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Basic Formations and Maneuvers

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Beta Tester
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3,151 battles

 

Basic Formations and Maneuvers

 

A. Line Formation/Line astern

 

Most understand what is meant by a line formation but new players (and maybe even some vets) may not have an understanding of why this formation is used or how it should be used effectively. There are expectations placed on those in the line and success in battle may depend on its cohesion and discipline, therefore an understanding of its dynamics is important for the noobs and the veteran alike. For those who are new, forming a line, or “line astern” means that a group of ships line up nose to stern in a formation that resembles a single file line.

 

Line Astern Formation

rm2AXKv.png

 


Improper Construction:


If you are not following the above prescribed setup, you are doing it wrong. Failing to line up properly leads to either a “broken tooth formation”(BTF), or a loose formation. We will talk about why these are bad in a bit.

2PK9ctn.png

B. Purposes Of The Line

 

The three main purposes of a line are:

  • Concentration of fire

  • Protection of bows and sterns

  • Providing blocks for damaged ships

1. Concentration of Fire:
The tightly sailed line is the best way to concentrate all of the lines firing arcs on a single target without much distortion in the line. It goes without saying that an elongated line may leave a player out of the fight or require that individual to angle his ship to get arcs on target which could lead to a dangerous BTF if the angle is too great.

2. Protection of bows and sterns:

A tight formation protects the bows and sterns of the group members. These are the weakest parts of the ship so the protection of these parts are important. Most ships in the line will have both sides of their ships protected. The ship in the van(front) or in the rear will have one end of their ship vulnerable to a stern charge but this usually can be countered before it happens.

3. Providing blocks for damaged ships:

When a ship is targeted by an opposing group it can be sunk rather quickly. Prevention of the sinking is done by blocking. The ship being attacked leaves the line on the side opposite the attacking foe and receives protection by the other ships in the line. The ship astern sails up beside the damaged vessel providing protection long enough for the target to heal.

ajcObt7.png

 

C. “Sail First, Shoot Second”

 

A saying goes, “A good approach, a good landing, a bad approach, a bad landing.” Its meaning is simple. The outcome is heavily influenced by the setup. An approach in aviation is all about speed control, descent rate, and track. If these elements are not being managed properly 3 miles out then the pilot is forced to work harder at touchdown as he tries to bring these elements together, making a nice touchdown less secure, as workload is greatly increased.

If you sail a broken tooth formation as you approach the start of the engagement, or if your line simply isn’t formed, it is likely to be less effective as your group of 6 spends more energy on the maneuvers of the line and less on the targeting, coordination and strategy of the fight. Often you will hear the phrase “sail first, shoot second.” Its meaning is clear as well. If your formation is well formed it gives you an advantage over an enemy still working at forming their line, but as the phrase indicates, the more “sailing you have to do” the less “shooting”, so form a cohesive and proper line early so that you can focus on more shooting when the battle is engaged. I can’t stress this enough. GET IN LINE!

 

D. Broken Tooth Formation Negatives

 

The BTF has three negatives worth explaining:

  1. Easy target (BTF, near the enemy)

  2. Out of range (BTF, away from the enemy)
  3. Can't block (BTF, away from the enemy)

  • Easy target (BTF, near the enemy):

First, lets assume a ship is out of the proper wake formation on the side of the enemy. So he is closer to the enemy then the rest of the line. He is exposed.

D2J2ypb.png

The enemy will see him as an easy target because his ability to receive a block is reduced due to his position. If he gets “spiked” he will be in trouble rather quickly. In order to get a block he will have to sail a longer distance to get behind his friends and he will have to increase his angle away from the enemy in order to hide in time which will expose his stern to more of his opponents metal before getting the block. This could also lead to a loose formation as his speed relative to the group is less as he cuts through the line causing the ships in back to slowdown to avoid a pile up while the ships ahead sail on.

 

 

  • Out of range (BTF, away from the enemy):

Now let us say the ship out of formation is on the side opposite the enemy. This position, for you, is less threatening as getting a block is as simple as dropping sails. The danger is being out of range. If the fight is engaged at the extremes of the arcs then being out of formation may keep you from being able to participate, reducing the metal raining down on your enemy and giving him the advantage.

 

  • Can't block (BTF, away from the enemy):

You do though, provide danger for the ships you may be required to block. Now, for a ship to receive a block from you he must sail longer and steeper or you must, in order for the block to be successful. The longer the damaged ship is exposed to enemy fire the less effective his repair at best, or at worst he gets sunk. Being out of formation in this manner complicates the blocking process, more emphasis is put on sailing therefore less time on firing, and leaves the damaged ship exposed longer.

mroFLqv.png

 

E. Loose Formation Negatives

The Loose Formation has two negatives worth explaining:

  1. Fewer over-lapping firing arcs

  2. Out on an island

 

  • Fewer over-lapping firing arcs:

The way to maximize damage inflicted is by maintaining the most firing arcs on the target as possible throughout the fight. A loose formation makes this goal extremely difficult. It is difficult enough to get 6 arcs on a target without some distortion in the line so a loose line makes it impossible.

