Air Defense in old Panzer General

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JaM2013
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Air Defense in old Panzer General

Post by JaM2013 » Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:05 pm

I think Air Defense as it is in Panzer Corps would be better off with two distinct categories instead of just one (as in old PG, but for different setup). Units capable of defending ground units against air attacks, and units capable firing at air units but not able to defend other units. Why? its relatively simple - large caliber anti-aircraft guns, like 88, were not even used in standard AAA role, but were used to create Air Denial zones against heavy bombers, firing at specific height with proximity grenades.. they were incapable of firing directly at fast flying tactical air doing strafing runs, which is something small caliber AAA guns were used for, and it was quite common these large anti-air guns needed own protection against such attacks.. yet in game, 88 can defend itself pretty well, no matter what..

Instead, these large caliber guns should work similarly to normal artillery, and cause suppression to Air targets - reducing effectivity of any bomber caught in area they are firing at.. it was quite common for damaged bombers to abandon bombing run, reducing effectivity of bomber squad. Suppression of aircraft should be permanent, only restored by aircraft landing on the airfield.

At the same time, tactical air (and strafing fighters) should also have mostly suppression effect on ground units than actual kills.. these attacks were not that effective against armored units, but only against soft vehicles (supply tucks), effectively hindering such armored units without actually destroying tanks (change to actually kill a tank from air was quite miniscule - HVAR rockets had 0.5% chance to hit a tank in ideal conditions.. much less when AAA were in the area)

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Re: Air Defense in old Panzer General

Post by huckc » Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:20 pm

I agree from a historical accuracy standpoint however I really like them unifying AA from a gameplay perspective. It creates a nice balance between the heavy-caliber static AA guns and the mobile but less powerful ones. Simple and perfect gameplay, rather than the somewhat convoluted two different types of AA in the original game which I didn't particularly enjoy.

As far as ground suppression effects by tactical aircraft, the game sort of does this currently by lowering entrenchment by one point. It might not sound like much but it's incredibly useful and one of those nice high skill-ceiling tactics in the game, being able to finesse enemy surrenders or retreats into unfavorable terrain. Also units without any entrenchment can't rugged defense.

I pretty much agree with all the changes they made from the original game. That's selection bias however, if I didn't then I wouldn't be playing the game or posting about it as much :D

JaM2013
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Re: Air Defense in old Panzer General

Post by JaM2013 » Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:54 pm

my point is that quad 20mm was not actually less effective than 88 in Air Defense role, in reality, tactical air feared them a lot more than 88's, which were their common targets. not in Panzer Corps. Light AAA was a lot more dangerous than what Panzer Corps has it to be.. in game, you will always upgrade your AAA to 88's, yet in reality, you would need those 20mm to protect your 88's.. 88's were not supposed to protect combat units with direct fire against aircrafts.

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Re: Air Defense in old Panzer General

Post by a432 » Fri Jun 08, 2018 3:52 am

Try the game order of battle. It has something similiar. Planes have two categories in that game. Large air frame and Small air frame. 88s are effective against large air frames while not as effective against small. While the quad 20mm are excellent at small but not as great against large. Works for planes vs planes too Two Engine fighters are better at killing b-17 bombers, single engine fighters are better at killing diving bombing stukas.

I agree with you there needs to be more nuance in AA also in Air To air in panzer corps.

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Re: Air Defense in old Panzer General

Post by proline » Fri Jun 08, 2018 5:52 am

JaM2013 wrote:At the same time, tactical air (and strafing fighters) should also have mostly suppression effect on ground units than actual kills.. these attacks were not that effective against armored units, but only against soft vehicles (supply tucks), effectively hindering such armored units without actually destroying tanks (change to actually kill a tank from air was quite miniscule - HVAR rockets had 0.5% chance to hit a tank in ideal conditions.. much less when AAA were in the area)
Hindering is often modeled in the game as a unit dying, because frankly its more fun that way. Suppression is part of the game, but further expanding it likely wouldn't make the game more fun. Yes, in a realistic game air wouldn't be able to kill tanks- most tanks would either get surrendered, destroyed by their crews due to approaching enemies, or break down. Similarly most infantry would die of cold, disease, or starvation. Armored units would be much rarer. More airplanes would die in random crashes than actual combat. None of that makes for a fun game.

