From: Denver Colorado
Very good to hear from you (in the "Another Ironman NN Scn 60 thread).
I am really enjoying Scn 50 DBA A; have been playing on "very hard" for the past 10 turns - wanted to give the AI all the help possible.
Currently on the 24 January 1942 game turn. Clark Field fell on 11 January; followed by Manila on the 21st; Singapore finally fell on the 23rd. Bataan still holds but as there is no source of supply, it is only a matter of time.
I choose, at start, to edit and consolidate the many Indian 3rd Corps and most Malaya Army combat units at Johore Bahru, as a first line of defense; therefore the LCU's were well entrenched, at or close to 100 percent preparation and had the 3rd Corps HQ on site. A lesser combat force and the bulk of the support LCU's were in Singers. I chose to prep the Malaya Command HQ for Singers instead of Johore Bahru.
Note: In retrospect, it would have been wiser and more efficacious to have the Malayan Command HQ prep for and add it's (potentially 90 percent) bonus to the Indian III Corps HQ at Johore Bahru, where the bulk of the combat LCU's were located.
Johore Bahru started with a level two fort; Japanese air not only bombed Allied LCU's but the port and airfield as well; this cumulative damage stopped (diverted) my engineers from completing a level three fortification.
The AI has done very well in adapting, especially in Malaya. The pattern begins with daily artillery and aerial bombardments, eventually followed by multiple shock attacks, interspaced with more bombardment attacks, then several turns to rest. Initial losses are high on the Japanese side; eventually the odds shift and the Allied artillery is rendered inoperative and silenced, the Allied LCU's do not have time to recover disruption (replacements are turned off - the Allies are isolated) leading to disabled and lost devices. The AI brought in new undamaged units and thus the odds begin to improve, moving from the negative to 1:1 and on up the scale.
The final step is to reduce Allied fortifications through odds ratios and liberal use of IJA engineers. All of this done, by the AI, against a reinforced and fortified base – is very impressive.
Note: The AI tends to bomb at less than 10k, sometimes strafing with commensurately higher losses. As mentioned earlier in this thread, I edited and significantly increased the Japanese at start pools to cover high loss rates. This is not a criticism; there are limits as to what can be programmed; all in all a remarkable job. I have learned a great deal from this game. The AI is a wonderful learning tool.
Hilo and Kona are under Japanese occupation; with Hilo as the major base. Initially, in late December I began to run a Bombardment TF (BB/CA/CL/DD/DMS) with some success to hammer Hilo. However, the 19th Garrison Fortress is one mean motor scooter; my BB's and CA's began to take significant cumulative damage. Not enough to endanger and lose the ship; but requiring lengthy yard time and thus a mission kill.
Combat reports showed loss and disabling of Japanese aircraft and high levels of service and runway damage; there were no Japanese flights. While the heavies were placed under repair at PH, I switched to bombarding Kona with CL/DD/DMS to keep chipping away and gain experience, thinking that Hilo (AF size 2) would be shut down for a while - or at least till the heavies were out of the yards and ready to go again.
Concurrently, Pearl Harbor air was undergoing intensive training with one P-40B on CAP, and the Cats on naval search. Early on, once morale was 99 percent, after several TF Bombardment runs, I ran a bombing mission (B-17D) escorted by a single group of high morale but low experience P-40B's. Ran into a buzz saw, learned my lesson (untrained aircrew against highly experienced Zeros); back to training again - minus some aircraft and aircrew with lowered morale (I am sure, that in the long run, they will forgive me…).
Eventually, I realized that as Kido Butai had been missing in action since December 7th, it would be wise to place more fighters on CAP in all key areas of the map.
Sure enough, within two turns Hilo came to life and the Zero, Oscar and Lily Boys dropped by, in large numbers. Evidently fully assembled, recovered morale and repaired, they were ready to party. I put up everything available on CAP, taking care to optimize maneuver altitudes per air model and keeping the separation deltas tight - for mutual support (thank you Alfred and LoBaron and others). It has been an ongoing, very tough air battle due to large numbers on both sides; the Japanese air is very experienced, against the Allies who enjoy an advantage in fighting over their home airfield with radar coverage and ample aviation support.
Additionally, as mentioned earlier, the game setting is on "very hard". That really helps the AI to level the playing field against the a human player; I would highly recommend it (doesn’t take long to get used to it) as it is the Manly Thing to do...<grin>
Only in the past three turns has attrition begun to tell (slowly!) against the Japanese. It is also important to note that the Allied aircraft production was edited and received a serious boost, including at start pools. I must candidly admit that if I were working with unaltered at start pools, the Japanese would be currently enjoying absolute air superiority over the Hawaiian Islands. My own pools - particularly the P-40E, are very low. P-39N's are now the way to go; at least for the foreseeable future.
