Air System References and Tips (v1.12.04) (Full Version)

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redrum68 -> Air System References and Tips (v1.12.04) (3/26/2020 5:25:04 PM)

So I'm trying to better understand how to use the air system beyond just clicking to bomb a somewhat random bunch of units/airbases and having it automatically select which air groups then moving my air bases and HQs forward like regular units with the air groups still in them (yes I'm sure all the experts gasp and cringe now). So after reading the updated manual a few times, I think I have a sense of "what" you can do but its very dense and doesn't really give any direction on "how" or "why" to do things.

So I tried to collect up a few of the tips/references folks have provided me and what I could find on the forum. Hopefully this can help consolidate the information for the next person who struggles through the air system learning curve. I admit that I'm really just gathering information from other experts and will try to give credit to those especially for long detailed references (if I miss crediting anyone please just PM me).

References
- Axis turn 1 air example (Telemecus): http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/fb.asp?m=4640414
- Axis turn 1 air example (eskuche): http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/fb.asp?m=4774148
- Air overview (tyronec): http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/fb.asp?m=4372048
- 8MP air war review (Telemecus): http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/fb.asp?m=4610152
- Kabuki dance diagram (Telemecus): http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/fb.asp?m=4493996
- Training game air overview and kabuki dance explanation (thedoctorking): https://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=4589517
- Kabuki dance example (Crackaces): http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/fb.asp?m=4389394
- Managing air swaps, upgrades, and replacements (Telemecus): http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/fb.asp?m=4515266
- Air doctrine and national reserve (Telemecus): http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/fb.asp?m=4702001
- Aircraft types and usage (Dinglir): https://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=4785370

Overview
- The strategic purpose of any air force is solely to impact ground operations, either directly (bombing, recon etc) or indirectly (by preventing the other side's primary efforts). Many players have a tendency to get caught up in a separate air war, where they squander their resources trying to shoot down one more enemy fighter instead of using those resources to kill off a few more enemy ground units. Always consider how to use your air forces and what air units to assign for a specific mission.
- Bomb units with highest detection levels, lowest fortification levels, the better enemy units first (guards/elite/motorized) and best of all bomb units before they retreat due to one of your ground attacks - the enemy your air disrupted can become loses if they then have to retreat.
- Ground support (which happens automatically with your ground unit battles) is three times more effective than ground bombing. So do not do so much ground bombing that they are too fatigued to give ground support.
- To avoid air groups from flying ground support if you want to save them for other missions, you can set their aircraft ranges to one hex.
- Manually selecting which air units for various missions can make them much more effective.
- Usually air force missions are more effective with the use of a staging airbase as near the target as possible. So bombing at full range is not the best option.
- Send airbases forward into newly-captured territory and then transfer air groups to them. This allows strikes against those more remote enemy airbases.
- Bombing airfields can only be done with the first 33% of an air group's air miles.
- Try to earmark vulnerable enemy airbases and pre-allocate about 1.5 fighter per bomber going on the mission. Limit of 14 air groups I think per manual attack. Decide whether to bomb airbases before or after ground moves depending on airbase placement, ground support need, and enemy ground support.
- Run air recon missions to look for enemy units. The Soviets have very few recon planes, so be economical. Also, if you want to find out the identity of German units that you can see but donít have high enough det levels on to get a unit ID (det levels 1-4), you can do ďrecon by fireĒ ground bombing missions to increase detection level (this used to also show named ground units that were targeted if info level set to 7 but that was fixed in v1.12).
- Axis recon spam is where the enormous stock of short-range recon aircraft fly many missions in an attempt to draw Soviet fighters up, expending fuel and ammo and raising fatigue. At the same time, from looking at the Soviet reaction to these observation missions, the Axis player can assess the readiness of Soviet air defenses and the location of anti-aircraft guns. When interceptions get less common, the Axis can then begin to fly bombing missions secure in the knowledge that the Soviet fighter force has shot its wad. Soviet fighters are getting plenty of experience and morale in the process of shooting at (and sometimes shooting down) the recon planes, but this tactic can give the Axis a couple of months effectively free of Soviet air defenses at the front.

Air Doctrine
- Some settings are only used during your turn and don't matter for manual air missions as long as they aren't set to 0 (Ground Attack, Ground Attack Escort, Airfield Attack, Airfield Attack Escort, City Attack, City Attack Escort)
- Some only during your opponents turn so set these at the end of your turn (Interdiction Attack, Interdiction Attack Escort)
- Some during both (Ground Support, Ground Support Escort, Fighter Intercept, Night-Fighter Intercept)
- Percentage required to fly: 0% is a good safe default to choose - your fighters will never sit on the ground doing nothing while they are bombed with that. Some use it to control fatigue of your fighters from doing interceptions. But I would say you are (usually) better off controlling that by moving them back if they are overused.
- On the other settings remember HIGHER NUMBERS MEANS LESS OF IT. If you want more then make those numbers smaller not larger! If you are happy with the number of missions you get there, increase the number to get more aircraft in each. So rather than giving a set number for these doctrines I would say just change them as needed - each time decide if you want more or less and change the numbers until you start to get what you want.
- Similarly on escort numbers do look at the state of your fighters and other aircraft. If you are losing too many bombers by being shot down by the enemy fighters, then increase escort (which will mean fewer missions performed). If your fighters are exhausted and you are not losing too many bombers, then reduce.
- In general, Axis should keep recon escort off and Soviets recon escort on.

Optimizing Airbase Movement (aka Kabuki Dance)
- The goal is to use air transfer to avoid moving airbases with air groups in them.
- This minimizes air miles used and fatigue to air groups when moving airbases. When airbases are moved overground, the air groups in them arrive to their destination with often 15+% miles flown. When air groups are air transferred to another airbase, air groups arrive at their destination with around 1% air miles flown. The air miles when it would have flown missions most effectively in effect would be wasted on driving.
- An air transfer mission can only be conducted as an air group unit's first mission of the phase (air transferring to another airbase in the same hex allows additional an air transfer).
- When 2 airbases are on the same hex, you can transfer planes from lower to higher unit ID (right click unit panel, top right number is unit ID) because units are stacked in order of their number, and when you transfer aircraft into a hex they automatically are put on the airbase on top of the stack. This can be used to free up an airbase to move.
- Move preferably an empty airbase to its new location, and transfer the planes normally.
- NOTE: As of patch v1.12, the fuel/ammo levels available in an airbase don't matter anymore as airbases get their fuel/ammo directly from the supply grid now, but before this you needed to ensure the airbases that were moved forward had enough fuel/ammo to fly the necessary missions.

