Quick Summary: A large, high tier escort cruiser that uses 152mm rifles as her primary armament. Has a good anti-aircraft armament but she feels rather fragile.
Cost: Was sold in through the online store until the end of January 2016 in bundles starting at $49.99 USD
- Armed with twelve, rapid firing 152mm rifles — an uncommon armament in high tiers.
- Rifles can benefit from Captain Skills to increase Rate of Fire and Range.
- Good muzzle velocity and shell arc on 152mm rifles, comparable to IJN Mogami.
- Excellent base range of 15.9km — can be upgraded to 19.1km.
- Excellent AA long range firepower, some of the best in the game.
- Good rudder shift time of 6.5s
- Has access to a single Smoke-Launcher charge. Can be increased to 3 charges with Captain Skills and purchasing the premium version of the Consumable.
- High cost. As much as 3 months worth of Premium Time.
- 152mm rifles can struggle to do damage at range.
- Lowest DPM of the 6″ rifle armed mid-tier cruisers.
- Very little armour and exposed citadel, making her rather fragile.
- Torpedoes are mediocre at best, comparable to those found on the Murmansk.
- Large turning circle of 760m.
- On the large side of surface detection range of 14.5km
- No float plane spotter or fighter to assist in AA / spotting.
The Full Review
It should be made clear right from the onset, the Mikhail Kutuzov is an escort cruiser. It shares much in common in design principle to the USN Atlanta. It was meant to protect larger, more powerful vessels and provide deterrence against enemy aircraft and smaller surface vessels. She can put out a blistering amount of fire in a very short time, but like her American counterpart, she’s fragile and isn’t meant to be a front line vessel. Trading blows is not what she’s good for. Leading the charge, being spotted first is a sure way to get her sunk in a hurry. So is this glass cannon worth the investment?
The Mikhail Kutuzov is armed with twelve 152mm/57 caliber MK-5-bis guns in four triple turrets. Two are mounted forward and two aft, both sets in superfiring positions. My concerns that these might have the same gun handling qualities of the Cleveland were quickly put to rest. Though they are their own beast, they compare very favourable to the 155mm rifles found on the Mogami but with their own distinct strengths and weaknesses. She has decent turret rotation speed, good AP and HE performance and best of all, a flat shell trajectory unlike the Cleveland. Here rate of fire of 6.7 rounds per minute is faster than the Mogami’s 6.0rpm but much less than the Cleveland’s 7.5rpm. The Mogami still beats her on DPM with having fifteen guns to the Mikhail Kutuzov’s twelve. This gives her better DPM than the 203mm armed cruisers but still less than her 6″ armed contemporaries.
|Ship Name||Armament||180′ Rotation||Range||RoF||AP / HE||Fire||DPM|
|Cleveland||152mm x12||32.7s||14.6km17.5km*||7.5rpm8.25rpm*||3200 / 2200||12%||288,000 / 198,000316,800 / 217,800*|
|Mogami||155mm x 15203mm x 10||51.4s30.0s||15.1km18.1km*
|3300 / 26004700 / 3300||10%17%||297,000 / 234,000326,700 / 257,400*
188,000 / 132,000
|Atago||203mm x 10||29.0s||15.8km||3.8rpm||4700 / 3300||17%||178,600 / 125,400|
|New Orleans||203mm x 9||27.7s||16.2km||4.3rpm||4600 / 2800||14%||178,020 / 108,360|
|Admiral Hipper||203mm x 8||22.5s||17.7km||4.6rpm||5900 / 2300||11%||217,120 / 84,640|
|Mikhail Kutuzov||152mm x 12||33.3s||15.9km19.1km*||6.7rpm7.37rpm*||3300 / 2200||12%||265,320 / 176,800291,852 / 194,568*|
* – Denotes a ship with Advanced Fire Training and Basic Fire Training Captain Skills to improve range and Rate of Fire.
Possibly what’s most important for the Mikhail Kutuzov is that her guns are compatible with the Captain Skills, Advanced Fire Training and Basic Fire Training. This allows her to compete very favourably with the 203mm armed cruisers, pulling far ahead in terms of range and DPM. She still must be wary of such ships in one on one duels. Their 203mm rifles have a tremendous alpha strike. But when acting as a support vessel, the Mikhail Kutuzov can stack damage very quickly if she’s being ignored.
For personal defense, the Mikhail Kutuzov has six dual-purpose turrets with two 100mm/70 rifles each, three to each side. Two are positioned forward and four facing aft. Only two may fire directly forward and directly aft, with an angle needed for these guns to track targets alongside the ship. They have an excellent base range of 5.0km and rate of fire of 15rpm. Their chance for starting fires is on the low side at a mere 6%. Overall, they’re decent but I wouldn’t expect much out of them in close encounters.
