World of Warships

Final review: French Tier VIII Premium Battleship Champagne

Ladies and Gentlemen, Wargaming officially declared Champagne as finalized and ready for review. They credited us the ship so it’s time for the final judgment. Is she worth it? Is her firepower strong enough to compensate for having only 6 guns? I will give you my opinion about it.

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Historical background

To summarize it, Champagne is a Frankenstein monster made-in Wargaming and I will have to cover the 2 different elements (technically even 3) they took to put the ship together.

Firstly, when it comes to the hull, the Champagne is using the hull of the Gascogne.

The Gascogne, named after the region of France, was meant to be the 4th unit of the Richelieu-class battleship (even though she might as well be her own class at this point). Compared to her sisterships that had an all-forward main battery, the turrets on Gascogne were split with one turret at the front of the superstructure and the other at the rear, facing towards the stern.
This change in the design was made so that the ship wouldn’t have a significant blind spot at the rear. Another reason was to avoid the risk of losing the entire main battery in case of an unlucky shot that would cripple both turrets.
At the same time, the 152 mm secondary armament was relocated with all 3 turrets at the centerline of the ship, two forward of the superstructure and one aft. This would have offered more room for the anti-air armament.
Due to all these changes, the superstructure had to be moved forward and the main belt lengthen.
Finally, the aviation facilities had to be changed compared to the rest of the Richelieu-class and an internal hangar had to be installed at the rear of the ship like on U.S. battleships.

The construction of the Gascogne was never started due to the lack of an available dock large enough to build the battleship. She had to wait for the Jean Bart to be launched but due to… troublesome neighbors, Jean Bart was launched but Gascogne was never laid down.

Secondly, the turrets and guns, these are coming from the class that should have been built after the Richelieu-class, the Alsace-class battleships.

The Alsace-class was ordered to counter the H-class battleship the Kriegsmarine was planning to build.

Overall, 3 designs were being considered for the Alsace-class.

Design n°1 had a 40 000 tons standard displacement and its main armament was consisting of 3 triple turrets with the same 380 mm guns as on the Richelieu-class. The engine power was reaching 170 000 horsepower for a maximum speed of 31 knots.

Design n°2, was heavier with a 42 500 tons standard displacement, a slight increase of the engine power to 190 000 horsepower and a main battery consisting of 3 triple turrets, but this time with newly designed 406 mm guns. These are the guns fitted on the Champagne in World of Warships and for the little story, these have similar performances to those of the Slava that were also designed by France. Yes, you read that correctly, Slava’s guns were designed in France, it’s not Russian bias here.
Finally, the design n°3 is the Alsace-class as we have it in-game (even though in-game, the engine power is only 192 000 horsepower while in reality, the design had an engine power of 220 000 horsepower and was planned to reach 32 knots. It was the largest design of all 3.

In the end, any work on the class stopped with the fall of France in June 1940. Some historians claim that France would have settled for the Design n°1, others say that they settled on Design n°3 since they didn’t need to design triple turrets and would then stick to the already existing quadruple turrets.

So, now that this is clear, we are getting the Champagne that has the hull of a Gascogne, the turrets of the Design n°2 for the Alsace-class and also the secondary armament of the Design n°3 with no less than 12 twin turrets with 100 mm guns in addition to the 152 mm triple turrets.

If you want additional information on the Gascogne and the Alsace-class, I invite you to check these videos from Drachinifel:

The Good and the Bad

The Good

  • Battlecruiser dispersion that helps to compensate for having only 6 guns
  • Strong HE shells with high fire chance
  • Amazing AP penetration, almost identical to Slava’s AP performances
  • Great firing range
  • Good ballistic, making it easy to hit targets at long range
  • Slightly faster reload than 406 mm guns on average
  • Great agility with the highest base speed of all battleships and Engine boost
  • Fairly good turning radius and rudder shift time

The Bad

  • Only 6 guns with 3 on each end of the ship
  • Only 2 turrets which would be an issue if any of them gets crippled
  • Thin armor protection both against HE and AP, limiting the pushing capacities of the ship
  • Small HP pool
  • Weak anti-air

The camouflages

The camouflage of Champagne provides the classic bonuses for tier VIII Premium ships:

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

It is available in 2 color schemes, the standard and the alternative one:

shot-20.06.26_12.49.04-0040

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Modules
Hull
Engine
Gun Fire Control System
Main battery

Champagne

Propulsion: 155 000 hp

PCA n° 8 Mle 1

406 mm/50 Schneider

General Characteristics and playstyle

GeneralConsumables
Tier VIII
Health 52 600 HP
Displacement 42 544 tons
Main Armament
Maximum Firing Range 25.020 km
406 mm/50 Schneider 2 x 3 406 mm
Secondary Armament
Maximum Firing Range 7.000 km
152 mm/55 Mle 1936
100 mm/45 Mle 1933
3 x 3 152 mm
12 x 2 100 mm
Maximum speed 34 knots
Turning Circle Radius 850 m
Rudder Shift Time 15.5 s
Surface Detectability 16.38 km
Air Detectability 11.01 km
Detectability After Firing Main Guns in Smoke 15.82 km

