Dogfighting rules for air-to-air combat

Version 1.2
Updated Oct 13th, 2009

Each side lines up their bombers as you currently do in RAW.
Now, each round of combat will setup a number of dogfights:

  • The number of dogfights will be equal to the number of fighters on the side with the fewest fighters. Example: if the non-phasing side has 3 fighters and the phasing side has 7 fighters, there will be 3 dogfights.
  • The phasing side sets up their front fighters for each dogfight. The order in which they are setup will determine the order of the dogfights.
  • The non-phasing side then sets up a front fighter for each dogfight.
  • The side with the surplus fighters then sets up backup fighters. However, a backup fighter cannot be added to a dogfight if there are still other dogfights with fewer backup fighters.
  • Each dogfight calculates their separate air-to-air combat value and fights one round of air-to-air combat with the non-phasing side rolling first. AX, DX, AA, and DA affect either the front opposing fighter in the dogfight or the front bomber from the common bomber line. ACs and DCs affect only the common bomber line.
  • After all the dogfights are resolved, both sides have their opportunity to abort the combat. If the combat continues, setup all-new dogfights using the remaining fighters and following the rules above. Note that there may very well be fewer dogfights in subsequent rounds.

If, at the beginning of a round of combat, either side has no fighters then revert to the normal rules for air combat.

Optional (Bounce combat): Every dogfight can result in bounce combats. An opponent's DC can be converted into a bounce combat against any opposing bomber or fighter (but not including fighters in other dogfights). An opponent's AC can be converted into a bounce combat against any opposing fighter (but not including fighters in other dogfights).

Quicker variant

  • Instead of players choosing the dogfights, each dogfight matches the strongest available fighter (only air-to-air rating matters; twin-engine and night-fighting capability does not matter) against the strongest available fighter of the opposing side. If there is more than one fighter of equal strength to pick from on either side, the phasing side picks their fighter first and then the non-phasing player picks their fighter.
  • The side with surplus fighters adds their extra fighters as backup fighters to each of the dogfights. However, the backup fights must be distributed evenly and also must be distributed in order of strength. The strongest backup fighter must backup the strongest front fighter and so on.

Applying surprise shifts in naval air combat:

At the beginning of each round air combat, the player with surprise chooses 1 dogfight (if playing the quicker variant, the dogfight with the strongest fighters is always chosen). All the surprise shifts are applied to this single dogfight. Note that you are not necessarily required to pick the same dogfight in subsequent combat rounds.


WIF air combat has basically remained unchanged since RAW2 when the number of airplanes in the German force-pool was barely in the double-digits. Modern WIF has enormous numbers of planes in every country's forcepool and they have a tendency to be built out in what has come to be known as "The Great Fighter Race". As the air density in the game increases, there is also a corresponding drop in attrition as air battles become larger. The WIF air combat system works well with small battles but starts to run into problems with larger battles. The main reason is that as a battle increases in size, despite the increased number of units in the air, each side can still only lose a single plane and/or pilot every round of combat. Once your side is losing, there is a strong incentive to simply abort all your planes from the combat and avoid further losses. The WIF air combat system also suffers from some scaling issues. Once you have 7-8 more fighters than your opponent, you will chew through them like butter, regardless if it's 8 to 1 or 28 to 21.

The dogfighting rule is an experimental rule that attempts to address both the scaling issue and the intensity issue in one go. There's more rolling, less control over the outcome, and hopefully a lot more dead planes and pilots.

What's new in 1.2:

  • Added a clause to handle surprise in naval air combat.

— Pablonius

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