Update: UI Concepts & and an Interview with Parizhskaya Kommuna!
Good day, Captain! USS Mahan here.
I’ve received the latest dispatches from the Naval War College, and the developments sound very interesting indeed! As usual, let’s begin with an examination of our course and heading:
It has been 4 weeks since we gathered Captains from across the world and assembled a powerful Fleet to save the world. Since that time, the Naval War College has been hard at work meeting our first goals- and now, the Bureau Chiefs have sent their present successes for our enjoyment!
Research, Design & Art
As you know, Captain, this is one of the two Bureaus most impacted by our funding goals, and their first activity was to review the 77 completed Belles and Morganas for any updates- some Belles, for instance, Miss Fubuki, had been issued non-standard gear...where appropriate, they’ll be changing what they wear at launch.
After the review was completed, the Team finished research on 13 Belles and Morganas and delivered final art for 6, bringing us to a total of 83 completed out of a launch number of 158. Since the usual number for completed art in the same period is 12, the Chief of Bureau thinks she may be able to sneak a few surprises in the game…
The Bureau Chief reports that 38 out of 133 Foundation Stories have been completed since the close of the Campaign, including my own, sir! I’ll be interested to learn if they got that Story correct. There may be a few details I should urge them to edit, for historical accuracy, of course...
These Foundation Stories precede the decision for Romance or Friendship, and are themselves of very significant size- ~4-6k words! Captains who like getting to know and interacting with their Belles will have their cup running over, to say the least!
Now, the wartime exploits of the Belles are heavily censored, and so you’ll have to wait to experience them yourself, sir. However, the Chief did send along two of her favorite quotes:
???: “And on with the show! Captain, I’m going to need some metal forks, empty shell casings, laundry soap boxes, and empty shoe polish tins. Mission two begins now!”
Captain: “I’m not going to detail anyone to get this for you, ???. What could you possibly be using it for, anyway?”
???: “The time has come to make a set, Captain. How are we supposed to sway the audience with a blank stage? Burning emotion doesn’t come from a blank canvas, Captain!”
Captain: “Hmm. Have you by chance ever played poker?”
???: “Only once. Fräulein ??? taught me when we were docked side-by-side. I won. She insisted I cheated and we haven’t spoken with each other since.”
This Bureau was the second most affected by our campaign funding, and they immediately launched into action- 8 voice actresses were added to our cast in the past four weeks. The Casting Director is likely to announce these in another introductory reel, so stay tuned in future Updates!
These were all primarily American Belles, and the Team’s focus is now turning to the British- so feel free to let us know of up and coming actresses that have the loyalty, verve, determination and...love of rum to play one of the Royal Navy!
Gameplay, UI & Animation
It appears that the grand domain of precision gunnery and aerial assault steadily added to its arsenal in the past weeks.
Carrier Captains will be delighted to know that mock battles for air superiority between (unloaded) MkII Skuas and A5M-4s have been taking place between rival fleets. Wolf Pack Captains will be pleased that submarines now launch surprise attacks by Division and at varying Ranges and Rounds...and can join surface engagements, if your Flag Belle orders them to.
The UI Team has also been very busy- but also very proud! They have sent 3 concept mocks to share with you, Captain.
The first is a general look at the the way the Belles and Morganas, and their damage states, will be presented.
Here you can see the Flagships, identified by the gold braid, and critical damage, marked by the red highlighted area on the ship silhouette. You can also observe the Division markers on both Belles & Morganas.
By the way, the ship silhouette is by class, not Belle, but they’d like to personalize them for 1939, if it’s possible. I suppose we’ll see if they have the opportunity or not, sir.
Note also that some Belles have been redacted, since they used some assets not yet revealed. Well, I suppose we’re used to be teased by now, aren’t we, Captain!
Our next shows the general appearance of Combat- Captains on the left, Morganas on the right.
In this particular case, we have Miss Scharnhorst is attacking a submerged Morgana...you really ought to wait until she’s surfaced, Fräulein...or allow me a chance with my depth charges! Well, I suppose it is just concept after all.
Finally, we have the look and feel of a Night Battle.
Miss Pola has launched a Starshell, and you can observe how the Morganas are backlit as targets for her Fleet. I prefer searchlights myself- much more precise and reliable, but I suppose in general action, it might be superior, sir.
You can also make out the chevrons which indicate the Range of the Belles and Morganas. The more there are, the closer they are to the enemy, sir.
Animation begins in the coming week, and once completed the integration with the Combat Prototype will begin. That’s the interesting part, Captain, when we will be able to see everything working together!
Special thanks to Ielay Kresh, Ivan Stupenko and Kristina Piltyay for their hard work in preparing these!
Now, let’s adjourn to the mess where we...
