WEEKLY SHIP SPOTLIGHT: TRIBAL CLASS DESTROYER COSSACK
The history stuff
Due to technological progress in the interwar period, the Admiralty determined that competing navies such as the japanese or germans were threatening to eclipse the current designs of destroyers in service and in planning for the Royal Navy, which were all incremental improvements over the 1926 A-class. As such, the Admiralty put forward a request for designs of a new, gunnery-focused destroyer design. The resulting shipclass were the Tribals, armed with four twin QF 4.7" Mk XII mounts, capable of both surface and AA fire, the latter of which up to an elevation of 40° which did hinder the effectiveness of it, a single centrally mounted quadruple torpedo launcher and a number of depth charges. Their sensory suite included anti-submarine sonar and they were the first ships in the Royal Navy to be equipped with the Fuze Keeping Clock HA fire control computer to engage aircraft more effectively with their main guns.
As it became evident during the war that the Tribals and other larger destroyers would operate much more independently than predicted and as such were at a greater risk of air attacks, all Tribals were scheduled for refits after the loss of Afridi and Gurkha. These upgrades included replacing the X-turret with a QF 4" Mk XVI dual-purpose mount, trimming down the superstructure to allow for better coverage of the AA guns and gradual replacement of the .50-caliber machine guns with 20mm oerlikon mounts.
The Tribals that survived until 1944 were refit again with an improved sensor suite including Type 293 and 291 radar for detection of surface and aerial threats and a Type 285 radar to feed into the AA gunfire director, along with improved fuse setters for the AA guns.
After the war, the surviving british Tribals were sold for scrap, while the surviving ships in canadian and australian service were gradually refitted with varying numbers of twin QF 4" Mk XVI mounts along with more modern AA and ASW weaponry and sensor suites. The last Tribals were sold for scrap in 1969. Of the class of 23 ships, produced before and during the war, 13 were lost. Six british Tribals fell victim to air attacks, four british and one canadian Tribals sank after torpedo attacks, HMS Sikh was sunk by shore batteries at Tobruk and HMS Punjabi sank after a collision with HMS King George V. Only one ship of the class remains today in the form of HMCS Haida, which can be visited as a museum ship in Ontario, Canada.
Cossack herself was the second of the 16 Tribals that served in the Royal Navy, being laid down on the 9th of June 1936 at Vickers Armstrong in Newcastle upon Tyne, launched a year later on th 8th of June 1937 and commissioned into the RN on June 7th 1938.
Cossacks first notable action was the famed Altmark-Incident off the shores of Norway in early 1940. During this incident, Cossack investigated and attacked the german supply ship Altmark, which was attached to the Admiral Graf Spee. At the time, Altmark was carrying 299 British merchant sailors as PoWs taken by Graf Spee. While the transport of prisoners of war through neutral waters was not banned, British contacts insisted that norwegian officers searched the ship on February 15th. As these investigations failed to control the cargo hold, where the prisoners were held, the British government decided to investigate the ship themselves on 16th and 17th of February, justifying their actions with the fact that Altmark made a long detour in order to traverse the waters of neutral Norway, intenting to abuse said neutrality. During the boarding, eight German sailors were killed, and ten German, one British and one Norwegian sailor were wounded. Due to the fact that Britain had effectively violated Norwegian neutrality, giving Hitler a sound argument for the invasion of Norway.
In April 1940, Cossack escorted HMS Warspite during the Second Battle of Narvik, however she did not see notable action during this engagement.
During May 1941, Cossack was present during the chase and destruction of the Bismarck. Originally, she and her sisters Sikh, Maori and Zulu along with the Polish destroyer ORP Piorun were attached to a convoy as escorts, however the group broke off from their convoy in order to assist in the sinking of the large German raider. The five ships caught up with the damaged battleship during the night of the 26/27 May, during which they repeatedly fired torpedos at the Bismarck. No side scored any hits during the engagement, however the constant harrassment wore heavy on the already fatigued and demoralised german crew.
Cossacks last action was as convoy escort from Gibraltar to the UK in late 1941. On the 23rd of October, Cossack was struck by a torpedo fired by the german submarine U-563. Initially, it was attempted to tow her to a port for repairs, however worsening weather conditions resulted in the tow being slipped on 26 October 1941. Cossack sank at a loss of life of 159 sailors out of her complement of 190.
