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Defense against fighter sweeps

 
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Defense against fighter sweeps - 1/19/2010 10:18:19 AM   
SireChaos

 

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Hi there,

I´m currently playing the BTR grand campaign as Luftwaffe, and I´m having a great deal of trouble with Allied fighter sweeps. In short, they seem unstoppable and they keep killing my planes on the ground.

In the old version (i.e. Twelve O´Clock High) it was possible to engage a fighter sweep with interceptors, making the sweep remain where they are and fight it out with the interceptors; this is no longer possible, and the sweep will continue to its target and strafe the airfield. And apparently no concentration of heavy or light flak can inflict as many casualties on them as they inflict on the fighters based there.

So I wonder, is there any tactic which can prevent a fighter sweep from doing such disproportionate damage?
Post #: 1
RE: Defense against fighter sweeps - 1/19/2010 6:25:47 PM   
Nicholas Bell

 

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Having just suffered 88 planes destroyed on the ground (out of 98 total) on the first day of the campaign, I can feel your pain. 

There is no single answer to the problem, but I suggest that you move your units farther away from the coast.  This gives you more time to react and more time to intercept the raiders.  The greater distance they have to travel to hit your a/f the more fuel they burn.  If you can engage them, this also causes them to use more fuel, which may cause them to turn back.

Get your units into the air!  The non-op ones will still be targets, but at least the pilots will not get WIA or KIA sitting in their planes.  Even if you don't want to engage, place the planes on patrol in some "safe" area.  The Germans nick-named this tactic of getting out of the way of incoming airbase raids "the slow worm."  Granted this is not a great solution for your night fighters which need to get moved out of harms way deeper into friendly territory and get bases loaded with Flak.

You want to get some 88's on the airfields too, to disrupt the attackers and lower their effectiveness.  The single 20mm's are not much help - make sure you have plenty of 37mm's (higher reach) and 20mm Quads (for their destructive power).  I have been caught in "Flak Traps" by the AI while playing the Allies, and have lost 20 P-47s out of a single group attacking.  The AI uses hundreds of guns to achieve this.

For bases closer to the coast, use your rail Flak units to help while you are moving Flak around (500 ops points does not go far).

In some areas in Germany there are clusters of bases.  Load all these with 88mm Flak and base your units so the raiders have to fly through it to get to your units. (the down side is you will also take friendly fire when your units RTB)

Admittedly this all seems somewhat excessive from an historical perspective.  But in retrospect, the concentrated Allied attacks on a/f's in 1945 did just what we are experiencing in the game in 1943.  So in a way the AI is using a real and successful tactic - it's just it doesn't seem to "fit" in 1943 and early 1944.  I suppose the commanders never thought about it because the primary focus was on protecting the bombers doing the "real work" in addition to not wanting to lose experienced pilots to Flak - which almost always caused losses (more US fighters were lost to Flak than to fighters historically).  It seems rather callous that the Allied commanders didn't seem to care about the losses to Flak later in the war when they ordered massive strafing attacks.  The AI has no qualms about expending aircraft and pilots like ammo.

I'm sure so other players more experienced than I will have some suggestions too.

(in reply to SireChaos)
Post #: 2
RE: Defense against fighter sweeps - 1/23/2010 6:04:46 PM   
wernerpruckner


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never overstack your frontline A/Fs........one unit = one A/F  --- many A/C on a field = many potential losses

use Staffel and Stab sized units for your frontlines.......and move some of them around to build up the fuel on the AFs

YOu can build up Flak traps......but against a human player this is a one shot weapon per site


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RE: Defense against fighter sweeps - 1/23/2010 8:35:48 PM   
SireChaos

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: swift

never overstack your frontline A/Fs........one unit = one A/F  --- many A/C on a field = many potential losses

use Staffel and Stab sized units for your frontlines.......and move some of them around to build up the fuel on the AFs

YOu can build up Flak traps......but against a human player this is a one shot weapon per site



Thanks. I usually only stack staffel and stab, if at all, two or more on one airfield.


One more thing I´ve noticed is that the AI seems to know exactly where I have stationed my aircraft. When I move a group, it immediately stops attacking that field and and attacks their new location instead, or some other occupied field. In most cases, I am absolutely certain that the AI did not recon the bases in question, it simply *knew* - even before the unit actually operated out of its new location.

By now I suspect that the AI is cheating in that regard... I mean, it is turn 72 or so, and I have seen maybe 10 sweeps and 15 bombing attacks against empty airfields, in total, versus hundreds (I´d say 200-250 each) against occupied fields.

