Speed. Armour. Power.
This is how Wargaming advertised Prinz Eitel Friedrich in their teaser cinematics for this newest German premium. I think the implication is that Prinz Eitel Friedrich is supposed to possess all three. She doesn’t, at least not in the dramatic way that the ad makes you think she does.
This review was brought to you by my patrons on Patreon. Their contributions allow me the time to sit down and pull these ships apart. Prinz Eitel Friedrich was provided to me by Wargaming for evaluation purposes and to make motorboat and pew-pew noises while I sailed her around. This review is current as of the time of publishing which includes details of patch 0.7.12.
- Her Main Battery is precise with good fire angles and an accelerated reload time.
- Main battery HE shells and 150mm secondaries have improved penetration.
- Heavy secondary gun battery with a 5.0km range.
- Decent anti-aircraft firepower concentrated in large-caliber guns.
- Fast for a tier VI battleship with a top speed of 28.0kts.
- Lert says it’s drop dead gorgeous. I dunno that I agree but he helps me out a lot so I’ll give it to him.
- Vulnerable citadel for a German battleship with no turtleback armour.
- Armed with only eight 350mm guns with poor AP penetration and weak HE shells.
- Guns rotation rate feels sluggish. She can almost out-turn her turrets.
- Large turning radius of 800m.
- Feels blind with no spotter aircraft consumable.
Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult
Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme
Prinz Eitel Friedrich is an excellent premium for teaching new players “how to battleship”. She encourages the proper choice of ammunition and punishes players that expose their sides while still rewarding them for angling and using their agility. While she is relatively forgiving, she doesn’t offer brainless game play.
For veterans, Prinz Eitel Friedrich has a couple of fun tricks up her sleeve. However, said tricks get old quickly. Her agility is certainly an area to exploit, but the vulnerabilities of her armour profile and, most pressingly, her lackluster main battery hurt the carry potential of this ship.
– Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer.
– No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship.
- Prinz Eitel Friedrich’s main battery guns really let her down — so much so that even her great secondaries and sigma can’t bail her out from getting a rating.
- Her armour profile, agility and concealment are all lackluster compared to her peers. They earn a justifiable rating.
- The big fuss to be made about Prinz Eitel Friedrich is her anti-aircraft firepower which is the at its tier.
Prinz Eitel Friedrich is as vanilla as they come.
- No surprises here. Prinz Eitel Friedrich ‘s Damage Control Party is standard for a German battleship with a 15s active period and a 120s / 80s reset timer with unlimited charges.
- Her Repair Party is standard too. Stock, it has 3 charges. It heals back up to 14% of her maximum health per charge over 28 seconds. She queues up to 10% of citadel damage, 50% of any kind of penetration damage and 100% of flooding, fire and ramming damage. Her reset timer is 120s / 80s.
- It’s going to be pretty standard fare for a German battleship here. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1.
- In slot two, Damage Control System Modification 1 is your only port of call.
- You have some choice in slot three. Aiming System Modification 1 is optimal (and BORING) as it increases the performance of your main battery guns while also giving a soft boost to your secondaries. If you’re MANLY MAN (M-A-N, man!) take Secondary Battery Modification 2. Just be ready for the adoration from the multitudes who cannot hold back their need to bear your children and/or bask in your glorious glory. Finally, if you’re a salty- Oh my! – NAUGHTY WORD then AA Guns Modification 2 will help spit in the eye of those aircraft carrier players who had the audacity to cross you.
- Finally, Damage Control System Modification 2 is optimal in this last slot to keep fire damage down. However, if you like you can go for Steering Gears Modification 2 and attempt to angle and dodge against incoming fire instead of just tanking it.
Prinz Eitel Friedrich has two camouflage patterns. She comes with the standard Type 10 Camouflage found on most premiums. It provides:
- 50% bonus experience gains.
- 10% reduction in maintenance costs.
- 3% reduction to surface detection.
- 4% reduction of enemy accuracy.
