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RE: Wolfpacking?

 
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RE: Wolfpacking? - 8/24/2011 10:46:03 PM   
Alfred

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Chickenboy


quote:

ORIGINAL: Alfred

Gentlemen,

I have dug up a 2009 reference from the granddaddy of naval coding developers regarding wolfpacks. Nothing which has subsequently been added/altered in the game appears to contradict the thrust of the comment made in post #2 of the following thread.

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2295291&mpage=1&key=sub%2Cwolfpack�

Alfred


Coming late to the discussion, but I believe that Don's comments were related to "Atlantic-style" wolfpacks. I interpret this as meaning that neither game is well suited to handling 20-30 SS coordinating with radio SigInt and / or aerial surveillance / SS scouting to vector in an attack.


Hey Chickenboy, what did you do to Don's post which yesterday was directly after Commander Cody's post # 29.

Don had said there is no code for wolfpack operations, and a wolfpack could be as little as 2 subs. He never had more than 1 sub in a sub TF. He explained how the same sub could make multiple passes and several other points which fully laid to rest this entire topic.

So give us back Don's post or at least state what the ransom amount is and the location of the exchange. I promise the FBI will not be involved.

Alfred

(in reply to Chickenboy)
Post #: 31
RE: Wolfpacking? - 8/25/2011 1:33:06 AM   
Chickenboy


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Alfred,

This one?


quote:

ORIGINAL: Don Bowen


There are several general issues with single/multiple sub TFs.

Chance to find the enemy - each TF has a chance, without regard to number of subs in the TF. So 3 TFs with one sub are more likely to encounter the enemy than one TF with three subs.

Which sub attacks - Only one sub from each TF will attack. In a single sub TF there is no option. In a multiple sub TF the "best" sub will be selected. This is based on damage, ammo, (and fuel?) Basically the least damaged with the most ammo. I think fuel is also considered in the spirit of "one more attack before I have to run home to refuel". Once that single sub attacks, the engagement is over. There is no code to support multiple attacks.

Multiple attacks - There is, however, a chance that the same sub TF will re-contact the same enemy TF. If that happens a different sub from a "wolf pack" might be chosen to attack. This could look like coordinated attacks in the combat report but it is really just a series of attacks.

Detection - I do not know is multiple subs increases the chance of detection of the "wolfpack", but I suspect so. I don't think there is special-circumstance code either way, so whatever the general detection code does... In most circumstances, more ships in the the TF means higher chances of detection.

For the record - I never run wolfpacks. I prefer "line" patrol zones - two points fairly close together so the sub bounces back and forth in the targeted area. Multiple sub TFs can be placed in the same area, with patrol lines crossing.


Not sure if this entirely puts this topic to rest, IMO, although Don's response was typically clear.

He indicates that there is a chance that the same sub TF will re-contact the same enemy TF. This may be interpreted as a 'coordinated attack'. It's in the game code. Others have posted in game successes with dense wolfpacks affecting enemy carrier concentrations. Seems as though it's at least feasible and maybe even worth monkeying with for one's own campaign.

_____________________________


(in reply to Alfred)
Post #: 32
RE: Wolfpacking? - 8/25/2011 3:56:07 AM   
Alfred

 

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Yep, that's the one. Guess no need to pay a ransome now.

I do think it is definitive. The only benefit you adduce in favour of wolfpack tactics is reaquiring contact in the same phase. But that is actually not a by product of employing wolfpacks.

1. Any TF, be it comprised of a single submarine or 25 destroyers potentially can aquire multiple contacts in the same phase. The odds of it occuring are not improved (or for that matter nor are they decreased) by having more or fewer vessels in the TF.

2. In the case of submarines, there is no code to allow multiple different subs from launching their weapons in the same contact. Only the best submarine launches.

3. With the introduction of split tubes,a single American fleet submarine all by it's lonesome, could be able to persecute as many as 3 different contacts in the same 12 hour phase. I don't know about your praxis but I don't often see the same submarine TF acquiring 3 contacts in the same 12 hour phase, let alone 4 or more contacts.

4. Just because a submarine TF acquires a contact it doesn't mean it will actually persecute it. So in theory relying upon one's submarine TF being comprised of only a single submarine instead of multi subs will only result in missed opportunities to launch weapons if 4 or more contacts are made in the same 12 phase and all 4 contacts are fully persecuted.

