VII
VII
Baltimore
Baltimore

Designed after the treaty limitations had been lifted and built using the experience gained in World War II. Greater dimensions of the cruiser improved her survivability owing to a reinforced armor deck and enhanced protection for the propulsion. In addtion to the main battery guns, the ship received dual-purpose artillery mounts.

Max Salvo
RPM
HE Alpha Strike
HE DPM
AP Alpha Strike
AP DPM
Fire/Salvo Chance
Torpedo Reaction Time

Survivability

Hit Points
Armor
Torpedo Reduction

Aircraft

Torpedo Bombers
Aircraft
Hitpoints
Cruise Speed
Max Speed
Attack Unit
Squadron Size
Detectability Range
Aircraft On Deck
Restoration Time
Torpedo Damage
Torpedo Speed
Torpedo Range
Dive Bombers
Aircraft
Hitpoints
Cruise Speed
Max Speed
Attack Unit
Squadron Size
Detectability Range
Aircraft On Deck
Restoration Time
Bomb Damage
Bomb Fire Chance

Armament

Main Battery
Guns
Firing Range
Reload Time
180º Turn Time
HE Max Damage
HE Fire Chance
AP Max Damage
Torpedoes
Layout
Reload Time
Max Damage
Detectability Range
Range
Speed
Secondary Battery 1
Guns
Firing Range
Reload Time
Max Damage
HE Fire Chance
Secondary Battery 2
Guns
Firing Range
Reload Time
Max Damage
HE Fire Chance

Anti-Aircraft Armament

Set 1
Guns
DPS
Firing Range
Set 2
Guns
DPS
Firing Range
Set 3
Guns
DPS
Firing Range
Set 4
Guns
DPS
Firing Range

Maneuverability

Max Speed
Turning Circle
Rudder Shift

Concealment

Sea
Air
Smoke Firing
Baltimore

USS Baltimore (CA-68)

A tier seven CA that endures with a wonderful set of consumables, and well rounded gunnery
Captn_Thatch

It's v 3.8.0.1 and along with it brings the Origin of Wisdom Campaign which rewards Tier 7 German Cruiser Mainz upon completion. This review covers one of the first ships released into the game, USS Baltimore. Tech Tree Baltimore is one of the more reliable cruisers from the early days, and included as such is Azur Lane's Baltimore, which was for sale for 15k dubs during the first wave of the Azur Lane Collaboration.

Baltimore is a GOOD ship, with a MODERATE Skill Floor and a HIGH Skill Ceiling.

I don't think I personally could find a better ship to kick off this series of reviews, featuring Tier 7 Cruisers. This review specifically covers both the Baltimores, but there will be quite a few dashes of Wichita thrown in for good measure. Two for One? Three for One? You decide.

History

The design was first commissioned in the late 1930's, which adapted lessons learned from the preceding Wichita-Class and the currently under construction, lighter Cleveland Class. Baltimore's design featured an orthodox A-B-X configuration of 3 triple turrets of (8") 203mm guns. Fast and well armed for the era, the fate of the project ended by cancelling later ships construction in favor of the Cleveland Class which were both faster, lighter, and quicker to build which meant more ships out at sea protecting US Navy Carriers. Baltimore Class Cruisers were built from 1941-1945 with some serving in various sub-classes until the 1970's.

With 14 completed ships of the class, the Baltimore-Class had the most heavy cruisers built of any one class from nation during the war-time period. Generally considered a success, the class was preceded by the USS Wichita, and succeeded by the Oregon-City Class. With attached sub-classes Boston featuring the world's first Guided Missile Cruiser in the early 1950's USS Boston (CAG-1) and Flagship variations. The design was most notable for incorporation of surveillance radar, gun control fire systems which allowed for calculation beyond the horizon, 5'' Anti-Air, and 8'' Main Battery. This design was focused in on the ships ability to be a Carrier Fleet Escort Ship, capable of both Anti-Air Screening, Shore Bombardment, eventually being modified to serve as the world's first guided missile cruiser.

USS Baltimore CA-68 herself was laid down in 1941, by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation at the Fore River Shipyard in Quincy, Massachusetts. The ship was launched in 1942 and served until 1956 when she was decommissioned, and eventually scrapped in 1971. The ship served primarily in the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign, earning 9 battle stars.

