- 1 Overview
- 2 Aiming Ship-Launched Torpedoes
- 3 Spotting
- 4 Hit Effects
- 5 Offensive Tactics
- 6 Defensive Tactics
Torpedoes are an excellent weapon at medium to close range against large or unaware ships who have a difficult time dodging. These self-propelled waterborne projectiles are slow to reload and slow to travel, but deliver devastating damage. They are usually launched by destroyers or torpedo bombers from aircraft carriers, but a fair number of cruisers also carry torpedoes as a secondary armament and even some battleships. It may be difficult to make your torpedoes hit their target every time, as they take more time to travel than shells and are a lot easier to dodge if spotted than shells.
Unlike firing guns, firing torpedoes does not increase a ship's detectability radius. This makes them good stealth weapons.
Aiming Ship-Launched Torpedoes
When torpedoes are selected (default key 3), the firing arcs of the torpedo launchers will be shown. The arc will be green if the corresponding launcher is loaded, or yellow if it is still reloading. Overlapping arcs are shown with a dashed line. The inner edge of the arc indicates the minimum arming distance of the torpedoes.
A highlight shows the current direction and spread of the launcher. The desired aim direction is shown with a red line. The traverse rate of torpedo launchers is generally quite fast, but finite.
If a enemy ship is targeted, a white cone shows the angle at which the torpedo spread will hit the center of the enemy ship, provided it maintains its current speed and heading. This provides a useful landmark.
Pressing the torpedo select key when they are already selected toggles between a wide spread and a narrow spread. Generally the narrow spread is more useful when attacking specific ships. Royal Navy cruisers instead have a choice between a narrow spread and firing torpedoes one at a time.
There are roughly three types of mounting configurations:
- Side: The most common configuration, these launchers can fire only to one side of the ship, with a varying arc size---some can fire close to directly forwards to close to directly backwards (Admiral Graf Spee), some can fire in a moderate side arc (most cruisers), some only side-backwards (Japanese cruisers of Tier 6 and above), and some only in a narrow side arc (Mutsu). Ships with this configuration tend to carry more total torpedoes, though they can only fire at most half in a single direction at a time.
- Centerline: Found on most destroyers, these launchers can fire to either side of the ship, generally with good arcs. This gives them more flexibility than side-mounted launchers, though it may take a few precious seconds to traverse from one side to the other. A few ships (Mahan, Udaloi) have a mix of side- and centerline-mounted torpedoes, allowing them to fire a large salvo on one side followed by a smaller one on the other.
- Forward: Found on low-tier German destroyers, these launchers can fire in a narrow forward arc.
After a torpedo launcher has fired its torpedoes it must reload before it can fire again. Generally the more tubes in a launcher, the longer it takes to reload, though there is variation beyond this.
When a Royal Navy cruiser fires torpedoes one at a time, the launcher does not automatically start reloading until all of its torpedoes have been fired. In this case the reload process can be started earlier by selecting torpedoes and pressing the reload key (default F).
There are several ways to speed up the reload time of torpedoes:
- Torpedo Armament Expertise: This Level 3 Commander Skill reduces torpedo reload time by 10%.
- Torpedo Tubes Modification 3: This upgrade is available to ships of Tier IX and above, and reduces torpedo reload time by 15%.
- Torpedo Reload Booster: This consumable is available on some Japanese destroyers, and reduces the reload time of torpedo tubes to either 30 or 5 seconds.
Aircraft and ships can spot torpedoes from a set range based on the torpedo model.
The Hydroacoustic Search consumable temporarily increases the range at which a ship can detect torpedoes to a fixed distance.
Once a torpedo is spotted it remains spotted for the rest of its lifetime.
Torpedo reaction times, i.e. the time it takes for the torpedo to travel across its Detectability Range, can be computed assuming a stationary target. It follows that moving towards the torpedo will reduce the reaction time, while moving away will increase the reaction time. The torpedo's Detectability Range is shown when hovering the mouse over the Torpedo Tubes heading in the port's ship specifications. To compute the reaction time, the Detectability Range must be divided by the torpedo's speed. Because the torpedo's speed is shown in knots, the value must be converted to meters per second; however, since in-game units do not correspond directly to real-world units, a unique conversion factor must be applied to convert the torpedo's speed in knots to meters-per-second.
