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Final Review: U.S. Premium Tier IX Battleship Kearsarge

9 min read

Ladies and Gentlemen, here we go with the 3rd hybrid ship added to the game, the U.S. chonker, Kearsarge. The ship will be available in the Armory for 228 000 coal or 19 300 doubloons. In the Premium Shop, the cheapest bundle should be around 65€.

All I have to say is that, if you already bought Carnot (or pretty much anything else) with coal, I am truly sorry for you.

Historical background

In 1937, to fulfill Stalin’s plan of a strong ocean-going fleet, the Soviet Union came to the negotiation with the USA to get support from them and overcome the limitations of the Soviet shipbuilding capabilities. The Soviets ordered turbines, as well as a license to produce said turbines back home and they, were also ready to buy U.S-built cruisers, etc. At some point, they also asked if the U.S.A could build battleships for them, which initially failed. The U.S. government reconsidered the idea when the Soviet ambassador brought on the table the argument that such battleship would be used to keep the Japanese Navy in check in the Pacific and, hearing this, the U.S. Chief of Naval Operations agreed with the idea being supported by President Roosevelt.

This is where things are getting crazy. Enter the firm Gibbs & Cox of New York. Apparently, they didn’t quite understand that the Soviets only wanted battleships and also forgot any sort of treaty limitations. In early 1938, they delivered three different designs of a battleship-aircraft carrier hybrid with the largest displacing almost 72 000 tons:

  • Project 1058 / Design A with 66,074t standard displacement, eight 456mm guns and 40 planes
  • Project 1058.1 / Design B with 71,859t standard displacement, 12 406mm guns and 40 planes
  • Project 1058.2 / C with 44,200t standard displacement, ten 406mm guns, and 28 planes

To nobody’s surprise, all three proposals were refused as they were in complete violation of naval treaties and there was simply no infrastructure available to build such monsters.

Later on, Gibbs and Cox would propose a… much more logical design of a normal battleship with 45 000 tons displacement, armed with ten 406 mm guns and with a maximum speed of 31 knots. In the end, with the situation in Europe spinning out of control, all cooperation ceased in October 1939.

In World of Warships… it looks like Wargaming pulled a bit of a kitbashing. Considering the tonnage, it would appear that they are using the hull of Design A but the armament definitely belongs to Design B. Also, they obviously modernized her anti-air to fit at tier IX. She can deploy a squadron of five attack aircraft armed with Tiny Tim rockets.

In any case, this ship, even though it’s a tier IX is gigantic as you can see here. It is by far the biggest tier IX battleship and the second biggest battleship of the game after the Kurfürst (outside of super ships of course)

The Good and the Bad

The Good

  • 12 gun broadside with 406 mm guns
  • Access to Artillery Plotting Room Modification 2
  • Reliable dispersion
  • Pretty good firing angles
  • Capacity to launch a squadron of 5 Attack Aircraft
  • Rockets hitting like trucks and with fairly tight dispersion
  • Strong long-range AA
  • 3rd highest HP pool after Musashi and Sovestky Soyuz
  • VERY good horizontal protection
  • Flight deck is effective to limit damage from HE spammers with lazy ballistics.
  • Good top speed of 30 knots

The Bad

  • Shells with long travel time
  • One of the worst AP penetration of all tier IX battleships
  • 36s main battery reload time
  • Wide turning radius
  • Large 19 mm section all around the flight deck
  • Relatively thin main belt with only 330 mm of armor
  • No Spotting Aircraft consumable (even though she has catapults on the stern)

The camouflage

The permanent camouflage of the Kearsarge provides the classic bonuses for tier IX ships:

  • -3% to surface detectability range
  • +4% to maximum dispersion of shells fired by the enemy at your ship
  • -20% to the cost of ship’s post-battle service
  • +100% to experience earned in the battle

