Please be aware that this review reflects the HMS Campbeltown as she appeared during the testing period.
Her stats may have changed since.
The Royal Navy Town-class Destroyer
The HMS Campbeltown is a Town-class Destroyer. Like some of the other Wickes-class that the Royal Navy acquired, she had one of her 102mm guns and two of her torpedo launchers removed in order to improve her stability. The Campbeltown as she appears in World of Warships fits this standard of the Town-class, rather than her stripped down self from the St.Nazaire Raid which had only a 76mm bow gun for a main armament and no torpedoes.
Quick Summary: A Town-class Destroyer with 7.5km range torpedoes and a broadside of only 2 guns. Despite it's American appearance, she plays more like a mid-tier Japanese Destroyer.
Powerful torpedoes with 11,967 alpha.
Torpedoes are very long ranged for tier III at 7.5km.
Fast for a low tier destroyer at 35.0 knots.
Decent agility with a 520m turning circle and 2.7s rudder shift.
Low tier Destroyer, so only sees a maximum of tier 4 opponents.
Horrible gun compliment with a maximum broadside of 2 guns.
No rear mounted gun, creating a blind spot to her rear.
Worst gun DPM of all of the tier 2 through 4 destroyers.
Torpedoes have a very long reload of 63s.
Layout of launchers is frustrating to use.
Large surface detection range for a low-tier destroyer.
Rides higher in the water than a Wickes-class.
No bonus to ramming damage. This seemed like such an obvious thing to include.
Though she looks like a clone of the Wickes-class, the game play of the HMS Campbeltown is as far removed from the USN destroyer as can be.
The Campbeltown has a total of three 102mm rifles. One is mounted on the prow and the other two are amidships, on either side of the vessel between the second and third funnel. These wing mounts have limited fields of fire. This gives you a maximum of a two-gun broadside but only at specific angles. There is no rear mounted gun, giving the ship a blind spot behind her where no guns can track.
These are the same 102mm (4") rifles found on the Sampson, Clemson and Wickes. The Campbeltown has the worst alpha strike and DPM of any of her contemporaries. This makes her dangerously vulnerable in any close range knife fights that inevitably result in the low tier, claustrophobic maps on which she'll find herself. You can and will be outgunned by any ship you encounter.
Like many destroyers, the Campbeltown is defined by her torpedo armament. At first glance, the Campbeltown's torpedoes look amazing. They have enormous range for a tier 3 ship at 7.5km and do just shy of 12,000 damage. Their 57 knot speed is also not bad.
So what's the bad news?
The first issue is their very long reload time of 63 seconds. Given her poor gun armament and largish (for her tier) surface detection range, this is a full minute between salvo drops that you're going to want to play keep away, waiting for the reload. That's a full minute to drop a single spread of three fish.
But hold on a minute, you say! Mouse, doesn't the Campbeltown have two launchers? Well, yes. Yes, she does. They're on opposite sides of the ship, which is the second problem. Using them against the same target involves turning the whole ship around to fire the second spread. That's not a terrible hardship, generally speaking, but it's certainly not a comfortable set up. In addition, it presents its own dangers. The Campbeltown has about a one kilometer grace distance between it's torpedo range and it's surface detection range. Turn in the wrong direction and you'll get spotted.
Where this really gets infuriating is that three torpedoes isn't usually enough. Though their alpha strike may imply otherwise, three torpedo hits from the Campbeltown will often be insufficient to sink an undamaged Battleship unless they all strike just right. Cruisers, Carriers and enemy Destroyers struck by this salvo are doomed, obviously. But this can make even close range ambushes on enemy BBs incredibly risky as the Dreadnought survives your suicide rush and you find yourself spotted, out of position and with angry Battleship spanking you -- and the other three torpedoes you so desperately need are stuck on the far side of your ship.
I remind you, this is effectively the Campbeltown's main form of offense. And it's a pain in the butt to use sometimes.
Lastly, there's the issue of the maps on which the HMS Campbeltown finds herself. Finding places where you can use her 7.5km range effectively is a challenge in of itself among the island-choked, claustrophobic maps. The one saving grace is that many of the low tier opponents you will face don't have experience enough to have discovered their A & D keys. Otherwise, those super maneuverable starter vessels would be even harder to hit.
With a 63 second reload and 3 torpedoes per side, you don't get many bites of the apple per pass with the Campbeltown. You won't be spamming fish in the water and every reload counts. The separate fire arcs of the tubes are annoying. It's quite frustrating to hear your torpedoes reload only to realize that they're the launchers on the opposite side. When you do land hits, they're absolutely devastating. However, there will be long periods in between while you're waiting before getting back into the action.
I dunno, maybe it's me and I'm just being impatient.
The HMS Campbeltown is exceedingly vulnerable in a close range knife fight with enemy destroyers. Even IJN DDs, like this Wakatake easily outgun her. And with only a single torpedo launcher per side with a long reload, her torpedoes aren't much help either.