Air Supply and Air Base Limits
- Air bases can have a max of 9 air groups
- Air bases have "air support" elements (most Axis airbases have around 230 I think) and you want to try to only station air groups up to that limit (see the airbase detail window and look at the supply needed where it specifies "AV" which is the total needed by the currently stationed air groups)
- Having more air support than "AV" increases repair rate and fatigue reduction, so it's worth not crowding bases. In general for Axis, something around 4 level bombers or 7 fighter groups should be about the ideal max (or some combination of those).
- Generally bombers take up more air support than fighters
- Airbases loaded on trains do work for all intents and purposes and railing them makes it so support groups won't be fatigued on arrival to new locations

National Reserve (NR) and Fatigue/Morale/Experience/Damaged
- Start a turn by first doing all the air administration that you need to do. This includes moving air groups to National Reserve if they are low on morale (below about 40 for the Soviets, 50 for the Axis), high on fatigue (above 25 or so for the Soviets, 40 for the Axis), or low on ready planes (below about 33% of maximum).
- NR has infinite supply and support so is very good for air groups with lots of damaged and reserved planes to repair them.
- NR gives a boost to morale while there and also a one off boost each time it is moved to reserve so should be good for low morale groups.
- NR reduces fatigue which is usually the number one problem for German fighters.
- As long as your morale is at NR, flying heavily fatigued and damaged air groups to unused rear airbases only costs one turn of inaction whereas NR incurs 2.5 turns gone. Well supplied and non overloaded airbases can easily bring down 25-30 fatigue and that many damaged planes a turn.
- The one-off morale gain is the big thing, but also because it makes more space each turn for optimizing airbase movement - airbases alone can get clogged with air groups without cycling to NR.
- Air units moving from NR use 100% air miles, so they are sitting ducks waiting for bombs. Having 100% air miles flown means it will not fly during your turn, but it will still fly during your opponents air turn. Some have argued that because air miles are not reset to 0% until your logistics they should not be able to fly. But in repeated testing it has been found that aircraft on 100% air miles flown at the end of your turn will fly during your opponents air turn. Indeed it seems there is no air miles limit at all for your air groups during your opponents turn, the only limit is what the AI will choose to do with them then.
-Recon. The Axis have a lot of recon. Are you going to use all of it? If not then why are you leaving them in airbases needing supplies and vehicles to service them. If you send half of your recon or more to reserve I bet you will barely notice it. So here you may be wanting to just keep rotating low morale groups in and out of national reserve and leave recon air groups on their base morale in the National Reserve simply to avoid the logistics of keeping aircraft in the field you do not use. You will probably use less than 1/3 of your recon all the time as a beginner so no need to keep out more than you need.
- Can use fighters thirds cycle: 1/3 sent to NR (best done at start of turn, and usually they go first to transit and only appear in NR the next turn), 1/3 stay on the map during the turn and can be used for air missions during the turn, 1/3 that get assigned back from NR (best done at the end of the turn)
- Some Soviet players send their entire air force to their NR on turn 1. If so consider sending more than 1/3 of your fighters to NR as they will not be needed on turn 2 at all, and in a future turn when they are back you can afford to rotate less than a third. For you bombers you have a decision. You can send more to NR as the ones that stay will have an easy time of it. Or you can say its party time, there is no Soviet air force to oppose you so let us do mass unescorted daylight bombing of everything!
- If you foresee in a few turns you will have some critical battles coming up (Leningrad, Moscow) you may want to rotate more than 1/3 off the map now so they come back fresh for those key battles and rotate less then 1/3 off the map then. Similarly if you are very close to the mud or blizzard when planes do not fly very well, then keep more planes on the map for the last hurrah of clear weather but keep more off the map during the bad weather.

Air Command Structure and Leaders
- Get air ratings up as much as possible by assigning all working airbases to the best air leaders (Kesselring-Richthofen for Germany, 5 and 6 rating air leaders for Soviets).
- Germany is most effective with 8-8 Fliegerkorps and Luftflotte, meaning you get 16 airbases with air checks at 80-88%. It's best if possible to make these airbases #1-16, as #17-24 are freed up to allow transfers and to act as rear bases for re-basing from NR and for fixing up heavily damaged and fatigued air groups. I am not sure how/if air rating affects transport planes at this point. Further, AMA and especially Romanian airbases can function as holding airbases for German planes (as opposed to Germany army airbases) while your main airbases move forward. Note that you'll need one or two staging airbases from the 16, bonus points if you can use them as forward fighter bases AFTER their staging role.

Axis Aircraft Types and Usage

Fighters
- Bf 109E: Bomber destroyer. Pretty heavily armed so good against enemy bombers. Use it for protecting your airfields. It also has an upgrade path going Bf 109E-3 to B9 109E-4B to Bf 109E- 7/U1, the last being a tactical bomber with brilliant fighter capabilities. If fighter losses allow, consider changing out all Bf 109E-3ís so that you can get the other aircraft into your pool.
- Bf 109F: Dogfighter. At the beginning of the war, you have more than enough to protect your Ju-87ís. Can use the remainder as protection for He-111ís doing daytime attacks if feasible, as the Soviets will not yet be entrenched and HE-111ís can prepare the ground attacks very well.
- BF 110E: Fighter Bomber. Heavily armed so good against enemy bombers. Can carry 2 x 500kg bombs.

