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Super CV Task Forces - 12/17/2006 10:02:50 PM   
denisonh


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I have been looking to find instances where there were more than 4CVs (or 7 total including CVLs) in a single TF during the war in the Pacific and I found only three major instances:

The PH raid (6)
The Indian Ocean Raid (5)
TF 58 after April of 45
(TG 58.3 -5 and TG 58.4 -5)

Complex and massive carrier operations were the exception, and not the norm.

Yet in the game it is the norm to see massive CV TFs all the time during the game, just read the AARs.

The air strike coodination penalty is "supposed" to correct this, but IMHO it is not working as designed (i.e. broken). The only way to currently compensate is by using house rules.

Carrier Ops got more complex as the war went on and lessons were learned that allowed for increased efficiencies in both operations and Tactics/techniques. Massive CV TFs acting in coordination in 1942 are simply ludicrous.

This problem combined with "uber CAP" make this game frustrating for the Allies pre mid43 and the Japs post mid 43.

What can be done to correct this through scenario mods? Fixing the models and patching is ideal and house rules something less so, but what can the community due to discourage such obviously ahistorical and game unbalancing tactics?




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RE: Super CV Task Forces - 12/17/2006 10:25:40 PM   
Ursa MAior

 

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a. You've spoken from my heart.
b. Uber CAP is solved in NikMOD.
c. As of super CV TFs house rules are all we can do. See http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=1327204&mpage=1&key=?



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RE: Super CV Task Forces - 12/17/2006 11:35:14 PM   
irrelevant


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Although as organized for Operation Forager (Saipan invasion) none of the units of TF 58 had more than 2 CV and 2 CVL, if you look at how they were deployed for the battle of June 18, the 4 CVTFs (7 CVs and 8 CVLs) and Lee's BBs all deployed in a formation that would easily fit in a single WitP hex. This deployment and the decision to adopt a defensive posture certainly led to something that resembles what we have been calling "uber CAP".

For the same battle the Japanese deliberately chose a formation that would have had 6 CVs in two TFs in the same hex, plus 3 CVLs in 3 TFs in an adjacent hex on the engaged side. They could have easily put all nine of their carriers together (in a single hex), but they chose to deploy the CVLs together with most of the heavy ships to act as a sort of flak trap. This deployment was not tested as such however.

Obviously this is entirely realistic, since it actually happened.

< Message edited by irrelevant -- 12/17/2006 11:44:24 PM >


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RE: Super CV Task Forces - 12/17/2006 11:42:15 PM   
spence

 

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I am somewhat suspicious of NIKMOD mostly because I haven't tried it but I also understand that there are no ammunition limits imposed on CAP. The relatively low 20mm ammunition supply carried by the A6M contributed directly to the demise of the KB at Midway according to "Shattered Sword". Because the Japanese CAP found their 7.7s to be almost ineffective against the American planes the CAP had to be constantly reshuffled which required clear flight decks and meant there was no time interval to spot and warm up the anti-ship strike on the US CVs. The code exists I have been told anyways to impose ammo limitations on fighter aircraft. IMO it ought to be done as it might well end the Japanese UBERCAP early on.

As to the US UBERCAP later I'm not so sure that this one change would change that much (and the late war US CAP/Fighter Direction certainly approached the ideal much more closely than the Japanese literally ever even thought of). It would have some effect but I'm pretty sure that the F6F carried 400 rounds/gun for its .50s and the Japanese still made their planes out of origami paper so the F6Fs would certainly be longer winded than the Zeros.

Finally, there is little to suggest that any of Japan's carriers other than the original KB were capable of the same sort of operations as the KB. I would suggest a code change (yeah right) that would make those 6 carriers able to operate together throughout the war without penalty BUT would impose the same coordination penalties as the US on any TF containing one or more ships not in the original KB: in effect those 6 CVs in one TF have no penalty but those 6 CVs plus Ryujo in one TF would suffer coordination penalties for having over 100 planes in 1942, over 150 in 1943 and so on. This would also make the Baby KB (a most unhistorical game creation) a somewhat problematical critter. As sort of a consolation prize for the IJN player one might allow Taiho and the Unryus to join up with KB later in the war without penalty

.


