G U A R D - possible in '42 scenario?



  • G erman
    U -boat
    A ircraft
    R etaliation
    D efense

    Can we think up a strategy for Germany to buy subs? This one was shot down over on '41 strat forum by the fact that you could block subs with a DD in the North Sea but this can in turn be countered by using Italian and Japanese aircraft (interestingly only in the '42 scenario!). So the strategy involves:

    a) Clearing Norwegian Sea and English channel and North Sea from enemy warships (not too difficult).
    b) Building submarines in the Baltic to use as the first strike force together with air force.
    c) Base German, Italian and Japanese air in Germany.
    d) When UK/US invades France, all DD blocks in North Sea can be destroyed by air forces of combined Axis (i.e. Italy can destroy UK DDs, Japan can destroy UK and US DDs).
    e) On the German turn, strike invasion fleet outside of France with combination of subs and air.  😄

    This GUARD shield is unable to be destroyed by air attacks as long as you keep all destroyers at a distance from Baltic Sea, and it involves buying one or two bombers with Germany as well as a number of subs. To be successful, this strategy must be less costly than buying a CV or two to have a surface fleet and also be sufficiently effective as to warrant those IPCs spent on subs. It is perhaps best used when the Allies goes KGF in order to delay an invasion long enough for Russia to collapse, and in this case Japan will not mind sending air units to Germany since that’s where the Allied forces must be stopped anyway. Yes, I know, the mechanic is a bit gamey, but hey, I don’t mind if it allows some kind of Atlantic war with German subs to be fought out!  😉


  • '15 Official Q&A '11 '10 Moderator

    http://www.axisandallies.org/forums/index.php?topic=15892.0

    Lynxes - The above link is to an on-going game where a serious German sub strategy is being used.
    The keys for me - France IC
    Either or both - Improved shipyards, super subs

    I don’t know about building subs in G1 like you described, but in certain situations they are brilliant.

    In this game, America has been buying almost exclusively air power, since getting LRA in US1 for 10 IPC’s, and jet fighters after that.

    To keep the invaders out of Europe, I am employing a sub strategy, and with 5 IPC supers, that is quite effective.

    If you observe this game, you will notice I started buying subs when I had Karelia, Germany, and France IC’s.  There are 4 different seazones to launch them from.  If UK only has 0, 1 or 2 destroyers, they can’t kill 'em all!  And occasionally, those nasty buggers roll a 1 on defense.  Trading 5 IPC subs for 8 IPC destroyers works out pretty well.


  • '16 '15 '10

    I wish subs were 5 instead of 6, then it would be more tempting to buy them.

    The challenge in playing a Baltic sub strat would be deadzoning SZ 3 (off Norway), since Germany’s starting airforce is mainly fighters and only 5 territories (Norway, NWE, Finland, Karelia, Arch) are within fig strike range of 3.  So either Germany holds Karelia or a Scandanavian state or stacks NWE, or it would need to buy alot of bombers and subs early to thwart a UK attempt to base destroyers there.

    It’s definitely possible if Germany can hold Finland or Karelia, but i doubt the naval purchase is worth it when dual-use air units could serve the same purpose with greater mobility/flex, albeit at greater cost.

    If I’m UK I guess I would try to counter by landing in SZ2 (Finland, Karelia, or Arch).



  • I think part of the problem is many people want so bad for subs to be better than they are. Don’t get me wrong I occasionally buy and use subs, I just have seen so many post over the years trying to recreate the “Battle of the Atlantic” that I do not think is really possible in Axis and Allies so far.

    While Subs can be used as fodder for a joint air sub attack, they do nothing to protect a German surface fleet, which does not lend itself to protecting Scandinavia or pressing hard on Karelia. These last two items are why I advocate a fleet in the 42 scenario.

    And while I have never done it in a competitive game I was in an early play test game against myself able to do something similar to the original author’s premise in the 41 scenario with an IC in France and the Italian Navy in SZ13.


  • '15 Official Q&A '11 '10 Moderator

    @a44bigdog:

    I think part of the problem is many people want so bad for subs to be better than they are. Don’t get me wrong I occasionally buy and use subs, I just have seen so many post over the years trying to recreate the “Battle of the Atlantic” that I do not think is really possible in Axis and Allies so far.

