ShipComrade

Premium Ship Review #134 – Friesland

The following is a review of Friesland, the tier IX Dutch destroyer serving in World of Warships under the Pan European flag.  She has been provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes.  This is the release version of the vessel, with all statistics discussed in this article current as of patch 0.8.10.  Please be aware that her statistics may change in the future.

Friesland’s inclusion into World of Warships is reason to celebrate. I was absolutely beside myself with joy when the first Canadian ship got added, so it’s really exciting to see the first Dutch ship.  I know one particular, box-bound black cat that definitely deserves to come out to the fore in this review, and totally not because I’m deliberately forgetting or putting off anything of any import.

From Premium Ship Review #105 – HMCS Haida.

You can ignore that.

No need to dwell on the text.

Ugh, FINE!  Let’s get this over with…

This is because I made you wear that sunhat that one time, isn’t it?  At least it’s just this chibi-avatar.  I was worried Chobi was going to go all ham on this commission, but he looks like he was able to keep things reasonably tame.

Consarnit.  Alright, Lert, please give us a rundown of this ship’s history!

The war was won, our people liberated from under the yoke of occupation, but at great cost. The Royal Netherlands Navy was devastated, a mere shadow of what it once was. Our destroyer fleet, sunk. What few, outdated light cruisers we had, foundered. All we had left were a few submarines, minesweepers and a sloop or two. Hardly enough to patrol local waters, never mind protecting our interest overseas.

Fortunately for us, the neighboring British had a different problem altogether. Their wartime production had left them with too many ships to realistically keep in active service, and we were able to purchase a few destroyers from the Royal Navy, and even an aircraft carrier. This way, at least, we had a presence again upon the waves. But, having to rely on another nation’s hand-me-downs wasn’t the ideal situation for a nation like the Netherlands, with our proud sea-faring history.

After the war several projects were set up and enacted to bring our modest fleet back up to strength, and with Dutch designed ships. A light cruiser hull under construction from before the war was adapted and work began anew upon it, to revised design. A new destroyer was also designed, based on lessons learned during the war. The submarine destroyer 1947 project.

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However, due to funds being low as the Netherlands was being rebuildt progress on this project was slow. These destroyers, later renamed Holland class, would use machinery ordered pre-war for the Gerard Callenburgh class destroyers and weapons by built Bofors. Designs continued to evolve as technology advanced, and four of these ships were eventually built.

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HNLMS Gelderland, a Holland class ASW destroyer

Lessons learned from the Holland class ships led the Royal Netherlands Navy to enact some redesigns. Eight new hulls to these redesigned specifications were ordered, laid down and commissioned. These were the Friesland class. These ships used a hull very similar to the Holland class and featured copies of the Gearing class engines, built under license by Dutch heavy industry Werkspoor. The weapons were ordered from Bofors, and the radar suite and other electronics were built by Dutch company Hollandse Signaalapparaten, which itself became a subsidiary of French Thales defense industries in 1990.

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HNLMS Friesland

The Friesland-class did not do much of note during their service life, from the late 1950s all the way up to the middle to late 1970s. Friesland herself, along side light cruiser De Zeven Provincien, visited Leningrad in 1956. The first Dutch ships to do so since 1914. In 1962 Friesland was sent to New West Guinea, where she thwarted an Indonesian landing on the island of Misool, at the time part of Netherlands New Guinea. Here she fired her weapons in anger, warding off airplanes.

By the 1970s though these ships were hopelessly outdated and obsolete. To this end a series of ten 3900 ton ASW frigates of the Kortenaer class were laid down and commissioned, and the Friesland class was phased out. Friesland herself was decommissioned in 1979 and subsequently scrapped. Only her wooden nameplate remains, displayed at the Royal Netherlands Navy museum in Den Helder.

Thank you, Lert.  Let’s get back to the review (and more Chobi commissions)!

