Ships of Germany
After her defeat, Germany once again set about attempting to challenge the Royal Navy with "Plan Z", but the earlier-than-expected outbreak of World War II meant that it could not be fully implemented, leaving her navy — now known as the Kriegsmarine — severely under-equipped to go toe-to-toe with the Royal Navy. This caused her surface fleet to be mostly relegated to operations support (such as Operation Weserübung, the invasion of Norway and Denmark) and commerce raiding. However, the Kriegsmarine had powerful (but very few) battleships and battlecruisers, scoring victories in sinking HMS Hood and HMS Glorious and putting up valiant, stubborn resistance — a testament to the crews' tenacity — until the superior numbers of British forces wore them down. As in World War I, more feared than her surface combatants were her fleet of U-boats; the largest, most powerful in the world and under the command of Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz — an experienced submariner himself who was instrumental in the buildup of the U-boat fleet after the scrapping of "Plan Z" — they wreaked havoc on British and American fleets and supply lines, sinking 14 million tons of shipping and more enemy warships than any other class throughout the war. Eventually, mounting losses inflicted by the Royal Navy resulted in the Kriegsmarine's surrender along with Germany on 8 May 1945, Victory in Europe (V-E) Day.
German destroyers offer a mix in playstyles. A captain who enjoys Russian destroyers will enjoy the primary gun handling. Fans of Japanese destroyers will enjoy their fast-reloading torpedoes. And American destroyer captains will find themselves in one of the best capture point destroyers available. The early tiers encourage aggressive play with forward-firing torpedo arcs all the way to Tier IV. Charge an enemy battleship with Engine Boost (), change course to fire both front torpedoes, close to point-blank range, turn and unload. Unlike American destroyers, German Smoke Generator () consumables do not last as long, so they are mainly used as a defensive measure. The Tier V T-22 loses the forward-facing torpedo arcs and serves as a transition from the low tier destroyers to the high tier. Things get interesting at Tier VI with the Ernst Gaede, as it adds one more tool to the German captain's arsenal: Hydroacoustic Search (). Now the hunted becomes the hunter, as German Destroyers from Tier VI and above are able to charge an enemy smoke cloud, activate Hydroacoustic Search (), and spot incoming torpedoes and the enemy ship itself. Enemy destroyers are no longer safe remaining in their smoke cloud on a capture point. Kill them or drive them off and capture the point! Hydroacoustic Search () also enables German destroyers to screen ahead of the fleet and locate incoming torpedoes aimed at friendly battleships. To mix things up, both the Tier VI Ernst Gaede and the Tier VIII Z-23 allow for 150mm guns. These guns, coupled with strong armor-piercing shells, enable the experienced German captain to citadel broadside cruisers. This destroyer line does have some drawbacks, however. These ships can be vulnerable to enemy aircraft spotting or attacking them. In addition, their wide hull makes it very easy for enemy cruisers and battleships to penetrate with armor-piercing shells, doing more damage than expected. A German destroyer captain must keep these weaknesses in mind when operating in a battle. Teamwork is of the utmost importance!
German cruisers start off as lighter versions of their contemporaries, but as they progress up the tiers (especially past Tier VI), their true prowess is revealed: turrets that turn lightning-fast, housing guns that rapidly fire powerful armor-piercing shells at long ranges, outranging both American and Japanese cruisers and even some battleships. Moreover, they commonly have the highest health values of their tier — allowing them to take a beating before going down — and their shells have reasonable firing arcs (i.e. no rainbow-like arcs such as those found on American destroyers and light cruisers) making gunnery very comfortable. Interestingly, their torpedoes from Tier V onwards are all exactly the same; do not underestimate them, however, for while a 6.0 km range is only marginally better than mid-tier American destroyers, at 64 knots German cruiser torpedoes are the fastest torpedoes mounted by any cruiser in the game until Tier IX Japanese cruiser Ibuki gets her upgraded torpedo module. Mid-tier German cruisers have mediocre anti-aircraft suites at best, but at Tier VIII and above they are loaded with a mix of long-range, high damage 40mm, 55mm, and 105mm guns that provide excellent AA protection for themselves and allied ships — particularly with the Defensive AA Fire () consumable — and are frequently a source of frustration for enemy carrier captains. The downside is that German cruisers overall suffer from below average to average armor, poor concealment values, sub-par HE shell damage, and rather average speed and maneuverability. Starting at Tier IV, German cruisers have access to a superior version of the Hydroacoustic Search () consumable.