Following considerable amounts of testing by numerous users, a conversion factor of 2.6 was arrived at and is generally considered accurate. Note that the 2.6 figure converts knots to kilometers-per-second, rather than meters-per-second. For the (unitless) formula to work correctly, we must take that into account by multiplying the answer by 1000. Thus, the formula is:
- Drange / (Vtorp * 2.6) * 1000 = Treaction
Alternatively, one could use a conversion factor of 0.0026 rather than multiplying the result by 1000:
- Drange / (Vtorp * .0026) = Treaction
As an example, the reaction time of an incoming Japanese Type F3 torpedo, acquired beginning with Yugumo, would be:
- 1.9km / (76 knots * 2.6) ≈ 9.6 seconds
Whereas the reaction time for an incoming Japanese Type 93 torpedo — found aboard stock Shimakaze — would be:
- 2.5km / (62 knots * 2.6) ≈ 15.5 seconds
Note the above figures were calculated with data from Update 0.5.7.
Once a torpedo hits a ship or landmass, or runs out of range, it is destroyed. If it hits a ship, it deals damage to it and may cause flooding, provided it has had time to arm.
Torpedoes have a minimum arming distance. If a torpedo strikes a target before it has reached the minimum arming distance, it will not explode and will not damage the target ship. Once the torpedo is armed, it will always explode when hitting a ship; duds, non-explosions or ricochets are not planned for the game.
- Torpedo hits into bow/stern -- deals about 0.9x the listed torpedo damage, independent of ship type.
- Torpedo hits into citadel with Torpedo Protection (e.g. anti-torpedo bulge, anti-torpedo belt) -- reduced damage, coefficient determined by the Damage Reduction value for the ship. This value can be found under the Survivability dropdown of the ship's specifications in the port. Not all ships have Torpedo Protection. Torpedo Protection also decreases the chance of flooding.
- Torpedo hits the mid-section of a destroyer -- reduced damage (multiplier of 0.9x to the listed damage, as of patch 0.4.1).
When a torpedo hits a target, it has a chance to cause a flood that does between 0.667% of the enemy's health per second for 90 seconds. It is very hard to survive a flood from full health without any assistance (i.e. repair party or damage control), so if you catch someone as their damage control finishes, you will have a nice reward by almost certainly flooding said enemy to death or at least getting a lot of damage from flooding. Flooding can only occur in one place, unlike fires. Additional floods caused will simply reset the timer.
Flood chance does vary on torpedo size, and the hidden flood coefficient that reduces the chance to flood based on the ship hit. For example, the Japanese 610mm Type 93 Mod 3 has a guaranteed chance to cause a flood with a 406% chance. On the other hand, the air-dropped Type 91 Mod 1a from Japanese torpedo bombers has a 63% chance to flood. However, one may notice that even these high flood chances may not cause a flood immediately (in the Japanese air-dropped torpedoes they may never cause a flood). This is due to all ships having a coefficient based on its torpedo protection that reduces the flood chance. Typically destroyers have the lowest at a flat 1.00 while battleships have much lower coefficient.
Avoiding Friendly Fire
Torpedoes are the number one cause of lethal friendly fire incidents. Always be aware of allies both in front of and beyond your target. When in doubt, hold fire. Even if your torpedoes do not hit your allies, they can be a distraction as well as restricting their options for movement. If nothing else, if your torpedo hits an ally it cannot hit an enemy!
While it is generally accepted that it is the torpedo ship's responsibility to avoid friendly fire, some defensive sailing is warranted. For example, it is inadvisable to suddenly cut in front of a friendly destroyer in smoke.
Damage Control Party
If you can, bait your opponent into using their Damage Control Party using fires before hitting them with torpedoes. They will then be unable to repair any flooding caused by your torpedoes, leading to extra damage. By the same token, if you hit an enemy with torpedoes and cause flooding, the enemy will be obligated to use Damage Control Party---a perfect time to set them on fire!
Some ships, particularly destroyers, have greater torpedo range than their detectability radius. This allows them to fire torpedoes at a target without being detected by that target, making this a relatively safe method of employing torpedoes. Indeed, this is the standard operating procedure for most Japanese destroyers. However, this tactic does have its weaknesses:
- The launching ship may still be detected by ships other than the target.
- The longer travel time at range means hits are less likely:
- The target has a longer window to move out of the way.
- There is more opportunity for the torpedoes to be spotted by other enemy ships or aircraft.
- The torpedoes will be spread wider, potentially allowing the target to slip between them.
Even ships with a slightly shorter torpedo range than detectability radius can perform stealth torpedoing in the right circumstances: even if the enemy ship is out of range at the moment the torpedo is fired, if the ship is approaching they may nevertheless sail into the torpedo. However, this will generally result in a lower chance for a hit since they are presenting a bow-on profile.
Smoke is another option in order to be able to torpedo without being seen. While ships firing artillery from smoke can sometimes be traced by their shell arcs, the delay and lower visibility of torpedoes makes it harder to precisely determine the location of a ship firing torpedoes out of a smoke cloud.
However, keep in mind that smoke works both ways. A smoke cloud is an attractive target for some torpedoes of the enemy's own, as a ship parked in a smoke cloud will have trouble spotting and dodging them. Even if the target does evade the torpedoes they may be forced out of the smoke cloud in the process. Also, smoke will not block Hydroacoustic Search or Surveillance Radar. Finally, players will often turn away from smoke in order to minimize the damage they take from a source they cannot fire back at.
Another option is to hide behind an island as an enemy ship passes by, and then ambush them at close range. This is often the best way of ensuring a large number of torpedo hits---the element of surprise and the short range makes it difficult for the enemy to dodge the torpedoes or sink you before you can launch. Even a higher-tier, full-health battleship can be sunk in seconds this way.
The main difficulty is setting up the ambush---it is often more of a matter of opportunity than anything else. In the early game there are often too many ships about to set up the ambush undetected. Guess where opposing ships, especially lone ships, may be headed and note any islands they may be passing by. If you can get behind one of those islands first, you can try setting up an ambush.
Note that as with smoke, islands will not block Hydroacoustic Search or Surveillance Radar. Furthermore, aircraft can see over islands. Ships will automatically detect each other at a range of 2 km (3 km with Target Acquisition upgrade) regardless of islands or other factors. Finally of course, other ships may also be able to spot. If the enemy has these measures, they may be able to avoid your ambush and/or counterattack. On the other hand, if you have these measures they can aid in the ambush.
If the enemy ship is moving quickly and/or you have slow torpedoes, you may be able to launch even before the target has line of sight to you. This is safer than the conventional charge around the corner, but the delay makes it less reliable.
In a pinch it may be necessary to attack a target without benefit of stealth or a close-range ambush. Here it is best to attack head-on: torpedoes are liable to run out of range and are extremely easy to dodge in a chasing situation. Furthermore, in a chasing situation it takes far too long to close to a range where torpedo hits can be ensured.
Even if in a position to attack head-on this is an extremely risky proposition. You will likely become the priority target for all nearby enemies, and at close range they are likely to hit and at least some are likely to be able to shoot at your broadside.
- Get as close as you can before being detected and noticed. Hold your gun fire if you are not detected, and consider continuing to hold or shoot a different target if your rush target has not noticed you yet.
- It is good to have local numerical advantage. Allies can distract the target for a few crucial seconds as you close, and discourage the target from turning and fleeing for fear of showing a vulnerable broadside. Unfortunately, if the situation is so desperate that rushing is a good idea, you are most likely rather at a numerical disadvantage.
- Move towards the side the target's guns are not pointing towards. Again, allies can be helpful here.
- Don't fire your torpedoes too soon. While getting sunk or having your torpedo tubes incapacitated or destroyed before you can launch is unfortunate, so is launching from too great a distance and giving your target a chance to dodge. If you can wait that long, launch just before you pass alongside the target, just far away enough to guarantee that your torpedoes arm.
- If the attack ends up with you in a position likely to be quickly sunk, consider ramming. But be aware that the target may try to do the same to you if they are at a disadvantage!
- If you have torpedo launchers mounted on both sides of your ship and the first pass fails to sink your target, consider turning away from the target so you can get the other side's torpedo launchers to bear rather than trying to keep your guns on the target. If the target tries to keep their guns on you, they will run into your other side's torpedo arcs quite quickly.
- Risks are magnified if your target also has torpedoes. If your target knows what they are doing, it is likely that the duel will end with both ships sunk, so be sure you are willing to risk this outcome before making a head-on attack against another torpedo-armed ship. It is often better to be the second to launch, provided you don't get sunk before you can launch:
- By launching later and closer it will be harder for your opponent to dodge your torpedoes than vice versa.