PROS

  • Lertbote
  • Fantastic gun handling with good fire angles, 360º gun rotation and a solid 25º/s rotation rate.
  • Ridiculous rate of fire, with a start-of-match reload as low as 1.43s which leads to some of the highest potential DPM numbers of any destroyer in the game at any tier.
  • Excellent ballistics, making firing over distance very comfortable.
  • Excellent (and downright absurd) fire setting characteristics.
  • Ridiculous levels of anti-aircraft firepower for a destroyer.
  • On top of the above point, she comes equipped with Defensive AA Fire.
  • She also comes equipped with Hydroacoustic Search and doesn’t need to choose between using this and DFAA.
  • Makes use of an American Smoke Generator with their long smoke duration.

CONS

  • No torpedoes (!)
  • Small hit point pool of 17,600hp.
  • Small caliber shells, even for a destroyer, limiting her HE and AP penetration.
  • Only two, poorly protected gun mounts.  Losing one (or having it obscured) halves her firepower.
  • Large surface detection range starting at 8.18km and only dropping to 6.43km with every possible upgrade.
  • Does not have access to an Engine Boost consumable limiting her speed and flexibility.

Overview

Skill Floor:  Simple / Casual/ CHALLENGING / Difficult
Skill Ceiling:  Low / Moderate / High / EXTREME

Friesland is weird.   This is a destroyer that patently rejects the iconic destroyer tool-set yet still makes demands that Friesland complete traditional destroyer roles.   She’s still expected to scout, harass capital ships and contest cap circles.  She’s asked to do this with poor agility, poor concealment and no torpedoes.  What may surprise you is that she’s good at all of these tasks.  The absence of these tools merely takes players out of their comfort zone, which is bad news for those who are inexperienced.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a destroyer being asked to fill these duties with an asset-handicap.  Truly, the only thing unique to Friesland is her lack of torpedoes but we’ve had destroyers before whose torpedoes were so short ranged as to be highly situational if not bordering upon non-functional.  What is more novel is that she combines all of these deficits and still comes out as an exceedingly powerful ship.

Options

Friesland stands out here for what she’s lacking:  Namely an Engine Boost consumable.  She’s not the first destroyer to go without, but it’s still noteworthy.  I’ll go into more details with its implications in the Agility section below.

Consumables

  • Friesland’s Damage Control Party is standard for a destroyer.  This has a 5s up time and a 60s / 40s reset timer with unlimited charges.
  • Her Smoke Generator is American flavoured, giving it longer emission and duration times over a standard smoke generator (I’ve included those values in parenthesis) .  Friesland has a 30s emission time (as opposed to 20s), with each cloud lasting 127s (as opposed to 93s) and a 160s / 80s reset timer.  However, she starts with only two charges — one less than other destroyers.
  • Friesland also comes with Defensive AA Fire.  Like her Smoke Generator, Friesland is limited to two charges to start with, putting her behind one charge compared to other DDs with this consumable.  It’s otherwise standard for a destroyer with a 50% AA DPS gain, a 40 second active period and an 80 second reload.

The big one here, is this guy:

  • Friesland has a Hydroacoustic Search.  It detects ships at 5km and torpedoes at 3.5km with a 100s active period and two charges base.

Upgrades

There’s a lot of upgrades to go over here, but it largely comes down to the play style you’re building for.  There are optimal options here so I’ll focus on those and touch base on the others.

