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Secondaries even worth having right now?


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As the title says, are secondary guns even worth having in the current version?

I had a 1915s engagement and my 6" guns hit a light cruiser about 100 times to bring it to !! half !! structure, when it finally sank from the 26th flooding.

When the second CL came too close to me, I aimed all my guns at it and where my 6" had about 35% chance to hit, my 12" had over 70% and took the CL apart with two salvoes. Right now I feel it's a far better investment to just remove all secondary guns and use the saved weight for more main-gun ammo and extra amrour...

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The biggest problem with later year secondaries is that more and more of them are placed into fully enclosed turrets and become very large and results in smaller caliber secondaries being selected. Ot

I think the big problem is that relative accuracy difference between large and small guns is something that varied greatly over time and was in many respects one of the key driving forces in the evolu

Another thing to keep in mind is that overall effectiveness of secondary guns is well below what it was IRL.  The ancient US 5"/51 got a rate of fire of 8-9 rounds a minute, or a 7.5 second reload rat

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I've had plenty of luck completely annihilating destroyers with my battleship's secondaries, all the way down to about 4 inch guns. Cruisers seem a bit too strong against them (or the guns are too weak against them), yeah.

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I do agree that a secondary battery is one of the last things to put on a ship, but I don't agree that you can omit it totally (except for certain naval academy missions where you need to punch far above your weight, or if you have a solid, mixed fleet, where your "secondaries" are the smaller ships).

As for how much, I would say that depends on caliber (in relation to BBs, adjust as you feel necessary for other classes). If you're carrying 7s/8s, you can get away with a 6/9 barrel broadside. However if you're putting 7s/8s, putting a solid broadside (10-15) will help you decisively sink cruisers and destroyers while out of torpedo range. This is the best secondary battery, and I seriously try to fit it on my BBs if superstructure allows (looking at you, British ships)

If you're using 5s/6s, maybe 4s in early eras, you need a solid broadside to make them stick. I'd say at least 12/15, maybe 18 if smaller ships are a concern. They don't have the stopping power of the heavier secondaries, but it's much easier to fit a robust number of these on any ship (plus, RTW2 habits for DP autoloaders). 21 barrels and up are not recommended, save the tonnage for a higher caliber main battery or more armor.

As for the rest (2s/3s/late 4s), just don't. I don't really find them useful at all. Even on DDs, I prefer 5s + torpedoes rather than the lesser calibers. They are way too weak unless you put an ungodly amount of them.

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Secondaries are not completly useless, they can hit a thing now and than but:

  1. Them to be really effective requires higher caliber and/or larger broadside
  2. Which increases overall tonage and usually roll (they are mounted on sides), thus lowering accuracy
  3. Relative price of reaiming your main battery to a sec. target isn't high enough not to be worthy - you are simply firing with larger, more accurate guns with much higher damage potential.
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Also, as always, historically the point of secondary armaments was not to protect warships singlehanded - they very rarely (1-3%) hit, and when they did, did not sink small torpedo craft, but rather acted as a deterrent. 

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14 hours ago, tvaishar said:

Secondaries are not completly useless, they can hit a thing now and than but:

  1. Them to be really effective requires higher caliber and/or larger broadside
  2. Which increases overall tonage and usually roll (they are mounted on sides), thus lowering accuracy
  3. Relative price of reaiming your main battery to a sec. target isn't high enough not to be worthy - you are simply firing with larger, more accurate guns with much higher damage potential.

+1. They aren't terrible but I wouldn't consider a big handicap if I were prevented from using them. Even so, on many ships they are only viable because secondaries can't be flash fired (though they can detonate).

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I like to have them on all of my ships because - Realism I suppose. But if I were to think logically I'd probably never need them on the lower caliber main guns as they already have fast reloading and better damage anyways, on the guns that take forever to reload? I'll definitely add some secondaries. 

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In general, I prefer just using my main armament on those things. I have no trouble with the conclusion that I don't actually need secondaries. Maybe the campaign and needing to fight more than one battle with a ship per sortie will change my mind, but right now I just use the weight of the secondary battery on a bit more padding.

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I usually stitch few secbat. but not many and nothing under 4". Best is to go for a pair of 8"ers. The are deadly vs Destroyer and still useful vs capital ship.

