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Friday, November 6, 2015

Fleet Friday: The Hatsuharu Class Destroyer

None of the six Hatsuharu class destroyers survived World War II, though the Hatsushimo made it to July 30, 1945 - the last Japanese destroyer lost in the war. The class of destroyers were designed according to the limits of the 1930 London Naval Treaty, and this lead to more than a few compromises in how they were engineered. Most notably, the ships were top-heavy, and the counter weighting designed into their hulls insufficient to counteract the momentum of the armaments installed on deck when the ship rolled. Capsizing in heavy seas was a very real threat to these destroyers. This was not just a problem for the Hatsuharu class. The previous Fubuki class (yes, in RL the Fubuki class came before the Hatsuharu class destroyers) had the same issue as did many other ship classes of the IJN including the Mogami class cruisers. Correcting the flawed designs required a refit of all affected classes, reducing their superstructure and increasing their metacentric height.
WoWS Hatsuharu Class Destroyer
In World of Warships, the Hatsuharu comes with two triple torpedo launchers capable of firing 610 millimeter torpedoes stock. These are the famous Long Lance torpedo having a range of 10 kilometers. They travel at 58 knots and pack a battleship busting punch. There is one upgrade which gives almost a 1000 point damage boost and increases the speed of the torpedoes by three knots. The downside is the upgrade reduces the firing rate from 0.8 launches a minute to 0.7 launches. As the launch rate is already slower than a battleship, I do not think the extra damage and speed so worthwhile. And the upgrade is expensive. I'd rather save those experience points for researching the Fubuki class destroyer.

There is also a fire control upgrade, but even though the Hatsuharu has twice as many guns as the Mutsuki has, they are still easily disabled and not something worth spending experience on. Save your experience to get into the Fubuki more quickly. Here is a quick video of my case in point.


It took that Nicholas (?) class U.S. destroyer a minute to knock out both my turrets - permanently. However, if you really must spend the XP, the increased gun range does give you an opportunity to invisi-fire from a very narrow range band. But if you really want become a master at that art, you should investigate the Russian line of destroyers. They are far better at it.

The one ship upgrade that is worth spending experience on, and in fact you must in order to research the Fubuki, is the type B hull. This upgrade gives you a decent hit point upgrade and increases your AA capability to where self-defense is a possibility. You won't be able to cover other ships, but you should be able to cover yourself adequately enough to avoid some really tragic ends. As for game play, this ship plays exactly like a fully upgraded Mutsuki. It has the same detection range and nearly the same speed. I've played seven matches with it so far, with about the same success rate as with the Mutsuki. I've just not found the right risk versus reward balance with this type of ship yet. It brawls badly with other destroyers. Cruisers eat it for lunch with marmalade. And most of the battleships at its tier and higher can avoid all but one (or all) of the torpedoes in its anemic six torpedo spread. Case in point, I fired a spread of six last night at an Iowa on the new Islands of Ice map. I was not detected. When the Iowa got the torpedo alert, it easily turned and avoided my spread by executing a 90 degree course change between when the alarms sounded and this screen capture was taken. Even if I hadn't overlapped them, the Iowa would have still avoided most of them. See for yourself.
Iowa Dodging Torpedoes Easily 
Would the three knots increased speed of the upgraded torpedoes have made a difference? With increased speed comes increased detection range, so likely not. It's because of this I'm more a nuisance to battleships than a danger. It takes seven to nine torpedoes to sink my Colorado. If I can only land one or two torpedoes at a time, and then have to wait over a minute to fire more, why am I wasting my time? More torpedoes in a spread (as the higher tier destroyers have) will help, but I don't think solve, this issue.

I think at this point I've fought enough destroyer matches to be able to say definitively the torpedo mechanic in World of Warships needs a tweak. I don't think I am bad at lining up torpedo spreads. And I certainly spam torpedoes (fire them into channels where I think a ship might go though I've detected no ship going there.) Yet my torpedo hit ratio is only 6%. So much for destroyers being the killers of all things. This may have been true pre-Minekaze nerf, but I don't think it's true now. That said, I don't feel we need to go back to the way that old Minekaze was; not even a little. What I do think is that ships without active hydro-acoustic support get far too much notice of incoming torpedoes.

Here's the way I think torpedo detection should work. If a ship has the hydro-acoustic upgrade, and it is active, it should have a torpedo detection range equitable to a spotter aircraft - so between 3.5 and 7 kilometers, adjusted for game balance. Any other ship within that detection range will "see" incoming torpedoes at that ship's detection range automatically. If there is no active hydro-acoustic searches ongoing, fleet ships will have to rely on visual sightings of the torpedo wakes. The wake difference between a 50 knot torpedo and a 60 knot torpedo is minimal. There is no reason it should be easier to spot a faster torpedo. The other variables, like someone actually looking in that direction and the choppiness of the ocean, far outweigh the wake size variable IMO. It's just not easy to spot things on the vast, wide ocean which is small and a kilometer away. I know. I live in a state with a lot of coastline. Go try it yourself. If it were easy, search and rescue would be a breeze. So I feel all visual torpedo detection should be the same for all ships, and that range should be the minimum detection range of any torpedo currently in-game, which I believe is 0.7 kilometers unless the ship has a spotter aircraft up and it passes directly over the torpedoes and within a very small distance, like 0.3 kilometers. That gives a ship around 5 or 6 seconds to react. That should be all they get if no one in their vicinity is actively listening for torpedoes with hydro-acoustics or their spotter aircraft lucked out.

Currently I know of no one who advocates for the hydro-acoustic upgrade over the AA defensive fire upgrade primarily because airplane delivered torpedoes are so much more effective than destroyer delivered torpedoes. Making this tweak to the game would make the hydro-acoustic upgrade very important, and furthermore would make cruiser captains have to make a very hard choice between two much-needed upgrades. It would also serve to make playing destroyers more fun. There will always be a chance that no one is running a hydro-acoustic search when your torpedoes arrive. It'll be like winning the lottery, and will make maps where ambushes are impossible (Ocean *cough, cough*) a better experience.

So, do you agree or disagree? What do you think could be done to make higher tier destroyer play more than just spot and capture? Let me know in the comments, and until we meet on the ocean sail carefully.

2 comments:

  1. So, I agree that visual acquisition of torpedoes is too early in the game currently. Although, I usually don't give my opponents much chance to avoid (read suicide attack). I have roughly 50% of my battles in destroyers, and 24% hit rate (which I thought was really low). Since my American torpedoes only have 5.5km (ish) range, I usually find ambush sites and/or work to find "stray" battleships/carriers to attack. I can't tell you how many times I have gone straight at a lone battleship to find out that his cruiser friends are still within gun range. I usually die right about the time I launch the last set of torpedoes. One advantage is that I have 12 to launch in a pass. I have no idea how my kill/death ratio is still above 1.0 (I would love a statistic that tracked tonnage killed vs lost). Considering I am almost always trading my destroyer for a battleship, I can live with it.
    I am pretty sure I commented before that I never capture sites without other ships in with me. I don't like telling the enemy I am there. I prefer to let them start the capture and then launch a spread across the site to see if I can hit something. I have pretty good success destroyer v destroyer with both my Clemson and now with my tier V (forget the name right now...). Anyway, keep up the great posts.
    -Rheusmc13

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  2. "I never capture sites without other ships in with me." I too am learning the value of this strategy. Most times I'll wait and shadow a cruiser in, it I'll wait until an enemy destroyer has already committed. But going in first ruins any chance of surprise.

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Be civil, be responsible and most of all be kind. I will not tolerate poor form. There will be no James Hooks here. We are all better than that.