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Air Support! Is it worth it?


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I've had good experiences: Destoying or disabling multiple ENEMY vehicles.

I've had bad experiences: "Friendly" 500 pound bomb landing amongst my advancing troops, resulting in 27 casulties!!!

One thing is certain. . . Fighter-bombers, even veteren ones, have a very non-consistant performance and cost lots of points!

What do you all think? Are they worth it? I'm also interested in hearing about any horror/lucky stories.

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During my early days of CMBO, I got into an armor game versus an uber-tank playing fellow who selected a wide open map. Little cover, and most of my AFV's were relatively light ones.

Thankfully I bought a fighter bomber. Or so I thought.

Once the bloody thing showed up, I expected my opponent's massed tanks to suffer heavy damage. However, nothing could be further from the truth. The fighter bomber actually proceeded to attack my AFV's, which were all spread out amongst the few available patches of woods and cover. From that day on, I have never ever purchased a FB willingly in a QB. The possibility of dealing some damage is not worth pulling all your hair out from frustration and looking like Madmatt.

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I did some tests to get an idea how BTS came up with the price for the Allied fighter-bomber.

I found, that for a "typical" combined arms mix, that means infantry, support, vehicles and tanks, in percentatges as proposed in the Quickbattle setting, the fighter-bomber will kill enemy units about the value value as its price.

It gets the majority of these points in lights AFVs. If the enemy unit mix has fewer AFVs, the FB is never worth it, neither infantry nor tanks suffer that much from it, except for the initial bombs. If the enemy came with lots of Wespes and halftracks, it rotally rocks.

The Axis FB is worthless, IMHO, because of all the .50cals on Allied AFVs.

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I thought that the generic axis FB in the game had 20mm cannons, and was therefore better than its allied counterpart. . . AHA, here it is in the game manual, page 92:

There are two basic types of fighter-bombers in the game. One is equipped with rockets (enough for two passes), the other with a pair of 500-pound bombs, dropped simultaneously. Axis airplanes always carry bombs, while allied aircraft can be of either type. British aircraft are more likely to carry rockets. Additionally, every plane has .50 caliber machine guns (American) or 20mm cannon (British and German) with whicj to make strafing runs.

I would thik that 20mm cannon would be MUCH more effective against armored targets than .50 caliber machine guns. . .

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Although I think the FB algorithm could use some refining, basically its overall behavior is fairly accurate. You didn't usually want air support right in front of your troops (at least prior to the Ardennes). Air support was most useful and effective when allowed to range freely well behind enemy lines against logistic targets of opportunity. As such, it scarcely belongs in a CM battle except for specific circumstances.

Michael

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I've had both good and bad experiences with FBs. I've only ever gotten them in PBEM QBs. The good being yesterday I decided to buy one for the heck of it, and on it's first pass it knocked out a PSW/3 and a PzIVJ. Already worth the money, then the second pass, it knocks out a StugIII and obliterates a building panicking the entire platoon that was thinking themselves safe within. It then stayed on station for 13 of the 25 rounds of the battle, causing much consternation among my opponents advancing troops. The bad would be when I was advancing 3 platoons across a smaller map, one on each flank and one in the center and along comes my FB to soften up the enemy and proceeds to drop his bombs square in the middle of my center platoon wiping it out to the last man...needless to say, my attack suffered. All in all, I like them, but rarely buy them, if I spend the points, I'd rather have something I can actually have a bit of control over, but sometimes they're worth it.

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In stuka there are no 20mm.

Ju-87 "Stuka" has only 2x7.9mm and up to 1000kg bomb. Dedicated tank killer Ju-87G has 2x37mm Flak guns with 12rounds of wolfram cored special ammunition each)Ju-87G was used in east front. Pilots used to shoot through T-34/76 and T-34/85 side turrets. Also there was Hs-129 with 50mm Pak or 75mm Pak. Me410B with 50mm AT gun was used in west afaik.

