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The following is a review of Congress, the tier VIII American Large Cruiser.  This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to myself.  To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.10.9.  Please be aware that her performance may change in the future.

I'm approaching this review a little differently.  I want to examine Congress the way an experienced player might; one that followed the quick descriptions made about her around the time of her development.  Namely:  "Congress is a tier VIII Alaska with two fewer gun barrels."  I want to explore how close this kind of shorthand is and if it actually reflects how Congress plays.  To this end, I will be directly comparing Congress to Alaska; a ship that has since been retired for "too much battle influence" (or too much popularity).  For someone fearing of missing out, knowing Alaska's fate (and that of most large cruiser premiums in World of Warships), Congress might not be available forever.  So let's get stuck in.


  • Congress has the largest hit point pool of the tier VIII cruisers.
  • Access to a Repair Party.
  • Excellent armour protection for a cruiser with 229mm belt, 27mm extremities and 36mm thick deck.
  • Excellent AP performance, including good penetration and improved auto-ricochet angles.
  • Good accuracy with battlecruiser dispersion and 2.05 sigma.
  • Good anti-aircraft firepower.
  • Access to Surveillance Radar.


  • Fires burn for a full 60 seconds.
  • Main battery only consists of seven guns, making bad RNG feel a lot more punitive.
  • Floaty ballistics at long range.
  • Poor damage output and fire setting.
  • Bad rearward firing angles.
  • Sluggish handling and poor overall agility.
  • Bad concealment.


Skill Floor:  Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult
Skill Ceiling:  Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme

Wargaming really missed the mark when designing Congress.  She struggles to win any of the fights she picks.  While she is tough for a cruiser, she's not battleship tough.  For a new player, this means low-damage games or quick returns to port.  Sometimes both.  The real damning element here is her reload time and the small number of gun barrels.  She punishes bad aim and bad RNG can punish even well aimed shots.  For a ship that struggles to put out the damage, this is the kind of thing that quickly erodes player confidence.  For someone inexperienced with the game, Congress is setup to frustrate rather than delight enterprising players.

For veterans, Congress' durability is more exploitable.  Similarly, her vision control, grace of her consumables, can turn key moments in game play.  Finally, the improved auto-ricochet angles on her AP rounds is also something that can be exploited.  However, the small number of guns limits this last influence considerably.  There's some carry potential here, mostly in a team-comp setting where being able to bring a radar with heals matters.


There are a few differences to note between Alaska and Congress here, but they're both very influential.  The most notable is that Alaska has access to the 6th upgrade slot while Congress does not.  The second is a modification to her Repair Party consumable, with Congress having one fewer charge than Alaska.  Third, if you take her Catapult Fighter, Congress launches 3 aircraft instead of Alaska's 4.  I've highlighted these differences in purple.


At a glance, Alaska and Congress have the same consumables, but there are some slight differences between the options available to the two ships.


Congress's Damage Control Party is standard for a cruiser. It has a 60s reset timer with a 5 second active period and unlimited charges.

You have two choices for her second slot.

  • Defensive AA Fire provides a 50% sustained  DPS increase for 40 seconds along with quadruple flak burst damage.  This has an 80s reset timer.  Congress receives the American cruiser bonus with this consumable, starting with four charges instead of three.
  • Hydroacoustic Search  detects torpedoes at 3.5km and enemy ships at 5.0km.  This has a 100s active period and a 120s reset timer.  It comes with three charges base.

Her third slot presents the choice of three options:

  • Her Surveillance Radar has a 10km range, a 35s active period and a 120s reset timer.  It comes with three charges.
  • Her Catapult Fighter launches 3 planes The aircraft remain active and on station for 60s at a range of 3km.  It has a 90s reset timer and three charges base.
  • Finally, her Spotter Aircraft increases her firing range by 20% for 100s (to 21km).  This has a 240s reset timer and comes with four charges base.

Finally, Congress' has a Repair Party.  This comes with two charges base. Each charge queues up to 50% of penetration damage and 10% of citadel damage. She heals up to 14% of her health over 28 seconds with an 80 second reset timer.


