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SJ_Sailer

Ammo Choices with T7 Helena

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First let me say I had given up on Helena a while ago, had terrible, terrible stats with her.  No damage and got killed early every battle.  Grinded up Heavy Cruisers I had better success with,  Got Yorck, New Orleans, and Algeria.  After a while went back to Helena to try again and all the sudden I started racking up damage and wins.  I am getting at least 50K damage every game.  (I know that is low to you guys but really good for me.)  Which turns me to Ammo.

I have IFHE and play way too much HE.  I have try experimenting with more AP usage but when looking at after action reports AP and HE (per shell average) numbers seem to be the same if not higher for HE and that is not including the fire damage which can be up to half the damage I get per battle.

Just looking for captains with Helena experience on Ammo choices.  How often do you break out the AP on Cruisers.  (I got to think HE is mandatory with BB and DD).

Thanks for your advice.

Edited by SJ_Sailer
(I play Random Exclusively if that makes any difference.)

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2 minutes ago, SJ_Sailer said:

How often do you break out the AP on Cruisers.

Whenever one offers me broadside, especially at under 10km. With fifteen shells in the air at once, the chances of getting at least one Citadel are good, and in co-op at close range you can get an obscene number. Their health disappears pretty quickly if you can shoot straight and hit the right spot.

You can also try AP against broadside enemy battleships. You won't penetrate the belt, but bow and stern are ripe for farming, as are the superstructure and that part of the hull between the deck and the main belt. It's not quite as good as British AP (which has a short fuze and doesn't overpenetrate much), but  if the superstructure is already black you aren't going to get much out of HE, so switch to AP and give it a shot.

If you catch a DD broadside and you have AP in your barrels, fire it anyway. Again, it's not British AP but you might as well get the damage in (especially if you can reset him in a cap, then a shot at any angle is worth taking). Hit 1 once first, to arrange an automatic ammo-type switch, then pull the trigger. Continue with HE as soon as the barrels reload. 

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12 minutes ago, SJ_Sailer said:

How often do you break out the AP on Cruisers.  (I got to think HE is mandatory with BB and DD)

US light cruiser AP has about 150mm of pen at 10km, so you'll citadel almost every cruiser you'll come across in those ranges. And with 15 guns and the highest DPM of T7 cruisers with 6in guns, any broadside cruisers will melt in two, possibly one salvo (I've dev struck a Myoko with Helena AP).

BB wise, if there're giving broadside at 10km or less, and you have two perma fires, go for it, but aim higher up rather than the waterline, as no 6in shells is capable of going through the main belt of a BB, though some high pen ones like US and Soviet might get very close to Kongo, Peter the Great, and October Revolution.

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1 minute ago, tfcas119 said:

US light cruiser AP has about 150mm of pen at 10km, so you'll citadel almost every cruiser you'll come across in those ranges. And with 15 guns and the highest DPM of T7 cruisers with 6in guns, any broadside cruisers will melt in two, possibly one salvo (I've dev struck a Myoko with Helena AP).

BB wise, if there're giving broadside at 10km or less, and you have two perma fires, go for it, but aim higher up rather than the waterline, as no 6in shells is capable of going through the main belt of a BB, though some high pen ones like US and Soviet might get very close to Kongo, Peter the Great, and October Revolution.

That could be a reason why I use less AP, lately I have been firing from distance blind using the mini map on BB's and even at cruisers at distance.  I have not been getting that close to anything if I can help it.  Been keeping other ships in front of me.

(You do not have to out swim the shark, only your dive buddy.)

How often do you find yourself in the 5-10km range of other ships?  Maybe I need to tighten up the distances but still nervous since Helena seems to be prime target for anyone not shooting at a DD.

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At ranges below 10km against most things that offer me a broadside shot. You do have to memorize armor schemes a bit, since some ships (like Bismarck, Tirpitz and FdG) have a lot of armor that is distributed enough to swallow most shells for shatters. But against ships with little to no casemate armor, you can get 10k volleys rather easily.

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27 minutes ago, SJ_Sailer said:

First let me say I had given up on Helena a while ago, had terrible, terrible stats with her.  No damage and got killed early every battle.  Grinded up Heavy Cruisers I had better success with,  Got Yorck, New Orleans, and Algeria.  After a while went back to Helena to try again and all the sudden I started racking up damage and wins.  I am getting at least 50K damage every game.  (I know that is low to you guys but really good for me.)  Which turns me to Ammo.

I have IFHE and play way too much HE.  I have try experimenting with more AP usage but when looking at after action reports AP and HE (per shell average) numbers seem to be the same if not higher for HE and that is not including the fire damage which can be up to half the damage I get per battle.

Just looking for captains with Helena experience on Ammo choices.  How often do you break out the AP on Cruisers.  (I got to think HE is mandatory with BB and DD).

Thanks for your advice.

Whatever you do, don't waste points/slots/signals on AA(A). Carriers will sink you regardless. 

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1 minute ago, Herr_Reitz said:

Whatever you do, don't waste points/slots/signals on AA(A). Carriers will sink you regardless. 

