Cardboard Wars

War is the continuation of politics by other means

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.

Southern England bombing targets (click image to enlarge)

Southern England bombing targets (click image to enlarge)

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.

Raids at Edinburgh (click image to enlarge)

Raids at Edinburgh (click image to enlarge)

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.

The British radar net (click image to enlarge)

The British radar net; black dots are the high altitude stations, white dots are the low altitude stations (click image to enlarge)

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?

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6 thoughts on “TFH: Sep II 40 (Germany)

  1. alant14 on said:

    Thanks for posting that radar net map, it mostly matches the one I have (except of course mine is in English). There are a couple of “grossen Hohen” (high altitude/white squares) radar sites missing from the map but the white radar line gives you an idea where they are located.

    Here is a lengthy article on the Chain Home radar network. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chain_Home

    From the article:
    “During the battle, Chain Home stations — most notably the one at Ventnor, Isle of Wight — were attacked several times between 12 and 18 August 1940. On one occasion a section of the radar chain in Kent, including the Dover CH, was put out of action by a lucky hit on the power grid. However, though the wooden huts housing the radar equipment were damaged, the towers survived owing to their open steel girder construction. Because the towers survived intact and the signals were soon restored, the Luftwaffe concluded the stations were too difficult to damage by bombing and left them alone for the remainder of the war. Had the Luftwaffe realised just how essential the radar stations were to British air defences, it is likely that they would have expended great effort to destroy them.”

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    • Certainly radar was of immense help to the British during the Battle of Britain. I often have to wonder if the effect of radar during the battle has been exaggerated. Not that I am being pro-German, but since we do not know what would have happened had the net been destroyed, we truly have no idea how big a role radar played in the battle, only assumptions that it was the key to the British winning the battle. I personally think the Germans never crossed not because they feared the RAF, but they feared the RN.

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  2. alant14 on said:

    A couple of points about the Royal Navy interacting with German transports.

    First, submarines don’t affect shipping points in the same manner as surface warships. They don’t automatically sink 1 transport point per it box of submarines, they must make torpedo attacks which might sink, scatter or miss their target.

    Second, if all German surface warships are either sunk or have disengaged after sinking 1 shipping point per hit box a SINGLE hit box of RN surface ships causes ALL the remaining German shipping points and their cargo in that Sea Zone to scatter. Run away (in the Monty Python killer rabbit tradition), invasion over, go back to Europe, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Booyah!

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    • You’re right. I told you the other day I’m a bit murky when it comes to the naval/amphibious rules, but I am trying to get a grip on them. I am currently running a naval combat simulation to try to learn the process. As usual, the British are rolling every number that they need, while the German rolls are choking, but it appears that the Germans are not as outgunned as it looks.

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      • alant14 on said:

        The Germans have a bag of tricks. Mines are probably their best chance to inflict casualties. U-boats don’t look promising. Those coastal artillery batteries are one shot wonders (they get one shot and you wonder if they even matter). The German fleet is a cruel joke. The Luftwaffe has some possibilities, but can’t protect the invasion all by itself. LW air units also have to provide ground support and DAS in the invasion site.

        Meanwhile, the RAF isn’t going to inflict much pain on the invasion fleet, but unless the Germans go all out it won’t take much pain.

        The game mechanics are . . odd. Shipping and cargo are placed in the Sea Zone of the invasion, they don’t move sea zone to sea zone to get there. If a single RN destroyer gets to that sea zone before the German navy the invasion is over.

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        • Yes, there are some tricks the Germans have in their arsenal. That’s why I am running a simulation to determine exactly how effective these tricks can be.

          I have to disagree with you somewhat about the single destroyer reaching the invasion zone meaning the invasion is over. It all depends when this occurs. The closer to the end of the game, then certainly, the likelihood of the invasion being over is strongest. However, early in the game, the Germans may be able to recover, especially since a single RN destroyer is only going to sink 1 shipping point.

          I do think it is silly that the German player has to announce the invasion on the turn the first attempt is made. Apparently I don’t have to announce for the second and subsequent attempts.

          But the KM may not be as outmatched as is commonly believed. In the simulation I have been running all day (surface combat takes a long time to complete, especially when one is taking notes), the RN have lost 64 of the 111 they started with (which includes the BB Valiant that Alan recalled from Gibraltar). Three of the four BBs have been sunk, with the Nelson still afloat, but crippled. Repulse and Renown have been sent down, as have Coventry and Cardiff. Cruisers Norfolk, Newcastle and Sheffield have gone to the bottom. The British have also lost 6 of 12 subs, and 4 DDs.

          This is not to say that the KM has not been beat up. Scharnhorst has been sunk, along with Schleswig-Holstein, cruisers Admiral Hipper and Prinz Eugen. All subs and destroyers have been sunk. The ones that are completely undamaged are the torpedo boats. They are just too damn fast and no one has been able to hit them, but their torpedoes have been expended. The Schlesian, Admiral Scheer, Emden, Koln and Nurnburg are still floating, but crippled and on fire.

          However, here’s the reality.

          In the end, almost all capital ships will be wreckage. I have thrown everything I could at the RN, except for a few bombers that I held back for GS/DAS purposes. Mines, subs, bombing from the air, surface combat and torpedoes. I had the British throw their Whits and A-22s into naval patrols, because that was what Alan has been doing, and I assumed all others were on other missions, such as defensive air support.

          The two sides have beat the hell out of each other, and yet it still is not over. I’ve stopped for the night. In the end, though, I think the RN will have several destroyers left, but the British subs are untouchable by the KM, unless the Luftwaffe tries to sub hunt again. I think that if the RN only has subs left at the end, this could be an acceptable result.

          However, it surprises me that the KM and Luftwaffe have dealt this much damage to the RN.

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