Slot 1
Slot 2
Slot 3
Slot 4
Damage Control Party
Work time: 15 s
Cooldown: 80 s
Repair Party
consumable_PCY010_RegenCrewPremium
Number of charges: 4
Work time:80 s
HP regeneration time: 0.5% HP/s
Spotting Aircraft
consumable_PCY013_SpotterPremium
Number of charges: 4
Work time: 100 s
Cooldown: 240 s
Bonus: +20% maximum firing range
Engine Boost
consumable_PCY015_SpeedBoosterPremium
Number of charges: 3
Work time: 180 s
Cooldown: 120 s
Boost: +8% speed
Fighter
consumable_PCY012_FighterPremium
Number of charges: 3
Work time: 60 s
Cooldown: 90 s
Patrol Radius: 3.0 km
Number of fighters: 3

The Champagne is bringing a fairly unique concept at tier VIII compared to other battleships. Unlike the others, her bow and stern are only protected by 25 mm of armor and her general armor protection is, all-across the board, thinner.
She also has the lowest HP pool of all tier VIII battleships with 52 600 HP, close to Odin and her 52 800 HP. However, compared to Odin that is somewhat designed as a brawler, Champagne doesn’t need to get close to do her job.

She also has fewer but more accurate guns than the other battleships and could really be called a battlecruiser like a Renown-class for example.

In terms of playstyle, the ship is much closer to a kiting/roaming cruiser than an actual battleship. You will prefer to be at 13 km or more from your target and stay on the move. Due to her gun performances, she is excellent at sniping other ships at long range but it doesn’t mean that you have to sit in the back the whole game. This is not how you will win. Always stay on the move, always be ready to go for flanking moves with her great speed but do not just sit in the spawn. She has 25 km of range, it doesn’t mean that you have to use all this range as much as possible.

Main Battery

shot-20.06.26_12.36.18-0024

Main Battery
2 x 3 406 mm/50 Schneider
 Maximum Firing Range 25.020 km
 Reloading Time 28.6 s
180 Degree Turn Time 30.0 s
Optimal firing angles at the front 36°
Optimal firing angles at the rear 30°
Sigma 2.00 sigma
Maximum Dispersion 253 m
Shells
Type of Projectile  HE – 406 mm HE Mle 1938
Alpha Damage 6 100 HP
Damage 5 780 HP
Penetration capacity  68 mm
Explosion size 2.66
Fire chance 49 %
Projectile Speed 850 m/s
Air Drag 0.222
Projectile Mass 1 085 kg
Type of Projectile AP – 406 mm APC Mle 1938
Alpha Damage 12 100 HP
Chance to Cause Fire -0.5 %
Projectile Speed 850 m/s
Air Drag 0.222
Projectile Mass 900 kg
Projectile Krupp 2 900
Projectile Detonator 0.033 s
Detonator threshold 68 mm

While the Champagne’s main battery only consists of 6 guns, they are definitely not to be underestimated.

Firstly, these guns have the “supercruiser” dispersion formula, just like Georgia or Thunderer if you want to compare with other battleships. Even at long range, unless you get a really bad RNG roll, you will still have a fairly tight spread and won’t have too much trouble at hitting your target. On top of having that great dispersion, the shells of Champagne also have great ballistics, giving less time to your target to angle properly or change speed and bearing. The only downside of such ballistic is that, against low tier or thinly armored cruisers, you will get a lot of overpenetrations.

Secondly, let’s talk about the shells themselves. When it comes to the AP, these 406 mm shells pack a nasty punch. They outclass Yamato’s 460 mm shells by roughly 30 mm of penetration at all ranges and on top of that, due to the ballistic, have a smaller impact angle, leading to less effective armor that needs to be penetrated. When playing this ship, you will not be surprised to get citadels on enemy battleships, even at maximum range. She is simply brutal at punishing mistakes.
You might now be worried about one thing. What happens if the enemy battleships just angle against you? Well, it’s simple. the HE is also very strong on Champagne. High fire chance, high damage per shell, I can safely say that you don’t need to worry about enemy battleships angling against you.

In the end, are these guns compensating their number by their strength? In my opinion, definitely. With the dispersion, the penetration power of the AP and the reliability of the HE, even with only 6 guns, the Champagne packs a serious punch. If you lose a turret… that’s another story. This is the downside of having only 2 turrets.