Modules

Hull
Engine
Gun Fire Control System
Main battery
Attack Aircraft

icon_module_Hull_installed

Kearsarge

icon_module_Engine_installed

Propulsion: 300 000 hp

icon_module_Suo_installed

‎Mk9 mod. 1

icon_module_Artillery_installed

406 mm/45 Mk.6 in a turret

F8F Bearcat

General Characteristics and Playstyle

Tier IX
Health 84 300 HP
Torpedo Damage Reduction 24 %
Displacement 70 630 tons
Dimensions
Overall length 305.97 m
Beam 38.2 m
Overall height (keel to the highest point on the ship) 36.0 m
Freeboard 6.9 m
Main Armament
Maximum Firing Range 19.570 km
406 mm/45 Mk.6 in a turret 4 x 3 406 mm
Attack Aircraft Squadron
Size of the Squadron 5 x F8F Bearcat
Rockets in payload per plane 3 x HE Tiny Tim
Secondary Armament
Maximum Firing Range 6.950 km
127 mm/38 Mk.12 on a Mk.29 mount
14 x 2 127 mm
Maximum speed 30.0 knots
Turning Circle Radius 1 050 m
Rudder Shift Time 18.4 s
Surface Detectability 16.92 km
Air Detectability 14.02 km
Detectability After Firing Main Guns in Smoke 16.39 km
Consumables
Slot 1
Slot 2
Damage Control Party
consumable_PCY009_CrashCrewPremiumWork time: 20 s
Cooldown: 80 s
Repair Party
Number of charges: 4
Work time: 28 s
Cooldown: 80 s
HP regeneration: 0.5%/s
Casemate damage regeneration: 50%
Citadel damage regeneration: 10%

In essence, if you ever played high-tier U.S. battleships of the Montana line, you will feel relatively at home. In fact, she takes bits of all 3 ships (North Carolina, Iowa and Montana), sprinkle that with some Midway spice and puts the whole thing in a blender.
She has the guns of the North Carolina, hull protection close to Iowa and the main battery arrangement and mobility of a Montana.

Due to her unique design (the flight deck in the middle of the ship), she is mostly made to play at long to medium range. At close range, your flight deck turns into a shells sponge as most shells will have a much flatter ballistic and are less likely to hit the armored deck.

When it comes to the rockets, they are on a whole different level than the torpedo bombers of Tone and Ise. From the start, the planes are much faster so you won’t lose too much time when striking. Their damage output is great as we are talking about drops of 15 accurate Tiny Tims and with the long reload of the main battery, you have a perfect synergy between both armaments.

If you want to see the ship in action, here is the replay from one of my games. Sadly it’s a loss but considering the game that it was, it’s definitely worth featuring. We won’t talk about the absolute bamboozling I got from the Richelieu… After spamming HE for 10 minutes he decided to switch to AP when he was at 10 km from me…

Post-battle results

Main Battery

4 x 3 406 mm/45 Mk.6 in a turret
 Maximum Firing Range 19.570 km
 Reloading Time 36.0 s
180 Degree Turn Time 30.0 s
Optimal firing angles at the front 35°
Optimal firing angles at the rear 31°
Sigma 1.9 sigma
Maximum Dispersion 256 m
Shells
Type of Projectile  HE – 406 mm HE/HC Mk13
Alpha Damage 5 700 HP
Damage 4 620 HP
Penetration capacity  68 mm
Explosion size 2.46
Fire chance 36 %
Projectile Speed 820 m/s
Air Drag 0.346
Projectile Mass 862 kg
Type of Projectile AP – 406 mm AP Mk8
Alpha Damage 13 100 HP
Projectile Speed 701 m/s
Air Drag 0.352
Projectile Mass 1 225 kg
Projectile Krupp 2 598
Projectile Detonator 0.033 s
Detonator threshold 68 mm
Ricochet Angles 45° – 60°

Minnesota? What is that? Ah right. That ultra sluggish battleship that has a worse sigma, a much worse reload and worse damage per shell.

The main battery of the Kearsarge is absolutely no joke and is even, in my opinion, one of the best of all the tier IX battleships. For the starter, you have a massive broadside of twelve 406 mm guns. On top of that, she has a 1.9 sigma while Minnesota has 1.8 and all the other twelve guns BBs at tier IX have less than that. The cherry on top is that it’s a U.S. battleship so she gets access to the Artillery Plotting Room Modification 2 to get that juicy dispersion buff.

Of course, it’s not completely perfect. Kearsarge is using the same shells as North Carolina. They have a long travel time and the penetration is the worse of all tier IX battleships with 406/410 mm guns and as a whole, one of the worst AP penetration of all tier IX battleships. It doesn’t mean that you will not be able to penetrate anything, don’t worry. You will still be slapping really hard anything giving you broadside.

Attack Aircraft Squadron

Attack aircraft – F8F Bearcat
planetype_0
Tier X
Hitpoints per plane 1 840
Cruise speed 176 knots
Maximum speed 216 knots
Engine boost time 5 s
Engine boost reload time 10 s
Size of attacking flight 5
Aircraft per squadron 5
Rocket type HE Tiny Tim
Rockets per plane 3
Launch delay 5.5 s
Maximum rocket damage 5 400
Projectile mass 36.29 kg
Penetration capacity 68 mm
Detectability range 10.0 km
Aircraft restoration time 120 s

Ever wanted to have reliable Tiny Tims rockets again? This dream that completely vanished after the reticule change is now back… with Kearsarge. Meanwhile, I think that I can hear Saipan crying in the background.

