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She uses antlers in all of her decorating2/22/2018 7:26:54 PM
Published By: LittleWhiteMouse
The following is a review of Gascogne, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of February 16th, 2018.

Gosh, it disturbed me to see you, Gascogne, stuck in development Hell.
Every ship here wanted to be you, Gascogne, knowing how well you would sell.
There's no ship in port as balanced as you.  Your guns have all of the range.
When released folk will forget Richelieu, though balance is subject to change.

Quick Summary: A fast, agile battleship with lackluster striking power.
Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publishing.
Patch & Date Written: Patch to 0.7.2, January 24th, 2018 until February 22nd, 2018.

  • Fast resetting Repair Party consumable allows her to recover damage quickly.
  • High muzzle velocity coupled with good energy preservation maintains her penetration power even at range.
  • Fast main battery reload at 28 seconds.
  • Secondaries have a 7.0km base range.
  • Ridiculously fast for a battleship with a 32.0 knot top speed.
  • Has access to an extended duration Engine Boost consumable to make her even faster.
  • Excellent rate of turn for a battleship at 4.4º/s
  • Beauty and the Beast memes.
  • Nearly the entirety of this ship is vulnerable to light cruiser HE fire.
  • Her 380mm guns suffer from low DPM and cannot overmatch 27mm bows of select heavy cruisers.
  • Awful main battery gun dispersion, particularly on the vertical axis.
  • Poor gun layout combined with bad firing angles which significantly hurts her damage output.
  • Her secondaries either fire too slowly or don't have enough penetration to do direct damage.
  • Ineffective anti-aircraft firepower.
  • Large turning radius of 850m.
Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult
Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme

Gascogne isn't a battleship for novice players. Her firepower is lacking and to increase its potency, you have to take big risks which will only get inexperienced gamers punished. Veterans will appreciate the flexibility provided by her handling, but again, those issues of firepower and a general lack of concealment will greatly reduce her overall potential.

She summarizes to the following:

BAD - One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness.
FAIR - Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either.
GOOD - Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer.
BEST - No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship.
Let's get the obvious out-of-the-way -- a premium battleship with 'bad' anti-aircraft firepower? That's nothing new. Moving on. Good defense and great agility is very promising. However, her bad firepower rating might be a show stopper.
Gascogne has three quirks with her options.  The first and second are in regards to her consumables and the third is a selection of camouflage options.
Consumables:  Gascogne has access  to the Engine Boost consumable and her Repair Party is non-standard.
  • Gascogne's Damage Control Party is standard for a non-American / Japanese battleship with a 15s active period and a 120s / 80s reset timer depending on which version you purchase.
  • Her Repair Party is has half the reset timer of a normal battleship -- only 60s / 40s depending on the version taken.  It is otherwise standard, healing back 14% of her maximum health (8,848hp) over 28s. 
  • Her third consumable is a catapult aircraft.  She defaults with a Spotter Aircraft.  Her Float Plane Fighter does 63dps with 1,550 hit points.  This gives her the highest DPS of any of the catapult aircraft at her tier.
  • Finally, in her fourth slot, she has an Engine Boost consumable.  This is unique, providing the same 8% increase in speed  as destroyer, but lasting for three minutes instead of two.  This has a three-minute / two-minute reset timer.
Premium Camouflage: Gascogne has three camouflage patterns.
  • The first is Type 10 Camouflage.  This is Gascogne's default camouflage which comes with the ship. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, a 10% reduction to maintenance costs, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy.
  • The second is The Maid of Orleans - Gascogne.  Earned through The Gold of France campaign, this camouflage is a cosmetic swap of her original camouflage, with a bust of Joan of Arc on the prow.  It provides identical bonuses to Type 10 Camouflage.
  • There is one last camouflage found in the early promotional material for Gascogne. According to Wargaming, this camouflage is only available at the time of purchase. I am told it provides the same bonuses as the Type 10 Camouflage listed above.

Module Upgrades:  Five slots, standard battleship options.  As of patch, Gascogne could not mount the Engine Boost Modification 1 special upgrade.  I was unable to test for this on the 0.7.2 Public Test Server, so keep an eye out.  There aren't any other special upgrades worth considering.