Bombers
- Ju-87B: Dive bomber. Not that great, but it will soon upgrade to the Ju87-D1, which is a VERY substantial upgrade. Very good for ground support, but need to ensure that no enemy fighters get close to it.
- He-111: Ground support. Good for bombing units with a low fortification and minimal cover with its 8 x 250kg bombs. As long as they fly with fighter cover, they can do alright during the day. Once fighter cover is missing, they will get slaughtered by the Soviets and should shift to night flying. Good for preparing ground attacks.
- Ju-88: Heavy ground support. Good for bombing heavily entrenched units with its 2 x 1000kg bombs. I personally dislike this aircraft very much, as I have found no good use for it. Historically, it was very effective in the early Barbarossa period, but in this game it simply cannot fly alone. I usually despair at some point and shift it to night flying.

Soviet Aircraft Types and Usage

Fighters
- The "prime quality" Soviet fighters at the beginning of the war are the Yak-1, the LaGG-3, and the MiG-3. These aircraft are VERY different and should be used for what they are good at.
- MIG-3: Bomber and transport escort. Long range, fast but very lightly armed.
- Yak-1: Dogfighter. Best early war Soviet dogfighter and should be used primarily during Soviet turns to minimize loses (due to low production and a need to keep them operating). Use these to guard some of your best bombers like the IL-2ís or Hurricane IIBís, using about 4-5 Yak-1 Regiments to 4 bomber regiments on an airbase.
- LaGG-3: Bomber destroyer. Heavily armed so good at shooting down enemy bombers. Use these as interceptors against deep German bombing raids. Usually deploy them as airfield defenders during the first few turns and then use them to supplement Yak-1ís as more are produced.
- I-15 types: Weak air support. Worthless in a dogfight, the I-153 has a couple of 100kg GP bombs, which is pretty standard for Soviet Fighter Bombers. The I-15bis version is pretty much useless. I prefer using these aircraft in bomber trained ShaP units (youíll have a few by turn two) and using them together with I-16ís as Air Support during the Axis turn. They will get blown from the skies, but you do have 2,500 of them and they will not grow less obsolete as time goes by.
- I-16 types: Weak air support. A little better than I-15ís in a dogfight, these are still the aircraft I use as fighters during the German turn. I tend to set up something like 3 I-15ís and 5-6 I-16ís on an airfield and setting them to fly 8-10 hexes. They will drop from the sky as flies, but hopefully, they will buy you a little time to get your production of better aircraft going. You have close to 5,000 of these aircraft, so the Germans should spend some time chewing through them.
- P-40B (lend lease): Bomber and transport escort. A great escort fighter. Itís long range will ensure that enough stay with the bombers to ensure that less Germans will get through.

Bombers
- I-153BS, SU-2 and IL-2: During the early game, you will not have many of these. Especially if you choose to evacuate the IL-2 factories early. Usually set them up with Yak-1ís or LaGG-3ís escorts and usually avoid flying them during the German turn in order to minimize loses.
- U-2VS: Weak, cheap bomber. Usually best to mass them 8 or 9 groups on an airfield close to the front and start night bombing everything within range. Given how cheap they are, losses aren't a big deal.
- SB-2: Have zero survivability and so best to set them up for night flying and use them to bring supplies to encircled Soviet formations. Production is 0 and they will slowly get supplanted by Pe-2ís
- Pe-2: A decent, early war bomber, but not one you should use as combat support. I prefer using them for bombing German Infantry. The main aim is causing disruption which will translate into fatigue which will translate into fewer MP and a slower advance.
- DB-3B, IL-4: Heavy load, long range bombers. I use them at night for partisan support and flying supplies to encircled units.
- Hurricane IIB (lead lease): Ground support. Armed with 2 500lbs GP bombs and 12 machine guns making it perfect for bombing soft ground targets in the open. Once they and Yak-1í are available, I set them up together and at some point start using them for ground support.

Axis Turn 1
- Bombers: The first turn has special rules giving a bonus to bombing enemy airfields. So in this turn you are better off squeezing every drop of use out of even the worst condition bomber group. However, if all enemy aircraft are destroyed in stuka range, or in stuka range of where stukas could be transferred to, it can make sense to send some shorter range bombers to NR.
- Fighters: Bombers don't need escorts for bombing on turn 1, so this is a good turn NOT to use fighters. Yes, you can use them to add to the kill total. And giving easy kills and wins to your fighters now is a great way of training them up to higher experience and morale. But as you will always be trying to keep your fatigue down, resting them for one turn when you do not really need them is a good thing. This does not necessarily mean move them to a rear airbase or reserve, but just make sure they do not fly in your action phase.
- Transports: Your panzers and other units start off with the fuel tanks full for two turns - if you deliver fuel or supplies to them in turn 1 they will just need more fuel to carry the supplies with them on turn 2 as they probably will not use it. There is some use to delivering supplies to your furthest flung panzers at the end of turn 2. But if you are not going to be using a transport group for turn 1 and 2 again ask yourself why you are keeping it there?
- NR: Contrary to the intuition that all the air groups are fresh and motivated on turn 1 there are some pretty beat up air groups there. Some have barely half of their aircraft ready and some are newly formed and yet to gain morale or experience. Given the bonuses to Axis air on turn 1 you will usually not notice it. But there are air groups on turn 1 that are candidates for morale and repair recycling through NR or fatigue recovery through a rear airbase. So if you find some air groups are surplus to requirements on turn 1 you should consider it. Consider possibly some stukas and especially a lot of transports. This is only for air groups that are really surplus to requirements - turn 1 is still a great turn for getting wins and building experience and morale for the air groups that do participate.
Steps
1. Air Doctrine: Ground support off. Interception up. Recon escort off.
2. Set all air groups to 1 range. Unlock 1 non-withdrawing fighter group at a not-forward most airbase (the ones with the Ju-52/m transports are a good candidate).
3. Make as many guaranteed ground attacks as possible. Fighters will intercept for free experience due to turn 1 Soviet maluses. Change out fighters when the first groups reach ~25-30 fatigue.
4. When approaching a Soviet airbase you can't leave alone, move forward (starting from the back) an airbase. Transfer tactical bombers and another fighter squad to it (two Stab flights are probably okay). Bomb airbase. Dive bombers will decimate planes (about one group per 3-4 airbases within 11 range).
5. Repeat across all fronts. When done with turn, move forward most airbases as far forward as possible under protection of another unit. Move level bombers to them. Bomb far away airbases.