 

  • Out on an island:

The second danger is having one ship left “out on an island.” This usually happens at the back of the line but not always. Being left on an island means that one ship is separated enough from the group that receiving a block in time could be nearly impossible. A full “spike” from the opposing fleet will almost ensure his destruction.

pxvpNjJ.png

 

F. Other Line Formations

1. Line Abreast Formation

 

Line Abreast describes a formation in which the group members line up side by side, or broadside to broadside. Its generally used for initiating an attack when the group is upwind of their opponent. The design is not to attack in this formation but rather to close the distance and transition to a line astern formation. It is also often used with smaller groups charging a group that can’t spike them out with the purpose to engage at close range, to separate their opponents, or to board them but small group tactics is not the purpose of these “fighting Instructions.”

oOXehVM.png

 

2. Echelon Right/Left Formation

 

This formation is formed when the ships in the group are sailing at a 45* angle to each other in a “line abreast” fashion. The typical use for this formation is when the group downwind is trying to close distance with their upwind opponents. Like the “line abreast” formation the purpose is not to engage in this formation. Upon closing to within firing range the formation will turn to a line astern formation in the direction the line was sailing.

0GIJAEz.png

G. Line Maneuvers: Reversing The Line

There are two methods employed to reverse the direction of the line. The order to turn is very important. Lets look at the two methods of reversing the line:

  1. Turn In Formation

  2. Turn In Position / Battle Turn

1. Turn In Formation:

There seems to be lack of knowledge within the nation when it comes to the terminology that should be used when ordering these turns. Here are some possibilities you may hear, Wake turn or wake formation turn, Formation turn, In-line turn or Follow ahead turn. All these (and others) refer to a turn made while keeping the sailing order the same. The second ship follows the first ship around, the third follows the second etc.

YWCDB3k.png

 

A lot of times these turns are made when a complete course reversal is not planned. An example of this may be when you are approaching the enemy perpendicular to his path. A turn to parallel his course would be done in this manner.

The biggest draw back to this type turn is that it is so slow to get the whole line turned on the proper course. It also has the potential of blocking shots on the enemy if the front of the line is turning between you and your opponent.

2. Turn In Position / Battle Turn:

qjm8fxs.png

 

In an In-position turn or “Battle Turn” all begin their turn at the same time. At the completion of the turn a new line will be formed traveling in the opposite direction. The advantage of this turn is that it can be done quickly. First, be aware of the ships in your group. Larger ships turn slower than smaller ones. If you are not careful you will leave the Larger ship well astern of the group and exposed on an island. Easy pickins’. Secondly, a larger ship also has a much larger turn radius so frigates must adjust their speed as well as their turn rate in order to not leave the larger ship displaced to one side of the line. Sail first shoot second.

 

 

 

Edited by _intervention

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Beta Tester
9 posts
139 battles

It's informative, but I'm pretty sure that these formations being applied into WoWS is gonna cost your team to lose instantly from Torpedo barrages LOL.

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Beta Tester
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In my most humble opinion, most of these have minimal utlity in actual WoBs. Why? Because there is no room for manoeuvres by multiple ships on any of the maps.

Notwithstanding that with the number of torpedoes floating around, and the lack of any need to range or calculate firing angles (nice indicators), it is best to move erratically but carefully than to follow any set formations or patterns.

oh. :( as i have not even got my hands on the actual game yet, i wasnt able to know. Quite frankly though, now that we actually got indicators, the effectiveness of the formations might simply be deemed unuseful. AFAIK though, a formation is supposed to comprise of about at least 6 ships, and we have more than 6 players in one team right? That way formations can still work, imo.

It's informative, but I'm pretty sure that these formations being applied into WoWS is gonna cost your team to lose instantly from Torpedo barrages LOL.

Oh yes, some formations here are weak against torpedoes, specially the Line Astern formation, and Line Abreast being best against torpedoes. That's that, but well normally we'd have to expect players turning anywhere just to evade the torpedoes, :teethhappy: leading them to break away/or get forced to move into a bad position.

Edited by _intervention

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Beta Tester
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This is great, could work very well in clan wars and such.

 

But in random battles I cannot see this ever working. Getting a group of random people to work together is hard, let alone getting them to use battle formations.

 

But in saying all that I would like to see more battle formations and what type of ships would place where and what role they would take in these formations

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Beta Tester
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Very informative. We could adapt this in our play but instead of having long line (like 6 ships in formation) we could trim it down to 3 ships considering our current maps would't allow us to use more than that (too many islands and not much more open sea area).

Edited by OneForceX

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Beta Tester
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Very informative. We could adapt this in our play but instead of having long line (like 6 ships in formation) we could trim it down to 3 ships considering our current maps would't allow us to use more than that (too many islands and not much more open sea area).

 

Indeed! a 6 ship formation would work best for enemies having a formation as well, while 3 could suffice for an disoriented, unorganized enemy fleet.

a mix of organized fleet and somewhat "unorganized" solo-op would always be a great combination.

 

Lol why even bother ,teamwork is a dirty word in wows sea

 

No offense but,well, one thing's for sure that that mindset won't do any better for the teamwork in wows sea.

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Super Tester
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I would love to see this formations done in a tournament or something, or a highly coordinated Div..

