Cruisers vs a Single Battleship

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Cruisers vs a Single Battleship

Postby Greg Smith » Sat Nov 24, 2018 5:30 pm

Americans

USS Washington (North Carolina class) 800 points

Vs

Italians

Trento 130
Bolzano (Trento class) 130
Luigi di Savoia (Duca degli Abruzzi-class) 110
Zara 150
Pola (Zara class) 150
Attilo Regolo (Capitani Romani class) 65
Scipio Africano (Capitani Romani class) 65

This game was to try out cruisers vs a big battleship. With 6+ armour and armoured deck, light cruisers weren’t going to able to scratch it with their guns, so heavy cruisers and torpedoes were the order of the day for the Italians.

On turn one the Italians began to close on the big American ship. The two light cruisers came straight towards it. But the Americans A and B turrets belched forth destruction, and despite the Italians speed, the Scipio Africano was crippled. The rear turret mere scratched the paintwork on the other small, fast cruiser. The bigger Italian cruisers landing pin-pick hits on the American, but every point of damage was a potential critical.

On the second turn, the American battleship received a couple of critical hits – to the engine and crew. The Italian’s speed saved them from much further damage.

On turn three things took a turn for the dramatic. The Attilo Regolo sped in and turned alongside the battleship for a torpedo strike. It launched all of its torpedoes. And missed! With the little cruiser now unable to damage the big ship, the Americans left it alone and fired on the Luigi di Savoia, blasting her out of the water with a Catastrophic Explosion. The gunners of the remaining Italian ships were obviously so shocked, they failed to land a single damaging hit on the Americans for the rest of the turn.

And so the game progressed. The Italians did single points of damage to the big battleship and gradually increased the critical levels. While in return the big guns blasted apart ship after ship. The Bolsano missed a torpedo run and a the Americans scored a second Catastrophic Explosion.

In the end the battleship had taken 26 points of damage and had taken about 10 critcals during the game, although repaired 6 of them.

The Italians suffered from poor dice, lack of torpedo range, and struggling to repair criticals. With just 8” range, the Italians had to get within 4” to even hit with torpedoes, while similar British cruisers would have been at point blank at 4”.

Conclusion

Cruisers can’t easily take on Battlehips.

Oh, and Italian torpedos suck!

Suggestions


We have three very different suggestions for this.

1. Allow light guns to inflict superficial damage to weakly armoured, deck mounted equipment – torpedoes, light guns, radar and so on. We realise this would be big change to the game at this late stage and would probably add too much detail and slow the game.

2. Add some form of restriction to battleships when fleet building. Examples: For every Battleship, you must purchase 2 cruisers and 2 destroyers. Or more simply you cannot spend more then half of your points on battleships.

3. Double the points of battleships. Although this doesn’t change the fact that light cruisers still can’t harm them.

Personally I think no.2 is the best option.
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Re: Cruisers vs a Single Battleship

Postby Garydee » Sat Nov 24, 2018 5:44 pm

Greg Smith wrote:
Sat Nov 24, 2018 5:30 pm
Suggestions[/b]

1. Allow light guns to inflict superficial damage to weakly armoured, deck mounted equipment – torpedoes, light guns, radar and so on. We realise this would be big change to the game at this late stage and would probably add too much detail and slow the game.

That was something that I recommended a few months ago. It's realistic and should at least be an optional rule in the game.
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Re: Cruisers vs a Single Battleship

Postby Greg Smith » Sun Nov 25, 2018 10:07 am

Just to add, if this had been a fight between an armor 7 battleship and cruisers, the cruisers would have a very unpleasant game indeed.
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Re: Cruisers vs a Single Battleship

Postby msprange » Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:54 am

Hmm... My problem with this...

Battleships have two very big vulnerabilities - torps and aircraft. Balanced fleets should have the capability to take them on.

My first reaction would be to have a battleship limitation _only_ in competitive (let's say Matched Play) games.

What would you think of that?
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Re: Cruisers vs a Single Battleship

Postby Condottiere » Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:47 am

Sending up a lot of lead and explosives seems to dissuade a lot of pilots from pressing their attacks, and seems to inherently interfere with their concentration.

