August 19th 1943
This day saw action on all fronts. Allied air raids in Italy are targeting airfields and railyards but I have to give that TOA a lower priority than the attacks on industry in Germany. So all JGs stationed in Italy have been pulled back to defend the Ruhr, including the 190F units (Schlachtgeschwadern). By far the most devastating attack this day was the Daimler-Benz facility at Stuttgart, a 10-sized factory. It was already in retooling so it does not affect operations directly, still a heavy blow to take this early on. The attacks were all timed so that I had few interceptors available when the deep penetration raids showed up. Thankfully these raids were not heavily escorted all the way to target so it was possible to deal some damage in return.
All in all a very interesting day. On the loss count; 9 heavy fighters, 25 Bf109s, 14 FW190s, 12 co-axis, 21 NJ. Inflicted losses on the enemy were not bad, but not great either; 43 fighters, 42 bombers, 1 recce and 4 night bombers. So apparently the NJ units suffered and it was very obviously because of numerous Beaufighter CAPs on their airfields. I've not gotten around to rebasing the NJ units yet but they will be reorganized as soon as the JGs are where I want them.
Industrially I'm enjoying management powers free of interference from political intrigue as well as prestige and profit interests. So with the dictatorial powers at my fingertips I can order any factory to manufacture whatever is practically useful to my Jagdfliegern. Historically this just didn't happen, and the factors I listed were some of what interfered with the operational capacity of the Reichsverteidigung.
Anyway, the only logical way of dealing with the situation in '43 is to manufacture FW190A-6s. Yes they are poor performers at higher altitudes however they have a couple critical aspects to them and the most important one is toughness, the 190 can take some punishment helping pilots survive (!) and it brings some more guns to the fight so experienced pilots will be that much more effective in them. Maneuverability wise they are equal to the 109G-6. So it is a no-brainer really. So I'm retooling up to a level of 40-per-day currently, while the Bf109G-6 remains at a lower level of 26 a/c per day. The Bf109 will be reduced lower it is just that I do not want to be completely without daily replacements right now in case I take heavy losses for several days in a row. I'm likely going to retool the 6 and 4 Bf109 assemblies to the G-5/AS type once the 1-unit 190 assemblies come online in 7 days. The G-5/AS is the only aircraft available at a reasonably early date (Jan '44) capable of reaching even the 40k recon flights and thus make a good choice for the höhenjäger units for recce intercepts. It also has a maneuverabilty rating of 36 (1 point better than the G-6 and A-6) so should be ok with intercepting escort fighters as well.
The toughness of the 190 is critical in keeping your pilots alive. It is not so much a positive attribute of the 190 as it is a negative attribute of the 109, which was simply piss poor at taking damage and the game reflects it well. I'm of the opinion that the 109 should not have been manufactured in large numbers past '43. It had reached its design limits and more suitable designs should have taken its place.
The FW190D-9 I'm aiming for a 38 a/c per day rate. This should make the Dora available in Nov-Dec '43 and probably sooner than later I would hope. It has a good maneuverability rating at 37 and speed putting it on equal footing with the P51. If available before '44 it can really help get the heavier gun packages to bear on the bombers, which is what it all comes down to. For that reason I'm retooling for a rate of 9 Me410A per day. It is still a viable long-range interceptor within the Reich (and France) even if it is expensive in that it requires 2 engines. This production capacity will later (in 2-3 months or so) likely go towards the He219 (it uses the same engine) of which I'm already retooling for a 7-per-day rate.
I'm contemplating retooling the Italian industry to take up some FW190A-6 lines as well, for afaik the BMW was not as challenging to manufacture as the DB line of engines.
< Message edited by Turner -- 9/14/2013 10:58:41 AM >