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Would Sir like extra bombs with that? - 2/1/2018 8:58:39 PM   
loki100


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T1- the air part

I may not take this to the end but given some of the discussion on the main WiTW board I thought it might be helpful to offer an AAR that focusses more on why I think some things work etc (esp around the air war). As a confession it’s a while since I seriously played WiTW and have been testing WiTE2 so do get mixed up a bit with some of the rule changes (spoilers I know but there is a good WiTE2 preview thread in the WiTE forum). The focus will mostly be on the air war and I’ll try to set out both what I am trying to achieve (and why) and give some data on the outcomes.

Pre-game OOB

For my own reasons I like to sort out the OOBs of the various Allied air commands in the UK (I’ll leave the Med ones as they start but alter as the game develops). Where appropriate I’ll try and note where PBEM is likely to be different.

Main changes are:

a) Put almost all the Spitfires into Fighter Command and deploy in the SE corner (I'll start swapping these to Typhoons in the autumn but want combat fighters for now). You can run some useful AS missions with these and the quicker you make the Luftwaffe fight, the sooner it degrades. A German player will pull their fighters out of France but you can still project some air power just short of the Ruhr even in early 1943. Also with an AS you can make the Luftwaffe fight above its preferred altitude;
b) Put all the NF into Bomber Command for escorts – in a PBEM I’d leave some in the UK for defensive purposes;
c) Hide the Stirling Is till you can replace them – they are frankly useless;
d) Put the Wellington Xs into Tactical Air – they are best used away from the main action and you can reduce the AD capacity demand on Bomber Command. Also they operate below the altitude for the Lancasters and Halifaxes so if they go together you are more exposed to flak.
e) I put all the UK based recon planes in the transport command. This again frees up AD and allows to use the assets more freely.

I put all the Allied air on TPI for pilots.

Pre-planning.

8AAF

Use the B-24s (with the heaviest bomb load you have) to hit the Danzig U-Boats. This is a high risk mission and in PBEM very easy to defend against but remember that U-Boats don’t generate VPs if they have any damage. Hit it hard on T1 and it should be out of action for the rest of 1943. I run this mission D4-D7 as hopefully the Axis fighters over the North Sea might be degraded by other (escorted) missions. Adjust the flight path and you put it almost all over the sea;

The rest I’m going to send the Hamburg area, priority is the U-Boats but will also hit HI and Trucks. End part is unescorted, running from D2-D5 and twinned with a recon mission. I use large boxes and set the number of raids per day (3) quite a lot as I think the AI allocation does a decent enough job.



Bomber Command

One escorted raid on Frankfurt (trucks and HI) D5-D7 using the Lancaster specials and the heavy bomb load out. I like bombing German truck production. Again twin with a recon mission.

The bulk goes for the Ruhr, a 2 hex box, 4 missions per raid, D3-D6. Targets are manpower and HI usual RAF loadouts. This is a standard VP gathering mission. Again linked with a recon mission.

Rest of UK Air

Put the Spitfires over the Netherlands on an AS mission – this is deliberate to try and trigger air combat. Use the Wellingtons, Mitchells and Bostons to bomb the truck production at Eindhoven (escorted by the rest of the Spitfires) – no need for fuel tanks so these can carry quite a heavy bomb load. Run D5-7 (so at least some of the German fighter cover should be exhausted).

Over Sicily

For Tactical Air some redeployment to bring all within range. Set up a recon, GS, GA-interdiction and an AS, left all on auto-assign (helps as the same planes will do the GA and the GS mission). Naval interdiction, used Coastal Airforce to protect the US landings and the Wellingtons (with mines) from Strategic Air to protect the British. This was protected by an AS using the Malta Air command. Used the rest of Strategic Air to bomb the airbases on Sicily.



Outcomes

Well that was a bloody air phase. I lost 507 shot down and 1160 damaged. In turn the Axis lost 303 shot down (62 Italian) and 337 damaged.

Some details.

The AS mission over the Netherlands was predictably grim. As far as I can check, I lost 39 and the Axis 42 fighters. I’ll take a 1-1 exchange all the way to the end of the game.

The raid on Danzig cost me 14 bombers and the damage is 57% + (not sure as I had no supporting recon, one bombing report says 100%). U-Boats are Hamburg and Bremen badly damaged but I lost a lot of bombers (and more damaged). Luftwaffe also suffered badly over Hamburg.



Bomber Command had less effect (I find you have a lot of poor raids and every now and then one that works). Frankfurt saw little damage, most of the Ruhr attacks did limited damage but Duesseldorf suffered badly. Typical of a Bomber Command mission in that most losses were operational. I have good enough recon here to trust the stated outcomes.



The raid on Eindhoven went well. Lots of damage to production and the Luftwaffe fighters suffered again (remember I ran this after three days of AS sweeps). I’m hoping that in addition to their losses, the Germans now have very low morale in that sector.



Over Sicily, bit unhappy about the interdiction levels. The British landings off Siracusa are very exposed and probably drew the land box too wide.




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RE: Would Sir like extra bombs with that? - 2/1/2018 9:22:16 PM   
loki100


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T1 - the land part

Clearly not much happens here. I re-assign a part of the British landings to Sardinia. Usually I do this with the Americans but am a bit worried about the consequences of such low naval interdiction off Siracusa.



Other than that, decide to hit Sicily hard, including both scheduled airdrops. Not least this will help compensate for the relatively low levels of land interdiction.