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RE: Super CV Task Forces - 12/17/2006 11:45:49 PM   
irrelevant


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Also, the original IJN plan for Midway called for the 6 CVs to operate together in the Striking Force. The only reason they did not was because of the rough handling CarDiv 5 had received at Coral Sea. The disastrous results of this strategic division of forces only points up the fact that it is unwise to parcel out one's main force units where they can be met and defeated in detail by a strategically inferior force.

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RE: Super CV Task Forces - 12/18/2006 12:01:25 AM   
irrelevant


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quote:

I also understand that there are no ammunition limits imposed on CAP.


Isn't this the case with stock also? I thought infinite CAP ammo was hard coded....

quote:

Finally, there is little to suggest that any of Japan's carriers other than the original KB were capable of the same sort of operations as the KB. I would suggest a code change (yeah right) that would make those 6 carriers able to operate together throughout the war without penalty BUT would impose the same coordination penalties as the US on any TF containing one or more ships not in the original KB: in effect those 6 CVs in one TF have no penalty but those 6 CVs plus Ryujo in one TF would suffer coordination penalties for having over 100 planes in 1942, over 150 in 1943 and so on. This would also make the Baby KB (a most unhistorical game creation) a somewhat problematical critter. As sort of a consolation prize for the IJN player one might allow Taiho and the Unryus to join up with KB later in the war without penalty



Some good ideas there.

Although I for one have always felt that IJN gets the coordination bonus in order to duplicate a completely singular event -- the PH strike. I think either navy, IJN or USN, would be able to have a good chance to deliver a fairly well-coordinated strike, as long as that strike was that unit's first strike in the current engagement. Once the action starts, and the initial strikes were recovered, I'd say that all bets for coordination would be off, at least through 1942. Name one coordinated strike that was not also the first strike launched by that unit in that particular action. I've never been able to come up with one.

< Message edited by irrelevant -- 12/18/2006 12:16:58 AM >


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RE: Super CV Task Forces - 12/18/2006 12:03:20 AM   
denisonh


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I am talking about CVs in a single formation. CV Tfs with 30 ships including 8 CVs and 2 CVLs is neither historical or realistic. Same hex or no.


quote:

ORIGINAL: irrelevant

Although as organized for Operation Forager (Saipan invasion) none of the units of TF 58 had more than 2 CV and 2 CVL, if you look at how they were deployed for the battle of June 18, the 4 CVTFs (7 CVs and 8 CVLs) and Lee's BBs all deployed in a formation that would easily fit in a single WitP hex. This deployment and the decision to adopt a defensive posture certainly led to something that resembles what we have been calling "uber CAP".

For the same battle the Japanese deliberately chose a formation that would have had 6 CVs in two TFs in the same hex, plus 3 CVLs in 3 TFs in an adjacent hex on the engaged side. They could have easily put all nine of their carriers together (in a single hex), but they chose to deploy the CVLs together with most of the heavy ships to act as a sort of flak trap. This deployment was not tested as such however.

Obviously this is entirely realistic, since it actually happened.



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RE: Super CV Task Forces - 12/18/2006 12:09:31 AM   
irrelevant


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It makes no difference whether they are in a single formation. CAP in a hex is CAP for all TFs in that hex. If you have 4 TFs launching CAP in a hex, every TF in that hex benefits from all 4 CAPs. In fact, I don't think the game looks at it as 4 CAPs, it is one unitary CAP.

< Message edited by irrelevant -- 12/18/2006 12:19:53 AM >


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RE: Super CV Task Forces - 12/18/2006 12:10:49 AM   
denisonh


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The truth is that eliminating the UBER CAP provides a disincentive for "putting your eggs all in one basket".

