Increase Bomber AI engagement and tracking distances to historical levels (RB/SB)

Would you like to see this in-game?
  • Yes
  • Just for RB
  • For both RB/SB, but nerf gunner accuracy
  • Other (Comment below)
  • No
0 voters
What distance should the gunners start tracking a target?
  • 1.22 km’s/4000 feet
  • 2.5 km’s/8200 feet
  • I voted No
0 voters

This post has been copied and pasted from my denied bug report:

When using AI gunners in RB/SB, the gunners target engagement ranges are too low compared to historical real life training manuals.

Currently with an Ace crew and max level in gunners firing range is 0.21 km’s (See figure 1) or 691 feet (See figure 2).

Also to note, Ace target tracking range is 0.66 km’s (See figure 1) or 2165 feet (See figure 2).


Pg. 39 states that gunners should not engage at “1000 yards or more”, 1000 yards being 0.91 km’s or 3000 feet.

Pg. 40 and 41 further clarifies that gunners should start firing at 600 yards/2000 feet (USAAF/USN), and that ranges of 300 yards/1000 feet (USAAF/USN) are ranges in which the gunner should “Pour it on” and (fire)“Now or else”(they’re dead).

2000 feet and 1000 feet converted to km’s are 0.61 km’s and 0.31 km’s respectively. Even the lowest possible distance figure is lower than the Ace crew with maximum crew points into gunners in-game. Additionally the target tracking range would be too low if the firing range was increased, and wouldn’t give in-game gunners enough time to turn their guns to face the target.

Target tracking range should ideally be far to give gunners time to face the target, personally I would recommend 2.5 km’s or 8200 feet. However the manual only makes mention of 1200 yards/4000 feet (1.22 km’s) as being too far to fire at on Pg. 39/40, this range however is not the manuals recommended spotting range, merely just a range at which not to fire at.

With this instructional manual, we can see that crews are trained to fire at a target between 2000 feet, but no more than 3000 feet in distance. I therefore suggest that the basic crew level with maximum points invested should use 2000 feet as the baseline, using an expert or ace crew will allow for slightly higher ranges than 2000 feet as these are crew that are above the baseline in proficiency. In figure 2, we can see in-game that the expert crew provides 48 additional feet of firing range, this is a difference of 7.8%, and that ace on top of expert provides an additional 32 feet, a difference of 4.8%. If we use these numbers as a basis, expert firing range should be roughly 2156 feet, and ace should be 2260 feet respectively.

Recommended changes:
Increase Maxed Basic Crew Firing Range from 0.19 km’s/618 feet to 0.61 km’s/2000 feet
Increase Maxed Expert Crew Firing Range from 0.2 km’s/666 feet to 0.66 km’s/2156 feet
Increase Maxed Ace Crew Firing Range from 0.21 km’s/698 feet to 0.69 km’s/2260 feet
Increase Target Tracking Range from 0.66 km’s/2165 feet to at the minimum 1.22 km’s/4000 feet

My intentions with this bug report is to increase the effectiveness of AI gunner standards to realistic levels and provide spending crew points into gunner skills to be worthwhile, and to serve as a deterrence to fighter players. The goal is not to make gunners do the work of the player, but to provide ample warning to a bomber player that enemy aircraft are approaching, and provide a deterrence to enemy players. For more accurate and consistent defensive fire the player should still take manual control of the guns.

Additional thoughts for the developers;
As stated in my intentions, is not to make bomber players to not use their own defensive guns. However in the games current state, it is a waste of crew points to invest into gunner skills in RB/SB and AI gunners are effectively useless. By increasing the Firing and Target Tracking Range to the above suggested, it allows for AI gunners to play a minor role in the defense of the bomber, even at Ace Crew, most fighter players would have already fired upon the bomber at ranges beyond that which were given. If a fighter player closes the distance, they should be punished for ineffectively planning for intercepting a bomber. This will encourage more thoughtful interception tactics such as head on passes, or slashing attacks. If gunner effectiveness proves too high for what the developers envision for the game (balance), then I suggest increasing the Fire Scatter skill to make gunners less accurate, rather than having the lower range as it is in-game. Then in such scenario the gunner even if not accurate, can serve as a deterrent forcing the attacker to not simply fly in a straight line behind the bomber.

Figure 1:

Figure 2:



This should apply to AB as well. Bomber AI gunners are useless in all modes and must be improved. +1


+1, great suggestion. This change could make AI gunners not so useless anymore when you are busy manually aiming in bomb sight view and pursued by interceptors simultaneously.


This needs to happen


+1. Bomber AI is nearly useless right now and the current engagement distance is too short


I definitely am on board with this. I think the accuracy levels of ace gunner, which you can still see by playing the PvE mode, is probably too high. It is definitely too high for sim, where the nature of the game means players can’t tail sit and snipe from well over a kilometer away. Having the gunners open up at a reasonable level though would prevent players from seeing bombers as such a free kill and would make them have to at leas consider approaching from angles that make them a harder target or minimize the number of guns that can engage them. It would also provide some level of protection during the vulnerable period in making a bombing run where the player in the bomber cannot do anything but fly straight and level while preparing for the right moment to drop. In addition, bomber durability should be restored to pre-nerf, realistic levels. Now many fighters can withstand a .30 cal barrage that will make a bomber fly apart at every seam.

