Quick Summary: A tier 7, fragile light cruiser with torpedoes and a broadside of fourteen, destroyer calibre guns with a nightmarish rate of fire.
Cost: 9000 doubloons (Roughly 42 real-world American moneys).
- 12 rounds per minute, per gun base (168rpm broadside!), 13.2 rounds per minute per gun (184rpm broadside!!) with proper modules and commander’s upgrades.
- Very fast traversing turrets
- One of only three USN Cruisers with Torpedoes
- Decent agility
- Good(*) anti-aircraft firepower
- No armour really to speak of.
- Turrets and modules get knocked out very easily.
- Very small HP pool for it’s tier with 27,500. (Cleveland at tier 6 has 35,200).
- Short (11.1km) weapon range — same as surface visibility (11km).
- Poor chance for individual shells to start fires.
- Shell flight time is very slow (14.03s to modified max range of 13.36km).
- No plane(**)!
The Full Review
The Atlanta is very much analagous to the Destroyer leads from the IJN cruiser line, such as the Kuma or Tenryu. This is reflected in not only in it’s armament but it’s concealability, speed and armour. Unlike it’s IJN counterparts at lower tiers, the Atlanta comes with a very respectable AA suite and serviceable main guns. This comparisson asside, it shares many playstyle characteristics as the Cleveland — being best put to use in the supporting role where it’s withering rate of fire can quickly pull apart it’s opponents.
The main selling feature of the Atlanta will be it’s primary armament. Equipped with eight turrets (seven on a broadside) mounting two guns each, the Atlanta looks to be bristling with firepower. Just at a glance it looks incredibly impressive. And the rate of fire is staggering. Pressing and holding your trigger will ripple fire a pair of shots roughly every 0.6 seconds with only the briefest of pauses (less than a second) before it starts all over again. When volley firing at max range, the Atlanta will have 3 volleys in the air at all times, creating a varitable curtain of incoming fire.
This jaw-dropping rate of fire comes at a huge cost. They are utterly lacking in terms of damage, penetration, range, incendiary effect and velocity. Many of these are made up for my sheer volume of fire, but not one of them.
The shell velocity of the Atlanta is very slow and makes “long range” (10+km) gunnery difficult. Flight time isn’t linear over distance and ‘stretches’ the further out they must travel. Shells will feel like they’re floating, taking as much as 14+ seconds to reach the water (incidentally, IJN Battleship shells can travel almost twice this distance in the same amount of time). At maximum zoom, to properly lead a ship driving 30+ knots perpendicular to you, the bow will sometimes be off screen and necessitate zooming out to properly guage the distance. This also makes the Atlanta more suspeptible to missing due to small changes in your target’s course.
This disparity in flight time means that some players may find a small adjustment period when using the Atlanta to find their range. This will be less of an issue with USN Destroyer captains who are more used to using similar weapons.
Ship Name Armament Shell Flight Time Maximum Potential HE Damage 5km 10km 15km per volley / per minute St.Louis 152mm/50 Mk6 2.70s 7.03s - 16800 / 126000 Cleveland 152mm/47 Mk16 2.72s 6.80s 12.77s 26400 / 198000 Atlanta 127mm/38 Mk32 mod. 12 3.03s 8.38s 14.03s @13.36km 25200 / 302400 Atago 203mm/50 3rd Year Type E 2.46s 5.70s 9.82s 33000 / 125400
With special thanks to Cool_Whip for assisting me in collecting the Atago numbers in Co-Op!
It’s worth noting that the Atlanta guns are not very good at starting fires. They have a base chance of 5%, which against high tiered ships drops as low as 2.5% or less. Even with Commander skills, this never climbs higher than 4% per successful hit. Compare this to the Cleveland which starts at 12% base and usually enjoys at least a 6% to 9% before skills against ships within it’s tier rating. By mathmatical average, don’t be surprised if it takes 30 to 50 hits to start your first fire. Thankfully for the Atlanta, it won’t take you very long to get those hits out.
This speaks ultimatly to the Atlanta’s damage potential. Against soft skinned targets, it is absolutely devastating. The fast tracking turrets are ideal for picking off destroyers and the splash of 14 shells striking every 4-5s is usually sufficient to destroy even a high tiered ship very quickly. But against anything armoured, the Atlanta needs time to burn them down.
Unlike other high tier cruisers, the Atlanta has no secondary guns. Instead it gets two quad-mounted torpedo launchers, one to each side. They have an approximate firing arc from 2 o’clock to 4 o’clock (and 8 o’clock to 10 o’clock on the opposite side). This is a rarity amongst USN cruisers, though IJN commanders will probably be comfortable enough with the premise. These torpedoes are very hard hitting, with 16633 damage per and a maximum broadside potential of 66532 — more than enough to obliterate a full health IJN Nagato Battleship. They’re quick too at 65 knots.
