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North, To Alaska!

 
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North, To Alaska! - 8/27/2004 4:03:10 AM   
Blackhorse


Posts: 1926
Joined: 8/20/2000
From: Eastern US
Status: offline
I like maps. So I was looking forward to see how WitP depicted half the world. Overall, I was very impressed.

But in the same way that others would be distressed if they found that the Yamato had been equipped with 14” guns, or that the Corsair had been pictured with twin-tails, I was disappointed by the fictional coastal highway in Alaska and Western Canada on the map.

Since I had some time on my hands (it took Digital River 45 days to get my CD to me) I read up on this little-known theatre of war. One thing led to another, and I ultimately researched proposed changes to the map, bases, and the OOB.

Along the way, I picked up a real appreciation for some of the difficult decisions the designers had to make. Just one example: Sitka started the war with a garrison of over 2,000 soldiers, detached from three regiments based elsewhere. How to show this in the game? If the regiments are kept together, then Sitka is defenseless. If a base unit is created, then these soldiers are being double-counted (as part of the regiment, and again, as part of the base). If the actual detachments are shown then the map and database would be cluttered with detached batteries and battalions that can not be recombined.

My guiding principle was that any proposed change should: be historically accurate; not adversely affect game play; reflect that Alaska was a backwater (icewater?) of the war, and not result in a net increase of units or bases.

Realistically, I do not expect the map or base changes I am suggesting here to be adopted in a patch. I do hope that the designers pick up on Pry’s suggestion and create a PBEM-only variant without the little map, base, OOB and supply “cheats” designed to help the AI cope. I hope that this map, and AK Brown’s excellent Australia map, would be considered if such a variant is developed.

Anyhoo, in this thread I will post 1) the proposed map 2) my recommended OOB changes, and 3) suggested base changes. I invite your comments. Afterwards, if I still think my suggestions are reasonable, I’ll post them and any suggested edits, in the appropriate OOB/Map thread.

Many, many thanks to AK “Alaska” Brown, who did much of the terrain research and actually drew the map.

COMING UP NEXT: the Map

_____________________________

WitP-AE -- US LCU & AI Stuff

Oddball: Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
Moriarty: Crap!
Post #: 1
Alaska Map - 8/27/2004 4:03:38 AM   
Blackhorse


Posts: 1926
Joined: 8/20/2000
From: Eastern US
Status: offline
Map Changes:

At the start of World War II the Territory of Alaska could only be reached by ship or by plane from the United States. It was impossible to build a road along the coastal range, where mountains and glaciers plunged directly into the sea. (The white hexes on the map represent the largest glacier fields). Alaska’s only roads and railroads ran inland from the coast, through gaps in the mountain ranges. Even today, there are no roads leading out of Juneau, Alaska’s capital city.

Nome was similarly isolated. It could be reached by ship about 5 months of the year, when the harbor was ice-free. Otherwise it was only accessible by air.

If mainland Alaska had ever been invaded, the Canadian port of Prince Rupert would become important as the most northern point connected to the transcontinental rail network, and the staging point for any counter-attack.

The Northwest Staging Route / Alaska – Siberia “Al-Sib” Lend Lease Route / Alaska – Canada “Alcan” Highway

US military planners were concerned about Alaska’s isolation. The navy stated bluntly that they could not guarantee US control of Alaskan waters in 1942. The air route along the coast was also unsatisfactory, both because of the threat of Japanese interdiction, and because poor weather – fog and rain 250 days a year – combined with the coastal mountains made for unreliable and dangerous flights.

For an air connection to Alaska, the Army planned to use the Northwest Staging Route, a series of Canadian airfields that connected Edmonton with Fairbanks. This route was east of the mountains; well inland from any Japanese threat and the awful weather that plagued the coast. But the airfields were rudimentary, and isolated. In January, 1942 38 P-40s and B-26s were sent from the US to reinforce Alaska over the Northwest Staging Route. Two-thirds of the planes got lost and crashed, or crash-landed on the Canadian airfields. The Army decided to build a road to link the airfields that pilots could navigate by. This “Alcan Highway” would also serve as an emergency overland supply route to Alaska.

In an impressive engineering feat, the Army built a 1,600 mile-long “pioneer road” connecting the airfields by September, 1942. The next month, the US began sending Lend-Lease aircraft to the USSR over this route. Nearly 8,000 aircraft were sent to Russia via this route, mostly P-39s, P-40s, A-20s, B-26s and C-47s, over half of all Lend-Lease deliveries. By the end of 1943, civilian engineers had improved the road enough that trucks could travel the entire route.

The addition of three bases: Ft. St. John, Whitehorse, and Fairbanks, represents the airfields along the Al-Sib route that were used for Lend-Lease and would have been the front-line bases if Japan had invaded Alaska. The road connecting the three bases is the route of the actual Alcan Highway. Three superfluous Aleutian bases: the Komondorskis, Oliuga, and Atka, could be removed to offset these additions.




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Blackhorse -- 8/27/2004 2:07:19 AM >


_____________________________

WitP-AE -- US LCU & AI Stuff

Oddball: Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
Moriarty: Crap!

