Limited Naval Air Interception

The number of aircraft units that can fly a naval air interception mission is limited by the # of aircraft (on your side) already in the sea area + 1.

The CW flies two long range fighters into the Italian coast sea area. They follow this up with a carrier fleet and a small invasion force. The Italians only have a single submarine in the sea area. Nevertheless, they decide to initiate a combat by flipping the submarine. Since the Italians have no airplanes in the area, they are only allowed to naval air intercept 0+1 aircraft so they intercept out a fighter. The CW have 2 aircraft in the sea area (their carriers don't count) so they are allowed to send in 3 aircraft. After fighting a round of combat, the Italians retreat to the sea box and are now allowed to fly in two more aircraft. This could be shaping up to be a big battle…

One of the common complaints about the abstracted WIF naval system is the efficacy of land-based air (LBA). LBA can be effective for two reasons:

  1. their fighters are more powerful because they provide a full +1 in air-to-air combat instead of the fractions provided by carrier planes (note: there is an errata to an optional rule in the 2008 annual to fix this).
  2. you can potentially intercept an unlimited # of planes to a sea box using naval air interception.

This can put an invader at a profound disadvantage. Because they have to protect an invasion fleet that is usually in the 3 or 4 box, they must spend precious air missions to protect their fleet with LBA. The defender, on the other hand, can naval air intercept an unlimited # of aircraft to a lower box in hopes of getting the "pounce". The Germans & Italians especially can get absurd amounts of aircraft into the 1 box. With a naval plane and the fact that the other guy has to search as well, this can lead to ~30% chance of the invasion fleet getting pummeled. And all because of some lucky search dice.

It's a bit absurd when you consider that these planes are very short range (usually 3 or 4 hexes), may be scattered all over the coast, and yet they are all able to fly out to sea and converge on a fleet that could be 15-20 hexes away from the vast majority of them?!?

By limiting the # of aircraft that can intercept to the # of planes already at sea, this forces the defender to have to spend air missions to defend a sea area as well. If a battle drags on multiple rounds, I can at least justify the notion of more and more aircraft being sucked into the battle. But certainly, the initial battle shouldn't happen the way it does in standard WIF.

Add a New Comment
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License