ChaChaLoco

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Oh, one other thing very quickly. I noticed in your Germany campaign you had your INTs grouped up in squadrons of 3 instead of 4 like you did in Take Two. Was there a particular reason for this, as in a change to stacking penalties for air combat from FTM to TFH, or was this just done so you had more wings available for separate missions?

Also, it would be super cool if you could do a chapter about leadership experience gain. I've heard a lot of mixed things about it. I know that divisions earn the most experience when it comes to land combat, but I've heard that in Naval/Air combat generals get the most experience when their 'rank' is low (1-star). Not sure how true that is, and I've never really been able to verify it.
 

misterbean

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The reason for the switch from 4 interceptors to 3 is based on the fact that I have since learned that the optimum ratio of firepower vs stacking for fighters is 6, not 4 as I previously thought. So if I group them in 3s, I can set 2 groups on the same target if I have to, while still having the tactical flexibility of more seperate groups. I really should mention this in the upcoming chapter. thank you for reminding me.

generals gain the most experience when they are commanding a single division. For each step up the hierarchy (so corps, army, etc) they gain less experience, but I don't know the exact ratios. So it makes sense to keep good generals as division commanders until they reach high levels. You can then promote them. Italy has, at the start of the game, very poor generals, but there are a couple of skill-1 generals that have excellent traits. You could give them plenty of experience before the war in Ethiopia and conquer Yugoslavia before the war starts to get them up a couple of levels. That way, you might start fighting UK and France in '40 with the equivalent of such generals as the German Hoth.
I doubt that the same goes for naval and air generals. They just need tons of missions to gain XP, I believe.
 

ChaChaLoco

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The reason for the switch from 4 interceptors to 3 is based on the fact that I have since learned that the optimum ratio of firepower vs stacking for fighters is 6, not 4 as I previously thought. So if I group them in 3s, I can set 2 groups on the same target if I have to, while still having the tactical flexibility of more seperate groups. I really should mention this in the upcoming chapter. thank you for reminding me.

Ah, okay, but 6 fighters in combat will still give like a 50% stacking penalty, yes?
 

misterbean

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Yes, in that regard nothing has changed, but the added firepower negates some of that, according to forumites who are better at math than me.
 

misterbean

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v1BhTfO.png


Chapter 47: The Giant Is Stirring.

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On the morning of 15 December 1940, the Luftwaffe makes an all-out attempt at taking down the Polish and Dutch ships sitting in Dover. The battle started at 3 in the morning and lasted until 3 in the afternoon, but the RAF fighters, with some help from the Dutch contingent on the island, were at the top of their game. None of the ships were sunk, while the Germans lost around 85% of their planes. Even with German efficiency, it will take a while to get these wings back up to full strength.


As a side note, after the conclusion of Take Two, it was brought to my attention that the optimum number of wings in an fighter airgroup, in terms of ratio between firepower and stacking penalty, would seem to be 6, where I advocated 4 in Take Two. The people who told me are far better at math than me, so I trust their judgement in this matter. This is why I have split my airgroups in numbers of 3. This way, I can have the tactical flexibility of a lot of groups, or I can send 2 groups against the same target if I have to.


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In the US Presidential elections, Roosevelt comes out on top. In the game, it does not make that much of a difference who is living in the White House, but for RP purposes it feels nice.


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Our spies in Germany give us a glimpse of some of the things in the German production queu. There are a couple of heavy cruisers and a destroyer (not shown), but more importantly is the work being done in Nantes, on the southern edge of Brittany. A coastal fort will help them repel a seaborne invasion, but that’s ok. If I wanted to, I could land behind them on the Channel coast.

What does concern me is the radar installation, which would give them better vision into my backyard.

Also of interest is the number of the armour unit under construction. The names for units that are being build, are taken from a group of lists in the game files. If you have played a certain nation as much as I have, you can sometimes use this info to gather where they are in terms of numbers. For Germany, the 10. Panzer Division is the 10th armour division in the list. This means that they have 9 in the field at this point, which seems a little light, considering that they only have about 6 months to prepare for Barbarossa. Make no mistake, if the German AI does not feel strong enough, they will not invade. For us, that would mean that all those divisions that are supposed to be deep in Russia this time next year, would be available to counter any offensives I launch in ’42 or ’43.


Also of note, is the fact that, apparently, there are no subs or transports being build right now. We don’t have full vision into their queu, so they might be there, further down the queu. That means that, at the very least, Sealion or a Norwegian invasion seems pretty unlikely at this point, since we know that they only have a single transport ship available to them.


