In Defense of LBA
(When LBA and Carriers Clash)
By Bill Burch
While my article was being reviewed by John Pack for inclusion on his web site, he made several suggestions. One of those suggestions was to include more applications of the numbers and statistics to common situations that occur in almost every game of VitP. Given that my article was very large already, I disagreed with John. But John's idea was very worthwhile so I proposed addressing these applications by adding another set of sidebar articles. John agreed and here is one of the results.
Attributes of LBA
John's question about LBA and carriers involves the odds when they clash. Unlike when carriers fight one another or even when LBA fight one another, clashes between LBA and carriers are not fights among equals. LBA units not only have special attributes (ignore disable results), but they also alter most of the carrier's attributes in the game (loss of bonus). Its easy to see that an IJN 3-4-* will hit roughly 50% better than the Allied 2-4-*. But how can you compare LBA and carriers? As in my main article the answer isn't simple, what the players want to do affects the answer. Do you want to attrit or remove your opponent's counters? This question leads to two very different answers to the relative values of LBA when fighting carriers.
Who's Better (ATTRITION)
The answer to both the attrition and control (removal) questions involve rearranging the probabilities listed in the tables within my main article and presenting the results of the carrier and LBA capabilities along side one another. The table below will quickly let you calculate the number of expected kills for both sides. I have also included a separate column heading for "Sunk/Crippled" since a crippled carrier no longer functions as a carrier and is effectively unavailable for air combat until repaired.
|CV vs LBA||LBA vs CV|
|AF 0||AF 1||AF 2||AF 3||AF 4||Sunk|
|AF 0,1||AF 2||AF 3||AF 4||NA||Sunk/Crippled|
Example #1: A IJN 3-4-* LBA is fighting a British 0-2-7(2) CV. The LBA will sink or cripple the British CV 36.34% of the time, while the CV will destroy the LBA 16.44% of the time. This fight heavily favors the IJN player.
Example #2: The IJN CV Akagi 1-4-6(4+) is fighting an Allied 2-4-* LBA. The CV will destroy the Allied LBA 31.51% of the time, while the LBA will sink or cripple the CV 16.44% of the time. Again this fight heavily favors the IJN player.
So what's this table telling you? For the IJN player, your LBA is marginally weaker than the very best of the Allied player's carriers (Essex class). For attrition purposes the IJN's LBA can slug it out toe-to-toe with the Allied player's carriers on a near equal or superior basis. For the Allied player, your LBA is roughly equal to the IJN's average carrier
Who's Better (CONTROL)
When you look at the above table the LBA units appear to be land-based carriers of about equal value to carriers. For attrition this may be true, but as many veteran VitP players know its a much different story when you look to control. Again, the table below will quickly let you calculate the number of expected removals for both sides. I have also included a separate column heading for "Removed/Crippled" since a crippled carrier no longer functions as a carrier and is effectively unavailable for air combat until repaired.
|CV vs LBA||LBA vs CV|
|AF 0||AF 1||AF 2||AF 3||AF 4||Removed|
|AF 0,1||AF 2||AF 3||AF 4||NA||Removed/Crippled|
Example #3: A IJN 3-4-* LBA is fighting a British 0-2-7(2) CV. The LBA will remove or cripple the British CV 66.67% of the time, while the CV will remove the LBA 16.44% of the time. As in example #1, this fight heavily favors the IJN player but to a greater degree.
Example #4: The IJN CV Akagi 1-4-6(4+) is fighting an Allied 2-4-* LBA. The CV will remove the Allied LBA 31.51% of the time, while the LBA will remove or cripple the CV 44.21% of the time. Unlike Example #2, this fight is in favor of the Allied player. The LBA's ability to disable the CV and not be disabled by it gives the Allied LBA the advantage for control in spite of being at a heavy disadvantage for attrition.
So what's this table telling you? For the IJN player, your LBA is almost twice as likely to remove the very best of the Allied player's carriers (Essex class) as his best is likely to remove your LBA. For control purposes the IJN's LBA can go one-on-one with the Allied player's carriers and control the large majority of the time. For the Allied player, your LBA is a good deal better than the IJN's best carriers. For control purposes the Allied's LBA can fight the IJN's carriers one-on-one and like the IJN's LBA it also will control a larger percentage of the times than the IJN carriers will control.
Putting it All in Place
Looking at the above tables, I got inspired to improve on them. Though the tables are perfect for finding the number of expected kills or removals for each side, there is no ease of use. So looking from the point of view of either the IJN player or the Allied player, it would be easier to change to compare apples-to-apples and oranges-to-oranges. So I decided to pair up the LBA units and their opposing carriers and state the carrier's worth in LBA equivalants. Look below to see what I mean.
Whether you use the above table as either the IJN or Allied player, you can get a good idea of the relative worth your LBA units and carriers in respect to your enemy's units. This will give you the exact worth of both sides if there is an equal number of units on both sides. To determine which side is better when the numbers are not equal, I add the value of units I'm not firing at (or my opponent will not fire at) to the total again. This effectively doubles their contribution and gives a good (though not exact) indication which side is better. [For a better treatment of 'not fired at' unit please see the main article's section on normalized combat.]
Example #5: Its Turn 3 and control of Indonesia is being contested by the Allied player by sending three British 0-2-7(2) and a USN 0-2-7(4+) in versus three IJN 3-4-* LBA units. From the IJN player's
Though LBA units have limitations that carriers don't, I believe from the tables I presented above that it can be easily seen that LBA is not weak by any measure. In the case of the IJN's LBA, the 3-4-* is the better or equal of the Allied carriers in all cases. This helps explain why the IJN player can win most of the Turn 8 game deciding battles if he still has a good number of his LBA units. In the case of the Allied's LBA, the 2-4-* holds its own against all but the largest IJN CVs. But even the 2-4-* shines when it comes to control of an area as it even outclasses the mighty Akagi and Kaga. Use your LBA well and you can make or break a game. Fritter your units away and the game may well be lost. Hope you find use for this. Good Luck!- wcmb