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The following is a review of Cheshire, the tier VIII British heavy cruiser. This ship was kindly provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes. To the best of my knowledge, the performance and statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.9.3.1. Please be aware that the ship may change in the future. Quick Summary: A stealthy, but terribly squishy British heavy cruiser with a small battery of powerful 234mm guns. PROS AP shells can overmatch 16mm worth of armour, including the extremities of many lower-tier cruisers and destroyers. Good AP penetration and improved auto-ricochet angles. Excellent HE penetration, capable of directly damaging most battleship decks. Good gun handling with 10º/s gun rotation rate. Excellent AA firepower. No, really. Yeah, I'm surprised too. Stealthy, with a surface detection as low as 9.5km. British "portable dry dock" Repair Party, healing up to 40% of her health per charge before modifiers. CONS Only six main battery guns, greatly reducing her alpha-strike and DPM. Her "stepped" citadel presents a shell-trap for large caliber battleship AP shells. Only modest gun fire angles, leaves her vulnerable to return fire from AP shells. Mediocre range on main battery guns for so vulnerable a ship. Torpedoes are short ranged at 8km. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual/ CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / MODERATE / High / Extreme This ship doesn't do anyone any favours, new players least of all. Like the tier VII Pensacola of years prior, Cheshire is a lemon that will punish you for simply choosing to shoot your guns at the wrong time. As players become more familiar with the foibles of the British heavies, Cheshire (and her sister Albemarle) will become primary targets for the farming of easy Devastating Strike medals. For veterans, as appealing as the on-paper potential for this ship appears, in practice she's just too fragile to really feel worthwhile. You can do better in almost any other ship where skills like angling, island use, etc will serve you much better. Options Consumables There's nothing much out of the ordinary here short of her god-tier healing potion. Keep in mind that all consumables will be the premium version soon so I'm just listing those values. Cheshire's Damage Control Party is standard for a cruiser with a 60s reset timer. It's active for 5 seconds and has unlimited charges. Her Repair Party heals back up to 40% of her health base per charge over 20 seconds. She starts with two charges with a reset timer of 80s. You have the choice between two consumables in her last slot. Both consumables start with three charges base. Her Defensive AA Fire is active for 40s, increasing sustained DPS by 50% and explosion damage by 300%. It has an 80s reset timer. Her Hydroacoustic Search is active for 100s. It detects torpedoes at 3.5km and ships at 5km. It has a 120s reset timer. Upgrades Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. In your second slot, Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 is optimal if you can afford it. Obviously this dictates that you'll be eschewing using Defensive AA Fire but that's okay. This will set you back 17,000 Coal . Otherwise, default to Engine Room Protection. Aiming System Modification 1 is really the only upgrade worth taking in slot three. You have a choice in slot 4 depending on how you like to play. If you prefer island humping, then Propulsion System Modification 1 is preferable to improve your acceleration from a standstill. Otherwise, Steering Gears Modification 1 is your best bet. ER MAH GERD choice in slot 5!? Well, it's not really. Concealment System Modification 1 is still optimal. But, for the sake of argument, let's look at Ship Consumables Modification 1 and how it affects her consumables: With this, her Damage Control Party will now last 5.5 seconds. Yawn. Cheshire's Hydroacoustic Search will increase from 100s to 110s (or to 132s if you have Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 installed). This is nice. It's not game changing, but it's nice. Her Defensive AA Fire increases from 40s to 44s ... which doesn't really help. The duration of Defensive AA Fire was never the issue, but rather the damage it does. And here's the juicy bit: Her Repair Party adds another 2 ticks worth of healing -- or between 4% and 4.8% of her total health depending on if you're using the India Delta signal or not. This amounts to an additional 1,700 to 2,040hp per charge used with an upper maximum of 6,120 additional hp with three charges blown. So, is that worth giving up Concealment System Modification 1? Heck no. But Ship Consumables Modification 1 isn't terrible. It's just that Concealment System Modification 1 is (still) too damn good. Captain Skills Cheshire isn't a very skill-hungry boat. For the first 10 skill points, take the usual suspects. Your choice of a tier 1 skill -- I prefer Priority Target to let me know when my doom is nigh. Adrenaline Rush is optimal at tier 2. Through my play-testing, I used Superintendent as my skill of choice at tier 3, thinking I would get to make use of my Repair Party's extra heal. And to no one's surprise, Concealment Expert rounds things off at tier 4. Pick and choose your favourites for your remaining points. Camouflage Cheshire has two camouflage options: Type 10 and Victorian White camouflage. They both provide identical bonuses: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -10% to post-battle service costs. +50% experience earned. I do like the camouflage schemes for Cheshire. She's a nice looking ship. Firepower Main Battery: Six 234mm/50 guns in 3x2 turrets in an A-B-X superfiring configuration. Secondaries: Sixteen 113mm/45 guns in 8x2 turrets with four mounted each side in superfiring forward and rear positions. Torpedoes: Eight tubes in 2×4 launchers with one on each side mounted in the hull beneath the first funnel. Celebratory Pew-Pews Let's start with Cheshire's secondaries because they're largely forgettable. They are decent for cruiser secondaries. However, given that Wargaming has yet to implement any cruiser with kick-butt secondaries 'decent' doesn't matter. At least they have 19mm of penetration, so they're capable of directly damaging anything she faces. Their high rate of fire does spit out a lot of shells. But without phenomenal range or improved accuracy, they're just window dressing. I did kill a Dallas with one, so that was fun. The muzzle blasts off of Cheshire's guns are huge. Are 234mm guns worthwhile? This is the big question at the core