Why aren't land based naval bombers discussed more often in multiplayer?

billcorr

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  • Naval bombers are not built in multiplayer games because of high opportunity costs and adequate substitutes are available.
3. I have heard no one talk about naval air. In the 3 single player games I have had it has ultimately proved devastating. Was therefore surprised to hear so much talk on TS during the game about building docks and ships but no talk of naval,air. I'm new - what am I missing here?

Background: The multiplayer game referred to in the quote revolved around an effort by the Axis to execute a successful Operation Sealion in 1939 and/or amphibious invasion of Northern France.

"talk of building docks and ships but no talk of [building] naval air" is a slight reinterpretation of the quote, although the emphasis might have been, "it would have been worthwhile to discuss how air units could help facilitate Operation Sealion"

Given the paramount importance of air superiority, the focus of the air war is to gain and maintain air superiority. NAV research, production, and deployment is sacrificed to research, produce, and deploy more fighters.

House rules that limit research to no more than 2 years in advance helps defuse the technology race. But the production race continues.

For every 100 NAV 1s produced, a nation can produce 108 FTR 1s. Granted, each FTR 1 uses 3 units of aluminum s vs 2 units for each NAV 1.

Specifically for Germany, for every 100 NAV1's produced Germany can produce 108 CAS2. These Tier 2 CAS can defeat Tier 1 FTRs and also adequately do double duty in Naval and Port Strikes.

But what about airplane production by Italy or Axis minors? Again, the bugaboo of "Air Superiority at All Costs" dictates that the other Axis nations produce fighters. And some more fighters. And then a few more.

Naval air (or specifically, naval bombers) are designed to sink ships. They fill a niche. In the early war (1939-1940) in a historically focused multiplayer game, there are roles for the NAV to fill (and not TAC nor CAS -- they are busy with the land war and generating a constant stream of air XP -- XP that they would not generate as quickly if they were on naval or port strike duty)

Allies:
  • Conduct port strikes vs. Italian or German harbors (in a practice SP game, 10 port strikes did not sink any Axis ships. There might be a better way).
  • Establish NAV wings in S. England, Malta, Cyprus, South Africa, Corsica and Singapore to interdict Axis convoys
  • Support naval domination in the Mediterranean
Axis (before the Fall of France and contemplating a SeaLion)
  • Germany and Italy conduct port strikes with the hope of a lucky strike.
  • Place NAV wings in Sicily and Rhodes to support the Mediterranean naval fight. But before the Fall of France, it is not advised...the French fleet might absorb damage and shoot down Axis air.
  • Sealion: OK. I think I might see the issue here. "OK, team. We're going to conquer England and or the North of France using our elite Marines. Let's put our heads together and figure out how we will maximize our air, sea, land units, in addition to any diplomacy and any other instruments of national power. We'll start the strategizing by talking about naval air."
3. I have heard no one talk about naval air.

You might be onto something. What if a Faction (in this case, the Axis) were to focus aircraft research, production, and deployment on planes capable of defeating the Allied (read: UK) navy?

A coordinated effort to use available air forces to conduct naval strikes and port strikes would come at the expense of air superiority.

If that is the case but the faction wants to maintain air superiority, no discussion of naval air power is necessary.

If the faction is willing to cede air superiority, then a discussion of naval air could be broached. But it would be ...unorthodox ("revolutionary" was the first word that came to my mind).

It would take an unorthodox team to concur, "Naval air will be our main focus." All things are worth exploring. But I'm running out of space and ink.

Hope that answers your question of "why wasn't there any discussion of naval air?"
  • Air superiority trumps any consideration of an emphasis on naval air and thus makes discussion moot.
  • For the European Axis faction, CAS and TAC can adequately conduct any naval air operations.
(full disclosure: I once spent a multiplayer game producing nothing but tier 1, tier 2, and tier 3 naval bombers. Go Canada! But. I did not get to use them much. Fighters would have been more useful to the cause. Or tanks. Yeah. Tanks. )
 
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Dalwin

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I think you are off the mark. There is a much simpler explanation for the relative lack of importance of NAV in MP games.

There are quirks in the air/naval combat system which allow land based aircraft to attack ships much less often than can carrier based planes (only if the CAG is NOT given manual orders). This makes NAV more or less ineffectual as anything but a force for very gradual attrition against ships. It has nothing to do with the cost of building them vs other aircraft types. It was never a matter of building strictly NAV and not fighters.

If NAV were actually an effective weapon then that just gives more areas where you must contest air superiority. It would make AS over sea zones take on much more importance and make your fighters even that much more valuable. Alas, AS or not, land-based NAV simply are much too weak at the moment to be a factor in MP games. I use them because they should work, not because they do work. I am stubborn that way.
 
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Alex_brunius

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Yeah time to report that bug too I guess. It can't be intended that Navs/CAS only hit fleets once during engagements right next to their base even if the combat drags on for weeks...

They should hit almost as often as Carrier planes, but be limited by range and bases near the shore.
 
