Perhaps to finish this first introduction a word on the Air forces. As with the Panzers, German fighters have no first round penalty and have a much higher experience than the VVS. The decisions to keep 6th Armee in Stalingrad forced the LW into an impossible situation. Understregth with low operability rates after more than 5 months of constant combat, it was in desperate need of rehabilitation. Especially its bomber Gruppe. Even in this weakened state their fighter gruppe performed extreemly well. Racking up kills at an amazing rate.
As a 5 year long avid IL-Sturmovik flight sim virtual pilot I know a thing or two of air combat. First, at this stage of the war, new German pilots had 100+ flight hours before reaching the front. Then they were slowly broken in and had to fly as a wingman. Rank did not count in the air, ability (kill score) ruled. Almost all of the 2 Jagdgeschwader (JG3 & JG52) pilots had 10-20 or more than 100 kills on his score (putting aside some overclaiming). In air combat experience is everything. Most new VVS pilots had around 10 hours of flight training (jokingly called "take off and landing" pilots by the veterans because that was all they could!) before being sent to the front. For many, their first mission was their last!
Second, the 109G2 was a superb plane. It had great climb, good sustained turn rate, was faster at all heights than the VVS machines and outperformed the VVS fighters especially at high altitudes, last but not least, being of all metal construction (versus wooden wings on VVS fighters) they could easily dive away when caught at a disadvantage. This gave the German pilots the ability to fly above their opponents, dive, attack, climb away, repeat. I cannot overstate the huge advantage that gives in air combat!
What the VVS did have going for them was mass and an incredible replacement capability. They could also concentrate on 1 front, while the LW fighter Gruppe where defending against Allied bomber raids in Germany and/or fighting in the Med. In fact, the quality of the Russian pilots was rising due to slightly better training (which was done before Uranus was launched), the start of Air Corps in the chain between Air Armies. Finally outfitting their planes with radio's so they could actually communicate during flights and the start of the Russian equivalent of "flivo" or officers who could communicate with the pilots and direct them to their targets from the ground. An art long perfected by the Germans. Lastly, they copied the rotte (or 2-ship) and Schwarm (or 4-ship) and were encouraged to take initiative (not easy in the regime of Stalin), they also made up to some degree for their lack of experience with incredible determination. Tarrans (i.e. voluntary air collisions were common).
Finally, the P39D, Yak9 and La5's were closing the gap technically to some extent. These 3 planes have only a 0.5 first round penalty.
In a nuttshell, as the Axis you'll need to be very patient and avoid combat to rebuild your bomber, dive/attack aircraft (playing the right reinforcement card at the right time might be crutial) or commit what you have if the situation requires it which is what was done historically.
As the Russian player, you will need to accept huge losses and rotate units and if possible train them up before throwing them back in. However, every loss you inflict will be painfull to the German player, you can be sure!
Finally, finally, main sources for the Axis air units are "Stalingrad the air battle: 1942 through January 1943" by Christer Bergström and (highly recommended) "Stopped at Stalingrad - The LW and Hitler's defeat in the East - 1942-1943" by Joel S.A. Hayward. Excellent read with much information.
Soviet Air corps:
Luftflotte 4 extra Cards:
< Message edited by glvaca -- 5/27/2015 2:03:37 AM >