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GrogHeads Analyzes Order of Battle: Kriegsmarine

Some thoughts on strategy for your naval battles ~

Avery Abernethy, 20 August 2017

Avoid purchasing battleships.

I have several strategy suggestions gleaned from three completed games. Avoid purchasing battleships. They are slower than cruisers and their firepower against surface ships are not worth the extra price. But the obsolete battleship you start with at Danzig is remarkably effective as an anti-aircraft platform. It is helpful to keep her alive. You need to stay with the Deutchland cruiser class for two reasons. First, they are less expensive. Second, they have a one hex greater firing range than the Admiral Hipper class. The extra firing range is much more important than slightly higher damage.

Pontoon scouting aircraft have multiple uses. They are the best scouts in the game. But they also can distract and slow down cruisers and battleships who slow down or stop to take pot-shots at them. The scouts are the least expensive unit in the game, and they sometimes work to separate the allied destroyers from the heavies. You do this by putting cruisers in extreme range to take shots at the destroyers while the scout is hovering over the allied battleships or cruisers. The destroyers rush forward to engage your surface ships while (hopefully) the allied heavies waste their offence on the observer. Your surface ships get a turn to blow the destroyers out of the water without being shelled by the heavies. If you can combine this with a submerged sub attack it works even better.

Do not land seaplanes on battleships for repair. I found the controls to relaunch seaplanes from battleships to be a challenge.

It is difficult to over emphasize the importance of effectively using subs. Subs are the only units which damage battleships, battlecruisers and cruisers without taking damage. But they must be submerged to pull this off and the destroyer escorts must be out of sonar range. Subs can stay surfaced only a limited period of time without recharging batteries. Surfaced subs are extremely vulnerable to surface bombardment. My tactical strategy revolved around killing destroyers first, using subs to damage heavies, and only then engaging allied heavies with my surface navy. If I could avoid a surface battle entirely with heavies against heavies, all the better.

If I could avoid a surface battle entirely with heavies against heavies, all the better.

The Condor is the most effective, non-carrier aircraft against allied surface ships. But Condors are sitting ducks for allied fighters. My Condors were another key element to my “sink the destroyers first” strategy.

You must make a strategic choice to rush for aircraft carriers or not. If you rush for carriers, avoid taking any other technology advancement until carriers are purchased. After that, purchase the two radar advances. If you choose not to rush for carriers, take the naval school and the radar advances. The wolfpack advance is over-priced. Take advanced torpedoes and proximity fuses when available.

Winning Scapa Flow without carriers is tricky. You need two seaplane tenders and four crappy seaplane fighters. The fighters are used to defend against the British tactical aircraft. Sink ships outside the anchorage first. Then use your subs to feel out the path through the mindfield. Use your cruisers to blast the destroyers out of the water. The carrier will make a run for it after it is spotted, so do not send your scouts or subs deep into the harbor until the destroyers are killed and the mindfield is spotted. Taking out the fuel depots is easy when they are in range of your surface ships, so don’t sweat them early. Your Condor bombers are out of range and cannot be carried on seaplane tenders, so you have to be creative at Scapa Flow without aircraft carriers.

Summary:                 

Kriegsmarine has a $9.99 download price from both the Slitherine website and from Steam. I got two days worth of wargaming goodness for my $10. Although Kriegsmarine is my least favorite Order of Battle add-on, I did not regret my purchase.  Kriegsmarine has several scenarios which must be played a specific way to complete all victory conditions. Other Order of Battle offerings did not have this shortcoming. In some scenarios, the “only one way to win” was so strong it reminded me of Panzer General. On a 100 point scale, I would give Kreigsmarine a 75. It was fun, but probably has limited replay value. Still, for $10 I got a lot more fun from this than I would from a movie.

 

Avery Abernethy is a Professor of Marketing at Auburn University


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