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Sunforged General

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Is there any point for any nation to build more BB at the start of the game? What use do they have, they aren't efficient at fighting DD or CL, SS can defeat BB, and CV with naval bombers crush BB no contest.

It seems like the only thing a BB is good for is fighting other BB, which, is redundant because nearly every other kind of ship can do that, save perhaps for CA.
 

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I don’t fully follow the naval ‘meta’ as they say, but a BB with tricked out secondaries can do the number to light ships. This is of course over the top, but having a screened BB blowing more screens away faster, that can’t hurt. It’s just opportunity cost.
 

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BBs generally seem to be a better bet in game than Aircraft Carriers, unless you're Japan/US and needing to island hop. If you've got enough screens, of course.
 

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I don’t fully follow the naval ‘meta’ as they say, but a BB with tricked out secondaries can do the number to light ships. This is of course over the top, but having a screened BB blowing more screens away faster, that can’t hurt. It’s just opportunity cost.
Not saying BB are completely useless vs light ships, but just the cost of building a BB makes it not worth it, for the same price you can have a small fleet of destroyers with torpedoes and good AA.
 
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ReAn

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BBs with large heavy attack stat are actually really good in areas, where you have layed mines.
If you compare two fleets of equal production cost:

1) first fleet consists of CLs with maximized light attack
2) second fleet consists of combined CL / BB force, with enough CLs to keep screening efficiency at 100%

Second fleet will always lose, if fighting in an area with no friendly mines, but will absolutely shred the first fleet if you have at least 750 mines there.
The same happens with equal production cost CL / DD fleet: torpedos won't get any opportunity to fire at capitals and screens won't be able to compete with light attack if there is not equal number of CLs on both sides.

So if you have enough time and resources to prepare the zone you are gonna be fighting in, it is viable to build BBs and lay mines.
Otherwise I would recommend CAs / CLs with as much light attack as you can obtain on them and torpedo destroyers.

I didn't really test any AA-heavy fleet builds vs NAVs, so maybe it is still more cost-efficient to build NAVs to fight fleets.
 
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Historically they probably were pointless except for coastal bombardment, but in hoi4 you will lose against enemy doomstacks without BBs if you are fighting a naval war Vs the Allies.
 
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Historically they probably were pointless except for coastal bombardment, but in hoi4 you will lose against enemy doomstacks without BBs if you are fighting a naval war Vs the Allies.
As late as October 1944 a battleship force managed to sail into gun-range of an enemy carrier force, during the battle of Leyte Gulf.

Early WWII carrier operational capability was actually quite limited, because a) the planes had limited payloads, b) they could fly only during daytime and good weather and c) without airborne radar aerial reconnaissance was relatively ineffective.
 

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As late as October 1944 a battleship force managed to sail into gun-range of an enemy carrier force, during the battle of Leyte Gulf.

Early WWII carrier operational capability was actually quite limited, because a) the planes had limited payloads, b) they could fly only during daytime and good weather and c) without airborne radar aerial reconnaissance was relatively ineffective.
It is true that the Japanese were able to get within gun range of American carriers at Leyte Gulf. It is also true that from 1939 to 1945 such events were extremely rare. On the other hand, it was very common for carriers to actually do their jobs, that being sinking enemy ships, attack ground installations, and provide general air support.

The question is, do you invest in carriers that can do their job practically every day of the war, or do you invest in battleships in the off chance they will catch a carrier or two having a bad day?

Of course, I am talking about real life. In the game, we know that neither carriers nor battleships can stand up to light cruisers and destroyers. :)
 

Paul.Ketcham

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The historic bias against battleships is largely based on a few things, which aren't entirely untrue but are exaggerated and somewhat misleading:

1.) Carriers are viewed as better than battleships. This is actually a true statement, but they are not entirely better than battleships, which function better as fleets get larger. Battleships are a hard counter to cruisers historically (in combat; cruisers in scouting roles can easily run away pretty easily and can shadow battleships, but if engaged a battleship is vastly-superior to a cruiser in most circumstances and can fire at much longer range to prevent cruisers from simply fleeing). Battleships also have occasionally demonstrated surprisingly-high effectiveness against destroyers, such as HMS Warspite off the coast of Narvik.

