1940 - Marines on Destroyers

  • Destroyers have enhanced capability of providing transport of 1 infantry unit for an amphib assault.  They cannot be used as a method to transport troops, they can only be used for an assault (though if they retreat from an assault, the infantry can be offloaded anywhere).  During the assault, any sea zone must be cleared as normal, but any surviving destroyers with a infantry unit can provide bombardment (hit on 2).  Destroyers carrying infantry units lose their anti-sub characteristics and cannot roll for convoy disruptions.

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    A couple of comments, one about the phrasing of the house rule and one about historical accuracy.

    Your thread is titled “Marines on Destroyers”, which seems to imply that it’s talking about a new unit type.  The actual house rule, however, refers to the conventional Infantry unit, not to Marines, which I find confusing…and I’m further confused by the fact that it then goes on to say that destroyers “cannot be used as a method to transport troops”, even though the previous sentence refers to Infantry units being transported on destroyers.  So I’m not really clear about what is being described here.

    As has been mentioned in a number of other discussion threads, surface-combat warships don’t normally carry ground troops – and the two exceptions to that general rule are very limited in scope.  Warships don’t normally carry ground troops because they’re very tightly designed for their specific function, whatever that happens to be, and have no spare room or facilities for passengers to any significant degree.  Moreover, they don’t carry the specialized landing craft which are needed to put troops ashore; they have, at best, a few motorboats of very limited capacity.

    The two exceptions are, as I mentioned, very limited in scope.  Exception one is the practice of certain navies (the US Navy and the Royal Navy in particular) of having small numbers of true Marines as part of the ship’s normal complement.  They aren’t carried with the express purpose of landing them ashore; they provide shipboard security and in some cases they serve as weapons operators (an example being the Royal Navy practice of having Royal Marines operate one of the gun turrets on battleships and cruisers).  Such Marines can, in some circumstances, be put ashore in an infantry role, but this rarely happens.  Moreover, the number of Marines that a single ship can put ashore is very small.  The problem isn’t solved by having dozens and dozens of ships put their Marines ashore because what you’d get are dozens and dozens of small units who’ve never trained to fight together as a large force, and who haven’t been trained to carry out a specific amphibious landing against a specific target – something which is crucial for a successful amphibious operation, and which takes months if you want to do it right.

    Exception two was the Tokyo Express – the IJN’s practice of using destroyers to race down The Slot at night and feed reinforcements (and supplies) to their forces on Guadalcanal.  They weren’t mounting an amphibious landing against a defended beach; they were sending troops to areas that they already controlled.  And these operations could only be conducted at night, because of the vulnerability of these ships to air attack by day.

  • Well, all that is say is true.  But my rule is intended to handle a complex situation in the limited scope of what the game provides.  So without making a new type of unit (Marines), and using the idea that a destroyer is not just 1 ship but some collection of craft - then in cases where a small infantry force is being transported for the purposes an assault (I’ll call them Marines), then lets allow that force to be represented by a destroyer unit and give them that extra capability, while at the same time taking away some of their other capabilities.  Again its all about expanding the game and giving more choices to the player.

  • Nice try, but the problem with house rules is they unbalance the game. Who will buy trannies anymore when you can put infantry on destroyers ? You must then change cost and abilities to the whole shebalong of units, in order to rebalance it, so now you got a brand new game, the A&A Carolina edition.  😄

    just for some historical facts, I happen to know about 2 incidents where infantry used destroyers for transport. First was the amphibious assault on Norway 9. april 1940. A German destroyer with a crew of 360 sailors could take 200 infantry as cargo. For the attack on Narvik, 2000 Austrian infantry that was part of an mountain division, did sail on 10 destroyers, from Germany to Narvik in Northern Norway. Their first problem was they could not make an amphibious assault against a well defended shore. They had to debark at a port like passengers from a liner. And the only reason they succeeded debarking at Narvik was the Norwegian officer in command at Narvik was a pro Hitler Nazi. Their other problem was that all heavy equipement and supply had to come on trannies. So there are no way around a tranny. Their last problem was that after 9 days under deck the fighting spirit was low, so they would need a couple of days to recover. There are a reason the Allies made Landing Crafts for the Normandy invasion. Another issue conserning your game is that an average A&A infantry unit is supposed to represent an army of 100 000 men or something, not 2000 men. A rule like this could work in a tactical level game, but now so much in a grand strategy game like A&A. But with that said, this was actually an optional rule in the A&A Revised edition from 2004.

    Oh, and the other example I know is the Dunquirk evacuation after the fall of Belgium, this is also in 1940. The myth says it was a fleet of civilian sailboats, rafts and canoes that lifted 350 000 british infantry from the beach over to UK. The fact is, it was 20 british destroyers that did the job.

    So to make a house rule that got a link to the real war, I say a destroyer got the ability to ferry, or bridging, one infantry unit across one or two sea zones in the combat phase only, either as amphibious assaulting an empty enemy territory, or if its not empty let the defender roll a preemptive strike, and if the infantry on the destroyer survive, he can attack. Or for a Dunkirk evac, let one defending infantry retreat via a friendly destroyer, even if this last suggestion is blatantly cheesy

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