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Varvs

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ya right now its very hard to use nav bombers efficiently. because they are limited to one strike you have to get them to detect the enemy fleets as often as possible. only radar and spotter fleets help there. i suspect having some fighter on air superiority over seazones helps a bit too. not sure tho
 

Alex_brunius

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only radar and spotter fleets help there. i suspect having some fighter on air superiority over seazones helps a bit too. not sure tho

Actually according to the numbers in naval / fleet detection (assuming same are used for airwings detecting fleets), air superiority has a massive impact, bigger then all other combined pretty much if you can cover the entire naval region.
 
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Cpack

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So what could be the right tweak in the defines.lua to solve or balance the problem?
 

Alex_brunius

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So what could be the right tweak in the defines.lua to solve or balance the problem?

Airplanes not attacking more then once I don't think is connected to any defines, but just a bug causing them to do so (assuming it's not intended which I certainly hope it isn't).

Another related issue which make it hard if not impossible to fix through mods is that airwings only target one ship per attack. This isn't an issue with 4 Carrier airwings attacking several times per day, but it is if you only get a single attack. Any attempt to workaround balance by increasing power of attack of landbased air it only makes them nuke whatever they happen to target, but still never sink more then a single ship per navalbattle they support.

In rare occupations I also have seen airplanes attack multiple times, which combined with high naval attack could be extremely unbalanced.
 

Tacticus101

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I think part of the issue is the number of planes that take part in fights. The game determines the numbers based on the HP of the ships, which means you attack large fleets with a few hundred planes whilst lone ships get faced with only a few. This makes the planes completely blow a ship out of the water in large fights, but be completely ineffective against lone ships and convoys, completely the opposite of how they should be. Naval bombers should be very effective against unescorted convoys.
 
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Varvs

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yea a air to ship combatwith for the nav bombers is way out of place. In air the planes can fly next to each other left, right, infront, and behind AND over and under each other. if a combatwith should be applied then for the ships not the plaines. Or is my logic wrong here?
 

Alex_brunius

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yea a air to ship combatwith for the nav bombers is way out of place. In air the planes can fly next to each other left, right, infront, and behind AND over and under each other. if a combatwith should be applied then for the ships not the plaines. Or is my logic wrong here?

There are some limits to how many planes you can coordinate against smaller targets too though. You can't divebomb or torpedobomb a single destroyer with 500 planes at the same time without them running into each other for example when they try to follow it's movements...

But I agree that they are realistically not as constraining as the ones in HoI4 are.


Instead of combat width ships have worse hit chance when many fires on the same target.
 

billcorr

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Instead of combat width ships have worse hit chance when many fires on the same target.

If I understand the statement correctly, in real life during WW2, ships firing at attacking airplanes were less likely to hit an attacking airplane when there were many enemy airplanes attacking one ship?

Or is there a game mechanic in HOI4 that results in one ship having a penalty if the ship is attacked by many enemy airplanes?

Just double checking.

Thanks!
 

Tacticus101

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Historically, the planes would be spread out searching for ships as well as struggling to all line up attack runs if there were too many of them. Naval bombing requires a much more focussed attack than an air battle, it makes sense that the full wing is not attacking.

However, like I said, the current system is just too low and results in bombers being useless against lone ships and convoys where they historically were most effective.
 

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Yeah time to report that bug too I guess. It can't be intended that Navs/CAS only hit fleets once during engagements right next to their base even if the combat drags on for weeks...

They should hit almost as often as Carrier planes, but be limited by range and bases near the shore.
When comparing land based air to carrier based there is more to take into account than only the range to target. Yes carrier based will often have an advantage in range to target, but it is much easier to refuel and rearm land based aircraft for the next sortie than it is for carrier based.
 
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Catacol

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Interesting discussion of game calculations (about which currently I know very little....) I just know that in single players games german naval air at 1944 level and upgraded in terms of loadout can be left on constant AI search and destroy missions of sealanes and clear out a hell of a lot of naval power. Admittedly this is against a very dumb AI - but given how long it takes to build ships, and how relatively quickly the naval air missions thin enemy naval power out (whether the enemy is single ships slipping through the net or large convoys and escorts throwing up diesel clouds and spottable for miles around) I just wondered why in my very short time in this group of players I havent heard talk of axis strategy looking at naval bombers to first of all make a mess of allied invasion fleets and second of all perhaps allow a later Sealion.

Have all the RTW games finished relatively early? Perhaps this might explain the non-discussion of Naval Bombers. I did notice in my 3 single player campaigns that the early bombers were much much less effective than the later ones. Would need to get to about 1943 probably in order to use them most effectively.

Talking about game length I was disappointed game 20 finished so early. The catastrophic nature of the German failure to take France is obvious, but why can the game not run the full length? Presumably, once the game goes passed the "historical" phase there would be the opportunity for the Soviet Union to try and take on the Western Allies and go for global hegemony? Or why does a defeated Germany mean that Japan cannot try and plough a furrow in the Far East still and perhaps alter her diplomatic status with one side or another? In other words... once the axis alliance is effectively yanked off the historical pathway why does the game have to end? For whoever plays the USA it seems to me a ticket to frequent frustration. Game 20 should have gone on. The Allies should have had to plan the invasion of Germany, and the USSR should have had to think through strategy following the fall of Berlin. Could we not add a set of diplo rules if required to cover progress into the Cold War era?
 