So in theory, there is a very small statistical possibility of a wolf pack having a benefit. Against that theoretical benefit, the disadvantages of employing wolf packs need to be taken into account.

A. Increased vulnerability to being detected.

B. A considerably smaller potential area to come within the purview of submarine patrols.

C. Fewer patrol areas means the enemy can concentrate its naval and aerial ASW assets.

D. The speed of a wolf pack will be determined by the speed of the most damaged submarine. A major factor in determining the success of a submarine getting into position to successfully persecute it's attack is the spped of the submarine TF compared to that of it's target.

E. Each naval attack consumes endurance. If the best "determined" submarine in a wolf pack is consistently the same boat, then its endurance (=fuel) will be depleted quicker than the others and the TF will return to base to refuel even though the majority of boats in the TF retain plenty of fuel. The same issue arises with regard to depletion of torpedoes.

F. As pointed out by Don a wolf pack composed of 3 submarines has fewer eyes than 3 single submarine TFs in the same hex.

G. You will only need a single submarine in a wolf pack to meet the triggers for return to base for repairs. Remember the damage threshold is much lower than that required to split damaged ships into their own "Escort" TF. So when your wolf pack comprised of 3 (or 4 or 5 or 6...) subs meet that Japanese E type and the lone attacking submarine receives 40% damage, everyone goes home, just as if the sub had suffered only 10% damage.

these are not just theoretical disadvantages, they are very practical damages which seem to me to far outweigh the tiny theoretical advantage.

There are two other points to be made, one slightly in favour of using wolf packs, the other against their use.

Some Japanese submarines can carry float planes. If a Japanese wolf pack is formed comprised of float plane carrying submarines, it's chances of finding enemy TFs will be better. Not because of the additional boats in the TF but because of the additional planes out searching. Of course heavy radio traffic in the middle of nowhere might just more easily alert the Allied player that something significant is out there.

I am very reliably informed that old dolphins intensely dislike any suggestion that they used Nazi naval tactics. Certainly the historical record demonstrates that wolf pack tactics was essentially employed only by the Kriegmarine in the North Atlantic. Personally I would find it very ironic were Allied players who quickly denounce non historical tactics employed elsewhere, were to use this unhistorical tactic.

Bottom line, within the constraints of the AE game engine, use of wolf pack tactics is very inefficient and will very rarely be more effective than using single submarine TFs.

Alfred

(in reply to Chickenboy)
Post #: 33
RE: Wolfpacking? - 8/25/2011 5:37:35 AM   
jmalter

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Alfred
I am very reliably informed that old dolphins intensely dislike any suggestion that they used Nazi naval tactics. Certainly the historical record demonstrates that wolf pack tactics was essentially employed only by the Kriegmarine in the North Atlantic. Personally I would find it very ironic were Allied players who quickly denounce non historical tactics employed elsewhere, were to use this unhistorical tactic.

certainly no-one's going to be overjoyed to be compared to the NSDAPers, but many facets of the German-Atlantic & American-Pacific submarine offensives were remarkably similar. Unrestricted sub warfare; elite volunteer status for crewmen; centralized remote command; integration of sigint, codebreaking, recon & weather-reporting; & wolfpack tactics (this latter detailed by Clay Blair & mostly limited to SWPAC). Yank packs tried to go the Germans one better by including an embarked TF commander, but IIRC the formations proved unwieldy. Later, 'packs' were used to penetrate the Inland Sea where they'd patrol individually, then attempt to rendezvous before exiting. I see no reason to label Allied packs as unhistorical.
quote:


Bottom line, within the constraints of the AE game engine, use of wolf pack tactics is very inefficient and will very rarely be more effective than using single submarine TFs.

Alfred

given your analysis of the game-system, do you think 4 subs would be more usefully employed in 4 single-ship TFs, w/ one set to a patrol zone & the other 3 set to follow at 0-hex range, rather than as a 4-boat TF?

(in reply to Alfred)
Post #: 34
RE: Wolfpacking? - 8/25/2011 10:47:26 PM   
Alfred

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: jmalter


quote:


Bottom line, within the constraints of the AE game engine, use of wolf pack tactics is very inefficient and will very rarely be more effective than using single submarine TFs.

