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Found 34 results

  1. Battle of Britain II

    From the album Combat Sims

  2. Battle of Britain II

    From the album Combat Sims

  3. Battle of Britain II

    From the album Combat Sims

  4. The Luftwaffe switches targets in my RAF 'commander' campaign! 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. 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. This is me a little earlier, flying as Green 1 with 234 Squadron... ...and here I am, making my contribution to the war effort, attacking Hostile 101 as it heads for its target. 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. Down below, Manston paid the price! 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!
  5. Campaign contrasts - Battle of Britain II and Cliffs of Dover Blitz Edition For one reason or another, I've found myself running single player RAF campaigns in parallel in these two Battle of Britain sims. As indeed you may have noticed, from recent mission reports. So I thought it might be moderately amusing to describe where I've got to in each, side by side. And share some more of my thoughts - for whatever they may be worth - on their respective merits, based now on a little more than first impressions. Starting with Battle of Britain II - Wings of Victory. It's the morning of 18th July 1940. Watching 'the plot' on the campaign map, I hear the a WAAF announce that a new raid is forming, over northern France. Time acceleration automatically slows from 300x to 20x and I watch the raid's marker nudge its way north, towards the Thames Estuary. As it comes, its size is revised upwards to seventy-plus and I can see at once that its likely target is either of two convoys, one off Felixstowe, the other further north near Great Yarmouth. Both are protected by a single fighter patrol, in squadron strength, put up by the campaign AI. The raid drifts past the Felixstowe convoy and I accept AI recommendations to scramble three squadrons to intercept it. Confirmation comes that Convoy Weasel, up off Great Yarmouth, is the likely target. In the meantime, the intercepting squadrons have been tracking across from the west and Douglas Bader's 242 Squadron is the first to report spotting the bandits. BoB2 asks me if I want to fly this mission and I accept, choosing to fly as Green 3, in one of the rearmost 3-plane vics in 242. The mission loads, and I find myself in Hurricane LE-L, at just over 16,000 feet, now heading nearly due south. Up ahead is the enemy - some of them, anyway. There look to be about thirty of them. They're not contrailing, so it's hard to work out their heading. You can just about make them out, right of top centre, in the pic below. From up ahead and to my left, Douglas Bader is saying something important on the blower, but I'm more interested in what the rest of the formation is now doing. Wings are waggling nervously and I'm suddenly concerned about keeping in formation. I'm also thinking, this was supposed to be seventy plus, where are the rest of the Germans? The answer isn't long in coming. Suddenly we are swamped by a shower of Messerschmitt 110s, which fall on us from above. I pull up and around in an effort to avoid being shot down, and maybe even come around onto their tails. In doing so, I realise I'm on my own and have lost the others - in such a situation, it seems to be each man for himself. I look up briefly to see if it's clear above me, before coming back down after the 110s. I get another shock. Waves of aircraft, which could only be Huns, are sailing past up there. The lower ones might be Ju88s; the paler ones above them could be more escorts. Others again, I can only see by their contrails. Crikey!!! If only the bloody Controller had told us to put on a bit more height, we would not be in this mess, bounced by 110s with the rest of the raid now having a clear run to the convoy. We can only hope that having stripped away some of the escorts, other squadrons will manage to get the bombers before they get the ships. Did anybody buy it in that first pass? No time to worry about that now. I roll over onto my back and go down, after the Messerschmitts. ...to be continued!
