GS4.0 Aircraft ranges

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Jimbonsx
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GS4.0 Aircraft ranges

Post by Jimbonsx » Fri Mar 31, 2017 7:40 am

Bit worried about the substantial increase in FTR attack range. I seem to recall reading (in many books) that the Bf-109 had a loiter time of about 10 minutes over London from bases in the Pas de Calais, which I take to mean that it had an effective range of (let's be generous) 6 hexes. Given that it can now run a Freijagd over Nottingham.....

While I'm on my soapbox, TAC range -during the Battle of Britain, Luftflotte 5 launched an admittedly ill-advised but strategically possible attack from bases in Norway and Denmark using what GS4.0 would class as TAC aircraft: not possible in the game.

Could we have a bit of insight into the thinking behind the changes to air combat ranges please, as I think they're too high for 1940's aircraft? I don't mind arguing the toss over tech improvements but I cant see the justification for the early war capabilities they now have.

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Re: GS4.0 Aircraft ranges

Post by pk867 » Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:24 pm

We play tested with the ranges for about 2 years. v3 started with 6 hexes (300km) and moved to 8 hexes (400km)

With a unified tech and Strategic game, things average out. The US planes had longer ranges (no drop tanks) which helped the other countries

gain some range. Also the units start with a shorter range so we can allow research to increase the ranges during the war. The biggest knock was with the heavy bomber

and medium and light bomber ranges. In previous versions the player had to transfer SAC units to France to bomb Germany which did not happen in the war. They flew out of

Britain and North Africa when attacking Germany. So of course FTR's needed range increases to match performance and escort Bombers to there targets.

You have to adjust and play accordingly. Me109 had a combat range of 850km (1000km w/dt) So the range in the game is half of that.

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Re: GS4.0 Aircraft ranges

Post by Jimbonsx » Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:43 am

Thanks for the insight pk867.

In 1940 the Bf-109E-3 had a range of 373 miles (600Km), the E-7 481 miles (770Km) and the F-2 583 miles (932Km), according to my sources, and the RAF fighters had comparable range to the E-3 .

Bombers could bomb Germany (and Coventry) in 1940, maybe not as effectively (partly because they were night raids) and not escorted, but they could. Bombers flew "shuttle" raids - taking off from the UK, bombing Italian targets and flying on to North Africa - all without continuous fighter escort. Even in 1943 when the US Eigth was bombing in daylight, fighter escorts were unable to find the range to accompany bombers to the target (Schweinfurt for example). Indeed, they were deemed unnecessary as the B-17 was considered more than adequately armed to look after itself! It took the P-51 to guarantee escorted raids over the Reich.

So perhaps bomber ranges could benefit from the revision but I don't think it was a good idea to include the fighters.

I brought this up as it's been mentioned in the forum that the increase in aircraft ranges may have an effect on the frequency of Sealion attempts and therefore the issue of play-balance. IMO the mechanism for increasing range and other capabilities is well-placed in the tech improvements and the range adjustments do not accurately reflect Luftwaffe capabilities of the time.

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Re: GS4.0 Aircraft ranges

Post by AugustusTiberius » Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:06 pm

We have been testing these ranges for at least two years and Sea Lion fears were overrated.

The fighters still do not go as far as bombers do the unescorted raids later in the war with the Flying Fortress et al. happens. the real change is that fighters in the late game can cover most of Germany. The ranges have been peer reviewed lots as well.

Give it a shot a few times with others and see show you feel if you have not had the chance.

AT

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Re: GS4.0 Aircraft ranges

Post by Jimbonsx » Sun Apr 02, 2017 6:53 am

Thanks AT.

As I said, I have no problem with the later-war capabilities of the FTR units, my issue is with early-war ranges. Getting range upgrades through tech is an ideal (and v realistic) methodology.

My Sealion hotseat game wasn't particularly affected by the extra FTR range (but the extra FTR unit helped!) - it certainly didn't affect the decision to try.

I can understand the argument between realism and playability too, which is what this boils down to in the end.