Axis Specific Tips
- Usually long term, the Luftwaffe will not be able to defeat the Soviet Air Forces if the Soviets manage their air force effectively. Axis air strategy should reflect this. By all means take out as much as you can on turn 1, but then you should start focusing on ground support.
- Prioritize which Soviet air units to bomb. Prefer bombing modern Soviet fighter types, recon, Il-2s and very long range bombers over I15s/I16s.
- The Soviets only produce six good recon aircraft a turn so if you destroy enough and you can leave them blind.
- A major challenge can be finding a good way to use all the level bombers, especially when playing the Axis. You will have too few fighters to escort then properly, and the multitude of Soviet fighters will chew through them in insane numbers dropping Morale and Experience. So what to do? Accept insane losses and Soviet Experience by flying unprotected at day or setting to night flying and then watching your reserve pools climbing like mad? Usually the latter is better, to avoid building the effectiveness of the Soviet Air Force.
- Get withdrawing groups down to 21 bf 109e3s if possible. Easiest way is to use all of them then 2 then for every 40 planes in the pool take away as many as possible using combinations of the homegroup staffels and Stab groups. A bit finicky but can get you 100-200 fighters for a couple dozen AP. Also with your rear frozen air groups. Those fighter air groups in Germany should only be 7 fighters strong each. The Romanian frozen groups should not have more than just over half their aircraft etc. etc.
- Keeping fatigue levels down is the number one issue for German fighters - or the number one way to make them ineffective is when the Soviets keep them high.
- Generally avoid bombing Soviet air bases after turn 1 if they have fighter cover. Better to do fighter sweeps.
- Try to bomb airbases with minimal Soviet flak with overwhelming force. But a good Soviet air commanders will concentrate his airbases, fill them with flak, and your air groups will get butchered for poor results if you bomb them.

Soviet Specific Tips
- In the early war, the Soviet main aim is to gather their strength while blunting the Axis advance as much as possible. In order to do this, the Soviets will need to build their own strength, keep the German fighters busy (and hopefully shooting down a few), while also helping to slow down the German advance as much as possible.
- Building strength means that the Soviets should build more high quality aircraft than they lose but they also need to build morale and experience in their air groups which means that throwing low morale air groups against the German Luftwaffe is generally a bad idea. I try to keep only air groups with a morale of at least 45 at the front. A round of combat with the Germans usually mean that several air groups has a lot less morale than this, meaning an instant withdrawal to the National Reserve followed by a regroup to an airbase well behind the front and then an air transfer forward.
- Keeping the German fighters busy means that they should be engaged from the very start of the game with the eventual aim being to wrest air supremacy from the Luftwaffe. This needs to be balanced against the section above. Blunting the German advance is usually more effectively done by bombing the German infantry than the German Panzers.
- Soviet Air Groups in early game will often have VERY low morale after fighting through the German turn. Sending them to National Reserve will get them more or less back to National Morale in one go.
- A "triangular" approach to sending aircraft to the front can be used. If morale goes low, send air groups to the NR. From there, deploy them to airbases well behind the front, and then transfer them forward. This avoids the use of Soviet low morale aircraft as "cannon fodder" that will just get chewed up with no effect whatsoever on the Germans.


To be continued...

If you have good references or tips please post them here in the thread and I'll look to incorporate them into this first post. Its also a great place to discuss recent 1.11 and 1.12 changes that potentially impact some of the older references.




joelmar -> RE: Air System References and Tips (3/26/2020 6:16:27 PM)

an important thing to remember is how you decide your airbase placement after turn 1 depends much on the Soviet player level of aggressiveness.

The Soviets have the advantage of numbers and attrition in the game as a general rule, as it was in the real war. It's even more true when it comes to fighter airgroups attrition. They produce many times what the German produce every turn.

Another thing to remember, bombing the Axis fighter airbases is usually costly for the Soviet Bombers, not fighters which suffer comparatively little damage in such attacks... and even with those losses, many attacks on airbase will still leave the Soviet losses well below their bomber production, so this gives even more weight to that advantage.

I don't know for version 1.12, but in 1.11 if you give an experienced and aggressive Soviet player with nerves of steel the occasion to bomb your fighter airbases, even at a high cost to his own air force, he will do it gladly and with a great satanic laugh knowing he can build back much faster than you! And since AA has been nerfed in version 1.12, I suspect it is even truer.




eskuche -> RE: Air System References and Tips (3/26/2020 6:24:09 PM)

There is some good advice in this thread on reconing by bombing as Soviets when you don't want to risk your precious SB2-R's.
https://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=4589517
Edit: apparently nerfed, but bombing in itself still does increase detection level when enemies leave their panzers out in the open and you need DL 4 on them.


For good form, make sure to credit Telemecus when you copy his posts directly ;)

Good to have consolidated, updated air info. Will post more stuff I've come across later.




Telemecus -> RE: Air System References and Tips (3/26/2020 6:36:24 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: eskuche
There is some good advice in this thread on reconing by bombing as Soviets when you don't want to risk your precious SB2-R's.
https://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=4589517


The method of bombing on a high message level to reveal the name of a unit was nerfed in v1.12




redrum68 -> RE: Air System References and Tips (3/27/2020 5:17:23 AM)

Thanks for the input. Made lots of updates to the first post.

So for v1.12, my understanding is that ammo/fuel/supplies inside airbases no longer matters now as its pulled from the supply grid? So all the references that discuss that are out of date and you no longer need to consider if the airbase has enough fuel/ammo/supply when transferring air groups to them? Essentially is this note accurate:
"NOTE: As of patch v1.12, the fuel and ammo levels available in an airbase don't matter anymore as airbases get their fuel directly from the supply grid now, but most of the other techniques explained are still valid."

As that makes the whole kabuki dance a bit simpler and just focused on avoiding moving airbases with air groups in them and extending range.




