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More Galissonniere for your money6/9/2017 2:30:00 PM
Published By: LittleWhiteMouse
The following is a review of De Grasse, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of June 9th, 2017.


Workhorse

Quick Summary:  A Jack-of-All-Trades light cruiser, excelling at nothing but being pretty good at just about everything ... except shooting down planes.
Cost:  Approximately $25 USD.
Patch and Date Written: June 6th, 2017 to June 9th, 2017, Patch 0.6.5.1 to 0.6.6
 
Closest in-Game Contemporary
La Galissonnière, tier VI French Cruiser
Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique
I'm stepping slightly away from my usual format to compare De Grasse directly to La Galissonniere in each section.  De Grasse is largely an improvement over La Galissonnière in nearly every category that matters.
 
PROs
  • Large hit point pool for a tier VI cruiser at 31,200hp.
  • Trollish armour along her citadel against British Light Cruisers
  • Her nine 152mm guns have good fire starting characteristics.
  • Good shell performance for both HE and AP adding to her versatility against all targets.
  • Excellent gun handling with a 12º per second rotation speed and decent shell flight times over range.
  • Decent torpedoes with a 9km range, 60 knot top speed and 14,883 damage.
  • Flexible agility -- able to bump her speed up to 38.5 knots for three minutes with Engine Boost consumable.
CONs
  • Her citadel sits high in the water and is very exposed beneath her #2 turret and bridge.
  • She's a large target -- easy to damage with HE Shells.
  • Poor fire angles on her forward guns which makes kiting difficult and dangerous.
  • No spotter aircraft to extend the range of her guns or to assist in aiming into concealment and cover.
  • Disappointing AA DPS despite her good range.
  • Only modest rate of turn, maxing out at about 6º per second.
  • Large surface detection range of 13.3km.

I am pretty salty about this ship.  Lert had gotten my hopes up about De Grasse after he introduced me to the ship through one of his "A Detailed Look At" articles about the ship itself.  This isn't that cruiser.  Well, it is, but it's the De Grasse that could have been had WW2 not broken out in 1939.  Lemme tell you, this ship had to do a lot of heavy lifting to make me start liking her with this disappointment dogging my review.

 Thanks a lot, Lert.  Fortunately for everyone involved, De Grasse did win me over.

Options
De Grasse has a lot of consumable slots, but this should become quite familiar for most French cruiser players.  The only real choice to make is whether to equip Defensive Fire or Hydracoustic Search.

Consumables:
  • Damage Control Party
  • Defensive Fire or Hydroacoustic Search
  • Engine Boost
  • Catapult Fighter
Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard cruiser upgrades
Premium Camouflage: Tier VI+ Standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy.
 
You're not reinventing the wheel when it comes to De Grasse's upgrade choices.
  • For your first slot, Main Armaments Modification 1 is arguably your best choice.  Alternatively, if you're allergic to detonations, you can elect to take Magazine Modification 1.  This module does help a lot, people.  If you hate suddenly blowing up more than your guns being temporarily disabled, it's a good choice.
  • For your second slot, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is optimal to help tighten up your dispersion at range.  Alternatively, you can elect to take AA Guns Modification 2 if you fancy giving her a bit more AA range over gun accuracy.
  • By default, take Damage Control Systems Modification 1 for your third slot.  This will give a nice bump to your torpedo damage reduction.  If you have it available, the Super Upgrade Engine Boost Modification 1 is an excellent choice in this slot.
  • And for your final slot, Steering Gears Modification 2 is arguably the best for Random Battles.  If you team up with smoke-laying allies often, then Propulsion Modification 2 is the better choice to help accelerate you from a dead stop when the smoke expires.
Make sure to equip premium consumables as you can afford.  The priority should be on Damage Control Party first, followed by Engine Boost, then the others as credits will allow.

