While I was on vacation I earned enough experience to research the Pensacola class cruiser. This is the first heavy cruiser available to the U.S. line of ships. This is also the first U.S. cruiser with 8" main armaments. Let me tell you, those guns get the job done. Firing AP against other cruisers, light or heavy, will reward you with citadel hit after citadel hit, if you aim well. But first, let's have a look at my progress.
My Victories/Battles has dropped ever so slightly, but my Kill/Death Ration has markedly improved. Nothing else has really changed that much.
So far I've managed 19 battles in the Pensacola with 12 victories: 63 percent and a butt. There were also two draws, one of which I managed as the sole survivor after my team was soundly thrashed while I was not watching. I was defending our base, hunting a couple of destroyers that'd slipped behind us, and the next thing I knew everything depended on me. Honestly, I was happy to just survive. Running the clock out for a draw was just icing on my personal cupcake.
I was asked in one of my games last night what the Pensacola was like. My answer?
Fully upgraded it rocks. Need the last turret upgrade for full effect.
That's not a full review of course. There is more too it than that. The stock Pensacola has turrets that rotate very slowly. They are almost battleship slow at 45 seconds to cover 180 degrees. Those 8" guns are great, but not if you can't get them onto a fast-moving target. It is possible for a fast destroyer to turn circles around a Pensacola without the Pensacola getting a shot off with its main armament.
There are three things you can do to overcome this weakness. The first is to buy the Main Battery Modification #2 upgrade. This increases your load time by 10% to decrease your traverse time by 15 percent. Do this when you first get the ship. The best thing you can do is to research the 203mm/55 Mk14 upgrade, but that requires the B Hull upgrade. This will decrease your traverse by 33 percent! If you want your rate of fire back, you can then swap out the Main Battery Modification #2 upgrade. I recommend the AA Guns Modification #2. Lastly, you should purchase the Steering Gears Modification 2. This is expensive, but your ship will be quick enough to chase destroyers, which you should always do. It will also help you avoid torpedoes, both ship fired and bomber launched. It also helps you to traverse your main guns when the turrets are too slow. Remember, your ship is the master turret. Don't be afraid to angle it as such.
After these upgrades, the Pensacola class cruiser is fearsome. You can penetrate the armor on any cruiser. You can penetrate the armor on older battleships. With the appropriate AA upgrades, you can shoot down entire squadrons before they can attack, even without the Defense AA Fire I consumable.
There is just one more thing you need to remember when you sail the Pensacola class cruiser. It is not a battleship. You may have more hit points than a Wyoming, but you do not have the armor. Battleships will wreck you in one broadside. As surely as you can claim citadel hits on other heavy cruisers, they will citadel you. The one thing you have an advantage over lighter ships is that you can take more torpedoes. I've taken three in a game and survived. Being hit by one torpedo is almost a non-event. Just keep your repair ready. Fire won't burn you down to the waterline, so unless you have multiple fires let them burn. Increase your captain's skill to deal with it. Save your repairs for flooding and incapacitations.
That's my take on the Pensacola class cruiser so far. What am I missing? Let me know in the comments. Thanks, and battle on!