24. Naval and Amphibious Operations

Focus: This section covers the various naval operations that can take place in WiTE2. This includes the naval transport of units and supplies, crossing contested ferry hexes and amphibious invasions.

Key Points:

  • How Ports enable both the movement of supply and units
  • How Temporary Ports are created
  • How to move ground units by Naval Transport
  • How Naval Transport moves Freight
  • How to set up and conduct Amphibious Operations

Naval movement and operations in Gary Grigsby’s War in the East 2 include naval transport, amphibious transport, assault and naval gunfire support. In addition, naval units can combine with air units (18.1.8) to generate interdiction over sea hexes, disrupting or denying enemy operations in that zone.

Eligible units may utilize naval or amphibious naval transport to move through sea and ocean water hexes. Ground Units can move by naval transport between friendly ports and by naval amphibious transport from a friendly port to assault any eligible coastal hex. A shipping pool of troop and cargo ships is used to move units and freight by sea using strategic movement points (SMP). Amphibious transport and assault is limited to non- armoured combat units, is conducted in the amphibious phase during the enemy player turn, and requires the use of amphibious headquarters units and a certain amount of preparation time over a number of turns.

When in Naval Transport mode (F3), Amphibious Transport mode (F4), or Air Transport mode (F9), assigned (pending) amphibious invasion and associated airborne landing hexes will be displayed on the map. Amphibious landing ground hexes will be shaded red, the water hexes Amphibious HQ units will move to will be shaded blue and airborne landing hexes will be shaded light blue. In addition, when in either naval movement mode, the remaining Port Capacity for friendly ports will be displayed on the map for each port with the number in the port circles on the map equal to 1,000 tons of remaining load/unload capacity.

When in naval transport or naval amphibious modes and a unit is selected for movement, the naval contested hexes will be slighted darkened and enemy controlled hexes will be dark. Movement through these hexes is allowed, but at greater attrition levels (6.8.8). Units cannot move through or adjacent to an enemy amphibious HQ unit while in naval transport mode.

Units loaded ‘on ships’ are automatically put into ready mode and cannot be put into reserve or refit as long as they are on ships.

Entrained units may not move via naval or amphibious movement.

24.1 Transport Ships

There are two types of ships used for naval transport, troop ships for units and cargo ships for freight.

Troop ships have a capacity of 1,000 tons of unit load and cargo ships can carry 1,250 tons of freight. Each transport ship in the pool may be used for one mission per turn. Cargo ships used during the supply phase may not be used during the action (move) phase. Transports will be removed from the pool and attached to Amphibious HQ units to allow amphibious movement. When in naval or amphibious transport mode, the number of available troop and cargo ships is displayed in the general information and city box in the right hand corner of the screen.

For the Axis player, the map is divided into three areas, Baltic, the Black Sea and the connected Sea of Azov. For the Soviet player, their naval assets are split between five areas: the Baltic and Black Seas, the Sea of Azov, Lake Ladoga and the Caspian Sea. Each of these sea areas has its own allocation of cargo, and, if appropriate, transport, ships.

Only the Soviet player has the ability to conduct amphibious invasions and only in the Black Sea region.

24.2 Ports and Depots

There are two types of ports. Permanent ports are fixed pre-existing facilities that can be damaged, but will always be on the map. Temporary ports are established as a result of a successful amphibious invasion and represent the over the shore movement of units and freight at a beachhead that has been established by an amphibious landing.

24.2.1 Port Capacity and Damage

Each undamaged port has 15k tons of load/unload capacity. For example, an undamaged port level 2 will have 30k of capacity and will show a value of 30 in the port circle at the start of the turn when in F3 or F4 mode. Units cannot load/unload to/from ships at permanent ports unless sufficient port capacity is available. As port capacity is used up, the tonnage number in the port circle will decline. Loading/Unloading of freight in permanent ports also uses port capacity.

Ports with five percent or more damage will only operate at half of their normal capacity. A level 2 port with 20 percent damage would normally get 2 × 15,000 × 0.8 or 24,000 tons, but because it is over 5 percent damage, it will only get 12,000 tons.

When temporary ports are captured they are destroyed and removed from the map.

