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How best to use German submarines?

 
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All Forums >> [New Releases from Matrix Games] >> Strategic Command Series >> Strategic Command WWII War in Europe >> How best to use German submarines? Page: [1]
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How best to use German submarines? - 1/2/2021 3:32:12 AM   
mdsmall

 

Posts: 432
Joined: 4/28/2020
From: Vancouver, BC
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I would be interested to her the advice from other players on how the Axis side can best make use of the German submarine fleet.

In my current PBEM game, I sent out my three German subs in 1939 to raid the initial convoys to the UK and used the task force of one sub and one cruiser to raid for a few turns off the coast of Canada. The result was a disaster: British carriers and destroyers found and sank the cruiser and the three subs and badly mauled the fourth submarine. There was an element of luck in this, but in good measure, my opponent knew where to look for my subs and found them.

It is now summer of 1940 and I have 3 subs in operation, now at Advanced Subs 1. France has fallen, given me access to ports in France plus Spain. But after the initial disasters of 1939, and with a reduced sub fleet facing largely intact Royal Navy that is beginning to get lend lease destroyers, I am cautious about sending my subs out to raid again on the high seas.

Overall, I can see three broad strategies for use of the German subs: 1) convoy raiding in the Atlantic against the UK; 2) trying to intercept Allied transports heading to Egypt by hiding subs near the Atlantic entrance to the Med and perhaps beside the loops around Africa; 3) trying to send them past Gibraltar and into the Med to work with the Italian fleet in actions against the British in the Mediterranean.

How do other Axis players assess the relative merits of these options for using their sub fleet? Are there other high priority uses? And how much do you decide to invest in sub operations, both in investing in Advanced Sub tech and in building more subs to replace losses and perhaps expand the fleet?


Post #: 1
RE: How best to use German submarines? - 1/2/2021 8:18:59 PM   
Tanaka


Posts: 3863
Joined: 4/8/2003
From: USA
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: mdsmall

I would be interested to her the advice from other players on how the Axis side can best make use of the German submarine fleet.

In my current PBEM game, I sent out my three German subs in 1939 to raid the initial convoys to the UK and used the task force of one sub and one cruiser to raid for a few turns off the coast of Canada. The result was a disaster: British carriers and destroyers found and sank the cruiser and the three subs and badly mauled the fourth submarine. There was an element of luck in this, but in good measure, my opponent knew where to look for my subs and found them.

It is now summer of 1940 and I have 3 subs in operation, now at Advanced Subs 1. France has fallen, given me access to ports in France plus Spain. But after the initial disasters of 1939, and with a reduced sub fleet facing largely intact Royal Navy that is beginning to get lend lease destroyers, I am cautious about sending my subs out to raid again on the high seas.

Overall, I can see three broad strategies for use of the German subs: 1) convoy raiding in the Atlantic against the UK; 2) trying to intercept Allied transports heading to Egypt by hiding subs near the Atlantic entrance to the Med and perhaps beside the loops around Africa; 3) trying to send them past Gibraltar and into the Med to work with the Italian fleet in actions against the British in the Mediterranean.

How do other Axis players assess the relative merits of these options for using their sub fleet? Are there other high priority uses? And how much do you decide to invest in sub operations, both in investing in Advanced Sub tech and in building more subs to replace losses and perhaps expand the fleet?





If you can tell me how to use subs in the WW1 game I will tell you how to use them in WIE and WAW I do great with subs in WAW/WIE but get absolutely mauled in WW1...

