[EDIT] This build is accurate for WoWS v.0.8.0 and before. Some small edits have been made that may help in v0.8.1.
Ladies and gentleman,
Welcome to my personal Große Kurfürst build/small guide that is specifically build around its 128mm L/61 SK G/42 and 150mm L/55 SK C/28 secondaries.
The Große Kurfürst is a ship with an abundance of secondaries, containing 5x2 128mm and 2x2 150mm secondary turrets on both sides of a ship, giving it a total of 10x2 128mm and 4x2 150mm secondary turrets.
This build is thus intended for close-range fights (brawls) with other ships, using its secondaries primarily to deal with enemies faster. With a range of 11,7km for the secondaries.
I'll describe which modules, consumable, upgrades, signals and commander skills I use and why I use them for this build. Its pros and cons will be also be given for this build compared to other builds.
Also, I'll describe how some of the mechanics of secondaries work in this build and give some alternative choices for people who wish to use this build in a slightly different way.
Further more, links to videos explaining some mechanics around HE and IFHE for the Große Kurfürst will be included.
Now, let's begin with the commander skills:
As seen above, the chosen skills are:
Preventative Maintenance: basic skill that prevents your modules from getting disabled 30% of the time. Do note, this skill does not help against module destruction! Seen how secondary and AA modules can only be either working or destroyed, this skill doesn’t affect these.
Priority Target; helps with situational awareness. Alternatively, one can choose the Direction Center for Catapult Aircraft skill for when you need to spot something behind a mountain or smoke in a more consistent matter.
Adrenaline Rush; increases the firing speed of both your main and secondary armaments as your HP decreases.
Basic Firing Training; -10% reload time for secondaries, with the added bonus of 20% stronger AA.
Manuel Fire Control for Secondary Armament; -60% to dispersion for the secondaries! Only downside is, is that you must select a single target to be fired upon, except for automatic firing. An alternative could be to forgo this skill, taking something else like Fire Prevention or Concealment Expert instead. (Taking anything other than a 4 point skill could change the whole commander skill setup. Thus I will not go in depth about other possibilities.)
Advanced Firing Training; An important skill for this build giving you 20% extra range for your secondaries and AA range!
Inertia Fuse for HE Shells; Now the most interesting skill for this build, the IFHE!
I’ll explain later in detail why this skill is a really great skill for the Großer Kurfürst with secondaries! In short, it allows you to reliably deal actual damage with your secondaries.
Next up are the upgrades, together with the Main Battery module:
Main Batteries: Personal Preference; Seen how the Großer Kurfürst is given the option of both a 406mm and 420mm main gun armament, it is generally considered that the 406mm is a better choice. The 420mm doesn’t give much extra overpenetration bonus, and the little extra damage and penetration gets countered with a 3 second longer reload. (29 vs 32 seconds) But in the end, it is still all personal preference.
Slot 1: Auxiliary Armament Modification 1; This gives both your secondary batteries and AA mounts a 100% extra survivability, meaning they have double the amount of HP.
Slot 2: Damage Control System 1; The basic survivability upgrade for any BB.
Slot 3: Secondary Battery Modification 2; A welcoming upgrade that increases the maximum firing range for the secondaries even further with 20%, as well as reducing the maximum dispersion for those with -20%. Alternatively, one can choose the Aiming Systems Modification 1 to help with the Große Kurfürt’s poor main gun accuracy. The downside is, is that you get only a 5%/-5% instead of the 20%/-20% described bonuses for your secondaries.
Slot 4: Steering Gears Modification 2; With a poor base rudder shift time of a giant 19,4 seconds, this modification is a must for close range brawling, reducing the time with -20% to 15,5 seconds. To better avoid torpedoes is great, and to zig-zag around a bit so that all your secondaries, and main armament, can fire at the target to then switch back when the enemy is about to fire back, is useful too. Alternatively, one may choose to go Damage Control System Modification 2 to rid yourself of all those pesky fires earlier people will love to put on you.
Slot 5: Concealment System Modification 1; The reduced spotting range of 1,78km (17,8km to ~16,0km with camuflage skin) and the useful bonus of 5% increased dispersion for shells that are fired at you. Due to the giant spotting range of the Großer Kurfürst and with the brawling nature of of this build. It will allow you, though, to get closer easier by staying unspotted. Alternatively, one can take the Target Acquisition System Modification. Sometimes you’ll have to head straight into a smoke or around a mountain. This modification will help with all of that and more. The 20% spotting range increase is, admittedly, pretty worthless. It only works in that the enemy ships will appear as solid markers on your mini-map and HUD at 20% longer range than normal. The 20% acquisition range of torpedoes is certainly a welcoming bonus, though sadly, it does not stack with your Hydro, while the Vigilance skill does. So this bonus is only useful when your Hydro is offline. Lastly, the 50% assured acquisition range of ships means that you’ll be able to spot ships around an island or ships in smoke from 3km away, instead of 2km. This is especially useful when you are unspotted, meaning that you can see the enemy 1km earlier than they can see you. This is especially useful when you are approaching ships in smoke, as you’ll be able to shoot them first, and potentially stay unspotted until you are within 2km of them.
[EDIT] With the change in meta that v0.8.1 brought in, CSM1 has been nerferd for BBs. Going with TASM may be a more viable choice now.
Slot 6: Secondary Battery Modification 3 (or Enhanced Main Armament); Now we arrive at an interesting slot. For this build, the bonus of Secondary Battery Modification 3 is already nice, with an decrease of -20% reload time for your secondaries.
