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Into the Blue: OFF & FE2

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Recreating a classic WW1 pilot's tale flying Sopwiths in France!

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This mission report was inspired by my reading material on a recent short holiday. I had last read Norman Macmillan's 'Into the Blue' back in the early 1970s along with other classics then available from the local public library, such as my favourites, Arthur Gould Lee's 'No Parachute' and 'Open Cockpit'.

 

While the latter two are back in print, I had to go to eBay to get a copy of 'Into the Blue', and I much enjoyed re-reading it, after all those years. The book comprises segments originally written for publication at or about the time, expanded to book format in 1929, then expanded again for the 1969 edition to include recent research by the author and with real names replacing some pseudonyms used in the earlier edition. This composite origin makes it hard sometimes to distinguish what is or isn't genuine contemporary observation or terminology; but the work is not just a good read, it's a mine of many useful snippets of information on RFC and RAF operations and training, as experienced by the author. 

 

 

The book

 

The story starts with initial training at Netherhaven and Upavon in England, 1916-17, flying first Maurice Farman MF17 'shorthorns' - also known as 'the Rumpety' - then moving on to Avro 504As and Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutters, the latter as the type on which the author would expect to fly operationally on posting to France. The main impression is that even by early 1917, flying training was very rudimentary, lacking not just combat training but even basics like spin recovery. This part of the story is brought to life with many experiences and anecdotes. The one I like best is told of one of the COs at Central Flying School, Upavon, the dapper Major Gordon Bell, who had a bad strutter. One day, the story goes, after having been shot down while on operations, he crashed into a tree:

 

"As he shinned down the tree to the ground, a resplendent staff officer rode up to him and said, 'Have you crashed? 'N-n-n-n-no,' replied G.B., 'I a-a-a-a-always l-l-l-l-land like that.' "

 

From training, the author was posted to 45 Squadron RFC, at St Marie Cappel on the northern part of the British sector, not far south of the English Channel coast. He arrived at the end of March 1917 and flew Strutters right through 'Bloody April' and beyond, regretfully finding that the 2-seater Sopwiths, though fine flying machines, were long past their best as fighters. Despite that, they had to soldier on, flying the same types of patrol as the single seater 'scouts', with the added hazard of also flying longer-range reconnaisance missions. For the latter, being fighters, they were expected to escort their own photographic machines, and though they rarely failed to get their pictures, a particularly heavy price was often paid on these missions. For some reason the author records that fellow-Strutter outfit 70 Squadron did sometimes get escorts, but never 45, who had to rely on help from whatever friendly patrols might be operating along their route. In that regard the author is fairly scathing about the failure to make any serious attempt to co-ordinate with or even inform patrols, though he also accepts that such efforts would have been prone to all kinds of difficulties.

 

Among the many interesting details is of course the experience of flying Strutters. They were apparently prone to 'float' on landing, making it too easy to overshoot landings on small operational airfields. The airbrakes fitted to Strutters may have been designed specifically to help with this. But the author records they were too close inboard to have much effect and instead, disrupted airflow over the tail so badly that pilots generally used them once and then never again! Macmillan also records the replacement of the original Ross synchronisation gear for the front-firing Vickers with the more reliable and faster-firing Sopwith Kauper system, though he also notes that the former system left the standard gun trigger in place and this was sometimes used to engage a fleeting target, regardless of the holed propellers which resulted. Macmillan also records the arrival of 130HP Clerget engines which offered little improvement over the previous 110hp versions. Despite this, the squadron performed solidly and even generated some aces, especially those who learned to fight their Strutters as crews later learned to fight the Bristol F2B Fighter, using the front gun as well as the observer's Lewis.

 

The squadron re-equipped with Camels, in the field, only during August 1917. Late in the year, they transferred to the Italian Front after the disaster at Caporetto. However, Macmillan suffered burns in a non-flying accident and when fit again back in England, was posted as an instructor. Here, his accounts of the training regime make a fine contrast to his description of his own initiation, thanks to the improvements made by then Lt Col Smith-Barry whose approach to flying training is often credited with setting the foundation for the modern syllabus, as we know it today. Macmillan primarily trained Camel pilots, and he records that no pilot he was instructing was killed or injured in a Camel crash. Interestingly, he attributes this partly to his insistence that all heavy landings must be reported so that centre-section rigging could be checked and tightened. Apparently the Camel's centre-section struts were not firmly fixed to the upper wing, but set into sockets, where they were held by the tension of the centre-section rigging. The latter could become loose, especially after a heavy landing and the author reports that after the war, the famous Hawker designer Sir Sydney Camm, confided his own belief that this was a cause of many Camel crashes.

 

The mission - Over Flanders Fields

Keen to see how well I could re-create for myself the author's experiences of combat in Strutters, I decided to start with OFF (not yet having acquired its recent successor, WOFF). There were two reasons for this. First, in my experience of WW1 sims, OFF is perhaps the best at the 2-seater experience. Second, I was sure that, with OFF's particularly faithful recreation of WW1's air war orders of battle, I would be able to choose a career in 'Forty-Five'. I was not to be disappointed as regards the second point; though with the first, I would be less happy with the results.

 

I started by creating a new pilot and his unit. I found 45 Squadron listed as a fighter squadron ('bomber' being the alternative, under which most two-seater units are listed in OFF, though it is not a very satisfactory term for WW1). I gave my character Macmillan's surname and wanted to start about the same time as he did, just before 'Bloody April'. As potential OFF careers seem to have start dates associated with a change of base or aircraft, this wasn't possible and I started instead on 28 April; near enough!

 

In the briefing screen, I was pleased to see that although I was the only Macmillan on the squadron roster, this included, as historical aces, several of those named as such in the book. Good stuff and typical OFF attention to detail!

 

Kicking off my first mission, came more typical OFF stuff, though not so good this time. Our first mission was a 'scramble', to intercept incoming enemy aircraft. In OFF there are far too many such missions and your own airfield is often the target of strafing fighters, including German ones which generally operated on their own side of the Lines and just did not undertake this kind of mission, not in early 1917 anyway and not much if at all, after that.

 

Unable to change to a different type of mission, I had to start it up, then cancel the mission, after it had loaded. Then start another mission. This wasn't much better - a railyard attack. At this point in the war this would have been a common enough target for a bombing raid, but for BE2s or the like, not our squadron or other fighters. The RNAS operated Strutters in the bomber role but these were I think generally the single-seater version. Besides, 45 Squadron was listed in OFF as a fighter squadron and as Norman Macmillan's book makes clear, that's how they operated, along with southern neighbours and fellow Strutter unit 70 Squadron - as fighters who sometimes also flew longer-range recce missions.

