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Are bombers broken? : Axis bombers lead to allied dismay.



  • @knp7765:

    Well, we have gotten to the end of round 11 now and it is looking very bad for the Axis.
    The US took Northern Italy and UK took Rome, so Italy is all but out of the game now. Germany failed in Russia and the Russians are starting to get strong. It turns out their steady retreat to Moscow worked, even with heavy German bombing. By the time the Germans reached Moscow, Russia had 1 Tac, 4 fighters, 2 tanks, 2 mechs, 4 artillery, 5 AA guns and 58 infantry. Russia resisted using their fighters to intercept German bombers pounding the factory. Even after 2 large German attacks and 1 small Italian attack, I never got through all that Russian infantry (at the end of the 2nd German attack, Russia was down to 1 infantry along with the artillery, tanks, mechs, fighters and tac). Axis forces were depleted in Russia and the US/UK were causing problems in the west.
    The US also employed the bomber strategy and it has worked very well. Japan’s IC and airbase are maxed out on damage. West Germany’s IC and airbase are maxed out as are all three minors in France. They also keep maxing out the Germany IC so I have to keep repairing it just to buy men for my capital defense. France is totally open. The only reason the Allies haven’t taken them is lack of transports in the Atlantic thanks to German bomber operations. Also, UK really concentrated on taking out Italy.
    Japan has done somewhat better. They managed to take all of China, although it took some work. They have all of Eastern Russia and are hitting hard against Indian troops in Burma, trying to get to Calcutta. They have taken some Russian pressure off of Germany since Russia has to answer the small force encroaching in Central Russia. However, Japan is getting convoyed silly due to US and ANZAC subs all over the place. The US and ANZAC are trying to make progress but keep losing transports due to Japanese bombers (they still have 5 or 6).
    Overall, I am not so sure that heavy bomber buys by Germany and Japan work quite so well. I might have made wrong choices, mainly not doing Sealion, but the Axis ground forces just got wasted after a while. The threat of Axis bombers did keep the Allies at bay for a while, but the Axis just couldn’t seem to conquer enough before the Allies managed to find ways to pick them apart.

    Typically, if I have to choose, I hold N. Italy over Rome…Here is the logic. I can conserve Italian land units and strike all of Europe first, to can open for Germany. I can trade Rome with German units, thus not collecting income with Italy, and Making Rome a 3 IPC target that consumes allied effort. Also, N.Italy can easily be garrisoned with Italian and German units (typically mech along with air force). How disappointed are the allies, when they stage for a capture of Rome, get it, and then lose it the next turn? The only way Italy will collect income for additional plunder is if the allies wait 2 turns to trade it…a lot can happen then.

    I agree that Japan does not need bombers anymore, I have moved beyond that using German bombers for India now. I find the German can opening in the Pacific unbeatable against an allied destroyer build, but less relevant against an allied carrier strategy.

    Also, I believe it a mistake to attack Moscow unless you are able to win easily, just move around Moscow, take Volgorad and focus on London. You have choices in this strategy. If they go all in, in Moscow, they have left openings elsewhere and your air power can redeploy.


  • Customizer

    You know what, I think you just answered another question for me about my strategy. So when they pile up so high in Moscow, with mostly infantry like they did, then I should have went around and took everything else, perhaps while continuing to SBR the Moscow IC. Eventually, Russia only makes 3 IPCs per turn and with their factory maxed out, that means no more builds for Russia while I keep making mechs in Ukraine, Stalingrad and Leningrad.
    If Russia decides to attack my front line stacks surrounding Moscow, they do it with mostly 1s and spread themselves out. Even if they wipe out my front lines, they will take horrible casualties in the process, their factory will still be maxed out and they will have very little income. I could have kept hitting them with small groups of mechs along with my bombers (which are out of reach for Russia to attack) and eventually ground them down. And I think I would have still had enough money to keep the Western Allies honest.
    Man, I can see it all working out in my head now. Wish I would have thought of that earlier. I guess I just get too fixated on taking Moscow.
    We have gotten to round 14 now. The US managed to take Tokyo because Japan waited too long to fix their complex and put up a stack of men. That was a very tough battle but the US won with 1 tank and 1 bomber left. So while the US bomber force in the Pacific is depleted, they can take their time building it back up.
    Japan finally managed to take Calcutta, for all the good it did them. They still have 3 or 4 bombers that can give the Allies some headaches, but they will be mostly mopped up from here on by US and ANZAC.
    Germany gained a small victory by killing most of the Russian Air Force in Baltic States and they are actually threatening Leningrad again, but only with a stack of infantry and a couple of mechs. The dang US sacrificed all their bombers to wipe out the last German bombers so Germany has no more air force for the time being. The only bright spot there was that they left the German IC alone this turn, so Germany won’t have to repair it before buying more defense, or maybe new bombers, not sure yet. The war is lost for Germany but I’m thinking of a BOTB type last ditch offensive. Sure it won’t win the war, just create more destruction and death. Why not? I’m Hitler and by this time in the war, I’m fully crazy.  ha ha ha ha.



