[EDIT 2015-10-02 16:00 PDT – I have managed to get into the game and have corrected all the statistics given in this post to the correct values. All of the corrections are in red type. All the original things I wrote are still in the post, only lined through. None of the corrections change my opinion on either the Fuso/Colorado or the Tirpitz/Colorado comparison. This is only an opinion. You are free to disagree, and I encourage you all to continue to respectfully do so. I write these things for fun and part of that is finding out new things from all of you. I don’t pretend to know it all, though it may seem I do at times. As for the Nagato, the wiki is horribly wrong. However, it is still my opinion the ship is not accurately reflected by the game and thus I choose not to use it in comparison to the more accurately represented Colorado class battleship. If the Nagato is ever nerfed, I may revisit this post. Thank you all for reading this blog and understanding that it’s just opinion and that I’m fallible. See you in-game – Mabrick.]
There are quite a few ships what get no love in World of Warships. Perhaps the king of these is the United States’ Colorado class battleship. This class of Battleship was designed during World War I with the first keel laid down in 1917. They were the last of the ‘old’ battleships designed and built by the United States. In all, three were built: the USS Colorado, the USS Maryland and the USS West Virginia. The USS Maryland and the USS West Virginia were in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. While the USS Maryland weathered that attack with only minor damage, being docked inside of the USS Oklahoma that fateful day, the USS West Virginia, moored alongside USS Tennessee, was not so fortunate. Though sunk she was raised, repaired and got back into the war October 1944. The USS Colorado was undergoing refit at the Puget Sound Navy Yard at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack and by December 10, 1941 was patrolling the west coast of the United States.
The biggest complaint in World of Warships about the Colorado class battleship is its speed. A treaty limited capital ship, this class could only muster a top speed of 21 knots. By World War II standards this is abysmally slow. Compared to later battleship designs like the North Carolina class and the Tirpitz, the Colorado is a wallowing gilt on the best of days. But those other ships are World War II ‘new’ battleships. To appreciate the Colorado class, one should compare it to the last Japanese ‘old’ battleship – the Fuso.
[EDIT 2015-10-02 13:20 PDT – I am placing here the reply to my first comment and the reason I chose to compare to Fuso rather than Nagato. YMMV, but to me the Fuso is the more correct representation of the actual IJN ‘old’ design battleship within WoWS.
“The Negato is a hell of a ship. It’s true. And it is the same tier as the Colorado in-game. I don’t think it’s as good a match though. In game, it has a
shorter longer range than the Fuso firing only to 13.2 out to 20.5 kilometers. The fire control can’t be upgraded. It’s slower to load than the Fuso firing 1.7 rounds per minute. It still suffers from the fact the Colorado out ranges it and can do so while undetected. It’s somewhat faster at 21.9 knots stock and measurably faster at 25.4 knots in it’s final upgrade, and has hella fast rudder shift, but a turn radius larger than the Fuso. The speed and rudder shift time, along with it’s upgraded 65,000 hit points, and incredible range, are it’s biggest selling points. It can maneuver well and absorb damage. But when I look at a detail plan of the Nagato’s armor (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/cf/Nagatoarmor.svg/706px-Nagatoarmor.svg.png,) I don’t see a ship that should have 65,000 hit points. That’s too much for the armor the ship actually had IMO. That makes the Nagato overpowered, so I chose the Fuso – a more accurate representation of ‘old’ design Japanese battleships within WoWS in my view. I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but the Nagato needs an armor nerf like the Minekazi needed a torpedo range nerf. Let the piling on begin!” /EDIT]
As originally designed, the Fuso itself could only muster 22 knots and carried less citadel armor, though as was the fashion with British inspired Japanese battleship designs, the hull had far more armor than U.S. counterparts. And though the rudder shift time in World of Warships is longer in the Colorado than the Fuso, the Colorado has a 100 meter smaller turning radius. With an appropriately skilled captain and/or upgraded ship, her maneuverability is comparable to the Fuso. I might also add no one seems to like the Fuso all that much either. So it is with treaty limited battleships. 😐
The one thing the Colorado definitely has going for it are her eight 45 caliber 16 inch main guns. These are the same size and caliber as the North Carolina class battleships, though with a slower slew rate. And since the last World of Warships patch, their rate of fire is to the Fuso. As for the omnipresent Tirpitz, it has only 15 inch guns which do measurably less damage than the Colorado’s guns, and seem to struggle to penetrate the Colorado class’ well protected citadels. I have not had a problem penetrating Tirpitz citadels. 😉
To support the measurably less damage statement I located verified data at Shipcomrade.com (and other locations) to verify AP damage maximum is 11,300 and the HE maximum is 4400 for Tirpitz. The Colorado’s maximum is 12,200 for AP and 5600 for HE. There are reports the shell penetration value for the Tirpitz is higher. This is a hidden statistic. I cannot confirm this either through stats look ups or from what I’ve seen in-game. So long as you angle your Colorado’s armor properly, my experience tells me the Tirpitz is not as dangerous as people fear. I’ve not had one citadel penetration from a Tirpitz nor have I had a turret destroyed. Perhaps this is all luck or RNG, but I can’t quantify that so choose to ignore it. This may eventually change, but I stand by my opinion the Tirpitz is not measurably more lethal than a Colorado. It is only measurably faster, much faster… scary fast.
Those two paragraphs should tell you what you need to know about fighting the Colorado. The Colorado is a long-range shooter and citadel penetrating machine. Her starting range is
15.2 kilometers 17.6 kilometers stock and 19.6 kilometers upgraded in-game as compared to the Fuso’s 13.2 kilometer starting range. The base Colorado can even out range a fully upgraded Fuso which only reaches out to 14.5 kilometers. Stay at range. Don’t forget, you have a spotter plane. It increases your range even more. That might just give you the edge you need. The Fuso is detectable at 18.9 kilometers! Use the spotter plane in the early stages of a match to damage your opponents before they even detect you. Your detection range is only 16.7 kilometers, the same as your gun range with updated fire control. You might even get lucky and hit a citadel with plunging fire. Yes, it’s possible. 😀 Even against the faster ‘new’ battleships it is possible on most maps to stay at range, if you maintain situational awareness. Remember, islands are your friend and you can use them to block closer opponents line of fire. Use those 16 inch guns to your benefit, and don’t let the enemy close on you where her more numerous 14 inch guns will flip the odds. If you are on the Ocean map, god help you. Stay with your fleet (if you can 😦 ) and hope the enemy doesn’t see you as the biggest threat.
That said, you need to upgrade your Colorado class battleship to at least a B hull and fully upgraded propulsion and fire control before she is this good. And until you can afford the C hull, stay close to your AA cruisers. Concerning upgrades, and I think I’ve said this before, wait until you have enough experience to fully upgrade a new ship class before you actually buy and fight it. Most of the complaints I see in match and online are for stock configurations. Yeah, stock sucks. What do you expect? It’s a 1917 design. Twenty years went by between the Colorado class design and the North Carolina class design finalization. The nature of naval warfare changed dramatically in those two decades – perhaps more than at any other point in human history. But though she was designed for a different sort of warfare, the Colorado class is still a capable ship in the hands of a knowledgeable captain. Don’t ever write her off and dismiss her as not being a threat, or her 16 inch guns will convince you otherwise.