The ships of the Project 68K class are a group of Soviet light cruisers initially laid down before WWII, but were later completed during the early Cold War. Soon, Soviet captains in War Thunder will have the chance to take command of Chapayev - the lead ship of the class - after its arrival to the game with the upcoming update 1.91 “Night Vision”!
Briefly: An early Cold War Soviet vessel, based on a light cruiser design from the late 1930s. Chapayev boasts excellent firepower and good mobility, making it a true ‘all rounder’ warship.
In July 1937, the USSR formally joined the 1936 London Naval Agreement. Having agreed to the restrictions imposed by the treaty, Soviet shipbuilders began developing a new light cruiser design around the treaty limitations. However, it quickly became clear that it wasn’t possible to match the new design against both treaty limitations and naval needs, despite the already applying weight saving measures. As a result, the decision was made to disregard the treaty restrictions in March 1938, with the design already being approved by the following year.
Initially, 26 ships of the Project 68 cruisers were planned for construction. However, initial construction difficulties resulted in only 7 ships being laid down, of which 4 were later launched. The subsequent German invasion in June 1941 led to all work on ships of the Project 68 class to be suspended.
Following the end of WWII, Soviet shipbuilders quickly realized that, due to the appearance of new technologies and tactics, vessels such as the Project 68 ships were no longer suitable for modern naval combat. Thus, the decision was made to restart their construction under a modernized design. The lead ship of this class was the Soviet light cruiser Chapayev.
Chapayev was laid down in October 1939 and launched in April 1941. Having its construction suspended during the war, it was only restarted in the late 1940s, with the ship finally seeing completion and entering service with the Soviet Navy in May 1950. Chapayev served until 1958, before being assigned to support roles leading up to its retirement. In the early 1960s, the ship was ultimately decommissioned from service and was subsequently broken up for scrap in 1964.
In War Thunder, the Chapayev will become available to all captains at rank IV of the Soviet naval tree. Sporting excellent firepower for a light cruiser, combined with good mobility, a sizeable crew complement and decent protection, the Chapayev will provide captains and fans of Soviet naval vessels in War Thunder with a highly versatile ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ type of warship.
Despite sharing some visual similarities with the Kirov-class, the Chapayev is quite distinctly different from its predecessor. For starters, unlike the Kirov, Chapayev was roughly built around the terms dictated by the Second London Naval Treaty. As such, the Chapayev didn’t receive 180mm guns, but was instead fitted with four triple 152mm main guns, more befitting of a light cruiser design. This also makes the Chapayev the first Soviet cruiser in War Thunder to be equipped with 152mm guns.
While the 12 main guns will surely be a considerable threat to most opponents encountered on the high seas, smaller vessels and aircraft won’t be spared by Chapayev’s secondary and anti-air weapons either. Being fitted with four dual 100mm turrets, supported by an additional 14 dual 37mm cannons, pilots and captains of smaller vessels will have a hard time punching through the concentrated defensive fire coming from all these guns. On the other hand however, Chapayev was not fitted with any torpedo launchers, leaving aspiring captains of this vessel with somewhat more limited tactical options than previous vessels did.
Fun Fact: Chapayev was named after a well-known Red Army field commander, who later also became the protagonist of one of the first Soviet sound movies, making him a well-known and beloved character among the Soviet populace.
Beside more than adequate firepower, Chapayev also features solid protection and survivability. With its 100mm thick belt armor and crew count going up to 1,184 sailors, Chapayev is able to both absorb some damage from enemy fire at longer range, whilst also having the ability to sustain enemy fire for some time thanks to its higher than average crew count. Rounding off Chapayev’s performance is a more than respectable top speed of 33.5 knots (62 km/h), which is on par with most other vessels of similar capabilities in the game.
Chapayev, along with many other new and interesting additions is coming to War Thunder very soon with the release of the upcoming update 1.91 “Night Vision”. In the meantime however, make sure to keep a close eye on the news for all the latest developments surrounding the next major update coming to the game. Until then, calm seas captains!