German ground attack plane at 1944 would most likely be Focke Wulf 190a6, a8 (4x20mm MG151/20 + 2x7.9mm mg17 or 2x13mm mg131, bomb 250 or 500kg) or f3, f8, g8(2xmg151/20,2x7.9mm or 13mm, 3x250kg bomb, 250/500kg+4x50kg bomb, AT-Rockets(f8), Cluster bombs (f8).

[ March 10, 2002, 11:06 PM: Message edited by: illo ]

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Originally posted by 109 Gustav:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by IronChef4:

Heheheh, I didn't know that the .50s on Allied AFVs could shoot at Axis FBs. . .

Only when they're unbuttoned. Don't expect to shoot down any planes, but if you have enough of them, they can be effective in preventing strafing runs.</font>
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Friendly" 500 pound bomb landing amongst my advancing troops, resulting in 27 casulties!!!"

That is it? I once had a friendly FB drop 2 bombs right on an advancing column of mine wiping out 2.5 platoons and 2 tanks. Something like 90 casualties.

I never use these blasted things anymore!

Gen

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Originally posted by illo:

....Also there was Hs-129 with 50mm Pak or 75mm Pak....

The standard cannon loadout for the Hs-129 was a 30mm cannon, and carried approximately 30 rounds of ammunition (later, I can provide the exact ammunition load if necessary). Units were initially provided tungsten-core cannon rounds, but when the metal became more scrace, a standard AP 30mm round was provided. Pilots were also instructed to approach the T-34 from the sides or rear and aim for the turret side/rear or engine deck. It must have been quite a ride- low to the ground at 240mph, and diving toward a tank trying to get a fatal hit with 1-5 rounds. From the accounts that I read about these pilots, they were really good at it too.

Starting in late 1944, the Germans researched arming a Hs-129 with a modified Pak40. Initial trials were attempted using a Ju88, and then the weapon was then mounted on the Hs129. Off the top of my head, I don't remember whether the package ever saw operational service (again, I can research it tonight if people want an answer- my source is at home- not in the office...). However, I think the Germans were not too impressed with the cannon. Ammunition was only limited to 12 rounds, and recoil threw off aiming.

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To me FB just ruin the game... Either they are a waste of points because they don't show up or when they do.. do nothing usefull or they show up and wipe out the enemy, which to me takes all the fun out of it since that I what I wanted to do, and not have some AI controlled Jabodo it for me.

Jeff

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I just read in Rendezvous with Destiny about an American Captain signalling to a recon aircraft that he needed air support and signalled in the direction of the Germans on the far bank (La Barquette Locks?).

When the air support arrived a few hours later, it promptly dropped it's bombs on the American company and was waved off of its strafing run at the last second by an Lt. with an orange flag.

Sounds to me like FBs are modeled fairly well afterall.

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Originally posted by Croda:

I just read in Rendezvous with Destiny about an American Captain signalling to a recon aircraft that he needed air support and signalled in the direction of the Germans on the far bank (La Barquette Locks?).

When the air support arrived a few hours later, it promptly dropped it's bombs on the American company and was waved off of its strafing run at the last second by an Lt. with an orange flag.

Sounds to me like FBs are modeled fairly well afterall.

True, but it looks like they forgot to model the all-important Orange Flags!

[ March 11, 2002, 07:46 PM: Message edited by: Silvio Manuel ]

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I only use FB's on very large maps when I use them. I would prefer to spend the points on GV's or arty.

IMO the FB's sometimes spot too well (strafing infantry in forest or buildings that none of my units can see). It would be nice if the FB would attack the enemy arty or interdict offmap reinforcements (especially in ops).

Cheers!

-gabe-

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Originally posted by Michael emrys:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by ArmchairKIA:

It would be nice if the FB would attack the enemy arty or interdict offmap reinforcements (especially in ops).

Hmm. There's an interesting idea. Wonder how the game engine would handle it...</font>
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For reinforcement interdiction - delay # of turns and/or cause casualties (would probably have to be just random units)

For artillery - probably stop FFE's and destroy some ammo capacity would be the most realistic.

The actual numbers (% reduction in reinforcements and ammo, etc) would have to be researched.

Cheers!

-gabe-

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