In the end, we went this route (still subject to change, as we always seem to reveal some flaw each game, though we rarely use house rules):
Cost 8. No build limit
0/0/4. Air transports had about the same range as fighters, and this prevents trans atlantic flights as well as pacific island hopping.
There is no requirement for them to be chosen last as losses.
In combat move: ï¿½ Can carry 1 para inf. ï¿½ An airbase is not required, but will add one range (as it does in the NCM). ï¿½
When attacking, a transport is considered to retreat as soon as it drops it’s paratrooper (leave it in the space until NCM). ï¿½ This occurs right after AA fire. ï¿½ If the transport is shot down by AA, the para inf is lost as well.
A para costs 4 IPC. ï¿½ Build limit, 1 per turn. ï¿½ These can’t be saved. ï¿½ I.e., If you build 0 on turn 6, you can’t build 2 on turn 7.
1/2/1 ï¿½ When airdropped, it attacks with a 2 on the first cycle, and then reverts to a 1. ï¿½ A para can be supported by artillery, giving them an attack of 3 in the first cycle, or 2 thereafter.
Non combat move: ï¿½ If an air transport was not used in combat, it may transport 1 inf type unit in the NCM instead (I still can’t stomach 2. ï¿½ That’s for the big ships). ï¿½ No airfields are required and the inf unit does not have to start in the same space as the transport, but it cannot have moved first in either CM or NCM. ï¿½ An air transport cannot pick up from or land in a territory captured this player turn. ï¿½ The rule about not having to start in the same space came about after a discussion about a german airdrop on Crete. ï¿½ The drop was planned for turn 3, but the player was annoyed that he would have to wait until turn 4 to NCM an air transport there, and until turn 5 to get them back to the continent (let alone the idea that they would need to build an airbase first). ï¿½ If transport ships can move move and pick up, it seemed more consistant to allow ï¿½ a move-then-pickup like sea transports. ï¿½ So in the Crete example, the unit is combat dropped from Greece on Turn 3, with the air transport returning to Greece. ï¿½ On Turn 4, it can fly from Greece, pick up the unit on Crete and use its 2 remaining movement to land wherever. ï¿½ Most interesting use so far: ï¿½ A german player used 2 air transports to evacuate a hopeless situation in Norway of its 2 remaining inf in the NCM, with the transports starting and ending their turn in Denmark.
An air transport cannot land on a carrier.
Edit: Deleted Combat move restrictions. They were confusing. And considering the cost and build limit of paras, they were unnecessary.