USS Helena (CL-50)

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Italian Fleet
P 420 Sparviero Pack
USS Helena (CL-50)
GarageImage USS Helena (CL-50).jpg
USS Helena (CL-50)
5.7 5.7 5.7
Purchase:8 020 Specs-Card-Eagle.png
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GarageImage USS Helena (CL-50).jpg

The Brooklyn-class, USS Helena (CL-50), 1943 is a premium rank IV American light cruiser with a battle rating of 5.7 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.93 "Shark Attack".

General info

Survivability and armour

Armourfront / side / back
Citadel95 / 127 / 51 mm
Main fire tower165 / 76 / 76 mm
Hull16 mm (steel)
Superstructure17 mm (steel)
Number of section7
Displacement13 327 t
Crew1 188 people

Armour on Helena is pretty strong for a light cruiser, as it can definitely hold out against large calibre HE shells. One should remember that Brooklyn-class cruisers oftentimes could survive a torpedo hit, so if you have enough crew, you can easily tank one or even two torpedoes. Your main concern while playing Helena should be high calibre AP shells, as they can wreck your ship in no time, especially if they are coming from fast reloading guns like American 5"/38, or if they are shot at you by a ship with lots of guns like IJN Suzuya.

Turret face armour is 165 mm, side, rear and top armour are 76 mm, 76 mm, and 51 mm thick respectively, and mantlets are 100 mm of RHA. Barbettes are 152 mm of rolled cemented armour. Secondaries are protected only by 32 mm of antifragmentation armour, so expect them to be knocked out as soon as any high calibre shell hits them.

Bow ammo magazines are protected by 51 mm of antifragmentation armour on the top and sides, and 127 mm of antifragmentation armour in the front. They are also hidden deep below the waterline and behind fuel tanks, which makes them a very difficult target. Aft shells and charges are protected from the top and rear by the same armour as bow magazines, but since there are no fuel tanks, they get 120 mm rolled cemented armour as side armour. Rear of the bow ammo stowage and front of the aft ammo stowage are protected by 95 mm of rolled cemented armour. Ammo elevators are protected by 127 mm of antifragmentation armour.

Bridge is protected by 127 mm of antifragmentation armour on the sides and 57 mm of the same armour on the top.

Thanks to the unit system (engines and boilers are alternating inside the hull) it's very hard to disable propulsion on the ship, even with a torpedo.


Speedforward / back
AB70 / 21 km/h
RB60 / 18 km/h

Write about the ship's mobility. Evaluate its power and manoeuvrability, rudder rerouting speed, stopping speed at full tilt, with its maximum forward and reverse speed.

Modifications and economy

Repair cost
AB2 200 Sl icon.png
RB3 100 Sl icon.png
Crew training10 000 Sl icon.png
Experts1 000 000 Sl icon.png
Aces1 500 Ge icon.png
Research Aces1 340 000 Rp icon.png
Reward for battleAB / RB / SB
Talisman.png 2 × 200 / 250 / 50 % Sl icon.png
Talisman.png 2 × 190 / 190 / 190 % Rp icon.png
Seakeeping Unsinkability Firepower
Mods new ship hull.png
Mods new ship rudder.png
Rudder Replacement
Mods new ship screw.png
Propeller Replacement
Mods new ship engine.png
Engine Maintenance
Mods ship tool kit.png
Tool Set
Mods manual ship extinguisher.png
Fire Protection System
Mods engine smoke screen system.png
Mods ship anti fragmentation protection.png
Shrapnel Protection
Mods ship venting.png
Mods new ship pumps.png
New Pumps
Mods ship ammo wetting.png
Ammo Wetting
Mods tank ammo.png
Mods new aa caliber turrets.png
Anti-Air Armament Targeting
Mod arrow 0.png
Mods he frag base fuse tank.png
Mods new aux caliber turrets.png
Auxiliary Armament Targeting
Mod arrow 0.png
Mods he frag proxi fuze ship.png
Mods he frag proxi fuze ship.png
Mods new main caliber turrets.png
Primary Armament Targeting
Mods ship rangefinder.png
Improved Rangefinder
Mods he frag proxi fuze ship.png


Primary armament

5 х Turret3 x 6 inch/47 Mk.16 cannon
Ammunition600 rounds
Vertical guidance-5° / 40°
A 6"/47 Mk.16 triple turret as seen on USS Cleveland (CL-55).