2.) People tend to look at the Pacific theatre and see the persistent ineffectiveness of battleships, but this view neglects the significant use of battleships in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. The US and Japanese use of battleships was particularly timid, due both to the commitment of both navies to the decisive battle doctrine (they wanted them for the WWII "Jutland" that would decide the naval war) and the lack of ships (Japan couldn't produce enough in the long run, and the US had a serious shortage in 1942-1943). Carriers were also considerably-more valuable in the Pacific anyways (no land to hide around, not many large naval bases to actually station large fleets; carriers can spot targets more effectively and attack at very long range, unless one side commits to a fleet battle).

3.) The most forgotten value of battleships is less tactical use, and more a matter of deterrence. The presence of battleships in convoys in the Atlantic largely rendered certain convoys immune to surface raiders, while carrier fleets were almost always escorted by fast battleships (the whole problem at Leyte Gulf was that, in addition to a confused chain of command due to 2 separate fleets operating in the same area, Halsey didn't want to detach his battleships to defend the landing forces and instead held them back to attack the main Japanese fleet).

4.) Carriers are more likely to be able to launch strikes, but realistically they have far less endurance than battleships when it comes to persistent combat (they can launch a few strikes, but then need to rearm and refuel due to the high cost of operating aircraft). Battleships are more fuel efficient than aircraft, and far more ammo-efficient, meaning that if you plan on staying in one particular area anyways then a battleship is more valuable.

Ultimately, carriers are offensively quite dangerous but suffer from their own high vulnerability to either surface or submarine attack (not to mention air attack), which is where surface forces factor in as escorts. Surface units, of which battleships are included, are ultimately defensive ships in that they are mainly designed to cover convoys or valuable shipping (or carriers); carriers can defend, but are not capable of persistent defense due to their limited carrying capacity and the time required to launch aircraft in an emergency (see: HMS Glorious).

Sorry for pedantic text wall.
 

Axe99

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+1 for the popular view of battleships being historically obsolete by 1936 being a little out of step with actual ship capabilities and tactical/strategic roles (and great post by Paul Ketcham, as always :) ). By about 1940-1942 (somewhere in there, it varies depending on the carrier capability of the fleet in question) they ceased to be the primary strike weapon of the fleet, but at no point in WW2 was any vessel more effective at sea control (ie, denying passage of enemy ships through to a convoy/anchorage/harbour/etc;). The carrier aircraft would eventually get their job done, but there was no guarantee on any given day they would (and it was often considerably lower odds than the 'popular view' portrays), while getting around a battleship was a low-odds proposition unless it could be sunk. Imo, historically what 'killed' battleships tactically and strategically was the advent of effective ship-to-ship missiles, as it no longer made sense to have huge guns with huge amounts of armour.

In-game, I tend to play "historically plausibly" (and only in SP), but I find well-screened BBs (and BCs) to be very, very effective. I did a test of equal-NIC fleets using 1.9.3 not too long ago, testing a 'carrier fleet' (4 CVs, 2 CAs, 4 CLs, 16 DDs) vs a 'balanced fleet' (2 BBs, 2 CVs, 2 CAs, 4 CLs, 16 DDs), and using 1936 ships/aircraft and early naval doctrines, the balanced fleet did nearly twice as much damage to the carrier fleet. However, using 1940 or 1944 ships/aircraft and doctrines, the carrier fleet did about 50 per cent more damage than the balanced fleet. This was with both fleets using fleet-in-being doctrines. There are oodles of permutations that can be tested, and the base strike doctrine would be expected (although this doesn't mean it will - I once tested some land combat and found superior firepower doctrine had greater manpower losses than mass assault, all else being equal, so "what it says on the tin" can be misleading) to make carriers a bit more effective.

The switch towards carriers being more effective is kind of cool, as the game mechanics follow the shift in balance over the period.

