Looking at Bombers and Aerial Combat

JCab747's picture
JCab747
November 8, 2019 - 5:05pm
I'm pulling this information from my postings on bombs so it will be a bit more coherent... and hopefully encourage feedback.


Joe Cabadas
Comments:

JCab747's picture
JCab747
November 26, 2019 - 9:20am
jedion357 wrote:
From that real world experience and from playing Car Wars I would propose that something like Car Wars' reaction roll is made- at beginning of any combat all drivers roll their reaction score anyone getting a 5 or 6 got a +1 or a +2 to manuevers for that game. ... 
 

Neat idea.
Joe Cabadas

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jedion357
November 26, 2019 - 10:42am
KRingway wrote:
I kept it simple: the player told me what they wanted to do and was asked to make a skill roll if it sounded like he wanted to do something other than regular driving. I wanted to keep the situation fluid in terms of role-playing so that the tension and tempo wasn't lost.


Wink
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

JCab747's picture
JCab747
November 26, 2019 - 5:40pm

Falling Leaf. This is another diving maneuver. Shown in Figure 13, the aircraft uses one or more sideslips to lose altitude. The aircraft drops 100 meters with each sideslip and each sideslip uses two squares of movement.

To pull out of the maneuver, the aircraft moves straight ahead from the space where the sideslip is completed. The aircraft must lose at least 100 meters when using the falling leaf and cannot climb afterward during the same turn.


Joe Cabadas

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JCab747
November 27, 2019 - 12:50am
A few more Dawn Patrol inspired rules...

Altitude

When conducting aerial combat, it is very important to know how high an aircraft is from the ground along with the different altitudes that various aircars, jetcopters, and the like are flying. Altitude impacts initiative, movement order, maximum speeds, and climb rates.

1.   Altitudes are measured in 50-meter increments. For example, an air transport can end its move at 650 meters or 700 meters, but not 675 meters.

2.   Because the game map is only two dimensional, players must record their aircraft’s altitude each turn after moving. This record – even if it is on scrap of paper – is the mission log.

3.   Unless an aircraft possesses some sort of stealth technology – possibly a holographic projector to simulate the sky, radar jamming, infrared bafflers, etc. – altitude is never a secret. Players must announce their altitudes after they move and whenever another player asks.

4.   A player’s craft can end its move in the same square as another aircraft if they are at different altitudes or if the second aircraft has not moved yet. When two or more craft are in the same square, place the aircraft at higher altitudes on top of the flying machines at lower altitudes. An exception to this rule are mid-air collisions!

5.   Climb rate – this is the maximum number of meters that an aircraft can climb in one turn. It is not necessarily the same as its acceleration rate. The aircraft’s speed is not reduced while climbing.

6.   The maximum dive rate is the maximum number of meters that an aircraft can safely descend in one complete move. All aircraft gain one extra square of movement for every full 100 meters they dive. Thus an aircar flying at 180 kilometers per hour will be moving at 300 meters per turn or 6 squares at level flight.But, if that craft is also diving 500 meters, it moves a total of 11 squares (550 meters).

7.   When an aircraft changes altitude it uses its top speed, turn speed and climb rate from its starting altitude throughout the entire movement of the game turn.


Joe Cabadas

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JCab747
November 27, 2019 - 12:55am
Need to figure out climb and dive rates for various aircraft -- and even a few generic suggestions.

Some robots can fly and probably are large enough to drop bombs and conduct strafing attacks at targets on the ground.

Weather conditions certainly play a factor.  I'll be mining Dawn Patrol for a few more ideas... FASA's AeroTech, which I have packed away somewhere, was pretty generic about such things. We rarely used them... For Twilight 2000, i never got where I had a character with an aircraft to remember what rules them might have had... and Gamma World had no rules either... 
Joe Cabadas

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KRingway
November 27, 2019 - 1:49am
I think there's a reason that various games featured aircraft but didn't have detailed rules - it's too much complexity. With Star Frontiers and this kind of combat, I've just used what the rules give as bonuses/penalties for target speed, range, etc. Otherwise combat gets extremely slow. A recent game featured combat between aircar occupants and chasing aerial robots, and I just used the standard rules as a guide, mentally juggling how far away in terms of distance a target was in 3 dimensions.

