Please be aware that all of the statistics and performance discussed in this post reflect the version of the ship as she appeared during the testing period.
These are subject to change before release.
The Swiss-Army Knife of Destroyer mutilation.
Quick Summary: A stealthy, Light-Cruiser gunship with a large number of consumables and an additional module upgrade slot.
Cost: Undisclosed at the time of this review.
Patch & Date Written: 0.5.12.1, October 12th & 13th, 2016.
Reasonably durable for a cruiser with 35,700hp and 114mm belt armour.
The Belfast can stealth-fire with the proper setup of modules and camouflage, even without a 15pt Captain.
Fast rate of fire at 8.0rpm and second highest DPM of the current 6″ (150mm to 155mm) armed light cruisers.
Good AA armament.
Depending on your module & skill choices, the Belfast can have as low as a 8.7km surface detection range.
Depending on your module choices, the Belfast can have a rudder shift as low as 4.6s.
Has access to Radar and Hydroacoustic Search at the same time.
She has access to a Smoke Generator with a longer-than-standard smoke duration.
She can mount up to five module upgrades. She’s currently the only tier 7 with access to this fifth slot.
Very limited ability to deliver high alpha strikes.
For a cruiser, she has a low base chance to start a fire at 9% per shell.
Slow turret rotation at 7′ per second.
No torpedo armament.
Low top speed for a cruiser, limited to 32.5 knots.
Stock rudder shift is on the slow side at 9.6s.
No access to Defensive Fire.
No access to Propulsion Modification 2.
Smoke Generator creates a tiny amount of smoke before shutting down — enough for up to two smoke clouds.
Wargaming continues to outdo themselves in the quality of their models and textures.
Can it truly be happening? Is the Royal Navy finally going to be joining World of Warships? Wargaming may just be initiating another Royal Navy tease. We’ve had the Warspite. We’ve had the Campbeltown. Now we have the HMS Belfast joining the game. This long awaited ship is a delight to see in game. The model is absolutely gorgeous, representing the post-war refits of this historic vessel. With her inclusion we now have a Battleship, Destroyer and Cruiser in the game. What’s next? The Ark Royal? Who can say? But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Lert will be joining me today providing a comparison to some of the Belfast’s rival cruisers in the Rivals sections. NoZoupForYou will also be joining us to provide his voice talents to our project. I even got them both to fill in the ‘Recommendations’ section, so enjoy!
There’s a whole lot of weirdness going on with the options for the Belfast. First of all, she has four consumables but no choices to change them out for something else. You cannot swap out Hydroacoustic Search for Defensive Fire, for example. In fact, she doesn’t get access to Defensive Fire at all, which should surprise some people. Her Surveillance Radar is on par with the American version found on the Atlanta and Indianapolis, with an 8.49km range and 25s active period. Her Hydroacoustic Search is also the standard version found on other nations (as opposed to the souped up version found on the German ships). But it’s her Smoke Generator that’s truly the odd duck. The deployed smoke has a longer duration than most other nations (103s vs 85s) though it still falls short of the American (121s). However, there’s only a 7s window to lay smoke clouds, limiting the Belfast to making only one or two “puffs”.
Another fun bit of weirdness for the Belfast is that she has five upgrade slots instead of the normal four found at tier 7. This extra slot gives her access to the Concealment, Target Acquisition System and Steering Gears modifications which are gain the normal purview of tier 8 and higher vessels. The Belfast seems to trade for this by being unable to equip Propulsion System Modification 2. Beware of sitting stationary in your tiny amount of smoke. Overall, the module upgrade options are phenomenal for the Belfast, allowing you to choose between excellent agility or improved concealment, depending on your preferred style of play.
Damage Control Party
Module Upgrades: Five slots. Does not have access to Propulsion Modification 2 for it’s fourth slot. Premium Camouflage: Tier 6+ Standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy.
Primary Battery: Twelve 152mm rifles in 4×3 superfiring turrets in an A-B-X-Y configuration.
Secondary Battery: Eight 102mm guns in 4×2 turrets mounted amidships.
