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ACE/Dogfight Factors Thoughts


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#1 Dave Franklin

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 09:34 AM

I know this is one of the more subjective areas, but there are a couple of things that look odd.The Gladiator has an ACE of 3 and a DF of 4.A Spitfire Mk V has an ACE of 4 and a DF of 6. Presumably a Spit Mk I would be similar.A Sea Hurricane (and what I would use for a Hurricane Mk I) has an ACE of 3 and a DF of 4 (i.e. the same as the Galdiator).A Fulmar has an ACE of 2 and a DF of 3 (i.e. worse than the Gladiator)A Wildcat (Martlet) has an ACE of 3 and a DF of 4 (i.e. the same as the Gladiator).I guess my point is, based on the above, why would the British have wanted to replace the Gladiator?My thoughts are, from a simplistic point of view, two reasons, speed and range. Now range can be handled more in the campaign setting, but I wonder if adding a speed column to the ACE and DF equations might not help. Every biplane fighter would have a -1 (admittedly so might the Fulmar), and most of your late war 400mph+ fighters would have a +1, with 500mph+ jets having a +2 Note: I would reduce the jet's (i.e. Me262) Maneuver Rating since they weren't all that maneuverable, and I'd reduce their Power Rating since those old jets took a long time to spool up, so their overall ratings would be close to what is there now.

#2 Jim O'Neil

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 09:41 PM

I suspect the Gladiator should be reduced a notch. It was a fine maneuverable aircraft but had no armor , 4 light MGs and was little more than a difficult target for most modern fighters. It was hard pressed to hurt much with 4 rifle caliber MGs ...I would not get into maneuverability ratings and speed ratings... ultimately air combat is the ability to choose to fight or not. If you have the jump on another aircraft or formation, they are in trouble unless they are so superior that they can just evade the attack (like an Me-262 jumped by Mustangs might). If you don't see the attack coming, you are hurting, regardless. Only if both sides choose to fight is there much air vs air!The German slashing attacks were predicated on NOT dog fihgting, but doing continuous dive, shoot and climb away. Against inferior aircraft it's murderous... against equal aircraft it's effective and only when the opposing aircraft is more capable is there any problem. The Bf-109E fighting Spitfires and Hurricanes showed this well (if you omit the fuel problem for the 109). The very competant Spitfire had to be up with the Bf-109 to have a decent chance.Radar plays a huge role here, and it should give pluses to any side with radar support.

#3 Lonnie Gill

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Posted 01 January 2007 - 02:56 AM

Bravo and co-diver,You both make some good points on "one of the more subjective areas." Here are some additional aspects to consider which may help in building some consensus.The ACE and Dogfight values are meant as expressions of fighter vs. fighter combat: maneuverability, firepower and engine power which predominate when fighters get into a furball and actually dogfight. Thus, a light, highly maneuverable plane like the Gladiator will get a fairly good rating. But, there's more to consider. Speed, climb and dive capacity are separately listed and here the Hurricane, Spitfire, etc. leave the Gladiator far behind. Clean speed gives them 2,000 or more yards of horizontal movement per Air Phase, climbing ability means less movement reduction for climbing an altitude Level and Dive capacity gives them the ability to make better tactical use of a height advantage. Thus, they have better ability to dictate when and where both firing passes and fighter vs fighter combat takes place.This is even more pronounced when you use the optional aerial combat rules on pages 5-4 and 5-5. Now, a fighter flight needs half its movement to engage in a dogfight. This gives the faster fighter a reater advantage in engaging from distances slower, highly maneuverable biplanes like the Gladiator can't match. These capabilities should be used along with dogfight ability (ACE factor) to assess the value of a fighter. Further, in the optional rules, attacks can be made as firing passes, rather than dogfights. Thus, P40s and F4Fs can use height and speed to avoid dogfights with the nimble Zero. Similarly, a 109 can use this tactic to take the measure of more nimble British fighters. Assessing all these tactical factors together along with campaign cruise speed and range shows, I think, why a British player would want to replace the Gladiator.With the movement to combat already distinguished through speed, climb and dive ratings, the ACE factor concentrated on maneuverability, firepower and raw engine power. The Dogfight factor listed in the Bonus files was an earlier attempt to evaluate true dogfight maneuver combat. Thus, maneuver is accentuated in the Dogfight factor while power is valued more highly in the more generalized ACE factor. One could argue that there should be a greater deduction in both these approaches for the limited firepower of aircraft like the Gladiator and many Italian fighters. This rating was chosen to maintain some distinction between the resulting low value ACE and Dogfight ratings of these fighters, Fulmars and dive bombers which had a limited dogfighting capability. This gets fairly subjective. Your thoughts?

#4 Dave Franklin

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Posted 03 January 2007 - 01:34 PM

Thanks for your reply Lonnie.I think I see one aspect of the problem I hadn't appreciated before. I was looking at it (particularly the ACE) from the perspective of the Campaign Air Rules in Section 4. My gaming group prefers (or at least did with the old GQ rules - and in our current campaign) to adjudicate the air (and subs for that matter), and use the game table just for the surface fights.Your comments illustrate the advantage of speed using the Section 2 air rules; however, using the Campaign Air Rules it's missing.Unfortunately, I think the solution might have to be a separate set of Campaign ACE values.

