Subs are awesome



  • Why, you ask?  Because without Destroyers, enemy units are entirely unable to hit them unless the Subs choose to engage in battle, and air units can’t hit them period.  This pretty much ensures that Subs can avoid fighting on the defense, instead doing so on the offense when they completely overpower lesser units.  Furthermore, because Subs can’t be ambushed except by Destroyers, if you spread your Subs out, the enemy can only hit as many of them as they have Destroyers.  If that isn’t good enough, you can use a Destroyer of your own as a meatshield, preventing the enemy fleet from hitting a Sub stack entirely.

    If Germany uses Subs to full effect, the the seas around Britain, and possibly the whole Atlantic, will be empty of allied ships, because whenever they are built, they are immediately sunk by Subs, who are immune to attack by enemy aircraft by the time the first round of combat ends.  This is easily worth a large expenditure in Subs.  It means that the only thing Germany has to fear from the Allies is SBR and Paratroopers.  Everyone fears Paratroopers though.

    The Pacific Front is more interesting, both Japan and America have viable reasons to buy Subs, but also have the money to afford flinging Destroyers around as well.



  • If that isn’t good enough, you can use a Destroyer of your own as a meatshield, preventing the enemy fleet from hitting a Sub stack entirely.

    I’m not sure what you mean by this.  Please explain.



  • @TG:

    If that isn’t good enough, you can use a Destroyer of your own as a meatshield, preventing the enemy fleet from hitting a Sub stack entirely.

    I’m not sure what you mean by this.  Please explain.

    Let’s say that America has a huge fleet in Sea Zone 56, next to Western US.  You have a huge fleet of Subs, which you move to Sea Zone 59, off of Iwo Jima.  Move a single Destroyer to Sea Zone 57, off of Midway.  The Allied fleet will be entirely unable to attack your subs, because they would have to destroy the Destroyer, then only after that would they be able to move Destroyers to the Sub’s hex, but attacking would already be over by then.  Air units can reach the Subs anyway, but won’t be able to attack them.



  • @wodan46:

    If Germany uses Subs to full effect, the the seas around Britain, and possibly the whole Atlantic, will be empty of allied ships, because whenever they are built, they are immediately sunk by Subs

    Are subs now attacking at a 4 and I missed it?  Because when you say immediately sunk by Subs you are making an assumption that the Subs will score a hit first strike hit by rolling a 2.



  • @I:

    @wodan46:

    If Germany uses Subs to full effect, the the seas around Britain, and possibly the whole Atlantic, will be empty of allied ships, because whenever they are built, they are immediately sunk by Subs

    Are subs now attacking at a 4 and I missed it?  Because when you say immediately sunk by Subs you are making an assumption that the Subs will score a hit first strike hit by rolling a 2.

    No, I mean that whenever Britain builds a fleet, the Subs immediately attack it.  This means that in addition to having the best HP per IPC ratio, they will also have the best Attack per IPC ratio, and possibly get first strike as well.  Germany’s Bomber and Fighters will support as well, making it even more of an overkill.

    Also, even if Subs fail to stop a fleet, they will at the very least make Britain mass Destroyers, which have no anti-ground abilities whatsoever.



  • @I:

    Are subs now attacking at a 4 and I missed it?  Because when you say immediately sunk by Subs you are making an assumption that the Subs will score a hit first strike hit by rolling a 2.

    They’re cheap so the idea is you’ll have a lot of subs. Four at two isn’t bad at all, especially when you can only hit ships (not planes). And oftentimes I’ll have numbers like nine at two (or nine at three with super subs 😮 ) I’m interested in Germany buying subs, but I’m not sure that it can afford to invest in a navy. Each turn not spent sending tanks east is one more turn with USSR buying a stack of infantry. Plus, the UK can make things tough because it can drop destroyers in any adjacent seazone to the UK. This is quite different compared to Japan, which can only drop destroyers in a single sea zone. I have successfully pulled of a Pacific sub strategy against Japan a few times. However, it basically requires all of the USA’s attention.