On the turn a permanent port is captured by either player, a depot is automatically built with supply priority 3 in the hex. If an amphibious landing succeeds in capturing the target hex then a temporary port with a level 2 depot set to priority 4 will automatically be formed in that hex. Ports have their port transportation capacity generated near the end of the logistics phase, so when a port is captured by regular ground combat rather than an amphibious invasion, it will not receive any capacity until the end of the next logistics phase, so no freight will enter on the next turn. Since amphibious invasions occur during the Axis player’s turn, In the Soviet logistics phase of the turn of invasion, they will gain some port capacity, but not much tonnage as the port is damaged at the time it receives its capacity. The port will receive some freight dependent on its size and percentage of damage.

If the port capacity is not used up loading or unloading units during the movement phase, it will be available in the next logistics phase to unload/load freight.

Barrage Balloons – All ports are assumed to have barrage balloons that will impact any raid that is bombing anything in the port’s hex. Aircraft bombing under 3,000 feet have a chance of being destroyed by the barrage balloon equal to two times the size of the port (so a port 3 means there is a 6% chance bombing aircraft will be destroyed). For night missions, the chance is tripled (so port level 3 has an 18% chance).

24.2.2 Inland Ports

Not all ports are directly on a sea hex. For example, Stettin in hex 143,164 traces a link to the Baltic via the Stettiner Haff. For an inland port to function, the player must have control of all of the land hexes along the river and/or ferry hexes between the sea and the port (both for unit and supply movement to/from the port).

On the main part of the map both Nikolaev and Kherson are dependent on control over the river and ferry hexes stretching down to Ochakov for them to function.

24.2.3 Special Rules for Temporary Ports

Temporary ports are only created in target hexes that don’t already have a permanent port, but if there is a size 1 or 2 port in the invasion target hex, the port will be immediately fully repaired upon capture.

Unloading of units in temporary ports does not use port capacity as the temporary port is simulating units and freight being offloaded at a beachhead. In all cases for loading/unloading, Transport ships must be available.

When a temporary depot is created (or a permanent port is captured) during an invasion, 250 tons of freight are placed in the depot for every cargo ship with the amphibious force being landed. . In addition, an airfield, with 50 damage points, will be created in the hex if it is clear terrain and freight from attached cargo ships will also be used to fill out the airbase units TOE.

A temporary port can only survive if a naval HQ is in an adjacent sea hex, so if there is no amphibious HQ adjacent, the temporary port will cease to exist but any airbase in the hex will remain.

Note: The Amphibious HQ can move during the Ground Phase with no effect. What matters is that at least one Amphibious HQ is adjacent to the temporary port during the logistics phase.

Temporary ports may be used for strategic naval movement, but not for accumulation of preparation points for amphibious invasion.

Temporary ports are considered to be national supply sources for the purposes of determining isolation. Newly created airfield units and those created in temp ports are given a supply priority of 3 when they are created.

Freight coming ashore to a temporary port takes attrition based on the air weather value (Clear 0, Rain 1, Heavy Rain 2, Cold 3, Snowfall 4, Blizzard 5) and the following formula:

10 + (weather value × 15) %

So in rain, 25% of the freight shipped to the depot will be lost.

24.3 Ground Unit Naval Transport

Naval transport can be conducted by non-routed, non-frozen ground units. Each unit has a naval transport load cost listed in the unit detail window in tons. For that unit to use naval transport movement there must be sufficient troop ships available to conduct the applicable type of movement.

The number of troop ships required to transport the unit will be deducted from the troop ship pool for that naval zone every turn it uses naval transport movement, even if it just moves one hex. Units can end the turn at sea or in a port still loaded on ships.

Units on ships are automatically put into ready mode and cannot be put into reserve or refit as long as they are on ships. Though support units do not use naval transport movement per se, changes in attachment between HQ and combat units that are separated by sea and ocean water hexes will result in the use of freight points from port to port for each transfer.

24.3.1 Strategic Movement Points and Naval Transport Costs

All units have 200 Strategic Movement Points (SMP) per turn, including Static units, and this is used for naval transport. As described in section (22.4), there is an interaction between the available strategic movement points and tactical movement.

There is a variable SMP cost to load or unload from ships. Units without enough remaining SMP at the desired destination will be unable to unload and must remain ‘on ships’ until the next friendly movement phase.