Sure, it´s not game-breaking or even very dramatic, but it is damn annoying. I´d say about 15-20% of my losses are due to strafing and airfield attacks, and of those, I suspect maybe half would not happen if the AI played fair.

Edited to add: I just checked... 392 out of 2760 planes lost were destroyed on the ground - 14.2%.

< Message edited by SireChaos -- 1/23/2010 8:38:36 PM >

(in reply to wernerpruckner)
Post #: 4
RE: Defense against fighter sweeps - 1/23/2010 9:11:34 PM   
Hard Sarge


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88 planes ? what the heck attacked you ?

as Swifty says, move your planes around, don't overstack the fields (I have tried to find and add in more fields all across the map, to give the play/AI a chance)

as for "real" life, don't forget in 43, they didn't have many planes, or all that much range, and the focus was on defending the bombers first, also, they were under orders to not leave the bombers, so all a LW fighter had to do was dive for the deck and they were safe (for the most part) (different war in the MED then in the north, in the MED that was a standard tactic, as soon as they spotted a new field)

when Dolittle took over, the "rules' changed, the fighters goal was to knock down the LW, anywhere they could be found, they had the planes, and the range, and most times, once the "protection" part was over, they were free to drop to the deck and going hunting, after a bit, each FG ended up with "zones" they were free to fly though, some were better hunting grounds then others

from the other side, it is easy to have a Sweep miss the target, it is easy to get distacted, get tied up in a fight, and what nots, if you got a sweep coming, there are things you can do, some times they work, other times they don't

Harley has posted before, that the AI does not know where you planes are, they have to find them the same as the player does (in the old game, they did)

(if the AI has a reason to hit a field, being wrong the number of times looks about right, as it has a reason to go after those fields)





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RE: Defense against fighter sweeps - 1/24/2010 1:35:21 AM   
DicedT

 

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Fighter sweeps are absurdly overpowered in BTR. A morale-90 unit is strafed and goes to morale-13, and needs to be withdrawn for a week?

But the real insanity of fighter sweeps is the fact that when fighters take off from a base, they will land on that base regardless of whether Allied fighters are overhead. I've seen 25 German fighters shot down one by one as they land. There should be some way to divert fighters from landing at airfields that are being patrolled by Allied fighters. Or maybe reduce the probability of German fighters being shot down as the land. As the system stands, Allied fighter patrols are devastating.

(in reply to Hard Sarge)
Post #: 6
RE: Defense against fighter sweeps - 1/24/2010 2:43:21 AM   
Otto von Blotto


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quote:

But the real insanity of fighter sweeps is the fact that when fighters take off from a base, they will land on that base regardless of whether Allied fighters are overhead. I've seen 25 German fighters shot down one by one as they land.


Damn only 25, my boys and the replay had it at 40+ downed on the way in, you just can't trust these fly boys;-)

< Message edited by Otto von Blotto -- 1/24/2010 2:45:57 AM >

(in reply to DicedT)
Post #: 7
RE: Defense against fighter sweeps - 1/24/2010 8:58:28 AM   
Hard Sarge


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quote:

ORIGINAL: DicedT

Fighter sweeps are absurdly overpowered in BTR. A morale-90 unit is strafed and goes to morale-13, and needs to be withdrawn for a week?

But the real insanity of fighter sweeps is the fact that when fighters take off from a base, they will land on that base regardless of whether Allied fighters are overhead. I've seen 25 German fighters shot down one by one as they land. There should be some way to divert fighters from landing at airfields that are being patrolled by Allied fighters. Or maybe reduce the probability of German fighters being shot down as the land. As the system stands, Allied fighter patrols are devastating.


and think what the LW had to put up with, and no, in real life, they didn't get the chance to divert, if they were coming in to land, there was a reason for it, they are out of gas

the idea here is the LW Player has to protect his fields, or pull back

to make the sweep Realistic, it should have at least double the range of sight and effect

Otto, there is a reporting loop that can get shown, so you tend to get a much larger number of shot down's showing then really happens

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RE: Defense against fighter sweeps - 1/27/2010 8:48:39 PM   
Jeldren

 

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But sweeps even work at max altitude. I managed to kill more than 100 fighters over just three bases. This happens pretty ofter near Sofia when I am after the romanian oil fields.