(in reply to Blackhorse)
Post #: 2
Alaska OOB - 8/27/2004 4:03:59 AM   
Blackhorse


Posts: 1926
Joined: 8/20/2000
From: Eastern US
Status: offline
When the war began, the navy had three facilities in Alaska: the main naval base, equipped to service destroyers, submarines and seaplanes on Kodiak; an advance base at Dutch Harbor, on Unalaska; and a seaplane facility at Sitka. The army was headquartered on the mainland at Anchorage, and responsible for defending the three navy bases as well.

Legend: (-) remove this unit from this base (+) add this unit to this base

Anchorage / Ft. Richardson / Ft. Raymond: The main army and air base in Alaska

(-) 106th USN Base Force: Should be a USAAF Base Force. Anchorage was the main Air Force base (Elmendorf Field) in Alaska, and HQs of the Army’s Alaskan Defense Command. There were no naval installations at Anchorage or Seward.

(+) New USAAF Base Force. This unit should start at full TO&E strength, but without radar.

(ok) 4th Infantry Regiment: In the database, this Regular Army regiment is over strength in 155mm artillery and engineers and support. These additions accurately reflect the presence of the 81st Field Artillery Battalion (155mm) and one company of the 32nd Engineers that were stationed in Anchorage, but not included as separate units. The 17 Stuart tanks of B company /194th Tank Battalion stationed here should also be added to the regiment’s TO&E.

(-) 37th Infantry Regiment: This unit started on Kodiak

(+) 153rd Infantry Regiment, Arkansas National Guard: Should start at 2/3rd strength. The First and Third battalions were stationed at Seward, the port serving Anchorage. The Second battalion was in Washington state awaiting orders. The database has two 153rd RCTs: #2758 starts in Nome, and #2884 arrives as a 4/42 reinforcement. See the 37th Regiment on Kodiak for comments about experience and morale.

(ok) 75th Coastal Artillery (AA) Regiment: No change.

(-) 215th Coastal Artillery (AA) Regiment: This unit started on Kodiak

(ok) 250th Coastal Artillery Regiment, California National Guard: This over strength unit (36x 155mm) should be reduced to normal size (24x 155mm) and start at ½ normal strength (12x 155mm). One battalion was here; the other battalion was split between Dutch Harbor and Sitka and should be incorporated in their base forces. The database has two 250th C.A. Regiments: #2746 starts in Anchorage; #2702 starts in Los Angeles.

(ok) 802nd Engineer Aviation Battalion: No change. This unit actually started on Annette Island, an airfield guarding the approaches to Canada’s Prince Rupert. As Annette Island is not a separate base in the game, Anchorage is a good starting point.

Kodiak / Ft. Greely: The main navy base

(ok) 112th USN Base Force: No change

(+) 37th Infantry Regiment, Regular Army: Should start here instead of Anchorage. Unit starts at 2/3rd strength. One of the three battalions was stationed at Dutch Harbor. An additional 12x 75mm howitzers and 12x support squads should be added to the regiment, as the 98th Field Artillery Battalion was stationed on the island but not included as a separate unit. The 37th should probably flip-flop its experience and morale ratings (60/60) with the two National Guard regiments (55/55). The 153rd and 201st were both on active federal duty for nearly a full year when the war broke out; the 37th was not formed until August, 1941.

(ok) 201st Infantry Regiment, West Virginia National Guard: Should start at 2/3rd strength. One of the regiment’s three battalions was garrisoning Sitka and should be incorporated in that base force. See the 37th Regiment for comments about experience and morale.

(+) 215th Coastal Artillery (AA) Regiment, Minnesota National Guard: Should start here instead of Anchorage.

Dutch Harbor / Ft. Mears: The navy’s forward base

(ok) 108th USN Base Force: Base force strength should include one battalion of the 37th infantry as well as the headquarters and 2 batteries of the 250th Coastal Artillery Regiment stationed here.

(+) 206th CA (AA) Regiment, Arkansas National Guard: Should start here instead of Los Angeles. Should start at ½ strength. One battalion was here, the other was in Washington state awaiting orders.

Sitka / Ft. Ray: A Navy seaplane base

(ok) 111th USN Base Force: Base force strength should incorporate one battery of Coastal Artillery (250th), one battery of Anti-Aircraft (205th), and one battalion of the 201st Infantry, stationed here.

Nome: No forces

(-) 113th USN Base Force: Nome had no naval installations at start.

(-) 153rd Infantry Regiment: At start, the Nome garrison consisted of a single infantry company. Most of the 153rd was based in Seward, near Anchorage.

Juneau: No forces

(-) 110th USN Base Force: Juneau had no naval installations at start. The nearest garrison was two companies of the Alaska National Guard (297th Infantry Regiment) at Chilkoot barracks in Skagway, about 50 miles away. The 297th Regiment never had more than four companies, (HQ and the other two companies were in Anchorage) and likely was not front-line quality as it was not activated until September 1941. It is probably best to think of it as part of the Anchorage base force.

