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Naval Combat Guide/Tips? - 7/4/2021 2:22:40 AM   
redrum68

 

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Hey all. Played the game a bit now but feel like I have no idea what to do with naval units. I've figured out how to use subs in stealth mode or air units to recon as otherwise you are just completely blind but besides that and doing some convoy raiding/patrol not sure what else to really do but sit and cower near my ports :)
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RE: Naval Combat Guide/Tips? - 7/4/2021 3:18:08 PM   
katanatan

 

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There are 2 problems. One is tactical one is strategical (if you want put operationalin between).

If you ask, how to scout and if to attack or not to attack, in which order to attack with your small or big ships first his small or big ships first, i am not gonna answer that one. Many people think that if you have a certainty to kill a dreadnaught, it is worth more than small ships of more MPP.

Same goes for conducting a multiturn approach, engagement, disengagement, retreat. Not gonna answer.

But if you ask what for should i even fight, is it even worth it, i shall answer.

In the 1917 campaign allied naval power is unchqllengable.

In the 1914 campaign austria is theunderdog in the adria, but due to proximity to its ports it can often engage units on its terms and maybe starve serbia out of ca 14 (french) MPPs per turn. (France should always send to serbia).
As soon as italy enters the entente the allied naval power is unchallengable for austria and it often due to air attacks looses its ships eventually. So make use of austrias navy early, starve serbia and maybe get some NMM value, in the end you more than likely loose anyways.


Germany in (presumably) the north sea is far more interesting. Germany could dominate the baltic sea, but russia can just choose not to fight, so the only value germany gets is a safe sweden convoy route.

With britains navy in the north sea however there are deep effects on the whole timeline.

Germany gets 2 more dreadnaughts already in production, britain i think 4. They already start 5 to 3, so thats gonna become 9 to 5. If you want a surface ship engagement, 1914 has the best odds. Germany after that gets many free submarines and might upgrade them. This will lead to either NMM or MPP (convoy lanes) loss for the UK and forces the UK to hunt the subs.

This in itself is a benefit, it hurts the uk and forces its attention away from landwarfare.
If germany after the first north sea battles repairs its ships (dreadnaughts mainly) for a second swing the UK likewise has diverted germanys MPPs that would go into research, diplomacy, land warfare against russia and france.

It is an open question, who benefits more, if germany commits to a naval campaign. I and others have the gut feeling that this game is very very land centric. In most cases land wars snowball. If france falls, so will russia since establishing a bridgehead as the uk is not a good option, vice versa.

Also due to the nature of scouting, turnbased gameplay and ports that protect your ships, the party that engages in its homewaters near ports has a big bonus. So the costs for naval are steep and hurt you, and even if you defeat the royal navy and it gives up the blockades, this doesnt mean at all that the road to blockading britain is open.
Also in strategy it is more important than the battle itself, to exploit the outcome. An undeceicive battle always play into ententes hand. Germany would like to, if it has openings on either front, pour ressources into exploitation subsequent victory, so no MPP spare for subs. Likewise if germany is struggling on either front it would most likely put MPP into reinforcing and rebuilding corpse, no MPP for subs either.




To the the devs: i know that MPP is an abstract simulation. However if you made (for the majors) a split budget. Say of germanys 400MPP at least 80 have to go to the navy, amount x has to go to land and research, and the leftover amount y can the player spend as he likes. So the player has to build some ships and engage in the navy (with all majors except ottomans) and can decide if he wants to engage more into the navy. This i would like more than an all or nothing principle, as in multiplayer only the UK seems to build ships.
A split MPP budget, mqybe limiting the research amount you can invest per turn aswell. All editable, and optional.


Sorry if i talked about naval strategem instead of combat tips, but i think your read out quite slot even out of this post.

(in reply to redrum68)
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RE: Naval Combat Guide/Tips? - 7/5/2021 4:15:12 AM   
redrum68

 

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Thanks for the reply. You mostly confirmed what my understanding of overall strategy with navies is and that IMO most likely 1 to 1 trading favors the Entente as CP need to spend as much MPP as possible on making progress on land.

I'm more struggling with the tactical side of things. How to pick a good fight if you want one and how to come out on top in terms of trading ships? What order do you attack with your ships? What formation do you keep them in (bunched together, checkerboard, random, etc)? Do you keep your capital ships in the inside of your formation or the outside? What enemy ships do you target first/last?

(in reply to katanatan)
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RE: Naval Combat Guide/Tips? - 7/5/2021 2:41:23 PM   
katanatan

 

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First a general advice: if you have the enemy scouted, there are no subs and mines in the way. You always trade better on the attack, get better ratios and can sink ships (destroying units is always a higher loss to the enemy, withships double due to no "*" rebuild at half cost and long build times.
Vice versa you want to reduce the enemies damage he inflicts during his turn.

