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The following is a review of Brandenburg, the tier VIII premium German battleship, was sponsored by my patrons on Patreon who helped me afford this ship. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.11.4.  Please be aware that her performance may change in the future.

The purpose of this review is to support the players, not the company behind the product.

Isn't Brandenburg just a better Odin?

That was my initial thought when I heard Brandenburg's announcement.  I appreciated that they were different animals, with Brandenburg being derived from concept work leading to the Bismarck-class.  However, it's hard not to see parallels between the two.  I was worried that Brandenburg would make her obsolete.

Then I remembered that Odin was already obsolete upon release and stopped feeling bad.

WELCOME TO MY REVIEW OF BRANDENBURG! ♫

Yugb5ah.jpegI started this review on March 20th, 2022.  I had a lot of tier VIII battleships in my backlog, so I was using Atlântico's upcoming (at the time) release this as an excuse to try and clear out some of these neglected vessels.  My usual turn around time for a review is about two weeks so long as I do absolutely nothing else during that time period.  Updating my tier VIII battleship database would speed up the review process for subsequent ships by a few days.  With this in mind, I was certain I could get a couple out before unlocking Atlântico. Brandenburg was the first one up and I planned to queue up Borodino and Constellation afterwards. It was going to be a hellish six weeks, sure,  but knocking out four reviews in that time would be so worth it, at least so long as nothing went wrong.

And oh boy did things go wrong.  I got immediately sidetracked by projects like:

... pointing out all of the bad copy in Wargaming's premium shop and Armory.
... working on that AA catalogue I started back in January.
... putting time in to work on some related art projects with @Chobittsu.
... continuing to play with submarine damage models and depth charge mechanics.
... surviving COVID.

So ... yeah, it's been a trip.

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I'm terrible at planning.  I set myself some outrageous goals that don't allow for any leeway should things go wrong.  I then proceed to beat myself up for not being able to fold space and time itself to meet said deadlines.

Before we get started...

You're going to notice a slight change with some of the graphs in this review.  I experimented with trying to cut down the bloat that's ever increasing in World of Warships.  There are thirty-one tier VIII battleships in World of Warships presently with more on the way.  Rather give everyone eye-strain trying to compare them all in individual graphics, I cut things down to the tech tree battleships plus the other German premiums.  This reduces the count down from thirty-one to twelve which is a lot more manageable.

Now I'm not entirely happy with this and I recognize the flaws.  For one, it shapes impressions.  A given premium might stack really well against the tech tree ships but still be a poor offering compared to its peers.  For another, these graphics have proven to me to be a quite helpful snapshot about the meta at a given point in time.  Missing data points will make that harder to track in the future.  Finally, it feels like I'm wussing out.  I'm sure I could make thirty-one data points fit, gosh darn it, if I just tried a little harder!  Oh well, what's done is done.

Just thought you all should know.  Please leave me some feedback on your thoughts and ideas.

PROS

  • Dispersed, heavy armour scheme and full icebreaker bow.
  • Thick turtleback citadel.
  • Good gun handling.
  • Surprising accuracy for a twelve-gun armament with 1.8 sigma.
  • Powerful secondary battery with improved accuracy, good fire arcs, long range and 1/4 HE penetration.
  • Good top speed of 32.5 knots and fast rate of turn.
  • She has torpedoes!

CONS

  • Small hit point pool for a tier VIII battleship which also compromises healing.
  • Poor anti-torpedo protection.
  • Short ranged at 18.5km.
  • APPALLING FIRE ANGLES. [edited] ME, THEY'RE BAD.
  • Small calibre AP shells lack overmatch potential and penetration.
  • Unlike most other high-tier German battleships, she lacks Hydroacoustic Search.

Overview

Skill Floor:  Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult
Skill Ceiling:  Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme

What happens when you take a brawling battleship, give it bad guns and chain it to a small hit point pool?  You get a YOLO disaster waiting to happen again and again and again.  Brandenburg is a bad battleship for inexperienced players.  Her guns seem trollishly designed to punish new players. Her bad AP performance and her bad fire angles force inexperienced players to flash their broadsides and get themselves killed. Without a big hit point pool, they die in a hurry. The only bit of saving grace here is that at least she comes with a German battleship protection scheme, but even that seems flawed.  This thing is fast too, so it's easy to over-extend and get sent back to port for being the easiest thing to shoot at.

Experienced players can do a bit of flexing with Brandenburg, showing off their in-game knowledge on where it's best to change up ammo, how to optimize her with commander skills and when and how to brawl.  I'm not saying she's going to be a successful ship because of this -- Brandenburg, like a lot of 2021 ship releases, punishes players for trying to play her as designed.  It's just that an expert player can get a bit more out of her.

Options

Nothing too surprising here, other than what's missing.  Brandenburg doesn't have access to Hydroacoustic Search.  Otherwise, you'll have to choose whether or not to specialize in brawling, but that's an easy choice to make.  If you want to win, you'll avoid brawling.  If you want to be cool, brawling is the only acceptable answer.

