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IL-2 DBW - Defence of the Reich

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Mission # 3 in Flatspinman's campaign


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My first campaign featured as a set of mission reports - with Jasta 5 in Wings Over Flanders Fields - having come to an early and inauspicious ending, I thought I'd wind the clock forward to World War 2 and pick up on a campaign first reported here last year. This is none other than Flatspinman's IL-2 campaign covering the Luftwaffe's attempts to defend 'The Thousand Year Reich' from those who rather thought that Nazi hegemony over large swathes of eastern & western Europe for the aforementioned period was, perhaps, not entirely a good idea.


In case you're wondering where missions 1 & 2 got to, they're here and here, respectively. To recap, my pilot was operating in Scandanavian skies flying the Messerschmitt 109G with Jagdgeschwader 5 'Eismeer'. But I've been transferred south to JG1 'Oesau', operating in the Reichsverteidigung (Defence of the Reich) role. My first mission had been a transfer flight south which had ended with an unplanned but successful interception of an RAF Mosquito shipping strike.


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The second sortie was my first mission with JG1, intercepting an unescorted raid by USAAF B-24 heavy bombers over the North Sea.


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As for this third mission, here's the briefing. As you can see, my virtual alter ego is bitching about various things, not least being sent on a shipping protection mission in poor weather. But orders are orders! As you can also see, an IL-2 map covering the eastern Baltic is doubling up for the German Bight, the area between the German North Sea coast and Denmark.


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With the map scrolled fully north and the briefing text scrolled fully down, you can see our flightpath and the tail end of the nicely-written briefing. Basically, we are to fly north along the coastline below the clouds then turn west and fly a rectangular patrol pattern, presumably in the vicinity of the shipping we are supposed to protect. Enemy airstrikes are going to be the threat, as the risk from U-boats, minefields and the Luftwaffe makes Allied naval incursions too risky.


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Before kicking off the mission I checked that I had the recommended 'skin' selected. I also chose to take a droptank and two underwing 20mm cannon gunpods. Rightly or wrongly, at this stage in the war - early-to-mid-1943, if I recall right - I wasn't expecting to meet enemy escort fighters so far from England and the extra firepower might come in handy.


There are four of us in the mission and I'm the Schwarmfuehrer. My aircraft has been renumbered, had its JG5 unit badge replaced with the JG1 'winged one' equivalent (not actually carried till early 1944 I think) but is otherwise mostly in the same markings carried previously. From my rudder markings I'm something of an ace already and from the black disc with the white diagonal cross on the rear fusealge, I have evidently been in Spain with the Legion Condor.


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Wasting no time I checked my controls, locked the tailwheel and started up. With flaps set I opened her up gradually, ruddering to control the swing as the power built up. Off we went, past the parked aircraft and other paraphenalia of a busy operational airfield. Regardless of the weather and the mission, it felt good to be back behind the controls of a virtual 'Gustav', the most-built if not most successful version of the Luftwaffe's classic fighter. 'Bring them on!' I thought to myself, as we climbed away from our airfield.


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...to be continued!

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Enemy inbound!


Airborne at the head of my schwarm of four Bf109s, I cleaned her up, leveled off and throttled back so that the others could catch up. Once our formation was complete I climbed again but was soon at the low cloudbase, below which we would need to operate, to fulfill our assigned convoy escort role.


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We made a fine sight, all very businesslike in our kanonenvogel with our drop tanks and our 20mm cannon 'gondolas'. Whatever what might be out there, we had the endurance to be there when it arrived and the firepower to deal with it. Of that much, I felt confident.


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Heading out to sea on the last part of our leg to the north, I checked the map (which I had allowed to display other aircraft icons, which I think is not unreasonable when you're operating under ground radar direction...especially as the IL-2 ground controller's directions aren't quite as good as European Air War's). And there they were! A gaggle of red enemy aircraft markers was inbound from the west in two closely-spaced groups, which looked about to reach the position of the convoy we should be protecting!


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I banked around to the left and started scanning in the direction they must be. Whatever they were, they could not be very far away, now!


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...to be continued!

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Get into them!


It wasn't long before I spotted the bandits. I was still in my turn towards them when I spotted the first one - a fast, apparently twin-engined aeroplane low and left, on a reciprocal course. Suddenly he pulled up and around, reversing his course. At the same time I saw two more enemies, on the original course of the one I had spotted first. I gave my comrades the order to attack and started after my own target.


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I had begun to reverse my turn to chase the first enemy aircraft, but he was fast and would be hard to catch. Fortunately the second pair followed his course reversal and being closer, I was able to slip in behind one of these boys, instead. As the range began to wind down, I could see that he was, as I had suspected, a Mosquito.


