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Rules Question: Can defending fighters kill subs?



  • If submarines attack a lone aircraft carrier with 2 fighters on it, can the subs be killed by the defending fighters?


  • Official Answers

    No.



  • @Krieghund:

    No.

    Huh? Why would that be?


  • Official Answers

    Air unit hits can’t be assigned to subs unless there’s a destroyer friendly to the air units in the battle.


  • '14

    I understand the logic behind requiring the DD to be present in the battle from a game mechanics standpoint (basically because you just want people to buy Destroyers), but from a practical/historical perspective it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

    Aircraft were an important part of the Allies’ anti-sub warfare strategy, and carrier based aircraft especially. I feel like either there should be no sub/aircraft interaction, or it should be unrestricted, because otherwise the DD stuff just introduces more unnecessary confusion into the mix. They create a bunch of peculiar sub-specific combat situations, that players then need to keep track of and argue about.

    Here is some info on ASW tactics from the wiki, for anyone who’s interested. 🙂

    WW2 Atlantic ASW Tactics

    Many different aircraft from airships to four-engined sea- and land-planes were used. Some of the more successful were the Lockheed Ventura, PBY (Catalina or Canso, in British service), Consolidated B-24 Liberator (VLR Liberator, in British service), Short Sunderland, and Vickers Wellington. U-boats were not defenseless, since their deck guns were a very good anti-aircraft weapon. They claimed 212 Allied aircraft shot down for the loss of 168 U-boats to air attack. At one point in the war, there was even a ‘shoot back order’ requiring U-boats to stay on the surface and fight back, in the absence of any other option.

    The provision of air cover was essential. The Germans at the time had been using their Focke-Wulf Fw 200 “Condor” long range aircraft to attack shipping and provide reconnaissance for U-boats, and most of their sorties occurred outside the reach of existing land-based aircraft that the Allies had; this was dubbed the Mid-Atlantic gap. At first, the British developed temporary solutions such as CAM ships and merchant aircraft carriers. These were superseded by mass-produced, relatively cheap escort carriers built by the United States and operated by the US Navy and Royal Navy. There was also the introduction of long-ranged patrol aircraft.

    Many U-boats feared aircraft, as the mere presence would often force them to dive, disrupting their patrols and attack runs. There was a significant difference in the tactics of the two navies. The Americans favored aggressive hunter-killer tactics using escort carriers on search and destroy patrols, whereas the British preferred to use their escort carriers to defend the convoys directly. The American view was this tactic did little to reduce or contain U-boat numbers. The British view was influenced by the fact they had had to fight the battle of the Atlantic alone for much of the war, with very limited resources. There were no spare escorts for extensive hunts, and it was only important to neutralize the U-boats which were found in the vicinity of convoys. The survival of convoys was critical, and if a hunt missed its target a convoy of strategic importance could be lost.

    Once America joined the war, the different tactics were complementary, both suppressing the effectiveness of and destroying U-boats. The increase in Allied naval strength allowed both convoy defense and hunter-killer groups to be deployed, and this was reflected in the massive increase in U-Boat sinking in the latter part of the war. The British developments of ASDIC, Centimetric Radar and the Leigh Light also reached the point of being able to support U-Boat hunting towards the end of the war, while at the beginning technology was definitely on the side of the submarine. Commanders such as F. J. “Johnnie” Walker RN were able to develop integrated tactics which made the deployment of hunter-killer groups a practical proposition.



  • I think that allowing the aircrfats to sunk sub without retaliation from the subs makes the subs completely useless as “sub” but useful only as “naval cannon fodder” and relegates the DD to a secondary role.

    In our f2f revised games a tipical fleet is composed of x BBs, y ACs, 2 * y FIGs, n TRNs, m SUBs, 1 DD (the flag ship?). Only time in which I see more of one DD it is when someone developed combined bombardment. I usually play without technology so go figure how many DD we use in our games.

    According to me, with anniversary rules we are going to see two “historical” behaviour:

    • DD have to be bought in larger quantity because TRNs and SUBs are not useful as cannon fodder;
    • DD have to be used to hunt SUBs.

    This means that we are going to see fleets more similar to the real WW2 counterpart: few Capital Ships escorted by a lot of DD. (Usually a good DD screen for Capital ships involve 3-2 DD for each Capital ship). Moreover subs should operate alone or in groups of subs, and who want to use the sea as a way to transport land units have to fight against subs.

    I know that historically aircraft where used against subs, but also DD where used in great quantity for patrolling the seazones and for escorting convoys.
    Moreover they were dedicated aircrafts, as said in the quote on ASW Tactics you proposed.
    The dive bomber and torpedo bomber on the Attack Carriers of the USA Pacific Fleet were not intended for sub hunting.
    Escort Carriers were equipped with aircrafts used for patrolling and for attacking sub.
    Furhtermore the aircrafts were useful to force the subs to stay submerged. A submerged sub, in fact, is completely safe from air attack, only a DD equipped with depth charges may try to hunt a submerged sub.

