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Kevinkin's TAFFY 3: A look at the limitations of WWII Combat in CMANO

 
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Kevinkin's TAFFY 3: A look at the limitations of WWII C... - 10/13/2017 9:18:43 PM   
HalfLifeExpert


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I just tried out an interesting scenario graciously shared with me by it's creator, kevinkin. It is an attempt at recreating one of the most extraordinary moments of WWII at sea, the Battle off Samar in 1944. I have attached this scenario for you to examine for yourself and draw your own conclusions about CMANO's ability to handle WWII combat.

This battle, part of the larger Battle of Leyte Gulf, saw a small US Navy support task unit come under surprise attack from a large Japanese surface force of battleships, cruisers and destroyers. The US forces were only escort carriers, their aircraft, destroyers, and destroyer escorts.

Here's the wiki link on the battle: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_off_Samar

but in short, against impossible odds, Taffy 3 triumphed over ships that should have obliterated them without much difficulty.

This scenario had a number of issues which I will share here, but most were not the fault of the scenario designer, but rather demonstrate the limitations of WWII combat in CMANO.

The main problems with this scenario that were in the hands of the scenario designer were:

A) The distance between Taffy 3 and the Center Force (IJN ships) was way too far. The scenario starts at 0700 hours local time. At that time in the real battle, the Yamato opened fired on Taffy 3 at about 17 nm. So basically, there should be no searching for Center Force, they are already on top of you and raining shells around your ships. This allowed me to get my carriers well away from danger with no difficulty, something that was impossible for the real Taffy 3, which saw one of it’s CVEs, the Gambier Bay, sunk with naval gunfire.

B) Taffy 3’s aircraft are too well armed. Not many of them had torpedoes, while all of them have Mk 13s in this scenario. There are two reasons for the lack of proper Anti-Ship weapons. 1) The fact that Taffy 3 was basically caught with it’s pants down meant that they had to throw every plane they could into the air as soon as they could, regardless of how they were armed. 2) these air wings were intended for CAS for the troops on Leyte and ASW operations. They were not intended to take on the IJN. This unrealistic setup allowed me to sink all 6 IJN heavy cruisers and one battleship with aircraft only, a result far better than the actual battle.

But it is the issues that were outside the designer’s control that bring up the limitations of CMANO doing WWII combat. If you want to examine these yourself I have attached the scenario.

The AI of the torpedo armed Avengers did not seem very promising to me. They sometimes didn’t seem to understand how to launch their torpedoes at ships, even when they clearly had to be well within visual range.

5 Inch rockets were fired at cruisers by my aircraft, and they seemed to do more damage than they should have. The rockets would knock out AAA guns and such, but I doubt they would seriously damage a heavy cruiser’s structure. A destroyer taking serious damage makes more sense. I could be wrong, so please correct me if i am.

I don’t know if there is any way to order gun strafing of ships. Is there? In the real battle, US aircraft without droppable ordinance strafed the IJN ships, killing and wounding smaller gun crews.

My aircraft didn’t seem to receive much AAA fire from the IJN ships.

The most bizarre thing was that I got 3 ships (2 Fletcher DDs and one Butler DE) in gun range of the IJN ships with almost no fire coming down upon them.


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RE: Kevinkin's TAFFY 3: A look at the limitations of WW... - 10/14/2017 5:21:09 AM   
Rebel Yell


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You've made your opinion known, but it sounds to me like the issues with this scenario are all well within the realm of coding tweaks in a WWII version and you may have exposed a couple things (strafing ships, ships cruising right into gun range without being fired upon) that need to be dealt with for battles in any year from WWII to the near future.

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RE: Kevinkin's TAFFY 3: A look at the limitations of WW... - 10/14/2017 11:40:15 AM   
ComDev

 

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Notes taken, thanks!

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RE: Kevinkin's TAFFY 3: A look at the limitations of WW... - 10/14/2017 12:12:33 PM   
mikmykWS

 

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Yeah lots of basic CMANO functions not used as well. Not a good example to demo this.