< Message edited by Tanaka -- 1/2/2021 8:21:08 PM >


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Post #: 2
RE: How best to use German submarines? - 1/3/2021 10:51:48 AM   
Zuxius

 

Posts: 45
Joined: 11/6/2005
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Typically, you need to wait until ‘41 and I personally build every sub allowed in hard builds. I go for graf zep as well and rebuild any lost surface ships. You really need to appear you aren’t heading navy either. Typically I’ll be aggressive near Denmark and sink anything near it. I also bring luftwaffe to the region if I expect escalation, but never really “throw down” as to hide my true numbers. When that area is known to be a Brit ship death zone, I quietly sail out my forces in mass and begin strangling Murmansk Convoy with a portion of my subs out to sea and a decent number in reserve. I keep my capital ships, destroyers and carrier screened by subs waiting just beyond. You really are picking a fight at this point.
Once they bite, you aggressively attack the destroyers with battle cruisers, battleships, heavy cruisers.
Then you send your damaged subs forth to “scout beyond” for capital ships. Once you find those, send in reserve subs and hit them hard! If you have an almost wiped out destroyer, it might be worth losing 1-4 points of a sub to wipe a 1-2 point destroyer. A fleet with a poor number of destroyers eventually can be taken out with subs alone.
The shock of the losses will rattle opponent. There will be more battles to come but you must replace losses. Opponents don’t expect to see a German navy in the game bludgeon them, but once they get a few kills they’ll mark your options off like a “hit list” expecting you to be diminished or have less strategic options. Seeing a Bismarck II is a hell of a surprise but you must not waste it.
Your opponent will eventually “throw down” to clear the lanes and safely transport troops. At this point I’d say you have a choice to “all in” or just focus on the ground war. An “all in” is usually a Spanish, Turkish and perhaps even Swedish Navy with the Italians joining the German Fleet that maybe at this point “a little tired.” You’ll need all ports to keep your navy up, including Portugal’s ports.
Before any big Navy operations you should mess with a sub or two far south to have distractions.
Naturally, I’d invest in making all your navies the best they can be. The Italians are usually late in the boat department. You can usually win a decisive battle as your subs are ridiculously damaging to capital ships and hard to kill when faced with all manner of air and destroyers. German sub fleets are fleet killers. I only use them on supply convoys to “sucker my opponent” into traps or after their navy is kaput.
Surprise is the key with overwhelming firepower. A prolong committed fight will usually mean the complete loss of your surface navy. Losing 1-2 ships per engagement is ok but replace immediately. Remember that they have more forces for a sustained fight. They’ll be fresher after 2-3 rounds and in too great of numbers. Sink destroyers exclusively with surface ships and let the subs do the rest. Be wary of british carriers. They get like 6 of them! It will not pay to use the graf zep in an offensive manner. It should strictly be a counter-air carrier.
In this way you’ll see your subs shine and eventually you’ll have a sub menace that your enemy won’t soon forget.

(in reply to Tanaka)
Post #: 3
RE: How best to use German submarines? - 1/3/2021 5:51:57 PM   
mdsmall

 

Posts: 432
Joined: 4/28/2020
From: Vancouver, BC
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Tanaka

If you can tell me how to use subs in the WW1 game I will tell you how to use them in WIE and WAW I do great with subs in WAW/WIE but get absolutely mauled in WW1...


Hi Tanaka - I don't think I can tell you anything new about using subs in WW1 that has not been discussed at great length in the 67 replies to your post on this question in the WW1 board! But I would enjoy hearing from you how you use German subs in War in Europe and in World at War.

Michael

(in reply to Tanaka)
Post #: 4
RE: How best to use German submarines? - 1/3/2021 5:59:11 PM   
mdsmall

 

Posts: 432
Joined: 4/28/2020
From: Vancouver, BC
Status: offline
Hi Zuxius- thanks for the great advice! It sounds like you use the Kriegsmarine in WW2 more like the Imperial German Navy in WW1 for major ambush operations in which surface ships play a major role in combination with the subs. I presume you keep your subs in reserve in the first two years of the game in order to build up their tech, along with the tech of your surface fleet, and to have a critical mass of them before you commit them. It is interesting that you don't use them in a convoy raiding/economic warfare role - which I believe is how the German sub fleet was largely used in the Battle of the Atlantic. Cheers - Michael

(in reply to Zuxius)
Post #: 5
RE: How best to use German submarines? - 1/3/2021 9:21:47 PM   
Tanaka