Pro Et Contra

Strengths

  1. Radar
  2. Well Rounded
  3. Great EHP
  4. Excellent AP
  5. Excellent AA

Weaknesses

  1. No Torpedoes
  2. Modest Armor
  3. 'Over-matchable' Bow
  4. Above the water citadel
  5. 27mm Plating

The Basics

Most Captains will generally be familiar with Baltimore in many senses of her existence, as one of the oldest tech tree lines in any version of World of Warships. Baltimore continually holds her rankings as she is one of those timeless designs and versatile kits that allows for prolonged stays in the competitive arena. A statistically well rounded and capable ship, coupled with fantastically flexible AP, consumables including radar, sonar and a heal which hurls Baltimore in the upper echelons of competitive play for both offensive and defensive strategies. With wonderful ballistic arcs, Baltimore is able to effectively fire from cover. There are many such capable strategies to employ with this ship, and Captains will generally entertain a certain degree of flexibility in Baltimore, not typically found in other ships of her class.

Offense

GOOD

There's quite a lot to dissect here in the sense that Baltimore has some quite excellently well-rounded gunnery despite their lackluster appearance at face value. As the metric used to compare and compile data becomes more in depth, the tools we have to measure these new metrics are improved. Let's start with the simple concepts and work our way through the more complex.

Captain's, you're going to read a lot of above average, and a lot about how certain weaknesses are well glossed over by cumulative strengths. This seems to be a redundant feature found in the US Naval Ships.

Kit Reload

  • Sigfried: 26
  • Azuma: 22.9
  • *Riga: 15.5
  • Mogami: 15
  • Atago: 14.1
  • Amalfi: 14.1
  • P. Eugen: 13
  • Albemarle: 12.5
  • Bagration: 11
  • Baltimore: 10.6
  • Hipper: 10.1
  • Wichita: 10
  • Martel: 10
  • Suzuya: 10
  • AL Balti: 9.7
  • Chapayev: 8
  • Kutuzov: 7
  • Edinburgh: 6.6
  • Ochakov: 5.8
  • Cleveland: 5.7

If you're like me, and you like looking for basic trends you can generally see one right before your eyes on this list. Light Cruisers tend to sink to the bottom with faster reloads, and heavier cruisers with longer reloads and larger guns tend to float up to the top with longer reloads. Baltimore in her equipped state has two somewhat direct focuses; counting lots of shots or making your shots count. If you're one of the fortunate few whom happened to grab Azur Lane Baltimore when she briefly came through the shop during the first tour of the collaborations: you might just be in for a treat reading about some of the wonderful perks this ship has in particular.

By now, you probably noticed that AL Baltimore and her tech tree version have different reloads. The truth is simple, these ships do actually have different stats in some manners. As we progress, we'll dive into those differences and why these ships wound up with different stats and builds. Tech Tree Baltimore has a 12s stock reload, and AL Baltimore 11s. This may not seem like much, but allows captains to effectively employ DPM builds where AL Baltimore can successfully fire off 3 full salvos in a single radar; and is the only Baltimore and shy of Wichita, the only heavy cruiser to be able to do so. Without getting too math-y, DPM build AL Baltimore has the ability to fire 3 full salvos during her Radar, something her TT version cannot do. Wichita sits on the cusp of being able to build into DPM, or Dispersion, but captains should thoroughly be advised that Wichita trials Baltimore in terms of DPM, Alpha, HP and EHP.

Why does this matter?-Wichita, a preceding Class has many fundamental similarities to Baltimore, in concept and playstyle. In terms of Offense, Wichita falls just short of the line of a Baltimore.

HE DPM

  • Cleveland: 289,800
  • Suzuya: 243,000
  • Kutuzov: 224,400
  • Chapayev: 207,000
  • Ochakov: 180,400
  • AL Balti: 155,876
  • Baltimore: 152,700
  • Martel: 151,000
  • Wichita: 151,200
  • Albemarle: 142,560
  • Atago: 138,600
  • Mogami: 132,000
  • Hipper: 128,316
  • Bagration: 122,500
  • Amalfi: 118,723
  • *Riga: 106,258
  • Azuma: 105,750
  • P. Eugen: 90,000
  • Sigfried: 60,923
  • Edinburgh: 0

This is a pretty tell tale list for a lot of reasons. HE DPM is fairly important in terms of striking both smaller and larger targets. Before we delve into the AP, lets talk about her HE. With an average (literally) fire (14%) starting capability and 33mm of HE pen, above average HE DPM for any cruiser, and a worthy distinction of specifically topping all the heavy cruisers >203mm; this is a solid plus for Baltimore. It's also worth pointing out that AL Balti and TT Balti do have different Alpha Values for their AP and their HE, but on the whole are quite similar, even in comparison to Wichita; which is not.