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RE: Would Sir like extra bombs with that? - 2/2/2018 9:03:39 PM   
bomccarthy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100










How many 8th AF bombers did the AI allocate to the Danzig mission each day? I usually request a specific number of a/c in order to minimize fatigue and morals loss each day - what is the 8th AF fatigue and morale state on turn 2? I am always afraid that the AI will overcommit early in the week, leaving too few bombers to do any real damage later in the week. I also fear having to few a/c units available for turn 2. What morale level do you set for resting a/c units? (I have been realizing some good results by resting units with morale lower than 55).

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RE: Would Sir like extra bombs with that? - 2/2/2018 10:11:12 PM   
loki100


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The Danzig Raids were 3 days, just using the B-24s. I don't normally specify which planes for a mission as I find you get more value out of letting the AI allocate but for that raid the B-24s are an excellent fit. They can do it without drop tanks so a higher bomb load compared to the B-17s.

I need to review for T2 as to the impact. I'm expecting to find that most of 8 AAF and BC are unusable. I tend to 60 as my threshold but there is merit to pushing hard in the summer of 1943. Good weather and the best VP return/bomb makes it worth perhaps over committing.

I tried to control for the worst of low morale as no strategic bombing mission was for more than 4 days in the week and most for 3, so yes its the constant search for a balance point between sustaining operations, overall impact and avoiding having too many beaten up formations.

The advantage (I think) for hitting hard on T1 is more from PBEMs. Most German players will redeploy the Luftwaffe so they contest weakly escorted missions - I certainly pull back out of 1943 AS range - but on T1 they are dispersed and that means you can gang up on isolated sectors. Clearly the AI is less likely to adopt this strategy but I sort of find that (good/bad) habits are hard to lose

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T2: Air - 2/3/2018 3:06:09 PM   
loki100


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T2 – Air Phase

I'll keep the focus on the air and on what I am trying to do. Have a horrible feeling I've forgotten a lot but still useful to make the link between intent and action.

First thing is to rest low morale units. Since I want to get ahead with VP and need airpower in Sicily I'm going to make 55 the threshold. Below that units can rest, above fly.

This removes a total of 53 airgroups (almost 2,000 planes) from my OOB. Bomber Command is not too badly affected (it lost 14 squadrons, 6 Lancasters) but 8 AAF has lost most of the B-17s (a total of 18 squadrons resting).

Sicily

Fairly simple decisions here. I shift all that is still operational from Strategic Air to supporting the British landings, I'll take Siracusa this turn and that will ease any pressure. One useful trick, Naval Interdiction happens both in the target area and along the path chosen, so you can spread it around rather usefully:



Shows all the missions, again an aggressive AS for attrition and interdiction now limited to the German line of communications to the east of Etna.



Europe

Fighter Command not only shot down a lot of German planes but kept its morale high. So I'll repeat the aggressive AS operations this turn, adding a new one on the Dutch-Belgium border to support new targets for the 2 engined bombers from Tactical Air.

Overall I keep to low intensity 2-3 days a week bombing, would rather keep planes in the air than risk having to ground complete formations due to low morale/high fatigue.

Here I am now going for the rail depots. A lot of Allied players leave this till the build up to the invasion but I think it hinders German reinforcement and deployment from the start. The logic is that damaged rail depots lowers global rail capacity as well as to the region. The Axis need to send a lot of manpower and supplies into France so I start by hitting the cluster of rail depots from Antwerp to Lille (don't want to engage over Paris yet).



The rail bombing produced damage in the 8-20% range. Worth repeating over the next few turns. But the fighter battle was substantively in my favour.

Again I come out around 1-1 which is very much in my favour.

I'll start converting fighters to bombers in the autumn and move to using Typhoons etc. But for the moment, I'm content to keep up this rather aggressive AS approach.





Strategic Bombing was dictated by the state of the two air groups. 8 AAF is understrength so decided to take out the U-Boats at Emden and Wilhelmshaven. Bomber Command goes for manpower and HI around Hannover.



8 AAF did a good job on its targets and on the defending fighters.



Bomber Command was less effective. Heavy losses (mostly flak) and little real damage inflicted.



Overall air losses for the air phase. I caught a couple of attempts at interdiction attacks by German bombers over Sicily so they lost quite a few Ju-88s. Other than that their losses are all from the fighter formations. Of the Axis losses only 30 were Italian.



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RE: Would Sir like extra bombs with that? - 2/3/2018 8:57:33 PM   
bomccarthy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

The Danzig Raids were 3 days, just using the B-24s. I don't normally specify which planes for a mission as I find you get more value out of letting the AI allocate but for that raid the B-24s are an excellent fit. They can do it without drop tanks so a higher bomb load compared to the B-17s.



This is why I like the Addl Air HQs scenario - in this situation you could assign the Danzig air directive to the 2d Air Division without specifying the individual B-24 units, which means that its B-24s would also be available for the other 8th AF directives (since the 2d Air Division is within the 8th AF command). Of course, the Danzig missions would only be escorted by the P-47s in the 2d Air Division, but you could add more P-47 units to the 2d Air Division for that turn (and they would still be available to the 8th AF directives).


quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

The advantage (I think) for hitting hard on T1 is more from PBEMs. Most German players will redeploy the Luftwaffe so they contest weakly escorted missions - I certainly pull back out of 1943 AS range - but on T1 they are dispersed and that means you can gang up on isolated sectors. Clearly the AI is less likely to adopt this strategy but I sort of find that (good/bad) habits are hard to lose



I noticed that in most AARs the German player immediately pulls back his fighter defenses - doesn't that allow the Allied player to gain a huge advantage in victory points by trashing the Ruhr industry through the end of 1943? As an Allied player, I've noticed that there are too few Spitfire IXs and VIIIs to gain a better than 1-1 kill ratio over Luftwaffe fighters in AS missions, and the P-38 suffers some significant performance disadvantages leading to heavy air-to-air losses. This would seem to allow the Luftwaffe to contest the airspace over the Ruhr until the P-47s get 108 gal drop tanks (Nov 43, I think) enabling them to reach the Ruhr.

