USS Massachusetts is a Tier 7 United States Navy Battleship representing one of the most highly decorated warships of World War 2. Massachusetts was first available by campaign, and has returned for global XP at a cost of 750k. I acquired this ship along with Yahagi by completing her campaign.
In game, Massachusetts is characterized as being an intense secondary brawling battleship. Massachusetts is GREAT*. She features a* MODERATE skill floor with an EXTREME skill ceiling.
Massachusetts is a South Dakota Class Battleship and has the conventional centerline A-B-X turret layout of 9- 16”/45 Mk 6 guns with A-B turrets super-firing forward. Massachusetts’ traits are focused around her impressive Secondary Battery consisting of 20-5”/38, resilient armor scheme, and adaptable play-style, and AA mounts packed into any and every available space not already packed with larger guns. Massachusetts has a sister ship, Alabama; which is also in game, and both belong to the South Dakota Class, the predecessor class to the Iowa-Class while succeeding the Colorado and North Carolina classes. In short, Massachusetts is very fun to play. Massachusetts is characterized by having a lot of strong suits, and not very many weak points. On paper, Massachusetts will show many good traits, and many average traits on a package that is both well rounded and incredibly versatile.
This is an incredibly historical ship. (The inner nerd in me was extremely happy)
The design and development of the South Dakota Class Battleships began in the later 1930s following the impending breakdown of the Washington Naval Treaty. U.S. Congress authorized the construction of the ships under certain conditions through the escalator clause; the ships should stay near treaty limits, carry 16” battery, and have armor proof against her own caliber. The result was a short and cramped battleship with incredibly concentrated Anti-Air Battery.
USS Massachusetts was laid down in 20 July 1939 at the Bethlehem Steel Company in Quincy, Massachusetts. The ship was the heaviest warship ever launched out of Quincy; and quickly earned the nickname “Big Mamie”. She was commissioned in 12 May 1942 and was immediately sent into action for Operation Torch; the Allied Invasion of North Africa. Massachusetts engaged Jean Bart, incapacitating the incomplete French Battleship. Massachusetts was then transferred to the Pacific Theatre where she engaged in several major campaigns throughout the remainder of the war, including; Gilbert and Marshal Islands, Okinawa, and in the Philippines. Massachusetts became one of the very few ships to serve, fire their main battery, and survive, in both theaters of World War 2.
Massachusetts fired upon and directly damaging or sinking 5 ships, shot down over 30 aircraft, while earning 11 Battle Stars and famously having never lost a single man during combat. Massachusetts returned home in September 1945. On June 8, 1965 the Commonwealth of Massachusetts purchased USS Massachusetts from the United States Navy. USS Massachusetts still exists today, floating in Battleship Cove in Fall River, Massachusetts as a Museum Ship. A group of her former sailors lobbied to have the ship preserved, and succeeded. She rests moored along several ships, including Gearing Class USS Joseph Kennedy (DD-850). She is 100% worth the trip to see. I honestly could have done an entire review just on her wartime contributions; but this would leave little room for talking about her in game. Haha!
- Excellent all-rounder
- Great Anti-Air Suite
- Great Secondary Battery
- Great Armor Scheme
- Strong in the Meta
- Slow Top Speed
- Singular Play-styles
- Average Handling
- Skill Exhaustive
Massachusetts is absolutely worth the plunge while she’s available. World of Warships have a habit of selling these stronger ships in hard to acquire ways, with Massachusetts seemingly being an exception. Jean Bart largely dominated the early two years until she was usurped by this fantastic fury. Massachusetts is a secondary monster with excellent main battery and a well adapted play-style. Though her play-style can be a bit flat in the sense that there is generally only one way to equip and play Massachusetts, which requires a fair amount of upgraded skills and inspirations to unlock. When this skills requirement is met, Massachusetts quickly becomes one of the strongest ships in the game. There’s a lot to delve into, and well worth the dive into this wonderful and yet historical ship. She was an absolute blast to review.
There’s lots to love here. I won’t go so far as to say that Mass is the best offensive ship in her tier, but she is certainly close. She’s bristled in dual purpose twin 128s, and has AA literally crammed into any available space that’s not readily taken by another larger gun. Her 406mm main battery have wonderful consistency and dispersion. Yes, Alabama has the same sigma and slightly better dispersion than Massachusetts and they are indeed sisters; however, Alabama lacks the secondary battery that Massachusetts has and in turn gains an almost negligible difference in her main battery dispersion. Massachusetts is the only current USN BB with the dual purpose 128/Mk 38s. Alabama, Missouri and Georgia sport 128/Mk 32s. The difference being additional range and dispersion buffs on the Mk 38s over the Mk 32s. Surprisingly, Georgia does not have these Mk 38 rifles (as she does on both PC and Mobile) but we will save that for the Georgia Review. Massachusetts sports one of the heavier broadsides in her tier, and as well is on the upper portions of the pack with her AP Damage Per Minute, generally only being usurped by the likes of high DPM ships with 380s, like Tirpitz or Monarch. The former only being worrisome inside 6km due to her torpedoes, the latter beyond 12km due to her HEs knack for destroying everyone’s favorite toys.
