Air Power Diplomacy
By Douglas J. Burgoyne
This is a bit complicated, I recommend rereading this section a few times. It took about four moves or more for everyone in the air power test game to get a feel for these units, they have very distinct strengths and weaknesses. They are not like any other Wing on the web. They are my creation, and intended to simulate, as best as possible with a wooden block, a modern air force.
They are composed of fighters, bombers, fighter/bombers, transports, radar planes, and the ground support and maintenance personnel, etc, to run a modern air force.
These units appear quite powerful, but they also have some notable weaknesses that can be exploited. Read and study carefully, properly employed, they can be quite effective, but improperly employed, they can be a drain on your resources.
Wings can only be based in land provinces. They may, however, fly into or over water provinces without restriction and carry out most of their missions in or over water provinces, they just cant land there. They cant airlift and drop armies in water, either, of course.
Each turn they get do one order of the following:
Range for most actions TWO spaces, counted by any route, land or sea. Wings can fly over water, they just cant land in water.
The province that a wing begins the turn in is considered its base. For ALL missions except MOVE, it takes off from the base, goes and flies the mission, and RETURNS to the base. It returns to the starting province, even if the mission it flew took place somewhere else.
Not required, but always a good idea. If no route is specified, and ANY possible route is blocked by a patrol, the mission will FAIL. Go back and read this last sentence again. Give your wings routes and give them the safest route you can.
Moves up to two spaces. This is a non-combat move. May only move to a territory that you OWN or OCCUPY at the beginning of the turn. You CANNOT move to a province that you own, but is occupied by another player. If the destination space is taken by another player during the turn, then the move FAILS. The movement of an air force to a province has NO EFFECT on any battle there, period. Wings move with strength ZERO.
To understand why this is true, consider that air forces do not fight and move at the same time. To move, they pack up all their ground support people, load them and all the spare parts and weapons in transports, go and prepare the airstrips and facilities, and the pilots bring the planes in, once the new base is ready. It is nowhere close to a combat operation, it is a non-combat relocation of the base.
Wings can NEVER receive support.
The movement of a Wing can NEVER "Bounce" an army or a fleet. A Wing moves with combat value of ZERO. If an enemy army or fleet moves to the same province as the wing, the wing moves fails and the army or fleet moves succeeds!
You CAN move a wing to a space that is occupied by you in the spring, and then if the wing moves there in a fall turn, then the wing can take ownership of the province EVEN IF the army or navy that was sitting there moves out. Wings can't take territory, but they CAN hold it.
This is the ONLY way a Wing can take possession of a SC in the fall. Although, technically speaking, the army or fleet was there first, so it did the dirty work.
W: Berlin Airlift A: Berlin - Sweden via Baltic Sea
Note that Sweden is now an 'occupied' province because there is a German army sitting in it, therefore, in the fall, a Wing can be ordered to move there.
A: Sweden - Finland
This wing movement is valid regardless of whether the army makes it to Finland or not. If Germany had ordered W: Berlin - Sweden immediately in the spring, the move is invalid. Sweden is not owned nor occupied by Germany prior to the spring. If the Russian does not move to Sweden, then the German wing can take possession of the SC even if the army moves out to Finland.
Now, suppose the Russian moved F: Stp - GOB, and then in the fall moved F: GOB - Sweden, combined with the above example.
Now, the German army vacates to Finland, but the wing trying to move to Sweden cant bounce the Russian fleet. The Russian fleet takes Sweden, and the German wing move FAILS.
MOVE will fail if:
Intercepted by an enemy patrol.
Destination no longer valid (because another player took it)
If a wing fails to move AND its base falls under attack, then the wing can still revert to self defence. If the MOVE order will succeed, it will NOT revert to self defence. It will MOVE and disregard the attack on its former base.
A Wing may never support an empty space, with one exception. It can support the defence of the space it is in, its’ BASE. Otherwise it may support another unit to hold or it may support an attack on a space, land or sea, in any province that is within two spaces of the province in which it is based. It can support a unit in its’ in base to hold or it may support an attack on it’s own base.
W: Berlin supports A: Kiel – Berlin
W: Berlin supports A: Berlin
Or W: Berlin supports Berlin [when Berlin is empty]
These are valid sets of orders.
The default order for a wing is to support the defence of the province in which it is based. This is what it will do if you give it no orders. HOLD means “Support the base, support the defence of my own province”. I would prefer that you not give Wing “Hold” orders, as it is bad form. I will substitute: “Support the space I am in” for the word “Hold”.
