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bigmal40
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Russian airpower in Barbarossa campaign Tue, 19 May 2009 17:32
Have just finished the 1940 campaign I am about to start the Barbarossa campaign.

In the 1940 scenario, the Allies may not use any form of airpower; however, there are no such limitations on the Russians in their Barbarossa campaign - this seems odd, allowing the Russians to use the airpower card, rolling two dice a go.

Maybe the power of the airpower card should be reduced in these scenarios, allowing the Russains to roll only one die per hex attacked using the airpower card?
      
yangtze
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Re:Russian airpower in Barbarossa campaign Tue, 19 May 2009 23:42
Yes, the Barbarossa campaigns are optimised for the Air Pack. I.e. all of the playtesting was done using the Air Pack. However:

1. The Red Air Force, even in 1941, was far more active and powerful than generally thought.
2. Allowing normal use of the Air Power card will tend to balance the campaigns, since the onus of attack and the primary challenge is most definitely with the Axis.

Don't forget that the Axis will have the advantage of the Blitz rules with or without the Air Pack, so ultimately the difference is likely to be relatively small. I.e. I'd simply use the Air Power card normally if not using the Air Pack.

Hope this helps!


      
OldBloodandGuts
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Re:Russian airpower in Barbarossa campaign Wed, 20 May 2009 06:07
I wrote a scenario for a battle in North Africa 1942 -- when Axis air power definitely dominated -- with a special rule to "invert" the air power card (ie., Axis roll with two dice and and Allies roll with one). Might be worth thinking about.

I'm surprised to hear that Russian airpower that early was well regarded...I've always read just the opposite. And I don't think it would be unreasonable to incorporate some air rules into the "Blitz rules," given that the state of Russian combined arms early in the war was a damned mess.

Just my $0.02.
      
rooster5
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Re:Russian airpower in Barbarossa campaign Wed, 20 May 2009 07:34
Here is some food for thought.
Adolf Galland, who is still the top ace ever and first jet pilot ever, said in his memoirs that the planes shot down on the eastern front should not count, which he never counted in is like 109 kill total, because they were like flies in the skies, anywheres you shot you hit a plane.
      
yangtze
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Re:Russian airpower in Barbarossa campaign Wed, 20 May 2009 08:37
I'm surprised to hear that Russian airpower that early was well regarded...I've always read just the opposite. And I don't think it would be unreasonable to incorporate some air rules into the "Blitz rules," given that the state of Russian combined arms early in the war was a damned mess.

I don't blame you for thinking this way. For whatever reason, many sources give that inaccurate impression.

From War Without Garlands, Robert Kershaw, 2000:

"By the end of the month (June) 4,614 Soviet aircraft were destroyed at a cost of 330 German. Of these 1,438 were lost in the air and 3176 caught on the ground."

Breathtaking. However even that early Halder, German Army Chief of Staff, knew:

"The Luftwaffe has greatly underestimated the enemy's numerical strength. It is quite evident that the Russians initially had more than 8,000 planes... so numerically we are now equal with the Russians."

Equally breathtaking.

Victory for the Luftwaffe would depend on maintenance of the same rate of attrition. This was not to be because:

1. A large proportion of the German success on the first day was due to a preemptive strike.
2. Many of the aircraft destroyed in June were obsolete types, but the Soviets still had many more modern aircraft, including the feared Il2-Sturmovic.
3. Most of the pilots of the aircraft destroyed in the first weeks baled out and lived to fight again. As the RAF found out at the Battle of Britain, trained pilots were more valuable than aircraft.
4. Halder noted: "The bitterness and extent of mass resistance has exceeded all we had imagined." E.g. Soviet pilots began to ram German planes when running out of ammunition.

In fact, in some sectors of the front during Barbarossa German troops rarely saw a German plane. There were instances of German planes being shot at by German troops by mistake because all they had seen previously was the Red Air Force. E.g. Raus' kampfgruppe at the spearhead of Army Group North were under unrelenting attack from the Red Air Force for long periods of their advance, since they had outrun their air cover.

