Underwhelming Strikes (Full Version)

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Mevennos -> Underwhelming Strikes (2/16/2019 1:18:51 AM)

Hey guys, newb here! I'll make this grab for advice a bit AARish to keep it kind of interesting, plus I enjoy writing up that kind of stuff, but I don't believe it deserves its own AAR thread since this went not exactly as planned and I'm asking for advice. Enjoy!

The date is April 17, 1942. Playing Japan, I have taken the Malayan Peninsula, Sumatra and have landed on Java.

The fighting is a little slow on Java, but we are making steady progress through the region. There has been stiff opposition in the air, and we are bombarded daily by B-25s and B-17s. Despite this, we have recon flying from Palembang and fighters providing LRCap to our troops.

My fleets consisting of 4 CVs, 4 BBs and several CAs are resupplying at Singapore when a rather interesting recon report comes through from Palembang. An Allied task force with at least two BBs is making its way through the area, and is headed East towards the Batavian (I think that's right?) strait between Sumatra and Java. I can immediately think of only one thing... A chance to strike and help secure the Java sea.

I look over my forces at Singapore. Ryujo and Zuiho are stocked up, fueled and filled to the brim with aircraft. However, Soryu and Hiryu are running low on planes and reinforcements are at least two days away, by then the opportunity will have slipped away.

After counting my aircraft, I tally ~140 aircraft, slightly less than half of which are Fighters. Easily enough aircraft to make a significant strike. I decide to attack.

Kongo and Ise are in repairs from prior battles in the area of Java, mostly from airstrikes and are unavailable. Hyuga and Haruna are ready to go, but fearing Hyuga would slow the task force too much, I keep her in port. Haruna will have to guard the task force herself. I grab the CAs Nachi, Myoko, and Mogami and then flesh out the Task Force with 8 DDs of various types.

Time is short, the enemy task force is only 3 hexes away from the strait, I'll only have one shot at this. I set the task force to full speed as theres no way the task force would make it under mission speed, and set the destination to where I believe the task force will be close without encountering the enemy in direct combat. I set my A6Ms to fly at 14,000 feet, Escort with a CAP of 40%. I set my D3As to Naval Attack with 20% on ASW at 12,000 feet. And finally, I set my B5Ns to Naval Attack with 20% on search. I limit all air wings maximum range to 7, the max range at which the B5N will fly with torpedoes equipped, and the max range of the D3A as well.

After running through the rest of my turn, I end it and eagerly await the result of my ambitious move. Finally, I get to the air phase (AM), and sure enough, spot the Allied task force mentioned in the prior turn... four hexes away from my CTF. But there's an issue, we spot another task force nearby.. And then another. Immediately I can only think of what an idiot I am, of course this task force had Carrier cover.

Eventually, the first air strikes roll in. However, immediately there's a huge issue. This first strike consists of 7 D3As, and 7 A6Ms. This strike is against the two battleships that were spotted earlier, they are both Revenge class BBs. Through past experience with these ships, I know that a 250 Kg bomb cannot penetrate the armor on these ships. The strike is a total wash before it even has the chance to process. Worse yet, 14 P-40s are flying air cover. I don't think I need to explain how this strike panned out.

The second strike comes in, 10 B5Ns attack a small group of cruisers... No hits are registered on the CLs.

And the final strike attacks the final enemy task force. 8 D3As and 4 B5Ns attack another group of Cruisers, again with no hits registered.

There were no PM strikes, and with that the enemy task force escapes. It becomes too risky to pursue further toward Soerbaja, I begrudgingly set my task force to mission speed to save fuel, and order a return to Singapore.


How could a Task Force consisting of almost 150 aircraft send out such small strikes? I check every factor, the task force commander has over 60 air skill, and each squadron commander is decent as well. No aircraft carriers were overcrowded, had plenty of ammunition and torpedoes, and all squadrons are carrier trained. There was no adverse weather, otherwise the patrols from Haruna and friends would have been canceled, which they were not.

So, this is where I ask the veterans to educate a newb such as myself. Is this normal? My strikes should have been much larger than they were, and I can't find any reason why they were so small. Worse yet, not even a single B5N went to attack anything larger than a CL. Is there any way I can tell them to prioritize the Big Boys?

Thanks guys, I'll offer as much info as necessary to help figure this one out. Have a nice day!

BBfanboy -> RE: Underwhelming Strikes (2/16/2019 2:58:20 AM)

Post screenshots of the air squadron leaders' stats. Also the TF commander's. Not the pilot skill stats but the leadership, etc. ones.

Mevennos -> RE: Underwhelming Strikes (2/16/2019 5:10:18 PM)

Air Squadron leader stats (most of the others are very similar)

Mevennos -> RE: Underwhelming Strikes (2/16/2019 5:12:38 PM)

TF Commander stats

BBfanboy -> RE: Underwhelming Strikes (2/16/2019 7:24:40 PM)

Well those stats are not terrific on the Aggression side but not terrible either.

