Ah, the Air War Again

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MishaTX
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Ah, the Air War Again

Post by MishaTX »

Axis, of course, because I always prefer playing the side that lost. I'm a masochist that way.

After having perused all of the threads I could find in this great forum and gone through many more air execution phases than I care to think about (as an aside, the UI needs a bit of work in my opinion. For one thing, it would be nice if you could assign a new mission target without the map resetting to the center of the Luftflotte that you select but, on the upside, I'm now ever more familiar with Eastern European geography than I already am), I think I've come up with a result I can live with.

139 Axis losses to 2,609 Soviet ones on turn 1. I particularly like the 1,900 Soviet Fighter/Fighter-Bomber losses, since I don't really care if they have bombers left to GS me with as long as I have plenty of Fighters to intercept them with. It's only going to increase the bloodbath.

How?

Took some experimenting and I could have probably gotten better results if I'd tried a few more times, but this is good enough as far as I'm concerned.

Rule 1): What others have said, focus your first wave of attacks (Very High priority) on fighter bases. Second wave (High or lower priority) on everything else.

Rule 2): 2 attacks in wave 1, 1 in wave 2. Not worth it in my opinion to up the op losses by endlessly bombing Soviet bomber bases in wave 2. They'll come to you anyway, and if they don't have fighters to escort them, your Bf's will chew them to pieces. I might adjust it in the future to only make one strike on bases with <100 planes in phase one. I found myself bombing airfields a few times just to watch the rubble bounce, which is a waste of air miles and only serves to increase the time you have to spend repairing the fighter bases after you snatch them.

Rule 3): No recon on turn 1. There's nothing that can stop you on that turn and, at any rate, after enough fresh starts, you'll have memorized where the "problem spots" are anyway. It doesn't add to the game. After turn one, though, recon becomes a factor in a big way.

Any tips?

Image

Final note: I'm going to keep on harping on about this [;)]: Why is EVERY SINGLE ops loss a dead pilot? I don't care overly much about an air frame loss, but losing an experienced pilot every single time a landing gear fails to deploy seems a bit much.
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M60A3TTS
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RE: Ah, the Air War Again

Post by M60A3TTS »

ORIGINAL: MishaTX

Final note: I'm going to keep on harping on about this [;)]: Why is EVERY SINGLE ops loss a dead pilot? I don't care overly much about an air frame loss, but losing an experienced pilot every single time a landing gear fails to deploy seems a bit much.

One must not consider this harping as much as admirable persistence.

The reason for high ops losses is simple. Turn air support on and you never turn it off, just like in the original. That is after all the simplest thing to do. It's also completely unrealistic in its own right. You shouldn't be allowed to always get air support. Sometimes the Luftwaffe has to say no, if for no other reason than to preserve itself. Of course in a game like this, it cannot, so this ops loss mechanism lends encouragement to the notion that you should be more selective in calling in air support or be prepared for the consequences.

Now, (gasp!) you actually have to think about when to bring in some help. You get replacement pilots and airframes. Just manage the force and manage the use of it.


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MishaTX
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RE: Ah, the Air War Again

Post by MishaTX »

One must not consider this harping as much as admirable persistence.

Well, I'm nothing if not persistent [;)]

I feel like I should clarify a bit, however: It's not the ops losses themselves I have a "problem" with. As a matter of fact (after I finally got myself to reading about something OTHER than the ground war in the East), they seem much more spot on than WitE. As you say, with the insane amount of pressure we put on the poor LW, it would be a miracle if their planes didn't start coming apart.

What has me scratching my head is the fact that it seems (from looking at the loss report) like every single ops loss results in a dead pilot. Surely there would be the occasional pilot being able to walk away from the wreckage?
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Rondor11
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RE: Ah, the Air War Again

Post by Rondor11 »

By doing just 1 attack (not the auto 2) on each airbase and using the very high/high method above I consistently get well under 100 planes lost (usually 80ish) and 2200 to 2400 Russian losses. I have not been able to get better but probably could with better rebasing before running the turn.

I have tested maybe 20 to 30 runs for T1 air so far.
Chris B

Tribute to DD485, the USS Duncan. Sunk at Cape Esperance October 11, 1942 with my 15 year old father aboard. 48 died from wounds and sharks.
TheFerret
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RE: Ah, the Air War Again

Post by TheFerret »

You should be able to inflict more losses than that, IMO.

My results from two ongoing games. First, against the AI, with a "traditional" bombing campaign aimed at inflicting maximum losses in the air execution phase. For this one I did one attack for each target, and manually set the number of attacking aircraft roughly equal to the number of aircraft at the target.

Losses after air execution phase:
Image

Full turn 1 air losses:
Image

Second, in a H2H game. Bombed all fighter bases near the border and all bases near Rumania (and got greedy there and lost like 40 bombers in one sortie that was too deep and got intercepted). Then relied on ground support & auto intercepts to shoot down the rest during the ground phase to increase pilot losses. Again, one attack per target, but this time I kept the sortie size on Auto - I figured out afterward that Auto does a pretty good job of giving you the right size sortie to inflict maximum losses and no more.

Losses after air execution phase:
Image

Full turn 1 air losses:
Image
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Rondor11
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RE: Ah, the Air War Again

Post by Rondor11 »

Excellent results.

My results were after the Air Phase. I might get 300 to 500 more after the action phase.

I just improved my Airbase placement for airgroups and reduced Ops losses to under 50, flak is 5-10 and air combat losses vary but as low as 5 and as high as 20.

Maybe I need to look at if I am missing some bases I should be hitting...
Chris B

Tribute to DD485, the USS Duncan. Sunk at Cape Esperance October 11, 1942 with my 15 year old father aboard. 48 died from wounds and sharks.
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MishaTX
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RE: Ah, the Air War Again

Post by MishaTX »

My results from two ongoing games.

Wow! That is really impressive!

Yes, I do believe that 2 attacks per base, even the big ones, is a bit overkill now. That I'd definitely change.

One question, though: How deep do you go? I didn't do many deep strikes since they're out of escort range and I was a bit paranoid about my precious Heinkels being shot up. On the other hand I did notice, during the execution phase, that the few deep strikes I DID have didn't take near as many losses as I'd expected. Perhaps I need to be less chicken about losing Fetter Hermann's boys? [:)]
TheFerret
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RE: Ah, the Air War Again

Post by TheFerret »

ORIGINAL: MishaTX
My results from two ongoing games.

Wow! That is really impressive!

Yes, I do believe that 2 attacks per base, even the big ones, is a bit overkill now. That I'd definitely change.

One question, though: How deep do you go? I didn't do many deep strikes since they're out of escort range and I was a bit paranoid about my precious Heinkels being shot up. On the other hand I did notice, during the execution phase, that the few deep strikes I DID have didn't take near as many losses as I'd expected. Perhaps I need to be less chicken about losing Fetter Hermann's boys? [:)]

I didn't go particularly deep, mostly just the first tier of fighter bases that are within, or just outside, escort range. In the second example, I got greedy and it happened exactly like you said - an entire flight of Heinkels was scattered over some poor Moldovian farmer's fields.

One really important thing is to hit the bases in the right order. I set attacks on the border fighter bases to Very High priority. I really want them cleared out, so I think it's worth the extra potential ops losses to send two waves at the bases with lots of fighters including MiG-3s (which seem to be the highest threat): Alytus, Bialystok, Zambrow, Brody, Lvov, Chernovtsy, Beltsy. Then the second tier of fighter bases are High priority, non-fighter bases near the front at Normal priority, and finally any deep strikes I want to try are Low priority so they go last. ADs are executed in order of priority, from top to bottom of the list, so you can control precisely what order they're flown in.

Other random notes:

I experimented with setting fighter-trained FBs to bomb, and did not find it worthwhile.

I've also experimented with assigning the tac bomber air groups to fly specific sorties in the first wave, to make sure they're flying close to the border and within fighter cover, and that seems to work OK, but they're not the best at airfield attacks so it's no loss if you assign them directly to ground support for the first turn.

All bombers, and tac bombers and bomber-mode FBs if they are used for airfield strikes, are assigned the most bombs they can possibly carry (i.e. 50lb bombs for the level bombers) since planes are fragile and don't need a 500lb bomb to kill - the AI seems to mostly do a good job at this on its own, but will sometimes try to assign unnecessary drop tanks. If any fighters get drop tanks, it's selected groups for specific purposes - drop tanks seem to dramatically increase fighter ops losses. (In turn 2 and later, I put loadouts back to Auto except for fighter and Ju-87 drop tanks, which I like to manage to make sure ops losses are acceptable.)

