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Strategic Bombing For Dummies - 5/2/2016 12:22:47 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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The purpose of this thread is to show newbies how to conduct a proper strategic bombing of the Reich. I will use the Introductory Scenario - Air Campaign to illustrate this. But first some basic Dos and Don'ts:

1. DO NOT let the AI control your Strategic Bombing. In particular, do not let it control your loadouts, number of required aircraft, target priorities or flight path.
2. DO Bomb at Night only with radar equipped aircraft (primarily the Lancasters and Halifaxes of Bomber Command) and DO NOT bomb outside the Night Bombing radar range (or whatever it is called).
3. DO always use the bomb loadout that gives you the most and biggest bombs and the fewest fuel tanks necessary to reach your target. The only exception is if you are bombing manpower in which case use incendiary bombs if available.
4. For escorts, DO use the minimum number of fuel tanks necessary to escort the bombers to the target.
5. DO rebase air groups and change the S Base in order to maximise the number of aircraft able to participate in the bombing Air Directive or to move air groups from one Air Command to another.
6. Do use the Target Selection Screen (that is what I call it) to locate targets.
7. DO use 50 to 100 bombers per strike.
8. DO set your flight path to avoid flak.
9. DO use fighters that don't have the range to escort in Air Superiority missons to engage the German interceptors.
10. DO strategic recon of all your Bombing targets. This is very important.
11. DO rest low morale and fatigued air groups. personally I Rest all air groups with morale of 54 or less and fatigue of 21 or greater. But I know other players use different parameters.

So as I said I will be using the Air Campaign Scenario to illustrate all the DOs and DON'Ts referred to above. But first I ran the first turn of the Scenario with the preset Air Directives. The Victory Point Screen after the first turn is shown below. 211 VPs, not bad, but I think I can do better.





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RE: Strategic Bombing For Dummies - 5/2/2016 12:27:41 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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There is lot to do on the First Turn, most of it of a very boring nature. This is true not only of this scenario but most other scenarios and the Campaign games as well. But don't be put off by this, the remaining turns will be a lot quicker. So here are the preliminary steps for the First Turn:

1. Generally speaking fighters/escorts have a much shorter ranged than your bombers. The exception is most, but not all, NFs. So you want to rebase all of your fighters closer to the Targets in Germany, this means East and South East England. So I rebased all my 8th Air force fighters into this area and all close together as shown below. Note that I have also transferred No. 316 Polish (flying mustangs) from RAF Fighter to 8th. The reason is that mustangs have good range so I want as many of them as possible escorting my bombers. I also rebased my RAF Day fighters (ie Spitfires), to SE England. The screenshot below shows how I rebased the 8th AF Fighters.





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RE: Strategic Bombing For Dummies - 5/2/2016 12:29:37 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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2. The Halifax Bombers and the Stirlings (especially the Stirlings) also have a limited range, so you will want to rebase them further South as well. To make room you will also need to rebase and consolidate some of the 8th AF LBs onto other bases containing 8th AF air groups.

3. Transfer some of the NFs from RAF Fighter to Bomber Command so that you have more escorts. Then base all the NFs closer to Germany as well.

4. In Italy most of the 15th AF bases are overstacked. Fix this by:
a) Moving all fighters (except the P38) to England and transfer them to RAF Fighter. They are useless in Italy in this Scenario anyway.
b) There are bases in Italy that have 100% TOE but no air groups stationed on them. Find these bases and then transfer some of your air groups to them. B24s in particular have a very long range and can be stationed well in the rear.

5. Many airbases in SE England and the heel of Italy are useful but have no TOE. Set their TOEs to 100% so you can use them on future turns.

This is how the 15th AF was based after I moved air groups around. You should set the TOE of the airbases circled in red to 100% for use in future turns.





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RE: Strategic Bombing For Dummies - 5/2/2016 12:32:51 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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6. Add the Reserve air groups to air bases. Even though most of these air groups belong to 15th AF I suggest you base them in England and change their HQ to 8th AF.

7. Delete all the existing Air Directives.

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RE: Strategic Bombing For Dummies - 5/2/2016 12:33:42 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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Do not bomb at night outside the Night radar bombing zone which is the darker zone shown below.





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RE: Strategic Bombing For Dummies - 5/2/2016 12:38:28 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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You are now finally ready to set the Air Directives as follows:

1. Since Bomber Command will be bombing at night its target almost every single turn should be the Ruhr all of which is inside the night bombing zone. This is also where you will find the highest concentration of German industry. Unfortunately it is also where you will find the highest concentration of German flak. Set all the Bomber Command air groups except the Stirlings to bomb within a 3 hex radius of Dusseldorf. Set the priorities to HI:High, Fuel:Low, Manpower:Low. You should have 1307 bomber so set 25 strikes of 50 bombers each (50 X 25 = 1250). Set to fly 3 days per week (days 2, 4 & 6). Set loadouts of all bombers to the biggest bombs (not incendiary). You should not have to waste space on any fuel tanks. Fly at 21,000' to reduce flak losses and damage. Set the flight path to avoid flak. Remember that at 21,000' even flak in adjacent hexes can fire at you, so don't even fly adjacent to flak if possible.

2. Set the Stirlings to bomb Cologne at 17,000'. Set priority to Manpower and use the incendiary bomb load out.





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RE: Strategic Bombing For Dummies - 5/2/2016 12:42:30 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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3. Since BC will be bombing the Ruhr, 8th AF should find other targets. Use the Target Selection Screen (as shown below) to locate good targets. If you do not know how to get to this screen post here and I will explain. Note that I have filtered the screen to only display the HI, Fuel and Oil and have further set it to display the largest factories at the top of the screen. The reason you want to bomb HI, Fuel and Oil is because bombing those factories give you VPs. Bombing Manpower also gives you VPs, but Manpower factories repair quicker. Oil repairs the slowest (see Rule 21.2.3). Essen would be a good target, but since it is located in the Ruhr I will let Bomber Command deal with it. Another good target are the oil and fuel factories around Hamburg (I have circled these 3 factories). This is a good target as it is well within escort range. Accordingly, set all of 8th AF to bomb within a 1 hex radius of Hamburg. Set Oil, Fuel and HI to High priority and Manpower to low priority. You should have 1484 bombers so let's set 14 strikes of 100 bomber each. Again set for 3 days per week. Several 8th AF bomber groups start with load outs containing fuel tanks. So be sure to change all the loadouts to maximum heavy bomb load outs (6 X 1000lbs for the B17s and 8 X 100lbs for the B24s). I suggest an altitude of 25,000'. Don't forget to change the default flight path to avoid flak. Use all the escorts except the P47s which lack the range. Be sure to set the escorts to use the smallest fuel tank possible (2X150 for the P38s and 2X75 for the P51s)





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RE: Strategic Bombing For Dummies - 5/2/2016 12:44:17 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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4. Set RAF Fighters to fly Air Superiority missions as far East as they can reach. Do the same with the P47s of 8th Air Force. These Missions should be set to fly in the friendly turn only. The purpose of these missions is to engage the German defenders in air combat thus weakening their response to the bombers. Also set some Night Intruder Air Directives (ie Air Superiority missions flown by Night fighters at night).

5. Using the target selection screen I also determined that Vienna and the area around it are also good targets. So set 15th AF to bomb within a 1 hex radius of Vienna. Again set HI, Fuel and Oil as your High priorities and Manpower as a Low priority.

6. Finally, but very importantly, set Strategic Air Reconnaissance Air Directives for the same targets that you are strategic bombing. There are 3 very good reasons to perform strategic recon: 1. It increases the accuracy of your strategic bombing (or at least so I am told), 2. It gives you far more accurate factory damage information than the Air Execution Summary (which should be ignored) and 3. Without Recon your bombers may mistakenly believe that a target has already been 100% destroyed and therefore abort their bombing mission. Recon at either 36,000' using the high level cameras, or 24,000' using the mid level cameras. It is not necessary to use very many aircraft for each strategic recon. Anywhere from 3 to 6 should be plenty. Be very sure to change the type of recon from "Strategic: No" to "Strategic: Yes" and to set the recon priorities to match your bombing priorities. I continually forget this myself.

Below is an example of how to properly set a Strategic Air recon air directive. Note that since I am Requesting 6 aircraft per strike and I have 48 recon aircraft I have asked for 8 strikes. This is perhaps a little aggressive as I will undoubtedly lose some aircraft. I usually try and work it so that the multiple of Strike Number and requested aircraft is less than my total number of aircraft.




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RE: Strategic Bombing For Dummies - 5/2/2016 12:49:35 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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Below are screenshots of the map showing all of my Air Directives. I suggest that you not end your Air phase until you have examined this map closely to ensure you have not made any mistakes.





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RE: Strategic Bombing For Dummies - 5/2/2016 12:51:34 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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Having executed my Air Phase the first thing I do is examine the Air Execution Phase Summary as shown below.





