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GD 1938

A course in how to take over the world

by Ernieschwitz (Claus E. Füssel)


So you have been playing around alittle with Advanced Tactics Gold, and now you have stumbled across a mod that seems popular: GD 1938. Seems strange that this collection of letters and numbers have been chosen for a scenario, so let us just properly introduce the scenario. Once upon a time there was a game made for Advanced Tactics, called Global Domination. It was set in 1900 and had one purpose, to conquer the world as a selected power. Well... GD 1938, is a sequel to it. GD stands simply for Global Domination, and 1938 is the start year for the scenario. At the onset of the game there are 8 nations, and all these need to be played by humans. Now each human, can elect to play as many nations as he or she wills, but the game really shines when there is at least 1 axis players, 1 soviet player, and 2 allied players. The more the merrier though.

So who are these super powers, that each player can control, and achieve global domination with. Well, some of them may seem somewhat less super than others, but that is how history was. Life and War is not fair, we all have different strengths and weaknesses. In short order the nations are: Germany, Italy and Japan, which constitutes the Axis, then there is the Soviet Union, and the Western Allies; France, Britain, China and USA.

Now the game, should formally be a replay of the 2nd World War, with some deviations. Oh who am I kidding, alot of deviations. All the nations have what would be considered free reigns over their countries. So alot of What-Ifs can be expected to happen. That is not a bad thing, it actually makes for a better game. GD 1938 is NOT a simulation. It's an approximation, but above all, it is a game.

So, with all that said. We can now turn to our first topic, and I will start out with something that may already be baffling you: Naval Combat. Now why is that troublesome? Well first of all, the AI, which you might have been playing is not a very good Naval player. In fact, it cheats to achieve it's even meager results: The AI always has full knowledge of your naval ships positions. Which makes sub warfare something you may have tried and failed at... well... don't despair; against a human it is quite effective.

Making life miserable for Great Britain ?

The first thing to note, about the 2nd world war, was that sub warfare played a very large role, in making life miserable for Great Britain. The British found out they needed to use various strategies to combat the simple idea behind a u-boat. So how to achieve this?



This is a picture of a formation of Uboats. The ones available to the German player in Kiel, actually. There are 10 of them and there are some stats available next to the picture of it. None of these statistics are really vital, if you want to know the effectiveness of the Uboat or Submarine in question. What is really important is the range of it, and the area it can cover to intercept supplies. So where to find these?


This is what you are looking for, the Screen called General stats. This has some nice information on it. Firstly the speed of the uboats can be read, and it is of type naval 2. While this is technically not very informative, it means that the uboat can move 1 hex pr. 8 AP. (it has 100 AP normally).

Secondly you should look at the supply carry stat. This means the uboat can stay at sea until it has used up 25 supply, which it carries. So how many supplies does it use. Well, that is the supply consumption. (Next line). Each turn it will use 5 supplies. So these Uboats can stay at sea for 5 turns, and should then be home to refuel and resupply. Not alot.

Third statistic to look at is actually not in the first column at all, but in the second one. It is the AntiSup Pts. Sea stat. This is how much supply (If i recall correctly, i may be wrong) that the uboat can intercept, in ordinary circumstances (open sea, not next to a port). So where can it intercept this. Well... this is where the MOST important stat comes into play. The AntiSup Range. This is set at 50. Which means 50% of movement area. So every hex within half of the submarines movement radius is checked for supply loss. This is awesome, to know.

Does it get more awesome than this? Yes, in fact it does. Germany unlike any of the other nations is capable of building a submarine III. These stats above are only for a submarine II. So let us take a look at a Submarine III:


So we get alot of text, in this case. Again, very interesting for the History buff. I personally like these touches. It was one of the reasons I got Alexandre (Bombur) to make the Subformation Types for the game. We get some useful info too. Like it being cheap. (You can actually build 2 submarine III for the price of 1, submarine II). Again, what is not to like.

Here is the General tab, for the Submarine III.


Ok, so what have we got here? More good stuff, basically. It moves faster (Naval 4, double speed yay!). It has the same supply carry and supply consumption as the submarine II, but here is the good news. It has an Anti Supply Sea rating of 12 (almost double that of the submarine II), and an anti supply range of 50% of its range.

