For non-scramblers, how does your game play out?



  • I’m usually playing as Axis face-to-face and I always scramble 3 fighters against the Taranto raid.  I know I’ll lose them, but like getting the 2-4 extra hits it usually gets me.

    For those who don’t scramble, what does your board end up looking like?  How do you clear the enemy ships out of the Med on I1?

    For me, G1 I send a fighter to S.Italy and full scramble.  On I1, there usually aren’t any UK ships except the cruiser around Malta, so I just need to sink the French fleet.  Maybe send the bomber/sub after the cruiser.  G2 they build ships via S. France to protect Italy’s small fleet… etc.


  • 2017 '15

    UK fleet is usually taken out by the Luftwaffe on G2.  I1 planes saved from annihilation then support the various assaults done by Italy that round (French fleet, S. France, Sz96 UK boat, Greece, etc)



  • @Snigg:

    UK fleet is usually taken out by the Luftwaffe on G2.  I1 planes saved from annihilation then support the various assaults done by Italy that round (French fleet, S. France, Sz96 UK boat, Greece, etc)

    If you take Greece, that requires the use of your transport, right?  Don’t you lose it on UK2, then?

    Also, without the scramble, isn’t there a UK carrier with 2 planes sitting in your seazone that the Germans will have to kill anyway, right?

    I guess I just don’t see a strong benefit of not scrambling… If you get all the UK boats in Taranto from scrambling, the Germans only have to deal with a UK cruiser around Malta (probably), and Italy can handle the French.

    If you don’t scramble, it leaves those same assets and a carrier and probably a destroyer?  3-4 extra hits to kill?


  • 2019 2017 '16

    You can take Greece, usually, with the 2inf 1arm 2ftr, or at least significantly soften it up.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 '13 Moderator

    I don’t always scrambke, instead leaving the 3 or 4 units to the Luftwaffe (if enough survived G1). I am happy the planes are there to ensure the UK goes heavily into 97. I would rather the It Fts survived to take out the French ships or the surviving UK DD off Malta.



  • Taking a closer look, doesn’t not scrambling mean that Italy will not get its 5 ipc N.O. for no surface ships AND get convoyed at the end of its turn?  Avoiding that pays for one of the fighters by itself.

    Or, the Germans can send a 2nd or 3rd fighter down to S. Italy and eat the cost on turn 1 instead of turn 2, right?

    /I usually take Greece I2 and hopefully have it and Morocco and Gibraltor by end of I3 (usually with a little German help)


  • 2018 2017

    Since there are only 5 Axis shooters, the reason I don’t scramble is that your chances of getting diced in this particular battle are high.  With the full commit you’re facing 7 shooters and 9 hits (DD CA 3 FIG 1 TB 1 SB, (CV)

    Italy loses its only strikeforce at this point (whether you “win” or “lose” the Axis planes are usually lost).  That may still sort of happen because most times there are either 2 Allied ships there or 2 figs and the carrier, so you still lose the CA DD SUB on the attack but at least you don’t lose those two fighters.  Without them, Italy is helpless in the longer term because its going to rebuild with the only money it gets before it gets overwhelmed.

    Germany could sink more airpower into mopping up or supporting this area, but that’s usually a loser too because Germany doesn’t have any subs to soak hits until later in the game.  So then its a pure air attack against whatever is left in the med, you’re trading planes for junk usually…

    The best scramble IMO is over Scotland, because the pat opener is to do 6 hits to 111 and 8 hits to 110.  With just the 6 attackers, if Germany flubs its first run of dice, the allies can stop this attack cold if they get 2+ hits on their first round.

    Additionally, if UK brings anything less than the full ## of units that can come, you should scramble.  But if they bring the full ##, the odds and momentum falls to the UK quickly, with only 1 transport and $10, Italy is pretty much at a loss to respond to what you do once their initial planes and ships are dead.


  • '16 '15 '10

    Since there are only 5 Axis shooters, the reason I don’t scramble is that your chances of getting diced in this particular battle are high.   With the full commit you’re facing 7 shooters and 9 hits (DD CA 3 FIG 1 TB 1 SB, (CV)

    I agree, too dicey.  There’s considerably less risk in waiting for G2 to mop up this fleet.

    But there are some cases where this scramble may not be a bad play or a bad risk.

    Even with this full deployment Axis has a 5% chance of winning the battle and the average TUV swing is -9 less than w/o the scramble.  That means the 30 ipcs in fighters invested will yield an average of -39 tuv dmg to Allies in 97.   Not to mention that if Allies lose the average 2 fig 1 ac 1 dd (leaving just a cruiser in 97) Italy will lose 6-8 less ipcs to convoys Ita1.