Firepower
Primary Battery: Nine 152mm rifles in 3x3 turrets in an A-B-X superfiring configuration.
Secondary Battery: Six 100mm rifles in 3x2, rear facing turrets with one mounted on the centerline
Torpedo Armament:  Six tubes in 2x3 launchers, one to each side mounted behind the funnel

De Grasse is very well armed for a tier VI cruiser, with versatile weapons.

French 152mm guns are no slouches.  They have comparable shell damage to Soviet 152mm guns while retaining the fire chance of American weapons.  Where Krupp, muzzle velocity, shell flight time and penetration are concerned, the French goes round out as being quite average -- never at the bottom of the pile, but never on top either.  What holds these weapons back on la Galissonnière is their horrible rate of fire at 6.67rpm.  De Grasse doesn't suffer quite this much of a setback, firing at 7.4rpm, though this lags behind ships like Budyonny with 7.5rpm.
 
Combine this with nine guns, a decent range of 16.2km and excellent gun handling (12º per second gun rotation) and you effectively have one of the better gunships at tier VI in terms of raw potential. 
 
 De Grasse is certainly not the best when measured against her peers.  However, she doesn't come out poorly in direct comparisons.  She is the third best fire starter at her tier.  She comes in the middle of the pack among the 6" armed light cruisers for AP and HE DPM.
 
Approximate HE explosion sizes of tier VI Cruisers (and Dunkerque).  Reference Mahan (208m in-game length) used for scaleThis gives an idea of the radius in which modules can be damaged by HE shells, including AA guns and weapon mounts, but also including things like the magazine and engine.
De Grasse's HE shells, like those of other 6" armed cruisers, do not generate a significant blast size and precise aim is necessary to bulls-eye specific modules in order to disable or destroy them.

 

Budyonny has the best HE shell ballistics among the 6" armed cruisers, with the shortest shell flight times to range.
De Grasse's are decidedly average, being closely comparable to German 150mm guns.
 
De Grasse's secondaries are largely forgettable.  They have decent rates of fire and a good range of 5.0km but she has only six barrels with which to shoot and only four of those will be brought against a target at a time.
 
 For torpedoes, she has two triple launchers with a 90 second reload.  These are quite respectable torpedoes, though they're not the heavy hitters found on British or Japanese cruisers.  Still, with their 60 knot top speed and 9km range, they have enough reach to cause enemies issues if they're not careful.  Regrettably, De Grasse cannot launch them from stealth without the use of allied smoke or an island for cover.  This relegates them to an opportunistic weapon.  They have better rearward firing arcs than forward.
 
Summary
De Grasse is a cruiser designed to fire from the second line, similar to Budyonny, Molotov or Cleveland.  She is not meant to be a frontline scout in the same manner as Duca d'Aosta, Perth or Leander.  Her guns are excellent harassing weapons, ideally suited to taking bites out of everything she can lay her sights upon.  Combined with Inertial Fuse for HE Shells on her commander she can do significant amounts of direct damage to the extremities of all Battleships she will encounter, greatly increasing her threat to these warships.  Demolition Expert can help pad her fire starting numbers back up to 11% which will greatly tax the Damage Control Party of these larger vessels.  Remember not to neglect her excellent AP shells, though.  Inside of ranges of 12km, De Grasse is quite capable of stacking citadel hits against select enemy cruisers that offer her a broadside.
 
There are only a couple of drawbacks to De Grasse's guns. Their range is only a modest 16.2km.  This isn't a serious flaw by any means as her speed can help bring her into range when needed. However, De Grasse lacks any float plane aircraft to further increase this reach which limits some of her versatility.  This makes her average engagement range sit in around 14km which is well within medium (and even close range) for some Battleships.  Proper use of cover is essential to keep her from suffering the predations of these larger warships if she wants to keep her guns singing.  The second is rather poor rearward firing angles.  While she can bring all of her guns against targets 36º off her bow, she has to swing out a full 45º off her stern to fire them all to the rear.  Be very careful while making fighting retreats.
 