 

Third time lucky, my next effort generated a more realistic mission - a reconnaisance. This was only up to the trenchlines, and thus not really the sort of mission commonly flown by RFC Strutters by Macmillan's account, but it would do nicely. Unusually for the period, we had an escort - four RNAS Sopwith Pups. Here's the mission briefing screen:

 

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OFF sometimes assigns rather large numbers to a mission but the five squadron machines on this show was pretty representative of the period. Here we we are at St Marie Cappel - naturally, OFF has the squadron operating from the correct airfield, even though these are now generic layouts not the accurate airfields commonly featured in the previous release, Phase 2.

 

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Oddly I think for late April 1917, the default 'skin' for the squadron has PC10 brown wings but clear doped linen fuselages and red and white tailplanes - more accurate I'd think for the squadron's early days, in late 1916. Macmillan several times refers to their planes as being brown and both the operational Strutters pictured in 'Into the Blue' have dark fuselages as well as upper wings. For my own machine, I opted to use a different skin, that for the aircraft of the man who became better known as Air Chief Marshall Sir Arthur 'Bomber' Harris. He's noted as an efficient flight commander in Macmillan's book and it's a nice OFF touch that I can fly in a plane flown by someone featured in the book. The overall PC10 uppers, with the forward fin in a lighter colour, white fuselage band behind the roundel and white number ahead, nicely matches a 45 Sqdn Strutter pictured in flight in the book, numbered '2' and said to be flown by Garratt and Carey.

 

I don't know how I did it but in fiddling about unsuccessfully to get Ankor's DX mod (which adds self-shadowing to WOFF planes, and has been got to work in OFF and CFS3 by MajorMagee over at Sim OutHouse, but caused my missions not to load) I seemed to have messed up many of my OFF settings. For one thing my 'Always lead' option was not working on this mission. I didn't notice this in the briefing nor did I twig when one of the flight - the real leader - took off ahead of me. Anyway, getting over my irritation at one of the chaps taking off (as I believed) in front of the boss, I checked controls, started up and roared off down the runway and into the air. I say 'roared' but the OFF engine sound is rather muted.

 

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Turning to orbit the aerodrome, I found that, although not tail-heavy and stable enough in level flight, she needed a great deal of bottom rudder to avoid her tail drooping badly in a turn.

 

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The OFF Strutter is a good-looking bird, with a nicely-appointed cockpit, complete with reproductions of brass manufacturer's plaques and a padded windshield. I suspect many pilots removed the latter for better visibility and hoped not to regret its inclusion in OFF, later! Wing ribs are enhanced by what appears to be bump-mapped textures. Another nice OFF touch is the rendition of the transparent material on the centre section. She has the French Etevée Lewis gun mount for the observer, which was probably something of an antique by Spring 1917, in the RFC anyway. It may better suit the French Strutters; but tho the Aviation Militaire ended up a bigger user of the Strutter than the British, they were late adopters and I suspect most French machines would have had the British Scarff ring mount. I don't know if the WOFF Strutter changes this but I'm sure its textures are much improved.

 

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I duly orbited the airfield in a climbing spiral, still not having realised that I was not leading the flight. This may be why I wasn't able to select 'Next waypoint' on the Tactical Display and get my blue route line to skip to the heading of the objective. Or it might be down to my lost settings, which included my joystick key assignments and my lower-visibility tactical display and labels (an Olham mod).

 

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So I ended up following all the many waypoints before the leg to the Lines. As I did so, I used the padlock and 'player-target view' to have a look at our escort, the RNAS Pups. OFF uses the limited CFS3 view system which is much less satisfactory for this sort of thing than, say, FE2 or RoF; but I gather WOFF has made some improvements in this direction.

 

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Finally, the current route line switched to the direction of the objective and I settled down into a steady climb towards the Lines, still thinking myself the leader and watching to see if I needed to throttle back to let 'my' flight catch me up.

 

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...to be continued!

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Trials, tribulations and Albatrosses

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Climbing for the front, I looked around to see how well - or how badly - my flight was catching up. They were nowhere to be seen. Knowing that in OFF your flight often falls well below you on a climb and that you need to level out before they seem to realise this and begin to make the effort to climb up to you, I looked down.

 

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Sure enough, there they were. But leveling off did not produce the expected climb up to join me. This was unusual. Also unusual was the escort of Pups. Usually an OFF escort will be above and ahead. But this one, while ahead, was on my level.

 

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Finally, the proverbial penny dropped. I realised that I was NOT the leader of this flight, and that it was ME who was out of formation.

 

This ought not to have been a big problem, so far on my own side of the Lines. Just an embarrassment, really, liable to get me in for a spot of wigging from the boys, back in the mess, afterwards. But things were not as they should be. Before I could make a move to rejoin formation, flying in the external view as I generally do pre- and post-combat, I saw a very strange thing.

 

My observer moved.

 

If you play RoF and/or FE, this isn't strange at all, of course. Your observers and your pilots will both move, quite a lot. But not in OFF. Pilots don't move at all - a few have their heads rotate left or right with aileron movement, including the Strutter's, but so very little it's hard to notice it. Mostly, they just sit there. Like this:

 

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The observer will rotate and his MG will elevate or depress, but only if he is tracking a target. So...the second penny dropped. I had just seen my observer's gun swing around, then back to the rear. He must have been tracking a target, briefly. Oooooh dearie me!

 

Seeing nothing, I cheated...well, sort of. I turned on the radar - sorry, the Tactical Display. And there they were, a series of little red squares somewhere just ahead. Huns!

 

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What I did manage to see without the benefit of the 'TAC' was our escort suddenly swinging down and away...into the attack, evidently. That was good.

 

Not so good was that Hun scouts were operating well over the British side of the Lines. This seems to happen rather a lot in OFF and though, as here, it can make for some exciting moments, it is pretty wildly un-realistic for it to happen with any frequency.

 

But Hun scouts was what they were. There seemed to be two separate flights, no less; V-strutted Albatros DIIIs and some red-ruddered Albatros DIIs.

 

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I would likely have felt obliged to lodge a serious official protest with the OFF campaign system, the UN Security Council or anyone else who might have listened, had not this threat been dealt with effectively by our escorting Pups. For we never saw those Huns again...at least, I didn't think so, at the time.