Missing

Apart from the 297th “Regiment” the only other ground unit in Alaska at start that is not accounted for is the 151st Combat Engineers Regiment of the Alabama National Guard. The companies of the first battalion are scattered at Kodiak, Dutch Harbor, Seward, and Sitka, and can be considered part of the base forces. The second battalion arrived from Louisiana in the spring, and was sent to reinforce Nome in June when there were fears that Japan might invade after taking Attu and Kiska. There is no shortage of US engineer units in the game, and it is hardly essential to account for this missing 1/2 of 1 regiment.

< Message edited by Blackhorse -- 8/27/2004 2:23:58 AM >


_____________________________

WitP-AE -- US LCU & AI Stuff

Oddball: Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
Moriarty: Crap!

(in reply to Blackhorse)
Post #: 3
Alaska Bases - 8/27/2004 4:04:18 AM   
Blackhorse


Posts: 1926
Joined: 8/20/2000
From: Eastern US
Status: offline
Legend: Port: 1 (2) -- first number is size in scenario 15; (number) = recommended size

Adak: BASE 863
Port :1 (2) SPS:1 (5) AIR:1 (0) SPS:2 (3)

No military facilities at start. Adak has the best deep-water harbor in the Anchorage-Aleutian chain. It was built into the US Navy’s main base for patrol planes, ships and submarines in Alaska. After landing on the island, engineers discovered that a tidal basin near the landing area could be drained and used as an airfield site, which handled squadron-sized B-24 operations within two weeks (!), and later hosted the headquarters of the Eleventh Air Force. The Navy’s Fleet Air Wing 4 (FAW-4) was also based here, and operated PBY-5As from both the airfield and the harbor.

Amchitka: BASE 865
Port: 1 (1) SPS: 1 (1) AIR: 0 (0) SPS: 2 (4)

No military facilities at start. Amchitka has poor harbors. During the initial, unopposed, landing the Destroyer Worden hit an underwater rock and sank, and waves and wind drove one of the three transports hard aground. An airfield was built and was used by B-24s on occasion, although primarily by B-25s and P-38s. Amchitka was one of three locations in the Aleutians where the USAAF planned to expand the airfield to 10,000 feet to handle B-29s.

Anchorage (& Seward & Whittier): BASE 856
Port: 6 (4) SPS: 7 (3) Air: 6 (6) SPS: 7 (7) Fort:3 (3)

Anchorage sprang to life in 1915 as the base camp for construction of the Alaska Railroad, and by 1940 was the largest city on the Kenai Peninsula, the most populous part of Alaska. Anchorage’s waterfront was along the Cook Inlet to the west; the Chugach mountain range separated Anchorage from the better ports of Seward (south) and Whittier (east). Anchorage was the principal base and headquarters for all army, and army-air, operations in Alaska at the beginning of the war. The Army’s Fort Richardson and Elmendorf Field were well-established by December. The Eleventh Air Force and all the USAAF aircraft in Alaska -- 20 P-36s and 12 B-18s -- were based here, and heavy bombers (B-17s, B-24s) staged through Elmendorf en route to other forward bases.

The game map ‘squashes’ the Kenai Peninsula together. As the map is drawn Anchorage should be one hex to the northwest, then the rail should run two hexes southward to Seward, which was the main port, with a hastily-assembled 5,000 man army garrison (Ft. Raymond). The navy, however, never considered building a base here, preferring the harbors on the islands of Kodiak, Unalaska and Adak, instead. The Army thought the 125 mile rail connection from Seward to Anchorage through the Chugach Range was too easily sabotaged, so they punched a 60 mile spur through the mountains from Anchorage east, and built port facilities at Whittier, which fronts on Prince William Sound. This new supply line was completed in 1943. Anchorage’s location on the game map between the real-life sites of Anchorage, Seward, and Whittier, is actually a nice abstraction of their combined facilities and capabilities, all rolled up into one base.

Atka: BASE 862
Port: 1 (1) SPS:1 (2) Air:1 (0) SPS:1 (0) Fort: 3 (0)

No military facilities at start; the “fort 3” rating is an error. The US Army occupied Atka as ‘insurance’ when they moved forces onto Adak, but the terrain kept them from building more than an emergency landing field for fighter planes. No air units were ever based here. Atka’s Nazan Bay briefly hosted some tender-supported PBY-5s that bombed the Japanese forces occupying Kiska while Adak’s airfields were being built. Adak has better potential port and air facilities, so for game purposes, Atka is a fairly superfluous base.

Attu (& Shemya): BASE 867
Port: 1 (1) SPS: 1 (1) Air: 0 (0) SPS:2 (5)

Attu had no military facilities at start, and a poor harbor. The Japanese never developed an airfield on Attu, but the Americans built one that supported squadron-level B-25 operations, as well as B-24s staged from other bases. Some twenty miles from Attu is tiny but flat Shemya. Shemya has no harbor, and can only be used and supplied by whoever controls Attu. Shemya was the only Aleutian Island with an airfield built to handle B-29 operations. I propose combining Attu and Shemya into one base, to reflect the historic air capabilities of Shemya.

