“What’s the point of the CA girls? What can they do that can’t be done by either a BB girl or a DD/CL girl?”
Hoo boy. That’s a really good question. See, in the actual KanColle game, CA girls occupy this sort of awkward niche. They’re good at many things, but the lower FP means that they can’t really be used as linebreakers like your BB girls are, and honestly, short of pathing/map restrictions, in proper KanColle I’m not entirely sure what their advantage is other than resource consumption.
Pacific is not KanColle. They’re a game. We’re a story. To answer that question, we need to consider STEC’s own battle doctrines. We’ve established a few pertinent points (maximizing range, scout, concentration of force and the like), but the short version of the story is that STEC’s way of waging war against the Abyssals is very American in thinking. Overwhelm the opponent locally and saturate them with firepower. Kill them before they can even think about damaging you.
There’s no decisive battle or consistently trying to use smaller things to beat bigger things (not to say that the girls don’t train for these situations, but it’s not really STEC doctrine to say, consistently try to get subgirls to fight against surface opponents on the surface), and CA girls have one big advantage: sustainable volume of fire with a good caliber weapon.
Of course, as shipgirls aren’t ships, every shipgirl is in theory capable of firing rapid volleys (rapid in the sense that fairies load a shipgirl’s guns far faster than say, a naval ship would load a navy gun), but CA girls generally possess more space for munitions and guns that shoot (and load) faster. Good rule of thumb is that in general, they shoot about twice as fast as the BB girls.
So, while I hesitate to use words like “optimal mission conditions,” I’d say that the best types of surface engagement compositions involve a steady stream of multiple medium and light targets. The numbers may cause trouble for a DD girl, but a CA girl’s weapons should tear right through them.
See you next time. 🙂