AP DPM

  • Cleveland: 415,800
  • Edinburgh: 337,900
  • Kutuzov: 336,600
  • Chapayev: 306,000
  • Suzuya: 297,000
  • Hipper: 285,148
  • AL Balti: 278,000
  • Ochakov: 270,600
  • Baltimore: 270,000
  • Martel: 264,600
  • Bagration: 222,950
  • Wichita: 216,000
  • P. Eugen: 212,400
  • *Riga: 200,322
  • Atago: 197,400
  • Albemarle: 194,400
  • Azuma: 191,525
  • Mogami: 188,000
  • Amalfi: 183,360
  • Sigfried: 160,615

This is where things start to get interesting. Shy of Hipper, Baltimore again tops the 203mm pack. Unlike most, Baltimore features improved penetration and ricochet angles. With a 60o potential ricochet angle, and 67o guaranteed ricochet angle, this allows for greater play in terms of the 45o and 60o of the same nature found on the vast majority of other ships.

Wichita also has these same improved pen and ricochet angles, however has over 1k less alpha on her AP shells, resulting in much lower AP DPM, which is absolutely a mark against her. Of all the cruisers, Baltimore and Wichita arguably have the most need to be flexible between their shell types, and this 60k gap is over 20k when all is said and done regarding damage reduction and penetration values, and that translates to a tangible amount of damage.

Just because one ship may have the same caliber gunnery, does not mean she is firing the same shells. Even in ships of the same nation, this can be quite evident between the numbers. In the case of Alabama and Massachusetts, the difference is nearly negligible. In the case of Baltimore and Wichita, you can certainly feel it.

Stock Gunnery Range

  • Sigfried: 17.1
  • *Riga: 16.9
  • Bagration: 16.8
  • Chapayev: 16.7
  • P. Eugen: 16.6
  • Ochakov: 16.3
  • Mogami: 16.1
  • Suzuya: 16.1
  • Kutuzov: 16
  • Hipper: 15.8
  • Martel: 15.8
  • Azuma: 15.8
  • Baltimore: 15.5
  • AL Balti: 15.5
  • Wichita: 15.5
  • Amalfi: 15.4
  • Edinburgh: 15.3
  • Cleveland: 15.3
  • Albemarle: 14.8
  • Atago: 14.7

This is where things get even more interesting. Baltimore by the numbers has just a bit below average on her gunnery range but this is where things as said above, get interesting. Baltimore's gunnery has quite rounded arcs and slower muzzle velocities than are typically found in her class and spread. Lets not forget, we have improved pen angles. The average tends to hover nearer 900m/s, where Baltimore now breaks 850m/s. Looks and numbers at first blush are deceiving, and this is due to scaling. This slow initial velocity gives way to high flying arcs, which allow for firing effectively from island cover; and at further ranges giving the ability to start punching heavily into deck armor.

Shell Velocity

Here's a new offensive category altogether. This is certainly one very important measurement and will help clue in on gun efficacy. Without getting too math-y, shell velocity and mass equate to penetration capability on a physics level.

Muzzle Velocity for Tech Tree Baltimore

  1. (AP): 853m/s
  2. (HE): 823m/s

Muzzle Velocity for Azur Lane Baltimore

  1. (AP): 762/m/s
  2. (HE): 823m/s

-Yes, they actually do have different gunnery characteristics. Not only do Tech Tree and Azur Lane have different Muzzle Velocities, they have different flight characteristics. Tech Tree : Azur Lane.

Short-Mid Range Averaged Velocity (1s-5s) [TT:AL]

  1. (AP): 526m/s : 460m/s
  2. (HE): 500m/s : 496m/s

Mid-Long Range Averaged Velocity (6s-10s) [TT:AL]

  1. (AP): 423m/s : 383m/s
  2. (HE): 402m/s : 390m/s

On the whole, these numbers are averaged, meaning there is some play here off the actual numbers. The general and simple formulary of grouping being by time, over distance, yielding average velocity. Baltimore has a pretty 'well rounded' trajectory loss, meaning, your ballistics isn't particularly fast, but is very smooth, predictable, with a very stable flow of inertia loss. Like most shells, ballistically speaking Baltimore loses the vast majority of her momentum immediately after firing; beyond 4s, becoming much more gradual and even. Captain's will also notice the HE with a higher initial velocity, being overtaken by AP at longer ranges, literally, proof in the pudding over the weight of the shell and dynamic ballistics being represented in simple and digestible terms.

Inertia is the force that describes an objects ability to resist a change; i.e. an object in motion will stay in motion, or an object at rest will stay at rest, unless enacted on another force. Momentum is the force of the weight pushing the shell forwards, Inertia is the tendency to continue forwards, gravity and drag are the forces which cause a shell to lose its inertia and fall.