If you strip away all of the toys on the Belfast, what you’re left with is a no-nonsense gunship. She doesn’t have torpedoes, so she’s entirely reliant on the performance of her guns. This may look like a crippling flaw as the Belfast has some of the worst alpha strike potential of any 6″ armed cruiser from her individual shells. Indeed, the Belfast is largely bereft of any ability to deal large amounts of damage in a single attack. Her weapons do not have great muzzle velocity either leading to a lot of hang time and necessary lead to land hits and precluding her from using AP against enemy cruisers until she’s quite close. But this is all compensated for by a good rate of fire. When measured against other Light Cruisers in and around her tier with a similar armament, she comes in second for AP and HE DPM which is nothing to sneeze at. Just always keep her lack of torpedoes in mind when looking at these numbers.
Gun performance comparison between 150mm to 155mm armed Light Cruisers
The gun handling of the Belfast is reasonably comfortable. Her turret rotation is slower than I would want at 7′ per second (25.7s for a 180′ rotation). This value is similar enough to some of the Soviet cruisers like the Mikhail Kutuzov and Shchors and better than that of the upgraded Cleveland. It’s not fast, but it’s passable. Your shell flight time will always be on the long side, however. These are not the high velocity shells found on the Soviet cruisers or the Mogami’s 155mm. They share a lot similar flight patterns to the USN Cleveland, so you’re going to struggle a bit to hit anything but large or predictably moving ships at range. You can expect to see up to 11s lead times while stealth-firing, which this ship can manage at ranges from 14.5km with Concealment Modification 1 or 13.3km when combined with Concealment Expert. While the ship’s range is nothing impressive at her tier, she is sneaky enough to easily get within range to be able to engage targets without risk of early detection.
While this looks like good news, it’s that low chance to set fires that really hurts the Belfast and precludes her from ever being considered an optimal fire-starting gunship. In the practical sense, when engaging other capital ships, her damage potential falls away if she cannot start sufficient blazes to give enemy Battleships pause. So she’s rather RNG dependent in this regard. This is very important to keep in mind as the Belfast can (and will) go up against the more heavily armoured Battleships at tiers 8 & 9 where plating in excess of 25mm will result in zero-damage hits from her high explosive rounds. Still, the 9% fire chance is passable. It can do the job. It’s just not optimal, especially when compared to her competitors..
Like all cruisers, her secondary armament is pretty forgettable. It has some good traits, though. She has a 5.0km base range with them and they fire 20rpm. But this isn’t like you’ll win a war with them. I did finish off a Leningrad with my secondaries, so that was cute. But I wouldn’t expect this to be the norm with her.
Overall, her guns are very well suited to putting the hurt on lightly armoured ships. Combined with other features, her weaponry seems almost ideally designed to make destroyers balk at being anywhere within 10km of a Belfast. She will also give pause to other cruisers, while being passable (but not ideal) for harassing Battleships in between interdiction missions.
I’m not in love with her guns. They are decent though and they do the trick. Just don’t expect miracles or fast results.
You’ll be dodging torpedoes a lot in the Belfast — mostly because your guns, concealment distance and consumables make you an absolute nightmare for enemy destroyers.
Top Speed: 32.5 knots Turning Radius: 680m Rudder Shift: 9.6s
The Belfast has a bit of a sluggish rudder shift. That’s the bad news. The good news is that she can take two module upgrades to mitigate this, dropping it down as low as 4.6s which is downright awesome. With just the first module, you’ll be looking at a 7.7s rudder shift time which is still a bit clunky but manageable. With her fair turning circle, she has a lot of hustle in her bustle.
The Belfast doesn’t get down to American levels of cruiser wigglyness (Zoup told me this was a perfectly cromulent word), but it’s still more than sufficient to throw off the aim of enemies at range if you keep your patterns irregular. So, if you take a module or two to tighten up the response time of her rudder, the Belfast will feel very nimble with her handling. This compensates somewhat for her only modest top speed which is again, downright American in that respect. The 32.5 knots is the same legwork found on the Pensacola, Atlanta, Flint and Indianapolis. This lags well behind the more fleet footed Soviet and Japanese cruisers. As such, it will be impossible to run down all but the most complacent of destroyers. You’ll also have a hard time fleeing from a fast Battleship that’s intent on closing with you. There are few things more frightening than an Iowa bellowing, “Get in me belly!” while it chases your Belfast.
