Tirpitz represents a Tier 7 German Battleship available in the shop for 750k Global XP. Tirpitz was one of the first battleships available for Global XP and as one of the first campaign ships. Tirpitz was the second of two Bismarck Class battleships, being larger than her brother and class namesake, Bismarck. Tirpitz is a German brawling battleship with effective short ranged secondary battery, good DPM but trollish dispersion. She’s very situational, but I think she just barely clings onto this rating. Tirpitz is GOOD. Her skill floor is AVERAGE and her skill ceiling is HIGH.
This review was written during the final days v3.5. The changes in 3.6 do not affect the review as it will just make Tirpitz more effective in her current playstyle than her current iteration. Improvements in this update push Tirpitz' sigma from 1.8 to 1.9 where she now leads most of her competition. HE resistance to her Torpedo Tubes was also increased improving their survivability.
(Ah!! I just love historical ships.) KMS Tirpitz was the second of two Bismarck Class Battleships, and was heavier than her younger brother by 2000 tonne; which made her the heaviest battleship ever made by any European Navy. Akin to her brother, featured a turtleback armor scheme with 385mm at the belt, and 8x38cm main battery arranged centerline in four-twin turrets: Anton and Bruno super firing forward, Caesar and Dora super firing aftward. Tirpitz' Secondary Array consisted of; 12x15cm L/55 (6-twin turrets with 3 per side) and 16x10.5cm SK C/33 dual purpose gun (8-twin turrets with 4 per side).
Ok, so calling a warship a him is going to throw me off a bit so I'll offer an atypical apology upfront. There is evidence enough to suggest that Bismarck was referred to in the masculine. Tirpitz however was not, and was referred to and known as the Lonely Queen of the North.
Tirpitz was laid down on 2 November 1936 by Kriegsmarinewerft Wilhelmshaven by the German Kriegsmarine to counter the recent Richelieu-Class battleships that had been laid down in France during 1935. Tirpitz, and her brother Bismarck, secretly exceeded the terms set by the Washington Naval Treaty with displacements of 36,000t. After Japan withdrew in 1937 the treaty system fell apart leading Allied Signatories to invoke an Escalator Clause which allowed displacement of 46,000t. Tirpitz was commissioned on 25 February 1941, where she was sent to commence in Baltic and Nordic Operations. Due to her sheer size (>2500 men, 52,000t) she was primarily used as a fleet in being. This in essence means that rivaling Navies would have to dedicate an overwhelming amount of resources to contain her.
Tirpitz met her fate during Operation Catechism, 12 November 1944 when Royal Air Force Lancaster Bombers dropped 12,000lb “Tallboy” bombs, scoring 2 direct hits and a couple near misses. Tirpitz capsized within minutes of the explosions trapping much of her crew in within the hull with heavy loss of life.
- Battleship with torpedoes
- Good DPM
- Good secondaries
- Good Turtleback Armor
- Good base HP
- Prone to fires
- Massive superstructure
- Poor Secondary Base Pen
- Trollish Dispersion
Ok, ok, ok. Tirpitz. Once upon a time in a fairytale land, the German Ships were good you were told, right? But that flipping HE spammer just won’t leave me alone…how do I make this ship work? I’ll be honest I was first kind of struck back by this ship in the sense that she was almost trickier to use here than she is elsewhere...at least until her sigma buff coming this next update. Sigma, represents the probability of the shot to be accurate, rather than the maximum range of her spread. For me at least, Tirpitz represents a wonderful statistical benchmark where she’s great for comparing the meta and ships between the various versions of World of Warships. Tirpitz is a familiar face in a growing crowd. That being said I expected Tirpitz’ playstyle is familiar and largely unchanged between variations.
Tirpitz is a relatively early game ship in the terms of World of Warships as it pertains to years; she is easy to use and somewhat easy to learn while being trickier to master. As a modicum of skills develop and coming as the captain gains not only experience and upgrades their commanders, Tirpitz surely starts to shine through her seemingly soot enshrined exterior. Captains, you will burn, but to master this ship you will need to learn the art of healing and damage control, controlled aggression and patience.