---> you dont want a multiturn brawl, where the fleets stay in a certain space. You want hit and run. Disengage, protect your badly damaged units, use useless ships as meatshields.

--->engage in an all or nothing approach, commit heavily if you commit. No splitting fleets.
--->when you retreat aside from protective measures, move subs and lay mines between your and the enemies fleet to disable and damage ships of his that want to counterstrike

These are all the principles. If you want detailed, special advise please tell me in what situation exactly. Who vs who, when, where defensive offensive, how. All ships still full strength?

(in reply to redrum68)
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RE: Naval Combat Guide/Tips? - 7/5/2021 3:53:53 PM   
redrum68

 

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Good tips. I've learned the multiturn brawl the hard way as surprisingly even the AI swarms its ships pretty effectively.

When you mention "useless ships as meatshields" which ones would those generally be?

(in reply to katanatan)
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RE: Naval Combat Guide/Tips? - 7/5/2021 4:05:33 PM   
mdsmall

 

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I can not claim to be an expert in naval tactics and have learned a few hard lessons at sea from my opponents in my recent MP games. But let me offer a few observations about naval power in the game.

First, the naval war is secondary to the land war. Just accept that. To defeat a major power, you have to capture all its capitals or drive its national morale to zero. The naval war can help with the latter but the only major power which can in theory be forced to surrender through naval power alone is the UK (and that is extremely unlikely). I agree that the game is very land focussed but so was WW1. In general, there is far more naval combat in the game than there actually was in the war. A more realistic depiction of naval combat would require simultaneous movement - which would need an entirely different game system.

It is true that few players build capital ships during the game, since they are expensive and take a very long time to complete. But both sides receive significant reinforcements of capital ships during the war and there are lots of reasons to build or rebuild units like destroyers, subs, seaplane carriers which only take 6 turns to complete. Torpedo boats take only 3 turns and are very cheap. I would not support obliging players to devote a portion of their MPP production to navies: different powers have different needs at various phases in the war. But if you want to make that a house rule, try it out against an opponent who is willing to give it a go and see what happens.

As I see it, naval power can aid the land war and contribute to victory by your side in a number of different ways:

At the strategic level, naval power can raid enemy convoys, disrupt enemy production by occupying the red hatched hexes, and degrade enemy ports by blockading them. All of these actions reduce the enemy's production of MPPs - the key strategic resource in the game. The UK, as an island nation, is the most vulnerable to this kind of enemy naval activity (which is why it has the largest navy), but Germany, France, Italy, Serbia and even the Ottomans can have their MPPs reduced to some degree by naval activity; and every power except Serbia has some naval capability.

Also at the strategic level, naval combat can significantly drive down enemy national morale and increase your own, because lost ships count for double NM points both for the attacker and against the defender. In my last couple of games, the Germany has pushed Russian NM below 25%, triggering the first revolution and Lenin's arrival, largely by destroying the Russian Baltic fleet.

Finally, there is a the strategic pressure on national morale that the Entente can place on Germany by occupying the NM hexes in the North Sea and the North Atlantic; and in return, if Germany can pull it off, the heavy NM hits they can inflict on the UK by occupying the British NM hexes west of Britain and Ireland. The Entente blockade is gradual but relentless, especially if sustained over several years; a German counter-thrust against the British NM hexes does much quicker damage and if sustained for two turns or more, will shut down key British ports, thus disrupting essential convoys; but it comes with the strategic offset of driving the United States much faster into mobilizing for the Entente.

At the tactical level, naval power can support the land war by sinking enemy transports, or protect against those attacks. There is no easier way of killing an enemy corps - at full MPP and NM cost - than by sinking it on a transport. Naval superiority along an enemy coastline can either open it up to amphibious landings, or protect against that. Shore bombardment can reduce the morale of enemy units on coastal hexes. Finally, sea-plane carriers can be valuable and flexible source of spotting capability both on land and at sea.

The game also offers a number of different theatres for naval warfare. First there are the enclosed or semi-enclosed seas: the Adriatic, the Baltic and the Black Sea. The naval warfare can be intense in the Adriatic and the Baltic, where the Central Powers and the Entente have roughly inverse positions of superiority. The Black Sea tends to be quieter, since the opposing navies are much smaller and Russo-Turkish land war is usually entirely conducted inland in the Caucasus, but there is some scope for surprises if either side ventures an amphibious invasion across the Black Sea.

