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Is Carrier Battles Unbalanced?
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larsenjp
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PostPosted: Wed 18 Apr - 15:43 (2018)    Post subject: Is Carrier Battles Unbalanced? Reply with quote

Hi SBD,

OK so regarding your points:

AA Fire
I think this one is consistent, as far as i can judge. I do not think it is a major source of unbalance.

Crew quality / Aircraft
Regarding the aircraft, i do not have much to say about it; we may just completely modify the system but i do not think this is currently the main source of unbalance.
Regarding crew quality this is a very interesting topic; but taking it into account would mean a marked advantage for the IJN. In 1942, the IJN had still the advantage bot for average crews and for the leaders. They were lost during these battles especially at the Eastern Solomons and at Santa Cruz (plus other operations against Guadalcanal since the Japanese stupidly landed their carrier groups to reinforce their land-based units). But typically, at Pearl Harbour and at Midway the losses were low (except for the Hiryu air group at Midway).
Personally i agree in taking this into account but it may increase unbalance in favor of IJN.
However, i agree that the loss of air crews should be rewarded differently.

Launching at dawn
I think this possibility should be given for both sides. This is fully historical.
At the moment, as Archerfish say, it seems that seaplanes, either from BBs/CAs or from land bases, are able to depart earlier than search planes from CVs. Honestly, i do not see really why.

Landing - Refueling&Rearming - Spotting - Taking Off
I think this one is worth paying some attention but we need to have more information about how they did it and the performance of each navy in this cycle.
However, i am pretty sure that adding the status "spotted on the deck and ready to launch" would be nice.

Radar & speed
Well personally i never experienced the game with a speed of 1 per turn for the planes. Honestly, it would be difficult to understand since it means 120 miles/hour which is quite low...
However i think not taking into account the difference of speed between the various types of planes is a problem for the game as a simulation since this was the source of major blunders and failures in 1942.
As for the radar, i think 2 or 3 hexes range is OK if we take into consideration the data. Then we have to see how it can comply with the current game play.

Shadowing/Scouting
I think this one is currently a major source of unbalance in favor of the IJN side.
As you say, once you are spotted, it is very difficult to escape, especially for the US side because the Japanese have a lot of scouts. In reality, US CAPs were very efficient and very often prevented the Japanese scouts to shadow the US carriers, by keeping them away of them or just by shooting them down.
This is not possible to simulate this at the moment in the game since the treatment of scouting is still statistical. How can we simulate the fact that one given scout in a given sector of the Ocean has been shot down and is not able any longer to pursue the mission, while the other in its group/search pattern are still able? This is the question we have to answer and, at the moment, i do not really see how to do it. But hopefully, BR has a solution. Cool


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Bladerunner
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PostPosted: Sun 22 Apr - 15:49 (2018)    Post subject: Is Carrier Battles Unbalanced? Reply with quote

The comment on the A6M ammo is goodToday each fighter has 50% to run out of ammo after a fight


This could be flavoured by the side and the number of opponent


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SBD


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PostPosted: Sun 22 Apr - 21:52 (2018)    Post subject: Is Carrier Battles Unbalanced? Reply with quote

I've re-read the posts and the relevant battles.
Please advise why some or all of the following could be not implemented, as they are based on fact and/or are balancing issues.




Ref Dr. Brian 30/03
1.) As advised by many, the IJN may have had longer range aircraft, but they followed a strict code, obedience to complex plans/authority, and above all offence, offence offence. 
ie closing with the enemy to ATTACK
It's incorrect and ahistorical to look just at the performance specs and ordnance available.*
eg Concluding paras C9, Shattered Sword.


2.1)  Yamamoto's objective at Midway, was to threaten and capture Midway, in order to bring out the USN CVs, destroy them and secure the a defensive perimeter for the Japanese Empire.


So before Midway was attacked; just seven scouts flew east over 180 degrees to find the USN CVs?!


More scouts would have significantly reduced the bad weather, poor reporting excuses.
"they have aircraft all over the place" - No, they didn't in the real world

It's incorrect and ahistorical to look just at the specs and ordnance available.*


In fact, the USN could have more scouts, if all the scout and bomber SBDs on their OOB were used.

Plus, BB and CA based scouts were dependent on calm seas, and took longer to be recover, and therefore debrief.
I've never read USN BB/CA seaplanes being used as scouts - I suggest their use as scouts is ahistorical, they should not be be available - until perhaps when submarines become a factor in the game.




* An example would be to look at a French OOB and then use the Guard and artillery in the front line in ways never adopted in the Napoleonic Wars.




2.2 "US land based bombers" B17s were ineffective both as scouts and bombers, they are a distraction.


