IL-2 how to tips

Updated: October 2nd – (In: Looking down and seeing a plane below.)

These things took me a long time to figure out, save yourself some time and refer to this list, particularly when you are starting to fly a particular plane. (NOTE: Most of my key assignments are default, but a few are different. Below are all according to my layout).

Spotting

Over big forest areas such as Kuban, I recommend flying pretty low to medium altitude to be able to see the action in front of you rather than below. You also have the advantage that being lower than your opponent and framed against forest, they cant really see you, but you can look up and see them. This is particularly true when transiting between your airfield and a target area.

All monitors are different and theres also VR headsets. I personally benefit from reducing my resolution from native 2560×1440 down to 1920×1080 and unselecting ‘sharpen’ and reducing the gamma slider to 1.0 or 1.1. I used to fly with a cheap old big screen HD 1080 TV and I think this would be optimal, because it is physically huge and has big pixels and is native HD only. I might even buy another TV like this again to use it for multiplayer, because it would help Im sure. TLDR: Whatever has chunky pixels thats what you want and I think old HD flat panel big screens are where its at.

In general, to spot an enemy, fly to one of your defense targets on the ground ie a train or airfield or truck convoy or ship or whatever and wait near it and look for tracer fire or AAA bursts from the ground. They will point you to the enemy. And you know its the enemy because ground ai units only target enemy aircraft. Pro tip: Dont hang around over an enemy defend target or you will get the tracer fire and flak bursts showing everyone where you are…

Looking down and seeing a plane below:

My opinion may change, but so far I reckon you need to be high as possible, because height is safety, but if you go too high, you cant actually see the tracer fire, let alone the aircraft below.

For example in a Bf109 I usually want to boom and zoom, and am very safe at 6000m….But cant see nothing from there when I look below.

However, from 3500m I can see the tracer fire from the planes of the deck and I can pretty well see the planes from there too.

For example, here Im at 3500m and I see some action below. I have ‘unusual (for me at least) success’ probably this is the ideal boom and zoom altitude. (At 14:40):

Track IR

Default view in a particular plane is wrong perspective – Solved: Put the perspective at or close to where you need it and press F10. This sets the new view where you were looking. Then press your default view button and the view goes where you had it when you pressed F10. TLDR: F10 saves you.

Engine Management:

In multiplayer you are going to need to manage the engine. Mostly this means propeller pitch, engine power, water radiator and oil radiator. As well as mixture.

Time and time again you will use:

Right SHIFT -+ for propeller pitch

Right CTRL -+ for water radiator

Right WIN button and -+ for oil radiator

and Right ALT -+ for Mixture.

You will use these button combinations so much. Occasionally also you will need to use Left ALT -+ and sometimes Left CTRL -+ for some engine cooling flaps, cowl flaps, inlet or outlet flaps etc.

Basically when starting a plane you need to:

Set the mixture 100%,

Set the Prop pitch 100%,

Open the water Radiator enough – say 50%

open the oil radiator enough – say 15%

If its a radial engine plane it doesn’t have a water radiator but it has inlet and outlet cowl flaps.

As soon as you takeoff unless its a Yak or LA5 you need to reduce prop pitch within say 1 minute. Running a prop at 100% pitch for longer than a minute is likely to break it. You can test this out with say a P40. Takeoff with 100% prop and see it fail after a short time. BUT if  you were to reduce it to 90% that P40 would run like that for 10 minutes. Usually a good safe continuous cruise prop pitch is 72% – across all aircraft.

Also first thing you should do before engine start E, is Press H to bring up techno messages, which shows you the percentage of any thing that you are adjusting. Its not essential, but trust me… its essential.

I16

Its a great power to weight ratio, accelerates better than most fighters and other great qualities. Dont fly it too slow, dont try to keep up with 109s that depart the combat, but if you can dive in and also turn fight at medium speeds, then that’s where you’re strongest.

Also unless you are specifically going to hunt bombers, do not carry the wing cannons, they are too heavy and you become a sitting duck for 109s.

It has boost! Left Shift and B gets you boost.

Max power 1100Hp at sea level with boost on.

Unlimited cruise power is 2200RPM and 915 on the manifold pressure guage.

Boosted power is 2300RPM and 1065 manifold for maximum 5 minutes.

In technochat 100% power and 89%RPM is the same as 2200RPM and 915 manifold. Then, if you need to fight you can press left SHIFT and B and you go to boosted mode – but watch the clock dont stay at  boosted for more than 5 minutes.

P47D Thunderbolt

Goes best in combat with some kind of slashing moves, think a pirate wielding a cutlass, riding an old barrel, attached to a bungy jumping line and dropping from a great height and springing back up. Thats a good way to fly the 47. And because its superb at high altitude, if you find yourself being pursued by say Bf110’s at medium altitude, you can cruise climb away from them and come down from a great height later or just depart.

One main thing is, make sure you decide how much fuel you want to take on a particular flight. Are you flying 1500 miles today? No? Well then cut the fuel down to 30-40% otherwise you will be very sluggish in climb and everything else.

UPDATE: Flaps! You want to deploy flaps for many close combat scenarios. 10-20% flap in combat enables you to turn very very well, compared to without. You can use this advantage to turn around quickly and go head to head where your 8 .50 Cals will hose down anything in front. Use flaps in dogfights and close combat it helps so much.

P47D Engine management:

Left CTRL -+ to set 50% inlet shutter and leave it.

Open the outlet cowl flap to an extent and same open the oil flap.

For climb you want the cowl flap set to 20% but once level you can close it completely.

I usually set and forget the oil flap at 10 or 15%.

Left Shift and B enables Boost

T -+ to 100% for max Turbosupercharger. Set it to 100% and leave it there. Update: It seems the turbosupercharger can overspeed and there is a red light on the left side of the instrument panel that will flash, you can stop it flashing by reducing the turbosupercharger % with T-  Further Update: I now – at takeoff – set the turbo to 40% and leave. This doesnt usually cause the red light to flash, but it must give you some turbo as well.

Lean mixture to 85% unless in combat go full rich

LA5

Fastest Eastern front plane on the deck, cannot climb with Bf109 though. On the deck I have tried climbing after a Bf109 repeatedly and it just gets away. You can select AP rounds (blue not orange) and they have no tracer, so benefit is your enemy wont react when your bullets fly past him, because he cant see them.

LA5 Engine management

Use boost in combat its Left Shift and B

Spitfire series

There are two Spits, the Vb and the IX. Both Mk’s need their gunsights set before takeoff to match your convergence.

Spits are hard to taxi and hard to land without ground looping. I will land (Try to land into wind) then as the ground run is slowing a ground loop will try to emerge so you gotta hold her straight and apply brake right up until zero forward speed.

Because Spits have big wings they are slower than Bf109s and FW190s, so rather than chase your opponent climb instead and convert your time waiting for combat into altitude.

Spitfire Vb

Its the older model plane that is in IL-2 Kuban. Its main drawback is lack of ammo – it dont got much ammo. But its a strong turn fighter and very maneuverable. The Hispano Sueza 20mm cannons are high muzzle velocity and high rate of fire, they can wreck enemy aircraft far off in the distance ie 300m away, but theres not much ammo for them so you gotta make your shots count. You also have some MG in the wings and they are pretty effective and they contain more ammo. Vb is basically a dogfighter. Its not as fast as Bf109 so you shouldnt try to pursue 109s over long distances, better you climb near a ground target (Yours preferably or the enemies) and wait for action below.

