Attack value of strategic bombers

  • Quick one. Throughout WW2, strategic bombers were used for bombing factories, bases, railways, ports etc. They were rarely used for attacking military fighting units due to problems with hitting relatively small moving targets from high altitudes. With the introduction of tactical fighter/bombers in A&A, why is the attack value of a strategic bomber still 4. Shouldn’t it be 0 or perhaps 1 at the most?

    Comments anyone?

  • Bombers are generally used in fighting Naval battles in AAA or bombing raids and also this is a case where gameplay is more important than history

  • Yes, that is true.

    However, with the inclusion of a new fighter/bomber unit in the A&A game which has an attack value of 4 when combined with either a fighter / tank, it has effectively replaced the role of what a strategic bomber does in A&A. With this in mind, I would have thought that the rule makers of A&A would have changed the strategic bomber’s role in A&A to something more realistic – being a high altitude strategic bomber that was designed to take out an enemy’s industry making abilities, ports, air bases etc.

    That’s what I like about A&A the most. A fun way to simulate (in a roundabout fun way) a ‘what-if’ experience to determine what could have happened throughout WW2. It seems that the rule makers are trying to make the game more and more ‘realistic’ with additional rules and unit types to simulate the events of WW2.

    I’m sure the designers and the fans are pushing things in this direction more and more as the A&A game evolves. I bet your bottom dollar over the next set of series that things like infantry won’t be able to role against strategic bombers, just like fighters cannot attack subs (if a destroyer isn’t around). They used to be able to attack subs in the original rules.

    The game is slowly evolving into a more realistic gaming experience – for the better I believe, hence why haven’t they changed the rules about strategic bombers in this edition?

  • nubs, i agree with you 100%. i have been messing with ideas like bombers roll first in attacking. this is preemtive and causlties are removed immediately. they only roll once at the beggining of combat. they can be intercepted by fighters thou before they drop their bombs. also they can only be hit by anti aircraft guns or fighters. also if you use 3 or more bombers in an attack, this is considered carpet bombing and infantry cant defend at all.

  • Yes. Strategic bombers are unique military units that I think need unique and specific rules – I’ll go over your ideas in a minute in detail and add some thoughts of my own later on.

    Strategic bombers most often operate and attack an enemy at high altitudes, meaning that they have a specific advantage over other military units in that they are very hard to reach and attack. This is very similar in concept to subs in that they too have a specific military advantage like no other unit does. A sub has a few specific rules that are unique to it and has a specific military unit (a destroyer) that can counter its advantages. The main reason why a sub has these numerous advantages and rules AND a specific counter attacking unit is because it is very hard to reach and attack.

    Strategic bombers were designed primarily to destroy an enemy’s military infrastructure by dropping bombs (and lots of them at once), hence hindering an enemy’s ability to produce weapons and supply their war effort. They were used to a lesser extent on military units (ships, infantry, etc.). Bomber attack sorties on military units were often seen as failures because of their ineffectiveness on making hits.

    With this in mind, I believe that strategic bombers should have a specific role to play in A&A – not so much as an attacking unit, but as a strategic unit for which it is. With the inclusion of an attacking fighter/bomber in the game, the strategic bomber can be used mainly for this purpose. I’ll go over Inmajor’s points and I’ll at the end add some of my own at the end for further comments.

    Strategic bombers can only be attacked by fighters and anti-aircraft guns – Yes. I agree 100%. The idea that any other type of unit other than these types of units can attack a strategic bomber is illogical and highly improbable.

    Strategic bombers can be intercepted by fighters before they can drop their bombs – Yes. I agree 100%. I believe that fighters should be able to scramble from any territory that has an airbase (island or land based – yes I know the rules currently don’t allow for land based airbases, but they should) that an attacking strategic bomber flies over. Only fighters in a territory with an airbase should only be able to participate in an interception type of defence.

    Strategic bombers to conduct a pre-emptive strike on an enemy by rolling first and removing any casualties straight away (similar to a sub). I can see where you’re coming from here and it’s not a bad idea. Because strategic bombers should be able to conduct battle as any standard military unit can, I think it should be possible for a bomber to attack – but I think that there should be a few specific rules to go with this (see below);

    Because a strategic bomber should only be destroyed by either fighters or anti-aircraft guns AND in a realistic way, they only get one shot at dropping their bombs on a strategic target OR a military target of their choosing, during the first stage of combat a strategic bomber can elect to either conduct a strategic bombing raid OR a military bombing raid. This is the only time during a combat round that a strategic bomber can come into play. The strategic bombing raid is carried out as per usual, and a military bombing raid is just like a strategic bombing raid except that each bomber that survives the usual fighter/anti-aircraft attacks rolls one die against the chosen military unit (by the attacker, not the defender) and the attack roll is not 4, but 1 (due to the inaccuracies of bombing at great height). The defence roll against fighters should also be 1 (bombers rarely put up much of a defence against fighters). The fighters (both attacking and defending) that fight in any interceptor/escort combat should attack and defend at their normal attack and defend values.