Another thing to note is the German NU, which our spies report to be at 86%. It is completely meaningless right now, but it seems that our spies are doing their work. The longer they stay at it, the lower the German NU will be by the time we launch Overlord. It might make the difference between “only” having to reach Berlin, or having to hoof it all the way to Königsberg.


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Germany does seem to be gathering forces in the East, though, so maybe Barbarossa will still happen.


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I want to have another go at those ships in Sicily. This time, I am going to try to keep the Italian fighters busy further north, while my tactical bombers hit the port in the south.


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24 Hours later, the port has been reduced to rubble. What this does, is to ensure that the Regia Marina has a choice between rebasing the ships to repair them elsewhere, and trying to slip past my carriers sitting in the seazone, which would take away the immediate threat, or waiting until the port has been repaired, which means they will take longer to repair, and, thus, take away the immediate threat. Unfortunately, the RM does not take the bait and is unwilling to face off against the Royal Navy in an attempt to get away. I could have kept it up longer, but my squadrons’ organisation was in the dumps by then, and without the fighters protecting the bombers, the bombers would be eaten alive.

As you can see, you can keep the enemy on his toes without actually setting foot on Sicily. Italy will now have to use more IC in reinforcements (which is used to simulate province repairs) and less in production. If I had used Coastal Command, with their naval bombers, I would probably have sunk a couple of ships as well, but I feel safer keeping them in Britain.


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The US offers to take control of Iceland and Greenland for us on New Year’s Day, and we accept. If you remember my US run, you can guess where the US is now, in terms of Neutrality.


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One day later, they enact the Lend-Lease act, which gives us a nice relations boost. They also start the Undeclared War on that same day.


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Relations are capped out, Neutrality is at 52% and they are aligning to the Allies. Things are going smoothly. The giant is still asleep, but he’s starting to wake up.


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I have shipped a couple of newly build divisions over to Tripoli. The 4th Army is now 16 divisions strong and more are on the way. You may wonder what that binary division in the 10th Corps is doing there. To be honest, so am I. :confused:

Easily rectified by building a single 1inf/1arty division that will be used to bring them up to full strength.


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Our Underground Resistance Cells are starting to spread. Ideally, they will fill the entire French countryside by the time we’re ready for Overlord. The ones in Poland will be used to hamper them during the opening stages of Barbarossa. Every little bit helps, and the UK AI has done it to me so many times before, that I feel it is only right that I return the favour.


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A new fighter wing is deployed in Birmingham. They will need a couple of weeks before they’re ready for action, but it means that I will soon be able to send at least one more fighter squadron to Africa.


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Here’s a look at the total complement of planes at my disposal on February, 1st. I will build 6 more Fighters and 2 more interceptors, which will bring me up to 15 M/R and 12 Int. Then I will start to focus more heavily on the bombers and the land forces.


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I have started 1941 research. The only thing that I wanted to mention is the fact that I have started researching the next generation of radar. With only 1 year in advance, we no longer suffer an ahead-of-time penalty, and this will enable me to keep researching ASW tech.


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And they never learn. Scratch two more Italian transports.


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New tactical bombers are coming in as well. Slowly, but surely, we are building up a major strike force in the air.


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Two Italian subs are sitting in Irakleio, on Crete. This time, they don’t have aircover. I send in the bombers. A week later, the subs are gone.


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Now that Fighter Group 2 is about ready for action, I send them to Tripoli, via Gibraltar to avoid them flying across occupied Europe. It means they have to rebase twice, but that only affects their Org and not their Strength. They will need a while to get fuel, so it’s good to do this in advance whenever you can.


dMG4O1B.png


The only German ships I can see are sitting in Dieppe. After a single bombing run, I determine that they are 1 destroyer and 1 transport. I would love to sink them, but I am not strong enough yet to duke it out against the Luftwaffe on their home turf. Soon, though, I will be. That means that their other ships, which should be a Heavy Cruiser and a Destroyer, should be in the Baltic. Even the antiquated Soviet navy should be able to take care of that paltry force.


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I have plenty of spies and diplo points in reserve, so I transfer every point of LS not used in research to training officers. There are at least half a dozen divisions being build right now, and they will all need NCOs.


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Finally, I tag switch to Germany to show you what 10 dedicated spies can do to your National Unity if you let them. Together with losing the Battle of the Atlantic, they lose almost 1.5 points of NU per month, and are sitting at 73%, while “my” Germany is usually sitting at 90+. The only way to counter this, is to set their home spies at least partially on raising NU, which will reduce their ability to catch my spies. And all the time, I am building up Covert Ops points, which I will explain more fully in a later chapter. Never underestimate the effects of a well-run espionage campaign.