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Re: Air Defense in old Panzer General

Post by RandomAttack » Fri Jun 08, 2018 3:21 pm

It doesn't seem a valid assumption to me that TACAIR didn't actually kill a lot of tanks. Everything I've read supports that TACAIR was LETHAL to tanks-- almost legendary in fact. Along with air superiority it was a decisive advantage that was only mitigated by bad weather. I don't think it's overpowered in the game at all. That doesn't address whether or not AAA is accurately handled, but that's not a reason sell TACAIR short.

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Re: Air Defense in old Panzer General

Post by captainjack » Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:55 pm

I like the idea of a bit more refinement in air defence/attack. At the moment there is no real difference in larger and smaller guns, which provides almost no incentive to keep small calibre guns. Dual role and mobility make lighter guns more worthwhile - the 88 and 128 decision is a function of dual role vs specialist role for example, and lighter mobile AA is worthwhile. I've experimented with selective tweaks to lighter AA guns - to allow AA Vickers to act as a light tank, light AA guns as light artillery or AT, etc does keep them uesful. Until the mechanisms for air defence are reviewed, this is probably as good as we can get.

As for Tactical air effectiveness there's quite a few sites with well referenced discussions on how effective it was and (for those that claim it was) why it was effective. My (nonexpert) take on what I've seen is that while air attacks could destroy heavily armoured vehicles, it worked mostly because it shredded the lighter support units, caused nuisance damage (radios, tracks, optics are all useful), and because most commanders believed it worked so they treated it as being very dangerous - didn't move during the day, dispersed when it was spotted.

For me, most tactical bombers in the game are a bit too good at tank killing (especially compared with AT and tank-to-tank combat), but specialist tank busters don't seem to be effective enough. Unlike with the air defence issue, at least I can fix it with a small stats tweak in a mod.

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Re: Air Defense in old Panzer General

Post by proline » Mon Jun 11, 2018 1:10 am

captainjack wrote:I like the idea of a bit more refinement in air defence/attack. At the moment there is no real difference in larger and smaller guns, which provides almost no incentive to keep small calibre guns.
This is incorrect. Small guns are much more likely to be self-propelled, which is a HUGE advantage, and several small guns have a RoF above 10 making them amazing at shredding weakly armored air units (i.e. fighters). If you've been using all 88s, you're missing out badly.
captainjack wrote:As for Tactical air effectiveness there's quite a few sites with well referenced discussions on how effective it was and (for those that claim it was) why it was effective.
Agreed. There is little doubt that the commanders who were actually in WW2, such as Rommel and Stalin, believed that tac air was very dangerous to armor. On the other side is people who've come along 50 years later and dug up old intelligence records that showed relatively few direct kills on armor from air as well as relatively poor performance of air against armored targets in simulated bombing runs. The latter group of people choose to deliberately ignore that if you blow up a tank's fuel truck, the tank is dead. If you scare its crews into running away, the tank is dead. You don't have to actually blow it wide open.

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Re: Air Defense in old Panzer General

Post by captainjack » Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:34 am

Proline, my usual AA deployment when playing Germany is a quad SPAA and an 88 (usually converted to a 128 once available). The SPAA mobility provides defence for my lead units (the ROF is handy on defence against low level attacks which get the -5 defence penalty) while the 88 is mainly used to weaken enemy aircraft (especially fighters) before attacking, with any defence and emergency AT role as a nice bonus. For US Corps the 37/0.5" combo for defence and sometimes a 90mm later for weakinging aircraft. However, I see that as mobile vs towed, and switchable vs specialist gun. I don't know if this supports or weakens my original comments, so it's just as well I don't claim to be an expert on this.