of not only Cheshire's worth, but her higher-tiered sisters as well. What's the big deal with large-caliber guns on a cruiser? What can they do that faster-firing (or more plentiful) 203mm guns can't? What are their drawbacks? And finally, are they any good? In theory, a larger caliber gun provides inherent benefits over its smaller brethren. These include higher penetration values for both HE and AP shells, including energy retention over distance (which factors both into penetration and ballistics). In addition, the shells will individually cause more damage and have a higher chance of starting fires. The final benefit is that depending on the size of the shells, it's possible for their AP rounds to overmatch key armour values, ignoring ricochet mechanics. These benefits are typically off-set by a smaller number of barrels, a larger dispersion area, a slower rate of fire and worse gun handling. In summary, larger guns make it more likely that individual hits will cause significant damage but with fewer hits overall compared to smaller-caliber guns. Whether or not this exchange is worthwhile depends upon just how much these guns gain versus how much they surrender. For the sake of Cheshire's 234mm caliber weapons, we have a direct same-tier analogue to compare them to in the form of Albemarle's 203mm armament. Alpha versus DPM You would think that larger caliber guns, though fewer in number, would allow you to deliver more devastating volleys. The idea being that while you might not shoot as often, the fewer salvos hit harder. I wish that were the case. Let's take Albemarle vs Cheshire as an example. Citadel Penetrations (AP): 40,500 Albemarle vs 34,500 Cheshire Citadel Penetration (HE): 29,700 Albemarle vs 23,100 Cheshire Penetration (AP): 13,365 Albemarle vs 11,385 Cheshire Penetration (HE): 9,801 Albemarle vs 7,623 Cheshire Yeah, so that's a wash. A small bump up in gun caliber size does not provide an advantage in damage output on anything but a per-shell basis. So the increased shell damage does not make up for a three-gun deficit (though in theory it could make up for a two-gun deficit). Understandably, with a slower reload, the gap only opens up further. And it's not like Cheshire's reload is particularly slow either. Let me be clear, one of her gimmicks is the accelerated reload on her main battery guns. Drake and Goliath, using the same weapons, have a base reload time of 18 seconds. This can be modified down on these ships with the use of Main Battery Modification 3, providing them with a 15.8 second reload. Cheshire, meanwhile, boasts a 12.5s reload timer which is amazing -- this is a half second faster than Albemarle. So if there's any benefit to be found here, it has to be on how easily it is to make those shells deal damage rather than the damage potential itself. Cheshire's raw damage output values suck, so every hit needs to count. A cruiser with only six heavy guns has crappy DPM. Who knew? AP Performance Cheshire's AP shells are pretty good at ensuring they deal damage compared to 203mm AP shells found on Albemarle. I say 'pretty good' and not 'great'. There are three factors where they hold an advantage over her counterpart. She has high penetration. She has improved auto-ricochet angles. She has overmatch potential against a key structural armour value. ] Cheshire has Baltimore's AP penetration values with Japanese 203mm ballistics. Note that while Cheshire does have slightly improved auto-ricochet angles, they are not on par with Baltimore's. Her AP shells feel less effective overall because of this, even though they have about the same punch over distance. British 234mm AP shells have higher penetration than 203mm guns -- enough that it matters, but not so much where it's an advantage except at very close ranges. Like with HE shells, AP penetration values are important when they cross various functional thresholds -- like being enough to citadel cruisers at very long ranges or having enough to penetrate battleship belt armour at specific distances. Cheshire (and British 234mm guns in general) are capable of both of these things. Albemarle struggles but can still manage the former and is generally unable to do the latter. Understandably, this provides Cheshire with a bit more utility out of her AP shells -- at least in theory. That theory is much harder to put into practice. Punching through battleship belt armour is only possible at suicidal ranges -- well within 7km. At such distances, you're better suited to making use of her torpedoes rather than relying on the bite of her AP shells. I suppose every little bit helps, especially given that not all cruisers are capable of doing so. At least against cruisers, her AP shells are much more reliable, with enough extra penetration to contend with the relative increase in armour thickness due to angling. Of course, this only works up to a point. Curiously, Cheshire's 234mm AP shells have slightly improved auto-ricochet angles, though only slightly -- Cheshire's AP shells automatically ricochet at an angle of 65º instead of 60º though the chance for it to happen still starts at 45º. This runs contrary to the 234mm AP shells found on Goliath and Drake -- so it's something special found only on Cheshire. So it's less likely that Cheshire's shells will slide off before getting a chance to punch in, but only slightly. For example, 203mm AP shells normally have a 50/50 chance of ricocheting at 52º or so. That doesn't happen to Cheshire until about 55º. This a far cry from the American auto-ricochet angles, which on Baltimore run from 60º to 67.5º, This keeps Cheshire's AP from being a universal shell. Still, there are some targets that even angling against Cheshire will not avail them. Her AP shells can overmatch 16mm hull sections; an important armour threshold being found on the extremities and hulls of tier VI and VII heavy cruisers and tier VIII+ very light cruisers. It's also the armour value found tier VI and VII destroyer hull forms, providing the 234mm AP shells a whole range of targets where they need not wait for perfect broadsides in order to be effective. So that's kinda nice, if a bit of a niche superpower that 203mm AP shells can't pull off themselves. I did get a chance to put it to good effect against a Dallas in a brawl during playtesting which was nice -- he couldn't angle against me while I was able to smash shells down the length of his hull even when he angled. But that was one time in all of my play-testing. Matchmaking was part to blame in this -- being continually up-tiered meant that there were fewer targets where Cheshire's overmatch could