French Navy tech tree review / World of Warships guides / WoWSBy Denis Marasan ☆ 04/Mar/2020
Speaking of French Navy in World of Warships (play now!) it should be noted that all high-tier French ships feature the same set of distinctive features. French Destroyers, Cruisers and even Battleships are for a long-range fire and evading enemy salvos due to their high speed combined with overly effect Engine Boost. In this context, the French are the most considered and uniform nation in WoWS.
French Destroyers are gunnery ships very much like Soviets, but with a froggy touch. They’ve got the following special features:
- Artillery-focused ships with poor concealment, high speed, and no Smoke Generator
- Powerful 139 mm main battery guns with curved trajectory and Main Battery Reload Booster from tier VI
- High initial shell velocity and hence flat trajectory from tier VIII
- A tricky distribution of hit points across the hull, improving their survivability
- I doubt artillery-focused Destroyers, moreover without Smoke Generator, are good for newbies
Up to tier V inclusive French Destroyers are kind of generic gunnery ships with medium-range torpedoes. And since they are very good for both gunning down enemy Destroyers and torpedoing capital ships all French Destroyers are deprived of Smoke Generators as means of counterbalance. Just don’t get cocky while playing on those ships coz they’ve got no means for hiding on open water.
Starting from tier VI French Destroyers get powerful 139 mm main battery guns and Main Battery Reload Booster. The latter is an ace in the hole for rapidly killing enemy destroyers or surprisingly attacking enemy Cruisers from a short distance with AP shells since 139 mm guns are capable of hitting a citadel of almost any mid-tier Cruiser. But since tier VI Guépard and VII Vauquelin main battery guns feature curved trajectory they still should be considered as Destroyers for close combat.
The latter changes from tier VIII Le Fantasque since she features a higher initial shell velocity, permitting hitting targets from a safer distance provided you have selected an Advanced Firing Training skill for your Captain. Therefore, starting from Le Fantasque you may apply a tactic of flooding enemy capital ships with fire from a distance, dodging enemy salvos thanks to high speed combined with overly effective Engine Boost, drawing off enemy attention from allies and scoring high potential damage. I highly recommend using Engine Boost Modification 1 special upgrade available in the Armory.
French Destroyers, in particular high-tier ships, are a good alternative to Soviet Destroyers. They’re noticeably faster with higher firepower thanks to Main Battery Reload Booster with main battery guns capable of punishing light and heavy cruisers showing their broadsides. Though French Destroyers lack Smoke Generator that is useful for avoiding enemy focus and hiding from aircrafts, and Repair Party.
Another problem with French Destroyers is that their impact on the battle outcome is questionable. Whereas hunting down enemy Destroyers is almost impossible since the French lack concealment.
Destroyers to notice: tier IX Mogador and tier X Kléber stand out, having no real weaknesses.
Notes on tier X Kléber: as of the time of her release, this ship was arguably the best linear tier X artillery-focused Destroyer in World of Warships.
Premium French Destroyers: since tier V Siroco has Main Battery Reload Booster and good concealment, she’s great for dealing with enemy Destroyers. Though her other characteristics are not so impressive. Tier VI Aigle was introduced long before the French Destroyer tech tree line, so instead of Main Battery Reload Booster, she has Smoke Generator.
Why buying tier VIII Le Terrible provided she’s a generic high-tier French Destroyer and you can always research and get linear ships for free, I don’t know. Though, if you’re not planning to research the line of French Destroyers, buying Le Terrible to taste this kind of gameplay is a good choice.
French Cruisers are fast and fragile, requiring Engine Boost Modification 1 special upgrade to maximize their play.
