Much of the interest today may be with newer mods like the oddly-titled BAT or the VP modpack, but most of my IL-2 '46 gameplay is still with the Dark Blue World mod, not least because of the large number of campaigns, stock and user-made, that are compatible with it, out of the box. For example, I had been enjoying the Spitfire Scramble campaign in BAT's predecessor, the CUP mod, despite the odd setback...
...when the next mission substituted the default Piper Cub (!!!) because it couldn't find an He 111P, necessitating hand-editing files so substitute an H version. Not in the mood for this, I switched to my DBW install and returned to a couple of uncompleted Luftwaffe campaigns. Not only are these working well, but they are reminding me how great the original Il-2, in it's '46 form and with DBW, still plays..and looks.
I think this is a stock German bomber 'DGen' campaign, flying Ju 87D dive bombers actually, in the early stages of the Stalingrad operation. I got a nasty shock when Yaks slipped past our escort and seemed about to begin a 'Stuka party' as the RAF called these affairs, but the attack petered out and we made the target.
Meanwhile, in North Africa, Willi Jedermann is enjoying the sights, sounds and company, the latter mainly consisting of the Desert Air Force, including a Kittyhawk which nearly caught our hero on a solitary transit flight.
The maker's whimsical mission briefings alone are worth the price of admission.
I think I've said it before, but it's worth repeating what the Bard would have had Mark Antony say at Il-2's funeral, which is a long a way off as it ever was, perhaps longer:
Antony: Here WAS a combat flightsim! When comes such another?
First citizen: Never! Never!