How to use Silo Nukes. A guide for those who never win.

In-depth tactical discussion on how to lose the least

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How to use Silo Nukes. A guide for those who never win.

Postby GoldenShadow » Sat Oct 07, 2006 2:53 am

Silos are your only line of defense against incoming attacks and therefore are extremely important. Some people like to launch nukes from them, but it is a stupid idea. The big reason why its stupid is because it gives away its position. Ideally you want to keep your silo positions a secret from your enemies for as long as possible. Subs and carriers and airfields should be your primary tool for launching major attacks. Silo nukes only make up a small part of your total nuke count. most of your nukes are actually at your airfields and carriers, so its equally important to make sure your bombers return to base after their mission to rearm.

Now theres several things to consider at this point.

Defending yourself against bombers is easy. So long as you have advance warning of their approach, you can launch swarms of fighters from your airbases and carriers to kill the bombers. Don't rely on the silos to shoot down bombers, This never works. silos will priotitize their shots on nukes, and they are right to do so. But this means many bombers will escape after firing and the ones which lag behind will survive to launch their nukes too. Fighters will ignore those in-flight nukes and only shoot at the bombers.

Defending yourself against submarine surprise attacks is actually the easiest thing you can do, as long as you have a few bombers left at your airbases. This strategy takes a lot of micromanagement in a fast paced game, but its easy to manage at slower speeds of 1x or 5x. All it entails is to keep bombers flying along your coast lines at all times. I send them out in pairs. keep these guys in naval combat mode. any subs that pop out in their combat range will be destroyed before a single nuke can be fired. The way to patrol bombers along your coast is to send them out towards the sea, and by the time they reach it, re-direct them to fly a little bit out to sea, but stick to the edge of your radar range. once the bobmers reach the 2nd waypoint along your coastline, they should automatically return to the airfield to refuel. When the first 2 bombers have reached their first waypoint, send another 2 bombers and repeat the cycle. So you should end up with always 2-4 bombers on each vulnerable coastline. Bomber naval combat range is really high, but their radar range is not, so you need coastal positioned radar dishes to spot any surfacing subs. When you do spot a surfacing sub, micromanage your bombers to attack it.

If you have survived this far without any major losses, your enemy has expended their bomber fleet and their submarines. they have nothing left to attack with except for their own silos. This is where the game gets interesting. Their only chance to inflict any major damage is to do a simultaneous launch from all silos, because a trickle launch from 1 silo will never breach your defenses. This small window of opputunity when their air defense is down is when you launch your submarine's nukes and any carrier bombers close by, and strike their silos. it takes 3 hits. Make sure you destroy every single silo, use your subs on the silos close by the shoreline and the bombers against the ones out of range. If there is fighter resistance, send out your own fighters too if you have any left.

Finally, the time has arrive. If all of the enemy silos have been destroyed, it is time for the full blown retailiation. You can finally use up your Silo ICBMs, but I like to wait until the victory timer starts, that indicates there aren't many nukes left. in team games, it may be wiser to strike with any remaining sub nukes and bomber nukes imediately so your allies don't take the kills from nuking the large cities first. In that case save your silo nukes for a backstab once your ally has run out of nukes too.
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Postby Kazz » Sat Oct 07, 2006 3:26 am

Your bombers are flying in circles around your coastlines?

My fighters are going to come in and take them out.

There's no way I'm going to surface my subs without knowing what's above them, anyway. They can't see any enemy units themselves. So the fighters will be on their way, see your bombers, and they'll be done for.

And anyway, there's no way I'm going to try just my bombers, then just my subs. If I'm committing to a naval strike, they are all coming in together. My fighters will go in first, and my subs will launch, and then my bombers will show up.

Meanwhile, I'm probably wondering: where the hell is YOUR navy? If this is a 2-player game, I know that if they're not near you, they're on their way here, and while I can't guarantee I'm coming out unscathed, I know that my airbases will be better equipped than yours, Mr. Bomber-Patrol.
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Postby kentuckyfried » Sat Oct 07, 2006 4:42 am

Kazz wrote:Your bombers are flying in circles around your coastlines?

My fighters are going to come in and take them out.

There's no way I'm going to surface my subs without knowing what's above them, anyway. They can't see any enemy units themselves. So the fighters will be on their way, see your bombers, and they'll be done for.

And anyway, there's no way I'm going to try just my bombers, then just my subs. If I'm committing to a naval strike, they are all coming in together. My fighters will go in first, and my subs will launch, and then my bombers will show up.

Meanwhile, I'm probably wondering: where the hell is YOUR navy? If this is a 2-player game, I know that if they're not near you, they're on their way here, and while I can't guarantee I'm coming out unscathed, I know that my airbases will be better equipped than yours, Mr. Bomber-Patrol.


