Welcome to IJN Classics! Here, we will learn more about the ships we love, and their historical backgrounds.
In this episode, we will take a look at the Japanese Tier IV Cruiser, Kuma.
Below is a brief overview of the ship by Wargaming’s very own Military Advisor, Tadamasa “WG_Phalanx” Miyanaga!
Kuma (Tier IV: Cruiser): Workhorse of the Japanese Navy
At the time of their construction, Japan’s first light cruisers, the Tenryū-class, were among the best ships of her class in the world. However, the cutting-edge specifications of these ships begin to fall behind during the arms race of the First World War. Their lack of operational range was especially critical, as it made the Tenryū-class unable to accompany newer capital ships on long-range missions.
In order to replace their increasingly obsolete cruisers and destroyers, a seris of destroyers and flotilla leaders were planned. The flotilla leaders would take form as 5 Kuma-class cruisers. Together with the 6 Nagara-class and 3 Sendai–class cruisers, the Kuma-class and her improved cousins are often referred to as the 5,500-ton-class light cruisers. The Nagara-class received new equipment in the form of 610 mm torpedoes, but the ship remains a Kuma-class in World of Warships despite this historical upgrade, because the torpedoes cannot be upgraded from the stock 533 mm in the game.
After the introduction of the Kuma-class, Japanese cruisers started using aircraft. Initially, reconnaissance planes were carried on-board as disassembled parts to be put together when needed, and launched after being lowered to the surface of the ocean using a derrick. However, in the case of Kiso, the 5th ship of the Kuma-class, a launch platform was placed on top of turret number two. Furthermore, as part of efforts to stremline the launch process, a Kure Type 2 catapult was later added between turrets five and six of Kuma and Tama during modernisation. The addition of the catapult is represented in-game as a hull upgrade.
Light cruisers were intended to lead destroyer flotillas in battle, as well as act in place of capital ships in regions where battleships or heavy cruisers were not assigned. In World of Warship terms, these ships had to be more powerful than enemy light cruisers and overwhelm enemy destroyers. Captains of these ships will need to keep their eyes wide open in order to be able to match the flow of the battle and support their fleet where they are needed most.