WSnova

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How exciting!

Hopefully the battle can be won. And wow, that IC *drools*.

Makes me want to fire up anAmerican campaign and play along. But I am trying to learn Darkest houratm
 

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misterbean

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Yeah, and I'm glad I didn't bring them, in retrospect. If that fight goes wrong, at least I'll still have those 4 perfectly good ones to fall back on.
 

ThatStrategyGuy

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Do you have any other Air planes in the area to help out? I tend to keep squads of 4 interceptors and 4 naval bombers in my westernmost islands as the US for precisely this reason.
 

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Unfortunately, it's right next to the Japanese part of Micronesia, so there is no Allied airfield anywhere close. It's their CAGs versus mine.
 

KyrionMyrthar

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This is why it pays to remake Guam in Midway's image. :) I consider it easy-mode, though, even though I've been going down that path a lot lately.

I maxed out Guam, Wake, and started on Johnston, the last few times I've played. I use Johnston as my kick-off for island hopping, and Truk-excluded, can usually have all of the Japanese islands under control within a couple months. One corps of marines and one corps of regular infantry does the trick, and then I back-fill with garrison divisions.

I'm actually going to hit Japan in Sept. '42 or thereabouts, either tonight or tomorrow. This is with a huge amount of strategic bombers on the way to test out bombing Germany into submission. Gonna be a tough slog, though - Italy controls North Africa, including Iraq in the Middle East. The UK is trying to get a foothold in Ethiopia with little luck. I'm probably going to have to land in Northern Italy, based out of Gibraltar, to make a difference.

I think I'll be headed to Germany games shortly. Been a while.
 

misterbean

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Good luck with the bombing. Let us know how it's going.
 

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Can you get your other Carrier fleet parked in the next bit of ocean and just send over the CAGs?

I thought about it, but there's the fleet sitting next to Quam as well to consider.

The suspense will be terrible. :D

Not for me it isn't ;)

Don't worry. I won't keep you too long. I just had to stop because my chapter was getting a bit longer than I expected and I allready had 23 screenshots. 24 if you count the banner. So cliffhanger ending. Sorry :)
 

misterbean

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Oh well, as you said if Japan sinks one Carrier fleet you can just build two

Standard US solution to every problem. Throw money at it until it goes away;)
 

ThatStrategyGuy

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I've thought up a revolutionary new strategy, instead of building two ships for every ship sunk, build three ships for every ship sunk. It can't possibly fail!
 

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If im not mistaken, plan 2 is also far closer to what the original plan orange was: Completely and utterly ignore the Philippines, and just Island hop to Japan.

We only diverted to the Philippines because of MacArthur being incompetent.
 

misterbean

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I've thought up a revolutionary new strategy, instead of building two ships for every ship sunk, build three ships for every ship sunk. It can't possibly fail!

hah! If only there was more time! But building one of these babies does take more than a year.

If im not mistaken, plan 2 is also far closer to what the original plan orange was: Completely and utterly ignore the Philippines, and just Island hop to Japan.

We only diverted to the Philippines because of MacArthur being incompetent.

I don't know about MacArthur, but taking out the Japanese forces holed up so close to Australia and important waterways does make sense. In a real-life scenario, would you invade Japan with all those guys sitting behind your back? It cost more lives than it should have, but you want a clear rear and flanks before the big fight, don't you?
 

misterbean

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Chapter 19: Naval Combat.


I ended last chapter just as my carrier fleet ran into a massive Japanese carrier fleet. Let’s see what actually happens during a naval battle, shall we?


The first thing to remember, is that speed is handled differently if you’re in a fight. Normally, when moving from one seazone to the next, the slowest ship in the squadron determines the combined speed of the squadron.

In combat, the average of all the ships in your squadron is used. This means that slow-moving battleships, when coupled with ultra-fast destroyers, will move much more efficiently in a fight.

As we will discover, that is a very important thing to remember.


Secondly, there is a stacking penalty, which is calculated by adding all the Hulls of the ships in that squadron together. In TFH, you have a 4% penalty to your positioning per Hull point above 16. This is offset by 10% per skill point of the commanding officer.


