14.0 Air Power
In very general terms, “Active” aircraft execute missions from their Air Bases to hexes within their range. A player’s Active aircraft can perform missions in friendly Movement, Exploitation, and Reaction Phases. Air units never need Reserve markers.
Mission types include Barrage (hitting enemy facilities or units), Fighter Sweeps (cleaning out enemy aircraft), Interception (disrupting enemy missions), Air Transport (hauling ground units to another Air Base), Air Drop (doing the same to a hex without a base), and Transfer (moving to a new base).
When executing a mission, follow the sequence given in 14.2f and then have the planes become “Inactive” at an Air Base before executing the next mission. During a future Refit Phase, Inactive planes can become Active once more.
14.1 Aircraft & Basic Handling
Air units represent groups of specific planes (such as Bf-109s) that are rated for Type, Range, Air Combat Rating, Barrage Strength, and (sometimes) Air Transport Capacity. While an aircraft unit represents roughly 45 aircraft, it is assumed the operational rate of these is well under 100%. The game uses five types of aircraft:
Fighters (F) are the only air units able to fly Interception missions and attack during Air Combat. Active Fighters also exert a “Patrol Zone” that interferes with enemy air missions.
Tactical Bombers (T) are used mainly for Air Barrage.
Strategic Bombers (S) are used mainly for Air Barrage, but suffer from limitations that include the inability to Hip Shoot. See 14.1e.
Transports (Tpt) are able to move cargo. A Transport uses its capacity to fly units and supplies from an airbase to a new location.
Combo Types are two types in one, usually T and Tpt. These units can function as either listed type.
14.1a Active and Inactive Aircraft. Aircraft have two modes: Active or Inactive. An aircraft’s mode is shown by it being above (Active) or below (Inactive) the Air Base counter. Basically, Active aircraft can conduct missions and Inactive ones cannot. Active aircraft in a friendly Air Base hex can remain Active indefinitely.
14.1b Aircraft Step Losses. Aircraft have two steps each. Use the reverse (reduced) side of the counter to show a step loss. Aircraft which take a second step loss are eliminated and placed in the Dead Pile.
14.1c Aborts & Return to Base. Air units that execute a mission (see 14.2f) or “abort” from air combat must return to a friendly air base within their range and become Inactive. (Exceptions: A Fighter remains Active after completing a successful Interception (14.5), and after a Base Transfer (14.11) done at normal range.)
- Aircraft that abort before/during an Air Combat over a friendly air base must return to that base. (Exception: see 14.5 for special handling of Interceptors.)
14.1d Refit. Refit (15.0) is needed to keep aircraft in action (think of it as fueling and routine maintenance). It is how Inactive aircraft become Active. Refit is the only time aircraft need or consume supply.
14.1e Strategic Bombers. Missions that include Strategic Bombers suffer several limitations due to their high-altitude operations:
- A) Barrages are always considered to be unspotted.
- B) Hip Shoots and anti-ship barrage missions are never allowed.
- C) The short-range barrage shift is never received.
14.1f Weather. Weather can inhibit air operations, restricting missions to certain phases and sometimes allowing “no flight” at all. During weather when missions cannot be flown, Active air units remain Active and aircraft can be refit.
14.1g Phasing. Active planes can fly missions during friendly Movement, Exploitation, and Reaction Phases.
14.2 Aircraft Movement
Aircraft have stacking limits and move by being lifted directly from their air base to the mission’s target hex. Aircraft move in various phases and segments, depending on the mission.
14.2a Aircraft Stacking. Count each air unit (whether reduced or full-strength) as one unit for stacking. A maximum of four Active aircraft can execute a mission together. On a friendly Air Base, a maximum of four friendly aircraft plus the Air Base Level can be Active at one time (so, a Level 3 Air Base can have a total of seven Active aircraft). There is no limit to the number of Inactive aircraft that can stack at a base.
14.2b A player can voluntarily abort planes in a hex to avoid an Air Combat before it starts, but at least one air unit must stay Active and fight. See 14.3d.
14.2c Aircraft Movement. An Active air unit voluntarily moves only when conducting a mission. When an Air Base is captured by enemy ground units, all air units at the base are displaced (and possibly suffer a loss) per 9.14f.