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Re: GS4.0 Aircraft ranges

Post by Peter Stauffenberg » Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:51 am

One thing to remember is that CEAW has one unit per hex as a limit. That means the air units are often placed behind the front line of land units, single or double. In the real war the air units could be located very close to the front if an airfield was captured in a front line city.

So you tend to lose a hex or two in range compared to the "real" ranges because of this issue. It's mostly felt for fighters e. g. in Case Yellow. With the Shorter fighter ranges you will notice that the Axis player have to rebase their air units quite a lot since the front line moves from turn to turn. With the longer air ranges you usually rebase once before Paris falls.

If you want to do a Sealion you need you land units in the port cities to be able to be transported. If you have to Place fighters there to have the best range into England then you will have a harder time getting the land units ashore.

So the current air ranges work well game wise. You rebase less often. That is noticed quite well in Barbarossa and helps the Axis push further into Russia.

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Re: GS4.0 Aircraft ranges

Post by Jimbonsx » Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:31 am

Thanks for responding Stauffenberg.

Where the FTR unit is based is not as relevant as how far it can get. When France falls, Calais (a non-port city) can't be attacked by ground units unless they're invading (fairly unlikely in the turns immediately following conquest) so it becomes a safe FTR base (shore bombardment notwithstanding), and by definition of geography, a front line site. From Calais an FTR unit can fly air-superiority missions over Nottingham in GS4.0; in GS3.1 it couldn't.Whilst it may be an improvement that would come in time, it's ahistorical in 1940 (unless you're flying 110's: good luck with that).

Rebasing didn't seem to cause the Wehrmacht too many problems in May/June 1940 - once they achieved air (and of course ground) superiority they could deploy in whatever fashion they chose.

My argument, while prompted by (apparently unjustified) excessive fears of too-frequent Sealion attempts, isn't just about Sealion: it's about unrealistic capabilities for the kit of the time.

Another case: Dunkirk. The RAF had trouble maintaining a CAP there, one of the reasons being fighter range.

See my point? The history of WWII is littered with real-world examples of aircraft ranges limiting operations. And who are we to second-guess the thoughts and actions of the people who "went there and did it" - if they said the range of their Bf-109 wasn't enough, then I'm inclined to believe them.

I do realise that I'm not going to win this one, as it's primarily a "realism vs playability" issue, but I do think that the FTR range that we started 1939 games in GS3.1 was fine and did not need increasing.

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Re: GS4.0 Aircraft ranges

Post by pk867 » Mon Apr 03, 2017 4:00 pm

The game scale is 50km per hex depending where you are on the map. The center of the map is basically Berlin.
In 1940 the Bf-109E-3 had a range of 373 miles (600Km), the E-7 481 miles (770Km) and the F-2 583 miles (932Km), according to my sources, and the RAF fighters had comparable range to the E-3 .
You answered your own question here. The Bf-109-3 had a range of 600km which is 12 hexes (~@50km per hex) that is 12 hexes out and 12 hexes back. We are using 8 hexes which is 400km 2/3 of the performance in 1940 Bf-109-3.

That is why the range was bumped a little to 8 hexes from the vanilla game and earlier versions of CEAW-GS.

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Re: GS4.0 Aircraft ranges

Post by Peter Stauffenberg » Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:34 pm

The distance between Calais and Nottingham is 305 km.

Strange example about Dunkirk. The distance between Maidstone (southeast of London) and Dunkirk is just 130 km.

One reason the effective range was Shorter than the range is that an air unit is supposed to perform some missions at the target hex. E. g. bomb targets or dogfight enemy fighters. Such fights could last quite a few minutes and burn precious fuel.

Do we have documentation showing that the air units available at Case Yellow didn't perform to their range capability and why?

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Re: GS4.0 Aircraft ranges

Post by Peter Stauffenberg » Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:45 pm

Here are some Sources on air ranges during ww2:
http://acepilots.com/planes/specs.html

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/or ... 596c15.jpg

This data makes me wonder about the range figures. The first shows about 400 miles range for a Bf109-e while the second shows 200 miles. Does it mean the former uses the max distance the air units could fly while the latter shows the true range. How far the air unit could reach and still come back to the original air base. That is what we need.