Then there are the two large seas: the North Sea and the Mediterranean. Naval combat in the North Sea tends is driven the strategic action along the blockade lines against Germany, or German action moving through the North Sea to attack the U.K supply lines in the Atlantic. The Mediterranean has everything: convoy lines to raid, islands and colonies in North Africa that can only be reinforced by transports, ports that can be blockaded and defensive positions to bombard. It is usually a zone of intense naval combat between the secondary naval powers in the game: Austria-Hungary and to some degree the Ottomans, versus the French, the Italians and part of the UK fleet.

Finally, there is the Atlantic, which for most of the war is a theatre for pure strategic warfare between the German submarine fleet versus the blockading British and French navy; but there can be some interesting tactical skirmishes if the German subs are able to attack American transports late in the war.

In terms of fleet composition, there is a kind of rock/paper/scissors dynamic at work: subs are great against capital ships - the bigger the better; destroyers and torpedo boats are very effective against subs; which in turn can be easily sunk by capital ships. In varying degrees, both sides need all three of these types of naval units.

In terms of naval tactics, spotting is the most critical variable: if the enemy knows where you are and can strike first, there is significant first-mover advantage. After that, naval combat is relatively straight-forward contest between firepower and morale, since terrain and command factors do not apply at sea, few units (usually only subs and destroyers) have one point or more of experience, and supply (except against subs far from home port) is a residual factor. My sense is that advanced naval tactics employ bluff and surprise, play the odds in terms of possible changes in weather and make very creative use of naval mines (a topic which is worth a thread on its own).

Finally, the inter-play between naval power and airpower is one dimension of the game that I have only recently come to appreciate. Airships can be hugely effective spotting over sea. Maritime bombers operating from land can score useful hits on subs and surface vessels and are great at spotting too. And recon bombers, if upgraded with naval weapons, can inflict heavy blows against enemy surface ships close to shore.

In sum, there are a lot of things you can do with navies if you use your imagination. Don't leave them cowering in port!









(in reply to redrum68)
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RE: Naval Combat Guide/Tips? - 7/5/2021 8:46:45 PM   
katanatan

 

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The readout below from mdsmalls gives (kinda like mine) a lot of good strategic advice. I did not mention before airpower, since airpower at sea is a lategame thing, and even a luxury. In lategame
A) you dont have money for luxury
B) your navy has won or is sunk already anyways
C) the game is over already anyways...

Air balloons are great for scouting/spotting naval units, otherwise you put a submarine in silent mode and sail it where to spot (one long distance).



Now onto your actual question.
UNLESS the MPP cost of a trade is really really better (say 4 light cruisers (900mpp) vs 1 dreadnaught (375mpp)), the dreadnaught and the battlecruiser close after are the most useful and most valuable ships. (!)

Why: they hit the hardest (6) and have 18 action points, are best for engage and disengage.
Subs are in the beginning very valuable. Mostly to scout, so your capital ships can engage withot running into an ambush, and on your retreat they can be used as mobile mines and to block the enemy from reaching a damaged dreadnaugt of yours.

Then it gets interesting. Destroyers are initially worthless, you just need 1 or 2 for suicide scout runs and to refresh your mines. GB might have to invest into destroyers if it looses its initiall plethra.

Lastly it gets interesting, you have predreadnaughts, armored cruisers and light cruisers left. The Pres are pure combat wise good, armored cruisers are meh, but lught cruisers, just because they donthave 15 but 18 APs are IMO of these 3 the most useful in engagements. The others are throwaway attack ships. Also light cruisers have a sensible cost/price.



To reiterate: MAIN COMBAT VALUE
1. DN, BC
2. SUBS IN 1914 (TO SCOUT)
3. LIGHT CRUISER, PRE-DREADNAUGHT (PERSONAL PREFERENCE, LC ARE EASIER TO SINK, PRE-DN ARE ANNOYING TANKS)
4. ARMORED CRUISER
5. DESTROYERS (KEEP ATLEAST 1 FOR MINES THOUGH)


One more thing, as said by MDsmalls, it has a combat triangle character. If germany manages to not engage british dreadnaughts and kill 4-6 destroyer initially, even for the cost of some of germanies bigger ships, gb might be cqught offguard by the coming free submarines of germany, which if timed, upgraded with advanced submarines, can go on the offensive, destroy or atleast temporarily expell the royal navy. But if british MPPs are not forced into bloody land battles a human player (me atleast) focuses heavily on anti SW and a decent DD base.

