Moving unescorted transports



  • To quote 2nd Ed rules, page 13:

    However, a transport is not allowed to offload land units for an amphibious assault in a sea zone containing one or more ignored enemy submarines unless at least one warship belonging to the attacking power is also present in the sea zone at the end of the Combat Move phase.

    Does this also apply to unescorted transports trying to move through a SZ with a sub? That is, is this a case where the SZ is hostile and the transport has to stop?

    Also, during non-combat movement, can an unescorted transport traverse through or stop at a SZ with an enemy sub?

    I’m guessing no on both counts but would like some clarification. Thanks.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 '13 Moderator

    Morning.
    A Transport can ignore a Sub for movement purposes. It can move through the SZ, therefore.

    In Non Combat, the Transport can ignore a Sub for movement and unloading purposes.


  • 2017 '16

    I know these are the rules as written, but I’ve always thought they stink on ice… unescorted transports, loaded with war goods sailing through sub-infested waters with ZERO RISK of being sunk, or even stopped…

    It just really smacks me as the most nonsensical rule in A&A.



  • Agreed, the sub rules suck. Using them as fodder against full fleets? Gimme a break.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Submariners would agree with that diagnosis: they’re traditionally fond of saying that “There are two kinds of ships: submarines and targets.”


  • 2020 2018 2017

    The only way there is to make sense of it is to understand that they didn’t want subs as the cheapest and most flexible attacker to be able to block as well, as they are supposed to be kind of invisible on the board you just sail right past them.  Perhaps an even more silly rule is the permutation that you cannot hit the subs with planes when you attack without a destroyer, which occasionally permits a sub to be taken as a casualty when a more valuable unit would have been required (1 DD + 3 planes attack 1 sub and 1 cru, planes get 1 hit, sub is taken.  3 planes attack 1 sub 1 cru, get 1 hit, cru must be taken.)

    As you put it, Mr. Wolf, it does sound absurd;  what would subs be good for if not destroying the landing force?

    However, it is remarkable that in the key real life landings (Husky, Overlord, Guadalcanal etc.) that subs played a minor part at best in attacking/deterring the transports.    The reasons I’d assume are 1) subs design deployment and tactics favor open waters 2) troop transports during WW2 were often protected by entire combined fleets with air support and ASW cover 3) invasions did not occur in a given area without sea/air superiority already in place and after significant damage had already been inflicted on enemy sea assets 4) submarines are more useful when they choose the details of the engagement, not when the enemy does…


  • 2017 '16

    @taamvan:

    However, it is remarkable that in the key real life landings (Husky, Overlord, Guadalcanal etc.) that subs played a minor part at best in attacking/deterring the transports.

    Nope, not even remotely remarkable. Massive invasion fleets have the most massively protected transports in a very confined space, with massive amounts of destroyers, asw, air flotillas all in a confined space, and usually in shallow(er) waters… NONE of these factors are things that subs would consider a suitable target… massively protected in a small space in shallow water? Nope, not something subs usually go for. Aside from very rare, super-daring missions, this isn’t typical sub warfare. If you find that remarkable, shrugs from me.

    What IS remarkable is convoys of troops and tanks, in unescorted missions, sailing in the open waters of the Atlantic, crossing from America to Britain or Africa, completely alone, could be sailing right over 10 subs for all you know, and have ZERO CHANCE of any interception, delays, or losses.

    I stand by the fact that subs going after unescorted convoys of transports crossing the Atlantic is EXACTLY what they excel at beyond a doubt, and EXACTLY what the rules in A&A make completely pointless. If you think massive invasion fleets not being interfered with by subs is remarkable while unescorted transports on the open Atlantic shipping lanes going unchallenged isn’t a bigger thing, I don’t know what to tell you.

    The rules in A&A about subs is pretty crazy… I think unescorted transports should be interceptable as a minimum, while perhaps the rule stands as-is if escorted by warships?


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    The unrealistic way in which the interaction between subs and transport ships is depicted in A&A reflects a larger problem which I decribed over here…

    http://www.axisandallies.org/forums/index.php?topic=36090.0

    …which is that the game pays little attention to the concept of logistics in general and to the logistical role of sea transportation in particular.


  • 2017 '16

    What about a custom/house rule that said all subs rules as-written in-game stand in-place, with the exception that unescorted transports must stop in a SZ with an enemy sub in it, but may pass through the same SZ if escorted by a friendly warship?!? Would that be a game-breaker?


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16

    Interesting idea Wolf and probably much more realistic. 🙂

    However, as it is a game that attempts to allow WW2 to be fought in a matter of hours, realism has to come second to game play. I worry that the need for naval escorts would slow down the allies significantly. The North Atlantic is already a difficult challenge. :?



