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Corfu and Control of Straights of Otranto?

 
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Corfu and Control of Straights of Otranto? - 3/11/2009 8:48:44 PM   
ericbabe


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I've been reading a bit lately about the Adriatic campaign and about the Russian occupation of Corfu. The claim was made that control of Corfu allowed the Russians effective control over the Straights of Otranto, allowing them control over entry to the Adriatic Sea.

Full disclosure: the only reference I have for this now is a Wikipedia article which cites Adkins The War for All the Oceans, but we normally aren't in the habit of doing research via Wikipedia, so I thought I'd see whether anyone else might know something about this.

Do any of you Napoleonic experts know anything about this? If it's true, it might be worth adding to the game as a special rule for Corfu. I've been trying to think of a couple little rules to make the Mediterranean islands have some strategic importance.

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RE: Corfu and Control of Straights of Otranto? - 3/11/2009 9:05:54 PM   
Mus

 

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Corfu isnt physically able to close access like say holding the Dardenelle Straits should be able to prevent access to or from the Black Sea.  Corfu was just a base the Russians could use for their Ships and use their ships to block access.

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RE: Corfu and Control of Straights of Otranto? - 3/12/2009 5:38:19 AM   
Russian Guard


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Intrigued, I did a little research but so far haven't found anything relating to this.

I did find it very interesting that Corfu is quite a fortress, and survived numerous sieges over several centuries without being taken. Mostly by the Ottomans. Even the British in 1807, who took all of the Ionian Islands - couldn't crack this one. Seems Corfu deserves a bump in siege difficulty. And its such a hot-bed of activity








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RE: Corfu and Control of Straights of Otranto? - 3/12/2009 4:40:07 PM   
ericbabe


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Yes, it does seem that the claim I read was that it was simply functioning as a base of operations, not that the guns of the fort were blocking up the Adriatic, or anything like that.  You're right that the Straights of Otranto aren't a bottleneck like the Dardanelles.

After reading accounts of the Adriatic campaign, it just seems to me it would be nice to give ports some stronger strategic value -- to the extent that this would be historically appropriate.


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RE: Corfu and Control of Straights of Otranto? - 3/12/2009 8:25:09 PM   
Mus

 

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The sanitary condition and state of food/water on board ships in those times was absolutely disgusting after a while at sea.  Maybe give a small temporary morale penalty if a Fleet stays more than 2-3 boxes (depending on whats better) away from a base for more than 2-3 months to represent them not having as fresh food/water?  Ships rotating out to water/supply would be abracted.

This would make Malta, Gibralter, Corfu, etc more valuable for sustained naval operations in their area.


< Message edited by Mus -- 3/12/2009 8:26:57 PM >

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RE: Corfu and Control of Straights of Otranto? - 3/12/2009 8:48:43 PM   
ericbabe


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Something like that might work, though I'd have to add some new parameters to ships and teach the AI to use it.  I've considered just giving ships a morale bonus if they fight a naval action adjacent to a friendly port.

I think ports like this also had an important function as a nexus of information, so might help in interception.


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RE: Corfu and Control of Straights of Otranto? - 3/12/2009 8:51:28 PM   
barbarossa2

 

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Interesting. I am currently reading War for All the Oceans. I will let you know if I come up with anything interesting.

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RE: Corfu and Control of Straights of Otranto? - 3/24/2009 6:31:50 AM   
ShaiHulud

 

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In reading Mahan's 'Influence of Sea Power on History' an island port like Corfu would have effect on trade. Serving as a central area for merchants where they could stockpile goods from the area for transmission by shipping to the homeland, Corfu would be of importance to a country, like Russia. Perhaps control of the various important islands should improve merchant's income, rather than offer bonuses to war fleets?

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RE: Corfu and Control of Straights of Otranto? - 4/7/2009 6:46:16 PM   
Ursa MAior

 

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Oddly enough Rodgers does not even mention this 1807 british attempt on Corfu in his otherwise brilliant book Command of the Ocean. A msut read for all Royal Navy fan.

