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How to Charles Martel (Tier VIII, French Heavy Cruiser)

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A heavy cruiser project (Project C5A3) designed to rival potential adversaries: new ships of this type that were being built in Germany. The main difference from the previous ships was manifested in the enhancement of the ship's main guns located in triple turrets. WGWiki

Charles_Martel_wows_main.jpg
 


Meep! Meep!

 

This cruiser really is the Road Runner of Tier VIII cruisers.  When I think of the Charles Martel as compared to other Tier VIII cruisers, I see a lot of great potential.  When the French cruiser line was first advertised, many noted that the ship had a high citadel and that the wet tissue paper protecting the citadel was insufficient for the ship to survive.  Because of this obvious weakness, many recommended that sailing the French would lead to disaster and frustration.  I have found that this cruiser does not need to be well armored, because like the Khabarovsk, she can sit at a distance and simply pepper her enemies to death with high explosive shells all the while running and dodging everything they are throwing at her.

 

How to Sail Her: 

 

This will likely receive some backlash, but I will make the statement, this cruiser excels in open water.  I know counterintuitive to traditional cruiser play.  The Martel needs to be moving, constantly, and almost never in reverse, although be used to kiting early and often in the match.  A sitting Martel is going to be dead from AP in a few short bursts.  You want your cruiser moving in open water, zigging and zagging between 13.5km and 17.5km from your targets.  I have found that I am most effective with this cruiser at these ranges, at least until the later portion of the mid-game or even late game when you either need to make a play or you are on mop-up duties.

 

So, is the Charles Martel another Heavy Cruiser designed to spam high explosive shells on a target for shock value after getting in as close as possible?  Some would argue yes.  I find that the Martel is best suited for shooting early, often and starting with the largest ships available.  Now this might seem backwards to those who play cruisers/rely on them and those who feel the job of the cruiser is to sink the destroyers first and foremost.  Do not get me wrong, a destroyer inside of 11km is still a viable priority target, but outside of that look to bigger slower moving targets.  Let your damage per a minute slowly eat away at the enemy fleet.  Unlike the Japanese Cruisers which use stealth to get close and punish, the Martel wants to simply get off the first shot while kiting away.  Other cruisers want to deal with DDs, the Martel, wants to deal with/impact the overall health pool of the enemy team.

 

During the early game, that is the first five minutes of the match, the most important thing you can do is, ensure you are not seen until you fire your first salvo, be already turning away before you fire, and don’t take massive damage to early.  Try to avoid getting any closer than 14km from a BB during this period because inside of 14km they can and will citadel you.  Additionally, unseen cruisers screening for them will likely be 2-4km in front of them and will melt you.  The key is to try and do 20-30k early damage, cause some fires, evade, and escape to the mid-game where your ship will really begin to excel.

 

During the mid-game 15 minutes remaining till about 6 minutes remaining OR when the enemy is reduced from 10 to 5 ships remaining, your ship needs to pull its weight.  No matter the tier.  Here, you need to pound overextended battleships, lighting fires as you go.  Once one or two are set and burning, move on to the next target.  Keep the fires spreading around the enemy fleet.  Here you may even find a use for your torpedoes.  I usually use my speed boost to get to a weak flank, and since the enemy is usually pushing at this point, here is where I let the torpedoes fly.  This is often done between 13 and 10.5km, as an oncoming ship will more than make up the ground to run into the torpedo before it hits its maximum 9km range.  Most importantly, during this time is keeping the guns hot.  Always be moving and always keep them shooting as much as possible at something.  If not, be moving to an area where they will have that impact.

 

During the late game, that is when the enemy is reduced to less than 5 ships or under six minutes remain, you may have to be a little more aggressive.  If that means capping, do it.  Whatever it takes.  Your speed makes you probably the most flexible cruiser in the game (tier for tier).  You may have to risk your ship, at least you know you can still outrun problems.

