TFH: Sep II 40 (Germany)
The year drags on, yet the weather stays very summer-like. Last turn, the British didn’t do too much damage, but they continue destroying their ports. Their bombing damage has been drastically reduced, scoring only 1 hit on shipping last turn. The strategy of destroying their heavy bombers on the ground seems to be making an impact. True, it does not impact GA whatsoever, but it reduces the number of heavy bombers the British can use to harass my shipping. The number of victory points scored by the British has fallen off dramatically. In fact, by the end of this turn, the score is the Britain 16, Germany 9.
This turn was a bit more successful than the last couple of turns. The RAF achieved no kills, and only 5 air units were aborted. The British refuse to engage when there are large numbers of Messerschmitts escorting, despite the numbers of fighters being roughly equal. So far, the Ju-88A bombers have more kills than the Me-109s. The British should fear engaging them.
The radar site at Eastbourne was taken out (0 hit points), but the L-1 submarines and Amazon class destroyers were missed. The CLA Coventry was sunk at Rosyth (Edinburgh). Heavy AA at Edinburgh did not save Coventry, and with its sinking, the total AA capability at Edinburgh is shifted left one column as long as Cardiff cannot engage. The radar site west of Plymouth took another bombing hit.
The Royal Navy has not dared to sally forth because the British are so fearful of surrendering the almighty victory point. I never let myself be neither constrained nor dictated to by victory points. I, on the other hand, fear that if I split my escorts, the entire Royal Air Force will jump one side or the other. Much as I would prefer the RAF get airborne and fight, I prefer not losing aircraft more.
This is where the air rules show their age. Three British bombers were sent on naval patrol, two were returned due to patrolling Me-110Cs. Since the British flew this mission during the German half of the turn, the mission ends when the German turn ends, but they have to stay in the sea zone they are patrolling until the British air return phase, during the British turn. If a British bomber is returned or aborted due to patrol, air combat or antiaircraft fire (as opposed to fighters, they can return earlier), they have to stay put until the air return phase of the British player. This seems to be pretty silly. Air combat/AA results should be implemented immediately. Just my opinion.
I think this game would benefit greatly from air on demand.
We’ve had some discussion about modernizing the game. As we work our way through it, I can’t help but wonder how different it would be using the latest AA table (Looking at the one from Scorched Earth, the number of hits should be roughly the same, but I prefer that table to this one), or even the air rules from Second Front. I think the ability to perform Combat Air Patrol over seas zones instead of having to place aircraft that can intercept in range of the sea zone patrol hexes, or even forcing fighters to either patrol or intercept, not both. While I personally believe this rule is susceptible to abuse, but that’s me. Yes, it can be frustrating in areas where fighter density is high, but that’s just the nature of the beast, I think.
There has also been discussion about the different radars, British versus German, and the impact of radar on the Battle of Britain. While the Germans did have radar, they really did not implement it very wisely. Hitler, like his lack of understanding of sea operations, did not understand it, and felt it was a defensive weapon. His plans were all offensive. No consideration was given to anything that could be considered defensive, because he felt it showed weakness.
The end result is that no radar chains were set up to protect Germany until later in the war. The British, on the other hand, integrated radar into their defensive plans. British radar was years behind the Germans, yet they still saw the advantages of its use that the Germans did not.
The discussion then turns to what happens to Fighter Command if the radar net goes down? By rule, patrol attack range is reduced to 1 hex, while interception range is unaffected. It has been suggested (by me) that interception range be reduced as well. As I reflect on that idea, how is it fair that the British be penalized for their radar system going down, when the Germans, who are not using radar in this manner, are not? The truth is that we will never know the effects of radar going down because it never happened. Göring, in his drug induced wisdom, called off the dogs.
But there has to be some incentive for the Germans to attack the radar sites. Maybe that’s the point. No incentive for the Germans. Then again, maybe no incentive is designed to make the German player ask himself if it is worth it. That’s where I’m at with radar.
Finally, the Germans currently have 34 shipping points. If the Royal Navy ends up in the same sea zone with undefended shipping points, the number of shipping points sunk is equal to the number of unchecked damage boxes of each Royal Navy ship in the hex. For example, if the Rodney (6 damage boxes) arrives in Sea Zone 12 with 34 shipping points, and has taken 2 hits of damage, 4 shipping points are sunk.
The Royal Navy, in total at the beginning of the game, has 106 unchecked damage boxes. With the recall of the Valiant (5 boxes), this increases to 111. This is 3 times the amount the Royal Navy needs to sink every German transport before they can land their cargo. With the sinking of Coventry, they are down to 109.
Really, all the RN has to do at this point is simply respond with destroyers and submarines, not even risking the capital ships. There are 46 destroyers and 12 subs. Of course, these ships are easier to sink, but that’s all they need.
Two months have passed. Heading into October, hopefully the weather will not turn on me. Next turn, more naval assets become available:
- Oct I: cruiser Prinz Eugen
- Oct II: battlecruiser Scharnhorst
- Nov I: battlecruiser Gneisenau
- Nov I: light cruiser Leipzig
Will the weather hold out long enough for these assets to arrive?