To load a ground unit at a port the SMP cost is 50-(remaining capacity in 000s of tons/7.5). For example, a level 2 port 30k ton capacity remaining would require the loading unit to expend 50-(30/7.5) or 46 SMP. To unload a ground unit at a port the SMP cost is 150-(remaining capacity in 000s of tons/1.5).

24.3.2 Units on Ships Interaction with Enemy Units

If a unit on ships is in a port hex with no friendly combat unit stacked with it, it will make an offset move out to an adjacent sea or ocean water hex, without suffering any losses, if an enemy unit moves next to it. It will also make an offset move to an adjacent water hex if other friendly units lose a battle in the same hex and are forced to retreat. In addition, it will make an offset move to an adjacent water hex if it tries to move into a port that is next to an enemy unit if there is no combat unit already present.

Units in naval transport mode located on a coastal hex that was a temporary port can always move out to sea even if the temporary port subsequently is removed from play.

Enemy units that remain in a sea or ocean water hex ‘in ships’ at the end of their turn block the naval transport of friendly units through that hex. Units on ships in water hexes and the transports on which they are embarked will be destroyed if an enemy amphibious HQ unit utilizing amphibious transport moves adjacent.

24.3.3 Inter-Theatre Naval Transport

There is no direct water connection between the various Lakes and Seas (apart from between the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea) in WiTE2. Thus each is treated as a separate region for game purposes.

24.4 Cargo Ship Freight Transport

Cargo ships are used to transport freight, normally between friendly ports during the logistics phase. Cargo ships are also attached to amphibious HQ units to deliver freight required to support amphibious assaults, to include temporary depots and air base units built as the result of a successful landing.

The number of ships in each sea area can be found on the production screen (36.3), as:

Further information about usage of cargo and troop ships in the logistics phase can be found in the Logistics Phase Log (36.9) under the ‘Freight’ sub- category:

Information about losses can also be seen on the ground loss tables (36.2.1).

24.5 Transport Ship Attrition and Interdiction

Ships may be lost, along with their cargo, whenever they are used for naval transport, amphibious transport, or for movement of freight during the logistics phase. Ships may also be lost when in an amphibious HQ unit. Note that for the purposes of this game, when a ship is described as being sunk, it actually represents ships sunk or damaged sufficiently to take them out of action for the rest of the game.

Half of any lost manpower in destroyed elements is place in the manpower transit pool.

Players will get a message on the screen if a troop ship is sunk during a naval transport move.

24.5.1 Logistics Phase Ship Attrition

Cargo ships used for movement of freight in the logistics phase have a one percent chance of being considered sunk but no freight will be lost as a result.

24.5.2 Naval Sea and Air Interdiction

Naval air and sea interdiction determines control of sea hexes through the interaction of naval air patrols, air superiority and fighter interception, and naval interdiction from ports and the impact on ships moving through those sea hexes. Remember that air superiority missions can be used to reduce the level of naval interdiction from the previous air phase.

In addition to the effect of naval air patrols (18.1.8), naval interdiction points are automatically projected from ports. Every port projects naval interdiction points approximately five to seven hexes out based on the port level, damage level, and weather. Ports within 5-7 hexes of each other will aggregate interdiction levels over some hexes.

Interdiction is also affected by the presence of Naval Task forces.

Ships conducting naval and amphibious transport and carrying freight in the logistics phase as well as the cargo they carry are subject to naval interdiction attrition based on the movement path they follow. Such losses will increase for every hex that is entered (and this will increase if the hex is contested or enemy controlled) and as he weather worsens (naval movement in blizzards or snowfall will lead to high levels of attrition).

Naval Interdiction values printed in sea hexes are displayed in brown for Soviet and grey for Axis. Control of a water hex is defined as having a map display adjusted interdiction level that is 2 greater than the enemy level. The map displayed values are the true value that is a number from 0-99, divided by 10 and then truncated. The true values are displayed in the hex pop-up, but the values shown on the map are the truncated /10 values, and it is these that are used for determining naval control of a hex.

If the interdiction level is then less than 1, the presence of interdiction is shown by a simple symbol but the actual levels can be seen using the mouse roll-over.

When interdiction is shown, enemy controlled sea hexes are shown in red, neutral are shown darkened, and friendly control is shown normally. The hex pop up will display current control as follows:

Hex control will be indicated by Axis, SU (Soviet Union), or Neutral, which indicates contested water hexes.

In the Action (Move) phase, if naval transport (F3) or amphibious transport (F4) mode is selected, then the impact of control of sea hexes on those modes of travel will be indicated as follows:

  • Friendly controlled – nothing displayed
  • Enemy amphibious HQ unit and adjacent hexes – SHIPPING PROHIBITED

When a ship is sunk due to interdiction, the material on the ship is destroyed.

24.6 Amphibious Naval Transport

Amphibious naval transport (F4) includes preparation, amphibious movement to the target hex, amphibious invasion operations, to include landing attrition and assault combat to take the target hex, and establishment of a beachhead, to include a temporary port, depot and airfield.

Amphibious HQ units represent the naval forces, possibly made up of the transport ships and naval gunfire support needed to conduct an amphibious invasion and provide over the shore resupply through the beachhead.

24.6.1 Amphibious Invasions

Amphibious invasions may be initiated by Soviet Amphibious HQ units (21.11.1) in the Black Sea region using combat units to invade clear, woods, and city terrain hexes.

The steps involved in an amphibious invasion are first; having the amphibious HQ and units stacked in a port, target an enemy hex for invasion. After spending turns accumulating preparation points for this invasion, the HQ can be ordered to execute the invasion once it has accumulated at least 50 prep points.

The combat units themselves must have at least 30 prep points before they can participate in an invasion.

The invasion will then take place after the enemy player’s next logistics phase. Armoured divisions and HQ units other than amphibious HQ units cannot participate in amphibious invasions (but all support units attached to the invading units can be used). Note that there is no restriction on these types of units utilizing regular naval transport to move to ports opened by a successful amphibious invasion.

Players can target hexes for amphibious movement no matter what the sea control status, i.e. even if the path goes through enemy controlled water hexes. Amphibious HQ units will be able to select INVADE if the path goes through enemy controlled water hexes, but this will see significant attrition to cargo and troop ships and their cargoes. A warning text box will display after the standard Amphibious invasion Y/N confirm message when the path is going through enemy controlled sea hexes: Amphibious path contains x enemy hexes – continue? Y/N.

When an invasion is ordered during the movement phase, the amphibious HQ and associated combat units conducting the invasion are moved out to sea to the hex next to the beach hex being landed at.

Amphibious invasions are executed after the enemy player’s next logistics phase. If a target hex is unoccupied by enemy combat units then the amphibious combat units will move into and take control of the hex. If a target hex is occupied by enemy combat units then the amphibious combat units will attack the targeted hex from the sea hex adjacent to the targeted landing hex.

24.6.2 Amphibious HQ Units

Amphibious HQs are used for the amphibious movement of combat units and the naval transport of units and supply over beaches (when a port is unavailable). Amphibious HQs may have attached naval support groups representing ships to provide artillery support for amphibious assaults and ground combat in adjacent land hexes.

Amphibious HQs may only use amphibious and naval transport movement. They may never enter a non-port land hex. They may enter a ferry hex and assist units attacking over a ferry hex.

Neither enemy supply trace nor enemy naval transport can pass through hexes adjacent to an Amphibious HQ unit.

If an amphibious HQ unit moves next to an enemy unit at sea (on ships), the enemy unit as well as the naval transports on which they are embarked will be destroyed. When an amphibious HQ unit is ordered to invade, any enemy unit at sea along its path will be destroyed.

In addition, Amphibious HQ units will bombard any enemy units in adjacent land hexes at the end of that players air execution phase if they have any suitable elements attached, potentially causing damage to ground elements. At the end of the Soviet player turn air execution phase, each amphibious HQ unit with combat ships will automatically bombard all adjacent Axis ground units potentially causing damage to some Axis ground elements in both the combat units and any attached support units.

Level 1 and 2 ports that are adjacent to an amphibious HQ unit are immediately fully repaired in the Soviet logistics phase.

24.6.3 Number of Ships Attached to an Amphibious HQ

Troop and Cargo transport ships must be attached to amphibious HQs to allow amphibious transport movement. If the naval HQ is in a port then no supply or transport ships will be assigned.

Transport and cargo ships are moved from the ship pool to the amphibious HQ unit at the moment units are told to launch an amphibious invasion and can be seen listed on the unit detail screen for the HQ unit.

The number of troop transports required for amphibious movement is equal to the number required for the naval strategic movement of land units for the land units that are invading. The number of cargo ships attached is equal to the number of troop ships.

If at sea, the number of troop or cargo ships falls below 10, then the appropriate ships will be taken from the pool and attached to the amphibious HQ to bring the number of troop and cargo ships back up to 10 (10 for each, although if there are not enough ships in the pool to reach 10, no ships will be moved from the pool).

Example: An amphibious HQ and an infantry division are given amphibious orders. The division has a transport cost of 22,000 tons. 22 troop ships and 22 cargo ships would be required for amphibious movement. For regular naval transport movement, only 22 troop ships are required.

24.6.4 Amphibious HQ at Sea Attrition and Damage to Amphibious HQs

Amphibious HQ units that are at sea (defined as being in a water hex or a temporary port hex) during the logistics phase will suffer damage and transport ships attached to them may be sunk. The amount of damage will be related to the level of enemy interdiction in the hex and the air weather.

This damage can be repaired when in a permanent port during the logistics phase (the larger the port, the more damage repaired). The current damage of an amphibious HQ unit is shown on the right unit bar. Damage is added to an amphibious HQ unit at sea each turn.

Once an amphibious HQ unit’s damage is greater than 99, it is permanently withdrawn from the game.

24.6.5 Moving Units Using the Naval Transport Mode (F3)

To actually move a unit between friendly held ports (i.e. Naval Transport ), the F3 mode must be selected. Left click as necessary to select the unit(s), right click to load on ship and move, left click in unit bar or select movement mode (F1) to off load from ship. Note a unit can move from port and remain at sea or move from being at sea and enter a port during the movement phase.

Units can mix tactical movement (say to move to a port hex) with strategic movement during the ground phase. The current strategic movement point (SMP) allowance for a unit will always be displayed next to the SMP symbol just below the unit counter graphic in the unit bar.

With ‘show movement allowed’ enabled hexes the unit with the fewest movement points remaining cannot reach will be shaded grey. Impassable hexes will be shaded red. If ‘show movement path’ is enabled, then moving the mouse cursor over the hexes where movement is allowed will display a line of symbols, each with a number showing how many movement points the unit with the fewest remaining movement points would have left if it was moved to the hexes along that path.

Units cannot load/unload to/from ships at permanent ports unless sufficient port capacity is available. The remaining Port Capacity for friendly ports will be displayed on the map for each port with the number in the port circles on the map equal to 1,000 tons of remaining load/unload capacity. To move the selected units to an allowed location, right click in the desired hex.

Units cannot move through or adjacent to an enemy amphibious HQ unit while in naval transport mode. Enemy units that remain in a water hex ‘in ships’ at the end of their turn block the naval transport of friendly units through that hex. Units on ships in water hexes and the transports on which they are embarked will be destroyed if an enemy amphibious HQ unit utilizing amphibious transport moves adjacent to them (16.6.2).

If a unit using naval transport ends the turn adjacent to an enemy unit or port it will automatically displace one hex out to sea during the logistics phase.

When in naval transport mode and a unit is selected for movement, the naval contested hexes will be slighted darkened and enemy controlled hexes will be dark. Movement through these hexes is allowed, but at greater attrition levels.

24.7 Amphibious Invasion and Assault

During the amphibious phase in the enemy turn, the invading ground units will attempt to move into the target hex. First the invasion force transport ships and ground units undergo landing attrition. If the target hex has defending enemy units, the invading ground units will conduct a deliberate attack to capture the hex.

24.7.1 Preparation for Amphibious Operations

Eligible combat units that begin their turn in a port, stacked with an amphibious HQ that has targeted a hex for invasion, will accumulate amphibious preparation points (APPs). Units may accumulate a maximum of ninety APPs. The number of APPs that may be accumulated in a single turn is dependent on the size of the port and varies with the size of the unit as follows:

  • Add truncated (port value/2)
  • Add truncated (54/size of forces in hex) where each combat unit in the hex has a size value where Division=9, Independent Brigade=5, Regiments and Broken down division units (1/ 2/ 3/ regiments and brigades) =3 and a permanently motorized unit has 1 added to the size. Amphibious HQs may not order an Invasion unless they have at least 50 prep points (no Invade button will be visible on the unit). Combat units must have at least 30 APP before they can participate in an invasion.

APPs will be set to zero whenever a unit completes an amphibious invasion or if the unit spends a logistics phase not in a permanent port hex or not stacked with an Amphibious HQ (moving from port to port will not cause the loss of prep points). Note that as long as a unit remains in a port in each logistics phase, it won’t lose prep points. It checks only during the logistics phase that it is in a port, and if not, that’s when it would lose prep points.

Attaching a support unit to a unit prepping for an amphibious invasion will result in the loss of 10 preparation points, though prep points will never drop below zero.

Amphibious HQ units and units stacked with them will not gain prep points when in a temporary port, nor will an amphibious HQ gain prep points when not stacked with an invasion capable combat unit.

APPs limit the amount of damage that the unit incurs while making an amphibious move.

In this case the Soviet 408 RD will accompany the Naval HQ in a planned invasion of Rumania. Note the unit has amphibious preparation points of 90.

If the amphibious transport mode (F3) is selected the target hex is shown in red. The two light blue hexes indicate pre-planned airborne missions in support of the landings.

24.7.2 Amphibious Invasion Attrition

Several factors go into determining the number of troop and cargo ships lost during an amphibious invasion, along with the number of ground elements that are destroyed and damaged, before any ground combat against defending units in the invasion hex is resolved.

The number of ships lost is dependent on the enemy naval sea and air interdiction capability, the fortification level of the defending hex (and hexes adjacent to the water hex containing the amphibious HQ) and the weather. These adverse factors are partly offset by the number of Preparation Points possessed by the invading force.

24.7.3 Amphibious Landing and Assault

If a target hex is occupied by an enemy combat unit(s) then the amphibious combat units must fight their way ashore with a deliberate attack. Naval support groups attached to the amphibious HQ will contribute fire support. If enemy units are in the target hex, the attackers will come ashore one landing at a time in a randomly determined order.

When an opposed amphibious landing results in a combat, the defender’s combat value is divided by a number equal to one plus the number of adjacent land hexes that are controlled by the attacking side. So if there was one adjacent hex controlled by Soviet airborne units and one hex controlled by a force from an invasion that just successfully came ashore, the defending force would have its CV divided by 3 (1+2) when determining the final combat odds. With the exception of naval support groups attached to the amphibious HQ unit, support units in HQ units will not participate in amphibious landing combat.

During an amphibious invasion attack against a non- port hex, the defending units may only use the CV value of the largest unit in the hex, and if that unit is a larger than a regiment or brigade, it will only use 1/3 of that unit’s CV value. All units will participate in the battle, but only the one unit will count in the after battle CV value that determines the winner of the battle. Axis units next to enemy amphibious HQ units are not eligible to come in to a battle from reserve.

If an amphibious assault fails, the ground units will remain ‘on ships’ in the same water hex with the amphibious HQ unit, representing the evacuation of the surviving assault forces back to the transport ships. All prep points are lost.

Amphibious HQ units will use their naval support units to fire into any combat where the defender in the combat is adjacent to the Amphibious HQ (they will fire as an attacker or defender, as long as they are adjacent to the defender’s hex). Naval support units suffer disruption prior to their firing in combat when adjacent to enemy hexes with forts and/or ports. The amount of disruption is determined by adding up the fort levels of every enemy hex adjacent to the Amphibious HQ, and adding 1 for every enemy port adjacent to the Amphibious HQ. The larger this number, the greater the disruption. This represents the effects of enemy naval guns within range of the Amphibious HQ.

At the end of every Soviet player turn air execution phase, any amphibious HQ unit with combat vessels will automatically bombard all adjacent Axis ground units potentially causing damage to some Axis ground elements in both the combat units and any attached support units.

24.7.4 Hold at All Costs Defense

Defending units on a temporary port hex, or adjacent to a temporary port hex and also adjacent to a sea hex, will have their end of combat CVs multiplied by 4 when determining whether they retreat.

If they hold, but would have retreated had they not received this bonus, they will instead suffer additional losses to reflect their fighting to the last to hold the beachhead. The existence of a temporary port is noted in the hex pop-up information.