Closest in-Game Contemporary
North Carolina, Tier 8 American Battleship
Alabama feels like a weird amalgamation of the Colorado's ability to turn, North Carolina's guns and Iowa's 0.6.2 fragility. This combines to make a North Carolina that's both more agile and more fragile than you might otherwise be accustomed.
- Massive anti-torpedo bulges which provide 49% damage reduction -- the 2nd best value in the game.
- Powerful, long range guns with a 21.1km reach and good vertical dispersion.
- Responsive turret rotation at 4.5º per second.
- Excellent levels of anti-aircraft firepower.
- Good top speed of 27.5 knots.
- Small 710m turning circle and fastest turning rate of any of the mid to high tier USN Battleships.
- Excellent credit earning potential.
- Her citadel sits very high over the waterline, extending from beneath the full length of the #1 turret to the #3 turret.
- Her armour isn't quite as good as advertised. Improper angling will lead to many penetrating and citadel hits.
- Bow is easily overmatched by Yamato's 460mm rifles.
- Her aft transverse bulkhead protecting her lower citadel is only 16mm thick.
- Low muzzle velocity and long shell flight times over range.
Alabama. A Lertbox I've been both looking forward to and dreading to write. Looking forward because I like battleships and I've been wanting to sink my teeth into this one for as long as I've known she was coming. Dreading because after all the Alabama Drama on the forum, people will not accept anything less than an excellent warship as the USN's first Tier 8 premie. It's a good thing than that Alabama is exactly that.
For this Lertbox I will be comparing her to Amagi, Bismarck and North Carolina, the three tech tree battleship peers she will be meeting in battle.
A southern belle.
- Damage Control Party
- Repair Party
- Spotter Aircraft / Catapult Fighter
Module Upgrades: Five slots, standard USN Battleship options.
Premium Camouflage: Tier 6+ Standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy. This is the gorgeous measure-22 camouflage.
- For your first slot, Main Armaments Modification 1 may seem like the default choice. However, Auxiliary Armaments Modification 1 is also practical for AA-specialized ships. This will help keep your 20mm, 40mm and 127mm mounts operable, especially when you take a lot of HE fire.
- For your second slot, if you're going AA spec'd, take AA Guns Modification 2 to bump up their range. Consider this ideal for this ship. Alternatively, take Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1 to bump up your range from 21.1km to 24.5km.
- For your third slot, grab Damage Control System Modification 1. This will increase your already amazing torpedo damage reduction from 49% to 50%.
- In slot number four, I prefer Damage Control System Modification 2 to help mitigate fire damage. You can take Steering Gears Modification 2 if you prefer. This will drop your rudder shift time to 12.3s.
- And finally, in slot 5, take Concealment Modification 1. This will cut your surface detection range down to 14.1km with your camouflage.
Penetration values for Alabama's 406mm rifles
Special mention needs to be made in regards to Alabama's gun handling. Her guns traverse a half degree per second faster than North Carolina's at a rate of 4.5º per second. Even in a hard over turn at top speed, Alabama will never out turn her turrets. If you put Mister Seagal on board with Expert Marksman, you can get this rotation speed up to 5.5º per second which is just wonderful.
- She has better accuracy than most mid-tier USN Battleships. Only Iowa, Missouri or Montana specialized for reduced shell dispersion are superior. Alabama is less accurate than IJN Battleships but more than German Battleships.
- Excellent gun handling characteristics, but poor shell ballistics. It's easy to get guns on target but harder to get the shells there.
- When you do land hits, the good penetration values and high shell damage will make it easy to rack up big damage totals.
- Her secondaries are meh.
Rivals: North Carolina
Lert: These ships are so near to each other in performance that it comes down to which one is driven by the better player. The differences between them are for the most part minor. Alabama turns better, North Carolina has better gun range. Alabama has a better close range AA umbrella, North Carolina a better mid-range one. Where the comparison falls apart though is in their citadels. North Carolina's is at the water line, Alabama's extends a deck above.
With competent drivers behind the wheels, it's a wash between the two. The differences aren't enough to sway the battle either way. Until you start showing broadsides. Then driving a North Carolina or an Alabama is the difference between taking heavy damage or catastrophic damage. Between these two it comes down to player skill and the circumstances of them meeting rather than differences between the ships. Until you start having to turn.
Alabama pursues HMS Fiji around the headland of an island and executes her at point blank range with six of her 406mm rifles.
Turning Radius: 710m
Rudder Shift: 15.3s
Maximum Protection: 32mm anti-torpedo bulge + 310mm belt armour
Torpedo Damage Reduction: 49%
Lert: You're slower, but not by much. Amagi also has better penetration at close and mid range, plus more accurate guns, more DPM through volume of fire and better gun handling. Alabama out-ranges her Japanese counterpart though, and that is an advantage you should take whenever you get the chance. It's a free salvo of damage the Fighting Geisha is unable to answer, unless she has a plane in the sky. While at range make your agility count, you're the most agile battleship in tier by far, making you a difficult target to reliably land solid hits on even for a ship with such comfortable gunnery as Amagi has.
Both ships are very tanky against each other's AP fire when bow in, but here the turret layout of Alabama gives her an advantage, Amagi can only bring four barrels a-fore, Alabama six. In order to make her volume of fire advantage count, Amagi has to show a lot more broadside than she should, allowing you a large juicy target for your Mark 8 Superheavy shells. Fighting an Amagi in an Alabama is the same as fighting one in a North Carolina, except you want to show your side even less.
Like all high tier American Battleships, Alabama has no business brawling. She can do it, but it puts her at such a tremendous disadvantage.
AA Battery Calibers: 127mm / 40mm / 20mm
AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.5km / 2.0km
AA DPS per Aura: 151 / 191 / 187
The average DPS of the high tier American Battleships and a comparison of tier 8 Battleship AA levels, divided by weapon ranges.
Lert: She's tougher than you. You hit harder than her. She'll want to close in. You'll want to fight at range. Fortunately your turret angles are generous enough to keep all your barrels on your teutonic adversary without showing too much side. Try to keep her at range. Lure salvos into your armor belt while still inviting auto-bounces. This is a situation where Bismarck's 15" guns are simply not up to the task. Meanwhile your 16" super-heavies will nibble off more hit-points than you're losing.
Unfortunately 'keep at range' is easier said than done as Bismarck is faster than you. In inevitable close range engagements it's imperative you use your superior agility to avoid showing a broadside, as even Bismarck's 15" guns can rip your citadel asunder. Try to keep a higher than 45 degree angle to the German warship, inviting those bounces off your armored belt, and retaliate with your own massive guns. You fire the biggest, baddest AP shells in tier, and while your opponent is difficult to citadel, a salvo of Mark 8 406mm shells into her side will still tear off bleeding chunks of hit-points through normal pens.
- Anti-Aircraft Firepower
All of these builds will begin with taking Priority Target. This is, in my opinion, the strongest of the tier 1 skill for Alabama. It will let you know when you've got the attention of the Red team and when it's time to start putting that agility and concealment to work.
- At tier 2, you have the choice between Adrenaline Rush and Expert Marksman for your second skill. Alabama is less dependent on buffs to her turret rotation, making Expert Marksman less of a necessity. But if you're using the Steven Seagal Captain, the bonus it provides makes it absolutely worthwhile.
- At tier 3, Basic Fire Training will increase your AA firepower by 20%.
- At tier 4, the Anti-Aircraft Firepower build should take Advanced Fire Training to further increase your guns reach up to 7.2km for your 127mm/38s. Next, they should take Manual Fire Control for AA Armament. This will maximize your AA firepower.
- For the Concealment build, take Concealment Expert instead at tier 4 and follow it up with Advanced Fire Training to add some reach to your AA guns.
You'll have 5 skill points remaining at this stage. Spend them where you wish. Good skills to consider are: High Alert, Superintendent, Basics of Survivability and Vigilance. Concealment Expert for the AA build and Manual Fire Control for AA Armament for the Concealment build aren't bad choices either. If you're using the Steven Seagal Captain, then Expert Loader is also worth considering. Skip it otherwise.
- At Tier 2, take High Alert as your second skill to reduce the time on your Damage Control Party.
- At tier 3, you'll want Basics of Survivability. This will cut the duration of fires down to 43s. Basic Fire Training will get your AA firepower up to very impressive levels.
Survivability builds greatly benefit from doubling up on skills. Jack of All Trades reduces the reset timers on your Repair Party and Damage Control Party. Superintendent gives you an extra charge of your Repair Party. Vigilance helps spot incoming torpedoes. Basic and Advanced Fire Training gives Alabama the necessary teeth to keep safe from aircraft. These skills are optimal. Concealment Expert will help keep you safe from harm. Finally, Fire Prevention helps reduce the chance of fires being set while also reducing the maximum number of blazes that can be set from four to three.
Keep enemy battleship shells away from your flat, unangled side. As long as you can do that, Alabama will reward you. New players and players unused to USN battleships will struggle with Alabama. People who love North Carolina and Iowa will be able to make her sing and dance. She has a wonderful combination of agility and firepower with sufficient speed to move around the battlefield. Plus, she has that late war USN AA suite that we all love. Yeah ok so she's soft in the side, but I'll forgive her this foible.
Alabama may not be newb friendly. But she's good. She's damn good.
- Alabama is defined by five characteristics. Hard hitting guns, excellent AA power, great torpedo defense, good agility and that damned citadel height.
- Scoring enormous damage totals in this ship isn't hard.
- Getting yourself sunk because you made a stupid mistake isn't hard either.
- For Random Battle Grinding:
This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements.
Mouse: Alabama is an excellent credit earner, but she doesn't hold a candle compared to Missouri. If Missouri isn't available, then Alabama holds her own quite nicely, making around 350,000 credits before premium for a 2,000 base experience game. With her great AA power, shooting down even a handful of planes can greatly increase the amount of experience gained in a match, letting Alabama top the experience charts much more often than she might otherwise.
- For Competitive Gaming:
Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding.
Mouse: Alabama will always suffer her citadel poorly in competitive environments. Using her speed and agility combined with her AA power, she's a good asset to the team. However, if she's ever caught out, she's a ready target for the enemy team. She is the less optimal choice when compared to ships like Bismarck or North Carolina.
- For Collectors:
If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you.
Mouse: It's the Lucky A. Yes. What's wrong with you?
- For Fun Factor:
Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play?
Lert: Yes. Alabama is a comfortable and enjoyable ship to drive. Until you overestimate your turn and end up losing 2/3 of your health to some well placed battleship AP into your overexposed citadel. If you're the kind of person who can suck it up when that happens and admit it was your own mistake to show so much side, Alabama is a fun and rewarding ship to play.
Edited by LittleWhiteMouse, 15 March 2017 - 12:39 PM.