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Author Topic: Air Support - Scheduled Strikes No AA  (Read 1058 times)
Risaldar Singh
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« Reply #15 on: 27 May 2019, 11:56:35 AM »

Halifaxes - almost never, by 44 almost of bomber command was flying Lancasters. As to frequency from May to August 44 8th Airforce and Bomber Command were subordinated to the army for support. It was mostly on interdiction targets (rail and road junctions outside the battle area). However - Goodwood, Cobra, Caen, and Villers Bocage all involved heavy bombers. They were also used during the Walceran Battle.

IanS
So, a handful at best, in one theatre, over the whole course of the war. But just for argument's sake: how many dice does a B-17, a Lancaster or a Liberator attack with? Oh... this appears nowhere in the rules or the lists so you just have to invent them. The rules are changed to address a problem which basically doesn't exist. Look at the old forum, in all the years of rules queries there is one about A/A Fire vs medium bombers. And Pete Jones answered it by saying that all AA units, including HQs could target medium bombers because "the bombers are considered to be flying low enough to be hit by all flak."
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sediment
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« Reply #16 on: 27 May 2019, 12:28:24 PM »

There is an interesting description of the B-17 raid that kicked off Cobra, where the bombers were subjected to intense German flak, resulting in the bomb aimers dropping their bombs short - as the bombed zone reached the US lines, their troops, in frustration, opened up with their AAA and there is newsreel footage - long suppressed at the time, showing US troops cavorting as a B-17 was brought down by US fire.  Clearly, both German and US flak was capable of firing at strategic bombers used in a scheduled attack, as they were flying at low or medium altitude.  Flying at high altitude and dropping bombs would have resulted in scatter so wide that any tactical benefit would have disappeared (Arclight strikes are several km in length and a km or so wide!).  My personal view is it's a myth that any scheduled strikes delivered by strategic bombers took place at high altitude, most could see the whites of the enemy's eyes - indeed the bomber crews complained about being used at low levels bitterly.

Cheers, Andy
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Dr Dave
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« Reply #17 on: 27 May 2019, 01:15:14 PM »

IIRC 16th Luftwaffe Field Div disappeared under the bomber attack ahead of Goodwood  Shocked

Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't - but this isn't in the game. Arriving with 500 heavy bombers at the FEBA is potentially game ending stuff. The big 4-engines types just aren't in the game - it's just the medium / light types.

But for scheduled aircraft to be totally flak-immune is an oversight.  Shocked
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sediment
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« Reply #18 on: 27 May 2019, 08:20:50 PM »

That was essentially my point.  If B-17s and Lancasters could be fired on by AAA, then medium and light bombers flying timed strikes should also be legitimate targets - it is rather contrived and inaccurate to say they are exempt from flak because they are flying too high or some similar discussion.

Cheers, Andy
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Dr Dave
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« Reply #19 on: 27 May 2019, 10:10:32 PM »

Yes, AA should be allowed vs GA regardless of whether they are scheduled or requested.
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ianrs54
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« Reply #20 on: 28 May 2019, 08:20:47 AM »

The mediums and heavies would most likely have exploited the 10-15000 foot gap, where HAA was a bit slow to track, and the light stuff up to 40mm couldn't reach. I am inclined to agree that a major strike would be a none game, and low level planed attacks were or should be vulnerable to on table flack.

IanS
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Risaldar Singh
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« Reply #21 on: 28 May 2019, 11:58:11 AM »

Some recommended reading if you are interested by the tactical use of heavy bombers in WW2 (links are to free PDFs):

USAF Study 70, Tactical Operations of the Eighth Air Force, 6 June 1944-8 May 1945, Juliette Hennessy (1952)

USAF Study 88, The Employment of Strategic Bombers in a Tactical Role, 1941-1951, by Robert W. Ackerman (1953)

The short of it: heavy bombers used in support of ground forces bombed at the same height as mediums because of the need for accuracy and cloud cover tended to drive all bombers even lower; the only instances of high altitude bombing occur far behind the frontline; medium altitude bombing by heavies in the presence of flak can be dangerous, sometimes very much so.

Some examples:
- D-Day invasion beaches: 14 to 18,000 feet (bombs were found to have landed 300 yards to 3 miles behind German defences)
- Caen, 8th August: 12 to 14,000 feet, 678 B-17s in 55 tactical groups, only 16 of which bombed the target area, losses: 10 B-17 shot down, major damage to 107 and minor to 187
- Saint-Lo, 25th July: 11,200 to 13,700 feet, 1495 B-17s and B-24s (reaching and bombing target area), 4 B-24s and 1 B-17 lost to flak, 59 damaged
- Metz-Thionville: 22 to 23,000 feet (bombing of fortifications and marshalling yards 4 miles from nearest US troops), 1300 B-17s and B-24s, 1 to 2% of bombs assessed to have hit targets
- Brest, 3rd September: 8,000 feet, 239 B-17s, targets were 16 artillery batteries
- Royan, 15 April 45: 13,000 to 17,000 feet, 1280 B-17s and B-24s, artillery positions and strongpoints well behind the frontline
« Last Edit: 28 May 2019, 12:11:23 PM by Risaldar Singh » Logged
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« Reply #22 on: 28 May 2019, 05:21:42 PM »

But for scheduled aircraft to be totally flak-immune is an oversight.