    So far the scramble looks good.  But it looks less good if we compare it to waiting for the G2 Luftwaffe attack.  If there is 1 ac 2 fig 1 dd 1 cru remaining in 97 (any less makes it a good target for an Ita1 counter), then Germany (assuming a strong deployment) should rarely lose more than 3 figs, which is a +26 swing.

    So on paper, the math for scrambling Ita1 may not look quite as good as waiting for G2.  But there might also be openings on the board that couldn’t be pursued (as vigorously) if Germany needs to devote the bulk of the Luftwaffe to counter 97.

    [Edited to fix my math]


  • 2019 2018 2017 '16

    With Taranto you have to run the numbers each time without the scramble. If the odds for the UK get lower than say 70%, I would scramble.

    Otherwise, I would wait for Germany to clean up sea zone 97 on G2 (if I am playing someone who I know does Taranto, I’ll even consider including a plane build in my G1 build because I expect to lose a couple of planes on G2). The exception to this would be (as Zhukov points out) that there’s a more important fire mission for the Luftwaffe on G2.

    Marsh



  • I usually build two bombers on G1.  They can help clear out the Med on G2 or facilitate Sea Lion if UK neglects to build units in London.  The couple extra dice can be important if there are large numbers of Allied ships that must be attacked.



  • @Zhukov44:

    Since there are only 5 Axis shooters, the reason I don’t scramble is that your chances of getting diced in this particular battle are high.   With the full commit you’re facing 7 shooters and 9 hits (DD CA 3 FIG 1 TB 1 SB, (CV)

    I agree, too dicey.  There’s considerably less risk in waiting for G2 to mop up this fleet.

    But there are some cases where this scramble may not be a bad play or a bad risk.

    Even with this full deployment Axis has a 5% chance of winning the battle and the average TUV swing is -9 less than w/o the scramble.  That means the 30 ipcs in fighters invested will yield an average of -39 tuv dmg to Allies in 97.   Not to mention that if Allies lose the average 2 fig 1 ac 1 dd (leaving just a cruiser in 97) Italy will lose 6-8 less ipcs to convoys Ita1.

    So far the scramble looks good.  But it looks less good if we compare it to waiting for the G2 Luftwaffe attack.  If there is 1 ac 2 fig 1 dd 1 cru remaining in 97 (any less makes it a good target for an Ita1 counter), then Germany (assuming a strong deployment) should rarely lose more than 3 figs, which is a +26 swing.

    So on paper, the math for scrambling Ita1 may not look quite as good as waiting for G2.  But there might also be openings on the board that couldn’t be pursued (as vigorously) if Germany needs to devote the bulk of the Luftwaffe to counter 97.

    [Edited to fix my math]

    OK, so now you’re talking my language…

    So no scramble, maybe Italy hits 1-2 times.  With scramble, 3-4 hits, maybe 5 if combat goes two rounds.

    What else would I want to do G2 that I would miss out… bomb London, presumably, with 3 bombers and I want a carrier to go with the German fleet to SZ 108 to convoy UK (though if I saved my battleship G1 and sank SZ106, maybe that’s not necessary).  That leaves 3 each fighters and tacticals to get 5-6 hits left in SZ 97.  That’s 2 rounds of combat and UK will hit… 2-4 hits?  Or I have to bring bombers and/or more fighters… giving UK more money to spend.

    So your +26 ipc swing isn’t quite right since I wouldn’t be able to bomb and convoy UK, right?  And Italy misses +5 ipc for a N.O. for surface warships in the Med.


  • '16 '15 '10

    And Italy misses +5 ipc for a N.O. for surface warships in the Med.

    Italy is not going to get that NO without dice luck.  With normal dice, there’s still a cruiser in 97 and a cruiser in 96, plus the French units in 93.  Not possible to get all 3 and (if 96 or 97 is clear) too risky to go for both 93 and 96 or 97.

    So your +26 ipc swing isn’t quite right since I wouldn’t be able to bomb and convoy UK, right?

    Yes, bombing London is one of the things G could be doing instead of 97.  I personally would prioritize destroying Allied naval units in 110, 111, 91, or in the Med sea over bombing London.

    In conjunction with a 97 scramble, I would also consider having G get Greece (extra planes can be used for that too) and using the Italy transport to take either Cyrpus or Gibraltar, depending on opportunity.  Sometimes it might be better to get Greece on Italy1, and then go for one of those targets on Italy2.