  • In your first slot, take Main Armaments Modification 1.  You've only got two turrets.  You can't afford to lose either one.
  • In your second slot, take Damage Control Modification 1.
  • Next up, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is optimal.  If you want some stupid, manly fun, you can grab Secondary Guns Modification 2 instead.
  • You'll be tempted to take Steering Gears Modification 2 in your fourth slot, but Damage Control Modification 2 is better for battleships. 
  • Finish off the set with Concealment Expert
No One Shoots Like Gascogne
Primary Battery:  Eight 380mm rifles 2x4 turrets mounted fore and aft.
Secondaries : Nine 152mm rifles in 3x3 turrets mounted down the centerline, sixteen 100mm rifles in 8x2 turrets with four to a side.
Gascogne is a Richelieu-class battleship with (arguably) worse gun placement.  Her high velocity 380mm guns come with inherent weaknesses, including poor shell dispersion, frequent over penetrations with her AP shells, and an inability to overmatch the bows of select heavy cruisers.  Moving a turret to the rear reduces her forward firepower to just four guns when bow tanking.  Unlike the Bismarck-class sisters which suffer from many of these same problems, she does not have their accelerated reload nor the powerful secondaries to pad her numbers. 
Thus, Gascogne and Richelieu share the unfortunate distinction of having the worst Firepower rating among the tier VIII battleships currently.
A Spot of Redemption
Gascogne will really make you work for your damage totals. However, her main battery isn't entirely without merit. She has a faster reload time.  Her guns are high velocity with excellent energy preservation.  In addition, Gascogne enjoys one of the better sigma values at tier VIII with a 1.9 rating.
  • Fast Reload Times - What a difference a measly two seconds can make. 

    I liken Gascogne's gunnery a lot to that of Mikasa.  If that makes you scream in terror, it should.  While Gascogne has twice as many gun barrels as Mikasa, she has the same number of turrets.  Game play wise, you're only firing twice of per volley, so if your aim is off, that's a long way before your next speculative shot.  Shaving two seconds off Gascogne's reload makes wonky dispersion or poorly aimed attacks feel less punitive.  That's less time you need to wait before correcting your mistakes.

    It also makes it more likely that your guns will be ready when windows of opportunity open for those short periods of time -- like catching an enemy vessel broadside in a turn. 

    Note that with Adrenaline Rush, at 50% health you can get Gascogne's reload time down to 25.2 seconds.  If you're using the Legendary Commander, Jean-Jacques Honoré, that drops down to 24.5 seconds which is very sweet.
  • High Muzzle Velocity & Energy Preservation - Aiming at distant targets with Gascogne's guns are a breeze.  She has excellent lead times.  Her "comfort zone", where shell lead times are less than 7.5 seconds, extends all the way out to 14.5km.  This has the combined effect of making long-range gunnery comfortable while also preserving enough penetration power to make her a threat against enemy battleships at these ranges too, despite her smaller gun caliber.

AP Shell Flight time estimations (in seconds) drawn from the client firing perpendicular to the ship's heading. Gascogne has some of the highest shell velocities found on battleships in-game. At tier VIII, she's bested only by Roma. This makes long-range gunnery more comfortable -- at least in terms of leading a target.

Penetration value estimations courtesy of  While Gascogne does not boast the highest raw penetration values, she preserves her penetration characteristics better over range, giving her the equivalent striking power to IJN and USN battleships at ranges greater than 15km.
  • 1.9 Sigma Value - Gascogne has the best shell grouping out of any of the battleships using German horizontal dispersion values.  This is a significant improvement to her accuracy, which is again a godsend when you're only firing with two turrets.  This gives her a marked advantage over Richelieu.

During Gascogne's development cycle, her sigma upgraded from 1.8 (in yellow) to 1.9 (in blue). The former is now the equivalent of what you would find on Richelieu. 180 shots fired at 15km, locked onto a Fuso. Ships were equipped with Aiming System Mod 1.

So, Gascogne has good shell groupings, dropping most of her shells where you aim. Her penetration power is sufficient to damage anything you strike and shell lead times make snapping off shots a breeze. So what are the downsides?
For all the good those three positive traits give, they are largely undone when you check them more closely. Let's hit them in reverse order -- going from bad to worse.
  • 1.9 Sigma Value - Having her shell grouping tightened up with an improved sigma value is welcome. However, it's just not enough. Gascogne uses German battleship horizontal dispersion which is the widest among dreadnoughts. Worse, her high shell velocity gives her tremendous vertical dispersion as well. Expect a lot of frustrating shots sailing well over a target or splashing well short. Royal Navy or American battleships are at least more likely to still strike the superstructure or maybe dunk a shot beneath the waterline. That happens much less often here. Gascogne's buffed sigma is good, it's doesn't really address the glaring fault of these guns in terms of precision.

During Gascogne's development cycle, her sigma upgraded from 1.8 (in yellow) to 1.9 (in blue). The former is now the equivalent of what you would find on Richelieu. 180 shots fired at 15km, locked onto a Fuso. Ships were equipped with
Aiming System Mod 1.
Two extremes. When compared to the gunnery of one of the American South Dakota-class battleships -- a vessel that cannot mount any dispersion upgrades I hasten to add -- Gascogne's precision issues become readily apparent. She is far more likely to overshoot or undershoot a target, even when a shot is well-aimed.

  • High Muzzle Velocity & Energy Preservation - On top of causing issues with vertical dispersion, the excellent shell velocity of Gascogne's guns will ensure that when you strike a soft target, you're going to see over penetrations far more often than you would like. Gascogne is unreliable at damaging the citadels of cruisers within her matchmaking spread at ranges inside of 8km. It's not uncommon to see nothing but over penetrations over and over and over again.

