How do you lay out a good Navy plan?



  • Hey All,

    I have read miles and miles of text on how laws of land warfare work (both in the US Army and here) I have a good grasp and working knowledge of how to move land units and win. My question for an takers is how do you 1) build, 2) maintain, 3) deploy and engage a successful Navy wile keeping a moderate to high survivability ratio. Let me elaborate:

    1. Build: I know how to buy units thats not what I mean. In land warfare I buy INF to absorb losses. What do I use a fodder for a Navy?

    2. Maintain: any where a Navy goes it takes a few rounds to get there in force and just as many rounds to resupply losses. How to you compinsate?

    3. Deploy: after answering the above mentioned what are rules of engagement for a successful round of combat, wile only taking minimal losses? For example an INF only costs 3 IPC’s thats a minimal loss. A SUB costs 8 IPC’s thats a “minimal Navy loss” but even then they can’t respond to an Air attack.

    I guess my big question is if you dominantly use SUBs as fodder you sacrifice your Navy’s well-roundedness to be able to respond to air attack.

    Are there any takers on this complex situation, or am I making this harder then it has to be?


  • 2007 AAR League

    The reason for navy is to transport land troops, or prevent your opponent from transporting land troops.  This is significantly different than the reason for army (conquering/defending territory).  In my opinion, the focus with navy when it comes to build, maintain, and deploy, should be focused on this main objective (transporting troops).  ie. how do I build a supply line of transports, consistently loading and unloading every turn?  How do I maintain the supply line, including protecting transports from attack, but also including being able to overwhelm an opposing navy/airforce that is attempting to disrupt my supply line?



  • Thank you thats exactly what I want to ask!

    I would think you could break it down like you could land warfare into

    1. mobility, 2) Counter-mobility, 3) surviveability

    As I was told when I was in the Army on ship “You make a piss poor sailor” How do you make it work? what strategy do you use to accomplish this?



  • @losttribe04:

    How do you make it work? what strategy do you use to accomplish this?

    Well, I build one of three types.  Escort or Wolf Pack or Mixed

    For me, an Escort Navy is all about the Transports and their cargo.  I am not afraid to have more transports than needed for the cargo where the extra are used for fodder.  Basically, lots of Transports with Destroyers for support.  (I call Destroyers the “Tank” of the sea) If I can swing a Carrier and a plane or two that’s great.  I maintain it by adding a new Transport or Destroyer from time to time when practical.  At that point, it’s just a matter of figuring out the logistics of the cargo.  I find myself doing this with the Americans a lot.  Buying bunch of transports first turn, maybe a Destroyer.  After that, I really have to think about the logistics of moving the cargo to where I want and how I want to protect it.

    My Wolf Pack Navy is centered around Subs.  Lots of them with Destroyers for support.  A Battleship is great, if available.  Here I am looking to break up a shuck-shuck or perhaps stop an Island Hopping campaign.  I also may use it to strafe a naval force or get a cheap bombardment if I have a Battleship.  I maintain it by adding a new Sub when possible.  I usually do not do this.

    Mixed is usually what I do with America while Island Hopping or Germany in the Baltic Sea if I feel that the Motherland needs protection from a Naval form of Market Garden.  Transports are nice to quickly shuffle units between the Eastern Front, for fodder, and can shoot at Planes.  Sub mostly for fodder.

    I’m sorry if I have been a bit lax on details.  Frankly, I do not feel that I have an exact formula for a Navy.  For my Army, I use cold hard math quite a lot, but with my Navy I use my “feelings” and “instincts” more.



  • 1.  Wat rjclayton wrote.

    2.  First, you see what your opponent is up to.  Then you build an appropriate counter.

    If your opponent goes mass subs, a couple of carriers are not going to do you a lot of good.  He will attack, force you to take the hits on carriers (because subs can’t hit air), and run.  On the other hand, if you build fighters to counter, those subs aren’t gonna contribute much to his defense.

    If your opponent goes with a few subs, you can counter with a few subs.  You don’t need a destroyer, not really; you can take your own subs as casualties after they fire.  Note that a destroyer is probably a good idea though.

    If your opponent goes battleships and carriers, either build carriers and sub fodder, or if your opponent is some kinda naval freak, consider some battleships.  (The free hit adds up over multiple attack and retreat battles).

    MOST of the time, I would much rather have a transport than a sub.  But if you are going to fight a serious serious naval battle, and you need to make every IPC count, you will need sub fodder.



