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Subject: Air strikes vs combat support rss

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Timo Kellomäki
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I'm a newbie struggling to find out what is the strategy to be used in the advanced air war. I'm sorry if the tone of this post seems negative, but I'm not trying to complain, just to analyze and understand. I really like this game.

What I'm especially wondering is why should I use my planes for air striking instead of mostly combat support. It may well be that I'm misunderstanding some rule, or it may be the intention that CS is just better than striking.

If I've understood correctly, the differences between strikes and CS are that CS uses local ADF and can never be intercepted by enemy planes, and CS is automatically successful where about half of the strikes miss. CS effect is +/- CS rating in DRM and strike is usually adding a strike 1 marker. The upside of strikes is that with stand-off weapons against (effective against non-leg targets) you get to shoot before AAA. Weather may halve both numbers, but makes strikes miss even more while they don't affect CS.

Neither can be used for heavily concentrated fire, as there is a limit of 1 or 2 CS planes per combat and 2 strike planes per target. However, as I believe there is no limit to air DRM, the Allies can make one or two very big attacks by getting around 6 points of CS planes plus 3-4 points of helicopter support vs 2-3 points of DPRK air: something like a -5 to -8 DRM makes almost any combat favorable.

Both parties start with a high level of detection and SAM which makes reaching the strike target at all very improbable. For DPRK especially there is also the added risk of interceptors, which together with SAMs seem to make strike attempts suicide runs. For a typical strike in the early game, DPRK SAM 10 near a HQ has a 100 % chance of detection and 40 % chance of a step loss and a typical value 3 strike has a chance less than that to get through with anything.

So, if you want to be able strike at all at some point in the game, you have to reduce the air defence tracks. But even with WW (and especially normal planes) this is very slow and risky against the high initial values.

I discovered SOFs are relatively good at destroying detection and after you have 2 WWs you can also use them to destroy the tracks without being constantly shot down. But given that DPRK has a lot of supply points and they repair 2 points on the tracks per turn, this is a huge investment of SOFs and planes that could be useful elsewhere in the early game.

Let's say I have destroyed the air defence tracks to about the same level where the local ones are. Then a typical allied plane with CS or strike 3 will on average get something like 2 points through ADF. The CS will provide 2 DRM while the strike will have rougly a 50 % chance of giving a strike 1 marker.

Striking a combat unit mostly has the effect of lowering EFF. IF I hit and IF I manage to hit the only 6 EFF unit in a critical combat, I get a column shift that is probably worth bit less than the 2 DRM from CS (IIRC, I didn't find the combat results table online).

Maybe there are better strike targets than combat units? How about hitting detected HQs or artilleries that are both typically worth a column shift in comba. But on a contested turn there is probably only one combat per turn so they'll just skip the HQ strike for this and the next turn if I hit and still get to support. Skipping two HQ strikes (with a 50 % hit chance) is worth the same as my one strike that hit, so that's a flush. And even if I did get them to miss a possibility to support a combat, that's a 50 % chance of getting one column shift in two combats, which is no better than the 100 % chance of 2 DRM achieved by CS.

Supply depots need to be detected (with SOFs?) and even then they are hardened targets, so it is almost impossible to strike them efficiently.

Depending on the supply situation, concentrating on interdiction together with SOFs might be quite useful. That is, if you have prepared yourself into the situation by hitting the tracks, which means you've invested a lot of SOF missions, which could have been used for interdictions, too. And if you start hitting the tracks heavily, DPRK can start preparing to create extra supply depots.

So, it looks to me that the uses of air striking are limited at best, which makes me wonder why either side would invest heavily on attacking the tracks to make it possible. Maybe the allied air power gets so large in the end that their planes just hit the limit of having full combat support everywhere and the rest have nothing else to do but air strike. But at that point it's hard to see how DPRK deals with several of those -6 DRM counterattacks from ROK.

On a related note, I'm also wondering if I'm missing something because it seems that even with a total US domination of the skies, there is absolutely nothing they can do to reduce the efficiency of DPRK combat support.

Am I missing or misunderstanding something?
 
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Johan Satorre
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Airstrikes are attacks at units by themselves. Combat support amplifies the combat potential of any unit significantly.

Airstrike benefits:
1. Each point of strike damage takes away 1 attack, defense, movement, and ER point. So, if the enemy has an ER 6 elite unit in reserve to use in the elite reaction phase, you can hit it and render it incapable of moving for that phase.
2. Strikes can be conducted on units such as enemy reserves without risking your ground troops.
3. Each point of strike damage takes away 1 combat support per HQ/ARTY (Each one gets 2 try per turn)(On another note, the HQs don't add a column shift, only arty does that. HQs add their range # as attack/defense (Its like having another combat unit join the attack)). It also severely limits their mobility.
4. Air interdiction can stall an advance completely. They are especially useful in Mountain terrain like East Korea, Kashmir, or central Taiwan. If you interdict everything, you won't have to worry about taking out the Supply depots.

