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Convoy war - 2/9/2020 10:17:11 AM   
tyronec


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This comes from my game with Cohen. This is the first game I have played where one side made a serious effort to deploy subs, it being more viable since their cost came down. Has thrown up a few issues, nothing insoluable but just needs some fine tuning.

1. The early war escorts are worse than useless. Many more of them get lost on convoy duty than damage they inflict on subs. Allies would be better taking them off convoy duty until their tech level improves than wasting PPs on building more. Escorts need to fight better from '39.
We didn't get into '42 so not sure how the play balance is then. Another consideration is Axis escorts. Germany and Italy are NEVER going to be able to invest in anti-sub technology which gives Allied subs a totally free hand.

2. Carriers are the main counter to subs early war. Are also pretty ineffective, which may be reasonable - am not sure. However the Allies can send their unescorted carriers to chase subs risk free. I did a test, one unescorted carrier against a stack of 3 subs. The carrier won every time. Given the number of carriers that were sunk by subs during WW2 this is not right. Probably not a big deal for Warplan as it is a minor area of the game but doesn't feel right.

3. Anti-sub Strategic bombers are hopeless early war, that is a lot of investment and not sure if they even scored one hit. The only sub I lost was bombed in port. That's not right either.

4. The Baltic. Once Russia joins the war they can send their surface fleet and subs out to harry the Baltic convoys. Axis have no counter, I tried bombing them - you could tie up 3 bombers for the whole of '41 and achieve almost nothing. And it costs a lot of oil. The only Axis response is to take Leningrad, then they run out of oil and cannot attack but just sit there ad infinitum until Axis are pushed back somewhere.
Here is a tactic for the Allies, send the British subs into the Baltic before Denmark falls. They are at no risk and will do serious damage once Russia joins the war.

5. Overall would say that the UK can just about survive the sub war by just building lots of MM and chasing them with carriers. As long as Gibraltar/Spain are not taken by Axis, if that happens then UK will lose a lot of production because they just cannot defend the Pacific convoy.

The one change I think is necessary is booost the early war escorts. The rest is not so critical.
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RE: Convoy war - 2/9/2020 10:58:54 AM   
battlevonwar


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1. In my last 3 games I have noticed that my subs seem to get hit pretty hard early on by escorts or air and I'm not sure which. Pretty much by around the end of Winter 1940 there is not much use in putting them out into the Atlantic. I am not sure why this is? I am guessing the Allies are teching?

Conversely my CVs tend not to hit them much in my own games. I have probably hit Subs about 3 times in my current Allied game.

Regardless their role seems really annoying more than effective.

2. I have had limited success in using Subs vs Stacks of fleets. Once in awhile it worked and other times not at all. Subs were highly effective vs Lone Carriers in WW2.

3. I have lost subs bombed in port as well. I found it quite effective but it could of been luck and that was a one off.

4. I have seen people go aggro in the Baltic against the German Transports. I have got lucky and within a few strikes killed every Russian Sub with Finnish Air alone. I think that was just pure dumb luck. Using the Kriegsmarine same vs the Russian Navy. Other times I could never counter-find them. Usually I try to bomb them in port before they get out to work. I tried escorts, didn't seem to do much.

Once in awhile I do get hits on Subs with land based air. . . It just seems all luck, and the tech is just too expensive as are the units to specially hunt them down.

5. If the Axis are bottled up it does appear to be just an annoying threat. The UK can replace it's merchant marine and ignore subs.

I usually see a max of about 20-40 Merchants sniped off the North Atlantic with no Axis investment or no Gibraltar. At the cost of about 20 sub points. Early game...


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RE: Convoy war - 2/9/2020 11:23:44 AM   
Franciscus


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quote:

ORIGINAL: tyronec

The one change I think is necessary is booost the early war escorts. The rest is not so critical.


I can't say I agree...

In my current game vs AI, all my german subs (that I had rotating in single stacks along the convoy routes) were destroyed in the Atlantic by UK escorts in 1940. Granted, I did not invest in the convoy war, but I think it does not need any change...

< Message edited by Franciscus -- 2/9/2020 11:24:44 AM >


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RE: Convoy war - 2/9/2020 12:25:54 PM   
PanzerMike


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Subs are easily destroyed by bombers when in port. Too easily IMO. The Germans built those huge U boat bunkers so the subs were safe in port. These are not modeled, so basing German subs in the French Atlantic ports is a bad idea.

