• '21 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16

    Defending ships can still hit subs without a destroyer present. So, all the defender has to do is take destroyers as the first hits and then every hit in the second round from air defenders ignores subs.

    Marsh

  • '21 '20 '18 '17

    The sub isn’t a bad unit, its a bad STACK.

    You can have 1-2 of the sub in any fleet or tooling around the board, because of the destroyer and “canal” rules, the subs can utilize the board in a different way than the other units, and are effectively invulnerable to an enemy without a destroyer.

    The problem is that you can’t just buy a bunch of subs and call that a strategy.  They don’t block movement, they cant hit planes, and in the face of a single destroyer (with help) the entire stack would come crashing down.  Combined with their weak defense, it means that there are much more beneficial ways to use your money than buying subs, and if you only have 1 shot at beating the allies, a big stack of transports or tanks does the job much more clearly.

    “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).”

    It seems pretty cool, but it takes risk and time to get these subs in the water turn 2 and fighting turn 3.  You could also do Yugo or Romania and get the subs out nearly as early.  Unf, the subs at either factory med are very ill placed to strike out into the Atlantic.    We see a lot of games where UK dominates the Mediterranean, but using german $$ to stop this domination doesn’t really alter the strategic game.  Every $$ you spend on those subs is a tank that will not be rolling against Moscow.  Subs aren’t enough to stop a dedicated invasion force, or to clear the med without the Italians helping.

    Now, if that stack of subs (whether its off the skaggerak or in the med) can attack the US/UK invasion stack sitting outside Gibraltar, that’s worth something.  Usually the US under commits that first invasion stack, and with only 1 AC and 1CA + 1 DD, a sub stack could ward off the invasion.  If the US cant move forward, it cant really do anything.

    However, this only buys you 1-2 turns against a decisive euroinvasion, which is time you can also buy using Italian Infantry that cost you nothing…

    That is the problem with this subrush strategy; making it offensive.  At best, its a standoff strategy.  You cant control the Atlantic with subs, you cant do with a few like the allies can.

    The abs best use of the sub isn’t in combat at all; its buying and preserving them early game so that by J4/I4 you are blocking substantial income from the axis and forcing them to waste time hunting you all over the board.  This however, isn’t decisive either as Germany only has 5 income to take.  Japan has lots to take, but lots of sub hunters.  Italy has plenty to take, but its income is irrelevant to victory by that juncture.  its a long game plan.

  • '15

    I can’t agree with that Taamvan.  A large stack of subs by itself may not be the best way to go.  However, a large stack of subs along with an already strong naval presence?  Absolutely a good buy.

  • Sponsor

    I had a game this past weekend where I was spending over 80% of my US economy gearing up for, executing, and than maintaining a beach head on Spain. Therefore, there was not much income left to fight a good fight against the Japanese in the Pacific… however, I purchased lots of subs with a few bombers, and with ANZAC also buying a few subs and bombers, I spread them all over the Pacific with only one sub per empty sea zone. Japan had to buy and use a lot of destroyers to get rid of them, however… once they realized what was happening, they couldn’t keep up with the amount of subs because even if they ventured to take out 1 sub in one sea zone with 1 destroyer… there were Allied bombers in range to mop up any lone destroyers. I remember I had 2 subs in sea zone 6 and got lucky with a convoy disruption taking 10 IPCs in one turn, if anything my strategy took Japan by surprise like a swarm of mosquitos his warships just couldn’t swat away.

  • '17 '16

    @Nippon-koku:

    I can’t agree with that Taamvan.  A large stack of subs by itself may not be the best way to go.  However, a large stack of subs along with an already strong naval presence?  Absolutely a good buy.

    Mr Roboto once said that a Carrier group should be escorted with 5 Subs and 2 DDs to be optimal.
    I would like to know the assumptions on which this rely.

  • '21 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16

    @Young:

    I had a game this past weekend where I was spending over 80% of my US economy gearing up for, executing, and than maintaining a beach head on Spain. Therefore, there was not much income left to fight a good fight against the Japanese in the Pacific… however, I purchased lots of subs with a few bombers, and with ANZAC also buying a few subs and bombers, I spread them all over the Pacific with only one sub per empty sea zone. Japan had to buy and use a lot of destroyers to get rid of them, however… once they realized what was happening, they couldn’t keep up with the amount of subs because even if they ventured to take out 1 sub in one sea zone with 1 destroyer… there were Allied bombers in range to mop up any lone destroyers. I remember I had 2 subs in sea zone 6 and got lucky with a convoy disruption taking 10 IPCs in one turn, if anything my strategy took Japan by surprise like a swarm of mosquitos his warships just couldn’t swat away.

