Submarines as an offensive weapon?

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Submarines as an offensive weapon?

Postby Chimaera » Sun Jun 24, 2007 3:40 pm

Hi. I've played Defcon for a while now, and I have lurked this forum for about 6 months.

Yesterday, in a 6-player regular score game, with me as Asia I decided to use subs as a ship-killer. Having set up a regular fleet using half of my ships I setted up to defend Tokyo just off the Japanese coast, with pairs of BBs in line facing North-South and a similar line of CVs behind the BBs. When the US fleet which was about the same size as mine piled into the melee I folded the subs in behind the US fleet. I then preceded to micro-manage the battle, using the subs to pick off BBs and CVs, once I had scouted with fighters of my Fleet Air Arm to check none of the CVs were in ASW mode. Total Losses incurred? 2 BBs and a couple of fighters. Total casualties inflicted? 100% of the US strike force. Subs can kill CVs in muh less time than it takes to change from fighter launch to ASW, and if the CVs do get to ASW they can easily be picked off by my BBs or bombers. With so few losses sustained, I survived one more encounter with a similar sized fleet, destroying all of the enemy, and later, although the Tokyo defence fleet was finally taken down, it managed to take a fair amount of enemies with it. And the subs? they all survived and later destroyed Lima, LA and SF. So I think that subs can make a very good ship killer, as well as a stealth nuker.
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Postby Xocrates » Sun Jun 24, 2007 4:31 pm

They can be used effectively as an offensive weapon, yet I would say it can be risky.

In the case you mentioned, it appears the US rushed head on, that was a really bad move, and one could easily defeat those without even using subs. Thus I don't consider the example to be very effective in demonstrating the effectiveness of subs as an attack weapon.

Using subs offensively, rely much in the other player not being expecting it. Personally I don't like to risk it because I know that a few carriers in antisub and perhaps a few nukes will sink most of my subs and then I just lost a very significant nuclear advantage.
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Postby PsychicKid » Sun Jun 24, 2007 6:18 pm

Yeah. I find it risky. I switch them to Active Sonar after I use all their missles though and go boat hunting. :D It also sucks if your sub sinks an enemy vessel and it sinks right on top of the sub.
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Postby palehorse864 » Sun Jun 24, 2007 7:30 pm

When subs are on active sonar, what units can see them? And of those that can see them, which can shoot at them? Can battleships attack a sub using active sonar?
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Postby Peace and Love » Sun Jun 24, 2007 7:41 pm

Only carriers in depth charge antisub mode and other active mode subs can see subs that are not in launch mode.


Though if a sub is in active mode and is within radar, you can see the "ping" of the sub. Though unless it's 1 vs 1 you will not know which nationality the sub belongs to and you can only attack it with antisub mode carriers, active mode subs, nukes, dead ships falling ontop of the sub, or crashed fighters.

Cleared things up? :D
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Postby palehorse864 » Sun Jun 24, 2007 7:55 pm

Indeed. Thanks. I"ve seen an active mode sub, but i've noticed that if you hover over it it will give you a player name over the blip. Now, this was with an allied sub that came up under one of my battleships moving to help me attack the enemy coast, so i'm not sure if it would tell me an enemy sub. Of course, if I see one and it didn't give me a player name, then I would know to strike it, so it doesn't matter. :)
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Postby torig » Sun Jun 24, 2007 10:44 pm

Peace and Love wrote:Only carriers in depth charge antisub mode and other active mode subs can see subs that are not in launch mode.


Though if a sub is in active mode and is within radar, you can see the "ping" of the sub. Though unless it's 1 vs 1 you will not know which nationality the sub belongs to and you can only attack it with antisub mode carriers, active mode subs, nukes, dead ships falling ontop of the sub, or crashed fighters.

Cleared things up? :D


You know, there are idiots out there, micromanaging their bombers to try and sink those active mode subs.
How hillarious ;)
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Postby shinygerbil » Sun Jun 24, 2007 11:05 pm

Hehe :lol:

I remember back when I first played this game, wondering why my antisub carriers weren't harming some subs that were launching at the time!
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Shoot nukes first then 'go hunting'.

Postby Tucsoncoyote » Mon Jun 25, 2007 5:24 pm

I tend to agree with the consenus of Players here when it comes to Subs and using them in "Attack Mode" rather then using them as a MRBM launching platform. It's a very bad idea. Especially if you haven't dispatched all your MRBM Nukes out of the subs.

Let's say for example you do put one of your subs into active mode. and even if it is far enough from say the carriers if they are used and a carrier detects them, expect to lose 5 nukes for each sub sank. and considering that in most games you get 12 subs with 5 nukes each, that's 60 nuclear wareheads that are lost if you lose your entire sub fleet.