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RE: Convoy war - 2/9/2020 12:53:14 PM   
tyronec


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quote:

quote:

ORIGINAL: tyronec

The one change I think is necessary is booost the early war escorts. The rest is not so critical.


I can't say I agree...

In my current game vs AI, all my german subs (that I had rotating in single stacks along the convoy routes) were destroyed in the Atlantic by UK escorts in 1940. Granted, I did not invest in the convoy war, but I think it does not need any change...

If you use them like that they are going to be ineffective, so not surprised they got destroyed.

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RE: Convoy war - 2/9/2020 3:47:39 PM   
AlvaroSousa


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So let's go down the 3 games I am playing. 1 as the Axis, 2 as the Allies. I will run down the numbers. It is late 1940. In all 3 games I am playing with competent opponents

Game 1
Axis PP losses - 204
Allied PP losses - 400

100% reasonable result of 2:1 in favor of the Axis early in the war.

Game 2
Axis PP losses - 408
Allied PP losses - 480

100% reasonable result when accounting for variance of 1.17:1 in favor of the Axis early in the war. My opponent got some good searches on me with air power. But still favorable results

Game 3
I just played and forgot to get the data but it is very similar to the 1st.

I think it is pretty balanced. But to everyone this isn't like other games where you just run out your subs or stick your escorts in one zone. There is a lot of strategy here. Do we stack a bunch of subs in one spot? Do we spread them out in many convoys? I keep moving mine to keep the Allied CVs chasing me around the map which occupies them from other tasks in the med. There is a lot of deep strategy thinking into why you need a sub war. In the very least a pack of subs keeps certain Allied units busy. As the Allies with German subs I am forced to spend production on protecting my lanes and building up a defense.

The 3 games I am in... now 4 as I accepted another one.... are all VERY exciting. All the games everyone is doing different strategies. Quite refreshing and it will be a good model for me to take notes on game balance.

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RE: Convoy war - 2/9/2020 5:24:43 PM   
DicedT

 

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It's March '40. I've lost 43 merchant ships. The Germans have lost 2 subs due to escorts (plus two more due to a lucky CV attack). I can't imagine what's going to happen when the Germans have more than one sub at sea.

Michael

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RE: Convoy war - 2/9/2020 6:02:01 PM   
DicedT

 

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A 3-group U-boat stack just wiped out 12 merchant ships and 3 escorts in a single attack. In April '40, with low-tech subs.

Something is wrong with this picture. Maybe a problem with the latest patch? I don't remember seeing these results in earlier versions.

Michael

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RE: Convoy war - 2/9/2020 6:15:10 PM   
AlvaroSousa


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I am playing the latest patch. You need to watch the convoys and assign escorts appropriately. Your German player might be whacking non-escorted convoys. Did you build any in 1939-1940? You 100% should be.

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RE: Convoy war - 2/9/2020 8:22:19 PM   
DicedT

 

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What do you mean by "non-escorted"? I have my escorts split between North and South Atlantic. He has his subs on either the North or South Atlantic routes. What else am I supposed to do?

I started building escorts in November '39. They're not going to available until summer.

Tyrone is right. I just got '40 convoy escort, and two British carriers scored 6 hits on subs in one turn.

Michael

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RE: Convoy war - 2/9/2020 10:44:21 PM   
AlvaroSousa


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If you see all his subs move to the North Atlantic you place 10 of them there.
If you see them move to the South Atlantic you place 10 of them there.

If he splits the subs you have to make some strategic decisions.

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RE: Convoy war - 2/9/2020 10:49:56 PM   
AlvaroSousa


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So I got my 3rd game back as Axis and did the results. In this game the Germans are losing the sub war badly by a ratio of 1 for 3. But the player I am playing is new to the game. So I am giving him tips on how to play the subwar.

He still did a lot of damage but not as much as I did to him.

< Message edited by Alvaro Sousa -- 2/9/2020 10:50:18 PM >


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RE: Convoy war - solved for the Allies - 2/10/2020 4:29:50 PM   
MrLongleg

 

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I am also playing against a human as the Allies. I found out that you just have to run your destroyers over the submarines - they will intercept and lose every time. It is still 39 and I sank one German submarine group while the second is badly mauled.

