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Baltic Fleet Options



  • Time to beat the dead horse again- to AC or not to AC, that is the question.

    I have searched the forum is some depth, but still haven’t found a good use for the Baltic fleet. In my limited experience there are three options:

    1. Let it sit there until UK’s Royal Air Force sends them to meet Davy Jones
    2. Build an AC and land a plane or two on it for maximum defence for your IPC
    3. Make a break for the Mediterranean and hope something survives

    It seems that no matter which I choose, I lose.

    First, I should mention that in the local games around here bidding is just a hushed whisper in dark corners by disheartened Axis generals. In other words, it is non-existent.
    Therefore, I need the BB and TNS to take Anglo on G1. This makes the possibility of threatening the UK fleet with the entire German fleet on round 2 not really an option.

    Now, lets look at the three options listed above.

    1. Let it sit
    If we let the fleet sit in the baltic, then inevitably the UK will blow them to tiny bits, in their mercy- its just a matter of when. Their starting air units are sufficient for the task,
    and usually lose one or two FTRs for their trouble. That means Ger loses 36 IPCs worth of units, while UK loses 10 or 20. Not only is there a large IPC difference, but the UK fleet can now
    unload in WE, Ger, EE, Kar, and Norway. This can be prevented by a large Luftwaffe sinking the fleet, but it still can put Ger in more of a defensive position, which is almost always a bad thing.

    2. Build an AC
    An AC can go a long way in protecting the Baltic fleet, but that’s about all it is good for. What is in the Baltic that is worth spending 16 IPCs for? A single TNS? A couple of subs?
    No way you say. And I agree- 16 IPC is way too much to spend in the water, especially on G1. Although the Baltic fleet with an AC can (sometimes) successfully block a UK fleet that is
    shucking into sz4, the AC adds little to the offensive power of the fleet.

    3. Make a break for Med
    This seemes the best option at first, until I started using it in games. Here is how it usually pans out:
    The UK will attack me with a TNS, BB, BMR, and 2x FTR. They usually avg 2 or 3 hits which I take on non-subs first, and I avg 2 hits which they take 1 on BB and 1 on TNS.
    The attacking BB (and TNS if it is still alive) retreats, and I am left with 1-2 subs that immediately submerge. On US1 their BMR gets a shot at the sub(s) en route to Britian.
    This leaves me with possibly one or two subs in sz 7, which move to sz 13 on Ger2.
    This is not very helpful, considering they have no protection from another round of attacks from the two BMRs parked in Britian b/c the BB + TNS were used to secure Anglo.

    Therefore I can usually expect a total loss of the fleet, with possibly one UK TNS to show for it.

    So what do I do? It seems that I am in a lose/lose/lose situation. The only alternative that I can think of is a mix between 2&3, where you buy an AC on Ger1 and move the fleet toward Med on Ger2-3.
    Is there anything I am missing? What can I do to improve the situation and get maximum benefit from the Baltic fleet?
    Thanks in advance!



  • welcome!

    there’s a relatively new thread on the “un-baltic” idea, may be another one for you to consider.
    it includes a bid in the idea, but it could bare out to a non-bid strategy.

    http://www.axisandallies.org/forums/index.php?topic=13363.0



  • If you wanted to go hard core Baltic fleet have Germany buy 3-5 transports for a sealion on G2.

    :evil:

    LT



  • But that leads to a happy soviet union … try that strat only for fast games or when allied players are morons



  • @Funcioneta:

    But that leads to a happy soviet union …

    nice….and happy commies are never good for the Axis.

    which is heard more: 
    The Baltic Fleet won the game for Germany.  or…
    The Baltic Fleet lost the game for Germany.



  • I did read the “un-Baltic” article, and it is a well thought out post. However because of no bids I have to choose between either moving BB + TNS to sz 13 and sacrifice G1 Anglo, or not having BB + TNS to help threaten UK fleet on Ger2.



  • @murraymoto:

    which is heard more: 
    The Baltic Fleet won the game for Germany.  or…
    The Baltic Fleet lost the game for Germany.