  • Fast Reload Times - As nice as Gascogne's 28 second reload is, it doesn't compare well to the 26 second reload of the Bismarck-sisters or the 25 second reload of the famous and historical HMS Monarch. I will spare you digging out your calculators and simple show you this:Gascogne has one of the worst potential damage-per-minute totals out of any of the tier VIII battleships. Eight guns, even with her accelerated reload, doesn't let her keep pace with the nine-gun armed vessels she faces. It's sobering that Roma with a 30 second reload keeps pace with or bests her in terms of damage output. Gascogne's problems are further exacerbated by gun arrangement, overmatch issues and HE performance.
But there's more...
Alright, so those are my points of contention with the 'benefits' of Gascogne's guns. They're more like consolation prizes than outright bonuses. Her guns have terrible horizontal and vertical dispersion, so here, have 1.9 sigma so they only feel kinda wonky. She doesn't have great DPM so here, have a 28 second reload so you think her guns can put out more damage -- but that's still not going to let you keep up to even the German battleships. Leading targets is easy with these high velocity guns, just be careful where you point them. If you aim at a cruiser that's too close, you'll just over penetrate.
Would that these were the only flaws with Gascogne's guns. But there's more.
  • You have two turrets. This causes two problems. The first is minor -- you cannot fire ranging shots as effectively as you could with a battleship with more turrets. The second is more telling: Gascogne is more vulnerable than most other battleships when it comes to suffering critical and catastrophic damage to her guns. Losing one turret not only reduces half your firepower, it also forces you to manoeuvre if you want to continue firing in that direction.

  • Gascogne's guns are only 380mm. The obvious issue here is that Gascogne's shells do overall less damage than the 406mm and 410mm guns found on American and Japanese vessels on a shell by shell basis. I've already addressed the DPM difference, but the more telling issue is one of overmatch mechanics. This is the ability to outright ignore thin armour plates regardless of angling and punch clean through into the squishy bits beyond. Gascogne's guns cannot overmatch the 27mm bows of American and German heavy cruisers at tier VIII+ like 406mm armed vessels can. This allows these cruisers to bow-tank Gascogne's AP shells with relative impunity.

  • Gascogne's HE shells are 'meh'. There are three factors to look at when evaluating the quality of HE shells for a battleship.

    1.) Do they inflict a lot of damage?
    2.) Do they have high penetration?
    3.) Do they have a high chance of starting a fire?

    From these three, simple questions we can evaluate how good each nation's HE shells are and if they're a reasonable alternative to the ship's AP shells when situations dictate. This works out to the following grid:
Gascogne's HE is comparable to American battleship HE with low damage relative to her peers but with decent fire setting properties.  This makes it alright for harassing enemy battleships but hardly ideal for using against cruisers and not worth swapping for against destroyers (at least until Wargaming tweaks the AP penetration model).  Combined with the overmatch issues described above, Gascogne really struggles against same or higher tiered American and German cruisers that angle well against her.
  •  Gascogne has bad forward firing angles. This is the final spit-in-the-eye for Gascogne's gunnery.  While her A-turret has excellent firing angles (300º or better is ideal), her X-turret falls short with only 288º.  Gascogne must show a lot of side to fire all eight of her weapons which makes her vulnerable to return fire from enemy battleships.  Functionally, Richelieu's better gun layout will allow her stack damage faster than Gascogne, even with the latter's accelerated reload, in most combat situations where the ships are under fire. 

Start making jokes:  Gascogne has better firing arcs to the rear.
When all is said and done, Gascogne's gunnery is all kinds of "meh".  Gascogne's main battery gun arrangement wouldn't have been out of place on tier VII vessel.  More than any other facet of the ship, this holds Gascogne back.  She is a worse gunnery platform than Bismarck and only slightly better than the Bismarck-class' predecessor, Gneisenau. 
Almost Amazing
But enough bellyaching about the main battery guns.  Let's get to something exciting!
Gascogne's secondary armament looks very impressive at first glance, especially with that 7.0km base range. Her range isn't on par with the Bismarck-sisters, but combined with the broadside weight of homogeneous HE fire they dispense, it's hard not to look at her battery in a positive light.  Her 152mm/55s are the same guns found on De Grasse, boasting a phenomenal 12% base fire chance per hit.  Her 100mm guns dispense 15rpm each with a 6% fire chance.  Unfortunately, short of lighting fires, Gascogne's stock secondaries are generally useless -- incapable of landing significant direct damage of any kind against the majority of targets she faces.
Gascogne's 100mm guns are too small in caliber, with only lower tiered destroyers and some light cruisers being vulnerable.  Their inability to damage any armour greater than 16mm neuters their damage output.  As her 100mm guns form the bulk of her volume of fire, Gascogne's potential damage is gutted.  Her 152mm batteries do have better penetration of 24mm, but they only shoot five times per minute.  Coupled with shoddy accuracy, it's unlikely for these larger caliber guns to fire enough rounds to land enough hits for them to count.
An investment in upgrades, skills and consumables may seem like the solution.
  • Inertial Fuse for HE Shells upgrades her 100mm and 152mm guns to 21mm and 32mm of penetration at the cost of dropping their fire chances from 6% and 12% down to 5% and 9%.
  • Basic Fire Training increases the rate of fire of her 152mm guns from 5rpm to 6rpm. Her 100mm jump from 15rpm to 18rpm.