No, but seriously Thatch the HE spam…
Ok, ok…yes. It is a nuisance and one we’ll talk about working around. We’ll get to that point. Tirpitz can be surprisingly more resilient then you might initially suspect; especially when we break down her armor scheme and several of her traits that undeniably point towards a specific conclusion. Tirpitz is a brawler, and captains should not mistake her for a battleship which prefers to engage from range. (But now she's accurate she must be a sniper!!) NO! I'm talking to you Sniper Bismarck in the back line...We’ll cover how captains can utilize this monster for their benefit; and how to battle the incessant spam.
Tirpitz is certainly lack luster offensively unless she’s on the charge. It’s important to note here that there are certainly offensive situations such as in say-a 3v3…A Tirpitz on the charge is a formidable opponent in the sense that she can move a lot of muscle, with a lot of armor in a surprisingly mobile package. Tirpitz was almost drafted with the concept of being an entire fleet on one ship; a plethora of different caliber rifles, 380mm, 150mm, and 105mm. The 380s certainly hit like a truck, it’s getting them to land that becomes problematic. The 150s are punchy, have decent dpm but then are hindered by range. The 105s have decent dpm, with improved base pen. The torpedoes, are basically the standard 6km middle of the pack torpedoes found on the German mid tier DDs and CLs. Due to her recent buff which improved her main battery accuracy, Tirpitz is somewhat more relevant than her previous rankings prior to v3.6 changes.
Tirpitz is an offensive monster, where all of her might is typically best poured onto an opponent in close, near suicidal ranges. From her short range (but very effective) secondary battery to her rare inclusion of 4, very effective torpedoes, and armor scheme that sits below the water line and features an impressive turtleback. Citadels in close are rare at best and relegated to receiving blows from a small pool of ships with very large caliber. We will cover her armor in her defense, as their are many caveats to this ship, but her armor certainly favors an offensive mindset. Tirpitz' secondary battery is built off compromise in the sense that it’s neither overwhelming but there is a flavor for every caliber. Her secondary battery consists of 2 different caliber, 105cm and 150cm. While the 105s are of poor pen in the sense they can’t punch through 20mm of armor, they do have decent DPM as far as a secondary battery go, and are of more than enough pen to handle most destroyers. Tirpitz 150mm are punchier, and include 1/4 pen found on most high tier German Ships. This leaves those guns with about 37mm of pen, which is more than enough to punch into cruisers and battleship extremities, breaking modules or causing fires. Your secondary battery is a delicious contradiction of being both better, and worse, than competitor Massachusetts. Kitted for their full reach, you can push out to 8.5km.
It’s not the most comfortable reach as far as secondary builds, but I’ll be honest with you…Tirpitz loves to be uncomfortably close, take you’re time getting there though there is no need to rush. If you turn on the heat too fast your opponents run away, you’re going to lose chasing them. There’s an art to fighting in such a way that your opponent will rather draw in and close than run and spam. Tirpitz teeters on that very fulcrum, and will win brawls hard but conversely falls hard to kiting. Patience is the key.
The offensive playstyle of Tirpitz is somewhat simple as said before, but mastering it is the challenge. Tirpitz tends to find the biggest ship of the enemy, bully it, pursue it, and subsequently beating it down while chasing it down. When your secondary battery starts firing, you’re steaming in hot for the kill. In cases of opposition closing too fast, Tirpitz torpedoes are a wonderful final say on the matter. This strategy requires VERY careful calculation. A blind charging Tirpitz is bound to inflict damage, and perish in short order. Captains should learn to utilize the opportune moment for a charge into complacent opponents; for if too many targets start opening fire on her, you will run out of HP and EHP very quickly. Captains will have to weigh the calculation of the inevitable charge carefully, as Tirpitz is neither particularly adept at hitting targets at range, nor overly protected from plunging ranged fire and is bound to receive penetrations to the citadel of the ship. And what’s worse, Tirpitz sports among the worst AP penetration values beyond 15km shy of Odin or Monarch. Captains will do well to remember Germans shells will lose much of their penetration power over long ranges.