But if you really want to kill destroyer, 9" cruiser are fantastic at it.

Edited by RedParadize
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The biggest problem with later year secondaries is that more and more of them are placed into fully enclosed turrets and become very large and results in smaller caliber secondaries being selected. Otherwise I think people are expecting them to do much more than they were intended.

Secondary guns are only really there to allow the capital ship to engage screening ships at the same time that they are firing their main guns at another capital ship, at best your secondaries are worth a light cruiser or maybe a heavy cruiser on a super battleship. Throwing those extra batteries on the side of your ship is far cheaper than building a whole new cruiser to match that amount of firepower. For example, 12x 152mm secondary guns on a bismarck style ship tech year 1933 for a 6 gun broadside would cost a bit more than 1000k, whereas to build a new light cruiser would cost over 10x that amount.

Another point is if you intend to use capital ships like germany did in WW2 as commerce raiders your secondary battery is a MUST, the secondaries annihilate merchants and it's important to conserve your main battery ammunition in case the enemy sends a capital ship after you in response. 

Edited by Schmiddy
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On 10/18/2021 at 3:52 PM, DougToss said:

Also, as always, historically the point of secondary armaments was not to protect warships singlehanded - they very rarely (1-3%) hit, and when they did, did not sink small torpedo craft, but rather acted as a deterrent.

The problem with that is that unlike most real crews, the AI is (at least in it's current form) not deterred in the least by merely being shot at or even by actually being hit, but only by taking damage past a certain point.

I also wouldn't be surprised to learn that those hit probabilities came to be precisely because the small ships were scared away before coming into effective range and that in reality exceedingly few small ships ever dared to get as close as 2 km to a dreadnought in anything but the most desperate circumstances.

Edited by Norbert Sattler
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Well that’s just it! The debate about secondaries within the Royal Navy from ~1890 was “How do we keep torpedo craft out of torpedo range?

They discovered from the very earliest tests that they could not (reliably) expect to hit torpedo craft  before they were able to fire their torpedoes, and even then, couldn’t sink them. The problem grew and grew as torpedoes got better and their range got longer. A single lucky torpedo could sink a major warship and disrupt the whole battle line. Something needed to be done, and there seemed no way at all to keep these small boats from throwing off the whole balance of power. 
 

To paraphrase the IRA to Margaret Thatcher “You need to be lucky every single time. We only need to be lucky once.” 

And yet

Very few major surface combatants were sunk by torpedos, few of those were undamaged and able to fully manoeuvre, and torpedos were never the decisive part of the fleet engagement that had been feared from their inception. They should have devastated battle lines - in theory
 

The breakdown as you said is the human element - you are asking someone to maintain a steady course and speed into the teeth of a battle line to get a torpedo firing solution! It doesn’t matter if those shells have a 2% chance to hit, and 2 and 4 inch guns are unlikely to outright sink your 200 tn torpedo craft in a single hit.  Absolutely no way you are going to plough on through.

I’m not sure how to model that. I think other naval sims have ships under fire take longer to engage with torpedoes, or break off their attacks, but I’d have to check.

In short we need a way to show how scary even theoretically ineffective fire is.  

Edited by DougToss
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8 hours ago, DougToss said:

Well that’s just it! The debate about secondaries within the Royal Navy from ~1890 was “How do we keep torpedo craft out of torpedo range?

They discovered from the very earliest tests that they could not (reliably) expect to hit torpedo craft  before they were able to fire their torpedoes, and even then, couldn’t sink them. The problem grew and grew as torpedoes got better and their range got longer. A single lucky torpedo could sink a major warship and disrupt the whole battle line. Something needed to be done, and there seemed no way at all to keep these small boats from throwing off the whole balance of power. 
 

To paraphrase the IRA to Margaret Thatcher “You need to be lucky every single time. We only need to be lucky once.” 

And yet

Very few major surface combatants were sunk by torpedos, few of those were undamaged and able to fully manoeuvre, and torpedos were never the decisive part of the fleet engagement that had been feared from their inception. They should have devastated battle lines - in theory
 

The breakdown as you said is the human element - you are asking someone to maintain a steady course and speed into the teeth of a battle line to get a torpedo firing solution! It doesn’t matter if those shells have a 2% chance to hit, and 2 and 4 inch guns are unlikely to outright sink your 200 tn torpedo craft in a single hit.  Absolutely no way you are going to plough on through.

