- The Unwritten Rules of Battle -
The following is a quick list of pointers that emphasize tactical rules of engagement that can be followed to improve performance on the water. It started as a bit of a joke but is time tested and remained true.
Rule #1 – Don’t Chase Sterns
The most dangerous part of the ship is the stern. Stern firing guns are designed to hit ships without risk of return fire. Stern side mounted guns are low to the water and relatively easy to get on target, they will out-trade higher placed guns (such as bow side mounted guns) every time. Additionally, if the stern of your ship is threatened all you need to do to disengage is drive away or turn away as you drive forward.
The most vulnerable part of any ship is the bow, where there are less reliable guns placed and the ship physically sits out of the water further than it does in the stern. Also the ship is much less maneuverable while backing up, so in order to get away from someone who is in front of you, you have to back up at which time you don’t have control of turning.
With these aspects combined, it is easy to see why driving forward into the stern end of an enemy is a bad idea.
-pictured is the bow of the SMS Von der Tann eating a stern sidemount from the IJN Mutsu
Rule #2 – Stay Away From Jeff
This rule was written with a very dangerous battler in a very dangerous boat in mind, but really it is generalizable. Don’t get caught alone next to the best battler on the other team. It seems obvious and sometimes you can control it, but often times if the best battler on the other team wants to come find you, they will.
-pictured is Jeff’s IJN Mutsu
Rule #3 – Stay Away From Shore
Getting out of trouble often requires a combination of running away to more open waters, using superior maneuverability to turn inside the radius of your enemy, accelerating quickly in reverse, using your guns to keep people off of a part of your ship or some combination of all of these. When you are too close to shore none of these are possible. Furthermore, there are often weeds, debris, or shallow water/rocks that can bind or destroy your drive and ruder train. It is a common tactic to try to use shore line to control the movement of the enemy and at times drive them into shore. Don’t let it happen to you.
-pictured is the USS Washington hung up on a rock
Rule #4 – Don’t Be The Last One On Your Team With Ammo
It turns out this is relatively true in 2 common scenarios.
Scenario 1 is when your team is winning and you run out of targets. If you still have ammo you missed opportunities to inflict more damage and thus points for your team. Chasing down ships who are “on five” can be very challenging.
Scenario 2 is when your team is losing. This sometimes comes as the stark realization that there are a whole bunch of enemies and only you left battling. Maybe you have a few team mates who have called “five” and started running away. Generally, at that point the enemy fleet will come to attack you because theoretically you will be interested enough in engaging that they can keep shooting as well. This creates multiple ships vs one situations, and that turns out badly for the one. Especially in larger battles it is best to try to keep a feel for what is going on with the fleet as a whole as the battle wears on. If your team is getting beat up or if a lot of your team starts calling “five” at about the same time when the enemy hasn’t been, its usually a good idea to get rid of your ammo and do so as well.
-pictured is a 2 vs 1 USS Washington and SMS Derfflinger vs the IJN Mutsu