Alfred

given your analysis of the game-system, do you think 4 subs would be more usefully employed in 4 single-ship TFs, w/ one set to a patrol zone & the other 3 set to follow at 0-hex range, rather than as a 4-boat TF?


Yes but whether that is the best deployment manner I don't know as I haven't tried it. You could get a real benefit out of the 4 sub TF, but the odds are very much in favour of the four single sub TFs giving a much better return.

What I will say is that running sub patrols in areas where you also have aerial surveillance is a great aid. Just like aerial surveillance assist in naval ASW operations, so it does with sub operations. This is where Japan gets a slight benefit with its Glen equipped subs and why I pointed out that Japanese use of wolfpacks comprised of Glen equipped subs makes a bit more sense, although IMHO not enough to offset the disadvantages.

I assume you are enquiring from the Allied perspective. In that case I will assume that you want to interdict Japanese convoy routes transiting the South China Sea plus the Makassar Strait.

1. You could base long range 4E out of China to spot the convoys in the South China Sea. Normally you would be quite right to be concerned at the supply consumption rate of 4Es, and normally they would quickly wreck your Chinese supply. But flying only Naval Search, the supply consumption is quite modest and the size of the Chinese airfields will not be a significant factor, unlike were you to be flying offensive missions.

2. For Makassar transits, you not only have northern Australian bases, but many dot bases where a seaplane tender would suffice to allow for PBY coverages of the sea lanes.

Other sea lanes would also become potential surveillance targets, depending on any Allied bases still retained. Even if not, you could always embark on the Long Island a marine unit staffed with highly skilled naval search pilots and send the Long Island TF into areas not accessable by land based air. Just make certain the Long Island doesn't overstay her welcome in the same neighbourhood.

As to your specific proposal, have you considered sending the single sub TFs to patrol around a target hex, all with a 1 hex reaction range, rather than a specific patrol line. Then you could tinker with the delay times at each of the "waypoints" so that you stagger their arrival/departure but relying on the reaction range to get them to sail to the sound of combat.

Personnally I don't think it to be terribly important to synchronise all the sub attacks to occur in the same phase. Having the same convoy being hit on successive days by the original and nearby sub TFs is just as good. That places a greater strain on ASW efforts which have to be spread out over a greater surface area.

Alfred

(in reply to jmalter)
Post #: 35
RE: Wolfpacking? - 8/26/2011 8:47:43 AM   
jmalter

 

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hi Alfred,
thanks for your thoughtful response. yes, i'm coming from an Allied perspective.

AirSearch to spot convoy routes & increase the detection level of targets would of course be useful, when available.

A CVL w/ a DB sqn (& tank range of 10) would have to be a carefully-planned op - getting the boats into position 1st, then high-speeding the CVL into position for (at best) 2-3 days of look-see before it ran low on fuel, missions & drop-tanks is a nift' idea! the initial moves of the boats would give some idea of the presence of enemy NavSearch, b/c it'd be key to have the CVL group arrive undetected. useful to put the skeer on an opponent in a specific situation, but not something you'd want to be doing repetitiously in the same area, w/o an unlimited supply of replacement CVLs!

also it's a complex hands-on one-off op, & i'm more towards looking for sub-ops in 'set it & forget it' mode. the 1-hex max reaction range of sub TFs is a key constraint.

i've used the 'patrol around target' option, imo it's better-used against coast-line targets than island targets, 'cos it favors the 'towards friendly' hexes. against islands, i prefer to lurk my boats on the 'towards enemy' side. also, 'patrol target' keeps the boats close-in, & i prefer a manual patrol-zone where one of the three hexes is offshore by 1 day's run, in order to shake off enemy aerial detection.

i'll offer this variant - say my 4 subs are 'led' by a 1-sub TF w/ an assigned patrol zone, the other 3 are in 1-sub TFs set to 1-, 2- & 3-hex 'follow' ranges of the lead sub. let's call this a 'trawl-net'. the lead sub is set to spend 1 day at each of its 3 assigned pat-zone hexes, this is my standard assignment to reduce fuel consumption and increase time-on-station. all 4 single-sub TFs are set to 1-hex reaction range.

my question is this - if the last boat in the train becomes adjacent to an enemy TF, will it 'react' to that enemy TF and attempt an attack, or will its 'follow' setting require it to maintain the specified distance from its leader (which will move to its next-specified pat-zone hex), & ignore the possible intercept?

