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 Post subject: LuftWaffe Campaign Tips
PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:37 pm 
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BDG
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Here are tips, work-arounds, and other observations to make LW Campaign play more enjoyable.
heinkill and some other LW players have helped me understand LW play much better. Thanks, men!

1. Why do the Escorts fail to form up with my Bombers?

Now, I hear some of you saying, "Well, this happened quite frequently in real life."
I say, "80% of the time? I think not!"
It has ruined enjoyable LW Campaign play for many players. I found a work-around, but this will entail some mission planning on the part of the player.
The player needs to move the Fighter Rendezvous Way Point back to the Bomber Rendezvous Way Point, in a nut shell.

Here I a set up a Raid against Manston. One Gruppe DO17s with one Gruppe Emils. The game generates these Way Points.
Bomber Rendezvous Way Point is blue dot.
Fighter Rendezvous Way Point is red dot.
As you can expect, with this planning the two shall never meet!
Image

To get them to form up together before the coast, I do this:
1. I drag the Bomber Rendezvous Way Point back a few miles, from the given point, blue dot.
You need not do this all the time, but when fighters are far forward, and bombers deep back inland, I find it makes them form up better.
Sometimes just dragging the Fighter Rendezvous Way Point on top of the given Bomber Rendezvous Way Point, the fighters still race ahead.
2. I drag the Fighter Rendezvous Way Point on top the Bomber Rendezvous Way Point.
In this case, the fighters reached the Rendezvous before the bombers, and went ahead until the bombers reached Rendezvous, and then popped back to and with the bombers. OK.
I planned this only once, and they formed up good, first try.
Image

-----------

Let us consider the Fighter Dispersal Way Points, and Bomber Dispersal Way Points, here, also.
My observation shows that the fighters, when returning, always fly to the Bomber Dispersal Way Point, before going home.
For that reason , with Attached Escorts, I always move the Bomber Dispersal Way Point up to where I want the fighters to disperse.
Usually I drag the Fighter Dispersal Way Point at the same point.
If you get a Bingo Fuel Limit warning, moving the Bomber Dispersal Way Point closer to the fighter home field may save enough fuel to let the planned mission go ahead.
In the above pics, Bomber Dispersal Way Point is purple dot, and Fighter Dispersal Way Point is orange dot.

============================================================================================

2. Bombers always seem to hit the same area on an airfield target.

1. Airfields have numerous Targets, but there is one that I call "The Main Airfield Target".
This is usually just in front of the Large Hangars, on the field. This is where level bomber types will try to lay bombs.

2. For level bombers, use different approaches to the target, that is, try approaching the target from different directions to place bombs on different areas of the target.
2a. Try "bomb in trail" formation versus "level bomb" to place bombs differently.
Also, altitude does effect bombing accuracy. High level bomb drops are less accurate than low level drops.
I have seen that LW level bombers tend to over shoot the target, especially at high altitudes.

3. Stukas behave good as dive bombers. When over the Main Target, they will all split up.. and attack different and individual targets
even if the targets are wide spread through out the Main Target area.
Stukas get personal! :wink:

============================================================================================

3. What are the Rules of Engagement for Attached Escort?

I have observed that the code is pretty strict and predictable here. Let us take a simple example:

One Gruppe level bombers, escorted by one Gruppe Emils.
1. The formation is intercepted by an enemy Squadron.
The lead Emil Staffel will peel off and attack them. The other two Emil Staffeln stay with the bombers.
2. Another enemy Squadron attacks the bombers.
The 2nd Staffel peels off and engages the second threat. The last Emil Staffel stays with the bombers.
3. A third enemy Squadron attacks the bombers.
The 3rd Staffel peels off and attacks the third threat.

The bombers are now on their own!

Remember that the game will try to sortie 1 RAF Squadron for every Bomber Staffel you put into the air.

============================================================================================

4. How to make best use of Return Escorts?

heinkill uses these Return Escorts. I am still learning the ropes, here. I have found a way to use Emils as Return Escorts
and they help my bombing ME110s on their way home over the Channel sometimes, if timing is right.

