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Apokita

Help me with Graf Spee

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I like her. I love the alpha, I like having a heal
but I just can't do dmg. Even t5 bbs will not be pen by my guns, and I just don't have the DPM to HE spam them. 
What shells do you use on her? How do you manage to not get deleted?

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1) Practice in co-op. The 11" guns will penetrate many, if not most of the BB's you will encounter ( Honest! ), and they will devastate almost any cruiser. But, you only have six of them, so good marksmanship is really important. If your AP shots aren't scoring, switch to HE. You can't spam like a Cleveland, but your guns have pretty good HE punch, and a decent chance to start fires.

2) Don't be afraid to close the range. Graf Spee's secondaries are pretty effective for a Tier 6 cruiser.

3) Don't forget the torpedoes! Great firing arcs and a 90 second reload time make them very potent.

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The Graf Spee is definitely not an OP premium. It doesn't seem to do well when I play it and I am not in the least worried when I come up against it.

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1 hour ago, Apokita said:

I like her. I love the alpha, I like having a heal
but I just can't do dmg. Even t5 bbs will not be pen by my guns, and I just don't have the DPM to HE spam them. 
What shells do you use on her? How do you manage to not get deleted?

Hey Apokita - oldblackdog has some great suggestions for you for the Spee - the following is my the experience from 128 battles w/ a 60% win rate in the Spee.

I would add the following:

  1. The Spee has 8 km, fast torpedoes (65kts is good) - the torpedo range is the same as DDs such as the Blyskawica & Shinonome so really don't ignore the torps as part of your weapons options to: area deny or to torp ships like BBs from flanking positions while they're focused on firing at other ships.  This is not to say you should dive into a full on brawl, but if you do get into a closer-in battle, the Spee, can angle somewhat against less experienced opponents, has a good amount of health and a heal,  and it's torpedo arcs are fantastic (i.e. you don't have to show much side to wiggle your ship to get both sets of torps off at a ship near your forward quarter).
  2. The Spee's 11" guns make it important that you know where to target on a ship and with what.  Think of her as a Cruiser (aka Squishier) version of what you have to do when using a Scharnhorst's guns, but w/ 2/3 the guns.  
  3. 11" guns will have trouble penning the armor of even Cruisers if the Cruiser angles from you properly (especially if uptiered).   You actually can do damage to BBs, but it's critical you hit certain areas.  When shooting at ships, you need to think of aiming for superstructure, bow, stern (i.e. where the armor is in the 19-32mm range) and above the armored belt (i.e. where you want to shoot German BBs usually) of any BB you encounter if you get a more or less broadside target.  
  4. With less angled CAs and CLs, go to town with your 11" guns, but a general piece fo advice - the Spee has "German Dispersion".  In other words, your shells are likely to have a greater spread from your aimpoint than ships from other nations (this is even if you try to upgrade the accuracy w/ the optional modules).  What this means is that if you try to aim for a waterline citadel shot on a broadside CA/CL, up to half your shells are likely to hit the water before the ship if you're shooting from a range where your shell arcs are fairly flat.  The solution is don't aim for the normal citadel shot, but aim slightly higher - this will mean more of your shots will actually hit the ship & do damage and you can still get a citadel (...from the shell that in the previous aimpoint example would've hit the water).  This "uses" a dispersion disadvantage to best effect to improve your damage potential.
  5. You also need to use HE (despite your experience, you really have no choice) for any but the most broadside of targets for BBs and CAs if you can't target the previously mentioned sections of the ship.
  6. Having only 6 of them is also a disadvantage for you as compared to a regular Cruiser when you're trying to take out DDs since the damage done usually can't make up for the lack of ROF or shell density.  Be careful when dueling DDs, but your secondaries are not bad to help you in a closer in brawl w/ a DD.
  7. If your captain is not yet spec'd for it, I would suggest making sure you have Adrenaline Rush.  This can buff your ROF on your main guns to nearly 20% (i.e. 16 sec reload) if you are near death.   If you're 50% health, you still drop your gun reload into the 18 sec range which can be an advantage in a fight.
  8. WRT your "how do I not get deleted" question - I'm posting a link to my forum articles WOWS Enjoyment - List of Gudes.  in particular the following may be of interest to you
  • WOWS Enjoyment - Ships & Shooting (where to shoot a ship & why)
  • WOWS Enjoyment - Maneuvering (how to mask turns, kiting, flanking, maneuvering strategies & counters)
  • WOWS Enjoyment - Brawling 101 (how to engage in a brawl & come out alive)
  • WOWS Enjoyment - Cap Strategies and Lemming Trains
  • WOWS Enjoyment - Lanchesters Law (& WOWS Strategies)

Hope this helps you!