The cost comes at their range which is a pathetic 4.5km. This really limits their usability short of setting up ambushes and close in brawling. The good news is that many people don’t expect the Atlanta to have torpedoes. Even some of the users seem to forget about them. They are absolutely devastating for a ship that lacks much in the way of an alpha strike with it’s main armament and can be a rude shock for someone expecting to be slowly whittled down.
There is nothing particular special about the Atlanta’s handling. It’s worse than the lower tiered vessels like the Cleveland, Omaha and Phoenix but not by much. It compares almost exactly with a Pensacola or a New Orleans. This leaves it slower but more nimble than it’s IJN counterparts. At 32.9 knots, it’s again dead average for USN Cruisers, but slower than the IJN ships it will face. At an 11s rudder shift time, this does necessitate pre-emptive maneuvers when facing torpedo salvos and you may be caught flat footed if you’re not careful. A well timed ambush or missed attack wave of torpedo planes can leave an Atlanta without the ability to veer out of a salvo’s path.
It’s important to be aware that with the limitation of the Atlanta’s range, the average top speed of this cruiser can leave it struggling to close the distance to keep it’s guns hitting the target. You can and will be kited by ships sick of suffering a constant shower of 5″ shells.
Durability & Defense
The Atlanta is very lightly armoured. With no more than 90mm of armour at the thickest, short of angling, it cannot be trusted to repel incoming rounds. This can provide some defense in of itself as high calibre AP rounds are likely to overpenetrate and do only 10% of maximum damage. But this does leave the Atlanta very vulnerable to cruiser and destroyer calibre AP rounds which can (and will) stack citadel penetrations very quickly. Even high explosive rounds are more than capable of punching through belt armour of the Atlanta and stacking damage.
Given the light displacement of the Atlanta, it doesn’t have a lot of hit points either. At 27500, it can be easily two shot by many IJN torpedoes in and around it’s tier.
The relative short range of the Atlanta means that short of ambushing from around islands or a headland, you have to expose yourself to enemy guns before you can bring your own into range. This often leads to slugging matches where the Atlanta puts its prodigious rate of fire to work, trying to outburn it’s enemies before succumbing in turn. The good news is that the Atlanta is one of the stealthiest cruisers around with a surface visibility of 11km — the same as it’s standard gun range. By holding fire and careful maneuver, it’s possible to avoid the initial salvos until you’re in a position to start dishing out the damage.
The anti-aircraft abilities of the Atlanta are very respectable — comparable, but not quite as good as the Clevelands. It has access to the Defensive Fire AA Cooldown, which can be selected instead of Hydro Acoustic Searching which is more than sufficient to knock down most same-tier attack craft waves before they reach your vessel. With the primary armament of the Atlanta being duel purpose guns, this gives it a very nice long-range punch with it’s AA at 5km base.
It should be noted that unlike other cruisers around it’s tier, it does not get a floatplane. This means it misses out on the bonus AA fire and spotting ability provided by these eyes in the sky. This is an appreciable loss and I have found myself often missing it’s presence after having gotten very accustomed to having one with my Cleveland.
How to Kill It
The Atlanta is one of the best equipped cruisers in the game for gunning down destroyers. It’s rapid fire guns can quickly overwhelm an exposed DD. In addition, a properly equipped and trained Atlanta can be invisible to surface vessels as close as 9.5km meaning that it can be hard to track when one is hunting you down. It’s imperative to keep it at arm’s length and to engage it with torpedoes. Close range ambushes can work, but you need to make sure your alpha strike takes it out — those rapid fire, fast turning turrets will wreck you in very short order.Alternatively, you can stay out of it’s range and keep it spotted and lit for your team mates. The Atlanta has enough of a fire-starter reputation that many teams will focus fire when they see one.
- Light Cruisers
You can expect your armour penetration rounds to do full damage against an Atlanta, so be ready to switch your ammunition types if a broadside opportunity presents itself. AP rounds have a very good chance of disabling some of it’s vulnerable turrets and they’re an easy target to aim for — just be aware it will take a volley or two to knock a gun out permanently. The Atlanta’s guns are short ranged, even for a Light Cruiser. If you stay outside of 14km, it won’t be able to hit you back. If you do need to engage it within it’s gun range, keep out over 10km from it. The flight time of it’s shells is very slow at this range and with careful, unpredictable movements, you can evade a lot of their fire.
- Heavy Cruisers
The biggest danger an Atlanta presents to these ships is the ability to out DPM them with high explosive fire. Armour Penetration rounds do risk over penetrating but may be worth the risk given the likelyhood of breaking some of the Atlanta’s turrets. If you continually overpenetrate, switch to High Explosive. Even these can citadel an Atlanta and will wither it’s low HP total quickly.
Treat the Atlanta as you would a spotted Destroyer. Switch to High Explosive rounds, lead and anticipate their movements. It’s imperative you keep out of their range (as much as 13.5km) or you’ll suffer constant hail of high explosive shots which will set you on fire from stem to stern. Prioritize taking out the Atlanta if you’re caught under their curtain of fire and ask for your team mates to assist in burning it down.
