Strafing



  • Strafing has a few basics.

    Beginning A&A players have a tendency to want to win land because it can deliver IPC value.

    The trade-off is that it can often put armor or other offensive units at risk of counter-attack without much defensive infantry or fighter support.  The replacement costs can be considerable.

    The answer that many veteran A&A players use is called strafing.
    This means that you have a big stack and your opponent has a modest one.
    You also expect reinforcements to that stack for non-combat moves or purchase placements after your battles resolve.

    Reinforcements are never allowed into newly taken territory.  Noncombat fighter landings are also not allowed there.

    The strafe means your big stack attacks the smaller stack for a round or more, but then retreats back before the enemy defenders are wiped out.  This should yield more hits on the smaller defending stack than your attacking stack.  Wiping out the defender forces your ground units to stay in the newly conquered territory and be subject to counterattack by that opposing country and its allied forces.  Against intellegent opponents, you won’t get to use those ground units again.

    A successful strafe allows you to keep a stack on the front line. 
    Now you have also whittled away part of your opponents forces (favorably if the strafe went well).

    You can then bulk up your stack some more with reinforcements.  So the stack advantage should be substantially bigger than at the start of your turn.

    Repeat as needed to build up your ground forces advantage.
    Only take the land when you expect the surviving ground offensive forces to fully survive a round of countattacks by all of the opposing players.

    General tips.
    Strafe when you have infantry to spare. 
    The idea is to get the defender to lose costly offensive units on defence before you lose yours on offence.
    Be sure you have upcoming infantry in your reinforcement pool.

    For every numeric allocation of die roll defence, you should ideally have 1.5 or more of die roll offence.  Less is OK if you have lots of infantry.
    It is very risky to put fighters and bombers over AA to strafe.  Lose 1, and it gives the defender a huge gain.
    No amphib, because that forces the attacker to fight to the death (no retreat).


  • 2007 AAR League

    Linkon,

    A nice article overall.  I have a few points in response:

    @Linkon:

    Reinforcements are never allowed into newly taken territory.

    I am not sure if you are referring to OOB rules, but under LHTR, this is not true.  The only restriction under LHTR is that you cannot move forces in noncombat into “hostile” territories, which includes territories with no military units but which are enemy-controlled.  A newly-conquered territory is, by definition, NOT enemy controlled.  So you CAN hold back some forces to see how your attack goes and, if it goes well enough and you take the territory with sufficient survivors, you can then move in reinforcements in noncombat.  If the battle went badly, then you obviously would not move more units into a dead zone.

    A second point is that strafing can also be successful when used in “tag-team” fashion.  For example, Britain attacks Eastern Europe to soften it up so that Russia can finish off the stack on its turn.  That can be a very effective strategy, especially for the Allies, who seldom have large enough stacks in one countries’ colors to challenge an Axis stack, but through “tag-teaming” can inflict serious damage.

    Finally, I do not agree 100% with your comment about amphibious attacks.  Yes, you cannot retreat the land units, but frequently, you need to “strafe” Western Europe or even Germany with England before finishing it off with American forces, even though that means you cannot retreat the British land units.  You hopefully will be able to retreat the air units in time, and if the odds suggest your air will not escape certain destruction, then it is either (1) too early for that attack, or (2) Germany is so close to falling anyway that it doesn’t matter if you lose your airforce.

    So don’t rule out amphibious strafe attacks, especially toward the end of the game.



  • I was using 2nd ed rules.

    I have not yet gotten the latest AH version, nor played any LHTR games.


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