- Fast ships with Engine Boost and fragile steering gears
- Heavy Cruisers from tier VII meant for long-range fire
- French Cruisers are good for newbies
The tech tree line of French Cruisers comprise rather generic Light Cruisers up to tier V Émile Bertin inclusive. Although tier VI La Galissonnière is still a Light Cruiser, she stands out since she gets both Engine Boost and Main Battery Reload Booster. If you’re planning to play on low- and mid-tier French Cruisers mind that they’ve got glass modules, so the selection of the Last Stand Commander Skill is obligatory. Though having the Last Stand skill on high-tier ships won’t hurt either. In this respect, they are rather similar to low- and mid-tier IJN Cruisers.
The game changes with tier VII Algerie that gets 201 mm main caliber guns. Tier VIII Charles Martel is a very comfortable Heavy Cruiser with rather traditional three triple turrets. The same applies to tier IX Saint-Louis, whereas Henri IV raises the ante to 240 mm.
French Heavy Cruisers are for long-range fire and evading enemy salvos thanks to their high speed and Engine Boost. As with French Destroyers, I highly recommend using the Engine Boost Modification 1 special upgrade on high-tier French Heavy Cruisers.
Cruisers to notice: all Heavy Cruisers starting from tier VIII Charles Martel are great. Tier VII Algerie is OK at the very least.
Notes on tier X Cruiser Henri IV: since she has 240 mm main caliber guns, Henri IV definitely stands out but requires practice.
Premium French Cruisers: tier VI De Grasse is rather generic Light Cruiser since she has no Main Battery Reload Booster.
Tier VIII Bayard is a Light Cruiser that makes her stand out, and she’s a great lighter.
Tier X Colbert is a Small Light Cruiser with 127 mm main battery guns rather similar to USN Atlanta, so if you like the latter you’ll like Colbert. Though her gameplay is, well, peculiar.
The idea behind the French Battleships tech tree line is roughly quadruple turrets with Engine Boost. And the special features of these ships are:
- Flat trajectory on mid- and high-tier Battleships
- High Maximum Speed and Engine Boost available from tier VIII
- Good Secondary Armament range from tier VIII
- Not-so-heavy caliber, not-so-good concealment, not-so-strong armor
- French Battleships are good for newbies
French Battleships up to tier VI inclusive are rather generic Battleships. Tier VII Lyon definitely stands out since she has four quadruple turrets. Firing those 16 main battery guns may look epic, though they are rather inaccurate for balance reasons and the result is often disappointing.
Everything changes from tier VIII Richelieu since she’s a great Battleship with original turret arrangement (all two turrets are at the bow). Tier IX Alsace gets one additional turret at the rear, increasing the ship’s firepower though making this ship rather generic. Both ships feature 380 mm guns that are not-so-good for penetrating enemy ships since they lack penetration and can overmatch 26 mm armor only.
As for tier X République, she has 431 mm main battery guns with a flat trajectory and great penetration capable of overmatching 30 mm armor found on many high-tier Cruisers, decreasing the number of rebounds. Another feature of République is that she has an insane firing rate. She is one of the best damage dealers on her tier just because of high firing rate and accuracy.
Battleships to notice: tier VIII to X Battleships are great, each of them providing unique gameplay.
Notes on tier X Battleship République: arguably the best tier X Battleship for dealing damage to enemy capital ships. Similar to British tier X Battleship Thunderer to some extent.
Premium French Battleships: since tier VI Dunkerque has a similar arrangement of turrets as tier VIII Richelieu, she ensures similar gameplay but on lower tiers. If you’re not planning to research French Battleships at all, but still want to familiarize yourself with genuine French gameplay, getting this ship looks like a good idea.
Since tier VIII Gascogne has a similar arrangement of turrets as tier VIII République one may assume these two ships are similar in terms of gameplay. Unfortunately, they are not, since Gascogne has a rather long reload time that cannot be improved.
Tier IX Jean Bart was a great ship for coal with Main Battery Reload Booster. She was removed from sale together with Soviet Smolensk early in 2020 because of her over-popularity.
Tier X Bourgogne is just Alsace on steroids. She’s obtained for steel and though she looks oddly with her 380 mm main caliber guns on the highest tier, statistically she’s great. But that’s maybe because her buyers are top-rank players.