Cad908 -> 100 Turn Review (1/1/2012 7:52:15 AM)
This is the first of 4 posts, three with details and the last the saved game. I posted here because of file size restrictions, more than any "problem".
The first 100 turns of the Campaign game are detailed below. Playing Allies as each becomes active, against the Axis AI on normal difficulty. I tracked ONLY the British Colonies for this test.
BATTLE of the ATLANTIC
CA screens around the British Islands and along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. When subs are detected, TAC air, or CV groups are called in to strike and destroy. I call it "whack a mole"
As below, losses were massive and out of proportion to the actual convoy war. How you exactly scale the data is problematical. The tonnage arrived (imported) figures reflect, food, materials, petroleum and munitions, but how do they convert to PP's? Sinkings reflect reflect global gross tonnage, which is not necessarily the cargo on-board or if that cargo was destined to the British Islands to be converted to PP as in the game.
The biggest issue is the the AI and it has some bugs. It will send out a massive fleet, both the Germans and Italians. The presence of such a force presents a huge target, but will totally interdict all convoys for that game turn. It got so bad that I stopped producing STP for the Colonies in Britain, but allowed them to be destroyed in mass. Even under human control, the British Colonies has an AI component that continues to send convoys. The only way to stop this is to let the STP drop. Let the colonies build PP's, and when you think the sea lanes are clear, create STP and surge the convoys out. At present, you cannot play the British Colonies as the AI, it just will not work. The test numbers as reported, reflect this approach.
(The next post will have couple of examples of this AI tendency)
To improve the game, I think you need to rework your Battle of the Atlantic scheme. This ability to destroy everything with a fleet in one sea area creates very odd outcomes. Some changes, if the engine will support:
1. Close the Mediterranean. This was done historically, and removes the ability of Italy to interdict all shipping from the British Colonies. The mechanism might look like an event triggered when Italy becomes active. At that point, Egypt is supplied and convoys from Asia route around Africa. To offset this, charge the British, British Colonies and USA an 33% extra shipping cost. The 33% comes from Admiral King, as he championed Operation Husky (Invasion of Sicily) in 1943 to re-open the Mediterranean to allied shipping. King argued this would free up 225 freighters increasing net shipping resouces by 33%. (Source: Ed Cray's biography of Gen. Marshall). This would also give the allies an impetus to clear Sicily. You might have a second event tied to Allied control the coast of Africa, Sicily, Malta and Gibraltar, which removes the extra cost.
2. German production. Bugged with naval units. Fixing this should remove some of the problems. Almost all the subs I sunk were in sea areas with combined fleets of BB's and CA's.
3. Convoy pathing. At present every convoy goes through every sea zone one or more times. Each zone presents the opportunity to interdict all convoys for that turn. I would change this to allow each sea zone to destroy 10% of those shipped versus subs and 2-3% against surface "raiders", with one attempt. The rational to reduce surface raiders and fleets is that they are identified and convoys can be routed away from them within the scale of Time of Fury. You should also include some North Atlantic sea zones in the path lists. I did not lose a single STP in the Atlantic.
4. Change the engine. This might not be possible, but I would have preferred if you had abstracted this out totally or had created big sea boxes "North Atlantic" "South Atlantic" "UK Waters" ect that resources would be allocated to. The Germans would allocate Subs and Raiders, and the combat would be automatic. The "whack a moe" approach I employed, while effective in sinking massive numbers of ships, was not enjoyable.
5. CV airstrikes seem under powered. A British fleet carrier with 10 strength points gets one airstrike, while a level 2 TAC gets 2.
6. TAC strikes against small fleets are odd. I had one lone German sub sitting the the channel (checked the AI side) and it took 4 full TAC air groups to sink it. Against a larger fleet, TAC groups are deadly against multiple targets. It might be that the engine only gives the TAC one opportunity to target each fleet element, and the others are wasted. Allow multiple attempts to hit small fleets.
7. What ever changes should include supply convoys. The statistics only show production sent from the British Colonies, but supply runs had the same issues.
8. Include the the allied merchant fleets. According to Behrens, these countries had freighters (listed 1600 tons and over) with charters transferred to UK control, December 1941:
Belgium-34, Greece-156, Netherlands-147, Norway-180 (lots of tankers here), Yugoslavia-34. Just a few of the Europeans.
(Note on Sources: the data presented for actual imports to Great Britain and convoy sinkings come from: CBA Behrens "Merchant Shipping and the Demands of War" and Gordon Smith "War at Sea". Tonnage arrived in 1939 & 1940 are from Behrens and Smith, while 1941, 1942, 1943 & 1944 are from the British Central Statistical Office, "Digest of War" Losses are from Smith, global sinkings for all allies in all theaters, of note he designates losses by area and for periods. Total allied shipping sunk 1939-1945 he details as 21.6 Million tons with North Atlantic 11.9 Million tons (55%), South Atlantic 1.0 Million Tons (5%) and UK waters 3.8 Million tons (17%) exactly how to scale all this, as above, is an open question)