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Defending the Reich from bombers - 1/29/2019 8:02:31 AM   
Darojax


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Hallo!

So, I'm playing a Grand Campaign game as the Axis against a couple of friends, but I am unable to make the Luftwaffe defend the Reich properly from (unescorted) B-17 bombers.

I've made sure there are BF 109 and Fw 190 air groups spread out in the critical areas. I've tried with Air Superiority air directives and without (flying during enemy air phase), frankly I've tried pretty much all I can think of but it is of no avail. Unescorted B-17s (flying during the day around 27,000 feet) are almost unopposed and can bomb as they please.

Any advise how to make the Luftwaffe defend the Reich would be much appreciated.

cheers

D

< Message edited by Darojax -- 1/29/2019 8:08:22 AM >


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RE: Defending the Reich from bombers - 1/29/2019 8:59:30 AM   
loki100


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sounds like you are doing the basics right. Don't miss on the impact of AA, a HQ with heavy AA moving around key cities can give the Allies more hassle than your fighters.

The other bit you maybe missing is the real impact on allied raids of your defensive deployment. The key is not really to shoot down allied bombers but to damage their morale so they have to be rested.

Due to how the battle reports show, you don't see what happens to damaged planes but some will crash (shown as operational losses) so its worth tracking the losses screen to get a handle on this.

Second is that damaged planes drop their morale (the crew has just had a really bad time of it), so the squadron needs to be rested - ie its not bombing.

Given allied plane production, from late 43 bomber losses as such are not a constraint, low morale is.

One good way to get a feel for this is to play a few turns of one of the strategic air scenarios solitaire. Its like playing Breakout that way - you get to see the secondary, slightly hidden, stuff that is often the real success of your mission. So for eg, interdiction pays off not in shown combat losses but in shredding units that move - you don't see this in the battle indicator.

Other thing, if the US AAF is up at 27,000' its not doing too much damage for the wear and tear of flying the missions. So that is a plus to you - again its instructive to set up a few tests to see how altitude/impact/operational losses all interlink. I'd be happy if that was what my opponent was doing to avoid my fighters.

Apols - bit of a messy response but its not clear if you are also trying auto-intercept (ie not using AS). That can avoid height issues (ie your fighters will go to the bombers not operate at the cieling you set). If so make sure you remove fuel tanks as you don't want them wandering too far or engaging in small numbers.

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RE: Defending the Reich from bombers - 1/29/2019 2:39:46 PM   
Darojax


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Thanks for your advise and input. I will continue to experiment. : )

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RE: Defending the Reich from bombers - 1/29/2019 11:13:54 PM   
xhoel


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I would advise you to try to predict where the enemy will bomb and contest him there with a high number of fighters. Position your fighters so that they are out of range for the enemy fighters. I would advise you to pull out everything from France/Netherlands/Belgium/Italy (I tend to leave around 200 fighters in Northern Italy) and the Ruhr and concentrate in key sectors. Don't intercept over the Ruhr, you are only shooting yourself in the foot that way. Stack the cities there with AA and let the WA do what they want.

Check to see that your morale is high and fatigue is low. In my opinion you should strip any extra guns (maybe keep some groups with the 20mm but thats it). Check the bases to see that they are at full TOE and have high priority for supply. Try if possible to get Lohr to command Luftflotte Reich.

If the enemy is throwing unescorted bombers to you, it should be fairly easy to inflict some serious damage on them if you concentrate your fighters like I said. Basically if you defend everywhere you won't be strong everywhere. But if you concentrate you can pull off some great victories that will leave the WA in taters and win you some time (and exp gains for your crews).

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RE: Defending the Reich from bombers - 1/30/2019 6:57:00 AM   
Darojax


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More good advise, thankyou.

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RE: Defending the Reich from bombers - 1/30/2019 9:30:10 AM   
loki100


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my interpretation of the strategic air war is that both sides have a key resource.

For the allies that is morale as usually they have the pilots and planes to keep the bombing going (ok they can be short of some national pilot groups and before the B-17G arrives) and for the Germans is trained pilots (again you can run out of some fighter types but usually can work around this).