  6. Defending the convoys again, on Day 2 of the Battle of Britain This was my first mission on 11th July 1940, the day after the RAF traditionally considers that the Battle began. At this stage in the BoB2 RAF campaign, as in the real one, the Navy is still insisting - in the face of some German-supplied evidence to the contrary - that Britannia rules the waves. And that this being so, coastal convoys should carry on, rather than shifting everything they're lugging about onto the already-busy railways. So the principal commitment of Fighter Command at this stage is flying standing patrols to provide air cover, with additional fighter squadrons on standby, ready to scramble if an incoming raid is detected by the Chain Home radar network. This is the balance sheet as of early that morning. From flying 252 sorties, many of which never saw a Hun, we have claimed eleven kills, all of them bombers, against seven Spitfires and one Hurricane definitely lost. Hopefully our over-claim rate is not high, as this is not a great exchange rate. However, having re-started my RAF campaign afresh, I am not so far seeing the very high and hugely imbalanced losses from first time around, possibly down to me messing up saves or something. You can see patrols 'changing shifts' over Convoy Bosom out to the west, while an incoming raid, marked up as Hostile seven zero one, strength sixty plus, has been detected over the French coast. As it happens, this raid's target is Convoy Whiskey, whose circular grey marker you can just about see to the centre right edge of the Review box, in the outer reaches of the Thames Estuary. Following the default Directives which I accepted, controllers soon scrambled four squadrons, a mix of Spits and Hurris, to join the one on patrol over Whiskey. Seventy-Nine Squadron - flying Hurricanes out of Biggin Hill south of London, squadron code NV - was the first to sight the enemy. So when offered, I accepted the chance to fly with them, opting to be Red 2 on the right of the squadron leader. This is me seen from his machine, in NV-B, as we climb gently in four, tight three-plane vics, going north over the coast near a town which might be Allhallows on Sea. I had hoped to be on the edge of the formation but mis-read the layout and ended up smack bang in the middle. Combined with the cloudy conditions, this was to have interesting consequences later. ...to be continued!
  7. Flying a sortie in the RAF campaign This is my second mission report from my new (or at least, new-found) toy - A2A's Battle of Britain II - Wings of Victory. In case anyone's wondering, I didn't set out for them all to be called 'A bad day for...' - that's just how it's working out, so far. A bit of a give-away, or spoiler if you like, but I trust it won't last, and that future mission report titles will be a tad more cheerful. Anyhow now that I've made a start with a BoB2 campaign, I'm wondering why I didn't take to it years ago, when I first got Rowan's original, or A2A's remake. Especially since both are so much better with the BDG updates. Now, you can even play a more conventional campaign, as described in the comprehensive BoB2/BDG manual, which enables you to have a log book-carrying, squadron-based pilot persona. This uses the underlying dynamic campaign 'wargame' to generate your missions. But for now I'm doing a conventional BoB2 'commander' (not 'pilot') campaign. The main difference is that the commander version allows you to act as any and all of the Air Vice-Marshals commanding 10, 11 and 12 Groups, Fighter Command, plus jump in and fly any squadron scrambled or tasked to patrol, either on takeoff or on meeting the enemy. Also at other points but the latter is the most interesting, and enables the player to jump in just before the start of any air fight, in any of the aircraft in the squadron about to engage. I opted to start at the beginning of the first phase into which the Battle is conventionally divided - the channel convoy phase, starting 10 July 1940, just after the fall of France. Among the many options, you can set things so that the AI Luftwaffe you will be facing starts the battle mainly by attacking British coastal convoys ('historical' tactics), or using 'optimal' ones - which likely involves going for more beneficial targets earlier, like your airfields or aircraft factories. I opted for 'historical' and as expected, ended up with the RAF campaign AI flying standing patrols to protect convoys, plus scrambling squadrons to intercept raids as they come in. This campaign AI presents you with 'directives' which set rules your deployed forces will follow, and allows you both to vary these or create your own. It also takes decisions on what and when to scramble, abiding by these directives. The BDG manual gives excellent, detailed and illustrated advice on how to do all this, but the AI is quite good for the RAF anyway. I opted to accept all the defaults and let the AI fight the Battle, so that all I had to do was wait for something to happen and then dive in to any action that developed. As each campaign day accelerates and decelerates time as needed, you are not kept waiting staring at the map for long. And even while you are, it's a not uninteresting experience; you can watch convoys moving, patrols orbiting, raids developing and squadrons scrambling, while listening to reports as they come in. 