From: Denver Colorado
If I understand my many hours of gameplay properly, here is AN answer, it certainly can't be completely correct:
Using Shift-F9, you see the options for the AC and their number. The AC number reflects the current number of FRAMES in the unit. It does not represent the actual number that will fly your proposed mission. If you were to check all those air units, their cumulative aircraft will match. But that doesn't take into account the number of Ready aircraft. If some are damaged or otherwise unready, you have to factor that into your totals.
There are two things that I know about supplying German panzer units:
1) Always fly your fuel drop to the HQ rather than the stack of units (exception: if a hex contains nothing except motor/panzer elements you want to fuel - but you can never guarantee even distribution to each unit in that hex).
2) Always check the divisions' Fuel NEED above all other factors, and keep adding air groups until you have the amount of fuel you want (25%-50% of Need is a realistic goal). If you are comparing the number of aircraft that are proposed to fly, see above. If you are comparing the amount of fuel that will be dropped (rather than the aircraft) that number will always be very close to the accurate amount of fuel that the Ready Aircraft can deliver.
A caveat is that you definitely, definitely want to concentrate your Ju-52s where they are needed. It is far more effective to focus your air resupply on one major army group, and one minor army group. Early in the first 6 turns, I prioritize AGN (major) and AGS (minor). Once Leningrad's back door is accessible, hopefully by turn 7 or so, then you make AGS (major) and AGC (minor).
Often, I give the JU-52s a turn off when their ready aircraft numbers are critically low (<25%) for one turn only.
I no longer care what the fatigue levels of my Ju-52 fleet are, nor morale. I have noticed no difference in casualties nor supply drop effectiveness.
Never put Ju-52s in reserve.
Summer 2017-Playing: D-Day at Omaha Beach, Advanced Squad Leader,
Reading: Kampfgruppe Walther & Panzerbrigade 107 (Magnificent). Lots of Osprey stuff.
Rulebooks: ASL (always ASL)