be used, but even seeing an opponent I could overmatch didn't guarantee that I would have an opportunity to do so. These three elements make Cheshire's AP shells more useful than the AP shells of Albemarle though they don't stray into the potency of American Piercing shells which can be used a lot more often. So British 234mm AP shells are "more gooder" than Albemarle's 203mm AP shells, but I'd argue they're not good enough to make up for that alpha / DPM disparity. HE Performance The big numbers to concern ourselves with here are the thresholds needed to directly damage various parts of tier VIII+ battleships. These thresholds are: 1.) Their extremities (32mm) 2.) The upper hull and amidship deck of British & French battleships (32mm) 3.) The amidships deck of American battleships (38mm), 4.) The amidships deck of German battleships 50mm 4.) The amidships deck of Japanese battleships (57mm) 5.) The amidships deck of Soviet battleships (60mm). There is one thing, and one thing only to get excited over in regards to Cheshire's HE performance and that's her improved HE penetration. Cheshire has 59mm of base HE penetration as opposed to the 39mm she would be expected to have. This crosses an important (albeit, not crucial) threshold, allowing her to directly damage the amidship decks of many battleships along with the infamous extended armoured prows of Soviet ships. This, to me, creates a target preference for Cheshire . Specifically, she's better suited to hammering any vessel with extensive deck armour which includes most high-tier battleships (with the exception of the French and British) than most 203mm armed heavy cruisers. Cheshire is capable of stacking direct damage here where other cruisers will have their damage partially mitigated by shells that stray onto these thicker armoured sections. As nice as this is for Cheshire, it's a bit of a booby prize. While it does allow her to damage a wider variety of targets, when it comes to that DPM disparity mentioned previously, this advantage only comes into play in those select circumstances. HE penetration is a binary after all -- you can either penetrate or your shells shatter. There's no advantage to having more than you need. There's no point to Cheshire's 59mm of HE penetration when she's shooting up a destroyer or light cruiser. Thus, the only way her 234mm HE shells keep up with Albemarle's 203mm guns is through farming damage off of select battleships. That's really it. I've included the FPM of heavy cruisers using IFHE for the sake of comparison when trying to encroach upon Cheshire's massive penetration values (don't do this, it's silly). Overall, Cheshire is not a bad fire starter for a heavy cruiser. She's not great, mind you,but she's not bad. Cheshire may single fire her torpedoes like other British ships which is nice. I wish she had more range. These weapons are nice and hard hitting and could have done a lot to pad her mediocre gun DPM. But are they worth it? Heck no. Look, 234mm guns aren't terrible but short of pounding high-tier battleships with HE, Cheshire's main battery firepower offers nothing worthwhile. They didn't stand up to a direct comparison to Albemarle's guns and they're no rock stars, so where does that leave these things? Well, not in a good place. This isn't a ship that kills anything quickly, and that can be a real problem if she doesn't have the longevity to farm meaningful damage. To me, this means that the ship better have some miracle or gimmicks buried in the hull itself in order to make it worthwhile. Sadly, these don't materialize in her weapon systems. While Cheshire's six-guns are definitely a hurdle to overcome, I lay a lot of the blame with this ship's performance on her range. Her 16.1km main battery reach and her 8km range on her torpedoes makes maximizing Cheshire's firepower difficult. As you'll see in later sections regarding this ship, she just doesn't stand up to return fire. More range would have provided her with at least the semblance of being able to dodge. At 17.5km or more, I think I would have felt a lot more comfortable in this ship. 10km fish wouldn't have hurt either. In short, Cheshire's firepower is just plain bad. Her main battery guns can't keep up. Her torpedoes are too short ranged to be used in any role save that of desperation and cruiser secondaries are (still) not worth it. Like London, Cheshire's fire arcs aren't particularly good but at least they're consistent. For those wondering, "good" entails being able to fire 30º off the long axis of the ship, allowing the ship to fire while still giving her the best chance to take advantage of auto-ricochet mechanics. Still, Cheshire's 10º/s gun traverse is sexy. Verdict: Awful because she only has six guns. Also her torpedoes are too short ranged, but mostly because she only has six guns. Defense Hit Points: 42,500 Minimum Bow & Deck Armour: 25mm extremities with 30mm plating and deck amidships. Maximum Citadel Protection: 152mm belt armour Torpedo Damage Reduction: 19% With Cheshire's firepower woes, I was really (REALLY) hoping for some miracles in regards to her durability. I was an early optimist until I started playing this damn thing. Lemme show you why: [ Cheshire is a certified chungus. Look at that. Big healthy heals and a pretty chunky hit point pool to boot. Awesome! There's a whole lot to love here -- namely that Repair Party isn't a universal upgrade at tier VIII and just having one is a pretty solid advantage. Having a British "portable drydock" which heals back up to 40% of the ship's health per charge is amazing. In theory, Cheshire is built to outlast most of her contemporaries, which should largely make up for any deficits in her firepower. In theory. Cheshire's 30mm deck stands out -- normally tier VIII heavy cruisers only have 27mm thick decks. This does provide some benefits against small caliber HE shells from destroyers and overmatch protection against battleship caliber AP shells smaller than 429mm. That all falls apart when you realize that her protection scheme is a joke. Her citadel is specifically designed to maximize the number of citadel hits she takes -- I wish I was kidding. It's nigh impossible to angle Cheshire successfully against battleship fire of 380mm caliber or greater. Every incoming salvo is potentially world ending. She practically prints Devastating Strike medals for enemy battleships if they catch her out in the open, which means the best protection she could hope for is a big ol' rock to hide behind. The guilty party here is Cheshire's "stepped" citadel. Not only does this section sit up significantly higher (and