Author Topic: Tactical submarine movement  (Read 12612 times)

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kriegspieler7

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Tactical submarine movement
« on: August 18, 2008, 10:33:49 AM »
I've been thinking about tactical sub movement.† This came up in Gen Con Indy where a US sub tried to sink a IJN transport in the Sea of Japan --which he did, BTW.† 2 sea zones is very limiting for US Subs if they are going to try to reach the Japanese convoy centers from Pearl Harbor.

This is what we're going to experiment in my group of gamers here, with two kinds of submarines:†
--Coastal Submarines, with same combat abilities as regular subs, but cost 3,3 and have a tactical range of 2.
--Fleet Submarines, have a tactical range of either 8 or 10.† (Whichever works so US subs can get to the coast of China/Japan from Pearl and U-boats can reach the Gulf Coast.)
« Last Edit: August 18, 2008, 03:18:11 PM by kriegspieler7 »

Yoper

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Re: Tactical submarine movement
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2008, 11:20:25 AM »
Aren't you using strategic movement to get subs out to near the convoys on one turn and then attacking on the next? ???

I understand that this may seem like it takes some effort, but that just means you have to plan for a constant stream of subs in the production pipeline.

Craig


kriegspieler7

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Re: Tactical submarine movement
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2008, 03:50:46 PM »
No, am not using the strategic movement for that.  Thanks for the input Craig.  Good point.  Shows why you're a general!

We're (the group I game with) going to try it anyway as I got all sorts of Axis and Allies pieces from the old and the new editions and I own the game.  (This way, I feel better about not throwing them out or trying to sell them on ebay {-which I don't know how and don't want to learn}).  And for the group, it's a work in progress to learn and "tweak" as we play.

For what it's worth and, while we're at it, here is some info re:  USN Gato class subs I got from a USN submarine website:
Lead Boat: SS-212, U.S.S. Gato
Speed: 20-1/4 knots (surfaced); 8-3/4 knots (submerged)
Diving Depth: 300' (test depth); 450' (emergency)
Range: 20,000 miles 
Endurance: 75 days

If it could only be at sea for a little over 10 weeks and go around the world a few times (referring to range), I don't think it's too much off to give the boat the extra tactical movement range of 8-10 sea zones.   This way, the subs can move right into combat on the same turn and go "once more into the breech, dear friend."   

Mark

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Re: Tactical submarine movement
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2008, 07:20:01 AM »
Yeah - the value of strategic movement is to get your naval units out in position to do something in a turn - this includes submarines

kriegspieler7

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Re: Tactical submarine movement
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2008, 10:41:17 AM »
Thanks Mark.† I always appreciate you comments and clarifications.†

I guess I'm missing something here.† The rule is on pg. 15 states,
A Naval unit (as well as planes on carriers) utilizing strategic movement may not participate in any form of combat during the following combat phase.
My take is that any unit that makes strategic movement may not be involved in combat, hence, if a submarine makes strategic movent in one turn, it must wait until the next to enter combat.† I don't see the need for waiting for the next turn for fleet subs due to what I said before.† Do you see what I'm referring to?

P. S. Take a look at the Hey Mark section when you can.

Mark

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Re: Tactical submarine movement
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2008, 03:28:01 AM »
Right - you would not be able to attack with your sub on the same turn that you redeploy it.  Why would you give subs super long range tactical movement and not destroyers and cruisers?

kriegspieler7

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Re: Tactical submarine movement
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2008, 11:40:36 AM »
A good question, Mark.† Cruisers would be okay.† They had a larger fuel capacity.† Not so, destroyers.† The reason not is that they did not have great fuel "bunker" capacity.† Yes, they were fast, and smaller than capital ships, but they didn't hold a lot of fuel by comparison.† And because of their speed, they burned what fuel they had faster than the others.† They had to refuel off from tankers or other capital ships often.†
Hence, no destroyers accompanied Bismark and Prince Eugen in their run through the North Atlantic, even though some had a range of 11K miles.
That was part of the problem for the Japanese at Pearl Harbor and off Midway, too, because if they wanted to continue the fight, it would put their smaller ships in a difficult spot.
Running up and down the Slot in the Solomons wasn't a big problem as they usually were back in port the next day or two.
That's my 2cents.