  • Hey,

    In the end I think it boils down to what your up against. I was just wondering if any one had a scientific equation to combating an opposing Navy the way (from what I can tell) most of us use to combat land forces.

    Thank you all for your input



  • There isn’t any given equation.  There’s a good reason for this.

    If you’re calculating odds for a land-based battle, there’s a GOOD CHANCE there are a chunk of infantry on both sides.  If there were no infantry on one side or the other, that side is probably already losing.

    For a naval battle, there is no given unit on which you can base your attack.  Your opponent MIGHT have lots of subs.  Or your opponent might have lots of transports.  Your opponent will probably have carriers, but not necessarily.  Destroyers, battleships, and subs can be present in any variance.

    Short version:  You gotta do the math.


  • 2018 2017 '16 '11 Moderator

    I’ve done my share of naval engagements and I’ve found the following formula seems to give your navy a balanced offensive and defensive punch. (Bear in mind I’ve crushed some good players in naval engagements.)

    1 Battleship, 2 Aircraft Carriers, 4 Fighters, 4 Destroyers, 10 Submarines

    That seems to be the magical ratio.  You will notice I did not include the transport and that’s because transports are not fodder!  They are civilians!!!  Actually, it’s because I’m assuming your transports are transporting something and thus are not avialable as casualites.  But if you want to go the fodder route, you’d need at least 1.414 transports to replace 1 submarine. In other words, the following (with no submarines)

    1 BB, 2 CV, 4 Fg, 4 DD, 14 Trn  At least.  You might need to bring in some fighters from elsewhere because your offensive punch just dropped by 20 and your defensive punch by 10.



  • Hey guys/gals,

    I think Jen brings up a good point I personally don’t like to use transports a fodder. Ideally I would use subs. so here is the question

    What unit makes the best fodder at sea?

    Personally in the end I don’t see a long term need for a navy in the game because of the following: 1) anything that floats is expensive. 2) like in any war at the end of a battle no one wins just some loose more than others. 3) the only need for a navy in the game is ship troops to shore to kill other land units. 4) lastly after the smoke clears no one gains or looses IPC’s as a result (revised game).


  • 2018 2017 '16 '11 Moderator

    Battleships make the best fodder. 😃

    Damaged battleships make the worst fodder!



  • Hey all,

    lol I would have to agree 100% with that Jen.



  • well i’ve only played this version only 3 times, but i have to say that the backbone of any of the Navies should
    be the Destroyer, why? for 12 points you get a 3/3 unit, and can shoot at anything, subs are cheaper, yes
    but they can only hit other naval units, one fighter will make your submarines run for their lives

    in my opinion, transports should never form part of your attacking naval force, if you want fodder for something an assault
    on an enemy navy force, you should use your subs as fodder, plus they can do some serious damage, unlike transports that
    can’t attack, but like i said thats my opinion

    for me, i will always keep my transports and my task force(BB’s, AC’s, etc.) seperate at all times, unless my transports
    are in danger, which from what i have seen in this version of the game, they aren’t as long as i control the pacific, or atleast
    have the upper hand

    so pretty much what i am saying is that, the backbone of your navy should be Destroyers, supported by subs, and Aircraft Carriers, and 1 or 2 Battleships

    hopefully i made sense  😄


  • 2018 2017 '16 '11 Moderator

    There is no backbone of the navy in this game.  Every naval piece serves a vital role in a combat oriented fleet.

    You need a respective number of battleboats augmenting your fleet.  Not for punch, but for absorbtion of damage.  You need destroyers for punch, and to prevent submarines from running away.  You need submarines for fodder and because they have a decent attack/defense cability.  You need carriers to bring fighters for defense and prevent the enemy from attacking you easily.  And you need fighters to be cheap fodder after submarines die off and to add signigicant range and punch.



  • @Jennifer:

    There is no backbone of the navy in this game.  Every naval piece serves a vital role in a combat oriented fleet.

