War on the Sea: Beginners Guide (Campaign)

The game is quite big and as a beginner it can be quite overwhelming. I hope this guide can help you get started.


The Factions

You can start a campaign as either the Japanse or the Americans. Both have very interesting elements to their complement of vessels and their starting locations. They are balanced in their difficulty, but require a diffrent type of stratagy. I would recommend reading this first before choosing a faction. A campaing can take an incredible amount of time, especially if you want to use the maximum amount of micro. Here are my thougts on the Factions in the Game.


The main task of the japanese is to build a level 5 airfield on the island of guadalcanal, wich luckily, is already occupied by a token force. To continue building up your base on the island, your main focus will be supporting your convoys to guadalcanal and securing the waters around the archipellago. It is a more defensive style of gameplay. Expect to invest many hours in patrolling the area and waiting for nightfall to secure a safe passage for your convoys.

They have a wide arrange of fast and strong heavy cruisers. Their battleships, especially the Yamoto, are very strong an versaitaille. (The congo has a very big amount of secondary’s). They do not have a lot of command points at the start, and because many points will be spent on convoys, dont expect to use carriers until mid-game. Their light cruisers at the start of the game are vintage ww1 ships, and wont provide you with a lot of firepower. Their top tier destroyers are a better choise for that task. However these cruisers van withstand a bit more damage. In the mid to late game, new light cruisers will come availible, wich will provide you with a better way of dealing with enemy destroyers. Although the best aspect of the japanese is of course the type 93 torpedo. These never fail to enjoy me. With their inmense range they can play a huge role in any battle. Thats why they have many installed on cruisers and destroyers.

Playstyle: Defence


1. The long lance (exelent long range torpedo)
2. Starting with objective secured and many islands already under your control
3. Versaitalle and strong Heavy cruisers and Battleships


1. Big focus on guarding convoys
2. A lack of (surface) radar and good sonar on most ships
3. Weak light cruisers


The main goal of the US is to capture Guadalcanal and build a level 5 airfield. So your main focus at first will be to defeat the enemy force (at land and at sea) near and at guadalcanal. The playstyle of the US is aggressive, actively seeking out enemy fleets and disrupting their supply lines to guadalcanal. Due to the fact that your main goal is to eliminate the enemy, you will be commanding bigger fleets, due to less command points being spend on convoy ships (troops can be moved with warships). As you only start with 3 ports, of wich 2 ar very far from your objective, it is very usefull to capture the many ports near guadalcanal to build up a defence perimeter after the capture of your main objective, providing you with air cover and granting spotting oppertunitys by the occupied ports. Most Japanse ports are only garrisoned by a token force.

Their choise of vessels is large and there are many advantages to the American fleet. Their first advantage over the japanese is their more modern navy. This means most vessels have surface radar and a good set of sonars. This will be very helpfull in spotting enemy fleets and will help in engaging enemy’s at large distances or at night. Next in line are their exelent light cruisers. These ships will easily overpower enemy destroyers and light cruisers, providing your heavy ships with protection from the enemey (very effective) torpedo’s. But due to their longe range, always keep on the lookout, even though they are miles away.

Playstyle: Aggressive


1. Good radar and sonar
2. Great light cruisers
3. many differerent types of ships


1. You have to capture guadalcanal first before you can build up the island.
2. Much of the enemy waters have air cover due to the many Japanese occupied ports (10 in total)
3. Your territory is divided and small (only three ports), causing you to divide your forces

Getting started

Builing a fleet

Your first step is to start builing a fleet. No matter the faction that you have picked. I had a bit of trouble myself finding this out, as there isnt a dedicated button or interface for this. But the creation of a fleet starts as follows:

1. Go to you main port (Rabaul for Japan, New Hebrides for the US)

2. Click on the New Sea icon under the port icon.

3. Now at the bottom of the screen a ship log should pop up.

4. You can scroll through the ships, select the ship that you want to add to your fleet

5. Keep adding ships till you think your task force is complete. Remeber that you will need multiple task forces, so dont put al your ships in one fleet.

Moving your fleets on the map

To move your fleet, select your fleet, and click on course to set a point for your to move to. It is wise to have some fleets patrol a certain area where you think an enemy fleet could be. For this i mostly use a zig zag pattern to cover a area. Recon is the most valuable thing in naval warfare, so make dedicated scout groups if you can.

