You are slightly weakning Fgs, I’m not against this.
I dare to keep OOB Fg but put it a 8 IPCs, so yours is less problematic from a cost-balance POV.
To me, the pricing should logically have been changed to:
Fighters- 8 IPCs
Tactical Bombers - 10 IPCs
Strategic Bombers - 12 IPCs
Fighter Stats - unchanged
Tactical Bomber Stats - always ATT 4, DEF 3 (throw out facility bombing, 1:1 rule with tanks and fighters)
Strategic Bombers - ATT 3, DEF 1 (Industrial, facility bombing ability)
Are you playing a G40 game, or a 50th Ann. Ed?
Even if the price seems nicer, it has an impact on balance.
Once this said.
Maybe this doesn’t really bother you, if you played an heavily modified AA50 game.
Fighter A3 D4 M4 at 2 IPCs lower are a big deal.
On the same IPCs basis, I’m pretty sure Fighter on offense will still be a bargain.
(5 Fgs= A15 D20 vs 4 TcBs= A16 D12)
Even though, on an historical basis, we could say that Fgs are better against TcBs.
About Strategic Bomber at 12 IPCs, I would say that there is nothing to change about them if you put TcBs A4 D3 C10.
The 2 IPCs higher cost make them far less interesting and less versatile than TcBs at 10 IPCs for the same attack value.
Just compare: 6 TcBs = A24 D18 M4 C60 vs 5 StBs (A4) = A20 D5 M6 C60.
You really get more for your bunks with your TacBs.
This also means that on the same IPCs basis, StB are less effective than TacBs.
This is also what you are looking for.
Put them against a same enemy group and compare on a battle calc. The TcBs will always get the better hand.
I’m pretty sure, leaving StB OOB will not make it as popular as before, because TcBs will be way more competitive to provide the high A4.
So, in your next game, I suggest this:
Fighters- A3 D4 M4 Cost 8 IPCs, can escort or intercept on SBR and can land on carrier
Tactical Bombers A4 D3 M4 Cost 10 IPCs, keep TacBR 1D6 damage on AB & NB, can land on carrier
Strategic Bombers A4 D1 M6 Cost 12 IPCs, keep SBR damage 1D6+2
The main question is will you try some kind of aircraft combat phase or not?
You already underlined the problem of Bombers attacking Fgs defending @4.
In such a situation, everything is upside down. All planes are even.
StB or TcB get a high A@4 while in a real combat they would be chunk into pieces by Fgs.
The basic combat value of plane should be lower to reflect the air-to-air combat of one against another. Then, in Air Supremacy case, an appropriate bonus should be allowed to planes to keep up with the actual game mechanics.
Making StBs A2 D1 C12, SBR damage 1D+2 makes it against Fg A3 D4.
In any situations StB will be weaker against Fg unit.
According to your numbers:
Fg against TcB = A2 vs D2
TcB against Fg = A4 vs D4
No different than previous Fg A3 vs TcB D3 / TcB A4 vs Fg D4.
In fact, Tactical Bombers should have lesser combat value against fighters.
The simple scale sequence should be something like:
StB A1 D1
TcB A2 D2 (or A2 D1)
Fg A3 D3 (or A2 D3)
So this reflect their relative value in air-to-air combat.
But against ground units (or when planes are behind stacks of ground fodders), things should be something like:
StB A4-3 D4-3 (depending of how we see the bombers and relative efficiency)
TcB A3-4 D3-4
Fg A2 D2
Trying to simplify the gap between air-to-air value and air-to-ground,
Fighters (cost 8 IPCs) should keep a constant A3 D3 in all situations.
Tactical Bomber (8-10 IPCs) should have a basic low A2 D2 but gains
+1 A/D with Air Superiority (more planes on 1 side)
+2 A/D paired with Fg or Air Dominance, Air Supremacy (no ennemy’s plane).
Strategic Bomber (10-12 IPCs) should have a low A1 D1 but gains
+2 A with Air Superiority (more planes on 1 side)
+3 A paired with Fg or Air Dominance, Air Supremacy (no ennemy’s plane).
After that, you need to find an acceptable way of having such air-to-air phase in each round or just in a opening phase of the first round (with 1 single cycle or multiple cycles, such as 1914).
Let’s suppose it is a fight like 1914, in which 1 side can withdraw after 1 combat round or one of the opponent decides to.
1 Fg A3 + 1 TcB A2 against 2 Fgs D3.
Results of dogfight: 1 attacker’s unit is down
After the combat round, the attacker chose to withdraw and not stay for another (since he already lost 1 unit).
Now the combat is regular phase.
And the combat value for the remaining of the battle is:
If the Fg survived, it keeps A3.
If the TcB survived, it stays A2, because there is no Fighter pairing and no air superiority.
There is many more ways, just thinking out loud.