Archive for Axis & Allies ForuMINI Specialised in the World War II Axis & Allies Miniatures and War At Sea Games
 


       Axis & Allies ForuMINI Forum Index -> WAS Custom Cards
WilliamHenryHarrison

Barrage Balloons?

Hi guys!

What do you think of adding Barrage Balloons to the game?  If we did, would we simply add them as an SA (I dunno- BARRAGE BALLOON:  Once per game, an enemy dive bomb or strafing attack suffers -1 on each dice roll Question), or would we create an aircraft unit card for them?

Aircraft
Speed 0
AA 0
Armor 1 Vital 1 Hull 1

SAs
Barrage Balloon:  This unit.... blah, blah, blah... mechanics for deployment with a ship, benefits (diminish or prevent air attack), etc.

This isn't a card request.  For the time being, I'm just interested in what you all think about it.

Barrage Balloons are Cool! wrote:

The barrage balloon concept was simple, lighter-than-air balloons were tethered over an area to be protected from air attack. The balloons were flown at irregular intervals and altitudes. If an enemy plane attempted to fly into the area, it ran the risk of striking one of the wire cables holding the balloons. This could be enough to slice off a wing or the cable could become entangled in the propeller. It was a passive form of defense which forced the enemy aircraft to fly above the balloons where it would be harder to hit the target. Many of the ships taking part in the channel crossing flew barrage balloons to prevent low level attacks.








Piper

Maybe when LST's et al come into the game, as I'm not sure what the mechanics would be.  Would be interesting though.
swarbs

Had a good idea about these some time in the past.  Well, I suppose someone else should judge whether it was a good idea.

Barrage Balloon:  Once per game, at the beginning of your air attack step, you may deploy a barrage balloon.  This balloon counts as an enemy aircraft for purposes of stacking limits.  If this unit moves or is destroyed, remove the balloon from play.

So, essentially, it just takes up a space the enemy could have used to put an aircraft in.
Asbestos

Based on the height of those I'd wager they'd only be useful against strafers. But even then, it looks like the ship would get shot up before the plane came near the cable.

I'm curious as to how effective these low level, ship tethered balloons were. I imagine that their actual effect would be more psychological (for the crews benefit and to the pilots detriment) than anything else.



Edit: By 'low' I mean that it looks like those balloons are well, well below 1000ft. The average release height for an SBD was between  1500 and 2000ft and while torpedo bombers delivered their payload at significantly lower heights, they did it from far enough away that they'd likely have time to pull up higher than those balloons (also, who would use torps against landing craft?)
Piper

Asbestos wrote:
The average release height for an SBD was between  1500 and 2000ft

What about the pullout height?  I've experience on the simulator and I'll often go all the way down to 250ft in the SBD after release before it starts to gain altitud.  The above mentioned ballons were ment to keep dive bombers away.
Asbestos

Piper wrote:
Asbestos wrote:
The average release height for an SBD was between  1500 and 2000ft

What about the pullout height?  I've experience on the simulator and I'll often go all the way down to 250ft in the SBD after release before it starts to gain altitud.  The above mentioned ballons were ment to keep dive bombers away.


How far forward of the target are you when pulling up though, the dive angle on DBs that weren't Stukas was what.. 60 degrees?
WilliamHenryHarrison

Asbestos wrote:
Based on the height of those I'd wager they'd only be useful against strafers. But even then, it looks like the ship would get shot up before the plane came near the cable.

I'm curious as to how effective these low level, ship tethered balloons were. I imagine that their actual effect would be more psychological (for the crews benefit and to the pilots detriment) than anything else.


Yep, the balloons did boost morale for the user side and act as a deterrent toward attackers.  The main idea was to deny low-level airspace to enemy planes.  Here are the three main benefits of barrage balloons as construed by USAF--

Barrage Balloons for Low-Level Air Defense by Major Franklin J. Hillson, USAF wrote:
The barrage balloon was simply a bag of lighter-than-air gas attached to a steel cable anchored to the ground. The balloon could be raised or lowered to the desired altitude by means of a winch. Its purpose was ingenuous: to deny low-level airspace to enemy aircraft. This simple mission provided three major benefits: (1) it forced aircraft to higher altitudes, thereby decreasing surprise and bombing accuracy; (2) it enhanced ground-based air defenses and the ability of fighters to acquire targets,since intruding aircraft were limited in altitudes and direction: and (3) the cable presented a definite mental and material hazard to pilots. Many people think that a barrage balloon system was designed to snare aircraft like a spider web capturing unwary flies. Not so. Any airplanes caught in these aerial nets were a bonus; the real objective of the balloons was to deny low-altitude flight to the enemy. Mindful of these capabilities, the British saw the barrage balloon as a viable means to counter low-level attackers during the world wars.
Asbestos