  • @wodan46:

    @I:

    @wodan46:

    If Germany uses Subs to full effect, the the seas around Britain, and possibly the whole Atlantic, will be empty of allied ships, because whenever they are built, they are immediately sunk by Subs

    Are subs now attacking at a 4 and I missed it?  Because when you say immediately sunk by Subs you are making an assumption that the Subs will score a hit first strike hit by rolling a 2.

    No, I mean that whenever Britain builds a fleet, the Subs immediately attack it.  This means that in addition to having the best HP per IPC ratio, they will also have the best Attack per IPC ratio, and possibly get first strike as well.  Germany’s Bomber and Fighters will support as well, making it even more of an overkill.

    Also, even if Subs fail to stop a fleet, they will at the very least make Britain mass Destroyers, which have no anti-ground abilities whatsoever.

    I would think that if a German player is concentrating on building German subs and using the Luftwaffe for Sub support instead of ground support, Russia will be able to counter attack and press Germany.  The longer Russia hangs around, the better the chance the Allies will win a drawn out war.  IMO.


  • 2018 2017 '16 '11 Moderator

    That’s all well and good until you get attacked by a dozen bombers and 1 destroyer sinking your entire fleet at the cost to the attacker of only the destroyer. (None of those submarines can hit the bombers, so your entire stack can hit and only kill the destroyer.)



  • No, I mean that whenever Britain builds a fleet, the Subs immediately attack it.  This means that in addition to having the best HP per IPC ratio, they will also have the best Attack per IPC ratio, and possibly get first strike as well.  Germany’s Bomber and Fighters will support as well, making it even more of an overkill.

    I think Germany can buy subs and use them to good effect in conjunction with the Luftwaffe, but my impression is that it can only be done effectively by attacking an invasion fleet after the invasion (off the coast) by subs stationed in the Baltic Sea. You will be able to keep your subs in the Baltic safe if you keep killing off approaching DDs before they reach the Baltic. I can’t see how sending out subs from the Baltic is doable to hunt the Royal Navy in home waters, as Cmdr Jennifer writes you will be sunk pretty quickly.

    When it comes the DD block problem, it can be solved by Italian and/or Japanese air. However, in the '41 scenario, the US may block your subs with no countermeasure due to the turn order, so German subs are viable in the '42 scenario or in '41 if USA builds only in the Pacific (although a few DDs are probably always affordable for the US to send vs. Germany if your opponents spots a sub strategy).

    Overall strategy determines if you can AFFORD to buy some subs as Germany. Will you have time to finish off Russia anyway? Will Italy help you out on the Eastern front? Or if you play “conservative”, defensive Germany, you will wait out Japan to take out the Soviets and then stalling invasions can be a big deal. Probably you spend as much or more on air units as on subs, using the subs as extra attack power of course but most of all to avoid taking your precious air units as casualties. Destroying an invasion fleet is really a big thing, it can turn a game around and subs can help you do that as Germany.


  • 2018 2017 '16 '11 Moderator

    I am currently toying with a German submarine fleet.  Filmatleven on whether it works out or not though.



  • The Allied fleet will be entirely unable to attack your subs, because they would have to destroy the Destroyer, then only after that would they be able to move Destroyers to the Sub’s hex, but attacking would already be over by then.  Air units can reach the Subs anyway, but won’t be able to attack them.

    This assumes that your Allied air units won’t simply attack the Destroyer, with a high probability of sinking it without loss.  Your subs cannot retaliate to that.  The next turn the Allied navy can move in to sink your subs if you decide to move them closer.



  • @Cmdr:

    I am currently toying with a German submarine fleet.  Filmatleven on whether it works out or not though.

    Funny  :lol:


  • 2018 2017 '16 '11 Moderator

    Well, that would be logical, except for a few things, TG.

    1)  The destroyer would have a fleet around it to protect it from enemy air.
    2)  The enemy submarines would have to move into range of the destroyer to also be in range of the rest of the fleet
    3)  The destroyer and air would be able to attack the submarines that have moved into range.