let's keep in mind, the rest of Cheshire's citadel already peeks over the waterline), but the upright angles ensure that battleship caliber shells that are slamming down the length of the ship will still smack against the citadel if they're aimed high. Furthermore, it creates a weak point where ships capable of overmatching her 27mm upper hull can STILL dunk shots into her citadel when she's steeply angled where as other cruisers could at least content themselves that their belt armour will keep out the worst of it. And, while Cheshire does have some hull sections that can ricochet up to 381mm AP shells, her soft bow and stern provide openings that even these will get through. This isn't a problem unique to Cheshire, it's shared by Albemarle and to a lesser degree by Goliath. But spreading the pain doesn't make this any more acceptable. Kiting and dodging in open water a fool's errand -- any shots that come in are potentially lethal. When Cheshire is top tier, on the rare occasions where she's facing 356mm armed battleships (or smaller), surprise-surprise, she becomes a little monster. But banking on that kind of Matchmaking is a fool's errand for a tier VIII cruiser. I'm no stranger to playing squishy cruisers, but I'm used to there being some trade-off for it. Maybe the ship has excellent firepower. Maybe her consumables are amazing. Maybe she has excellent agility and speed to facilitate dodging. Maybe her Repair Party could come off cooldown very quickly? I dunno, I would expect something for all of Cheshire's woes. So here's the bad news. That 'hump' of Cheshire's stepped citadel is her Achilles' heel. It's too easy to hit and it makes angling in this ship next to impossible against high penetration AP shells. Oh, those thick citadel decks will also guarantee that AP bombs wreck you thoroughly. Verdict: Her Repair Party is amazing. Too bad she can't survive long enough to take advantage of it. Agility Top Speed: 34kts Turning Radius: 720m Rudder Shift Time: 10.5s 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 5.8º/s On the whole, I have to give Cheshire decent marks here. Her top speed is respectable for a cruiser. Her turning radius isn't horrible. Her rate of turn is acceptable. The only real glaring flaw is her rudder shift time and even that's not irredeemable. Don't get me wrong, she could certainly be better -- but she's not terrible. The only thing that I wish she had was better acceleration, especially given her love of island-humping. That can be partially corrected by taking Propulsion Modification 1 but that would preclude her from fixing her rudder shift time with Steering Gears Modification 1. I certainly value the former over the latter given the current meta. Given Cheshire's firepower and durability problems, "respectable" agility just doesn't cut it. In of itself, Cheshire's agility would be fine for a heavy cruiser -- even good, but with everything else stacked against this ship, it's just not enough. I would kill for her to have British light cruiser improved engine power -- to make taking shelter behind islands easier or to facilitate dodging. I would love it if she was even two knots faster, to make running down destroyers or dodging in open water feel a bit more viable, but it's just not there. Man, I've gotten to re-use this graphic three times now. All the time saved makes me very happy. VERDICT: She's not terrible, but she doesn't stand out here in a good or bad way. Anti-Aircraft Defense Flak Bursts: 7 explosions for 1,470 damage per blast Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 168dps at 90% accuracy Medium Ranged (up to 2.5km): 228dps at 90% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 249dps at 85% accuracy Cheshire has some truly monstrous levels of AA firepower -- it's enough to grant her near immunity to tier VI carriers. This, of course, translates to merely inconveniencing tier VIII and X aircraft carriers. Cheshire will shoot down a lot of planes. Given that she's not starved for commander skill points, you could even go so far as to spend a few towards boosting her AA performance further if you were so inclined. This ship has to be good at something, after all. With apologies (still) to the colour-blind. Cheshire has arguably the best AA firepower of any tier VIII vessel. Unless it was show-stopping levels of air-defense, you couldn't sell me a premium based on its AA firpower, though. Verdict: Really good. Like, "make tier VI carriers cry" levels of good. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 12.1km/9.51km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 7.51km/6.08km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 7.5km Main Battery Firing Range: 16.1km Cheshire has good surface detection values. They're not great, but they're good. Any cruiser capable of dropping their concealment below the 10km range is really nice and I can't complain here at all about Cheshire's concealment values. Had this been paired with benefits anywhere else, such as agility, durability, firepower, good consumables, etc, I would probably be singing this ship's praises, but here we are. Cheshire doesn't interact well with smoke -- her 7.5km detection range when opening fire is scarcely better than her improved surface detection so she can't dare follow destroyers in to take advantage of their advanced smoke screens. Again, this further relegates this ship to humping islands and hoping against hope that she's an unappealing target. Verdict: Good, but not enough to save the ship. Final Evaluation I'm not going to mince words here. I hate this ship. I hate playing it. I'm glad this review is over. I'm not touching it again until Wargaming does something to improve her lot. Cheshire offers nothing, nothing of value. Her 234mm guns with their improved HE penetration could have been a very interesting armament but their performance stops well short of that mark. This ship needs more range, more agility and/or a faster reload before I would consider her to be a worthwhile investment. Even in co-op battles, while it's certainly possible to do well, you're not really gaining anything over taking out Albemarle instead. Yes, you might be able to get a few more HE penetrations on high-tier battleships, but you could get the same if you just stuck to peppering superstructures or the bows with 203mm guns. While overmatching the snoots of charging tier VI and VII bot-cruisers with AP shells is entertaining, it's not worth the price paid to acquire this ship. I'm sorry I didn't get this review out sooner. Keep well clear of this failure. Conclusion Reviewing Cheshire has been really taxing. My enjoyment of World of Warships was severely compromised with having to keep coming back to this damn thing. It's bad enough to play a bad ship, but it makes every little frustration just that much more poignant. Anyway, it's over, finally. I'm going to go do something else for a bit to recharge my batteries.