Bobsalt

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Re: Tactical submarine movement
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2008, 04:46:06 AM »
A good question, Mark.  Cruisers would be okay.  They had a larger fuel capacity.  Not so, destroyers.  The reason not is that they did not have great fuel "bunker" capacity.  Yes, they were fast, and smaller than capital ships, but they didn't hold a lot of fuel by comparison.  And because of their speed, they burned what fuel they had faster than the others.  They had to refuel off from tankers or other capital ships often. 
Hence, no destroyers accompanied Bismark and Prince Eugen in their run through the North Atlantic, even though some had a range of 11K miles.
That was part of the problem for the Japanese at Pearl Harbor and off Midway, too, because if they wanted to continue the fight, it would put their smaller ships in a difficult spot.
Running up and down the Slot in the Solomons wasn't a big problem as they usually were back in port the next day or two.
That's my 2cents.

Paul,

Something to keep in mind is that there are other factors to consider other than just how far a ship could travel before having to fill up when youíre trying to determine the range of a ship in a wargame. Having to zig-zag to avoid submarines takes quite a bit off of a shipís range Ė as much as 20%. Weather is also a factor; ships burn more fuel in rough weather than on clear days with low seas. Also, ship captains arenít going to want to get too low on fuel. A shipís fuel consumption goes up considerably at flank speed; a destroyer that can cruise for 15 days burns through that same fuel supply in about 30 hours at flank speed. Ship captains will want to keep a fighting reserve in the event they suddenly find themselves in combat, which means they probably wouldnít want to get too much below half full before refueling.

In a game, there are other factors to consider than just how far a ship can go in a straight line. Mark has said that in The Struggle one of the reasons they have reduced range in the Pacific is to try to force players to have to fight a historical campaign rather than just build up a bunch of transports and make one assault on the enemy shores. Keep in mind also that the Pacific is larger in real life than it on the map; having reduced range helps take this into account.

A lot of games give ships shorter operational ranges than they had historically for game playability purposes. I canít remember if you said you ever played World in Flames or not, but that game is a great example of what Iím talking about. Each sea zone had a 0,1,2, and 3 box in it. Most ships had a range of 4. Moving from port into the 0 box of the adjacent sea zone cost one movement point. You could then spend another point to move into the 1 box or into the 0 box of an adjacent sea zone (and so on until the movement points were expended). The higher the box you occupied in a sea zone, the less chance you had of being surprised in combat; I think it also gave you better chances to spot the enemy. I canít really say that there was anything all that realistic historically about this mechanic, but what it did was force players to utilize their navies in a historical manner. You tended not to want to operate more than a couple of sea zones away from a port so that you could occupy at least the 2 box and not have too great a risk of being ambushed. This meant that players in the Pacific would want to move out slowly and take islands where they would establish a port so that they could then base from there and allow them to penetrate deeper into an enemy perimeter. As I said, I canít really see anything about this mechanic that is all that historical (why would your chances of being taken by surprise increase just because of how far you travel?), but the potential consequences in the game gave players a strong incentive to operate their fleets historically (I.E. not too far from a friendly base). The end result is that you use a rule thatís not all that historical to produce an historical result.

The same principle applies in The Struggle. Yes, a fleet could steam from Honolulu to Tokyo in much less than one game turn, but if you allow ships to do that you wouldnít have much of a game; at least, not an historical one. Hence, you use a rule limiting the tactical range of ships to produce an historical result Ė forcing players to slowly fight their way across the Pacific and capturing islands that can then be used as staging areas.

