From: Hoorn (NED).
ORIGINAL: brian brian
I wanted to comment on something I read in your chat logs:
"[al] Medals all around for the crew of Norfolk."
This was after an inconclusive round of Axis attempts to use SUBs vs. Convoy Points in the North Atlantic.
I think as the decades roll along and WWII becomes ever more mysterious for all but the really, really interested, there is one thing in World in Flames that just kind of rots the brains of players who haven't read much on this subject:
HEAVY CRUISERS WERE NOT ASW PLATFORMS!
If the HMS Norfolk found itself on patrol in the North Atlantic in the winter of 1940, it would be doing so via a steady series of high-speed zig zag plots as it tried to perform it's job - looking for undetected German surface raiders - while it tried to avoid German U-Boats.
The Norfolk was one CA selected for routine patrol work off Norway and assisted HMS Suffolk in shadowing the Bismarck as it made for the Denmark Strait.
With the exception of troop convoys and when German surface raiders were known to be in the Atlantic, Heavy Cruisers (and Light), did not sail along with convoys to battle U-Boats. Cruisers were quite vulnerable to enemy submarines and many were lost, on both sides, to subs.
In World in Flames, CAs and CLs are given ASW points as a straight playability fudge so that attritional submarine vs merchant battles can use the same combat resolution systems as all other naval battles.
Recently, on another website I read some comments on this from a key figure in the player community who helped develop Collector's Edition rules. He said that if Axis SUB pressure in the Atlantic ends up lessening Royal Navy fleet commitment in the Pacific, then the game is doing its job better now. That is totally preposterous - the U-Boat war was won by ships smaller than the ones we have on WiF counters. The course of the Battle of the Atlantic had little to do with what the RN could send beyond the Mediterranean, as that was determined by German and Italian surface threats, not their total Submarine forces. Heavy combat ships stayed away from merchant shipping unless absolutely necessary, as off Norway where the Kriegsmarine heavy units were lurking. HMS Edinburgh and another CL (Fiji?) payed the ultimate price on that duty.
Sometimes, what we call "SCS" counters had to stay in port as all their potential destroyer escorts were busy on convoy duty. Note those 2 words - "Destroyer Escorts." What were the DDs supposed to escort? That's right, they served as anti-submarine protection for Cruisers, Battleships, and Carriers - they needed escorts - they were NOT escorts.
The ASW vs SUB system in World in Flames makes for a simple playable 'battle'. But it is obtuse sausage making of a high degree. Please don't forget that when playing World in Flames.
You are right, when looking at the Battle of the Atlantic. However, in the coastal waters of the Med, the cruisers were necessary to be included as convoy escorts for protection against the Italian navy and to increase the anti aircraft fire.
That's why I hope that the optional rules for ASW escorts will be included in the game in the future.