 

Edited by hangglide42
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The advice above is good. Heed it.

 

It may look like a BB, but it is still a cruiser! Never forget that. It may have BB guns and it may be tankier than a Nürnberg (the KM cruiser at T6), but it is still a squishy cruiser.

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It takers a little to get used to - it could really use one more turret.  You do have to play a bit cautiously however.  With a nicely spec's captain she can do mid-60K damage fairly easily.  My best with the Spee is 95K...  My average is 38K over 210+ games...

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5 minutes ago, hangglide42 said:

Hey Apokita - oldblackdog has some great suggestions for you for the Spee - the following is my the experience from 128 battles w/ a 60% win rate in the Spee.

I would add the following:

  1. The Spee has 8 km, fast torpedoes (65kts is good) - the torpedo range is the same as DDs such as the Blyskawica & Shinonome so really don't ignore the torps as part of your weapons options to: area deny or to torp ships like BBs from flanking positions while they're focused on firing at other ships.  This is not to say you should dive into a full on brawl, but if you do get into a closer-in battle, the Spee, can angle somewhat against less experienced opponents, has a good amount of health and a heal,  and it's torpedo arcs are fantastic (i.e. you don't have to show much side to wiggle your ship to get both sets of torps off at a ship near your forward quarter).
  2. The Spee's 11" guns make it important that you know where to target on a ship and with what.  Think of her as a Cruiser (aka Squishier) version of what you have to do when using a Scharnhorst's guns, but w/ 2/3 the guns.  
  3. 11" guns will have trouble penning the armor of even Cruisers if the Cruiser angles from you properly (especially if uptiered).   You actually can do damage to BBs, but it's critical you hit certain areas.  When shooting at ships, you need to think of aiming for superstructure, bow, stern (i.e. where the armor is in the 19-32mm range) and above the armored belt (i.e. where you want to shoot German BBs usually) of any BB you encounter if you get a more or less broadside target.  
  4. With less angled CAs and CLs, go to town with your 11" guns, but a general piece fo advice - the Spee has "German Dispersion".  In other words, your shells are likely to have a greater spread from your aimpoint than ships from other nations (this is even if you try to upgrade the accuracy w/ the optional modules).  What this means is that if you try to aim for a waterline citadel shot on a broadside CA/CL, up to half your shells are likely to hit the water before the ship if you're shooting from a range where your shell arcs are fairly flat.  The solution is don't aim for the normal citadel shot, but aim slightly higher - this will mean more of your shots will actually hit the ship & do damage and you can still get a citadel (...from the shell that in the previous aimpoint example would've hit the water).  This "uses" a dispersion disadvantage to best effect to improve your damage potential.
  5. You also need to use HE (despite your experience, you really have no choice) for any but the most broadside of targets for BBs and CAs if you can't target the previously mentioned sections of the ship.
  6. Having only 6 of them is also a disadvantage for you as compared to a regular Cruiser when you're trying to take out DDs since the damage done usually can't make up for the lack of ROF or shell density.  Be careful when dueling DDs, but your secondaries are not bad to help you in a closer in brawl w/ a DD.
  7. If your captain is not yet spec'd for it, I would suggest making sure you have Adrenaline Rush.  This can buff your ROF on your main guns to nearly 20% (i.e. 16 sec reload) if you are near death.   If you're 50% health, you still drop your gun reload into the 18 sec range which can be an advantage in a fight.

Hope this helps you!