CAP was not all that effective until later in the war. The battle of Midway provides the best historical example of something less than uber CAP and penalty associated with putting all the CVs in on TF when the CAP does not eliminate every aircraft it faces.

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RE: Super CV Task Forces - 12/18/2006 12:12:27 AM   
irrelevant


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quote:

ORIGINAL: denisonh

The truth is that eliminating the UBER CAP provides a disincentive for "putting your eggs all in one basket".

CAP was not all that effective until later in the war. The battle of Midway provides the best historical example of something less than uber CAP and penalty associated with putting all the CVs in on TF when the CAP does not eliminate every aircraft it faces.

I agree with all this. How to limit CAP is problematic however, given the way the game works presently.

< Message edited by irrelevant -- 12/18/2006 12:22:20 AM >


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RE: Super CV Task Forces - 12/18/2006 12:19:29 AM   
denisonh


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Hence the thread asking if it can be addressed by scenarion mod. I know Nik's mod adresses the AtA, but the effect on flak seems a bit over the top.

Looking for "fresh" ideas for an old problem.
quote:

ORIGINAL: irrelevant

quote:

ORIGINAL: denisonh

The truth is that eliminating the UBER CAP provides a disincentive for "putting your eggs all in one basket".

CAP was not all that effective until later in the war. The battle of Midway provides the best historical example of something less than uber CAP and penalty associated with putting all the CVs in on TF when the CAP does not eliminate every aircraft it faces.

I agree with all this. How to limit CAP is problematic however, given the way the game works presently.



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RE: Super CV Task Forces - 12/18/2006 12:20:44 AM   
mlees


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Radar is (IRL) the key to effective CAP.

Is it that the game is using the detection level of the incoming strike to calculate how much of available planes assigned to CAP intercept them?

If so, reducing the detection values (of the various radar) may reduce how much CAP is available to intercept strikes.

I am not a modder, just floating an idea out there...

However, this will not stop players from putting all of their CV's into uber TF's. (Uber TF's also generate impressive AA fire... further motivating a player to group his ships together.)

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RE: Super CV Task Forces - 12/18/2006 12:28:00 AM   
flanyboy

 

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What does the AI do?

In the old WITP TFs normally would have 2 carriers, ie the AI attacked me with 4 carriers but in 2 taskforces.

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RE: Super CV Task Forces - 12/18/2006 1:44:52 AM   
spence

 

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quote:

Isn't this the case with stock also? I thought infinite CAP ammo was hard coded....


As I understand it the code (for limited ammo) is already written and in the program but because of some early player input the designer/developers put a "skip this: ammo check" line in there that has the combat routine ignore that part of the code.  Maybe I'm wrong on this but if that's the case then it wouldn't seem too hard to skip or delete the "Skip this:  Ammo Check" line. 

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RE: Super CV Task Forces - 12/18/2006 2:10:30 AM   
Feinder


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The japanese -planned- to KB together thruought the war (altho they certainly did not plan on a 4 year war).

1. PH raid - All 6x CVs together.
2. Andaman Raid - Kaga would have been present, but she was impaled on a reef at Palau and needed repairs.
3. Coral Sea - Was expected to be a "minimal effort" operation, as they only expected 1 USN CV in the area.
4. Midway - Shok and Zui were intended to be included in the Midway operation, but due to damage/losses at Coral Sea, this was prohibited.
5. After Midway, there wasn't much left to "maximize" (Santa Cruz thru 1944).
6. Leyte - The certainly grouped everything they had. Not to take advantage of uber-CAP (*grin*), but they certainly threw everythign they had back into the mix.

I -hate- having to deal with KB and mega-KB as the Allies, and I don't think the engine handles it well. But just because the engine doesn't handle it well, and it's all but impossible to oppose (in-game), I think it's a bit of a stretch to place penaties or prohibit players from doing it in game, just because I don't like the way the game handles it.