Now, you're not some kind of sensible LOSER, are you!?
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Options
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  • Brandenburg's Damage Control Party is perfectly normal for most battleships.  It comes with unlimited charges and an 80 second reset timer.  It's active for 15 seconds.
  • In slot two, you get a standard Repair Party for a battleship.  It heals back up to 14% of the ship's health over 28 seconds, queuing 10% of citadel damage, 50% of penetration damage and 100% of everything else.  It has an 80s reset timer and starts with four charges.
  • In Brandenburg's third slot, it's choice time with either a Spotter Aircraft and a Catapult Fighter.  The Spotter Aircraft comes with four charges, increases her main battery range by 20% for 100s and has a 240s reset timer.  Her Catapult Fighter launches 3 aircraft  which stay on station, orbiting the ship at a range of 3km for 60s.  It comes with three charges and has a 90s reset timer.

Upgrades

Let's go down the list!

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  • Start with Main Armaments Modification 1.
  • Damage Control System Modification 1 goes into slot two.
  • It's choice time.  If you're cool, you'll take Secondary Battery Modification 1.  If you're smart, you'll take Aiming Systems Modification 1 instead.  You're not one of those smart people are you?  Let's hope not.
  • Damage Control System Modification 2 is the better choice at slot four.  You can take Steering Gears Modification 1 if you prefer, just be aware that fires are going to hurt all the more.  And because I know you're super cool, you're going to compromise your fire setting in the commander skills section in order to build for secondaries, right?2
  • Finally, grab Concealment System Modification 1 because Wargaming still hasn't gotten around to giving us a competitive alternative in slot five, making it a non-decision for most ships.  It's just a dumb 2M credit tax at this point.

Commander Skills

There are obviously two commander skill builds I'll champion.  The first is the basic survivability build.  Memes aside, this is hands down the optimal build for Brandenburg as it emphasizes fire resistance.  But that's boring. 

A brawling build for Brandenburg plays up to the novelties (and stereotypes) of the German battleship line.  As a less than optimal build, there's a lot more leeway on what you pick  and choose for your backup skills -- the idea being that you're already compromising on optimization, so you may as well just try out some fun and weird combinations.  Still, the general idea is to emphasize your secondary strengths.  Beyond the obvious Manual Secondary Battery Aiming and Long Range Secondary Battery Shells you want to look at grabbing either Demolition Expert or Inertial Fuse for HE Shells (or both).  The latter-most skill is contentious given that it compromises the fire setting of your entire armament.  It's really only worthwhile if you intend to throw Brandenburg into brawls on the regular with high-tier battleships (though it does help with high tier cruisers too, especially with amidship hits).  So you may want to hold off on IFHE.

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Boooooring.

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Tasty!

Camouflage

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Brandenburg was sold with two camouflage options, Type 10 and German Eagle.  They provide identical bonuses of:

  • -3% surface detection
  • +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells.
  • -10% to post-battle service costs.
  • +50% to experience gains.

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This is the only screenshot I took of Brandenburg's German Eagle camouflage and it's terrible (the screenshot, not the camouflage).  The camo was only available in a bundle when the ship was initially sold and I have not seen it made available since.  I didn't pick it up at the time and it seems I've missed out.

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Brandenburg's base Type 10 camouflage is a striking black, white and grey.  It's quite handsome.

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I am not a fan of the alternative palette for her Type 10 camouflage.  You can unlock this via completing portions of the German Navy Collection under your Profile tab.

Firepower
Main Battery:  Twelve 305mm/56 guns in in 4x3 turrets with an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration
Secondary Battery:  Twelve 150mm/55 guns in 6x2 turrets and twenty 105mm/65 guns in 10x2 turrets.  The large calibre guns are set on the main deck with the 105mm guns superfiring on one deck higher.  The secondaries are divided evenly down each side.
Torpedoes:  Eight tubes in 2x4 launchers mounted behind the funnel on either side of the ship.

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Brandenburg has crappy guns, but she gets a lot of them and they're reasonably accurate. 

Gun Calibre, Penetration & Reload Time

Brandenburg has small calibre guns for a high-tier battleship.  Her 305mm weapons are the same as those found on Odin.  For 305mm guns, her shells have good ballistics and penetration, but that's only for a 305mm gun.  You're not contesting battleship belt armour at battleship engagement distances with her AP rounds, for example.  You're also missing out on overmatching anything greater than 19mm with her AP rounds. Her individual hits aren't particularly powerful and her HE shells suffer from the usual German affliction of dealing less damage per hit than similar shells of their calibre.  It's the quantity of shot that's supposed to make up for all of this, but even here, Wargaming pulled their punches.

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This is a recycled graphic pulled from my Odin review.  Odin and Brandenburg have identical AP penetration performance.  These numbers are approximate and pulled from wowsft.com.  Brandenburg's AP penetration isn't great.  She largely loses the ability to contest battleship belt armour outside of 12km if there's even a bit of angling going on.

