Central Powers Navy?



  • Hey forum goers! I wanted to know what you guys thought about the Central Powers having a navy. Many of the games I play include Germany building battleships so that England can’t amphibiously assault Berlin and Prussia but it sacrifices some ground manpower. Also, have any of your games ever had  Austria-Hungary or the Ottomans get control of the Mediterranean? I haven’t found anything on the CP navy so I thought that it might be uncommon to do. Just want your thoughts.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Moderator

    I don’t bother. I think you have to march on to those capitals.
    I might buy a Sub or two for Germany, just to soak up hits when the UK comes at me, through the minefields.
    The Ottomans lose their navy before they get a go, when I play.
    Austria is safe for 3 turns, so I don’t worry about augmenting its navy either.



  • Considering the startingpoint, it does not look like a good idea for the axis to buy a navy.
    The allies start with 7 BS and 9 Cruisers as offensive navy which is worth 165 IPC wheres the CP have 2 BS, 4 Cruisers and 4 Subs which is worth 84 IPC. Diffrence is 81 IPC worth of Navy.
    And I know due to positioning and the ability to strike first the advantage is not that great. To be generous lets say the advantage is only 50 IPC. But that is almost 2 rounds of income for AH….
    Consider also that the CP badly needs income to catch up to the enormous money advantage the Allies got spending 2 rounds of AH IPC to break even Navy which in no way can direcly lead to even the income, is a fundamental bad idea.



  • How do you guys stop or counter the British or French invading Prussia Poland or Berlin once the German Navy is gone.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Moderator

    There will always be one Art in each of the coastal territories, as you built them the turn before and they are marching with the Inf at one territory at a time to the Front. Art gets a pre strike at any amphibious landing. You have no other options really.
    I can’t win as the CPs: I find the Triple Entente’s economic advantage and starting navy is too much to overcome.



  • I havent lost yet as CP, but I have only played 4 games in total and havent faced anything close to optimal Allied play. My two wins as CP has gone exacly the same; Russia falls r6. Remaining stack of AH ang G moves south to releave the Ottomans (even without help Ottomans can hold on to around r9-10). Italy falls r10-11 after which Allys gives up.



  • I don’t usually go heavy navy purchases as the CP until Russia falls. Once I have that Russian money and $6 from Moscow every turn then Germany can build a navy to challenge the Allies enough to force UK to buy ships, weakening its position in Africa and the Middle East and keeping its infantry out of mainland Europe.

    If it gets to the point where AH or Ottomans can gain naval supremacy in the Mediterranean, the game is just about over, in my experience.



  • This weekend I tried a Big Navy strategy for the Central Powers, combined with a Capture Egypt strategy for the Ottoman Turks.
    CP were able to hold SZ 17. Turkey took Egypt, which then allowed a successful assault on India. Britain could never obtain superiority in the Channel, as Germany was building Battleships and running the minefields to hold SZ 8.
    This was fun and different, but ultimately unsuccessful. Russia survived (barely), and the tradeoff in not buying land units meant defeat, first for Germany and then Austria (13th round).



  • Interesting stuff guys. I appreciate it.



  • Colonel, were you guys playing with RR rules in place?  I wonder if that would have any affect on the outcome of Russia surviving in your game?



  • We played OOB Rules and the RR was declined.
    Another interesting twist was that Britain reinforced Russia overland through Afghanistan, and the US reinforced Russia via Karelia.
    I would like to try the CP Big Navy strategy again with the Allies abandoning Russia.



  • Personally, I modify the starting forces to more accurately reflect what each side really had available.  I researched it for quite a while, and my best estimate of what each side actually had in 1914 was:
    BB/BC Pre-DN BB Cruisers Subs
    Britain 34 41 102
    Germany 21 22 47 29
    France 4 15 24
    Austria 4 9 11
    Italy 6 10 8
    Russia 4 9 14
    USA 10 21 33
    Turkey 1 2 4

