Saturday, July 9, 2011

WW II Gaming: Luftwaffe Air-to-Ground Tactics

Rise of the Luftwaffe
I stumbled across a blog post that had some US Army data gathered on late war German air tactics v. ground targets at Lone Sentry. Don't know much about the site, but I did find a number of interesting topics and pictures while browsing around.

I think late war scenario design could benefit from this kind of study. While I thought about how it might be put in the context of a skirmish game, it certainly has a much broader application.

First - and I'm making the assumption that you have read the report by now - is that I was amazed at how much the German Air Force still played a combat role against Allied ground troops at that point of the war, especially considering Allied air superiority.

The assertion that German air attacks concentrated on armored spearheads (target type), followed by attacks on crowded bridges/river crossings (target area) was illuminating. Rear areas do not appear to have been priority. This certainly opens the possibility of bringing in a Luftwaffe attack in a hot ground engagement between Allied armor and German troops in breakthrough/last ditch scenarios.

I was also interested in the tricks the Luftwaffe would pull on the ground units, such as purposefully drawing AA fire so as to spot them for waiting bombers and staging fake dogfights to dupe foes on the ground into thinking Allied aircraft was in the mix. Offhand, I'm not sure how to bring that to most ground based games, but it leads to certain possibilities with campaign missions for aircraft card games like Down in Flames (Rise of the Luftwaffe, etc.). However, this would be a great reason to paint up the US M16 AA halftrack model with the quad .50 cal mount.

Finally, I'm going to make a big assumption here: probably most ground attack missions did not occur in during a ground battle already in progress. I thought the idea was to hit the enemy while he was vulnerable (ie. in column on a road) and before he could bring his forces to a ground fight. That said, timing, opportunity, and other priorities could certainly bring aircraft into play in the heat of a ongoing battle. I suppose at some point I should try to find some data that challenges/supports my thoughts here.

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