 

Strengths:

 

Speed/Maneuver:  So the base speed with my signal flag is 34.1 knots.  With the Speed Boost, I can hit 40.2 knots.  Only thing outrunning you at that point is a Russian DD…and let’s be clear, you probably don’t want to be chasing a Khab anyways.  This really makes this ship the Road Runner as I suggested above.  You can outrun just about every design to hurt you, but if Wyle Coyote ever catches you, it’s going to hurt a lot.  If I could give advice to Captains (BB and CA) who are engaged with a Martel, break contact (run away) and don’t waste ammo on one that is over 14km away and actively maneuvering unless there is just no other target available.  You will miss most of the time, and this can become a very frustrating ordeal as your decks go up in fire.  The exception to that comment is the Zao and Moskva, which with their rail guns, seem to have better success.  Also, since you are usually operating from a bit further in the back…things like radar are of little consequence.

 

High Explosive Shells:  In my ships current configuration, I have a 19 percent chance to cause a fire with each salvo.  Not as good as the Japanese cruisers with their 22 percent, but with a faster rate of fire, it all works out.  With a range of 17.6km, you will start hitting enemy battleships early in the match and this is always a great benefit to the team.  Most BB captains tend to let a single fire burn.  If you are trying to stack damage, I found that by the 16-minute mark remaining, I was often sitting at 25k+ damage and it would just continue to roll.  I would average about 12 fires per a game in the Martel, and having an Arsonist or Witherer every few matches was not uncommon.

 

Survivability:  Yes, I just said that about a French cruiser.  Of all the cruisers that I own at Tier VIII (which is all of them), the Charles Martel has the highest survival rate.  Interestingly, because of this, I think I have also benefited from a higher win rate, damage per battle, and overall experience.  Something about this ship just clicks, and because of its speed and maneuverability combination, it is not easily killed.  Even when I did die, it was often because I was the last ship on the field.  This ship has the potential to carry a Captain to the late game, they just need to understand how to sail her.

 

Weaknesses:

 

Armor:  Wet tissue paper over an ammo magazine.  You will get citadel’d from just about any angle if you take a hit.  If not, it will almost certainly be a pen.  The key is to keep moving, stay over 14km, and dodge.  Taking a pen or over-pen is fine if you are greatly punishing the pursuer in return.

 

Health:  You can ill afford to get into a gun duel with a well angled cruiser inside of 12km.  They will eat you alive.  Even if you win the exchange you are usually reduced to under 25 percent health.  The exchange in this manner just is not good, and this is in large part due to the soft armor of the ship.  Worst mistakes I have seen and committed myself, was getting to close to a Bismarck or other German BB with secondary’s that melt your hull.

 

Destroyers:  This ship can deal massive damage to a DD inside of 10km.  That is not the point.  The slower reload makes it better suited for hitting larger ships.  I have struggled with this ship to take down destroyers.  However, in the current meta, with heavy focus on BBs, this shortcoming is easily overcome.

Other:  The torps have good angles, but do mediocre damage for torpedoes and rarely cause flooding.  Lastly, there is only one set, so they are meh, if not a bonus.  The armor piercing is solid and I have scored plenty of citadel hits on other cruisers from Tier VI to Tier X, but it is nothing extraordinary and seems standard for a cruiser.  The shell arcs are in the middle of the pack and I have adjusted to them.  They are not rail guns, but they don’t take 3 minutes to land on a target either.

 

Captain Skills:  I took the following skills to complete my French Captain, slowly building them over time.  This is the recommended order.

Priority Target (1) – Always good to know who is looking at you and how many.

Expert Marksmen (2) – Turret traverse was important for me as I was constantly re-angling my ship to avoid incoming fire.

Demolition Expert (3) – 2% Fire Chance to hit.  Yeah…extremely useful.  This skill is critical to maximizing the fire starting on enemy vessels.

Concealment Expert (4) – I like stealth.  I prefer to get in the first shot.  I do not like having the priority target indicator showing 4-8 before I ever open fire with my main battery. 

Adrenaline Rush (2) – Critical in the mid to late stages of the game.  This will increase your rate of fire and just makes your ship a juggernaut of burn to enemy vessels.

Advanced Firing Training (4) – I elected to go AA build on my cruiser.  I was rarely if ever in torpedo range, and therefore skills like Vigilance were never really needed.  In 100 games, I think my ship hit a total of 4 or 5 torpedoes.