    To add to this, bombers (just like battleships and cruisers being ‘capital ships’), a bomber should also have 2 hits before it is destroyed. In WW2, bombers (especially the B-17 was almost indestructible by fighter attack), hence I believe that if a strategic bomber is hit once by an enemy fighter it is not destroyed but needs to turn home straight away and return for repairs at an airbase and takes no further part in the bombing raid. Once at home at an airbase, it is repaired straight away at no further cost, similar to a battleship or cruiser at a port. To indicate that it is shot once, a strategic bomber unit should be placed upside down on the board. If a strategic bomber is hit twice, it is destroyed and takes no further part in the game.

    Because a bomber should have two hits, it should cost a good deal more than 12 IPCs. I would think that a cost of 20 IPCs is a fair and reasonable cost for a unit.

    Hence the following values for a strategic bomber should be the following;

    Attack Value = 1
    Defence Value = 1
    IPC Value = 20

    That’s all I have for the moment regarding strategic bombers. If anyone out there has any thoughts or comments on strategic bombers, please drop a comment.

  • Just adding this reply because my thread disappeared. Hopefully it might come back for anyone to read and comment on.

  • After thinking about the comments I made regarding a strategic bomber’s combat values and abilities, I’d like to change a couple of points I made to make the unit more appealing;

    Attack Value: 2
    Defence Value: 1
    Movement Value: 6
    Hits Available: 2
    IPC Value: 14

    With regard to my comments about a strategic bomber having to return home and taking no further part in a bombing raid (strategic or military), this should not apply. A strategic bomber should still be able to continue on with its mission regardless if it has been damaged or not. Their mission is to deliver bombs and deliver bombs they will or die trying!

    Comments anyone?

  • I also think about to change the bomber concept.
    Your idea is not bad.
    But I think 2 hit to destroy a bomber is too strong.
    I also think about to reduce the AA gun factor.
    1 dice per AA gun whatever the number of enemy bombers.

    Don’t forget that some heavy bomber make bombing raid against warship with relative sucess.

    • special attack capability?

  • I think the idea a strategic bomber has 2 hits is pretty good - as long as the cost associated with it matches it accordingly. I originally thought of 20 IPCs to be fair and reasonable, then changed it to 4 IPCs just to make it more appealing. I’ve been having some trouble with figuring out what would be a suitable IPC value for one of these things if its hit value was 2 instead of 1.

    I’m more inclined to go back to my original thoughts and recommend the price be something in the vacinity of what 2 bombers would be worth i.e. around the 20 IPC mark, but have the functionality of just one bomber that has the special attack ability of choosing which unit it wants to hit with its standard strategic ability of hitting an enemy where it really hurts - in the hip pocket.

    I’ll have a go at doing some die rolls as if it were carrying out a strategic bombing raid on a major industry complex with the latest A&A rules with the following changes;

    Strategic Bomber stats:

    Attack Value: 2
    Defence Value: 1
    Movement Value: 6
    Hits Available: 2
    IPC Value: 20

    The match up will be 6 strategic bombers with an escort of 6 fighters VS 6 interceptor fighters and 1 AA gun.

    I’ll then compare this with a standard Strategic Bomber as per the latest A&A rules.

    I’ll carry out a total of 100 battles to the death for each type of situation and see what happens!!

    Stay tuned!

  • Ok that makes some sense but come on who uses bombers for strategic runs? You need a ton of them to make a difference. Besides we’re talking whole air wings here not a couple dozen bombers. I think a heavy bombing raid would cause a crap ton of damage. Next your gonna be saying that artillery can’t support infantry  :|. This is just the way most players learned the game and is something we stick with. It’s like trying to UNLEARN how to ride a bike  🙂

  • Thanks for your input  😄

    Why would I say infantry shouldn’t be able to support artillery? It’s a good idea!

    And who doesn’t use STRATEGIC BOMBERS for strategic runs. It’s the only effective way of really hurting your enemy’s ability to build units, and yes it is cost effective.

    The main point about this thread is the fact that the rule makers have now included a tactical bomber into the game. A tactical bomber that has for all intents and purposes has negated a strategic bomber from its traditional role of being the unit that it once was. A tactical bomber that has an attack value of 4 (when accompanied by fighters) and has a range of 5 when taking off from an airbase.

