World of Warships: Torpedoes Ahead!

From the moment when ancient man invented the cudgel, humans would create weapons intending to be more effective than those of their neighbors. So, too, was the case for sailors. Up until guided missiles began appearing on warships, a navy had few choices for destroying the enemy. Some warships could deliver payloads quickly by air (which required a concentrated effort from many aircraft), or take their chances by trying another, revolutionary method. Though slow and unreliable, the torpedo could deliver a huge self-propelled charge to the enemy.



The torpedo was first created by English engineer Robert Whitehead in 1866, and within a few decades of its invention, was readily available in the arsenals of most modern navies. The Battle of Jutland of World War I was a famous and decisive naval battle where torpedoes were used to great effect. Over a third of the naval vessels present were damaged or destroyed mainly by torpedoes. Aside from shells coming from naval artillery, captains had to worry about incoming underwater torpedoes carrying hundreds of kilograms of explosives. The main difference between torpedoes and the usual high-explosive shell was that upon detonation, torpedoes had a chance to cause further damage after blowing up. If the detonation occurred underwater, the resulting breach may be more than sufficient to drown even the largest of warships. Even if the ship is fortunate enough to stay afloat, her speed was likely to be significantly reduced due to the water pouring through the breached hull.




Only cruisers and destroyers — specifically those bearing torpedo launchers on their decks — possessed the ability of using this powerful, underwater weapon. Aircraft carriers, through the use of their onboard aircraft, also have the ability to use this silent weapon. Though some thought was put into placing torpedo launchers on battleships, due to the low range of the torpedo compared to the rest of the armaments, the only launchers ever placed on these capital ships were used for training purposes.

So, what do we need to launch torpedoes? Well, you need an enemy ship, our own ship with a torpedo launcher, and don’t forget a few torpedoes, of course. Torpedoes should be tweaked accordingly: their speed should be set alongside the travel depth, and the salvo divergence angle (wide/narrow) needs to be reviewed. You also need to define the target’s azimuth, leading point, launch intervals, and your own azimuth after the launch… Wowsers! This sounds a bit too complex; it’s not like we’re building a sim, after all! So, luckily, we went an alternate way.

In World of Warships, the leading point is shown in the game interface, so all we need to do is define the launch direction and its divergence angle. Although simplified, it’s still rather hard to calculate the angle, as when in a fierce battle, you must correctly anticipate the actions of your enemy and correctly aim the torpedo towards them. Essentially, the projectile angle is dependent on the distance between you and the enemy ship. At closer distances, you can give your torpedoes a wider spread to increase the chance of hitting the enemy target, while narrower spreads will ensure heavier impacts (the latter being slightly easier to dodge however).




Longer ranges may turn the tables, as wider spreads allow enemies to sneak through the windows between torpedoes.




One might wonder, since torpedoes fly out of tubes and advance to the target, what can opponents do to counter that? First, they can try to stay in motion and attempt to evade the attack. Some of the lighter, agile vessels may be able to avoid the incoming torpedoes, but those who are too heavy are surely doomed. Second, a clever captain may use islands as natural cover from such attacks. These situations are precarious as well, as there are certain shallow locations where torpedoes may easily cross, unlike the heavy hulls from capital ships.




In summation, a correct torpedo launch is deadly enough to inflict heavy damage to an enemy warship, even if it is far larger that his savvy opponent.

World of Warships Blog