I’m not sure how to model that. I think other naval sims have ships under fire take longer to engage with torpedoes, or break off their attacks, but I’d have to check.

In short we need a way to show how scary even theoretically ineffective fire is.  

There are two issues.  First, speed by itself is a hefty accuracy penalty when you're trying to target a ship, when in reality going fast in a straight line just made you no more difficult of a target, only the ability to rapidly shift direction and throw off the gunners would be important.  As a result a destroyer is safer moving in a straight line than it would be IRL.  Secondly, torpedoes need a significant aiming time no different from gunfire, with even tighter demands on accuracy since you're not going to be able to correct your aim for a second volley.  I don't believe that last part is properly represented, especially since I'd hate to try and calculate a firing solution when moving full-speed in a smoke cloud!  Add in the possibility of incoming fire and a lucky shot hitting something vital, especially since you're almost certainly going to be broadside for your run with your machinery exposed to fire, and the chances of a successful run in reality are absolutely abysmal compared to the odds in-game.

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16 hours ago, DougToss said:

Very few major surface combatants were sunk by torpedos, few of those were undamaged and able to fully manoeuvre, and torpedos were never the decisive part of the fleet engagement that had been feared from their inception. They should have devastated battle lines - in theory.

While it is a tad beside the subject. I have a different take on this. The reason why the British did not aggressively engage the German in the battle of Jutland was mainly because of the fear of torpedo. In a sense, this is why that battle did not result in more ship sunk, either by gun or torpedo. For that reason I would be incline to consider torpedoes as a decisive factor here.

Arguably, if the British fleet would have ignored that fear, history might have provided us with a example of a fleet decimated by torpedo, in theory!

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1 hour ago, RedParadize said:

The reason why the British did not aggressively engage the German in the battle of Jutland was mainly because of the fear of torpedo. In a sense, this is why that battle did not result in more ship sunk, either by gun or torpedo. For that reason I would be incline to consider torpedoes as a decisive factor here.

That’s a really, really good point - every naval history I read trying to get to the bottom of the secondary armament issue agrees with you!

Like modelling the fear caused by a wall of ineffective fire splashing all around you in a torpedo craft, I don’t know how to show the panic that gripped the world around torpedoes from 1880-19XX. 
 

The problem with both is making them as effective as people feared they would be, and acted as if they were, severely breaks the game because it’s trying to get to the psychological and decision making consequences (break off contact, equip secondaries, worry about torpedo attack) as a result of practical  effect, rather than its own phenomenon. 
 

How do you make the player and AI scared of these things without actually making them a disproportionate threat? 

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2 hours ago, RedParadize said:

While it is a tad beside the subject. I have a different take on this. The reason why the British did not aggressively engage the German in the battle of Jutland was mainly because of the fear of torpedo. In a sense, this is why that battle did not result in more ship sunk, either by gun or torpedo. For that reason I would be incline to consider torpedoes as a decisive factor here.

Arguably, if the British fleet would have ignored that fear, history might have provided us with a example of a fleet decimated by torpedo, in theory!

It is a good point, but there is also a WW2 example that shows that in practice, ship launched torpedoes still were not that effective in mass attacks. 

"The Battle of the Java Sea

One USN CA and four DDs, one RN CA and three DDs, one RAN CL, and two RNN CLs and two DDs attempted to attack the IJN invasion convoy headed for Java. Two IJN CAs, two CLs, and 14 DDs fended off the ABDA ships and inflicted serious losses on the opposing force but failed to destroy it completely. During the action the IJN ships executed 38 separate launches of a probable 164 Type 93 torpedoes, scoring 3 hits which sank the RNN CL De Ruyter, CL Java and DD Kortenaer. This is a probable hit rate of 1.8%, dismal for such a massive expenditure. This action fits into the Decisive Battle scenario as representative of a medium size engagement between one of the beam line Japanese night attack groups and a significant portion of the US screen. It shows how mutual maneuvering for position can deny both the attacker his objective and the defender decisive damage to the attacker."

http://www.navweaps.com/index_tech/tech-067.php

The whole article is a good read, but this battle from my research represents the largest expenditure of the torpedoes against a fleet. The key takeaway is that for torpedo attacks to be effective, you need to be very close and have the element of surprise. This is why almost all ships sunk by torpedoes in both wars were launched by submarines, not surface ships.