De Grasse can brawl in a pinch.  Her durability and agility do not make her well suited to this role (see below).   However, between her fast turning turrets and the sting of her  torpedo armament, she can be a dangerous opponent at these ranges.  
 
Fighting at range allows De Grasse to maximize her enormous damage potential while also giving her time enough to dodge return fire.  
 
De Grasse versus la Galissonnière
De Grasse uses slightly modified versions of the French 152mm naval rifle. In almost every respect that counts, they identical to the guns of la Galisonnière except in three key areas.
  1. De Grasse has 300m more range than her tech tree counterpart. The difference in range isn't terribly surprising as this is generally evaluated on a per-ship basis.  Still, the premium ship has the advantage.
  2. De Grasse's main battery is dual purpose and lends firepower to AA defense. De Grasse uses more modern 152mm, dual-purpose guns circa 1936 versus 1930 for La Galissonnière.
  3. De Grasse has a 0.9s faster reload and thus 11% more DPM than la Galissonnière.

For secondaries, la Galissonnière has more of them (eight 90mm guns in 4x2 turrets), but De Grasse's weapons do more damage with the same reload rate.  They also start more fires and have 500m more range.  Each ship can only bring four guns against a single target, providing la Galissonnière the advantage only if she was ever bracketed on both sides by close range, enemy ships, which would let her fire with all eight to De Grasse's six.

 It doesn't get any better with torpedoes.  La Galissonnière can only launch two torpedoes per side to De Grasse's three.  This does give la Galissonniere a 30s advantage on reload.  Otherwise the torpedoes are identical in terms of speed, damage, range and detection.
 
So, short of being in a prolonged close-range brawl where torpedo reload decides an engagement, De Grasse outclasses la Galissonnière.
 
Manoeuvrability
Top Speed: 33.5knots
Turning Radius: 690m
Rudder Shift: 8.8s
Maximum Turn Rate: 6.0º per second.
 
De Grasse disappoints in the agility department, at least initially.   On the surface, her top speed and turning isn't bad. She manages 33.5 knots in a straight line.  This puts her behind ships like Duca d'Aosta, Molotov, Budyonny and Aoba.  Touching her rudder will see her speed bleed down to 26.8 knots which makes chasing destroyers a no-go, especially when you have to avoid incoming fire from her allies.  At least she handles reasonably well in the turn, doing as much as 6.0º per second rotation rate, though she only manages about 5.3º per second in the first 90º.
 
With De Grasse's Engine Boost consumable, she tops out at 38.5 knots for three full minutes.  This is a tremendous advantage when used properly -- especially in the closing minutes of a match when it can allow her to run down destroyers she might not otherwise catch or to move from one end of the map to the other to secure objectives.  If you have access to it, the Super Upgrade Engine Boost Modification 1 is an excellent choice for De Grasse, extending this time to four and a half minutes per charge.  Add a Sierra Mike signal and you'll see a maximum speed of 40.5 knots.  You'll have the enemy destroyers wetting themselves with terror and enemy battleships and cruisers cursing your ability to control engagement ranges with these velocities.
 
De Grasse versus la GalissonnièreLa Galissonnière comes out favourably against De Grasse in this category, at least in part.  The French tech-tree ship has a tighter turning circle by 40m and a 1.1s faster rudder shift right out of the box.  However, she is slower than De Grasse by a full 2.5 knots.  This lower top speed means that her rotation rate slows down to be comparable to De Grasse overall, despite having a tighter turning circle. So while on paper la Galissonnière appears more agile, in practice the only real advantage she has is the ability to cut in a little tighter on corners.  She still needs as much time as De Grasse to complete a manoeuvre.
 
Durability
Hit Points: 31,200
Maximum Protection: 100mm + 18mm
Min Bow & Deck Armour: 16mm
Torpedo Damage Reduction: 10%
 
Don't get your hopes up.
 