The intersting thing is that once you launch your MRBM's and the sub dives back under the water, you can then send it out on patrol and go after ships to your heart's content. until it's blown out of the water by a carrier or another sub.

I mean 4 subs carrying 5 warheads stationed off of any coastline can launch a rather decisive strike then disappear without a trace only to wreak havoc on those carriers, that carry 2 bombers and a load of (I believe) 6 nukes per ship.. compared to a 60 warhead loss if you lost all your subs due to carrier or Anti missile defenses, you would inflict a loss of the same proportion (if not more if the bombers never get off the deck) and thus in the end you would actually have taken out anywhere up to 72 of the enemies' SRBM's and thus easily changed the outcome of the game from a decisive loss to a potential win.

In short my own strategy is this.. Get recon to do fighter sweeps of enemy territory, targeting primary military targets, eliminate those first with the subs if you can, if not use bombers or as a final resort, go with ICBM's But once you launch those MRBM's then go after the enemy's fleet indiscretionatly. After all each carrier you sink means less nukes the enemy can put onto your shores.

so yes, Using Subs loaded with Nukes to attack fleets like this is a bad idea.. almost insane really.

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Postby torig » Mon Jun 25, 2007 5:28 pm

Now let's get realistic people. Subs are realllllly slow. Depending on where you want to position yours, it could take the entire game (nearly) for them to even remotely get close to the ideal position you had in mind.
So by that time, they are useless to go on a hunt with and we all know it. By that time, also, the carriers could be already long depleted (of nukes) too.

I, too, prefer not to lose my subs, but in a naval battle against for instance Peace and Love I find that it's not the one who's left with subs but the one who's left with carriers that will have the edge.

In short: I'll do anything I can to gain naval superiority.

And pfft...if you haven't had a naval 1 on 1 of epic proportions like the one I had a few days ago with Peace, then you're a rookie :D
(Peace will know exactly why I'm saying this ;) )
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Postby Peace and Love » Mon Jun 25, 2007 6:03 pm

torig wrote:Now let's get realistic people. Subs are realllllly slow. Depending on where you want to position yours, it could take the entire game (nearly) for them to even remotely get close to the ideal position you had in mind.
So by that time, they are useless to go on a hunt with and we all know it. By that time, also, the carriers could be already long depleted (of nukes) too.

I, too, prefer not to lose my subs, but in a naval battle against for instance Peace and Love I find that it's not the one who's left with subs but the one who's left with carriers that will have the edge.

In short: I'll do anything I can to gain naval superiority.

And pfft...if you haven't had a naval 1 on 1 of epic proportions like the one I had a few days ago with Peace, then you're a rookie :D
(Peace will know exactly why I'm saying this ;) )


hahaha agreed

Personally losing your subs in a naval battle is idiotic in a 6 player game. BUT in a 1 vs 1, you can equate it to this: Carriers hold 6 nukes, 5 fighters, 2 bombers. Subs hold 5 nukes and cannot scout or intercept enemy bombers.

So basically in any 1 vs 1, if you can successfully use subs in naval combat to kill enemy carriers, then the advantage is your's.
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Postby Tucsoncoyote » Mon Jun 25, 2007 6:07 pm

torig wrote:Now let's get realistic people. Subs are realllllly slow. Depending on where you want to position yours, it could take the entire game (nearly) for them to even remotely get close to the ideal position you had in mind.
So by that time, they are useless to go on a hunt with and we all know it. By that time, also, the carriers could be already long depleted (of nukes) too.

I, too, prefer not to lose my subs, but in a naval battle against for instance Peace and Love I find that it's not the one who's left with subs but the one who's left with carriers that will have the edge.

In short: I'll do anything I can to gain naval superiority.

And pfft...if you haven't had a naval 1 on 1 of epic proportions like the one I had a few days ago with Peace, then you're a rookie :D
(Peace will know exactly why I'm saying this ;) )


That's true Torig, but then if I'm a rookie (and I'll admit that i am), I find out that even if you aren't in "perfect Position" to Launch those MRBM's if you get them off first and are able to time it right, you could have 2-3 subs deplete their silos and then go after the enemy. I'm using a theory called "The Coyote Tsunami Attack Theory" (It's all theory right now), but the thing is this. Just like a Seismic Sea Wave, you launch missiles in waves, (after all a Tsunami isn't just 1 wave but a series of waves).

If your subs aren't in perfect position, I feel the best option is to "Go short and take out anything closer.. If you have bombers already up in the air, you go after those primary military targets (taking a few lessons from what has been posted here. if you can get those shorter targets and even though they are lesser value if you hit them , you have done your job, and you can then go after anything else.. (Clean up on Aisle 5 is my battle cry).

