From: Victoria, Australia
It's a bit sad when you have to answer your own questions yourself but I'll post what I found here on the forum as others might find this interesting...
Another couple of quick questions on some of this game's the arcane arts....
The manual says that RCM is supposed to increase the effectiveness of Allied electronic countermeasures. Has anyone seen any direct evidence of this (or indeed, any of the electronic warfare aspects) or is this one of the 'under the hood' features that can only be inferred from the casualty rates?? (It's gotta be happening, I just can't see it. )
The manual, as you may have noticed is a bit (OK, a lot) deficient in the night and the electronic warfare departments so I did a bit of digging around and backed it up with some internet research which proved to be quite enlightening.
The printed manual only contains a table which lists the six types of RCM aircraft and three systems they carried (MANDREL, JOSTLE and ELINT) with no further explanation. There is the Guns&Radar.txt file in the game folder that lists the statistics of these systems but no explanation as to what the numbers actually mean. However, the readme file for Version 1.0 expands this with some minor comments on how they were actually used (though still doesn't cover everything in the radar list).
The night combat is a simplification of reality but seems to work OK. Harley will correct me if I'm wrong but it appears that night combat differs from day in that after the NJG has been directed by a ground controller (player) to a bomber group detected by a ground radar station, the fighter has to then make contact (either visually or by electronic means) before the bomber can be attacked.
This simplified model then leads to a simplified list of RCM systems. In reality there were many versions and variations of all these systems as the Germans continuously attempted to counter these devices but for game purposes they can be considered a single generic type until countered and rendered ineffective.
The MANDREL system is directed at the ground based radars and reduces their effectiveness by creating an impenetrable wall of radar noise behind which any number of aircraft can hide. MANDREL is an active (transmitting) device unlike WINDOW which is passive and not categorised separately as it does the same job. In game terms, if you turn the radar range rings on in the main display, it is most gratifying to see a corridor in the ground radar coverage open up around the bomber stream as MANDREL jamming takes effect. I assume the Axis player will have fewer groups displayed and available for intercept.
PIPERACK is an airborne jammer designed for the FuG 220 SN-2 radar and is most effective against this particular type (and may be representative of all anti-airborne radar jammers). There are no notes on this device (apart from stats) and I assume it works in a similar manner to MANDREL and prevents the NJG from using their aircraft radar from contacting the bomber. (You can't jam a set of eyes though...).
JOSTLE attempts to jam the link between the ground controller and the airborne NJG. JOSTLE is a straight noise jammer of the voice channels and there were many versions (the transmitter tended to attract interceptors until they introduced frequency hopping). TINSEL is similar (radio microphone in an engine nacelle) and CARPET works on the morse code channels. Once again all are treated as just a single device that remained effective for the entire time period. In game terms I assume the Axis player loses the ability to direct affected aircraft though I haven't actually experienced it.
Airborne Cigar (ABC) (and Ground Cigar) work by having a German speaking operator pretend to be a ground controller to confuse the NJG fighters. I'm not sure why it is included as a separate system to JOSTLE as it will have the same game effects. I can only assume it is because ABC was only carried on No.101 Squadron Lancasters whilst JOSTLE was carried by RAF Fortresses. ABC is in the radar list (with less effectiveness than JOSTLE) but there are no other references to it or its use.
I have no idea what ELINT does. The readme notes may imply that a lot of ELINT missions may increase the effectiveness of BC jammers but I have no evidence of what this means in game terms. (Trigger the introduction or bring forward the entry dates of jamming systems perhaps?? Who knows...)
The various radar detectors on both sides obviously increase the probability of contacting the aircraft carrying their particular target radar.
I assume that the radio/radar navigation increase the probability of accurate bombing though there does not appear to be any in game notification of this (apart from poor bombing results). Player might like to check the maximum range of the radio Nav Aids (OBOE, GEE)...
After looking at the manual I was a bit dubious of the jamming systems being carried by one aircraft type. However, after checking the references, I found this actually was the case.
The deep fuselage of the Halifax was considered an advantage for carrying the light but bulky bundles of WINDOW (aluminium foil) associated with the MANDREL system.
Fortresses (B-17G) were selected for JOSTLE as the aircraft had to be big enough to carry the system, the aircraft would likely have to fly above the bomber stream (out of its WINDOW protection) to cover it with a downward jamming cone and as active jamming tended to attract fighters the aircraft had to be fast and tough enough to defend itself. Also no operational types could be spared.
All in all I found that the game, though simplifying things, does not appear to be far off the money. However, there are a lot of things happening 'under the hood' which are not documented adequately.
Middlebrook & Everitt's Bomber Command War Diaries show that historically up to 70 of these RCM sorties were being flown a night (and not necessarily in conjuction with big raids). What were they actually doing with all these aircraft??
I found references that spoof raids simulating large incursions were often conducted by RCM units particularly against the Netherlands and Northern Germany to draw off NJG and cover raids against Northern Italian targets. MANDREL and WINDOW would have had a large role in this. I'm sure spoof raids were also mounted just to cover which nights BC were active (though I'm not sure if you can pull this off in-game).
Also significant numbers of aircraft were employed on mine laying activities throughout the air entire war. Will this (diversion of??) effort be simulated in the new BTR??
See my comments in another thread (Using this game engine for more.) http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=1560828&mpage=1&key=game%2Cengine
I'm sure others will be interested in tha answers as well...
Edit: Added link
I hope you find the above useful.
< Message edited by Reg -- 1/22/2010 9:43:45 PM >
(One day I will learn to spell - or check before posting....)
Uh oh, Firefox has a spell checker!! What excuse can I use now!!!