De Grasse has two good features in regards to her durability (and really only two). The first is her torpedo damage reduction.  It's a mere 10%, but that's a far cry more than what a lot of mid tier light cruisers can boast.  The second is a related feature.  Along her machine spaces, there is a pronounced gap between her belt armour and the citadel itself. 
 
This creates a trap of sorts which can cause smaller caliber AP shells with short fuse timers (typically those of British cruisers but including some destroyers) to detonate within this gap, causing the ship no damage.  This will award the attacking ship a penetration ribbon, but De Grasse will go onto absorb these shells indefinitely.  This really only works against hits that strike De Grasse in the waterline in the section behind her bridge extending back towards her crane.  It is not something to be relied upon.
 
These are both small consolation prizes for what is otherwise quite a fragile vessel.
 
De Grasse is a large target.  This, in part, explains her large hit point pool but it also creates a large and inviting silhouette for enemy gunnery.  This might not be so bad except that she has an equally large citadel with 2/3s of its length being exposed over the waterline.  Her real weak spot, however is located beneath her #2 turret extending back to her bridge where her citadel flares outward and abuts against the edge of the hull.  This section is easily struck by ships that have her broadside and is especially vulnerable to battleship fire coming head on.  Her transverse bulkhead is a mere 60mm thick.  Shells that overmatch her bows have only this 60mm plate standing between them and hoovering up all of De Grasse's hit points with a couple of citadel hits.
 
At least her large magazines are fully submerged.
 
De Grasse's weapon mounts and modules get damaged frequently.  To this end, Main Armaments Modification 1 is almost a must have to keep them working.  In addition, the Captain Skills Preventative Maintenance and Last Stand aren't bad investments either.
 

Two images showing De Grasse's citadel.  Much of it resides over the water, but it's the forward section that's most vulnerable, especially to Battleship caliber guns.  The image within the image is looking down the long axis of De Grasse and shows the gap between the belt armour (yellow) and the narrow part of her citadel (teal).  AP shells with fast fuse timers that penetrate her belt will detonate in this dead-space in between for no damage, but this is largely limited to British cruisers and destroyer AP shells.
 
De Grasse versus la GalissonnièreLa Galissonnière and De Grasse both are large, vulnerable cruisers.  While De Grasse has nearly 4,000 more hit points, la Galissonnière has 5mm more belt armour and 2mm more citadel armour along her long axis.  La Galissonnière also has a (marginally) less exposed citadel.  These difference don't amount to much, however De Grasse's extra hit points will be more valuable over the long run, if only just.
 
Concealment & Camouflage
Base Surface Detection Range: 13.3km
Air Detection Range: 7.7 km
Minimum Surface Detection Range: 11.4km
Main Battery Firing Range:  16.2km
 
De Grasse shares Cleveland's ignominious distinction of being the most visible cruiser at tier VI -- larger in surface detection than even the monster, Admiral Graf Spee.  This is largely what precludes De Grasse from being a good scout.  She's spotted far too early and when spotted, it will take her a lot of room to disengage from enemies. Her large size and exposed citadel make her a very inviting target to battleships with itchy trigger fingers in the early stages of a match.  It's really ill advised to put De Grasse on the front line until enemies are spotted and engaged.
 
Her large surface detection range makes her decent gun range and her reasonable agility all the more important.  Speed must be De Grasse's armour.  Holding fire to drop back into concealment will often be a must to keep this ship alive.  Husband your Engine Boost consumable until you need it.  It can often save your life by helping De Grasse disengage from tight spots, or to sprint from cover to cover.
 
De Grasse versus la GalissonnièreLa Galissonnière has just as large a surface detection range as De Grasse, but her aerial detection range is 500m smaller.  At least in this regard, the tech tree ship can look down her nose at her premium counterpart.

