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Defence of the Reich - the final missions

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Concluding FlatSpinMan's Il-2 '46 campaign for the Bf 109!


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Having some months back posted reports for the first four missions in this entertaining and highly recommended campaign, I thought it was over-due time to complete the story! The Allied bomber offensive 1942-45 has always been a particular interest of mine and the ability of modded Il-2 '46 to support this - and other 'Western Front' campaigns - transformed my opinions of and interest in this classic sim, which, in its latest forms, is in my opinion still much the best combat flight sim for World War 2...and beyond.


FlatSpinMann's Defence of the Reich campaign is one of several which enable you to pit your virtual life against the might of the USAAF's famous 8th Air Force in its campaign of daylight 'precision bombing'. You're cast as Willi Jedermann, an experienced member of the Jagdflieger whose Bf109's aft fuselage carries the white cross, black disc marking of the Nationalist Spanish Air Force, doubtless denoting time spent with the Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War. The campaign comes with several nicely-rendered variations of the 'skin' for the player's Messerschmitt, the one below being for the 109G-6, to which the player transitions during the missions in this report, having started with the G-2.


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Earlier missions had seen our Willi transferred south from JG5 'Eismeer' in the frozen north to join I Gruppe, Jagdgeschwader 1 in defence of the Deutsche Bucht or 'German Bight', as they called the area of the North Sea bounded by Schleswig-Hollstein/Denmark to the east and the north German coastline near Bremen and Hamburg, to the south. That Willi is an alter hase, an 'old hare' who has seen it all before and then some, is clear from the mission briefings, which often feature Willi's frank expressions of his views, ranging from his reservations about operating so often over the seas on convoy escort, to his opinions on the latest bright ideas from his superiors.


My fifth mission is a case in point. Willi is being sent aloft to practice air-to-air bombing of enemy bomber formations, prompted by the success achieved by real-life Luftwaffe ace Heinze Knoke (recounted in 'I Flew for the Fuhrer' and quoted in many other books). Willi is fairly scathing about the prospects for this tactic...but orders are orders! Soon, flying as Willi, I'm airborne and headed north, in rather murky weather with a 250Kg bomb slung under my Messerschmitt. I'm rather glad to be on my own. Level bombing in a bombsight-less fighter seems unlikely to go well and, methinks, the fewer of my squadron-mates who witness my efforts with this contraption, the better.


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Callling up the inflight map, I checked my bearings. Our base is at Windau, which Goggle tells me is these days called Ventspils and is in Latvia, on the Baltic Sea coast. A stock Il-2 map of this area is topographically not a bad substitute for the German Bight, though. 


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I have been told that the target on this practice mission has been marked out on some muddy coastal land, in the form of something resembling a plan view of a formation of heavy bombers. I'm to bomb from about a thousand metres, apparently.


On arrival, I first overflew the range, just to get a good look at what they have cooked up for me. It's not too bad a job, I soon find out: a series of large white crosses in a decent representation of an American heavy bomber formation. And there's a large white circle-and-arrow marking on the ground a few hundred meters short of the 'formation'. You can't see it in the screenie below because it's hidden by the junction of those canopy farmes on the left, but it wasn't too hard for me to work out that this marked my suggested bomb release point. It seems the idiots who dreamed up this aerial bombing nonsense have at least been thorough in laying out my practice target.


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What they hadn't done so well was explain how I was supposed to aim my bomb, given that on a straight run-in, both the 'formation' and the bomb release mark are hidden under my nose. I suppose they expect an officer of the Luftwaffe to be able to work out such things for himself. So that's what I did. I approached on an offset course and picked out a landmark inland to my right - to my left, there was only the sea - which was level with the aiming mark. Unfortunately landmarks were rather limited in this weather and in this neck of the woods but I picked out a reasonably distinctive point on the edge of a suitably-positioned forest. Nearing the bomb release point on this offset course, I made a sort of 'Z' curve, turning left to get the the aiming mark and the target in line and then back right, back onto the same course as before, but in line with the target somewhere under my nose. Looking to the right, when the aiming mark came level, I let go the bomb and turned right, mildly curious to see what happened next. Below you can see the bomb on its way down, about half an aircraft's length, directly ahead of my spinner.