Bombers are made of sturdy stuff, while your fighters are not. If a person is in a position to patrol their own shoreline, ie without a long shared border with an enemy, your fighters will have to be launched from a nearby carrier and be prepared to get toasted by the home team's turf advantage of SAMs and airbases.

It's a great strategy GoldenShadow ;)
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Postby GoldenShadow » Sat Oct 07, 2006 4:45 am

plus fighters can't hit what they can't see. Due to my homelands radar sitting on the coast, I'll spot your fighter wave before you spot my bomber patrol. fighters have a pretty good combat range also, but they can't see very far and rely on radar to be used to the full potential. defensive fighters and bombers are very effective due to this reason, they can utilize their entire combat range, ie. shoot you before you know they are there.

As for bombers being sturdy. The truth is fighters will mop the floor with them. Much better than an air defense silo, I believe. Its true that you should counter bombers with fighters, but the point of the patrol is not to magically stop a full out naval assault. it stops those surprise submarine attacks.

Thats why I make sure I have several carriers and battleships in position before deploying subs, I can throw out my own fighter screen to help destroy the enemy bombers that want to sink my attacking subs. In truth, if I see bombers incoming, I'll abort the sub launch and submerge and move back out into the ocean. Usually the fighters I release from the carriers will deal with the enemy bombers and i can try again later.

I am pretty good at naval engagments myself. I know the key to winning them lies with battleships and bombers. keep the bombers at their far range, just close enough to be within the combat radius, but out of the radar range of the enemy fleet. Use your battleships to keep a radar lock on the enemy fleet. I notice a lot of people like to expend all of their fighters in the first naval skirmish. I think its a big waste. I would only deploy fighters specifically to target bombers. carrier fighters don't regenerate and you will need them when you end up going offensive with your remaining ships.

In order to defend against the full out naval assault without your own fleet to stand in their way requires some tricky micro. Hopefull your airbases and silos are far enough inland that they can't be spotted by stray fighters that make it too close to land. you'll want to take advantage of your home terroritory's air defense to help shoot down the fighter screen the enemy sends out prior or during a submaring and bomber attack. Get every plane off the ground, but don't suicide them. order them to about less then half way of their max range so they'll be able to make it back to the airfield and refuel. Losing too many fighters will allow bombers to roam across your territory unchecked. firstly send your own fighters out to thin out the enemy fighters. your air defense will make the job easier and your radar coverage will let even the planes from far away make shots. As soon as you see any submarine surface, during or prior to the attack, make sure you have some bombers in the air, go off on a tangent to the direction the enemy fleet is attacking from. bombers have good range and they can hit the sub flyingby flying away from the enemy fleet, outside of the fleet's radar range. You'll need to manually target the subs in this case and they are your only priority.

If the imediate threat of submarine attack hasn't occured yet, have your bombers do wide manuevers well outside of the enemy ship's radar and target the carriers first, then battleships. If subs pop up, they will be your primary target
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Postby Wasgood » Sat Oct 07, 2006 6:02 am

Thanks this is great stuff.
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Postby Kazz » Sat Oct 07, 2006 6:07 am

This thread stopped being about silo nukes pretty quickly. :)
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Postby Lucifer » Sat Oct 07, 2006 7:12 am

And most players, especially PUB games don't usually think much when they surface their subs. It's usually just unload everything as fast as possible on the nearest costal cities.
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Postby Count Zero Interrupt » Sat Oct 07, 2006 8:22 am

Always depends on the game. In 1on1 I use my subs mostly for preemptive strikes against the enemy's silos. In bigger games however (using default scoring) it's often a good move to use your subs to get as much megadeaths as possible, so here it makes perfect sense to nuke as much cities as possible. In diplomacy or alliance games (survivor scoring) however I spare the subs for backstabbing. So, there definitely isn't a perfect strategy for using subs (or bombers).
Concerning silos: If you are sure about the enemys launch capabilitys, it can pay out to get all your silos to launch one or two waves of missiles whereupon you switch them back to AA. If the enemy is into ICBM retaliation, and he doesn't have bombers airborne, your defense will be back up fast enough. A bold move, but often people don't expect it. This silo strategy helped me a few times in mid-to-end game. This strategy is however only for first strike situations.
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So how do you actually use the silo nukes? Here's how!

Postby GeneticFreak » Sun Oct 08, 2006 7:37 am

There are several tactics involved in using silo nukes. (I will assume you have your coast and airspace secured cause thats a different topic)
How to open silos: hit "ICBM launch mode" then press spacebar
How to close em: hit "Air Defence Mode"

1) Revolving door tactic.
This is good in a 1 vs 1 game.
Open three of your rear most silos and launch at the enemy twice simultanously and IMMEDIATELY close them to air defence mode afterwards. After they close launch from the other two or three of your front silos ONCE and close them immediately after.

