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Viper101

Final Thoughts: Pensacola

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This is something I am hoping to do every time I move on from one ship to another. Give my final thoughts on the ship in question, and state whether or not I enjoyed my time in it. 

I claim to be no pro in any of the ships that I sail or write about, but like to think that I generally know what I'm talking about (except for CVs). 

 

Right, the tier 7 American heavy cruiser, Pensacola laid bare.

Survivability:

Spoiler

 

The Pensacola is very squishy. Her armor belt is 102mm at the thickest point which is on the fore and aft ends of the ship. Her central belt is only 76mm thick, which covers her citadel. Her citadel is long, extending for nearly two thirds of the ship, making it incredibly easy to hit. Fore and aft end plating is only 16mm thick. You will not be auto-bouncing many shells. Often battleship AP will penetrate your fore and aft ends and explode in you citadel, causing extreme damage. Her maximum HP is 34,300, while stock it is 31,900.

Her deck armor and additional plating is 19mm thick, and her superstructure is 13mm, save for the conning tower which is a staggering 32mm thick (sarcasm).

Overall a very squishy cruiser on paper.

Doom and gloom aside, the Pensacola fights a lot of ships that are armed with 152mm guns and many with 203mm guns. The nice thing is that for as squishy a cruiser as she is, the Pensacola can autobounce every single cruiser shell fired at her tier, higher, and lower. The Pensacola is very effective at tanking cruiser AP. She struggles against HE given how thin her armor is, and eats a lot of fire damage (in my hands).

Fortunately, she’s a very nimble ship, which mitigates a lot of damage that is shot at her. I will explain more under maneuverability.

 

Armament:

Spoiler

 

This is one of the points the Pensacola shines.

Stock, the firing range is 14.2km, a bit low. Upgraded, it jumps to 15.7. In my opinion, this is a bit low but it is certainly workable. In this case, the Fiji is the worst of the bunch while the Algerie is the best with a colossal 17.9km firing range.

 

Of course firing range and concealment synergize fairly well on this ship.

 

She is armed with ten 203mm/55 Mk. 14 rifles, four housed in twin turrets and six housed in triple turrets. Stock, these are the 203mm/50 Mk. 14 rifles, this doesn't change anything about the guns.

 

Reload time is 15 seconds, which is not great but it can be improved with commander skills. 

 

With an alpha of 4,600 damage per gun, the maximum amount of damage the Pensacola can put out is 46,000. She can delete herself in other words.

Her HE is nothing to scoff at either. HE alpha sits at 2,800, which gives the Pensacola and HE alpha of 28,000 damage. The fire chance is only 14%, but you can reach 18% with the proper skills and signal flags.

 

That said, when the ship is stock the turret traverse is absurdly slow. They have a 180 degree turning time of 38.3 seconds. The Kongo can rotate her turrets faster. Upgraded and with Expert Marksman, that value drops to 26.9 seconds.

 

The dispersion values are rather decent, with a maximum dispersion of 131m. The only ship that beats her is the Fiji, and that is only by two meters.

Shell velocity is better than the Cleveland, with AP traveling at 853m/s, and HE going 823m/s.

 

This ships weapons do require a little bit of forethought and planning at all stages of grinding.

 

As far as I am concerned, the guns are the best part of this ship. It is incredibly satisfying to delete cruisers that are sailing broadside on, oblivious to your presence. She can set angled battleships on fire with relative ease, and she can punish any broadside targets. The AP is capable of penetrating the citadels of some battleships. It’s great to see 10k damage shaved off of a Scharnhorst ignoring you and showing their broadside.

 

AA Defense:

Spoiler

 

This is the second high point of the Pensacola. While not quiet as bristling as the Cleveland, the Pensacola is still a force to be reckoned with.

Stock, she is meh.

 

Stock short range anti-air is eight Oerlikon 20mm autocannons, dealing 29 damage per second at a range of 2.0km.

 

Mid range AA is also very meh. It is made up of 4x4 28mm/75 Mk. 2 Mod. 2 cannons. Nicknamed the “Chicago Piano”, these deal 27 damage per second at a range of 3.1km.

 

Mid range AA is comprised of 8 127mm/25 Mk. 19 Mod. 6 guns, dealing 58 damage at a range of 4.2 km.

Once you gain access to Pensacola B, things start to look much, much better.

 

For short range defense she is armed with 17x1 Oerlikon 20mm autocannons. These deal 67 damage per second, and fire at a range of 2.0km.

 

Just like almost any other late tier American ship, the Pensacola shines with her mid range anti-aircraft. She comes equipped with 6x4 40mm Bofors cannons. These deal 95 damage per second at a range of 3.5 km.

 

Long range AA remains unchanged.

 

The Pensacola also has access to the Defensive Fire consumable. This is a must for this ship.

