Ideal number of carriers in a Task Force? (Full Version)

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Fred98 -> Ideal number of carriers in a Task Force? (9/25/2002 9:31:33 AM)

I am always undecided whether to place all available carriers in one Task Force together or to have each carrier in the centre of its own Task Force.

Of course each carrier Task Force includes plenty of ships with AA weapons.

If there is one single Task Force, then it can be used like a battalion of Panther tanks and smash any enemy out of range of their own LBA.

On the other hand, if each carrier has its own task Force, I am uncertain whether one Task Force can provide CAP for another. The other problem is the number of support ships. If they are spread through 3 Task Forces, then the AA cover is reduced in effectiveness.

CapAndGown -> (9/25/2002 10:09:17 AM)

I would think it would partially depend on whether you out number the enemy. If you out number him 4 to 2, I would go with two TFs of 2 to split up his strike while provided plenty of CAP for each TF. I do tend to like having 2 carriers min per TF. But I haven't tried it in the game. IRL, the American eventually decided that it was best to keep all the carriers together after starting the war by having them in seperate TFs. If you only have a limited number of CLAA's to go around, my guess is it would be better to keep them together.

I guess only more experience will tell. Others probably knoe more than I how it works in the game.

Chiteng -> well (9/25/2002 10:15:43 AM)

If you examine Morrison's sketches, looks like four is what they navy decided to use. No idea about the game engine.

Possum -> (9/25/2002 12:02:47 PM)

If the game engine is done properly, the the Ideal Number of carriers per TF is 2, + 0 to 2 CVL's.
That is the number of carriers that both the USN (late war) and IJN thought should be operated together.
The IJN always organised it's carriers into carrier divisions of usually two carriers, only adding a third if it was a "spare".
Later the USN would also adopt a Carrier taskforce based around two carriers.

Admiral_Arctic -> (9/25/2002 7:07:29 PM)

I would like to have my CVs spread into different TFs to increase AA and reduce concentration on the same group. Also I would probably have only 6-7 (maybe 8) ships in each TF to reduce chance of detection and maybe launching a first strike without a reply.

But I tend to group them all into one TF solely because I don't want one TF to move two hexes in reaction while the others move only one (or one moves one hex and the others don't move). This can happen because of the different ratings of Admirals. This would be embassarring in all situations for my attacks and CAP.

But if there isn't any carriers around I would divide into smaller TFs.

thantis -> (9/25/2002 8:35:51 PM)

I tend to group my carriers in the largest task forces I can manage. It eliminates the possibility of reaction dislocation & maximizes AA (even with the reduction past 10 ships).

If I can pack a task force with 3 - 4 CVs, 2 or 3 CVLs, and maybe even a couple CVEs, supported by Fast BBs, CLAAs & CLs, up to a total of 25 warships, I do.

Its a target the AI can't resist, and my massive CAP is usually enough to wipe out any incoming strike. I send this group to Truk as Betty-bait to eliminate the Jap bomber threat before sending in my bombardment groups.

Especially against the AI Super Carrier Task Forces, I feel more is definitely better & group all my carriers in a single group. In scenario #15, I had Enterprise, Yorktown, Saratoga, Wasp, & Lexington in one group & squared off against the AI Super-Group of nine carriers.

By the time it was over (with strikes both north and south of Lunga) the AI lost Kaga, Akagi, Shokaku, Zuikaku, & both light carriers - with only Soryu & Hiyui (sp?) getting away. I suffered damage to Saratoga & Wasp (sending both back to Pearl), but the rest were all battleworthy.

Yamamoto -> (9/25/2002 8:38:38 PM)

If I am going to be raiding a port or airfield, I put four carriers together into one group. If Iím planning on doing convoy raiding then I use one carrier per task force. If Iím expecting to fight a carrier Vs carrier battle, I put two carriers into a task force. Using such tactics have proven quite effective for me.


EricLarsen -> One carrier tf's (9/25/2002 10:15:47 PM)

When I play the Allies I like to use single-carrier tf's. Since they have lots of good AA platforms like CA's and CLAA's I like to make tf's with 1 CV, 1 CA, 1 CLAA, 1 CL, and 6 DD's. If I don't have enough CLAA's I just use another CA. This gives the Allied carrier tf lots of AA protection that's not reduced, and it gives lots of destroyer protecttion against sub attacks. It also has the advantage of allowing only 1 carrier to be attacked per wave of attacks.