Wichita probably falls close to these values, but I have a sneaking suspicion that her "heavy" shells are not actually quite as heavy as those on Baltimore; translating to a more pronounced loss in her AP velocity over range, falling closer to her HE values rather than AP. This of course is just a theory pertaining to Wichita, and she will be put under the microscope...or rather, rangefinder and stopwatch sooner or later. In terms of her kit, most Wichita builds I have personally seen tend to focus more on dispersion, rather than DPM. Two objects travel at the same speed, the heavier one will take longer to stop, and this justly answers the same question for the shells between the Tech Tree and Azur Lane ships as well.

Let's summarize. Most of this stuff above points to a very well rounded, consistent and flexible gunnery with the ability to capitalize on flexible use of shells with the capability to deal with multiple targets. Wichita can certainly build into DPM, but will not be quite as successful as AL Baltimore due to the difference in her Alpha Values. AL Baltimore lives on the cusp of being able to choose between DPM or Dispersion, and her Tech Tree version tends to live more on the dispersion side of things.

Furthermore, Captains will see that Azur Lane Baltimore benefits from closer ranges of engagement, as her shells tend to lose velocity quicker than her Tech Tree counterpart. This again suggests, and reflects the Tech Tree version having slightly heavier shells, which hold velocity better.

Certainly, each build will work on each ship, however, independently and statistically speaking there are absolutely more reasons to build each ship a specific way. When you are effectively able to debate this type of congruent strategy, you are generally leaning very solidly into a GOOD rating for offensive prowess, especially when debating gunnery. The difference becomes more leaned into in other categories.

Defense

GREAT

Baltimore has a lot going for her defensively, minus her armor. Radar, Hydro, Excellent AA, DD Handling, and the ability to capitalize on her consumable use as well; as some good Base HP and Great EHP. Cleveland and Baltimore are armored fairly similarly, with 27mm on the nose and as general plating, Baltimore and Cleveland are similarly vulnerable, comparable armor schemes and citadels. Baltimore however, bests Cleveland by about 6k base HP and 15k EHP. For those whom think all heals are percentage based; some ships have identical health pools and different heals, while some ships have similar, but different health pools, and similar heals. Its important to run the math out, you see can see some big difference, even in similar ships, over EHP. Baltimore is one such ship which sees the benefit of this.

HP

  • Sigfried: 55,500
  • Azuma: 52,500
  • P. Eugen: 45,000
  • Hipper: 43,800
  • Amalfi: 42,800
  • Baltimore: 42,400
  • AL Balti: 42,400
  • Bagration: 42,000
  • *Riga: 42,000
  • Kutuzov: 40,700
  • Atago: 40,100
  • Albemarle: 39,400
  • Mogami: 39,100
  • Suzuya: 38,000
  • Martel: 38,000
  • Wichita: 37,900
  • Chapayev: 37,000
  • Cleveland: 36,900
  • Edinburgh: 36,400
  • Ochakov: 34,730

In terms of CA's, pretty average, maybe even above average. Obviously, the super cruisers will lead the pack.

EHP

  • Azuma: 86,184
  • Sigfried: 73,980
  • Albemarle: 70,880
  • Baltimore: 65,624
  • AL Balti: 65,624
  • Edinburgh: 65,480
  • Amalfi: 60,692
  • P. Eugen: 60,120
  • Mogami: 52,204
  • Chapayev: 51,504
  • Suzuya: 50,768
  • Wichita: 50,612
  • Martel: 48,584
  • Cleveland: 47,204
  • Ochakov: 46,378

This is the surprising thing. Azuma actually has some great heals. She's almost head and neck above the rest with a 13k lead. Baltimore fares well on this list too, 65k is the best in a CA, shy of Albemarle and her portable dry-dock heal. Some cruisers just regenerate health better than others, and given Albemarle's penchant for being citadelled, Baltimore probably takes the cake here in reality with overall EHP and defensive reliability, saving for the 2 Super Cruisers.

Baltimore is covered in 27mm plating, and what's worse, does not share really any improvements off the armor scheme found on Cleveland. Cleveland is not known for being exceptionally tank-y, and like most cruisers, Baltimore will feel getting shot by >406mm. That being said, 381mm cannot overmatch your armor, and you can put a bit more fight into things you may not initially suspect. With 65k EHP, avoiding 406mm at T7 can be a challenge, but islands are your friends.

AL Baltimore gets a slight edge up over both Wichita and TT Baltimore in terms of defensive prowess. As briefly covered before, TT Baltimore will sacrifice a lot of things to get down to a sub 10s reload, which would allow her to fire 3 full salvos during her radar. Wichita can do this stock, however suffers from lower alpha translating into lower DPM. Wichita cannot lower her DPM to a point where she can fire off a 4th salvo. This leaves AL Baltimore in the unique position of being both DPM efficient enough to make her radars count, and defensively tank-y enough to sit just outside the caps long enough to make her radar effective.