Coupled with those dual purpose secondary battery, with a base reload of 6s and range of 7km, these battery can be pushed out to 11.4km with the proper commander skills, inspirations, and equipment. Massachusetts secondary battery are a wonderful addition to an already strong ship. Unlike most secondary battery which can be situational and are typically defensive, Massachusetts’ secondary array can also be used as an offensive weapon with their >20mm of base HE pen. Destroyers who wander too close to Massachusetts while detected risk being chewed apart by her secondary battery; similarly, well positioned opposing battleships may find themselves under near constant barrage from secondary rifles where main battery hits would be impossible. There are only a handful of ships whom are impervious to your secondary battery, most notably, Russian Battleship Lenin.
This is where Massachusetts excels the most. She has a lot of defensive perks that land her on, or near the top of the pack. It’s hard to argue against that her complete package creates a defensive juggernaut. Let’s start from the bottom and work our way up, shall we?
First the torpedo blisters. Massachusetts isn’t only just one of the best in her tier, she out ranks some Legendary Ships with her 46% torpedo reduction. Only Alabama clocks in higher at Tier 7 with a higher 49% and tops all others besides Yamato’s 55%. Most of her T7 compatriots are nowhere near Massachusetts.
Torpedo Protection Systems of Battleships; Tier 7 and Legendary
- Yamato: 55%
- Alabama: 49%
- Massachusetts 46% <—
- Roma: 38%
- Gascogne: 35%
- Jean Bart: 32%
- Conqueror: 28%
- Champagne: 28%
- Georgia: 26%
- Kii: 25%
- Missouri: 25%
- Grosser Kurfürst: 25%
- Tirpitz: 22%
- Odin: 22%
- Monarch: 22%
- Lenin: 22%
Massachusetts has a torpedo protection system which allows her to get nearer the action; where her secondary battery can join the fight. Though Massachusetts’ armor scheme lacks a proper turtleback, don’t let this fool you: Massachusetts features an amazing armor scheme with a lowered citadel that sits at the waterline. In combination with these features and her secondary battery, Massachusetts is a formidable opponent where opposing players will be frustrated by a well angled Massachusetts. Massachusetts dual purpose 128s are a pain to deal with, and frequently require several good whacks with high caliber HE to disable. This is part of her defensive caveat; while you’re trying to deal with Massachusetts’ Secondary Battery, Massachusetts' Main Battery has the ability to deal with you. Massachusetts is resilient, and her main battery are difficult to incapacitate and may take several direct hits to neutralize; she does not have to move much and can stay angled, and remain overly protected. Massachusetts is covered in 32mm plating, 38mm decking, which provides ample protection from <406mm plunging or direct fire; and is more or less proof against 150mm HE. Captains should be warned, Massachusetts armored decks are generous target for 203mm AP/HE spam, all are sure to arm and deliver full penetrations when not properly angled.
What’s more, Offensive Massachusetts vs Defensive Massachusetts often just involves the push of a button, from forward to reverse. This alone saves the captain a lot of heartache, as many of the better defensive battleships tend to rely heavily on kiting and angling away from combat, with opposing over-extensions. Massachusetts is somewhat separated in the sense that she can stay bow-in for both defensive and offensive operation. Furthermore, Massachusetts sits nearer the top in terms of her Base HP, and Effective HP.
Base HP of Tier 7 Battleship Premiums:
- Tirpitz: 69,300
- Kii: 68,200
- Massachusetts: 66,300 <—
- Roma: 65,400
- Missouri: 65,000
- Alabama: 63,300
- Lenin: 63,200
- Georgia: 63,000
- Odin: 62,700
- Gascogne: 60,040
- Monarch: 53,900
- Champagne: 52,600
All in all, this concludes that Massachusetts delivers a wonderful foray of defensive traits that may not individually top their categories, but give the user a truly exquisite example of combined traits. She briskly follows the United States’ credo; Jack of All Trades, Master of None.
Ah, the good old Anti-Air DPS Chart. Did you really think we could cover a USN Battleship and not cover Anti-Air? Me neither.
