September changes to Long Lance torpedoes


Hello all,

Local Nemesis here. While I absolutely understand the need to modify IJN Long Lance torpedoes, I do not think the changes reflected in the September rules pack are going to help. Here are the relevant rules, copied for ease:

Long Lance: The Type 93 ‘Long Lance’ torpedo had an exceedingly high range, but the chances of actually hitting anything at those ranges diminished quickly – however, this was still useful as it allowed a Japanese fleet to effectively ‘seed’ a stretch of water with torpedoes.

Long Lance torpedoes are used in the same way as other torpedoes, unless the range to the target exceeds 20”. If the target is at a greater range, roll a dice for each torpedo that successfully hits – the torpedo will miss unless the result of this dice roll is a 6.

In addition, Japanese ships only tended to have one ready salvo when reloading. Any ship with the Slow-Loading trait for its Long Lance torpedoes may only reload them once during the entire battle.

Firstly, Long Lance torpedoes have a maximum range of 34" inches. However, those last four inches of range are somewhat meaningless because targets further than 30" away cannot be attacked since they are beyond Maximum Visual Range:

Maximum Visual Range
The maximum range a ship can attack a target at is 30”. Targets beyond this are considered to be over the horizon and require a slightly more complicated approach (see pXX).

Presumably Observation Aircraft could be used to guide torpedo fire at ranges beyond 30", however I have a rather difficult time imagining scenarios in which such aircraft are actually in position, not accosted by defenders, and actually assigned to the ships that will be firing at such long ranges. I think, we can safely assume Long Lance torpedoes will never be fired at targets beyond 30" away.

So, what does this mean for the IJN firing torpedoes at such long range? Given the 34" range of the weapon, we can determine that Extreme range is anything beyond 25" (34" x .75 = 25.5 = 25 due to rounding rules) and Long range is anything beyond 17" (34" x .5 = 17).

We are concerned with attacks at greater than 20" because of the new rule. Here are how the attacks will work out:

Base number to hit: 4
Torpedo attack: +2
Long range: +1
Extreme range: +2

This means that any Long Lance torpedo attack at greater than 17" will require a 7 to hit, and targets at greater than 25" will require an 8. Since the vast majority of ships do not have effective weapon ranges of this magnitude, I think it is fair to assume that ships at these ranges will generally be closing the distance and therefore not present the Large Silhouette bonus modifier. Therefore, Long Lance torpedo attacks at greater than 17" is usually impossible — it is extra, more impossible if the targets are moving fast or Destroyers.

How then does a target get attacked by a Long Lance torpedo at greater than 20"? The only way is for the target to be larger than a Destroyer, have not moved more than 6" this turn, present a Large Silhouette to the attacker, and also be between 20" and 25" away. In this case, and this case only (as far as I can reason out), the target could be fired upon with the attacker needing a 6 to hit. However, the new Long Lance rule means any hits will have to be re– rolled, requiring a further 6 to confirm the hit — anything else being a miss.

The probability of rolling a single 6 followed by another 6 is 1 in 36. This attack also uses up one of the two torpedo strikes allowed to an IJN vessel. In my opinion, no competent IJN player would ever take such a shot, which means this new rule will not be of use.

Do any IJN players ever take shots beyond 20"? I would think it is uncommon, if only because the math says it should be. Attacks beyond 17" require a 7 to hit, so unless the attacker has maneuvered into the target's Large Silhouette zone, these attacks aren't going to hit, either.

I'm not sure limiting the IJN to only two torpedo attacks will be effective, either. If it's historically accurate that IJN vessels only had two shots per engagement then I guess that's just the way things go (I have a hard time coming to grips with this, though), but in fairness I think you should examine the other nations and see how they faired. New IJN players (or those not deeply schooled on the ordinance layout of warships) will wonder why they only get two shots while their opponents have an infinite supply (assuming non one– shot torpedoes). If limiting the IJN to two shots is purely for game balance, then it strikes me as a bit unfair.

In summary, I do not think the new changes to Long Lance torpedoes will do anything. The shots at those ranges are almost non– existent. Anyone who takes them either does not understand how to play or is desperate and in need of a Hail Mary– type attack.

