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Ships of Germany

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Throughout most of European history, Germany's naval prowess had always been eclipsed by its British, French, Dutch and Spanish neighbors. A unified Germany only came into being in the late 19th century, thus it did not play a major role in the European colonial period; while its inherited coastline (largely from the Kingdom of Prussia) was relatively long, Germany's geographical location at the center of the European continent meant that greater preference was given to its army and its navy never went beyond being a coastal defense force. Beginning in the late 19th century, Kaiser Wilhelm II pursued a policy of naval strengthening, believing that a powerful navy was the key to power on the world stage and possibly also wishing to compete with his cousin, King George V of Britain. While the meteoric rise of the Imperial German Navy[1] caught the attention of Europe and brought about a costly naval arms race, it was never able to out-build and out-innovate the Royal Navy, who responded with powerful and revolutionary designs such as HMS Dreadnought and the Queen Elizabeth-class battleships. Nevertheless, the Imperial German Navy was a formidable force in World War I, being the first navy in the world to display the crippling effectiveness of submarines (despite technological limitations) against unescorted merchant shipping and slow, sluggish warships.


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[2] — 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.

Destroyers

Mainline German destroyers
New German destroyers review

Gameplay

German destroyers offer a mix of playstyles. Upon mastering the basics of destroyer gameplay from Tier I through to Tier VI, the German destroyer line splits to offer two unique gameplay styles. Continuing up the line to the Tier X Z-52 offers a versatile, jack-of-all-trades playstyle using both torpedoes and main battery guns. The second line culminates in Tier X Elbing and offers a main battery-focused playstyle. Wielding large-caliber guns for a destroyer (150mm) with high penetration values, but sluggish torpedoes, these destroyers can handle more like small cruisers than destroyers.

The early tiers facilitate an aggressive playstyle with forward-firing torpedo arcs all the way to Tier IV. Charge an enemy battleship with Engine BoostWhile active, increases a ship's speed by a fixed percentage., change course to fire both front torpedoes, close to point-blank range, turn and unload. When in an unfavorable situation, use the Smoke GeneratorWhile active, generates a smoke screen that blocks line-of-sight for both enemies and teammates. consumable to break contact. 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 higher tiers. Things get interesting at Tier VI with the Ernst Gaede, as it adds one more tool to the German captain's arsenal: the Hydroacoustic SearchWhile active, detects all enemy ships and torpedoes within the specified radius, without regard of obstacles such as smoke and terrain. consumable. 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 allied ships and locate incoming torpedoes aimed at friendly battleships.

After Tier VI, captains can choose to continue down two separate lines: the “main” line that offers a versatile playstyle, or the main battery-focused line. The main German destroyer line (ending with X Z-52) has many tools at its disposal, allowing it to be adjusted to fit a variety of roles and playstyles while not being exceptional at any of them. They have average speed and handling for a destroyer that can be temporarily enhanced with the use of the Engine BoostWhile active, increases a ship's speed by a fixed percentage. consumable. Wide hulls make them easier to hit than most other destroyers, compounded by the fact that the extra width sometimes allows larger-caliber armor-piercing rounds to arm, dealing large chunks of damage. Fans of Japanese destroyers will enjoy their fast-reloading torpedoes despite their mediocre damage output and unimpressive detectability. Captains familiar with the Russian gunboat destroyer line will feel quite comfortable with the main battery of the mainline German destroyers. Tiers VI to X all carry 128mm main battery guns with a decent reload, relatively quick turret rotation speed, and good ballistics. Their unique feature is that they benefit from the one-quarter high explosive penetration found on German cruisers and battleships, giving them 32mm of penetration. When built for guns, these destroyers are more than capable of accumulating large damage numbers. The anti-aircraft suites of this line are unimpressive, and should only be utilized when already spotted.

The second tech tree line, starting with VII Z-31 and ending with X Elbing are fierce gunboats. Unlike most other gunboat destroyers, these German destroyers focus on high damage per salvo rather than rate of fire. They boast large-caliber main battery guns capable of dealing large chunks of damage due to their high penetration, high shell velocity, and improved penetration angles on their armor piercing (AP) ammunition. It is not uncommon for the 150mm AP shells to score citadel hits on broadside cruisers at medium ranges. These ships also benefit from German one-quarter high explosive penetration, giving them the highest HE shell penetration of any destroyer in the game - 38mm. While not a major armor threshold, it does allow them to penetrate the deck and side plating of standard U.S. battleships and some cruisers. However, their lower-than-average rate of fire and low HE shell damage should discourage an HE-focused playstyle - captains should rely upon their potent AP shells for good damage. These ships also boast better-than-average survivability with thicker-than-average hull plating for a destroyer and large HP pools, although these ships lack of a Repair PartyWhile active, restores a percentage of the ship's health points each second. consumable. Similar to the main German destroyer line, these ships have lackluster anti-aircraft firepower, and should not be relied upon to repel an air attack.

Cruisers

German cruisers

Gameplay

German cruisers[3] 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 some of the fastest torpedoes mounted by any cruiser in the game. 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 FireWhile active, the damage per second of large caliber anti-aircraft guns is increased. 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 SearchWhile active, detects all enemy ships and torpedoes within the specified radius, without regard of obstacles such as smoke and terrain. consumable.

Battleships

German battleships
German battlecruisers review

Gameplay

Germany was the first nation to receive two full lines of battleships[4] in World of Warships. The first “main” line is composed of well-armored brawling ships. They are best described as fast battleships that focus on armor schemes capable of absorbing extraordinary amounts of punishment and still remaining afloat. Their main armament is often of a slightly smaller caliber than their same-tier counterparts — though they reload quicker — and they frequently have more hit points and better armor, making them some of the most survivable battleships in the game. Their historical "turtleback" armor is modeled accurately in-game; they are more resilient as they close the range to their enemies, though their armor schemes do leave them more vulnerable to long-range plunging fire. While their main battery guns are known for being unreliable, these battleships feature heavy secondary armaments with improved accuracy and one-quarter high-explosive penetration up-and-down the line, further rewarding players who are able to work into close-range brawls with enemy ships. Like their cruiser comrades, mid-to-high tier German battleships typically feature decent anti-aircraft firepower with good mid-range damage. Though they feature quicker-than-average rudder shift times, they tend to have very large turning circles that make avoiding both ship and aerial torpedoes difficult. The main tech tree line German battleships at Tier VIII and up receive access to the Hydroacoustic SearchWhile active, detects all enemy ships and torpedoes within the specified radius, without regard of obstacles such as smoke and terrain. consumable to help alleviate this, but torpedoes are a constant threat that captains must keep in mind. This line is ideal for captains who prefer passive-aggressive playstyles and winning battles of attrition.

The second line of German battleships differs from the playstyle typically associated with battleships. Best classified as battlecruisers, they are typically faster, more accurate, and less-armored than the mainline fast German battleships. This line is focused on these ships’ secondary battery firepower - they are bristling with 150mm casemates and 105mm dual-purpose artillery mounts that are highly accurate (more so than the other German battleships) with excellent German one-quarter high explosive shell penetration and a long range. The ships themselves are also stealthy for their class, especially from Tier VIII Zieten to Tier X Schlieffen, allowing them to close to within a short distance of their maximum secondary battery range. If this fierce array of guns wasn’t enough to discourage enemies from getting too close, the German battlecruisers get access to long-range, heavy-hitting torpedoes from Tier VII up. Higher-than-average top speeds allow them to reposition quickly when necessary, and to support their teammates in quick pushes. An improved variant of the Hydroacoustic SearchWhile active, detects all enemy ships and torpedoes within the specified radius, without regard of obstacles such as smoke and terrain. consumable found on the traditional German battleships allows for early warning of torpedoes and ships hidden in smokescreens or behind islands, somewhat compensating for the large turning circle and long rudder shift time. In exchange for the powerful offensive capabilities of these ships, they are significantly lacking in anti-aircraft firepower. More significantly, they lack the turtleback armor scheme that the other German battleships are known for, and in most cases have high-sitting and easy-to-hit citadels. Furthermore, the German battlecruisers have thinner bow, stern, and deck plating than most other battleships of their tier, making them susceptible to being overmatched by other battleships. Their HP pools are also lower than most of their same-tier peers, but this is somewhat compensated by having access to the Fast Damage Control TeamWhen activated, instantly repairs fires, floods, and incapacitations, and prevents more for the duration. consumable (with a limited number of charges) and the Repair PartyWhile active, restores a percentage of the ship's health points each second. consumable. Captains who enjoy being aggressive and taking the fight to the enemy will feel most comfortable at the helm of the German battlecruisers.

Aircraft Carriers

About German tech-tree carriers

Gameplay

German aircraft carriers offer a unique twist to their playstyle when compared to their contemporaries from other nations. The planes making up their squadrons are very fast, but have the lowest durability compared to planes from other nations. Unlike their contemporaries, German attack aircraft are armed with a unique ammunition: armor-piercing rockets. These rockets act like AP shells, and are highly effective against enemy cruisers as they allow a skilled captain to devastate them with multiple citadel hits in a single airstrike from the side. However, they'll lose effectiveness if attacking from an angle as they'll ricochet, or overpenetrate if targeting lightly armored ships such as destroyers. Like Japanese carriers, German dive bombers use AP bombs instead of HE, which reduces their effectiveness on destroyers, but makes them an absolute menace to enemy battleships provided that they land on-target. German torpedo bombers offer the fastest aerial torpedoes among other nations, but deal low damage and have a low chance of causing a flood. Overall, these aircraft are highly specialized in their roles and choice of targets: attack aircraft are effective against cruisers, dive bombers are deadly against battleships, and torpedo bombers are recommended against destroyers. Though this shouldn't prevent captains from using every armament at their disposal to eliminate an important target. The vessels themselves are relatively well protected, with fair armor along with accurate and long-ranged secondary batteries which provide some deterrence against enemies closing in on them.

Submarines

Gameplay

German submarines

Destroyers

Ship_PGSD102_V_25.png
II V-25
Ship_PGSD103_G_101.png
III G-101
Ship_PGSD104_V_170.png
IV V-170
Ship_PGSD105_T_22.png
V T-22
Ship_PGSD506_T_61.png
VI T-61 Doubloons
Ship_PGSD207_Z_31.png
VII Z-31
Ship_PGSD508_Z_39.png
VII Z-39 Doubloons
Ship_PGSD108_Z_23.png
VIII Z-23
Ship_PGSD518_Z_35.png
VIII Z-35 Doubloons
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IX Z-46
Ship_PGSD519_Z_44.png
IX Z-44 Doubloons
Ship_PGSD529_ZF_6.png
IX ZF-6 Doubloons
Ship_PGSD110_Z_52.png
X Z-52
Ship_PGSD610_Z_42.png
X Z-42 Doubloons

Submarines

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VI U-69
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VIII U-190

Notes

Division and Destruction of Kriegsmarine Ships - 7 May 2018 - News - World of Warships
German Battleships. Cinematic Trailer - Aug 17, 2016 - World of Warships Official Channel - YouTube
German Cruisers - Oct 1, 2015 - World of Warships Official Channel - YouTube
Squall Line: German Cruisers - 14 Oct 2015 - News - World of Warships
German Aircraft Carriers Review - 5 Aug 2020 - News - World of Warships
New German Destroyers Review - 17 Jun 2021 - News - World of Warships (about the Z-31-Elbing branch)
German Battleships Review - 8 Dec 2021 - News - World of Warships (about the Von-der-Tann-Schlieffen branch)

  1. Imperial German Navy (Wikipedia) and Ships of the Imperial German Navy.
  2. The navy was reconstituted as the Reichsmarine (Wikipedia) under the Weimar Republic. In 1935 it was renamed the Kriegsmarine (Wikipedia) or 'War Navy'.
  3. Cruisers of Germany (Wikipedia)
  4. Battleships of Germany (Wikipedia).
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