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RE: Strategic Bombing For Dummies - 5/2/2016 12:53:23 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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I don't usually bother to examine any particular Air Directives in detail, but for the purposes of this tutorial I will do so with respect to 8th AFs bombing mission as shown below. I have circled in red 3 of the bombing attacks on Harburgs fuel refineries. You will note that according to the Report the cumulative total damage caused by just these 3 attacks (and there were more) caused 140% damage. But as you can see on the very bottom screen my latest recon of Harburg (performed after the final bombing mission) indicates only 58% damage. The reason for the discrepancy is because the Damage Report lies. This is why I usually don't even bother looking at it. It is also why proper strategic recon is so important. The Strategic recon is probably wrong too, but generally speaking it is far more accurate than the Damage Report.





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RE: Strategic Bombing For Dummies - 5/2/2016 1:09:14 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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Once I advance to the next turn I can view my Victory Point Screen as shown below. As you can see I actually did worse than the AI in terms of 1st turn VPs. But I am not worried. The important stat for me is that I scored significantly more Bombing VPs than the AI. Even though I also took far more casualties that is Ok. The damage done by my bombs will score me VPs every single turn, while the Aircraft losse are a one time thing. In the campaign game you should be even less concerned about casualties as you will have lots of aircraft and pilots.

I will finish off the game and post more here as soon as I have the time.




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RE: Strategic Bombing For Dummies - 5/2/2016 5:27:20 AM   
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RE: Strategic Bombing For Dummies - 5/2/2016 7:53:37 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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After examining the VPs the first thing I do every Air Phase is set low morale and high fatigue air groups to Rest. As I posted earlier in my DOs and DONT's I generally Rest all air groups with 54 or lower Morale or 21 or higher Fatigue. Examining my Air Groups I have very few with low morale but two fighter groups in 8th have high fatigue so I set them to rest this turn. They will be missed. One big advantage the German Player has is that since his interceptors only fly in the Allied turn he can Rest them on all of his own Air phases and than reset them to DO or NO during his Ground Movement Phase.





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RE: Strategic Bombing For Dummies - 5/2/2016 7:55:23 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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I make no changes to the Bomber Command Air Directives from Turn 1 other than to delete Resting Air Units from each mission. The only changes to RAF Fighter are to add the Fighters transferred from 15th AF last turn to the existing Air Superiority Missions. Having pretty much demolished the industry around Hamburg, this turn 8th AF is assigned to bombing within a 7 hex radius of Halle (hex 133,179). The reason is that there is a lot of HI, Fuel and Manpower within this area. However, the long distance means that my escorting fighters will need to change their load outs to their largest fuel tanks. This will negatively effect their performance and fatigue. Set the bombers to 24 strikes of 75 aircraft each. The bombing priorities should be HI: High, Fuel: Normal and Manpower: Low. Don't forget to change your recon to this same area. I also changed the target areas of my 8th Air Force Air Superiority Missions to a little further south.





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RE: Strategic Bombing For Dummies - 5/2/2016 7:57:04 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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For 15th AF I changed my target to a 1 hex radius around Ploesti to hit all the oil and fuel refineries in the area. Note that the best (and in some cases only) way to get your escorts to reach this target is to base them in Brindisi and make this your S-Base. Of course, you want to set Fuel and Oil as your priorities and reset your recon to this same target.





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RE: Strategic Bombing For Dummies - 5/2/2016 7:58:04 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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Below is the Air Execution Summary for Turn 2.





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RE: Strategic Bombing For Dummies - 5/2/2016 7:59:21 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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And these are the VPs at the start of Turn 3. One more turn like that and I should have the Decisive Victory.





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RE: Strategic Bombing For Dummies - 5/2/2016 1:14:44 PM   
quertice


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really useful, thank you

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RE: Strategic Bombing For Dummies - 5/2/2016 2:51:24 PM   
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Brilliant! Will add to the tutorial thread that is sticky at top of this forum

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RE: Strategic Bombing For Dummies - 5/3/2016 6:05:05 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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For turn 3 I had a few more Air groups I needed to Rest.





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RE: Strategic Bombing For Dummies - 5/3/2016 6:06:43 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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I again just left Bomber Command's main directive to bomb within a 3 hex radius of Dusseldorf, the only change I made to this directive was to reduce the number of strikes to 24 per day as I had 3 bombing air groups resting. Rather than just doing this one main directive with a 3 hex radius I was tempted to do 5 separate directives of about 240 aircraft each targeting 5 specific Cities in the Ruhr (ie with a 0 radius), but I was too lazy. This is something you should consider from time to time though against a human opponent. As I was down to 87 Stirlings I changed the numbers for its Air Directive against Cologne from 2 strikes per day of 50 aircraft to 1 of strike per day of 75.

