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Rise of Flight: Combat Reports

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Making good use of one of the many features of Pat Wilson's Campaign Generator!




One of the many good things that PWGC lets you do in Rise of Flight - apart from create and change RoF campaign settings in about as much detail as most would want - is write detailed combat reports. Some may regard this as tedious paperwork, but to me, it can be highly immersive. And while Wings over Flanders Fields will also let you describe your achievements for later review (as well as giving you the option of making acceptance of your victory claims dependent on your reports thereof), the equivalent PWCG facility lets you type onto a decent sized page, rather than into a single, short window; this encourages a fuller description.


As I'm still spending much of my sim time working on scenarios for the upcoming Panzer Elite Britpack '44-x mod, and just dipping into actually playing other sims for a change of scenery, I thought I might relieve the break in mission reports here on CombatAce by reproducing some of my RoF/PWCG combat reports, illustrated by screenshots taken at the time.  These are from my Richard Stachel campaign, flying the Albatros D.III with Jasta 2 in the heady days of Spring, 1917.


First off, here's one I see dates from a patrol up to the lines on 27 April. We took off at 10:30 and as usual, I had used PWCG to ensure that I was leading the flight (hence the blue streamer that's attached to my left upper mainplane) and had three other flight-mates with me, usually the same fellows each time. To 'get in character', I try to replicate some of the language of the time in these reports, complete with references to 'Englishmen' (or 'Huns' when flying for the British) and incorrect identifications - for example, the Germans tended to describe British 'pusher' aircraft as Vickers types, regardless of the correct manufacturer. Anyway, here's the report, as I recorded it immediately after looking at the handy animated mission 'debriefing' in PWCG.


"At about 10:40 I spotted five aircraft heading east over the lines at about 3000m, slightly above us. Although they were not being engaged by our flak, I observed that they were Vickers 2-seaters. One of the Englishmen broke off to the north-west and the others swung around to the south-west, flying in two pairs, one pair below and slightly behind the other.




By this time, I had drawn away from the rest of my flight. All the Vickers flew back towards their side of the lines, diving slightly, which made them hard to catch.




I finally got in range of the right-hand machine in the lower pair...




...and hit his engine after several bursts, causing white smoke to trail behind. The other enemies did not intervene and I stayed out of the arc of fire of the enemy observer, despite the aircraft weaving from side to side. Finally I appeared to have hit the enemy pilot and the Vickers fell away to the right and dived to the ground, about 3 Km on his side of the lines.




I then spotted the second Englishman further west, still diving, and although I dived after him and hit him, my ammunition soon ran out and I had to turn east for friendly territory.




As I crossed the lines I was rejoined by Oblt Bohme and Lt Tutschek. I claim one Vickers-type 2 seater shot down and another one damaged."


The 'Vickers 2-seaters' are of course F.E.2bs, a type I haven't bought as a 'flyable' yet, but which still appears in-game as AI-flown.


Not a bad morning's work, it was. And although only two reappeared initially, I brought all three of my comrades home with me, which is always a priority of mine. The next mission was to be rather more eventful.


...to be continued!

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I didnt know about this campaign generator. Interesting feature.

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It is very good

It does not replace the default campaign  : I play both with equal interest

Edited by jeanba

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Death of the Prehistoric Packing Cases


In one of my favourite WW1 air war books by one of my favourite authors - Alexander McKee's The Friendless Sky - the writer cites Manfred von Richthofen, no less, as using the above description for a 'pusher' aircraft, of the type mainly used by the Royal Flying Corps, 1915-17, to get around the thorny problem of shooting ahead through the prop disc in a conventional 'tractor' aircraft. 'Packing cases' seems to have been the German equivalent of the common British slang for an aeroplane, 'kite', and a neutral term. The 'prehistoric' bit reflects the fact that by late 1916, the 'pusher' formula had been well and truly left in the shade by more modern aircraft, not least the sleek Albatros D-types, like the D.III I've been flying in this campaign (albeit RoF's Ostdeutsche Albatros Werke version should not be at the front so early).




Anyway it was arguably 'Bloody April' that confirmed the 'pusher' was 'past it', so it's perhaps appropriate that my last mission of that month saw my RoF alter ego, Richard Stachel, make his own particular contribution to settling the matter.