There's a lot to cover here, including multiple Special Upgrades which can be purchased through Armory for 17,000Y35gE6B.png.  Remember that Alaska can take the sixth upgrade slots while Congress is limited to these five.  Otherwise, their choices of upgrades are identical in the current meta.


For your first slot:

  • Main Armaments Modification 1 is arguably your best choice to help keep your guns in the game longer.  However, there are some choices (and I can't believe I'm about to suggest the following):
  • Given the extra burden being placed on Congress' Damage Control Party with the unmitigated disaster that is submarine implementation at the moment, there's a good argument to be made for taking the special upgrade, Damage Control Party Modification 1.  I don't feel this is optimal but I would be remiss not to suggest it given the careful timing needed to kill torpedo guidance on top of Congress' vulnerability to fire.
  • Finally, extra range makes this ship easier to play, so the special upgrade, Spotting Aircraft Modification 1 is worth mentioning.  Alaska is unlikely to take this mod given her improved gunnery range over Congress.

For your second slot, it's again a glut of choice.

  • The special upgrade Surveillance Radar Modification 1 is arguably best.
  • This is closely followed by Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 which is also a special upgrade.  Taking this precludes you from using her Defensive AA Fire consumable, though (not a terrible loss, admittedly).
  • Finally, if you cannot afford either, default to Damage Control System Modification 1.

In your third slot, things calm down considerably.

  • Aiming System Modification 1 is your best choice, hands down.  Like, it's not even close.
  • However, if you hate slow turret traverse rates and find yourself losing out on damage because of how much time you spend waiting for turrets to catch up, then there's a case to be made for Main Battery Modification 2.

In your fourth slot, we're back to a glut of choice.

  • Damage Control System Modification 2 will help reduce the damage over time effects from fires and floods.
  • Steering Gears Modification 1 is my preferred choice as it helps avoid damage in the first place.  However, I don't think that she mathematically exceeds the efficiency of DCSM2 by much, if at all.
  • Finally, there's a VERY strong case to be made for Propulsion System Modification 1 in the current submarine-meta.  Island camping is the best way to avoid torpedoes and fast acceleration throws off their tracking considerably.

In your fifth slot:

  • Concealment System Modification 1 is best.
  • There's a case to be made for Steering Gears Modification 2 as an option, particularly when paired with the same upgrade in slot four.

Alaska has a sixth slot.  Congress does not.


The main difference here is that Alaska has tier IX permanent camo with improved economic gains.


Congress's camo provides the usual tier VIII bonuses:

  • -3% surface detection
  • +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells.
  • -10% to post-battle service costs.  Alaska receives -20%.
  • +50% to experience gains.  Alaska receives +100%.

Congress comes with the dark blue camo scheme. You can unlock the (much better looking) pale grey version through completing the 5th tab of the American Cruiser Collection.

Differences in Options
The biggest difference between Alaska and Congress is one of tiering.  Being a higher tier, Alaska has more upgrade options and better camouflage.  The only other differences of note are with their consumables, with one being minor (one fewer aircraft for their catapult fighter squadrons) and one major (Congress receiving one fewer charges of her Repair Party than Alaska).  To me, only the Repair Party disparity really stands out as something somewhat unexpected for a tier VIII version of Alaska but it's easy enough to justify if the ship was too survivable at her tier.  We'll have to keep this difference in mind for the Durability section below.


Main Battery:  Seven 305mm/50 guns spread between three turrets in an A-B-X superfiring configuration with the guns laid out in a 2-3-2 pattern.
Secondary Battery:  Twelve 127mm/38 guns in 6x2 turrets with one superfiring forward over the main battery forward, one superfiring aft and the other four divided evenly along the sides.


Congress has the same AP penetration values as Puerto Rico and Alaska.  For a large cruiser, her AP penetration is decent, but not top of the line.

