Is Strategic Bombing worthwhile? (Full Version)

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mdsmall -> Is Strategic Bombing worthwhile? (11/13/2020 6:00:52 PM)

Hi - I am playing Allies for the first time in PBEM game. It is May 1942 and I have a British, Soviet and USA strategic bomber on the board. My question is: how best to use them?

In previous games when playing Axis, my opponents (both human and AI) flew sorties with the British strategic bomber against targets in France and caused some damaging in terms of MPPs (around 5 - 6 points per turn, as I recall). But the bombers took steady losses from defending German fighters and increasingly from AA upgrades to Axis occupied towns and ports. Given the replacement cost of each strength point for Strategic Bombers, the economic return on investment does not seem worthwhile for the Allies.

I would be interested to hear how other players have used Strategic Bombers to good effect; and whether it is worth investing in the tech upgrades for Heavy Bombers and Aerial warfare in order to increase their effectiveness.




Mithrilotter -> RE: Is Strategic Bombing worthwhile? (11/13/2020 11:15:23 PM)

I generally don't put a lot of resources into strategic bombing. But strategic bombing of mines and oil fields has value. It all depends on how heavily defended they are. For example, as Allied I have had good luck in using an HQ supported UK strategic bomber with HQ supported fighter escort attacking mines in Belgium and France. The Axis AI fighters usually aren't HQ supported. I can get good damage on the mines and a favorable exchange rate in the air combat.

If I play Axis against the Allied AI, I defend upgraded mines with German AA guns. I feel that I do significantly more damage than I take.

Strategic Bombers are also good for creating isolated pockets with limited supply by bombing the settlement/town/city that contains the only supply rail line in. That can also be tactically useful in supply bombing the settlement/town/city that an enemy HQ needs for good supply.




El_Condoro -> RE: Is Strategic Bombing worthwhile? (11/14/2020 5:52:29 AM)

The way I have seen them used to the most effect is against Axis supply in NA; against Axis ports especially Tobruk; later to prepare the way for an invasion of France by attacking key rail cities to prevent Axis operating to the front; and in late war to knock out mines et al almost with impunity. By that stage in the war, only level 5 Air Defence seems to make any difference.




Etzel -> RE: Is Strategic Bombing worthwhile? (11/14/2020 11:34:18 AM)

The simple answer is: Yes.
The Bomber Command (plus later on the US counterpart) is the strongest single weapon you have in your western allies' arsenal. It you use them wisely, they are more deadly than anything else.
If you destroy the Mines in France/Belgium (can be done with 2 or 3 attacks after the Wehrmacht has left France for other tasks), it takes 7 turns to rebuild=>28 points lost => 56MPP. In Germany the effect is even bigger. And that means less German tanks and less German bombers in Russia. If you have a good opponent, your single aim should be to keep Russia alive (ok, if Sealion happens, you might have a more severe problem for the moment). You may loose North Africa, the Near East and the Middle East and still win, but not Russia.
But there are a lot of other side effects, which are very important too. Just think of it.




Zuxius -> RE: Is Strategic Bombing worthwhile? (11/15/2020 7:52:57 AM)

I like Strategic Bombing but I never use it against resources. You also should go all in if possible in regards to their number and level. They are so devastating in fact, that I believe some nations (such as Germany and Italy) are limited to just one. Quite literally, the strategic bomber is a finger of death. If you level the supply around certain regions, the enemy withers away like dry fruit.




mdsmall -> RE: Is Strategic Bombing worthwhile? (11/15/2020 3:10:48 PM)

Interesting to read the responses so far. One additional question: does investing in Heavy Bombers tech also increase Strategic Bombers ability to evade damage - similar to investing in Advanced Submarines? Or does it just increase the damage they do to enemy resources? I ask because upgrading the AA level of ports and towns seems pretty effective in raising the costs of attacks by other kinds of aircraft (e.g. carriers or medium bombers).




Tanaka -> RE: Is Strategic Bombing worthwhile? (11/15/2020 5:53:48 PM)

One advantage of strategic bombers no one has mentioned. The Axis has to pull fighters off of the Russian front.




Mithrilotter -> RE: Is Strategic Bombing worthwhile? (11/15/2020 9:24:38 PM)

Actually, I defend the Western Front mostly with German antiaircraft guns. The AA guns are seldom ever damaged while they can do good damage against Allied aircraft. I also upgrade the AA value of mines. This is a cost efficient way of doing more damage to the Allied aircraft than I take in MPP losses.

When I can, I put one German fighter near Denmark to protect the Norwegian convoy line from convoy raiding by aircraft. That fighter doesn't even have to be upgraded. Its very existence stops aircraft convoy raiding. If I have the resources, I will add an HQ and another German fighter for Western air defense. The HQ will be set to support the AA guns and the two fighters (one near Denmark).




The Land -> RE: Is Strategic Bombing worthwhile? (11/16/2020 7:59:20 PM)

To my mind, strategic bombing is the biggest divergence of the game from reality*.

Strats are poor at the one thing they did well historically, which is economic warfare. It's too easy to counter them with AA unit and resource-AA upgrades.

However they are exceptional at something they rarely did historically, which is interdiction to reduce enemy supply levels. Yes they did this, once, for the Normandy campaign (though... they didn't prevent what is in game terms operational movement of panzers into Normandy.) However they did not do this kind of interdiction mission in any other theatre. Not least because you couldn't have large numbers of strategic bombers operating in most theatres - the logistical challenge of *basing* all those bombers would have been impossible in most places.

So you end up with them being a great unit, which does something it historically could never have done.


(*or at least the one most at odds with the game's scope and intentions - the naval game obviously misses the mark in some places, because it's using a one-unit-per-hex, AP based system and that has serious limits for naval warfare. BUT the strat bombing system could work better within the confines of the engine!)




Tanaka -> RE: Is Strategic Bombing worthwhile? (11/17/2020 6:38:27 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Mithrilotter

Actually, I defend the Western Front mostly with German antiaircraft guns. The AA guns are seldom ever damaged while they can do good damage against Allied aircraft. I also upgrade the AA value of mines. This is a cost efficient way of doing more damage to the Allied aircraft than I take in MPP losses.

When I can, I put one German fighter near Denmark to protect the Norwegian convoy line from convoy raiding by aircraft. That fighter doesn't even have to be upgraded. Its very existence stops aircraft convoy raiding. If I have the resources, I will add an HQ and another German fighter for Western air defense. The HQ will be set to support the AA guns and the two fighters (one near Denmark).


Fair I have noticed that when my AA guns fire my fighters do nothing so I will probably switch to this strategy. I do think the game should change both to both work together though. First the AA and then the fighters. Nice tip about the convoy protection.




Mithrilotter -> RE: Is Strategic Bombing worthwhile? (11/18/2020 1:10:17 AM)

Thank you Tanaka. Yes, if the AA guns fire, then fighters won't intercept. Since fighters generally take losses when intercepting. I don't want that MPP drain. Therefore, I consider AA guns combined with Level 2 AA tech, the most cost effective air defense.




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