  • @Wolfshanze:

    I know these are the rules as written, but I’ve always thought they stink on ice… unescorted transports, loaded with war goods sailing through sub-infested waters with ZERO RISK of being sunk, or even stopped…

    It just really smacks me as the most nonsensical rule in A&A.

    I totally agree.

    Thanks for the replies. I’m sure this one is asked all the time but I got unsatisfactory search results.


  • 2017 '16

    @Private:

    Interesting idea Wolf and probably much more realistic. 🙂

    However, as it is a game that attempts to allow WW2 to be fought in a matter of hours, realism has to come second to game play. I worry that the need for naval escorts would slow down the allies significantly. The North Atlantic is already a difficult challenge. :?

    Not sure how it effects game balance, but I have a real hard time swallowing unescorted transports merrily sailing past U-boats as they wave and jeer at the subs in complete safety… at least make the owning Allied nation be honest enough to provide so much as a single destroyer escort to make us believe there’s some sort of convoy system in place… what happened to the Allies when they sent transports unescorted across the Atlantic during the war? The results were not pleasant.

    I know A&A is abstract, but at least TRY and maintain SOME sort of historical accuracy, or why not replace German Panzers with DAK soldiers riding on elephant sculpts?.. it’s just as real as unescorted transports sailing with immunity past U-Boat wolfpacks.

    You could even go one step further and say any unescorted transport sailing through sub infested waters COULD pass through the zone, but must survive one round of sub combat (if its two subs, the germans get to roll two dice to represent the subs attacking), then the transports move on through… just random thoughts that give some sort of feeling to “battle of the Atlantic” where subs actually do something against troop transports instead of waving them on and wishing them the best of luck.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Wolfshanze:

    what happened to the Allies when they sent transports unescorted across the Atlantic during the war? The results were not pleasant.

    By and large the results were not pleasant, but there was one exception: soldiers sometimes sailed on fast passenger liners which had been redesignated as troopships for war use, most famously the sister ships RMS Queen Mary and RMS Queen Elizabeth.  Liners used as troopships could generally sail unescorted because they were much faster than U-boats (and indeed faster than certain escort ships), which made it essentially impossible for them to be pursued by a sub or cornered by a wolfpack, and made them difficult to line up for passing torpedo shot if a sub encountered one by chance.  And they could carry an awful lot of troops on a single voyage.  But this constitutes a special case, which doesn’t invalidate the more general point that convoys – especially the slower types – were crucial to the British and Japanese war efforts, and thus were crucial targets to German and American submariners respectively.


  • 2017 '16

    Well aware of the QE and QM… I wasn’t talking about limited special exceptions, I was talking about the norm and the average. I can site multiple examples of convoys that were savaged and/or nearly destroyed by wolfpacks… there’s at least a couple of examples where escorts were diverted or stripped and disaster struck shortly afterwards. These more normal circumstances, it what should be the target of the “norm” for rules in A&A. If we want to assume the QE and QM are the standard, just make all transports move 3, are immune to naval intercept, and problem solved (that’s a joke of course).


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Wolfshanze:

    If we want to assume the QE and QM are the standard, just make all transports move 3, are immune to naval intercept, and problem solved (that’s a joke of course).

    Alternately, we could assume that when they attack naval transports, all submarines – regardless of nationality – use early-WWII era American torpedoes.  That would be safe enough from the point of view of the transports.  And yes, that’s a joke too.


  • 2017 '16

    @Wolfshanze:

    What about a custom/house rule that said all subs rules as-written in-game stand in-place, with the exception that unescorted transports must stop in a SZ with an enemy sub in it, but may pass through the same SZ if escorted by a friendly warship?!? Would that be a game-breaker?

    Rule 1: Submarines can only block TP unescorted by surface warship.
    Rule 2 (Second Ed. addition compared to first edition OOB): Any TP unescorted by surface warships can only unload if no enemy sub in SZ.

    Do you think rule 2 would be implied implicitly in Rule 1?

    Here, rule 1 is intented to get same result as you looking for. Does it fit the bill?

    The idea is to get a simple rule on Sub acting like partial blocker.
    In first edition, Sub only fleet could be simply ignored but second edition added a layer of complexity about unloading in Sub infested SZ.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13

    They may also put in affect of the amount of water distance in a sea zone where subs are not around.

    I agree with u Wolf. If you don’t want to add Barons rule to game, I like the idea of 1 d6 roll and if sub rolls a 2 or less transport has to stop combat or non combat move.


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