Update: Fleet, Equipment, Weather and an Interview with Leningrad!
Well, everyone, it looks as if comrade Mahan refuses to acknowledge my existence, so I suppose I’ll just interview myself today.
No, you will not, Miss Leningrad. Not after what you put me through in my interview.
Oh, please. At least I didn’t blow a hole in the side of the ship, like what's her name- Sparky, was it? Or make you, I don’t know, weave baskets. Nerpa is all about those baskets. There is a room on the ship dedicated to baskets, because she gives me a new one every time we see each other.
I never throw them out because Kommuna would call it a waste and give me a three hour long lecture on the importance of thriftiness. A lecture she could complete in half an hour, if she didn’t nod off every five minutes.
You Soviet Belles certainly are quite the… characters.
She says, rolling her eyes as she speaks.
Don’t narrate my speech!
Ho, ho, so easily perturbed.
How did you talk your way into being interviewed, anyway?
That would suggest I had an agenda, comrade. That's not very sweet of you.
Anyway, the Naval War College found themselves in a bit of a bind, time-wise, this week, and it was trivial to present a solution at the right moment. It was about time, honestly - when the Captain’s Association selects a Nazi before you, you start to develop a bit of a complex.
She was right about the collapse of capitalism, of course.
There is no fundamental structural wea...wait - you’ve been reading the polls?
Of course. You never know who’s lurking on those things.
So… are we going to start this introduction, or what?
Did you bring a hobby with you today, Leningrad?
Isn't irritating you hobby enough for me, Mahan?
But now that you mention it , I could always tell the Captain the story of how we first met…
Moving right along! Leningrad - construction, commissioning, sisters, namesake - go.
Do you drill that order into every Rusalki before she introduces herself? Maybe I want to start with my speed and armament first …
Do whatever you want to do. Just start.
Excellent. My apologies, Captain, if you prefer the usual system of doing things, but I just can’t help but be a little rebellious.
My speed is an improvement on most of the Rusalki you’ve met so far - 40 knots at my fastest. I’ll leave you to work out how many miles per hour that is - you’re Captain, for goodness’ sake. You should know how fast a knot is. I was built more for speed than I was distance, and can travel a range of 2,400 miles at a set speed of 20 knots.
On board, you’ll find five single 130mm B-13 guns, two single 76.2mm 34-K AA guns, two single 45mm 21-K AA guns, two quadruple 533mm torpedo tubes, sixty some mines and 52 depth charges.
I don't want to say anything negative, but it doesn't sound like the, *ahem*, miracle of Soviet armament production has quite reached you and your sisters, yet.
The important thing is, I know how to use the arms I have.
Since Mahan brought up my sisters, I’ll tell you about them next. I’m the eldest of the six Leningrad-class destroyers, my sisters being Kharkov, Minsk, Tbilisi, Baku, and Moskva.
Moskva. I can’t believe there’s another one of you I still have yet to interview.
Oh, don’t worry, Mahan. Moskva is much closer in temperament to you than she is to me. Very committed to discipline, excellence and excessive seriousness- perhaps even more so than you. Her sense of humor is wicked, however.
My sisters and I were built during the latter half of the 1930s, the first ships built following the Revolution. We were not coddled, like many of the young ships you’ve spoken to in these interviews. Immediately following our commissionings, expectations were placed on us. We knew, from the beginning, that we were expected to be competent and strong in all that we did. The six of us shouldered this pressure in different ways.
Like the city of Lenin itself, I challenge conventions with creativity. Considering the world I was born into, you could hardly blame me. I realized that revolutions will always come. People will always fight to better their lives. And I could either stand in the way of that change, or I could embrace it. I could race with the people, always pushing for a better world.
But of course one does not push blindly. Even during my short life, I’ve witnessed how people can fight for the change they think they need, only to succeed and find themselves no better off. So, I immersed myself in the works of philosophers and political theorists, Soviet and otherwise, determined to resolve for myself what an ideal future truly looks like, so I could assist the people of earth toward pushing toward such a future.
Because, if there’s one thing of which I am sure, it’s that the people of this planet deserve a better future.
Leningrad. That was almost… stately.
She says, shocked.
I told you not to narrate me!
Don't worry, Mahan, even someone as reactionary as you has a brighter future.
All right, that’s enough. Just go… sit out in the hall, until I’ve given the Captain your service record.
Come on, Mahan, can’t I stay? It’s not like I don’t know what you’re going to tell the Captain.
All right, all right. Captain, if Mahan tells you anything unflattering about me… well, it’s probably true.
It’s almost over. This introduction is almost over. Service history, closing remarks, and then it will be over.