Cold Bay: BASE 859
Port 1 (1) SPS 1 (1) Air 1 (1) SPS 2 (2)

Cold Bay had an airfield under construction when the war began. The airfield, and another one on Umnak, was completed in secret under the cover of the fictitious “Saxton and Company” cannery. The still-unfinished field had 2x 5000’ runways and was useable by April, 1942. Cold Bay was an “intermediate” staging field. At times, some B-26s or B-17s would base there, but not in squadron strength. One account says it had a 10,000’ runway, but I could not confirm that. Navy PBY-5 float planes used a naval anchorage at nearby King Cove.

Dutch Harbor (Unalaska): BASE 860
Port 4 (4) SPS 3 (3) Air 2 (0) SPS 1 (0) Fort 3 (3)

In 1940, the Navy decided to build a naval base capable of supporting ships and submarines at Dutch Harbor on Unalaska Island. To protect the naval base, completed in August, 1941, the army built Ft. Mears and moved nearly 5,500 men onto the island. However, the army could not find a location suitable to build an airfield for fighters anywhere on the rugged 30-mile long island, so instead based them on Umnak, nearly 70 miles away. Japanese carrier aircraft bombed Dutch Harbor as part of the Midway diversion. Once the US occupied Adak and built a naval base there, Dutch Harbor lost most of its significance.

Juneau (& Skagway): Base 855
Port 3 (3) SPS 3 (3) Air 4 (3) SPS 4 (1) Fort 3 (0)

Juneau was the territorial capitol, but mostly a hard-scrabble mining town with 1,000 men out of a total population of 6,000 working in the Alaska – Juneau Mine, which turned out a quarter of all the gold produced in Alaska. Juneau had a good port, but no established military or naval facilities, and only one small airstrip. Even today, Juneau, hemmed in by glaciers and mountains, has no road connection to the outside. During the war, Juneau became a replacement depot for troops deploying to and returning from Alaska, but no defenses were constructed. Ships had to pass by Juneau to enter the Lynne Canal (fiord) to reach Skagway. Before 1940, the 400 men at Chilkoot barracks in Skagway were the only US Army garrison in Alaska. Skagway was important because of the short-line railroad that cut through the mountains and connected it to the Canadian town of Whitehorse, which was halfway between the two ends of the proposed Alaska – Canada (Alcan) highway. Most of the engineers, equipment and supplies used to build the Alcan, and to support the air bases along the Lend Lease route to Russia, were sent by sea to Skagway, then railed to Whitehorse. In 1943, the railroad carried 250,000 tons of military supplies. Along the entire southeast coast of Alaska, where the Coastal Mountain Range plunged straight into the ocean, the Army had a hard time finding enough level ground, with clear approaches, to build airfields of any significance. Two engineer regiments that disembarked at Skagway had to camp on the airstrip because it was the only flat ground in the area!

Kiska: BASE 866
Port 1 (1) SPS 2 (2) Air 1 (0) SPS 2 (2)

Kiska had no military facilities in December, 1941. Kiska Island is a snow-covered 4000-foot volcanic mountain. It is five miles wide and 22 miles long, with a ridgeline surrounded by a steep succession of hills running the length of the desolate, barren and uninhabited island. The mountainous volcanic terrain is treeless and covered with waist-high tundra scrub and deep mossy swamplands. The Japanese came closer to building an airstrip at Kiska than they did at Attu, and Kiska had the better harbor. Japanese floatplanes in the harbor defended against air attacks, and made a few raids of their own. 34,000 allied troops invaded Kiska in August 1943. Despite daily air attacks the US and Canadian did not notice that the entire Japanese garrison had been evacuated without detection three weeks earlier. Kiska, like much of the Aleutians, averages 250 days of overcast and light rain every year, and only eight (!) clear days.

Kodiak: BASE 858
Port 3 (3) SPS 3 (3) Air 3 (3) SPS 2 (3) Fort 3 (3)

Kodiak is Alaska’s largest island, measuring 100 miles by 10-60 miles, and it guards the western approaches to Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula. In 1940 the Navy decided to build Kodiak and Dutch Harbor into its first two naval bases in Alaska. To defend the naval installation, the army built Fort Greeley with a garrison of nearly 6,000 men, and a decent-sized airbase with three concrete runways from 5,000’ to 6,000’ long. The naval base, including facilities for ships, submarines, and float planes, was largely complete when the war began. Kodiak Island is covered by a blanket of volcanic ash, which varies in depth from 3 inches to 8 feet, and in some places 20-foot drifts were found. This blanket, deposited on muskeg and rock outcrop, provided a difficult and unpredictable base, and slowed airfield construction. When the first air units were assigned in February, 1942, the airfield was not complete, but two of the three runways were operational. Eventually B-17s and B-24s operated from the island.

Komandorski: BASE 868
Port 0 SPS 0 Air 0 SPS 0

The Komandorski (Commander) Islands are incorrectly portrayed as American islands. They were a group of Russian Islands, between the Aleutians and the Kamchatka Peninsula. In March, 1943 the US and Japanese navies fought their only surface battle in the Aleutians nearby. An American force of two cruisers and four destroyers intercepted a Japanese transport task force escorted by four cruisers and four destroyers, and forced it to withdraw. There is no need for this base in the game.

