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Subject: Strategic Bombing: Got to pay something for it! rss

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Matthew Rauh
United States
St. Peter
Minnesota
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I am playing the '75 rules as is. I noticed one little thing, though. You can easily use strategic bombers in such a way that they never take losses (different from the 65 rules), and as you start taking replacements in turn 5, my bombers grew in number. So come game turn 8 or 9, I easily have 24 factors of them instead of the original 16. The 1965 rules at least had a chance for some of them to be shot down. The Module system suggested flak units. The '85 variant had a rule for AA fire, but not against strategic bombing.

As you know, strategic bombing can be devastating, but there should be some sort of price for using it. So I use the following compromise or house rule:

When SAC or MDM bombers use strategic bombing or bomb a city, the defender has a chance to shoot back on the ACT chart simultaneously. Any losses on the ACT are taken by the bombers. This applies only to rules 30.42, 33.3, 33.4 and 33.5. After rolling for any results, the defender gets to fire back on the ACT with the following factors:

Each full ground unit: 2 points
Each substitute ground unit: 1 point
Rangers: 0 points
City hex: 3 points

Note this does not apply to rule 33.2, bombing airfields, since they shoot back in their own way. This also doesn't apply to tactical bombing (30.1) since they suffer losses in another way. It is for missions eligible for SAC factors (and MDM factors when used as SAC).

So you bomb a stack of two full units. They fire back with 4 on the ACT with a one in six chance of downing one factor. Bombing units in a city with two full units and one substitute means they get to fire back with 8 on the ACT (3 for the city, 4 for the two full units, 1 for the substitute unit). In order to get to the 9+ column on the ACT, you need to make a real commitment of three full ground units (6 for the full ground units and 3 for the city, total of 9).

This retains the "spirit" of the '65 rules where bombers could be shot down, keeps the '75 rules for bombing which are better and avoids the need for special flak units in the Module rules. This also makes strategic bombing of units in a city a little more risky. Maybe, then, by turn 10, I will not have 26 SAC and 22 MDM bombers available.

ADDENDUM: you could alter rule 33.2 with this variant. Instead of using half of the grounded air factors to fire back, you count up factors for the city and any ground units and use that factor on the ACT.
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Matthew Rauh
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St. Peter
Minnesota
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The above works, but it doesn't quite achieve my goals. I originally tinkered with this because by turn 10 or later, I had easily doubled the size of my air forces through replacements, even using up all the substitute counters, since you could bomb in such a way that your bombers don't have to take losses.

But even with this house rule, I still could double air forces, so you can tweak it a little more to make it bloody. Instead of getting points per full or substitute unit, you instead take half of all the defense factors of all ground units and use those points to fire back on the ACT. You still give cities 3 factors in addition to ground units. I would replace the rules for airfield bombardment to this rule, factoring the city and ground units and not air factors. You will knock a couple more out of the sky.

I know, this goes counter to the reality of strategic bombing (flying higher than your normally anti aircraft guns), but it just seems odd that bombers could avoid losses and double in number. Because they are so devastating, there should be some price to pay.
 
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Matthew Rauh
United States
St. Peter
Minnesota
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Another tweak. Double the range for fighter interception, not the printed "12" hex range, but the range in rule 32.31. There interceptor ranges can be no longer than the number of hexes a bomber flew after entering the first enemy ZOC, patrol ZOC or sea hex in a zone with 10 or more enemy factors in it. I am suggesting you double that range. So, 8 SAC bombers want to strategically bomb a ground unit. Under the rules as written, any fighter within two hexes can intercept (start counting once the bombers enter an enemy ZOC). Under this tweak, any fighters within four hexes can now intercept.

Why? It makes interceptions more active and harder to find that perfect hex where you can fly your bombers without needing escorts. Also, I figure fighters have a faster air speed and can cover more ground in the same time as bombers. Finally, this will help with my goals stated above, to cause casualties to bombers so they don't grow through replacements to more than you started with while the rest of your army whittles away. So, this tweak is a way to go after bombers by whittling away escort fighters. More fighters are lost, so more bombers will be shot down or he hesitates to send bombers to intercept rich areas. And it is more dangerous to fly far behind enemy lines.

Or, whatever. This works for me. You do with it as you wish.
 
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