Tirpitz is the kind of ship that is startlingly more effective on the prowl, and in silly close ranges. Unfortunately, Tirpitz lacks hydroacoustic search, and is not quite the AA bubble Bismarck is. Tirpitz as well lacks Bismarck’s improved secondary range. Despite good DPM, Tirpitz is not quite as overwhelming as many; though her improved gunnery and resilience in v3.6 is more than enough to bump her up into the GOOD rating. Tirpitz 1.9 sigma now puts her in the upper echelons of Battleship's accuracy and consistency in her tier.
OK guys, have to point this out. I see this way too frequently..
This does NOT make Tirpitz a sniper... Tirpitz lacks much of the penetration power needed to capitalize at range. Your main battery are also smaller caliber than most. Use your massive HP and EHP pools and armor to absorb fire for your smaller teammates who cannot. Tanking damage is your strong suit. Backlining this brawler is a poor tactic, it exposes all of your vulnerabilities while minimizing your efficacy. For the most easy comparison, Tirpitz plays like a more aggressive Massachusetts.
Defensively speaking, Tirpitz is somewhat spectacular in her own right. She has a downright impressive armor scheme: 315mm at the belt, another 120mm for the casemate amidships and 80-100mm on the citadel roof which rests at the waterline. Punching through her belt is unlikely save for the highest penetration ships, like Yamato or Georgia. 160mm above the main belt amidships is a slight reprieve for smaller caliber, however Tirpitz has 100mm decking; which greatly reduces the chance a shell will punch through into more vital armor. Tirpitz is so well armored, it pairs well with the likes of Jean Bart and Gascogne, which can be seemingly immune to citadel penetrations shy of sheer overmatch. The angle of the casemate armor leaves captains wanting at long ranges (plunging fire will hit this plate at dreamy pen angles which means the armor's angle is at its least effectiveness. Horizontal fire does not meet the same criteria as the angle of plunging fire and thus greatly increases the efficacy of the casemate armor due to the angle of penetration. Tirpitz has a 60mm overmatch proof bow plate, and 32 mm plating, with 50mm external deck armor. This means you’re generally proof while angled to 406mm AP and will laugh off most 380mm AP; but this comes with its own risk, Tirpitz is seemingly extremely vulnerable to plunging fire, or AP bombs. 50mm decking is proof to most HE spam, shy of a very small handful of 203mm with 1/4 HE pen values (looking at you Albemarle, Atago, Mogami, Hipper, Eugen) most HE will shatter on your decking. Fires are a horse of a different color, however, Tirpitz almost seems to set itself aflame. That being said, Monarch's HE will generally laugh at your armor while completely ignoring it and breaking all your toys.
Tirpitz tops the class with her 69.3k base HP. This is compounded by being a stark second on the EHP list being outdone only by the infamous zombie Monarch herself. She is tanky, resilient, and has all the curves and thickness in the right places.
