Causes of ships destruction

Hello Warthunderians.

You’ve taken a magnificent ship out of its harbour to shoot up the ships opposite. But what are the situations that lead to the loss of an opposing ship or your own? Follow the guide.

!! Detail !! that tutorial are a traduction with Deepl of my work in french section. Images are in french, copy/past form the original topic.

-1) Destruction of ammunition
As with tanks, your ammunition is stored in the ammunition racks. When ammo are hit, they can (and often do) explode. If enough ammunition explodes at the same time, it causes severe damage to the hull, putting the ship out of action.

The message displayed is then “The ammunition has burnt out”.

Note: torpedoes, depth charges and mines are considered to be ammunition. While the former, in their tubes, are slightly less vulnerable, the other two are much more sensitive to blows because they are in the open air.

A) Ammunition protection

So if we know that ammunition explodes easily, how is it protected to prevent it from doing so?

Ammunition is often placed in bunkers at the bottom of the ship to limit its exposure to fire. Often, these bunkers are armoured and surrounded by fuel tanks to absorb any fire that might perforate the hull or the explosion of a torpedo. The vulnerability of the ammunition is increased when it is transferred to the firing points (the turrets) by the ammunition lifts, even if these are armoured. It should be noted that the rate of fire is reduced if the ammunition lifts are out of service.

!! Détail !! if an ammunition bay is drowned, it does not explode. The ammunition inside is unusable until the water is drained.

-1 module to search for will limit (somewhat) the risk of ammunition explosion: Wet ammunition rack (unsinkability rank IV).

B) Destroying ammunition

So how do we destroy this ammunition?

There are several solutions.

  • The first is to use shells with enough armour-piercing power to pierce the decks or hull armour and detonate them in the target’s ammunition bay.

  • Another option is to use bombs chosen according to the size of the target: while a 250kg bomb will devastate a coastal vessel or a relatively new destroyer, don’t expect to do more than destroy a turret and set fire to a large vessel (heavy cruiser, battleship). For this type of target, 500kg bombs are the minimum, and you’ll need to place them carefully to explode the ammunition bunkers.

  • Fire works fairly well, but wise commanders will try not to let a fire spread. We’ll come back to the effects and spread of fires below.

  • Last option: Torpedoes. If they hit just above the ammunition bunker, they have enough destructive power to blow up the whole bunker (except on the toughest ships, in which case a second torpedo in the same area will have the desired effect). Note that although a torpedo will not detonate the ammunition bunker, it is likely that the bunker will be drowned and therefore unusable as long as there is water in the compartment (which will limit your opponent’s ability to send you jelly beans).

-2) Destruction of compartments

The second cause of destruction, but more often encountered with small units, is the destruction of hull compartments. When a compartment is ‘black’ it is considered destroyed. While this does not harm the protection or equipment inside, it is fatal for the crew present in the compartment at the time, who will be replaced by other men.

Apart from the crew members, the loss of compartments outside the hull (basically the superstructures) does not affect the integrity of the ship. Where it gets more complicated is with the hull compartments. If enough compartments are destroyed, the ship is out of action.

As I said, this affects smaller ships more, whose compartments can be easily destroyed. You will very often sink a large ship long before you destroy all its hull compartments.

How do you destroy a compartment? By firing at it, preferably with HE or SAP (Semi Armor Percing) shells, which contain enough explosive to damage the structure.

Bombs and torpedoes are extremely effective because, as well as damaging compartments heavily, they generally create major waterways.

Mines and depth charges also do the job very well, even on fairly large destroyers, exploding underneath them as long as you can get close without being sunk prematurely. However, on larger ships, this won’t have much effect because of the size of the ships. What’s more, while it’s reasonable to hope to sink a destroyer that’s a little too enterprising in the middle of the islands, you’ll be sunk well before you get to a cruiser or battleship, which will remain in deeper waters.

-3) Waterways

Now we come to the dreaded waterways. As you know, a ship full of water sinks. Your aim is to make enough holes in the hull to let the water through. The most effective weapons for this are torpedoes, bombs (this time dropped right next to the target), mines and depth charges.

Because of their explosive power, these weapons not only open up fairly large breaches in the hull, but also tend to destroy the bilge pumps at the same time, which your opponent will have to repair before he can evacuate the water, even if he has already sealed the leaks.

How can you prevent water leaks? For a start, try to avoid torpedoes. Unfortunately, bombs and shells are more difficult to avoid. So you’ll have waterways. Let’s go back to the drainage pumps for a moment. As soon as you have a leak, the pumps come into action automatically to empty the water from the perforated compartments. However, if the pumps are not clogged, they will not be enough to keep your vessel afloat and you will sink. These pumps can be destroyed (shell exploding in the compartment, torpedo, toussatoussa…) and will have to be repaired to work again.