Nome: BASE 857
Port 3 (3) SPS 4 (2) Air 3 (4) SPS 4 (4) Fort 3 (0)

Nome was an isolated old Gold Rush town, amid rolling hills in the Alaskan tundra along the Bering Sea. The only way to reach Nome was by ship after the ice-flows melted, or by the “bush pilots” who proliferated in Alaska in the 1920s and 1930s. When gold was discovered in the beach sand in 1898, as many as 20,000 prospectors moved in, briefly making Nome Alaska’s largest city. But the gold ran out and by 1940, Nome’s population was a more sedate 1,000. As part of the pre-war defense plan, in July of 1941 Army engineers took over responsibility for building an airfield in Nome, protected by a single infantry company. During a war alert in July, B-18s were moved to Nome and patrolled the coast. The airfield was still under construction, but capable of supporting a squadron when the war began. After the Japanese captured Attu and Kiska, Americans worried that Nome would be attacked, and airlifted 140 planeloads of reinforcements, supplemented with ships from Seward. A Canadian bomber reconnaissance squadron flying Bolingbrokes (Canadian Blenheim IVs) also transferred there. Starting in September, 1942 Nome became the last US stop along the Al-Sib (Alaska – Siberian) Lend Lease Route. Planes were transferred to Russian pilots in Fairbanks, and the shorter-ranged fighters would stage through Nome en route to Russia.

Ogliuga: BASE 864
Port 1 (1) SPS 1 (1) Air 1 (0) SPS 1 (0)

Ogliuga is a very odd choice to include in the game. Ogliuga had no military facilities in December, 1941. It is one of the Delarof Islands, a group of 7 small islands. Ogliuga was never invaded or occupied by any military forces, nor did the Japanese or American commanders ever contemplate building any bases in the Delarofs.


Prince Rupert: BASE 892
Port 3 (3) SPS 3 (7) Air 4 (2) SPS 4 (4) Fort 2 (2)

Prince Rupert is a magnificent deep water port, connecting to the transcontinental rail network. P.R. was not well-developed at the start of World War II because the Pacific Northwest was still relatively unpopulated. But after America started its Alaskan defense build up in 1940, the port of Seattle could not handle all the traffic, and freight was railed to Vancouver and Port Rupert for shipment. When the war began a squadron of seaplanes stationed at Allison Bay was Prince Rupert’s only defense. The Canadian Air Force used the American base on nearby Annette Island to guard the sea approaches to Prince Rupert, and this should be considered part of P.R.’s defenses. Annette Island had an airfield that could handle P-40 fighter operations when the war began, and was eventually expanded to support Bolingbrokes as well.

Sitka: BASE 869
Port 3 (3) SPS 3 (3) Air 3 (1) SPS 3 (0) Fort 0 (2)

Sitka was an island base that guarded the approaches to Juneau. Because the islands of Southeast Alaska were rich in fur-bearing animals, Sitka was the capital of Russian Alaska before it was sold to the United States in 1867. Prior to the 1940 defense buildup, Sitka’s seaplane base was the only U.S, Navy base in the entire territory. During a war scare in June, 1941, the US Army moved a 2,000 man garrison to defend Sitka, at Ft. Ray. Except for coastal artillery, the terrain was poor for defense. There was no room for the army garrison on the main island, so it was stationed on Charcoal Island and a causeway was built to connect the two. The airstrip’s concrete runway was too short for even Army pursuit planes; it was rigged with catapults and arrestor gear like a carrier deck. After the first and only test flight nearly destroyed an OS2U Kingfisher, the airfield was only used to service amphibious planes.

Umnak: BASE 861
Port 1 (1) SPS 2 (0) Air 1 (0) SPS 3 (5)

Umnak had no military facilities at the start of the war. It is one of the largest of the Aleutian Islands, 83 miles long, with a volcanic peak, Mt. Vsevidof, 7,236 ft high. The Army had to provide air cover for the new Navy Base being constructed at Dutch Harbor on Unalaska Island in 1940-41. Surveys revealed that the terrain at Unalaska was not suitable for a landing field for bombers, so the Army instead proposed to build an all-purpose air base at Otter Point (Cape Field) on Umnak Island, sixty-five miles west of Dutch Harbor. The Army base was named Ft. Glenn. The air base was built in secrecy, as at Cold Bay, using the fictional “Blair Packing Company” as cover. Construction began in January, 1942, but was slowed because Umnak had no natural harbor. Transports anchored in Unalaska’s Chernofski harbor, then barges took the freight across eleven miles of very rough water. It took a month to ferry across single company of Army Engineers! Umnak was the Alaska Defense Command’s highest-priority project, but little progress was made until the engineers decided not to build paved runways, and used steel matting instead. The new field had a 5000’ runway that was usable by 5 April, although just barely so. By 1 June 1 B-17, 6 B-26s, 17 P-40s, and 6 Navy PBY-5As were based at Fort Glenn -all the planes the unfinished airfield could accommodate. The dirt / steel matting runways worked fine when the ground was firm. But in wet conditions, especially in the summer months, the ground was “spongy” and fighters would bounce thirty feet in the air upon impact. The “ripple” effect would make it unsafe for B-26s to take off. The B-17 pilot reported that Umnak landings were like “landing on an inner spring mattress.” In 1944, when war planners considered basing B-29s in the Aleutians, Umnak was one of three bases slated to receive a 10,000’ paved runway.

