West Virginia is a slow brick with the biggest, baddest guns you’re likely to find this side of tier VI — at least until the upcoming Russian battleship tech tree.
I want to thank Wargaming for providing me access to this ship. This is the release version of the vessel and all of the statistics discussed here are current as of November 30th, 2018. Be aware that Prinz Eitel Friedrich’s statistics discussed in this article are still a Work in Progress and are subject to change.
- Armed with 406mm guns with excellent damage, penetration and overmatch ability.
That’s it. That’s all she’s got. No, I’m not making this up. That one “Pro” is the reason that decides if you want this ship or not.
- Small hit point pool of 50,200hp.
- Highly vulnerable to HE spam.
- Very slow and no improved energy preservation while turning.
- Bad anti-aircraft defense.
- Large surface detection range of 16.4km base.
Skill Floor: SIMPLE / Casual / Challenging / Difficult
Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme
Standard-type battleships are some of the simplest ships to play in World of Warships. West Virginia 1941 (WV41) makes this even easier by all but eliminating complicated decision-making for novice players. She’s too slow to flex once she’s committed to an engagement. Her AP shells are so good that you don’t need to consider changing ammo types. She’s going to get her bows overmatched by most of the battleships you’ll face so don’t worry too much about manoeuvres. You’re also a ready victim of aircraft attack, so why bother stressing about it? Yep, dirt simple.
Of course if you want to try-hard WV41 will reward you for it. She’s got enough belt armour and agility to tank effectively. Her gunnery is wonderful so picking the right targets pays off huge. While she is slow, if you fancy yourself a master strategist then knowing just how and where you need to go to have the most influence will make all the difference.
– 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.
- Her main battery guns are the thing about her.
- Her handling and anti-aircraft firepower are just plain .
- Her defense and concealment are passable, earning a rating.
The only thing of note with WV41’s options are her two camouflage patterns.
- WV41’s Damage Control Party is standard for an American battleship. This has unlimited charges, a 20 second active period and a 120s / 80s reset timer.
- Her Repair Party is also standard, healing back up to 14% of her health over 28 seconds. This has a 120s / 80s reset timer.
- Finally, she has a Spotter Aircraft. There’s nothing unusual here, with a 100s active period and a 360s / 240s reset timer. It starts with 3 base charges.
We’re looking at the usual suspects for mid-tier American battleships with the exception of any anti-aircraft modifications. Like Arizona, WV41 doesn’t have the AA power worth upgrading.
- Start with Main Armaments Modification 1.
- Next, take Damage Control Modification 1. Fires are a big concern for USN Battleships.
- After that, it’s Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1. This will get your main battery range up from 16.06km to 18.63km.
- For your last slot, Damage Control Modification 2 is optimal for helping mitigate Fire damage. However, if you prefer, you can take Steering Gears Modification 2 to help with her sluggish handling. It’s not going to do much, but every bit helps.
By default, WV41 1941 comes with Type 10 Camouflage. Alternatively, you can purchase W. Virginia 1941 as a cosmetic swap for 3,000 doubloons. Both types have identical bonuses, providing:
- 50% bonus experience gains
- 10% reduction to maintenance costs
- 3% reduction in surface detection
- 4% reduction in enemy accuracy.
The big difference is how they sound. Yes, the W. Virginia 1941 camouflage has a custom horn!
Main Battery: Eight 406mm/45s in 4×2 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration
Secondary Battery: Eight 127mm/25s on the deck and and Ten 127mm/51 mounted in casemates.
Right, West Viginia 1941’s main battery guns are the only good thing about this ship. I’m going to avoid doing Wargaming’s hype-job for them by gushing overmuch about how good these guns are. This said, WV41’s guns are easily the best battleship-caliber weapons available at tier VI. They’re so good you’re going to pay for it in almost every other facet of this vessel. If what we go over here in her Firepower section doesn’t wow you, then this isn’t a ship worth paying for.
