Aircraft Carrier vs Battleship: Clash of the Titans

12.02.14, Andrey Gashkov, Lead Producer
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Can you tell us about any case of direct clash between these two types of ships?


At the dawn of the era of aircraft carriers, namely the second decade of 20th century, battleships represented the might of a fleet. They existed as an illustration of the power that seafaring nations possessed. During these times, naval aviation was an auxiliary tool, useful for reconnaissance and correcting the aim of ship salvos. Later on, in the 1920s and 1930s, the leading maritime countries began to actively experiment with aviation at sea. Aircraft carriers started to be used both as support units and to deal with damaged enemy vessels. When the tests revealed how good they were at it, they began to be included within organisation of operational units.

Despite the increasing combat potential of aircraft carriers, battleships remained the central actors in naval battles. Fleet commanders were reluctant to depart from what was known and understood, and often relied on obsolete approaches to naval warfare tactics. Eventually, the Pearl Harbor tragedy revealed that times had changed. During this attack, Japanese forces made use of their carrier-based airplanes to defeat a group of US battleships that were situated in Pacific Ocean. It was a huge blow for the USA. Relying on battleships wouldn’t have worked for the Japanese as they would have been spotted long before they approached firing range. These events led to instant re-consideration of warfare concepts in the minds of military consultants: now it was the aircraft carrier that indicated fleet might. As a result, it became symbolic when the battleship “Yamato”, pride of the Japanese Navy, was destroyed by US aerial forces during Ten-Go operation, without significant casualties in return.

Essentially, all of this complex evolution from support ships up to the core of any fleet squadron will be reflected in our tech tree and will be sure affect overall gameplay. For instance, battleships will be the true “kings” for low tier battles. Aircraft carrier trees will start with early seaplane carriers whose attacks may be easily repelled by the anti-aircraft  guns of most battleships. Further on, things are getting different and starting from Tiers VII-VIII, these ships may fight head-to-head. Getting a bit higher, at Tier IX and X, players will see their carriers starting to have an edge over battleships. Their hangars will embed several dozens of attack aircrafts that are deadly enough (if operated properly) to overwhelm an isolated and careless battleship.


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Ok, so what ships may players use to counter them at higher tiers?

During World War II, naval forces introduced anti-aircraft tactics – ships would move in set formation with carefully distributed firing sectors, so that all ships could cover each other from aerial attacks. This proved successful, and this type of “umbrella” was very hard to penetrate for any sort of aircraft. The battle near Rabaul on November 5th 1943 is a good example. That day, a well-organised attack by Japanese planes was bogged down and ended up facing a shield of explosions covering the US ships. The fire was so dense that it caused a premature aerial detonation of a bomb that was flying towards the deck or the USS Independence.

This type of defence requires a complicated tactical interaction by naval groups. So, during lower tier battles, ships can work fairly independent from each other, but later on, it will become essential for all team members to work together. It will be this cohesion that defines the battle outcome, rather than the individual features of each vessel afloat. A well-balanced group of two aircraft carriers and three or four battleships, supported by cruisers and destroyers would be vastly superior to a team equipped solely with Yamato battleships.
Generally, the main edge of aircraft carriers over battleships is their ability to use aviation from distances exceeding any reasonable range of cannon or torpedo fire. The average firing distance for a battleship is about 40 km with questionable accuracy, whereas an aircraft carrier can launch its “wasps” from hundreds of kilometres away.

This Thursday, February 13th we will continue our discussion on winning tactics for battleship vs. carrier battles.


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  1. “During this attack, Japanese forces made use of their carrier-based airplanes to defeat a group of US battleships that were situated in Atlantic Ocean.” – I guess the author wrote about the wrong ocean here:)

  2. It happened during conquest of Philippines by US Forces – Battle of Samar Island. Japanese battleships (Nagato, Haruna and Kongo) and cruisers attacked group of US escort carriers (called Taffy 3).
    US loose three destroyers, one escort carrier (Gambier Bay). Due to heroic fight losses were not bigger. Japanese lost three cruisers, other ships were damaged.

  3. I think that too counter a Battle Cruiser and/or a Aircraft carrier at a higher tier, you’d use a submarine

  4. how downloading?????????????????????????????????????
    hoe moet je downloaden?????????????????????????????????????????

    • you will have toapply for closed beta or wait for it to be fully released

      as am i

  5. Nach eine stunde Download suchen,erfolglos=/ Finde ich nicht lustig.

    classification no good!!!!

  6. The game looks really cool can’t wait for the open alpha and the full game :)

  7. The Tier 6 Japanese Exp is not right installed. actualley there are 777.000 Exp needed for the next level.
    Please fix that.

  8. Don`t you think they made that on purpose? I think that was a good choice!!!

  9. Awesome Weekend. Top Job guys! If u can keep that quality, WoWs will be THAT Game in ´15!

  10. While the attack on Pearl Harbour is notable for the fact it was the salvo that brought the US into the war, it was NOT the 1st attack of it’s type that as the US ‘bigs’ it up as. RN swordfish squadrons launched an air and torpedo attack on the Italian surface fleet in there shallow water harbour 18 months prior, and despite the raid being smaller it was more successful with not one Italian ship avoiding heavy damage and effectively forcing the Italian navy out of the war as there sub forces consisted of only a handful of vestals. THias raid also insured that the allies would win the war in Africa as the Italian fleet was at that time the only force capable of contesting the RN for the Med.

    • The raid on Taranto influenced the entire Pearl Harbor raid, but WOWS won’t mention that, they down play the RN at every turn, and talk about the Russians as though they were a naval power.

  11. Interesting history lesson. I thought naval aviation was widely used a little earlier than pearl harbour.

    • You can’t play the game yet because it is not released yet (it is in Alpha stage).
      Have some more patience!

  12. I waiting WOW official, I not receive code for betta test, but not cry for that, my work is to design ships so I suppose will be great to play it if will be at least 50% realistic:)

    • damn that sucks how you helped the dev’s and you don’t get access

  13. I always loved the idea of aircraft carriers, I’m really happy to see that you want to deep in them.

  14. i was on v1 jap destory ship i belive when a topedo plane came at me as i watching it but only to find it drop the topedo and i only have 4 sec to turn the ship which it inpossble to do within the time! Ant i was hit any other time u get a chance to see them drop the topedo and i had 50 sec and watch where it was going avoid it! why is this?

    Also it would be great if we can get to be in controll of the plane meaning to sit in the crontroll topedo plane instead of looking at the map! this way we can decide to go in up close to the enamy ships?

  15. Some1 Can help ? buy 30 day’s pre order acc, Still i cant download the game ?

  16. The range from CV is bigger can this OP potencial give them the game or the CV have the “hide you BB can reach you” tactik for ballance ?

  17. it’s a shame that aircraft carriers can only be researchered a tier 4 and up,
    as were battle ships can be researched at tier 3

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