Regarding the Fan Attack:

Fan Salvoes: The Imperial Japanese Navy had an impressive weapon with the Type 93 ‘Long Lance’ torpedo but, more importantly, they were well-trained in its use. The extreme range of the Type 93 was intended to make it the opening weapon in long range night actions, with massed torpedo attacks launched at long range prior to the battle fleet engaging.

Any ship capable of firing 3 or more Attack Dice of Type 93 torpedoes may launch a single ‘fan salvo’ after fleets have been deployed but before the battle begins, with the intention of hitting multiple enemies. Roll one dice for every ship taking part in the fan salvo (this will expend the ship’s torpedoes for the battle if they have the One-Shot trait, but will be reloaded in time for the battle if they are Slow-Loading). A random enemy ship will be hit on the roll of a 6. A fan salvo may be used in Night Battles but not Bad Weather.

I like the single die per ship capable of making such an attack. I think that will work well, or at least better than before. However, we need to clarify some things, I think. It appears the Fan Salvo uses up the One– Shot weapons, but if they are Slow– Loading and therefore ready to fire on the first turn, does that Fan Salvo attack use up one of the Long Lance's two possible shots for the game? I would think so, but some text to that end would be welcome. Also, since attacks at ranges greater than 20" were covered above this section in the fleet rules, does the "6s needing 6s" rule also apply? I can see it being argued either way, so some clarification is needed, I think.

I think that's about all for now. Thanks for reading!

Great points.

I would definitely save my single shot tubes rather than fire a fan salvo.

When my ships have been attacked by long lances, it is usually side on, either because I am positioned for broadside firing or because the firing ships has maneuvered to fire that way. So long range ships can hit on 6. And incidentally Japanese destroyers have P/S firing torpedo tubes which mean they can bring their full load to fire on a single target, eg the Fubuki can fire 9 dice.

I agree, the last 4 inches are indeed meaningless as firing at ranges over 30" require the target to be immobile. Which never happens in VAS (apart from the one critical - which means the enemy are in range anyway!).

I would like to see the 20" restriction reworded to long and extreme range. The 20" just creates a small extra range band. eg 0-8.5" point blank, 8.5 -17" standard, 17-20" long, 20-25.5" long with reroll, 25.5-34 extreme with reroll.

I'm not sure the single reload will make much difference. A second salvo from a torpedo heavy fleet will pretty much finish of any other fleet. Really it is the first salvo that is the problem :)

Just a thought: reloading a torpedo tube on the pitching deck of a small destroyer is automatic, but reloading the torpedo on a plane on the deck of a huge, relatively stable carrier requires a crew quality roll. Which seems the wrong way round to me.
From what I know, the Japanese did have semi-auto loaders for their reloadable torpedo tubes.

They would be able to simply slide the torpedoes from the loading cell into the launcher.

Frankly it seems a little crazy that Long Lances have a 17km effective range against maneuvering targets, and in VaS they are frequently maneuvering. I know it's the price we pay for a set of fast play rules, but that's a 10 minute run time.

I'd personally have the 20" rule used as the "combat" range against an aware target (as opposed to fan salvoes catching ships offguard). In Japanese Destroyer Captain Amatsukaze/Shigure captain Hara placed the Long Lance's preferred combat launching range at around 5km, which fits with the point blank range band if they have 20" range.
In game terms 20" range makes them good torpedoes. 20" range plus a fan attack at the start makes them really good torpedoes. 34" inch range makes them I-never-want-to-fight-against-the-Japanese-ever good torpedoes.
Greg Smith said:
In game terms 20" range makes them good torpedoes. 20" range plus a fan attack at the start makes them really good torpedoes. 34" inch range makes them I-never-want-to-fight-against-the-Japanese-ever good torpedoes.
Kinda makes you glad there were only two ships in the Kitakami class, huh?
Carlson said:
Greg Smith said:
In game terms 20" range makes them good torpedoes. 20" range plus a fan attack at the start makes them really good torpedoes. 34" inch range makes them I-never-want-to-fight-against-the-Japanese-ever good torpedoes.
Kinda makes you glad there were only two ships in the Kitakami class, huh?

Heck yes!
Torpedo bombers made them redundant.

They would, however, be a nasty surprise at the beginning of a conflict.

That has always been a hard issue to enforce, surprising players who've read ahead.