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Opening Salvo: Contested Skies Aircraft Rules

The Axis & Allies Miniatures Contested Skies set introduces Aircraft to the battlefield and new rules to govern their behavior in the game.

Aircraft Deployment

After the movement phase and before the assault phase there are now two new phases: the flight phase and the airstrike phase. Unlike most other units, Aircraft don’t get placed on the battle map during deployment, and they don’t move around. Instead, they are placed during the flight phase and then removed from the battle map at the end of the turn. As a reminder that they don’t move around the battle map, Aircraft have an “A” on their stat cards where the speed value should be.

Extended Sequence of Play

A. Initiative phase (both players)

B. First player’s movement phase
C. Second player’s movement phase

D. First player’s flight phase
E. Second player’s flight phase

F. First player’s airstrike phase
G. Second player’s airstrike phase

H. First player’s assault phase
I. Second player’s assault phase

J. Casualty phase (both players)

K. End of turn (remove Aircraft)

Flight Phase: During your flight phase, you can place your Aircraft anywhere on the board. Aircraft with face-up Disrupted counters can’t be placed—you’ll have to wait until the disruption wears off first.

Airstrike Phase: During your airstrike phase, you can attack with each of your Aircraft. Hits scored in the airstrike phase are considered to be simultaneous with hits scored from normal attacks during the assault phase.

Assault Phase: Soldiers and Vehicles may attack Aircraft during the assault phase.

  • The first hit counter received by each of your opponent’s Aircraft during your airstrike or assault phase is a face-down Disrupted counter.
  • The second hit counter received by an Aircraft is a face-down Destroyed counter.

Casualty Phase: In the casualty phase, both players apply the effects of damage dealt by enemy fire in the airstrike and assault phases. Take these steps in the following order.

  1. Remove current face-up Disrupted counters, including those from disrupted Aircraft that are off the battle map. Don’t remove existing Damaged counters.
  2. Flip over new hit counters.
  3. If a unit has a Destroyed counter, it’s destroyed. Remove it from the battle map.
  4. If a Vehicle has a single Damaged counter, it’s now damaged.
  5. If a unit has a Disrupted counter, it’s now disrupted.

End of Turn: At the end of the turn, remove your surviving Aircraft from the battle map. You won’t be able to place disrupted Aircraft during your next flight phase—you’ll have to wait until the disruption wears off first.

Aircraft Combat

Attacks Against Aircraft: When attacking an Aircraft, units use their anti-Soldier attack values, but get a –1 penalty on each attack die.

Hit Counters on Aircraft: An Aircraft that receives two simultaneous hits gets a face-down Destroyed counter, just like a Soldier.

Terrain: Aircraft never have cover. Terrain does not block line of sight to or from an Aircraft.

Facing: Like Soldiers, Aircraft have no facing.

Defensive Fire: Aircraft can’t make defensive-fire attacks against Soldiers or Vehicles that move between hexes adjacent to the Aircraft.

Stacking: Aircraft do not count toward the normal limit of four units in a hex. However, there is a limit of one Aircraft in a hex.


Some units in the Contested Skies set are better at shooting down Aircraft than others. Units with the antiair ability do not suffer the usual –1 penalty on each attack die when attacking Aircraft.

In addition, if an Aircraft is placed in a hex adjacent to a unit with the antiair ability, then the Aircraft provokes a defensive-fire attack from that unit. Other than the condition that provokes it, this attack is a normal defensive-fire attack.

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