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Empire of the Sun» Forums » Rules

Subject: Can a mere US LRB air unit be so decisive in a battle outcome? rss

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Capitan Joruus
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Hi all,

Having the following battle situation:

- Battle hex Guadalcanal containing 1 full strength army ground JP unit only.
- Surface Allied offensive units BB Miss + BB N.Carolina for shore bombardment to soften the JP ground unit.
- A mere LRB US air unit (4 strength points) supporting the attack from Espiritu Santo.
- Reacting JP unit: CV Soryu moving to 3 hex away from Guadalcanal just to avoid shore bombardment and provoke air/naval combat.

According to the rules, the mere presence of the US LRB unit in the offensive allows to hits being applied to CV Soryu (1 to 1 Air/Carrier unit in both sides), but the question is how many hits can be inflicted, assuming an x1(no critical hit) is rolled by the Allied side, to the CV Soryu? If I understood well the rules, the CV Soryu will be eliminated due to the 1 LRB + 2 BB allied units strengths (x1), even when the BBs stay at Guadalcanal surroundings. Is that correct?.

In the other hand, same situation but without the attacking US LRB unit will result in the CV Soryu avoiding the shore bombardment and being unharmed by any means because of no air units in the Allied side. Can a mere LRB Air unit (4 strength points) be so decisive in the outcome of this battle?

Can anybody (preferably Mark, I will appreciate it very much, but anybody is welcome) give me a small explanation/narrative of what happened in that battle at the lower layer scale?. This will help me to understand it.

Thanks a lot.
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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You should think of it not as one battle, but a campaign played out over a few weeks. You could easily imagine the attrition to carrier-based air when faced with land-based air over that period.
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Chris Brinker
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Remember that the Soryu counter represents not only the boat itself but also its aircraft.

I imagine the presence of the LRBs provides a significant amount of intelligence in the operation and tactical awareness in any given combat situation. They would be something of a force multiplier, increasing the effectiveness of anti-air operations of the naval assets in the hex.

So imagine a lone Japanese CV sends out its planes to interfere with a well-supported invasion. A relatively small amount of allied ground-based air sees them coming, alerts the battleship groups which, duly warned, chew up the enemy air units around the island. While its planes are out, the LRBs fly in the direction from whence they came, discover the unprotected Japanese CV, and maul it.

Edit for additional perspective:

If you ever play Pacific War (of which Empire of the Sun is an adaptation meant to enable one to play the whole war in a reasonable amount of time) you'll see situations where a single air unit, even long-range observation aircraft without any combat ability whatsoever, have a huge impact on the shape and outcome of an operation as it unfolds, even if by simply providing operational intelligence. This nuance in Pacific War is being abstracted by card events and a couple of die rolls in Empire of the Sun.
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Mark Herman
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cjoruus wrote:
Hi all,

Having the following battle situation:

- Battle hex Guadalcanal containing 1 full strength army ground JP unit only.
- Surface Allied offensive units BB Miss + BB N.Carolina for shore bombardment to soften the JP ground unit.
- A mere LRB US air unit (4 strength points) supporting the attack from Espiritu Santo.
- Reacting JP unit: CV Soryu moving to 3 hex away from Guadalcanal just to avoid shore bombardment and provoke air/naval combat.

According to the rules, the mere presence of the US LRB unit in the offensive allows to hits being applied to CV Soryu (1 to 1 Air/Carrier unit in both sides), but the question is how many hits can be inflicted, assuming an x1(no critical hit) is rolled by the Allied side, to the CV Soryu? If I understood well the rules, the CV Soryu will be eliminated due to the 1 LRB + 2 BB allied units strengths (x1), even when the BBs stay at Guadalcanal surroundings. Is that correct?.

In the other hand, same situation but without the attacking US LRB unit will result in the CV Soryu avoiding the shore bombardment and being unharmed by any means because of no air units in the Allied side. Can a mere LRB Air unit (4 strength points) be so decisive in the outcome of this battle?