14.2d An aircraft’s range is the limit it can travel (in hexes) when flying either to a mission hex or returning from one. Aircraft move by simply placing them in any hex within range, without regard to terrain or enemy units. There is no need to trace a specific path.
14.2e Air Missions. Active planes can perform the following missions. Aircraft can not perform a combined air mission (such as “Sweep then Barrage”) and can only fly a single mission per phase. For each mission, follow the Air Movement Sequence (14.2f).
Important Notes: “Mission aircraft” means the air units that are performing a mission. Missions are never restricted to aircraft of a certain type. For instance, a Fighter is allowed to take part in an Air Transport mission.
- Interception (14.5). The ability to ‘jump’ enemy air units before they perform their mission.
- Fighter Sweep (14.6). A Fighter Sweep is designed to engage enemy planes in air combat. Fighter Sweeps are executed in the various Movement Segments.
- Barrage (14.7). A Barrage is an air attack on enemy facilities or ground units. Barrage missions are executed in the various Barrage Segments.
- Hip Shoot (14.7d). A Hip Shoot is a special type of barrage made during a Movement Segment instead of a Barrage Segment. Hip Shoots also allow the same hex to be hit more than once in a single phase. Only certain air forces can do Hip Shoots, however, and this will be noted in game-specific rules.
- Trainbusting (14.8). This allows aircraft to interdict enemy ground and rail movement. Trainbusting missions are executed during the various Barrage Segments.
- Air Transportation (14.9) and Air Drop (14.10). The delivery of cargo (combat units or SP) by air, either by unloading them at an Air Base or dropping them in some other hex. Air Transport and Air Drop Missions are executed in the various Movement Segments.
- Base Transfer (14.11). Movement of your aircraft from one Air Base to another. Transfers are executed in the various Movement Segments.
Important Note: There are no limits placed on the number of non-barrage missions that can be flown to the same hex in a phase. For instance, a player wanting to Air Drop 1T of supply to a surrounded tank division could keep flying mission after mission until he successfully lands the needed supplies. A player could also Hip Shoot a hex several times in the phase. Other barrages are limited to one to a hex each phase.
14.2f Air Mission Sequence. Follow this complete sequence when executing a mission. Aircraft from more than one Air Base (up to a combined limit of four air units) can execute a mission together, with air units from each base moving separately (there is no need to “link up” before reaching target hex):
- A) Declare the mission type (such as Trainbusting or Barrage).
- B) Move aircraft from one or more bases to the mission hex.
- C) Resolve any Air Combat (14.3) if both players have Active aircraft in the mission hex.
- D) Resolve any Interception (14.5).
- E) Resolve any Flak (14.4).
- F) Resolve the mission.
- G) The aircraft return to base (14.1c) and usually become Inactive.
Play Note: Planes can no longer be added to a mission after Step C, so remember to perform needed Fighter Sweeps during the Movement Segment!
14.3 Air Combat
When both sides have Active planes in a hex, Air Combat is immediately resolved. This will only happen when the mission hex has an enemy air base with Active aircraft, or during Interception (14.5). An Air Combat consists of a series of rounds during which each player selects one unit to use. The result of the round will be the abort (see 14.1c) and possible loss of one or both of the selected aircraft. These rounds continue until one side or the other is alone in the hex (or there are no Active planes left with a non-parenthesized Air Combat Rating).
Ignore all Inactive aircraft during Air Combat; they do not take part at all.
14.3a Parenthesized Ratings. Aircraft with parenthesized Air Combat Ratings cannot initiate Air Combat. They can still enter a hex with enemy aircraft, however. If all the aircraft in a hex (both sides) have parenthesized Air Combat Ratings, the aircraft ignore one another (and there is no Air Combat).
14.3b Modifiers to Air Combat. There are none except when using the Long Range option (21.4).
14.3c Attacker Identification. In Air Combat the “attacker” will normally be the player initiating the battle (mission player or Interceptor). The roles switch if the erstwhile “attacker” only has air units with Parenthesized Ratings, and the combat ends completely if all Active planes in the hex have Parenthesized Ratings—the remaining planes ignore each other and the mission continues.
