I recently made a post about how HMS Cossack was my first ship to reach 1 million xp, and a couple people commented that they'd like a guide on how to make Cossack work. In this post there'll be quite a bit of numbers, but they're not that hard to remember in a pinch. First I'll be covering the basic stats of Cossack and how I utilize them, then I'll run through the ships that I feel comfortable engaging in my Cossack. I'll follow that with a run through of how I try to win games (hint: Cossack isn't a super hardcore carry boat, you influence matches in a more subtle way). Keep in mind that this is all how I play her, and there will be differing opinions between players.
To start, we have Cossack's role, her stats, and my recommended build for her. Let's be clear here, Cossack is not a torpedo boat, and should not rely on her torpedoes, or play around them. You are a DD hunter, and your torpedoes are a secondary armament that you use more for corralling units, or flushing people out of smokes, than for actual damage. They are usable in a pinch, but don't make your plans around them. Cossack is also not a consistent high damage dealer. You are a DD hunter and an objective master. Your damage should be high quality damage (against DDs or radar cruisers), not quantity damage (against BBs). You can farm late game, but don't expect to be doing 100k+ very often.
My initial build is pretty standard for DDs, we have Main Armament Mod 1 in slot 1, Engine Room Protection Mod 1 in slot 2, Torpedo Tubes Mod 1 in slot 3,* Rudder Shift Mod 1 in slot 4,* and Concealment Mod 1 in slot 5.
Captain wise I would run the basic DD build for the first 10 points, Priority Target,* Last Stand, Survivability Expert, and Concealment Expert. The rest of your points can be spent as you choose, but I recommend Radio Location, followed by either Adrenaline Rush or Basic Firing Training. You can take these three in any order you like, but I recommend Radio Location, followed by BFT, followed by AR.
*For Slot 3 you can also run Aiming Systems Mod 1, but since you're generally shooting at close range, I find it unnecessary. For slot 4 on most DDs, you would run Acceleration Mod 1, but Cossack has that baked in and doesn't even have access to that particular upgrade. Priority Target can be swapped with Preventative Maintenance, and I do run PM instead on some DDs, but in RN DDs it is more useful to have PT as your smokes mean you are able to disengage on a whim, and PT lets you know when to disengage before you start taking loads of damage.
This build fully increases your knife fighting capabilities. Now let's move on to the numbers. With a 10 point captain, following my build, Cossack has a surface detection of 5.5km,* and an air detection of 2.5km. You have 4×2 120mm gun mounts, with a 5 second reload, with a 14,400 damage alpha volley. This gives you a DPM of 172,800 damage. It has 1×4 torpedo launcher with a 66 second reload time and a range of 10km. Cossack has 3 AA mounts, for a total of 5 guns with a range of 2.5km. It has a top speed (With Sierra Mikes) of 37.8 knots, and this can be boosted to 40.8 knots with its speed boost (I think, I could be wrong there and it could be a knot slower). Cossack has the Royal Navy DD smoke screen, with 6 charges standard, with a 10 second deploy time, 40 second dispersion time, and 62 second reload time (with November Foxtrots). You also have access to Hydroacoustic Search, with a ship and torpedo acquisition range of 3km and an action time of 3 minutes, with a roughly 2 minute reload time. With Survivability Expert, Cossack has 18,000 hit points.
Basically what all this means is that you have nasty firepower, with limited HP and torpedo power (not to mention absolutely horrid AA), but with amazing concealment. Cossack is only outspotted by 3 DDs: Kagero, Asashio, and Yugumo (all three have a 5.4km concealment). Cossack's concealment is on par with Lightning's,* and all other DDs it outspots.
I utilize these stats to dominate caps and assassinate enemy DDs. I keep ships spotted, and I'm not always the one who does the most damage to the DDs (although usually I am). I use Cossack's acceleration do juke shells and make myself harder to hit, while keeping an eye on radar cruisers. Finishing a game with 2-4 solo caps, but with only 30-40k damage is a very common occurrence for me. This harps back to what I mentioned about affecting the game in more subtle ways; by removing the enemy team's ability to consistently spot and cap, in the form of their DDs, you give your team a decisive advantage in points and in information. This is my focus in Cossack, not landing torpedo hits or setting fires.
*On paper Lightning has the same concealment as Cossack, but in practice I have found Cossack to be a *slight bit* stealthier. It's not enough to make a huge impact, but it is noticeable. Cossack's lower end of the 5.5km concealment range has saved my skin many a time where I am in a full turn or accelerating away and I am 5.5km away from the nearest enemy and still undetected, whereas Lightning tends to immediately get spotted at 5.5km.