Secondary battery

shot-20.06.26_12.36.30-0552

Secondaries
3 x 3 152 mm/55 Mle 1936
Maximum Firing Range 7.000 km
Reloading Time 12.0 s
Sigma 1.00 sigma
Shells
Type of Projectile HE – 152 mm HE OEA Mle 1937
Alpha Damage 2 200 HP
Damage 790 HP
HE penetration 25 mm
Explosion Size 0.58
Chance to Cause Fire 12 %
Projectile Speed 870 m/s
Air Drag 0.34
Projectile Mass 55 kg
12 x 2 100 mm/45 Mle 1933
Maximum Firing Range 7.000 km
Reloading Time 4.0 s
Sigma 1.00 sigma
Shells
Type of Projectile HE – HE-42
Alpha Damage 1 400 HP
Damage 310 HP
HE penetration 17 mm
Explosion Size 0.29
Chance to Cause Fire 6 %
Projectile Speed 780 m/s
Air Drag 0.314
Projectile Mass 13.5 kg

I will make that one clear. DO NOT go for a secondary build on the Champagne. the major part of her secondaries consists of 100 mm guns. This means that if you want your secondaries to do at least a bit of damage, you would need IFHE and even then, it would barely help as you would only penetrate the superstructure of battleships.

The ship doesn’t have the survivability to go for secondary actions anyway.

Anti-air Armament

Sans titre

Air Defense
3 x 3 152 mm/55 Mle 1936
12 x 2 100 mm/45 Mle 1933
Sector range 0.1 km – 5.8 km
Hit chance 75 %
Sector’s damage 40
Sector’s damage frequency 0.29 s
Sector’s damage per second 140
Flak clouds number 6
Flak cloud damage 1 260
12 x 2 37 mm/50 Mle 1933
Sector range 0.1 km – 3.0 km
Hit chance 75 %
Sector’s damage 15
Sector’s damage frequency 0.29 s
Sector’s damage per second 53
9 x 2 25 mm/60 CAD Mle 1939
Sector range 0.1 km – 2.5 km
Hit chance 70 %
Sector’s damage 32
Sector’s damage frequency 0.29 s
Sector’s damage per second 112

Here is the major weakness of the Champagne.

While compared to Richelieu or Gascogne, she gets a stronger long-range anti-air. however, the DPS on the mid-range and close-range auras is badly lacking, making her an easy prey for carriers.

The armor

Capture

The armor of the Champagne is sitting between the one of a cruiser and the one of a battleship. The middle section has the 32 mm plating that you could find on Gascogne, but the bow and the stern are only 25 mm thick like on cruisers.

The bow section

bow1

The bow is entirely covered with 25 mm of armor. While I was expecting this to be a real problem when playing the ship, in action, it really wasn’t the end of the world. Considering the great agility of the ship, it’s also much easier to angle in time against AP from battleships and limit the number of hits on this section.

bow2

Inside the bow, there is a 40 mm armored deck that covers the lower part of the citadel athwartship. It doesn’t make the Champagne entirely immune to citadels through the bow, but reduces the risk greatly.

bow3bow4bow5

For the protection of the middle section, the casemate is 30 mm thick, the upper part of the citadel’s athwartship that is not covered by the armored deck is 355 mm thick and the lower part, as well as the bulkheads around the citadel, is 233 mm thick.

Overall, it’s a decent protection, but going bow tanking with this ship against other battleships will, of course, not be wise.

The middle section

mid1

The middle section is more similar to something that you would find on a battleship. The deck, the upper sides, as well as the torpedo bulges, are 32 mm thick.

mid2

The main belt is much thinner than on the Gascogne with a thickness of 240 mm compared to 320 mm. It is actually just slightly better than on the Dunkerque that has a 225 mm main belt. I really advise you to not sail broadside in front of enemy battleships, expecting the turtleback to protect you. Unlike the Gascogne, you will be punished hard for making that sort of mistake.

mid3

Compared to Gascogne’s 50 mm turtleback, the one of the Champagne is only 30 mm thick. This is actually pretty bad since it means that Yamato-class ships and other battleships with 431 mm guns or bigger can overmatch this, rendering the citadel terribly vulnerable. As you can see, the central part of the citadel side armor is also 30 mm thick.

mid4mid5

For the rest of the citadel’s side armor, it is 40 mm thick under the 152 mm secondaries and 50 mm thick under the main batteries. The citadel’s deck is also 40 mm thick.

mid6mid7

For the horizontal protection, the Champagne is actually a tough nut to crack. Completing the 32 mm weather deck and the 40 mm citadel deck, her main armor deck is quite thick with 150 mm of armor in the middle and 175 mm of armor below the turrets. The Enterprise is unable to score citadels on this ship and even the Shokaku and Hakuryu will struggle a lot with maybe 1 or 2 citadels here and there. This will at least compensate for the weak ant-air

An interesting thing to note is that the barbettes of the 152 mm secondaries are actually reaching the main armor deck while on Gascogne, they stop directly on the weather deck.