    Dude, I said that. Look up like four posts.

    Marsh

  • Sponsor

    @Marshmallow:

    @Young:

    I had a game this past weekend where I was spending over 80% of my US economy gearing up for, executing, and than maintaining a beach head on Spain. Therefore, there was not much income left to fight a good fight against the Japanese in the Pacific… however, I purchased lots of subs with a few bombers, and with ANZAC also buying a few subs and bombers, I spread them all over the Pacific with only one sub per empty sea zone. Japan had to buy and use a lot of destroyers to get rid of them, however… once they realized what was happening, they couldn’t keep up with the amount of subs because even if they ventured to take out 1 sub in one sea zone with 1 destroyer… there were Allied bombers in range to mop up any lone destroyers. I remember I had 2 subs in sea zone 6 and got lucky with a convoy disruption taking 10 IPCs in one turn, if anything my strategy took Japan by surprise like a swarm of mosquitos his warships just couldn’t swat away.

    Dude, I said that. Look up like four posts.

    Marsh

    For sure Marsh, sorry for not mentioning that… I’m curious if you think the extreme nothing but subs and bombers in the Pacific is a one and done gambit, or if you think it is a threatening strategy to pull off even if Japan knows it’s coming?

  • '21 '20 '18 '17

    I sure like this idea, of being a pest all over the S. Pacfic with subs from ANZAC and US.  But I’m not sure how my main US fleet is going to cope with its subs being spread out, rather than as part of that stack.

    For offensive striking power, the sub doesn’t have an equal.  We’ve already run the odds for that and it has encouraged me to build more.  But I’d really like to see a pacific strategy that isn’t either “all US at one base in one stack” nor “too spread out and picked off piecemeal”.

    Mr. Nippon;

    Yes, a big pile of subs are too badass to ignore.  I was mostly responding to YG’s challenge to rationally build a strategy (for Germany, possibly japan or UK) that is heavy heavy subs, unf it seems impractical.

    Mr. Marsh;

    You have too many good ideas, that’s why we keep stealing them without giving you credit.

  • '21 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16

    @Young:

    For sure Marsh, sorry for not mentioning that… I’m curious if you think the extreme nothing but subs and bombers in the Pacific is a one and done gambit, or if you think it is a threatening strategy to pull off even if Japan knows it’s coming?

    I don’t know that the bomber/sub combo actually works at all except in highly specialized situations. To me it seems like a response to bad play and is otherwise substandard (if you’ll forgive the pun).

    The sub swarm does work for the US if Japan does not react properly. Japan does not have the income to keep swapping destroyers for subs. If Japan decides to start swatting the subs, it has to build multiple destroyers each turn. Lone destroyers that killed subs can be picked off with sub/bomber combos (usually leaving the sub behind), and each time the US wins the exchange economically.

    (The correct Japanese response to the sub swarm, in my opinion, is to swat only enough to make a US attack not workable and otherwise concentrate on your strategic objective. Then, when it’s time, you take the entire IJN and go kill the Allied fleet – remember they have been buying subs, not defense, and careful purchasing while doing restrained swatting of subs can give you fleet superiority. Yes, you take a short term convoy disruption hit when doing so, but the only other response you have is going totally defensive and that is Axis death!)

    Marsh

  • '21 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16

    @taamvan:

    I sure like this idea, of being a pest all over the S. Pacfic with subs from ANZAC and US.  But I’m not sure how my main US fleet is going to cope with its subs being spread out, rather than as part of that stack.

    There is a risk – you have to make sure Japan does not gain an advantage that it can use to destroy your fleet. You can’t build just subs and spread them out and call it done.