    Yep, but usually the 2nd. UK and USA can join 22 units in England. 24 if soviet fighters are at range



  • @syntaxerror111:

    I have to choose between either moving BB + TNS to sz 13 and sacrifice G1 Anglo, or not having BB + TNS to help threaten UK fleet on Ger2.

    that’s about the choice you have to start with already isn’t it?

    “Life is not a continuum of pleasant choices, but of inevitable problems that call for strength, determination, and hard work”  –Indian Proverb

    Shake it up with your opponents, see how they react to different things, maybe you’ll find a hole in their reactions. Force them to do something different.

    I haven’t seen a foolproof or guaranteed German naval strategy yet to win with, too much depends on the enemy’s reaction.

    There are many tweaks to the different approaches you listed, and others you didn’t, maybe build destroyers or whatever.  You have to look at what use you will get out of the units–not how long can I keep them alive.  What’s the best way to use them to further your path to victory–if that’s a delaying tactic, that’s something.



  • A lot of units are fated to die Round 1 (think US Pacific Fleet). The German Baltic Fleet is just one of them. The difference between the US and Germany is that Germany actually has a chance to do something before the UK blows the fleet out of the water. I think that money spent on saving this fleet is wasted. Use them round 1 to do some damage, and them wave goodbye.



  • @murraymoto:

    You have to look at what use you will get out of the units–not how long can I keep them alive.  What’s the best way to use them to further your path to victory–if that’s a delaying tactic, that’s something.

    That is good advice- to always look at how the unit(s) can further your goals. Keeping them alive is just an added bonus!

    @ogrebait:

    A lot of units are fated to die Round 1 (think US Pacific Fleet). The German Baltic Fleet is just one of them. The difference between the US and Germany is that Germany actually has a chance to do something before the UK blows the fleet out of the water.

    I never thought of it that way. Get the most utility you can before they are gone.

    I appreciate the great replies on this topic- thanks again.



  • I’ve been trying a move lately that worked out great for me. I move the two subs down to sea zone 7, the rest of the med navy and other sub attack the battle ship (with figs). My opponent attacked the remaing baltic with his air force. He leaves the subs alone because he can only attack it with  his navy, which would put it in range of mine + all my planes in round 2. He has to choose what his air force attacks because it’s to risky to split them up. Sure this tactic delays me in Africa but it helps secure the Med and with a round 1 purchase of all men + 1 art, I can afford the delay. The us bomber has a crack at the subs but at the least I’ll keep one. Two or three subs, BB + tran is a good thing to have in the Med in round 2.



  • @ogrebait:

    A lot of units are fated to die Round 1 (think US Pacific Fleet). The German Baltic Fleet is just one of them. The difference between the US and Germany is that Germany actually has a chance to do something before the UK blows the fleet out of the water. I think that money spent on saving this fleet is wasted. Use them round 1 to do some damage, and them wave goodbye.

    I used to be of your opinion, but I have changed my mind, and I now disagree in most situations.

    Probably the best choice is a carrier in the Baltic.  This is only 16 IPC and still allows a build of 8 inf to secure the ground, or 4 inf and 3 art, if you want to be a little more aggressive.  Landing one fighter on the carrier is sufficient on G1, as there is no way UK is going to send 2 fighters and 1 bomber against that.

    I am against the 2 or 3 transports idea.  This is a gimmicky move, easily countered by a competent allied player, and what you have left with is some cannon fodder, which is not as good as a carrier.

    I have seen a BB in the baltic work too.  It has the added benefit of not having to hold fighters and of course can bombard, but 24 IPS is a little stiff to be spending on G1 on naval, but I have seen it work.  2 destroyers, or a destroyer and transport, are other options which will deter the first turn UK strike.

    Really, preserving and reinforcing the Baltic fleet forces the allies to be extremely careful with their naval moves.  They are forced to stay 3 or more spaces away with their fleet from your fleet and airforce for some number of turns.  It almost forces USA to have to build a carrier to match your carrier, as the destroyers in the atlantic are not going to cut it, and the BB will take some time to come over from the pacific, if the USA chooses to go that way.