But; the Großer Kurfürst has a special upgrade for slot 6 after the captain has completed its special personal combat mission called “Don’t Come Close”. (This mission should automatically be given after having played a single game in the Großer Kurfürst.) This upgrade that can be put in slot 6 reduce your reload time with -15% for both your secondaries and main batteries! This comes with the downsides of reduced maximum firing range of your main armament by -8% and a reduced main turret traverse speed of -7%. In the end, this may come down to the personal preference of the captain, if they can coop with the negatives of this modification or not.
Now for the consumable and signal flags.
Due to the lack of the Super Intended skill, it’s highly advisable to only use premium version of your consumables.
Damage Control Party II; Allows the captain to repair the ship quicker between uses. Be advised! Do not waste it! Only use the consumable in the following situation in order:
For when you are flooding or save it when you expect to be flooded by an incoming DD or CL with torps;
For when you have two fires or more;
For when you are very low health and have a single fire;
For when you are on fire and are unspotted and expect to not be set on fire, or torpedoed, again soon later. In short, be smart when you use it. Fires and flooding can be healed for a 100%, flooding can still easily kill you! If a captain is unable to repair the flooding, it can shave off about 60% of your total HP pool for a single flood!
Repair Party II; A big must consumable for any BB. Make sure you can heal enough HP with it, but don’t wait too long, as you want to make full use of it and don’t want to get killed while only having used it once or twice.
Spotting Aircraft I or II; Depending on your choice of your skills (having chosen the Direction Center for Catapult Aircraft or not), a captain may want to save a bit of credits by going for the non-premium version. But a captain does want to use the Spotting Aircraft over the Catapult Fighter. The extra range the Spotting Aircraft gives, can be important at times. Moreover, it gives you a better top-down view when zoomed in, which allows you to better shoot over island or into smokes to blind fire are a concealed ship. (This consumable is especially necessary when the captain has opted to use the Enhanced Main Armament in their slot 6 upgrade.)
Hydroacoustic Search II; Naturally, you want to use the premium version of your Hydro. It’s the best Hydro in the game and it’s use is especially important in close-range situation where DD’s and/or smoke are involved. With 5,88km ship detection range and 4,02km torpedo detection range, you’ll be hard to avoid and to be torpedoed.
A big must! Mike Yankee Soxisix; 5% Secondary firing range, -5% secondary reload time and -5% maximum dispersion for secondaries is a given to be used in this build!
India X-Ray; A nice 0,5% increase to set ships on fire with your secondaries is always nice.
Victor Lima; Once again A nice 0,5% increase to set ships on fire with your secondaries.
November Foxtrot; A -5% decrease between use of consumables!
Sierra Mike; Captains may want to have a speed boost to get out of harm faster, or close the gap between ships faster so your secondaries may fire!
India Delta; Allows your repair party to repair 20% more damage to the ship!
India Yankee; The reduced time of -20% to extinguish a fire passively is a great flag in combat!
Flag of Choice; Choose any flag you may deem necessary.
HE and IFHE:
Now let us talk about the IFHE skill and HE in general. For HE to be able to do damage, it has to penetrate the ship’s armour, else the shell will shatter, dealing no damage. (The shell will still be able to start a fire, though!) At a penetration, the HE shell will do 33% damage of the shell damage to the ship, while 100% with a citadel hit*. It is a good thing that HE ignores the angle of impact, leaving the raw armour value to defend against the hit.
The only way thus for a HE shell to do damage (excluding fires), is to penetrate the armour. The way HE penetration is normally calculated, is by taking the shell calibre and divide it by 6.
For example: The Tier VIII Japanese cruiser Mogami has a stock gun diameter of 155 mm. dividing this by 6, we get a value of 25.83 mm, or 26 mm. This would allow Mogami’s HE shells to penetrate armour sections up to, but not including, 26mm at any angle.
But British battleships, German battleships including the secondaries, German cruiser and the Japanese 100mm gun are an exception. They get to divide their caliber by 4 instead of 6. Meaning, the 128mm secondary can penetrate up to, but not including, 32mm of armour. This is unfortunate, as 32mm of armour penetration is a magical number. All Tier X Battleships have at least 32mm armour all around, not including the superstructure. So this is where the IFHE skill comes in.
The IFHE skill increases the HE penetration of both main armament and secondaries by 30%, or by a factor of 1,3. So if we take the 128mm’s 32mm penetration value and multiply it by 1,3, we get 41,6mm = 42mm of HE armour penetration!
This increase in penetration allows your secondaries to do MUCH more damage to its target! Where they would always shatter against BB’s armour, except super structure, they now almost always will do damage, except when hitting more armoured parts.
Sadly, both the 128mm and 150mm are still unable to penetrate 50mm of armour, which some BB’s like the Große Kurfürst itself and some cruisers like the Moskva have on their deck and plating.
As for the reduced chance to set fire to your secondaries, this is not a big deal. Due to the sheer volume of fire and accuracy, they’ll still reliably, for secondaries, set fires on enemy ships.
For more detail about IFHE and the Große Kurfürst with IFHE, see the included YT videos. *Note: secondaries can in theory hit citadels and cause detonations, but this already rare occurrence with HE is extremely rare for secondaries.
Brawling. You are a deadly ship in any close-range combat. Fighting any other Tier 10 battleship on equal terms at close range will nearly always guarantee you victory, when played correctly;
Above average AA suite for a Große Kurfürst. Most other builds for the ship, like a tank build, would focus on survivability and main armament, giving no bonuses to AA like this build does on some fronts;
[EDIT] With the changed meta of v0.8.1, the AA suite may be worse than before.
Long-range combat. With your still high detectability range, and short gun range, captains should avoid long-range combat.
Attrition. With little emphasis on survivability skills and upgrades, you do not want to be in a battle of attrition. Watch out for HE spam.
Commander Skill Point. Nearly all your skill points have to go to secondary skills, leaving you with a very few points left for other skills.