If there is a unit there that is holding, then it will support that unit to hold, combined value TWO. If there is no unit or the unit is not holding, then it will support the space to hold, value ONE
The Wing has to fly to do this, not sit on the ground. This becomes important later when discussing PATROLS and RAIDS, as this support can FAIL by certain other air actions.
A wing supporting an action in its’ BASE province cannot be CUT by ground or naval attack.
SUPPORT can fail as follows:
Raid on the wing’s base.
Interception by enemy patrol
Reversion to self defence.
This cuts support, ALL support given by any units in the raided space. It also causes the failure of most air missions of a wing based in a province that is raided. It also has an effect on Research Teams.
This can have a multiple effect. If you raid a space that has a wing and another unit, and if both of those units are supporting something, then both supports are CUT.
In addition, a raid on a province that contains a wing will cause the following air missions to fail: AIRLIFT, PATROL, SUPPORT, ESCORT
A raid has no effect on a wing unit performing these missions: MOVE, RAID
A RAID does not stop another RAID.
Note, since a wing conducting a patrol will always patrol its own province in which it is based, a raid on that province will NOT succeed, because the raid will be intercepted prior to completing the raid, unless that Raid is escorted. The attempted RAID gets intercepted by the PATROL prior to it completing the RAID.
There are ONLY two ways to knock a patrol out of the skies:
One is with an ESCORTED RAID. This takes two Wings working together.
The other is a ground attack that forces the patrolling wing into Self Defence.
Failure: if wing reverts to self defence or intercepted by patrol
D. AIRLIFT/Air Assault:
A Wing can airlift an army either from the province it is based in to any other province up to two spaces away. OR: It may go get an army and bring it back to the province it is in. The wing's location does not change, and either the start or finish of the airlift MUST be the province that the wing is in. It CANNOT go get an army in another province and drop it off in yet another province.
Fleets CANNOT be airlifted.
If the destination province is empty and no other units try to move there, then the move is a simple unopposed airlift. If there is conflict there, then it is an air assault. An army conducting an air assault may receive support of its action by other units. If an army attempts an AIR ASSAULT and fails to conquer the province, it is DISBANDED.
During the build phase, it can be rebuilt, if the SC count warrants it.
Please note that there is a distinction between the airlift portion of the move and the assault portion of the move. If the Wing fails to deliver the army because of a patrol or a raid, etc, then the army is considered to have never left its starting position, and the army stays there and is not disbanded. If the wing succeeds in delivering the army to the attack, and then the attack fails, then the army is disbanded, a subtle, but important distinction.
This is a two step process:
One: Does the wing complete the airlift? If NO, then the army doesn't move.
Two: If the wing completes the airlift, the army attacks. If that attack FAILS, resolved separately from the airlift itself, then the army is disbanded.
Note: Exception: An airlifted army to a province that you occupied, will not be disbanded if your units fails to vacate if the SOLE reason for the army not being able to land is the fact that your other unit did not vacate.
IF the airlifted army is essential is creating a standoff, and that standoff is the reason your unit fails to be forced to retreat, then the army IS disbanded. Complicated, so lets look at an example:
Now, Holland fails to move to North Sea, and there is a supported attack made by the French and English on Holland, but the German airlift is also a supported attack, so it bounces 2 v 2. In this case, the German army is DISBANDED, and the fleet in Holland holds under the beleaguered garrison rule.
Most new players leap at this airlift option, but understand that it is a risky move, and easily countered by an enemy patrol. If you have the choice between an airlift and a convoy, the convoy is MUCH more reliable. There are less ways for a convoy to fail, and if it does fail, the army is not disbanded.
Also, tactically, it is quite easy to airlift your army into a position that is undefendable in the future. The opening French move of W: Paris airlifts A: Paris - Belgium looks nice, but if the German and English open by moving up their forces into the spaces near Belgium, those paratroopers may quickly find that Belgium was a lot easier to take than it was to hold.
Failure: Intercepted by enemy patrol, raid on the base, or reversion to self defence.
Note: The army portion of the attack is resolved separately.
Special SYMBOL: "CAP"
This symbol indicates a patrol was there for that turn. This helps me figure out what your forces can SEE, as patrols see the areas that they patrol. For those of you that are curious. "CAP" stands for "Combat Air Patrol". This is fighter jargon for the location of the patrol. This symbol is NOT a unit, it is simply an indication of where your patrol was set to help with adjudication and visualizing the results for the players.