  • In slot 1, Main Armaments Modification 1 is best.  Losing either of Friesland’s main battery guns (even on the short term) is terrible.  If you’re really salty about aircraft (so much so that it overrides common sense) then Auxillary Armaments Modification 1 isn’t a bad choice.  This helps preserve Frielsand’s 40mm Bofors, doubling their hit points from 600hp to 1,200hp.  Finally, if  detonations make you hate everything but don’t have enough Juliet Charlie signals to go around, you can take Magazine Modification 1 to help mitigate them.
  • In slot number two, the special upgrade Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 is optimal.  You can purchase this from the Armory for 17,000 Coal .  This increases its action time from 100s to 120s, helping increase your detection abilities.  Alternatively, for the same cost, you can take Defensive AA Fire Modification 1 to increase the action time of your Defensive AA Fire consumable from 40s to 48s.  This is generally unnecessary — everything tends to be dead in less time short of when you’re actually running down a carrier and they are fast-cycling planes.  Again, if you’re rage-posting on Reddit or the forums daily about CVs, this could be worthwhile.  Finally, if you don’t have the Coal to spend, then default to the destroyer-standard Propulsion Modification 1.
  • In slot three, because destroyer-caliber dispersion is so tight, you can default to AA Guns Modification 1 as the optimal choice, adding two flak bursts to Friesland’s AA (bringing the total up to an impressive 8).  If you really need every ounce of accuracy, then take Aiming Systems Modification 1.
  • Onto slot number four.  Here, take Propulsion System Modification 2 to help with acceleration.  You’re going to spend a lot of time in smoke in Friesland, so having a bit more pep in the engines from a dead stop is useful, especially when changing directions from forward to reverse and back again to dodge fire.  If you’re the confident sort and don’t imagine being  caught unawares, you can default to Steering Gears Modification 2 to drop her rudder shift time from 4 seconds to 3.2 seconds.
  • There should be no surprises here with slot 5.  Concealment Modification 1 is going to get the most mileage.  However, there’s an argument to be made using Steering Gears Modification 3 for (much) better rudder shift handling.
  • In slot 6, more dakka is best.  Main Battery Modification 3 is optimal for obvious reasons.  Still, there are alternatives.  If you want to play it safe as a bombardment ship (and commander skill points are at a premium) then take Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 to increase her range up to 14.3km.  Finally, if you’re convinced the CV rework was the worst thing ever of all time an want to make a public statement, you can load up on AA Guns Modification 2.

Captain Skills

Going hand in hand with upgrades, it’s worth speaking about Captain Skills.  There are many different viable builds for Friesland.  I preferred a generalist build with an emphasis on damage output and fire starting.

This is the build I’m currently running on Friesland. It leans heavily towards making enemy ships do the burny-dance.

Your first 10 skill points should look like the following:

  • Start with Priority Target.  You can take Preventative Maintenance or Incoming Fire Alert as an alternative if you prefer.
  • Last Stand is a must.
  • Survivability Expert should be your first choice here.
  • For ease of play, take Concealment Expert for your 10th skill point.  You can skip this entirely for the same reasons you can opt out of taking Concealment Modification 1 (see Refrigerator below) or simply leave this til last while you double up on skills from other tiers.

There are lots of viable skills for Friesland.  In order, I would prioritize them thusly:

  • Basic Fire Training has a ton of value as it double-dips on two of Friesland’s considerable strengths:  DPM and AA DPS.  Couple this with Main Battery Modification 3 for ridiculous damage output and fire setting.
  • Demolition Expert helps with that fire chance.  Stacked with BFT and MBM3 and the numbers get truly frightening.
  • Superintendent boosts Friesland’s considerable advantages with consumables.
  • Advanced Fire Training is a good alternative if you want to focus on DPM with your upgrades and still want some extra reach.  This is particularly handy for back-line builds that intend to use island cover and smoke to do their heavy lifting.
  • Adrenaline Rush provides a faster reload and thus more DPM and fires.
  • Radio Location has a lot of uses, both offensively and defensively.
  • Inertial Fuse for HE Shells has less appeal.  It hurts her fire chance for one.  For another, it only provides her the ability to directly damage 25mm armoured sections with her HE shells.  This value is quite common in her Matchmaking when she’s top tier, but it largely disappears when she’s not.
  • Vigilance is novel for it’s anti-torpedo use, particularly when paired with Hydroacoustic Search.

There are other skills that are handy, but not particularly worth the points when compared to those above.

Camouflage

Friesland comes with stunning Type 10 Camouflage providing the usual Tier IX bonuses.  They are:

  • 3% reduction in surface detection.
  • 4% increase to the dispersion of enemy gunnery.
  • 20% reduction in post-battle service costs
  • 100% increase to experience points earned.
Easily one of the best looking ships in the game. That camouflage pattern makes her lines look especially gorgeous.  Even Blimpy thinks so.  You can change the nation flag on Friesland from Pan European to Dutch by scrolling down to the bottom of your cosmetic flag options.

Firepower

Main Battery:  Four 120mm/50 Bofors in 2×2 turrets in an A-X configuration.

