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Premium Ship Review: ZF-6


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The following is a review of ZF-6, the tier IX German destroyers.  This ship was kindly provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes; I did not have to grind or pay to have access to her.  To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.10.3.  Please be aware that her performance may change in the future.

It's dockyard time again!

How many of these have we done now?  My brain fuzzes over when I try to count.  After the Puerto Rico disaster, all of the subsequent dockyard events blur together.  Add in the Cossack, Benham and Graf Spee grinds of yesteryear and it's too easy to confuse the two. Anyway, if you want ZF-6, short of outright paying for her, you're going to have to fork over some hard earned cash on top of the grind.  This is the first destroyer on offer from the dockyard and it's a German destroyer too.  I say this merely to point out that German destroyers in World of Warships do not have the best of reputations.  There's a deserved stigma associated with German lolibotes (and the new 150mm armed tech-tree line is not helping).

So is ZF-6 worth it?  Let's look under the hood.

Quick Summary: A small(ish) destroyer with a decent guns and fast, but short-ranged fish.  She has access to a weird set of consumables including Main Battery Reload Booster.


  • Excellent AP shells, with good DPM and auto-ricochet angles.
  • Improved penetration on her HE shells.
  • Good fire angles on her guns, making it easy to maximize damage output.
  • Wicked-fast & hard hitting torpedoes.
  • Good surface and aerial detection ranges for a tier IX destroyer.
  • Has access to Defensive AA Fire and Main Battery Reload Booster.

Did you hear about her Main Battery Reload Booster?  It's pretty important.


  • Small hit point pool for a tier IX destroyer.
  • Anemic HE DPM and fire setting characteristics.
  • Her torpedoes are short-ranged.
  • Not very fast or agile.
  • Shackled with a German Smoke Generator with its short cloud duration.
  • No access to Hydroacoustic Search. (!)

Don't worry about these flaws though, guys.  She has a Main Battery Reload Booster.
Did I fail to mention that she has a Main Battery Reload Booster?

Yeah, I dunno what the big deal is either.  I'd rather have hydro.


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

ZF-6 isn't a ship I would recommend to novice players. Her play style is just going to get them killed.  Her torpedoes are too short ranged. She's not fast.  Her smoke's duration is very short.  She's not very agile.  And she's just stealthy enough to let you push in too deep where your friends can't help you. Add on her ammunition demands, her consumable demands and just how much better she performs if you know how to best make use of islands and smoke?  Yeah, there's a pretty steep learning curve here.  She's effectively a Fletcher with extra-steps.

But for all of these same reasons, ZF-6 is a destroyer that will grow with you.  Her concealment in particular is fun to use and abuse.  The question, though, is if it's worth all of the extra effort to get the same numbers you might on another boat.


It's easy to get lost in ZF-6 having "ALL OF THE CONSUMABLES!" only to fail to notice what's she's missing:  She does not have Hydroacoustic Search as most other German destroyers do.



  • Her Damage Control Party is standard for a destroyer.  It has unlimited charges, a 40 second reset timer and a 5 second active period.
  • Her Smoke Generator is also standard for a tier IX German destroyer, which is to say that it sucks.  The duration of each individual cloud is only 73 seconds as opposed to the usual 93 seconds of tier IX Japanese and Soviet destroyers (or the 127 seconds of the Americans).  So that's awful.  Otherwise it's normal enough, starting with three charges, a 20 second emission time and 160 second reset timer.
  • Her Engine Boost is totally normal: three charges to start, 8% boost to her speed, 120 second active period and a 120 second reset timer.
  • We're going to skip slot four to talk about slot five's Defensive AA Fire.  It increases continuous damage by 50% and quadruples flak explosion damage for 40 seconds.  It starts with three charges and has an 80 second reset timer.

and finally, let's backtrack to slot four...

  • ZF-6 has access to a Main Battery Reload Booster.  This is meant to be her main selling feature and is identical to that of the tier IX French destroyer, Mogador.  It starts with four charges and cuts the reload time of her main battery guns by 50% for 15 seconds.  It has a 100 second reset timer.