Even for my homebrew vehicle combat game, IIRC we didn't go crazy with the details. I'll have to look up how Car Wars handled all of this. But from experience I'd say that the trick is to not get bogged down in the details because it completely messes up game flow Foot in mouth

JCab747's picture
JCab747
November 27, 2019 - 7:54am
KRingway wrote:
I think there's a reason that various games featured aircraft but didn't have detailed rules - it's too much complexity. With Star Frontiers and this kind of combat, I've just used what the rules give as bonuses/penalties for target speed, range, etc. Otherwise combat gets extremely slow. A recent game featured combat between aircar occupants and chasing aerial robots, and I just used the standard rules as a guide, mentally juggling how far away in terms of distance a target was in 3 dimensions.

Even for my homebrew vehicle combat game, IIRC we didn't go crazy with the details. I'll have to look up how Car Wars handled all of this. But from experience I'd say that the trick is to not get bogged down in the details because it completely messes up game flow Foot in mouth
 

Yes, that could be the route to take, while keeping a few of these fancy maneuvers for close range.


Joe Cabadas

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KRingway
November 27, 2019 - 6:28pm
In my experience the trick is to keep to a minimum the on-the-fly mental maths the referee and the players need to do in order to do whatever they need to do. The rules as written pretty much cover this, as long as everyone can keep track of who/what's where, what speeds things are travelling at, and if there's any special +/- factors to take into account each round. Things can go pretty well, but IMHO if everyone has to do too much head-scratching, figuring out and rules/table consulting, your ideally nice and fast chase/combat/etc scene soon becomes a bit of nightmare and the sense of tension and immersion gets killed off very quickly. So various real-world factors such as dive/climb and crunchier details will bog things down to the point where it's detrimental to playing out what you're actually trying to do from round to round.

jedion357's picture
jedion357
November 27, 2019 - 6:42pm
RE: better performance via skill check

on page 29 under heading Vehicles and Combat we have stats for all the AD vehciles.
the only stat that could be affected by the operator is Top and Cruise speed.

However on the next page we have the Vehicle Data Table that includes Top Speed, Turn Speed, Accel, and Decel. Why the all of these were not included in the orginal vehicle description along with top speed I dont know.

I'm actually less inclined to increase top speed by operator performance and make that something the technician does as a skill check on before the vehicle is operated.

but Accel, decel, turn speed all could be affected by operator's nerve or skill.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

JCab747's picture
JCab747
November 28, 2019 - 11:35am
KRingway wrote:
In my experience the trick is to keep to a minimum the on-the-fly mental maths the referee and the players need to do in order to do whatever they need to do. The rules as written pretty much cover this, as long as everyone can keep track of who/what's where, what speeds things are travelling at, and if there's any special +/- factors to take into account each round. Things can go pretty well, but IMHO if everyone has to do too much head-scratching, figuring out and rules/table consulting, your ideally nice and fast chase/combat/etc scene soon becomes a bit of nightmare and the sense of tension and immersion gets killed off very quickly. So various real-world factors such as dive/climb and crunchier details will bog things down to the point where it's detrimental to playing out what you're actually trying to do from round to round.
 

Well, one does need to know the altitude different craft are on... so I think we agree there.

Yes, I could forgo dive and climb rates...

But think of this, the original rules don't give a turn speed for jetcopters or aircars, though they should have something. I think there's more record keeping for ground vehicles the way things are. But, good feedback.
Joe Cabadas

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JCab747
November 28, 2019 - 11:38am
jedion357 wrote:
RE: better performance via skill check

on page 29 under heading Vehicles and Combat we have stats for all the AD vehciles.
the only stat that could be affected by the operator is Top and Cruise speed.

However on the next page we have the Vehicle Data Table that includes Top Speed, Turn Speed, Accel, and Decel. Why the all of these were not included in the orginal vehicle description along with top speed I dont know.
 

Yes, the vehicle descriptions leave a little to be desired... along with needing to hunt down the parabattery cost and SEUs separately.