The key here is the Return Escort's Fighter Dispersal Way Point. Go figure! :roll:
Basically, I drag the Fighter Dispersal Way Point up near the bomber's Egress or Egress 1st Dogleg Way Point, and the Emils engage any enemy they see.
Still polishing this tactic.... more info later.

============================================================================================

Aloha!

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 8:08 pm 
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Great stuff, so many tips, and colourful!

I will have to practise these methods, may I add that setting my free escorts to cieling and late in Directives earns good results in the campaign map, as well as providing sufficient return escorts (set to behind) for a medium/long distance raid...although in 3D this may not be the case...


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 3:43 am 
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This is an excellent resource, yes. Really useful.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 9:54 pm 
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Tips for mastering the Luftwaffe Campaign game

Stickman has given excellent advice about managing game mechanics. I will provide some strategy advice because at default settings, the Luftwaffe (LW) Campaign is very difficult to win, as it was historically. The following tips have been crafted to help you to victory.

Know your history

Remember that the directive for the 'Luftschlagt um England' was to reduce the RAF capacity to disrupt a seaborne invasion of England. This meant eliminating it as an effective fighting force, rendering it unable to cover the potential landing areas of the South East of England.

Important concepts: readiness, and morale

The sophisticated campaign game engine balances several very human elements to determine how your campaign is progressing:

Readiness: RAF and LW squadrons are assigned readiness categories depending on their leader and pilot morale, which are driven by level of experience, and pilot/aircraft strength or losses. A Category A squadron has high morale, experienced and rested pilots, and sufficient pilots and aircraft. At the other end a Category C squadron is non-operational, with poor morale, novice and fatigued pilots, and insufficient pilots or aircraft to remain combat ready.

Morale: this is driven up or down by several elements, over which the player has strong influence.

- Loss of squadron leader. If you kill the RAF squadron leader (or as LW leader, lose yours), squadron morale plummets. This is very important in deciding how you will fly the 3D dogfights, either as squadron leader, or as a wingman. Novice pilots who are getting killed in many engagements should NOT fly as squadron leader as their loss will bring down their staffel morale dramatically. The opposite of this is that if you can identify the RAF squadron leader visually (usually aircraft letter A in non-multiskin default installs, or the first aircraft in the RAF VIC formation) you should target them and call your staffel to attack them.

- Fatigue. Units gain morale if they rest during a game 'period' (eg 0600-1100, 1100-1600, 1600-2000) and lose morale if they are forced to fly for consecutive periods. As LW commander you therefore want to keep the RAF airborne, and tire them out.

- Loss of aircraft/pilots: Morale plummets if the squadron or staffel is reduced to less than 12 available aircraft or pilots. RAF production facilities are very effective at replacing lost aircraft, able to replace more than 100 losses per day. Pilots are more critical, but pilots who are shot down (and not killed) over land are given a higher chance of returning to their unit than those shot down over the sea.

Remember and refer to these concepts, when you consider the strategy advice below.

Phasing is important

There were four phases in the Battle, and you can start your LW campaign in any of these. However, consider the Convoy phase as training - you do not have sufficient resources to make a real impact in this phase. Only from Eagle phase onwards are you provided with the full might of Luftflotte 2 and 3.

Winning from Convoy or Eagle Phase is very difficult. The only infrastructure damage to the RAF is light damage to one airfield. The RDF system is fully functional, all squadrons are at readiness, production is at full capacity, and morale is good. Starting a campaign at Convoy or Eagle phase is best recommended for campaign veterans.

Winning from the Critical Phase is the best way to start for campaign beginners. RAF infrastructure has been damaged to historical levels at this period, with aircraft and pilot numbers critical, and many 11 Group airfields damaged, while Luftwaffe resources and morale are still high. Starting a LW campaign at this phase gives the best chance of a quick success.

Blitz period gives you very little time to achieve your objectives before the Sealion deadline of mid September. Luftwaffe resources are constrained due to losses, and your morale is lower, meaning that if you incur further losses in your campaigning, you will lose units to poor morale. Blitz phase is also only recommended for LW campaign veterans who really want a challenge.