    If you don’t move your submarines into range to attack, then you have wasted the money for the submarines to begin with.



  • I’m usually with Jenn on this one.  I’d much rather have a ton of destroyers mixed in w/a couple subs then a stack of subs.  However, they can be a pest for UK.  If the UK navy is wiped and there is a stack of german subs in any SZ surrounding UK, you can’t get a destroyer in the water to attack with the 50 bombers without getting attacked by the subs first (thus, not being able to utilize bombers).



  • @shifty:

    I’m usually with Jenn on this one.  I’d much rather have a ton of destroyers mixed in w/a couple subs then a stack of subs.  However, they can be a pest for UK.  If the UK navy is wiped and there is a stack of german subs in any SZ surrounding UK, you can’t get a destroyer in the water to attack with the 50 bombers without getting attacked by the subs first (thus, not being able to utilize bombers).

    You could build a destroyer in every adjacent seazone to the UK. Destroyers are blockers, and one will survive to attack.



  • Well, that would be logical, except for a few things, TG.

    1)  The destroyer would have a fleet around it to protect it from enemy air.
    2)  The enemy submarines would have to move into range of the destroyer to also be in range of the rest of the fleet
    3)  The destroyer and air would be able to attack the submarines that have moved into range.

    If you don’t move your submarines into range to attack, then you have wasted the money for the submarines to begin with.

    I’m really not sure why we’re arguing Jenn, but

    1.  If you have a fleet powerful enough to survive against air attack, wouldn’t it be smarter to insert your sub force into your surface fleet?  That way you can use your sub stack to absorb hits.

    2.  Yes.

    3.  Yes.

    4.  Not true.  A threat, real or perceived is still a threat.  By building a sub force, you can force your opponent to react to that built.  Often times he has to outspend you.  Even if both fleets never see combat, you’ve won an economic victory.  Similarly, hindering the movement of transports by blocking sea lanes serves as a tempo loss for the opponent.  For that reason alone, subs are a valuable unit.


  • 2018 2017 '16 '11 Moderator

    The fleet may not be strong enough to survive BOTH the air attack AND the submarine attack, so you might have held it back.  It might be strong enough to shrug off one group or the other however.

    (This is actually a very common occurrence.)

    Furthermore, a common variant of that occurrence, is when you have bombers on the mainland that you intend to use in conjunction of your fleet if the enemy moves into range.

    Thus, in the very common situation you find yourself in, submarines are pretty much useless since the enemy will attack with one of their destroyers (they probably have more if you were building submarines) and all their air power (fighters from carrier decks + bombers from the mainland) to get an easy advantage on you.

    Now, if you are using one or two submarines to augment your fleet, that’s a completely different story.  From what I am gathering, the original thought was why build anything but submarines since they can avoid fighting any battle an enemy does not bring a destroyer too.

    Now, if we are talking about a situation where you sank the enemy fleet, then yes.  Great idea, you can use the submarines to prevent the enemy from rebuilding the fleet since none of their airpower can attack you.  But if you are in an arms race with an opponent, I believe, the idea is not too wise.  On paper submarines might be the best bang for the buck, but on paper the USS Challenger was ready for launch.



  • @Cmdr:

    That’s all well and good until you get attacked by a dozen bombers and 1 destroyer sinking your entire fleet at the cost to the attacker of only the destroyer. (None of those submarines can hit the bombers, so your entire stack can hit and only kill the destroyer.)

    And how precisely does the Destroyer get in range of the Subs?  And what obligates the Subs to be in a single stack?

    @TG:

    This assumes that your Allied air units won’t simply attack the Destroyer, with a high probability of sinking it without loss.  Your subs cannot retaliate to that.  The next turn the Allied navy can move in to sink your subs if you decide to move them closer.

    In the situation I described, the Subs were ALREADY within range of the Allied Navy.  If the Destroyer is killed, the Subs will still sink the allied fleet, using their top of the line offensive power to rapidly sink all the Destroyers and Carriers.



  • Have you actually tried this?