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Secret Master

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We also have to consider how planes are tied to specific air missions in HOI4 when thinking about relative utility in MP.

NAVs can literally only attack ships and ports. Period. Unlike HOI3, there is no real grey area with NAVs. In HOI3, if I built NAVs, and I ran out of ships for them to bomb, I could use them to bomb land targets. Sure, they weren't as good at it, but they could do it. But you cannot assign that mission to NAVs in HOI4.

On the other hand, CAS and TAC can be used against ships or ports (depending on the specific plane). So, while Germany's NAVs can only hit naval targets, her Stukas can bomb ports, ships, tanks, infantry, and even shoot down opposing planes. The utility of CAS is much higher, even if they aren't as good at sinking ships as NAVs are. And if you are playing Germany or the Soviets, you have plenty of reason to build CAS already, regardless of what your opponents do on the water.

Do the range of CAS suck compared to NAVs? Sure. Are they worse at bombing ships than NAVs? Yep. Am I probably building CAS anyway in large numbers? Yes. So, when the CAS aren't busy elsewhere, they can sink ships. You can't go wrong with CAS, but you could go wrong with NAVs and end up with 100 useless planes that won't help you win Barbarossa (no matter what side you are on).

I only see NAVs being a wise investment in MP for naval powers that intend to build carriers. You probably need carrier NAVs anyway, so you aren't betting research slots on something that might not have the utility you want. Grab your NAVs and make some. Hell, you can build only CV NAVs if you want, so your land based wings can remain interchangeable with your carrier wings.
 
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LordOfWar16

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Tac Bombers can be usefull aswell, If your CAS simply dont have the range to support your troops like on the british isles during the landing or in the soviet union. They can also join naval battles with the "ground support" mission. I dont know if that is an bug or intentional tho, since Tactical bombers cant attack ships on their own.

The FW-200 Condor nicknamed "Scourge of the Atlantic" by Winston Churchill was devastating to the allied shipping, since it operated outside of allied fighter cover in the atlantic. It was claimed that in about 8 months the FW-200's sank about 331,122 tonnes (365,000 tons) of allied shipping.

The FW-200 had 3.5 times the range the best german 1944 naval bomber has. Would be nice to see maritime patrols/bomber variants of tactical bombers one day, just like night fighter variants of heavy fighters.
 
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Secret Master

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The FW-200 had 3.5 times the range the best german 1944 naval bomber has. Would be nice to see maritime patrols/bomber variants of tactical bombers one day, just like night fighter variants of heavy fighters.

I kind of wish we could use air frames for whatever role we wanted as long as we invest XP and research. The Condors aren't really represented, nor are night fighters and such.

There's room for improvement.
 
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Alex_brunius

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The FW-200 had 3.5 times the range the best german 1944 naval bomber has.

No it doesn't.

The FW-200 had a range from takeoff to landing of 3560km according to the info on wikipedia. This means it can reach a target that's half of that distance out from base if you know exactly where that target will be when the plane arrives. It's probably more reasonable to assume your going to need a bit of partrol margin to find moving targets hours after takeoff, so lets say the real FW-200 can hit ships at most 1500km away from their base ( giving it 560km worth of range for patrolling and attacking around target area ).

The 1944 Naval bomber in game have a base "range" (should probably be called combat radius which is what it actually is) of 1100km, which you can upgrade via variants to 1650km, allowing it to match and even slightly exceed the combat radius of the real FW-200.

That said the FW-200 is more of a 1936 or 1940 tech strategic bomber with it's 4 engine configuration, and I agree with SM that it would be neat to be able to use any airframe for any role ( within reason ).
 
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Meglok

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There are quirks in the air/naval combat system which allow land based aircraft to attack ships much less often than can carrier based planes (only if the CAG is NOT given manual orders). This makes NAV more or less ineffectual as anything but a force for very gradual attrition against ships. It has nothing to do with the cost of building them vs other aircraft types. It was never a matter of building strictly NAV and not fighters.

IIRC, at release NAVs were ridiculously over-powered and sunk anything that floated. A patch nerfed them too severely by both limiting the amount of NAVs that could attack a fleet and the number of times it could attack. There is also apparently a bug that only allows 1 attack per naval battle instead of one per day.

At this point NAV are rather useless compared to other options with multiple use options, except for maybe in the Pacific due to range. As Secret Master pointed out, they are only useful vs naval units. You certainly don't need them to deal with England when CAS or TAC can do the job.
 

Secret Master

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IIRC, at release NAVs were ridiculously over-powered and sunk anything that floated. A patch nerfed them too severely by both limiting the amount of NAVs that could attack a fleet and the number of times it could attack. There is also apparently a bug that only allows 1 attack per naval battle instead of one per day.

Yeah, the NAV and port/naval strike problem has been swinging back and forth since the game released. Port strikes with NAVs used to be so lethal that no one wanted their ships to even be in port.

We'll get it right eventually, I'm sure. It's just not there yet.