The gameplay stuff
Cossack is a T8 premium destroyer in the RN tree, meaning it competes with some excellent ships such as Kidd, Akizuki, Lightning, Lo Yang and Harekaze for your attention and money. Luckily, it comes off pretty well in a comparison to its colleagues. Its not the best at any one category bar maybe agility, but it generally isnt too far off the top. It doesnt quite have the Kageros beat in concealment, but it is second best in its MM spread, matching Lightning, Jutland and Yugumo. It cant compete with Akizuki in raw DPM or HE pen, but it carries the largest HE salvo alpha for any DD except Khaba and it still has the second-highest HE DPM of the T8 DDs. It lacks the fuck you that IJN torpedos say whenever they hit a target, but it still carries four of the same torpedos that you find on Minotaur, with a decent 62kn speed, decent detection, 10km range and a blistering 66s reload, meaning you can generally expect your torps to be available. It doesnt have the same monstrous HP pool that the duck or Kiev get, but it certainly isnt lacking in HP either. In short, Cossack is a ship that does not have a single weakness statswise compared to its colleagues except possibly its absolutely anemic AA suite (but then again, the best response most DD can muster to CV attacks is to drop their pants, grab their ankles and think of england).
On to the consumables. Cossack is a bit of a special case for the RN DDs. What sets the main line RNDDs apart from the other nations is that they get the same Alcubierre-based propulsion as the RNCLs, enabling them to leap forward from a standstill incredibly quickly. As a trade-off, they can neither mount the acceleration module in the 1-million-credit slot nor mount the speedboost consumable. Cossack still lacks the module, but it mounts speedboost, meaning that it can basically teleport itself out of an incoming salvo should you stand still. It also mounts the same special smokescreen that all RNDDs except Gallant get. This smokescreen has a short deployment time of 10s, larger than usual puff size and an active time of 40s. Combined with its also short 70s recharge time and 6 (7 with SI) charges, its an excellent offensive screen for short bursts of damage, compared to the long duration, long cooldown smoke that the USN DDs and Lo Yang get. However, one has to keep in mind that the deployment time is so short that, should your engine get shot out, you will not be able to come to a standstill before the deployment ends, even with Last Stand. Cossacks third tool is the standard fare RNDD hydro with its 3km detection on both ships and torpedos, 180s active time and 120s reload time. This hydro is a good defensive tool for both personal defense in smokescreens, selfdeployed or aquired otherwise, as well as for screening divisionmates from torps, or, should you feel especially generous, even screening random teammates. However, its short range limits its offensive use compared to the much more aggressive hydros found on the german destroyers and Lo Yang.
So, how does one play this ship?
In my personal opinion, Cossacks best playstyle is that of an aggressive marauder, preying on inferior destroyers in and out of caps, setting enemy capital ships ablaze and firing opportune torpedos towards oblivious battleships. Cossacks big strength lies in the fact that it combines excellent stealth and firepower at the expense of torpedos. At 5.5km maximum concealment, only the Kageros can technically outspot you, however they only have ~100m margin and they have significantly less firepower, especially if theyre pushing into you. Yugumo matches your concealment, but it has similar firepower problems to the Kageros, just slightly less so owing to their improved reload. Lightning and Jutland are arguably the most threatening opponents you will run across, since both match Cossack in concealment, but have significantly more flexible turrets. Both have full 360° rotation on all three turrets, enabling them to keep their full firepower on target in a head-on charge while wiggling. Compared to that Cossack only gets 360° rotation on its B-turret, as well as atrocious forward-firing angles on its Y-turret. Additionally, Jutland gains a heal for roughly 2000HP per charge spread across 10s and improved AP penetration angles. In a 1v1, Jutland will generally win vs Cossack, while Lightning should lose, but its a close enough matchup that a skilled Lightning player can defeat a Cossack. All other destroyers have a detection penalty over Cossack that is large enough combined with the firepower that it has that you can either start off the engagement on your terms with one or two high-damage HE salvos before the enemy can react or simply not take the fight at all.
When fighting cruisers and battleships, your tactics depend on your captain skills as well as what particular ship youre facing. Personally I run my Daring captain on Cossack and as such i have IFHE. The 120mm guns have 25mm of penetration, enabling you to directly damage the structural plating of T6 and T7 BBs such as the USN standards as well as all cruisers except USN CAs and german cruisers above T8 which both have 27mm of plating as well as Kutuzov which has 26mm of plating for some unknown reason. Combined with some liberal use of WASD hax, you can easily openwater something like a colorado or most cruisers down while taking minimal damage. And even without IFHE, Cossack retains the ability to damage BB superstructures and the plating of T7 and lower cruisers directly. On top of this, RNDDs all have excellent fire chance and Cossack is no exception. This means, you can easily expect a witherer purely from the fires you set with your oppressive volume of fire. Seeing double digits on the "Fires set" ribbon is not uncommon for a good match and I think my personal record is just shy of 20, but I might be wrong.
