TFH2: German Sep I 40
Black Day for the Luftwaffe
During the last game, someone had commented that I had not been putting a lot of pressure on the British. Maintaining pressure on the British is a difficult thing, and it must be accomplished in the air, all the while performing additional missions that have little to do with putting pressure on the British.
Let me make a few case studies.
Up to this point, the British rear areas have proven to be very vulnerable, with a lack of AA and fighter cover. I’m not sure if the British felt they could rely on patrol attacks to turn the majority of bombers back or what, but it turned out that there were some very weak points, areas where patrols were minimal, and these were exploited by German bomber forces, laying several hits on the factories at Coventry and Bristol, while destroying a few air units and damaging others on the ground where there was no AA protection.
The end result was that the British have scrambled to spread air defenses around to protect the rear areas. This is the first true German success of both games.
Each turn, however, one of those hits comes off the factories automatically. In addition, as Alan did last turn, the British can spend an equipment point to repair two hits per factory. I’m glad that he did that, because it shows the exercise in futility of bombing factories, in my opinion. Certainly, the British spent some equipment points on something other than artillery units, but it also means that the British can make repairs as fast as the Germans can damage the factories.
Equipment points can also be spent at a 1:1 ratio to repair radar sites, but these are not as easy to hit as the factories are. Bombing factories use the strategic bombing factors while radar sites use the reduced tactical bombing factors. The He-111, for example, has a strategic rating of 5, and a tactical rating of 2, showing how weak these bombers are when not bombing factories.
At least with the factories, the Germans know how many hits have to be placed to knock it out. Not so with radar sites. How many hits it takes to knock a site out is unknown, and the only time success is known is when the patrol zones of British fighters is suddenly reduced to a single hex (interception is not affected).
So, is it really worth the effort to bomb radar sites beyond trying to force the British to spend equipment points?
The Luftwaffe, like the British, has to make adjustments of their own. The bombardment of France served as a wakeup call that naval patrol missions have to be flown in Zone 13, off the southeastern coast of Britain and Belgium/Holland. Dive bombers and fighter-bombers are best suited to this task. Regular bombers suffer the penalties when trying to bomb naval units at sea that smaller air units that can dive on their targets don’t.
The Luftwaffe does not need to send every single Stuka and Me-110C on patrol, just enough to discourage the Royal Navy from trying that stunt again. Experience against Alan has shown that he is loathe to put units of any kind at risk (he has only done so once that I can recall since I started playing against him), especially if victory points for losing units are at stake. This is the commander who put the HMS Furious in the upper right corner of the Narvik map just to make sure the Luftwaffe could not reach it.
As long as the Luftwaffe patrols Zone 13, will he bring the Royal Navy down to France again? I really doubt it, but he could surprise me.
Bombing factories and radar sites does nothing to advance the cause of launching an invasion. The British also repair bombed airfields as quickly as the Luftwaffe can damage them.
So it all comes down to this: the best way to pave the way for an invasion is to bomb aircraft on the ground (and by this I mean bombers because fighters will just scramble away), and the Royal Navy.
The Kriegsmarine is virtually non-existent, and cannot fight the Royal Navy on the seas. If an invasion is launched before the Royal Navy is dealt with, or at least weakened, they will end up in the same Sea Zone as any shipping carrying the Wehrmacht. At that point, the number of shipping points sunk after the KM is driven off/sunk is equal to the total number of undamaged Royal Navy hit boxes of naval units present in the zone. With 4 battleships present, this would equal 22 shipping points sunk. That does not include the cruisers, destroyers and submarines.
Six new aircraft are activated, following the loss of the 250 aircraft in August. The aircraft that are activated are a Ju-88C heavy night fighter, a Ju-87R dive bomber, a Ju-88A and He-111 bomber, an Me-110C fighter-bomber, and an Me-109E fighter, bringing active air units back up to 77.
This time, the Luftwaffe elects to hit the Royal Navy at Edinburgh, a tall order considering there is 7 points of ground AA at the port, in addition to the ships. The AA cruisers Cardiff and Coventry are selected as targets to reduce the amount of AA available. Other targets include the aborted Wellington 1Cs at Northampton, a radar site in far western England, and the radar site at Great Yarmouth.
(I admit that I have no idea of the different areas of England. I think the far western area is Cornwall, but I could mistaken about this.
A few Ju-87s and Me-110s are sent on naval patrol in Se Zone 13, just north of Holland and Belgium.
By happenstance, the British are also patrolling the same sea zone, so Luftwaffe pilots are instructed to give the British the finger as they pass by.
Each of these areas are out of German fighter cover range, so the fighters spread out their defenses to cover more areas in France.
That’s when the carnage begins.
Of course, that doesn’t stop the British from crying about their patrol attack dice.
Western England Radar site: 1 Do-17z is aborted from attacks by Hurricanes. AA is ineffective and the Dorniers deliver 2 hits to the radar site.
Great Yarmouth: The He-111s are torn up over this target. Two are killed while one is aborted and one is returned. The bombing of this radar site has been halted. One Spitfire was aborted.
Northampton: Again, the He-111s are torn up. 400 bombers are sent to make sure the job gets done. Three air units are killed (150 bombers), and 4 are returned to base from air combat and AA fire. The sole remaining bomber counter drops its bombs and destroys the Wellington 1Cs. One Hurricane is aborted.
Edinburgh: Twelve Ju-88s are launched from Denmark and Germany, targeting the AA cruisers Coventry and Cardiff as a prerequisite to bombing other ships. A pair of Blen 1F night fighters intercept, returning 1 Ju-88. That Blen 1F is shot down. AA fire is fierce, and of the 12 that started the mission, only 3 make it through. Five bombers are aborted (250 aircraft torn up). The Coventry is hit, crippling it. AA power is reduced from 4 to 2.
Two British aircraft were aborted (a Spitfire and a Hurricane), and one was shot down (Blenheim 1F), and one was destroyed on the ground. The Luftwaffe suffered 5 air units shot down (250 aircraft), and 7 air units aborted (350 aircraft torn up, but not all shot down. These are unable to fly any more missions until repaired).
There is no spinning this. The Luftwaffe has lost 500 aircraft during the past month (10 air units shot down), and 9 air units (450 aircraft) sitting on the ground, inoperable. The Luftwaffe has taken a beating over the past month.
This is why I don’t like to send bombers on deep strikes where they cannot be escorted. We may be forced to shrink the combat area as a result of this.
That’s 10 kills for the British over the last 2 turns, and they still cry about patrol dice.
There was a series of five rolls that the British had, and 4 of those rolls came up natural, unmodified snake eyes. That’s the kind of luck that the British have that I don’t possess. I’ve shot down a couple of Blenheim fighters of different varieties, but I don’t think I’ve rolled snake eyes once, let alone on four out of five rolls.
Luftwaffe losses: 500 aircraft
RAF losses: 300 aircraft
Engineers begin airfield construction in France, the last construction of this game.
This has been a brutal month for the Luftwaffe.