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Optimum Surface Combat TF Composition - 5/8/2019 11:09:29 PM   
mind_messing

 

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I've been discussing SCTF composition with another AE player.

I am curious about the "optimum" TF for engaging in surface combat.

I have always tried to create SCTF's based on the following guidelines:

- Same (or very similar) class of warships.
- Identical speeds across all ships.
- Standardized armament (as far as possible)
- Approx 4 capital ships and 4-6 escorting DD's.

As Japan, I am considering the use of two main combat formations.

First is the CA force, which is typically 4 CA and 8 DD. Both CA and DD's will be from the same class of ship. The CA with the IJN are typically interchangeable, as they all have the same main armament.
Second formation is the heavy BB formation. This is 2-4 BB's, 2 CL and 4 DD's

Some caveats with this formation: the Kongo's never operate with any other BB's, they're fast ships and the other BB's slow them down.

The Fuso & Ise classes operate together, they're effectively the same ships in terms of armaments

The Nagato and Yamato classes never operate with any other BB's, as they've different main armaments and max speeds.

My understanding of the naval combat engine was that the game like standard ranges across all ships in a SCTF as it makes it easy to pick a suitable distance to engage from. Is that the case?

Beyond that, critque of my notions for SCTF composition would be welcome.
Post #: 1
RE: Optimum Surface Combat TF Composition - 5/9/2019 12:15:49 AM   
jdsrae


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Optimum is to have more and better ships than the bad guys!
But yep, my plan looks like yours. I form divisions by class and task forces from a few divisions.

I’ve come up with an “admin” Fleet organisation but that then needs to matrix with Area Fleet organisation which itself depends on the missions required and enemy threat picture in each geographic location. Task forces are then raised / disbanded locally from the divisions being moved around by Combined Fleet HQ.

My IJN admin org has the following:
Combined Fleet
Battle Force: generally slow BB, CA primary role initially, CL with DD classes that have better torpedoes for escort
Mobile Force: generally CV, CVL, BB Kongo/Yamato, CS, CA secondary role when not needed in Battle Force, DD classes that have better AA capability for escort
SNLF: generally slow and single class CL, LSD, CVE, all Yusens, all xAP, older DD classes for escort, APD
Submarine Force: AS plus SS

Strategic Logistics Fleet:
- Escort Force: PB initially with E and “escort” DD replacing some as they arrive
- Merchant Force: all large and medium TK, a few small TK for low capacity routes, the xAK needed for hauling Resources being Lima, Aden and about half the Akasi only

Area Fleets / Naval Districts
ASW Force: generally AV to support FP airgroups, AG, SC, excess PB, E and DD not needed for convoys once they arrive
Support Force: AR, AD, AKE, AGP etc
Coastal Defence Force - everything else assigned to local defence missions like ACM, AMc
Reserve Force: a few xAK and xAKL classes not required and unable to convert to something useful are disbanded at home with crews given extended shore leave. Eg: Toho, Gozan, Kasu. I might use some in local resupply missions but I’d scrap most if I could and make something else out of the metal!



< Message edited by jdsrae -- 5/9/2019 1:55:00 AM >


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Post #: 2
RE: Optimum Surface Combat TF Composition - 5/9/2019 12:56:45 AM   
Jorge_Stanbury


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Some of the combinations I like:

Surface fleets should be ~15 to ~10 ships ... if more ships available, then form more TFs
Totally agree regarding standardized ships/ armaments if possible

- 4CA+8DDs
- 3CA/CL +7DDs
- 1CL + 6/8DDs (mostly for the old DDs)
- 2 BBs + 1 CS + 8DDs (fast BB fleet)
- 4/6 BBs + 1 CS + 8DDs (main BB fleet)

- important TFs should always have a 4 DD ASW TF following closely
- Battleship TFs should have a CVE or CVL TF following closely, for CAP






< Message edited by Jorge_Stanbury -- 5/9/2019 1:00:47 AM >

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RE: Optimum Surface Combat TF Composition - 5/9/2019 4:05:39 AM   
Alfred

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: mind_messing

...My understanding of the naval combat engine was that the game like standard ranges across all ships in a SCTF as it makes it easy to pick a suitable distance to engage from. Is that the case?...