    You didn’t look at my game, linked below, did you?  🙂
    It’s a lot like the “Battle of the Atlantic”, as close as A&A could probably simulate it.



  • The point is that I do not think that you can have such strategy in a “normal” game. Germany would not have been able to produce all these units without UK money, and without the fall of London, the Royal navy would have dealt with the subs really more easily (just because more boats would have come turn 2).

    I think that the best way to have a Battle of Atlantic is to play the Revised Enhanced, which with the Wolf Pack National Advantage for Germany, the sub rules, and an investment on Super subs, can make a real deal for Allies.

    But for AA50 games, to my mind it is quite hard to do. Of course, it can happens, as our game shows, but I think this is the exception (a nice one 🙂 )



  • Even if we know a lot more about different strats for the 41 setup, 42 is played enough to conclude that a German naval strat is equally ineffective in 42 as it is in 41. This is in a 1vs1 (fairly) experienced players setting.
    There is also the possibility that allies need a higher bid in 42 than in 41, in 41 a fair bid is ca. $6-$9.

    But it’s not a miracle to win using an ineffective strat, b/c there is dice, and errors done by players even if both players are pretty experienced.



  • @Subotai:

    42 is played enough to conclude that a German naval strat is equally ineffective in 42 as it is in 41. This is in a 1vs1 (fairly) experienced players setting.

    No, seems you had not played enough 42 scenario. It’s amazing how good can be a naval strat for western axis if well done. Also it’s pretty good even in 1941 … The trick is west axis has enough money to hold both soviets and UK in Europe while Japan grows enough to manage economic advantage for axis. And USA and KGF… well, Japan can abuse of that allied strat and attack mainland America (not to conquer it as in Revised due stupid icecap but enough to halt USA)

    Both cases, a bad done naval strat for west axis is a easy defeat


  • '16 '15 '10

    Func, if you are talking about surface navy, whether or not it succeeds is up to the Allies.  If the Allies want to sink it bad enough, they will sink it.  After rounds 1-2, Germany would have to spend 34$ a turn to keep the fleet alive.  I suppose Germany can play a navy strat in a no-bid 42 and it can succeed (since Axis have a huge starting advantage) but as for 41……I haven’t seen that work or come close to working if Allies buy right.

    The reason subs are a better idea than surface navy is the Allies have to shell out for lots of destroyers and carriers to get in close enough to threaten the U-boats.  The problem for me is that since Germany’s air is so fighter-heavy, keeping up the “Guard” would require that I keep fighters close to the coast.  If say the Soviets stack Ukraine and/or UK is open in Africa and I’d like to attack, I’d have to weigh the benefits of attacking against the costs of potentially losing my sub force if the Allies are allowed to move their fleet units closer.

    Re. Western Axis navy, I’d say that the biggest problems I’ve had as Allies have been dealing with Italian navy, usually in conjunction with Japanese units coming through the Suez.



  • @Zhukov44:

    Func, if you are talking about surface navy, whether or not it succeeds is up to the Allies.  If the Allies want to sink it bad enough, they will sink it.  After rounds 1-2, Germany would have to spend 34$ a turn to keep the fleet alive.  I suppose Germany can play a navy strat in a no-bid 42 and it can succeed (since Axis have a huge starting advantage) but as for 41……I haven’t seen that work or come close to working if Allies buy right.

    I guess you are talking of a KGF strat if you want be sure of sinking surface Kriegsmarine. If not, USA simply has not enough money to both face the japs and aid sinking german and italian boats at time

    If this is really KGF, axis has won even earlier: Japan will annoy USA’s rear anyway, Africa will be lost soon or later and axis will reach economic advantage pretty soon. West axis fleets could try mixing to ensure at least trading Africa and italian NOs, etc.

    I think is more easy exploit ignore Japan strat (IJS) in 1941 scenario: you start with 5 trannies, so buy 2 if planning navy germans. If USA is too busy building boats or troops to EUSA, you can move to menace WUSA with 14 land units and 6 figs. 20 units! USA will have to shift to defense or start building units at WUSA from beginning. Any case, you lost precious time with USA, and Japan can still trade Alaska/Mexico just to slow yanks even more

    In 1942 USSR is pretty weak. You can buy 6-8 infs to halt them and the rest (about 30 IPCs) to fleet. Add some italian boat buys and …

    I’m not saying I’m a master with naval germans, I’m saying I suffered it and it hurts!  :lol:



  • But still I agree submarine strat can work also. It would need a France IC I think …


  • '15 Official Q&A '11 '10 Moderator

    @Funcioneta:

    But still I agree submarine strat can work also. It would need a France IC I think …

    France IC gives tons of options to the Germans, especially naval.  Easy to contain German boats in SZ5 usually, but that’s not what we’re talking about.

