I've been reading through some older threads, and one recurring theme I see is a concern that the non-U.S. and Soviet forces serve as nothing more than cannon fodder in the campaign games. This isn't exactly true, and as someone that has played Sixth Fleet more times than he'd rather admit, I'd like to pass on some lessons I've learned over the years:
For the smaller forces, surface ships are vulnerable because they are usually dispersed, cannot operate in unison with other nations' forces and thus cannot benefit from operating in a task force (the UK is the sole exception; they can operate in US task forces). In the later Fleet games the setups largely rectified this weakness, but in Sixth Fleet it presents a real problem.
You pretty much have two options: 1) Use them and lose them, betting that you can inflict enough damage with your surface ships to justify their immediate loss, or 2) get them to a port with CAP overhead, and wait for an opportunity to present itself.
The Israeli PCs are a good example. With their combined 100(!) SSMs, they possess the strongest offensive punch of any surface force, but are very weak defensively. Your options are to use them to knock out the Syrian PCs ( kind of a waste), hit the Soviet force at Tartus (a more profitable venture), or send them south under to hide under the CAP of the F4s or F15. The first two plays will likely result in their loss to an air strike, so the bet is that the ships can gain enough VPs to offset their sinking. This is why hitting the Syrians, the most obvious play, is not a good plan.
Unfortunately, in some cases ships are indeed just freebies for the other side. The Turkish and Greek destroyers have virtually no capability but have the same VP value as a Spruance-class destroyer, some of the best surface ships in the game. If you can distract your opponent and scoot them to a well protected area, more power to you, but that is quite hard to do in the mosh pit-like battles in Sixth Fleet.
Subs are much more effective as they do not have the inherent weakness of the surface ships; the game intends for submarines to operate independently at all times. The main problem with most of the small-nation boats is slow speed and a weaker offensive capability.
The best play is to park them at choke points on the board and wait for the enemy to come to you. This also frees up the better US and Soviet boats to prowl the map and go on the offensive.
Some of these subs can be quite effective. The Greek subs can run out and hit the Soviet convoys coming out of the Turkish straits, and the Libyan boats can give the Allies fits around the Sicilan Narrows. Again, it's all about putting your resources in a position of strength. Sending a submarine with a speed of 2 and a torpedo strength of 12 after a carrier battle group is a waste.
As the US player you are very dependent on your allies' land based air power because nearly all of the American offensive air strength is on the carriers. You need those Israeli F-15 and Egyptian F-16s to cover the gaps.
As the Soviet player, your allies' air strength is less critical but can help cover imbalances in some areas. Like the subs, the key is to use them in operations they can handle. The Libyan MiGs and S20s won't usually last long against a carrier group, but up against a replenishment convoy or amphib group they can do some real damage.
Ultimately it's all about having a unified plan going into the fight. Keeping the little guys out of trouble and maneuvering them into an advantageous position can go a long way to securing a win.
Allies are not created equal
Lastly, due to geography some allies are more useful than others, especially when using the logistics option. The French fleet looks impressive, but fuel restrictions will for the most part always keep them on the western half of the map. In many of the games I have played French ships do little more than serve as targets for Soviet bombers, and rarely does the French fleet gain enough VPs in battle to offset their losses (it doesn't help that the carrier Foch is an easy, fat target for the Russians).
Greek forces, on the other hand, sit right in the Soviet line of advance and can often inflict enough damage to offset their eventual loss.
In my opinion, Israel, Greece, Italy and the U.K. are the most useful allies for the Americans. The Soviets of course can use all the help they can get.
- Last edited Sun Oct 2, 2016 5:18 am (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Sun Oct 2, 2016 5:14 am