Can anybody (preferably Mark, I will appreciate it very much, but anybody is welcome) give me a small explanation/narrative of what happened in that battle at the lower layer scale?. This will help me to understand it.

Thanks a lot.


My thanks to Scott (while editing saw Chris's excellent post) for weighing in with the basic theme of the answer. Thanks pal...

I have been asked this question about twice a year since 2005 and its early and I don't feel like going to work on The Peloponnesian War right now, so here is a bit more detail.

I think your main point is based on your comment that a "...mere LRB" is so effective. Why so dismissive of the formidable B17/24 Long Range Aircraft?

If you are asking how can a lowly B17 hit the 'Blue Dragon' (Soryu), the short answer is, it cannot. In fact B17s may have sunk or contributed to the sinking of two destroyers during the entire war, so this is not what is going on here.

The Empire of the Sun combat model has to account for a wide diversity of situations that occurred during the war. As Scott already stated, the play of a card represents a period of time. What I find interesting is that the Battle of Coral Sea is seen as a unified event when in fact it had several phases that took place over several days that had unique characteristics.

So, to be more specific, the Pacific War saw seven carrier battles and they are the core of the naval combat model whereby the carriers exchange shots a couple of times, losses occur, rinse and repeat. The majority of the war saw the remainder of the historical story.

So, if B17s are ineffective against naval units why does its addition to your example make any difference? Long Range Bombers in EotS are enablers such as disrupting port operations and their ability to sortie reaction forces or they can support ground operations. They also act as reconnaissance aircraft as they did in the Battle of the Coral Sea.

The narrative that you are asking for is that due to circumstances the B17s found the Soryu battlegroup in poor weather, failed to damage it but the Battleship TF used this information and engaged the Soryu in a night surface action. Then the reply comes back that this never happened and its ahistorical.

If I turned your example around and we had two Japanese BBs attacking an Allied held island supported by a 6 strength land air unit versus a US CVE you would experience a portion of the Battle of Leyte Gulf that in fact was several discrete battles collected under one banner. The US in that same battle, often called the Battle of Cape Engano saw the US TF 34 try and pull off this maneuver, but it was diverted south to save the CVEs.

As Scott said you have to look at a Battle as a series of discrete events and you have recreated one of the edge cases that occurred on occasion during this massive conflict. The B17 in your example is enabling a potential surface action that was successful due to rolling a 1x result. If you had rolled a .25x then you are experiencing heavy JP experienced pilot losses due to flak, which accounted for 25% early war, 50% late war of Japanese naval aircraft losses when they engaged surface forces.

Thanks for the support and I hope you enjoy the game.

Mark
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Capitan Joruus
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MarkHerman wrote:
cjoruus wrote:
Hi all,

Having the following battle situation:

- Battle hex Guadalcanal containing 1 full strength army ground JP unit only.
- Surface Allied offensive units BB Miss + BB N.Carolina for shore bombardment to soften the JP ground unit.
- A mere LRB US air unit (4 strength points) supporting the attack from Espiritu Santo.
- Reacting JP unit: CV Soryu moving to 3 hex away from Guadalcanal just to avoid shore bombardment and provoke air/naval combat.

According to the rules, the mere presence of the US LRB unit in the offensive allows to hits being applied to CV Soryu (1 to 1 Air/Carrier unit in both sides), but the question is how many hits can be inflicted, assuming an x1(no critical hit) is rolled by the Allied side, to the CV Soryu? If I understood well the rules, the CV Soryu will be eliminated due to the 1 LRB + 2 BB allied units strengths (x1), even when the BBs stay at Guadalcanal surroundings. Is that correct?.

In the other hand, same situation but without the attacking US LRB unit will result in the CV Soryu avoiding the shore bombardment and being unharmed by any means because of no air units in the Allied side. Can a mere LRB Air unit (4 strength points) be so decisive in the outcome of this battle?