Fire and maneuver is the name of the game with the Belfast — tossing evasive maneuvers in between salvos. This isn’t a ship with which you’ll want to ever be caught stationary. Wargaming seems to be going out of their way to discourage this. First, they’ve removed the option to take Propulsion Modification 2 which would provide her with a lot more startup agility when caught sitting still. Second, her smoke screens are pathetically small requiring her to be at a near dead stop before activating or she risks slipping out of her tiny bank of fog. This makes her an easy target just before deploying her concealment and should make many a Belfast player think twice about using it this way.
Durability Hit Points: 35,700
Citadel Protection: Up to 114mm. Bow & Deck Armour: Minimum of 13mm each. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 4%
The armour setup on the Belfast is a bit of a mixed bag. She has 114mm belt armour, which is rather good for a light cruiser, and certainly well above what we might see on her Soviet counterparts. Unlike ships like the Budyonny or Shchors, her citadel is at or below the waterline of the ship. Combine this with her 35,700hp and she’s looking rather well protected — or at least as well protected as a cruiser could be. And that’s really the catch, isn’t it? You cannot expect the Belfast to repulse Battleship caliber firepower, especially not at tier 7+. They will happily oblige you by emancipating your ship of it’s hp poolt with a storm of 380mm+ shells. Don’t give them the opportunity if you can at all help it. Use your agility and your stealth as your defense. What this level of armour plate will actually provide is reasonable protection from small-caliber (180mm or smaller) guns trying to throw AP at you. This can be rather commonplace as you close in with enemy destroyers and cruisers that will switch ammunition types if they think they can catch your broadside. Use your rudder, force those bounces off your angled sides.
It is fun to note that the Belfast does have some small anti-torpedo bulges, providing a 4% damage reduction. Once you plug in Damage Control System Modification 1, this jumps up to 7%. It’s not great by any means, but hey, cruisers should rejoice with any little durability bonuses they can claim.
The angled belt armour of the Belfast bounces a 210mm AP round from a German Yorck-class cruiser. This is an uncommon occurence. Even bows on, the Belfast’s prow is overmatched by 203mm shells or greater. Be very careful when engaging heavy cruisers at point blank range.
Concealment & Camouflage
Surface Detection Range: 11.3km
Air Detection Range: 8.1 km
Minimum Surface Detection Range: 8.7km
Concealment Penalty while Firing: +4.56km (vs 15.4km gun range)
Don’t let these numbers fool you. Like her rudder shift time, the Belfast’s concealment rating is something you can play with right out of the box with module choices. This is an either-or choice, though. You can either have gorgeous rudder shift or improved concealment rating, as they both take up the 5th module slot.
This is very important feature to remember. With Concealment Modification 1 and her premium camouflage, a starting Belfast with a fresh Captain will have a 9.9km surface detection range and nearly a 1km window from which it can stealth fire at enemies from open water. Any Atago player will tell you the wonderful merits of a cruiser that’s able to sneak within 10km of an enemy ship. This opens up the door for all sorts of clever play, including interdicting enemy destroyers and sneaking onto caps the enemy thinks are reasonably covered. Once you add a 15pt Captain with Concealment Expert, this range drops down to 8.7km which is just outside of the Belfast’s radar range. This can quickly spell the doom for an enemy DD that’s not paying attention to enemy team lists. It can find itself with a rapid fire light cruiser at point blank range, hammering it with salvos of 152mm with no easy way to escape. Hydro will sniff out any desperate torpedo drops. Radar will keep them lit even if they attempt to blow smoke.