I tried some night strikes on deeper bases - they usually aren't intercepted, but they don't seem to inflict worthwhile damage, given the increased ops losses.
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neuromancer
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RE: Ah, the Air War Again

Post by neuromancer »

ORIGINAL: TheFerret
If any fighters get drop tanks, it's selected groups for specific purposes - drop tanks seem to dramatically increase fighter ops losses. (In turn 2 and later, I put loadouts back to Auto except for fighter Ju-87 drop tanks, which I like to manage to make sure ops losses are acceptable.)

OH! This is good to know! I've been putting drop tanks on my 109s to make up for their short legs, but if that is a major contributor to Ops Losses I will have to stop doing that.

Have you found this universally true for all aircraft that drop tanks are unhealthy, or mostly just for the lighter aircraft?
TheFerret
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RE: Ah, the Air War Again

Post by TheFerret »

It's probably true for all aircraft because ops losses increase with miles flown, but I've found it most noticeable with fighters and the Ju-87s. The AI likes to give drop tanks to Ju-88s on Auto loadout sometimes, and I haven't felt the need to mess with them. I set manual loadouts for bombers on turn 1 to maximize ordnance carried - in my experiments the level bombers don't end up flying enough miles to suffer more than incidental ops losses of 20-40 airframes, which seems unavoidable.

Don't take me as an authority on efficiently using the air force though - here's air losses as of the end of T11 in that H2H game. At the rate I'm losing planes, there won't be a Luftwaffe by 1942... (the lesson here is pretty simple though - take care to turn off ground support if you're out of escort range!)

Image
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loki100
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RE: Ah, the Air War Again

Post by loki100 »

the ratio you have is good.

other bit worth bearing in mind, come mid-Oct the LW goes into winter hibernation. Esp the LB become useless as the weather worsens (range+poor weather= ops losses), come next spring it will have repaired itself. So the key really is to manage it for the T1-T15 period.

as a comparison (and I always find these useful) heres my HtH T11 loss table. As you can see my opponent has been hiding the VVS which feeds back into my losses.

Image

edit: a couple of lines are worth looking at.

a) your transport losses. I tend to drop air supply 5-8 hexes behind the front where there are no Soviet fighters (& again within range so as to minimise ops losses), I find this is pretty much as useful as a direct drop to the most forward base.

b) level bombers - range? usage? worth thinking about this (not that it is a clear cut issue but it could be something you could reduce)

of course, I've run my stukas into the ground, to the extent that they mostly are off map till the 87-D production starts to kick in.
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MishaTX
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RE: Ah, the Air War Again

Post by MishaTX »

Some great tips here for sure! I especially like the idea of playing with loadouts, hadn't thought of that for some reason.
therealevan
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RE: Ah, the Air War Again

Post by therealevan »

Fantastic tips everyone, this is just what I was looking for. Thank you!
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MishaTX
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RE: Ah, the Air War Again

Post by MishaTX »

Once again, thanks. And to show my appreciation, the summary after using the tips here:

Not quite as good as some, but definitely an improvement!



Image

Edit: Now, there's a really good argument to be had (see this thread) as to whether destroying Soviet "airplanes" on the ground is really a good idea.

Is it better to leave them alone and let the well-rested, bright-eyed LW pilots shoot their planes out of the sky when they try to GS their units in the following ground movement phase? The losses (as per the thread mentioned) are comparable, and it might be said that you're only doing the reds a favor by ridding them of airframes that aren't worth the styrofoam they're made of and leaving their pilots alone. After all, the Soviets in particular, you can always build a new plane, but a trained pilot is a bit harder to "manufacture."

And since the game translates every single loss of airframe (unless it was lost in a bombing raid on the ground), no matter what, into a dead pilot (those lethal landing gear and engine failures, never heard of a real life pilot surviving one of those [;)]), it seems to me that you might cripple the VVS a whole lot more by letting them fly rather than killing their planes on the ground.
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