While a large ship can afford to wait a while before sealing a breach or repairing the pumps (for example, while a fire is contained), smaller ships had better not waste any time, as their buoyancy will soon be compromised.

-1 module to search for will help you fight against waterways: the Pumps (Unsinkability rank IV)

This is how waterways are indicated on the interface:

Click Here: Waterway indications

Clogging available:

Remaining buoyancy on YOUR vessel:

Remaining buoyancy on your TARGET:

-4) FIRE!!!

Fire is an abomination aboard aircraft, but it’s just as much of an abomination aboard ships of any size. Triggered by a whole host of reasons, fire in WT has 2 phases:

A) Initial fire

Located at the point of impact, the initial fire is generally relatively simple to control and often not very dangerous (except in an ammunition bay, we’ll come back to that). There’s not much to say about it. It’s afterwards that it gets fun.

B) Spreading fire

If a fire is not brought under control soon enough (in its initial phase) it will gain in power and spread. This is where the fun starts: as it spreads, the fire will spread to nearby compartments and so will the smoke. Compartments affected by a spreading fire will be out of service more quickly and the crew … (do you really need to explain?). The smoke, on the other hand, spreads a little further than the fire and will begin to asphyxiate the crew members, albeit less quickly than the fire itself, but will still cause losses.

When the fire spreads to an ammunition bay, the ammunition will be subjected to the fire and, just like in a tank, will eventually explode, generally meaning the loss of your ship.

A spreading fire will be much more complicated to control and will take longer to extinguish. So don’t waste time with fire.

C) How do you set a target on fire?

To set a target on fire, you need to cause damage to the ammunition bunkers (which have a chance of “only” catching fire) or by firing an HE shell (preferably) at the ship’s superstructure, which has a good chance of triggering an external fire but will still need to be dealt with.

Firing into the engine room or fuel tanks also regularly causes fires (provided the armour is pierced).

D) How can you reduce the effects of a fire?

Firstly, don’t delay in putting out a fire. Even if this takes time, the risk of the fire spreading will be reduced.

-3 modules to look for will help limit the damage caused by a fire:

  • Fire Protection System (Unsinkability rank II) which will improve the efficiency of fire extinguishing teams.

  • Ventilation (Unsinkability rank III) to limit crew asphyxiation in the event of a fire

  • Wet ammunition rack (Unsinkability rank IV) which will reduce the effects of fire on ammunition (it will take a little longer for it to blow up in your face).

If a compartment of the hull is on fire THEN drowned, the fire in that compartment will extinguish itself.

Here’s how the interface indicates that your ship is on fire:

Click Here: Fire information

Extinguishing available:

Fire on YOUR ship:

Fire on your TARGET:

-5) Loss of crew

Now here’s the cause that will add to a number of the concerns outlined above: the lack of crew.

How do you lose crew members in the first place? In several ways:

  • Receiving shells in unprotected areas
  • Receiving shells that perforate the armour and explode in the compartments
  • Having compartments destroyed by impacts or explosions
  • By fire
  • By drowning (in flooded compartments)

The number of crew lost when a compartment is destroyed varies according to the size of the compartment (an out-of-service radio compartment will lose fewer crew than an engine room compartment, for example) and the type of damage received (for example, a fire put out early enough will cause 20% of the compartment’s crew to lose their lives, whereas a shell explosion will kill 80% of the crew present instantly).

What are the consequences of having too small a crew? The impossibility of extinguishing fires, sealing waterways and repairing damage. Once the crew has reached 10% (with training and a basic crew), it is assigned ONLY to the armament and manoeuvring department (main, secondary and AA batteries, fire control, wheelhouse, engine room). It will therefore be possible to continue fighting until critical damage renders the ship hors de combat (ammunition explosions following a fire, capsizing due to water ingress) or there are no crew members left fit to fight (0%).

The message displayed is either “The ship has burned”, or “The ship has sunk” depending on what has disabled the ship.

2 modules reduce crew losses:

  • Ventilation (Unsinkability rank III) reduces losses in the event of fire

  • Shrapnel protection (Level III unsinkability) which protects the crew from shrapnel caused by explosions in neighbouring compartments.

Crew information is displayed on the interface:

Click Here: Crew information

Remaining crew on YOUR ship:

Remaining crew at your target :

Message indicating that there is not enough crew left on board:

!!! WARNING!!! The percentage of remaining crew indicated (yours or your opponent’s) is NOT based on the TOTAL number of sailors but on the number REQUIRED to service the ship.

