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Surface Combat Results - 1/22/2014 1:02:46 AM   
byron13


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Playing the Allies against AI. January '43 I run the South Dakota, Maryland, West Virginia, 2 CAs, 1 CL and 3DDs into Timor. All fully updated with radar, but pretty low night experience in the 40s.
Ching is in command. Along comes the Kirishima, a CL, and 4 DDs. They are picked up at long range by the Allies but, due to rain, engagements being at 2000 yards.
Allies are cut up. South Dakota sinks and, as best I can tell never fired a shot, Maryland heavily damaged, and a CA sunk. Long lances did some damage, but the naval gunnery what decidedly in favor of Japanese.

Next night, the Japanese show up again. Spotted on radar and Allies cross the T. Two Japanese battleships not hit at all. West Virginia sunk. Only Japanese loss was the CL, which had a magazine explosion from hit by CA.

Why such bad results at night with radar. The Allied battleships basically did nothing though led well, with radar, and excellent leadership. Luck of the draw? Or was it primarily poor night experience?

I'm, uh, disappointed and am now leery about putting the BBs in any kind of surface engagement. thoughts?
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RE: Surface Combat Results - 1/22/2014 1:14:25 AM   
Grfin Zeppelin


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As a Japanese player I would clap my hands and be happy about these lucky results. In 1943 most of these engagements end with heavy damage to Japanese ships, if they win and against these ships its a big if.

< Message edited by Gräfin Zeppelin -- 1/22/2014 2:14:44 AM >


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RE: Surface Combat Results - 1/22/2014 1:27:24 AM   
witpqs


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- Bad TF composition. You mixed many ships with differing weapons ranges and ship speeds.

- Battleships at night are vulnerable to destroyers with torpedoes.

- Did your suriviving battleships even get to reload before the second battle? Perhaps they had very little main battery ammo.

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RE: Surface Combat Results - 1/22/2014 1:55:11 AM   
mind_messing

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: byron13

Playing the Allies against AI. January '43 I run the South Dakota, Maryland, West Virginia, 2 CAs, 1 CL and 3DDs into Timor. All fully updated with radar, but pretty low night experience in the 40s.
Ching is in command. Along comes the Kirishima, a CL, and 4 DDs. They are picked up at long range by the Allies but, due to rain, engagements being at 2000 yards.
Allies are cut up. South Dakota sinks and, as best I can tell never fired a shot, Maryland heavily damaged, and a CA sunk. Long lances did some damage, but the naval gunnery what decidedly in favor of Japanese.

Next night, the Japanese show up again. Spotted on radar and Allies cross the T. Two Japanese battleships not hit at all. West Virginia sunk. Only Japanese loss was the CL, which had a magazine explosion from hit by CA.

Why such bad results at night with radar. The Allied battleships basically did nothing though led well, with radar, and excellent leadership. Luck of the draw? Or was it primarily poor night experience?

I'm, uh, disappointed and am now leery about putting the BBs in any kind of surface engagement. thoughts?


- Your task force was hampered by the slower Allied BB's. The Kirishima is a fast BB. That speed advantage probably led to your T being crossed.
- Night experiance. Big difference between IJN and USN in this respect.
- Ship and task force commanders? IJN commanders are generally decent across the board, but the occasional idiot can end up in command of a USN ship.
- TF composition. The CA's and CL were tied to the slow battleship line. Seperate them in to task forces of their own and they'll perform much better.

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RE: Surface Combat Results - 1/22/2014 1:56:56 AM   
byron13


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quote:

ORIGINAL: witpqs

- Bad TF composition. You mixed many ships with differing weapons ranges and ship speeds.

- Battleships at night are vulnerable to destroyers with torpedoes.

- Did your suriviving battleships even get to reload before the second battle? Perhaps they had very little main battery ammo.


1. What do you suggest? Wish I had more DDs for screening. But Timor was getting bombarded by BBs - so needed to respond with BBs, I think. I'm not sure what you're suggesting. DD only TFs and BB only TFs?
I assume the system is smart enough to let me screen capital ships with DDs. Why didn't ships open up at longer ranges with radar contacts?

2. Everything is vulnerable at night to Japanese torpedoes. But I don't get to choose what comes my way or when - though almost certainly it will be at night. Again, what do you do differently?

