Hey JeffK ! <S> Sir !
Hey Warshipbuilder ! <S> Sir !
Thank you very much JeffK & Warshipbuilder. I very much appreciate your comments and I am glad that my humble contribution has had a positive effect for you. This is why I have been working so much on this thread. This game is a real tough nut to crack. As the Allies you face a veritable Giant. This is a true David and Goliath game if you will. You have to destroy this Juggernaut with rubber bands, paper clips, tooth picks and spit wads. And the only way is to just keep chiseling away little tiny bits at a time and do your best to stay out of the way of it fearsome fists. Cause if it tags you, man you are going to get put in the Hurt Locker.
With respect to your observation of Strategic Bombardment formations on the return leg and the efficiency of the Escorts, this is a very good observation. IMHO what you are seeing is that in the mechanics of a game there must be an accounting for "Stragglers" from any of the formations that are participating in the mission. As in actual WWII aerial combat over Europe when AC are so damaged that they can no longer keep up with their formations they straggle behind or leave the formation and RTB. I believe that the value of damage required in the game mechanics for an AC to be forced out of formation may seem or acutlly be a bit a-historical but I am not complaining. At least it is accounted for. I believe fuel levels remaining or ammo remaining are also included in this situation. The result is that many AC are pulling out of formation and RTB and / or straggling. Now isolated they are easy prey for nearby interceptors. This would also explain why in any mission you see the "Long Red Line" of Stragglers on their homeward bound RTB. We could debate whether what we are seeing in this game is accurate or not but I don't want to do that. That is not my purpose. IMHO there is an acceptable level or historic accuracy to what I see in this game so I am good with it. Just read my Signature, that says it all.
Now that you are aware of this there are some things you can do, providing you still have AC that can be utilized for it. You can add some of your more short legged fighter AC in an Escort leg on that last 100 miles or so as they are approaching or crossing the channel in ETO or in that no mans land in the med in MTO after they have exited Italy.
However this is one of the awesome features of this game, it puts you in the Command position of these forces and you really get a good feel for what these Men had to deal with and the decisions they had to make and why they chose what they did. Otherwise you're just playing Kill The Parachute Spies.
You pose an excellent question. As I stated, 4-5 Bomber Groups consisting of 20-30 AC each is sufficient to destroy any Industrial Target in this game (The possible exception Sub Pens) but what is the appropriate Escort level? IMHO the answer depends greatly on the total distance your formation is going to travel across Indian Country and what the Concentration Level of Luftwaffe Interceptors are across that distance. This is very much directly associated with what JeffK is speaking about.
I have to really take my hat off at the Matrix Crew that did the rebuild of this game and those that still persist in making those needed fixes and building nice enhancements. They had little to go with as the core of the game was much hard coded and there was nobody to define and explain things. So IMHO they have done a fantastic job.
I realize that my reply here is not extremely exacting but there is good reason. Until you get into the spring of 1944 you just don't have a lot to work with. As your Strategic Bombardment forces in the ETO grow your Fighter Groups lag behind severely and don't keep pace with their growth. So you are limited by Fighter Groups. In the MTO your Strategic Bomber forces lag behind your Fighter Groups. Your Bombers are limiting. But this is what the Allied Commanders were facing at the time and it is directly reflected in the game, IE: Arrival Dates and Locations of Units are historically determined. You have little to say about it.
In the ETO you only really have a few large Fighter Groups that are capable of performing real Escort duty. These are the few P-47D-6 Fighter Groups you start out with. You also get some Spit IX's I believe, that can operate with your Strategic Bombardment Groups, but their operational ranges are even smaller than the Jugs. So until you have a much larger Fighter Group fleet to work with you are basically limited. The Jugs are limited to an Escort Range of I believe 179 miles, which I disagree with but I believe it is so because I do not believe the rate of fuel burn during Escort duty is differentiated from that of standard flight. I may be mistaken as I did not have anything to do with the mechanics of this game. But the Jugs actually had a much longer Escort radius but were limited by Policy rather than Physics.
What I typically do under these circumstances is to apply 1 P-47D-6 (48 AC) Group to High Escort (+2000) and the Spit IX's (20 AC) to High Escort (+3000) but place them on particular locations of the Flight Path depending upon the mission and build 3 Strategic Bombardment Groups that I can get out close to the Ruhr. Or if I need to engage a target at longer range I will divide my Jug Groups up and build them on one larger Bombardment Group. In this later method I can greatly extend my operational range, but at great risk IMHO. These force will run a veritable Gauntlet and my losses will most likely be high.
Later on in the campaign when I have much more to work with I will try to build my Strikes such that at all times I have at least 1 group at +2000 & +3000 or +3000 & +4000, and if Fighter Groups are available I will keep 1 Group at Close. However putting Fighter Groups at Close Escort is my last slot to fill. You are not looking at this until very late 1943 to early 1944. When you get there now you have a different problem set to deal with. I have my reasons why I fill the Close slot last. The reason being, having actually piloted a few different types of AC in my very young days I learned.... Alt = Options, or, Inertia + Gravity > Inertia - Gravity as it were. More simply put +E > E-, E being Energy of motion, Inertia. It is much better to Gain Energy diving on an enemy than Losing Energy climbing up to an enemy. There was a phrase coined in WWII by Fighter Pilots, "High Blower Engages". That is the basis for my placement of Fighter Groups on Escort duty.
In the early phases of the campaign you have a lot of AC with very little range so you have to work close in. Your equipment is very poor so you have to be smart how you deal with the Luftwaffe so I Distract, Disrupt, Seduce and Bushwhack. Later in the campaign you are pretty much eyeball to eyeball with the Luftwaffe and there ain't no place to hide at 25,000 feet. Every mission is a Gauntlet. The only way to persevere is to work over German Industry and limit the ability of the Luftwaffe to engage you in numbers. If you have done well by mid 1944 you should have seen the tide turn. You should be on a more equal footing with the Luftwaffe and now you can use stronger forces to spread them out across Germany. I will address all of this in future postings on this thread. All in due time. I do not want to get ahead of myself here. I am trying to keep this thread in some form of a chronological progression of a typically 1943 Grand Campaign. Remember my way is one of extreme deep immersion into the game. If you are looking for "Reginald D. Steiners' Fast Rules".... this ain't it.
Hope this was of some help.
It's all Mind Over Matter....
If you dont mind... It dont matter