The 305mm/50 guns found on Congress, Alaska and Puerto Rico are excellent weapons.  Their AP shells boast improved auto-ricochet angles, akin to the "American Piercing" shells found upon their heavy cruisers.  They do not begin checking for ricochet until they strike a plate angled 60º from the perpendicular as opposed to 45º for most AP rounds.  They are not guaranteed to ricochet until they hit a plate 67.5º from the perpendicular instead of 60º.  This almost (ALMOST) makes their AP shells the only ammunition you need to have loaded.  However, there are still many instances where their HE shells are still necessary.  Anything other than very light and some lower tiered cruisers and destroyers can bow-in an auto-ricochet their AP rounds. You'll want HE shells against the lolibotes because they only take 10% damage from penetrating battleship calibre AP rounds (and these shells certainly qualify).

Obviously the biggest difference between Congress' armament and that of Alaska is the number of guns.  But there are three other differences of note. 

The first is something minor.  Congress' X turret has better fire angles than Alaska.  She's capable of maintaining auto-ricochet angles on her hull while still engaging targets which is REALLY nice but ultimately not game changing.  While this will allow her to (partially) bully 381mm armed battleships and large cruisers, there's a glut of battleships that can overmatch her 27mm snoot.  And it's not like those extra few degrees are inaccessible to Alaska either; she just needs to flutter her rudder back and forth between salvos.  Thus this is really more a quality of life benefit than anything worth celebrating.

The second is one of range.  Alaska has excellent range, able to reach out to almost 19km.  Congress makes do with a respectable but nowhere near as amazing 17.5km.  Unlike Alaska, Congress cannot elect to increase this further through a sixth-slot upgrade.  While people are more likely to reach for a faster reload if this option were available, it's still worth noting.

The third (and most pressing) is Alaska's guns reload 2 seconds faster base.  Congress's 22 second reload is identical to that of Puerto Rico two tiers higher.  But unlike the higher tiered ships, Congress cannot take the sixth upgrade slot's Main Battery Modification 3 to accelerate her rate of fire.  Combined with the two fewer guns you get the following shell outputs for the three ships (stock/MBM3)

  • Puerto Rico:  32.7 / 37.2 rounds per minute
  • Alaska: 27 / 30.7 rounds per minute
  • Congress:  19.1 rounds per minute

This is a HUGE disparity, with Congress having less than two-thirds the firepower of Alaska despite having over three-quarters of her main battery.  This right here is what turns many people away from Congress who are expecting Alaska-levels of performance  Congress looks even worse when you compare her to other cruisers and she's not even competitive with tier VIII battleships despite her faster reload.  The reality is that Congress' damage output is painfully low if you cannot reliably land citadel hits.  Her HE damage output and fire setting is especially pathetic.  This isn't a ship designed to out-trade opponents, but rather one that's in it for the long haul; taking opportunistic bites where they present themselves and keeping an eye out for vulnerable targets where she can blow out their machine spaces and magazines.  Even then, her alpha strike is much more limited and with a smaller number of guns.

Her DPM is appalling and made worse that her gun accuracy is worse than all of the other cruisers on this list.  It's important to keep in mind that larger gun calibre ships tend to have lower DPM. To put this in perspective, stock Alaska (which is a good ship) has 240,300 AP DPM and 116,100 HE DPM which would look rather modest when stacked against tier VIII cruisers, to say nothing of tier IX ships.

You're not going to find anything redeemable about her fire setting either.  After you account for innate fire resistances of higher-tiered targets and your own dispersion, you'll be lucky to make a single fire stick onto a target.  If you're trying to set blazes, pick on something that already has her Damage Control Party taxed from submarines or HE spam.

Congress has the same gunnery dispersion as Alaska (shown here).  This is 180 AP shells fired at a stationary Fuso bot at 15km.  The Fuso lacks camouflage while Alaska was using Aiming System Modification 1 to reduced dispersion by 7%.  Shots were coming in from right to left.  Alaska, Puerto Rico and Congress all use Graf Spee's horizontal dispersion formula (Range x 8.4 + 48m).  Alaska and Congress both have 2.05 sigma.

