Global 1940, Airbase on PTO islands:an immobile aircraft carrier for Fgs and TcB


  • 2017 2016

    Do you see the +1 Bonus Move for aircraft leaving an Airbase in an island very relevant in the Pacific Theatre of Operation (PTO)?

    It never plays the role of an unsinkable (& immobile) aircraft carrier, as some admiral said.

    An unsinkable aircraft carrier is a term sometimes used to refer to a geographical or political island that is used to extend the power projection of a military force. Because such an entity is capable of acting as an airbase and is a physical landmass not easily destroyed, it is, in effect, an immobile aircraft carrier that cannot be sunk and cannot be moved.

    The term unsinkable aircraft carrier first arose during World War II, to describe the islands and atolls in the Pacific Ocean which became strategically important as potential airstrips for American bombers in their transoceanic war against Japan. To this end, the US military engaged in numerous island hopping operations to oust the occupying Japanese forces from such islands; afterwards the US Navy Seabees would often have to construct airstrips there from scratch sometimes over entire atolls quickly, in order to support the air operations against Japan.

    Malta was sometimes described as an unsinkable aircraft carrier during World War II, making it a target of the Axis powers. The US military is said to have considered Taiwan since the Chinese Civil War, and the British Isles and Japan during the Cold War, as unsinkable aircraft carriers

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unsinkable_aircraft_carrier

    From a game-play point of view, you don’t see the need to invade Iwo Jima or Okinawa and to build any airbase for Fighters and Tactical bombers to bring them near Japan since, anyway, they won’t be able to reach it and come back. It is still 3 spaces away to reach and another 3 to come back on the island. StB can make Strategic Bombing Raid (SBR) or Tactical Bombing Raid (TBR) without any Airbase bonus move. But they will never be escorted unless you bring…  carriers!!!

    Then, you come to the same solution as usual.

    Bring aircraft carriers in Okinawa or Iwo Jima SZ: they will protect the fleet and will be able to attack Japan from another SZ away and Fgs on them will be able to escort StBs flying from those islands without any help from airbase.

    And you can say this about all islands which have also an island as neighbour only 1 SZ away but 3 spaces for any aircrafts starting from one island, thus forbidding any Fighter or TcB air support from any AirBase near-by. The Bonus Move gives nothing, so why bothering building any Airbase (15 IPCs) instead of a moving airbase: carrier (16 IPCs)?

    The only solution, to save the “historical point of view” and give much more strategical options, is to treat Fighters and TcBs on AirBases in PTO islands as aboard a carrier in SZ for movement allowance.

    When moving out from an AB without returning to home-base island, it will give only the +1M bonus. It remains the same effect for Ftg and TcB as stated in the AirBase OOB description.

    And keep OOB rule for StB.
    (Anyway, they don’t need this additional +1 movement point to make a SBR from one island to another in the near SZ.)

    Now, Fgts and TcBs will be able to provide air cover and air support during an amphibious assault on near-by AB without always using aircraft carriers.

    For example, Palau island (Sz 34) (Peleliu Airfield) could be invade in the intent of preparing a greater air support (with Fgs/TcBs not just StB) for the invasion of Philippines Islands (SZ 35) as history said.

    For historical references:

    After a long campaign of island hopping, the Allies were approaching Japan, and planned to use Okinawa, a large island only 340 mi (550 km) away from mainland Japan, as a base for air operations on the planned invasion of Japanese mainland (coded Operation Downfall).

    The Battle of Iwo Jima (19 February � 26 March 1945), or Operation Detachment, was a major battle in which the United States Armed Forces fought for and captured the island of Iwo Jima from the Japanese Empire. The American invasion had the goal of capturing the entire island, including its three airfields, to provide a staging area for attacks on the Japanese main islands.

    Given the number of casualties, the necessity and long-term significance of the island’s capture[31] to the outcome of the war was a contentious issue from the beginning, and remains disputed. As early as April 1945, retired Chief of Naval Operations William V. Pratt stated in Newsweek magazine that considering the "expenditure of manpower to acquire a small, God-forsaken island, useless to the Army as a staging base and useless to the Navy as a fleet base … [one] wonders if the same sort of airbase could not have been reached by acquiring other strategic localities at lower cost."[3]

    Pratt did not know, or else could not disclose, that the island’s emergency landing field would be useful for the B-29s carrying the atomic bombs destined for Japan in late 1945. The 509th Composite Group practiced mock emergency landings on Iwo Jima at its Utah base opened in December 1944.[32] B-29s were not entirely reliable, and engine failure was common. Due to the scarcity of materials and engineering complexity, replacement of the bombs could take many months or even years. However, Okinawa had also been taken by the time the bombs were dropped.

