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Found 32 results

  1. Much of the interest today may be with newer mods like the oddly-titled BAT or the VP modpack, but most of my IL-2 '46 gameplay is still with the Dark Blue World mod, not least because of the large number of campaigns, stock and user-made, that are compatible with it, out of the box. For example, I had been enjoying the Spitfire Scramble campaign in BAT's predecessor, the CUP mod, despite the odd setback... ...when the next mission substituted the default Piper Cub (!!!) because it couldn't find an He 111P, necessitating hand-editing files so substitute an H version. Not in the mood for this, I switched to my DBW install and returned to a couple of uncompleted Luftwaffe campaigns. Not only are these working well, but they are reminding me how great the original Il-2, in it's '46 form and with DBW, still plays..and looks. I think this is a stock German bomber 'DGen' campaign, flying Ju 87D dive bombers actually, in the early stages of the Stalingrad operation. I got a nasty shock when Yaks slipped past our escort and seemed about to begin a 'Stuka party' as the RAF called these affairs, but the attack petered out and we made the target. Meanwhile, in North Africa, Willi Jedermann is enjoying the sights, sounds and company, the latter mainly consisting of the Desert Air Force, including a Kittyhawk which nearly caught our hero on a solitary transit flight. The maker's whimsical mission briefings alone are worth the price of admission. I think I've said it before, but it's worth repeating what the Bard would have had Mark Antony say at Il-2's funeral, which is a long a way off as it ever was, perhaps longer: Antony: Here WAS a combat flightsim! When comes such another? First citizen: Never! Never!
  2. Concluding FlatSpinMan's Il-2 '46 campaign for the Bf 109! Having some months back posted reports for the first four missions in this entertaining and highly recommended campaign, I thought it was over-due time to complete the story! The Allied bomber offensive 1942-45 has always been a particular interest of mine and the ability of modded Il-2 '46 to support this - and other 'Western Front' campaigns - transformed my opinions of and interest in this classic sim, which, in its latest forms, is in my opinion still much the best combat flight sim for World War 2...and beyond. FlatSpinMann's Defence of the Reich campaign is one of several which enable you to pit your virtual life against the might of the USAAF's famous 8th Air Force in its campaign of daylight 'precision bombing'. You're cast as Willi Jedermann, an experienced member of the Jagdflieger whose Bf109's aft fuselage carries the white cross, black disc marking of the Nationalist Spanish Air Force, doubtless denoting time spent with the Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War. The campaign comes with several nicely-rendered variations of the 'skin' for the player's Messerschmitt, the one below being for the 109G-6, to which the player transitions during the missions in this report, having started with the G-2. Earlier missions had seen our Willi transferred south from JG5 'Eismeer' in the frozen north to join I Gruppe, Jagdgeschwader 1 in defence of the Deutsche Bucht or 'German Bight', as they called the area of the North Sea bounded by Schleswig-Hollstein/Denmark to the east and the north German coastline near Bremen and Hamburg, to the south. That Willi is an alter hase, an 'old hare' who has seen it all before and then some, is clear from the mission briefings, which often feature Willi's frank expressions of his views, ranging from his reservations about operating so often over the seas on convoy escort, to his opinions on the latest bright ideas from his superiors. My fifth mission is a case in point. Willi is being sent aloft to practice air-to-air bombing of enemy bomber formations, prompted by the success achieved by real-life Luftwaffe ace Heinze Knoke (recounted in 'I Flew for the Fuhrer' and quoted in many other books). Willi is fairly scathing about the prospects for this tactic...but orders are orders! Soon, flying as Willi, I'm airborne and headed north, in rather murky weather with a 250Kg bomb slung under my Messerschmitt. I'm rather glad to be on my own. Level bombing in a bombsight-less fighter seems unlikely to go well and, methinks, the fewer of my squadron-mates who witness my efforts with this contraption, the better. Callling up the inflight map, I checked my bearings. Our base is at Windau, which Goggle tells