2) The Shotgun
Make sure enemy got no radar-capable unit/buildings near your silos, otherwise you need to make a distraction. Now carefully open each silo and shoot at the enemy once or twice (depending on enemy distance, twice if the enemy is far away) from ALL silos and IMMEDIATELY close them after. Target their nearest silo.

3) The Cleanup
When your enemy is severely disarmed, use one silo to target their cities. Wait till over half of the nukes launched, then use another silo to target their cities. Start with your closest silo down to your farther ones.


oh no what have i done now everyone knows my tactic
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Re: So how do you actually use the silo nukes? Here's how!

Postby Xandalis » Tue Oct 10, 2006 4:32 pm

GeneticFreak wrote:There are several tactics involved in using silo nukes. (I will assume you have your coast and airspace secured cause thats a different topic)
How to open silos: hit "ICBM launch mode" then press spacebar
How to close em: hit "Air Defence Mode"

1) Revolving door tactic.
This is good in a 1 vs 1 game.
Open three of your rear most silos and launch at the enemy twice simultanously and IMMEDIATELY close them to air defence mode afterwards. After they close launch from the other two or three of your front silos ONCE and close them immediately after.

2) The Shotgun
Make sure enemy got no radar-capable unit/buildings near your silos, otherwise you need to make a distraction. Now carefully open each silo and shoot at the enemy once or twice (depending on enemy distance, twice if the enemy is far away) from ALL silos and IMMEDIATELY close them after. Target their nearest silo.

3) The Cleanup
When your enemy is severely disarmed, use one silo to target their cities. Wait till over half of the nukes launched, then use another silo to target their cities. Start with your closest silo down to your farther ones.


oh no what have i done now everyone knows my tactic


Heh. Staggering your silos like that would seem to be pretty much common sense if you're still at a high risk of being attacked. Of course I'd bet most of the stratagies here would have to be severely re-vamped for a game of office mode.
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Re: So how do you actually use the silo nukes? Here's how!

Postby War_Machine » Mon Oct 16, 2006 7:55 am

GeneticFreak wrote:There are several tactics involved in using silo nukes. (I will assume you have your coast and airspace secured cause thats a different topic)
How to open silos: hit "ICBM launch mode" then press spacebar
How to close em: hit "Air Defence Mode"
1) Revolving door tactic.
This is good in a 1 vs 1 game.
Open three of your rear most silos and launch at the enemy twice simultanously and IMMEDIATELY close them to air defence mode afterwards. After they close launch from the other two or three of your front silos
ONCE and close them immediately after.


In response to the above quoted post by GeneticFreak, it seems ok in theory, but there are several holes in it. First and foremost, if you're launching from silos while he still has silos, you've given away your position which makes it much easier for your opponent to pick you apart 1 silo at a time. The staggering of silos in and out of Air Defence/ICBM mode is good, but that means that only 2 waves of 3 missiles are heading at his territory at any given point in time. Or maybe there's more in the air, but they aren't grouped close enough to punch a serious hole in the defenses. If my territory can't shoot down at least 4 out of those 6 missiles, then whoever's operating the SAM sites needs to be fired. Also, everybody seems to forget about the Navy. -No plan of action ever survives contact with the enemy- You start with your revolving door tactics? Chances are I still have at least 4 or 6 subs hovering off your coast with just enough range to reach out and really touch those silos that are in ICBM mode. And by the time you know what's going on, you're down 1 or 2 silos, and my subs are gone again. Of course this assumes that I have subs left :) My point is that the strategies listed are good in a perfect game situation where everything has gone right for you. Good luck trying it against anybody who has an intermediate grasp on tactics and strategy.
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Postby ander75it » Mon Oct 16, 2006 8:36 am

Of course, a plan only works so much, but still a plan is better than no plan. Don't you agree?
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Postby GeneticFreak » Mon Oct 16, 2006 8:38 am

Those silo tactics are under the assumption that your coast and airspace is secure. I never launch missiles without bombers flying over my seas. You have 60 seconds to fire those subs. One sub goes down in 2 hits in average which takes 24 seconds from a bomber. Hence 3 Bombers in the air = 6 subs dead before launching.

Oh and set a server for us to play together next weekend.
Last edited by GeneticFreak on Mon Oct 16, 2006 6:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby xander » Mon Oct 16, 2006 3:50 pm

GeneticFreak wrote:One sub goes down in 2 hits which takes 24 seconds from a bomber.

That is not entirely accurate. Every shot has a random chance of sinking the sub. It is like a die roll. I have seen subs go down on the first shot, and I have seen them soak up ammo before dieing. There is some random chance involved.

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Postby GeneticFreak » Mon Oct 16, 2006 6:53 pm

Edited the previous post. Thanks xander I forgot units got no HP in this game (even tho I mentioned it myself in another thread lol silly me)

And wheres that guy that says I can't play against anybody who has an intermediate grasp on tactics and strategy, I'm still waiting for a date and time.
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