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RE: Corfu and Control of Straights of Otranto? - 4/7/2009 7:06:39 PM   
Mike Parker

 

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I am not sure fresh water would have been such a problem in the Med.  It can be assumed that ships could sail close enough to send their boats onto a remote shore and replenish fresh water stores, and perhaps some live game or even cattle if any were available.

The problem would be other things like canvas, rope, powder and shot I would think. 

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RE: Corfu and Control of Straights of Otranto? - 4/7/2009 7:10:24 PM   
Randomizer

 

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In 1799 the Russian fleet (apperantly supported by the Turks! and English) took Corfu from the French in what sounds like as neat and well organized an operation as any.  Susequently the Russians were able to dominate the Adriatic taking a number of towns on Italy's east coast and blockading the port of Ancona.

http://www.neva.ru/EXPO96/book/chap6-1.html

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RE: Corfu and Control of Straights of Otranto? - 4/8/2009 8:49:21 AM   
DerekP

 

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That's because there wasn't one.

The Russians handed Corfu over to the French under the terms of the treaty of Tilsit. The French occupied Corfu from 1807-1814

The British occupied most of the rest of the Ionian islands but blockaded / beseiged Corfu. They didn't try to assault it, probably becuase it was cheaper to blockade it.

Corfu's fort is not exactly huge. Most of the island could have been taken with a couple of thousand troops and the fort beseiged. But Britain didn't have a couple of thousand troops to spare but it could spare a few frigates for the blockade.

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RE: Corfu and Control of Straights of Otranto? - 4/9/2009 12:33:52 PM   
barbarossa2

 

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You know, it is this aspect of naval operations which is missing from CoG:EE.  If you read the link that randomizer posted, it seems clear that by capturing Corfu, the Russians gained a foot hold in the Mediterranean which they could use to exploit further gains.  They needed a close base to allow these other operations to move forward.  I feel that the CoG:EE naval model allows players to project power almost regardless of the distance from a current base.  I think that for some operations that there should be a benefit for being close to a naval base of yours (or alternately, for some operations there should be a penalty if you are not close to one).

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RE: Corfu and Control of Straights of Otranto? - 4/15/2009 12:21:08 AM   
barbarossa2

 

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As I read more and more of "The War for All the Oceans" by Adkins, I am repeatedly struck by all of the storm damage to ships.  In some instances, the damage is repaired in a harbor somewhere, but in other instances, these ships need to be in a port to make all of the repairs necessary (in some cases, coming close to sinking ships...and after Trafalgar, many, many ships (though these had possibly already had serious damage inflicted from the battle)). 

Blockading fleets often had to stay out to keep up a blockade in the worst of weather conditions which would cause damage.  Such damage during blockades was not a rare event.  This damage had to be repaired. 

Additionally, I was just reading about the Methuen Treaty between Portugal and England during the War of the Spanish Succession on Wikipedia (rated by Nature Magazine as being more accurate than Encyclopedia Brittanica):

"The early years of the War of Spanish Succession, in Flanders, had been rather fruitless. The Tory party in England was concerned about the cost of the war and felt that naval warfare was a much cheaper option with greater potential for success. Portugal offered the advantage of a deep water ports near the Mediterranean which could be used to counter the French Naval base at Toulon."
 
Again and again and again, in my reading, there is a benefit (imagined or implied) of having a naval base near by. This seems to be missing from CoG:EE to some extent. Storm damage would make it more valuable.

It seems that one major benefit of having a port nearby was that you could get to the port quickly and do your repairs.  All of your ships spent more time "on station" than they did running back and forth between ports.  One could represent this either by actually damaging ships randomly when they get caught in a storm...the player then has to send damaged ships back to port, just as he would for battle damage, OR one could do this by giving the fleet some kind of bonus IF it is acting near a friendly port.

QUESTION: Can nations friendly to each other use each other's ports if the correct/required treaties are signed? 

< Message edited by barbarossa2 -- 4/15/2009 12:22:49 AM >

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RE: Corfu and Control of Straights of Otranto? - 4/15/2009 12:46:21 AM   
Randomizer

 

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Sorry -B, need to disagree with you.

And how would the AI manage storm damage?

What criteria would be used as to when to quit the mission or dispatch individual ships to ports for repair?

Are repairs to be free of cost and material? (they were not in RL after all)

If adding storm damage it follows that one MUST add attrition and since the RN lost well over one warship per month between June 1792 and June 1815 (some 340+ all told), how do you simulate replacing that carnage without expanding the English economy exponentially?

Historically England tripled its national debt (to more than 720 million Pounds Sterling) during this period and a lot of this money was to build some 500+ warships to handle attrition as well as substantive additions to the Fleet.  CoG-EE does not allow deficit spending so how do you model the wealth and resources to build such huge numbers of warships without skewing the entire economic system of the game.

I think modelling storm damage and naval attrition when using one-month turns as a scale is a really bad idea and hope that WCS resists adding something that adds nothing but a bit of local colour at the cost of tedious trivia and useless complexity to the game.  By simulating none of this it levels the field and allows one to concentrate at being Supreme Commander rather than some micromanaging shipwright.

Best Regards.

< Message edited by Randomizer -- 4/15/2009 1:03:28 AM >

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RE: Corfu and Control of Straights of Otranto? - 4/15/2009 3:21:26 PM   
barbarossa2

 

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:)

Randomizer, I understand your legitimate concern to keep CoG:EE from being turned into a "War in the Pacific".  It really is a style decision. There is certainly no objectively correct answer as to whether a game should be simple or complex.

It seems, that CoG:EE does allow deficit spending by taking loans though. 

What I find interesting about the period (and the 200 or so years before it), was that the conflicts were not just tactical and strategic slug fests, but also financial ones, where rulers worked to devise ever more ingenious banking and debt schemes to allow them to outlast their opponents.

In my opinion, the fact that CoG:EE needs "mobilization limits" is because there isn't enough attrition being applied to the units of any given nation.  Most of the times players play with zero attrition of their land armies, and we know that there is little naval attrition arising from non-combat action.  If these various forms of attrition would have to be paid for, then people would be so busy replacing losses that no one would ever reach these unhistorically high troop levels which drove the implementation of mobilization limits.

However, I do agree that CoG:EE should not be turned into a "War in the Pacific". And I myself am hesitant to want to include storm damage, because the simplicity of the game is part of its attraction for me too. However, players are simply not being rewarded for having a base nearby enough. What I am definitely for is some kind of abstract bonus in certain situations for having a nearby naval base. For instance, at the very least, when blockading your odds of being successful should be higher if you have a base nearby.

< Message edited by barbarossa2 -- 4/15/2009 3:40:15 PM >

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RE: Corfu and Control of Straights of Otranto? - 5/16/2009 12:20:00 PM   
arras

 

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Well in COG I used to play Russian and I used Med islands to project my power deep in to enemy territory. Corfu was used to supply my armies in to France and Spain and when I took Majorca I used it as a base for my fleet to support and protect my merchants in area. So actually, these islands can be very useful depending on what are you doing and what country you play.

As to the effect of bases on navies I have simple idea: just include some random (or even regular) damage (attrition) to navies away of friendly port (how much away is matter of discussion, I would say away of zone with port but might be zone bordering one with port). AI already knows (or at last I think it knows, I did not see code) to handle damage, repairing ships cost nothing so it will not ruin your economy and you can still operate away from port zone, just not for sustained periods. Of course, ericbabe should "teach" AI to take this somehow in to consideration also.

As to the effect on merchants and privateers, they should have been excluded from this. Or there can be some stack limit ...attrition starts with n ships in the same zone and can be more sewere for larger groupings of ships so sending frigate to patrol against pirates to some remote corner of the world would not ruin your ship but sending your main fleet out there in to the blue sea is something you should consider and plan for.

...just my few cents.

Btw: does fleets/ships in port cost less to maintain? If not this might be another benefit of having port in area of your interest...


< Message edited by arras -- 5/16/2009 5:35:25 PM >

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