One thing to keep in mind is that in 1.9.3, carrier aircraft are very good at disrupting other aircraft. When I was testing, a carrier force outnumbered 2:1 in fighters did no damage at all with its aircraft, as they were all disrupted. Thus, there may (and it's just a may, I haven't tested) for an inferior fleet (ie, one that can't hope to match the enemy on carrier aircraft) be a good argument for all-fighter carriers (to block the enemy strike aircraft) backing up BBs.
 

parkerg12

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The Short Version is no BB's were not obsolete. and were a Critical component through out the war. in a way They become a fleet's guard dog which made Cruisers, BC's and BB's think twice about approaching. And in a way their effectiveness at that role made them appear more obsolete than they really were.
 

Mousetick

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BB's shore bombardment is very handy during naval invasion.
That's true but as regards to the OP's question, it's not really worth it or even necessary to build new BBs for that purpose. The old BBs you start with can do the shore bombardment job just fine.
 
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b) they could fly only during daytime
Fleet Air Arm: *chuckles good-naturedly in Received Pronunciation*

(The FAA had non-zero night attack capability in 1938.)
 
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sekelsenmat

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As late as October 1944 a battleship force managed to sail into gun-range of an enemy carrier force, during the battle of Leyte Gulf.
And the result was frankly a disaster for the Japanese. They only sank 3 light/escort carriers (which the USA dozens and dozens of, so effectively zero damage) and 3 DD/DE and achieved nothing of their original goal: Stopping the american invasion. Their admiral is to blame here for chickening out, but if the force consisted only of Cruisers, I'm not sure how many exactly, maybe 3 cruisers would cost the same as an Yamato? Then they would be better suited for the battle. Yamato had to change course to avoid torpedoes. If they had more ships, even if some were off course, the rest would keep the pursuit.

2.) People tend to look at the Pacific theatre and see the persistent ineffectiveness of battleships, but this view neglects the significant use of battleships in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. The US and Japanese use of battleships was particularly timid, due both to the commitment of both navies to the decisive battle doctrine (they wanted them for the WWII "Jutland" that would decide the naval war) and the lack of ships (Japan couldn't produce enough in the long run, and the US had a serious shortage in 1942-1943). Carriers were also considerably-more valuable in the Pacific anyways (no land to hide around, not many large naval bases to actually station large fleets; carriers can spot targets more effectively and attack at very long range, unless one side commits to a fleet battle).
What exactly BBs achieved in the Mediterranean?

HMS Barham achieved sinking to the bottom on a useless patrol: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Barham_(04) The rest sunk in the Raid on Alexandria.

The italian BBs rarely left port, to be fair they didn't have enough fuel to use them and the british always avoided battle during the day and the Italians knew they would be destroyed at night ...

But British cruisers achieved amazing victories at sea attacking convoys, such as the Duisburg Convoy.
 

Axe99

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What exactly BBs achieved in the Mediterranean?
The Italian fleet turned away at the Battle of Calabria and the one off the bottom of the island under Corsica (sorry, having a bad brain night!) because of British capital ships, and best not to ask Pola, Fiume and Zara what they thought of BBs. Further, the crippling of the Italian BBs at Taranto by air attack, and then the British BBs at Alexandria by special forces, turned the naval balance of power in the Mediterranean on its head. These are by no means the only examples either. I'd strongly recommend reading The Struggle for the Middle Sea by Vincent O'Hara - will give you a very good appreciation of the impact of BBs in the Med (that's not the only book that'd do it, but it's not too long, fairly accessible, and available on Kindle).

Edit: Reading that will also make it quite clear that the British didn't always avoid battle by day, by any stretch, and while the Italians had to use their BBs sparingly, they did use them, sometimes to very good effect.
 

Zilcho

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Ever since MTG I've primarily relied on BBs. Primarily it's as the US that I don't if it's historical gameplay and you are limited by the naval treaties. So far my navies tend to perform well in both SP and MP. Vanilla and modded.

But a lot depends on how much you are willing to spend on your fleet, if you sacrifice the research slots for doctrines and things like fire control even older ships can become quite useful.