The short range of ZF-6's torpedoes precludes her from being a good torpedo boat, unfortunately.  I mean, you can do it.  But you're probably one of those nutters who enjoyed AL Yukikaze, you sick momo.


  • Start with Main Armaments Modification 1 in slot one.  You can use Magazine Modification 1 if you really hate surprises, though.
  • The Special Upgrade, Engine Boost Modification 1 is best in slot two if you can afford it.  It wi ll set you back 17,000 BCDik8j.png&key=747bf707d27556e3622a8239 from the Armory.  If that's not available to you, default to Engine Room Protection.
  • For slot three, you've got a choice.  None of them are bad ones, so pick the one you like best.  Aiming Systems Modification 1 is easily going to the most popular so you can just turn your brain off and default to this, confident that it will help (a little) with long-range pew-pews.  Torpedo Tube Modification 1 is kinda fun, in that it accelerates ZF-6's already stupid-fast torpedoes up to plaid (78.5 knots, WHOO! ♪).  If you just want a quality of life boost, then Main Battery Modification 2 is fine for that extra turret traverse speed.
  • Propulsion System Modification 1 is your best choice in slot four, giving you more acceleration from a dead stop which is helpful when island camping or hiding in smoke.
  • To no one's surprise, Concealment System Modification 1 is still optimal in slot five.  Double-yawn.  ZF-6 isn't agile enough to make Steering Gears Modification 1 and 2 worthwhile for slots 4 and 5, btw.
  • Cap this gunship's performance off with Main Battery Modification 3.

Commander Skills

This was the loser-build that I ended up playing with while testing ZF-6.  It worked alright, but it's sloppy.  I'm pretty lax with my commander builds as of late knowing there's a reset coming.  It's hard to fuss over optimization knowing that some key changes are in the works..


ZF-6 comes with two camouflage options, Type 10 Camouflage and War Paint - ZF-6.  If you complete the dockyard event, you get both with the ship.  They are cosmetic swap , providing identical bonuses common for tier IX premiums:

  • -3% surface detection
  • +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells.
  • -20% to post-battle service costs.
  • +100% to experience gains.

You can unlock ZF-6's alternate palette for her Type 10 Camouflage by completing the first section of the "German Navy" collection.  Crates for this can be purchased for 1,000BCDik8j.png&key=747bf707d27556e3622a8239 in the Armory.

ZF-6's War Paint camouflage gets less fancy when you bring it into battle.


Main Battery:  Five 128mm guns in four turrets with a twin turret mount on the bow and three single mounts in an A-P-X-Y superfiring configuration.
Torpedoes:  Eight torpedo tubes in 2x4 launchers with one mounted between the funnels ahead of P-turret and the other behind the rear funnel.


The Penultimate German 128mm Gun?

If you buy into the hype, ZF-6 has the "best" German 128mm gun in the game right now.  Compared to those found on the tech-tree destroyers, ZF-6's guns have a higher muzzle velocity and better auto-ricochet angles on her AP shells all for the cost of a slight dip in shell damage.  If you're married to the idea that German destroyers should be throwing AP shells whenever possible, then yes, ZF-6's guns are the best of the 128mm bunch.  I am not convinced, however -- mostly because German destroyer AP rounds are not the universal shell that we're so easily led to believe.

Let's start with overpenetrations.

Overpenetrations take the pop and pizzazz out of AP.  Their punchy appeal is predicated upon performing properly when presented with paper-thin panelling upon most perimeter parts of the panoply of presently proffered peers.  In other words: the shells won't pop if the steel won't stop.  [Lert: If the fuse don't start, your damage's a fart.]