Can anybody (preferably Mark, I will appreciate it very much, but anybody is welcome) give me a small explanation/narrative of what happened in that battle at the lower layer scale?. This will help me to understand it.

Thanks a lot.


My thanks to Scott (while editing saw Chris's excellent post) for weighing in with the basic theme of the answer. Thanks pal...

I have been asked this question about twice a year since 2005 and its early and I don't feel like going to work on The Peloponnesian War right now, so here is a bit more detail.

I think your main point is based on your comment that a "...mere LRB" is so effective. Why so dismissive of the formidable B17/24 Long Range Aircraft?

If you are asking how can a lowly B17 hit the 'Blue Dragon' (Soryu), the short answer is, it cannot. In fact B17s may have sunk or contributed to the sinking of two destroyers during the entire war, so this is not what is going on here.

The Empire of the Sun combat model has to account for a wide diversity of situations that occurred during the war. As Scott already stated, the play of a card represents a period of time. What I find interesting is that the Battle of Coral Sea is seen as a unified event when in fact it had several phases that took place over several days that had unique characteristics.

So, to be more specific, the Pacific War saw seven carrier battles and they are the core of the naval combat model whereby the carriers exchange shots a couple of times, losses occur, rinse and repeat. The majority of the war saw the remainder of the historical story.

So, if B17s are ineffective against naval units why does its addition to your example make any difference? Long Range Bombers in EotS are enablers such as disrupting port operations and their ability to sortie reaction forces or they can support ground operations. They also act as reconnaissance aircraft as they did in the Battle of the Coral Sea.

The narrative that you are asking for is that due to circumstances the B17s found the Soryu battlegroup in poor weather, failed to damage it but the Battleship TF used this information and engaged the Soryu in a night surface action. Then the reply comes back that this never happened and its ahistorical.

If I turned your example around and we had two Japanese BBs attacking an Allied held island supported by a 6 strength land air unit versus a US CVE you would experience a portion of the Battle of Leyte Gulf that in fact was several discrete battles collected under one banner. The US in that same battle, often called the Battle of Cape Engano saw the US TF 34 try and pull off this maneuver, but it was diverted south to save the CVEs.

As Scott said you have to look at a Battle as a series of discrete events and you have recreated one of the edge cases that occurred on occasion during this massive conflict. The B17 in your example is enabling a potential surface action that was successful due to rolling a 1x result. If you had rolled a .25x then you are experiencing heavy JP experienced pilot losses due to flak, which accounted for 25% early war, 50% late war of Japanese naval aircraft losses when they engaged surface forces.

Thanks for the support and I hope you enjoy the game.

Mark


Thank you very much to Scott and Chris for your quick and concise answers, and I thank you, Mark, for the larger explanation which I must admit it was what I was looking for and has overwhelmed my expectations.

First, It was not my intention to be dismissive of the formidable B17/B24 "Flying Fortress" LRB...but was to provoke your reply as it was, so I am sorry...I am guilty.

What is fascinating me in your game is the huge amount of historical information you managed to lock into a few pages of game rules and cards and the ability to re-write the History each time this information is unlocked by setting up a new game...It's simply masterly!

I think that in order to fully enjoy of the game strategical level, a high comprehension of the underlying narrative is necessary, and I know this is not your main task (you did enough by developing this masterpiece) and there are a lot of Bibliography about the Pacific War, (I got "The Eagle and the Rising Sun" by Alan Schom),but maybe it would be possible for experienced players to complete and share some of their "combat action reports" with a small narrative in the way you did in your reply. Only some knowledge and imagination is needed!!. And for sure this will enrich the game experience and will help new players to understand what is underlying in the game rules, units and cards. This is just a humble suggestion open to everybody.

I am looking forward to receiving my P500 3º printing order and be sure I will enjoy every second of my time spent on it.

Thanks again.



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