The cruiser is armed with nine 8-inch guns in three three-gun turrets. These batteries deliver long-range firepower capable of levelling bases. The heavy guns and armor came at the price of mobility and active defenses against aircraft and submarines. The cruiser relied on destroyers and gunboats for protection to ward off these threats.
The firing range of the Cruiser is the longest in the game. The accuracy of fire decreases the further away the target is, and the Cruiser will often miss distant targets altogether. This problem can be negated somewhat by ordering the Cruiser to force fire (holding down ctrl) on an area next to or around the target, which often causes stray inaccurate shots to hit the actual target. The cruiser may also force-fire on sea-tiles to engage submerged submarines.
The cannons the Cruiser fires are devastating against structures and infantry. They are less effective against armoured vehicles and tanks though, and cannot hit moving targets unless they force-fire in front of where the target is about to move. For this reason the Cruiser is best employed against stationary or slow moving targets, and is ideal for destroying coastal bases.
The Cruiser cannot engage air units at all, so ships like Destroyerswill need to escort them, although it is heavily armoured and can withstand several torpedoes from a submarine before being destroyed. It takes 7 hits from torpedoes to sink it. As Cruisers cannot defend itself against submarines on the surface, Destroyers must be with Cruisers to defend them from attacking subs.
The Cruiser is portrayed in the cutscenes as a Iowa class battleship. However, the Iowa class is a battleship and has three turrets with three 16 inch guns each, while the in-game unit had only two turrets with two 8 inch guns.