Update: Turning is requiring  serious skill to do it to full potential. Constantly I experience that in a fight with say a Bf109, Im turning to get a shot and maybe its a bit of a loop, and what happens is Im always at the risk of stalling from accelerating into higher angles of attack, (since the elevator can pull you into a stall with its power), OR insidiously, I think I have a safe amount of back pressure and im focusing on the target, and I dont have any reference to the horizon, and I find that my energy is now close to nothing and Im unable to follow the opponent anymore, and then I zoom out and look at the nose and I realise Im not turning at all and ACTUALLY in a slight nose down motion! This happens often. So being aware that the nose will often stop turning from needing more back pressure, is just as common as stalling from too much back pressure.

So that long-winded description is how it is with the Vb wing. On those occasions I get it right and turn well, The Spitfire Vb is very amazing and can really turn well and very strong.

The nose neutral or down behaviour of the nose can be experienced easily if You jump in a Vb do a zoom up and roll up side down – inverted as you zoom climb and when inverted try pushing the stick forward and you will see how the Vb responds very strongly to this.

Spitfire IX

A legendary plane in the history books. Does it live up to its reputation in practice?

Yes, but it has specific characteristics that you need to know if you want to fly properly.

Some strengths: Auto radiator, so no need to muck around with rads in the heat of combat is very very good and not to be underappreciated. Also auto mixture.

You just gotta manage the prop pitch RPM gauge on instrument panel and the throttle (boost gauge on instrument panel)

You get a whopping 1 hour time limit at 2850RPM and +12 boost. This gives you combat power, and its a lot of power. You can do emergency war power for 5 minutes at 3000 RPM and +18 boost.

Default engine is the Merlin 66. It produces 1705 horsepower at 6000 feet. The other engine option is the Merlin 70, which is for operation around 10,000 feet and it give best power at 10K feet, namely 1655 horsepower. Most fighting in game takes place below 10K so choose the Merlin 66. Its not listed in the options, but its the default engine. Its excellent reliable power.

Big tip for the Spitfire IX is to speed at full power to catch up with your target. If your chasing a Bf109 or FW, make sure you are at full power to catch up, then when you get there, SLOW DOWN. Once your one their tail, generally they cant shake you, but slow down when you get there, or else you will keep on accidentally overtaking the opponent and he will shoot you down simply by you going too fast. By slow down I mean go from full power to idle power until you are at the same speed as the target. Dont overtake your target: it can happen so easy. TLDR fly real fast then slow the heck down. This is all from my experience – if I remember to slow right down on their tail I always shoot them down.

Spitfire IX Engine Management

Run combat mode for a long time like an hour.

The prop pitch runs low ie around 65%, even for takeoff.

I find most potent configuration, is the clipped wing with a 150 octane Merlin engine and the gyro sight. There is a Merlin 70 option – I think its for high altitude.

The Spit IX is not able to climb with a K-4. If you are fighting a Bf109 generally, don’t try  to climb with it, because (If the pilot is good) they will climb until they see your nose drop and then they simply stall turn and come down on you and your dead.

Spitfires in general are turn fighters. In hardcore maneuvering fur ball type combat the Spitfire is in its element – its probably strongest here. Main thing to remember actually is to slow down, because you have such big wings, if you turn sharply in a chase, you will GLOCK. Better even to cut the power often, so you can stay at a kind of full control deflection maneuver speed with minimal gforce. Thats where your strongest.

ME262

Its useless at similar speeds as Bodenplatte prop aircraft so keep speed high in combat areas.

It climbs best at high speed with a shallow climb. The faster it goes, the faster it can go.

Its a lot slower with a bomb attached.

Use elevator trim instead of joystick in cruise.

At speed elevator trim wants to be down around 70%

Run the motors at 94%

You might damage the motors if you descent from great height without pulling the throttle back a few%.

Dont exceed around 900-950KMH – You get into an unrecoverable nose down situation. If this happens turn the motors off, deploy the gear and flaps and use elevator trim to nose up. You may survive…

Starting the motors requires a lot of practice.

She only produces useful power at or above 80% power.

Shes slippery and landing means crossing the threshold under 200KMH. Do it faster and you may run out of runway.

Takeoff goes well with around 10% flap, 100% throttle and when you get to 200KMH, rotate but try to hold the nose at a crazy angle of attack for about 5 seconds otherwise, if you just keep rotating you wont lift off you will tail-strike. BUT if you don’t rotate very much you wont have enough lift to get wheels off the ground. TLDR: Get to 200KMH and lift the damn nose.

P40

Greatest strength is its dive speed. It is still nimble at like 800KMH.

You can set the convergence to 500m and the .50 cals will reach out that far.

Its intensive in managing the prop, radiator and manifold pressure. Easy to wreck the engine.

In a Bf109 you want to boom zoom, because at P40 cruise speed, a 109 has no turn fight or scissor or maneuvering advantage on a P40 and if it gets its guns on you, you will face 50 cals even out to 500m. If you are without energy and in vicinity of a P40, note that Bf109 is faster than P40 in straight line so dont bother to climb which slows your departure, just dive a bit then cruise away at power and come back higher with energy.

Again this is the P40 viewed from a Bf109 perspective, which demonstrates its strengths compared to its most likely adversary.

In combat I cant look at the manifold gauge, so I regulate the engine speed by listening to the sound of the engine. As you dive you gotta pull back the throttle and you know when you need to pull back a bit because the engine starts to kind of rev hard and that’s your cue to ease back a notch. (Easy to blow a P40 engine by revving too hard for a minute or two and also easy to end up flying with less power than you CAN use, by neglecting in combat to throttle up enough for fear of busting the motor. As mentioned above without looking at the manifold gauge, you can bring power up to combat power, but not excessive power, just by listening for the sound change and then pulling back a tad from that.)

MIG 3

As long as you are keeping an eye on the temperature gauges, you can basically run the Mig 3 hard and it will move very swiftly. This planes can do 100% prop pitch continuously, just like the Yaks and La5. However because I think they eventually get damaged I usually run them at 90% or 85%.

A20B

Before takeoff you gotta shut the intake above the engine cowl, or else the whole plane vibrates.

A20B climbs pretty well – it doesnt take forever to get to cruise altitude.

Fast and nimble, aerobatic.

If you’re attacking a A20B its rear gunners are just about as dangerous as gunners in PE2 and JU88 so watch out!

Press N to open the bomb bay doors a few minutes before target and directly after drop REMEMBER to press N again to shut them.

Don’t stay looking at your result through the bombardier’s sight over target, instead as soon as you drop, get the heck out of dodge, because the AAA and flak is coming up fast!

Its not a dive-bomber. You will rip the wings off if you dive hard, then pull out. There are no dive brakes also. Best to tactical bomb close to the ground especially on bridges with 100kg bombs dropped one at a time, in quick succession and as required. Or you can level bomb from high up by pressing V to bring up the bombardier’s sight, but that is very challenging.

FW190 series

Takeoff with the stick full aft to keep the tail wheel locked until you see the airspeed indicator is around 100kmh then release the back pressure and takeoff as normal.

The A-3 and A-5 don’t have boost, but the A-8 does, so in the A-8 don’t forget to use boost!

They roll ultra fast and they handle superbly at ultra high speed, such as in diving chases. They don’t into turn fighting – unless at high speed or while energy stocks last….

If you get jumped at lower speeds, try to turn once and then as your opponent approaches, cut the power and see them fly past you and then go full power and get them. Works sometimes, especially because you can out-roll anyone.

FW190A-8

Use Left Shift B to activate boost (A must in combat)

Greatest strength is ultra high speed descending chases chasing Mustangs. As long as you don’t GLOCk you will catch the Mustang even with turns along the way. Goes very very well at ultra high speed. Goes well at high altitude with boost on.

