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Showcasing WitE2 #5 - Air Operational Groups & Air Operations

 
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Showcasing WitE2 #5 - Air Operational Groups & Air Oper... - 2/9/2021 8:52:48 AM   
RedLancer


Posts: 4181
Joined: 11/16/2005
From: UK
Status: offline
Now that the AARs are up and running our next two showcases will take a slight change in approach. We’ll try and show a bit more of the functionality that WitE2 has to help the management of the huge complexity of the game. This showcase will focus on the air war.

WitE’s air war had quite a high level of abstraction with the moveable air base counters. In WitW there was a change to on map air bases and a separate air phase with instructions issued through air directives. This same approach is used in WitE2. However, the grander scale of WitE2, particularly the greater distances covered, has meant we have had to add a new concept – the Air Operational Group (AOG). AOGs allow the grouping of air units within a command structure and has some similarity to how different ground elements are grouped together within a combat or support unit. The key idea is that instead of having to individually manage every single air unit you can control them within the simpler AOG structure. To start with we’ll explain AOGs and then we’ll explain how air missions are controlled.

Your very first exposure to AOGs will be when you open your first scenario as the air planning phase is the first phase you will encounter.



The AOG labels function like counters in that they provide information about the AOG but they are not strictly on the map. Their positioning is aligned to the distribution of the AOG’s air units at air bases on the map. The only on map air related counters are high level air command HQs. AOGs have a 3 tiered command structure of Army, Corps and Div/Bde/Regt (Low-Level).

As is common across the game as you zoom in you can see more information and if you select a specific AOG then you can see more detail including sub-ordinate AOGs and associated air bases. In this screenshot I have selected I Fliegerkorps and then Gerdauen air base.



On the Gerdauen’s air base label you can see that it is short of supply and support with both of these marked in yellow. However, it has enough to function, you probably only need to worry if this shows as orange or red.

The AOG symbol is a little more complicated to explain so I’ve taken the liberty of stealing from the AOG One Page Guide we have done so you can see what’s what:



This snapshot hints at some of the functionality we have given AOGs to help you manage the air units more easily. We have included significant AI controlled air functionality. At the most extreme you and your opponent can select Automate AI Air Assist as a game preference which will result in the AI handling most of the air war. At an intermediate level there is the AI Air Assist button which you press to trigger the AI doing its stuff. For the lovers of management you can control everything yourself.

If you are happy to delegate control then HQ Follow is quite simple to understand – AOGs can be set to follow specific HQs as they move. Stance is a setting which dictates when air units will move as to do so at the wrong time may impact their ability to provide the air support needed. Mission Setting controls at what time of the day air missions will be flown. Of course you can also control the movement of AOGs manually.

I think the last paragraph highlights the key message in this showcase - there is real choice in how involved you are in the WitE2 air war. On the one hand you can do very little and allow the AI to be your air commander; on the other you can do it all yourself. In between there is a spectrum of layers of involvement to choose to suit your playing style.

Now that you have an understanding of the AOG structure and their subordinate air units we can look at how they are given instructions to conduct air operations. Those familiar with WitW will understand Air Directives but for those who aren’t let me explain. Air Directives (ADs) are a broad set on instructions that you give to control air units. These instructions can be summarised in terms like “I want Koluft 16 to recon area X” or “I want Fliegerkorps I to provide Ground Support to Army Group North”. In setting an AD you can specify more detailed criteria such as the time of day, number of aircraft to fly, escorts and altitude or leave them as is - it really is up to you! Whatever your choice the individual missions that are then flown to deliver the intent of the AD are controlled by the computer. This makes controlling the air war much simpler. A quick run of Axis Turn1 for GC41 using the ADs set in the scenario saw 6541 different sorties flown!

There are a choice of six different ADs:
- Ground Attack – This AD focuses on a map area and slows & interdicts enemy ground units.
- Strategic Bombing / Bomb City – Used to bomb production facilities & manpower in cities.
- Air Recon – Used to increase the detection level of enemy ground units in the target area.
- Air Superiority – Fighter units fly to an area and try to disrupt enemy missions in that area.
- Naval Patrol - – The units will attempt to create naval interdiction points in the target area.
and finally
- Ground Support – Provides ground units with direct air support during ground attacks. Unlike the other ADs Air Groups will fly during the ground movement phase.