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The results were a good deal better than I expected. The bomb went off just on the leading edge of the 'formation', close enough I thought to have done some damage. Had it been for real, lacking proximity fuses, the trick would have been to get the thing to go off at the same level, the problem being a three-dimensional one.


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As I came off the target, I got a bit of a surprise when I saw the shadow of a vic of aircraft flit across theground below and behind. At this point I suddenly remembered that the briefing warned me to watch out for the presence of some boys from a Jagdfliegerschule, who were on some training flights somewhere in the general area. Of course in concentrating on my bombing run I had completely forgotten about them. There were undoubtedly at a much, much higher risk of me flying into them, than bombing them.


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Looking around more carefully, I soon spotted the others, off to my right. Three Messerschmitts like my own, they were, also headed south, towards my airfield.


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I gave them a wide beth and watched as they dipped down directly towards the runway. For some reason they didn't land, but pulled up short of landing and climbed away. Drat! Now I was going to have to be more careful in making my own approach!


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As it happened, these three were not the trainees; or if they were, they were nearing the end of their course, flying operational types. The real trainees were also in the air, flying impressed Czech-built Avia B-534s.


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Having flown past my base on my right to keep my distance from the other 109s, I gradually let down to about 300 meters. I looked around again for the others and seeing nothing, turned right onto my base leg. The skies remained murky but clear of aircraft and it wasn't long before I was down. As I completed my roll-out, I heard two other aircraft advising they were going around and the tower acknowledging. So I opened up again and smartly cleared the runway, steering towards the hardstanding in front of the hangers, at the left end of the long grass strip.


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I thought to myself, that wasn't too bad, unfortunately...'unfortunately' as only a complete disaster seemed likely to offer any hope of the next step in the process being cancelled. That next step, I felt sure, would be to put the training into practice, on operations.


I was right.


To be continued...!

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Hey alright, gets me itchy for some IL2 action for sure, was seriously looking at CloD but apparently... no modding with that one.

Looking forward to the next report 33lima. (Could it be bombing ships :blink: )


Oh... what mod base are you using? Plain 412, SAS Modact, HSFX or the new DBW?

Edited by Do335

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Thanks Do335! I'm still using Il-2 '46 plus Dark Blue World 1.71 for this campaign. My other Il-2 install is the one for the Team Daidalos 4.12 patch; to this I will likely apply and try out the new CFM (Compressed Full Monty) mod, when this is available in about a week; as you may have seen, it's discussed in the last few pages of this thread:  http://www.sas1946.com/main/index.php/topic,40015.0.html .


At the moment I find DBW is the best 'supermod' for IL-2 single player and totally indispensible. I have not yet tried to set up the ''DBW 1.71 + 4.12 patch'' combo that seems to be hailed as a sort of 'pre-DBW2', and will likely just wait for the 'official' update of DBW/DBW2 for the TD patch.


I wish the next mission had been bombing ships...anyway the report will be up very soon!

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eh a fan of DBW171 myself, could still use TrackIR zoom with it which TD 412 patch took away.. way way back i dumped all the classes and java modded the hell outta it including a super Me262 hee.... Hopefully CFM is less buggy, apparently they're somewhat emphasizing on it so IL2 46 is looking pretty good indeed.

Edited by Do335

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A bad day in a long war...




Ok, I've just been on the ranges testing my ability to drop a bomb from a Bf 109 into a formation of enemy bombers. Now, it's time to take my new-found skill (!!!) on operations. Here's the mission briefing. The first part looks to be a member of my flight telling me, Willi Redermann, just exactly what he thinks of this air-to-air bombing lark. And he's right, but orders are orders. To make matters worse we can't set the bombs to explode a fixed interval after dropping - presumably though Il-2 may support post-inpact fuse delays it doesn't allow for the former. So only direct hits will count! We might as well have saved the Reich some money by dropping concrete practice bombs. Although we are now dropping in flight strength, it seems our chances of actually doing any damage have fallen from slim to nil. As least, at this stage in the war - spring 1943 - we don't have to worry much about escorts from the short-legged Spitfires and early Thunderbolts and their so-far unreliable drop-tanks.




