Naval transit-West Africa

PSP/DS/PC/MAC : WWII turn based grand strategy game

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Happycat
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Naval transit-West Africa

Post by Happycat » Mon May 05, 2008 1:34 am

An interesting situation has arisen. I am playing a PBEM with Stauffenberg, he as Axis. I have lost Egypt and Sinai area, and find that a BB that I had kept in the Red Sea is now trapped there. This is most unrealistic, as there should be no impediment to transiting around the "cape", regardless of who holds the Suez.

Any chance of fixing this in a future patch?
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Post by Happycat » Mon May 05, 2008 9:22 pm

"bump" :D

Hey Iain, Johan---would really like some input from one of you if you have time :)
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Post by firepowerjohan » Mon May 05, 2008 9:35 pm

Hey ;)
The ownership of the transportation loops is determined by the side controlling Port Said and as of current the best thing you can do is just to not let your boats sit in the Suez channel once Egypt gets conquered

Now to the question : Yes, we will have it under consideration
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Post by Happycat » Mon May 05, 2008 9:40 pm

firepowerjohan wrote:Hey ;)
The ownership of the transportation loops is determined by the side controlling Port Said and as of current the best thing you can do is just to not let your boats sit in the Suez channel once Egypt gets conquered

Now to the question : Yes, we will have it under consideration
Thanks Johan. I think I should have emphasized a different aspect of this: while it's true that once we know of this, it is simple enough to ensure that ships leave before Port Said falls, the bigger problem is that the British cannot re-conquer the area by invading from the Red Sea.

However, you have said it will now be under consideration, so that's good enough for me :)
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Post by Peter Stauffenberg » Mon May 05, 2008 10:29 pm

My suggestion is that the West Africa loop is ALWAYS open, meaning that both sides can always use it. Then it's possible for the British
to re-conquer Egypt from the Red Sea. This means the Axis must keep a garrison in Egypt instead of sending all units towards Iraq and Persia.

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Post by vypuero » Thu May 15, 2008 7:53 pm

maybe - by the red sea can also be closed off at the strait near Ethiopia so control of that area can also be assumed to control Ethiopia as well, trapping and shipping there.

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Post by Peter Stauffenberg » Thu May 15, 2008 8:08 pm

That's true, but the Allied could instead have landed their troops in Iraq and moved towards Egypt from there. That is not possible in this game because it doesn't show the Persian Gulf.

I'm also not sure the Axis could have prevented the Allies from landing in Sudan or Arabia even if they had taken control further south than Egypt. Controlling the land area doesn't mean you control the seas near it.

It's dangerous for the Allies as is to try to land in the Red Sea if the Axis have tac bombers nearby. The transports can be heavily damaged before the units can land.

What I want to avoid is the situation where the Axis know for sure the Allies can never invade into the Middle East if the Axis get Port Said. That means they can abandon Egypt completely and send these units towards southern Russia or westwards again to Italy or Tunisia. I'm sure that the Axis would have left a big garrison in Egypt and Iraq to protect their gains.

The best solution would have been to redraw the map a bit and place a few sea hexes in southern Iraq calling this area for the Persian Gulf and also place a city there with a port (Basra or Kuwait). Then you need 2 loops. One from Red Sea to the Persian Gulf and another from West Africa to the Persian Gulf.

But I understand it's too much work to make this happen. Then Slitherine must program a new loop and must also alter the map. So I therefore think the easiest and second best solution would be to have the West African - Red Sea loop open at all times for both sides.

It's possible to use your argument against the AXIS moving from the Red Sea to Western Africa. If the Allies control Sudan and Arabia then it would be very dangerous for Axis ships to sail down the Red Sea. They would have no ports (with the possible exception of Somalia) to refuel their ships travelling around the Cape of Good Hope. But this ship travel is abstracted in CeaW so I think the easiest way would be to make this loop always open for both sides. Remember that the Axis can't use the loop to enter or leave the Med until Gibraltar or Por Said have been captured. So it only affects the game AFTER the Allies lose Port Said.

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Post by Fallschirmjaeger » Fri May 16, 2008 5:19 pm

A few thoughts from an admittedly inexperienced and undereducated Commander.

It seems to me that the whole issue with the Allied defense of Egypt and the Middle East is one of supply - specifically sea supply and its lack of representation in the game. Historically, the biggest contributor to the Axis failure on this front was the constant harassment and interruption of supplies carried by sea from Italy to Libya.

On the surface, keeping the West Africa Route open after the fall of Port Said seems a good idea, but in reality I think a few well placed scrub Italian corps will render it useless. This is because there are only a few hexes available to disembark into from the Red Sea, which can easily be either occupied or simply cut off from Middle Eastern supply sources, so unless a naval unit is present, no supply for the invading/disembarking troops will likely be available.

The best way to avoid this situation is of course to not lose Port Said. Given that the sea supply situation is non-interdictable, the Axis have no problems operating with as many units as they deem necessary to prosecute this campaign, relatively secure in their supply. The Allies, on the other hand, must employ long range planning and preparation to provide for Egypt's defense via the 16-18 week transport journey from the British Isles. Another factor in this theater is the fact that the Persian Gulf is not represented, so the UK cannot simply transport units to Basra in the event of an Egyptian collapse.

Obviously a determined British naval campaign could contribute greatly to this situation. The Royal Navy is not without means to aid in Egypt's defense. A daring raid on Tripoli combined with a ground advance on Tobruk could seriously threaten any Axis adventure in North Africa for a very long time. Or, for the truly bold, a pre-emptive invasion of Italy itself with the goal of knocking them out of the war early! (the old A3R Double-Turn Shotgun strategy) Any of these strategies and others are within the Allied means, but all also pose huge, potentially game-losing risks.