Well that is pretty awesome. It can move double the distance of a submarine II, so it covers double the radius in anti supply duty. And double the trouble, as it takes out double the amount of supplies. Seems like a hit to me!

(This concludes the first class of GD 1938; in A course in how to take over the world)

 Part 2

Location, Location, Location!

GD 1938Pic5Euro

 So now we know what a weapon the submarine can be. But for those who maybe have yet to imagine the possibilities, let us look at the map around Britain and Germany.

 So where to place these uboats that we have. Well... Our submarine IIs would have a radius of around 6, with which to disrupt supplies flowing to and from Britain. We can actually move our submarines to the very tip of England just west of Plymouth, or to the north of Scapa Flow by a few hexes. From there the radius would be 6 hexes. So that covers from Brest to London or so, if placed near Plymouth. Very Impressive. Remember this was even if it was just a submarine II, it gets much better if it is a submarine III.

But how do we know where the supplies will run. Are we just placing our submarines at random, hoping desperately to run into a freight ship line? No of course not. Here it is a good idea to remember that supplies always flow the fastest possible route, to its destination. So, If given a choice between one route that is 200 APs away and one that is 190 AP away, it will choose the latter.

But you don't want to sit counting hexes all day, now do you. Cause that is what would be required to find that route. Very annoying, might take long to play this game. Luckily there is an easier way. Enter the Supply map.






GD1938 PicTool bar

This is a section of the bottom of the User Interface. That long line below the actual map. I have clicked on London, while playing Germany. There is a Gas Can Symbol in the center of this interface. Clicking it will reveal the supply map. Let us try it. See what we get.


GD1938 England Supply

      See how London is colored White, and England, well most of it, is colored Green? (There is an Island, the Shetlands, that is not). This means that these areas are in good supply and they get whatever they ask for, mostly. Now how does this relate to sea combat, you might ask... Well... If we Click on Right Gibraltar, we quickly see how.












GD1938 England Supply route   The red arrows are key here. They show the route the supply has to take. So placing a submarine II within 6 hexes of this route will allow supplies to be intercepted. Why you  could have a Submarine placed at Bordeaux and intercept stuff as far away as La Coruna to Brest. What does this mean?

Well basically it means that the British player would need to search everywhere within 6 hexes along the supply route to be sure to have rid the place of submarines. Now that is a big area! Not something you do easily at all.

So you definitely want to have submarines out and about as the German player. To stop all that nice supply from reaching Britain, from its colonies, where it is made, and used by the ships in the North Sea...

However, while it may be easy to calculate the most optimal place for intercepting enemy supplies, you might want to think about that your opponent ALSO can do this. So the best places might be the worst ones in the long run, as they might easily be the most areas most hunted as well. Just remember: The Location of a submarine is everything.

(This concludes the second class of GD 1938; A course in how to take over the world)

















Part 3

Counter measures

Ok, the idea that the submarine is a powerful weapon has probably dawned on you before. So these two first parts of the course might have been wasted on you. Well if that is the case, then you might just encounter something you have not before in this part of the course.

It stands to reason that there must be some tactics and strategies that work well against submarines. Now the uninitiated player might think that convoys, which was the way it was done in World War II, is the way to go here, and wonder how to make these. Let me stop you right there. Unless you are transporting your invasion forces, or something like that, that is simply not going to work. Supplies are not transported like that anyway.

Ok how about putting a force of destroyers and ships like those in the same stack as the ships transporting the supplies. That is, in the same HQ, that is being used. That won't work either. While it may seem intuitive, these ships do exactly nothing, but protect the ships with that HQ, in that hex. So it's back to the drawing board.

So what to do? What if I told you that submarines have a weakness, that you can exploit.

GD1938 England4







 Take a look at that map from the 2nd part of the course again.

Now all submarines eventually have to return to port, to get resupplied (or you can transfer from a HQ with ships to the submarines, if you like). This strategy prevents this.

Basically what you want to do is put a force of ships, in the hex between Amsterdam and London, blocking the English Channel from being entered, or exited. You can if you want to keep the ports of London and Southampton safe put another force of ships at the hex between Brest and Plymouth. You can now begin to see an idea forming.