Most of this campaign's missions - there are about twenty, overall - seem to be air starts, which is not my preference but it certainly saves the tedious bit between takeoff and nearing the scene of the action. It also saves any issues misjudging the height and coming in below the target. So it wasnts not long before I saw the gaggle of Ami viermots crossing my front. I swung in behind and above them, waited till I'm sure my bombed-up schwarm of four 109Gs is behind me, then ordered formation to be closed up.




This done, I opened the throttle and close the range, anxious to make my drop while we're still out over the North Sea. Any fishing boats or other maritime traffic down there is just going to have to take their chances. I wondered idly if compensation will be available from the Reichsluftfahrtministerium, in the event of a serious mishap.


As per the briefing, the rest of the staffel was supposed to make gun attacks imediately after we bomb, but evidently, they decided they didn't want to wait. The first attacks were already under way as we slowly overhauled the big enemy bombers, whom I could see to be B-17s.






I stayed well up from the bombers, trying to steer above the vertically densest part of their formation, where, if our bombs didn't hit the upper aircraft, they might impact some of those behind and slightly below. Either I managed to stay out of .50 calibre range or the other attackers kept the US air gunners occupied, but little or none of their orange tracers seemed to come near us.




Finally I let go my bomb and, looking back to see the others had copied me, cut them loose for attacks on the bombers. Rather than take time to pull away in formation and then try to set up something clever, I thought we might as well just use our height advantage and dive directly down onto them at high speed. I didn't waste my time looking for any bomb hits!




In my first pass, I did some damage to one of the B-17s on the right edges of the formation before zoom climbing again. The speed of my approach seemed to have saved me from the return fire, for I escaped without being hit.




Back on top, the enemy formation seemed to be in the process of being somewhat thinned out by our repeated fighter attacks. Abandoning my original victim, I decided instead to join in an attack on a vic of three B-17s which was at the top left-hand corner of the formation, looking potentially exposed - it's no coincidence that bombers on the outer edges of formations were statistically most at risk, after those that had actually been forced out on their own. I could see at least two other 109s lining up for a crack at these bombers so reckoned we would split their fire while concentrating our own - a bit of impropmtu teamwork.




The others beat me to the punch and I pulled out below the B-17s and closed from behind and below while the two 109s completed their passes. They were doing well. First, the right-hand bomber went on fire in the port wing and slipped down and right out of formation.




The B-17 on the left was next. He too was hit and slipped down and right, out of formation. His damage didn't look too bad and I was tempted to help finish him off. But instead, I dediced that it was up to me to complete the hat-trick. Get them out of formation first. After that, somebody would complete the job, at leisure. Contributing to team results was more important than running up personal scores.



All of this had left me in a rather poor position, coming up on my own behind a heavily-armed bomber from dead astern, presenting at least one turret with a no-deflection shot. The other side of the coin was that I was closing quite fast and the bomber was also now alone, apart from some potential longish-range covering fire from the main body, rather off to our right. Just one quick pass then I'll come back for something smarter, I thought, as I cut loose with my nose MGs, waiting till I saw seome strikes before joining in with my motor cannon.




Wham! Suddelly my canpoy was holed and oil sprayed onto my windscreen. Serves me right! I pushed the stick down and broke away fast, left and down. Not so good. I'd got some hits on the Boeing, in return, but not enough to worry him seriously






From the radio chatter in the meantime, I had heard one of my flight announce he was bailing out, while another two had claimed kills. Not a bad result for four lightly-armed Messerschmitts. I decided the law of diminishing reutrns now applied and ordered my flight to break off and rejoin formation, leaving the remaining heavies to their business.