Friesland’s guns are bloody amazing.  Let’s summarize, shall we?

  • Good fire angles (30º forward, 35º rear)
  • Excellent traverse rate of 25º/s
  • Guns can rotate 360º.
  • Very high fire chance of 8% per shell.
  • 1.8 second (!) stock reload time.

Ohm baby!  Everything is just window dressing on top of that 1.8 second reload.  With the Basic Fire Training and Main Battery Modification 3 upgrade, Friesland gets her reload down to just over 1.4s.  From all four guns, that’s 168 rounds per minute — the same volume of fire that comes off a stock Atlanta-class cruiser.  I say again, Friesland has the equivalent firepower of an Atlanta on a destroyer’s hull.  If you can’t make that work, there’s something wrong with you.

Friesland’s shells would have to suck sweaty moose-balls in order for this to be anything short of amazing.  If they knocked every category out of the park, then these weapons would easily qualify as god-tier.  These aren’t Soviet 130mm rifles, however, so there are a list of strengths and weaknesses to contend with.

There are four points to address:

  • Friesland’s 120mm HE shells have poor penetration potential.
  • Friesland’s HE shell damage is kinda meh.
  • Friesland has range issues.
  • Friesland has no torpedoes.
Friesland’s gun handling is phenomenal. My only beef is that she doesn’t have better rearward firing angles, but I suppose I can let this slide.  Her 360º gun rotation and fast traverse speeds are so amazingly comfortable to use.

HE, IFHE and the Future Cruiser Hulls

Friesland damages areas of up to 19mm with her HE shells, which lets her pummel just about any destroyer hull she comes across.  She’s capable of directly damaging the superstructures of tier VIII+ battleships and the hulls of tier VII cruisers.  This should sound like a familiar list of targets as it’s ones that are shared with most other destroyer-caliber guns short of the super-powerful Japanese 100mm/65s on the ducky-botes and Jutland’s 113mm guns.  The big area of contention here is that Friesland doesn’t play nice with the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells skill.

With IFHE, Friesland can only damage areas of up to 25mm.  While this armour value is common enough, there is a big gap missing:  Friesland can’t hurt the 27mm hulls of American and German heavy cruisers.  Wargaming has proposed changes to cruiser hulls that may (or may not) go into effect.  27mm deck and hull sections are going to become increasingly commonplace and the changes to IFHE may not be to Friesland’s advantage.  Personally, I’ve been going without this skill and I’m not feeling it’s loss.

Mediocre HE Damage

For their caliber, Friesland’s HE damage is “okay”.  British 120mm guns deal 1,700 damage per shell and her’s do 1,750.  These aren’t like Haida’s meaty 1,900 damage hits.  This lack of hitting power adds up over time, and if there’s one thing that Friesland does, is stack things up over time.  Her AP shells are much nicer in this regard.

Still, I would have preferred Friesland’s HE hits to feel a bit more explody than they are.

Big Head and Little Arms

Range is a double-edged sword for destroyers, often with more drawbacks than gains.  The further a destroyer can reach, the further out she’s detected when she fires.  For a class which is heavily reliant upon stealth, there comes an obvious tipping point where gun range becomes more of a detriment than a help, especially when linked with the ills of small-caliber ballistics.

This isn’t a destroyer where you’re rewarded for closing with the enemy — quite the contrary with her lack of torpedoes. Friesland can hit targets up to 12.4km away with a stock build.  So extra range would seem like a cure-all, even with the visibility issues this would bring along.  Her ballistics, though, preclude her from being able to lay any kind of effective fire at distances greater than 14km.  Even at this distance, she has a shell flight time of 12.7 seconds, which gets punitive for hitting anything but big, dumb targets.  Her ballistics are almost identical to Jutland and Daring’s 113mm guns.  They’re slightly faster onto a target at short range but slightly slower at the extremes.

I don’t feel that double-stacking range upgrades makes sense.  Even a single upgrade already pushes Friesland’s gunnery to uncomfortable shell flight times.  Had she come into the game with 13km worth of range, I think I wouldn’t feel the need to address this at all.  12.4km feels just a little too short.