Joe Cabadas

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JCab747
November 28, 2019 - 11:39am
jedion357 wrote:
RE: better performance via skill check

I'm actually less inclined to increase top speed by operator performance and make that something the technician does as a skill check on before the vehicle is operated.

but Accel, decel, turn speed all could be affected by operator's nerve or skill.
 

Some reasonable points.
Joe Cabadas

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JCab747
November 28, 2019 - 11:55am
KRingway wrote:
In my experience the trick is to keep to a minimum the on-the-fly mental maths the referee and the players need to do in order to do whatever they need to do. ... So various real-world factors such as dive/climb and crunchier details will bog things down to the point where it's detrimental to playing out what you're actually trying to do from round to round.
 

I got it.

I'll present it as an optional, advanded rules idea!

This has been done all the time in TSR games... D&D vs. Advanced D&D... the SF Basic Game vs. the Advanced Game...

But my plan is to keep this simple.
Joe Cabadas

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JCab747
November 28, 2019 - 12:22pm
Shadow Shack wrote:
I realize that Traveller is not Star Frontiers, so I'll just throw this out there from that system. Traveller states ship hulls are very tough, and by very tough means very difficult to damage without using a ship-to-ship weapon. The simple fact that the base 200+2d100 rules supercedes such a rule means that TSR recognized that it was, indeed, possible to inflict hull damage without resorting to ship-to-ship weapons. As such i have no qualms with the 1kSP=1HP premise...more so in light of the fact that ship defensive systems aren't being applied to the damage from "personal weaponry" like personal defense systems could be applied to the same weaponry (re: a reflective hull does not influence any hit or damage results from a LPT while albedo suits & screens can influence a LPT).

The flipside, of course, is how will you treat the ship based weapons against a vehicle attacking the ship? If a LB inflicts 1d10 hull points of damage, now you have to allow it to inflict 1d10 x (200+2d100 or 250 or 1000 SP or whatever SP-to-HP metric you are using) against the attacker...
 

I remembered something... you could call it canon TSR ... that might, just might, argue that Hull Points are the equivalent of a few hundred struture points vs. a couple thousand.

The Sundown on Starmist module features large Sathar rockets, we will call them surface to air/orit missiles (SA/OMs) for lack of a better name... I came up with some stats for these recently, but can't find that post so I'll have to remake them at some point...

These SA/OMs are capable of shooting down any aircraft the PCs may have -- such as a jetcopter...

"In the Air: If characters travel through the air in any manner, determine their distance above ground level.
Standard movement rates will apply to the method they are using to fly. However, if their altitude is 30m or more, the Sathar will shoot them down. Whatever vehicle the characters are in will crash and each character in the vehicle will take 2d10 of damage. The vehicle will be damaged beyond their ability to repair on this planet. Characters using parawings will fall to the ground from a near miss, taking 4d10 of damage."
Joe Cabadas

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JCab747
November 28, 2019 - 12:26pm
The Sathar rockets... er SA/OMs... maybe I'll just say SAM... are also capable of shooting down a Sathar ship that enters orbit...

30. OPTIONAL ENCOUNTER

If you wish to continue the game and include the approach of the Sathar warship, the following suggestions may be used. If you wish to use the Knight Hawks Rules, the approaching ship will be a heavy cruiser. It may or may not be escorted by destroyers as you choose...

"...The PCs may fire the bunker's rocket launcher at the approaching warship. ...One method of handling the fire of the rocket launcher is to use a cumulative base 10% per round. If a rocket hits the warship (roll as many times as there are missiles maximum of 100% on a tenth missile) then the warship will crash as it would not be prepared for fire from its own base..." 
Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
December 3, 2019 - 8:24pm
So, a heavy cruiser has about 80 hull points... one Sathar SA/OM rocket (yes, redundancy here with the "M" = missile) has a 10% chance to knock it down, so does it do at least 8 hull points of damage?

10 missilies = a 100% knockdown chance or 80 hull points? Or just enough damage to equal the chance that the ship breaks up when performing maneuvers, such as trying to get out of orbit?

What's my point? You are now asking...

The Sathar rocket is powerful enough to potentially kill a starship, yet not powerful enough to completely vaporize a PC aircraft and the characters inside!

