Sub warfare out of whack?



  • 1940 Global has me discombobulated when it comes to talking about subs and convoy disruption.

    The traditional view of subs and convoys was German subs strangling the UK into submission and the Allies doing all they could do to stop them.

    What? if that is reality then 1940 global A&A is a fantasy realm.

    The Allies are the ones who should be sending in the subs and convoying the crap out of the Axis.

    Who can Germany really convoy? Sure, put some subs on the west coast of UK and watch them get decimated in short order, no real threat. � In fact subs in 1940 are so weak for Germany there is no real reason to ever build them for their intended purpose, to convoy the carp out of the UK.

    If we flip the script though the Allies can convoy the Axis into oblivion. Italy has almost 70% of its original IPC income on convoy routes. Normandy is a convoy route, Southern France is a convoy route.

    All of Japan is a convoy route, from Japan to Singapore and the money Islands.

    So, here is my question.

    Why do the USA and UK not take advantage of this and make sure to focus on building up their sub fleets to convoy the Axis? It seems to me that is a real weak point for the Axis.

    Do Japan/Germany and Italy really want to throw IPC at producing Destroyers to stop this?

    If Axis are going to go on the current meta of all out at Moscow and India and ignore navy…Allies need to take advantage of that meta. It is called convoy the living day lights out of the Axis.


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    Convoys are one of the best ways for the allies to win.



  • @PainState:

    What? if that is reality then 1940 global A&A is a fantasy realm.

    The fact that the Nazis can sink the entire Home Fleet and actually perform a Sea Lion already makes it a fantasy realm.


  • 2020 2018 2017

    The problem with sub warfare isn’t the economic part, which is kinda cool in G40.  You could HR that every SZ touching water is a convoy, easy.

    Europe 1999 AxA was a much different Atlantic map, with convoy zones as little pocket Sea Zones.  These let you kill UK and US income, but as in G40, the dynamic of that game was that Germany started with subs but they get cleared and from then on, the Atlantic is a UK/US highway.

    Subs are most useful to just beef up your fleets cheaply and create some havoc.

    Still you can hit quite a bit of income, though Germany is pretty safe, and there are only 2-3 zones that can do real damage.

    During a KJF I’ve put 5 Germany subs on the UK zone, that’s 8.  We often roll this over Italian, german, UK, japan income, all of those.  Say 6-7 times per game?

    It’d be nice if it were more of a dynamic back and forth where there are subs and fleets all roaming the seas but the combat in OOB AxA is too simplistic to model that well, the main dynamic of the game is that the ships (and all units, really) stick together, safety in numbers.  But subs cant spread out or defend themselves very well….



  • The problem with the subs is that they are way to visible.

    In the real war convoys where slow and subs where invisible mostly you dont know where they are.

    In the game convoys are instant and subs can be easy targeted and killed, you cannot hide them at all. That is what makes subs so weak it should have some form of evasion so that even with destroyers present it can avoid detection and sneak away.



  • @ShadowHAwk:

    The problem with the subs is that they are way to visible.

    I think that is the issue Iam raising when it comes to AXIS subs.

    In order for the Axis to convoy the allies it is way to visible and easy to counter.

    The Allies though under the current meta of 1940 can convoy the living day lights out of the Axis and there is nothing they can do about it. Well, they can do something about it but it requires, especially Japan to go against the current meta and build some navy.

    BTW one of the post WWII action reports of the war was that Japan in real life never really tried to stop the USA from convoying the crap out of them.  They had such a singular focus they refused to move off that point of view. Japan in real life could not win the war when they allowed the USA to reduce all their IC to rubble and convoy the living day lights out of them.

    So, real life and 1940 merge. USA on the pacific map should focus on convoy routes, island hopping to reduce Japan air power projection into the Pacific and station STR bombers in range of Japan. Make them stop focusing on just land units on China and their singular focus of killing off India.


  • 2019 2017 '16

    @ShadowHAwk:

    The problem with the subs is that they are way to visible.

    In the real war convoys where slow and subs where invisible mostly you dont know where they are.

    In the game convoys are instant and subs can be easy targeted and killed, you cannot hide them at all. That is what makes subs so weak it should have some form of evasion so that even with destroyers present it can avoid detection and sneak away.

