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Air Force Setup - Pointers? - 8/22/2018 8:18:42 PM   
jedao

 

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I'm in turn one of a new Battlefield Italy scenario and after reading a lot of tutorials on various aspects about air groups, bases, directives and doctrines and also watching some games by seemingly quite experienced players it seems that usually it is a good idea to reorganize the Air Force a bit at the start.

But where to begin? I imagine Malta Command will only need FBs and NFs. But how many? How many FBs should be in tactical in relation? How many should be escorts for tactical and strategic? And what preference of planes go where?

I found nothing helpful written on this (if someone has something to read, even if long, i would not mind). And the video things are usually someone clicking very fast in the interface and moving this group there and that one here but it doesn't really help much in terms of understanding what the general idea should be.

Any pointers would be very appreciated by a new player :)



< Message edited by jedao -- 8/22/2018 8:19:05 PM >
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RE: Air Force Setup - Pointers? - 8/22/2018 11:40:42 PM   
xhoel


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Take a look at the WitW tutorials and tips and tricks:

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3964247

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3778468

A good idea is to check the AARs too. Don't worry too much about how many aircraft do this and that at the beginning, you can fine tune numbers as you go and understand the way your opponent plays. It's a good idea as the WA to run naval patrols a lot so that you can secure sea lanes and don't suffer unneccesary losses. GA directives are very good in order to restrict enemy movement at a certain choke point. Bombing of the rail lines and air fields is good too. Basically just set some directives to keep the sea lanes open, some air superiority ones to destroy German interceptions, and run GA directives in choke points. Also assign GS assets. That should get you started at first.

Cheers



< Message edited by xhoel -- 8/22/2018 11:41:08 PM >


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RE: Air Force Setup - Pointers? - 8/23/2018 12:10:11 AM   
jedao

 

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I did read most of these tutorial sources but none of them really help with Air Force structure and Air Group composition.

I often re-play husky and other quick scenarios just to try things out. I understand what different air directives do, how to set up missions and getting better at detailing it myself for streamlined results.

But that still kinda leaves me with the question, does the Fighter Command have too many Fighters, would some of them maybe better in tactical? It's what I would look at first when starting an actual campaign and while I enjoy trying out and learning in scenarios, my actual goal is to understand what I am doing.

In short: I know that for a GA directive I should ideally have air superiority in the area and possibly air recon before. I know about max mission settings and all that.

When it comes to assigning the Air Groups manually though, I am mostly at a loss. But I know it's needed because the AI often makes questionable decisions. (For instance it doesn't seem to care about day/night aircraft capabilities). So before I send out AGs manually I would like to know what would be the best type of planes for that mission and how many would make sense.

One small example: I have a few Beaufighters. These are torpedo bombers? They are by default in tactical, but wouldn't they make more sense in Naval? What about the Apache's? There seem to be all kind of specific planes that would be better at certain things than others, but I am not sure how exactly find out. Nor the ratios.

Also, there are no Fighters as such, only Fighter-Bombers which can either be trained as fighters or bombers. I understand that FB-F's only bomb with 80% efficiency according to manual but it doesn't mention a penalty for FB-Bs in an air fight?

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RE: Air Force Setup - Pointers? - 8/23/2018 12:42:56 AM   
xhoel


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This are things that are learned through trial and error really. For example while playing Battleground Italy as the Axis I would always use all my fighters to defend a certain sector that the WA were bombing unescorted. You get a feeling of what does the job and what doesn't.

It doesn't matter under which command they are as long as you use them for naval patrols. Set up naval patrol directives and choose them manually to run the mission.

Apaches as far as I know are good for GA and GS. I usually play the Axis so a more experiences Allied player may help more with that.

The FBs can be used either as FB-F (fighters) or FBs (bombing). The air groups arrive either trained as bombers or fighters. My 2 cents is to keep them the way they are. Around 1944 when the LW no longer has control over the skies and you don't need that many fighters, switch some air groups to FB so they can help run GA and GS missions.

Penalties apply for both.

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RE: Air Force Setup - Pointers? - 8/23/2018 4:58:54 AM   
cfulbright

 

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Jedao,

There are two (or more) schools of thought, or at least a spectrum. On one end of the spectrum are the strictly historical who don't believe in any deviation from TOE's, assigned ground and air units per theater, etc. The other other spectrum is fine with a completely free hand of allocating units to ETO v. MTO, and wonders what if (you can probably tell where I am on that spectrum).

If you aren't on the strict historical accuracy spectrum, I recommend transferring all Malta Command air groups to Tactical Air Force except for naval air groups. The same for Fighter Command: if not assigning them to 2nd TAF, then at least give them AD's that support ground combat and air superiority. In the 1943 Campaign that starts with the invasion of Sicily, what's the point of all those Typhoon and Wellington air groups in England doing nothing or bloodying themselves on French ground targets for a year? Transfer them to the Med where they can perform a true tactical role. Isn't the whole point of playing a wargame to find out, what if?