Seems pretty clear giving the realistic accuracy numbers for shell fire, torpedoes would be worse as they are slower and fired in lower volumes. After all, the same techniques used to give you a firing solution for your guns is used to plot one for torpedoes.  

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The difference is that you can see a torpedo coming far enough away to allow you to evade it (maybe not always, but often enough), but by the time you see shells (that is the shells themselves, not the muzzle flashes) it's way too late to dodge anymore.

Not to mention that torpedoes are most often sent out in a fan, more or less guaranteeing that some if not most will miss to make sure that at least some will hit, while with guns you aim all barrels at as exactly the point you expect the enemy ship to be at as you can.

So comparing the hit-rate of guns and torpedoes on a per projectile level seems pretty ill advised. A per salvo/spread hit rate may have some merit, but I'm not sure about that either.

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I think it’s more that neither was very accurate but the threat of either was a huge consideration. I could be misreading that though.  
 

Fleet Tactics and Naval Operations really examines torpedo usage and effectiveness, but I’m not sure the best way to summarize the argument in a way that is good feedback for UA:D:

“The purpose of these ships was to influence the main action: to force the enemy to turn or, if he did not, to cripple him with torpedoes. In battle, destroyers were treated as mad dogs on the leash of the destroyer flotilla commander. The fleet commander’s practical control of them was limited to commands like “go” and “come.” Their role was to rush in a tight pack and seize a battleship’s throat if they could or, as was more likely, to leap and claw and growl at the enemy’s own mad dogs, which had also charged into the fray at a single word from their master. If a destroyer were impaled on a battleship’s bow and sunk, it was a scarcely mourned impediment to the battleship’s effectiveness. If one were caught in the crossfire between battle lines, it may as well have been invisible. But a squadron of destroyers, bows-on with a bone in their teeth, was a very visible and chilling threat indeed. A destroyer squadron commander fought for a semblance of order, living in the chaos of neglect by friends and spreading chaos among enemies as he was able.

The peacetime tactician’s picture of the destroyers is represented in figure 3-5, and the wartime tactician’s picture is in figure 3-6. Even the latter is really more like a spectator’s view from the grandstand than a player’s view, which is besmeared with smoke, confusion, noise, and fear.”

“If all this disorder was inevitable, what good were precise mathematical calculations about weapon effectiveness? The answer hinged on what the fleet commander needed to know—some rough relationships between range and hitting effectiveness (e.g., when a torpedo-launching vehicle was a threat to the force) and how the range was figured. Some of the finest analytical thinking of the time on this subject seems to have been done at the Italian naval academy, judging from the writing of Romeo Bernotti and Guiseppe Fioravanzo. Bernotti’s calculations of torpedo effectiveness in battle are a good single example of how astutely tactical quantitative theory and practical considerations were blended from 1890 to 1915. Bernotti treated in detail a thirty-one-knot torpedo with a running range of 6,500 meters and a maximum speed of fifty knots.16 To dispense with the simple-minded notion that raw running range was a significant tactical parameter, Bernotti ran through twelve pages of precise, concise, analytical, geometric, and probabilistic calculations of torpedo effectiveness, footnoting as he was able with Russian experimental results.
 

