It's devblog season! This officially marks the start of the patch cycle for the next major update in War Thunder, and the devblogs have been kicked off with a brand new squadron vehicle - HMS Liverpool!
HMS Liverpool will be joining the Royal Navy at BR 5.7, rank 4 next patch as the first cruiser able to be obtained through the vehicles available to squadron members. The ship is a modified Town-class light cruiser - compared to its sister HMS Southampton, Liverpool has the rear X turret removed in place of an enhanced AA battery.
- 9 Rapid-fire 6 inch guns - good DPM
- Good armour
- Enhanced AA battery which is already quite good
- Easily-accessible gateway into cruiser gameplay
- 1 less turret than HMS Southampton (75% of the firepower)
- No torpedoes
- Non-premium, you'll get it stock
- Can only get it if you're in a squadron, or at an expensive GE price
Liverpool was laid down in 1935 in Govan, Scotland, entering service in 1938. Liverpool belonged to the second production run of the Town-class cruiser, featuring marginally better AA armament, engines and armour. The ship was assigned to the East India Fleet Station where she soon saw combat after the outbreak of WWII a year later, protecting Hong Kong trade routes before being sent to the Mediterranean where she hunted Italian convoys and participated in the Battle of Calabria against the Regia Marina.
Liverpool later supported the convoys supplying Malta in late 1941 where she was struck by a torpedo which tore off her bow. Miraculously, the ship survived and underwent extensive repairs in the USA, afterwards which Liverpool served in escorting the arctic convoys for a few months before being sent back to Malta. Later in the year, Liverpool was again torpedoed by the Italians, which disabled her engine room and steering gears. Undeterred, Liverpool was towed to Gibraltar, although this would mark the end of her WWII career. During repairs she was refitted by the removal of X turret and catapult in exchange for more AA armament, as by this time in the war, danger of air attack was becoming more dangerous than naval attack.
After the war Liverpool returned to the Mediterranean to lead the 15th Cruiser Squadron where she served for several years. In the early 50s plans were underway to modernise Liverpool, but the entire platform was deemed too outdated and in 1952 she was decommissioned, with the ship scrapped in 1958.
Liverpool is represented in-game in her final configuration in 1952, with the most powerful AA armament she carried. Liverpool's AA is 16x 40mm Bofors guns, which while great and definitely serviceable, may feel lacking in more rapid-fire, short-range AA guns. The main guns certainly feel like a downgrade with 3 guns being removed, but fortunately this removal won't affect the ship as much as you'd think as the rapid-fire 6-inch guns she carries will still be great for annihilating destroyers and hunting other light cruisers.
Liverpool's main belt is 114mm which is decent and certainly upholds the Towns' reputations of being quite tanky for light cruisers, but players will of course aim for weaker-protected areas, so don't expect your armour to make you immune. Luckily, Liverpool is decently fast and manoeuvrable, so you should aim to use this to your advantage.
Being a high tier squadron vehicle (for naval, that is - with the top BR being 6.0), Liverpool is likely going to cost a lot of squadron RP and SL to purchase. Remember that this is a squadron vehicle - you will have to purchase and crew the ship upon research, and it will come stock, so you will have to upgrade the modules manually. It also doesn't get any premium benefits, unless you talisman if of course, which will likely come at a hefty price. You can of course just buy the ship outright for GE too, however I wouldn't recommend this at all, as the ship isn't a premium and high tier naval just isn't that great for grinding right now with cruisers facing against dreadnoughts.
Overall, Liverpool is still set to be a pretty good cruiser. It's a great choice for a squadron vehicle, since while many players who spend lots of time earning the ship will not be familiar with cruiser gameplay, Liverpool will be pretty comfortable to play, with high DPM, decent survivability and a great AA battery to protect you from air attack, so it'll be a good tool for people to learn cruiser basics, and for those already familiar with the class, a balanced addition to the already brilliant British 5.7 lineup.
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