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For me, an attraction of the OFF dynamic campaign was to experience the development of the ‘war’ as it unfolded from beginning to end.

 

With this in mind, I ran my pilots in chronological order, from February 1915, enlisting each new one from around the time the previous one fell. In the interests of reaching the Armistice before 2020 I flew missions at an OFF time interval of about a week, roughly my real life rate.

 

I flew two-seaters in Flanders. BE2s with 2 RFC, until the FK8 would have come in, then transferred to 5 RFC at a nearby airfield, with RE8s.

 

So after 2 years and 4 months real time, during which I played OFF exclusively (excepting a few weeks around last Christmas), I finally reached the Armistice. I think there aren’t so many long term two-seater fliers around, so I thought a few stats might be of interest.

 

Of my 12 pilots that were ‘lost’, 9 were killed and 3 were imprisoned for the duration.

 

I was only brought down totally out of control twice. Once resulting from AA, once after colliding with a flight member. I fly ‘dice roll on death’ and was only ‘hospitalised’ on both these occasions - a little too unrealistically lucky perhaps.

 

Every other time I was brought down I retained some degree of control, and survival depended on the success of a forced landing.

 

Enemy scouts proved to be a lesser problem than ground units, as the following figures show.

 

Losses to;

 

A.A. 5

 

Enemy aircraft 4

 

Ground fire 2

 

Landing accident 1

 

In fact, considerable amounts of time could go by without us seeing any enemy scouts, although the number of two-seaters noticeably increased.

 

From June 1915 to spring 1916 we were engaged frequently by Fokker EIIIs. I was then briefly troubled by Roland CIIs – I found their ability to fire at me from all angles more worrying than the Eindeckers.

 

Throughout the whole Battle of the Somme period, and right into December 1916, when I was attacked once by Halberstadts, we were not engaged by a single enemy aircraft, and saw little other evidence of them.

 

Between then and October 1917 we were engaged around 6 times. Variously by Albatros D.IIs, IIIs and Vs as time went on.

 

Although we dodged some Pfalz DIIIs, we were not engaged again by enemy aircraft until May 1918 when Fokker DVIIs began to periodically swarm all over us. The last time we were engaged by them was 7th October 1918.

 

I didn’t ever see any sign of a Fokker Dr.1.

 

I always concentrated on achieving the allotted mission, and didn’t go chasing things to shoot at (as I have been prone to do in other sims), mostly only firing at enemy aircraft in defence of my other flight members (not counting my rear gunner in RE8s). Consequently I haven’t ever been credited with shooting down an enemy – although I have hit some!

 

I don’t know if anyone else has run OFF this way. I realise it doesn’t exactly reflect the experience of the real air crews, and it tested my patience at times, but it has been interesting to see the virtual war develop over time.

 

Now I think I’ll get me a single-seater and see if can’t down something!

Edited by Wayfarer

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Wayfarer, that is a very interesting report. Most of it sounds very believeable compared to RL.

The German air force was much smaller than the Entente's, and the disproportion grew with the war time.

Although many Entente flyers were hit hard, others must have been luckier most of the time.

 

Being the fighter type rather, I admire your patience flying the big ones (which were the more important planes tactically).

I wish you good luck with the scout carreers. Please report, what you choose to fly.

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Wayfarer, I have just started the same ,but from the German side. It will be interesing if my stats match up to yours - Thanks for the info.

Edited by Beanie

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Thanks for the report Wayfarer: looks like there could be a disproportionate number of losses there to high AA fire - were you using my AA mod or the standard OFF ground fire settings? If you were using my AA mod, do you therefore feel that it should be toned down a bit? Although for the early war it is less effective than the standard OFF settings, it does becomes slightly more effective than OFF settings towards the end of the war (on Normal), although this is offset somewhat by the reduced lethality of the AA rounds.

 

Bletchley

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The OFF Realism Bundle, JSGME Enabled, includes 33Lima's Flak Mod. It is based on Bletchley's AA Mod, which is also included, but with a slightly toned down lethality with a slightly more dense Archie burst pattern to aid in EA recognition.

 

OlPaint

Edited by OlPaint01

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I wish you good luck with the scout carreers. Please report, what you choose to fly.

 

Olham, I am still thinking about trying an Eindecker, a feeling your recent post at SimHQ has reinforced. I'll let you know.

 

Wayfarer, I have just started the same ,but from the German side. It will be interesing if my stats match up to yours - Thanks for the info.

 

Beanie, good luck - It's a long haul, but rewarding to stick with I think.

