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Grathew

Graf Zeppelin Aviation Cruiser Final Review

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With this test being touted as the last test of the Graf Zeppelin it must be time for a final review. So get comfortable and grab some snacks as this is going to be a long one.

Starting with the ship, 52,600 hit points with heavy cruiser like armor. 32 knot speed and an 11.9 km detection range makes the ship handle like a large heavy cruiser. The AA defense is rather German, good DPS but lack luster range. Then there is the secondaries, honestly they are the most underrated part of the Graf Zeppelin. 6 twin 105s and 8 twin 150s stand guard over your local area. Even with half of your 150s on one side you still have 8 150s and all 12 of your 105s meaning that you have more secondaries than Bismarck able to engage to either side. With a 6.25km base range it is better than any other carrier, and if you secondary build Graf Zeppelin you can get a max range of 9.4km.

Now the obvious question will be “Grathew, it’s an Air Craft Carrier why would you secondary build it?” The answer comes from the dispersion of these secondaries. While I don’t have any solid numbers from what I have observed in battle they appear to have manual fire control for secondaries already applied. I would say my secondary gunners would land 5/6 of their shots on target. So with more guns than Bismarck, more accuracy than Bismarck and enough armor to survive close quarter engagements with most same tier cruisers and some battleships. Once you add in the airstrikes you become a terror to engage at close range. Now don’t get me wrong, you can’t brawl like Bismarck or Tirpitz but you can do good work against cruisers and low health battleships. Not to mention any destroyer that comes to engage you unprepared will melt to your relentless secondary fire.  

Moving on to the aircraft there are two different load outs 1-2-1 and 2-0-3. Starting with 1-2-1 you get effectively a double strength fighter and dive bomber squad with 8 aircraft in the fighter wing and 9 in the dive bomber wing. The two torpedo bomber squads are a more reasonable 5 aircraft per unit. With choices between standard or deep water torpedoes and AP or HE bombs there is a lot of flexibility here. The 2-0-3 has five aircraft a squad and can only load dive bombs either AP or HE. Not as flexible from the air attack side of things it is way more flexible on the air defense side of things. All in all the 1-2-1 isn’t as forgiving as the 2-0-3 due to the low number of reserve fighters.

Starting with the torpedoes either standard or deep water tradeoff for the deep water torpedoes is a higher flood chance for not being able to torpedo destroyers. All in all I would recommend deep water torpedoes as with at best 38 knots you aren’t likely to hit destroyers anyway, although with that said you only need to land one or two torpedoes to kill any destroyer you’ll come across with the 10,500 alpha damage. As for the bombs the AP bombs have 105m dispersion deal 8,400 damage a citadel and will citadel anything with a citadel. Battleships will take the most due to being larger than cruisers and thus meaning more will land on target. On the other hand the HE bombs deal a max of 11,100 damage and have best in game fire chance. They also have a 120m dispersion around the point of aim. While not accurate enough to remove the RNG from destroyers it is accurate enough to reliably land a bomb or two usually effectively removing the destroyer from the game. 

On to the fighters and bombers, ironically enough these two aircraft complement each other rather well. The Bf.109T is a fast and hard hitting tier 7 aircraft. With alright DPS at 67, wonderful speed at 175 knots and disappointing load out and survivability. The Ju.87 on the other hand is a wonderful attack aircraft. While not fast at 135 knots it has good suitability and the weapons it carries are more than make up for the slow speed.   

When you take this mix of fast but fragile fighters and slow but strong bombers and add in the 5 second take off time, and faster rearming cycle on the deck you can get some amazing performance. With the upgrades I’ve chosen to run my torpedo bombers will rearm and be in the air 15 seconds after touch down, or I could cycle all three of my dive bomber squads in 20 seconds.  Which if you are in a close quarter’s engagement with the secondaries firing away and your bombers dropping on the same target, Graf Zeppelin transforms into some kind of super Shimakaze or a Bismarck Conqueror hybrid. In my personal opinion this is what sets the Graf Zeppelin apart from all other carriers.