I don’t want to waste too much time on WV41’s secondaries. There’s not much going for them. They have a 4km range. They reload in 4.5 seconds. She fires a maximum of four guns (not turrets — guns) per side. There’s no potential here.
WV41 is armed with the same naval rifles as Colorado at tier VII — and here they are shoe-horned in a full tier lower. She inherits these weapons in full, and not having to suffer with inferior ammunition choices. The few differences summarize to the following:
- Main Battery Range – Colorado has 2.77km more base reach with her main battery for 18.83km vs 16.06km (or 21.84km vs 18.63km with upgrades).
- Sigma – Colorado has 0.1 sigma more than WV41 for 1.90 versus 1.80.
Penetrate All the Things
With WV41’s precision and dispersion being considered “average”, her guns need to make up some ground to make this vessel worthwhile. Where she does this is in her penetration power. This she has in spades. WV41 has the best AP penetration among tier VI battleships, hands-down. With more than 450mm worth of penetration at 18km, she has enough to penetrate broadside battleship belt armour of anything she might face. Furthermore, the large-caliber of her shells allows her to overmatch 27mm worth of hull plating. WV41 will punish any cruiser within her matchmaking spread while also being able to do the same to tier VI and VII battleships, regardless of angling.
This just leaves tier VIII battleships able to bow-tank her. In answer to this, WV41 must reach for her HE shells. She has no special quirks with her HE shells, so use them only when needed. They have 67mm worth of penetration which is more than enough to bruise any opponents pulling off these shenanigans. Unlike other tier VI battleships, WV41 is far less reliant on HE shells than most, so having only mediocre shells here isn’t a drawback.
Provided you aim well and dispersion doesn’t troll you, WV41’s AP shells have more than enough penetration to handle almost any target you might face. Let’s take a look at some of the raw stats:
They’re not God-Tier
Good as WV41’s guns are, they’re far from perfect As any veteran Roma commander will tell you: There’s such a thing as too much penetration. It’s possible to blow clean through the machine spaces of some cruisers without causing a citadel hit. Thankfully, this is largely limited to point-blank range engagements against the lightest armoured cruisers. WV41 doesn’t couple of her enormous penetration levels with high muzzle velocity.
Where they’re really lacking, in my opinion, is reach. I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to tell you this early that mounting such potential on a standard-type hull is going to cause issues and she struggles to keep up with the flow of battle.
WV41’s fire angles are only alright. You have to expose a fair bit of side to get her full salvos off. This isn’t too bad when she’s top-tier. However, when she’s at the bottom of the pile, the enormous levels of penetration present makes a mockery of your belt at anything but near autobounce-angles. This problem with being bottom tier compounds with her range. Again, it’s perfectly acceptable when she’s top-tier, but the large maps she has to navigate when she’s facing tier VIIs and tier VIIIs makes me wish she had closer to Colorado-levels of reach.
Finally, the last fly in the ointment is this: She only has eight guns. You really need to maximize the opportunities provided by your high-penetration and overmatch potential to make your advantages count. If you’re facing opponents that are constantly sailing broadside at medium-close ranges, you would have been better served with a larger battery of smaller-caliber weapons.
- Her guns deliver heavy damage, but they’re not flashy.
- Their big deal is that they penetrate all of the things.
- Her secondaries suck, but no one’s surprised.
Hit Points: 50,200
Min Bow & Deck Armour: 25mm
Maximum Citadel Protection: 343mm belt + 45mm citadel wall
Torpedo Damage Reduction: 22%
I told you: You’re going to pay a lot of concessions to have 406mm main battery guns on a tier VI ship. This is the first of many areas where WV41 only manages to be so-so.
An Aside about HE Damage Mitigation
Let’s talk a minute about HE damage mitigation from cruisers and destroyers. In general, there are five components to look for when evaluating how well protected a battleship is against small and medium caliber HE. The idea is that a ship has either spaced-compartments to absorb the shot or she has heavier armour than normal in a given place. This reduces the surface area where HE shells can land a damaging hit.