These seven skill points are already a steep price to correct a highly situational weapon system. In fact, a fully optimized secondary build on Gascogne will cost her one upgrade slot, one signal and 15 skill points which is entirely too dear for the returns. More modest builds, such as simply emphasizing fire-setting aren't as expensive, but aren't as effective either. The bonus penetration found on the larger caliber German battleship secondary mounts isn't present here, and that requires paying a significant cost to equate.

Secondary builds are fun, don't get me wrong, but they're hardly optimal and Gascogne's secondaries do not boast the same stopping power as those on Bismarck or Tirpitz. This will come at the expense of greatly reducing Gascogne's survivability which isn't generally worth compromising. A secondary build for Gascogne is only truly optimal in Co-Op battles where the fights are almost guaranteed at point-blank range and long-term longevity isn't a concern.
So, what does this huge information dump all mean?  The TL:DR is the following:  Gascogne's weapon systems have a lot of issues.  It doesn't matter if you're looking at her primary or secondary gun battery -- they're far from perfect.  While it's possible to get either one to perform in ideal circumstances, you would be better served by the weapon systems on any other battleship, including Richelieu.  The best that could be said about Gascogne's guns is that at least they're comfortable to use.
  • Her guns don't shoot fast enough, hit hard enough or with enough precision.
  • Her secondaries are a red herring.  They're too small in caliber to be effective and will suck up massive amounts of commander skills and modules to make them passable.  What's worse, they'll get you killed (see below).
  • Gascogne's weaponry is almost good enough.  Almost.  I wanted to like it but I can't.
Evaluation: BAD
What it would have needed to be FAIRShe would need better gunnery than Roma -- so a further improvement of rate of fire and/or dispersion groupings.
Tanks Those Beauts like Gascogne
Hit Points: 63,200
Maximum Citadel Protection: 32mm + 320mm + 50mm Turtleback + 50mm magazine wall
Min Bow & Deck Armour: 32mm
Torpedo Damage Reduction: 35%
If Gascogne's durability has a cardinal sin, it's her vulnerability to high explosive damage.  Gascogne's entire deck has no more than 32mm of armour protection.  Her upper hull is similarly exposed.  For light cruisers with Inertial Fuse for HE Shells (which is pretty much all of 'em), farming damage off Gascogne is a dream.  That's the bad news.  The good news is that, overall, Gascogne has very good citadel defense with over 450mm of steel protecting her machine spaces and magazines from AP shells.  It's only at very close ranges -- inside of  8km --  where Gascogne's citadel protection falls apart.  If you give up broadsides in brawling range, you'll die quickly.  Dummy.
Gascogne's citadel protection doesn't prevent her from taking standard penetration damage, however.  While she face tanks with the best of them (barring worry about losing a gun mount), Gascogne's belt is "only" 320mm thick.  Few battleships will struggle to punch clean through her belt and stack penetration damage, even if the shells are later foiled by her citadel wall and turtleback.  Even many AP slinging cruisers will rejoice at the 32mm plate covering the majority of the ship and hoover up impressive damage totals if you fail to angle against them properly. 
The last AP attack she needs to contend with are the bombs from American and German aircraft carriers.  While it's possible to citadel Gascogne with bombs from either ship, they're unlikely.  In my tests, she couldn't be deleted by a run of all the dive bombers the carrier could send out at once, necessitating at least one reload cycle to finish the job.
There's one last feature that tips the scales and makes her one of the tougher battleships at her tier. Gascogne's Repair Party has half the normal reset timer of other battleships. While other battleships might struggle to make use of four (never mind five) charges of their consumable even under fire, Gascogne has little difficulty using hers. With an India Delta signal, Superintendent and a premium version of Repair Party, Gascogne can access up to 53,500 extra hit points in half the time of other battleships. Gascogne is much less vulnerable to damage over time effects such as fire and flooding. In addition, enemies that struggle to deal damage quickly will only play to Gascogne's strengths, allowing her to recover up to 10,700 hit points as often as every 68 seconds.

This image should largely illustrate everything you need to know about Gascogne's armour profile.  Her citadel sits at the waterline, yet shells that manage to clip her turtleback get normalized down towards her machine spaces and magazines, resulting in citadel hits.  Given the energy necessary to best the amount of steel present, this tends to only occur at close ranges. 