    Tactical bombers were used in WW2 as a main strike waepon against military targets and they are a great inclusion in the game. With the inclusion of a tactical bomber, I believe that the role of the strategic bomber should be revised for something more appropriate and sensible. Just like infantry not being able to shoot down strategic bombers - does anyone really like this aspect of the game’s combat? Did infantry have access to surface to air missiles in WW2 or was that more so for other wars like the Korean War and Vietnam War??? Besides, AA guns are used to take down strategic bombers, not infantry, or tanks, or battleships, or anything else for that matter except fighters of course.

    The only advantage a strategic bomber has is its range to deliver bombs from high altitude. Strategic bombers were used in the war mainly to destroy an enemy’s industries, bases, airbases etc. not for destroying specific military units.

    Most players (if not all) were OK with subs submerging to get away from enemy units (I’m pretty sure subs didn’t have the ability to submerge in the original rules back in 1986). A new cruiser unit was introduced to combat subs again which most if not all players were OK with. My point is rules change, and they change to make the game better and to make the experience more realistic, fair and reasonable.

    My points about subs and cruisers is a great example. Did you get upset when they changed the sub rules? I ask this because as you state “this is just the way most players learned the game and is something we stick with”. Maybe we should go back to the old rules and the way we used to play it back in 1986. That would be heaps of fun, yes?

    Changes more often bring advancement (and fear along with it) - should we be afraid of change where it’s trying to make something perhaps a little better, and not just have something stay the same for the sake of it because.

    I thinks it’s more like upgrading to something like a motorbike or car. You can ride your bike as much as you like.

  • I have two concerns with this discussion thread…

    1. Strategic bombing is not cost effective.  Every time you go in (assuming no fighter cover either that would make it even worse) you have 1/6 chance of loss to anti-aircraft fire and should average 3 damage per bomber.  So average 3 damage and 2 loss (1/6 of 12 ipc cost) - sorry that’s too easily swayed by bad dice.  One often finds themselves out a few bombers for doing little damage.  I’d rather use strats in combat and wipe out significant units.

    2. Proposing 20 IPC for a unit that you want to have a 1 or 2 attack/defense value?  Why would anyone ever buy one?  I can buy 2 fighters for the same and roll with 3’s and 4’s.

    Just my thoughts.

  • Let’s do some math.

    Based on 6 strategic bombers, AA gun has a one in 6 chance in hitting a bomber. Therefore, one bomber on average will be destroyed. That means there will be a loss of 12 IPC units.

    With one bomber out of action on average, five bombers remain to take part in the strategic bombing raid. The average value will be 3.5 - the value can be calculated as follows;

    6 plus 5 plus 4 plus 3 plus 2 plus 1 equals 21. 21 divided by 6 equals 3.5. 3.5 multiplied by 5 remaining bombers comes to 17.5 IPCs worth of damage. Now, with 6 bombers conducting a strategic bombing raid gives on average a net result of inflicting 5.5 IPCs worth of damage. That’s not a bad result for the strategic bombing raid that everyone seems to hate doing. That’s just doing a simple example strategic bombing raid. The new rules state you need to add an additional 2 to the roll which equates to an average of 5.5 per bomber. If we plug this into our example of 6 strategic bombers, one will be shot down with 5 bombers continuing on to deliver on average damage of 27.5 IPCs with a loss of 12 IPCs. Who out there doesn’t use strategic bombs for strategic bombing raids?

    Again, with the introduction of a tactical bomber into the game, it will cost you 11 IPCs and give you a military unit with an attack value of 4 (when accompanied with a fighter, which you normally accompany with a strategic bomber anyway). This unit is a replacement to a strategic bomber. I would prefer to buy a strategic bomber for a strategic bombing raid and buy a cheaper tactical bomber to attack a military unit instead of buying and using a more expensive strategic bomber.

    I’ll soon go through an example of rolling 100 rounds of a strategic bombing raid as per the standard rules and compare them to a strategic bomber with a hit value of 2 with a unit cost of 20 to see what the results will produce and have any validity.

  • @acampo22:

    I have two concerns with this discussion thread…

    1. Strategic bombing is not cost effective.  Every time you go in (assuming no fighter cover either that would make it even worse) you have 1/6 chance of loss to anti-aircraft fire and should average 3 damage per bomber.  So average 3 damage and 2 loss (1/6 of 12 ipc cost) - sorry that’s too easily swayed by bad dice.  One often finds themselves out a few bombers for doing little damage.  I’d rather use strats in combat and wipe out significant units.

    2. Proposing 20 IPC for a unit that you want to have a 1 or 2 attack/defense value?  Why would anyone ever buy one?  I can buy 2 fighters for the same and roll with 3’s and 4’s.

    Just my thoughts.

    I agree with this. bombers still should attack at 4

  • Why?

  • for that price and how much damage they wouldnt do, i would never buy them. the cost of your potential losses far exceed the damage you can bring to the enemy 😐

  • Agreed. Strategic bombing runs only knock out a couple IPCs from the German mega war machine anyway. I think thay added it mainly for historical purposes. Also if your playing total victory and you have Japan stuck on it’s tiny island then its your only shot of killing its economy.