So what gives?  Is Congress crap? Does her poor firepower reign her in?  Has Wargaming nerfed the concept too much that it's no longer competitive?  Well, no.  Her numbers are fine (in fact, she's one of the better performers at her tier). 

The issue is that her gunnery feels miserable.  This is largely owing to the fewer gun barrels.  RNG feels much more influential when a ship fires fewer shells per volley.  You'll notice that one stray shell more than you would in a broadside of nine, ten or twelve guns where one or two errant trajectories is more easily dismissed.  Compound this with her long(ish) reload and her dispersion feels downright cruel at times despite being no different than Alaska's -- doubly so when you're not always in range. This is the same affliction which makes German battleship dispersion feel terrible despite them having comparable accuracy to British battleships.  Fewer shells means RNG matters that much more.  So while Congress is capable of putting out some reasonable amount of damage, you're much more likely to remember that time RNGeebus gave you the finger and made you miss the citadel of that broadsiding Mogami.

Unlike Alaska, Congress' selling point isn't her guns.  They're decent but they don't feel anywhere near as good as her tier IX counterpart's.  If you need your premiums to wow you with their firepower, then stay away from Congress.

Differences in Firepower

Alaska has better firepower across most parameters.  Alaska has nine guns to Congress' seven.  Alaska's guns reload faster.  Alaska's guns have more range.  Alaska can mount an upgrade to either increase her range or reload time.  Alaska has longer ranged secondaries.  The only places where Congress is better is that she has an extra 6º worth of fire arc on her X-turret and her shells are 90 credits each instead of 125 credits.

VERDICT:  Unimpressive.  A combination of slow-reload, only modest range and few guns dulls the performance of her otherwise excellent AP rounds.


Hit Points: 51,150
Maximum Citadel Protection: 27mm extremities + 260mm athwartship or 229mm belt + 19mm citadel roof or water + 178mm belt + 26mm citadel wall
Min Bow and Deck Armour: 27mm
Torpedo Damage Reduction: 13%


Meet the best-protected tier VIII cruiser.

Congress is a ship of durability superlatives at tier VIII.  She has the best armour.  She has the most hit points.  She has the best-protected citadel.  She even has a Repair Party -- something two thirds of the tier VIII cruisers lack.  Congress has a larger effective health pool with her heals than anything short of the portable-dry-dock equipped British ships.  Even her structural plate is the best you'll find at her tier, with extremities capable of auto-ricocheting up to 381mm AP shells and an amidships deck immune to 203mm HE rounds.  Add on hidden deck, a waterline citadel placement and turret faces and barbettes in excess of 300mm thick and Congress resists damage better than any of her same-tier competitors. 

Like her sister ship, Congress is tough enough to take a turn up on the front lines if needs be and help the battleships tank incoming fire; especially when she's top tier.  Short of hit points and heals, Congress shares the same protection scheme as Alaska BUT she has the bonus of facing lower-tiered opponents.  Tier VI and VII light cruisers with 152mm guns cannot penetrate any of her structural armour without Inertial Fuse for HE Shells.  She easily (EASILY) bullies lower tiered cruisers with almost disdainful ease and can even strong-arm some of the battleships at medium-to-close ranges thanks to her structural plate.  Congress feels ridiculously overtuned when she's top tier because of this protection scheme, with only same-tier cruiser and battleship opponents being credible threats.  When facing tier IX and X ships, her durability falls away to more reasonable, though still highly competitive levels.

Would that this applied against all threats.

Fire and torpedoes are Congress' bane, particularly the 0.9.10 threat of submarine launched fish.  Though she has a cruiser's (relatively) fast-reloading Damage Control Party, in the current meta, it's easily overtaxed.  Fires burn for full 60 seconds (18% of her total health instead of 9% like other cruisers).  Her anti-torpedo protection is insufficient to resist all but air-dropped torpedoes and most hits strike her citadel, allowing only 10% of their damage to be healed back from her limited charges of Repair Party.  Submarines absolutely LOVE her clumsy agility and allergy to fires.  Congress is prone to having her Damage Control Party on cool down and she's not agile enough to dodge guided fish.  As tough as she is, as big as her hit point pool might be, it only takes a few torpedo hits to send her to the bottom.