Track IR perspective in FWs can be a problem. I make a rule to zoom in on target from afar and as I close in, to zoom out. If you don’t you will lose sight of a plane 25m away from you and never see it again until it shoots you down! When close to a foe, zoom out and keep visual track of them. This is partly because the big metal canopy frame gets in the way and totally obscures a plane you are looking at. So zoom out when close in, it really helps.

To avoid damaging the engine in a prolonged climb, before takeoff, set the cowl Left ALT + to around 70% open. That gets you to the top of your climbs without overheating and damage. The plane otherwise overheats in a climb because combination of low airspeed and high engine power thus heat output.

I would go into combat with the engine cowl outlet open around 30% or more. BUT if you need to give chase straight and level you can:

You can fly along at full power full boost and all the cowl shutters etc closed and she wont overheat even after a long time, because the airflow cools everything.

FW190D-9

Its got boost so use that in combat and turn it off afterwards. (Left SHIFT B)

It also has a thermostat control which you can lift up to a higher temperature, which you should do. I found a while back that if I didnt do that, the plane produced no power at altitude. I cant remember the key combo – check the key assignment/bindings lists in settings.

Mustang

Shes slower than Bf109s and FW190s on the deck so don’t try to out run them on the deck they will catch you.

You can achieve big power output at full throttle but only for so long. If you run the engine for too long above continuous mode, it will damage and fail.

vertical scissors:

The best success of any aircraft Ive had when trying to turn the tables on a fighter pursuing me and using a vertical scissor, is when flying the Mustang. Consistently and like in no other plane, I have been able to use vertical scissors to get that opponent that is on my tail shooting at me, to suddenly be in front of me with me shooting it down. This I think is the Mustang’s greatest ability – at least in my personal experience.

Here is an example:

Horizontal scissors in Mustang:

I have never had success (In Mustang) in using a horizontal scissors to escape a 109 FW etc. If on the deck and pursued, what do? I dunno yet. Probably either full power run away, or some combination of soaring turning zooming looping moves to unbalance the pursuer. Reason I think because Mustang turns better than it rolls.

Aiming

Ask yourself what amount should you be zoomed in or out when aiming? Answer is: Dont be fully zoomed in when aiming. Also if you are low flying and zoomed right in, you will very likely accidentally collect a tree or skid onto the terrain. I like to be zoomed in/out just before firing, so that my front cockpit windscreen frame is fully visible. Basically zooming out improves depth perception. Zooming in reduces depth perception.

Gunsights & Guns

Gun convergence:

I usually set either 180m or 300m. for WW2, but for WW1 I usually set 150m. Update: Lately I have bee using longer ranges such as 350 to 500 meters. I never engage at those distances, but simehow that elevation of the trajectory helps in leading shots in turn fights and helps to place the shooting area and the target where it is less likely to sink beneath the nose. But sometimes then, you have to aim underneath the target if shooting level.

Gyro gunsights:

You can set up the gyro gunsights for windage and elevation at the start of a flight usually, by selecting Right ALT and , or / the Right ALT and . or;

You want wingspan of your target a fighter is 10m or 33 feet and a bomber is bigger. Make sure you set your gunsights distance to what you set your convergence. Ie if convergence was set to 300m, then set your Spitfire’s gyro sight to around 300 yards etc.

Triggers:

Its better to have your Machine gun (MG) on your main trigger and you cannon on your secondary trigger button. Often I will shoot first with MG from greater distance and as I get closer I then use both MG and cannon or just cannon.

Bomb sights

To use them effectively there is a sequence of actions that you gotta get familiar with doing in fairly quick succession and without forgetting any of the steps in the sequence. You also need to know how to switch views at will between pilots position in the cockpit, to “o” map view, to “v” bombsight view.

In a bomber, a few minutes out from the target put the plane in auto level flight by pressing Left SHIFT and A. Then press V on keyboard to bring up the bombardier’s-sight screen.

Pilots view can get the best zoom in on the target so you can usually spot it first from there – zoomed right in.  Map view can show if you are on track to the target or if you need to fly left or right etc, particularly on servers with aircraft gps icons on the map. You switch back to bombsight view for the last minute or less before you drop.

Within bombsight view, you got two main ways to look at the view below: You have a viewing option and a actual targeting sight. Firstly you select the viewing option and then use the levers top right of the bombsight screen, to swivel the view up to the horizon ahead. With this you can then look ahead and as you get closer to the target you can start to swivel the view down to keep it painted on the target as you approach. You use the left right selector at the bottom of the screen to move yaw the plane left or right to fine tune your track to the target. When you are close enough that you will fly over the target in a matter of say 15 to 20 seconds, and you are sure your on track, change the selector from view to targeting and that one targeting view you will use to actually look at the target as you press “b” to release the bombs. Also before this you pressed “n” to open the bomb bay doors (Maybe 4 minutes out from the target or less).

Rewind to when your on the ground and you havent yet taken off: Its a good idea to do some setting up of the bombsight now. There is a weather tab you can press at the top of the bombsight screen to bring a drop down menu down. It contains wind speed and direction at altitudes. You press “o” to look at the map and decide on a target. Stationary targets are best. Decide which direction you will approach the target from. Decide an altitude. 2000m is okay, but unsafe, 3000m is very good. 5000m Is probably the ultimate best altitude but I havent tried it yet. Its all about avoiding getting hit by flak or intercepted by fighters. For example select 3000m altitude, select airspeed 350kmh. Say the wind closest to 3000m is 2meters a second from 180 degrees ie South, and you are going to approach the target from 270 – from the West that is…That means on the wind inputs dials, you select the wind to 2 and the direction relative to the aircraft would be click and drag the arrow to the right hand side of the aircraft icon and in fact to the 90 point on that dial. You basically inputting two things: What speed is the wind at 3000m and from what direction is the wind hitting the plane?  This all helps to compensate for all the drift the wind will cause on the bombs as they fall. If you stuff up your approach and decide to turn around and drop from the opposite direction (I dont recommend this) be aware your wind settings will be opposite of what you now need.

Know the engine mode for your bomber. You will need max permitted power for the climb, but if you just guess you may blow the engines. For example a HE111 can do climb power for 30 minutes. The climb to 3000m may take 10 minutes. You can then cruise to the target also at climb power. Thats 2400 RPM, and 1.15 Ata. Or in percentage in technochat its something like 85% propeller and 85% power. Make sure your radiators are open a lot for the climbs too. Again, its different for every bomber – so find out your plane’s engine modes and write them down, you need to know the numbers and the duration available at each power setting.

Also dont take too much fuel. For a 2-engined plane, try taking 800L fuel you will probably go ok with that.

There is a button you can press to cycle through the four bomb-drop intervals and I recommend use one of the two in the middle. This translates to how long the distance is on the ground between the position of the first bomb impact and the position of the last bomb impact.

Also you gotta set the bomb-drop conficuration with Left WINDOWS button and “B”. As you press this and cycle through the options techno chat will show things like “drop group of four” “Drop group of 8” “Drop 1 underwing” “Drop one underbelly” “Drop all” etc. The best option is “drop all” You want to be very accurate and drop all in one pass and return to base. Thats why the initial setting-up of all the dials bells and whistles is so vital.