Helena carries a main armament of fifteen 6"/47 Mk.16 guns. As the standard main armament of American light cruisers, these guns are very effective anti-ship weapons. The guns are capable of firing at 10 rounds per minute (6-second reload), meaning that they have one of the highest fire rates for any 6 inch cannon (only the German triple 6-inch turrets fire faster at 12 rounds per minute). With the Helena's large main armament complement, this means that you can fire 150 shells per minute! The guns have good firing arcs and good ballistics as well for a gun of its size. However, they have a relatively slow turret traverse speed compared to its contemporaries. Helena's turrets are also well placed, though the #3 turret has relatively. bad firing arcs due to its location behind the #1 and #2 turrets.

The gun has access to four shell types - Mk.34 HC, Mk.35 AP, Mk. 34 HC with base fuse and Mk.34 HC-VT. Of these, the Mk. 35 AP is typically the best choice against armoured targets (i.e. heavy cruisers and battleships) as it is the only shell with good penetration values. The Mk.34 HC with base fuse could potentially be used against lighter-armoured cruisers, as it has superior penetration values compared to the original shell. Typically, one should take ~50% Mk.35 AP, ~40% Mk. 34 HC with base fuse, and ~10% Mk.34 HC-VT in case you want to attempt to shoot down aircraft with the main guns. The Mk.34 base fuse is superior to the original Mk.34 HC shell as it has better penetration values but retains the explosive mass.

Secondary armament

4 х Turret2 x 5 inch/38 Mk.12 cannon, mount Mk.28
Ammunition900 rounds

Helena is equipped with eight 5"/38 (12.7 cm) Mark 12 guns mounted in four dual-purpose turrets. These guns are extremely effective against surface and air targets alike, and are capable of firing at an obscene 22 rounds per minute while using first-stage ammunition. The weapon also has a very good vertical and horizontal rotation speed, and is capable of engaging aircraft due to its high-angle capability (up to 85 degrees).

Helena gets access to the standard three shell types - Mk.34 AAC, Mk.46 Common SP, and Mk.31 AAVT. The SP is typically the best pick for heavier-armoured targets such as cruisers, while the AAC shell works better against unarmoured targets due to its large explosive filler. The Mk.31 AAVT is a great option for dealing with air targets due to its proximity fuse - a single direct hit should be enough to destroy an incoming bomber.

Anti-aircraft armament

4 х Turret4 x 40 mm Bofors L/60 Mark 2 gun
Ammunition8000 rounds
Belt capacity4 rounds
Fire rate156 shots/min
12 х Turret20 mm/70 Oerlikon Mk.II autocannon
Ammunition1800 rounds
Belt capacity60 rounds
Fire rate450 shots/min

Helena gets access to sixteen 40 mm Bofors guns in four quad mounts. These weapons are extremely potent anti-aircraft guns due to their accuracy and punching power. Though these weapons fire slower than the 20 mm Oerlikon or 12.7 mm AN-M2, they more than make up for it due to their hard-hitting 40 mm shells. These guns are capable of shredding aircraft and small boats from ranges of 2.5 km away, though effectiveness will drop off after that range due to the large bullet drop. The guns fire from 4-round clips that reload continuously, meaning that they are capable of continuous fire. However, note that they will eventually jam after firing too long.

As well, Helena gets access to twelve single 20 mm Oerlikon cannons. The 20 mm Oerlikon Cannon was the standard light anti-aircraft gun for several nations, including the United States, and replaced the prior AN-M2 Browning machine gun. This weapon is an effective short-range AA gun, and has great firing angles. These guns are very helpful and can boost the volume of AA fire at shorter ranges. Take note that the guns fire from a drum magazine that will need to be reloaded. Because of the magazine design, the gun will not jam with continuous fire.

Additional armament

Describe the available additional armaments of the ship: depth charges, mines, torpedoes. Talk about their positions, available ammunition and launch features such as dead zones of torpedoes.

If there is no additional armament, remove this section.

Usage in battles

Describe the technique of using this ship, the characteristics of her use in a team and tips on strategy. Abstain from writing an entire guide – don't try to provide a single point of view, but give the reader food for thought. Talk about the most dangerous opponents for this vehicle and provide recommendations on fighting them. If necessary, note the specifics of playing with this vehicle in various modes (AB, RB, SB).