-6) Grounding
It simply happens when you mistake your ship for a tank…

To avoid this, all you have to do is avoid trying to climb onto the shore. Don’t worry, an alert is there to warn you of the proximity of dry land. All you have to do is tack or slow down (quite quickly). Once aground, a 2-minute countdown is triggered before the ship is lost and the “Ship aground” message appears. Fortunately, you can use your engines to try to get back afloat, or another ship in your team can throw you a towline to help you get out of the water.

Near-shore warning and countdown:

Click Here: Grounding

Warning before grounding:

Countdown to the loss of the ship:

-7) Miscellaneous causes

Collision at high speed with a reef or another ship, capsize following a collision. It is very rare for this to happen and will be due more to bad luck than anything else.

While destruction following a collision is instantaneous, capsizing takes a certain amount of time for the ship to right itself (and yes, it’s a game balancing act, because in real life, ships of this size don’t right themselves and sink).

To avoid this, try to avoid hitting friendly islands and ships. You can, however, try to overturn an opposing ship (I did this once with a destroyer against a torpedo boat).

Before closing this guide, here is an indication of the critical damage you have inflicted on your target as a result of shooting, torpedoing, etc. (other than fire or waterways). (other than fire or waterways, which we have already seen above). As these indications are linked to the impact camera, they only appear once you’ve fired at (and hit) your target.

Click Here: naval symbology

  • Turret(s) (main or secondary) are non-functional
  • Engine(s) or propeller(s) are non-fonctional
  • Torpedoes launcher(s) are non-functional
  • Wheelhouse, bridge or rudder are non-functional

This is the end of this rather busy guide, but I hope it will shed some light on what caused the loss of your magnificent warship. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions you may have.

1 Like

Thanks for this article!
Does the crew move around like in ground vehicles?
From what I understand, if I destroy certain compartment I kill all the crew located there, but will part of remaining crew be relocated to destroyed compartment afterwards, like when I kill gunner in a tank and somebody replaces him afterwards?

Yes. And that explain the progressive crew lost.

Ok and how about killing crew repositioned to already destroyed compartment?
I started to play naval only recently, so I am thinking in terms of small boats, but I can imagine that larger ships have hundreds of crew members, so not everyone is modeled individualy hence the compartment damage system.
I assume that crew relocated to destroyed compartments is not invulnerable just because I cannot destroy already destroyed compartment again. How can it be killed then?

To do this, the opposing player must have repaired the damaged element so that it can be put back into service with the corresponding crew replacing the previous one.
For example, once a turret has been destroyed, no crew will be lost until the turret has been repaired.

I take it no replacement crew will be sent to destroyed compartment, unless there was also a destroyed module, that got repaired afterwards.

Exact. If you let a destroyed turret in that status, no new crew members will coming for replace dead previous crew members. And enemies shells cant kill more crew members in that turret.

And it is valuable for all compartiment with particuliar module (radio, bridge, engine, pumps …)

How about crew operating specific module in a compartment that gets destroyed? I guess it survives unless the module gets destroyed aswell?

In case of destroyed module in a compartiment you have crew lost but less as a the case of destruction of compartiment.

yeah, but what if the compartment gets destroyed, but modules in it doesn’t? Will crew operating those modules survive?

Nope: they killed by the drestuction of the compartiment but fastly replaced by new crew.

Thank you very much for answering my questions and so swiftly on top of that!
Feel free to delete/edit any of my comments to keep the info clear here.

1 Like

Most ships have 2 pumps. If you destroy, blacken, the compartment containing one of them then do they get repaired? So I’d presume the compartment would have to have it’s holes sealed first… Then pumped out, then the pump repaired.Though I’m not sure whether just clicking the pumps does all of this or whether a specific repair click would also be needed.

Also do we know whether different ships or countries have different rates of fighting fires, pumping out or repairing?

No. All countries have the same efficiency.

If a pump was destroyed, the pumping efficiency are reduced but stay actively even if holes has not repaired. But if holes are not repaired, the pumps can just slow down lost of flotability.

A destroyed compartiement just kill a large part of the crew in at this moment and after, just dont stop shells or shrapnels, causing more casualties among the crew present, but stay operational for modules.

So destroyed compartment has zero armor?

Yep. But i will reworkbthe tuto du the new mecanic of destroyed compartiment at the next update.

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From patch notes it looks like the new mechanics apply only to bigger ships, so boats and sub chasers stayed the same, didn’t they?

I will make test and probably update the topic with that new mecanic.

I think all ships have that mecanic but small boats are very less impacted due to the weapons encountered: a majority of automatic guns who cant destroy a compartiment (in fact they dont have that new mecanic) than large caliber shells.

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No - it is Frigates and larger only:

Ha yep, i miss that line.

1 Like