[Branch] 1944: Naval

Spiked told me about the ‘naval branch’ idea - a game focused on naval combat only, with ships (including those too big for ‘normal’ S44) and aircraft. Assuming that idea actually interests someone other than me and him, I’m trying to come up with a unit list for that (same 4 major powers for a start, however this branch can easily have Japan and Italy too).

Models will have to be downscaled a lot (like 1/4 from the current at least, maybe even smaller) so that capital ships will be viable on Spring naval maps.

Most of the current naval units are good for the new branch. The following should be excluded: BKA-1125, all LCxx, MFP and other transports (as those are supposed to be used in conjunction with ground troops or close to the shore). AFP is famous for its battles against PT boats, so it can probably stay.

What new units will be needed:

  • submarines (larger than those 2 already in) - at least 1 per side;
  • cruisers (light/heavy) - 1-2 per side, as appropriate (USSR had no heavy cruisers for ex.);
  • battleships/battlecruisers - 1-2 per side;
  • aircraft carriers - 1-2 per side, none for USSR;
  • fleet tenders (supply/repair ships) - 1 per side should be enough;
  • naval aircraft (carrier-based or just called in from offmap) - at least a spotter, fighter and torpedo bomber for each side, possibly larger planes like the FW-200 as well;
  • specialized units - anti-air cruisers, minelayers, etc. - as appropriate.

I think this would be quite cool, but I wouldn’t want to do it in place of the current naval end of S44 (which is I think what spiked wants).

I’ll be glad to help as time allows, anyways. This would be particularly good for forming missions around/focusing heavily on a ‘deploy’ style of gameplay (where you drop units on the map and work with them, instead of building more/etc).

As I understood Spiked, he meant that to be a new ‘branch’, not replacing the current S44 navies. Unit scale will have to be different anyway, those high seas combat won’t go well along with the ground units (except maybe large coastal gun batteries and such).

If you remember OTA War at Sea mod, that should be somewhat similar (only different era). Last version of War at Sea was even like the deployment mode (as in the player was given a finite amount of resources to build his fleet with, with no way to gain more afterwards).

Some more fleshed out ideas:

  • Aircraft Carriers will be the most “specialized” units:
    When they arrive they will be equipped with a full flight of carrier-based aircraft of various roles. This can differ between each carrier type, for instance Escort Carriers will obviously have fewer types than Fleet Carriers.

Carriers will need some method of toggling between different types of attack, with each attack type launching a specific set of aircraft. For instance, if selected to Air Superiority the carrier will launch its flight of carrier-based fighters; if Torpedo Bomber attack is selected it will launch a flight of torpedo bombers.

These different sorties will need to be kept track of in terms of losses. After their air time they will return to the carrier and losses must be “remembered” so that the next time the flight is launched it will be with reduced numbers.

That said, carriers will have the ability to replenish a sortie’s losses. This should only be possible if that particular flight of aircraft is currently “on-board” (or completely destroyed).

So for instance lets say a Carrier launches a torpedo bomber attack of 10 aircraft and 5 are destroyed by the time the sortie returns to the carrier. That leaves 5 available for the next time that sortie is called. However after returning the player can buy a new full flight of replacements to bring it back up to 10.

When reinforcement sorties arrive they will fly on from some map edge to the carrier and “land” (this doesn’t need to be too spectacular, just the same gimmick used by Gliders or whatever).

Carriers can be modeled to give a visual representation of its air arms. They will be quite big (I imagine around the current size of the Corvettes in S44). This can be done by having each aircraft type represented on the deck of the carrier with a lua-placed model that can be independantly selected; when selected all it needs to show is its flight number, like 6/10 if there are 6 aircraft left out of 10 max it can have.

Actual launch animation can be whatever. Eventually it would be cool to see aircraft being actually launched, taxiing in a group onto the deck and then launching off the catapult one after the other, but initially it doesn’t matter if they simply appear in the air over the damned thing.

  • Aircraft behaviour will be different than in S44. They will be controlled as a whole squadron/flight (via KDR’s squad code) instead of individually.

Land-based aircraft will also be present in the form of larger aircraft not available from carriers. These include things like heavy recon/bombers like the PYB Catalina and FW-200 Condor, as well as high-level medium bombers and mine-laying aircraft and stuff. They will operate exactly like S44 aircraft currently do (except being controlled as a group).

  • Mines

Mines can play an important role. Most shiptypes, from torpedo boats to cruisers were used to lay minefields during the war. We could similarly allow many different ship types to lay mines or have only one type do it. I also think minelaying should be instant; to lay a mine from as ship simply requires heaving one overboard. Of course, ships are slow so laying large minefields would take a lot of time.

  • Compartmentalized Damage

Something being experimented with by Nemo and Flozi, compartment/section damage. Most of our ships will be large enough to be able to have specific areas able to be damaged during fighting, such as:
Bridge Tower (damage to which can reduce LOS and remove radar ability)
Individual Turrets (knock out individual turrets)
Deck (can be split into several sections, damage will knock out the various small-caliber secondary and AA guns)
Engine (stops the ship dead)
Propeller (slows the ship down)
Ammunition Stores (causes massive explosions and the most common method of actually destroying a ship)
Hull (the most heavily armoured part of a ship, but eventually enough damage will sink it)

Some weapon types will be better at killing certain parts of the ship than others. Mines and Torpedoes for instance will primarily impact the outer Hull and never do damage to turrets, bridge towers and the deck section. Bombers however are the opposite; they will fall on the deck, tower and turrets, not hulls. Guns fired from other ships can hit almost anywhere.