#5 Lonnie Gill

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 11:04 PM

Co_diver,There's merit in your suggestion. Many of the playtesters also prefered to resolve air actions at the Campaign level. Having a fair interest in aircraft, however, we also developed tactical rules for those who want to simulate aviation tactics. Originally, they were more detailed, as you will have guessed, but playtesting smoothed out some non essential things which were consuming a good deal of playing time for small return. Hence, the Dogfight Factor evolved into the ACE Factor.Using the ACE factor at the campaign level is less sensitive to some of the fighter performance differences simulated in the Part 2, tactical air rules. It would be interesting to see if anyone would like to take the ACE factor tables in the Bonus files and add a column for speed and prehaps one for height or climbing ability distinctions to develop an updated, more abstracted ACE factor rating for campaign use. Given the subjectivity in the air combat area, it should generate some interesting discussion.Anyone want to take a shot at it?

#6 gregoryk

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Posted 19 July 2007 - 10:20 AM

I think one thing that can and should be done is to change what happens when you have aircraft with non-sealing tanks. In our games, including a test game we had this past weekend, we used an ODD D as 'X' rather than 'D' for aircraft that have NST.So on the table, rather than going up one level against a/c with NST, you convert any die roll that is ODD and results in a 'D' damaged result to an 'X' shot down result instead. Worked well maintained the dogfighting advantage of the higher ACE factor, while accounting for their increased vulnerability when hit. Posted Image Cheers,Gregory

#7 gregoryk

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Posted 24 August 2007 - 10:23 PM

I have no problem with the F4F Wildcat having an ACE of 3, but the General Motors FM-2 should most definitely have an ACE factor of 4, as it was better than the Zero in turning. It gave up two .50cal's (four vice six for the F4F) and never had the long range necessary for the Pacific, but it was still a joy to fly, or so my father tells me.Gregory

#8 James Davis

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 03:55 PM

the ability to make a firing pass on another figjter does make it possible to use the P40 and F4F as they were used ( unless you really liked gettignshot down ). Im not sure i would upgrade the GM wildcat over the grumman one, while it now turns better you have given up 1/3 of your firepower. As a guy who carries a .45 i kind of like firepower. ( :I have an old ( 25 years ole ) set of air campaign rules that took the apporch that the ircraft factors were based on the A/C being used in the most effective way==IF P40 using slashing attack and Zero using dogfight attack. The rules did not have a random/ dice elemnent but usually gave a realistic result over several battles. Arm Tec poblished them IIRC and they or something similar, might be useful for those wanting to adjuducate off table. They do require some basic math, whidh was common in the old days.I rather like the converting D to odd X idea.Jim D

#9 Jim O'Neil

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 05:27 PM

The FM 2 had several changes over the F4F-4... a fixed non-folding wing, 4 vice 6 50 Cals and 1350 HP vice 1100-1200. It was lighter and more powerful, using the 9 Cyl Wright 1820 of Buffalo fame... a later version of course.Note that the F4F-3 had the fixed wing and the 4 gus, and would have been much better than the F4F-4 which had the stuff Britain wanted in their fighter..... As an aside, most Navy Pilots though 4 guns was quite enough ... had this plane gotten the 1200 HP engine, it might have done better yet, vice the A6M2.

#10 gregoryk

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 03:31 PM

Bravo6 wrote:

...As an aside, most Navy Pilots though 4 guns was quite enough ... had this plane gotten the 1200 HP engine, it might have done better yet, vice the A6M2.

Indeed, my father flew all marks of the Wildcat, plus the Hellcat (and SBD, TBF, etc), and noted the roll rate for the FM-2 was great. The Big P&W engine, lighter weight, less wing loading due to the removal of the extra guns and folding apparatus, plus the larger vertical stabilizer all paid off in a nifty little airplane that he said was the USN's best dogfighter. I am in no position to argue with him. This of course does not make it the best fighter, fighter-bomber, etc, but, like he said, he found it a joy to fly.And it could out-turn a Zero...Gregory

#11 Klebert Hall

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 03:29 PM

What did your dad do for a living, test pilot?My father flew the Avenger (TBM) in the Pacific off Cowpens and Bataan, I hadn't heard of anybody doing VF/VT/VS until now.-Kle.

#12 Jim O'Neil

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Posted 31 August 2007 - 10:17 PM

The P-40 (all versions really) are good or bad depending on the pilots skill and training. With intelligent use by trained pilots, it was a fine Zero and Bf-109 killer.With pilots flying the plane incorrectly, it was eaten alive by those same planes.The P-40 had altitude problems, no question, but in both theaters it was able to avoid attacks and then deal with the attackers, so long as it was flown in the slash and dash (Boom and Zoom) method. Radar helped give it time to get up to dive on opponents.I believe it was the US 325th Fighter group that recorded a series of remarkable victories over Bf-109s in the Med and Saburo Sakai considered it the most dangerous opponent if it was flown correctly.It's not the plane, it's the pilot ! I suggest docking the pilots based on time and location ... the British and Commonwealth pilots did poorly with it in N. Africa and early USAAC units were still trying to dogfight Zeros in early '42; but the Australians and New Zealanders did very well with it in late '42 and on in the Pacific. By mid to late '42, all US units had pretty much got the message and flew it to it's strengths.

#13 simanton

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 06:43 PM

On the original question, why did the British phase the Gladiator out, from the start the Gladiator was seen as an interim "gapfiller" aircraft while the RAF (remember, the RAF also ran the Fleet Air Arm between the wars) made the transition to the monoplane fighter. The biplane had hit its limits, the monoplane was the future. Keeping the Gladiator in production would not have been an efficient use of a limited manufacturing base coming out of a long depression.




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