I agree on the tac air - a tank with no fuel or ammo is nearly as useless as a broken tank.

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Re: Air Defense in old Panzer General

Post by JaM2013 » Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:04 am

With fuel and ammo relation - thing is Panzer Corps uses fuel and ammo system (which OOB doesnt use), therefore if aircraft were effective at crippling the tank formations by denying them fuel and ammo, then it should be portrayed in the game instead of hard kill.

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Re: Air Defense in old Panzer General

Post by proline » Tue Jun 12, 2018 6:57 am

JaM2013 wrote:With fuel and ammo relation - thing is Panzer Corps uses fuel and ammo system (which OOB doesnt use), therefore if aircraft were effective at crippling the tank formations by denying them fuel and ammo, then it should be portrayed in the game instead of hard kill.
It is portrayed in game. Strategic bombers affect fuel and ammo in strategic situations where the result is that its harder for the target unit to move around. Tactical bombers portray the tactical situation whereby if you run out of fuel or ammo at the front lines you are dead. That's why they have two classes. If anything the "bombers aren't realistic crowd" should spend less time complaining about how Shturmoviks hard counter tanks in the open, which they historically did in the memoirs of those who were there, and more time complaining about Lancasters causing previously well dug in front line units to surrender, which they historically did not.

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Re: Air Defense in old Panzer General

Post by TigerIII » Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:43 am

JaM2013 wrote:my point is that quad 20mm was not actually less effective than 88 in Air Defense role, in reality, tactical air feared them a lot more than 88's, which were their common targets. not in Panzer Corps. Light AAA was a lot more dangerous than what Panzer Corps has it to be.. in game, you will always upgrade your AAA to 88's, yet in reality, you would need those 20mm to protect your 88's.. 88's were not supposed to protect combat units with direct fire against aircrafts.
Ummm no.
I start with 88's and when their 2-3 stars and get their first hero i downgrade to mobile lower calibre AA. If i do get a range and/or movement hero, i keep them as 88's.
That 3 star, 13 strenght SDKFZ 7/1 does an excellent job protecting wurfrahmens and other weak targets from the air. And you dont go over soft cap using them either. That is sometimes a 1-1 ratio mobile arty/mobile AA.

What i do miss from panzer general is the option to use smaller mobile AA as ground attack units. That 20mm gun was quite effective against infantry and panzer corps missed out on that one.

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Re: Air Defense in old Panzer General

Post by JaM2013 » Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:58 pm

proline wrote:
JaM2013 wrote:With fuel and ammo relation - thing is Panzer Corps uses fuel and ammo system (which OOB doesnt use), therefore if aircraft were effective at crippling the tank formations by denying them fuel and ammo, then it should be portrayed in the game instead of hard kill.
It is portrayed in game. Strategic bombers affect fuel and ammo in strategic situations where the result is that its harder for the target unit to move around. Tactical bombers portray the tactical situation whereby if you run out of fuel or ammo at the front lines you are dead. That's why they have two classes. If anything the "bombers aren't realistic crowd" should spend less time complaining about how Shturmoviks hard counter tanks in the open, which they historically did in the memoirs of those who were there, and more time complaining about Lancasters causing previously well dug in front line units to surrender, which they historically did not.

they did mostly in Russian propaganda materials... in reality, they performed same way as all aircraft attacking tanks... poorly

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Re: Air Defense in old Panzer General

Post by proline » Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:56 am

JaM2013 wrote:
proline wrote:
JaM2013 wrote:With fuel and ammo relation - thing is Panzer Corps uses fuel and ammo system (which OOB doesnt use), therefore if aircraft were effective at crippling the tank formations by denying them fuel and ammo, then it should be portrayed in the game instead of hard kill.
It is portrayed in game. Strategic bombers affect fuel and ammo in strategic situations where the result is that its harder for the target unit to move around. Tactical bombers portray the tactical situation whereby if you run out of fuel or ammo at the front lines you are dead. That's why they have two classes. If anything the "bombers aren't realistic crowd" should spend less time complaining about how Shturmoviks hard counter tanks in the open, which they historically did in the memoirs of those who were there, and more time complaining about Lancasters causing previously well dug in front line units to surrender, which they historically did not.
they did mostly in Russian propaganda materials... in reality, they performed same way as all aircraft attacking tanks... poorly
Actually no. The Germans greatly feared tac air and it had a huge effect on their decisions. Keeping their tanks stationed well back from the coast prior to Normandy being one major example. Again you might well think you know better 75 years later, but there's nothing wrong with a game telling the same story as the men who lived it.

