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Final Review: French Tier VII Premium Battleship Strasbourg

10 min read

With the release of Update 0.9.12, we will be able to access a new campaign with the final reward being the tier VII French battleship Strasbourg. The ship will also most likely be available in the Premium Shop but don’t quote me on that.

Is she worth the grind? What does she bring over Dunkerque? Here is my opinion on the subject.

The Historical Background

The Strasbourg was the second unit of the Dunkerque-class of “Navires de ligne”  (fast battleships) of the French Navy. These ships were designed to counter the Deutschland-class of Panzerschiffe from the Kriegsmarine.

The Strasbourg was launched in December 1936 and commissioned on 15th September 1938.

Her inter-war career was fairly quiet, being assigned to the Atlantic fleet. When World War II started, the Strasbourg, alongside Dunkerque was assigned to the “Force de raid” that was meant to protected Allied merchant shipping. However, Strasbourg was reassigned to Force X, based in Dakar but would quickly be sent back to the Mediterannean as it became more likely that Italy would soon enter the war.

After the fall of France and the armistice, the Strasbourg, as well as multiple other ships, was stationed in Mers-el-Kébir. After a massive negotiation fiasco that happened with the Royal Navy’s Force H, the French fleet came under fire from the British force and had to evacuate Mers-El-Kébir with Strasbourg being able to escape without taking any major damage.

The Strasbourg would be called back to Toulon where she would be later scuttled with the rest of the Vichy France fleet in November 1942.

If you want to learn a bit more about the Dunkerque-class battleships, here is a video from Drachinifel about them:

The Good and the Bad

The Good

  • All forward main battery
  • High main battery range
  • Fast main battery reload
  • Main Battery Reload Booster consumable
  • Quite decent dispersion
  • Good ballistics and high AP penetration for such caliber
  • High speed for a tier VII battleship
  • Decent turning radius

The Bad

  • Bad concealment
  • Lack of overmatch except against low/mid-tier cruisers leading to often having to switch ammo type
  • Very weak anti-air
  • 26 mm external plating everywhere, making the ship quite vulnerable against 380 mm+ AP shells

The camouflage

The permanent camouflage of the Strasbourg provides the classic bonuses for tier VII ships:

  • -3% to surface detectability range.
  • +4% to maximum dispersion of shells fired by the enemy at your ship.
  • -10% to the cost of the ship’s post-battle service.
  • +50% to experience earned in the battle.

Modules

Hull
Engine
Gun Fire Control System
Main battery

icon_module_Hull_installed

Strasbourg

icon_module_Engine_installed

Propulsion: 107 000 hp

icon_module_Suo_installed

‎PCA n° 7 Mle 1

icon_module_Artillery_installed

330 mm/52 St. Chamond Mle 1932

General Characteristics and playstyle

Tier VII
Health 52 600 HP
Torpedo Damage Reduction 25 %
Displacement 36 308 tons
Main Armament
Maximum Firing Range 19.100 km
330 mm/52 St. Chamond Mle 1932 2 x 4 330 mm
Secondary Armament
Maximum Firing Range 5.000 km
130 mm/45 Mle 1932 3 x 4 130 mm
2 x 2 130 mm
Maximum speed 29.5 knots
Turning Circle Radius 730 m
Rudder Shift Time 14.0 s
Surface Detectability 16.92 km
Air Detectability 9.58 km
Detectability After Firing Main Guns in Smoke 14.2 km

 

Consumables
Slot 1
Slot 2
Slot 3
Slot 4
Damage Control Party
consumable_PCY009_CrashCrewPremiumWork time: 15 s
Cooldown: 80 s
Repair Party
Number of charges: 4
Work time: 28 s
Cooldown: 80 s
HP regeneration: 0.5%/s
Main Battery Reload Booster
Number of charges: 4
Work time: 20 s
Cooldown: 180 s
Effect: -50% Main battery reload time
Fighter
Number of charges: 3
Work time: 15 s
Cooldown: 160 s
Number of fighters: 2
Patrol radius: 3.0 km
Spotting Aircraft
Number of charges: 4
Work time: 100 s
Cooldown: 240 s
Effect: +20% Main battery range

The Strasbourg is fairly similar to Jean Bart or Bourgogne (minus the AA and secondaries) at tier VII and plays closer to a large cruiser than an actual battleship.

Basically, you will always want to stay on the move, do flanking maneuvers, etc. and blast your guns at everything in range. However, unlike other battleships, you will see yourself switching ammo type way more often as she lacks the overmatch capacity except against low tier cruisers and battleships. The good thing is that unlike Scharnhorst with her… questionable gun performances, the Strasbourg has very strong HE and AP with a penetration not too far behind the German 380 mm guns of Gneisenau and co.

