The biggest change I see from the previous version of AA I have been playing, which is the Spring '42 version, is that the bombers themselves get to participate in the pre-bombing battle. In Spring 1942, only the fighters get to participate. No bombers get to attack. They can only be casualties if all the attacking fighter escorts are destroyed. The escort rules were optional in Spring '42, but we always played them.
I think the bombers getting to battle is even a bigger reason that I’d be careful using defending escort fighters.