In these scenarios if you want to introduce more accurate special rules you should not allow the *Germans* to play the Air Power card! Very Happy

So I would be against any special rule that downplayed the Red Air Force any further. In the game the Germans already have the Blitz rules, and air superiority arguably factored into the balance of the scenario (e.g. Bug River), and they should be grateful for that.
      
bigmal40
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Re:Russian airpower in Barbarossa campaign Wed, 20 May 2009 09:45
Given that the Germans/ Axis may make use of airpower via the play of recon 1 cards as well as the airpower card (We tend NOT to play using the air pack), that would seem to counter-balance any Soviet/ Russian use of the airpower card.

Still, Russians rolling 2 dice per hex attacked (and potentially a total of 8 dice) as opposed to the German's one per hex (4 max) does still seem a little too powerful, even potentially game winning.
      
Timmuilwijk
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Re:Russian airpower in Barbarossa campaign Wed, 20 May 2009 14:51
The Soviets were known for their big numbers, a large army and a large air force. Think of all the tanks that came running down the line right in the battle...Initially the Red Airforce had an estimated 10,000 planes Shocked , although most indeed obstolete, just like the British and the French, who had even biplanes fighting because they did not have enough modern fighters...

The Soviets practised the following: 'Quantity is also a Quality'. Very Happy It is the largest country nowadays (at least Russia is...) and had at that time one of the biggest populations and it would indeed bring massive resistance, in Russia proper the most of course...

Indeed you could bring down the number of dice you can throw with the Soviet player because they may have had an air superiority the quality was very low...

Tim
      
Achtung Panzer
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Re:Russian airpower in Barbarossa campaign Wed, 20 May 2009 15:59
yangtze wrote on Wed, 20 May 2009 07:37

I don't blame you for thinking this way. For whatever reason, many sources give that inaccurate impression.


Fascinating post Yangtze. Just goes to show the depth of knowledge from the experts who have designed the scenarios.

Memoir '44 - entertaining and educational! Smile

      
bigmal40
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Re:Russian airpower in Barbarossa campaign Wed, 20 May 2009 16:21
There is no disputing the quantative size of the Soviet airforce, even after huge initial losses.

However, what evidence is there that the Soviet airforce affected ground combat to such a degree that it could be said to have out performed the Luftwaffe in 1941 (ie rolling two dice as to the Germans one in purely game terms)?

[Updated on: Thu, 21 May 2009 00:05]

      
yangtze
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Re:Russian airpower in Barbarossa campaign Wed, 20 May 2009 23:55
Fair comment chaps, yes, the idea that 2 dice is too much for any army prior to 1944 is one I'd support.

In fact, given the tendency for imbalance in scenarios to favour the Allies more often than not, you could argue that the Air Power card would be better played as 1 die for all sides even after 1944.

Without the Blitz rules I'd probably agree that the Axis should get 2 dice up to the end of '41 and the Allies only 1. However, I think this would grossly overpower the Blitz rules, so I don't recommend it.
      
bigmal40
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Re:Russian airpower in Barbarossa campaign Thu, 21 May 2009 00:15
Giving the Axis two dice is, I agree, grossly overpowering the Blitz rules. However, giving the axis one die roll (as is) and reducing the Russian airpower roll to one should not prove overpowering and would give the Axis an edge in airpower which the campaign warrants.

Bear in mind that using a Recon 1 card as airpower is not quite as powerful as the airpower card (section limitation) and it is still limited to a maximum of four possible die rolls. Often, ordering ground forces is a better use of command than this airpower option for the Axis.
      
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Re:Russian airpower in Barbarossa campaign Thu, 21 May 2009 00:32
You guys realize that all of these issues can be resolved by using the Air Pack, right? Very Happy Then all planes shoot with 1 die and the Campaign rolls on.

But I understand that some people don't have the Air Pack...and I pitty them. Laughing Razz
      
Kaufschtick
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Re:Russian airpower in Barbarossa campaign Thu, 21 May 2009 05:42
rasmussen81 wrote on Wed, 20 May 2009 18:32

But I understand that some people don't have the Air Pack...and I pitty them. Laughing Razz


Don't have the air pack!?! Shocked

For the love of Pete, why not!?!

