Hi, my understanding is that both the Attacker and Defender have to decide how to use their planes, either for escort/interception or part of the land combat and that they cannot do both.
According to rule 9.17, Carpet Bombing is a special form of Attack available to Strategic Bombers. It lasts for one round only. The Attacking bomber is subject to interception from Fighters and fire from Anti-Aircraft Artillery. No other land forces may fire back. Casualties are removed at the end of the combat round.
According to rule 8.5, when you make a strategic bombing (including carpet bombing) you combat move all your Attacking bombers and any fighters that you want to use for escorts to the zone.
According to rule 8.6, Scramble is declared (by the Defender) at the end of the Attacker’s Combat Movement.
According to Table 9-9, if Defender has scrambled Defending Fighters, there is one round of interception combat where all aircraft participate at reduced values. Any causalties are remove at the end of the Interception combat.
After that one round of interception and carpet bombing, the planes from both sides cannot participate in the land combat and will land in the non-combat phase.
The only thing that I did not find is what happens to Defending fighters that were already in the defending territory, went to intercept the bombing, survived, did not participate in the land battle, but cannot land because the land battle was lost? Are they destroyed? Can they land elsewhere?
One possibility is that this option does not exist for the fighters in the territory that is attacked, as the definition of Scramble in rule 8.6 mentions that it comes form an adjacent zone where there is an airbase. Therefore the fighters in the attacked territory would have to take part in the land battle and could not intercept.
I’m curious to know if that is the case.