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Force X

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#1 W. Clark

W. Clark


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Posted 22 November 2021 - 08:19 AM

We are looking at a new option for the Allies. This one presupposes that Mers El Kebir never happened and that more Free French thus became available much earlier then was the historical case. In this case, Force X. Force X under Vice Admiral Godfroy from Alexandria forms the base squadron with some other possible reinforcements from other French ships that went Free French much earlier then Force X historically.


Force X replaces the ANZAC Squadron at Darwin on game turn 2. And by ANZAC Squadron I'm talking the cruisers Australia, Canberra, Leander and Achilles. Hobart and Perth, the historical Australian cruisers committed to the defense of the Malay Barrier are deployed with Force X.


Force X consists of the 8" cruisers: Suffren, Duquesne and Tourville as well as the 6" cruiser, Duguay-Trouin. The main change other than nationality (not that isn't a major change in itself) is that Force X comes with its own destroyer division of three L'Adroit class (Forbin, Basque & Le Fortune) destroyers. Remember that the French 6.1", 6", 5.5" and 5.1" guns do not rapid fire.


Reinforcements consist of the 6" cruiser Lamotte-Picquet and the Le Fantasque class destroyer, Le Triomphant on game turn 3. You still have the option of taking the Australian N class destroyers for the cost of a CD on GT3 but they are not useable that GT.


French battleship option. Yes, we have included a French battleship option. But, be warned, you only get two battleship options and have to give up the Dutch to get the French. The battleship option consists of either Lorraine or Strasbourg (not both). The Japanese battleship response is a pair of Kongos (the second division of Battleship Squadron 3, so no Vice Admiral Mikawa).


So what is the impact of choosing Force X, you might very well ask? And of course I'm only too happy to give you MNSHO. Taking Force X (w/o any battleship option) lessens the combat power of the Allies as the ANZAC Squadron is more powerful in that they shoot better, have radar, British night acquisition and torpedoes as well as being better protected. But, you are no longer concerned with getting Vampire to Darwin on GT1 to prevent the ANZACs being immobilized because of no destroyers. This is particularly important if you take a British capital ship start option.


Basically, if you are tired of having to win versus the Eastern Attack Force then the above gives you a chance to do it versus the Western Attack Force. This is especially true if you also take a Dutch capital ship option as Batavia and Singapore can combine against the WAF. It makes for a campaign that plays out completely different from the base campaign.


At the same time Force X with its extra 8" cruiser has a chance (visibility, weather and Japanese LBA permitting) to give a good account of itself against the EAF, provided you don't run into any Kongos. It is a different dynamic because of the differences between the Brit and French CRTs and their ships' characteristics. 


Don't forget that USS Phoenix is available at Darwin on GT4 for a CD and can be combined with Force X to give it more punch. Of course you will suffer the penalties that mixing English speaking ships with non-English speaking ships to your command issues, but that is the same problem combining with the Dutch presented, so no new issues there.


IMHO, the Force X option gives an entirely new feel to the campaign with both plus and minus impacts to the Allied Force mix. As usual in this campaign, it costs you something to get something else. But that goes toward balance and IMHO is a good thing.


So, if you have French in your tool box of Allied Warships; here is another chance to use them. As for the Japanese. You don't need help. You just need to roll low for your night acquisition and your torpedoes will do the rest.


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