Okay so the Rolling Thunder campaign was never my favourite campaign from the series, in fact might be the most bland. The main reason for this was most probably the fact that there is no forward line of troops and tank columns to fight it out, and gain or lose ground after each mission.
Rolling Thunder for real
The campaign namesake this is based on was one of the most disastrous and misguided campaigns in the history of aerial warfare. What was hoped would be a few weeks of bombing missions to get North Vietnam back to the negotiating table to stop them trying to invade the South, turned into 3 or so years of bombing targets selected by Washington. Or to put it another way pussy footing around bombing things that did nothing more than improve North Vietnam's resolve to continue on its agenda and also allow it to build up its defenses with the help of the Soviet Union and China.
So, 3 years of bombing targets – many times the same targets over and over, and never achieving the desired US strategy.
Rolling Thunder in game
In the Strike Fighters game engine this translates to what seems like a string of single missions and yes you don’t have much of an objective other than to try and not get shot down.
However, unlike auto generated Single missions, Campaign missions are more content filled and almost always include strike packages and flights that help you do your job (If you at least meet your timings). Not only that all the units have their markings and decals as they should.
Like history there are no SAMs until mid 1965 and the MiG regiments are limited in number. One great thing about TKs games is the use of "dates", so the game engine can just plonk in the correct objects (Guns/SAMs/MiGs) depending on the date you are flying. This also includes getting rebased and upgraded to better aircraft during the campaign.
Like most things in Strike Fighters World, mods can really help and I am using the Vietnam Gold mod with a variety of my own changes. This comes with quite a fearsome atmosphere with a ton of guns shooting at you with purple stuff, red stuff and grey puffy stuff. A major benefit is a bigger variety of targets and not just the sodding comms building again.
Feb 24 1966 and I am flying from Da Nang in an F-100D (1964 version) for the 416th “Silver Knights”. I don’t know what it is about the F-100D that I like because it is outclassed by pretty much all the MiGs.
The Lang Chi Electric Power plant is my target (a welcome addition from gold pack I think) – and I need to be on target for 09:10 on the dot.
I am maxing out the M-117s here – there are plenty of them available. The SF2 Super Sabre also allows TERS to carry 4 on the inner pylons by default but with extra drag.
How to get there hmmm. Those that played Wings Over Vietnam will know various routes into the North to minimise exposure to the SAMs, some of which had a 90% plus probability of kill if you were not flying at about 5ft off the ground. Luckily the SAMs in SF2 and this pack allow you to fly a bit more as they tended too back then!
With a target near Yen Bai I can use the highlands as cover and cross in over South NVN where there are little to no SAMs.
The Square box waypoint (the Initial Point /IP) is also the spawn point if you use Alt N, so can be moved around if you don’t have time to fly there.
Waypoint 3 is fixed as a rendezvous with other flights. If SF2 had been developed, it would have been nice to change the waypoint details for the flights like in Falcon so you could move the fixed waypoint for all flights.
Another thing that could have been improved was seeing your actual target area before flying. If you consider Jack Broughton spent all night memorising features etc before going on a mission you can understand the point of just marking the actual target with Padlock or a red dot!
As you can see only 2 MiG regiments active with MiG-17F and MiG-21F-13.
First Lt Eldon Atterbury is my wingy today. If you do take time to nurture the pilots their stats do improve (if they survive)
Let's go then
As we fly towards the target other flights are also on route to their targets.
After a while several fights occur
Due to meticulous planning we reach the target just fine and we roll in from above the cloud base
I hit the target but get peppered by a lot of triple A
Phew heading out but think my Wingy is a bit lost.
Try to search, but no sign of him and no beeper! so off home alone
Mystery solved, a MiG-21F-13 gunned him down and I had no idea that was in the area! If only all Vietnam mysteries could be solved so easy!
I then went on to fly A-4C/Es for the US Navy in which you get to take off from Carriers in the Gulf on Tonkin
Mr SAM is always happy to see you
This thud was just lucky!
This thud was not so lucky
What are all those blotches
So still quite intense flying through all the anti air and check 6 for those MiGs as always!
Today we are taking a trip back to 2004, a time when as you can see from the photo above featured PC CDROMs!
Before Internet speeds for most were high enough to consider sending entire game files they had to distribute games to people using good old fashioned Compact Disks. The shiny CD came complete with its own (Jewel) case with cover and even a printed manual. As you can see a time when even Thirdwire had to distribute games and make them look like games used to - the manual even tells me to go to http://www.softwarehelpdesk.co.uk/ for technical support…………..ha looks like that domain is up for sale!
Looking at the back we can see it even ran on Windows ME with 256MB of RAM! - Yes, I had to look back to remember what Win ME was – the very last of the Win 9x line before Microsoft thankfully ditched that and we got Win 2000 then Win XP. Of course, in 2004 or nearly all of that decade Win XP was the only game in town for home users and it was great for its time.