    It also forces UK to build more planes and therefore fewer invading ground forces.

    Also, there will be a very real and constant threat of germany combining its fleet off the coast of france, creating a truly formidable force that neither the UK nor USA will ever be able to dislodge, and possibly invading UK with 2 transports and a bombard.  All that Germany needs to do is put the Med BB and transport (and maybe surviving sub) off gibraltar (capturing it, of course, to prevent UK fighters from attacking).  The two fleets can be combined the turn after that, and if the allies do not have decent naval power at that point to strand up to that, they are in serious trouble, because there is no way they can invade Europe or Africa anytime soon with that fleet parked there.

    The fleet combine and invade is a move that can surprise even some decent players, because while the buy of 3 transports is a sure telegraph of a UK invasion, the transport move from the med is a little more sneaky.  The UK player may be holding just enough ground to hold off one german transport, but you may surprise him with two.

    I do acknowlege a no-naval G1 as still valid, especially if USSR got some bad luck in attacking both WR and Ukr, and it looks like Germany may be able to pressure them hard and early.  In that case, by all means, get some tanks, inf and art and press hard.  But if USSR got good rolls, or simply only took WR and is massing for further attacks, taking some effort to fend off US and UK navies while allowing your troops to build up to push the Russians back on G2 and onward can work very effectively.


  • 2016 2015 '10

    @syntaxerror111:

    3. Make a break for Med
    This seemes the best option at first, until I started using it in games. Here is how it usually pans out:
    The UK will attack me with a TNS, BB, BMR, and 2x FTR. They usually avg 2 or 3 hits which I take on non-subs first, and I avg 2 hits which they take 1 on BB and 1 on TNS.
    The attacking BB (and TNS if it is still alive) retreats, and I am left with 1-2 subs that immediately submerge. On US1 their BMR gets a shot at the sub(s) en route to Britian.
    This leaves me with possibly one or two subs in sz 7, which move to sz 13 on Ger2.
    This is not very helpful, considering they have no protection from another round of attacks from the two BMRs parked in Britian b/c the BB + TNS were used to secure Anglo.

    Therefore I can usually expect a total loss of the fleet, with possibly one UK TNS to show for it.

    I used to just let the fleet sit, but now I go to SZ 7.  If the UK attacks you with their fleet, then that means they aren’t landing in Algeria or Norway.  That alone makes the SZ7 move worthwhile.  Plus, I’m usually able to kill a transpo or fighter and still submerge a sub (or you can not submerge and hope UK continues and u get another transport or fighter).

    One game, the United Kingdom got 4 hits there and couldn’t retreat.  Since they didn’t buy a carrier, I was able to take down the UK fleet with air.

    Generally I still have 1-2 subs left that can hit any naval units that try to land in either Algeria or Norway.  Occasionally United Kingdom will stay in SZ 2 allowing me to make a fleet combine at Gibraltar.



  • @Col.Stauffenberg:

    I move the two subs down to sea zone 7, the rest of the med navy and other sub attack the battle ship (with figs). My opponent attacked the remaing baltic with his air force. He leaves the subs alone because he can only attack it with  his navy, which would put it in range of mine + all my planes in round 2. He has to choose what his air force attacks because it’s to risky to split them up. Sure this tactic delays me in Africa but it helps secure the Med and with a round 1 purchase of all men + 1 art, I can afford the delay. The us bomber has a crack at the subs but at the least I’ll keep one. Two or three subs, BB + tran is a good thing to have in the Med in round 2.

    If I were your opponent in this situation I would have attacked the two lone subs with air on UK1 and the rest of the baltic fleet on UK2. You would most likely lose the Baltic fleet and both subs- if one sub survives the US Bmb gets a shot at as well.

    @Zhukov44:

    One game, the United Kingdom got 4 hits there and couldn’t retreat.  Since they didn’t buy a carrier, I was able to take down the UK fleet with air.

    Generally, this is the exception (I wish it would happen more often to me  🙂 ). In most cases I expect either one surviving sub or a total loss, with very little to show for it.



