Colorado Class Firing

Fleet Friday: The Colorado Class Battleship – Is She Really That Bad?

[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.

BB-45 USS Colorado

BB-45 USS Colorado

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]

IJN Fuso

IJN Fuso

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.

15 comments on “Fleet Friday: The Colorado Class Battleship – Is She Really That Bad?

  1. You didn’t correct the Fuso’s range. 😦
    As for my opinion on the Tirpitz vs Colorado debate, I feel the German ship is better all around. Great armor (apart from the deck as I mentioned) and the faster rate of fire makes up for the alpha damage loss. I also feel like the Tirpitz is also more accurate (I don’t have the dispersion stats on hand but I’m willing to bet it has a lower dispersion than the Colorado). My opinion might be coloured by my ranking in the Tirpitz (top 50 xp wise on the EU server) and it’s true the armour of the Colorado is impressive, but the speed kills it for me. I am also quite regularly capable of one shotting full hp Aobas and Myokos with my Tirpitz, even at extreme range (20+km),something I haven’t managed in the Colorado. The ROF and ESPECIALLY the turret turn time of the Tirpitz allows me so much flexibility that it makes me giggle when I can fully use it (which is very often).

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    • I triple checked the Fuso’s range in the game. I posted both the stock and upgraded range as listed in the tech tree. The range I used from the wiki is the actual stock range of the Fuso as listed in the tech tree. Where exactly in the post is it listed incorrectly?

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      • The upgraded hull of the Fuso changes the range. Look up some vids of it on youtube. The fully upgraded range of that ship is around 21km if I remember right.
        The reason you didn’t see it is that you can’t unless you perform a complex maneuver. Go to the Fuso in the port (the greyed out version), click on the artillery tab on the right (mousing over the guns should give you the range), next, click on the last hull upgrade (might have to click twice) and watch for small orangey triangles to appear on the stats on the right of the screen. If you mouseover the guns in that artillery slide now, they will show a new, much further range. Don’t forget to factor the 10% range on top of that from the fire control!
        Total should be 19 or so and 21km fully upgraded.

        This hidden tool can be handy to check if some ships, like the Fuso, have utterly different stats stock vs upgraded.
        Hope it works for you. 🙂

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        • Ah, I see what’s going on here. That “hidden” range as you call it is with ship upgrades and captain skills (I think) taken into account. I did not use the ship upgrade and captain skill modifications in my post on any ship because not everyone will use them. I used only the ranges given with module upgrades. When I select the Fuso as you direct, I get a red warning triangle on my gun stats. When I look over at the upgrade display, it says I must purchase the ship to see upgrades. It does in fact show me a 19.2 kilometer range, but that is not it’s module only range. It does in fact require a purchased ship upgrade. My fault here was in not stating from the start I was only going to be looking at module upgrades for my numbers – oh, and in trusting the official wiki. :/

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          • Ah but here’s the difference. American battleships usually start off stock with their maximum range already decent (upgradeable by two upgrades: one worth xp AND credits, one worth just credits). Japanse BBs don’t get the credit only upgrade, but they do get hull upgrades (xp + cred cost again) which will upgrade the range, along with the 10% thanks to fire control (xp upgrade).
            When I and most people talk stock vs upgraded, we don’t count the credit only upgrades unless specified. Hope that cleared it up. 🙂

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          • Essentially what I meant to say was no upgrades from the captain nor credit only upgrades are used tobring the Fuso to 21km range. Only modules worth xp are used. In fact as I mentioned, the IJN BBs don’t get range upgrades bought directly with credits like the USN BBs do.

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  2. Alright.
    There are many problems, both in the post and the comments. Please ALL do your research better.
    Mabrick, I love these posts but you need more information before posting. A stock Fuso does have a terrible 13km range. However, a fully upgraded Fuso has 21km range and NOT 14. Up to t7, all IJN battleships far outrange their USN counterparts. The reason is their hull upgrades ALSO (and i’ll give you that it is not a visible stat in game) upgrade the range. By a lot. The Fuso is also widely regarded on all servers as one of the best t6 ships, though not as “OP” as the Cleveland.
    Next, the Tirpitz. It’s “only” 15 inch guns are just as if not more dangerous than same tier 16in guns. Why? Another hidden stat: shell penetration values. The Torpitz (:D) has insanely high pen guns, which means lot’s of citadels hit when firing. It also has the best armour, both of the hull and it’s tiny citadels (all hidden stats of course). So the fact that Mabrick “easily” citadels Tirpitzes is luck (hello Wargaming RNG) combined with good aim and plunging fire (the ship has a wooden deck, unlike the other two t8 BBs and as such is more vulnerable to plunging shells).
    I hope this is viewed as constructive criticism, which I aim for. If you need or want help for these posts, I can help with this sort of information (you have the history part nailed).

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    • Yes, the information is incorrect. I was using the Wiki, and it is horribly wrong as I’ve discovered. To any who read this, please correct the post for me as I can’t get into the game right now to do so. Thanks.

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  3. You compared her a lot to the Fuso, but she’s tier VII like the Nagato. I think the complaints come a lot from that comparison as the Nagato is all types of awesome (I might be biased) 😉

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    • 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 range than the Fuso firing only to 13.2 kilometers. The fire control can’t be upgraded. It’s slower to load than the Fuso as well. It still suffers from the fact the Colorado out ranges it and can do so while undetected. It’s somewhat 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, 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!

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      • This information was taken from the Wiki and it is horribly wrong. I have corrected it in the post above. I leave it intact here as a reminder of my fallibility.

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