A PBEM will be great, once I retire (at least 15 yrs from now). I am afraid my current work schedule would frustrate an opponent, since I often will be away from a game for days or even weeks at a time. It would be nice to have an opponent who didn't follow the same strategy in every game.

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RE: Would Sir like extra bombs with that? - 2/3/2018 10:09:23 PM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: bomccarthy
...


I noticed that in most AARs the German player immediately pulls back his fighter defenses - doesn't that allow the Allied player to gain a huge advantage in victory points by trashing the Ruhr industry through the end of 1943? As an Allied player, I've noticed that there are too few Spitfire IXs and VIIIs to gain a better than 1-1 kill ratio over Luftwaffe fighters in AS missions, and the P-38 suffers some significant performance disadvantages leading to heavy air-to-air losses. This would seem to allow the Luftwaffe to contest the airspace over the Ruhr until the P-47s get 108 gal drop tanks (Nov 43, I think) enabling them to reach the Ruhr.

A PBEM will be great, once I retire (at least 15 yrs from now). I am afraid my current work schedule would frustrate an opponent, since I often will be away from a game for days or even weeks at a time. It would be nice to have an opponent who didn't follow the same strategy in every game.



In a PBEM, if playing the axis I'd pull back into Germany and abandon France. The way things work out with range, you can run your own AS over the Ruhr up to spring 1944, then its useful to pull back a bit deeper. At that stage, the Allies have the range to cover the Ruhr themselves but equally need to divert and rest planes for the France invasion. After they feel they have secured the landings, and get the P-51s, it all becomes rather grim. Best strategy then is to cluster up the Luftwaffe into a small area and move it around, every now and then you'll really outnumber your opponent and inflict damage and losses (=wreck morale), but equally you will get caught out.

At this stage of the game, you can't really push the Spitfires over the Ruhr but you can cover the northern Rhineland. So usually a German defensive box will have some overlap.

To me, by late 44/early 45 the Luftwaffe is pretty much useless so the dynamic is to keep it as a defensive shield for as long as you can but equally use it up trying to prevent too many allied VPs in 1943.

The airwar is a bit like using the Soviets in WiTE1/2. You can trade 1-1 all the way to Berlin. The allies have planes and pilots to do this, the axis have a real shortage of pilots so its a very one sided trade off.

My general feeling is that WiTW gives an excellent game if you play the Allies vs the AI. There aren't that many big choices for the axis player and playing the axis you get your rewards out of small stunts that put your opponent off balance. The AI will make some mistakes but at challenging it gains from a pretty robust defensive set up which compensates a lot.


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T2: Land - 2/5/2018 7:58:27 PM   
loki100


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T2 – land bit

The actual invasion went fine, only real problem was the British paratroops landed in the wrong hex and were destroyed (or, as Dario Fo put it, self-suicided). Annoying as that will cost me a lot of VP and I often don't use the British just to avoid this.

Actual land moves were easy. Surprisingly the AI gave me Catania for free. Have added 5 divisions to the first wave and this gives me 6 US divisions (2 armoured) and 4 British plus a number of regiments/brigades and a rail repair unit. Should be enough to secure Sicily and I don't want too much there till the larger ports are taken and repaired.

Moved some short range fighters onto the island to start developing the airbases.



I left enough naval assets to secure all the temporary ports. I'll abandon the one south of Siracusa next turn.

Added a second invasion group for Sardinia (using one of the freed up TF).



Decided that the initial invasion of the Italian mainland would be at Bari. This is a bit risky (hard to cover the beach with air power) but should work out. Alternatives are in the toe of Italy (can cut off any German retreat from Sicily) or the historical target at Salerno (easier to protect).

I like the Bari option as its a rare area where mobile units can be effective and you often gain Taranto due to a partisan uprising.




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RE: T2: Land - 2/5/2018 8:37:58 PM   
bomccarthy


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In three 43-45 campaign games I have invaded mainland Italy through the three hexes just west of Bari - each time the AI immediately withdrew to a line anchored north of Salerno, even abandoning Foggia. In my current game, unfortunately, they left two full German infantry divisions and the Hermann Goering panzer division at Taranto. I let the HG pz division escape but was forced to lay siege to the infantry divisions in Taranto for four turns (and they had plenty of supply, even though I isolated the port with an amphibious HQ from the day of the invasion). The AI has also always left an FJ unit and pz brigade in Reggio Calabria, forcing a siege there as well.

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RE: T2: Land - 2/6/2018 7:50:08 PM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: bomccarthy

In three 43-45 campaign games I have invaded mainland Italy through the three hexes just west of Bari - each time the AI immediately withdrew to a line anchored north of Salerno, even abandoning Foggia. In my current game, unfortunately, they left two full German infantry divisions and the Hermann Goering panzer division at Taranto. I let the HG pz division escape but was forced to lay siege to the infantry divisions in Taranto for four turns (and they had plenty of supply, even though I isolated the port with an amphibious HQ from the day of the invasion). The AI has also always left an FJ unit and pz brigade in Reggio Calabria, forcing a siege there as well.


