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xXSpotted_HyenaXx

"Destroyers and you. A Battleship Captain's Guide"

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Greetings Captains! Hyena here, and today I'd like to share my mental guidebook on how to deal with destroyers as a battleship captain. (Besides yelling at Wargaming to nerf them).

 

There's nothing more irritating than taking out your nice shiny new floating fortress only to get hit with a 15 torpedo spread and become someone's first blood, or to be knee deep in the thick of a good game only to have it all end in a hail of steel fish. Believe me, I share your pain. 

So! Hopefully this little strategy guide will help you along your way to not only evading and avoiding, but engaging and defeating those pesky little fishing trawlers that always seem to make you want to set your computer on fire. 

 

At port

Dealing with destroyers starts at port with two things. Some battleships are more capable at dealing with destroyers than others. Ships such as the Colorado or Warspite, have high caliber low velocity main guns that can wreck a battleship, but not so much a destroyer. Whereas, ships like Scharnhorst or Dunkerque have lower caliber, high velocity main guns that may not be as devastating to your battleship piers, but will make it easier on you to counter a wild torpedo spamming crazy man looking for a fat juicy target such as yourself. Ships with plenty of secondary batteries also are good against the especially intrepid breed (Or Russian) Destroyer captains that get in close to deliver a point blank salvo of death. While most of us don't choose our battleships with the idea to hunt destroyers, the above is just a little something to keep in mind. 

Another thing to keep in mind, is how you train your crew. There are a wide variety of skills for your captain to make engaging destroyers a bit easier. Any skill that decreases dispersion and reload time, and increases fire rate and accuracy for your secondary batteries is what I suggest. Another thing, is modules and equipment. There are equippable modules to enhance the above even more so. While secondary guns arent the sole answer to your destroyer problems, a well trained crew can certainly be of great help given that with the amount of time we spend reloading our main batteries, it's good that we have a more rapid fire option available as a last line of defense. 

 

At sea

Now that we have a few tips in how to prepare a ship and a crew, lets go to war. Shall we?  Do any of you remember the old G.I. Joe cartoons where he famously said "And knowing is half the battle?"  This applies double, if not triple when encountering a destroyer out in the wild in it's natural habitat. 

1: The minimap

Pay close attention to the minimap at all times! Fire a salvo, then glance at the minimap quickly. See any destroyers? Does your team see any destroyers? Where are they, where are they headed. Are any near you? All of this information can be gathered and processed by a quick glance and a split second of your time. If you're like me, it takes 28 seconds to reload my main guns. A quick shot to the minimap then back up again won't cost you a thing between salvos against other enemy warships. 

2: Smoke screens.

While this isnt indicative of a destroyer, per se. It is guaranteed that whatever caused that smoke screen has torpedoes to use against you. Charging headlong into a smoke screen shouting 'LEEEERROOYYYYYYY' at the top of your lungs is a sure fire way to earn spectator mode in a hurry. You cant fight what you cant see, nor can you dodge it's attacks. See a smoke screen? Hang back, or run well abreast of it until it A: Clears, or B: a friendly ship with radar comes along to help you.

3: Know when to run away

Ever hear the story of David and Goliath? Well. You're goliath. Dont end up like Goliath. Despite what uninformed or downright trollish teammates may have you believe, I find no shame in running from a lone destroyer. Remember, they have speed, they have agility, they have a skilled skipper and the means to send you to the bottom of the digital bathtub with a single strike. The last thing you want to do is face down a destroyer, fire all your guns (miss) and then have the embarrassment of being torpedoed from 2 km away. Find help from a Cruiser or friendly destroyer. 

4: Stay mobile

So, you find a sweet little hiding spot in your Fuso, about 20 km away from the battlezone, and you're lobbing some HE shells onto helpless enemies from behind an island and there's nothing they can do. When suddenly..a destroyer appears.. 5 km out. Your secondaries engage but he's already broadside...torpedoes on the way. What do you do?  Brush up on your swimming lessons. You're done for. 

The key to evading a destroyer, or...well..anything flying at you, is to remain mobile. If you have a confirmed destroyer in your area, make it a point to Zig Zag, and be sure to make your turns and the length of time you sail in one direction unpredictable. For example, if faced with a destroyer trying to torpedo you, cut to port 5 degrees for 6 seconds. Now, turn to starboard, 8 degrees for 10 seconds.  Back to port, 4 degrees, 7 seconds. So on and so forth. A good captain will watch for a pattern from an evading foe, and will adjust his aim to compensate. You cant predict crazy, so sail on a course that is..well..kind of crazy. 

