Destroyers for Bases



  • This thread is specifically about Global War '36-'45, I’m going to assume that everyone who reads this has read the rules, or at the least, knows that there are some very different rules and mechanics compared to A&A.

    When the USA reaches a peace time IPC production of 15, it has the ability to conduct Lend-Lease. This is very useful before the US entry into the war for the Allies, and as it’s production increases, the US attains more and more abilities. One thing that I think might be a good addition to these abilities would be - as the title of this post suggests - the Destroyers for Bases agreement between the US and Britain.

    Historically, DfB came roughly six months before Lend-Lease and one year after Cash and Carry. With regards to where this would fit in GW36’s timeline, it might be best to just be a one off thing that can be done any time after US Lend-Lease becomes a possibility, for simplicities sake. Normally, my proposals for House Rules or modifications come out of a desire to utilise the concept of a historical event, rather than it’s simple recreation (see my suggestion for a Straits House Rule).

    However, as GW36 has similarly important historical events as a part of its rules (Vichy France, the Soviet-Japanese Border War, Anschluss), I don’t feel that my attempting to include DfB is particularly out of place.

    How it would work would be during the Production Phase of the next UK turn after the US can Lend-Lease, the UK player may propose DfB, the US player does not have to accept it, but every subsequent UK turn the UK player may broach the subject again. If the US player accepts DfB, they may offer up to four Destroyers that they already have at sea to the UK, who - if they accept the number of Destroyers offered - places them in the 3rd stage of the production queue, to represent that the Destroyers offered were WWI era, had been rusting merrily away for some time, and all needed a thorough overhaul! The UK player does not have to spend IPC’s to advance the Destroyers along the build queue.

    The price for the Destroyers would be that the US gains the ability to produce naval and air bases on the following UK territories:

    Newfoundland
    Bermuda
    The Bahamas
    Jamaica
    Trinidad
    British Guyuana

    This would be symbolised by placing a US roundel next to the UK roundel. The US does not gain possession of these territories.

    This is a relatively straightforward House Rule that I feel is in keeping with the ideas behind GW36. There isn’t a great deal of loss on either side in game, but historically this was a raw deal for Britain. I’m sure if CWO Marc decides to reply, we’ll all learn something.


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

    @aftertaste:

    This thread is specifically about Global War '36-'45, I’m going to assume that everyone who reads this has read the rules, or at the least, knows that there are some very different rules and mechanics compared to A&A.
    […]
    This is a relatively straightforward House Rule that I feel is in keeping with the ideas behind GW36. There isn’t a great deal of loss on either side in game, but historically this was a raw deal for Britain. I’m sure if CWO Marc decides to reply, we’ll all learn something.

    I’m hesitant to offer any input on this because I’ve never read the GW36-45 rules…and, in any case, it’s mainly just historical background I could provide, not really rule analysis that gets into the detailed mechanics of the actual rules.



  • CWO Marc,

    I was talking about the historical stuff specifically when I mentioned you.


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

    @aftertaste:

    I was talking about the historical stuff specifically when I mentioned you.

    Fair enough.  The part that caught my eye is this one:

    The price for the Destroyers would be that the US gains the ability to produce naval and air bases on the following UK territories […] The US does not gain possession of these territories.  […] There isn’t a great deal of loss on either side in game, but historically this was a raw deal for Britain. <<

    I don’t know the answer to the two following questions, since I’m not familiar with the GW rules, but the two things I’m wondering are:

    1. Does the proposed rule, in terms of how much destroyers cost and what role naval and air bases play in GW, reflect reasonably well the costs and benefits (to the US and the UK) of the historical DfB deal?

    2. Is the proposed rule based on the assumption that the the UK got shafted by the DfB deal?

    The second question is the one that intrigues me the most because the assumption I’ve mentioned – if it’s indeed the basis of the rule – could be an interesting point of debate.

    The raw-deal concept is (I assume) built around the notion that the US was in a position to take advantage of the UK with the DfB deal, owing to the fact that: a) the UK desperately needed the ships and was in no position to bargain, and b) the US had no use itself for those rusty old WWI surplus destroyers.  In a normal transactional context, a situation in which the seller has a huge advantage over the buyer is normally very bad for the buyer indeed.  The DfB deal, however, wasn’t made in such a context.  On the contrary, the DfB deal was basically an arrangement that allowed Roosevelt to do legally (by executive order) something that Britain desperately needed but which some elements of Congress and some elements of the US public adamantly opposed: providing military aid (even if only in the form of equipment) to wartime Britian.  And Roosevelt actually took political heat for having done Britain this favour, rather than being praised as being a tough salesman who’d managed to take advantage of a weak “customer” who was in no position to bargain.