Leningrad was commissioned into the Soviet Navy on 5 December 1936, having been built by the Zhdanov Shipyard in Leningrad. Following her commissioning, she participated in fleet exercises in July of 1939. She underwent boiler repair for the following two months, before being assigned to the Light Forces Squadron.
Upon the entry of the Soviet Union in the war with Poland, she participated in the search for Polish subs in the Finnish Gulf and off the Estonian coast. Two months later, during the Winter War with Finland, she joined a landing artillery support group, where she assisted landings in Gogland, Lesnoy and Laavensari. In December of 1939, she took damage as a result of Finnish shelling at Tiurensari and later at Seyskari.
Due to the need for extensive repairs, she was rebased to Liepae and later Tallinn, where her hull, boilers and prop were refurbished and rebuilt over the course of nearly a year. In June of 1941, at the outbreak of war with Germany, she took part in mining operations, working under fire when necessary.
In August, she supported the defense of Tallinn, before the fleet was forced to evacuate. Though she was caught in minefields, she succeeded in escaping, and helping her sister Minsk in the process. On 21 September, she was damaged in an air raid, and rebased to Leningrad.
She took further damage in the following month, before eventually undergoing repairs in late October and early November. During the Hanko evacuation days later, her hull, turbines and fuel tanks were all damaged by mines. She then underwent further repairs and needed modernizations, which lasted until May 1942. Well, Captain, I hate to give compliments, but she certainly turned out to be tough, didn't she?
When the fight came to the city of Leningrad, she assisted in defending, even at the risk to her own well being. She remained in the city for the rest of the Siege of Leningrad, as a floating battery, and undergoing modernizations when the opportunity arose. Following the lifting of the siege, she spent May through November of 1944 supporting the 21st army's advance along the Karelian isthmus.
She spent the remainder of the war undergoing repairs. Leningrad underwent modernizations in the early 1950s, before being reclassified as a target ship in 1958. In 1959, she was rebased to the Northern fleet, before being reclassified yet again as a floating barracks. 1962 saw her reclassified for a third time as a practice target ship, before - finally - being sunk as a missile target in May of 1963.
Leningrad! I know you’re listening at the door, you can come back inside now.
It’s about time. What did you think about that ending, Captain? Pretty explosive, wouldn’t you say?
Oh, good grief. Would you please give the Captain your closing remarks, so we can put this introduction out of its misery?
Am I the river pretending to be a rock? Or vice-versa. Well, you know what they say about lies told often...
You know who I am by this point, Captain, and my particular brand of intellectual crazy. If you don't, I’ll take care of the Morganas on my own, thank you very much.
That’s...done. We’ll never have to interview her again...right?
Well, Captain, it’s time again for the Captain’s Association...hmmm. What’s this that Leningrad left on the table?
The red folder is for top secret...
Captain! This appears to be an urgent update from the Naval War College!
"It's been 21 weeks since we began the operation, and the Bureaus have enclosed a film reel and several bulletins..."
Why didn't we get this earlier?
Research, Design & Art
“The Designers, Researchers, Writers and Salmon88 have really exceeded themselves this time, with some very fascinating designs and concepts. Many of the Morganas are revealing themselves in all their sinister glory.”
Well, I can’t say I approve of the enthusiasm for our foe, sir, but I suppose that I understand it from an artistic point of view.
The Team completed work on 12 Belles and Morgana for a current total of 128 completed out of 158 for 1939 launch. That’s over 80%, sir!
The Bureau has 60 Foundation Stories remaining, with the limit now being art development process. Many new points of view, hidden gems of history and interesting personalities are taking shape under the eager pens at the Bureau.
As usual, the Bureau Chief presents a few peeks at the Dialogues created over the past month:
Captain: Look, if you say nothing’s wrong, I’ll believe you, but you have to admit things have been pretty weird lately.
[Redacted]: What? Things haven’t been weird. They’ve just been… it’s just… it’s just… the tide cycle.
Captain: The tide cycle.
[Redacted]: Yes. Haven’t you noticed it before? Every time the neap tide comes in, I’m like this. Like clockwork.
Captain: Is everything okay up here, [Redacted]? I heard gunfire.
[Redacted]: Oh, nothing is wrong, sweetie. I was just letting the penguins swim. Oh, there’s another one.
Captain: Are you shooting sharks? Why are you shooting sharks? I’m so confused.
[Redacted]: Well, I shot the first one to protect my little darlings, and then the blood attracted the others. To make a long story short, we’re having shark tonight.
From the office of the Chief:
"We've been spending a lot of time working on finding more international actors to join our ranks! The world-wide search has turned up some great actresses from all around the world, and the cast list is steadily being filled in more and more. As final scripts start to come in, we expect to really ramp up casting in the upcoming months, and hopefully we will have more public actress announcements coming at you guys soon!"