Anti-Aircraft Defense
AA Battery Calibers: 152mm, 100mm, 37mm, 13.2mm
AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.0km / 1.2km
AA DPS per Aura:  45 / 9 / 12

For those of us who were hoping to see her anti-aircraft cruiser, postwar design, De Grasse's AA power in World of Warships is doubly disappointing. If anything good could be said about her AA power, it's that it's long ranged.  De Grasse's 152mm and 100mm guns both contribute to a 5.0km AA bubble and form the lion's share of the vessel's damage against strike aircraft.  The bad news is that she does not follow this up with any appreciable medium or short ranged AA guns of note.
 
It is possible to specialize De Grasse into a fleet-defense anti-aircraft ship, but she's a pale shadow of what she could have been.  Cleveland has more AA power in her 40mm Bofors than De Grasse has in her entire compliment of weapons.  To make her any sort of credible threat to aircraft, you need to invest heavily into upgrades, skills and maybe even a signal flag to boost her AA power and range in every capacity.  Even then, De Grasse will at best be a nuisance and not a show-stopper when it comes to hampering enemy aircraft operations.
 
I am disappoint.
 
Probably the best recourse with De Grasse is not to bother specializing into AA Power to any serious degree (if at all) and instead keep her armed with Defensive Fire.  Your mileage may vary given the frequency of encounters against enemy CVs, but this will play up to De Grasse's strength of being able to handle herself in any given situation, if only to make the attack planes flub their drops.

De Grasse versus la GalissonnièreDe Grasse's anti-aircraft firepower is such a disappointment, is it any surprise that this is the one area where la Galisonnière stands ahead?

Well, she kinda does anyway.

You see, la Galisonnière's 90mm guns cap out at a 4.0km range which really hurts her ability to provide AA defense to friendly ships.  Maximizing her reach between skills and upgrades buffs her reach up to 5.8km which isn't terribly useful.  Overall, la Galissonnière can really only boast that she has more AA DPS, with most of it relegated to self defense ranges.

How to Save 'Murica
You could build your De Grasse commander to shoot down aircraft, but it's going to require a very heavy investment to make it anywhere close to worthwhile.  These are skill points that could be much better served making her a sleek gunship and late-game destroyer hunter.  However, let it never be said that I wasn't thorough.  Let's take a look at a couple of Commander Skill options.
 
You're going to want to race to the tier 4 skill right away, so take one from each tier to begin with.  Your core 10pt skills for any build should be:
  • Start with Priority Target.
  • Next, take Adrenaline Rush at the second tier.
  • Follow this up with Demolition Expert at tier three.
  • And finally take Concealment Expert at the last tier.

For an AA build, you'll want Advanced Fire Training and Manual Fire Control for AA Guns.  Some quick math will tell you that this will use up all but your last point if you follow the core-build as described above.  And this really speaks to how sub-optimal the AA build will be for De Grasse.  If you want, you can drop Concealment Expert to take one of the two aforementioned AA skills.  This will free up more points to grab good follow ups like Basic Fire Training and Superintendent -- the first for 20% more AA DPS and the latter for an extra charge of your Defensive Fire consumable.  Just be aware that you've really hurt your damage potential by doing so.

A more reasonable choice would be to keep the core build and add onto it Inertial Fuse for HE Shells.  Now your tier VI cruiser is a credible threat to tier VIII battleships.  Good follow up skills include:  Superintendent, Last Stand (she loses her steering gears often when dodging), Preventative Maintenance, Directional Center for Catapult Aircraft, Radio Location and Vigilance.  Mix and match to your preferences.

Overall Impressions
Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult
Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme
 
De Grasse plays very much like Budyonny with a bit of a safety net.  On the surface, this isn't very complicated:  pick a target, select HE and hold down the left mouse button until it burns to death.  Hooray!  Bonus points if you don't get your citadel blown out by their return fire.
 
The skill ceiling for De Grasse doesn't max out, however.  She's not stealthy enough to take full advantage of a concealment / spotting meta.  She has enough armour to angle against most cruisers, but nothing over that.  Her exposed citadels really hurt her.  This limits some of her carry potential and how far skill will take you.

