Buying and using submarines



  • Do you purchase Submarines?… if so, when and how often?

    How do you protect subs after your turn sequence, or do you just sacrifice them as the vulnerable casualties they are?

    What do you use submarines for, is there an art to their usefulness in this game, or are they always one and done?

    Here is a break down of all submarines in the setup:

    Germany: 5
    Soviet Union: 2
    Japan: 2
    United States: 2
    China: 0
    United Kingdom: 0
    Italy: 1
    ANZAC: 0
    France: 0


  • 2015

    If I am playing as US or Japan I buy subs often.  Commonly as the US, usually around turn 5 or 6, I will do a 10 sub buy in the Pacific.


  • 2017 2016 2015 '14 '12

    I like to have USA sink the Japanese fleet, then fill the Chinese coast with ANZAC subs.



  • So Germany starts with 5 subs… after G1 it’s possible that they have zero left. The single sub in 106 is a 50/50 battle, the 2 I send to 111, and the 2 I send to 110 are the first units to be used as casualties. Even if a sub survives, the UK destroyer in 109 along with just 1 plane is enough to eliminate it… so what looks like a strong beginning with 5 subs, is just an expendable fodder force to protect the planes. After G1 it’s always difficult to build, protect, and use additional subs for the 6 IPCs each simply because if they do get into a fight during combat movement, or into a position to convoy more than once, it’s extremely difficult to keep them on the board after Germany’s turn sequence. However, the best way to utilize a submarine strategy where buying them becomes efficient is to eliminate all enemy destroyers. The problem is, even 1 enemy destroyer placed on the board is usually enough to guarantee the lost of 1 sub because of their crappy defence capabilities and the ever presence of enemy air units. Submarines work best alone, but they are also at their most vulnerable if the enemy has just 1 destroyer in range. Now what about taking out both UK destroyers G1 and leaving the ships is say 111? without any destroyers on the board, German subs will never get sunk and they would be forcing the UK into a purchase they don’t want to make. Has anyone ever put an importance on taking out both UK destroyers for the purpose of a strong submarine strategy?



  • Honestly, as the Germans I think the best sub strat involves gobbling up Southern France on G1 and pumping out subs into the Mediterranean from G2 onwards. I’ve had great success with that strat after trying a number of other possible solutions to help out the Italians with Germany. If you keep a couple of planes handy in Southern Italy you get even more mileage out of them.

    As for deliberately going after all of the UK destroyers… I don’t really see that working out. Leaving 111 alone so that you can hit 109 just doesn’t sound that smart to me, and you can’t hit that sea zone with everything you could throw into 111 either. There’s also the problem that destroyers are among the cheapest and most effective naval units in the game, so forcing the Allies to build them isn’t exactly doing you a whole lot of favours. Just my 2 cents.


  • 2015

    A German opening I used to use now and then was taking out SZ 106, 109 and 111, with the obvious idea being to take out every British DD.  When Ike lived in the area we’d play often, and one of his favorite counters to this was to combine the remaining Royal Navy from 110, 91 and 98 into SZ 92.  He’d even use the DD from 98 as a blocker against Italy in SZ 94.  Worked pretty effectively.


  • 2015

    If the Allies plan to win, the USA has to buy subs at some point.  The question is - when?

    Subs are the endgame for the Pacific battle - the USA builds them once it’s confident that the Japanese fleet is nothing to worry about, or can at least be held at bay for quite some time.  USA likely occupies SZ 6 at this point.  But start building them too early and your fleet defense takes a nosedive.  All this assumes that taking the home islands is not a serious objective.

    Subs are also how Italy gets shut down, generally.  I can rarely seem to make this work in practice when I play Allies, but I’ve had it done to me on many occasions.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    To add to Shin Ji’s post I would say that subs are most valuable when convoy disruption is viable - i.e. when you have naval supremacy in any theatre. In the Med to disrupt sz97 and take out Italy’s economy is the most obvious example.