5: Communication

If you happen upon a destroyer, another key thing is communicate! Ask for help from a friendly cruiser or destroyer nearby if you feel that you cant handle him alone. Even if no one comes to your aid, you know yourself that you did reach out. I've found in most cases, someone will come assist you. Battleships are powerful warships, losing one hurts the team, and no one wants to hurt the team intentionally. Unless they're a complete dink, in which case Wargaming will get them eventually.

6: Giving Chase

If you see a destroyer turning it's stern away from you and running away. It may be tempting to try and chase the little booger down and introduce yourself to him. My advice to you is? Don't. Destroyers are far faster than most battleships they will encounter. He might have seen you, and hasn't reloaded his torpedoes yet. Giving chase will only end in you losing sight of him (But not him losing sight of you) and you spending the rest of your game dodging salvo after salvo of torpedoes suddenly beaming into existence with no real bearing on the ship they're being fired from. 

7: Islands and Straits

Unless you are confident that there aren't any destroyers (cruisers can also apply here) in your immediate vicinity and you can safely do some navigating through tight island areas, then it is best that you dodge these at all costs for several reasons not even related to destroyers.  The first being, if caught by another battleship. You may be caught without all your turrets able to fire on him. The enemy captain can predict exactly where you're going to go, and blast you into oblivion with no hopes of you evading. 

Secondly, related to destroyers and their bigger pals, cruisers, tight areas and choke points mean you wont be able to evade that salvo of torpedoes that will be replacing the majority of the water in the space you currently occupy at the moment. Many destroyer captains intentionally hide in these areas, burst out at the very last moment (maybe 4-8 km away). Dump a salvo into the water, and then quickly move back into hiding. By the time the latter is occurring in their run, you're already on your way to the bottom of the sea. Stay in places where you have a wide berth in which to perform evasive maneuvers should things go wrong. 

 

 

Now that we have covered some basic ideas, lets get into the more advanced techniques and strategies. 

 

Remember when I said knowing was half the battle? Knowing how a destroyer behaves at certain times during it's attack or defensive maneuvers dictates how you can respond in kind. Lets take a look at some scenarios here.

Okay. So you find yourself facing down a destroyer. Whats he doing? Whats the angle of his ship?

If a destroyer is charging right at you, he is trying to close range as quickly as possible. You have two options depending on distance.  If the destroyer is a substantial amount away still...say..10-15km out. Do an about face and show him your stern. Make him chase you. 

By making a destroyer chase you, you are doing several things to hamper his ability to get at you. First off, you're presenting the narrowest target possible. Most destroyer captains will NOT try and force a shot at long range on such a target, the chances of missing are compounded at range, and torpedoes have a long...long cool down time. So he will close the distance even more.  

This act in of itself has been made harder by your turning away from him. Because now, the destroyer must overcome your speed to close into sufficient range. Lets say, your battleship travels at 20 knots, the destroyer at 35.  By you turning away, you are subtracting your 20 knots from the equation, now your destroyer foe is only closing the distance at 15 knots. This gives you more time to fire at him, and gives your secondary guns more of a chance to react and get off more shots. When facing a destroyer, every precious second off of your reload time counts. Whereas, if you charge straight at the destroyer, he is closing range at you by a whopping 55 knots, as you own speed is working against you. Another thing working against the destroyer captain is, you are closing range with potential friendlies that may be better suited to sinking the destroyer. All of these combined, will make you seem like a less appealing target, and anything you can do to seem like a less tasty treat is a plus in my book. 

So, we've covered what a destroyer may or may not be doing when he is charging you straight on. Now lets look at a destroyer's most deadliest pose......broadside. 

Much like your battleship, a broadside destroyer is a scary sight to behold. if you find that a destroyer is within..say..8-10KM out, sailing broadside? It's time to drop what you're doing and who you're shooting at. Because you're about to turn into an artificial reef. 

