I don't believe in search arcs.
Few tips: there is no "I strike first you strike second" in CV battles. Generally, each side strikes at the same time. When the Japanese planes are over your carriers, yours are over the Japanese ones.
Now, DL is one of the most important concept of the game. Given the situation: just run your groups in NavS (I would put an altitude betweek 6k ft and 15k ft, dunno what's the IA CAP setting).
Put your bombers of whatever kind in NavS. Percentage has to be decided by A) their radius; B) their SR.
On CVs just devote some groups to make CAP (mission=sweep/escort and CAP=100% the day of the battle) and some other to escort (mission=escort ; 0% to everyhting). Put dive bombers between 10.000ft and 15.000ft and same with TBs. Both TB and DB in mission=Naval and put a healthy 10% on NavS as well.
The escort group(s) should be roughly at the same altitude.
Your CAP should also be focused on this altitude window.
There are various streams of thought regarding TF composition, so I don't advice on that. Personally, I prefer to keep US CVs together in the same TF in the early war, but it's very arguable due to coordination problems.
Don't forget to:
A) check your air leaders. It's important that they do have a decent aggression rating (along with all the other relevant ones such as air).
B) check your TF commander. I prefer naval skill first and second air, but it's again another arguable thing.
C) check your CV commanders. Naval is important.
D) meteo forecasts (not that they are very useful often).
E) reaction range of your TFs (I'd set to 0 for the time being).
F) if you have any follow command, check that the speeds of the various ships and TFs match in a proper manner.
G) retreat path: you'll need fuel to go, but don't forget you'll also have to come back, hopefully in full speed undamaged.
There are way more settings that are necessary, but that's the fundamental setup.
- Does SR in the first batch of your advice mean Search Range?
- In the second batch where you mention 0%, that would mean no CAP at all. Did you mean range 0 ?
- I think the Escort altitude has to be within 2000 feet of the bomber altitude for the Escorting fighters to intercept enemy fighters.
- in 1941-42 it seems best to limit CVs per TF to 2, because of the coordination issue (which is not a huge effect anyway - air leader experience is more important). But all CV TFs should be kept in the same hex for mutual CAP coverage. The unique CV react toward the enemy may still break any follow arrangements you set, especially if, for example, a CVE TF uses ops points to refuel at sea and cannot keep up with the big boys.
- having the TF commander with high Air Skill is important to coordinate your strikes from multiple CVs/CVLs in the same TF. The CVs themselves need great ship captains (Naval Skill) but only good Air Skill (to get the aircraft ready for battle quickly).
- if, as Allied player, you know there is going to be a battle, prioritize CAP coverage over escorts for your bombers. SBDs and TBFs/TBMs are rugged planes with some self-defense against rear attacks so I give 70% of my fighters to CAP and the other 30% can escort the bombers.
- Checking fuel levels on all ships before a battle is good joss - you don't want to be refueling your short-legged DDs on the day of battle.
-It means service rating. "radius" is to be intended as "search range". SR is important to give continuity to operations.
-I do mean no CAP at all indeed. I operate specialised groups: either they are fully (100%) in CAP or they are fully in escort.
-Escort: you're right. I tend to put escorts at the same altitude, but when I wrote "roughly" it was meant in the way you better explained it.
-I know about the penality. I just find easier to manage a single TF rather than multiple for various reasons, including and especially the problems with the react.
-As far as I know, the TF commander with high air skill is redundant: air groups' commanders are what it matters the most and I prefer to have a good TF commander naval-wise, rather than a good air leader. Same goes with ships. Clearly, I also pick the best leaders for individual groups. I think this was outlined many years ago in the famous post from LoBaron.
-Regarding fuel: I also add torpedoes and sorties in general. Sometimes I have run out of both at the decisive moment (as Japanese). As Allies I've never had such a problem, though.
< Message edited by ITAKLinus -- 2/15/2021 6:23:10 PM >