- If your opponent launches first and fails to sink you, you can move to an optimal launching position with much less risk.
- As a bonus, even if you get sunk after you launch, you have a good chance at the "It's Just a Flesh Wound" achievement and its reward of India Bravo Terrathree signal flags (reduces post-battle service cost).
If you suspect that your target is somehow obligated to keep their current course (e.g. to avoid presenting broadside to your allies, or to reach a capture point as quickly as possible), is distracted, or is simply not very good, and that they will simply continue sailing on their present course and speed, you can just aim directly at the white predictive marker.
Make sure that you have the correct target selected (default X to change targets) before you make any judgments from the marker. If the enemy is clustered, it may also be a good idea to check the markers of multiple targets---if multiple markers are close together you may be able to threaten multiple enemies with a single torpedo salvo.
If your target is broadside to you and traveling at full speed, the only things they could do to change where they end up relative to the predictive marker are to slow down and/or turn in or out, both of which will put them behind the marker by the time the torpedoes get there. Both are also common reactions to spotting torpedoes. In this case it is a good idea to aim some of your torpedoes behind the marker.
Likewise, if your target is accelerating or turning towards broadside they may end up ahead of the marker, though this is less common than the above.
Sometimes the marker is not necessary at all:
- If you predict the enemy will soon come through a chokepoint, you may want to fire torpedoes through the chokepoint regardless of the current marker position, or sometimes even if there is no enemy currently visible to get a marker from.
- If a target is stationary in smoke and firing shells out of it, you can fire torpedoes towards the shell origin.
The torpedo marker can also be a good way of measuring the enemy's speed, direction, and acceleration for the purpose of leading artillery fire.
Damage is not the only reason to use torpedoes. They can also be used to force enemies to take or avoid a particular course, which in turn can be useful when you and/or your allies are trying to make an escape, get a shot at their broadside, and so forth. If nothing else they may serve as a distraction as your opponent tries to determine how to avoid them.
Before Torpedoes Are Spotted
Effective torpedo defense starts before the torpedoes---and sometimes before their launcher---are spotted. If there is any risk of incoming torpedoes, it is a good idea to frequently change course and speed (known colloquially as "WASD hacks") in order to foil long-range torpedo prediction. Pointing one's bow or stern towards the direction of expected threats will reduce the target area.
If sitting in smoke, avoid presenting a full broadside to the direction of likely enemy torpedo attacks. This will make it less likely to be hit if the enemy fires torpedoes into the smoke. However, a moderate angle may be useful in dodging laterally.
Even if you are undetected, you are not immune to torpedoes. Be careful when passing into obvious chokepoints near where enemy destroyers may have pre-fired them. Unless you are actively trying to spot torpedoes using a maneuverable ship or Hydroacoustic Search, try to avoid sailing between friendly ships and any enemies that may be trying to torpedo them, as you can still be hit by torpedoes that were not intended for you.
Defending Against Rushes
If an enemy is trying to rush and torpedo you at close range, consider these tips:
- If you can do so safely (e.g. without showing broadside to enemies who may shoot at you), turn away and start kiting. It is difficult to rush even a slow ship that is kiting away.
- Shoot at the rushing enemy. You may be able to sink them before they launch; disable or destroy their torpedo tubes, engine, or rudder; or cause them to panic and launch too early, allowing you to dodge more easily.
- Get your allies to shoot at the rushing enemy too. Designate the target for your allies by aiming at them and pressing default F3.
- Most ships need to show broadside in order to launch torpedoes. Take this as a signal---and if they are a cruiser or battleship, an opportunity to shoot them in the citadel!
- Unless you are trying to bait them into launching early, keep turning, and keep pointing your bow or stern towards the rushing enemy; this will make it harder for them to hit you. Even near-point-blank torpedoes can sometimes be dodged this way!
- If you have torpedoes of your own, prepare to use them---see the offensive tactics above.
- If all else fails, go for the ram. Better for you to trade ships than for the enemy to sink you and survive.
When Torpedoes Are Spotted
Once incoming torpedoes have been spotted it is time to try to dodge them ("torpedobeat") if necessary. When facing a spread of torpedoes, there are three main options:
- Try to make the spread pass ahead of your ship. Apply hard rudder to bring your ship parallel to the path of the torpedoes, and cut your throttle.