 

Looking around, I was relieved to see my flight plodding along un-interupted, just ahead and below, evidently not in the least bothered by all of this. So I swung down and tucked myself into formation with them, now at last in something like my proper place in the scheme of things.

 

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This is where things started again to go awry. I held my place for a while but as we neared the Lines, my flight began to climb like they were on some sort of invisible escalator that I had missed. Up, up and away they went.

 

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I managed to catch up somewhat by cutting a corner as they turned south to fly down the Lines, on our photographic run presumably. But I was still rather far below them, and feeling quite vulnerable as German AA bursts started to dot the skies. If I was the plane carrying the camera on this trip, HQ might not get to see the nice pictures it was expecting our mission to obtain and come back with!

 

Suddenly the chances of the staff officers being disappointed seemed to increase. I don't know why I did it; but at that point, I turned on the 'radar' again. As you can see from the red '1NM' at the bottom, I have its range turned down from the default 8 miles to just one and with an observer behind me, that's perhaps not too un-realistic, as compensation for the limits of 'MonitorVision'. But as you can also see, the red dots are back. At least this time the Huns are not assailing us in our own back yard and have had the decency to wait for us to arrive over the trenches!

 

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The Huns were more V-strutters. As they carried no Jasta markings, I could not tell if they were some of the same fellows who'd tried to mob us back on our side. Not that this mattered much. We were now in trouble, or so it seemed.

 

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At this point, still straggling rather too far below my flight and thus facing an early and violent virtual end, I had a brainwave. I decided to switch to the gunner view and see if my AI pilot was able to do what I couldn't. A similar kludge can work in Panzer Elite, I knew - if your own tank gets stuck, switch to a 'wingman's' tank and then back, after the AI has unstuck your own. I wasn't sure the same sort of thing would work in OFF but it seemed worth a try. If it didn't, I could at least shoot back at the Huns as they came in behind me, while maybe getting some protection from the guns of the flight above.

 

And it worked. My now-AI pilot weaved a bit at first but before too long, we were back in formation! Now, bring on the Huns!

 

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Except, the Huns didn't want to be brought on. I watched one of them slide across in behind us, some distance off, but then we flew into some cloud and when we came out, the Huns were nowhere to be seen. How strange!

 

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We stooged about for a bit but soon turned west for home. Tiring of this, I started to 'warp' but that quickly exited, denoting enemies were within about the max 'radar' range of 8 miles. Seeing nothing, I increased the 'radar' range so that I could at least know what it was we would likely fly past, unknowing. The answer was more Huns on our side and/or where no Huns should usually be.

 

There was a couple of DFW two-seaters, low down over our territory but heading east and home. And a single Albatros DIII, sitting disconsolately on the ground, likely a victim of our Pup escort. Serves him right for ignoring good tactics (and the history books) and operating on our side, I thought to myself. Higher up, there were a couple more like him, again possibly from the same shower who'd met our Pups on the way out. Nobody made a move in our direction and as I'd expected, we continued on as if neither side had seen the other.

 

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By now, we hadn't far to go to get home and I exited the mission as my AI flight broke as if to land.

 

While the historical trappings had been rather good, the operational bit had been rather a disappointment. In the stock CFS3 campaigns, you are intentionally presented with a sort of parallel WW2 history where German shipping plies the English Channel in daylight and where, even after 1942, England could have been invaded. Having the skies well over the British side in 1917 fairly full of German fighters and low-level two-seaters isn't quite on that scale but for historical accuracy, it's not really much better. And while it was my fault that I got out of formation, it was frustrating that when I caught on, I couldn't keep up. Perhaps if I'd used an 'empty weight' mod which forces the AI to fly with at least some of the weight of fuel and ammo, things would have been better. At least we made it back with those virtual photographs and the brass hats will be happy, until next time.

 

Next up, the Strutter in First Eagles 2!

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The Strutter mission in First Eagles 2

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The Strutter mission in OFF had presented some niggles; some of my own making, but mainly those Germans uncharacteristically operating behind our lines. However, as a mission it had gone well, with our goal accomplished and without casualties. Apart from the issue - admittedly, a rather large one - of all those unhistorical, errant Hun flights, it was almost straight from the pages of the book. In particular, I'd benefited from OFF's fantastic depth of historical content, able to fly in Norman Macmillan's own 45 Squadron alongside some of the pilots whose names and exploits I'd read about in 'Into the Blue'. I'd even been able to fly in a Strutter with the markings of one of the squadron's real-life pilots. Great stuff. Now, how would a comparable mission go, in First Eagles? 

 

In FE2, I elected to fly the Strutter in Ojcar’s ‘Armchair Aces’ campaign. This being a set of month-by-month campaigns, I was able to start from 1 May 1917 (chosen to get close to the late April start of my OFF mission). FE campaigns provide players with a selection of squadrons flying the available planes. While (modded) FE2 has many more planes to choose from than OFF, unlike the latter FE won’t let you fly in every squadron operating any given flyable plane. May 1917 in Armchair Aces does not offer 45 Squadron. But having created a new pilot for the campaign, I was able to choose fellow Strutter unit 70 Squadron, instead. In fact the other RFC Western Front Strutter squadron, no.43, was also listed, along with at least one French Strutter outfit - 45 was the only one of the RFC's not available! I suspect adding 45 would be a fairly simple hand edit, if you knew what you were doing.

 

FE2 based us at Fienvillers, a few miles north of Amiens and bit further to the west-south-west of Arras, the front-line town which gave its name to the land battle over which Bloody April was fought. I’m not sure if 70 Sqdn was genuinely based here at this period. The general location is well south of 45 Squadron's authentic OFF base of St Marie Cappell. So we were operating on a different stretch of the front, probably a busier one at this point in 1917. And though I didn’t know it yet, my FE2 Strutter mission was certainly going to be a whole lot busier than the OFF one I’d just flown!

 

To get just the sort of missions featured in 'Into the Blue' I had previously checked the May 1917 campaign data.ini file in Wordpad. In the entry for the squadron, I reduced the possibility of a 'close air support' (Strike Fighters terminology's used here) mission from 50% to zero; ditto for an 'escort' mission. I left recce and patrol at 80% possibility. There was already zero possibility of other inappropriate missions, like an intercept.

 

Our first mission was a patrol, this time just up to the trenchlines in the vicinity of the village of Villers-Ploich, where the planning map showed some of our units were attacking. Our assigned altitude was 3,400 feet, probably fine for many operations but unrealistically low for a patrol in good weather. While I believe campaign designers can control mission heights, I’m fine with FE generally keeping things low as this saves tedious climbing and possibly makes encounters more rather than less likely, without having to resort to using on-screen visual aids or fly uneventful missions.