< Message edited by Blackhorse -- 8/27/2004 2:52:49 AM >


_____________________________

WitP-AE -- US LCU & AI Stuff

Oddball: Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
Moriarty: Crap!

(in reply to Blackhorse)
Post #: 4
RE: Alaska Bases - 8/27/2004 4:32:12 AM   
Fallschirmjager


Posts: 6325
Joined: 3/18/2002
From: Chattanooga, Tennessee
Status: offline
Very Very nice work. But probably for naught. They dont seem interested in changing the map.

(in reply to Blackhorse)
Post #: 5
RE: Alaska Bases - 8/27/2004 4:40:50 AM   
Mogami


Posts: 12608
Joined: 8/23/2000
From: You can't get here from there
Status: offline
Hi, There is a big difference between lack of interest and priority. And then if someone is able to do a map mod and make it available it's there without Matrix/2by3. OOB mods will be coming down the pike from now till 2024 at least.

It will make the game more accurate but as for actual impact only games where the Japanese try to move to Alaska will ever notice it. I don't think the Japanese AI will ever move further then Kiska and Attu. As Japan I keep my eye on Dutch Harbor but it is not a high priority and I've never made any plans to try to land in Alaska proper.

Keep it up. I think it will make it's way into the game. It won't be the first "fan" mod that became offical.

_____________________________






I'm not retreating, I'm attacking in a different direction!

(in reply to Fallschirmjager)
Post #: 6
RE: Alaska Bases - 8/27/2004 5:09:31 AM   
Ron Saueracker


Posts: 12107
Joined: 1/28/2002
From: Ottawa, Canada OR Zakynthos Island, Greece
Status: offline
Yep, great work. This would make an excellent addition in conjuction with the Oz rework. Since you like maps, what about looking into the missing islands like Society, Cook, Maldives, Andaman, Christmas Is (the one in the Indian Ocean) etc. for possible inclusion in unofficial mod scenario.

_____________________________





Yammas from The Apo-Tiki Lounge. Future site of WITP AE benders! And then the s--t hit the fan

(in reply to Mogami)
Post #: 7
RE: Alaska Bases - 8/27/2004 7:04:50 AM   
Grotius


Posts: 5087
Joined: 10/18/2002
From: The Imperial Palace.
Status: offline
I have a related question about the Alaska map. Are the distances up there in the right ballpark (given that no 2D projection of the earth can be perfect)? E.g, the Aleutians seem awful close to the Kuriles and the Japanese Home Islands themselves. I can't help wondering why I don't just invade Japan from up there.

Also, the cold-weather penalties only apply four months of the year, right? That seems like a short Alaska winter. :) Playing as the Allies, again I'm wondering why I don't attack from the north.

(in reply to Ron Saueracker)
Post #: 8
RE: Alaska Bases - 8/27/2004 7:14:47 AM   
Blackhorse


Posts: 1926
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Mogami
Hi, There is a big difference between lack of interest and priority. And then if someone is able to do a map mod and make it available it's there without Matrix/2by3. OOB mods will be coming down the pike from now till 2024 at least.


I figured that the designers would/should focus on the hi-priority problems. Which makes something like this the perfect subject for fan mods. One question about map mods, though. We can't edit the map, correct? So we do depend on some degree of official cooperation for any map mod.

quote:

It will make the game more accurate but as for actual impact only games where the Japanese try to move to Alaska will ever notice it. I don't think the Japanese AI will ever move further then Kiska and Attu. As Japan I keep my eye on Dutch Harbor but it is not a high priority and I've never made any plans to try to land in Alaska proper.


I agree. The Japanese player's best strategy is to convince the Allies to waste as many units as possible garrisoning Alaska. The only other viable strategy I can think of is to invade there in late '42 or early '43 if the Allies have stripped the garrisons and stopped the Japanese advance elsewhere. If the Japanese can seize the few key naval bases then they can hope to engage the American fleet in a fair-fight surface battle, protected from air attacks by the miserable weather.

quote:

Keep it up. I think it will make it's way into the game. It won't be the first "fan" mod that became offical.


Thanks for the encouragement.

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Post #: 9
RE: North, To Alaska! - 8/27/2004 7:59:26 AM   
ATCSMike


Posts: 132
Joined: 2/28/2004
From: North Pole, Alaska
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: Blackhorse

Many, many thanks to AK “Alaska” Brown, who did much of the terrain research and actually drew the map.



My comment is the Alaska map is off a bit. The two main mountain ranges, the Brooks Range (northern) and the Alaska Range (southern) don't meet as it is shown on the map.

The Brooks continues just alittle farther west and the Alaska arcs down to the south on the west side of Cook Inlet to just before the Aleution (sic) Peninsula (sic).