The only other things I can think of are the pilot Experience (helps with maintaining cohesion) and en-route weather scattering the strikes. Usually when this happens your get on-screen messages in the little window at the lower left during the turn execution; things like Sqn XXX unable to link up, returning to base - or Sqn XXX cannot find target, returning to base.

EDIT: PS - One other thought, if the pilots are heavily fatigued from operations before the turn there is a higher chance they will not fly.

rustysi -> RE: Underwhelming Strikes (2/16/2019 8:21:53 PM)


range to 7, the max range at which the B5N will fly with torpedoes equipped, and the max range of the D3A as well.

First. By setting the D3A's to a range of seven, you've crippled them to a level of ineffectiveness. Why? Because they'll carry a reduced load at max range, 60kg bombs. If you want to use the max range of your torp planes forget bringing the dive bombers along. Yes, I know their 250kg will not usually penetrate a BB's deck, but it'll still cause more damage than a 60kg. And if they attack other vessels now nothing much will happen to them either.

When in a situation as you've described you must keep in mind all the variables you are walking into. What's the air superiority level? How will your CVTF react to multiple targets? What's the weather? Leader checks. Strike die rolls. Everyone involved aggressiveness level. Yadda, yadda, yadda. It goes on and on. Not only that if you expect exact outcomes, you're playing the wrong game. A perfect op will go south in this game just as IRL in a heartbeat.

I'm sure that at some later date I'll be here too lamenting the failure of my 'perfect op'.[:D]

LargeSlowTarget -> RE: Underwhelming Strikes (2/17/2019 7:02:19 AM)

Escorts should be set to the same height as the strike planes they are supposed to escort. It is the game's way of telling the escorts which strike they should link-up with. Without escorts strike aircraft may elect not to fly.

Mevennos -> RE: Underwhelming Strikes (2/17/2019 2:21:31 PM)

Mentioning fatigue, I did check my pilot fatigue and everyone was rather low, 12 or below on their fatigue. But a thought did occur, and I checked my plane fatigue and it turns out a lot of planes are nearing the due for maintenance. ~70 fatigue on a lot of airframes, could this be causing the issue?

Yes, you're absolutely right rustysi, and that is something I learned on this strike as well! Luckily only one task force was 7 hexes away, but I'll definitely keep this in mind for any following strikes! Yeah, WitP seems to be a fickle beast indeed, and while this op was a flop it could have gone much worse. I didn't lose much but I also didn't gain much in a situation where I kinda threw my carriers out there without a whole lot of scouting (dumb!), so I'll chalk it up as a 'win in progress' [:D]

LargeSlowTarget, are you sure? I've been using those altitude settings most of the game, and the A6M escorts are quite reliable and most strikes are with the assigned complement of aircraft on all squadrons. This strike just so happened to be an exception to the norm I was experiencing... Of course if you know better than I, I'm all ears! [:)]

LargeSlowTarget -> RE: Underwhelming Strikes (2/18/2019 6:56:15 PM)

Suggest you read the air mission coordination guide stickied on top of the War Room.

Lowpe -> RE: Underwhelming Strikes (2/19/2019 11:41:09 AM)

Most likely answer is your DL was poor. A properly spotted battleship will draw a strong air attack.

There are a ton of contributing factors with all sorts of different degrees of effect. I have noticed that it is hard to do a flank speed run and get off two air strikes on the following day. Having solid night naval search detection does help.

sPzAbt. 502 -> RE: Underwhelming Strikes (2/19/2019 12:25:20 PM)

What was the morale?

rustysi -> RE: Underwhelming Strikes (2/20/2019 8:58:12 PM)


But a thought did occur, and I checked my plane fatigue and it turns out a lot of planes are nearing the due for maintenance. ~70 fatigue on a lot of airframes, could this be causing the issue?

Not that I know of, but its still a problem. Aircraft with fatigue like that will end up in the drink much more easily. Get back to a base and get those numbers down.

You have to watch your CV airframes much more closely as they will gain more fatigue than LBA it seems. I take that as normal, CV ops are tough on airframes. Another thing to look at are any other planes that are in combat day in and day out, and those flying at long ranges.

rustysi -> RE: Underwhelming Strikes (2/20/2019 9:08:42 PM)


I've been using those altitude settings most of the game, and the A6M escorts are quite reliable and most strikes are with the assigned complement of aircraft on all squadrons.

There're two thoughts on this one here.

I don't know which is true, but I can tell you that our resident guru states that the altitude settings need to be set for the strike aircraft. I believe so does that air mission guide, I haven't read it in a while.

Another states that all 'escort' settings are done at an altitude of 2k above the strike.

I set my altitudes according to where I want my CAP and let the strike take care of itself. Seems to work as I've not had problems to date. Doesn't mean I'm right, especially where it counts, CV battles. Not many in most of my AI games, and those that there are seem a bit one sided. I'm trying to ignore most of the AI CV incursions in my present game hopping it'll get more aggressive later on when it has more CV's.

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