Guide: Manual Aiming ("Aiming FCS")

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By Obst with the help of PartyB0y and community input


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Table of content:

Comparison of the three FCS
Getting started
The *Turret Lockup*/*Stuck Turret* Bug and how to solve it
Keyboard setup and usage infos
Keys used, Gun Control Interface
Angle Control Panel
How to get used to your guns
The Trial&Error&Memorise principle
Correct aiming at a Static Target, The Principle of "Crossing Guidelines"
Correct aiming at a moving target
About the Length of Guidelines


I often hear "Manual is hard to learn" or "Manual takes long to learn" (Note: "Aiming FCS" and "Manual" are often used as synonyms).

So, let me clear this up: Anyone that is neither physically nor mentally disabled is capable of learning how to use Aiming FCS.

Of course, at first it might be difficult, I know that. But there are some things to consider which should help you:

  1. You need to consider that learning Manual might not be an issue of minutes, it might take a day or two.
  2. Do not give up! Keep on practising with Aiming FCS, do not go back to Auto!
    -->Else it will be harder to get used to Aiming FCS again!
  3. Begin your practise in the "Sink the retired BB Mission", the one capped at 110.
  4. Then, when you want to practise against "real" enemies, play in No-Torpedo Rooms.
    -->This will keep some stress off you, because you won't need to bother with both Gun Adjustments and Torpedo Dodging

FCS Comparison

First of all, let me show you why Aiming FCS is superior to the other two FCS when using a gunship:

Aiming FCS compared to Auto FCS Aiming FCS compared to Finder FCS
  • Aiming FCS guidelines do not lock up as often as Auto FCS' do
  • Aiming FCS has a much better spread
  • Aiming FCS is generally better for targetting with CL and above because of the range
  • Aiming FCS allows you to lead the enemy much easier (This is talked about later on in this Guide)
  • Aiming FCS lets you use AA guns much more efficiently
  • Finder is controlled similarly to Aiming FCS
  • Aiming FCS has a much much better spread than Finder
  • Finder FCS gives you more sight range and longer guidelines, but with the worse spread it is not usable for the Main Artillery
  • However, Finder FCS is still useful for AA guns
  • Finder FCS is mostly for TW (Torp-Only Ships) and CV (Aircraft Carriers)

Now that you know about the different FCS, let us focus on how the handle the Aiming FCS

Getting started with the Aiming...

First off, to be able to use manual aiming you should put the "Aimer FCS" on your ship. Do not use the "Finder FCS", because while you can still use Manual Aim with that your accuracy will suffer (not the lower "Accuracy Revision" value)

Now let's go to some other basics:

To achieve both fast reactions of your gun movement and a good finetuning you should make use of the following two options:

[1] Use TDA (Turret Drive Acceleration), it allows your turrets to turn/change angle faster. It is a toggle, activate it by pressing the CTRL-key once at the start of a battle.

[2] Make use of the SHIFT-key, , it allows you smooth access to fine-tuning without having to de-toggle TDA. When you want to fine-tune your angle/direction of guns then hold down the SHIFT-key while moving/angling guns.

Now let's help you to find the proper range for your guns.

For total beginners, here are the gun controls:

The picture shows the Gun Control Console from ingame, but you should operate your guns with your keyboard, so only read here which key causes what.

When you get a plane on your ship this console will disappear ingame anyway and will be replaced with a plane control menu.

If you want to know what angle you currently aim with, have a look at the lower left side of the interface.

Get to know those keys and the interface, then proceed with the guide.

The *Turret Lockup*/*Stuck Turret* Bug and how to solve it

This bug happens to all FCS, but it very easy to fix it with Aiming FCS.

At some point you will notice that your Guidelines won't move when you turn and have a guideline at an extreme position on one side at the same time.

To fix this just do the following steps:
-Press B on your keyboard (This will make the ship's rotation stop)
-Move your Guidelines (press A,D,Q, or E...)
-Click to continue your turning maneuver

You can do these steps very fast and it will be almost as if you didn't stop turning.

How to get used to your guns

If you are new to Manual Aiming, decide for a certain gun and a certain type of ammo. If you switch guns/ammo too fast you won't get the right feeling for range soon because it is different for every gun/ammo.

OK, so load your ship and start a basic training mission.

Align your ship vertically or horizontally and turn your guns into a perpendicular direction to your ship.
By doing this, you will have non-jagged guidelines which will help you getting a better feeling for the range.