Mike

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RE: Kevinkin's TAFFY 3: A look at the limitations of WW... - 10/14/2017 1:07:42 PM   
thewood1

 

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"B) Taffy 3’s aircraft are too well armed. Not many of them had torpedoes, while all of them have Mk 13s in this scenario. There are two reasons for the lack of proper Anti-Ship weapons. 1) The fact that Taffy 3 was basically caught with it’s pants down meant that they had to throw every plane they could into the air as soon as they could, regardless of how they were armed. 2) these air wings were intended for CAS for the troops on Leyte and ASW operations. They were not intended to take on the IJN. This unrealistic setup allowed me to sink all 6 IJN heavy cruisers and one battleship with aircraft only, a result far better than the actual battle. "

Isn't this a scenario design issue? If you want some real life outcome, you have to make at least some minimal effort to have proper loadouts and magazines set.

Also, I see planes strafe ships if I have ROE set properly. Doesn't usually happen, but with the right settings you can do it.

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RE: Kevinkin's TAFFY 3: A look at the limitations of WW... - 10/14/2017 1:14:20 PM   
thewood1

 

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Gun strafing allowed setting is off in ROEs.

Also, the zones for the patrol seem a little messed up. The main thing is the US ships don't get declared hostile for quite a while because of the heavy rain setting limits visibility. I think having an exclusion zone setting would be needed.

< Message edited by thewood1 -- 10/14/2017 1:15:58 PM >

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RE: Kevinkin's TAFFY 3: A look at the limitations of WW... - 10/14/2017 3:48:12 PM   
thewood1

 

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"The most bizarre thing was that I got 3 ships (2 Fletcher DDs and one Butler DE) in gun range of the IJN ships with almost no fire coming down upon them."

There is heavy rain and the IJN radar is somewhat limited. According to several other sources, some US ships made it to gun range without being hit, or only with minor damage.

From the wiki article as an example...

"Finally recovering, at 4,000 yards (3,700 m), Roberts launched her torpedoes at Chōkai without being fired upon."

I haven't played this much. Just enough to assess the situation. But to play that particular scenario build and use it as an example of the unsuitably of Command as a WW2 game isn't very valid. I do think there would have to be some work done for Command to simulate WW2, but to me, it looks mostly like some Db work.

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RE: Kevinkin's TAFFY 3: A look at the limitations of WW... - 10/14/2017 4:07:22 PM   
thewood1

 

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Two things that stand out in this battle that Command doesn't do...

1) Smoke screens. Never tried it before, but don't ever remember smoke being listed as a feature.
2) Rain squalls. A major part of the battle was the ability of ships to pop in and out of small rain systems.

As to the stuff in the OP, I think its mostly doable today.

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RE: Kevinkin's TAFFY 3: A look at the limitations of WW... - 10/16/2017 2:42:55 AM   
HalfLifeExpert


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My apologies, I took longer to reply that I would have liked to.

Yes, I understand that much of the issues demonstrated here can be resolved with coding tweaks to the engine. The point of this is not to show how WWII cannot be done, but to have a detailed discussion of the issues that need to be overcome for WWII to be portrayed accurately.

I don't think WWII cannot be done, it can, but not at this time, and it would be good to have a general understanding of the specific limits that need to be overcome to reach that point where WWII can be done accurately.

Since WWII comes up quite a bit with CMANO, I think it would be good to have such a thread to refer back to in other discussions.

Regarding Wood's comments:

1) I didn't realize the weather conditions when I posted this thread. That would easily explain my destroyers getting so close with no fire coming down upon them. Since there is no dynamic weather in the engine yet, that is another limitation. The real Battle off Samar was indeed affected by patches of rains squalls moving around. Having total rain coverage like in this scenario would make it more akin to something like Cape Esperance, which I think was fought in the rain.

Fun fact, in the real battle, due to visibility issues, Kurita thought Taffy 3 may have been the main US battle fleet, in fact one of the IJN ship logs, I think from the BB Kongo, recorded a Baltimore Class cruiser exploding at the same time that the DD USS Hoel exploded.

That being said, the destroyers and destroyer escorts in the real battle were able to get so close because they maneuvered quite a bit. My ships didn't maneuver, just a mad dash.

The weather could also explain me being frustrated with my Torpedo bombers' decision making, although the HVAR and bomb armed aircraft didn't seem to have much issue attacking, and I don't remember if the "Night and Weather affecting Air Ops" was enabled or not.

I think it would be worth it to run this again with ether clear weather or scattered clouds, basically the closest conditions possible to the real Samar battle that doesn't put rain everywhere, even if no rain at all.