Combat support benefits:
1. If you effectively mass your combat support, you have the potential of doing far more damage to enemy units (especially if you are defending). However, there is a limit to the maximum +drm from Combat support (I think its +6) Note that that means the over all effect, if the US player commits 8 points of CS and the DPRK commits 1, only 6 from the US player gets to be used.
2. They are generally not as risky as airstrikes
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Mitchell Land
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Quote:
CS uses local ADF and can never be intercepted by enemy planes, and CS is automatically successful where about half of the strikes miss


CS generally uses Normal Detection. [Note, this was a change from the NWK rules and the NWT rules.]

There is a summary of ADF resolution on the back of the Standard Sequence of Play in NWP (it was also present on the back of the Game Specific Rules in NWIP).
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Timo Kellomäki
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Thanks Johan, the Elite reaction and striking reserves are valid points that I didn't think of that much.

Quote:
HQs don't add a column shift, only arty does that. HQs add their range # as attack/defense (Its like having another combat unit join the attack))


I know, but in practice this HQ bonus effect is almost always at most a column shift, sometimes nothing (but then you don't use it for that combat).

Assuming ADF is out and considering half the strikes miss, for a x-3-3 plane you basically have the choice of getting about 2 x 3 combat DRMs vs one strike hit. It's hard for me to see how hitting a HQ is worth 6 DRMs.

Quote:
It also severely limits their mobility.


1 MP for a unit vs +6 DRM? Doesn't sound like a choice. The MP and combat value effects may be nice bonuses but I wouldn't often target a unit because of that.

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Air interdiction can stall an advance completely.


Getting there still needs a lof of SOFs to be used against the tracks before strikes become efficient, and those SOFs could also do the interdictions. Maybe it's worth it in the long run, this seems like the most powerful use of strikes.

Quote:
there is a limit to the maximum +drm from Combat support (I think its +6)


Thanks, that makes sense. I just haven't noticed such a rule. I'll search for it, I'm still in the process of finding all the errata (I'm not aware of a list of errata). I guess this adds a bit to the probability of you running out of combats to support and having to strike something just to utilize your planes.
 
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Timo Kellomäki
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Quote:
CS generally uses Normal Detection. [Note, this was a change from the NWK rules and the NWT rules.]


Wow, thanks, that is one huge piece of errata I missed! I'll try to refer to the helper file from now on.
 
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Ralph Shelton
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Daemou wrote:
Quote:
CS generally uses Normal Detection. [Note, this was a change from the NWK rules and the NWT rules.]


Wow, thanks, that is one huge piece of errata I missed! I'll try to refer to the helper file from now on.
You should play any game in the series with the latest series rules. These include changes made to make the game better as time has passed.

In the first several turns of most game, I am rarely attacking as the Allies, therefore my planes will not be able to conduct CS. If I don't use them to Strike, I'll have a bunch of planes sitting on the ground and get no effect from them at all.
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Timo Kellomäki
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revnye wrote:
You should play any game in the series with the latest series rules. These include changes made to make the game better as time has passed.


Sure! It's just that I knew the original rules and looks like failed to notice some changes when reading (too quickly) through the updated series rules. The GSR has the errata marked so I suppose I got most of those.

Quote:
In the first several turns of most game, I am rarely attacking as the Allies, therefore my planes will not be able to conduct CS. If I don't use them to Strike, I'll have a bunch of planes sitting on the ground and get no effect from them at all.


Hmm, in our game I as the Allies hardly had enough planes before turn 3 to send CS to all of the several DPRK attacks. This was partly due to Busan and my airbases being a target of a SCUDstorm, and the No Japan on GT1 rule of the Tactical surprise scenario. I guess it depends also on how much both sides send planes to the air supremacy fight - we both had a lot in the beginning.

I also only realized I should probably use my SOFs to reduce the detection track on turn 3, so the DPRK air defence tracks are still way too high. I'd rather have my planes on the ground than being shot down.

But thanks for the hints everyone, this has been very useful to me. Although I will still prefer CS to striking most of the time
 
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James Dean
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It sounds like you are mostly interested in the differences, or advantages/disadvantages, of using air strikes against enemy ground units.

In most cases, as the Allied player, when your ground forces are engaged in combat either in the defense or offense it is hugely helpful to provide fixed and rotary wing support, ie CS from the air and helos. Also add in support from the higher HQ. Your ground units will win or lose the war; you have to help them survive and prevail. As the Allied player, your air support to ground ops is a ginormous advantage. A couple battalions of Marines supported by a full contingent of air is a deadly force.