One thing about Cossacks guns that is often overlooked at ones peril is the AP. It lacks any of the fancy mechanics that Jutland and Daring get, nor does it have the ludicrous penetration that the russians get. The arcs are also kinda crap, comparable to the USN 5"/38s. However, and I genuinely dont understand why, because to my knowledge it has the exact same properties as any other AP shell minus the 114mm AP, it does significant amounts of damage out to ranges where I would expect it to just bounce off of plating due to angle of fall. Should you find a broadside cruiser at 10km that is preoccupied with someone else, load the AP and watch as you chunk him for 4-5k every four to five seconds depending on your AR. Similarly, Khabas take massive amounts of damage from your AP, should you manage to find one broadside in close quarters. I would assume that the same applies to Gearing and Z52, however off the top of my head Im not sure and I usually fire HE at them anyway for module damage.
As mentioned, the arcs are very similar to USN DDs. This enables Cossack to do some USN trademarked Waifu HuggingTM over a good number of islands and outcrops, wailing away on ships while remaining out of sight.
The torpedos are easily the worst part of the offensive capabilities of the ship. This does not mean theyre bad. You only get four torpedos in a single launcher, much like Akizuki or Kidd (although the latter does get a Quint). Unlike those two, however, Cossack gets a blistering 66s reload base compared to the 120s both Kidd and Akizuki get (disregarding TRB). The torpedos themselves are right in the middle between the two. They lack the titanic alpha damage of the Type 93 mod. 2, nor do they have the speed, but they still have 10km of range and the shorter reaction time 533mm torpedos enjoy over 610mm ones. Compared to Kidds Mark 15s, the Mark IXM has higher speed at 62kn as well as ever so slightly higher damage and range, making them much more comfortable to use. To top this all off, Cossack gets access to single-fire mode for its torpedos, enabling you to fire four fishes through a narrow chokepoint right into enemy ships.
Captain Skills and Modules
Personally, I run my Daring captain in Cossack: PT/LS/AR/BFT/SE/CE/IFHE The rationale behind this is mainly based on the needs that Daring has, however most translates well into Cossack as well. PT, LS, AR, BFT and CE should be self-explanatory for a gunboat. SE is an incredibly nice skill to have on destroyers and i elected it over SI because even though Daring gains a heal with SI, that heal is only worth about 2200HP compared to the 3500HP that SE gives plus the HP that the regular heals restore because of SE and I dont feel particularly strapped for consumables with the six charges of smoke and the long duration the hydro has. IFHE is there because Jutland and Daring need it to break the 19mm threshold with their HE, something that i value very highly because it means that a DD thats bow-on doesnt just completely neuter me, nor do i rely on just fire damage for battleships. Were I to build a 19-point captain purely for Cossack, I would probably still go for this exact build, but one could make a good point for dropping IFHE in favour of DE and PM or RPF to set more fires or hunt enemy destroyers more effectively.
For modules I run MAM1 because theres nothing really useful in that slot otherwise, PropMod 1 for the same reason, ASM1 because better accuracy and torpedo tube traverse, RST1 for maximum wiggle and Concealment mod 1. Viable alternatives include Engine Boost 1 in slot 2, however I do not have one and Im too cheap to buy one in the arsenal for now, as well as Smoke Generator 1 in slot 3. Due to the short duration of the individual puffs, SGM1 actually increases the maximum time you could feasibly stay concealed in your smokescreen as the increase in active time is longer than the penalty on duration, but personally I dont think the loss in accuracy, TT traverse speed and the slightly increased downtime suit my particular needs. Your mileage may vary.
Who even is this guy
I am Dachfrittierer (IGN: TheRealDachfrittierer on EU), resident asshat and u/vaexas favourite target for bans on the r/worldofwarships discord. I chose to write this guide to try out my fingers at this sort of thing and I chose Cossack specifically because Im pretty comfortable in the ship and confident in my skills in it (as of me writing this on 29.3.19 I am ranked 25th on the wows-numbers leaderboards for Cossack sorted by PR). Over the last stages of the Exeter missions I saw plenty of Cossack play, both good and bad, so I decided to share some of my knowledge on the ship. I hope you found this guide entertaining or at least enlightening, I certainly had some fun reading up on the ships history and putting it to paper. You can generally find me hanging out on the discord attached to this subreddit, link to it is in the upper left corner if youre on desktop or in the subreddit community info if youre on the official reddit mobile app.
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