These rockets are an exceptional secondary source of damage, perfectly in synergy with the reload time of the main battery. Most of the time, you will be deploying the planes as soon as they are ready and right after firing. By the time you dropped your payload, the guns will be freshly readied up to fire again. While they have a long machine gun phase, if you get the proper lead, it won’t be rare to get over 10 000 damage + fires with these rockets. The fact that the planes fly higher when dropping is also quite advantageous as it reduces the risk of hitting the armored upper belt of some battleships.

A great trick is that while dropping, the planes keep enemy ships spotted which makes them incredibly useful to deal with destroyers. If one of them annoys you and you know where they are, you deploy the attack aircraft, go for the DD, drop them and you can immediately chain that with a salvo from your main battery. Results (and a lot of salt) guaranteed.

Fully aimed reticule next to a Conqueror
Fully aimed reticule next to a Conqueror

Secondary battery

14 x 2 127 mm/38 Mk.12 on a Mk.29 mount
Maximum Firing Range 6.950 km
Reloading Time 6.0 s
Sigma 1.00 sigma
Shells
Type of Projectile HE – 127 mm HE Mk32
Alpha Damage 1 800 HP
Damage 380 HP
HE penetration 21 mm
Explosion Size 0.38
Chance to Cause Fire 5 %
Projectile Speed 792 m/s
Air Drag 0.347
Projectile Mass 24.5 kg

The secondaries of the Kearsarge are not completely useless. The thing is that while they have a standard dispersion, it is fourteen fast-firing guns per side and so, they respect the old rule of “throw enough crap at the wall and some of it might stick”. For setting extra fires in close-combat situations or in case a destroyer rushes you, they can be pretty useful.

Anti-air Armament

14 x 2 127 mm/38 Mk.12 on a Mk.29 mount
Sector range 0.1 km – 5.8 km
Hit chance 75 %
Sector’s damage 70
Sector’s damage frequency 0.29 s
Sector’s damage per second 245
Flak clouds number 10
Flak cloud damage 1 610
10 x 4 40 mm Bofors on a Mk.2 mount
Sector range 0.1 km – 3.5 km
Hit chance 75 %
Sector’s damage 75
Sector’s damage frequency 0.29 s
Sector’s damage per second 263
20 x 1 20 mm Oerlikon on a Mk.4 mount
Sector range 0.1 km – 2.0 km
Hit chance 70 %
Sector’s damage 41
Sector’s damage frequency 0.29 s
Sector’s damage per second 144

The anti-air of the Kearsarge is quite strong. While the medium and short-range themselves aren’t great, the long-range has very high DPS and generates numerous flak explosions which will help against most CVs.

The Armor

When it comes to the armor, the Kearsarge is a bit of a mess.

At long range and to some extend medium-range, her flight deck is very useful as AP shells will bounce on it where they would normally hit an exposed superstructure and HE shells will shatter on it.

At short range, the structure around the flight deck turns into a big shells magnet which will lead to some extra damage. As I said above, the ship is not really suited for combat at short range.

External armor protection:

Front and rear armor protection of the middle section:

Hidden armor deck:

Citadel armor protection:

Turrets armor protection:

Hidden armor protection inside the stern:

Final Opinion

This ship… is honestly busted. Kearsarge is literally a Tier 9.9 with the firepower she brings on the table while having more than respectable survivability.

Of course, if you don’t have much experience with CV gameplay, you won’t get all the value from the planes but honestly, dodging flaks really isn’t rocket science. The only thing you might somewhat struggle with at the start is leading with the rockets but even that isn’t too hard.

So yeah, if you have the coal for it, just get the ship ASAP because it’s an absolute blast.

Recommended Build

For the Kearsarge, I recommend the following commander build:

  • Expert Loader
  • Grease the Gears
  • Adrenaline Rush
  • Concealment Expert
  • Fire Prevention
  • Emergency Repair Expert
  • Basics of Survivability

If you want, you can swap Basics of Survivability for Priority Target and Preventive Maintenance. I also recommend using Halsey or the Doe brothers for the improved Expert Loader and Grease the Gears.

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

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Have a good one and see you soon!

2 thoughts on “Final Review: U.S. Premium Tier IX Battleship Kearsarge

  1. Damn, I sure am glad I decided to save for this ship. I wanted it even if it was bad, but now it’s a must-have.

  2. This absolutely should’ve been Tier X. The 1058.2 version with 10 guns would’ve been a better choice for Tier IX.

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