If you don't believe me, here's my proof. My 30 April mission was another patrol up to, then south down the lines, from our airfield at Pronville, near the town of Cambrai in Flanders. As seen above, our aircraft have the black-rimmed white tail used by Jasta 2 about this period, although I have used PWCG to swap my own plane's skin for one with brown and green camouflage. The stock mauve and green is more appropriate for this period but the colours appear strangely pixellated and blocky from the cockpit view. As usual, I have also used PWCG to choose my three companions, and could also have used it to adjust many other mission parameters, including waypoints.


Here we are, soon after takeoff, having turned around to overfly our airfield, heading back to the South-West and our patrol route.




And here's the report of the action which resulted. It's rather short, and not entirely accurate as it happens, because even with the benefit of the animated debreifing in PWCG, the action once it started was not the easiest to recall so clearly - as indeed it might well have been in real life.


"At about 08:45 heading SW towards the lines from Pronville, at about 2500m I saw four planes to the N, but when we turned towards them, I saw that they were Albatros scouts like our own. Turning SW again, I saw a flight of four enemy Vickers single seaters, just above and crossing our path, flying SE into our territory.




We cut them off and they turned and dived SW for the lines.




I overtook the last Englishman and fired 10 rounds into him from astern, after which his engine went on fire...




...and he rolled over and plunged down.




I then attacked and shot down the next Vickers in the formation, I believe hitting the pilot and causing him to spiral steeply to earth, also on our side of the lines. [i definitely got well mixed up here, because the pics below show my next victim, and he was on fire and not spiralling down]






Several more similar aeroplanes arrived and leaving my comrades to fight these, I dived to help two Roland 2-seaters...




who were fighting with two more English pushers at low level.




I shot down one of these, then rejoined my comrades who were still in action with other Vickers machines. My ammunition ran out after I hit and shot down one more Englishman, and my comrades left the second one smoking and going down as he flew westwards towards our reserve trenches.




I claim four Vickers-type single seaters definitely shot down, the last one shared with the two Rolands."


See? Richard Stachel is really a much nicer person than his more famous relative Bruno from The Blue Max movie, who I think it's fair to say would have been most unlikely to have wanted to share a kill with anyone, man or beast. Richard is now up to 48 victories but not yet fretting that after getting his Pour le Mérite, there's not much more in the way of formal awards to earn, apart from '...the deep satisfaction of knowing that you have served the Fatherland', as staffel adjudant Kettering told Bruno after he got rather vexed at the absence of confirmation for his first victory.


I do recall that I was so concerned that my three comrades would collide or crash while all going for the last 'pusher' that I recalled them, even though it was possible that the enemy might make it back onto his side of the lines.


Of course, the 'Vickers-type single seaters' are actually Airco D.H.2s.


Next up, a change of scenery with a combat report from a concurrent PWCG/RoF campaign, this time flying the famous Fokker Tripane with the equally famous Jasta 11.


...to be continued!

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Triplane troubles!




Sadly, I find that I didn't actually write a combat report for this next mission. This was possibly because the ending was not quite as had I hoped, and thus not much worth writing about. But happily, I can recreate the chain of events from the screenshots taken 'on the day'.


The day in question was 1st September 1917, and I had opted to fly as Oberleutnant Richard Hippel, for Jasta 11, based at Phalempin, near Douai - although as locals will realise from the distinctive, moated fortifications, the town in the pic above is actually Lille.


Jasta 11 of course is the unit Manfred von Richthofen was posted to command after his successful stint with Boelcke in Jasta 2. He's still listed as the Jastafuhrer in my PWCG campaign, but for my first mission, I gave up the opportunity to fly behind the master, and opted instead to lead the flight of four. Our task was to intercept enemy aircraft reported to the north, near Lille.


Here we are, lined up and ready to go. We are flying the default aircraft allocated - two Fokker triplanes and two Albatros DVs, all sporting the red colour for which the staffel was famous.




You may be able to make out that my Dreidekker, nearest the camera, has a little external, wind-driven airspeed indicator fitted to its left-hand interplane strut. The instrument fit of German WW1 aircraft seems to have been particularly spartan, and where fitted, the instruments might not be where you expect to see them. This particular fitting used to be an optional extra, but I believe it's now included when you buy the flyable Fokker triplane.


And here we go. Nearly all the RoF airfields seem to have the distinctive water tower that you can see on the right of the picture.




The large tracts of woodland around our base might make forced landings a bt tricky, depending on timing, I remember thinking as we headed northwards.




The Fokkers tended to leave the Albatrosses behind if I climbed too hard. You can just about make out one of the latter to the right of the distant airfield, in the pic below, just above my port tailplane.Like many RoF aircraft, the Tripehound flies very tail heavy and it takes a fair bit of down elevator to stop her standing on her tail.




