How to build a powerful Navy from nothing: Operational Example

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Altruist

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That's quite a bunch of questions and, you surely guessed it, especially when I use terms like "might" or "most likely" I think it is that way but i don't know for sure as for example with the missions "Naval Interdiction" and "Naval Combat Patrol".
Also, it sounds like you rely a lot on NAVs to finish off damage ships, but you also mention they're bad at locating fleets at sea unless a battle is on- do you make an effort to time your NAV mission deployments to coincide with battles starting, and if so how?
It depends... mainly on availabilty of coastal regions with air bases. In the operational examples of this guide, NAV had a huge success as "finisher" in the battle vs Japan but were nearly useless in the first 6 month of hard fighting vs the UK+allies.

As mentioned, NAVs are best after you have defeated a fleet and it has retreated into a port with no defenses. There the NAVs always find ships.
When you want your NAVs patroling along a coast or a straight, it quite often really pays off to check the distances from sea regions to land regions to figure out which region is the best to put down some airbases and where to base your NAVs = in the land region where many interesting sea regions can be reached according to the range fo your NAVs. Obviously the more sea regions along a typical sea route you can patrol with NAVs, the higher the chance to detect a fleet. If distances allow it, combining NAVs (which have a lousy sea detection) with fighters helps a lot, too.

An example for the Strait of Gibraltar:
NAV_Strait-of-Gibraltar.png

Gibraltar is always an annoyance, especially if there is no way to conquere it. Well, in this case China (yellow) can theoretically conquere Gibraltar with the help of air-transporters, airborne units and perhaps some help from TAC or STRAT but I realized that only quite late and it will take still quite a long time until the necessary techs are researched and the approbiate units built (unfortunately I completly skipped those techs before).

So, what I did instead as a workaround: 6 HSubs are constantly on a naval interdiction mission in the Costa del Sol sea area (yellow), just 2 sea regions because the Strait itself is closed. 2 NAV-1 plus 1 Fig-6, based at Oran, are patroling the same area (and for them the Strait is not closed). Additionally, on the Atlantic side of the Strait, some NAVs are patroling the Cap St. Vincent sea area (light brown). The patroled areas are rather small, so each region gets scouted quite often. Any British ship trying to enter the Mediterranean needs to cross at least 3 checked sea regions, depending on the route perhaps even more.

In practice this proved very efficient to more or less close the Strait or rather to sink each ship trying. Except bigger fleets but at least I get a good warning, they might get already quite some damage and I get to know the fleet composition.

Btw: The Fig-6 might look a bit weird, escpecially since Figs have no naval attack at all... but they have astonishingly good sea detection (Fig-6 with 4 in comparison to 1 for NAV-1)

An ideal system I guess would be for all fleets to have some sort of "engage/do not engage" toggle you could flip at will- perhaps with an option to have a pop-up happen when a navy sights a ship but does not engage.
From a gamer's perspective I'd completly agree.
Historically, though, before radar was invented and/or trustworthy enough, sighting a fleet AND properly detecting how many and what kind of ships it was composed of... was really very difficult. And often enough it was "sighting and engaging", and then figuring out what all you were actually fighting. And every Captain only sighting and then not fighting had a difficult job to explain the admirality why he hadn't engaged and wether he was really sure that it wasn't "cowardice in the presence of the enemy". Taken this into account, the DH mechanic to auto-battle but with an option to leave the battle after 4h is... ok. Even better was when also speed was taken into account and giving you only a chance to "disengage".

By the way, when you start the game as a major power like Japan or the USA that already has a lot of CAs and battleships, what is the best way to use them? Or should you just turn them all into convoy escorts?
If am playing with a Mod that allows it, I always upgrade CAs to CVLs and BBs to CVs.
In vanilla DH I usually make it dependent on how old they are and wether their operational range and max firing range can be of any use. The firing range can be tweaked with float planes and fire control but the operational range can't. If that's too low, the best you can really do is to convert them to convoy escorts.