Think against the AI Bari is a good choice, a human player may hoard the Luftwaffe for a chance to hit you at the limits of your fighter cover. Now that is not all bad, stack lots of TFs in with the invasion fleet and the flak will cause heavy German losses so its a bit of a gamble but you done run the risk of 1-2 turns of poor supply till you get control.

Agree about letting some German units just escape. Know you have to fight them sometime but a FJ or Mountain Division in a rough/city hex can be a nightmare to shift. And, yes, the AI does do some very annoying stay behind moves - over time you perhaps get a gain from this but at this stage of the war its hard to spare the divisions for that sort of siege/assault phases?

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T3 - 2/6/2018 7:52:55 PM   
loki100


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T3

Kept the morale to fly at 55%. Only have 8 BC squadrons and 15 from 8AAF grounded as a result.

Worth a peak at the VP scores. For what its worth, I like the WiTW VP system. Especially for the Allies this was intensely political war in that almost every major military operation was done to satisfy one or more wider politcal goal (and, of course, these were not exactly shared across the participants). So you can go the DC:Barbarossa route or try to model it with VP?

After that bit of mumbling we have:

The 'other' losses are a reflection of the losses built into the scenario and those annoying British paras getting destroyed. My plan is to push the VP/turn from the air war to around 10 (ie combining bombing and U-Boats). What I am trying to do at the moment is not over-commit (BC is proving very resilient) and also make sure that when I hit a target it takes substantial damage (so I don't need to go back next turn).



This analysis informed the choices for both BC and 8 AAF.

BC I decided to use on the manpower/HI to the east of the Ruhr. Most of this is either untouched (green) or partially damaged (yellow, ie damage somewhere in the 1-49% range). The mission is at 19,000' as I am still using the Stirling IIIs (the Is are now converted to Lancasters). Still keeping the days/week relatively low and the reward is the ability to raid in strength (I find that small raids are more vulnerable, take damage and thus lower morale).

8 AAF goes for the western edge (HI, Fuel and manpower). Note this is fully protected by the P-47s.

Also note that the truck production at Eindhoven is flattened from the earlier raid.



Study of the rail yards in Belgium suggested they were all badly damaged to decided to take out those at Paris. Split Fighter Command so one AS supported this and another still placed over Belgium (this plus the 8 AAF escorts should overwhelm any German air defences).

Note that if you have multiple missions and leave the AI to allocate it will make sure it fills out the top one first, then allocate what is left to any secondary missions.



Med targets changed a bit. Decided to bomb out the port at Calgiari (reduces axis naval interdiction) and start on the railyards in Italy. First raids were escorted and just aimed at those in the toe. Keeping the naval air missions in place but converted a lot of tactical air from FB-F to FB to try and interdict the German units clustered around Etna.



Bomber Command had one of its better weeks in terms of damage inflicted. Bit worried that the more intense air combat will weaken my forces for next week but that is a good spread of damage. 8 AAF was less succesful but still think I've done a lot of damage to their targets.



Fighter Command was less successful over Belgium. Not too sure why but the good bit is that the German formations seem to be very weak.



Raid on Paris paid off. Those railyards are flattened and can now start to pick off the smaller targets in northern and eastern France.

My logic here is having played the Germans I've realised how much you need to move to France (mostly manpower and supplies) so all this increases the cost. Also the planes doing this are not much use over Germany, so this gets some value out of them for relatively limited losses.



The Italian raids paid off. All the strategic targets were destroyed and I have decent interdiction over the main German defensive line. Next turn will probably see some attacks as I start to try to dismantle that defensive line they have constructed.

As you can see, only have 2 TF left offshore maintaining the temp ports around Gela. Should be enough to supply the operations on the island and I now have 4 new invasions all in preparation in Africa.

I'll use the naval guns next turn to help with the inevitable fighting north of Catania (this works well as long as you return the TF to their location at the end of the turn).



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RE: T3 - 2/6/2018 11:07:59 PM   
bomccarthy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

The 'other' losses are a reflection of the losses built into the scenario and those annoying British paras getting destroyed.





Those losses built-in to the scenario are always startling - I didn't drop the British paras and still suffered -30 "Other Loss VPs" on turn 1.

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RE: T3 - 2/7/2018 8:29:43 PM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: bomccarthy

..
Those losses built-in to the scenario are always startling - I didn't drop the British paras and still suffered -30 "Other Loss VPs" on turn 1.


Aye the -30 is basically in as a balancing score. The imposed losses pump-prime the returning/permanently disabled system so are needed but the VP hit is arbitrary. Remember my first PBEM with the allies when I was far too aggressive with the Paras - Market Garden was an act of sanity compared to some of my missions. My opponent more or less got a marginal victory out of the losses due to that alone

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T4 - 2/7/2018 8:31:56 PM   
loki100


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T4

Still sticking to 55% as the morale threshold. Result is resting 20 BC squadrons and 11 from 8 AAF.

Content that bombing on 2-3 days means I can keep a steady stream of large raids going, find if you bomb on 4-5 days then you have to rest your formations much more. Convert most of the resting bombers to Lancaster III's or newer US planes (B-17s and B-24s). Over time this will flip most of the bomber force without costing me any additional formations not being available for operations.

Bombing still focussed on VP pts for the moment. Bomber Command goes for Cologne and the Rhineland.



Use 8 AAF to hit the northern edge of the Ruhr. Slightly adjusted the Fighter Command AS so as to provide some air cover over the targets.



In combination, this was the pattern. The raid on Antwerp is another truck destruction attack.



