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RE: Invincible uboats? - 6/5/2020 12:30:15 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Alvaro Sousa


quote:

ORIGINAL: Harrybanana

1. Do the game mechanics make groups of 3 subs more effective than if those subs were attacking separately? If so, what is the logic behind this? I realize that historically the u-boats attacked in killer packs; but that didn't mean the entire u-boat fleet was in a single pack. I assume each submarine unit already represents a wolf pack (or even several packs).

2. Is the Manual correct that the maximum number of convoy escorts that are effective for each route is 10?

3. Do the number of escorts help reduce the number of merchants sunk?

4. Do the number of sub units in a fleet effect the likelihood of being found and attacked by air units? Logically, a fleet of 3 sub units would be easier to locate than a fleet of 1 sub unit.


#1 Depends. Early on when the Allies don't have enough escorts spreading them to different convoy lanes every turn is a tactic all the way up to 1941. Later you want to 3 group them.

#2 Yes. This is based on real data about convoy escorting research from Black May by Gannon

#3 No they sink subs

#4 Yes by a small amount.



Thank you Alvaro. The only thing that doesn't make sense to me is that escorts don't reduce the number of merchant ships sunk. Historically, early in the War escorts sunk very few subs. But the mere fact that there were escorts forced the u-boats to stay submerged, generally attack from further away (though at times a u-boat would penetrate the escort screen and get right in among the merchant ships) and run away or submerge when threatened by an escort. The net effect is that well escorted convoys generally took fewer losses than unescorted or poorly escorted convoys even if no u-boats were actually sunk. If escorts don't affect the number of merchants sunk and (at least in 39 and 40) have little chance of sinking a sub, then Flavius might be right that the best strategy might be to save them until they can actually do some good. Accordingly, my suggestion is, if possible, work it so that if a player has fewer than 75% of the maximum number of escorts than he loses even more merchants than at present. But if he has 75% or more than there are fewer merchants sunk. Of course it would be scaled all the way from 0% to 100%.

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RE: Invincible uboats? - 6/5/2020 6:25:49 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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I ran some tests to determine the most effective way to use u-boats and discovered that Flavius is right. It is better to group your u-boats into fleets of 3 groups rather than several fleets of 1 group. At least when the u-boats have 40 tech and the escorts have 39 tech.

In the first test I had one fleet of 3 groups attacking a single convoy route (the South Atlantic). The route was guarded by the maximum 10 escorts. I played 4 consecutive turns starting in December 39. I then repeated this 5 more times for a total of 20 turns of attacks. I averaged 5.75 merchant ships sunk per turn. 0.8 escorts sunk per turn and 0.35 subs sunk per turn.

In the second test I had three fleets of 1 group each attacking 3 different convoy routes (the North Atlantic, South Atlantic and African). each route was guarded by 5 escorts each (ie 50% of the maximum). I again played 4 consecutive turns and then repeated this 5 more times for a total of 20 turns. I averaged 4.85 merchant ships sunk per turn, 0.35 escorts sunk per turn and 0.85 subs sunk per turn.

The most surprising thing to me wasn't that grouping subs sinks more merchants ships; but that when grouped they sink escorts at a 2:1 ratio (even though the escorts are at maximum effectiveness) and when not grouped the escorts (even when not at maximum effectiveness) sink the subs at a ratio of 2:1.

Of course, it could also be that 20 turns is not enough of a sample size.

< Message edited by Harrybanana -- 6/5/2020 6:26:31 AM >

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RE: Invincible uboats? - 6/5/2020 1:47:53 PM   
AlvaroSousa


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Harrybanana
Thank you Alvaro. The only thing that doesn't make sense to me is that escorts don't reduce the number of merchant ships sunk. Historically, early in the War escorts sunk very few subs. But the mere fact that there were escorts forced the u-boats to stay submerged, generally attack from further away (though at times a u-boat would penetrate the escort screen and get right in among the merchant ships) and run away or submerge when threatened by an escort. The net effect is that well escorted convoys generally took fewer losses than unescorted or poorly escorted convoys even if no u-boats were actually sunk. If escorts don't affect the number of merchants sunk and (at least in 39 and 40) have little chance of sinking a sub, then Flavius might be right that the best strategy might be to save them until they can actually do some good. Accordingly, my suggestion is, if possible, work it so that if a player has fewer than 75% of the maximum number of escorts than he loses even more merchants than at present. But if he has 75% or more than there are fewer merchants sunk. Of course it would be scaled all the way from 0% to 100%.


I was realizing this as I read the thread. Let me think about how to handle this. Right now the sub war is pretty balanced. The way the impact on MMs is happening is that in 1942+ the subs get damaged more and have to go back to port effectively not destroying MMs.