  • Not to interject on the conversation but….

    I actually do what you said. With Moscow, every time I get there and find that I don’t have enough men, I just surround them and make them pick at my guys while I build backups until I can take them.  Japan has to hold their own though.  If they start losing ground then I may push a battle in Moscow that normally I would have waited a round or so to fight.  I figure, Germany can get so big that they can’t spend all their money in the Russian minors.  Buy cheap units that defend and have slight attack power in Ukraine, Volgograd and Mech in Novgorod.  Use the rest to shore up a navy you may have or the air force back home.


  • Customizer

    Final update. Got to round 15 and handed it over to the Allies. Germany was down to just the territory of Germany. They had a decent stack of men, about 26 or so, plus a tank, a couple of mechs, some AA guns and a bombed out factory. Hitler was overthrown and Grand Admiral Doenitz surrendered to the Allies to prevent more misery.
    The Italian military was extinct by now. The last infantry got pummeled by 6 divisions of US armor in Greater Southern Germany.
    The last Japanese units were hiding out in far western China just waiting for the Allies to close in. Japan actually had 3 bombers left.
    Going to start another game tomorrow. Got some new ideas to work out. Still think heavy bomber buys are a good plan, just not exclusively bomber buys. Perhaps making sure that I (as Germany) buy at least 1 bomber each round along with other stuff as needed will work better. I won’t get the really impressive stack that I had early in this game, but my bomber force will still grow some and I think it will be helpful.
    One thing I really liked about having so many bombers to work with was SBRs. I could go into London or Moscow with so many bombers that I didn’t even need escorts and they still wouldn’t bother sending up interceptors.
    By the way, does anyone else out there think that in a lot of cases sending up interceptors is pretty much a waste of time and possibly fighters? Since both sides hit on a 1, I have seen a lot of times they all roll (bombers, escorts & interceptors) and nobody gets any hits. So that little combat round ends up making the game a little longer for no result. In this last game, a US raid of 5 bombers was met by my 3 German interceptors. I didn’t get a single bomber yet they killed all 3 of my interceptors! Maybe that’s unusually bad luck, but it still sucks!



  • @knp7765:

    I guess I just get too fixated on taking Moscow.

    This has lost me many a game as Germany and is probably the one key point that any German player has to be very aware of.  Trading stacks is one thing, but standing triumphant at the gates with only a pistol to defend it with isn’t a viable strategy.


  • Customizer

    @Spendo02:

    @knp7765:

    I guess I just get too fixated on taking Moscow.

    This has lost me many a game as Germany and is probably the one key point that any German player has to be very aware of.  Trading stacks is one thing, but standing triumphant at the gates with only a pistol to defend it with isn’t a viable strategy.

    Yeah, I should have thought of this before because it has happened to me before as well. I have also taken advantage of that against Germany playing as the US.
    It’s not only flat out losing the battle for Moscow that can doom Germany. I have seen games where Germany actually tromped the Russians with a fair amount of equipment left over but, as was mentioned before, they spent so much in Russia that Europe was neglected and the Americans and Brits came on strong. They end up taking Berlin while the bulk of the German army is thousands of miles away in Russia.



  • I figure if I take Moscow and have 8 Armor left over, plus most of my starting aircraft, I should be in good shape as I didn’t “overspend” taking Moscow.

    I’ve been playing with the Bomber purchases for Germany, and there’s something to be said about flying 6-8 bombers home from Moscow in 1 turn to fly over a stack of 10 inf or mech each round to push the Allies out of Europe.



  • Just finished reading this thread, interesting……

    Any update on more testing to see how this is going? Are we already on the verge of having another rule change?


  • TripleA

    operation dark skies is a legit german strategy that should be played and can win against experienced opponents.
    it is not a 1 time gimmick that your opponent can learn and then stop every time.

    with that said this strategy is not completely overpowering and far better than other german strategies*.
    no rule changes are needed.