    Well, in the original Axis & Allies we all played in the 80s subs had the option to screw off to another sea zone if that sea zone was attacked.  Submerging and destroyers only came along, if memory serves, in the Europe and Pacific versions that came out in the late 90s or so.  Not sure if that’s the kind of thing you’re talking about, but I know we had instituted a house rule in those Europe and Pacific games that subs could flee the zone instead of submerging.



  • I like to use convey to stop Italy early in the game.  In case there is no sea lion, I will build subs in (US/UK) turn 2, then they can start conveying Italy from turn 4 onward (e.g. Russian sub in sz95; US sub in sz 93; UK subs in sz 97).

    I think conveying Italy is a safe way to depict Axis income.  First, usually Med is under Allies control.  Second, it’s a more economically viable option to depict Axis income: comparing with 12 IPC bomber SBR:
    bomber SBR: expected gain = 3.5 IPC +2 IPC- 1/6 chance AA gun * 12 IPC = 3.5 IPC
    2 subs conveying: expected gain = 2 subs * 2 IPC = 4 IPC

    However, I think it is not easy to do conveying to Germany and Japan.  For Germany, like Taamvan mentioned, there are not many convey zones.  For Japan, usually the Axis players in my game group build naval base in FIC in turn 2 and station the planes there.  If they see US building subs, they usually build air base in FIC in turn 3, protecting the whole East Asian coastal line from US conveying fleet.  I also wish to learn how to do conveying better.



  • @hcp:

    I like to use convey to stop Italy early in the game.�  In case there is no sea lion, I will build subs in (US/UK) turn 2, then they can start conveying Italy from turn 4 onward (e.g. Russian sub in sz95; US sub in sz 93; UK subs in sz 97).

    I think conveying Italy is a safe way to depict Axis income.�  First, usually Med is under Allies control.�  Second, it’s a more economically viable option to depict Axis income: comparing with 12 IPC bomber SBR:
    bomber SBR: expected gain = 3.5 IPC +2 IPC- 1/6 chance AA gun * 12 IPC = 3.5 IPC
    2 subs conveying: expected gain = 2 subs * 2 IPC = 4 IPC

    However, I think it is not easy to do conveying to Germany and Japan.�  For Germany, like Taamvan mentioned, there are not many convey zones.�  For Japan, usually the Axis players in my game group build naval base in FIC in turn 2 and station the planes there.�  If they see US building subs, they usually build air base in FIC in turn 3, protecting the whole East Asian coastal line from US conveying fleet.�  I also wish to learn how to do conveying better.

    Ok, so Japan builds a airbase in FIC, great, does not help them. 2 USA subs are sitting in the port of Hanoi going nuts. Japan builds a DEST in the port of Hanoi. USA subs convoy FIC. Then on the USA turn they send in aircraft from their carriers and sink the lone DEST sitting in the bay of Hanoi.

    The point Iam making is that Japan has to divert serious IPC into a navy to stop the USA from convoying them. How can that be bad for the Allies if Japan is spending half or more of their IPC on navy to confront the USA?

    You drop 4 subs in SZ94 and you decimate Italian production.



  • The rules say no territory can lose more ipcs than its worth from multiple convoy attacks…example Scotland borders sz119 and 109. Obviously if 8 points were scored in 109 both London and Scotland are maxed out. What if 2 damage were scored in both seazones? Can UK say the damage from 109 affected Scotland, thus negating the damage from 119? Does the convoy raider get to declare how the damage is applied?  Europe 2nd edition rulebook pg 24 bottom says a British sub in sz 97 could do 2 ipcs of damage to Italy. This sea zone touches multiple Italian territories worth 8 ipcs. Was this a typo?



  • It is a typo. There are 2014 edition rule book fixes this and has some language adjustments (on other topics) for less confusion



  • Another issue is the location of convoy zones that I don’t agree with. Like the famous SZ 125, why that specific location? The reality is that any location of a “port” should be a convoy zone. I think another issue is that submarines can’t sneak pass straits like they did in real life. Some of them got caught but most of them passed by, this is how Germany got U-boat packs into the med and how Italy sent some help with Wolf Packs attack US/UK shipping.



  • It is odd that an enemy navy without destroyers cant stop a subs movement but a strait out right blocks it.



  • Right. I love G40, I think it’s the best version of AnA to date but you can clearly see that there were rules added for the sake of balance over historical context.



