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AA fire and crews twiddling their thumbs ?

Posted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 1:12 am
by DSV1
As the rules are now AA fire goes first at the start of the attack phase which is fine and dandy for shooting down enemy bombers but not for enemy fighters who are flying above your carrier mauling/dogfighting your bombers as they launch :(

We played a game tonight in which German aircraft killed the RN carrier fighters and then hung around just outside AA range waiting for the swordfish to launch, when the did the Me 109's move in and maul them knowing they cant be shot, then bugger off again before the next attack phase.

I think a little tweaking needs to be done either with allowing AA fire to be used other than at the start of the attack phase or fighters get limited air time maybe ?

any suggestions or are we playing it wrong

Oh and torpedo bulges are way to good, in our battle Tirpitz re-rolled 5 torpedo hits which then became nothing:(

Posted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 1:33 am
by Fitzwalrus
I'm not qiuite sure how you were doing things, but as far as I can tell all aircraft will have moved for the turn at the end of the Movement Phase: where they wind up is where they are, and cannot move again that turn.

Attack Phase comes next, and AA fire for both sides is the very first thing that happens at the begining of the phase. Any enemy planes within range can be engaged, but cannot fire into a Dogfight.
After AA fire is done ships and aircraft resolve their attacks.

During the next Movement Phase Fighters will move before Bombers: if your Swordfish are launching this turn they shouldn't be on the table yet before they move/launch, so they should have at least this one turn's movement after launch before enemy fighters can move again to intercept them.

There's a certain degree of abstraction involved in all this, but following the historical practice of keeping a ring of AA escorts near your carriers should help keep your own planes safer so long as they are over your fleet, or at least force enemy fighters coming after your bombers to run a tougher gauntlet of AA in order to attack. (After lauching, move your bombers away from the fighters so the fighters will have to come across your fleet's AA to reach the bombers: move far enough and he won't be able to reach them in one turn, and may get intercepted by your own fighters on the way in.)

Posted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 1:42 am
by DSV1
Umm Me 109's move 31 inches and swordfish move 13inches which means even though you launch you bombers at the start of the move phase AND they move after the fighters they still have no chance.

The Me109s simply move out of AA range and sit there waiting for the Slow bombers to launch. Once the Swordfish are airborne the Me109's can pick their time to intercept and CANNOT be shot at as they are instantly classed as dogfighting by the time AA fire comes around again.

I dont doubt the fact that they will tear the Swordfish apart its the lack of any threat to the ME's that bothers me.

Posted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 1:54 am
by Fitzwalrus
Ah, gotcha.... hmmm.

Increase AA range? Slow down aircraft? (Probably not a good idea, considering how fast ships move already in comparison to planes.) Send escorting fighters with the Stringbags so they have at least some protection? Allow AA to fire on enemy aircraft on the turn they begin a Dogfight (shooting at them before they engage) but not into a Dogfight that lasts more than one turn?

Historically there's no question of Swordfish surviving an attack from ME's, and the fighters would have the speed to pick and choose when to attack. A limitation of two turns' firing/combat for fighters has been proposed, but that's not going to help bombers much during those first two turns of combat.... hmmm.

Posted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 6:19 am
by Chernobyl
yeah we ran across this one too, but it hasn't been answered yet. I'd be happy with a rule mechanic that states

"aircraft that are placed adjacent to ships in the ship movement phase (as launched aircraft) are placed simply to signify that the planes are going to be launched. They are not "in the air" until the controlling player's aircraft movement phase, appropriate to that aircraft type."

becasue yes, the fast fighters then become invulnerable - our japanese fleet had the same problems with some mustangs...


Posted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 8:59 am
by PilGrim
Fitzwalrus wrote:Ah, gotcha.... hmmm.

Historically there's no question of Swordfish surviving an attack from ME's, and the fighters would have the speed to pick and choose when to attack. A limitation of two turns' firing/combat for fighters has been proposed, but that's not going to help bombers much during those first two turns of combat.... hmmm.
Well err, technically, no. There is a report of a Swordfish in Norway that was bounced by a 109, the 109 tried to follow the harmless old biplane into a fjord, and then found out that the most important thing about chasing a biplane down a cliff lined narrow space is that you need to be able to pull up in fairly short order. The Swordfish demonstrated its superb manouvrability, the ME suffered severe deceleration trauma. Typically, when the crew tried to claim the kill, they were told they could not, because they had not fired any guns at the ME - the TAG had not bothered, knowing his chance was nil.....

In a less whimsical mode, this is a problem with the rules, as 2 opposing carriers should not really be on the same table, and the MEs should not be able to hang around waiiting due to fuel limits

Posted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 12:47 pm
by CptJake
I suppose you could always get your own fighters to occupy the ME-109s... I can't think of too many bomber or observation plane pilots who would enjoy taking off without fighter cover into a swarm of enemy fighters.

Posted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 1:13 pm
by DSV1
Yes I agree they should be hovering around their own carrier as a CAP

How about carrier born fighters having a limit as to how far they can move from their carrier - say 15in ? to represent them doing their job as opposed to tear arsing across the table to marmalize someones (Mine!) poor oold swordfish that have just launched

And both land based and carrier born fightes get a limit of turns in the air

The real answer is probably letting AA "choose" when to fire in the attack phase which might represent the AA crews realising their airborne mates are getting a battering.

Posted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 2:04 pm
by DM
The problem is more in the way that fighter endurance isn't factored into the rules. If you operate your carriers under an effective umbrella of enemy fighters then you really deserve to take some lumps. In the example you give what you'd actually do is haul off the coast a few miles to a point where the Me109s weren't able to operate, or to a point where their endurance was so low that they'd have to nob off home after 5 minutes, say 50 miles :) If you really had to operate when ther ewere enemy fighters around you'd have to resort to using your own fighters to drive them off. However, at present theres nothing to stop land based fighters appearing on table at the start of the game and to then hang around indefinitely causing trouble.

Posted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 3:30 pm
by DSV1
are there any solutions to this in the pipeline then ?

An endurance limit perhaps then ?

Posted: Sat Feb 03, 2007 5:01 pm
by Chernobyl
I'm sure all this will get worked out in VAS 2e... 8)