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Trophy_Wench

Destroyer Escorts, Frigates and Kaibōkans: can they work? NO! But lets theorycraft it anyway!

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Ah the lowly Destroyer Escort (DE), a true unsung hero of WWII and at least in our little corner of the internet, a rather confusing and controversial subject. It's also been one that I can't stop thinking about lately. Namely; could they possibly, maybe.. just maybe be viable for inclusion into World of Warships? Well, despite my repeated attempts and research the best way to answer that can be summed up as so:

Well Yes But Actually No Memes Archives - StayHipp

So a little context first. What I'm talking about are not technically DDs in the sense that we the playerbase think of them in the game. Those are what can be generally referred to as 'Fleet Destroyers' and, as the name implies are designed to operate with a battle fleet in support of a surface warfare group attacking other ships. Ok, that makes sense that is what we do for the most part in WoWs right now. Well, these ships OTOH would be what we call "Ocean Escorts", or just Escort ships and would actually be considered a type of auxiliary. They have one very specific job to do; protect convoys and hunt submarines (ok that's two jobs). So, in the most basic sense, these ships don't fit WoWs because we don't have submarines to fight... yet.  But for the purposes of this article, lets assume that they are here or at least imminent. Now they have a reason to exist.

So the next question is, can they work? Again, conventional wisdom says no for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost is speed. These were NOT meant for fleet duty so they didn't need to be fast they needed range. So on average we're talking about speeds between 20-25 knots. Everything can run them down and kill them. So what about firepower? Wellll... generally pretty light and specialized. Using a John C Butler-class as one example, they were equipped with 2x 5"/38 guns, some AA which was actually pretty meaty for ships that size, 3x 21" torpedo tubes and a LOT of depth charges, either rolled off the back of the ship or launched by k-gun throwers (DCT). Wow... that's not much. And it's a broadly similar story with both the British and Japanese as well. Usually you see a trade off in some increased firepower for decreases in other areas, like speed or AA. This leads us into the 3rd problem which isn't so much about the technical aspects of the ships themselves but more about their appeal and utility compared to Fleet DDs. 

Destroyer line splits have become something of an interesting topic as of late, with many different ideas, theories and proposals put out in the past year or so. I myself have theorycrafted a 2nd French DD line which you're welcome to read if you're interested. Now in fairness, not actually knowing how submarines will fully shake out in the live client makes it seem like the DDs we have now are more or less adequate to fight them. They all have DCRs or DCTs of some kind, so they have a weapon to fight them. But as many have pointed out, it's not an ideal situation for the current DD meta to take on ASW whilst having to do, everything else a DD is expected to do in a given match. So splitting lines might be beneficial as it could allow for more dedicated lines to focus on certain capabilities more than others. Now that's fine if you're simply referring to DDs vs. DEs or FFs etc. but a look around the rest of the nations present in WoWs makes for some grim outlooks there. France, for instance as mentioned previously would still only really have DCTs and DCRs as it's primary ASW capability even for it's standard torpilleurs d'escadre. Germany is in the same position (although they might have had homing torpedoes but that's a story for another time), Italy, not much difference and not much in capabilities. Russians, same thing. Meanwhile, the US gets access to Hedgehog mortars, the British had that and Squid mortars and even the Japanese can call upon a type of ASW shell fired from their main guns! To be fair though, Pan Asia and Pan Europe (so far) have some of these capabilities on their ships and more (Swedish Halland/ Smaland and Freisland have ASW rocket launchers for instance.) So this paints an unpleasant picture of only 4 nations (kind of 5) really having the capability to act as a hard counter to subs and yet only one nation can actually say that it can do it with existing assets! (kind of 2).

 

Soooo... TL:DR; can a DE make a difference in the game as the meta is currently established? Absolutely not. They are too slow, too weak and no amount of gimmicks will alleviate that anytime soon before Submarines make it into the game.. and possibly afterwards too. 

 

BUT WAIT! That's not fun! That's not what this diatribe is about! It's about the ships man! So for the sake of pure fantasy and ASSUMING that there's enough of a meta shift once submarines are established that such a class of ship is needed what could such a line look like? Well, let's have some fun with that! I will only be looking at the US for now since this is purely theoretical and I can include a ship that I've actually wanted to see in the game for a long time, and can finally justify it's existence! So without further ado: A US, DE Line Split.