This a powerful DEFENSIVE order. In fact, this is the most powerful order available to wings, and one that requires some thought to properly employ. Pay close attention to PATROL PLACEMENT, discussed later.
A well placed patrol or group of patrols can give you strong protection for your entire nation from air attack.
A Wing ordered to patrol has movement range maximum of 1. It sets up a patrol either in its own province or one space away, land or sea, and then it patrols that space AND all adjacent spaces. A patrol will intercept ANY and ALL non-escorted air missions that pass through its patrolled airspace. Any intercepted air mission fails, except another patrol or escort.
Patrols have an AREA of effect, this area can be quite large.
Examples: If a wing in London is ordered to patrol North Sea this patrols ALL of the following provinces:
North Sea, London, Yorkshire, Edinburgh, Norwegian Sea, Norway, Skag, Denmark, Bight, Holland, Belgium and Channel. ALL of these provinces are protected by the one patrol.
A patrol CAN intercept an unlimited number of enemy wing missions within its patrol area. If multiple enemy wings try to conduct air activity in any of the patrolled provinces, they are ALL intercepted.
You CAN patrol over water. You CAN patrol over enemy territory.
You CAN patrol over an enemy ground or naval unit.
You can patrol so that the patrol area overlaps the base of an enemy wing! If your wing is adjacent to his wing, you can set your patrol right on top of his wing.
If your patrol area covers the BASE of an enemy wing, this severely limits the ability of his Wing to conduct air operations. ANY mission that he attempts, other than Patrol or Escort, will FAIL, unless another one of his wings escorts. He cant even MOVE away from you, if your patrol area covers his BASE. Your patrol would cause any MOVE, RAID, AIRLIFT or SUPPORT to FAIL.
Just about anything the French wing is ordered to so will FAIL because the German patrol in Burgundy can intercept the French pilots in the air over Paris as soon as they take off. Unless that wing in Paris is ordered to patrol or escort, or has another wing escort, any other move will FAIL.
Overlapping patrols from different or the same nation have no effect on each other. They do not have an additive effect, and they do not have any cancelling effect. Any number of wings can patrol the same province.
Every nation on the board could patrol the same space and they would all succeed. It doesn't really matter if multiple nations patrols overlap, they all still patrol the air space.
Patrol has NO direct EFFECT on any land or sea battles that take place below. They may cause a Support or Raid mission to fail, and that might indirectly effect a land battle, however.
A wing unit that is supporting the defence of its own province CAN be intercepted and neutralized by an enemy patrol. Even in self defence role.
W: Paris patrols Burgundy
Because the wing has to FLY to support itself to hold, it is INTERCEPTED by the French patrol in Burgundy, so this support FAILS. Ruhr is now effectively defenceless, and the French army conquers Ruhr, the wing is dislodged. Further, because wings cant retreat through patrolled airspace, the wing is destroyed. This is by far the BEST way to kill a wing, hit it with ground forces and a patrol at the same time, the wing is forced into self defence, the patrol takes care of that and stops the retreat. DO NOT rely on your wings to hold the front, defend them with supported follow-up attacks, beleaguered garrison, etc.
NOTE: The army attack does NOT cut the support. A wing supporting an action in its owns province cannot be cut by land or naval attack.
Multiple defence Examples:
In Spring 1901, Germany, Italy and England concoct a plan to destroy France with an air blitz: England airlifts Liverpool to London, and moves her fleet to the channel. Germany moves Munich to Ruhr and moves wing Berlin to Ruhr also. Italy moves Wing and Army Rome both to Tuscany. All three powers are prepared for an air blitz
France, unknowing and having been lied to by all three players, airlifts his army in Paris to Belgium, and moves to grab Spain and Portugal. The enemy's plan in the fall is to have England convoy London to Brest with support from the Wing in London. Germany airlifts A: Ruhr - Paris, and Italy airlifts A: Tuscany to Marseilles or Spain. They hope to crush France in the fall of 1901.
Is France helpless? Not at all. He can see this coming and he orders his wing in Paris to Patrol Gascony. Gascony is adjacent to Brest, Paris, Marseilles, and Spain. The one French wing intercepts ALL three of the other wings. All the air missions fail. The armies are not disbanded, however, as the wings fail to deliver them to the attack, but they sure waste a lot of moves!
The whole plan is a big flop, France builds two new units.