    Moreover, I’d argue that Britain didn’t actually “give up” very much in exchange for those destroyers.  Far from being a fire sale, the DfB deal was really a huge bargain for the UK when it’s viewed from the perspective of WWII ultimately becoming a war between the Allies and the Axis rather than a war between the UK and the Axis. Those American bases proved extremely valuable for supporting Allied naval and air activities in the Atlantic, which benefited the Allied side (or “team” in gaming terms) as a whole.  Even better: the DfB deal allowed their construction to start well ahead of the actual entry of the US into the war in December 1941, and for that construction to be done at American expense (which the US could afford) rather than British expense (which the UK wasn’t in a good position to fund).  Keep in mind that naval and air bases can’t be thrown together overnight (even if, by about 1944, the SeaBees had gotten quite good at carving operational airfields out of Pacific island jungles in a matter of days).  I once read an account by a British journalist who visited the US base at Argentia in Newfoundland in August 1941, and hes described it as looking like a half-finished logging camp: dirt roads (if you could even call them roads), Quonset huts, and little else.  And on top of all that, the DfB deal was a victory for Churchill in the sense that it laid down one more brick in the edifice of Anglo-American cooperation he was trying so desperately to build.  Churchill used every technique in the book to try to get the US to join the war on Britain’s side, and he played up every little footstep that was made in that direction; when the US joined the UK in occupying Iceland in June 1941, Churchill described it – in a typical rhetorical flourish – as a capital event which ranked as one of the most important developments of the entire war.



  • Chief,

    Always a pleasure to get a reply from you, allow me to attempt to answer your questions.

    1. The costs of the in game units mentioned for the deal; destroyers, and air/naval bases, and their abilities, does reflect the deal about as well as can be expected for a board game. They are relatively cheap to produce, destroyers take one turn, airbases two and naval bases three. Honestly, the DfB deal wouldn’t be reflected as well as might be hoped, because it isn’t usually a viable option for Germany to prosecute the Battle of the Atlantic anywhere near as intensely as in real life. So the need might not actually be as great as it was in 1940.

    The abilities of bases are similar to A&A, but destroyers are important for convoy escorts because even though any surface ship may escort, their value in the convoy raid - which is a special battle similar to strategic bombing - is the same as a battleship so it isn’t efficient to purchase anything more expensive than destroyers.

    2. I didn’t make this rule on that assumption alone. I mentioned that it was a raw deal more to suggest that Britain had no choice, not they were totally shafted, but sometimes I don’t word my thoughts clearly. As always, your historical insight is greatly appreciated, and I agree that the DfB deal itself was more important than any exchange of assets, for the reasons you mentioned. The idea that Britain had been done over was more to do with the fact that at the time there was a comparison of the DfB deal drawn between the USSR and Finland’s relationship by John Colville, and the RN’s disgust at the state of the Destroyers, on top of the work required to make them useful. Do I think it was worth it though? Absolutely.

    As I see it, back then, the bases part was a loss of British sovereignty, but the fact that Britain was seen to be ‘begging for scraps’ (my own wording), when it is supposed to be the pre-eminent world power, is a serious loss of face. As you say, Britain didn’t really ‘give up’ anything, and it all came up good in the end, but I personally can’t help but draw a comparison to the Louisiana Purchase.


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

    Thanks for the response and additional information.  The loss-of-British-sovereignty angle is a fair point, though one which I’d see as just one piece of a larger pattern of imperial decline over several decades both before and after WWII.  I’m not sure what time-frame Paul Kennedy assigns (in his 1987 book The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000) to Britain’s decline from its former status as a (and arguably the) preeminent world power, but off the top of my head I’d pick the outbreak of WWI (1914) as the starting point and the Suez Crisis of 1956 as the end point.  Churchill once famously thundered that “I did not become His Majesty’s First Minister so that I might oversee the liquidation of the British Empire!”, but the years during which he served as Prime Minister (1940-1945 and 1951-1955), as did the period in between, only exacerbated the weakening of British power (economic and military) which resulted from WWI and to some extent the Great Depression.  Decolonialism really took off after WWII ended (with, in an early and spectacular example, the 1947 loss of the so-called jewel in the crown, India), but there were rumblings even before WWII started: the 1931 Statutes of Westminster, which gave legislative independence to the self-governing dominions of Canada, Newfoundland, the Irish Free State, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, were arguably a recognition of the political/military debt that Britain owed them for their support in WWI.  Canada, Australia and New Zealand were, among other things, seen to have “come of age” during that war (Canada  at Vimy Ridge, and Australia and New Zealand at ANZAC Cove at Gallipolli), and Britain wasn’t really in a position (even if it had wanted to) to operate these nations as imperial possessions ruled from London.  India, by the way, had similar post-WWI expectations, on the strength of the one million troops it had contributed to the war effort and on the basis of, if I’m not mistaken, British promises made at the time, but those expectations were not fulfilled; Britain, on the contrary, passed a 1919 act (the Rowlatt Act) which tightened its control on India, which only heightened the internal pressures for decolonization.