PH ASW patrols and naval activity in the Hawaiian Islands area:
Initially, after Kido Butai left town for parts unknown, life was not too bad aside from intense submarine activity (they are like Texas Roaches – and are everywhere!). No BB’s were sunk on December 7th, and I was able to do temporary repairs and then move the Big Boys to the West Coast under heavy DD escort, 6 being the magic number according to my notes.
So – three to four groups or dedicated ASW DD’s (of three each – thanks JWE for that tip); naval search sighting Japanese subs and raising DL's, Hunter Killer ASW (yeah – may not get any kills – but feels good to read that on the TF description…) reacting to the revealed subs. All Hunky Dory till.. Hilo comes to life and whammo – multiple naval attacks by Betties Are Us. And very well trained, I might add; they didn’t miss very often. Lost two DD’s outright, with one heavily damaged, limping back to Pearl at “cruise speed” setting. Extended my Cap range at PH to four hexes, but the Betties kept at it (was it something I said?), but fortunately did not score. My CAP did not respond either; too inexperienced I would suspect.
Note: Sometime back, there was an excellent thread (LoBaron, Alfred and crsutton IIRC), that specifically covered the ins, outs and requirements for Long Range Cap as per airfields and task forces. I saved the thread to my AE forums folder, and will have to do some research in the near future.
The Good News:
As described earlier, the Japanese Air attacks are beginning to lose their edge due to attrition. Or at least that is what I would like to think.
And: Pearl Harbor has ample supply and fuel until the next major resupply/refuel (one already took place earlier in January). Plus, being only five hexes from PH to Hilo, my bombardment TF’s can run in at night at speed and be back in PH (and under an air umbrella) before the Japanese have their morning noodles.
Food for thought: The “We Fly by Night” Betty gang is starting to hit Lihue in small numbers; no real damage yet, but a prelude to invasion at some point in the future? Currently Wake is a level 3 AF (46 hexs distant), Midway level 4 (27 hexs distant) and Johnston Island level 2 (17 hexs distant). Johnston is my bet as the Betty base. SS Dolphin is on patrol there; we shall see what happens. I would not put it past Andy Mac to write such a script…
On the other hand, my sub patrols around Truk, Kwaj or Wake sometimes climb to a 10/10 detection level. I have begun to record the current DL, turn by turn, in the TF information bar to help me track the changes (along with Tracker and Combat reporter).
Coal Island (Canada) and the West Coast:
Concurrently with the Coal Harbor invasion, the Japanese launched several devastating port strikes (carrier launched). Didn't loose any ships, but some very long yard times. I recon Coal Harbor on a regular basis and am beginning to run a bombardment TF (Warspite/Colorado plus usual CA/CL/DD/DMS) with some success (if the recon report is to believed), to shut down the airfield (size 1) and to prevent expanding and thus offensive operations.
As this run is a longer distance, and calls for a two turn set up, I stage (ocean hex destination with a “ROS” setting) to get max prep points before the final run in. As Coal Harbor is a level one AF, there is little danger from a Naval Air strike. Let's hope I can keep it that way... All floats are set to night recon at 7k feet; occasionally I will try 1k to see if that makes a difference.
BB Mississippi and New Mexico recently arrived at San Fran and are en route to Seattle to join the fun and gain experience. Once I feel that the Coal Harbor AF has been shut down (and thus, no defending CAP), I will begin to bomb it with all those shiny new B-17's that are training at Seattle, to keep the heat on and gain experience.
It should help West coast (and not to mention my) morale to beat the tar out of somebody...
Seattle expanded its port to size 8 (to handle the BB rearm); and is now expanding the airfield from 7 to size 8. I plan to use Coal Harbor as a major training run (naval and air) in addition to supplying Seattle and surrounds with air coverage.
Victoria (port size 6)
…Suffered from lack of supply, despite auto transfer with Oak Harbor (size 2). I am running a resupply convoy from Seattle to Victoria to build up supply and expand both port and airfield. By the way, no auto convoys for me, manual planning and ops all the way (cause that's how Chuck Norris would do it [that's for you, Nemo <grin>]).
Eventually, Victoria will be able to base and support my BB Bombardment TF thereby considerably shortening the run to Coal Harbor.
