Air support and AA question

Started by Zinkala, 16 February 2021, 08:33:28 PM

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Zinkala

Page 16 states that scheduled air attacks can't be shot at by AA units on table as they are too high of altitude. We're playing NWE and the germans don't have an FAC option. So they can only use scheduled attacks. Therefore there is no point in the Allies taking any anti aircraft guns? Unless I want to use them on the enemy's ground forces.

I've been allowing the kid to take an FAC because it helps us both learn about using them and air support.


holdfast

Add to this the several divisions of fit able bodied young Brits, who had joined up in 1938/39, in the AA  Defence of GB. All clustered around the cities and able to go home for supper. They were eventually extracted and were in many cases being retrained to go to the far east when the bomb was dropped and they were spared having to advance towards the enemy. We consistently get AA wrong.
But it was absolutely crucial for the Germans early on in the war. Their defence of the single German bridge at Sedan ensured that Guderian could move tanks over the Meuse. The German bridging resources were stretched so thin that, had one of the Allied bombing raids actually damaged the bridge, the replacement bridge would have had to be found from dismantling a bridge in the Ardennes and hurrying it forward. That delay would have allowed the French armour coming up from the south to get firmly into position. So its a fine judgement how much AA you need and the Allies erred on the side of caution, as in so many areas.

Zinkala

I did know that a lot of AA units were disbanded after landing in Normandy because they weren't needed. Some were reequipped as rocket artillery and many used to replace infantry casualties. I'm just a little disappointed that after printing a couple of 3" AA bases and Crusader AA tanks they don't have an in game purpose for now.

sultanbev

The Crusader/Centuar AA Troops were often retained in the ground fire support role into August 1944 in some regiments at least. Twin 20mm AA proved effective against snipers and infantry in houses in the Normandy campaign. Some later went on to be HQs for anti-tank batteries.

The towed AA proved essential during the Arnhem campaign, the 3.7" seeing off Jagdpanthers at Venlo, and 40mm Bofors knocking out a Panther of 107th Panzer Brigade.

The other thing to note the Luftwaffe did turn up on occasion in 1944, ground attack planes had free reign at some points in the Arnhem campaign, both sides being bombed and strafed by German ground attack fighters.

As for the rules, there are some things I disagree with in the aircraft rules.
Firstly, remember most armies didn't have FACs - only German mechanised units, and British and American units 1944+, thats about it.

A distinction should have been made between scheduled planes doing level bombing from medium altitude and ground attack aircraft operating at under 1000'. For planes using rockets, cannon, cluster munitions and napalm, they had to attack from low level. For them, the simplest method is to ignore the AA ruling on pg.16, and use your CO positions to measure the miss distance from the designated aim point, for calculating deviation and hence AA fire ranges.

To say scheduled bomb strikes always hit (pg.51) is fantasy. At 15,000' (the altitude you'd roughly need to be at to avoid 37mm/40mm AA guns) the CEP of free fall bombs is at least 900', which means 50% of your bombs will miss by 300m (15cm in BKC), with outlier chances of misses by 1cm to 60cm. And that's on a clear sunny day with no strong wind nor heavy AA. And the other thing is, any heavy AA (75mm and bigger) you happen to have would indeed be able to shoot at those level bombers, if they were set up ready to fire (admittedly not likely in most games, and with factors as low as 1/400cm).

So, you could have an AA-free scheduled air strike with bombs, but the aim point should be a designated terrain feature before the game starts, and the aim point will deviate by 1D6 -1 x10cm in a random direction, (so thats hit, 10cm, 20cm, 30cm 40cm, 50cm) But you are AA free.
If the weather is bad or other scenario specific conditions, use 3D6 -3x 10cm deviation. (Bombers were quite capable of bombing the wrong town, hill or crossroads in the next 2km grid square) {am assuming here you wouldn't want to introduce other dice types, a D20 -1 x10cm would be more useful here}

For ground attack aircraft that are scheduled, the aim point should also be a terrain feature designated before the game starts, but they then use the nearest enemy unit (or on a blunder, nearest friendly unit) to that aim point becomes the aim point. To calculate the deviation from there, use your CO's position in the same way as a FAC as on pg.51. These planes suffer AA fire as normal before the strike is resolved, unless a bonus is rolled (see below)

I rule I would add:
Scheduled airstrikes - should be noted before the game starts, what turn they are meant to arrive, their designated aim point, and weapon load, ie are they doing level bombing with the circular bomb pattern from high up or going low for ground attack where you can use either pattern (in real life they would turn up at hill 321 or town xzy or whatever and try to spot enemy units nearest that location, or just simply dump their weapons on what they think is the designated terrain feature).

Scheduled airstrikes were often late. So I would use the CO to make a unmodified command roll in the Scheduled phase on the turn they planes are supposed to turn up. If the roll is failed, the aircraft are late, and you roll again next turn (and so on - aircraft being up to 4-48 hours late wouldn't be unusual for some armies).
If a bonus is rolled, the level bombers do indeed avoid any AA and their strike lands on target.
Ground-attack planes rolling a bonus achieve surprise and don't receive any AA fire either but you still have to dice deviation. This represents that even FAC called in planes had great difficulty in spotting ground targets, even when marked with orange smoke or whatever. The more recent conflicts show that this is still a problem, even with fancy TI, FLIR, laser designators etc.
If a blunder is rolled, then the nearest friendly unit to the scheduled aim point becomes the new aim point.

So suggested summary:
Scheduled level bombers receive no AA, aim point deviation is 1D6 -1 x10cm, must use round bomb pattern and cannot concentrate attacks on a single unit.
Scheduled ground attack receive AA, deviation is determined by using CO distance in the same way as a FAC, can use either pattern, can concentrate against a single unit.

Mark B










Big Insect

If I remember correctly, this was all thrashed-out in the Post-Launch Errata 'phase' and there was an amendment made.
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Zinkala

Some interesting idea there, sultanbev. May try them out later.

sean66

So, you could have an AA-free scheduled air strike with bombs, but the aim point should be a designated terrain feature before the game starts, and the aim point will deviate by 1D6 -1 x10cm in a random direction, (so thats hit, 10cm, 20cm, 30cm 40cm, 50cm) But you are AA free.
If the weather is bad or other scenario specific conditions, use 3D6 -3x 10cm deviation. (Bombers were quite capable of bombing the wrong town, hill or crossroads in the next 2km grid square) {am assuming here you wouldn't want to introduce other dice types, a D20 -1 x10cm would be more useful here}

plenty of information about lack of bomb accuracy in the second world war.
Bomber Command and USAAF both had difficulty identifying the Aim point after first load landed due to dust thrown up by the explosions then drifting in the wind.
the Luftwaffe bombed London by mistake in 1940. Leading  to the RAF Bombing Berlin. This incensed Hitler so much he changed the strategy from bombing Airfields and Docks to trying to flatten London.
thus relieving the stress on Fighter command.
Regards
Sean