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In Axis and Allies, how many submarines do I need to have a greater than 60% chance to take down a lone aircraft carrier?

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

Check out the Axis & Allies Combat Simulator/Calculator. You can choose which variant of the game you're playing (Original, Revised Edition, etc.), how many simulations to run, and a number of other options. (There's even a iPhone and Android versions!) The combat simulator then tells you the average IPC loss for both sides and the average winning percentage.

Presuming you play with the Revised Edition (a/k/a, the 2nd Edition), here are the odds. (Note that each simulation has a link to the combat simulator with the attacking and defending units already entered. The link sets the simulation runs parameter to 1,000, but the results I present here were computed using 5,000 runs.)

  • 1 sub: 49.8% chance of winning, average IPC loss: 4 for attacker, 8 for defender
  • 2 subs: 85.4% chance of winning, average IPC loss: 4 for attacker, 14 for defender
  • 3 subs: 97.9% chance of winning, average IPC loss: 2 for attacker, 16 for defender

What about super subs (which attack at a 3 instead of a 2)? If so, here are how the odds unfold:

  • 1 supersub: 67.1% chance of winning, average IPC loss: 3 for attacker, 11 for defender
  • 2 supersubs: 95.0% chance of winning, average IPC loss: 2 for attacker, 15 for defender
  • 3 supersubs: 99.6% chance of winning, average IPC loss: 1 for attacker, 16 for defender

Also, because a sub has the benefit of "first attack," there will never be a scenario where both the sub and carrier are destroyed. In this type of battle you know that one side (and only one side) will be standing at the end.

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So my precious calculations were simple, just to get a rough idea since you only wanted to know what was needed to get above 60%

Now more advanced calculations show (this is not exact, but close)

  • 1 sub: less than 50% (around 48%)
  • 2 subs: about 87.5%
  • 3 subs: 98-100%

You can calculate it more precisely, but it won't make much sense though.

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It's all a matter of percentages, isn't it. Based on the above, the answer for a 60%+ success rate is two. (But "one" is actually quite close; two is almost overkill.) So maybe the best answer is "one-and-a-half."

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