Warning Spoilers through Straits of Hell.
|Azuma class cruisers|
|Seen|| Distant Thunders|
Iron Gray Sea
|Mentioned||Straits of Hell|
Azuma Class Grik Cruisers have the following specifications; Length 300 ft. width 37 ft. weight 3,800 tons twin mast / twin screw double expansion steam maximum speed 12 knots. Armament either 14 x 100 pounders, 4 x firebomb catapults or, 20 x 40 pounders, 4 x firebomb catapults. [SS Hb. p. 464]
"The cruisers were virtual copies of Japan's first French built ironclad ram, Kotetsu/Azuma." [IGS Pb. p 282] The French built last Confederate Ironclad CSS Stonewall became Japan's first ironclad was first named Kōtetsu (甲鉄?, literally "Ironclad") but, later renamed Azuma (東?, "East")
These ships are a relatively even match for the Grand Alliance's DD steam frigates, which are actually a bit smaller and have three masts, even though the Lemurian DDs are far superior in terms of craftsmanship. However, the Grik/Japanese cruisers do not yet have the gunnery skills nor the armor piercing shells to pose much of a threat outside a thousand yards. At that distance and greater, the Allied frigates are actually able to achieve plunging fire (where the shells fall through the deck, rather than crash through the side), thereby negating the heavily armored sides of the ships. In addition, these ships are vulnerable to the Allied superior air power, despite the new, primitive AA rocket batteries, mostly because they do not have the full iron casemate like the Arata Amagi Class Battleships that are currently in use.
Despite claimed to be "virtual copies of Japan's first French built ironclad ram, Kotetsu", the "Azuma"-class actually a completely different design, similar only in some lines. The actual "Azuma" was an ironclad ram, with only two guns in unrotated towers on the bow and stern. The "Azuma"-class are battery ironclads with much more powerfull artillery armament.
This ships are wooden-hulled armored screw steamers, with additional sail propulsion for ocean cruising. They have elevated forecastle and aftercastle. Their bow have a very large ramming bulb, probably additioned by cast-iron ram.
The "Azuma"-class ships are armied with a combination on cast-iron muzzle-loading smoothbore guns and catapults, that launch the incendary "firebombs". Their usuall armament is a 14 of 100-pounder guns in armored battery and four catapults; for such small ships, their armament seems to be too heavy.
The alternate configuration - probably, an attempt to solve the stability problems - consisted of 20 guns of only 40-pdr, and four catapults. This armament seems more usual for their size.
Also, all ships of this class equipped with a long ram bow, capable of breaking through the underwater hull of any Alliance ships.
The "Azuma"-class have a complete armored belt from bow to stern. The belt composed of cast-iron plates of unspecified thickness; probably no more than 4,5-inches (120-140 mm). The later-build ship probably have wrought-iron belts.
The ship lacked any actual horizontal protection (I.e. armored deck), which was a great disadvantage against Alliance aircraft, and inflict a lot of losses.
The "Azuma"-class propelled by the two screws and two double-expansion steam engines. Described as crude and prone to malfunctions, this engines are capable to move ships of about 10 knots. The coal supply is limited, so for the fuel economy "Azuma"-class have two sail masts and schooner rig.
Recently some "Azuma"-class ships have been upgraded to burn oil.
Azuma-Kai class cruiser Edit