*Stock* Average Damage per Second of Anti-Air at 2km for Tier 7 Battleships
- Missouri: 646
- Georgia: 646
- Jean Bart: 560
- Alabama: 529
- Massachusetts: 510 <—
- Kii: 446
- Odin: 322
- Monarch: 315
- Roma: 297
- Lenin: 279
- Tirpitz: 239
- Gascogne: 219
- Champagne: 185
This chart can be quite deceiving so let’s not get lost. Massachusetts AA is still quite good, and is solidly following the top of the pack. Kii’s AA starts out further, where as much of this AA tends to bulk up in the 2-3km range.
*Built* Average Anti-Air damage per second at 3km for Tier 7 Battleships
- Kii: 491
- Missouri: 469
- Georgia: 405
- Massachusetts: 389 <—
- Lenin: 279
- Gascogne: 219
- Champagne: 185
- Tirpitz: 155
- Monarch: 65
As we can see here from the second chart, there’s a big difference between AA DPS and useable AA. Short range AA may only be firing for seconds at a time, before aircraft are already in and out of range. Is Massachusetts the best? No. Is she just good? No. She fits solidly into her GREAT rating here with her sister. Massachusetts has more than enough AA to get the job done, and will generally be considered a difficult strike for most carriers. Massachusetts is probably about as low as the bar could be set for a GREAT rating, and is simply too punishing to be just rated good. She more than keeps up with even her upgraded and succeeding versions which fit the same rating here. Some ships have some energy spent to improve this sector, Massachusetts does not need to.
Massachusetts tops out at a meager. 28 knots. She is middle of the pack with a 710m turning circle and exceptionally average with a rudder shift of 15s. Compared to her sister, Alabama, Massachusetts handles slightly worse. Mass is not the speed racer that Georgia, Jean Bart or Gascogne are. Massachusetts does well enough to get out of her own way and save her own skin. As strong as Massachusetts combined firepower is, she does not need to handle exceptionally to control the battlefield. Smart positioning will save most captains lots of unneeded heartache. Most battleships are likely to be relegated to the Average category as maneuverability is simply not their forte. Massachusetts defensive prowess helps mitigate the dent of her very average maneuverability and weak top speed. She’s not as brutal as some, but that’s not entirely because she handles much better.
*Let’s be real here...*the way this ship is played you’re almost never going to be undetected. Massachusetts revolves heavily on brute forcing your way into somewhat protected, but important areas where you can let your firepower go to work. As long as you’re shooting, you’re probably not going to be concealed while considering Massachusetts has a mediocre detection ring at best and is a defensive juggernaut; sneaky attacks are not exactly your niche here. Concealment Mod is not an option, nor would it likely be a good choice other than to help you get to the brawl a little safer before you get spotted. Seeing as ships tend to get spotted sooner after the start of the match on console than anywhere else; I’m really not sure how beneficial this would be. Massachusetts is a planet, and as such can be seen from very far away.
Massachusetts is equipped with an average and predictable consumable array of Damage Control Party, Repair Party, and the third slot trifecta of Patrol Fighters, Spotter Plane or Enhanced Secondary Targeting.
Slot 1: Damage Control Party is unlimited in charges, lasts 12s and reloads in 65s with the right build. This is quite standard.
Slot 2: Repair Party is somewhat better than average in the sense it can heal upwards of 650/s over 15s with the right skill sets, and gets up to 5 charges.
Slot 3: Spotter Plane non-secondary Massachusetts is called an Alabama. Patrol fighters are almost largely ineffective. Doesn’t it make sense to put the Enhanced Secondary Targeting consumable on the secondary focused brawling battleship? I thought so too.
I see a lot of builds focusing on Will Sims because of his base inspiration of Built to Last. While I can’t exactly argue against adding more base HP, I for one have always viewed this trait as something more beneficial for Destroyers than Battleships. More frequently than not a destroyer’s life is decided by a transaction of several hundred HP, rather than several thousands, as is the case with Battleships. Given this at tier 7, you max out at 2800 HP, which again would be far more useful for a destroyer, than a battleship. I’ve got an interesting argument here, and before you battleship mains start kicking and screaming, you’ve made it this far…hear me out.
I ultimately settled with Willis Lee. He fits PERFECTLY for what I’d want to see skill wise on my Massachusetts; though I tend to play aggressively. (I’d argue that’s the only way to play her, otherwise play Alabama…) Knocking down flooding time is a win, especially for Massachusetts which tends to flirt with the border of torpedoland just outside the caps; as she lets her secondary array bully things around the cap itself. Taking a torpedo or two can happen, and reducing the amount of time you’re flooding, particularly if you’d had to burn a Damage Control party due to fires. (As a rule of thumb, never damage control fires unless there are 3 for over 30 seconds.) Brawler and Porcupine are also perfect skills to enhance Mass’ brawling capability. 15km range can be particularly daunting, however I’ve found that the vast majority of my engagements with Massachusetts are within 10km.
