Quick Summary:The ultimate brawling battleship, with almost every trick you could possibly want for up close, personal fighting.
Cost: Available in bundle deals only and for limited time offers. Last on sale September 30th, 2015. Bundles began at $70 US.
- Good range on primary armament at over 20km.
- Quick turret rotation for a Battleship.
- Odd armour layout, makes her very tough at medium to short ranges.
- Very strong (if short ranged) torpedo armament — unique so far on Battleships.
- Excellent secondary armament.
- Fast @ 30.9kts.
- Decent rudder shift.
- Alpha strike & DPM from 15″ guns is the lowest for Battleships of her tier.
- Terrible HE performance on main armament, comparable to a tier 3 Battleship.
- Her armour scheme isn’t quite as good as some would advertise. She is still vulnerable at extreme ranges and up close.
- Short ranged anti-aircraft armament.
- Large turning circle @ 890m.
The Full Review
Only for a limited time, the Tirpitz has been released by Wargaming as the first German vessel available in World of Warships. As the second ship of the legendary Bismarck class, there’s a lot of hype surrounding this ship. As of the writing of this article, there’s only three days remaining to acquire her. Is she worth the money?
First and foremost, the Tirpitz is optimized for brawling. Like the HMS Warspite, she belongs up close. Here her armour, primary and secondary armament perform at their maximums. Though capable of duelling at range, the further out she is from her prey, the more her weaknesses become more telling — and she has a lot of them. Everything seems optimized for keeping the Tirpitz at brawling ranges and she can be absolutely devastating up close. This comes with it’s own set of challenges, however. She is not invincible up close. Like all Battleships, she is easy prey for destroyers and an even easier mark for carriers.
Let’s start with the bad news. The main armament on the Tirpitz is bad. Their saving graces are good range and good turret traverse.
The Tirpitz has the smallest guns of her tier, with four turrets and two 380mm rifles each. Even with the increased rate of fire provided, she is still way behind her contemporaries in terms of raw damage output. This gives her the alpha strike more comparable to a tier 5 Battleship with AP. In open water, the Tirpitz will not be winning any long range duels in terms of sheer damage output.
Ship Name Max AP Alpha AP DPM Max HE Alpha HE DPM Approx Dispersion USS New Mexico 126,000 226,800 60,000 108,000 14.0 m/km IJN Fuso 122,400 257,040 68,400 143,640 11.1 m/km HMS Warspite 91,200 182,400 42,400 84,800 13.4 m/km USS Colorado 99,200 198,400 45,600 91,200 13.6 m/km IJN Nagato 100,800 191,520 52,000 98,800 11.3 m/km KMS Tirpitz 90,400 207,920 35,200 80,960 12.0 m/km USS North Carolina 117,900 235,800 51,300 102,600 12.6 m/km IJN Amagi 126,000 252,000 65,000 130,000 11.4 m/km
It’s important to appreciate that this is a severe limitation on the Tirpitz. Battleship gunnery tends to be opportunistic — looking for the best angles to best ensure penetrating and citadel hits. The strikes from the Tirpitz, though being more frequent, are never going to match the weight of any of the other battleships. This might not be such a limitation if it were matched with good accuracy but the Tirpitz is decidedly average in that department, sitting right between the North Carolina and the Amagi. This sums up to faster-firing guns that do less damage per hit and are just as likely to troll the user as any other gun.
It’s also worth noting that the high explosive rounds from the Tirpitz are appalling, not just for it’s tier. The 305mm guns on the Kawachi, a tier 3 Battleship, hit harder. The HE shells from the Tirpitz hit only marginally harder than those off the South Carolina, also at tier 3. Short of trying to stack fires or critical hits, it’s just not worth changing out the ammunition types when facing destroyers.
The first thing everyone will comment about the Tirpitz is the presence of working torpedo launchers on this ship. Historically, many battleships had a torpedo armament. There were usually submerged rather than appearing on deck. Wargaming has elected not to make any submerged torpedo available in game at present which makes the use of torpedoes a unique feature for the Tirpitz. The torpedoes are mounted on quad launchers, one starboard and one aft near (but just behind) the widest part of the hull. This gives them a very good firing arc from almost 11 o’clock to 7 o’clock on the port side and 1 o’clock to 5 o’clock on the starboard side. They have a 6km range, 13,700 alpha strike and travel at 64 knots with a 90s reload.
In a practical sense, this gives Tirpitz a monstrous potential alpha strike in engagements under 7km. Any ship should be wary of closing within this range of a Tirpitz and expect fish in the water with little to no warning. Unlike Destroyers or Cruisers, there’s unlikely to be a tell tale pause in ship gunnery or a traverse of the ship to give away the launch. So be careful. When playing the Tirpitz, landing this strike can be a game changer, so it pays to take care to make sure that it’s as devastating as possible.
That might be enough the satisfy most close-ranged duelists, but the Tirpitz also has an impressive secondary armament. Capable of putting out 267,760 dpm per side this compares favourably against the North Carolina (180,000 dpm per side) and the Amagi (242,000 dpm per side). This weighs in at 4.5km base but can be upgraded to reach 6.5km with a matching increase to rate of fire.
These two factors alone prop up the terrible performance of her primary armament, particularly when facing enemy destroyers.
A lot of nice things can be said with how comfortably the Tirpitz handles. She has a great top speed of over 30 knots, allowing her to flex round the battlefield quite well. Her rudder shift time is also very good, beginning her turns quickly and giving the user a feel of responsive control. Coupled with her fast turret traverse and excellent torpedo arcs, it’s never a struggle with the Tirpitz to bring your weapons to bear on a target.