And to be honest, I think CAs are the most useless ship type in DH. DDs are cheaper, lower visibility and important for sub-defense. CLs have a good role to enhance anti-air abilites of your fleet. CA's are neither good vs subs nor vs air but the most expensive escorts. In my DH beginner time I thought it fantastic to bring CAs with float planes and fire control up to the firing distance with the BBs they were escorting and deemed those fleets quite powerful. Later I realized, what I really did, was intentionally lowering the possible max firing distance of my BBs and that's not really smart.

Question about convoys: how, if at all, does the amount of convoy transports needed to supply an overseas army vary with the distance the convoys must travel?
I think, it is not really the distance but the number of sea regions which needs to be crossed that determines the number of needed convoys. There is a base default number of needed convoys, then multiplied with the sea regions... and if the convoys carry supplies the number of convoys is again mulitplied by 2.

Speaking of mechanics, did HOI2 ever let you set the STR and ORG thresholds for missions separately or were they always forced to be the same value? It's hella annoying when some escort ship chips my raider's paint and also drops them to near-zero org, causing the whole fleet to sail back to port and back out in a several-week round trip.
Can't remember it for HoI2 but in DH you can move both sliders independently from each other. You can lock or unlock them with a right-click.
To avoid that my fleets move to home base due to too low org, I usually set the slider for org to zero. Org regain is rather good even at sea and it really isn't effective to sail back to base just to regain org.
The damage slider I usually set to 50%... but since I have settings on pause for sea battles and sea battle results, it isn't really of importance because in 90% of the cases I decide manually wether a fleet sails to a base for repairs especially since there might be a closer naval base for repairs than the fleet's home base.

Thank you for this extremely comprehensive write up. Glad people are still doing science with this game. What surprises me the most is how viable CVL are. I thought the light carriers would get stomped by normal carriers unless outnumbering them several times.
My pleasure.
Well, 9 CVs will surely stomp 9 CVLs but I'd try to avoid such a sea battle anyway and rather send in my HSubs then.
And... yet I've never even had 9 CVLs in 1 fleet. Always too many tasks for this highly useful CVLs that I can't find enough idle CVLs to concentrate them into just 1 fleet... nor that I ever found the patience to wait that long until CVs are finished building while I could bring havoc to the enemies long before with CVLs *grin
 
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GeneralUrist

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My pleasure.
Well, 9 CVs will surely stomp 9 CVLs but I'd try to avoid such a sea battle anyway and rather send in my HSubs then.
Reasonable strategy. But how does one avoid getting into an unwanted battle against a large fleet of CVs in the first place? It's very easy to get caught off-guard isn't it?
Can't remember it for HoI2 but in DH you can move both sliders independently from each other. You can lock or unlock them with a right-click.
HOLY SHIT how did I not know that until now? This massively changes my life- but perhaps more for air units than boats.
To avoid that my fleets move to home base due to too low org, I usually set the slider for org to zero. Org regain is rather good even at sea and it really isn't effective to sail back to base just to regain org.
Agree. Aside from the concoy raiders I coudn't be assed to micro I almost never return to port for reorganizing. There's one mod, TRP I think, that massively nerfs ORG regain at sea so that exhausted fleets need to return to base- I'm guessing to simulate re-arming or such. What are your thoughts on that take?
Historically, though, before radar was invented and/or trustworthy enough, sighting a fleet AND properly detecting how many and what kind of ships it was composed of... was really very difficult. And often enough it was "sighting and engaging", and then figuring out what all you were actually fighting. And every Captain only sighting and then not fighting had a difficult job to explain the admirality why he hadn't engaged and wether he was really sure that it wasn't "cowardice in the presence of the enemy". Taken this into account, the DH mechanic to auto-battle but with an option to leave the battle after 4h is... ok. Even better was when also speed was taken into account and giving you only a chance to "disengage".
I somewhat get your point- I understand how hard it was to tell what you're actually fighting and how chaotic naval combat can be. I'm guessing the few times a captain would explicitly be ordered to not engage would be when you're using "sneak move"? I do wish in this case they could still radio to base and say "there's something here" though. Also, radar was in use for a large chunk of WW2- what do you think would be the historical date that radar became "trustworthy enough" to decide based on it to not engage a superior force?