This example would argue that 1 hull point does not equal to 1,000 structure points or even 1,000 STA points. It might even suggest that Tom Stephens reckoning is closer to what TSR was suggesting than my calculation of 1 hp = 250 sp = 500 sta.

Anyway, just "food for thought" on this Thanksgiving Day 2019 posting.

 


Joe Cabadas

KRingway's picture
KRingway
November 28, 2019 - 10:09pm
JCab747 wrote:
Well, one does need to know the altitude different craft are on... so I think we agree there.

Yes - I just went with it being the same as figuring out how far something away would be for a land-based target.

JCab747's picture
JCab747
December 4, 2019 - 8:29am
Time for a few more posts.

First, some stats for a real world helicopter (Sorry, I haven't translated everything from imperial measurements to metrics):

AH-64D Apache

It can reach speeds of 284 km/h. 


It can also reach a maximum altitude of 15,895 ft at a rate of climb of 2,915 ft/m

 


Joe Cabadas

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JCab747
December 4, 2019 - 8:31am

Helicopter minimum takeoff/landing zone 40 meters

 

Unlike an airplane, a helicopter can fly backwards or sideways. It also can hover in one spot in the air without moving. This makes helicopters ideal for things an airplane cannot do. For example, a helicopter can pick someone with a medical problem up where there is no runway.

 

Unlike a plane, which can glide a large distance with no power, a helo has no way to slow down—or so the thinking goes. ... Actually, helicopters have a built-in mechanical control called the collective pitch lever that allows them to descend slowly and land even if the engine dies. This maneuver is called autorotation.

In addition to moving up and down, helicopters can fly forward, backward and sideways. This kind of directional flight is achieved by tilting the swash plate assembly with the cyclic, which alters the pitch of each blade as it rotates...


And, yes, the above text is just copy & pasted from: 

https://science.howstuffworks.com/transport/flight/modern/helicopter10.htm


Joe Cabadas

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JCab747
December 4, 2019 - 8:41am
Now for some more transcribing from the Dawn Patrol rules.

Again, my apologies for not fully converting all the text from imperial measurements (as used in Dawn Patrol) to the metric system. That will come later...

Aircraft information

Altitude: the height that the aircraft is operating at in meters.

Top Speed: the fastest speed in kilometers per hour or meters per turn. An aircraft move one square on the game map for every 50 meters of its speed. So an aircraft moving at 250 meters per turn will move 5 squares.

Turn Speed: this is the fastest speed in kph that an aircraft can have if it turns during its move. A plane can turn every time it enters a new squre, but the plane is limited to its turn speed no matter how many times it turns. A plane with a turn speed of 90 mph can move only nine squares whether it turns once, twice or nine times... (Note, jetcopters and aircars have different turning abilities that what is listed here)

Climb Rate: this is the maximum number of meters an aircraft can climb (increase itsaltitude) during its movement.

Maximum Dive: this is the maximum number of meters an aircraft can dive (decrease its altitude) per turn. The aircraft must move forward one extra square for each full 100 feet it dives (Note: I might make this 50 meters or 100 meters). This extra movement is added to the aircraft’s topor turn speed. An aircraft that is turning at 90 mph and diving 500 or 550 feet must move 14 squares on the game map.

Ceiling: This is the maximum altitude to which the aircraft can climb. Aircraft cannot fly higher than their ceiling.

Armament: the types of weapons, if any, that an aircraft has.

Dawn Patrol rules

Aircraft at lower altitudes move first

All other aircraft move in order set by die rolls (initiative)

Attacks are made after all aircraft have moved.

After all firing is finished and damage is recorded, players must announce whether they are tailing another aircraft next turn.

Determining Movement Order

Players roll for initiative

Non-military aircraft have a penalty of 1 to their die rolls

Aircraft that are 2,000 meters or more below all other players move first, regardless of their dice rolls.

For example, if a flight of Streel aircars is at an altitude of 10,000 meters approaches a Pan Galactic squadron at 13,000 meters, all the Streel craft must move before any of the PGC aircraft.

If players roll the same number, they should roll again to break the tie. Non-fighter craft are not penalized for tie-breaking rolls.

Normal Movement

An aircraft uses normal movement when it flies straight or turns without using a special maneuver.

Aircraft speeds are given in kilometers per hour (kph) or meters per turn (m/t). ...