(in reply to redrum68)
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RE: Naval Combat Guide/Tips? - 7/7/2021 1:42:31 AM   
redrum68

 

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Thanks for all the advice and tips. I think I do have a bit better of an idea of how naval combat works now. Next step is to try some things out and see how it goes :)

(in reply to katanatan)
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RE: Naval Combat Guide/Tips? - 7/7/2021 6:17:52 PM   
hottegetthoff

 

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I hope i wont repeat much of what was said before but:
North sea will consist of 2 types of engagement(mostly concentrating on surface unit battles):
1. Channel/Belgian Coastline battles. You can use air here, to damage and spot enemies (spotting-baloons, damage-recon/maritime bombers). Germany has a chance here, it can sustain minefields here (UK can do it as well). Germany can also afford to concentrate its subs in this area to harass enemies. In 1914 id recommend mostly trying to make careful actions, placing mines in suprising locations. When you get more subs you can have more long range scouting, but more air power means mines off the british coast will get spotted. If pressed, dont be afraid to use your harbours very defensively as germany. UK needs to be cautious to not divide their fleet between channel and scotland too much, and to keep as much of their fleet ready at all times.

2. Blockade action. This will happen only if Germany decides to do it, which is important. An open sea battle will favor the british with more ships overall, but german subs are the thing which can offset the balance. If German subs had many suprise attack on Dreadnaughts/ predreads/Battlecruisers and you feel that the time is right, you can try to attack. Minefields in here will usually be effective due to lack of air spotting, which gives initial advantage to the british. Germany can of course have their own minefields, but its harder to sustain them. Bad weather at sea gives edge to the germans here. Also, Norway can be diplomatically won/invaded, Norwegian harbors in UK hands make this scenario unwinnable for germany, while if Germany gets them it can be dangerous.
Overall UK vs Germany is the prime conflict. Remember to use mines in 1914 as traps, later as traps where enemy wont have air near your harbours or to cover your fleet in battle. Latter requires luck, but can be devastating. Important unit in this area is the Seaplane carrier. UK will have more of those, they are useful agains subs, can spot your fleet mid battle. They dont have that much value in most situations, but also can clear harbours from safe distance. I usually prefer (as Germany) to wage careful war of attrition here, trying to get the best technologies to strike at a good moment. One thing you can do is rush technologies to get the Aircraft Carrier. It will probably arrive in 1917 at best, but it deals good damage and can honestly turn the balance in German favor, along with their sub advantage.

Baltic
Russians will be on the back foot. Their primary role is to defend riga and bothnia gulfs with mines, and deal as much damage in case of a fight. Air units can be very useful to russians. Also coordinating subs to hurt german economy is important.

Adriatic and Mediterranean
Adriatic combat: Air is of paramount importance. Austria has to take ports of cetinje and albania (greece if possible) quickly. You should stay content with not leaving adriatic as austria most of the time. Corfu is an important harbour to take, it essentially means you can go out of the adriatic. A good way to provoke an engagement is making an invasion attempt in taranto, real or feigned one. Sometimes for a price of a detachment at sea you can kill ships worth much more.

Black sea and Aegean/Eastern med.
Ottomans dont have alot of navy, its a costly affair for them. If possible, try to take a sub from adriatic to them. Russian sub gives great advantage to smaller (at the beggining) Russian navy. Russians get a dreadnought quickly in this theatre, so ottoman advantage is short lived. Also russian seaplane tenders make operations here dangerous. Main importance of the black sea is that ottos need to quickly reinfoce Cucasian front, and sea is the fastest route. In aeagean air units can have worth, if Lemnos island is empty of Entente units you can take it. Another important island is cyprus, landing here can set up a trap. On the other hand entente navy can bombard ottoman defenders of palestine to the dust so be careful.

(in reply to redrum68)
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RE: Naval Combat Guide/Tips? - 7/7/2021 6:45:43 PM   
redrum68

 

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Question: How do you use seaplane carrier recon ability? I was able to figure out that the recon & bomb ability works if you click on a unit within 3 hexes of the carrier but couldn't figure out how just recon works and not just moving the seaplane carrier.

(in reply to hottegetthoff)
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RE: Naval Combat Guide/Tips? - 7/7/2021 7:42:31 PM   
Bavre

 

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Press and hold shift (If that does not work, I mixed it up again and it's control ;)

Btw, since you're into studying naval warfare, how about a quick sea battle vs human? We could just do a 1914 or 1917 campaign and only fight a battle of Jutland for example.

(in reply to redrum68)
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RE: Naval Combat Guide/Tips? - 7/8/2021 4:19:15 AM   
redrum68

 

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Ah, holding shift works. I probably should have guessed that. Thanks.

Thanks for the offer though I'm currently still learning the mechanics as you can probably tell from my questions so doing an AAR against the AI and once I've gotten the hang of it a bit more then I'll probably try diving into PBEM.

(in reply to Bavre)
Post #: 12
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