Tier Seakeeping Unsinkability Firepower
I Dry-Docking Tool Set 6 inch Mk.35 AP Anti-Air Armament Targeting
II Rudder Replacement Fire Protection System Smokescreen 6 inch Mk.34 HC (base fuze) Auxiliary Armament Targeting
III Propeller Replacement Shrapnel Protection Ventilation 5 inch AAVT Mk.31 Primary Armament Targeting Improved Rangefinder
IV Engine Maintenance New Pumps Ammo Wetting 6 inch Mk.34 HC-VT
This is a premium vehicle: all modifications are unlocked on purchase

Pros and cons


  • 2 x triple-mount 6 inch and 2 x dual-mount 5 inch cannons can fire straight ahead, allowing decent firepower while only exposing a small silhouette towards the enemy
  • Extensive use of antifragmentation armour, rendering Helena as almost HE-"proof"
  • Best citadel armour out of all light cruisers in the game
  • One of the highest main calibre fire rates out of all light cruisers (10 rpm)
  • Very hard to disable all of the engines with one torpedo hit, thanks to unit system of machinery (transmission and engines are alternated inside the ship)
  • Highest ammo count out of all cruisers
  • Shells and charges are hidden below waterline, are protected by loads of antifragmentation armour, rolled cemented armour and fuel, making it very hard to one hit kill Helena
  • Second thickest turret face in the game (only Chapayev and Sverdlov have thicker turret armour)
  • Second best AA in game in terms of amount of guns, best AA in game in terms of ammo and flexibility (out of all light cruiser that is)
  • Mobility is comparable to other ships (except top tier Japanese and Italian cruisers)
  • Bridge is protected by 127 mm of antifragmentation armour
  • One of the highest crew counts in the game


  • Citadel and ammoracks are well armoured, but other parts of the ship are protected by only 16 mm of antifragmentation armour
  • Detonation of forward magazines will destroy all shells for the front turrets, depriving the ship 3/5ths of its firepower
  • There are some shells hidden inside barbettes, so unlucky hit may cause heavy fires or even one hit kill a ship
  • Auxiliary turrets have their first stage ammo stowages unprotected, so unlucky hits may cause heavy fires
  • Second worst 152 mm penetration in game (but it's still enough to kill any vessel)
  • Turret No. 3 can shoot only when retreating or when showing broadside
  • No torpedo armament


Describe the history of the creation and combat usage of the ship in more detail than in the introduction. If the historical reference turns out to be too long, take it to a separate article, taking a link to the article about the ship and adding a block "/History" (example: and add a link to it here using the main template. Be sure to reference text and sources by using <ref></ref>, as well as adding them at the end of the article with <references />. This section may also include the ship's dev blog entry (if applicable) and the in-game encyclopedia description (under === In-game description ===, also if applicable).


Excellent additions to the article would be video guides, screenshots from the game, and photos.

See also

Links to articles on the War Thunder Wiki that you think will be useful for the reader, for example:

  • reference to the series of the ship;
  • links to approximate analogues of other nations and research trees.

External links

Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:

  • topic on the official game forum;
  • encyclopedia page on the ship;
  • other literature.

Brooklyn Navy Yard Ships
Cruiser, Light (CL)  USS Brooklyn (CL-40) · USS Helena (CL-50)
Cruiser, Armored (CA)  USS Pensacola (CA-24)

USA light cruisers
Omaha-class  USS Raleigh (CL-7) · USS Trenton (CL-11)
Atlanta-class  USS Atlanta (CL-51)
Cleveland-class  USS Cleveland (CL-55)
Brooklyn-class  USS Brooklyn (CL-40) · USS Helena (CL-50)

USA premium ships
Motor torpedo boats  58 ft PT-3 · 94 ft PT-811 · Elco 80 ft PT-109 · Elco 80 ft PT-556
Sub-chasers  165 ft PC-466 Carmi
Destroyers  USS Welborn (DD-195) · USS Bennion (DD-662) · USS Cowell (DD-547) · USS Moffett (DD-362) · USS Phelps (DD-360)
Light cruisers  USS Helena (CL-50)