To use your example of letting a sub move 8-10 zones, and then later saying that cruisers probably could do the same, youíre pretty much opening the door for just about all ships. Many battleships had comparable ranges to cruisers because even though they werenít as efficient as cruisers, they had correspondingly larger fuel bunkers. So, using your justification for CAís, weíd have to include BBís. Ditto for fleet carriers, which fall between the two, and also have large fuel bunkers. Light carriers would also have to be included, since they were comparable to cruisers in bunker capacity and engine efficiency. And if we include these, weíd also have to include transports, since even though they were slower they were all more efficient than combat ships; indeed, transport ships are designed specifically to move people and goods long distances without having to stop for fuel. So Ė once you go down the road to increase the range for one Ė youíd pretty much be increasing the range for them all.

Yes, I agree that itís cumbersome to have to take two turns to get a sub into position to be able to raid Japanís convoy zones Ė 1 turn to strategically redeploy and then 1 turn to move tactically into the zone. But keep in mind Ė unlike real life, there isnít any need for your subs to return to base to refuel/reload. In the game, once youíre where you want to be, you can stay on station literally for years of game time, hitting the enemy until/unless youíre sunk. All-in-all, Iíd say thatís an acceptable trade-off. 

If it really bugs you though you could use the optional rule I suggested and which apparently was already in place for the new game where all sea zones are neutral. With that, you can get there in one turn and begin attacking on the next.

I think thereís quite a bit that needs to be adjusted in the Pacific, and weíll probably have to wait for the next game to see those changes. But take my word for it Ė I really donít think you want to start increasing the ranges of ships; I think youíd find that would really produce some whacky results.

BTW Ė I never thanked you for the prayers for my mother-in-law. She went to be with the Lord in May. Though we mourn her, we will ďnot mourn like the pagans, who have no hope beyond this life.Ē

Bob
"Peace through superior firepower"

Yoper

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Re: Tactical submarine movement
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2008, 02:42:34 AM »
One of the gamers in the Detroit group (Eric) is an old WiF guy.  We have played ETO games that he has developed that have used that exact naval system that you describe Bobsalt.  It is interesting but can be very difficult for newbies to pick up.

Bobsalt- You seem to be a very nice and thoughtful guy.  Let's keep the comments about "pagans" or "heathens" (as I prefer to be called) like myself to yourself.

You can thank Kriegspieler7 all you want for his kind words, but I would rather you not then take a swipe at others in the same breath.  There is no need for that.

Thank you.

Craig
« Last Edit: August 24, 2008, 02:46:11 AM by Yoper »

kriegspieler7

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Re: Tactical submarine movement
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2008, 04:55:17 AM »
My computer screen showed the "blue screen of death."  I'm useing another for the moment.  I have a thought or two to add at a later date when it gets back from the shop and I don't have to barrow another one.
kriegspieler7

Bobsalt

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Re: Tactical submarine movement
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2008, 02:53:36 AM »
Craig,

I had no intention of offending you - or anyone else - and it wasn't intended as a "swipe" at anyone. I was merely quoting scripture. I'm sorry it offended you - but I won't apologize for quoting scripture.

As to your point - you're right, the WiF system can be a bit difficult to pick up on, and I don't see how if could work in The Struggle, and I wasn't really suggesting that it be used. I do want to see something done (obviously, from the volume of my posts recently dedicated to the Pacific), because the game just seems sssoooo close to being truly great, and this is the one area that I think it falls short by a bit. As I've said, though, I fear that we'll end up having to wait until the next game...
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Mark

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Re: Tactical submarine movement
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2008, 09:18:34 AM »
I agree with the idea of supply rules for naval units.  We are playing a gam tomorrow and Wedensday (on the big map) and are playing with a couple of these suggestions.

We have been playing consistently for the past year with Naval ZOCs (for air units and cruisers) instead of sea zone ownership - I think the Zones of Control work much better.

We are playing with naval unit supply (up to 4 spaces to a supplied land territory in Europe, up to 2 spaces to a supplied land territory in the Pacific).

We are playing with the following idea for oil: We have designated oil point territories.  Every oil point allows one to build a full production point.  Once oil points are used up, additional production points are halved.  So, for example, if Germany has 80 oil points and 100 production points worth of territories, they only get 90 PP for the turn (80 PP are matched with oil, but the remaining 20 are halved becasue they have no oil matched).  I know this is not perfect - but it does put the pressure on getting oil - for both the European Axis and Japan.

As for Allied oil, it does not necessarilly make sense to track oil for the Allies to me yet without changing the convoy damage rules.  The Americans would essentially ship oil to their allies to keep their production points up - so to interdict it, you would have to re-build the u-boat / convoy damage rules extensively to reflect tanker damage.  I don't think the Allies were ever in an oil shortage situation throughout the war anyway - so it is mainly an Axis challenge to me.

Thoughts?

Mark

Bobsalt

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Re: Tactical submarine movement
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2008, 02:25:12 PM »
My initial thought is Ė is tracking oil for Germany/Italy really necessary? It seems to me that things play out pretty well in Europe as is (though I donít know all of the changes you may have made with the 2.0 youíre working on). The only reason Iíve pushed so hard for some sort of oil rules for Japan is to try to make the Pacific play more realistically.

My next thought is that Iím not sure that tying oil to unit production is going to work out all that well Ė at least not in the Pacific. The problem there in our games hasnít been one of Japanese production, but rather the way the Japanese are able to have much greater naval movement and transport capabilities than they did historically. I think tying oil to naval movement would probably produce more historical results (maybe something like Asia Engulfed). The same could be said for Germany. Iíve read in books about how they had available aircraft at the end of the war, but they didnít have aviation fuel to fly them (where they would probably have been shot down anyway).

You may be trying to over-complicate things. As I said, it seems that Europe plays pretty well as is, and ďif it ainít broke, donít fix it.Ē Other players may have more imagination about this than I do, but I think a simple system to track oil for the Japanese and tie it to naval movement/combat would probably suffice. 

Iíll be interested to hear how the naval supply works out. This is something I think the game really needs.

If these things work out is there any chance theyíll be in revised rules for the current game, or will we have to wait for 2.0?
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Yoper

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Re: Tactical submarine movement
« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2008, 03:15:38 AM »
Craig,

I had no intention of offending you - or anyone else - and it wasn't intended as a "swipe" at anyone. I was merely quoting scripture. I'm sorry it offended you - but I won't apologize for quoting scripture.

Being the heathen that I am, I have little knowledge of the information that you are quoting, so I was not actually aware of its origin.  I would not impose my views upon you anymore than I would want you to impose yours upon me. 

I don't know the context of said quote, but it just seemed to belittle the views of pagans.  While your use of it may not have been malicious in intent, it could be viewed as such.

You shouldn't apologize for quoting scripture, but maybe you should think about not quoting it were other may be bothered by it. 

Food for thought.  Your mileage may vary. :)


As to your point - you're right, the WiF system can be a bit difficult to pick up on, and I don't see how if could work in The Struggle, and I wasn't really suggesting that it be used. I do want to see something done (obviously, from the volume of my posts recently dedicated to the Pacific), because the game just seems sssoooo close to being truly great, and this is the one area that I think it falls short by a bit. As I've said, though, I fear that we'll end up having to wait until the next game...

I wasn't suggesting the use of the WiF system in this game, I was just pointing out that I was familiar with the system.  It has its postitives, but it is a bit too much for this system.

While I can appreciate the oil supply idea for the ships in the Pacific, I think that the ZOCs through the use of ships and air units is a better way to handle movement in that theater.

Now I can see the develoment of a more specific rule for the Japanese concerning the DEI oil fields and their need to control them.  It would also be something that would help fix the query in another thread about the Japanese ignoring the DEI territories in favor of the Pacific island VPs.