How the game defines LW victory

As air superiority is the ultimate objective, the game AI constantly tracks how many Category C (non-operational) units the RAF has. When this reaches a (secret) pre-determined level, the LW player wins and Operation Sealion is initiated. You are rewarded with a stirring video of German Troops marching through London.

It is just as important to understand that you do NOT win by just by destroying all Group 11 RAF airfields, or just reducing the total number of RAF aircraft available. You MUST reduce whole squadrons to Cat C, or wipe out most if not all Fighter Command airfields.

You have to fly, to win

While it is not the case in the RAF campaign, it is absolutely the case in the LW campaign that you must jump in the cockpit and fly well, and often, to win the Battle.

This is because the losses the RAF experiences in 2D campaign map level are much lower than you can achieve at 3D cockpit level, flying as a squadron leader or wingman, and directing your staffel's targets.

The game uses a 'proportionate response' model which mirrors air warfare doctrine of the time, meaning that one RAF squadron will be met by one Luftwaffe staffel, irrespective of how many fighters you have in your escort. The rest of your escort will stay with the bombers. In a 2D engagement of squadron vs staffel, the RAF will only lose on average 2-3 aircraft per squadron. These low numbers are easily replaced, and remember that pilot losses are low if the kills occur over England, not over the Channel.

However at 3D cockpit level, you can wipe out or degrade entire RAF squadrons through good leadership, or tactics.

1.Set your 2D map to show aircraft icons, not the square red/yellow/blue raid plots. You need to be able to see what your individual staffelen are doing.

2. Dictate the terms of engagement: Frag into a staffel which is close to a dogfight or RAF unit, but not currently engaged. In this way you can control the merge, pick out (padlock) the RAF leader and target him (tell your staffel to attack him with the R-3-HELP command).

3. Increase the odds: If you see on the 2D map one of your units engages an RAF squadron, choose another unit to frag into, and as squadron leader fly towards the dogfight you saw on the map. Goering will not approve of your leaving the bombers, but you may suddenly find you have 2 staffeln vs 1 RAF squadron, and those are odds that Von Clausewitz would approve of!

4. Shoot to kill: You want to kill pilots more than aircraft. Shoot for the cockpit, not the airframe. It is more valuable to get one pilot kill than two aircraft kills where the pilot parachutes to safety. And kills over the Channel are more valuable to you than kills over land, so if you have a choice of 3D fights, choose Channel fights. This is war.

Choose your bombing targets well

Ironically, you want the RAF to attack you. Only by meeting them in the air, can you reduce them to Cat C. You might be lucky in an airfield raid to catch them napping on the ground, but this is a rarity and you cannot plan your campaign strategy around it.

The following step by step approach will help you draw maximum numbers of RAF defenders to the slaughter...

Ignore the RDF (radar) stations: Intuition tells you that you should try to blind the RAF first, to give your bombers a better chance. But think of the bombers as bait. You want the RAF to see them! The sooner the RAF intercepts your raid, the better chance you have of shooting them down over the channel. You can leave the RDF stations completely unmolested.

Use multiple small raids: It may be tempting to send armadas across the channel, but the proportionate response system, and your own physically limited ability to frag into 2-3 dogfights per session, means there is no point to large raids. Further, you want to keep the RAF flying to fatigue them, so if they must respond to multiple raids, they are required to call on more squadrons to respond. The ideal size for a raid is 1 gruppe of fighters, escorting two staffeln of bombers (set to 'bomb in trail' for maximum effect).

First Priority targets: Woolston Supermarine factory located on the Itchen River and SW London Hawker factory (you need to ensure you enable the map to show production facilities). You will see on the SW coast a cluster of 3 factories, of which one is the main Spitfire production facility at Woolston. Knocking this out, and keeping it out, will halve Spitfire production. You should also attack the Brooklands Hawker factory in SW London to reduce Hurricane output. It is also possible that the Gloster Aircraft factory at Hucclecote, Gloucestershire should be attacked as it was historically a Hurricane production facility, but it is a long range raid, and I have not been able to confirm that attacking it reduces Hurricane output.

