I play my aircraft carriers with secondary battery mod 1 in slot 3. I also use the Close Quarters Expert captain skill as the last 4 point skill in my 21 point captains. Why? Because I think it is funny. The moment when a cocky DD has tried to execute a torpedo drive by on the 'fat and dumb carrier', only to be surprised by accurate secondary fire that sinks him is amazingly hilarious…and then of course the end game 1v1 carrier secondary duel is also one of the most fun experiences in World of Warships…for the shear stupidity. Of course, these events are RARE, and are so situational that they should not be part of your preparation of a competitive build.
I will repeat for those who are slow of reading comprehension. DO NOT BUILD CVs FOR SECONDARIES FOR COMPETITIVE PLAY. You are going to be hampering yourself for that moment when a DD or a low health cruiser thinks you are easy pickings…only to find out that they didn't calculate your secondaries. The reality is that your primary weapon is your planes…and the times I get a close quarters expert from my CV…the vast MAJORITY of the damage came from my planes…not my guns.
I also fully expect that the best use of the information I share in this post will be by destroyer captains getting an idea of how far they should stay away from the CV to avoid being the but end of a meme.
With that said, let's get down to the business of looking at the math. I calculated the total DPM for a broadside of secondary guns…I then modified this by a relative factor (I assumed that a Graf Zeppelin's secondaries with full accuracy would always hit, and then adjusted the other nations by the increase in relative dispersion (dispersion / total range)) to take into account the accuracy differences of the various secondary setups. I did not assess fire chance…because you will not be firing secondaries long enough for fire chance to become an issue…and also because the majority of ships your guns can penetrate and you could conceivably survive being engaged in a gunfight with are DDs.
With that said, here are the Tier 10 CVs.
As expected MvR has the best accuracy, and also the best DPM output. Her 105s are capable of penetrating light cruisers, so be careful getting within 10km. The remaining CVs all can only reach out to 7.5ish km, however the big surprise is just how effective Hakuryu's secondaries are (relatively). Hakuryu's 100mm guns do more damage than MvRs 105mm guns, and fire faster…AND have better penetration. Even with her poorer accuracy, she nearly matches MvR for effective damage output. DDs and cruisers beware. (To me this seems a bit odd, and I am wondering if WG actually realizes that this is the output of the secondaries…)
Here are the tier 8 CVs:
To no ones surprise, the big winner (and the only ship that actually SHOULD be built for secondaries) is Graf Zeppelin. Her secondaries get vastly improved accuracy, and have amazing German penetration, and have big caliber. She can put some hurt on even battleships. Any destroyer or cruiser that gets within range (9.45 km) had better get out of range quick. Second-best goes to Kaga, with her suite of large secondaries, with the 200mm guns getting penetration all the way up to 34mm. Parseval is also pretty good, getting 50k DPM out to 10km. Lexington and Shokaku are then next…while the British CVs struggle with both damage output AND penetration. Enterprise and Saipan have terrible and no secondaries respectively.
Here are the tier 6 CVs (stop seal clubbing with a 21 point captain!):
Weser and Lowenhart are the biggest threats here. Weser because of the range and accuracy, while Lowenhart gets the range, but not the accuracy. However, she can threaten cruisers seriously with her 150mm guns. The other CVs are not all that dangerous…though Ryujo can be tricky due to her maneuverability. The surprise is how much DPM a Furious can put out due to the layout of her guns…though their penetration is absolutely TERRIBLE with only 17 mm of pen. Ranger is also awful at getting any damage output.
Finally tier IV CVs (seriously, take a shower for playing these with a 21 point captain):
Rhein is the big winner here, as is expected. You really need to have some secondaries as good enemy DDs can dodge your torpedoes, your rockets don't do enough damage…and you have no other defense. Hosho and Langley have slow and few guns. Do NOT rely on them (though if a Hosho shell hits, that is big damage, and a CQE with a Hosho is going to make the enemy captain VERY salty). The mild surprise here is Hermes. She has a few bigger caliber guns that the other carriers in her line don't get. This is actually necessary, as Hermes plane damage output is AWFUL…and she is the most tanky tier IV CV for (I think) a reason. WG intends her to be played closer to the action than the other CVs.
So, there you have it. The only CV that should be played for secondary memes is Graf Zeppelin. However, if you are fine with nerfing yourself (because CVs are so OP you can win with part of your arms tied behind your back!), then putting skills into secondaries on Hakuryu, MvR, Kaga, Parseval, Weser, Loewenhart, and Rhein might pay you back.
And if you ever see me out there in my CV…know that the secondaries are primed and waiting for dumb DDs to get too close.
Also, try to get into a secondary fight with the enemy CV…especially at low tiers. It is great fun.
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