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RE: 1000 mile war - liberating the Aleutians

 
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RE: 1000 mile war - liberating the Aleutians - 8/23/2017 7:52:20 AM   
BBfanboy


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I am curious why you have held back your two CVs? I know you are short on escorts but why not go all-in for the last combat of the scenario?

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RE: 1000 mile war - liberating the Aleutians - 8/23/2017 9:39:02 AM   
Energisteron

 

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Day 60 - Jun 12 (Yes, it is Day 60 after all!)

So, this was the final day of the Scenario.

It was a very busy night! Firstly, the enemy approached their beachhead with APD Kane and DMS Long and in low visibility our coastal guns fired only 12 shells. None hit and it seems APD Kane unloaded successfully.

Our Subs around Kiska failed to put in an attack but further east near Adak SS I-21 met a small enemy TF consisting of just small Escorts and fired 6 torpedoes without effect. DD Farragut searched for our Sub but failed find her.

The weather was terrible especially during the day so there was no offensive air activity although a few nighttime Recon missions did fly. Consequently our Surface Combat TF arrived at Kiska totally undetected by the enemy and caught the Allied TF unloading. Not unexpectedly the result was carnage!

Unfortunately I accidentally overwrote the screenshots of 10 from 12 Allied ships sinking or burning but I'm sure that's all becoming a bit tedious by now in any case. The shellfire commenced at 2000 yards and closed to 1000 yards because the visibility was so bad. Consequently our Cruisers had to neutralise the enemy Destroyers first, targeting each in turn until they were badly damaged and on fire, before turning their attention to the Transports, two of which were already still affected by fires from earlier actions.

It was a long engagement and with all the escorts out of action and eventually sinking, the Transports were hit very hard with 6 of 8 being sunk. In the murky night 2x xAP actually escaped without being hit and were last seen steaming NE at maximum speed. Doubtless our TF could have overrun them if it had pursued but it had been ordered to bombard the Kiska beachhead which it duly did before dawn. What a night!






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< Message edited by Energisteron -- 8/23/2017 9:45:53 AM >

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RE: 1000 mile war - liberating the Aleutians - 8/23/2017 9:45:09 AM   
Energisteron

 

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Hi BBf

Curiosity killed the Cat!

I literally had NO escorts except for 2 small Escort Vessels with a speed of only 18 knots. So, since I had 10 Bettys on Attu, and plenty of fighters to support them, it seemed pointless risking the Carriers. Also the weather forecast was bad so the chances of flying were low. As it happens there were no flights today. There were also repeated uneventful reports of Allied Subs outside Paramushiro-jima so sending carriers out with say just CLs and no DDs seemed high risk.

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RE: 1000 mile war - liberating the Aleutians - 8/23/2017 9:57:31 AM   
Energisteron

 

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Day 60 - Jun 12

The final land battle.

So, we made one more attack against the Allied Beachhead. Their troops had been subjected to a pre-dawn bombardment and had seen their supporting Naval units driven off, as well as suffering from fatigue from the beach assault and our attack yesterday.

However, the terrain was in their favour and they did not break. Our casualties were lighter than yesterday. So, the Allies retain their lodgement on Kiska Island.




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RE: 1000 mile war - liberating the Aleutians - 8/23/2017 10:28:10 AM   
Energisteron

 

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The FINAL POSITION (Game 3)

Here shown from the Japanese perspective.

Immediately around Kiska we have the Surface Combat TF and several Subs. We have adequate air assets and supplies at both Attu and Kiska. Back at Paramushiro-jima we have a formidable naval force comprising a Battleship, several Cruisers and two Fleet Carriers plus a Light Carrier, but as stated earlier no Escorts. Also, the Infantry Brigade and a Battalion of Combat Engineers are loaded and ready to sail for Kiska at a moment's notice.

The Allies have 3 Transports which have, not surprisingly, fled north-east away from surface combat. Since no troop casualties were reported (or picked-out of the water) we must assume these have all disembarked their troops.

Just arriving near Kiska is another TF which seems to be a follow-up ground force, with 2 additional TF near Adak. That which is docked is likely to be a Supply TF, another may be support and the furthest east TF is likely to be escorts only retreating to Dutch Harbor after their Transports were sunk earlier.




