I'll try to describe the first Axis turn in detail (I'll post screenshots after having moved units belonging to a corps, so you should be able to follow along although your results will never be entirely the same), and in another thread I'll cover the first Soviet turn.
Normally, the first thing I would do is fly recon missions, but there's more or less no need to do so on turn 1. Recon missions allow you to increase detection levels of enemy units and it will also draw some hostile fighters in.
EDIT: I forgot to mention that the very first thing I do is go to the air groups screen and set all upgrades to manual, as they start on automatic. To do so, go to the commander's report screen, go to the air groups tab and click on AC change mode in the upper right of the screen, set it to manual
For now, go to the air doctrine screen (info screens tab>air doctrine screen) and set percentage required to fly to 10. It's extremely important to remember to switch this back to 50 or so when you're done with airfield bombing. Leave the other settings alone for now.
The low setting will allow you to launch more missions, and I'd strongly suggest only using such a low setting in the airfield bombing phase of this turn, and only this turn, not the start of any other campaign. The losses you will suffer will probably outweigh any benefit gained from the setting on any other turn. I'd suggest not trying any airfield bombing on turn 2 or any other turn in the campaign to begin with.
Now, switch to bomb airfield mode (F7).
You'll be able to cause heavy damage to the VVS in the first turn, and it's wise to do so.
Note that all airfields that have been identified will have their hex coloured red, so you know where they are and can target them.
Hold down the shift key and right click on a Soviet airfield in the AGN area, let's say the airfield in X 53, Y 41 (the one between your starting position and Riga).
The squadron selection screen will now appear. Note the number to the left of the unit name. That indicates the distance between the air base the unit is stationed at and the target. It's preferable to use units that are close to the target as units can only fly a set amount of miles each turn (instead of MP's, air units have miles flown as an indicator of what they can still do during a turn).
The percentage of miles flown is noted under “used”. As we haven't done anything yet, the percentages are all at 0%
“Ready” indicates the number of operational planes, not the number of planes that will actually arrive at the target. It's important to keep that in mind.
The type, function and squadron the unit belongs are also displayed. For fighter bombers, it's wise to check whether they're flying as fighters or bombers, and if they're flying in the role they were trained for. Generally, a plane loses maneuverability when flying as a bomber, but it will be more effective against ground targets. Naturally, if it's flying in a different function than it was trained for, it will lose effectiveness.
Some people will advise against using Ju 87's to bomb airfields. Personally, I use every bomber I can get my hands on. Yes, they'll suffer some losses, but you don't really need most of them for supporting ground combat this turn. I would advise against using them when bombing airfields in cities, as the AA fire gets bonuses from the city AA and hex type, but you could still try it. Losses don't have to be brutal per se.
AA fire and resulting operational damage will cause most of the losses this turn, as there's little Soviet CAP around and the Luftwaffe fighter support will brush it aside in any case.
For this strike, we're going to use gruppe's I. And II. of JG 54, as well as their stab schwarm as fighter support and the Ju 88's of KG 1 as well as the Stuka's of StG 1 as bombers. That gets us 72 fighters and 112 bombers.
Your squadrons will now bomb the target.
Results will vary. The main thing you want to do with the airfields near the border is damage planes. The directly combat related losses, those you see in the screen, are less interesting, although they help too.
If you overrun an airfield by moving a combat unit next to it, all non-damaged planes will fly away, but all damaged planes will be destroyed. You can see the number of operational planes the Soviets have at an airfield by hovering your mouse cursor over it after a bombing mission. Ideally, you want those squadrons to be as close to zero as possible by the time you're done with bombing.
Do keep in mind that gains will lessen as target density decreases, so I'd advise against flying bombing missions against airfields with less than 30 planes on them.
Now try bombing other airfields, and try to hit as many as possible, within a sensible limit. For the first missions, selecting 2/3 the number of fighters compared to the number of bombers is fine. The air doctrine settings will do the rest.
Don't forget that you can also launch bomber only missions, which are extremely risky later on but mostly OK on turn 1. After hitting the airfields west of Minsk and around Minsk, try hitting those around Smolensk and Vitebsk. As you can send about 200 bombers over, you should not lose many bombers from CAP. You may get an ugly surprise or two, so you'll have to decide for yourself whether you think it's worth it.
Similarly, you can also bomb the airfields around Kiev with only bombers. It helps if you know from experience, through recon or by simply looking at the Soviet start setup, which air fields have the fighters on them, as bombing them first significantly reduces CAP and thus also the casualties you'll take.
The Romanians can bomb the airfields near Odessa and Kishinev, don't forget about them.
After all bombing missions were over during a test run, I had lost 136 planes and had destroyed 4310. Results during the turn I'll be showing you will be different, and I'll report those later. These results are pretty variable, but you should be able to get a result between 4000 and 5000 for destroyed planes during the bombing phase. You'll overrun more later on in the turn.
Now set percentage required to fly back to 50% in the air doctrine screen. Some squadrons seem to like to dodge the cap, but that's being looked at by the developers currently.
Feel free to ask questions at any time and about anything mentioned here, or about anything that you think relates to the things being discussed.
Next, we'll move to the ground combat.
< Message edited by ComradeP -- 12/10/2010 10:12:22 PM >
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