Section 2: Who can a Cossack comfortably engage?
For all of these scenarios, We are going to be assuming that both ships are starting at, or near, full HP.
With Cossack, It is actually easier to list the ships you need to be careful, or avoid, engaging. The latter list is very easy, I would strongly recommend not picking fights with Akizuki, Kitakaze, or Harugumo, as well as Daring, Jutland, Smaland, and Friesland.. The ships you need to be careful with are a bit trickier, as killing no DD will be a walk in the park. But the trickiest of these to engage are, Gearing, Fletcher, Lightning, Haida, another Cossack, Halland, Smaland, Z-49, Z-52, and Loyang. These last three are less because of their gun power, and more because of their hydro power. The others require caution when engaging, but a Cossack can definitely outtrade any of these ships and come out victorious. Halland is a bit trickier because it out DPMs a Cossack, but its lack of smoke is easy to use against it. If you can catch the Halland unawares, you can get 2 or 3 salvoes in before he gets his turrets turned around, and by then you should be slowing. As soon as his turrets get close to being able to fire at you, pop your smokescreen. This will hopefully mean he will fire at you and get detected by friendly ships, so you can shoot at him for at least another 20 seconds, and he won't be able to see you. Make sure you have your hydro on (and if possible, your speed boost) however, there will be blazing fast torpedoes coming your way.
Section 3: A rundown of an ideal and an unideal battle.
An ideal battle for Cossack would be a full t8 match, Domination gamemode, 3/4 DDs, no CV, and <3 radars. I will assume for this scenario that we have a 14 pt captain with RPF. This one is fairly simple to walk through. You play careful at the start, not using your speed boot and entering caps in such a way that you can disengage or put hard cover between yourself and the enemy ships on a whim, while also not sitting broadside on in order to minimize the odds of eating blindfire torps. Although, keep in mind that capping is a secondary objective, you need to stay alive. Do not be afraid the leave the cap to dodge torps or to dodge shells.
So now you are in the cap and can disengage at any moment. If nothing impedes your capture progress, cap and reassess. if something does impede your capture progress and there are no supporting friendly radar ships, use your speed boost and reverse diagonally(ish) in the direction your RPF indicator is showing, trying to keep 3 guns available to shoot. if you get outspotted, keep reversing and pick the fight as best as you can. If you outspot them, then you have to know whether or not you 1) can win the engagement, and 2) if it is worth the HP trade you will take from them and their supporting ships. If the answer to either of those is no, you now have a choice. Either keep them spotted, or if they start moving toward you, accelerate to full speed and get out of there.
The rest of the battle becomes harder to dictate, as it they tend to be case-by-case. But if you focus on capping and killing enemy DDs, and use your RPF to not get surprised, you should do fine.
A not idea battle for Cossack would be t10 MM, with 5 radar ships, a CV, and >3 opposing gunboat DDs (Harugumo, Daring, Kitakaze, Smaland, etc). Now you must play incredibly carefully and rely on stealth and information. You outspot everything that outguns you. so that in addition to RPF should keep you from engaging DDs on anything but your terms, for the most part. CVs you can't help, so use your smoke if there are enemy ships around to shoot you; if there are little to no enemy ships around to shoot you when the CV inevitably comes for you, drive straight at the rocket or torpedo planes at full speed. He will probably overshoot you; then you make a full 180 degree turn and repeat, hoping that he misjudged and will overshoot again. Pay attention to the radars, and only cap when it is possible for you to do so. Doing well in these sort of games is possible, I've had 3 solo caps, an assisted cap, 70k damage, and a kill in my Daring in a full t10, 6 radar + CV game. Succeeding in Daring in this situation is both easier and more difficult, but it goes to show that it is possible.
Section 4: Conclusion
Cossack is an amazing DD hunter with great firepower and hydro, plus fast acting smokes. It is on the lower end of HP for t8, but makes up for it with amazing concealment. It can determine when and where it wants to engage very easily, and can dominate cap circles and provide spotting. It is not a high damage, carry type of boat, and is a bit more reliant on its teammates than some other DDs, but it influences matches in very important ways, and has the capability to keep its team in the fight by keeping targets spotted and generating point income through caps. All in all, a 9/10 DD in my books, with its slightly low HP and terrible AA being its only real drawbacks. A highly competitive DD, and I absolutely recommend it.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask me, and I'll try my best to answer them 🙂
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