Bomber Command had another successful week, not sure how I am shooting down so many German Night Fighters but am not going to complain. The truck production at Antwerp was also fully knocked out.



8 AAF also had a good week – remember that fuel (and oil) production also counts for VP.



Bombing in the Med. Designed to knock out all the ports on Sardinia and more of the rail yards in Italy. Palermo is now isolated by the naval patrols.



On the ground, the AI seems very concerned about being cut off as it carries on retreating to Messina. Small pocket the west of Etna and should be able to attack Palermo next turn.



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RE: T4 - 2/8/2018 8:19:24 PM   
bomccarthy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100



Bomber Command had another successful week, not sure how I am shooting down so many German Night Fighters but am not going to complain. The truck production at Antwerp was also fully knocked out.



Do you use night intruder air directives? I've realized some success with Fighter Command Mosquitos on these missions - I set up one or two large boxes to fly every night and leave the other settings (including altitude and # aircraft requested) to "auto". Of course, they mostly fly on the nights of bomber raids, and I haven't seen my NFs suffer too much in the way of fatigue or morale.

I also use the 9th AF B-26s for night strikes on airfields in 1943 (2-3 nights each week), since there really aren't enough escorts for their daylight raids into Germany. In my current game, I've even tasked the 2nd RAF Tac AF with nighttime airfield raids, using Mitchells and Mosquito FB-VIs. They don't destroy a huge number of planes on the ground in a single raid, but they do seem to disrupt the airfields a bit. As of the beginning of Feb '44, I've destroyed more than 400 a/c on the ground with these weekly night raids in western Germany and Holland/Belgium.

I use the 2nd RAF Tac AF Typhoons to hit the ports and railyards along the Channel coast every week, mostly as a means of training these units without suffering significant casualties. They can also do some damage to the V-1 launch sites before January '44.

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RE: T4 - 2/9/2018 6:21:51 PM   
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quote:

They can also do some damage to the V-1 launch sites before January '44.

I'm curious how they're hurting the V-1 launch sites, given that you can't assign FB's to Bomb City AD's. Is it collateral damage from the attacks on the ports?

Cary

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RE: T4 - 2/9/2018 9:39:55 PM   
bomccarthy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: cfulbright


quote:

They can also do some damage to the V-1 launch sites before January '44.

I'm curious how they're hurting the V-1 launch sites, given that you can't assign FB's to Bomb City AD's. Is it collateral damage from the attacks on the ports?

Cary


Yes, apparently. It doesn't happen very often, but I occasionally see damage to V-launch sites after a FB attack against the port or railyard in the hex.

Ironically, the Allies ultimately discovered that 2nd TAF Mosquitoes were the most effective choice for strikes against the V-1 launch ramps in terms of average tonnage dropped to achieve "Category A" damage. (see Joseph W. Angell, "Crossbow", in Craven and Cate, The Army Air Forces in World War II, Vol. 3, Europe: Argument to V-E Day, 1983, p. 105).

In fact, after discovering the sites under construction in early 1943, the US undertook a study - constructing similar sites at Eglin Field, FL and bombing them with various aircraft and weapons. This study concluded by the end of 1943 that low-level attacks by fighter-bombers dropping 1,000 and 2,000 lb bombs would be much more effective against the sites than strikes by heavy bombers from medium and high altitudes. The RAF, however, criticized the study, saying that the US sites were constructed with much more substantial materials than those employed by the Germans in the prototype sites that had been observed, and insisted on strikes by large numbers of heavy bombers. (Angell, p 100).

The US Navy even began training Marine Air Group 51 for strikes against the sites with CVE-based F4U Corsairs equipped with 11-inch Tiny Tim rockets. This idea was ultimately shot down by Gen. Marshall, who left the briefing with the statement, "As long as I am in charge there'll never be a Marine in Europe." The three specially-trained Corsair squadrons were then deployed to the Pacific, where they supported the Okinawa and Balikpapan operations (Barrett Tillman, Corsair: The F4U in World War II and Korea, Naval Institute Press, 1979, p 116).

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RE: T4 - 2/10/2018 12:14:11 PM   
loki100


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I'll respond to all the above in one post as it mostly covers the same ground.

I like to start by making sure that the BC raids are well escorted - nothing is quite so upsetting to a NF hunting a bomber but to realise you are now on someone else's radar. In the main this follows my view that damage=low morale=lower bombing intensity and I'd rather protect my bombers than hunt the Luftwaffe's NF. Having said that, I think I am going to set up some night intruder missions, as I seem to be keeping my allied NFs in operational readiness.

Like the idea of flipping the B-26s to night raids - as in the next post, they can get badly hammered on day raids. Less sure about hunting the Luftwaffe on the ground. In the main with the Germans you don't lack for fighters (and its not till later in 1944 do you get some that are really much better than the starting set) but trained pilots. So bombing fighters on the ground is a bit of diversion from either VP-bombing or going for choke points like trucks and medium tanks. Different if you can find the German bombers - they are worth hitting on the ground as they get few replacements and it removes them from being a threat much quicker.

Equally agree with hitting the V-1s early, you can usually remove the ones along the Channel before 1944 starts. I tend though to horde and rest the Typhoons for the invasion of France. By the time that comes around, I have converted a lot of the at-start fighter command to Typhoons and you don't have that many left in reserve. So would rather optimise them over a key crucial period.

I've seen odd bombing results too, its clear that sometimes you will hit something else in the target box other than your chosen mission.