West Coast submarine activity seems to be falling off a bit, as the boats need to refuel and rearm at base (Kwaj?). This is good news, as I have a backlog of merchants at Balboa awaiting escort to the west coast - PH will eventually need a second major refuel/resupply convoy.
The Channel Island area between Los Angeles and San Diego is still dangerous; there are numerous naval and air forces dedicated to hunting Japanese submarines. I think we have inflicted some damage and a kill (unconfirmed); this ratio will improve over time.
The Japanese have occupied Adak, with nearby Ulak and Atka sequentially falling to the Rowboat Brigade. Adak has a 2(5) port and a 1(4) airfield; I have no doubt that, in the not so distant future, I will receive notification that Adak's AF has expanded.
As Adak is 10 hexes distant from Dutch Harbor (well within Betty Range), I am moving quickly to resupply/refuel and build up Dutch Harbor, Kodiak, Seward and Anchorage. An engineer unit was railed from Anchorage to Seward to build fortifications and expand the level 3 port.
The 134th Combat Engineer Battalion which starts the game in Seattle is moving by sea to Kodiak, to help expand Kodiak's air field and build fortifications. Eventually, once infrastructure and enough support is available, I will move a fighter patrol group in to help keep the peace.
Most of Borneo (Miri/Bruni/Kuching/Samarinda/Balikpapan/Tarakan) is under Japanese occupation. Any surviving Air Units from Malaya or Borneo was moved to Java. The oceans on both sides (east and west) are infested with small but highly effective IJN CVL/CVE Task Forces, making any oceanic movement hazardous at best. I did systematically move all excess or non essential shipping out of the area early on. CL Marblehead, heavily damaged (54/39/36) is in dry-dock at Soerabaja, protected by Dutch and Brit CAP. Once her damage levels are reduced, I will move her to either Cape Town or Colombo. It is probably too late, but I will not willingly give her up.
There is Dutch and British air giving cover over Soerabaja; most attacks have been carrier based and repulsed with losses; however, once Japanese land based air is in range (with fighter escort) things will go south. Potentially, as I have conserved my air in Java, I can give the Japanese a good run for their money. While I do have replacement aircraft in the Dutch and Brit pools, I must wait a designated period of time before drawing more replacement aircraft.
Additionally, I inadvertently allowed the supply level to drop below 21k at Soerabaja. That error has been corrected, base supply stockpiling is now "ON". Currently the Dutch Hawk 75A7’s have 37 kills; the Dutch B339’s 7 kills while the recently evacuated Ambon air (also 339’s) have no kills. Nearby Madioen, with CW 21-B Demons (climb rate 2700 - the fastest climber of them all), range 2 (to support Soerabaja) has 4 kills.
Note: Am using JWE’s aircraft maneuver data for all my AE games.
LCU wise, ground force AV is low (even with fortifications); once the Japanese invade it won't take long. The good news is that some time back Force Z and an USN SAG sank virtually all of a major Japanese troop convoy that was approaching from the east side of Java. The convoy had land based air coverage; but at extreme range. After initial detection of the convoy by Naval air search, I took care to keep my heavies close to the IJN (Betties) perceived range limit. As documented in an earlier post, the convoy was lightly escorted by Patrol Boats and sunk with high loss of life.
Two IJN CVE/CVL TF's have come to grief while passing through the Sunda Strait - between Merak and Oosthaven, which I heavily mined. Two 180mm and x2 75mm (!) Coast Defense batteries have obtained a remarkable amount of hits on the constrained Task Force. Multiple mine and artillery hits on the carriers and CA's involved. I have a new appreciation for the dangers of entering a mined and guarded straight...
Fiji (Suva) and New Caledonia (Noumea):
Suva is well supplied (from PH and Balboa - although the latter is an extreme run) and currently expanding its AF to size 6. There are two IJN long range SS that are still hanging around; but although I have not yet been able to get a confirmed kill, my B-18A Bolos are doing a great job of locating the boats and rendering them relatively ineffective due to high detection levels; in conjunction with two AM ASW TF.
Suva has one P-40E fighter group that has been intensely training since day one. Additionally, Suva actually has more aviation support than needed (a rarity in the Babes World), but a good thing, as there is no other group(s) with which to rotate due to combat.
Which leads us to -
Fell to the Japanese early on and has been quiescent for a long time. I put the shorter ranged Porpoise SS on patrol in the port hex to keep an eye on things. Evidently the offloaded IJN air is up and running because the Betty Boys from Noumea paid Suva a visit two turns back.
