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Does flak work?

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On another thread it has become apparent that some players were unhappy with the potency of aircraft in CM. Suggesting that an armour kill was virtually guaranteed per aircraft. As my experience had always been to the contrary I thought a few tests would be in order:

Italy, September 1944 midday, fine, cool, moderate trees, gentle slopes, medium map

For the Germans: platoons of Stugs, Tigers and Hummels one gun, no flak.

For the US two Mustangs with bombs 868 points

Result: 1 gun damaged Tiger, three bailed Hummels – I neglected to make the distinction between abandoned and knocked until a later stage.

I then added two 20mm flak ,which is a little light in my book for the points involved.

Result: Three bailed Hummels, one killed flak, one killed gun [ – too near the flak!] Interesting as the flak was taken out first cutting the AA fire. Also the only Hummel under a hide order in the open was the last one attacked – three times and lost a crew man – they did not bail.

Ran the test again. No near misses. 1 knocked out Hummel – ablaze. And one bailed Hummel. It was amusing to see the plane again attack the bailed Hummel presumably going for a kill.

Third Test: Tiger bomb bracketed by both fighters so crew was shaken twice. Two Hummels crew bailed with 3 casualties each time. The one parked in the open was attacked last again three times and was abandoned by the crew on the second pass.

New map, same parameters but now a quad 20mm and a 37mm flak. Quite gratifying as all the bombs missed and the strafing attacks were abortive. I was pleased to note that both planes had been shot down in the results. However I got no man casualties BF please fix or something!!!!

From this I deduce that the game results approach real life provided you actually provide reasonable flak cover. All purchase for the Germans were about 2000 so a flak spend of 40pts is not overly generous whereas a hundred points was lethal. : )

Note that there might be mileage in RL for the crew to remount their Hummels and ride out of the battle area. Only one was destroyed on the battlefield so if one were to make an analysis of the battlefields it would reveal for sure one burnt out Hummel for 10 sorties, two dead aircraft.

Of course the Germans would know about seven Hummels who never got to fight : ) These possibly might have taken engine and track damage but given the crew casualties and the shape of the vehicle shooting into the gun compartment has to be a big favourite. It was noticeable that the approach by the aircraft was mainly from the rear of the Hummels.

I have to own up that I have never bothered to be in an AA position with aircraft about - I never play at that level. It was beautiful to watch as it fired to lead the Mustang. Just a great little bit to the game.

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In a current game as Russians I have had two Stukas appear and beaten off.

I have two 20mm Flak and a quad 1/2 track.

The sighting of the 20mm flak on a hill reverse slope helps as it gives them maximum chance to see the planes on their approach in.

One 20mm actually shot down one Stuka. The other made an attack on a T34 and pinged its shots off.

It did not come back, I presume the pilot thought better of it based upon the flak that it took.

Not sure if more Stukas will appear but if they do I hope for the same results.

In another current game as the Americans I had a German plane (can't remember what) drop two bombs either side of a M10. The M10 survied (with TC) and enough AA fire was laid down on the plane to persuade it not to come back.

AA fire came from a 50 cal mounted on a 1/2 track which had good LOS to the line of attack taken by the plane.

So for me AA fire works and I have not been hurt by the aircraft.

Of course it could have gone the other way....

And would I be bitching...



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2cm Flaks work in a battery of 3 in close area with a commander near by.

In my current match, Italian Batt vs British inf bat. I have 3 2cm AA guns with a coy com near them, they have shot down 1 spitfire V and sent to others off in a huff, it just comes down to volumn of fire.

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My experience has been that no matter how much flak protection I have, my troops are still naked to the attacks from friendly aircraft. For that reason I don't buy aircraft in QBs, much preferring to take my chances with aircraft I can actually shoot at. :mad: :mad:

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In my experience it seems the quad .50 cal was the most effective AA simply due to its VERY fast turret. the German quad 20 came in second. German and U.S. 37mm cannon take a bite out of the opponent too as long as they don't have to rotate a full 180 degrees to acquire the target. Guns the size of the Bofors gun almost have to be sitting on the plane's flight path pointed in the right direction to be of any use!

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AAGs are excellent for shooting down planes but mainly should be invested in to disrupt bomb, rocket and strafe runs. If your AA prevents your equipment from being destroyed then it has contributed all that can be asked of it. ;) As too the difference between 20mm and 37mm AAGs both are capable of shooting down all kinds of planes but you probably require more numbers of 20mm than of 37mm to be sure of kills. 2x 20mm AAGs is not enough IME. I love shooting down planes so I take 4-6 37mm AAGs in large point battles and the advantage of the 37mm over the 20mm is their effect on the enemy; 21 blast effect as apposed to penutes.