    It’s somewhat ironic that, in the interwar period, the battlecruiser Hood – which was proudly displayed on show-the-flag cruises in various parts of the world – was regarded as a symbol of all that was great and powerful and magnificent about the Royal Navy and, by extension, the British Empire.  The parallel was in fact all too true: Hood and the Empire were indeed both large and magnificent, but both of them concealed some major structural weaknesses, as was spectacularly demonstrated in Hood’s case in 1941 when she was sunk by Bismarck after six minutes of combat.


  • 2018 2017 '16

    While I like that you are looking for another angle to take the game in a historical direction, I have a fundamental concern with your proposal, aftertaste.

    GW 36 is a 3 sided game. The Axis, the Allies, and the Comintern. If you were proposing to make some sort of compromise between 2 or more of those sides for mutual benefit then you might have a good idea. However, having 2 of the countries in one of the sides (Allies) make a deal that gives a mutual benefit means that you are only helping out one side to the detriment of the other 2. Putting aside the history of it, in a game there is no long term upside or downside to either the US or the UK. Neither country is giving up anything that will hurt them. They will both benefit big-time with the trade of destroyers for bases. I have played the game and this is exactly what both of them need.

    If you do something to unbalance the game in favour of the other sides then this might be a good fix to bring the game back into balance. I’m thinking specifically in terms of using the “Elite of the Third Reich” expansion set or something along those lines. I have been trying to come up with something for the Allies to allow them to compete with a kicked up Germany. As you probably know there are several expansion sets for Germany but not many for the other nations. I will give your idea some thought and be sure to give you credit if I run with it.

    Near the end of this video I talk about balancing the set;
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnHYZMnUFhU&t=21s



  • What is it about the game that you’re looking to fix?


  • 2017

    This is a very interesting addition. I like where this is going!
    I would however agree with GHG. That if you implement this you will need to give a similar advantage to both axis and Cominturn.

    In GW36 US can’t use anyone else’s bases. Can’t scramble in London etc…
    This provides a number of forward bases to the US and 4× the lend lease limit in a turn to the British. Admitted that delivery is delayed by a turn. These may need to be Torpedo boat destroyers to show they are ww1 era. With a drastically reduced cost and effective ability compared to a regular destroyer.
    All expansions usually come with a bit in cost though typically at a discount of just buying the items. Say make both UK and US pay a few bucks to start the Scheme to cover most of the ship costs.

    I  like this thought don’t throw it out, play test it and let us know what you think it does to Atlantic. Germany typically is out of the convoy raiding before us gets involved anyway.



  • You could implement it as a ‘schema’, like Atlantic Wall in the Fortification Expansion.



  • CWO Marc,

    I could spend hours talking to you about this I suspect, but to keep things quick, my position on the general opinion of the British at the time of the DfB deal is seen as a part of the whole decline of the Empire, which you lay out quite clearly.
        I imagine that were I a British citizen of the Empire, as happy as I may have been that the RN were receiving 50 destroyers, we had to share parts of the Empire with a shining example of how successful a nation can be without it, which wouldn’t look good (from a British perspective) for other parts of the Empire. Canada, India, Australia, and New Zealand being the lead examples.

    GHG,

    I see your point and I agree, this does unbalance the game and to be honest, I hadn’t even considered that sort of angle before when suggesting House Rules, some of my other suggestions are universal, and this was an attempt at one for a certain Alliance. I have given it some thought though after reading your response…

    The way I see it, the DfB rule is within the Allies Alliance and is reflective of their co-operative nature in general. Were I to do a similar unique rule for the Axis and the Comintern, I would have to (at least in the way I come up with House Rules) find some sort of historical justification, because I’m fun like that.