If you complete the Mighty Prinz campaign, you can unlock a palette swap camouflage that provides identical bonuses to those listed above. Here’s what it looks like:
Main Battery: Eight 350mm guns in 4×2 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration
Secondary Battery: Fourteen 150mm guns in casememates sixteen 105mm guns in 8×2 turrets in a superfiring configuration. This gives a broadside of seven 150mm guns and eight 105mm guns.
It’s easy to form a love-hate relationship with Prinz Eitel Friedrich’s weapons. For a battleship, she’s very accurate (and precise to boot!). Her reload is fast. Her gun handling and fire angles are good. She’s even got good range and gun layout on her secondaries. Yet for all of these advantages, she struggles to deal reliable amounts of damage. It’s this level of inconsistency which soured my experience in Prinz Eitel Friedrich, and it’s arguably her biggest point of weakness.
Let’s begin with a universal good: Prinz Eitel Friedrich’s secondaries.
Like other German battleships, she has an excellent secondary battery complement. What’s more, she has favourable forward firing arcs on her weapons. When angled 30º to 40º to the enemy, eight of her gun mounts will engage (three of her dual 105s and five of her 150mm casemates) which is no small amount of firepower. The final feather in her cap is the increased penetration values found on her 150mm guns which can damage areas of up to 37mm worth of armour plate.
The drawback of her secondaries are typical for German battleships: Individually her HE shells do not hit particularly hard for their caliber. In addition, her 105mm guns lack the improved penetration of their 150mm cousins. At lower tiers, this is less of an issue as their 17mm worth of penetration is enough to directly damage most tier V, VI and VII destroyers (and many cruisers besides). However, it’s insufficient to damage the 19mm hulls of tier VIII lolibotes when she’s bottom tier. The skill Inertial Fuse for HE Shells can be used to overcome this, but it’s a heavy investment for arguably minimal gains.
Prinz Eitel Friedrich’s secondaries have 5.0km of stock range which may be upgraded up to 7.56km with the Secondary Battery Modification 2 upgrade, the Advanced Fire Training commander skill and the Mike Yankee Soxisix signal. Given the performance of her weapons, this is a sound investment and well worth the heavy price of specialization, especially with the overlapping buffs to her anti-aircraft firepower (see the AA-section below).
However, as we’ll see later on, the opportunities to use her secondaries aren’t as frequent as with other German battleships.
Main Battery Graphics Dump!
There’s a lot to cover in regards to Prinz Eitel Friedrich’s main battery guns. Let’s have these graphics save on my word-count.
Alright, so what did we just learn?
- Her HE sucks moose-balls but that’s nothing new for German battleships. She may have great HE penetration, but the fire chance and damage per shell is hella low.
- Her AP shells are alright. They hit pretty hard for a 14″ round. She just doesn’t have a lot of gun barrels so her alpha strike potential isn’t up there.
- Thankfully, she’s got great accuracy and a increased rate of fire, helping ensure she’ll land more hits despite her smaller battery.
- And finally, her AP penetration is terribad — the worst at her tier. Short of point blank ranges, she’s not getting through battleship belt armour.
Boiling all of this information down amounts to this: Prinz Eitel Friedrich struggles to do reliable damage. She can’t claim to be apt at bullying all of the cruisers she faces either. Her inability to overmatch higher tiered ships makes her AP shells ineffective when her targets angle. Overcoming the penetration deficiencies of Prinz Eitel Friedrich’s guns requires that a player change their gunnery habits. Focus on mid-tier cruisers whenever possible. If you must shoot at a battleship, aim for the upper hull and superstructure but be very conscious of angling. Don’t be shy of reaching for HE if needs be, but like all German battleships, this should be a last resort rather than a default ammunition choice.
And finally, this is one of the worst battleships in the game when it comes to being up-tiered. Against tier VIII opponents, her weapon systems just aren’t up to scratch.
- Great secondaries
- Horrible penetration really holds these guns back.
- They are, however, quite precise for German battleship guns. Pick on mid-tier cruisers for best results.
Hit Points: 52,300hp
Min Bow & Deck Armour: 25mm
Maximum Citadel Protection: 300mm belt + 60mm magazine wall.