They are not immune - they are subject to Air Superiority flak

Thanks
Mark
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Dr Dave
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« Reply #23 on: 28 May 2019, 05:48:15 PM »

Air superiority - I thought that was fighter cover - as the name implies. Plus what if you donít have air superiority? And it doesnít change the fact that scheduled on table air power is immune to on table flak without any real rationale.

Iíd feel a bit cheated if I field a Bofors battery and they canít shoot at scheduled 110s over Tobruk - Wouldnít you?
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« Reply #24 on: 28 May 2019, 09:24:13 PM »

Then by all means play it that you can ... but the rules state that Scheduled Strikes are not subject to on-table AA.

Air Superiority does indeed include Fighter interdiction but it is now also assumed to include high level AA.

Only the Russians have on-table AA over 40mm caliber anyway and that should probably be removed (or at least have it's AA capability removed) to give parity with German 88s which, as so rightly stated elsewhere, had to make a major configuration changes to fire over open sights at ground based targets & could not just switch to shooting at aircraft quickly.

TBF chaps ... this is a "hill of beanz" question IMHO - as most list have only 2 possible strikes anyway and the strikes must be pre-registered so if there are no targets under the template at the time the strike hits it is pointless, and it assumes that you can win the air superiority phase on the go in which the scheduled air-strike is planned for.

One of the big complaints about BKCII was that too much of the game was focused on off-table activities, e.g. calling in artillery, calling in air. this just cuts out one action to help speed things up.

Many thanks
Mark
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Risaldar Singh
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« Reply #25 on: 28 May 2019, 10:17:27 PM »

TBF chaps ... this is a "hill of beanz" question IMHO - as most list have only 2 possible strikes anyway and the strikes must be pre-registered so if there are no targets under the template at the time the strike hits it is pointless, and it assumes that you can win the air superiority phase on the go in which the scheduled air-strike is planned for.

Doesn't the "hill of beans" cut both ways? Why change a rule because of a problem with "strategic bombing" (one that doesn not stand up to scrutiny) if scheduled bomber strikes are so marginal to the game anyway? As with recce, the problem is the inconsistency introduced: as has been pointed out, a scheduled on-stable Stuka strike is exempt from AA fire while a requested one is not.

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One of the big complaints about BKCII was that too much of the game was focused on off-table activities, e.g. calling in artillery, calling in air. this just cuts out one action to help speed things up.

That is one complaint I have never heard. If some players feel that artillery and air power take up too much time, maybe they should try Warmaster Ancients.  Wink Flexible artillery and airpower are what make WW2 distinctive, dumbing them down is rather self-defeating.
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Risaldar Singh
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« Reply #26 on: 28 May 2019, 10:45:34 PM »

BTW, the US Army NW 44-45 Europe list has a 50-points "Strike: Strategic Bombers" asset that is defined nowhere in the rules. Could it be that AA fire against scheduled strikes was dropped because of a new "Strategic Bombers" rule that was itself dropped or lost in editing?
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« Reply #27 on: 28 May 2019, 11:56:35 PM »

Hmmmm ...

If you want to play that Strategic bombing can be shot at by AA then please do so.

But TBF what I mean by 'hill of beanz' is that in reality, in game play terms, it usually makes a tiny difference to the game.
20 global play-testers played this change - none of them felt it was an issue.
It was primarily changed because there was a consensus view that it added very little to the game and slowed down play and that the Air Superiority factors duplicated the effect anyway.
Improving the speed of play was one of the key things that was stated should be an objective for BKCIV in the investigations and questioning done in the pre-rewrite phase.

TBF ... as stated here in this very thread ... any AA up to 40mm cannot reach medium/high altitude aircraft - as only the Russian 85mm has the range to hit these aircraft this is all slightly irrelevant (as we plan to remove the AA from the Russian 85mm as it is primarily used as an AT/AP weapon in most situations anyway - like the German 88s.)

The Strike: Strategic Bombers in the US Army NW 44-45 list is a known error - but thank for pointing it out. We'll get that fixed  Smiley

I would agree about Warmaster Ancients ... so maybe there needs to be a Commander version of that  Wink

I am not trying to be provocative or defensive here ... but change to BKCII was required ... not everybody will like every change and not everybody will understand all the new rules changes or additions immediately.

Many thanks for your support

Mark
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Dr Dave
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« Reply #28 on: 29 May 2019, 06:46:31 AM »

Well, In an attack defence game the first thing Iíd do is get my regular GA Stukas scheduled onto where his AA is likely to be. That way you can use aircraft against anti aircraft with total impunity.  Sad  Shocked

The impact of this new rule is just way too strange for words. Sorry, itís just a nonsense. Weíll never use it that way because it is totally unauthentic. Agreed that bkc2 needed clarifications in places, but changes like this donít stand up to scrutiny in the face of history.
« Last Edit: 29 May 2019, 07:50:51 AM by Dr Dave » Logged
sediment
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« Reply #29 on: 29 May 2019, 11:15:49 AM »

I think it's also muddling the use of "strategic" bombers as strategic - bombing rail yards, cities, etc, and the tactical use of strategic bombers, which took place at low and medium levels and were hated by the crews because of their vulnerability to ground fire.  Just because the bombing is done by a Lanc or B-17 doesn't mean it is being delivered by them at high altitude.  Similarly, it doesn't really hold up that scheduled strikes by stukas, Marauders or Typhoons should be invulnerable to local ground fire, even if bigger calibre AAA is taken care of in the air superiority rule.  As pointed out, in an attack-defence game, just buy scheduled air assets and hammer the defence with impunity - gets a bit too gamey.
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