Dinglir -> RE: Air System References and Tips (3/27/2020 7:14:37 AM)

Should I feel bad about not having my thoughts included? i credit myself with being one of the first players to start the discussion on how to manage your air forces well, as the general idea back when I started was to "send all Soviet Air Groups to National Reserve on turn 1", "Just move those U-2VS factories up to the front as the aircraft is rubbish" and "Just fly your level bombers in massive daytime attacks ignoring losses".

Of course people like Telemecus have expanded on my thoughts (or thought in parallel) and come far further than I did back in the day, so I guess I'll survive.

I still think however, there are a few "missing points" in the above article:

1) I currently use a "triangular" approach to sending aircraft to the front. If morale goes low, I send Air Groups to the National Reserve. From there I deploy them to airbases well behind the front, and then I transfer them forward. This avoids the use of Soviet low morale aircraft as "cannon fodder" that will just get chewed up with no effect whatsoever on the Germans.
2) More importantly, use the aircraft for what they are good at! For instance the "prime quality" Soviet fighters at the beginning of the war is the Yak-1, the LaGG-3 and the MiG-3. Those aircraft are VERY different, but I often see them being used in much the same way. At the start of the game I prefer using the Yak-1 as a Dog-Fighter in my own turns (due to low production and a need to keep them operating). The LaGG-3 is the most heavily armed Soviet Fighter at the beginning of the game, so I use those as interceptors against deep German bombing raids. The MiG-3 is long range and fast but practically unarmed, so these are good for bomber escorts. You should have specific roles assigned to practically every type of aircraft you use.
3) If bombing units with a low fortification number use low payload bombers like the He-111 (250kg GP bombs). If bombing high fortification units use high payload (1000kg GP bombs), unless the purpose is to prepare for a ground attack.
4) The strategic purpose of any airforce is SOLELY to impact ground operations, either directly (bombing, recon etc) or indirectly (by preventing the other side's primary efforts). Many players have a tendency to get caught up in a seperate air war, where they squander their resources trying to shoot down one more enemy fighter instead of using those resources to kill off a few more enemy ground units. Always consider how to use your airforces and what air units to assign for a specific mission. I never autoselect Air units, and when attacking I set all air ranges to 1 except the units I wish to use.

My biggest issue these days are finding a good way to use the level bombers, especially when playing the Axis. You will have too few fighters to escort then properly, and the multitude of Soviet fighters will chew through them in insane numbers dropping Morale and Experience like a U-2VS in a dogfight with four FW-190's. So what to do? Accept insane losses and Soviet Experience by flying unprotected at day or setting to night flying and then watching your reserve pools climbing like mad? I prefer the latter, as I don't want to help building the effectiveness of the Soviet Airforce. But I am certainly ready for arguments specifying other uses.




eskuche -> RE: Air System References and Tips (3/27/2020 7:48:18 AM)

Interesting tips! Itís quite hard to garner use from looking at equipment. Specifically why the fort and payload matching?

Iím working on an autohotkey script to make some of the air stuff easier such as one keystroke to unlock the airgroup (or x number of airgroups at an airbase) range. Will update once itís in better condition.

Edit: I never quite understood the fascination with keeping stuff in NR. Especially now with no airbase supply to worry about it doesnít seem to matter as long as your morale is at NR. Flying heavily fatigued and damaged gruppes to unused rear airbases only costs one turn of inaction whereas NR incurs 2.5 turns gone. Well supplied and non overloaded airbases can easily bring down 25-30 fatigue and that many damaged planes a turn I think.

Iím a newer player but some things Iíve been doing:
Spam bombing pockets or front line if possible with AMA planes until about 25-30 fatigue. Every turn. Fatigue is a RESOURCE that should be maximized.
Keep airbases under air support. This is four level bombers and one fighter gruppe for Germany.
Same with level bombers. Either before or after ground support Iíll bomb the front lines where possible.
Try to earmark vulnerable enemy airbases and pre-allocate about 1.5 fighter per bomber going on the mission. Limit of 14 airgroups I think per manual attack. Decide whether to bomb airbases before or after ground moves depending on airbase placement, ground support need, and enemy ground support.
For axis absolutely get withdrawing groups down to 21 bf 109e3s if possible. Easiest way is to use all of them then 2 then for every 40 planes in the pool take away as many as possible using combinations of the homegroup staffels and Stab groups. A bit finicky but can get you 100-200 fighters for a couple dozen AP.
Get air ratings up as much as possible by assigning all working airbases to Kesselring-Richthofen.
As soviets note you can do the same by carefully using your precious few 5 and 6 rating air leaders. A 6-6 corps air front chain will get you 72% air rating.





Telemecus -> RE: Air System References and Tips (3/27/2020 8:00:34 AM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: redrum68
As that makes the whole kabuki dance a bit simpler and just focused on avoiding moving airbases with air groups in them and extending range.


Probably worth being clear there are three separate rotations being described

i) Moving airgroups on the map without moving them overground in airbases
ii) Recycling airgroups to refit them (morale and especially the one off gain each time they go through NR, supply for repair etc) - typically this is in and out of national reserve but with the fatigue bug up to v1.11.03 you will need to do this with rear on map bases to recover fatigue. This is also an alternative to air transfers for moving air groups (without going overground) too - Dinglir's triangular pattern is a variant of this.
iii) Rotating airbases east-west for supply

Strictly speaking only i) is the Kabuki Dance although I can see all three are getting the term now which is fine but might sometimes be worth making clear what you are referring to. iii) is the element no longer relevant in v1.12 Doing ii) generally will make doing i) easier

This diagram below (see http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/fb.asp?m=4628796 ) may illustrate it somewhat

[image]local://upfiles/53894/88F39DEE641743768781812507D77B02.jpg[/image]





Telemecus -> RE: Air System References and Tips (3/27/2020 8:14:59 AM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: eskuche
Interesting tips! Itís quite hard to garner use from looking at equipment. Specifically why the fort and payload matching?


Dinglir has quite a lot of info of this type which I find useful. For example bigger gun planes (like 109Es) are better at shooting down bombers than planes which have smaller guns even if they are better at dogfighting enemy fighters (like 109Fs). Or Il-2s are preferred for tank busting etc.

quote:

ORIGINAL: eskuche
Iím working on an autohotkey script to make some of the air stuff easier such as one keystroke to unlock the airgroup (or x number of airgroups at an airbase) range. Will update once itís in better condition.