But yes Subs are slow, but then somtimes you can't get into perfect position. so you look for optional targets within range. that's why I say it's basically how fast can you get your subs to launch that you can free them up for patrol duty..

But then it's all theory at this point, and if you got a better strategy plan torig, I'm game to hear about it. (After all Like you said, I'm a rookie, and even a rookie can learn).

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Postby torig » Mon Jun 25, 2007 6:19 pm

Tucson, the rookie remark wasn't aimed at you personally.
Really, it was aimed at everyone besides myself and Peace and Love :lol: :twisted:
It's somewhat an in-joke between the two of us, so really, don't worry about it ;)

The point I was trying to make it that your navies mostly clash well before defcon 1. So at that point your subs are quite useless and cannot launch yet. I've taken out subs passing through because I was insane/mad enough to switch 8+ subs to active sonar the instant I could. Sure, I lost 2-3 of them, but I took out nearly all enemy battleships and 6 of his subs.
My battleships can then just rip through the remaining carriers, while I support with bombers. On the other hand, even at that point if the other player knows what he/she is doing, the naval battle isn't lost yet (think naval nuking O_o).

Now you're saying you'd rather launch sub-optimally (forgive the pun ;) ) than lose those subs. I'd rather use those subs to try and win the naval battle, even if I lose all subs, than to launch sub-optimally.

Most of this attitude is geared towards 1v1 really, as in 6 player games I also use my subs quite differently. Every situation is different however and there is no 'best' strategy.

edit: If you don't intend to use subs in your naval battle, make sure they don't have to travel through a major naval battle. That's the "tactic" I would recommend. It's really that easy IMHO.

Another "difficult" question: should you mix 1-2 carriers with your frontline battleships ?
I tend to say "no", but I know by experience that if you don't and the other has pinging subs...it's bye bye battleships ;)
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Postby Ace Rimmer » Mon Jun 25, 2007 6:40 pm

I do experiment every now and then with using subs for offense, but generally I wouldn't recommend using subs to attack pre-launch, especially in 1v1. It's very easy to "triangulate" exactly where the perfect spot to nuke will be with only two pings. The only way to make it more difficult is if you have multiple subs in one group on a "rotating" ping. Otherwise, simply have a bomber in SRBM mode and center your target with the first ping, then wait for the second ping and you instantly get an exact heading and location of the sub/s and can pinpoint where to drop your nuke/s. Obviously it works best if you slow the game down for a few moments.
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Postby torq » Mon Jun 25, 2007 6:57 pm

I woudn't risk my subs in most cases, sometimes I even try to sneak my subs under the ongoing naval battle (well, not exactly under, because you always lose one or two because of incidental fighter crash or ship explosion - I'm trying to go around. But the most interesting effects can be achieved when your subs are BEHIND your front lines and launch against enemy ships. A nuke or two won't be a great loss if you miss, but there's always time to submerge and run away. I managed that a couple of times, it's a little tricky but really helps sometimes.
Also in big games (4 or more players) I try not to launch all of the nukes at once. Instead my subs surface, launch a salvo of 4 nukes (I usually use fleets of 4 subs) and then disappear under to water to surface elsewhere. That really annoys your opponent who sends away bombers or battleships from my main line of attack only to find nothing. Then another fleet surfaces on the other side of his continent and launches another salvo at one (only one of his cities) - at least 1 out of 4 nukes (if launched simultaneously) almost always hits. If the time and place allow (my subs are far from the shore and there are more than one "worthy" targets) I could indulge myself with two or more salvos. It's pure psychology, I noticed that nearly all players try to react when subs are launching at them. I know well that my bombers won't make it in time and most probably the subs will release all their nukes by the time my bombers get there but send one or two "just in case" (try now not to do this anymore and count time before dispatching a bomber somewhere). But if nothing else - this gets your opponent nervous and nervous people tend to make mistakes.
Once I played for Africa vs Europe, and I had 3x4 fleets of subs intact. I managed to sneak two in the northern sea and considered my options. I knew that most of European silos/airfields are located in the north and I had no idea where exactly. So launching my subs immediately most probably will be a failure. By that time I had 2 battleships watching over the narrow gap between Africa and SA, and my opponent had 1 battleship and 1 half-empty carrier, still trying to launch bombers at me. I moved my third fleet of subs to the south of Spain and moved my subs in the northern sea even further north, so that they covered only invisible parts of Europe. I began my attack from the southern group and, most predictably he drove every bomber, every fighter and all two fleets towards my launching subs. I made sure, that his attention was drawn there, where he bagan an industrious subs hunting going away from the main danger. After he didn't find anything there his nerves got the better of him and he launched. This was what I'd been waiting for, I surfaced my subs and knowing that nothing would interfere I sent him all 40 nukes they had and each one hit its target.

phew... that's a lot of letters...
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