In other words, firepower is not the be all and end all in combat. The average speed, combined with a lower Hull-stat per ship, will allow you to add more ships before you start getting penalties. In theory, this should make Heavy Cruisers the go-to capital ship, because of their low Hull. Heavy Cruisers are also the most efficient in getting you the most firepower per ICday it takes to construct them.

I say in theory, because their low Hull brings a problem of its own. They tend to sink a lot, requiring you to construct more ships to replace losses than with, say, battleships, who can take more of a beating.

Carriers always have been the big winners in this regard. With their ability to stay safely out of firing range of most ships, and their natural tendency to try to stay at the far edge of combat, they are difficult to target directly and they can escape a battle that is going bad very easily.


Positioning helps to determine how easily a ship can move into firing range, and find a suitable target. This is modified by a number of factors. The squadron’s total Hull size, weather, and commander skill are a couple of them.

Doctrines are of vital importance here. Some of you may wonder why I still research Fire Control System Training and Commander Decision Making techs, when I am clearly going for a carrier-based strategy. Well, the first of these techs allows you to hit what you’re aiming for. The latter allows you to improve the odds of aiming for the right ship.

Whenever you have a stacking penalty, there is a chance of individual ships aiming for one of their own. This is countered by Commander Decision Making.


Submarines (and Naval Bombers) have a chance to surprise an enemy, which makes it impossible for the enemy to return fire for the first 3 hours of combat.

This, in practical terms, does absolutely nothing.

Why? Because the submarines are so slow that they will need almost the entire 3 turns to get into range. When they do get into firing range, they find that their firepower is so low that they can barely make a dent in a modern capital ship.

Coupled with their very low Hull, this leaves them with no armor, small guns and much too close for their own comfort.

The only way for a sub to survive a fight with anything heavier than a merchant escort, is to run the first chance they get.


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When two opposing forces meet, they each start at the far edge on their side. Each type of ship has a base "range" stat, which determines their intitial positioning. In this case, the US will begin on the far left, because we are considered the attackers. The Japanese ships will begin on the far right.

Capital ships (Battleships, battlecruisers and heavy cruisers) will try to move closer to their optimum firing range each 1-hour turn, using their speed and positioning. Once they are in firing range, they will, more or less at random, pick an opposing ship and fire on it.

Carriers and escort carriers will try to stay as far away from the action as possible, instead relying on their planes for damage.

Screens (light cruisers and destroyers) will try to do the same, but they are restricted by the squadron’s average speed and will generally speaking stay close to the capital ships. They have low firepower and Hull, but they are more maneuverable, which makes them surprisingly sturdy in combat.

When a ship is in firing range, it will pick a ship as target and start firing on it. I believe they generally keep firing on the same target once chosen , but I could be wrong here.

In the screenshot above, the Japanese cruisers are trying to close in to the US Task Force, while the American cruisers stay close to the ships they are protecting. This is why most people try to keep carriers and other Capital ships in separate squadrons. When you add battleships with carriers, the battleships will move into firing range. This has the unexpected side effect of dragging the carriers along with them. With their extreme firing range, carriers should never be that close to the business end of an enemy battleship. They don’t have the stamina for sustained damage.

As you can see in the above example, the US carriers are all at the far left of the combat, while the Japanese carriers are moving closer to the center.


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Hovering over any ship in combat will show you the relevant details. The Japanese cruiser Fuso has a 43% chance of moving into correct firing position. They are 16 km away from the enemy fleet and have an effective firing range of 32 km. You can also see the attack and defense, along with the various modifiers that determine these stats.

Note how dissent also modifies naval combat. Japan seems to have a very slight problem with dissent, but not enough that it creates a penalty.

The Japanese fleet does not have enough screens and, thus, suffer an additional penalty. You need at least 1 screen per capital.