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Re: Air Defense in old Panzer General

Post by JaM2013 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:31 am

actually, tac air was one of the most overrated weapon when it comes to killing tanks.. but lets look at Normandy numbers:


During Operation Goodwood (18th to 21st July) the 2nd Tactical Air Force and 9th USAAF claimed 257 and 134 tanks, respectively, as destroyed. Of these, 222 were claimed by Typhoon pilots using RPs (Rocket Projectiles).
(P. Moore, Operation Goodwood, July 1944; A Corridor of Death, Helion & Company Ltd, Solihull, UK, 2007, p. 171.)

During the German counterattack at Mortain (7th to 10th August) the 2nd Tactical Air Force and 9th USAAF claimed to have destroyed 140 and 112 tanks, respectively.
(N. Zetterling, Normandy 1944, J.J. Fedorowicz Publishing Inc, Winnipeg, Canada, 2000, p. 38.)

On a single day in August 1944, the RAF Typhoon pilots claimed no less than 135 tanks as destroyed.
(S. Wilson, Aircraft of WWII, Aerospace Publications Pty ltd, Fyshwick, ACT, Australia, 1998, p.85.)

So how it was in reality?

In the Goodwood area a total of 456 German heavily armoured vehicles were counted, and 301 were examined in detail. They found only 10 could be attributed to Typhoons using RPs (less than 3% of those claimed).Even worse, only 3 out of 87 APC examined could be attributed to air lunched RPs.

The story at Mortain was even worse. It turns out that only 177 German tanks and assault guns participated in the attack, which is 75 less tanks than claimed as destroyed! Of these 177 tanks, 46 were lost and only 9 were lost to aircraft attack.

This is again around 4% of those claimed. When the results of the various Normandy operations are compiled, it turns out that no more than 100 German tanks were lost in the entire campaign from hits by aircraft launched ordnance.


Considering the Germans lost around 1500 tanks, tank destroyers and assault guns in the Normandy campaign, less than 7% were lost directly to air attack. The greatest contributor to the great myth regarding the ability of WWII aircraft to kill tanks was, and still is, directly the result of the pilot’s massively exaggerated kill claims. The Hawker Typhoon with its cannon and up to eight rockets was (and still is in much literature) hailed as the best weapon to stop the German Tiger I tank, and has been credited with destroying dozens of these tanks in the Normandy campaign. According to the most current definitive work only 13 Tiger tanks were destroyed by direct air attack in the entire campaign. Of these, seven Tigers were lost on 18th July 1944 to massive carpet bombing by high altitude heavy bombers, preceding Operation Goodwood. Thus at most only six Tigers were actually destroyed by fighter bombers in the entire campaign. It turns out the best Tiger stopper was easily the British Army’s 17pdr AT gun, with the Typhoon well down on the list.


and to put those numbers into perspective - The 2nd Tactical Air Force lost 829 aircraft in Normandy while the 9th USAAF lost 897.These losses, which ironically exceed total German tank losses in the Normandy campaign, would be almost all fighter-bombers.


but lets not stop there and lets look at Eastern front and famous tank buster - IL-2 Sturmovik:


On 7th July 1943, in one 20 minute period it has been claimed IL-2s destroyed 70 tanks of the 9th Panzer Division. It actually turns out that close to the start of the battle on 1st July 1943, 9th Panzer Division had only one tank battalion present (the II./Pz Regt 33) with only 83 tanks and assault guns of all types in the Division. 9th Panzer Division doesn’t record any such loss in July (it registers an air-attack referred to as heavy strafing), and 9th Panzer Division continued in action for over three months after this so called ‘devastating attack’, with most of its initial tanks still intact.