While I don't like the issues portrayed with the over-abundance of shipping/transports, grouping one's CVs should be something players should be allowed to "explore". But just like Midway, it's all or nothing. One bad day, and the war changes dramatically.

After all, "What goes around, comes around." as they say.

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RE: Super CV Task Forces - 12/18/2006 2:44:20 AM   
wdolson

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: mlees
However, this will not stop players from putting all of their CV's into uber TF's. (Uber TF's also generate impressive AA fire... further motivating a player to group his ships together.)


If you put all your CVs into one TF, it will actually reduce the AA fire. One reason mega task forces like TF 58/38 were split into task groups is for flak protection. You are limited to 25 ships per task force. If you put 15 carriers in there, that only leaves room for 10 more escorts. If you only have 4 carriers, you can pack out the task force with a massvie array of escorts which can put up a wall of flak against any enemy attacks.

Uber task forces are more convenient to move than many smaller ones. You can set a task force to follow another, but it is more hassle to deal with 4 TFs in a hex than just one. If I concentrate force into a task force, it's out of laziness.

Hisotrically, TF 38/58 had fairly good coordination between task groups. The task force commander, Halsey or Spruance had command over all task groups.

What WitP needs is a way to sticth together task forces into a larger one that can operate as one unit and only appears as one task force for management purposes. That would allow the player to have the convenience of managing one task force, but have multiple task forces operating.

As for uber CAP... The only problem I see with it comes from units not being withdrawn. The player can keep their air units on the front line for extended periods of time. They also don't disband units that were disbanded in real life. By the time the Corsair became the standard Marine fighter by mid-43, F4U units were only on the front line for a couple of months at a time. The pilots got pulled out and sent back to Australia for R&R on a regular schedule.

VF-17's first combat was October 17, 1943. They were sent to Austrailia for two weeks starting on December 2. They didn't return to combat until Jan 26, 1944 and flew their last mission on Mar 6, 1944. Their total tour was only about 12 weeks total. They were withdrawn and completely rebuilt from the ground up as an F6F squadron with all new pilots. In the game, you get them in late 43 and keep them until 1945.

(History of VF-17's Corsair days if you're interested: http://www.acepilots.com/usn_blackburn.html)

As the war goes on, both sides will get units that were withdrawn and disbanded that stay in the game. The Japanese will be hard pressed to keep all these units in planes because of their production limits, but the Allies have a constant flow of aircraft and they can keep all these units equipped. By mid-1943, the Allies have many more units on the front lines than they did in the real war. This allows them to put massive numbers of fighters at every base.

In the real world, Allied CAP really was extremely effective as radar improved. In the Marianas Turkey Shoot, Leyte, and Okinawa, CAP shot down a huge number of Japanese aircraft. With land bases, CAP was just as effective, it's just that the Japanese were not in the habit of attacking Allied bases after 1942. They couldn't spare the aircraft to do much offensive activity like that. The Japanese went after the carrier because the carriers represented the greatest threat.

The problems with uber CAP (at least Allied uber CAP) is not with the equipment, it's a problem of too many air units and the way players play. We had a similar discussion about PT boats a week or so back. Japanese players complain about PT boat effectiveness, but what it boils down to is the Japanese player doing ahistorical offensive missions and getting thumped for it.

If you try to do air attacks on the Allies after 1942, you are going to pay dearly for it. That is historical. The Japanese didn't do that much because they knew the Allies had air superiority over all their bases. They knowlingly paid the price against the carriers because they knew they needed to break the back of the US carrier force if they were going to have any chance of surviving.

As for Japanese uber CAP in 1942, they is at least partly due to the Zero bonus which expires in mid-42. The Zero bonus is an attempt to reflect the difficulty the Allies had in learning how to fight the Zero. Allied fighter doctrine was inferior in the first months of the war and they paid for it whenever they went up against the Japanese.

