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Hellshade

RE8s in campaign

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Are RE8s usually sitting ducks? I was flying in Jasta 7 in mid August 1918 with my trusty Fokker DVII and our flight came across a flight of 5 RE8s from RFC 59. They were above us so it took some time but we followed them and eventually were able to get above them. I noticed there were 4 RE8s at the same altitude and the 5th was flying high cover above the rest. I stayed high and out of range until I was ready and made a slashing attack against the high one. I scored hits and got him smoking so I used my diving speed to pull up behind him on his 4 or 5 o'clock and began peppering his engine from that angle as best I could. His engine burst into flames and I pulled high right to avoid him. Once I regained an altitude advantage I repeated the process with the highest bomber, sometimes making the kill on the first pass and sometimes on the second. I recieved relatively light return fire. I took them all down that way, guns on Normal. Are they usually that easy in campaign mode or did I just get lucky and find a flight of Novices in a Poor squadron?

 

Hellshade

 

 

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I was flying in Jasta 7 in mid August 1918 with my trusty Fokker DVII and our flight came across a flight of 5 RE8s from RFC 59

 

Amaizing. When I fly in that part of 1918, I usually meet 15-20 RE8s at once accompanied by several dozen fighters either with them or close enough that I can't just butcher the Harry Tates at leisure.

 

Are they usually that easy in campaign mode or did I just get lucky and find a flight of Novices in a Poor squadron?

 

2-seaters in OFF are pretty much always easy, unless they're Brisfits. They have next to no self-preservation instinct, let alone the idea of working together with others in their flight. The most I've ever seen 2-seaters do under attack is a periodic "Indian run" where one of the front planes in the gaggle circles around to become the last plane, coming in behind you if you're behind the previous rear plane. But even this isn't a threat because the 2-seater behind you never shoots his front gun at you, and whether or not 1 circles back like this, the others just sit there and take it. I'd really like to see them weave like the 2-seaters in the FCJ remake of RB2, so you could never settle in under the tail of 1 because it wouldn't hold still, and at least 1 of the others would always be shooting a rear gun at you.

 

59 Sqd was one of the 1st RE8 squadrons, having them in Bloody April when most RFC 2-seater squadrons were stil in Quirks and Fees. However, this didn't seem to have helped them any as they sufffered losses as bad as the Quirk outfits (and these were Quirks with at least some semblance of a rear gun). So I'd imagine they didn't have much chance to build up an experienced cadre. In general, it seems that the Quirk were just too slow and stable for air combat. OTOH, the RE8 didnn't have the performace much better and was pure evil to fly, so killed a lot of aircrew in accidents on top of getting cut to bits in air combat.

 

In OFF, the RE8 is totally benign (if you don't mind an obstructed forward view, but at least it's better than in a DFW). It's a great barnstorming machine, easily able to do things that would have killed you graveyard dead in the real thing. However, it's very flimsy, burns easily, and can't fly at all with part of the structure shot off, unlike other 2-seaters. Thus, if you land a good burst on it, it goes down.

 

I've done several careers as an RE8 gunner in 59 Squadron. Most missions result in 60-90% losses.

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Regarding the RE8; an extract from a short history of 3Sqn AFC, in Chapter 3 (The Eyes of the Army) of 'Men and Machines of the Australian Flying Corps', published by Kookaburra Publications in the 1970's:

QUOTE

Despite the fact that an RE8 often had to contend with something like half a dozen fast enemy fighters, losses from these combats were relatively light and in quite a few cases resulted in another victory for the squadron score. One of the flight commanders, Capt E. J. Jones, seemed to attract German fighters in the same way that a honeypot attracts bees, and he was instrumental in two of his observers adding to the list with a Pfalz falling to the Lewis gun of Lt A. L. D. Taylor on 21st April (the day of Richthofen's death), and a Fokker triplane to Lt R. Hainsworth on 16th May. Unfortunately, another fight with triplanes four days later resulted in Jones being wounded and Taylor being killed, although the stricken pilot managed to reach his aerodrome.

UNQUOTE

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Like has already been mentioned, all two-seaters (except the Brisfit and the Roland C.II that fight back, but the latter only if flown by a capable, aggressive Staffel) in OFF behave rather calmly when attacked. It is something that I'd like to see improved in P4. You can try to reduce their huge losses by trying to fly your fighter more realistically, ie. stop attacking them if your plane gets hit a lot by the rear gunners.