Each aircraft counter must face a side or corner of the square it is in. the counter faces the direction that the front of the aircraft points toward.

Aircraft can move along rows of squares, diagonally, or a combination of both

An aircraft moving at speed must move into the square it is facing every turn... VTOLs, however, can slow down and make their turns...

After moving into a square, anaircraft can continue moving straight ahead or it can turn 45 degrees to the left or right. A 45 degree turn lets the aircraft change its facing from a side of a square to a corner or from a corner to a side...

An aircraft can turn 45 degrees every time it enters a new square. Thus, an aircraft -- such as a glijet or cloud flyer--that is moving eight squares could make eight 45 degree turns..

Turning does not use up a square of movement; it is free

Top speed is the maximum speed that an aircraft can have when flying level in a straight line. The aircraft can move faster than its top speed by diving.

Turn speed is the maximum speed that a plane can have if it makes one or more 45 degree turns during its movement. An aircraft can move farther than its turn speed allows by diving (see altitude)

Aircraft do not need to move at their top speeds or turn speeds. The aircraft can fly slower if the pilot wants to end his movement in a specific square...

At the beginning of a turn, the aircraft is moving at whatever speed it had at the end of the previous turn.

During a move, an aircraft can decelerate to its minimum speed or accelerate...

An aircraft can escape from a battle by flying away from enemy aircraft until it is obvious that no enemy aircraft or missile can catch him.

Exceptions to these movement rules will be explained under Special Maneuvers.

Aircraft are not restricted to flying within the limited boundaries of a board. If a player wants to fly off the edge of a map, all the aircraft can be moved the same number of spaces toward the center of the board; their relative positions will stay the same.

 


Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
December 4, 2019 - 8:45am

Special Maneuvers

Besides the normal movements described earlier, there are a number of special maneuvers that many aircraft can perform – some though might only be performed by VTOLS such as skidding or slips. (not sure if this last bit is going to stay the same. I'm thinking of the sideways movements that helicopters can make, though I'm not sure that "skids" and "slips" are the proper terminology).

Maneuvers are divided into four categories:

Simple maneuvers: takeoffs, landings, straight, bank left, bank right, turn left, turn right

Altitude maneuvers: climb and dive

Reversal maneuvers: circle, stall and loop

Fancy manevers: wingover, Immelmann turn, split-S, tail spin, barrel roll, falling leaf…

Attack Sequence:

To be shot at, the target aircraft must be within the attacker’s range and field of fire.

The attacker rolls to hit.

Attacks are considered to happen simultaneously, so all players who are able to attack can fire their weapons before damage takes effects. An aircraft that is shot down is removed at the start of the next turn.

Range: to determine the distance between two aircraft, count each square between them (including the space the attacker is in) as 50 meters and add the difference between their altitudes. 

Range can be counted diagonally across squares. For example, if there are two empty squares between the attacker and the target, then they are ___ meters apart horizontally. If the attacker’s altitude is ----meters and the target’s altitude is ---- meters, then the total distance between them is ---- meters ( ---- meters horizontally plus ---- meters vertically).

Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
December 4, 2019 - 8:47am
Obviously, I have a few kinks to work out in the descriptions.

Next up is creating some "fields of fire" diagrams... and maybe looking more into helicopter sideways movements...
Joe Cabadas

JCab747's picture
JCab747
December 4, 2019 - 10:33am
From dynamicflight.com

Sideward Hovering flight may be necessary to move the helicopter to a specific area when conditions make it impossible to use forward flight. During the maneuver, a constant groundspeed, altitude, and heading should be maintained. 
...Begin the maneuver from a normal hovering altitude by applying cyclic towards the side in which the movement is desired. As the movement begins, return the cyclic to the neutral position to keep the groundspeed at a slow rate - No faster than a brisk walk....


Joe Cabadas

KRingway's picture
KRingway
December 4, 2019 - 11:35am
Remember that the Apache wasn't built for speed - and isn't a jetcopter. There are stats around for jetcopters but they are older, less efficient designs. They also used fuel-fed, hot exhaust jet engines (turbojet), whereas jetcopters - and aircars - in Star Frontiers would use a kind of turbofan. Turbofans exist today in a certain way, but their fans are driven by liquid fuel rather than a battery. The assumption in Star Frontiers is that parabatteries and the engines they drive are many times more efficient that what we currently have in the 20th/21st century.