Evaluation: GOOD
What it would have needed to be BESTGascogne would need better citadel and/or hull protection without nudging her into AP-bomb one-shot territory.  Increasing her deck and upper hull protection to 35mm would help immeasurably and keep her out of overmatch territory from Yamato-class 460mm guns while simultaneously defeating 152mm HE shells with Inertial Fuse for HE Shells
Or Stomps Around Wearing Boots Like Gascogne
Top Speed: 32.0 knots
Turning Radius: 850m
Rudder Shift: 15.3s
Maximum Turn Rate: 4.4º/s at 4/4 speed
Gascogne is my top pick for the most agile battleship at tier VIII.  It's not a title that she wins without some contention, however.  The South Dakota-class battleships give her a very good run for her money and a player's personal taste may overrule my own preferences.  There are four areas where I evaluate a ship's agility:  Speed, Turning Radius, Rudder Shift Time and Rate of Turn.  There would be more but I haven't had time to begin cataloguing ship acceleration and deceleration yet.  These are not weighed equally.  I put very little value in Rudder Shift Time, for example, using it only as a tie breaker if needs be when two ships are near identical in all other categories.
Gascogne and Richelieu are the fastest battleships at their tier, besting even the previous front running Bismarck-class sisters.  She outpaces the South Dakota-class battleships by 4.5 knots.  What's more, access to their Engine Boost consumable makes any speed comparison between Gascogne and any other non-French battleship a joke.  She can hit upwards of 36.3 knots with her consumable and a Sierra Mike signal!
As of patch 0.7.2 nothing is faster and nothing can pretend to compete with her.  Gascogne has the power to out pace enemies, dictate engagement distances and redeploy as needed.  She is not held back by the size of maps at higher tiers, giving her an enviable degree of flexibility.  As a final advantage, activating her Engine Boost consumable increases her rate of turn, giving Gascogne a minor boost to agility when she needs it most and exceeding the rate of turn of  Alabama and Massachusetts.
Gascogne can kite enemies like a boss -- opening up engagement ranges and re-engaging only when it suits her. Even destroyers need to be going flat-out to close the distance. If your enemies are doing anything other than in a straight-line pursuit, Gascogne will out pace them.
Rate of Turn
Up until the addition of Richelieu and Gascogne, the South Dakota sisters were unchallenged with their agility at tier VIII.  While some of the contenders remain works in progress as of this article's publishing, it's unlikely that we will see a significant change to the combatants.  Gascogne does not best Alabama or Massachusetts for her rate of turn at full speed.  Instead she all but matches both sisters which is a feat unto itself.  This is all grace of her phenomenal top speed which allows her to power through her turning circle and come about quickly on demand.  Under the effects of Engine Boost, she overtakes them both, squeaking out primacy.
Turning Radius
Where the South Dakota sisters dominate is in their tiny turning radii.  Gascogne suffers an 850m turning radius, the same unwieldy turning circle as found on the Bismarck-class while Alabama and Massachusetts enjoy a mere 710m turning radius.  It's only due to Gascogne's  high speed that she can navigate through this large turning circle with any kind of grace.  She cuts through corners quickly, not because she makes sharp turns but because she has power enough to muscle through manoeuvres that would cause other ships to founder. 
To be clear:  this is a marked weakness that mars an otherwise excellent agility characteristic.  If a given player values small turning circles more, then Gascogne's status as the most agile ship within her tier is debatable.  I'm confident with giving her the title, however.  As bad as this 850m value is, it's not the worst at her tier with Amagi and Kii being appreciably weaker.  This 'middle of the pack' standing pads my evaluation of her somewhat, but there's no denying that Gascogne loses out big time to Alabama and Massachusetts in this regard.
Rudder Shift Time
Rudder Shift is a loser-stat and a red herring where agility is concerned. It might have mattered more if there was a significant variety between the tier VIII battleships, but the difference and the effect of this difference is so minimal as to be downright forgettable. Rudder Shift at tier VIII start with Monarch's 15.0 seconds with ten other ships all sitting within 1.0 seconds. Even the outliers Amagi and North Carolina are only 2.3 seconds away from the front-runner which isn't terribly significant given the minimal impact Rudder Shift has on ship agility. At 15.3 seconds, Gascogne isn't the best, but she needn't be. She could be the worst here and it wouldn't matter.
Gascogne handles like a dream. She's fast. She turns well. She doesn't out turn her turrets (though it's a close thing -- grab Expert Marksman if you can). For all the frustrations with Gascogne's gunnery, the ship herself sails beautifully. Dodging enemy attacks, dictating engagement ranges and even out running destroyers isn't beyond her.
Evaluation: BEST
What it would have needed to be GOOD: Neither the SoDaks or Gascogne can claim an easy win in the Manoeuvrability category. Gascogne has speed and rate of turn, but a larger turning circle. Alabama and Massachusetts have rate of turn and small turning radii, but lack in straight line speed. What a player prioritizes will largely dictate what they feel is 'best'. I feel that speed provides more flexibility. In my opinion, the South Dakota-class battleships would need to lose another 50m off their turning radii or gain another two and a half knots of speed before I would reconsider giving them the award for the most agile battleship at tier VIII.