To me, who is admittedly not an expert programmer and who does not possess in-depth knowledge of the developmental side of the software, there are few coding solutions that can adequately address this problem. For what its worth, here they are:

One idea would be to change the properties of Cairo or Port Said to allow the placement of newly purchased units. If or when this city falls, transfer this ability to Baghdad to reflect the ability to sail into the Persian Gulf. The mechanics of the game engine only allow one unit to be placed per city, so at first blush this is not as game breaking as it might appear. Of course, doing this renders the West Africa Route nearly null and void.

Even better and within a more realistic approach, create events that place Colonial units in Egypt and/or Persia. Egyptian, South African, New Zealand, Indian or Australian units could "appear" at a certain interval, maybe, reflecting reinforcements from reasonably in range British colonies and imperial holdings.

Or, increase the supply penalties for units drawing from medium supply sources to reflect the more restrictive and conservative usage of such forces. A glass half empty solution since such an implementation has global effects.
* * *

A couple of things to modify in the scripts might help also, but would need serious playtesting to determine balance effects. They are:

Increase the number of British naval and air factors in the Mediterranean to provide greater opportunity for "supply interdiction" as represented by the interception of transports carrying units to North Africa. Perhaps a corresponding decrease in Italian fleet/air factors or Quality/Survivability/Effectiveness ratings might help as well. Also, a greater chance to retain the French fleet after the Fall of France might help.

Allow for more At Start ground forces in the region. Maybe even Montgomery.
* * *

A lot of this is just me thinking out loud. As I said, I am not an expert, either with the game, or in coding and programming. But I do feel strongly that the original sinner is the lack of a sea supply system, or more specifically the inability of the Royal Navy to affect supply. Since such a system is likely not a viable alternative, I am just exploring around for solutions that might assist without causing any undue unbalance. Any or all of the suggetions put forth by me will need intensive playtesting before acceptance, and most will probably tilt the scales one way or the other.


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Post by Happycat » Fri May 16, 2008 5:51 pm

Fallschirmjaeger---your ideas are interesting ones, and I especially like the idea of historical reinforcements for North Africa.

You might be overly optimistic when you suggest a raid on Tripoli coupled with an attack on Tobruk. There are a limited number of hexes available to the bombarding force at either location, and movement is slow---so if the defender has any air, he can pick away at the attacker for a couple of turns before they close and attack. Worse, the fortress at Tobruk is a killer. So expect to hang around for a turn or two, being bombed by any Italian or German air assets in the area.

In the mod that Stauffenberg and I play, the Axis has the DAK already placed in Libya, at such a distance from Tobruk as to ensure that it is not immediately available for an assault on Egypt. But the point is, the Axis forces in North Africa are not a push over.
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Post by rkr1958 » Sat May 17, 2008 4:04 pm

Stauffenberg wrote:My suggestion is that the West Africa loop is ALWAYS open, meaning that both sides can always use it. Then it's possible for the British
to re-conquer Egypt from the Red Sea. This means the Axis must keep a garrison in Egypt instead of sending all units towards Iraq and Persia.
Can you use the game editor to make this so or does this require a software mod?
HappyCat wrote:In the mod that Stauffenberg and I play, the Axis has the DAK already placed in Libya, at such a distance from Tobruk as to ensure that it is not immediately available for an assault on Egypt.
I've made a similar mod but I placed this unit next to the Italians, which are next to Tobruk. I've also added a fighter wing to the UK forces in Egypt. Given all that, were do you recommend putting the DAK?

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Post by Happycat » Sat May 17, 2008 6:18 pm

RKR1958: I've made a similar mod but I placed this unit next to the Italians, which are next to Tobruk. I've also added a fighter wing to the UK forces in Egypt. Given all that, were do you recommend putting the DAK?

I would suggest that the DAK should be closer to Tripoli. When Italy enters the war, the DAK should not be quickly available to them. Historically, the DAK did not fully deploy until early /41 (Rommel was busy in France in the summer of 1940 :) )

I don't know the answer to your question about the editor, but I suspect that the answer is no (re transport loops).
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Post by rkr1958 » Sat May 17, 2008 11:31 pm

Happycat wrote:I would suggest that the DAK should be closer to Tripoli. When Italy enters the war, the DAK should not be quickly available to them. Historically, the DAK did not fully deploy until early /41 (Rommel was busy in France in the summer of 1940 :) )
Do you risk transporting the DAK corp to get it to east Libya or do you slough along over ground? If the later then you burn some oil getting it there. Is that your intention also?

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Post by Happycat » Sat May 17, 2008 11:40 pm

rkr1958 wrote:
Happycat wrote:I would suggest that the DAK should be closer to Tripoli. When Italy enters the war, the DAK should not be quickly available to them. Historically, the DAK did not fully deploy until early /41 (Rommel was busy in France in the summer of 1940 :) )
Do you risk transporting the DAK corp to get it to east Libya or do you slough along over ground? If the later then you burn some oil getting it there. Is that your intention also?
Well, if it was me, I would probably stick to the ground. There was no intention to burn up oil for the Axis, so if you want to try transporting, you could. But bear in mind that the British have a sub in the Mediterranean, and a somewhat superior naval force. I am sure that if my friend Stauffenberg was playing as the British, and I presented him with such a target, he would consider it worth risking some British ships. And in 1940/41 there is not a lot of Axis air in the area, so the risk is somewhat minimal for the British IMO.
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