    […]
    The traditional justification for Iwo Jima’s strategic importance to the United States’ war effort has been that it provided a landing and refueling site for long-range fighter escorts. These escorts proved both impractical and unnecessary, and only ten such missions were ever flown from Iwo Jima.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Iwo_Jima


  • 2017 2016

    I would add this other reference about P-38 Lightning fighter which prove how it is realistic to consider Airbase on island as immobile & unsinkable  aircraft carrier and to be able to use this U.S. Air Force Fighter as an escort and air support for island hopping on the island in the nearest Sea-Zone.

    The Lockheed P-38 Lightning was a World War II American fighter aircraft built by Lockheed. Developed to a United States Army Air Corps requirement, the P-38 had distinctive twin booms and a single, central nacelle containing the cockpit and armament. Named “fork-tailed devil” (der Gabelschwanz-Teufel) by the Luftwaffe and “two planes, one pilot” (2飛行機、1パイロット Ni hikōki, ippairotto?) by the Japanese,[5] the P-38 was used in a number of roles, including dive bombing, level bombing, ground-attack, night fighting, photoreconnaissance missions,[6] and extensively as a long-range escort fighter when equipped with drop tanks under its wings.

    The P-38 was used most successfully in the Pacific Theater of Operations and the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations as the mount of America’s top aces, Richard Bong (40 victories) and Thomas McGuire (38 victories). In the South West Pacific theater, the P-38 was the primary long-range fighter of United States Army Air Forces until the appearance of large numbers of P-51D Mustangs toward the end of the war.[7][8]

    The P-38 was unusually quiet for a fighter, the exhaust muffled by the turbo-superchargers. It was extremely forgiving, and could be mishandled in many ways, but the rate of roll in the early versions was too slow for it to excel as a dogfighter.[9] The P-38 was the only American fighter aircraft in production throughout American involvement in the war, from Pearl Harbor to Victory over Japan Day.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Just a comment.  The phrase “unsinkable carriers” was indeed used a lot during WWII because it sounded impressive, but it’s actually inaccurate because islands don’t possess a key characteristic of true aircraft carriers: they can’t move.  Carriers can more aptly be described as sea-mobile airfields, and their great value is that they can carry airpower to within striking range of important targets that they could not otherwise reach (the Doolittle Raid being a classic example).  Island airfields can’t carry airpower anywhere; they simply allow aircraft to operate out to their maximum range from a fixed base.  Islands are no different in this respect from airfields located on any other piece of land, whether it’s surrounded by water or not.  Island airfields also can’t follow friendly ships to provide on-the-spot capabilities such as close air cover or rapid-response ground-attack support to friendly troops on a beachhead.

    One of the reasons Italy neglected the development of carriers is that Mussolini was erroneously convinced that Italy was in itself a fixed aircraft carrier, and that its airbases could provide his forces with all the airpower they needed to dominate the Mediterranean.  Taranto dramatically showed the Italians what could be done by true mobile carriers when they were used aggressively and imaginatively.


  • 2017 2016

    Thanks for the historical (and somewhat strategical) comments.
    I add the better descriptive: “immobile” on my last post.

    This House Rule is just intended to extend options in the Pacific war and hoping it can add some real historical flavor in a 1940 PAC or Global.

    I don’t think it is too much unbalancing because of what you just said about carriers.

    An Airbase on an island, even treated as immobile carrier for movement allowance of Fgs and TcBs, will not replace a real fleet carrier unit.


  • Customizer

    Baron,

    ––While I applaud your interest in adding to the historical “flavor” of the game (I’m primarily a Military Historian myself),…I feel it’s also important for us to keep in mind that this is a GAME. Some historical inaccuracies must be accepted in order to maximise the “gameplay” aspect of this wonderful product we all love.
    ----Generaly speaking (no pun intended), I prefer not to have “scientific developement” in the games I play in order to “level the playing field”, but that’s one obvious way to get to where you’re wanting to go.
    ----Another would be to introduce another TYPE  of unit,….Long-Range Fighters into your games. This would obviously be a “house rule” but might be the method you’re looking for. I’ve planned for just such units to be available in some of my future games. Basically, you can have the “Early war” Fighters with lesser A/D/M/C factors, then the standard (OOB) Fighters, then the “Long-Range”  Fighters. The obvious distinguishing factor of these Long-Range Fighters would be their TWIN engines,….like P-38 Lightnings (USA), ME-110 Destroyer (Germany), etc. I’ve already had my German ME-110 Destroyers “marked” with capital L “Alpha” decals to identify them as Long-Range Fighters when they were painted. See pic below and notice the “L”. If you don’t plan to fully paint your units you might just “mark” them with an “L”, although I believe their being TWIN-ENGINED would already serve to distinguish them from other Fighters. This seemed like an elegant solution to the same problem I faced. This may help or not…. just my thoughts.