Her concealment allows the Belfast to contest capture points in Domination maps, especially from destroyers that have outstripped their support. In my test games, this became a rather common occurrence. Often happening not just once but twice in several encounters. Even without a 15pt Captain, I was comfortably able to pull off ambushes against lower tiered destroyers, like IJN Minekaze, Mutsuki and Kamikaze-class destroyers that often risked getting within 8km to launch torpedoes. USN and Soviet cruisers that popped smoke and began firing from within the cover of their concealment were simply ringing the dinner bell for my Belfast to come feast. Good times.
This same concealment rating is also the Belfast’s best armour when facing off against enemy cruisers. She has one of (if not the) best concealment ratings for her tier bracket. When you don’t want to fight something, silence your guns and turn away. You’re almost like an oversized destroyer in this respect. This ability to drop back into stealth is imperative given the rather modest top speed of the Belfast. You’ll need to plan your escape at an early juncture if the enemies are pushing your flank aggressively.
Lastly, special mention should be made towards the Belfast’s Smoke Generator consumable. It’s … well, it’s odd. It does not create a lot of smoke, but the smoke that it does leave down lasts longer than that of the Soviet or IJN ships. You have a little over a minute and forty seconds worth of concealment from the Belfast’s smoke but you’re not likely to get more than two smoke clouds out when you activate the consumable. It seems that Wargaming intends that the Belfast’s smoke to be used primarily on the defensive rather than offensive role. This is further paid evidence to with her lack of the Propulsion Modification 2 — slowing to a stop in your own tiny smoke screen is all well and fine, just be aware that you’re not going to be able to get up and go in a hurry afterwards.
Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 102mm / 40mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.5km AA DPS per Aura: 72 / 140
The Belfast does not get access to the Defensive Fire consumable. This isn’t a matter of having to choose between it and Hydroacoustic Search — it’s simply not an option at all. This immediately precludes the Belfast from being a dedicated anti-aircraft escort, which is a bit of shame because she has some rather impressive anti-aircraft firepower. When you compare her to the other tier 7 cruisers, her AA DPS is quite respectful — the second highest overall.
224dps – Flint
212dps – Belfast
207dps – Pensacola
202dps – Indianapolis
182dps – Yorck
177dps – Atlanta
153dps – Shchors
151dps – Myoko
Of course, there’s a lot more to AA gunfire than raw DPS. Having it concentrated in the large caliber AA guns is important for a start. This is what makes the Atlanta and Flint so dangerous — having enormous 127mm dual-purpose batteries. The Belfast does alright here, having 5.0km reach on her 102mm batteries with good DPS. She backs this up with the always reliable 40mm Bofors at a good defensive range of 3.5km. If the Belfast did have access to Defensive Fire, she’d be an absolute monster for enemy CVs. Without it, she’s still a target to be respected but she won’t be causing any form of disruption to aircraft groups. I was frequently shooting down a half dozen same-tier planes in games where there was an enemy CV present with only Basic Fire Training to improve my ships gunners.
To this end, if you fancy playing the role of a makeshift AA escort, keep close to the ships in need of protective cover. Just be aware that you will never reach the same levels of anti-aircraft firepower as Defensive Fire spikes the DPS of the ship in question up tremendously when active, on top of its other benefits.
Without Defensive Fire, even Dive Bombers present a serious threat to the Belfast as she has no way of disrupting their drop patterns. Her AA defense is good overall, and you can expect to seriously punish any groups making their attack runs against you. But you’re still going to have to weather their drops.
The Belfast looks complicated, but she’s really not. For all of the confusing mess of consumables and modules, the Belfast is, at her core, a light cruiser gunship. It’s all about avoiding the attention of warships bigger than you while picking on those that are smaller. Even a novice player can take her into a match, rig her for concealment and do reasonably well farming HE and fire damage off of enemy capital ships at extreme range. The meta for her is making destroyer lives miserable and bullying capture points which is a high-risk, high-reward style of play but one that can quickly decide a match when done correctly.
The Belfast is the Inspector Gadget of warships. You have a gizmo for most situations, especially when facing destroyers.
You’ll have to pick between awesome rudder shift and awesome concealment.
The lack of Defensive Fire and a high-alpha strike attack keeps her from being immediately overpowered.
Best played patiently with a slight aggressive streak where DDs are concerned.
