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  1. _intervention

    Basic Formations and Maneuvers

    Basic Formations and Maneuvers A. Line Formation/Line astern Most understand what is meant by a line formation but new players (and maybe even some vets) may not have an understanding of why this formation is used or how it should be used effectively. There are expectations placed on those in the line and success in battle may depend on its cohesion and discipline, therefore an understanding of its dynamics is important for the noobs and the veteran alike. For those who are new, forming a line, or “line astern” means that a group of ships line up nose to stern in a formation that resembles a single file line. Line Astern Formation Improper Construction: If you are not following the above prescribed setup, you are doing it wrong. Failing to line up properly leads to either a “broken tooth formation”(BTF), or a loose formation. We will talk about why these are bad in a bit. B. Purposes Of The Line The three main purposes of a line are: Concentration of fire Protection of bows and sterns Providing blocks for damaged ships ​ 1. Concentration of Fire:The tightly sailed line is the best way to concentrate all of the lines firing arcs on a single target without much distortion in the line. It goes without saying that an elongated line may leave a player out of the fight or require that individual to angle his ship to get arcs on target which could lead to a dangerous BTF if the angle is too great.2. Protection of bows and sterns: A tight formation protects the bows and sterns of the group members. These are the weakest parts of the ship so the protection of these parts are important. Most ships in the line will have both sides of their ships protected. The ship in the van(front) or in the rear will have one end of their ship vulnerable to a stern charge but this usually can be countered before it happens.3. Providing blocks for damaged ships: When a ship is targeted by an opposing group it can be sunk rather quickly. Prevention of the sinking is done by blocking. The ship being attacked leaves the line on the side opposite the attacking foe and receives protection by the other ships in the line. The ship astern sails up beside the damaged vessel providing protection long enough for the target to heal. C. “Sail First, Shoot Second” A saying goes, “A good approach, a good landing, a bad approach, a bad landing.” Its meaning is simple. The outcome is heavily influenced by the setup. An approach in aviation is all about speed control, descent rate, and track. If these elements are not being managed properly 3 miles out then the pilot is forced to work harder at touchdown as he tries to bring these elements together, making a nice touchdown less secure, as workload is greatly increased. If you sail a broken tooth formation as you approach the start of the engagement, or if your line simply isn’t formed, it is likely to be less effective as your group of 6 spends more energy on the maneuvers of the line and less on the targeting, coordination and strategy of the fight. Often you will hear the phrase “sail first, shoot second.” Its meaning is clear as well. If your formation is well formed it gives you an advantage over an enemy still working at forming their line, but as the phrase indicates, the more “sailing you have to do” the less “shooting”, so form a cohesive and proper line early so that you can focus on more shooting when the battle is engaged. I can’t stress this enough. GET IN LINE! D. Broken Tooth Formation Negatives The BTF has three negatives worth explaining: Easy target (BTF, near the enemy) Out of range (BTF, away from the enemy) Can't block (BTF, away from the enemy) ​ Easy target (BTF, near the enemy): ​ First, lets assume a ship is out of the proper wake formation on the side of the enemy. So he is closer to the enemy then the rest of the line. He is exposed. The enemy will see him as an easy target because his ability to receive a block is reduced due to his position. If he gets “spiked” he will be in trouble rather quickly. In order to get a block he will have to sail a longer distance to get behind his friends and he will have to increase his angle away from the enemy in order to hide in time which will expose his stern to more of his opponents metal before getting the block. This could also lead to a loose formation as his speed relative to the group is less as he cuts through the line causing the ships in back to slowdown to avoid a pile up while the ships ahead sail on. Out of range (BTF, away from the enemy): ​ Now let us say the ship out of formation is on the side opposite the enemy. This position, for you, is less threatening as getting a block is as simple as dropping sails. The danger is being out of range. If the fight is engaged at the extremes of the arcs then being out of formation may keep you from being able to participate, reducing the metal raining down on your enemy and giving him the advantage. Can't block (BTF, away from the enemy): ​ You do though, provide danger for the ships you may be required to block. Now, for a ship to receive a block from you he must sail longer and steeper or you must, in order for the block to be successful. The longer the damaged ship is exposed to enemy fire the less effective his repair at best, or at worst he gets sunk. Being out of formation in this manner complicates the blocking process, more emphasis is put on sailing therefore less time on firing, and leaves the damaged ship exposed longer. E. Loose Formation Negatives The Loose Formation has two negatives worth explaining: Fewer over-lapping firing arcs Out on an island Fewer over-lapping firing arcs:​ The way to maximize damage inflicted is by maintaining the most firing arcs on the target as possible throughout the fight. A loose formation makes this goal extremely difficult. It is difficult enough to get 6 arcs on a target without some distortion in the line so a loose line makes it impossible. Out on an island:​ The second danger is having one ship left “out on an island.” This usually happens at the back of the line but not always. Being left on an island means that one ship is separated enough from the group that receiving a block in time could be nearly impossible. A full “spike” from the opposing fleet will almost ensure his destruction. F. Other Line Formations 1. Line Abreast Formation Line Abreast describes a formation in which the group members line up side by side, or broadside to broadside. Its generally used for initiating an attack when the group is upwind of their opponent. The design is not to attack in this formation but rather to close the distance and transition to a line astern formation. It is also often used with smaller groups charging a group that can’t spike them out with the purpose to engage at close range, to separate their opponents, or to board them but small group tactics is not the purpose of these “fighting Instructions.” 2. Echelon Right/Left Formation This formation is formed when the ships in the group are sailing at a 45* angle to each other in a “line abreast” fashion. The typical use for this formation is when the group downwind is trying to close distance with their upwind opponents. Like the “line abreast” formation the purpose is not to engage in this formation. Upon closing to within firing range the formation will turn to a line astern formation in the direction the line was sailing. G. Line Maneuvers: Reversing The Line There are two methods employed to reverse the direction of the line. The order to turn is very important. Lets look at the two methods of reversing the line: Turn In Formation Turn In Position / Battle Turn ​ 1. Turn In Formation: There seems to be lack of knowledge within the nation when it comes to the terminology that should be used when ordering these turns. Here are some possibilities you may hear, Wake turn or wake formation turn, Formation turn, In-line turn or Follow ahead turn. All these (and others) refer to a turn made while keeping the sailing order the same. The second ship follows the first ship around, the third follows the second etc. A lot of times these turns are made when a complete course reversal is not planned. An example of this may be when you are approaching the enemy perpendicular to his path. A turn to parallel his course would be done in this manner. The biggest draw back to this type turn is that it is so slow to get the whole line turned on the proper course. It also has the potential of blocking shots on the enemy if the front of the line is turning between you and your opponent.2. Turn In Position / Battle Turn: In an In-position turn or “Battle Turn” all begin their turn at the same time. At the completion of the turn a new line will be formed traveling in the opposite direction. The advantage of this turn is that it can be done quickly. First, be aware of the ships in your group. Larger ships turn slower than smaller ones. If you are not careful you will leave the Larger ship well astern of the group and exposed on an island. Easy pickins’. Secondly, a larger ship also has a much larger turn radius so frigates must adjust their speed as well as their turn rate in order to not leave the larger ship displaced to one side of the line. Sail first shoot second.