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Know your enemy

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Tom
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Know your enemy

Post by Tom » Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:18 pm

Knowing your enemy is absolutely key. In the modern day world combat pilots will be walking encyclopaedias of thrust, climb rate, instant turn, sustained turn, vectoring and all that not only of their own plane but also their enemy.

I'm not so fussed about all that so I boil things down into simple things but above all else remember that height + speed = life.

CAVEAT - below are my general rule of thumb guides to the aircraft currently in BOX. I may be wrong as these are my subjective opinions and I can't be bothered to pore over graphs to see what's what. I treat all Yaks the same.

1. Speed and acceleration

This can mean top speed, best combat speed and how quickly you can gain speed. So, a La5 has a high top speed low down, but it accelerates quite slowly. A 109 accelerates quickly but it's top speed may be lower, so it will be caught eventually.

The higher you go past 4km the more Soviet aircraft fall away in terms of pretty much everything.

The 109 can go at about 550km/h in a straight flight, but best combat speed is lower at about 350km/h as you then have a great compromise in terms of turn and climb. Caveat - this is my opinion only and others may feel differently.

So, in terms of what is fastest at the usual eastern front combat altitude of 1-4km my rule of thumb is:

A5
La5
A3
Spit/Yak/F4/G2
MiG/LaGG/F2
E7
110s
I16

2. Climb rate

Now here it is important to bear in mind that you need to know the best climb speed and how your climb changes over time. Never ever ever climb straight up or even steeply if you are being followed. If an enemy is within 400m you will present an almost stationary target and although they may only have one attempt, they will probably hit.

If you do climb steeply then feed in some roll especially if you are quicker than the plane behind you.

Also bear in mind that you do not have to climb at your best climb speed. For example the 109 may well climb best at 270km/h or so but if a Yak is 600m behind you that will just get you caught. So, climb at 450km/h to maintain the separation because a 109 has a better sustained climb rate at 450km/h than a Yak does. You might have to get to 4km+ to shake it but then you're safe.

In terms of climb rate my rule of thumb is:

At fast speed:

A5
G4
G2/F4
Spit/Yak/A3
La5
LaGG/MiG
I16/110

At a medium speed say 300km/h

G4
G2/F4
Spit/Yak
A5/A3/La5
E7LaGG/MiG
110
I16

At a very low speed the 109s are best, especially the G2 or G4 at 1.3ATA.

So by now you should be seeing that the A5 is faster and climbs best at a high speed, so if you're being chased you get as fast as you can then get a shallow but fast climb going.

3. Horizontal turn rate

Self-explanatory but there are many variables tor factor in. For example you have to bear in mind the best turning speed for your aircraft, the best sustained turn speed and the turn speed when all of your energy is gone.

Always think in terms of how long it takes to turn 360 degrees. The best example I can give is when you're in a 109 chasing a LaGG in an endless circle. The AI is flying the LaGG at it's best turn speed. The 109s can do a 360 turn faster but at a higher speed than the LaGG. Of necessity your turning circle is wider. So, ease off the turn and you'll appear to drop behind initially but as you pick up speed you will see that you catch the LaGG much quicker. You have to turn in when you're close enough of course.

Also factor in that you quicker you try to turn the faster your energy disappears. So the A5 has a great instant turn rate but after say a 180 degree turn you have to forget it and extend to gain energy again. The A5s low speed turn rate is not great and you're at risk whenever you go slow.

My rule of thumb for the best turning aircraft (as an average of best turn speed, time to do 360 degrees and instantaneous turn rate) is:

Spit
Yak
F4
F2/G2/G4
I16
La5
LaGG/MiG
110s

Never ever turn to death. Get stuck in a turn and you'll either get caught or another plane will join in. For example, if you're in a LaGG chased by a 109, roll, scissor, do anything but don't get stuck in a turn.

If I do turn I always try gaining height in the turn so that I can either dive down the inside of the turn or I can use my altitude to disengage.

4. Roll rate

This is super important if you're in trouble. Generally a big wing = slow roll rate. So, if you're in a FW chased by a MiG you can change your angles and direction of travel much quicker. So, roll, turn, roll the other way and the MiG may still be finishing it's first roll.

Bear in mind that the roll rate changes the quicker you get.