The CAP aircraft ammo limits someone mentioned is a good idea. That would also affect the Allies when defending against multiple raids. At the Battle of the Philippine Sea, USN CAP worked perfectly. In later battles, the CAP sometimes got disorganized and/or ran low on ammo and the Japanese were sometimes able to slip through the cover. The Japanese still paid very heavily for every strike though. In the Okinawa campaign, Japan lost almost 8000 aircraft to Allied defenses. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/okinawa-battle.htm

Playing the Japanese in WitP post mid-1942 should test your ability to play defense. The only time you should do anything even remotely offensive is when the stakes are very high, such as to attack a major US invasion that could threaten your lifeline to the DEI. The rest of the time, you are playing pure defense. The idea is to make the Allies pay dearly for every inch of territoriy. If you attack Allied bases with anything, you're going to get your head handed to you, so don't try it. What's "gamey" is even trying. The Japanese knew they couldn't and they didn't. The only places Japan went on any kind of offensive after Guadalcanal was on the Asian mainland against the weaker of the Allied forces. Against the bulk of US forces in the Pacific, it was pure defense.

Bill

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RE: Super CV Task Forces - 12/18/2006 3:57:11 AM   
mlees


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quote:

You are limited to 25 ships per task force. If you put 15 carriers in there, that only leaves room for 10 more escorts. If you only have 4 carriers, you can pack out the task force with a massvie array of escorts which can put up a wall of flak against any enemy attacks.


I am aware of the max TF size. Does the game engine actually differentiate between a CV and a non-CV in an Air combat TF for AA purposes? I don't know, but if it does not, then putting in 25 of you highest AA valued ships is the way to go. Since CV's have among the highest AA values anyway, well, then it doesnt matter (for AA combat) that I have 25 CV's and no escorts in the TF.

Im not recommending you sail your TF's around without DD's (for ASW reasons), but I hope you see what I mean...

quote:

Uber task forces are more convenient to move than many smaller ones. You can set a task force to follow another, but it is more hassle to deal with 4 TFs in a hex than just one. If I concentrate force into a task force, it's out of laziness.


I thought of this, too. The reason you give is a personal choice, however, and not something encouraged by the combat engine (like the Uber-CAP phenomenon does).

quote:

The problems with uber CAP (at least Allied uber CAP) is not with the equipment, it's a problem of too many air units and the way players play.


This I don't understand. In regards to your "disbanding" comment, I don't see that as contributing to all instances of Uber-CAP... consider:

My understanding of the Uber-CAP issue is thus: Fighter squadrons contribute a set amount of their planes to CAP depending on their order settings. All of the planes that are determined to be in CAP duties are available to intercept each and every strike, period. No strike "bypasses" CAP. Strikes may come in uncoordinated (meaning many smaller raids, instead of one larger, and harder to stop, raid), CAP is never uncoordinated. This makes CAP seem far stronger than it was historically...

CV's are hardcoded to carry a max number of aircraft. So it doesn't matter how many CV capable USMC Corsair squadrons are laying around, I can only take so many to sea with me to strike Saipan... ignoring the fact that taking off a CV's "at start" organic air group is a Bad Thing to Do(tm).

If you were talking about only base to base fights (Rabaul versus Port Moresby), I can see where nonhistoric overstacking may cause nonhistoric results. But we are talking more general, here...

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RE: Super CV Task Forces - 12/18/2006 4:58:29 AM   
irrelevant


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quote:

Uber task forces are more convenient to move than many smaller ones. You can set a task force to follow another, but it is more hassle to deal with 4 TFs in a hex than just one. If I concentrate force into a task force, it's out of laziness.

Hisotrically, TF 38/58 had fairly good coordination between task groups. The task force commander, Halsey or Spruance had command over all task groups.

What WitP needs is a way to sticth together task forces into a larger one that can operate as one unit and only appears as one task force for management purposes. That would allow the player to have the convenience of managing one task force, but have multiple task forces operating.


