Air Combat Info

Order of Battle is a series of operational WW2 games starting with the Pacific War and then on to Europe!

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Epperaliant
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Air Combat Info

Post by Epperaliant » Sat Feb 20, 2021 8:25 pm

Manual is very stingy on aircraft vs aircraft combat, only mentioning the reduced damaged to diminished air units.

However, I am having trouble dealing with aircraft without getting massive casualties.
-Are there no efficiency shenanigans involved?
-Is there no "support fire" from allied aircrafts when attacking enemy planes with fighters?
-Does "reaction fire" from aircraft remove enemy units AFTER they already attacked and caused damage? Example: in Panzer Corps having fighter escorts can basically nullify the risk of damage as enemy get melted by the fighter escort BEFORE they even fire. Instead, in the short engagements I had, I had the impression than enemy aircraft first dealt their full damage to my units, then got hammered by reaction fire. How does it work?

Basically...what's the best way to engage enemy planes?

Bobster66
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Re: Air Combat Info

Post by Bobster66 » Sat Feb 20, 2021 9:22 pm

The thing to keep in mind is that there is no "Initiative" like there was in Panzer General or Panzer Corp. So Fighter support of bombers, as well as anti tank gun support of armour, does not nullify any attack strength of the opponent. It's basically just a free shot. You'll also notice that a fighter will do much more damage when ordered to attack on your turn than it does when providing support on the opponents turn, so I believe that the support attacks are done at reduced effectiveness.

As long are there is sufficient Air Supply, aircraft are always at full efficiency. If you lose an airfield and the total air supply drops below the number of air CPs deployed then you may see the air unit efficiency drop.

If your fighter units are not up to the task of achieving air superiority then you need to add some AA units to level the playing field. If you're playing a campaign then taking some serious damage in the early scenarios are just the normal pathway to gain the necessary experience to dominate in the later scenarios.

Epperaliant
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Re: Air Combat Info

Post by Epperaliant » Sat Feb 20, 2021 11:03 pm

Ok, so there's no point in surrounding enemy aircraft, right?

It's just a brute force brawl.

prestidigitation
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Re: Air Combat Info

Post by prestidigitation » Sun Feb 21, 2021 8:37 pm

Epperaliant wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 8:25 pm
Manual is very stingy on aircraft vs aircraft combat, only mentioning the reduced damaged to diminished air units.

However, I am having trouble dealing with aircraft without getting massive casualties.
-Are there no efficiency shenanigans involved?
-Is there no "support fire" from allied aircrafts when attacking enemy planes with fighters?
-Does "reaction fire" from aircraft remove enemy units AFTER they already attacked and caused damage? Example: in Panzer Corps having fighter escorts can basically nullify the risk of damage as enemy get melted by the fighter escort BEFORE they even fire. Instead, in the short engagements I had, I had the impression than enemy aircraft first dealt their full damage to my units, then got hammered by reaction fire. How does it work?
Fighters can escort bombers or transports by being adjacent to them. This gives them a free reaction fire against the enemy fighter that attacks them. Reaction fire and primary combat fire happen simultaneously.

There is efficiency, but only rarely will you see it come into play (for example when you or the AI bombs out an enemy airfield with strategic bombers).

That's about it for air combat.

Basically...what's the best way to engage enemy planes?
Against fighters and tactical bombers your best weapon is 37mm towed or motorized AA.

Against strategic bombers your best weapon is 80-100mm ground AA although honestly the 37mm stuff will do just fine.

AA of all types can engage enemy air and do substantial damage while receiving none in return. The light caliber AA is also cheap and slot efficient. It is without question the single best way to defeat enemy air.

IMO fighters are primarily an escort or intercept unit not an attacking unit. Attacking with them is extremely expensive, so do not do it unless you can avoid all damage. Whenever possible bait enemy air over your AA for duels.

Epperaliant
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Re: Air Combat Info

Post by Epperaliant » Sun Feb 21, 2021 8:54 pm

It's sad, this game has such beautifully executed ground and naval combat, and instead has such simple air combat mechanics.

I mean, I am no ww2 expert but I recall ground AA being more like a stopgap measure that claimed few enemy planes.
A simple mass attack bonus and some sort of escort mechanic that limits damage to escorted planes would have made things more interesting.

How many of these ground AA do you recommend per battlegroup? I usually run 2 large battlegroups.


There's also the issue of protecting ships from tactical bombers, especially torpedo ones.
I found that Cruisers can fire at planes but they managed to kill just 1 strength point per turn.

prestidigitation
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Re: Air Combat Info

Post by prestidigitation » Mon Feb 22, 2021 2:03 am

Epperaliant wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 8:54 pm
It's sad, this game has such beautifully executed ground and naval combat, and instead has such simple air combat mechanics.

