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33LIMA

Battle of Britain II - second phase

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The Luftwaffe switches targets in my RAF 'commander' campaign!

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It's lunchtime on 20th July 1940. For the last ten days, the Germans have been attacking coastal convoys. This was how events unfolded in the Operations Room, as recently as the day before - a typical day, until then. A new raid, Hostile 201,  70-plus, is being plotted, likely target a convoy off Ramsgate. The convoy's air cover, 79 Squadron, is still at Hawkinge to the south-west, but should be on station in time. Elsewhere, it's fairly quiet.

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Twenty four hours later and it's a different story. Raids are coming in thick and fast - slightly smaller, but more of them. And they're going mainly for our outermost airfields.

I spent the morning feeling increasingly overwhelmed. Then I decided to do something about it. When the first lunchtime raid came in, heading for the airfield at Tangmere (ringed red, left centre of the screen in the pic below) I diverted a patrol from convoy escort, and another one that was covering an outer London airfield. Three squadrons hit the raid, overwhelming the escorts and inflicting heavy losses on the Heinkels. It didn't stop them bombing and heavily damaging Tangmere, but they paid a big price for it. You can see the raid, Hostile 101, in the pic below, as it withdraws to the south-east across the Channel, still harried by three RAF squadrons. 

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This is me a little earlier, flying as Green 1 with 234 Squadron...

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...and here I am, making my contribution to the war effort, attacking Hostile 101 as it heads for its target.

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But the Huns weren't giving us any respite. Or even a break for lunch, for that matter! By about 12:30, another raid, Hostile 201, thirty plus, was being plotted coming north from France, you can see it near the lower right-hand corner, in the second the Ops Room pic above. Except there was no longer a convoy target there! It looked to be headed for the exposed fighter base at Manston. And I had shot my bolt, with few squadrons ready to intercept it. First off were 605 Squadron's Hurricanes, and I opted to leave the Ops Room and fly as Green Section leader when they spotted the enemy. They are above us, about thirty bombers in three wide wedges. Somebody called out fighters, but all I can see were the Heinkels, and it is those that the boss orders us to attack.

It was going to be a race to catch them, before they bombed. As we close from astern, the Huns start turning to port, and with a sinking heart I know we have lost the race.

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Down below, Manston paid the price!

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But the Huns would now have to run the gauntlet, and there was still no sign of an escort. A loose pack of Hurricanes was now fast closing in on them as they levelled out and headed back south.

...to be continued!

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'Shoot him! Shoot him!'

I waste no time in cutting the corner on the bombers' turn and taking the advice coming over the R/T to let them have it. Starting with this fellow, on the left of the formation. There's a fair bit of tracer flying about from return fire, some of it a bit wild...

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...some of it not, like the round you can see in the pic below, which looks like it's about to hit me in the face!

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I break left and my victim goes down in a steep diving turn with an engine on fire. No doubt about that one! In the pic below you can also see the smoke beginning to clear from the rows of bomb craters left by the raid. While the hangars have been hit, many bombs have fallen into what looks like open countryside to the west of Manston. You can also see that Red Leader, the boss, is on the air announcing some hits of his own. The list here says that 'Charlie' was actually 611 Squadron's callsign and that 605's was 'Turkey'.

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There is still no sign of escorts so I roll right to come in for another go. By this time, the enemy's left-hand squadron seems to be taking a bit of a pasting. You can see a Hurricane slicing through the centre of this group, another couple out front after making their own passes, and a couple of Heinkels falling away, with others smoking. At this point, having turned about 90 degrees to port, the Huns are flying roughly west-south-west, down the wide outer reaches of the Thames Estuary.

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This view from the cockpit, taken just seconds later, shows a bomber crew bailing out, while more Hurricanes come in to make stern attacks.

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As I come in for my own second pass, the Heinkels are slipping into and out of the upper reaches of some cloud. This doesn't stop me from knocking another bomber out of formation...

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...but it does produce an interesting moment when, coming out into the clear, it looks as if I have taken his place in the formation. Needless to say, I get out of there, sharpish!

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Again I slide off to one side and take stock. The Heinkels are still the only enemy aircraft that I can see, and their numbers continue to be whittled down, even as I watch. I just hope the boys who were under the bombs back at Manston can see some of this!

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I'm not sure how much ammo I have left,  but it's time to put what there is, to good use!

...to be continued!

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'Run, rabbit, run, rabbit, run, run run...'