And it's a moving target.

Introducing historical reality, like the Bismarck unable to target a bunch of slow moving biplanes, and the Japanese indecisiveness leaving their carriers vulnerable while they were rearming their aircraft, is something else.

Though for the Bismarck, reasons could include a rough sea and fatigued gunners.
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Re: Cruisers vs a Single Battleship

Postby locarno24 » Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:36 am

msprange wrote:
Tue Nov 27, 2018 9:54 am
Battleships have two very big vulnerabilities - torps and aircraft.
Yes and no.

Battleships' big guns have a massive blind spot for destroyers - a fast-moving destroyer head-on at long range is basically immune to turreted guns, and even once the range comes down it's going to be a rare case that anything hits, and the point blank range blind spot means that by the time they get close enough to realistically hit you stop being able to shoot them.

The secondary batteries can in theory chop up destroyers but even then it's not easy.

By comparison, destroyers need to get either within half printed range of their torpedoes to hit, or within 3/4 range if they can get in the side arc. And even then that's hitting on a 6.
But Best case - point blank range in the side - delivers hits on a 2+, and the 8 3DD torpedoes carried by pair of 55 point ZH1 destroyers can cripple a 500 point Scharnhorst battlecruiser in a single turn.

Thing is, if you found yourself staring at a Destroyer Swarm, I'm not sure a battleship has all that much it can do to stop them. So that's where cruisers need to come in - in a sort of Destroyers>Battleships>Cruisers>Destroyers cycle.

Whether that's currently the case, I'm less sure. The cruiser's main armament are still classed as turrets, after all, so still have the same inability to engage a destroyer (arguably more so, since its effective 1/4-to-1/2 range band is narrower and closer), despite being the same guns which might be classed as light weapons on a heavier ship, which can fire at point blank range and get to ignore the penalty to hit for the destroyer's speed.

If we had either a 'slow tracking' trait for the big guns on battlewagons that we don't want to be able to engage destroyers, or a 'fast tracking' for the 6" weapons that just happen to be classed as turrets rather than light guns, maybe that might give cruisers more of an in-game role?
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
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Re: Cruisers vs a Single Battleship

Postby msprange » Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:05 am

locarno24 wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:36 am
or a 'fast tracking' for the 6" weapons that just happen to be classed as turrets rather than light guns, maybe that might give cruisers more of an in-game role?
That could work very well - if everyone would like to try that for a game or three, please let me know how it goes. Would be a very neat solution.
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Re: Cruisers vs a Single Battleship

Postby locarno24 » Mon Mar 04, 2019 4:12 pm

So....yeah.
To see if what I assumed was true was true, we had a quick playtest with the Bismarck versus.....basically most of the V- and W- class destroyers ever build (24 of them, in fact).

And yes, the result was pretty much as expected.

For the first two turns, the Battleship was unable to hurt the destroyers, since Long Range + Fast Moving Target + Destroyer (Turrets) or Extreme Range + Destroyer (Light Guns) basically meant that the Bismarck had zero chance whatsoever to score at over 20" range.

Once things closed again, in the third turn, it managed to wing two destroyers, but didn't do enough to have killed either had it concentrated fire (4 damage means a single 15" shell is unlikely to kill the target - rolling two hits out of 2 turrets and one light gun battery at each ship it fired at was not impossible but irritatingly it managed 1 hit on each).

In the fourth turn, it failed to do much with the light guns despite the point blank range bonus, and the turrets had to engage (and failed to hit) a more distant destroyer due to the effective 10" minimum range. Then the torpedoes started landing. In the first spread from 6 out of the 24 destroyers, firing only their starboard tubes, Bismarck took nearly 50 damage and lost engines (Engines 6), sizeable chunks of the light weapons (Crew 1, Weapons 1), and with no ability to move, let alone turn, there was little practical hope of it avoiding being put in a crossfire by twelve more destroyers in the following turn, this time all of them getting to park in the prow and stern where the torpedo belt didn't cover.



So.....yes.