Not really.

Target selection is based on the internal DL held on each enemy ship in the enemy TF. Combined with the fact that shooting only starts after visual contact with the enemy TF is made, means that gun range is not really that important a determining factor in initiating fire.

Alfred

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Post #: 4
RE: Optimum Surface Combat TF Composition - 5/9/2019 7:34:03 AM   
obvert


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Alfred


quote:

ORIGINAL: mind_messing

...My understanding of the naval combat engine was that the game like standard ranges across all ships in a SCTF as it makes it easy to pick a suitable distance to engage from. Is that the case?...




Not really.

Target selection is based on the internal DL held on each enemy ship in the enemy TF. Combined with the fact that shooting only starts after visual contact with the enemy TF is made, means that gun range is not really that important a determining factor in initiating fire.

Alfred


Well, I see that evidence for sure. Gun range can be decisive though if a TF has to move in much closer to allow certain ships to fire. This can bring it in range of the guns of the enemy that would otherwise be out of range, right?

So I wouldn't for example put an IJN CL in a TF with IJN fast BB/BC.


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RE: Optimum Surface Combat TF Composition - 5/9/2019 7:46:28 AM   
obvert


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quote:

ORIGINAL: mind_messing

I've been discussing SCTF composition with another AE player.

I am curious about the "optimum" TF for engaging in surface combat.

I have always tried to create SCTF's based on the following guidelines:

- Same (or very similar) class of warships.
- Identical speeds across all ships.
- Standardized armament (as far as possible)
- Approx 4 capital ships and 4-6 escorting DD's.

As Japan, I am considering the use of two main combat formations.

First is the CA force, which is typically 4 CA and 8 DD. Both CA and DD's will be from the same class of ship. The CA with the IJN are typically interchangeable, as they all have the same main armament.



I like this formation. I don't think the ratio of CA/DD needs to be static though for different situations. At night you may want fewer ships, as fewer seem to act in the combat. I learned from other players that eight ships was a good number, and I've found that useful.

I like 5CA/5DD. I like 2 CA/6DD. I like 3CA/6 DD. Depends on the situation, the enemy likely to be faced, the amount of anticipated air threat, and whether it's likely to take place at night, in the day, or running through both phases. The era of the war matters a lot, too. You're going to lose a lot more DDs the later it gets with every IJN combat against Fletchers and Clevelands.

The objective matters so much. For bombarding Shikuka in mid-44 I wanted as many TFs as I could put together of a decent size to survive a few combats. So it was a delicate balance between enough to break through the Allies and not too many so I could make more TFs, have more chances for a breakthrough to bombard. The first time it worked. The second time not so much!

quote:



Second formation is the heavy BB formation. This is 2-4 BB's, 2 CL and 4 DD's



Could be alright early war, but you're going to shed a lot of those DDs late and leave your BBs vulnerable. I've seen this too often myself as I make a 2BB/6DD night combat TF that works for one or two combats, but then can leave the BBs on their own. The DDs breaking off to escort other damaged DDs are the big problem that can't be controlled.

quote:



Some caveats with this formation: the Kongo's never operate with any other BB's, they're fast ships and the other BB's slow them down.

The Fuso & Ise classes operate together, they're effectively the same ships in terms of armaments

The Nagato and Yamato classes never operate with any other BB's, as they've different main armaments and max speeds.



The first two seem good, the Nagato class though do fine with the other IJN BBs. I just wouldn't put them with the Kongos.

Yamato/Musashi also would probably operate best together, but mixed with others they're going to take a lot of hits and dish out some tough punishment, so they can both shield and support the other BBs.

One thing I'm curious about and I'd like to test is the massive TF configuration. I've seen some very good tactical players (Mr Kane, rader, JIII) use large TFs successfully with a very mixed formation. BB/CA/CL plus many classes of DDs together.

< Message edited by obvert -- 5/9/2019 8:10:18 AM >


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RE: Optimum Surface Combat TF Composition - 5/9/2019 8:04:05 AM   
CaptBeefheart


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One thing I have learned is do not have fewer escorts than capital ships. There's an old post of mine where IJN MTBs sank one BB every time I re-ran a turn (vs. the computer player) in which a 5 BB/4 DD TF went in to bombard an island defended by maybe 6 MTBs. I also agree with Obvert that mixing CLs with BBs in surface combat TFs would not be helpful.

