Maybe the first question to ask is : Does it matter much ? Did the air war could have a significant impact on ground combat ?
I do not know. Maybe we shall gather data about it first.
Quoting the manual:
Disruption: Disrupted ground elements can no longer fire and they will not contribute their combat value to any future overall CV computations.
Bombing Soviet forces with a strong concentration of Stukas can disrupt 25-50% of the Soviet ground elements before the battle. As an example, in one game 300 Stukas were concentrated to bomb the defenders of an urban hex. With two runs, 5000 out of 30000 Soviets were disrupted. That's a direct hit of 5-10% to the CV, and that was in an urban hex with L2 forts.
Taking into account these facts, I'd say that the air war really does matter.
In my Soviet MP game on turn 21, the best 34 FB/F air groups (one page on the commander's report) have all over 70XP. Best groups have above 80XP. Tac & Level Bombers have a bit lower XP, averaging about 10 points lower than the fighters, but morale has been on the rise with several groups having over 80 morale.
I have been extremely aggressive in the air, sometimes even too aggressive. The losses have climbed to over 13000 lost, of which 4000 were on the ground. I have actively been cleaning the pools of old airframes which may be partly the reason for the high losses. I also haven't been paying that much attention to fatigue since I don't care that much about the losses, I'm more interested in creating casualties for the Germans in the air & ground and just exhausting the Luftwaffe by making numerous sorties every turn.
I'd definitely say that the Soviet pilots seem to gain XP and morale too rapidly. I actively use the reserve rotation as a tool to raise morale, so usually there are no groups flying with low morale (under 45).
With Germans, you definitely need to be more careful with the air war. I recall losing countless bombers as the Germans by not paying attention to the fuel and ammo levels of my escorting Messerschmitts. Soviets usually have so many fighters and also airbases to support them so supply isn't much of a problem. I'm also perfectly OK with losing the older level bombers or Sturmoviks (depending on the factory situation) since there will be plenty of them produced to replace the casualties every round.
I think if the pilot XP gain would be slightly lowered the more casualties the air groups suffer, even the Soviet player would need to do some thinking when using the Red Air Forces. Reserve rotation morale gain reduction might be in order too, reserve should logically operate more as tool to reduce fatigue and recover airframe losses more quickly?
EDIT: Disruption is converted to fatigue before new combat, so the effect of ground bombing to the CV is 1/3rd of the disruption. Still a considerable factor! The aircraft do disrupt in ground support phase also with a direct 1:1 disruptive effect, so air superiority basically gets a multiplying factor to a concentrated attack.
< Message edited by Nix77 -- 11/6/2017 12:45:31 PM >