3. Definitely an issue. Had an AE a turn away trying to get there. Guess my greed to get in some surface action cost me on that one.

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RE: Surface Combat Results - 1/22/2014 1:59:40 AM   
byron13


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quote:

ORIGINAL: mind_messing

- TF composition. The CA's and CL were tied to the slow battleship line. Seperate them in to task forces of their own and they'll perform much better.


What do you do? Have one follow the other? Which follows which?

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RE: Surface Combat Results - 1/22/2014 2:04:07 AM   
mind_messing

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: byron13


quote:

ORIGINAL: mind_messing

- TF composition. The CA's and CL were tied to the slow battleship line. Seperate them in to task forces of their own and they'll perform much better.


What do you do? Have one follow the other? Which follows which?


Crusiers first, then the battleships.

Nobody is ordered to "follow" anyone in terms of game orders. That's a recipe for disaster, as TF's tend to react all over the place and things fall apart easily.

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RE: Surface Combat Results - 1/22/2014 2:09:55 AM   
wdolson

 

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Mixing fast and slow BBs is probably not a good idea. It takes away the speed advantage of the fast BBs because the entire Tf has to travel at the speed of the slowest ship.

In 1943, Allied surface search radar is not great. The later war surface search radar was much better and was integrated into the gun controllers by then.

Bill

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RE: Surface Combat Results - 1/22/2014 2:47:52 AM   
byron13


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quote:

ORIGINAL: mind_messing


quote:

ORIGINAL: byron13


quote:

ORIGINAL: mind_messing

- TF composition. The CA's and CL were tied to the slow battleship line. Seperate them in to task forces of their own and they'll perform much better.


What do you do? Have one follow the other? Which follows which?


Crusiers first, then the battleships.

Nobody is ordered to "follow" anyone in terms of game orders. That's a recipe for disaster, as TF's tend to react all over the place and things fall apart easily.


I'm talking about the follow TF function. is that what you're suggesting? Having BBs follow a lighter, faster tf at zero range?

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RE: Surface Combat Results - 1/22/2014 3:22:56 AM   
Lokasenna


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You can try that. I'd just send them independently from the same origin point. Whichever is faster will get there first, which is usually how you want it anyway - your screening TFs are generally faster.


The golden rule, if you really want SC TF success, seems to be to match weapon ranges and speeds as much as possible in your TFs. Too many times I've seen mismatched TFs have ships that don't even fire a shot - as happened with your South Dakota, seemingly. Example - pairing Yamato and a CA. A lot of times, only one or the other will fire. For this reason, as Japan, I prefer to include only DDs and the occasional CL with my BBs. CAs go on their own.

As the Allies, I group by class. Brooklyns together, CAs together, etc. I try not to mix the two. For BBs, I group by weapon size and then speed. The 16" BBs go together, but I won't mix the 28-knot hulls with the 22-knot hulls. The 22-knotters will actually be reserved for civvy escort duty/landing forces. Only the fast ships get into SC TFs. Unless I'm Japan, it's early, and I need the big guns to sweep aside the dirty Allied dogs because I need that island.

All get DDs as escorts.

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RE: Surface Combat Results - 1/22/2014 5:01:46 AM   
LoBaron


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lokasenna

You can try that. I'd just send them independently from the same origin point. Whichever is faster will get there first, which is usually how you want it anyway - your screening TFs are generally faster.


This is advisable. Do not tie fast (combat) ships to slow ships (independent on whether in the same TF or due to TF follow command) if it is not an explicit requirement to successfully conclude the mission (e.g. for escort purposes).

That said, agree with all the above comments with focus on TF composition. Also, in general, the early war slow BBs are sitting ducks for a decend IJN battlegroup. South Dakota would probably have fared much better without them in the TF.



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RE: Surface Combat Results - 1/22/2014 7:12:57 AM   
alanschu

 

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That seems.... unfortunate... that that is actually the case.

I imagine the idea of sending the faster cruisers first is that the Japanese BB's would waste ammo on them?

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RE: Surface Combat Results - 1/22/2014 7:22:58 AM   
Professor Chaos

 

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N00b butting in here -

Is there a guide somewhere relating TF composition to surface combat? E.g., is there any advantage (aside from ASW) to including DDs in a surface task force? Or, as in this case, cruisers in a battleship TF?


