Germany WAS
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"On land I am a hero. At sea I am a coward."
Adolf Hitler

Germany's Kriegsmarine had distinct advantages and disadvantages at the beginning of WWII. The country was limited by the Versailles Treaty from WWI and had to create a navy almost from scratch in the pre-war years. In the 1930s, Germany threw off the restrictions of the Versailles Treaty starting with the Deutschland class "Panzerschiff", it took the 30s for Germany to build up its capital ships. At the start of the war, Germany had powerful battleships and heavy cruisers that were deployed as commerce raiders. By the time the war ended, Germany's main fleet units were indeed a force to be reckoned with. That is until Hitler turned into a "coward" and refused to risk the major units in battle.

Germany also tried to build an aircraft carrier, but through a struggle with the Luftwaffe, it was never truly completed for war. Additionally, its light cruisers and destroyers were not the best. Neither were terribly seaworthy and nor endurance up to par with the Royal Navy or U.S. Navy.

The Kriegsmarine's true strengths lay with her submarines and small craft. The U-Boat fleets were unmatched through the war and took the Allies the better part of four years to turn the tide for the Battle of the Atlantic. The E-Boats (torpedo boats) swarmed the English Channel throughout the conflict, limiting its use by the British even at night.

Germany's air power is indeed strong. Having some lethal dive bombers and patrol bombers make the Luftwaffe something to be prepared to fight against. The Kondors were the eyes and ears of the U-Boats and also destroyed some merchant ships themselves.

mercenary_moose
Inspired by the exceptional summary in the France WaS page.

Building a Fleet
The Kreigsmarine is a very well-rounded navy with few weaknesses. Germany has some great battleships available to them that excel at multitasking. Friedrich der Grosse is an absolute monster that can handle anything thrown its way, but it is very costly. Tirpitz offers great performance for the price and can hold its own against an enemy battleship in its point range and maul lesser ships. Scharnhorst and Gneisenau are cheap but their main guns are a too weak to depend on as the sole front-line battleship in a fleet. However, they are very good complementary ships and will seldom be wasted. The KM's heavy cruisers are good, but their light cruisers leave a lot to be desired. Admiral Scheer is a fragile slugger; only bring Scheer when you are expecting a heavy surface fleet and can stand to possibly lose 20 points quickly. The Hipper-class ships on the other hand are affordable and balanced; one should be considered in any build. As far as CLs, the only one I would recommend bringing is Karlsruhe; even then, only bring it if you include several destroyers. As far as destroyers go, Z32 is a stud with its killer range-3 gunnery. Even though it is spendy, it should be the only destroyer you ever bring, unless you can use Galster's Close Escort. U-Boat wolfpacks were lethal killers in the Atlantic and are similarly effective in War At Sea. U-510 and U-66 are very similar but are perhaps the most deadly subs in the game. Make sure you bring more than one of them to get your bonus and then tear enemy capital ships. U-47 is nifty but should only seldom be used. The Luftwaffe has few units but the ones they do have are useful. The BF-109 is a superb fighter that covers almost all the bases, and should be a part of every fleet (preferably two of them aboard the amazingly useful 18 point cruiser/carrier extraordinaire Graf Zeppelin.) Arguably the best patrol bomber in the game, the Kondor is essential with both a destroyer-slaying "Magic Missile" and Pinpointer that elevates U-Boats to new levels of carnage, all for only 6 points. No wonder it goes for over $40 online. JU-88A swarms can also be effective.

Stat Table:

Fleet and Light Aircraft Carriers (CV/CVL):

Escort Carriers (CVE):

Battleships/Battlecruisers:

Heavy Cruisers:

Light Cruisers:

Destroyers:

Destroyer Escorts/Frigates/Corvettes/Escorts:

Submarines:

Torpedo Boats:

Auxiliaries:

Patrol Bombers:

Dive Bombers:

Torpedo Bombers:

Fighters:

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