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Bomber - Transport Construction Rules

These rules where designed by Charlie Marshall, if you have any questions please direct them to him witht the link provided. 

Bomber/Transport Construction Rules
By Charlie Marshall ( 

Author's Note: The rules presented below aren't official Crimson Skies rules. They're variant rules strictly for the enjoyment of CS players and referees. If you have any questions, complaints or words of praise about these rules, E-mail me at the address above.

While fighters, fighter-bombers and airships swarm in the skies over North America, other types of aircraft are out there in the world of Crimson Skies. Among these are bombers and transport planes. Both of these carry stuff, bombers straight forwardly carry bombs, transports carry goods or passengers.

Who uses these planes?

Bombers: Every nation in North America with a serious air force has at least a squadron of bombers. When the level of confrontation between nations rises beyond the simple duel between fighter squadrons, that's when the bombers come in. Older bombers are being used by some of the bigger pirate gangs, particularly in the disputed western territories, and by some large privateer bands, usually donated by their sponsoring nations as a means for covert action when the sponsor wants something to happen to its enemies, but they don't want to get their hands dirty. All of these air forces have them ready for fighter pilots to escort - or bring down.

Transports: More and more freight and passengers are carried by planes than ever.  Passenger wise, airliners are used as express planes in well to do nations, primarily by folks who either need to get to their destination in a hurry, and/or people who can't afford the luxury of an airship berth. Airship lines themselves are using small fighter-sized airliners as a means of serving communities that lack the space necessary for airship takeoffs and landings. Confederate Air Transport, for example, uses planes owned by its sister line, Confederate Air Express, to take off from small towns, and either hook up with their smaller airships, or land on the launch deck of their larger ones. When the dirigible gets near the small town on the return run, the plane is gassed-up and ready to be launched to return the passengers back to the town's airfield. In less wealthier nations, like The People's Collective, airships are more dedicated to cargo, so airliners serve as the primary passenger carriers. People's Air Transport, the state-subsidized airline, uses small Beech 18s, or newly purchased Tupolev ANT-25s on their routes to between Collective cities.

Cargo planes are flown by branches of the above-mentioned airlines, as well as charter lines, and of course, smugglers. Many nations also take advantage of transport planes to carry vital military supplies, soldiers, and in increasing numbers, paratroopers. And last, but not least, pirate and privateer bands are using them, as a means of hauling their booty, equipping them with harpoon rockets to snatch cargo, and to carry parachutists for airship-boarding actions.

Why not just build more airships?

While there are definitely more airships in the CS world than in the historical world, there's less of them than the average pilot realizes. In the historical world, Zeppelins were expensive. The two U.S.-built major airships of the time, the Akron and the Macon, cost respectively, $5 million and $2 million to build. While assembly line-style techniques might be used in the CS world to bring down the cost, it probably wouldn't be enough to make non-state subsidized airships commonplace.

Although the dirigible is hard to beat when you need to haul a lot of cargo or plenty of passengers in comfort, they do have their drawbacks. The vast majority of airships have a top speed of 100 mph, and they're less maneuverable by airplane standards and it's why airships, no matter how heavily armed and armored, are sitting ducks against fighter attacks. Besides pirates and privateers, airship pilots have to be careful of thunderstorms and high winds, which bring down a small number of airships each year. When Hugo Eckener, the world's best Zeppelin pilot, was asked why Zeppelin airships were safer than others, he said that it was because he flew around storms, not into them. Airplanes, on the other hand, can fly around storms, some can fly over them, and the more modern planes can survive flying through the milder storms.

Maintaining them is trickier than most aircraft, specifically, getting the helium that any responsible airship owner uses to keep one's zep aloft. Helium is only produced in large quantities in Texas, Arixo, Utah, The People's Collective, Dixie, and other natural gas producing nations, and those states can almost name their own price for it.

The Great War proved that the airplane, not the Zeppelin, is the best bomb carrier. While airships are still popular with luxury-minded travelers and those who need to ship large amounts of freight, transport planes are taking a greater role in the skies over North America.

With these rules, you'll be able to build your own airliners, cargo planes and medium bombers, and send them forth into the Crimson Skies.

Step 1: Choose aircraft type

The first thing to consider in building your bomber or transport is "Which type do you want to build?" Bombers, for rules purposes, are moderately-armed, heavily-armored planes whose cargo holds carry bombs. Transports, on the other hand, are lightly-armed, if they have weapons at all, light or moderately-armored aircraft whose cargo hold carries freight, passengers, or a mixture of both.

Step 2: Choose Base Target Number

Like all Crimson Skies aircraft, bombers and transports have a base target number. Unlike CS fighters, bomber and transport BTMs are between 0 and -10. While numbers like that make them easier to hit than fighters, bombers/transports can also maneuver like them, too, unlike zeppelins. As in fighters, you can a portion of the maximum payload for passengers, cargo or bombs.
Base Target Number Total Mass Maximum Payload
0 16,750 11,000
-1 18,000 12,000
-2 19,250 13,000
-3 20,500 14,000
-4 21,750 15,000
-5 23,000 16,000
-6 24,250 17,000
-7 25,500 18,000
-8 26,750 19,000
-9 28,000 20,000
-10 29,950 21,000
Step 3: Choose Maximum Speed