In occasional surface combat reports I have seen mentions of a ship "screened" by others, but in limited searching on the forum I can't find an explanation for what is going on there.

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RE: Surface Combat Results - 1/22/2014 7:56:18 AM   
wdolson

 

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Ships that were not designed for surface combat will be protected from combat by escorts if there are enough escorts to do the job. This includes auxiliary, transports, merchant ships, and carriers. Basically the non-combatant turns tail and runs away as fast as it can while the escorts try to delay the enemy as much as possible.

Bill

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Post #: 14
RE: Surface Combat Results - 1/22/2014 9:42:40 AM   
obvert


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quote:

ORIGINAL: byron13


quote:

ORIGINAL: mind_messing


quote:

ORIGINAL: byron13


quote:

ORIGINAL: mind_messing

- TF composition. The CA's and CL were tied to the slow battleship line. Seperate them in to task forces of their own and they'll perform much better.


What do you do? Have one follow the other? Which follows which?


Crusiers first, then the battleships.

Nobody is ordered to "follow" anyone in terms of game orders. That's a recipe for disaster, as TF's tend to react all over the place and things fall apart easily.


I'm talking about the follow TF function. is that what you're suggesting? Having BBs follow a lighter, faster tf at zero range?


Night battles are especially difficult to master. Strange things with weather and other sighting factors alter the range of the battles often and can lead to results that magnify TF composition problems.

At night use small TFs. About 6 ships is ideal. For the Allies NEVER use old slow BBs at night unless they are bombarding a base and coming in after a faster TF or two meant to clear the way. So I'd make a TF with 2 fast BB and 4 DD for a surface combat TF. Or 2 CA/CL and 4 DD. Or 3 CL/ 3 DD. Try if possible to use similar or same ship type. Matching ship class works the best, but next best would be matching speed, gun type and ranges and upgrade status (radar and weapons).

As you play the Allies more you'll learn the old BBs are basically invaluable for amphib ops, but not so good for surface combat. Also good for bombarding bases, but not fighting through lots of ships to get there. If you know there are opposing SAGs in the area, send in CL/DD, or just DD and let them duke it out first. Sending waves works best, so 2-3 TFs that come in during the night, which wears down and expends more of the opposing ops points and ammo while some of your ships might meet them fresh and undamaged.

If you just want to cause havoc and are at a range where you know ships will only reach the target during the day, send 10 Fletchers and sit back to watch the fun. You get about 700 DDs as the Allies, and a Fletcher can handle everything smaller than an IJN CA by 43.

< Message edited by obvert -- 1/22/2014 10:44:26 AM >


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RE: Surface Combat Results - 1/22/2014 9:47:03 AM   
LoBaron


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quote:

ORIGINAL: alanschu

That seems.... unfortunate... that that is actually the case.

I imagine the idea of sending the faster cruisers first is that the Japanese BB's would waste ammo on them?


I did not imply this is the consequence. In the specific case of the OP it might have made sense to leave the slow BBs out alltogether, and accept battle with a mixed main body of South Dakota and the cruisers, and the destroyer escort.

Obviously there might be situations where a fast TF following a slow one is the best solution, more so if you do not have the luxury of leaving firepower behind. But you need to be aware that in this case the freedom of movement of the fast TF is compromised, which often leads to unwanted consequences in a hostile environment.

Also, the sequence of TFs arrival each with destination set to a certain hex is not tied to the relative speed in case they arrive in the same movement pulse. It partly depends on the TF# (IIRC) and partly is not influenced by the player. And last, sequence of arrival does not automatically translate into sequence of engagement. There many more factors involved.

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RE: Surface Combat Results - 1/22/2014 9:52:45 AM   
obvert


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Professor Chaos

N00b butting in here -

Is there a guide somewhere relating TF composition to surface combat? E.g., is there any advantage (aside from ASW) to including DDs in a surface task force? Or, as in this case, cruisers in a battleship TF?


In occasional surface combat reports I have seen mentions of a ship "screened" by others, but in limited searching on the forum I can't find an explanation for what is going on there.


