The following is Team Ryujin's initial proposal for this unit. Any feedback and playtesting that you can provide us with will be greatly appreciated, and will be carefully considered by the team when deciding whether the unit's card is ready to finalise.
As you can see, the Dev team are proposing a bare-bones version of the ship with stats taking into account interwar refits which were typical of US Battleships.
There's been a trend in the deck teams to include a flavour SA on planned ships, however this seems to be a good example of a ship that provides an interesting unit for the US with just its base stats and technical SAs, so we've kept it clean and simple.
I'd also like to address a post Fighting 6 made in the development thread regarding armour:
(Fighting 6) Hey, if it's not too late could we bump the Armor up to 7 (if it's not already done and I missed it). I've already got the base! That's still one less than Hood, the ship it was built to compete with.
Armour value 6 was based on Tanigawa which had similar armour thickness. I had another look at this to make sure we weren't being unfair to Constellation - here's a quick run-through of belt armour on the A6 & A7 Battleships (belt is the primary factor in determining armour value) :
Armor 6 Moltke : 7in – 4in Tanigawa : 7.5in Sverige : 7.8in Kongo : 8in – 3in
(Note Repulse didn't get renown's belt refit so is likely lucky to have A7!)
Looking at this I don't see how we can justify Constellation with her 7in belt getting A7 really. Here's what Conways has to say :
"The final version of the design ... owes much to reactions to HMS Hood, even though it was still very lightly armoured, and so still reflected the original operational concept. The Bureau of Ordnance argued, moreover, that on the basis of British analysis of Jutland, the loss of the battlecruisers had been due, not to their lack of armour, but to their poor anti-flash protection: the battle, then, did not imply that more armour was needed, but rather that better magazine arrangements were in order."
That SWO-Daddy's card is armour 6 also provides some comfort that this is the correct value to go forward with.
Her 7" belt was inclined 11 degrees to give it the equivalent of 9" of flat armor because no armor 9" or greater was known to have been penetrated during WWI. This one is tough one because the area of coverage for her is greater than any of the other armor 6's but it certainly isn't as good as the ships at the high end of the armor 7 list.
Yes I did see that Conways noted the use of British-style inclined belt armour. I'm wary of going into too much detail in attempting to justify armour 7 though it may warrant further discussion. Possibly comparison of total armour weights with the lower-end Armour 7s might clarify matters?
Inclined armor was not unique by the time this ship was designed, and only really mattered much at closer ranges with flat gun trajectories. I'm pretty sure this is high Armor 6, but a very tough to justify armor 7. As much as I love this class, they were glass-cannon BCs, not fast BBs.
On the positive side, its hard to find a ship with a combination this kind of gun line, AA, vital armor, and speed in its point range. Op Catapult Hood is close, but pays a 5pt point premium for SAs and higher Armor, with a weaker gun line.
What so good about a big gun cheap ship you can't keep on the board???
Its as big as the Hood; damn close to the Iowa and was going to by 1941 have only 7" of steel;; Really
How many BC's running around by 1938 did the USN not noticed were more than 7" of belt and of course the USN knew nothing about STS. And when the Renown was first built how many inches of steel did it have???
I find it hard to believe by 1941 if built this thing would be anything close to that Armor size or the superior tensile strength STS not part of its defensive line.
One of the best texts available on the detailed design of US BBs, including very good information on this class of BCs.
The Lexington class was the first American foray into the realm of the 'Battlecruiser' and, not surprisingly, it had its faults. It retained the superb firepower of the Colorado-class, but sacrificed much for speed (not a common USN attribute before WWII) and range (a common USN standard due to the distances involved). They would have been beautiful ships, with all the practical flaws of other battlecruisers.
Believe me, when I went to work on my own card for this class, I hoped I was going to find an American Amagi. Unfortunately, the armor stats are wanting. It was certainly going to be a big ship, but much of the displacement was devoted to achieving great length (necessary for high speed) and a powerful propulsion plant, not protection. It was a common failing of all BCs...they looked very big, and had the displacement of BBs, so everyone naturally wanted to treat them like they we some kind of invincible thing, when they simply didn't have the armor to backup those ideas.
As for game play, its all about how much risk you want to take. To me, the Armor 6 value isn't that daunting. This ship was barely armored against 8" gunfire, so its not surprise its armor value is low. What makes it a risky gameplay option is the Vital Armor 13 (which is the same as Hood and Repulse). As long as the adversary doesn't roll an above average Main Gunnery shot, this ship will hit like something in the high 40s-mid 50s. But if it gets within range of ship firing 15+ MG dice, the odds of a vital are roughly 20% or more. If you can avoid those odds, the ship fights above its weight and is worth the buy. If you make this ship go toe-to-toe against a 9/15/5 BB, your probably going to lose every time. I'd absolutely use this ship in the right kind of game. It might be worth a gamble in a 100 pointer and in larger games, I might consider it as a second BB working behind something "beefier". It will never be a 'ringer' ship like Alabama or Massachusetts, but it has its uses.
Thanks for the info on the book looks like a good one. When i was reading what i could find about the class i came to the same conclusion "What were they thinking" I don't doubt your findings; and not trying to be facetious but what made you come to the conclusion more would not have been done in the years prior to the outbreak of war to improved them. I know getting into the types of steel each nation had is a bit much for this game;;but it seems to me RB headed in that direction with the Armor values of UK BB's the Fletcher class and the Mass.
I really think the USN remained enamored with the pre-WWI concept of a "Scouting" BC force. The Navy didn't see the BCs as obsoleting the "Standard Type" BB, and seemed to be almost going out of its way to not create a true fast BB just to keep the existing battleline from being viewed as obsolete. There is no doubt the USN and US shipbuilding were capable of a more balanced design, but there seems to have been some pretty 'hard-wired' notions that influenced the way these ships were designed, despite lessons that should have been learned from battles like Jutland. A bit more armor would have slowed the ships further, but that would have been small sacrifice on a design potentially capable of 33+ knots! Particularly when most USN BBs would be struggling to top 21 knots!
In some ways, perhaps US Naval enthusiasts should be happy the Lexingtons weren't finished as BCs and were converted to excellent CVs instead. Thank you history...you may have done us a favor!