    For the Comintern, I’ve been toying with one called Maskirovka - which I am sure CWO Marc knows a lot about - but the point of the rule would be similar to the Japanese Surprise Attack but only for land units and the only combat modifier being that defending units receive -1 on defence for one round. It would also allow the Comintern player to move units into the attack from territories that are beyond the land units usual range. This is to reflect that historically, the Soviets were good at deceiving the Axis as to where there divisions actually were, allowing them to concentrate a massive numerical advantage in certain areas.

    There would have to be certain restrictions as to how many units can do this and how far, for obvious reasons, and only allow it once, but I feel that the Maskirovka rule could be a good balance for the Comintern if the Allies are allowed DfB.

    The Axis is more difficult for me because anything that I could think of has probably been covered in an expansion, and I haven’t seen them all so any attempt would be a stab in the dark, but…

    The Germans had blockade runners that would take technical specifications and equipment to Japan in exchange for exotic and rare materials. Now, I know almost nothing about the specifics historically, so I am on unfamiliar territory, but I was thinking of a rule where Japan and Germany exchange, say, a certain number of free technology rolls for Japan and a one time boost of IPC’s for Germany. This rule is even less fleshed out than the Maskirovka, so feedback is welcome.

    Rank Carcass,

    I am totally against not using allied facilities in GW36, I think it is, quite frankly, a stupid rule, but I’ve never made a board game, so what do I know?

    With regards to the destroyers given being TBD’s, the ships that the UK received were overhauled to the standards of the day, so I figured that after some time in the production queue, they would be just as capable as any other destroyers. There could be an exchange of IPC’s, but I wanted to make rules that add a more unique flavour that could be used or not on a game by game basis, and I felt that having money change hands was a bit vanilla. I’m not saying it’s a bad idea, it’s just something that I was trying to avoid.

    Munck,

    I’m not really trying to ‘fix’ anything, just try some new stuff. I’m going to discuss using some of my ideas with my group, but to be honest, they probably won’t want to use them all.


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

    @aftertaste:

    The Germans had blockade runners that would take technical specifications and equipment to Japan in exchange for exotic and rare materials. Now, I know almost nothing about the specifics historically, so I am on unfamiliar territory, but I was thinking of a rule where Japan and Germany exchange, say, a certain number of free technology rolls for Japan and a one time boost of IPC’s for Germany. This rule is even less fleshed out than the Maskirovka, so feedback is welcome.

    If you’d like detailed information on the subject, a good source is the book “Reluctant Allies: German-Japanese Naval Relations in World War II”, by Axel Niestle and Yoichi Hirama – but the short version of the story is that German-Japanese cooperation in WWII was minimal.  As the first two words of the title suggest, Germany and Japan didn’t provide each other with very much tangible help duing the war; there were a couple of cases of Japanese long-range submarines bringing valuable shipments of raw materials (such as important metals and rubber, if I’m not mistaken) to Germany, but I don’t think it amounted to anything of significance given the minuscule quantities involved.  Germany, for its part, was reluctant to provide Japan with sensitive technical information, as I recall.

    There were a few reasons for this lukewarm (in both directions) relationship.  Part of the explanation is simple geography: Germany and Japan were on opposite sides of the world, a factor which even in peacetime would have been an inconvenience; in wartime, with the overland and oceanic routes between the two nations controlled by enemy nations (mostly the USSR and the UK), it became all that much more of an obstacle.  There’s also the fact that Germany and Japan weren’t fighting a single grand unified war (the concept conveyed on the Allied side by Churchill’s phrase “the grand alliance”), nor even separate but coordinated wars (which is, Churchill’s rhetoric notwithstanding, a better description of what the Allied war effort was really like), but rather separate and unoccordinated wars that were tenuously connected at best.  And there’s also the ideological context – specifically, the racial prejudices of both regimes against each other.  The racist element of Nazi Germany’s political policies and military actions requires no elaboration, but a less obvious point is that Japan too was fighting a war with racist elements, i.e. a war purportedly aimed at freeing Asia from white European colonial imperialism.  (The “purportedly” part refers to the the fact that, while Japan did indeed want to get rid of white European colonial imperialism in Asia, and said so quite publicly if I’m not mistaken, Japan also wanted to replace it with Japanese colonial imperialism, a detail about which they tended to be a little less forthright.)  So Germany and Japan at the time, while both authoritarian and militaristic regimes, were hardly natural ideological partners and were suspicious and disdainful of each other to various degrees.


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