over 4 years ago - Secret Master - Direct link
You guys have far more faith in static AA than I do. I don't deny that it has value, but now that you can target specific types of buildings, it's value is primarily in terms of time and effort. With enough static AA to matter, it means that the STRs have to bomb the AA first before hitting more valuable targets. But the static AA can be demolished, and then the STRs can hit the things you want. Or the defender has to put so much effort into repairing the static AA that they are spending CIC on the AA repairs and not doing things like building factories or MIC. And to get enough static AA to matter, you have to actually build it in the first place and research relevant techs that make it better. The starting static AA in the game for every country that has some is too small to matter.

Here's some examples:

First example: 600 1940 STRs versus the maximum number of AA guns in northern France. The bombers are halfway through the Strategic Destruction doctrine tree, and the French have 1940 AA techs (to improve their AA guns).

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After a month, the AA guns bagged 22 STRs, but the AA guns are seriously damaged. Around 40% of the AA guns are out of action. In the next month of fighting, the French have to decide whether to continue repairing the AA guns (which will not be easy) or just accept their damage and let auto-repair deal with it.

But for the bombers, in the next month, they can just swap targets and start attacking more valuable targets. And while losing 22 STRs in the first month is harsh, that number goes down in the next month as the AA guns do less damage. And if the STRs bomb 17 buildings the next month, but take out 17 CIC or 17 synthetic plants, the defender has to make tough choices on what to repair.

There's also the question about whether the defender can afford that many AA in the first place. For every 3 static AA you build, you could build an MIC. So, if France built 42 AA guns to full out the states in the air region, that's 14 MIC you didn't build. Then again, 600 STRs aren't exactly cheap.

What about higher tech planes and AA?

Running 600 1944 STRs with the Strategic Destruction tree completely filled versus 50 static AA with max RADAR and max AA gun techs.


Under these conditions, the bombers do slightly more damage with the defending AA guns claiming the same number of bombers. Again, though, in the next month, the number of bombers killed will decline because the AA guns are out of commission, putting the defender in the same position as in our last test. Either they keep trying to repair the AA guns, meaning that their CIC isn't building new IC, or they let auto-repair do it, but then the STRs hit other, more valuable targets. And even repairing the AA guns will not make up for the damage being done. Partially damaged buildings do not function, so having a bunch of partially damaged AA guns are not shooting at anything.

You should also consider the following issue: None of the STRs used in these tests had any XP applied, and the bombers had no ministers affecting them. The 1944 STRs, if you apply XP to them, can increase their strategic attack from 60 to 75. The 1940 STR can go from 45 strategic attack to 56. That represents a substantial increase in their bombing capability if someone were so inclined.

Static AA has real value, but it's value is in buying the defender time and leeway to get an air defense in place. It's not going to save the defender by itself in the long run, though.  
over 4 years ago - Secret Master - Direct link
Denkt said: Is AA affected by radars (the improvement not the technologies)?

I don't think the presence of actual RADAR in the region affects AA. The last time I tested it, it was only the tech that seemed to matter.

Denkt said: Even with interceptors you wont probably reduce a serious strategic bombing offensive to zero effectiveness

You can, but it's a lot of work. And there is a point where enough STRs in an air region essentially wipe out the airfields fast enough to shut down the opposing air force.

But leaving aside situations where 10,000 STRs are hitting one air region, investing in some AA defense to supplement fighters is worthwhile if you see enough enemy air power, or you need help while your factories on fighters wind up to better production. Only a fool would trust AA to resist an serious bombing campaign on its own, but it can help.  
over 4 years ago - Secret Master - Direct link
everburn said: You are leaving AA to defend Alone.

Well, I'm responding to the idea in this thread that AA will stop bombers. For example, this post:

currylambchop said: state AA will absolutely shred your enemy's strategic bombers.

It won't. You can't rely on AA to do the job itself. You need fighters to help, as I say here:

Secret Master said: Static AA has real value, but it's value is in buying the defender time and leeway to get an air defense in place. It's not going to save the defender by itself in the long run, though.

seattle said: Obviously you can't just take the pounding (gotta control myself here not to make a joke).
I would say that a combined defenceis the best strategy:
- AA
- adding flak to garrisons in the bombed regions
- max radar
- fighters with pimped guns

If by FlaK garrisons, you mean divisions with AA, those won't affect STRs.

Regarding fighters:

In vanilla, there is a strange paradox with fighters. On the surface, it appears that you should build light fighters to claim the skies, with a small reserve of heavy fighters to counter strategic bombers. This doesn't actually work as well as you think in vanilla, for a whole list of reasons. The short version is that even when set to intercept, the heavy fighters get stuck in dogfights with escorting light fighters alongside their own light fighters. And in vanilla, heavy fighters are cost inefficient against any kind of light fighter resistance (with some small exceptions at the 1936 tech level). Even worse, design companies either buff lights or heavies, but not both. So, if the enemy bothers to escort its bombers, the heavy fighters you are putting on zerstorer duty are, essentially, getting wasted in air to air combats to which they aren't suited. (Seriously, I tried 20 different wing compositions in an attempt to find the sweet spot where a percentage of heavy fighters working along side light fighters would be IC efficient against bombers. I didn't find a single composition that worked.)

So, the answer seems to be light fighters with gun upgrades. Light fighters with no gun upgrades perform sub-par against equal tier STRs; the STRs claim a significant number of fighters as kills. It's better than nothing, mind you, and let's not discount bomber disruption, but light fighters in their base configuration are not the answer to STRs over the long term. So, upgrade guns? But the problem you get into here is that every level of guns you put on your light fighters hurts their dog-fighting ability. If you turn your light fighters into zerstorers, they will have no problem killing bombers, but now they suck against enemy fighters like their heavy fighter brethren.

The solution I have come up with is the +5/+1 design. Ignore heavy fighters, run light fighter design company, run Operational Integrity to get more agility, and the fighters get +5 engines, +1 guns. The extra guns are not enough to kill their dog-fighting performance, but it does help them shoot down TACs and STRs. It's the best compromise you can get in vanilla.