Especially SH-BBs is something either I or my allies have had some great luck with. Mined waters with enemy air superiority and the sheer amount of damage they can take while dishing out heavy hits are brutal...

If I got to prioritise other things I follow one key rule over all and that's detection is king. As good of a radar as early as possible on as many ships as possible including spotter planes and yo can bump detection up quite high. Radars for everyone is my moto when it comes to the navy.

Currently playing a MP game as UK and going to face Germany, Italy and Spain who where my allies last time and I'm quite concerned with how to deal with them because they all had great success with SH-BBs last time as well as Submarines that I as Spain sold to them with awesome radars so it's going to be interesting to see if they go down that route again and how I'll counter that.
 

Paul.Ketcham

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Lets break this down a bit:

And the result was frankly a disaster for the Japanese. They only sank 3 light/escort carriers (which the USA dozens and dozens of, so effectively zero damage) and 3 DD/DE and achieved nothing of their original goal: Stopping the american invasion. Their admiral is to blame here for chickening out, but if the force consisted only of Cruisers, I'm not sure how many exactly, maybe 3 cruisers would cost the same as an Yamato? Then they would be better suited for the battle. Yamato had to change course to avoid torpedoes. If they had more ships, even if some were off course, the rest would keep the pursuit.
At Leyte Gulf, there are several massive oversights in most accounts of the battle. First, Japan was shooting ARMOR PIERCING shells at a group of effectively unarmored destroyers and escort carriers, converting their massive shells into nothing more than giant bullets that wouldn't explode inside their targets. This was due to poor intel, which caused the Japanese to misidentify Taffy 3 as fleet carriers and a heavy cruiser escort force (hence why the USS Johnston managed to scare off an entire 13-ship destroyer squadron by itself). Second, US technical advantages in radar and fire control meant that its ships were vastly-more effective in combat than the poorly-upgraded Japanese cruisers and destroyers, with only Yamato having even rudimentary radar (and scoring far more hits than the rest of the fleet it opposed). Third, HMS Warspite had no problem engaging destroyers and the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau had no problems engaging HMS Glorious and its escorts in 1940, showing that battleships were entirely-capable of dealing with both classes present at Leyte Gulf. Finally, Admiral Kurita's battleplan was frankly inept, as it prevented his forces from ever getting an effective torpedo salvo off against the Americans (and torpedoes were their best weapons).

What exactly BBs achieved in the Mediterranean?

HMS Barham achieved sinking to the bottom on a useless patrol: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Barham_(04) The rest sunk in the Raid on Alexandria.

The italian BBs rarely left port, to be fair they didn't have enough fuel to use them and the british always avoided battle during the day and the Italians knew they would be destroyed at night ...

But British cruisers achieved amazing victories at sea attacking convoys, such as the Duisburg Convoy.
As mentioned before, the disaster at Cape Matapan where 3 British battleships first scared off an Italian fleet coming to support the Invasion of Crete (which ended up needing to be taken exclusively by paratroopers, and the appalling losses caused Germany to abandon airborne operations), and then killed 3 heavy cruisers during a night attack. British forces also prevented the Italians from engaging on many occasions, such as the Battle of Calabria where several British dreadnoughts forced the retreat of an Italian fleet including 2 battleships (ultimately a draw despite a serious hit by HMS Warspite on the Giulio Cesare which crippled its speed).

Several encounters would likely have been far more decisive for the Italians as well had their newest battleships, the Littorio-class, not been fatally-crippled by inconsistent shell quality (which made zeroing impossible, as shells scattered all around the target area and were reported hitting on both sides of some engaged British cruisers). One of these included a convoy engaged by a Littorio with no British battleships to counter. A second encounter, Operation Pedestal, might have been a massacre for the British had battleships been included but the Italians were out of fuel (and the smaller cruiser force they could send turned back due to a British bluff in calling air support despite having no available aircraft). Otherwise, several destroyers and light cruisers would have been facing a battleship force on their own.