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RE: Invincible uboats? - 6/11/2020 1:35:43 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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Very early results suggest that Flavius was probably correct (big surprise) when he posted that grouped CVs are the way to go against subs. In 6 attacks (in two different games) with a fleet of 3 CVs + escorts I have successfully found and attacked u-boats 3 times. 50% is far better than the at best 10% I was getting with 1 CV alone. Of course, I may just be getting lucky; but I don't think so.

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RE: Invincible uboats? - 6/11/2020 2:51:20 AM   
magic87966


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Yes, very good shooting, Harry!

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RE: Invincible uboats? - 6/11/2020 1:51:51 PM   
baloo7777


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quote:

ORIGINAL: magic87966

Yes, very good shooting, Harry!


+1

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RE: Invincible uboats? - 6/11/2020 1:54:31 PM   
baloo7777


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So, if the CV's are grouped together in a massive fleet, are the subs better off not grouped in threes? That is, are they better at hiding when there are fewer wolfpacks together in same hex?

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RE: Invincible uboats? - 6/11/2020 3:46:53 PM   
Harrybanana

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Harrybanana

quote:

ORIGINAL: Flaviusx

I see nothing unusual here, and this is well within the range of results possible for the Axis. I've had games where the Axis sinks 60+ merchants by May of 40.


60+ by May 40 is tough on the Allies. But if I am counting correctly Sveint has sunk that many (or very close) by February 40. At this rate by the end of May 40 he will have sunk around a 100. That means about 50% of the UKs starting merchant fleet sunk in the first 9 months of the war. I know they gain some from Neutrals, but that is still a lot. But maybe he is just getting lucky and things will calm down. Oh yeah, historically the "Happy Hunting" time didn't begin until June 40 after the Germans captured the French ports.



Don't know where I got the figure of almost 60 merchants sunk by February 40 in Sveint's game vs Sillyflower. Was actually only 40; sorry for the misinformation.

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RE: Invincible uboats? - 6/17/2020 6:48:34 PM   
Rand6897

 

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Is there a limit to the number of u-boats that may stack in a convoy hex? To learn the game I was playing v. AI axis, midway through the game I updated to the most recent version. The UK was limited - if I recall - to three subs in a convoy hex. Reports were indicating up to 13 German u-boats goups in a hex taking out over 15 MM at a crack.

Anybody else see this?

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RE: Invincible uboats? - 6/17/2020 6:54:44 PM   
ncc1701e


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Rand6897


Is there a limit to the number of u-boats that may stack in a convoy hex? To learn the game I was playing v. AI axis, midway through the game I updated to the most recent version. The UK was limited - if I recall - to three subs in a convoy hex. Reports were indicating up to 13 German u-boats goups in a hex taking out over 15 MM at a crack.

Anybody else see this?


Perhaps in an older patch but the stacking limit for Germany is now 3 subs per stack.
Which patch are you running?

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RE: Invincible uboats? - 6/17/2020 10:12:11 PM   
Rand6897

 

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I have .07.2

I installed this version midway through a game v. the AL Axis. May have scrambled a few things, I believe I also lost some Canadian built escorts.

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RE: Invincible uboats? - 6/18/2020 2:43:30 PM   
kennonlightfoot

 

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I'll add my observations but it is difficult to quantify due to all the random variables.

It appears that subs deployed as a mass (stack of 3 full strength) is more effective than the three raiding in separate groups. I rarely see a big kill of merchants and escorts except when they are massed. Two stacks rarely get any hits. The one and two stack seem more prone to receiving damage from escorts. It also seems very random. Like its based on a 60 side die. I have seen a string of 8 kills, sometimes two sets in a single turn by a stack, then nothing for a few turns. It seems to occur either one extreme or the other.

Escorts are limited to 10 per area still no matter how many you have. This should be changed to simulate the implementation of large convoys which are one of the two primary reasons the Allies won the sub war.

The second reason they won is the use of air power which right now appears ineffective. That might change if the Allies invested in Naval Air (I assume it helps against subs but haven't checked) but right now they have to invest in strategic bombers for naval operations to get the distance needed to be useful. Considering this was the primary improvement in the tactics for countering subs it probably needs a separate construction path.

Carriers should be much more effective against subs. They were pretty much death to any sub or surface ship operating in their range. Especially UK carriers which had slow planes better suited to ASW than for attacking surface ships.

I haven't seen any players go with a strong subs strategy so it is hard to say how the game balances out over the long term. Most don't invest in either building new subs or improving their tech numbers since it is quite expensive. Most just keep the three groups they get at the start until attrition takes them out of the game.