 

Yea, I usually aim for the belt right above the citadel. Like if everyone were a german cruiser. But I'm dealing 1~2k salvos. Its normal?
I'm gonna spec adrenaline rush when I can aswell.
It's pretty hard for me to really do significant damage unless I rush in with torpedoes, as you said. I just don't feel the battleship penetration that the 283mm has. 
I guess they might not.

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You stay back at the beginning of battles, to avoid cruisers from spamming you. Once you've or someone else has taken care of them, go in, and brawl the BBs. Know their reload, and play with the rudder and speed.

Think of her as a baby Scharny. Her guns are almost the same but with better accuracy, even pinpoint at times. She has the guns of a BB, the speed of a cruiser, and the armor of... somewhere in between.

 

Skills should be:

Priority Target (you are German, but in training. You can't take much damage yet.)

Adrenaline Rush (EM is also excellent, but the turrets rotate fairly quick already, unless you think it's slow)

Superintendent (So, so helpful. Moar heals and hydro/DEFAA)

Concealment (It's horrible, and most likely, you're going to get shot first when spotted. Take it.)

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1 hour ago, Apokita said:

Yea, I usually aim for the belt right above the citadel. Like if everyone were a german cruiser. But I'm dealing 1~2k salvos. Its normal?
I'm gonna spec adrenaline rush when I can aswell.
It's pretty hard for me to really do significant damage unless I rush in with torpedoes, as you said. I just don't feel the battleship penetration that the 283mm has. 
I guess they might not.

 

The shell math works out as follows:

  • Citadels = 100% damage
  • Penetrations = 33% damage
  • Overpens = 10% damage
  • Module damage & Shatters = 0% damage

Spee AP damage = 8400

Spee HE damage = 3200

I'm assuming you're referring to AP damage.   A 1-2K damage result implies that you're not getting any citadels, maybe a 1 pen hit or a number of overpens.   If you're aiming at the area above the belt and below the deckline, it's likely this case (either 1 pen or your shells actually go high and hit the superstructure resulting in a number of overpens).

You may want to try (counterintuitively) aiming slightly higher (if you're going for the above the belt shot) to give more of your shots a chance to land (i.e. aim at the deckline and letting dispersion take half your shells into the superstructure and the other half hit the "above the belt" area you want to hit).   Also, try hitting the bow area and stern area of targets - until these areas get damage saturated, if you do get a pen, it should give you the 33% damage roll (and hopefully will not overpen).

Also, not all BB armor is the same - if you haven't tried this yet, I would suggest using the Armor viewer to see what the armor layout is on a particular BB you're having trouble with.  This is a good excercise for any ships you notice you're having trouble dealing damage to.  Here's a sample exercise of what I mean.

The values below are the armor thickness for the 4 main BBs at the Spee's tier for the armor above the main belt area:

  • Bayern                  250 mm, bow 25-30mm, stern 25 mm
  • New Mexico           343 mm, bow/stern 25 mm
  • Fuso                     203 mm (but w 19 mm torp bulge), secondary gun deck 152 mm, bow/stern 25 mm
  • Queen Elizabeth   152 mm, bow/stern 25 mm

You can also google the gun performance of the Spee's 283mm guns re: penetration vs range so you can see at what range you can hit something w/ the 11" guns & penetrate.    The following analysis anticipates that you are within a close enough range based on these penetration tables for your shells to penetrate (i.e. shells lose velocity and you can penetrate thicker armor sometimes, but you have to be closer.  There are, on the other hand certain thicknesses you shell simply can't penetrate at any range).

Here's how to evaluate this information:

If you hit the bow and (upper) stern of any of these BBs, you should get a Pen or Overpen as long as the area is not damage saturated.  A broadside superstructure shot is likely to get to a Overpen.  A angled superstructure shot is likely to get your a Pen or Overpen (or possible bounce).

