From: Southern California
Put all your tactical bomber regiments in the national reserve in 1941. All of them. Ground support is crippled in 1941 by hard code. No more than a handful will ever show up regardless of settings and numbers available, and in low single digits tend to get shot down mostly. Save the regiments and production for 1942+ when it actually works. The Red Air Force is good for interception and interdiction early on.
Aim for 3 airbases/front early on. You really do not need more than this until well into 1942. The Soviet Union starts with far more airbases than it can meaningfully use. Disband the swarm of SAD airbases. That gets more rifles on the front and avoids the problems of autodisbands with these airbases going into 1942.
Take 9 VVS bases and assign 3 in the north, center and south for long range aviation. 1-2 of these bases per group will be set on night missions for partisan resupply. The remainder can fly interdiction or other missions. Put 3 bombers per base, using IL-4s, DB3Bs, and TB-3. Those are your long range birds. Eventually you want to convert all of the airframes to IL-4 (or B-25s.) The game gives you 4 BAK air HQs to manage your long range assets; I use only 3 of them and disband the 4th. Over time add 3 fighter regiments per base, but early on this won't be possible.
As the game goes one you can add more bases to your long range aviation.
For frontal aviation, stick to fighters and SB-2s in 1941. Note that a lot of the I-15 and I-153 regiments are bomber trained. (The ShaP regiments.) Make sure to enable them on bomber mission mode. All of these will be converted to IL-2 in due course manually. The SB-2 is an excellent light bomber with very long range and well suited for interdiction missions. Eventually you will flip these over to Pe-2s, but not before 42, and indeed there's no rush to do this.
Pure fighter bases can stack up all the way to 9 regiments without issue. Bomber bases tend to have support problems with more than 6 regiments. Shturmoviks have relatively light support requirements and can be treated more like fighters than level bombers. It's probably best not to mix these with level bombers, give them their own bases.
In 1942 and on the AI will start to automatically produce airbases if the average airbase has less than 6 regiments. You can therefore manipulate this to produce as many or as few airbases as you want by either filling up the available airbase space to force production of new bases, or leaving some open to turn off the tap. My rule of thumb is to increase airbase count to 4 per front by the end of 1942, and then to 5 in 1943 for a few of the fronts (not all of them) and stop there. I'll add 3 more air bases to long range aviation and stop there (for a total of 12.) You will always have a large proportion of your regiments in the national reserve if you do this, and I prefer to restrict airbase numbers and cycle regiments in and out of the reserve to keep them fresh and also to limit the amount of manpower and supply being diverted towards the air force. This can become enormous over time.
Note airbases have some restrictions in use. PVO bases can only fly interception; these should mostly be disbanded (saving some by Leningrad and Moscow is ok.) Only VVS bases have guaranteed partisan resupply for bombers set to night missions, the other long range bomber bases only have a chance to do this. Mostly the airbase designations are cosmetic besides this. If you want to fly 6 shturmoviks from a IAD base, that's perfectly ok. Likewise, if you want to use a ShaP base for fighter regiments, that's ok too.
So far as flak goes: 2 battalions or one regiment per Air HQ. Note that you start with more than enough flak to cover this and need build no more.
Jack up the intercept settings. All the way up to 300 imo. You have swarms of fighters from the getgo and want to get those flying.
< Message edited by Flaviusx -- 8/3/2012 12:09:49 PM >
WitE Alpha Tester