  • Size

Size factors will be important but sizes aren’t as severely different between different ship classes as some might think. See the image below:

From left to right that is a Destroyer, Battleship and Cruiser.

The smallest ship types will be the PT, MTB and S-Boots, the fast torpedo-armed powerboats. Ideally and going by pure guestimation they’d be about the size of a light vehicle like the Sdkfz 250 in S44, maybe a bit smaller.

  • Side differentation

Will still play a role. Everyone’s navies operated differently during the war. The US and Japan had carrier-heavy forces and relied heavily on naval aircraft. Britain had fewer carriers but a large surface fleet. Germany never fielded a carrier but one was under semi-construction so it could make an appearance; otherwise for the most part they would rely on land-based aircraft. Soviets had no aircraft carriers to speak of and few large ships so will rely on a myriad of various small to medium-sized shiptypes.

I’m tired of talking now.

Actually your ‘size comparison’ pic gives me a ‘no hotlinking allowed’ message, so here are a few different ones:

US Navy

British Fleet

Soviet Navy


Imperial Japanese Fleet

Regia Marina (Italians)

Ship list for USSR:

(all the ones already in S44, minus BKA-1125, monitor, tenders and LCT)
Project 26bis - light cruiser (3 × 3 × 180mm, 8 ×1 × 100mm, 2 × 3 533mm torpedo tubes, 6 x 45mm, 4 x 12.7mm). Weapons are heavier than is typical for light cruisers of other countries. The only cruisers built in USSR pre-war that weren’t from WW1-era.

Type Sch - medium submarine (6 x 533mm torpedo tubes, 2 x 45mm guns). Carries 4 spare torpedoes in addition to the 6 loaded into tubes, 10 in total.

Type K - cruiser submarine (10 x 533mm torpedo tubes, 2 x 100mm guns, 2 x 45mm guns). Carries 24 torpedoes in total. Large submarine, capable of engaging small surface ships in artillery duels.

Gangut class battleship - battleship (4 x 3 x 305mm, lots of smaller guns). Old WW1 battleships, leftovers from Imperial Russia. 3 of them were the only operational battleships USSR had at the start of war. During all its existence USSR never completed a battleship or battlecruiser of its own; though several ships were under construction, it was cancelled every time.

US Navy “Role” List:

PT-103-Class Patrol Torpedo Boat

Smallest ship. 4 x 21-inch Torpedo Tubes, 20mm Gun, 2 x Twin .50 Cal. Light scout and raider; Torpedo armament gives it formidable offensive power against larger ships but its lightly-armoured wooden hull makes it very susceptible to all sorts of damage. Its speed and small size make it a hard target to hit for large caliber weaponry.

Buckley-Class Destroyer Escort

Slightly smaller than Destroyers, Destroyer Escorts are the primary anti-submarine ships of the USN. They are lightly armed, primarily with 3-Inch (76mm) guns, but have a large number of depth charge launchers.

Fletcher-Class Destroyer

Light-weight surface combat ship. Primary armament 5-Inch guns with advanced fire control systems and radar. Most advanced destroyer design of the war.

Light Cruiser (Cleveland-Class?)

Light Cruisers were designed to operate in conjunction with Destroyer groups, giving them more firepower and serving as recon and support vessels for larger battlecruiser and battleship groups. Heavy anti-aircraft armament. Primary armament of up to a dozen 6-Inch guns.

Baltimore-Class Heavy Cruiser

Superfluous with Light Cruisers. US cruisers during the war concentrated on anti-aircraft defense rather than surface action. Primary armament of 9 8-Inch guns.

Iowa-Class Battleship

Heaviest surface combatant in the USN. Primary armament of 9 16-Inch guns. Could also carried up to 3 catapult-launched reconnaisance planes.

Casablanca-Class Escort Carrier

Despite being “Escort” carriers, these were actually much slower than conventional large fleet carriers, battleships and cruisers, were more lightly armed and armoured and carried fewer planes. But they are much cheaper; 50 were built during the war. Carried 28, mainly light, aircraft.

Essex-Class Fleet Carrier

Centerpiece of the USN. Carried 90 aircraft – 36 air superiority fighters (F6F Hellcats); 36 scout/dive bomber aircraft (SB2C Helldiver); 18 torpedo bombers (TBF Avenger). Boasted 8 5-Inch guns (primarily for use against aircraft) and over 120 40mm and 20mm anti-air guns. Fleet carriers were some of the fastest warships afloat with top speeds of 33 knots (by comparison, USN PT’s had speeds of about 40 knots).

Admirable-Class Minesweeper

Primary defensive armament of a single 3-Inch (76mm) gun. Minesweepers used paravanes, essentially propeller-driven floaters strung out to either side of the ship, attached to it by a tow line. The tow line would snag mines and draw them to the surface or detonate them. There was no way to detect or stop mines that the ship itself might run into so this was always a highly hazardous job.

Balao-Class Submarine

Most numerous submarine class used by the USN. 6 forward and 4 aft torpedo tube launchers as well as a 5-Inch dual-purpose (surface or anti-air) deck gun, 40mm Bofors and 20mm guns. This class was responsible for sinking the Japanese aircraft carrier Shinano, the largest ship ever sunk by a submarine. While incredibly stealthy and deadly, they are very vulnerable to any offensive action. They must surface or remain barely submerged in order to spot and fire at targets, making them very vulnerable during this time to gunfire and aircraft. If they submerge to escape, they can only travel at 8 knots, giving enemy ships more than enough time to begin dropping depth charges in a more or less random fashion, hoping to score a near hit, which is all that is needed.