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Blocking the American fleet with destroyers



  • So a strategy used by my friends and I is to use a single Japanese , Italian or German destroyer to block the entire US fleet. No naval unit including submarines can pass through a sea zone with a destroyer without stopping because there is a battle. The US then can only move its massive fleet one sea zone at a time because it always has to fight a destroyer.


  • 2019 2018 2017

    That’s a tactic, not a strategy. Quite a common tactic really, and how well it works is situation dependent (as with any tactic). For example, if the US has a naval base, it’s fleet may be able to simply swing around the destroyer. Or if the sea zone beyond the destroyer is free, the US may send a single sub and a few planes against it, and then still move the main fleet two spaces after winning that combat. Or if it’s an Italian destroyer, it may get killed by ANZAC or even by the French plane before the US turn (and theoretically, a German destroyer could be killed by Russia).


  • 2016 2015 '14 Customizer

    @Herr:

    Or if the sea zone beyond the destroyer is free, the US may send a single sub and a few planes against it, and then still move the main fleet two spaces after winning that combat.

    How is this legitimate? I thought all combat moves had to be done at once, so the DD would still be there blocking the US fleet’s move.


  • 2019 2018 2017

    If the sea zone beyond the destroyer is free, then moving there after sinking the destroyer would be non-combat. For example, say that the huge US fleet in question, is in SZ 28 and wants to move to SZ 26 which is unoccupied, but finds the destroyer in its way in SZ 27. The US now attacks that destroyer with, say, a submarine from the main fleet plus a few carrier-based planes. That should be enough to sink the destroyer. During the non-combat phase, the remainder of the US fleet can then move as intended, and the planes can land on any carriers that move there. Only the submarine needs to stay behind, if it survived.


  • 2016 2015 '14 Customizer

    Oh OK - I get it now - I thought you meant it as both moves being combat moves.


  • '14

    Watch me get all extra pedantic about it…  😄
    I don’t think the distinction between tactics and strategy is very useful in A&A sometimes, as it seems to result in confusion for people. Both modern words come from ancient Greek terms, common use terms, the first via Latin, the latter directly.

    Taxis-Taktikos in ancient Greek means “arrangement”, taktike is the abstract feminine noun for “arrangement”, taktike tekne (from which Latin “tactica” derives) is someone’s “arrangement skill” or the “art of arrangement.”
    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=tactics

    Strategy comes from the ancient Greek word for “General.” Strategy is something that a general does, with his forces en mass, whether its skillful or artful, depends on the general I guess haha
    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=strategy

    A Strategos like Xenephon, might use his taktike tekne, to throw up blocking maneuvers to cover a retreat, in order get his army safely back to the sea. The distinction in the modern sense, comes down to whether the tactic serves some broader purpose or goal for the militarist. The french tried to introduce a greater degree of nuance into the terms, but in A&A basically everything you do is a conflation of these terms. Usually in the strict sense, its just a matter of scale. Or put another way, how high you want to aim.

    For our purposes tactics are things you do to react or exploit opportunities in the moment, or the heat of battle, in a given round. Strategy is something you do over time, building across multiple rounds.

    A single destroyer blocking a single US fleet movement in a given round, is a tactic. But buying a bunch of destroyers every round and constantly leaving them to block US fleet movements for the duration, is strategic. In this case, the strategy is to disrupt the enemy’s naval combat movement ability, to win control of the ocean as a way to win the war. Is that what you mean madscientist?

    I think in the long run, if you pursue this kind of constant blocking strategy, you will end up being defeated. This is because destroyers are relatively easy to kill with aircraft, that have more movement points than ships. That doesn’t mean its a bad idea to buy destroyers, but it might not be the best idea to constantly put them at risk just to disrupt USN movement. Sometimes a block might be really critical, in which case the cost of a dead destroyer becomes totally worth it. In a discrete instance like that, a destroyer block would usually be described as tactical, in the way Herr KaLeun tried to point out, and it might be a great idea. Or it might not, depending on the circumstances.