Posts: 3863
Joined: 4/8/2003
From: USA
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: mdsmall

Hi Zuxius- thanks for the great advice! It sounds like you use the Kriegsmarine in WW2 more like the Imperial German Navy in WW1 for major ambush operations in which surface ships play a major role in combination with the subs. I presume you keep your subs in reserve in the first two years of the game in order to build up their tech, along with the tech of your surface fleet, and to have a critical mass of them before you commit them. It is interesting that you don't use them in a convoy raiding/economic warfare role - which I believe is how the German sub fleet was largely used in the Battle of the Atlantic. Cheers - Michael


This is ironically funny to me because in WIE/WAW convoy raiding is much easier and all I tend to do while in the WW1 game I have much better success attacking ships than convoy raiding. In WIE/WAW you can go further, have more space to roam, have less enemy doom fleet hordes attacking you, there are no mines, you can avoid air cover, there are none if few naval blockades, the allies cannot focus on one area and have to spread out their navy, and so on...

So my advice is simply to convoy raid far and wide splitting your forces all over. You also have the French and Spanish ports to keep you supplied unlike the WW1 game.


< Message edited by Tanaka -- 1/4/2021 7:17:35 PM >


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RE: How best to use German submarines? - 1/4/2021 5:46:36 PM   
Zuxius

 

Posts: 45
Joined: 11/6/2005
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: mdsmall

Hi Zuxius- thanks for the great advice! It sounds like you use the Kriegsmarine in WW2 more like the Imperial German Navy in WW1 for major ambush operations in which surface ships play a major role in combination with the subs. I presume you keep your subs in reserve in the first two years of the game in order to build up their tech, along with the tech of your surface fleet, and to have a critical mass of them before you commit them. It is interesting that you don't use them in a convoy raiding/economic warfare role - which I believe is how the German sub fleet was largely used in the Battle of the Atlantic. Cheers - Michael


You’re welcome. Yes, the navy takes on a full war footing during the Late Summer of ‘41. I also “throw down” in Afrika. Malta is visited and taken with Luftwaffe and airborne but I’ve started leaving the Italian Navy completely out of it. I get as many Italians to Afrika as possible and put a German tank there to boot with heavy German politics aimed at Spain. All this pressure makes English investment in warships and ASW seem frivolous given the need to reinforce a failing Egypt. All the pressure on England before the Soviet War is immense. Also, the small fight off Denmark for England’s right to have a sub there or not tends to escalate and the losses in carrier planes, cruisers, battleships and whatnot usually has the English thinking the damaged vessels can be left for later because Afrika isn’t going well.

But yes, the Sub “shell game” is not really a strat but more of an annoyance and distraction. If you can do it then I’d say more power to you in distracting the number of destroyers you’ll face before your subs can go to town on capital ships. Subs also destroy capital ships in port very well too. You’ll never see those ships again if you sink them. The British get more carriers throughout the game and those are my highest targets for subs. The graf zep can fend off a couple of those attacks but if the British have enough carriers nearby, they’ll target the graf zep until...it’s gone. Correct on advancing tech on navy. I get all naval upgrades but a little weaker on ASW for obvious reasons. Maritime bomber is a solid investment. If you know a fight will take place off your coast because you’re doing something predictably dreadful for the convoy zones, operational move a fighter or two in with some bombers too. Range is key. I’m terrible at investing in long range but it really is a must in later game play for the Eastern Front, so it may as well be a priority too. Don’t mind if you feel like your ships are constantly in port waiting on repairs, elite replacements and upgrades. When the fleet goes out in mass it always seems like a misfire in the early sea war of ‘41-‘42. A few ships get worked over in an early fight and then you have a big but partial force. Those first early sea war engagements will sink enemy ships but the long engagements will sink many of yours too. The temptation to go “all in” on a battle is the wrong one during the earlier fights. Just know that the fights in Afrika are a serious drain on English resources. The damages sustained at sea are a major trade-off to repair if your pressure in Afrika is near the breaking point for England. So there are some opportunities to help your navy be successful. I use Italian subs to scout paths for my axis forces transports. I see the Italian Navy as a “naval gold mine” for late ‘43. They basically get sunk like “glass cannons” if you take them out of port before they are properly upgraded. Their losses are pretty much irreplaceable and then the Med British Navy sails off to the Atlantic. For both Germany and Italy I go Spying and Intelligence level 3 but Italy gets complete troop upgrades for infantry and HQ. Then mobility. Anti-Air and finally the naval upgrades can begin. I believe as a minor they get a jump on speed of upgrades to level 2 because of catch-up bonuses. Since the Germans put the slow investment in first, the Italians get up to speed faster.