Second priority targets: Once this is done you can turn to the RAF airfields, with this warning. As much as you would like to, DO NOT HEAVILY DAMAGE RAF FIGHTER COMMAND AIRFIELDS. If you do, the airfield will be effectively closed to the game AI, and it will move the remaining squadrons/fighters there to Group 13 (north) to recover and refit (RAF units sent to Group 13 recover both aircraft, and morale quicker than in Group 10, 11 or 12). If there is a free airfield to move them back to, the game AI will, once they have recovered to Cat A. But if not, it will keep them in Group 13 where you can't get at them! By destroying 11 Group airfields all you succeed in doing is driving the RAF north, out of range of your fighters, and helping them recover their morale quicker.

Using the small raids of 2 staffel strength, you can inflict light damage on airfields, and may catch RAF squadrons napping. But you will not render the airfield unservicable and force the squadrons there to Group 13. A red circle around an airfield will tell you it is damaged, and when the circle disappears, it is operational again and you can target it again. One of the most satisfying raids to fly in the BOBII campaign is a Zerstorer raid on an RAF airfield, which catches the RAF on the ground! But drop your bombs and go for the aircraft, not the buildings!

(Is this 'true to history'? Didn't the LW nearly win the Battle of Britain by targeting group 11 airfields? This is highly debatable. Group 11 was decimated by end August 1940, but groups 10 and 12 were still largely unscathed, with more than 400 fighter aircraft operational. As in the game, Dowding could simply withdraw his forces (both fighting, and production) north and west of the invasion landing zones and LW air range, and still cover SE England. The critical issue for the RAF was shortage of pilots, not of aircraft or airfields, and I believe what the BoBII LW campaign game cleverly highlights, is that a continued strategy of destroying 11 group airfields would in fact NOT in itself have led to LW victory in the Battle of Britain unless British aircraft production and pilot capacity was also sufficiently degraded.)

Victory is not guaranteed, go North young man/woman/thing

Destroying Group 11 airfields is not enough. You must demonstrate mastery of the skies sufficient to allow an invasion which means you must be able to mount raids against the most northerly of 12 Group airfields and destroy them too. Make sure you hit Wittering and Digby or the RAF will be able to carry on the fight against you.

(Don't worry about the icon representing 13 Group in Scotland, it is notional, you can't attack it!)

Success in the LW campaign, unlike the RAF campaign, is driven more directly by your ability to fly, and command your staffel. If you can decimate RAF squadrons in your 3D game, you have the best chance of winning. This means putting your life on the line, and flying as squadron leader, so that you can dictate how your staffel performs in the engagement, help them survive, and win.

You will need to fly and play like a leader, not a lone wolf.

Good luck mein herr!

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Last edited by heinkill on Fri Jul 17, 2009 9:51 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 3:10 pm 
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1. Why do the Escorts fail to form up with my Bombers?
This is problem related to how game synchronize and schedule aircraft launch times and travel speeds in strike group. While it seems to do it correct for bombers it fails to do the same with fighters. Bomber launch times are set in such way that bombers from different aerodromes meet each other at bomber rendezvous waypoint. The same is not true for fighters which travel to fighter rendezvous waypoint but are not coordinated in the same way as bombers so they arrive individually and without coordination with bombers or each other.

Now not everything is lost yet since if fighters does not pass dogleg waypoint when bombers arrive, they are both magicaly regrouped by teleporting magically fighters to bombers and vice versa (it seems both are teleported to some point in between them).

Howe to overcome this:
I was able to avoiding this problem by altering flight plan. I try to move fighter rendezvous waypoint in such a place that all different groups (fighters and bombers) have to travel approximately the same distance to reach it. In case of bombers only group which is furthest away count since all others will be scheduled to synchronize their takeoffs with this group. If you are not sure, you can set fighter rendezvous waypoint in a way that bombers will arrive there little bit sooner than fighters (measured by distance). All sometimes means sending initially some of the groups in direction opposite to the target.