me is these days called Ventspils and is in Latvia, on the Baltic Sea coast. A stock Il-2 map of this area is topographically not a bad substitute for the German Bight, though. I have been told that the target on this practice mission has been marked out on some muddy coastal land, in the form of something resembling a plan view of a formation of heavy bombers. I'm to bomb from about a thousand metres, apparently. On arrival, I first overflew the range, just to get a good look at what they have cooked up for me. It's not too bad a job, I soon find out: a series of large white crosses in a decent representation of an American heavy bomber formation. And there's a large white circle-and-arrow marking on the ground a few hundred meters short of the 'formation'. You can't see it in the screenie below because it's hidden by the junction of those canopy farmes on the left, but it wasn't too hard for me to work out that this marked my suggested bomb release point. It seems the idiots who dreamed up this aerial bombing nonsense have at least been thorough in laying out my practice target. What they hadn't done so well was explain how I was supposed to aim my bomb, given that on a straight run-in, both the 'formation' and the bomb release mark are hidden under my nose. I suppose they expect an officer of the Luftwaffe to be able to work out such things for himself. So that's what I did. I approached on an offset course and picked out a landmark inland to my right - to my left, there was only the sea - which was level with the aiming mark. Unfortunately landmarks were rather limited in this weather and in this neck of the woods but I picked out a reasonably distinctive point on the edge of a suitably-positioned forest. Nearing the bomb release point on this offset course, I made a sort of 'Z' curve, turning left to get the the aiming mark and the target in line and then back right, back onto the same course as before, but in line with the target somewhere under my nose. Looking to the right, when the aiming mark came level, I let go the bomb and turned right, mildly curious to see what happened next. Below you can see the bomb on its way down, about half an aircraft's length, directly ahead of my spinner. The results were a good deal better than I expected. The bomb went off just on the leading edge of the 'formation', close enough I thought to have done some damage. Had it been for real, lacking proximity fuses, the trick would have been to get the thing to go off at the same level, the problem being a three-dimensional one. As I came off the target, I got a bit of a surprise when I saw the shadow of a vic of aircraft flit across theground below and behind. At this point I suddenly remembered that the briefing warned me to watch out for the presence of some boys from a Jagdfliegerschule, who were on some training flights somewhere in the general area. Of course in concentrating on my bombing run I had completely forgotten about them. There were undoubtedly at a much, much higher risk of me flying into them, than bombing them. Looking around more carefully, I soon spotted the others, off to my right. Three Messerschmitts like my own, they were, also headed south, towards my airfield. I gave them a wide beth and watched as they dipped down directly towards the runway. For some reason they didn't land, but pulled up short of landing and climbed away. Drat! Now I was going to have to be more careful in making my own approach! As it happened, these three were not the trainees; or if they were, they were nearing the end of their course, flying operational types. The real trainees were also in the air, flying impressed Czech-built Avia B-534s. Having flown past my base on my right to keep my distance from the other 109s, I gradually let down to about 300 meters. I looked around again for the others and seeing nothing, turned right onto my base leg. The skies remained murky but clear of aircraft and it wasn't long before I was down. As I completed my roll-out, I heard two other aircraft advising they were going around and the tower acknowledging. So I opened up again and smartly cleared the runway, steering towards the hardstanding in front of the hangers, at the left end of the long grass strip. I thought to myself, that wasn't too bad, unfortunately...'unfortunately' as only a complete disaster seemed likely to offer any hope of the next step in the process being cancelled. That next step, I felt sure, would be to put the training into practice, on operations. I was right. To be continued...!