    You need a respective number of battleboats augmenting your fleet.  Not for punch, but for absorbtion of damage.  You need destroyers for punch, and to prevent submarines from running away.  You need submarines for fodder and because they have a decent attack/defense cability.  You need carriers to bring fighters for defense and prevent the enemy from attacking you easily.  And you need fighters to be cheap fodder after submarines die off and to add signigicant range and punch.

    i only used the word “backbone” so that it would make some sense, and yes your right, their is no backbone for the navy in this game
    but i used that word, so that he could see that the Destroyer will augoment for the majority of the offensive power of your navy,
    yes the BB is more powerful, but it costs twice as much and can only be in one place, while you can have 2 Destroyers seperate(example–>one
    near Australia and one in India) the AC is better at defense, but if want something for both things, the Destroyer imho
    is better(but like i said i’ve only played this version 3 times) mainly because it cheaper, and can pack quiet a punch both defensively and offensively

    i’m not saying that you should have like 10 destroyers and forget about everything else, but having them be the firepower of your task force is not a bad idea,
    especially if your Japan which is the only country i play as



  • Hey All,

    I suppose that you just need a mass fleet where every you go (if you fight mostly Navy conflicts AKA Japan) the thing is they can see you coming from the other side of the ocean / a few turns away.

    That might be the best card to play just telling the opposing force (OP4) you there might be all you need to do so as to avoid a fight.


  • Moderator

    I perfer AC’s + ftrs.  They give you the best range and are the best defensively, and still pack a significant offensive punch.  You only need 1 dd and that is assuming your opponent has a sub.

    If you’re worried about someone attacking your fleet, trns are the best fodder b/c they can fire at planes (while subs cannot), plus they can always move troops.

    Ftrs are equal to DD’s offensively, are better defensively and cost 2 ipc less.

    For 36 IPC, I’d rather buy 1 AC, 2 ftrs than 3 dds.

    DDs and Subs are one dimensional.

    Trns, Ftrs help in land battles.

    Per Jens fleet example, I’d much rather have:

    1 BB, 2 DD, 4 AC, 8 Ftrs, 4 subs

    Any serious threat (ie a large sub attack force) can be sunk before it even reaches your fleet since your ftrs can flyout 3 and be picked up by your AC’s for the 4th move.  I’d even consider trading in a dd and some subs for another AC with 2 ftrs, or just additional trns.

    I think it is to your advantage to build a defensive fleet (trns for fodder) and force your opponent to buy the subs and attack you, rather than you buying a bunch of subs to attack him.



  • Yeah,

    I would think it a good idea to maintain a good Naval Air Wing. this way you can initiate a strafe attack to “thin out there numbers” and return to the CV’s in time for them to attack you.



  • @DarthMaximus:

    Any serious threat (ie a large sub attack force) can be sunk before it even reaches your fleet since your ftrs can flyout 3 and be picked up by your AC’s for the 4th move.

    So let us say that I have a LARGE sub attack force, call it 9 subs.  You have 2 carriers and 4 fighters.  (Both fleets cost 72 IPC).

    You fly your 4 fighters out and hose 2 subs.  Then you fly back to your carriers that are in range of my subs.  Then my 7 subs attack, get sub shots on both carriers, kill the carriers, and I lose 2 more subs to fighter fire before I submerge.  Your fighters splash into the water.  I have 5 subs left.

    Granted, that is taking things hella out of context.  But that goes to my point that you should build to counter what your opponent builds.

    As rjclayton wrote, navies are pretty much for transporting cost-effective ground units around.  That is a pretty damn good point.  It is also the reason why you WILL want to have transports as fodder rather than subs a lot of the time.

    A sub is like “I’m going to mess with your navy.  But I’m not going to mess with ANYTHING else.  I’m not going to mess with your ground units, or your air units.  Nope, Imma just sit here in the sea and look mean.”

    A transport is like “IM IN UR FACE SUCKA!  NOW WAT?!  HAHAHA!”

    True, a sub has an attack of 2, and a transport has no attack.  But try using a sub to invade a land territory.  Doesn’t work.

    Basically, if you anticipate serious naval engagements, you DO NOT NEED ANY DESTROYERS, so long as you have a hell of a lot of subs and a few carriers.  If your opponent attacks you with mass subs, your subs get to fire back before you take them as casaulties (so it’s LIKE you had a destroyer, sort of, because you’ll still get to fire with all your defenders.  This assumes you have PLENTY of subs of course).  If your opponent attacks you with navy and air, your subs kill his naval units.  If your opponent attacks you with JUST air, your subs suck, but then, your carriers should be able to sink lots of enemy fighters, and the equation is - each loaded carrier costs 36 IPC to produce, and defense value total is 11.  Your opponent’s fighters cost 10 IPC each with attack value 3.  But every time your opponent kills something, it’s an 8 IPC sub (since you can take subs as casualties).  You, on the other hand, are killing a 10 IPC fighter or 15 IPC bomber every time you fire.  A couple of loaded carriers plus sub fodder will stand up to a lot of punishment from air, after which your opponent’s air is all blown up, and you will probably still have those carriers to retreat with.





