The United States Navy Pennsylvania-class Battleship
“Firepower: Accept no Substitute”
Quick Summary: A typical mid-tier USN Battleship armed with twelve 356mm rifles: slow, tough, hard hitting. No bells, no whistles.
Cost: Undisclosed at the time of writing this article.
Patch & Date Written: 06.28.2016, Patch 0.5.7
|Closest in-Game Contemporary: New Mexico
Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / UniqueThe Pennsylvania-class Battleships were a predecessor of the New Mexico-class and it shows. Both are of the Standard-type Battleships with a focus on improved protection with the “All or Nothing” armour scheme and a similar (slow) speed. The Arizona in game represents the 1940 refit with her dual purpose 5″ guns mounted around the superstructure, a deck above her 5″ secondary casemates. Compared to the New Mexico, she has similar speed and firepower, but with improved durability, different main battery guns, secondary gun layout and AA compliment.
- Armed with twelve 356mm rifles, giving it comparable broadside alpha strike to the New Mexico & Fuso.
- Apparently has a good sigma value assigned to its guns. Despite the same linear dispersion as USN BB guns, her groupings feel very tight by comparison.
- With float plane and modules, able to reach up to 22.3km.
- Rather nice secondary gun battery of nine 127mm guns off each side.
- Good turning radius of 640m.
- Highest hit point total of any of the tier 6 Battleships at 57,200.
- Has a minimum of 25mm of armour over her deck and fore and aft ends, making 356mm rounds unable to easily overmatch her anywhere, leading to a lot of surprising ricochets.
- Good torpedo protection, reducing damage by 39% against strikes hitting her bulges.
- Slow rate of fire at 1.7rpm per gun (35s reload)
- Slow, with a maximum speed of 21.0 knots.
- Slow rudder shift time of 14.6s
- Her armour effectiveness falls away against 15″ and greater sized rifles, and can receive citadel hits through the bow this way.
- AA compliment is short ranged and not very potent, with a maximum reach of 4.2km.
This was the chorus to which my test-games were played in the Arizona. I was unable to provide any answer, bound by an NDA as I was. So let this be a belated ‘yes’. The Arizona (and the Pennsylvania-class) is basically a New Mexico-class Battleship. There are differences of course, subtle ones, but these differences make for a surprising change in game play. As a top tier ship, the Arizona is as tanky as an Imperator Nikolai I, which is saying something.
There’s nothing surprising about the Arizona’s list of options. She has a spotter aircraft, but no option to swap this out for a fighter. For modules, she has access to the standard options for USN Battleships: She has Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1 to boost her range instead of Aiming Systems Modification 1 which tightens dispersion. The secondary effects of these mods are identical.
Consumables: Three slots
- Damage Control Party
- Repair Party
- Spotter Aircraft
Module Upgrades: Four slots. Standard options for USN Battleships
All the ‘Murica you can handle!
The USS Texas is the more gimmicky of the two USN Battleships. The USS Arizona, though lacking any form of specialty, is reliable and steady.
Primary Battery: 356mm guns in 4×3 turrets in an A-B-X-Y arrangement.
Secondary Battery: 8×1 127mm dual purpose guns, 10×1 127mm casemates.
You’re going to love the guns on the Arizona. Forget everything you know about USN gunnery. Though these guns share the same linear dispersion values as other USN ships, the hidden sigma values appear to be rather generous. While the dispersion value gives the outer nominal maximums that shells may fall, sigma dictates where within that spread shells are likely to travel. The larger the sigma value, the better. This leads to less wonky shots and more shells landing where you point the guns. In World of Warships, Battleship sigma falls between 1.5 and 2.1 with ships like the New Mexico and Fuso (and their shotgun-blast weapons) with a 1.5 value. Though not to cruiser levels of accuracy, those familiar with the HMS Warspite’s or the Nagato’s guns should feel quite at home with the grouping of shell fall from the Arizona. This allows her to take advantage of it’s rather large base range of 16.0km which boosts up to 18.3km with Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1 and can jump even further up to 22.3km with her float plane. Though you shouldn’t count on it, it’s quite possible with this good in-game dispersion to collect a handful of hits (or even citadel hits) on vessels in the opening minutes of the game that are still steaming in a straight line, thinking them safe from harm.