Tier V (Yes, really) - Buckley-class

<i>Manning</i> 1943

I'm starting at mid-tier for two reasons. One; I believe that one of the main gimmicks of these ships will be Hydro across the board and two; these are interwar ships so they don't belong down with the WWI stuff, no matter how slow they are. With that said, the Buckley's were really the template for the rest of the ships that came after. Top speed of 24 knots, triple torpedoes and all the usual ASW gear including ahead-throwing Hedgehog (which may or may not be added depending on balance). Main gun armament is.. well, 3" DP guns. If anything I'd consider this a type of secondary, which means this thing would play with only torpedoes and it's ASW weapons  but the guns do have a 30 rpm rate of fire so even though your only throwing 3" shells all over the place that is A LOT of them! 

Tier VIEdsall-class

<i>Edsall</i> 1945

We're skipping the otherwise very similar Cannon-class for this ship, which represents somewhat of a transitional design. Armed initially with the same 3" DP guns, it can be upgraded to the good ol' 5"/38s we all know and love. This was an actual conversion planned for these ships late in the war but never carried out due to the ships pretty much being "excess to requirement". They also get pretty much the same suite of other weapons as previous but some slightly upgraded AA to boot.

Tier VIIRudderow-class

<i>nearly sister-ship McCoy Reynolds</i> 1945

These ships were based on the general hull design of the earlier Buckley-class which is why they're included here. Main armament hasn't changed all that much except for heavier still AA (read: modern). Although very similar to the next class of ships, it should be noted that for balance sake, the tiers 8 and above are going to be fitted with another gimmick- Radar.

Tier VIIIJohn C. Butler-class

Robert's Family » USS Samuel B Roberts DD-823

Yup, the class of the USS Samuel B. Roberts fame. Again, same basic armament as above but with EVEN MORE AA (in typical American fashion). The main gimmick of this ship now is that it can use Radar in addition to Hydro, allowing for grater situational awareness especially when given the fact that even with a speed boost fitted, these ships can at best make, 29 knots? Interestingly enough though, a lot of JCBs were upgraded post war with new 3"/50 DP guns replacing the 40mm Bofors and even the newer Mk.15 trainable Hedgehog launcher. The older ones are fixed position so they can only fire ahead of the ship. 

So, conventional wisdom would dictate I follow this with the Dealey-class but there's no way to make that work at tier 9, so instead I had to get creative and as it turns out there is a way for the top tier line to get more, competitive shall we say? Enter:

Tier XIFletcher-class DDK/ DDE conversion

<i>Fletcher </i>1963

Oh great, yet another Fletcher in the game. How original! I hear you moan. But in reality, this would make the most sense. These ships were chosen for conversion to dedicated Escort/ Hunter Killer DDs to provide a little more capability to fleet operations given how slow the DEs were. Modification included removing 3 of the 5 5" guns, the 40mm guns and one of the TT launchers. In it's place would be some 3"/50 DP guns in twin mounts, and either a Mk. 15 Hedgehog or the RUR-4 Weapon A (Alfa) ASW Rocket launcher. Which essentially would work like any other mounted gun in the game. Only it throws big anti-submarine mortars towards subs at 12 rounds per minute! Also, these ships after conversion were slower than the original fleet ships, maintaining a speed of around 35 knots. So which much faster than anything that came before it in the line, it's still slower than the existing Fletcher.

Tier X Mitscher-class 

image.jpeg.171df21822130a3c3d7d06d958cddbe6.jpeg

This ship at first glance doesn't seem to make any sense in the context of the rest of the line. It's longer and 1000 tons heavier than even the Fletcher and is designated as Destroyer Leader! (DL) How the heck does that fit?!?! Well, because the Mitschers were kind of considered to be the first modern Frigates in the US Navy after WWII and in 1975 would in fact be reclassified as such. The reason? These ships, despite their CHONKINESS were in fact dedicated ASW platforms with all the sensors and weapons the Navy could stuff in them, hence the size. And what an armament! Main guns are the 5"/54 mk.42 which would be new to the game. The ship again only has 2 guns but they are capable of up to 40 rounds per minute! So, imagine a Halland's guns but half the barrels and 5" instead of 4.7" and you get a pretty good idea of what this thing can do. Add to that 4x 21" TTs, some 3"/50 AA guns and 20mm guns to boot and 2 RUR-4's, one on each end. And to top it all off, it still has DCs to throw around. Consider this ship the payoff for suffering through all those mid-tier DEs. 

