188.8.131.52 Escorting convoys
Naval and air units in the 0 box are not considered to be escorting convoy points in the 0 box. If a friendly search roll activates the 0 box, friendly convoys (and their escorts) are not included in the battle. However if only the other side finds, when it includes your occupied sea boxes in the round, it may choose to include only your convoys (and escorts) in the 0 box or all other units in the 0 box, or, if he prefers, both (and possibly other occupied sea boxes as well, of course).
How to escort convoys
Convoy escorts now must be dedicated to the mission of escorting convoys. For a unit to provide convoy escort it must either be face up and in the 2 or higher sea box, or it must be able to reach the 2 or higher sea box in that sea zone when it moves into that sea zone. The NAV/CV search modification increasing effective sea box does not count for this purpose, nor do any weather modifications reducing effective sea box. Face up naval or air units in the same sea box (2 or higher box), may be assigned to convoy escort. Each air unit assigned counts as an air move; naval units moving from the same sea box count as one naval move. Units moving into the sea zone which are able to be placed into the 2 or higher box can also be assigned to convoy escort. TRS and AMPH may not escort convoys. Units may be placed on convoy escort even if no convoy points are currently at sea in that sea zone.
Units which are placed on convoy escort are placed under the convoy marker(s) in the 0 box. Units that were in, or could have reached, the 3 or 4 box are placed face up under the convoy markers in the 0 box; units which were in, or could only have reached, the 2 box are placed face down instead.
Convoy escorts in naval combat
Units on convoy escort cannot initiate naval combat, nor aid naval searches, nor perform any other naval actions (such as shore bombardment or naval ground strikes), nor do they project or break 'presence' for the in the presence of the enemy rule (Option 19), nor can they activate as the result of friendly naval search die roll, nor do they contribute to an enemy naval search bonus even if face down. Carrier planes on an escorting CV may not perform any hex-based air mission (not even rebase); a carrier plane on a CV which is escorting convoys may rebase to other CV which is also escorting convoys.
However, if the convoys they are escorting are included in a naval battle by the other side, then the escorts are also automatically included. The convoys and their escorts have an effective sea box of 3 if they have at least one face up escort, an effective sea box of 2 if they have only face down escorts, and an effective sea box of 0 if they have no escorts at all. The effective sea box value is used for determining surprise points for the battle only, not for determining search success by the convoys and their escorting units.
Example: the CW has 13 convoy points in the Faroes Gap sea zone. From Liverpool, 2 cruisers move into the Faroes sea zone and decide to escort the convoys there. Since the naval units could have been placed into the 3 sea box, they are placed face up underneath the convoy points. Later, German subs activate in the sea zone and select the convoys and their escorts for battle. The highest occupied sub box was the 3 box, and the German search roll was a 2. The CW search roll was a 5. When determining surprise points, the effective sea box of the convoys is 3, due to having a face up escort. Therefore, the German subs have 3 surprise points to spend in the ensuing combat, and may choose either a sub or surface round (since no enemy aircraft are present, and enemy convoys are present).
If all convoy points have been destroyed or aborted by naval combat, units on convoy escort may remain at sea on convoy escort, and will automatically escort any new convoy points sent to that sea zone. During the end of turn return to base phase, face up escorts that wish to remain at sea are flipped face down (paying for fuel, if using the oil rule), and face down escorts must return to base.
Background/Purpose: The WiFD sub rules aren't bad. There we said it :-) However, relegating convoys to permanent 0 box status gives attacking submarines huge amounts of surprise points. They need them -- any old FTR can react into the 0 box and project air cover over convoys traveling the length and breadth of the sea zone! To suppose that a 3 range FTR is capable of projecting escort capability across an entire sea zone stretches credulity. The purpose of these changes is to prevent historically impossible escort missions by short-range planes, and simultaneously increasing the combat-readiness of convoys with escorts. This must be used with naval search modifiers, which gives an increased chance of activating a naval combat.