When you get the cross hair just before the target, like say its a plane on the ground at an airfield, you press “b” once to drop all the bombs and do it about one or two plane lengths before the cross hair gets to the plane. That gives a margin for error. What will happen is, the bombs will release almost all at once and will after a time impact the ground in a series of explosions that march forward across the ground in the direction of flight. Point being: Whatever your cross hair is on, the bombs will march forwards from there. With that drop interval set to the glowing light second from the top of the four lights on the bombsight screen, you get a spread on the ground of about a trains length or just under the length of a train actually in my estimation, which is perfect for just about every target.  Also What delay do you set on the bombs to explode in the aircraft settings/options menu screen before you hit start and go into the aircraft? You can choose “On impact”, “1 second delay”, “2 second delay”, “5 second delay” etc. Always choose “on impact” for these level bombing flights, because when you are looking through the cross hairs – looking for the explosions below, and remember your plane is moving forward – If you select “On impact” You will see your bombs go off when they start from the tail end of the cross hair – you just catch the bombs going off before you fly on….If you set a delay of even a “1 second delay” You will probably not see your bombs actually going off and you will have less idea of your accuracy.

below is a vid demonstrating all these things in a livestream:

In conclusion, operation the bombardier’s bombsight is very accurate and reliable, if you manage to be familiar enough with all the things you need to do to set up all the factors how you need them, before you actually get to the target. In a way all the work is done, firstly in the aircraft settings/options, deciding what bombs to carry and what delay to put on them, then half the work is done on the ground planning the route on the map and setting up the bombsight and deciding the route direction to the target and the altitude etc. Also having found the engine modes so you get there swiftly but without breaking the engines. Having the drop configuration and intervals all set up prior to taking off and when near the target fine tuning the track, zooming in, adjusting the steering, remembering to open the bomb bay doors and remembering to press “b” to drop and not the button next to it “n” which closes the bomb bay doors etc. Its a big series of steps and decisions and then some fairly well practiced fine-tuning towards the target and thats basically it in a nut shell.

JU87 and IL-2

These are similar planes in that if you get jumped, best thing to do is immediately descend and fly home direction, or to your flak areas, as LOW as possible. I’m talking lower than the trees. Because as long as your opponent cannot get under your tail gunner, he can defend the aircraft and often will take out a pursuing fighter.

Ju87 Stuka

Some basic controls: Theres a window in the floor – you can open and close it with – I think it is the V, or WIN and C – something Ill check. The dive brakes Right ALT and B to open and close. The sirens – Mine is Left ALT and S, Cant remember if thats the default though. Tail wheel lock unlock is Left SHIFT and G.

HS129

The Duck is able to do 30 minutes flight at combat power which is 2750RPM and 1.25 ata. (This is the same as 100% power on the technochat.) Before I knew this I was flying around everywhere at 75% power for no other reason than I didnt know the above numbers.

SC50 Bombs are 55kg and can only drop one at a time.

It has boost so if you need extra power press Left SHIFT and B and you got a boost from combat power at 1.25 ata up to 1.4 ata.

Macchi MC.202 Folgore

Same engine as a Bf109E-7

Has some 50 cals and turns well and is pretty fast.

Often gets misdiagnosed by other axis pilots who cant into Macchi recognition.

To identify a Macchi observe its wingspan is particularly different than other planes, it has long straight surfboard-like wings that have no leading or trailing edge sweep at all except of course at the ends. In profile it can look a bit like a Mig3 or Yak 1 because the under fuselage radiator placement but the rest of the fuselage still looks distinctive enough to differentiate.

Update: It has BOOST! The Macchi has boost. Today I had water radiator at 50%, Oil Radiator at 25% and full power and boost ON, and lasted for a few minutes, before engine damage started. So if you need more power, remember the MC.202 has boost. Left Shift and B.

Update: In technochat the two engine power percentage numbers to keep in mind are 60% and 80%. 60% power is continuous and 80% power is combat power (5 minutes).

Then if you need to chase down a opponent for the kill and you are gonna take less than a minute you go pull power plus boost and that is good for one minute.

The actual instruments at these  settings will show Normal continuous: 2200RPM and 1.23 ata. Combat power 5 minutes: 2400 RPM and 1.35 ata. Boosted 1 minute: 2500 RPM and 1.45ata.

The propeller is auto and the mixture is too. You can go manual propeller, but I dont think that helps anything and also makes things more difficult.

Bf109

Bf109 Versus Yak 1, 1b:

The Bf109 dive speed is 130kmh faster than a Yak (850 km/h versus 720 km/h) and its climb is faster at high altitudes (except the F-2 which is the same as Yaks). BUT climb alone is not different enough than a Yak to be a decisive factor. If you are in a 109 trying to out climb a Yak at high alts you can do it but it will cost you some 95% power. You risk breaking your engine after a few of these climbs. Bf109 would be strongest in a higher altitude boom zoom role while incorporating both higher dive speed than Yak and strong climb in one maneuver. For example being at 5000m and diving on Yaks at the could base at say 3000m and zooming back up again.

Bf109E-7

Its a oldie but a goodie.

Great turn fighter and faster than I16s. Also useful as a fighter-bomber.

Cant run it at 100% power for very long without causing damage – maybe 60 seconds.

Bf109F & G

You can run combat mode power for a long time perhaps 20 minutes.

They are not faster than Yaks or LA5 on the deck so try to stay higher with a energy height advantage. You do have a advantage over Soviet fighter when you are at 3000m and above. You are very safe at 4000m. You are faster than Yaks etc at higher altitudes, just not at sea level. You can fly away from a I16 and he cant catch you. But arguable you are more stable at very low speed than an I16. With combat against I16 go ultra slow or go high speed, don’t muck around in mid range speeds where I16 is best.

These are good boom and zoom machines not so much turn fighters, BUT if you dive to a high speed, you cant pull out and you will crash into the ground. Stay below around 700KMH in a dive and if you get into trouble, use elevator trim to pull out. (Make sure you have assigned a key or button to elevator trim it will save your bacon)

Don’t use extra wing guns unless specifically hunting bombers or trucks. As a fighter, you can change the nose gun…. Its better to swap out the default nose gun: the MG151/15 and put in a MG151/20.

In multiplayer select the option (Where given) to remove the rear headrest armor, because it will obstruct your rear and upper and side view too much. You can add windscreen armor (Extra armored glass) its good value.

Of real value with the F and G series, is noting the approximate running time at power settings. Experiments have shown that you can run at:

100% power for approximately 1-3 minutes

95% power for 4-5 minutes

90% power for longer – maybe 8 minutes

and the top of combat power which is usually around 85% in F-4 and G-4 and lower in F-2 and G-2, for around 20 -25 minutes.

Memorise these things they will make or break you. lol.

Bf109G-4

Often fights Yaks. Dont try turn fight the Yaks. Instead use G-4’s strong dive speed and strong climb power to boom and zoom the Yaks. Yes the Yaks will see you and they will begin to turn as you get closer. But you counter by using elevator back trim to pull up and fire. If you are going fast enough, the Yaks cant turn enough in time to evade.

Here are two boom and zooms that both worked. (At 1:32:26 & 1:35:44)

Bf109K-4 & G-14

(Note: Bf109G-6 is like the G-14  but The G-6’s engine wont run like that, it cannot do the whole 10 minutes at full power thing. You will damage a G-6 engine after 4 minutes at full power…)

These planes have similar engines if not the same because they use methanol water injection, which is activated at 100% throttle.

You want to use basically only either 100% throttle or 63%. ie full power for 10 minutes then rest at 63% for 5 minutes then full power for another 10 minutes etc. You can utilise 30 minutes total of WM injection, but spaced out with 5 minute intervals every 10 minutes.

Crucially – don’t think its better to use say 85% power than 100% because this wont activate WM injection, which means there will be no cooling from the water injection, which means your engine is going to get damaged if its running at high power but less full power.

