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The Power of airsupremacy

 
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The Power of airsupremacy - 12/13/2008 5:22:50 PM   
Grymme

 

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This is a subject i have been thinking about during the last couple of games i have played.

A common mistake by beginners in the game is that they dont recognize the power of airsupremacy.

Lets begin with the common divebomber. As many may have recognized their strenght is destroying tanks, mobilizers and artillery. An attack by a couple of divebombers (say 4-5) can usually kill 1-3 tanks (along with some infantry) in a corps and severly criple the readiness of the entire corps. (even more effective against artillerycorps in plains). This can mean diminished movepoints and a cripled offensive capability for that corps for the next turn. Lets say that a force of 5 divebombers kill around 3000pps in one attack (1 lgt tank and 1000pps of infantry). And this with no risk for itself (if unthreatened by enemy air). This means that in just 3 turns the divebombers will be paid for.

Lets say that you have four such airfleets that can attack each turn unthreatened. Whith such a force its easy to see that you will be able to thwart any attempt at an enemy offensive and pave the way for your own. On the other side if your enemy has the airsupremacy and use it effectivly you will discover that there is simply no use to building armoured or artillery corps any more. Just by using his divebombers you will have lost the use of 3/5ths of the available offensive supportweapons out there (airstrikes, naval bombardments, artillery, armour and light artillery [mortars and infantryguns]).

Continued....
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RE: The Power of airsupremacy - 12/13/2008 5:38:12 PM   
Grymme

 

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So we have concluded that A) we want divebombers and B) we cant let the enemy have divebombers who rule the sky. So what about it. In a nutshell the divebomber is one of the most mobile, costeffective and dangerous weapons out there.

This brings us to the antidote. Flak?.....NO! Flak is nice, but it only does half the work. Its also immobile and cant be used on the offensive. I am not saying flak is useless. Its nice when you have lost air supremacy completely and need to defend your industries or when you need to support your fighters in aerial combat.

Thats right. Fighters. These are pretty much the only effective antidote to the divebomber. And they also happen to be the pretty good at other things also. They can perform recon, bomb groundtargets themselves and also be used on offensive missions to take out enemy airfields and fighters.

Actually fighters are much more important than divebombers. The fighters come first. They establish the environment for the divebombers to work in. Lets say you have 20 divebombers and your enemy has 20 fighters. Its easy to see that an competent enemy will se to it that in a couple of turns he will have his fighters left and you wont have any more bombers.

So fighters are the way to go for airsupremacy. Which in turn is the way to stop enemy offensives on the ground and to mount your own. The airbattles in AT are, by comparison very pure. There is no concentric attack, no terrain penalties and no HQ bonuses. This means that you have to use all possible means to ensure that you win the airbattles and not the other guy. So what means do you have?

Concentration, readiness, tecnological advantage & experience.
- Keep your fighters somewhat concentrated. If put on interception put them in places where several airfleets are able to intercept and defend together. Dont send up 5 fighters do fight against 20 of the enemies. Do send up 20 fighters to attack 5 of your enemies.
- Readiness. Keep this high.
- Since the aerial battles pave the way for air supremacy that lets the divebombers roam the sky FighterII is obviously on of the most important techs available and should almost always be a high priority.
- Experience. Well, see to it that you win your first battles. Keeping initiative is one of the most underrated factors in winning the game in AT. Lets say you win the first battle (5 fighters vs 5 fighters) and lose 2 fighters to your enemies 3. The next turn you might have 3 fighers with 55exp. Your enemy have 2. So in the next battle you will be even more likely to win. And that just keeps on. Win early and you will keep on winning.

(in reply to Grymme)
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RE: The Power of airsupremacy - 12/13/2008 5:56:39 PM   
Grymme

 

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So what if i dont have air supremacy?

Thats the beauty of the AT engine. You can still be in competion even if the enemy has larger forces than you. The key to this is of course local superiority combined with the fog of war.

I have included a screenshot in this post. Lets for a moment pretend that you figured out that the USSR have 50 fighters in the German front. 20 In Kaliningrad in the north, 10 in Warsaw in the centre and 20 in Prague. You as the NATO-player only have 40. 20 each in Vienna and Munich. So what to do. Well you cant spread your fighters around. You will get killed everywhere. But what you can do is take advantage of the fact that the fighters in Kaliningrad cant effectivly support the fighters in Prague. So you concentrate your forces and attack Prague. Suddenly you will be attacking with local superiority (40vs30). With any luck the playingfield will be levelled a little for the next turn.