  • IDK, but if you plan on scrambling in sz97 you should probably buy a ftr Ita1 lol. I really don’t like to lose half the Italian navy before my turn even rolls around. Taking that loss and losing 2/3 of the Italian air force really sucks though and you are even more limited in what you can do. Plus like Zhukov44 said Italy probably has 2-3 SZs to clear and only 3 warships and a bmr to do it if you scrambled. So chances of clearing the Med on Italys turn isn’t too good, and if you manage to you are probably down another ship or two. The UK will have some planes in the Med, so leaving port would also be a risk. However this is a dice game, and if the UK comes in lite then go for it.



  • @WILD:

    IDK, but if you plan on scrambling you should probably buy a ftr Ita1 lol. I really don’t like to lose half the Italian navy before my turn even rolls around. Taking that loss and losing 2/3 of the Italian air force really sucks though and you are even more limited in what you can do. Plus like Zhukov44 said Italy probably has 2-3 SZs to clear and only 3 warships and a bmr to do it if you scrambled. So chances of clearing the Med on Italys turn isn’t too good, and if you manage to you are probably down another ship or two. The UK will have some planes in the Med, so leaving port would also be a risk. However this is a dice game, and if the UK comes in lite then go for it.

    Interesting.  Most of the time I don’t have any UK ships left after scrambling.  Or, maybe the cruiser, but its a fair point.

    Remaining UK air …  My I1 move is to move all ships against the French ships off S. Europe.  G1 I took S. Europe, so G2 they can build 1-3 ships there, usually a carrier, transport.  Possibly a destroyer or sub.  That means UK won’t attack Italy’s remaining navy (carrie+2 planes+Italy’s 1-3 ships), and Italy and Germany’s transports can take Morocco and Gibraltor.  As long as Italy knows where Germany’s ship(s) will end up, they can stay together and UK’s 3 planes aren’t a threat.


  • 2019 2017 '16

    @Zhukov44:

    Since there are only 5 Axis shooters, the reason I don’t scramble is that your chances of getting diced in this particular battle are high.   With the full commit you’re facing 7 shooters and 9 hits (DD CA 3 FIG 1 TB 1 SB, (CV)

    I agree, too dicey.  There’s considerably less risk in waiting for G2 to mop up this fleet.

    But there are some cases where this scramble may not be a bad play or a bad risk.

    Even with this full deployment Axis has a 5% chance of winning the battle and the average TUV swing is -9 less than w/o the scramble.  That means the 30 ipcs in fighters invested will yield an average of -39 tuv dmg to Allies in 97.   Not to mention that if Allies lose the average 2 fig 1 ac 1 dd (leaving just a cruiser in 97) Italy will lose 6-8 less ipcs to convoys Ita1.

    So far the scramble looks good.  But it looks less good if we compare it to waiting for the G2 Luftwaffe attack.  If there is 1 ac 2 fig 1 dd 1 cru remaining in 97 (any less makes it a good target for an Ita1 counter), then Germany (assuming a strong deployment) should rarely lose more than 3 figs, which is a +26 swing.

    So on paper, the math for scrambling Ita1 may not look quite as good as waiting for G2.  But there might also be openings on the board that couldn’t be pursued (as vigorously) if Germany needs to devote the bulk of the Luftwaffe to counter 97.

    [Edited to fix my math]

    Yeah, ok.

    All this ignores that I would value Italian planes less than Luftwaffe. They aren’t getting you on Moscow. For that reason, I often scramble.

    @taamvan:

    The best scramble IMO is over Scotland, because the pat opener is to do 6 hits to 111 and 8 hits to 110.  With just the 6 attackers, if Germany flubs its first run of dice, the allies can stop this attack cold if they get 2+ hits on their first round.

    I agree but some axis players will bulk up the SZ111 attack to prevent this scramble. That can enable a SZ110 scramble.


  • 2017

    I’m not a very good player; but at least for me, I like to scramble a lot with Italy against Taranto. I’ve found it easier to clear the med. Italy attacks the French navy and then Germany has to clean up the lone UK cruiser in sz96. There are other tasks that I like to do with the Luffwaffe besides expensive attacks in the med. Why not use the Italian battleship and cruiser to soak hits and wipe out UK stuff with it. Often the scrambled planes get to roll 2x.

    Force the UK to spend on a new navy and airbases ect at Cairo in order to deny Italy the 5 IPCs for no surface warfare ships. In a way, I’d rather lose 2 Italian fighters than 3+ planes on G2. Germany is on a stict time table where you want the UK to be forced to send up swarms of fighters to Moscow rather than do what it want.


