Jean Bart is an upgraded Richelieu-class battleship with improved anti-aircraft firepower and equipped with the Main Battery Reload Booster consumable. Unassuming at first glance, she is overpowered in the right situation. Jean Bart annihilates opponents that make mistakes like few other warships can. When capitalizing on these situations, she is without equal. Jean Bart punches much harder than her smaller-caliber battleship guns would suggest.
This ship was kindly provided to me by Wargaming. To the best of my knowledge, this is the release version of the vessel. No, I don’t know how you can get her. Wargaming hasn’t told me yet either.
- Main Battery Reload Booster gives her the ability to brutally punish ships that make mistakes within her line of fire, be it with repeated citadel hits or stacking fires.
- Entire battery is bow-mounted, making it easy to maximize her firepower on the attack.
- Heavy secondary gun battery with a fast rate of fire from her 100mm guns.
- Excellent anti-aircraft firepower — some of the best found on battleships in the game.
- Good overall agility for a tier IX battleship.
- Tiny hit point pool for a tier 9 battleship at 69,000hp.
- Exceedingly vulnerable to light cruiser-caliber HE spam.
- Armed with only eight 380mm guns with low damage output.
- Unable to overmatch the extremities of tier VIII+ German and American heavy cruisers.
- Majority of her secondaries are incapable of dealing direct damage to most targets.
Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult
Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme
Jean Bart is an easy battleship to play and quite forgiving. If her guns were of a larger caliber, I’d consider her skill floor to merely be ‘Simple’ As it is, players must have working knowledge of which ships her AP shells can overmatch and which they cannot which forces players to think ahead with their ammunition choices.
As easy as Jean Bart is to slip on, she scales very well with player skill. Few battleships reward careful target selection and ammunition choice like Jean Bart. This is a ship where daring plays and proper consumable use make all the difference. Jean Bart feels very much overpowered in the right hands yet provide only a middling performance to the uninitiated.
– Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer.
– No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship.
- Musashi outperforms Jean Bart firepower wise, giving the French battleship a rating.
- Jean Bart has a low hit point total like HMS Lion but lacks her improved Repair Party consumable. She has a defense.
- Jean Bart has the agility and anti-aircraft firepower at her tier.
- Her concealment is only .
Jean Bart doesn’t offer much in the way of surprises. While there is room for some customization, she’s fairly predictable. Her big gimmick is access to the Main Battery Reload Booster consumable.
- Jean Bart uses a standard French Damage Control Party. This has a 15s active time and a 120s / 80s reset timer. She has unlimited charges.
- Her Repair Party is also standard for a French battleship and begins with 3 charges. She heals back up to 14% of her health over 28s with a 120s / 80s reset timer. She queues up to 50% of penetration damage, 10% of citadel damage and 100% of any other damage type.
- Jean Bart comes with a Main Battery Reload Booster with 3 charges. This cuts down her main battery reload time by 50% for 30s with a 180s / 120s reset timer.
- Finally, she has access to the Engine Boost consumable with 2 charges. This increases her speed by 8% for 180s and it resets within 180s / 120s.
- Jean Bart should begin by taking Main Armaments Modification 1 in her first slot.
- Optimally, take the special upgrade Engine Boost Modification 1 in her second slot. If you do not have access to one, then default to Damage Control System Modification 1.
- In your third slot, Jean Bart forces a choice on players. Optimally, you should increase the accuracy of your main battery with Aiming Systems Modification 1. However, that’s totally boring. If you’re feeling MANLY (and stupid), take Secondary Gun Modification 2 to boost your secondary range and show those lolibotes and inferior battleships who their daddy is.But maybe an Aircraft Carrier once touched you in a naughty place. Maybe you’re super salty about that. If that’s the case, you can always go for AA Guns Modification 2 to increase their range. This will make CV players hate you. And while other players may scoff that your build is sub-optimal, they’ll all respect you deep down for making a CV player cry.
- Things get pretty boring from here on out. Damage Control Modification 2 is optimal in your fourth slot with the amount of HE that’s thrown about. Steering Gears Modification 2 is a distant second place in terms of optimization, but if it makes you happy, who are we to judge?
- Take Concealment Modification 1 for your 5th slot. It’s too good compared to the other option.
