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Gonna need to go into american BBs now

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I just acquired a massachusetts, through an event, and If I'm gonna have a high tier premium ship I may as well make good use of her right? 

So I'm asking you all for tips and tricks for american BBs, T6-10, since I've played mostly IJN and RN BBs up until this point (with a little german) 

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Supertester, In AlfaTesters
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Mass plays much more like a German BB, comparable to say, Bismarck.

For other USN BB's however like NCal, you have pretty accurate battleships with pretty high full salvo potential, and very good armour if you angle it well!
Do you have any specific questions that I can help you with?


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T8+ USN BBs are similar to IJN BBs in a couple of ways. Their guns are decently accurate and they can get citadelled if they show too much side. You don't want to snipe, you want to be at medium range. Maybe a bit closer in the Mass.

I haven't played the Mass but I have played the Alabama and the North Carolina. You stay angled, don't let the reds shoot at you while you are pointing all 3 turrets at them, that's too much side. When you brawl in Mass, and brawl you should, don't let BBs have a shot at your broadside. You have to pay more attention to your angle when you brawl with USN BBs than you do in KM BBs.

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Alpha Tester
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Their basically mid range ships. Decent overall protection, but slow as hell till Iowa, even NC on gets up to like 27, 28 knots. Bow armour is solid, AA if built for it is an absolute nightmare for CV's, especially out tiered ones, Iowa in particular with an AA build is like Hela vs Asgards Army in Ragnorak unless RNG gives you the finger. 

Really, until you get to that split in the line of RN BB's where they get more like battle cruisers relying on stealth, around that KGV area, they really play similar to them but with worse HE and bigger guns for a bit. Albeit UK has sort of supplanted USN overall in role given it has equal/better AA (USN's ships techinacally match/surpass DPS, however, a lot of that is in 20 mm guns that are seldom useful against more than DB's, where as all the DPS especially on higher tier UK is mid-long range only), decent enough armour, gets to a point it has a larger caliber than USN (419 mm or 457 mm) while also having the 1/4 HE for when ships are angled, with similar speed and stealth generally, albeit Iowa is faster than Lion. Though, USN ships are way less likely to eat a citadel through the bow.

They aren't bad, don't get me wrong by what I typed above. They are still decent and competitive. But, removing CV's from the equation for reasons, they are just like the other USN, and really IJN ships that have been power creeped a bit and not yet really gotten the attention they need quite yet. Save USN cruisers with the split, and MAYBE the IJN "gun boat" line, as they at least have a gun option and not just relying on over nerfed torps. 

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Beta Testers
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I'm currently slow grinding BBs for all the nations. And at current I've been finding the USN to be one of my favorites. 

It's combination of Accuracy, AA, and Secondaries makes it enjoyable. I'm nowhere near as far as I was in CBT. But the Massachusetts and Missouri makes me want to get to Montana. 

But having those 2 Prems and the ArkB and Texas give me little reason to grind since I can plug in any cmdr to experience Low and higher tiers. 


Currently I'm debating on dropping SBM2 for APRM1 on Massachusetts, sure it's not maximizing her specialities. But constantly hitting 1 for 9 at 12km away is a bit frustrating especially when accustomed to the slightly more accurate BBs. 

I the question is the additional MB Range worth the -15% SB dispersion/range...

Spotter is nice but sometimes you're a fish out of water when uptiered and lacking both Range and Accuracy.

Anyways, USN BBs, even if they're stronger AA platforms than SB's your DP 127s are surprisingly effective. The strongest example is Missouri, her Radar range is nearly equal to her Spec'd + Flagged secondaries.

And should you ever decide to shift to AA spec for any of ships of the line a simple module swap will grant the build for you if your cmdr is spec'd with AFT; should you Div with a CV or play during high CV hours.

My advice is IF you can survive with the lesser range from APRM1,  spec for AA or SB. Unlike the other Nations that have access to the Dispersion buff of ASM1 does not apply to the USN until T9-10 through APRM2.

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BB survival practices are still the same as all other Battleships.

The general rule with many BBs still apply in terms of gunnery with the USN ones.  12-15km should be the preferred engagement window.  For one, you stay out of the range of long range secondaries as found on Bismarck / Tirpitz, which you can start encountering with Tier VI New Mexico.  Secondly, this keeps you out of range of the bulk of torpedoes that are around 9-10km ranges.  Thirdly, in the 12-15km window your chances of scoring hits are more reliable.  This gets harder with more and more range.  This engagement window persists even all the way into Tier X.