Friesland Plays:  UHF’s Wheel of Fish

So, Friesland chose the box.  She’s the first destroyer in World of Warships to go without fish.

The obvious impact of her lack of torpedoes is her general inability to deliver massive hits.  This isn’t a ship where Devastating Strikes are in the cards.  While you can generally count on most destroyers not wanting to mess with you, the same cannot be said about cruisers and battleships.  Being rushed down by an angry chonker is not where you want to be.  This means respecting the proximity of angry fat ships and giving them lots of space when you make them mad.

And you will make them mad.

I’m sure someone could go into the psychology of it, but in my experience, keeping targets outside of 10km and keeping them under fire (and on fire!) generally prevented them from wanting to rush smoke.  Of course, it’s seldom the ship you’re aggressively burning down that you need worry about — it’s that cruiser sneaking up on you at the same time.

Let me be clear:  Friesland’s lack of a torpedoes is a flaw and an appreciable one, but it’s not crippling.  Friesland is hardly the first destroyer around which her game play focus was her main battery guns.  Most mid-tier Soviet destroyers perform well without making use of fish, though it’s a trap to forget what the mere threat of them provides.

Lert told me he found the lack of torpedoes liberating and I have to agree.  It’s certainly an easy way to make Friesland memorable.

Now the Good Stuff…

I could tell you, or I could show you.

<sigh> Enjoy this outfit while you can, Lert.  Friesland is one of the best fire-spamming destroyers in the game.  She even takes functional primacy over Harugumo at tier 10 grace of that ship being so closely tied to IFHE.  The only factor I didn’t include was Mogador’s Main Battery Reload Booster consumable. Suffice to say, on the very short term, the Baguette can spike her fire chance appreciably, but not enough to contest Friesland’s dominance here.
Friesland is the third highest DPM destroyer in the game currently. That’s insane.  It’s not on high-tier cruiser levels, but it’s nothing to sneeze at.  Underestimate her and she will chew off your face.  In a close range duel assuming 50% accuracy, she can deal 20,000 HE damage (0.33x penetration damage) to a destroyer in as little as 25 seconds.

Friesland combines this:

With this:

She’s a rude shock for many a destroyer player who underestimate her.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen would-be gunship destroyers engage Friesland only to regret their life decisions.  The dawning realization and the onset of panic is delicious to watch.

Of course, it’s when the fires start stacking that things get magical.

The best practice in Friesland is to reach for AP whenever possible, though.  Her AP performance is solid, with a surprising bite of bite to her shells.  Their gun caliber belies their penetration with Friesland having better bite than anything that isn’t French or Soviet at her tier.  At 10km, she manages can punch through 75mm worth of steel — more than enough to tickle the extremities of the larger ships she faces.   This leads to a bit of a dance with Friesland spraying down a target with HE to start fires and once they’re lit, settling in with AP shells so long as the angle and range permits.

With this reliance on shell volume, it’s little wonder that Friesland thrives on buffs to her rate of fire.  Stacking Basic Fire Training and Main Battery Modification 3 is a must.  Don’t skimp out on it unless you’ve got a really good reason.

If you want to set a lot of fires, do everything you can to improve Friesland’s reload time. Even with an Inertial Fuse for HE Shells build, a Basic Fire Training + Main Battery Modification 3 build will go a long way towards buffing the number of fires you stack.

Smokey Island Waifus

The basics of Friesland gunnery involves the occasional close-range duel with an enemy destroyer, but largely devolve towards spamming at larger targets from cover.  Her ballistics aren’t nearly as floaty as American 127mm/38s which necessitates giving a bit more room when snuggling with islands.  Though you’ll be tempted to simply sit in open water in smoke and blaze away, this is a mistake.

The constant shell stream coming off of Friesland gives her position away making it much easier for your opponents to dial in on her position even when obscured.  While her Hydroacoustic Search will do wonders for sniffing out the inevitable walls of skill lobbed at her smoke palls, they won’t save you from shells.  The only real defense here is putting a solid bit of cover between you and your opponents.  Map knowledge and awareness will keep you alive.