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You want to throw AP shells as much as possible with Brandenburg, even against soft targets.  Unlike other nations, her anemic HE shell damage is so much lower than her AP shells that they're only competitive when her HE is guaranteed to deal full penetrating damage.  If a target has been partially saturated, her overpenetrating AP rounds will put out more hurt.  This limits the optimal use of HE rounds to the following situations:  (1) Against targets you cannot hurt at all with AP.  (2) You're trying to start fires.  Even against submarines at periscope depth, Brandenburg's AP will deal more damage.  The only catch here is that Brandenburg's AP shells just don't have the bite needed to work against heavy armour.  So you're forced to HE and suck up the damage disparity.

Allow me to elaborate.  For the longest time, I have held that 30 seconds is the standard reload time of battleship guns.  This isn't necessarily true, but it's been an unspoken standard for a number years.  So much so, that you could safely predict that any new battleship being added to the game would have it.  Wargaming has begun to deviate from this standard.  This largely began with the Soviet battleship line. Where once the odd ship with a weird reload added a little variety to a tech tree line, we're seeing slow or faster reloads defining and entire swathe of releases.  Still, I find myself trained to look for a 30 second reload on any new battleship Wargaming adds. When the number is greater or lesser, it shapes my perception of its intended performance.  For ships to match the 30 second reload output with a smaller armament (be it number of guns or smaller in calibre), I expect to see a faster reload.  If an armament is especially large or hard hitting, then I expect to see a slower.

So let's look at where Brandenburg's armament and reload sits:

  • 22.5 seconds - Zieten with 3x2 406mm
  • 23.0 seconds - Odin with 3x3 305mm
  • 25.0 seconds - Famous & Historical Monarch with 3x3 381mm, Vanguard with 4x2 381mm
  • 26.0 seconds - Bismarck & Tirpitz with 4x2 380mm
  • 26.5 seconds - Brandenburg with 4x3 305mm
  • 28.0 seconds - Gascogne with 2x4 380mm
  • 28.6 seconds - Chamapgne with 2x3 406mm
  • 30.0 seconds - Amagi & Kii with 5x2 410mm, North Carolina, Alabama & Massachusetts with 3x3 406mm, Constellation with 4x2 406mm, Richelieu with 2x4 380mm, Roma & AL Littorio with 3x3 381mm and Atlântico with 5x2 381mm
  • 31.0 seconds - Borodino with 2x3 406mm
  • 33.0 seconds - Ignis Purgatio & Ragnarok with 5x2 410mm, Vladivostok & Lenin with 3x3 406mm, Flandre with 3x3 380mm
  • 34.0 seconds - Vittorio Veneto with 3x3 381mm
  • 40.0 seconds - Kansas with 4x3 406mm

This looks reasonably competitive, at least until you account for all of the flaws with her shells.  I'm still balking that they didn't give Odin the same 20 second reload as Scharnhorst and Brandenburg's 26.5 second reload feels like more of the same mistreatment.  Brandenburg isn't a particularly hard-hitting ship.  Or rather, her guns just don't scale well against higher tiered targets and other battleships.  Overall, her 26.5 second reload time isn't a flaw, per se, but it's not a strength either.  It seems carefully measured to ensure she's reliant upon her other weapon systems.  More on that later.

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Brandenburg's potential AP DPM looks great.  But this doesn't account for the woes of dispersion, penetration, firing angles, auto-ricochet checks, etc.  The POTENTIAL is there, sure, provided you've got an opponent willing to make things easy for you.  Short of picking on lower-tiered cruisers or inside of brawling scenarios, the potential is difficult to realize.

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Like most German battleships, her HE shell DPM falls off the rails.  I'd like to make a big deal about her improved HE penetration but Brandenburg's 76mm penetration just isn't impressive when compared to the 68mm being tossed around by most of the American, Soviet and Japanese battleships at this tier.  So yeah, Brandenburg has good HE penetration for a 305mm armed battleship but that's only for a 305mm armed battleship.  When stacked against the 406mm guns or the 1/4 HE penetrating 380mm/381mm guns from the Royal Navy and other German ships (and nevermind the Italian SAP shells), Brandenburg's HE looks crappy.

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It would be a struggle to call any of the tier VIII battleships "good" fire starters.  King George V is pretty much the gold-standard of this for mid-tier battleships and she comes out just shy of 10 fires per minute before you account for things like accuracy (cut that number down to a third) and fire resistance (reduce it again to two thirds its initial value). Once reality sets in, you're looking at about two to three fires per minute for KGV.   Apply the same approximates to Brandenburg and you come out at nearly two.  This is probably the most reliable way for her to attempt to stack damage against enemy battleships.  But unlike the British, don't expect a whole lot of direct damage to accompany Brandenburg's HE spam.

There are tricks to make these guns work.  HE spam is one such way.  Your direct damage numbers will suffer, sure, but they won't suffer as badly if you simply stuck to AP rounds the whole time.  You can try the whole "aim higher" with AP, hoping to bullseye the upper hull and superstructure of enemy battleships at range, but dispersion will troll you outside of near brawling ranges, so that's not entirely reliable.  Brandenburg's guns are just not fun to use and you have to overcompensate a whole heck of a lot to get those numbers to stack.

Gun Handling & Accuracy

While Brandenburg's reload time is only ever going to be decent, her accuracy isn't as bad as I was expecting for a twelve-gun armed ship.  1.8 sigma isn't terrible.  In fact, for a ship with as many guns as she has, it's higher than I thought it would be.  Coupled with American battleship dispersion and a twelve-gun broadside, she isn't as likely to get trolled by RNG(eebus) as ships with fewer guns or worse sigma.  This ultimately comes down to feels -- Brandenburg's salvos feel reasonably accurate even if their dispersion describes her as being only average.  It's rare that a well aimed shot isn't going to yield at least a handful of hits.  Brandenburg is good at putting warheads on foreheads at least so long as you ensure that all twelve guns are firing. 

And this is the other issue -- getting all of those guns firing.  And maybe this helps explain some of my gripes with her reload.    Brandenburg's arcs are HORRIBLE. 

For those unaware, I have a bias against crappy firing angles. Outside of PVE situations, Brandenburg when she fires all twelve of her guns.  She's unable to angle correctly against return fire while doing so, which opens her up to taking some pretty bad hits in return.  As you'll see in the Durability section, Brandenburg doesn't have a lot of hit points and she cannot afford to trade them away for the modest returns another six guns bring.  Without a fast(er) reload on her guns and without good firing angles, her DPM suffers appreciably.  So that paper DPM value shown before falls even further into the toilet.

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One of my standard dispersion tests.  This is 180 AP shells fired at 15km at a stationary Fuso bot.  Brandenburg is using Aiming System Modification 1, while the Fuso is completely stock and without camo.  Shots are coming in from right to left with the Fuso effectively bow tanking.  At 1.8 sigma and German dispersion, Brandenburg's gunnery feels "average", at least until you remember she has twelve guns and a quick(ish) reload.  Volume of fire lends a sense of accuracy all on its own and Brandenburg ends up feeling more accurate than she actually is, even with a full secondary build.

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The HORROR.

Main Battery Gun Summary

Brandenburg has crappy guns, but she gets a lot of them and they're reasonably accurate.  I wish I could say she had good fire angles or that they reloaded fast enough for that not to matter, but they don't.  I found these guns to be incredibly frustrating to use, especially when facing same tier or higher opponents.  The AP doesn't hit hard enough.  And even when you do land some good hits that don't ricochet or shatter, they just don't do enough damage.  Every time I reached for HE, it felt like I was giving up and begging for fires that usually didn't come.  Brandenburg's gunnery takes a long time to stack appreciable damage. 

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Brawling battleships are cool

TBjUEcZ.pngIt's a good thing she's a brawler.  She's designed to supplement her damage by creeping into secondary range (where possible) and spraying enemy ships down with a torrent of cruiser and destroyer-calibre HE.  Up close, the deficiencies of her 305mm AP penetration falls away too and they become a lot more threatening. She's fully capable of blowing out the machine spaces of any enemy battleship with a vulnerable citadel and her twelve gun broadside ensures that it will hurt.  The threat of her torpedoes makes even other heavy weight brawlers take notice.  This is where she belongs.  This is where she demands respect. 

And for a German battleship, her secondaries are contenders for the best out of all of them with better firing angles and more DPM and FPM than most.  Combined with improved German secondary accuracy, 1/4 HE penetration and more guns than other German battleships, Brandenburg has some of the best brawling armaments at her tier.  Check it out:

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Some notes to keep in mind:  Massachusetts, Atlântico and Brandenburg have the same DPM when brawling, kiting or firing broadside.  Zieten has the same DPM when brawling or kiting. Before you get too excited and run out and buy a Flandre or Kii, I remind you that DPM charts are not the be-all, end all.  The majority of Flandre's damage comes from 100mm secondaries that only have 17mm of penetration and no improved accuracy (Gascogne has this same problem).  A lack of improved accuracy also plagues Kii on top of having only a range that caps out at just shy of 10km with all buffs.  Brandenburg combines good range, good penetration and good potential damage on top of solid firing arcs.  She's the total package.  The only thing we could ask for more would be a further improvement on her already improved "German" secondary accuracy or upgrading her 105mm to 128mm like Odin so that she can pen battleships without needing IFHE.

Spreadsheets are not cool

So Brandenburg has better secondaries than the other tier VIII German battleships, right?  That's what the numbers say?

Good, cuz I couldn't tell.

Seriously, this is one of those cases where my notes on how a ship felt to play did not reflect the data I collected afterwards.  I should explain -- my process for writing these reviews is to play the ship, take notes while doing so and then as questions come up, look at the ship's stats to try and understand where the feels are coming from. At no point in my play testing of Brandenburg did her secondaries stand out in any appreciable way from other German battleships I've played.  I seriously thought her secondaries were bog-standard for a German brawler. It was only as I put together the graphics for this section that I said "wait, hold up" -- she has more DPM and better fire angles?  Huh!

