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World in Flames» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Any sound strategy for the krieg marine? rss

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Daniel Figueroa
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Hi there,

We are starting a new game using vassal and I am puzzled by how to attack cw convoys. I see that the royal navy is at great advantge over the krieg marine. The use of u-boats is a very risky gamble always hanging in the loser's side; the auxiliar cruises have more oportunites due to their high movement but still they are damned; and just even thinking about getting the surface combat ships out Kiel makes me sweat. Is there any proven strategy to put the royal navy against the ropes? Is it possible with average luck to cut their convoy lines?
Any help will be welcome.
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Wendell
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Yellow Springs
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Si non potes reperire Berolini in tabula, ludens essetis non WIF.
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There are many strategic approaches to naval war for German players, from 'don't waste one BP on subs and never send them out' to full-on conflict.

TACTICALLY, some tips. Bad weather is your friend, if you are a u-boat commander. In storm or blizzard, CW naval air is no threat; sure finding is harder but the risk is lessened.

Take Brest and put the German subs there. This will also likely require an HQ in the vicinity, depending on supply rules you are using. But if you want to prioritize sub warfare, you have to do it. I find Antonescu is especially well suited to this task (though he can't supply Italian subs but they shouldn't be stacked with German subs anyway).

Also, coordinate with the Italian subs. If you get German and Italian subs in the same sea area, later in the turn the Italians can take a combined or naval to initiate while the Germans are doing a land.

Of course, you must take an occasional combined impulse to send out u-boats. Some complain that they can never do this. My response is, if subs are important to you, you will find a way. Besides even during summers in Russia an occasional combined gives you extra air missions to get the Luftwaffe to the front so it has its benefits.

Is it possible with average luck to cut CW convoy lines? Yes. Doesn't mean you will do it every turn, or even once, but it CAN be done. This is an argument for searching for the convoys later in the turn; if you get lucky and find, and then the turn ends that will hurt the CW.

Is there a PROVEN strategy for putting the Royal Navy on the ropes? Not sure. Perhaps the most anti-Royal Navy strategy is to try to close the Med after the fall of France by capturing Gibraltar and Suez, which means delaying Barbarossa to 1942, most likely. If you accomplish that, the Italian and German fleets can operate out of Gib/Suez and really try to stretch the British.
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Steve Fowler
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Competent Axis naval play will reap residual benefits as opposed to the direct results you seem top be looking for.
An active Italian Sub campaign will force the CW to perform Naval impulses early to protect the pipeline. This will slow the allies advance in 42 and 43 in the Med as targets of opportunity may be passed up to secure pipeline protection.
Doing what you can to attack the pipeline to the USSR will bring as many benefits as damage to the CW directly. Fewer BPs for the enemy you will really face and those pipelines are more extended and harder to protect.
The Kriegsmarine surface element should provide escort in the Baltic but sortie out when the turn is late and the enemy presence in the North Sea is weak. Force a large presence of CW surface ships in the North Sea and your activities in the elsewhere become much easier.
Bad weather coincides with limited land movement so the options to move the Kriegsmarine then becomes less painful and should reap better benefits when engaged due to the air restrictions in bad weather.
Use the KM to engage the CW at times when they really want to do something other than a naval impulse. Impulses spent at sea protecting CPs and shipping lanes are not impulses spent taking vital areas in the Med and elsewhere.
You will not starve a CW player committed to protecting his pipeline nor will you defeat his surface fleet, but you need to make him keep a significant fleet in being (the North Sea Guardians) and use unwanted and inconvenient naval moves to keep the sea lanes intact.
Otherwise the CW player will mass his fleet somewhere that will be painful to the Axis effort.
I have no recommendations for Convoys in Flames as I have never played it.
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Rober Khan
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Hi, Daniel:

After having played Germany and the British Empire in two following games, I came out with the impression that the Axis needs a careful, combined strategy to really hurt British economy. Simply strat bombing the UK or building subs wont do it. Usually, the best moment to do this is after France is over. Then, you should:
- Build up some serious air menace over the UK. As many LND-3 and FTR as you can dispatch and some HQ to ensure at least two waves of bombings per turn.
- As Wendell suggests, mass your SUBs at Brest, rebuild the losses and keep them in constant activity, probably in combination with Italian SUBs. You will need an HQ and some GAR in Brest itself as well. Otherwise, British PARAs will humilliate you and shoo your SUBs to Kiel.
- Germany and Italy should, at the same time, present strategic land threats somewhere in Europe or Africa. Usually, this means Egypt. It's a nightmare for the British Empire to have to call a land impulse when it's pipelines are being severed and all the FTRs in the UK are already face down with German LNDs ready for another go at the other side of the Canal.
- With the Kriegsmarine, you can either play scavenger or boost it and use it to complement your SUBs. Scavenger means waiting in Brest of Kiel -depending on how many FTRs you want to divert for it's protection- and sortying after opportunity targets when the turn is close to an end. Keep a close eye on British BB reserves before commiting! Your main goal here will be to keep those British BBs inmovilized at port. This prevents them from supporting British beach-heads or evacuations and relieves your Italian ally.
The other option is to finish the Tirpitz and the Zeppelin early on and using your small but shooty force to engage the scattered Royal Navy head on in the North Sea and Bay of Biscay. Always under your FTR-3 umbrella, of course. It might seem that the RN is endless, but that's false. It is an overstretched force from the first turn of the game on. Each early loss hampers it's ability to accomplish it's many tasks. Hit it hard three or four times in 1940 and the Empire will start to crack.

And then comes Japan.
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Andrew Pleass
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some very sound advice already on this question, the only point I'd make is to add a German Nav or two to the mix and use them in the W. Med if trying to gain/retain Italian control (especially useful if the CW is still trying to run convoys through the Med or reinforce Malta & the Suez) or better still in the Bay of Biscay after France falls which forces the CW to think about subs, surface raiders and air patrols. He may have to avoid that sea area completely and run his convoys through the Atlantic which is one sea area more (equivalent to losing around 10+ CP's ouch!)
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Bruce Jurin
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I'm pretty much rephrasing what everybody (especially Wendell and Andrew above) already said. The key here is that a haphazard German effort will produce little, the sub war has to be planned. The good news is that a lot of sub power can be bought for few BP's.

A key for the Germans is to maintain the surface fleet as a threat to help the subs - with the German fleet in place, the CW needs to keep a reserve that is fairly large to counter it especially in poor weather. If the CW is covering the convoys with a few cruisers, they can get smashed by the German fleet.

So the CW needs a fleet to watch the Gerrman surgface ships, a fleet to watch the Italian navy, and has to guard some 25 sea zones at least to some degree potentially. So with the stretching of the CW fleet (as big as it looks at first) the job can get done. Auxiliary cruisers especially can cause the CW to stretch.

That is why a haphazard effort is tough. I tend to go big subs or few subs (just to keep them honest) but I don't go in-between very often. AS others have said, if you build bombers also this will also stretch CW resources.

On the flip side, Allied strat bombing works the same way in reverse (but is probably more straightforward). If you always just use 2-3 4 engined bombers not a lot will get done, you can use them for pinpricks against unguarded targets but not as a major campaign. With strat bombing, the idea is either to overwhelm or to keep the Germans honest, the in-between tends to fail.

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Daniel Figueroa
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Wow, great quality answers! I am taking notes. Now everything looks brigther. At least, i know what to do and what to expect.
I am focusing in the east, so i will not invest in surface combat ships, but i am planning to keep a well balanced and planned (and cheap) purchase of units. Tactically, i will use the last impulses, bad weather, etc... I am pretty sure that i will be able to hurt the royal navy hard, although most likely i will not vanquish it. Doesn't matter, victory lays in the east.
Thanks todo all for your wise advices.
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