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The US Carriers are at a distance of 61 km. Don’t be fooled by the guns’ firing range, however, since a carrier uses the CAGs that are assigned CAG Duty to hit enemy ships. Note the difference between the US Night penalty and that of the Japanese cruiser above. We “only” have a 20% penalty, while Japanese accuracy suffers 50%. Most likely, this is due to their Small and Large Warship Radar techs not being up-to-date, since that is the only tech that modifies night fighting for ships, AFAIK.


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Finally, there is this one. Maya has found a ship at 11 km range, well within range of its guns, and the ship captain has decided to lob a couple of shells at it. Unfortunately, because of their low Positioning, he has mistaken a Japanese transport for an American one. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. A perfect case of Friendly Fire due to overstacking.


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For the moment, my carriers are still in a safe spot, but the CAGs are at risk of being overwhelmed by the multitude of enemy CAGs buzzing around. Thankfully, I am about to offer the Japanese a bunch of extra targets to choose from, which will reduce the risk of them actually sinking one of my carriers. These will arrive in 13 hours.


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Another example of ship combat. This time it’s a pure Surface Action, between my destroyer squadron and a German squadron consisting of Tirpitz, Deutschland and a single destroyer. Again with the insufficient screens. Is there a pattern here or is it a mere coincidence?

At any rate, Deutschland is firing at USS Northampton. None of my ships are returning fire, but note how close they are to each other. This means that I might be able to bring all my guns to bear at once. If this happens, the chance of them focusing fire on a single ship (only 3 targets to choose from) improves trememdously.


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But back to the big carrier battle. Yamamoto has the same skill of 5 that Nimitz does, but he has twice the experience that his American counterpart can offer at this early stage of the war (13.5% versus 25%).

But he has not been promoted sufficiently to command so many ships at once. Being only a Rear admiral, his stacking penalty is clearly killing his chances of making a kill here. Don’t be fooled however. The game will allow for a certain point beyond which the concentration of firepower will outweigh all negative modifiers.Now that the 1st Navy has joined the fight, Nimitz’ Positioning is not much better anymore than that of Yamamoto.

In retrospect, it might have been better to keep the rest of the ships out of the battle and trust in the huge positioning difference, but with so many CAGs in the area, I could not risk them sinking my carriers. Remember, once your own CAGs are out of Organisation, they will not be able to protect your carriers, who will become nothing more than very large bathtubs.


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Meanwhile, the actual invasion of Guam has begun. Again, this is a TFH feature. The Japanese marines (that’s what they are, it just isn’t clear at this point yet) are still disembarking. This is simulated by reducing their attack power but improving their defenses. As the red colour of their unit is reduced, these modifiers are gradually reduced as well, until it is completely gone, at which point the whole division can be said to be fighting on the beaches. The Japanese commander is using Shock, which reduces the damage I inflict by 25%, while Moise is using Defend, which increases defender damage by 5%.


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By the time that evening is setting in, the fight against the German squadron is over. Superior concentration of firepower, it seems has won the day. They have lost the heavy cruiser, and Tirpitz is forced to retreat. You can tell where they are retreating to , by watching for the telltale green arrows. One is the direction my ships are heading, the other one is the German direction. With more ships in the neighbourhood, I might have given chase. If your ships are fast enough, you can catch them a second time, possibly with a fresh squadron. In this way, you can, over time, whittle an enemy squadron away, ship by ship.

For instance, in one German game (this was way back in SF), there was a fight between the Kriegmarine and a RN mixed squadron of battlecruisers and carriers just north of Copenhagen. After the fight, the losing RN ships retreated into the Baltic Sea, which I had not closed off yet. Two German squadrons took turns pounding the British ships. Each time, they lost one or two ships and retreated further into or the Baltic, until, finally, their were only the carriers left, who fought a losing battle just northeast Stockholm, and were sunk as well.

The English Channel in particular, is a deadly trap, since losing ships will only retreat one seazone away. Having ships at both ends of the Channel, pretty much ensures a game of ping pong with the Germans unlucky enough to be caught here. I was the Germans here, and believe me, there is very little you can do about it if you don’t have bombers close enough.

Yeah, naval combat is deadly and unpredictable.