Next time, I hope to liberate Cyprus with my marines to give them some combat experience. See you then!
 
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caffran

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building up forces nicely. that's a bit hit to NU from the spies. going to have to pay more attention to the intelligence tab from now on. I usually put them all in stealing tech in Germany and leave it. Is tech espionage worth the leadership in your opinion?

The low strength division is one of the starting 'reserve' divisions in Egypt.
 

misterbean

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Tech espionage depends on what nation you play. Germany has so much LS that they don't need to spy on others for it, but if you're playing someone like Finland, it might be worth it to spy on the big guys' techs. You never know what you're going to get, and that's not always going to be what you need. You might be playing Hungary and get some random naval tech, which is useless for them. Sometimes, you're playing, say, Italy, and you get 1937 carrier from the UK.

As for the binary division, I know where it came from, but I could have sworn that I had it completed. Guess not. What's even more surprising, is that these lads have been fighting in the desert for the past year and I never knew they were understrength.
 

Stuyvesant

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It's nice to see how you've gone from building up and reacting to the Germans to setting the pace and choosing your encounters. Sure, you can't invade mainland Europe yet, but you seem to be making life miserable for the Italians everywhere and the Luftwaffe is also coming up short against you.

How worried do you have to be about German radar in Nantes? is it dramatically going to improve their ability to keep tabs on your units?
 

misterbean

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It would be much worse if Germany was played by a human. I'm not all that concerned about them keeping their eye on me, but that radar will improve their odds in any aerial fight we might have over Nantes in the future.
 

Hardyharhar

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A quick question on air units, sorry it's a little off subject. Did I read somewhere that you can set a unit to reserve, and that this action uses the unit to reinforce another unit on air intercept missions, for example?
 

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It's supposed to do that, but that particular mission has been broken for a long time and it was never repaired. If you want to do that, you'll have to do it manually.
 

Forster

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Caught up again. I wonder what the Brits would do if they didn't have India. Without India, Britain would have a very weak army. Is it even possible to coup them, like South Africa? Can you use partisans in India?
 

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In vanilla, India is part of Britain proper, so I don't think it's possible to break them away. That being said, there are several mods, including HPP and - I think - Black Ice, that have India as a British puppet. You'd have to write a special event for it to happen, I suspect.

edit: the quote is originally Roman, but it's possible that someone like Kennedy might have used it in one of his speeches at some point.
 

Forster

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That's it. I knew I had seen that before. Four years of Latin in high school. It sounds like Cato or Cicero?
India should be eligible for revolt. The Indians didn't particularly like the Brits.
 

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Okay, this is what I found on google:

Si vis pacem, para bellum is a Latin adage translated as, "If you want peace, prepare for war". The adage was adapted from a statement found in Book 3 of Latin author Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus's tract De Re Militari (4th or 5th century),[1] although the idea it conveys is also present in earlier works, such as Plato's Nomoi (Laws).[
 
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misterbean

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v1BhTfO.png

Chapter 48: The Flying Circus.

I have moved my marines to Tripoli, where they are waiting until their Organisation has filled up.


As IC becomes available, I build 3 Naval bombers. These are both for combat purposes, and because they are cheaper and faster than Tactical bombers. Since they share the same Practicals, it means that I will be able to finish any tactical bombers I follow it up with. Right now, I have 9 Tac, and I plan to build at least 6 more. This will give me 5 tactical bomber groups of 3 wings each. I am helped in this by the US Lend-Lease, which, at one point during this chapter, reaches 77 IC with no German subs to hinder the convoys.


3iEmQxH.png


I have also automated the Underground Cells to spread as soon as they have enough power. If you do this, beware that cells spawned in this way start out doing nothing but gather power. You still have to automate them after they’ve spawned. But it does reduce the level of micromanagement. Excellent suggestion from ThatStrategyGuy.


The Italians keep attacking Malta, and getting nowhere, losing another destroyer and 2 more transports in their most recent attempt.


6CQavTF.png


I said I was going to use the Marines in a little training exercise. The target: regaining control of Cyprus.

First I surround the island with battleship squadrons and the Mediteranean Destroyer Squadron, leaving the carriers to protect Malta.

The Desert Air Force (3 M/R) will provide aerial protection from Tel Aviv.

The Southernmost province is protected by paratroopers, so I attack the northern province of Lefkosia, which is only guarded by militia.


It only takes me 2 days from start to finish to regain control of Lefkosia. Now all I have to do is wait for the Attack Delay to wear off and attack the other province. Unless they manage to pull the paratroopers out by plane, they will have nowhere to run and will be wiped out.


While all that is going on, Italy tries twice more to land in Malta, but fail twice. They get away, losing only a single transport in the combined assaults.


