Post by dorn on Jan 7, 2020 13:03:58 GMT -5
NAVAL ARMS RACE
RTW2 has 3 main parts, tactical situations through scenarious, strategy political environment and ship construction - naval arms race.
Thiis article will look at one of beatiful parts of RTW2 - naval arm race. One of other threads give mi idea to look at RTW2 through the one of main advantages - beauty part of RTW2 - Naval arm race. How RTW2 simulates technology and naval thinking going in fast pace ahead, creating ship designs in different categories of warships.
To look at it in right way I decided to split whole time period into 2 phases. The first one ends around 1920 as it can take history as real example and except world conflict RTW is quite similar with what happened in real history. The second one starts after around 1920. It is much more difficult as real history was not only limited by technology itself but other factors. The most of these factors were evolution based on the Great war and without the Great war in RTW things would envolve differently. The most important ones are that politics signed treaties limiting naval arms race and thus naval technology involvement, economic effect (not only big crises in 20s but need to repaid debts), rebuilt infrastructure after the Great War affecting most countries except USA and Japan. All these factors limit available funds for naval matters compared later to WW2 which brings almost unlimited resources in case of USA to quickly enhance naval capabilities.
I will look at each category of ship and how it involves in RTW, compare it to history or evolution what if in context of RTW, what AI can build as AI ships are based on historical designs. I will look what work well, what does not completely and what could be done to improve RTW2 to better simulate Naval arm race.
The first part is mostly about description situation and at the end is conclusion and suggestions from that situation.
1900-1920 period - RTW mostly ressembles history
In this period of time the thing were change when the Great War started. It force that new construction of capital ships almost stopped but we still have plans of them. It means we know what would be build till around 1920 even if the war did not start. And in case of USA and Japan there were minimal time delay of capital ships because of war.
In these times the aicrafts are something new and not a threat to warship in open sea even if the first anti-aicrafts guns were install onboard the ships to protect them against air threat - mostly airships.
At start of 1900 predreadnoughts have only 2 centerline turrets, secondary turrets are limited in caliber and main guns caliber is limited by available gun caliber. As time progress situation changes with availability:
- larger caliber of secondary guns
- wing turrets
- cross deck fire
- more centerline turrets
- superimposed main guns
- triple later quadruple turrets, at start unreliable later reliable
- All or nothing armour
During whole time technology improves gradually in fire control, engines, quality of armour, hull, subdivision and damage control, shells. Another limitation is how large docks are so there is no possibility to build Tilman battleship during 10s.
It has effect that ship at time when is ready for service is usually much worse that to other being just ordered to be built. And it works almomst constantly through the first 20 years in history and in RTW too.
AI usually builds ship according to historical design but there are some strange builds which I would like to show.
AI sometimes decided to start construction of new battleship using class of ships that are even 4-5 years old and when some of these ships are already commissioned.
Collingwood class was commissioned in 1919 (other 2 ships of 26100 tons will be commissioned in 1920). There are 7000 tons smaller than previous class and in 1919 make ship completely useless compared to player designs.
German Elsass class, commissioned in 1917 has still cross deck fire. And even if the previous class has only centerline turrets.
It is about first class armoured cruisers and battlecruisers which by role continued after armoured cruisers.
If we can look at that at same manner as battleships there is practically no difference expect that they are faster and they sacrifices something else for that (eg. costs, armour, armament, range etc.).
AI builds ship according to history but somewhat with less armour, quite often even in late 10s with just 8-9" of belt armour which does not protect against capital ship armament.
Protected cruisers/light cruisers
They are limited by 8000 tons at that period and early ones can have even 8" guns in centerline if they have protected cruiser armour scheme, otherwise 6" guns. As time progress naval thinking and technology allow:
- light cruiser armour scheme (sloped or flat deck)
- more centerline turrets if used light cruiser armour scheme (link with battleship naval thinking)
- V superimposed turret
- X superimposed turret
- deck mounted torpedo tubes
And all the time there is technology gradually improving in all areas as mentioned in above in battleship part of article.
As belt armour is limited to 3" it is more about saving weights (more central turrets and other technologies), higher firepower fore and aft (V,X,B turrets) and ability to dish damage which is a lot link with how large the ship is. This is completely different compared to history as in history displacement of light cruisers rose slowly and very similar to AI designs, on opposite players usually built 8000 tons ship early and take advantage that quality in RTW usually wins over quantity.
In history scout cruisers starts with 4" guns, or small number of 6" guns and envolved to powerfull full 6" guns platform. In game player starts with 6" guns as soon as possible as with 1 vs. 1 cruiser with 6" guns easily surpass anything with 4" and usually even 5" guns.
This is more about category of ships that are meant to fight light cruisers after armoured cruisers are superseded by battlecruisers as original armoured cruisers before being replaced by battlecruisers are simulated quite well. So ships no much larger than light cruisers but using heavier guns (7" and more) or thicker belt (3.5" and more) made them armoured cruisers in RTW2. There is no clear limitation on displacement.
Such cruisers has gradually improving technology in egines, subdivision, fire control, armour, shells and on top of that on:
- more centerline turrets (same as battleships)
- superimposed turrets (specialized tech for CA)
- above torpedo tubes
- triple and quadruple turrets as battleships
So armoured cruisers are more grudually improved by speed, more centerline turrets and weight saving (armour etc.) with triple and quadruple turrets as one tech each. So if light cruiser is designed and just main armamement is changed to 7" or belt armour increased to 3.5" the ship changes designation to armoured cruiser. This allow taking main advantages with some technology breakthrough:
- triple and quadruple turrets compared to light cruisers (even 6" guns in case of 3.5" belt) - year 191x and 191x technology
- superimposed turrets, especially B turret - year 1916 technology
Both technologies are available quite early than for light cruisers therefore giving large advantage. Another thing is that such cruiser is not limited by tonnage of 8000 tons (even more if conclusion below is taken into considaration).
Another thing is that no cruiser this category was built till Royal Navy Hawkins class at the end of 10s.
They are several improvements outside gradually improving engines, shells:
- number of centerline turrets which is linked overall technology
- superimposed guns with V available quite early
- number of torpedo tubes per mount
- ASW equipment
- may be some finetunning of speeds over 34 knots
So throught the first 20 years destroyers are gradully improved by being larger, faster and having more guns and torpedo mounts. This advances are quite rapidly taken, usually 5 years old destroyer has quite limited capabilities to the brand new one.
However building destroyers over 34 knots are usually quite expensive not worth 1 or 2 knots. It is quite opposite of real destroyers which have during 20s usually speed of 35 knots at least.
- allowing V superimposed turret as separate (even cheap) technology or with X superimposed turret
- has technologies (or do it by time as it is now from 20s increasing CLs to 12000 tons in later stage of game) to limit size of light cruisers not to be build so large so early. Other possibility is to make AI possible to design light cruisers much large to counter players light cruisers
- limit thinking that at first only A, Y turret can be max. 6" caliber at light cruiser
- may be a little fine tune battle generator to take into considaration more the numbers so strategy to buid more small hulls will have effect in more ships in combat
- adding tech of heavy cruiser which unlocked new possibilities which are newly locked up to this technology
- triple and quadruple turrets
- only AB turrets if any main gun is double (similar principle as protected cruisers allowing Hawkings class as normal evolution of light cruiser)
- limiting tonnage to light cruisers + 2000 tons if no double/triple/quadruple turret is used to simulate evolution of light cruiser (linked to previous point)
- introduction of design of Hawkins class cruiser
- there are some technologies that are completely surpassed and AI design should not use them anymore after building some of superior designs
a) with the first ships used only centerline turrets (suggesting 3), AI should not use wing turrets and cross deck fire any more
b) after introducing B superimposed turret, it should be used everytime if ship has 3 and more centerline turrets
c) if AI builds design with some displacement, it should not build smaller capital ship after if there is no treaty limitation, especially smaller by 5000-10000 tons (see example above), the only history case is british R-class but they have same armament and better protection that previous QE class, only being about 2-3 knots slower.
d) AI will never used for new capital ship design which is older than 3 years
e) this suggestion is little controversal as it is against history but as player knows what worked and what did not after some time usually latest from 10s player armour secondary armament in minimal way to save weight and use it elsewhere. On opposite AI usually armour casemates by 5-6" armour making them much less effective. May be implementation of slowly decrease of such armour through time could help
note: certainly best thing could be to have some evolution as technology go on. Having 3 centerline turrets should introduce this, same B or X turret.
I have already thought about phase 2 but I have not done it enough to write it. But I think there is some possibility which is linked how AI design their ships. To make AI more adaptible to player ships. In my opinion RTW1 did better job to adapt AI designs to player ones but still there some flaws making player designs superior.
I will take example in history and player construction too. If no large improvement in armour quality was invented new battleships has almost same level of protection (armour). In case of AI ships this is not true making even newer ships sometimes worse. AI builds ship not by evolution but from original design which is modified somehow. It is similar issue as AI is unable to build later very large battleship as there is no default layout. AI should change tonnage much more and enhance protection and armament further.
This is end of the 1st part of thoughts - about times till 1920. When I have a time I will continue with next time period.
I suggest to test players jwsmith26 , garrisonchisholm , aeson to look at this unlogical AI builds and thought about it, how can be easily enhanced. It will not only make AI builds better ship with much better view of evolution of design but better designs means AI will be more competitive in scenarious.