Cheers,
CB

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RE: Optimum Surface Combat TF Composition - 5/9/2019 12:42:06 PM   
HansBolter


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Optimum is a moving target.

Sometimes a single CA/CL and three DDs will perform better than 3 CAs/CLs and more DDs.


One thing mentioned here long ago that I picked up on and noted in my own games is that mixing BBs and CAs/CLs results in only one type engaging in combat.

I never include CAs/CLs in BB TFs. BBs and DDs only.

Sometimes even mixing CAs and CLs results in only one type engaging, although I typically do include CLs in my CA TFs.
However, I also set up many exclusive CL/DD only TFs as the Allies get far more CLs than CAs.

Machine Gun cruiser CLs coupled with Fletchers are definitely bad boys to tangle with.

While you don't start risking collisions until a TF exceeds the 15 ship threshold TFs in the 12 ship max range seem to perform better than 15 ship TFs. To reach that 12 ship "optimum" size I typically mix four cruisers (mixed CA/CL or pure of one or the other) or four BBs with eight DDs.

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RE: Optimum Surface Combat TF Composition - 5/9/2019 3:52:21 PM   
BBfanboy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: HansBolter

Optimum is a moving target.

Sometimes a single CA/CL and three DDs will perform better than 3 CAs/CLs and more DDs.


One thing mentioned here long ago that I picked up on and noted in my own games is that mixing BBs and CAs/CLs results in only one type engaging in combat.

I never include CAs/CLs in BB TFs. BBs and DDs only.

Sometimes even mixing CAs and CLs results in only one type engaging, although I typically do include CLs in my CA TFs.
However, I also set up many exclusive CL/DD only TFs as the Allies get far more CLs than CAs.

Machine Gun cruiser CLs coupled with Fletchers are definitely bad boys to tangle with.

While you don't start risking collisions until a TF exceeds the 15 ship threshold TFs in the 12 ship max range seem to perform better than 15 ship TFs. To reach that 12 ship "optimum" size I typically mix four cruisers (mixed CA/CL or pure of one or the other) or four BBs with eight DDs.

My experience is that anything over 10 ships starts to increase collision risk, Air Combat TFs excepted.
I also found that over 10 ships in a SCTF often means some ships do not get a chance to engage before the combat is over. 8 is my favoured TF size for surface combat. DDs should number about 1.5 or more X the major warships.

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RE: Optimum Surface Combat TF Composition - 5/9/2019 4:08:16 PM   
Alfred

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: obvert


quote:

ORIGINAL: Alfred


quote:

ORIGINAL: mind_messing

...My understanding of the naval combat engine was that the game like standard ranges across all ships in a SCTF as it makes it easy to pick a suitable distance to engage from. Is that the case?...




Not really.

Target selection is based on the internal DL held on each enemy ship in the enemy TF. Combined with the fact that shooting only starts after visual contact with the enemy TF is made, means that gun range is not really that important a determining factor in initiating fire.

Alfred


Well, I see that evidence for sure. Gun range can be decisive though if a TF has to move in much closer to allow certain ships to fire. This can bring it in range of the guns of the enemy that would otherwise be out of range, right?

So I wouldn't for example put an IJN CL in a TF with IJN fast BB/BC.



Well ....

There is a rather complex matrix of under the hood factors involved in naval combat.

In very general terms, at the top of the matrix either both task forces initially seek combat, although ultimately one of them will see to disengage or one task force seeks to avoid combat ab initio whilst the other wants combat.

In all instances a task force which wishes to fight will close in to get that all important initial visual sighting and subsequently, in the jockeying between them of flight or fight, will attempt to remain in contact. The range of the weapons is not the dominant consideration. Do not underestimate the importance of the internal ship DL.

Alfred

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RE: Optimum Surface Combat TF Composition - 5/9/2019 4:27:33 PM   
AleRonin


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quote:

Do not underestimate the importance of the internal ship DL.


Alfred, can you explain me a little more this last sentence?
If I'm correct there is not a TF DL, every ship has its own DL versus any enemy ship, is it right?

