I have a question because some of you may have encountered this issue before (or not, trying to confirm this :) ). Let me try to describe the situation as well as I can. Let me also state that I love the game and was heartbroken when we found out the below issue and could not find a good solution to continue playing.
A few years ago I played a nice PBEM going on for quite a few months but it came to an abrupt stop after me and my opponent encountered something we considered gamebreaking for us.
The whole thing happened, if I remember correctly, when defending Guadalcanal (I played as the Japanese at the time) and concerned air strike on ships coordination. My opponent gathered a nice invasion force and was proceeding to hit the islands. The thing we discovered was that if the Allied fleet contained at least one CV (one or more actually, it didn't matter) then of the few hundred airplanes I had at my disposal most flew in a well coordinated manner, If I remember correctly (that was, again, a few years a ago) just below a hundred or even above a hundred planes of each type, fighters, bombers and torpedo planes, able to get to the Allied ships (despite heavy air cover from carriers and even allied land bases) and able to sink quite a few. Anyway, the strike coordination was very good, waves of planes containing very high numbers etc.
However, the shock came when the exact same fleet containg no CV of any type (but could have BBs, CL and all other ship types) the air strikes came very fragmented, in multiple waves (like 12-15 I think each type in a wave) and that got of course got slaughtered easily by the defending allied planes. My fighters could not do anything with these numbers, it was just a weak wave after wave getting over the ships and getting shot down.
We of course, baffled at first, started checking conditions like range, weather, fleet composition, different stop hexes etc. but the results of our tests confirmed, that in our case the coordinated strikes would only ever come if that fleet contained a CV, CVE, CVL etc. It seemed like carrier presence caused the planes to attack in force and big groups, whereas
Enough to say, we immediately saw, that the easy thing for Allied player to do would be to just bring BB's etc forward as bait, with air cover from behind from CV's and land bases and that would be a very easy way to decimate my planes. So this was an easily exploitable thing. My opponent was kind enough to promise not to use it this way but we felt this is a bit artificial...
Our game was patched and with the mod modifying AAA (pretty much everyone was running it at the time, can't remember the name)
Now, I realize this may be a specific issue to just our game so I would like to ask if anyone else encountered this and can confirm that same planes starting from same airt bases will react differently depending on enemy fleet composition and just one carrier in the group will cause the strikes to be much harder and in bigger waves? Perhaps you can check in some saves you have available and confirm (have the same fleet of BB, CL etc, just one time with an additional CV and without)? If this was not an issue specific to us, maybe since then there was a patch that fixed this? Or perhaps this is not something that needs fixing in your opinion?
I actually love this game since there is no other quite like it, and would like to play again, but I would not like to engage in a prolonged PBEM again just to stop at the same moment as before because of, what I think at least, is a coded AI behaviour that seems very exploitable.
I'll be happy to provide more information as far as my memory serves.