  • New Paint Brush,

    If you had the above mentioned Sub fleet why would I fly the fighters back at all until your subs retreated or were killed off.

    crazy straw brings up a good point you can only think as fast as your slowest unit.


  • 2018 2017 '16 '11 Moderator

    @losttribe04:

    New Paint Brush,

    If you had the above mentioned Sub fleet why would I fly the fighters back at all until your subs retreated or were killed off.

    crazy straw brings up a good point you can only think as fast as your slowest unit.

    Because submarines can submerge, they do not retreat.  Why wouldn’t he submerge against all air power attacking him?

    This is why you need destroyers with you.


  • Moderator

    @newpaintbrush:

    @DarthMaximus:

    Any serious threat (ie a large sub attack force) can be sunk before it even reaches your fleet since your ftrs can flyout 3 and be picked up by your AC’s for the 4th move.

    So let us say that I have a LARGE sub attack force, call it 9 subs.  You have 2 carriers and 4 fighters.  (Both fleets cost 72 IPC).

    You fly your 4 fighters out and hose 2 subs.  Then you fly back to your carriers that are in range of my subs.  Then my 7 subs attack, get sub shots on both carriers, kill the carriers, and I lose 2 more subs to fighter fire before I submerge.  Your fighters splash into the water.  I have 5 subs left.

    Granted, that is taking things hella out of context.  But that goes to my point that you should build to counter what your opponent builds.

    Yes, you’re right context is key.  But even here my ftrs have a range of 3, so instead of doing this attack, I have ONE more build to drop down another ~30+ IPC (Assuming either J or US) in naval units.  So NOW I drop down 1 dd + 2-3 subs or 4 subs (if already have a dd or BB around) for fodder.

    It is easier to defend, make the other player waste money on subs, then if they can ever get into range, THEN you drop down your fodder and see if they still attack.

    You can never go wrong buying air.

    Edit:

    You’d actually have 2 turns (of 30 IPC) to prepare, since the subs are 3 spaces out.


  • 2007 AAR League

    i agree with darth, ac and fig is the way to go, figs are 2 bucks cheaper than dd and they can be used on land or at sea



  • @losttribe04:

    New Paint Brush,

    If you had the above mentioned Sub fleet why would I fly the fighters back at all until your subs retreated or were killed off.

    Since the defending fleet is all subs, it can’t shoot back at the all-plane attack force.  (Subs cannot attack air units.)  So, the only move for the defender - unless he wants his subs killed for some strange reason - is to use the 7 remaining subs’ special submerge ability (no other defending unit may ever retreat from a combat, just subs in this special manner) to escape from the fight.  It’s almost an automatic thing, since there is no other sensible choice for the defender.  Newpaintbrush was just making the obvious assumption that the defender would do so, (leaving the planes with no option themselves but to fly away, targetless) without stating it.

    ~Josh


  • 2007 AAR League

    @losttribe04:


    My question for an takers is how do you 1) build, 2) maintain, 3) deploy and engage a successful Navy wile keeping a moderate to high survivability ratio.

    For background, read Mahan’s works on Sea Power. 
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Thayer_Mahan

    Moving an Inf by transport is the fastest that Inf will ever move.  That is what the ocean is for.

    Fleets control access to that ocean.

    To bring that point home, look at the board as a collection of sea areas surrounding land.  Most folks see the board as land surrounded by sea.  Look at the ocean as a path and the land as a barrier.  For example, moving Inf by land from Algeria to Buryatia will take 9 turns.  By transport, 4 turns whether you go through the Suez or the Panama Canal.  BTW, Australia to Great Britian is 4 turns by transport also.  This connectedness of the roads in the ocean becomes extreme in some places.  The Baltic is adjacent to 5 land territories.  One is a Capital, three of them are Victory Cities and together they are 24 IPC.  Add in a one seazone move and there is a second Capital, fourth Victory City and now the total IPC is 32.  On a board of 188 IPC, that is 1/6th of the IPC and 1/3 of the 12 Victory Cities.

    To use that path you need to control it.  Controlling the ocean means DD to fight SS.  It means BB to fight BB. It means CV/FTRs to fight CV/FTRs and everything else.  You will select your fleet components based on what your enemy has.  He will select his fleet components based on whether he is trying to control the sea or deny you control.