Basic Firing Training (3) – To help finish the AA build, plus made the secondary batteries a bit meaner.

 

Ship Modules:

 

Main Armaments Modification 1:  A must have.  The turrets on this cruiser tend to get incapacitated on the regular, (especially the rear turret) as you kite away.  This will reduce that just a bit.

Aiming Systems Modification 1:  Again, I want as many shells to land on the target I am aiming at as possible.  While many will shatter, the chance of fire is greatly increased.

Engine Boost Modification 1: Four minutes and thirty seconds of speed boost per a charge.  Enough said.  This also allows you to save captain points and not necessarily invest in Superintendent.  You essentially have a charge available for every stage of the game and can be moving at full speed for 13.5 minutes of the match.  That is a nice feat.

Steering Gears Modification 2:  Let’s be clear, your turning shift is not great, this gives you a 20 percent reduction and brings your rudder shift down to 7.9 seconds.  While not ideal, this combined with your speed should be just enough to get you over the hump.

Concealment System Modification 1:  This will bring you down to a 10.5km detection range.  Not great at Tier VIII for a cruiser, but good enough that you can be sure to get in your first shot instead of waiting for the enemy to give you theirs.  Also, the +5 percent to dispersion of enemy shells can really help!

 

Signals:  Here is my recommended list of signal flags by priority for this ship; Victor Lima, India X-Ray, Sierra Mike, India Yankee, November Foxtrot, Juliet Charlie, November Echo Setteseven, and Juliet Whiskey Unaone.  The first two increase fire damage/chance for flooding, the next speed.  Beyond that it is more about ship survivability and managing your health pool by reducing the time a fire will burn, cooldown on consumable, and risk of detonation.  The remainder is about improving AA, and chance a torpedo will cause a flood.  Of note, I did not use detonation flags and was only detonated one time in 100 matches with the ship.

 

In summation, in the current heavy BB meta, this cruiser is absolutely broken and in my opinion the strongest cruiser at Tier VIII.  Its ability to do damage, survive, and avoid a lot of damage make it an ideal cruiser for captains to try out.  For me, averaging over 99k damage a game and having a 55 percent survival rate says it all.  Now, that said, if the meta returns to a DD or Light Cruiser play, then perhaps you put this ship aside for a while in exchange for something else.  As always, I look forward to feedback and constructive criticism/techniques you have found useful when sailing this ship. 

 

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This will likely receive some backlash, but I will make the statement, this cruiser excels in open water.

no backlash from me I like too move around in my Martel alot too and thus I need alot of big open space to move around dodging enemy fire, I don't tend to like being secluded to the islands constantly as it limits it's agility advantage. and yeah like you said run around gunning the enemies at near max range.

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Nicely done. I'm 3 matches in with Charlie, and I like her. I can certainly put this info to good use. 

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So I came back to read this post again as the review has depth and that Im gonna buy it back in the near future as my tier 8 main when my divies wants to run tier 8 now that I have the Henri IV.

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4 hours ago, Rolkatsuki said:

So I came back to read this post again as the review has depth and that Im gonna buy it back in the near future as my tier 8 main when my divies wants to run tier 8 now that I have the Henri IV.

While I have not played many games in the Henri yet, I would like to think a lot of these concepts could still be applied in the same way to that cruiser as well.  The additional bonuses of heal and heavier guns are just a minor adjustment to the main characteristics of the French line.

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don't fall under any misconceptions with this ship,  It's not a bad one, but it's not a "good" one.  this ship is very much middle of the road, average,  when Top tier you can do okay, when bottom tier which happens a lot, you will be doing some pretty average work in her.  She doesn't excel at anything, and unless you are at full speed using the engine boost, she is VERY sluggish.  

She is not suited to Hunt DDs unless they happen to pop up as a surprise,  the Rate of fire is just a bit too slow, and the Shell arc's, though pretty good are still a touch floaty at distance to accurately deal with evading DDs.  