    Lesser roles include threatening unescorted transports or preventing amphibious assaults that are not accompanied by warships. Both can be relevant in the Pacific.



  • So is it safe to say that purchasing subs is only viable if you have the upper hand on naval supremacy?


  • 2015

    @Young:

    So is it safe to say that purchasing subs is only viable if you have the upper hand on naval supremacy?

    I believe they can also be a valuable purchase toward attaining naval supremacy.  If the fleets are somewhat close, a large sub purchase is a good way to swing it in your favor.

    As an example using David Skelly’s calculator:

    Attacker has 4 CV with 8 fighters, 2 subs, 2 DD, 2 C, 2 BB

    Defender has 3 CV with 6 fighters, 2 subs, 2 DD, 1 C, 1 BB

    This battle is a 97% win for the attacker.  I then ran two scenarios: one where the defender adds a loaded CV, and one where they add 6 subs.

    Extra loaded CV: 62% for the attacker

    Extra 6 subs: 54% for the attacker

    Once you have a solid set of power ships, large sub buys seem to be the way to go



  • @Shin:

    If the Allies plan to win, the USA has to buy subs at some point.  The question is - when?

    Subs are the endgame for the Pacific battle - the USA builds them once it’s confident that the Japanese fleet is nothing to worry about, or can at least be held at bay for quite some time.  USA likely occupies SZ 6 at this point.  But start building them too early and your fleet defense takes a nosedive.  All this assumes that taking the home islands is not a serious objective.

    Subs are also how Italy gets shut down, generally.  I can rarely seem to make this work in practice when I play Allies, but I’ve had it done to me on many occasions.

    Subs can be verry usefull against japan at the start as well. You just disrupt convoy zones with them and force them to keep their transports covered at all times. And japan has to buy destroyers to clear them all which will prevent him from buying what he really wants to buy.
    And the sub could still hit a destroyer once in a while, when in range of allied air power you are trading subs for destroyers with japan, if you can do this with anzac then you slowly drain away japan while the US builds up.

    Germany they are usefull to prevent the russian NO, UK goes after russia so yes it can clear the sub but you are again trading 6ipc sub vs 8 ipc destroyer and you take away 5 in NO so you get to trade 6 vs 13 not a bad trade for germany.



  • @Nippon-koku:

    A German opening I used to use now and then was taking out SZ 106, 109 and 111, with the obvious idea being to take out every British DD.  When Ike lived in the area we’d play often, and one of his favorite counters to this was to combine the remaining Royal Navy from 110, 91 and 98 into SZ 92.  He’d even use the DD from 98 as a blocker against Italy in SZ 94.  Worked pretty effectively.

    Wouldn’t this strategy have been more effective if you hit 110 instead of 111?

    that way the Royal Navy couldn’t have combined the way they did.



  • Getting enough forces to also hit SZ110 is difficult.  It would be very tempting for the UK to scramble on one of the attacks.



  • On the Pacific side of the map:
    As US, I like to make sure my fleet is secure against the Japanese navy from a defensive point of view. In other words, I buy the number of carriers needed to protect the Allied fleet. After that, it’s nothing but subs (5 a turn or so).

    On the Atlantic side:
    I like to have 1 Axis sub ready to strike SZ91 (common place for the Allied fleet) because of the rule that subs can always pass through the Strait of Gibraltar. Even though I almost never attack, the Allies have to spend resources to protect against Italian subs and German bombers.


  • 2015

    The reason I like to hit 111 is that it leaves zero DD’s on the board for the UK, meaning any surviving German subs are safe.  I’ll usually do it this way:

    • 2 subs to 106
    • 3 subs, 2 fighters, 1 tac bomber*, 2 str bombers to 109
    • 1 BB, 2 fighters, 3 tacs to 111

    *I buy a CV when using this strategy in order to get the tac from Berlin involved.

    Even a scramble in 111 doesn’t do much other than kill the BB and one fighter.  But the key is 109.  UK can scramble 4 fighters, but the numbers don’t advise it.  Germany should get four hits, UK three if they scramble, which means they would be down a DD and 3 fighters as opposes to Germany’s three subs.

