Well Sarge, Harley, Swift, and many many others that go unnamed here have been such a tremendous help to me since I first encountered this Treasure of a game a couple years ago. In the perspective of trying to provide some assistance to those that may be struggeling with this game as I did in the early days of my feeble attempts to master it. And to answer the call of some, in particular Hard Sarge, Harley, Swift and those Unnamed, whom I have built a tremendous respect for through this challenging game. I am embarking on an effort to present to this unique, brilliant, talented and very gracious community my interpretation of some of the possible Strategies and Tactics one might consider following to master this game. In doing so it is my hope that this will allow those persons interested in doing so to take their level of emmersion and play in this fantastic game to levels far above those of the standard fare experienced by many.
My focus is from the unique perspective of the Allied Air Forces as that is the area of my passion within the scope of this particular game at this time. I will also focus on the 1943 Long Campaign as I think that is the most challenging aspect of this game. Perhaps at some point in the future I may venture into the realm of the Luftwaffe and Riga Aeronautica. However at this time I am far too ignorant of that aspect of this game and of WWII that I think it would be pretentious of me to do so at this time. I do feel that there are others in this community that are extremely well versed in the actual history and in game play at the level I am attempting to achieve that would do a far better service to this community than I might.
As a disclaimer I must say from the start that in no way by sharing the way in which I go about attempting to destroy German Industry and the Air Forces of the Axis Powers should it be construed that this is “the only way” or “the best way” to do so. At the very best this should be considered as “one possible way”. I say possible because by following my Strategy and Tactical Doctrine you may very well fail. Because in no way do I consider myself an “Expert”. At the very best I should be considered a “Novice”, “Nicky New Guy” or “Johnny Just Arrived”.
So where to begin? For me building Daylight Strategic Strikes, Escort Missions and Fighter Sweeps were not the most challenging aspect of this game. It was operating Bomber Command and performing Night Bombing Missions on Urban targets over the Reich. So that is where I will begin. Why there? Because in my experience this area of this game is the most complex at the early stages of the war from the Allied perspective. I say this because the Daylight Strategic Bombing assets available to you in 1943 are in comparison extremely limited. The assets available to you for Bomber Command are orders of magnitude in greater availability.
The first thing that must be done is to select a target. Target selection is not a simple matter. I consider several factors before I arrive at a mission target. I also do not strike only one urban area for a nights mission. My philosophy is that if I am going to pay for the trip I am going to get as much as I can with each and every trip. So I look for clusters of urban areas to strike. Looking at the image I have pasted of the Target Region you will see 4 cities in a cluster, namely Darmstadt, Ludwigshafen, Wiesbaden and Kaiserslautern. Notice that they are fairly equidistant from each other about the point that I have marked on the map titled “Target Navigation Point”. Also note that this Navigation point is also a natural Landmark that can easily be recognized visually from the air and easily oriented on a map as a reference point. I recall reading in the original game Manual that landmarks should be used when possible. Don’t ask me to find it and quote it because I am not going to. I have found many little tidbits in obscure passages of the manual and I think they were placed there for a reason. So be aware that I have cobbled them into my missions where I deem they are appropriate.
I also try to pick a land mark for this navigation point so that when I am building the flight paths of the strike forces I can orchestrate their motion such that I can keep them in some assemblence of a formation for the trip in and out of the strike. Remember you are over enemy territory and there is strength and safety in numbers. When building a particular flight path for a single squadron those of the others are not necessarily visible to you and a known and recognizable reference point can be of great assistance to you.
Please take note of something else. I mention “Clusters” of cities for targets. If you select target cities too close to each other it is easy for your strike squadrons to either bomb the wrong target or create crop circles. You may wonder why would it not be good for my squadrons to bomb the wrong target… cities are cities right? Well they are going to get confused and move to and attack an area that was already hit thinking it is their target. The idea is to damage as much Urban Area as possible with each trip. Common sense states that a building can only be destroyed once. This applies to Urban Area targets. They do not get repaired like Industrial structures do. At least not as quickly. Ordnance should not be wasted in this way. Remember I want to get the most for the price I pay for the trip. So I want to maximize the surface area of Urban targets I damage.
OK, so now we have selected our Urban Area Targets for this evenings mission. We are now ready to move on to other phases of our operation. Next we will actually build the Strike Mission. That is not a simple task either. However recall that you do not have to play this game at this level. You can very easily point and click and pop the top of your brew and just watch it happen. I don’t choose to play this game so lightly. If you disagree with my play style then I would recommend that you not pursue the further reading of any of my posts as they will all be aimed at this level of emmersion and play of this fantastic game.
It's all Mind Over Matter....
If you dont mind... It dont matter