Russia decides to try for peace with both Austria and Turkey. He negotiates a DMZ in Galacia and Black sea and decides to airlift into Rumania with support from Sevastopol and back it up with supporting reinforcements. He succeeds in airlifting Moscow to Rumania, but Turkey grabs black Sea anyway.
Austria moves Wing and Army Vienna both to Budapest and makes the fairly standard move of Budapest to Serbia and Trieste to Albania. Turkey grabs the black, and moves armies into Bulgaria and Constant, and the wing also moves to Constant.
Russia suspects a combined Turkish/Austrian assault, and his suspicions are correct, they are planning to move against him.
Austria is going to use Serbia to support Albania to Trieste, Budapest is going to support Constant to Rumania. Austria will order his wing in Budapest to support Constant - Rumania as well.
Turkey is going use black to convoy constant to Rumania with support from Bulgaria. Meanwhile Turkey is going to use the wing to RAID Sevastopol to cut the support.
Russia is faced with a big problem: Austria might Airlift Budapest into Warsaw, or he might be faced with a massive attack on Rumania, or even a supported attack on Sevastopol, but he?s not sure which to expect. How can he defend it all? Simple, a Patrol in the Ukraine.
Notice that even if Austria had tried the airlift into Warsaw, this would also have FAILED.
Okay, enough examples for now.
PATROL can fail in ONLY two ways: An escorted raid conducted on province in which wing is based or reversion to self defence.
PATROLS AND RECONNAISSANCE:
Patrols have another useful benefit. If you set up a patrol, when you get the results for that turn, you will SEE all the map spaces in the patrol area, even if you have no units that could normally see those spaces. This might justify placing a wing at the front to see past the front. This only applies to blind games using wings.
This is a sub order of a patrol. Patrols always ignore the other wings of their own nation. You MAY order your patrol to ignore other nations, if you wish. Suppose England wanted to patrol the north sea to defend against Germany, but his ally, France has a wing and an army in Belgium that he wants to airlift to Norway. England may order his wing to patrol north sea and ignore French air activity.
Format: W: London PATROL North Sea, IGNORE FRANCE.
Please note, if France airlifts the army to Edinburgh instead of Norway, the north sea patrol stills ignores it!!
The last air mission, and the most complicated yet. Is your brain fried yet?
This is how you punch through enemy patrols. Send extra fighters to escort the mission through the patrol, an ESCORT. [not the kind you can find in the phone book]. :)
A wing can be ordered to escort another wing on a mission. Escorting will negate ANY and ALL patrols that the escorted wing passes through. One escorting wing is sufficient to escort another wing through ANY number of enemy patrols.
There are full and partial escorts. A full escort means that the wing on the mission is protected by the escort for the entire time. Partial escorts are when the geography of your two wings precludes a full escort and the escorting wing can only provide partial coverage.
You CAN escort other players wings.
FULL ESCORT: In order to accomplish a full escort, the escorting wing must be able to fly escort in EVERY province that the other wing is flying through including the starting province. There is one special case where this is not exactly true, and I will cover that first.
If a wing begins ADJACENT to the wing to be escorted, AND is able to reach the route and target location within its movement restriction of 2, you can conduct a full escort. This rule is pretty much impossible to explain without pictures:
Example: France has two wings, one in Brest and the other in Picardy. Picardy is ordered to Airlift its army to Wales via the channel. Britain orders his wing to patrol the channel. The wing in Brest can conduct a full escort because Brest is adjacent to Picardy and a wing in Brest can move to channel and Wales all within its movement allowance.
There are other ways a full escort can be accomplished other than this special case. Suppose France had Wing in Picardy and wanted to airlift to Wales, and the other wing was already in Wales (somehow). The wing in Wales could be ordered to escort and fully protect because it can reach Picardy, Channel, and Wales all within its movement allowance.
Note, lets suppose that France gets greedy and tries to airlift directly to London. And the wing in Picardy tries to escort. The London wing patrols Channel. The wing in Picardy CANNOT give a full escort, it cant cover Picardy, Channel AND London. The airlift will be intercepted.
An escort can provide coverage in: its own province (or one directly adjacent in the special case) and two other provinces. In the above examples the escorting wing is trying to provide coverage in THREE other provinces, it must choose TWO of the three.
Often, partial coverage is adequate, especially when the section of the route not covered cannot be hit be an enemy patrol.
A partial escort can be accomplished when the criteria for a full escort are not met. If the escorting wing started in Paris, it would escort for Picardy and channel, but NOT Wales. Paris can't reach Wales. The airlift would have no escort over Wales and could be intercepted by a patrol in that space.