    I highly suspect you have not, as what all you are proposing is no where near as easy as it seems. Especially the part about the subs top of the line killing power. Sure if no destroyer is present whatever they do manage to hit will not return fire, but you better have quite a fat stack because those cruisers and battleships that hit at higher probabilities will be dwindling your numbers quickly.



  • Here are some strategies for Subs
    Germany1: You mass the Subs in a single stack, while using Destroyers or Cruisers as shields.  For Germany, this would consist of building 1 Cruiser and 3 Subs first turn, use the Luftwaffe to kill the Destroyer in Sea Zone 6, then retreating the Subs to the Baltic Sea.  You now have a fleet of 6 Subs and 2 Cruisers, which if attack the British Airforce, will use the Subs to soak up hits (as a result, the British are unlikely to bother.  Land the Fighters on Western Europe and Norway.  On the second turn, you move the Cruisers to Sea Zones 7 and 3, and the Sub stack to Sea Zone 6, sending additional Subs as fodder if Zones 7 and 3 are occupied (unlikely).  The Sub stack can now hit anything around the United Kingdom, with 2 Fighters apiece able to hit Sea Zones 2 and 8, while the British fleet can’t.

    Germany2: You mass Subs in the Baltic Sea, though building Bombers would also be useful.  Destroy any unit that enters Sea Zone 7, 6, or 3.  If it is a small force or a singular unit, send a single Sub along with a Bomber, which should be enough.  Doing this ensures that any Allied Invasion fleet will only get to invade once, before they are all sunk.  From a technical standpoint, you don’t really need many Subs for this strategy, the only difference between them and Bombers is that Bombers can also be used against Russia, but have half the hit soaking ability.  As a result, you would probably build a good mixture of the two.

    Japan1: Build a large fleet of Subs, then scatter them across the Pacific, with no more than 1 Sub per space that is within range of a Destroyer.  This will force America to mass mainly Destroyers or be overwhelmed, and Destroyers are in turn useless for actually invading Japan or East Asia.

    Keep in mind that the purposes of these strategies is primarily to stall invasions by Britain and America, and secondarily to sink their fleets so as to eventually give the option of invading them.  So long as that is true, Russia can’t be expected to hold even Eurasia, let alone Africa or Oceania.  They have 25 or so IPCs a turn.  The Axis will have about 125 IPCs a turn.  If they can stall out America and Britain with 75 IPCs, they can easily crush Russia with the remainder.



  • @a44bigdog:

    Have you actually tried this?

    I highly suspect you have not, as what all you are proposing is no where near as easy as it seems. Especially the part about the subs top of the line killing power. Sure if no destroyer is present whatever they do manage to hit will not return fire, but you better have quite a fat stack because those cruisers and battleships that hit at higher probabilities will be dwindling your numbers quickly.

    Subs 1 HP per 6 IPCs, 1 Attack per 3 IPCs, and 1 Defense per 6 IPCs (Super Subs get 1 Attack per 2 IPCs)
    Destroyers get 1 HP per 8 IPCs and 1 Attack/Defense per 4 IPCs
    Cruisers get 1 HP per 12 IPCs and 1 Attack/Defense per 4 IPCs
    Battleships get 1 HP per 10 IPCs and 1 Attack/Defense per 5 IPCs
    Carriers get 1 HP per 14 IPCs, 1 Attack per 14 IPCs, and 1 Defense per 7 IPCs

    Even if Destroyers ARE present, denying the Sub its first strike, the Subs STILL vastly outclass any ship when attacking.  Even on Defense, a Sub will trounce Cruisers and Battleships, and they lose only narrowly to Destroyers.  The only way to beat Subs is with an attacking Destroyer/Aircraft group, with the Fighters not being dependent on Carriers.  Even then, Subs might still survive if they kill the Destroyers quickly enough.

