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#1 W. Clark

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 12:13 PM

Here’s a problem for you to consider when you have the time. I’d like your opinion as to the merits of my thinking and a solution if you see one.


Here goes. You have two opposing forces, Japanese and ABDA. Each has cruisers and destroyers. One side (either one) upon viewing the other side decides that it is disadvantaged in a gunnery duel. That side (weather allowing) has a destroyer division lay smoke that covers the remainder of its force. Meanwhile it parallels the smoke laying destroyers with a division or two of destroyers within the first range band of their torpedoes.


What does the other side do? If they penetrate the smoke they are torpedo bait to the waiting enemy destroyers. I say that because with a typical TT mount (4 for IJN/RN or 3 for USN/RNN) the chance to hit without evasion is 1-9 for the IJN/RN, 1-8 for the USN and 1-6 for the RNN. Even with evasion the only navy with less than a 50% chance to hit is the Dutch. That’s long odds any way you figure it and the fact that most destroyers have two mounts makes it worse.


You know me. I look at this stuff and try to figure out an optimum tactic to use and then I look for a counter. In other words, I try and foresee scenarios and what to do immediately upon seeing them. I see how to nullify the one side’s advantage, but now how do I counter the tactic.


I realize that the ref has to take the helicopter view away from both sides when they are blanked in smoke. I guess the answer is to treat them as if it is night and require that they commit to a plan of action based on what they last saw before the smoke blinded them. I cannot see me being willing to endanger my ships at point blank torpedo range by plunging through the smoke. What do you think?

#2 Doug Barker

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 07:47 AM

I don't have any documentation to back this up, but I thought that a pretty universal standard procedure was to NOT plunge through the smoke, working under the assumption that a nasty ambush lay on the other side. I'm not sure if this changed with the advent of plentiful, good and reliable radar but I don't think this would factor into an IJN vs ABDA fight.


I agree that pre-plotting is a good approach to address the fog of war created by the smoke, assuming that you don't have spotting aircraft or radar able to see past it. 

#3 Lonnie Gill

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 04:57 PM

G' Day Lt Clark,


Yep, it's a classic dilemma as well illustrated in the Battle of Sirte in the Med.  The Italian admiral was presented with the classic choice dreaded by all commanders.  Closing through smoke was an invitation to an ambush.  As Doug stated, radar, once well developed could help with this, but not with the few early sets available during the ABDA campaign.  


As mentioned in the GQ 3.3 rules, a gamer can remove ships from the tactical area that are no longer visible from an opponent and plot their movement until they become visible again.  A little tedious, but it does help provide a taste of the "fog of war."  One tactic to counter it would be to penetrate the smoke with a couple of DDs or a division and hope they survive to report what is waiting on the other side.  That still enables the opponent one or more Game Turns to react before follow-on heavier ships penetrate the smoke screen.  Tough tactical choices for both sides.



#4 W. Clark

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 05:10 PM

I've pondered it and pondered it to no avail. For me it comes down down to this; do I have to do something right now that is so important that it merits the risk to my force engaged? If the answer is yes, then I penetrate the smoke and take my chances. Fortunately, I'm normally involved in a campaign and there is almost always another day, so withdraw and look for a better opportunity next turn. 

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