The Belfast makes me miss a lot of things. I miss Defensive Fire. I miss being able to deliver high alpha strikes. I miss going fast. But if she had access to any one of these things, she’d be overpowered.
The Belfast is a very comfortable ship to play. Once you wrap your head around the fact that you’re not going to kill any big ships quickly, it gets quite easy. Avoid being spotted by capital ships. Get wiggly when you are spotted. Punish destroyers that over extend. That’s about it, really. Where she gets very interesting is all of the wonderful tools you have to make destroyer lives miserable while not quite having the absolute optimum load-out to do so. Out of the ships presently available in the game, it would still be hard to argue that the Belfast is probably the best destroyer hunter out there.
And that’s what the Belfast truly embodies — it’s the destroyer hunter that we’ve all been wanting. Radar is fun and all on an Atlanta or a New Orleans, but neither ship can risk getting in close to make use of it to counter the Udaloi, Bensons or Blyskawicas out there that are sitting in their smoke screens and dropping pew pews on our team. The Belfast can risk it. She’s got the tools to get in. She’s got the tools to quickly isolate and punish the enterprising destroyer. And she’s got the tools to get out afterwards.
Top on my wish-list to make her even better at destroyer hunting would be a little more speed. It’s just not there. Her 32.5 knots means that you’re relying on destroyers making mistakes more than actively pursuing them. Hear that, DDs? It’s your own darned fault that I’m making a mess of your ships with my Belfast. That the Belfast is so good at putting the hurt on over extended destroyers is likely going to make her a high priority target when word gets out. The mere presence of this rapid fire cruiser near a cap point can lock down any attempts by the Red team to ninja cap. It becomes suicidal for an enemy destroyer to venture anywhere near the Belfast’s zone of control without big guns backing her up.
This ship may shake up the current Random Battle meta somewhat. It’s certainly going to make playing the lone-wolf destroyer much more difficult. The Belfast counters the Minekaze just as readily as she does the Udaloi and I was very happy to see that consistently in play. The only thing that would make me back off from a destroyer would be a Battleship lurking in the area. But if this capital ship was distracted or more than 14km off from my area of engagement, I was still going to eat me some destroyer goodness.
When it came to pelting bigger ships with her guns, the Belfast wasn’t anything special. She bombards predictably moving capital ships about as well as you can expect. She’ll set a fair number of fires but not a whole lot unless your enemy plays dumb. This can make trying to accumulate high damage totals a bit of a challenge, but it’s again just a matter of patience and picking your targets.
Your enjoyment of the Belfast will largely be determined if you can make these 152mm guns work. Like many light cruisers, you’re dependent on fire damage to maximize your output against Battleships. They’re perfectly suitable for blowing up enemy light cruisers and destroyers, however.
Would I Recommend?
Heh, this is one of those ships that I feel like it doesn’t matter what I say, people are still going to grab it. It’s the first Royal Navy Cruiser available in the game. On top of that, it’s a Premium Cruiser leading the release of the Royal Navy Cruiser line, so people will be wanting to grab her for a training analogue for their Captains. To top it all off, she’s a museum ship. This is a difficult ship not to recommend, with the only caveat of course being that if you don’t like mid-tier cruiser game play, this ship will not sell you on it.
ForRandom Battle Grinding:
Mouse: The Belfast is a good Random Battle boat. She can cap and defend. She can harass big ships. She can interdict and assassinate destroyers. Her big weaknesses are, of course, competently played Battleships. You’ll also have to worry a bit about good carrier and cruiser players, but not nearly as much as the big capital ships trying to delete you. As she’s designed to pick on destroyers, she nets quite a healthy sum of credits and experience for even small damage totals off these fragile boats. When pressured by enemy BBs, however, her performance really starts to hurt as I had to go gun silent to avoid getting obliterated. This in turn really affected my rankings and experience gains. The other thing to consider is that if you go premium consumable heavy (and you can go really heavy in the Belfast), you’ll eat into your earnings very significantly which will hurt the rate at which you’re grinding credits.