    Fighters get 1 HP per 10 IPCs, 1 Attack per 3.33 IPCs, and 1 Defense per 2.5 IPCs
    Bombers get 1 HP per 12 IPCs, 1 Attack per 3 IPCs, and 1 Defense per 12 IPCs

    Of course, keep in mind that in any of the Sub strategies will revolve around the Subs NOT getting attacked, but putting the enemy into a position where they must be attacked in order to get within range.  Since the Allies are the ones trying to invade the Axis, all the Axis need to do is sit back and sink and ships that come into range, for as long as Subs are attacking, the have better Attack than any other Air/Sea unit, in addition to having the best HP per Air/Sea unit.



  • @wodan46:

    Here are some strategies for Subs
    Germany1: You mass the Subs in a single stack, while using Destroyers or Cruisers as shields.  For Germany, this would consist of building 1 Cruiser and 3 Subs first turn, use the Luftwaffe to kill the Destroyer in Sea Zone 6, then retreating the Subs to the Baltic Sea.  You now have a fleet of 6 Subs and 2 Cruisers, which if attack the British Airforce, will use the Subs to soak up hits (as a result, the British are unlikely to bother.  Land the Fighters on Western Europe and Norway.  On the second turn, you move the Cruisers to Sea Zones 7 and 3, and the Sub stack to Sea Zone 6, sending additional Subs as fodder if Zones 7 and 3 are occupied (unlikely).  The Sub stack can now hit anything around the United Kingdom, with 2 Fighters apiece able to hit Sea Zones 2 and 8, while the British fleet can’t.

    Germany2: You mass Subs in the Baltic Sea, though building Bombers would also be useful.  Destroy any unit that enters Sea Zone 7, 6, or 3.  If it is a small force or a singular unit, send a single Sub along with a Bomber, which should be enough.  Doing this ensures that any Allied Invasion fleet will only get to invade once, before they are all sunk.  From a technical standpoint, you don’t really need many Subs for this strategy, the only difference between them and Bombers is that Bombers can also be used against Russia, but have half the hit soaking ability.  As a result, you would probably build a good mixture of the two.

    Japan1: Build a large fleet of Subs, then scatter them across the Pacific, with no more than 1 Sub per space that is within range of a Destroyer.  This will force America to mass mainly Destroyers or be overwhelmed, and Destroyers are in turn useless for actually invading Japan or East Asia.

    Keep in mind that the purposes of these strategies is primarily to stall invasions by Britain and America, and secondarily to sink their fleets so as to eventually give the option of invading them.  So long as that is true, Russia can’t be expected to hold even Eurasia, let alone Africa or Oceania.  They have 25 or so IPCs a turn.  The Axis will have about 125 IPCs a turn.  If they can stall out America and Britain with 75 IPCs, they can easily crush Russia with the remainder.

    So on G1 your going to mass subs, then on R1 I’m going to counter with armor for the counter attack on Germany since your not reinforcing the lines.  Then on UK1 I’m stocking up on Bombers so I can bomb Germany and Italy to the Stone Age.

    G2: to my delight you built more German subs so I’ll just keep building Russian tanks and UK Bombers and possibly tech dice.

    J1:  If we’re playing '41 17 bucks is only gonna get you 2 subs, so I wouldn’t consider that a large fleet.  Even if you buy them that doesn’t force America into buying Destroyers.  America can counter with subs just the same.  While Japan is busy stocking up on subs to scatter around the Pacific, I’ll just buy some bombers and tech dice to help out the UK in crippling the German war machine.



  • Well that answered my question.

    Subs cannot soak hits from air units unless an attacking destroyer is present.

    With that G1 I would gladly send the RAF in after the surface ships. Two at three and one at four versus two at three. Of course sadly I have more IPCs present and the surface arm of the Kriegsmarine will be going glugg, glugg. The Royal Navy is quite safe parked in Seazone 2 and since you did not hit seazone 9 or seazone 12 that is 2 destroyers, a cruiser and a battleship BEFORE the UK even spends a dime on fleet units.

    You did not attack Karelia and since part of the Luftwaffe is in Norway I am thinking you probably have no more than 2 infantry if any in Finland. Without Russia liberating a single territory and merely taking Finland that gives Russia 28 IPCs without National Objectives and 33 with NOs. Hardly the 25 you are claiming.