In terms of raw hitting power, the Arizona’s guns are comparable but not quite up to par with the other vessels armed with 356mm rifles at tier 6, losing out on a few hundred hit points worth of damage. In addition, she has a rather long reload at 35 seconds per gun. The Arizona thus trades damage and rate of fire for accuracy. It’s up to you to be the judge if this is a worthwhile trade, but I must say that her gunnery felt very comfortable to me.
The Arizona has a decent secondary gun battery compliment, composed of two sets of 127mm guns. The first are casemate mounted weapons with high velocity HE shell. These are arranged with three facing forward, two facing backwards one either side. The second set of guns comprises part of the AA armament of the vessel and are dual purpose 127mm rifles with a faster rate of fire, better chance of setting ships alight but a poorer muzzle velocity. With a 4.2km base range, these aren’t great but they certainly can work to your advantage, especially at the close ranges where the Arizona excels.
The Arizona opens fire with twelve 356mm rifles at a poor, unsuspecting cruiser almost 20km distant.
Top Speed: 21.0 knots
Turning Radius: 640m
Rudder Shift: 14.6s
There should be few surprises here. The Arizona is a Standard-Type battleship — a series of Battleships that were designed to all move at approximately the same speed. If you look between the Colorado, New Mexico and now the Pennsylvania-class in the form of the Arizona, you’re going to see that same magic number pop up: 21 knots. The good news is that they all handle roughly the same too, making the shift between one vessel and another very comfortable. Speaking of shift, like most premium vessels, the Arizona doesn’t have a good rudder shift time. This makes her turns predictable, even if they do have a rather small radius of 640m. Make sure you plan your turns well in advance.
The Arizona has some surprising wiggle in her tush. Here she’s dodging destroyer launched fish, making them smack into it’s allied Haruna. Someone just turned pink!
Hit Points: 57,200
Armour Protection: Up to 343mm. Minimum 25mm(!)
Torpedo Damage Reduction: 39%
Are you all ready for this? The minimum armour over the bow sections and deck of the Arizona is 25mm. I’ll let that sink it. Twenty-five glorious millimeters. Can you feel it? Can you feel how wonderful that is? It’s enough to make a girl squeal with delight, clap her hands and twirl on her swivel chair, that’s so awesome. What’s that? You don’t understand why 25mm is such a big deal? Here’s why:
25mm x 14.3 = 357.5mm
That calculation is the minimum sized caliber of gun needed to overmatch and penetrate 25mm of armour regardless of the angle of impact. Overmatching is the mechanic which allows a significantly sized shell to ignore armour angling and punch clean through thin bits of plate. Hits from less than the overmatch value, striking at greater than a 60′ angle will shatter and do no damage. This means, bow on, the armour penetration rounds from the 14″ rifles off of the Kongo, New York, Texas, New Mexico and Fuso are utterly incapable of penetrating the front of a properly angled Arizona. The Imperator Nikolai I can go suck an egg with her 12″ rifles — she can’t mess with this. Did you aim a little high and splash the decks instead? The Arizona doesn’t care. 25mm there too. Your 356mm round is going to slide right off into the drink. This makes her one of the tankiest Battleships at her tier, right up there with the Warspite. The only hope said warships have of doing damage is reaching for their High Explosive shells and hope for some fires. Meanwhile, your six rifles should be causing all kinds of havoc while they try and figure this out. Often, players never do.
The only real weak spots are the gun casings of her secondary batteries. But you’ve got to be wicked accurate to bulls eye one of those at range and while moving.
This all changes, sadly, when you’re facing a Warspite or anything tier 7 or higher. Their guns are sufficient to over match the 25mm and turn you into swiss cheese. The Warspite can (and will) citadel you clean through the bow. Don’t even try pulling this off against a Colorado or Nagato (or any of their bigger sisters). When facing these opponents, angle yourself and try and bait them into shattering their rounds off your belt armour instead of poking holes beneath your #1 and #2 guns. Otherwise, you’re in for a world of hurt. Thus, the success of the Arizona’s durability in Battleship duels largely comes down to what you’re facing. Me? I try and guess where their biggest gunned ships will go and be elsewhere to make my armour count.