Lert: Yeah, Belfast is a fun and comfortable, reliable if fragile, very versatile ship. Smacking destroyers around is not only a lot of fun, but nets you a nice amount of credits and XP as well.
Zoup: I find the Belfast to be highly enjoyable in random battles. Despite this, I don’t find that I’m putting the amount of damage out that I would like. I attribute this to the fact that the Belfast has a low burn percentage. It isn’t really a ship that you want to go toe to toe with against Battleships unless their attention is already occupied by other ships. Against other CLs, its more than capable though, with HE or AP. The Belfast has a specific mission, and that is to aide your team by being a destroyer’s worst nightmare. And that is exactly what the Belfast is. You get all the normal goodies that come with premium ships and premium ship camo, but the most important thing is that you have a trainer for the RN cruiser line. I don’t see myself playing the Belfast exclusively over and over in randoms, but I will definitely play it often. It’s fun and offers something different from the other ships in the game.
For Competitive Gaming:
Mouse: The Belfast would have been a very interesting choice in Season 4 of Ranked Battles, when tier 7 was the top. I don’t think she would have been capable of toppling the unfortunate meta that resulted in that season, but she certainly has the concealment and spotting tools to have upset the occasional game. Her lack of any high alpha strike limits her somewhat and her fragility would make her a rewarding target that would no doubt get her focused early when lit.
Lert: I can only imagine what havoc a ship as versatile as Belfast would’ve wrought on the tier 7 portion of the previous ranked battle season. It’s almost like this ship was made for competitive play. While she lacks the firepower of larger gunned ships, competitive play ensures that there are teammates with said bigger guns ready to pick up the slack, while you concentrate on spotting and intercepting destroyers and other cruisers.
Zoup: The jury is out whether or not the Belfast would have succeeded in the Tier 7 battles from previous ranked gameplay. I’m going to go out on a limb though and say that it would make a good competitive ship. For this basis, I am going to point to the Atago and its stealth capabilities. I believe that it’s the 8.7km concealment that will make the Belfast a valuable ranked cruiser if we ever go back to Tier 7. Its stealth combined with hydro and radar allow it to both cap while defending against enemy destroyers. It has the ability to remain hidden from larger ships by use of low surface concealment and smoke. While it may not have torpedoes and the healing capabilities of the Atago, I feel it is ultimately the Atago’s concealment which helps it to excel in ranked gameplay. The same likely will prove true for the Belfast. Only time will tell.
Mouse: She’s a museum ship. She’s also gorgeous. Absolutely, yes.
Lert: This is a storied ship that still exists as a museum ship you can visit to this day. How storied, you ask? She participated in the battle that sunk Scharnhorst as well as being part of the escort fleet to the carriers that launched an attack on Tirpitz that saw the latter disabled and immobilized for several months. Though Belfast never fired on Tirpitz, she did on Scharnhorst and it was her fire combined with that of Norfolk and Sheffield that turned Scharnhorst into the waiting jaws of the heavier task force that eventually sank her.
Zoup: This one is easy. Absolutely. She’s dead Sexy and I still remember seeing her sitting on the Thames when I vacationed in England back in 2012. She will be a must buy for many.
For Fun Factor:
Mouse: The Belfast is a very comfortable ship to play. She has the same foibles as most cruisers — notably the fragility when Battleships are looking at her. So if that doesn’t appeal, I would keep away. But as a light cruiser enthusiast, I really enjoyed her.
Lert: She’s very comfortable and versatile. You can adapt her to almost any role you could conceivably want a light cruiser to play. If you like cruisers, you’ll like Belfast.
Zoup: You can customize the Belfast to your hearts desire in more ways than most ships. She’s fun to play for the ability to live on the edge of danger with her awesome concealment and destroyer destroying capabilities. Care must be taken though. You’re still a cruiser. If you hate taking damage or like to show your broadside often, this ship will make you pay for it. This ship plays like a big destroyer that lacks torpedoes. The fun factor is there indeed. The question is: How long will the novelty of the extra module last, or is this what we should expect with the RN Cruiser line as a whole?