There are a wide variety of partial escort scenarios. A German Wing in Edinburgh could escort that same wing from Picardy, but in this case, it only escorts over Wales.
France and Germany could combine both their partial escorts to give that wing full coverage.
Two partial escorts combined.
One last Patrol/Escort example, the graduation example:
Things have heated up along the German/French border, a major clash of land and air forces. Both sides feel the need to patrol to protect themselves from air attack, and both elect to patrol Burgundy.
Germany orders Munich to patrol Burgundy, and France orders Paris to patrol Burgundy as well. Both these orders are valid, overlapping patrols do not cancel. France desperately wants to get that wing in Spain closer to the front, so he orders Wing Spain - Burgundy. This will FAIL, it will get intercepted. France could decide to not patrol and give the move an escort and write:
W: Paris escorts W: Spain - Burgundy [Gascony, Burgundy]
This is a partial escort, but the only part that is missing is Spain itself and that doesn't matter as no enemies can patrol Spain. This should get Spain to Burgundy, right? Maybe, maybe not.
What if Germany writes:
W: Munich patrols Burgundy
There are no French patrols airborne, the wing in Paris elected to escort instead of patrol. The Raid reaches Paris, this causes the escort to FAIL, and the wing in Spain loses its fighter cover, it is intercepted in Gascony, the move FAILS. Better yet for Germany, that Raid into Paris cuts support of the army as well, which may allow his three armies to punch into Burgundy.
Complicated? You bet! Take a look at yet another German option. What if Germany elects to not patrol as well and instead orders an escorted airlift from Ruhr - Gascony or Marseilles to drop an army behind the enemy lines!
How could France stop that? He could use Paris to Raid the province where the airlift is coming from, but he'd have to guess between Munich and Ruhr. Or he might be forced to defend behind the line with ground forces, but if he chooses to use ground forces to cover Marseilles and Gascony, then what happens if the German makes a heavily supported direct attack on Burgundy instead?
The moves and countermoves are endless. Have fun!
An escort will FAIL: Raid on the base, reversion to self defence.
ESCORTING MULTIPLE WINGS:
I'm not going to go into this very heavily, but suffice it to say that once you escort one wing through a certain province, that same escort is valid in case you wanted to move yet a third wing through that same province.
Suppose in the mess above that France had yet another wing in Portugal and orders the wing in Spain to move to Burgundy via Gascony and the wing in Portugal to move to Gascony via Spain. The wing in Paris escorts for Gascony and Burgundy, and that escort in Gascony covers BOTH wings as they move through Gascony.
By the time you have this many wings to worry about, you'll be an expert.
G. RULE OF WING SELF DEFENCE / MISSION ABANDONMENT:
In general, a wing will attempt to complete its mission and ignore the battle raging in its base as long as the province will successfully defend.
IF, by continuing its’ mission, the province will fall and the wing will be dislodged, THEN, the wing will ABANDON it’s mission and automatically be given the order to support the province to hold. If a unit is standing there, it will give it support total strength TWO, if not, it will support the space to hold, total strength ONE.
MISSION ABANDONMENT: Wings will abandon a mission whenever the province they are based in is AT RISK of falling. This is a bit complicated, but not really. A wing is based in a province and is given some mission. Concurrently, suppose a battle takes place for that province. As long as a province will hold without the Wing’s assistance, the Wing will continue to conduct it’s ordered mission and ignore the fighting around it’s base.
If the province is going to fall, then the wing’s orders will automatically change to support the defense of the unit that is in the province, if there is a unit there holding, strength two. If it is empty or if the unit was ordered to move, it will support the province itself at strength one.
The wing will do this automatic order change regardless or whether or not by doing so the province will actually hold. It will try to defend even when futile.
Exception: a wing ordered to MOVE will move anyway and not care for the defense of the province it is currently in, as long as the move will be successful.
I have already mentioned earlier that a Wing supporting its own province to hold can still be neutralized by an enemy patrol or raid, so this self support can FAIL.
This is a critical rule to understand. Ground or naval attacks on wings do not “cut” in a pure sense of the word. They only force the wing into self defense, and only if the province will fall should the wing ignore the ground or naval attack.
In general, wings are not well suited to be in direct contact with the enemy. This is ESPECIALLY true if they are stacked alone. If you choose to move your wings right up to the front, and this may or may not be a good idea, depending on your objectives, it is generally advisable to STACK your wing with an army or fleet.
