Fleet Command Tips and Tactics
by Tim "Flyboy" Henderson
A couple of weeks back I finally obtained a copy of Fleet Command. Sure, I had to fight for it, but I think Viking1 is recovering nicely..
Seriously, when I saw this one sitting on his shelf I thought to myself, "I wonder what this game is really like?" I had read various reviews and even a few in print (gasp!), and was a bit hesitant to make the investment. But it turns out I'm having some fun with it!
Fleet Command strikes me a bit like a navalized version of TAW, but lacking the ability of first person command (still love that game, in spite of the nasty process of release in stages.)
For those who haven't read the reviews, I'll begin with an overview, including some of the quirks of the game. All that I write applies to the patched version. I highly recommend you download the same and apply prior to Command! You will then have to go into GAME OPTIONS and turn ON features like "Ships Auto-engage Incoming Missiles" and "Aircraft Auto-engage Hostiles."
Jump in and Swim
Please DON'T jump in and swim. You will find yourself immediately overwhelmed if you do what I did and skip the manual and simply dive into the first campaign. More on that first campaign later...
Not that the manual is very helpful. It is sparse, as too many are these days, with the exception of coverage on the mission editor. But DO use the tutorials. They don't take very long and they will save you some frustration. They even use voice narration, though I think there is a bug or two in them yet to be killed.
After you complete the tutorials, go ahead and launch a single mission or two. I recommend the first in the list: CVBG Norwegian Sea. In this mission you must protect your carrier group from a cruise missile attack.
Prior to the v.1.1 patch this was a bit of a pain since there was no way to automate your missile defenses. Post patch it's a simpler process, but there are still a few things that will help you.
First of all, you do need to know a bit about the more active defenses on board your carrier. This leads to my first rule of naval engagement: Increase Your Vision.
Launch your E2 Hawkeye immediately, followed by your EA-6B Prowlers. The Hawkeye enables you to see a long way around you without making your carrier group show up like a sun in the night with its active sensors. The Prowler can jam another ship's radar, making it hard for that ship to defend against your Ship to Ship Missiles (SSMs).
Those Quirky Sensors
At this point you run up against the first quirk in Fleet Command. You must manually select the E2 and order it to turn on its EW radar systems. In fact, you must do this with every aircraft you deploy or they will fly blind.
The point is to both defend yourself and take out the offending ships as quickly as possible. The SM-2 is a very fast and effective missile and you will need to launch more than one per ship in order to overwhelm their defensive systems.
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Last Updated October 14th, 1999