Something like a Chapayev with longer range radar make get a bit more freedom, but often greatly lacks the tankiness to seriously contest such areas. Cleveland can be somewhat more negotiable, given similar armor, however captains must weigh both less HP and much less EHP in the same situation (which brings forth the argument of shoot and scoot or stay and play). Tech Tree Baltimore is efficient enough to count into the rankings, but will struggle to build into a 3rd such salvo, and thus tends to lean much more into the dispersion builds; which dissuades the ability of a 3rd salvo in radar. This translates to roughly just one or two ships in the pack being able to actively and offensively use such situations to their leverage and favor. In this category, thus becoming a noteworthy, and worthwhile point to discuss.

There's no other way around it. When one is able to dissect this information in such a way that one is literally almost splitting very fine hairs over the efficacy of radars; you are easily looking at a very strong good, if not great rating. Baltimore, either version, both hold this GREAT rating pretty easily, from stem to stern. Wichita, probably just holds onto a very strong GOOD rating. AA Defense ratings and lower HP played pretty heavily into the difference between Wichita and Baltimore's defensive ranks.

Anti-Air Suite

BEST

Baltimore tops the charts in terms of cruiser AA DPS and she doesn't have to flex at all to do so, these are base values. Even more so, these values are quite sufficient in repelling those pesky airborne buggers. Given AL Baltimore, plus a Shelly Beapley build, adding just the first upgrade as the Anti-Air mod will allow Baltimore to become almost invulnerable to air spotting; mostly because her air detection will be lower than her AA Suite's range, and with the decent values posted by Baltimore leave her more than apt to fend for herself.

In terms of AA, there are some cruisers who are able to handle aircraft and some cannot. Much like destroyers, that cut off point is vaguely the 300/s margin. It's also worth noting two things here. Azuma ranks highly, and Wichita is middle of the pack. Wichita will shoot down planes, not nearly as well as her successors.

AA DPS

  • Baltimore: 365
  • AL Balti: 365
  • Cleveland: 363
  • Sigfried: 354
  • Azuma: 342
  • Hipper: 288
  • Bagration: 280
  • P. Eugen: 279
  • Kutuzov: 264
  • Edinburgh: 263
  • *Riga: 262
  • Amalfi: 240
  • Wichita: 217
  • Albemarle: 211
  • Chapayev: 207
  • Martel: 204
  • Ochakov: 196
  • Mogami: 127
  • Atago: 90
  • Suzuya: 67

Maneuverability

GOOD

Baltimore handles like a destroyer. Simply put. Really the only major thing holding her back from excellence in this regard is her below average top speed. It's below average, not awful; and even in this situation can be improved. Furthermore, 32knots is perfect for keeping up with your Capital Ships, and if desired can be bumped up to 36.5 with the right commander skills.

MAX BASE SPEED

  • Amalfi: 38.1
  • Ochakov: 36
  • Chapayev: 35.5
  • Atago: 35.5
  • Bagration: 35.5
  • Azuma: 35
  • *Riga: 34.5
  • Mogami: 34.5
  • Suzuya: 34.5
  • Martel: 33.5
  • Sigfried: 33.5
  • Wichita: 33.5
  • Albemarle: 33
  • Cleveland: 33
  • Kutuzov: 33
  • Edinburgh: 32.5
  • Baltimore: 32.5
  • AL Balti: 32.5
  • P. Eugen: 32
  • Hipper: 32

TURN RADIUS

  • Azuma: 920
  • *Riga: 920
  • Bagration: 890
  • Chapayev: 890
  • Sigfried: 880
  • Atago: 790
  • P. Eugen: 770
  • Kutuzov: 760
  • Mogami: 750
  • Suzuya: 750
  • Ochakov: 750
  • Hipper: 740
  • Baltimore: 730
  • AL Balti: 730
  • Albemarle: 720
  • Martel: 690
  • Edinburgh: 680
  • Amalfi: 680
  • Wichita: 680
  • Cleveland: 660

I know we've seen double lists before, but the dreaded almighty triple list? woah.

