• The issue is control of the air

    In World War II, pure naval firepower didn’t mean a thing unless one have the planes to back it up. Surface ships without air protection were simply vulnerable to air attacks. The Japanese gave a very convincing demonstration of this early in the war, sinking two armored British warships (Repulse and Prince of Wales). And unlike Pearl Harbor, The British ships were at sea and underway, capable of maneuver and prepared for air defense. And yet they were sunk … quickly.

    Carriers themselves were vulnerable to air attack – though they proved more durable than many expected. But they could also deliver offensive blows from hundreds of miles away, long before heavy ships had closed to within range of island objectives. So one of the primary tasks assigned to the fast carrier forces was the destruction and suppression of enemy air forces. The fast carriers would sweep in ahead of the landing and bombardment forces, seize control of the air, and maintain control of the air until local ground-based forces could take over. This kind of offensive strike was the best possible defense, both for the carriers and the heavy ships.

    Carriers and battleships were fundamentally different weapons. A heavy ship could only throw its ordnance a few miles; a carrier could strike targets hundreds of miles away. A heavy ship had to stay in close proximity to its objective. A carrier 200 or 250 miles out had thousands of square miles of sea to disappear into, and would still be in striking range of its targets. The fleet carriers held the edge in terms of raw speed and maneuverability. And they were more difficult to put out of action than anticipated. A ship that’s hard to find, hard to hit, and capable of delivering heavy blows from hundreds of miles away is a formidable weapon.

    Moreover, the Allies won battlefield air supremacy in the Pacific in 1943, and in Europe in 1944. That meant that Allied supplies and reinforcements would get through to the battlefront, but not the enemy’s. It meant that the Allies air power could support land forces in their immediate combat, as a form of “flying artillery”. In Europe the Allied fighter-bombers seemed everywhere, and it was difficult for the Germans to move in daylight. Close airsupport might attack the tank or artillery piece that is actively attacking friendly troops.

    The quick fix for these facts is the optional rule “Air Supremacy”:

    Air Supremacy
    Fighters attack or defend in the opening fire step of combat if no enemy fighters or AA-guns are present or remain in combat. Any casualties are removed from play without being able to counterattack.

  • Do you want to know what Larry Harris think about this rule, click on the following link and you will be directed to his website Harris Game Design:

  • I for one think that this is a great rule as it would force players to buy the more expensive air pieces. It seems all of the games I play become a ground combat slugfest once the initial air pieces are destroyed.

  • but how would you force them to buy air? could you have a built in wolf pack rule? but only with air units?

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