The above tells your that your "above the main beltline shot" results should be:

  • Effective against the QE (at 152 mm, she has the lowest armor thickness in this area) at a greater flat arc range than other ships.
  • The Bayern also should be able to take damage, but probably somewhat dependent on range of your shot
  • The Fuso is tricky because she has a torpedo bulge that comes way up the hull into the aim area which effectively gives her a form of "layered" armor.  How this works in WOWS is that there are 2 "damage rolls" done as your shell penetrates each belt.  Your shell has no problems penetrating the torpedo belt (19mm) but this affects the shell when it tries to penetrate the 203mm of primary armor in the area.  There is a bit of WOWS RNG that comes into play so while you should be able to pen this, it's not guaranteed.   Having said this, the secondary gun deck armor looks pretty inviting for the Spee...
  • The New Mexico is probably the most difficult target for you.  You may be able to pen this area, but only at close to point-blank range.  The problem w/ US BBs up to Tier 7 (believe it or not the armor gets squishier in this area at higher tiers) - is that the USN used the concept of "all or nothing" in armor protection for this era of ship.  As a result, the citadel area of these ships are the most protected for their tier.

One quick point - I use the term "flat arc range" which means the distance you're firing from where your shell arc are relatively flat and hence the side armor of the ship is what is important.  At longer ranges, your shells come in from higher angles and are what is know as "plunging fire".  When you hit a BB w/ plunging fire, the BB deck armor and what's protecting your citadel from above is more important in determining damage dealt.   Plunging fire is somewhat RNG/dispersion based, but I've detonated BBs w/ 203mm Cruiser AP shells by penetrating the right part of the fore/aft deck and got into the magazines. My point is simply that though you have 11" guns, no ship is invulnerable & you can find a way to deal damage.

One thing to remember (and there is a historical precedent for this) - the Spee was designed as a commerce raider in that it was designed to attack merchant ships and outgun any likely cruiser or destroyer escorts.  In the Battle of the River Plate, she dealt a lot of damage to the British Cruiser force (1 CA, 2 CLs) before she sought shelter in Montivideo.  She was scuttled mainly due to fear of a more powerful British force's arrival (due to a British mis-information intelligence op) and that she was running low on ammunition.

If she encountered a BB, she was "fast enough" to run & disengage (at least from the 21-23 kt BBs of her day as opposed to the fast BBs developed later).  The in-game Spee shares some of this - CA/CLs should be it's primary targets.   It can take on DDs but ROF and shell salvo density are a problem if at range or in a brawl, you're going to depend also on your secondaries.   When taking on BBs, you're definitely a support ship trying to get opportunistic damage w/ AP or starting fires on the BB for damage.  When you play the Spee w/ this in mind, it may help improve your results (also the Maneuvering article I pointed you to goes over all of this).

Hope this explains a general methodology for evaluating (on any ship, with any ship) what you might want to do to figure out how to place shots more effectively, if you're not getting the results you want.

 

 

Edited by hangglide42
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One last intuitive piece of game advice -

Though I understand the methodology of finding out what armor layouts are on what ships and know of the existence of the ballistics tables out on the internet for the various WOWS ships, I've never actually used the actual data from the ballistic tables in my game play.  Instead, I've done the following which (for me) has worked pretty well (and keeps this a game)!

  • Review the armor profile of a ship so I generally know where I could shoot.  I start w/ the general rules of thumb for various ship types/gun cals vs enemy ships (see the Ships & Shooting link in my List of Guides in the earlier post - there's a general table at the end of the article).  Then if needed, I do a deeper dive in the armor profile of specific ships if I find limited effectiveness against a particular ship.

In game:

  • When i start firing at the vulnerable locations on a target ship, I carefully observe the results of the salvo. 
  • In particular, I'm observing the shots that have bounced (shots where ships were angled to negate the effect of an AP shot) and shattered (shots that landed in areas where armor couldn't be penetrated).  I note where these hits occurred and what was the effect.  These are pretty well communicated in the game graphics upon shell impact & the dynamic ribbons that indicate the results of your salvo.  
  • This gives me real-time feedback on the effectiveness of my shot aimpoint wrt range effects or ship angling effects in determining my next shot selection and I adjust accordingly (either shot aimpoint or shell type selection).

Seeing the ballistics tables tells you in general what ranges your shells should be effective, but memorizing all of that is not very practical for me - so I've found the game feedback described above more useful (and fun) in real play.

 

Edited by hangglide42

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12 minutes ago, hangglide42 said:

One last intuitive piece of game advice -

Though I understand the methodology of finding out what armor layouts are on what ships and know of the existence of the ballistics tables out on the internet for the various WOWS ships, I've never actually used the actual data from the ballistic tables in my game play.  Instead, I've done the following which (for me) has worked pretty well (and keeps this a game)!

