There are only two exceptions I can think of -- both of which are rather anomalous, and neither one of which furnishes sufficient justification for keeping the current paradigm.
The first are torpedo bombers. Those have to fly low and slow, and flak did indeed massacre them on several occasions. However, TOAW is not primarily about correctly simulating the vulnerability of torpedo bombers.
The second is early World War Two. It took a year or so for aircraft to learn to respect flak. While they were climbing the learning curve, flak gunners exacted some pretty respectable tolls. There's the bridge at Sedan, and I'm also thinking of the French attempt to apply their low-level bombing doctrine against a German column in Belgium on May 11th or so -- spectacular results all around.
...but they didn't try that again, and that's the point. Once air forces had evolved more appropriate tactics (in the case of the French, they were bombing from altitude by the next day), AA kills fell off sharply. Of course, the value of flak is that it forces those tactics. The more AA, the more circumspect the aircraft have to be. AA attenuates bombing effectiveness rather than shooting down planes. I suspect that is why -- for example -- the German army was able to function in Normandy at all, given the blizzard of Allied aircraft. Plenty of flak. Conversely, it's at least part of reason the Luftwaffe was often able to have a dramatic effect on the Eastern Front in 1941-42. Not so much flak.
But it's all not a matter of the planes actually getting shot down, per se. Any paradigm that attempts to have AA function by shooting down planes is doomed from the start. I mean, AA does shoot down planes, and that's a pleasant or unpleasant side effect, depending on your point of view, but it's very much a side effect. The point is that since the plane wants to survive to drop its bombs (and ideally to fly home thereafter), flak forces the plane to weave, to fly fast rather than slow, to pop up and let fly at the first thing moving rather than leisurely surveying the options, to bomb from altitude, to avoid selected points of especial vulnerability or value, etc. It cuts into the plane's effectiveness, and that is how -- at the level TOAW operates at -- it works. If one has an artillery battery with no flak at all, once it's found it, a fighter bomber can just play 'where's Waldo' with the fleeing gunners until either it's out of ammo, or there are no more gunners. If there's a 2 cm AA piece on site, the fighter bomber gets to streak over once, fire a hopefully-lethal burst, and get out of there with a nasty bang or two somewhere far too close to hurry it on its way.
Note that although in neither case is the fighter bomber shot down, the outcomes as far as the artillery battery are concerned are dramatically different. AA should work like cloud cover. Depending on the scale, etc, so much AA in a hex should divide what would otherwise be a rather generous air attack value by some other value. It's not an easy change to make, but I don't see any fundamental problem, and assuming the desire is to actually simulate AA, I don't see any alternative.
...and if someone wants to work out reasonable values for actual plane losses, that would be good too. But those losses can't be what determines how effective the AA is at stopping the attack. It just wasn't that way.
< Message edited by ColinWright -- 3/19/2012 4:10:19 AM >
I am not Charlie Hebdo