    I am counting the modern (post Dreadnaught) battleships (BBs)and battlecruisers (BCs) as basically the same.  Historically, the BCs were a bit faster that the BBs, but more lightly armored.  Their firepower was about the same (typically 8-12 main guns of 11in-12in caliber, arranged mostly 2 guns per turret).    They would also have secondary guns of 6in-8in, (which would be considered main guns on cruisers) and tertiary guns of 3in-5in.  Pre-Dreadnaught BBs would typically be slower and have 2 turrets with 1-2 main guns each (still usually 11in-12in), and more reliance on secondary guns for throw weight.  They also had lighter armor than the modern BBs.  In theory, they should have been only slightly less effective than modern BBs.  In practice, combining different calibers made gunnery a bit trickier, since you could not always tell whether a given hit (or splash) was a 12in round or an 8in round.  So it was harder to adjust fire and get on target.  All in all, it is probably best to count the pre-DN BBs as being closer to cruisers than battleships.
    There were a few considerations when converting to A&A numbers.  The U.S. fleet would have been split between the Atlantic and Pacific.  The British had a fair number of subs, but they used them primarily for coastal defense, so they were mostly out of play.  The Russian and Turkish ships tended to be mostly obsolete.  That said, here is what I would suggest for starting forces:
    Battleships Cruisers Subs
    Britain 3 8
    Germany 2 4 4
    France 1 2
    Austria 1 1
    Italy 1 1
    Russia 1 1
    USA 1 1
    Turkey 0 1

    For deployments, I would follow OOB, except:
    2 British cruisers off the coast of Egypt
    All British BBs  plus any cruisers not otherwise deployed in home waters
    1 German cruiser somewhere in the South Atlantic
    All German ships not otherwise deployed in home waters


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

    @almashir:

    I am counting the modern (post Dreadnaught) battleships (BBs)and battlecruisers (BCs) as basically the same.  Historically, the BCs were a bit faster that the BBs, but more lightly armored.  Their firepower was about the same (typically 8-12 main guns of 11in-12in caliber, arranged mostly 2 guns per turret).    They would also have secondary guns of 6in-8in, (which would be considered main guns on cruisers) and tertiary guns of 3in-5in.  Pre-Dreadnaught BBs would typically be slower and have 2 turrets with 1-2 main guns each (still usually 11in-12in), and more reliance on secondary guns for throw weight.  They also had lighter armor than the modern BBs.  In theory, they should have been only slightly less effective than modern BBs.  In practice, combining different calibers made gunnery a bit trickier, since you could not always tell whether a given hit (or splash) was a 12in round or an 8in round.  So it was harder to adjust fire and get on target.  All in all, it is probably best to count the pre-DN BBs as being closer to cruisers than battleships.

    I’ve inserted a few comments below after each relevant sentence:

    I am counting the modern (post Dreadnaught) battleships (BBs)and battlecruisers (BCs) as basically the same. <<

    For gaming purposes at A&A’s level of abstraction, that’s probably all right – especially since A&A 1914 only comes with a single type of battleship sculpt.  But there were important differences between dreadnought batteships and battlecruisers.  Fundamentally, compared with dreadnought battleships, battlecruisers traded away significant armour protection and a certain amount of heavy-gun firepower for a significant increase in speed.

    Historically, the BCs were a bit faster that the BBs, but more lightly armored. <<

    More or less correct.  The figures varied between classes and nations, but BCs were roughly 5 knots faster.  Their armour, however, was inadequate by BB standards.  A well-designed BB was supposed to have “proportional protection” – meaning armour capable of standing up to fire from an enemy ship with guns of equal caliber to the ones which the BB itself carried.  BCs, by contrast, were in the “eggshells armed with hammers”, or boxers with glass jaws to use a sports analogy.  Most could stand up to heavy cruisers, but not to battleships – as was spectacularly demonstrated at the Battle of Jutland, where (as I recall) three British BCs were blown sky-high.  The most extreme BCs were so lightly armoured that the best they could stand up to was a light cruiser.

    Their firepower was about the same (typically 8-12 main guns of 11in-12in caliber, arranged mostly 2 guns per turret).  <<

    BCs typically had fewer main gun turrets that BBs.  Like their reduced armour, this was designed to save weight and thus yield higher speed.

    They would also have secondary guns of 6in-8in, (which would be considered main guns on cruisers) and tertiary guns of 3in-5in. <<

    The “dreadnought” concept (both of the BB andf BC type) refers to the design principle of an “all big gun” warship which carries no intermediate calibers.  Its main offersive armament would consist of heavy guns (11-inch and upward, and more generally 12-inch and upward), carried in as large numbers as possible.  It would also carry a defensive “anti-torpedo boat” armement of relatively light, rapid-fire guns, roughly in the 5-inch range.  In principle, dreadnoughts carried nothing in between those two sets of guns.  Perhaps there were exceptions in WWI, but in WWII there were no BBs as far as know which carried 6-inch or 8-inch guns, the calibers which were used to define ligh and heavy cruisers.