I expect others will disagree.

Cary

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RE: Air Force Setup - Pointers? - 8/23/2018 10:20:51 AM   
jedao

 

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Thanks - that are actually some pointers I hoped for.

Indeed, I am not a history buff, I don't care for historical accuracy (i like what-if scenarios) but it should be plausible at least.

I think next step is to actually read about the plane models - I assume that what they excelled at would be represented in WitW in some way as well.

But do I understand correctly: You suggest (at least as one possibility) to basically disband the fighter group and let tactical do all Superiority missions as well?

Isn't an air HQ limited to the missions it can fly per week, depending on leader capabilities?

< Message edited by jedao -- 8/23/2018 10:22:26 AM >

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RE: Air Force Setup - Pointers? - 8/23/2018 2:59:54 PM   
cfulbright

 

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quote:

One small example: I have a few Beaufighters. These are torpedo bombers? They are by default in tactical, but wouldn't they make more sense in Naval? What about the Apache's? There seem to be all kind of specific planes that would be better at certain things than others, but I am not sure how exactly find out. Nor the ratios.

Also, there are no Fighters as such, only Fighter-Bombers which can either be trained as fighters or bombers. I understand that FB-F's only bomb with 80% efficiency according to manual but it doesn't mention a penalty for FB-Bs in an air fight?


There are NF Beaufighters and TB Beaufighters. If you're not playing the "AAHQ" (Additional Air HQ) scenario, you're going to run into the problem of not being able to run as many AD's as you want, given the limited number of Air HQ's. So I move all Naval and TB air groups to one of the Coastal air HQ's or to Malta AC. If I play the 1943 campaign, eventually my allied land forces clean out Italy and head into France and Austria. I have the Tactical Air Force command the air groups that support the Southern France invasion, and I give Malta the air groups that support the Austrian invasion. By that time you don't need many naval patrols in the Med.

For the Allies, the Spitfire HF.XI is a F type plane. Perhaps the Meteor is also, but I've never gone that far in a campaign.

Cary

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RE: Air Force Setup - Pointers? - 8/23/2018 3:03:20 PM   
cfulbright

 

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quote:

But do I understand correctly: You suggest (at least as one possibility) to basically disband the fighter group and let tactical do all Superiority missions as well?

Isn't an air HQ limited to the missions it can fly per week, depending on leader capabilities?


No, don't disband the fighter groups. What I was suggesting was to transfer Typhoon groups from Fighter Command to 2nd Tactical Air Force, and/or transfer all Typhoon air groups in 1943 to the Tactical Air Force in the Med, because Typhoons are wasted in England until a few turns before D-Day.

Yes, an air HQ is limited to missions, which is why you'll want to move some recon units into Coastal Command, for example, to get more recon coverage. It's not historical, but I would think you don't need a air genius to task a dozen recon planes on top of your big missions.

Cary

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RE: Air Force Setup - Pointers? - 8/23/2018 3:06:23 PM   
jedao

 

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Ah I misunderstood, thank you for clearing that up. (Although I read "I recommend transferring all Malta Command air groups to Tactical Air Force except for naval air groups")


I will be trying to implement that tonight (for now I tackle Italy only, the Grand Campaign is for later..)

< Message edited by jedao -- 8/23/2018 3:08:08 PM >

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RE: Air Force Setup - Pointers? - 8/23/2018 3:07:32 PM   
cfulbright

 

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quote:

But where to begin? I imagine Malta Command will only need FBs and NFs. But how many? How many FBs should be in tactical in relation? How many should be escorts for tactical and strategic? And what preference of planes go where?

Unless you're going to fly night strategic bombing raids in the Medi, I would transfer all NF's to Bomber Command to use as escorts, or to Fighter Command to use for Night Intruder missions.

Also, everything I've written is advice for games against the AI, which is somewhat predictable. For example, in 7-8 play-throughs of the 1943 Grand Campaign, I've never seen the Axis AI fly strategic bomber missions against England, or be particularly aggressive in general with all its bombers, so it's safe for me to use Fighter Command air groups to fly Air Superiority missions over France, Belgium, Holland, and even the Ruhr (with the Spitfire VIII's), or to transfer the FC air groups to Tactical Air Forces.

Cary

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RE: Air Force Setup - Pointers? - 8/23/2018 3:39:08 PM   
jedao

 

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Thanks again, this all is really helpful.

I was wondering about Intruder missions. What is the advantage over daytime Superiority missions, if any?

