From: Denver Colorado
The sub war is best started immediately. Your challenge is to decide if you are going to use the bulk of them in fleet or merchant roles. Without being too specific, imho, lets say the allies have about 60 subs, all but a handful of which are deployable in the first days of the war. IMHO, The goal is to sink tonnage not disrupt invasions.
The Empire has to regulaly pull booty by sea in many places. As you reduce her capacity to move this, you are winning the war. Not pretty or sexy like CV or BB combat, but of paramount importance. Some areas are more important than others. IME, deploying every available sub at the beginning towards merhants will reap rewards through lower stockpiling and asset diversion. To simplify, there are two basic strategies you can deploy to - at the pickup and drop off locations or at the choke points. Furthermore, the longer the deployment path the more chance your short range subs cannot deploy once Manila is gone (which is a good reason to hold onto a major port as long as possible.) The best choke points might be Yellow and east china seas near the southern HI ports, in and around Formosa, Near Ominato, makassar straight / celebes sea, near singapore. This is not to say other areas might not be important in any particular game.
The empire can and probably will deploy air and ship based asw assets to effectively close down at least one of these patrol zones, and smart players will vary their convoy paths as their losses mount in any one area. If you are playing against an enemy who uses the auto convoy system, you are likely to be more successful, since AC tends to use most direct paths unless otherwise ordered.
Furthermore, let me suggest that a dozen subs is more than adequate to flood a combat zone and meaninfully interdict any single set of empire amphibious actions if you are in a protracted combat in one general location...say in mid 42. You can use your reinforcements for that effort.
Otherwise, get every available sub into either choke points or delivery / pickup zones and keep them there until exhausted, out of ammo, or severely damaged. You need to spend time on this part of the war each day and you have to plan about 7-14 days in advance. It is perhaps easyiest to allocate a number of subs to be in certain patrol areas and track the number of kills by area, resetting allocations periodically based on success and damage. To extend your effective patrol times is to mulitply your force effectiveness. With that in mind...Bases in the western Aleuts are very good sub bases against the HI if nothing else is near. Once you have the Marshalls or NG, these are great locations too, along with western Oz and any base near the western DEI
lastly, do the upgrades, I maybe seeing things, but the radars seem to work wonders in the engagement rate.
By the end of 42 you will have approx 150 subs in your arsenal. That is enough to rip the heart out of the enemy's booty haul in 43, especially if you have a few forward bases to deploy from. Even if you can't advance on the surface, the subs will constrict the enemy economy so badly by mid 43 that you will have the war won before you realize it. remember, each 10% reduction in empire trasnport capacity is a corresponding (but delayed) reduction in their ability to make war and bring on new naval & air assets. Each naval and air asset you prevent from being built is one you never have to fight!!
Without betraying those who dont want to know...Ask yourself these questions to help you along. About how many empire total merhcant assets are available each year with what capacity? How many of those assets must be operating (what capcity) to fully employ the economy and from where do they run to/from? Therefore, how many ships do you need to sink to affect how much of the economy? How many subs do you need to deploy and how many sinkings per sub deployed do you need to get the effect you want by the date you want? track this and...well...there you go.
Its a very straightforward curve...for those who have decided to calculate it.
Dare I leave it there, I want to add but not talk about the fact that you want to integrate a surface raiding policy along with this.
Anyway, I hope this helps.
This will only work vs a very mediocre player. Competent Japanese play will make the Allies subs ineffective. They can and will sink ships but not in numbers to have a serious impact on the Japanese merchant force. I like to think that I am pretty good at the sub game but my opponent is pretty good too and has effectively neutered my Allied subs.
I'm closer to crsutton in my estimate of Allied sub effectiveness. When playing Allies, I paid a lot of attention to my subs, replacing inept commanders everywhere, building up Midway specifically for sub operations and so on. But after loss of DEI and Northern Australia (as effective bases), my results plummeted anyway, even though, AFAIK, my opponent trained his air ASW assets wrong in his game. There were two big issues (besides faulty torps):
1)Low time on patrol even when operating from Midway (and major damage often forced subs to return to Pearl). Subs spent more time enroute to patrol zones.
2)All obvious chokepoints will be choked by air patrols and ASW taskforces against a competent player, particularly when sub patrol zones are restricted by the factor #1. Even though auxilary subchasers and patrol boats have practically no hopes of sinking a USN sub in deep water, they can keep subs down and draw attacks to themselves, instead of convoys. By autumn of 1942, my subs were sinking more of these otherwise worthless pests than anything else. And with subs typically scoring single hits against them (due to launching torpedoes in pairs) and 80% dud rate, they weren't sinking many.
The key to a successful sub campaign seems to be keeping/obtaining forward bases before 1943, so by the time your torpedoes partially heal, you can ensure sufficient variety of patrol zones. Just camping approaches to Home Island doesn't work too well.
crsutton, FatR -
Your points are well taken. Much of the success of a particular tactic or strategy depends on the viewpoint and experience level of the player involved. I do value the advice given to me earlier; as it gives me - the newbie - a starting point from which to launch. Experience and my (much more experienced) opponent will teach the method that works best for my style of play.
Always appreciate the comments and differing view points from other players; this forum is one of the factors that helps to make AE not only doable, but enhances and speeds the learning curve.
Good Evening, Gents -