    Marsh

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    If I can get the Americans to attack my Japanese fleet, I’m ahead of the game because I would make sure it’s in a sea zone where I can scramble 3 fighters and use my kamakaze tokens. Also, when the time comes for such an attack, I believe the Americans need their ships more than Japan, and for that reason I see the Americans delaying this attack as they attempt to raise their odds to a more comfortable level. Sometimes they wait too long and the game ends without the American units doing anything at all. This is the problem I see with a huge American fleet yo yoing back and forth trying to get position while absorbing new ships built in San Fran whenever they can. That being said, I don’t think I will ever want to play the US again with this school of fish mentality, I would like to find a medium between having a good sized surface fleet off Caroline or Queensland while I get my single subs spread out all over Wake, Midway, Hawaii, Marianas, Iwo Jima, Alaska, and Tokyo with a stack of at least 5 bombers in Caroline or Midway (if safe enough to be there). This should give the Japanese many fits because they can’t use their blockade to control where the US fleet goes, but rather they’re nervous because they’re the ones getting forced into options they don’t want. These uncomfortable options include buying more destroyers (whether to dwindle down all the subs or block the surface fleet), not to mention splitting up their fleet, or worst… staying in one spot due to unsafe waters or the fear of creating a weak spot in their blockade. I’m very curious as to whether or not this US strategy will force the Japanese ships away from their protective coastal sea zones to fight a more open Pacific war where America can use many sea zones to their advantage. Of course this American threat is only useful if established well before Calcutta falls, after that… Japan’s income can fully lean on the Pacific waters.

  • 2007 AAR League

    Hello Young Grasshopper (Fellow Canadian player here)

    I always preferred a Sub/bomber strat with the US in the Pacific with Japan as well.
    Not only can the US win economically trading subs for Jap destroyers, if you put enough of them in different convoy zones you can start hurting their economy more as well.
    With Anzac poking into the money islands or helping with subs as well I find it starts to create to many targets for Japan at once.


  • @taamvan:

    The sub isn’t a bad unit, its a bad STACK.

    You can have 1-2 of the sub in any fleet or tooling around the board, because of the destroyer and “canal” rules, the subs can utilize the board in a different way than the other units, and are effectively invulnerable to an enemy without a destroyer.

    The problem is that you can’t just buy a bunch of subs and call that a strategy.   They don’t block movement, they cant hit planes, and in the face of a single destroyer (with help) the entire stack would come crashing down.  Combined with their weak defense, it means that there are much more beneficial ways to use your money than buying subs, and if you only have 1 shot at beating the allies, a big stack of transports or tanks does the job much more clearly.

    “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).”

    It seems pretty cool, but it takes risk and time to get these subs in the water turn 2 and fighting turn 3.   You could also do Yugo or Romania and get the subs out nearly as early.   Unf, the subs at either factory med are very ill placed to strike out into the Atlantic.    We see a lot of games where UK dominates the Mediterranean, but using german $$ to stop this domination doesn’t really alter the strategic game.   Every $$ you spend on those subs is a tank that will not be rolling against Moscow.   Subs aren’t enough to stop a dedicated invasion force, or to clear the med without the Italians helping.

    Now, if that stack of subs (whether its off the skaggerak or in the med) can attack the US/UK invasion stack sitting outside Gibraltar, that’s worth something.   Usually the US under commits that first invasion stack, and with only 1 AC and 1CA + 1 DD, a sub stack could ward off the invasion.   If the US cant move forward, it cant really do anything.

    However, this only buys you 1-2 turns against a decisive euroinvasion, which is time you can also buy using Italian Infantry that cost you nothing…

    That is the problem with this subrush strategy; making it offensive.   At best, its a standoff strategy.   You cant control the Atlantic with subs, you cant do with a few like the allies can.

    The abs best use of the sub isn’t in combat at all; its buying and preserving them early game so that by J4/I4 you are blocking substantial income from the axis and forcing them to waste time hunting you all over the board.   This however, isn’t decisive either as Germany only has 5 income to take.  Japan has lots to take, but lots of sub hunters.  Italy has plenty to take, but its income is irrelevant to victory by that juncture.  its a long game plan.