Having calculated the effective range of a single torpedo against a non-maneuvering two-hundred-meter target from different directions, he showed the mathematical advantage of firing from off the target’s bow. Next he calculated the threat of a spread of five aimed torpedoes against a single target and of an unaimed spread against a battle line. He concluded that from the defense’s point of view, outside of 3,500 meters—that is, half the running range—“there is no occasion to trouble oneself very much about it” even though there was a perceptible risk; and from the offense’s perspective, it was “well not to sacrifice, even to a minimum degree, the [effective] employment of the gun” 

On torpedo-boat tactics, Bernotti argued for attacks by successive squadrons of three and demonstrated both the power of simultaneous torpedo launch and how to achieve it. He conceded that a coordinated attack is difficult in battle, but he showed that single-ship attacks in sequence brought with them scant probability of individual success. Bernotti’s derivation of what seems today like point-blank range stemmed from a tactical philosophy that returns to haunt every commander planning a modern missile attack: “A weapon, the action of which cannot be repeated except at considerable intervals of time, and of which the supply is very limited, must be employed only under conditions that assure notable probability of hitting”. Today’s missile battle will center on keeping the enemy uncertain of his target and its position. Once launched, missiles cannot be recalled, and empty magazines can quickly become a terrible reality.

Will effective missile-firing ranges be shorter than their maximum ranges? Finding out is essential, judging from the Israeli and Egyptian experience in the 1973 war. The missiles of the Egyptian warships outranged those of the Israeli warships. But the Israelis induced the Egyptians to fire all their missiles ineffectually—and then closed in for a devastating finale.”

All of that to say, it’s *really* hard to account for Torpedoes being simultaneous incredibly dangerous *and* not often very effective.  

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2 hours ago, Norbert Sattler said:

The difference is that you can see a torpedo coming far enough away to allow you to evade it (maybe not always, but often enough), but by the time you see shells (that is the shells themselves, not the muzzle flashes) it's way too late to dodge anymore.

Not to mention that torpedoes are most often sent out in a fan, more or less guaranteeing that some if not most will miss to make sure that at least some will hit, while with guns you aim all barrels at as exactly the point you expect the enemy ship to be at as you can.

So comparing the hit-rate of guns and torpedoes on a per projectile level seems pretty ill advised. A per salvo/spread hit rate may have some merit, but I'm not sure about that either.

While you have a point on "seeing" torpedo bubbles, that was exactly why the Long Lance didn't leave any. So if the Japanese launched 164 of these wonders, but only achieved 3 hits then seeing really isn't the factor (not to get into weather factors). This goes back to how you get a firing solution. It is the same techniques used for guns. The spread is not that dissimilar to dispersion which gun crews trained to be aware of. Both are trying to "bracket" the expected target's position when the ordnance arrives. 

As for dodging, ships could and did dodge shell fire. Take a read of the account of Taffy 3 at Samar as an example. But your point backs up mine as that is the reason submarines had such great success at sinking ships with torpedoes. Being close enough that reaction time and maneuvering ability ensure minimal chance of evading due to being able to approach stealthy. 

My whole point is the torpedoes (ship launched) were simply not that accurate, even when used in mass. But at the same time, 3 hits resulted in 3 ships sunk (obviously ships without real torpedo protection). It kind of reminds me of the fear over plunging fire, when in reality the accuracy of that kind of long range fire was abysmal as well. 

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Personally, I add secondaries mainly for realism.  If I was to do a video with a battleship against a lot of destroyers, I'd fill up the secondaries as they will rip a destroyer apart.

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I have had lots of success from using lots of small secondary guns.  On anything big enough I need AP they can maul superstructure and on anything I don't I set my guns to use HE and they burn anything too close to my big ships.  Remember HE can cause fires even on blocked 0 dmg shots and TBs have no real armor to speak of anyway.  

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Another thing to keep in mind is that overall effectiveness of secondary guns is well below what it was IRL.  The ancient US 5"/51 got a rate of fire of 8-9 rounds a minute, or a 7.5 second reload rate, and a range of 17km.  The 5"/54 introduced in 1945 had a four second reload time, and a maximum naval engagement range of 23.7~ kilometers.  The short-barreled 5"/38 reached out to a 16km horizontal engagement range, and looking at the stats in Custom Battle a 5" Mark 5 has a maximum range of 12.7km and a fire rate  You can, with a single barrel, triple-base propellant, autoloading, and light ammo, get a 5" Mark 5 gun to have a 4 second reload.  But of course, the USA was making twin turret with with that reload rate, and it still doesn't have the range to match their historical counterparts.