A DD protects ships in any TF, but in SAGs a DD also does ASW (as you mention) and gets off torpedo spreads that can do a lot of damage. If those are Allied DDs, especially Flectchers, they can mess up just about anything excepting maybe IJN CA/BB from 43 on. Their rate of fire, speed and armor is a potent combo. But don't slow them down with old BBs. As always it depends on what you expect to come up against. Early the Brit DDs have working torpedoes and can be tough paired with very good modern RN CA/CL.

I would not usually mix CA/CL into a SAG. For the Allies you simply don't need to do this as you have enough good ships of similar type to use. For the IJN I have mixed the fast 30 knot Kongos with CA. This seems to work well as they are not far apart in ranges or speed, and each can take a similar amount of punishment before slowing in battle.

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RE: Surface Combat Results - 1/22/2014 3:27:53 PM   
crsutton


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You did not state the moonlight conditions. If the moonlight is below 50% then I would never send Allied BBs into a night fight with Japaneses ships before 1944. You are talking upgraded radar for early 1943. Allies radar was still not that good and it is reflected in the game. Don't put a lot of reliance on it. You will be amazed how much better it is in 1944.

Some basic rules that I follow. Most have already been covered by Obvert and other posters her.

1. I "never" send and old Allied BBs into a surface fight on purpose and never mix old BBs with new. Your entire TF is moving at the speed of the slowest ship and old Allied BBs are very slow.
2. I really do not like sending old treaty CAs into night fights until 1944. However, many times it just can't be avoided.
3. Best ships for a night action are modern DDs and CLs. Rate of fire matters. Quite frankly vs BBs you will note that the enemy BBs rarely fire at night if the range is close and you are using light ships. I don't really care about sinking Japanese BBs at night. I want to sink Japansese CAs, CLs and DDs. Strip them away and the BBs become very easy prey. This tactic works very well for me and in 1944 with radar and working torpedoes is just deadly.
4. Best TF size for a night fight is six to eight ships. Probably seven is ideal. Any more and you will notice that some ship do not even fire.
5. A good but cautious commander is not a bad idea for Allied TFs in the early stages of the war. A cautious commander will disengage if the battle gets too nasty. An aggressive commander might give you a disaster. My logic is that for the Allied ship with their amazingly low night exp., fighting and surviving a couple of night actions will dramatically boost their night exp levels-sometimes as much as 20 points. Get the exp levels up and you will start to win battles.

Play a full campaign and you will see the pattern. Allied surface ships get creamed in 1942, slowly become more than a match in 1943, and begin to totally dominate after 1944 when arriving ships get a big boost in exp. But make the most of your assets in 42 and 43. And keep the old BBs in port until you need them for invasion support and air defense. Fast BBs are for carrier escort in my game plan.


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RE: Surface Combat Results - 1/22/2014 4:17:13 PM   
jeffk3510


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In Greyjoys original AAR against Rader, Nemo had some lengthy posts about TF composition and a lot of the guys here talk about the same thing.

I would have to go back through it, and I have it saved in a word document, but since then my SAG effectiveness has really increased by following these
guidelines. It is the bible of taskforce compositions IMO.

Identical ship classes, in smaller groups seems to work great for surface action.

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RE: Surface Combat Results - 1/22/2014 5:20:43 PM   
crsutton


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I am a little looser in that I never have seen much of a problem as long as the ships are similar in speed. I regularly mix CLs with CAs and do not see any problem. Don't give much thought to DDs except later on I do try to use Fletchers in groups. Ship type does not seem to matter as long as they are in range and and there are not too many of them, they will all shoot and fire torpedoes. That is all I really care about.

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RE: Surface Combat Results - 1/22/2014 8:04:05 PM   
Lokasenna


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quote:

ORIGINAL: crsutton

I am a little looser in that I never have seen much of a problem as long as the ships are similar in speed. I regularly mix CLs with CAs and do not see any problem. Don't give much thought to DDs except later on I do try to use Fletchers in groups. Ship type does not seem to matter as long as they are in range and and there are not too many of them, they will all shoot and fire torpedoes. That is all I really care about.


I also think it's largely a function of how many ships are in the battle, particularly in a night action.