Now, that being said, there are certain things to observe before you hit the panic mode and scream at your engineers for more speed. He may be sailing broadside, sure, but that doesn't always mean that he's launching torpedoes at you. Much like how squirrels can not chatter while without wiggling their tails, a destroyer can not fire it's guns and launch torpedoes at the same time. If you catch a destroyer broadside, and it's firing it's guns at you, then maybe it's time you show him what a real cannonade is supposed to look like. The moment he stops firing his main guns, is the moment you should try out that zig zagging and running away technique that you read earlier. Destroyers also can not fire their torpedoes (Much like how we can't fire all of our main guns) From extreme angles or when they are charging or directly running away from you. This also being said, this doesn't mean perform a hardover and give them your full broadside. Just because they aren't firing torpedoes now, doesn't mean that won't change within a moments notice, and you might find yourself in a tight situation with your knickers around your ankles. 

 

Now that weve discussed the various poses destroyers may take. Lets take a look at some engagement tips. Here, I want to place you in some scenarios I have found myself in, and ways I have prevailed. 

Let's say, you've decided you've had enough of this tin turd that's been stalking you. Your friends are lemming training the other way to their doom (By other destroyers most likely), and all your attempts at cries for help end in "What are you doing way out there?"  or "Derp. it's just a DD. Git Guud scrub!"  Or something about "POI".   So you're left to your own devices. Now it's time to go to war. 

Lets say for example, this one is a brave one. Hes charging right at you..about out now. It's been a while since his last salvo, so you're not sure if he is reloaded or not. There are several things you can do, and oddly enough? None of them include firing your main battery at them. 

Perchance when you're finished reading this section, take a kitchen knife outside, and place it on a table with it's tip facing you.  Now...shoot at it with whatever you have handy...it can be a nerf gun, a slingshot if you're Dennis the Menace, or a rifle. Fire at it only once and hit it, right on the nose. That is what you're asking your aft turrets to do when trying to fire at an incoming destroyer who's facing you bow on. 90% of the time, you will miss, and by the time you are reloaded and able to fire again? It may be to late, and he knows this. So what do you do? You ask. 

First and foremost, make sure you're running from the destroyer, make him work, make him play your game. Buy yourself as much time as you can to plan your moves accordingly. Secondly, angle yourself at a slight, sharp angle to give your secondary guns a chance to fire, Though they have about the same success rate as you would trying to hit such a small target, secondary guns reload far quicker and there are usually more of them then there are main gun batteries. Now, there is a fine line to think about here.  While you want to give as many of your secondary guns a chance to engage, you also don't want to expose to much of your broadside, remember, battleships are painful to turn, and once you get to turning it is an act of government to stop. Destroyers do not have this problem, exposing to much of your broadside, especially within the range it takes to get your secondaries to join the party will mean it will be nearly impossible to dodge the torpedo salvo that will come a few seconds later. But angling to sharply, will severely limit the amount of secondary guns that can engage the incoming destroyer, with the trade off that you make a smaller target. The key here, is to know your ship, and the firing arcs of your secondary guns. 

When the destroyer begins getting close...very close...Now is your chance. Depending upon the nerves of the captain you are facing, you may be able to scare him broadside into a rushed shot. Lets say in this scenario, you are in command of a standard layout dreadnought battleship. Such as a Colorado, New Mexico, or Warspite. Something with two aft batteries.  The destroyer is within 6km now still charging. You're slightly angled All turrets facing one way.  Fire *1* Battery. The chances of you hitting are very slim, but sometimes, especially when they're already under pressure from your secondary guns, you can break a destroyer captains will. Watch him -very- closely. Any sudden turn, any sudden movement, anything at all. The moment he so much as twitches, you only have a split second to react..now's your chance, he's turning a few degrees to one side to evade. Lead....fire.   With any luck, you will be angled -just- enough to have your front batteries in position as well, or you can have them in position within a very short moment, and you can give him your other 3 guns, and a one way ticket to an early retirement. 

But wait! What if hes -not dead-  Doomed, right?  Not yet. There is still something you can do! Let's say, your tin can is hit, and within a breadth of his life. Hes broadside now, knowing you fired, and knowing your secondary gun crew is obviously drunk. Keep your heading. Keep your heading for a good 3-5 seconds. This gives him time to take aim, lead, and launch. The beauty of torpedoes, is once they are launched, there is nothing the destroyer can do to guide them. After the time has expired, Hard over with everything you got, even if you do not see them just yet, assume they are on their way. 

