Rookie Mistakes No. 1: not providing escorts for capital ships

    • Rookie Mistakes No. 1: not providing escorts for capital ships

      In an effort to help new players, I am going to periodically post a series of topics called "Rookie Mistakes," which will discuss obvious tactical and strategic errors that are common among many new players (and some experienced ones, too). This first post will discuss the failure to provide adequate escorts for "capital ships," i.e., battleships ("BBs") and aircraft carriers ("CVs").

      Our in-game battleship units, each of which represents a single battleship ---- and for which you may select a name of your own choice at the start of the production process ---- are powerful naval units that can destroy lesser naval units like destroyer ("DD") and cruiser ("CC") squadrons, absolutely shred unescorted sea-going convoys of ground units, and provide naval gunfire support to landing forces as strong or stronger than our land-based artillery units.

      Producing BBs requires time-consuming research (competing with other vital unit types), large quantities of metal and cash (which may be in short supply early in the game), one of the longest production times of any in-game unit, and a significant amount of daily oil upkeep (250 tons). In short, BBs represent a significant investment in research, resources, production time and upkeep; they are expensive to build and to operate.

      Why, then, would any player send an expensive battleship into a situation where the battleship, and the time and resources to produce it, are very likely to be lost?

      All BBs are practically defenseless against submarines ---- in-game BBs only have 1.0 strength point against submarine units. An L6 submarine squadron has 5.5 offensive strength points; a stack of eight L6 submarine squadrons will sink a BB in an hour; a stack of four should finish a BB in two hours.

      Low-level BBs also have minimal air defense strength points (an L1 BB only has 3.6 air defense points), leaving them vulnerable to air attack, although the air defense strength pints rise to 11 for an L6 BB. Low-level BBs can be easily sunk with repeated attacks by tactical bomber wings with minimal losses, and naval bombers can do the same for higher level BBs.

      Bottom line: Unescorted BBs are highly vulnerable to attacks by submarines, tactical bombers and naval bombers. If you're going to produce BBs, then provide at least 2 or 3 mid-level DD squadrons for each BB in your stack in order to provide adequate protection against submarine and air attacks, and consider adding one or more mid-level CC squadrons to strengthen the battle group's air defense. Adding CCs also stiffens the battle group's durability in battles with other naval units, as each CC squadron adds an additional 50 hit points to the stack.

      And while my examples above are primarily addressed to BBs, the same arguments apply to providing adequate escorts for CVs. A BB or CV stops being a formidable weapon of war when you fail to provide adequate escorts, and it becomes a very expensive target.

      The post was edited 4 times, last by MontanaBB ().

    • In addition to stacking as outlined by Montanna, I like to add several submarines to the stack. It gives addition offensive value if a surprise submarine squad attacks, and it keeps your sub group up with the capital ship group. You can easily split subs from the main stack when the need arises, rather than find you left those 8 or 10 hours sail behind.
    • New

      ...And not unimportant, those escorting subs are invisible until (melee) engagement, in the past I surprised many sub players by having a BB 'unescorted' by appearance, only to find a whopping 5-8 subs along for the ride. Also, the subs do soak up damage, which can be a handy bonus in a BB vs BB firefight, as the other teams BB wont fight effectively.

      ...and thats where you usually get a message to stop using gold or that the randomizer is unfair.