(in reply to Hard Sarge)
Post #: 9
RE: Defense against fighter sweeps - 2/2/2010 6:47:59 PM   
Hexagon

 

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You can say that sweeps arent overpowered but they are overpowered, if the AI start to uses sweeps you are dead, in the Avalanche scen after a good day 63-14 AI send last mission of the day, a sweep with 75 planes (P-38+Spitfires) i see it, send interceptors, i see my units trying intercept the "small" enemy mission but dont do it and i end the day with 68-45... the sweeps destroys near 26 planes and damage more, all planes that fight all the day and are damage yea, they attack my airifield and find ALL the planes landed... yea, real, to real but when i do a sweep in BOB with 36 elite Me-109 vs 12 enemy airplanes if i destroy 4 and damage the rest i can say ALELUYA!!! because the most usual result is destroy 1 or 2 and damage 4... sorry but the game in this part (not the only) is pro-allied 

Sweeps are letal but only when have the surprise not when you detect the sweep in the middle of the sea.

PD: and dont talk about how AA units where destroyed before they can shoot HA!!!

< Message edited by Hexagon -- 2/2/2010 6:50:38 PM >

(in reply to Jeldren)
Post #: 10
RE: Defense against fighter sweeps - 2/2/2010 9:37:35 PM   
kaybayray

 

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QUote from DicedT
"Fighter sweeps are absurdly overpowered in BTR. A morale-90 unit is strafed and goes to morale-13, and needs to be withdrawn for a week?"


How badly beat up were they by the attack? 1 or 2 AC destroyed and 3 to 5 damaged out of 30? Or was it a very seriously damaging attack and more than 20% of the AC were destroyed with maybe 2X damaged?

Morale dropping from 90 to 13 suggests > 50% Losses in the attack. I have never seen such a drastic drop in Morale not associated with a catastrophic attack. Would like to know how badly shot up they were.


I also agree with DicedT's observation on the AC landing at a base CAP'd. I have been working over the BTR changes and have found in a coupld of instances in the multitudes of Fighter Sweeps I have run that a Squadron will land right under Allied CAP and lose a significant portion of their numbers. I would like to see them divert to another field. As much as I try to destroy the Luftwaffe I think the AI should be smarter than landing right under an enemy CAP.

Later,
KayBay





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(in reply to Hexagon)
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RE: Defense against fighter sweeps - 2/3/2010 5:43:02 PM   
Jeldren

 

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I like to plot my outbound waypoints over known fighter bases. e.g. A unit of FW190F returns to it base with escorts hot on their tail. Unfortunatly a Mosquito squadron is patroling at max altitude over their home base. Result 35 out of 36 FW190F killed. The Mosquitos alone got more than 50% quite often when I used them to harass returning fighters.

(in reply to kaybayray)
Post #: 12
RE: Defense against fighter sweeps - 2/4/2010 12:07:41 AM   
DicedT

 

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I don't recall what the morale of the strafed units were. If they were in a front-line airfield in western Germany, then they probably were at lest morale 70. Since a lot of the German air units come in 36-aircraft formations, if they're caught on the ground, they're going to take heavy losses (which seems to depend on the number of targets as well as strafers).

Hard Sarge suggests that staking out German airfields was an historical tactic. I'd like to hear more about this. I know that Allied fighters patrolled German jet bases in 1945, but in December 1943, they were hovering over German airfields immune to flak? And 24 radio-equipped German fighters would try to land in a row and get shot down? I'd like to find out more about historical cases where this happened, especially in 1943. I've also noticed that if I try to intercept a fighter sweep that's orbiting a German airfield, my interceptors seem to take an unusually long time to make contact (probably maneuvering for a bounce). But the result is that it's difficult to engage a fighter sweep over an airfield until the sweepers run low on fuel and return home (after wiping out nearly an entire gruppe).

Perhaps the easiest solution would be to lower the percentage chance of Allied sweepers shooting down German aircraft when they land. This would simulate airbase flak defenses, which would make hovering around an airbase for 20 minutes a bit dicey, and it would simulate German planes diverting to other airfields that weren't under attack.

(in reply to kaybayray)
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RE: Defense against fighter sweeps - 2/4/2010 9:35:16 AM   
Hexagon

 

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I dont have the problems with interceptions when my planes are landing but in pre-patch in BOB y shoot down an entire gladiator unit and find it a little strange... for me the main problem is that i start to think that the number of squadrons assignated to a sweeps is the main factor for land casualties, 78 planes in... 12 plane units is 6 units, i loss 24 planes 6*4 and damaged planes, to similar to my results with germans in BOB using a single unit a little better but similar.