Torpedo Damage Reduction: 27%
Prinz Eitel Friedrich’s armour scheme is an embarrassment to German battleships everywhere. She can receive citadel hits — almost reliably too! My god, what is the world (of warships) coming to?
As meme worthy as a German-battleship with a vulnerable citadel is to say, Prinz Eitel Friedrich is not lacking in citadel defense, nor is she a poorly protected battleship. Her citadel sits just beneath the waterline, protected by 270mm to 300mm of belt armour and then with a 50mm to 60mm citadel wall behind that. Angled properly, outside of point blank ranges, she has little to fear from her tier-mates. She has three concerns where it comes to citadel protection and none of these are unique to Prinz Eitel Friedrich:
- Having her bows overmatched by 380mm+ AP shells.
- Engaging high penetration guns from tier VII+.
- Being caught broadside (that’s a paddlin’).
Being caught broadside speaks for itself. Having her bow overmatched is unfortunate — Prinz Eitel Friedrich almost could claim immunity to taking citadel hits this way except that she sits too low in the water (more on this later). Finally, Prinz Eitel Friedrich must be cautious around the high penetration guns found on West Virginia and most tier VII+ battleships. They have enough punch in their guns to foil her citadel protection at most combat ranges short of them suffering from autobounce mechanics.
On the whole, while it is true that Prinz Eitel Friedrich does have a more exposed citadel than any other German battleship, her machine spaces and magazines aren’t any more vulnerable than most other battleships at her tier. Thus, this isn’t a weakness per se, just a curiosity for the German battleship line. i mean, if you’re going to fuss about anything, fuss more about her lack of decent anti-torpedo protection…
Whether by design or a consequence of displacing more water than intended, Prinz Eitel Friedrich’s best armour sits just below the surface of the water. For example, it’s her 270mm section of the belt that’s visible over the waterline, not her 300mm. Arguments could be made that having her thickest plate just beneath the ocean’s surface (in line with her magazines and machine spaces) helps her resist citadel damage. However, it does make her more likely to take penetrating hits as a whole.
Furthermore, having the best sections of her belt submerged means that she loses out on being able to bow tank with the extended waterline belt. Look at it! It’s 30mm right to the tip of her prow with a 120mm section behind it. Prinz Eitel Friedrich could have bown-tanked for days had that been above the water, foiling attempts to citadel her through the bow against all comers. With Prinz Eitel Friedrich’s awesome secondaries and this armour profile, she could have been an amazing brawler.
I am disappoint.
The catch is, of course, if we raised her up out of the water to make better use of this armour scheme, her citadel would come right up with her. Imagine the over reaction from the community had that come to pass?
Prinz Eitel Friedrich’s dispersed armour scheme gives her increased resistance to cruiser and destroyer-caliber HE shells. Specifically, her 50mm deck and 150mm upper hull shatter shells that strike her amidships, reducing the amount of damage she takes from spam. This does not provide her with immunity or even a significant level of defense — it merely means she will take somewhat less HE damage than other battleships.
Against AP shells, her armour profile is a bit more of a mixed bag. The increased armour along her deck and upper hull does make her immune to overmatching. Prinz Eitel Friedrich angles beautifully and can bounce shells for days provided they don’t boop her snoot with overmatching shells. However, when she’s not angled properly, the increased armour just makes it more likely for shells to fuse and result in penetrating hits instead of providing fortunate overpenetrations. In my opinion, there’s more good than bad there, overall.
Finally, Prinz Eitel Friedrich will face AP bombs — and increasingly so with the CV rework entering its final phase. I could not test the new ordnance but I could test the old. American AP bombs can land citadel hits but it’s exceedingly unlikely (like 1 in 10 hits amidships). Graf Zeppelin is, of course, still overperforming and lands said citadels much more reliably.
On the whole, Prinz Eitel Friedrich’s protection scheme is pretty average and nothing to get excited about. Yes, she can take citadel hits but this wouldn’t be worth even noting if she wasn’t a German battleship.
- Armour scheme is meh overall.
- She sits too low in the water to make the best use of her dispersed armour scheme.
- Yes, her citadel is vulnerable. No, it’s not a crippling flaw.
What it would have needed to be : The competition for the best spot right now all circles around who has the best Repair Party consumable. PEF would need something similar to be a contender.
Top Speed: 28 knots
Port Turning Radius: 800m
Rudder Shift Time: 14.0 seconds
4/4 Engine Speed Turning Rate: 4.0º/s
Prinz Eitel Friedrich has the straight line speed that’s so often lacking among mid-tier battleships. A top speed of 28 knots is all kinds of impressive when she’s top tier, but it loses its shine when she’s not. Once you wade into tier VII and VIII matches there are too many opponents that can keep up or outpace her. This includes some big scaries like the Richelieu-class, Scharnhorst-class and even the King George Vs can keep pace with you.
Her speed comes at the cost of handling. Prinz Eitel Friedrich wallows when she turns. She needs a lot of room for a mid-tier battleship to come about and this hurts her overall rate of turn too. Furthermore, without help, her rate of turn at maximum speed matches the rotation rate of her guns, making Expert Marksman almost a must for the purposes of comfort.
AA Gun Calibers: 105mm/ 37mm / 20mm
AA Aura Ranges: 4.5km / 3.5km / 2.0km
AA DPS per Aura: 133.6 / 20.8 / 36
Prinz Eitel Friedrich’s AA firepower is insane for tier VI — rather, it’s potentially insane. Right out of the box, it’s not bad. Her anti-aircraft defense is sufficient to put the hurt on tier V aircraft and it will bruise some tier VI squadrons that poke at her. Fully upgraded, magical things happen — and by magical, I mean she’s nigh invulnerable to air attack form same tier or lower aircraft carriers. Prinz Eitel Friedrich effectively has the same anti-aircraft firepower at tier VI as Tirpitz has at tier VIII. While Tirpitz is hardly the bastion of air defense at her own tier, Tirpitz doesn’t face off against Bogue and Zuiho.
Of course, then again, neither will Prinz Eitel Friedrich in about a month.
As exciting as Prinz Eitel Friedrich’s anti-aircraft firepower is right now, its potency may not last. We’re on the eve of the aircraft carrier rework in 0.8.0 and anything can and will happen between now and then. I would not throw time and money at Prinz Eitel Friedrich based on her AA defense because it’s subject to change. Flak may become useless. It might be that large caliber AA guns aren’t considered as valuable under the new mechanics. On the flip side, they may become god-tier.
We just don’t know. Basing any decisions on that uncertainty is downright foolish.
What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to : She’s pretty untouchable right now. I do think she represents the upper limit of AA power for tier VI battleships for the foreseeable future. Let’s see how long it takes before Wargaming makes me wrong.
Base Surface Detection: 15.08km
Air Detection Range: 12.39km
Minimum Surface Detection Range: 12.58km
Detection Range when Firing in Smoke: 12.92km
Main Battery Firing Range: 17.82km
There’s a whole lot of ‘meh’ going on here. Prinz Eitel Friedrich is neither stealthy nor a thunderchunker. The best that could be said is that as she faces higher tiered opponents, her concealment looks better and better but without ever grossing over into the “good” threshold.
I Want Mackensen’s Hat
There are three builds to consider with Prinz Eitel Friedrich. One is incredibly boring and subscribes to the usual “build to prevent fires” with Basics of Survivability and Fire Prevention as the tier 3 and 4 skill choices. Follow it up with Concealment Expert and you’ve got a solid 14pt build. It works, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not one I find terribly interesting even if it is closer to optimal.
Instead I’ve found Prinz Eitel Friedrich a wonderful ship to train German cruiser commanders. I stuck my AA-build Prinz Eugen commander on her (with the skills on the left) and laughed all of the way to the bank. Alternatively you can go with a soft-secondary build with some survivability elements on the right. I would stay away from Manual Fire Control for Secondary Battery — it doesn’t give much in the way of returns at tier VI.
In many respects, Prinz Eitel Friedrich contrasts greatly with another recent premium: West Virginia 1941. In effect, players are allowed to pick their poison:
- Do you want an inflexible ship that cannot redeploy as needed but can do all of the damage when (if) she finally gets there?
- Or do you want a flexible ship that struggles to deal reliable damage against most targets?
In effect, one is effective but not terrible fun to play. The other really makes you work for your results but feels pretty comfortable on the whole. I’ll let you decide which description fits with which ship as it really depends upon your point of view and what traits you value more in a given ship.
As premiums go, Prinz Eitel Friedrich is alright. For a giveaway ship, she’s exactly where I would expect her to be: passable but not great. If I had my wish, she’d have slightly better gun handling — maybe 5º/s to start (36 seconds for 180º) and we’d go from there. I’d like her to really emphasize comfort over performance and right now her gun handling is the only stickler to give her that crown at the moment. To make her powerful, she’d need a faster reload or maybe some improved concealment. But don’t get me wrong. She’s not a bad ship. She’s going to struggle to win some people over though.
Prinz Eitel Friedrich’s biggest flaw is that she uptiers so poorly. Now that’s a common complaint, especially for tier VI ships. However, Prinz Eitel Friedrich is a particularly bad specimen, echoing many of the problems Dunkerque experiences with not having guns big enough to overmatch cruiser extremities. However, PEF compounds this by lacking the volume of fire (Fuso, Arizona, New Mexico, Normandie) or penetration (Dunkerque) found on the other medium-caliber tier VI battleships to compensate. This leaves her with a very small menu of targets she can successfully engage in these match-ups and that lack really hurts. This is where I wish she was at least super sneaky so she could close the distance and make up for the lack of penetration but oh well. That would probably make her over-perform when top tier.
On the whole, Prinz Eitel Friedrich is a well put together ship. She’s tightly balanced which may make her feel a little dull. I’d rather play Scharnhorst or Graf Spee.
Would I Recommend?
There are two ways to acquire Prinz Eitel Friedrich. You can buy her in the premium shop or your can attempt to earn her for free by accomplishing missions. iChase goes into detail on how to acquire it in this video:
- PVE Battles
How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots?
Yes. Prinz Eitel Friedrich’s speed and secondaries make her a great addition for Co-Op and scenarios. Her flexibility in the latter case is especially welcome and her AA will be a great help when (if?) CVs are re-implemented into these missions.
- Random Battle Grinding:
This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements.
Yes with a big ol’ butt. Prinz Eitel Friedrich makes for a good cruiser trainer for your German commanders. Just beware of that uptiering. It hurts.
- For Competitive Gaming:
Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding.
No. There are better ships to choose. Get Warspite instead. If you want a German battleship, Bayern is a better choice.
- For Collectors:
If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you.
Yes. The Mackensen-class was built in steel but never finished. As a WWI era battlecruiser and the first German battlecruiser of that era, it’s hard to say no.
- For Fun Factor:
Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play?
Yes. She’s a comfortable ship to play.
- What’s the Final Verdict?
How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage – Meh – Gud – Overpowered?
GARBAGE– I hate it!
Mehbote – An average ship. Probably forgettable.
Gudbote – The best thing ever. Totally not overpowered because I like padding my stats in it.
OVERPOWERED – I hate playing against it!
Look at that! Two reviews out in less than a week. I’ve been working on this review since mid-October. In fact, there was a lot of prep-overlap between this review and West Virginia 1941, as you can imagine. The only fly in the ointment was that Prinz Eitel Friedrich kept changing and there was the upcoming American battleship buff which forced me to restart my evaluation a couple of times.
For those keeping track there are still two outstanding reviews that need to be done: Charleston and Dreadnought. There is still the chance that Wargaming could release a new ship between now and the New Year so let’s not discount that possibility either. Thank you all for reading and thanks especially to my patrons on Patreon for helping me have the time to put these reviews together.
Armour penetration data was pulled from: