So, the fighting commences, although it’s bound to be low intensity until Germany vanquishes Poland. Our Supreme Leader was wise enough, for once, to set up naval and areal patrols before war was actually declared. They look something like this:
The North Sea, Channel and Faroes Gap are all being patrolled by ASW groups (mostly old or escort carriers accompanied by destroyer squadrons), full-on fleets or patrol bombers. The UK itself is partially covered by interceptors and air superiority fighters. Contact is quickly made over Dover and the Germans beaten off. They try again a few times, but in general have not yet made a concerted attempted to breach our perimeter. A lot of flak and radar stations are probably helping to put them off.
Our naval patrolling pays off pretty quickly with our first kill, on 20th October, for no damage taken:
Our patrol bomber squadron has also encountered German submarines on a few occasions, but attacked them without effect. Our next major encounter occurs a month or so later, when Carrier Group Eagle (HMS Eagle, escort carrier HMS Argus and three squadrons of torpedo destroyers) encounters a group of three U-boat squadrons in the North Sea. Things don’t go so well – both carriers are badly damaged and the U-boats look as if they’re going to get away with it. The tide turns when the Home Fleet moves in on the action and sinks two U-boat squadrons. Unfortunately, HMS Eagle is then sunk by one of our own patrol bombers. These things happen… although the Supreme Command is not sure how. Argus is going to be laid up for a good while anyway, so those destroyers will be reassigned to other task forces. But so far, we ahead, just about. Whether or not any U-boats have managed to run the gauntlet of the North Sea successfully, we don’t yet know. No convoys have been attacked yet. But if they do, we have plenty of ASW groups waiting for them!
[UPDATE – Editor’s note: after some discussion in the AoD forum, it seems that friendly-fire from aircraft is actually not modelled in the game, so Eagle must actually have been sunk by German patrol bombers that I hadn’t noticed on the scene, after been heavily damaged by torpedo hits.]
Editor’s note: it looks as if my fluff settings are working well. In previous games, I’ve simply bottled up the Kriegsmarine in its home ports by constantly patrolling the German coast. Of course, in reality this would have been impossible due to the threat of land-based naval bombers. So seeing U-boats trying to break out pretty much from day one is refreshing.
In the meantime, we’ve also been doing a bit of bombing of our own:
We have two medium and one close support bomber group involved, all flying separately. It’s doubtful that this tactical bombing is worthwhile, but we feel that we have to offer some moral support to the French. However, strategic night bombing (with a single wing) is having an impact. Some scuffles have taken place in the air, but losses have been minimal.
Finally on the military front, Germany annexes Poland in short order, completing their campaign on 13th November. The USSR also decides to join in the fun by declaring war on Finland on 19th Novemer.
Editor’s note: why doesn’t Russia also invade Poland, as per historical reality?
In other news
Some interesting events have also taken place during this period. First we have the Empire Air Training Scheme. This is quickly accepted by Canada, Australia and New Zealand:
Alan Turing also joins the war effort, which we greatly appreciate:
Speaking of the war effort, our production queue is now rather long, but here’s a sample (we’ve added about another 30 IC’s worth by the end of November):
However, we have a way to go before being able to compete with this monster: