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Naval Loss Theory

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Naval Loss Theory - 12/27/2013 12:44:36 AM   


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In a recent large naval battle between Italy and the Commonwealth I was faced with another of the 1000 Wif decision points. As the Commonwealth do I assign Destroyed results against my BBs with a 4 or 5 durability so that they might just get damaged, or against 1 and 2 naval factor CA and CL units that will be almost certainly destroyed? On the other side Italy has those big BBs with a 2 durability, but also a lot of virtually useless (from a naval battle standpoint) 1 naval point CLs.

Usually I end up trashing a lot of CAs and CLs, so I thought I'd try the BB route this time. Well the battle lasted three rounds and in the end the Commonwealth lost 2 BB sunk, 4 damaged, 1 CA sunk and I don't know how many damaged. Italy lost 1 CA and 3 CL sunk and all the BBs damaged.

Sure, taking a destroyed result against a BB may well result in only damage, but 5-8 Naval points are lost for any future rounds compared to 1-2 for a sunk CL.

Is there some conventional wisdom that people apply to this question?

Note: It was all surface combat as I kept getting a bug in Naval Air combat.
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RE: Naval Loss Theory - 12/27/2013 3:01:37 AM   


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Conventional wisdom is that you throw the bulk of your losses against CLs if you have them. Those things are barely worth the oil to re-org them. I like to give D results to battleships most of the time, and Xs to the cruisers, as a VERY general rule of thumb.

(in reply to RickInVA)
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RE: Naval Loss Theory - 12/27/2013 8:15:40 AM   

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There is no clear cut answer, as always.
For example, Japanese cruisers are usually worth their weight in gold: very fast, good range, reasonable protection, excellent surface capability. On the other hand, the Commonwealth has a host of mostly useless cruisers. One more, one less, where is the difference ?

Now, there are other things to ponder: a destroyed naval unit takes at best one year and a half to come back on the map if you need to rebuild it. A damanged unit takes four months...

Suppose you have XD to assign, and you have a battleship and a cruiser: I usually would put the X on the battleship if its defense is 1 or less, and the D on the cruiser: this way, I have a 90% chance to keep both units. But if I feel that the cruiser is anyway worthless, I'll assign the result to it. An excellent example is the Yamato: with a defense of 0, it just cannot be sunk by one X alone. XD only has a 10% chance of destroying it. It takes XX to sink it with certainty...

The choice may also not be the same if you are at the beginning or at the end of the campaign: An Italian player, with few build points, may prefer to keep his battleships in good shape and attrition his fleet with losses, considering that he doesn't have the material means to repair two ships...

Well well well... Yes, Wif 1000 choices also do extends to such trivial things...

Now conventionnal wisdom also says that you should always avoid any naval combat where you don't have planes! And surface combat is usually bad, because it is bloody and unforgiving. Both sides will suffer. In naval air, your fleet may well end up unscathed (see my AAR for some naval combats examples)

First, having planes will force the opponent to spend precious surprise points to avoid naval air combat.

Second, you get to choose some of the opponent's casualties.

You take it when you want to attrition the enemy fleet and you have a greater firepower ; this applies well for example at the start of the game against the german or Italian fleet if you can corner it. In that example, the Commonwealth can afford to lose one ship against one German ship or one Italian: in the end, its anyway an allied victory. Against the Italians, using the French fleet is even best, since it will be lost anyway!


< Message edited by yvesp -- 12/27/2013 9:26:36 AM >

(in reply to Ur_Vile_WEdge)
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RE: Naval Loss Theory - 12/27/2013 12:53:21 PM   

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Part of it is situational and also depends on what optional rule you may be playing with. It sounds like you are playing with Cruisers in Flames and that adds a lot of cannon fodder to the Italians as well as the CW. If not playing with CiF, while the CW can afford to destroy some cruisers, if they follow this policy a lot, they will find themselves short of escorts if the U-boats come out.

For the CW in the Med, some other things have to be taken into consideration.

Whenever the CW removes a counter from the Med, that is a win for the Italians since it will take at least 1 extra turn to get the ship back to the Med if it is repaired. Any ship returning to the Med from the West may have to "run the guns" to get to the Eastern Med and that can be problematic as well, although the easy way is to move from England to the Western Med, then return to a Eastern Med base. Having said this, I am more willing to hit a British battleship with a X result than I am an Italian one depending on the situation if not playing with the CiF option. Otherwise, I would assign some abort results to my better battleships and hope they make the roll to turn it into a 1/2 abort and they get to stick around for another round.

Where you put what CW battleships make a big difference. I have a tendency to put the better defensive battleships in the Med when I can since I expect more fighting there. If the Germans come out, they will see a bunch of crummy battleships, but the key word there is "bunch".

For the Italians with CiF, losses go on the garbage units period. Cuts down on my oil usage (if playing with oil rules) and doesn't affect my combat strength that much. Note this can only go for so long however before you are out of cannon fodder and those hits start hurting more. Some of the Italian cruisers are close to what the older Italian battleships have for defense, so those get hit with the abort attempts and also damage. The defense may be the same, but for technical moral purposes, it is important to keep the number of battleships that you have high and hope your opponents moral cracks and the battleships are the superior offensive unit.

(in reply to yvesp)
Post #: 4
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