This limits the functionality of AP shells when they engage soft targets.  Knowing what thickness of steel is necessary to prime the fuses is key.  And while angled targets do provide thicker absolute values of steel, one must keep the auto-ricochet values in mind.  This creates a rather complicated series of angles where AP = very yes and others where AP = very no.  All German 128mm AP shells need 21mm worth of steel in order to arm correctly, so the flat broadsides of a 19mm, tier VIII+ destroyer hull simply doesn't have enough steel present to make the shells go boom.   And while good ol' Pythagoras will tell you that 19mm becomes 21mm at about 26º from the perpendicular, the complication of normalization rears its ugly head and you won't see the shells arm until 36º from the perpendicular (though this is always somewhat less to allow for the vertical angle).  Against tier VII destroyers with 16mm worth of armour, you're looking at 49º from the perpendicular -- well into ricochet territory for normal 128mm AP shells.

We get something that looks like this:

AP penetration results for approximate engagement angles against a 19mm armoured target with German 128mm guns.  A very special thanks to @mofton for showing me similar graphics earlier!  ♥  Against 16mm, the margins get even worse, with normal 128mm AP shells having to contend with ricochets and ZF-6's shells losing 5º on their full penetration arc.

I think it's safe to say that ZF-6's AP shells are not the best choice when fighting destroyers.  Spamming HE will have you losing many DPM races, even with your vaunted Main Battery Reload Booster.  Given her smaller hit point pool and lack of a Hydroacoustic Search consumable, knife fights with other destroyers is an uncomfortable.  She can pull it off using her Main Battery Reload Booster as a crutch, but that's definitely outside of her comfort zone.  She just doesn't have the health or the overwhelming DPM with her HE shells to be able to out-muscle same-tier (or higher-tier) destroyers. You're essentially hoping your opposite number will flinch when your consumable is active.  It doesn't last long enough to decide contests.  ZF-6 being a crappy lolibote hunter does not make her guns bad or even sub-par compared to other German 128mm weapons, however.

Against battleships and tier VIII+ cruisers, it's a non-issue.  Be the best angry smoke cloud you can be and spam that AP to your heart's content.  This is where ZF-6's gunnery excels and it's super satisfying to watch hit point pools of cruisers and battleships melt when you can cycle her guns with impunity.

Good AP DPM and crappy HE DPM.  Pretty standard fare for a German destroyers.  Do keep in mind that her lower HE DPM is compensated for by increased HE penetration.  While this won't help you against other destroyers, it will increase her overall damage output against larger ships.

ZF-6's AP penetration is ... well, it's not great.  If you're pelting AP rounds and big-stuff, you want to do so no further than 10km or so to ensure your shells don't shatter against the 25mm/27mm/30mm/32mm of structural plate on your target.  Outside of 10km, Pythagoras will tell you that your penetration values get kinda dicey and are likely to shatter.

Big surprise, ZF-6's base FPM is terrible.  Her Main Battery Reload Booster fixes this briefly.  All the more reason to lean onto her AP shells when you can.

ZF-6 has some very comfy fire arcs.  Her turret traverse rate is kinda slow for a destroyer though, especially if you slap Main Battery Modification 3 on it.  It starts at 10º/s but MBM3 will drop it down to 8.7º/s.  This isn't enough to make her out turn her turrets, but it's less than ideal.


I had a lot of good things I wanted to say about ZF-6's torpedoes.  But I can't get past their terrible range.  Whatever their strengths, that lack of reach undermines any effectiveness they have.  Yes, they're very (VERY!) fast. Yes, they hit hard for a German torpedo, which is great!  It's nice to see some German fish with some teeth!  Their reload time is normal, so there's no extra penalty incurred for being special.

But that range.
Oh, that RANGE.

Outside of using them to sweep smoke clouds, it was a pain in the butt to make use of ZF-6's torpedoes on the regular.  After my play test games, I concluded there were really only two opportunities to make good use of them in the average game.  The first, as I mentioned before, is to use them to rake through smoke clouds.  This typically happens in the early portions of match in those invariable duels against other lolibotes as you contest cap circles.  ZF-6's torpedoes are so fast that it's easy for an opponent to misjudge just how much room they have to manoeuvre.  While they don't provide much in the way of reduced reaction time, it's that they move so quickly that your opponents may misjudge and mistime their dodges.  I had a lot of success picking off destroyers in smoke -- in fact, this was the number one source of damage with my fish, which is kinda sad but kinda hilarious.  The second opportunity comes in the end game, when there's a lot more room to manoeuvre and a lot less Surveillance Radar and Hydroacoustic Search being thrown about, where ZF-6 can take advantage of its low surface detection to finally bring its fish into range of juicier targets.

Of course, this latter scenario is generally predicated upon carriers being distracted elsewhere or absent from the match entirely.  If there are attentive aircraft present, you can generally forget ZF-6 has torpedoes outside of a suicide charge.  The same goes for Surveillance Radar equipped cruisers.  If they're still in the game and operating anywhere near your side of the map, then forget this ship has torpedoes.  Just don't do it.


VERDICT:  Good AP shells and a good gunnery consumable.  It's like spamming shells with a more-different duckybote.  Her torpedoes are too short ranged to get used on the regular.

Hit Points: 17,000
Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck:  19mm / 13mm / 19mm / 19mm

ZF-6 has almost the same amount of health as a Fletcher-class destroyer.
I am now going to tell you that this is a bad thing.

If you don't have heals or a monster-pile of hit points, your destroyer's durability is sub-optimal.  The trickle down effect here is that unless your gunship destroyer severely out-muscles her opponents in terms of damage output, this really limits their ability to go heads up in a knife fight.  Similarly, not having a whole lot of health limits how often (and how long) a given destroyer can take risks like hammering a larger ship from open water without the cover of islands or smoke to protect it.  This is doubly dangerous for ships like ZF-6 that aren't especially fast or agile.  A smaller hit point pool acts as a lens, magnifying a destroyer's problems in other areas.  For example, remember those torpedo woes we talked about?  Because of ZF-6's low hit point pool, creeping in close onto an enemy battleship to use her torpedoes is all the more dangerous because if she gets lit, she's not likely to last very long.  The same goes with surprise knife-fights, getting spotted by aircraft, lit by Surveillance Radar and you name it.

So, low hit points = bad.

Welp, we're at the stage where the vaunted Fletcher-class has been so badly powercrept their hit point totals are considered "bad".


Top Speed: 35kts
Turning Radius: 670m
Rudder Shift Time: 3.9s
4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 6.7º/s at 29.3kts

It's ZF-6's low top speed that gets her in trouble.

She's one of the slowest destroyers at her tier and indeed, within her matchmaking spread.  Only Shiratsuyu, Yudachi, Akizuki, Fen Yang, Jutland are slower.  35 knots is pretty much the baseline of most high-tier destroyers so not being able to exceed that largely dooms the ship to mediocre agility unless they have some gimmick to compensate.  The British (including the aforementioned Jutland) manage this with improved energy retention and ridiculous acceleration.  Others, like Mahan, have very tight turning circles, making them feel more agile than their slow speed would otherwise suggest.

But not ZF-6.  While her turning radius isn't terrible for a German destroyer, it's certainly not "good".  Her rate of turn sits in the doldrums at her tier being among the worst present.

The only reason ZF-6 doesn't look worse is that her turning radius is average.

VERDICT: ZF-6 isn't Soviet rancid-mayonnaise-bad here, but her speed and agility are both pretty lame.  Imagine having just enough speed to get into trouble but not having enough to get out.  That's common for most destroyers, frankly, unless you can exceed 37 knots.

Anti-Aircraft Defence
Flak Bursts: 2 + 1 explosions for 1,540 damage per blast at 3.5km to 6km.
Long Ranged (up to 6km):  52.5dps at 100% accuracy
Medium Ranged (up to 4km): 70dps at 100% accuracy
Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 115.5dps at 95% accuracy (109.7dps)

ZF-6 is advertised by Wargaming as having "powerful AA defenses".

Yeah, no.

Her AA power is good for a tier IX destroyer.  That's factual.  But "powerful?"  Her sustained AA DPS is comparable to Fletcher.  If you consider Fletcher's sustained AA DPS to be "powerful" then sure, ZF-6 is just a small step down.  Personally, I consider Fletcher's sustained AA DPS to be "okay" and verging upon "slightly annoying to contend with if I'm playing my CV like an idiot".  I only consider Östergötland and Friesland of having "powerful" examples  of AA at this tier.  ZF-6 can't shred planes the way Friesland does.  ZF-6 will get dropped on and she cannot stave off repeated air attacks.  Your best defences are not to be made a target in the first place.  Use smoke, Just Dodge™ and hope for the best.  The good news is that ZF-6's aerial detection is wonderfully small, so you have that going for you.  Keep her AA off and they need to get in close in order to find you.

Yes, ZF-6 can put some hurt on planes that loiter but it would be a mistake to think that she can prevent a strike, especially when tier X planes get involved.  As with most destroyers, you're hoping for the CV player to be inexperienced or to make mistakes.  Protecting yourself is kind of a pipe dream unless they're already running out of planes... or you're playing Co-Op.  CVs in Co-Op are a bit of a joke.

I have these sorted in my usual way, using the formula ( Sustained AA DPS x [ range - 1km] ).  It's not perfect but it does give a sense of who has the better base AA DPS values.  That's why Z-44's chunky DPS rates lower than Jutland's, for example -- Jutland will keep enemy aircraft under fire for longer, even if the raw damage her guns can put out is overall less when aircraft are in optimum range.

VERDICT:  Keep your AA off until you absolutely need it and Just Dodge™.  Or go play co-op where enemy aircraft are XP piñatas cuz they don't dodge flak.

Vision Control
Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 7.42km / 5.83km
Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 3.2km / 2.59km
Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 2.79km
Maximum Firing Range:  From 11.86km to 13.76km

I make a lot of lists.  Here's a helpful one listing all of the destroyers within ZF-6's matchmaking, ranking them by how low they can potentially get their surface detection range.  Her 25th position may look alright, but context matters (for those wondering, ties are 'broken' by tier first and then the order in which nations were released into the game with tech-tree ships having precedence over premiums and reward ships) .  Tier VIII is a tough competition with ZF-6 being on par to most of her competitors (100m difference is nothing)..  She out-performs most of the VIIs barring Haida and she's reasonably comfortable against most of the tier IXs and Xs.

ZF-6's concealment is pretty damn good and, in my opinion, this saves this ship from ignominy.  Her guns are decent.  Between their auto-ricochet angles and Main Battery Reload Booster, they're more than alright.  Her torpedoes are painfully short ranged.  You can't really play with those when there's radar lurking about but towards end game?  Sure, they're more than workable and their high-speed a nightmare for any surviving battleships.  Her agility and speed are both disappointing.  Her health is bad for a tier IX destroyer and her AA power is over-hyped.  But with stealth, with good concealment, ZF-6 allows for some damn fun shenanigans, especially if you can survive until the latter half of a match.

Oh, but if she only had Hydroacoustic Search, she could be the total package -- good early in the game as well as late.  As it is, short of sniffing things out with her face, she has no special tools to help her suss out enemy lolibotes when smoke or island cover comes into play and that's a shame.  Still, she is small enough to out-spot some of her competitors.  To this end, knowing which ships you can comfortably spot while keeping hidden really ups her game.  This game play is very reminiscent of that of Fletcher, so those with experience there should be reasonably comfortable with how ZF-6 performs in this regard.  If you can afford the points for Radio Location, it will help immeasurably in this regard.  Keep a close eye on those team lists.

One thing to keep in mind here is that Fearless Brawler will soon be losing its associated concealment penalty and will become a must-have for any and all gunship destroyers that can afford it.  Taking it now worsens ZF-6's maximum concealment from 5.83km to 6.12km which is a pretty sizable leap (dropping her to 44th place on the graphic above).  That's a pretty hard compromise on one of her best features, so it's a bit of a hard sell at the moment.  If ZF-6 had more health or more speed (the latter to help avoid incoming fire), open water firing would be easier to endorse.  But as it stands, I'd hold off.

VERDICT:  Redemption.

Final Evaluation

"Fletcher with extra steps".

That's how ZF-6 feels to me.  And the comparison is horribly clumsy, I know.  Fletcher doesn't have a Main Battery Reload Booster.  She doesn't have improved AP performance, or high-penetration HE.  Fletcher's torpedoes are long ranged.  Fletcher doesn't scooch about like a dog dragging it's butt on the carpet either.  ZF-6 has a lot going for her that Fletcher doesn't, however Fletcher feels more "whole" and "put together" than ZF-6.  Her consumables feel like duct-tape keeping the concept from falling apart. I dunno, maybe it's just me.

Is ZF-6 any good?  Well, she's not awful.  Playing against her, I'm certainly going to respect those torpedoes and her Main Battery Reload Booster if I'm in close.  But she's not a destroyer I fear to face.  Seeing a Kitakaze on the enemy team?  Yeah, I sit up and take notice.  The same goes for a Fletcher, Jutland or Mogador.  I can't say the same for ZF-6.  This isn't a ship I'd balk at,  I'm happy taking a swipe at in my tier VII Haida, to give you an idea, while I wouldn't contest a duckybote.  I think that says a lot right there.

Mouse out.

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I thought ZF-6's origin story was that of a captured French destroyer that was completed by the Germans and thus has a mix of French engineering and German guns and a strange assortment of consumables derived from both nation's tech-tree trends.
To me, the ZF-6 has always seemed "French" with German finishing touches.

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9 hours ago, Wolfswetpaws said:

I thought ZF-6's origin story was that of a captured French destroyer that was completed by the Germans and thus has a mix of French engineering and German guns and a strange assortment of consumables derived from both nation's tech-tree trends.
To me, the ZF-6 has always seemed "French" with German finishing touches.

Yes. She was technically the French L`Opiniâtre (Le Hardi-class destroyer) which was named ZF-6 once after being captured on her slipway. WG took some liberty in creating the in game ship, so during the development they opted to rename the ship to reflect that they are not creating a fully accurate recreation of the finalized Franco-German hybrid project.

I have wondered how French players view the in game ships of ZF-6 and FR-25. I have also been flying French ornamental flags on my ZF-6, owing to her origins, despite the ship's own flag has been granted upon completion.

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11 hours ago, Wolfswetpaws said:

I thought ZF-6's origin story was that of a captured French destroyer that was completed by the Germans and thus has a mix of French engineering and German guns and a strange assortment of consumables derived from both nation's tech-tree trends.
To me, the ZF-6 has always seemed "French" with German finishing touches.

That was the ZF - 2 !!!


The hull of the French Le Hardi-class destroyer L'Opiniatre was captured intact and 16% complete in Bordeaux. The Kriegsmarine intended to complete her for service. Since French armament was not available, and for standardisation with the rest of the German Navy, 127 mm guns and German pattern torpedo tubes were ordered. Work proceeded tardily until all progress was abandoned in July 1943. The hull was eventually broken up on the slip


When the community caught wind of the design being wrong for ZF-2  WG went down the easy road and renamed it ZF-6 it was easier to make a B. S. design than actually start the whole process again after being caught with there pants down. 



Edited by tm63au
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16 minutes ago, tm63au said:

That was the ZF - 2 !!!


The hull of the French Le Hardi-class destroyer L'Opiniatre was captured intact and 16% complete in Bordeaux. The Kriegsmarine intended to complete her for service. Since French armament was not available, and for standardisation with the rest of the German Navy, 127 mm guns and German pattern torpedo tubes were ordered. Work proceeded tardily until all progress was abandoned in July 1943. The hull was eventually broken up on the slip


When the community caught wind of the design being wrong for ZF-2  WG went down the easy road and renamed it ZF-6 it was easier to make a B. S. design than actually start the whole process again after being caught with there pants down. 





WG caught out and back peddling " but but but but but " oh we will call it Zf- 6 then




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