Naval Bases - Operating Radius for Surface Ships

  • I think this concept got muddled in a YG’s post on Naval Bases, so I’m going to try to clarify it here instead.

    Naval Bases - Operating Radius for Surface Ships … ie, anything other than a submarine.

    Historical Purpose of Naval Bases
    Ships, especially fleets of ships in combat, were maintenance nightmares!  They required prodigious amounts of fuel, ammunition and spare parts.  There were a million systems and sub-systems that could break down.  Also, WWII era ships had HUGE crews that required food, medical attention and endless other logistical needs.  For these reasons, ships needed to operate from established bases of operation.    A&A already has ships.  A&A already has Naval Bases.  However, the OOB rules do nothing to make one go hand-in-hand with the other.

    I think Naval Bases are simulated very poorly.  Without changing the way ships move and without changing game balance, Naval Bases can become much more relevant and historically accurate part of the game.  Naval Bases … dating all the way back to Greek times … were for one and one purpose only:  EXTEND THE OPERATING RANGE OF YOUR NAVAL FLEETS.

    Proposed Rule is as Follows

    • Naval Bases emit an “Operating Radius” of 3 spaces starting with the sea-zone that surrounds, or is adjacent to, the Naval Base.    “Operating Radius” is the extent of the range a Naval Base has to service all of the friendly surface ships using it as a base of operations.

    • Surface Ships may START their turn inside an “Operating Radius”, but may END their turn outside an “Operating Radius”.   This is a subtle, but important detail

    • If a surface ship STARTS their turn outside of the Operating Radius, it should attempt to get back inside the Operating Radius of a Friendly Operational Naval Base.

    • If, when starting from OUTSIDE an Operating Radius, movement fails to end inside of an Operating Radius, ship’s movement is reduced to 1 instead of the usual 2 spaces for that turn.  Otherwise, a ship may use it’s full 2 movement spaces if the result returns the ship back inside of a Friendly Operational Naval Base’s “Operating Radius”.

    Please take a minute and look at your G40 maps with the “Operating Radius” rule in mind.   Now look at the “Caroline Islands”.  The game correctly has a Japanese Naval Base there.  This base links mainland Japan to the South Pacific.  Japan can now operate her fleets freely in this area.  With this base, Japan can attack New Guinea and threaten Australia.

    If you take away the Japanese base, you greatly reduce the “Operating Radius” of the Imperial Japanese Navy

    Look at the States.  They have a Naval Base in the Philippines.  This base historically allowed US Fleets to operate freely in the West Pacific.  This is why Japan took that base from the States.  Without it, the United States had to instead operate from bases in Australia and slowly (and costly) work their way back into the Philippines 3 years later!

    Strategic Impact
    The game still plays the same.  Boats still move 3 spaces when launching from a Naval Base and 2 spaces for regular movement.  But look at how much more realistic this simple change makes the game!  Now, Naval Bases are IMPORTANT.  If you capture an enemy’s Naval Base, you are effectively putting their Navy out of range of certain parts of the world.  Now, all of the sudden, the islands in the Pacific aren’t simply 0 IPC curiosities that can basically be ignored.  They are IMPORTANT scraps of land necessary for extending your reach and zone of control.

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    I see the strategic restrictions, but I don’t see the strategic fun…

    Other than spending 15 IPCs for a naval base in Midway to extend range which may give your fleet an advantage over the enemy, I don’t see the reasons other than historical accuracy. I get that being outside of range limits ships, but that’s another restriction… what fun bonus will our ships get if we stay in range?

  • The fun would be on the strategic level.  …. Just like National Objectives provide benefits and steer strategy, building and holding Naval Bases would do the same thing.

    Japan:  You need to keep Carolina Islands to maintain presence in the South Pacific.  You need to establish a NB in New Guinea to threaten Australia.  …. it’s no longer just about having vast, forever-roaming fleets swimming about where-ever they please for the entire game.  You need to set up, and defend, bases for their operation.

    USA:  You need to keep the Hawaii-Australia pipe-line OPEN!  You need to keep ANZAC in the game.  If you lose the bases in Australia, you need to take the base in Carolina Islands to even begin to threaten Japan.  Also, if you take the Carolina Islands, you have basically secured the South Pacific.  That is a HUGE, unspoken, National Objective.

    UK Pacific:  You need to keep Malaya to even have a hope of threatening Japan’s navy in the Pacific.

    Atlantic Theater:  Gibraltar becomes CRITICAL.  Both US and UK need the Naval Base in Gibraltar to sustain operations in North Africa.

    Part of the fun about G40 (most of it actually) are it’s depths of strategy.  Also, it’s cool when enhanced strategy can be paired with enhanced realism.  By giving Naval Bases their actual historical purpose, I think it accomplishes both.

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    By giving Naval Bases their actual historical purpose, I think it accomplishes both.

    As far as the US Navy in the Pacific in WWII was concerned, ships did not have to keep running back to their bases to keep operating.  The USN developed a huge infrastructure for underway replenishment: oilers, ammunition ships and so forth, collectively referred to as the fleet train.  These auxiliaries could keep a fleet operating at sea for months at a time, thousands of miles away from the nearest base.  If push came to shove, a warship might only need to dock at a base for one of two reasons: the need for major repairs, or the sheer exhaustion of its crew after months of service at sea in a war zone.  The captain of one of the Iowa-class battleships, whose crew had excellent morale, once reported back to his superiors that as long as his men could be kept supplied regularly with new movies and with deliveries of mail from home, he felt that they’d be able to remain at sea more or less indefinitely.

  • Hi Marc.  I was hoping for your input on this.

    What you are saying is very true.    This is why I’m proposing to simulate NB’s servicing ships/fleets with a “radius”.  The ships do not ever have to enter the actual sea-zone where the NB is located.

    Therefore, if you have a chain of Naval Bases, your ships can stay at sea forever, as long as they stay within range of a base.  A range of 3 sea zones would be several thousand miles.

    Ships would only need to actually go to a Naval Base to get repairs.


    The Japanese also had their ships out on very long missions.  Example being their carrier fleet around Java back in '41.  But they were able to do that with a very nice series of Bases leading all the way back to the mainland to service them.

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