    *such as operation early barbarossa: german first turn attack on ussr and tank/mech purchases for ablitz to moscow
    or operation 88s: early artillery purchases


  • '12

    @allweneedislove:

    operation dark skies is a legit german strategy that should be played and can win against experienced opponents.

    But what version of the operation: exclusive Bombers or Bombers + fodder?  I don’t think the efficacy of a mass of Bombers is in dispute, but it seems hard to believe you can get that critical mass built up fast enough that you aren’t going to lose too much territory (with the US and probably UK as exceptions).


  • 2017 2016 2015 '14 '12

    Wouldn’t the counter to this all-bomber thing be to just build your own giant bomber stack and hit the enemy’s defending @1 with yours hitting @4?  Sooner or later they will have to land somewhere that’s in your range and without infantry, AA, etc to protect them.


  • Customizer

    @variance:

    Wouldn’t the counter to this all-bomber thing be to just build your own giant bomber stack and hit the enemy’s defending @1 with yours hitting @4?  Sooner or later they will have to land somewhere that’s in your range and without infantry, AA, etc to protect them.

    That is EXACTLY what happened to Japan. They were having great fun with their bombers pounding Chinese infantry and US ships. Well, at one point they had a stack of 4 or 5 bombers that went from China to pound some US ships and had to land on Japanese controlled Guam.
    Well guess what? The US had also been buying bombers, plus they had the Long Range Aircraft tech and controlled the airbase at Carolines. So, they simply flew their 3 bombers out to Guam and totally pasted all the Japanese bombers without losing one of their own.


  • 2017

    @variance:

    Wouldn’t the counter to this all-bomber thing be to just build your own giant bomber stack and hit the enemy’s defending @1 with yours hitting @4?  Sooner or later they will have to land somewhere that’s in your range and without infantry, AA, etc to protect them.

    I remember playing a match with Axisplaya and he had stationed 7 or so strategic bombers in India. He didn’t even have to use them at all to disrupt the Axis powers. Simply sitting there doing nothing except projecting threat across most of Eurasia was enough to make planning turns far more challenging.


  • 2017 2016 2015 '14 '12

    A bomber stack can be like an H-bomb.  The threat of using it is more valuable than actually using it.


  • Customizer

    Agreed. I had a stack of 5 bombers in W Germany which kept the UK and US navies in line while I pounded Russia. The UK couldn’t build new ships around Britain, although they spent a lot in Africa and gave the Italians fits. The US sent a fleet to Gibraltar once but German bombers wiped it out.
    It cost me to replace the bombers, but it also made the US gun shy about approaching Europe again.



  • Hello everyone, new on this forum.

    I stumbled upon this forum because I am looking for new strategies for the Axis because me and some friends have gotten the idea that the Axis can never win unless the dice saves their day or the allies make a mistake. So basically we feel the axis can flip a coin at start of the game to see if they can win ;-). We also feel the Allies cannot be tweaked down any further than they already have been because they are nerfed beyond believe already. IMHO, an Axis win has to come from creative thinking with what is on the board right now.

    I must admit I have not tested this ‘dark skies’ strategy but at first glance I feel it should not affect the allied strategies of me and my friends a lot.
    Because: we always defend the USSR with UK-fighters, as much as needed depending on the threat, to a maximum of 16 (!) by turn 4. And UK TAC and STR can also fly in for the defense of Moscow (and SBR Ukraine/Novgorod/Stalingrad) if needed. The huge RAF can easily destroy german reinforcement builds trying to reach Bryansk.

    If Germany buys so much STR my first thought is: OK, so once their (as a result of having so many bombers) small land forces reach Bryansk, the Russians can simply counter-attack them (and win), after which some UK FTR can fly in to defend the surviving Russian forces as well. The Russians may even be strong enough to never leave Bryansk in the first place (whether or not helped by some RAF-defenders) but that remains a ‘tester’ especially vs. Italian can-openers.
    It seems to me that SBRs are not very effective against such forces. Germany can fly in all their STR loosing equal amounts of STR as UK/USSR looses FTR. But then those STR are bound to the eastfront and the allied navies (US) can finally approach ‘fortress’ (I’d rather call it ‘airstrip’ by then 😉 ) Europe.
      By this time the US and UK also have growing bomberstacks, SBR Berlin + West Germany every turn, severely limiting the German (much needed) defensive builds for this front (it will cost Germany 50 ipc’s to build just 10 INF)…

    At the same time, UK always takes Persia, Iraq, and dominates Africa. They may have to give Egypt away for 1 turn but taking it back right after, never to loose it again. Its income should be 40+ by now, aided by Brazilian economy if needed.