Only 6 guns in 3 turrets with a 12.5 second reload.....slow firing for only six 8" guns. Worst of all it is squishy as ripe avocado. Does not turn fast enough to be a kiting cruiser and even then you only have two gun barrels aft. Accuracy of your six guns is average at best. Remember you only have six guns that have a short range of 16 km. If you are playing tier tens, probably 40% of your games, then that 16km range is the sweet spot for most tier ten battleships like Kremlin and Grober Kurfurst. How in the hell are you suppose to play this ship???? You also get ONE, count them ONE heal. And, Two, count them, TWO hydro search consumables. AND THAT IS IT.....NOTHING ELSE TO HELP SAVE THIS SHIP.
Greetings all, The cycle for the RN CAs development is drawing to a close. Being an aficionado of most things RN, I should have been excited when I first saw this ships. I wasn't expecting them so soon, not a priority, but here they are. And my initial reaction was cautious, and has since sunk to a deep disappointment and contempt. For, at least in my opinion and based on what I know, the gameplay and historical accuracy of these ships is rather lacking. I'll list the historical stuff first. Gameplay stuff at the bottom. Maybe dump the proposed statistics I have for the Trainspite patent superior RN CA line™ in a different thread later down the line. If you don't care for what effectively mounts to historical nitpicking and whinging about fake ships, fair warning. I'll try not to get too sidetracked from my purpose of pointing out perceived mistakes, WG have done some good, and a whole lot of not so good with the line. Hawkins Personally, the obvious choice for a T5 RN CA, a class that was the forefather of the WNT CAs. The ship has been modelled in her 1930s condition, after a refit which converted her from coal to oil firing. The A-hull represents Hawkins quite well in this form. There are still a few issues though, especially with the B-hull. - For both hulls, Hawkins has twin torpedo tubes mounted on the deck. Historically, the class had six, later reduced to four fixed tubes in fixed beam mounts.This is a gameplay decision, much like with Furutaka, Trento and Zara, to avoid having a regular cruiser without them. Perhaps they could only appear on the B-hull, but I digress, such sacrifices are sometimes necessary. Others though aren't. - The A-hull has what seems to be an acceptable AA scheme, perhaps representative of just after Hawkin's reactivation in 1940. Personally I would switch one pair of 40mm for the 7.7mm in the bridge wings, making more sense given that is where further AA was fitted. - The B-hull AA is mostly fictional. Hawkins never carried any quad 12.7mm. The quad 40mm pompoms on the stern are nonsensical. Effectively WG haven't modelled any other AA positions, and inserted whichever AA they felt like at the time. At least the part that is correct are the quad 40mm pompoms in the bridge wings. I made a nice little graphic from an IWM image of Hawkins, showing her 1944/1945 AA outfit. This would be best the AA should get. And it's not like it is bad for T5 either. Applying this AA outfit to the 1930s model of Hawkins is a better solution than just making an entirely new AA suite up. - One thing that is noticeable from the above image compared to the in game Hawkins B-hull is the secondary 102mm / 4" armament. After refits in the 1920s which removed the original 76mm secondary guns, Hawkins would carry 4 single 102mm to her end. In game, for some inexplicable reason, Hawkins has these replaced by very out of place dual 102mm (Mk.XVI) which barely fit in the places where the single 102mm (QF Mk.V) should be. - Onto a more specific model issue, the director behind the aft funnel is in it's later 1940s condition, being anachronistic with the otherwise 1930s model of the ship. Below are two pictures from the 1930s of Hawkins with this earlier, more prominent director, compared with the wartime director which Hawkins has in game on below. Note the central location of the rangefinder on the structure, along with it's height above said structure. This director is also shown in the profiles in the Perkins Identification Guide Volume 3 for Hawkins. - Alongside the aforementioned issues, Hawkins may also have an armour mistake, with the sections of armour circled below being 51/57mm in game, but should be 38mm (at least according to Jane's). I'm unsure of this one since I haven't got any other sources for it, but it is worth noting nonetheless. Devonshire Devonshire is not exactly the regular County class representative most predicted. The sub-class leaders/name ships were Kent, London and Norfolk. However, WG have only modelled the London sub-class hull. The Kents had hulls with significant differences, so personally I would use the very similar Norfolk as the regular ship over Devon. Certainly there is no particular reason to include Devon other than London being a premium and Kent and Norfolk not being modelled. Also personally, this ship should be at T7, the conceptually similar Surrey being my proof of this. - Devonshire has been modelled in her 1944/1945 refitted condition. This refit removed her catapult and aircraft facilities, alongside her X-turret, removed in favour of extra AA. Once again, the model seems relatively accurate, but with one big exception. Devonshire retains X-turret. Which casts confusion as to why WG decided to model Devonshire in a condition where she only ever had 3x 2 203mm turrets. - Because Devonshire has the original eight 203mm guns, the AA is obviously thrown into wack. Two quadruple 40mm pompoms and various 20mm oerlikons are missing as a result. The B-hull upgrades this to have octuple 40mm pompoms, and many sources back this up, however from photographs, such as the one below, it appears only quadruple 40mm are fitted, which is a bit unusual. Also note the suspiciously absent X-turret. - The shells Devonshire uses in game are incorrect. According to the statistics from gamemodels3d, these shells are the type supposed to be fired from the new 203mm guns that would arm 1940s new build RN CAs. This is evidenced most easily through the 811mps muzzle velocity, opposed to the correct 855mps that can be found on London and Exeter. - The permanent camouflage is also accurate