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Bombing Guide by Quovatis

Bombing can be very rewarding. In the right situations, my bombardier has made over 60 kills before we died. In other situations you will die before you even make it to the target. This guide is intended to help both the pilot and bombardier be successful and stay alive while bombing. I will note that many pilots will tell you something completely opposite of what I put in this guide. There might well be better tactics out there that work in certain situations, but I have the Bomber Ace Auraxium merit and this is what has worked for me.

Liberator and Vulture Properties


The Liberator is the most used bomber and is available to anyone with the Air Support certification. The nose gun is a powerful 35mm Chaingun that shreds every type of target from infantry to armor to aircraft. The bomber seat can drop two types of bombs: Anti-Infantry cluster bombs and Anti-Armor tank buster bombs. The tailgun fires powerful 25mm rounds that are good on a variety of targets, though best used for fending off enemy aircraft. The Liberator lacks an afterburner, but can hold one more box of ammunition than the Vulture in its trunk.


The Vulture is a specialized bomber available to those who have the Air Support certification and also the Bomber Ace Bronze Merit Commendation. The nosegun of the vulture used the same 35mm Chaingun Bullets as the Liberator, but fires them more rapidly. The trade-off is the damage per shot is much lower and takes a very long time (>5 sec) to reload. The bomber seat can drop only Anti-Armor bombs and lacks the cluster bombs of the Liberator. These bombs do almost double the damage to armor as their liberator counterparts, but fall more slowly and are released more slowly. This means it's more difficult to get enough bombs on a heavily armored target to kill it before you pass over. The Vulture has a higher top speed than the Liberator and has an afterburner. It can also release bombs from a lower altitude than the Liberator.

General Bombing Tactics

There are two generic bombing tactics that most pilots follow: Low altitude bombing and high altitude bombing. Each has their advantages and disadvantages as will be discussed.

Low Altitude Bombing

I generally favor this tactic 90% of the time. I find it gets more kills than high altitude most of the time and your survival rate is higher as long as there is cover nearby.

For low altitude bombing you want to fly as low as possible to the ground to avoid being seen by the enemy. You want to fly just high enough as to not set off any mines on the ground. Approach your target from the flanks or rear. You only want to take enemy fire on your exit and not your entrance. As you approach, gain enough height so that the bombing icon is illuminated and level out. After you pass the target (and hopefully destroyed it), dive back down the previous altitude. Get to know each base terrain and plan your flight path accordingly. Flying behind terrain and trees will break lock-on weapons. Find a safe place to land, repair, and repeat the process.

If you are doing low-altitude bombing, you generally do NOT need to take a tailgunner with you. The tailgunner will have little to shoot at and even if an enemy aircraft starts shooting at you, you will be so low to the ground that the tailgunner will not be able to shoot up high enough to hit the target. Know where friendly anti-air MAXes are and retreat to them if you are under air attack.

High Altitude Bombing

I personally rarely use this tactic, but in some cases it works better than low-altitude. You will generally get less kills from higher altitude as the enemy will see the bombs on their radar for many seconds before impact and have plenty of time to run away. However, high altitude exposes you to enemy fire for less periods of time generally as they don't always see or notice you up there until you start dropping bombs. I use this tactic when the enemy is clumped up on a bridge as they have nowhere to run except to drown. I also use it if the enemy base is at a low altitude and I'm fighting flak weapons (Wall Turrets and TR Burster MAXes. You're fairly safe from flak at high altitude unless you fly very predictably and the enemy has great skill.

Again you will want to approach from the side or rear so that the enemy isn't looking in your direction. Climb to maximum altitude ALWAYS. Never bomb from a medium altitude as you are easily visible and have no place to run or hide. I sometimes find it handy to place a personal waypoint on the target as it's difficult to see the ground from high altitude. After your bomber drops its bombs, turn sharply in some direction. This will make it very difficult for flak to hit you. Change directions randomly every 5 seconds or so if you're taking heavy flak fire and go to the ground to repair. Never fly in a straight line away from flak weapons. If you took little or no damage, feel free to turn around and make another pass.

I highly recommend taking a tailgunner along for high altitude runs. You will almost always attract enemy aircraft. Always fly at flight ceiling so that the enemy cannot get above your tailgunner's line of fire. If you are in the middle of nowhere and there is no threat from the ground, STOP the aircraft, point the nose down as far as you can, and keep the tail pointed towards the enemy aircraft by looking at your minimap. This will generally close the distance between you and the enemy, making your tailgunner land more shots and hopefully destroy it quicker. If you don't do this, the aircraft will just stay at maximum distance and take pot-shots at you all day until you die. Of course, if you know you are near friendly anti-air units, you always have the option of running to them as well.

Lining up Targets

If you don't put the target under you bombardier's sights, you obviously won't get any kills. This is your most important job. The most helpful keymap you can make it to make the "reset controls" option (default alt-r) to something easily accessible. I have it mapped to a mouse button. If you want to make 100% sure you are level and your bombardier can drop bombs, use this button liberally, as it will auto-level your bomber. This is especially useful when you are coming out of a steep turn or ascent.

Take note of the black vertical line in the pilot seat. This is the bombing line. The bottom end of the line is what the bombardier's sites will pass over. You can affect this line by strafing left and right. I find strafing very useful. As you pass over a clump of infantry, strafe left and right a little bit. This will spread your bombs out perpendicular to your travel direction, giving your bomber much more area to saturate in bombs and making it less likely that someone can dodge your pass.

Generally, you want to avoid trying to bomb moving vehicles. But you can always try. Make sure to lead them enough. You will have to lead them much more than you think, and your bombardier needs to understand how to do this too for a successful kill.