Why? Well its low morale that forces the Allied player to stand down bomber squadrons and at a critical point you need to stop everyone or risk just flying in small numbers. For the axis player the critical pt is when you can no longer rely on trained pilots to fill out your fighters - after that your experience levels go very low and you lose a lot of air battles.

So to 'win' as the German you need to inflict max morale damage for minumum actual pilot losses. In truth, what you need to do is to nurse your fighter pilot cadre as late into 1944 as you can but at the same time slow the Allied bombing campaign.

So, agree partly with the above. Flak is a good compensation as its damage inflicting (=lower morale) and its far better to engage with your fighters en-masse rather than spread around. My view is I move them around and if I miss some raids that is a fair trade off for when I guess right.

I'd disagree about abandoning the Ruhr with my fighters (agree totally about getting out of France and Benelux). Its not till early-44 that the Allies have good fighters that can sustain operations over the Ruhr (the 1943 British fighters can't manage this) so you are not going to be beaten too badly. On the other hand as an Allied player, if offered the Ruhr as a free target I'd take it and just bomb there. There are enough VP on offer, plus other strategic targets, to make that attractive.

Small things to watch. Allied fighters on direct bomber escort tend not to inflict too many outright losses on you ... and you can cope with morale damage better than the allied bombers. Allied fighters on an AS mission will be hunting your fighters and you can't trade off these losses. So once you see this in the combat reports, thats when I'd pull back from the Ruhr. Its a good indication that the Allied player has both volume and the better 1944 fighters in operation and can spare them for aggressively hunting you rather than protecting their bombers.

You will need to rethink the defense of the Ruhr from Spring 1944, at that stage I would pull back, but also at that stage the VP multiplier for bombing is on its way down. Also you are then managing the last stage when the Luftwaffe has some threat. By late 44 either your experience is gone (pilot losses) or what you have left is pretty redundant (sheer number of allied planes, low VP for bombing, allied airbases in NE France etc).

The standard advice to run down your NF formations and flip the pilots to day fighters is sound. Its linked to the lack of targets really, by mid-44 Bomber Command will not have much left to hit and outside OBOE its actually not that effective. So your NF become redundant while you still need day fighters.

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RE: Defending the Reich from bombers - 1/30/2019 5:22:48 PM   
DicedT

 

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Actually, RAF Spitfires with drop tanks can escort B-17s over the Ruhr in 1943, if they operate from coastal bases like Lowestoft. They'll take heavy losses, but there's plenty of Spits in the pool, and they'll inflict them on the Luftwaffe. Interestingly, it's the older Spitfire V that has the longer legs for bomber escort (and the Spitfire VIII), versus the shorter-range Mark IX.

I don't think this is historically accurate. But it works.

Michael

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RE: Defending the Reich from bombers - 1/30/2019 7:54:01 PM   
Denniss

 

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They could have done that but they didnt - would have been reverse BoB with the spits at the edge of its range envelope vs fresh defenders. Plus the Spit V had some deficits vs Bf 109G and Fw 190A

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RE: Defending the Reich from bombers - 1/30/2019 8:46:46 PM   
DicedT

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Denniss

They could have done that but they didnt - would have been reverse BoB with the spits at the edge of its range envelope vs fresh defenders. Plus the Spit V had some deficits vs Bf 109G and Fw 190A


Right. But in WITW, Fighter Command has a virtually unlimited supply of Spits and trained pilots that are pretty much useless in Northwestern Europe until D-Day. So you might as well use them to attrit the Luftwaffe.

Michael

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RE: Defending the Reich from bombers - 1/30/2019 8:58:56 PM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: DicedT


quote:

ORIGINAL: Denniss

They could have done that but they didnt - would have been reverse BoB with the spits at the edge of its range envelope vs fresh defenders. Plus the Spit V had some deficits vs Bf 109G and Fw 190A


Right. But in WITW, Fighter Command has a virtually unlimited supply of Spits and trained pilots that are pretty much useless in Northwestern Europe until D-Day. So you might as well use them to attrit the Luftwaffe.

