Mountainous, island riven Japan had few railroads. It depended on small coastal traders of around 100 tons to link its isolated coastal communities. Japan also depended on its fleet of small fishing boats and larger whalers for protein, fat and oil. Control of her home waters, and to a lesser extent of outlying waters, was vital to Japan. Toward the end of the war, American subs were ruthless in harassing and sinking small Japanese ships.
The same was true of the American and British economies. The Battle of Britain began, e.g., when coal barges coasting south to London were bombed. America went to work building the intercoastal waterway to protect coastal barge traffic from submarines. A simple barge can move 1000 tons or more of bulk.
The mere presence of submarines also did economic damage by forcing costly delays in shipping, as ships had to queue up and wait for convoys to sail. Admiral King, no fool, was early in the war against the use of convoys for this reason. He ultimately had to change policy, but he was right about the costliness of shipping delays inherent in convoys.
Even when no ship was sunk, the presence of subs forced ships to zig zag and to travel at higher, less fuel effcient speeds, burning more precious fuel.
So the mere presence of enemy subs in a sea zone does invisible, unspectacular, but real economic damage. No dramatic sinking of big ships was necessary for a sub to be doing economic damage. Of course, sinking the enemy's big ships is always the dream of a submariner, and a gamer, but we must not lose sight of the small picture.
The proposal this leads to is that sea zones have economic value, especially coastal sea zones, and that the mere presence of subs subtracts from their value by predictable amounts. This was especially true for Japan, but also for other countries.
The presence of each enemy sub in a sea zone reduces the IPC value of the zone by 1.
Japan's two sea zones have IPC income value 2. The other sea zones of her Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere have IPC value 1.
Britain's three sea zones, and most of the zones of the North Atlantic, have IPC value 1.
American IPC producing sea zones would include its own eastern Seaboard (IPC value 2), and the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, Pacific Seaboard, and Hawaiian sea zone.
European Axis: 1 IPC each in Baltic and the Central Mediterranean sz.
USSR: IPC =1 in Barents Sea zone.
For the purpose of determining control of its IPC income, sea zones are controlled by presence of a surface ship of any kind. Control of IPC income passes to the enemy when he controls the sea zone with a surface ship.
Adjust the IPC value of the territories to play-balance the new IPC in sea zones.
I also prefer the idea of random damage from subs in convoy zones, as this alows for some variation in damage. The idea of each sub causing 1 IPC of damage just forces the attacking player to buy more subs, and it does not allow at all for the defending player to "get lucky" and not lose any income at all to subs. Of course, this view could change when this gets to the playtesting stage.
Just my 2 IPCs.
"War is much more fun when you're winning!" - General Martok
SEA ZONE CONTROL (PROPOSED RULE)
Sea zones, even when there are no surface ships in them, are unambiguously controlled by one power or another in the same manner as territories. Surface ships control and change control of sea zones in exactly the same manner infantry and tanks control and change control of territories. Any IPC income in a sea zone goes to the controlling power.
1. Control of sea zones is clearly shown by the nationality of the surface ship(s) in the zone.
2. If there is no surface ship in the sea zone, control is the same as that of the adjacent territory(ies).
3. If there is still ambiguity (because territories controlled by different powers are adjacent to the sz) place the appropriate control marker in the sea zone.
4. At the start of the game, Great Britain controls all sea zones, unless other control is indicated by 1), 2) or 3) above.
Example: if, at the start of the game, control of the sea zone adjacent to Gibraltar is ambiguous, because there is both British and Axis territory adjacent to it, and because there are no surface ships in the sz, then control is assumed to be British.
SUBSIDIARY ADVANTAGE of CONTROLLING SEA ZONES
Surface ships may non-combat move only through friendly controlled sea zones.
Surface ships may combat move through hostile controlled sea zones.
With sea zones unambiguously identified as strictly friendly controlled or hostile controlled (even when vacant) we can have high-allowance naval non-combat movement, without producing unrealistic strategy, such as moving an American armada straight across the North Pacific from Western USA to Japan in one turn, with no intermediate American controlled territory. However, a move from Britain down to the Cape of Good Hope would become legal.
The problem of fighting with your navy far from home base might be reflected in this:
NAVAL COMBAT PROPOSAL
Give battleships and destroyers a defensive fire bonus of +1 when they are adjacent to a friendly controlled territory with an industrial complex. Small ships had limited ranges and light drafts, and fought best in confined, shallow, familiar, minefield laden home waters. Small ships were relatively helpless against larger armored ships in the deep blue sea. They could also hide better from air and sea enemies in familiar home waters.
Capital ships should get the same +1 bonus, because only friendly industrial complexes could fuel, service, and repair them.
Giving both types a +1 home IC bonus will benefit the destroyers more than the battleships, but that is as it should be. The small ships had more limited ranges, and would benefit proportionately more from being close to home.
This way, the strategically offensive role of large armored ships, and the strategically defensive roll of smaller ships, is nicely illustrated.
The same advantage might be has at a MAJOR PORT, which could be built at lower cost than and Industrial Complex.
I haven't done the math rigorously, but suspect that it will help to drop the cost and fire power of both capital ships and destroyers a little. They are still too costly in A&A revised.
I will work on tweaking the IPC and fire values of fighters, BB, and DD so that fighters have the blue water edge, followed by BB, with DD last. But in home waters, fighters v. BB and DD should be more of an even proposition.
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