    Pre-Dreadnaught BBs would typically be slower <<

    Pre-dreadnoughts were a lot slower than dreadnought BBs because they still used triple-expansion steam engines.  One of the crucial innovations of the original HMS Dreadnought was the application of steam turbine technology to major combat vessels.

    and have 2 turrets with 1-2 main guns each (still usually 11in-12in), and more reliance on secondary guns for throw weight. <<

    The standard configuration was 2 x 2 heavy guns plus some intermediate-caliber guns.

    They also had lighter armor than the modern BBs.  <<

    Correct.

    In theory, they should have been only slightly less effective than modern BBs.  <<

    Hardly.  Dreadnoughts were designed in recognition of the fact that the best way to sink an enemy battleship was to bring down upon it the maximum number of heavy shells in the shortest time possible, at long range, without wasting time on intermediate-sized shelling from intermediate range.  That’s why they traded all of their intermediate guns for the ability to carry two or three times as many heavy guns as pre-dreadnoughts.  Moreover, turbine-powered dreadnought BBs were faster than pre-dreadnought BBs, which allowed them to dictate the range at which a battle would be fought.  A dreadnought could therefore stay completely out of range of a pre-dreadnought’s intermediate-caliber guns, and slug it out purely with its heavy guns – conditions under which a ship carrying 10 or 12 such guns would demolish a ship carrying only 4 of them.



  • Hi, CWO Marc,

    I wrote the previous post on my lunch break at work, and didn’t have access to all my research, so I was going off memory to some extent.  I’ve checked, and you are pretty much right about the secondary armament on post-Dreadnaught BBs.  They seemed to range between 5 inch and 6 inch for secondaries on post Dreadnaught BBs for the most part.  As for BCs, I’m seeing at least 8 main guns on all classes except the British Courageous and Renown classes, (although they had 15 inch main guns).  But several classes were configured so they could only present 6 guns at any one time toward a single enemy due to their firing arcs, since some turrets were not mounted on the centerline.

    But, given the scale of A&A, would you stick with the numbers I’ve suggested for initial set up?  Or would you tweak them one way or the other for the sake of realism?  I know we’ll never get 100% accuracy, given the abstract nature of the game, but I’d like to create as closely as possible the overall strategic balance.


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

    @almashir:

    But, given the scale of A&A, would you stick with the numbers I’ve suggested for initial set up?  Or would you tweak them one way or the other for the sake of realism?  I know we’ll never get 100% accuracy, given the abstract nature of the game, but I’d like to create as closely as possible the overall strategic balance.

    British BCs did indeed typically have 8 main guns, but British dreadnought BBs typically had 10.  In other words, BCs typically sacrificed two main guns (plus the armoured turret containing them) to save weight.  Capital ships in WWI were in the same position as tanks during WWII: the technology of their time did not permit a design which had excellent performance in all three of their main capabilities (firepower, armour protection and mobility).  Designers could try to produce either a balanced design which was good (but not excellent) in all three areas, or an unbalanced design which optimized one or two characteristics at the expense of reducing performance elsewhere.  By WWII, naval technology had progressed to the point where battleships and battlecruisers merged into a type of vessel which did indeed have excellent performance in all three areas, the “fast battleship.”  By contrast, the development of a good-in-all-three-areas tank (i.e. the “main battle tank”) had to await the Cold War era.

    But, given the scale of A&A, would you stick with the numbers I’ve suggested for initial set up?  Or would you tweak them one way or the other for the sake of realism? <<

    My suggestion would be for you to focus only on the newer classes in all categories of vessels (the newer battleships, the newer cruisers, etc.) in all of the navies, and to disregard the older classes.  Specifically, I’d recommend eliminating the pre-dreadnought battleships, rather than trying to equate them with either dreadnought BBs and BCs or with ordinary cruisers (none of which are a good equivalent fit).  In fleet operations, fleets are actually weakened rather than strengthened when you mix older and newer ships of the same type.  Admiral Rozhestvensky ran into this problem when he was sent halfway around the world during the Russo-Japanese War.  Rozhestvensky – who knew better, but who had no choice – was forced by his superiors to take along just about every old tub in the Russian Navy which could still float.  His bosses belived that “quantity has a quality all of its own,” a principle which had some validity in WWII when applied to tanks (especially given that the T-34 was actually a very good design, although it was crude in many respects) but which didn’t work in a WWI naval context.  Adding a bunch of floating junk to Rozhestvensky’s fleet hampered him rather than helped him: it reduced the speed of his fleet to the speed of its slowest unit, it vastly increased his need for coal fuel (which was huge headache because coaling was a messy and time-consuming operation), and it complicated his task of tactical control in battle.  In the end, Rozhestvensky’s fleet was virtually annihilated at Tsushima.