Ultimately, the loss of Barham was largely due to British overextention (which arguably is when submarines are at their most lethal, and was a German goal throughout the war), but it was the only lost Queen Elizabeth-class in WWII and the only lost battleship in the Mediterranean. Queen Elizabeth and Valiant being sunk in port by midget submarines was an incredibly successful operation by Italy (there are only two serious successes I'm aware of with midget subs in WWII, both against battleships: this and Tirpitz's crippling) rather than somehow an indicator that battleships are obsolete (anti-torpedo defenses don't work against hits to the bottom of a ship). Don't forget too that, like the losses at Taranto and most of those at Pearl Harbor, battleships lost in port tended to get refloated and repaired (of those 3 battles, only 2 were permanent losses at Pearl Harbor: USS Arizona and USS Oklahoma).
 

sterrius

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Currently playing a MP game as UK and going to face Germany, Italy and Spain who where my allies last time and I'm quite concerned with how to deal with them because they all had great success with SH-BBs last time as well as Submarines that I as Spain sold to them with awesome radars so it's going to be interesting to see if they go down that route again and how I'll counter that.
don´t know if it helps and i know it might be hard if you're playing on high speeds even during war.

You can ramp up the Portugual Island (Azores, get it with 50 pp) + Bermuda to completely fill that deep sea zone with some heavy planes/tatical bombers + radar. (Normal planes are useless, 1500km+ range required for good mission efficiency).

With planes you should be able to win in detection and easily support your old navy against a more modern fleet.
don´t take much MIC´s to produce the planes (i would use 5-10 on both planes, more it can damage other prioritys) as they will face 0 naval resistance on those provinces.

And best part you don´t need to research TAC´s. H. Planes is just one 1936 research you can do after getting the -15% discount. So you can quickly squeeze them somewhere.


This way im yet to figure out a way for germany to win the atlantic, outside of naval invading the islands or producing carriers.
If axis go surface, subs, even investing unhealthy amount of research/nic. They are gonna get bombed by the TACs and killed by the depth charges of strike fleets.

this is the historical solution used by the allies ;)
 

BurningEGO

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I don't know about you guys, but I never do BBs on this game and I got well over 1400 hours of gameplay. What I do are, battlecruisers (or super batltecruisers as I call them, pratically a SHBB but bare bones with the end result being a very modern battlecruiser with a ton of hp, armor and more firepower for just about 13-14k production). Also usually rush 1940 BB tech when able (with the help of national focus) just to add engines level 3 for extra speed, since those buggers are extremely slow! In my game as USSR, it's 1940 and I already have about 10 of them + other ships. It depends from country to country though due to resource limitations, since they still cost 20 steel and 15 chromium, which can be a lot for smaller countries if you queue a few of them at once, like I usually do.
SHBC.png
BBs are too expensive to be useful IMO. You just want those ships due to raw amount of HP and armor. Their survivability is HUGE. Can only be sink by airplanes really. So don't make BBs, and make BCs instead, since they are a lot cheaper. And in many cases, it is better to go for SHBCs (the super battlecruisers as I call them), because for less than 2x the cost, you get almost 2x HP, far stronger armor that cannot be bypassed by any heavy gun and a lot more attack, which, bypasses any common BB's armor easily.

You should only start migrating towards BCs and stop doing SHBCs with 1944 tech imo. Which is, quite questionable in the end to be frank.

And do carriers for assistance on the high seas since you won't be able to cover SHBCs if they aren't close to the shore.

If you are playing vs the AI you won't need to bother with ships that much if you are smart. Unless you want to invade the USA without having bases on Canada, Mexico or somewhere close. You can easily hug the shore, send paratroopers, secure a port, send an entire army in, and capitulate Japan or the UK that way.

But to answer the initial question: BBs are only good due to their HP and for the fact they tank damage IMO. Airplanes will always seek them first for example, so they will be tanking damage before any other ship. But don't be a fool - BB/BCs can still do a lot of damage on their own. But you will need other ships to do the real damage if you use them merely for taking purposes (which is what I recommend, really).
 
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