  3. The heavies are back! Here's the briefing for the next mission in my Reich Defence career, flown as per previous missions in IL-2 '46 + Dark Blue World and the same campaign from FlatSpinMan. I say 'briefing' but it's actually a conversational piece between the campaign pilot Willi Redemann and his boss, followed by what has the appearance of a piece of extended radio traffic, from the local Ground Controller to fighters outbound for an interception mission. 'Furniture Vans' - 'Moebelwagen' in German - is a Luftwaffe radio nickname for heavy bombers, so it's pretty clear that we're up against the USAAF's Eighth Air Force. And from the reference to 'butcher birds' - a little-used name for the Focke-Wulf 190 - it's evident that our Bf109Gs from I Gruppe, Jagdgeschwader 1, won't be on our own. Just as well, methinks, even if, at this stage of the war, we're not facing opposition from escort fighters. Big formations of Ami four-engined bombers bristling with heavy machine-guns are no easy meat, even unescorted. The briefing map's a bit confusing as it shows two tracks, one leading out from the coast and the other (ours, as it turned out) running north-north-east. Neither appeared to originate or terminate at an airbase, which was a strong hint that this was an air-start mission...and so it proved to be. As usual for an intercept mission, I've chosen 20mm gunpods and a droptank for my formation, which as before is a schwarm of four Bf109G2s. The mission started with us in echelon right at the designated mission height, which saved us the takeoff and a long-ish climb to height, though I generally prefer to start on the ground. I throttled back slightly, gave the order to change to 'finger four' formation, then opened up again as my comdades slipped into position. As expected, there were at least two other flights on the same mission, which I could see from their contrails, above us. Who were they? Using the IL-2 view system to 'have a nosey', I could see that our companions consisted of another flight or two of 109s and a couple of flights of 190s. If I remember my Luftwaffe markings right, the checkered-nose 190s are from 1/JG1 and the ones with the 'tatzelwurm' (which is on the opposite side of the cowling of the other 190s, with the cross-hatched fuselage side camouflage) are from IV/JG1. Orders from the Ground Controller reminded us to turn right onto heading 090 when we reached the next waypoint, in which direction we'd been briefed to expect to encounter the American bombers heading home from their raid. Up ahead, the other two flights started their turn and rather than wait till I had reached the waypoint, above the lake just ahead, I cut the corner and turned in early. I didn't gain much ground; the others must have been at full throttle! Whatever might lie up ahead, it looked like they would run into it first. Fair enough, I thought to myself as I rolled out onto my new course, I tried. So be it! ...to be continued!
  4. Mission # 3 in Flatspinman's campaign My first campaign featured as a set of mission reports - with Jasta 5 in Wings Over Flanders Fields - having come to an early and inauspicious ending, I thought I'd wind the clock forward to World War 2 and pick up on a campaign first reported here last year. This is none other than Flatspinman's IL-2 campaign covering the Luftwaffe's attempts to defend 'The Thousand Year Reich' from those who rather thought that Nazi hegemony over large swathes of eastern & western Europe for the aforementioned period was, perhaps, not entirely a good idea. In case you're wondering where missions 1 & 2 got to, they're here and here, respectively. To recap, my pilot was operating in Scandanavian skies flying the Messerschmitt 109G with Jagdgeschwader 5 'Eismeer'. But I've been transferred south to JG1 'Oesau', operating in the Reichsverteidigung (Defence of the Reich) role. My first mission had been a transfer flight south which had ended with an unplanned but successful interception of an RAF Mosquito shipping strike. The second sortie was my first mission with JG1, intercepting an unescorted raid by USAAF B-24 heavy bombers over the North Sea. As for this third mission, here's the briefing. As you can see, my virtual alter ego is bitching about various things, not least being sent on a shipping protection mission in poor weather. But orders are orders! As you can also see, an IL-2 map covering the eastern Baltic is doubling up for the German Bight, the area between the German North Sea coast and Denmark. With the map scrolled fully north and the briefing text scrolled fully down, you can see our flightpath and the tail end of the nicely-written briefing. Basically, we are to fly north along the coastline below the clouds then turn west and fly a rectangular patrol pattern, presumably in the vicinity of the shipping we are supposed to protect. Enemy airstrikes are going to be the threat, as the risk from U-boats, minefields and the Luftwaffe makes Allied naval incursions too risky. Before kicking off the mission I checked that I had the recommended 'skin' selected. I also chose to take a droptank and two underwing 20mm cannon gunpods. Rightly or wrongly, at this stage in the war - early-to-mid-1943, if I recall right - I wasn't expecting to meet enemy escort fighters so far from England and the extra firepower might come in handy. There are four of us in the mission and I'm the Schwarmfuehrer. My aircraft has been renumbered, had its JG5 unit badge replaced with the JG1 'winged one' equivalent (not actually carried till early 1944 I think) but is otherwise mostly in the same markings carried previously. From my rudder markings I'm something of an ace already and from the black disc with the white diagonal cross on the rear fusealge, I have evidently been in Spain with the Legion Condor. Wasting no time I checked my controls, locked the tailwheel and started up. With flaps set I opened her up gradually, ruddering to control the swing as the power built up. Off we went, past the parked aircraft and other paraphenalia of a busy operational airfield. Regardless of the weather and the mission, it felt good to be back behind the controls of a virtual 'Gustav', the most-built if not most successful version of the Luftwaffe's classic fighter. 'Bring them on!' I thought to myself, as we climbed away from our airfield. ...to be continued!

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