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Old November 11th, 2013, 07:59 AM

PvtJoker PvtJoker is offline
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Default Re: 88 antitank, antiaircraft and artillery?

Originally Posted by Mobhack View Post
Every now and then some bright spark comes along asking why these "AA guns" don't shoot at random planes, and I answer them.

- 88mm and others used special AA predictors and fired in barrage mode at medium and high level bomber formations. These predictors were not mounted on the guns. The predictor connected up to the guns with cables, so the guns required to be within a few metres of the predictor equipment.

- The medium AA guns do not have individual AA sights! (unlike 20mm etc). (The 3.7 inch had absolutely no sights other than the pointer dials 2 different gun numbers used to follow the predictor input. I have seen a picture of a detached 3.7 at Tobruk with a simple lash-up sight ring brazed onto the gun tube)

- Medium AAA did not fire at low level strike aircraft. They simply could not follow such high tracking rate targets. GE 88mm battalions often had 20mm AAA attached to protect them from low fliers...

Since I know how much you like me questioning your decisions, I will provide this as a "food for thought" and for historical accuracy, rather than as feature request:

The ability of any AA gun to track the targets horizontally and vertically depends on the angular velocity of the target. If the speed of the target remains the same, its angular velocity will diminish as range from the gun increases. So, the notion that medium AAA did not fire at fighter-bombers is not the whole truth. They would fire at them if the altitude of the aircraft and terrain permitted acquiring them as targets early enough, for example in North Africa, or if the director was placed on high enough above the surrounding terrain that it could see the targets from several kilometers away, and naturally if the aircraft were approaching at medium altitude as was sometimes done to avoid the more lethal low altitude AAA.

It is also worth to mention that at least the Germans provided the 88mm guns a lighter portable backup director for rapid tactical deployment (Kommandohilfsgerät 35), which did not require any other electrical cabling between the director and the guns than a simple field telephone. Deploying a battery could be done quite fast in this configuration, although naturally accuracy was not as good as with the heavier central directors (Kommandogerät 36 & 40), which were always used if time permitted and they were available.

So, if we just as thought experiment think how medium-heavy AAA could be implemented in the game: it should be available in minimum one battery (usually 4 guns) formations to discourage buying single guns for AA and it should have very long minimum range against aerial targets (or all targets if minimum range against aircraft can't be set separately); something like 2,000 to 3,000 meters so that they can't shoot at fast moving fighter-bombers at short ranges.

Of course this would not be "perfect", because it would also limit the range against level bombers and there probably is not any way to account for terrain blocking the LOS against low level attackers. On the plus side it would make medium AAA somewhat useful against fighter-bombers (which they historically could be depending on the situation as described above) and provide something to shoot with at level bombers, which currently are the only "untouchable" targets in the game.
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