Michael


I've run out of Spitfires in 1943 due to my opponent giving me the chance for a sustained fighter battle, so you can exhaust your resources. Having said that, all I did was flip beaten up formations to Hurricanes or Kittyhawks, off to train as FB and re-equip as Typhoons on their return. Basically by Sept/Oct 43 I was out of Spitfires but equally that is the end of the reliable bombing season.

Its a trade off I'd take any time even so.

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RE: Defending the Reich from bombers - 1/30/2019 11:23:34 PM   
xhoel


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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

my interpretation of the strategic air war is that both sides have a key resource.

For the allies that is morale as usually they have the pilots and planes to keep the bombing going (ok they can be short of some national pilot groups and before the B-17G arrives) and for the Germans is trained pilots (again you can run out of some fighter types but usually can work around this).

Why? Well its low morale that forces the Allied player to stand down bomber squadrons and at a critical point you need to stop everyone or risk just flying in small numbers. For the axis player the critical pt is when you can no longer rely on trained pilots to fill out your fighters - after that your experience levels go very low and you lose a lot of air battles.

So to 'win' as the German you need to inflict max morale damage for minumum actual pilot losses. In truth, what you need to do is to nurse your fighter pilot cadre as late into 1944 as you can but at the same time slow the Allied bombing campaign.

So, agree partly with the above. Flak is a good compensation as its damage inflicting (=lower morale) and its far better to engage with your fighters en-masse rather than spread around. My view is I move them around and if I miss some raids that is a fair trade off for when I guess right.

I'd disagree about abandoning the Ruhr with my fighters (agree totally about getting out of France and Benelux). Its not till early-44 that the Allies have good fighters that can sustain operations over the Ruhr (the 1943 British fighters can't manage this) so you are not going to be beaten too badly. On the other hand as an Allied player, if offered the Ruhr as a free target I'd take it and just bomb there. There are enough VP on offer, plus other strategic targets, to make that attractive.

Small things to watch. Allied fighters on direct bomber escort tend not to inflict too many outright losses on you ... and you can cope with morale damage better than the allied bombers. Allied fighters on an AS mission will be hunting your fighters and you can't trade off these losses. So once you see this in the combat reports, thats when I'd pull back from the Ruhr. Its a good indication that the Allied player has both volume and the better 1944 fighters in operation and can spare them for aggressively hunting you rather than protecting their bombers.

You will need to rethink the defense of the Ruhr from Spring 1944, at that stage I would pull back, but also at that stage the VP multiplier for bombing is on its way down. Also you are then managing the last stage when the Luftwaffe has some threat. By late 44 either your experience is gone (pilot losses) or what you have left is pretty redundant (sheer number of allied planes, low VP for bombing, allied airbases in NE France etc).

The standard advice to run down your NF formations and flip the pilots to day fighters is sound. Its linked to the lack of targets really, by mid-44 Bomber Command will not have much left to hit and outside OBOE its actually not that effective. So your NF become redundant while you still need day fighters.


I agree with your take partially. However in the first 20 or so turns of the campaign you can attrit WA bombers (US ones at least and see less and less of them flying because they don't have an unlimited supply and almost all their groups fly either the B-17F or the B-24D which are out of production at that time. Plus it takes time to get a bomber group up to full strength even if they have the planes in the pool, so there is also that to consider.

Using flak is really important as it helps damage morale and increases operational losses by quite a lot. Moving fighter groups is also very important as you said. Sometimes you miss some raids and sometimes you catch some, it's the way the game goes. But the ones you tend to catch inflict serious losses on the enemy and curb your own.

I disagree on the Ruhr topic. A good WA player can have enough fighters flying AS missions over the Ruhr to damage the LW by a huge margin. In the end you are simply losing pilots by engaging in a head to head fight that you should avoid until 1944 comes. Bombing the Ruhr every turn as you say (if you notice that the enemy isn't flying any fighters) will not be very effective because of diminishing returns. After you have bombed all the factories to around 80% damage after 2 turns,you are doing an overkill if you keep bombing them because:

a) those damage numbers will only go up by a small margin
b) to the German player, a 80% damaged factory and a 100% damaged one are still the same in terms of productions. They will not produce anything.

And as the Germans you can sit your fighters back and let the pilot pools build up. The industry hit will be substantial no doubt but it will not be enough to induce huge shortages.