I'd like to know what this "disengage" mechanic was- was it something in Hoi2 that didn't get into DH for some reason?
 

Altruist

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I somewhat get your point- I understand how hard it was to tell what you're actually fighting and how chaotic naval combat can be. I'm guessing the few times a captain would explicitly be ordered to not engage would be when you're using "sneak move"? I do wish in this case they could still radio to base and say "there's something here" though. Also, radar was in use for a large chunk of WW2- what do you think would be the historical date that radar became "trustworthy enough" to decide based on it to not engage a superior force?
While thinking about an answere I realized that I probably oversimplified my radar comment "before radar was invented" to an extent that it became wrong. I am not sure wether that "historical date" occured. If it had, one would imagine only victories in sea battles afterwards. Instead it looks like it is rather an ever ongoing race between detection and stealth, as in so many areas. And if no stealth is possible, you hide under the (not much longer) ever lasting ice of the pole or whatever...
But how does one avoid getting into an unwanted battle against a large fleet of CVs in the first place?
Mainly by getting into battle with them... by
# ahead forces for reconnaissance (I prefer HSubs for that)
# keeping a good watch and lock on straits, canals, sea routes (NAV, HSubs, CVLs, whatever)
# with bravery and superiour seamanship to win against all odds *grin (it also helps having the more modern CAG with the longer range)
# or to disengage from battle if it doesn't go as intended

There's one mod, TRP I think, that massively nerfs ORG regain at sea so that exhausted fleets need to return to base- I'm guessing to simulate re-arming or such. What are your thoughts on that take?
Sensible.
 

Altruist

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Reworked and heavily enlarged the section FAQ - Hints & Tricks - Sources

Still no idea what determines the rare capturing of enemy ships? As rare that I initially thought it a bug which it doesn't seem to be since several other players reported capturing ships, too, eg in the Awesome Screenshots thread.

edit:
15th Sept. 2021: added some more sources and links with a better short description from several discussions within DH, various other HoI forums, wikipedia and some other sources in the FAQ - Hints & Tricks - Sources, exchanged some images in various parts and corrected typos etc. (sigh, every time I reread a part I find so many grammar and spelling errors... really embarrassing)
 
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Manasian

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Still no idea what determines the rare capturing of enemy ships? As rare that I initially thought it a bug which it doesn't seem to be since several other players reported capturing ships, too, eg in the Awesome Screenshots thread.
I once had the case where I had «killed» an enemy fleet (like a report of destruction of enemy land/air unit) by taking a port as in your tutorial but 0 capture for what concerns me.
 
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Jenna Haze

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What would be a usefull fleet composition for lets say germany if the grand admiral fleet limit is 18. The guide says heavy cruisers are crap so what should be built? How much worth are battlecruisers and battleships at all and how should i fill the 18 spots for a battlegroup?

In my games i often have for example 6 BB (Or later 6 CV), 6 heavy cruisers and 6 light cruisers. If heavy cruisers are useless hould i switch to 6 BB 6 CL 6 DD or a different composition? And CVL i should combine with my TP or should i add DD to TP fleets too?
 
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Acheron

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Playing as the USA, carriers quickly seem to become the dominating force.

As for the ratio of capitals to escort, a 1:2 split seems excessive to me, I would rather go for something like 8 capitals and 10 escorts.

As for whether CLs or DDs, I am GUESSING that one can take the cheaper DDs, your fleet should fight FAR out of gun ranges and AFAIK, the AA-power of CLs does not work against other carriers, not sure if it is useful against land-based attacks.
 
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Jenna Haze

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I will try 6 Capitals, 6 CL and 6 DD and a 9/9 combo. But what about battlecruisers, do they have any purpose or can they be ignored like heavy cruisers and later bbs.
 

Acheron

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I believe no. For defeating enemy fleets, you go CV, for destroying convoys, you go submarines.
 
