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Subject: Rules for Ack-Ack and Barrage Balloon Defence - WHAT DO YOU THINK? rss

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Simon Blackwell
England
Rotherfield
East Sussex
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Well I've been mulling over this now for over a year and am still undecided especially as the old adage of "If it ain't broke don't fix it" springs to mind.
But that said Anti-Aircraft defences although rudimentary compared to the later German defences did play a part.

So the question is "Should there be a rule or condition to reflect ack-ack (& barrage balloon defences)?

Now I assume that this has technically been taken into consideration by the game designer in the existing rules in an abstract way under the Bombing Table so his answer would/should be no. But for me this is a bit too abstract and is a bit of a disservice to this area of Britains defences. When you consider that all targets had some form of defence maybe there should be a way to reflect their contribution? Looking at the main targets, London had 92 ack-ack batteries, plus over 150 more located around the outskirts. Portsmouth 44, Southampton 43 and Bristol 36. The heavy 3.7' and 4.5' guns could engage Luftwaffe targets at their practical ceiling of 25000ft at a RoF of 10 rounds per minute. Kill figures were very low even when you could see your enemy (in August 232 rounds were expended per kill, July 344) and at night the batteries gave no more than a morale boost to the local populace. At low level the British suffered from a paucity of adequate equipment with only the belated acquisition of the Swedish 40mm Bofors providing any form of effective defence. They were however only available in small numbers and had to be hand loaded with clips of four meaning a only a few rounds were got off against a fast moving low level target. The other defence, the Barrage Balloon were deployed in number over many targets especially towns, ports and industry to prevent low level attack. Although their measure of success downing enemy raiders was negligible they did have a demoralising effect on the morale of Luftwaffe aircrews
Taking the above into consideration and in the spirit of keeping the game as simple as the original rules my view would be only to have perhaps a rule for ack-ack defence on the main targets I listed above, (London, Portsmouth, Southampton and Bristol) sorry Dover and Plymouth! If the weather is cloudy I would also ignore any effects of ack-ack. So the only conditions where you would consider them would be a clear day on one of these 4 targets. As real life casualties inflicted were light compared to other losses I would steer away from damaging Luftwaffe Gruppen.
So here's what I propose:-
On a clear day if one of the 4 targets noted above is bombed, roll a d6 before the bombing roll. If a 6 (or 5-6 possibly for London owing to heavily concentrated A-A batteries) is rolled shift the bombing one column left to signify accurate or heavy ack-ack causing the Luftwaffe formation to disperse and thus be less effective bombing. This column shift would be cumulative therefore if no bombers were intercepted the net result would be a single column shift right (instead of 2). Ignore ack-ack for night raids and on cloudy days. I'm still not 100% sure on this and whether its really worth the effort but as I said before, this element of the defence did play a part and this would seem to cover it without affecting the game adversely.
So any views would be gratefully received.
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They call me Mister...
Ireland
Donegal
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This sounds a really interesting addition and I think I'll try it out on one of my next sessions. Cheers.
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Simon Blackwell
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Rotherfield
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Let me know how it affects your game.
I'm going to give it a go next game as well. Lets see how it affects the balance. There should be an advantage to the RAF, how big I'm not sure but if it keeps the player in the game a bit longer then it'll win my vote. The aim really is to add a bit more realism chrome without making it that much easier to win.
 
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