- Extended Waterline Belts must be above the surface to have any value, reducing the amount of target area on the bow and stern. These are typically found on German and lower tiered battleships. Imperator Nikolai I stands out in this regard.
- An Anti-Torpedo Bulge can have some merit provided it extends upwards to cover parts of the hull that would otherwise be vulnerable. The Queen Elizabeth-class are a great example of this, with bulges that extend forward far enough to help protect part of their bow.
- Armoured Bridge help foil HE shells from otherwise damaging your super-squishy superstructure. They typically have armour as thick as (or thicker than) the ship’s belt which is a no-no for all calibers of HE.
- Reinforced Hulls and Reinforced Decks come with three distinctions — no mitigation, partial mitigation and full mitigation. No mitigation speaks for itself. The plating is no thicker than the extremities and cruisers will hoover up damage here for days. Partial is thick enough to repulse some small and medium caliber HE shells, typically those of destroyers. Full mitigation will repulse 152mm shells buffed with IFHE or even some heavy cruiser shells. Note that some ships will only have a small part of their main deck reinforced — pay close attention to the amount of area covered. The Bismarck-class is a good example of this.
WV41’s protection scheme is alright if only just. She relies on raw armour thickness to carry the day and there are glaring holes in her defenses which are easy to exploit. Her 25mm extremities and deck are vulnerable to overmatch mechanics and HE spam. She has poor anti-torpedo defense and no spaced armour around her belt. Her internal citadel wall is only a third as thick as the other standard-types at her tier. Finally, she has one of the lowest health pools at tier VI, barely scraping together 50,000 hit points.
There are two reasons WV41’s durability is considered adequate and the first isn’t exactly flattering. The protection schemes of a lot of the tier VI battleships are found wanting. The other two standard-types are the only ones that could claim to have decent anti-torpedo protection, for example. Vulnerability to overmatch mechanics and HE is a chronic problem at this tier, with only a few ships boasting sections of upper hull or deck greater than 25mm. The list of problems among tier VI super-dreadnoughts goes on, with citadel height, hit point disparity and module vulnerability all plaguing ships to various degrees. So at least WV41’s in good company.
WV41’s second saving grace is that her belt and citadel armour is good enough. When top-tier and with a bit of range or angling, she can avoid the worst from incoming AP shells. The high penetration of her own guns means that her opponent’s protection scheme matters much less. If it comes to outlasting tier VI and VII opponents, WV41’s defense is sufficient unto the task, allowing you to trade fire effectively. It falls apart against tier VIIIs, though.
You can’t talk about American battleships without talking about this consumable. The lead of WV41’s class, Colorado, has an improved Repair Party that heals back 18.48% of her health over 28 seconds instead of 14%. The entirety line of researched American battleships is getting said buff if the Work in Progress changes go through. The premium battleships are not, WV41 included.
In this way, WV41 is being “Mutsu’d“. While the Japanese premium was gutted by her poor shells, WV41 really feels the lack of Colorado’s regeneration. Her hit point pool feels even smaller without it, and it’s already pretty small. To put it another way, I was genuinely shocked when Wargaming told me that WV41 was not currently slated to be getting her Repair Party buffed in 0.7.12. It feels out-of-place. If she does eventually get it, it will be a welcome addition.
- Her armour is “okay”. Her hit point total is not.
- Her anti-torpedo protection is unsightly compared to the other standard-types.
- Overmatch and HE are your bane.
Top Speed: 21 knots
Port Turning Radius: 670m
Rudder Shift Time: 13.7 seconds
4/4 Engine Speed Turning Rate: 3.6º/s
Standard-type battleships are notoriously slow. WV41 somehow manages to be even slower. Yes, really.
Wargaming has artificially boosted the engine power of some of the American battleships in a similar way to Royal Navy cruisers and destroyers. For normal battleships, they lose up to 25% of their maximum speed while under manoeuvres. Thus, a 30 knot battleship will drop down to about 22.5 knots in a sustained turn. New Mexico and Colorado both lose less speed in a turn than they should — much less in Colorado’s case; a mere 9%.