    But if you’re buying DDs every round, in order to sacrifice them as blockers, in the strategic sense, then you’re probably going to lose out in the TUV trade in the long run, esp. if your opponent is trading subs (paired with air) to kill your Destroyers. Since his fodder will be cheaper to replace than your blocker. There’s also a good chance his fodder sub will survive against a single destroyer. Also as Herr pointed out, to truly block USN movement, you need to block it in both the combat and non com phase, which means leaving surface ships to occupy all the sea zones along the non combat paths too, and that the gets expensive. I’ve seen this sort of move described as destroyer “fanning” or “picketing.” This tactic could work sometimes when the opportunity to restrict the USN is very critical, like in blocking an amphibious assault

    In the broader strategic sense though, its better to conserve your Destroyers and set up for counter attacks. Rather than disrupting the USNs ability to move, you save those units for major counter attacks (deterring the USNs movement in the first place, for fear of total annihilation, rather than blocking it), and then only use naval units to block when it really matters.



  • I usually do this to protect a big fleet in the SZ directly behind the blocker. Or as a (usually) 1-turn preventive measure against invasions.

    Example: Japan wants to delay the USA from reaching a critical zone during a ‘KJF’. For the sake of simplicity, lets assume the USA wants to reach SZ6 with a much bigger fleet than the IJN.

    Put a blocker in SZ16, now the USA can only reach SZ6 with air -not enough to be of any problem for the IJN. IF a Japanese counterstrike from the IJN + IJAF is a concern for the USN, this blocking tactic may work for a couple of turns in a row, even indefinately…



  • @Black_Elk:

    Watch me get all extra pedantic about it…  😄
    I don’t think the distinction between tactics and strategy is very useful in A&A sometimes, as it seems to result in confusion for people. Both modern words come from ancient Greek terms, common use terms, the first via Latin, the latter directly.

    Taxis-Taktikos in ancient Greek means “arrangement”, taktike is the abstract feminine noun for “arrangement”, taktike tekne (from which Latin “tactica” derives) is someone’s “arrangement skill” or the “art of arrangement.”
    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=tactics

    Strategy comes from the ancient Greek word for “General.” Strategy is something that a general does, with his forces en mass, whether its skillful or artful, depends on the general I guess haha
    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=strategy

    A general does not do strategy in he is busy with tactics, positioning his forces. Strategy is on a “general” scale. general being country level.
    Doing Japan first, china first, sea lion can be seen as a strategy, moving a specific unit is a tactic.



  • Yes, I suppose calling it a strategy was not quite correct. My strategy is to win the game by slowing down the american fleet. A tactic involved in this is blocking the fleet with destroyers.

    I want to add that we don’t buy destroyers for the first round or two because the USA isn’t allowed to attack until round 4 anyway. The destroyers start being built on round 2 (for Italy) and round 3 (for Germany) because USA goes after Germany but before Italy.



  • @ItIsILeClerc:

    I usually do this to protect a big fleet in the SZ directly behind the blocker. Or as a (usually) 1-turn preventive measure against invasions.

    Example: Japan wants to delay the USA from reaching a critical zone during a ‘KJF’. For the sake of simplicity, lets assume the USA wants to reach SZ6 with a much bigger fleet than the IJN.

    Put a blocker in SZ16, now the USA can only reach SZ6 with air -not enough to be of any problem for the IJN. IF a Japanese counterstrike from the IJN + IJAF is a concern for the USN, this blocking tactic may work for a couple of turns in a row, even indefinately…

    This is precisely what I do as Japan, particularly mid-game if the USN is holed up in Hawaii (which they usually are) and the IJN is split into several task forces operating in different SZs.  It lets Japan use SZ 6 as a safe placement to mobilize new naval units.  The DD block is critical in keeping the USN threat to a minimum while preserving Japan’s ability to split its fleet to deal with multiple threats (or to consolidate disparate naval builds) - not to mention keeping the US honest and unable to send in a few subs to cause havoc around the Japanese home islands (a common “tactic” or sometimes “strategy”  I’ve encountered from US players looking to stay engaged while they focus elsewhere (usually Europe)).


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