 

In ‘Into the Blue’, Norman Macmillan says that Line Patrols were often flown at this time with just one or two machines, often the less experienced pilots. Offensive Patrols (to about 4 miles into enemy territory) and Distant Offensive Patrols (10-12 miles over) were flown in flight strength, typically up to 6 aircraft. The mission allocated just two of us for our line Patrol but at the squadron roster, I chose three names from the bottom, to give my preferred strength of four aircraft. On this trip, my companions would be Lieutenants Sinclair, Hallowes and Edwards.

 

You can’t alter waypoint heights in FE2 but unless you’re on an escort mission, you can alter their locations. As I generally do, I dragged the last waypoint before our triangular objective marker to a point some distance further north over the Lines. This meant that if I used the ‘Next encounter’ key, if nothing else intervened and I ‘came out of warp’ at this ‘initial point’, I would be far enough away from the target area to give myself time to see and prepare for my approach to that potentially dangerous zone.

 

Here we are taking off from Fienvillers. Unusually for FE, our aircraft have neither serial numbers on the fin nor aircraft letters or numbers on wings or fuselages. Not sure why, though it’s worth noting that Macmillan says that at one time, 45 Squadron’s Strutters did not carry any individual markings except the serial numbers.

 

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I think the FE Strutter is a stock plane made flyable by adding a cockpit; in fact, it has the cockpit interior of the SPAD VII! This doesn’t bother me as I spend no time looking at cockpit interiors. The only problem I found here was the lack of a gunsight or failing that, any bracing wires I could use to judge my aim with the forward-firing Vickers gun. This - and my failure to practice my shooting in a Strutter, to get used to this set-up before flying on operations - was to have serious consequences, later!

 

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Externally, the FE Strutter is a superb replica, enhanced not only by dynamic self-shadowing and bump-mapped textures, aminated control surfaces and rotary engine, but also by the nicely-posed and well-animated crew figures.

 

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In FE you're always the flight leader so no formation-keeping chores or worries about 'iffy' flight leadership AI. As I oriented myself and turned for the front, my flight-mates caught up and, though they weaved about a bit, stuck close behind me.

 

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The skies seemed to be clear of friend or foe. After flying on for a bit and reassuring myself that this was so, I hit the 'Next encounter' key and, as often happens, found myself arriving at my previously-adjusted 'initial point', at about three and a half thousand feet above the Lines.

 

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In 'Into the Blue', Macmillan several times describes the front as a slimy brown snail-like trail across the landscape, so perhaps the 'river of brown' effect you get in both FE and RoF is actually as valid a representation as OFF's more 'patchwork' alternative, which latter I still tend to prefer.

 

Heading south down the trenchlines with my three Strutters close behind, the first indication that we had arrived at the war was some sporadic German Archie bursts, which I pretty well ignored, much as service tradition dictated. At that point, my main concern was - where there any Huns around?

 

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...to be continued!

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'The work of our 1 1/2 Strutters was nearly over. They had done good work despite deficiencies in performance; but at high cost in men and aircraft'

Norman Macmillan, 'Into the Blue'

 

To the question 'Where are the Huns?' the answer seemed to be 'elsewhere'. The skies looked clear all around us. They didn't stay that way for long. Looking half left, east into Hunland, I saw a series of black AA bursts begin to dot the skies, some way off but at about the same level. Black bursts meant German fire, directed at friendly machines.

 

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I flew along for a bit, keeping a lookout for any other aircraft but mostly watching the Archie. A dark trail appeared and lanced down to the left, with a fainter smoke trail forking down to the right. An aircraft going down, possibly two, after a collision.

 

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Staring hard, I could just about make out a small swarm of faint objects, looking like a small cloud of midges swirling around one another. An air fight in progress! As far as I could make out, it was about 2-3 miles away. Looking around again, there were no other aircraft to be seen, so I banked left and steered straight towards the scene of the action. As I drew slowly closer, I saw one aircraft detach itself from the melée and slide across to the right, flying level and seemingly intact, possibly a friendly aircraft escaping back towards the Lines. Meanwhile, the dogfight continued, gradually drifting lower.

 

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My first instinct had been to climb as I approached the fight, so as to give myself the opportunity to see from above what I was getting myself into. The dogfight's descent made this un-necessary. But, I reasoned, I had to consider the possibility that the friendly aircraft over there might need urgent assistance. I nosed into a dive, so as to arrive as quickly as I could, at the cost of my height advantage.

 

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This was soon to prove to be a very serious mistake, even if made quite deliberately and with the best of intentions!

 

...to be continued!

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'When the four Huns closed on them the observers fired a burst at the nearest and the two pilots splitarsed round and opened fire at them with their front guns. These tactics did not appeal to this particular clutch of Huns'

Norman Macmillan, 'Into the blue'

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We drew closer to the air fight ahead and below, which was now drifting slightly right. I hung on a little longer then gave the signal for an attack. For better or worse, we were now completely committed to entering the fray.

 

At this point, two things happened. First, one of the original combatants went down streaming light grey smoke in dive which quickly became terminal, possibly a victim of the flak. Either way, I sensed he was one of ours.

 

The second thing was that I noticed that the other aircraft in the flight appeared to have distinctive spade-like tails. Exactly like those on an Albatros scout. It was at about this time that I began to get the feeling that this might end badly for us.

 

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Sure enough, the last of the friendly planes had evidently gone down. Now, it was just the four of us, against a bunch of hot-shot Huns in V-strutters who had just tasted blood and were now after some more - ours.

 

Confirmation came in the form of a red-bodied DIII which came up at me head on. Suddenly missing the presence of any kind of gunsight, I gave him an uncertain burst as he flashed past. I literally ducked as I missed piling into him by what really looked like inches. Then I pulled hard around after him, to have another go.

 

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In my haste to engage, I had committed various sins. For one thing, I hadn't counted the enemies. Possibly three, four at most, I estimated, which gave us a fighting chance. So relying on my flight-mates to shift for themselves, I went for the first Hun.

 

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Round and round we went. Despite the gaudy red fuselage, this Hun didn't seem to be all that hot. He seemed to lose sight of me from time to time, or perhaps he was distracted by the other aircraft. Each time I went for him he broke into a tight turn which he did not sustain long, enabling me to have another crack. But I always seemed to be missing him, with that difficult sight picture. I could see that I was getting some hits, but not nearly enough.