I dived gently away, knowing that we were by now near the coast and heading in that direction. If my engine failed, I was determined to keep my feet dry, if at all possible!




Reaching the coast, I turned right, towards home base. My flight were by now beginning to catch up but I sent them on ahead with a 'return to base' commmand; no point in them escorting my crippled bird.




Soon, I was turning onto my final approach. I seem to make a habit of landing off right-hand circuits here. Today, my main concern was to stay over terra firma so that if my damaged motor packed in, I would be able to belly-land, rather than ditch.




The landing itself was a bit heavy but I could put that down to 'battle damage'! And if I had succeeded in writing off the bomb mount under my aircraft, so much the better!




Either way, hopefully this rather unsuccessful sortie would mark the end of our efforts at air-to-air bombing!


...to be continued!

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Ok, I've just been on the ranges testing my ability to drop a bomb from a Bf 109 into a formation of enemy bombers. Now, it's time to take my new-found skill (!!!) on operations.

To make matters worse we can't set the bombs to explode a fixed interval after dropping - presumably though Il-2 may support post-inpact fuse delays it doesn't allow for the former. So only direct hits will count!



OooKay.... whAt the... mwahahaha!


If the bombs are delay fused after drop it might have a better chance!



I wonder if you can just ditch the bombs in the loadout setup and go for gunpods instead.


But oh well.. since the missions are linearly scripted hence number of kills don't matter I guess might as well fit for mission author's original intent.

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Actually, in those situations, I always start with a frontal attack, and then rear attacks on out of formations planes.

It really need some training to make a nice frontal attack but it is very interesting

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Yes I think you can still change the loadout, but orders are orders!


I was a bit flabbergasted to see in the briefing that the bombs could not be timed to explode a fixed interval after dropping. Which makes this screenshot a bit of a mystery...


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And yes Jeanba that's the way to do it, the tricky bit being to timing. I recently ordered 'Attack bombers' just coming into range and that seemed to work. I'm not sure that just leading your flight into the front of the bombers works, with no command.

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The trick for timing is a lot of training :

- calculate your trajectory with respect to the bombers.

- use "icon on" to check distance and find marks to estimate distances and positions (icon "off")

- Retry "icon off"

"Go live"


To keep my formation, I think I use "cover me"

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No more bombs, but bigger guns...


Evidently, the pfennig had dropped somewhere, for there was to be no more air-to-air bombing. Instead, while the next mission pitted us again against the 'heavies', this time we were to fly the latest 109G, with the two cowling 7.92mm cowling MGs replaced by 13mm Heavy MGs. As usual with this FlatSpinMan campaign, the first part of the briefing is some pilot banter which acts as a link between the previous mission and this one while the latter part - for an air-start mission like this anyway - represents the player, flight leader Willi Jedermann, talking to his schwarm on the R/T at the point the mission will open, when loaded up. I should have named my IL-2 pilot for this campaign as Willi but hadn't, which is why the name shown top right desn't match.




Before kicking off the mission, I had anticipated things slightly and - while at the plane set-up screen to pick the recommended skin for my new mount - also chose two additional 20mm underwing gunpods for our Messerschmitts. I did show some restraint, though, by not also selecting 30mm Mk 108 nose guns.


Here's my 109G-6 at the start of the mission, at altitude (so my pilot is wearing his oxygen mask) out over 'North Sea' on the way to meet the incoming Amis. I still have the Spanish Nationalist rear fuselage marking but now also have the III Gruppe vertical bar behind my fuselage cross. On the LH side there's also a personal emblem with the name 'Almut', which from the breifing 'banter' sections I understand is the name of my fiancée. As I mentioned in one of the original reports, I don't think JG 1's planes carried the red & white disc with the winged '1' until early 1944, some months after this campaign, which is set in the spring of 1943. Unlike my previous Gustav, this new model has prominent bulges over the breeches of my bigger 13mm cowling MGs.