My rule of thumb is:

At high speed

A5/A3
Yak
E7/La5
F2/F4/G2/G4
LaGG
I16
Spit
MiG
110s

At low speed

A5/A3
I16
Yak
F2/F4
G2/G4
La5/LaGG
Spit/MiG

So if you're in a La5 and bounced by a faster 109, roll then go into a shallow dive AWAY FROM THE 109s TURN to gain energy and neutralise the 109s energy advantage. If they chase they get sucked into a low speed race that they'll lose.

5. Dive rate

There are 2 factors here. Max dive speed and best sustained dive speed.

You'll know the best dive speed by the point at which the noise gets scary. If you're lucky you won't lose any pieces of your plane. I dislike going over 700km/h in anything but if you're in a LW aircraft at that speed you'll know that the plane behind you is starting to struggle more than you are.

But, although the A5 may well dive quicker than anything else, if you do a steep dive and then level off, a canny Yak pilot will do a shallow dive and although they will lose ground initially they'll keep a higher speed for longer and may catch you.

Generally the lesson here is that you may do a steep dive intiially to gain energy, but when you are fast then shallow the dive off to keep the maximum speed you can whilst diving.

In very simple terms my rule of thumb is:

LW
Spit
VVS

6. Best combat altitude

This tends not to be important because the Eastern front combat all takes place at altitudes that favour most VVS aircraft, save for the MiG. Generally, the higher you are the better it is for the LW.


Putting it all together

This is where it gets difficult. This is true especially when you factor in imperfect viewing and that quite often you are shot down by something you did not see. The most important lesson that I'll repeat here is that height + speed = life.

But you can take the above and put it into certain scenarios. For example:

A5 bounced by a Spit - roll, dive, shallow dive, max speed then start a very shallow climb until the Spit drops away.

F4 attacking a LaGG - pretty much better at everything so the LaGG should get shot down.

Spit merging with a 109 - both should try a climbing turn with the 109 maybe trying to climb steeper at the risk of the Spit getting a shot off, then the 109 will try and keep the Spit in a medium/low speed climbing turn.


For the fighters in our current campaign, as we're in G4s and G2s we are simply better at climbing than anything else we might face so we just need to fight in the vertical. This also goes with turn fights as instead of simply a horizontal turn you can also climb and after a short while that will knacker most VVS aircraft.

This is all in theory - practical application is the tricky part.
In selecting the motto... 'all for one and one for all'... I have done so because it expresses what should be the creed to every Fighter Pilot. Never forget that you are an essential cog in the wheel, and if you break or fail it will let down your brother pilots, and the grimness of war allows for no such weakness.

Air Vice Marshal Saul in the foreword to 13 Group's 'Forget-Me-Nots for Fighters'

"They fly Hurricanes, isn't it?, them's shit planes for remtards on free dinners..."
Armstrong & Miller Show

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Blackjack
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Re: Know your enemy

Post by Blackjack » Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:33 pm

Excellent advice here Tom. I would like to just add one thing: teamwork; using all of the above advice whilst communicating with your wingman, or any other members of your flight, will give an enormous advantage against any aircraft.
Know your enemy, use your comrades as a weapon.
"I also like to live dangerously"-Austin Powers,blackjack scene

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Tom
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Re: Know your enemy

Post by Tom » Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:16 pm

Ooooh yes teamwork is king, but you both need to know what to do and what not do to. 2 FWs in a slow turn fight against 2 Yaks are almost always going to lose. 2 FWs in fast BnZ against 2 Yaks should win.
In selecting the motto... 'all for one and one for all'... I have done so because it expresses what should be the creed to every Fighter Pilot. Never forget that you are an essential cog in the wheel, and if you break or fail it will let down your brother pilots, and the grimness of war allows for no such weakness.

Air Vice Marshal Saul in the foreword to 13 Group's 'Forget-Me-Nots for Fighters'

"They fly Hurricanes, isn't it?, them's shit planes for remtards on free dinners..."
Armstrong & Miller Show

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Hunter
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Re: Know your enemy

Post by Hunter » Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:09 am

Tom of course has no need of my most often used tactic (AI or HvH) The OMG what do I do now tactic of - Cut the throttle and begin a spiral dive.

AI and average Humans who try to follow this will often overshoot, because having got in a firing position they are reluctant to give it up. This can buy you a bit of time. Better Human pilots accept that the shot has been spoilt and BnZ away to try again.

Whilst it is true you have done the worst of all things i.e. Lose height and speed simultaneously and in a 1v1 situation this is almost always fatal, in a multi plane melee it can have ion's place. (IMHO of course)
No points for second best.


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