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I normally play IJN BBs. I absolutely love my Fuso and especially my Amagi. Just recently got the Bismarck. A very impressive ship indeed and she can do tremendous damage in close and tank like nobody's business. The problem I have with the Bismarck is that sometimes it isn't possible to engage the enemies at close range. The "Tears Of The Desert" map in an "Epicentre" game style match is a classic example: everyone hides at long range and snipes behind the islands on their side of the map. There are no islands you can use as cover to get to the other side of the map, so if any Bismarck captain is foolish enough to attempt a close range engagement... they'll be doing it solo and be bush-whacked by 3 - 4 ships shooting at them simultaneously and killing them very quickly. Where close range engagements are not possible (either due to map layout, the type of game like Epicentre, or player psychology), I often find the Bismarck to be a very ineffective vessel. I don't know if it is the dispersion or the psychological effect of knowing my guns are only 380mm, but it is difficult to hit enemy vessels reliability beyond 15km. When I play my Nagato or Amagi, I don't have this problem. A big frustration I have is that when I sometimes hit cruisers, my 380mm shells will over penetrate. It happens quite often and I think to myself: Is the Bismarck really the cruiser killer people make it out to be? At that same 15km range, I can put the fear of God into cruisers with my Amagi. I have had success with the Bismarck's guns at close range but I think that's besides the point. Basically unless the map's terrain allows me to sneak up on the enemy, or I do a suicide charge, I find the Bismarck just really isn't able to assist my team. The inability of the Bismarck's main guns to hit targets or do damage aside, I'm obviously wary of getting into a 15km - 18km shooting match with the Bismarck because her deck armor is so thin and she's very vulnerable to plunging fire. What strategies do Bismarck captains employ to make themselves combat effective when close range engagements are not possible? When I do fire at enemies at 15km+, I either miss or do token damage... then I have to run like crazy to dodge the incoming plunging fire lest it wreck my ship before I get out of detection range. My Bismarck is configured as follows: Auxiliary Armaments Modification 1 Secondary Battery Modification 2 Damage Control System Modification 1 Steering Gears Modification 2 Concealment System Modification 1 Side Note I have experimented with swapping out the "Secondary Battery Mod 2" with "Aiming Systems Mod 1" to reduce my main guns dispersion by -7%. I didn't really find it to make much difference and I found it really annoying to have my secondaries engagement much later where close range engagements did occur. Regarding "Manual Fire Control for Secondary Armament", I know some people prefer to avoid this Captain's skill because they like the idea of their ship shooting on both sides. I've found that having secondaries shoot at multiple targets wasn't the "hand of death" people might assume it to be: I've found that in practice, when your secondaries are shooting at multiple targets your firepower is divided and thus has less effect on individual vessels. Furthermore you do less damage due to lack of a secondary dispersion reduction you get with manual control. I once engaged three ships at once at close range and one of them was a DD, who could've cared less because whilst Bismarck's secondaries have crazy high DPS there are not that many individual secondary turrets and the firepower was severely curtailed when the turrets were divided over three enemy ships. Don't get me wrong, I did a ton of damage but it wasn't like my multi-ship secondary fire was making the Bismarck a killing machine who can take on multiple enemies and win. I think when your secondaries can target multiple ships, it leads to false confidence. Finally if you're engaging multiple targets at close range, at fun as it is and even if you do tremendous damage, you usually die because you're copping enemy fire from multiple directions. In my mind it's better to have manual control so you can concentrate your secondary fire on a single enemy ship and have a realistic chance of killing them (or near killing them). When your secondaries are manually targeted on a single vessel, it encourages you to angle more effectively and not expose yourself to shell fire from other vessels (which is normally how you expose yourself in order to have your secondaries blazing on both sides of your ship). The one area where I think forgoing manual secondaries might make sense is if you don't want the mental distraction of having to manually target your secondaries, especially if enemies are slipping out of smoke or islands all the time. That makes sense, but that again puts the focus onto the Bismarck's main guns which.... frankly.... I find very lacklustre. Unless I'm 10km or less, I don't really find Bismarck's guns all the effective. I've over-penned plenty of times at that range and I scratch my head thinking what purpose the Bismarck's guns are except for show?