 

Overall, the AA on this ship is a huge threat to many carriers at or below tier 7. This fact is exponentially increased when the ship is built around AA and defensive fire is mounted. There was a battle I had where it was the final minutes of the match. I was at 400 HP, and a CV was actively hunting me. Trying to anyway. Two squadrons of dive bombers later, I was still alive and my team won the match.

 

Defensive fire also spreads the drop patterns of bombers and torpedo bombers, which makes it useful for any ships within range of your AA aura.

 

Maneuverability:

Spoiler

 

The Pensacola is decently maneuverable. 

Stock rudder shift time is 9.1 seconds, this comes down to a respectable 5.2 seconds with Hull B (I also have the rudder shift time upgrade installed without it the value is 7.0 seconds). Her max speed doesn’t change much, increasing from 32.5 to 34.1 (with speed flag). Her 620m turning circle remains unchanged.  

 

Compared to ships at her tier, she has the second best turning radius. Again the Fiji beats her. She has the best rudder shift time (once upgraded), with the Myoko at 7.1 seconds. Speed wise, the Pensacola is right in the middle. Her max upgraded speed of 32.5kts is on par with the Fiji, faster than the Yorck, but slower than both the Myoko and Shchors. She is faster than the Algerie before the speed boost is activated.

 

I said I would address how you “tank” damage here. You don’t tank it in the battleship sense. If you are being shot at in this ship, it is relatively easy to kite away from the enemy. Use that exceptional rudder shift time to throw off their aim and dodge their shells. You can also torpedo beat extremely well, given your tight turning circle and good rudder shift. The firing angles are good on this ship, and you can occasionaly bounce big shells, but do not count on it. Your best bet is to WASD until you opponent is dead, or you are out of range and undetected.

 

That said do NOT go looking for torpedoes as you only get a 7% reduction in damage.

 

Concealment:

Spoiler

 

Concealment is, surprisingly, something the Pensacola is great at.

Gone are the days of a 15km detection range and being deleted after two minutes of play!!!

 

With the proper commander skills and camo, the Pensacola can sneak around with a detection of 10.9km. Perfect for sneaking up on cruisers and battleships. It is also effective against destroyers, as you can get close enough to hurt them bad.


By air, you will be seen at a range of 6.9km.

This is of course with a 10 point captain and concealment expert.

Without a camo and CE captain, the concealment jumps up to 12.8km. She is again, beaten by the Fiji, which has a base concealment of 11.5km.

 

 

My thoughts:

Spoiler

 

I really loved this ship. I believe I will be keeping her in my port for a long time. The good balance of concealment, armament, and AA defense makes her a very dangerous opponent in the right hands.

 

My hands are not always the right ones, but I seem to make her work more often than not.

With matchmaking the way it is currently, the Pensacola sees a lot of tier five matches. She clubs at this tier. Her armament is more than enough for many of the cruisers and battleships she will face. Against destroyers she struggles as her reload is a bit slow.

 

If you get caught exposing your broadside, you will be punished and maybe outright deleted. It is for this reason that I recommend making concealment expert your priority tier 4 captain skill. 10.9km detection is just too damned good.

 

However, what she does to tier five and six vessels, tier eight and nine ships will do to her. The Pensacola struggles when up-tiered. It isn’t as apparent at tier 8, but it is obvious at tier 9. Ships at that tier just outclass you in every way, as they should. In order to do well in these battles, it takes a player much better than me. Whenever this happens, I do my best to go back to basics: Don’t sail broadside, make use of cover, and swap AP and HE as needed. It doesn’t always work out, but its really all you can do.

 

 

Captain Skills:

Spoiler

 

I built my Pensacola captain per Notser’s advice for the most part.

I began with priority target, a must for cruisers. I also took direction center for catapult aircraft, as the spotting coverage is nice.

After that I took adrenaline rush. It was a toss-up between this and expert marksman, which I added later.

At tier 3, I took superintendent. I enjoy information that the scout plane provides. In retrospect, basic firing training or demolition expert may have been better options, but with superintendent, I also get another charge of Defensive Fire. I will be taking BFT with my next three points.

And at the fourth rank, I took concealment expert. A no brainer in my opinion. After I acquire BFT, I will plan on adding advanced firing training as well, because the Pensacola should be a no-fly-zone. I will have to drop a skill along the way, but I will figure that out later.

 

 

Overall, the Pensacola is one of my favorite ships in the game. I recommend her to everyone I meet. She is unforgiving, and not for everyone though.

Fantastic in great hands, average in normal hands.

 

 

I hope this was presented well enough for your liking, any advice is welcome. Please be constructive with your criticism.

 

I included the picture of the Kami R so as to show issues this ship faces when attacking. It isn't the best image to show this however, and I will find a different one later today. 

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World of Warships 09.30.2017 - 01.48.13.13.png

Edited by Viper101
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I immensely enjoyed my own time in the Pepsi (which was before buffs to her concealment) and I have her in port to this day.