It was just moments before the enemy pulk or herd hove into slight, sliding rapidly across the noses of our four 109s. Sod it - anxious to tackle the enemy before they can drop any bombs on our soil, I decide I'm not going to trade time and space to set up a head-on attack. Instead, we'll come in behind and see if we can catch some stragglers - there are likely to be some, after that long-ish flight across the North Sea.




Turning right after the Boeings, I sought out some easy prey for our flight. I didn't see any stragglers at this stage, though attacks by other flights were starting up somewhere ahead. Instead, I noticed a vic of three bombers, on the right edge of the main formation and lagging somewhat behind. 'You'll do!', I thought to myself.




Pushing the trottle wide open I swung in behind the B-17s, drawing ahead of my other three Messerschmitts, who raced after me.




As the range wound down, I padlocked the B-17 on the right and ordered the flight to 'attack my target'…if I didn't get him, the others would! Return fire wasn't too bad despite my attacking from nearly dead astern.




Relying on a high overtaking speed and an early break to reduce the risks, I cut loose with my heavy MGs then added the cannon just before breaking sharply away, prior to getting too close to my target. I got some decent hits, removing a large chunk of the Fortress's fin and leaving him trailing fuel from a wing. But he didn't go down.






I quickly reversed my turn, intending to follow up immediately with a fast, slashing beam attack. But I hung back when I saw that the others were now making their own attacks. These did the trick, and my original target was soon falling away below the formation, clearly doomed. Incidentally, I generally turn off the on-screen display of radio messages ('Subtitles') by making the necessary edit in the conf.ini file but had left them on (one line only) after playing a Soviet campaign for a while, hence the blue text atop the second screenie below!






I now recalled my flight, determined that we would continue to operate together and to maintain 'command and control', as a flight leader should. I soon switched my attention to a lone B-17, slightly lower down. Where he'd appeared from, I wasn't at all sure, but there he was, trailing fuel or light smoke from his port wing, clearly damaged from a previous attack by someone or other and now well out on his own. This one would now be mine!







It didn't quite work out like that, though. I took some hits in the canopy during my first pass at the solitary bomber, which understandably made me a little wary. A little too wary.





This wariness in turn seemed to affect my shooting, which was pretty awful. I made a couple of fast passes but opened up too far away and broke off too soon, both classic beginner's mistakes.






Before long, my cannon ammo was gone and the B-17, though somewhat further dented, was still flying wings level with all four turning. This hadn't gone terribly well, at least from the standpoint of running up my personal score. But that wasn't the only issue here.




I padlocked the Boeing and once again, ordered 'Attack my target'. Our sortie was a team effort, and I was its leader, responsible for its conduct and its success. This was not about running up my own score; it was about bringing my flight to battle and then fighting and winning that battle, as a team. The team's results were what mattered. Whether I or a flight-mate knocked down the bombers was not important; what mattered was that the bombers were knocked down.




I weaved above to watch the results. It wasn't long before the first attacks went in. The B-17 was soon descending more steeply so I recalled the flight, rather than risk somebody being whacked by a doomed bomber.






By the time the last '109 broke off, the doughty but increasingly-battered Boeing seemed to be missing a large part of his port tailplane and elevator. Enough was enough.






Doomed he clearly was. He nearly pulled off a forced landing in a field but something went horribly wrong and it all ended in a nasty fireball. Unfortunately I didn't get a screenie of the crash itself but you can see that this one wasn't getting home. It had all been rather ruthless but matched pretty well many an account I'd read of the usual fate of bombers forced out of formation.






That'll do, I thought. Two heavy bombers between the four of us, with no losses, is a good result. Ammo must be low so no point trying to locate and cahse down the others. Time to go home!




I don't recall whether I got any kill credits but wasn't unduly worried. As a team, we'd performed to my satisfaction. Maybe next time I would have a better share in the final tally!



...to be continued!

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Back on form...sort of...




Next mission was another B-17 intercept, this time over land. As usual I was at the head of a schwarm of four 109s and this time the extra 20mm cannon gondolas were on official issue, as in, the default loadout for the mission. We seemed to be the only Luftwaffe fighters in the vicinity; perhaps the others had already intercepted, or maybe we were just first on the scene.




