A beginning commander might think that all of his task groups should be at maximum speed at all times, to get where they’re going sooner. In fact, sometimes this is the case. However, most advanced strategies depend more on timing than speed. Sometimes, having the enemy believe that a group of ships is slower or more heavily damaged than it really is can be the advantage that turns defeat into victory. Then there are the practical considerations. Higher speed means higher fuel consumption. The speed of each carrier has an enormous effect on how difficult it is for your aircraft to safely land on the deck. Plus, if you’re making tracks away from the direction in which you sent your planes, you could accidentally steam right out of their return range and lose them all! On the other hand, ships at a dead stop have a greatly diminished chance of evading bombs and torpedoes.
When you select Set Speed, the Speed Box opens. You can order any speed from a Full Stop (0 kts) to the maximum possible speed for that particular task group (the top speed of the slowest ship). Hold down the left mouse button and use the pointer to position the slider at the speed you want. All speeds are in knots (nautical miles per hour). As soon as you left-click on the corner box, the Speed Box closes and the group commander orders the change in speed. Keep in mind that a task group that includes one or more damaged ships will not be able to achieve the same maximum speed as it did before the damage. Ships that have lost their engine rooms or are sinking are likely to be left behind, for the safety of the rest of the group.