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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)