Thanks

< Message edited by AleRonin -- 5/9/2019 4:29:41 PM >

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RE: Optimum Surface Combat TF Composition - 5/9/2019 5:12:53 PM   
dwesolick


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quote:

ORIGINAL: HansBolter

One thing mentioned here long ago that I picked up on and noted in my own games is that mixing BBs and CAs/CLs results in only one type engaging in combat.



So glad I check this forum on a regular basis. Always learn something. I've been playing since the UV days and did not know this.

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RE: Optimum Surface Combat TF Composition - 5/9/2019 5:23:23 PM   
HansBolter


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quote:

ORIGINAL: dwesolick


quote:

ORIGINAL: HansBolter

One thing mentioned here long ago that I picked up on and noted in my own games is that mixing BBs and CAs/CLs results in only one type engaging in combat.



So glad I check this forum on a regular basis. Always learn something. I've been playing since the UV days and did not know this.



I am also a UV vet.
It isn't a guaranteed formula, but has been anecdotally witnessed by me and other regulars here through many encounters.

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RE: Optimum Surface Combat TF Composition - 5/11/2019 7:43:24 AM   
AleRonin


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quote:

ORIGINAL: AleRonin

quote:

Do not underestimate the importance of the internal ship DL.


Alfred, can you explain me a little more this last sentence?
If I'm correct there is not a TF DL, every ship has its own DL versus any enemy ship, is it right?

Thanks



Alfred, sorry to bump the same question but maybe you miss it, thanks

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RE: Optimum Surface Combat TF Composition - 5/11/2019 8:27:08 AM   
Alfred

 

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The DL/MDL of a task force is not automatically transferred to the individual ships within the task force.  When in combat each ship has its own DL which may change during the course of the battle.  The combat DL determines whether a ship can become a target.  All of combat DLs is handled under the hood and is not able to be influenced by the player.

Alfred 

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RE: Optimum Surface Combat TF Composition - 5/11/2019 10:30:58 AM   
AleRonin


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The knowledge is growing every day but apply it will be the problem

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RE: Optimum Surface Combat TF Composition - 5/11/2019 12:48:22 PM   
Lowpe


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Alfred

Not really.

Target selection is based on the internal DL held on each enemy ship in the enemy TF. Combined with the fact that shooting only starts after visual contact with the enemy TF is made, means that gun range is not really that important a determining factor in initiating fire.

Alfred


Speaking as a Japanese player:

I generally like to keep ship classes together in the same area of operation, but build mission task forces on the following holistic approach:


DL in and out of combat. I try very hard to maximize DL prior to combat by using day/night naval search, minefields, bases, subs, midgets, prior clashes.

2ndly: I try very very hard to only have night time combats as Japan in a SAG vs SAG.

3rd: I really like nasty weather.

4th: I love threat tolerance set to low.

5th: I generally prefer high naval, moderate aggression captains in ships.

Given the above, I really advocate multiple small task forces comprised of 2-4 destroyers/tb with at least three task forces. The more task forces the better. For larger ships I like 1 a ratio of 1 ship to 2-5+ destroyers. Generally the larger the ship, the more destroyers:

1 CL + 2 DD
1 CA + 3 DD
1 BB + 4-8 DD

I organize the wave of small task forces by range, speed and task force number to engage in a definite order sequentially. Skirmishers first, big girls last.

If I think I can nail convoys, I don't care about composition.

I have occasionally used large kitchen sink SAG's with an aggressive commander if I have naval superiority.

A lot depends upon prior enemy tactics and force composition.

There is no right answer here....

The DL/MDL of a task force is not automatically transferred to the individual ships within the task force. When in combat each ship has its own DL which may change during the course of the battle. The combat DL determines whether a ship can become a target. All of combat DLs is handled under the hood and is not able to be influenced by the player.

Alfred


I try to take advantage of this by having multiple combats during one night by using multiple small task forces. I have a feeling that damage, even slight damage but especially fire, increases the combat dl in subsequent combats.

For example skirmishing task force of 2 DD attacks, scores a few 12 cm hits to the superstructure starting a fire and retires --- any subsequent combats that enemy ship on fire is easier to hit while I am using ships that are undamaged. Of course I could be all wrong, but I like it.