2) Regarding the aircraft armament, yes I know that is the result of the scenario designer, I said so in the OP. I basically put those two notes down initially as suggestion feedback to Kevin, and I decided to include them here for anyone who is familiar with the battle like I am understand these inaccuracies before loading up the scenario.

3) If gun strafing is doable, would it do damage to the 'soft' parts of the ships such as exposed AAA guns and sensors. In the case of this engagement we are talking about .50 cal machine guns being used.


Finally, on thing i forgot about when I posted the OP. I think the IJN ship's radars were detected by my forces, with a fair amount of accuracy. I don't know much of radar detection capabilities at the time, but would that have been possible in most of WWII? I know the Kriegsmarine had the Naxos that was installed on U-boats, but did other navies have them widely?

I ask because is CMANO setup for it to be impossible to detect enemy radar signals?



< Message edited by HalfLifeExpert -- 10/16/2017 2:51:03 AM >

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RE: Kevinkin's TAFFY 3: A look at the limitations of WW... - 10/16/2017 6:10:32 PM   
Schr75


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quote:

ORIGINAL: HalfLifeExpert

Finally, on thing i forgot about when I posted the OP. I think the IJN ship's radars were detected by my forces, with a fair amount of accuracy. I don't know much of radar detection capabilities at the time, but would that have been possible in most of WWII? I know the Kriegsmarine had the Naxos that was installed on U-boats, but did other navies have them widely?


I´m no expert but I do know that the RAF deployed the Monica tail warning radar, to warn bomber crews about approaching German fighters. Unfortunately for the RAF, the Germans developed a passive receiver that enabled them to home in on the signals, so the use of Monica was stopped.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monica_(radar)

I have also heard stories from US submarine crews in the Pacific about how they could use friendly subs radar emissions to home in on them if they got away from each other in a wolfpack.

So I guess passive radar detection/ELINT was at least on par with the active radar development.

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RE: Kevinkin's TAFFY 3: A look at the limitations of WW... - 10/16/2017 6:15:35 PM   
mikmykWS

 

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Yeah HF/DF stuff really took off during the era.

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RE: Kevinkin's TAFFY 3: A look at the limitations of WW... - 10/16/2017 6:49:47 PM   
User2

 

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quote:

5 Inch rockets were fired at cruisers by my aircraft, and they seemed to do more damage than they should have.

Nice observation.
I've carried out a small investigation:
HVAR rocket warhead's DB entry assumes that the whole warhead consists of explosive subtance. Thus 22kg warhead transforms into 22 DP. However that warhead should contain 3.4kg of explosives (according to wiki). Depending on the explosives type (wiki states "TNT or Comp B") we will get 3.4-4.5 DP instead of 22 DP. That's 5-7 times less.

Some other warheads in the DB have that issue too.

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RE: Kevinkin's TAFFY 3: A look at the limitations of WW... - 10/16/2017 7:19:27 PM   
mikmykWS

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: User2

quote:

5 Inch rockets were fired at cruisers by my aircraft, and they seemed to do more damage than they should have.

Nice observation.
I've carried out a small investigation:
HVAR rocket warhead's DB entry assumes that the whole warhead consists of explosive subtance. Thus 22kg warhead transforms into 22 DP. However that warhead should contain 3.4kg of explosives (according to wiki). Depending on the explosives type (wiki states "TNT or Comp B") we will get 3.4-4.5 DP instead of 22 DP. That's 5-7 times less.

Some other warheads in the DB have that issue too.


Best to get a list in on each DB list to get it fixed!

Mike

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RE: Kevinkin's TAFFY 3: A look at the limitations of WW... - 10/17/2017 2:07:16 PM   
DrRansom

 

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TheWood's suggestions would be good for CMANO, smoke-screens could be used in early PGM scenarios and weather fronts can lead to missions whose behavior changes over time and place. Detailed WW2 level damage control and gunnery, on the other hand, doesn't seem as necessary?

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RE: Kevinkin's TAFFY 3: A look at the limitations of WW... - 10/17/2017 3:44:56 PM   
Sardaukar


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Best anecdote from unknown 40mm AA gun NCO in Taffy 3 CVE: "We are sucking them into 40mm range!"

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