Dividends of a successful Naval push: You win Egypt usually. You control Malta. You have Spain. You control Gibraltar. Italy Surrender question is never raised. No D-Day Landings. British Morale falls rapidly.

I do up all Naval elite replacements. It does two things: preserves experience level when attacked and makes for a very potent unit. I’ve seen a strength 13 sub at level 5 take out an 8 strength carrier that was fleeing a fight. Oops. It’s more time in port to get those ships to level 13 but when they lose 1-3 strength you still have an experience 3 sub. Subs running around supply 5 ports at strength 8 will never amount to much until they’re sunk.

Be warned that the hard building limit puts you in a time crunch. The free units you get are “in excess” of your normal limits. So if you reach your sub build limit then the subs that come “preprogrammed for free” will artificially bump you above your build limit. This makes for a larger sub navy. If you wait for the free units to show up, then they’ll count against your maximum build limits. Many players know this is true about German tanks too, so they get them all bought up ASAP so they can exceed their maximums. I typically buy a paratrooper during Poland and say “no” to the early paratrooper at half strength. This allows my Germans a third paratrooper.
I’m using that as an example for how the early sub purchases must be put in.

I’ll also emphasize that when you exceed these build limits, the lose those types of units really hurts (though inevitable): you won’t be able to buy them back. This first panzer lost, the first paratrooper loss (in my case) or the first two sub losses: won’t show up in the build units screen because it’s gone baby gone.


< Message edited by Zuxius -- 1/4/2021 6:06:15 PM >

(in reply to mdsmall)
Post #: 7
RE: How best to use German submarines? - 1/4/2021 7:25:19 PM   
Tanaka


Posts: 3863
Joined: 4/8/2003
From: USA
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Zuxius

quote:

ORIGINAL: mdsmall

Hi Zuxius- thanks for the great advice! It sounds like you use the Kriegsmarine in WW2 more like the Imperial German Navy in WW1 for major ambush operations in which surface ships play a major role in combination with the subs. I presume you keep your subs in reserve in the first two years of the game in order to build up their tech, along with the tech of your surface fleet, and to have a critical mass of them before you commit them. It is interesting that you don't use them in a convoy raiding/economic warfare role - which I believe is how the German sub fleet was largely used in the Battle of the Atlantic. Cheers - Michael


You’re welcome. Yes, the navy takes on a full war footing during the Late Summer of ‘41. I also “throw down” in Afrika. Malta is visited and taken with Luftwaffe and airborne but I’ve started leaving the Italian Navy completely out of it. I get as many Italians to Afrika as possible and put a German tank there to boot with heavy German politics aimed at Spain. All this pressure makes English investment in warships and ASW seem frivolous given the need to reinforce a failing Egypt. All the pressure on England before the Soviet War is immense. Also, the small fight off Denmark for England’s right to have a sub there or not tends to escalate and the losses in carrier planes, cruisers, battleships and whatnot usually has the English thinking the damaged vessels can be left for later because Afrika isn’t going well.

