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!