Really depends on Tiers.  With DFAA and Sectors I can shred T6 CV planes.  But T8, I have no effect at all it seems.  They can pound me over and over until I am dead.  

(Again just need easier targets to get their attention but at the end of the battle, you are toast.)

Edited by SJ_Sailer

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7 minutes ago, SJ_Sailer said:

How often do you find yourself in the 5-10km range of other ships?

probably more often than a US light cruiser should, but Helena's armor layout (16mm everywhere) means many AP overpens and the citadel is barely above waterline and only at the engine rooms, so she can get away with things most other light cruisers cannot

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14 minutes ago, tfcas119 said:

as no 6in shells is capable of going through the main belt of a BB, though some high pen ones like US and Soviet might get very close to Kongo, Peter the Great, and October Revolution.

Slightly off topic, but while we're talking about US cruiser AP against battleship armour: if you happen to find yourself WAY too close to a Yamato or Musashi, Salem AP will punch through the "weak cheek" underneath the forward turret for multiple citadel hits.

Not recommended except (a) in desperation and (b) in co-op, as it requires finesse of timing (their barrels are empty or pointed opposite you) and suicidal YOLO desperation.

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Pretty much what most people have said already. AP works quite well but at relatively close ranges (10km or closer) and you pretty much need to fire on a broadside target. It takes very little angling from a BB or CA to start bouncing almost all your AP. CLs and DDs require steeper angling. You also pretty much need to shoot upperworks (superstructure and some upper belt armor) on BBs. I'm pretty sure it can't go through most BB belt armor reliably if at all. You absolutely can get through cruiser belt armor but it depends on the cruiser. Some you need to be relatively close.

Word of caution with Helena (also Boise), if you are able to fire all of your guns on a USN CAs it can return fire and  blast though your citadel so watch out for that. It is very hard to angle against them and still get all your guns working. 

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3 minutes ago, Ensign_Cthulhu said:

Slightly off topic, but while we're talking about US cruiser AP against battleship armour: if you happen to find yourself WAY too close to a Yamato or Musashi, Salem AP will punch through the "weak cheek" underneath the forward turret for multiple citadel hits.

Not recommended except (a) in desperation and (b) in co-op, as it requires finesse of timing (their barrels are empty or pointed opposite you) and suicidal YOLO desperation.

I was only talking about 6in guns, not American Piercing shells of the American Heavies

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3 minutes ago, tfcas119 said:

I was only talking about 6in guns, not American Piercing shells of the American Heavies

I know, and I admitted it was off-topic; just felt it worth mentioning in passing.

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47 minutes ago, SJ_Sailer said:

First let me say I had given up on Helena a while ago, had terrible, terrible stats with her.  No damage and got killed early every battle.  Grinded up Heavy Cruisers I had better success with,  Got Yorck, New Orleans, and Algeria.  After a while went back to Helena to try again and all the sudden I started racking up damage and wins.  I am getting at least 50K damage every game.  (I know that is low to you guys but really good for me.)  Which turns me to Ammo.

I have IFHE and play way too much HE.  I have try experimenting with more AP usage but when looking at after action reports AP and HE (per shell average) numbers seem to be the same if not higher for HE and that is not including the fire damage which can be up to half the damage I get per battle.

Just looking for captains with Helena experience on Ammo choices.  How often do you break out the AP on Cruisers.  (I got to think HE is mandatory with BB and DD).

Thanks for your advice.

I like using expert loader, especially at that tier, many players show to much broadside and having a quick ability to use the best option can come in handy. Granted the smaller sized guns don't hit quite as hard as the Myoko's or Yorck… but still will do some serious hurt with AP if you aim well. 

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Helena (with IFHE) is a great ship, but it's AP is very situational, nothing wrong with mostly firing HE in it. Most of the times the AP is the right choice... you are in a bad situation lol

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19 minutes ago, SJ_Sailer said:

Really depends on Tiers.  With DFAA and Sectors I can shred T6 CV planes.  But T8, I have no effect at all it seems.  They can pound me over and over until I am dead.  

More proof that the scaling of AA damage and aircraft HP is way too steep, to the point of being broken. 

 

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16 minutes ago, SJ_Sailer said:

 

How often do you find yourself in the 5-10km range of other ships?  Maybe I need to tighten up the distances but still nervous since Helena seems to be prime target for anyone not shooting at a DD.

It happens a lot in operations or co-op. In randoms? Almost never. Those are deadly unsafe ranges for a CL if there are BBs or CAs around unless it really isn't paying attention. I bombard from range and behind islands. The maps that Helena sees have a lot of cover. I only fire in open water on a BB or CA if I am kiting away or am about to make it to cover. I prefer 10-12km ranges. AP still works at those ranges but it is harder to aim and you need softer armored structures to hit like superstructure bits. Usually I fire HE until I get some fires going then switch to AP if the target isn't angled. Otherwise I just stick to the HE. 