I think this will be massive

quote:

ORIGINAL: eskuche
I never quite understood the fascination with keeping stuff in NR. Especially now with no airbase supply to worry about it doesnít seem to matter as long as your morale is at NR. Flying heavily fatigued and damaged gruppes to unused rear airbases only costs one turn of inaction whereas NR incurs 2.5 turns gone.


I think the one-off morale gain is the big thing, but also because it makes more space each turn for kabuki dancing - airbases alone can get clogged with airgroups without it. Do not forget up to v1.11.03 you can use the airbase commitment system to go in and out of NR in one turn

quote:

ORIGINAL: eskuche
Fatigue is a RESOURCE that should be maximized.


Worth stressing that keeping fatigue levels down is the number one issue for German fighters - or the number one way to make them ineffective as a Soviet player is to keep them high.

quote:

ORIGINAL: eskuche
Keep airbases under air support.

I think airbase placement (geographically and relative to one another) is an underappreciated art. Should you move them towards the front or keep them back (with the help of staging bases) is a bit like whether a tennis player should move to the net or stay on the back line. Do you keep a second line of airbases to provide fighter support for your first line airbases while out of range of enemy escorted bombing? etc. etc.

quote:

ORIGINAL: eskuche
For axis absolutely get withdrawing groups down to 21 bf 109e3s if possible.


Also with your rear frozen airgroups. Those fighter airgroups in Germany should only be 7 fighters strong each. The Rumanian frozen groups should not have more than just over half their aircraft etc. etc.




Dinglir -> RE: Air System References and Tips (3/27/2020 10:39:03 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: eskuche
Specifically why the fort and payload matching?


A ground level example will explain this very well I believe. If you are standing opposite an enemy Pzkpfw V tank, which weapon would you prefer, A Machine Gun or a Bazooka? The machine gun will hit the target a lot of times, but none of the hits will have any effect. A bazooka might hit once and that hit might destroy the tank. Same thing in the air. If you are bombing a level two fortification i a forest, hitting it with 4 250kg GP bombs (He 111) likely will have no effect, even if you hit it with a lot more bombs. However, a 1000kg GP bomb (Ju 88) might well get a result. The opposite is the case for hitting units with no fortifications in the open. The number of hits will matter very much.

quote:

ORIGINAL: eskuche
Edit: I never quite understood the fascination with keeping stuff in NR.


I found that Soviet Air Groups in early game will often have VERY low morale after fighting thourgh the German turn. Sending them to National Reserve will get them more or less back to National Morale in one go.

quote:

ORIGINAL: eskuche
Spam bombing pockets


I prefer bombing front line units, as the pockets will suffer from low morale and be lost regardless of air action.

quote:

ORIGINAL: eskuche
Fatigue is a RESOURCE that should be maximized.


Completely agree. I ususally set a Fatigue level and then fly my air groups until that level is reached each turn.

quote:

ORIGINAL: eskuche
Try to earmark vulnerable enemy airbases and pre-allocate about 1.5 fighter per bomber going on the mission.


In my experience, airfield bombing only works when the ground crews are fatigued from moving about a lot. Once the airfields are stationary for a while, airfield bombing is generally not worth it.





Dinglir -> RE: Air System References and Tips (3/27/2020 10:57:35 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Telemecus
..... bigger gun planes (like 109Es) are better at shooting down bombers than planes which have smaller guns even if they are better at dogfighting enemy fighters (like 109Fs). Or Il-2s are preferred for tank busting etc.


Dog Fighting is handled in three phases. Each aircraft will first try to get in position to shoot, then it will try to hit the target and if hit, the damage is calculated.

Against bombers, even the fighters with least maneuverability will outmaneuver the bombers, which means the best fighters for killing bombers are those with the heaviest guns (like the Bf 109E over the Bf 109F). Against fighters however, bigger guns usually makes the aircraft less agile, meaning it will be less able to get in position to fire and hit (making the Bf 109F better than the Bf 109E and the Yak-1 better than the LaGG-3).

This is why I absolutely LOVE the FW190. It has far better maneuverability than anything the Soviets can put up, and it packs a punch unlike anything else (calculating the max Effect of most Soviets Fighters you get 8 "points" while the FW 190 packs 18 "points".

It has been a long while since I last played the Soviets, but when I did, I found that the Il-2's were actually not that good for tank busting. They would occasionally kill a halftrack or maybe even a PzkpfW IIB, but they fared very poorly against the better German Panzers. Of course, the Soviets have nothing good to put against the Panzers in the early war, so IL-2's might still be the best choice (I never really compared the effectiveness of IL-2's and the Hurricane in this role).

In both bombing of ground targets and in dog fights the advice is very simple: Use the individual air groups for things they are good at!




joelmar -> RE: Air System References and Tips (3/27/2020 2:08:56 PM)

quote:


@Dinglir:
In my experience, airfield bombing only works when the ground crews are fatigued from moving about a lot. Once the airfields are stationary for a while, airfield bombing is generally not worth it.


as the germans, I don't bomb soviet air bases after turn 1 if they have fighter cover, and I agree 100%. Better do fighter sweeps. But I would without hesitation as the Soviets even with fighter cover if the Axis air bases are near the front.

I also noticed that any air force action is always more effective with the use of a staging air base as near the target as possible. So bombing at full range is not the best option.




redrum68 -> RE: Air System References and Tips (3/27/2020 3:31:00 PM)

Thanks for all the responses and good discussion.

@Dinglir - I'm guessing its just blind luck of what I've been pointed to or stumbled across that it just hasn't included things you've posted. But glad to take any tips you have or if you have some good references, please post them. Thanks for the input and I'll look to work that into the first post. One thing you seem to have a good grasp on that I'd like to add is recommendations on how to use various types of aircraft. Do you have any good references which lays that out? You highlight a few of those already but hoping to put something together a bit more comprehensive.