This said, she doesn’t turn especially fast for a Battleship. Her agility is more akin to an IJN Battleship with their comparably large turning circles. This makes trying to dodge sudden torpedo strikes difficult. Her high speed and large turning circle means that if you’re not watching where you’re going, you may find yourself embarrassingly beached on more than one occasion if you’re fighting near islands. This can be a crippling flaw when under attack by the Tirpitiz’s two greatest foes: enemy destroyers and enemy attack craft.
Durability & Defense
The Tirpitz is a bit of an odd duck when it comes to durability. A bloated, over-engineered monster, the Tirpitz’s boasts 69,300 hit points, more than the Amagi and North Carolina. Designed for (relatively) short ranged encounters, her armour layout protects her internal machinery quite well against direct fire though its deck armour is rather insufficient in long ranged duels This puts the Tirpitz at an advantage when facing against enemy battleships at close range and at a disadvantage further out. Now this said, her armour layout is far from perfect. She can still suffer citadel hits at close range, even from other 15″ guns, such as those on the HMS Warspite, but given the layout of her armour this is less likely to happen except from shots directly perpendicular to her head.
Where the Tirpitz really suffers is in anti-aircraft armament.
Ship Name 5km 3.5km 3.0km 2.5km 2.1km Total Rating New Mexico 24 52 --- --- 80 156 37 Fuso 24 --- 33 --- 50 107 31 Warspite 20 --- --- 112 55 187 44 Colorado 24 153 --- --- 165 342 53 Nagato 24 --- 120 --- --- 144 38 Tirpitz 36 --- 40 --- 184 260 42 North Carolina 60 180 --- --- 240 480 64 Amagi 48 --- 247 --- --- 295 54
The majority of her teeth open fire at 2.1km — which is the range attack craft are making their final approach. To really put the hurt on attack craft waves while they circle for the optimum shot, a range of 2.5km or more is desired. This allows AAA to chew through the hit points of the squadron and reduce the attack wave. The Tirpitz does this no better than the New Mexico and faces much tougher attack craft squadrons more regularly. The added difficulty is that though the Tirpitz’s rudder shift is okay, her large turning circle combined with her 240m waterline makes her a big, juicy target (though not quite so big as the Amagi).
How to Kill It
The Tirpitz isn’t abnormal from other Battleships. Normal methods for hunting enemy capital ships work well, provided one respects the up-close threat of the Tirpitz’s torpedo armament. Most classes will not find her any different other than this one detail, if they find anything different about her at all.
The Tirpitz does begin a turn quickly, but her turning circle isn’t very tight. Her weight shifts comparably to an IJN Battleship. If she’s distracted, a long range broadside of torpedoes can find their mark. If she becomes aware of you, her secondaries and torpedoes are worth avoiding as both can be surprisingly effective. Her primary armament also tracks quickly, but won’t hit especially hard.
The Tirpitz will seek to close with you. Her guns fire faster than other battleships and though they don’t hit as hard, they can still be devastating. Her turrets are very responsive and coupled with her rudder shift, she will be able to track all but the closest of encounters, so don’t try and circle. Be aware that her torpedoes have a 6km range and her secondaries can reach out to 6.5km if upgraded. AP will not work up close, so stick to HE. Torpedo strikes can be very effective but be wary of giving away your citadel.
Keep the Tirpitz at range. At over 12km, she may feel a little thicker skinned than some targets, but she’s still vulnerable. Be very wary of letting her get within 10km or her 15″ guns and torpedoes will really sting. Because of her transverse bulkheads, getting citadel hits with any form of angling can be especially difficult. Take shots of opportunity where you can, but your gunfire may be better suited to softer targets, saving the Tirpitz for later.
Her anti-aircraft ability is rather limited until your planes get within 2km. When circling her, keep your aircraft at least 3km out and wait for your opportunity. Once she commits to a turn, drop your fish. At tier 8, you’re not likely to lose more than a single plane to her defenses.
I love brawling, so that definitely colours my feelings towards this ship. Tier for tier, I think the Warspite edges out the Tirpitz in raw ability for brawling, but only just. There’s a lot of talk and hype about the torpedoes on the Tirpitz and their inclusion really makes or breaks the vessel. If the Warspite is an endurance fighter, taking the best the enemy can give and hitting them back, then the Tirpitz is all about delivering that flurry of knockout blows so fast and sudden your opponent reals from it. The Tirpitz can end fights with alarming rapidity in medium to short range encounters. While cruisers always had to be weary citadel hits from battleships, the torpedoes just add another element of threat.
She’s not invincible, however. I feel she is exceedingly vulnerable to both destroyers and aircraft carriers — a lot more so than other Battleships. If they’re already something you struggle with, then the Tirpitz will be doing you no favours.
Would I recommend?
Yes, I would.
Not a day goes by when I’m playing my Warspite that I get some comment in chat lamenting that they didn’t purchase her while she was available. The Tirpitz is going to be another one of those ships, I have no doubt. It’s uncertain when or if Wargaming will make her available again (my money’s on Black Friday), but I wouldn’t hold my breath. The primary reason I would recommend her? She offers a form of game play that’s not otherwise available in game at the moment. Both best-in-show brawlers are premium vessels — and not only that, premium ships that have only been available the one time for purchase. Don’t miss out if you’re on the fence about buying this ship.
Recommended Modules, Captain Skills & Consumables:
Like the Warspite, I would strongly suggest upgrading the secondary armament for the Tirpitz. You will be bringing her into brawling range anyway. Otherwise, the standard fare for battleships applies: select captain skills and modules that will help increase her survivability. Rudder shift modules will play to her strengths. I would strongly recommend premium Repair Party and Damage Control Party consumables.