If you didn’t notice, the Arizona has the largest hit point totals for her tier, outdoing even the Fuso by 100hp. This has the added side effect of making her Repair Party just that fraction bit better too. Each charge heals back 8008hp (compared to the 7448 of the New Mexico). So in short, your ship is better armoured and tougher than a New Mexico and better able to recover damage to boot. The only place where the Arizona lacks slightly over her successor is her anti-torpedo bulges which reduce torpedo damage by 39% as opposed to the 42% of the New Mexico. Oh well, small price to pay for being utterly impervious to 356mm rounds when properly angled.
Five enemies in front of me? No problem. I’ve got this.
Concealment & Camouflage
14.4km Surface Detection, 11.1km Air Detection
I don’t think there’s any surprises here. As a large surface vessel, the Arizona is going to be spotted from a long ways off. The good news is that her surface detection range is well inside her main battery range, so you never have to worry about not being able to hit back. With her premium camouflage, this drops down to a flat 14.0km detection range. Her camouflage is the standard tier 6+ type, with 50% bonus experience and the usual 3% concealment and 4% disruption bonuses. So yeah, pretty standard stuff.
If you remove the camouflage, you keep the red turret roofs. Historically, these were used to aid in aerial identification. They work!
AA Battery Calibers: 127mm, 28mm, 12.7mm
AA Umbrella Ranges: 4.2km, 3.1km, 1.2km
Alright, now for a bit of bad news. The Arizona has bad AA power. Let me qualify bad: It’s not terrible, but it’s not good.
The Arizona appears as she did after her 1940 refit (or at least close enough to). She doesn’t have the late-war anti-aircraft armament that makes the Texas such a dream boat. Her 127mm dual purpose mounts are also the pre-war version, not the handsomely powerful 127mm/38s we’ve come to love on ships like the North Carolina or Atlanta. This leads to a disappointing range (4.2km vs 5.0km) and not-as-nice hitting power either. Without Oerlikon and Bofors mounts, her close in armament also suffers leading to a reduced hammerblow when aircraft finally close for their attack runs. She has a total of 115dps with all mounts firing, half of that coming from her 127mm guns.
|New Mexico C-Hull
So while the Arizona shares the same long range punch as the Fuso or Colorado, it’s when planes get up close that she just can’t provide sufficient answer to deter enemy aircraft. You can try padding this with modules and Captain Skills, but it’s only ever going to be a band-aid solution to one of her greatest flaws. Watch out for D3As.
- Super tanky when top tier, able to make fools of 356mm armed Battleships.
- Guns are great. Her accuracy combined with having twelve rifles is brutal.
- Slow and a little clumsy despite her tight turning circle.
- Vulnerable to aircraft.
I don’t have a lot of bad things to say about the Arizona. She doesn’t have any real gimmicks, but then, she doesn’t need them. She’s just an overall solid ship that’s very forgiving to play. So long as you grasp the basics of Battleship game play, the Arizona will deliver some very nice returns. You’ll do a lot of damage. You’ll tank a lot of hits and you’ll generally have a good time. She’s not some super-ship, though. It remains to be seen how she’ll stand up once the Royal Navy and the German fleets join World of Warships later this year. Her bane are anything over 356mm in caliber, so the 15″ rifles that should predominate the British (and possibly the Germans) at tier 6 could mean trouble. For now, though? Rejoice in your impunity and go farm some nice damages.
Would I Recommend?
I guess the better question would be would I recommend her over the USS Texas? The Arizona lacks a gimmick. She’s just an all around solid ship, a full tier higher than the Texas. She puts out more shot, more accurately and at longer range while being tougher against all enemy attacks except for aircraft. In my opinion, she’s the better ship. However, the charms of the Texas (including that great ‘Murica custom paint job that’s coming) can’t be undersold. If you want to shoot down planes? Get a Texas. If you want to wreck ships, get an Arizona.