The air pack is like a scenario book, terrain pack expansion, and aircraft expansion all rolled into one. It's unthinkable to not have at least one... Very Happy

[Updated on: Thu, 21 May 2009 05:43]

      
50th
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Re:Russian airpower in Barbarossa campaign Thu, 21 May 2009 06:15
I didn't have the air pack until I bought it at a con last weekend. But I had my own air rules, and my axis n allies planes to use. I still use my own rules because only in my rules do units actually get to shoot back at the menace in the sky.







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"And while the hordes of death are mighty, the battalions of life are mightier still. It is my hope that my son, when I am gone, will remember me not from the battle but in the home repeating with him our simple daily prayer, 'Our Father who art in heaven." Douglas MacArthur <><
      
yangtze
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Re:Russian airpower in Barbarossa campaign Thu, 21 May 2009 08:05
Hi 50th, do you know the intention of the official air rules is that you should roll your opponent's air checks? This always feels like I'm shooting back to me.
      
bigmal40
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Re:Russian airpower in Barbarossa campaign Thu, 21 May 2009 10:59
I appreciate what you say, rasmussen81 re the air pack - I do have it, have played with it, and both my gaming partners prefer for their own reasons not to use those air rules. Consequently, the issue of how many dice to roll with the airpower card is pretty significant. I may simply play with a house rule reducing Allied dice rolls to 1 in the Barbarossa campaign.
      
50th
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Re:Russian airpower in Barbarossa campaign Thu, 21 May 2009 17:33
yangtze wrote on Thu, 21 May 2009 01:05

Hi 50th, do you know the intention of the official air rules is that you should roll your opponent's air checks? This always feels like I'm shooting back to me.


But then why do you have to make an air check while flying over ocean or minefields? Why do airplanes only move one more than tanks? In my rules, the airplanes are only on the board when landed, or making an attack. As this board may represent a small area (we don't know how large an area it is) aircraft flying at 200 mph or better would be out of the area and heading back to the airfield. Even if it is a rather large area, the aircraft would probably be across the board before the tanks could move three hexes.

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"And while the hordes of death are mighty, the battalions of life are mightier still. It is my hope that my son, when I am gone, will remember me not from the battle but in the home repeating with him our simple daily prayer, 'Our Father who art in heaven." Douglas MacArthur <><
      
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Re:Russian airpower in Barbarossa campaign Thu, 21 May 2009 18:42
This is a board game. Not a simulation. Razz What's the point of having airplane models if they're only on the board when landed or attacking? You might as well just use a card instead of a figure. Smile Confused

The Air Checks represent more dangers than just getting shot down. They represent all of the dangers that were involved with flying.

I like the rules the way they are, although I understand that it isn't very realistic. Cool When it comes down to it though, as long as you're having fun then the game is doing it's job, right?! Very Happy

[Updated on: Thu, 21 May 2009 18:59]

      
bigmal40
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Re:Russian airpower in Barbarossa campaign Thu, 21 May 2009 19:46
I remember these sort of debates during the SPI (Simulations Publications Inc) period of wargaming back in the 1970's - and verisimilitude comes to mind; thankfully we are not re-enacting reality, rather playing a game with a feel of what happened, not much more.
      
50th
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Re:Russian airpower in Barbarossa campaign Thu, 21 May 2009 19:57
realism, Rasumessen, realism. Besides, how many times did pilots (who were trained and had plenty of hours of flight experience before they flew in combat) ever crash into the ocean for no reason, or how many ever crashed because they were flying over a minefield?

Also, you've got to admit that 4 hexes is way, way out of proportion to everything else on the board!

Basically it comes down to this: you like less complicated, easy rules, I like easy rules with a little bit of realism thrown in every now and then. We're just two different people and we can agree to disagree on some points.




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"And while the hordes of death are mighty, the battalions of life are mightier still. It is my hope that my son, when I am gone, will remember me not from the battle but in the home repeating with him our simple daily prayer, 'Our Father who art in heaven." Douglas MacArthur <><
      
ad79
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Re:Russian airpower in Barbarossa campaign Thu, 21 May 2009 20:04
I see 50th point about wanting some realism into the air rules. The planes in the game can only travel at twice the speed of infantry units on the move, but I personally think the rules are good and fitting for the game.

If there is one thing I would have changed it would be to allow the planes to move 5 hexes so a well planned and executed strafing run could hit potentially 4 units like the Air power card can.