  • I dont think the sub/strait rule has anything to do with balance. I would figure it had to do with K.I.S.S. subs passing thru straits would be one more special rule we would have to remember.
    I didnt write the rules, so i dont know. Just my best guess.



  • I am pretty sure it’s balance over remembering rules. I think they wanted it this way so the players are forced to protect strait zones rather than pump cheap submarines which is historically correct. I mean even USSR had there submarines in the meds and that is ignored because I can’t produce submarines off Ukraine and pass it through Turkey.



  • You might be right.


  • 2017 '16

    @PainState:

    @hcp:

    I like to use convey to stop Italy early in the game. In case there is no sea lion, I will build subs in (US/UK) turn 2, then they can start conveying Italy from turn 4 onward (e.g. Russian sub in sz95; US sub in sz 93; UK subs in sz 97).

    I think conveying Italy is a safe way to depict Axis income. First, usually Med is under Allies control. Second, it’s a more economically viable option to depict Axis income: comparing with 12 IPC bomber SBR:
    bomber SBR: expected gain = 3.5 IPC +2 IPC- 1/6 chance AA gun * 12 IPC = 3.5 IPC
    2 subs conveying: expected gain = 2 subs * 2 IPC = 4 IPC

    However, I think it is not easy to do conveying to Germany and Japan. For Germany, like Taamvan mentioned, there are not many convey zones. For Japan, usually the Axis players in my game group build naval base in FIC in turn 2 and station the planes there. If they see US building subs, they usually build air base in FIC in turn 3, protecting the whole East Asian coastal line from US conveying fleet. I also wish to learn how to do conveying better.

    Ok, so Japan builds a airbase in FIC, great, does not help them. 2 USA subs are sitting in the port of Hanoi going nuts. Japan builds a DEST in the port of Hanoi. USA subs convoy FIC. Then on the USA turn they send in aircraft from their carriers and sink the lone DEST sitting in the bay of Hanoi.

    The point Iam making is that Japan has to divert serious IPC into a navy to stop the USA from convoying them. How can that be bad for the Allies if Japan is spending half or more of their IPC on navy to confront the USA?

    You drop 4 subs in SZ94 and you decimate Italian production.

    I wonder for a long time how historically accurate this Convey disruption in Adriatic SZ97 (12 IPCs max!!!) is.
    There is no other SZ as vulnerable as this one. No East Indies or Borneo/Celebes is as high because each sits in an individual SZ for a max of 4 IPCs.
    Clearly, Japan is very vulnerable to Subs convoy raids all along the Asian coast line (Okinawa SZ19 is 10 IPCs) and this is pretty accurate.
    Just taking a look at all IPCs vulnerable into Japan SZ6: 11 IPCs ! But, still less than SZ97.
    USA did to Japan what Germany was unable to do against UK. USAN totally starved Japan from much needed natural resources. Even more, to catch a glimpse of how important was Singapore, just imagine what can be a SZ37 which worth 12 IPCs of Convoy Raiding. See the pic below. In fact, Java and Sumatra are  pretty close to Singapore, G40 individual SZs do not give this impression.

    But how far Italy’s economy depend on all Med shipping?
    It has to be distinguished from all military troop and supply shipments coming from Italy toward North Africa, it is figured by transports and warships in SZs. Malta did a great job at sinking reinforcement in North Africa.

    A&A1940Global_YG_Intrepid_Apr11_2017_SZ37.jpg



  • I’ve always question that Italian sea zone too because I am pretty sure Italy wasn’t running supplies from the nations it took in the easy to Rome and I have starved Italy with US to the point it couldn’t produce.


  • 2019 2017 '16

    @Caesar:

    Another issue is the location of convoy zones that I don’t agree with. Like the famous SZ 125, why that specific location? The reality is that any location of a “port” should be a convoy zone. I think another issue is that submarines can’t sneak pass straits like they did in real life. Some of them got caught but most of them passed by, this is how Germany got U-boat packs into the med and how Italy sent some help with Wolf Packs attack US/UK shipping.

    Subs can get through Gibraltar in A&A. They can’t get through the Bosporus or the Suez. I think some did get through the Bosporus but most didn’t in WWI. Was it similar in WWII? I’m sure none could have gotten through the Panama Canal with all its locks. With the Suez, that has a depth of 23-24m (75-79ft). I don’t think subs could evade visual detection in such shallow water, even though a Type VII was only 9.6m high.