The longer I play the game, the more I find myself doing exactly this. I don't have just a mega-CVTF tromping around, I have 2-3 CVTFs, an SCTF, and a couple of ASW TFs all moving together, following a replenishment TF to a departure hex, where the combat TFs go one way (following the SCTF), and the replenishment TF plus an ASWTF goes another, and they all meet back up someplace else in 3-4 days (I'm IJ, very short legs; USN could go longer). As my CVTFs are accompanied by SCTFs and ASW TFs, they only need a couple of DDs in the CVTF, plus a few high-value AA units. The SCTFs have powerful combatants, and will shield the CVTFs from enemy SCTFs . The ASW TFs have, guess what, high ASW value units, and will for the most part keep the SS away from the CVs. This seems to work out very well (so far, knock on wood, toitoitoi, etc.).

< Message edited by irrelevant -- 12/18/2006 5:08:16 AM >


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RE: Super CV Task Forces - 12/18/2006 5:44:10 PM   
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Check your history.. TF38 or TF58 (which was really either Third Fleet or Fifth Fleet) were composed of either four or five Task Forces (which were really task groups - 58.1, 58.2, 58.3, etc.) which were composed of between 18-25 ships on average with 1 CV, 2 CVL; 2 CV, 2 CVL; or 2 CV, 3 CVL; as a rule, except for the night fighting task force which was usually 1 CV, 1 CVL. The BBs would be either allocated among the CV Task Groups, or brought out into the Battle Line, under Lee usually, with another TF designator (the infamous TF 34 at the Battle of Bull's Run). Those CV TFs mentioned would usually operate within 10 to 15 miles of each other, and easily fit into a 60 mile hex.

What is unusual is a house rule requiring the breaking up of such a TF. Concentration of force has been a standard military doctrine for a long time. What is not taken into account is the employment of 20/20 hindsight in the use of CVs by us after the fact players. What is not really working early in the war is the utter lack of air coordination on both sides, as someone in this thread mentioned, after the first strike, and sometimes not even in the first strike. The air coordination in the USN was much superior to the air coordination in the IJN after mid 1943. Before that, no one could really coordinate air actions. But time after time, the IJN strike always seem to come in as one big strike perfectly coordinated with aircraft which were, by and large, not equipped with radios at all.

After the Battle of the Coral Sea, the USN began to rethink its efforts and doctrine to improve the coordination of strikes and CAP. Not a lot was accomplished very soon because of the pressure of events, and the often need to cobble whatever could be put together to hand the problem at hand (Midway and Guadalcanal) In the lull in action between Feb and August of 1943, though, a lot of improved coordination was put into play. By that time the IJN was down to about four CVs and was suffering from decreased piloting skills on the part of those flying in the IJN because of the use of CV air groups in the South Pacific campaign earlier and a lack of a training program.

Late in the war (44 and 45) Third or Fifth fleet (Halsey or Spruance) could and did bring a 1100 - 1200 plane force into any spot in the Pacific. If they got everybody to the dance at once, it could have topped 1500. If approximate 40% of that force was fighters, you could have 300 AC in cap. Because of the game limitations in scale, though, all of that CAP is available all of the time in every part of that hex - not bloody likely in real time. But, with radar, you can have the majority of your CAP at the point of attack fairly quickly, (which this 3600 seconds per hour 24 hour 100 percent coverage evidently duplicates.)

So, is the real problem that strikes above a certain number of AC should not be coordinated with other strikes from the same CVTF? How about successive strikes in the same game turn haveing decreasing coorination benefits? The higher the operation points, the less the coordination. In very high operation point strikes, maybe the internal compenents of the strike may not be together (unescorted DB or TB, or both unescorted.) But that gets into the realm of the programming limitations. I don't think any house rule is going to allow us to say, for example "First strikes have a 75% probability of good coordination, while late afternooon strikes after a days fighting maybe utterly FUBARed." Just are well, a house rule which limits CAP available over one task force by limiting the TFs in a hex simply flies in the face of history, and good tactics. This is the conundrum.


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