The stern section

stern1

The stern of the Champagne is entirely covered by 25 mm of armor just like the bow.

stern2stern3

Inside the stern, there is a very strong armored deck that entirely covers the citadel’s athwartship. It is 100 mm thick at first and around the steering gears, goes up to 150 mm. This ship is basically tailor-made for kiting with her good firing angles at the rear and her fully protected citadel thanks to this armored deck.

stern4stern5

For the protection of the middle section, the casemate is 30 mm thick and everything else (the citadel athwartship and the bulkheads around it) is 233 mm thick.

The superstructure

mid1

The superstructure being the same as on the Gascogne, it is fairly large and is 19 mm thick except for the 100 mm thick barbettes of the 152 mm secondaries and the conning tower.

The turrets

turret

The turrets present a similar armor protection to the French 380 mm quadruple turrets. However, since they are much narrower than the quad 380 mm turrets, in action, they ended up being able to sustain incoming AP shells from battleships much better.

The face is 430 mm thick with a 15° slope, the sides are 300 mm thick and the back is 270 mm thick. For the roof, the frontal part is 195 mm thick and the rear part is 175 mm thick.

When it comes to the barbette, the top is 100 mm thick, the biggest part is 405 mm thick and at the bottom, it is 85 mm thick.

Final opinion

Personally, I love the Champagne with her combination of guns able to punish hard mistakes even at long range, great dispersion and fantastic mobility. In the hands of skilled players, she will really be brutal. At the same time, if you make mistakes with her like pushing where you shouldn’t or showing broadside against other battleships, you will also get punished hard considering the low HP pool and armor.

I am worried that with her characteristics, people will prefer to stay as far back as possible and make full use of her ballistic but hopefully, they will one day realize that it’s not how you win games.

In the end, the Champagne is definitely a ship that I recommend and that I consider fun to play.

Recommended build

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

Captain build:

build

  • Priority Target: Very valuable perk to know how many enemies are aiming at you and with some experience, determine who the said enemies could be. It’s also very useful against destroyers since, when a destroyer switches to torpedoes, he isn’t counted anymore so this gives you an early warning for the nasty metal fishes.
  • Expert Loader: Fairly useful perk for the times when you will want to switch of ammo type fast to either not waste an AP salvo on a heavily angled battleship or to punish a broadside target.
  • Adrenaline Rush: Basically a must-have on all ships except carriers. The lower your HP is, the faster you will fire your guns. Very useful for the late-game.
  • Expert Marksman: You can live without it but it actually ends up being useful when doing high speed turns as the turrets can have some troubles with staying on the target at close range.
  • Jack of all Trades: This is one can also be replaced by High Alert but I appreciate the faster cooldown on the Repair Party and Engine Boost.
  • Superintendent: An additional Repair Party and Engine Boost. What more needs to be added? Really a must-have on this ship.
  • Concealment Expert: This perk is really valuable if you want to do any sort of flanking action or if you simply want to disengage. Combined with Concealment System Modification 1, you can get your spotting range down to a respectable 12.87 km by sea and 8.92 km by air.
  • Fire Prevention: It’s a battleship, It burns like a battleship and it has a large superstructure. You will, of course, want to mitigate the risks of having multiple fires raging on the ship.

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 turrets working.
  • icon_modernization_PCM036_SpeedBooster_Mod_I Engine Boost Modification 1: Since the ship has an engine boost, I definitely recommend the related upgrade to squeeze out as much from one charge as possible. The upgrade is fairly cheap but if you don’t have the coal for it, you can replace it with Damage Control System Modification 1.
  • Wows_icon_modernization_PCM033_Guidance_Mod_I.png Aiming Systems Modification 1: You have only 6 guns so let’s make sure that the dispersion is as good as possible.
  • Wows_icon_modernization_PCM025_SteeringGear_Mod_II.png Steering Gears Modification 1 or Wows_icon_modernization_PCM023_DamageControl_Mod_II.png Damage Control System Modification 2: Here, it really depends on the player. Some will prefer a faster rudder shift time to dodge shells and torps more easily while others will prefer to limit the damage from fires. It really is down to your own preference here.
  • Wows_icon_modernization_PCM027_ConcealmentMeasures_Mod_I.png Concealment System Modification 1: In my opinion, it is the best option, especially if you want to go for some flanking action or if you want to disengage because you are low on HP. I suppose that some will prefer Torpedo Lookout System or Ship Consumables Modification 1 but they really aren’t worth it if you ask me.

Welp, that’s it for this review. I hope that you found it useful. If everything goes as planned, there will be a giveaway for the Champagne on our Discord so keep your eyes open to make sure to not miss it!

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2 comments

  1. Hi mate!

    Thanks for the review and keep doing great job! I bought the ship and I am satisfied. I like high tier French battleships.

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