While Congress is fairly resistant to shell damage, that's really the extent of it.  Thus she's most comfortable against other surface targets slinging AP and HE shells at her.  This extensive durability and survivabiliy is Congress's main selling feature.  While Alaska is a more well-rounded when it comes to the balance between firepower and durability, Congress relies much more heavily on her durability to keep her competitive.  The idea is that she outlasts other cruisers and can stay in the game long enough to make up for her lacklustre striking power.  This definitely works.  It's not terribly exciting, but it works.

The Alaska-class has layers of hidden armour beneath her maindeck that you can't see in the port, including a 96mm/102mm deck between the upper deck and citadel roof (her roof sits just under the waterline). There are three ways for AP rounds to citadel Congress.  The first is a subsurface hit that strikes the lower belt and punches into the 26mm citadel wall. Any battlehship calibre AP shell greater than 356mm can overmatch the 26mm citadel wall, so even heavily angled shots that barely passed the ricochet check against the outer hull can still cause citadel hits this way. The second is a bow or stern shot that goes through the 27mm extremities and then smacks into the 260mm transverse bulkheads that cap the citadel at either end.  Finally, shells can punch through the 229mm upper belt and then overmatch through the 19mm citadel roof at a very shallow angle.

Overall, Congress's armour is excellent for a cruiser.

Differences in Durability

There are three main differences between the two ships. 

  • Alaska has more hit points than Congress.
  • Alaska an extra charge of her Repair Party.  This gives Alaska a much larger potential health pool -- just over 100,000 hit points if all of her heals can be used optimally (and they never will) while Congress tops out just over 75,000.
  • Alaska's superstructure hit-box does not include the extra bit of 16mm plate in front of her armoured conning tower.  The 3D geometry of the two models is identical, but Congress maps out that hit box while Alaska does not.  This makes Congress the slightest-bit more squishy to small and medium calibre HE shells as hits in this exact spot to Alaska will shatter off the armoured bridge.  It's a silly, inconsequential difference, but hey, it's there.

VERDICT:  This is the best thing about her.  Heals at tier VIII is huge, to say nothing of taking fewer citadel hits than her contemporaries.

Top Speed: 33 knots
Turning Radius: 850 meters
Rudder Shift Time: 13 seconds
4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.8º/s at 26.4kts
Main Battery Traverse Rate:  6.0º/s

Insert sad trombone noises here.

Congress handles like a battleship, albeit a fast one with good turret traverse rates.  Her 850m turning radius is appalling and her rate of turn lamentable.  Pair this with a sluggish rudder shift time   I've seen dogs drag their butts across the carpet with more grace than this ship handles. 

Congress isn't a fast cruiser either, by any means.  Her speed of 33 knots (34.7 knots with a Sierra Mike signal) isn't enough to dictate engagement ranges at high tiers.  Sure, while she's top tier she can run rings around most of the tier VI and VII super-dreadnoughts and post-treaty era battleships but nearly every capital ship gets going in a hurry once you cross that tier VIII threshold, to say nothing of the cruisers.  Of course, running out in open water isn't exactly Congress's style either.  She has horrible rearward gun angles which are patently ill-suited to kiting.  Her horrible agility, modest top speed and similarly modest range don't lend well to trying to actively dodge either.  Congress is most comfortable with an island protecting her side with her bows peeking out to take pot-shots at vulnerable targets.  Sadly, this is more comfortable than effective.

Differences in Agility

Congress and Alaska have the exact same agility.

Congress does NOT have very good fire angles for kiting with terrible rearward fire angles.  Seriously: Booooo!   And I don't mean that in the Hallowe'eny way either. Her forward fire angles are good though.  It's kind of funny how the 6º/s gun rotation on Congress feels okay but this exact same value on a 203mm heavy cruiser feels painfully slow.

VERDICT:  She sucks and not in a sexy way.

