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Son of "Why won't my planes launch?"

 
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Son of "Why won't my planes launch?" - 5/11/2010 9:50:28 PM   
The Gnome


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Pearl Harbor - August, 1942

Scout planes detect an IJN surface tf steaming towards PH, including a battleship, heavy cruiser, and several escorts of various sizes. Nimitz decides to make the Japs pay for such an audacious move. One surface TF comprised of 4 BB (including North Carolina and Warspite) was formed to patrol just outside the harbor, but this shouldn't be needed. The entire compliment of six fleet carriers was just finishing refits and replenishing their air wings in Hawaii. The were quickly formed into 3 task forces of 2 CV's plus escorts, each, and were sortied to be in positions to ambush the hapless japanese (1 north, 1 south, and 1 just east of PH). Each TF was commanded by the best, most aggressive commander that could be found.

The result?

No bomber sorties reached the slow moving japanese from a USN CV. 2 Squadrons of fighters swept harmlessly over the incoming task force. The weather, while not ideal, certainly wasn't harsh (overcast or partly cloudy). Bombers were set to 100% naval strike at 20,000ft.

Any ideas what could be wrong?
Post #: 1
RE: Son of "Why won't my planes launch?" - 5/11/2010 9:54:19 PM   
AcePylut


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Detection level of Jap fleet?

Weather in hex?

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RE: Son of "Why won't my planes launch?" - 5/11/2010 10:18:16 PM   
The Gnome


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I dont think so, the fighter escort swept the target, just no bombers. Also strikes from PH (B-17's, SBD's) hit the TF.

Here is the part I forgot to post that made this maddening: This continued for 3 days. Fighters swept the target, no bombers. I triple checked that the bombers were on naval attack and had aggressive commanders. All carriers had full sorties.

Eventually, I had to use the surface force I assembled. After that happened some carrier strikes went out (small) but not much.

I thought the tf composition was a problem, but it was the same I used earlier in the year when I had some decisive victories against KB.

No idea what happened here.

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RE: Son of "Why won't my planes launch?" - 5/11/2010 10:19:22 PM   
Alfred

 

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I will have to make certain assumptions as you have really provided no data but the following may be of assistance.

1. The DL (Detection Level) of a Task Force is reset to 0 at the start of each night/day phase. Hence the sighting the previous turn is of extremely limited value if you did not have patrols out to day and actually make a fresh sighting.

2. The fact that only 2 fighter units swept (presumably they came from a CV TF) suggests that only 2 Allied CVs were close enough to attack. Hence you had only a fraction of firepower available.

3. You mentioned bombers were on 100% bomb at 20000 feet. That is a poor setting. Firstly, you gave yourself no CV planes to locate the enemy (see point 1 above). You increase the likelihood of actually launching a strike mission if the target has been spotted by planes from the same air unit. Secondly, even if you had dedicated some of the carrier bombers to naval search, they would have flown at 20000 feet, not a good height to spot naval task forces.

4. Taking into account points 1 and 3 above, the only carrier task force aircraft you could have had searching for the enemy would have been float planes launched from BB/CA/CL. Assuming that you had included some, their float planes have a shorter range than the divebombers carried onboard the carriers.

5. Your available firepower is considerably reduced by the different ranges of the planes. Torpedo bombers, particularly if you want them to launch torpedoes, generally are shorter legged than divebombers.

6. You did have your fighters on escort mission and not sweep?

Alfred

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RE: Son of "Why won't my planes launch?" - 5/11/2010 10:29:50 PM   
The Gnome


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Alfred

I will have to make certain assumptions as you have really provided no data but the following may be of assistance.

1. The DL (Detection Level) of a Task Force is reset to 0 at the start of each night/day phase. Hence the sighting the previous turn is of extremely limited value if you did not have patrols out to day and actually make a fresh sighting.

This certainly could be the case. PBY's were flying from PH, and float planes from cruisers (3 in each ACTF).

quote:

ORIGINAL: Alfred

2. The fact that only 2 fighter units swept (presumably they came from a CV TF) suggests that only 2 Allied CVs were close enough to attack. Hence you had only a fraction of firepower available.

Both were from CV's. The third TF was potentially out of range on day 1.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Alfred
3. You mentioned bombers were on 100% bomb at 20000 feet. That is a poor setting. Firstly, you gave yourself no CV planes to locate the enemy (see point 1 above). You increase the likelihood of actually launching a strike mission if the target has been spotted by planes from the same air unit. Secondly, even if you had dedicated some of the carrier bombers to naval search, they would have flown at 20000 feet, not a good height to spot naval task forces.