Kit RUDDER SHIFT

  • Sigfried: 14
  • Azuma: 12.3
  • Bagration: 11.5
  • *Riga: 11.5
  • Amalfi: 11
  • Hipper: 9.7
  • Martel: 8.9
  • Albemarle: 8.6
  • Atago: 8.1
  • P. Eugen: 7.8
  • Cleveland: 7.2
  • Chapayev: 7
  • Ochakov: 6.9
  • Edinburgh: 6.9
  • Wichita: 6
  • Kutuzov: 5.4
  • Mogami: 5.1
  • Baltimore: 4.9
  • AL Balti: 4.9
  • Suzuya: 4.5

I'm just going to let the numbers do the talking here. This column is quite telling, especially in regards to some ships over others. I wont say that this is all-around great, but I think we all can very soundly agree they are very solidly GOOD.

Concealment

GOOD

9km concealment Baltimore? It's almost as silly as it sounds, but it's actually quite plausible. Shelly Beapley comes with a wonderful 4th row skill which helps nudge Baltimore down to 9km, giving her the ability to Radar her entire detection ring. Otherwise, most Baltimores will likely tend to hover nearer the 10-11km range, which is still GOOD. This is one of those rankings that can go from GOOD to GREAT depending on the commander build.

Kit SURFACE CONCEAL

  • *Riga: 13.1
  • Chapayev: 12.9
  • Kutuzov: 12
  • Sigfried: 11.8
  • P. Eugen: 11.7
  • Hipper: 11.6
  • Martel: 11.6
  • Ochakov: 11.4
  • Cleveland: 11.3
  • Mogami: 11.1
  • Azuma: 10.9
  • Albemarle: 10.9
  • Bagration: 10.8
  • Edinburgh: 10.8
  • Atago: 10.6
  • Baltimore: 10.5
  • AL Balti: 10.5
  • Wichita: 10.4
  • Suzuya: 10.2
  • Amalfi: 9.2

AIR CONCEAL

  • *Riga: 8.2
  • Sigfried: 8
  • Kutuzov: 7.8
  • Chapayev: 7.7
  • Ochakov: 7.5
  • Bagration: 7.5
  • P. Eugen: 7.4
  • Hipper: 7.3
  • Martel: 7.3
  • Azuma: 6.9
  • Baltimore: 6.8
  • Cleveland: 6.8
  • AL Balti: 6.8
  • Atago: 6.6
  • Mogami: 6.6
  • Suzuya: 6.6
  • Edinburgh: 6.5
  • Albemarle: 6.5
  • Wichita: 6.5
  • Amalfi: 5.8

Another pretty pivotal point to bring up is the application of AA basic range improvements in addition to the Beapley Build, which will allow Baltimore to only be detectable by air, while the plane is within the reach of her AA gunnery. On both fronts, this is quite a strong sell for a very solid great rating.

Consumables

GREAT

This is one of those points of the review where we start to see some cumulative goodness. What I mean by that, is by now there's probably a fair few points or arguments that are starting to come together. This subsection reveals the basic bread and butter of the ship, Baltimore, which herself encompasses the Jack of All Trades mentality that identifies as the USN underlying strategic creed.

Baltimore comes with all the fixings, so to say, with a standard damage control party and unlimited charges. The surveillance package includes the average cookie-cutter Hydro-Acoustic Search, and 9km 30s Radar. To top it off, Baltimore also packs in a pretty strong healing potential.

-Radar: 9km 30s duration with a 180s reload: comes with x2 charges.

-Hydro-Acoustic Search: 3.1 torpedo detection and 4.4km ship detection with a duration of 96s, comes with a stock 180s reload and x2 charges.

-Repair Party (max value)

  • Albemarle: (35,000)
  • Azuma: (33,684)
  • Edinburgh: (29,080)
  • Sigfried: (18,480)
  • P. Eugen: (15,120)
  • Hipper: (14,672)
  • Chapayev:(14,504)
  • Baltimore: 254/s 28s. 60sr x2~~ (14,224)
  • AL Balti: 254/s 28s. 60sr x2~~ (14,224)
  • *Riga: (14,112)
  • Bagration: (14,112)
  • Kutuzov: (13,664)
  • Atago: (13,440)
  • Mogami: (13,104)
  • Suzuya: (12,768)
  • Wichita: (12,712)
  • Amalfi: (11,928)
  • Ochakov: (11,648)
  • Cleveland: (10,304)
  • Martel: (10,080)

Here we feature a new chart altogether, one that will likely define the trending going forwards. The basic principle, is based off stock values with their completed formulas to yield their (maximum effective value). Keep in mind, this is in a perfect vacuum; some ships heal back different percentages of damage. No ship however, can out-heal this value without commander skills, and the other usual modifiers, etc. At its base value, this puts Baltimore with a pretty decent above average healing value.

All in all, Baltimore has an excellent consumable load-out which blissfully enhances an already fundamentally sound ship.