 

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By the time I realised that I had to get close or run out of ammunition, it was too late. I finally made it right on top of him and let him have it. My Vickers fired off its last few rounds and clicked to a halt.

 

img00171.jpg

 

No time now for self-recrimination! By this point, I was rather low, having pushed my Strutter hard to keep up with the first Hun. I now broke away from him and headed back to the main scrap. My plan was to join the general scramble over there and rely on both the fire of my observer and on the cover of the guns of my flight-mates. The RFC's FE2 pusher 2-seaters are frequently described as flying in a defensive 'Lufberry' circle in such circumstances, but by another account the tactic was more like staying roughly together in an unpredictable swarm so that attackers would find it impossible to avoid facing some defender's gun and so be hampered from making a firing pass. This was what I now had in mind. Join the swarm and hope the sharks would not single me out. Would it work? I would soon find out!

 

img00172.jpg

 

...to be continued!

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"Trenchard stopped and looked at this unusual trio of sights [an Aldis and two ring & bead sights on a 45 Squadron Camel]. 'This is what I like to see,' he boomed. 'Something original. Shows thought, which is good.' 'Tell me,' he said to John, 'how do you make use of this triple sight?' 'I don't, sir,' replied honest John, 'I just point my nose at them and hose away.'

Norman Macmillan, 'Into the Blue'

 

As I turned back into the main dogfight, the red Hun I'd spent all my Vickers rounds upon hovered menacingly above me, but seemed reluctant to try matters with my observer's Lewis, which tracked him purposefully.

 

img00173.jpg

 

Soon, I was back in the thick of it. 'It' now seemed to consist mostly of a veritable hornet's nest of Huns from two different Jastas, including the red outfit - Jasta 11 most likely - and some green-tails, possibly Jasta 5. Several aircraft wrecks now burned on the ground. There was at least one other Strutter still on the go, but mostly, there were Huns.

 

img00175.jpg

img00176.jpg

 

My cunning plan of a defensive 'beehive' had unravelled pretty fast. I tried to scare a red Hun off the tail of one of my friends but without much success, for suddenly there were tracers crashing into my machine from somewhere behind. As if that wasn't bad enough, my kite was lit up by a close burst from Archie, who wasn't waiting for anyone.

 

img00177.jpg

img00178.jpg

 

My surviving flight-mate seemed to be managing an escape from this disaster, though badly knocked about and with a dead observer.

 

img00179.jpg

 

Time to make my own escape, I thought to myself. I made a few tight turns at low level in an effort to throw off at least some of my assailants and came out facing the Lines and home.

 

img00184.jpg

img00186.jpg

 

What followed was like one of those nightmares where you're trying to escape something dreadful but are stuck in slow motion. Reminded me of that bit in Coleridge's 'Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner';

 

'Like one that on a lonesome road doth walk in fear and dread

And having once looked round, walks on and no more turns his head

Because he knows a frightful fiend doth close behind him tread'

 

I just hunched down in my seat and snaked for home, dodging the rounds that rained down all around me at intervals but not looking back. No point, really. Either they got me, or they didn't. Not much I could do.

 

img00187.jpg

 

I was, however, hoping that my observer might be able to do something about it. I recalled hearing his Lewis gun rattling behind me at least once during the earlier fight. But now, he seemed overwhelmed by the scale of the impending personal disaster. Or perhaps, by the sheer number of targets. He tracked the enemies but didn't fire. Thanks, mate. I'll remember that one.

 

img00193.jpg

 

As we got closer to the Lines, somehow escaping destruction, I began to entertain a hope that we might just get away with this. The rounds still rained down, but there seemed to be 'only' three Huns from the five or more originally in my immediate vicinity. Still blindly jinking, I finally made it across the enemy wire into No-Man's Land, then across into friendly territory.

 

img00194.jpg

img00197.jpg

 

Hopes that the Huns might not venture after me were soon dashed. One turned back, but two others came on.

 

img00214.jpg

 

Likewise dashed were hopes that my pursuers would be driven off by our Archies or AA MGs on the ground. The pursuit continued. I contemplated landing, but after checking my map decided to make for the nearest airfield, not far away, close to the Lines.

 

By this time the pursuit consisted of just a single Albatros. If I'd had any ammo left or if my observer had been any use, I'd have had a crack at him. But all I could do was continue to jink my way towards the airfield, flying so low as to make it difficult for the Hun to make a firing pass at me without risking a crash. AA defenses at the airbase were my last hope. On I went.

 

img00218.jpg

 

The ground was pretty level but it was still hard to pick out the airfield, which had looked close by on the map but seemed to be miles away when hunted in this fashion. I was much relieved when I finally spotted the row of green hangars, looming behind the red roofs and church spire of a nearby village.

 

img00219.jpg

 

For some reason, the airfield AA started firing then seemed to stop. I came in too fast and had to extend then come in again, all the while cursing the AA gunners and expecting to be knocked down by that final Hun.  But I managed to plonk my well-holed kite down in the middle of the airfield, swerving to the last, and trundled to a stop close enough to one of the AA guns for the crew to her me tell them exactly what I thought of them.

 

img00224.jpg

img00226.jpg

 

Meanwhile my Hun escort merrily buzzed the lot of us, cheated of his prey but in his way, also letting us all know what he thought of us.

 

img00228.jpg

 

The debriefing confirmed the scale of our defeat. Sinclair, Edwards and Hallowes had each bagged an Albatros, but the first two were now dead and the last one, a prisoner.

 

With the view system, I had been able earlier to confirm that there were other aircraft in the air, friendly and enemy, of which a sample is pictured below. But the only friendly scouts were some silver Nieuports and I saw neither head nor tail of them during my sortie. As Macmillan observes in 'Into the Blue', co-ordination between friendly flights was left largely to good fortune.

 

img00155.jpg

img00156.jpg

img00146.jpg

 

The Huns had followed us for a bit over our Lines and one as far as that airfield a short way over. But they were not as target-fixated as one often sees in sims, even if it happened that some had turned back only when their ammo ran out. My ineffective gunner was a big disappointment, but he might have been wounded early on; you can't man the rear gun yourself in FE and I don't think there's any way of telling at the debrief if your observer was wounded, FE being built for single-seater flying. I will, though, check the plane's data file to make sure the gunner's rates of traverse, elevation and fire have not been 'nerfed' by a mod.