Note: The K-4 has an optional engine the DB604DC (Its even more powerful) and I tried my usual 100% power takeoff yesterday, but with this DC engine and the engine failed and seized while still on the runway. Possibly the DC needs different handling…I dunno yet but make a note of that.

TLDR Stay at full power for 10 min then drop to very low continuous mode like 63% power for 5 min. Rinse and repeat.

K-4 Update: Dives well even at max power and crazy high speed like 850+ kmh, you can still pull out as the elevator still works a bit and you use stabiliser trim for the rest of the pull up.

K-4 Update: Very important…Although the K-4 is a ‘super plane’ If you try and outclimb a P38, or out turn it or out maneuver it, it will get you. I can almost guarantee it. So, in a K-4 and fighting a P38, one thing you can do is dive. You can dive a K-4 much fatser acceleration and much higher top speed than a P38. You can dive then zoom away and up and then you are safe you can return or disengage. Same probably goes for a G-14 since its similar to the K-4. This is all very important because I can often simply escape a pursuer by out-climbing them (Once out of gun range that is) but being pursued by a P38, dont climb, it will simply out climb you! However in a dive at 850kmh, the K-4 is just fine, but at that kind of speed the P38 literally falls to bits and cant follow.

Here is a K-4 vid:

Yak1 & 1b

Strongest at lower altitudes, with great turn fight ability and also level speed. You can catch a Bf109 or even a FW190 on the deck, especially if you go 100% prop RPM, with 100% power, with all radiators shut for no longer than about 1.5 minutes. You can catch anything during this engine configuration. However you want to open the rads pretty quick after that or else you will overheat.

You can best defeat a Bf109 by simply turning. 109s cant turn as well as you, and unless at high speed FW190s cant either.

Update: I dont have a conclusion yet on the best settings for these, but today I was flying Yak 1 and using 80% mixture, 100% Propeller RPM and 60% water radiator and 25% oil radiator. I could cruise indefinitely like this if at 70% power. Then in combat I could go full power for probably 4 minutes like that. If you need full speed to catch a Bf109, you can close the water radiator in combat to 0% and the oil rad too, but be prepared to defeat the 109 in 1.5 minutes or you will over heat. BUT like that you are very very fast.

LAGG 3

Its the original LA5, before they chopped of the inline water cooled engine and added the radial to make the LA5.

The Lagg 3 is not a high performance fighter but it’s strength is its structural strength…It does not care about battle damage so for example, I have flown a Lagg back to base with a badly damaged and smoking engine for about 10 minutes flight in that condition, expecting the engine to fail, but it just kept going and I got back and landed.

So the Lagg is a ideal ground attacker/fighter-bomber.

Pe2

If you’re attacking one, its rear gunners are deadly and you will be killed if you do it wrong. You got a few options:

Go in real fast in a dive and boom zoom. – You wont usually destroy the Pe2 in one pass, but because you are so fast the gunners cant get you.

OR you can try to fly in from the side or a frontal attack.

In any case I prefer to hit Pe2s really fast with a number of boom zoom passes including from different angles such as front quarter. Just make sure you are not directly behind the PE2 for more than 1 second and you are good. Same goes for attacking Ju88.

Flying the Pe2 – its fast sort of like a Mosquito and carries a useful bomb load. You can level bomb or dive bomb, because it has dive-brakes.

P39 Airacobra

It was considered a mediocre fighter, so knowing this often I casually flew away from it albeit at high power on the deck in my FW190 or Bf109, expecting to just depart without issue and only to find it catches up to me and I’m shot down!

It is real fast on the deck so watch out! It has a thumping nose mounted cannon that is like 50mm caliber or something and is basically a full on artillery weapon. Its also capable of pitching and turning superbly. Also can carry a truck load of extra belt ammo for the .30 Cal MGs and also has an option for some .50 cal MGs.

If you’re confronted by one of the Airacobras, best thing to do is boom zoom it and basically keep your distance, height and energy. Expect it to get crazy turn-fight maneuvering, but don’t try to follow it. That is a synopsis of the P39 from an opponents perspective, which just as well serves a P39 pilot to know the strengths of the plane.

You can remove the wing MGs and it still leaves 2 x .50 Cals in the engine nacelle with 500 rounds and 1 x big cannon in the nose. That cannon is capable of actually exploding enemy fighters! So if you remove those 4 .30 cal machine guns from the wings, you save 250kg and become much more nimble.

Taxiing:

Basic idea her is how do you steer on the ground? and the answer is: Lock the tail wheel mostly, but sometimes unlock the tail wheel to get out of a tight spot. Some planes lock unlock with Left SHIFT and G, such as the Bf109, while the FW190 series will lock unlock the tail wheel simply by pulling the stick back and holding it back.

Some planes don’t have a locking tail wheel such as the Spitfire and so any taxiing should be done at low engine power (like 12% once moving) and at low speed.

You can also steer with toe brakes. Some planes have differential toe brakes, while other planes have a single brake lever for both main wheels. Some planes the rudder is good for steering, while others it don’t work none. ME262 for example has differential braking, but the rudder has zero effect on taxi turning.

Keep in mind that some planes have a park brake applied default and at engine start you want to simply tap the brakes and see the status message (Assuming you remembered to press H – to show messages on screen) “Park Break Released”

Stay cool, don’t be afraid to use many different power settings with the throttle ie to get you moving use a higher power, then throttle right back real quick maybe even to idle.

Your goal is also to locate the flame and smoke (in multiplayer that is) which designates the start of the runway. Often you need this if your in a bomber, because you need full runway, but often in a fighter you can just give her full throttle from parked and takeoff straight ahead runway or not.

Main thing as well with moving around on the ground is don’t hit other planes.

When its really busy at a multiplayer airfield, if a plane that is parked in front of you starts up and moves off, be aware that if you are still parked for a time, a new player plane will spawn in that same now vacant spot in front of you and you wont hear it because its silent and its noisy at these fields anyway and you wont see it because your plane’s nose is blocking forward view. So in this scenario and in general, before you shut the canopy, lean to both sides and look ahead of you and see what you can see near and far. Also plan your takeoff rout to not hit AAA guns and tree lines etc.

Tempest

Tempest is the most hardcore plane in all of IL-2. It has 2400hp and goes fast enough to often catch a ME262 jet.

Set climb power for all your usual flying because you get 1 hour of climb power. It is

3700RPM and boost +7.

If you really need full power it is up to 5 minutes 3700RPM and +9 boost.

You can shut that radiator, but you need to temporarily open it to avoid overheating after you have done some turn fights.

Main thing is don’t GLOCK it. Shes got such power, such speed, and such wing area, that you will GLOCK very easily. solution is to slow down to turn fight or to stick to smooth actions if boom zooming. You will most likely GLOCK in the Tempest more than any other plane.

The Tempest is so fast on the deck. A few times while diving on a fast moving fighter, it would vanish out of sight. I was at full power, full boost in a FW190A-8 and descending from very high – like 4500m and chasing this fast mover, only to never even catch it and it just vanishes out of sight, or I just manage to catch it if I’m close enough to begin with. Basically the Tempest is fast. You can catch it, but part of this is knowing its a Tempest (Identifying it from afar) and as soon as you ID it you know that rather than pulling back on power for the descent, you want to throw the kitchen sink at it power-wise and go full boost steep descent angle full power cowl flap shut everything and you will inch closer to it.

He111

It is a slow plane and climb to altitude takes forever. It likes to operate at low speed, you can take off with some flap at like 160KMH which is disconcerting given its a fully laden bomber with bombs fuel ammo etc, but it just lifts off the runway like that and away you go. Useleft right braking at the start of the takeoff run to keep her on the centreline along with lots of rudder. You can get massive splash damage on targets with the bigger bombs around 1800kg. Dont take full fuel, but keep at least 50% fuel. You can run out of fuel. Keep the engines cool, dont overspeed the props, ideally be above 2000m or flak and fighters will very likely pick you off over the target.