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    Losing the italian fighters early cripples italy very badly for the rest of the game;  especially it’s opening rounds where it needs to expand.

    You need those fighters everywhere I1 through I3 to secure NO’s and ensure that your forces are winning battles handidly, and not getting ground down.

    Italy really needs to watch itself,  it’s one thing to lose some units defending, but you have to be careful that you don’t burn up all your units on your own turn as well.  Italy needs a certain critical mass of units on the board to do anything significant.

    As for simon’s comment on the Italian planes not helping you on Moscow.  Whilst that’s true,  I’ve won many a game using the italian fighters to punch that critical hole through the russian lines; and/or keep the russian defense honest.  Worth their weight in gold.



  • So we have kinda established that if the axis scramble sz97, that it really hampers what Italy can do on the first couple turns. Another thing is that if the Italians lose those couple ftrs It1 that they really can’t pressure Egypt (if that is the plan). Often times the Italians will move up to Alex on It1, and the Germans will land planes on Alex G2. Germany more or less loans Italy planes after they dismiss the UK navy in sz97 to protect the Italian ground force on Alex. This isn’t worth doing if the Italians are down a couple ftrs because they won’t have the strike force to hit Egypt now. I realize that Italy may or may not be able to take Egypt, but taking that risk off the table allows UK some breathing room non the less.



  • So, I didn’t scramble today, UK’s fleet stays put and convoys, leaving Italy with 3 ipcs for turn 2.  So I don’t see where saving 1 Italian plane (and 2 German) is a great bargain.

    Or…

    I scramble, get 3-4 more hits.  Then Italy can clear the French ships and get a shot at UK’s one Malta cruiser on Italy 1, giving me a chance at the 5 ipc bonus (no surface ships in Med), and a total of a 14 ipc swing.  Plus, it leaves Germany’s planes for Russia or UK… though I usually bring a pair down to help in the med, along with a carrier and transport (maybe a destroyer or 2nd transport, depending on Italy’s fleet after I1).

    I think the difference is I don’t get a chance at Greece until I2, I guess? (instead of fighters, the 2nd Italian tank and/or inf from Bulgaria help).



  • you could arrange to land more luftwaffe in S.Italy on G1 non combat move


  • 2019 2017 '16

    In a recent game, 2 tanks failed to kill 1 inf in rostov. Sure, in an outcome like that, the two starting fighters might have helped. Not sure how common that is though.

    I agree with the point that scrambling means you can’t pressure Egypt but Egypt usually doesn’t fall early unless some transports survive. I would think scrambling a bad idea if I saw an ic build uk1.

    I’m not sure of the other value from the starting Italian fighters garg is referring to though.


  • 2019 2018 2017 '16

    I also preserve my ITA Ftr’s by not scrambling and send them out and luring for opportunities to kill off some units.
    One might be a placed russian CR in sz 114. Voilia Leningrad is open!

    As an Aggressor, the opportunities to make an impact should be on your side on your turn.
    If you scramble, you will likely loose this because it is not the choice for you to make.
    You simply placed it in your opponents what he will do with your Fighters.
    If he continues the battle you have no saying in that.

    BUT: as Italy you have to stay operational and luring for chances to direct the path Euro Axis should go and not hand it over.

    That is my Philosophy about it.

    Scrambling makes sense when you can clearly change the outcome of a battle and still be operational or prevent a disaster.

    The UK Fleet can be taken out by two different ways.
    They are allready explained.
    Either by German Luftwaffe or by Italy via amphib on Greece.


  • 2018 2017

    To weddingsinger’s point, this is why staging the Germany planes on Rome and even bombers (or planes of any kind or team) on Western Germany is strong, because the UK has to be ready to fend off every enemy plane before it can squat on Italy’s money (or stack up pretty much anywhere but SZ 109)

    But you can’t have that air power over there and still attack Moscow, the geometry of the map wont permit that.  So as you move to make the killing blow against one ally, the other steps up.



  • @aequitas:

    Scrambling makes sense when you can clearly change the outcome of a battle and still be operational or prevent a disaster.

    The UK Fleet can be taken out by two different ways.
    They are allready explained.
    Either by German Luftwaffe or by Italy via amphib on Greece.

    So you hit the UK fleet with Italy’s, and leave the French?


  • TripleA

    If Germany doesn’t have anything to do with it’s planes on g2 I prefer the less risky kill it with Germany planes on a counter attack or Italy kills it if no fighters left on it.

    Italy usually has other battles it can do like sink French or whatever.

    If Germany is low on air for some reason… A scramble can be better depending on how underwhelming the raid is.


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