    “Tall Paul”

    DSCF7951_zps4f0b3966.jpg


  • 2017 2016

    Nice paint and sculpt!  🙂

    @Tall:

    Baron,

    ––While I applaud your interest in adding to the historical “flavor” of the game (I’m primarily a Military Historian myself),…I feel it’s also important to point out that this is a GAME. Some historical inaccuracies must be accepted in order to maximise the “gameplay” aspect of this wonderful product we all love.
    ––Generaly speaking (no pun intended), I prefer not to have “scientific developement” in the games I play, but that’s one obvious way to get to where you’re wanting to go.

    ––Another would be to introduce another TYPE  of unit,….Long-Range Fighters into your games. This would obviously be a “house rule” but might be the method you’re looking for. I’ve planned for just such units to be available in some of my future games. Basically, you can have the “Early war” Fighters with lesser A/D/M/C factors, then the standard (OOB) Fighters, then the “Long-Range”  Fighters. The obvious distinguishing factor of these Long-Range Fighters would be their TWIN engines,….like P-38 Lightnings (USA), ME-110 Destroyer (Germany), etc. I’ve already had my German ME-110 Destroyers “marked” with capital L “Alpha” decals to identify them as Long-Range Fighters when they were painted. See pic below. If you don’t plan to fully paint your units you might just “mark” them with an “L”, although I believe their being TWIN-ENGINED would already serve to distinguish them from other Fighters. Just my thoughts.
    “Tall Paul”

    Thanks for your reply.
    I know there is many ways to Rome. Introducing new units in a progressive historical buying game is a way.

    Actually, this House Rule and others has made me curious about some factual points about WWII. And as I found historical ground in some way, I like to share them on a topic related to it.
    It is not intended to persuade at all cost. Much more of sharing a common knowledge on a specific topic related to Axis&Allies and WWII.

    On this specific point, here is three criterias which I tried to follow while proposing a change (or bending an OOB rule):

    @Imperious:

    I can make the following true statements…

    When faced with a problem only fix the problem… not the system.

    When making changes always opt for the one that is the most simplest to employ, that ensures most people will try it.

    If making changes appeal to increased player options, greater balance, or Historical in that order.

    Actually, I believe I followed 2 of them: increasing player’s option and historical basis.

    On many version of A&A, PTO is neglected and never reflects the history (and the strategy associated to it). I would like to increase option in PAC without changing the European TO.

    1940 PTO have many Sea-Zones and islands, it could change and improve somehow the strategy to not rely solely on carriers to get air cover with Fgs and TcBs.

    So here is the last criteria to evaluation: does this change in the way of seeing Air Base can have imbalancing effect in the PTO?

    Any opinion on this point? I would gladly ear it.

    Does it either be a change in favour of Axis (worst case) or toward Allies (more acceptable, since many said there is a bias in favour of the Axis in the actual game)?

    Introducing the long range aircraft for latter turns is not incompatible with this HR on AB.
    Probably a Mustang sculpt would do best for a Long-Range Aircraft:

    the P-38 was the primary long-range fighter of United States Army Air Forces until the appearance of large numbers of P-51D Mustangs toward the end of the war

    But, with this HR on AB, it is also possible to simulate and understand the soundness of US strategy in PAC without introducing a new unit.
    (As a matter of fact, my friends don’t play with variations of the same unit. So I have to come with something else.)

    As you can see in this comment about P-38 (we already have this OOB sculpt), there is an historical way to explain how we get the extended range of AB:

    the P-38 was used in a number of roles, including dive bombing, level bombing, ground-attack, night fighting, photo-reconnaissance missions, and extensively as a long-range escort fighter when equipped with drop tanks under its wings.



  • Revised edition rulebook page 38

    “When moving your air units, you may treat island groups as part of the seazone containing them”
    -An optional rule for a USA national advantage

    In essence a plane on the island is considered in the seazone for movement purposes (not combat).
    So an airbase would still be required for scrambling.