- And finally, take Main Battery Modification 3 for your final slot.
Jean Bart comes with Type 10 Camouflage. This predictably provides:
- 100% bonus experience gains
- 20% reduction to maintenance costs
- 3% reduction in surface detection
- 4% reduction in enemy accuracy.
Main Battery: Eight 380mm/45 guns in 2×4 turrets in an A-B superfiring configuration.
Secondary Battery: Nine 152mm guns in 3×3 turrets facing the rear and twenty-four 100mm guns in 12×2 turrets arranged in superfiring configurations with three facing forward and three facing rear on each side of the ship.
Jean Bart has some of the firepower at her tier. For a battleship armed with only eight, bow-mounted 380mm guns and a small-caliber secondary battery, this is a bold claim. However, for much of Jean Bart’s development cycle, she was disgustingly overpowered and there were very real concerns about her performance. Wargaming has scaled her firepower back, but I’m not sure they did it to the degree necessary to ensure balance at tier IX. As it stands now, Jean Bart has the ability to punish opponents like no other battleship in the game. Underestimate her at your peril.
Jean Bart’s main battery uses the same 380mm guns found on the tier IX battleship Alsace and her tier VIII sister ships, Gascogne and Richelieu. These weapons are characterized by their admittedly large dispersion area, high shell velocity and energy retention, good penetration and middling damage. The precision of her shell fire has been tuned to be identical to Gascogne at 1.9 sigma making her gunnery feel comfortable and rewarding careful aim. While the high velocity of her shells and dispersion pattern does lead to the occasional wonky spread of shells, on the whole these weapons behave themselves better than the infamously temperamental weapons found on battleship Roma.
380mm guns already feel long in the tooth by tier VIII, to say nothing for tier IX. Unable to overmatch the bows of German and American heavy cruisers, their performance is often found wanting. Jean Bart compensates for this with having an accelerated reload of 26s. While this may seem impressive at a glance, it is the same reload timer found on the Bismarck-sisters a full tier lower and it’s less than Monarch’s 25s with nine rifles also at tier VIII. Still, Jean Bart’s firepower is superior to these other ships grace simply of her gun arrangement. Having all of her weapons mounted on her bow facilitates their use which, combined with the higher precision of her guns, allows her to output more damage than any of these lower-tiered rivals.
Still, she should not be able to compete with the likes of the Iowa-sisters, Lion or Alsace. And yet, she not only competes with them — she puts them in their place.
The Dreaded Box o’ Gimmicks
Wargaming has produced the horror or horrors in Jean Bart by giving her access to the consumable Main Battery Reload Booster. Originally dispensed to the French cruiser line, Jean Bart is the first (and probably not the last) battleship armed with it. Understand that this, more than any other trait, is what makes Jean Bart so formidable. When her consumable is properly managed, Jean Bart is game breaking. When it isn’t, she’s an up-tiered Richelieu with good AA power.
The Main Battery Reload Booster is still new, so let’s start with an explanation of how the version found on Jean Bart works. This should hold true for other ships, but in case it gets grandfathered in with nerfs, this will serve as a handy reference.
While active, it doubles the speed at which Jean Bart reloads her main battery. It does not halve the time it takes for a shell to be reloaded. This is an important difference. Allow me to show what I mean:
The benefits of her consumable stack with the gains made from the Main Battery Modification 3 upgrade and the Adrenaline Rush commander skill. The numbers here get truly frightening, with a Jean Bart at 50% health being able to cycle her guns as quickly as every 10s with her consumable active. For an enemy vessel caught within a turn, this is devastating as Jean Bart is capable of putting repeated volleys downrange before they can turn away or make it into cover. And it’s here where this unassuming battleship becomes overpowered.
Devastating Strikes & Burninations on Demand
The all-forward gun arrangement on Jean Bart means that her guns are almost always going to be at the ready when a target of opportunity arises. Her Main Battery Reload Booster guarantees she’ll have the right shells loaded. Moreover, her consumable all but guarantees she’ll be able to take two bites (or more) of the apple before they’re able to correct their mistake. It cannot be understated how disgustingly powerful this consumable is in the right hands.