    That being the case, UK never scrambles in 109 and all three subs usually survive.  Combine that with 106, where Germany should survive with at least 1 sub, and you’re looking at 4 German subs on the board without a single UK DD in sight.  Not only that, but when the UK collects at the end of its turn, Germany is able to convoy up to 11 damage.



  • @Nippon-koku:

    The reason I like to hit 111 is that it leaves zero DD’s on the board for the UK, meaning any surviving German subs are safe.  I’ll usually do it this way:

    • 2 subs to 106
    • 3 subs, 2 fighters, 1 tac bomber*, 2 str bombers to 109
    • 1 BB, 2 fighters, 3 tacs to 111

    *I buy a CV when using this strategy in order to get the tac from Berlin involved.

    Even a scramble in 111 doesn’t do much other than kill the BB and one fighter.  But the key is 109.  UK can scramble 4 fighters, but the numbers don’t advise it.  Germany should get four hits, UK three if they scramble, which means they would be down a DD and 3 fighters as opposes to Germany’s three subs.

    That being the case, UK never scrambles in 109 and all three subs usually survive.  Combine that with 106, where Germany should survive with at least 1 sub, and you’re looking at 4 German subs on the board without a single UK DD in sight.  Not only that, but when the UK collects at the end of its turn, Germany is able to convoy up to 11 damage.

    Right, I forgot about the DD in 111… I just don’t know about leaving 110 because those ships can get to a safe area fast and even help the American fleet flex some muscle later. Can’t justify giving the UK an extra battleship and cruiser to play with just for the possibility of convoying 11 IPCs for one turn (you know the UK will buy at least 1 DD and the Americans would get a couple as well if the Germans have 3 or 4 subs on the board after G1).


  • 2015

    @Young:

    Right, I forgot about the DD in 111… I just don’t know about leaving 110 because those ships can get to a safe area fast and even help the American fleet flex some muscle later. Can’t justify giving the UK an extra battleship and cruiser to play with just for the possibility of convoying 11 IPCs for one turn (you know the UK will buy at least 1 DD and the Americans would get a couple as well if the Germans have 3 or 4 subs on the board after G1).

    And ultimately this is why I don’t love it.  It’s fun to do it now and then just to change up the game, but ultimately, giving the UK the chance to combine fleets in 92 is too much.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    @Young:

    Right, I forgot about the DD in 111… I just don’t know about leaving 110 because those ships can get to a safe area fast and even help the American fleet flex some muscle later. Can’t justify giving the UK an extra battleship and cruiser to play with just for the possibility of convoying 11 IPCs for one turn (you know the UK will buy at least 1 DD and the Americans would get a couple as well if the Germans have 3 or 4 subs on the board after G1).

    If the UK is making Sea Lion preparations and also trying to bolster Egypt with an industrial complex on UK1, that destroyer simply does not get built. If the US is being kept out of the war (a lot of folks favor keeping the US from moving until US4), US destroyers do not matter.

    The tradeoff of course would be that Egypt is easier for Italy to conquer if the UK does build that destroyer. Of course, that is yet another circumstance of trading disadvantage for Germany (or Japan if the ships head Pacific) for advantage for Italy.

    The surviving UK/French ships from 110 could be slaved to the US fleet for additional protection, dispatched to the Pacific via the Panama Canal (nothing stops the US from allowing them passage), or head into the Med to inconvenience Italy. I actually kind of like the Pacific idea, which means that the US Pacific fleet can be geared more towards attack because it has slaved UK and French vessels that provide additional defense…

    So yeah, I also think that letting the fleet in 110 go is a mistake.

    Marsh

    PS (added after original post): I like sending those ships to the Pacific more than sea zone 92 because the UK does not need them in the Med if it is deploying blockers and building an IC in Egypt on UK1.



