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John D Salt

Just as interestingly, the claims for the Korean Air War seem even more contested. At least in the case of WW2, no-one doubts that the Allies did achieve genuine air superiority over the Axis powers: with reference to Korea, the Russians seem to feel they got rather the better of it.

Indeed. The capacity for over-claiming seems to be greatest in the air. I am not aware if any set of wargames rules that let a player get the impression they have zapped more of the enemy than is really the case, but it seems a real omission in air combat. Apart from anything else, I quite like the idea of having a game where both sides can end up claiming victory. The big thing, to me, is that tactical wargames invariably sem to give the player vastly more complete and up-to-date knowledge of what is going on than they wuld ever have in real life.

I cannot remember who it was with whom I discussed the idea fo deferred combat results for a land tactical game. The idea was quite straightforward; shooting at someone successfully cast the target element into a limbo in which it could neither move nor fire, and, like Shroedinger’s cat, nobody knew if it was alive or dead. If the other side got people with fixed bayonets to its location first, they would discover whether it was dead or had surrendered. If it own side spent command effort to find out, they would discover whether it was dead or in need of rallying. It is possible to imagine battles in which it was not obvious how many casualties had been suffered until everyone finally turned up from wherever they had been at the end of the day’s action.

In naval games, it is a good idea to have attackers roll for hits, and the targets roll for damage, so that it is not entirely obvious what damage an enemy has suffered (apart from strongly obvious things like magazine explosions). The same should apply in air combat, it seems to me. If one had some reasonable method of modelling where a pilot is directing his attention — my idea is an “eyeball” marker for each pilot, so you can see if he is keeping a general lookout, searching a specific part of the sky, or padlocked on a target — then one might find that it is not sensible to stay padlocked on a target until it is seen to explode or strike the ground.

All the best,