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Jenna Haze

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What a pity, would be nice to have some use for heavy cruisers and battlecruisers especially as germany - the pocket battleships were quite powerful. Does anything change power-wise with later tech, missile cruisers and so on? BB will fall out of the tech tree (i mean the big tech tree from eod) later except nuclear BB but there are missile cruisers and destroyers.
 

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What a pity, would be nice to have some use for heavy cruisers and battlecruisers especially as germany - the pocket battleships were quite powerful. Does anything change power-wise with later tech, missile cruisers and so on? BB will fall out of the tech tree (i mean the big tech tree from eod) later except nuclear BB but there are missile cruisers and destroyers.
I use them and love LOVE them. But I also modified the values for surface warfare so ships do much less damage to each other but still inflict organizational damage. This is fleets maybe losing a ship or two, but withdrawing. I prefer more Battles of Jutland and less Savo Islands. Again, my game is modified so my point is moot as far as Vanilla.
 
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Jenna Haze

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How would i have to modify ship combat to achieve that, or to make heavy cruisers and battlecruisers a bit better? I know how to mod it if i know which file but i dont know what exact parameter would be the "most realistic" to change.
 

Pasha

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How would i have to modify ship combat to achieve that, or to make heavy cruisers and battlecruisers a bit better? I know how to mod it if i know which file but i dont know what exact parameter would be the "most realistic" to change.
All I did was reduce the values for surface combat in the misc file. I did the same for planes attacking ships. Now your 5 Battleship task force won't get immediately wiped out by a carrier task force (or a stack of Navs), but they'll get damaged and pushed around. Think of it like air combat in the game. Very rarely do air units get wiped out, but the losing air force does retreat. You still have to watch your fleets, and when necessary, withdraw after 4 hours of combat. So set naval battles to pause the game.

Oh, the only change I made to BCs is allowing them to have 5 attachments instead of 4.

I know it's not for everyone, but I hope that helps.
 
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Altruist

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What would be a usefull fleet composition for lets say germany if the grand admiral fleet limit is 18. The guide says heavy cruisers are crap so what should be built? How much worth are battlecruisers and battleships at all and how should i fill the 18 spots for a battlegroup?

In my games i often have for example 6 BB (Or later 6 CV), 6 heavy cruisers and 6 light cruisers. If heavy cruisers are useless hould i switch to 6 BB 6 CL 6 DD or a different composition? And CVL i should combine with my TP or should i add DD to TP fleets too?

Useful fleet composition... well, depends what you want to do with it, how much time to have to prepare/build and what resources you are willing/able to spend.

a) Best general purpose fleet:
CVs in a 1:1 ratio with DDs (if enemy subs are the danger) or CLs (if enemy air is the biggest danger) or a mix of DD and CLs (if you can't make up your mind)... for convenience perhaps 1 or 2 more escorts than capitals, more is contraproductive, 1:1 is ideal (see below).

# good for protecting your troop-transporters
# attacking enemy ships
# very good survival rate
# expensive

b) Not with as much punch but cheaper and faster if you replace CVs with CVLs.

c) Cheapest way to wipe the sea from the Royal Navy (or any other):
Heavy subs with float planes.
18 would be quite a killer stack (and a bit unfair against the AI)... with just packs of 6 you keep it thrilling.
There will be quite an attrition rate for your heavy subs but they are really cheap and fast to produce.
Downside: You can't use them to secure your troop transporters.

Germany is especially suited to use a mixed approach: In the beginning spamming cheap heavy subs to eliminate the Royal Navy and, once the major land wars are done and some resources to spare, turn from subs to assemble a small CV(L)-fleet to escort troop transporters and for general sea superiourity.

d) BBs...
If your primary intention is support of a very difficult amphibious landing with shore bombardement, take the heavy hitters: BBs. Accompying them with CAs maximizes shore bombardement but makes the whole fleet very vulnerable vs subs and air, so I'd still advise for DDs or CLs.