  • OK, I’m a little confused with your replies and I think this is because I’ve added a couple of additional arguments associated with the strategic bomber to my original argument.

    Arguments raised thus far;

    1. Strategic bomber’s attack strength of 4 should be reduced to a lower value due to the introduction of a tactical bomber in A&A and that historically strategic bombers were used mainly as a weapon to destroy strategic targets, not military targets.
    2. Strategic bombers should have a hit value of 2 due to their historic ability to take quite a substantial amount of damage by enemy fighters before being destroyed. To price this added advantage, the cost value of a strategic bomber should be increased to better match its increased hit value.

    At this point in time, it seems that the second argument is not looking all that sound and I should drop this argument from this thread and simply concentrate on my original argument. I may raise this argument at a later date as a separate thread.

    So, back to my original argument. I believe that tactical bombers have (both historically and within A&A) taken the role of being the primary unit in a nation’s airforce to be used to destroy an enemy’s military fighting units. With this being the case, strategic bombers have I believe (both historically and within A&A) taken the role of being the primary unit in a nations airforce to destroy an enemy’s military strategic targets. The game rules have changed for a strategic bomber that conducts a strategic bombing raid by adding an additional 2 IPCs to a bomber’s roll, which has increased it on average from 3.5 to 5.5! this on average will give a player who conducts a strategic bombing raid involving 6 strategic bombers a net result of 15.5 IPCs worth of damage to an opponent. Historically, strategic bombers were used for this purpose - to conduct strategic bombing raids and tactical bombers were used for destroying military fighting units because strategic bombers weren’t very good at destroying them. Hence I believe not only should a strategic bombers attack value be reduced to something more appropriate, but also the rules associated with it conducting battle during the combat phase be altered as well as discussed in previous posts that I’ve added along this thread.

    I hope that has cleared a few things up.

  • Oh yeah jet fighters! I forgot about them. Withem you don’t even need tacs  😄

  • Look, I agree with some of your points, but the fact is if strategic bombers were to be made realistically it would have no point.  Only the UK and USA developed strategic bombers (unless you want to include Germany’s long range sea/recon bomber the Condor), so to make them entirely realistic would only allow two nations to buy and use them.

    If you want to, think of it this way…
    Fighters: Single engined air superiority fighters such as Spitfire, Mustang, Messerschmidt, Zero, etc.  Used in A&A primarily for defense and mobility
    Tactical Bombers:  Single engined fighter/bombers such as Stuka’s, Val’s, SBD Dauntless, etc.  Used in A&A primarily to attack in combined arms with fighters and tanks and for mobility
    Strategic Bombers:  Any heavy bomber, both strategic and tactical, 2 or 4 engine.  Everything from a B-17 to a Heinkel.  Used in A&A for mobility and all around attack.

    Your proposition, while historically accurate, would weaken the strategic bomber and render it useless.  The unit as it is in A&A represents far more than simply a strategic bomber, consider it a misnomer, it is both a strategic and tactical bomber whereas tactical bombers are really fighter/destroyers or fighter/bombers.

  • Yes when in doubt look at what the peices are. I find them interesting the infantry escpecially. Americans use M1 Garands, British use Enfields, Russians use PPshs, Germans use Kar98ks and the Japanese use Ar… you know I’m not gonna try to pronounce that.

  • I agree with your thinking on the role of stratigic bombers. the tac bomber has somewhat replaced this piece on the battlefield. I am thinking more along the lines of SBs to make initail preemptive attack in opening of land combat, first round only causilties removed immeadiately. SBs can be left in enemy TT to reduce mobility on opponets turn, sort of like SBs are taking out roads and RR systems, reducing tanks and mechs to 1 move. maybe infantry cant move out of TT in this situation. also, i really like the idea of 3 or more SBs is considered carpet bombing and enemy units defence is reduced by 1. But i do think SBs attack value should be kept at 4.

  • Haha now that I think about it I never use bombers except the ones I start out with. After that IF I buy air units I get fighters.

  • Sponsor '17 TripleA '11 '10

    I agree with specializing the Strat Bombers a bit more. But like most of you, I agree that SBR attacks usually result in expensive bomber losses for little result. How about this:

    Attack: 1 or 2 (not sure which)
    Defend: 1
    SBR: 2 dice damage
    2 hits (1 hit causing return to base as suggested above)
    Cost: 15 - 16

    Thoughts on this? I would like to encourage more purchases and SBRs as it was a major factor in WW2…

  • Maybe they could get a single premtive attack in land combat like a sub (AA gun preventable of course). This simulates bombing before an operation. However I think that adding completely new rules for air units would be interesting.

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