Another thing to take into account is the really poor concealment and lack of armor. Don’t try to go “Rush B c*ka bl*at!” unless you know that you can deal with whatever will fire back at you. Otherwise, you will face a really painful death.

Main Battery

2 x 4 330 mm/52 St. Chamond Mle 1932
 Maximum Firing Range 19.100 km
 Reloading Time 25 s
180 Degree Turn Time 36 s
Optimal firing angles at the front
Optimal firing angles at the rear 32°
Sigma 1.8 sigma
Maximum Dispersion 254 m
Shells
Type of Projectile  HE – 330 mm HE OEA Mle 1935
Alpha Damage 4 800 HP
Damage 3 710 HP
Penetration capacity  55 mm
Explosion size 1.91
Fire chance 35 %
Projectile Speed 885 m/s
Air Drag 0.293
Projectile Mass 552 kg
Type of Projectile AP – 330 mm AP OPfK Mle 1935
Alpha Damage 9 700 HP
Projectile Speed 870 m/s
Air Drag 0.28
Projectile Mass 560 kg
Projectile Krupp 2 428
Projectile Detonator 0.033 s
Detonator threshold 55 mm
Ricochet Angles 45° – 60°

The main battery of the Strasbourg is really nothing to laugh at. Out of all the games I played with her during testing, Never did I go under 100 000 damage. The accuracy on it is, from the start, better than on Dunkerque, as you have 1.8 sigma instead of 1.7 sigma. She also has a shorter reload and as the cherry on top, a Main Battery Reload Booster consumable.

You might also think that, since these are just 330 mm guns, the penetration isn’t good but it’s far from that. Due to the ballistics, the shells have really good penetration, just slightly behind the high tier German 380 mm AP shells. This means that even for her small guns, Strasbourg is very good at punishing broadsides. There will, however, be times where the good ballistics backfire as she will often get overpentrations on thinly armored cruisers.

Here is actually a little comparison of her AP penetration compared to other tier VII battleships:

Strasbourg
Lyon
Sinop
Colorado
Nagato
King George V
Gneisenau
5 kilometers
596 mm
490 mm
630 mm
653 mm
707 mm
500 mm
623 mm
10 kilometers
493 mm
397 mm
518 mm
543 mm
579 mm
415 mm
524 mm
15 kilometers
415 mm
326 mm
432 mm
457 mm
481 mm
347 mm
447 mm
20 kilometers
354 mm
(Cannot reach that range)
(Cannot reach that range)
390 mm
407 mm
298 mm
386 mm

Outside of her good AP, the HE is also a truly valuable tool with good damage and fire chance to set ablaze anything that you wouldn’t be able to penetrate with AP. It will mostly be useful when uptiered against tier VIII and tier IX battleships that angle against you. They laugh at the start but when they have 2 or more permanent fires, you are the one that ends up laughing.

When it comes to the reload booster, you have to be careful with its relatively long cooldown so be sure to pop it for worthy shots.

Secondary Armament

2 x 2 130 mm/45 Mle 1932
3 x 4 130 mm/45 Mle 1932
Maximum Firing Range 5.000 km
Reloading Time 5.0 s
Sigma 1.00 sigma
Shells
Type of Projectile HE – 130 mm HE OEA Mle 1934
Alpha Damage 1 900 HP
Damage 550 HP
HE penetration 22 mm
Explosion Size 0.45
Chance to Cause Fire 9 %
Projectile Speed 840 m/s
Air Drag 0.315
Projectile Mass 29.5 kg

Honestly, in case you get ambushed by a destroyer, the secondaries of the Strasbourg aren’t completely useless. The volume of fire is pretty good and if a destroyer pops out from behind an island, these will come in handy.

Anti-air Armament

2 x 2 130 mm/45 Mle 1932
3 x 4 130 mm/45 Mle 1932
Sector range 0.1 km – 6.0 km
Hit chance 75 %
Sector’s damage 24
Sector’s damage frequency 0.29 s
Sector’s damage per second 84
Flak clouds number 3
Flak cloud damage 1 400
4 x 2 37 mm/50 Mle 1933
Sector range 0.1 km – 3.0 km
Hit chance 75 %
Sector’s damage 6
Sector’s damage frequency 0.29 s
Sector’s damage per second 21
8 x 4 13.2 mm/76 CAQ Mle 1929
Sector range 0.1 km – 1.5 km
Hit chance 70 %
Sector’s damage 30
Sector’s damage frequency 0.29 s
Sector’s damage per second 105

 

Yeeeeaaaaah…. about that…

You REALLY don’t want to have a carrier focusing on you while playing Strasbourg because her AA is simply WACK. The DPS, the flak, the firing range, there is nothing to save it.

