Trade Secrets: Bombing Guide, Part Two

Kcolor, the CFC's primary bomber FC, continues with his guide. Part one is here. (A correction for part one: Void bombs require Bomb Deployment IV, not Covert Ops IV.)

Planning: The Calm Before The Storm

A bombing run can take thirty seconds from start to finish. A successful bombing run can end the entire engagement in that time.  But what comes before that thirty seconds? Lots of planning. Strategy goes hand-in-hand with preparation for bombers.  Many factors need to be considered before the fight: Where is it taking place? Station, ihub, POS, POCO? How many gates? What is the enemy bringing or has brought in the past? Should we use void or damage? I can't answer all of these questions for you, but I can hopefully give you the guidelines to make your own decisions.

First, we should discuss the "perch". This refers to a location on-grid with a particular celestial - that is, a station perch is on the station grid. Usually, a perch is more than 200km away from the celestial but still on-grid. When running multiple squads of seven, as discussed in part one, you want one perch per squad. Theoretically, it is possible to do six squads at a time. (I will discuss this later.)  In practice, four squads of seven bombers, a total of 28 bombers, is optimal. Ideally, you want the perches to be opposite eachother in a "cross formation"; since space is three dimensional, that diagram could be a "top-down" look, or "frontal" view.  The important part is that the squads are opposite each other with 90o spacing.  This is something you want to have on each potential "target" celestial, and it's difficult to do exactly, which is why I recommend only four squads.

There are a few different ways to set up these perches.  Getting in system well ahead of time is recommended. You always want good perches on gates, but doing this for every single planet, moon, or other celestial in system is just overworking yourself. One method is to take advantage of the other celestials in system. If you're making a perch on a gate and planet one and planet two are opposite each other with the gate between them, you can use them to make a quick perch. Option A: do it yourself - warp from planet one to the gate at 100km, bookmark, warp to planet one (I like to bookmark closer to the gate so you don't need to warp the entire distance back). Warp to your first bookmark at 100km, you're now 200km off the gate, you can repeat this as many times as you like. Repeat this process from planet two, you now have two perches on opposite sides of each other! Option B: get help - organize bombers to do this amongst themselves; bomber one warps at 100km, bomber two warps to them at 100km, and the FC interjects to steal bookmark when they want it.

Multi-Squad Bombing Explained: There Will Be Math!

In the first part, I explained that more than seven bombs will kill each other, so how can you attack with all four squads at the same time? The answer is easy, yet complex: warp the squads (at this point, just have all four in a wing and wing warp) to your probed-out target at 39km. The math is as follows: two squads opposite each other warp to a target at 39km - they are now 78km away from each other and launch bombs simultaneously. The bombs travel 30km, their point of detonation is now 18km away (78-30-30=18)... with a detonation radius of 15km, the bombs are 3km short of hitting the bombs launced from the opposite side. Here is a diagram I made (with paint!) to show how it works. The diagram only shows two squads, but since they're spherical explosions it can work with up to six squads (front, back, top, bottom, left, right, assuming perfect angles). Set your default warp-to distance to 39000, when you warp squad/wing/fleet it will use that as your default (you can choose 0 at any point as well). With this, you can see why fleet bombing works, and stop wondering how your battleship died in a single bomb run.

Know Thy Enemy

The Enemy: Battlecruisers

Bombing as a single squad is entertaining and fun - if you get kills. Much of the time, though, it's impractical; T3 battlecruisers are prime targets for single squads, but they are difficult to hit. The setups that the CFC runs into tend to be long-range damage fits, with little tank. These fits are able to do two things that discourage bombers: align and warp in six seconds, and MWD at 1.6km/s. Both of those are unbonused stats, with bonuses align time gets down to around four seconds, and speed to 1.9km/s. What this means for bombers is that a fleet of t3 battlecruisers are able go from zero speed to warping out before your bombs explode, or if they're quick enough, MWD away.

The counter: dictors. A probing dictor with your fleet makes the FC's life a lot easier. Since a single squad can wipe out a T3 battlecruiser fleet, I recommend only sending a single squad. If the battlecruisers are sitting still, send your bombers in at 30km, and have the dictor warp to 0 and bubble. The dictor will probably die, but if flown properly will wipe out the entire battlecruiser fleet. If the battlecruisers are moving, attempt to locate the direction they are aligned. Are they aligned towards a squad? If they are, compensate by warping that squad at a farther distance (for example, 50km) - with travel time and the ten second delay on bombs, they enemy will fly right into them. The dictor will need to warp to the ship that is farthest in the front and bubble to keep them there. Is the enemy fleet aligned away from a squad? Pick the squad that they're mostly flying "away" from, and warp that squad in closer (for example 15km). By the time the bombers exit warp, the battlecruisers should have gained enough ground that they will be at perfect distance. The dictor in this case would hopefully come in from the other direction at range and bubble them.

The Enemy: Battleships

Destroying battleships will require using the wing warp technique described above. If you have more bombers that spill over into a fifth squad, have them use void bombs and send them in first to potentially deactivate hardeners. Since battleships are usually slow, they should not be difficult to hit; a dictor makes this even easier but is not required. Some battleships, for instance Armageddon Navy Issues, have a lower signature radius than others which make them difficult to kill. Still, a full bomber wave in the middle of a fight can cripple most fleets and turn the tide of battle.

Frigates, Capitals, Titans, etc. are bombable, but I don't do it often so I won't comment on strategies. With this I conclude part two and begin my plans for part three. Feel free to reply in the comments about issues you'd like to see discussed, or if you have general questions about bombing.

Kcolor, primary cap FC of the CFC. @KcolorCFC Did I interest you in EVE? Did I interest you in LoL?