Commanders

Just like Japanese Torpedo Destroyer, and German Brawling Battleship commanders it seems like we always tend to find new USN CA/CL Commanders. To my math, there are currently just 5, which doesn't seem so diverse. Let's explore the two main concepts that generally define the approach to commander skills in a Baltimore:

  • DPM
  1. This build tends to maximize on DPM, Concealment and improving the handling characteristics of the ship. The predominant strategy behind this build is the ability to more-so control Caps ad key areas. I'd expect this is the better competitive build of the two, but likely suffers more in random matches. This build unlocks a Balti that can fire 3 salvos during her radar, and hides well around islands.
  • Dispersion
  1. This build tends to focus more on all around utility. You may say this is the ultimate team player, Baltimore in this scenario tops several charts, including surveillance in terms of fleet defense in capital ships. Here, you may forgo the cap entirely, but you'll generally play a big factor in keeping your big ships alive.

Now that we've tagged a brief overview of basic differences in strategy, lets explore their commanders' builds and why they are so drastically different. First, we'll discuss Shelly Beapley her DPM Build, generally, this would be an excellent build to exhibit in a CL as well. I tend to use Shelly for the Azur Lane Baltimore specifically.

Shelly Beapley

  • Refractory: (-8% risk of catching fire) This is an excellent inspiration for an island blocked, radar scanning, cap controlling pest that you can't hit. When you can, Baltimore generally relies on a bow in playstyle which means you'll face plenty of HE.
  • Ingenious: (+1.6*/s turret traverse, -7% splash dam, number of enemies aiming) The buff to traverse is nice. Knowing how many people are trying to kill you is also very helpful.
  • Full Speed Ahead: (5% speed -10% rudder shift) Because a Baltimore that can outrun everything is absolutely meme-worthy. In a good way.
  • Velocious : (+5% to speed) Same argument as above, but with an additional zoom.
  • Private Zone: (-8% detection, shows direction of nearest enemy) Because 9km, 36 knot Baltimore with a 9.6s reload. This makes for one very capable and dynamic cap controlling ship, which has the speed to influence a battle.
  • Fully Packed: Adding additional goodness to make Baltimore even better. Extra Heal? yes. Extra Radar? yes. yes. yes.

Like I said before, this is the build and commander I'd use for the AL Baltimore T7 premium ship. Among the very few quirks that separate the two are a lower reload which allows for a more prominent DPM build than her tech tree is thus capable. Her Inspiration slots typically both will focus on concealment, being Swirski and Mikawa.

Next up is the Tech Tree version, which I typically, and confusingly tend to run AL Baltimore, the commander. Norman Scott features the same skill load outs, with different inspirations.

Azur Lane Baltimore

  • Adaptive Tactics (-6% rudder shift) As an Inspirational slot is a wonderful perk, theoretically useful on either build.
  • Beyond range (+10% gunnery range) Rather than jumping into the nitty gritty of closer engagements, this build tends to prefer to stay back a bit and lob shells from way back yonder....
  • Igniter (+3% fire chance) Another such skill that helps improve the fire chance of this build.
  • Punch through (+10% damage, +6% pen multiplier) When you have heavy shells with a knack for normalization and scoring pens, punching into more armor is almost always a good thing. Plus, you buff alpha.
  • APsolute (+7% pen multiplier, -40% fuse time) This was the skill I chose, and the reason being that it allows for a near miserable experience of punching into the citadel of unsuspecting cruisers. (why does deck armor even need to matter, really??) Feel free to take the other such skill, which enhances AP Pen without shortening your fuse times. The longer the fuse time, the longer the shell will take to detonate from contact with armor. This vaguely translates into a thickness of armor/s. I prefer to run this skill, but it is more optional than the others.
  • Fixated (+5% shell grouping/dispersion) Another whack towards dispersion and sigma, a common theme for this build.
  • Fully Packed/Refill Station: For the exact same reason as the other build, more heals, more life, more radar.

This build focuses a lot more on making your shots count, by enhancing their performance with skill traits more so than focusing on enhancing dynamic ship aspects. Inspirational slots will tend to focus on the likes of Norman Scott with his sigma buff, AL Scharnhorst and her Dispersion buff, Kuznetsov and his range buff, or any combination of them.

Norman Scott: is AL Balti with Direct Impact as inspiration which +5% to sigma. Comes without the APsolute Skill found on AL Baltimore, however.

No to Kinkaid who tends to be more on the CL side of things, and there are far better free options than Dewey.

Upgrades:

Unique to the Tech Tree version; AL Baltimore is a premium ship without any attached researchable upgrades.