It also helps if there is some distance between fighter rendezvous and dogleg waypoint for reasons described above. Sometimes it is not possible to arrange waypoints in ideal way and some groups of fighters may arrive here before bombers. In case those fighters do not reach dogleg before bombers arrive at fighter rendezvous, they are rejoined.

Ju 86 divebombers travel significantly slower than fighters so you have to take that in mind when setting waypoints. fighter rendezvous must be closer to their aerodromes.

If you are building large strikeforce composed from many different groups, it's sometimes hard to find right spot were to place fighter rendezvous so you may want to manually select groups which participate in ride.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 4:33 pm 
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BDG
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Hi arras, welcome to BOBII and the BOBII community.

Thank you for this contribution to working around (dealing with) this problem that we have been unable to fix todate.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2009 6:36 pm 
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BDG
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arras,

Yes, good advise, especially trying to get multiple bomber Gruppen and multiple fighter Escorts to rendezvous.
When planning raids, it will be easier if you use units that are based close to each other.

If some fighters fail to rendezvous with big raids, then that does reflect historical reality.
The simpler the raid, the less things that can go wrong.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:17 pm 
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Thanks Buddye :) Good work on pilot AI by the way ;)

stickman >> exactly, with less groups, less things can go wrong. I also try to manualy pick groups from airbases which are close to each other. I noticed AI tries the same but sometimes it miserably fails, picking airfields from across whole France.

By the way I strongly suggest against using Me-110 as a bomber. Luftwaffe needs every single fighter in this battle and I noticed that Me-110 can keep 1:1 score, at last in my strategy game (I don't fly them in combat). They also have around 1/3 higher replacement rate than Me-109 which means they can do more missions than Emils in some circumstances.

While you can trade one Me-110 against one Spitfire of Hurricane it's pretty good deal for Luftwafe.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2009 2:45 pm 
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BDG
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Hey Sticky, this should be a sticky...

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2009 8:19 pm 
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BDG
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If the advise still stands true, then well it should be.
You are a better LW player than I,
being I am tinkering with files mostly, and not playing the war game.

Any edits that I should make?

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2009 2:06 am 
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BDG
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None that I can point to, though since we wrote this I've found the return escort tactic to be much more useful than playing with rendezvouz waypoints to try to get escort and bombers to meet up. It is more reliable and easier just to set attached and return escorts, and drag the fighter dispersal waypoint up to the egress waypoint. Then stack the escort 25% attached, 75% detached (or 50/50) with sufficient fighters to match the RAF who will put up an intercept of approx 1-1 for each bomber.

H

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:20 am 
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Hi All,

I promise that I have tried searching for an answer to my question but ...

Version 2.10 of the Game Manual talks about the LW campaign at page 136. It says that winning from the Convoy or Eagle Phase is very difficult and is best attempted by campaign veterans. It says that the Blitz period does not give much time to achieve the objectives and therefore the Critical Phase is best for campaign beginners.

Does this mean that if I begin a LW campaign at the Convoy Phase that campaign will end on August 12? I thought I could play a campaign which encompassed the four stages if I began on 10 July; but I could begin further along if I chose.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 4:24 am 
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BDG
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The phase just selects when you start, it will continue on from there to the
end (sept 15th, unless a win or loss occurs earlier).

Playing LW should become a bit easier with v2.12, but the manual should
still be applicable.

Convoy phase is also difficult to survive as RAF, as a beginner, unless you set
Allow_Commander_Campaign_Sack=OFF in bdg.txt, as the game demands
assiduous attention to convoy patrols beyond all logic. You will get relieved
of command for not keeping up the appearance of protection, regardless
of what you think is an effective strategy, unless you put patrols over your
convoys constantly. We added the sack switch to give players more flexibility
here.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2012 6:27 am 
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Thanks very much ... I will press on from the Convoy Stage.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2013 2:24 pm 
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Thanks! Very helpful


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