JU88

Its quite a bit faster than the He111.

You can lock unlock the tail wheel with Left SHIFT G

Takeoff with 100% RPM and full power, and some flap – maybe 10-15%, lift off around 180KMH then gear up and watch the speed get it up above 200KMH as a priority. As soon as you are flying get that prop RPM down to 2400 and ease off full throttle down to 1.25ata. and Left SHIFT F to get the flaps back up. Apply back pressure because as the flap retracts the nose will want to drop a lot. Now your airborne and cleaned up, aim for a climb at between 200-300KMH. The climb:

2400RPM and 1.25ata for up to 30 minutes.

Climb engine cowl open 75% in summer 50% in winter,

Cruise engine cow;: 25% winter, 35% Summer

You can stay in climb mode for 30 minutes and that is more than enough time to get you to cruise altitude.

At 3000m altitude you will be pretty safe from flak over target. At 2000m you will get wrecked sometimes.

Use left SHIFT and A to toggle auto level on and off as needed.

Basically with bombers like the JU88 if you can master takeoff settings, climb power and cruise power, then you are half way there, you then just need to figure out the bombardier’s sight (you press V to go into bomb sight view) and then those are the basic operating requirements of this plane.

If you do this plane’s propeller RPM, engine cowl and power settings how they are supposed to be done, it gets along quite swiftly and without any mechanical overheating type problems. It also pays to take as least fuel as you need.

Everything you need to fly and operate the Ju88 right here:

AND also here is my best ever effort in the JU88. I hit up 4 targets in a single flight.

Ju52

The flaps are hard to operate. You gotta have the elevator trim assigned to some keys or in mine I have assigned trim to the hat switch atop the Logitech Extreme 3d Pro joystick.

So to operate flap, you press F then you move the elevator trim until you see the status as not only trim moving but simultaneously flap deploying. To disengage flap you press F.

You can unload cargo on the ground by selecting Right ALT C to open windows – and in this one it opens the cargo doors, then B to unload.

To drop cannisters or paratroopers, select doors open and B.

Dont flare with 0% power, because this activates the brakes. Better keep some power on in the landing and then go zero throttle when you want the brakes on.

Trim

How do you pull out of a dive that you cant pull out of? You need to go to the key assignments and add trim somewhere, either both on the joystick somewhere and or on the keyboard.

I have trim on the hat button atop the joystick, but also just added it to the keyboard at Right CTRL  Up or Down arrow, because the hat key wasnt working for all planes, but now for example using the keyboard, I have trim control on the P47D. This by the way Im refering to is elevator trim. You can also trim out rudder and probably aileron, but I only did elevator so far – owing its usefulness in pulling out of high speed dives.

TLDR: Get elevator trim on your keyboard and joystick so you can pull out of out-of-control high speed dives. It will save your bacon.

BOMBERS

If your plane has one or more defensive gunners, then at start or when ever you are flying along, select RALT and 8 to order the gunner/s to engage enemy planes at Medium distance. It stops them giving away your position by their tracer fire from opening fire at enemy planes that are too far away anyway. They still engage but at a range where they will hit something. You can help your gunners to be able to fire when you are under fighter attack, by knowing where the fighter is and pointing your bomber in such a way as to give the gunners access to the fighter.

Challenging to takeoff in bombers, because they are big, slow and heavy. some flap can help with takeoff.

If you are intending to defend the bomber yourself from the gunner positions, putting the plane in auto-level with Left SHIFT and A, and then going back to a gunner turret, with Left CTRL and C, you can then grab the gun and nestle to the sight, by selecting Left SHIFT T, then T. Once you are familiar with how this shift t, t thing goes, you should set up your gunner positions as you would want to be if you had to shoot at a pursuer then and there, because, the configuration is remembered and so later in the flight if you go back to that gunner position (To shoot at an enemy your previous setting will be there ready to go. If you dont do this, you will have to do the left shift t, t thing while a fighter plane is blasting you with MG and cannon.) You can also fly in multplayer as a gunner on someone else’s bomber.

N to open/close bomb bay doors

WIN and B to cycle through drop order

WW1 planes in Flying Circus

Main thing is you need to not be at high engine power as you dive…If you are you will damage your engine. So when descending, decrease power.

A lot of these planes will get into basically unrecoverable spins, so try not to be at low airspeed with high power, because the reduction of control surface authority at low speed coupled with the exacerbated engine torque will induce a spin. If it happens cut the power and go opposite rudder and nose down, but it may still not save you. These old crates can be savage.

Most WW1 planes will have a adjustable mixture: if they do then reduce it (You may need 100% mixture for engine start though) to 85%. I dont know the exact mixture that works best for each plane, but 85% is a good rule of thumb.

Speed knowledge is very important, because some planes cruise at 160kmh while others cruise at 222kmh. For example a Dr.I cannot long distance chase and catch a Bristol F2 because Dr.I is 160kmh, while F2 is 198kkmh.

Albatross Dv

Slow, doesnt hold together in a fast dive, big wings, turns so well, good guns and ammo quantity, climbs well.

Targeting them in a fast aircraft like a SE5a or Spad, the Albatross appears slow and almost motionless in the air. Its a better operator at slow turning climbing and mild diving fights. It has that same engine that other Axis planes have with the same tachometer, so keep the RPM needle (When diving) below 16 (Thats 1600RPM) and the engine will not be damaged.

Bristol F2

You can set one on fire by shooting at it from below and to the left, I did this yesterday with a Dr.I with a few bullets fired from far away and the F2’s engine flamed up. So best way to attack a F2 is if it is above and to your right and quite far away and to lead spray at the front of its nose.

Camel

Camel goes hard with 100% throttle and a leaned out mixture. Say 84% mixture is pretty good. Its not apparent at sea level, but at even 3000 feet you need to lean that mixture and you will see a power increase.

This here vid is where I figured out how to use the Camel:

DR.1

Its a crazy plane, I cant yet fly it well, just do your best haha.

UPDATE: I can now fly it good and proper.

Basically in a word its all about the rudder. You use the rudder, its your best thing you have. No plane can execute a faster 180 degree turn about than the Dr.I.

In brief you do this by progressively bringing on some right rudder – not full control deflection – that doesn’t work as well – less is more, and you will find the kite kind of yaws right and goes nose down, causing a rapid change of orientation to facing completely the opposite direction. It doesn’t work well if at all to the left, so keep most of your turns to the right.

This vid below starts at just before a dogfight with a Sopwith Camel. You can see how I do it, the vid starts at 30:15 there’s also an earlier dogfight starting  at 14:15.

UPDATE: Lately Camel pilots have improved their skill and I find it difficult to get any edge on them with the Dr.I. Things I have tried with some success include: Diving hard to put distance, since Dr.I can keep on full power in a dive (There is a limit tho, where the engine will fail), and cutting power to zero or 50% and trying to get the Camel to fly past, while horizontal scissoring. The Dr.I is the slowest fighter in FC, so it should also have the slowest stall speed. I could also make use of the Dr.I’s great left aileron roll, I will try that in combat.

So against a supreme turn fighter like a Camel, you mustnt try to out turn with a traditional turn. Dr.I is good at that, but not as good as the Camel and within 3 complete circles, he will be on your tail. Instead as I outlined above and as demonstrated in the video, you kind of mini-Immelman turn using the big yaw power of right rudder. Keep doing that, and there’s nothing he can do. Even if a opponent sticks to left turns only to thwart you, just continue on with your right turns and you will still be able to win.