So why didn't it come up?  You'd think counting an extra pair of 105mm would have tipped me off.  While I was conscious of them, they weren't anything to get terribly excited about.  I liken it to the extra 100m Odin has on her secondary range.  It's nice but it's not game changing. It was the same case for her firing angles.  They're good, sure, and better than most of the other German battleships.  But there's still that ugly deadzone straight ahead.  Ultimately, this blasé attitude says a lot about how situational brawling is.  In PVP, good brawls are so uncommon that they're an event when they finally happen.  Thus, it's hard to get a good sense of value out of a secondary armament.  This goes double when you've invested in them so heavily between skills, upgrades and consumables.  And this is what it came down to:  Brandenburg's secondaries didn't feel appreciably better than those of Tirpitz or Odin.  So it was hard to care about them when the awesome experiences just didn't happen.

So yeah, Brandenburg has good secondaries.  But as far as I'm concerned, that trait is shared by all other German battleships so it's not a stand-out feature, so don't look at me singing Brandenburg's praises for her secondary potential as a selling feature of this ship over other German premiums.  They all perform very much alike in this regard -- their potential is there, but it's so terribly situational.

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The pain and suffering that went into making this.  Brandenburg was originally launched with bugged, asymmetrical secondary arcs on her forward-most 105mm guns.  Those on her starboard side could fire up to 20º off her stern while the port side could only fire 30º off her stern.  I've highlighted this difference with the two arrows in the graphic above.  This was corrected with patch 0.11.4 with her port side now mirroring her starboard side (they can both shoot 20º off her stern now).  Brandenburg's secondary arcs are okay.  They're not great.  At least she can bring all of her weapons the bear 30º off either her bow or stern, so you can use those to help ensure you're auto-ricochet safe in a brawl.

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I was going to ramble on about her torpedoes, but I think I can just summarize them here.  Brandenburg's fish are short ranged but pack a comfortable punch, perfect for delivering a crippling blow in a brawl.  The four she launches per side will not guarantee a kill on an enemy battleship unless they're already mauled, so keep that in mind.  Her fire arcs are decent, able to launch 30º off her bow and just over that off her stern for a total of a 119º firing arc per side.  Like other German battleships, her torpedoes are pretty fragile and have a habit of getting destroyed if she takes a lot of HE fire, so make sure they're still operable before committing to a joust.

Summary

Brandenburg may have crappy guns but she has good secondaries backed by short-range torpedoes.  Firepower wise, she sucks if you can't get her into a brawl.  If you can, Brandenburg's numbers jump tremendously.  While you can all but guarantee this each and every time you take her out to a Co-Op battle, it's harder to ensure in PVP.

I don't rate Brandenburg's firepower very highly.  It's alright.  When the stars align, it can be good.  But you're setting yourself up for disappointment in PVP outside of those rare games where your enemies make the mistake of letting you brawl.

VERDICT:  Situational.  Unreliable.  Inconsistent.

Durability
Hit Points: 58,800
Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck:  32mm / 19mm / 145mm / 50mm to 80mm
Maximum Citadel Protection: 350mm belt plus 110mm to 120mm turtleback plus 45mm citadel wall
Torpedo Damage Reduction:  23%

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Third from the bottom.  A German juggernaut Brandenburg is not.

Remember how players made a big stink about Odin's lack of health?

Well, if you weren't around at the time, Odin was largely panned by the community for her tiny (52,800) hit point pool. Brandenburg has just 6,000 more.  That's not a lot.  That's like two more penetrating hits from battleship AP, and given Brandenburg's crappy fire angles, those penetrating hits are coming sooner rather than later.  Brandenburg's hit point pool would be dead average for a tier VII battleship.  And that's bad.  That's very bad.

Thus, Brandenburg suffers a lot of the same problems as Odin -- namely, not having enough HP left over to successful brawl when the opportunity finally arises in the mid to late game.  Brawls always cost HP.  Brawls can cost a lot of HP.  And if you've already bled a lot of your initial health, it can be hella disheartening to not have the staying power to actually enjoy a good scrap.  What might have been a game winning situation is now just a spiteful act of defiance before you're sent back to port.   Even setting brawling aside, with the teething problems of her main battery guns, Brandenburg is just plain bad at trading.  She doesn't have the health to spare to exchange body blows.

This is partially mitigated by what appears to be a traditional German battleship protection scheme.  Brandenburg has dispersed armour, including a full length 60mm icebreaker bow, thick upper hull and deck armour that will troll most HE (and some SAP!) thrown her way.  This just leaves her (admittedly huge) superstructure and the tiniest portions of her bow and stern vulnerable and makes her largely proof against AP shells when angled.

As for her citadel?  I have ... mixed feelings...  about Brandenburg's citadel protection.