For anybody who had bought Strike Fighters: Project 1, a Vietnam game was a logical and most welcome step forward….a game that recreates the intense air combat experience in the skies of North Vietnam at the height of the air campaign……………..what could be better!
The manual lists the Player and AI aircraft, and although the VPAF selection looks fairly complete, the US selection was very limited compared to the later Strike Fighters 2: Vietnam.
This was a time when there was hope for the future and many opportunities to modify the hell out of the game and start getting into place the absolute ton of things not included in the box.
Terrain & Environment
As you might see (from the case) the Terrain that came with WOV wasn’t much better than what comes with one of Thirdwires Phone & Tablet PC games – a pretty poor and unrealistic looking barren wasteland. Unsurprisingly it was not long before modders produced somewhat better tilesets - one of the first I remember and although free was used by Yankee Air Pirate later:
The RA-5 Vigilante - does not come with WOV
There was a payware tileset for sale at Razbams store at some point – but suffered from having obvious borders and tile edges – also 512 x 512 bitmap files were pretty big at the time but very low res by today’s standards.
This later effort includes a version of Starys Green Hell which included a lot more trees for the first time:
Vietnam was hell - Green hell!
When released WOV also had no clouds either but they were added in a later patch:
Low level clouds, gone but not forgotten
The North Vietnam Air Force (VPAF) and air defences were quite well set up as part of the terrain, with relevant SAM and AAA models for the era along with relevant AI. The MiGs varied in effectiveness from patch to patch whereas some of the SA-2s had a Kill probability of about 99% - this was rightly toned down somewhat in Strike Fighters 2 (SF2).
WOV included an airbourne FAC (Forward Air Controller) role and this was usually represented by an 0-1E Birddog flying over the battlefield (Callsign Snoopy) – this was removed from SF2.
The game added Carrier operations for the first time although the carrier was pretty lonely by itself most of the time, and players could only fly off it in campaigns and scripted single missions!
The B-52s thought they were safe from Thirdwires lesser spotted MiG-17F
There were some options for payware – mostly from Razbam and Yankee Air Pirate – both had air of controversy that I won’t go into here.
One of the very few payware aircraft was the A-1 skyraider pack
Before the Mission Editor arrived in SF2 you had to create single missions using Notepad basically, quite a time consuming and difficult process. Yankee Air Pirate basically created single missions based on real missions from Vietnam and was quite an important addition for anyone with an interest in that subject.
Populated carrier deck
Landing and taking off in Hueys from smaller boats like this
Shooting down Colts in Hueys
Shooting the side gun in Hueys - Get some!.
Of course, with scripted missions you can do quite a few things you cannot in auto generated single missions and campaigns!
Advance clone army!
The VPAF, masters of camouflage
Wings Over Vietnam certainly started out as a fairly serious attempt to put together a decent standalone Vietnam war Air Combat simulator and in that respects, did a pretty decent job, but only if you took time to add a lot of the mods available and change the game yourself. Graphically it was using DX9.0c so was up to date in that regards although again you had to add mods to get it looking to what it should have perhaps been out of the box.
F-111A - not included with WOV
EB-66 - not included with WOV
…………and Here we are at the tail end of 2017 and still no real alternative to WOV and SF2V on the Vietnam War flight sim front.
View File Thirdwire F-104A/C Pack 1
Thirdwire F-104A and C pack 1
THIS IS FOR THE THIRDWIRE F-104A/C (DLC28) MODELS ONLY (SF2).
Includes new Hi Res skins and revised flight models along with everything needed to fly them.
F-104A (GE-3B engine & Internal Gun)
USAF ADC & ANG, Jordan (RJAF), Pakistan (PAF), Taiwan (ROCAF)
F-104A (GE-11A engine)
F-104A (GE-19 engine)
USAF ADC, Taiwan (ROCAF)
Default is the initial high thrust rating - but an alternate data.ini is inluded for the reduced thrust GE-19 version.
F-104C (GE-7A engine)
USAF TAC (shooting star silver schemes)
F-104C 1961 (GE-7A engine)
Adds centerline AIM-9 catermaran under Project Grindstone (that was never used.)
USAF TAC (Early Vietnam silver scheme)
Submitter MigBuster Submitted 01/06/2015 Category F-104
I really love DLC packages but I live in iran.in my country we never want to donate files or other products from web.my country has many embargo economic.for 3 years I waited to have credit card or other way to buy DLC029- DLC028 and DLC017.but certainly iran have not ever this usefull web service.it is very funny because i pay at least 20 $ per month to have ADSL internet services but cant buy this little packages.now my friends its my question:
HOW can i have these 3 packages?is there any way for me to enjoy from from AI planes of DLC029-DLC028 and beautifull mirage IIIO.please help me if you can.