Fighter Escort rule worked very well at Origins. Some bombing was still done, but it wasnt the overall “strategy” it is without the rule.
Well put. It’s only logical that fighters should be able to defend against SBRs and it fixes a problem that needs fixing. The fighter interceptors rule, or a variation of it, should be made standard in my opinion.
That said, I feel the official fighter interceptors rule may deter SBRs a little too much. Say for example the Allies conduct an SBR over Germany with 2 escort fighters and 2 bombers and the Germans send up 2 fighters to intercept. Under the official optional rules the Germans would have 4 rolls at 1, and 2 rolls at 2 or less against the Allied planes. Chances are decent the Germans are going to score a hit costing the Allies 10 IPCs (the cost of one fighter). Meanwhile the chances are not so good the Allies are going to do 10 IPCs worth of damage to the Germans with 2 SBR dice rolls and 2 escort fighter rolls at 1. Thus, in this particular example the SBR becomes too unattractive for the Allies!
A slightly more balanced variation (perhaps) of the fighter escort rule I prefer is as follows:
1. Defending fighters intercept incoming bombers and escort fighters. Escorts have an attack value of 1* and interceptors have a defense value of 2. Bombers cannot fire. One round only. Remove casualties.
2. AA fires at the remaining bombers only, not on the fighter-escorts**. Remove casualties.
3. If any bomber is left, conduct strategic bombing.
- Jet fighters have an attack value of 2.
** In the event that escorts are present and the defender chooses not to send up interceptors then the AA fires at both bombers and escorts.
The logic behind this is that if interceptors are present they are going to engage the enemy before they get to the target while AA guns engage the enemy only when they’re directly over the target. In this scenario the escorts engage the interceptors before actually making over to the target and therefore should not be subject to AA fire. If no interceptors are present the escorts must protect the bombers all the way to the target (due to uncertainty of potential interception as Krieghund stated) and are therefore subject to AA fire.
My variation is a tad more complex but I think it’s more balanced.