It's geometry is weird.  It comes to a narrow point towards the bow.  This creates some odd angles reminiscent of Yamato's octagonal citadel -- Brandenburg has similar "cheeks" that can theoretically yield citadel hits even when the ship is angled.  Now, ostensibly, her turtleback should mitigate this.  Unfortunately, I took a massive double-citadel hit early on when testing Brandenburg.  Granted, these came from long range fire and double-granted, it was my fault for flashing that much side in the first place (gawd, I hate her firing angles).  But given the tiers at which Brandenburg operates, most of what's going to be thrown at you from other battleships will be at long range so I got incredibly gun-shy after this.  I couldn't play Brandenburg with the same confidence I could with other German premiums.  I fully accept that this could have been an exception; an anecdote that biased me towards keeping a sharp eye out for repeat occurrences in a way I might not have otherwise fussed over.  But it's definitely coloured my experiences.  I'm aware that the odd citadel hit can (and do) happen with other German battleships so I dunno why this one shook me up as much as it did.  I blame her fire angles.  I'm always going to scapegoat her fire angles.

Brandenburg feels squishy for a German battleship and I don't like that.

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Brandenburg has a dispersed armour scheme and odd citadel geometry  I'm still torn if the latter is a blessing or curse..  Her citadel's 180mm tip is very thin.  Combined with her icebreaker bow, this ship is incredibly difficult to citadel directly from the front when perfectly nosed in.  However, that same tapering tip does make her more vulnerable when angled, in a similar manner to Yamato's infamous "cheeks" (though nowhere near to that extreme). 

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Losing 25,000 health in a single salvo and these aren't even citadel hits.

VERDICT:  Squishier than her pedigree would otherwise suggest.

Agility
Top Speed: 32.5 knots
Turning Radius: 820 meters
Rudder Shift Time: 15.7 seconds
4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.6º/s at 24.3kts
Main Battery Traverse Rate:  6.0º/s

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Brandenburg (8) joins the SoDak-twins (2), Constellation (10) and Champagne (12) as one of the best turning ships at this tier.  This is largely thanks to her high top speed.

Brandenburg has a great top speed, a decent (but not good) turning circle radius and a rudder shift time on the poor side of average.  These latter traits obfuscate what is, in fact, a quite agile vessel as far as battleships go.  Speed corrects a lot of issues with agility, especially when they're only held back by "average" values elsewhere.  Brandenburg's good top speed and modest turning circle radius translates to one of the best rates of turn for not only the tier VIII battleships, but most battleships in the game. 

Let's talk more about speed.  It is a tremendous advantage.  Not only does it allow you to get where you need to be faster, a greater range of speed makes it harder for opponents to properly guess your ship's momentum and lead appropriately.  It also allows for a greater degree of control while kiting opponents which is arguably one of the most effective solo damage-farming techniques in the game.  Being able to control engagement distances is a duel-winning strategy (though not necessarily a match winning one).  In one game I managed to run down not one but two destroyers that strayed too close.  Despite fleeing after being lit, they were unable to open up enough distance to get themselves out of spotting range before my secondaries chewed them to bits.

Brandenburg's speed ostensibly makes it easier for her to commit to a brawl and use her secondaries and torpedoes, though there's a catch here.  While speed is powerful, it can also be dangerous.  If you're not careful, you can find yourself over-extending and making yourself an easy target for enemy focus fire. It's important to temper Brandenburg's potential with caution.  She doesn't have a lot of health and it doesn't last long under concerted enemy attention.  Mind that throttle.  Vary your course and speed and beware blind corners.

Please keep in mind that I'm comparing Brandenburg's agility to other tier VIII battleships and battleships as a whole.  Brandenburg's handling still sucks compared to a cruiser.  She does not compare well to Warspite's handling either.  You're not going to be able to juke incoming fire or easily thread the needle and dance to torpedo beats.  Finally, you can forget about Just Dodging™ air strikes.

Still, Brandenburg's handling is very comfy.  Good marks here.

VERDICT:  One of the best at her tier.

QOffDcG.jpeg
Under attack from a Kagero and an Asashio.  It's a losing battle from the start, but Brandenburg's agility at least frustrated the two destroyers, completely avoiding four salvos before finally being taken down by a fifth.

Anti-Aircraft Defence
Flak Bursts: 6 + 2 explosions for 1,400 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.2km.
Long Ranged (up to 5.2km):  192.5 dps at 75% accuracy (144dps)
Medium Ranged (up to 3.0km): 511dps at 70% accuracy (358dps)

DPS Aura Ranges
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Total DPS by Range
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Effective Damage vs 186.2knot Aircraft
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Alright, let me try and talk about this without being snarky or going on a huge rant.  Some facts:

  • Brandenburg's large calibre AA is short ranged at only 5.2km.
  • Brandenburg has the best AA values among all of the tier VIII German battleships.
  • In terms of effective sustained AA DPS, Brandenburg sits just behind Kansas and slightly ahead of Kii, putting her solidly in the upper third for sustained damage output among tier VIII battleships.
  • She generates a lot of flak for a tier VIII battleship, though not enough to make her stand out.
  • The individual hits from her flak are fairly average for a tier VIII battleship.
  • Because of her short main battery gun range, she is unlikely to be using a Catapult Fighter over her Spotter Aircraft.
  • She does not have access to Defensive AA Fire, not no tier VIII battleship has that presently.