Right now I consider the problem more with consistency. Sometime subs are hell on wheels destroying massive amounts of UK Merchants. Other times they are just annoying flies. Which leaves the UK player always wondering if they should build merchants and escorts or not. The subs need to be a little less effective, especially in mass against escorts, but consistent in producing kills. Likewise, on the results from escorts. Then both players could come up with more "historic" operational plans for use in the "Atlantic war".

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RE: Invincible uboats? - 6/18/2020 2:54:46 PM   
baloo7777


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Thanks for a good summation of the Uboats vs Allied air. I didn't know that most players don't invest in sub tech or build Uboats for Germans, but makes sense in that you never get close to hurting British with some 300+ merchants and lots of escorts to start.
Does seem to take away from the idea of a WW2 simulation without a real Uboat threat.

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RE: Invincible uboats? - 6/18/2020 3:04:39 PM   
AlvaroSousa


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I always go with a strong sub strategy and max it out. It has an effect. The key is not to lose them early.

I am thinking about automatizing the CV process so players don't have to hunt down subs. I just gotta figure out how. As a note the UK lost carriers escorting convoys. Later they used CVEs specifically designed to escort. But fleet carriers got sunk early in the war escorting. How many I don't remember.

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RE: Invincible uboats? - 6/18/2020 8:03:10 PM   
sveint


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In WarPlan the Allied carriers are as good as invulnerable.

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RE: Invincible uboats? - 6/18/2020 9:37:18 PM   
Harrybanana

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: sveint

In WarPlan the Allied carriers are as good as invulnerable.


I wouldn't quite say that.




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RE: Invincible uboats? - 6/19/2020 5:16:13 PM   
kennonlightfoot

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Alvaro Sousa

I always go with a strong sub strategy and max it out. It has an effect. The key is not to lose them early.

I am thinking about automatizing the CV process so players don't have to hunt down subs. I just gotta figure out how. As a note the UK lost carriers escorting convoys. Later they used CVEs specifically designed to escort. But fleet carriers got sunk early in the war escorting. How many I don't remember.


In the UBoat game they are the ultimate target. But it is rarely easy kills since carrier come with lots of screening ships.

Three British CV's were lost to UBoats but over quite a long period of time. About one per year.
HMS Courageous on Sep 17, 1939
HMS Ark Royal on Nov 13, 1941.
HMS Eagle on Aug 11, 1942.

I couldn't tell if any of the fleet carriers were actually used to hunt UBoats.
It looks like for the first two years of the war destroyers were the main killers with, interesting enough, mines coming in second. After that air planes became the main killer which probably corresponds to the introduction of long range patrols over most of the Atlantic.

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RE: Invincible uboats? - 6/19/2020 6:35:53 PM   
baloo7777


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Plus Doenitz loved to use the ultra code to keep track of his UBoat wolfpacks. Later in the war, after the British broke the codes, they were able to send planes to specific areas to hunt down the UBoats and their dropped depth charge patterns and tactics had become more accurate also.

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RE: Invincible uboats? - 6/19/2020 7:49:43 PM   
AlvaroSousa


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Only the Eagle was a small carrier. The other 2 were rather large. All 3 consisted of at least 35% of the carrier fleet the UK had. So losing 3 CVs a year would mean by late 1942 they would have none.

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RE: Invincible uboats? - 6/19/2020 11:44:37 PM   
sveint


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Harrybanana

quote:

ORIGINAL: sveint

In WarPlan the Allied carriers are as good as invulnerable.


I wouldn't quite say that.






Invulnerable to submarines. Which is not historical.

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RE: Invincible uboats? - 6/20/2020 2:22:25 PM   
kennonlightfoot

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Alvaro Sousa

Only the Eagle was a small carrier. The other 2 were rather large. All 3 consisted of at least 35% of the carrier fleet the UK had. So losing 3 CVs a year would mean by late 1942 they would have none.

Based on the timings it was just one CV a year. One each int 39, 41, and 42.
That probably corresponds to the odds of random bad things happening in war rather than any particular vulnerability of CV's.

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RE: Invincible uboats? - 6/20/2020 2:25:53 PM   
kennonlightfoot

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: sveint


quote:

ORIGINAL: Harrybanana

quote:

ORIGINAL: sveint

In WarPlan the Allied carriers are as good as invulnerable.

I wouldn't quite say that.


Invulnerable to submarines. Which is not historical.

Was that a sub or air attack?

I just had a CV taken out by Italian air which surprised me since in the previous air attacks the CV's had stood up well.

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