    India and ANZAC are getting strong if Japan chases the Russians, providing even further aid for Europe (FTR, STR).

    So what if Germany tries to turn Sea-Lion. Dangerous, but my gut says: not possible anymore if not done at turn 3, because of SO many UK FTR, STR that can destroy any and all German TRS that show up on their way to the Russian mainland. Not much the German Ju-88 can do about that as well ;-).

    All this is just at first glance, I’ll admit again that we have not yet tested this ‘dark skies’ strategy but it is placed on top of our priority list for our global AA 1940 games (2nd ed.) as a potential for an Axis breakthrough.
    It certainly will require more creativity with the RAF but I think the trick is to simply build as much FTR with the UK as possible with the aim to defend Russia if needed. If not needed, well…

    P.S.
    Russian strategy is as always: retreat everything into Moscow, loosing nothing in the process. Not even screening forces. USSR is allowed to make counter-attacks where their net losses are as much INF as German INF, or even better, loosing more INF where Germans loose their spearheading ARM. Building INF and ART only with the purpose of a decisive counter-attack once the Germans reach Bryansk.
    The latter is almost possible (but prevented by a small fraction) if German Builds involved as much land forces as possible AND the entire Luftwaffe is also defending there (not much of a defense force left in Europe now huh ;-). So with 4 or more German turns of STR-building I suspect a russian win, attacking the combined German forces in Bryansk, is spectacular and decisive since the German STR do not have a particular valuable defense.


  • 2017 2016 2015 '14 '12

    @ItIsILeClerc:

    Hello everyone, new on this forum.
    Hello ItIsILeClerc, and welcome to the war.

    I stumbled upon this forum because I am looking for new strategies for the Axis because me and some friends have gotten the idea that the Axis can never win unless the dice saves their day or the allies make a mistake. So basically we feel the axis can flip a coin at start of the game to see if they can win ;-). We also feel the Allies cannot be tweaked down any further than they already have been because they are nerfed beyond believe already. IMHO, an Axis win has to come from creative thinking with what is on the board right now.
    A lot of people would disagree that the axis are too weak to win.  Most of us feel that the axis have the advantage in the first 10 rounds of the game or so.

    I must admit I have not tested this ‘dark skies’ strategy but at first glance I feel it should not affect the allied strategies of me and my friends a lot.
    Because: we always defend the USSR with UK-fighters, as much as needed depending on the threat, to a maximum of 16 (!) by turn 4. And UK TAC and STR can also fly in for the defense of Moscow (and SBR Ukraine/Novgorod/Stalingrad) if needed. The huge RAF can easily destroy german reinforcement builds trying to reach Bryansk.
    Sending RAF fighters to Russia is a great way to disrupt an axis strategy based on strategic bombing because the fighters can intercept.  Using the RAF offensively in Russia may be an expensive way to go.  Maybe those RAF fighters could be used elsewhere like in the Mediterranean perhaps.

    If Germany buys so much STR my first thought is: OK, so once their (as a result of having so many bombers) small land forces reach Bryansk, the Russians can simply counter-attack them (and win), after which some UK FTR can fly in to defend the surviving Russian forces as well. The Russians may even be strong enough to never leave Bryansk in the first place (whether or not helped by some RAF-defenders) but that remains a ‘tester’ especially vs. Italian can-openers.
    It seems to me that SBRs are not very effective against such forces. Germany can fly in all their STR loosing equal amounts of STR as UK/USSR looses FTR. But then those STR are bound to the eastfront and the allied navies (US) can finally approach ‘fortress’ (I’d rather call it ‘airstrip’ by then 😉 ) Europe.
      By this time the US and UK also have growing bomberstacks, SBR Berlin + West Germany every turn, severely limiting the German (much needed) defensive builds for this front (it will cost Germany 50 ipc’s to build just 10 INF)…
    SBR can be devastating in some cases.  Anytime the enemy needs to produce large numbers of units turn after turn out of an IC (as in Moscow, Berlin or West Germany), if you can arrange it so that you give them 20 damage each turn that’s 7 infantry they can’t afford to build.  Sometimes SBR is not effective though, such as bombing London where there is typically no need to build a lot of units after the first round.

    At the same time, UK always takes Persia, Iraq, and dominates Africa. They may have to give Egypt away for 1 turn but taking it back right after, never to loose it again. Its income should be 40+ by now, aided by Brazilian economy if needed.