Anyway, my own ships were pretty beat up (Northampton only had 46% Strength), so I decided to let them go and return to Belfast for repairs.


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So that ended one fight. How about the other one? In this shot, I have deliberately lined up USS Nevada and its target, Chokai, to show you that heavy cruisers generally don’t stand much of a chance against battleships. Chokai is not returning fire, even though they should be in range.

Several of the Japanese cruisers have been hit already, but by now my own positioning is down in the basement. Again, it might have been better to keep the other ships out of combat, but that might have come at the loss of a carrier or more. When faced by such huge numbers, I tend to panic, which is not always the right option.

Note also, in the main screen, the little green arrow. One of the Japanese squadrons is trying to get away.


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The fighting is still going strong on Guam, and the attackers, now 2 divisions strong, are slowly making progress, but I am making them pay for every inch of ground. My CA bonus is largely being countered by the Japanese shore bombardments. Thankfully, my garrisons are still fully Organised and they seem to have only sustained minor losses so far. That is good, because they will have to hold out until the US Navy can pound the Japanese fleet.

By now, in the Battle of Western Taongi Atoll Pass, both sides are suffering tremendous losses. One Japanese carrier is down to 84% Strength, while USS Lexington is down to only 61.6%. All carriers are showing the strain on my side, while on the Japanese side, it is mostly the cruisers that are the worst for wear. Fuso is at half strength, while Haruna is only hanging together with spit and bits of wire.


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Time to take a look at what we are facing. A mixed fleet of 2 more carriers, a battleship and a whole slew of cruisers is sitting east of Guam.


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By noon on the 20th, the fight was over. The Japanese retreated, and by 16h00 that day, the seazone was mine.

My ships, however, were in no state to be fighting another, fresh Japanese fleet so soon.


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1 Yuso Sentai was sunk by the Japanese cruiser Kongo, while Chokai was sunk by the Saratoga’s CAGs.

My losses amounted to a single destroyer.


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As you can see, the air battle is still going on, but my ships need repairs and my brave pilots are exhausted after over 24 hours of constant combat. The rest of the squadrons are no better off.


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I am sending the ships back to Midway, while CTF2, 4th Navy and 5th Navy are send to intervene in the defense of Guam instead.


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I finally notice that I have an Armour division on the eastcoast, so I create an Army Group (commanded by Bradley), an Army (commanded by Patton) and a new corps (commanded by Hodges), attaching them to the CONUS theater for now. The division itself will be commanded by general Walker.


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It is the 23rd before my ships reach Guam. By that time, the Japanese have set no less than 4 marine divisions loose upon my brave defenders, who are holding out pretty good. My strategy to add tanks to the defensive mix, seems to pay off.


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It takes another 2 days of heavy fighting before the Japanese slink off, having lost a Landing Craft in the fighting. Since there were 4 marine divisions present in the attack, I doubt whether I managed to drown one of them. As long as you have enough cargo capacity on the remaining ships, you don’t lose the men onboard. A valuable lesson going forward: always keep your cargo capacity slightly above the total weight of men you are transporting. This way, you can sometimes prevent the loss of a combat unit.


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The Japanese have lost almost 3 times as many men in the invasion than I have.


The first encounters of the war are behind us. The costs have been high, with most of my ships needing at least some repairs, but it has been worth it. The Japanese have lost 3 (minor) ships and my island defenses have held, even on Guam where the fort level is nowhere near as high as it is on Midway.


If there are any further questions regarding naval combat, now is a good time to ask them. See you next time!
 
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Crilor

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The Japanese seem to be doing your work for you sinking their own ships like that :D

How does width work in naval landings? Does it increase by landing from multiple sea zones or does it stay constant?
 

ThatStrategyGuy

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I'm not sure you can land from multiple sea zones. although I think width increases if you simultaneously attack from land and sea (and air? I don't use paratroopers)

In a Carrier vs Carrier battle like that how important would you say the planes are? if you had to choose between having up-to-date planes and up-to-date ships which one would you choose?