Captain, I see the stewards failed to pick up after ourselves after our tea with Lady Ark Royal last week. How disgraceful- I'm afraid they will have to be disciplined.
I suppose I’ll ring them before our next Belle arrives…
La-la-di...the toiler shall find a new freedom: land and works will be labour's own...la-la-di...oh!
Здравствуйте, comrade Mahan!
Miss Parizhskaya Kommuna! Y-you’re already here!
Wait - what are you doing with those plates?
Cleaning up! I arrived early this morning to find the stewards selflessly hard at work, but with too much to do, and too great a burden. I thought it only natural that... *yawn* ...I put myself to good use and lend a hand.
I explained to them that I would be more than happy to do it: we all must help one another to succeed! They seemed very surprised, actually.
Y-you what?! Oh, no. No, no, Miss Kommuna.
You’re our guest - and such a distinguished one, at that! Please, set those plates down. I’ll pick up while you introduce yourself to the Captain.
Oh no, comrade Mahan! There is enough work for me to share, and you- you have enough to do, interviewing Belles each week.
I am more than capable of... *yawn* ...introducing myself while cleaning.
Kommuna, when was the last time you slept?
I’m sure I slept at some point, earlier this week. Why is that of any consequence?
Kommuna, I appreciate how willing you are to help. But I’m taking these plates to be washed...and have a polite, but firm, word with the stewards.
While I’m away, go ahead and start your introductions.
Well, you are right: I shouldn’t neglect the reason for my coming.
Капитан, приятно познакомиться. Are you fluent in Russian, Captain? My apologies, I didn’t mean to presume you were.
My name, as you heard Mahan mention earlier, is Parizhskaya Kommuna.
Although … that isn’t my original name. Decades ago, before I shamefully participated in the crime of factionalism, my name was Sevastopol. Is that at all confusing? My apologies, allow me to explain.
I was born in Saint Petersburg and commissioned, to my bitter regret, into the Imperial Russian Navy on 30 November 1914. That is where the defects in my political physiognomy come from. I will work harder to overcome them, Captain.
That makes me decades older than the majority of the Belles you’ve met so far, doesn’t it? But I still work just as hard as I did before, and will achieve even more in the future!
I’m the eldest of four Gangut-class battleships. My sisters are every bit as hardy as the Belle you see standing before you today, all of them still in service despite the many years which have passed.
My original name -Sevastopol- referred to the heroic 1st Siege of Sevastopol during the Crimean War, in which a brave few struggled nobly against the western imperialists. There is a lesson there for all who know the final victory of Socialism is near.
I participated in the Great War, then a member of the Imperial Navy’s Baltic Fleet. My eyes were opened to the true struggle after the February bourgeois democratic revolution.
After that I witnessed with growing wonder the great success in the transformation of the masses, and their deliverance from want and fear. It brings tears, to think of so many -women, equally- working together in harmony to achieve the great freedom all mankind deserves.
...*sigh* I was politically careless, and allowed my vision to be clouded by double-dealers and influenced by anti-Party and anti-Soviet currents. I...participated in the Kronstadt Rebellion. There was a moment that Spring where I even thought...
...looking back, I see clearly the errors in my thinking. I am glad we have excised the ‘running sore’ of factions. Comrade Stalin has said so, and he is the personification of all the victories of Socialism in the USSR. He must be right.
Fortunately, the Party still saw value in my service. Looking deep into my heart, they saw with proper leadership I would not again fall into error. The Party is as generous as it is clear-sighted, and never wastes anything which can be a good.
But my old name -Sevastopol- well, that was a reminder of my errors. I was renamed Parizhskaya Kommuna, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Paris Commune. I can think of few causes purer or more beautifully ideal. And so, heart bursting with renewed zeal, I was recommissioned into the Soviet Navy in 1925!
Ah, here comes comrade Mahan! How are the working people below?
What on earth did you tell them?! They're all talking about the benefits of collective action, and how much the...
Just a moment, what are you doing with that broom?
What? Oh, I saw some crumbs on the floor, and thought I would sweep them up while I spoke.
It’s hardly been any work at all - I’m sure the Captain didn’t even notice!
No. No, no. Your only task is introducing yourself, that’s all. I’m taking the broom, and that trash bag you’ve hidden so covertly behind your back.
Please continue while I take this bag out. Don’t clean anything.
But I am not used to this, and would prefer to be of service.
On that topic, and as for what I have to offer you and the Fleet: at utmost exertion, I can reach 24.6 knots, and at a fixed speed of 10 knots I can travel just over 3,600 miles. Perhaps this is not the equivalent of more modern Belles, but I will never stop working to improve myself and one day overtake them!