PS: Nothing worse for the IJN than fighting in clear weather and or during the daytime (most times).

< Message edited by Lowpe -- 5/11/2019 12:57:30 PM >

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RE: Optimum Surface Combat TF Composition - 5/11/2019 1:25:34 PM   
AleRonin


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quote:

I try to take advantage of this by having multiple combats during one night by using multiple small task forces. I have a feeling that damage, even slight damage but especially fire, increases the combat dl in subsequent combats.


Question about this sentence, but is every TF following each other? I mean like a chain.

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RE: Optimum Surface Combat TF Composition - 5/11/2019 1:47:04 PM   
BBfanboy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: AleRonin

quote:

I try to take advantage of this by having multiple combats during one night by using multiple small task forces. I have a feeling that damage, even slight damage but especially fire, increases the combat dl in subsequent combats.


Question about this sentence, but is every TF following each other? I mean like a chain.

TFs usually engage in order of their TF number, It is usually not good to have SCTFs set to follow one another because if the first one withdraws the others might not engage. Just set them all to patrol in or around the target hex with a react setting.
Note that engagement is not guaranteed - there is always a detection/engagement check before any combat happens but as Lowpe notes, initial combats are likely to raise the D/L enough for nearby TFs to find and engage the enemy.

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RE: Optimum Surface Combat TF Composition - 5/11/2019 1:48:33 PM   
BBfanboy


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quote:

Lowpe: 4th: I love threat tolerance set to low


Lowpe did you really mean this? Wouldn't that result in TFs being reluctant to engage?

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RE: Optimum Surface Combat TF Composition - 5/11/2019 1:56:38 PM   
Lowpe


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quote:

ORIGINAL: BBfanboy


quote:

ORIGINAL: AleRonin

quote:

I try to take advantage of this by having multiple combats during one night by using multiple small task forces. I have a feeling that damage, even slight damage but especially fire, increases the combat dl in subsequent combats.


Question about this sentence, but is every TF following each other? I mean like a chain.

TFs usually engage in order of their TF number, It is usually not good to have SCTFs set to follow one another because if the first one withdraws the others might not engage. Just set them all to patrol in or around the target hex with a react setting.
Note that engagement is not guaranteed - there is always a detection/engagement check before any combat happens but as Lowpe notes, initial combats are likely to raise the D/L enough for nearby TFs to find and engage the enemy.



The task forces usually have either a destination point or a patrol point, I almost never use follow ever under any circumstance. I do like reaction range for surface action groups.

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Post #: 21
RE: Optimum Surface Combat TF Composition - 5/11/2019 2:00:42 PM   
Lowpe


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quote:

ORIGINAL: BBfanboy

quote:

Lowpe: 4th: I love threat tolerance set to low


Lowpe did you really mean this? Wouldn't that result in TFs being reluctant to engage?



Absolutely! Almost 100% of the time. How it seems to work in game, after extensive use, is that there seems to be no reluctance to engage although this might be due to the fact most Allied players use aggressive leaders. Each task force will usually only have one combat and then withdraw...

But my SAG tend to disengage early, so I get an initial torpedo launch and then if out gunned a retreat. There seems to be no effect against normal merchant convoys.

As Japan I try to maximize the torpedo attacks and slight skirmish instead of a punishing slugfest for a variety of reasons.

< Message edited by Lowpe -- 5/11/2019 2:02:11 PM >

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Post #: 22
RE: Optimum Surface Combat TF Composition - 5/11/2019 2:04:35 PM   
AleRonin


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Thanks guys for the explanations!

quote:

The task forces usually have either a destination point or a patrol point, I almost never use follow ever under any circumstance. I do like reaction range for surface action groups.


Another question arise...neither for Amphibious TF? How do you handle the SAG TF then?

(in reply to Lowpe)
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RE: Optimum Surface Combat TF Composition - 5/12/2019 6:35:40 AM   
Alfred

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lowpe

... I have a feeling that damage, even slight damage but especially fire, increases the combat dl in subsequent combats.

For example skirmishing task force of 2 DD attacks, scores a few 12 cm hits to the superstructure starting a fire and retires --- any subsequent combats that enemy ship on fire is easier to hit while I am using ships that are undamaged. Of course I could be all wrong, but I like it. ...