Now lets say the destroyer captain is "especially" intrepid, and shows you his other broadside. This means only one thing...he's not done sending fish your way just yet. Again, angle your hull the other direction..except this time, maybe wait...2-4 seconds.  Then, hard over back the other way. But be mindful: That other salvo is still incoming, be sure you don't abuse your rudder when evading that second salvo, or you may find yourself foolishly in the path of the salvo you thought you had all but dodged a moment ago. Alternatively, you can also perform your evasive action the moment he begins firing his main battery at you. As stated above, a destroyer can not launch torpedoes and fire his main guns at the same time. So in this situation, his last salvo is on it's way, and he's just trying to annoy you just before your predicted demise. Inadvertently letting you know "Okay Mr. BB, you can turn now. Have a good one!" What a nice fella that DD guy eh? 

At this point, it becomes a game of reloading your guns, and taking a few more shots before he pops smoke to finish the job. 

Another alternative thing your destroyer friend will begin doing is a maneuver I like to call "Fishtailing". Taken after the rather unpopular predicament you may find yourself in with your automobile should you drive like your wife in the snow. A destroyer will zig zag sharply, port to starboard and do so rapidly, changing directions to and fro but not really changing their position very much. The key here, is to watch them for a second or so, find a pattern, and then time your main battery shots accordingly. If done properly, your destroyer foe will not even be able to close in close enough to have to worry about most of the scenario in question, and again, forcing a destroyer to make a hurried rushed shot, is forcing him to sacrifice his aim for the sake of speedy delivery. A contested shot, is never the best shot, and could mean the difference between taking 1 fish, or no fish, as opposed to 3-5. Another thing to remember, is the destroyer is on the offensive. He will not do anything to brash to compromise the speed as to which he is closing the distance to deliver his payload to you, so one thing you can always count on, he will always be heavily angled unless he is turning to fire.  If perchance your destroyer enemy is heavily damaged, and you are confident in your ability to finish the job in a single salvo, you can wait until that very moment that he is broadside to deliver the coup de grace. But remember, hard over the other way as soon as your barrels are empty. He may be sinking now, but you don't know if he's already fired or not...It's better to be safe, than sorry. I can assure you that chances are, you will be sorry. 

 

Now that weve gotten that scenario out of the way! Lets take a look at another scenario!  One more!    What? TL;DR? Come on. You made it this far..dont give up now!

 

Let's say for example, you discover a destroyer behind an island. He's just sitting there. Yes, sitting there hanging out. Tied off to the beach, having a beer. Easy target right? Round that corner and Kablooey, you hit him with the force of 1,000 wombats, and blast him all the way back to Tier 1. 

If this is your vision of how things will unfold, then I hope you enjoy really terrible surprises on par with pulling down an empty cereal box left in the cabinet or a wayward lego waiting for your bare foot as you traverse your house in the darkness. Because that is what will happen.

Destroyer skippers are cunning, and love springing traps on wayward battleships looking for a free kill (or just being distracted).  The moment your bow crosses the side of the island, he will have torpedoes on the way, and there will not be a thing you will be able to do about it in time. Except maybe, do a number two in your trousers (Hope you're wearing your brown ones!). A destroyer camping behind an island means only one thing. Yes, Admiral Ackbar, it is a trap.  Even if it means going around a potential cap, if you enjoy being alive long enough to crush that other BB just beyond the horizon, it would be best that you run way wide of him. Give him a good, wide berth. As common sense will inform you, the longer the distance his torpedoes must travel to reach you, the more time you will have to spot them, and react accordingly. If you are far enough away, chances are the destroyer, having been spotted and potentially fired on by a ship that shoots a broadside equal to the weight of a parking lot full of cars will pop smoke and proceed to another island (Or attempt the scenario above, in which case, you know what to do!)

 

 

Still with me? Wow....you must -really- hate destroyers!  This is my how to guide on evading, and engaging enemy destroyers, how to predict their actions, and know what they're doing when they're doing it. As you can see, much of it is educational guess work, and some of this will come with experience in conjunction with reading this little spiel. These tactics, coupled with knowing the muzzle velocity of my main guns, and the placement of my secondary batteries has netted me more than one destroyer sunk or rethinking their life choices on many occasions, and I certainly hope it will help you as well, captain. These tactics may not work with every destroyer, every time, and you may find situations unique to the examples described above, I only outlined the two most common tactics and behaviors displayed by destroyers and their captains. If you run into a unique situation, feel free to give me a shout here or in game! Maybe we can brainstorm together. 