Just this past weekend I had the 6 big early US carriers working together in 6 tf's against all the IJN carriers in a couple of tf's. In two separate carrier battles I managed to sink Soryu, Akagi, Ryujo, and Shoho with bomb hits also on Kaga, Hiryu and Junyo for two torpedo hits on the Saratoga. Actually one of my subs applied the coup-de-grace with two torpedoes on the crippled Soryu as it limped away from the battle. Even though I had my carrier tf's set to "do not react" they all reacted and in the same manner. The AI managed to put some subs in hexes I was using to bomb Gili Gili. Out of about 6 separate sub attacks on my single-carrier tf's, only one torp hit a CLAA. All of the torpdeo attacks on my carriers missed, probably because I had good ASW protection from the 6 destroyers per tf.

It doesn't really matter if all the carriers are in one tf or six because if they are all in the same hex they all benefit from the combined CAP of the carrier tf's in the same hex. So CAP isn't tf dependent it's hex dependent, and that's why it doesn't make any difference if you load up your carriers into one tf or many.

I think the single-carrier tf's are the way to go for the Allies since they really don't want to square off against the IJN in surface combat until more BB's come on to even out the BB odds. If you look at the battle of Coral Sea they operated as single carrier tf's. It wasn't until later in the war when they had a plethora of carriers that they went to more carriers per tf.
Eric Larsen

thantis -> (9/25/2002 11:21:32 PM)

I like the ability to put a majority (if not all) of my carriers into a single task force. It limits the micro-management necessary to put together a combined operation (say an invasion) with Carriers, Surface Combat Groups, Bombardment Task Forces, Invasion Task Forces, and Supply Convoys.

If the US Navy had started grouping their CVs into groups of two or three earlier on, surrounded by escorts - instead of each carrier separate, surrounded by its own escorts, they might not have lost Lexington at Coral Sea (of course detaching the cruisers early on was also a big factor) or Yorktown at Midway.

The other losses, such as Hornet & Wasp in the Solomons, might have been mitigated, if not eliminated if a revised carrier grouping doctrine had been applied.

Just my $.02

Huskalator -> (9/26/2002 2:04:13 AM)

This kind of fits in with the topic so i figured it wasn't worth starting a new post:

Tanaka is a **** good CV TF commander. Should I put all my carriers into a CV TF with him in command to maximize his benefits or should I stick with the 2 CV + CVL pattern I have been useing?

Admiral DadMan -> (9/26/2002 2:34:53 AM)

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Deep Breakfast
[B]...Tanaka is a **** good CV TF commander...[/B][/QUOTE]Tanaka? Are you sure someone hasn't been messing around with your database? Or put cocaine in your eggs?

IJN has 3 good CV TF Commanders by reputation: Nagumo, Yamaguchi, and Ozawa. Others in UV rated well are Fujita, Inouye, and Tsukahara.

Huskalator -> (9/26/2002 2:58:59 AM)

LOL, someone must be spikeing the food with cocaine around here because I could have swore it said he was well suited as a carrier commander. :o That 75 leadership and 91 inspiration probably made me hasty to believe as such.

Well, I guess I learned something out of this.

RevRick -> USN CV TF Doctrine (10/1/2002 6:29:22 AM)

USN prewar CV doctrine called for one CV in each TF commanded by a rear admiral and operating independently from each other. IJN doctrine had them in pairs, or pairs of pairs, or more - the Pearl Harbor TF. As the lessons of the weakness of individual CV TF's (dispersal of AAA firepower and CAP) were learned - and as more CV's became available - the USN adopted a two CV/two CVL - or three CV basis for Air TF's but would sometimes have as many as 3 CV/2 CVL grouped together depending on which were available, which escorts were not in port for repair/refit/overhaul (something which this game needs to address).

The limiting factor was the ability for air strikes to form up and actually depart - which was a function of the skill of the individual CV to get its deckload in the air and the size of the planned strike. Too many airplanes and the early launched aircraft were low on fuel which shortened the range of the strike or weakened it as the strikes became too fragmented. Grouping too many CV's in one TF reduces the efficiency of the strike - a diseconomy of scale. Three TF's of four CV's are more effective (and far more flexible) than one of 12 in practice - maybe not in game terms, though.. It would be interesting to see if there is a penalty for too many aircraft in each launch from a CV TF. There should be.

My uncle said that much of the time, the CV's launched the strikes, and the CVL's were tasked more for CAP/ASW/Search missions - though they got their licks in too.

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