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Found 2 results

  1. Defending the Reich...with a difference! This mission report is designed to showcase another IL-2 Reich Defence campaign: this time FlatSpinMan's 'Luftwaffe Pilot - Defence of the Reich 1943', available over at Mission4Today, here: http://www.mission4today.com/index.php?name=Downloads&file=details&id=3856 As the campaign description says, "Fly as Willi Jedermann as he attempts to save the Fatherland from the murderous waves of Allied bombers. Over 20 missions flying for JG1 and JG 11 in their titanic struggle against the Allied behemoths. Get a taste of the spectacle, excitement and terror of the most massive aerial combats in history." I was so pleased with the experience afforded by Boelcke's similarly-themed campaign that I thought I'd try a second one. This report is the result. As to the significance of the title - and no prizes for spotting that it was the closing line from that memorable 1960s air war movie, '633 Squadron' - well, the connection will become apparent, very shortly! The first mission in the campaign came as a bit of a surprise. As you can see from the 'blurb' above, the campaign was billed as flying with Jagdgeschwader 1 and Jagdgeschwader 11 (the latter being spun off from JG1 to bolster defences in northern Germany and the Baltic coast area) so I was rather surprised to find my first mission involved flying for JG5 'Eismeer'. That unit's traditional stomping ground, as its name suggests, was Scandinavia. I neglected to take a screenshot of the briefing but the mission seemed to involve a transit flight, with myself and my wingman flying off to join my new unit. The map in question looked to be of Finland's Baltic coast [edit - I checked and it's actually Norway's west coast, which is fine]. My mount was a Bf109G2 and following the instructions in the briefing, I had selected a JG5 skin, which came with the skin pack which the campaign's download page recommends you install as well as the campaign. That's me, in Yellow 4. Evidently my pilot had previously served with the Kondor Legion in the Spanish Civil War; at least, I assume that's the reason for the small Spanish Nationalist air force insignia, on my fuselage to the rear of the cross. The badge on the cowling is, of course, JG5's. It's a nice skin, with 74+75 upper surfaces and 76 below, and the fuselage sides mottled in 02 and 70 - textbook stuff, and the wing camouflage pattern is also a common factory standard for the time. Nice job. ...and yes, the mission was an air start. Most of this campaign's missions are, apparently. Personally, I prefer to start 'on the deck' but with IL2 not having a magic 'warp' or 'go to next encounter' facility, I can understand why the designer decided to spare us the long climb to altitude with which your average Reichs Defence sortie would otherwise have started. In my previous, somewhat sporadic flying with IL-2, I never got out of the habit of flying with the map screen set to display my course and icons for other planes, including enemies. I generally prefer to minimise my reliance on such things. But given the IL-2 on-screen 'kneeboard' map is quite small and covers a limited field (even zoomed well out) I'm inclined not to baulk at using it both for navigation and to identify foes. I don't use the equivalent facility in First Eagles or Rise of Flight, for example, but in WW2, with fighters commonly flying with the assistance of ground-based controllers using radar and other aids, I consider the IL-2 map with icons on is a reasonable supplement to the sim's ground controller, who when asked, seems only able to give you an enemy force's bearing, not its course, composition or most importantly, height - European Air War was much better in that regard. Anyway, I was understandably curious to find out whether or not my transit flight was going to be uneventful. So I turned on the map...and there they were! But what were they? And what were they up to? One way to find out...I slammed the throttle forward, turned onto an intercept course, and started gaining some height. ...to be continued!
  2. Flying a classic Western Front campaign...in a classic Eastern Front flight sim! I don't know about you, but the sim that came closest to my ideal of a WW2 flight sim was (and in some key ways, still is) European Air War. For one thing, EAW had - in spades - many little but oh-so-immersive touches that later sims seem to omit or neglect. There was something resembling a decent pilot logbook; basic but effective verbal campaign briefings; and a between-mission representation of your bunk in a Nissen Hut complete with creaking bedsprings, coughing (but invisible) companions, and a radio set which you could tune into renderings of appropriate popular music of the day. Break off from the campaign and you got an on-screen day pass complete with tickets to an appropriate show and a picture of your 'floosie'! Not only that, but EAW featured the two aerial campaigns that defined the European Theatre of Operations air war and always interested me most: the Battle of Britain in 1940, and what might be called the Battle of Germany, 1942-45, where the tables were turned and it was the Luftwaffe's turn to defend the Homeland against swarms of marauding bombers. In EAW, I could escort Stukas or Heinkels in 109s or 110s or try knocking them down in a Hurri or a Spit. And I could take to the skies over the Reich in my favoured German mount, the venerable 'Gustav' or Bf109G, and lead my staffel into deadly firing passes on huge combat box formations of B17s or B24s, braving swarms of tracers and watching my kills go slipping or spinning out of formation trailing smoke. If I fancied something different, I could slip into an FW190A or D, a later Bf110, or even a jet Me262. Or I could swap sides and take on the Luftwaffe in a P47, a P38 or a P51. My idea of sim heaven! When CFS2 came out, I enjoyed the better graphics and the change of scenery to the Pacific, as well as the opportunities afforded by many add-ons that enabled you to experience Pearl Harbour, fly with the Dambusters and all the rest. I spent a lot of time back in the ETO with CFS3, which failed to add better ground control and seemed worse in the air-to-air department, tho it was reasonably good in its declared aim of simulating tactical air ops, albeit in a weird version of WW2 where German shipping traffic plied the English Channel in daylight and an invasion could have been mounted in either direction. Battle of Britain 2 'Wings of victory' I played as well, loving its superior AI tho ultimately finding its odd combination of wargame and flight sim not quite to my taste. For the Battle of Germany, 'B17 the Mighty Eighth' was a really superb bomber sim but its fighter capabilities were much more limited. As for IL-2...well I bought and played, on and off, just about all the successive versions and some add-ons but while the rather dry single-player campaigns were jazzed up somewhat over the years, the Eastern Front never really floated my boat. Despite the 'Battle over Europe' add-on, coverage of the ETO remained very limited, while IL-2's drive to the Pacific seemed to me to have many fine aspects like the ability to defend Singapore in Buffaloes or later, take the fight back to the Japanese in a Beaufighter, but ultimately, to fall somewhat short, not least due to a hopelessly inadequate set of ship types. I longed for the tussles with the fleets of bombers that EAW brought to my screen, especially the missions against the 'Amis' in their 'viermots', the big, four-engined Flying Fortresses and Liberators, with their attendant swarms of 'little friends', the Thunderbolts, Lightnings and later, the Mustangs. EAW was still in business, but I wanted to experience its massive battles with the graphics, AI, damage and flight models of a modern sim. IL-2 Battle of Stalingrad might be an interesting diversion to the East, and DCS-1944 might get there one day, but what of the present...? Having rediscovered the delights of IL-2 in the form of the excellent Dark Blue World mod - surely, the ultimate single-player add-on for IL2 - and found there existed a version of Boelcke's "Defense of the Reich" campaign just for DBW, I thought it was time to revisit the virtual skies over the crumbling Thousand Year Reich. I wanted to see if I could rediscover the thrill of sailing, cannon blazing, into a combat box which filled the skies around me with tracers from dozens of .50 cals. Would IL-2, DBW and Boelcke's campaign hit that spot? ...to be continued!

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