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Not only that but he was now lined up for a run at the convoy, which I could now also see ahead. I could close with him only slowly. Too far away for accurate shooting and realising I was going to be too late to stop him bombing our ships, I snapped off a few short bursts from my cowling MGs in an effort to put him off his aim.


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Whether this worked or he'd dropped his bombs, the Mossie swung right and I cut across after him.


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...to be continued!

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First blood!


The Mosquito I had singled out seemed more interested in making another run at the ships than evading me, and this was his undoing. 'Selection and maintenance of the aim' may be the master principle in war but it can be taken too far! I got into a good position behind the Mossie and let rip with both cannon and MGs, with entirely satisfactory results.


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By this time my wingman and I were over the convoy itself. One of the ships had taken a hit but the escort was busy defending their charges with vigorous flak fire.


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At this point I spotted a loose gaggle of aircraft ahead. They were heading away from the convoy but suspecting they might, like before, turn around for another run, I kept after them, closing slowly. As I gained ground I realised that one of them was another 109, on his own and also in pursuit.


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Keen to break up this party and even up the odds, I jettisoned my drop tank, singled out the nearest Mosquito and went for him, while cutting my wingman loose to make an attack of his own.


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I was soon behind my chosen target and let fly with all weapons on the 'wooden wonder'. Once again, the results were pretty dramatic. My three cannon and two MGs made short work of the enemy aircraft.


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Looking around, I saw that another 109 was chasing a Mosquito, which was evading vigorously. The battle drifted downwards but I kept my altitude, covering my comrade's tail while he did the needful.


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It was as well that I resisted any temptation to get sucked into the fight. Looking around, I saw another Mosquito, high and slightly left.


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I swung around after him but the Mossie had plans of his own. In a flash, he was behind the other 109 and shooting!


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This wouldn't do! I slipped in behind the Britischer and opened fire. He pulled up and away. Boy, was he fast! But not fast enough...


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Another Mosquito down! That was the good news. There were two bits of bad news. The first was a desperate radio call from one of my schwarm, announcing that he had been shot down, confirming also that these particular Mossie figther-bombers were quite able to sting us, too. The second bit of bad news was that I had troubles of my own. Looking back, a Mosquito was close behind and rolling in after me. With his four MGs and the same number of 20mm cannon just yards from my tail, this was clearly not a good place to be!


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...to be continued!

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Last battle!


To avoid the Mosquito behind me I rolled rapidly into a right turn then reversed, in an effort to force him out in front. Even as I did so, the remains of the Mossie I had just shot down splashed into the sea, a reminder of the fate that awaited whoever lost this next bout.


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But the enemy had lost interest in me and the reason wasn't hard to see. The flight-mate whose tail I had recently cleared - my mumber three, as it turned out - was returning the favour! The Mosquito dropped away, with the 109 after him.


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I completed my scissors manoeuvre and ended up in a good position above and behind the Mosquito.


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The enemy pulled up but in doing so, put himself in front of my flight-mate, who wasted neither time nor ammunition!


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As often seems to be the case after an air fight, the skies suddenly seemed to have cleared, except for myself and the second Messerschmitt. I radioed a recall, but that was it. Between us I reckoned we had clobbered four Mosquitos, but the cost had been high - two of our number, including, unforgiveably, my own wingman.


The excitement wearing off, I led my number three back south and when close to our base, let him off the leash again to make his own landing.


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Soon I was turning into my approach and flaps and gear down, settling down for a landing on our wide grass runway.


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Once down I let the speed bleed off and swung in towards the apron, past the parked aircraft, and rolled to a halt. Flaps up, I cut the motor and let the tension drain away as I reflected on the day's work.


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From the experience of my first mission, I had formed the mistaken conclusion that the Mossies would have little apppetite for air combat and that the over-riding consideration was to get at them quickly, before they had done too much damage to the convoy and then escaped at speed. Despite my own victories, I had allowed two of my pilots to fall victim to the enemy's counterattacks. The confirmation of my kills and the award of a second medal to were but limited consolation for the loss over the cold North Sea of two precious pilots. I would have to do better, next time!


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Nice screenshots

A common porblem with Flatspin's briefing is they lack mission information such as mission flight altitude ...

Is this the case here ?

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Nice screenshots

A common porblem with Flatspin's briefing is they lack mission information such as mission flight altitude ...

Is this the case here ?

Yes! For the B-24 mission I knew the heavies usually flew at about 20,000 feet in real life so that worked out. In this mission the briefing warned us to stay below the low cloudbase if we wanted so see anything and that's what I did. IIRC in good old European Air War, 'Loki bodencontrole' gives you the bearing, height and course of the enemy but in IL-2 it's only the bearing which is less than helpful, so it's doubly unfortunate if the briefing doesn't give you a height to fly the mission.

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Actually, you have cy6 command and control mod which can give those info, but you need specific campaigns (such as TFM Malta)

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