Mouse's Summary:
  • Jack of All Trades, Master of None
  • Very comfortable to play.  She burns stuff very nicely.
  • She's still very much a light cruiser.  She pops quite suddenly.
De Grasse is a great mid-tier cruiser.  She's not the best at any one category but she holds up well.  She has good DPM, great fire starting, good agility, decent main battery range, good speed, excellent gun handling, a workable reach on her torpedoes and reasonable levels of protection for a light cruiser.  There are only two real areas that I can point where she comes out weak -- that's overall AA power (even though her AA auras are nice and big) and her concealment, which isn't terrible but it's not good.  So I say again: De Grasse is an excellent mid-tier cruiser.  
 
 For all of my salt about De Grasse being better than la Galissonnière, she is not overpowered.  While it's lamentable that a premium ship is better than the tech tree counterpart within the same nation, she does not inherently unbalance the tier at which she plays.  I will say she is a strong contender for being one of the best tier VI cruisers right now.  However, she will not displace Cleveland (DPM monster, best AA ship currently).  She does not provide the long range, accurate firepower of Molotov or Budyonny.  She doesn't have the speed and concealment of Duca d'Aosta or Aoba.  She doesn't have the ability to scout and smoke up like Perth and Leander.  She does not have the durability and alpha-strike of Graf Spee.  De Grasse has a place in the cruiser lineup as a good jack of all trades ship.  La Galissonnière never did.   Wargaming ensured that when they nerfed her rate of fire to oblivion during development.
 
Her flexibility will not appeal to everyone.  For those looking for excellence and primacy, look elsewhere.  That's not De Grasse's appeal.  Instead, if you like a ship that can handle herself against almost any opponent if you've built her right, then look towards this ship.  Take Defensive Fire instead of Hydroacoustic Search even without an AA build and you're going to be nuisance to carriers while still maintaining that awesome damage potential.  De Grasse doesn't have a lot of flaws and those she does have aren't crippling.   If you're looking to be distracted bells and whistles, you won't find them here.  But if you can see past the gimmicks and glitter, De Grasse is one fine ship.

Would I Recommend?
  • PVE Battles
    How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots?

I highly recommend De Grasse for PVE modes. Her high fire chance is great for prompting bots to waste their Damage Control Party, often within the first volley.  This makes stacking fires upon them very easy and greatly increasing her damage output.  Combined with her ability to flex with her Engine Boost, De Grasse is an excellent ship for co-op or scenarios.  Just be careful of loading up on premium consumables as you may end up winning but losing credits.

  • Random Battle Grinding:
    This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements.

It's difficult to recommend her here.  The only issue with buying De Grasse to train Captains is that all of the high tier French Cruisers are heavy cruisers, so the Captain Skill choices may not mesh up very well.  Taken on her own merits for grinding credits and the like, she does alright.  However, having four consumables can get expensive if you're the type of player that buys premium versions for each, especially without a premium account.

  • For Competitive Gaming:
    Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding.

De Grasse isn't the best choice for competitive environments.  Don't get me wrong -- she can do very well here with her reliable damage output and speed.  However, her gimmick (high top speed for a limited time) isn't a trump card the way smoke or amazing anti-aircraft firepower can be in the right circumstances.

  • For Collectors:
    If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you.

I wouldn't recommend her for collection's sake.  While it's nice to have a version of the ship as she was meant to be designed, historically it would have been nicer to see her as-built.

  • For Fun Factor:
    Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play?
Hells to the yeah.  She's a very comfortable ship to drive.  If you like making Battleships cry while they burn to death, so much the better.
  • What's the Final Verdict?
    How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered?
GARBAGE - Grossly uncompetitive and badly in need of buffs.
Mehbote - Average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable, but certainly not advantageous.
Gudbote - A strong ship that has obvious competitive strengths and unique features that make it very appealing.
OVERPOWERED - A ship with very clear advantages over all of its competitors and unbalancing the game with its inclusion.
 
 
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