Thanks everyone for the responses (and I'd seen that quote from the manual), but I am still rather confused:
1) So how do I even know if partisan supply missions are being conducted--is it logged somewhere?
You see them fly during the start of your turn. All you need to do is put your TAPs with U2(trans) on night mission in VVS bases and move those bases to say 5-10 hexs of the front line. The computer does the rest. Also if you select "show combats" you will see the hexes where the supplies are dropped marked with a paradrop symbol. Once they are on the map the TAP with U2's will be auto renamed to LTAP.
2) I don't understand how close these various units have to be to be able to conduct drops to the partisans--how deep can they go?
Rather deep, I am seeing them fly up to 200 miles, and around 100-150 miles behind the lines. The radius is not the issue, the range is...the radius of the U2 is 92 miles so their range is 270 miles...and that is about how far I see them flying. If you want more range switch out a unit to the TB-3G-2 put in a VVS base with night missions enabled and it will fly as well.
3) Do we really need this level of micromanagement just for partisans to appear? I've got to distinguish between six different types of airbases (VVS, DBAD, AD DD, GAD DD, and GDBAD), turn on night missions, guess what the range is, etc. And how do I do manual drops? I've tried to shift-right click, but nothing happened, maybe I didn't have the right kind of airbase in range, with night missions, etc. Very possible that I'm missing something, but until now I've basically ignored the air war, and I find this level of detail rather tedious to deal with, especially if the effort put into partisan supply does not make a dramatic difference in partisan activity...
At the start of a turn, open the CR. Change the new TAP to night flying and auto upgrade*. Close the CR. Go to a VVS base. Select assign. Pick a couple of better trained TAPs with U2(trans) and assign them to this base. Make sure the base is relatively close to the front line, since your recon birds are likely based here that is nearly automatic. Do the rest of your turn.
From then on the computer does its best to fly supplies to the partisans. Who do a fine job blowing up rail lines all over the place. You have 1 VVS base per front air command, assign 2 LTAPs to each one and the computer will do the rest.
Manual drops can't be conducted to partisans I don't think. As for other units to air drop supplies to them, go into air transport mode, right click on the unit, select the groups you wish to use and go launch.
*if this is the first time you do this, change all your existing U2(trans) TAPs to night flying (click on the first N to make it a Y and auto upgrade if you wish). Then just do this every turn with the new arrivals.
< Message edited by Paul McNeely -- 1/25/2011 4:03:00 PM >