The top 1/4 of the state is missing. The West coast should continue more to the North and then go east. Barrow is missing. Though it doesn't have anything to do with the game, just an observation.

The trail and road going into the interior to Nome didn't exist. The only road that went into the interior was the ALCAN but it's not shown correctly on the map. It's to close to the coast and should be farther inland and stop approximately mid state at Delta Junction.

Mike

_____________________________

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("When all else fails, play DEAD")

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VT-23, HS-1, USS Carl Vinson CVN70 (Plank Owner)
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(in reply to Blackhorse)
Post #: 10
RE: North, To Alaska! - 8/27/2004 8:18:05 PM   
Tanaka


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You should put this in the map changes discussion before it gets lost!

< Message edited by Tanaka -- 8/27/2004 1:19:02 PM >


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Post #: 11
RE: North, To Alaska! - 8/27/2004 9:44:02 PM   
Blackhorse


Posts: 1926
Joined: 8/20/2000
From: Eastern US
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Hi ATCS Mike,

Your comments are correct -- about the current map in the game. Take a look at the second post in this thread, THAT's the map that AK Brown and I worked on. We made the corrections that you mentioned about the Brooks Range vs the Coastal Range, we got rid of the various highways and trails to Nome, and we accurately portrayed the Alcan Highway, the Alaska RR, the Skagway-Whitehorse RR (well, we fudged that a bit, we merged Juneau and Skagway), and other roads that connected Fairbanks to the Kenai Peninsula.

Take a look and let us know your thoughts.


quote:

ORIGINAL: ATCSMike

quote:

ORIGINAL: Blackhorse

Many, many thanks to AK “Alaska” Brown, who did much of the terrain research and actually drew the map.



My comment is the Alaska map is off a bit. The two main mountain ranges, the Brooks Range (northern) and the Alaska Range (southern) don't meet as it is shown on the map.

The Brooks continues just alittle farther west and the Alaska arcs down to the south on the west side of Cook Inlet to just before the Aleution (sic) Peninsula (sic).

The top 1/4 of the state is missing. The West coast should continue more to the North and then go east. Barrow is missing. Though it doesn't have anything to do with the game, just an observation.

The trail and road going into the interior to Nome didn't exist. The only road that went into the interior was the ALCAN but it's not shown correctly on the map. It's to close to the coast and should be farther inland and stop approximately mid state at Delta Junction.

Mike


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Oddball: Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
Moriarty: Crap!

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Post #: 12
RE: North, To Alaska! - 8/27/2004 9:46:38 PM   
Blackhorse


Posts: 1926
Joined: 8/20/2000
From: Eastern US
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: Tanaka

You should put this in the map changes discussion before it gets lost!


Thanks. And thanks for putting the link in the map forum.

I won't let it get lost. I'll give folks some more time to point out errors / suggest changes / offer improvements. Then I'll post the map -- as well as the base and OOB recommendations.

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Oddball: Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
Moriarty: Crap!

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Post #: 13
RE: North, To Alaska! - 8/27/2004 10:51:37 PM   
Grotius


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So is Alaska too close to Japan on the map? Seems like an awfully short hop from Attu to Hokkaido. :)

(in reply to Blackhorse)
Post #: 14
RE: Alaska Bases - 8/27/2004 11:00:07 PM   
ZOOMIE1980

 

Posts: 1284
Joined: 4/9/2004
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: Grotius

I have a related question about the Alaska map. Are the distances up there in the right ballpark (given that no 2D projection of the earth can be perfect)? E.g, the Aleutians seem awful close to the Kuriles and the Japanese Home Islands themselves. I can't help wondering why I don't just invade Japan from up there.

Also, the cold-weather penalties only apply four months of the year, right? That seems like a short Alaska winter. :) Playing as the Allies, again I'm wondering why I don't attack from the north.


It's not the cold, its the cyear-round louds/wind/fog. Having actually served on Attu during my RC-135 days (now known as Shymea) the real problem is low cloud cover, and small size. No way could any kind of offensive operation EVER been mounted from Attu or Sitka. Today's common MLS systems were pioneered by the USAF on Shemya back in the 1980 and early 1990's....

< Message edited by ZOOMIE1980 -- 8/27/2004 11:18:58 PM >

(in reply to Grotius)
Post #: 15
RE: North, To Alaska! - 8/27/2004 11:04:36 PM   
Blackhorse


Posts: 1926
Joined: 8/20/2000
From: Eastern US
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Grotius

So is Alaska too close to Japan on the map? Seems like an awfully short hop from Attu to Hokkaido. :)


That's a good question, and thanks for asking it again. My apologies for not answering the first time you asked.

I'll take a look. So far I only looked at the distances between the bases within Alaska / Canada, and the game represented them fairly well. The distances along the "neck" are a little stretched -- it should be about 10 hexes between Anchorage and Juneau, instead of 13.

< Message edited by Blackhorse -- 8/28/2004 12:19:30 AM >


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Oddball: Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
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Post #: 16
RE: Alaska Bases - 8/27/2004 11:05:40 PM   
Grotius


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Zoomie, do you think these obstacles are sufficiently well-modeled in the game? It's awfully tempting to build up a couple of those islands and use them as staging bases for operations against nothern Japan.