 

Happy hunting. Stay Frosty, Stay alive. 

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Wow that's a lot of great information! Thanks for taking the time to share this with us @xXSpotted_HyenaXx! Destroyers can be pesky but if you know when you stand and fight and when you run away you stand a much better chance of staying alive and of being of value to your teammates! 

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Staying mobile is about the best advice period for a BB....sometimes it is better to turn and fight a DD pursuing you if it is just you and the DD to keep your secondaries firing rather than being bombarded by it and him keep setting you on fire....if he runs then you can turn again and try to get out of range if he challenges you ....kill him...better to die fighting than running. 

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On 4/23/2018 at 5:56 PM, C_D said:

Staying mobile is about the best advice period for a BB....sometimes it is better to turn and fight a DD pursuing you if it is just you and the DD to keep your secondaries firing rather than being bombarded by it and him keep setting you on fire....if he runs then you can turn again and try to get out of range if he challenges you ....kill him...better to die fighting than running. 

This is true depending on the situation. Most times when a destroyer runs from me, and I give chase, he ends up in the scenario above. Whereas, I can't see him, but he can see me, and I end up dodging salvo after salvo until he finally ends up hitting me. The idea of running is a bit like the dove with a broken wing routine. 

I play scared, he turns to chase me. The idea, is to think several steps ahead of him. Retreating doesn't necessarily mean throwing in the towel, I want to try and compromise his ability to launch an offensive attack against me as much as possible. More often than not, if I am the one perusing, I usually end up being the one sinking. 

But I whole heartily agree with you on being mobile. The only time I am stationary in a battleship is during the Killer Whale operation when I'm bombing shore buildings or docked ships out of their range. And those aren't even real players. (A.I.).  If I'm in a game, and I am stationary. My PC crashed (Don't report me :()

Edited by xXSpotted_HyenaXx
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Alpha Tester, In AlfaTesters
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As primarily a DD driver I appreciate this information as it helps me predict what a BB captain may do. Or what I can do when watching him do some maneuver. Regardless this is great information. Thanks for taking the time. Now to find one for DDs. . .

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PS: I found out how to show the stats box but now am embarrassed by it. Is there some link explaining  how to delete it? Many thanks.

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On 5/1/2018 at 4:11 PM, Captaindon130 said:

As primarily a DD driver I appreciate this information as it helps me predict what a BB captain may do. Or what I can do when watching him do some maneuver. Regardless this is great information. Thanks for taking the time. Now to find one for DDs. . .

You there. Shoo..shoo...  Where are the bouncers. Escort this gentleman out! He man DD haters club here! 

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No battleship should ever be in a position where they have to deal with an enemy DD alone. If they are, then something has gone horribly wrong. That said, this is WoWS, so you'll almost always have something go horribly wrong. The best way to deal with destroyers is to anticipate where they're gonna be and knowledge what they're capable of. While it's true that the first step is setting up your ship, there's no amount of secondary fire that will remove a DD threat before he gets his shot at you, save for the lucky detonation. There are steps you can take during a match to reduce your chances of being sunk though. 

1) never go anywhere alone. Always try to at least stay behind your friendly destroyers and cruisers. They'll be able to spot incoming torpedoes for you and will usually detect enemy ships before you do. Also, you can easily help them out if they do run into opposition. 

2) keep an eye on your detection warning. If you are spotted, always assume there are torpedoes and shells coming your way. Make random course and speed changes. It's better to get there a little later alive than not at all. If an enemy destroyer allows you to get in spotting range of him, do not be baited. You're first instinct may be to turn in his direction of travel. This is usually a setup. He is aiming his torpedoes in that direction, where he guests you'll be when you turn to chase him. Instead, turn away from his direction of travel, then quickly return to your original heading. This gives you the best chance of throwing him off and possibly avoiding any torpedoes he sends. 

3) HE is not always the better option. Often times, you'll be in a situation where your allies are spotting and engaging destroyers several km away from you. HE is most effective against DD's at longer ranges and at any range broadside. However, up close, under 7-8km, if they're charging you or running away, AP tends to be far more effective, because it travels the length of the ship and explodes inside, rather than just punching in one side and out the other. 

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