Air units are of two types: combat and recon. Recon units are flagged with the word RECON when they are listed in the Air Mission Dialog. All other air units are combat units.
To perform an air
strike against an enemy position, click on the enemy location to make
it the current Hot Spot hex and then click on the Air Mission button
in the Toolbar. This will display the Air Mission Dialog so that the air unit
can be selected. Select any non-RECON air unit in the list. The
target hex must be Spotted and contain enemy units and the current
visibility must exceed 1 hex. (In Dawn or Dusk turns where the
nominal visibility is 2, but the effective visibility is 1, air
missions are still possible.)
All enemy units capable of firing Anti-Aircraft fire on the target hex will automatically do so. The distance from the firing unit to the target hex must be within the AA range for that unit, but there are no Line-of-Sight limitations. Range effects are applied to the fire with fire at range 0 being normal, fire at range 1 being 1/3, and in general, fire at range R being 1 / (2 * R + 1). Units which are Disrupted, have Low Ammo, or are in Travel Mode fire AA at half value. Standard Combat Results are applied to the air unit.
Anti-aircraft units consist of regular AA units and Heavy AA units. High flying air units such as Recon and Heavy Bomber air units are only affected by fire from Heavy AA units.
The target unit in the hex is determined using an internal algorithm. Depending on the type of target unit, either the Hard or Soft attack value of the air unit is used for the strike. The attack value of the air unit is doubled and then standard Combat Results are applied to the target unit. If the target hex is Village, Town, City, or Industrial, then it is possible for the air strike to create Rubble in the target hex (based on Parameter Data).
Air strikes from Heavy Bomber air units affect all units in the target hex and no target unit selection occurs in this case. Such bombing is considered to be "Carpet Bombing" and has an increased effect on causing Disruption in the target hex. Such air units are flagged with the word CARPET in the Air Mission Dialog . Carpet Bombing does not require that the target hex be spotted by a friendly unit. When a Carpet Bombing air strike is called, the program will randomly scatter the designated target hex up to 2 hexes away. This may result in the air strike hitting friendly units. Also note that Heavy Bombers are often designated as Single Use units and when this is the case, they will only be available for a single mission.
Air Unit Availability
After being used in an air strike, air units must become available before they can be used in another air strike. The time required for an air unit to become available is variable and depends on Parameter Data. In addition, if the AA fire associated with the air strike caused the air unit to become Disrupted or Broken, then this represents partial damage to the air unit associated with the strike and this must be recovered from before the air unit becomes available again. Normal Fatigue accumulation and recovery effects apply to air units and although these do not affect the availability of the air unit, they do affect the effectiveness of the air strike.
Example: with an Air Availability value of 20%, an air unit that has carried out a mission will have a 20% chance of being available on the next turn. If it were to fail the availability check, it remains unavailable and rechecks for availablity at the start of each turn until it returns to available status. With a 20% Air Availability value you might expect an air unit to be available on average for 2 air missions per day (assuming 1 day = 10 turns), not counting other combat effects like Disruption and Broken.
The availability of an air unit can also be affected by specific changes to availability as part of the scenario. The Units Menu in the Main Program and Scenario Editor display the changes in air availability that have been defined and allow these changes to be edited.
Low Visibility Air Effects
This is an Optional Rule that causes conditions of low visibility to result in reductions in air unit availability. The exact reductions are determined by parameter data. See the Parameter Data Dialog to determine the exact values that apply to a given scenario.
To perform an Air Recon mission, select the target hex for the mission, invoke the Air Mission command, and select a RECON air unit from the list of available air units. Note: the target hex can be any hex on the map. Since Air Recon missions are considered to take place at a higher altitude than an Air Strike, Air Recon units are only vulnerable to AA fire from Heavy AA units.
The recon mission will then randomly provide spotting information on enemy units within the current Visibility range of the target hex. There are two types of spotting results: the enemy unit may be spotted in detail, or it may simply be spotted as an Unknown unit. An Unknown unit is marked with question mark graphics. An Unknown unit may be targeted for Indirect Fire and Air Strikes, but the combat results will not be known.
The probability that an enemy unit within the visibility range of the Recon Mission target hex will be spotted is based on several factors.
- Range: The Range from Mission Target Hex to location of enemy unit being checked for spotting is based on formula 1 / (R + 1) where R = the range from the Mission target hex to the enemy unit.
- Terrain: Any terrain modifier associated with the hex modifies the Spotting probability. That is, when the terrain modifier is M%, then the spotting probability is multiplied by (100% + M).
- Strength: the probability depends on the strength S of the air unit as defined in the formula S / (S + 5) where S = number of Aircraft.
- Unit Status: If the air unit is Disrupted, the probability is 1/2 and if the air unit is Broken, the probability is 0.
- Given the combined probability, there is a half chance that the enemy hex will be spotted in detail and a half chance that the enemy hex will spotted as Unknown.
In addition, the following modifier is applied to the spotting probability based on the Quality of the air unit.
- Quality A units have a modifier of 150%.
- Quality B units have a modifier of 125%.
- Quality D units have a modifier of 80%.
- Quality E units have a modifier of 60%.
- Quality F units have a modifier of 40%.
As units move on the map in Travel or Rail Mode, there is a chance that their movement will be Interdicted by enemy air units. This probability is based on Parameter data per side. The probability is based on the total number of units in Travel or Rail Mode in the hex being moved into. The probability is modified by any terrain modifier of the hex being moved into. The probability is half during Dawn and Dusk turns. If Interdiction occurs, then an Air Strike occurs against a unit in the target hex using an air unit that is representative of the type of air unit available to the enemy side. However, this air strike does not count against the air units available by the enemy. Note in addition, that movement by units in Deployed Mode into hexes occupied by units in Travel or Rail Mode can also trigger an interdiction attack against the units in Travel or Rail Mode.
The probability that an Air Interdiction attack will Disrupt the unit being attacked is double that of a normal attack and in addition, there is the chance that the unit being attacked can lose some of its movement points up to a maximum of half its movement allowance.
Each side in a scenario has an Air Interception probability determined by the Parameter Data for that scenario. This Air Interception value determines the probability that an air mission against that side will be Intercepted. An Intercepted air mission results in no affect against the targeted side, but does require that the air units involved go through the process of becoming Available before being used for another air mission. Both combat and air recon missions are subject to Interception. If the Air Interception probability for a given side is 0 in a scenario, then no air missions against that side will be Intercepted.
It is possible for air units to be classified as Jet Aircraft in the Order of Battle file. The probability of Air Interception against air missions of Jet Aircraft air units is half that of the normal air interception probability in the Panzer Campaigns games.
Depending on the structure of the Order-of-Battle file for a particular scenario, certain air units may be classified as being owned by a particular ground organization. When this occurs, air combat missions by those units can only be performed against hexes that are spotted by the owning organization. The units doing the spotting cannot be Broken. If only Detached units are available for spotting, the air strike is at half value. The Air Mission Dialog displays the ownership of air units.
Air Strike Hex Limitation
If the Air Strike Hex Limit Parameter Data value is nonzero, then the number of air strikes that are allowed in any one hex per player turn is limited. Once the total number of airplanes committed to an air strike in a given hex reaches the Air Strike Hex Limit value, then no further air strikes are possible in that hex in the same player turn.
The Air Strike Hex Limitation restriction does not apply to Carpet Bombing or Air Recon.