  • So I don’t see a viable submarine strategy for Germany past turn 1, they have much higher units on their priority list before submarines, like bombers, tanks, and fighters. Even if Germany can get into a position to make significant convoy disruptions, it won’t last long with allied air units in the area. Also, a SBR strategy on London to go along with some convoy money is a good idea, but it would only allow Moscow the time and freedom to get stronger. If Germany ever got into a situation to hurt the UK with large multiple convoy disruptions, it would likely come from a very odd and rare set of circumstances that can’t be planned going into a new game. Even if there were no allied destroyers around, it would be difficult to justify a sub purchase when a tank is more useful (why buy subs for 6 when you can buy tanks for 6 is the same argument as why buy cruisers for 12 when you can buy bombers for 12?). However, subs are the best unit for taking away the Soviet Union NO National Prestige by sitting in sea zone 125.


  • 2015

    @Young:

    So I don’t see a viable submarine strategy for Germany past turn 1, they have much higher units on their priority list before submarines, like bombers, tanks, and fighters. Even if Germany can get into a position to make significant convoy disruptions, it won’t last long with allied air units in the area. Also, a SBR strategy on London to go along with some convoy money is a good idea, but it would only allow Moscow the time and freedom to get stronger. If Germany ever got into a situation to hurt the UK with large multiple convoy disruptions, it would likely come from a very odd and rare set of circumstances that can’t be planned going into a new game. Even if there were no allied destroyers around, it would be difficult to justify a sub purchase when a tank is more useful (why buy subs for 6 when you can buy tanks for 6 is the same argument as why buy cruisers for 12 when you can buy bombers for 12?). However, subs are the best unit for taking away the Soviet Union NO National Prestige by sitting in sea zone 125.

    One thing I have done when employing the “eliminate the UK destroyer’s strategy” (never had a good name for it) is purchase 5 subs on G1.  Again, it’s not the strongest move Germany can make, but it’s a lot of fun to do now and then



  • Well you could say that for any unit and call it a fun game if you buy nothing but, however, I’m looking for a solid philosophy or a purposeful awareness to utilizing the submarine to the best of it’s capabilities. Now what about Germany taking the Southern France IC and building 3 subs there per turn? They would be great fodder when helping a German bomber stack hit any American ships that try and park off Gibraltar (mostly for their ability to go through that strait without controlling Gibraltar).


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    The best use for subs is in the Pacific, punching up the US fleet for its attack on the Japanese fleet. Being relatively cheap, they force Japan to defend or abandon sea zone 6. If you spread them out, Japan can easily lose strategic focus while “swatting flies” as I like to call it.

    Marsh


  • 2017 2016

    I thought that the way to use Sub in an offensive manner was to combine with Air only attack, that way Subs can be use as cheaper fodder while air hits cannot be allocated on defender’s subs.
    It is better if defender have Destroyer on his side, so defending planes hit can be allocated to attacker’s Subs.



  • @Baron:

    I thought that the way to use Sub in an offensive manner was to combine with Air only attack, that way Subs can be use as cheaper fodder while air hits cannot be allocated on defender’s subs.
    It is better if defender have Destroyer on his side, so defending planes hit can be allocated to attacker’s Subs.

    I was also thinking that, subs with bombers especially… we’ve all seen how even 2 subs in 111 can absorb the hits from big ships and protect an entire Air Force in minimal combat round situations.


  • 2017 2016

    @Young:

    @Baron:

    I thought that the way to use Sub in an offensive manner was to combine with Air only attack, that way Subs can be use as cheaper fodder while air hits cannot be allocated on defender’s subs.
    It is better if defender have Destroyer on his side, so defending planes hit can be allocated to attacker’s Subs.

    I was also thinking that, subs with bombers especially… we’ve all seen how even 2 subs in 111 can absorb the hits from big ships and protect an entire Air Force in minimal combat round situations.

    Such strategy imply to buy in advance each round a few subs for future battle 2 or even 3 rounds later. Having 2 or 3 six IPCs Subs to take hits before losing 12 IPCs StratBs seems a sound tactic.


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