Unfortunately, I think there is absolutely no way Gaijin will do this for us. They’ve made it clear they’re only interested in listening to the people who want Air RB to just be Arcade with no respawns, focused only on dogfighting where the objectives cannot impact the game in any way. They removed the ability for bombers to end the match through bombing, which while arguably a good change, came combined with turning off bomber defensive guns and unrealistically reducing their “health” such that they’re now even less durable than interceptors and while removing the airfield to bomb also made the bomb targets respawn instead, but take so long to respawn that it doesn’t matter. Strike aircraft take them all first and bombers have nothing to do but die. This has become so true there are segments of the community bragging about teamkilling bombers and sharing tips about how to ram their propellers so you won’t get penalized to punish players for “wasting” a team slot on a bomber. There is a lot that needs to be done to make bombers viable, but Gaijin is only interested in Air being modern missile dogfights now and won’t do anything to improve the rest of the game, at least from the evidence the last several years have given us.


+1 On top of this can we please get 3rd person turret aiming for bombers with only 1 turret? The amount of pain I experience trying to use the tail gunner on the T18B is immeasurable as you literally cannot see anything that is not directly behind you and to the left or right of the Vertical Stabilizer, and may the Snail save you if they’re above you (literally no visibility)

Pretty sure you can turn that off/on.

Weird, when I test flew the B-17, the gunners opened up at 2km.

I actually manned them while the auto pilot flew me in a straight line to the mini-base while I waited to push the space bar.

Why don’t bomber pilots want to actually play the game?

You literally have nothing to do for several mins, I would think shooting at fighters would be the most fun part of it?

whaaat? where? when? how?
pls tell me.

Turn off ‘camera from gunners sight’ in settings

This doesn’t corroborate with my experience in RB, the gunners will not engage until it is already too late. This is further backed up by what the crew skills state for RB/SB. The game has previously have had discrepancies between live matches and the test drive.

As per my suggestion, the goal isn’t to make bomber pilots not “play the game”. Its to make gunners a worth while investment of crew skill, and serve as an effective deterrent. Because to be frank, there is zero reason to put crew points into gunners right now.

A maximum level gunner with Ace skill (Which is likely paid for with GE if you have it) can only begin shooting targets within 0.21 km’s. There is also other scenarios where having some level of AI control is beneficial, if you’re attacked from multiple directions, the increased ranges will allow gunners not in the players manual command based on LoS to engage targets. Other commenters have also posted that bombers are especially vulnerable during the actual bomb run when they’re in there bombsights. This also will allows gunners to engage while the aircraft is under light maneuvering conditions (Based on gunner G-Tolerance).

This isn’t even a hard ask to bring it up to historical engagement ranges. Bombers are currently more or less RP/SL pinatas and they deserve some semblance of defense or deterrent. Ill reiterate once again, that if the concern is gunners just lasering fighters down, accuracy can be reduced with the Fire Scatter skill.

This is a common misconception.

No offense, but everybody repeating this nonsense is fooled by this value - the actual range is much higher. Imho you are way too experienced to repeat this.

Regarding ranges and ai gunners:

Are we finally going to fix the gunners? - #11 by Uncle_J_Wick

Regarding tests of “aced” ai gunners in bots:

AI gunners - #16 by Uncle_J_Wick

I see this poll as a futile exercise as even if you would count 500 “yes” votes (just look at the poll with the base respawn timer) gaijin won’t change anything - they fully support this brain dead behaviour of tail sitting fighters.

From my pov the artificial spread of gunners in manual mode is actually a much more annoying issue. Every player with long term (3-5 years) experience has noticed a severe accuracy drop thanks to increased bullet/shell dispersion.

Last, but not least, historical references and wt are not compatible. Technically seen gunners in combat boxes had a range advantage vs tailchasing fighters (as they had to close in <400 meters) - but in wt you are able to hit tailchasing fighters with (ofc manual) gunners up to 2.5 km - whilst fighters can hit you (depending on speed and alt) up to 1.8 km. This depends, ofc, on used weapons & convergence settings.

Good day Uncle J Wick,

Thanks for bringing this to my attention; I tested it in live matches to confirm that the firing range is indeed the tracking range rather than the fire range skill. Based on current firing ranges the gunners will engage at more or less the proposed ranges on aced full crew (+ 30 meters). However the actual range in which the turrets move to track a target is the same range as the firing range; this means that turrets don’t have enough time to properly face approaching targets, and thus may not engage until they’re much closer.

Ill leave the suggestion up as is, however I will also be filing a bug report as there is a serious discrepancy between what the crew skills are, and their descriptions of what they do.