I have to remember if I’m flying any Entente (pronounced “on-tont”) plane against a Dr.I, to never do any turning other than to the left!

Against a Spad XIII – which is very fast, don’t try to follow the Spad up to altitude or chase it in a dive over medium and long distances, because it is just much swifter and you will end up out of energy and unable to lift your nose to get a shot, while he has no troubles like this and can blast you with the Spad’s .50 Cal ‘Balloon guns’.

Instead stick to your turn fighting and just do your best to evade the Spad’s boom zooms, by starting to dive and turn even when the Spad is still quite far off. The Dr.I has poor elevator and mediocre roll, so if you need to dive away from a boom zooming Spad’s fire, do it early and try not to get hit at all. Try and entice a Spad or SE5a into a turn fight where they will fail.

Ground attack:

Goes for the other rotary powered planes too such as the Camel: When lining up on a ground MG, or big flak gun, make sure you cut your power to zero in the dive, so you can then easily aim straight and get the target first time. If you go in with power, your engine’s torque will completely wreck your hopes of accurate fire. It just occurred to me that this may be applicable in dogfighting too, during certain situations where you already have enough energy and you want more accurate aim.

Rolling: You can execute a nice left roll, it works consistently. Again dont go full control deflection, just a nice light pressure on the controls and your Dr.I will do a full left roll with ease and safety. Its so safe you can even do it close to the ground without fear of the dreaded uncontrollable spin. Dont expect the same awesome roll result with a right roll however. Left rolls work and right turns work, especially right yawing turns.

Engine management:

The Dr.I can dive at high speeds, without any fear of engine overspeed. You can go ahead and leave full power on in a dive and during combat and in dogfight maneuvers. This is a great aspect of this plane. So many times I have knocked myself out of combat in a Camel or Albatross or what have you, simply by a shallow dive with full power or even 90% power, which overspeeds the prop and you get the ‘first engine damaged’ message and then the engine actually stops… Not so with the nifty Fokker triplane.

SPAD 13

So far its the fastest plane ive seen, its faster than the Dolphin. Dolphin though is faster than a Fokker DVII.

SE5a

Fastest plane in Flying Circus at 222kmh.

Here is my first real analysis of the Se5a, I had the radiator at 5% open and mixture at 85% and full throttle. got to around 120, 130mph, theoretical top speed is around 136mph. Update: I actually now takeoff with radiator closed until the temperature gets close to the red mark and then I open to 5% then 10 % then finally 17% and I leave it there unless I want to do a BIG climb, in which case 50 to 100% open is ok.

Update: The aim is more accurate at high speed and much less at low speed. I tend to bownch around and yaw and pitch at low speed, so if you are shooting you had better be flying fast too. Also, when you pull up at high speed when you break off from a target, you will rip the wings off if you are not nice and smooth. (Ive done this at least 3 times!)

The SE5a slows down and speeds up rapidly with changes in pitch. So if you need to go fater to escape just put the nose down. I had her up to 155mph, full throttle with no engine damage in the descent to land. Update: I can regularly escape D.VII by putting the nose down until the speedo presses against 160MPH (Dont try going faster though) and keeping the needle just at or just below 160 and I can quickily put distance between myself and D.VII then either fly home at straight and level 136MPH or zoom up and around and re-engage.

You can easily rip the wings off in a fast dive with a bit of back pressure on the stick. Today for example I was diving on a Fokker D.VII and lead shooting and getting good hits, but he was curving away and I needed further back pressure at the end of the dive to keep the gunsight leading the D.VII, and thats when I gave it some more back pressure and hey presto the wings are off. This doesnt so much apply to slow planes like the Pfalz and Dr.I, but it does apply to other fast planes like the Spad, and Dolphin.

Flying away from enemy fighters: Should be easy because SE5a is so much faster in cruise. You can do best with the slowest planes ie the Dr.I. But I have twice been shot and hit by a D.VII when flying away, even though as I calculate it I am 9 meters a second faster than a D.VII. And once they get some damage on your airframe you become slower and they can catch up. It would take 30 seconds to travel 275 meters. If you are already 200m away from the D.VII, you should be able to get out of gun range at 500m, in 30 seconds. But it has yet to work for me.

TANKS

They are multi-crew, so you could have a tank that has 3 or so players operating it. Mostly you got driver, gunner, and commander.

One thing that works in single player is to get you r platoon to drive to about 1200m, then order a halt and fire at will at ground targets and basically wait for the advancing enemy tanks to roll in closer range and you and your ai tank platoon can pick them off as they move. A moving tank cant aim as well as a stationary tank, but a moving tank is still not much more difficult to hit than a stationary tank, so you have an advantage there.

Ammo selection is important, because its all about armor penetration. Some ammo works its best at closer range (up to 500m away), and loses a lot of punch after that. But it may be the most powerful compared to other rounds, but the catch is you would need to get pretty close before you can achieve max pen. Generally better to hit an enemy tank in the side or back rather than front on.

In multiplayer you can use the forest trees as effective concealment and cover that protects you from enemy fire.

Aircraft Ammunition and Bombs

In the menu there is an icon for ammo that is coloured either blue or orange-red. Blue is Armor piercing (AP) and red is High explosive (HE).

Check if the bombs are armed or safe by pressing Left Windows button and S. Technochat will show Bombs armed?Bombs safe – words to that effect. BEFORE you drop make sure you have them armed so they actually go off.

Multiplayer Servers

Across IL-2 and other sims there is a phenomena in multiplayer server lists where, if sorted by player numbers, there will be a few viable servers – maybe two to five servers with viable numbers, at peak times, and worse at dead time zones, yet also vast numbers of empty servers.

Clearly there’s no shortage of servers – excess capacity you could say, but not nearly enough players to fill them all. To remedy this I recommend the following key concepts for every server.

If you’re running a server – make sure it has these attributes, for the good of all players and for the popularity of your server.

Terminology note: “Map” in this context means the placement of ground features, such as airfields, objectives etc. A big map is one with these spread far apart and a small map is one with airfields and objectives placed closer together.

Problems to overcome:

  • Excessive transit time to combat, 
  • Cant find combat,
  • availability of ME262,
  • Server culture,
  • expectation of finding combat
  • More on WW1
  • More on Tanks