As for the AA issue, I've never really had a problem with planes. I always spec as much AA as my build allows (module, concealment, IFHE. flags etc). Most CV players aren't fools. I have been playing them a lot and you can easily see which ship has AA specced by the flak and how much damage your planes are taking. If your ship is putting up a hail of fire they go find an easier target. IT doesn't mean you won't get attacked at all, but they will usually go find something easier like a BB or Myoko rather than take heavy early plane losses. 

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2 minutes ago, KilljoyCutter said:

More proof that the scaling of AA damage and aircraft HP is way too steep, to the point of being broken. 

 

I definitely think the scaling between tiers needs to be fixed and is too steep, but it isn't nearly as bad as people are making it out to be. 

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A CL is going to fire a lot of HE but if a cruiser gives you a broadside give them an AP bashing.

1 hour ago, SJ_Sailer said:

Really depends on Tiers.  With DFAA and Sectors I can shred T6 CV planes.  But T8, I have no effect at all it seems.  They can pound me over and over until I am dead.  

(Again just need easier targets to get their attention but at the end of the battle, you are toast.)

 

1 hour ago, KilljoyCutter said:

More proof that the scaling of AA damage and aircraft HP is way too steep, to the point of being broken. 

 

I have brought this up many many times. It was an issue with the RTS CV's but has become a huge problem since the rework.

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3 minutes ago, BrushWolf said:

I have brought this up many many times. It was an issue with the RTS CV's but has become a huge problem since the rework.

The new AA system exaggerated it, and the switch to even-tiers-only also made it so that any gap is a 2-tier gap.

 

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2 hours ago, SJ_Sailer said:

First let me say I had given up on Helena a while ago, had terrible, terrible stats with her.  No damage and got killed early every battle.  Grinded up Heavy Cruisers I had better success with,  Got Yorck, New Orleans, and Algeria.  After a while went back to Helena to try again and all the sudden I started racking up damage and wins.  I am getting at least 50K damage every game.  (I know that is low to you guys but really good for me.)  Which turns me to Ammo.

I have IFHE and play way too much HE.  I have try experimenting with more AP usage but when looking at after action reports AP and HE (per shell average) numbers seem to be the same if not higher for HE and that is not including the fire damage which can be up to half the damage I get per battle.

Just looking for captains with Helena experience on Ammo choices.  How often do you break out the AP on Cruisers.  (I got to think HE is mandatory with BB and DD).

Thanks for your advice.

The following isn't Helena-specific advice, just CL's in general, or past experience with other USN CLs.

 

If you're slinging CL AP to look for Citadels against other Cruisers, this is only feasible with USN CL AP in shorter ranges.  If you see someone making or about to make the mistake of showing you a lot of sides, US 152mm AP will punish them well.

 

But once they start to angle, your AP will start to bounce and non-pen.  A LOT.

 

HE is what you're going to use a lot in normal Cruisers.  AP will be highly rewarding in certain situations.  Another case seeing a broadside BB.  Your CL AP isn't going to Citadel them, but you sure as hell can get FAT AP PENS on the sides with Superstructure hits.  This is especially true when you see the BB with a black, damage saturated Superstructure.  You'll get more returns on your AP in this situation than HE which can actually do pitiful amount of damage.

 

If you want more useful Cruiser AP out to longer distances, CAs are the answer.  RU CLs are better at range in AP than some of their CL counterparts because of their super fast flying shells.

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8 minutes ago, KilljoyCutter said:

The new AA system exaggerated it, and the switch to even-tiers-only also made it so that any gap is a 2-tier gap.

 

Only if there are two CV's of different tiers. You can still have a one tier difference in a 5, 6, 7 or 7, 8, 9 match.

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5 minutes ago, BrushWolf said:

Only if there are two CV's of different tiers. You can still have a one tier difference in a 5, 6, 7 or 7, 8, 9 match.

Correct -- I was thinking of ships like the Helena even tiered ships and forgot to explicitly mention it.

Have not been able to get away from my desk for lunch today and it's making me a bit spacey.

 

Edited by KilljoyCutter

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2 minutes ago, KilljoyCutter said:

Correct -- I was thinking of ships like the Helena and forgot to explicitly mention it.

 

The Helena will always be one tier higher or one tier lower than the CV.

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HE all the way for me with IFHE. No reason to go looking to use AP. Unless I have a broadside cruiser at close range with a lot of HP, HE is the better option. CLs in general are that way, their main ammo is HE, AP rarely. Heck, I've citadeled RN and MN light cruisers with Helena HE before. Don't feel you need to use AP, because you don't.

And I'm glad the Helena is working for you, it's my favorite ship hands down. Powerful and fun. I'd rather take the Helena into a T9 battle than the Seattle.

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1 minute ago, BrushWolf said:

The Helena will always be one tier higher or one tier lower than the CV.

See my edit above, I really need to get something to eat but I can't get away because I'm still waiting on people to get me inventory data that needs immediate attention so that they're not waiting on me when they're trying to ship things on Saturday and Sunday, but they've neglected it for 3 days now, but I'm going to get the blame if trucks get cancelled and they start complaining about it, even though I've been asking them for 3 days.

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