    All the math is nice and spiffy. I rarely see equal IPC battles on the game board. Find some dice and start tossing them and see just how often those ones and twos come up. By your methods subs are even great on defense. Again grab a handful of dice and start tossing them until some ones appear.



  • @a44bigdog:

    Well that answered my question.

    Subs cannot soak hits from air units unless an attacking destroyer is present.

    That sinks the 1 Cruiser 3 Sub build, as well as Germany using naval units to shield Subs period.  They can still either mass 5 Subs to add to the 3 they already have.

    @a44bigdog:

    You did not attack Karelia and since part of the Luftwaffe is in Norway I am thinking you probably have no more than 2 infantry if any in Finland. Without Russia liberating a single territory and merely taking Finland that gives Russia 28 IPCs without National Objectives and 33 with NOs. Hardly the 25 you are claiming.

    No, Germany can easily take Baltic States/East Poland/Ukraine the first turn, and Karelia the following.  They can pick up Egypt as well.

    G1:
    3 Inf, 1 Art, 1 Fighter to Ukraine
    1 Inf, 6 Arm to East Poland
    5 Inf, 2 Art, to Baltic States
    1 Fighter, 1 Cruiser to SZ 2
    3 Inf, Art, 2 Arm, 1 Bmb to Egypt

    Alternatively, you could forget about capturing Egypt, forget about saving the Subs you have, and wipe out Sea Zones 2, 6, and 12.  You would be reduced, but so would Britain.

    @a44bigdog:

    All the math is nice and spiffy. I rarely see equal IPC battles on the game board. Find some dice and start tossing them and see just how often those ones and twos come up. By your methods subs are even great on defense. Again grab a handful of dice and start tossing them until some ones appear.

    2 Infantry attacking a Tank will win the majority of the time.  Subs being attacked by a Cruiser have the same cost/attack ratios.



  • @I:

    So on G1 your going to mass subs, then on R1 I’m going to counter with armor for the counter attack on Germany since your not reinforcing the lines.  Then on UK1 I’m stocking up on Bombers so I can bomb Germany and Italy to the Stone Age.

    If Britain builds Bombers, then you can go secure the seas around the United Kingdom easily, whereupon Britain will never be able to invade you.  Since invasion is no longer a concern, you can then return the focus to crushing Russia.

    @I:

    G2: to my delight you built more German subs so I’ll just keep building Russian tanks and UK Bombers and possibly tech dice.

    Why would I build more German Subs?  I already have 8.  At this point, Germany should probably switch to massing Infantry and Bombers.  7 Infantry and 2 Bombers is about right.  The Bombers can assist on either the naval front or ground front.  Bombers work well with Subs, because while they have half the durability, they can help in ground combat as well, and don’t expose themselves to counterattack to the same degree.

    It just occurred to me that with a Sub/Bomber force, you will be killing Fighters with Bombers.  !?

    @I:

    J1:  If we’re playing '41 17 bucks is only gonna get you 2 subs, so I wouldn’t consider that a large fleet.

    First turn, Japan should sink all of its IPCs into Research Chart 2.  By the time it collects some real money on the following turn, it will probably have a tech, and it can mass appropriately.  If they get Super Subs, Radar, or nothing, they should probably invest in some Subs to keep Americans away.  If they get Improved Shipyards, they should crush the US with a more conventional fleet, and anything else they should focus on abusing their uber air force instead.

    @I:

    Even if you buy them that doesn’t force America into buying Destroyers.  America can counter with subs just the same.  While Japan is busy stocking up on subs to scatter around the Pacific, I’ll just buy some bombers and tech dice to help out the UK in crippling the German war machine.

    Then Japan sinks the American fleet, and either invades West US or goes back to ignoring America and pounding Russia.

    A lot of your criticism seems to revolve around the presumption that once a side starts massing Subs, they will continue to mass Subs forever and not react to enemy tactics.  The Subs are a tool to deter and destroy navies and transports.  If they have been deterred or destroyed, then you no longer need to be building Subs.


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