The HE shells do decent damage at equal tier but once you start finding yourself vs a whole Heck of a lot of T10 BBs you are going to see just how mediocre the damage can be.   Will you have times where you shine?  yep, more than not though you are just going to be middle of the road okay.  ( not a bad thing, but not an "oh boy I love this ship"

Overall, a ship you can survive, but just past 3/4 of the grind to the Saint Louis, you will be saying,  " God please just get this done !"  to me, a forgettable ship, not a keeper, but not a  ship to despise.

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My friend (player of top EU competive team) says's the Charles Martel is a best no premium CA in T8.

1 hour ago, Shadowrigger1 said:

She is not suited to Hunt DDs unless they happen to pop up as a surprise,  the Rate of fire is just a bit too slow, and the Shell arc's, though pretty good are still a touch floaty at distance to accurately deal with evading DDs.  

Is false, Charles Martel have 10s of reload, for similar config you have the NO/Baltimore with 12s reload or D.Donskoï with 12s for 9x180mm.

 

French cruiser is very reliable of skill of player.

1 hour ago, Shadowrigger1 said:

The HE shells do decent damage at equal tier but once you start finding yourself vs a whole Heck of a lot of T10 BBs you are going to see just how mediocre the damage can be.   Will you have times where you shine?  yep, more than not though you are just going to be middle of the road okay.  ( not a bad thing, but not an "oh boy I love this ship"

Other cruiser with 203mm have the problem, shell cannot penatration armored deck of german BB.

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48 minutes ago, tugdual said:

My friend (player of top EU competive team) says's the Charles Martel is a best no premium CA in T8.

Is false, Charles Martel have 10s of reload, for similar config you have the NO/Baltimore with 12s reload or D.Donskoï with 12s for 9x180mm.

 

French cruiser is very reliable of skill of player.

Other cruiser with 203mm have the problem, shell cannot penatration armored deck of german BB.

It's not so much the Reload,  10 seconds i pretty darn good,   but the shells out at range are very slow. they leave fast, end slow. that is the major issue with DD hunting,  Up close to mid range, sure, you are going to lay some heat on them, but  floaty shells at 10sec don't exactly scream DD Hunter.  

I'd say more of a DD defense ship, it pops out threatening one of your BBs nearby you can make it wish it didn't pop out.

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22 hours ago, Shadowrigger1 said:

It's not so much the Reload,  10 seconds i pretty darn good,   but the shells out at range are very slow. they leave fast, end slow. that is the major issue with DD hunting,  Up close to mid range, sure, you are going to lay some heat on them, but  floaty shells at 10sec don't exactly scream DD Hunter.  

I'd say more of a DD defense ship, it pops out threatening one of your BBs nearby you can make it wish it didn't pop out.

I think you are spot on here.  As I eluded to in my original post, as long as there is a heavy BB meta, this ship will excel. We start seeing 8+ DDs in a match then the value of this ship is greatly reduced for the reason you articulated above. 

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On 7/4/2017 at 10:51 PM, Sir_Davos_Seaworth said:

So happppy!!! 

 

ml5v58s.jpg

Glad you made it, I think you are going to enjoy this one.

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Have grinded all the cruiser lines except the American.  Have really enjoyed the CM, open water the place to be with this ship.  Run it like IJN Mogomi, spam HE, the AP is good, firing arcs on torps are great.  Have carried a few times, can be quite effective when running away, spamming HE over the shoulder at pursuing ships. Competitive when tiered up.  Have 20k left to St. Lo, but have enjoyed CM.

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One game yesterday I charged into B cap in my CM, launched torps at a Gearing trying to have my side, killed a Shimakaze with my guns then died.

 

Immediately after my death I got a devastating strike, it was just a flesh wound and double strike with my torps on the gearing which was my forth kill finished on top of my team in a T10 game with 2.5k base exp. /^.\\

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27K average damage per battle in mine, sold my Chappy to get it on sale. A hull and guns, no upgrades, 6 pt captain. Very bad ship right now. Algerie very good though. Typical is 4 K damage for CM.