In my GC game against Hghx-0 he is using P38s massed with bombers everytime he attacks (and he is attacking deep into Germany before 1943 has even ended). So I'm constantly seeing 300 WA fighters escorting 600 bombers deep in Germany. If I even tried to defend the Ruhr those fighter numbers would probably double. That is a good way to completely destroy the LW in one week or two. So I have chosen to gather my fighters and try to guess where he strikes. I still take heavy losses but nothing like what I would take if I had intercepted such huge raids with say 300 LW fighters.

Now if the WA player has not yet figured out how to use his fighters then of course you could defend the Ruhr but I find it hard to believe that WA players won't realize that they can pull P-38 groups from Italy or fill up fighter groups with P-38s sitting idly in the pools and throw them at the Germans.

Pretty much agree with everything else you said. One must take into account the type of player they are facing and the way they utilize their forces. There is no "best way" if you will, only a best counter to what the WA player throws at you.

Best regards,
Xhoel

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RE: Defending the Reich from bombers - 1/31/2019 8:43:18 AM   
Darojax


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Thanks guys for all your input.

Just a note on factory production:

(21.2.2.)

"The damage level of a factory is also the probability that the factory will not produce on a given turn. for example 100 damage means no production, while 25 damage means 25 percent chance of no production and a 75 percent chance of full production. for example a fw-190 aircraft factory with 12 factory points, or size 12, which had 40 damage would have a 60 percent chance of producing 12 aircraft and a 40 percent chance of producing 0 aircraft."

I.e. The rules are different than those of War in the East. Statistical probability says that over many turns this means a 60% damaged factory will produce at 40% capacity, a 99% damaged factory produce at 1% capacity etc.

< Message edited by Darojax -- 1/31/2019 8:50:42 AM >


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RE: Defending the Reich from bombers - 1/31/2019 9:56:38 AM   
loki100


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true

but its worth remembering that most Allied bombing is not really to shut down production but to gain VP. Basically I don't think the game does a great job as a detailed economic simulator (equally I am very glad about this). By that I mean that bombing won't really hit HI/MP or Oil/Fuel production significantly.

So production is not the target for that set, its gaining VP and this you do based on the raw damage level. Of course, you get the VP for any level of damage > 1 for U-boats/V-weapons.

I will bomb truck and medium tank production in addition as I think this undercuts some key parts to the Wehrmacht, I'll also go for railyards and some plane production (but not sustained - taking the view that I'll shoot it down in any case - in that the game fails to reflect the underlying logic of the Point Blank directive).

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RE: Defending the Reich from bombers - 1/31/2019 12:07:07 PM   
xhoel


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@Darojax: Thanks for reminding me that. I mix between WITW and WITE so some of the rules are blurred in my head.

@loki100: True, you cannot force Germany into submission by hitting its industry but you can cause shortages. Trucks and Panzers that you mentioned are really the Achilles heel. You get those factories out of production and you will see understrength panzer formations on the front and see the supply situation deteriorate. Agree with the assessment of the railyard and plane factory hitting (especially if you hit fighter production).

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RE: Defending the Reich from bombers - 1/31/2019 8:23:44 PM   
bomccarthy


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As the Allied player, I tend to ignore aircraft factories, even those producing fighters. They are generally too far away for adequate Allied escort, until you get substantial numbers of P-51s. Plus, shooting fighters down instead of preventing their production also takes out pilots.

My only exception is Me-262 factories. Unless I have missed seeing something in the target list, there are only four of them: Aalen, Ulm, Ingolstadt, and Regensberg. If you can keep their production suppressed, you will be thankful in the Fall of 1944.

Caveat to this exception: the Me-262 factory in Regensberg seems to have been designed and built by the same team that constructed the U-boat pens on the Atlantic coast. I just completed a 43-45 campaign game (against the AI) where I bombed Regensberg with 200-300 heavies every turn between June 44 and January 45, and never inflicted a single point of damage on this factory. Every other a/c factory in the city received significant damage and most of them stayed in the red during that time. Luckily, the other three Me-262 factories were heavily damaged throughout this particular bombing campaign, so production was affected.

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