14.3d Voluntary Aborts. Voluntarily Aborting from an Air Combat (thus becoming Inactive) is sometimes useful:
- A) Either player has the option to abort some of his aircraft in the hex before the Air Combat starts, but at least one air unit must be kept Active and fight.
- B) Neither player has the option to abort after an Air Combat starts. (It continues until only one player has Active aircraft in the hex, or both sides run out of non-paren- thesized aircraft.)
- C) Active air units can voluntarily abort after completely finishing an Air Combat.
14.3e Air Combat Procedure.
- A) Both players lay out their aircraft in plain view. Voluntary aborts (14.3d) are made now.
- B) The attacker (14.3c) selects one of his non-parenthesized air units, then the defender selects any of his air units. These are the aircraft used in the current combat round.
- C) The attacker rolls two dice, adding it to his Air Combat Rating, and then subtracting the defending Air Combat Rating. Use this modified roll on the Air Combat Table to identify which aircraft, either one or both, must abort. Finally, roll a third die—the “loss” die—to determine if the aborted unit(s) must also take a step loss. This happens on a roll of 5 or 6.
- D) Repeat B and C (each couplet is a round of combat) with the same or different aircraft until one side or the other remains alone in the hex (or until neither player has any Active Fighters left).
Play Hint: Roll three dice at once—two “combat” dice and an off-colored “loss” die—to speed Air Combat resolution.
Example: One LaGG-3 (Air Combat Rating of 2) and one IL-2 Air Combat Rating of (2)) move into a German Air Base hex occupied by one Active Bf 109f (Air Combat Rating of 4) and two Stukas (Air Combat Rating of (1)) along with several Inactive aircraft. All of the above are at full strength. The Soviets are the attackers.
Each player selects the aircraft of his choice for the first round of Air Combat. The Soviets select the LaGG-3; the Germans pick the Bf 109f. The defending Germans could also have picked one of the Stukas (not a bright move, but allowed). The attacking Soviets could not have picked the IL-2 because of its parenthesized Air Combat Rating. The Soviet player rolls two dice (getting a 9) to which he adds his aircraft’s rating (2) and subtracts the German unit’s rating (4) for a modified roll of 7. The Air Combat Table gives “Both Abort.” The Soviet player rolls one die and no losses result, so both players send their aircraft back to base where they become Inactive.
This leaves the two Stukas facing the IL-2. None of these can attack, so the combat ends and the two forces ignore each other. The Soviets can then barrage the Air Base.
In Step E of the Air Mission Sequence (14.2f), the enemy player checks to see if his abstracted air defenses (“Flak”) disrupt the mission. Normal Flak reflects only ground-to-air fires—most combat units have some anti-aircraft ability, and the design also assumes nominal Flak assets are deployed at important potential targets. The intensity of ground Flak is increased if the mission is flown into an enemy Patrol Zone (14.4a).
14.4a Missions Subject to Flak.
- Always: Barrage, Hip Shoot, and Trainbusting.
- Only if in an enemy Patrol Zone: Air Transport, Air Drop, and Base Transfer.
- Never: Fighter Sweep and Interception, and all non-mission activity (such as placing air reinforcements and returning to an air base).
14.4b Supply considerations never affect Flak, nor is there any SP cost for Flak rolls.
14.4c Patrol Zone. A Patrol Zone (PZ) is a defensive area created by any Air Base with one or more Active Fighters, and extends 10 hexes in all directions. Enemy air missions that target a hex in a PZ are subject to Interception (14.5) and heavier Flak.
14.4d Non-Mission Aircraft. Extra air units will sometimes be stacked with mission aircraft. For instance, an Active aircraft might be at a friendly Air Base receiving a Transport mission. Only mission aircraft are affected by Flak. (But note any “extra” planes would be affected by Interception, taking part in the Air Combat along with the mission aircraft.)
14.4e Flak Resolution. Roll two dice. If the modified result is 11 or more, one mission aircraft step is lost. Otherwise, the Flak has no effect and resolution is complete.
The dice roll is modified by the Flak Points affecting the mission, per the charts and tables.
14.4f Flak Losses. If a loss is inflicted, one of the mission aircraft takes a loss before conducting the mission. Other- wise, the Flak has no effect. Determine which air unit in a stack takes the loss by using the Mission Loss Table. Remove an eliminated aircraft; those with one step remaining finish the mission using their reduced values.