'Hostile seven zero one is now a hundred plus' sounds positively sinister, even though spoken softly in the polite tones of an invisible but obviously efficient and very possibly pretty virtual 1940s WAAF at the plotting table. Above is my campaign map near the end of the first of three sections the campaign day is broken into - morning, afternoon and early evening. The aforementioned raid Hostile 701 is near bottom right, returning to base after attacking Convoy Jaunty (authentic convoy and squadron reporting names are a feature), which is the grey ship marker in the Channel between the headlands at Beachy Head to the west and Dungeness to the east. The blue and white markers are RAF fighter squadrons, either the convoy's standing patrols or those scrambled as the raid came in and now heading home. During this raid I jumped in with 79 Squadron as the leader (the top right blue/white marker) when it intercepted Hostile 701. Here I am contemplating the incoming raid, from a not-terribly favourable position... ...and here I am dealing with a Messerschmitt 110 which objected to our presence... But this mission report is about a sortie I flew the following day, 11th July. A convoy had left the dangers of the channel behind and sought safety off the North Sea port of Felixstowe. Not so safe, as it turned out, for Luftflotte 2 decided to have a go at them. Once again, we were up against a raid reported as 'a hundred plus'. Being keen, I accepted the first offer of combat that the campaign AI offered me, for the first squadron to sight the enemy in the air. This was no less than 242 (Canadian) Squadron, commanded by no less than Squadron Leader Douglas Bader. BoB2 being the stickler for unit-level historical detail that it is, it was no surprise when I therefore found myself in the cockpit not only of a Hurricane, and not only of one bearing authentic squadron codes ('LE') with each aircraft in the squadron with its own unique individual aircraft letter; but my mount was no less than the boss's own machine, LE-D, with my blue and red leader's flash below my starboard cockpit and the unofficial unit emblem, Adolph getting a kicking, adorning the nose. My Corgi diecast 1/72 has the leader's flash on the opposite side, the mirror image A (camouflage) Scheme, and is serial V7467 not P1966, but such minor details apart, BoB2's version is a pretty good replica. Would I do the illustrious pilot justice, whose flying boots this sortie had found me filling? Well, yes and no... ...to be continued!
  8. I finally come to grips with a classic, and realise what all the fuss is about! For some reason, train simulators do not make good subjects for combat reports. Though getting into them at last has been a lot of fun, which together with stuff outside of sim-land have kept me from doing more than very casual air combat simming...until now. Hence the long gap in mission reports here at CombatAce. For World War 1, I'm back with First Eagles 2, not least for its combination of good looks, very wide scope when modded, many very good features, and being fast to get back into, thanks to some of those aformentioned good features. For World War 2, it was time for something I hadn't seriously tried before...which applies to more than it should of the titles I've accumulated over the years, the good, the not-so-good and the relatively awful - anyone else remember Nations - Fighter Command? Nice planeset, pity about the flight models...and a few other details. The recent launch of OBD's follow-on to Wings over Flanders Fields, namely the first installment of Wings over the Reich, got me interested anew in one of my pet subjects of many years, the Battle of Britain. But not sadly in WotR, due to issues like very small German raids, limited comms including little or nothing from ground controllers (big raids and ground control should really be de rigeur for any self-respecting simulation of the Battle) and various lesser niggles, like some unmilitary scripting of what R/T traffic there is. I still have European Air War on my system but while it covers the Battle, it's only fired up for very occasional nostalgia trips, these days. I actually moderately enjoyed the Warbirds-based History Channel Battle of Britain - ok it's not one of the greats, but as well as flying a reasonably historical mission-set campaign in many BoB types, you can shoot at the ones with crosses from a destroyer's Oerlikon Gun.... And of course, I have played some missions from the Battle in modded Il-2 '46, this one being from the Spitfire Scramble campaign... But I have so far not invested in IL-2 Cliffs of Dover, with its strange planeset, strange-looking landscapes and most of all, limited single player content - coupled with high system requirements for what there is So I decided it was time to make a serious effort to get into Rowan's Battle of Britain (I still have the original boxed version, printed manuals and all). Or rather its more recent incarnation, A2A formerly Shockwave's Battle of Britain II - Wings of Victory, or BoB2 to its friends - who naturally include the Battle (of Britain) Development Group, who have done a great job ironing out wrinkles