For example I remember one game where it was a three v four, there was myself in Graf Zeppelin, a Duke of York and a Benson fighting an Alabama, Duke of York, Atlanta and Benson. After finding the Alabama and Duke of York I began to work over the Alabama with HE bombs, this frustrated the Alabama so he came to kill me. With proper angling I bounced most of his AP salvo and let my secondaries and Stukas burn him to the ground. He traded a full health Alabama for 60% of a Graf Zeppelin.

Now I can’t recommend employing this capability from Graf Zeppelin often, but if you decide to take Basic Firing Training, Advanced Firing Training and the Secondary Modification 2. It grants you a level of independence not found in any other carrier. Also ironically enough if you end up in a squall that limits render to 8km if you have the 9.4 km secondary firing range you can shoot from outside of the usual render range with some impunity thanks to your aircraft being able to spot for your secondaries. Whether or not this is an oversight by Wargaming I don’t know but it has led to some amusing situations during my testing.

All in all I find it hard to not recommend Graf Zeppelin if this truly is the final state of the ship. The strike power is good with any combination of load out and weapons. The fighters are good enough to work given enough micro management and player skill. With a secondary build you gain the unique ability to ignore destroyers who come to hunt you and some of the lower tier cruisers. A standard aircraft carrier build gives a comfortable carrier to play with, with fighters that require a bit of babysitting and bombers that should strike fear into the opposing team.

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While I disagree with certain loadout choices, (Probably due to my preferred playstyle) very nice write up.

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1 minute ago, nuttybiscuit said:

still missing that 6th upgrade slot to be the equal of Enterprise.

Probably a good thing then it might as well be a cruiser with a third secondary upgrade.

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6 minutes ago, Cpt_Cupcake said:

While I disagree with certain loadout choices, (Probably due to my preferred playstyle) very nice write up.

Which load out choices are those? If only for the record I mostly run 2-0-3 with HE to obliterate those pesky DD. 

4 minutes ago, nuttybiscuit said:

still missing that 6th upgrade slot to be the equal of Enterprise.

Enterprise needed that slot to keep her bombers in the air. Graf Zeppelin doesn't need that buff due to having rather strong bombers.

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4 minutes ago, Grathew said:

Which load out choices are those? If only for the record I mostly run 2-0-3 with HE to obliterate those pesky DD. 

Enterprise needed that slot to keep her bombers in the air. Graf Zeppelin doesn't need that buff due to having rather strong bombers.

strong bombers? graf has the weakest (slowest) bombers of her tier! She needs the 5% speed boost. grr. wake up GZers.

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15 minutes ago, nuttybiscuit said:

strong bombers? graf has the weakest (slowest) bombers of her tier! She needs the 5% speed boost. grr. wake up GZers.

I seldom take losses when inbound to a target despite the speed. Also if the flight time is too long just get closer. :Smile_izmena: 

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1 minute ago, Grathew said:

I seldom take losses when inbound to a target despite the speed. Also if the flight time is too long just get closer. :Smile_izmena: 

That was the mistake the CCs made GZ needs to get in close to the target. Which is unlike a normal carrier that wants to hide as far away as possible.

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20 minutes ago, Grathew said:

I seldom take losses when inbound to a target despite the speed. Also if the flight time is too long just get closer. :Smile_izmena: 

We need a sensible approach, the 6th slot is 100% in character for the GZ, while allowing owners to adapt to GZ weaknesses/strengths. When uptiered, GZ is especially vulnerable to enemy aa (compared to her t8 peers), while the speed boost would alleviate the poor persistence of her fighters (low hp/low ammo), reducing the time they waste in enemy aa auras too. The hp buff for the strike fighters when engaging tier 9 and 10 ships is a self evident necessity. The secondary reload boost option, wholly in character, essential to her personality, clea skied? who cares, Graf Haz Gunz! But the final argument, is that if it is good enough for the Enterprise, surely it is a minimum for the GZ?

