Note: This suggestion was imported from the old War Thunder forum.
While the Royal Thai Navy in the World War II were mostly consisted of a slow monitor and coastal defence ship made in Japan. The RTA have commissioned a large bluewater ship from Italy to bolster their ranks, but the ship were, unfortunately, never made it to Thailand.
The Naresuan that I’m taking about today were the second ship of the Taksin-class light cruiser. Her sister ship, the Taksin, which were later renamed as the RN Etna, were already featured in the game as a tech tree vehicle. The Naresuan is in her planned 1941 configuration with different armaments and loadouts from the Etna we have in the tech tree.
A drawing of the original design of the Taksin-class light cruiser prior conversion into Etna-class light cruiser. Note the triple torpedo launchers benearth her A turret
During mid-1930s, Siam (later known as Thailand) were ruled by the fascistic military strongman Pleak Phibunsongkhram (or simply “Phibun” by the west). As an avid jingoist, Phibun wanted to expand Siam’s military might in order to reclaim Laos and Cambodia, a former territories of Siam which were ceded to French Indochina during the Paknam incident 40 years ago. In order to strengthen the then small Royal Thai Navy, Phibun declared the “Naval Maintainance Act” to earn the fund neccessary for ordering the new ship for the RTA.
As Phibun has a close relationship with the Japanese military leadership, Siam ordered the construction of two coastal monitors, two gunboats, and four submarines from Japan. When these ships arrived in Bangkok in 1937, Phibun’s popularity has skyrocketed as Thai people viewed that they are now having the so-called “second largest navy in Asia” (as many ships of the Republic of China, the previous title holder, were either sunk or captured during the then ongoing war with Japan). With popular support, Phibun decided that the RTA needed a bigger ship, but since the Japanese were unwilling to build anything bigger than a monitor for Siam, he turned to various freelancing shipyard in italy.
In 1938, Siam placed an order of two light cruiser to the CRDA company based in Trieste, Italy. The ship was to be named after two great warrior-kings of the Thai history, the lead ship, Taksin, were named after King Taksin of Thonburi, while Naresuan is named after King Naresuan of Ayuthaya. Naresuan was laid down on 26 August 1939, almost a month before her “older sister”.
The hull of the Naresuan in 1941, still carrying the flag of the Royal Thai Navy as well as royal garuda insignia on her bow
Construction of the Naresuan is much quicker than the Taksin, with her hull finally launched on 6 August 1941 (7 months before the Taksin). However, with Italy’s entrance into the World War II, Taksin-class’ construction has slowed down significantly before eventually halted in December 1941. During this time, the Italian government have discussed the possibility of re-purpose the ship for their own use.
The original design of the Taksin-class were that of a conventional cruiser. She is equipped with six 152 mm/53 Bofors guns mounted in three twin turrets in A-X-Y setup, giving the ship a good anti-ship firepower for her weight class. Secondary/long range AA consists of six 75 mm Bofors mod. 1929 single-mounted guns on each sides of the ship. Her AA armament is eight 13.2 mm Breda mod. 1931 machine guns in four twin mounts. Unlike the redesigned Etna, the Naresuan features two triple torpedo launchers on each sides of the ship, each for launching 450 mm Japanese Type 45F torpedoes.
Due to the fear of damaging the diplomatic relations with Thailand (Siam was already renamed by this time) who has already joined the war on the Axis side, it took exactly one year after the Naresuan’s launch for Italy to confiscated the Taksin-class cruiser and re-purposed into the Etna-class light cruisers we have in the game.
Under the Italian services, the Naresuan was renamed into the Vesuvio (after mount Vesuvius). Due to Italy’s increasingly dire situations, however, the Vesuvio (as well as the ex-Taksin which is now known as Etna) were left unfinished before Italy’s armistice in 1943. Both ship were scuttered by Italy to prevent German capture in September 1943. After the war in 1948, both of the Etna-class cruisers were refloated for scrapping, the scrapping of both ship is finished in 1950.
Since the Etna was added into War Thunder with the real life counterpart doesn’t even being fitted with any intended armaments, I think that the Naresuan has a place in War Thunder as an alternate version of the ship class to reflect the original intended purposes of the ship by the Royal Thai Navy. She will trade her anti-air firepower with more anti-ship capabilities and a bit more speed. I think that she will be a welcome addition to the Italian naval tree.
Displacement: 5,533 tons standard load, ~7,000 tons full load
Length: 147 meters
Breadth: 14.75 meters
Polpusion system: 2-shaft 2-set geared Parsons geared turbines, 3 Yarrow boilers, oil-powered
Power: 40,000 h.p.
Top speed: 30 knots (56 km/h)
Armour: belt: 60 mm, deck: 20 - 35 mm, turrets: 20 mm, control tower: 60 mm
Armament: 3 x 2 152 mm/53 Bofors, 6 x 1 75 mm Bofors mod. 1929, 4 x 2 13.2 mm Breda mod. 1931 machine guns, 2 x 3 450 mm Type 45F torpedoes, 1 catapult, 2 seaplanes
Note: Sorry for the lack of picture for the Naresuan, since it’s quite hard to find a real life picture of her (especially prior her confiscation).
Chesneau, Roger, ed. (1980). Conway’s All The World’s Fighting Ships 1922–1946
Whitley, M. J. (1995). Cruisers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia
rtni.org (in Thai)
Classe Etna (incrociatore 1941) - Wikipedia (in Italian)