and adding features in a series of patches. Despite making my own map-based Battle of Britain wargame in the 1970s, I never more than dabbled in BoB or BoB2. Not so much because of niggles like planes in close formation sort of jiggling at times, more because I wanted a conventional pilot career, not a combat sim within a wargame. Having since tried that approach with tanks in Steel Armour Blaze of War and found it not unrewarding, I decided it was time to give BoB2-WoV a serious go. And so I discovered two things. First that all the good things they say about BoB2 are true, notably that it captures the Battle like no other sim before or since. In other sims, a German raid might be a staffel, so you're fighting the Minor Skirmish of Brtiain. In BoB2, a raid is typically and realistically at least a gruppe in strength - 20-30 bombers, like these boys from I Gruppe, Kampfgeschwader 54, on their way to knock the spots off Portland Naval Dockyard, with II Gruppe for company and a large close escort of Bf110s. The latter about to be hit from behind by the Brylcreem Boys of the RAF. My second, less welcome discovery was that I'd chosen a bad time to make the first discovery - having just got a replacement PC with Windows 10, which is fine with about every other sim I've tried it with, but with which BoB2 suffers CTDs when ending a mission, and sometimes earlier. However, I have been able to play many training, historical and campaign missions up to the end, and so pleased am I with the experience that I plan a dual boot drive with Win 7. So that I can get proper debriefings and not have to re-start crashed campaign games every time I take to the air in one. And spend more time enjoying the authentic 1940s southern England landscapes and scenery, recreated with extreme attention to detail. For example the first time I saw Brighton Pier on a test flight in a Hurricane, I thought the 3d model had a problem, the pier head being unconnected with the coast. Then I remembered...they disconnected pier head from land during the invasion scare of 1940, so as not to provide the expected visitors with convenient ad hoc jetties. The graphics aren't stellar - there are no dynamic shadows for example - but they are still pretty good. What still sets BoB2's visuals apart is more of that attention to detail. For example, aircraft not only carry accurate camouflage patterns, and the proper squadron codes (JX seen above is No.1 Squadron), but Spits and Hurris have realistic variations, including different fin flashes and undersurface treatments. And the weathered Dark Earth and Dark Green 'shadow shading' RAF day fighter camouflage is to my eye more authentic than the efforts of the flashier competitors. I'm not sure how, but the rather blurry aircraft textures I recall from the first time I installed BoB2-WoV are now sharp and satisfying, complete with readable stencils. Notably, the air-to-air AI is the best (most human-like) I have ever encountered, the flight models feel good (including controls becoming heavier at high speeds). The radio traffic is simply best of breed, complete with the use of authentic radio codes and, it seems, also realistic radio voice procedure, for both sides. Planes rattle like they should when near the stall (I have in front of me a Spit Mk1 Pilot's Notes facsimilie and it describes just that '...there is a violent shudder and clattering noise throughout the aeroplane'), there are clickable cockpits if you like to fiddle with knobs, and as well as flying the four major fighters, you can also go dive-bombing in a Stuka or man and switch between nose, dorsal and ventral gun positions on the three types of German twin-engine bombers. Which is what I'm doing in the mission featured in this report - one of the included historical missions, the major Luftwaffe raid on the Filton aircraft factory near Bristol, on 25th September 1940. This caught out Fighter Command's 10 Group, who had deployed their interceptors to defend the Westland works at Yeovil, instead. As the mission intro describes, this let the attackers in unmolested and probably doomed many of the 200-plus victims who died when the raid hit its real target (my parents-to-be were in a city badly bombed by Goering's boys, and I well remember the 'bomb sites' in the streets where I was brought up, where gaps in rows of houses still marked the effects of the raids; so I don't say any of that lightly, lest anyone think otherwise). I could have opted to fly on any plane making, escorting or belatedly trying to catch the raid. But I opted to fly as an air gunner on the lead He111 of the second attacking gruppe, I/KG55. We had about fifteen aircraft - by mid September, some bomber gruppen were well below strength: the morning raid on London on Battle of Britain Day, 15th September, consisted of just 25 Dorniers which it took two gruppen to put up, an incredibly small number even allowing they were essentially lockvogel, bait to lure up 'the last fifty Spitfires'. Anyhow, here we are approaching Bristol, having just flown through a noisy but for now, ineffective flak barrage. As I was soon to find out, enjoying the ride, taking pics like a good war correspondent and actually defending my aircraft, did not mix terribly well. ...to be continued!