This creates a very obvious skill gap in Friesland’s performance.  She’s not an easy ship to do well in.  There are no torpedoes to pad out your numbers.  It’s all about staying alive long enough to stack those fires and chew up exposed enemies.

Summary

  • Friesland doesn’t have fish but she doesn’t need them.
  • She is one of the best destroyer gunships in the game.
  • Her ballistics limit her to engagements within 14km or so.  They similarly shorten the list of which islands she can use as cover.

Defense

Hit Points:  17,600
Min Bow & Deck Armour:  19mm

If Friesland’s guns are amazing then her durability is average to poor.  Friesland has no hidden armour geometries.  She has no armour plates that are magically thick enough to foil AP or HE shells. Her 17,600 hit point pool is very modest.

Friesland’s hit point woes doesn’t bother nearly so much as her gun durability.  Now there’s nothing out of the ordinary here.  She has the same 4,000 hit points on her main battery gun as every other tier IX destroyer does.  They are very lightly armoured though — a mere 6mm, so everything that hits them is going to hurt.  High Explosive blast damage, especially from British battleships and bombs are particularly dangerous.  While other destroyers suffer similar main-battery fragility, losing a gun on Friesland simply hurts more.  You have nothing (NOTHING) to fall back upon. Main Battery Modification 1 is an absolute must to shore up their survivability.  With this installed, you’re more likely to lose the ship itself before you lose a gun.

One final note:  Her rear magazine is freakin’ ginormous and detonations are a thing.  Have those Juliet Charlie signals ready, particularly if you’re using other signals to boost her fire setting chance.

Friesland’s pretty middling here, not that it matters. Her hit point total isn’t terrible, but it’s not great. She also doesn’t have access to any kind of heal.  Repair Party is uncommon at this tier but it’s not rare, so going without is definitely a notable disadvantage.  Oh well, enemy DDs can’t heal if Friesland saws them in half before the damn consumable can even finish ticking over.

Agility

Top Speed: 36 knots
Port Turning Radius:
620m
Rudder Shift Time: 4s
4/4 Engine Speed Rotation Rate:
7.5º/s

The mediocrity carries on with Friesland’s agility.

The gold standard for top speed with destroyers are the high tier French boats.  They can exceed 50 knots and cruise around comfortably at 40+ without blinking an eye.  At just 36 knots, Friesland feels downright pedestrian.  She can keep pace with most of the rest of the pack, but only just, and that falls away if people reach for their consumables.

Friesland doesn’t have an Engine Boost.  It’s a challenge to control engagement distances in running battles with Friesland.  This is most keenly felt in the late-stages of a given match, where cruisers can be left off their leash and destroyers can really stretch their legs.  Friesland’s 36 knot (37.8kt with signal) speed just feels lacking in these moments.  Getting charged by thunderchunker in Friesland is a hair raising affair and it really limits her ability to wiggle and dodge under duress when she’s trying to run away.  Her lack of torpedoes are no more keenly felt than in these moments.

Speaking of dodging, her handling is … well, it’s average like her speed.  Destroyers start feeling really nimble when they exceed 8º/s to 8.5º/s.  While still agile, Friesland feels a bit chonktacular here — she feels like a big destroyer.  Friesland lacks the British improved engines so it’s not like she had some hidden compensation for her lack of an Engine Boost.

There is some consolation, however:   Her awesome gun traverse and her Hydroacoustic Search consumable make everything feel less of a detriment than they are.  The latter will keep you safe from incoming torpedoes, giving you plenty of time to adjust course as needed.  The former means you’re never struggling to bring guns on target.  Friesland is pretty meh in this category.  Her speed is an issue, but any concerns about her agility are smoothed over by her gun traverse, fire angles and consumables.

Put that away!  I swear, you had too much fun with this outfit, Chobs.  Friesland’s pretty meh when it comes to the quality of her wiggle butt. Her 620m turning radius is nice, she just lacks the straight line speed to boost her rate of turn.

