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Subject: SubRon Mini-Campaign 1 : Australia's Contribution to the Silent War rss

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SubRon Mini-Campaign 1 : Australia's Contribution to the Silent War

Intro

In early 1942 Division 53 & Division 201 were sent to be based out of Australia. 11 submarines in total were deployed until Oct 42, when they were withdrawn for overhaul.

This campaign covers 22 weeks form April 1942 to end of September.

The goal is to exceed historical tonnage sunk (29,772) taking minimal losses. Bonus points for Capital Ships!

A quick summary of significant events is given below, followed by some statistics.


Week 3 April:
Week 4 April: ULTRA Solomons & Bismarck Sea, S-47 sinks 5tM

So far so good! Only 2 weeks in and I’ve already bagged 1/6th of the required tonnage. This is going to be easy!

Week 1 May: BB Yamato added to War Mix
Week 2 May: THE HUNT FOR WOUNDED BEAR! Not found, S-41 Lost!

A wasted week looking for the damaged Shokaku! S-41 was spotted (and sunk) by an enemy sub! Down to 10 working subs.

Week 3 May:
Week 4 May:

Week 1 June:
Week 2 June:
Week 3 June:

Um, this is not looking so good. No more ships sunk. These torpedoes suck

Week 4 June: ULTRA Solomons & Bismarck Sea. S-45 sinks 2tM! S-39 sinks 2tM!

Woot! Finally some more results. 10 weeks in and 9 tons. I can’t wait for the updated Mk-XIV torpedoes!

Week 1 July: Begin War Period 2. ULTRA Bismarck Sea

Main hunting grounds change from Bismarck Sea and Coral Islands. Most subs sent to Gilbert Islands.

Week 2 July: S-44 returns to base with heavy mechanical damage!
Week 3 July: ULTRA Bismarck Sea. S-47 sinks 3tM! S-42 sinks 1tM!

A couple more ships sunk, and tonnage up to 13t

Week 4 July:
Week 1 Aug: Mk-XIV improves to -1. S-42 sinks 2tM
Improved torpedo shows instant results!

Week 2 Aug: Only 1 Patrol, 6 in transit
Week 3 Aug: No ULTRA. 7 patrols. S-45 sinks 2tM! S-47 sinks 1tM!

The results keep coming in

Week 4 Aug: S-37 sinks 5tM!!!

Big Merchant sunk by S-37! Up to 23tons! Need 30+. 10t sunk in Aug with new torpedoes. I only need another 7+t sunk in Sept. Should be easy?

Week 1 Sept: 2 patrols. ULTRA Bismarck. S-39 Sunk by CRT!!!

Crap!!! Down to 9 submarines (with S-44 out of action, only 8 working!)

Week 2 Sept: ULTRA Solomons. S-46 sinks 3tM!

Two weeks to go and another 4t required! It’s going to be tight!
Week 3 Sept: 6 patrols. ULTRA Solomons. S-37 sinks 3tM. S-47 sinks 1tM!!!!

YEAH!!!!! It was really tense by I hit 30,000 tons! I’ve got 4 patrols for the final week. Can the bag another 5t and give me a substantial victory?

Week 4 Sept: ULTRA Bismarck Sea.

No Results for week 4! Mini-Campaign ends in a draw. At least I didn’t lose another sub, which would have resulted in Defeat!

Aftermath

So, how did the individual subs do? For those of you keeping score the big winner was S-47 with 4 ships sunk totalling 10t!

The rest of the Leaderboard looks as follows:

S-37 – 8t, 2 ships
S-45 – 4t, 2 ships
S-42 – 3t, 2 ships
S-46 – 3t, 1 ship
S-39 – 2t, 1 ship

Other notable facts:

The READY AWARD Most Weeks in Transit – S-45 with 9 weeks (a lot of subs spent 8 of the weeks in transit). S-45 never went Pier Side. It was always ready straight away heading straight back to sea after its patrols.

The LAZY AWARD Most Weeks in Pierside – S-37 with 5 weeks. Yes, over a month was spent getting re-prepped for action. Despite this Award, S-37 still sunk two large ships. I guess it was time well spent!

The CRIPPLED AWARD Most Weeks in Repair – S-44 with 8 weeks! 5 weeks in Repair Bay 3. This was all a result of its mechanical failure. S-44 ended the scenario Pier Side, ready just in time to be decommissioned.

The BUSY AWARD Most Weeks on Patrol – Shared by S-38, S-45, S-47 all with 11 weeks on patrol. The winner on a tie-break is S-45 as S-45 began two weeks later (in May 1942).

The HOMER SIMPSON AWARD DOH! S-44 hit two ships, a 5tM and 1tM. Both were able to escape. On her 5th patrol she encountered mechanical failure and was out of action for the remaining 10 weeks.

The BLIND ARCHER AWARD – S-43. In 8 contacts never managed to scratch a ship.

The SILENT HUNTER AWARD – Most Contacts – S-47 with 10.

The NOISY HUNTER AWARD – Most No Contacts – S-38 with 4 out of 11 patrols ending with No Contact.

STATS

Total Weeks “Spent”: 216

Patrolling: 93, 43%
In Transit: 77, 36%
Pier Side: 34, 16%
BroomBox/Repair: 12, 5%

I was hoping to see the Patrol:Transit ratio a bit higher. I expect about 30% success rate in passing endurance checks.

PierSide: About 40% of returned patrols ended up Pier Side. This is a bit lower than I expected as all subs had a readiness of 3 or 4.

Patrol Summary (93)
Contact: 73, 78%
No Contact: 17, 18%
Enemy Sub: 3, 3%

About 20% of patrols were unsuccessful. This is about what is expected as most patrolling was done in areas with 80% chance of contact.


Conclusion

This was a very fun campaign to play. Not nearly as BIG as the full campaign, it still gives you a bunch of the flavour and tension.

It seems to be fairly well balanced, and it is a testimony to the designer to make such a grand system which gives results so close to the historical ones.

I hope to do SubRon2 as soon as I am able.
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Lance McMillan
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Fascinating AAR -- thanks for sharing.

Having never played the system, I'm curious whether you feel the "success/failure" statistics you cite were the result of your decisions as a player, or whether they were simply the result of the system just randomly generating contacts and resolving attacks? The strategic submarine campaign in the Pacific is a fascinating topic, and I'd really like to try this game, but so much of what I've read about "Silent War" seems to suggest that the player really isn't making a whole lot of choices/decsions that effect the eventual outcome --instead, it appears to me that the random element (of whether your subs find/hit/sink contacts) tends to dominate play, and that while the game certainly generates a compelling narrative, the player is mostly just "along for the ride."
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Steven Packard
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I really enjoyed this report. Just the right amount of detail and summary. Plus it really made me want to play. It's been too long since I have, and when I did, it was just very basic scenarios. It's time for me to grab some subs and start bouncing torpedoes off some hulls.

Thanks for a fun and inspirational session report.
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Steven Packard
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Lancer4321 wrote:
Fascinating AAR -- thanks for sharing.

Having never played the system, I'm curious whether you feel the "success/failure" statistics you cite were the result of your decisions as a player, or whether they were simply the result of the system just randomly generating contacts and resolving attacks? The strategic submarine campaign in the Pacific is a fascinating topic, and I'd really like to try this game, but so much of what I've read about "Silent War" seems to suggest that the player really isn't making a whole lot of choices/decsions that effect the eventual outcome --instead, it appears to me that the random element (of whether your subs find/hit/sink contacts) tends to dominate play, and that while the game certainly generates a compelling narrative, the player is mostly just "along for the ride."


I'm interested to hear what Randy has to say about this, but in my limited experience, it's true that luck has a lot to do with it. However, I believe it's a historical amount of luck.

In other words, the Pacific War, especially in the early years had a lot of waiting, a lot of nothing, then a flurry of sightings, and if you were lucky you might get some torpedoes thrown in the right direction. But with the poor quality of the early torpedoes, there was a high percentage of duds.

So fighting in the war involved a lot of planning and strategy ... and then a reliance on luck to see if your actions pay off. You put yourself in a position to maximize odds which are going to be against you.

Anyway, that's my take.
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Nathaniel GOUSSET
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Lancer4321 wrote:
Fascinating AAR -- thanks for sharing.

Having never played the system, I'm curious whether you feel the "success/failure" statistics you cite were the result of your decisions as a player, or whether they were simply the result of the system just randomly generating contacts and resolving attacks? The strategic submarine campaign in the Pacific is a fascinating topic, and I'd really like to try this game, but so much of what I've read about "Silent War" seems to suggest that the player really isn't making a whole lot of choices/decsions that effect the eventual outcome --instead, it appears to me that the random element (of whether your subs find/hit/sink contacts) tends to dominate play, and that while the game certainly generates a compelling narrative, the player is mostly just "along for the ride."


Luck is a very important factor in this game, a decisive one.

But something I learn by my several playing is that this luck is very player dependant. You can adjust by it and try to optimise the way you use your subs, try to bring them to the spot where they are the less innefective for their stats.

What make luck so important is also the poor stats of torpedoes and some subs at the start of the campaign... sinking a ships is a lucky event... what you have to do is try to have the more attempt possible so you can finaly get lucky.

One way that show player have impact : on average I scored better and better after my playings, even finding correct use for the totally POJ subs...

But be warned : hitting the first mark without being sacked did require as much luck as skill, you need both. (even if some very good luck could manage for tottaly poor skill, like when a 20t ship wander on the trajectory of my torpedo while I had a triple tonnage sunk event : instant 60t mark, nice ).
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IMHO Steven is pretty spot on.

It is important to remember that Silent War is an Operational Game. So from an operational standpoint you are making decisions which will affect your outcome.

But, lots of the fun is in the Tactical Game. The actual launching your salvoes and hoping for that perfect hit. Any individual attack is highly random, but over the course of a campaign these random attacks would result in some sort of distribution, which on an operational scale you need to make as favourable as possible.

You also need to decide on a tactical scale if you want to go for those 1tM or risk it all on a long shot against that 8tAO. Again, the individual result will be "random" but you need to decide operationally what your tactic is going to be, as over a campaign it is the multiple little choices (and associated risks) that will determine your success.

So I don't think "the player is along for the ride" at all. As your tactical choices need to reflect your overall operational strategy. This is nothing like B-17 which practically plays itself.

There is a lot of die rolling and randomness. But you choose which odds you want. Which risks you will take. Where you will hunt.

Happy Hunting!

Aside: the Patrol Missions are pretty random. As each individual patrol has a lot of luck to it. But they are a great way to learn the combat system.


WhiteKnight85 wrote:
Lancer4321 wrote:
Fascinating AAR -- thanks for sharing.

Having never played the system, I'm curious whether you feel the "success/failure" statistics you cite were the result of your decisions as a player, or whether they were simply the result of the system just randomly generating contacts and resolving attacks? The strategic submarine campaign in the Pacific is a fascinating topic, and I'd really like to try this game, but so much of what I've read about "Silent War" seems to suggest that the player really isn't making a whole lot of choices/decsions that effect the eventual outcome --instead, it appears to me that the random element (of whether your subs find/hit/sink contacts) tends to dominate play, and that while the game certainly generates a compelling narrative, the player is mostly just "along for the ride."


I'm interested to hear what Randy has to say about this, but in my limited experience, it's true that luck has a lot to do with it. However, I believe it's a historical amount of luck.

In other words, the Pacific War, especially in the early years had a lot of waiting, a lot of nothing, then a flurry of sightings, and if you were lucky you might get some torpedoes thrown in the right direction. But with the poor quality of the early torpedoes, there was a high percentage of duds.

So fighting in the war involved a lot of planning and strategy ... and then a reliance on luck to see if your actions pay off. You put yourself in a position to maximize odds which are going to be against you.

Anyway, that's my take.
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