 

Well, that was it; a typically exciting and eventful First Eagles mission which nicely captured the excitement of some of the desperate air fights described in 'Into the Blue'. I could have wished for a clear-vision panel in the upper wing and a better sighting arrangement for my Vickers, though. And perhaps for less Albatrosses in the air, or more friendly flights, or both. But I'm not complaining!

 

If you have Wings over Flander's Fields or the Rise of Flight Strutter, why not post a mission report of your own right here; or at least some screenies and a line or two on what the mission was and how it turned out?

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If you actually read the Armchair Aces readme, you'll know how to add the third party Strutters cockpit to the stock Strutters (British and French). Much better than trhe cockpits you have in the pictures.

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Thanks Ojcar, I checked and it looks like I forgot the last step in the readme (copy your files). Still not right tho: the cockpit coaming/edging is not sitting on top of the edge of the cockpit and is below the top of the nice new instrument panel. Any ideas?

 

img00051.JPG

 

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Far from perfect, but it's the best I can. It seems that the measures doesn't fit. Nevertheless. Armchair Aces uses both stock Strutters and the third party ones (it depends what unit you choose)

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OK, thanks - just wanted to check if I was doing something wrong. If I'd had this cockpit view in the mission, I think I might have got that Hun!

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  • Similar Content

    • By VonS


      View File Tweaked Flight Models and Realism Pack for FE2
       
       
       
      Hello Gents & Fellow Flyers of First Eagles 2,

      Included in the same folder with this ReadMe file are over 200 modified data files that I use for aircraft that are available on the CombatAce website for First Eagles 2. I’m very pleased that we have a larger selection of aircraft for the WWI period than WOFFue or ROF – well done modders and many thanks!
      The installation process for the data ini modifications is now streamlined, with all versions up to 9.7 being included per theater in a large “consolidated” folder. Inside that folder you will find earlier “Read Me” files that list previous version histories.   The latest files are found per theater in a separate “DataFilesAdditionsVer99” folder. Also take note of other folders located in the latest ver. 9.9 update, and install items into the relevant folder hierarchy of your FE2 user directory. Always install older version files first before upgrading to the latest ver. FM pack (if you are missing ver. 9.7, for example, first install the files from the big consolidated folder before overwriting with the files from ver. 9.9). General ini files for newer, created aircraft sub-variants not available on CombatAce (such as the Pfalz E.II) can be found in the relevant folders under the large, older consolidated folder.   A great many thanks go out to Peter01 and Ojcar, also TexMurphy, for making most of those flight model files to begin with. Also a great thanks goes out to Stephen1918, MontyCZ and Laton for providing lots of beautiful planes and skins that go with those great flight models, to NBell for the many hitbox improvements provided for the planes, also to VonOben, Mike Dora and Crawford for many helpful suggestions, and to the A-Team by SkunkWorks for allowing me to tweak a few of the FMs for their models too. And of course a very big thanks goes out to Geezer for several fantastic, high-quality models that were produced for FE2.
      What I've done is tinkered with the data files further. Modifications in all cases, to a greater or lesser extent, include data under the following sections:

      (a) MissionData
      (b) FlightControl
      (c) AIData
      (d) Sound
      (e) AircraftData
      (f) Engine
      (g) Crew
      (h) Internal Guns
      (i) Control Surfaces
      (j) Landing Gears
      (k) Fuselage, Nose, Tail, Vertical Tail, LeftStab, RightStab, Rudder, Left/Right/Inner/Middle/Outer/Tip Wing components
       
      As always, please read the included "Read Me" file for more thorough installation info. and details regarding the FM tweaks. Enjoy and happy flying!
      Von S
      NOTES: Ver. 9.9 of the FM & Realism Package, among other things, also removes unnecessary "DS_store" files that sometimes show up on the OS X/Mac OS side of my Macs when tweaking data inis. For several of Geezer's latest aircraft and my FMs for those aircraft (Nieuports, Pfalzes, etc.), which are not included in this package, please see the relevant post located towards the bottom of page 25 of the "New Aircraft" thread for FE2, on CombatAce. Also see relevant posts on pages 26 and 27 of that same thread for Geezer's "early beta" collection that contains the Breguet XIV, Junkers J.I, and other updates.
      DISCLAIMER: All Von S mods, for FE2, SF2, also WOFFue, are subject to the CombatAce "freeware" terms of agreement. Mods may be shared with others, included on other media devices, also modded further, providing that original documentation and/or credit is included, and providing that the mods remain free to use. Von S mods shall not be sold, resold, etc., and Von S takes no responsibility for injuries or fixations that may result from flying heavily tweaked FMs or from attempts to enjoy real flying without aid or instruction from a qualified flight instructor.
       
      Submitter VonS Submitted 10/16/2015 Category Flight Models  
    • By VonS
       
       
       
      Hello Gents & Fellow Flyers of First Eagles 2,

      Included in the same folder with this ReadMe file are over 200 modified data files that I use for aircraft that are available on the CombatAce website for First Eagles 2. I’m very pleased that we have a larger selection of aircraft for the WWI period than WOFFue or ROF – well done modders and many thanks!
      The installation process for the data ini modifications is now streamlined, with all versions up to 9.7 being included per theater in a large “consolidated” folder. Inside that folder you will find earlier “Read Me” files that list previous version histories.   The latest files are found per theater in a separate “DataFilesAdditionsVer99” folder. Also take note of other folders located in the latest ver. 9.9 update, and install items into the relevant folder hierarchy of your FE2 user directory. Always install older version files first before upgrading to the latest ver. FM pack (if you are missing ver. 9.7, for example, first install the files from the big consolidated folder before overwriting with the files from ver. 9.9). General ini files for newer, created aircraft sub-variants not available on CombatAce (such as the Pfalz E.II) can be found in the relevant folders under the large, older consolidated folder.   A great many thanks go out to Peter01 and Ojcar, also TexMurphy, for making most of those flight model files to begin with. Also a great thanks goes out to Stephen1918, MontyCZ and Laton for providing lots of beautiful planes and skins that go with those great flight models, to NBell for the many hitbox improvements provided for the planes, also to VonOben, Mike Dora and Crawford for many helpful suggestions, and to the A-Team by SkunkWorks for allowing me to tweak a few of the FMs for their models too. And of course a very big thanks goes out to Geezer for several fantastic, high-quality models that were produced for FE2.
      What I've done is tinkered with the data files further. Modifications in all cases, to a greater or lesser extent, include data under the following sections:

      (a) MissionData
      (b) FlightControl
      (c) AIData
      (d) Sound
      (e) AircraftData
      (f) Engine
      (g) Crew
      (h) Internal Guns
      (i) Control Surfaces
      (j) Landing Gears
      (k) Fuselage, Nose, Tail, Vertical Tail, LeftStab, RightStab, Rudder, Left/Right/Inner/Middle/Outer/Tip Wing components
       
      As always, please read the included "Read Me" file for more thorough installation info. and details regarding the FM tweaks. Enjoy and happy flying!
      Von S
      NOTES: Ver. 9.9 of the FM & Realism Package, among other things, also removes unnecessary "DS_store" files that sometimes show up on the OS X/Mac OS side of my Macs when tweaking data inis. For several of Geezer's latest aircraft and my FMs for those aircraft (Nieuports, Pfalzes, etc.), which are not included in this package, please see the relevant post located towards the bottom of page 25 of the "New Aircraft" thread for FE2, on CombatAce. Also see relevant posts on pages 26 and 27 of that same thread for Geezer's "early beta" collection that contains the Breguet XIV, Junkers J.I, and other updates.
      DISCLAIMER: All Von S mods, for FE2, SF2, also WOFFue, are subject to the CombatAce "freeware" terms of agreement. Mods may be shared with others, included on other media devices, also modded further, providing that original documentation and/or credit is included, and providing that the mods remain free to use. Von S mods shall not be sold, resold, etc., and Von S takes no responsibility for injuries or fixations that may result from flying heavily tweaked FMs or from attempts to enjoy real flying without aid or instruction from a qualified flight instructor.
       
    • By VonS
      Have been tinkering over the last several days with settings inside the terrain data ini files for various theaters - and I think I've managed to get rid of remaining town/building flickering that I've been experiencing in FE2 occasionally. While the towns never looked psychedelic on my rig., the flickering at times ruined immersion. The trick, on AMD vid. cards apparently, is to toggle several settings in the "AlphaObjectTexture" section. Have also gone through various object types and will upload the files under my thread for the FE2 FM package once I'm done with some more tweaks.
      Those who are running AMD vid. cards will notice that the towns/buildings look a bit more see-through (holographic) with the tweaks, but tree intersection with buildings looks more natural now from a distance - and the important thing is that the flickering is gone. Some representative pics. below - also take note that with "AlphaTestEnabled" set to FALSE, under the "AlphaObjectTexture" entry - there is even further overlap/intersection of different tree types that way - makes for more depth and also camouflage as seen in one of the pics. with the lower wings of the Alby hidden with foliage (also second-last pic.).
      Will also look at some of the MassFraction entries in the data inis for the Alb. D.I, D.II, also the D.III and D.V variants since they are rather difficult to shoot down although there is no armor on them and structural strength numbers look normal. Perhaps a leftover oddity from the days of the stock Albies - but will look into it and will upload any modifications under the post where I've included the tweaked FM for Stephen's Tripe - and what a beautiful model that is - have been flying it for a few days already.
      Von S 
       






    • By VonS
      Hello Gents,
       
      Here are the steps to take if interested in installing FE2 on a Mac. The procedure is similar to "bottling" of CFS3.1, the ETO and PTO expansion packs, also WOFF ue for the Mac, and of course RB3D, but a little "simpler" with FE2 (and RB3D) since less winetricks are required...the process is at any rate a slow one and requires patience, but is convenient if you want to have everything running on the same operating system.
       
       
      STEP ONE: go to https://sourceforge.net/projects/wineskin/ and download the latest wineskin winery (ver. 1.7 as of this writing) via the green "download" button there
       
      STEP TWO: double-click on the program; in the menu that opens click on the plus sign to the left of "new engines available," and in the list that then opens choose WS8Wine1.5.1, download it, and then - when you're back in the main menu - choose "create new blank wrapper" (now wait about 3-4 minutes for your Mac to make the custom wrapper; once finished, the wrapper will be placed in an Applications folder that has been made inside your user folder on OS X and/or macOS)
       
      STEP THREE: go to the WineSkin wrapper that's just been made and double-click on it; in the window that opens, choose "set screen options"; in the window that then opens choose "override" instead of automatic, and choose "rootless (windowed)," then "virtual desktop at" (whatever resolution suits you), then "use these settings" instead of force normal windows; once happy with your choices, click on "done" at the bottom of that window
       
      STEP FOUR: back on the main menu, choose "advanced"; in the window that opens click on "tools"; this will then open another window in which you should click on "winetricks"; in the window that then opens, type in d3d in the search window at the top, then click to expand the "dlls" menu that shows up in the list below your search, and look for d3dx11_43, and click in the box to the left of it, to select it; now click on "run" located towards the bottom of that top screen of the window you're currently in, and let it install the winetrick; once the process finishes it will say "done" in the text window that is visible in the bottom half of that same window; finally, click on the "close" button at the very bottom of the window, and you're taken back to the "wineskin advanced" menu (close that advanced menu by clicking on the close button in its menubar)
       
      STEP FIVE: double-click on the wrapper once again and choose "install software" in the main menu; then "choose setup executable" in the next window that opens and locate your exe file for FE2 that you bought (usually called setup.exe or install.exe); now let the wrapper do its thing to install the game
       
      STEP SIX: once installed, the wrapper will go back to the main menu and you can click "quit" (it may also prompt you to locate the program before it drops to the main menu, the program in this case being the exe file of the game that was just installed - best thing at this point is just to leave this alone and close that window, if it doesn't drop to the main menu automatically)
       
      STEP SEVEN: once the wrapper has quit, don't double-click on it but "right-click" it and choose the option in the popup menu on OS X and/or macOS that says "show package contents" (this will open the wrapper's folder and should list something like a contents folder, the alias to its c drive, and an app/icon called WineSkin); double-click on the app named WineSkin and you will open the main menu window again, of the wrapper, and choose "advanced"
       
      STEP EIGHT: under the advanced menu, to the right of the box called Windows EXE (that contains a file path), click on "Browse"; this will open up your finder on OS X and/or macOS, and then you can scroll into the "c drive" of the wrapper into which you've just installed FE2; in "c drive," look for "Program Files," scroll into there and look for "ThirdWire," scroll into "ThirdWire" and look for "First Eagles 2," scroll into there and look for "FirstEagles2.exe" and choose that (click "choose"); then you're back in the WineSkin advanced menu with the proper file path for the game's exe now listed in the box near the top of the window (while you're there you might want to give a name for your freshly created Mac program in the "menubar name" box, something like First Eagles 2 or FE2, and also, later, don't forget to rename your wrapper/app to First Eagles 2, for consistency, if you haven't done so already)
       