Also, jetcopters would need wings to help generate lift, especially at high speeds where the jets and wings take over and the rotor is just there to come along for the ride. Rotors are limited in providing lift and don't operate at all well over certain speeds. The rotor is used for lower speeds and for the various manouevres helicopters are well known for.

JCab747's picture
JCab747
December 4, 2019 - 4:00pm
KRingway wrote:
Remember that the Apache wasn't built for speed - and isn't a jetcopter. There are stats around for jetcopters but they are older, less efficient designs. They also used fuel-fed, hot exhaust jet engines (turbojet), whereas jetcopters - and aircars - in Star Frontiers would use a kind of turbofan. Turbofans exist today in a certain way, but their fans are driven by liquid fuel rather than a battery. The assumption in Star Frontiers is that parabatteries and the engines they drive are many times more efficient that what we currently have in the 20th/21st century.

Also, jetcopters would need wings to help generate lift, especially at high speeds where the jets and wings take over and the rotor is just there to come along for the ride. Rotors are limited in providing lift and don't operate at all well over certain speeds. The rotor is used for lower speeds and for the various manouevres helicopters are well known for.
 

Good points. Illustrations of the jetcopter -- the few that exist -- I think show them with wings.
Joe Cabadas

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JCab747
December 4, 2019 - 4:05pm

Examples of Forward Fields of Fire

This diagram shows the forward firing arcs of two different aircars. The gray area represents the field of fire for fixed weapons that fire forward only. Think of this as a cone that will also extend above and below the altitude that the aircraft is flying in. The attacker can target objects – other aircraft, robots, balloons, etc. – that are at altitudes that are above or below them, but only if they are within this cone.

For example, say a jetcopter is flying two squares ahead of the aircar, but is at an altitude that is 200 meters (or four squares) below. This would be out of the aircar’s firing arc. If the referee wants to make the situation more realistic – but more complicated – the pilot of the aircar could declare that he is pointing the nose of his craft downward, allowing him to fire at the jetcopter.

Nose/Chin Mounted Turrets. Turrets on aircraft do not necessarily have a 360-degree firing arc in all directions, such as with nose or chin-mounted turrets. These turrets can fire at targets that are within a180-degree arc in front of the aircraft, including targets that are altitudes above or below the craft, but not at other aircraft that are directly to the sides or behind the attacker. These turrets can fire into the squares that are colored gray and light green. 


Joe Cabadas

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JCab747
December 4, 2019 - 5:33pm
Some examples of fields of fire for left and right side mounted weapons. A left-side turret or pintle mount cannot fire directly ahead or behind the aircraft but can fire at targets above and below that are on the left side. Similarly, a right-side turret/pintle mount can fire at targets on the right side of the vehicle -- both at higher and lower altitudes -- but not at targets that are directly ahead or behind the aircraft.


Joe Cabadas

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JCab747
December 4, 2019 - 7:06pm
And now for the diagonal diagram


Joe Cabadas

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JCab747
December 4, 2019 - 7:18pm

Top and Bottom Mounted Turrets. Aircars and similar craft can mount turrets on the top and bottom, but jetcopters can only have a bottom mounted turret because the weapons on a top turret would damage the rotors.

Depending upon the design of the aircraft – such as if it has a prominent tail section that might block some shots – it will have a 360-degree field of fire at targets that are at the firing vehicle’s same altitude or higher. Similarly, a bottom mounted turret will have a 360 degree field of fire at targets that are slightly below the aircraft’s altitude.

A referee could allow a pilot to declare at the end of his movement that he is tilting his aircraft to the left or right side. This action may allow the gunner of one or the other turret to shoot at a target that would normally be out of its firing arc.

Joe Cabadas

KRingway's picture
KRingway
December 5, 2019 - 5:01am
IMHO and for simplicity's sake I'd just have it that a chin turret can cover a 360-degree area below the aircraft. It pretty much covers a hemisphere below the aircraft, and a top turret pretty much covers a hemisphere above it.