Where my snark and rants will stem comes from the fact that as good as this all looks on paper, it's not enough to keep her safe.  A hale and whole Brandenburg is an inconvenient target for tier VI carriers as the attrition rates will erode their hangar capacity eventually.  Against higher tiered carriers, short of them obliging you by faceplanting into flak bursts repeatedly, Brandenburg cannot inflict casualties quickly enough to compromise their hangar capacity, never mind stop individual strikes.  Her presence will not dissuade a CV on her own and owing to her short range, she is not a particularly good asset to help protect others.  As such, when she is not top tier, she is a ready victim to air attack.  She might pad her experience and credits earned with some air kills, but you cannot trust Brandenburg's AA defences to do anything to protect the ship in the current meta.

And that's really all AA is for as far as surface ships are concerned:  printing credits and xp in compensation for letting CVs have their way with you.

VERDICT:  Brandenburg is better at squeezing out rewards for being [edited]-slapped by aircraft than most at her tier.

Vision Control
Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 16.2km / 12.73km
Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 11.22km / 9.09km
Detection Range When Firing in Smoke:  12.78km
Maximum Firing Range:  18.46km

Hydroacoustic Search.  Bismarck has it.  Odin has it.  Zieten has it. Tirpitz (and her clone) does not.  Neither does Brandenburg.

This consumable has increased value as Wargaming works towards completing submarines in World of Warships.  This comes not only for the ability to spot incoming torpedoes but also for detecting submarines that might be lurking nearby.  German secondaries are excellent anti-submarine weapons provided their target is spotted and can be shot at.  The general inaccuracy of these weapons isn't nearly as much of a problem as it is against destroyers when shells only have to land nearby to score damage.  Thus lacking a Hydroacoustic Search is notable. 

As far as surface detection goes, Brandenburg's alright.  She just barely manages to squeak into the top third within her matchmaking with her concealment.  It's neither a tremendous help nor a significant hindrance.  It's comfortable enough to be a non issue for most game play though you'll be hard pressed to turn it into a reliable advantage.  Given her relative fragility compared to other German battleships, I would have preferred her to be a bit more sneaky, but as it is, her concealment is workable.  I feel her lack of a Hydroacoustic Search more than whatever is going on with her surface detection.

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If I've counted, calculated and transcribed everything correctly (and I'm almost certain I have not), Brandenburg sits tied for 39th out of 110 battleships within her current matchmaking.  This is sorted by columns, so 1-37 in the first column, then 38 to 75 in the second, 76 to 110 in the third column.

VERDICT:  Meh.

Anti-Submarine Warfare

ASW Armament Type:  Airstrike from 0.5km to 10km (plus part of the bomb drop column)
Number of Salvos:  2
Reload Time:  30 seconds

Aircraft:  Two Blohm & Voss BV 138C with 2,000hp each
Drop Pattern: 3 bombs each dropped evenly over 1.1km column
Maximum Bomb Damage: 2,800
Fire Chance: 21%
Bomb Blast Radius: 300m

Submarine game play is still ever changing.  This section largely serves as a snapshot of how ASW worked at the time this article was published.  No doubt further changes will occur before submarines get finalized. 

That said, Brandenburg and tier VIII German battleships in general have the best anti-submarine warfare load-out of their peers presently.  Bismarck, Zieten and Odin sit at the top of the pile, combining the best air-dropped depth charges with great secondaries and Hydroacoustic Search to mitigate the influence submarines have on their game play.  Brandenburg and Tirpitz have to make do without the consumable to spot fish and occasionally help sniff out subs.  Now this doesn't make any of the German battleships good submarine hunters by any means -- it just means they're the best equipped battleships at their tier to fight back against submarines should they be called upon to do it.

I've spent some time mapping out depth charge pattersn -- both from ships and aircraft and I'll probably publish an article a little later showing the coverage at a particular tier.

VERDICT:  She has the best battleship launched air strike at her tier combined with good secondaries. 

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U-190 got too close to Brandenburg and pays the price.

Final Evaluation

I like Odin better than Brandenburg and I like Scharnhorst better than Odin.  I think that sums up my feels about these "large cruiser" armed battleships.

Short of dusting off snowflakes or whatever I'm required to test in the future, I'm not taking Brandenburg out.  I don't like her guns.  That's really all there is to it.  Why would I want to play a ship where my primary way of interacting in the game is such a miserable experience?  I mean it's a doubled-stacked turd sandwich with bad gun performance and bad fire angles.  Blech.

Brandenburg is just Odin-Two. The biggest difference between them is that Odin has Hydroacoustic Search and Brandenburg has more guns. There are other differences than that obviously.  Brandenburg has more guns, more secondaries with better firing arcs but worse penetration.  Brandenburg is faster and has better AA power and just enough more HP to fool you into thinking she might be a better experience overall.  Odin is more stealthy and her guns fire faster and with much more comfortable gun laying.  So pick your poison. 

I'm not convinced either ship is worthwhile.  My honeymoon period with Odin has long since past -- as I feared in my review of her years ago, once her torpedoes became common knowledge and players became more familiar with her gimmicks, success became increasingly volatile.  That volatility is alive and well with Brandenburg's game play too.  It's that same feast-or-famine that so many brawling battleships struggle. It's hard to appreciate a vessel whose fortunes are so closely tied not only to what tiers matchmaker places you in but what kinds of ship you end up facing.  The presence of a single carrier or a glut of torpedo boats or a brace of submarines and Brandenburg faces an uphill battle.  And like most tier VIII premium battleships, facing tier Xs is never comfortable.

Still, if you can manage to get her into brawls and win those scraps, her performance is fantastic.  How frequently you can make that happen will dictate your success in this ship.  If you can't tell, I couldn't make that happen often enough to put a smile on my face.  So no thank you, Mister Brandenburg, you are not the ship for me.

Of course, all of these complaints apply only to PVP game modes.  In Co-Op, Brandenburg is a thug.  Her guns still suck butts in there, unable to overmatch as the bots suicide charge, but at least her secondaries and fish can rip them open and help pad her numbers.  Brawling in that game mode is guaranteed, so her success is all but guaranteed.

Still, if you're going to buy a tier VIII German premium battleship, just buy Tirpitz.

In Conclusion

This one ballooned out of control.  I spent way too much time fussing over getting a better understanding of AA and ASW mechanics that sidetracked me down several week-long exploratory tangents. I mean, I'm happy that I understand ASW and AA much better than I did at the onset and it's nice to be able to put into context how Brandenburg (and other future ships) will slot into this developing meta.  But stack on some other projects and RL issues and the content drought really bugged me.  I dunno which ship I'm going to review after this.  I'm kind of "battleshippped out" at the moment.  Maybe I'll poke Maya.  We'll see.

Speaking of other projects, you may have noticed that I changed avatars in my graphics.  @Chobittsu did a wonderful job putting together this cute Fantasy Dwarf ship's captain per my request.  Animating a bouncy version of her as a forum avatar is one of many things on my to-do list.

Thank you all for reading and thank you so much for your continued support. ♥

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Older post.  Beware of outdated info (like Brandenburg's secondary fire angles, which were later corrected).

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On 8/18/2023 at 7:08 PM, LittleWhiteMouse said:

Older post.  Beware of outdated info (like Brandenburg's secondary fire angles, which were later corrected).

Bless you and thank you for all your work.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Nice and accurate review LWM.

I played Burg for the first time in ages last night in 2 ranked battles for 2 wins. Very frustrating getting the rear turrets firing but them secondaries work fine.

Not sure of the Cpt I used and his set up as was mainly looking at bumping his skills up. Was fun so might play it a bit more.

 

p.s good to have a forum and your reviews to read again, this Kiwi approves 🙂

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Brandy might be my fave German BB right now. To say Odin is better is not close to reality because Odin is trash. You never even see it anymore in any mode. That's how bad Odin is. Brandy works well for T8 ranked and is a blast in Ops. 

Edited by Scrubby_McScrub
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Am I the only one that finds it amusing that Tirpitz, the OG tier VIII premium that has been in the game for nearly eight years at this point, continues to be the benchmark that all these newer German tier VIII BBs are measured against and usually found wanting?

I personally feel that Brandenburg would have been more appealing if she exchanged her torpedoes for hydro, being basically a variant of Bismarck vs. Tirpitz. This would allow her to stand out more vs. the latter (as well as Anhalt) while still not being an obviously superior version of Odin. Maybe in that state she would have ended up with a bit more HP as well. As it stands, she’s a hard sell, especially with a tier VIII price tag.

Edited by Nevermore135
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5 minutes ago, Nevermore135 said:

Am I the only one that finds it amusing that Tirpitz, the OG tier VIII premium that has been in the game for nearly eight years at this point, continues to be the benchmark that all these newer German tier VIII BBs are measured against and usually found wanting?

I personally feel that Brandenburg would have been more appealing if she exchanged her torpedoes for hydro, being basically a variant of Bismarck vs. Tirpitz. This would allow her to stand out more vs. the latter (as well as Anhalt) while still not being an obviously superior version of Odin. Maybe in that state she would have ended up with a bit more HP as well. As it stands, she’s a hard sell, especially with a tier VIII price tag.

Before the Brandenburg was introduced in-game, I'd already welcomed the Bismarck, the Tirpitz and the Odin to my Port.
They each bring "something to the table" and I like 'em all.
That being said, I haven't welcomed the Brandenburg to my Port, yet.  Simply because I don't have the spare doubloons at the moment.

And coupons take months to "renew".   
So choosing which ship I'll use a coupon for often depends upon what I want or what I already have a glut of in my Port.
(Gee WOWs, imagine how many more 'botes could be sold if the coupons renewed just a tad more often, eh?)

I already have some Germain BB's that I'm happy with, which is why I deferred welcoming the Pommern, twice, in favor of other coal ships.
The Pommern is nice, but she isn't nimble.  Which is a trait shared with the Scharnhorst.

Another factor is that ships equipped with torpedoes are more fun in Co-op and the short-ranged torpedoes aren't as useful in random battles.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • LittleWhiteMouse changed the title to Premium Ship Review: Brandenburg

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