I mean, I am no ww2 expert but I recall ground AA being more like a stopgap measure that claimed few enemy planes.
A simple mass attack bonus and some sort of escort mechanic that limits damage to escorted planes would have made things more interesting.

How many of these ground AA do you recommend per battlegroup? I usually run 2 large battlegroups.
For each individually maneuvering formation bring an AA unit able to keep up. For foot focused groups 37mm (no truck) or equivalent will keep up without issue. For mechanized groups a mechanized or truck mounted 37mm is ideal.

Early game it can be a good idea to pick up a truck mounted AA/AT option. Every faction tends to have one for 4cp.
There's also the issue of protecting ships from tactical bombers, especially torpedo ones.
I found that Cruisers can fire at planes but they managed to kill just 1 strength point per turn.
So, ship based AA is a little different in that it only provides chip damage, although specializations and experience can improve that somewhat. Your best bet is massed reaction fire from multiple ships in the same area and moving away from the enemy to try to force them further from their airfield/friendly CV so that they can't loiter as long. But ultimately in CV vs CV fighting the fighters will have to take on the lion's share of the fighting against enemy strike aircraft or defending friendly aircraft.

Radar range is crucial for that task, as are destroyer pickets that can spot incoming enemy air while not placing much value at risk.

cutydt02
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Re: Air Combat Info

Post by cutydt02 » Mon Feb 22, 2021 3:05 am

Actually, even air combat in oob is not simpler than pc, you still keep every mechanics, just much less escort important and stable damage calculation (ammunition/flying time is trade off). Oh well, i forget there’s no random weather mechanic in oob, but aircrafts here arent that op to be limited like that. Less strength less damage receive, as you know, and no flanking mechanic like ground combat
Although, aircrafts are much more vulnerable while taking off or taking on, that make attaking airfields (and abusing it) sense.
Yeah, head on with enemy aircrafts so costly, theres no super ace to make it easier. But you still can lure the fight to near your AA batteries.

Epperaliant
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Re: Air Combat Info

Post by Epperaliant » Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:07 am

By CV you mean Carriers, right?

Vindictus
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Re: Air Combat Info

Post by Vindictus » Tue Feb 23, 2021 5:59 am

I think that aircraft repair is too expensive and the AA is a bit too overpowered. So I am pretty careful about my aircraft at the start of a battle and camp them over my AA units until I feel I can use them without bleeding too much damage

Also, I tend to think that maintaining elite 4 or 5 star units is not worth the cost of repair, I find keeping my aircraft around 2-3 star elite is the sweetspot.

There is no real nuance about fighter vs fighter combat, they are generally attrition, and prefer to try to lure enemy planes into range of my AA.

Epperaliant
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Re: Air Combat Info

Post by Epperaliant » Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:22 pm

Yeah, I suppose I will deploy only fighters and AA and then field bombers when air supremacy is reached.

I am really in love with those huge American strategic bombers, I'd field them just for the attack noise they make!
How much damage do fighters inflict to Strat Bombers? Suppose a 13 strong light fighter like Zero.

Erik2
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Re: Air Combat Info

Post by Erik2 » Wed Feb 24, 2021 8:13 am

Strat bombers are usually sturdy beasts.
Checkl out the Unit Navigator http://mfendek.byethost16.com/ for stats like this:
zero.jpg
zero.jpg (65.5 KiB) Viewed 178 times

Epperaliant
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Re: Air Combat Info

Post by Epperaliant » Wed Feb 24, 2021 10:11 pm

Yes, that tool is really useful.

Anyway, just finished Pearl Harbor on hardest mode, that was one hell of air brawl, but thankfully I managed to get 2 AA batteries to cover the Battleships so I was able to snag both secondary objectives.
I really needed to pick up fights very carefully.

Also, I noticed that the Japanese tac bombers were able to "dislodge" my fighters from their hex when bombing the ships
That is a new mechanic to me, as that was absent in Panzer Corps. Also I noticed that some of them were able to bomb my ships and then give space to other bombers.

Curiously, they weren't able to (or simply didn't) dislodge my Strat Bomber which I had decided to use as shield for the ships, blocking an important sea hex that could have been used by torpedo bombers.

Erik2
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Re: Air Combat Info

Post by Erik2 » Thu Feb 25, 2021 11:35 am

Bombers will push aside fighters hovering over the target. I think this is correct, otherwise you could always protect a target from being attacked.
It is standard practice (I think for the AI as well) to bomb, then move your bomber to a nearby location making room for the next air unit.
Not being able to similarly dislodge a strat bomber is odd, you are sure it was not a fighter? They may attack land/naval units depending on how the specific AI team is scripted.

Epperaliant
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Re: Air Combat Info

Post by Epperaliant » Thu Feb 25, 2021 6:41 pm

No, it was a B-17 returning to pearl harbor.

I tried to use it as shield, but maybe the AI didn't dislodge it simply because it didn't want to.

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