The problem with sweeps is that AAA units are inefective until you use heavy numbers (100 mg+50 20mm+35 quad+35 37mm cost in a sweep to a land unit near 20 warhawks) and even with these numbers sweeps allways destroy more planes in land because y never see a sweep breaking and usually enemy planes shoot first... another problem with sweeps is that planes are like ducks in the water because hey, where are the protection pits??? where is the dispersion??? if are damage planes in the land i dont think that they leave then in the middle of the airfield!!! if i detect an incursion at more than 30 minutes i think that can save more planes and increase AAA effective no??? 36 109 under 400 feets strafing a coast airfield in BOB never have the numbers of allies planes at 16.000 feets attacking a coast airfield.

In the same way that now is hard shoot down a B-17 in the air need the same change to destroy a 109 in the land ooo a curious thing, why planes with liquid refrigeration can strafe airfield, suffer damage and return to base??? i see very few of these planes with problems dont see pilots bailing out.


PD: add a cap feature could be interesting, at least you can protect your base with 2 or 4 planes and can take strafe.

< Message edited by Hexagon -- 2/4/2010 9:36:01 AM >

(in reply to DicedT)
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RE: Defense against fighter sweeps - 2/5/2010 5:33:14 PM   
Nicholas Bell

 

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quote:

PD: add a cap feature could be interesting, at least you can protect your base with 2 or 4 planes and can take strafe.


Actually you can do that by placing a patrol over your airfield and launch 4 planes. You can set up multiple patrols using the launch 4 option to get a decent sized cap above the airfield without putting the entire gruppe on cap patrol. With a bit of work you could recall a portion of the patrols, refuel and launch again to maintain a continuous cap.


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RE: Defense against fighter sweeps - 2/6/2010 11:11:47 AM   
Hexagon

 

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Yes, place a patrol over the airfield is a solution but isnt the elegant solution, add a cap feature is good because is the AI who controls it, in small scens can do it you but in big scens... a general cap control can select for all airfields if you set a rotte or schwarn to protect them and dont need send all the time patrols to have the cap ready and of course can set local cap for airfields.

Another question is that sweeps never leave the mission, in the game is strange see enemy units breaking contact i see 30 Boston alone attacking objetives in the north or Rome with no scorts and dont break any enemy unit and they loss 20 planes!!! if you can do it with alone bombing mission sweeps are

One way to prevent massive sweeps could be adding engine problems in units when take off as a % that after a sweep is increased in the unit, after 2 sweeps with destroyed+damage+engine problems can reduce an initial 78 sweep to 20 in 2 days and with this can add a limit to massive missions all the time, 2 engines needs more work than 1.

Of course reduce effective is good

(in reply to Nicholas Bell)
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RE: Defense against fighter sweeps - 2/6/2010 9:04:21 PM   
Rusty1961

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Jeldren

I like to plot my outbound waypoints over known fighter bases. e.g. A unit of FW190F returns to it base with escorts hot on their tail. Unfortunatly a Mosquito squadron is patroling at max altitude over their home base. Result 35 out of 36 FW190F killed. The Mosquitos alone got more than 50% quite often when I used them to harass returning fighters.



How do you get your Mosquitoes to "patrol" at max altitude? When set planes to sweep over a field they invariably go down to the deck and get shot up by flak.


(in reply to Jeldren)
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RE: Defense against fighter sweeps - 2/7/2010 6:23:43 PM   
SireChaos

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Nicholas Bell

quote:

PD: add a cap feature could be interesting, at least you can protect your base with 2 or 4 planes and can take strafe.


Actually you can do that by placing a patrol over your airfield and launch 4 planes. You can set up multiple patrols using the launch 4 option to get a decent sized cap above the airfield without putting the entire gruppe on cap patrol. With a bit of work you could recall a portion of the patrols, refuel and launch again to maintain a continuous cap.




It is a ****load of work to protect your important airfields like that.

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RE: Defense against fighter sweeps - 2/7/2010 10:03:19 PM   
Jeldren

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Rusty1961
How do you get your Mosquitoes to "patrol" at max altitude? When set planes to sweep over a field they invariably go down to the deck and get shot up by flak.


I set the patrol point over the airfield and the target point in the middle of nowhere near the airfield.

(in reply to Rusty1961)
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RE: Defense against fighter sweeps - 2/8/2010 5:24:26 PM   
Farfarer61

 

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I have the same problem as Rusty, but I found that fighters "dove" when on the patrol point as well. I will try moving my Target Point further away from the Airfield over which I want to patrol.

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RE: Defense against fighter sweeps - 2/9/2010 6:44:57 PM   
Jeldren

 

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My Mosquito fighter bomber unit in the med loose slightly less than 1 aircraft every 25 missions. I have several mustang squadrons with a loss rate of less than 1 aircraft every 5 missions. 

(in reply to Farfarer61)
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