Captain, I’ve also been told to expect the next video interview shortly, once it is has been edited. Additionally, the Writing Team is now preparing the final script template for each Belle, at which time all remaining Actresses will be cast and recorded. Additionally, the Team is going to be considering music choices shortly, so if you would like to nominate any composers, we’ll evaluate them!
Gameplay, UI & Animation
Well, I am excited to see what they have sent us this time! It looks like it is a silent work-in-progress slice of gameplay:
Upon landing at the main page, it appears that the USS Mississippi is our current flagship, sir, and she is greeting you. In the final version, that will be voiced as well. Of course, some Captains may prefer a little sounder wisdom and advice than a simple how-do-you-do...*Ahem*
As you may note, there will be a talk-between-ships system of a sort, in which you can correspond thoughtfully, helpfully and politely with other Captains. I’m sure that’s exactly the caliber of discussion you will bring, sir!
Next, we take a tour of the dry dock, which itself is ironically under construction. If I may draw your attention to the Main Armament Turret slots, you can see that the Mississippi has four possible Turrets into which you may place any available mounts. In our example, these are all fictive items, unconstrained by weight.
Afterwards, we move to the Fleet Screen, where you are able to change the composition of your Fleet. Currently, you have available Mississippi, Fubuki and Nenohi. Although in this particular case there is no specific need or reason to reorder your Belles, it can sometimes be a good idea depending on your Flag Command.
Now we prepare to sortie into the Gulf of Mexico- you may notice that the conditions for this campaign are stormy, something which you will want to keep a weather eye on, as Ark Royal might say. *Ahem* My apologies.
Before entering a campaign, you have a final opportunity to settle the disposition of your Fleet, and then we enter enemy waters. The first thing to notice is that as we send the Mississippi’s scouts, we have discovered a Morgana Fleet- worse, there is a storm at their position.
As we do not have any purpose aircraft for bombing the enemy, we’ll need to meet them head on. Of course, we do have the Mississippi’s O3U-1s, but these have almost no chance to be effective in conditions such as these.
Entering the battle, you’ll notice that conditions are indeed very stormy and generally gloomy. Furthermore, we begin at Medium Range, versus the more typical Spotted, as visibility conditions are poor enough to prevent earlier contact. Starting Range can even be Brawl, sir, in certain conditions, so always be prepared!
Our opponents, graciously lent from the Royal Navy, are Exeter and Bulldog. Although many of the Belles present in this battle are armed with torpedoes, storm seas are high enough to prevent their use. That is one potential benefit, sir: you needn’t worry about submarines in a storm!
Storms can also prove deadly in their own right to Belles, especially if they are lighter weight. You'll want to bring very seaworthy Fleets into the most dangerous storms in any event, as they also make gunnery more difficult.
During the first Round, you will notice that poor Fubuki receive several hits from the British fleet. Although currently many critical hits do not display, she has received serious damage to her engines and has completely stopped. This is the reason she does not advance to Short with her Fleet. Similarly, Exeter has suffered hull damage enough to cause flooding, which you may just be able to make it on her ship silhouette.
Bulldog is sunk by Nenohi and compelled to Shift, ending the Round. Had the combat continued, Mississippi and Nenohi would have advanced to meet Exeter at Brawl. I wouldn’t like to meet a battleship at those ranges, sir!
Finally, you may have noticed that the Bureau is testing a new method of showing how ships fire, the inspiration for which may be known to some Captains. Although physical projectiles still appear on screen, these would likely be removed, if we continue in this direction.
Special thanks to Shestak Denys, Ielay Kresh, Vladislav Kuznetsov, Ivan Lendel, Kristina Piltyay, and Ivan Stupenko for all their efforts in preparing this reel!
The Bureaus are now targeting the completion of Equipment, alpha testing on iOS, and potentially Production. As time allows, we may also stretch for R&D as well. This represents the first time that we’ll have a worldwide client for testing on real iPhones. It’s a very exciting step!
Writing Team Special
Lastly, in collaboration with our allies at Living Lore Studio, the Writing Team is proud to present:
Divert killer asteroids. Drone strike your enemies. Dismantle the killer clown network.
...our Writing Team has created the absolutely hilarious scenarios, answers and vengeances for You Are the President, and the Naval War College insists that there wasn’t even any alcohol involved.
Sir, while I believe that the Office of the President is one clothed in decorum, prestige and unassailable dignity, I suppose there is no harm in small frivolities such as this. If you enjoy the Writing Team’s work, you will definitely be interested in this card game.
...it just occurred to me, but why would Leningrad have access to top secret Naval War College information before us? That seems just a little odd, don’t you think, sir? I had better…*Ahem*...look into security around here.
In the mean time, be sure to vote for the next Association Belle on the official forums:
Now, if you will excuse me!
Sincerely, USS Mahan