A DEFENCE NETWORK incorporates all of your missile silos, airbases and especially radar sites, as well as any carriers assigned to anti-submarine duty or any naval units placed specifically for defence. At a more global level, it can also refer to your alliance's assets too. There are two kinds of DEFNETs: Intranets, and Internets (just like other networks, but not the same as the Internets).
A DEFNET INTRANET refers specifically to your assets used for defence. This is your own missile silos, your own radar coverage and so on. These are assets that are directly under your control. A DEFNET INTERNET refers to your ALLIANCE'S collective assets, including your OWN radar coverage, THEIR radar coverage, YOUR defence sites and their defence sites. If you are not in in an alliance, you do not have a DEFNET Internet.
With no defence network, you are likely to be easily removed. No effective defence network equals poor defence, simple as that. Why is it important to understand the differences between your defnet and your ally's defnet? The reason is that their defnet might not be there tomorrow, and you must learn to recognsie when it is strategically viable to ally with a player to form a defnet internet.
Objectives of DEFNETsEdit
The primary objective of a DEFNET is to respond to incoming attacks. Its secondary goals that it uses to achieve that are as follows:
1: Provide early warning for attacks. Using radar and naval assets, a DEFNET's objective is to provide extensive coverage covering the majority (if not your entire) territory, and to provide coverage that extends past this boundary and into neighbouring territories/waters. This is done to alert you to incoming fighters and missiles, so you can predict the paths and prioritise attacks, or even respond to them in some instances before they are a major threat.
2: Allow deployment of assets for defence effectively. Once you can see the enemy, you can strike the enemy. Efficient DEFNET planning will allow you to respond to incoming bombers and missiles using fighter craft (fighters in version 1.0 can respond to incoming missiles; they're just bad at it, see Fighters and Nuclear Missiles) OR switch silos to defence mode if time permits. With wide radar coverage, fighters can respond quickly to enemy strikes, resulting in rapid deployment of assets for supreme defence.
3: Provide effective missile defence. The primary goal of silos are not to destroy the enemy at first. That is the goal of your bombers and submarines. Silos are your most effective air defence unit, and as such, should not be risked. They also represent your greatest stockpile of nuclear missiles, so use them to attack only when it is safe to do so, and you are striking targets of incredible importance with a high chance of successfully eliminating the target. That said, they should be deployed in such a way as to provide maximum protection for high density population areas. Do not space them out with massive distances between them, it is better to try clustering them near dense population areas (i.e. Western USSR).
4. Provide basic information about neighbours. Although the DEFNET's primary goal is defence, in some countries it is also used to obtain information about the enemy. A good example is Europe and USSR, who can use their radar to spy on each other, or Africa and Asia respectively. This may let you see other DEFNETs or warn you of impending attacks.
There are two kinds of radar visions in this guide: PRIMARY and AUXILIARY. PRIMARY RADAR is generated by your Radar sites. AUXILIARY RADAR is generated by mobile units, especially fighters.
Effective DEFNET developmentEdit
RADAR sites are the primary unit for DEFNETs. They have large radar coverage, they can only be hit by nukes (or fighters, if they happen to crash on top of them), and if you're playing in Variable Units mode, they're cheap. On the down side, they only take one missile to destroy. RADAR sites are your first target when attacking an enemy DEFNET, since they are vulnerable, usually poorly defended, and cripple the enemy's DEFNET with relatively few losses. When placing them, it's okay to be somewhat liberal with their defences; position them in important areas, like on coast lines, large empty spaces, and places where missiles are likely to pass over. Also place them on enemy borders. Normally, an enemy will not see them until they start launching bombers or fighters, which will cross over the radar's range. Deploy fighters in these instances to keep radar sites protected. Radar sites will not show up for Submarines, who have no radar range at all. When the bombs start dropping, radar units will fall, so remember to try to keep some radar within range of missile silos so you have some form of defence. However, do not be terribly concerned with protecting outlying radar sites.
AIRBASES are the next component of your DEFNET, and are important for two reasons. Firstly, they can regenerate fighters, and they keep a large stock of them. Secondly, they have five bombers, plus five SRBMs in reserve if any bombers make it back. This makes them able to effectively increase auxiliary radar ranges and respond to incoming attacks. In addition, they are good for launching bombers to attack enemy positions. REMEMBER - Bombers NEVER respawn, and nukes trapped in an Airbase are useless (therefore, micromanagement to rearm bombers is important). Airbases take two hits to be destroyed (though the first hit can destroy aircraft at the airbase), making them resilient to attacks and useful. Airbases are not primary targets for attacks unless the enemy is yet to launch bombers in DEFCON1, at which point it may be prudent to stike isolated airbases. Otherwise, they can usually be safely ignored for a period of time, provided air defence is strong.