The armor

The armor on Strasbourg is nothing crazy but at least, it’s an improvement over Dunkerque with a thicker belt and turret armor. Another good thing is that the ship is fairly well protected against AP bombs just like the higher tier French battleships.

External armor protection

Internal main belt, (hidden) armored decks and secondary armament barbettes

Front and rear protection of the middle section

Turtleback

Citadel protection

Turret armor

Final Opinion

Honestly… I love the Strasbourg. Not sure if it’s the Alsacian blood that gives me a natural advantage with her but her damage output for a tier VII battleship is really good, the mobility is great, especially on low tier maps. Even when uptiered, you can just pepper enemy high tier ships that angle against you with your HE. Also, just like on Jean Bart or Bourgogne, the reload booster is particularly useful to clap cruisers or even punish broadside battleships.

Her agility is also quite appreciable and as I said, really makes her feel like a large cruiser more than a battleship.

The ship really only has 2 major issues: carriers and battleship AP that can overmatch her. Except that, it was honestly one of the most pleasant experiences I had in a while, especially after having to play the U.S. standard battleships, their horrible mobility and ultra static playstyle.

Recommended build

During the testing of the Strasbourg, I used the following captain build and upgrades:

Captain build:

  • Priority Target (or Incoming Fire Alert): Very important skill to know if a ship has the intention to shoot you (or already did) and as such, react accordingly.
  • Adrenaline Rush: The more damage you take, the faster you will be able to fire your guns.
  • Superintendent: A prime choice to have the additional Repair Party and Main Battery Reload Booster charges.
  • Concealment Expert: The concealment on Strasbourg is quite awful for some reason. Taking Concealment Expert will, at least, bring it to respectable levels with a 14.77 km spotting range by sea.
  • Fire Prevention: Just like on any battleship, you want to reduce the damage that you might take from fires and as such Fire Prevention is very important.
  • Expert Marksman: While the turrets on Strasbourg have an already fairly fast turning speed, making them faster can always be useful to make sure that you won’t miss the opportunity for a shot. (Also, there is no other 2 point skill worth).
  • Jack of all Trades: With the Repair Party and Main Battery Reload Booster, a shorter cooldown on both of them is quite appreciated.
  • Expert Loader: As I said, you will often end up switching ammo type with Strasbourg so might as well make it happen faster.

Post-Rework Captain build:

DISCLAIMER: This build was composed with the skills as they were presented on the 19th of December 2020. If by the time of the release of Update 0.10.0, they go through substantial changes, I will modify that build.

  • Gear Specialist: A shorter cooldown on the Main Battery Reload Booster (and Spotting Aircraft) is quite welcome.
  • Keen Eye: Very important skill to know if a ship has the intention to shoot you and as such, react accordingly. It’s especially nice on a battleship with weaker armor than usual.
  • Adrenaline Rush: The more damage you take, the faster you will be able to fire your guns.
  • Concealment Expert: The concealment on Strasbourg is quite awful for some reason. Taking Concealment Expert will, at least, bring it to respectable levels with a 14.77 km spotting range by sea.
  • Fire Prevention Expert: Just like on any battleship, you want to reduce the damage that you might take from fires and as such Fire Prevention is very important.
  • Emergency Repair Expert or Marksman: In the first case, you get an additional Repair Party charge and it also lasts longer with each use. In the second case, you get more accurate guns with there is no VISIBLE ship within your detection range. Considering the fact that you don’t want to get too close with the ship unless you know that you will survive without losing too much HP, it can definitely be a good choice. The problem is that you lose the additional Repair Party which, while it doesn’t get used every game, is still useful to have.
  • Gun Feeder: Just like for Expert Loader, it will be useful to switch ammunition type when needed.
  • Grease the Gears: AKA, channel your inner Ainsley Harriot and realize that it’s time to oil up. Just like the current Expert Marksman, it will give you a faster turret traverse which can always be useful to seize opportunities.

Upgrades:

  • Icon_modernization_PCM030_MainWeapon_Mod_I.png Main Armaments Modification 1: There is literally nothing else worth taking in this slot. You want to keep your armaments working.
  • Wows_icon_modernization_PCM020_DamageControl_Mod_I.pngDamage Control System Modification 1:  Fires are bad man.
  •  Aiming System Modification 1: Just like on all battleships, you want to hit your target more often than not so let’s make sure that the dispersion will be better than it normally would be.
  • Wows_icon_modernization_PCM023_DamageControl_Mod_II.png Damage Control System Modification 2 or  Steering Gears Modification 1: As I said… fires are bad! Now, you can also take Steering Gears Modification 1 to angle more effectively against enemy shots. Both options are fine.

This concludes my review of the Strasbourg. Thank you for reading this article!

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Have a good one and see you soon!

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