Which is realistic. It hasn't been that long since I last read the accounts of the naval battles off Guadalcanal, but the larger actions got really disorganized really fast, while the smaller battle forces stayed organized and seemingly performed better on a per ship basis.

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RE: Surface Combat Results - 1/22/2014 11:32:32 PM   
Joe D.


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quote:

ORIGINAL: byron13

Playing the Allies against AI. January '43 I run the South Dakota, Maryland, West Virginia, 2 CAs, 1 CL and 3DDs into Timor. All fully updated with radar, but pretty low night experience in the 40s.
Ching is in command. Along comes the Kirishima, a CL, and 4 DDs. They are picked up at long range by the Allies but, due to rain, engagements being at 2000 yards ...


At that short range, does having radar even offer an advantage?

How did early radar operate in heavy rain since sometimes my modern satellite dish doesn't.


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RE: Surface Combat Results - 1/23/2014 12:57:51 AM   
wdolson

 

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Satellite dishes work at miniscule power levels. Radar usually works at higher power and WW II radar was a lower frequency range than modern radar or satellite TV. At different frequencies different things become "opaque" and "transparent". (In advanced Physics in college we did an experiment where we had to figure out what material we had based on what frequency range it was transparent at. It was really cool.) We use glass because silicon dioxide is transparent at the frequencies of visible light.

Water is opaque at some frequencies and clear at others.

However, weather did sometimes play havoc with early radar. More so than today. Modern airliners have a separate weather radar system that tells them what is ahead of them. I worked on a simulator to test that hardware on the Boeing 777.

Bill

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RE: Surface Combat Results - 1/23/2014 2:01:47 AM   
AW1Steve


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On many occasions I've had intense , small "storm cells" appear as ships until we closed on them and were able to change our aspect or were able to change our PRF (pulse repetion frequency)to a much higher setting (something only possible at close range) to distinguish steel from storm.

A ship close to a landmass also is sometimes difficult to find. And sometimes two ships on a similar (or same) bearing often appear as one big ship.

My understanding is that until late in the war utilization of RADAR was more of a problem than the RADAR it'self. CO's were not use to it , and "unhappy" putting them selves into the hands of 18 year old technicians. Establishment of Combat information centers and training up officers and men to man it really brought out the best use of RADAR.



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RE: Surface Combat Results - 1/23/2014 5:12:14 AM   
Lokasenna


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quote:

ORIGINAL: AW1Steve

On many occasions I've had intense , small "storm cells" appear as ships until we closed on them and were able to change our aspect or were able to change our PRF (pulse repetion frequency)to a much higher setting (something only possible at close range) to distinguish steel from storm.

A ship close to a landmass also is sometimes difficult to find. And sometimes two ships on a similar (or same) bearing often appear as one big ship.

My understanding is that until late in the war utilization of RADAR was more of a problem than the RADAR it'self. CO's were not use to it , and "unhappy" putting them selves into the hands of 18 year old technicians. Establishment of Combat information centers and training up officers and men to man it really brought out the best use of RADAR.




Mistrust of radar was a key cause of at least one of the major defeats at Guadalcanal.

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Post #: 25
RE: Surface Combat Results - 1/23/2014 8:40:08 PM   
mgoldstein

 

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The difference in crew skill levels is critical. The Japanese start out with much better night fighting experience. I avoid surface encounters with Japanese warships until my crews have gained experience through commerce raiding. Early in the game as the allies, your surface ships are your best weapon: US submarines have defective torpedoes, most of your aircraft are hopelessly obsolete, and your troops are poorly trained and equipped. But as the Japanese expand aggressively in the first few months of the war you will have opportunities to intercept poorly defended transports and cargo vessels with the warships you have at hand. A handful of destroyers and cruisers can wreak havoc on an invasion task force defended only by patrol boats and sub chasers. The good news is that it I've seen one night battle raise a crew's experience by 20-30 points. With that experience under their belt, the crew can fight the combined fleet on more even terms.