0cnUVMQ.png


The Battle of Lemesos is all but a foregone conclusion. Now that the battle has been joined, the destruction of the Italian paras is certain. By the 29th, the island has been liberated. The reason is takes so long, is because of lousy infrastructure and hilly terrain.


w90PgdH.png


The island of Rodi is too heavily guarded to even consider attacking, but that’s ok. The men stationed there, are neutralised by the simple lack of Italian transports to take them back home. They might as well be in prison.


It’s not all fun and games, of course. It is April ’41 and I don’t want to risk Japan catching me by surprise, so I rebase first 2 battleship squadrons to Ceylon. The carriers will follow later on, but they still have a job to do in the Med. Italy still has at least 1 ship in an Adriatic port, 5 in Syracuse and 2 in Milan. There may be more, but my radar is not seeing them.


I am going to use this opportunity to demonstrate the single greatest advantage that UK has over Germany and Italy in terms of tactical flexibility. Those of you who follow the excellent Carnage multiplayer AARs, will know this tactic as the Flying Circus.

Contrary to its real world namesake from the First World War, it has less to do with planes and more with the navy. The Flying Circus is not about conquering anything. It is about using your naval dominance and tactical flexibility to offset UK’s traditionally small army and manpower pool. You land somewhere, destroy as many enemy divisions as you can until the enemy reinforcements start pushing back. Then, you get out fast and repeat the same thing somewhere else. Hit-and-run.

What’s the point, you may ask? In a singleplayer game, the purpose of this is to weaken the enemy. Every unit destroyed has to be replaced, either by building a new one, or by spreading out the remaining forces. It will either cost IC or weaken his defenses or both. As an added bonus, it gives your commanders combat experience that will allow them to level up under controllable circumstances.

You hit them high, you hit them low, you hit them all over the place, until they leave a fatal opening, large enough to land the real invasion force.


iYtIhly.png


Case in point: Sicily. Protected by a handful of divisions, with more close by in the toe of Italy. My purpose here will NOT be Operation Husky, the historical landings that led to the downfall of Italian fascism. My purpose will be to hit them hard and fast, forcing every last Italian ship from their ports and striking them hard, hoping to sink as many as I can.

If you want to make it work, you have to act as if it is a real invasion, and the initial set-up takes a little while.


I break off both fleet carriers from my Destroyer Squadrons back home, give them 3 relatively new light cruisers for protection and send them to Benghasi, where they will join up with admiral Leatham’s Carrier Squadron. HMS Victorious, still under production and set to be finished by september, should be enough to keep the Kriegsmarine in check, together with the 2 escort carriers still in Britain.

I also have my own paratroopers board their planes and head for North Africa. They will run interference during the attack.


I pull the marines away from Cyprus. Less then 2 days later, Italy lands another paradivision in Lefkosia. I will have to do it all over again at some later date. That’s ok. I’d rather have them in Cyprus, where I can keep an eye on them.


SBenB5l.png


All this combat has made Leatham one of the very best admirals in the world, along with Cunningham, who also has a skill of 7 by this point and who is not even at his maximum skill, I believe. Now that he has 5 carriers, protected by 7 light cruisers, under his command, he becomes even more dangerous.


Now that all is set, I can wait a while so that my rebased ships, divisions and planes have maximum Org, which will take a couple of weeks.


My planes start leaving the factories. I now have 6 CAS, 15 M/R and 12 Int. By the end of the year, I should have a total of 6 Nav and 15 Tac. Together with the 3 Strat and 2 Transports, I expect that will be enough to achieve air dominance over western Europe once Barbarossa has started. I will be able to slow down the bomber builds and focus almost completely on the army.


My bomber and fighter techs start coming through as well. By June, I am fully up-to-date.


On the 1st of June, Romania joins the Axis, but that’s only normal for them. They want Bessarabia back from the Soviets.


KPEYEAZ.png


I clicked away the message before I realised what it was, but Germany declares war on the Soviet Union on the 16th of June, 1941. At first, this is a Limited War. This is good. It means that most of their heavy stuff will soon be too busy to interfere in Sicily.

Barbarossa has started.

I set my Polish resistance cells to spawn partisans, so that you can see what that means in practice.


9Ad0Rms.png


Two days later, I begin my own operation. I have fighters over both airfields in Sicily to deny the Italians any opportunity to launch their bombers. The carriers are in the West Central Mediteranean Sea (1). I have 1 battleships squadron standing by in case of an emergency (2). The Landing Squadron is send to the east of Sicily (3). This ensures that they will not be caught in a fight by ships leaving port AND it closes the strait between Messina and the Italian toe. Unless they can force my ships out, they will not be able to reinforce by crossing the strait.