During the battle of Kursk, the VVS IL-2s claimed the destruction of no less than 270 tanks (and 2 000 men) in a period of just two hours against the 3rd Panzer Division. On 1st July the 3rd Panzer Division’s 6th Panzer Regiment had only 90 tanks, 180 less than claimed as destroyed! On 11th July (well after the battle) the 3rd Panzer Division still had 41 operational tanks. 3rd Panzer Division continued fighting throughout July, mostly with 48th Panzer Corps. It did not record any extraordinary losses to air attack throughout this period. As with the other panzer divisions at Kursk, the large majority of 3rd Panzer Division’s tank losses were due to dug in Soviet AT guns and tanks.

Perhaps the most extraordinary claim by the VVS’s IL-2s, is that over a period of 4 hours they destroyed 240 tanks and in the process virtually wiped out the 17th Panzer Division. On 1st July the 17th Panzer Division had only one tank battalion (the II./Pz Rgt 39) with a grand total of only 67 tanks. This time only 173 less than claimed destroyed by the VVS! The 17th Panzer Division was not even in the main attack sector for the Kursk battle, but further south with 1st Panzer Army’s 24th Panzer Corps. The 17th Panzer did not register any abnormal losses due to aircraft in the summer of 1943, and retreated westwards with Army Group South later in the year still intact.

In addition it is difficult to find any first hand accounts by German Panzer crews on the Eastern Front describing anything more than the occasional loss to direct air attack. The vast majority, around 95%, of tank losses are due to enemy AT guns, tanks, mines, artillery, and infantry assault, or simply abandoned as operational losses. Total German fully tracked AFV losses on the East Front from 1941 to 1945 amounted to approximately 32 800 AFVs. At most 7% were destroyed by direct air attack, which amounts to approximately 2 300 German fully tracked AFV lost to direct air attack, a portion of which would be lost to other aircraft types such as the Petlyakov Pe-2. From 22nd June 1941 to war’s end, 23 600 Il-2 and Il-10 ground attack aircraft were irrecoverably lost. Whatever these aircraft were doing to pay such a high price it wasn’t destroying German tanks. If that was there primary target, then over 10 Il-2s and Il-10s were irrecoverably lost for every German fully tracked AFV that was completely destroyed by direct air attack on the East Front during WWII.

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Re: Air Defense in old Panzer General

Post by JaM2013 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:34 pm

so game-play wise, no bomber should do more damage to a tank unit in the open, than single point of damage.... because that is practically 10% of effectiveness of that unit. fighters should not do even that, and that single point should be taken only in very rare circumstances.

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Re: Air Defense in old Panzer General

Post by proline » Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:33 pm

JaM2013 wrote:yadda, yadda, lots of stuff previously said in other threads on these forums
So why then didn't the Germans realize that tac air is pointless and stop caring? You know, start driving around combat zones in broad daylight again? Stop jumping out of their tanks and surrendering when they hear an airplane engine? Stop wasting their time making tons and tons of AA guns? There's two main possibilities:

A) Tac air was effective against tanks in open terrain (be it through direct damage to the tanks or damage to support equipment), as depicted in PzC, but the Germans were wisely able to minimize the losses with a huge number of costly countermeasures such as only moving them at night, keeping them in static camouflaged positions, sticking to close terrain, defending them with AA, etc.

B) The Germans were complete and total idiots

By all means, you're welcome to believe B. You might even be right. In that PzC should be so easy that you win as soon as you open the game (Allied mode) or lose on the first turn (German mode). Or maybe have a mode where the Germans lose half their units each turn because they couldn't put their shoes on the right feet. Sounds fun!