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Post #: 26
RE: Surface Combat Results - 1/24/2014 2:46:35 AM   
crsutton


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quote:

ORIGINAL: mgoldstein

The difference in crew skill levels is critical. The Japanese start out with much better night fighting experience. I avoid surface encounters with Japanese warships until my crews have gained experience through commerce raiding. Early in the game as the allies, your surface ships are your best weapon: US submarines have defective torpedoes, most of your aircraft are hopelessly obsolete, and your troops are poorly trained and equipped. But as the Japanese expand aggressively in the first few months of the war you will have opportunities to intercept poorly defended transports and cargo vessels with the warships you have at hand. A handful of destroyers and cruisers can wreak havoc on an invasion task force defended only by patrol boats and sub chasers. The good news is that it I've seen one night battle raise a crew's experience by 20-30 points. With that experience under their belt, the crew can fight the combined fleet on more even terms.


Yes, this is a sound tactic. But if your Japanese opponent knows his stuff, sometimes you are just going to have to fight him and take a licking. My first campaign I was too passive with my surface ships early on.


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Post #: 27
RE: Surface Combat Results - 1/25/2014 4:10:44 AM   
alanschu

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: LoBaron


quote:

ORIGINAL: alanschu

That seems.... unfortunate... that that is actually the case.

I imagine the idea of sending the faster cruisers first is that the Japanese BB's would waste ammo on them?


I did not imply this is the consequence. In the specific case of the OP it might have made sense to leave the slow BBs out alltogether, and accept battle with a mixed main body of South Dakota and the cruisers, and the destroyer escort.

Obviously there might be situations where a fast TF following a slow one is the best solution, more so if you do not have the luxury of leaving firepower behind. But you need to be aware that in this case the freedom of movement of the fast TF is compromised, which often leads to unwanted consequences in a hostile environment.

Also, the sequence of TFs arrival each with destination set to a certain hex is not tied to the relative speed in case they arrive in the same movement pulse. It partly depends on the TF# (IIRC) and partly is not influenced by the player. And last, sequence of arrival does not automatically translate into sequence of engagement. There many more factors involved.



I can understand separating them based on speed. I guess there's just a part of me that is having trouble getting over the idea of concentration of power. It seems weird to me that a task force of only the slower BBs and a separate task force of the CAs would perform better than if they were all in the same task force.

For myself, that means that whatever the BB task force loses by giving up the CAs is overcome by the CAs acting independently. Against a powerful enemy surface fleet, it just comes across as surprising.

(in reply to LoBaron)
Post #: 28
RE: Surface Combat Results - 1/25/2014 4:24:35 AM   
EHansen


Posts: 360
Joined: 12/6/2013
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: alanschu


quote:

ORIGINAL: LoBaron


quote:

ORIGINAL: alanschu

That seems.... unfortunate... that that is actually the case.

I imagine the idea of sending the faster cruisers first is that the Japanese BB's would waste ammo on them?


I did not imply this is the consequence. In the specific case of the OP it might have made sense to leave the slow BBs out alltogether, and accept battle with a mixed main body of South Dakota and the cruisers, and the destroyer escort.

Obviously there might be situations where a fast TF following a slow one is the best solution, more so if you do not have the luxury of leaving firepower behind. But you need to be aware that in this case the freedom of movement of the fast TF is compromised, which often leads to unwanted consequences in a hostile environment.

Also, the sequence of TFs arrival each with destination set to a certain hex is not tied to the relative speed in case they arrive in the same movement pulse. It partly depends on the TF# (IIRC) and partly is not influenced by the player. And last, sequence of arrival does not automatically translate into sequence of engagement. There many more factors involved.



I can understand separating them based on speed. I guess there's just a part of me that is having trouble getting over the idea of concentration of power. It seems weird to me that a task force of only the slower BBs and a separate task force of the CAs would perform better than if they were all in the same task force.

For myself, that means that whatever the BB task force loses by giving up the CAs is overcome by the CAs acting independently. Against a powerful enemy surface fleet, it just comes across as surprising.


I think the part you are missing is that the old, slow BBs will do bad no mater what. The CAs without the old, slow BBs will perform better on their own.

(in reply to alanschu)
Post #: 29
RE: Surface Combat Results - 1/25/2014 6:42:02 AM   
alanschu

 

Posts: 405
Joined: 12/21/2006
Status: offline
If the combat were to happen in the day, would the results still be the same? (my gut says no, as Allies tend to have higher day xp than night xp, and the encounter would likely start at longer ranges)

(in reply to EHansen)
Post #: 30
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