Submarine Surprise Strike and Carrier


  • If a submarine is successful in their surprise strike against a single carrier carrying a fighter does the fighter continue to defend? I can’t seem to find anything in the rulebook on this. Thanks


  • First off, the submarine cannot attack air units, ever. And air units (fighters, tac bombers, strat bombers) can only attack submarines if they have a friendly destroyer fighting alongside them. You can see these rules on page 33 of the Europe 1940 2nd Ed rulebook under the Submarines section.

    So, assuming the fighter doesn’t have a friendly destroyer in the battle with it, then no it cannot defend against the sub.


  • It’s a battleship, cruiser and submarine attacking a carrier with 1 fighter. The submarine hit it’s surprise strike. My opponent argues that because the fighter is on the carrier that got hit by surprise it cannot continue to fight against the cruiser and battleship and immediately dies with the carrier. Is he correct?


  • Your opponent is right that the fighter cannot defend, but wrong as to the reason why. The reason the fighter cannot defend is because it has no friendly destroyer in the battle.

    But the fighter doesn’t die with the carrier immediately. If a viable landing spot is 1 space away or less, then the fighter can land there during the noncombat move phase. If the fighter however has no place to land at the end of the battle, then it is lost.


  • Why can’t he continue to fight against the cruiser and carrier? And do you know where in the rulebook it says this? Thanks


  • Cruiser and Battleship*


  • OK let me clarify, the fighter CAN defend against the other ships. You just cannot select the submarine as a casualty of any hit the fighter makes unless the fighter has a friendly destroyer in the battle.

  • Moderator Official Q&A 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 '12 TripleA

    @bfreestone2002 said in Submarine Surprise Strike and Carrier:

    It’s a battleship, cruiser and submarine attacking a carrier with 1 fighter. The submarine hit it’s surprise strike. My opponent argues that because the fighter is on the carrier that got hit by surprise it cannot continue to fight against the cruiser and battleship and immediately dies with the carrier. Is he correct?

    Also your opponent is wrong on the assumption that the fighter is on the carrier. Fighters are considered to be defending in the air (Rulebook Pacific 1940.2, page 31):

    Air Defense: Whenever an undamaged carrier is attacked, its aircraft (even those belonging to friendly powers) are considered to be defending in the air and fight normally, even if only submarines are attacking and the air units cannot hit them because there is no defending destroyer.

  • 2020 '19 '18 '17

    @bfreestone2002 The fighter would have the opportunity to defend itself against the cruiser and the battleship. The submarine would sit out the rest of the battle, and I like the odds of the cruiser or the battleship hitting the fighter before the fighter scores two hits on the attacking fleet, but the fighter still has eligible targets to strike in defense of that sea zone.

    IF the scene was a solo submarine attack against carrier and fighter, if the sub sank the carrier in the first strike, the fighter would still get a chance to find somewhere else to land. It would not sink with the carrier.

    -Midnight_Reaper


  • I’ll chip in a little here myself 😉

    Look at it in this way:
    As soon as this battle begins, the fighter scrambles and is in the sea zone along with all the other ships. You represent this in the game by putting all the pieces on the battle board. From this point on the fighter isn’t “on the carrier”.

    Also, why is the carrier lost due to the surprise strike? You could take this on the Battleship instead. The surprise strike is like a series of rolls (subs roll surprise attack & defend) that happens before the other normal units, but only when their special power is not negated by an enemy destroyer of course, and so the defending Battleship could take the hit before the loss of the carrier (as long as it still has it’s 2 hit points).

    It gets interesting in the subsequent combat waves. The surprise attacks still continue each and every ‘wave’ (attack roll, defend roll) and so that sub could cause a big loss for the defender, if the Battleship is damaged and the sea group is positioned away from a landing zone for the fighter. Lose the carrier, meaning the plane is lost regardless of the outcome, or lose the Battleship and the roll of 4, to have a chance at keeping the carrier (and hopefully the fighter to put back on it!). I love this mechanic in the game, subs are cheap and are hopeless on defense but a well placed torpedo can decimate a naval group.

    As for the fighter, it still rolls on defence as it always would. It just cannot hit a submarine unless there is a friendly destroyer present. It can roll defensive rolls to hit the attacking surface ships, and at the end of the battle it has a movement of 1 (Can land in the sea on the carrier, or move 1 to a friendly territory to land.)

  • 2021 2020 '18 '17

    There is a rule that fits this situation and SteveO mentions it; all the fighters and tacs are defending in the SZ with the other units—if you are able to disable or destroy all the carriers that they were sitting on, they have 1 move to find a safe landing spot, or they all die. This means that in certain situations, the ATTACKER (only) could destroy ALL your planes simply by retreating, and that consideration is crucial to what order you take your casualties in.

    As long as you stay in the battle you described, it could in theory continue until only the sub and the fighter remained, neither can hit the other, and at that point, the battle would end.


  • The original question is moot.
    For a carrier to be sunk by a single sub, there would have been previous damage to said carrier and no aircraft aboard.


  • Oh yes I didn’t notice this was in respect to Global 1940, so both the BB and CV have two hit points and a sub would need to hit a Carrier twice to of course remove it from the board.

    However, I don’t understand your comment “no aircraft aboard”… there isn’t ever a situation where aircraft are “aboard” a carrier in combat… saying this gives the impression a Carrier can’t be lost with planes on board which is not true. The Carrier and planes are seperate entites once combat has begun, they are only “onboard” the carrier when landing in the non-combat move/air units land phase of the game turn.

  • Moderator Official Q&A 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 '12 TripleA

    @SteveO said in Submarine Surprise Strike and Carrier:

    … there isn’t ever a situation where aircraft are “aboard” a carrier in combat… saying this gives the impression a Carrier can’t be lost with planes on board which is not true. The Carrier and planes are seperate entites once combat has begun, they are only “onboard” the carrier when landing in the non-combat move/air units land phase of the game turn.

    Don’t forget situations when planes of friendly nations are on an attacking carrier. Those planes are not part of the combat but simply cargo, stuck on the carrier and sinking with the carrier.


  • @SteveO You don’t understand how a previously damaged carrier should not have planes on it? I’m think the rule about stranded planes finding an alternate landing spot is covered in Pacific rules p21, Europe p22.


  • @Panther Good one. If said CV was carrying an allied plane when damaged in an offensive action, would trap the allied plane, unable to launch for defence.


  • @Phelan-Kell said in Submarine Surprise Strike and Carrier:

    @SteveO You don’t understand how a previously damaged carrier should not have planes on it? I’m think the rule about stranded planes finding an alternate landing spot is covered in Pacific rules p21, Europe p22.

    I’m not really sure what you even are trying to say here and I think honestly, confusing the issue.

    The original question was merely missing the point that during the conduct combat phase, an attacking submarine performing a surprise strike against a defending Carrier “carrying” a fighter does not also destroy that fighter. That fighter is not “on board” the carrier, they are considered in the air… defending.

    Sure, if the Carrier is lost after combat is resolved, that fighter may then also be lost due to being stranded, but that wasn’t the original question was it.


  • @SteveO Not confusing anything.
    My opening statement to point out that a CV sunk by a single sub shot was already damaged. Since planes can not be landed on a damaged CV, other than the Allied plane scenario, said fighter would not have been there in the first place.
    Im sorry that I used the term “on board” to describe that concept. I never intended for the term to be a literal description of the combat round, and cause so much confusion.

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 Customizer

    You could put in rule 1 plane can land and leave from a damaged carrier or you can land 1 plane only on a damaged carrier but can’t leave it.

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