A simple guide to ship types


These ships are the assasins on water (or under water actually). Due to the fact that they start submerged as combat begins, the can sneak up to the enemy fleet or convoy undetected. Their main goal is to snipe big ships and destroy convoy ships. They are also very usefull for scouting, as they have a single scoutplane on board.


Destroyers have 2 functions. They are very good in engaging with enemy subs. They are fast an agile, and can easily position themselves above an enemy sub and dorp their dept charges. They are also the only ship type, besides a few light cruisers, to have depht charges, so using destroyers for convoys is a must since they are otherwise very vurnable to submarines.

Their second function lies in taking out the enemy’s large ships. They often have a lot of torpedo’s on them, and their speed and mobility give them the oppertunity to close distance fast and evade shots of enemy largse ships due to their size.

Light cruisers

These ships are essentially destroyer destroyers. They are fast and have a lot of small guns on board. They will struggle against heavy cruisers due to their low amount of piercing, but they can do effective damage when positioned correctly. Only use these against battleships if the ship has torpedo capabilities and can safely close distance.

Heavy Cruisers

The most versataille of ships. They can engage almost any target (exept subs). But in their versaitility lies their greatest weakness. They are not 100% effective against al. They can take out a destroyer with ease, but multiple destroyers can overrun them. They can engage battleships, but their piercing isnt high enough to pierce the most protected parts. Nevertheless, this will be the ship type you will be using the most.


These ships are the monsters of the sea. They can take an absurd amount of damage, and can engage enemy’s from large distances. They are rather slow and are very hard to maneuver. So guard them well from smaller ships, as a couple well placed torpedos can render them useless. They are best used from a safe distance, so dont let them get to close to enemy ships. They are also one of the most expensive, losing one early on can make you lose the entire campaign.


These vessels are the most effective on the campaign, where they can deploy numerous aircraft from any location. In battle though, they are vurnable. Try to keep these as far away from the action as possible. They are mostly unarmed, having only a couple of guns in its secondary battery, so keep them guarded at all cost. They are also one of the most expensive, losing one early on can make you lose the entire campaign.

Building up your base
Constructing airfields and ports is of great importance in this game. So expect many recourses to go into buidling these facilities. To build ports and airfields you will need Engineering, Fuel and supplies. These are available at your main base. You will start with a few of these rescources, but you will get a 100 Engineering and fuel every week (plus some supplies and soldiers). To transport Engineering and Supplies, you will need cargo ships, these are found at the end of your ship catalog. To transport fuel, you will need an oil tanker (also found at the end of the ship catalog). Both types can carry 100 Eng. or Fuel and cargoships can carry 2000 supplies as well. As both upgrades cost a lot, make use of a dedicated supply task forces to keep your bases under development.

The cost of these upgrades are listed below:

Finding the enemy

Intel is key, so make full use of your scouting abilities. The greatest addition to your fleet are your scoutplanes. These tiny unarmed aircraft are way more valuable than fighters or bombers, because they can be launched from your ships. Most light and all heavy cruisers have these aircraft available (as do battleships). To launch these aircraft, go to your fleet and click on “manage cargo”. A list should appear underneath it, select launch aircraft. Select the ship that has scoutplanes and select the number of planes you want to launch. I would suggest launching single aircraft, as the extra scoutplanes won’t provide you with more range or firepower (they are unarmed). This way you can also cover more ground with the scoutplanes of a single cruiser or battleship. Once they are launched, start plotting a course for them to fly. A zig zag in front (to find specific targets) or a cirlce around your fleet (as an early warning system) would be my choice, depending on the situation. Radar can also be used to gain a passive scouting bonus to your fleets spotting abilities. So make shure your scouing task forces have surface radar on at least one of their vessels.

Most action will take place in the “canal” between guadalcanal and the shortland islands and its surroundings, so scouting this area would be advised.

Entering combat

Once an enemy fleet has been spotted, and you think you have the upper hand, you can set a course to intercept the enemy fleet. Try to follow the fleet with your scout planes so you won’t lose sight of it.

