she appeared in 1942 
 
Next week I'll be talking about the HMAS Australia, the only capital ship to ever serve in the Royal Australian Navy. 
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