Depending on who you believe, and what you read into some accounts, WWII aircraft are sometimes portrayed as not very effective tank killers. The stories of Germans being pounded by "Jabos" are probably real, nobody likes to be strafed, and troops in the open and soft skinned vehicles probably suffered badly. Getting a direct hit on a tank in combat wasn't easy, and in the pre PGM era tank losses to hits from air attack were probably less than 10% of the total number of tanks lost to all causes , and some sources indicate that they were a lot less than that. Being subject to air attack probably made life miserable for tankers, even if it didn't kill vast numbers of tanks.
Abandoned and "scuttled" AFVs (at least German ones on the Western Front) accounted for a pretty healthy percentage, and some of those might be attributed to air attack either directly or inderectly, due to loss of supplies, panic, etc.
It would be interesting to see what other effects the above mentioned attack by the 60 aircraft vs. the 12 Stugs had on the targeted unit besides the one dead AFV. Was the unit supply state altered, was it disrupted, how many trucks were lost, etc?
As to AA, the same source for some of the above figures lists 897 aircraft from US 9th AF and 829 from 2 TAF lost during Normandy , but I'm guessing that is from all causes, so accidents and such are probably a big chunk. German tank losses are listed as probably 100 due to hits from air weapons.
Of course, how this is all simulated in a game like TOAW is subjective, despite the great level of detail. If you surmise that more than a few tank crews simply said "to heck with this getting strafed and bombed constantly, we are low on fuel/ammo, let's get out of this target and go" then this might be a TOAW tank kill due to aircraft. Perhaps the tanks don't take advantage of a prime location because of exposure to air attack, and instead choose a less desirable tactical spot to set up that has cover from air attack. The morale effect of having air support or the lack of it on ground units, and the tactical intel from air spotting, are they factored in? How does the fear of air attack effect the movement rate of units in TOAW, apart from the interdiction that occurs in the game?
One of the things that makes this hobby so interesting is that so few questions can be answered with 100% surety. I'm guessing that other historians claim higher numbers of tank kills for aircraft of that era, and even if the every source were to agree on what actually happened, how to simulate it in a computer game would still be a good subject of debate and discussion.
< Message edited by TheBloodyBucket -- 6/30/2006 9:20:10 AM >