Fascinating stuff about the allied testing. Remember reading that they build examples of typical German style tenement houses to test out the most effective mix of HE and incendiaries. Not surprised that when presented with a problem, Harris first decreed that the only valid weapon was a 4 engined bomber and then refused to release any for those missions

More I read about it, the more impressed I am with the modelling of the strategic air war in WiTW

< Message edited by loki100 -- 2/10/2018 12:20:39 PM >


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T5 - 2/10/2018 12:17:22 PM   
loki100


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T5

Keeping to the same rules for the air units (ie rest at 55 or lower morale). This removed 15 Bomber Command formations and 8 from 8 AF. Bomber Command ended last week with a lot of damaged planes and that has had an impact on overall morale.

Despite the resting formations, BC still has a lot of hitting power – this is where I think keeping the number of bombing days to 3 is paying off.

But the cost is in a relatively slow build up of bombing points. Decide that the U-Boats need renewed attention.



Decide to shift up the Rhine and hit Mainz/Frankfurt with BC. Lots of trucks as well as HI and Manpower.



The US goes for the smaller U-Boat factories in Schleswig-Holstein. Image shows the main raids, a secondary mission is aimed just at Rostock.



The main US raids seem to have hit the targets but the heavy air battles have cost me a lot of bombers (and many more damaged). The secondary raids were even worse. Suspect 8 AAF will need a break next week.



Bomber Command had one of those weeks were it can't hit anything. Costly and minimal damage.



Bright spot was Fighter Command. Pushed it a bit north along the Rhineland (in part to protect some smaller raids by the Wellingtons) and that triggered some heavy clashes with the Luftwaffe.



Even some ground action to report. Palermo and Trapani both quickly taken.



Rest of Allied forces in Sicily arrive outside a well defended Messina.

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RE: T4 - 2/11/2018 9:51:21 PM   
bomccarthy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

Fascinating stuff about the allied testing. Remember reading that they build examples of typical German style tenement houses to test out the most effective mix of HE and incendiaries. Not surprised that when presented with a problem, Harris first decreed that the only valid weapon was a 4 engined bomber and then refused to release any for those missions

More I read about it, the more impressed I am with the modelling of the strategic air war in WiTW


Actually, it was Leigh-Mallory who objected to using 2nd TAF in low-level raids on the V-1 launch sites (and voiced the strange logic concerning the Eglin test sites having been "overbuilt"). He really feared that the FBs would suffer heavily from massed light AA around the sites. Ironically, 9th AF low-level strikes on the sites didn't suffer heavy casualties. However, analysts believed that MAG-51 missions with the Tiny Tim rockets would have been suicidal - the Tiny Tim was so heavy that the F4Us were forced to fly slow and steady during the attack run. On Okinawa, the rocket proved so inaccurate that F4U units equipped with it reverted back to using 1,000 lb bombs.

Given the successes achieved during the relatively few real-life tactical strikes against the launch sites, it would be nice if V-launch sites were available as both a city attack target and a ground attack target (like railyards and ports).

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RE: T4 - 2/13/2018 8:46:38 AM   
loki100


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Interesting, think the RAF did tend to be more dogmatic about which types of planes could do which types of missions. Just that Harris raised this to an artform

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T6 - 2/13/2018 8:54:04 AM   
loki100


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T6

Keeping to the same morale rules for the airforce. 22 BC squadrons set to rest and 7 from 8 AAF (3 of these the B-26s that hit Rostock (no surprise given their losses). In general, I'm happy with the combination of settings as its allowing me to keep a sustained bombing effort as opposed to having periods where most of the Strategic bombers need to rest.

Would like the VP position to improve a bit. Losing 2 per turn due to the U-boats is frustrating as I'd rather have that back to 1. Last turns BC raid was a waste.



Decided to return BC to what it does best and hit the Ruhr again. Plenty of undamaged HI, fuel and manpower targets there. Split off some of the NF to run a night intruder mission since I have plenty of escorts available.



Decided to keep trying to knock out the U-boats at Luebeck with 8 AAF. Have converted some P-47 formations to P-38s which gives me escorts over the targets as well as on the approach.



Picture of the overall Ruhr raids. Using the 2E bombers from Tactical Air to hit the smaller targets to the north of the Ruhr and the only useable B-26 formation on a raid aimed at Emmerich. Fighter Command running AS to try and catch the attention of the German fighters.



Italy. Still taking out the ports on Sardinia. Shifted to the main rail junctions and ports in S Italy. Land and Ground interdiction missions aimed at cutting off Messina. No real hurry here as I need to finish off the units I've cut off first.



Bomber Command had a good week, even if it did decide to hit its own private target list rather than what is what ordered to do. The advantage of better targetting information over the Ruhr really does pay off.



The localised raids by tactical air also paid off which more damaged manpower (in targets not really worth diverting the 4 engined bombers to).



8 AAF is proving strangely U-boat adverse but otherwise did a lot of damage and won its aerial battles. The small raid on Emmerich both did damage to the targets and chewed up the Luftwaffe (well within the range of the P-47s).

As an aside, in a PBEM, most German players would have their fighters set up out of range of the P-47s/Spitfires precisely to avoid this sort of losses.



Interdiction results in Italy. In combination with the rail yard bombing, that will hurt any attempts at resupply or to retreat. Note I am deliberately avoiding hitting Messina and Reggio-Calabria due to the amount of flak there so as in N Europe the intent is to keep a steady stream of damage rather than risk everything on a big direct attack.



Sicily at the end of turn. Will finish off the last of the trapped units next turn then prepare to take Messina. I'm happy enough to take my time over this, not least the usage of airpower means it is costing the Germans a lot to cling on. Also am waiting for the next set of invasions to be ready.