Rate of Turn
There are several factors which affect how quickly a ship comes about. The most significant are the ship's forward momentum and the size of her turning radius. As a ship slows down, her turning radius changes, but not always for the better and not always significantly. To make things more complicated, different ships also preserve speed better in a turn. When it comes to changing your heading, keep up your speed. If you want a tighter turning circle with Gascogne, slow down to 3/4s engine power -- you'll shave off 20m of her turning radius which can help you avoid islands. Just be aware you will not come about as quickly.

Steering Gears Modification 2 reduces Gascogne's rudder shift time from 15.3s down to 12.3s. At maximum speeds, this will shave off nearly a full second on coming about 90º, but note that this is well beyond the reaction time of incoming torpedo salvos.  Take this upgrade if you're looking for more comfortable handling -- not appreciably better.  I only notice it with a stopwatch.
360º Rotation Rate (Ship Maximums):
  • 1/4 speed (7.9 knots): 1.1º/s rotation, ~1130m turning radius
  • 1/2 speed (14.7 knots): 2.6º/s rotation, ~866m turning radius
  • 3/4 speed (19.9 knots): 3.7º/s rotation, ~820m turning radius
  • 4/4 speed (23.9 knots): 4.4º/s rotation, ~842m turning radius
  • BOOSTED (25.3 knots): 4.5º/s rotation, ~868m turning radius

90º Rotation Rate (Stock):

  • 1/4 speed: 1.0º/s rotation for 87.0s
  • 1/2 speed: 2.4º/s rotation for 37.2s
  • 3/4 speed: 3.3º/s rotation for 27.3s
  • 4/4 speed: 3.7º/s rotation for 24.1s
  • BOOSTED: 3.8º/s rotation for 23.6s

90º Rotation Rate (Steering Gears Modification 2)

  • 1/4 speed: 1.0º/s rotation for 86.6s
  • 1/2 speed: 2.5º/s rotation for 36.6s
  • 3/4 speed: 3.4º/s rotation for 26.8s
  • 4/4 speed: 3.9º/s rotation for 23.3s
  • BOOSTED: 4.0º/s rotation for 22.6s

Late in the game, with her high top speed, Gascogne is just as flexible as a cruiser for securing distant capture points.
She's Especially Good at Refrigerating
Base Surface Detection Range: 16.74km
Air Detection Range: 13.775km
Minimum Surface Detection Range: 12.57km
Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 15.4km
Main Battery Firing Range: 24.77km
Those cute song lyrics are a lie: She's not especially good at refrigerating.  Her concealment values are on the poor-side of average for a tier VIII battleship and it's only grace of thunderchunkers like Amagi and Kii at tier VIII that she's spared a worse evaluation.  What's more, her aerial detection range is also on the large side, being just behind the Bismarck-sisters which bottom out that category.  Gascogne isn't so tough that you can afford to spare skimping on concealment upgrades and skills. 
Evaluation: FAIR
What it would have needed to be GOOD :  Fewer Royal Cheeses.  Gascogne is a little chubby.
Oh My, Don't You Fly Near Gascogne!
AA Battery Calibers: 155mm/ 100mm / 37mm / 25mm
AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.5km / 3.1km / 3.0km
AA DPS per Aura:  79.3 / 96.8 / 50.4 / 18.4
Gascogne's anti-aircraft firepower is almost decent but she falls short. She has a lot of positive traits going for her. Her range is good. She has a lot of large-caliber AA guns which are more resistant to damage, while simultaneously giving her the potential to extend their effect with skills like Manual Fire Control for AA Guns. However, the efficiency of her individual mounts is lackluster and she suffers from disparate ranges within her medium-caliber AA-cover. They fail to put out as much DPS as more efficient AA emplacements like quadruple 40mm Bofors or twin 20mm Oerlikons. Even her large-caliber guns are disappointing in this regard.

Take Effective AA power with a pinch of salt
. It's calculated with the two assumptions. (1) Any AA DPS with a range of less than 2km has little value as torpedo planes will rarely stray into this range. (2) There value of longer ranged AA power progresses in a linear fashion. Frankly, this is a very simplistic model (calculated by { AA DPS x [ weapon range - 1km } ) and doesn't reflect the true efficacy of a ship's relative AA power. It is meant merely to stress that ships which emphasize longer ranged AA power are more dangerous to attack craft than those with their DPS focused on short-ranged defense. I promise to one-day math this all out for realsies, waste dozens of hours figuring it all out and then probably discover this shorthand wasn't that far off.
The result is an AA coverage that appears promising on the surface but is worse than Amagi's or Roma's. Gascogne's AA power is only marginally better than Tirpitz (and even that is debatable). Deep investment into AA skills can help prop some of these flagging numbers, giving her the equivalent AA DPS to a stock Alabama. This can make her an unappetizing target for tier VI and some tier VII aircraft carriers. It can even do well enough in PVE modes vs bots. However, will not dissuade same-tier or higher CVs in Randoms or Ranked. Gascogne is an easy mark.
Most of Gascogne's AA firepower is divided between her large caliber, dual-purpose mounts and her 37mm/70 auto-cannon turrets.  The latter are as fragile as other medium and small caliber mounts, so don't count on them surviving after you take a few HE hits.

