World of Warships

Final review: German Tier VI Premium Aircraft Carrier Erich Loewenhardt

The 3rd ship derived from the design of the Graf Zeppelin-class recently arrived in the Premium Shop and the Arsenal. Is she worth the money or doubloons? Are the Stukas she carries only for the show? I will give you my opinion on that ship.

First thing first though, it’s history time!

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Historical Background

The Erich Loewenhardt is based on an early design of the Graf Zeppelin-class of aircraft carriers that were planned as part of the Plan Z of the Kriegsmarine.

In the mid-1930s, Germany started the Plan Z, a rearmament program for the Kriegsmarine. This plan was calling for the construction of a large surface fleet composed of various types of ships going from battleships and aircraft carriers to scout cruisers, destroyers and torpedo boats with all possible types of ships in-between.

When it comes to aircraft carriers, Germany had basically no experience in that field due to the Treaty of Versailles that was strictly limiting Germany’s military power until 1933. After a first series of preliminary designs, they decided to ask their Japanese allies for some help. They received from them a large number of blueprints and some envoys were also able to visit the Japanese carrier Akagi.

Due to difficulties at giving these ships a clear purpose and because of the lack of an escort fleet that would have been available to protect them from enemy ships, these carriers were designed with an extensive secondary battery as well as an armor protection similar to the one of an heavy cruiser. This would have, on paper, allowed the ships to target enemy convoys with these secondaries, and defend themselves against enemy destroyers and cruisers. Of course, this came at the cost of hangar space for the planes.

In the end, due to internal disputes between the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe or within the Kriegsmarine itself, shifts in priorities and Adolf Hitler… basically messing around with everything when it was about the Plan Z, the Graf Zeppelin-class was never completed. Graf Zeppelin herself was launched in December 1938 but would remain incomplete for the entirety of the war. The ship was transferred to the Soviet Union where she was sunk as target practice in 1947.

When it comes to Erich Loewenhardt, the ship represents the Graf Zeppelin-class design as it was in 1937 and is named after the 3rd highest German flying ace of World War I.

The Good and the Bad

The Good

  • Second highest HP pool for a tier VI carrier, just behind the Ark Royal
  • Fastest Aircraft carrier of the game, able to reach 37.6 knots. Very useful for quick repositioning
  • Large number of secondary batteries
  • Same armor scheme as the Graf Zeppelin. For what it’s worth, the ship can’t be citadelled at close range.
  • Fastest planes at tier VI
  • HE bombs that hit like trucks
  • Small, circular drop reticule on the Dive bombers
  • Same AP rockets as the August Von Parseval
  • German Engine Cooling on the Attack aircrafts
  • The dive bombers will get the Jericho trumpets. One day…

The Bad

  • Engines vulnerable to 203 mm HE shells and bigger
  • Terrible anti-air
  • Small reserves
  • Planes with low HP pools
  • Terrible torpedoes with the lowest speed, low damage and the lowest flooding chance of the game
  • Standard Engine Cooling on the dive bombers and torpedo bombers

The camouflages

shot-20.08.16_13.24.56-0926

The camouflage of Erich Loewenhardt provides the classic bonuses for tier VI Premium ships:

  • -3% to surface detectability range
  • +4% to maximum dispersion of shells fired by the enemy at your ship
  • -10% to the cost of ship’s post-battle service
  • +50% to experience earned in the battle

Alternatively, if you are a true defender of the Vaterland, there is the special Iron Cross camouflage available:

shot-20.08.16_15.37.48-0913

Keep in mind that it gives the same bonuses as the standard premium camouflage.

Modules
Hull
Attack Aircrafts
Torpedo Bombers
Dive Bombers
Propulsion
icon_module_Hull_installedErich Loewenhardt

Me Bf109T

Ju.87 C

Ju. 87C
icon_module_Engine_installedPropulsion: 200 000 hp

General Characteristics and playstyle

GeneralConsumables
Tier VI
Health 44 300 HP
Displacement 27 750 tons
Aircraft on deck
Attack Aircrafts 9
Torpedo Bombers 9
Dive Bombers 9
Secondary Armament
Maximum Firing Range 5.000 km
105 mm L/65 Dop. L. C/31
150 mm L/55 MLC/36
5 x 2 105 mm
8 x 2 150 mm
Anti Air Defense
105 mm L/65 Dop. L. C/31 5 x 2 105 mm
37 mm Flakzwilling 30 11 x 2 37 mm
20 mm Flak 38 8 x 1 20 mm
Maximum speed 35.8 knots
Turning Circle Radius 1 140 m
Rudder Shift Time 12.7 s
Surface Detectability 13.5 km
Air Detectability 10.92 km
Slot 1
Slot 2
Damage Control Party
Work time: 60 s
Cooldown: 90 s
Fighter
Number of charges: 4
Work time: 600 s
Cooldown: 40 s
Patrol Radius: 3.0 km
Planes in a squadron: 4

People say that German ships can’t be good. Well obviously, they never played the Erich Loewenhardt. Or the Mainz… or the Hindenburg… or the T-61… or the Siegfried.

Anyway, the Erich Loewenhardt is, in my opinion, an absolute monster at tier VI. The planes are, by a good margin, the fastest at this tier which allows for less downtime between strikes compared to the others and it’s also useful when dealing with tier VIII ships as you will spend less time in the AA of ships.

These planes are not just fast, they also pack a serious punch (except the torpedoes that are just horrible but well… there has to be some weaknesses). The HE bombs have a massive alpha damage and are easy to land. As for the rockets, they the same as on the Parseval so any cruiser you will meet will have a bad day if it doesn’t angle. You will mainly use these 2 types of planes unless you are starting to have low reserves. Against the low tier slow BBs, the torpedoes can still be okay but try to use them as rarely as possible if you want to deal good damage.

The only problem with these planes is that with their combined low HP and low reserves, you don’t have much room for mistakes UNLESS you play with Günther Lütjens. With his Air Superiority talent that gives a -10% to the aircraft restoration time after 30 bombs, torpedo or rocket hits, he is just broken on German CVs.

Attack Aircrafts

shot-20.08.16_13.23.24-0096

Attack Aircraft
Attack aircraft – Me BF109T
planetype_0
Tier VI
Hit points per plane 1 270
Cruise speed 153 knots
Maximum speed 193 knots
Engine boost time 5 s
Engine boost reload time 10 s
Size of attacking flight 2
Aircraft per squadron 6
Rocket type Sprengranate
Rocket caliber 83 mm
Rockets per plane 4
Maximum rocket damage 2 350
Projectile speed 500 m/s
Air Drag 0.35
Projectile mass 18 kg
Projectile Krupp 3 300
Penetration capacity 184 mm
Projectile detonator 0.022 s
Detonator threshold 25 mm
Detectability range 10.0 km
Aircraft restoration time 72 s
Aircraft on deck 9
Slot 1
Slot 2
Engine Cooling
consumable_PCY034_ForsageBooster
Number of Charges: 3
Work time: 10 s
Cooldown: 80 s
Patrol fighter
Number of Charges: 3
Work time: 60 s
Cooldown: 10 s
Aircraft per squadron: 3
Patrol radius: 2.5 km

Just like the German tech tree carriers, the Erich has access to AP rockets. Unlike the Weser’s rockets that only get 141 mm which starts to be a bit lacking against some cruisers at tier VIII, the Erich just laughs at them with 184 mm of penetration.

Most of the time, you will start the game with these planes to get an early strike on enemy cruisers and to clap them nicely on their broadsides. If uptiered, you might want to pre-drop after taking-off to save reserves for later. Also, if you see that there are very few enemy cruisers on the enemy team, you will consider doing the opening strike with HE bombers instead.

You can also perfectly use these rocekts against the upper sides of battleships and against destroyers on which you will still get decent damage.

Torpedo Bombers

shot-20.08.16_13.23.34-0949

Torpedo Bombers
Torpedo bomber – Ju.87 C
planetype_3
Tier VI
Hit points per plane 1 610
Cruise speed 133 knots
Maximum speed 173 knots
Engine boost time 20 s
Engine boost reload time 40 s
Size of attacking flight 2
Aircraft per squadron 6
Torpedo type LT F5a
Torpedoes per plane 1
Maximum torpedo damage 4 200
Maximum torpedo range 6.0 km
Torpedo speed 32 knots
Torpedo arming distance 387 m
Flooding chance 23%
Detectability range 10.0 km
Aircraft restoration time 89 s
Aircraft on deck 9
Slot 1
Slot 2
Engine Cooling
consumable_PCY034_ForsageBooster
Number of Charges: 2
Work time: 5 s
Cooldown: 80 s
Patrol fighter
Number of Charges: 3
Work time: 60 s
Cooldown: 10 s
Aircraft per squadron: 3
Patrol radius: 2.5 km

The torpedo bombers of the Erich are almost here for decoration. Compared to the Attack aircraft and their very effective AP rockets or the Dive bombers with their amazing HE bombs… well the torpedoes hit like wet weisswursts and, unlike on the tech tree carriers, move just as fast.

There is very little point in using these torpedo bombers. Unlike those of the tech tree ships, you don’t have the amazing speed or short arming time that makes it very easy to land the torpedoes. You are stuck with the slowest torpedoes of the game with the longest arming time of all tier VI torpedo bombers. They also barely deal 133 more damage per hit while having the lowest flooding chance of the game compared to the torpedoes of the Weser.

As I said before, unless you have low reserves of the other planes or that there are only battleships already burning left to strike, don’t bother too much with them.

Dive Bombers

shot-20.08.16_13.23.45-0272

Dive Bombers
Dive bomber – ‎Ju.87 C
planetype_1
Tier VI
Hit points per plane 1 670
Cruise speed 156 knots
Maximum speed 196 knots
Engine boost time 20 s
Engine boost reload time 40 s
Size of attacking flight 2
Aircraft per squadron 6
Bomb type SC 1000
Bomb per plane 1
Maximum bomb damage 12 200
Projectile speed 300 m/s
Air Drag 0.35
Projectile mass 1 002 kg (in the game files, it’s 3 kg for whatever reason)
HE penetration capacity 68 mm
Explosion size 3.15
Fire chance 69%
Detectability range 10.0 km
Aircraft restoration time 84 s
Aircraft on deck 9
Slot 1
Slot 2
Engine Cooling
consumable_PCY034_ForsageBooster
Number of Charges: 2
Work time: 5 s
Cooldown: 80 s
Patrol fighter
Number of Charges: 3
Work time: 60 s
Cooldown: 10 s
Aircraft per squadron: 3
Patrol radius: 2.5 km

(Sorry, I really couldn’t resist…)

While they don’t have their Jericho trumpets yet (no ETA was given for that), you sure feel the power of these planes.

Their bombs are just brutal with the massive alpha damage of 12 200. In action, hits on non-saturated section will deal a bit more than 4 000 damage. These bombs are also very easy to land on battleships. On cruisers, unless the spread really screws you, it will still be easy to land them. It gets quite tricky against destroyers though but if you hit the target… Well, they won’t enjoy it. Hell, even if it’s near misses, due to the massive explosion size (only bested by the HE shells of the Thunderer and Shikishima), you will still end up damaging the engines or rudder of these destroyers.

The drop reticule is a perfect circle like on the Graf Zeppelin with equal chances for the bombs to land on the internal or the external part of the reticule. It is, however, smaller than on Graf Zeppelin. You can say that it’s an advantage but it’s also a disadvantage because you will rarely be able to get more than 1 fire when dropping a target.

There are a few important things to keep in mind when using these dive bombers though. They fly very high which negates the usage of terrain to block AA but it’s also something to keep in mind when striking. The drop will be ready at a fairly high altitude and this, combined with the fact that the bombs have a low falling speed, means that you will need to get a fairly big lead if you drop at that moment. You can, however, wait and drop at the last second.
There is also the small issue of having the reticule almost right under the planes which takes a bit of time to get used to.

As a side note, it is possible to HE citadels the Emerald, Hawkins, Pyotr Velikiy and the Izmail (as well as Tenryu and Kuma in Operations) that all have exposed citadel decks.

Secondary Armament

shot-20.08.16_13.23.53-0422

Secondaries
5 x 2 105 mm/65 SK C/33 on a Dop. L. C/31 mount
Maximum Firing Range 5.000 km
Reloading Time 3.35 s
Sigma 1.00 sigma
Shells
Type of Projectile HE – 105 mm Spr.Gr. Kz.
Alpha Damage 1 200 HP
Damage 330 HP
HE penetration 26 mm
Explosion Size 0.31
Chance to Cause Fire 5 %
Projectile Speed 900 m/s
Air Drag 0.33
Projectile Mass 15.1 kg
8 x 2 150 mm/55 SK C/28 on a Dop. MPL C/36 mount
Maximum Firing Range 5.000 km
Reloading Time 7.5 s
Sigma 1.00 sigma
Shells
Type of Projectile HE – 150 mm Spr.Gr. L/4.5
Alpha Damage 1 700 HP
Damage 670 HP
HE penetration 38 mm
Explosion Size 0.54
Chance to Cause Fire 8 %
Projectile Speed 875 m/s
Air Drag 0.33
Projectile Mass 45.3 kg

If you were expecting the secondaries of the Graf Zeppelin at tier VI, you will be disappointed. While she has the same secondary armament, their effectiveness is much worse as they have the standard secondary dispersion and only 5 km of range.

For self-defense, they will be decent enough but even then, you don’t want a full HP destroyer to rush you.

Anti-Air Armament

Air Defense

shot-20.08.16_13.24.35-0128

8 x 2 105 mm/65 SK C/33 on a Dop. L. C/31 mount
Sector range 0.1 km – 5.2 km
Hit chance 100 %
Sector’s damage 34
Sector’s damage frequency 0.29 s
Sector’s damage per second 119
Flak clouds number 4
Flak cloud damage 1 260
11 x 2 37 mm/83 SK C/30 on a Dopp LC/30 mount
Sector range 0.1 km – 3.5 km
Hit chance 100 %
Sector’s damage 17
Sector’s damage frequency 0.29 s
Sector’s damage per second 60
8 x 1 20 mm/65 C/38 on a single mount
Sector range 0.1 km – 2.0 km
Hit chance 100 %
Sector’s damage 17
Sector’s damage frequency 0.29 s
Sector’s damage per second 60

Even for self-defense, the anti-air of the Erich is terrible. The long-range DPS is good but the mid and close-range DPS is too low to have a noticeable impact.

The Armor

Siliwangi

The Erich Loewenhardt presents a very similar armor protection to the Graf Zeppelin and is, overall, decently protected for a tier VI carrier (if you ignore the weakness of the engines against heavy cruiser HE shells). For the classic reminder, in the gamemodels3d armor view, the carriers are mirrored. What should be on the starboard side is on the port side, etc.

The bow section

bow1

The external plating of the bow is 19 mm thick except for a small extended belt that is 25 mm thick.

bow2

Inside the bow, there is a 20 mm armored deck at the same level as the extended belt. As you can see, the casemate protecting the hangar is also 20 mm thick.

bow3bow4

The turtleback actually starts in what is still considered as the bow. There is an 80 mm belt ending with a bulkhead and right behind it, the 60 mm turtleback with a 42° to 50° slope. The upper part of the citadel’s athwartship is also 60 mm thick.

The middle section

mid1

The flight deck is 21 mm thick so this will give some form of resistance against destroyers. AP shells of a caliber of 283 mm or lower will also bounce on it if they don’t hit at a sufficient angle.

The sides are mostly protected by 20 mm of armor except where the internal hangar plating is exposed.

mid2

This internal hangar plating is 16 mm thick.

mid6mid5mid4

The main belt is 100 mm thick for the central part and 80 mm part on the extremities. Behind this main belt, there is the classic German turtleback with 60 mm of armor with a slope ranging from 42° to 67°. This turtleback protects the 20 mm sides of the citadel that is starting slightly above the waterline. While at long range, the turtleback won’t be of much use, at close range, good luck landing citadels on this ship.

mid3

For the horizontal protection, below the 21 mm flight deck and a 20 mm deck that is under the hangar, she has a 40 mm main armor deck. Overall, she is fine against AP bombs since they would trigger on the flight deck for the carriers she could potentially face.