Every so often, so as to keep the formation together, I eased off a bit...




...but even so, the Albatrosses tended to lag below, even though not too far behind.




One of the nice things about RoF/PWCG's campaign missions is that the distances to be flown are so short that flying them in real time is a pleasure rather than a chore, all the more so because of the beautiful visuals and the precise rendition of the landscape features - not I think since Rowan's Flying Corps Gold have we seen such a faithful representation of the localities over which you fly. Lille was soon just ahead and with it, came the temptation to do a bit of sight-seeing, especially as this was my first sortie in this area.




Natually, I still tried to keep a half-decent lookout, especially to the South-West, in the direction of the Autumn sun. In the pic below, you can see the external airspeed indicator more clearly, with the little cup-shaped windmill thngy spinning merrily, on top.




Meanwhile, to my left front, Lille was slipping towards me underneath my lower wing, as I began to come around in a  wide sweep designed to orbit the town, where we have been briefed to expect to see some enemies in the air.




Behind, though I was - as usual in RoF - struggling somewhat to keep my feisty aircraft on an even keel while looking around, the formation wasn't in too much of a mess.




That was soon to change, though.


It was only after flying this mission that I realised that I had heavily nerfed AA fire by dropping the ground object level to low in PWCG while experimenting with settings - so depriving myself of the possibility of being alerted to the presence of other aircraft by flak bursts.


So it was, that the first indication of trouble was when I looked back again during a fresh scanning sequence, to see my flight-mates were slipping purposefully off to my right. I quickly saw why - they were chasing a pair of brownish aircraft with shorter lower wings, identifiable as R.E.8 two-seaters.




As the others were all ahead of me in the queue, I hung back, until one of the R.E's tried to escape by jinking towards and underneath me. I briefly pushed down the nose and gave him a burst as he zipped past. I'm not certain I hit him - I have a vague recollection of seeing pieces come off him, but it may not have been from my rounds - but he certainly hit me, as the oil smears and dead motor in the pic below, taken soon after, indicate.




In this next screenie, you can see me diving away gently in the background, trailing light smoke, presumably vapourising engine oil. My tormentor, while scarred, was also on his way home, but looking relaxed, as his observer has left his gun and sat down. RoF observers tend to do this too readily, only to have to stand to their guns again when an enemy comes closer.




After that, with the battle over for me, it was the old 'good news, bad news' routine. The good news was that I managed to extend my glide far enough to reach a nearby airfield.




The bad news was that my subsequent dead stick landing did not turn out quite as I would have wished.




You've got to look on the bright side, though, as I would likely tell my crew chief and the CO later. Some new wings, a new motor and prop, and she'll be right as rain, eh?


Whether and if so, when Rise of Flight will receive any further developer attention remains to be seen. But especially when combined with Pat Wilson's Campaign Generator, I'm still very much appreciating its virtues as a single player WW1 air combat sim, which virtues for me very much outweigh its weaknesses. Given that the base version is free - with flyable Albatros D.V,  SPAD XIII and now also a Nieuport 17 variant, all the rest AI-flown and buyable cheaply individually, as and when you may wish - RoF is in my book a 'must have' for any flight simmer with any sort of interest in leaving the Sidewinders and Hispanos behind, and getting immersed in a sim which brings to life one of the truly classic periods of combat in the air.



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Actually, I would be more interested in flying the Wallfisch !


I like the Roland, but as I can fly him in WoFF and in FE2, if and when I buy another German 2-seater for Rise of Flight (I already have the DFW, as well as the Gotha) it will be this one, I think:



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It's nice too


I amde a 6 months career on it.

But meeting ennemy fighters is bad luck :(

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Just getting into RoF and find it very interesting. Been into CFS3 and Il-2 1946 for a long time and wanted a break. Find RoF a good combat flight simulator and challenging to boot. Now to get more aircraft as they are on sale now. Thanks for sharing as it really got me to try it out. Learning all i can about this era. Not that expensive when aircraft go on sale and find it totally immersive . Thanks again !! Regards,Scott

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Glad you've discovered another great combat flightsim, Scott!


You may find the stock career/campaign mode fine, but for me, Pat Wilson's Campaign Generator is indispensible, not least as it enables me to start at whatever rank I choose and even if I am still outranked, chose my own flight-mates (as I can in First Eagles) so that I can enjoy the extra tactical challenge of leading my flight and avoid the chore of formation-keeping.


Good hunting!



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