Anti-Aircraft Defence
Flak Bursts: 4 + 1 explosions for 1,540 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.8km.
Long Ranged (up to 5.8km):  108.5dps at 90% accuracy (97.7dps)
Medium Ranged (up to 3.5km): 273dps at 90% accuracy (245.7dps)
Short Ranged (up to 2.0km):  150.5dps at 85% accuracy (127.9dps)

So this section is why this review was so delayed (I was originally planning to have this review out a week ago).  You see, Congress inspired a project.  Annoyed with the post-rework AA, I wanted to see how well Congress' AA would stack up back before patch 0.8.0 dropped.  This involved way too much research time and digging through the Wayback Machine to look at archived stats.  Before I knew it, I was collecting the old AA values for every single AA mount in the game and it was suddenly Wednesday.  Whoops. 

For those unaware, unlike today, the old system had AA values determined by weapon mount.  A quad-barrel 40mm Bofors nest always generated 15.9 at 3.5km per mount (these could then be modified by skills, upgrades, consumables, player actions and signals).  So if you saw a ship with eight of these Bofors nests, you knew that this ship generated 127.2 dps at 3.5km.  It didn't matter what tier the ship was.  It didn't matter what type the ship was.  You also knew that each Bofors nest lost through combat would reduce your AA DPS by that same 15.9 value.  It was very intuitive, even if the rest of the AA system was a convoluted mess (seriously, lots of RNG to determine if an individual plane was shot down).  But it meant that you could look at historical ships and get EXCITED if they had a lot of AA mounts on a given ship.  That's something that's been lost since the rework.  Wargaming makes up the values with a hefty-dose of BALANS™ thrown in and we get what we get. 

Now, the reason I did all of this was because I wanted to see if Congress would have been a GOOD AA ship back in the day.  If I can't be excited for what we have (spoilers!) then maybe I could sigh whimsically at what could have been.  Anyway, that just explains the delays.  It's a going-nowhere project sparked by a heavy dose of nostalgia for the game as it existed back in 2018.  I blame everything that happened with Yukon and the current submarine mess for making this trip worthwhile.

Anyway, back on task!

You could be forgiven if you mistake Congress for having a similar AA layout to Alaska minus some Oerlikon mounts.  Wargaming did make some significant changes, though, halving the number of Bofors barrels by cutting Alaska's quads down to twins on Congress.  As a result, Congress has about two-thirds the effective AA firepower to Alaska which puts her right-around Cleveland and Montpelier levels of overall effective AA cover.  By the standards of today, this makes her AA power "good" for a tier VIII cruiser though it's hard to call any tier VIII AA firepower "effective" against anything other than tier VI CVs.  Sure, you can bruise incoming squadrons but you can't prevent drops.  The best you can hope for against tier VIII and X CVs is to be too expensive of a target to drop on repeatedly.  However, if it comes down to winning the game, there's not much you can do to prevent them from taking you out.  Your AA is good, but good doesn't cut it these days.  Congress' AA firepower will not keep you safe.  At best, it makes you a lower priority.


Differences in AA Defence

Let's do the list.

  • Alaska's twelve 127mm/38 guns generate 94.5 dps while Congress' twelve 127mm/38s generate 97.7.  No, this does not make sense.  Yes, they are the exact same mount.
  • Alaska has fourteen quad-40mm Bofors generating 337.1 dps while Congress has fourteen twin-40mm Bofors generating 245.7 dps.
  • Alaska has thirty-four 20mm Oerlikons generating 208 dps while Congress has only twenty 20mm Oerlikons and generates 127.9 dps.
  • Alaska's flak explosions deal an average of 1,610 damage.  Congress' do 1,540 damage because she's lower tier (flak explosions scale with tiers).
  • Alaska's flak explosions have a slightly larger blast size.

VERDICT:  Functional. 

Vision Control
Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 15.5km / 12.18km
Base/Minimum Air & Underwater Detection Range: 9.72km / 7.87km
Detection Range When Firing in Smoke:  12.09km
Maximum Firing Range:  17.5km

This all suuuuuucks!
But she can have an American Surveillance Radar, so that's pretty good.

