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Preferred Formations?

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Preferred Formations? - 8/8/2018 11:27:17 PM   


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I've been experimenting with increasingly loose irregular formations averaging 10+ miles between ships with larger AAW ships 20+ miles down the threat axis. This seems to be working well and may even be conservative by real world standards (I saw one mention of stationing destroyers over 100 miles from the carrier), but I was interested in what other players were doing - especially since scenarios tend to begin with extremely tight symetrical formations, often with less than 5 miles between ships.
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RE: Preferred Formations? - 8/10/2018 9:31:11 AM   

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Exact same to me.

The most ideal layers of defense is to form up all the AA ships into a single line, like a wall facing at the threat axis. Making those enemy missiles must go through all the ship's SAMs and jammers to maximize the effect, without the potential danger of redirected missile hitting another ship behind.. The modern warships are actually quite nimble to steer and accelerate, so changing formation during the mid-course threat detection is still possible.

One of the fleet-duel scenario I played long time ago is both sides' groups are in broad arrow formation -- it allows to cover wider angle than line formation, and also just as hard to make leakers redirect to other ships.

< Message edited by Dysta -- 8/10/2018 9:42:16 AM >


(in reply to ARCNA442)
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RE: Preferred Formations? - 8/10/2018 10:35:22 AM   


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This is a key subject and you're experimentation is a good way of understanding the game and the tactics better.

Dysta has a good point about understanding the threat and aligning your forces to best defeat it. Although I wouldn't recommend relying on maneuverability to fix the formation if the threat changes.

Setting your formation should be the result of some thought and analysis, for example:

1. What is the threat? Type, numbers, likely approach, capabilities

2. What do I need to do? Do I need to split my forces? Can I avoid the threat, or part of it, by doing things differently?

3. What is the terrain like? Above sea level, choke points, radar shadow, islands? Below sea level, depth, layer, CZ ranges, underwater ridges etc?

4. What are my capabilities, early warning, ASW, AD, do I have aircraft - type and capabilities?

Once you understand, or think you understand some of this you can think about your formations:
1.What is ideal to counter the primary threat, how do I counter a secondary threat?
2.How do I need to change that formation going: Through a choke point; approaching an underwater ridge; when I take casualties? Etc

You do need to layer your sensors and weapon systems, there is no doubt there - the question is to what extent and on what axis. Layering your AD systems may cause vulnerabilities in your ASW detection - how do you mitigate? Laying your formation to best counter ASW threats provides exposure to air threats... etc.

You've struck on a key aspect of the game, there is some discussion on the forum from time to time, but the key is to have fun with it.



Check out our novel, Northern Fury: H-Hour!:
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(in reply to Dysta)
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RE: Preferred Formations? - 8/11/2018 12:51:22 PM   

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Part of why people cluster them together in tight formations is just convenience for the scenario designers. There is a logic to it, though.

First, have you noticed in the log that the Pk of your SAMs is heavily dependent on the target aspect? Ships defending a high value unit want to stay close to the thing they're defending because it guarantees that when someone shoots at the high value unit, they're almost always getting a nearly head on shot and thus maximizing their Pk.

Secondly, sticking close to one another guarantees that they enjoy the benefits of each other's defenses, thus each of the warships are able to compliment each other's defenses, both in the form of ECM, and in the form of hard kill systems like SAMs and guns.

This is not to say that there's not necessarily an advantage to detaching some ships and using them to provide forward air defense. In some cases that might enable interceptions of ballistic missiles in the midcourse, for example, or extend radar coverage out, enabling other warships to take shots they might not have been able to earlier due to lack of guidance. Cooperative engagement capability is a great thing, for sure.

Just because something is the "conventional" thing to do, doesn't mean it's the right thing to do, and experimenting with tactics is really the bread and butter of this game.

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RE: Preferred Formations? - 8/30/2018 11:37:55 PM   

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While researching a scenario, I came across the links below and remembered this thread:

While 10 years old, it remains a good starting point for new players or a refresher for old salts.

The entire series is here:

(in reply to SeaQueen)
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RE: Preferred Formations? - 8/31/2018 2:59:53 AM   


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I frequently use very tight formations to allow ships to provide mutual support against airborne threats, particularly when the ships only have short range missiles. For example, British ships relying on Seawolf only have a range of 6 nm, so if they are to defend each other effectively they must be very closely packed. Doing otherwise means the ships might as well be all alone. I'll also pack in if I'm trying to hide a smaller combatant in the noise of something larger, or when I'm trying to defend a high-value asset. I'll spread out more if I expect air and vampire threats to be low, but sub threats to be high, so I can increase my sonar coverage, but even then I rarely put more than half a CZ between members of the group. From time to time I'll put a flack trap up-axis, but that's usually more like a second little group than a spread-out single group.

Of course dense packing comes at great risk in a nuclear engagement, but that's something that's quite uncommon, so it's rarely a real concern.

(in reply to kevinkins)
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RE: Preferred Formations? - 8/31/2018 2:06:33 PM   

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That thread is pretty good. For people who want to really get into the gorey details of ASW search planning and formations, the book to read is this:

Get the soft cover (obvi!). It's probably not very useful unless you're comfortable with multivariable calculus, though.

You can order it here (and other titles) and get it inexpensively:

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RE: Preferred Formations? - 9/3/2018 1:01:27 PM   

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A friend of mine - a few years older - fought the Cold War (ASW) after getting a advanced degree in mathematics. Given the publication date, he probably has the book. Now retired from the military, he works for the executive branch trying to curb human trafficking. Spends his days boarding ships along the St. Lawrence seaway and somewhere in Africa. Dirty undercover work.


(in reply to SeaQueen)
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RE: Preferred Formations? - 9/4/2018 12:05:39 AM   

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Koopman is a classic for anyone in the ASW business. Hard core ASW is very abstract and technical. It sits at the intersection of mathematics, oceanography, engineering and physics, so it appeals to a certain type of personality (which often includes mathematicians).

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RE: Preferred Formations? - 9/6/2018 9:23:19 AM   


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Search and Screening (Koopman), edition 1946(!)

Free book at =>

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RE: Preferred Formations? - 9/6/2018 1:41:37 PM   

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Thank you for this superb reference. I've added it to CMANO's unofficial Dropbox reference library.

Any forum member can have access to this resource. Just PM me with you email address.

-Wayne Stiles

(in reply to i224747)
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