Wings are poorly suited to stand and try to hold. For one, they must FLY to support their own province, this makes them vulnerable to patrols and raids. They cant dig into trenches like an army can. Also, they can NEVER receive support, another reason why having a wing hold your front line is generally a bad idea. There is yet another reason, they can be forced into self defence and this makes them abandon their mission.
I am not saying to never have them at the front, sometimes you need them up close, like if you want to airlift some paratroopers behind the enemy lines, but they should be protected by armies and fleets, the wing should not be a critical unit in holding the front itself, that task should fall to the armies and fleets.
RETREAT of WINGS:
Wings that are forced to retreat may retreat using range ONE to a valid province, and that location MUST have been valid at the start of the turn AND the end of the turn. Otherwise, they disband.
The province must be owned and empty, and not left empty due to a standoff.
The province must be occupied and will not exceed stacking limitation.
The province retreated to MUST have been legal at both the beginning of the turn AND the end of the turn. You CANNOT retreat to a newly occupied or owned province.
NOTE: Wings may NOT retreat into, from, or through the patrolled airspace of an enemy wing, unless that wing was given IGNORE orders for that player.
There are some minor paradox problems, most of which I have already resolved in the test game. Any new ones that we discover will be dealt with as they come up. My first response in a paradox is everything fails, unless I can logically resolve it some other way.
The first Paradox: CAN an army cut the support of a wing giving support to an army making an attack on that same army? Whew, say that five times fast. Time for a quick picture:
This is the most basic paradox of wings, and it only looks like a paradox, it is NOT. The orders are thus:
If the wing flies its support mission and ignores the battle for Prussia, then its base will fall to the attack from Warsaw, so it reverts to self defence, and supports Prussia to hold, bouncing the attack from Warsaw and then the attack from Silesia bounces in Warsaw. But wait a minute, doesn't this look exactly like an army cutting the support of a unit supporting an attack on itself? Yes, but wings are NOT armies, they don't fight on the ground in direct combat. This is another reason why wings are not well suited to fight directly at the front.
The ruling for this case is: The wing reverts to self defence, the attack on Warsaw FAILS.
Add a Russian wing to this situation in Livonia ordered to PATROL Baltic Sea.
Now what happens?
First off, the Prussian Wing's support FAILS, it is intercepted. Second, the Prussian Wing reverts to self defense against the attack from Warsaw. But this self defense support is also intercepted by the patrol in Baltic Sea, so it also FAILS. The army attacking Prussia from Warsaw dislodges Prussia!
Silesia then walks into Warsaw unopposed
One more example:
Okay, first off the Prussia wing orders fail, both due to the patrol and reversion to self defence, and then the wing tries to support itself to hold, but that also fails due to the patrol, so the Warsaw army conquers Prussia, right? But wait, now the Silesia army could take Warsaw, so IF the Warsaw wing completes its mission, its base will be lost, so then the Warsaw wing MUST revert to self defence as well to defend itself, so now the Prussian wing CAN support its own defence without being intercepted, which them means that the Warsaw army gets bounced, so then the Warsaw wing can resume its patrol? NO, once I revert a wing to self defence going through this kind of logic, it can NEVER go back to its mission, its original mission is abandoned, never to be resumed. Prussia defends. Warsaw defends. Both wings are forced into self defence. Everything bounces.
Dual simultaneous airlifts: This one is pretty easy. Two provinces have 1 army and 1 wing in each. During the same turn, they both airlift to each other. What happens? Do both armies land? NO, the Wings would revert to self defence because it they complete their mission, their base is lost. Wing will generally not complete their missions if by doing so, their base will be lost
A Wing in London patrols the channel, and surrounding spaces. A wing in Brest Raids London What happens? The Raid fails, Patrols have priority over raids. By the nature of a patrol, a patrolling wing will always patrol over its base, because the patrol can only be set up one space away and then patrols adjacent spaces. The Raid gets intercepted before completing the raid.
Dual simultaneous raids:
Two wings raid each other. Both of these moves succeed! All support in both provinces is cut . Raids don't care if they are themselves raided.
Airlift tries to bring back an army while under attack:
The wing WILL do this, because the army will get a bounce and the wing does NOT need to revert to self defence. The Army gets disbanded, which in this example might be just what the Italian player wants to have happen.
If, Austria has SUPPORT for his attack, from Tuscany, say, then the wing cant do the airlift, it is forced into self defence and then dislodged.