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!