14.4g Cargo Losses. If there is a change in a Transport mission’s cargo capacity because of Flak, recalculate the avail- able load (keeping in mind range effects of 14.9e) and destroy a portion of the cargo (player’s choice) that exceeds the new capacity. Round in favor of cargo survival (e.g. if 1T is being transported and the aircraft drops from 1T to 1/2T capability, the 1T survives and arrives successfully).
In Step D of the Air Mission Sequence (14.2f), a player will sometimes have the option to intercept an enemy mission. Only a mission that is subject to Flak (per 14.4a) can be intercepted, and then only if the mission hex is in a Patrol Zone. The player can intercept with a single Active Fighter with a Patrol Zone into the mission hex. The player is not required to intercept (it is his option) and can only do so once per mission.
Important Note: Interception missions are never prevented by game-specific weather and/or phase restrictions.
Interception is resolved as Air Combat. If non-mission aircraft are present, see 14.4d. Handle the intercepting Fighter after the combat as a special case:
- If the interceptor loses, it becomes Inactive at the air base from which it came.
- If the interceptor wins, it stays Active at the air base from which it came. The plane is not considered to have flown a mission and thus is eligible to intercept another enemy mission later in the same phase.
14.6 Fighter Sweep
Fighter Sweep missions are done during Movement Segments. In these a Fighter is moved to a hex with Active enemy aircraft and engages in Air Combat. Win or lose, the mission Fighter is aborted to an air base within range when the rounds of combat conclude. A hex can be the target of any number of Fighter Sweeps in the same segment.
Play Note: There is no reason to have more than one fighter per Sweep mission, since multiple Sweeps can be flown against the same hex.
14.7 Barrage & Hip Shoots
Aircraft make use of Barrage missions to attack enemy ships, ground units, and facilities. What follows are the specifics of Barrage missions; 10.0 covers the more general rules of Barrage and 18.3 describes anti-ship barrages. All the usual modifiers for Barrage (including spotters) apply to air barrages as well.
A given hex can normally be barraged just once in a phase, but Hip Shoots do not count against this limit.
14.7a Aircraft can never combine with artillery or ships in a single barrage. An Air Barrage never has any supply cost of its own.
14.7b Air Barrage and Phasing. Air units move to a mission hex during a Barrage Segment. Follow the sequence given in 14.2f. Aircraft are subject to Flak (see 14.4) before the barrage, and must return to an air base and become Inactive immediately after the barrage is resolved.
14.7c Short Range Barrage Modifier. Range effects apply when all aircraft conducting the barrage are at or within 10 hexes of the base from which they flew. These barrages get an additional rightward shift on the Barrage Table. Never apply this shift to Strat Bombers.
14.7d Hip Shoots. Hip Shoots are done during Movement Segments. They are resolved like normal Barrages (14.7), with some exceptions and restrictions:
- A) Hip Shoots do not count against the limit of one barrage against a hex in a phase. This means a hex can be barraged by multiple Hip Shoots in a phase, and also be subjected to a “regular” barrage during the same phase.
- B) A Hip Shoot must be made by a single aircraft and its nationality must be listed in the game-specific rulebook as having the special Hip Shoot capability.
- C) A Hip Shoot *requires a correct spotter (10.0b).
- D) Given the above, a Hip Shoot can hit any type of target. (Exception: Trainbusting cannot be performed as a Hip Shoot.)
Trainbusting missions disrupt enemy rail traffic as well as columns of troops, vehicles, and pack animals moving in an area. Only one Trainbusting mission per hex per phase is allowed, and only one Trainbusting marker can be placed in any hex. These missions cannot be executed as Hip Shoots.
14.8a Execution. Move the mission stack to the target hex. Resolve Flak (see 14.4) and then attack the hex using the Barrage vs. Facility Table. If the result contains an asterisk, place a Trainbusting marker in the hex (otherwise there is no effect). Regardless of success, the aircraft return to base and become Inactive.
14.8b Trainbusting Zone.
A Trainbusting Zone (TZ) is the hex with a Trainbusting marker plus the six adjacent hexes. (Exception: For movement using Leg MP, a Trainbusting Zone is limited to just the marker’s hex.)
14.8c Trainbusting Effects. The Trainbusting Zone affects enemy ground unit movement and rail costs.
- Ground units must add 1 MP to the terrain cost of every hex entered that is in a TZ.
- Rail cargo passing through a TZ uses double the normal Rail Cap. The increase in cost is applied only once, even if the cargo is transported in and/or out of multiple TZ.
- Ships, aircraft, sea cap, and supply paths are unaffected by a TZ. Note there is never an additional effect on a hex due to overlapping TZ, and a TZ has no effect on retreats.
14.8d Phasing. Trainbusting barrages can be made in the barrage segment of any phase allowing a player’s aircraft to conduct missions. The markers are removed in the next enemy Clean Up Phase and their effects are continuous until then.
14.9 Air Transport
Air Transport allows the player to use his Transports to move supplies and units around the map.
Air Transport can occur in any friendly Movement Segment.
14.9a Transports have a printed trans- port capacity. They can carry any load up to that capacity. (See 4.7 for Transportation Equivalents.) Transports at the same air base can combine their transport capacity to carry cargo. For instance, two aircraft with a capacity of “1/2T” could carry a parachute battalion that has a transport equivalence of 1T.
14.9b Some Transports have a transport capacity of 1/2T. These units must usually use rule 14.9a, combining to move 1T amounts. Alternatively, they can move 1T when making a double capacity trip using 14.9e. In no case can the 1/2T amount be saved for later or be rounded up to 1T. (Exception: cargo survival, 14.4h).
14.9c Cargo Types. Supply Points can be transported by air, as can combat units that are in Move Mode with an MA of 10 or less Leg MP.
14.9d Combat units can move up to 1/2 their MA during the phase it is carried by Air Transport (per 4.7d). This can be done before or after the Air Transport mission (or both) provided no more than 1/2 MA is expended.
There are important mode and phasing considerations. SP cannot be moved before/after a mission due to “leapfrog” restrictions. Combat units can change to Move Mode prior to Air Transport in Movement Phase, but are not able to “flip” orientation during Reaction or Exploitation. Combat units must be released reserves to move (and possibly attack) before/after a mission during Reaction or Exploitation. All other units being air transported in these phases essentially have an MA of zero (and cannot attack). Note that units moving before/after the mission in Reaction have their MA halved twice, for a total of ×1/4 MA.
14.9e Air Transport missions are flown to any friendly air base. Treating each plane separately, the mission hex can…
- A) …be at twice the plane’s range, provided it is made Inactive at the destination air base, or
- B) …be at the plane’s normal range, in which case it returns to any air base within normal range after the mission (Note: It goes inactive), or
- C) …be at half the plane’s range, in which case its transport capacity is doubled and it returns to any air base within half of its range after the mission (Note: It goes inactive).
14.9f A given air base can only unload 2T times the base Level per Movement Segment using Air Transport. However, any amount of cargo can be unloaded if the Transports in excess of this limit become Inactive in the destination hex.
14.10 Air Drop
An Air Drop is a form of Air Trans- port that does not require a friendly air base at the destination. Air Drops also differ in that sometimes they must be planned in advance and the cargo may be destroyed in the attempt. Air Drop can be done either by parachute or glider landings. The rules in Section 14.9 apply to Air Drops except where they differ with the rules below.
14.10a Unit Eligibility. Only SP and combat units with the “Para” symbol can Air Drop. (Exception: Any combat unit that can be air transported can land via glider, per 14.10e.)
14.10b Prior Planning. Air Drops of combat units have special restrictions. They can only be made in the Movement Phase and require a Drop Plan—a written record of the hex where each combat unit will be dropped and the specific turn the mission will take place. You must make this plan either before the game begins or at least two turns in advance of the scheduled drop. Plan these drops in the Aircraft Refit Phase. No unit can ever be on more than one Drop Plan at a time.
- Units making planned air drops do not require trace supply on the turn they are dropped (12.6h).
- Supply drops never need prior planning nor do they have any phase restrictions.
14.10c Cancellation and Delay. All or part of a Drop Plan can be cancelled or delayed. (Some units could drop as scheduled, some be delayed, and some cancelled.) Make this decision during any Aircraft Refit Phase. If delayed, the exact same drop is now pushed back to the next turn. If cancelled, the plan ceases to exist (and even if the same plan is drawn up in the future, planning must start from scratch).