Impaitent as always, I settled for an attack from astern; again as always, singling out a vic of bombers lagging slightly behind the main herd and leading my flight against them. As I closed, I gave the order to attack bombers, hoping we were close enough that my fligth-mates would take the hint that I wanted them to attack the nearest bombers, those directly ahead, not as they sometimes do, go wheeling off after different prey. I think the trick may be to ensure your desired targets are the closest enemies at the point you give the order, the alternative being to padlock one of them and order 'Attack my target'. As I bored in, a Fortress was already sliding out of formation, but I ignored him.




I was soon in range and had a good rattle at the right-hand B-17 before breaking off. The hits looked fairly spectactular but unfortunately, the tough big bomber, though trailing some light smoke or fuel vapour, just kept on truckin'.









I reversed my turn and came back in, wondering what the hold-up was, with the other 109s. As I rolled back in towards the nearest bombers, two things happened. First, my original target dropped out of formation to the right, and second, my wingmen started sweeping past, seemingly going after the original targets. Fair enough!








In another couple of seconds, another Boeing was going down and I decided I would finish off this one. A bird in the hand, and all that...








I made a coupe of fairly cautious passes, after which I could see that the bomber was losing altitude quite steadily. Which was just as well, for by now I was getting low on ammunition. Rather than risking serious damage in an effort to finish off a foeman who looked like he was already on his way down and out, I orbited to await developmemts. At the same time, I ordered my flight to break off and rejoin. Whatever successes they had had by now would do; no point in getting into diminishing ruturns with cannon ammo always the first to go and a heavy MG duel being poor odds for a fighter. I like to bring all my men home after a fight, as much as scoring a victory myself.






Finally the B-17 started to spiral down to the left. 'That's it!' I thought...but no, he wasn't finished yet and levelled his wings. I began to think that I would again have to call in the rest of my flight to finish him off.

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But enough was enough. Fire suddenly broke out in the Boeing's starboard wing and he rolled over and went down, to crash quite close to a small, friendly airfield. No difficulty getting that one confirmed, I thought to myself.




Before this mission, I was beginning to wonder if my new-found caution had cost me my touch with these heavies, but now it seemed I might be back in form. The next mission would surely tell the tale, one way or another.


...to be continued!

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The final mission...?




Here's the briefing for the next mission. The weather is bad but the Amis are out in strength, much to the disgust of our pilots. The reference to 'Y' if I recall right, is to the German Y Service, responsible for monitoring enemy radio traffic and also radio direction finding, including the IFF kit fitted to German fighter radios from about this time. I don't understand the reference to the red band; perhaps I had omitted to choose a new skin, one with a red Reichs Defence rear fuselage band.




This was another air start, with the weather turning out to be very cloudy, as expected. It wasn't long before my flight spotted the US bombers. Gone were the serried ranks of combat boxes, arranged into larger combat wings. Instead, scattered groups of heavy bombers flitted above the clouds. This looked promising!




I selected a pair of bombers over on my right. As I closed the range, I could see that they were not Fortresses, but Liberators.




This time I decided to let my flight have the first crack. I padlocked one of the B-24s and gave the order 'Attack my target'! Zig-zagging across behind the enemy bombers, I waited for the first attacks to develop. I didn't have to wait too long.




One of the B-24s was soon on fire, so I swung in after the other one. These Liberators seemed to be softer targets that the Boeings, and to my complete satisfaction, my first burst set the second enemy bomber afire.






Down he went, diving away quite steeply. I hesitated. Should I go after him, to make sure he didn't recover and get away?




With fire having taken hold, an escape seemed highly unlikely, and so it proved. The B-24's starboard wing suddenly fell off and down he went, cartwheeling into the clouds beneath. No doubt about that one!




I pulled up and looked around. Up-sun, right and slightly high, I could see a little could of black dots, like a small swarm of midges. Enemy in sight! I curved in on an intercept course, calling my flight to order.