Do not use a random position or shooting direction.
Having jagged, randomly positioned Guidelines will not help you to get to know the right Angles!

Please watch the animation below

If you'd prefer to look at the frames one-by-one, you can look at them here (will open them in a new window):
[Frame I: Properly Aligned Vertically] , [Frame II: Properly Aligned Horizontally] , [Frame III: Not Properly Aligned]

Now you need to test your max angle range and a low angle range.
Note: All the following numbers refer to my guns (5.9" triples), so you have to adjust the numbers depending on which gun you have. As a rule of thumb, use the highest possible angle (but not higher than 50) as max angle and 10 for low angle.

Depending on the angle, the distance your shells travel will vary. Get used to certain distances for certain angles here.

Try to memorise the distances for the 5, 10, 15, 20, etc. degrees. That way, you will be able to estimate and adjust fast later on.

Please watch the animation below

If you'd prefer to look at the frames one-by-one, you can look at them here (will open them in a new window):
[Frame I: Higher angle salvo] , [Frame II: Lower angle salvo]

Pay attention to the end of the guidelines. Especially on longer range guns it is important to keep these as a point of orientation.

If your range reaches that far, memorise the angle at which your shells impact at the end of your Guidelines!

OK now that you know about your range, let's find an easy victim, the AI-Dummies in the basic training mission are good for that.

Find one and try to hit him.

If you remember the angles for certain distances, then you can set the angle according to the distance to your target. If you know the difference in distance between. eg. 5 degrees, then you will be able to adjust your angle fast even if your first shot misses.

Do not give up even if your first shots missed! Maybe order your ship to move a bit away from the enemy, but continue to adjust your angles in order to hit him. Tenacity and patience pay out here!

Please watch the animation below

If you'd prefer to look at the frames one-by-one, you can look at them here (will open them in a new window):
[Frame I: Aimed too far] , [Frame II: Aimed too short] , [Frame III: Perfect Hit]

Remember which points of impact belonged to which angle! According to that you can then lower/raise your angle!

Following the above hint you will eventually score a nice hit:

Correct aiming at a Static Target, The Principle of "Crossing Guidelines"

Having the guidelines parallel is good for the start, but you will see that when you move their tips closer to each other that longer range shots will impact closer to each other. Use this to cross your guidelines a tad behind the ship you are firing at, like this your shells will impact closer to each other on the ship

Have a look at this sketch:

Correct aiming at a moving target

If the enemy ship moves you have to put the guidelines a little bit in front of him. This is called leading a target, you might be familiar with that from other games!

A word about the Length of Guidelines

While talking about Guidelines: The better your Bridge Operator becomes in terms of CrewSize, Skill and amount of Experts/Veterans, the longer will your Guidelines become! The FCS of a ship also influences their length.

So, don't be confused if the memorised angle to hit the end of your Guidelines is different all of a sudden, it might just be due to your BO becoming better!

At high levels, the Guidelines of the Ships will become much longer than the actual range of the guns. Since Guidelines longer than your range are of no use and just distract while aiming, you should try to keep the Guidelines' ends at your maximum range.

There are two factors which affect the length of your Guidelines:
  • The FCS on a ship
  • The BO on a ship
What you need to achieve is to shorten the Guidelines down to the length where the shells of your longest-ranged main guns impact that the end of your Guidelines.

For this, do not switch to a worse FCS!

While the FCS of a ship influences their length, it also influences the spread of your guns (unlike the BO), so you should not switch to a weaker FCS since your spread would suffer then. Because of this, the only way would be to weaken the BO to have your main ship's (probably your highest-level BB) Guidelines fit the range of its guns.

To weaken your BO , it is the best to decrease the amount of Recruits on your BO, maybe even to zero, if necessary.

Decrease them step-by-step, and keep checking the length of your Guidelines in respect to your maximum range.

If this alone is not sufficient, you will have to kill some Experts by failing at some Veteran Conversions, step-by-step as well.

Do not 'weaken' your BO too much! While you can just refill Recruits, Experts take time to replace!

Just keep on weakening your BO until your Guidelines are of optimal length. To check this, just do a mission after a step of weakening.

Optimised Guidelines allow you to aim quickly and accurate.

Please note: The length of the Guidelines will then also decrease on other ships, so focusing on the Guidelines of your main ship will not only shorten the Guidelines on that ship, but on all. This is beneficial most of the time, however.

That's it for the theory! Remember, practice is what you need the most, practice and patience. Good luck!