    Just decide which islands will fall under this rule on the gameboard

    Another option is to just make airbases cheaper on islands than on mainland.
    Again just decide which islands would fall in this category as certian islands such as Japan shouldnt be considered


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Tall:

    ––While I applaud your interest in adding to the historical “flavor” of the game (I’m primarily a Military Historian myself),…I feel it’s also important for us to keep in mind that this is a GAME. Some historical inaccuracies must be accepted in order to maximise the “gameplay” aspect of this wonderful product we all love.

    And to follow up on Tall Paul’s point, keep in mind that the A&A board games are basically strategic-level games (except for D-Day, Bulge and Guadalcanal, which are operational-level games).  Strategic-level games have mechanics which operate at a fairly high level of abstraction, and the pieces in such games tend to represent large groups of fighting units (such as entire armies or fleets) rather than individual tanks or planes or ships or whatever.  So while it’s nice to have a wide range of unit types and unit capabilities from which to choose when purchasing units, the potential problem is that the game can get bogged down if the range becomes too large.  The problem doesn’t have to do with buying the units; it has to do with the practicalities of using them in combat.  Resolving combat between two armies composed of (let’s say) basic tanks plus basic infantry is a lot simpler than resolving combat between two armies composed of (let’s say) a mix of type-1 tanks and type-2 tanks and type-3 tanks and type-A infantry and type-B infantry and type-C infantry and so forth.

    Specialized units governed by special house rules can be a lot of fun, and they’re quite manageable if they’re treated as “seasoning” that is sprinkled sparingly here and there among armies and fleets composed mainly of meat-and-potatoes basic unit types…but they can easily get out of hand if their numbers become too big and their subtypes become too numerous.  Combat resolution in such a case starts to look less like the abstracted process which is appropriate to strategic-level games and more like the “which-ship-fired-which-specific-weapon-at-which-other-ship” combat systems that are found in (and appropriate for) tactical-level games such as A&A Miniatures.  It’s true that there are certain “hybrid” gaming systems which combine higher-level scenarios with lower-level combat resolution – so-called “strategic-operational games” and “operational-tactical games” – but they need to be designed carefully; otherwise, they end up being bad compromises which capture the worst of both worlds rather than the best.


  • 2017 2016

    @CWO:

    @Tall:

    ––While I applaud your interest in adding to the historical “flavor” of the game (I’m primarily a Military Historian myself),…I feel it’s also important for us to keep in mind that this is a GAME. Some historical inaccuracies must be accepted in order to maximise the “gameplay” aspect of this wonderful product we all love.

    And to follow up on Tall Paul’s point, keep in mind that the A&A board games are basically strategic-level games (except for D-Day, Bulge and Guadalcanal, which are operational-level games).  Strategic-level games have mechanics which operate at a fairly high level of abstraction, and the pieces in such games tend to represent large groups of fighting units (such as entire armies or fleets) rather than individual tanks or planes or ships or whatever.  So while it’s nice to have a wide range of unit types and unit capabilities from which to choose when purchasing units, the potential problem is that the game can get bogged down if the range becomes too large.  The problem doesn’t have to do with buying the units; it has to do with the practicalities of using them in combat.   Resolving combat between two armies composed of (let’s say) basic tanks plus basic infantry is a lot simpler than resolving combat between two armies composed of (let’s say) a mix of type-1 tanks and type-2 tanks and type-3 tanks and type-A infantry and type-B infantry and type-C infantry and so forth.

    Specialized units governed by special house rules can be a lot of fun, and they’re quite manageable if they’re treated as “seasoning” that is sprinkled sparingly here and there among armies and fleets composed mainly of meat-and-potatoes basic unit types…but they can easily get out of hand if their numbers become too big and their subtypes become too numerous.  Combat resolution in such a case starts to look less like the abstracted process which is appropriate to strategic-level games and more like the “which-ship-fired-which-specific-weapon-at-which-other-ship” combat systems that are found in (and appropriate for) tactical-level games such as A&A Miniatures.  It’s true that there are certain “hybrid” gaming systems which combine higher-level scenarios with lower-level combat resolution – so-called “strategic-operational games” and “operational-tactical games” – but they need to be designed carefully; otherwise, they end up being bad compromises which capture the worst of both worlds rather than the best.

    It sounds like very good advice as general principals.
    I’m just thinking those principals and advice apply much more to this other thread about different size of Art, Tank and Mech units: “Re: HBG units “Custom” Rules question (Global game)” than on to this actual HR on Airbase.

    There is much more “game crasher” things in developing different stats for different sculpts or units and increasing the “overlapping” effect over a similar operational function on the board creating a “which-type of Tank-fired-which-specific-weapon-at-which-other-ground unit” havoc.

    With each AirBase at 15 IPCs which allows Fighters and TacBs on it to support a nearby invasion of an island in the next SZ, where is the danger of breaking the scale from Strategical going too much Tactical?