I'll normally see how many sorties (ie air units) I have for the turn, estimate how many I'll need for support to offensive and defensive direct ground ops (i.e. CS), then allocate the rest to strikes. In most cases, I won't use air strikes against enemy ground combat units. I'll hit the HQs, I'll hit the airfields, I'll interdict, I'll go after chem storage sites if I"m the Allies. I'll use the air to wreak havoc in the enemy's rear area, beyond the reach of my ground units. One sort of exception, is if I'm the allies and then I will go after the North's artillery brigades, a ground unit. This is because the artillery brigades' position further in the rear will prevent my own ground units from getting a swing at them.

A great combination punch is to use use SOF to target something, then hit it with as many air and helo strikes (and maybe an HQ strike if you've got a support mission to spare) as you can - within the limits of the rules of course. And if you are the Allies doing this to a NK arty BDE and manage to put at least a Strike 2 marker on it, well, then you've rendered that arty BDE combat ineffective for the remainder of the turn.

Another sort of exception to my not using air strikes against ground units, are those times when enemy formations get "stuck" on open ground. If there are two NK divisions that got stuck on a marsh because they failed to achieve a combat result allowing them to advance, then maybe I'll take advantage of that opportunity and pound them. You can still cause step losses with strikes . . .
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Timo Kellomäki
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Diggy18 wrote:
It sounds like you are mostly interested in the differences, or advantages/disadvantages, of using air strikes against enemy ground units.


What I was mostly interested was why wouldn't you save enough planes to CS every possible fight since it seems like much better use of air power than striking. But as I found out, one half of this was explained by me using old rules (local ADF for CS), and one half we just agree: reserve enough planes for maximum CS and the rest can be used for striking as they have nothing else to do.

So, I now agree almost exactly with the air strategy that you explained in your post. While CS has a stronger effect on the combats than finding and striking artillery, the allies should eventually have enough planes to do both.

Quote:
A great combination punch is to use use SOF to target something, then hit it with as many air and helo strikes (and maybe an HQ strike if you've got a support mission to spare) as you can


Thanks for this good point, I hadn't realized to include helo strikes here with their nice range. Usually I haven't had enough striking capability to use the SOF targeting missions, but quite possibly the helos will make the difference.

Quote:
You can still cause step losses with strikes


This kind of concentrated fire is probably somewhat better than I assumed. In a very good case where you've caught an enemy unit in the clear and have managed to seriously reduce enemy ADF tracks, you can get a targeted 1 with SOFs, and then send two planes, helo and HQ to strike the same target. That would actually cause about a step loss on average. But that's again assuming all those strikers have nothing else (i.e., supporting a combat) to do.
 
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Ralph Shelton
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Daemou wrote:
This kind of concentrated fire is probably somewhat better than I assumed. In a very good case where you've caught an enemy unit in the clear and have managed to seriously reduce enemy ADF tracks, you can get a targeted 1 with SOFs, and then send two planes, helo and HQ to strike the same target. That would actually cause about a step loss on average. But that's again assuming all those strikers have nothing else (i.e., supporting a combat) to do.
If you send US SoF, you can get a -2 Targeting marker! Then you send some -2 pilot quality air units and you get a total of -4 drm.
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James Dean
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One other use of air strikes, both rotary and fixed wing, is interdiction. As either side succeeds and advances further into enemy territory, that side’s supply lines will get stretched thin. A few well placed air strikes for interdiction could be able to place multiple enemy units into “out of supply” status for that turn. As such, those units’ attack and movement values are halved. This can be awesome when you are on the defense and need to slow the North’s attack. Of course, destroying a supply depot or mobile unit can also have the same effect.
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Diggy18 wrote:
One other use of air strikes, both rotary and fixed wing, is interdiction. As either side succeeds and advances further into enemy territory, that side’s supply lines will get stretched thin. A few well placed air strikes for interdiction could be able to place multiple enemy units into “out of supply” status for that turn. As such, those units’ attack and movement values are halved. This can be awesome when you are on the defense and need to slow the North’s attack. Of course, destroying a supply depot or mobile unit can also have the same effect.


Exactly, I usually prioritize air unit interdiction because SOF and HQ units can be used instead to open up more strike opportunities via recon or targeting. (I am using the new rules btw, so no ADF tracks.)

If a mech or mot unit wanders into mtn it might as well be out of the game. Wrapping up a game right now where such a case happened and between the east coast road bottleneck and mtn roads the leg units were left alone to push the offensive.
 
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