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What's your favorite "surprise, <edited>!" AA-specced ship?

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All experienced carriers know to try and avoid the likes of Texas/Cleveland/Atlanta/Kutuzov/Iowa. It's actually often underwhelming running AA-spec ships like that in games with carriers, because most of the time you'll end up with very few airplane kills. However, there are some ships in the game that carrier captains normally expect to be easy targets, but if specced for AA these ships have a surprising amount of bite. 

 

My favorite ship in this category is Bayern. Now, without AA spec it doesn't have a mind-blowing AA, not even close. However, most of its AA damage is concentrated in 105mm DP guns, which means that full AA spec (BFT+AFT+MFAA, AA flag, AA range module) will give us 99.6*1.2*1.3*1.1*2 = 342 AA damage at 6.5 kilometers! This is an insane amount of long-range AA DPS from a tier six battleship. What's even better, most of the time carriers don't expect this! When there is a tier 5 or tier 6 carrier in the game, you can position yourself in a way that seemingly makes you a good target, and then laugh evilly as you swat most airplanes out of the sky before they ever even get to you, and then kill the rest of them as they're trying to get away. And even against something like a Shokaku/Lexington, you'll shoot down quite a few airplanes that wonder into your AA bubble, making inter-locking AA with other ships unexpectedly strong. 

 

What about you, what's your favorite hidden-gem AA ship?

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Dunekrque. All her small-caliber AA sucks, but her DP guns are a lot stronger than most realize, with decent dps and fantastic range. The surprise of people when their strikes start hemorrhaging aircraft over the Dunkek never gets old...

 

The base DP AA is 53.8 dps @ 5.2 km, but if you stack up all the upgrades, it turns into 184.6 dps @ 7.5 km.

 

On your useless deck clutter (her other AA guns), they become 15.2 dps @ 4.3 km (37mm cannons) and 52.8 dps @ 1.7 km (13.2mm MGs)... still totally useless.

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I really enjoy running the AA spec Zao. When a CV tries to bomb me, they are always surprised that all of their bombers die before they reach me :cap_haloween:

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I get a surprising number of plane kills with only partially spec'd Japanese BBs (BFT+AFT). Mainly because CVs tend to take their time lining up attacks since they assume the AA will be impotent. That is until they start taking disconcerting plane losses, at which point they panic and usually botch the run. I suspect a full AA build Japanese BB, while sub-optimal to be sure, would be a decent plane trap. Particularly at tiers V-VI, where the long range aurora with manual AA would be pretty respectable. It is often those "meh" AA ships that get the most plane kills when spec'd for AA, just as you say. CV captains will actively avoid stuff like North Carolina or Cleveland, but they fall over themselves to strike stuff like Fuso or Dunkirk.

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Eh, most of mine are notorious AA ships. I've a few CVs try my NC (with predictable results). I think the high tier USN DD DF is a surprise though. I was in the NC with a fletcher and the enemy Essex came in, guess he thought the tier difference plus the fact that I was on half HP would make it easier. But the fletcher popped DF, and between that and my AA, that strike just vaporized.

 

My favorite is the Cleveland. No CV even tries the AA anymore. You can probably get away with no AA spec because the instant you're spotted, the CV will leave your entire side of map alone. I've seen full 2 CV strike packages come in, spot my ship, and turn around instantly. I really find that amusing.

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Khabarovsk can be pretty brutal to a lower tier CV. Mine has AFT, AA mod, and BFT.

 

Grozevoi with DF and AA mod does pretty good as well.

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Thankfully i always pay attention to all enemy AA values before the battle starts so i know who to avoid(and target) in particular. :cap_haloween:

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Hindenburg with AFT and AA  range mod does well even without defensive AA. 7.2km on the 5.5cm

Edited by Goose21891
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I don't think they are surpise AA ships, but I have both Udaloi and Grozovoi spec'd for AA with mods and DFAA.  They are both pretty good at taking down planes.  

 

I've had CVs park their planes over me to their folly.  One commented in chat about how surprised he was that his planes melted.  Good times.:cap_rambo:.

 

B

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Totally the Gneisenau. Experienced carriers know to avoid her when they can, but there's always some newbie in a Ryujo who thinks I'd be an easy target. AFT and Manual Control give me absolutely ridiculous DPS at range, and I can even shop up Saipan planes before they can drop, and put a sizable dent in regular tier 9 strike packages. It enables me to go off solo against loiterers and bully them with secondaries + torpedoes without worrying about a CV wrecking me before I get there.

:cap_rambo:

 

--IronDuke

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I stopped running AA spec in my Texas because of that, no CVs come near me, I still have BFT and AFT but I run Plotting Room mod now, it's still enough to wipe entire T7 squads from the air with good ship maneuvering

 

My favorite is my AA spec Colorado, with a max rating of 87 it just wrecks everything in the sky. I've melted a several strike squads and I never saw another plane for the rest of the match and I've had hacks called against me because the Colorado's AA isn't supposed to be good lol

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My favorite would be Gneisenau which I mainly equipped for Secondaries, but between its AA guns, the BFT, AFT skills, and a Catapult Fighter it can eat right though surprising  numbers of enemy planes. Not uncommon to down 20 planes in most battles and think I have done 30-40 planes a few times.

Same thing with Bismarck as well.

So often players have these ships poorly equipped and don't know how to take evasive action to drive the aircraft crazy so they get the reputation of being easy enough to kill all too often. This works to my advantage since they will start throwing planes at me and I just start burning them out of the sky.

My favorite battles are when enemy is more interest in what is behind me so they fly their planes right over my ship a few times and so often I kill planes traveling from the CV and on the return trip to the CV. This more commonly happens in  Gneisenau though since Bismarck tends to be target worthy of their attention.

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Imperitor Nikolai. 

Fully spec'ed out, it's the equivalent of 4 drunken AA gunners slinging empty vodka bottles at low flying bi-planes...

Record plane kills in one battle...   2.

Spoiler

No, seriously...  It's North Carolina. If you have the Captain skills to get BFT, AFT and Manual AA, it wreaks havoc on the skies.

 

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My Amagi. I don't have MFAA, but I have BFT and AFT, and that is 230+ dps at 3.7km. I have shredded more planes due to people underestimating her AA.

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Grozovoi is a wonderful AA platform that can be quite trollable at times. I melted 28 aircraft one match and the other CV driver was mad as a wet hen. 

Edited by Botcha

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Hindenburg can give the big FU. But NC. I've actually got it's AA up to 100 rating. I did end up dropping Manual AA for concealment, but that AA is just brutal. Also German BBs tier 7 and 8 if you spec secondaries also have some nasty AA.

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The Arkansas Beta, you should've seen the faces of the carriers when I told them I had AA spec on it, they were speechless.

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AA spec Benson. Anyone who plays SL will know that a Benson with DFAA up will shred tier 8 planes. 

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5 minutes ago, Vader_Sama said:

The Arkansas Beta, you should've seen the faces of the carriers when I told them I had AA spec on it, they were speechless.

 

"That guy is insane, better stay away from him just in case!" :)

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Dmitri Donskoi.  It seems people just don't take Russian AA seriously despite the fact it's quite good.  Where it starts falling off is when you keep taking hits, but no Russian cruiser save Moskva should be tanking shots to begin with.

 

Ranger, and all USN CVs for that matter, also have pretty good AA, but they're so horrible at dodging it only takes one plane to screw you up.

 

Let's be real though, there's no greater sleeper than a secondary-build Kiev.

Edited by ValkyrWarframe

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