@eskuche - Thanks for the tips and I'll work on incorporating those.

@Telemecus - Ok, I'll admit that the term 'Kabuki Dance' is a bit confusing and seems to be used differently by different people. Now that I've read through enough posts, my understanding is that it seems to primarily be about optimizing air transfers and avoid moving airbases with planes in them. I'm not sure if you were the one that created the term but I started wondering whether its a term we should keep using as it might be more confusing then helpful (please don't take any offense if you came up with it but I would like your thoughts here). Thanks for the clarification on the 3 rotations as I had noticed all 3 aspects and thought that the term was really covering all of them. I've mostly focused what I wrote so far on the first point (air transfer and avoid moving airbases with air groups in them) as that seemed to be the core of it. Thank you for confirming the #3 is no longer relevant. I could use some help on #2 as the NR cycle is a bit unclear to me on when to send them in, when to bring them out, where to bring them out to, and if this has changed in v1.12 (I guess there was a NR bug in v1.11 around fatigue). I'd also like to have some guidance around fatigue, morale, experience, damaged, etc as how these impact air groups and how to manage them.

So to summarize some of the sections I'd like to add (and looking for references/assistance on):
- National Reserve (NR) and Fatigue/Morale/Experience/Damaged
- Aircraft Types and Usage
- Air Command Structure and Leaders
- Air Supply (focused on v1.12)
- Axis Specific Tips
- Soviet Specific Tips
- Axis Turn 1 (have a start on this)




Telemecus -> RE: Air System References and Tips (3/27/2020 4:22:53 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: redrum68
I'm not sure if you were the one that created the term but I started wondering whether its a term we should keep using as it might be more confusing then helpful (please don't take any offense if you came up with it but I would like your thoughts here). Thanks for the clarification on the 3 rotations as I had noticed all 3 aspects and thought that the term was really covering all of them. I've mostly focused what I wrote so far on the first point (air transfer and avoid moving airbases with air groups in them) as that seemed to be the core of it.


@Crackaces has to take full credit for inventing the term "Kabuki Dance" here in these forums. And I think the reason why it caught the zeitgeist is that it was a memorable term unlike Morale Cycling or Spinning the Airbases or any of the other terms. Ironically it was invented to avoid confusion of different concepts. My own philosophy of language is if a term is not useful throw it out and use one that is. The only problem I see here is that any other term might go the same way of becoming confusing too.

Perhaps the lesson is though that rather than chuck out the one term that has become popular, can we think of equally memorable terms for the other two rotations so that we do not confuse the three things anymore. Perhaps it could be a write in competition starting here? [:)]




redrum68 -> RE: Air System References and Tips (3/27/2020 4:48:18 PM)

@Telemecus - Yeah, I'd rather talk about each of the cycles separately so things are clear especially now that the third cycle is irrelevant.

I would call the first one something like "optimizing air group rebasing" or "optimizing air group transfers" or "optimizing airbase movement" or something like that or combination of those. As to me at least, that is pretty much what it is and while not flashy is pretty straightforward.

The second one I'd call something like "national reserve air group cycling" or "air group fatigue/morale management" as again to me that is essentially what it is. I don't fully understand this one quite enough yet to know whether that captures it all but something along those lines I think would be straightforward.




joelmar -> RE: Air System References and Tips (3/27/2020 4:58:58 PM)

Regardless of the original exact definition, I came to see the Kabuki dance as concepts about airbase management, and that includes movement, placement, fatigue management and all... where it all starts and finish, the modalities and personnal implementations both technically and doctrinally of those concepts don't change the base idea.

Anyway, I think it's hard to change that now, the term is well implanted in usage inside the Wite community, and it's use in both the true and altered sense will probably remain.




eskuche -> RE: Air System References and Tips (3/27/2020 5:54:36 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: joelmar

quote:


@Dinglir:
In my experience, airfield bombing only works when the ground crews are fatigued from moving about a lot. Once the airfields are stationary for a while, airfield bombing is generally not worth it.


as the germans, I don't bomb soviet air bases after turn 1 if they have fighter cover, and I agree 100%. Better do fighter sweeps. But I would without hesitation as the Soviets even with fighter cover if the Axis air bases are near the front.

I also noticed that any air force action is always more effective with the use of a staging air base as near the target as possible. So bombing at full range is not the best option.


I'm not seeing the same effect. But this may be because I'm early game and chasing targets with only sparse ground support, so my only real targets are airbases. See for example below.


[image]local://upfiles/59341/4AD206D8CF1C4E80933346126CE70A05.jpg[/image]




joelmar -> RE: Air System References and Tips (3/27/2020 6:00:36 PM)

I'm talking in a general sense of course. In this case you attacked airbases almost not protected by flak with overwhelming force, the result is to be expected. But a good Soviet air commander will come to concentrate his airbases, fill them with flak and your airgroups will get butchered for not much results if you attack them. That was what I meant.




Dinglir -> RE: Air System References and Tips (3/27/2020 6:10:35 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: eskuche


quote:

ORIGINAL: joelmar

quote:


@Dinglir:
In my experience, airfield bombing only works when the ground crews are fatigued from moving about a lot. Once the airfields are stationary for a while, airfield bombing is generally not worth it.


as the germans, I don't bomb soviet air bases after turn 1 if they have fighter cover, and I agree 100%. Better do fighter sweeps. But I would without hesitation as the Soviets even with fighter cover if the Axis air bases are near the front.

I also noticed that any air force action is always more effective with the use of a staging air base as near the target as possible. So bombing at full range is not the best option.


I'm not seeing the same effect. But this may be because I'm early game and chasing targets with only sparse ground support, so my only real targets are airbases. See for example below.


The turn number is five, and the fronts at this stage should be VERY fluid, often forcing the movement of Soviet Air bases. Further, the Soviets supply system has not been built up yet (with trucks added every turn), so I think the opposing airbases are probably fatigued from moving aorund a lot.

