The Antilope is the only Italian corvette in the game. She belongs to the Gabbiano class of which Italy produced 59 total because they were cheap and easy to produce. The key to a corvette in the real world is that is tends to be small and maneuverable. The other key to the Gabbiano class design is they were equipped with electric motors that allowed for temporary silent running to hunt submarines. Unfortunately for the Antilope, the unit’s in game statistics are faithful which relegates it to a “oh I have 4 points laying around” use.
Cost: 4 – Year: 1942 – Class: Destroyer [Corvette] – Set: Fleet Command – Common
M: 2 – 2
T: 1 – 1
Armor: 1 – Vital Armor: 4 – Hull Points: 1
Guard the Convoy
The Antilope seems like an after thought sort of piece when you give the card a first glance and after many attempts at building an effective strategy with this piece that assessment still remains. Going through the numbers the main gun is obviously for picking at destroyers and utility boats that get close by. The anti-aircraft of 3 will require some luck to achieve a result other than a hopeful swat at an aging World War 1 bomber such as the British Swordfish torpedo bombers. The real meat of the Antilope is the 4 for anti-submarine depth charges which can cause some serious damage if it survives the initial attack. The Antilope also comes with a range 0 – 1 torpedo to add a little extra firepower against destroyers.
From my experience playing her, the special Sub Hunter with 4 depth charges is what makes her even worth playing for the 4 points. The key has been to hold her back with the aircraft carrier or in the space between the carrier and the nearest sub. With a speed of 1 it is incredibly important that the Antilope never stray far from protection against larger ships and can shift one space to pop into a submarine’s location. A huge boon for this unit is that it will not typically end up fighting against the Japanese navy which has torpedoes with range 2 which makes it a game of keep away that the Antilope will always lose.
I have not found a use for the other special, Guard the Convoy yet but in certain scenario games I could see it being useful. Again the issue though is that it has low armor, low speed, and other than the torpedo has little surface threat. Which relegates the convoy to moving one space at a time to allow the Antilope to keep up in case there is a sub attack. I really want to like this unit but find it hard to as there are destroyers with more surface threat that also have an anti-submarine threat. If you have a few points left I suggest grabbing her and putting her between your carrier and sub or move her up to help cover the retreat of a crippled battleship.
What are your thoughts on the Antilope for Axis and Allies: War at Sea games? Would you take her in a 100 point game as part of a strategy or only if you had the extra points and nothing better to fill it with?