You have to consider that we introduced interception range as a separate value in GS v4.0. That is about 2/3 of the escort range. This was done because interceptors weren't always located close the target area of the enemy bombers, but had to be scrambled and sent to a designated location after radar discovered incoming airplanes. You will therefore see that fighter interceptors don't have longer interception ranges than they used to. It's the fighter Escorts who have longer ranges than in GS v3.1. They could even fly with drop tanks.

Do we have any hard evidence regarding real flying missions in the fall of 1940 where the Axis escorted their bombers into England. How far did were these Escorts able to fly into England. Which cities were bombed etc. I know Coventry was bombed. That is a city near Birmingham and not so far from Nottingham. Is it possible the Axis didn't fly air raids deeper into England because if Sealion was going to happen then it would be cities closer to the coast they would have to target. The British airbases the Germans attacked were also closer to the English Channel.

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Re: GS4.0 Aircraft ranges

Post by Jimbonsx » Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:06 pm

Thanks to you both for the replies.

Pk867, range is not the same as radius. 600Km range equates to a 300Km radius = 6 hexes, not 12. My beef is with the combat radius of the Bf 109: if a 109 turned up in Nottingham in my game it had better be prepared to fight!

Stauffenberg, I mentioned Dunkirk to make this not just about the Luftwaffe, but it's still a valid point. True, it's not too far across the Channel (I live in Folkestone and have the Battle of Britain Memorial at Capel-le-Ferne and the Battle of Britain Museum at the old Hawkinge airfield within a mile radius of my home) but the very simple fact is that when you're dogfighting, you tend to use up fuel at a stunning rate, much more than if you were just cruising or patrolling.

I can provide evidence of Luftwaffe missions with/without fighter escorts into Britain without even taking a trip to my local museum.....

Chris Goss wrote a couple of books you may be interested in:
"The Luftwaffe Fighters' Battle of Britain" [ISBN 0-947554-81-5]
and
"The Luftwaffe Bombers' Battle of Britain" [ISBN 0-947554-82-3].

Page 76 in the "Fighters" book, Oberleutnant Rudolf Moellerfriedrich of 6/JG 2, last paragraph, makes reference to his unit's worries about running out of fuel on a raid to Portsmouth(!), from his refuelling base at Cherbourg.

Len Deighton also wrote a book on the subject - "Fighter" [ISBN 0-586-21094-6]. Pages 137 and 222 specifically mention the range restrictions of the 109.

John Ray, "The Battle of Britain" [ISBN 0-304-35677-8], page 41, "...Few had dreamed at the outbreak of war that inside nine months the British capital would be within range of Bf 109s."

And the figures I quoted in my post of 1st April were taken from the Talonsoft game "Battle of Britain" (which I believe was covered by Gary Grigsby later on), page 117.

Look, you have empirical data on the range of 1940's single-engine fighter aircraft, you have your CEAW map scale on public record, therefore the decision to increase the range of GS4.0 at-start FTR units can only be a playability one, because it certainly can't be a realism one. Can it?

Stauffenberg, Luftwaffe raids to places like North Weald and Debden (11 Group Sector airfields in Essex, north of the Thames) were escorted by BF 110s, precisely because they were long-range escort fighters, the only ones in the world at the time. Ditto the Luftflotte 5 strikes in August 1940 from the Scandinavian bases - and even they had to leave their rear gunners behind. The 109 could just about reach Hornchurch. Coventry was bombed at night and so was an unescorted raid (Blenheims were the RAF night-fighters at the time and not successfully radar-controlled either). The Luftwaffe targeting priorities changed many times during the Battle, famously after Berlin was bombed on Churchill's orders in retaliation for the dropping of bombs on a London suburb, but targets included radar, airfields, factories, oil storage and refining facilities, power plants, armaments factories, railyards, ports and eventually, London. Cities were to be bombed on the very eve of invasion as they were to provoke a stampede away from the bombed areas and hinder the defence forces in their approach to the invasion sites - emulating the results of the bombing in the Belgian campaign.