2.3 "their (IJN) search ability is outstanding" In the real world, overall it was poor at Coral Sea, they could have wonIt was a major factor in strategically loosing CS, and therefore Midway.




Balancing factors/suggestions- in the USN's favour - to counter perceived IJN advantages
1.)
BB North Carolina shot down 7-15 planes at Eastern Solomons, and BB South Dakota killed 25-32 at Santa Cruz!
The USN BB AA potency was far in excess of the IJN escorts; who also kept further away from their CVs, further decreasing the effect of their poor AA.
Is this player's experience? I suspect this major USN advantage is not fully factored in?


2.)
At Midway, IJN CAP, it is proposed, was drawn away in two different directions, (NOT vertically).
I suggest if IJN CAP is attacked from >1 direction  in roughly similar time periods
ie Midway and carriers, then the CAP is less effective.


3.) 
The IJN has one plan which he/she writes down at the beginning of the game.
He/she cannot change the plan - honesty obviously applies.
This reflects the inflexibility of the IJN battle plans.


I also suggested earlier using user adjustable parameters eg search formula, if players wanted to 'even up' a perceived unbalanced game, either because of the OOBs, or the quality of the players.


I hope this helps





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SBD


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PostPosted: Sun 22 Apr - 23:21 (2018)    Post subject: Is Carrier Battles Unbalanced? Reply with quote

PS
Ref Midway Dr Brian - In game imbalance of IJN scouts


In contrast to the seven IJN scouts in June 1942
the USN had 31 PBYs at Midway and potentially 56 carrier Dauntless for scouting


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Bladerunner
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PostPosted: Sun 29 Apr - 16:13 (2018)    Post subject: Is Carrier Battles Unbalanced? Reply with quote

To sum up the advantages of both sides on the 2P game


Advantages of the IJN
- range
- surface ships


Advantages fo the USN:  
- AA, Radar
- CAP refuelling on carrier deck and with more ammo
- Damage control, solid planes, better repair time, better radio
- Coast watchers
- Guadalcanal


I will re-read of your posts (thanks to all of you)
and several area of balancing have been identified


1 - Reinforce the US defence
- heavier AA at Guadalcanal (difficult to find exact reference through)
- under air attack, a US carrier will be supported by the short-range AA of the best escort ship. Think about BB South Dakota protecting CV Enterprise at Santa Cruz). This will reduce the accuracy enemy bombers along with more lethal revenge fire
- superior CAP ammo (See the new post in New feature)
- allowing SBD to conduct CAP mission (idem for D4Y) with a lower air-to-air combat 


2 - Victory / Attrition
- double the VP earned for destroying a Japanese CV-plane
- increase the VP for sinking a Japanese ship by 1.5
- remove the 10 VP for Time & Attrition as the two above statement will do the job
- Midway : find incentive for the Japanese to attack / invade Midway early in the game by giving VP to the US for the control of an operative Midway after a certain turn


3- Search
The idea is that the IJN performed poorly in Jan-Jul 42. A worse search would compensate the long-range striking ability
- the search chance will be decreased by % defined by the scenario. May also impact the US player. 
- will be high against the Japanese at Midway until US carriers are discovered
- increase the search range of the SBD to 20


4- Options
One could add a few options to the least-favoured side 
- Coral Sea already has all Australian aircraft available
- Bismarck Sea, the IJN gets a few CVE
- May not be perfect for all scenario as options are often too ahistorical (ex: Wasp not sunk)


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larsenjp
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PostPosted: Mon 30 Apr - 09:58 (2018)    Post subject: Is Carrier Battles Unbalanced? Reply with quote

BR,

Regarding your proposition

1 - Reinforce US defence
I fully agree with your proposal that are very historical, especially the one for the SBD conducting CAP. SBD managed to shoot down bombers, especially B6N that were very vulnerable. On the Japanese side, this should be the same with D3As but i think the Vals performed quite poorly in this role.

2 - Victory/Attrition
OK, let's have a try, i think this ones can be tuned without modifying the game play.

3 - Search
As i already said, i think this one is at the heart of the problem.
I disagree when you say that Japanese searches were not efficient i.e not finding the ships; their main problem was that the US air defense was very strong and the Japanese scouts that found US CVs has high chances to be shot down or at least repelled so that he was not able to observe the US ships...
At the moment there is no way of simulating this and i think you should consider how to do it. But of course, it is possible to simulate this by reducing the % of success of Japanese searches but i think this is not the correct mechanism to be simulated...
I think you also need to consider giving full control to the players on all planes in the game, included seaplanes... i think this this is something that would be very appreciated and maybe give additional search capability to the US side. Furthermore, this would render the Japanese scout bases vulnerable and we know they were primary targets for the US...