14.10d Air Drop Procedure. Resolve Flak and then check for losses using the Air Transport Success Table. Roll two dice for each combat unit or 1T of supply separately, based on the type of terrain in the mission hex and drop method (glider or paradrop). Apply the table’s modifiers. If the roll is successful, the unit is placed in the drop hex (and its movement is finished for the phase). Otherwise, it is destroyed. Also destroy any cargo that attempts to land on an enemy combat unit (but if the hex only contains enemy non-combat units, apply relevant parts of rule 9.14.
Gliders increase the capacity of Transport aircraft. Gliders do not count against mission and basing limits and are always considered Active. Gliders are generic “change” that can combine and break down like SP.
- A) It costs one Eq to build two Glider Points (as if rebuilding aircraft). Gliders cannot be built in games where they are not provided. A glider cannot be reused—place it in the Dead Pile after use.
- B) Gliders can only move when they are part of an Air Transport or Air Drop mission. When an air base is captured, gliders are destroyed.
- C) A full-strength Transport plane (any capacity) can tow one Glider Point. The capacity of a Transport/Glider combination is 2T (all of which is loaded on the glider). A Transport that doubles its capacity (per 14.9e) can carry 4T if two Glider Points are used, or alternatively it can carry 2T on one Glider Point and carry its printed capacity for a paradrop.
- D) In Air Transport missions, cargo on gliders is not counted against off-loading limits (15.0b).
- E) In Air Drop missions, cargo on gliders has an increased chance for success, as shown on the Air Transport Success Table.
- F) Gliders do not check for Flak, but their tow aircraft do. The capacity of the Transport/Glider combination is reduced to 1T if the towing aircraft takes a loss. Handle losses to cargo per 14.4g.
- G) Gliders do not take part in Air Combat. While being towed, a loss is handled per 14.4g.
14.10f Integral Gliders. As opposed to the separate counter version above, some games have Transport planes that contain a glider component as part of the counter itself. Basically, these are special Transports with an improved transport capacity because they always tow gliders (which make them exempt from base unloading limitations). Rule 14.9e modifies their capacity by range.
Specific Game Note: The CASE BLUE transports with Integral Gliders can only perform Air Transport and Base Transfer missions (never Air Drop missions).
14.11 Base Transfer
A Base Transfer is a simple way to move an aircraft from one base to another without performing any other functions. Air units can double their range when moving from base to base. When a Fighter unit performs a Base Transfer within normal range, it stays Active. Otherwise, it goes Inactive (as do all other plane types making Base Transfers).
Play Note: Players may find that aborting after a mission is often a more useful way to change base, since then the aircraft can “do something” along the way.)
Complex Aircraft Mission Example: During his Movement Phase’s Barrage Segment, the Allied player tries a Barrage on an Axis stack with a Reserve marker showing. The strike consists of a Blenheim V bomber and two Hurricane II fighters. The mission hex is inside the Patrol Zone. The mission has a +2 Flak Mod operating against it (+1 for a Patrol Zone (since a Fighter is present), +1 for three mission aircraft).
First, the Axis player resolves Flak against the mission. He chooses to avoid literally intercepting and forcing an actual Air Combat. The Axis player rolls two dice and gets a 10 which is modified to 12 resulting in a loss. The Allied player uses the Mission Loss Table to randomly select one of his aircraft to take the loss and it is the Blenheim. It is reduced and the mission continues.
The Allied player now totals the Barrage Strength of the three mission aircraft. The Fighters are worth a combined 6 Barrage Points. The now reduced bomber adds 3 more, for a total of 9 points. The initial Barrage Table column is 8-11. There is no barrage supply cost since this is an Air Barrage. No Allied combat unit is adjacent to the target (no spotter: three columns left) and it turns out there are 4 RE in the hex (one shift right). No further column shifts apply. The total Barrage Table shift is two left, to the 3-4 column. The Allied player rolls two dice and gets a 12, giving a 1/2 result. He then rolls a 5 with one die, so it “rounds up.” The Axis player must remove one step of his choice and the mode of the stack is changed from Reserve to DG. The Allied aircraft now return to any friendly base within range.
Example: Air Barrage Missions