(in reply to Alfred)
Post #: 36
RE: Wolfpacking? - 8/27/2011 12:51:34 AM   
Alfred

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: jmalter

hi Alfred,
thanks for your thoughtful response. yes, i'm coming from an Allied perspective.

AirSearch to spot convoy routes & increase the detection level of targets would of course be useful, when available.

A CVL w/ a DB sqn (& tank range of 10) would have to be a carefully-planned op - getting the boats into position 1st, then high-speeding the CVL into position for (at best) 2-3 days of look-see before it ran low on fuel, missions & drop-tanks is a nift' idea! the initial moves of the boats would give some idea of the presence of enemy NavSearch, b/c it'd be key to have the CVL group arrive undetected. useful to put the skeer on an opponent in a specific situation, but not something you'd want to be doing repetitiously in the same area, w/o an unlimited supply of replacement CVLs!

also it's a complex hands-on one-off op, & i'm more towards looking for sub-ops in 'set it & forget it' mode. the 1-hex max reaction range of sub TFs is a key constraint.

i've used the 'patrol around target' option, imo it's better-used against coast-line targets than island targets, 'cos it favors the 'towards friendly' hexes. against islands, i prefer to lurk my boats on the 'towards enemy' side. also, 'patrol target' keeps the boats close-in, & i prefer a manual patrol-zone where one of the three hexes is offshore by 1 day's run, in order to shake off enemy aerial detection.

i'll offer this variant - say my 4 subs are 'led' by a 1-sub TF w/ an assigned patrol zone, the other 3 are in 1-sub TFs set to 1-, 2- & 3-hex 'follow' ranges of the lead sub. let's call this a 'trawl-net'. the lead sub is set to spend 1 day at each of its 3 assigned pat-zone hexes, this is my standard assignment to reduce fuel consumption and increase time-on-station. all 4 single-sub TFs are set to 1-hex reaction range.

my question is this - if the last boat in the train becomes adjacent to an enemy TF, will it 'react' to that enemy TF and attempt an attack, or will its 'follow' setting require it to maintain the specified distance from its leader (which will move to its next-specified pat-zone hex), & ignore the possible intercept?



Hmn, the way you propse to use the CVL is not the only tactical approach.

You could run the sub TF, whose cruise speed might be very similar to the CVL TF (particularly if you are using the Long Island), as the moving vanguard of a TG, operating within the naval search envelope provided by the air search planes. This would minimise the use of high speed fuel consumption. An alternative is to replace the CVL TF with a small surface TF containing a/some cruisers with float planes.

As to the specific question raise about the last sub in the train. I can't give you an anwser from experience because I don't give my TFs with follow on command a reaction range. However, on a close reading of the manual and my recollection of other relevant comments made by the developers, this is my take on the matter.

The follow on command is a destination order. Just as valid a destination as if you had given it the explicit order to go to the destination x/y co-ordinates. In moving towards their destination hex, the difference between the two inputs is that a TF with a follow on command;

"...During movement, it will always move so as to stay in the same hex as the TF it is unless ordered to trail at a distance. If the following TF is not fast enough to keep up, the followed Task Force will slow down to allow the following TF to keep up." (s.6.2.7.1 of the manual)

This attention to maintaining movement integrity is absent from TFs setting off from the same base and moving to a commonly shared destination (also see s.6.1.2.1.3 of the manual).

My take, and it is subject to correction from the developers, is that a TF's "follow on" command overrides the reaction order given to the follow on TFs. This would be consistent with a TF given the "meet TF" (and either merge or trail) order. It would defeat the purpose of the exercise to give a "meet TF" destination order if the meeting never occurs because the TF coming to meet has gone off somewhere else on a reaction of its own.

A further consideration which gives me some comfort that I am on the right track is that any TF with a "do not retire" order will not subsequently react whilst it remains on station. Reaction orders are very much intended to only become active for TFs on "patrol", although to muddy the waters submarines can launch an attack during the movement phase of moving towards their destination (ssee s.6.4.4.1 of the manual).

So taking the preceding into account this is what I think would be the most likely outcome.