For 8th AF, an examination of the Target Selection Screen showed that Schweinfurt and Stuttgart both remained untouched, so they would be the primary targets for this week.

Oh yeah, Turin may look like a good target; but VPs for industry (except fuel and oil) only count if they are inside Germany.





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RE: Strategic Bombing For Dummies - 5/3/2016 6:11:42 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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Choose Wuerzburg (hex 124,193) and set the radius for 8 hexes to include both Schweinfurt and Stuttgart. But this time also set individual air directives for Schweinfurt and Stuttgart of 225 to 250 aircraft flying 4 strikes each day of 50 aircraft. The reason to do this is because these are the most important targets so you want to ensure that they get the most attention. In retrospect I should perhaps have done this last turn with Leipzig, Berlin and some of the other targets. This left me with 1500 aircraft for the large zone attack so I ordered 29 raids per day of 50 aircraft. There is virtually no fuel or oil in this area so set your priorities to HI: High and Manpower: Low. Don't forget to move your Air Superiority Missions to cover your new flight path (as far as possible).

Since 8th AF was bombing SW Germany I think it is a good idea to have 15th AF bomb the same general area. But this time I suggest just bombing Munich and Steyr. Munich has lots of Manpower and little HI while Steyr has lots of HI but very little Manpower. So set your bombing priorities accordingly. Munich HI:Low, Manpower:High and Steyr HI:High and Manpower:Low. You should again rebase your fighters and lower range bombers to the Foggia airbases, while rebasing your B24s to the Brindisi area airbases.





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RE: Strategic Bombing For Dummies - 5/3/2016 6:14:29 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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The Air Summary for Turn 3. 15th AF took a beating, but 8th escaped almost unscathed. Now all I need to do is advance to the start of Turn 4 to check my VPs.





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RE: Strategic Bombing For Dummies - 5/3/2016 6:15:56 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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And here is the VP Screen. I've already won a Decisive Victory so no point in playing the final turn. Again the important statistic here isn't my Total VPs, it is the 2222 Bombing VPs I have gained. I suggest all Newbies keep playing this scenario until they have achieved at least 2000 Bombing VPs in 3 turns. Then you are ready to apply the lessons learned here to the Campaign Games.





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RE: Strategic Bombing For Dummies - 5/3/2016 6:17:27 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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But one final DO that applies to the Campaign Game. DO bomb the UBoat Factories in 43 and the VWPN Factories and Launch sites in 44 and 45. It really doesn't take much to keep them suppressed, just a few bombing raids every 4 or 5 turns. You can even use your 2E bombers for the launch sites. If unbombed those sites will cost you far more negative VPs than you will lose in positive VPs by spending the resources to bomb them.

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RE: Strategic Bombing For Dummies - 5/5/2016 9:38:57 PM   
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I'm not sure I have a clear picture of how things works with air groups in the National Reserve, the Pool, and Replacements. Do you have to manually get replacements from the National Reserve?

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RE: Strategic Bombing For Dummies - 5/6/2016 4:16:06 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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For Air Groups reinforcements yes you do. But it is easy to do. 1st find an empty airbase on the map that you want to attach the air group to. 2nd left click on the airbase on the map. 3rd click on the airbase icon in the upper right box of the game. 4th click on the Assigned Tab as shown below. 5th click on Assign from National Reserve also as shown below. then select the air groups you want to sign to the airbase. Note that once assigned they will have travelled 100% so can not be rebase or assigned missions. But you can change their HHQ.




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RE: Strategic Bombing For Dummies - 5/6/2016 4:27:12 AM   
Harrybanana

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: FireDog

I'm not sure I have a clear picture of how things works with air groups in the National Reserve, the Pool, and Replacements. Do you have to manually get replacements from the National Reserve?


Just to be clear there is a distinction between replacements and reinforcements. Reinforcements are new air groups that enter play in your national reserve from time to time. Your job is to assign them to air bases as explained above so that you can start using them. As well air groups that you retrain from fighter to bomber and vice versa will be taken away and return as a reinforcement to your national reserve in 8 turns.

Replacements are replacement planes and pilots that are automatically assigned to your depleted air groups from time to time from the aircraft and pilot pools. You do not directly control these replacements as they are controlled by the program. But if you notice that a particular air group is not receiving replacements than you should check your pools. It may be that you have no aircraft in your pool of the required type. In this case you should change the aircraft type of some of your air groups.

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RE: Strategic Bombing For Dummies - 5/6/2016 8:30:18 PM   
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Thanks for the info. Now I have a clear picture of how they interact. I wasn't sure.

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