You are not wrong.

A ship on fire isn't per se easier to hit. The fire itself will increase the DL, particularly if it is a night combat, of the ship itself and thus means it is a more prominent target to be selected by other friendly ships. The amount of damage sustained can lead to system damage which reduces it's speed and in that sense makes it easier to be hit.

Fire therefore impacts on the DL of the ship both in the current combat and provided the fire is still raging, on subsequent combats. Even when the fire has been extinguished, the effects of the fire may still disadvantage the ship in combat.

Alfred

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Post #: 24
RE: Optimum Surface Combat TF Composition - 5/13/2019 2:34:18 PM   
AleRonin


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Lowpe, I have two questions for this sentence:

The task forces usually have either a destination point or a patrol point, I almost never use follow ever under any circumstance. I do like reaction range for surface action groups.

How do you handle the SAG in an Amphibious TF if you don't use follow?

Also, for a CV TF in escort, is the follow setting the right choice?

Thanks


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RE: Optimum Surface Combat TF Composition - 5/13/2019 3:29:46 PM   
Miller


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Never mix types, therefore BB CA CL all in separate TFs and make sure their speeds are pretty much the same. Between 8-12 ships per TF, ideally 2 DDs for every larger ship (so 4 CA 8 DD) etc.

I've played IJN opponents who put 18 knot CLs and 16 knot PBs/Es in the same TF as 30+ knot CAs and DDs and they perform terribly as they are restricted to the top speed of the slowest ship in the combat phase and are much more likely to be hit.

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RE: Optimum Surface Combat TF Composition - 5/13/2019 3:34:57 PM   
Lowpe


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quote:

ORIGINAL: AleRonin

Lowpe, I have two questions for this sentence:

The task forces usually have either a destination point or a patrol point, I almost never use follow ever under any circumstance. I do like reaction range for surface action groups.

How do you handle the SAG in an Amphibious TF if you don't use follow?

Also, for a CV TF in escort, is the follow setting the right choice?

Thanks



I count hexes and use remain on station for amphibious task forces. SAG that protect the amphibious TF are set to the same hex, but with patrol and I use a little bit of reaction range on them.



(in reply to AleRonin)
Post #: 27
RE: Optimum Surface Combat TF Composition - 5/13/2019 3:49:28 PM   
Chickenboy


Posts: 25264
Joined: 6/29/2002
From: San Antonio, TX
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lowpe
I have a feeling that damage, even slight damage but especially fire, increases the combat dl in subsequent combats.

For example skirmishing task force of 2 DD attacks, scores a few 12 cm hits to the superstructure starting a fire and retires --- any subsequent combats that enemy ship on fire is easier to hit while I am using ships that are undamaged. Of course I could be all wrong, but I like it.


I get this 'feeling' too, but don't know if it's based on (game) reality. But it would make sense. In the battle of Savo island, IJN ships turned off their search lights after a while, as the Allied heavy cruisers were burning well enough to illuminate the battle area by themselves.

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RE: Optimum Surface Combat TF Composition - 5/14/2019 5:20:33 PM   
AleRonin


Posts: 125
Joined: 4/30/2019
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Thanks for your feedbacks, I will try to apply them in my current game

(in reply to Chickenboy)
Post #: 29
RE: Optimum Surface Combat TF Composition - 5/14/2019 5:38:22 PM   
RangerJoe


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By using a bunch of small surface task forces first to engage the enemy, the enemy SCTF uses up some ammo and in further combats it seems that the enemy does not fire as often as next fresh, fully ammo loaded SCTF that engages them. Plus the possibility of having enemy ships being torpedoed by a long lance or another torpedo at two to four thousands yards by surprise can ruin their whole night.

I think that the low aggression rating is so that the SCTF will disengage if outnumbered and/or facing enemy combat vessels. They tend to take a few quick shots and fire any torpedoes, then sail away. From what I have seen, the ships tend to concentrate on the enemy merchant vessels and not the escort vessels. If the task force has no combat vessels, then the low aggression SCTF stays and has a live fire exercise.

Edited for spelling. Sometimes my "X" key and others being depressed does not register.

< Message edited by RangerJoe -- 5/14/2019 5:54:17 PM >


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(in reply to AleRonin)
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