    The principle of “eliminating the junk” is a good one to follow.  That’s what Jacky Fisher did when he became First Lord of the Admiralty: he decommissioned a bunch of older, less capable ships – with the dismissive phrase that an enemy “would lap them up like an armadillo” – and used the money (and the crew members) released by this move to focus on a smaller number of more modern, more capable ships.  So I’d recommend that you toss out the pre-dreadnoughts, as well as any obsolescent cruisers that are included in the numbers in your list.



  • Alright, so I have tried the CP navy push the past 3 times I have played with 2 different people.  Both who were not veterans to A&A, but not virgins to these types of games.  So far, I have been both tragically defeated and, actually, held on (with really good luck in rolls) to turn the tide and win. I am batting .500 with this.  Note:  The really good luck with rolls*.

    AH1:  Purchase 1 BB, 4 Inf, 2 IPC left over.  Move BB, CC in to SZ 17.  Move 3-4 Inf, 1 Art in to Serbia.  Transport 1 Inf, 1 Art in to Tuscany from Trieste.  Move all leftover from Trieste and all from Tyrolia in to Venice.  Move all leftover from Budapest in to Romania.  Split Vienna between Tyrolia and Galicia.  Move all from Bohemia to Galicia.  Strategy is KRF and disrupt Italy/activation of Albania.

    GE1:  Purchase 1 BB, 7 Inf, 2 IPC left over.  Move BB, 2 CC, 2 Subs (SZ 5) in to SZ 9 (barring the Russian BB isn’t disrupting in 10).  Move 2 subs (SZ 7) in to SZ 2.  Move all from Ruhr in to Belgium.  Move all from Munich in to Switzerland.  Move all from Silesia in to Poland.  Move all from Prussia in to Poland.  Move all from Kiel in to Ruhr.  Move all Inf, Art from Berlin in to Prussia.  Move 1 F from Berlin in to Poland.  Move all from Hanover in to Silesia.  Move Inf from Togoland in to Nigeria.  Move Inf from Kamerun in to F.E.A.  Move all from S.W.A. to Angola.  Move Inf from G.E.A. to Belgian Congo.  Strategy in Europe is KRF, spread focus of France, and Wipe out the British Atlantic/North Sea navy and/or disrupt their shipping of troops to mainland Europe.

    OE1:  Somewhat based upon what Brits do in their opening turn.  Purchase all Inf, with whatever IPC left over.  If any CC left, move them to SZ 17.  Move 1 Inf, 1 Art from Constantinople to Bulgaria.  Move all from Smyrna in to Trans-Jordan (no matter if it is taken).  Move Inf from Syrian Desert to T.J.  Move all from Ankara to Mesopotamia.  Move 2 Inf from Const. to Smyrna.  Move rest from Const. to Ankara.  Strategy is to stack up for Brits coming in through Persia, wear down Brits (hopefully) in T.J. to lead to an eventual letting of troops to gather up some IPC/help GE in Africa, further disrupt Mediterranean ship activity, and push through southern RU to help AH in Romania and crawl to a flanking attack/resupply of the fight for Persia/India.

    These all heavily depend on Entente tactics/counter-tactics, mine avoidance, and general good dice rolls.  However, this is, so far, the best I have come up with.  I am going completely off of memory, right now, so I apologize if any seems ridiculous or wrong.  Overall, I like this tactic because it is so non-conservative.  Kind of fun, especially if it all works out.  Additionally, I continue to purchase 1 BB each round for GE, coupled with all Inf, all Inf for OE, and only once more throughout the rounds, purchase a CC for AH.  Otherwise, all Inf for them as well.



  • The land strat seems ok, though I would ignore Italy completly AH1 and move everything towards Russia.
    However I have no clue what the objective is with the Navy buy? As Ive stated before:
    The allies start with 7 BS and 9 Cruisers as offensive navy which is worth 165 IPC wheres the CP have 2 BS, 4 Cruisers and 4 Subs which is worth 84 IPC. Difference is 81 IPC worth of Navy.
    Why bother trying to close this gap? Why not focus only on your groundgame? Feels a little like trying to counter a KGF in a 1942 game by buying navy as Germany….



  • I’m with you, Odd.  First time setting it up, I felt the same way.  That was my initial, gut feel.  However, if your rolls are on, the Navies, especially the Brits, are well distanced from each other.  This means if they want to get troops going to Europe, they will have to counter the GE attack by wasting money on their naval purchases, and drawing away from being heavy on the Turks.  The hope, here, is to spread the “worry” and fronts out more for the Entente.  My experience has been if they only need to focus on one “real” front, then it is pretty much over for the CP from the get go.  Unless you are playing an amateur or your rolls and defense are decent enough.