Not so WV41.
WV41 is entirely normal when it comes to manoeuvrability penalties, joining Arizona in this sorry-state. Thus WV41’s 21.1 knot top speed falls down to 15.9 knots in a turn. Unless you’re sailing in a perfectly straight line, this ship struggles to maintain 18 knots with any consistency. Unlike Arizona, WV41 has a larger turning radius of 670m instead of 640m. The combination of this slow speed and larger turning radius makes WV41 positively glacial when it comes to her rate of turn and arguably the worst-handling of any of the American battleships in the game. The gone ray of sunshine is that she can’t out turn her turrets. So yay?
So WV41 isn’t getting anywhere fast. You can be fatalistic or proactive with this. The former is pretty brainless — you’re not fast enough to flex, so pick a path and accept whatever happens beyond your range as being outside of your control. Blame teams for your losses and decry WV41 as a trashbote because of it. The latter means work — a lot of work. Develop your situational awareness. Keep a ready eye on the minimap and have a keen sense of predicting the flow of battle. Flex well in advance and give yourself time to intercept key threats. It’s exhausting but you can work around this deficiency. The larger the map, the more work this is — perhaps more work than it’s worth.
What it would have needed to be : She’s the worst of the worst here. It would take a lot to redeem her. She’d need a turning radius smaller than 640m or better energy preservation in a turn to overtake Arizona. That still wouldn’t improve her standing.
AA Gun Calibers: 127mm/ 76.2mm / 12.7mm
AA Aura Ranges: 4.2km / 3.5km / 1.2km
AA DPS per Aura: 58.4 / 11.2 / 30.4
There’s more bad news here. WV41’s AA power sucks. It’s worse than Arizona’s, it’s that bad. Do I need to elaborate more than that?
What it would have needed to be : Technically she deserves a “” at least going by the metric that she’s not the worst or second worst at her tier. However, AA power at tier VI is almost across the board with only a few battleships that have enough to give any CV pause. I’m not pulling any punches here.
Base Surface Detection: 16.42km
Air Detection Range: 14.68km
Minimum Surface Detection Range: 13.70km
Detection Range when Firing in Smoke: 15.9km
Main Battery Firing Range: 16.06km (18.63km with APRM1)
While it cannot be accurately said that WV41 pays for the power of her guns with a lack of concealment, this definitely isn’t one of her strong points. Her concealment is on the bad side of average, sitting just above Dunkerque and Mutsu by 500m, but well behind just about everything else. A full stealth build is highly recommended — use and abuse what little ability to hide that she has.
Taking Me Home
WV41’s skill choices are stupidly easy. With no real anti-aircraft firepower worth upgrading and secondaries that may as well shoot spit balls instead of HE shells, that just leaves a survivability build as the only real option here.
- Start with Priority Target. If you prefer, you can take Preventative Maintenance instead, but it’s not optimal.
- Adrenaline Rush is your second skill choice.
- Take Basics of Survivability next.
- Finally, to round out your 10th skill point, choose between Fire Prevention and Concealment Expert. You’ll be taking both, so the order is up to you. You’ll take the other one for your 14th point.
- At 17pts you should take Superintendent. Note, if WV41 had the buffed Repair Party the other USN Battleships will be getting, you’d take this before Basics of Survivability and the two skills would trade places in order of priority. Oh well.
- And finally, round things off with Expert Marksman. If you prefer, you can take Jack of All Trades or High Alert instead.
Unless a ship is particularly novel, I’m not a fan of having to put in extra work to get a ship to perform. West Virginia 1941 is one such vessel. Her guns truly are phenomenal at tier VI. The rest of her, though? Well, it’s all poor-to-average at best. There’s a trap in such an evaluation though — just because something measures up ‘okay’ compared to what else is out there, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s ‘okay’ on the whole. WV41’s concealment is a good example of this. For a tier VI battleship, it’s decidedly average. In order to be functionally competitive based on everything else, it’s woefully inadequate. The same could be said for her AA power and agility. A case could even be made that her durability is similarly lacking.