That being said and while I find it deeply satisfying to have a good fleet and in MP-games this is probably necessary, you are fighting the rather weak AI/scripts which are substantly less competitive in sea battles than in land battles or, well, really bad. So, if you, like Pasha, love your BCs and your CAs as pocket BBs, against the AI just equip your BCs all properly with the correct brigades (namely float planes, fire control, radar, AA) and most likely you will be even superiour against an enemy BB-fleet.
CAs in this way I'd suggest to better really treat as pocket BBs, as capitals, and escort them with DDs/CLs or not at all. In the latter case the CAs may be vulnerable vs subs but you actually take quite good advantage of CAs not being true capitals and able to sail alone (=cheap) without getting the "lacking escorts malus" like BBs or BCs. 3 CAs in this way can make quite efficient and superiour DD or CL hunter.

In general, if you want to compare how fleets fare against each other, there are 3 important stats:
1) Sea detection
2) Visibility
3) Max firing distance
The fleet whose sea detection is higher and visibility lower in comparison or ratio to the enemy fleet has the best chance to fight the sea battle at its prefered firing distance. If this firing distance is bigger than the the other fleet can shoot, this will make for a very single-sided battle.

Which is the reason why usually 6 CVs/CVLs with 6 DDs will wipe the floor with, let's say, 9 BBs with 9 CAs... regardless of the BBs/CAs having a much higher damage potential.

Unfortunately the superiourity of carriers over battleships or battle cruisers is even true for a country like Germany with really no good tech teams for carrier doctrines. In the long run you are still better off with carriers and less doctrines in it than Japan or the US can have than with no carriers but BCs with superb doctrines.
 
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Maybe a detail, but I realized this about the radars:

radar.png
I’ve always thought radar was more a luxury for naval units but ultimately it’s probably very useful (at least for night operations)
 
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Altruist

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I’ve always thought radar was more a luxury for naval units but ultimately it’s probably very useful (at least for night operations)

The +1 Sea Attack of Radars is nice but the most important stuff is the +3 Sea Detection. You really want to win the contest of sea detection vs visibility against an enemy fleet because the winner will get the starting bonus and position (=prefered attack distance). Necessary for carriers' to play out their long range, horrible if they loose the contest and the enemy BBs start the battle with their guns in range.

In my above China example my light carriers had no radar. The reason wasn't that I'd judge them a luxury, quite on the contrary, but my China lacked time, approbiate tech teams and was so far behind even in the most basic techs...

Well, the 13% bonus to night attacks of radars when multiplied with the 20% night ability of the carrier results in +2.6%=22.6% night fight ability... still horrible. Night time is truly not carrier combat time.

(edit: Uups, 1.13 x 0.2 is obviously not 2.3 but 2.6.... corrected)
 
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Dinglehoff

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What should you do or use in your fleets for proper air defense against land based air squadrons?
My fleets are destroyers with radar and main CVs that I build, plus whatever starting ships that are alive. It seems like they take a lot of damage from naval bombers.
 

Altruist

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What should you do or use in your fleets for proper air defense against land based air squadrons?

Disclaimer: Naval bombers (NAV) are rather overpowered in DH (well, probably that's even historically accurate), so I am not sure wether there is a true ship based answere which is also still somehow comparable/economical in cost to the threatening NAVs.

Best fleet composition in NAV-endangered waters:
CVs or CVLs with anti-air and other good brigades
escorted by light cruisers with anti-air. The CVL's 2nd brigade... I'd definetly choose a floatplane.

This is THE case where light cruisers as escorts excell and overshine the cheaper DD. with its unique ASW-capability.
 

Altruist

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Disclaimer: Naval bombers (NAV) are rather overpowered in DH (well, probably that's even historically accurate), so I am not sure wether there is a true ship based answere which is also still somehow comparable/economical in cost to the threatening NAVs.

Let me stress this point a bit more as well as rephrasing it:

If your Navy has problems with NAV your best answere, if somehow possible, is NOT some brigades on ships but land-based interceptors or fighters... or even an invasion to get rid of those naval bombers and/or their airports.

And if enemy NAVs attack your ports, make sure to station some interceptors there and to construct some static AA. A well defended port can be a hard nut to crack.