Also merely the fact that the enemy know that you have some fighters up and running means that he has to act carefully not to loose his edge. This in turn will force his forces to attack in a less effective fashion than possibel. An example. He might find that he has 3 juice targets he wants to attack. The armoured corps opposite Berlin, the 160 corps in the centre and the armoured corps in Vienna. Ideally he would want to attack them all three separatly to cause maximum carnage. However he knows that you have 30 fighters out there. He might not know exactly where but they are out there somewhere. He also knows that if he separates his forces he might wind up getting one of his airfleets killed by your concentrated forces. This mere threat in being might force him to choose only one or two targets to attack to ensure not walking into an ambush.





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< Message edited by Grymme -- 12/13/2008 6:29:35 PM >

(in reply to Grymme)
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RE: The Power of airsupremacy - 12/13/2008 5:59:48 PM   
Grymme

 

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So to summarize.

- Fight for air supremacy. Air supremacy is key to winning the land war.
- Fighters are key to air supremacy. Build them before the divebombers.
- Research fighter II.
- If enemy has air supremacy try to keep atleast some fighters to disrupt your enemies plan.
- Use local superiority to reduce your enemies forces.
- Dont forget to set your forces to intercept and do place fightertraps. Your enemy wont know what hit him.

A good practical example of the importance of air supremacy can be seen in Seilles & Georges AAR in this link.
http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=1866376


Thats my 2 cents. Comments are welcome.


< Message edited by Grymme -- 12/13/2008 6:02:44 PM >

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RE: The Power of airsupremacy - 12/15/2008 7:05:48 PM   
british exil


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Nice advice Grymme.

Could have done with a few weeks ago in one of my games.
But now that I know the way the fighters work I will use your advice in further games.

_____________________________

"It is not enough to expect a man to pay for the best, you must also give him what he pays for." Alfred Dunhill

WitE,UV,AT,ATG,FoF,FPCRS

(in reply to Grymme)
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RE: The Power of airsupremacy - 12/17/2008 9:20:57 PM   
Grymme

 

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Thanks british :)

There is nothing more satisfying than setting up a good fighter trap (putting lots of fighters on intercept where you think the enemy will attack). The smile you break when you open your turn and get the 7 enemy fighters, 5 non fighers killed for 3 own losses message is hard to beat. 

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RE: The Power of airsupremacy - 12/17/2008 10:31:47 PM   
british exil


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I know the feeling when you've flown into a fighter trap.

_____________________________

"It is not enough to expect a man to pay for the best, you must also give him what he pays for." Alfred Dunhill

WitE,UV,AT,ATG,FoF,FPCRS

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RE: The Power of airsupremacy - 12/19/2008 8:05:39 PM   
GrumpyMel

 

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Nicely put Grymme, another thing I'll add is that if the enemy does have an advantage in numbers over you...even localy. You can somewhat counteract it by...

1) Use you air defensively. Fighters are actualy slightly more effective on defense then offense. So if the enemy has more air then you in a critical sector...you are better off fighting them as the defender then as the attacker.

2) And this can be incredibly effective. Integrated air defense. A few flak guns on the ground... particulary if they are not targets themselves (i.e. they are firing from adjacent hexes)... can do alot to equalize the odds in an air battle.

The key that I find is that you do not neccesarly have to have air supremacy to win.... however, you CANNOT win if your enemy has it. As long as you can at least contest the air space over the battle-field.... you can achieve victory...even if your enemy has an advantage in the air. However if you surrender the air space... and give the enemy effectively uncontested control over the skies....he'll mop the floor with you.



(in reply to british exil)
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RE: The Power of airsupremacy - 7/7/2009 8:33:15 PM   
Jeffrey H.


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From: San Diego, Ca.
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I tend to go the AA route when faced with a losing air superiority battle, usually too late. Integrated AA in the units that have/may/will face enemy AC is a good survival tactic and can help even the odds a bit.

Also we should note that the megastack tactic for aricraft is very effective.

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History began July 4th, 1776. Anything before that was a mistake.

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