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Air ops advice

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Air ops advice - 10/15/2016 1:20:49 PM   


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I purchased this game when it game out. Couldn't get to grips with the air war part and I'm still struggling to do so.

Other than tutorials this is my first scenario, Breakout and pursuit 44. This is the Air Execution Phase Summary. Losses seem very high. From this pic could someone tell me if the results are normal or where I'm going wrong etc.

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< Message edited by Chris H -- 10/15/2016 1:21:26 PM >
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RE: Air ops advice - 10/15/2016 3:40:43 PM   


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Joined: 9/30/2016
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I have played about 40 turns total - 3+7 Husky and 15+15 on the 1943/1945 scenario. So, for what it is worth, I suggest the following Air Planning steps (please note while much is automated, I prefer complexity, detail and micromanagement):
(1) Commanders Report (CR) - start at the CR (key - c) and using the filters at the bottom of the screen (tiny font on my screen) check/use the Pct Morale filter (mine is 0 to 50) and then set any air units in that range to Rest (Mission Setting/4); and next on the CR, also at the bottom in tiny font, set check/use Pct Fatigue filter (mine is 25 to 100) and then set any air units in that range to Rest [during my first ten turns of the 1943/1945 scenario, I was getting twice the air losses as the Germans and it was getting worse - I finally learned it was due to morale and fatigue being very high and rising].
(2) Plan - next, decide what you want to do, i.e. air superiority, ground attack, bomb cities, recon (for example, I decided to attack the German air capabilities first by bombing fuel, oil, railroads, aircraft production and attacking airfields) and set up the associated Air Directive (ADs) for each Command.
(3) Micromanagement - I found I could decrease my air losses by micromanaging each AD, for example, I use large number of aircraft in my attacks and bombing, set which days of the week to attack, set the number of strikes per day, and the altitude.
(4) Recon - After reading numerous earlier threads, I set recon altitudes because each recon air group has a specific camera loadout that works at only low (12000ft), medium (24000ft) or high altitude (35000ft), and the automatic settings appeared to be inconsistent with the camera's capability.
(5) Bomb Loadout - Numerous threads have discussed bomb loadout and this has to my understanding not been fully resolved - so as someone said - use common sense - my automatic loadouts were generally 1 or 2 large bombs whereas manually I select a large number of smaller bombs (for example, four 500 lbs versus two 1000 lbs).
(6) Plane Upgrade - during each AP phase, I manually upgrade resting air groups recognizing which aircraft are available in the pool, their capabilities such as range, and what is being produced.
(7) AirBase Supply - I generally concentrate my air groups based on aircraft range. Because supply is an important part of this game, I set the supply priority to 0 for any airbase with no aircraft on the base.
(8) Review - last I use the AD Targets (shift y) to review what I did

Hope that helps a'bit. I am sure next week I will learn something new.

While I am on-a-roll, several other things I have learned in no particular order and will probably need updating next week.

(a) Logistic/Supply - very important to this game, particularly railroads and ports. After taking control of Sicily, my supply situation was not as good as I wanted. Turned out the railroads had very high damage, so I moved the two MTO Rail groups to Sicily and took three/four turns to repair the rail lines.
(b) Reinforcements - new airgroups should/must be based at a airbase that belongs to the Command the air group is assigned to.

< Message edited by SLB -- 10/15/2016 4:13:31 PM >

(in reply to Chris21wen)
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RE: Air ops advice - 10/15/2016 9:40:48 PM   


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Joined: 10/30/2004
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I purchased this game when it game out. Couldn't get to grips with the air war part and I'm still struggling to do so.


Handling the air war is not intuitive at all, at least to me. I recall trying the Torch campaign. I looked at the US groups in Gibralter and Algeria, and thought that they really needed more training before being committed. But I never really figured out how to do so, at least not without a ridiculous amount of micro-managing (and still taking way more losses than I expected).

To put it simply, the air-handling has been a show-stopper for me with this game. Too bad, cause otherwise it really looks good.

(in reply to Chris21wen)
Post #: 3
RE: Air ops advice - 10/15/2016 10:37:37 PM   

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From: L.A.
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I've been playing the game for about 7 months and just completed my first campaign game ('43 GC as Allies). The air war is what I am most familiar with from the historical sense and I found that an historical approach seems to work well.

To add to what the previous posters said (especially rest units with morale below 50 or 60 and fatigue higher than 20 or 30), remember that you can assign missions to particular days of the week. So, most important is to attain some level of air superiority early in the week before you begin flying bombing missions on day 2 or later. I liked to have 8th AF fighters fly one or two large air superiority missions on day 1 or 2, assigning a minimum of 300-400 fighters, sweeping the Luftwaffe in the general area where I planned bombing missions. The German AI would invariably take the bait and I could sometimes destroy 80-100 Luftwaffe fighters in a single mission. This greatly reduced the number of defending fighters on the subsequent days.

This is easier by March 1944. Earlier than that, you need to fly air superiority missions with your shorter-range fighters (P-47s and Spitfires) along the route of your planned bombing mission - on the same day as the bombing mission. In order to increase the chance that the air superiority missions fly before the bombing missions, I set the air superiority mission priority to "v high" and the bombing mission priority to "high".

In the Breakout scenario, you want to fly all of your 8th AF fighters on the first turn - you lose the entire 8th AF after turn one (it withdraws). So, fly most of them on air superiority missions on day 1 and one or two days later in the week, while flying your heavy bombers on ground attack against units (not interdiction) on 2 or more days later in the week (set the heavy bombers altitude to 10-12k feet - that was the historical altitude they used during the COBRA carpet bombing raids). I set them to attack only one or two key hexes, for maximum effect on the ground units in those hexes -- again, this is what the 8th AF actually did, using 1,500 heavy bombers to attack a very small area of the front in the space of two hours or so. FYI - level bombers are no good at interdiction, except two-engine bombers do reasonably well at railway interdiction.

After turn one, the 9th and 2d RAF TAC AF have to carry the weight in the breakout scenario, and they will suffer some heavy flak losses (30-80 planes per turn, in my experience). The only way to minimize these losses is to try to avoid hexes with German HQs (which have a lot of flak units), but this is often impossible.

I find the air campaign the most fascinating part of the game - I have been playing WITP AE for five years, but find the WITW air engine much better and more realistic.

(in reply to sanch)
Post #: 4
RE: Air ops advice - 10/15/2016 10:58:24 PM   

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Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
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Looking at your losses, they wouldn't surprise me - question is are you getting the effect for the losses. Key to this is you are flying relatively low level missions in a flak heavy environment - oddly the 'damaged' planes are a bigger issue as they cost you morale.

The advice in the thread is good - in particular double team recon with combat missions. So if you are flying say interdiction, make sure your recon is focussed on interdiction.

Try to organise your planes to targets. FBs are by far the best for interdiction - you are hunting moving targets. 2 engined bombers can be quite good at attacking units more directly - you are effectively doing area bombing.

Less use in this scenario but for longer games, you can trade off between immediate effect and level of losses. So if you bomb rail lines, you will slow the arrival of freight (and that is supply/ammo/fuel and replacements) to an area and its a relatively cost free mission. If you need to weaken a unit this turn, use the unit bombing mission - but you will take heavier losses (you don't give your pilots any choice but to go where the flak is). Interdiction is the sort of mid-point - it reduces supply, stops the enemy moving, really hurts them if retreating from combat but is essentially harmless for static units.

SLB's advice on load out is good - for some reason more small bombs are better than a few heavy ones (when you are engaged in tactical bombing). The same logic applies to naval air missions,


(in reply to Chris21wen)
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