for the period of 1944/1945 for Devonshire, except that the colours are incorrect, since WG are basing these camouflages on a book that misrepresents several RN camouflage colours. As much as a like my green shades, the RN didn't really have them based on historical analysis by others. This also applies to the camouflages of Surrey, Albemarle, Drake and Goliath, which are based off schemes worn by Norfolk, Sussex, Suffolk and Kent respectively. - Surrey Surrey is a bit of a mess in game. It should be simple enough, the planned ships are not a mystery. The model for Surrey looks incredibly rushed over with regard to some details, as if some details have just been excluded or passed over. Especially around the amidships deck area. Which is a shame since otherwise it follows what I would expect. At least one previous issue did get fixed for Surrey, so maybe I can cross some off the list below in the future. For now though, they massacred my boy. - For reference, I'll use a shipbucket drawing of the Surrey-class as potentially completed. As far as I know, the plans for Surrey and Northumberland never included the Exeter-style bridge, but the two planned cruisers afterwards did. It seems likely that the former two ships would get this addition though. - Surrey has the same problem as Devonshire regarding the shells used. They are also of the wrong, more modern 1940-era type. - The bridge in game is excessively tall. Effectively two entire deck levels too tall. Compare to the drawing above, or Exeter, or Leander, and Surrey in game. Personally this ruins the ships looks, giving the ship an ungainly forward heavy appearance. It isn't RN practice around the time this ship would have been built either. - The Surrey class as planned and likely built would have the same catapults as Exeter, two fixed catapults on deck, angled off each side. In game, Surrey has a single rotating catapult, which was a feature of earlier preliminary designs, but Surrey and further heavy cruisers of her type would most likely not be completed with one. - The belt armour in game is a straight 152mm, while I have only ever seen the Surrey-class and two follow on cruisers quoted with a 5.75" belt (146mm). Backing plate differences might explain this, but I can't confirm. - The tripod masts are exceptionally tall, in particular the tripod legs, which again adds to the ungainly appearance. I would suggest at least reducing the height of the legs so they meet the mast lower down. - In game, Surrey gets rebuilt from her planned 4x 1 102mm/45 QF Mk.V, to having 6x 2 102mm/45 QF Mk.XVI. All other County class cruisers only had 4 of these mounts fitted, so Surrey being fitted with six in rather basic fashion along her sides with small overhangs on her hull feels forced on WG's part. - Regarding AA, Surrey would have been originally built with 2 Octuple 40mm pompoms. This should really be represented on the A-hull, but isn't since only quadruples are present. - The machinery module for Surrey in game displays a value of 110,00shp. Surrey was planned with a 60,000shp powerplant, which was the cause of the lower 30/30.25 knot speed. Improved versions were considered, and could potentially be module upgrades. Albemarle This ship is another Frankenstein's monster product, as it is the hull of Neptune, outfitted with a different superstructure and the triple 203mm turrets alongside other statistics from the 1939/40/41 RN CA designs. In other words, a fake or fictional ship. At least it's name was changed to something more appropriate of a period RN CA (still waiting on Cheshire to follow suit). - It is easy to tell that this ship is derived from Neptune, a 1944 design, rather than the authentic RN CA designs which died out beforehand in 1942/3 From the slope of the transom stern, the lack of a knuckle on the bow, to the raked funnels and the structure of the armour scheme. I even counted and noted the position of the portholes/scuttles and they matched near perfectly. Call that boredom, insanity or dedication as you seem appropriate. - The superstructure has obviously been changed from Neptune, but it doesn't resemble what an RN CA from 1940 would look like. The bridge has some serious overhang, especially compared to contemporary RN cruisers like Superb and Swiftsure. The funnels on new builds CAs would be straight with no funnel caps, as opposed to the raked Neptune funnels on Albemarle. - Compared to the January 1940 15,500t cruiser design (shown below) that I presume this ship is pretending to be, the hangar is in the wrong place, as this design rather unusually had the hangar just fore of the second funnel, as opposed to the more familiar hangar that is attached to the back of the bridge and forward superstructure, which was a feature of later 1940 and 1941 RN CA designs. - The torpedoes are in a cut out in the hull, and this is decidedly against RN practice of the time. Future 1941 CA designs that followed on had torpedoes added on deck, and there is no reason to believe a cutout would be needed. The cutouts in Surrey are a one off I believe, to save deck space and topweight. There were no such concerns for the vast majority of later CA designs. As such, a more appropriate place for the torpedoes would be on the deck, roughly alongside the second funnel on the drawing below. - Once again compared to the design, Albemarle has 6x 2 4.5" Mk.V, ripped off of Neptune. The 4.5" secondaries were only introduced to 8" armed cruisers in 1941 from my memory. In any case, the 1940 design that is most well known about has 6x 2 102mm instead (as per Edinburgh and in game Surrey). - The 1940 design above shows the general arrangement of the ship, the shipbucket drawing based on two known reproductions of the original plans. The hull of this design is similar to Neptune's in dimensions, but not the same, and comes from an earlier generation of cruiser. - The machinery estimate for this design was 125,000shp, Albemarle in game has 110,000shp listed. That seems to have been inherited from Neptune too. Either that or it is combining stats from the later 1941 CA designs which had significantly cut back armour. - The AP shell of Albemarle's 203mm gun (the Mk. IX / Mk. X) has the incorrect weight, since they are 116.1kg in game, the same as the AP shells from the earlier 203mm Mk.VIII on the County class. 