      STEP NINE: now close that advanced menu window, and double-click the program you just created (not the WineSkin icon in the window that popped open when you right-clicked and chose "show package contents," but the actual, main wrapper that is in the custom Applications folder that was created in your user folder on OS X and/or macOS) - see if the game works, and if all is well, then double-click the WineSkin logo that is visible in the window once you right-click the main app wrapper to "show package contents"; once you're in the WineSkin menu again, click on "screen options" one more time and choose "fullscreen" instead of "rootless (windowed)," also choose your desired resolution in the box below that and leave the other options at 24 bit for color depth and 0 sec. for switch pause; all the other options there should be left as they are
       
      STEP TEN: since you've now run the game successfully (in windowed mode), you will find a ThirdWire/First Eagles 2 folder located in your Documents folder (of your user folder under OS X and/or macOS); in that folder you can find, under "ThirdWire/First Eagles 2/Controls," a Default.INI file that contains the keyboard and joystick controls for the game; open this ini file in TextEdit and modify the keys to your liking (also, don't forget to tweak the joystick sensitivity slider within the game's menu too, to get the joystick to behave as you like); and one more thing - it's best to set the game resolution, within the game's menu, to the same resolution that you have set within the "screen options" of your wineskin wrapper - for everything to behave as smoothly as possible
       
      STEP ELEVEN: all user mods from CombatAce should be installed into the relevant folders of user/Documents/ThirdWire/First Eagles 2 on your Mac - not into the First Eagles 2 folder that is buried in the c drive of the WineSkin wrapper into which you installed the game's exe and the related files
       
      NOTE: Von S makes no guarantee that following such steps will recreate the magic of First Eagles 2 on your Mac, but careful following of the directions listed above should work in 99% of cases
       
      NOTE 2: the game can of course be run in windowed mode, as indicated in the earlier steps above....at say 1600 x 900...but why keep such a lovely game windowed - full screen is better for it, but you might want to keep the resolution at 1600 x 900 on lower-end systems, for better frame rates (Red Baron 3D on the other hand is better windowed at something like 1280 x 1024 - full screen is hit-and-miss with RB3D in WineSkin, but the situation may improve since WINE is always being improved)
       
      Happy flying,
      Von S   
    • By VonS
      Hello fellow FE2 fliers,
      Instead of posting under the stickied "ini tweaks" thread - that hasn't seen fresh posts in a couple of yrs., I thought I'd open a separate (small) post here for something I stumbled upon only yesterday while tinkering with my rudder setups in WOFF and IL2-BoM installs - and I realized that it might work well for FE2/SF2 too.
      Those of you flying with "twist" joystick and/or rudder pedal setups might still find this helpful - but it is especially intended for those of you who are still flying with older/cheapish sticks (such as the Logitech Attack 3 in my case, with no twist capability) - you most likely have left/right rudder mapped to the top left/right buttons on the joystick. In WOFF, and other sims, it's usually a question of (manually) clicking several times left or right to get desired rudder input, and then clicking the center button on your stick to center the rudder.
      For a few yrs., I've really only been frustrated by one thing in the TW sims., and that was the "snappish" response of the auto-rudder setup - until I dug further into some of the more obscure entries of the Default.ini file located under "C:\Users\Yourusername\Saved Games\ThirdWire\FirstEagles2\Controls" (same directory path for SF2, except substitute StrikeFighters2 for FirstEagles2).
      The relevant entries to tamper with are the following three:
      -----
      [RangedControl001]
      AxisControl=PITCH_CONTROL
      MaxValue=1000.000000
      MinValue=-1000.000000
      DeadZone=0.000000
      Saturation=115.000000
      ReverseJoystick=TRUE
      MouseScale=1.000000
      UseMouseRate=FALSE
      ReverseMouse=FALSE
      LimitValue=TRUE
      SelfCenterRate=1.000000 -----> I recommend setting this to 1.0 for FE2, to slow down the elevator self-centering rate for WWI 'crates with their wires and cables (leave at the default value of 2.0 for WW2 and Cold War installs in SF2 with "faster" hydraulic setups)
      //2.000000
      KeyControlRate=1.000000
      AllowKeyControl=TRUE
      IncreaseControl=PITCH_DOWN
      DecreaseControl=PITCH_UP
      CenterControl=   [RangedControl002]
      AxisControl=YAW_CONTROL
      MaxValue=1000.000000
      MinValue=-1000.000000
      DeadZone=0.000000
      Saturation=115.000000
      ReverseJoystick=FALSE
      MouseScale=1.000000
      UseMouseRate=FALSE
      ReverseMouse=FALSE
      LimitValue=TRUE
      SelfCenterRate=0.100000 -----> recommended, for those using left/right joystick buttons to control rudder, is to reduce to a value of about 0.1 for WWI 'crates, again to simulate cable/wire control, but also in order to allow for lots of manual left/right rudder correction that, once you stop controlling rudder, allows it to return back to center position somewhat slowly (takes about 10 seconds to return to center); for WW2 and Cold War SF2 installs, a better value to use is something like 0.25 for the self-center rate, again to mimic the extra force of hydraulic controls
      //2.000000
      KeyControlRate=1.000000
      AllowKeyControl=TRUE
      IncreaseControl=YAW_RIGHT
      DecreaseControl=YAW_LEFT
      CenterControl= -----> have not bothered to use this since I like the 0.1 value for self-centering, for FE2, but, for those lacking twisty rudders or pedals, the most logical choice here is the top center button on the joystick, sandwiched between the left/right buttons for left/right rudder input   [RangedControl003]
      AxisControl=ROLL_CONTROL
      MaxValue=1000.000000
      MinValue=-1000.000000
      DeadZone=0.000000
      Saturation=115.000000
      ReverseJoystick=FALSE
      MouseScale=1.000000
      UseMouseRate=FALSE
      ReverseMouse=FALSE
      LimitValue=TRUE
      SelfCenterRate=1.000000 -----> I recommend setting this to 1.0 for FE2, to slow down the aileron self-centering rate for WWI 'crates with their wires and cables and generally sloppy ailerons (leave at default value of 2.0 for WW2 and Cold War installs in SF2 with "faster" hydraulic setups, as with the elevator setup in the relevant entry in this post)
      //2.000000
      KeyControlRate=1.000000
      AllowKeyControl=TRUE
      IncreaseControl=ROLL_RIGHT
      DecreaseControl=ROLL_LEFT
      CenterControl=   ----- Von S 
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