(in reply to ZOOMIE1980)
Post #: 17
RE: Alaska Bases - 8/28/2004 1:16:00 AM   
ZOOMIE1980

 

Posts: 1284
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Grotius

Zoomie, do you think these obstacles are sufficiently well-modeled in the game? It's awfully tempting to build up a couple of those islands and use them as staging bases for operations against nothern Japan.


I don't think the weather is bad enough. 300+ days a year Attu should be socked in by the game's rain or worse setting. You can have a pretty large base on Attu as we had a 10,000' runway there but with WII technology, flight operations at Attu would be virtually nil.

(in reply to Grotius)
Post #: 18
RE: North, To Alaska! - 8/28/2004 2:16:49 AM   
Blackhorse


Posts: 1926
Joined: 8/20/2000
From: Eastern US
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Grotius

So is Alaska too close to Japan on the map? Seems like an awfully short hop from Attu to Hokkaido. :)


Nope. The game distances are about right.

Attu to Petropavlosk is 9 hexes (540 miles), about 500 miles in real life.
Attu to Sakhalin is 19 hexes (1140 miles), about 1200 miles IRL.
Attu to Hokkaido is 21 hexes (1260 miles), about 1300 miles IRL.

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Oddball: Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
Moriarty: Crap!

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Post #: 19
RE: North, To Alaska! - 8/28/2004 6:40:24 AM   
ATCSMike


Posts: 132
Joined: 2/28/2004
From: North Pole, Alaska
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: Blackhorse

Hi ATCS Mike,

Your comments are correct -- about the current map in the game. Take a look at the second post in this thread, THAT's the map that AK Brown and I worked on. We made the corrections that you mentioned about the Brooks Range vs the Coastal Range, we got rid of the various highways and trails to Nome, and we accurately portrayed the Alcan Highway, the Alaska RR, the Skagway-Whitehorse RR (well, we fudged that a bit, we merged Juneau and Skagway), and other roads that connected Fairbanks to the Kenai Peninsula.

Take a look and let us know your thoughts.





Brooks Range looks ok, though it's hard to tell the features since I can't enlarge the map.

Yukon River looks good. Can't understand why they didn't put it in in the first place.

The Alaska Range looks ok going down to the peninsula. The area just south of the turn off of the ALCAN is a bit to cluttered for me. Maybe take a few of the mountain hexes out. I like the way it is displayed in the original map. Here's a link to a good map of the mountains and rivers. It's to large to post.

http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/united_states/united_states_wall_2002_ak.jpg

Here's another: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/alaska.html

This is a topo map that shows the mountain ranges real well: http://fermi.jhuapl.edu/states/maps1/ak.gif

Did the Alaska RR go from ANC to FAI? I don't recall. The ALCAN looks good also, though I'm not sure when the Glenn Highway going to ANC was built. I don't think it was built during the war.

I alsway thought Kodiak Island looked wimpy. Wish it could be fixed.

Mike

_____________________________

'Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati'
("When all else fails, play DEAD")

United States Navy 1979-1982
Aviation Machinists Mate 2nd Class
VT-23, HS-1, USS Carl Vinson CVN70 (Plank Owner)
Air Traffic Control Specialist (ATCS) 2000-

(in reply to Blackhorse)
Post #: 20
RE: North, To Alaska! - 8/28/2004 8:29:30 AM   
Blackhorse


Posts: 1926
Joined: 8/20/2000
From: Eastern US
Status: offline
quote:

Brooks Range looks ok, though it's hard to tell the features since I can't enlarge the map.


Thanks. Don't worry about how the features look -- these are lo-res images just to tell one type of terrain from another.

quote:

The Alaska Range looks ok going down to the peninsula. The area just south of the turn off of the ALCAN is a bit to cluttered for me. Maybe take a few of the mountain hexes out. I like the way it is displayed in the original map.


We'll take another look at this. Everywhere in Alaska and Canada between the two mountain ranges is a tough call -- you can make pretty much every hex a mountain hex or a wooded hex, since they were heavily forested mountains.

quote:


Here's a link to a good map of the mountains and rivers. It's to large to post.


Thanks again. The UTexas maps were among those that we used. The topo map is a nice addition. I hadn't seen that.

quote:

Did the Alaska RR go from ANC to FAI? I don't recall. The ALCAN looks good also, though I'm not sure when the Glenn Highway going to ANC was built. I don't think it was built during the war.


The Alaska RR ran from Seward, through Anchorage (which started in 1915 as the construction base for the railroad) to Fairbanks. The Glenn highway was built during the war to connect Anchorage to the Alcan highway, also under construction. The Glenn highway stretch was completed in 1943.

quote:

I alsway thought Kodiak Island looked wimpy. Wish it could be fixed.


You and me both. It's Alaska's largest island, 60 miles wide in places (a full hex), and 100 miles long. It sure doesn't look that way on the map. The Kenai peninsula also looks shrunken and squashed together.

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Oddball: Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
Moriarty: Crap!

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Post #: 21
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