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RE: 1000 mile war - liberating the Aleutians - 8/23/2017 11:18:13 AM   
Energisteron

 

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The FINAL POSITION (Game 3)

This time from the Allied point of view.

The 2 xAPs escaping NE have indeed unloaded all troops but still hold nearly 4k of supplies. Our assessment of the other TFs was about right although it seems in this last turn the approaching follow-up invasion TF has aborted its mission with 1st Special Service Brigade on board and turned for home.

It is apparent the Allied troops on Kiska have a very tenuous hold despite their tenacity when attacked. They are at about two-thirds strength and very short of supplies.

But a big surprise was just how little the AI knew about our dispositions beyond Kiska. Even there our Surface Combat TF has been underestimated to their cost.

Disappointingly, although I was not impressed by the AI's performance at all, it seems the big guns were kept back at Dutch Harbor and probably never used! There was not one single naval bombardment by the Allies except for during the invasion itself and then only with Destroyers. We never saw a Wildcat fighter so doubtless the CVE never left port either.

I would be very interested to hear from more experienced players whether the AI ever does perform. I would never expect as competitive a game as a human player would provide but surely the AI can do something?

As I had anticipated, a couple of Allied TF did indeed react off map to be lost to the AI's cunning plans! However, these were just 2 Destroyers, and 2 Minesweepers, one of which was so severely damaged it would almost certainly have sunk before getting back to base. These escort craft in both cases were fleeing from surface combat having lost all their accompanying transports so I really don't think their loss affected the outcome.




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RE: 1000 mile war - liberating the Aleutians - 8/23/2017 12:18:45 PM   
Energisteron

 

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THE RESULT

Of course, it is a foregone conclusion that it is a DECISIVE JAPANESE VICTORY.

I take little pleasure in the result because it seems the AI is incapable (or perhaps not programmed) to fight this scenario.

The AI certainly showed tenacity in repeatedly mounting invasion attempts, first at Attu, and then at Kiska, despite huge shipping losses and the loss of so many troops when Transports went down.

However, it showed very little guile, or tactical ability. Guile was limited to occasional feints to and from the island intended for invasion. Tactically, to lead with poorly escorted Transports without even Surface Combat cover or the small Carrier, all of which were available, in attendance was virtually suicidal.

Air attacks against my shipping were rare and restricted to the immediate vicinity of Adak. CAP was provided over Adak but rarely for Task Forces approaching my air cover. Air raids were sporadic and poorly coordinated and it seems the Liberators were hardly used, with Mitchells doing the 'donkey work' and suffering for it.

Once it made landfall, then the AI fought adequately with its ground forces but it left them hopelessly low on supply.

So, overall, I am very disappointed with the AI performance.




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RE: 1000 mile war - liberating the Aleutians - 8/23/2017 12:32:17 PM   
Energisteron

 

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After my criticism of the AI it hardly seems worthwhile reviewing my tactical performance.

All I will say is that:-

1. Mining Adak seems to have been beneficial

2. Not exposing air assets unnecessarily to naval or aerial bombardment by installing just enough fighter cover on the forward bases and holding reserves back at Paramushiro-jima seemed to be a good idea also. Of course, naval bombardment never happened!

3. Providing adequate escorts to all Task Forces and whenever possible LRCAP too seems to be key.

4. Keeping a Surface Combat TF handy just north of our bases but not within easy striking distance of Adak meant we could deter enemy invasions or make them suffer if they persisted in their attack.

5. Keeping Attu and Kiska well stocked with supplies was essential.

6. Eventually making Attu a main airfield with torpedo armed Bettys was helpful although results were not spectacular.

7. Not risking the Fleet Carriers in circumstances when aerial retaliation was hardly necessary was probably sensible.


Overall assessment of this scenario after playing it three times (twice as Allies):-

It's a good little scenario for learning the game, especially from the Allied side, but surely a human Japanese player utilising his immense naval assets at the end would defeat a human Allied player with ease.

Another small glitch is the occasional loss of a TF off the northern mapedge which is too close to the action. I've learnt how to avoid this myself but it seems the AI hasn't.

Thanks to the designer once more, and for all those who've provided comments and advice.


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RE: 1000 mile war - liberating the Aleutians - 8/23/2017 1:43:51 PM   
Deathifier

 

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Well done Energisteron!

