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OPTIONAL RULES - The Merchant Marine
The merchant marine was very important during the Second World War. From the beginning of the war, the British government had imposed a naval blockade against Germany and within a few weeks, the allies had captured several ships along with their cargo destined for the third Reich.
Hitler responded by imposing a counter-blockade to stifle the economy of Great Britain. Up until early in 1943, the Kriegsmarine, the Luftwaffe, and especially the U-Boats nearly destroyed the war effort in England by sinking thousands of vessels of all flags.
Once at war, the U.S. military used the same strategy against Japan, by imposing blockades and stifling the shipping lanes of Japanese merchant vessels.
At the end of the war, the United States had sunk nearly 80% of the Nippon shipping efforts!
After trying almost all games of Axis & Allies and its variants, we found that in many cases, Japan and England could continue fighting and manufacturing weapons even if the player lost control of the Pacific and Atlantic.
Furthermore, these two countries are islands. Their economy was heavily dependent on raw materials essential to the manufacturing of tanks, planes and ships, such as zinc, chromium, copper, cotton, silk and especially gasoline!
For Italy and Germany, the blockades had less of an impact because they could easily procure their raw materials through Eastern Europe
The merchant also had a very important role to play in the victory of the USSR.
From 1942, the allies had begun to send materials to Russia through convoys crossing the Atlantic.
The ships carrying cargo from the United States and Great Britain [were able to fight off] the mines, U-Boats and German air force to deliver huge amounts of military equipment into Russia. Had it not been for this assistance, the Soviet Union would probably have lost the war.
The Allies and the Axis countries knew very well that victory depended on the control of the Arctic, Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.
Convoys had been a major issue in during the second world war, so we are thinking of introducing a new game piece; the cargo.
Note : This rules must de added to world at war game but you can use or modify the following rules to fit your game of A & A game.
At the start of the game all players have merchant ships except for China.
Here is the list :
Germany = 3 Cargos
Japan = 6 freighters
Italy 1 = Cargo
UK = 9 freighter
USA = 10 bound cargo.
USSR = 2 cargo
France = 2 cargo
At the start of the game the ships are use only to transport materials, merchandise and oil on pre-established shipping routes on the map.
The ship can not defend itself, attack or transport troops.
Only the destroyer and / or Escort can participate in the defense of a merchant ship.
However he may retire after the first round of combat.
(Apply the same rules as that of transportation).
A cargo costs 4 IPC and always moves 3 spaces at a time up to its destination. Once safely arrived , the merchant ship must leave on the next round to its point of origin. Light bombers, fighter aircraft, submarines and warships can attack the cargo freighters.
If the merchant vessel is sunk before reaching its destination, the ship and its cargo are lost
Important: If the point of departure or arrival of a cargo ship is taken by the enemy and there is no route, the cargo ship may be stored in another port until the territory is regained.
Once the USSR is attacked by the Axis countries, the U.S. and English players may help the Russian player by sending aid through via merchant ships. The stock must be unloaded in the Russian ports of Murmansk and / or Archangel but if the port falls under the control of countries of the axis, the material can be unloaded and the player must wait to regain control of the port or the cargo returns to its point of origin.
Once all players are at war, the cargo ships can carry 1 airplane, 1 tank or 2 artilleries.
UK - Canada (3 freighters)
UK-South Africa (2 freighters)
South-Africa-Southern Iran (2 freighters)
India-Australia (1 cargo)
Southern France, French Guyana (1 cargo)
Southern France-French West Africa (1 cargo)
East Germany-Sweden (1 cargo)
West Germany-Norway (1 cargo)
Murmansk - UK (1 cargo)
Archangel - UK (1 cargo)
Southern Italy-Libya (1 cargo)
Japan Marshall Island (1 cargo)
Japan’s Caroline Island (1 cargo)
Japan-Marianne’s Island (1 cargo)
Japan-China (1 cargo)
Japan-Thailand (1 cargo)
A merchant ship is very important because whenever you lose 1, you shall undergo a penalty of 5% per ship.
So if you lose 3 ships, you willhave to pay 15% to the bank.
Example: On turn # 2, the level of production of the English player is 40.
He loses two merchant vessels in 1 round and suffers a penalty of 10%.
He will therefore provide the bank 4 IPC.
The English player has 9 merchant ships at the start of the game, so he could face a penalty of 45% each round!!
Of course, you can buy ships whenever you lose one.
If you return to the total number of boats you should posses, the penalty no longer applies.
Note : The U.S. player is subject to the same penalty as other players.
Important: A ship can cross a sea zone even if occupied by enemy warships.
LEND LEASE & MERCANT U.S. MARINE.
US player has only 6 cargo ships at the start of the game.
But he has the opportunity to buy other cargo ships for a maximum of 10 freighters.
Here’s how :
The U.S. Player receives 18 IPC in his first round. (Peace Time Production)
From then on he will receive 25% + per round or 4.5 (on a 5 rounds IPC).
This money should be used separately to purchase merchant ships.
These vessels can ONLY be used to transport raw war materials to the allies.
But once at war, the U.S. player can send weapons (planes, tanks and artillery)
to their key allies, such as the USSR and Great Britain following routes drawn on the map.
Note: The cargo should not be used by the U.S. Navy and can not transport special units.
So the higher your war production, the more arms you can send to your allies. Therefore the U.S. player must carefully choose the weapons that will be sent to the allies.
American convoy route:
Eastern USA - Brazil (1 cargo)
Eastern USA - Saudi-Arabia (2 freighters)
Western USA - Australia (2 freighters)
- Eastern USA - UK (2 freighters)
- Eastern USA - Murmansk / Archangel (3 freighters)
- = At a time when Russia went to war.
Once its mission is complete, the merchant vessel must return to its point of origin and start again. The merchant ship must always be moving and cannot leave its pre-determined route. If the starting point of the merchant vessel and/or destination have been taken by an opponent, you can change the route of your cargo ship to send to another destination as drawn on the map.
Some countries have also neutral merchant ships.
You can get hold of a cargo ship If you take control of a neutral territory.