Battleships (and battlecruisers) will wipe the floor with an equivalent points of cruisers - the latter have lighter armour, weaker weapons (in some cases completely unable to hurt the capital ship), and whilst some of them are slightly faster, enough battleships and battlecruisers have a 6" speed for this not to be something you can rely on and it's not fast enough to make them a harder target.

The cruisers don't have the speed to avoid incoming fire and can't close quickly enough to bring the light torpedo armament they often carry to bear, and they can't possibly survive an artillery duel with the longer range, more accurate and more powerful guns mounted on the tougher, better armoured capital ships.



Destroyers, by comparison, can basically charge through the best a battleship can throw out without getting hit, and then swarm it with torpedoes at close range and point for point the capital ship cannot realistically stop it. Bismarck's entire main battery has about a 40% chance of getting the two 15" hits it takes to reliably kill a destroyer, and it only take 1-2 turns for destroyers to cover the 10" range band where they are effective.



So the last side of the triangle - can a screen of cruisers armed with 6" guns and it's own torpedoes (there are some classes where the main armament are classed as light weapons not turrets - I'm not sure why the Arethusa's 6" guns are turrets whilst the Cardiff's 6" guns are considered light guns?) reliably stop a torpedo swarm in the same way - or at least kill more points of incoming destroyers than they lose?


Equally, is the binary drop-off in effectiveness justified? A destroyer is faster and smaller than a light cruiser. So it should be harder to hit. But an effective permanent -2 to hit is a big deal because it means any further penalty to hit makes you untouchable; are they that much harder to hit?
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
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Re: Cruisers vs a Single Battleship

Postby rbax » Tue Mar 05, 2019 9:52 am

I'm not sure why the Arethusa's 6" guns are turrets whilst the Cardiff's 6" guns are considered light guns?
Primarily because the Arethusa's guns are in three twin turrets while Cardiff's 6" guns are in a a series of single, manually worked pedestal mounts.

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Re: Cruisers vs a Single Battleship

Postby locarno24 » Tue Mar 05, 2019 10:22 am

Fair enough.

Is there a feel that the Arethusa would be totally unable to engage a destroyer with gunfire, as a result, though? Because that feels like too harsh a restriction.

The "-1 for speed, -1 for destroyer" represents a huge break-point in the difficulty of hitting a target, because even if you need a '6' to hit, most big ship's main batteries have enough guns in them that you can expect 1 or 2 hits on a cruiser (and with multiple damage dice and a positive AP, that's enough to take a huge bite out of a cruiser), whilst a destroyer can't be hit at all.
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
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Re: Cruisers vs a Single Battleship

Postby TyphoonSSN » Tue Mar 26, 2019 2:58 pm

Well, destroyers ARE small and nimble ships that used these abilities several times to attack heavier ships with success in both World Wars, so I don't think that it's undeserved.
However, I fully support the idea that small calibre guns could damage less protected items like AA guns, radars, antennas, optics... This way, destroyers and light cruisers could turn a battleship into a blind, unarmed floating husk and cripple the enemy fleet while torpedo-armed ships or airplanes can finish the job.

... but now, I'm somewhat curious, and I'd like to see how a Yamato or Iowa-class battleship would handle fighting the same amount of points in cruisers. :mrgreen:
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Re: Cruisers vs a Single Battleship

Postby locarno24 » Thu Mar 28, 2019 11:40 am

Well, destroyers ARE small and nimble ships that used these abilities several times to attack heavier ships with success in both World Wars, so I don't think that it's undeserved.
Agreed. And they should - and are - capable of killing an equivalent points worth of battleships.
The problem is, what does stop a swarm of destroyers?

Imagine 3 C-class Light Cruisers versus 8 V-class destroyers - about 200 points on either side.

The Light Cruisers have light weapons, not turrets, so they don't suffer a penalty to hit for speed, but they're still at -1 to engage destroyers, meaning they cannot hit at extreme range (>14") and need a 6 to hit at long range (>9"), so killing the destroyers before they get in amongst them is functionally impossible - a full volley from all three cruisers will land an average of about one-and-a-half hits at long range - and with AP-2 weak weapons, that can credibly do nothing even to a destroyer.

If the cruiser can fire into a destroyer's broadside at point blank range, it can get a kill with average rolling, but at 4", you're into exchanging alternating fire with superior numbers of ships and those ships have torpedo tubes.
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
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Re: Cruisers vs a Single Battleship

Postby msprange » Thu Mar 28, 2019 11:46 am

We are looking at several options for this, but...

What if we a) removed the penalty for firing at fast targets and b) put more emphasis on Evasive! (perhaps making it a straight -1 to be hit, rather than forcing re-rolls?)..?

You see, destroyers are kind of double-dipping on the penalties to hit, so the only ships that will suffer from this are the very fast cruisers - but they are few in number and does their speed really make them that much harder to hit than one going a few knots slower?
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Re: Cruisers vs a Single Battleship

Postby Garydee » Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:54 pm

msprange wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 11:46 am
We are looking at several options for this, but...

What if we a) removed the penalty for firing at fast targets and b) put more emphasis on Evasive! (perhaps making it a straight -1 to be hit, rather than forcing re-rolls?)..?

You see, destroyers are kind of double-dipping on the penalties to hit, so the only ships that will suffer from this are the very fast cruisers - but they are few in number and does their speed really make them that much harder to hit than one going a few knots slower?
If you took the penalty away then the big guns would hit as accurately as the light guns. I'd like to keep that as is. However, the Evasive! change sounds good.
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Re: Cruisers vs a Single Battleship

Postby msprange » Thu Mar 28, 2019 3:06 pm

Hmm... Maybe destroyers get an extra benefit to Evasive... Gives them a choice of stay (relatively) safe or make that torpedo run...
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Re: Cruisers vs a Single Battleship

Postby Condottiere » Thu Mar 28, 2019 6:27 pm

Acceleration split between evasion and speed.
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Re: Cruisers vs a Single Battleship

Postby Garydee » Thu Mar 28, 2019 6:42 pm

msprange wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 3:06 pm
Hmm... Maybe destroyers get an extra benefit to Evasive... Gives them a choice of stay (relatively) safe or make that torpedo run...
You could also reduce the destroyers' "invulnerable to main guns" from point blank to a lower amount. That would give main guns a better chance to pick off a destroyer because 1) Main guns would actually have a chance to target a destroyer before they get in too close 2) Main guns might get a point blank bonus before the destroyer can get in which would make them easier to hit. Let me stress that I don't want to see the rule disappear just reduced below point blank.
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Re: Cruisers vs a Single Battleship

Postby locarno24 » Mon Apr 01, 2019 9:26 am

msprange wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 3:06 pm
Hmm... Maybe destroyers get an extra benefit to Evasive... Gives them a choice of stay (relatively) safe or make that torpedo run...
Bear in mind that destroyers will basically be nailed to evasive! at long range so whatever bonus they get can be considered 'active all the time' - they don't have anything more than the odd popgun so any penalty to return fire is kind of irrelevant.
destroyers are kind of double-dipping on the penalties to hit
This. I get some ships being harder targets, but the idea that everything from Pre-War battleships to most light cruisers is exactly the same difficulty target then suddenly you move to destroyers who get both penalties to hit and can't even be shot at across much of the game's possible engagement geometry feels a bit jarring.
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
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Re: Cruisers vs a Single Battleship

Postby msprange » Mon Apr 01, 2019 9:34 am

locarno24 wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 9:26 am
Bear in mind that destroyers will basically be nailed to evasive! at long range so whatever bonus they get can be considered 'active all the time' - they don't have anything more than the odd popgun so any penalty to return fire is kind of irrelevant.
Once they are in range of Big Guns, I think I am okay with that - just need to keep an eye on the effects. However, there is a big trade off - they lose speed while doing it. Nice little choice between taking fire as they rush in, and playing it safe but not getting those sweet torps off until later in the game...
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Re: Cruisers vs a Single Battleship

Postby Katerine » Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:17 am

Introducing historical reality, like the Bismarck unable to target a bunch of slow moving biplanes, and the Japanese indecisiveness leaving their carriers vulnerable while they were rearming their aircraft, is something else.
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