From: Lochan nan balgair-dudh
If you set your AS at 20,000ft, will they have success against bombers who may be higher?
Don't know the answer, but I expect most playing as allies to have Bomber Command and 8th USAAF above this height. In my games against the AI the 8th USAAF has a lot of success against German fighters.
I worked it out in the end and the answer is no. An AS mission at 20,000' that clashes with an AS mission will work to my advantage, ie the allied fighters will have to come down to my level to fight. But the bomber stream and its escorts aren't looking for an aerial battle so will ignore too low fighters and go about their business.
Last time I played the axis I simply put fighters onto airbases and let the auto intercept do its business so didn't have to work all this lot out and I think the AI relies heavily on this routine. So against Dave I had a lot of air battles, won some, lost some badly and burnt out the Luftwaffe too quickly.
So my take is that you need to put your fighters at around 25,000' if your primary opposition will be an escorted bomber stream, but if you hit an allied AS at that altitude you are going to get cut to pieces. The mid-44 Bf-109 solves this as its ideal operating height is 25,000, but of course by then Germany can be bombed into oblivion, so you need to gamble in 1943.
There are so many subtle bits to this game, even if you make a mistake you can learn a lot from it.
As it is, I'm still not really sure of the merits of AS vs auto-intercept. In favour of AS is you can really concentrate say 400 fighters into a tight box - so you will inflict a lot of damage in addition to outright kills. But for auto-intercept, esp if you strip off the fuel tanks (and try to keep each airbase with only one plane type), you can still generate large groups of fighters and there is less chance of the allies finding a way between your fighter boxes.
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