As I drew closer, I could see that some of the Liberators were lagging behind the rest. Perfect! It had worked before, so why not repeat the formula? I locked up one of the lagging bombers and once again, ordered in my flight.




And once again, things worked out rather well. Soon, another Liberator was going down.




And he wasn't the only one. Off to my right, other comrades were hacking more of the big bombers from the sky.




My turn again! Looking ahead, I picked out a pair of B-24s slipping across my front from left to right. 'You'll do!', I said to myself, opening the throttle and cutting across their turn.




I wasn't the only one who had the same idea. Another 109 beat me too it, and despite training some dark smoke, promptly put in a couple of quick passes at the Ami bombers.






He damaged one of the B-24s then seemed to disappear. Taking this as my cue, I again padlocked one of the big bombers and ordered my flight to get him.




Not to be out-done, I now made my own attack, leaving the Liberator battered but still flying. That damaged 109 was still in the battle, too. Plucky fellow!




My chosen target slipped off to the right and I hung back for a few seconds, to see if he was on anyone else's hit list. No, seemingly not. Up to me, then. Fair enough!




This is where it all went pear-shaped, sad to say. I put in a determined pass. Getting some good hits, I kept him in my sights and held the triggers down. This pass would do it. Suddenly his left wing seemed to rise up in front of me. I broke hard but clipped his wingtip, with disastrous results.




Time to get out! I chopped the throttle and popped the canopy (this should remove all but the windshield, but in Il-2's 109s, the rear section, with the radio mast, stays put).




No dice! The G-forces must have been too stong, or perhaps my pilot was injured or stunned in the collision. Down we went, down, straight as an arrow. Wham! Goodnight, Vienna!




I could have opted to re-fly the mission but accepted my demise. Later, tempted to see if that was really the end, I reloaded the campaign and found that I could continue, where I left off. Which was good, because there were some more really good missions to come, including one which had me land and refuel, to carry out a second sortie against the same raid. Unfortunately I had by this time turned on the display of Il-2's stock markings, so my aircraft had some 'ghost' markings under or over the skin.




Soon after, the campaign reached the point where the new fighter Geschwader JG11 was formed from JG1, and I was transferred to the new unit, getting another new skin in the process, this time bearing JG11's yellow rear fuselage band; superb skins like this being a feature of this campaign. Nice attention to historical detail there!




More exicting missions followed, inlcuding co-operating with some Zerstorer units, flying Me 210 and Bf 110 heavy fighters against the 'heavies''.






So I'm quite glad to be able to continue to fly this FlatSpinMan campaign. On the down side, the map is Baltic rather than North Sea (though it's a reasonable 'ringer'); and the German fighter defences seem rather miniaturised, with flights (schwarme) seemingly standing in for squadrons (staffeln) or even groups (gruppen). However, the US fromations are large enough for the patch of sky the player operates in and the frequent presence of at least some other German flights, often mentioned in briefings, is very welcome. And the breifings themselves are outstanding, full of character. Despite being composed of scripted missions, the player's results are tracked from mission to mission, though your flight's aren't and your wingmen remain anonymous. All in all, I haven't had so much fun since flying similar missions in good old European Air War, to which this highly recommended campaign is a very worthy successor. You can get it here...




...along with a close variant, featuring the FW 190, here:




It has to be said that thirteen years of development and modding has kept Il-2 pretty well at the top of the food chain, as far as air combat sims go. Some day, that may end, of course. Some day, Il-2 '46 may be dead. And mayhap, the Bard may step out of the shadows and pen its eulogy, as he did Mark Anthony's, for Julius Ceasar. Speaking to the multitude of assembled simmers, the person delivering Il-2 46's eulogy may wind up by saying of the sim, much as Mark Anthony said of Caesar, 'HERE WAS A SIM! WHEN COMES SUCH ANOTHER?' And the crowd will surely reply, as of old, 'NEVER! NEVER!'

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