In WitE2 by far the most important are Recon and Ground Support.

You are able on the map to show all the ADs that have been set so you can ensure you are covering the areas that you want. The green shaded hexes indicate the reach of the fighter escorts.



This neatly brings me on to the ability to show the ranges of air units from their air bases. Here you can see the range circles of JG54’s aircraft. JG54 is I Fliegerkorps’ fighter AOG – compare the circles with the green shaded hexes above. Certain AOGs are limited in the aircraft types they can use but actually that makes things easier to manage.



This next screenshot focuses on the Recon AD on the map for Luftflotte 1 which will be flown by Koluft 18 and Koluft 4 PGr. On the right hand side you can see some of the specified criteria.



You can move the AD boxes on the map to position them exactly as you need:



Once you are happy you can run the air turn and watch how things go a varying levels of information (more choice!). At the end you get a summary. This next screenshot shows Luftflotte 1, again focusing on the Recon AD assigned to Koluft 18 and Koluft 4 PGr:



As mentioned above Ground Support ADs are flown during the ground phase. In setting the AD you can allocate the air units to be used or set allocation to automatic. When you launch an attack using your ground forces you have the choice to specify whether air units will fly in support.

In summary I hope you can see we have added significant functionality to control air units within the new AOG construct and choice to allow you to either let the AI take most of the burden or immerse yourself in what has been described as a game within a game.



_____________________________

John
WitE2 Asst Producer
WitE & WitW Dev
Post #: 1
RE: Showcasing WitE2 #5 - Air Operational Groups & Air ... - 2/10/2021 1:36:44 AM   
CJM

 

Posts: 46
Joined: 10/12/2014
Status: offline
I already know what I am buying myself for my birthday. Massive thanks and bravo to all involved in the birth of WiTE2 (and WiTE/WiTW, too)

_____________________________

The Wehrmacht that set out to conquer Russia in 1941 was a poor army with strictly limited resources.
- Supplying War (1977)

(in reply to RedLancer)
Post #: 2
RE: Showcasing WitE2 #5 - Air Operational Groups & Air ... - 2/10/2021 10:25:11 PM   
MAS

 

Posts: 28
Joined: 9/25/2015
Status: offline
Hello John, thanks for your work on this great project. I can't wait to get my copy. You guys have ruined WITE1 for me. It used to seem so comprehensive and detailed!

I've got a few questions on this thread.

1) In the first screenshot, are Luftflotte 1, I Fliegerkorps and all the individual Geswader (i.e. KG 1, JG54, etc) considered to be AOGs?

2) In the 2nd screenshot, I Fliegerkorps in the upper right hand corner has the numbers 331-400. What do these numbers represent?

3) same screenshot, under the Gerdauen airfield, the colors are different between I./KG 76 and II./KG 76 (one has JU 88A in red and the other just 88A in red) What's the distinction?

4) The recon AD Target Priorities are interesting. What kind of information would one obtain from prioritizing railways, ports or ferries? I assume a priority for interdiction would improve the effects of the aircraft actually flying interdiction? And since airfields have high recon priority on turn one, this would help the Luftwaffe destroy more VVS aircraft on the ground?

5) What AD do you use for airfield bombing, Ground Attack or Air Superiority?

Finally, if I haven't been too much of a pain, how can I sign up for beta testing?

Thanks,

Mark

(in reply to RedLancer)
Post #: 3
RE: Showcasing WitE2 #5 - Air Operational Groups & Air ... - 2/11/2021 7:43:58 AM   
loki100


Posts: 8001
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: MAS

Hello John, thanks for your work on this great project. I can't wait to get my copy. You guys have ruined WITE1 for me. It used to seem so comprehensive and detailed!

I've got a few questions on this thread.

1) In the first screenshot, are Luftflotte 1, I Fliegerkorps and all the individual Geswader (i.e. KG 1, JG54, etc) considered to be AOGs?

2) In the 2nd screenshot, I Fliegerkorps in the upper right hand corner has the numbers 331-400. What do these numbers represent?

