WWII was a time before satellites. Hell, radar was still just in its infancy. And, if you haven't noticed, oceans are pretty darn big. So, finding your opponent, judging their numbers, and making sure you know to either attack or avoid an armada is pretty important. In this article for Victory at Sea, Warlord Games takes a look at Scouting and Naval Intelligence and how it plays into the game.
From the post:
We’re taking a look at some of the new mechanics in Victory at Sea – this time we’re looking at scouting and reconnaissance!
When the enemy is known to be in the area, fleets will expend a great deal of effort in reconnaissance. If one fleet can out-scout the other, it stands to gain a great advantage before the battle even begins. Scouting missions were undertaken by flying pickets of destroyers, specially-outfitted light cruisers and squadrons of aircraft.