That's all good, but as near as I can tell the ship based ones were significantly lower than the land based ones and treetop level attacks were much more common over land than over water.
WilliamHenryHarrison

Asbestos wrote:
That's all good, but as near as I can tell the ship based ones were significantly lower than the land based ones and treetop level attacks were much more common over land than over water.


I'm sure if you take the aggregate numbers, land attacks are most certainly more common than attacks at sea!  I don't have any of those figures though.

What we do know--and what we even have SAs and in-game mechanics for in the game of War at Sea--is that Germans, and others, would employ tactics such that torpedo bombers and dive bombers would attack at the same time, at both extremes of high and low altitude in order to split AA fire; and the U.S. regularly employed low-level skip bombing, while the Russians used very low level "top-mast" attacks.

So we know that low level attacks were part of the regular tactical "play book" for both Axis and Allies.  And more interestingly for us, these tactics are already realized and acknowledged in the game.

The question that remains for us is, if we include Barrage Ballons (1) should they be an aircraft unit or an simply SA, like Mines or Nets, and (2) should the benefit be a general benefit (-1 to an AA attack, or whatever), or should it specifically target other Low Level attack-type aircraft SAs?
chesty

swarbs wrote:
Had a good idea about these some time in the past.  Well, I suppose someone else should judge whether it was a good idea.

Barrage Balloon:  Once per game, at the beginning of your air attack step, you may deploy a barrage balloon.  This balloon counts as an enemy aircraft for purposes of stacking limits.  If this unit moves or is destroyed, remove the balloon from play.

So, essentially, it just takes up a space the enemy could have used to put an aircraft in.

Interesting mechanic, but did you mean to say Air Mission, instead of Air Attack?
Znail

I think a basic -1 to bombers without Hi-Level Bombers works fine. They worked by simply forcing the release of bombs or torpedoes to be earlier then optimal.

I think it works fine if they are a SA or bought as an upgrade card type of deal.
WilliamHenryHarrison

chesty wrote:
swarbs wrote:
Had a good idea about these some time in the past.  Well, I suppose someone else should judge whether it was a good idea.

Barrage Balloon:  Once per game, at the beginning of your air attack step, you may deploy a barrage balloon.  This balloon counts as an enemy aircraft for purposes of stacking limits.  If this unit moves or is destroyed, remove the balloon from play.

So, essentially, it just takes up a space the enemy could have used to put an aircraft in.

Interesting mechanic, but did you mean to say Air Mission, instead of Air Attack?


I like this, Swarbs.  It is simple and useful.  Is it too useful--I mean in cutting into enemy stacking limits?  Maybe we could include an exemption for 'Hi-level Bomber' aircraft? ...then it starts to get a bit too wordy though.  When in doubt, I prefer to keep it simple Very Happy  Also agree about replacing Air Attack with Air Mission.

Other thoughts?
mercenary_moose

It wouldn't bother a Hi-Level bomber; a 6 always hits twice.
WilliamHenryHarrison

Hey guys,

Wanted to revisit this and try to finalize the wording.  This is where we left off...

Barrage Balloon:  Once per game, at the beginning of your air mission step, this unit may deploy a barrage balloon.  The balloon counts as an enemy aircraft for purposes of stacking limits.  If this unit moves or is destroyed, remove the balloon from play.

Question:  Is 'Barrage Balloon' only good for one turn ("Once per game"), or does it remain in play until the "unit moves or is destroyed", which is implied in the last sentence?  If the latter, then we can probably cut out some of the text.
zaarin7

Since it dosen't say to remove it for any other reason other than that stated I would say it is permament. Clear as mud in other words.
chesty

There's no marker for the balloon, which means no speed or armor scores, which means it can't move or be destroyed.  How about this, then?


BARRAGE BALLOON:  Once per game, at the beginning of your Air Mission phase, you may deploy a barrage balloon marker in this unit's sector.  The marker counts as an enemy aircraft for purposes of stacking limits.  Remove the marker at the end of the turn.
WilliamHenryHarrison

chesty wrote:
There's no marker for the balloon, which means no speed or armor scores, which means it can't move or be destroyed.  How about this, then?

