From: Vienna, Austria
1. OK, to the OP and everyone else who has since responded, you should all read/reread this thread on sub operations.
Don't forget to read all the embedded links to associated threads.
2.. It is good to see the OP in his various threads claims to check up on the manual before opening a thread. The manual is good but is a bit out of date. Searching the forum will usually bring up the threads which update/enhance/clarify what is provided in the manual. Once a problem has been experienced, doing the research for its solution prior to posting is always a more effective learning approach.
I think Alfred your post was missed by quite a few. From what I am reading the discussion is repetetive.
There are some other relevant posts in Alfreds link, but here are quoted the ones holding the most important information:
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.
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.
It is pretty obvious when reading this that the only advantage of grouping subs into a single TF is: it is less work intensive. Thats it. All other advantages are
purely fictional when compared to multiple sub TFs in a single hex.