    I think that submarines are great in many ways.
    1. They are very cost effective
    2. they are the best convoy units in the game
    3. they can move around easier
    4. They can be great for soaking up hits
    5. Their surprise strike is devastating
    6. It forces the enemy to buy destroyers and forcing the enemy to do anything keeps you ahead of the game

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    @ShadowHAwk:

    @Young:

    If I can get the Americans to attack my Japanese fleet, I’m ahead of the game because I would make sure it’s in a sea zone where I can scramble 3 fighters and use my kamakaze tokens. Also, when the time comes for such an attack, I believe the Americans need their ships more than Japan, and for that reason I see the Americans delaying this attack as they attempt to raise their odds to a more comfortable level. Sometimes they wait too long and the game ends without the American units doing anything at all. This is the problem I see with a huge American fleet yo yoing back and forth trying to get position while absorbing new ships built in San Fran whenever they can. That being said, I don’t think I will ever want to play the US again with this school of fish mentality, I would like to find a medium between having a good sized surface fleet off Caroline or Queensland while I get my single subs spread out all over Wake, Midway, Hawaii, Marianas, Iwo Jima, Alaska, and Tokyo with a stack of at least 5 bombers in Caroline or Midway (if safe enough to be there). This should give the Japanese many fits because they can’t use their blockade to control where the US fleet goes, but rather they’re nervous because they’re the ones getting forced into options they don’t want. These uncomfortable options include buying more destroyers (whether to dwindle down all the subs or block the surface fleet), not to mention splitting up their fleet, or worst… staying in one spot due to unsafe waters or the fear of creating a weak spot in their blockade. I’m very curious as to whether or not this US strategy will force the Japanese ships away from their protective coastal sea zones to fight a more open Pacific war where America can use many sea zones to their advantage. Of course this American threat is only useful if established well before Calcutta falls, after that… Japan’s income can fully lean on the Pacific waters.

    Did you try this with OOB rules, because it might actualy be a strat that helps the allies a lot and removed the need for a bid ( or a lower bid )
    USA only spending limited in the pacific and focussing 80% of its income on germany ( like in the real war ) would make it verry hard for germany to win and if they can prevent japan from winning with their subs then the allies might win.

    We give the Americans an additional 5 IPCs national objective for being at war with the Axis powers. We have other house rules, but that’s the only one that would effect the scenario I described in the Pacific vs. oob rules.


  • I know a lot of people probably have talked about this, but the entire thread is tldr for me.

    In short, I agree with all of the heavy sub-buyers. A fleet has to be strong enough to defend itself from all attacks (air only, no dds and everything)

    When I fight a pacific war, I never buy any BBs or CRs. I have some when I begin, and dont need any more. For fighting the main fleetbattles I buy a mix of CVs, DDs and subs Each of them have their own advantage

    CV + ftrs: most versatile unit, the planes can be used in landcombat too. worst figthingpower per ipc
    DD: can shoot at airplanes
    subs: usually best figthingpower per ipc offensivly and defencivly, at least until it is about 40% of your fleet (40% ofIPC)

    This means that my us and japanse fleet buy ALOT of subs in the beginning. I can have 30+ new subs by round 5 with USA and it is usually a great thing.


  • I agree that subs are a terrific offensive piece.  That being said, I usually don’t buy very many of them in the opening rounds, for the sake of having a bulkier navy.  Especially as America, once I have achieved naval superiority in the Pacific, I will buy 5 or 6 subs to convoy SZ 6 and SZ 19.  It is very hard for Japan to destroy these even with their fighters, as they would need to buy a destroyer with their precious, dwindling money.

  • '17 '16

    I’m still making suggestion on G40 Redesigned thread.
    I’m trying to simplify interactions between Submarines, transports, destroyers and planes.
    And to improve Submarine vs Transports warfare by the way.
    If some people want to discuss impact of these changes and how it affects such kind of Submarines shotgun strategy if DD and Sub are at 6 IPCs, please follow the link.
    http://www.axisandallies.org/forums/index.php?topic=36518.msg1555024#msg1555024

    More specifically, there is two points: how much IPCs differential between DD and Sub is necessary to keep this shotgun tactical option?
    And how much a change on DD blocking capacity ratio against Sub, from infinite capacity to 1 DD:2 Subs or even 1:1 ratio is a game changer about this tactical option?

    http://www.axisandallies.org/forums/index.php?topic=36518.msg1555261#msg1555261

  • '17 '16

    I found this post in another thread of AA50, in which Defenseless Transport and DDs blocking all Subs was introduced:

    I will try to make some spaces for easier reading.
    Kavik Kang was amongst the first to suggest the 1 DD :1 Sub ratio but for movement blocker only.
    This example also show how to use so called Fleet Submarines tactics to maximized their potential as sea-fodder units.
    IDK if this a different tactics than US shotgun.
    Let me know.