Compared Base HP of T7 BB Premiums
- Tirpitz: 69,300
- Jean Bart: 69,000
- Kii: 68,200
- Mass: 66,300
- Missouri: 65,000
- Alabama: 63,300
- Lenin: 63,200
- Georgia: 63,000
- Odin: 62,700
- Gascogne: 60,040
- Monarch: 53,900
- Champagne: 52,600
Compared Effective HP of T7 BB Premiums
- Monarch: 131,556
- Tirpitz: 119,162
- Mass: 106,149
- Gascogne: 105,760
- Lenin: 101,067
- Georgia: 100,833
- Kii: 97,658
- Champagne: 92,360
Tirpitz sports an outright interesting foray of defensive tactics on a forward and aggressive mindset. She’s good at mitigating most incoming damage, given the angle of incoming fire is more horizontal than vertical and Tirpitz is angled. In this sense, of mitigating incoming damage, Tirpitz rivals defensive juggernaut Lenin without any of the glaring weak spots. Tirpitz is however among the worst torpedo protected ships in the tier, and suffers without hydroacoustic search. Generally speaking, Tirpitz armor is almost a work of art, and will keep captains relatively safe. Unknowing Captains risk the potential for wandering into dangerous territory, where as the wary and seasoned captain can certainly excel with this heavyweight. While there are a couple sour points here, generally I gave Tirpitz good marks defensively as she is excellent at mitigating most surface damage, as well healing a great chunk back. While her playstyle is not per say very defensive, Tirpitz is quite well defended in most regards and this simply cannot be ignored.
Let be real. Tirpitz was sunk very quickly by very large bombs. The AA Suite is marginal at best and most carriers relish in the opportunity to sink meaty drops into your huge profile. Your armor is perfect to arm AP bombs just before they plunge into your citadel. Your Torpedo Protection is worst in class. If there was ever an accurate description, Tirpitz is very allergic to aircraft. You do not sport the super AA dome of Bismarck or the US Navy. If you have the choice, hide in a Nordic Fjord far away from Aircraft Carriers where you are very difficult to find.
Tirpitz is not a drag racer and is wonderfully average handling wise. Tirpitz tops out at 31.4 knots with a 16s rudder shift and an 850m turning circle. This is literally smack in between deadpan average, to just slightly below average. Tirpitz handles eerily similar to counterpart Gascogne, without the higher top speed nor speed boost. You can’t outrun a Georgia or a Champagne, but you can outpace the likes of the South Dakota Sisters or Monarch. Tirpitz is neither weak nor strong and hides in the middle of the pack.
14.7km with no modifiers other than camouflage towards concealment numbers. Tirpitz is a massive battleship, covered in guns that should generally all be firing. This rules out any ideal of concealment and Tirpitz will inevitably be seen. You can’t hide. You’re a planet. Don’t waste any resources on this (not they are available anyway) and focus on other buffing other attributes that embrace your Fleet in Stay mentality. If you’re this big, you’re probably not going to be fast or hide easily. This is pretty straightforward.
Tirpitz comes equipped with the standard battleship load out: Damage Control Party, Repair Party, and the standard choice of Enhanced Secondary Targeting, Patrol Fighter or Spotter Plane.
- Damage Control Party is unlimited with a base 15s duration and 76s reload. Reload can be dropped to 67s with proper skills. This is short, but average.
- Repair Party is well above average and with upgraded skills will heal over 650s over 20s. It’s over 12k per heal, and this puts Tirpitz just shy of 120k effective health pool. You can take up to 5 charges and it reloads every 71s. This is certainly above average and worth investing into.
- The final slot is reserved for your choice of Spotter Plane, Patrol Fighters or Enhanced Secondary Targeting. Patrol Fighters are largely ineffective. There’s an argument for Spotter Plane, however EST definitely takes the cake here as it’s better firepower when you need it: under ambush from DDs.
So far it seems like every ship I’ve reviewed has the phrase skill exhaustive plastered all over it. Tirpitz is somewhat of a nicer exception. Most of Tirpitz skills can be found on the base commanders in the game, however, if you have AL Scharnhorst she plugs into Tirpitz phenomenally. A combination of Von Hipper, Scharnhorst, Cunningham for inspiration, or Ciliax as the main commander do work well. John Luke Pickup is another interesting choice. Each commander has their own unique ability to influence this ship. I tried several builds, and this is the one which worked for me.
