Yes. Strategic bombers are unique military units that I think need unique and specific rules – I’ll go over your ideas in a minute in detail and add some thoughts of my own later on.
Strategic bombers most often operate and attack an enemy at high altitudes, meaning that they have a specific advantage over other military units in that they are very hard to reach and attack. This is very similar in concept to subs in that they too have a specific military advantage like no other unit does. A sub has a few specific rules that are unique to it and has a specific military unit (a destroyer) that can counter its advantages. The main reason why a sub has these numerous advantages and rules AND a specific counter attacking unit is because it is very hard to reach and attack.
Strategic bombers were designed primarily to destroy an enemy’s military infrastructure by dropping bombs (and lots of them at once), hence hindering an enemy’s ability to produce weapons and supply their war effort. They were used to a lesser extent on military units (ships, infantry, etc.). Bomber attack sorties on military units were often seen as failures because of their ineffectiveness on making hits.
With this in mind, I believe that strategic bombers should have a specific role to play in A&A – not so much as an attacking unit, but as a strategic unit for which it is. With the inclusion of an attacking fighter/bomber in the game, the strategic bomber can be used mainly for this purpose. I’ll go over Inmajor’s points and I’ll at the end add some of my own at the end for further comments.
Strategic bombers can only be attacked by fighters and anti-aircraft guns – Yes. I agree 100%. The idea that any other type of unit other than these types of units can attack a strategic bomber is illogical and highly improbable.
Strategic bombers can be intercepted by fighters before they can drop their bombs – Yes. I agree 100%. I believe that fighters should be able to scramble from any territory that has an airbase (island or land based – yes I know the rules currently don’t allow for land based airbases, but they should) that an attacking strategic bomber flies over. Only fighters in a territory with an airbase should only be able to participate in an interception type of defence.
Strategic bombers to conduct a pre-emptive strike on an enemy by rolling first and removing any casualties straight away (similar to a sub). I can see where you’re coming from here and it’s not a bad idea. Because strategic bombers should be able to conduct battle as any standard military unit can, I think it should be possible for a bomber to attack – but I think that there should be a few specific rules to go with this (see below);
Because a strategic bomber should only be destroyed by either fighters or anti-aircraft guns AND in a realistic way, they only get one shot at dropping their bombs on a strategic target OR a military target of their choosing, during the first stage of combat a strategic bomber can elect to either conduct a strategic bombing raid OR a military bombing raid. This is the only time during a combat round that a strategic bomber can come into play. The strategic bombing raid is carried out as per usual, and a military bombing raid is just like a strategic bombing raid except that each bomber that survives the usual fighter/anti-aircraft attacks rolls one die against the chosen military unit (by the attacker, not the defender) and the attack roll is not 4, but 1 (due to the inaccuracies of bombing at great height). The defence roll against fighters should also be 1 (bombers rarely put up much of a defence against fighters). The fighters (both attacking and defending) that fight in any interceptor/escort combat should attack and defend at their normal attack and defend values.
To add to this, bombers (just like battleships and cruisers being ‘capital ships’), a bomber should also have 2 hits before it is destroyed. In WW2, bombers (especially the B-17 was almost indestructible by fighter attack), hence I believe that if a strategic bomber is hit once by an enemy fighter it is not destroyed but needs to turn home straight away and return for repairs at an airbase and takes no further part in the bombing raid. Once at home at an airbase, it is repaired straight away at no further cost, similar to a battleship or cruiser at a port. To indicate that it is shot once, a strategic bomber unit should be placed upside down on the board. If a strategic bomber is hit twice, it is destroyed and takes no further part in the game.
Because a bomber should have two hits, it should cost a good deal more than 12 IPCs. I would think that a cost of 20 IPCs is a fair and reasonable cost for a unit.
Hence the following values for a strategic bomber should be the following;
Attack Value = 1
Defence Value = 1
IPC Value = 20
That’s all I have for the moment regarding strategic bombers. If anyone out there has any thoughts or comments on strategic bombers, please drop a comment.