The maximum speeds of bombers and transports are the same as fighters; 1 (150 mph), 2 (200 mph), 3 (250 mph), 4 (300 mph) and 5 (350 mph).
BTN 1 2 3 4 5
0 880 2,200 3,360 6,160 8,800
-1 1,080 2,640 4,680 7,200 10,200
-2 1,300 3,120 5,460 8,320 11,700
-3 1,540 3,640 6,300 9,520 13,300
-4 1,800 4,200 7,200 10,800 N/A
-5 2,080 4,800 8,160 12,160 N/A
-6 2,380 5,440 9,180 13,600 N/A
-7 2,700 6,120 10,300 15,120 N/A
-8 3,020 6,840 11,480 16,720 N/A
-9 3,360 7,600 12,720 18,400 N/A
-10 3,720 8,400 14,020 20,120 N/A
N/A - not available

Step 4: Choose Maximum G Rating

Maximum G Ratings are the same as CS fighters.
BTN 1 2 3 4 5
0 1,320 2,860 4,620 6,600 8,800
-1 1,540 3,360 5,400 7,680 10,200
-2 1,800 3,900 6,240 8,840 11,700
-3 2,080 4,480 7,140 10,080 13,300
-4 2,380 5,100 6,180 11,400 N/A
-5 2,700 5,780 8,100 12,800 N/A
-6 3,040 6,480 9,120 14,280 N/A
-7 3,400 7,220 10,260 15,840 N/A
-8 3,780 8,000 11,460 17,480 N/A
-9 4,100 8,820 12,720 19,200 N/A
-10 4,620 9,680 14,040 N/A N/A
Step 5: Choose Maximum Acceleration

Again, maximum acceleration ratings are the same as CS fighters.
BTN 1 2 3
0 1,320 1,430 1,540
-1 1,560 1,680 1,800
-2 1,820 1,950 2,080
-3 2,100 2,240 2,380
-4 2,720 2,880 3,040
-5 2,720 2,880 3,040
-6 3,060 3,230 3,400
-7 3,420 3,600 3,780
-8 3,800 3,990 4,180
-9 4,200 4,400 4,800
-10 4,620 4,830 5,040
Maximum deceleration is 2 (65.6 ft./second/second), just like the fighters.

Step 6: Choose and allocate armor

Bombers and transports have the same armor facings (Nose, Port Wing Leading and Trailing, Starboard Wing Leading and Trailing, and Tail) as fighters, and use the same armor (30 lbs. per row of armor).

Step 7: Choose weapons and mounts

Bombers and Transports can use the same guns, rockets and bombs as fighters, but with a difference. You can choose forward-firing weapons in the nose and/or wings, and both front and rear limited-rotation turrets (up to 2 guns per turret). You can also have either a front or rear limited-rotation turret and a full-rotation turret which can fire in any arc. You can also choose the one 2-gun limited-rotation turret plus 2 1-gun limited-rotation turrets. Planes with BTMs from -5 to -10 can also carry left and right-firing guns to protect their Wing Trailing sides. If your house rules allow for 3-D combat, all turrets except the front limited-rotation turret have full traverse, and the front turret has full traverse below.

Limited-Rotation Turrets: Same as in Crimson Skies, Issue 2, AAW's 1937 Aircraft Review.

Full-Rotation Turrets: 500 lbs., plus half the weight of the weapons carried. Up to 2 guns per turret.

Every bomber or transport has 8 hardpoints, firing forward, just like fighters. However, if your house rules allow for variable hardpoints, use the chart below.

Optional Variable Hardpoint Chart
BTM               # of Hardpoints
0                     8
-1 to -5           12
-6 to -10         16

Step 8: Determine bombload, cargo or passengers

If you haven't determined how much cargo or bombs your plane will carry beforehand, use any mass left over from the construction process. If the cargo bay is going to carry bombs, check the bomb table in CS Issue 1: The Rules of Air Combat, page 44, to figure out the sizes of bombs, and how many of each your bomber can carry.

To determine how many passengers your airliner can carry, here's a chart that shows the types of passengers airlines carry.

Paratrooper Bench: 200 lbs. per passenger. Describes the average paratrooper with full equipment. Used in military cargo planes.

Coach: 300 lbs. per passenger. The average man, with his luggage, the average woman with even more luggage. Used in airliner coach-class and military cargo planes.

First Class: 400 lbs. per passenger. Your average wealthy traveler, executive or general. Used in airliner first-class, and executive aircraft used by corporations and the military.

Each bomber or transport has a crew of 3. On a bomber, the crew consists of a pilot, a co-pilot and a bombardier. On a cargo plane or airliner, the crew consists of the pilot, the co-pilot, and the navigator. If your bomber needs more gunners, or your airliner needs stewardesses, just include space for 150lbs. for gunners, or 125 lbs. for a stewardess.  You can also use the same cargo, bombload and passenger recommendations in fighter-sized aircraft as well.

Step 9: Fill out record sheet

If the only turret you're using for your plane is a rear limited-rotation one (or you're not using turrets at all), and your house rules don't permit more than 8 hardpoints, just use the front-engined fighter or front-engined fighter with turret sheet. Otherwise, you might want to consider two sheets, an ordinary sheet of notebook paper with your plane's stats, etc., and a sheet of drafting or graph paper (found in office or college art supply stores), showing the damage boxes. You also might want to convert the damage templates to adjust for the size of the damage boxes compared to the standard record sheet. I'm
going to be experimenting with various designs for bomber/transport record sheets, so let me know if you've come up with some.

A few words in general

As I mentioned before, bombers and transports are bigger than the fighters you're used to, but remember, they can also maneuver around the board, just like fighters. And anyone trailing a bomber expecting the same weapons layout as a fighter will be in for a shock. I came up with these rules, not to downplay the role of fighters and fighter-bombers, but to expand upon them, by giving us, the players and referees, more scenario options than "Squadron X attacks Squadron Y." Have fun building and fighting with the planes made from these rules, and let me know if you like or hate them.

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