Unfortunately the AI is not great at offensive action although it depends on the scripts it is using.
For this scenario it clearly had instructions to conduct one or more amphibious invasions however for some reason the main surface forces were left out so they probably sat in port the whole game.
This is probably also why when you played against the Japanese AI that it's heavier units also stayed in port - it wasn't told to use them.

What I hope you did notice is that it doesn't take much to scare transport TF's away from their targets or intended route, something that can be useful or quite annoying.
Also note how the swamp terrain made it difficult to dislodge the invasion even though it had taken considerable damage just from getting ashore.

As for how it'd play out in a human vs. human game I think there'd be much brawling around Adak and Kiska as the allies try to push forwards under fighter cover and the Japanese try to stop them.

The Japanese CV's are dangerous however the allies do have a large number of fighters and the allied CVE air group can be unloaded (to avoid risking the CVE itself) although some juggling of aviation support will be necessary.

The allied bombers aren't a risk to the CV's whilst the Japanese CV and Betty air groups are a threat to everything that floats however they are also fragile and finite in number and the weather is terrible.

I think it'd come down to how well the allied fighters perform and who manages their heavy surface units better as sunk ships are likely going to be the big point scorer as well as what allows or prevents invasions.

Supply and Fuel may also be an issue for the Japanese as the heavies will consume plenty of both.
Japan also has further to travel to resupply and this will mean the allies have windows in which to act or they are only facing a portion of the Japanese forces at any given moment as the Japanese rotate ships in and out to ensure there is always something on station, thus risking being overwhelmed as the allies can get their fleet in to action quickly.

It could be very interesting or it could be that one poor result tips the balance and snowballs in to a dominant position for one side.

- Deathifier

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RE: 1000 mile war - liberating the Aleutians - 8/23/2017 2:58:19 PM   
Bif1961


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Now you are ready to take on an unpredictable human willing to devote endless hours to the clickfest this game promises. Good luck.

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RE: 1000 mile war - liberating the Aleutians - 8/23/2017 4:33:44 PM   
BBfanboy


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I am not sure what difficulty level you were working at or if a higher level difficulty would make the AI more aggressive.
I think the AI randomly assigns leaders to its units, including ships so that could affect the willingness to take the BBs and CVE into battle.
I think the scripts very strongly push troop landings against opposition, but allow for important ships to stay clear of enemy bombers.
I don't have any expertise on the scripts themselves but the AI performance seems to follow what I mentioned.

Congrats on your victory. You reacted well to enemy moves and had the right mix of aggression and caution.
On to the next scenario! I recommend one with more carrier action - a necessary thing to master before the Grand Campaign.

_____________________________

No matter how bad a situation is, you can always make it worse. - Chris Hadfield : An Astronaut's Guide To Life On Earth

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RE: 1000 mile war - liberating the Aleutians - 8/23/2017 9:32:51 PM   
Energisteron

 

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Thanks Deathifier

That's an excellent summary of the situation and a rational review of each sides chances in a HvH game with this scenario.

I certainly did notice how Transport TFS have some degree of self preservation and frequently divert. Other TFs can too. I made good use of the routing and threat tolerance buttons. Towards the end when I really wanted my subs to intervene I set their threat tolerance to absolute. That seemed to give them a bit of a rush of adrenaline!

I was cautious about auto-routing choices too. I prevented one of my surface combat TFs taking a whole day's detour around the perceived threat from Adak by again using the direct and absolute setting.

I agree the terrain on Kiska and Attu very much helps the defender. Even so, since I had plenty of supply (over 12k) on Kiska I could have kept artillery bombardments up for as long as I liked. The AI didn't even counter barrage on the final turn. I'm sure I'd have dislodged them from their beachhead in about a week especially once the reserve infantry brigade arrived. The Allies would have needed at least another regiment to have a chance of taking the base.

I've done quite a bit of work with AI scripts previously so I may look at that aspect next.

Thanks for your help throughout.

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RE: 1000 mile war - liberating the Aleutians - 8/23/2017 9:34:39 PM   
Energisteron

 

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Hi Bif

Yes I need to step up to the start line for a pbem, but not the full campaign just yet!