Try bombing bases with the same amount of aircraft come turn 50 and you will find that the effects have largely worn off.





eskuche -> RE: Air System References and Tips (3/27/2020 6:11:08 PM)

One question: does anyone know how air support is allocated? Does having one very damaged gruppe benefit from having no other airgroups on the airbase with it because all of the support is dedicated to it alone, or is there simply a proportional check for needed/available air support?

and one point: I will posit that it's quite possible to have the entire Luftwaffe on map. It just requires a bit more planning to not drive planes across. This is predicated on the assumption above that as long as air support is available, you're getting the maximum fatigue reduction and airframe repair (even if you have to transfer to a rear base for supply issues)

Several further more detailed points on managing air, specifically for Axis.

Axis minor allies
I will simply refer to Telemecus's post here: https://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=4250683&mpage=21&key=
Generally, use them as much as possible, especially the withdrawing flights (Slovakian especially).

Airbase C&C
Other and I have mentioned before the chain of command is most effective with 8-8 Fliegerkorps and Luftflotte, meaning you get 16 airbases with air checks at 80-88%. It's best if possible to make these airbases #1-16, as #17-24 are freed up to allow transfers and to act as rear bases for re-basing from NR and for fixing up heavily damaged and fatigued airgroups. I am not sure how/if air rating affects transport planes at this point. Further, AMA and especially Rumanian airbases can function as holding airbases for German planes (as opposed to Germany army airbases) while your main airbases move forward. Note that you'll need one or two staging airbases from the 16, bonus points if you can use them as forward fighter bases AFTER their staging role.

Stab flights
These have only 4 (occasionally 5) planes each but have very high morale and experience.
Fighter stab flights can be used as rearguard against random bombing. You can also pack in 5 of them with 4 level bomber gruppes on an airbase while remaining below air support maximum. To me early game, they are useful as holding pots for the Bf 109E-3's which you want to swap out. As I mentioned above, you can release 40 E-3's into the pool, take 24 out with two homegroup Staffels, then put back in 5 (ideally, no replacements helps with this) from Stab flights. This yields 21 planes, which you can give to JG 53 gruppes once they withdraw on turn 3.

I haven't really found a use for KG Stab flights yet. You CAN eke out a 5-10% boost in attacking craft with them but that gets to the point of not-useful micro level to me (sorry Telemecus).

Excess level bombers
Remember these can deliver supply to very forward units, while transports are the only ones that can deliver fuel.




eskuche -> RE: Air System References and Tips (3/27/2020 6:12:01 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Dinglir
The turn number is five, and the fronts at this stage should be VERY fluid, often forcing the movement of Soviet Air bases. Further, the Soviets supply system has not been built up yet (with trucks added every turn), so I think the opposing airbases are probably fatigued from moving aorund a lot.

Try bombing bases with the same amount of aircraft come turn 50 and you will find that the effects have largely worn off.


Got it. Will just have to keep an eye on the situation [:)][:)]




eskuche -> RE: Air System References and Tips (3/27/2020 6:13:27 PM)

Speaking of FlaK, I have been stacking forward airbases with 1-2 Luftflottes with 3-6 Flak units (Luftflotte because they return the FlaK to army group the next turn for further distribution). Is this suitable/appropriate for defense? I haven't gotten bombed yet and would like to know beforehand.




joelmar -> RE: Air System References and Tips (3/27/2020 6:22:20 PM)

quote:


@Dinglir:
Try bombing bases with the same amount of aircraft come turn 50 and you will find that the effects have largely worn off.


No need to wait until turn 50 for the effects to wear off. By turn 4-5 if the Soviet player is organised and determined, it already will be very dangerous for the LW. And before that, the Soviet can easily keep his best airgroups out of your reach. It always depends on how your opponent play. At least, that was true in 1.11.03, I still have to experiment that in 1.12.xx




redrum68 -> RE: Air System References and Tips (3/28/2020 3:27:37 AM)

Alright, next rounds of updates based on the discussions and references is done. I restructured things to divide it into various sections as mentioned. Feedback strongly encouraged!




56ajax -> RE: Air System References and Tips (3/28/2020 5:46:45 AM)

For what it is worth Yak 1 appears to be the best Soviet fighter, IL2, SU, and BS are the tactical bomber choices, bis is useless along with FB missioned/trained as bomber. Hurricanes do ok. PE = pissing 'elpless.

If bombing ground units choose those in Clear terrain for better results.




Telemecus -> RE: Air System References and Tips (3/28/2020 7:08:24 AM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: 56ajax
FB missioned/trained as bomber.

Those airgroups can easily be swapped to a tac/dive bomber (although I think not swapped back to FB) - so at least easy to deal with those on the Soviet side.




joelmar -> RE: Air System References and Tips (3/28/2020 6:32:23 PM)

Very good work eskuche! and lots of good points that can easily add up fast. I will definitely use it as a reminder list.




56ajax -> RE: Air System References and Tips (3/29/2020 4:38:05 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Telemecus

quote:

ORIGINAL: 56ajax
FB missioned/trained as bomber.

Those airgroups can easily be swapped to a tac/dive bomber (although I think not swapped back to FB) - so at least easy to deal with those on the Soviet side.


Sure is. I tried using a modern FB in those squadrons but the results were poor so I change them to IL2 and they get renamed to SHAP. If you populate them with those U2/ whatsits then they name change to NBAPs and there is no upgrade path.




Telemecus -> RE: Air System References and Tips (3/29/2020 12:24:23 PM)

@redrum68 could you do with a mention of air doctrine. It is the most abstract and as a result most opaque part of the airwar. Many for instance thing putting 300% in airdoctrine means more when in fact it means less. Perhaps this reference and the thread around it might help?

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/fb.asp?m=4702001




tyronec -> RE: Air System References and Tips (3/29/2020 2:39:12 PM)

quote:

@redrum68 could you do with a mention of air doctrine. It is the most abstract and as a result most opaque part of the airwar. Many for instance thing putting 300% in airdoctrine means more when in fact it means less. Perhaps this reference and the thread around it might help?

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/fb.asp?m=4702001

Can't seem to see the picture for this post.

On another topic, and suggestions for the air war during mud/snow/blizzard. Am guessing the supply rule changes might lean towards Axis sending most of the Luftwaffe to the Reserve ?




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