You should be glancing at your mini-map every 2-3 seconds. If you fly directly over an AMS, it will show on the radar, alerting you to make another pass. The radar will also allow you to line targets up better and know where enemy aircraft are.

Standard Targets

Your bread and butter targets are generally ridges and base walls. Ridges are routinely saturated with players if it overlooks a base, providing cover for snipers and anti-vehicular users, and even armor. This can yield many kills while always providing decent cover to run to on the other side of the ridge.

The other great target are walls of bases. On the attack, the wall facing the tower is the most populated if your empire owns the tower. Line up the wall running down its length and lets the bombs fly on unsuspecting snipers.

Wall Turrets can be the most difficult of targets to destroy. Many times your bombardier will overshoot the target, making the bombs land past the target on the ground. To minimize this risk, it's best to line up wall turrets so that you pass directly over the stairs leading up to them (or the place where you might get in for tower turrets). Placing bombs right on the stairs instead of trying to put them directly on the turret will maximize your chances of damaging or killing it. Make sure you tell your bomber this information as well.

Avoiding Enemy Fire

I've already talked about how to avoid flak fire. Never fly in a straight line when taking flak fire and try to find some cover to break the line of sight.

Against the Sparrow MAX, you need to fly a little differently. If you find Sparrow missiles following you, find terrain to hide behind immediately. Even a small hole will do sometimes. Dip down and STOP in the hole briefly. Wait until all the missiles have hit the ground around you, then continue. If you hadn't stopped, you might have avoided one or two missiles, but the rest would still have followed and hit you.

Against a Striker or Starfire you can either find a tree or terrain to break the lock, or simply fly out of its effective range (250m for the striker, 350m for the Starfire). If you are flying directly away from them at the same altitude, be sure to turn slightly as you reach the maximum effective range, as the missiles will still follow their previous path and may hit you if you don't change direction slightly.

Against a Wasp and you are flying low, fly through trees as much as possible to break the lock. Flying inside an Aegis Shield Generator will also break the lock, but you will likely give away its position, so use wisely. At altitude, you have less options. Fly towards friendly anti-air units. If you have a tailgunner, your best bet is to stop the aircraft and point the tail to the wasp, as described earlier.

Liberator or Vulture?

When you first get your shinny new Vulture, you will be tempted to use it a lot. The sad truth is the Vulture is inferior to the Liberator in almost every way, even though it is supposed to be an upgrade. While the vulture bombs do more damage, they have a smaller splash radius, fall slower, and release much slower. It also takes twice as long to reload a clip.

I use the Liberator in almost all cases, however there are circumstances in which the Vulture is actually the better choice. I use the vulture in situations where anti-air cover is high and I want to fly low. With the vulture, you can come in, drop some bombs, then afterburn away to safety. You won't get as many kills with the Vulture, but you will live more, so there is a trade-off that you will have to balance.

The tactics with the Vulture is almost identical to that of the Liberator. However, you generally want to avoid flying high-altitude missions with the Vulture as it takes forever for the bombs to reach the ground. The biggest difference is that you need to slow down over a target to allow enough bombs to be dropped to kill it. You can then quickly accelerate by afterburning away to safety. Due to the small splash radius, you must really fly directly over the target. A Vulture bomb will only kill a soldier wearing Rexo armor if it lands within 1-2 meters of him.

Which Bombs to Use

This is obviously something the bombardier selects, but if he or she is not picking the right bombs for the situation, you need to inform him. The Vulture can only drop AV bombs, so there's no problem there. The Liberator, however, can drop cluster bombs or tank buster bombs. The cluster bombs spread out into 9 bomblets in a 3x3 grid pattern, while the tank buster bombs simply drop to the ground with one big explosion. Cluster bombs do less damage, but do the same full damage over a large area. The tank buster bombs do more damage, but the damage falls off over a relatively short distance away from the impact.

Use cluster bombs on large groups of infantry. It will take two bombs to kill most infantry. Works best if you strafe as discussed before to spread out the damage. The main use of cluster bombs are on BFRs. Yes it sounds strange, but cluster bombs actually do more damage to a BFR if its shields are up than a tank buster bomb does. It also has a higher probability of damaging critical systems. However, if the BFR has no shields, it's best to use tank buster bombs.

Tank buster bombs should be used the majority of the time. It kills infantry in one hit if reasonably close and does great damage to vehicles. If you don't get anything else out of this guide, please USE TANK BUSTER BOMBS ON MAX UNITS! It takes two tank buster bombs to kill a MAX while taking 8 cluster bombs. Nothing annoys me more than my bomber dropping cluster bombs on an anti-air MAX only for it to live and shoot us down after we pass. These bombs should also be used in proximity to doors as the splash damage will kill enemies inside the door while cluster bombs will not. Also use tank buster bombs in heavily forested areas as cluster bombs will sometimes explode at tree top level, rendering them useless. Of course, tank buster bombs should be used on all forms of vehicles, except BFRs, as discussed earlier.

Bombardier Information

Drop bombs on the enemy right? Well it's not always that simple. Dropping all 10 bombs on the first target you see and then having to reload when you pass over a cluster of 15 troops will make you and the pilot mad. Always look as far forward as possible to spot highly concentrated targets and save the majority of your bombs for that if you don't think you can reload in time. And as I've already mentioned, use tank buster bombs on MAXes!

Not every bombardier realizes that you can aim your bombs a little. By moving your mouse up and down you can change the location of the crosshair and that's where the bombs will land. In level flight at full throttle, you should be able to land all 10 bombs on a single point.

When bombing targets at the top of a hill, aim a little on the downslope closest to you to ensure you will hit it. It's embarrassing to watch all 10 bombs fly over the vanguard you were targeting and go down the mountain, missing completely. The crosshair is accurate most of the time, but don't always trust it, especially on steep slopes.