    It is already what allowed a 2 hits mobile Carrier (16 IPCs) up to 2 SZ away from a starting point.

    In addition, Airbase are not invulnerable, they can be TacBRaided and damaged (making it temporarily useless until repaired, meaning additional cost).
    Any power in the PAC can buy an Airbase and can also capture it if he plans to.
    And, finally, to get a better strategically placed Airbase, you must conquered an enemy’s island before investing 15 IPCs on AB.

    Maybe, I’m blind somehow about what “gamebreaker” this HR can be.
    That’s why I post this idea, so everyone can help me see the problems it can creates before trying to implement it in a Global or PAC game.

    Is too much an advantage for Japan since he gets a lots of planes at start? I don’t know.

    As I said earlier, what I hope with this HR, is to create more strategical options based on an historical ground. (Clearly USAF were in the PACIFIC doing something against Japan outside the Navy Carriers.)


  • 2017 2016

    @Uncrustable:

    Revised edition rulebook page 38

    "When moving your air units, you may treat island groups as part of the seazone containing them"
    -An optional rule for a USA national advantage

    In essence a plane on the island is considered in the seazone for movement purposes (not combat).
    So an airbase would still be required for scrambling.

    Just decide which islands will fall under this rule on the game board.

    Another option is to just make airbases cheaper on islands than on mainland.
    Again just decide which islands would fall in this category as certain islands such as Japan shouldn’t be considered.

    Thanks Uncrustable,
    it shows that Larry H. somehow think about something similar in a previous version of A&A.

    It was a National Advantage for USA; but in Global, I want it fair so to give it to any Power in the PAC.

    What was your reticence about giving it to Japan?

    Airbase with such a bonus, will allow Fgts and TcBs to patrol 1 SZ further or to attack Iwo Jima or Okinawa and come back home.

    Maybe the AirBase as an immobile carrier HR must be restricted for movement of Fgt and TcB over SZ only.
    So, Japan can only use the +1 OOB Move while attacking any continental Asian territory.


  • 2017 2016

    I would add this post that I borrowed from Flashman to show that some incentive should be find to improve the (strategical) interest on those tiny islands in PTO.
    I also started a post on this topic about Zero IPC PAC islands.

    This, like so much else that is flawed in Axis and Allies, comes down to movement restrictions.

    You have to go back to the real war and ask why the Allies sacrificed so many lives taking these tiny islands; it was certainly nothing to do with economic value.

    In fact it was all about acquiring air bases within bombing range of the Japanese home islands. Therefore, the map should be designed in such as way that the allies cannot bomb Japan (nor invade it without air support) unless it takes islands within round-trip flying range.

    By the way, the Allies did bypass a lot of small islands; the Japanese defenders are still living on some of them…
    Flashman

    http://harrisgamedesign.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=18480


  • Customizer

    I’d like to see more action in the PTO. Nobody seems to agree on how to do it. With balance, history and gameplay all being factors it would be fantastic if someone could create a variant that makes everyone happy and maybe see some action in the Pac. I’m not even going to touch Normandy in the ETO LOL!

    We have enough guys on here that could come up with good stuff. Maybe some day LOL.



  • We see plenty of PTO action in G40 now.

    I play alot of spring 42 and the biggest reason (in my opinion) is the sea zone alignment in the Atlantic.

    The Canada to N Africa chuck is simply the most efficient way for USA to get troops into the action. Although i still see a KJF atleast 1 in 5 games.


  • 2017 2016

    I have to put this post in it because it is also related to the actual topic:
    @CWO:

    Many of the island territories in the Central Pacific which Japan and the US fought to control were little more than coral atolls, volcanic formations or overgrown sandheaps, many of them small in size and some of them barely above water at high tide.  They had few (or no) natural resources, little (or no) arable land, few (or no) indigenous inhabitants, and no industries; the military bases located there had to be supplied from outside with virtually everything they used.  They were for most practical purposes 100% consumers and 0% producers.

    The value which these islands had wasn’t as industrial production facilities or as sources of income or of goods or of raw materials.  Their value was to serve as airbases (and in the case of suitable anchorages like Truk as naval bases) which allowed the domination of the airspace and ocean around them, and to serve as the jumping-off point from which to capture the next island group down the line. So if the rules provide no incentive to capture and hold these territories, the historically realistic solution isn’t to give them an IPC value.  The solution is to create a house rule through which possession of an island gives some sort of bonus to a player who uses the island to attack enemy forces around it or as a springboard for an island-hopping advance.


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