 

So there you have it. I hope that this was informative and interesting and as always comments are always welcome! 

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You could just assign these escorts to BBs by making them bots. Each tier BB is assigned from 2-3-4. Cruiser players get 2-3. CVs get 3. DDs get 2. You can't sail them manually, but you can equip with upgrades like regular ship's, commanders too.

These can be ordered to patrol ahead or defend your ship.

There was a similar setup in Warship Gunner 2, a game on PS2. U can assign escorts of various types depending on the missions.

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9 hours ago, Trophy_Wench said:

Italy, not much difference and not much in capabilities. Russians, same thing.

You do realize where this game is made. The hypothetical Russians boats would have 1950s (at least) ASW stuff.

Side note on the Butler. That cammo plus camera angle makes the ship look like it has a broken keel.

Edited by Sabot_100

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11 hours ago, Sabot_100 said:

You do realize where this game is made. The hypothetical Russians boats would have 1950s (at least) ASW stuff.

Oh totally. All the Russian ships that can provide good ASW counter were built after the war as it was, so if anything they would have to be high tier to begin with. Then the question simply becomes, where does that branch start?

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I would really like DE's to be apart of the game. No doubt. 

They'd be fun for submarine hunting, but it's kind of annoying what WG's done with submarines so far. It could complicate their entry. I'm always up for it though.

 

USS Stewart/Slater premium when

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4 hours ago, _Sarcasticat_ said:

I would really like DE's to be apart of the game. No doubt. 

They'd be fun for submarine hunting, but it's kind of annoying what WG's done with submarines so far. It could complicate their entry. I'm always up for it though.

That's why there ought to just be a separate game mode for subs and DEs. Instead WG is desperate to shoehorn subs into the main game mode, even though they don't fit.

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Pretty sure that the Buckleys are WWII, not interwar. 

And that their guns are 15-20rpm each rather than 30. Still at the higher end, but still not great in the face of something like a Hunt, which matches the rpm per gun, has more guns and a heavier shell weight (more than double, in fact). 

Might be why they switched to 5" guns, tbh. 

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All the many original problems aside, submarines or the threat of adding submarines don't really help their case.

 

One of the most important attributes of a sub hunter is going to be speed to get on top of the sub fast, and minimize the time heading there, getting spotted and getting out, while if chasing making it quicker. DE's are (aside from the DD conversions) slow and that makes them in-game worse at it, especially given rather limited depth charge mechanics. In a one-on-one ironically I expect a FR 50kt DD would be about the best SS hunter.

Pointless before, still pointless with subs.

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2 hours ago, mofton said:

All the many original problems aside, submarines or the threat of adding submarines don't really help their case.

 

One of the most important attributes of a sub hunter is going to be speed to get on top of the sub fast, and minimize the time heading there, getting spotted and getting out, while if chasing making it quicker. DE's are (aside from the DD conversions) slow and that makes them in-game worse at it, especially given rather limited depth charge mechanics. In a one-on-one ironically I expect a FR 50kt DD would be about the best SS hunter.

Pointless before, still pointless with subs.

Couldn't agree more. Actually your point about the fast DD brings up another point that I didn't really cover initially. Namely, that if submarine gameplay were to stay as one dimensional as it was in the recent public test, then DCs really all are you'll ever need since any DD can sit over any sub with impunity and just DC away until it dies. 

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Redirecting the subs into building them for their own mode, with better mechanics and revised ASW setups... adding lines of DEs, CEs. frigates, corvettes, cutters, etc... adding asymmetrical sub vs convoy mode... adding ops playing as the hunters and as the escorts...  would be a better direction than trying to cram subs into existing gameplay. 

That's how the smaller ships could make it into WOWS. 

IMO.

 

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On 7/17/2020 at 6:31 PM, KilljoyCutter said:

Redirecting the subs into building them for their own mode, with better mechanics and revised ASW setups... adding lines of DEs, CEs. frigates, corvettes, cutters, etc... adding asymmetrical sub vs convoy mode... adding ops playing as the hunters and as the escorts...  would be a better direction than trying to cram subs into existing gameplay. 

That's how the smaller ships could make it into WOWS. 

IMO.

 

This^^^^^

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