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On March 29, 1999, Matt Geisler wrote:

Just a quick note, I had asked Cal Stengel about fighters intercepting a paradrop into an empty hex. He quickly ruled against it, but in reality any unescorted slow moving group of large aircraft would be decimated by enemy combat air patrols. There are numerous examples of paratroops massacred in the air by enemy aircraft in WWII, and in later wars. Basically, you need surprise and good fighter escorts. If the enemy has a good air defense grid (interlocking fighter coverage), there is no way a paradrop would even be considered.

To fix this I would allow fighers (which are much more capable than mech to respond to incoming aircraft) to air respond and get one shot at the enemy paratroopers in the air, then they land and there is little the fighters can do about it. This would limit the paras from becomming too lethal a unit.

Yes, this would make sense and fits nicely into the Columbia rules. This is because on the first combat round, Airborne troops are considered to be in the air until they land when it is their turn. In addition, an attacker would probably need to provide cover for his paratroops by sending along a fighter or bomber escort. This cover unit would both "absorb" hits and also be able to attack any responding air or mechanized units. As in the basic game, air units would only be able to reduce a unit to 1 strength point anyway, so if a counter-attack is going to be successful, there must be a ground response as well.

Thus, in retrospect, I think that artificially limiting the air response is a bad idea. A successful attacker using paratroops will need to plan around this possibility and "pin" enemy units that might interfere.

Note: Matt has promised more game reports in the near future . . .


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