Today we have decided to take a more in-depth look at the next DLC in the Order of Battle series: Kriegsmarine.
Why the Kriegsmarine?
Well, mostly three reasons.
First, the upcoming Skirmish Mode has several naval maps available. By giving Germany an extensive roster of naval units, the nation can be also used on these types of maps.
Second, we haven't had meaningful naval combat in any campaign since the release of the original Pacific War content. The Kriegsmarine DLC allows us to revisit this aspect of the game and gives us the opportunity to tweak and add gameplay mechanics to make naval warfare even more exciting.
Third… very few strategy games cover the Kriegsmarine in an extensive way. While its historical role was fairly small in comparison to the air and land battles waged by Germany, it none the less allows us to add a lot of exciting new units, scenarios and features to the game. It is an incredibly fascinating subject, and we felt it’d make for a unique and original DLC.
Unique situations and scenarios.
In the years before the start of the war, the Germans had big plans for their fleet. Through extensive building programs specified in "Plan Z", they envisioned to match the British Royal Navy by 1945. The Kriegsmarine campaign visits alternative history in which these plans are turned into reality.
It starts with historical battles such as the actions around the Norwegian coast, U-boat attacks on Allied convoys and the clashes with the Royal Navy. From there on it moves toward more "what-if" content, offering alternative history where Germany invests much more resources into its Navy. This allows large naval clashes with both the British and American navies toward the end of the campaign, as well as the possibility to build a powerful carrier fleet.
Fw 200, CV Jade, AV Greif, Bf 109 T, CL Königsberg, DD Type 1934, Ar 196, CV Graf Zeppelin, Ju 87 C
Because the amount of units is lower than in land-based scenarios, each ship plays a vital role. And while land units can receive reinforcements quite easily, repairing a ship requires either the presence of a port or a repair ship. Mistakes that lead to heavy damage or the loss of a capital ship will thus have a big impact on each battle and the campaign as a whole.
The wide-open areas of sea and ocean, covered by fog of war also provide a constant feeling of tension and uncertainly. With the threat of hidden submarine attacks and unexpected carrier-based air strikes the tide of battle can turn quickly. All this adds an exciting game of "hide and seek" to naval warfare, and makes effective reconnaissance vital for success.
New units and mechanics.
One of the new mechanics introduced in this update is that battleships fire their main guns through a special ability. While the default attack uses smaller calibre secondary gun armament, this new ability gives access to the high range and massive hitting power of the main battery. Similar to torpedo attacks however, it has a cooldown of one turn, meaning you have to think carefully when to fire the big guns and against what. Combined with different firing animations from both the primary and secondary gun attacks, this certainly makes battleships feel more unique in the upcoming update.
Another one of my personal favorites is the Bussard-class seaplane tender. This ships carries a big crane in the rear and a rail-mounted catapult system along the deck for launching and maintaining large flying boats and floatplanes. It can be used as a sort of "pre-carrier" when combined with Heinkel He 59 floatplanes armed with bombs or torpedoes.
Scharnhorst, Bismarck, He 59, Bussard
The German naval expansion program of Plan Z is one of the unique specializations available in the KM campaign. It increases the amount of deployable naval units in scenarios and adds a one-time resource boost. More importantly however, it unlocks access to both the Flugzeugträger and Schlachtschiffe specializations. The first gives early-war access to the Graf Zeppelin aircraft carrier and carrier-based aircraft types, while the second allows the construction of H-class battleships and O-class battlecruisers to compete with late-war allied counterparts.
To reflect the unreliable German torpedoes in the opening years of the war, a "Torpedo Improvements" ability is also available. This increases the damage potential of all torpedo attacks, bringing them to the same level as the British variants.
Besides these, a whole range of previous specializations such as Flight School, Naval Academy, Drop Tank and Damage Control are also available.
(Support Ship), BB Deutschland, U-boat Type VII, U-boat Type XXI, BB H-class, BC O-class, U-boat Type IX, (BB Bismarck)