 

Thanks for the report Wayfarer: looks like there could be a disproportionate number of losses there to high AA fire - were you using my AA mod or the standard OFF ground fire settings? If you were using my AA mod, do you therefore feel that it should be toned down a bit? Although for the early war it is less effective than the standard OFF settings, it does becomes slightly more effective than OFF settings towards the end of the war (on Normal), although this is offset somewhat by the reduced lethality of the AA rounds.

 

Bletchley

 

Bletchley, I have been using your historical mods, but not the specific AA mod (I have been battling some unexplained hanging for some months and didn't want to add any more mods for the time being).

I don't think that there is anything in my experience to suggest any problem with these.

Two of the pilots lost to AA were from quite early on, just before I started to use your mods. I must have been subject to some AA fire on nearly every mission since then, and I was hit by only a very small proportion of this fire. Hits that brought me down were almost always extremely close. (The type that make you jump in your chair!)

A significant part of the disparity in numbers was due, I think, to the large proportion of missions in which we didn't encounter any enemy aircraft - or certainly not fighters - at all.

From my records, we were only engaged by fighters on around 13% of the missions from later June 1916 to the Armistice.

Edited by Wayfarer

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Olham, I am still thinking about trying an Eindecker, a feeling your recent post at SimHQ has reinforced. I'll let you know.

If you fly the Eindecker, you should postpone the victories to make onto the later fighters,

or concentrate on the BE2c, to train the shooting down.

Most of your energy will go into survival.

But I don't say it's no fun - it is a challenge.

Again - all the best!

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Great report, Wayfarer. If you do try the Eindecker, I suggest HPW's flight model mod which greatly improves handling with the rudder. Version 2.2, which combines the AI Empty Weight mod, is here at CA. Version 2.05 doesn't include the AI EW mod, which causes some AI planes to have trouble taking off, and is available at SimHQ. The mod manager built into my OFFice campaign editor lets you easily switch between them if you have both installed.

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Amzing persistance there, Wayfarer! Congrats on seeing out the war. :drinks:

 

I found the causes of your losses interesting. I'm surprised you were brought down by flak so often. I've only ever used the regular OFF flak, no mods, because I've never had a problem with it. In fact, I've never once been shot down by it in all my careers, whether scouts or 2-seaters. On bomber or recon missions, I often collect a few shrapnel holes but that's realistic from what I've read.

 

Now AAMGs are another matter entirely. I avoid them like the plague because they usually take me out regardless of what I'm flying, if I get below about 2000' over their nests.

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In fact, I've never once been shot down by it in all my careers, whether scouts or 2-seaters. On bomber or recon missions, I often collect a few shrapnel holes but that's realistic from what I've read.

You've been lucky, Bullethead. Craziest thing I've ever seen in OFF (using OlPaint01's combined 33Lima's Flak Mod and Bletchley's AA Mod) happened when my flight returned from an uneventful patrol to find a group of Nieuport's strafing some ground troops marching less than a mile from our home airfield. We engaged, and of course our guys on the ground just kept firing into the furball.

 

I closed on one of the Nieuports and got a good close hit, but almost too close--he pulled up, engine smoking, and I nearly rammed him, diving in time to just miss. Just then I noticed my wingman coming in for a pass on the same enemy plane. A "friendly" flak shell exploded into my wingman, sending him careening into the Nieuport. The flaming Nieuport dropped right onto my head.

 

Somehow survived with injuries (OFFbase will soon fix the problems with "Die Roll on Death"), but wish I'd managed to capture it all on video:

 

"Three Planes, One Flak" ???

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Lothar, thanks for the advice regarding the Eindecker. I think I am definitely going to try that, possibly with a DH2 in parallel for bit of variety.

 

Bullthead, I know some of my problems with AA came when I was momentarily distracted from zig-zagging, like making a final line up on a bombing run. The first time I was ever brought down by it was the first time I ever encountered serious AA and, frankly, I was mesmerised like a cat in headlights. Just a few seconds of flying straight and I was going down in flames - it was the 'die roll on death' that saved me that time.

After that, I would constantly zig-zag once the AA opened up, and was usually ok except for the odd hole.

The last pilot I lost to AA, I was trying to figure out whether some closing aircraft were 'ours or theirs' and unconsciously straightened out for a second or two, and that was enough.

