From: St.Petersburg, Russia
ORIGINAL: Mike Solli
I look at them from a pretty simplistic viewpoint: Endurance and DC racks.
And therein lies the problem.
Personally, I divide Japanese escorts into several groups:
1)Frontline escorts (ACTFs and convoys within range of enemy airpower). The most important factor for these by far is the number of DP guns. Flak MGs don't matter because they only fire to protect the ship itself, and DCs are of far secondary importance because sub threat is much less potent than air threat. I use Fubuki (I) DDs (yes, even despite their mighty torpedo armament, although if I'm to play DaBabes, where their DP guns have much reduced stats against air targets, I might change my opinion), then Yugumos and Akizukis, as they become available, for these duties. As there are never enough of these, particularly during the period of initial expansions, old DDs with 120 10YT guns can be used in this role as well.
Needless to say, I forbid most upgrades that reduce the number of DP guns. Until advanced upgrades in 1944 the benefits aren't worth the sacrifice.
2)Fast tanker escorts. Hatsuharu-class DDs and Etorofu Es. As their only exceptional trait is high endurance, they can be assigned to serve as a last-chance protection of ships that aren't normally supposed to come under fire.
3)Sub hunters. Super-Es (starting from Shimushu after the 5/43 upgrade) if they are available in the scenario. For everything else chances of taking out an Allied sub in deep water are very low, at least in 1942-43. In shallow water any ships with experienced crews and depth charges better than Type 95 can take them out. This group might expand in 1944, when Japanese ASW becomes fully effective.
4)SRA convoy escorts. Everything with range of 3000 and more, that isn't needed or is useless on the front. As they are largely ineffective at doing more than warding off Allied subs anyway, armament doesn't matter much. Ansyu class PBs form the bulk of them, supplemented by variety of old DDs and TBs, minesweepers (I don't convert DMSs to Es), assorted second-rate Es and so on.
5)NRA convoy escorts. Fast SCs and To'su PBs.
6)Chokepoints patrols. Slow SCs and To'su PBs for deep-water straits, anything from category #4 that carries at least Type 95 Mod 2 DCs for shallow-water straits (as there they actually hope to sink something).
ORIGINAL: Mike Solli
There's one critical question here. When do all of you convert some of your DDs to APD and why? I'm still not convinced.
I convert all Minekaze DDs immediately after the conclusion of initial offensive operations, because even the first of their DD upgrades reduces their already very limited value as DDs by over 60%, and their APD version gets a relatively good, radar-equipped upgrade on 42/8. To use APDs or conver to Es later as necessary. This conversion is available only until 42/8. I don't conver anything else. In fact, I think that it might be better to never upgrade Minekaze DDs as well, as I do with Kamikaze DDs, and use them as frontline escorts. All of their upgrades exchange DP guns for MGs, and this is a bad deal... Momi and Wakatake classes get far better ASW and AA capabilities with upgrades if they remain DDs.
< Message edited by FatR -- 9/21/2011 11:10:21 AM >