Craig 

Bobsalt

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Re: Tactical submarine movement
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2008, 08:43:44 AM »
I agree with you in that I think the move to using ZOCís for ships is a step in the right direction also. This will require more realistic movement of ships if youíre going to be serious about putting an island out of supply. However, this rule by itself wonít solve the problem of Japan being able to run so wild in the Pacific; Iím also not convinced that it will even be all that effective unless you also introduce a combat penalty for ships fighting when out of supply.

Markís idea of having a naval supply range does require players to be a little more realistic in their deployment; I think limiting it to two hexes might be a problem in the Pacific, since many of the islands depicted (such as Midway) could not realistically be used as a supply source. This rule as proposed would thus prohibit combat in many sea zones.
 
I still think the best way to go is to use a system to track oil for Japan only, and tie it to movement. Something like you have oil points on the map and however many points Japan controls is how much oil they add each turn to their oil reserve. Charge one oil point per ship to move them (or even one point per ship per zone moved if you want to really make it realistic). I wouldnít go any more complicated than that. I donít think itís really necessary to track it for the European Axis since to me that side of the map plays pretty well as is. I also donít think oil should be a factor for the Allies Ė certainly not for the US, since at that time in history we were more than self-sufficient in oil.

Iíve asked if any of you have played Asia Engulfed. I like this game a lot. It has some things I donít like, but I really think the way they handle oil for Japan is spot-on. Basically, this is where I got my idea for oil points from. In AE you have to pay one point per naval block moved (in AE, most units are represented by wooden blocks). Since Japan is usually collecting around 8 or 9 points a turn, and starts with (I think) around 20 or so, you have to make a lot of decisions about how, when, and where to burn that precious oil. In addition to oil, Japan also has to use transports to provide supplies to its empire. It isnít enough to just have an uncontested path from an island back to Japan; each zone you trace supply through also has to be occupied by transports. In addition, the further away you are from Japan, the more transports you have to have in each sea zone to maintain supply. For example, supplying Iwo Jima only takes one transport; supplying Guadalcanal takes six or seven (each zone has to be occupied, and the number required for supply increases Ė the sea zone containing Guadalcanal takes three).

What invariably happens is that Japan runs wild initially. Then, as the amount of territory conquered begins to require more and more transports to keep supplied, Japan begins to find that they have trouble taking much more territory, since the transports they need for moving troops are taken up by the supply network. This especially begins to be felt when the US submarines begin to take their toll. Oil points also have to be transported from their origin back to Japan; any point you canít trace back through the transport network is one less point for your oil reserve.

So, a few turns into a game of AE this is what youíre facing. You have to spend oil points clearing out the area around the DEI Ė the Allies donít have enough there to seriously threaten you, but you do have to chase them off so you can get the oil points Ė and it costs you resources that you really canít afford. You usually have a couple of opportunities for your fleets each turn, but you may only have enough oil to pursue one of them; you will sometimes find yourself having to watch an opportunity go by the boards because you canít afford the oil or canít spare the transports to move troops. You also have to make hard decisions each turn in new construction Ė more transports to keep your supply network going and replace losses from US subs, or build/repair CVís, BBís, or CAís (and before you ask Ė no, you donít have enough resources to realistically do both). AE probably simulates the realities of the Japanese position at the start of the war better than any game Iíve played.

Iíd really like to see something like this mechanic in The Struggle. As I said, using ZOCís will solve some issues, but it still doesnít prevent the Japanese from doing some of the more ridiculous things they can currently do like invade Hawaii, Canada, or Los Angeles (which I confess that Ė ridiculous or not Ė Iíve done). Currently itís pretty easy for Japan to take Midway and Wake on the first turn at war, and then take Hawaii on the next turn (with a big enough force and sufficiently asleep US player). If you have to pay oil for moving ships this would represent a huge commitment of oil (as it should) and probably couldnít really be done.

Since the DEI are a major source of oil, any rules that include oil for Japan should help them to be as important an objective as they were historically.
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