 

I did survive well over 50 hours in RFC 21 and all through the Bloody April flying the RE8, but it meant a lot of running away and getting shot to pieces by elite Jastas. Then I transferred my pilot to a Brisfit squadron and paid them back dearly. If the devs do change the Harry Tate's flight model to a more nightmarish version in P4 (I'm talking about nasty spins), then it will probably be even more fun. :grin:

 

Edit: Wrong squadron.

Edited by Hasse Wind

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Hello,

most two seaters were not flown aggressively, the only exceptions being the Roland "Walfisch", the Sopwith 1 1/2 strutter, and the "Brisfit". There are those two theories of surviving a fighter attack, of either aggressively attacking oneself, or fly on in formation as a group, and have a stable platform for defensive gunning.

However with the RE8 there was not really a choice, having a "range" of some 5 mph between stall and maximum speed :grin:

The RE8 had a too weak and thus overstressed engine, for the big lumbering airframe, and it was also prone to "conk out" and stay all the time.

 

British two seaters suffered a long time, and were sent in in masses, to gain information, until the DH4, the Breguets, and the Brisfits appeared on the scene.

Germany usually sent high flying 1-2 two seaters, with big engines and able to quickly gain altitude after a recon mission. No british plane was able to get most of the Rumpler planes at their service ceiling.

I always wonder why the Entente did not concentrate on building better recconnaissance planes for so long. Imho the BE2s and RE8s remained in service far too long.

 

Greetings,

Catfish

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I think the OFF Re8 is hampered by the limited traverse of its rear gun

I checked and it has a similar traverse rate to the Brisfit

But with a little caution the rear gunner can usually be avoided

And as said; she burns and breaks up rather easily

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I think the OFF Re8 is hampered by the limited traverse of its rear gun

 

CAVEAT: This is actually quite difficult to measure because AI gunners seem to have a wider field of fire than human gunners, at least sometimes. That is, I THINK I've occasionally taken fire from rear gunners at angles I know for a fact that I can't duplicate when I'm the gunner in the same type of 2-seater. However, this doesn't happen very often, so either I'm imagining things or the AI rarely exploits its extra field of fire. So, for purproses of this post, assume that the AI is limited to the same arc as a human, which seems to be the case at least most of the time.

 

Anyway, all OFF 2-seaters suffer from their rear guns having an unrealistically restricted field of fire. In the vertical plane, they're limited to about -5^ to +45^. In the horizontal plane, they're limited to about 80^ on either side of the tail. In real life, however, the vertical motion was about -70^ to +80^, and they could be traversed at least 150^ on either side of the tail (early planes) or a full 360^ (later planes). As a result, there was a narrow blind spot under the fuselage, but the gunner could shoot down steeply close to the fuselage sides. Also, gunners could shoot forward at an angle between their wings and often also up and forward over the pilot.

 

It's this lack of realistic firing arcs that make 2-seaters in OFF such easy meat. Because they can't shoot downwards to their sides as they could in real life, their formations offer no mutual support. In real life, a fighter under the tail of one 2-seater would be engaged by the gunners of the other planes in the formation, but not in OFF. Thus, you can park below an OFF 2-seater formation and wipe it out quite easily. In addition, the lack of elevation and forward arcs for the guns allows fighters to make diving passes, or angled front passes, completely immune to return fire.

 

The whole idea of having 2-seaters lumber along seemingly oblivious to attacking fighters only makes sense in the context of interlocking, mutually supporting fields of fire. That's the whole reason for having a formation in the 1st place. And you read time after time that as long as formations remained intact, the 2-seaters were able to hold off the fighters, but once the formation broke up, it wsa a massacre, at least for the strays.

 

So it seems to me that there are 2 options to fix the problem:

 

1. Current non-maneuvering AI + realistic gunner arcs

 

or

 

2. Current unrealistic gun arcs + maneuvering AI.

(By "maneuvering AI", I mean just having the 2-seaters remain in formation and on the same base course as before, but each plane weaves side-to-side individually. As they do so, their bank angle allows their gunners to fire down, thus providing some mutual support, plus they're not such easy targets).

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