A Bombardment SAG (CA Pensacola/DD Le Triomphant and two recent USN DD arrivals) has been hitting the Noumea Air Field (size 4) periodically; however, it is a small force and a long distance run so damage has been slow to accumulate.
As with the Coal Harbor bombardment force, I stage ( open water destination w/ROS) the SAG within three hexes east of Noumea, then reset to "bombard" the following turn (to max preparation points and set floatplanes to night recon). There was no danger in past turns (no increased DL); however that time has passed, with the activation of the Betties. Will have to rethink and see what can be done.
Darwin had been reinforced (AG/AGP/AD/AS/LCU/Engineers/Aviation Support) and is serving as a staging area for escaping/rebasing ships from the DEI. I also recently switched the P40E's (bought out from the PI and rebuilt/trained) to CAP with a three hex range; this turned out to be a good move as Japanese Betties recently conducted several naval strikes against my ASW AM TF. The P-40's did well and smoked several bombers; damaging a few more. These P-40 groups have good experience from the earlier Philippines battles and are seasoned aircrew. Of course, once Zero escorts join the fun, this could all change...
While well supplied and fueled (from Sydney and Cape Town), Darwin does not have a high enough assault value to resist a serious Japanese amphibious invasion. Will have to do the best with what I’ve got.
Brisbane is the major point of arrival for reinforcement air groups (AF size 4; port size 5 and currently expanding); but the new air is very green and aviation support is inadequate. The Noumea Betty Boys hit three turns ago (ground attack) - a flight of over 100 (!) aircraft, but no escort.
Am not sure if Noumea has a Japanese Air Headquarters, but with a size 4 AF there is room to park them all.
The Allies do enjoy the advantage of fighting over own AF with multiple fighter groups available to rotate; and it is a long haul for the Japanese. On the other hand; I have burned through most of my replacement aircraft (P-40 of all types)...
There are, however a good number of P-39N’s available. Shall do my best to use them within optimum designed perimeters.
None the less; the green P-40E pilots are at 99 percent morale and are beginning to inflict damage and a few kills. I am moving every aviation support unit that can be spared to Brisbane. The battle is joined…
Port Moresby and Papua/New Guinea:
Rabaul, Lae, Wau, Finschhafen and Salamaua have fallen to the Japanese. Fortunately, I was able to evacuate the various Australian LCU’s (except Rabaul – they fought to the last), by air to Port Moresby.
Japanese forces have landed at Port Moresby. All PM air was rebased at Cairns, set to naval search – including a narrow search band covering PM itself.
A USN sub patrol and an Australian SAG (x2CA, x3CL, x2DD) was moved to Townsville and sent (last turn) to patrol PM. Upon arrival, sadly, no Japanese TF was in the area (or at least sighted as of yet…). The SAG’s DL is now 10/10; I should probably move it out of range as there is no friendly air at PM. Port Moresby has not yet been attacked by air, but as Rabaul is now in Japanese hands, it is only a matter of time.
CL Adelaide ran over a 53cm Type95 torpedo while Enroute to Townsville; she made it back to Rockhampton; will repair at pierside and then to Brisbane Yards.
The good news: Eight B-17D’s stationed at Townsville have made their first two strikes (YES!) against a Japanese engineer unit offloaded at PM. Yes, Townsville is a size 3 AF with no air HQ– thus a reduced sortie and load, but the engineers are hard at it and will soon expand to size 4.
Charter Towers (AF4) is nearby with another B-17D group; but did not fly due to bad weather.
Regardless, the Air Corps Boys are excited to have flown their first two missions. Once the Japanese have fighters in range, I will have to rethink.
Southern Ocean – between Cape Town and Perth:
At least one Japanese CVE/CVL is on station, and has sunk six merchants (can't we all just be friends?) carrying fuel to Perth – a very busy and important convoy run. Traffic has been temporarily disrupted until I am reasonably sure that the Bad Boys from Nippon have left town. It is a pain, but there is enough fuel in Oz to keep shipping/warships fueled. Oz Heavy Industry is turned OFF to conserve fuel.
A Dacoits pro Japanese LCU dropped by and initially took Salem; but then moved into an adjacent hex (due east) where it is now serving as a bombing range for every Indian air unit I can round up, now based at Madras. While this scratch force may be composed of obsolete Lysander II, Audax 1 and Blenheim I aircraft; against an unsupplied (I hope) LCU with no air defense, the 7k strikes provide excellent training for all pilots involved.