Still seeing no escorts around, I waste no further time and curve in after the retreating Heinkels.

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As I come in, the bombers make another turn to the left. This sends me wide and I end up going for the group in the centre instead of the left-hand bunch. As a result I come under fire from both ahead, and to my own left.

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I break off my attack without doing much damage, leaving it for now to others who are queuing up behind me to have a crack, including one keen chap who is trailing smoke but not ready to give up.

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As I pull up, the right-hand group of bombers is slipping in from the side...

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...and then sliding out of sight underneath. I take some hits, but nothing stops working.

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No more charging into the middle of things for me! The Huns are now settled on a steady course to the south, so I decide to have another crack at the fellows on the left of their formation, where things should not be just so hot.

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Aiming between an engine and wing root often seems to pay dividends!

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I make another pass at the fellow on the right of this one, just as the formation makes another turn...

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...but have to break off when I finally run out of ammunition.

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I take some more hits as I overshoot - in the fin and rudder as it happens.

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So I pull up sharply at full throttle, to get out of everyone's way.

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I fly a parallel course to the withdrawing bombers until they reach the coast, seeing them off the premises as it were. I'll find out later just how hard hit Manston actually was, but there's no doubt at all that the Huns paid a hefty price for whatever damage they managed to do.

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The battle has definitely stepped up a couple of gears today, giving me what feels like an authentic sense of the tension ramping up as the Luftwaffe turns its attention from the convoys to RAF airfields. This campaign has got its hooks into me and doesn't want to let go!

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3 hours ago, Olham said:

"Battle of Britain II" - is that the same as "Cliffs of Dover" ?

 

No, they are two entirely different sims.

If you look through Lima's recent reviews of both games, you can see where he has explored the strengths and weaknesses of both.

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Hi Olham! This thread was my effort to compare, contrast and generally sum up, in words and pictures and within a single thread, my own experience of the single player experience from 'BoB2', a joint commercial+mod community (A2A/BDG) remake of the famous Rowan original, and from CloD Blitz Edition.

Comparisons based on personal preferences can be all very unfair, and I'm not into MP which is potentially another story. But I'll just say here that if I absolutely had to choose only one combat flight sim to play forever after- which I don't of course but anyway - BoB2 would be at or very near the top of my 'Desert Island Disc/sim' shortlist. A shortlist CloD wouldn't make, sadly. And that's before I have even started playing three out of BoB2's four replayable, dynamic campaigns (RAF commander, Luftwaffe commander, RAF pilot, Luftwaffe pilot).  As Rock Paper Shotgun's Tim Stone said in an early review, CloD is a nice aeroplane sim...

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... but for SP, and as a representation of the Battle it's named for, BoB2 still shoots it down in flames.

Our AI pilot wastes no time in getting down after we escaped back to France after a Spitfire attack, playing as an air gunner during the training mission 'Interceptions - single fighter vs single bomber'

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This is from the training mission, 'ground attack'.

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Not sure when I snapped the next two pics, the second one of course being von Werra's 109; and the two after that, from recent RAF 'commander' campaign missions.

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The one thing so far I don't much like about BoB2 is that 109 escorts will sometimes ignore you (notice the unresponsive staffel  below the bombers), said to happen because the campaign AI has a 'proportionate response' policy and will not swarm an intercepting squadron with all available escorts. Possibly taking Teutonic discipline a bit far, eh ?:) But better than the Ancient Britons, whom I recall my history teacher told us the Romans would defeat by attacking one side of their hill forts, causing all the defenders to rush to that side, then hitting the other side about fifteen minutes later. An apt lesson, apocryphal or not. I never forgot it anyway and in later life, I always tried to 'watch my arc' regardless of distractions. :)

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Other times they will not only react, but can happily bounce you. These 110s did this to our squadron, before I even realised they were there. Fresh underwear all round, please.

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I much prefer BoB2's big, tight formations which occasionally act dumb to those in CloD which are very small and act dumb a lot. When you can see them, which isn't very often, until they are close (and pixelated, AA being awful) and since - while there's apparently a complicated workaround you can program - you can't even cheat by turning on labels in-game. BoB2 versus CloD is still a bit like Adler Tag versus Turkey Tag :) The nested radio command system menus in BoB2 are very strange in places if you're used to 'classic' Il-2, but at least it works, while CloD's is mostly broken. Team Fusion's patch 5 would have to fix a whole lot, even to begin to balance out the scales.

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