4 - Options
I agree with you this is rather anecdotal...


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Bladerunner
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PostPosted: Mon 30 Apr - 10:09 (2018)    Post subject: Is Carrier Battles Unbalanced? Reply with quote

Regarding point 3,
do you mean that Japanese scout could be shot down without reporting the carrier position ?


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larsenjp
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PostPosted: Mon 30 Apr - 13:58 (2018)    Post subject: Is Carrier Battles Unbalanced? Reply with quote

Actually yes. When reading detailed accounts of these encounters, you see that Japanese scouts were quite often shot down without sending any message.

Of course, after a while, the Japanese knew the plane was lost and they were able to deduce approximately where and when it happened so they knew about the probable presence of a US carrier task force in the vicinity. But this was poor (and delayed) information all the more since, sometimes, Japanese scouts were shot down by US long range planes. This happened several times with H6Ks Mavis being shot down by B-17s. Actually H6Ks were very fragile and i think the crews must have had steel nerves to fly on these planes...

This could be simulated by a %: if the plane is shot down, and depending on the result, it may have had time to transmit full information, or just fragment of information (eg size/composition of the TF but not direction or the contrary) or no information at all...

But first the game has to allow to shoot down scouts that is to deal with individual planes...


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Bladerunner
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PostPosted: Tue 1 May - 00:31 (2018)    Post subject: Is Carrier Battles Unbalanced? Reply with quote

May be a simple shadow does not necessarely mean individual planes
Working with probabiliies, scout air units could be destroyed’ chased before or after repoting position or undetected. A naval force which has been successfully search last phase maybe subject to shadowing if the scout hasnot been chased away


The US advantage lies in the radar which may detect enemy scouts


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larsenjp
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PostPosted: Tue 1 May - 10:38 (2018)    Post subject: Is Carrier Battles Unbalanced? Reply with quote

I am OK with this but, still using probabilities, how are you going to manage the fact that, among a "pattern" of a given number air units, one of them has been shot down?

I think the only solution is to recalculate and "redistribute" the probabilities among the pattern but this will of course introduce a serious deviation from the reality.
Indeed, in the sector where the scout is shot down, there should be no more search and probability to find (and shadow) should be nil, while it remains unchanged everywhere else.
With the solution of recalculating probabilities within the search pattern, i understand the probability will be decreased everywhere but it won't be nil in the sector where the scout has been shot down? Am i right?

Using a system of probability attached to a given search pattern has a lot of great advantages we all recognize, especially in terms of simplification of the game, but it has also some great limitations in terms of simulation and i think we begin to reach them...
I understand moving toward individual planes is a big step in terms of development (and testing Wink ) but i do not see how to simulate correctly such mechanisms obviously dealing with individual planes, especially these mechanisms about the search/shadowing system that are at the heart of the game.

However i propose to see first how is is possible to implement this kind of thing (i mean shooting down one scout air unit attached to a given search pattern) while still using the "probability system".


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USS Archerfish
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PostPosted: Tue 1 May - 17:56 (2018)    Post subject: Is Carrier Battles Unbalanced? Reply with quote

Those are great improvements BR.  There are two primary factors that need to be tone down on the IJN side, scouts and bombers. 


On the scouts the Japanese ability to detect at long range is just too high. Your suggested proposals are good but eventually I would like to see player control.
Historically, the Japanese had a large number of long range scout planes at the beginning of 42 but by the end of 42 the vast majority had been shot down. Perhaps this can be factored in the game.  Unfortunately I don’t have exact data.  My info comes from pilot reports of the time. 


The biggest issue for me are the Betties.  They are way too deadly against the CVs and historically inaccurate. Bomber attacks on shipping were not common and against CV extremely rare.  I think there are several way to reduce bomber threats that would be historically accurate.  Here are some idea.


1. The farther away a bomber is from base the more difficult it is to change targets.  At long range it should be almost impossible. Once bombers launch I don’t think it was common for bombers in general to change targets. 
2. Large bombers can not be deployed to forward bases. For example Betties in Rubal cannot be moved to Khali.  
3. Another area to explore is that when ships are detected at long range, the location report may not be accurate. The game may show it in a adjacent hex instead of its actual hex.  For searches over water, this was not uncommon for reports of enemy ship locations to be off from time to time.  Navigation wasn’t always precise. Something to think about. 
4. Reduce number of bomber at Rubal (dedicated to PNG)


Anything to reduce bomber attacks on shipping will be a plus.  