    @Kavik:

    I’ve been learning AA50 by playing it and trying out different openings offline and watching other people play and what they do. One thing I’ve noticed in watching other people play is that almost nobody, even the very best players, seems to understand the ramifications of how subs work within the new AA50 rules. I’m an old man for a gamer and I’ve been playing games for over 30 years. My favorite games have always been naval combat games, and AA50’s new sub rules are based on how subs work in certain other, more complex games. So I already have a lot of experience with the concept, and a pretty good understanding of naval combat. So I thought I would provide this little primer on subs and naval combat within AA50 in the hopes that Japanese players will stop sailing within range of my well composed US fleet thinking that they are safe just because they have 1 more carrier than I do and then dying to the AA50 version of a carrier air strike.

    First, the main sub users in AA50 are USA and Japan. England generally has little use for subs, other than maybe for a single attack on the Italian navy. Italy might build some fleet subs as cannon fodder in their fleet, but without carriers have no real need for subs. Japan also only has a need for fleet subs (which I will explain later), but has much more of a need for them than Italy does because they have carriers. Once you truly understand how subs work in AA50, you’ll understand why they are such an essential part of any fleet.

    Subs are defensive units and they are the infantry of the sea. The most important thing to keep in mind about subs is that, if a destroyer is present, they can’t safely move within range of enemy units. One destroyer and as many planes that can reach will get to take one round of shots at your subs (more rounds if the destroyer survives the first round) and they will attack your subs, which only defend at a 1. You can’t move within range of enemy destroyers or you will die. But if your subs are supported by air units the enemy fleet can’t move within range of your subs, either. That last point is the crux of the issue.

    The point most seem to be missing is that subs are meant to die. It doesn’t matter that they only attack at a 2, subs are defensive attacking units.
    The best example are what I call fleet subs within AA50.
    Fleet subs are subs that travel with a carrier fleet. Their sole purpose is to die in an air strike on an enemy fleet.
    In the real world carrier planes fly out great distances to hit enemy fleets, they don’t sail up and get into a close range fight with them. This is actually how carriers work in AA, as well, except that the carrier planes need to be escorted by subs. The subs are only there to die, and you would ideally have as many subs as hits you believe you will take in one round of combat with the enemy fleet (against the IJN, this means 4- 6 subs). This has a huge impact on the stand-off between two fleets such as the US and Japanese fleets in the Pacific.
    Let’s look at a typical stand-off between two typical carrier fleets and what happens to one of them if it allows an air strike supported by subs from the opposing fleet.

    Let’s say that the Japanese fleet is, as usual, more powerful than the US fleet. The Japanese fleet is more powerful, so the Japanese player moves within 2 spaces range of the US fleet at Hawaii believing that he is safe. The Japanese fleet consists of 3 carriers (with 6 fighters), 1 battleship, 1 cruiser, and 1 destroyer. The US fleet consists of 2 carriers (with 4 fighters), 2 destroyers, and 4 subs. The US fleet performs an air strike with 4 subs, 2 destroyers (using them because he didn’t have enough subs to send in this instance, and 4 fighters. The carriers stay in Hawaii. The battle calculator will tell you that we will lose this fight badly, but the battle calculator isn’t taking everything into account AND assumes that we will stay for multiple rounds of combat. We won’t be. We are the attacker and we can retreat whenever we want. In this particular example they will almost certainly have to take one shot and leave because all the subs will die in round 1.