I would assume Intruder missions will go for enemy fighters on runways/hangars? Does that mean they get fewer kills but also fewer casualties than on a day mission? Is Flak fire less extensive at night? (should probably look that up in the manual though)

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RE: Air Force Setup - Pointers? - 8/23/2018 3:52:55 PM   
cfulbright

 

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Night Intruder missions attack German NF's as they're landing at their air bases after night intercepts. I find it useful to have some NF's escort my night missions, and have majority doing night intruder missions with large areas that have air bases likely to have German NF's that would intercept my night raids.

By the way, I recommend swapping out all Halifaxes and Stirlings for Lancasters ASAP. The Lancasters have 1) longer range; 2) higher max altitude (23K'); and 3) with latest generic data can carry a load of 14 1,000lb bombs, which are most effective for destroying factories and later for interdiction and ground attack.

Likewise replace B-17F's with B-17G's, because the latter have that extra nose turret of twin 50 cal guns. And I end up with all B-17's based in England, and all B-24's in the Med, because the England-based raids run into a lot more German interceptors and need the extra defense. On the other hand, the B-24's longer range is good for raids against Ploesti and Blechhammer.

Cary

< Message edited by cfulbright -- 8/23/2018 3:55:37 PM >

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RE: Air Force Setup - Pointers? - 8/23/2018 5:18:11 PM   
jedao

 

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Replacing units for others? I guess I have to read up on how that even works :) (my guess would be the refit button?)

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RE: Air Force Setup - Pointers? - 8/23/2018 5:45:49 PM   
cfulbright

 

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quote:

Likewise replace B-17F's with B-17G's, because the latter have that extra nose turret of twin 50 cal guns.


If you're referring to this line in my prior post, what I mean is upgrading the aircraft from one plane type to another. Do you know how to do that?

Cary

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RE: Air Force Setup - Pointers? - 8/23/2018 6:09:13 PM   
jedao

 

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Yup, found the button. But have no Lancaster or 17Gs in pool yet. Will keep an eye on when they become available. (There seems to be factory production) [Reminder: I'm only playing battleground Italy for now. 95 turns is enough to aim for after basically only practising Husky. :)

< Message edited by jedao -- 8/23/2018 6:10:50 PM >

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RE: Air Force Setup - Pointers? - 8/23/2018 7:31:12 PM   
jedao

 

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So I hope you don't mind I continue this thread with ongoing questions about how to organize a proper AF from a noob's perspective.

Looking at Battlefield Italy opening turn. My (naive) thoughts:

I took stock and indeed I don't think I need to move much.

I've sent a couple of Fighters from Strategic to Malta Air Command because I don't think Strategic will be doing much for now: They have one recon AG and those planes have low level cameras (Tactical has 3 AGs, also with Low Level). Makes me wonder, there was no high altitude recon in Sicily? Anyway, that means strategical recon is not really helpful. That leaves ground attacks only as city bombing is out of the question for Sicily.

But they have whimsy protection so I wonder if I should rather move the majority into Tactical and use the LBs there on separate missions - for Sicily one bombing HQ should be enough, it can do 5+ missions this should be plenty for now.

I rather have the majority of my fighters bunched up in Malta Air Command and Tactical, they can basically operate independently. Strategic can go on backup duty for low level recon and or support bombing in areas where I have gained air superiority.

Or is this all nonsense? :)

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RE: Air Force Setup - Pointers? - 8/23/2018 10:18:33 PM   
cfulbright

 

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I've never played Battleground Italy, so the following comments are based on my just loading the scenario and taking a quick look. I see it's the turn or so after the landings.

NOTE: I think the air OB for this scenario is screwed up. Only one Patrol air group, and that's assigned to Tactical Air Force, from which it can't be transferred. Coastal Air Force, on the other hand, has 12 air groups, none of which are patrol or TB. This doesn't match the 1943 Campaign air OB. How are you going to isolate those Sicilian ports or get naval superiority around your Italy invasion zones without PA and TB air groups? Don't know why you can't upgrade the Albemarle.

Night Fighters - You don't have any Lancs and only one group of Halifaxes. I assume you won't be doing night-time bombing. You can use the NF's as daytime escorts. Load the Beaufighters with the 6x.303's, and they pack a punch.

Recon - The F-6A in Strategic AF is a joke, given it only has low-level cameras. Put them in Coastal Air Force and fly them in one AD at 12K'. I'd combine all the other recon air groups under Strategic Air Force. Let them fly 2-3 recon missions per turn, will leave 3-4 AD's free for ground attacks. Load all other recons with medium-level cameras and fly them at 24K' (except the F-9). More effective for tactical recon than high altitude. If you're playing with fog of war turned on and can't see what German units are what, fly recon AD's over a 3 hex radius area centered on Caltanisetta and another on Adrano, flying on days 1, 2, 3, and 6 of the turn.

