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Published November 12, 2012

Kcolor is the leader of Goonswarm's Bombeneinsatzgruppe and the Clusterfuck Coalition's primary bomber FC.  This is the first section of a three-part instructional guide to bombing.

My background is originally as a line member, flying under Mister Vee, Vily, and other bomber FCs that Goonswarm has made famous. After Mister Vee became almost exclusively a mainfleet FC, the task of running bombers was left somewhat open. I'd like to say that I was the most qualified candidate, or the most competent, but it was more the fact that I was the only one who volunteered to take over. Since then, most of my learning has come from combat. It wasn't easy at first - thankfully, Mister Vee was willing to offer his advice and help. With practice, I was able to function on my own. My first suggestion to anyone learning how to command bombers: start with void bombs. 

So, that's me; now, on to the meat. The first step is establishing doctrine. If you're an aspiring bomber commander, I would standardize one of the following ship types for your gangs.

The Ships

All stealth bombers possess the same hull bonuses, the only difference being the racial damage type. This affects both their torpedoes and bombs.

RACIAL Frigate Skill Bonus: 10% bonus to torpedo explosion velocity and flight time and 20% bonus to torpedo velocity per level

Covert Ops Skill Bonus: 5% bonus to bomb RACIAL damage and 15% bonus to torpedo RACIAL damage per level.

Role Bonus: 99.65% reduction in Siege Missile Launcher powergrid needs & 99% reduction in Bomb Launcher CPU use & -100% targeting delay after decloaking.

Note: Any stealth bomber can use any racial bomb, the only difference being the damage done: 6,400 unbonused, 7,680 with Covops IV, 8,000 with Covops V.  Void bombs require Covert Ops IV to use.

Manticore

Racial damage bonus: Kinetic (Concussion Bomb)

Slots: 5 highs, 4 mids, 2 lows.

Pros: The four mid slots allow for some flexibility in fitting.  While most bombing fleets do not engage in direct combat, the ability to fit a target painter, tracking disruptor, or web is very useful for post-engagement disconnect killing or ganking.

Cons: The two low slots means either sacrificing some align time for better fitting, or sacrificing some fitting for better align time.  If your goal is bombing, align time is very important for bombers to survive their bomb runs.

Nemesis

Racial damage bonus: Thermal (Scorch Bomb)

Slots: 5 highs, 4 mids, 2 lows.

Pros: The four mid slots allow for some flexibility in fitting.  While most bombing fleets do not engage in direct combat, the ability to fit a target painter, tracking disruptor, or web is very useful for post-engagement disconnect killing or ganking.

Cons: The two low slots means either sacrificing some align time for better fitting, or sacrificing some fitting for better align time.  If your goal is bombing, align time is very important for bombers to survive their bomb runs.  The Nemesis has even less CPU to fit with, making this a bigger issue.

Purifier

Racial damage bonus: Electromagnetic (EM) (Electron Bomb)

Slots: 5 highs, 3 mids, 3 lows.

Pros: The Purifier has the largest cargo bay of all the stealth bombers. With bombs taking up 75m3 each, the Purifier is the only one that can fit three in its hold without cargo expanders. Three low slots allow the Purifier to fit for both fitting room and align time.

Cons: Three mids. This is not a major issue as it still allows for an extender, MWD, and Warp Scrambler/Disruptor. I recommend those over other mid slots, especially if there are Manticores or Nemeses in your fleet.

Hound

Racial damage bonus: Explosive (Shrapnel Bomb)

Slots: 5 highs, 3 mids, 3 lows.

Pros: Similar to the Purifier, but without the extra cargo space.  The three lows allow for either fitting room or align time.

Cons: Three mids. This is not a major issue as it still allows for an extender, MWD, and Warp Scrambler/Disruptor. I recommend those over other mid slots, especially if there are Manticores or Nemeses in your fleet.

The Hound is Bombeneinsatzgruppe's preferred instrument of destruction. Here's a fitting template.

Bombs Explained

Bombs are very simple. They do not require a locked target - when fired, they travel in a straight line for 30km. All bombs have an explosion radius of 15km. This means that a bomb will hit any target(s) in the direction that the bomber was aligned to, but only between 15 and 45 kilometers from the launching point.

Bombs have a single resistance: their own damage type. They possess a 99.5% resistance to the damage type they do, and have 240 hitpoints. This means that it takes multiple bombs to kill other bombs... unless a single ship brings the wrong bomb type, potentially wiping out an entire wave of 'friendly' bombs and resulting in very little damage done to the target. A single bomber bringing Concussion in a Scorch fleet, for instance, can ruin a bombing run. This also caps the number of bombs that can be launched from the same position. It's worth noting at one point, a bug removed this limitation.. the result shows why the cap exists. If every bomber has Covert Ops V - unlikely - six bombs will be the cap. Only six will explode and do damage, the remaining ones will be destroyed. Thus, it's best to limit yourself to seven bombers per squad.  Bombing with more than one squad will be explained in part two.

Single Squad Mechanics 

With a single squad of bombers, your options and effectiveness are limited. Every fleet needs a leader, and bomber fleets are no exception. The leader should have a probe launcher with combat probes; there are other options for getting warpins, but probing is the best. With low numbers in fleet, the FC should be in a bomber and participate in bombing runs himself. This accomplishes two things: Firstly, you understand what the people you're squadwarping are seeing, and secondly, you add an additional bomb to the clutch being thrown towards the enemy. Obviously, this is dangerous, as if the FC dies, the fleet will be forced to reorganize or wait. WIth more bombers available, the FC should be in a pure probing ship (a Buzzard for instance).

Ideal targets (if using non-Void bombs) are the new T3 Battlecruisers. With luck, they'll be clumped together for your bombing run.  After the FC probes them out and gets a warpin, he or she will warp the squad to the result at a range between 30km and 45km. I recommend always being on grid with a target before warping to it; warping blind gets people killed.  The FC and the bombers need to be more than 150km away from the target for the warp to work.  The bombers are to remain cloaked until they've exited warp, at which point they will decloak and launch their bombs. This will kill any group of T3 BCs that are not paying attention. Your pilots must warp off as soon as they've launched their bombs. Minimizing align time is extremely important - ideally, bombers should pre-select a celestial "behind" their target, to minimize align time. Bombs will explode whether the bomber is on grid or not. Conversely, if a bomber dies on grid, its launched bomb will not do damage, merely exploding prettily and harmlessly.

If you're running with Void bombs, the best targets are Amarr ships, or anything that requires capacitor to attack. Zealots and Abaddons are typical victims. In all other respects, the method for Void bombing is the same as with damage bombs - just make sure to take into account the speed of your enemies if you're warping a squad towards Zealots or other AHACs.

This is elementary single-squad bombing in a nutshell. I hope it has been illuminating. Part Two will deal with issues and mechanics that are encountered during larger fleet engagements including bubbles, perches, and multi-squad bombing. 

Kcolor
Kcolor, primary bomber FC of the CFC. @KcolorCFC Did I interest you in EVE? http://tinyurl.com/cff4nrd Did I interest you in LoL? http://tinyurl.com/b9ezx8h

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