    So we shoot and get 4 hits (average), 1 sub and 3 other hits.
    The Japanese player takes the free hit on the battleship from the sub, loses the destroyer and then must chose between a plane, cruiser, carrier, or battleship for the other 2 hits.
    He probably kills 2 planes.
    The Japanese fleet shoots back and gets 6 hits (1 better than average) the US kills the 4 subs and destroyers and then retreats all 4 of his planes from the battle (if a DD lived retreat it as a blocker). The US fleet in Hawaii is 2 carriers with 4 fighters.
    The remains of the Japanese fleet are 3 carriers, 4 fighters, 1 battleship, and 1 cruiser.
    The US mostly lost only subs which contribute very little defensively too the fleet other than dying instead of better units, the Japanese lost fighters, the primary defense of the fleet.
    They have to withdraw and rebuild expensive fighters.
    The US just needs a couple more subs and destroyers which if they are in a stand off with the Japanese navy are probably already arriving from the west coast at the end of this turn allowing the US fleet to remain in Hawaii. We lost 2 more units (we lost 4-6) than the Japanese navy did, but due to the nature of the combination of subs and airplanes attacking, in the grand scheme of things, we clearly won the fight. Had the Japanese player had subs and destroyers protecting his planes and larger ships all we would have done was whittle down each others sub/destroyer forces a little. The US fleet in this instance had a superior composition with its combination of subs and fighters so the larger Japanese fleet comes out on the short end of the stick. This is actually even worse for the IJN because the US would actually also have 2 heavy bombers attacking from Hawaii that I intentionally left out to show just the matchup between the fleets alone.

    The key factor is the effect that and air strike has in relation to the defensive strength of the fleet. If you trade subs for fighters with an enemy fleet, when the battle is over your fleet is stronger defensively than the opposing fleet was before the fight. You lost subs, they lost fighters. There is a chance that the enemy fleet is too weak to withstand yours now, and if not the next air strike will probably achieve that. As soon as the enemy fleet has been sufficiently weakened you can eventually forget the air strikes and move your whole fleet in for the final battle. Every time you trade a sub for a plane, cruiser, or battleship you are altering the balance of power between the two fleets in your favor. In an air strike, the more subs you have the more rounds of combat you can fight. You usually only have enough subs for 1 round of combat, but later in the game it is possible that you have enough subs to protect your planes for multiple rounds of combat. In these cases you can do serious damage to the enemy fleet without exposing your own to any real danger. Subs are the infantry of the sea, there is little difference between 8 Infantry and 4 fighters in Moscow and 8 Sub and 4 Fighters in Hawaii. The main difference is that the Infantry and fighters in Moscow will sit there and wait to be attacked, while the subs and fighters will attack the enemy as soon as he comes within range. The combination of subs and airplanes are defensive attackers.

    You Japanese players need to trade some of those ground units for destroyers and subs to protect your fleet. I can’t count the number of times I have watched the IJN sit there with the US player having the power to hurt it bad, sitting with within range, but not realizing that was the case. The initial Japanese fleet will get hurt badly by the turn 3 US navy if it doesn’t add some protection on turn 2. All those nice ships and planes need at least 2 destroyers and 2 subs for protection (Japan eventually wants at least 4 destroyers and at least a number of subs equal to the number of fighters on their carriers). The starting Japanese navy is essentially naked, and most players just leave it that way. This is why the IJN usually loses when they finally fight. The US player built a lot of protective ships early on out of necessity, so when the fleets finally meet those 3 or 4 extra escorts make all the difference and the Japanese player is left insisting he must have rolled bad because he had an extra carrier. The way the dice actually play out, once you’ve got 3 or 4 carriers involved then subs and destroyers actually become more useful in the big fleet battle than an extra carrier. They keep the big numbers rolling longer where the less protected fleet begins losing the big numbers early. Once you have enough protection, relative to the size of the enemy fleet and land-based air that is within range, then adding more carriers again becomes better than more escorts.

    Fleets are highly defensive in nature. When two fleets are equal in size they cannot enter within range of each other. If the fleets are well designed, the one who enters range first loses. This means that fleets exert a strong zone of control within a 2 space radius of where they are, due to the strike range of their subs/destroyers and planes. Another way of putting it is that a carrier fleet provides coverage of spaces within that range.
    So, for example, with this US fleet in Hawaii facing the 3 carrier IJN fleet in the above example, the US could safely retake the Philippines (if it is empty) and probably hold it for a turn or 2 or maybe for the rest of the game.
    All they need to do is sacrifice a transport to get 2 inf there.
    To retake it the Japanese would have to sacrifice 2 transports, or have a bomber in range to help 1 transport, because any naval units they send there will die to the air strike we just covered. In fact, attempting to re-take Philippines is usually what causes the air strike we went over above they get it back, and lose their naval superiority for the rest of the game.