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This is indeed a fascinating report and thread as well. Now I am curious, as I haven't been able to "fly" for quite a while now, and before that was mostly QC. My question, if you start campaign mode, time could conceivably pass two ways:

 

1. The manager looks at the day you signed up, and starts a real-time calendar from that day forward; 1 day = 1 day. Thus as our Wayfarer said, it would take the same amount of time from enlistment to Armistice as it took in actuality.

 

2. The manager feeds you missions as you are able to complete them, i.e. if it's a rainy Sunday and you can fly two week's worth of missions, then that's how the date advances.

 

I'd kinda like it if it were #2, but then I don't know how they'd handle hospitalizations. Yet if it were #1, I'm thinking, ok, I get hospitalized for 24 days, & my wife says, "You haven't flown in a while..." and I tell her I'm in the hospital, and she'd just roll her eyes, "You are WAY too into this!" (especially if I were wandering about the house with bandages and crutches and kept referring to her as "nurse Gladys!) :grin:

 

Best,

 

Tom

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Bullthead, I know some of my problems with AA came when I was momentarily distracted from zig-zagging, like making a final line up on a bombing run. The first time I was ever brought down by it was the first time I ever encountered serious AA and, frankly, I was mesmerised like a cat in headlights. Just a few seconds of flying straight and I was going down in flames - it was the 'die roll on death' that saved me that time.

After that, I would constantly zig-zag once the AA opened up, and was usually ok except for the odd hole.

The last pilot I lost to AA, I was trying to figure out whether some closing aircraft were 'ours or theirs' and unconsciously straightened out for a second or two, and that was enough.

 

Strange. As mentioned, it's never once gotten me all by itself, although I suppose minor wounds from it have sometimes contributed to my subsequent deaths from other causes. And in all the thousands of planes (mine and others) I've observed being shot at by hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of shells, I can only recall seeing 8-10 planes ever knocked down by it. More than 1/2 of them were enemies I was dueling at the time, neither of us in formation. It's a very rare sight to see flak knock any plane out of any formation.

 

I think this is one of the keys. If you're in a formation, the flak battery seems to apply area fire to the area target, or perhaps each gun in the battery picks its own target. Either way, little or nothing is aimed right at any specific plane so you only pick up the odd shrapnel ding. Howver, when a plane is alone, every gun is firing at it specifically, so the odds of getting hit are rather higher.

 

Because of this, I quit worrying about flak a long time ago. I haven't zig-zagged my formation through flak in a couple of years biw and haven't noticed any difference from when I was zig-zagging. Now, if I somehow find myself alone under flak fire (which is extremely rare), I definitely zig-zag, but only then, and I exit the flak area as rapidly as possible to the exclusion of all other factors. But in general, I'm either in formation or fighting near to the rest of my flight, and I remain under flak fire as briefly as possible.

 

Anyway, I've always thought the standard OFF flak is perfect without any need to change. It doesn't seem very dangerous at all to me. But I don't like being alone in the combat zone so perhaps that's the main reason it's never gotten me. But I avoid being alone not because of flak but of fighters. I really don't think about flak at all, excapt in how it provides both sides with a way of spotting each other.

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HumanDrone, I really missed something there! My wife was doing her nurse training most of the time I was flying OFF, qualifying about 10 months ago. It would have been great training for her if I'd played out all the times my pilots got hospitalised.

My actual flying schedule was forced on me by heavy demands on computer time from my wife and two of my daughters still at school/college. I used to fly more frequently in school holiday times, and I did actually have a lot of hospitalised/captured incidents to advance time through - partly through my tragic inabilty to consistently land well. Consequently I 'saved' about a year real time.

 

Bullethead, your point about lone aircraft may well have something to do with it. I flew a lot of lone wolf missions, and seemed to lose my flight members on a number of other occasions - even though I was supposed to be leading the missions (never really figured out why)!

Although I would try to evade enemy fighters, or turn back to draw them over our own AA, I tended to plough on through AA.

3 of the 5 pilots 'lost' through AA were flying in formations, but there were several other instances when I was on my own and survived forced landings due to AA. Unfortunately my record keeping wasn't detailed enough for a completely accurate analysis.

Edited by Wayfarer

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.

 

Well done Wayfarer, very well done indeed. I wish to one day make it through the OFF War in some way, shape, or form. I did it twice in RB3D, but I've yet to get even close in the virtual skies of this sim. We live, (and die), in hope.

 

.

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Lou, perhaps we will both make this attempt in WOFF?

I too want to try that, and now with WOFF, the early months of war will be much more interesting, I guess.

 

.

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I must admit, I have thought about trying it again If I ever manage to get WOFF.

 

 

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