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Premium Ship Review: Viribus Unitis


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The following is a quick review of Viribus Unitis, the tier V Austro-Hungarian battleship flying under the Pan European flag.  This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to me (thankfully).  To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this article are current as of patch 0.9.10.  Please be aware that her performance may change in the future.

In the spirit of getting through some of my backlog, here's a stupid-quick review.  Facilitated by the graphic production from working on Oklahoma, today we'll be looking at everyone's favourite standard unit of battleship health measurement: Viribus Unitis.  This ships is as relevant to the tier V meta as that joke about her hit points: they're both stupidly obscure to the point of irrelevance.  I keep forgetting that I should review this darned thing after I put out a warning about her back when she was first released.  For those who don't remember, there was an enormous gap between her final test iteration and her release -- so much so that some of the advertised changes that were said to applied didn't go through.  Huh, there's been a lot of that lately. 

Anyway, long story short:  This ship isn't worth the time and effort I'm about to put into this review, so I'm giving myself an absolute time limit for the production of this article.  Wherever I end up after 8 hours is where I'm calling it.  Let's see what I can do.

Quick Summary:  A soft-skinned, over-tiered battleship with good gunnery but appalling fire angles on her main battery.  This issue is compounded with a tiny health pool and poor armour layout.  This ship is only good if no one shoots back.  As a WWI era dreadnought, her AA power is about what you would expect -- limited to a crewman with a bullhorn whining at airplanes to please stop.  Kinda like Reddit.


  • Dispersed armour scheme giving her decent HE protection.
  • Large broadside of twelve 305mm guns with good accuracy and high DPM.
  • Tiny turning circle radius and good rate of turn.
  • My ship's captain has an epic moustache.
  • Tiny surface detection range.


  • High-water vulnerable citadel.
  • Poor armour geometry with tons of shell-traps.
  • Tiny hit point pool.
  • Absolutely appalling fire arcs.
  • Relatively short ranged for a tier V battleship.
  • Hilariously bad anti-aircraft firepower.
  • Slow.

Skill Floor:  Simple / CASUALChallenging / Difficult
Skill Ceiling:  Low / MODERATE / High / Extreme

There's really not a whole lot to Viribus Unitis.  She dittos a lot of the low-tier battleship game play.  The only complication is that her fire arcs are total crap and this travesty is forced to face tier VII opponents.  That kinda hurts her chances and makes her not new-fish friendly.  For veterans well... there's again not a lot to her so short of angling and managing consumables and ammo, that's pretty much the limits to her complexity.



There's nothing special here.


  • Viribus Unitis' Damage Control Party is standard for any battleship that's not American or Japanese.  It is active for 15 seconds with unlimited charges.  It has an 80 second reset timer.
  • Her Repair Party is also standard.  It queues up to 50% of penetration damage, 10% of citadel damage and 100% of every other kind of damage.  It heals back up to 0.5% of her starting hit points per second over 28 seconds.  She starts with four charges and it has an 80 second reset timer.


Again, very standard fare for a not-American tier V battleship.


  • Start with Main Armaments Modification 1.
  • Next, take Damage Control System Modification 1.
  • Finish things off with Aiming Systems Modification 1.

Commander Skills

Grab the same ol' battleship build I've been complaining about all year.

With the commander skill rework coming, odds are I will only be able to use this like ... six more times.



Viribus Unitis has a single camouflage pattern.  It provides:

  • 3% reduction to surface detection.
  • 4% increase to enemy dispersion.
  • 10% reduction to service costs.
  • 50% increase to experience gains.

Viribus Unitis is a gorgeous looking ship.  I love WWI era dreadnoughts.


Main Battery:  Twelve 305mm guns in 4x3 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration.
Secondary Battery:  Twelve 150mm guns mounted in casemates along the sides of the hull.

The 1.8 sigma of Viribus Unitis' guns can be devastating in the claustrophobic, short-ranged engagements found at low tiers.  A Farragut is discovers this to its peril, getting picked off as it accidentally slips out from its smoke screen.  Viribus Unitis has very high shell drag coefficients which hurts her ballistics and penetration over distance.

Twelve guns solves a lot of problems.  Twelve guns with better-than-expected accuracy and without reload penalties solves a whole bunch more.

That's the going theory with Viribus Unitis.  She's a glass cannon, designed to put more hurt downrange than any of her contemporaries, her flaws be damned.  All of her crappy features can be explained as paying for the boons of her gunnery.  I'm frankly of the opinion that Viribus Unitis pays way too steep a price for what she gets.  She deserves more given what a sorry excuse for a ship she ends up being, all of the sake of this 30 second reload and 1.8 sigma.  Here's where I take issue:

First and foremost:  firing arcs and her gun handling sucks.  She has some of the worst battleship fire angles in the game with her rear turrets only able to shoot at targets 47º off her bow and her forward turrets only capable of shooting at targets 41º off her stern giving her 92º of overlapping fire per side.  NoW to be clear, there are battleships with worse overlapping fire arcs but they're usually suffering because they're mounted in wings or in P, Q and R positions amidships with superstructure blocking the guns.  But for a battleship with a simple bow and stern mounting, Viribus Unitis is among the worst.  Mikasa comes to mind as one of the few that is worse off (56º forward, 57º back with only 67º of overlapping fire).  Vanguard is pretty close (43º forward, 41º back for 96º of overlap) as is Großer Kurfürst (46º forward, 36º back for 98º of overlap).  And just to spit in your eye, her turrets are sluggish with only a 4º/s traverse rate (45s for 180º). 


Bad fire angles has a trickle down effect.  To unmask her guns, you have to give up more broadside.  Giving up more broadside not only makes her more vulnerable to return fire.  It also slows the ship down if you're trying to advance as you have to nose away from your line of attack in order to keep firing.  It's far too easy to find yourself veering off towards the map borders (or at least away from objectives) after a couple of minutes of sustained fire.  For a ship that's already moving at a crawl, this is bad news.  If you try and stay the course, well now you're only a six-gun battleship which means you're not taking advantage of those twelve guns for which you sacrificed so much.

There's also the issue of range. While 16km may seem alright at first, there's no way to extend this the way that similarly short-ranged ships like New York or Texas can through upgrades.  Nor does Viribus Unitis have access to a Spotter Aircraft consumable the way Kaiser and Iron Duke can. This is not a fast ship either, so it's not like you can make up the difference by aggressively charging towards the action.  I mean, you can call it a charge but it's more like the movemement of glaciers.  It takes Viribus Unitis almost 3 minutes to cover 10km at her maximum speed to give you an idea.  Though she may share the woes of slow speed with other ships at her tier, they at least have the range to engage sooner.  Being so short ranged means that she can (and will) be picked on cruisers outside of her reach.  In my most recent bouts of playtesting, I faced a very knowledgeable Nürnberg player who knew they had 500m reach on me and played an expert game of keep away.  I was being lit by a friendly destroyer and there was nothing I could do.  Fun times.  Being kited and picked apart by cruisers and other battleships is a very real issue because of this short reach if you can't drop back into stealth.

Finally on my list of complaints, there are her secondaries.  These prove to be a durability liability (see below in the Defence section) and provide almost zero benefit.  They're too short ranged (4km) and fire too slowly (6rpm) to be of any use to anyone. 

Viribus Unitis does have some good AP DPM.  Provided no one shoots back at her, she can put out some respectable damage.

She's not a very good fire setter, however.  Coupled with her only modest HE shells, she should really stick to firing AP whenever possible.

VERDICT:  Pretty good, honestly.  There's some drawbacks here and there.  It's just a shame these weapons are mounted on this particular ship.


Hit Points:  35,700
Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck:  19mm / 13mm / 150mm / 30mm
Maximum Citadel Protection:  150mm belt + 160mm transverse bulkhead or 280mm + 50mm citadel wall.
Torpedo Damage Reduction: 18%

Her hit point pool is such a bloody meme.

I would like to tell you that all of the criticism about Viribus Unitis' fragility is just the internet being the internet -- magnifying a small problem and making it an undeserved crisis.  Sadly, the rumours are true.  She is a piece of crap.

At first blush, her protection scheme looks hella exciting.  It's got Soviet-levels of bullpaddies going for it with very few thinly armoured sections for HE damage or for large caliber AP shells to overmatch.  Combine that with hidden geometry preventing AP shells from capitalizing on the sections they can overmatch.  She should be able to tank for days, shrugging off AP hits left right and center with impunity not seen since the days of Imperator Nikolai I's reign.  In practice, however, she's a wet noodle.  While she does have some resilience to HE fire, she takes so much damage from AP shells it's downright comical.  So what's the deal?  The issue is shot-traps.