  • Review the armor profile of a ship so I generally know where I could shoot.  I start w/ the general rules of thumb for various ship types/gun cals vs enemy ships (see the Ships & Shooting link in my List of Guides in the earlier post - there's a general table at the end of the article).  Then if needed, I do a deeper dive in the armor profile of specific ships if I find limited effectiveness against a particular ship.

In game:

  • When i start firing at the vulnerable locations on a target ship, I carefully observe the results of the salvo. 
  • In particular, I'm observing the shots that have bounced (shots where ships were angled to negate the effect of an AP shot) and shattered (shots that landed in areas where armor couldn't be penetrated).  I note where these hits occurred and what was the effect.  These are pretty well communicated in the game graphics upon shell impact & the dynamic ribbons that indicate the results of your salvo.  
  • This gives me real-time feedback on the effectiveness of my shot aimpoint wrt range effects or ship angling effects in determining my next shot selection and I adjust accordingly (either shot aimpoint or shell type selection).

Seeing the ballistics tables tells you in general what ranges your shells should be effective, but memorizing all of that is not very practical for me - so I've found the game feedback described above more useful (and fun) in real play.

 


Thanks man, you're a lot of help.

I am seeing that I have trouble penetrating most things. For example, even Leander can bounce my shells if angled (not bow on, I overpen him) but I feel like she can't change between HE and AP like other cruisers can. Hmm, I should spec my expert loader?

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20 minutes ago, Apokita said:


Thanks man, you're a lot of help.

I am seeing that I have trouble penetrating most things. For example, even Leander can bounce my shells if angled (not bow on, I overpen him) but I feel like she can't change between HE and AP like other cruisers can. Hmm, I should spec my expert loader?

 

Glad to be of help guy!

Selecting Expert Loader is a personal choice and depends on your playstyle.  

In my case I have quite a few ships in port (104) since I've been playing so long and I have 1 captain spec'd for expert loader (that's Steven Segal who gets a buff specifically in that skill, so I have him in my Baltimore with that skill).

In general, I've found that if I need to change ammo types, I will fire whatever is loaded at the best choice of aimpoint on the best target available given the ammo type, then switch ammo so I minimize DPM loss on the switch.  I've generally found Priority Target (for survivability for DDs, a number of Cruisers and now even BBs in some cases since BBs can stealth approach to 12 km or less in some cases) and Preventative Maintenance my main 1st Level Captain's Skill choices.

The nice thing about the Spee is that it's a Premium ship, so you can put German Captains w/ different skills freely on her.  I have no captain specifically for the Spee, but run my FDG or Hindenburg Captain on her interchangeably if I want to change her characteristics (the BB captain kinda gives me a secondary build, the Hindy captain is configured for Stealth/AA).

 

Edited by hangglide42

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Don't shoot at the waterline of battleships.  Your chances of scoring citadels is low, so play the numbers and shoot for 33% penetrations above the belt armor.  Shoot at super structure.  To stay alive, angle.  Don't blow your damage control on the first fire; you have a heal...make sure you use it efficiently.  Letting a single fire burn out, you can repair nearly all of that damage with your heal if you use your heal well.  Try to get the most out of that heal.  Managing your consumables well extends what you can do with Graf Spee considerably.

Personally, I almost never use HE on the ship.  The AP is very good, spam it.

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My usual kms cruiser captain has DE. I've lit multiple fires in single salvos before. HE can be a situationally good tool to use especially against BBs at range if there aren't any juicy cruisers to smash.

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Hey

The Graf Spee is my lower tier favorite ship.  Best so far has been over 120K and have had many games in the near 100K range.  I do have a 14pt Captain on board which says something about how much I like her.  Don't get me wrong; we all have those crappy sub 20K range but they are very rare if you play her right.  I usually don't care even when up-tiered to T8 game, just have to be a bit more cautious, but it will hold her own.  Many times people forget to respect this little boat.  I throw AP 90% of the time in this ship.

 

Pete

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