So you want to have a secondary spec’d battleship? Well here are somethings that you’ll want – and need – to know to get the most of those ‘smaller’ guns.

The first thing that you need to be aware of is what ships are viable to make use of a secondary build. In my experience, those ships usually reside in the upper tiers – 8-10, and typically consist of the Japanese, Germans and French. These include the Bismark, Tirpitz, Friedrich der Grosse, Grosse Kurfurst for the Germans, Richelieu, Alsace and Republique for the French and the Amagi, Izumo, Musashi, and Yamato for the Japanese. The final ship known for its secondaries is the USN premium tier 8, the Massachusetts. All these ships’ secondary battery guns have base ranges that benefit from the Secondary range modules, as well as the sheer number of guns, making them good candidates for this loadout. Though you can waste the modules and captain skills (I’ll get to these later) on other ships, the range and or lack of guns doesn’t make the effort worth it.

German Secondaries

High tier German battleships have excellent secondaries with great range and lots of them. Further, due to the unique penetration characteristics of German secondary guns of 128mm and 150mm calibers, the necessity for running IFHE to do any damage other than fire is not there. Prior to the release of the French BB line, they had the largest range, capable of reaching out to a maximum of 11.6km with all the skills and modules. The made any ship that wondered into that bubble and got detected seriously reconsider their choices. Finally, the sheer volume of fire that one of these ships can put out can be staggering, particularly if they are running the Adrenaline Rush skill and are low health.

French Secondaries

With the longest base range, and thus longest max range, the French secondaries are known for their reach. Fully spec’d, the tier 10 Republique can reach out to 12.1km. Compared to the G.K, though it does have a smaller amount of guns (25 v. 28), its higher alpha makes up for the lack of guns (856,000 DPM vs. 826,667 DPM on the Kurfurst).1 Though the fire chance is high for secondaries with all the flags – up to 13% – the French secondaries do not benefit from the German HE penetration mechanics (longer fuse delay), so it is recommended that the IFHE skill is equipped if a player wants maximize damage against cruisers and other battleships.

Japanese Secondaries

While the German’s have special shell fuses for more penetration and the French have high alpha and range, the Japanese have quantity and AP. All the above mentioned Japanese battleships have secondary guns that (solely) fire AP rounds. Further, what the IJN secondaries lack in range (10.6km max), they make up for in rate of fire. Base values for some of the guns on the Yamato, for instance, fire as fast as 12 rounds per minute. Coupled with the AP rounds, should a cruiser give these secondaries broadside, they could suffer secondary salvos that could exceed 4,000 dmg – light cruisers beware! With the AP, and high fire rate of its other secondaries, the Yamato has the highest DPM of all the secondary ships at a whopping 958,364.4 DPM and with the closer range, that means even more hits.

Captain Skills, Flags and Modules Rundown 

Captain skills, modules and flags, can be broken up into 2 groups when it comes to secondary builds – Damage output and Range. . Often times players will sacrifice one of these to increase concealment or survivability but for the sake of this article, I’ll just cover the recommended skills for each and their point requirements where applicable. I have broken these down these as a way for players to easily determine where they might want to sacrifice so that they can allocate skills or modules elsewhere later.

Captain Skills

Damage Output

Preventative Maintenance – Reduces the risk that your secondary guns will be knocked out by 30%; more guns, more damage – 1-point
Adrenaline Rush – Increases rate of fire for each 1% of HP lost – 2-points
Basic Firing Training (BFT)
– Decreases the reload of guns up to and including 139mm by 10% – 3-points
Demolition Expert – Increases fire chance by 2% – 3-points
Inertia Fuse for High Explosive (IFHE) – Increases penetration of HE shells by 30% but reduces fire chance – 4-points
Manual Fire Control for Secondary Armaments – Decreases secondary gun dispersion by 60% but you must manually select targets (Ctrl+Left Click) in order for your secondaries to engage.

Increased Range

Advanced Firing Training (AFT) – Increases the range of your secondary (up to and including 139mm) guns by 20% – 4-points

Ship Upgrade Modules

Damage Output

Auxiliary Armaments Mod 1 – Increases the survivability of your secondary guns by 100%
Secondary Battery Mod 2  – Decreases dispersion by 20%
Secondary Battery Mod 3 
– Decreases the reload of your secondary guns by 20%

Increased Range

Secondary Battery Mod 2 – Increases range by 20%

Flags

Damage Output

Victor Lima – Increases fire chance by 0.5%
India X-Ray – Increases fire chance by 0.5% but also increases Detonation chance by 5%
Mike Yankee Sixisix – Decreases dispersion and reload time by 5%

Range Increase

Mike Yankee Sixisix – Increases range by 5%

Recommended Builds by Nation

As each of the above mentioned nations – German, Japanese and French – share common traits in their secondaries from tier 8 up, these builds will generalize across the ship nations as opposed to by individual ships. Builds will include both the top recommended secondary build (best of range and DPM) as well as a hybrid (usually sacrifice range for mix of concealment, main guns, and survivability) based upon other characteristics. Further, even though the modules show a legendary module, they will not be included in any of the builds due to the exclusivity for both players and to just tier 10 ships.

Japanese

Top Build

Modules
Captain Skills
Flags

Hybrid Build

Modules
Captain Skills
Flags

French

Top Build

Modules
Captain Skills
Flags

Hybrid

Modules
Captain Skills
Flags

German

Top Build

Modules
Captain Skills
Flags

Hybrid

Modules
Captain Skills
Flags

Conclusion and Personal Thoughts

The secondary build is a niche for those that like to get up close and personal with the enemy. This is great for contesting an area, like a cap, against multiple enemies simultaneously. Key points to your success are DPM and survivability which often can rest upon the shoulders of supporting teammates and hopefully the lack of torpedoes. The best ship for this is the Kurfurst in my opinion. With its hydro, turtleback armor and large HP pool, and fast traversing guns, it’s great at the close in brawl. The Yamato can do well if it can control one of its flanks due to its high citadel and slow gun traverse while the Republique is best suited to do damage with a bit more protection due to its lackluster armor and flammability. The Kurfurst is the only ship that I run a near Top Build on (I don’t have Demo Expert, but instead have Superintendent). My Republique is based around reducing fire chance and the Main battery, while my Yamato is somewhere in between. The top tiers of all three lines can do great things with their secondaries, and a ship in those lines spec’d as such should be respected when you’re in range.

As a final note, I have not forgot about the Massachusetts. For the Top Build, I would use the French build only swapping out the Sierra Mike flag for November Echo Setteseven and for the Hybrid build of the Japanese, but that’s me.

Let me know what you think and what builds work for you in the comments below.

Note: All images were taken from https://wowsft.com/WarshipStats

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  1. These figures represent a full secondary spec ship at full health based on the full damage potential of the shell (a citadel).

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