Stealth bombard and precision bombing.


May 22, 2020
Flintlock has again made a breakthrough with enabling bombard units to "stealth bombard" and land+sea units to use precision bombard without being treated as air units. This and the return of PTW style targeting helps differentiate so many bombard unit classes.

But by the end of the day, all the nice tricks the human player can do would be very unfair and unbalanced if the AIs can't pull off the same. They're already incompetent enough. We know the AI handles conventional stealth attacks and air unit precision bombing well. But what about stealth bombard and land+sea units precision strikes?

I've tested on the WW2 Pacific scenario. PTW targeting is off completely. Artillery and naval bombard units get precision bombard. I played as the Chinese purposely let the Japanese artillery stay alive to pound my cities. If an improvement gets destroyed while the units and untouched that would mean precision bombard was used. Unfortunately, through out a couple turns, I lost no city improvements. The AI only uses "precision bombing" when it's assigned "Air Bombard" AI strat flag as it's an air mission. So if you want the AI to use land/sea unit to precision strike, you'd have to flag it as "air bombard". This unit would need operational range to be able to rebase as the AI would never walk it out of a city.

I also gave all air and artillery units the "stealth attack" special order and every unit in the scenario as the target list. Stealth bombard requires the tile to be in that civ's line of sight. The AI is indeed capable of that. Manilla was heavily bombed with its fleet inside totally intact and all ground units red lined (the scenario's bombers have no lethal land bombard). Same happened with Honolulu. Unfortunately, the AI doesn't seem to perform recon missions with any of their air defense units. The AI seems to rely on automatically knowing all unit positions to not suicide airdrop on to an occupied tile.

The stealth bombing of both Manilla and Honolulu was done with ship spotting. Ships have all been given radar. If you want to run the test yourself, the jap sub next to Honolulu will be able to have LOS with the city if it has radar.

Artillery knows how to use stealth bombard as well. I've seen them target weaker draftee anzac infantry while the MG Btln remains undamaged.

Creating a long range stealthy recon unit helps tremendously with observing these tests. Have them auto produced and recon every inch of the action. Unfortunately, unlike cruise missile strikes, enemy airstrikes are not displayed when they damage your air units underneath the land units. So it's very hard to observe whether the AI did stealth bombard. But I was lucky that they decided to first wipe out the Wildcats in Manilla and then redline the MG Btlns, leaving the fleet untouched. I still can't figure out the rhyme or reason of AI stealth bombard.
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