But for 50th I say this is why we all love HOUSERULES, because we can alter the game to our liking, as you have done.

To yangtze, I really liket he Barbarossa campaign and have had some great and really tense battles so far.

We had to houserule in that the germans DIDN'T have to win Bug River by three medals, but only because we DIDN'T see that note until we had done the second phase of the campaign branch. Laughing
Have to pay addention when we do it for the second time.
      
OldBloodandGuts
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Re:Russian airpower in Barbarossa campaign Thu, 21 May 2009 20:20
Interesting posts.

I can see both sides of the air pack/non-air pack debate, and I agree it's more a preference than anything. I haven't played with the air pack yet -- I've resisted buying it because I think trying to incorporate airplanes really screwed up another WW2 miniatures game I used to play.

I take the position that airpower had a much bigger impact on strategy than on tactics -- ie, bombing and strafing supply lines or retreating columns, rather than surgical tactical strikes against front line positions. I can recall very few accounts where soldiers were engaged in frontline combat while a dogfight swarmed overhead. And when airpower was used tactically (particularly in the Pacific Theater), I think the airpower card does a good job of abstracting that effect. Just my opinion Smile

FWIW, I really like the idea of reducing allied airpower dice to one for the Barbarrosa campaign -- good thinking.
      
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Re:Russian airpower in Barbarossa campaign Thu, 21 May 2009 20:38
50th wrote on Thu, 21 May 2009 10:57

realism, Rasumessen, realism. Besides, how many times did pilots (who were trained and had plenty of hours of flight experience before they flew in combat) ever crash into the ocean for no reason, or how many ever crashed because they were flying over a minefield?


Crashing in the ocean has more to do with running out of fuel, or getting hit by small craft fire. The minefield might represent anti-aircraft fire or small arms from people around the minefield. Each Air Check dice number can probably be explained in some way, but it's true that they are very abstract ideas. Some are more abstract than others.

Quote:

Basically it comes down to this: you like less complicated, easy rules, I like easy rules with a little bit of realism thrown in every now and then. We're just two different people and we can agree to disagree on some points.


Yep, we can agree to disagree on this one.

PS - I don't know if you realize, but if you want you can now set up a signature to go automatically. When you converted your account (if you converted it), you gained that ability.

[Updated on: Thu, 21 May 2009 20:41]

      
50th
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Re:Russian airpower in Barbarossa campaign Thu, 21 May 2009 20:47
Not to beat a dead horse, but to put in some speed comparisons:

Panzer IV tank max speed: 40 Km/h
Messerschmitt Bf 109 max speed: 619.59 Km/h

Sherman M4 tank max speed: 39 Km/h
Supermarine Spitfire max speed: 593.85 Km/h

Enough said, a little more realism please! Plus, under my house rules artillery, ships, and other ground units get to fire back! And ships get to fire at the airplane before it makes any attack! But my house rules are only two pages long (of course that's without illustrations).

Sorry for beating that dead horse!




[Updated on: Thu, 21 May 2009 22:36]

      
yangtze
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Re:Russian airpower in Barbarossa campaign Thu, 21 May 2009 23:58
Panzer IV max speed 40 Km/h
Infantry max speed 5 Km/h

You're going to have an awful lot of house rules to write! Laughing
      
yangtze
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Re:Russian airpower in Barbarossa campaign Fri, 22 May 2009 00:17
I always think of M44 as a boardgame with a war theme, rather than a wargame, hence realism becomes a secondary factor to elegant, fun mechanics.

It's also fun to develop the odd, odd rationale to link abstract game mechanics to events in the real world. For instance, I like to think of the 4 hex movement of the aircraft and subsequent air check happening in a different time scale to the movement of ground units.

The aircraft are a positive addition to the game for me, but they do change the game for sure. Some games they have minimal impact, other times they're decisive. I can understand that some players don't like how they work.
      
yangtze
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Re:Russian airpower in Barbarossa campaign Fri, 22 May 2009 00:23
Thanks for the kind words ad79 Smile Yes, the three medal thing is quite important for balance reasons, if you consider the basic balance of the scenarios Bug can lead to.
      
rooster5
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Re:Russian airpower in Barbarossa campaign Fri, 22 May 2009 06:34
The loser never likes the letter of the law.
      
    
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