Of more interest are her torpedo launchers. She has two quintunple launchers off each side. The torpedoes themselves aren’t especially interesting, being very closely comparable to those found on the Murmansk. Like the Kriegsmarine cruiser torpedoes, these are intended to be backup weapons rather than a compliment to their main armament such as with the IJN. At 14,400 alpha per warhead, they are a bit on the light side in terms of raw damage. Their 8km range sits between the Kriegsmarine and IJN ranges, being a little more on the short side for anything other than personal defense or ambush scenarios. Still, they have a decent top speed of 60 knots.
The Mikhail Kutuzov is rather unremarkable in terms of it’s agility. She has a 33.0 knot top speed which is adequate. And unlike what her primary armament may suggest, her maneuverability is very much that of a heavy cruiser. She has a good rudder shift time of 6.5s stock, but this is hampered by her 760m turning circle. This makes it important to keep aware of torpedo threats well in advance of them being detected to ensure that you’re not caught broadside. Still, she has decent turret rotation of 33.3s which can be improved to 22.6s with Captain Skills. This means that while you’re throwing the ship about, her turrets can generally follow a target without too much difficulty.
Durability & Defense
Like all cruisers in World of Warships, her armour is inadequate to protect her from incoming fire. Even when angled, Battleship and heavy cruiser caliber weapons can and will citadel your ship at close range. The best defense is to keep her at a distance from her targets and use her speed and maneuverability to try and avoid incoming fire. This may require you to silence your own guns and attempt to disengage in order to drop back into concealment if possible.
This does lead to one problem with the Mikhail Kutuzov. She’s enormous. Her surface detection range is 14.5km, the same as some mid-tier Battleships. With modules, you can drop this down to 13.1km but this is still a large figure. Enemy destroyers keeping you lit will make it difficult for you to evade detection. As a cruiser you can expect a lot of attention from high caliber rounds looking for an easy kill on your soft hide. This makes her ideal engagement range, at least from a defensive perspective, somewhere between 12km and 15km to facilitate dropping into concealment. However, she does have a one (or two, or three) time trick to play.
The Mikhail Kutuzov has a single smoke launcher consumable. The number of charges can be increased to 3 with a premium version of the consumable and the Superintendent Captain Skill, each adding a single charge. This can provide an emergency get-out-of-jail-free card for the cruiser but it can also be put to use offensively. Be aware that at medium to close range, some players have learned to bulls-eye ships firing from smoke and that there’s the ever present worry about torpedoes being sent into your fog bank to flush you out.
In an anti-Destroyer role, the Mikhail Kutuzov may seem like an ideal chariot but she’s lacking any form of float plane fighter or spotter aircraft. Though of limited use, when used correctly, this can help extend spotting range around islands or to give advance notice of incoming torpedo salvos.
Anti Aircraft Aramament
Against enemy aircraft, the Mikhail Kutuzov really excels in a specific role. Though she has less overall AA power than a New Orleans-class cruiser, she has among the best long range (5.0km+) anti-aircraft firepower found in the game. Coming from her dual purpose 100mm secondaries, these weapons gain a tremendous boost when using the Defensive Fire cooldown. This means that enemy planes entering even the very edge of her AA umbrella have to be exceedingly careful and can get shredded in very short order. The Mikhail Kutuzov is thus one of the best AA escorts in the game when it comes to assisting a friendly ship under attack.
The lack of a float-plane fighter is a bit of a black mark in this regard, however, making her unable to glue a fighter to an approaching squadron and slow it up.
How to Kill It
Despite her armament, consider the Mikhail Kutuzov to be a heavy cruiser in all respects. Her biggest weaknesses are her large size, large turning circle and lack of durability.
- Destroyers need to be very wary of her rapid fire, 152mm guns. Unlike those of the American ships, these have a fast muzzle velocity and flat trajectory, making them able to easily lead and strike you even at range. All Destroyers can attempt to remain undetected by the Mikhail Kutuzov and shadow her, keeping her lit for their team. With her large surface detection range, you should be able to follow her unseen. Alternatively, you can attempt to fire torpedo salvos on a perpendicular course to her line of travel. She has a fast rudder shift time but a large turning circle. Tight spreads fired at medium to close range will be difficult for her to avoid, as will a large volume of torpedoes. You can also attempt to fire your guns from concealment. She doesn’t have a lot of armour.
