The Hiburi-class, Syonan, 1944 is a rank V Japanese frigate with a battle rating of 3.7 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.91 "Night Vision".
Survivability and armour
The survivability of the Syonan is heavily dependent on what's engaging it. Its hull is armoured similarly to a Destroyer, with 23 mm of steel. This makes it largely immune from smaller caliber fire and certain smaller HE rounds. The only additional armour protection it has is present around the two main guns, 15 mm of antifragmentation armour, which again protects them against smaller caliber guns somewhat reliably.
The Syonan has two main weaknesses though. Firstly its size, because it's so large and slow it will take a huge amount of fire. Not every incoming round will score damage but over time it does all add up. Its size also makes it very vulnerable against torpedoes. The second prominent weakness is that the Syonan is very vulnerable to being ammo racked. This is due to the presence of two very large exposed ammo racks underneath each gun and they can be detonated by a few well placed AP shots, even smaller caliber guns can destroy the ammo rack, so it's important to never present a flat angle of the ammo storage.
The Syonan is a relatively slow ship, reaching a max of 36 km/h in RB modes and 55 km/h in AB modes. The real issue though is with its mobility, it's very unresponsive to input and will take a fair while to come to a stop, engage a reverse or turn. Safe to say its mobility holds the ship back a bit, as it spawns with the smaller vessels, its very vulnerable to torpedoes- especially without any mobility upgrades. It also lacks the overall agility to escape from destroyers if caught out in the open.
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Modifications and economy
The Syonan is equipped with two 120 mm/45 Type 10 cannons for its primary weapon. They do a good amount of damage to smaller boats and reload quickly at 12 rounds a minute on an average crew. The guns also traverse fairly slowly at around 8.5 degrees a second, because of this they're a fairly poor weapon at closer ranges when needing to track small fast boats. These guns do have viability against the larger patrol vessels and destroyers you'll come across and will be your go-to weapon at longer ranges.
The Syonan is equipped with 5 triple mountings and one single mounting of the Type 96 25mm cannon. Against small unarmoured boats, these guns collectively make an for an overwhelmingly powerful weapon, the volume of fire will destroy a small boat within a few seconds if the shots connect. The guns have 15 rounds in the magazine, but reload very quickly, and because of this have no overheating time so they can be fired continuously effectively. The guns come with three belts:
- Universal- A mix of different HE rounds and an AP round, a decent mix for dealing with all types of craft.
- APT- Predominantly armour piercing rounds, effective against armoured targets.
- HEIT- Full HE belt, very high damage but no armour piercing capability.
Overall, the HEIT rounds perform the best, they have a huge damage output and will sink enemy vessels in seconds if a few of the mountings hit, but it's also recommended to take a few AP belts in case you run into an armoured river boat.
The Syonan can carry 14 Type 95 depth charges, which can be dropped to maim other naval targets. They have rather limited viability though as most MTBs will be able to outrun the explosion. As this ship is large and slow, the only viability these charges have is against enemy MBTs sneaking up behind you, this is a fair rare occurrence however.
Usage in battles
First and foremost, the Syonan is a very powerful ship and has the potential to cause incredible damage to the enemy team if in favorable circumstances. It can be devastating against smaller ships, or vessels with little meaningful armour protection, but it's very weak against destroyers and enemy players that know how vulnerable the ammo racks are. Because of this, to be successful, the Syonan needs to played carefully. Advancing too far into the map can be dangerous, as this allows for enemy MTBs to launch torpedoes at you at close range; as the Syonan is very slow, avoiding torpedoes can be very difficult. Because of this, it's recommended to not sail too close to choke points or cover around the hostile parts of the map as this allows for enemies to easily sneak up on you. In any case, watch MTBs closely, if you see them launch torpedoes, you can correct your course ahead of time to assure the torpedoes miss. It's a good idea to do this anyway just in case torpedoes have been launched without you knowing, so try not to sail straight for too long, as you lack the reactive mobility to alter your course quickly.
The most consistent weapon you have access to are the many 25mm cannons spread all over the vessel, consider using these as your main weapon as they present a much more accurate and damaging weapon collectively than you two main cannons. They can work effectively up to around 2,000 meters, any further than this and they will start losing potency. Also, try not to present a flat side angle to your enemies as this makes your ammo rack a very easy target. Try to angle the sides of the ship towards what you're engaging, this will stop some of the smaller caliber AP rounds from penetrating.
Pros and cons
- Extremely potent secondary armament
- Can combat both vessels and aircraft effectively
- Fairly survivable
- Relatively ineffective primary armament
- Very easy to ammo rack
- Fairly slow and unmanoeuvrable
- Large target, easy to hit
Syonan (昭南, name of Singapore under Japanese occupation) is the 11th ship of Mikura class Escort Ship (E20). Currently, she is classified as the 3rd ship of Hiburi-class Escort Ship (E20b).
Due to Japanese romanization, there are several variant of the ship's name in English. (Shonan, Shounan, Syounan, Syōnan, Shōnan)
She was laid down on 23 February 1944, and launched 13 July 1944. Since 05 August 1944, she deployed with 1st Maritime Escort Group (海上護衛隊, 1KEg) and escorted several convoys between Singapore to Japan.
During the escort of Hi-92 convoy, she was sunk on 25 February 1945 by a torpedo from USS Hoe, SS-258.
Excellent additions to the article would be video guides, screenshots from the game, and photos.
Vessels of a similar role: