So… I was happily playing the April fool Clan Brawl with my clanmates, enjoying my Hakuryu and then at the end of a game one of them says “Oh! German CVs are coming!”.
Jazz music stops…
The thing is that… with all the information that Wargaming already shared here and there, I knew they would be coming (Sub_Octavian saying that the next carrier line would be from and Axis nation and later on, the devblog on AP rockets). The problem is that I really wasn’t expecting them that soon.
German Aircraft Carriers… I wish I was actually writing an April fool article here but I’m not. We are getting the first complete line without a single ship that was actually completed and with on top of that, out of 4 ships, one being made-up by Wargaming.
When it comes to their planned characteristics, they are the following:
Airplanes have comparatively high cruise speed, but their HP pool is below average;
Attack aircraft use armor-piercing rockets. These rockets can deal high damage by hitting an enemy ship’s citadel, but they allow a familiar counterplay: when they hit at an acute angle, they can ricochet or simply not penetrate the armor. Rockets fired at broadsided destroyers –with their thin armor– will result in overpenetrations that deal 10% of the maximum damage. Armor-piercing rockets can also ricochet against destroyers’ end armor when the ship is bow-in to the planes. Therefore, a player’s reaction against such rockets should be similar to the actions one would take against armor-piercing shells.
Bombers use armor-piercing bombs. Unlike the Japanese bombers, German ones dive immediately, without the prior altitude gain. Their drop zone is shaped like an elongated ellipse, and aiming it during an attack may be difficult. These bombs will be most effective against slower opponents.
The final shape of torpedobomber’s launching cone is similar to that of Japanese and American torpedo bombers. The torpedoes have a range of 6 km.
The German Aircraft Carrier Line
Tier IV German Aircraft Carrier Rhein
Starting this line, we have the Rhein at tier IV. When it comes to her background, so far, people aren’t 100% sure of it but she might be based on the “Kleiner Flugzeugträger” design.
Work on this design began a bit after the beginning of the construction of the Graf Zeppelin. However, with the limited speed that wouldn’t have allowed it to be used in a fleet as well as the small number of planes carried, the design was abandoned.
Tier VI German Aircraft Carrier Weser
The Weser was initially planned as the fourth ship of the Admiral Hipper-class and was named Seidlitz. By May 1942, the Seidlitz was already 95% complete even though her construction was slowed down due to the U-boats becoming a higher priority.
In June, even though the ship was almost ready, Hitler ordered that all work on her be stopped and that she had to be converted into an aircraft carrier. The process of stipping her upper works lasted 6 months and the only remaining superstructure was her funnel. It’s also at this point that she was renamed Weser.
Due to constant bombing raids, the ship was moved from Bremen to Konigsberg. The problem was that in Konigsberg, there was nothing to continue the work on the ship so she remained there, unfinished until March 1944.
The ship was transferred to Kiel where she could be finally completed, however, there was no longer any need for an aircraft carrier now that all the Germans capital ships were either crippled or sunk.
The Weser was finally towed back to Konigsberg were she was scuttled in July 1945.
Tier VIII German Aircraft Carrier August Parseval
The August Parseval is based on the Graf Zeppelin-class of aircraft carriers from the Kriegsmarine.
Initially, I thought that it was based on the Flugzeugträger B but this ship was meant to be completed the same way as her sistership. This means that she was meant to carry a heavy anti-surface battery with a mix of dual-purpose 105 mm guns and casemate mounted 150 mm guns. However, even with her great displacement, the ship was only able to carry a bit more than 40 planes.
All work on the ship ended in September 1939 and the hull, completed up to the armored deck was scrapped starting from February 1940.
In World of Warships, the August Parseval is, however, presenting what would have possibly been the specifications of the second pair of ships initially planned for the Graf Zeppelin-class (Flugzeugträger C and D). It is, indeed, likely that these ships would have received a reduced gun battery but with more dual-purpose batteries.
