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Naval Combat - Tips?

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So, I've been playing SC in various forms (WW1, WW2 GC, AoD) for some months now and I'm having an absolute blast. It's the only game to have truly sucked me in since...well, a long time, anyway.

However, much to my chagrin, my handling of all affairs naval has been pretty poor. For example, in a current AoD WaW game I'm playing, I've managed to lose most of the Royal Navy, the Spanish took Gibraltar and now the Italian fleet is running rampant in the Atlantic. Sufficed to say it is not a great situation. Partially I put this down to my impatience- I was too eager to go out sub hunting early when I didn't have a proper fleet, and of course the RN grows pretty substantially even without purchasing any additional ships by 1941 or so.

However I'm still a bit lost when it comes to naval combat. How should ships be positioned in lieu of mountains and rivers and other land based terrain? Should they be moved in a formation, or scattered more loosely? Battleships at the front or back? What's the best way to sub hunt? In the WaW campaign in particular, are there any basic pointers for naval use (on either side, although I've quite enjoyed playing the allies lately)?


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For sub hunting, I generally form a task force built around two or three DD units and a carrier that I position centrally in the North Atlantic, then use my other DDs to patrol the convoy routes, assigning a particular stretch to each. Once I bump into a sub, I pounce with my hunt group.

As for naval combat, recon is the key, either with airplanes or subs, to avoid nasty surprises.

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Hi Will :) ,

- One word: carriers ! Deadly to subs and surface units without AA or air cover. Brits will have a big advantage there with Germany + Italy having 2 at best. Protect them and avoid wasting them against land target with AA or air cover (unless you're ready for D-Day or you have a chance to kill key units with 1 or 2 remaining steps like tanks or HQs).

- For UK, early when you havn't DDs (or not many), use the french ships to patrol lanes or recon pathes for RN, it will save you some MPPs. Don't forget to raid german convoy from Norway as soon as you can (Germany hasn't many MPPs early and anything missing hurts).

- Cruisers can help finish wounded subs or force them to dive away from convoy lanes. You can also let them on stand by to ambush subs on those lanes.

- When enough DDs are around you can set a distant blockade of axis ports (far enough to avoid land based air attacks, close enough to need only some units to spot/ambush subs (EX: from the tip of Spain to UK).

- BBs would mostly be used to protect carriers and counter german surface raiders or Regia Marina since you can replace ships faster. 1:1 to 2:1 exchange odds are fine.

- It's hard to avoid the fall of Gibraltar if Axis go for it but you can still blockade the strait with some units. Keep a naval group with at least 1 carrier around to counter any italian move but keep an eye out for axis air cover coming from Spain.

- You can use strat bombers as recon units (long range and 2 missions per turn). Put on good tiles they can clear a lot of naval space/convoy tiles just by themselves.

- Don't let axis raiders roam free in Indian Ocean, it can kill your income quickly. Laying traps with ships waiting near italian ports can be interesting.


- As Axis: spread allied fleets as wide as you can by raiding far away. Try to keep/grab some ports to sustain your efforts in Indian Ocean and South Atlantic. In those areas, allied ships won't be able to repair above 8 steps so their power is diminished.

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