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RE: T6 - 2/13/2018 9:12:26 PM   
bomccarthy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

As an aside, in a PBEM, most German players would have their fighters set up out of range of the P-47s/Spitfires precisely to avoid this sort of losses.



I wonder if any German player has attempted to fight the USAAF escorts at the Channel, forcing them to release their drop tanks very early and thereby leaving the 8th AF bombers unescorted deep in Germany. This might primarily work in the first half of 1944, when the USAAF suffers from relatively scarce supplies of P-51s and P-38s. Bf-109s and Fw-190s would take on the Allied fighters over the Channel, while the twin-engine heavy "fighters" would attack the bombers in Germany.

It wouldn't make sense in 1943, when the P-47s can't reach Germany anyway - the Luftwaffe would lose most of its strength to the P-47s before the arrival of the P-51s. So, keep the single-engine fighters out of harm's way until the P-51s start arriving, then move them to airfields near the coast.

I would expect huge dogfights over the Channel, resulting in heavy casualties for both sides; but the heavy fighters should then be able to attack the bombers virtually unmolested over Germany. The Allies would win by the summer of 1944, but the B-17 and B-24 losses could be substantial. I'll have to try this in one of the air-only scenarios.

< Message edited by bomccarthy -- 2/13/2018 9:17:24 PM >

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RE: T6 - 2/14/2018 9:26:59 AM   
loki100


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I think with the Luftwaffe in a PBEM you have to be creative. My feeling is you have 2 constraints to solve. One is that the Luftwaffe will fall apart sometime Summer-Winter 1944 (when you need to convert from trained pilots to keep the fighters in the air). Second is that by 1945 its completely useless in any case (assuming the Allies make normal progress). By that stage there won't be many targets left for the Strategic bombers in any case and the VP/bombing is very much secondary to the VP/city score. So there is little real point to still retaining a potent force (even if you could).

So 1943 you need to do 2 things. Nurse it along so it isn't wrecked by Summer 44 but at the same time its the last chance in the game to get localised advantages.

My solution varies - not least in part still working things out but also your opponent will close off some options and create others. You don't want the attritional battles the AI is giving me over the Rhineland, there is no point trading off vs the Spitfires and P-47s, so your bulk has to sit deeper where the bombers are either unescorted or only have a few longer range escorts. Beyond that, yes look for opportunities where you can overwhelm your enemy. While Italy is the obvious place, France is valid too. There are all sorts of tricks you can pull (incl as you say an AS just off-shore), what you want to do is to get your opponent to react and have to leave fighters without missions to provide defensive support when needed. All reduces the pressure over Germany, and of course a threat in being (or only carried out every now and then) means those diverted planes are not doing any damage at all.

I've done night raids on the bases that hold the transport planes in the UK - these are usually away from the main fighter concentrations so a well chosen route can mean few losses. Advantage is that transports (and recon planes) are the two things the allies can run out of. Other odd tricks are to use longer range fighters in AS along the N African coast. You can catch the Allied naval planes that they need to protect the sea lanes against U-boats etc, force them down and you may get a few more destroyed ships.

The air war is good fun, very asymetric, very pleasing on the rare turns when you pull off a neat trick and inflict heavy losses, very frustrating when you drop into a trap laid for you

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T7 - 2/14/2018 9:32:22 AM   
loki100


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T7

Usual morale settings. Also rested all the formations with fatigue >15.

Lost a lot of BC as a result (31 squadrons, 28 bombers) but 8 AAF not too affected (12 bomber squadrons resting).

Decided to swap BC and 8 AAF around. Used BC to hit the manpower and industrial sites around Hamburg while 8 AAF went for the northern Ruhr. Still using the 2E bombers from tactical air to hit smaller cities in this region.

VP score is ok, 8 per turn for bombing but want this up to 10, U-boats proving to be rather tricky to supress.



So 8 AAF goes for the less damaged portion of the Ruhr.



Fighter Command carries on inflicting a lot of losses and protecting some bomber raids at the same time.



Bomber Command had another bad week


The lighter bombers from Tactical Air did a good job over Osnabruck




Star of the week was 8 AAF, substantial damage both to German industry and the defending Luftwaffe.




Sicily – finished off the cut off units. Moving up to assault Messina.



Italian bombing continues to focus on isolating the Axis units in the south. In addition to bombing the rail yards around Naples etc, they can't be receiving much supply through all that interdiction,



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RE: T7 - 2/14/2018 11:37:36 AM   
Sardaukar


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Great AAR!

I haven't dared to try Grand Campaign yet in WitW, so this will help.

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RE: T6 - 2/14/2018 9:29:28 PM   
bomccarthy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

The air war is good fun, very asymetric, very pleasing on the rare turns when you pull off a neat trick and inflict heavy losses, very frustrating when you drop into a trap laid for you


It's too bad that the game doesn't include aircraft loss points as negative VPs, with heavy bombers counting more than fighters. That would further incentivize the Allied player to minimize a/c losses and protect bomber raids with escorts. Currently, Allied players really don't fear losing huge numbers of US heavy bombers in 1943 because they know that plenty of replacements are arriving. Schweinfurt-level losses in the game won't trigger the type of command crisis that occurred in real life.

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RE: T6 - 2/15/2018 12:32:16 PM   
Chuske


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Brillant AAR Loki100! Thank you.