131.5kg was the weight of the new AP round for the new gun as reported. It's a funny situation when Devon and Surrey have taken the shells from Albemarle, yet Albemarle's AP takes somewhat from the earlier shells (still got the newer velocity, drag and other values). Drake Personally, I would like to see this ship as a T10. It's certainly capable of it (or at least was - I'll keep quiet until it is released for good). I believe this ship is one designed by W.G. John, one of the series of larger cruisers he had looked into from 1938-1940. However, either WG have chosen a very experimental version of the design that I am not aware of, or they have made a number of silly mistakes that defy what the RN would have done (Kind of like how the fictional ship Dallas defies a few USN practices). Which is a shame, since I have suggested the 9x 9.2" RN cruiser design under the name Drake for 2 and a half years at this point, and I obviously have a bit more of a keen interest in this RN CA over the others. - Starting with the most major issue to my eyes, and it is underneath the waterline. The Royal Navy wouldn't use a triple shaft arrangement for a modern cruiser, during the 1930s/1940s, it was basically an exclusive arrangement to the new aircraft carriers like Ark Royal. Every single other cruiser built for the Royal Navy in the 20th Century had either 2 or 4 shafts (except one, the Topaze-class HMS Amethyst). The best explanation I can think of is that there was a 3-shaft version of the design that attempts to save some weight, but that is purely speculative, I would love to visit the archives to find out. - I suspect this is a knock on effect from the triple shaft arrangement, but the X-turret sits needlessly high up, which is a waste of topweight, and creates a large exposed barbette to hit. It wouldn't be part of a chosen RN cruiser design. - The same issue as Albemarle (and all the T8-10 RN cruisers for that matter). The torpedo cut outs. As already said, they were basically a one off for Surrey, and most new RN cruiser designs like the 1941 designed CAs had the torpedoes mounted on the deck, generally around the aft superstructure. - I do question the type of 4.5" (113/114mm) secondary used on Drake. As design in 1939/1940, the 4.5" mount used during the designing stage would most likely be the Mk.II BD as seen on Queen Elizabeth, Illustrious and Implacable. If completed during the war, it would most likely be these mounts on the new cruiser. If construction dragged into the post-war period, the 4.5" Mk. V as seen on Daring and Neptune would probably be substituted in. The current Mk.IV mount just seems unlikely. - The style of the 9.2" (234mm) turrets is also questionable. It follows the design pattern of the Battleship calibre turrets with flat fronts. No design of a triple or twin 9.2" turret was ever completed, (or a triple 8" for that matter either), but it seems more likely to me that the design would follow the previous cruiser turret styles, with a sloped front and the middle gun moved back. This style of turret is modelled for the triple 8" on Albemarle, but the 9.2”-armed ships get this flat faced turret, as if they are trying to imitate RN BBs. - The machinery of Drake is listed at 102,000shp, which is suspiciously on the low end of things. Considering the 9x 9.2" design of February 1940 was slated to require around 160,000shp to get it moving at 33 knots. - The citadel end armour should be 114mm, not 177mm thick IIRC. - The biggest issue is the guns, and I will detail them more with Goliath below. Suffice to say, nearly everything about them looks to be incorrect. From shell, to designation, to turret. Goliath This ship was confusing to me at first, and still is to some extent. Umbaretz mentioned in a developer thread that this was Scheme III from 1938, again from the pre-war large cruiser designs armed with 9.2" guns. And some parts of Goliath back this up. These designs had a 203mm thick belt initially. But the appearance of this ship always threw me off. It's decidedly modern, decidedly post-WW2. Lattice masts, Vanguard style funnels, 4.5" Mk.V mounts and a flush hull with no knuckle on the bow for seakeeping. A lot of these features can just be waved away as being refitted to a ship in construction, but eventually I have reached a conclusion that at this point I feel is the most likely case. Goliath is most likely a fictional ship created by WG (surprising, there are so many of them these days). The basis for the design may lie with the 1938 designs, but the ship has been modelled in a way as if it was constructed entirely during and post-WW2 akin to Vanguard, with a large block like superstructure (with an ugly overhang on the bridge). Some of the basic statistics and features of the 1938 designs may have carried over, but this is a substantially new ship, a new ship created in St Petersburg. That being said, I would love further information, from the length of the model, to any sort of response from WG. I can't be completely sure of my theory; I have neither the time or money right now to book visits to archives in the National Maritime Museum and check. I'd love to in the future. If any information is around that would question my points in this thread, I would welcome it. - Getting back to the ship, it has a familiar issue. The torpedo cutouts are unsuitable as mentioned before. The 9.2" turrets are of an unlikely style. But I did say when going over Drake that I would talk about the 9.2" guns, and how they appear to be completely wrong, and thus I shall. - In game, Drake and Goliath use the 9" / 234mm/50 Mk.II, it has a muzzle velocity of 841mps, a shell weight of 185kg and shells simply being AP and HE 6crh. This weapon doesn't exist., and the combination of statistics are implausible. The 9"/51 Mk.XII was a gun built in limited numbers that saw service on the Norwegian turned British monitors Gorgon and Glatton. These guns were all gone before the 1930s and certainly weren't in contention for arming any new build heavy cruisers. The muzzle velocity was originally 881mps, from the Mk.XI gun, (not the 896/933mps of the Mk.XII), 841mps, alongside the 185kg shell weight weren't part of any 9.2" RN weapon system. The most likely option to arm new CAs with 9.2" would be the 9.2"/47 Mk.X, armed with new Mk.XIIa APC shells To quote a friend of mine; The 9.2" Mk.X was a much more numerous and successful weapon, with enough barrels left to arm 2 to 4 new heavy cruisers. Using supercharged values, the muzzle velocity would be 875mps, opposed to 838mps normally. The new shells were 177.4kg in weight. To sum up, the 9.2" in game arming Cheshire, Drake and Goliath don't match anything I know of regarding the 9.2" RN guns. Maybe others can try and shed light on that. London and Cheshire also aren't available to the public, so I'll be brief. London miraculously is almost completely accurate for her 1943 