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RE: 1000 mile war - liberating the Aleutians - 8/23/2017 9:40:19 PM   
Energisteron

 

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Hi BBf

Unfortunately I chose to play on the historical (normal) setting with +/-15 day variability for reinforcements for the Japanese side.

Thanks again for your helpful advice.

I believe there's a Coral Sea scenario. It's unseen by me although I've played the same operation in older games. I'll probably give that one a try!

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RE: 1000 mile war - liberating the Aleutians - 8/26/2017 10:31:52 AM   
Energisteron

 

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Actually, there's one thing I'm still puzzled about:-

The enemy AI often has spotter planes that seem to 'snoop around' and maintain contact with my TF once they spot them, but my Recon planes just seem to report and carry on with their preset flight plan.

Is there a way I can get my Recon aircraft to stick around and maintain contact with an enemy TF until any CAP gets too worrying?

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RE: 1000 mile war - liberating the Aleutians - 8/26/2017 7:54:44 PM   
BBfanboy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Energisteron

Actually, there's one thing I'm still puzzled about:-

The enemy AI often has spotter planes that seem to 'snoop around' and maintain contact with my TF once they spot them, but my Recon planes just seem to report and carry on with their preset flight plan.

Is there a way I can get my Recon aircraft to stick around and maintain contact with an enemy TF until any CAP gets too worrying?

Recon is for taking a look and pictures of a land hex. You need Naval Search to find ships.

Float planes are normally ship-based - on a CS (Japanese only), a BB, a CA or a CL. A few Japanese AMCs also have FPs. If the TF the FP came from is set to react it may close in on your TF because the FP detected it, and that would increase the chance for other FPs to make contact with it. I don't think Nav Search has a "loiter" routine to keep the aircraft in touch with your TF.

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RE: 1000 mile war - liberating the Aleutians - 8/27/2017 8:16:04 AM   
Energisteron

 

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Thanks again, BBF

My apologies, I used the term Recon planes but thankfully I recognise the difference between 'Recon' and 'Naval search' in the game, and indeed those are better terms for describing their separate objectives.

I am pleased I didn't miss a 'loitering' trick!

I found the best method of maintaining observation over an enemy TF was to have several aircraft ordered to cover a fairly narrow search arc which included the enemy position. That way at least 2 and sometimes 4 aircraft would spot the enemy TF during each 24 hour period.

BTW, I am now playing 'Coral Sea' as the Allies. There's certainly plenty of action and I've not had any difficulty getting Carrier v Carrier action!

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RE: 1000 mile war - liberating the Aleutians - 8/27/2017 7:12:03 PM   
BBfanboy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Energisteron

Thanks again, BBF

My apologies, I used the term Recon planes but thankfully I recognise the difference between 'Recon' and 'Naval search' in the game, and indeed those are better terms for describing their separate objectives.

I am pleased I didn't miss a 'loitering' trick!

I found the best method of maintaining observation over an enemy TF was to have several aircraft ordered to cover a fairly narrow search arc which included the enemy position. That way at least 2 and sometimes 4 aircraft would spot the enemy TF during each 24 hour period.

BTW, I am now playing 'Coral Sea' as the Allies. There's certainly plenty of action and I've not had any difficulty getting Carrier v Carrier action!

Great to hear you are well into the learning curve.
Hope you find time to post an AAR about your Coral Sea experiences. It needn't be as detailed as your 1000 Mile war one unless you need feedback on the overall picture.

_____________________________

No matter how bad a situation is, you can always make it worse. - Chris Hadfield : An Astronaut's Guide To Life On Earth

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RE: 1000 mile war - liberating the Aleutians - 8/28/2017 10:32:20 AM   
Energisteron

 

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Hi BBf

I may well run an AAR for Coral Sea when I return from my vacation in about 10 days.

I set-up as Allies versus an 'historical' AI with +/- 15 day variability for Allied reinforcements, and played through the first 4 days, but I was slaughtering the AI transports, had sunk a couple of CLs by aerial attack, and a DD by sub torpedo attack, and I was fighting an even battle with enemy CVs. So although CV Lexington had taken a bomb hit there were no fires and little damage so I felt fairly comfortable. Consequently, I will restart with the AI on the next hardness setting, but follow an identical strategy as before to see how it plays out.

Meanwhile, happy WITP(AE) hours, everyone!

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