    I think you have a point on the Denmark Straight. Subs should probably be allowed through here. Depth is 191m!



  • @simon33:

    @Caesar:

    Another issue is the location of convoy zones that I don’t agree with. Like the famous SZ 125, why that specific location? The reality is that any location of a “port” should be a convoy zone. I think another issue is that submarines can’t sneak pass straits like they did in real life. Some of them got caught but most of them passed by, this is how Germany got U-boat packs into the med and how Italy sent some help with Wolf Packs attack US/UK shipping.

    Subs can get through Gibraltar in A&A. They can’t get through the Bosporus or the Suez. I think some did get through the Bosporus but most didn’t in WWI. Was it similar in WWII? I’m sure none could have gotten through the Panama Canal with all its locks. With the Suez, that has a depth of 23-24m (75-79ft). I don’t think subs could evade visual detection in such shallow water, even though a Type VII was only 9.6m high.

    I think you have a point on the Denmark Straight. Subs should probably be allowed through here. Depth is 191m!

    The area was also heavy netted and mined with some listening stations. Sure maby a lone sub might get through but most would be destroyed.



  • If you look at the map at the start of the war Italy has 8 of its 10 IPC sitting on convoy routes.  IF Italy takes Southern France/Normandy/Greece and Yugo. All those territories are sitting on convoy routes. This is a serious weakness/issue for Italy and I think the Allies should do everything in their power to exploit that.

    Over in Japan 25 of their starting 26 IPC are all sitting on convoy routes. FIC/Malaya/Philip and the Money Islands are all sitting on convoy routes. Once again this is a weakness/issue for Japan and the Allies should go after that weakness.

    Italy and Japan have the exact same problem. If the Allies are going after this weakness they have to do something they do not really want to do, build navy. Which in turn helps the Allies as Japan/italy have less IPC resources devoted to land/air power.

    So, sub warfare is out of whack in the sense that it is the Allies who are the ones hitting the convoy routes and strangling the Axis instead of the impression of WWII was it was the Axis pounding the convoy routes and strangling the Allies.

    Now one could ask this question: Great point BUT if the USA and to small extent ANZC/UK are building some subs. Are the Allies in the same situation of putting a lot of IPC into subs and not land/Air? Well, yes they are. Then again though subs can also attack. IF lets say USA has 20 Subs all along the coast of China in various stacks. Japan navy pushes all in some where on the map and has a huge show down with the USA fleet. Well, all those subs can come off convoy attacks and attack en mass on the Japan navy for 1 turn. If the USA clears the pacific of all Japan Warships, well, Japan is on the ropes and ready to be knocked out of the war.

    Then subs go back to hitting convoy routes. So, Subs are dual purpose unlike lets say a Dest/Cruiser/battleship. Once the enemy fleets are gone then those naval ships have no real purpose any more except for the occasional one turn of shore bombardment here or there. So, you could argue surface ships are wasted IPC in the end game.


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

    HR. Redesign the map or rule change.



  • @SS:

    HR. Redesign the map or rule change.

    Well, I do not think this a issue with 1940.

    I would like to think this a discussion to improve Allied tactics and strategies. Convoy disruption could prove to be very crippling to the Axis and there is just not that much talk about that approach to counter the Axis set piece set ups we are fascinated by in the opening 4 turns.


  • 2020 2018 2017

    Part of the problem is positional any Axis subs being built are far from the enemy’s production and they have to try to move into the flow of Allied fleets.  There are situations that the enemy loses his destroyer protection but since you cant target destroyers specifically, its more of a tactical thing than a strategy of emphasizing sub/economic warfare.

    So there are really two problems–the subs are like strat bombers, they can position fight or destroy money but not both at the same time.  They’re not defensive units either, to keep them cheap and balanced, but this means they have no protection.

    I don’t think modding combat or subs is really the best option, modding the map and how economic warfare works would be easier

    (so make SZ 100, SZ 112, 79 38 5 4 2 55 61 56 into Convoy zones)
    (90, 103, 107, 117, 124 12  become USA/UK income convoy zones where Axis subs can destroy general income of either side)
    (Allow the ships to attack NO income relevant to that terr so a Japanese sub in 45 attacks up to 5 of ANZAC income etc etc)


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