But yes, the Sub “shell game” is not really a strat but more of an annoyance and distraction. If you can do it then I’d say more power to you in distracting the number of destroyers you’ll face before your subs can go to town on capital ships. Subs also destroy capital ships in port very well too. You’ll never see those ships again if you sink them. The British get more carriers throughout the game and those are my highest targets for subs. The graf zep can fend off a couple of those attacks but if the British have enough carriers nearby, they’ll target the graf zep until...it’s gone. Correct on advancing tech on navy. I get all naval upgrades but a little weaker on ASW for obvious reasons. Maritime bomber is a solid investment. If you know a fight will take place off your coast because you’re doing something predictably dreadful for the convoy zones, operational move a fighter or two in with some bombers too. Range is key. I’m terrible at investing in long range but it really is a must in later game play for the Eastern Front, so it may as well be a priority too. Don’t mind if you feel like your ships are constantly in port waiting on repairs, elite replacements and upgrades. When the fleet goes out in mass it always seems like a misfire in the early sea war of ‘41-‘42. A few ships get worked over in an early fight and then you have a big but partial force. Those first early sea war engagements will sink enemy ships but the long engagements will sink many of yours too. The temptation to go “all in” on a battle is the wrong one during the earlier fights. Just know that the fights in Afrika are a serious drain on English resources. The damages sustained at sea are a major trade-off to repair if your pressure in Afrika is near the breaking point for England. So there are some opportunities to help your navy be successful. I use Italian subs to scout paths for my axis forces transports. I see the Italian Navy as a “naval gold mine” for late ‘43. They basically get sunk like “glass cannons” if you take them out of port before they are properly upgraded. Their losses are pretty much irreplaceable and then the Med British Navy sails off to the Atlantic. For both Germany and Italy I go Spying and Intelligence level 3 but Italy gets complete troop upgrades for infantry and HQ. Then mobility. Anti-Air and finally the naval upgrades can begin. I believe as a minor they get a jump on speed of upgrades to level 2 because of catch-up bonuses. Since the Germans put the slow investment in first, the Italians get up to speed faster.

Dividends of a successful Naval push: You win Egypt usually. You control Malta. You have Spain. You control Gibraltar. Italy Surrender question is never raised. No D-Day Landings. British Morale falls rapidly.

I do up all Naval elite replacements. It does two things: preserves experience level when attacked and makes for a very potent unit. I’ve seen a strength 13 sub at level 5 take out an 8 strength carrier that was fleeing a fight. Oops. It’s more time in port to get those ships to level 13 but when they lose 1-3 strength you still have an experience 3 sub. Subs running around supply 5 ports at strength 8 will never amount to much until they’re sunk.

Be warned that the hard building limit puts you in a time crunch. The free units you get are “in excess” of your normal limits. So if you reach your sub build limit then the subs that come “preprogrammed for free” will artificially bump you above your build limit. This makes for a larger sub navy. If you wait for the free units to show up, then they’ll count against your maximum build limits. Many players know this is true about German tanks too, so they get them all bought up ASAP so they can exceed their maximums. I typically buy a paratrooper during Poland and say “no” to the early paratrooper at half strength. This allows my Germans a third paratrooper.
I’m using that as an example for how the early sub purchases must be put in.


I’ll also emphasize that when you exceed these build limits, the lose those types of units really hurts (though inevitable): you won’t be able to buy them back. This first panzer lost, the first paratrooper loss (in my case) or the first two sub losses: won’t show up in the build units screen because it’s gone baby gone.



Interesting stuff! Wow the build limit cheat seems like the way to go every time for Germany! This explains everything!

_____________________________


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Post #: 8
RE: How best to use German submarines? - 1/4/2021 9:24:13 PM   
El_Condoro

 

Posts: 184
Joined: 8/3/2019
Status: offline
Is that build limit workaround WAD or is it a bug?

(in reply to Tanaka)
Post #: 9
RE: How best to use German submarines? - 1/4/2021 9:59:49 PM   
Taxman66


Posts: 1569
Joined: 3/19/2008
From: Columbia, MD. USA
Status: offline
WAD, it's been talked about forever.

Be warned, if you go so heavy in GE Naval an alert Allied player will eventually protect his UK fleet and then eat your lunch in Russia.

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