FB-F's - Although all your US air group are optimized for fighter rather than bomber, I'd set the P-38G's, P-39Q's, and P-40N's to bomber mission (NOTE:, don't change their training now, do it after you have Sicily wrapped up and you have some turns before you invade mainland Italy. Load the P38's with 2x1000lb bombs, the P39's with 1x500lb bomb, and the P40's with 3x500lb bombs. Same with the Kittyhawk's and Hurricanes. Load the Apaches with 2x500lb bombs.

LB's. The Bostons, Blenheims, and Baltimores are pretty crappy. Swap them for Wellington's. Upgrade one of the A-20 or B-25's to B-26. Load all B-26's with 4x1000lb bombs, which are more effective than a loadout of 8x500lb bombs, in my experience. Load the B-17's and B-24's with 1000lb bombs for ground attack, again better than twice as many 500lbs bombs. Switch the Halifax loadout to the first one with the 2K, 1K, and 500lb bombs. Load the Wellingtons with as many 500lb bombs as they'll carry. Use them for Ground Attack - Interdiction the first turn, flying on days 2, 4, and 7 of the turn. After turn 1 when you can see German units, I personally believe Ground Attack - Unit is more effective than Ground Attack - Interdict, though others disagree. Transfer all the US FB's with a Bomber mission to Tactical Air Force.

TR's - Make sure they're all at rest during air phase, so they recover Morale. Use them for Freight air transfer from Tunis to your depots in Sicily.

Malta Air Command - can handle six AD's. I'd assign most of the best Spitfire FB-F's to Malta Command and have them fly the Air Superiority AD's over your two beaches, as well as one over Messina and one over Palermo.

Strategic Air Force - Fly one Ground Attack - Port against Messina to mess up Axis supply, and another against Palermo, so they can't evacuate panzer units from that port. If you get to Messina early, you want the German-held Sicilian ports wrecked so the Axis units are trapped. With your other LB groups, fly Ground Attack - Interdict on the German units you're pretty sure you're going to attack this turn.

Tactical Air Force - Set up one Ground Support AD with all the FB's with bomber mission, assign it to 15th BR Army Group so that both 7th US Army and 8th BR Army benefit.

That's my quick take on the situation. I'd love to hear what others would do.

Cary

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RE: Air Force Setup - Pointers? - 8/23/2018 10:55:47 PM   
IslandInland


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quote:

ORIGINAL: cfulbright

Jedao,

There are two (or more) schools of thought, or at least a spectrum. On one end of the spectrum are the strictly historical who don't believe in any deviation from TOE's, assigned ground and air units per theater, etc. The other other spectrum is fine with a completely free hand of allocating units to ETO v. MTO, and wonders what if (you can probably tell where I am on that spectrum).

If you aren't on the strict historical accuracy spectrum, I recommend transferring all Malta Command air groups to Tactical Air Force except for naval air groups. The same for Fighter Command: if not assigning them to 2nd TAF, then at least give them AD's that support ground combat and air superiority. In the 1943 Campaign that starts with the invasion of Sicily, what's the point of all those Typhoon and Wellington air groups in England doing nothing or bloodying themselves on French ground targets for a year? Transfer them to the Med where they can perform a true tactical role. Isn't the whole point of playing a wargame to find out, what if?

I expect others will disagree.

Cary


I completely agree with you. It's a game. Try different approaches out. It actually states in the manual

' The game is an “Alternate History Creator”
that focuses on simulating the logistic and command
and control problems that the historical commanders
on the Western Front had to deal with. It will allow
players to explore many of the strategic and operational
“What ifs” that have been discussed by historians and
armchair strategists for many years.'

Move the entirety of the Allied forces to Italy if you like. Or don't invade Italy at all. It's one of the great things about the game that strategies such as this can be simulated. I'm currently working on a modification which posits an Allied invasion of Denmark. That's the sort of thing I like to experiment with.






_____________________________

I saw generals create imaginary "masses of manoeuvre" with a crayon and dispose of enemy concentrations, that were on the ground and on the map, with an eraser. Who was I to criticise them, hero as I was of a hundred "Chinagraph wars" of make-believe?

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RE: Air Force Setup - Pointers? - 8/23/2018 11:38:22 PM   
jedao

 

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Cary, thanks a lot. While I don't follow your target strategy much, this is exactly what I hoped for regarding "how should i set up the air force" and "what planes go where ideally?"- Great help for me to see what planes and load outs you'd choose for your targets.

Also I am relieved that it was not my lack of grasp of the game that the air setup looked pretty silly. I might actually check the scenario editor and fix that a bit...

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