Evaluation: BAD
What it would have needed to be FAIR  Gascogne would need an AA suite comparable to Richelieu's modernized armament.  This thing got beaten out by Roma, for crying out loud. 
Your Four Dozen Eggs to Help You Get Large
Gascogne has two primary builds worth considering.  One is optimal.  The other is more of a joke, really, but it's fun so I've elected to include it.  The optimal build also works well for the French Legendary Commander, Jean-Jacques Honoré.
Survivalist Build & Jean-Jacques Honoré
  • For the optimal build, begin with Priority Target.  You may swap this for Direction Center for Catapult Aircraft, Preventative Maintenance or Expert Loader based upon your preferences, though the first skill is best.
  • Next up, take Adrenaline Rush.
  • Follow this up with Superintendent.
  • Take Fire Prevention as your 10th skill point.

This should look familiar to battleship commanders who take survivalist builds.  The only deviation is Superintendent in the initial 10pts to take advantage of Gascogne's improved Repair Party.  We continue upon this theme with:

  • Concealment Expert for your 14th point.
  • Basics of Survivability for your 17th point.  Normally you would want to take this in your initial 10pts.
  • Expert Marksman finishes us off with the 19th point.  If you're not using Jean-Jacques Honoré and if you prefer, you may swap this for High Alert instead.

With this build, Gascogne is well protected against fires (you will be eating HE a lot) and she can take full advantage of her fast reset-timer on her Repair Party consumable.

Manly Build
So maybe playing it safe isn't for you.  Maybe when you like to spit in the face of convention.  Maybe the only action you want to see is up close and personal, putting it all on the line for the chance ... nay, the PRIVILEGE of staring your opponent in the eyes as you rip out their throats at point blank range.  Well, you'd be an idiot, but I like your moxy!  The manswer to your needs, oh manly-man, is a commander build that emphasizes your short-sighted manly talents -- namely of letting the computer aim for you while you pound someone's face in up close and personal.  There's a lot of variation to this build, too, so mix and match to your taste. 
  • Once again, begin with Priority Target.  As listed before, the alternates are viable too.
  • Adrenaline Rush is again optimal.
  • Now we deviate with Basic Fire Training.  Alternatively, swap this for Superintendent if you don't mind a slight dip in performance.
  • Follow this up with Advanced Fire Training for your 10th skill point.

You have a choice ahead of you depending upon how deeply you want to specialize into your secondary armament.  A heavy, direct-damage build looks like this:

  • Take Manual Fire Control for Secondary Armament as your 14th point.
  • Follow this up with Inertial Fuse for HE Shells (IFHE) for your 18th point.
  • Finish the build of with Direction Center for Catapult Aircraft for your 19th point or one of the other alternates to Priority Target.

For a softer secondary build, you can swap out IFHE instead for Demolition Expert and finish the build off with Expert Marksman instead of Direction Center for Catapult Aircraft.  This would make you more reliant on fires to do your damage as the smaller caliber of Gascogne's secondaries are largely incapable of doing direct damage to most targets.  Alternatively, you can go for a 'Warspite Special', opting to avoid taking Manual Fire Control for Secondary Armament and training the following skills instead:

  • Take Concealment Expert for your 14th point.  You can swap this for Fire Prevention if you prefer.
  • Next grab Superintendent for your 17th point (or go back and grab Basic Fire Training if you skipped it).
  • And finish things off with Expert Marksman for your 19th point.

You'll be more vulnerable to fires, but you'll be able to potentially scare off more novice players that enter your secondary range with a barrage of largely ineffective (but hella scary looking) shells.  This build works hilariously well in PVE and I had a blast running it in the Hermes operation.  As an added bonus, it also buffs your AA power significantly which also helps in those scenarios.  Don't kid yourself into thinking this will be ideal in Randoms or Ranked.  It will be fun, though.

View from Gascogne's prow as a Bismarck-class battleship succumbs to her secondary fire in the Hermes mission.  A heavy secondary build works beautifully in this encounter.  Unfortunately it won't serve you nearly as well in any PVP encounters.
The Final Evaluation of this Barge
Mouse's Summary:
  • This is a great ship until you look at her guns.  Then it becomes an 'okay' ship.
  • Sailing this ship is a lot of fun.  She handles beautifully and the extra level of control provided with Engine Boost is welcome.
  • Her Repair Party gimmick is subtle.  I like it a lot.