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Re: Air Defense in old Panzer General

Post by JaM2013 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:50 pm

proline wrote:
JaM2013 wrote:yadda, yadda, lots of stuff previously said in other threads on these forums
So why then didn't the Germans realize that tac air is pointless and stop caring? You know, start driving around combat zones in broad daylight again? Stop jumping out of their tanks and surrendering when they hear an airplane engine? Stop wasting their time making tons and tons of AA guns? There's two main possibilities:

A) Tac air was effective against tanks in open terrain (be it through direct damage to the tanks or damage to support equipment), as depicted in PzC, but the Germans were wisely able to minimize the losses with a huge number of costly countermeasures such as only moving them at night, keeping them in static camouflaged positions, sticking to close terrain, defending them with AA, etc.

B) The Germans were complete and total idiots

By all means, you're welcome to believe B. You might even be right. In that PzC should be so easy that you win as soon as you open the game (Allied mode) or lose on the first turn (German mode). Or maybe have a mode where the Germans lose half their units each turn because they couldn't put their shoes on the right feet. Sounds fun!

yadda yadda yadda, you didnt read what i wrote... those were hard based FACTS...

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Re: Air Defense in old Panzer General

Post by sorenthewild » Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:51 pm

JaM2013 wrote:
proline wrote:
JaM2013 wrote: yadda yadda yadda, you didnt read what i wrote... those were hard based FACTS...
Facts are based on documentation.
Apart from losses encountered by western allies air force(which you yourself claim are "over claimed", and therefore doesn't count), there are no documentation for the rest of your "speculations".

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Re: Air Defense in old Panzer General

Post by McGuba » Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:16 am

OK, so then here comes some personal memoirs from the east:


Anatolij Shvebig, Technical Chief of Armored and Mechanized Forces in the 39th Army:
The main source of tank losses was German artillery. Losses to aircraft were fairly small – maybe 10%. The tank could only be knocked out with a direct hit, otherwise the bomb fragments would just bounce off harmlessly. During the Kursk battles, 76% of our losses were due to enemy guns, the rest due to mines and aircraft. When we first ran into the “fausters” during the Visla-Oder offensive, they didn’t account for more than 10% of our losses.
https://iremember.ru/en/memoirs/tankers ... j-shvebig/



Dmitriy Loza, Red Army Colonel and Hero of the Soviet Union:
- Did German aircraft inflict significant losses on your equipment? In particular, what can you say about the Henschel Hs-129?

- Not every time, but it did happen. I don't remember the Henschel; perhaps there was such an airplane. Sometimes we were able to avoid bombs. You could see them coming at you, you know. We opened our hatches, stuck out our heads, and instructed our drivers over the intercom: "The bomb will fall in front of us". But in general there were cases when tanks were hit and set on fire. Losses from these attacks did not exceed 3-5 tanks in the battalion. It was more common for a single tank to be damaged or destroyed. We faced much greater danger from panzerfaust gunners in built-up areas.
- What did you consider the most dangerous opponent? A cannon? A tank? An airplane?

- They were all dangerous until the first round was fired. But in general, the antitank cannons were the most dangerous. They were very difficult to distinguish and defeat. The artillerymen dug them in so that their barrels literally were laying on the ground. You could see only several centimeters of their gun shield. The cannon fired. It was a good thing if it had a muzzle brake and dust was kicked up! But if it was winter or raining, what then?
https://iremember.ru/en/memoirs/tankers/dmitriy-loza/


But in the end, it all depends on how you see a tank unit in the game. If you only see them at a small scale as a group of tanks, than yes, both personal memoirs and battlefield research seem to suggest that historically aircraft were not very effective against tanks, so tactical bombers are overpowered in the game. But if you see it at a larger scale and tend to include the soft and vulnerable support trucks as well then the attack planes could indeed cause massive damage which could in effect immobilize and neutralize a whole armoured division. This would explain the seemingly controversial but well documented situation in which German high command denied its panzer divisions to move during daytime at and after Normandy due to the air threat, despite that aircraft were largely ineffective against tanks. So no, thery were not total idiots, they knew their stuff and tried to adapt to the situation.
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