If I appear to have a bee in my bonnet it's because I've known these things for decades (yes I'm that old): I have the books I've quoted from on my bookshelf and that's not even a complete list.

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Re: GS4.0 Aircraft ranges

Post by pk867 » Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:12 pm

If you look at this map it shows a very short range for the me109. Consider that group eleven was just across the channel.

The radar high and low would immediately see fighters approaching or the fighters could fly South-East and then come around

to fool the British. They would be at high fuel rate usage once they got in the air. Further West you go they seem to have a farther range.

I think it was that London was right there and there was a concentration of RAF bases that makes it appear to have a short range.
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Re: GS4.0 Aircraft ranges

Post by Jimbonsx » Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:02 am

Pk867, this (very much not to scale) map just makes my point - the Bf 109 at the start of the war did not in reality have the range that GS4.0 now ascribes to it.
You can't have an aircraft flying one distance in one part of the country and a different distance elsewhere if they're flying under the same conditions!
There is no "appear" - the range was the same for JG51 (based in Wissant) as it was for JG2 (Le Havre) as it was for JG53 (Cherbourg) - these were all units flying Bf 109s in June 1940.

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Re: GS4.0 Aircraft ranges

Post by GogTheMild » Tue Apr 04, 2017 1:03 pm

Bear in mind that the ranges shown on the map are the maximum ranges possible. They allow no scope for things which a Bf109 might usefully want to do, eg: circling over France to join up with other fighter squadrons, rendezvousing with the bombers it is escorting, dogfighting - which, as Jimbonsx points out, uses fuel at a ferocious rate.

To quote from one of the books he mentions: "Running out of fuel was a constant hazard for Bf109 pilots. ... One pilot ... watched seven of his Gruppe ditch in the ocean and then saw another five make belly landings on the French beaches." This was one Gruppe, on one mission, to a target south of London.
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Re: GS4.0 Aircraft ranges

Post by Vokt » Tue Apr 04, 2017 4:49 pm

I think it would be good if we distinguish here between the different Luftwaffe units, their sizes and their composition. Luftwaffe fighter wings (Jagdgeschwader) indeed, had only fighter aircrafts assigned to them. But regarding Luftwaffe Air Corps units (Fliegerkorps) that was completely another matter. In a Luftwaffe Air Corps unit, you could find fighters, tactical bombers, strategic bombers, transport aircrafts, reconnaissance aircrafts, etc.

We know that air units in CEAW GS represent Air Corps sized units. This way, a German fighter unit may abstractly represent a Fliegerkorps unit in which we have a majority of fighter aircrafts but in which there could be assigned a few bomber aircrafts either. Conversely, a German tactical bomber may represent a majority of Ju-87's, etc. Following that argument you might not find that weird the different air ranges that air units have now in CEAW GS.

IMO, and from the games I have played so far, extended air ranges have really added to the game. Both in terms of playability and realism. I say realism, because before, the usual way of transporting air units from the US to the UK was via loading the air units in naval transports (this was unrealistic because in WW2 aircrafts were mainly transported in carriers). Now, with the new air ranges (and I speak for myself) it's almost not needed to use the risky naval transportation. You can use the airfields both in New Foundland and Iceland so you have your USAF forces deployed in the UK (historically this was done so through Operation Bolero).

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Re: GS4.0 Aircraft ranges

Post by Jimbonsx » Tue Apr 04, 2017 5:48 pm

By that argument, Vokt, why are the various units designated FTR, TAC and STR if all three types are present - they are definitely specialised/optimised to function in one of the three particular modes? If all three are present, then FTR, TAC and STR should all have the same values. Since they don't, I believe that they're deliberately differentiated, and what we call a FTR unit is overwhelmingly filled with fighters, TAC with fighter-bombers/medium bombers and STR with your actual SAC bombers.

