So… the Z-44 is getting released today for the price of 228 000 coal or 19 300 doubloons. Is she worth that amount of resources? Does she bring anything interesting to the table? Here is my opinion on it.
The Z-44 was a never-completed Type 1936B destroyer from the Kriegsmarine.
In total, 8 ships were planned but only 3 served during the war even though they had fairly short careers. Z-35 and Z-36 were commissioned in September 1943 and February 1944 respectively. The ships were used for mine-laying operations, escorting convoys and bombarding Soviet positions. In December 1944, due to bad weather, they entered ironically a friendly minefield and both struck mines with Z-36 sinking almost immediately and Z-35 a bit later.
Z-43, the last survivor of the class was commissioned in May 1944 and followed her sisterships’ steps. She was assigned to convoy escort and artillery support for troops on land until she struck a mine in April 1945. After emergency repairs, she continued providing fire support in the Warnenmünde harbor until she exhausted all her ammunition. She was sent to Kiel on the 2nd of May where she was scuttled the next day.
When it comes to the rest of the class, Z-40, Z-41 and Z-42 were canceled. Z-44 was launched in January 1944 and her uncompleted hull was sunk by the Royal Airforce in July 1944. Finally, the uncompleted hull of Z-45 was scrapped in 1946.
The Z-44 that we get in World of Warships is a bit different from the actual plans for the Type 1936B destroyer as she is armed with quintuple launchers instead of quadruple launchers. She is also armed with 30 mm AA guns.
The Good and the Bad
- 32 mm HE penetration to damage enemy cruisers and battleships
- Short torpedo reload
- 12 km torpedo range
- Good HP pool for a torpedo focused destroyer
- No long-range AA (Yes, I count it as a good point as it will avoid that situation with your random teammate, forgetting to turn their AA off, get dunked by the enemy carrier 2 minutes in because they got spotted from 6 km.)
- Low damage output due to low HE damage combined with only 5 guns and a longer reload than on Z-46
- Slow turret traverse speed meaning that you can’t keep guns on target when doing a turn at close range
- Horrible firing angles forcing you to give full broadside if you want to use more than 4 guns
- Low torpedo damage
- Low flooding chance
- Below-average speed
- Poor concealment (Slightly worse than Kitakaze)
- No Hydroacoustic Search
- German destroyers’ Smoke Generator
- Long story short, it’s a worse Fletcher
The permanent camouflage of the Z-44 provides the classic bonuses for tier IX ships:
- -3% to surface detectability range
- +4% to maximum dispersion of shells fired by the enemy at your ship
- -20% to the cost of the ship’s post-battle service
- +100% to experience earned in the battle
General Characteristics and playstyle
|Health||19 400 HP|
|Displacement||3 542 tons|
|Maximum Firing Range||11.110 km|
|128 mm/45 SK C/34 on an MPLC/34 mount||5 x 1 128 mm|
|Maximum Firing Range||12.000 km|
|533 mm Fünfling||2 x 5 533 mm|
|Maximum speed||36.5 knots|
|Turning Circle Radius||670 m|
|Rudder Shift Time||8.3 s|
|Surface Detectability||7.78 km|
|Air Detectability||3.5 km|
|Detectability After Firing Main Guns in Smoke||3.06 km|
Damage Control Party
Work time: 5 s
Cooldown: 40 s
Number of charges: 3
Work time: 20 s
Cooldown: 160 s
Smoke radius: 450 m
Smoke duration: 77 s
Number of charges: 3
Work time: 120 s
Cooldown: 120 s
Effect: +8% speed
So basically, the playstyle of the Z-44 can be summarized the following way: Spam torpedoes as much as you can to maybe get some impact while trying to not get gunned down by enemy destroyers or literally anything else.
Sounds like fun right?
Honestly, there isn’t much to add to this. Her firepower blocks her from doing any real gunfights against enemy destroyers unless they are already crippled and she isn’t much better at farming cruisers and battleships.
The combination of bad firepower, poor concealment and the lack of Hydroacoustic Search also limits the ship in her capacity to contest capture points. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should avoid the capture points like the plague but… you don’t want to enter a cap at the same time as a Jutland or Kitakaze…
At least, the HP pool of the Z-44 is pretty good so unless you really screw up, you have HP to spare if an enemy destroyer catches you.
|5 x 1 128 mm/45 SK C/34 on an MPLC/34 mount|
|Maximum Firing Range||11.110 km|
|Reloading Time||4.2 s|
|180 Degree Turn Time||22.5 s|
|Optimal firing angles at the front||53°|
|Optimal firing angles at the rear||54°|
|Maximum Dispersion||99 m|
|Type of Projectile|| HE – 128 mm Spr.Gr.
|Alpha Damage||1 500 HP|
|Penetration capacity||32 mm|
|Fire chance||6 %|
|Projectile Speed||830 m/s|
|Projectile Mass||28 kg|
|Type of Projectile||AP – 128 mm P.Spr.Gr.
|Alpha Damage||3000 HP|
|Projectile Speed||830 m/s|
|Projectile Mass||28 kg|
|Projectile Krupp||1 640|
|Projectile Detonator||0.01 s|
|Detonator threshold||21 mm|
|Ricochet Angles||45° – 60°|
When it comes to her firepower, Z-44 is really lacking punch. The only saving grace is the German special HE penetration that allows her HE to penetrate 32 mm platings.
For the rest… the biggest stinker is the horrible firing angles. If you want to use all 5 guns, you will need to basically be full broadside. This even further limits her firepower, especially if you are forced to fight another destroyer which brings us to the next problem.
The turret traverse is very slow for destroyer guns. It’s in fact too slow to keep the guns on target when doing sharp turns so one more reason to avoid fights with destroyers when you can.
Last nail in the coffin, the damage output itself. Unless you find something on which you can use AP, the damage you will get with the infamous German HE will be miles away from stellar, especially since you have 1 less gun than Z-46 with a slightly longer reload. If you want to compare her to another destroyer when it comes to firepower, it would be with a Fletcher-class due to the similar gun layout. The problem is that a Fletcher would badly outgun this ship.
|2 x 5 533 mm Fünfling
|Reloading Time||85 s|
|Maximum Distance||12.000 km|
|Optimal firing angles at the front||45°|
|Optimal firing angles at the rear||60°|
|Flooding Chance||227 %|
|Surface Detectability||1.3 km|
The torpedo armament is the main “strength” of the Z-44. The ship is equipped with 2 quintuple launchers and with 12 km range torpedoes. While this is on paper a good armament, in action, it’s frankly nothing crazy.
The torpedoes only deal 13 700 damage which is just 3 000 damage more than the torpedoes of the Ostergotland and the flooding chance is also one of the lowest for destroyer torpedoes in high tier. Fletcher’s upgraded torpedoes for example have a 323% flooding chance on top of dealing almost 6 000 more damage.
This low damage per hit is compensated by the fast reload of her torpedo launchers. Without counting Adrenaline Rush, if you use Torpedo Armament Expertise and Torpedo Tube Modification 2, the reload goes down to 65 seconds.
I think that at this point, you understand that the only way for the Z-44 to get something down is to just spam torpedoes because it’s literally the only thing she is good at.
|7 x 4 30 mm/45 Flak 103/38 on a quadruple mount|
|Sector range||0.1 km – 3.0 km|
|Hit chance||95 %|
|Sector’s damage frequency||0.29 s|
|Sector’s damage per second||256|
Unlike the Z-46 with her dual-purpose main battery, the Z-44 can only count on her close-range AA to shoot down planes (or at least try). In action, it’s a good DPS for the standard of destroyers so you will get rid of fighters fast but for attack planes, dive bombers and torpedo bombers… it will be a bit more problematic.
The Z-44 presents the classic armor protection of a high-tier destroyer. The hull is protected by 19 mm of armor while the superstructure is 13 mm thick. The gun shields are 8 mm thick.
I think that you understood at this point, I REALLY don’t recommend the Z-44. Its only purpose is to spam torpedoes and even for that, Östergotland would be better because her torpedoes are easier to land due to their high speed and the loss of damage and reload isn’t the end of the world.
Save your coal (or money) on that one unless you are a good old Wehraboo called 88PanzerKruppstahl88 collecting every possible German ship.
P.S.: Sorry in advance if someone here is actually called like that in-game, it’s not targeted towards you.
During the testing of the Z-44, I used the following captain build and upgrades:
- Preventive Maintenance: You want to reduce the chance for your modules to be incapacitated, especially your torpedo tubes and engines.
- Last Stand: As a destroyer, mobility is the key. A destroyer that can’t move or maneuver is a dead one.
- Torpedo Armament Expertise: Z-44 exists to spam torpedoes so make sure that she can spam as much of them as she can.
- Concealment Expert: Generally speaking, a no-brainer on destroyers, especially on destroyers. With the upgrade as well, you can get the concealment down to 6.11 km. It’s still not great but it’s better than nothing.
- Survivability Expert: The more you can keep your torpedo boat afloat, the more torpedoes you will be able to launch at the enemy.
- Adrenaline Rush: The lower your HP is, the more torpedoes you will be able to launch.
- Radio Location: Considering that Z-44 isn’t good at dealing with destroyers, it would be better to know in advance from where they might come.
- Main Armaments Modification 1: There is literally nothing else worth taking in this slot. You want to keep your armaments working.
- Engine Room Protection or : Here, it’s up to you. Either you prefer to make sure that your engines and steering gears survive as much as possible or you prefer to have a longer Engine Boost.
- Torpedo Tube Modification 1: It’s a torpedo boat so let’s make sure that the torpedoes are more likely to hit thanks to the higher speed.
- Propulsion Modification 1: The rudder shift time is already fast enough and without hydro, you want engines as reactive as possible if you have to dodge torpedoes coming in your smoke cloud.
- Concealment System Modification 1: Absolute no brainer, you need to make that ship as stealthy as possible.
- Torpedo Tube Modification 2: Let’s make it short. MOAR torpedoes!
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