The Atlanta (along with the Cleveland) is one of the better anti-aircraft ships available to players and a tough fight for any CV. If you must engage one, try and bait their anti-aircraft cooldown by sending in Dive Bombers first and then pulling your aircraft back out of range until the cooldown expires. Only then commit to your attack run. The Atlanta is reasonably maneuverable — about the same as a Pensacola or New Orleans and less than a Cleveland. Perpendicular strikes with torpedoes will be very difficult to avoid. Stacking critical effects like flooding or fire are a must.
The Atlanta truly is an oddity. From a novel perspective alone, it’s worth playing. There’s something truly cathartic about putting that much firepower into the air. This ship just screams “MURICA!” with it’s all guns blazing attitude. Truly where the ship shines is as a support ship. It’s an excellent escort, able to assist seeing off attack waves of aircraft or making a Destroyer keep well clear of your capital ships. Equally, if the enemy is distracted, the raw firepower of the Atlanta will quickly add up to some nice kills for your team.
But that said, it’s hard to recommend the Atlanta outright for it’s cost because of the Cleveland sitting one tier lower at tier 6. The main armament of the Cleveland is better. Though it doesn’t have the same rate of fire, no one would dare call the rate of fire of the Cleveland slow. The Cleveland is more robust too. In short, the Cleveland does just about everything the Atlanta does but better — and it won’t get you killed at close quarters encouraging you to try and line up for a short ranged torpedo salvo.
That brings me to the one frustrating point of the Atlanta. The gunnery isn’t comfortable. This speaks more to my style of play — I taught myself how to lead ships by zooming in all of the way and knowing inately where to place the bow of the enemy ship to allow for the flight time of shells to catch up. With the Atlanta, the shells are so slow, I am having to zoom out a tick or two to be able to position the reticle far enough in advance of a target to bullseye them at a modest range of 7km-9km if they’re moving at speed. You may find yourself, like me, spending many salvos trying to zero in on an enemy ship with your shells never quite seeming to catch up.
I do enjoy my Atlanta — I like it a lot and it’s been a great income earner.
Would I recommend? If you need a steady credit earner and love Cleveland style gameplay (but don’t have a Cleveland for whatever reason), yes. Otherwise there are better things to spend your 9000 doubloons on.
- Tier 1: Main Battery Modification. You will need this for how often your turrets get knocked out and it still won’t feel like it helps.
- Tier 2:
Main Battery Modification II. This will increase your rate of fire from 12rpm to 13.2rpm. My mistake — Main Battery Modification II slows down main armament reloading in favour of increasing turret traverse speed. With this said, I would load the AA Modification II instead.
- Tier 3: Damage Control System Modification I: You will be hit by a lot of HE shells, so the anti-fire mitigation is very important.
- Tier 4: Damage Control System Modifciation II: Reduction in fire & flooding damage is very helpful and will be useful in most engagements. Alternatively, if you are trying to spec into becoming a Destroyer Hunter, Steering Gear Modification II will help avoid torpedoes.
Your consumables loadout should reflect the type of escort duties you anticipate doing. Don’t be shy of using premium consumables. The Atlanta will more than make enough credits back to front these costs and then some.
- I would strongly recommend equipping a Damage Control Party II for 22,500 credits. This will help mitigate turret and module damage.
- Defensive AA Fire is more useful than Hydroacoustic Search. However, if you wish to specialize as a Destroyer Hunter, the latter will have some good situational uses.
- Defensive AA Fire II for 22,500 credits will usually reset itself in time for the return of a CV’s attack wave if they’re hiding towards the rear of most maps. The non-premium version will usually only be ready for every 2nd attack.
- If you’re hunting Destroyers, then the Type 1 (Concealment) camouflage will be useful. Otherwise take the Type 2 (Dazzle) camouflage if you’re looking for a bonus. Given the short engagement ranges at which the Atlanta fights, the dazzle camouflage will be less useful unless you’re being outranged by your opponents.
- For pennants, Zulu is optimal to increase credit earnings. Sierra-Mike should be used by dedicated Destroyer hunters.
Recommended Captain Skills:
- Tier 1: Secondary Armament. This increases your rate of fire by another 1.2rpm and plays to the Atlanta’s strengths. Situational Awareness is nice as a secondary skill if you are trying to spec into becoming a Destroyer Killer.
- Tier 2: Fire Prevention. Almost everything will be throwing high explosive rounds at you and you want to minimize the amount of fire damage you take.
- Tier 3: High Alert will get more use than Vigilance. But if you’re spec’ing to be a Destroyer Hunter, Vigilance becomes more valuable.
- Tier 4: Advanced Fire Training will increase the range of your main armament from 11.1km to 13.32km. Demolition Expert should be the next skill from this tier you acquire to increase your High Explosive performance.
- Tier 5: For Destroyer-Hunters, Concealment Expert will drop your visibility from 11km to 9.68km (9.35km with Type 1 camouflage). Preventative Mainteance is preferable for close-escort ships to keep guns from breaking.