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Hubert -- The North Atlantic


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At this point there's been plenty of spirited discussion, some might even say arguing, about the gaminess of the Axis invading North America. Well, as it really couldn't have happened during the historical situation, and maybe not under any other circumstances, such an invasion definitely should not be possible.

There are several very good forums concerning how the game might be improved, but I think the area that is most in need of correction is The North Atlantic.

I'm sure there is an abundance of viewpoints on this. I'll post my own views and suggestions after a the forum has been up a while so it will have a more open nature rather than continuing off the opening thread.

[ November 25, 2002, 07:36 PM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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As the North Atlantic in the game is not and can't be drawn to scale and the Western Hemisphere can't be realistically included in play, I think the areas representing Canada and the United States should be removed entirely.

-- The question then becomes how units from those countries enter the European Theater.

The only solution I can see is to partition part of the western Atlantic off the playing area, preferably the portion that contains Canada and the U. S., and use it as a holding area showing the Allied player what Canadian and U. S. units are available and how many MPPs are currently available in those countries to either build or transport or operate air units. None of this info would be visable to the Axis player, who would only see a U.S. and a Canadian Flag.

In the Northwest corner there would be a box representing units escorting convoys, wolf packs and capital ships assigned to raiding convoys. The Royal Navy could assign capital ship units to attempt to track down and destroy German Capital ships in "the Box," which would represent the far Atlantic regions not shown on the game map. Units not in the box or leaving it would emerge randomly between five and ten hexes away from it, German units to the south, British units to the east. German units would also have the option of returning to the Baltic via the Norwegian fiords.

Iceland and Greenland would start out as neutrals and would be able to accept British garrisons after a German invasion of Denmark.

-- In the actual campaigns German naval units skirted Scapa Flow by first moving north along the Norwegian coast then heading out to sea between Bergen and Narvik.

As Narvik is not shown on the map and Bergen is within easy striking range of Scapa, a method should be devised to allow German naval units to follow this path to the Western Atlantic via The Denmark Straights, also not within the map's hex area. A possible solution would be for the Axis to move the desired ships to a zone between Copenhagen and Oslo and designate them for the Denmark Straits route, putting them in the Convoy Box. Once in that holding area, the Axis player should have the choice of returning his ships either to the Baltic or into the hex portion of the Atlantic via the random method described earlier.

-- An allowence should be made for "milk cow" subs that keep wolf packs above the zero supply level. Possibly a setting that U-Boats in the Atlantic never fall below a 3 supply level. U-Boats should also have the option of returning from the Convoy Box via the Baltic route or the Atlantic hex area.

Combat in the Convoy off map area would effect ships by having them either sunk or damaged; a damaged German ship, for example might choose going back to the Baltic, a much safer choice, over exiting into the Atlantic and attempting to reach France or some other base.

Ireland, Portugal and Spain should have Atlantic seaports.

If Germany possesses Norway it should have an off-map method of attempting invasions of Iceland and Greenland (in reality only a small portion of each would be the object, not the entire country as shown on a map as most of both counties are barren arctic wastes -- no offense to anyone who happens to live in either arctic paradise).

If captured, the Axis should be able to assign ships and air units there along with an infantry garrison. It would serve as a sub base and greatly increase the chance of success for German U-Boats.

Conversely, if the Allies hold Iceland they should be the ones able to post air and sea units that would decrease the chances of wolf-pack successes.

Possession of each country would have a limited effect increased by the possession and garrisoning (land and naval) of the other.

For the Axis, going from east to west, each country --Norway, Iceland and Greenland-- would be interlocked; if Germany loses Iceland her garrison and air units in Greenland are lost (no supplies) but her naval units make a dash for freedom. If Norway is lost, the land and air units in both Iceland and Greenland are lost due to their supply line being cut.

If Norway is Allied Germany loses it's fiord (Baltic to Western Atlantic convoy box) travel route.

I think these are changes that can be incorporated without significantly altering the strategy of the game, except to make it better and more realistic. And they would have the advantage of not distorting the map's main playing area.

[ November 25, 2002, 10:56 PM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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Hubert - Suggestion


While I approve of the above, I have a simpler solution which would be better than nothing being done at all!

Create a band of "deep sea" hexes, covering about half the Atlantic around the USA and Canada.