    Once a defensive position like this has been established the player with the coverage over the islands is free to re-take them with sacrificial transports. If you have enough destroyers, you can cover the landings with 2 destroyers if the Japanese don’t have any subs to strike with their planes, hoping to kill planes with your destroyers, otherwise just sacrifice the transports to take any islands you want. This effect can also be achieved with a combination of subs and bombers. Once in place, it just isn’t safe to approach such a position without at least 4 subs and/or destroyers defending the fleet. The Japanese don’t have this early on, so a US player going KGF can cause great difficulty for Japan early by placing 6 subs and 4 bombers in Hawaii. You can get by in the Pacific with subs and bombers in Hawaii, and a few transports to re-take island that this force covers. This relatively small force can seriously harass Japan for most of the game at relatively little cost. This can’t be done if the Japanese destroyer is alive and in range at the end of turn 1, but it almost always dies to the battleship. As long as the destroyer is not there, the 5 subs and 3 bombers the US can land in Hawaii on turn 2 will cause Japan problems all out of proportion to their cost to the US player. A single transport can take Philippines as soon as they are in place, for example, and the Japanese will have a hard time taking it back any time soon without sacrificing at least 1 transport to do it (or by sacrificing a significant portion of his fleet). This is a very cheap way of focusing almost all of your attention on Germany, if that is your plan, while still causing some serious problems for Japan during the early turns AND forcing them to buy at least 2 destroyers and 2 subs for the pacific fleet. It takes several turns for Japan to build enough protective subs/destroyers to safely get within range to threaten your subs unless they are willing to not build a lot of things they would normally build during the early turns. When he finally does move within range, suicide the subs into him and fly the bombers back to West US and on to Germany from there (assuming you are still going KGF).

    The effect of destroyers in a fleet battle deserves mention as well. The important aspect of destroyers in a fleet battle is that the presence of an enemy destroyer means that his planes can hit your submarines. In a fleet battle this actually works against the enemy fleet as it allows you to take subs as casualties from airplanes. If no destroyer was present, all air hits would have to be taken on airplanes, but because an enemy destroyer is present all hits can be taken on the subs. There is no way around this, fleets must have destroyers, it is just the way it works and it works well, actually. This is another advantage of the sub supported air strike… you have no destroyer present, so the enemy must take all of your air hits on his planes while you can take air hits on subs because his destroyers are in the fight. Sometimes, though, such as the US have an opportinty to hit the Japanese fleet on turn 2, you have no choice and have to send your destroyers in too… but Japan probably doesn’t have any subs on turn 2 anyway so it doesn’t matter in that case.

    Do this experiment with the battle calculator. Enter a typical US airstrike on the IJN. The US has a defensive position of 6 subs and 4 bombers at Hawaii and the (still not completed with subs and destroyers) turn 3 IJN foolishly enters range. We actually have a chance of winning this fight outright, which allows you to see something in the battle calculator that might surprise you.

    US 6 subs and 4 bomb v IJN 2 carrier, 4 fig, 1 batship, 1 cruis = US win 15%.
    US 6 subs and 4 bomb v IJN 2 carrier, 4 fig, 1 batship, 1 cruis, 1 destoyer = US win 35%.

    If you add a 1 destroyer to the Japanese fleet Japan has a 20% greater chance of losing because that extra ship is there. This is because with the destroyer present the US can now take hits from the defending fighters rolling a 4, on subs that roll a 2, instead of on bombers that roll a 4. But this doesn’t mean you don’t want destroyers in your fleet, it just means that you want several of them. Start adding DDs in the battle calc and watch the percentage drop back down. More importantly, consider the trade on hits you will now make if you suffer an air strike. At least 2 destroyers and 2 subs are required for the protection of any fleet and this is very realistic.

    A Note About German U-Boats:
    Unfortunately, Germany is not a sub user. So close, and yet so far.
    With a single small rule change subs would become a vital part of Germany’s arsenal in keeping the British navy away.
    If Germany could keep 4-6 subs in SZ 5, which they can afford to do, they could cover SZs 3, 6, & 7 and keep the British navy out of those SZs. It would be really cool, and make subs a vital weapon for Germany as they should be. But the nature of subs is that they must be outside of range of enemy ships beforehand, so that enemy ships cannot enter within their range. They cannot enter range of an enemy fleet to attack, the enemy fleet must come to them.
    This almost works for Germany, they can get into position in SZ 5 with 3 subs and their air force on turn 1 and keep the British navy out of important sea zones (3, 6, and 7).
    It all falls apart with the unrealistic ability of a single ship to block an infinite number of ships in AA50.
    This means the British can simply place a single destroyer in SZ 6, blocking the German subs, and put their navy in attack range.
    The subs can’t reach the navy, so they can’t attack.
    And on the following turn the British navy enters SZ 5 and destroys all of the subs.
    This means that it would be a huge waste of money for Germany to try and use subs because all England has to do is sacrifice a single destroyer to kill the entire German U-Boat fleet.