Could I ask a bit about your approach to Naval interdiction and squadrons you assign to it? I'm particularly interested in the Med, as not getting great results there even using the ideas from HarryBanana's guide

1) Do you move any naval squadrons from UK to the Med?
2) In your game currently how are you setup? ie What type of coastal squadrons are where? ie Do you have squadrons still covering N.African coast to allow inter-theatre troop movements? I had trouble both covering Italy, Sicily, Sardinia and having any cover in N.Africa for troops sailing back from Italy to UK in Winter in early '44 ready for D-Day. I found also my patrol craft pools were getting a bit on the low side, combined with bad winter weather I was struggling much more than when I played the game 18 months ago. Result was lost ships and elements from my divisions in transit.
3) What altitude do you use for Naval ADs? Do you use the 5K suggested by HarryBanana od the default 15k?
4) Do you use auto Naval patrols? I did but only for Coastal AF and Coastal Command
5) Do you use any LBs (not specifically naval trained) on this task (other than those assigned in the OOB at the start)?

Look forward to more from this thread


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RE: T6 - 2/15/2018 2:56:32 PM   
Sardaukar


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Just a question, why using 3 days in a row bombing (D3,D4,D5)? Why not D1,D3,D5?

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RE: T6 - 2/15/2018 8:43:02 PM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Sardaukar

Great AAR!

I haven't dared to try Grand Campaign yet in WitW, so this will help.


glad its useful, I don't think I'm using a particularly optimal approach but felt it was useful to link up results to what I am trying to achieve and why. That, to me, was the original mystery of the strategic airwar (ie why am I doing these things) so even if you end up doing some very different (and there are lots of alternative strategies), at least it provides a sort of rough framework.

Also, even more than WiTE, WiTW has long feedback loops between carrying out actions and seeing the consequences.

quote:

ORIGINAL: bomccarthy


quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

The air war is good fun, very asymetric, very pleasing on the rare turns when you pull off a neat trick and inflict heavy losses, very frustrating when you drop into a trap laid for you


It's too bad that the game doesn't include aircraft loss points as negative VPs, with heavy bombers counting more than fighters. That would further incentivize the Allied player to minimize a/c losses and protect bomber raids with escorts. Currently, Allied players really don't fear losing huge numbers of US heavy bombers in 1943 because they know that plenty of replacements are arriving. Schweinfurt-level losses in the game won't trigger the type of command crisis that occurred in real life.


Aye, the way the VP system works, it rewards using the bomber force in an attritional mode. So yes, if you do a Schweinfurt style disaster you may have to rest a few weeks to rebuild morale but its not a massive issue. On the other hand, you do need to optimise air power as there are a lot of constraints to really pushing your ground forces.

Also more generally you manage your entire air strategy knowing that come mid-44 you will have total air superiority. A key point to the 'Point Blank' directive was that the Allies still feared the Luftwaffe and what it might do to the planned Normandy landings. You know you can steadily convert your FB-F squadrons to FB as there is no concern.

Not sure what can be done about this, all these games have a degree of hindsight influencing player choice.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Chuske

Brillant AAR Loki100! Thank you.

Could I ask a bit about your approach to Naval interdiction and squadrons you assign to it? I'm particularly interested in the Med, as not getting great results there even using the ideas from HarryBanana's guide

1) Do you move any naval squadrons from UK to the Med?
2) In your game currently how are you setup? ie What type of coastal squadrons are where? ie Do you have squadrons still covering N.African coast to allow inter-theatre troop movements? I had trouble both covering Italy, Sicily, Sardinia and having any cover in N.Africa for troops sailing back from Italy to UK in Winter in early '44 ready for D-Day. I found also my patrol craft pools were getting a bit on the low side, combined with bad winter weather I was struggling much more than when I played the game 18 months ago. Result was lost ships and elements from my divisions in transit.
3) What altitude do you use for Naval ADs? Do you use the 5K suggested by HarryBanana od the default 15k?
4) Do you use auto Naval patrols? I did but only for Coastal AF and Coastal Command
5) Do you use any LBs (not specifically naval trained) on this task (other than those assigned in the OOB at the start)?

Look forward to more from this thread



I'm not sure if the changes were planned but my feeling is that naval air is more effective in this build than earlier. So I've not moved any naval air to the Med (which I think is a bit gamey to be honest) and left the N African units spread out as they start. In past games I've lost too much shipping to attrition etc and have come to appreciate the need for maintaining low level auto-patrols all along the coast.

I'm letting it default to 15,000', looking at the #5-6 interdiction north of Messina that is working out fine. I've turned off auto naval for everything but the coastal commands, think you can end up with a lot of unexpected losses otherwise.

I protected the British landings at Sicily with Wellingtons using the naval load out and will probably do the same when I invade Sardinia. You don't get as good a result as with the specialist planes but its usually enough to cancel out any local axis interdiction values.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Sardaukar

Just a question, why using 3 days in a row bombing (D3,D4,D5)? Why not D1,D3,D5?


You want to recon before and after, so I would never do strat bombing on D1 due to this. Against the AI its fine to stick to a pattern, its not that subtle in its response and it certainly doesn't track your chosen days/altitude etc in planning its response. In a PBEM I'll mix both of these around in case my opponent is trying to be efficient in their own allocations.

The axis player can set up their day fighters either in designated AS boxes or leave them to auto-intercept. There are good and bad to both, but if they do AS, they may want not to fly when you don't (less operational losses). Shifting your days means they have no choice but to fly all week - assuming they also want to disrupt your recon efforts. Equally every now and then bombing at high altitude can bypass the axis fighters completely (at a cost in accuracy of course)


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