Deep sea hexes represent larger stretches of water and all naval units can only move 1 hex per turn in deep sea. Aircraft range 2 maybe. Spotting max 1 hex, maybe fail that vs

This would slow down traffic between the americas and europe and create an nice atmosphere of slow isolation in the atlantic, as ships and subs crept towards each other to intercept.

This came to mind after reading a fantastic quote that characterised the difficulty of U-Boat operations "a man on a bicycle in vienna is told to intercept a man in london apparently walking in a certain direction " or somesuch.

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Something like that would be an improvement -- but how about the Scapa Flow problem and the Iceland/Greenland options. During the war both England and the United States were concerned about the Germans seizing those harbors -- the United States took over the garrisoning of Iceland from the British!

[ November 26, 2002, 12:56 AM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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i am still unclear why all the effort and thought is being put into this non-problem

if you are playing against the AI, it will never invade north america so there's no problem there

if you are playing against a human, just have an understanding that if any axis units ever land (or are adjacent to, or whatever) in north america then the allied player wins an automatic victory

so if the ai doesn't invade, and if the human player knows he will lose if he invades, then why all the bother?

you say house rules are bad. why so? why look for the most complex solution? why discard out of hand an elegant and quick method and look to solve the problem programatically?

the only reason i could see is that you don't trust your human opponents - except that this particular house rule can't be ignored and is not subject to interpretation - your axis opponent either leaves north america alone...or he loses. simple as that. the moment you see a landing craft adjacent to new york you offer your condolences to your opponent on his loss and move on.

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House rules are a stopgap solution. Plus, the suggestions are aiming for something more than what's in the game now and you focused on one single point -- probably the least important one of all!

As for it being a non-problem, that's nonsense --every forum page has at least one forum asking about this and different people repeatedly saying they don't understant why the Axis is able to do it. I'd say that's definitely a flaw that ought to be corrected. Regardless of what either of us think it will either be rectified or the game will lose it's credibility.

As for tampering with the game or fixing something that isn't broken or whatever the point was, it amounts to this:

Why invent a car when you have a horse and buggy?

Have you noticed little details like the fact Germany can't get it's fleet into the North Atlantic via Norway (the route it ALWAYS used) without first sinking the Royal Navy!

I like the game myself and have said so numerous times, but that doesn't mean it should be left as it is, flaws and all, with the corrections being compensated for by "House Rules."

What sort of house rule do you use at Scapa Flow, agree that the British player should vacate the port whenever the German player wants to send units out to sea?

[ November 26, 2002, 02:27 PM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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The invasion issue is a minor one compared to being

able to realistically model the Battle of the

Atlantic. Any improvements there should also, as

a matter of course, prevent these cross-Atlantic

invasions (I also suggested that players should

have to buy transports, either as abstract

"transport points" or as actual units to load

combat troops onto).

John DiFool

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I remember your suggesting it in an earlier Forum, possibly North America .

That particular issue I'm not too down on because there's a transportation charge, but you're right, it isn't the same as having transports that need to be moved from one area to another. It's the reason another Anzio operation wasn't attempted in Italy -- the transports were going to England in leu of the Normandy invasion.

[ November 26, 2002, 08:48 PM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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As originally posted by blackbellamy:

i am still unclear why all the effort and thought is being put into this non-problem

There are many of us, and I am absolutely one of those, who surely believe that a realistic Battle of the Atlantic is not merely some side-show, but a necessary component of WW2. :cool:

I realize that the size of the Atlantic ocean is the main difficulty here, so one solution would be to change the focus and divide up the seas into Zones.

You would then have to use search -- utilizing available air and pure chance encounters (... you could place ships into "patrol-mode" by way of a drop-down order -- hey, while we're at it, let's allow German surface ships to be raiders as well, AND have Murmansk convoys also!), as a method for determining whether there will indeed be a battle.

Or, as Hubert has suggested, allowing subs to run silent or be a raider or operate normally on the surface.

The idea for stepping-stones as with Iceland is also possible (good ideas JJ) but somehow I do hope that we CAN implement this critical aspect of WW2 in a future SC. smile.gif

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Immers --

Agreed totally and thanks. I think the North Atlantic concepts are starting to become more focused. I like your ideas a lot and think they sound practical. The drop-down boxes and Murmansk convoys are part of a big improvement that should definitely be incorporated.

