Does the exact combat bonus in any way depend on the distance between the unit and the home port hex? Is a unit right in the home port hex gaining more bonus than one adjacent to the home port and much more than a unit in the outer 3rd hex ring?
I used to park ships in that outer (3rd) hex ring often, to protect more seazones in front of my home port, still gaining the combat bonus and thus keeping them relatively safe and protected.
Now I had two occasions in which I suffered severe losses while doing this.
In an MP game, I had my German Hochseeflotte in the German Bight, protecting my coast of the North Sea. I distributed my ships onto the 3rd ring, just inside the home port bonus zone. The Entente opponent arrived with the Royal Navy and he later told me he was also surprised to see remarkably balanced combat odds predicted. So he tried his luck and took out even battleships. The Royal Navy didn't receive any higher damages, there was no sign of a combat bonus benefiting my units at all. I can tell you, this left me "wtf this is impossible!" At least as far as I understand the rules, it should be impossible.
Then I had it in a SP game, playing the Entente. I parked an armored cruiser or the size alike in that outer green marked seazone at the northern approaches of the English Channel. Now three German Battleships arrived and vaporized my unit. None of those three attackers took any damage. So where was the combat bonus here?
Does the combat bonus shrink gradually from port to the 3rd hex ring? Even if so, how can it feel like there is no bonus at all when staying in that 3rd ring?
Note that in both occasions the attacker ships were outside my bonus zone. May this play a role? Does the bonus apply only if the attacking unit is attacking from a position also inside the defenders home port bonus zone?
Many questions, hopefully someone can bring some light into the dark.
The manual says
Reads very simply but obviously doesn't work that simple.Naval units within four hexes of a friendly port receive a combat bonus.