BARRAGE BALLOON:  Once per game, at the beginning of your Air Mission phase, you may deploy a barrage balloon marker in this unit's sector.  The marker counts as an enemy aircraft for purposes of stacking limits.  Remove the marker at the end of the turn.


I think we can avoid the marker in this case, just have the SA function as a part of the unit.  So, where the unit is, there is one less enemy Aircraft.  Personally, I would like to see the movement restriction gone, as convoys would sail with their balloons out.  And if this SA does not stack, as with other SAs, then there is no danger of Barrage Balloons swarms filling the sky and crowding out enemy air.  Though some might end up taking a Liberty ship with Barrage Balloon SA to hinder enemy air attack. Confused

Wording may need to be tweaked a bit into WotC-ese, but here is my ideal Barrage Balloon SA.

BARRAGE BALLOON:  While this unit is in play, its sector accomodates 1 less enemy aircraft than the stacking limit.

Too drastic?
Stitches

WilliamHenryHarrison wrote:
chesty wrote:
There's no marker for the balloon, which means no speed or armor scores, which means it can't move or be destroyed.  How about this, then?

BARRAGE BALLOON:  Once per game, at the beginning of your Air Mission phase, you may deploy a barrage balloon marker in this unit's sector.  The marker counts as an enemy aircraft for purposes of stacking limits.  Remove the marker at the end of the turn.


I think we can avoid the marker in this case, just have the SA function as a part of the unit.  So, where the unit is, there is one less enemy Aircraft.  Personally, I would like to see the movement restriction gone, as convoys would sail with their balloons out.  And if this SA does not stack, as with other SAs, then there is no danger of Barrage Balloons swarms filling the sky and crowding out enemy air.  Though some might end up taking a Liberty ship with Barrage Balloon SA to hinder enemy air attack. Confused

Wording may need to be tweaked a bit into WotC-ese, but here is my ideal Barrage Balloon SA.

BARRAGE BALLOON:  While this unit is in play, its sector accomodates 1 less enemy aircraft than the stacking limit.

Too drastic?


The only issue I have with this is that of the fact that only slow ships could do this, merchant vessels were unable to make much better 16 knots in the best cases from what I've heard. Weren't the liberty ships only capable of 13?

Seems only a Speed 1 unit would be able to use this or speed 2 vessels would suffer speed minus 1 while this was active...

Barrage Balloons would be very difficult to implement as a unit. I would think Aux ships would have this as an SA, though more effective in groups I would imagine.
WilliamHenryHarrison

Stitches wrote:
WilliamHenryHarrison wrote:

BARRAGE BALLOON:  While this unit is in play, its sector accomodates 1 less enemy aircraft than the stacking limit.

Too drastic?


The only issue I have with this is that of the fact that only slow ships could do this, merchant vessels were unable to make much better 16 knots in the best cases from what I've heard. Weren't the liberty ships only capable of 13?

Seems only a Speed 1 unit would be able to use this or speed 2 vessels would suffer speed minus 1 while this was active...

Barrage Balloons would be very difficult to implement as a unit. I would think Aux ships would have this as an SA, though more effective in groups I would imagine.


Yep, that is it exactly! This SA would be for Auxiliary units, specifically Liberty Ships operating in European waters from D-Day onward, or any other merchant vessel that deployed them.  Basically imagine, the easily sunk, Speed 1 Jeremiah O'Brien, with this SA.
Sir_Valentine

I like the concept but it kind of fits into the same mold as the midget submarines being stacked onto a IJN sub.  Is it something we want to add, a new mechanic?

Also, whatever became of the US blimp?
WilliamHenryHarrison

Sir_Valentine wrote:
I like the concept but it kind of fits into the same mold as the midget submarines being stacked onto a IJN sub.


What I'm trying to communicate is that "Barrage Balloon" simply functions as a New SA.  No mini/marker needed (though it will look cooler with it).  This "new mechanic" is no different, in my mind than the features introduced by any other new SA.

Nevertheless as you say...

Sir_Valentine wrote:

Is it something we want to add, a new mechanic?