  9. I suppose A2A Simulations' forums are the place to ask this, but the question appears to be hanging in the air, there and elsewhere on the net, so I'll pose it here... Has anyone got BoB2 working fully in Windows 10? I've been spurred to try for myself for two reasons: 1. My Vista 64 box's mobo gave up the ghost so I now have a newer replacement which has Win 10 Pro. With which I've got the vast majority of my sims working fine, mostly from the old HDD which is now installed in the new box to complement the fast-but-just-120GB-capacity SSD that came with it; and 2. The arrival of Wings over the Reich prompted me to renew my acquaintance with sims of the classic Battle, in which I have always been very interested. As I posted 'in another place', I was keen to see WoTR's arrival, but deterred from jumping in when it arrived by a number of issues, including: very small German formations ('Minor Skirmish of Britain', anyone?); bombers way too widely spaced; UFO Bf110s; few flyables; very limited variety in aircraft skins (only slightly better now); and quite seriously for the defender, very little radio traffic and little or no representation of Ground Controllers. It seems the most recent patch has endeavoured to fix some of these issues, but others remain (a post-patch video showing what was described as 'a big bank [sic] of bombers' looked to me to comprise about six Dorniers). I also tried a CFS3 ETO freeware mod which covers the Battle, based on the ETO expansion...but it just reminds me why I always reckoned CFS3 was ok at what it was designed to do (tactical air ops)...but not much else. So back I came to A2A's makeover of Rowan's classic. Despite making my own map-based BoB wargame back in the '70s, I never really appreciated BoB/BoB2's 'flight sim within a wargame' approach. But while WoTR provides the conventional squadron-based SP campaign I prefer (available to an extent in BoB2, if you follow the available guidance on workarounds), BoB2 scores in about every other respect - except that the graphics are not quite so modern as (or more dated than) WoTR's. Even just playing BoB2's included set of historical missions, though all seem to be air starts, provides a good recreation of the Battle via many of its highlights, complete with the ability to fly in several of the participating squadrons or Gruppen (including as air gunners in the German bombers), Ground Controllers are on the air, the R/T chatter is great, the AI likewise, and the formations often positively scary. As is taking the role of one of the air gunners in a Do 17 of 9/KG76 in the famous low-level raid on RAF Kenley, one of the historical missions. Anyhow, back on topic. After a re-install, I have BoB2 mostly working in Win 10, complete with the latest 2.13 update from the BoB Development Group and Multiskins - which gives every plane in every unit accurate squadron/gruppe and individual aircraft markings. The problem I was left with was that the game CTD'ed when I quit a mission. Alt+X being the default keys; remapping them didn't help. Likewise, no joy quitting from the 2d map, paused or not, instead of the 3d world. The consensus online seems to be that differences in the way DirectX handled some things in Win 10 was the likely culprit. Win 8 is likewise problematic, and while 7 is apparently fine with BoB2, I'm not going there, having got most all else going on an OS which will be in support a fair bit longer. Today, I seem to have reduced the Alt+X CTDs from 'very common' to 'rare', by applying the settings posted by Buzz3 on Steam, here... https://steamcommunity.com/app/63950/discussions/0/1471968797464997938/ ...except that I have just begun to increase the recommended low-to-medium in-game graphics settings, to see how far up I can push them, while isolating the item or items I can't. 'Quite a way' seems to be the answer. But I fear that over the days ahead I will have the same experience reported by others on A2A who thought and posted that they had found an answer, only to discover they were just having a good patch and that the law of Alt+X averages caught up with them - and the regular CTDs were back. Some seem to have spent ages trying to find the BoB2 Win 10 Holy Grail, in vain, and I've tried anything I can think of that they haven't reported trying. I can live with the dated but serviceable graphics for the sake of BoB2's very considerable superiority over all other comers as a simulation of the Battle. At a push, I will be happy being able to play the many historical missions, interleaved with the numerous training sorties, and accept a rude, debrief-free ending and an inability to play campaigns, if I must. But if anyone has discovered settings which reliably eliminate the Alt+X CTD in Windows 10, I (and likely others!) would be very glad to hear of it!
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