Anti-Aircraft Defense

Flak Bursts:  6 for 1820 damage per blast.
Long Ranged (up to 6km): 
Approx 42.6 damage every 0.29s (147dps)
Medium Ranged (up to 3.5km):  Approx 82.4 damage every 0.29s (284dps)

Just Dodge™ engaged!

Friesland is an excellent anti-aircraft platform and not just for a destroyer.  She has better long and medium range AA firepower than Cleveland and Baltimore — the American cruisers only win out when they can bring their massive battery of 20mm Oerlikons into the fray at 2km.

This is the closest a destroyer gets to be “aircraft carrier proof” in World of Warships currently.  No, this doesn’t mean that she can prevent drops from full sized squadrons.  What it does mean is that Friesland can (and will) wipe out a full sized, tier VIII squadron immediately following its first attack run — meaning it will likely get its attack off, but there will be nothing left after the fact.  A tier X squadron may limp away with a few survivors.  For any carrier, this kind of abuse is untenable and will quickly see them deplaned of that particular attack craft type.

The big provision here is that Friesland’s anti-aircraft firepower needs to be intact and it needs to be properly managed.  Even taking a few HE hits will quickly see her 40mm mounts destroyed, greatly reducing her combat effectiveness (to the point of making it worthless in the current meta).

Friesland is an unpleasant target for any carrier player.  She can be handled, but the carrier will need help.  I think that’s the highest praise any destroyer could hope for under the rework.

I missed doing these AA graphics — they’re so fun and colourful. This is just the raw AA DPS values for the gun mounts. It doesn’t speak to the effective AA DPS. In order, Friesland tops the list by a significant margin, followed by Kitakaze and then Fletcher, Chung Mu and Black. Effective AA DPS is a function of range and firepower — you want as much of your firepower front-loaded into longer ranges to deal damage sooner.

Refrigerator

Base Surface Detection: 8.18km
Air Detection Range: 2.9km
Minimum Surface Detection Range: 6.43km
Detection Range when Firing in Smoke: 2.97km
Main Battery Firing Range: 
12.4km to 17.26km

There are potential deal breakers on every ship.  For me, it was Friesland’s concealment.  This is the big sobering element, in my opinion.  Forget torpedoes. Forget Engine Boosts.  Her surface detection is absolutely horrid.  If you ranked all of the destroyers in the game for their stock surface detection from best to worst, Friesland is in the bottom 10.  They only salve here is that thanks to the lack of Concealment Modification 1 on most tier VII destroyers, she can out-spot a good number of them.  Still, she has to contend with ships like the Kagero-sisters which have massive concealment advantages and plenty of other ships besides.

This lack of concealment makes scouting more of a challenge.  When there are still enemy lolibotes with support about, Friesland must play more passively.  Thus front-line roles are more dangerous in Friesland than they might be for other gunships like the Tribal-sisters, Cossack and Haida.  This passive game-play also rears its ugly head in her gunnery.

While Friesland can attack from open water at a distance, her ballistics make her much better suited to medium-to-close ranges.  At anything less than 14km, it’s much too dangerous to engage cruisers and battleships.  There’s not enough time to weave and dodge effectively with Friesland’s lower top speed.  Thus, she must make use of cover or concealment.  This, again, precludes her from providing much in the way of useful spotting for her team.  So often when Friesland is laying down the smack, she’s effectively blind.  This makes her a burden upon her team, with a camping, blind destroyer being about as much use as a battleship humping the 10-line.

You can take this deficit to the extreme by ditching any pretense that Friesland is anything but a very small cruiser.  Skipping out on Concealment Modification 1, sparing points spent on Concealment Expert frees up resources that can be better spent making this ship more agile, or shoot further, or what have you.  This is upending a lot of the potential influence of the ship to further a “I’ma burn you to the waterline” style of play.  Expect your win rate to take a hit if you pursue this unless you’re REALLY good at positioning and burning targets efficiently.

Aside from this massive fault in her stealth, things aren’t all bad here. In compensation for her terribad surface detection, Friesland gets access to an American Smoke Generator.  The longer action time and smoke duration are both welcome, though they do compound the lack of spotting Friesland provides for her team. Friesland also boasts a Hydoacoustic Search consumable with a 5km ship spotting range and a 3.5km torpedo spotting range.  She’s thus largely immune to torpedoes.  In addition, she’s quite good at ferreting out destroyers and the occasional cruiser.