This is what I'm trying to gauge.  ForuMini Navy participant opinion on the mechanic (one less enemy fighter) to be potentially introduced via a new "Barrage Balloon" SA.
zaarin7

I've seen pictures of LST's in the pacific using them. IIRC it was during the clearing of the Philippines Archepleago. A small task group of a few assault ships with a small escourt would be sent to a particular island to clear it.
chesty

WilliamHenryHarrison wrote:
I think we can avoid the marker in this case, just have the SA function as a part of the unit.  So, where the unit is, there is one less enemy Aircraft.  Personally, I would like to see the movement restriction gone, as convoys would sail with their balloons out.  And if this SA does not stack, as with other SAs, then there is no danger of Barrage Balloons swarms filling the sky and crowding out enemy air.  Though some might end up taking a Liberty ship with Barrage Balloon SA to hinder enemy air attack. Confused

Wording may need to be tweaked a bit into WotC-ese, but here is my ideal Barrage Balloon SA.

BARRAGE BALLOON:  While this unit is in play, its sector accomodates 1 less enemy aircraft than the stacking limit.

Too drastic?

As written, there's no way your opponent can shoot them down.  How about adding "While undamaged" in there, somewhere?


BARRAGE BALLOONS:  While this unit is undamaged, your opponent's Aircraft stacking limit is reduced by 1 in this unit's sector.
zaarin7

I don't know. In the thousands of pictures I've seen over the last 30 years I remember seeing a sinking ship with a barrage baloon still tethered.
WilliamHenryHarrison

Here's an even more simplified version, purely a function of SA.

BARRAGE BALLOON:  This unit counts against your opponent's Aircraft stacking limit.

It would look somthing like this when put into the game...

USS Jeremiah O'Brien Jr.
SPEED 1
AA 4
ARMOR 1 VITAL 4 HULL 2

SAs
NO SEA CONTROL
VITAL CARGO 6
BARRAGE BALLOON:  This unit counts against your opponent's Aircraft stacking limit.
chesty

zaarin7 wrote:
I don't know. In the thousands of pictures I've seen over the last 30 years I remember seeing a sinking ship with a barrage baloon still tethered.

One in thousands?  

I can't bring myself to support invulnerable balloons.
WilliamHenryHarrison

chesty wrote:
zaarin7 wrote:
I don't know. In the thousands of pictures I've seen over the last 30 years I remember seeing a sinking ship with a barrage baloon still tethered.

One in thousands?  

I can't bring myself to support invulnerable balloons.


This is certainly a reasonable position.  But, doesn't Torpedo Defense work until a ship is completely destroyed, no matter how many torpedoes have blasted into a ship?  Why can't this SA function at the same level of abstraction and simplicity?
RAEVSKI

Barrage Balloons
Enemy aircraft can't use the MG or Skip Bomb Special abilities against ship that have Barrage Ballon local to them. Dive bombing attacks are at -1 per die. Barrage Ballons may only be emplyed on Aux ships

points 1
WilliamHenryHarrison

RAEVSKI wrote:
Barrage Balloons
Enemy aircraft can't use the MG or Skip Bomb Special abilities against ship that have Barrage Ballon local to them. Dive bombing attacks are at -1 per die. Barrage Ballons may only be emplyed on Aux ships

points 1


I like the features of your proposed version, but as you propose it, Barrage Balloons would be separate units.  And you would have to specify how they function within the mechanics of the game (Are they aircraft?  If so, do they only land on the aux ship? etc.)  That is fine and possible, but seems more complicated than I had imagined the Barrage Balloon being.  

I still the the best way to go is a simply SA ('This unit counts against your opponents aicraft stacking limit.').  However, I can also understand people's desire or inclination for this to be it's own Unit, with distinct properties.

As a middle ground, we could try to fashion as SA based on Seaplane Detachments...

BARRAGE BALLOON: This unit comes with a Barrage Balloon that functions as an Aircraft squadron.  Represent it with a  marker.  When it is destroyed, remove its marker from play.  When this unit is destroyed, remove the marker from play.  The Barrage Balloon can be based only on this ship and deployed in its sector.  It counts against your opponent's aircraft stacking limit.
Barrage Balloon: Armor 1, Vital Armor 1.