This is what concerned me the most. I had a lot of search assets in the area (3 cruisers each ACTF), PBY's from Pearl, and a large surface combat TF (with BB's, and CA's). I'm not sure if there is some penalty if the carrier sorties don't spot the targets themselves. Good point about 20k altitude, hasn't seemed to be a problem until now, but there is always room for improvement.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Alfred
4. Taking into account points 1 and 3 above, the only carrier task force aircraft you could have had searching for the enemy would have been float planes launched from BB/CA/CL. Assuming that you had included some, their float planes have a shorter range than the divebombers carried onboard the carriers.

Agreed this could be problematic, thought I had enough.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Alfred
5. Your available firepower is considerably reduced by the different ranges of the planes. Torpedo bombers, particularly if you want them to launch torpedoes, generally are shorter legged than divebombers.

I was within 5 hexes with 2 ACTF's, and all my Devastator torpedo bombers had been switched out for Avengers. I was more than close enough


quote:

ORIGINAL: Alfred
6. You did have your fighters on escort mission and not sweep?

Fighters were on escort, sorry for the ambiguous wording

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Post #: 5
RE: Son of "Why won't my planes launch?" - 5/11/2010 10:49:21 PM   
awadley

 

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What about search vectors?  Were you searching 360 deg or a vector over the Japs TF?  I have had full strikes out to 5-6 hex with the search vector set to cover the hex area where the Jap TF is located.  These have been fully coordinated and I am only in Apr '42.

Edit: I use 12,000 for db and 9,000 for TB, escorts at 20,000 with only 30% CAP. Always have search vector set to small area and 30% for each DB and TB only.

Hope this might help.

< Message edited by awadley -- 5/11/2010 10:51:52 PM >


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RE: Son of "Why won't my planes launch?" - 5/11/2010 10:55:13 PM   
Swayin


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somehow it would seem that they just plain weren't spotted ... ?

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RE: Son of "Why won't my planes launch?" - 5/11/2010 11:16:26 PM   
The Gnome


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360 degree arcs for all searches. Again, the fighters from the CV's made it to the target, which implies they were spotted. Bombers from PH also found the target.

I'm just baffled what could have gone wrong over 3 turns. I'm going to check for old saves I have of this to see if switching a small percentage of CV sbd's to search helps. Still weird that the fighters found the target though.

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RE: Son of "Why won't my planes launch?" - 5/11/2010 11:49:30 PM   
Bradley7735


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If it's 1942, then you can't have 2 carriers in a TF. I've found that instead of "uncoordinated attacks" from the carriers, no bombers launch if you have more than 1 carrier in a TF.

I see the logic in making the Allied player create 6 1 CV task forces and having 5 follow the other 1. Stacking more than 1 CV in 1942 in a TF gives you a high chance of uncoordinated attacks. That's all and well, but all I ever see from my 2 CV TF's are a bunch of fighter sweeps and around 1 section of DB in the AM and 1 section of TB in the PM launch.

If I go through the click-fest of setting up 1 CV task forces, they tend to launch all bombers during a strike. (but I put 10-20% on search as well. DL is huge on getting a strike to launch.)

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RE: Son of "Why won't my planes launch?" - 5/12/2010 2:38:13 AM   
awadley

 

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Sorry, I have 4 Jap BBs and 2 CVs sunk with several CAs and DDs using 2 US CVs per TF.  I have set very specific search arcs and have not had any trouble getting all the DB and TB to fly every turn and most of the time both AM and PM.  I play US against the AI and sen 1.

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Post #: 10
RE: Son of "Why won't my planes launch?" - 5/12/2010 7:44:01 AM   
Offworlder

 

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I feel that a lot depends on who commands such TFs. A good admiral set on an offensive state will launch bombers even if he has 2 CVs and is in 42. Ex Spruance or Mitscher do it continously in my game...

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RE: Son of "Why won't my planes launch?" - 5/12/2010 2:27:15 PM   
Will_L

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: The Gnome

360 degree arcs for all searches. Again, the fighters from the CV's made it to the target, which implies they were spotted. Bombers from PH also found the target.

I'm just baffled what could have gone wrong over 3 turns. I'm going to check for old saves I have of this to see if switching a small percentage of CV sbd's to search helps. Still weird that the fighters found the target though.


What was the starting arc for your search? If it was 0 or 360 that would mean your search began on that arc and continued clockwise by 10 degrees for each plane searching, ie. 3 planes 0, 10, 20 arcs searched. If all search squadrons were set to the same then only those arcs would get searched. You'd need a 36 plane unit to search 360 degrees.

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Post #: 12
RE: Son of "Why won't my planes launch?" - 5/12/2010 5:20:24 PM   
Smeulders

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Will_L


quote:

ORIGINAL: The Gnome

360 degree arcs for all searches. Again, the fighters from the CV's made it to the target, which implies they were spotted. Bombers from PH also found the target.

I'm just baffled what could have gone wrong over 3 turns. I'm going to check for old saves I have of this to see if switching a small percentage of CV sbd's to search helps. Still weird that the fighters found the target though.


What was the starting arc for your search? If it was 0 or 360 that would mean your search began on that arc and continued clockwise by 10 degrees for each plane searching, ie. 3 planes 0, 10, 20 arcs searched. If all search squadrons were set to the same then only those arcs would get searched. You'd need a 36 plane unit to search 360 degrees.


Giving a 360 degree search results in search over random arcs IIRC.

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Post #: 13
RE: Son of "Why won't my planes launch?" - 5/12/2010 7:15:25 PM   
Will_L

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Smeulders


quote:

ORIGINAL: Will_L


quote:

ORIGINAL: The Gnome

360 degree arcs for all searches. Again, the fighters from the CV's made it to the target, which implies they were spotted. Bombers from PH also found the target.

I'm just baffled what could have gone wrong over 3 turns. I'm going to check for old saves I have of this to see if switching a small percentage of CV sbd's to search helps. Still weird that the fighters found the target though.


What was the starting arc for your search? If it was 0 or 360 that would mean your search began on that arc and continued clockwise by 10 degrees for each plane searching, ie. 3 planes 0, 10, 20 arcs searched. If all search squadrons were set to the same then only those arcs would get searched. You'd need a 36 plane unit to search 360 degrees.


Giving a 360 degree search results in search over random arcs IIRC.

I am sure you are correct, thanks for adding that.

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Post #: 14
RE: Son of "Why won't my planes launch?" - 5/12/2010 7:48:13 PM   
The Gnome


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So here are the possible snags to my planes flying:

1) No carrier aviation set to search/TF Not found.

The problem here is, I'm positive that the enemy TF was spotted. Carrier fighters and LBA flew missions to the targets. Just no carrier bombers.

2) Bombers not in range.

All my CV bombers have at least as long a range as the fighters that flew.

3) Commanders not aggressive enough.

I used the most aggressive leaders I had, including Halsey. Not sure there is much I can do about that.

4) Bad dice.

Well, this occurred over 3 days. I replayed each day a few different ways - changed the locations of my CV's. Same behavior.

5) Weather.

Had at worst overcast weather and best clear. The weather was not bad enough to ground the CV fighters, or LBA from PH.

6) Coordination problems with more than 1 CV in a TF

I have had several battles with 2 CV's in the the same TF, and while I had some coordination problem, never did they refuse to fly their bombers. These previous strikes were against Air Combat, Surface, and Transport TF's, under worse conditions than this encounter.

Now what does that leave as far as what it could be?

1) This was by far the smallest TF I attempted to engage with carrier air: 1 BB, 1 CA, 3-4 DD.

2) This is the first time I had not put up any percentage of my carrier aircraft on search.

This leads me to conclude that something wonky may be going on with carrier bombers in relation to search and target DL.

Here is something interesting from Day 4 after the surface action dispatched the BB, when the carriers did fly sorties: Only one squadron of Dauntless' flew to finish off the cruiser. Could it be the DL affects how large a strike the CV's send? Even though the Escort TF was smaller than the original surface group a flaming, smoking crippled cruiser could have raised DL just over the bar for which strikes would fly.

If I can track down the save I may test what raising the search level of the carrier aviation would do. All in all, very odd.


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RE: Son of "Why won't my planes launch?" - 5/12/2010 11:58:08 PM   
packerpete

 

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Take this for what it is worth, but from what I have found so far is that if no CV task force sites the force in question then it will be attacked. There seems to be a higher of none strikes if the launching CV did not send out any search planes. This is all based on the Coral Sea Scenario as the US against the AI though. Again, take it for what it is worth.

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RE: Son of "Why won't my planes launch?" - 5/13/2010 11:06:50 AM   
xj900uk

 

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Do the co-ordination problems only affect Allied TF's in '42? I am playing as the IJ player and regularly operate up to 4 x CV's together, they don't seem to have many problems in launching and attacking things

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Post #: 17
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