    I’ve launched German boats in SZ4, 5, 7 and 13 all in the same turn.

    I pretty much agree with Func here.
    Last time I disagreed with Func, it led to several A&A games!  :lol:


  • '16 '15 '10

    @Funcioneta:

    I think is more easy exploit ignore Japan strat (IJS) in 1941 scenario: you start with 5trannies, so buy 2 if planning navy germans. If USA is too busy building boats or troops to EUSA, you can move to menace WUSA with 14 land units and 6 figs. 20 units! USA will have to shift to defense or start building units at WUSA from beginning. Any case, you lost precious time with USA, and Japan can still trade Alaska/Mexico just to slow yanks even more

    Well if we are talking about 41…Japan coming at USA is exactly what I want to see happen in a KGF…it’s the ideal scenario.  It’s easy for Allies to defend against, and it potentially gives Russia a few more turns of tank buys.

    In 42, in order to mess with the USA, Japan would need to buy way more transports than it can afford.  The Japs have much more pressing business to attend to.

    Either way, if Germany spends most of its cash on navy, it’s not likely to last long enough for Japan to turn the game, because the Allies will be able to engage in economically beneficial trades.  Monster Japan is a fair price if it’s the price of Allied victory.



  • @Zhukov44:

    Well if we are talking about 41…Japan coming at USA is exactly what I want to see happen in a KGF…it’s the ideal scenario.  It’s easy for Allies to defend against, and it potentially gives Russia a few more turns of tank buys.

    If Japan forces USA to spend 100% against them, is game over and axis victory. You simply has to make the maths: Japan has more income than USA and can even spare some IPCs to annoy soviets (China should be killed J1 as default strat), and west axis combined income is also greater than UK+USSR, specially when most of Africa, India and ANZAC are lost. If axis do enough quickly, german income could even match UK+USSR without adding Italy. Then, with fronts secured, is axis economic advantage



  • @Zhukov44:

    In 42, in order to mess with the USA, Japan would need to buy way more transports than it can afford.  The Japs have much more pressing business to attend to.

    If USA does nothing against Japan and ignore it, Japan will toast any India IC (China will live a couple of rounds more in 1942 but anyway is not a pressing issue for japs). IC or not, it becomes a 1941 scenario mimic, so the proper strat for axis is buy 1 AC G1 and wait to see what does USA1: if ignore Japan, shift to land strat and try mix with italian navy. If doesn’t ignore, continue the naval strat

    The idea any case is you cannot afford ignore any theater, you have to cover all of them just because of size of the map and economics. This is valid for both axis and allies, because the other team will take the iniciative you ceded

    I remember a game where Italy ignored Africa and focus only in USSR. It was tricky for soviets to hold but they managed, because it was a walk for UK recover Africa and skyrocket income. Also Japan got diced early in Pacific and decided focus only in Asian ICs and USA spammed Pacific with trannies taking more valuable islands



  • @Yoshi:

    I think that the best way to have a Battle of Atlantic is to play the Revised Enhanced, which with the Wolf Pack National Advantage for Germany, the sub rules, and an investment on Super subs, can make a real deal for Allies.

    Hey!!  Nice to see AARe (a.k.a. Revised Enhanced) mentioned.

    The key difference is that subs in AARe do convoy damage, so they get a better return on investment when purchased in AARe.  That mechanism does not exist in AA50.


    Subs are cheaper in AA50.  And we have just begun to toy with German naval strategies in 1942.  It appears they can be effective.  ALLOT depends on what Russia attacks R1 and how well they do/how agressively Russia comes after Germany.  A poor R1 or a passive Russia might be the signal to go naval for Germany.  I would also agree that a France IC opens things up greatly for a German plan to control the atlantic because it offers plenty of options for the Kriegsmarine.  The biggest option I can think of is the ‘cheater’ move of attacking SZ12 with your ftrs that might be based 3 moves away (in Germany, for example) while buying a carrier for them to land in sz13 or sz7.