Remember, Massachusetts is a brawler who loves to get in the fight, Alabamas and Iowas are not and prefer to stay somewhat further back around the 12-14km mark. This makes landing shots more consistent, while giving enough arc to have punishing salvos to even the most protected of targets. Next up, we have Firefighter, Master Mechanic, and Will to Rebuild; all of which encompass Massachusetts’ somewhat generous ability to heal. She has excellent effective health pool and is not easily citadelled. This leaves much of her damage as healable damage. Compared to 2300 damage on Sims, Lee will allow captains to heal back far greater swaths of damage, with something like 650/s over the low 400s/s which works out to be something almost like 4k more HP *per charge*. The right kit will allow you to bring 5 heals and winds up being closer to about a 20k health pool swing in the long run. Yep, the difference is just that big.
Making your shots count is certainly an argument and one I’ll probably argue to use with her sister Alabama, or successors Iowa, Georgia and Missouri. However, none of those ships certainly have the ability to get into the ring; and revolve highly around throwing heavy shells outside it and into it. When you have the opportunity…why not***?***
For this I ditched Sims grabbed Lee and never looked back. I’m sure there will be other commanders (looking at you Optimus Prime) who would also fit the bill ideally. For this, Massachusetts holds an average commander rating. She has a couple options but otherwise requires heavy captain upgrading and upgraded inspirations to be more successful. Captains will find success in the general region of Lee, Prime, AL Scharnhorst, Cunningham, and Von Hipper. Secondary specs should focus on Von Hipper and Scharnhorst.
-Massachusetts is a premium ship and does not have any attached upgrades.
Slot 1: Secondary Battery Mod 2
Secondary Battery Mod 2 is really the only applicable choice here. Adding 20% to range and dispersion of the secondary battery helps ad that much more punch to an already punchy ship. AA Guns Mod 2 just doesn’t have the same effect though as Massachusetts has excellent AA stock. Massachusetts already handles fairly well with her main battery, so Main Battery Mod 2 is really not needed.
Slot 2: Damage Control Systems Mod 2.
This is the clear choice. Massachusetts is neither fast nor particularly nimble; buffing your handling may help you situationally, but your best bet is again going to be cutting down on fire duration. You will inevitably be spammed with HE and set on fire. Factually speaking, you are not going to dodge enough shells with either of the other two options to match the HP you save with Damage Con Mod 2. Don’t be cheeky, just be on fire less.
Slot 3: Target Acquisition Systems Mod 1.
I can’t say that I’d be sad because there’s no concealment module. Truth is, I’ve never taken it nor considered it an option here. Massachusetts relies heavily on being inside 11km for most of her fights, which is well below her maximized concealment rating. Take Target Acquisition, and you’ll be able to spot those tiny little buggers that hide in smoke up to about 2ish km out.
Slot 4: Artillery Plotting Room Mod 2.
This mod is unique to the USN BBs. I highly suggest taking it as it improves your main battery dispersion. There are (1 really) other options, but captains should weigh this very argument for themselves and take the appropriate module. Massachusetts somewhat dances awkwardly as she brawls other battleships, and somewhat frequently, can be taken aback from an unexpected angle. Main Battery Mod 3 will help your DPM, but hurt your versatility-Massachusetts has fairly decent turret traverse, and DPM stock. Anti-Air Guns Mod 3 will make your AA about as dangerous as Kii, but leaves no other buffs for say; Secondary Battery Mod 3 which will add about 20% to your secondary DPM, or Artillery Plotting Room Mod 2 which will help all of your shots count.
Reviewing the ship that’s named for and from my Home-State is always just going to be as delicious dessert, because not only is she one of my personal favorites; she's strong, she’s real, and as well she’s wonderfully historical. I have walked on her decks and I’ve seen her many a time docilely perched just below the Braga Bridge. Every time I drive by and see her masts cresting the bridge, I’m pleasantly reminded by how awesome and powerful this ship is. I’m sure many a captain, who finds themselves eyeing the wonderful brute as she fearlessly pushes her opponents aside with ease; feels that same inspiring thought of strength, prowess, and might we’ve come to expect of any battleship. This battleship doesn’t just look mighty, she feels and encompasses it too. Massachusetts delivers this, every battle, every time. She’s wonderfully easy to learn without being absolutely brain-dead, and yet incredibly strong as the user gains skill and experience. Massachusetts without a doubt is a force to be recognized in every battle, and in the hands of a strong captain can easily control the flow of any battle.
I’m not sure I would want to see a better Massachusetts. I think she’s perfect where she is and will hold this spot for quite some time.