Outfitting your Belfast
Unlike other cruisers, there aren’t multiple builds for the Belfast to allow her to accomplish different rolls. Without access to Defensive Fire, she’s never going to be a specialized AA escort. This isn’t to say you can’t try and improve her anti-aircraft firepower — it’s just not going to have the same effect as it might on a Soviet or American cruiser, for example.
The list of modules to equip your Belfast are pretty straight forward. Do keep in mind that she gets five module upgrade options instead of the normal four found at tier 7.
For your first slot, Main Armaments Modification 1 is probably the best choice. This will help keep your four turrets in the game. However, as a Light Cruiser, you have to contend with detonations more frequently than a Heavy Cruiser or Battleship. So Magazine Modification 1 isn’t a poor choice. I was detonated once during playtesting by a Fuso AP shell without this mod equipped.
For your second slot, you have three choices. Aiming Systems Modification 1 is arguably the most optimal. This will tighten your shell fall and give a slight bump to your secondary performance. Anti Aircraft Modification 2 isn’t a great choice but it certainly has its merits. This will extend your AA umbrella up to 6.0km which may cause a CV Captain to pull his planes back. I wouldn’t count on it though. Lastly, Main Battery Modification 2 will accelerate her turret rotation from 25.7s for a 180’s rotation down to 22.3s. This will cost you some of your DPM, bringing your rate of fire down from 8.0rpm to 7.6rpm.
For your third slot, Damage Control System Modifcation 1 is the best choice. They’re all pretty terrible really.
For your fourth slot, Steering Gears Modification 2 is optimal. This will reduce your rudder shift time from 9.6s to 7.7s.
And finally for your fifth slot, there are two interesting choices. Concealment Modification 1 is arguably the best choice. This drops your surface detection range with camouflage from 11.0km down to 9.9km. This will also allow you to fire from stealth at a range of 14.5km. Alternatively, if you want to give her destroyer like turning, take Steering Gears Modification 3. This will reduce your rudder shift from 7.7s to 4.6s.
You don’t have any consumable options for the Belfast, short of deciding if you’re going to pay for the premium versions or not. Out of these, Damage Control Party is hands down the best one to take as a premium, as it will help mitigate fires and other critical hits. Taking premium versions of Surveillance Radar and Hydroacoustic Search really only come into play when facing multiple destroyers for an extended period of time. This will reduce their reset timers from 3 minutes down to 2 minutes. Keep in mind that stocking up on premium consumables will quickly eat into any earnings you’re making and with four consumable slots, if you went all out, that’s a 90,000 credit deficit you need to make back each and every game.
Recommended Captain Skills
From the first tier, Basic Fire Training is the best choice. This will give a boost to your AA firepower as well as accelerating the reload of your secondaries.
From the second tier, you have a choice. Expert Marksman is nice for accelerating the turning speed of your main battery. WIth as much maneuver as you will be doing in the Belfast, this can assist with keeping your guns trained on target, or at least hasten bringing them to bear when re-engaging. Alternatively, Last Stand will help keep your ship operable when taking critical hits to the rudder or engine, which happens often enough in Light Cruisers.
From the third tier, there are two very good options. Vigilance will help with spotting the torpedoes launched form the Destroyers you will be pursuing. Alternatively, Superintendent will provide an extra charge for three of your four consumables which is also handy — especially if you’re not taking the premium versions.
Unlike most cruisers, it’s Demolition Expert which is the hands down best choice at tier 4 for Captain Skills. This will bump up your chance to start a fire with your main battery from 9% to 12% which is huge. Advanced Fire Training is reasonable, but be aware that the AA power of the Belfast will forever be held back by her lack of Defensive Fire. This 20% increase to your range can get her reach out to 7.2km with assistance from the Anti Aircraft Modification 2. In addition, this will bump up your secondary gun range to 6km from stock or 6.3km with Aiming Systems Modification 1 which will come in handy when you’re using radar and hydro to flush out destroyers.
Finally, at tier 5, Concealment Expert is your best choice. This really puts the Belfast’s stealth rating at whole other level, dropping her surface detection range to as low as 8.7km and allowing her to fire from stealth at a range of 13.3km.