condition. Which sometimes takes my mind off London being one of the worst experiences in the entire game to play, but that is dangerous territory to talk about.The one thing that lets London down historically is the camouflage, again being based on a flawed understanding of RN camouflages. In this case, London sports a scheme an all over Green and Grey scheme from 1943. From looking at a few photographs of London from the period, it should be rather obvious the ship was not painted in all over olive green. The correct scheme by my reckoning is a base of light grey (507C/G45), with dark grey (507A/G10) patches on the hull, with B30 blue patches on the forward superstructure and funnels. I made a stunning piece of artwork to show what I believe London's camouflage should be. Cheshire is the fake brother of Albemarle. Same damn cloned Neptune hull, with twin 9.2" slapped on it. Only this time it gets the RN post-war treatment, with an extra pair of 4.5" mounts at the expense of the catapult and lattice masts. Same abnormal torpedo cutout, same questionable style of 9.2" turret as the T9/10, all the same 9.2" issues as said above, same old fake/fictional ship. Hopefully it goes back to the fires in the pit of hell from whence it came (and it can take the other fictional RN ships back with it - Monarch, Conqueror/Thunderer, Goliath and Albemarle). Gameplay It's meh. It could be a lot, lot worse. The ships could be gimmicked to high hell and back like the RN CLs, or DDs, but they aren't. Which is something at least. The main traits of the line as I see it are: - HP Repair - Increased HE Damage/Fire Chance - Low RoF / restricting damage - More minor things like single fire torps and good concealment. A problem I perceive is that the T6 and T9 ships are currently one tier below where their natural tier should be. Surrey is definitive proof of concept that Devon (and London by extension) should be T7 ships. They are not dissimilar in stats, and Surrey is the far more enjoyable and effective ship to play. Comparing this to T6 Devon, it feels limited by range and reload, making it a rather frustrating experience to play. One moment you can rule the roost, and the next you are utterly useless with little effective damage and no capacity to fight back. London is like that to an extreme degree, and is one of the most awful experiences and pieces of game design thusfar. Plus, there is the bonus of having the historically active ships from T5-7 if the County class was at T7. Could get a T6 York along the lines of the initial version of Exeter with that. Albemarle suffers from being a cloned Neptune hull, with a cloned Neptune citadel. It is massive, and thus the ship isn't adept at dodging unlike Surrey and has a pronounced vulnerability unlike the other RN CAs. It is a fake ship though, so I care little for balance. It deserves to suck, I wouldn't try and buff it to compete with the overpowered Baltimore or Charles Martel. Hawkins has the potential to be decent, but there are a few things that really hold the ship back. The massive citadel surprisingly isn't one of them, as in my opinion, the 9s rudder shift, combined with a 14s reload, and poor firing arcs on the rear 3 turrets make Hawkins very awkward to use effectively. The ship feels as if it is working against you. A buff to a 7s rudder shift comparable to Furutaka would allow some greater flexibility, alongside allowing the turrets to traverse to their maximum potential firing angle. The ship is a decent fire-setter can should usually be played that way, so strictly speaking, the reload doesn't really need to be buffed. But lowering it would make the ship more comfortable and reliable. The T9 and T10 are still not in public hands, so I have to be limited in what I say. Nothing too detailed, I'm no CC afterall. Else the KGB Black Ladas move in on my location. I think their armaments have their damage capacity stifled to too great a degree. Having relatively poor shell arcs for the size, combined with near 20s reload makes the damage severely situational. Not far off acceptable, but uncompetitive as of current. Perhaps one of the more obvious problems with their gameplay, at least for me, is that the ships are relatively unexciting to play. In their current state, they don't really have a place outside of taking up a cruiser slot on the team. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean there is no incentive to play them. Due to the historical ships being shoved a tier down, there are only two of them in the line, opposed to 4 paper ships, and 2 of those paper ships are fictional designs, you won't play these cruisers because they are British or because they have any historical gravitas behind them. They aren't suitable for competitive modes since they lack options, a defined role and flexibility. In random battles they are just about acceptable, and that is the best that can be said of them. I have compared the line to a mix of Japanese and Italian cruisers in the past. Japanese for the focus on HE, Italian for the relatively long reloads and having ships that are 1 tier below where they should be. Obviously it is not as simple as that, but that is the feeling I get. Personally I would make a number of significant changes to the line, but then I would, wouldn't I. I'm itching to lead a crusade against some of the unnecessary fictional/fake ships in game. Albemarle would have to be re-modelled from scratch barring the turrets and parts of the superstructure. The other less egregious models likewise. My main proposal for balancing RN CAs before this lacklustre attempt from WG was to give the ships increased plating. Enough to be able to auto-bounce roughly half of the BB calibre AP shells at that ships tier. The T10 would have 30mm fore and aft plating, and 32mm amidships and the T6 would have 25/27mm for example. It has it's balancing ups and downs, but it could create a line of tougher CAs, with a distinct playstyle. Certain aspects from the current CA line would carry over too, we just don't go overboard on gimmicks, other features would be no super HP repair, and HP repair, along with radar, gets added at T8, though probably in the same slot as HP repair to force some choice. Right now, the role these ships have is filled in a much better way by existing ships, which is not great, not terrible. The 3.6 Roentgen of cruiser lines. I would probably go create a thread about my 'superior' CA line in itself, considering I have had most of the statistics bobbing around since 2017. I'll link it here if I post it on this forum. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.