1. The leading sub TF, which has a specified destination, which happens to be a patrol zone however you have structured it, will steadily move towards its destination, bearing in mind that on ocassion it might have to slow down to allow any "stragglers" to catch up.

2. The leading sub TF, given a reaction range of 1, might react to a target of opportunity on route to its destination.

3. The three sub TFs with a "follow on" destination will always attempt to be in the same hex as the leading TF. This objective will override any reaction ranges they themselves may have.

4. If the leading sub TF does react, then in accordance with (3) above the follow on TFs will attempt to move to the same reacting hex.

Hope that helps. Of course it would be better if a developer could give you a definitive answer. Nonetheless I think you are troubling yourself over a fairly minor matter. For what really matters is how the TFs perform once they arrive at the patrol zone, almost by definition they will have far fewer targets of opportunity getting to the patrol zone than they will have once they are at the patrol zone. Once there, they should not have the follow on command for that would tend to minimise one of the major advantages of having the multiple TFs rather than a single wolfpack, viz greater sighting odds.

Alfred

(in reply to jmalter)
Post #: 37
RE: Wolfpacking? - 8/28/2011 8:26:27 AM   
LoBaron


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Interesting discussion.

What I wonder is what, or better: in which situation it is considered more effective to use "sub trains".

If I understand this right it means for 4 subs - for example - 1 sub to patrol/react 1, the 3 others in separate TFs on remain on station, follow TF1
Alternative to this (which is what I use) is 4 subs in individual TFs with PZs convering the same or similar areas.

Starting with the obvious I´d say, sub train has a lesser probability to attack at all (1 reaction chance to 4), but in case it does the punch is usually bigger than individual patrols.

Playing PBEM against an opponent who knows how to handle his ASW, considering all the vast ocean hexes, there are not many areas I think such
a sub train could be more effective than 4 individual patrols.


Am I missing something here?


_____________________________

S**t happens in war.

All hail the superior ones!

(in reply to Alfred)
Post #: 38
RE: Wolfpacking? - 8/28/2011 11:42:37 AM   
jmalter

 

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hi LoBaron,

i asked some questions of Alfred, who kindly provided detailed answers.

that what i was looking for, was a way to insert multiple subs into a specific area (patrol zone), & get best possible performance from them during transit, as well as optimizing them on-station, using minimal clickage / operational attendance to their action. i'm trying to improve my own sub-ops doctrine by glomming off the advice i get here!

seems to me, your 'what i use' alternate of single-sub TFs using independent PZs is superior to my idea of using single-sub TFs to follow a 'leader' sub's PZ. Alfred opines, that the 'follower' subs will choose to follow their leader, rather than react to an enemy. this situation ain't optimal!

let's say i'm gifted w/ 4 new subs that have arrived at Pearl, & i sail them off as a single TF to a dest. hex, specifying a full refuel at Midway. Once this pack has cleared Midway, it's time to sub-divide them into separate single-sub TFs, strung out as a 'train' behind a leader. once they're strung out, now it's time to cancel their 'follow' orders & separately assign each one to a PZ. perhaps all 4 will share the same 3 PZ hexes, but stringing them out as they approach will help me time their arrivals so that all 3 PZ hexes will be continuosly occupied.

does this make sense to you?

(in reply to LoBaron)
Post #: 39
RE: Wolfpacking? - 8/28/2011 2:50:26 PM   
LoBaron


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From: Vienna, Austria
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jmalter, yes it does make sense.

I never thought to coordinate sub PZs like you do. The question is though if there is a difference compared to set a single PZ
hex with delay 0. Do it 3 times and you have a similar effect. The only one i could think of would be the DL change on movement
which is partly offset by subs reducing their phase anyway 2 times a day.

It all depends on whether you prefer wolfpack like sub concentrations or rather cover large areas of potential transit.
And the effectiveness of both strategies depend on how the opponent sets up his convoys and convoy routes.

There is another advantage though. As currently the map position is reset to the sub location when you
assign a PZ, moving a sub TF containing more than one subs to a specific area and only after arrival split it up and assign individual PZs,
could reduce the time needed for giving orders.

From what I already noted is there are a lot of different styles to wage sub war. Really educational.



_____________________________

S**t happens in war.

All hail the superior ones!

(in reply to jmalter)
Post #: 40
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