MISSILE SILOS are the next, but possibly 2nd most important aspect of your DEFNET. Silos are used for both retaliation and defence. They are not used for primary attacks. That is the role of submarines and bombers. Attacks are beyond the scope of this article, and it will focus on their role as defensive structures. Remember - a silo in air defence mode is far more useful than a silo in launch mode when nuclear launches occur. Silos, as discussed previously, are the best at air defence. They take down missiles, fighters, and bombers. They are totally reliant on radar, be it primary or auxillary, to respond to attacks. Without radar, they are useless. They also take three hits to be destroyed. Silos are NOT primary targets until AFTER radar sites have been destroyed. The reason why is that it only takes one missile to hit a radar site, and outlying radar sites are unlikely to be defended. A silo will take three hits to destroy, and will be heavily defended. Radar units are far easier to destroy. Blind a silo, and it cannot respond to attacks, which effectively makes it useless except to launch nuclear weapons. IMPORTANT NOTE: They are SECONDARY objectives, primarily because they MUST be neutralised before they can pose a significant threat to your cities. They have the largest stockpile of missiles in the game, and if all of them open fire at once (which is likely to happen once your opponent realises they cannot respond to attacks) they are usually enough to overwhelm defences, especially combined with a submarine or bomber strike. When possible, destroy isolated silos that are poorly defended/without defence.
NAVAL UNITS are not primarily parts of your DEFNET unless they are stationed off the coast with the purpose of intercepting enemy aircraft or hunting for submarines. The latter is the most important part of the DEFNET when in the water, simply because nothing can pick up a sub until it starts launching, other than a Carrier or Submarine hunting for them. Submarines pose the most significant threat to defences, since they are totally silent until launching (unless intercepted by a carrier or other submarine group) and they fire missiles incredibly fast. As a result, it is a good idea to keep one fleet of Carriers and Battleships off your coast with the purpose of hunting for subs. Carriers will make short work of them, but Battleships will destroy them extremely quickly in the event that they surface.
Failure of DEFNETsEdit
Question why the DEFNET failed. Is it because it was totally overwhelmed with enemy missiles? If so, how did that happen? Was it because the submarines off the coast slipped by undetected? Was it because it lost its radar sites? Attempt to locate how the defence network failed, and rectify the problem. If you have lost the majority of your radar units, it's best to deploy fighters for emergency radar coverage, though it is a good idea to be careful with them (i.e. make sure they have the fuel for the flight home), otherwise their respawn time will result in large periods of radar blackout.
Alliances and DEFNETsEdit
Choosing an ally is a difficult process. Sometimes a player will choose an ally because their defence and their ally's defence strategically overlaps. This is a good DEFNET, the prime example being the famous USSR-Euro alliance. This is good: everybody gets something out of it. USSR's primary population density lies right next to Europe, so it can cluster its missile defence sites around there. Europe pretty much puts someting somewhere and has it cover the major population areas, so no problems there. The radar then overlaps, providing effective coverage from all sides; Europe can see deep into the East, and the USSR can see deep into the west. When missiles fly from the east or the west, they will sometimes have to deal with both sets of AA defence, which is bad for the missile but good for USSR and Europe. This mutual benefit creates an effective DEFNET, though the risk of betrayal always exists. Other times a player will only get an ally that bends to their will because they've been hit hard or have no hope of winning. In these instances, their DEFNETs may still be useful for finding information about their own territory so a player can exploit it later. Or they might be useful as a buffer between a player and incoming missiles, even though the players might not be directly beside each other. In any event, choose allies relative to enemies, or who can provide good defence coverage, when seeking to expand a DEFNET.
Destruction of DEFNETs is beyond the scope of this document, but here is some basic advice.
- Find the enemy. A person can't kill what they can't see. How you do this is up to you; you may do it by allying with them and betraying them, by flying aircraft over there, or by placing radar. Find their silos, find their radar, and find their airbases.
- Choose a time to strike. Hitting when DEFCON1 is in effect isn't always the best idea. Take a look at other attacking guides.
- Hit the RADAR sites. Many players usually have poorly defended radar sites; this is acceptable. Take them out so that they lose the ability to detect strikes early. Progressively destroy the outer radar sites, trying to get deeper into enemy territory.
- Hit SILOS and AIRBASES. Remember - The first hit reduces missile/aircraft numbers. Cripple their stockpile. Don't let them retaliate!
- Profit. With a blinded, barely defensible enemy, they have two options: launch all of their remaining nukes and hope they cause some damage/that everyone else will wipe each other out and they'll win by some miracle, or stand and die.