Frigates are small but capable vessels. They are often low cost and can be used very effectively. Frigates do not have high firepower or armor. However, they have extreme maneuverability and speed compared to battleships and destroyers.
Frigates are small, lightly armored warships who rely mostly on speed to evade gunfire from bigger ships while dealing damage with faster firing guns. Commonly used armament in frigates includes the Mk 45 5 inch Gun, 20cm Gun, 30.5cm Gun Family and the 47/76mm RFG. Any weapon which is small and accurate is preferred to high-damage weapons on a frigate due to space. This type of surface vessel is optimal for torpedo attacks and mine laying, enabling them to take on heavier warships with ease. They may also possess antisubmarine weaponry (ASW), and are excellent candidates for antisubmarine warfare due to their ability to dodge slower-moving projectiles like torpedoes.
Roles and Usage
These vessels rely the most on the high-damage, long-ranged weapons which are small enough to fit. Due to their inherently weak armor but high speed, a hit-and-run strategy is most effective to destroy enemy vessels. While frigates are designed for ASW roles and ship escorts, they are best employed in constantly firing and running near enemy vessels.. Frigates and destroyers are found in carrier groups as escorts to provide submarine protection and faster response to vessel attacks.
See Battle Tactics
Rely on the speed of your ship to avoid taking damage from larger vessels as smaller vessels are inherently weaker than larger ships. Make sure you utilize the small size and high speed to avoid enemy fire. Be wary of the Mk 45 5 inch Gun- it can easily track and disable your ship. Use distance to the fullest advantage, as accuracy decreases with distance. It is also easier to be hit if you are the slower ship. Circle around the target and fire away. Fire torpedoes or drop mines to deny the enemy ship the use of an area. Beware of aircraft carriers and their accompanying aircraft. While the dive bombers are not particularly accurate and the torpedo bombers are easy to bring down, the fighters will prove the most menacing. Difficult to outrun, they can destroy lightly armored vessels and damage vital parts such as boilers.
Due to size constraints, antiaircraft weaponry will be difficult to install effectively. Your best bet is to destroy low-flying warplanes with the Mk 45 5 inch Gun. Be aware that speed is still an asset- bombers are not very accurate against fast-moving ships and if equipped with powerful boilers, you could outrun the bombers. Submarines should not be a great threat- you could easily outmaneuver a submarine and drop down depth charges or fire hedgehogs. Keep in mind that you are far from invincible from torpedoes, and one stray torpedo could mean the end of the battle for you. They may possess mines, something very likely to kill you in any situation. If antisubmarine weaponry is unavailable, then retreat and attempt to wait out their attack as submarines are typically the second-slowest ships in the game, save for the fortress. Thus, in most cases, it would be very difficult for a submarine to pursue you. Avoid destroyers- they have your mobility but their firepower and protection is vastly superior.
With missile weaponry coming in the near future, there will be more lightweight, low-space and heavy-firepower weaponry. As you acquire these weapons, so will the other ships, who will be as eager as you regarding their deployment. Your main protection, distance, becomes moot with these new weaponry. However, frigates can be economical warships against heavier warships such as destroyers, battleships and aircraft carriers- missiles will enable you to take on heavier ships.
- The first warships in the United States Navy were frigates. These vessels were designed to be more durable than their British and French counterparts, enabling them to destroy these ships and evade the more powerful ships-of-line. One of these original frigates, the USS Constitution, is currently berthed at Boston and is still a commissioned warship in the US Navy. This makes it the oldest commissioned warship afloat.