SEAPLANE DETACHMENTS: This unit comes with two seaplane detachments that function as Aircraft squadrons.  Represent them using markers.  When one is destroyed, remove its marker from play.  When this unit is destroyed, remove both markers from play.  The detachments can be based only on this ship.  
Seaplane squadrons: Armor 3, Vital Armor 6, Gunnery 1, Antiair 4, ASW 2, Bomb 4.  (Chitose)

Question Question Question  

It just seems so unwieldly compared to one simple sentence.  At this point I'm just trying to see what will stick to the wall! Very Happy

EDIT:  I just saw Chesty's post below.  I think his proposals are much more viable than  the "Seaplanes" compromise posted here.
chesty

WilliamHenryHarrison wrote:
This is certainly a reasonable position.  But, doesn't Torpedo Defense work until a ship is completely destroyed, no matter how many torpedoes have blasted into a ship?  Why can't this SA function at the same level of abstraction and simplicity?

I just don't find it credible.  Sure, balloons filled with helium tend to sink gracefully to the surface after being shot full of holes, compared to the catastrophic destruction caused by shooting at bags full of hydrogen, but they will fall, if they're shot up.  

You're rewording is very elegant, by the way.  I think it still looks elegant with "While undamaged" tacked in front...

BARRAGE BALLOON:  While undamaged, this unit counts against your opponent's Aircraft stacking limit.

RAEVSKI wrote:
Barrage Balloons
Enemy aircraft can't use the MG or Skip Bomb Special abilities against ship that have Barrage Ballon local to them. Dive bombing attacks are at -1 per die. Barrage Ballons may only be emplyed on Aux ships

points 1

Well, that's an interesting idea, if you're suggesting a barrage ballon card for a marker that can be given to a ship.  Maybe only to speed 1 ships, or ships with Slow?
chesty

WilliamHenryHarrison wrote:
RAEVSKI wrote:
Barrage Balloons
Enemy aircraft can't use the MG or Skip Bomb Special abilities against ship that have Barrage Ballon local to them. Dive bombing attacks are at -1 per die. Barrage Ballons may only be emplyed on Aux ships

points 1


I like the features of your proposed version, but as you propose it, Barrage Balloons would be separate units.  And you would have to specify how they function within the mechanics of the game (Are they aircraft?  If so, do they only land on the aux ship? etc.)  That is fine and possible, but seems more complicated than I had imagined the Barrage Balloon being.  

I still the the best way to go is a simply SA ('This unit counts against your opponents aicraft stacking limit.').  However, I can also understand people's desire or inclination for this to be it's own Unit, with distinct properties.

As a middle ground, we could try to fashion as SA based on Seaplane Detachments...

BARRAGE BALLOON: This unit comes with a Barrage Balloon that functions as an Aircraft squadron.  Represent it with a  marker.  When it is destroyed, remove its marker from play.  When this unit is destroyed, remove the marker from play.  The Barrage Balloon can be based only on this ship and deployed in its sector.  It counts against your opponent's aircraft stacking limit.
Barrage Balloon: Armor 1, Vital Armor 1.

SEAPLANE DETACHMENTS: This unit comes with two seaplane detachments that function as Aircraft squadrons.  Represent them using markers.  When one is destroyed, remove its marker from play.  When this unit is destroyed, remove both markers from play.  The detachments can be based only on this ship.  
Seaplane squadrons: Armor 3, Vital Armor 6, Gunnery 1, Antiair 4, ASW 2, Bomb 4.  (Chitose)

Question Question Question  

It just seems so unwieldly compared to one simple sentence.  At this point I'm just trying to see what will stick to the wall! Very Happy

I like your version, with the undamaged phrase added, but I'm also intrigued by RAEVSKI's idea for a separate card.  

Now what?   Very Happy
WilliamHenryHarrison

chesty wrote:
 I like your version, with the undamaged phrase added, but I'm also intrigued by RAEVSKI's idea for a separate card.  

Now what?   Very Happy


Hey Chesty,  yeah I think we are ninja-ing each other Laughing  Just saw your post and edited my own.

I can accept (and indeed like!) the revised SA version that you have suggested--
BARRAGE BALLOON:  While undamaged, this unit counts against your opponent's Aircraft stacking limit.

For me, this is perfect.  Very Happy

A Barrage Balloon *unit* would be cool too--very cool, in fact.  I would almost certainly use it in a game.  But, I'm not going to propose it as a ForuMini Navies card.

If someone else wants to, that is fine by me.  But I primarily wanted to hammer out an acceptable ForuMini Navies SA for use with auxiliaries and ideally for use in the Repaint Reference for the Liberty Sisters endeavor.

What we have here is good enough for me, so long as there aren't any serious objections to it.
       Axis & Allies ForuMINI Forum Index -> WAS Custom Cards
Page 1 of 1