9cdSWby.png


As an added ensurance, I send the 2nd Armour Corps to Messina, where they will defend the access point. The Marines start landing in Siracuse, which is protected by a single infantry division.


UG1ae3k.png


The paras are given orders to drop into Gela. If the marines have trouble, they can add an extra flanking attack, and they will help protect them from reinforcements coming from Palermo.


xqMkKwR.png


Messina has been closed off and all I have to do is wait for the single motorised division to give up on their attack. The ones on the mainland are unable to help their comrades.


0IbsW28.png


Siracuse falls on the 21st while the Italian airforce is unable to do anything to stop me. Italy tries to send help by boat, but they run smack into the Battleship Squadron sitting in the Ionian Sea, and lose the transport.


3tgr78q.png

I send the landing craft to pick up the 1st Armour Corps who will spread out over the island. They lack fuel and supplies, but they wil provide a very nice defensive barrier and give my generals some experience.


IH1nUe6.png


I notice the ships stationed on the mainland and send the landing craft to drop the 9th Corps behind the enemy forces, hoping to catch those ships as well, making sure to send the landing craft back to safety as soon as the infantry has landed and replacing them with the battleship squadron.


P8DstBW.png


The partisans have spawned. These are single militia brigades that are completely under our control. Of course, they are dealt with quickly, but at some point, the Germans dispatch an Armour division to take care of the problem. That is one less panzer to help in the initial breakthrough into Russia. Now imagine that happening on a massive scale all over France. It will be pure chaos and we will be ready to take advantage of the chaos when the time comes.


SoXOYEV.png


The Battleships take their place in the strait of Messina in time to catch the Italian ships. The submarine goes down.


cf5Pwuy.png


For maximum effect, I add the 10th Corps into the fight as well in a perfect location to threaten all the provinces I have not yet occupied and to force the last Italian ships to leave Palermo.


w5xeUI2.png


By now, the Italian airforce is desperate, throwing literally everything they have into the air battle over Palermo. Once I add my second fighter squadron to the fight, their losses mount substantially, since they are overstacked and most of them are bombers, wh should not be in such a protracted dogfight. I’m sure this will have an immediate effect on their reinforcement slider. At the same time, I catch a transport ship trying to run for it.


The ships that were in Siracuse come out to play, where they are greeted warmly by both my carriers and my land-based bombers. To my complete bafflement, they don’t try to run initially, but actually make a last-ditch effort to grab Malta. Talk about stupid, senseless, suicidal AI.


As if to make sure everyone knows just how suicidal they really are, Italy joins the war against the Soviet Union.


qOSDw3Z.png


Fiume, the ship that has led so many unsuccessful runs against Malta, finally goes down, along with 2 more transports. I follow the remnants further North where I sink another destroyer.


cpsFkXO.png


By the 6th of July, Sicily is mine and the target has been achieved: Italy is down to a single Heavy cruiser, 1 transport and 5 destroyers, hiding out in Napels where the airforce CAN protect them from my wrath. I pull everyone out. I could stay, of course, but the Germans have not gotten deep enough into Russia yet that they can’t send half a dozen panzers and a bunch of Stukas to protect their friend. By now Italy is probably building at least 1 new battleship. Probably more than that, which means that they are building less divisions and planes.

Besides, I just wanted to sow chaos in their ranks and show you a tactic that UK is eminently suited for (Japan should be able to pull that off too, I suspect). I wiped out about 5 divisions and sank half a dozen ships while my reinforcement needs never exceeded 8.5 IC. It has been a good day. If I wanted to, I could do the same thing again tomorrow on Sardinia. Or I could wait until they have plenty of troops back on Sicily and wipe them out again. And again. And again. Or I could land in Anzio, take Rome (and the Italian resource pools) and make a quick getaway. Hit-And-Run. The Flying Circus coming to a town near you soon.


I have never played mutiplayer, but judging from the Carnage Group’s AARs (you should really check them out; they are amazing), the British Flying Circus is hell to defend against for a human. Against the AI, it is completely overpowered as long as you stay close to a port and control the sea.


We’ve reached the end of this extra-long chapter, so I will see you next time!
 

misterbean

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Isn't the flying circus a little gamey, I'm thinking a lot of resources, only to pull out again.

It is, but the UK's naval dominance lends itself to these sorts of tactics, so I felt somewhat amiss not showing it. Normally, I wouldn't have invaded Sicily this early and I certainly wouldn't have bailed out again afterwards, but this is a tutorial and that means doing things a little different sometimes as part of the "lesson plan".​