Edited by Ericson38

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The OP is very thoughtful and insightful. The CM is like a Khab in the right situation, as long as you are very precise in how you play her. My style tends to be a little too aggressive. A basic mistake that would be an irritation in the Khab can be fatal in the CM. By the same token, working the ship to its potential can lead to very pleasing results. An example of what can done, came in second on the winning side. Not yet my average game in this boat, enjoying the challenge of learning to not die early.

cm_carry.thumb.jpg.8573878f4f0493d34e216634cf0630b2.jpg

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Ground the CM all the way from base to the Saint Louis and I'll say that yes, this thing can be a beast. I've found that you tend to get focused pretty heavily, and rightly so. If the reds leave you alone, they're going to pay. You can burn them down and at 15KM, they'll have a tough time touching you. Stay on the run, keep your distance, at least until end game, and keep burning them. Later in the game, try going toe to toe with a BB in a cap and see how you come out. (spoiler: you have a better than average chance of sailing away with their smoldering husk sinking in your wake) Nothing like hearing the red Montana captain complain about how his guns are broken since a full broadside into a fully broadsided Charles Martel netted him a couple thousand damage while the CM's four torps sent him to the bottom.

 

The Saint Louis seems to be a bigger Charles Martel, and I've heard she's one of the best T9 cruisers, so I'm really excited to get her upgraded and crushing the BBs again. Oh, and hearing Tirpitz captains complaining about the non-stop burning is just fuel for my speed boost.

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The B- hull is a BIG upgrade in maneuverability, HP, AA, did I leave anything out? I used some Free XP to finish getting it despite saving for the Missouri and it was worth it. 

The shell arcs are flat enough to make it more difficult to "Cleveland" with islands but it's still possible and useful. Sometimes you can play peek-a-boo between islands fairly effectively. 

The AP finally works well, unlike lower Tier French cruisers. And she's a great fire starter. 

I like this ship. Kutuzov works better but...

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Merci Boucoup for the writeup!   I finished the French Le Grind last night and had enough XP to research and buy my Charles Martel.    I like the play style you describe - during the grind, I kept going back to my Emile Bertin to zip around and BBQ folks.   That is a fun little ship, and a definite keeper.   I semi-enjoyed Algerie, which was slightly less than I semi-enjoyed La Glas.    

 

Charles is sitting in port.  I haven't run a match in her yet.   I may run a couple of Co-ops to get the feel of the ol' gal.   But I'll keep your suggestions in mind and start lighting 'em up!

 

 

UPDATE:

32 games in her, and this is quickly becoming one of my favorites.   Running her the same approach as in your write up.    Run and gun baby!    My last match of the night, I was the only Tier 8 on the team - most were Tier X.   However, given how this gal runs, I usually meet my end duking it out with a Tier X cruiser, and end up a bit squishier.   The BBQs are coming, BBs!    That last match, I had 17 fires and ended up second on the scoreboard for our win.    It's a great feeling when you see all the Tier Xs with lower scores.

 

She's a keeper.   It's been an easy run, and I'll have to see how the Saint-Louis will fare.

Edited by DiddleDum

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Is IFHE any good for Charles? I just got this ship and I'm probably going to share the captain that I have on De Grasse on her, and that Captain has IFHE. (and DE)

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2 hours ago, ReddNekk said:

Is IFHE any good for Charles? I just got this ship and I'm probably going to share the captain that I have on De Grasse on her, and that Captain has IFHE. (and DE)

 

I've asked about this as well, and the answer seems to be no...It doesn't seem to help with 8" guns...even ones that seem to need more "umph" like her's does. See my thread here I started....watching a Kabab sail away after 8 hits make me sad. :Smile_sad:

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On ‎7‎/‎22‎/‎2017 at 8:41 PM, Sir_Davos_Seaworth said:

 

I've asked about this as well, and the answer seems to be no...It doesn't seem to help with 8" guns...even ones that seem to need more "umph" like her's does. See my thread here I started....watching a Kabab sail away after 8 hits make me sad. :Smile_sad:

Don't feel bad, and kudos for risking all to knife-fight with a Khab. That is my main boat, and 8 hits usually won't begin to slow it down. It takes special treatment and a bit of luck for most enemies to really hurt a well-driven Khab. (Not that I always drive as well a needed.)

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playing my CM last night, burned the bismark down and was chasing him. Switch to AP and shot at his aft gun  turrets get 1 citadels and kill him OH YEAH !!!!

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