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Subject: The Great Escape (by transports)! rss

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Mark Luta
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Henderson
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Question on whether this is intended to be a legal move:

In the event Japanese units on islands are bypassed by the Americans, when the Japanese supply lines are about to be cut that turn, it seems it is possible to put all the infantry and LBA on any available transports, run away from the American fleets (eastward) beyond interception range (they will then be out of supply when checked), and then rebase at the end of the turn to Japan (and back in supply). The only American naval response could be the submarine unit, which at most could sink 2 steps.

Is this legal?
 
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Sam Carroll
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What do you mean when you say the Japanese supply lines are about to be cut? If the US is already enjoying dominant influence (or even limited) in the sea zones around the island, then the transports would have to stop when they entered any such zones, leaving them open to interception. On the other hand, if the US hasn't encircled the island completely, the move would be legal, and a perfectly reasonable punishment for a careless US player.

Remember, transports only move two sea zones, though, so unless the US fleets are based far forward, it'll be hard for them to avoid interception.
 
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Mark Luta
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Right, the situation I am looking at is forces in and around Papua New Guinea, and at Truk, which the Americans have bypassed successfully--if they hold Palau to the Japanese counterattack, there is likely nothing the Japanese can do to maintain the supply route more than one turn after next at the most, with their LBA about to be eradicated. So the situation is going to be a run out to the Solomon Sea or something.

Parenthetically, even if American fleets were in interception range, they might preferentially want to intercept Japanese fleet moves. And even if they do intercept, the Japanese transports only need to last one day or night combat, then avoid anyway, and rebase home, so the Americans would need a huge fleet to statistically dent up 4 or so blocks.

Anyway, I just wanted to know if this was an intended outcome of the rules or not. I can argue either way from a simulation standpoint about what is realistic, given the two-month scale of the turns. But in terms of game mechanics, faced with certain elimination, the logical thing to do is put the transports to sea and head east. If this is not a desired tactic, a rule could be written that units which are about to be out of supply, and go on transports, must make a naval move towards home.
 
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Timothy Phelps
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But then how do you define "about to be out of supply"? Seems like it would end up being rather fiddly.
 
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Bas de Bakker
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In a related situation, this is what I asked on ConsimWorld:

Quote:
Rebasing troops to Home port

As the US, I'd taken the smaller two Japanese islands and was about to move into Honshu. My opponent still had many infantry units in the northern Chinese coastal areas. So during naval movement he moved all of them into the East China Sea, where I could not get at them in any way, despite my huge naval forces nearby. Then in the rebasing phase he moved them all to his home port in Honshu, ignoring influence as per the rebasing rule.

As far as we could tell this was legal, but it did seem strange. Was this ok? Could I have prevented it?

And Rick answered:

Quote:
How the heck did he have so many transport points so late in the war?

On the face of it, it looks legal, but you should be able to make hay in China now and win anyway, in theory.
 
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Mark Luta
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Asyncritus wrote:
But then how do you define "about to be out of supply"? Seems like it would end up being rather fiddly.


Not at all fiddly, 'about to be out of supply' is defined as 'will be out of supply during the Initial Supply determination phase at their current location' as this will be done after the Naval Movement phase. (Of course they could be put back in supply during the Naval Movement phase by moving fleets, and/or adjusting the Japanese Supply Network, possibly using the Submarine Supply [though in this specific case the Japanese player does not currently have any submarines]).

All I am suggesting preventing is an illogical dash east by Japanese transports to somehow then get to Japan--there ought to at least be the option of harassing this move for the American fleet, in my view. There were many instances of transports sunk coming and going, even an unfortunate sinking by a submarine of a Japanese transport mostly carrying prisoners of war. Most of the troops will still probably make it, as they need only survive one round of combat plus a submarine attack--bad weather and they get through easily!