Viribus Unitis' hull is riddled with shot-traps.  Her secondary casemates are the most egregious of these.  Even when the ship angles perfectly, it's possible to slam shells down into these traps and get penetrating hits with battleship and heavy cruiser caliber AP shells.  But that's not all. Behind the 19mm hull sections are similar plates to ensure battleship shells fuse and detonate -- and every battleship caliber shell can overmatch these areas.  This problem is, of course, exacerbated by her horrible gun firing angles.  While her fire angles to the rear may seem more forgiving, her armour layout there is much softer making her more likely to take big damaging hits.  But there's worse geometry to consider.

Taking Viribus Unitis into a brawl is a death sentence.  Not only does she not have the health to survive any torpedo strikes, her citadel is horribly vulnerable.  It sits high over the waterline and, though she has a turtleback scheme, it isn't sloped sufficiently to repulse incoming fire.  In jousts she's meat on the table for an enemy battleship.  Worse, she has an octagonal-shaped citadel, similar to Yamato.  Shots aimed beneath her first or last turret have a good chance of causing citadel hits even when the ship angles so your opponents have a chance of landing citadel hits against you before you can do the same to them.  Her icebreaker bow should provide protection against this but only if you nose in perfectly.  Give up any of her side to try and bait early shots can still see you sunk if you're not absolutely careful with the firing angles.

All of these problems are mated to a hull with the hit points of a tier III dreadnought.  She just doesn't have the health to take those high alpha hits, with even a single torpedo hit from a Japanese lolibote capable of gutting a third of her health at once.  She is a Devastating Strike medal waiting to be printed.

There's some hidden geometry to Viribus Unitis' armour scheme in her bow and stern.  There is a 30mm thick deck under her 19mm prow, sitting on top of the 110mm icebreaker belt, effectively running nearly the whole length of the ship stopping at her Y-turret.  This means that even if shells overmatch her 19mm bow they can't dive into her citadel.  In addition on her there is a 43mm plate running along the base of the 150mm waterline belt of her bow (48mm on her stern) mating up to the base of the 160mm transverse bulkhead of her citadel.  This prevents shells from diving down into the 25mm transverse citadel section.  As nice as this protection scheme seems, she has an octagonal citadel.  Shots aimed beneath her A or Y turret will slam into her citadel.

Pay attention to the 180mm upper hull section of Viribus Unitis.  These indents for her secondary battery make perfect shell traps for catching incoming AP shells.  Even when Viribus Unitis angles perfectly, shells aimed high will penetrate for full damage as they catch off this geometry.  Her protection scheme ends up looking better than it is.

VERDICT:  She has too little health and she takes far more damage than you would expect.


Top Speed: 20.5kts
Turning Radius: 530m
Rudder Shift Time: 11.5s
4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.5º/s at 15.3kts

Viribus Unitis really shows her lower tiered origins here.  Her 530m turning radius is right home among the tier III battleships.  Yes, I said tier III.  Even at tier IV, her turning radius would be remarkable.   For a tier V battleship, it's amazing. So hats off to her. This tiny turning radius gives her some surprising agility despite her pedestrian top speed.  Though she can barely hold onto 15 knots in a sustained turn, she comes about rather quickly (for a battleship) at 4.5º/s per second.  Sadly there's no way to correct her rudder shift time so while she may turn tightly, she still feels like a chunker.   Worse, she totally out-turns her turrets, which makes her gun handling and poor fire angles all the more frustrating. Plan your turns accordingly and make sure you don't over-steer.  Remember to protect her citadel as best you can.

She isn't fast but at least she gets around (get it?).

VERDICT:  A mixed bag.  She's very slow.  It takes her a bit to start turning because of her rudder shift time, but at least she comes about quickly when she does answer her rudder.  That tight turning circle is very nice.

Anti-Aircraft Defence

Flak Bursts:  Yeah right.
Medium Ranged (up to 3.0km):  14dps at 75% accuracy

Yep.  14 whole DPS.  Even with sector reinforcement, you're looking at over a minute of sustained fire to shoot down ONE (1) tier IV bomber or attack aircraft, to say nothing of battling it out with the tier VI planes this thing also faces.  It's not like this thing is Imperator Nikolai I or König Albert, where you could forgive them for having poor AA DPS because the rest of the ship is god-tier.  Nope.  Viribus Unitis gets 14dps on top of all of her other issues. 

VERDICT: Laughably bad.

Aww, nuts.


Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 12.5km / 10.91km
Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 6.82km/6.14km
Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 6.1km
Maximum Firing Range:  16km

Viribus Unitis has very nice concealment values, even for a low-tier battleship.  Like with her health, AA defence and turning radius, Viribus Unitis' concealment values have more in common with tier III and tier IV battleships than those at tier V.  For a ship with so many durability problems, this is a breath of fresh air and it really helps her survivability.  There are, of course, two caveats to this:

  1. There are no enemy aircraft around.  Good luck here given her matchmaking.
  2. There are no enemy destroyers around.

Her concealment is most effective when she's uptiered.  In the claustrophobic maps at the lower tiers, it's harder to make use of her open water concealment.  It's far easier to use islands to help break line of sight rather than relying on putting what little distance there is available between herself and her opponents.  If Viribus Unitis were a little faster, it might be easier to put this concealment to use, but she's not.  Thus it remains "nice to have" rather than game changing.

VERDICT:  Good, but not good enough to save her.

Final Evaluation

Imagine having the brilliant idea after finsihing Pommern's review to wanna play this thing.  Ugh, talk about whiplash -- going from a good ship to bad.  I've been planning on squeezing a review of this ship in for a while now, since before ShipComrade shut down.  She's one of several reviews that I had started but never finished owing to something of higher priority coming out and bumping her back.  It was reviewing Oklahoma that brought her back to the fore, with some of the graphical overlap between the two ships expediting my process here.  I played about a dozen games in her since September and this ship and I did not get along, though I think you could tell that from how much I've complained about her.  I've made little secret that I hate ships with awful gun angles.  Toss on some frustrating speed and range issues and it's no wonder I've come down so hard on her.

Viribus Unitis does have some nice guns.  Despite all of my bellyaching about everything else, there's no taking away from that.  Her 305mm guns are excellent  They exist at a tier where overmatching is less of an issue.  She has good enough penetration and ballistics.  She does more than enough damage.  The only proviso is that she needs to be left well enough alone in order to pull it off.  Yes, I've had some high damage games with Viribus Unitis but that's owing more to the enemy team enabling this rather than any particular strength of the ship.  ANY ship performs so much better when the enemy team leaves you alone, after all, so I find it hard to justify that as a selling feature.

Way back in October of 2019, I warned players not to buy Viribus Unitis because of confusion regarding whether or not some nerfs had been applied.  With the question hanging in the air, I didn't want anyone buying her expecting X performance only to receive Y instead.  Thankfully Wargaming was fast to clear up the issue when it was raised. 

Sadly, even with that done, I'm sticking to my guns and telling you all, once again, to not buy Viribus Unitis.  She's a bad ship.  Worse, the health of the game down at low tiers is worse than ever and your money won't be well spent.  If you play late at night as I enjoy doing, you're stuck facing undersized teams, multiple carriers and/or a handful of bots.  These are the off-peak hours risks, of course.  But even in prime time, do you really want to take this ship out against tier VIs and VIIs?  Viribus Units and Oklahoma feel like Wargaming's attempts at penance to pay for the horror that is Giulio Cesare.  You shouldn't be put on the hook for their mistake.

Thank you all for reading.


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5 hours ago, LittleWhiteMouse said:

I would like to tell you that all of the criticism about Viribus Unitis' fragility is just the internet being the internet -- magnifying a small problem and making it an undeserved crisis.  Sadly, the rumours are true.  She is a piece of crap.

I beg to differ. This ship dropped out of the sky for me one day, a few months after it's introduction and before I knew what a super container was.  I have enjoyed the heck out of this ship.  She has performed well at all tiers and even against double subs and CVs being bottom tier.  Now, I can brag I'm the best BB player around, but I don't have the stats to prove it.  So, I'll show you what I got and you can decide for yourself.




Random battle stats: includes all times I didn't have a clue.



Ranked battle stats:


CO-OP stats: make what you will from this.  I really don't like playing coop



5 hours ago, LittleWhiteMouse said:

Imagine having the brilliant idea after finishing Pommern's review to wanna play this thing.  Ugh, talk about whiplash -- going from a good ship to bad. 

I tried playing Pommern then VU.  I don't recommend doing that.  It's like playing a coop battle thinking you're playing random.

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  • 5 weeks later...

I obtained VU from a Twitch drop during the first European DD event. Never have I been so glad to have not paid for a ship before or since. She should have been kept at tier IV. Reining in her guns a bit would have produced a competitive ship at that tier. Instead, she’s the poster child for ships that are over-tiered in game.

Edited by Nevermore135
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1 hour ago, Foxhound421a said:

Always surprised me they didn't give her improved secondary guns.

Considering she goes a blistering 20.5 knots, she would have a hard time utilizing any sort of enhanced secondaries. She also lacks the staying power to really want to hang out in close range of other ships.

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