3) same screenshot, under the Gerdauen airfield, the colors are different between I./KG 76 and II./KG 76 (one has JU 88A in red and the other just 88A in red) What's the distinction?

4) The recon AD Target Priorities are interesting. What kind of information would one obtain from prioritizing railways, ports or ferries? I assume a priority for interdiction would improve the effects of the aircraft actually flying interdiction? And since airfields have high recon priority on turn one, this would help the Luftwaffe destroy more VVS aircraft on the ground?

5) What AD do you use for airfield bombing, Ground Attack or Air Superiority?

Finally, if I haven't been too much of a pain, how can I sign up for beta testing?

Thanks,

Mark


1- yes, you have to use the air command (luftflotte for the axis and air army for the Soviets) and low level (say KG1 in that image), the intermediate level (I Fliegerkorps) is optional but useful for how you set up your orders. The 2 lower levels function similarly, the air command also has an on-map presence in the usual counter (but that is only to hold the commander and to affect the allocation of support squads)

2 - ready planes/total planes so it has some that are damaged or lack pilots

3 - the brown is the missing planes (as above), so 1'KG 76 has more missing (ie the brown part of the panel)

4 - railways allows you to see where the enemy rail net has reached and some idea of relative usage - this is obscured by FOW and can be useful for the Soviet player in 1941 when you maybe trying to work out where the FBD are. Ferries if you want to then bomb them (more use in WiTW but there are a few places where your opponent might be relying on them for local supply), ports again if those were the planned target of your later bombing missions.

Interdiction actually recons what might be vacant hexes, unit recons hexes with known units, so the trade off is to find out if there is anything you had never detected vs more abour stuff you know exists.

5 - GA - airbase is the mission for that, AS is an aggressive fighter sweep mission where you go looking for enemy fighters/bombers in the air. In truth not much use compared to WiTW when it was a standard mission for the Western Allies

_____________________________


(in reply to MAS)
Post #: 4
RE: Showcasing WitE2 #5 - Air Operational Groups & Air ... - 2/11/2021 7:50:20 AM   
RedLancer


Posts: 4181
Joined: 11/16/2005
From: UK
Status: offline
OK

1) - Yes - you can just about see the size differences in the Boxes - Luftflotte 1 is a Army level AOG, I Fliegerkorps is a Corps level AOG and the others are low level. You only see AOG labels on the map and can only see the air units if you select an air base.

2) 331 Aircraft are ready from a total of 400 Aircraft in I Fliegerkorps.

3) Ready aircraft again - both have a total of 30 aircraft including damaged (which you can't see in the screenshots but can elsewhere).

4) Exactly as you intimate - the recon improves the chance of hits against those targets. Most players using manual control set up recon on days before attacks.

5) Ground Attack

Finally - expect an announcement in the next few weeks.

_____________________________

John
WitE2 Asst Producer
WitE & WitW Dev

(in reply to MAS)
Post #: 5
RE: Showcasing WitE2 #5 - Air Operational Groups & Air ... - 2/23/2021 4:57:16 PM   
jack54


Posts: 1329
Joined: 7/18/2007
From: East Tennessee
Status: offline
I remember some discussion of possible rectangle AD boxes; looks like it didn't make the cut though as they all seem Square?

It still looks very intriguing... thanks for all the info.

_____________________________

Avatar: Me borrowing Albert Ball's Nieuport 17

Counter from Bloody April by Terry Simo (GMT)

(in reply to RedLancer)
Post #: 6
RE: Showcasing WitE2 #5 - Air Operational Groups & Air ... - 2/23/2021 7:26:26 PM   
loki100


Posts: 8001
Joined: 10/20/2012
From: Utlima Thule
Status: offline
yes, its in squares but you can pull a few tricks. Both recon and naval interdiction happen both in the target box and along the path, so you can sometimes cut off a port by having a one hex target and angling the flight path to drop the interdiction exactly where you want it.

In WiTW, as the Axis player I've pulled this stunt to block off the Bristol Channel if I suspect they are going to invade France, its also a neat way to put the interdiction where their fighters probably aren't.

_____________________________


(in reply to jack54)
Post #: 7
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