From: the flight deck of the Zuikaku
Obvert, I look at each class of DD separately, based on the type of mission I assign it. There are a couple of things that have higher priority though. ASW is one of them. The Fubuki I begins the war with no DC racks so they go into refit as soon as possible to get them those necessary DCs. Same with the PC Momi, Otori, Hashidate and DD Momo. I want all my escorts to have DC racks. The last 4 classes sit in port until they are scheduled to get DC racks.
Next I look at the mission of that class. The Shiratsuyu, Hatsuharu, Yugumo and Akitsuki classes all are my CV escorts so I want maximum AA and DCs (and later, radar). I donít care about losing a gun. If they get into a surface engagement, I screwed up badly. On the other hand, subs are always a threat and CV escorts can expect to see enemy aircraft eventually.
Next come those classes that have other escort missions. These include the Mutsuki and Kamikaze classes, which escort my AOs. Same as the CV escorts.
The Minekaze is a unique class. Right now, they are a surface and escort force stationed at Ominato. Theyíve done nothing except the occasional cargo escort mission to the Aleutians. Their small (2500) endurance precludes them from any long range mission. I also consider them obsolete. Iím not sure what Iím going to do with them. I may keep them in the 5 Fleet area, but they (along with the 3 CLs also there) canít really do much against any significant Allied force (say modern CL and larger). Another possibility is to use them as cargo escorts in the SRA. Theyíre not needed there at the moment so theyíll stay at Ominato. A third (and very likely) possibility is to use them in an ASW capacity around the Home Islands. Iíve got a lot of SCs currently in that mission but a few DDs with good crew and CO experience canít hurt. If I do this, Iíll break them up into 13 ASW TFs, each with 1x Minekaze and 3x SCs. This last possibility plays into their low endurance because none of the SCs have endurance over 1500.
The classes youíre talking about are (for me) are the Fubuki I, Fubuki II, Fubuki III (Akatsuki), Asashio and Kagero classes. These are the classes that will most likely come into a surface action. The Fubuki I & II are stationed at Truk and deemed most likely to fight enemy surface elements. They are also very likely to meet enemy aircraft and subs. The Asashio, Kagero and Akatsuki classes are split between the 2 Fleet (stationed at Singapore) and the 1 Fleet (Combined Fleet) stationed at Davao. They are most likely to meet subs right now, with the likelihood of meeting surface ships and aircraft increasing with time. All five of these classes are occasionally used as convoy escorts when necessary but I try to minimize it.
Hereís how I look at these classes. All but the final 6 classes discussed above will get every upgrade as soon as possible. Iíll look at the final 6 class upgrades as they become available but Iíll most likely take them. My philosophy is that if they canít get to the surface action, theyíre no good to me. They need all of the best the AA and ASW weapons they can get in order to survive to get to that surface action.
I also have another philosophy about surface action. I want to avoid surface action as much as possible, and when it is unavoidable, I want to overwhelm the enemy with firepower. I want to hit enemy ships with larger types of ships. If there is an enemy CA TF out there that I can hit, I will make sure I have BBs in my TF that hits them. Preferably, I want to hit enemy surface TFs with air first, and subs second. My surface TFs are a distant third. Enemy surface TFs probably have little or no CAP so my aircraft can do serious damage with little loss. My subs will hold off and attack the cripples afterward. My surface forces may go after cripples afterward if there are no enemy aircraft in the vicinity.
Finally, you wonít see my surface TFs with a lot of DDs in them. My CAs carry torpedoes, so DDs arenít much of an asset. They have little or no armor, so if they get hit, theyíre likely to not survive.
My Combined Fleet is currently composed of:
7 BB (8 when Musashi arrives)
3 CL (Kitakami, Oi and the DD Squadron Leader)
I will eventually split it into 2 (Davao and Truk) roughly evenly. That means that each TF will have 8 DD available. If a TF goes into combat, Iíll most likely use only 4 of those DDs. The remaining 4 DDs will be available as escorts after the battle. I want to make sure I always have ASW available for my ships.
Howís that for long winded?!
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