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Z-46 — German Tier IX destroyer.
A well-balanced design for a destroyer (Zerstörer 1936C type), intended for operations on the high seas. Her major distinction from the preceding classes was her artillery armament, comprising of up-to-date and dual-purpose main battery turret mounts.
Sitting in the penultimate spot in the line, the Z-46 is one of the most well-rounded destroyers both at her tier and in her line.
The most significant upgrade is to her guns, though it may be difficult to see at first glance. She loses the 150 mm gun option of the previous-tier ship Z-23. Meanwhile, the rate of fire of her 128 mm guns has been unchanged since Leberecht Maass two tiers ago, and the muzzle velocity, damage, and range are essentially the same as they have been since Ernst Gaede a full three tiers ago.
So what changed? First, she has six guns, so her combined rate of fire is greater than any previous ship in the line. Second, those guns are now housed in quick-turning turrets—over twice as fast as her predecessor—allowing her much more flexibility in a gunfight. Finally, she has better shells: her shells have less drag, giving her an easier time hitting targets at range; additionally, her HE shells pick up an extra percentage point of fire chance, and her AP shells have an edge in penetration, mostly due to the lowered drag.
Curiously, like her bigger Tier IX compatriot Roon, her turrets are mounted in an aft-heavy A-XY configuration. This makes her more effective when being pursued than when being the pursuer.
Concealment also gets a solid boost, reaching 5.9 km with a full stealth build. This is a level not seen in the line since T-22 and is fully competitive with other destroyers she is likely to see.
Almost every other aspect sees smaller improvements. Her main guns are now dual purpose, acting as long-range AA, though the effects are generally unimpressive due to her lack of a Defensive AA Fire option. Her torpedoes see the usual small upgrade in speed and range; while their direct damage is by now rather mediocre for the tier, their fast reload rate is excellent for flooding enemy ships. She also has just the tiniest improvements in hit points, turning circle, speed, Hydroacoustic Search, and main battery range relative to Z-23.
Good main battery rate of fire and turret traverse
Very powerful AP shells, a threat against all targets
Torpedoes have good range and speed
With the right upgrades and commander skills, torpedoes can reload very quickly
Large health pool
Access to the Hydroacoustic Search (While active, detects all enemy ships and torpedoes within the specified radius, without regard of obstacles such as smoke and terrain.) consumable
Low torpedo damage
Large turning radius
Worst Smoke Generator (While active, generates a smokescreen that blocks line-of-sight for both enemies and teammates.) performance of all Tier 9 destroyers
Fairly weak AA defenses
Can take large amounts of damage from sub-280mm AP penetrations