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SBD


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PostPosted: Tue 1 May - 21:43 (2018)    Post subject: Is Carrier Battles Unbalanced? Reply with quote

I have to partially disagree with larsenjp re IJN searches.
There were both good and bad.
At Midway the Tone and Chilkuma pilots, who flew in the critical area of the USN CVS, were very negligent, including poor navigation and flying over clouds.
This and poor planning also effectively lost them Coral Sea as well.
(I can’t comment on non CV scouts in the game)
I’ve made some v3 suggestions which are connected with this post.


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Bladerunner
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PostPosted: Wed 2 May - 16:47 (2018)    Post subject: Is Carrier Battles Unbalanced? Reply with quote

Regarding the Search
Japan search were poor at Coral Sea but so were the US right ?
Japan search at Midway were unreasonable due to an insane feeling of superiority and the dream of achieving surprise. Read that in Shattered Sword from Parshall / Tully


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USS Archerfish
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PostPosted: Wed 2 May - 17:41 (2018)    Post subject: Is Carrier Battles Unbalanced? Reply with quote

Bladerunner wrote:
Regarding the Search
Japan search were poor at Coral Sea but so were the US right ?
Japan search at Midway were unreasonable due to an insane feeling of superiority and the dream of achieving surprise. Read that in Shattered Sword from Parshall / Tully


Yes I agree with that.  I think in one battle in the Coral Sea both side were only 60 miles away when they spotted each other. 


The big question is how heavily did the IJN rely on CV planes for searching?  For the US, they relied on them heavily.  From my understanding the I JN relied primarily on scout planes from BBs and CAs. This means that the IJN probably used few planes for scouting. Therefore there search detection would be lower.  Perhaps during combat they did use B5N. I just don’t know.  Maybe SBD or Larsenjp might have better info. 


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larsenjp
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PostPosted: Wed 2 May - 22:04 (2018)    Post subject: Is Carrier Battles Unbalanced? Reply with quote

Regarding searches
IJN relied primarily on seaplanes scouts based on BBs and CAs plus from times to times to B5N. They mixed the planes within their search patterns (e.g. at Midway). Plus of course their large land based seaplanes like Mavis and Emily. But of course there was the problem of communication between staff (see below)...
As an example, on the 8th of May 1942, Rear-Admiral Hara sent 7 B6N for a search covering the sector 140-230° out to 250 nautical miles from the carriers. These carriers scouts were supplemented by 4 G4M Betty bombers coming from Rabaul and 3 H6K Mavis seaplanes coming from Tulagi...

USN relied primarily on SBD; they had a squadron dedicated to scouting within each carrier air group. On the contrary, i think seaplanes based on BBs and CAs were not really used for scouting because they just did not have the performance for it. I'd say they were used primarily for ASR duties and observation in case of surface battles and bombardments. Plus probably ASM duties.
They also had land based seaplanes, namely PBY, plus B17 that had the advantage to fly fast and far.

Regarding the scouting performances at Midway, i agree with BR, the problem was mainly the planning. It has been proved that the late launch of Tone's seaplane resulted actually in the Japanese discovering US carriers earlier than expected if it had followed the correct pattern. So, this crew actually performed not so bad unlike the air operations staff of Kido Butai!
Regarding Coral Sea, i agree again with BR: both US and Japanese CVs scouts performed poorly. However, the Japanese seaplanes scouts performed well since they correctly found, identified and shadowed the US carriers. Unfortunately, these scouts were reporting to Rear-Admiral Goto commanding the cruisers TF covering the invasion force to Port-Moresby, and not to Rear-Admiral Hara commanding the carriers TF. Hence Goto was fully aware of the situation while Hara was not and when the latter sent his bombers to the South attacking the carriers reported by his scouts, actually the oiler Ohio and its escort DD, Goto realized it was a mistake but could not do anything to stop it. This is a classical problem of command, communication and intelligence sharing.

Of course this is very difficult to simulate in a game.
However, from the detailed accounts of this battle, it is clear that there was large delays between the moment when the information was "acquired" by a scout and the moment when it was "treated" by a staff that finally made decision (typically launching a strike). It may range from a few tens of minutes (20 to 30) when the scout reported directly to its own ship or staff but it could be much more especially when it had to be transmitted from one staff to another (e.g. information from one land based seaplane transmitted to its staff back on land and then on to staffs at sea...). I think this could be simulated by increasing the delay before giving an information.

Note also that, at Coral Sea, there was onboard the Lexington an officer speaking Japanese and this proved to be very valuable since, by listening to the Japanese scouts reporting to their ships, he was able to know that TF17 had been discovered. But this would be even more difficult to simulate... Wink


Last edited by larsenjp on Wed 2 May - 22:15 (2018); edited 1 time in total
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