    To deny control, use submarines, in combination with bombers as the ultimate long range coastal defense system.  The bomber can reach out 3 spaces to where a couple of subs are picketed.  The mass of subs hang out closer in.  Any attempt to enter the region stops at the picket subs and the counter move is bombers and subs on the attacker.  If ths sounds familiar to the Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine tactics in the Battle of the Atlantic and the Battle of the Barents, you should not be surprised.  It turns the battle into attrition warfare.

    To gain control, you have to root out those pesky subs.  That takes destroyers but they are expensive relative to subs.  Bring along some fighters too.  That means you might want a carrier to base them out of.  You will need that carrier anyway when you get to the other side of the ocean.  Some folks advocate using transports (empty) for fodder.  Sure they are cheap and you will need to build them anyway but I always have to remind myself to leave a few empty 'cause a full transport, even if it is just infantry is not cheap anymore.

    Better fodder is the BB.  No other unit in the game can take damage and keep fighting.  Add the free repairs and life is good.  Too bad they gold plate all of the dang things.  If you can swing the price and expect to be dealing with some signficant fleet on fleet action that BB is a sweet thing to have a long.  It also comes in handy when you get to the other side of the ocean.

    Remember that the prettiest fleet in the world, controlling every sea zone in existance is gaining absolutely 0 IPC.  No dollar return on these things at all.

    It is all about putting grunts on the beach and for that you need those transports and lots of them.  Early in the sea control battle you were using them to absorb hits.  Now you are protecting them with everything you have.

    Of course, once those transports get to the beach you have to do that amphibioius landing.  Here is a handy place for a Battleship.  Those big guns are nice but lets be honest, for the price of a battleship there are cheaper ways to put hits on the beach.  Lets bring along a CV and some fighters.  Now that is some bang for the buck.  Not only can the fighters participate in the amphibious assualt but later on, when you actually have established that beach head, those fighters can move off the CV and on toward the front.  Wonderful dual use as opposed to that gold plated battleship.

    Folks are putting out ratios for types of units.  I suppose that might be useful if there are 100’s of IPCs being spent on fleets.  The real numbers of what type of unit you buy depends much more on your objective in that sea area and the types of units your opponent has.  Ratios that don’t match what you are facing will be wasted IPC.  Those subs are useless if the other guy is depending on land based airpower.  That battle ship may never fire a shot except for the one amphibious landing you do.  Buy the units that counter your opponents navy or force him to counter you.

    An example of this is the G1 2 or 3 transports in the Baltic strategy for Germany.  This is detailed much better elsewhere but essentially, by building the Baltic fleet to 3 or 4 transports, it becomes strong enough that it is no longer easy pickings for the UK airforce.  This means that the Baltic is now denied for Allied use and the transports can move grunts pretty quickly to Len or Nor even as they keep Berlin and EEU safe from amphib invasion.  The best part is not the defensive characteristic.  The best part is the implied threat.  Four transports, a couple of subs, a DD and fighters sitting in Norway and WEU make UK really nervous.  If this is a normal configuration for Germany in the early turns, the UK player has to keep some significant ground and air forces in GBR or risk a Sea Lion.

    This leads me to the last thing a fleet is good for:  To exist.

    A fleet, just by existing, is a threat.

    The UK Indian Ocean fleet, as long as it lives, makes Germany’s advance into Africa difficult, Japan’s advance into India cautious and threatens the IPC islands in the Pacific, just by hanging out with a couple of loaded transports in the South Compass Sea.

    The German Med fleet of 1 BB and 1 Tran hanging out in the West Med, with 1 Inf and 1 Armor sitting in WEU, can land forces in the UK, Canada, Brazil, French West Africa, Anglo-Egypt, Trans-Jordan or the Caucus.  If the Allies try to defend all of those locations, it will take 7 times the force that is sitting in that transport. Imagine two tranports, a CV and two fighters.  The US/UK player will have no other focus and even the USSR player will be watching the Caucus coast line.

    Wanna slow down the Japanese juggernaut headed for Moscow?  Build a West Coast fleet for the US.  Japan has to build naval units in order to counter that fleet.  If he already has enough units, he is over built and you should not be having this problem to begin with…

    As complicated as land warfare is, naval warfare is more so.  Naval warfare is much more a rock, paper, scissors dynamic for gaining and keeping control of the ocean and that is only the first step toward using it to move grunts and win the war.


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