Jean Bart may not have the same raw damage output of her peers over time, but she has all of the tools, between gun arrangement, precision, penetration and reload time to make her guns far more devastating in the short term. This emphasizes a battleship’s strengths — overwhelming alpha strikes. Jean Bart is better equipped to deal them more often than any of her contemporaries.
It goes beyond landing AP volleys on exposed broadsides. Jean Bart is just as capable of stacking fires with her HE shells in short order with the use of her consumable. If an enemy battleship blows their Damage Control Party, Jean Bart’s fast rate of fire will deliver upwards of 24 shells inside of 30 seconds. Even with the modest (for a battleship) fire chance, Jean Bart can match the Royal Navy for infuriating stacks of blazes.
Duly warned be ye, says I.
Almost excellent – Except they totally suck
Jean Bart’s secondaries suck moose-balls.
She boasts a similar secondary load out to her sister Gascogne but she has even more 100mm guns. This looks terribly impressive on paper. They have a good range. Her smaller caliber guns have a phenomenal rate of fire of 20rpm which more than pads their uninspiring 5% base fire chance. And, really, that’s all their good for — setting fires. They can only directly damage areas of 16mm of armour or less — that’s not even enough to contest the hull of tier VIII+ destroyers she faces. Taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells will enable her to the penetrate up to 21mm but that’s a damn heavy investment.
You can go this manly route if you wish. It’s hardly optimal, even if it is hilarious. Jean Bart’s armour scheme does not hold up well in a brawl (see below) so this is a heavy gamble. Still, with her Main Battery Reload Booster, she can be a formidable opponent in close quarters if you like to live dangerously.
- Main battery is unassuming.
- Secondaries suck unless you invest heavily into them.
- And opportunist par excellence, Jean Bart can capitalize upon opponent mistakes like no other battleship thanks to her reload consumable.
What it would have needed to be : An increase in gun caliber would do it, even without the accompanying increase in shell damage. Jean Bart is contesting Musashi for the top spot. Her guns are that good.
Hit Points: 69,000hp
Min Bow & Deck Armour: 32mm
Maximum Citadel Protection: 32mm torpedo bulge + 330mm belt + 50mm turtleback + 50mm citadel wall.
Torpedo Damage Reduction: 32%
Jean Bart holds the distinction of being the most vulnerable of the tier IX battleships. However, she doesn’t rank last because of some crippling flaw. Her armour protection is sufficient. Her consumables aren’t broken in any way. It’s really just a deficit of hit points combined with a vulnerability to HE shells that puts her in last place.
While she doesn’t have deep reserves of health to absorb damage (or the healing potion to recover from it), her citadel protection scheme isn’t lacking. She has decent anti-torpedo defense, for example, sitting at a modest, but respectable 32% damage reduction (and a far cry better than most of the other tier IX battleships, I might add). Her citadel placement is very-French. Her magazines and machine spaces sit just beneath the waterline, protected by a 50mm turtleback and a reverse-sloped belt. Combined, Jean Bart is all but immune to citadel hits at a distance. However, the steep grade of her turtleback lets her down at point blank ranges. Like Alsace, Gascogne, Richelieu and République, she is exceedingly vulnerable in a close-range brawl to broadside citadel shots from large caliber AP shells.
On the whole, Jean Bart stands up well to AP fire and torpedo hits. Against high explosive fire, her defense scheme fails utterly though.
The entirety of Jean Bart is covered in deliciously squishy 32mm of armour that just loves to give up hit points. The only exceptions are her bridge, main battery and anti-torpedo bulges and that’s hardly enough to guarantee a large number of shell-shatters. Jean Bart is exceedingly vulnerable to 150mm+ HE fire buffed with the Inertial Fuse for HE shells commander skill. German cruisers and battleships secondaries can exact a costly sum too This flaw isn’t unique to Jean Bart, with American and British battleships sharing a similar fear of HE spam. However, when you factor in Jean Bart’s lower hit point total and lack of a British mega-heal, this weakness becomes more pronounced. You’re going to want to make American light cruisers die quickly. Make sure you have your Main Battery Reload Booster handy when an opportunity comes up to delete one of those mother truckers.
One a side note, her 32mm armour also gets undone by 460mm AP shells from Musashi and Yamato. So there’s that too.
Port Turning Radius: 850m
Rudder Shift: 16.0s
Maximum Turn Rate: 4.1º/s
Am I really going to talk about the manoevrability of the tier IX thunderchunkers again?