Tier X German Aircraft Carrier Manfred Richtofen
So… the tier X. Perhaps the weirdest ship I ever saw in the game. At first, I initially thought that the ship was supposed to be one of the bigger carrier designs that were supposed to follow the Graf Zeppelin-class. The problem was that it didn’t correspond to any of them.
At this point, someone pointed out that it actually looked like a converted battleship. This… ended up being absolutely correct.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Manfred Richtofen is, in fact, a converted H-class battleship! More precisely, she uses the hull of the Friedrich der Große. This is already a… fairly interesting choice but there are a few things that are terribly wrong with that design. You could basically call her a German Kaga or Akagi buuut… with mistakes that shouldn’t appear on a ship logically converted during the World War II period…
Firstly, there are structures on both sides of the flight deck. This was proved way before World War 2 to be a bad design because it was creating turbulences. Not really good when you want to land with your planes.
Secondly, the AA layout is something that you would never see on a World War 2 carrier since on the sides, except for the dual-purpose batteries, she is almost naked. In fact, outside of her dual-purpose 105 mm batteries, she only has at best 3 twin 55 mm AA mounts on each side compared to the armada of dedicated AA mounts on the sides of other nations’ carriers.
Thirdly, the ship lacks a full-length flight deck. This is particularly weird as late war Aircraft were getting heavier and heavier and needed more space to both start and touch down. Sure, the catapults exist, but those won’t always be operable with all planes. And those who don’t have the luxury of being launched by the catapults need to carefully navigate between them on takeoff as they are no flush to the deck. And that massive array of AA guns in the bow might get shaved off by malfunctioning planes on takeoff.
Finally, her Bow isn’t enclosed, and a lot of potential hangar Space is wasted. The US got it right in the 1920s with the Lexingtons, why can’t the germans do that in what is possibly the late part of World War II? Not to forget every other Tier X carrier pretty much follows either that trend or has their bow raised to one deck below the Deck (which pretty much terminates with the bow end). Also, considering the fact that she is probably meant to operate in the Atlantic, a bow like that would surely be beneficial.
It is possible that she gets a slightly different name because there should be a Von between Manfred and Richtofen.
Personally, I’m fairly skeptical about the design choice for these planes. The fact that they only have AP armaments means that she will not be able to effectively fight destroyers. Also, except for the drop pattern, her AP-bombs will work the same way as those of the Graf Zeppelin that I personally hate.
For the HP pool being “below average” and the speed of the planes being high, we will need to wait for actual values to judge.
Also, I seriously hope that the torpedoes won’t be the same wet sausages as on the Graf Zeppelin…
Premium Tier IX German Destroyer Z-35
The Z-35 was the lead ship of the Type 1936 B destroyers from the Kriegsmarine. She was launched in October 1942 and commissioned in September 1943.
The ship had a fairly short career, consisting mostly of shore bombardment operations on Soviet positions, escorting convoys and laying minefields.
Z-35 met a quite… explosive fate in December 1944. As the flagship of captain Freidrich Kothe, commanding the 6. Zerstörerflotille consisting of Z-35, Z-36, Z-43 and the torpedo boats T-23 and T-28, she was tasked to lay a minefield between the Estonian coast and an existing minefield slightly further out to sea. However, a navigation mistake lead to Z-35 and Z-36 entered a nearby minefield and both ships sank. Only 70 crewmen of the Z-35 survived.
For now, nothing is known about the way they will balance the ship to make her fit at tier IX. We will have to wait for future devblogs.
Tier VIII Soviet Battleship V. I. Lenin
As of now, there isn’t any visual of the ship available. The only thing we know is that she is planned for a collaboration and that she is a carbon-copy of the Lenin.
I will place a bet here and call for the said collaboration being the 3rd part of the Azur Lane collaboration. The Lenin will more than likely be one of the 6 new Priority Research ships in Azur Lane. It fits quite conveniently since the introduction of the Soviet navy happened just a few weeks ago.