Could we also block of the North Sea? And the answer is yes. Just a few ships, 4 forces are enough to do this. One between Scapa Flow and the Shetland Island(s). Then 3 counters of ships one for each hex from the Shetland Island(s) to Norway. Effectively cutting off the return route, or exit route of Germany, if she is at war with Britain.

This is called a "Picket Line". What sort of ships should you man this line with? Anything that submarines has trouble dealing with. Which means, destroyers, but it might actually be more interesting to use submarines too. Cause submarines really have a tough time fighting other submarines.

Other Options

Of course there are other options. Some might say that you need to build a supply factory (chemical factory) in Britain proper, so as not to lose supplies, and avoid the hassle of submarines, mostly. This is true, this is one option, but some might consider it a waste of a factory, since you can only build one factory for each year that has passed in the game.

Another way of making sure that Britain has enough supplies to last, while the submarines are still out there, wrecking havoc, is to simply transfer supplies to the HQ (High Command) in London, while still at peace. This is rather simple, but surprisingly often overlooked.

What you do is this. Select the HQ in Singapore, go into the transfer dialogue, and transfer to the HQ in Egypt. The ships present in the HQ in Singapore have plenty of transfer capacity, to transfer a whole lot of supplies to it, and the range to do it too.

GD1938 Pic Tool Bar 2

You can actually transfer 3190 of it, and the rest if you press the Cap By Icon, you are then using the capacity at Egypt-Sudan Command.

You then transfer supplies from the Middle East to Egypt too. There are alot of land transferable subformations (supply trucks) in that HQ. Now you should have built up alot of supplies in Egypt. Then you transfer what you can from Egypt to Gibraltar, and from South Africa to Gibraltar as well. This you transfer to London, from Gibraltar. You should now have a very large amount of Supplies in London. If Germany waits a turn more, before declaring war against you. Repeat. You may even want to buy a HQ in Canada, and fill it up with the ships there, and transfer the Canadian supplies to Britain.

However, once war is declared, don't count on this way to get supplies any more. A single submarine laying in wait along the routes used to transfer the supplies, will cause the whole enterprise to become costly, as the ships used in the HQs become subject to interdiction, as well as the supplies. In other words, you may lose the ships.

How to sink Submarines

Now there may be no way to get around it, but sooner or later you might actually have to deal with the submarines themselves. So far we have found ways to annoy the German player, and make his tactics less viable, but, we have not talked about how to sink these submarines.

Now you may think that this is a straightforward process. Find them, sink them with a big fleet of destroyers, and... you would be wrong. So how do we do it?

Well the idea comes pretty much from land combat. You surround the ships in question and then attack from all sides, except those that are coastline.

Now on land, you would get bonuses for surrounding and attacking from multiple sides. Not the case at sea. So why do you want to attack from multiple sides, let alone surround the submarines?

As you probably will have noted, submarines retreat often from combat, when they are attacked. So hunting them down might become a long string of battles if you do not surround them, secondly and this is really important: Ships that flee when having no place to flee to surrender, if you win the battle.

So if you do attack with Ships, these should be destroyer IIs, and above. You can surround with any kind of ships though. As long as you remember just to attack with your destroyers.

Alternatively you can use the Naval Patrol, some even use torpedo bombers, but they are less good at it. The Naval Patrol, or flying boat, is really a good recon plane with depth charges. It can be used to fly in and find submarines, as well as bombarding them from the air. However, some submarines have AA capability, beware of that.


Force compositions:

Personally I find that groups of submarines composed of the same type of submarine, works well if they are 4-6 in number. That way they can often survive unplanned attacks, and they have teeth should they meet something at sea that is lightly escorted. But I have seen players simply have 1 submarine in each unit, thus being able to surround ships at sea, with multiple subs, that are not careful.

As for submarine hunters, I find that forces around 6-10 destroyers, are efficiently able to take on these 4-6 submarine groups. Always remember to escort your battleships, cruisers and carriers, preferably in the same counter.

Small tidbits:

  • Of course, Germany can also make picket line. This one should be made in the Baltic, closing it off from the Soviets, if they are at war with you.
  • You might be able to place a submarines as blocking groups around ships you want to protect, creating a sort of convoy.
  • Finally a submarine may even be placed near your own ports, and protected by aircover, and still have the range to do significant damage to your opponents supply lines.

(This concludes the third class of GD 1938; A course in how to take over the world)