Look, none of the tier IX battleships could ever be described as agile. The best that could be said is that some of them have the straight line speed when they care to exercise it. However, we all know that the current meta doesn’t let battleships stretch their legs until later in the engagement. Thus those without aren’t held back by any means and even Musashi’s stately 27 knots is more than capable of keeping up with the pace of battle.
Jean Bart isn’t the fastest battleship at her tier. With her Engine Boost consumable operating, she can make 32.4kts which is still slower than the Iowa-class sisters. She can’t boast the tighter turning radius or better rudder shift time of HMS Lion. What she can claim is to have a good rate of turn, keeping pace with Lion and Alsace.
Where Jean Bart claims primacy (and I admit, this claim is tenuous), is the combination of all of her traits.
- She is not the fastest, but at least she’s not the slowest either. She’s at least faster than Lion which is arguably one of the frontrunners in this competition.
- She doesn’t have the tightest turning radius, but it’s only 20m behind that of the Lion and 40m better than her next closest competitor.
- Her rudder shift time isn’t the fastest, but it’s the second best at her tier.
- Jean Bart matches the best two battleships at her tier for rate of turn.
- … and finally, she has the Engine Boost consumable.
Engine Boost has always been the trump card of the French warships when it comes to contests of agility. With it, Jean Bart leaves Lion in her wake, not only figuratively but literally as well. She can come about faster. She can control engagement ranges more effectively. With Lion bested, Alsace is her only remaining competitor and Jean Bart’s tighter turning radius and rudder shift time makes that a no-contest.
Of course, besting Lion and Alsace doesn’t make Jean Bart good in this category. In my opinion, none of the tier IX battleships are. But Jean Bart is at least the best of the sorry lot.
AA Battery Calibers: 152mm / 100mm / 57mm
AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 4.5km
AA DPS per Aura: 202.5 / 357
Jean Bart has god-tier anti-aircraft firepower. The only battleship in the game that tops her for effective AA cover is the personal rocket-powered umbrella of HMS Hood, and that’s only when Her Majesty’s ship is activating her Defensive AA Fire consumable. What makes Jean Bart’s AA so effective is the combination of solid DPS numbers combined with her minimum of a 4.5km range. Fully upgraded, she’s an absolute monster, outstripping even République and Montana for the potency of her flak.
Like most battleships, most of her AA firepower is found in her medium caliber AA guns. Jean Bart’s 57mm weapons don’t stand up to HE any better than a 40mm Bofors nest, so she can be stripped of most of her threat to aircraft with the gentle caress from a Cockbote. Thus your AA power is inversely proportionate to the amount of HE fire you’ve taken. Given the current meta at high tiers, that’s not going to be very high for very long.
Base Surface Detection Range: 16.38km
Air Detection Range: 14.16km
Minimum Surface Detection Range: 12.30km
Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 15.05km
Main Battery Firing Range: 24.52km
Jean Bart’s concealment should be seen as “adequate” and nothing more. With the proper concealment build, she shares a surface detection rating with the Bismarck-sisters. She could certainly do worse. Few battleships reward concealment better than Jean Bart. As it is, even her middling concealment value risks making her overpowered.
The most obvious use for her surface detection is to drop back into stealth when under fire. Jean Bart doesn’t have the deep hit point reserves of other tier IX battleships, and having the ability to disengage at will is a useful trick. However, it’s not this defensive ability that risks making Jean Bart an overpowered monster. It’s her ability to use it offensively.
No other battleship rewards an ambush play-style as much as Jean Bart. With her fast reload, good penetration and her Main Battery Reload Booster, having Jean Bart magically appear when you’re at your most vulnerable is a nightmare scenario. This is where she scales so well with player skill — those with the map knowledge and the willingness to push in order to set up ambushes get rewarded handsomely.
How to Make Roma Look Inadequate
There are three main builds that are effective for Jean Bart.
- The Baby Bunny Build is the ol’ battleship standby. Go for survivability increase skills including Concealment Expert, Superintendent, Basics of Survivability and Fire Prevention.
- The Salty About CVs build makes Jean Bart the scourge of the skies. Grab anything that boosts your anti-aircraft batteries like Basic and Advanced Fire Training and Manual Fire Control for AA Guns.