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As there is every likelihood that most people will not find this gem of research by JPS buried in the very dense thread on Junkers87Gs I thought it would be sensible to put it on the shorter more CM related thread

quote:Originally posted by JPS:

Hmm, interesting thread. I decided to run CMBB experiment, July 43, midday, good weather, pretty open farmland. All troops regular. Large map (for attacking scenario, 3000 pts).

15 JU87G attacking 15 T-34M43 (also 10 BA-64B and some infantry, but those were never targeted by the planes). In first trial, defender had 5 25mm AA and 5 37mm AA (290 pts value). In second trial, only the 5 25mm AA.


Overall impression - the Stukas hit their targets often! However, ...

In first trial, 11 aircraft destroyed (2 for 25mm, 9 for 37mm), 1 T-35 abandoned, one immobile, 2 men lost.

In second trial, 1 aircraft destroyed, 1 T-35 abandoned, 2 immobile, no personel casualties.

Conclusion gamewise - Ju87G is waste of points if opponent is expected to have any T-35s.

However, what would be a historically reasonable level of AA guns? One per tank platoon? More? Less? How were these distributed/deployed, e.g., in the initial Soviet defensive stages of Kursk? "

Bigduke6 then comments on the AA force.

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That's why it's important to purchase/edit in an entire battery, so one gun can be set to face each of N, S, E & W.

Obviously not always possible in smaller battles, but air support & the corresponding AA do not tend to be appropriate at smaller point scales anyway.

Originally posted by MikeyD:

[snipped by Brent] Guns the size of the Bofors gun almost have to be sitting on the plane's flight path pointed in the right direction to be of any use!

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The organic figures for smaller formations aren't a good guide to Russian AA density, because they organized most of it in independent AA regiments (often but not always grouped into divisions, as well) that were kept at army or front level, then cross attached to the subformation that needed the air defense.

A typical army had 4-5 regiments of AA attached - but it varies from nothing to twice that. A good rule of thumb is an AA regiment per division and a half - that ratio will hold for a large number of big formations.

For example, at Kursk the Russians fielded 90 independent AA regiments, with fronts having numbers of them roughly in line with their major subformation sizes - 30 AA regiments for 43 RDs in Central, 24 AA regiments for 35 RDs in Voronezh, 36 AA regiments for 42 RDs in Steppe.

Each of these regiments had 16 37mm AA and as many 50 cal AA MGs. Lower level formations had a roughly equal number of additional 50 cal AA MGs on top of this, in AA platoons for small formations and the like. It is not really point defense that does it, though that is what the AA MGs are for.

Instead you have to visualize ~350 batteries of 37mm AA scattered across the whole Kursk salient, perhaps 150 miles north to south and up to 100 miles deep. Which means very roughly that every point in the salient was within 4 miles of a battery of 4 37mm guns. Important tactical points like HQs, artillery batteries, bridges, supply dumps, etc would also have a handful of 50 cals, but the basic story is a sea of 37mm AA coverage that could reach any plane at low level, for half or more of its flying time over the front.

If CM terms, it is perfectly reasonable to take 2 or 4 37mm AA regardless of the scenario size or the force composition. Unfortunately, the AA MGs don't really do their AA job in CM (and have very limited ammo for ground fire work - though they act as "ATRs" readily enough). If you want to simulate their AD effect, you are better off using half as many 25mm (meaning, 2x25mm AA defending a point target or along with any vehicle subunit).

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Thanks JasonC. I tried to accomodate for AA regiments, as per Zaloga&Ness they were mostly re-organized into AA divisions after November 1942. Nevertheless, your numbers from Kursk are very useful in outlining their relative contribution.

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Exllent post JasonC, great for working out a proper relative ratio of AAGs to simulate for the Russian at Kursk, thanx.

deiseltaylor IME 8-12x 37mm AAGs for the Russians on a big map would have shot all the Stukas down and prevented any losses. Going the Germans in a similar situation I take 9x 37mm AAGs to deal with a Squadron or two of those pesky Russian planes. That way I should get the kill points from most, though usually all of the planes and not just shewing them away from their targets. ;)

[ August 22, 2005, 09:32 PM: Message edited by: Zalgiris 1410 ]

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