For the defence of the Soviet Motherland, I possess four 305mm/52 Pattern 1907 turrets of three barrels each. In case the Morganas try to close with me, I have sixteen 120mm/50 Pattern 1905 rifles mounted in armored casements. And finally, for enemy aircraft, I have six 76.2mm/55 34-K Pattern 1935 anti-aircraft guns, six 45mm 21-K anti-aircraft guns and twelve DShKM machine guns. Finally, for close action with the battle line, I carry four 450 mm submerged torpedo tubes.
Captain, many of the Belles you'll meet do not know about the struggles of this world. I know the grit and endurance it takes to make it through such an ordeal, and despite my age, and I promise to you that I will work unfailingly and unflinchingly, for as long as it takes, until that glorious day breaks when the world is free again!
Kommuna! Those better not be tablecloths I see in your hands!
This isn’t cleaning, Mahan. *Yawn* I’m just picking them up, that’s all!
Since it’s clear you won’t stop cleaning, no matter how much I ask you not to, you may take those to the laundry, if you so desire.
Nothing would make me happier, спасибо!
Well, she is so helpful, but I do worry about her health!
But, while she’s away, I suppose I can give you her real-world service record:
Parizhskaya Kommuna began her life in Saint Petersburg under an Imperial flag as Sevastopol. Named for the Siege of Sevastopol in the Crimean War, she was commissioned on 30 November 1914. She was the first of the four Gangut-Class battleships constructed for the Imperial Russian Navy.
She began her career during World War I as a member of the 1st Baltic Brigade, guarding the Gulf of Finland, as she was considered too valuable and prestigious to risk against the German navy. I know that feeling all too well, Captain. Well...not that I know it, but...I could imagine it. *Ahem*
She left Finland with the Baltic Fleet in the Ice Cruise of 1918 in advance of the White Guard, and relocated to Kronstadt to join the Bolsheviks. In 1919, she helped defend Leningrad in the Second White Offensive by providing artillery support.
In 1921, she and her sister Petropavlovsk initiated the Kronstadt Naval Rebellion, a reaction to heavy-handed Bolshevik policy. It was swiftly crushed in a bloody campaign. To wipe away the dishonor of her role in the rebellion, she was renamed Parizhskaya Kommuna to honor of the 50th anniversary of the Paris Commune.
After a long span of inactivity, she and her sisters were recommissioned into Soviet Navy in 1925. Between 1926 and 1929, she served as a training ship for the Baltic Maritime Forces.
She and Profintern were transferred in 1929 to the Black Sea, where she was intended to serve as flagship. However, they were caught in a ferocious storm in the Bay of Biscay that left Parizhskaya Kommuna with major damage to her bow. She attempted quick repairs in Brest, France, but almost sank attempting to return home. She made it back to port, and was properly repaired before sailing to Sevastopol in 1930.
Well, that really shows you how important seaworthiness is, Captain!
From 1933-1941, she went through a massive, multiple stage reconstruction and modernization, receiving upgraded deck and turret armor, improved ventilation, updated anti-air weaponry, upgraded fire control and added torpedo defense.
During World War II, or as she would say, the Great Patriotic War, Parizhskaya Kommuna was key in defending Crimea against the German Wehrmacht, and provided shore bombardment, raided the enemy and supported the air defense for the Red Army.
She was eventually removed from combat in 1942 -as in WWI, she was deemed too important in terms of prestige to risk- but stayed on active duty in the Black Sea throughout the remainder of the war.
Finally, her proudest moment arrived: after all her hard work and service, she redeemed her original name. On 31 May, 1943, to applause and tears, she was formally renamed to Sevastopol. That is...actually quite touching, Captain!
She was awarded the Order of the Red Banner for her service in World War II, and retired in 1945 to become a training ship. She met her end in 1957, scrapped in the city of Sevastopol. That is really quite fitting, isn’t it, sir?
Ура! The tablecloths are pressed.
Look at the room, Mahan! Doesn’t it fill you with a sense of contentment to see it so clean? This was the honest work of our hands.
Thank you, honestly, for all the work you’ve done, Kommuna. Even though you really didn’t need to go to such an effort!
Oh, the work was a joy. Captain, it was a pleasure meeting you.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I was telling the men in the galley how profoundly even the lowliest sailors impacted the Revolution…
Wait. Kommuna! No! Stop right there!
*Ahem* Captain, I’m sorry, but she’s going to turn this ship on its head, and I’m not really sure what kind of nonsense she’s been filling the heads of the crew with- everyone knows the most important figures in history are extraordinary leaders, not common...well, you understand!
Next time, we’ll meet another Belle nominated by the Captain’s Association...but for now I’d better go after her...!
Sincerely, USS Mahan