  • '16 '15 '10

    @Funcioneta:

    @Zhukov44:

    Well if we are talking about 41…Japan coming at USA is exactly what I want to see happen in a KGF…it’s the ideal scenario.  It’s easy for Allies to defend against, and it potentially gives Russia a few more turns of tank buys.

    If Japan forces USA to spend 100% against them, is game over and axis victory. You simply has to make the maths: Japan has more income than USA and can even spare some IPCs to annoy soviets (China should be killed J1 as default strat), and west axis combined income is also greater than UK+USSR, specially when most of Africa, India and ANZAC are lost. If axis do enough quickly, german income could even match UK+USSR without adding Italy. Then, with fronts secured, is axis economic advantage

    USA would only be fully occupied if Japan was using all of their transports and all of their air against them….  Japan’s plan would have to be 1) taking WUSA by surprise or 2) shucking to Alaska.  #1 can work sometimes but USA should have enough existing figs and gear to deal with it…plus EUSA tanks plus bombers should be able to counter if WUSA falls.  #2 is slightly more serious…but it would require a 4/4 shuck from Japan…and hence little or no real thrust against Russia or Africa…and even then USA will have a healthy production advantage in North America.  USA could still base some bombers in UK or dump some units into Africa while deadzoning W Canada.

    Granted, the long-term economics are unfavorable to Allies, but that’s always the case no matter what the strategy is.  At least in this case Russia can attack w/o having to worry about their rear, so they have a shot at pushing Germs back and depriving them of NOs.



  • @Zhukov44:

    #2 is slightly more serious…but it would require a 4/4 shuck from Japan…and hence little or no real thrust against Russia or Africa…and even then USA will have a healthy production advantage in North America.  USA could still base some bombers in UK or dump some units into Africa while deadzoning W Canada.

    A mere 4x4 is not enough. Take into account, however, Japan will score 60s in a few turns, a 4x4, after settled, is going to cost only 24-30 IPCs. In this scenario is obvious Japan will have a half of starting fleet to defend against bombers. The other half of fleet can be used for Africa

    Again, Japan needs more than a 4x4. I think the need is a 5x5, using also Manchurian IC units, and a IC at Alaska to send 14 or 15 units each round. The key is doing enough quick to ensure USA has to spend the full 40 IPCs is going to have after losing Pacific NOs plus ala and haw. Japan should spend 40-45 IPCs against USA in this scenario (maybe a bit of SBR against WUSA), that means 15-20 IPCs each round against USSR and Africa

    Speed is key. If the strat goes right, it’s 60-70 IPCs from west axis plus 15-20 from Japan against USSR + UK mid game (they not should sum more than 60), and 40 vs 40 Japan vs USA. Of course, you can do the old JTDTM and is probable it works if you do quick. Both cases need a quick game with Japan, but Polar Express has the virtue that, if done many games right, can force allies to not ignore Japan, and I think is good for axis dictate the path of the game and not the allies

    For the OP, if you combine a GUARD strat with Polar Express, west allies will have to spend time to kill german subs and also the italian fleet (and they are at distant places from each other). And time is all Japan needs to ensure both Polar Express or JTDTM

    Edit: I guess in IJS you don’t buy any UK IC in India. In case you buy it, it’s not a full IJS, and the maths differ as well jap strat: a early India crush is way to go, but I’d still annoy Alaska with trading attacks



  • Why do people use a 4x4 for a polar express.  a 2x2x2 can get 8 units a turn into alaska with transports going with 3 steps.

    Step 1: Move from SZ 62 to 64 and unload
    Step 2: Move from SZ 64 to 62 and shuck to Bury
    4 transports do this, 2 each step per turn
    Step 3: Move from 64 to 63, load, drop in 64.

    Its odd how you have to stagger it, but with a bit of troop buildup and extra transport or two to get it started, or a few units in bury to start, will prime it very easily.  Start with 4 transports in SZ 62, make sure you have 4 units in bury first, send all 4 to alaska for drop.  Following turn 2 shuck from bury, 2 go back to 62, and 2 new ones from 62 go to alaska.


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