    This would be simple to fix with a simple rule from other naval combat games.
    Instead of a single ship being able to block an infinite number of enemy ships, which is ridiculous, blocking ships should only be able to block an equal number of ships.

    This rule works much better and would correct several different problems associated with blocking naval units within AA50.
    With this rule if the British tried to block SZ 5 with a single destroyer the Germans would simple be required to leave a single sub behind to fight it (they could leave more if they wanted, but must leave a number of ships equal to enemy blockers as they pass through that SZ) while the rest of the subs continue on to attack the UK fleet. The blocking rule is the only major problem remaining in A&A naval combat, and it alone prevents subs from being useful to Germany.

    With the picket force rule in place, naval combat in A&A would work very, very well and Germany would be buying subs every game.

    @Veqryn:

    great article

    I would agree about the zone of control that Submarines (and equal navies) project.
    I also like your idea of making single surface warships be able to stop only a limited number of ships, rather than infinite ships. I would argue that a rate of 1 to 2 would be better than 1 to 1 and that this hold for any kind of ship, that 1 destroyer for example could stop up to 2 subs or other ships from passing under it, or that 1 cruiser could stop up to 2 destroyers/warships from passing through it too, but that all other ships could continue past the single guy. An interesting idea for sure.

  • '17 '16

    @Baron:

    But, the one idea that really struck me as the very new idea is:
    to apply the taken last rule of transport to Subs in such a way that planes need no more destroyers and Subs didn’nt become a better and cheaper padding for protecting other warships than was destroyer.
    I was looking upon if anyone did think something similar before?

    The beginning of my relentless effort is about another aberration:
    4- A combined fleet on attack can sometimes do much damage to a defender with many Subs by not bringing his destroyer in the attack.
    That way, the planes will only attack surface warships (which are all costlier units than Subs).

    @critmonster:

    panzer: my point was that I cannot take hits from air to my subs unless you bring a destroyer so if you attack my fleet without a destroyer it is actually to your advantage because all your hits must be taken on my air force and capitol ships rather than taking them on my subs. I know that my subs get a “deadly” first shot (@1) without your DD but I hardly find that equitable, you sink my fleet (except subs) then move your DD over in non combat to neutralize them on my turn. I feel that as the controlling nation I should get to decide if they submerge. I am with Octo on this, I play the rules as stated and avoid house rules (except perhaps bids).

    Perhaps I have not played enough games to see the air/sub balance.

    What a strange gamey strategy:
    Bring less unit, so you increase your odds of making more damage to the enemy.
    Another counter-intuitive consequence of the OOB rules.

    More, bring all your Subs to be used as fodder, so you screen your other warships  against other defending subs (almost like DDs).


  • Personally, I never buy subs. They are not cost effective.


  • It depends for me. As U.S. I have a couple in the Pacific, but buy more destroyers instead. Once you move your fleet into Japanese waters your worry is his planes, so subs become less useful when defending whereas a stack of 10 destroyers will do you well.

  • '21 '20 '18 '17

    Its good to have a mix of destroyers and subs, but subs are the way to go when you want to make Japan afraid.


  • @taamvan said in Buying and using submarines:

    Its good to have a mix of destroyers and subs, but subs are the way to go when you want to make Japan afraid.

    I mean, I love the subs on the attack but if the U.S. is sitting in SZ6 and Japan still has their planes, you’ll be glad you’ve got destroyers for hit soakers over subs.

  • '21 '20 '18 '17

    I dont sit in SZ 6 with surface ships, japan planes can get there from all points and they can use their kamis


  • @taamvan said in Buying and using submarines:

    I dont sit in SZ 6 with surface ships, japan planes can get there from all points and they can use their kamis

    Without the surface ships to defend with the U.S. doesn’t have to attack with anything worth Kamikazing…

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