 

man, makes me want to have a map with no islands lol~ :D

 

what about "Crossing the T" 

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Alpha Tester
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I would love to see this formations done in a tournament or something, or a highly coordinated Div..

 

man, makes me want to have a map with no islands lol~ :D

 

what about "Crossing the T" 

Crossing the T isn't a formation.

 

It's your formation getting the advantage over their formation :trollface:

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Beta Tester
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I see one problem here. A formation relies on coordination and central command.

 

Indeed, a formation relies on coordination, as well as central command. The movements have to be so precise, so much that this requires real-time communication. Given that, still, moving on organized tactics with proper coordination has never been so rewarding.

I would love to see this formations done in a tournament or something, or a highly coordinated Div..

 

man, makes me want to have a map with no islands lol~ :D

 

what about "Crossing the T" 

 

Just like what ChaosGhost said, It's your formation getting the advantage over their formation.

here's how it looks like, and also a brief explanation.

4OYcreZ.png

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Beta Tester
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>Rengo Kantai confirmed.

 

You make valid points, of course. But the very fact that the game has limited space already breaks it, since any torpedo barrage can effectively render it useless.

 

In fact, with how matches are made, you won't even get to do any formations. Only squadrons of destroyers and cruisers would work.

 

Crossing the T is feasible, but you'll probably only get to see it in 1v1.

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Super Tester
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>Rengo Kantai confirmed.

 

You make valid points, of course. But the very fact that the game has limited space already breaks it, since any torpedo barrage can effectively render it useless.

 

In fact, with how matches are made, you won't even get to do any formations. Only squadrons of destroyers and cruisers would work.

 

Crossing the T is feasible, but you'll probably only get to see it in 1v1.

 

It's still possible to do line formation with pubs PROVIDED they are willing to cooperate with you. I pretty much sail in either line abreast or line ahead if I'm sailing my CA. 

 

This morning's game was the best... 2 Hotel Yamato sailing in echelon, ringed by 2 CA, with 2 DD and another CA in a scouting squadron up front and Nagamon lagging behind the Hotel formation, pretty much thwarted attacks by Essex, torp strikes and a clutter of 4 enemy BBs... The last floating Amagi tried to flee but was gunned down by the 2 Hotels... We lost 1 DD and the other CA in the scouting squadron

 

For that battle, it some what commanded by one of the Hotels the heading and targetting of the main body was pretty much called by one of the Hotels... As for keeping station... Well... We had to post lookouts to help keep formation relative to one another and also not to collide. The Hotel body pretty much kept within 1-2 km of each other. The flak storm was just.... AWESOME

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[SIF]
Super Tester
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Very good post and a lot can be learnt from it.  I can comment on how much of it can be put into practice.

 

The problem will lie in the lack of communication in pub games as well as the lack of teamwork that comes with that.  Most of us on here can appreciate the information and possibly use it, but forumgoers are a minority in these games and the people that we need to influence are the ones that never come here.


 

Line abreast tactics occasionally happen, but once the torp spam starts and a DD enters the lines, or a lone target appears, it all goes to hell in a handbasket.

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Moderator
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How we dodge the torpedo's if we in that formation?

 

1. Wreck everything with a torpedo before it gets into firing range.

2. If torpedoes are launched, turn.

 

WWII lines-of-battle are a lot more loose than the one OP linked (which applies to sailing ships) and have more room to maneuver. 

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Member
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1. Wreck everything with a torpedo before it gets into firing range.

2. If torpedoes are launched, turn.

 

WWII lines-of-battle are a lot more loose than the one OP linked (which applies to sailing ships) and have more room to maneuver. 

 

yea

and it will more easy to dodge torpedo's if use destroyer

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Moderator
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Destroyers don't form line. The line of battle is only used by heavy guns (BBs, occasionally BCs). Cruisers and DDs screen the line of battle.

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Super Tester
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WW2 fleets didn't use the age of sail formations. They got their own way of arranging it. It can be a ring around the capital ships and a arrow head scout line ahead or so....

 

The US Pacific fleet just stayed on course if it's a bomber attack but they'll only turn if its a torpedo attack

 

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Moderator
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WW2 fleets didn't use the age of sail formations. They got their own way of arranging it. It can be a ring around the capital ships and a arrow head scout line ahead or so....

 

The US Pacific fleet just stayed on course if it's a bomber attack but they'll only turn if its a torpedo attack

 

 

They did, actually, whenever they could. Due to the threat of air attacks, fleets/squadrons would travel with valuable ships (BBs/CVs) surrounded by cruisers and picketing destroyers. On enemy contact, the BBs/CAs would move into the line-of-battle before engaging enemy fleets.

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Beta Tester
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WW2 fleets didn't use the age of sail formations. They got their own way of arranging it. It can be a ring around the capital ships and a arrow head scout line ahead or so....

 

The US Pacific fleet just stayed on course if it's a bomber attack but they'll only turn if its a torpedo attack

 

I believe you are referring to stuffs like a Carrier Battle Group? applied by the Kidou Butai of IJN, which served as the main task force, while USN separately deploying their carrier forces around the theatre.

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