Friday, September 11, 2015

Building A Fleet - Ship Roles and WWII

Lately, I've been playing a lot of World of Warships, and thinking of how similar this game is to the concept, if not execution of World War II - the "Golden Age" of naval combat tactics.  World War II was the last gasp of big gun ships before missiles made them obsolete, and the beginning of air superiority as the dominant feature of a modern day navy.

In this sense, Wave 1 can correspond to the beginning of the war, or perhaps the period between The Great War (WWI) and World War II.  You also begin to see the strategies in design begin to diverge between the major players of the time.  In this article, we will be looking at the various ships of Wave 1, as well as the spoiled ships of Wave 2 to see how each fit into the greater strategy of the game.

Ship Types of World War II

The Corvette - The smallest rated ship, the corvette's main role in the WWII era was convoy escort or as a minesweeper.  Probably the closest real world approximation to a CR90 Corvette, or a Raider Class Corvette would be the British Tribal Class Destroyer - a destroyer equipped with a heavier gun battery vs the torpedoes favored on other Destroyer type craft.

The Destroyer - Originally conceived to protect battleships from even smaller ships making torpedo runs, the Torpedo Boat Destroyer (shortened to Destroyer) eventually evolved into the role of making the Torpedo attacks itself, as well as convoy guarding and anti-sub duties.  Armed primarily with Torpedoes, and light armament, the closest equivalents to these would be the GSD and MC30.

The Cruiser - Larger than a destroyer, but smaller than a battleship, during WWII these ships were classified as cruisers and had multiple mission roles, and covered a huge spread of ship sizes and armaments.  For the sake of arguement here, we are going to look at two "sizes" of cruisers, and three roles.

The Light Cruiser - Lightly armored and fast, the light cruiser excelled either as the leader of a destroyer squadron or as an anti-aircraft platform that required protection from other ships.  The Nebulon B Frigate fills this role fairly well.

The Heavy Cruiser - A heavily armored and large cruiser, not sporting the heavy armament of a Battleship, would fall into this role.  The AFII would probably be the best example of this in the game right now.  The role of the Heavy Cruiser was one of high speed, heavy armor, but relatively light armament compared to a Battleship.

The Battleship - The biggest ships on the seas, the Battleship is nevertheless split between "Pre-Dreadnought" and Dreadnought eras.

The Pre-Dreadnought - Slow and unwieldy compared to modern ships, with less armor, speed and guns.  The Victory Class Star Destroyer perfectly encapsulates this concept, having been used extensively in the previous war, but being outclassed by the newer, bigger ISD.

Dreadnought Era Battleships - The biggest things on the ocean.  Heavy emphasis on armor and guns mean that the ships could deliver a pounding and take one as well.  Both the MC80 and Imperial Class Star Destroyer fit into this category.

The Carrier - Here there isn't a really good analog.  Most of the ships are capable of being a carrier, but in WWII and modern navies, the Carrier ship is a dedicated platform for bringing fighter and bomber squadrons to the battle.  If a carrier is directly engaged, it has little defenses aside from slight AA.  For purposes of this exercise, we are going to ignore carriers and assume "offscreen" sources for carriers.

Here are some raw numbers that might be interesting.

Total Numbers for Each Faction:

FS: 1
DD: 1
CL: 1
CH: 1
B: 0
BB: 1

FS: 1
DD: 1
CL: 0
CH: 0
B: 1
BB: 1

Approximate Cost Before Upgrades:
FS:  45
DD: 60
CL: 60
CH: 80
B: 85
BB: 125
CV: 10 pts / Squadron


  1. Interesting article. I was thinking the same thing about the Assault Frigate and how its closest analogue would indeed be the heavy cruiser. Definitely wouldn't call it a frigate! I also agree about the GSD. I was having trouble trying to find an analogue until I read this article and it certainly makes sense, it's fast, fragile, has a weak gun (laser) battery but is deadly at close range with its torpedoes (missiles).

  2. Thanks. I'll admit that the analogs are not perfect, but it has been something that has been rolling about in my head for awhile.

  3. Very good comparation. Indeed Armada gameplay seems an interesting mix of WWII and Age of Sail (1750-1830) naval warfare
    , specially true with rebel fleets and their broadside gunnery.

    Ships clasification and terminology gives a good clue to this, "frigate" is indeed the cruiser equivalent in Age of sail,
    an agile , if somewhat underpowered counterpart of the "Ship of the line" , that comprehends from very heavy cruisers to all kind of battleships

  4. I would rate the ISD more like a Late WW2 American Fast Battleship than a dreadnought era BB.

    1. Maybe the ISD1 for a Battle Cruiser and a ISD2 for a Fast Battleship?

  5. Very nice. I'm just reading through all of these in an atempt to get a tactical advantage over my brothers deuce