Lots of air and combat ships – Force Z and the USN SAG are based at Colombo. Plenty of supply and fuel; bases close to maximum expansion. However, more combat LCU’s are badly needed to repel a potential invasion. LCU reinforcements from Aden are shipped (under escort) to Karachi, then by rail to Madras. I am not certain if I should keep these units at Madras to (potentially) defend the sub continent; or move them to Ceylon. Transport shipping is kept on hand at Madras to allow relatively quick redeployment to Colombo.
Every unit in Burma was moved immediately to Rangoon. Current Assault Value is 964; supply is at 31706 – fort level 3. Engineers have switched from fort building (currently level 3) to expanding the level 4 AF.
The AVG (H81-A3) and Brit Buffalos have put up a magnificent fight against Japanese Air raids based from Bangkok. The three AVG elements have 56/93/82 kills (Buffalo x20 kills); but attrition is definitely getting the upper hand. A size 7 AF that allows upgrades is badly needed; Calcutta, Chittagong, Madras and Rangoon are all expanding. AVG/1 is down to two serviceable aircraft; may have to shut this group down to preserve the pilots until upgrade or change of aircraft is possible. Might fly them to India as the Indian AF will reach Level 7 first.
Moulmein fell to the Japanese four turns ago, and is a size 4 AF. One Blenheim I Squadron, escorted by a Blenheim IF fighter Squadron have begun bombing (from 7k for maximum effect) the AF. There is no AAA or CAP as of yet; I hope to shut it down before any Japanese air can transfer in. Moulmein is 7 hexes from Rangoon, it is unlikely that long range CAP can cover.
On the other hand, Pegu fell two turns ago to the Japanese. As a level 1 airfield, there is not an immediate threat; but eventually I will have to deal.
Note: Upon reflection, the Rangoon engineers should probably focus on expanding fortifications, as His Imperial Majesty's Representatives are right next door at Pegu and will most likely drop by soonest.
Continuous arty and aerial bombardment interspaced with deliberate attacks. Slowly but surely the IJA is working to push me back – it will take time.
Note: I edited at start and gave the Chinese more supply. Chinese air pools were enlarged – but only I-15-III, I-16-III, Hawk 75M and the Soviet Bombers. All Lend Lease is as is.
Due to very low experience levels, the majority of Chinese Air is training; but there are I-15-III’s at Chungking and Changsha that are on CAP. Chungking (Level 5) is expanding towards level 7 to allow upgrades.
Lines of Supply:
Using ny59giant’s excellent spread sheet, I have rounded up and moved the various classes of merchants and tankers to stage where needed; i.e. West Coast to Pearl or destinations south; Cape Town to Perth or Darwin (fuel or troops); Abadan to Karachi or Cape Town (fuel); Aden AP’s with escort to India.
I will also plan to use my largest and most valuable tankers off map, leaving the dangerous on map routes to the larger AK’s. My thanks to Moose for that tip.
So. Am only 49 turns into the game, playing (at most) two to three turns a weekend (with an eight week hiatus (during my summer job) - little time to play) – averaging about three to six hours each. Is it worth it?
Yes it is. I love the immersion into detailed planning; watching an “end turn” combat resolution is the highlight of my weekend. I love every minute of it, and look forward to more.
I am, without a doubt, having more fun than a human being should be allowed to have.
My sincere thanks to you, Andy; and to the Babes Team who modded stock and made this awesome mod.
And – after doing three turns in Scn 60 when first released; there is something to look forward to…
P.S. – this just in from Alfred, and really sums it up far more eloquently than anything I can write:
The amount of management is up to you
As I recall from UV that was true; you could sett hew program to do many things for you. But it always made me wonder if I could be managing things better... or not.
Day turns? Wow I didn't know that. How fast do they go by?
How are the scenarios? Is the game worth it just to play scenarios?
It really is quite simple.
1. Anyone who considers themselves to be a grognard should have this game. In fact if they don't thave it hey are really not a grognard.
2. Anyone who has an interest in the PTO should have this game. There is nothing which comes close to AE in terms of covering the PTO.
3. Yes there is considerable micro management required if you want to squeeze the absolute maximum performance out of the code but this is not essential to enjoy a good game.
YES! Thank You Alfred!
4. The replayability is huge. Obviously so against a human opponent in PBEM but also against the AI which basically has 13 scripts per scenario to elect.
5. You will find no better forum to answer your queries. Unlike many other matrix games, the AE forum is very much alive and several well informed forumites will answer promptly your queries.
< Message edited by Mac Linehan -- 11/30/2014 8:52:11 PM >