However, for the tech tree version, I personally started with the Hull Upgrade, then the gunnery and then finally the Targeting Systems. Stock Baltimore is kind of rough, but once upgraded is arguably one of the more reliable ships of her tier.

  • Hull: (B) adds 5800 HP, -2.2s to rudder shift
  • Artillery: 203mm/55 Mk15, -1s reload, +700 AP Alpha, +200 HE Alpha
  • Targeting Systems: Improves Firing range by 10%

Modifications

  • Slot 1: Aiming Systems
  1. Theoretically the AL Balti DPM build has the option of equipping the AA Guns mod, which will add 20% to range. Odd, but it does bring Baltimore's Range to her Air Concealment Range. Otherwise, the -7% is the best bet, generally.
  • Slot 2: Steering Gears or Propulsion
  1. Propulsion can work for the DPM Build or Dispersion Build. Steering Gears can work for the DPM Build. Personally Propulsion to help speed jockey against CVs and long range fire on the dispersion build and then Steering Gears for DD Handling on the DPM Build.
  • Slot 3: Concealment
  1. The one and only choice that allows the captain to have a workable chance at contesting key areas. Your concealment is workable with the mod, your gunnery on the whole is not efficient enough for captains to stay far enough back that the other mod is a better choice.
  • Slot 4: Main Battery Mod (-12% reload -13% turret traverse)
  1. Gun Fire Control (+5% range) also works here. Range for the dispersion build and then Reload for the DPM build. Straight forward and easy.

Research

  • Worcester
  • Alaska
  • Gearing
  • Red, White and Blue

Ill be frank. This ship is a very important ship in terms of basic playstyles and is almost a crutch in competitive play due to her well rounded-ness. As such, expect this ship to be in bureau projects, both retired and going forward.

Stock Differences:

Just to help spell out the differences in gunnery between these three similar 203mm USN CAs. Here's a direct list. These are all completely stock numbers. Muzzle Velocity, the new subsection of Offense also breaks this down key gunnery characteristics as well.

  • Gunnery Differences
  1. AL Baltimore
  2. TT Baltimore
  3. Wichita
  • Firing Range
  1. 15.5
  2. 15.5
  3. 15.5
  • Reload
  1. 11
  2. 12
  3. 10
  • 180o Time
  1. 23.7
  2. 20.9
  3. 30
  • HE Alpha
  1. 2800
  2. 3000
  3. 2800
  • AP Alpha
  1. 5000
  2. 5300
  3. 4000

Summary

GOOD

Baltimore is at the very least a good ship. She comes with a wonderful set of consumables and excellent yet well rounded gunnery. With adaptability, versatility and capability at the forefront to be built around the needs of the captain, this ship is flexible while still competing to fill the needs of the team. Baltimore has the ability to flex around most situations as they arise, and generally shines as a niche cog in the machine that makes up the team as a whole, especially on the competitive circuits; whenever they come. Baltimore has a fantastic set of abilities which will surely be a force to reckon with in critical contests over caps. There's certainly no argument more now that I could possibly weigh in summary that will arguably change much of your mind on this ship.

Perhaps, at least in my mind one of the most stalwart examples of a cruiser in dynamics, capability and functionality; is a ship that altogether forwent torpedoes to become one of the most reliable ships in the game. When you are so reliable, you can afford to test the very hands of time. Countless new cruisers or other classes of ships with functions or gimmicks that come into the game, whether it be absurd HE DPM and penetration capabilities, subsurface rocket powered nuclear torpedoes, invincible aircraft or whatever.. Baltimore undoubtedly stands against the thread of time, and for many, to remain one of the more familiar ships. Certain things are just designed so well they become timeless, their imprint on their niche is perennial.

Is Baltimore ever going to be quite so fun as a Suzuya, Ochakov or a Martel?

-Probably not.

This does not make her any less worthy of recognition or observance.

There are certainly ships that may signify better ships for random play and capitalize on some highlight reels, but, not many of those ships turn out to be so reliable and dependable that they are seasonally found in the competitive ring in any of the other versions of this game.

Conceptually, when I think of this ship I welcome the thought that encompasses the virtue of endurance, almost like one of those sometimes cheese-y inspirational postures. Is it a sunrise or a sunset? Either way, Azur Lane or Tech Tree, she's got you covered.

Baltimore Endures. Whether it be the climate of ever-changing premiums incessantly welcomed into her home tier, she endures. Stubborn destroyers trying to harass their teams objectives, she endures; amidst a constant chorus of objectionable opponents, she endures. Bound wonderfully by her skill and the captains appreciation for anticipating and reading the battle, facilitating and protecting her teammates, she endures. Baltimore is always relevant, she is always present.

Baltimore, she just endures.

Captn_Thatch