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I got past the Pensacola as fast as I could because I was tired of being deleted by the first salvo fired at me every game. Unfortunately, the New Orleans isn't much better. If I am in a battleship and I see a Pensacola in a game, I make a point to fire at it. Usually this results in one less ship on the enemy team in one salvo. It really displeases me how bad the tier VII and VIII American cruisers are after playing the amazing tier VI Cleveland. I've heard the tier X cruiser is pretty good but I don't know if I will even bother trying to continue in this line.

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45 minutes ago, Snargfargle said:

I got past the Pensacola as fast as I could because I was tired of being deleted by the first salvo fired at me every game. Unfortunately, the New Orleans isn't much better. If I am in a battleship and I see a Pensacola in a game, I make a point to fire at it. Usually this results in one less ship on the enemy team in one salvo. It really displeases me how bad the tier VII and VIII American cruisers are after playing the amazing tier VI Cleveland. I've heard the tier X cruiser is pretty good but I don't know if I will even bother trying to continue in this line.

I can reassure you that Balti and DM can easily be oneshotted :)

When you find out how to play Pepsi you will like the rest of the line as well, if you hate Pepsi thn I doubt whether you ll like the rest. They are just glass cannons.

Edited by joris92

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21 minutes ago, joris92 said:

I can reassure you that Balti and DM can easily be oneshotted :)

When you find out how to play Pepsi you will like the rest of the line as well, if you hate Pepsi thn I doubt whether you ll like the rest. They are just glass cannons.

n8NeJj2.jpg

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43 minutes ago, joris92 said:

When you find out how to play Pepsi you will like the rest of the line as well, if you hate Pepsi thn I doubt whether you ll like the rest. They are just glass cannons.

I like pepsi quite a lot, this bodes well... xD

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1 hour ago, Snargfargle said:

It really displeases me how bad the tier VII and VIII American cruisers are after playing the amazing tier VI Cleveland.

I've never had a game this good in the Cleveland

2ljg60h.jpg

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Small mistake in there, you accidently included the AA flag in your AA description, the long range dps remains the same on the B-Hull and the mid-range dps is 'only' 95dps. 

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Pepsi is one of my favorites, too.  It's ridiculous how much damage you can do with those guns- esp to oblivious players who ignore you,lol,

 Like someone else said, you just have to develop the knack for playing it- otherwise, it's an early grave every time...  The following ships just build on that base- just like the BB line does.  In my experience, it helps to think of yourself as artillery support- NOT front line infantry.

Oddly enough, I did NOT like Cleveland, not at all.   It does not belong at tier 6, and has been nerfed into the ground to make it fit there.  IMO what SHOULD be a beast of a ship is just meh at best, and sometimes an outright stinker.   Of course, most other nation's tier 6 cruiser blows too- of them all, I only liked Nurnberg.  The rest were either fxp'd through (cleveland, La Glass) or the line dropped (Buddyony; Leander).  I did finish Aoba, but didn't like it- and haven't looked back since.

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Looks like you accidentally sneaked a Kamikaze R pic in your line up, OP.

I agree with your assessment.  I really enjoyed Pensacola, and that was before she got her detection buff.  Stay angled and you can really mitigate getting punched through her soft armor, and her guns are just beastly at T7.  I will have to go back and play her again, some day.

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It's a lot like the Ruskie cruisers, but it's more manuverable.

Play at maximum range because your guns can still hit, use AP when you can, go dark when targeted.

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I Guess I just don't like the playstyle where you hide behind an island, dart out to take a shot, and then retreat. At least the Cleveland can take a few hits. What I most like to do in cruisers is hunt DDs. The slow rate of fire of the 8-inch-gunned CCs makes this more difficult. My favorite CC is the Atago, which can take a few hits and halfway-decent torpedoes to boot.

 

I find it interesting that a single heavy cruiser has nearly as many 8-inch guns as my artillery battalion fielded when I was in the Army. It probably carries as many men too. I bet they eat better though.

Edited by Snargfargle

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5 hours ago, SireneRacker said:

Small mistake in there, you accidently included the AA flag in your AA description, the long range dps remains the same on the B-Hull and the mid-range dps is 'only' 95dps. 

 

Noted, thanks. And Edited

 

3 hours ago, desmo_2 said:

Looks like you accidentally sneaked a Kamikaze R pic in your line up, OP.

I agree with your assessment.  I really enjoyed Pensacola, and that was before she got her detection buff.  Stay angled and you can really mitigate getting punched through her soft armor, and her guns are just beastly at T7.  I will have to go back and play her again, some day.

 

I more included that as a showcase of issues the cruiser faces, in the sense that it struggles against DDs. I will go back and make a note of that. 

 

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6 hours ago, Akeno017 said:

I like pepsi quite a lot, this bodes well... xD

Welp I can say this about the line. Islands are your best friends. And get used to cruiser version of floaty shells.

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