    For example the USS Cavalla, a Gato class submarine, sunk a Japanese Fleet Carrier in the Battle of The Filippine Sea, in the face of aircrafts and DDs of the Japanese Combined Fleet.

    On her maiden patrol Cavalla, en route to her station in the eastern Philippines, made contact with a large Japanese task force 17 June. Cavalla tracked the force for several hours, relaying information which contributed to the United States victory in the Battle of the Philippine Sea (the famous “Marianas Turkey Shoot”) on 19 – 20 June 1944. On 19 June she caught the carrier Shōkaku recovering planes, and quickly fired a spread of six torpedoes for three hits, enough to sink Shōkaku at 11°50′N 137°57′E / 11.833, 137.95. After a severe depth charging by three destroyers, Cavalla escaped to continue her patrol. The feat earned her a Presidential Unit Citation.

    (Quote taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Cavalla_(SS-244))

    Also in the Mediterranean German U-73 managed to sunk the UK Aircraft Carrier Eagle, 11th of August 1942.

    (http://www.uboat.net/allies/warships/ship/3255.html)



  • @Krieghund:

    Air unit hits can’t be assigned to subs unless there’s a destroyer friendly to the air units in the battle.

    You had me pouring through the rulebook trying to find anything that indicated this. Finally, browsing other threads, I saw that said this would be in an FAQ.

    I find it odd though that the rulebook specifically indicates that the reason air alone cannot hit subs is that they are allowed to submerge before air fires. Shouldn’t it instead then have said that the reason is that you didn’t bring a destroyer along?

    Why the discrepancy in what should be a very polished product? Getting people to play with a rule introduced outside the rulebook is not going to be easy.



  • @Kobu:

    Why the discrepancy in what should be a very polished product? Getting people to play with a rule introduced outside the rulebook is not going to be easy.

    Welcome to the wonderful world of Axis and Allies.  :roll:


  • Official Answers

    I agree that this is very unfortunate, but it’s not the first time that there’s been a major correction to the published rules of an A&A game.  There were very important modifications to the setup of Pacific in the FAQ, and the reinforcement rules for Guadalcanal had significant changes in its FAQ.  There were also many major ambiguities in the rules of Battle of the Bulge that needed clarification in its FAQ.  The bottom line is that AH could do a better job of quality control.

    That being said, I do think that the AA50 rulebook is probably one of the cleaner ones to come out in a long time.  It’s just unfortunate that the sub rules section is a pretty major blemish on it.



  • Where is the AA50 FAQ published?


  • Official Answers

    It isn’t, yet.  But it will be either here, or here, or both.  Until then, you’ve just got Craig and me.



  • @Krieghund:

    That being said, I do think that the AA50 rulebook is probably one of the cleaner ones to come out in a long time.  It’s just unfortunate that the sub rules section is a pretty major blemish on it.

    I agree. I think a lot of rules that seemed ambiguous before were cleaned up nicely. I’ve managed to correct long-held rules misconceptions in three different area play groups based on the new rulebook.

    The sub rule will be tricky to integrate, but I’m looking forward to the FAQ.


  • 2017 2016 2015 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    According to me, with anniversary rules we are going to see two “historical” behaviour:

    • DD have to be bought in larger quantity because TRNs and SUBs are not useful as cannon fodder;
    • DD have to be used to hunt SUBs.

    Destroyers are the Infantry of the seas. not subs. That was a mistake in Revised and now its corrected.



  • @Imperious:

    According to me, with anniversary rules we are going to see two “historical” behaviour:

    • DD have to be bought in larger quantity because TRNs and SUBs are not useful as cannon fodder;
    • DD have to be used to hunt SUBs.

    Destroyers are the Infantry of the seas. not subs. That was a mistake in Revised and now its corrected.

    I agree with you IL. I am very happy of this new course for A&A sea war!


  • 2018 2017 2016 '11 Moderator

    I think we need to think more about this.

    If the submarines are attacking your carrier, then you KNOW where they are.  Just follow the torpedo contrails!

    The reason fighters couldn’t just go out and attack submarines is because the submarines are not firing torpedoes to use to track them down.  Thus, you need destroyers to FIND them. (Although, I submit bombers should be able to fill this role as well, possibly with the caveat of having heavy bombers.  After all, America at least, and I’m kinda sure England too, used bombers with sonar buoys to find enemy submarines too.)



  • Most ASW of the time was the good old Mark I Mod zero eyeball. WWII subs were surface ships that could submerge. They spent the majority of their time on the surface. The electric engines used when submerged had a very limited speed and run time before the sub had to surface to recharge the batteries. Ariel observation was what lead the Germans to develop the snorkel a device for running the diesels while underwater.

    Submarines also could and did engage aircraft. The preferred method however was to dive. Not because the deck guns mounted on the subs could not adequately engage the aircraft but that once spotted other aircraft and if close surface vessels would be called in. By diving the sub could flee the area.

    This page has the loses by cause for u-boats. Note that almost HALF or to aircraft.




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