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Found 17 results

  1. 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!
  2. Mission #2 in FlatSpinMan's campaign - the 'heavies' show up! Having flown the first mission in FlatSpinMan's campaign 'Luftwaffe pilot - Defence of the Reich' and to my surprise, found myself intercepting an RAF shipping strike while on a transit flight, I was keen to fly the second mission and see what was next in store. I had certainly enjoyed swatting some of those pesky Mosquitos - and earning an Iron Cross in the process, tho perhaps not the universal admiration of the Kreigsmarine, over the small matter of certain shipping losses which, despite my best efforts and three kills, I had not been able entirely to prevent. But my main aim in signing up for this campaign had been to defend the Fatherland itself from flocks of marauding Ami heavy bombers - to the Jagdflieger, known variously as 'dicke autos' (fat cars) or 'mobelwagen' (furniture vans) - did somebody in the nachricthen/signals section have a road traffic fixation??? And I also wanted to confirm - as Boelcke's Reichsverteidigung campaign had already indicated - that IL-2 '46 plus Dark Blue World plus a suitable campaign or two equals a satisfactory-or-better fix for my craving for the sort of action I used to get in spades from good old European Air War. I wasn't disappointed! The mission Notwithstanding my transfer flight south having been rudely interrupted by the impertinent Englishmen in their little wooden planes, I found from the mission briefing that I was evidently now well settled into my new unit, I Gruppe of Jagdgeschwader 1 (I/JG1). And as I'd hoped, our tasking for today's mission was intercepting incoming Ami bombers. The date wasn't given, but would have been consistent with spring 1943, likely prior to JG1 giving up the eastern part of its North Sea/Baltic Sea area of operations to JG11, which was created at that time, with units of JG1 being transferred in to form the nucleus of the new unit. Here's the briefing: The briefing itself is nicely written, with some succinct but excellent advice. The 'int' (or 'intel' as the Amis call it) on what we were intercepting is a bit scant and/or scattered and a tad vague but good enough, taken together. The short verbal briefings in EAW were quite good in that respect though uncannily, they were always able to tell you the raid's target, not just an estimate thereof! As you can see, though the placenames show that this is Latvia/Lithuania on the eastern side of the Baltic Sea, FlatSpinMan has made the best of IL-2's available maps by telling us it's the Heligoland area, on the western side of Denmark, for which the map is quite a good proxy, placenames apart. I chose the briefing's recommended 'skin' for my aircraft, which came with the campaign's recommended skinpack: 'White 3', still an early 'Gustav' with rifle-calibre machine-guns atop the engine and no bulges there to spoil my machine's clean lines. Knowing we were up against unescorted heavy bombers, I naturally chose the R6 'loadout': a pair of 2cm MG151 cannon in underwing gondolas (or 'bathtubs'). Here's my 'kanonenvogel', in which I was leader of a 4-plane schwarm for this operation. Fortunately, we were not the only defending flight on this mission, as it turned out! It's a nice skin, looking like the JG5 aircraft I flew in mission #1 has had the yellow wingtips removed, the aircraft ID number overpainted, and the JG1 'Winged 1' unit emblem substituted for JG5's. I don't think that JG1 adopted that emblem until rather later in the war but that's a small quibble. As you may have gathered, this was another air start, not my ideal perhaps but certainly a real time-saver plus it gets you to the correct height as well as on the correct course, in this case for the head-on attack recommended in the briefing, well out over the sea. And there they were - the Ami bombers. Still just a cluster of specks in the clear blue sky well above the scattering of cotton-like clouds, but heading right at us on a steady course. I could feel the corners of my mouth curling almost imperceptibly in satisfied anticipation as I sat slightly forward in my seat, tightening my grip on the joystick and placing my left hand on the throttle. Not long, now! ...to be continued!
  3. 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!
  4. 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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