From: Stillwater, OK, United States
This Tutorial will cover the various TF missions, how they are used, why they should be used that way, and ideal compositions for each.
This task force is where your aircraft carriers will go. Their sole purposes are to attack the enemy with aircraft and to scout ahead of the battle line. Ideally, you should have no more than three aircraft carriers in a TF, though their escort can vary.
As a rule, you want at least four destroyers in any major task force. This will be true for all surface task forces unless otherwise noted.
For heavy escort, two to three cruisers of the Light, Protected, or Scout type will do nicely. However, if the carrier has a relatively slow speed (Such as the USS Langley at 15 knots), a predreadnought or two can be used.
All major combat ships have a cruise speed of 10 knots. However, your escorts should be faster than your carriers, in case you need to run and run fast. An old armored cruiser is expendable, but an aircraft carrier is not.
This will be your primary style of task force, representing many variants. Each variant will have a different composition, but all are formed as a surface combat task force. The reccommended variants are covered below:
This TF represents a squadron of battleships, either Dreadnought or Pre Dreadnought. The ideal composition should be no more than four battleships, in addition to the four destroyers. If you want a fleet of eight battleships, make two of these task forces (each of four BBs, and four DDs), plot orders for one, and tell the other task force to follow it. This way, both will operate together, and double the chances of surface actions with an enemy.
Battle Cruiser Squadron
This TF represents a squadron of battle cruisers. Ideally, they should compose no more than four battle cruisers, in addition to about four destroyers. If you want more than four battle cruisers to operate together, follow the steps above as indicated for the battle squadron.
To maximise speed and firepower (the main elements of a battlecruiser), they should be grouped according to speed or gunpower. It is unwise to pair a 15" gunned Hood class battlecruiser with a 12" gunned Invincible class battlecruiser. This will maximise the range at which the fleet can engage, aswell as its speed.
This task force represents an element of cruisers, of either the Armored, Heavy, Light, Protected, or Scout Type. The TF should have no more than four cruisers, and no more than four destroyers (two destroyers would be ideal here).
Like battlecruisers, it is unwise to mix types. Cruisers should operate only within their own types.
For scouting squadrons, a low aggression TF commander should be assigned, and the TF comprose four fast CLs ONLY. No destroyer screen should be present, as the objective is not to engage, but to sight and run.
Protected Cruisers (such as those later classed as gunboats by the US Navy) should be used in rear area duties or as convoy escorts, they are not suited to modern (1920's) combat.
An Armored Cruiser Squadron should consist of 4 Armored or Heavy cruisers and four destroyers.
A Light Cruiser Squadron should consist of 4 Light or Scout Cruiser and two to four destroyers.
This task force represents an element of destroyers operating independently, with the aim of finding the enemy (in which you want a low aggression TF commander) or initiating torpedo attacks on the enemy (high aggression TF leader). This task force should compose no less than four destroyers, but also no more than eight.
This task force represents ships given an order to bombard an enemy base. Any surface combat TF can be changed to a bombardment mission. As such, no more than four large ships and four destroyers should be assigned. The ideal composition should be four coastal battleships or predreadnoughts, and four destroyers.
For high risk bombardments, destroyers should be set to not bombard (turn escorts bombard off in the TF window), while for low risk missions (where Coast Defense guns are not present) all ships should bombard.
After a bombardment, the TF will automatically switch to a surface combat TF mission.
This represents a task force of fast cargo ships or destroyers carrying supplies. No more than 12 ships should be assigned, of either destroyers or cargo vessels. This will be the least used TF.
Transport, Transport Cargo, Transport Tanker/Collier
These TFs are used for hauling fuel, supplies, or troops. As they may contain 100 ships, composition is not as important. At least four destroyers should be assigned, and older ships such as slower predreadnoughts, coastal battleships, or older cruiser can be assigned to provide protectiong from enemy surface combatants.
In addition, use this TF for your AK Q ships. The enemy will mistake it for a regular transport, and get their nose bloddied.
This task force represents colliers (for coal ships) or tankers (for oil ships) that are used to refuel task forces underway. At least four destroyers should be assigned, with up to 21 AOs or other cargo ships assigned.
This TF is used to lay mines. Four destroyers should be assigned, as well as up to 21 minelaying ships (these may be actual minelayers, or cruisers that have mines on board).
Sub Patrol, Sub Transport, Sub Minelaying
These task forces are for submarines. Sub Patrol should have only a single submarine in each one, while transport and minelaying can have up to 25. Use sub patrol TFs to create a carpet of submarines of which an enemy fleet must pass. This will not only give you warning, but also whittle his fleet.
Sub Transport is used to carry supplies to bases on submarines. While they can carry infantry, it is highly uneconomical as submarines of the day are small, cramped, and have litte cargo space.
In a Sub minelaying TF, subs with mine tubes are allowed to lay mines in their destination hex. In addition, all US submarines that have undergone their 1925 refits may exchange their torpedo tube reloads for the Mk 10 mine. These can then by laid via the torpedo tubes.
Mine Warfare - Minesweeper
This TF represents an element of minesweepers, used to clear minefields. At least two destroyers should be assigned for protection.
This task force represents damaged ships being towed/sent to a base for repairs. At least six destroyers should be assigned, along with two or three larger ships for protection, in addition to the damaged ships.
What follows are basic examples of good fleet compositions, to show examples for new guys.
1 X Air Combat TF For Air Cover and Scouting
2 X Battle Squadron The Battle line, in case of a fleet action
1 X Battle Cruiser Squadron To aid the battle line, or to hunt down enemy ships
2 X Armored Cruiser Squadron A supplement to the battle line, or to be used to bombard
2 X Light Cruiser Squadron One to cover the transports, the other to scout for an enemy fleet
4 X Destroyer Squadron Two to aid the battle line, two to cover the transports
2 X Bombardment TF To bombard the landing beaches1 X Minesweeper TF To sweep the landing beaches
25 X Submarine Patrol TF To fan out to find, sink, and report on the enemy fleet.
5 X Transport TF Four TFs to carry troops to land, one to carry supplies to keep the beach head supplied.
For a large battle fleet, remove the Minesweepers, bombardment TFs, and transports, and add another Battle Squadron, Battle Cruiser Squadron, and Light Cruiser Squadron, giving
Major "Grand" Fleet
1 X Air Combat
3 X Battle Squadron
2 X Battle Cruiser Squadron
2 X Armored Cruiser Squadron
3 X Light Cruiser Squadron
4 X Destroyer Squadron.
25 X Sub Patrol TFs
Total ships: 1-3 Carriers, 12 battleships, 6-8 battle cruisers, 10 armored cruisers, 14 light/scout cruisers, 60 destroyers, and 25 submarines. While this won't be possible everytime, these basic rules of thumb will ensure good composition and ratios.
< Message edited by Tankerace -- 12/11/2005 11:23:01 PM >
Designer of War Plan Orange
Allied Naval OOBer of Admiral's Edition
Naval Team Lead for War in the Med
Author of Million-Dollar Barrage: American Field Artillery in the Great War coming soon from OU Press.