    All that aside, I agree, Odd.  My normal tactic is land heavy and stay well concentrated with my attacks.  I only use the CP navy for defense.



  • Since you’re going after Russia first, Britain has no need to try to get troops into Europe, resulting in completely wasted CP IPCs on navy until Britain finally decides to spend in Europe after having beaten the Ottomans into submission.

    Also, I don’t know how you’re actually beating Russia in a reasonable timeframe while sending like 20+ units at Italy. Maybe you get a late (turn 7+) Revolution? If that’s not in play, you shouldn’t ever be able to take Moscow with so few resources dedicated.



  • You’re right, and it doesn’t look good on paper.  However, one of the guys I played feared that GE was going to try an amphibious assault on UK, so they decided to split money between land in India and Navy in the Atlantic.  The reason for pressuring Italy to start, is that when I have left them alone, in the past, to go all out on Russia, they became a real nuisance, especially if my rolls were terrible and I got bogged down getting to Moscow (without RR rules).  the real point is that I am hoping that the Entente players react the way that I previously explained.  Now, if they are seasoned, like yourself, then yeah, this is probably a terrible idea.



  • I have found that the only time the German navy should build to interdict US troop convoys is if they have the Russian money. No Revolution but the cash from Russia, That way they have enough to do both land and sea builds.

    And really that is the only real reason for the CP to do this, slow down US troops. Has anyone ever actually tried or been in a position to do a German amphib assault on England?

    I have found that a German navy build always works, the US troops slow down but they never are stopped completely, so its a short term gain with great $ cost.

    And if you follow the rules and allow the UK to build unlimited in India then that is what the UK should do, pour troops into Turkey and southern Russia.

    Just my thoughts.



  • Seems the same consensus, all around, legion.  Again, I am certainly with the masses on this consideration.  I was just trying out the heavy naval approach, as originally posted, for effect.  Also, because I like new tactics and mixing it up a little.  But, yeah, I wouldn’t do the same in a game with more experienced players.


  • 2018 2017 2015

    Like any strategy, it will change once you meet the enemy.

    May plays on AA14 are low, but I’m intrigued by the Central Powers navy option and have done it a couple of times to success.  It mostly focuses on Austria building a navy.

    For Germany, it’s too easy for the UK to counter with naval builds, so I don’t go big navy, just 1-2 pieces supplemental.  If the UK counters in a big way, i don’t both; Germany has too many fronts. If the UK does similar/smaller buys, i continue 1-2 a round.  Any UK money spent on ships helps alleviate some Ottoman pressure.

    For Austria, their fleet is pretty well tucked away. Italy starts with some ships, but certainly won’t be spending any on navy. France will rarely do so, and if they do, at the expense of the Germany front. I typically buy one battleship a turn. The benefits as I’ve seen them are thus:

    1 ) Protect my coastline! The armies move so slow, and start so far away from a lot of Austria’s money, it helps to have protected transports that can counter an early US dropping of troops. Without it, you have to leave a lot more land units behind to get the same protection.

    2 ) It helps me get offensive against Italy. I now threaten his coast instead of reacting to their invasions. I have less units, but I’m more mobile, forcing some of their units away from the stalemate.

    3 ) CONDITIONAL: If they don’t combine and contain effectively, my navy can break out and help protect the Ottomans while threatening Egypt/Africa.

    Ottomans

    They don’t have enough money to even think about it until the game is going very well for the CP.

    But again, if France and the UK do naval builds round 1, then it’s not really tenable and I switch to something else.



  • Very well put, Whack.  Makes total sense.



  • Here is my naval CP strategy:
    Germany: t1 crush both British Atlantic fleets t2 build enough(or none)fleet to hold off Allies and retreat to Kiel(cant remember SZ number). After this I vary what I do. This is my mentality: every extra ship I force Britain to buy diverts them from Turkey and it also diverts France from AH Navy. Downside is of course reduction in land units for you. I only purchase the most a battleship per turn (I feel subs are not as good) unless I get a golden opportunity.

    AH stay put unless u get a golden opportunity. Do not build navy unless someone threatens you(even then sometimes it is not worth it).

    OE: just hope you get left with a single cruiser. If you don’t do not build navy unless you have condiserable income or you have a golden opportunity. lf you do keep the cruiser (or really lucky 2) build battleship t1 but only if it can survive a couple turns.


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