Now, combine that with the fact a 24" oxygen torpedo overperforms compared to what it historically did, having roughly 2 kilometers of range over the Long Lance at the same speed of 49.3 knots, and you can see a bit of a gap forming.  And that's at the highest speed, shortest run setting the Type 93 had IRL.  A standard propulsion 21" will get you 48.4 knots... and a range of 14.8km, or over double what historical ranges were at 44 knots.  I think we can all see some serious balance issues here if guns have worse range and RoF compared to IRL IRL and torpedoes drastically overperforming.

So yes, secondaries are useless, because destroyers would need to close to a mere 6km IRL in order to launch torpedoes that wouldn't run dry short of the target at current velocities.  And even with the current hampered ranges and fire rates on secondaries in-game that gives the defending ship very good odds of landing a solid blow that would force the attacker to abort the run.  That's at 1940 techs in CB.  We go down to 1925 and you have 21"  standard propulsion torpedoes with a speed of 46.3 knots and a range of 12.7km.  Needless to say during WW2 the Kriegsmarine would have made a deal with the devil since their best combustion torpedoes only got half that range with less speed.  It isn't until you get to the 1945+ peroxide-fueled torpedoes developed by the USN that IRL capabilities are on-par with what's in the game right now.

Edited by SpardaSon21
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On 10/17/2021 at 1:17 PM, Norbert Sattler said:

As the title says, are secondary guns even worth having in the current version?

I had a 1915s engagement and my 6" guns hit a light cruiser about 100 times to bring it to !! half !! structure, when it finally sank from the 26th flooding.

When the second CL came too close to me, I aimed all my guns at it and where my 6" had about 35% chance to hit, my 12" had over 70% and took the CL apart with two salvoes. Right now I feel it's a far better investment to just remove all secondary guns and use the saved weight for more main-gun ammo and extra amrour...

So there's quite a bit to digest here... For the purpose of your question, I'm assuming you're talking about secondaries on a capital ship (BB or BC).

1. Mission: It depends on what you're using the ship for. Naval academy missions to me are basically puzzles with a narrow goal, so unlike a realistic design that must be versatile for whatever may come, I found in these missions I was often making a big-gun armor tub, as the missions often involve killing specific capital ships and I just kept the speed up enough to dodge any fleet screen. I think when the campaign comes out, we all going to find ourselves buildings more balanced ships, as the specific goals will shift over time and designs will need to match up against a variety of enemies across different engagements. Secondary batteries will certainly become more of a necessity then.

2. Enemy Design and Armour: While a "Light Cruiser" does have some limitations build into it in the game, it still depends on the ship you are hitting. The AI will sometimes build some pretty heavily armored designs at which point if your 6" guns are hitting at longer range and the enemy is dancing around in a while where you're hitting at sharp angles, you're far more likely to have ricochets, partial-pens, and blocks.

3. Your component choices and ammo type in battle: After the last update, your combination of propellant, explosive charge and shell weight (Lght, Standard, Hvy, Spr-Hvy) matter more than ever, particularly when selecting your ammo type in battle. I tend to design my ships around penetration, as wells as my own safety. I'm generally going to fire AP shells, since I'd rather go for that critical hit to the magazine or engines. When it comes time to sling HE against lighter targets, I'm at a disadvantage. With that many floodings and little structure damage, I'm going to guess you may have had a similar setup.

4. Your caliber choice: Bigger isn't always better. As I said, I tend to choose setups that are geared toward better penetration. If I happen to come up against a very lightly armored target, I'm actually better off hitting with a smaller gun. A 6"-8" gun, especially at close range, may just be punching a pair of small holes in one side of the ship and out the other, the over-penetration just causing minor and quickly remedied flooding. On the contrary, in the same scenario smaller 4" or 5" shells may penetrate, detonate and deal full damage.

So are they useless? I'd say not. Though they may not be effective against all targets, no gun is. In your design you had 12" main guns, so I would have gone with a lighter, faster firing secondary battery for the close in work. If I'm not penetrating, then I'll have a ROF advantage when I switch to HE.

Last note, pay attention to the stats on each caliber when choosing your secondaries (or any gun). Depending on the year and the tech levels, etc, there are often "sweet spots" terms of accuracy, dmg/ton, rof/ton, DPS/ton. (IE, in a given year, a 5" gun may be more accurate and put out more damage over time than the guns above it per ton)

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