Even as one of the larger destroyers of her tier, the Campbeltown has decent agility. Her top speed of 35.0 knots is very respectable, keeping her better than average among her contemporaries. Her 520m turning circle is on the larger side for low tier destroyers, but still more than sufficient, especially when coupled with her good 2.7s rudder shift time. She won't out turn her guns or torpedo launchers, so there's no worries there.
Durability and Defense
With a 6.5km surface detection range while using camouflage, the HMS Campbeltown has one of the largest spotting distances of any of the destroyers in her matchmaking spread. Only the Clemson is bigger with the Izyaslav and Wickes having the same concealment rating. Given her poor gunnery characteristics, this is immediately disadvantageous. This said, with the long reach of her torpedoes, she can quite comfortably launch from concealment in open water. Once you add the Captain Skill, Concealment Expert, this range drops down to 5.9km which could potentially make her quite the seal clubber.
As expected for a destroyer, she has no armour to speak of and she has a middle-of-the-road 8900hp. This allows her to occasionally survive a single hit from Soviet and American torpedoes but provides little defense against IJN fish. It should be noted that she rides a little higher in the water than the Wickes, making her an easier gunnery target.
Her AA power is equally forgettable, limited to a pair of self defense machine guns and a 76mm AA gun on the stern. This puts out a combined total of 10dps and isn't likely to shoot anything down, so just keep it turned off.
The Campbeltown surprised me. Like many, I was expecting a Wickes-clone with some minor modifications. Instead we got what amounts to a low-tier Mutsuki. She's all about maximizing the use of her slow-reloading fish and playing an endless game of keep-away. You end up waiting and hiding between reloads and hoping that you don't have to rely on her paltry guns. In this way, she resembles more of a mid-tier IJN Destroyer than her low-tier USN roots.
I don't think the HMS Campbeltown will enjoy a lot of popularity because of this one-sided reliance. It's not like her torpedo armament is jaw-droppingly amazing. The 7.5km range and near 12,000 alpha looks impressive, but it's locked into this long wait to reload her tubes. And this wait feels long because she only has the one launcher per side. I don't know how many times i felt like I was fighting with the ship to maximize the number of torpedoes I could put into the water -- nearly getting myself killed when I put the ship hard over to dump the fish off the other side at the same target and strayed into spotting range. To be fair, she's decent enough at sniping Battleships and Cruisers that move about predictably. She can hold her own against novice DD players that dump their fish early and leave their broadsides open to reprisal, but all things being equal, the Campbeltown is going to be a difficult ship to love.
Personally, I would like to see her torpedo reload shortened. If it was closer to the low to mid 50s, I think I might become very interested in this ship again.
Sadly, the HMS Campbeltown gets no bonuses to ramming.
Would I Recommend?
Without knowing the cost at this stage, it's difficult to say, though I'm not excited about this ship as I once was. She's not an immediate winner in my books.
Taken on her own merits, she's interesting enough. Long range torpedo sniping has its charms. I would strongly caution players who did not enjoy playing the Mutsuki to stay away from the Campbeltown. The similarities in game play are quite pronounced with poor guns and a dependence on slow-reloading, long range torpedoes. You are outgunned by every other ship you will encounter out there.
The Campbeltown has two module upgrade slots, as you would expect from a tier 3 destroyer.
For the first slot, equip Main Battery Modification 1. If for no other reason, it will help keep you from being detonated.
As with most destroyers, take Propulsion Modification 1 to help keep your engine from being blown out. It won't help often, but every little bit counts.
The Campbeltown doesn't get any unique or unusual consumables. If you want an extra smoke charge, you can consider grabbing the premium version of her Smoke Generator. Personally, if I was going to grab any premium consumable for her, I would reach for her Damage Control Party to reduce her reset timer from 60s down to 40s, though with the right Captain Skills, you shouldn't need either and can save some credits.
Recommended Captain Skills
Unlike the Wickes, the Campbeltown is a torpedo boat so you'll want to be leaning towards skills which assist on that armament primarily.
As a destroyer, Situational Awareness should be the first skill you grab at tier 1.
At tier 2, I'll be honest, I'm at a bit of a loss.
Last Stand is a must have for any destroyer Captain, and it's probably your best bet.
That said, Torpedo Armament Expertise is very desirable. This will reduce your reload rate from 63s down to 56.7s. It's probably best to grab it on a second pass through the skill tree.
At tier 3, Superintendent should be your one-stop shop. It will give you an additional Smoke Generator and Engine Boost charge.
Once you hit tier 4, it's really up to you. I would be inclined to grab Survivability Expert for the extra 1200hp, if only because the other skills aren't of much value for the Campbeltown.
And lastly, at tier 5, grab Concealment Expert for your 15th skill point. This will drop your surface detection range (with camouflage) to approximately 5.9km.