Also agreed with the many players who don't want to make the game tediously complicated.

My aim isn't to make the game boring and overly complicated -- I hated hicom's micro management gone berserk! -- but as can be seen from the suggestions on expanded and more realistic oceanic play, combined with suggestion made in other forums, I can't help but feel there are sound ways of incorporating all these improvements (along with things like Russian Winter ) into the game!

[ November 27, 2002, 03:03 PM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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John...You have obvoiusly thought this through...and I want you to know that The Free French concur with your observations and suggestions. The Nazi scum should not be permitted to invade North America and Canada, as they have my great nation. The mere thought of it is absurd....Like a Corsican crowning himself Emperor of France....It couldn't happen. We salute you...


[ December 02, 2002, 08:22 PM: Message edited by: General Billote ]

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If the war in the Atlantic is going to be made more integral to the game then its needs to be more than having slow hexes and fast hexes, it needs to be a battle of wits between two players. This would mean removing the automatic GB loses 10MMP because a German sub is sitting on a trade route and replace this with actual shipping units that are partially automated.

E.G Britain builds a merchant shipping convoy, representative of a convoy forming, for 100MMP, and this has defenses against subs and AA representative of escorts. These, once in a British port, dump 50MMP into the usable kitty and then automatically reappear back in a distant port (Alexandria, Canada or America) and start their way towards Britain with another 50MMP. There's an automatic route these convys follow that can be varied if the allied player thinks there are UBoats in the area. One convoy could potentially be attacked several times until its been destroyed or only a fraction of it actually reached the UK.

Considering map issues, Med convoys for French and Italians should be possible (and attackable by opposing player)but Murmansk would have to wait until SC2.

This should still be strategic and not too tactical as its no different than moving or retreating armies.

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I'd like to see somthing along those lines; a system similar to SSI's DOS naval game, Great Battles of the North Atlantic. BBs and ACs could be sent out for extra protection primarily against capital ship surface raiders looking to sink or disrupt the escort and scatter the merchant men (as in the famous PQ convoy on the Murmansk run).

A really fine idea, Valadictum.

[ December 03, 2002, 05:40 PM: Message edited by: JerseyJohn ]

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I never had a go at Great Battles from SSI, I was never a DOS man. But yes, a physical convoy icon could be a target of surface raiders and be very vulnerable to them unless there's a nearby friendly fleet unit. Defence vs subs and air could be improved with research but would need to start off very poor

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The North Atlantic is a vital area to any WW2 game. I have posted this in other areas but will reiterate that one weakness of SC (still an awesome game) is the North Atlantic.

Since SC does not cover the entire planet or even war, an invasion of the US is stupid and should not be allowed. Taking a couple of east coast cities should not constitute the capture of the US. If the Axis thought Russia was tough, try taking that same amount of land mass but with a sea to cross.

I do like some of the convoy ideas above. I like having a unit that represents a convoy and you allocate MPP to it. The unit moves really slow, maybe two hexes. The US can put any value up to 100 MPPs in it. When it reaches a British port, the return is double. Meanwhile, the Axis can attack it. Each strength point lost is 10% of the MPP cargo.

I also strongly agree with giving the Germans better raider access to the Atlantic. It's so difficult to get any ships out there. The British player can just sit near Norway and nail anything that goes by.

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The logistical idea of convoys would probably fit in the Far East as well as in the Atlantic. One of the major US war efforts against Japan was by submarine, practically wiping out the Japanese merchant fleet. Logical convoy routes to make the Japanese defend would be:

China to Japan (rice and slaves and the resources of Manchuria)

Indonesia to Japan (representing oil)

Singapore to Japan (representing rubber, but only if they capture the place)

Japan also needed to supply troops on distant outposts, an area they failed badly in. Perhaps a form of "outbound" convoy could be set up to take supplies to outposts in lieu of a port? but would be more vulnerable to attack.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Bringing the forum back to page 1 as a lot of the issues keep popping up repeatedly. Here's hoping we get new input and info and suggestions. Also, it will be good to have those new entries entered here instead of scattered in a bunch of new forums.

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