- Finally, there’s the dubiously effective (but exceedingly Manly) Secondary Build. You’ll want all the fixings at tier 4 including Advanced Fire Training, Manual Fire Control for Secondary Armament and Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. You can choose between Expert Marksman and Adrenaline Rush at tier 2 depending on if you intend to brawl or not.
Jean Bart seems like such an unassuming design. Who would have thought that an upgraded, up-tiered Richelieu-class would be on my watch-list for one of the most over performing releases of this year? I don’t doubt that like Musashi, she’s going to fly beneath some players’ radar. There will be those that simply do not appreciate the imbalance that Main Battery Reload Booster provides, even when shackled to such unassuming weapons as a mere eight 380mm rifles. To this end, I predict that Jean Bart will become the darling of those few that know how to time their shots and don’t use it simply for a flat DPM increase.
I do foresee Jean Bart causing issue with some of the more veteran players. Grace of her abilities, this is a ship that by her very design punishes people that try and flex. Lord knows I won’t dare turn a ship broadside within 15km of her unless I know her consumable is on cool down. While I would like to think that her gunnery may correct some of the popularity of certain American light cruisers, her ballistics just aren’t designed for that. In short, Jean Bart is just going to reinforce the passive meta, albeit without the same obvious ability as ships like Asashio.
The final bit of upset Jean Bart may deliver is still far off in the future. She is the best anti-aircraft platform found among the current battleships. With the aircraft carrier rework still months away, it remains to be seen what kind of upset she can deliver to the future version of this game mode
For now, keep an eye on this ship. She has comparable earning levels to Musashi and Kronshtadt, which is better than most tier VIII premiums (barring the use of Makoto Kobayashi camo). I still haven’t been told how she’s going to be made available (seriously). If it’s for free experience or coal, you cannot go wrong with this ship. She’s too good.
Would I Recommend?
Seeing as I don’t know how she’s being made available, take this section with a pinch of salt. She could very well be the next steel-ship to reward Ranked Battle players. She may only be available for free experience or coal. Wargaming has not directly sold any tier IX+ premiums yet, so it’s doubtful she’ll appear in the premium shop or for doubloons. We’ll have to wait and see.
- PVE Battles
How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots?
Meh. While shooting down aircraft is hilarious in co-op, the propensity for enemy bots to charge bow in makes her 380mm guns feel inadequate. Go for a MANLY build or don’t bother. It would be super cool if she could be used in Operation Hermes, though. I’m still poking Wargaming about that one.
- Random Battle Grinding:
This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements.
Yes. The chaos of Random Battles serves Jean Bart and her god-tier consumable well. She earns a healthy wage too, which doesn’t hurt either.
- For Competitive Gaming:
Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding.
No. Unlike in Randoms, it’s less likely that your opponents are going to pull a stupid to make Jean Bart’s Main Battery Reload Booster pay huge dividends. The more serious the competition, the less appealing she’ll become. Plus Missouri has radar.
- For Collectors:
If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you.
Yes. She looks gorgeous and she’s got a fair bit of history to her.
- For Fun Factor:
Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play?
Very yes on toast. After the first time you obliterate some poor sap coming about, you’ll never be able to let go.
- What’s the Final Verdict?
How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage – Meh – Gud – Overpowered?
GARBAGE– The boat is unbalanced, not fun to play and weak. The ship desperately needs some buffs or some quality of life changes.
Mehbote – An average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn’t need buffs to be viable however she’s not going to be considered optimal.
Gudbote – A powerful ship, often one of the best ships at a given role within its tier. Usually considered optimal for a given task.
OVERPOWERED – The boat is unbalanced and powerful. Typically she’s either horrible to play against or she redefines the meta entirely
Thank you all for reading. Thanks again to my patrons on Patreon. The last couple of months haven’t been kind and your support has kept my head over water. If you enjoy my work and would like to see it continue, please consider helping out — even $1 a month makes all the difference.
My next review (#112) will be Le Terrible, the tier VIII French Destroyer, which should be published within a week or so barring tornadoes, turkey and/or medical fun-times.
World of Warships AP Calculator (n.d.) https://mustanghx.github.io/ship_ap_calculator/