- For Random Battle Grinding:
Abso-freakin’-lutely. With twelve guns, you’ll rack up bucket loads of damage while shrugging off tons of return fire. Playing the Arizona in randoms is sha-mazing. And she looks great too!
- For Competitive Gaming:
She’s not the best choice. She’s not a bad one either, though. In Dreadnought duels, her armour can be bested by the 15″ guns off of a Warspite or anything bigger, but that doesn’t mean she’s trumped by them. She’s still got teeth to spare and can give almost as good as she’ll take. Her big weakness, like the other standard-type battleships is her lack of mobility which will make it difficult to provide any flexibility to your team in an competitive environment. Be also aware that she’s quite vulnerable to AA power if that’s a staple feature in the environment in which you’re playing.
- For Collectors:
Absolutely. It’s the USS Arizona, for crying out loud. She’s one of the most famous USN Battleships with good reason. If you pick up the ship, do yourself a favour and spend some time getting to know about her history, the political situation of the times and the events leading up to her tragic loss.
- For Fun Factor:
Very yes. The Arizona, when she’s top tier, is an absolute blast to play. I find myself trying to set up duels with enemy Arpeggio of Blue Steel Kongo-class Battleships at every opportunity. They’re so prevalent right now and it’s always a great time when you can get them to commit to a brawl they’re not going to win.
The Arizona is a good tier 6 ship, but it’s no Warspite. Of course, to be fair, I am horribly biased when it comes to my favourite ship.
Outfitting your Arizona
The Arizona is a pretty standard outfit.
- For your first slot, I would recommend grabbing Main Armaments Modification 1. This increases the survivability of your guns — and if you plan on tanking with your face, they’ll take a lot of hits, so this will help keep them in game.
- For your second slot, it’s again a no-brainer in my opinion. Grab Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1. This will boost her range from 16.0km to 18.6km which is already very nice. Her decent accuracy will make those Hail-Mary shots a lot of fun. The nice side effect of this mod is that it will also boost your Secondaries up to a range of 4.4km.
- For your third option, I take Damage Control System Modification 1 — mostly because all of these options are downright terrible for Battleships.
- And for your fourth option, you have a choice. I would strongly recommend Damage Control System Modification 2 to reduce the amount of time a fire burns (and save yourself 1544 damage per full burn). You can expect more than a little HE thrown your way when battleships start bouncing AP. Otherwise, you can grab the ol’ reliable Steering Gears Modification 2 to drop your rudder shift time from 14.6s to 11.7s.
The Damage Control Party on your Arizona may find itself increasingly taxed due to all of the high explosive that may (and should) be thrown at your vessel. I would strongly recommend upgrading to the premium version of this consumable. Depending on how well you do in most of your games, it may be worthwhile to also grab the premium version of your Repair Party. In both cases, this will reduce the reset timer of the consumables in question. In addition, you will get an extra charge of your Repair Party which may help keep you in the game longer.
Recommended Captain Skills
You don’t need any form of special build for your Arizona. Without any weird gimmicks, whatever allotment of skills you’ve selected for your other USN Battleships will do very well.
- For your first skill, i would recommend Basics of Survivability to further reduce the amount of time your ship burns. If you haven’t taken Damage Control System Modification 2, this will reduce the amount of damage from fires by 1544hp that burn their full duration.Basic Fire Training is a reasonable choice too, which improves the performance of both your AA guns and Secondaries.
- For your second skill, take Expert Marksman. This will reduce the time it takes your guns to rotate 180′ from 60s down to 48.6s.
- At tier three, I prefer Superintendent for the extra charge on my Repair Party. However, High Alert is handy to reduce the reset timer on your Damage Control Party down from 120s/90s to 108s/81s. Vigilance is nice to give advance warning for incoming torpedoes from destroyers which are increasingly long ranged at this tier.
- At tier 4, Advanced Fire Training should be considered the best choice. This gives additional reach to both your AA guns and Secondaries to 5.0km and 5.3km respectively for your 127mm mounts.
- At tier 5, Jack of All Trades is your best choice, again to help mitigate the very long reset timer of your Damage Control Party.