I much prefer this aggressive style of play, but there’s a time and place for it.  Friesland doesn’t have the hit points to spare for ill-timed misplays.  Still, this one-two combination of her consumables saved this destroyer for me.  I like that Friesland has the ability to flex from a passive damage dealer to an active hunter as opportunity permits.  Her bad surface detection nearly doomed this ship for me, but she has enough of a toolkit to make it work.

Of course Chobi went ham.  Now where did I put my chain axe?

Final Evaluation

Friesland is an excellent premium.

  • She’s fun.
  • She’s distinct.
  • She’s competitive.

The only thing more you could ask for a ship like this would be to synergize well as a captain trainer.  Time will tell if this proves to be the case once the Pan European line fleshes out more.  The Swedish destroyers are on their way and we can cross our fingers that the Dutch destroyers will receive a similar treatment in the future.

I’m not surprised to see Friesland as a polarizing ship.  She’s just another HE spammer to some.  For others, she’s far too passive, taking up a valuable destroyer slot for a poor-man’s Cleveland.    When you look at her nitty-gritty, there’s a lot of negative to dwell on too.  Her two major flaws, her lack of torpedoes and her poor concealment, are enough to put anyone off.  Similarly, her benefits are kinda lackluster.  No matter how good her guns are, Friesland’s lack of torpedoes will eclipse them.

For extent Friesland players, this is a real bonus.  She’s grossly underestimated.  The average player doesn’t seem to know just what kind of mischief she can pull off.  I’m usually expecting that kind of obliviousness during play-test sessions when a ship is still under development, not in the games I’ve played since her release.  I guess the word isn’t out on how much of a beast this ship can be in the right hands.

Performance wise, Friesland is the Conqueror of destroyers.  She has all of the tools to be a fun, competitive ship but she encourages bad habits.  Setting fire to big ships and camping in the backline is great for padding your damage numbers but it hurts her ability to influence the battle unless she’s really wrecking face.  It takes some discipline to get the most out of her.  I suppose that’s one of her charms — you can switch your brain off and just set the world on fire if you want some braindead (for a destroyer) game play or you can go try-hard mode and be rewarded the whole way through.

Friesland doesn’t quite have the carry potential of some of the other destroyers at her tier.  Black, Benham, Mogador and Neustrashimy are all very competitive ships.  Kitakaze does the bombardment role better.  This doesn’t make Friesland bad per se, but let’s not kid ourselves that her role isn’t already being filled by more capable ships.

Still, she’s a Hell of a lot of fun to play.

Would I Recommend?

Of course, for me Friesland was an instant must-buy. Good thing she’s also a good ship, and hilarious fun to boot. She’s not for everyone, she has distinct weaknesses and can’t do some of the jobs destroyers are asked to do, but that’s balanced by having certain strengths and a synergy of consumables that give her a niche all of her own. She’s not for everyone, you have to be a good player who can adapt to the ship you’re driving to make her work, but when you do, there’s nothing else in this game quite like it.
Yeah I love Friesland. I love how she’s implemented. I love how she feels and the sheer gunbote shenanigans she can get up to. Do I recommend her? Only to those who aren’t scared away by her distinct and in-your-face drawbacks. No torpedoes. No speed boost. Bad concealment. Relatively light on hit points. Can you work around that? You sure? Then by all means, grab her.

Yes, with a big ol’ butt.  Friesland will challenge you as a destroyer player.  Like Haida before her, she’s not going to be for everyone.  Keep her weaknesses in mind before you pull the trigger.

In Closing

Whew, I almost didn’t make it.  It’s still technically Friday when this is being uploaded.  A few of these extra graphics took longer to assemble than I wanted them to, but I think the end result is worth it.  I’m still on course for getting three reviews out this month.  I should have another review out inside of a fortnight.

Thank you very much for reading.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go thank my Chobi and Lert for their ‘contributions’ to the art in this review.

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