German BBs are of significant danger to the USN Standard BBs (Tier VII and below) due to their awful speed.  German BBs are much faster, especially the Tier VII and higher ones.  Realistically, something like Gneissenau, Scharnhorst can literally run right up to a New Mexico, New York, Arizona, Colorado, and blast them in short range with their guns, torps, and secondaries.  The USN BBs there cannot run away, they're too slow.  The  best counter to prevent this from happening are teammates.  Most especially friendly Cruisers and Destroyers.  Destroyers above all else are your best friends.  No brawling BB wants to push when there are still opposing DDs ahead of them, and they're not being spotted.  Nobody want to eat torps.  So, help your DDs, blap the Cruisers and DDs they find, and their presence will keep the scary Schanhorsts and Bismarcks at bay.  If these brawling BBs are kept at range, then your more reliable gunnery can make the difference against them, forcing them into a style of combat that their ship and build is ill-suited for.


On the flip side to this, the USN Standard BB has to know when it's time to bail.  When you see the reds kill the last DD of your group and you see a bunch of Cruisers and fast sailing BBs, you're getting overrun.  You're too slow to escape with 21kt speeds.  If that last DD of yours died and Scharnhorst is already 12km away from your USN Standard BB, it's already too late to run.  You're dead already.


Continuing on gunnery, the USN Standard BBs tend to have some mediocre gun ranges, except for VII Colorado that has a passable 18.83km gun range.  VI New Mexico barely breaks 16km, which is wholly inadequate.

For NM I'd suggest APRM1 for extra gun range.

For CO, APRM1 isn't as necessary because 18km is just sufficient.  You can wish for more, but you can make it work as you did with VIII Massachusetts.  This also gives CO the option of doing an AA Build, the first USN BB where it's a bonafide choice to do so.


Tier VIII is when your gun range opens up.  VIII North Carolina with modules goes out to 23km.  However, as you've found with Massachusetts, the shells are floaty.  Tier VIII USN BB shells are tricky but highly rewarding.  They float quite a bit which makes leading at distant targets much harder than previous and later tiered USN BBs.  But due to the way the shells float so high, the way they crash down on ships means more penetrations.  Where more level shooting BBs will get overpens as they shoot right through the superstructure, etc, the higher angles they come down in means they get more penetrations.  Unless you're in short range, aim for the base of the superstructure.  Let your arcing shells catch into those nice little corners of the deck and base of the superstructure, and bag yourself tons of penetrations.  This is how NC / 'Bama / Mass can really, really hurt even angled German Battleships.


Dispersion?  The USN Standards (VII and below) are very hit or miss, they're less accurate than IJN BBs but better off in dispersion than German BBs.  In Tier VIII, the dispersion is actually pretty good because of how the shells arc and fall, but leading is the problem at Tier VIII.  Tier IX-X?  You access 16"/50 guns, IMO the second best set of Battleship main battery in the game, only surpassed by IJN 460 as found on Yamato.  Leading at range with the 16"/50 guns is easier compared to the 16"/45 guns at Tier VIII.  The shells are heavy and retain their velocity at range, and more importantly, are punishing shells.  You get x9 at Tier IX, x12 on Tier X.  As a Cruiser Main myself, when I play High Tier Cruisers, the 2 Battleships I fear the most are Yamato (460mm with the best accuracy in the game) and Montana.  Montana has those great 16"/50 x12 guns.  Accurate and powerful but this is made worse for a Crusier because she has 12 of these guns, where Yamato only has 9.  These 16"/50 guns are absolutely lethal to Cruisers.  Unless you got a broadside BB to nail, or a DD within reasonable range to engage, Cruisers are your Number 1 target.  Most especially those Radar Cruisers that can pose problems for your DDs.


Speed.  USN Standards are the slowest BBs in the game.  21kts at best.  You need to be decisive and not wishy-washy with your sailing.  Quickly realize where you need to go, AND GO there.  If you are hesitant, indecisive on where you want to go, you are wasting time and your BB will arrive too late.  Even a decisive USN Standard BB can still arrive late, but a hesitant one is even worse.  It may not even arrive at all when the fighting is at its peak and that BB firepower is not being used when it's needed the most.


From Tier VIII on, USN BB speed is respectable to great.  27kts is the speed for all VIII USN BBs.  Iowa and Missouri at IX go to a whopping 33kts.  Montana goes to 30kts at Tier X.  Sail smartly.  Use the speed to bring that firepower to the fight sooner, but don't use that speed to put yourself in a bad position.


Stealth.  USN BBs are in the middle.  They're stealthier than German and IJN BBs but RN BBs are sneakier.  However, in Tier X, in a Stealth Build, Montana goes to 13.4km detection range.  But GK, Yamato, Republique can go to 13.5km.  Tier IX is the last tier where USN BB stealth is notably better than IJN, French, German BBs.  Manage your concealment ranges correctly, because there are times you need to disengage to save the ship.  You can simply hold your fire, "go dark," then do the 180 degree turn in stealth and not under gunfire.  Let the fires burn out, conduct repairs in stealth, and then come back again to fight.  You can't do this if your concealment range is sh*t or you put your BB so close that you cannot go back into stealth.


Secondaries.  Massachusetts is the only bonafide Secondaries Build USN BB in the game.  USN BB Secondaries outside Mass have poor range and / or poor reloading speed.  Tier X Montana actually has pretty decent Secondaries in terms of power and rate of fire, but her gun range is laughably short even with a Secondaries Build.  Around 9km IIRC, which is hilariously short for a Tier X Secondaries Build BB.  That's not going to fly in the world of Alsace, GK, Republique.


Armor, Citadel Protection.  The USN Standards have pretty good armor belts.  That's not the problem.  The problem for them is everything else.  They're big, they're fat, they have massive superstructures that catch shells.  You may not citadel them easy, but you can get lots of HE & AP penetrating hits.  At Tier VI, you have to be very careful about 380mm+ armed Battleships like Warspite, Bayern, Mutsu, Amagi, Colorado, etc, because they can rip right through your bow for penetrations.  You can angle all you want against these, but Overmatch says that 380mm+ AP will penetrate your bow.  VII, your bow cannot protect you against your own gun size.  Be careful.  Cruisers are of significant danger to USN Standards because they're so easy to hit.  AP, HE, doesn't matter, they're vulnerable to Cruiser gunfire.


At Tier VIII-X, your bow can defend against any AP but IJN 460mm AP.  You can even laugh off Conqueror 457mm AP for the worthless shells that they are.  At Tier VIII-X, bow on, the only AP you have to fear is from Musashi and Yamato.  That's it.  However, do be mindful of your sides as it can get penetrated.  Citadels are harder to come by against the USN BBs these tiers ever since the citadels were lowered, but that doesn't mean they're impossible to citadel.  You'll eat tons of penetrations to the sides which is just as devastating as a citadel strike.  If you find yourself in the front of a Yamato or Musashi, all you can hope for is pray the enemy will go for hull strikes and try to get auto-bounce to save you.  Because if they're not stupid, they'll go for the bow and get reliable penetrations, possibly even bow citadels.


Also, be careful of when you do Bow On tactics.  If you are fighting 1-on-1 or the enemy numbers are few, Bow On is quite valid.  However, if you go Bow On against 5 or so ships, YOU WILL DIE.  You must sail smartly.  Sail aggressively to get close for higher hit percentage salvos, but do not put yourself into an obvious focus fire position.  Use islands to disrupt enemy LOS to you.  I'm not saying to camp islands like a Des Moines, I'm saying to use some island off to the side several km away so that instead of the 6 possible enemy ships shooting at you, only 1-2 of them can.  You don't have to be right next to an island to have it block LOS to your ship.


Anti-Aircraft.  Technically, AA Builds start being possible at Tier VI.  Realistically, it starts Tier VII.  If you take AAGM2 upgrade for AA range on VI New Mexico, you are stuck with 16km gun range and I will tell you now, that is a horrible experience.  So many opportunities will slip past you because you can only barely reach 16km.  VII Colorado, you have more passable range and adopting AAGM2 with an AA Build becomes a valid choice.

"But Haze, why an AA Build?"

For one, USN BBs start improving AA a lot with Tier VII, all the way through Tier X.  Secondly, all USN BBs cannot slot ASM1 for buffing Main Battery dispersion.  This isn't like Fuso, Amagi taking ASM1 to improve dispersion.  It's a solid choice for them.  USN BBs don't even get that choice.  ASM1 doesn't even show up as a choice!  So, you got a bunch of BBs that cannot slot ASM1, have trash secondaries outside Massachusetts, what are you going to do?

"Well... Use AAGM2 then for an AA Build."

Because there's no other choice.  You can try a FP / Survival Build, but then your weapon upgrades literally serve no purpose.


This is why you tend to see Tier VII+ USN BBs with good AA.  They don't have much choice.  Still, even with an AA Build, you still need to sail smartly in a CV match.  If you sail your AA BB all alone, I promise you, a Taiho, Hakuryu, Midway, Essex will go for you and get hits.  Use your AA in conjunction with other nearby ships to make you all look a lot less appetizing for an airstrike.  Alone you are more vulnerable, esp. to IX-X CVs, but together, especially with High Tier USN BB AA chipping in, mutual AA can make a big "No Fly Zone" for your teammates.  Your solo AA will be sufficient in crushing Tier VIII and lower CV aircraft, causing immense losses.  But IX-X CVs have stronger, faster aircraft and have upgrades to make them faster or tougher.  Treat IX-X CVs even with an AA Build BB with the utmost respect.


The Uniqueness of Tier IX-X USN Battleships.  However, starting Tier IX, options open up greatly for USN BB players.  This is due to the availability of Slot 6 Upgrades and most importantly, access to APRM2 there.  APRM2 buffs Main Battery dispersion.  ASM1 buffs it by 6%, but APRM2 buffs it by 11%.  Do you know what this means?  This means that Iowa, Missouri, Montana can take an AA Build, take AAGM2, and still buff their Main Battery dispersion because APRM2 is in a completely different slot.  IX-X USN BBs are the only ships in the game that can do this.  There are other BBs at High Tier, that on paper, can have just as good or even better AA than USN BBs.  But they have to give up ASM1, SBM2 because AAGM2 is in the same slot as those.  For IX-X USN BBs, they get the best of both worlds.


Let me put it like this.  German, RN, French BBs, as well as Iowa, Missouri, Montana go to the local bakery.

Alsace, Republique walk home each with a cake labelled, "Secondaries," and have to live with less reliable guns and AA.

Bismarck, FDG, GK each walk home with a cake called, "Secondaries," and have to live with less reliable guns and AA.

Lion, Monarch walk home each with a cake called, "Anti-Aircraft," but their secondaries were always garbage and the Main Battery becomes a whole lot less reliable.

Conqueror walks home with a cake called, "Main Battery," but her secondaries were always garbage.  Her AA could be made absolutely lethal, but without AAGM2, they're not effective at all, even a Tier VIII CV will barely feel the AA, much less a Tier IX-X one.  As a Conqueror owner, without ASM1, she is a lot less dangerous to ships out there.


Then you got Iowa, Missouri, Montana.  They each walk home with 2 cakes at the same time.  One labelled "Anti-Aircraft" and the other, "Main Battery."

That is the uniqueness of IX-X USN Battleships.  At these tiers, other BBs have to make sacrifices for their build, USN BBs here get their Main Battery and AA Buffs.


Also a trick I've done with High Tier USN BBs against overeager Brawling / Secondary Build BBs.



Bait them.  Angle away.  Sail slowly and let them get to the secondaries range that they want.

Keep lobbing shells.  Sail fast enough that they cannot quickly overtake you to use torpedoes.

But when they show sides so that they can fire more of their secondaries, blast them.  Aim for lower superstructure, get a magnificent amount of AP penetrations, make them pay.

They think they'll be doing better with their secondaries shooting at you, but you allowing them to get closer only means you can hardly miss with your powerful 16"/45 or 16"/50 AP shells.  Aim for the lower superstructure and you will immediately see in how they sail that they regret that decision.

Blast them.

Blast them.

Feed them American Piercing Shells of Freedom.  Secondaries cannot keep up with the damage of a bunch of 16"/45 or 16"/50 AP shells getting penetrating hits.  I will make that trade any day.



Edited by HazeGrayUnderway
  • Cool 2

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USA T3-7:  WW1 Dreadnought playstyle

  • Pros - Very heavy armor.  Very good gunnery and penetration.  Tight turning radius and rudder shift for dodging torpedoes.
  • Cons - Very slow, and must plan ahead to avoid over-extending.  Despite claims, AA is mediocre.  Slower shell velocity.
  • My favorite ship of the series - USS Arizona

USA T8-10:  WW2 Fast-Battleship playstyle

  • Pros - Very good at bow tanking.  Brutally hard hitting and accurate gunnery.  Fast, finally!  Excellent AA.  Very good concealment.
  • Cons - Large turning radius and slower rudder shift (sans the South Dakotas).  Weak belt armor.  Laughable secondary performance.  Slower shell velocity.
  • My favorite ship of the series - USS North Carolina (can't count the Masshole since she's completely different). 

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