Differences in Refrigerators

Nadda.  Alaska and Congress are identical here.

VERDICT:  Suuuuuuuucks except for the radar.

Find island.  Make them your Waifu.

Anti-Submarine Warfare

ASW Armament Type:  Airstrike up to 5km away
Number of Salvos:  Up to two
Reload Time:  90 seconds
Aircraft:  Two flights of two PBY Catalinas with 2,000hp per plane.
Drop Pattern: 6 bombs each dropped evenly over roughly a 4km column
Maximum Bomb Damage:  2,100
Fire Chance: 12%

The usual caveats for discussing anything related to submarines apply here:  submarines and anti-submarine warfare are all highly volatile at the moment.

I didn't get to playtest Congress much against submarines, so I don't have a lot to add.  Her armament represents the current low-bar minimum for high-tier ASW, with a pathetic 5km range (and 4km drop column) on a spread of depth charges.  This is, unfortunately, more effective than depth charges as Congress can launch these without needing to drive right overtop of a sub.  While depth charges will do more damage, Congress is more likely to survive attacking a sub.

In my not so humble opinion, all ships should have access to ASW airstrikes as subs are designed currently.  Yes, even destroyers and cruisers with depth charges.  They should get airstrikes too.

Differences in ASW

None.  Again, Alaska and Congress ditto one another here.

VERDICT:  I regret that this section is a thing.

Final Evaluation

Let's start off by addressing this assumption: 

"Congress is a tier VIII Alaska with two fewer gun barrels."

She isn't.  Congress is a nerfed tier VIII Alaska with two fewer gun barrels, most notably losing out on health, heals, rate of fire, range and AA firepowerIf Alaska is a fun, competitive tier IX premium, Congress is merely an average tier VIII offering.  Yes, Congress is tough as all get out.  Yes, her individual AP shells hits are frightening but as a 'total package' kinda deal?  Don't buy into the hype.  Congress is a shadow of her tier IX sister-ship.

Really, the best thing about this ship is her survivability and that only applies if you play her conservatively.  Still, tough as she is, she's not going to stay in the game long if you play recklessly (believe me, I tested this thoroughly with VERY aggressive pushes).  Her small main battery makes it very difficult to win in straight up trades provided your opponent isn't an idiot..  And even when they mess up and give you one of those juicy broadside hits, a bad bout of RNGeebus will exaggerate Congress' small broadside weight.  It's a tough pill to swallow when a ship's performance is so closely tied to taking opportunistic shots when so few shells fly downrange on a per-volley basis.  It's hard to find much endearing with a ship who sells itself on citadel-striking ability but it can't deliver on that promise.

All of this is made worse in that Wargaming totally butchered the historical design they claim Congress is based upon.  Congress isn't the CA-F2 project.  Wargaming very-lazily cloned Alaska's hull assets and swapped around her armaments with guns inspired by (but not matching) CA-F2's layout.  @Kingpin61 put together this post way back in April 2021 and I'm shamelessly borrowing one of his jpegs here so you can see for yourself.  This is the ship we should have gotten:

Note the twin funnels and placement of the rear catapults, to say nothing of the four-guns forward, three guns aft layout.

Congress reminds me of Yukon on so many levels.  She's tough.  She doesn't hit very hard.  Her name sucks.  She's a disappointment to those who were most invested in seeing her added to the game.  Congress isn't terrible, but lordy, she's very obviously intended to ride the Alaska hype-train and hope that generate sales. When you look at her on her own, washing away the Alaska pedigree, there's not a whole lot to love here.  This is a ship that needs time (and enemy mistakes) to do well in.  Her durability combined with the utility of her Surveillance Radar guarantees that she's got enough of a toolkit to be useful.  But lordy, I miss the days when premium ships had some striking power to them.

I did not have a good time with Congress.  Not during testing and not during my revisit of her in October to refresh my memory.  I don't think very highly of Wargaming's design and I didn't find her game play entertaining.  If I'm going to play an anemic tank, I'll play the one Chobi and I had a hand in making.

Solid pass from me.

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