Those awesome guns have cost her dear. Her firepower up-tiers well even if the rest of her does not. WV41’s weaknesses are scarcely noticeable when she’s facing tier V and VI ships. This is largely owing to map sizes being so much more comfortable to her ‘stately’ waddle and modest range. Top-tier, she’s truly a monster and you can really feel that this is what she was balanced for. She’s on the tipping edge of being too powerful to be a tier VI ship. She’s a solid contender for Ranked Battles. If Wargaming were to buff her with Colorado’s agility and New Mexico’s upcoming Repair Party improvements, she’ll give Warspite a run for her money as the best choice in this limited competitive scene.
The Random Battles queue won’t let you play as top-tier all the time, however, so you have to contend with how WV41 stacks up against higher-tiered opponents. Provided you can get in range with her guns and not get focused, she performs well. The challenge, which is darn well near insurmountable at times, is getting into firing position, keeping up with the flow of battle, and being able to disengage when things get too hot. WV41 compounds the problems facing the Colorado-class as a whole by exaggerating the weaknesses that defined the class. Colorado is slow. WV41 is slower. Colorado isn’t very durable. WV41 is weaker still. Colorado isn’t flexible. WV41 is even shorter ranged. If a situation makes Colorado struggle, then WV41 founders.
I’m not going to tell you this is a good ship. It isn’t. I will tell you that her guns are good — excellent, even. They’re unfortunately mounted on an interwar, standard-type hull. In my opinion, the ship’s worth playing for her guns alone. However, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the experience of firing her guns is worth paying for. My opinion here will probably change if she gets some small improvements, like that Repair Party buff.
Would I Recommend?
It’s maybe a little presumptuous of me to say, but this isn’t the ship that anyone asked for. Almost universally, if someone wanted West Virginia to show up in World of Warships, they wanted to see her late-war rebuild. Her story is a compelling one. She is a phoenix that rose from the ashes of Pearl Harbor and went on to avenge not only herself, but the United States Navy too. On top of that, her late war build is so much more interesting in terms of game play. What-if debates have gone back and forth on what tier she would end up and with what gimmicks to make her competitive.
I don’t think we’ll see West Virginia 1944 anytime soon, though. If Wargaming rushed, they could have her out sometime in 2019, but I just don’t think she’s high priority.
After all, they have West Virginia 1941 to sell.
- PVE Battles
How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots?
Yes for Co-Op, no for Scenarios. WV41 excels in Co-Op. You can count on the bots to always come charging blindly at you which mitigates her weaknesses. In Scenarios, her speed and lack of AA power is a big liability.
- Random Battle Grinding:
This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements.
No. While she’s a beast when top-tier, it’s a roll of the dice to get that kind of favourable Matchmaking. If you could guarantee it? Absolutely, she’s all kinds of fun when she’s kicking in the teeth of her contemporaries.
- For Competitive Gaming:
Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding.
Yes. Oh look, guaranteed top-tier Matchmaking.
- For Collectors:
If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you.
No. I’m waiting for West Virginia 1944.
- For Fun Factor:
Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play?
Yes, surprisingly. I enjoyed playing WV41. I do love my standard-type battleships.
- What’s the Final Verdict?
How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage – Meh – Gud – Overpowered?
GARBAGE– I hate it!
Mehbote – An average ship. Probably forgettable.
Gudbote – The best thing ever. Totally not overpowered because I like padding my stats in it.
OVERPOWERED – I hate playing against it!
My goodness, I managed to get a review out on time over the holidays! That’s one at least. The next ship to be reviewed is Bourgogne, the tier X French Battleship. I wasn’t going to prioritize her initially, but news of Wargaming giving players the opportunity to acquire Steel outside of Ranked and Clan Battles has bumped her up my list. Hopefully I’ll have her review out by this time next week.
Dreadnought and Charleston remain in my backlog. Prinz Eitel Friedrich looks very close to being released too, so stay tuned!
Armour penetration data was pulled from: