It is also possible for the attacker to "manipulate" the rules.Krieghund wrote:OK, now that we've got all the rules and nuances straight, I'll offer my opinion. I have to agree with Larry's initial statement that "no defender should have the ability to manipulate a situation to the extent that an attacking player’s retreat can be denied by simply submerging a defending sub." With certain defined exceptions, such as defending subs retreating to escape destruction and amphibious assaults being unretreatable, the attacker should be in control of the direction of the battle. This is the way the rules are structured, again with certain limited exceptions.
I don't see any reason to introduce another exception here. The ability for a defending sub to escape destruction is powerful enough without it being able to "pin" an attacking fleet in place and prevent retreat. With that in mind, I would prefer the simple order of retreat of:
1) Attacking subs submerge.
2) Attacking units, including unsubmerged subs, retreat.
3) Defending subs submerge.
While this does not mirror the combat sequence exactly, it does mirror the philiosophy that the attacking is the acting player, and the defender is the reacting player.
The actual battle that gave rise to this whole discussion went as follows:
UK had 10 inf in Fin, and 6 trns in the Baltic (other UK boats were there too, but did not play into the move).
Germany took Karelia in force, threatening the troops in Finland, who could not be supported by sufficient additional defenders. Germany bought and placed a sub in the Baltic.
UK wanted to try to save the Finland troops. Under LHTR rules, the UK player could only use the 6 transports in combat. Building the sub in the Baltic "fleet stalled" the transports.
UK declared a battle as follows:
Move 6 trns from Baltic to North Sea zone, load 10 inf on 5 transports, return to the Baltic with ONLY the 5 loaded and one empty transports to engage in the following two stage amphibious assault:
6 trns v sub, followed by
10 inf Baltic v EEu (mt)
Obviously the attacking trns could not defeat the sub in open battle. The plan was to do one round of battle, then retreat to North Sea Zone, with 5 or 6 trns and all 10 inf safe aboard. This was a well thought out tactical response to the situation in hand.
However, if the defending sub elected to submerge, the scheme collapses, as the 10 inf which would then have to land in EEu would be toast.
Either way, one player or the other gets to push the rules to the limits to achieve their goals. IMHO, neither is "sneakier" or "more manipulative" than the other - it's all a matter of how the rule is actually decided which plan or response gets to succeed.
From the point of view of play by email, your solution may even be preferable, as it will make for faster pbem play. Either the attacker retreats (by whatever means), or he asks if the defender wants to submerge, meaning that he will be staying around otherwise.
It would not make any difference in face to face play, since both players are right there, playing in real time.
If we go your route though, I may ask that the order of rolling also be switched (for the same time saving reasons in pbem play). Roll ALL the attackers first, then all the defenders. Then you don't have to wait for intermediate decisions by both players in the middle of a round as to which losses they will take.