Server map design

  • Ensure a player can takeoff and fly to a combat zone where there is a high probability of air to air combat in no more than 3 – 7 minutes. ie from takeoff to the zone of combat we want 3 to 7 minutes. On a actual game map, that is 3 grid squares distance. Keep in mind that when players are shot down, they need to fly that distance again. If the distance is 15 minutes each time, then most session time is wasted in transit flights. In a session where you are shot down 4 times, you could spend 1 hour just getting back to the zone of combat and perhaps 4 minutes each time actually in combat.
  • Look at your graph of player numbers over a weekly cycle. Ensure your maps are big on high popularity times and smaller MUCH smaller on dead popularity times. Principle: The Combat World must shrink if the player numbers are less. This solves the problem of Cant find combat, for players who are awake when the servers are dead. The maps you rotate on a popularity cycle need to reflect the expected player numbers. Often there are two opponents only on a server, but they never see each other let alone get into a duel, because the combat area is too vast to cater to 2 players only. The concept of cycling big or small maps as per timezone, is one of the most important things a server can do to maximise popularity. Players also begin to expect combat even in low usage times and will pile into your server more often than others, having greater confidence of finding combat on your server.
  • Match the map size to the plane speed. WW1 servers need to have small maps in peak popularity times, and even smaller maps in dead times. Again 3-7 minutes transit flight time to the zone of combat. Pilots need to have the confidence in your map design that they can get on your server any time and find a fight. Time, Speed and Distance relating to WW1 planes is very different than WW2 planes. Consequently everything’s gotta be closer together in WW1 maps.
  • The ME262: The 262 is very hard to find anywhere on multiplayer servers. You should try to find ways to increase the numbers of 262s available on your maps, because hardly anyone gets to fly them online. The ME262 is the most discriminated against planes in all the servers, but there should be a way to keep a steady availability of them throughout most Bodenplatte maps.
  • If your server gets popular, it will face cultural challenges. The best possible guiding principle with your server’s culture is that the competition takes place in the air/arena, and not by means of complaint.
  • Expectation of finding combat: Principle: Pilots will flock to the servers where combat is most likely. This is probably a virtuous cycle where more begets more.
  • More On WW1:  Combat is often hard to find in general, and also hard to find at the proper altitude. Very often one spots planes at high altitude far above, but with no hope of reaching them. Often I climb from around 2000 feet to around 17000 feet (which takes 15 – 20 minutes) chasing an already high-up opponent (who doesnt know Im there) and I finally get to the same altitude and if Im lucky I can catch up and horizontally close the few kilometers gap and get close enough to initiate combat………………………………………And then I fire and the opponent ends up quickly descending until the fight finishes much lower, often on the deck! This is a VERY COMMON EXPERIENCE on WW1 servers and it sux big time. You should come up with ways to keep the combat zone below 10 000 feet – preferably below 5000 feet and certainly not at 17000 feet. I dont know how but for a popular WW1 server you need to incentivise lower-altitude flying. There is a reason why pilots often fly up to 17000 feet in there WW1 planes and that is because the WW1 planes if left to their own devices will climb. Vast majority of pilots dont apply constant forward stick pressure…..So they end up climbing to insane altitudes. WW1 planes are naturally aspirated and operate strongest at sea level. Theres no performance advantage at 20000 feet etc. Three-dimensional combat zone containment is particularly important with WW1 servers owing to the above factors. I often tried to start combat by intentionally firing a flare or my guns at an opponent who is very far above me or far off in the distance and flying away, knowing that my plane is slower than theirs and I simply cant catch them and that they have absolutely no idea that I am there. These are common problems on WW1 servers and these are the main reasons for failure of WW1 servers. If you run a WW1 server: Address these things and see the difference! The bluntest and most immediate instrument to improve WW1 servers is making smaller maps. Its very simple to do and there’s nothing more effective than that.

    Tank servers

  • 3 to 7 minutes drive to get into the combat zone, no Ai tanks, dont forget to add AAA protection for the tanks: Suggest a ideal tank server is on the Prokhorovka map only, has 5 tanks on each side and 5 aircraft on each side. Emphasis on smaller vehicle numbers, as that makes it all work better and smooth. This tank server idea, the aircraft are in support of tanks and not so much the main event. Tanks can be attacked at the spawn point, however you have strong AAA guns protecting the spawn point.
  • I am now saying to all tank servers to try to not use Ai anti-tank artillery because I believe it can see through trees and so even hiding in the trees a player can be easily destroyed by Ai artillery. Also the trees above the trajectory of a player’s fired shell will block the shell from hitting the Ai artillery. Or try to place your Ai anti-tank guns in areas where attacking player tanks can actually destroy them. The trees do often simply block a tank shell from hitting a Ai anti-tank gun. And main thing here as I said is: If Ai anti-tank guns can see a player tank even in trees, then that needs to be addressed in all tank servers, because player tanks need to be able to use the trees for sneak attacks and for hiding – which may not be possible with Ai anti-tank guns seeing player tanks deep in forests or hidden well behind tree lines.
  • Dont place tank bases too far away from other friendly tank bases and other targets. Aim should be that all tank bases are in driving distance of all tank battle areas. For example if your tank server has two tank bases per side, and you place your bases in two separate groups….That will result in a divided tank battle – essentially two separate tank battle grounds that are unconnected. This is very bad, because tank player numbers are always low and so the last thing you want to do is divide and conqueror your own efforts at creating tank combat. Concept: Keep your tank battle 1 battle, not two separate battles. You can have two different tank spawns per side…But make sure they all point to the one and only one area of tank combat.

Other success concepts

The above points were the most important. Below are some more concepts that are less important, but still important.

  • Don’t use Ai aircraft for anything except static objects on target airfields. the unsatisfactory attempt to always provide combat by adding Ai planes, actually results in pilots ignoring perceived Ai combat in servers and saving the Ai stuff for single player. Same goes for tank combat – I dont want to fight Ai tanks in a multiplayer server. Principle: The main reason for multiplayer is to avoid playing against Ai opponents. Multiplayer best for human opponents, Single player for (particularly for new combat pilots) practice against Ai opponents.

If you run a server and you implement these things, your numbers will improve and that really is the bottom line.

Go ahead and put these concepts into practice and I wouldnt be surprised that if you do, yours could easily become the most popular server.

Tactics

Fighters

Fighter versus Bomber:

Best practice is to attack from above at a controllable speed and angle, but very fast – fast enough that the gunners on the bomber cant get you, and then give them a long accurate burst into an engine.

Note: If your at a fast dive speed the tail gunner wont be able to get you. If youre at the bomber’s level, below or above but not very fast, its gunners WILL wreck your fighter plane. No point shooting down a bomber, but getting shot down yourself. Be able to pull out in time to not collide the terrain too. Because bombers are often found hugging the ground.

Often a bomber will start to turn as you dive. If this happens, dont follow it, but instead pull up and start a loop and plan to figure out where the bomber’s turn will end and try to come down at speed as hes flying straight again. Usually the bomber turns around to have another run at the target.

Note: If you try to follow a bomber in a turn and get a deflection shot as your turning and exiting a high speed straight dive, you will likely miss or use up a lot of ammo and still miss or just get a few nuisance shots on the bomber’s fuselage that do nothing to sink it.

Note: In the dive, you will be zoomed in on target to keep track of it, but as you get closer, you need to zoom out, because that makes your aim much better than if you are zoomed in.

Note: Keep your crosshairs pointed above the bomber and open fire, you can let your crosshairs drift lower towards the engine, but make sure you never let the cross hairs fall beneath the target.

Note: If you figure out how many seconds worth of cannon fire you have, you can figure out how many 4-second bursts you have available, hence how many bombers you can destroy before you need to return to base.

Here (at Time stamp: 48:36) I start around 5 unsuccessful passes at a Bf110, and finally shoot it down in the last one.

Fighter Versus Fighter:

Best practice is to find a fighter that is cruising straight and level above, then ambush the fighter from underneath and aim for it’s engine. (Or from above, but the pilot may see you then.) Climb at a speed so that you are around your crusing speed in the climb when you open fire so that your fighter is controllable during fire. Aim for just below the engine and try to hold steady for up to 4 seconds of fire so that the burst will probably rake the fuselage from engine to tail. Again, try to hold you aim rock solid once you open fire, because that burst needs to be concentrated if you are to knock them out in one go.

Note: Try to be accurate and shoot them down in one burst.

Here (At time stamp 16:42) I have 2 minutes left on the map and I full speed chase a target that turns out a FW190. My ambush is good because I have maintained surprise, but it goes wrong because I largely miss my burst. I was going too fast in the climb and I climbed too late as well. Probably should have early reduced power  from 100% to around 60%-70%, and climbed up with less speed and aimed much better.

Here is (57:17) a better result on the same type of ambush:

As I think Of more things this section of the website will grow.