- Cruisers should be aware of her high DPM and be cautious of her torpedoes in close range engagements. For 203mm armed cruisers, engaging her at range will work well. She’s not very well armoured and high explosive rounds along with AP will perform well, alternating between these two depending on the angle she takes. At close range, stick to AP and punish her. For 152mm / 155mm armed ships, you can trade fire confident that you have better DPM performance.
- Battleships should treat her the same they would a Mogami. The biggest threat is that she will open up the distance and bombard you from long range, stacking fires and taking small, continual bites out of your hit points with a high-explosive rain. Even with her large turning circle, at long range she can avoid a lot of incoming fire. If you catch her at medium ranges, make her a priority for an easy kill. She does not have any repair ability.
- Carriers have to respect her dual-purpose guns. These hit as hard as Tier X cruisers like the Des Moines. When the Mikhail Kutuzov activates her Defensive Fire cooldown, you can expect to lose quite a few planes at ranges up to 7.2km if the Cruiser has spec’d into AA fire. Even when this cooldown isn’t active, she still has a respectable weight of firepower comparable to some US Battleships. Plan your attacks appropriately. She’s not fast enough to catch you if she gets in close, but you won’t be able to outdistance her. With close to a 20km range on her rifles, don’t get spotted.
The Mikhail Kutuzov is a support cruiser. In the present meta, she has a purpose but the dynamics between Battleships and Cruisers makes this difficult to enact. You’ll want to stay near your fleet to provide artillery and anti-aircraft fire, but at the same time, you don’t want to be targeted by the enormous weaponry from tier X ships that can easily one-shot you in a single salvo. This leads to a troubling question of how she’s supposed to be played. In this regard, she’s very much like the tier 7 USN Premium Cruiser, the Atlanta. She carries over the same specialization and comparable fragility. She may be a monster against lightly armoured ships like Destroyers and Carriers, but she’s so much meat on the table if caught out by an enemy Cruiser or Battleship. At least she has a little more survivability than the Atlanta with her Smoke Launcher and at-least on par displacement of hit points.
In summary, she’s not designed to lead from the front, but to act as a supporting element.
Would I recommend? I don’t own her. However, I do enjoy playing the supporting role in a cruiser so that appeals. For players that enjoy hunting destroyers, protecting allies from aircraft or simply firing from the second line, the Mikhail Kutuzov is a good ship and I would recommend her. For those hoping for a front line brawler or sneaky lone-wolf vessel, look elsewhere. She cannot kill enemy ships short of a destroyer quickly except with lucky torpedo strikes. I do prefer the Atago to the Mikhail Kutuzov as far as tier 8 premiums go and I find the IJN Heavy Cruiser to be a better (but different) purchase.
- Your first slot is easy. Main Battery Modification 1 is the only one that makes sense.
- For your second slot, you’ve got two good choices:
Gun Fire Control Modification 1 should be your choice if you intend to just focus on doing the damages with your guns, particularly at long range. This is a good choice when you first get her and should be the default most players reach for.
AA Guns Modification 2 is an interesting choice for players more interested in playing a support role. This increases your dual-purpose AA complement from 5km to 6km and everything else onboard up from 3.5km to 4.2km which is very respectable.
- For your third slot, it’s really up to you — they’re all “meh” choices in my opinion.
- For your fourth slot, the best choice is Steering Gear Modification 2 to reduce her rudder shift time.
- For your fifth slot, I would strongly recommend Concealment Modification 1 to reduce her surface detection range to 13.1km.
Recommended Consumables: I would very strongly recommend grabbing the premium consumable, Smoke Generator 2, to give you an additional charge. In addition, Hydroacoustic Search is of less value for the Mikhail Kutuzov than Defensive Fire — generally you don’t want to be up close in this ship without a spotter plane to assist in unmasking torpedo strikes and destroyers, though your mileage may vary.
Recommended Captain Skills: As a ship with 152mm guns, the proper collection of Captain Skills can greatly improve your ship’s performance.
- For tier one, Basic Fire Training should be grabbed immediately after Situational Awareness. This will increase your rate of fire and thus your DPM.
- For tier two, Expert Marksman will hasten your turret rotation speed from 33.3s to 22.6s.
- For tier three, Superintendent is your best choice, to add an additional charge to all of your mounted consumables. Most importantly, this affects your Smoke Generator.
- For tier four, Advanced Fire Training increases your range of your primary armament up to 19km. Demolition Expert is desirable if you don’t want to bother with Tier five skills as a follow up.
- For tier five, Concealment Expert is appealing, possibly opening up the chance to make her a more aggressive Destroyer hunter, but this will still keep her Surface Detection Range over 11km.