It's a peculiarly Luftwaffe problem as 11 Group quite definitely didn't have anything like the same arrangement. That's why I was trying to keep the discussion as general as possible.

Once again I'd like to reiterate that I'm talking about the fighters that everyone started the war with - the tech improvements handle the range increments very well, and have been doing so for a long time, so I'm not worried about subsequent iterations of FTR aircraft. It seems that I can't make myself understood that this is the only thing I question.

Aircraft on the Transatlantic run were still ferried in crates as well as carriers - there weren't that many carriers used on ferry runs across the Atlantic.

Bet you still can't get a FTR across the Atlantic other than in a ship though!

Much obliged GogTheMild for the assist!

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Re: GS4.0 Aircraft ranges

Post by Peter Stauffenberg » Tue Apr 04, 2017 7:27 pm

Remember that in Vanilla CEAW you had a fighter air range of 6 at the start of the game which increased to 9 With Strategic operations Tech 1. So you had fighter air range of 9 very early in the game. Maybe as early as fall 1940 if you put focus into Strategic operations.

In GS v4.0 you have a start fighter range of 8 which increases to 9 With Strategic operations Tech 1. So game wise the difference is not that much different. The interception range is still only 6 at the start of the game.

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Re: GS4.0 Aircraft ranges

Post by Jimbonsx » Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:29 pm

This is my last post on the subject. I surrender, unconditionally - I cannot seem to make anyone listen to me and understand my point.

In game terms, GS3.1 FTR start the war with a six-hex combat radius - that means they can aggressively seek combat within six hexes. It's not an interception range, it's not a peaceful move range, it's a combat radius. This is consistent with the fighter combat radius of all of the major at-war powers.
In game terms, GS4.0 FTR start the war with an eight-hex combat radius - that means they can aggressively seek combat within eight hexes. This is NOT consistent with the fighter combat radius of all of the major at-war powers.

Despite a shed-load of evidence indicating that GS3.1 was more accurate (from the FTR radius perspective) than GS4.0, the range has been increased and we have to live with it. So be it. I'm not one of the game designers so I can only presume that it made the game "more playable". See my earlier posts that mention "Playability vs realism".

If anyone wants to continue with this off-forum, please PM me.

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GS4.0 Aircraft ranges

Post by Vokt » Tue Apr 04, 2017 9:38 pm

Maybe this is just a matter of interpretation. We must take into account that air units in CEAW represent quite big sized air units in which aircrafts of all types may be included. This way, a fighter air unit (from any major power) would abstractly represent a majority of single engine fighter aircrafts (Me-109's, Hurricanes, Spitfires, etc) assigned to that unit. But also abstractly, a fighter unit would include other than single engine fighter aircrafts like twin engine fighters (Me-110's, Blenheims, Beaufighters, etc) light bombers or even some dive bombers which had larger combat radius. Having these would sort of justify less fixed values on fighters.

I said combat radius instead of range because I think it's important to differentiate between them. They are different concepts. A range of 600 km (e.g. Me-109) doesn't mean a 12 hexes attack range (or combat radius) but a 6 hexes attack range since the aircraft has to be able to return to its air base.

Regarding air units transported by sea, I was referring to the fact that no heavy or medium USAF bomber was transported by sea. Instead, they were rebased to the UK via Greenland and/or Iceland. Another matter was to rebase fighters all the way to the UK of course.

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Re: GS4.0 Aircraft ranges

Post by duncanr » Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:07 pm

this is really a circular argument - at the scale of the game you could choose to accept either argument depending on your chosen rationalization, ME 109's didn't have that range therefore FTR's should be reduced or FTR units are made of multiple aircraft types, ME 110's etc.. therefore the range should stay.

I can complicate it more if you like, there is no way a Hurricane or ME 109 can do the damage to land and sea units that FTR's can currently achieve in 39/40 but it could be achieved by (pick your aircraft type - lets say Typhoon) later in the war.

So my question would be what game mechanics issue needs to be addressed?

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