- All else being equal, it is generally advised to turn towards, rather than away, from the torpedoes---although this shortens the time of approach, this also gives the torpedoes less time to cover a wide spread, and restores your freedom of movement faster. Furthermore, a stern hit risks disabling your rudder.
- If turning away from the torpedoes, keeping your throttle down will shorten the time it takes for the torpedoes to pass you.
- Try to make the spread pass behind your ship. Sail close to broadside to the torpedoes and apply full speed ahead. This is often riskier, as giving a broadside increases your target area and makes you more vulnerable to artillery fire from the direction the torpedoes came from. However, it may sometimes be necessary, especially if your opponent launched behind your path expecting you to take option #1.
- Try to sail between the torpedoes, or, if not possible, to minimize the number of torpedo hits. As with the first option, it is generally best to turn into the torpedoes. This can be very risky, and it will be difficult for you to maneuver until the torpedoes are past. Again, however, it may sometimes be necessary.
Which option to use depends on whether the torpedoes were launched more ahead or behind your ship, and on the broader tactical situation.
If you are at slow speed:
- Do not try to reverse direction. Ship deceleration is extremely slow, and even propulsion upgrades do not improve the rate of deceleration.
- On the other hand, accelerating is fine, especially in a destroyer, British cruiser, or ship with the propulsion acceleration upgrade.
Against Torpedo Bombers
- Travel close to friendly ships, especially those with good AA capabilities. This will increase the chance of shooting down bombers before they reach you.
- Make the torpedo bombers your priority target (default Ctrl to show cursor, then click on the bomber wing). This will make sure your AA fires at the torpedo bombers in preference to any other, less dangerous planes that may be around, and also gives a damage bonus. If there are multiple torpedo bomber wings, switch targets after your current target has dropped their torpedoes.
- If you have Defensive AA Fire and/or Catapult Fighter consumables, an enemy bomber attack is a good time to use them. In addition to shooting down more planes, Defensive AA Fire will cause a panic reaction, increasing the spread of any torpedoes dropped.
- If the torpedo bombers are far away and you have very good AA, you can turn away from them. This will force them to spend more time inside your AA range.
- Very fast ships (Russian destroyers) can even outrun air-dropped torpedoes (provided they do not lose too much speed by turning---but also keep in mind that driving in a straight line will make you more vulnerable to cross-drops and artillery fire).
- Otherwise, turn into them. This present a smaller target to the torpedoes and make your path harder to predict. Additionally if you are lucky the bombers will drop too close and the torpedoes will not have time to arm.
- If the bombers are approaching from a shoreline, being close to that shoreline will force them to go to the other side, as torpedoes do not function if they are dropped on land. On the other hand, if the bombers are coming from the other direction being close to the shoreline will restrict your options for maneuvering.
Near Closest Approach
- The stern of many ships is elevated above the water, so it is possible for a torpedo to pass under the stern without hitting the ship.
- Remember that a ship's rudder takes time to shift, and the inertia of a ship will tend to cause it to drift towards the outside of a turn. British cruisers are particularly infamous for this. If you are aiming for a narrow gap between torpedoes, you should start straightening out before you reach the gap.
- Counterintuitively, if a torpedo is coming from close to directly ahead and would hit near your stern, it may be possible to get your stern out of the way by turning towards the torpedo as your bow clears it.
- If you are in a cruiser or battleship and being hit by a torpedo is inevitable, try to take it near the middle---this way your torpedo protection system will reduce the damage and chance of flooding.
As mentioned before, smoke tends to attract enemy torpedoes. Some tips to avoid being hit by enemy torpedoes when in smoke:
- Don't present your broadside to directions enemy torpedoes may come from, as presenting such a large area will make it difficult to dodge.
- Even with smoke, landmasses can be useful to reduce the possible directions torpedoes may come from, and to duck behind when you see torpedoes coming.
- Laying a longer smoke cloud and moving slowly back-and-forth in it will make it harder to predict your current and future position if you are firing your guns. However, when actively dodging torpedoes, keep in mind that it takes a long time to reverse direction.
- Smoke does not last forever, and sometimes it may be best to leave the smoke cloud early to avoid torpedoes and other threats. Always have an escape route planned.