AL Scharnhorst with Brawler, Porcupine, Firefighter, Master Mechanic and Will to Rebuild. Inspirational slots to Von Hipper and Cunningham. If I’d waited to write this review until 3.6 I’m sure this build would be silly, as it focuses very heavily on dispersion skill slots while buffing secondary reach to pose a monster threat to the likes of wayward destroyers. Firefighter is almost a must have for any German battleship. The generous healing ability found amplified by the likes of master mechanic and Will to rebuild, give Tirpitz a monster edge on survival by boosting her effective health pool to silly levels. You can out-heal a Massachusetts.
The point is, Tirpitz is actually flexible here. While I’ll advocate against most ranged builds here, they can however somewhat work with the double dispersion/shell grouping buff found in the Cunningham/Scharnhorst pairing. Tirpitz armor scheme does not support you fighting from range and you are much more liable to take damage from plunging fire. It’s not worth giving up a lot of your ability to self defense, especially in the absence of sonar; 8.5km of elbow room comes in handy.
Slot 1: Secondary Battery Mod 2
- This mod alone allows you to pretty much hit that 8.5km mark. Pair it with brawler and porcupine and you’re good to go. Add some Von Hipper spice and you’re at least pushing DDs away. Aiming Systems Mod is the other viable choice, but 7% to dispersion is not as super helpful as you might think, and shedding 20% to your secondary range is something to consider. Generally, I’ll punch whatever wayward DD with AP broadside and let my secondaries do the rest.
Slot 2: Damage Control System Mod 2
- This is straightforward. Just be on fire less. Save the Propulsion mod for destroyers and Steering Gears for Cruisers and Scharnhorst. The amount of damage you would mitigate trying to juke in a Tirpitz pales in comparison to being on fire less.
Slot 3: Target Acquisition System Mod 1
- It’s the only mod you can take, so take it. It’ll help spot things that get too close.
Slot 4: Secondary Battery Mod 3
- Main Battery Mod or Secondary Battery Mod. That is the question.
- Just about every build I’ve seen features secondary Battery mod. Tirpitz barely keeps up with her traverse in full swing. Main Battery Mod would make that a lot worse; while boosting your already good DPM into the great range. Secondary Mod will allow you to keep those main battery swinging on target and pushes your secondary battery DPM into silly levels. The choice seems clear to me.
Tirpitz is tough. Both in the sense that she’s tough to play and she is physically tough. Tirpitz faces an uphill battle most matches with the prevalence of HE spam and the current ranged meta. That being said, when captains do finally master this bullying playstyle they will undoubtedly feel her might and wrath unleashed upon her opponents. Master your heals, damage control and fire control abilities. Learn to pick your fights, stand your ground or harass critical areas. Tirpitz lives for brawls and odd-man situations. Competitively speaking, Tirpitz is a bully in 3v3 or 1v1 situations. Tirpitz seemingly has an answer or a weapon for every situation…except airplanes. Your torpedoes aren’t just a silly gimmick, they are a valuable self defense weapon or a great way to finish off even a moderately damaged enemy. Limited by range, akin to your secondary battery, your torpedoes are a wonderful addition to an already gun laden warship. The key is patience. I cannot stress this enough. While Tirpitz excels in extreme close quarters environments, patience is critical to understanding when a push will be beneficial instead of suicidal. This caveat falls more on the player than the ship on most occasions.
Improving Tirpitz doesn't necessarily make sense after her buffs in 3.6. Lets see how the dust settles. But for argument's sake let’s embrace the uniqueness that comes with Legends being a unique version and platform: Hydroacoustic Search for Tirpitz. Tirpitz does not get Hydro on any other version, but I say, why not. Odin has it. Bismarck has it. Hyrdo wouldn’t make Tirpitz anymore overpowered than what either Bismarck or Odin don’t already also bring to the table. I’d like to see some highlight reels of a Tirpitz charging into a DDs smoke only to smash it with secondary battery.
There’s always some wishful thinking…
-As the generic footnote, the opinions expressed in this review are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the editor, Wargaming or World of Warships: Legends.
- Some Inspirational Credit goes to LittleWhiteMouse
- Some Informational Credit goes to Princeblip