During early testing, I absolutely hated this ship.  Long hours were spent ranting at wiki-staff, Pigeon_of_War, other CCs and Lert about how much this ship was displeasing me.  It all came down to her guns.  I really struggled to get any kind of consistency out of this vessel and I felt terribly discouraged.

Things improved, albeit slowly.  This final iteration of Gascogne feels comfortable, which says a lot for how far the ship's gunnery has come.  Gascogne still struggles in the firepower department but at least it no longer felt like I was actively fighting against all of her negative traits to get any damage done.  It's still a strange dichotomy to me that a ship can feel so comfortable yet under perform.  Balancing Gascogne came with the price of introducing another new gimmick. Her improved Repair Party is subtle, though, and I doubt there will be (much) outrage in the community over it.  Anyway, I made Gascogne work for me and by the end of it, I was actively enjoying my time in her.
Gascogne really feels like a baby Bismarck that trades durability and firepower for speed and agility.  While she's no slouch when it comes to protection, she doesn't have the German god-tier AP-shell defense.  Her secondaries are noisy rather than effective (unless you go for a Manly commander build) and while her AA is worse, at least she's not instant-gibbed by AP dive bombers. 
Gascogne is a good ship.  She's fun to sail and she doesn't introduce an element of power creep into the game with her inclusion.  It's unfortunate she's unlikely to be contender for the competitive scene, but we can't win 'em all.

Gascogne is a total rockstar in the new Hermes scenario.
Would I Recommend?
Oh, if only I could see the camouflage statistics for Gascogne's third camo scheme.  As I write this on February 22nd, I still haven't seen the camouflage itself.  While Wargaming has said that it will not have any economical bonuses baked in -- making them superior to the other two camouflage patterns, I remain unconvinced until I see it for myself.  Note that an economic bonus would make Gascogne more appealing -- particularly for grinding credits or commander experience in Random Battles.  It would also make Gascogne more expensive too.
Based on everything I have seen so far, Dunkerque remains the better commander trainer for French battleships.  Gascogne isn't terrible, but she's not advantageous.  At the price points asked, Dunkerque is the better bang for your buck for a French battleship trainer.
  • PVE Battles
    How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots?
Very yes on toast.  If you're a big PVE fan, Gascogne is a riot to play.  As ever, be careful about loading up on too many premium consumables as it will affect your earnings in straight Co-Op modes.  In the Hermes event, Gascogne is a beast especially with a full (and I do mean full) secondary build. 
  • Random Battle Grinding:
    This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements.
Eh.  I might be more receptive if one of her camouflage patterns had better economic incentives, but it doesn't.  As it stands, Dunkerque is a steal and is arguably more interesting, game play wise.  She won't have quite the same returns, but for her lower price point, she out competes Gascogne.
  • For Competitive Gaming:
    Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding.
No, no, no, no, no.
  • For Collectors:
    If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you.

Nope.  Other than a repository for fun camouflages, she's not worth it.

  • For Fun Factor:
    Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play?
It surprises me to say "yes" here.  Gascogne had a very long development cycle and many of her earlier iterations were simply frustrating.  Wargaming really went the extra mile to make this ship enjoyable.  She may not be the most competitive ship, but she is fun to sail.
  • 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.

In Closing
Okay, this review took way too long to write.  Between all of the different iterations of the ship, I ended up putting in more than 15 hours of playtesting and sciencing.  Writing for Gascogne felt like a full time job and there always seemed to be more that needed to be done.  Thankfully, I did manage to decompress every now and then, hiding in Final Fantasy 14 or playing Corgi Fleet over the long weekend here in Canada.
I had a bit of a computer-scare this past month when my solid-state drive decided to die.  This had my operating system installed upon it and replacing it cost me dear.  It was a stark reminder for me how fragile my old rig is and how ill prepared I am to replace it should it give up the ghost.  More than ever, I'm thankful to my supporters on Patreon for what assistance they provide.  If the lights do go out, their patronage will at least get me back online sooner.  It's still a dream to be able to create content full time.  I would seriously love nothing more than to inform and entertain and be able to pay the bills while doing so, but that dream is still a very a long way off.  
In the meantime, there are more ships to review.  Cossack, Massachusetts and Abruzzi look to be the front runners of the new premiums, with Graf Zeppelin getting finalized soon too.  Expect the next full review in two to three weeks time.  Thank you all for reading.  ♥
My current ten favourite premium ships.
Top Row: Fujin, Atlanta, De Grasse, Prinz Eugen, Atago.
Bottom Row: Scharnhorst, Nelson, Harekaze, König Albert, Warspite.

A list of sites, programs and people I rely upon to create my reviews.



For Graphics:

Programs Used:

  • World of Warships (duh)
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  • Mouse toils away on an old i7-2600K 3.40GHz computer with 16GB RAM and an Nvidia 560Ti GPU running a 64bit OS.