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RE: Convoy war - solved for the Allies - 2/10/2020 5:00:02 PM   
PanzerMike


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Destroyers can only attack subs if the subs are in Fleet mode. Subs in raider mode can only be attacked by escorts (automatic process) and planes. Is your opponent not using his subs as raiders versus the convoys?

< Message edited by PanzerMike -- 2/10/2020 5:59:24 PM >

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RE: Convoy war - solved for the Allies - 2/10/2020 5:04:20 PM   
MrLongleg

 

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I am not attacking, I just run my destroyers over the hex where the subs are to a neighboring hex (move order). Then the subs try to intercept, which does not work out well for them. Works like a charm...

< Message edited by MrLongleg -- 2/10/2020 5:05:52 PM >


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RE: Convoy war - solved for the Allies - 2/10/2020 5:34:41 PM   
AlvaroSousa


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That's because the player has them in fleet mode not raider.

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RE: Convoy war - solved for the Allies - 2/10/2020 6:22:38 PM   
MrLongleg

 

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But I cannot attack them - that points to raider mode for me...

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RE: Convoy war - solved for the Allies - 2/10/2020 7:09:59 PM   
AlvaroSousa


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They cant intercept in raider mode. So their fleets are in fleet mode and intercepting

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RE: Convoy war - solved for the Allies - 2/11/2020 8:23:45 AM   
tyronec


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I did a couple of tests, subs vs escorted convoys and subs vs unescorted convoys.
Technology as at start of game.

Escorted result:
7 sub points = 98 PP
6 escorts = 240 PP
58 Merchants = 580 PP

Total 98 for 820





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RE: Convoy war - solved for the Allies - 2/11/2020 8:33:47 AM   
tyronec


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Unescorted.

66 merchants = 660 PP.

So 240 PPs of Escorts for 98 PPs of Subs. At that ratio it is not worth deploying them, the only productive effect they have on convoy protection is by doing a little damage they make the subs spend a turn or two extra in port repairing.

Results very much confirm my experience in game. Of course if you include sub losses from carriers and land based aircraft then the overall loss ratio is more balanced.

The best defence for the Allies early war is to use their carriers to the maximum and just build MM. Save the escorts until the technology has improved.




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RE: Convoy war - solved for the Allies - 2/11/2020 10:24:23 AM   
battlevonwar


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tyronec, may I ask how many subs were involved in the raiding and if any long range ones were used or merely the 3 starting ones?

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RE: Convoy war - solved for the Allies - 2/11/2020 10:42:38 AM   
tyronec


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This was using the three starting subs in one stack. Did three sorties for both tests, taking them back to port to repair/refuel when necessary.
Obviously in game they will do worse because the carriers will be chasing them too, so it is just a test to see how subs do against escorts.

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RE: Convoy war - solved for the Allies - 2/11/2020 10:52:31 AM   
battlevonwar


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Appears you have made your point here. Escorts are not worth losing without tech. Too expensive but later in the game probably too overpowered if they do a better job?(maybe a change in price on escorts would be possible per tech level?)

I find that CVs are the primary suffering of Subs if they hit early game.

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RE: Convoy war - solved for the Allies - 2/11/2020 12:51:16 PM   
AlvaroSousa


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This testing is done with no outside variables.

#1 escorts do damage that force the sub back to port or the player risks the chance of losing the sub
#2 the UK player should be paying attention to where the subs are to maximize convoy protection
#3 the UK player should be chasing down subs with planes and carriers.

10 escorts is maximum and optimal for the UK player to have in a lane.
Less than 10 is less effectively on a multiplicative level just like it was in real life. There was a maximum # of escorts per convoy regardless of the size of the convoy. Less than this optimal maximum deteriorated the effectiveness of escorts drastically. As more than this optimal maximum did nothing for protection.

That is what the system is based on.

Early in the war convoys were guarded by CVs but the Germans had a field day with them.

In my games I am handling the Germans just fine as the UK. I build 1 escort a turn and maximize technology. At around 1942 I will look at the data stream and make a determination on adjustments. I am playing a new played in 2 games and a very experienced player in another 2 games.

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