Ever since the introduction of aircraft into the realm of warfare, there has always been a need to bring them down. This is no different in Battleship Craft. Because of the power of aircraft in Battleship Craft, anti-aircraft warfare is vital to surviving bouts with aircraft carriers.
Basics in Anti-Aircraft Warfare
Having the means to bring down aircraft is the most vital component of anti-aircraft warfare. A basic setup of anti-aircraft weapons should consist of the following weapons in the included locations:
- 1-2 Mk 45 5 inch Gun, mounted in an exposed position that would allow it to target both surface vessels and aircraft, preferably on the bow.
- 6-12 Type 96 AT/AA 25mm, mounted along the sides in groups of 3-5 spread evenly across the decks.
- Optionally, more Mk 45 5 inch Guns and Type 96 AT/AA 25mm may be mounted. However, ensure that similar placement is used.
- Phalanx CIWS can be employed alongside the Type 96 AT/AA 25mm. Despite the fact that the Rocket Launcher is not technically AAA, it's high elevation, good power from the rockets and large spread make it a good dual-purpose CIWS.
- An observant eye. If the carrier is out of sight, the aircraft will lead you to them. They will also serve to avoid air-launched torpedoes.
However, having a great anti-aircraft setup does not assure invincibility from air attack. Keep on the move to decrease the accuracy of the attackers. Avoid straight lines or predictable movement to avoid being hit by aircraft or guns. Maintain great speed or the aircraft will be able to target you easily, destroying your warship. This, combined with an efficient AAA layout, contributes to defense against enemy aircraft.
In an air attack, your ship can dodge or reduce the accuracy of enemy air attacks. This becomes more viable with small air fleets and fast, maneuverable ships with an excellent AAA layout. Move quickly to reduce the accuracy of bomber attacks. This makes it possible to avoid significant damage to your warship, mostly from torpedo attack.
This tactic applies mostly against torpedo bombers. As they are easier to track, simple observation can render them impotent. Head straight into the torpedo bombers and note their positions. This is where you should not be. Bring down all the ones directly in front of you or dodge the torpedoes they drop. While this tactic can be utilized against the bombers, it is less effective since they will climb above your sight and the precise attack pattern prevents effective dodgning.
In an air attack, your ship will suffer inevitable damage. No matter how much dodging and anti-aircraft fire there is, a mass of bombers will be able to go through. However, while damage is inevitable, it is possible to mitigate damage. This mostly applies on larger vessels which may be hit more than usual. For smaller, faster and more maneuverable ships, a direct hit or even a near-miss from a bomber is usually enough to cripple them regardless of hit location.
The most important component to armor is the boilers. These are vital to mobility. If these are eliminated, then you will literally become a sitting duck. Thus, lightweight 400mm on the top at about two blocks or 10m thick should suffice. Surround the boilers and emplace them deep within the hull. If this is not an option, emplace armor plate around the boiler to soak up direct hits. Putting armor plate between the boilers will help isolate the damage.
Weapon mounts are less of an issue. They usually require nothing less than a direct hit to disable, and with multiple weapon mounts typically found on larger ships, they will not severely cut down your firepower. They also have more health and armor than boilers, and encasing them in armor will not allow the weapon to be employed. Smaller mounts are extremely hard to destroy and require a direct hit.
SEAD stands for the Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses. It is vital to doing such when possible to avoid severe casualties against good air defense. Mk 45 5 inch Guns can make mincemeat of the poorly-armored but small AAA if you can go close enough. However, a more organized SEAD attack may win the game for you.
All aircraft are involved within the spectre of SEAD.
- Fighters are distractions and meat shields, taking hits for the bombers. Their constant strafing runs will also distract bombers and may destroy AAA. They will also bring down enemy fighters and bombers.
- Bombers will provide the main striking force. The massive splash damage can destroy weapons and boilers alike, making future air attacks infinitely more lethal.
- Torpedo Bombers are a secondary striking force, coming in low and fast with the fighters. A carpet of torpedoes will certainly destroy many ships, though they will suffer relatively higher casualties.