  • I never said the Baltic Fleet was good for nothing. I always make sure every Baltic boat gets a shot at something in their exciting, put short, lifetimes.

    The basic problem is that IPC’s used to make the Baltic Fleet safe from annihilation are IPC’s that are not going toward units to hit Russia. Also, the US and UK can outspend Germany on boats and acft to kill them, so it is an arms race Germany cannot win.

    Building up the Baltic fleet may delay a UK/US landing in Africa or Europe, but the time you buy cannot be exploited very well because you weren’t buying enough ground units when you were building boats.

    If you are not hitting Russia hard enough on the first couple of turns, he has a way of building a massive infantry wall that prevents any further serious German expansion east. If your overall strategy has Germany going somewhere else besides Russia in the pursuit of territory and IPCs, then maybe there’s merit to a German Navy, but I’m not seeing it right now.



  • ogre, i think you’re discounting the relative costs and benefit of additional ships.

    A) UK & US also hit germany with ground forces if not delayed, which is a factor in whether or not Germany can take russia

    B) If you can cause disproportionate losses to US/UK relative to your costs, the fleet is worthwhile.  This is not a “race” to spend more.

    C) The initial baltic fleet is badly composed for self-defense from air attack, but has potential if it can be improved.

    Simply buying a transport on turn one turns an expected loss of 2 british fighters into an expected loss of 2 british fighters and a bomber if they choose to attack the baltic.  Thus, if UK engages  you’ve gotten a great kill/cost ratio.  You’ve also created uncertainty around uk’s self defense, which will be somewhat factored into their builds and moves.

    if a larger baltic fleet is left alive, well then you need to have something useful for it to do.  merging with the battleship makes the initial ships once again very powerful, used as fodder for attacks or defense with other ships/planes that bring the anti-air firepower.  using the transport to ship troops into karelia and continue to threaten britain and force a response can also be useful.  It is also not meaningless to force the allies to prep for bigger air attack by keeping planes in the atlantic.  If they were planning to get those planes to asia, then you’re dictating a change in their plans.

    The transport is the simplest, cheapest example of this principle, in which even if uk has a larger air force later and attacks baltic, your initial ship buy will pay for itself in increased damage, even if it’s not 2 to 1.

    I usually do a more aggressive fleet build with germany as posted here:  http://www.gametableonline.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=36&t=475&start=0.  I also like the posted strat on this board around not building but merging in the mid atlantic with the sub on turn 1.

    My record is 90% wins against mostly good players, so I’ve definitely proved you can have success doing this.



  • @syntaxerror111:

    @Col.Stauffenberg:

    I move the two subs down to sea zone 7, the rest of the med navy and other sub attack the battle ship (with figs). My opponent attacked the remaing baltic with his air force. He leaves the subs alone because he can only attack it with  his navy, which would put it in range of mine + all my planes in round 2. He has to choose what his air force attacks because it’s to risky to split them up. Sure this tactic delays me in Africa but it helps secure the Med and with a round 1 purchase of all men + 1 art, I can afford the delay. The us bomber has a crack at the subs but at the least I’ll keep one. Two or three subs, BB + tran is a good thing to have in the Med in round 2.

    If I were your opponent in this situation I would have attacked the two lone subs with air on UK1 and the rest of the baltic fleet on UK2. You would most likely lose the Baltic fleet and both subs- if one sub survives the US Bmb gets a shot at as well.

    @Zhukov44:

    Fine with me. Those boats are expendable. If I get to keep the destroyer and Trans for another round, that’s just a bonus. I can get more infantry to a front, I can block, I can use to attack, uk has to make sure they build enough land forces to resist an invasion, which limits their options, like if they build boats or an Indian IC and drop their troops in Norway or Africa and leave their capitol insufficiently guarded. GER goes before uk anyway so they can build an AC round 2 if they really want to protect the fleet, but that’s something I’d never do anyway. Germany CANNOT afford any delays against Russia.

    Trying to save those subs is a gamble, I’ll give you that, but the benefits of them surviving outweigh any negative I’ve encountered.


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