    India and ANZAC are getting strong if Japan chases the Russians, providing even further aid for Europe (FTR, STR).
    If UK is getting the middle east this strongly, I am guessing that Germany and Italy must be going full bore at Russia. If that is the case, then they really should have not much trouble killing Russia by G6 or G7.  Maybe you should look at what Germany is doing and see if you can even the odds up a bit for the axis.

    So what if Germany tries to turn Sea-Lion. Dangerous, but my gut says: not possible anymore if not done at turn 3, because of SO many UK FTR, STR that can destroy any and all German TRS that show up on their way to the Russian mainland. Not much the German Ju-88 can do about that as well ;-).
    Many would agree that sealion is often a bad idea if UK does not defend well against it, which usually means an all infantry build UK1 and no Tarato attack.  It is up to Germany to threaten a possible sealion to keep UK on the defensive for that first round.

    All this is just at first glance, I’ll admit again that we have not yet tested this ‘dark skies’ strategy but it is placed on top of our priority list for our global AA 1940 games (2nd ed.) as a potential for an Axis breakthrough.
    It certainly will require more creativity with the RAF but I think the trick is to simply build as much FTR with the UK as possible with the aim to defend Russia if needed. If not needed, well…

    P.S.
    Russian strategy is as always: retreat everything into Moscow, loosing nothing in the process. Not even screening forces. USSR is allowed to make counter-attacks where their net losses are as much INF as German INF, or even better, loosing more INF where Germans loose their spearheading ARM. Building INF and ART only with the purpose of a decisive counter-attack once the Germans reach Bryansk.
    The latter is almost possible (but prevented by a small fraction) if German Builds involved as much land forces as possible AND the entire Luftwaffe is also defending there (not much of a defense force left in Europe now huh ;-). So with 4 or more German turns of STR-building I suspect a russian win, attacking the combined German forces in Bryansk, is spectacular and decisive since the German STR do not have a particular valuable defense.
    One thing you might consider is strafing counterattacks with Russia.  Sometimes you can attack for just 1 dice roll and kill a few enemy, then retreat to safety.  Attacks from more than one territory all retreat to 1 place s this can also be a way to move your units around from place to place.

    By the way, it is possible to play online too.  Look on this site for a program called TripleA and you can play in the “play boardgames” forum.  They even have a League and tournaments from time to time.



  • Thanks for the welcome Variance!

    You are guessing correctly ^.^:
    If the UK (in our group) sees that Germany is going ‘full bore’ (I guess that means throwing everything at Moscow to defeat it G6 or G7), then it starts channeling its fighters from wherever it must build them (Britain, Canada, South Africa and India) into Russia and finally into Moscow. All this happens Either via the northern route or via Persia/Africa (building a key AB here and/or there).
      UK is OK to sacrifice its ships in the med. to keep every plane alive, annihilate the Italian Navy first and to prevent any new axis ships to appear there.
    Subsequently the aircraft help to destroy the Italian presence in Africa (from set-up plus maybe 1 turn of reinforcements) and then the aircraft flies into the Middle east, ready to go into Russia whilst trying not to disrupt Russia’s NO of having Archangelsk-route. But the UK fighters in russia are more important than the Russian NO if the threat is high enough.

    This is why our UK is always strong while at the same time being able to be in Russia with their FTRs on time, giving Germany (statistically) no chance on Moscow, not even if it goes full bore. If it doesnt go in full bore than all those UK FTR can go elsewhere as a very flexible force. For example, fly into the areas in Europe that the US captures, stay in the med, fly to India to recapture Calcutta or prevent it from being taken… you name it).

    So perhaps we don’t play Germany as optimally as possible ;-).
    The best I have ever come up with myself is hitting Moscow with around 230 attack factors G6 (buying 4 STR G5, 4 TAC/STR G4, ARM+MECH G3&G2, ART+INF G1) while Russia alone I believe cannot have more than around 195 defense factors, their AAA still excluded. Combined with the UK FTR however, this can easily be too much over the 230 German attack factors. This combined with sufficiently enough more allied units, a full bore axis attack on Moscow is in our group a statistical fail.

    Anyway, a quick calculation shows me that an all STR German build can reach to approx. 200 Attack factors and has way less defense factors so my guess is it will fail to deliver the message to Moscow.

    I am looking for Axis strategies to counter the allied dominance (in my eyes) but Perhaps I should then move on to another thread or start one myself  8-).

    I will definately look into the tripleA program if I have the time, thanks!


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