Hopefully they pay close attention to any modifications and potential unintended consequences. Here is what comes to mind while I consider the merits of home brewing.CM's have been informed about this thread as we talked about it in the last meeting we had. They are going to think about it. At least they now know of this desire.
First, I have avoided putting numerical values on any of this. It all needs to be play tested both for 'realism' and for play-ability. The goal is to make it possible, in game, to present the same kind of decisions faced by Rommel and Eisenhower or Lucas and Kesselring.
It should be possible to fortify significant portions of coast line but expense should preclude all landing options from being fortified. Convoy shipping should be less readily available. Amphibious landings should be "more costly" than simple convoy operations. Naval forces should have a more significant role in amphibious landings.
Here are some thoughts on how to bring a little more realism to the current game mechanic.
- Coastal Defense Fortifications. I remain a strong proponent of using the current Fortification building as the building for Coastal Defense. I don't see value in adding another building with resulting research tree, building queue and the rest of it. What I would propose is that any Fortification in a coastal province includes Coastal Defense. However, it is not unlimited. The level of the Fortification determines how many sea access points are defended with fortifications. That is, a level 1 Fortress in Lille, France would only add the fortification defense bonus to one of the two possible amphibious landing points. Which one? The first one attacked, of course. An invader would likely send at least a feinting force against a known defensive installation in order to pin down the troops before landing at another, less defended position nearby. To defend both possible amphibious landing points, the defender would need to build a level 2 Fortress. This also points to the difficulty in fortifying every province. Alkmaar, Netherlands for example has 4 possible landing points. It might be easier to let them land and die in the marsh instead.
- Convoys / Landing forces. Currently, the game allows convoys to magically appear in unlimited numbers and all convoys work just fine for amphibious landing. While this makes the game mechanic easy, it causes realism to suffer.
- Convoys. The number of convoys at sea should have some upper bound. This might reasonably be tied to the sum of the Naval Base levels controlled by the player. Perhaps one unit of convoy for each level of Naval Base. The total number of units at sea at any given time should not exceed the total level of Naval Bases at the same time.
- Landing Forces. Convoys used for amphibious landings are not immediately available for use again. This is a little harder to do as a game mechanic. One possibility is to track total number of convoys available separately from the suggested Naval Base level summation above, with the return of convoys to the availability pool being tracked by some timer / repair function. This seems overly complex to me. I propose instead that convoys that deliver troops to a destination that is not a Naval Base stay on the map until they return to the nearest friendly Naval Base. During this time, they are not available for use. This would model the very real concern that if an amphibious landing fails, it will take some time to acquire the craft needed for another one. It also encourages the use of Naval Bases as transportation hubs for convoys with resulting impacts on other issues like The Battle of the Atlantic. It now makes sense to focus submarines around the approaches of Naval Bases to ensure convoys are sunk.
- Amphibious landings. We have all watched defending troops politely allow the amphibious forces land, assemble on the beach, parade before their commanding officers, exchange post cards with their corresponding societies and have a hot cup of tea before engaging them in combat. This seems a little unrealistic. I suggest that landing troops are not initially stacked and are individually subject to the entire defense value of all defending units / fortifications at the moment of landing. That is, they attack as individual units for the first round of combat before they are stacked with any other (surviving) landing troops for future rounds of combat. This reflects the lack of ability for units to support each other as they cross a beach / disembark in a harbor. They do, however, gain the benefit of Naval Gun Fire Support from any assigned units.
- Naval Gun Fire Support (NGFS) is available from Destroyers and Cruisers as well as from Battleships. This is historically correct. A reasoned argument can be made that the 5" guns of destroyers in the surf line rescued Omaha beach from disaster. ( articles.latimes.com/1994-05-3…64225_1_d-day-invasion/12 ). DESRON 18 put their bows on sand bars in order to see their targets. Not all of them came home. Providing Destroyers and Cruisers with an attack value versus Coastal Defense Fortifications during Amphibious Landings allows them to be included in their historical roles for amphibious landings. Putting them at risk of damage during that same operation would also, of course, be appropriate. Assigning a Destroyer/Cruiser/Battleship unit to each landing unit would increase their landing firepower and share the damage received with the naval unit. Again, this allows a player to put Naval Forces right up on the sand bars with corresponding risk and reward. It also makes an opposed landing that is not supported by NGFS suicidal.
Hopefully, all of this hangs together into a coherent plan. I have intentionally stayed away from new units. I have tried to stay away from any additional metrics that need to be tracked. I hope I have managed to tie the proposed mechanics to historical fact. Ideally this can be put together and play tested in the beta group before subjecting us mere mortals to the added complexity of doing a proper amphibious landing.
Your thoughts and comments are appreciated.