The stern section

stern1

The stern is protected by 19 mm of armor except for the 80 mm belt that reaches the rudder.

stern2

stern3

Inside the stern, there is a 60 mm armored deck, continuing the 40 mm main armor deck of the middle section. As you can see, the upper part of the rear citadel’s athwartship is also 60 mm thick.
At the end of the armored deck, there is an 80 mm thick bulkhead protecting the steering gears.

The superstructure

supers

The superstructure is 10 mm thick and is very similar to the one of the Graf Zeppelin, except for the funnel.

Final Opinion

The Erich Loewenhardt has my full recommendation as a tier VI Premium carrier BUT only if you already have good experience with them. You need to know how to manage your reserves properly as well as to know how to handle being uptiered.

It’s really a strong premium in randoms with her deadly bombs and rockets. I won’t lie, it was also pretty fun to use her in operations, even for the Defense of the naval base that is just a torture to clear with random players.

Recommended build

During the testing of the Erich Loewenhardt, I used the following captain build and upgrades:

Captain build:

Erich build

I am actually using the exact same build as the tech tree carriers so that I can use Günther Lütjens on both. It works quite well since in both cases, I don’t need torpedo acceleration because the torpedoes are either more than fast enough or I barely use them.

  • Air Supremacy: Very useful skill, especially for long-lasting games. Combined with the Air Superiority of Günther Lütjens that is very easy to trigger, you can easily compensate for the low reserves of the Erich.
  • Improved Engine: The top priority as a 2nd skill. The higher speed will give you less downtime between strikes so more strikes throughout the game and will lead to less time spent in AA while striking so it offers more survivability for the planes.
  • Aircraft Armor: Compared to Survivability Expert that scales with the tier, Aircraft Armor will always give a flat -10% damage received from continuous DPS. It is the priority between the 2 skills.
  • Survivability Expert: 4th priority skill for carriers, offering the planes extra HP, very useful to make sure that your strikes reach the target and that the planes survive.
  • Concealment Expert: More than for the planes themselves, Concealment Expert is for the ship. Thanks to the lower concealment, you can get closer to the action and reduce the downtime between strikes. It’s also useful to have an easier time figuring out where the DD trying to snipe you is. For operation shenanigans (because this ship is just nuts for operations), you can swap it for Manual Fire Control for Secondaries that would work alongside Advanced Firing Training.
  • Improved Engine Boost: While you can make the boost last for a very long time with the proper management, a longer duration can be quite useful if you have to cover a long distance as fast as possible.
  • Last Gasp: You particularly appreciate that skill with the small squadrons of the Erich as it’s only 4 planes to go through before it triggers. It will be quite useful to make sure that the last planes of the squadron reach the target.
  • Advanced Firing Training: As I said, I share this captain with the tech tree carriers with their long-range more accurate secondaries. With the Erich, you can get the range of the secondaries up to 7.56 km.
    If you want a dedicated captain for the ship, you can swap it with Torpedo Acceleration. It will be useful to have an easier time landing torpedoes on ships turning away. For the last 2 points… I guess that you can take Adrenaline Rush even though this skill is borderline useless on carriers unless you take flak damage often.

Upgrades:

  • icon_modernization_PCM003_Airplanes_Mod_I.png Air Groups Modification 1: Only upgrade worth using on this slot and the faster the planes are back to the carrier, the faster they will be available to strike again.
  • Wows_icon_modernization_PCM068_PlaneEngine_Mod_I.png Aircraft Engines Modification 1: Again, the only upgrade worth considering here, bigger engine boost charge is way more important than reducing the risk of having your ship set on fire.
  • Icon_modernization_PCM071_TorpedoBombs_Mod_I.png Aerial Torpedoes Modification 1 or Icon_modernization_PCM012_SecondaryGun_Mod_II.png Secondary Battery Modification 1: Here, it really is up to you. In my case, since I bother so rarely to use the torpedo bombers, I just go with the secondary upgrade in case a destroyer feels cheeky and to not change upgrade each time I use the ship in operations.
  • Wows_icon_modernization_PCM065_DiveBomber_Mod_I.png Bombers Modification 2: Compared to the Attack Aircrafts, the bombers will be exposed for much longer periods to AA and are also those that you will use the most often. It’s better to make sure that they survive.

This review is now over. Thank you very much for reading it and keep your eyes open on our Discord as there will be a giveaway for this ship!

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