If you think you are outgunned, try to move your fleet within range of an island with an airfield, an let fighters and bombers join you in battle. To do this, select an island with an airfield, click on new air, and select the planes that you want to deploy. Bombers are good vs ships, fighters can help you defend your fleet from enemy carrier aircraft.

The battle begins

At the start of a battle your ships will usually be formed up in a line. You can change this if you want before combat by changing the formation. The enemy fleet is usually within sight, altough they can be very far away. Most times you can see them yourself (use the binoculars at the right bottom of the screen), but your ships can’t spot them yet.

Your first task is for your ships to spot the enemy. There are 2 ways to do this. The first one is simply to get your ships closer to the enemy. Having radar will decrease the distance needed to spot the enemy ships, so dont forget to turn them on! The second option only applies if you have aircraft in the area. Use them to fly to the enemy fleet and the ships will appear on the map, and your ships can start targeting the enemy.

Targeting the enemy

Before you can open fire on the enemy, you must first decide where to strike. Ships have to recieve targets from you, so they can start calculating the right trajectory for the first strike. Press T (or click on the target button on the bottom right), and click on the vessel you want your ship to engage. Your ship will start generating a solution. The higer the solution, the higer the chance for a hit. There are many options on how to fire. There are diffrent types of ammo and diffrent types of shooting available. I will go trough them with you.

Ammo types

HE – The main type of ammo on all ships. Most destroyers and light cruisers only have these available. They are usefull against low or non armoured targets such as destroyers and cruisers, but will have limeted effect against battleships.

AP – This type of shell is used against armored ships. Mainly heavy cruisers and battleships. These will be available on cruisers and battleships only, and are used to take out (heavy) cruisers, battleships and carriers.

SS – Short for star shell. It is a type of shell used to light up an enemy fleet during night battles. Firing a few volleys at the enemy with star shells wil increasing the firing solution, and thus accuracy.

Types of firing

The first option to choose from is Loose. With this option guns will fire a loose volly of shells on the enemy. This is very usefull if the enemy is far away and/or your firing solution is low. This way you can score a few hits while closing distance to the enemy.

The second option is full. With this option ships will fire all guns simultaniosly with a closer spread. This is usefull for medium range engagements. Make shure your firing solution is at least 50-60%, otherwise loose firing will be a better option.

The final option is NRRW, wich stands for narrow. With this option guns will firing withoud any spread and try to put as much metal as possible in a small area. This is very usefull for close combat or if your firing solution is very high (85-99%)

There is also the option for spotting. This will make your guns fire slower, as they will keep track of how close your shells get to the enemy, and thus increase your solution every shot. Use this from te beginning till your firing solution is around 50-60%.

Opening fire

If the enemy is spotted, and you have decided which vessel will attack wich vessel, you can start firing your guns. At the beginning use Loose and spot as you close distance. Use AP against cruisers and HE against destroyers and lighter cruisers. If your battle is at night, always start with a couple of vollys of star shells (if available). Try to close distance to the enemy fleet, but always maintain a line of battle (or an other formation). It can be usefull to split up your fleet when the enemy is in range. For example, detach your destroyers and use their speed and mobility to get close to the enemy and make them ready for a torpedo attack, while your cruisers maintain supporting fire from further away.

Wich enemy you will focus on depends on the situation. Not always is the biggest ship the biggest treath. Think about your strenght and your weakness. For example, if you have a lot of destroyers, and want to use them to attack the enemy battleships (your strenght), you should focus on the enemy Light cruisers and destroyers (your weakness) to make way for your destroyers.

Closing in

After the first couple of volleys and miles, your firing solution should increase. Use the infromation above to change your ammo type and firing option to your sitiuation. Try to focus on disrupting the formation of the enemy. A disorganised foe is a great target for your ships. Dont forget to change the course your ships take regulary, so the enemy’s firing solution wont go too high and start getting real close to hitting you.

Close quarters combat

If the fight isnt over when the ships come wihtin close range, start making torpedo runs on the enemy’s large ships. Use the smaller ships to get close enough and start dealing damage. But be wary, as the enemy might do the same, so keep on the lookout for enemy torpedo’s. They can be easily seen by the trail of bubbles they leave behind. Altough amidst the chaos of battle, the can be missed by the player. A couple of torpedos can easily take out a cruiser.

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Post Author: Robins Chew

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