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FADM_Nimitz_

IJN Cruiser Guide

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IJN Cruiser Strategy Guide

This general guide works for all Japanese Cruisers, as a history buff on the side I like to incorporate some real world philosophies and strategies used by the respective navies and apply it into the game. If you just like to see my ship and commander build just skip through my background section.

Some Historical concepts

Japanese ship design in WWII was a mix of good hull designs and armament but poor technology in terms of radar and other aspects as compared with navies from the other nations. As we know IJN radar technology and fire control systems was quite underdeveloped compared to the USN, RN, and Kriegsmarine even by early war standards. However, even with this disadvantage they were still able to push back the British and American navies from the beginning of the War in 1939 to 1942 and even enjoyed some victories in the late war period against radar equipped USN ships. They understood their disadvantages and developed equipment and tactics to counter these. 

The common Japanese naval tactic was to approach unseen during the night, using their night binoculars and expertly trained lookouts they could spot a ship at 20,000 yards. Once all ships were in favorable position the lead ship illuminated the target with a high powered searchlights or even no lights at all and bombard the enemy with shells and torpedoes. The attack was intense to cause massive confusion and before the enemy could react they used the cover of darkness to slip away or to reload for another attack.

 

So, What does this mean in game

Well at first I recognized night battles and search lights are out of the question as it is not a game feature or designed in this way. However we have the concealment mechanic to substitute for this, if the enemy can't see you then you're basically in the "night". My entire loadout philosophy is going to be focused around concealment and fighting battles on your grounds. Many of the national characteristics already favor this approach, the IJN cruisers have high base concealment, accuracy, maneuverability, long range torps, and slow turret traverse.

 

My loadout (I will be using the Zao a basis)

Keep in mind our goal is to be sneaky and fighting battles on our own conditions

General Loadout (Ships T5+ as they have access to more upgrades)

1 Slot: Main Armaments Mod 1 - A no brainer choice, as your guns and torpedoes are your primary weapons and reducing incapacitation chance is always important

2 Slot: Amining Systems Mod 1 - This should be the standard choice as your guns do quick significant damage and are already accurate, this mod makes your shot grouping even tighter. Using main battery mod 2 for turret traverse is ill advised since the turrets are already so slow it makes a small impact. The only ship I'd recommend with the mod is the Atago/Takao as their stock turret rotation is fast enough (though still slow) to keep with your turns. However you can tweek as you like. Also for AA mod again the Moyoko Ibuki and Zao are the only ones that can make the build viable as they have numerous small caliber AA guns with a good overlap coverage. 

3 Slot: Damage Control Mod 1 - Again no brainer as it reduces chance of flood and fire

4 Slot: Damage Control mod 2 or Propulsion - This slot is completely to the person's liking, personally I chose propulsion as it boosts my mobility. Since all the cruisers up to T10 with fully upgraded hulls have a rudder shift of 7.1sec Steering gears is not really necessary, so having propulsion combined with my already fast rudder is a good combo. THis gives you high mobility which should allow you to not take hits thus kinda making Damage Control Mod 2 irrelevant.

5 Slot: Concealment System Mod 1- This is a very important choice and one which the entire loadout is based upon. Concealment mod allows your detectability to be very low as your stock concealment is already higher than other nations. This high concealment allows you to position yourself and bring all your weapons to bare before launching the attack, if need be you can hold fire and maneuver to drop off detection.

6 Slot: Main Battery mod 3 or Torpedo tubes mod 3 - this is again to personal tastes though I recommend taking main battery as the high detectability of the torps in the current meta especially at high tiers outweighs their capability.

 

 

Consumables:

Catapult Fighter

Hydroacoustic - I would recommend this only for tiers 6 - 7 as CV threat is not that significant and close range battles are common. At high tiers Def AA is a must. This depends on your playstyle if your looking for extra AA protection then go AA if your DD hunting or doing close range work which the night battle streaty is all about stick with Hydro.

Repair Party

 

Commander Skills:

1 point: Preventative Maintenance, Direction center, and Priority Target

2 point: Expert Marksman 

3 point: Demo Expert, Superintendent 

4 point: Concealment Expert, AFT

Most the these skills enhance your ability to do damage and boost survivability, Japanese cruiser armor is quite good compared with other nations but are still vulnerable to BBs and other cruisers. The first slot of skills allows you to reduce the chance of your primary armament going down and boosts survivability for both surface and air action. Expert marksman is a no brainer for your very slow turret traverse. Third point skills are also straightforward, though you could sub in BFT if you're looking for more of an AA build/support role though I would only recommend this on the Moyoko, Ibuki and Zao as they have better AA armaments. For the four point slots Concealment is important as combined with Concealment mod it makes you a ninja and the main point of this build, and AFT for a boost in AA especially for mid to high tier play when CVs are more numerous.

 

Playstayle:

Using the basis of the night attack strategy it is quite clear how to utilize your ship. As a cruiser you're job is to escort and support other ships since IJN cruisers do not have good AA your primary tasks will be to deal support damage and kill DDs. Use your concealment to maneuver to an advantageous position, take the time to bring all weapons to bare. You have to choose your engagements carefully and make sure you have an upper hand and the element of surprise. Once you're ready you can start the attack with either a stealth torp launch or main battery, once the target is eliminated go back to being a ghost or if conditions become unfavorable drop off detectability and reposition. 

 

Conclusion:

This build is strictly using the Japanese disadvantage to your advantage and is revolved around sneaking to allow you to be in an advantageous position for your attack. Just like IJN tactics during the war which worked to a surprising effect against ships more advanced than theirs. IJN ships in game are not really cut out for support roles as they lack good AA, smoke, or good Hydro but they do make up for HE, accuracy, long range torps. There is a lot of freedom in this build and you can tailor it to however you want to play it. Though the main focus is concealment which gives you that positioning capability and fight on your terms, don't be afraid to hold fire till you're close or in position.

Edited by FADM_Nimitz_

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The idea of night battles has come up for discussion many times. I like the idea of using the cyclone mechanic for visual detection limitation with a darkened sky or dusk sky backdrop, something which I think it is possible with the current game engine. It could work on any of the current maps, and the actual shape of the battle would not need to be changed, using Domination, Epicenter or Standard battle modes (Epicenter would be a HUGE close range knife fight in the dark!). Implementing night battles in this manner this would be a lot simpler than trying to develop a whole new play mode, and then you would have to rig for night fights differently than normal battles. In fact, I would probably carry over my clan battles setup for night battles. I had mentioned this at some point during a similar thread and I am waiting to see how they work it into the upcoming Battle of North Cape campaign. That battle was fought north of the Arctic Circle in winter, with just a hour's glow of low light below the southern horizon in daytime and complete darkness the rest of the day, in a series of snow squalls that made it a blind fire fight using radar in sea state 6.

Edited by GrandAdmiral_2016

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