On the other hand, one could argue that mad dash east (or the similar evacuation of China from a previous post) represents a Japanese operation of stripping away defenders which has been in progress for several months. After all, we are simulating what is 'really happening' in many instances in any game, for the contemporary commanders, it was not as though they could look at the Pacific Charts and say, 'Aha, if I put LBA squadrons here and here, and base a fleet here, the enemy will be out of supply.' Rather, as the islands and bases are taken, and more and more enemy planes and ships arrive, it becomes problematic to get supply and troop transports through--but not impossible, particularly a few at a time. After all, most of those U-Boat supply vessels in the Atlantic escaped detection for long periods of time, and the Pacific is much larger than the Atlantic.

So like I said, I could argue either way as to whether transports ought to be able to move cut off units home unscathed. This is often possible with warships, but of course a couple of cruisers making a dash for home is much different from a bunch of slow and essentially unprotected transports--even a destroyer which found them could probably slip past the escorting destroyers and sink a few transports.
 
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Kris Adamson
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You would think if The Allies were dominate in the sea areas the Japanese ships were required to travel through the move wouldn't be allowed. This is the only game mechanic in "Asia Engulfed" that is sort of a loophole.Otherwise I just love the game to death
 
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Mark Luta
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Well, 'dominate the sea zones' is a bit of a misnomer here, as what is being simulated is concentrated operations in an area for two months, looking for a battle. This is not an 'encirclement' as would be possible on land. Those sea areas are really, really vast (take a look at a map of the Pacific, and understand for utility the game map is quite skewed, some of those areas are immense). And the ships and planes do not sit out there the whole time, even if they could cover the whole area, they operate out of bases. The mechanic well-simulates a naval campaign, trying to contest a sea region means one's assets are operating there for an extended time, and so there is a good possibility of finding them and bringing about a battle. But if a fleet turns tail and runs back to home waters, they will almost surely not be found, maybe a couple ships will be caught and sunk but the fleet as a whole definitely gets away.

So, as I noted before, we could say the 'great escape' technique represents the Japanese withdrawing forces over a period of several months, not really able to get to that level of detail in this system. After all, they did evacuate over 1000 men from the Aleutians completely unnoticed, so I am willing to believe if they are not heavily pressed in combat on the Eastpac islands (i.e., if the Allies do not leave ground combat units in the area with them), then they probably could have withdrawn in this manner. Historically, the only major Japanese base which was bypassed by the Americans over the course of the war was Truk, and that was not a major land base, it simply offered large amounts of protected anchorages (the 'large port' rating actually underrates Truk, but probably adds in the difficulties the Japanese had keeping the fleet there supplied--if the Americans take Truk, one could argue it ought to become a 'homeport' ala Hawaii, but that is probably a pretty insignificant detail and not worth having a special rule just so the Americans could base 9 fleet blocks there...).

Overall I actually have more a slight problem with the idea of the late war evacuation of China using this technique in the 'Allies cannot enter' areas, though if the Japanese fleet have all been sunk the Allies can prevent this by taking Kyushu and the Japanese would then have to be able to build a fleet unit at Yokohama the turn they wanted to rebase transports home--I suppose that level of preparation ought to be rewarded!
 
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Tom Johnston
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Maybe I'm playing wrong, but the way I read the rules is that only FLEETS, not troop transports can rebase to home ports ignoring infuence, ecd. Tommydice
 
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Mark Luta
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Indeed, an interesting point, Rule 8.8 does only refer directly to Fleets when allowing a return to homeport by ignoring distance and influence. The latter part of the paragrah refers then again to both Fleets and Troop Transports, and states the distances which may be moved during rebasing, but does not refer to rebasing to homeport.

However, Rule 8.12 states "Troop transports mvoe as fleets except that their movement range is only two sea-zones.' Thus, they would be able to rebase to homeport if still at sea during Rebasing. This does seem to be the interpretation Vassal uses, as I once invaded Johnston Atoll from the Hawaiian Sea with a Japanese Marine overstacking, which then of course popped back out to sea, the computer automatically rebased my Marine to Japan as there is no port within a move of '2' to return to.

So the interpretation troop transports may not rebase to homeport would result in the loss of Marine units from time to time, owing to the statement in 8.8, confirmed as I recall by Rick Young, that Marines cannot make a rebase move of '3'--they can move out farther than they can return.
 
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