Or do we GZ owners have lower standards? Do we accept 2nd best?:Smile_glasses:

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1 minute ago, nuttybiscuit said:

We need a sensibel approach, the 6th slot is 100% in character for the GZ, whiel allowing owners to adapt to GZ weaknesses/strengths. When uptiered, GZ is especially vulnerable to enemy aa (compared to her t8 peers), while the speed boost would alleviate the poor persistence of her fighters (low hp/low ammo), reducing the time they waste in enemy aa auras too. The hp buff for the strike fighters when engaging tier 9 and 10 ships is a self evident necessity. But the final argument, is that if it is good enough for the Enterprise, surely it is a minimum for the GZ?

Or do we GZ owners have lower standards? Do we accept 2nd best?:Smile_glasses:

Yah I get that, although I highly doubt we will get it at this stage of development. Like the CC's have been saying this is the final version. 

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2 minutes ago, Grathew said:

Yah I get that, although I highly doubt we will get it at this stage of development. Like the CC's have been saying this is the final version. 

True unlikely, but never say never. Graf is still WIP, this is the last opportunity to discuss improvements we'd like to see. Better now than in 6 months time. (besides, I would like to see her AP nerfed, a little, maybe we can trade?)

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1 hour ago, GreyFox78659 said:

That was the mistake the CCs made GZ needs to get in close to the target. Which is unlike a normal carrier that wants to hide as far away as possible.

The mistake WG made was giving it a "6" second delay on the AP bombs, they did not work. That's why the CCs label it as garbage, 1/2 of the strike package didn't work.

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1 hour ago, Grathew said:

Which load out choices are those? If only for the record I mostly run 2-0-3 with HE to obliterate those pesky DD. 

Personally I can cross drop dds with the torpedoes, while retaining the AP DBs. Worse case scenario, in regards to DDs attacking me, I do run the full secondary/concealment build.

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Hey @Grathew, thanks for sharing your review! I'm glad to you have enjoyed the final version of the ship so far :D some great ideas on how to improve it too so this is definitely something to look into

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The 1 2 1 loudout is pretty impressive Ive been averaging about 100 to 120k dmg per game. the only downside is you cant lose many fighters, you only have about 5 extra

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On 2/15/2018 at 10:20 AM, EJ_TANK said:

Good review, been looking forward to ship for a very long time.

Well I hope when you get to it you enjoy it. I would say it's a rather comfortable carrier to play. 

 

On 2/15/2018 at 1:52 PM, JamesZ28 said:

The 1 2 1 loudout is pretty impressive Ive been averaging about 100 to 120k dmg per game. the only downside is you cant lose many fighters, you only have about 5 extra

You should have 8 extra in total according to the briefing they gave us. I'm assuming it's some kind of bug. 

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26 minutes ago, nuttybiscuit said:

No cvs in Clan Wars, and only tier 10 ships, are allowed.

Not Clan Wars.  I meant that 6-on-6 thing.

Blanking on name...

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10 minutes ago, gbgentry said:

Not Clan Wars.  I meant that 6-on-6 thing.

Blanking on name...

in ranked battles, the 203 with HE might be workable as a dd hunter (I used the original GZ in last season, it wasn't too bad - but the fighters didn't have the endurance/staying power- and still don't)

the single fighter squadron set up is not optimal, judging by Lexington's lack of success in ranked.

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Nice, now graf looks interessing, the 1-2-1 can be fun for randons.

 

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Those aren't secondaries, they are panzer cannon. The Germans thought a carrier was a tank carrier, so the built a tank ferry to hump armor across the English Channel, and decided it should have its own air cover since the Luftwaffe had short legs. Get within range and an SS panzer regiment opens up on you.

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On 2/19/2018 at 12:56 AM, Doombeagle said:

Those aren't secondaries, they are panzer cannon. The Germans thought a carrier was a tank carrier, so the built a tank ferry to hump armor across the English Channel, and decided it should have its own air cover since the Luftwaffe had short legs. Get within range and an SS panzer regiment opens up on you.

So I ran the numbers for another post you can get over 400k dpm out of Graf Zeppelin's secondaries. Which can honestly let you do some pretty good work with them. Not to mention out ranging all other secondaries other than those mounted on the two Bismarck Class battleships. Not shabby for an amphibious bridge.

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