EAW PILOT’S GUIDE TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Book 1: Game Players’ Guide        viii

Requirements and Installation         1

The Technical Prerequisites        2

Installing the Game        4

The Controls        5

Configuration         6

        DIFFICULTY         11

        CONTROL        6        GRAPHICS        12

        SOUND        12

Keyboard        13

        PAUSING         14

        QUITTING         14

Mouse                 14

Joystick          15

Pedals           16

The Main Menu         17

Quick Start         21

Flying a Single Mission         23

The Hangar         24

Mission Parameters         25

TIME PERIOD         25

TIME OF DAY         25

WEATHER         26

INSTANT ACTION          26

MISSION TYPE         27

TARGET         28

NUMBER OF AIRCRAFT         28

CRUISE ALTITUDE         28

ii

HOME BASE         28

FRIENDLY SUPPORT ACTIVITY: SECONDARY AIRCRAFT         29

FORMATION SIZE         30

PILOT SKILL LEVEL         30

EXPECTED ENEMY ACTIVITY: ACTIVITY LEVEL         30

PRIMARY AIRCRAFT         30

SECONDARY AIRCRAFT         30

AAA ACTIVITY LEVEL         31

SAVING A MISSION         31

LOADING A MISSION         31

        MAKING REVISIONS         32

 

Armaments Board         32

 

Fly Mission         33

 

Take-off         34

Getting There         35

 

The Cockpit Controls         36

MISSIONMAP         30

COCKPIT RADIO         37

AUTOPILOT         40

 

Viewpoint and the Camera         40

F-KEY VIEWS         41

SNAP VIEWS         42

CHANGING PLANES         42

TARGETING         42

VIRTUAL COCKPITMODE         43

PADLOCK         44

THE EXTERNAL CAMERA         44

 

Accelerating Time         47

 

Encountering the Enemy         47

IDENTIFICATION         47

GROUND TARGETS         48

CYCLING YOUR GUNS         48

DOGFIGHTING         49

PADLOCK AND TARGETING FEATURES         49

DIVE BOMBING         50

STRAFING         51

FIRING ROCKETS         53

 

Getting Shot Down         53

 

Returning and Landing         53

 

iii

 

 

 

Debriefing         55

 

Career Pilot         57

 

Creating a Pilot         58

 

Loading a Career         60

 

The Briefing Room         61

 

The Hangar         62

        ARMAMENT BOARD         62

        FLYMISSION         62

 

The Aerial Campaign         63

        BATTLE LINES         63

        CHANGING BASES          63                REPAIRS AND REPLACEMENTS         64

        PILOT FATIGUE         64

        COCKPIT RADIO         64

        RESCUE, CAPTURE, AND DEATH         64

 

Debriefing         65

 

Medals and Promotions         65

 

Barracks         66

        LOGBOOK         66

        VIEW MEDALS         67

        RADIO         67

        LEAVE         67

        BUNK         67

 

Tour of Duty         67

 

Squadron Commander’s Office         68

        SQUADRON BOARD         68

 

The End of the War         69

 

Hall of Fame         70

 

Multi-Player Missions         71

 

Connecting         72

IPX 73

TCP/IP 73

        MODEM         73

        SERIAL         74

 

iv

Joining a Mission         74

 

Hosting a Mission         75

 

Session Parameters         75

 

Flying a Multi-Player Mission         77

        COMMUNICATIONS         77

        DEATH DURING TOTAL MAYHEM         77

        PLAYER KILLS         78

 

The End of the Game         78

 

Newsreel         79

 

View Objects         79

Book 2: Pilot’s Handbook         83

 

Why You’re Here         83

        THEORIES         84

        THE COMBATANTS         85

 

The Battle of Britain         92

        THE FALL OF FRANCE         92

        ENGLAND STANDS ALONE         94

        CHANNEL RAIDS         96

        THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM         98

        THE STORM BREAKS         99

        ADLERTAG         101

        THE BATTLE CONTINUES         106

        LONDON         109

        THE CRISIS         111

 

Fortress without a Roof         113

        THESEMAD AMERICANS         113

        SCHWEINFURT/REGENSBURG         116

        OPERATION ARGUMENT         120

        BIG “B”, MARCH 6, 1944         122

        PREPARING FOR INVASION         126

        SUPPORTING THE INVASION         129

        OPERATION BODENPLATTE         130

        THE FALL OF THE THIRD REICH         132

 

 

 

 

V

 

 

 

 

Conclusion         133

        AREA BOMBING         133

        STRATEGIC BOMBING         133

        THE INTERDICTION CAMPAIGN         134

 

Flight School         135

 

The Basics         136

        ESSENTIAL AERODYNAMICS         136

        LEVEL FLIGHT         142

        ACCELERATION AND DECELERATION         142

        LEVEL CLIMB AND LEVEL DESCENT (RISING AND FALLING)         143

        CLIMBS AND DIVES         143

        SIMPLE TURNS (BANKING)         145

        FINAL ADVICE         145

Instruments         146

        COMPASS         147

        ARTIFICIAL HORIZON         147

        AIRSPEED INDICATOR         147

        TACHOMETER         148

        ALTIMETER         148

        OIL PRESSURE GAUGE         148

        ENGINE TEMPERATURE GAUGE         149

        FUEL GAUGE         149

        MANIFOLD PRESSURE GAUGE         150

        RATE OF CLIMB INDICATOR         150

        AMMUNITION COUNTER         151

 

Formations         151

        ECHELON         151

V 152

        FINGER FOUR         152

        BOMBERS AND ESCORTS         153

 

Simple Manoeuvres         154

        AILERON ROLL         154

        BARREL ROLL         155

        LOOP OVER         155

        LOOP UNDER         156

        WING OVER         157

 

Emergency Procedures         158

        RECOVERING FROM A STALL         159

        THE POWER STALL         160

        GETTING OUT OF A SPIN         163

        LOW FUEL         164

        DAMAGE         166

        COMING IN ON AWING AND A PRAYER         167

        FIRE         168

vi

 

        BAILING OUT         169

 

Advanced Flight         171

        A LITTLE AIR COMBAT THEORY         171

        YOURWEAPONS         179

        APPROACH         185

        DOGFIGHT VS. HIT-AND-RUN         186

        IMMELMANN         187

        SPLIT-S         188

        INTENTIONAL STALL         189

        SKID         190

        SLIP         190

        SCISSORS         191

        THACHWEAVE         192

        ADVANCEDMANOEUVRING         194

 

Some Further Advice         200

        TACTICAL QUICKIES         200

        ALTERNATIVE DELIVERY TECHNIQUES         202

        LANDINGS         210

 

The Cockpits         217

 

Background         218

 

United States Army Air Force         219

LOCKHEED P-38 LIGHTNING         220

REPUBLIC P-47 THUNDERBOLT         222

NORTH AMERICAN P-51 MUSTANG         224

 

Royal Air Force         226

HAWKER HURRICANE         227

HAWKER TEMPEST V         229

HAWKER TYPHOONMK IB         231

SUPERMARINE SPITFIRE         233

 

Luftwaffe         235

FOCKEWULF FW190         236

MESSERSCHMITT BF109 (ME109)         239

MESSERSCHMITTME110 (DESTROYER)         242

MESSERSCHMITTME262A         244

 

Glossary of Terms and Acronyms         246

 

Credits         253

 

TECHNICAL SUPPORT         254

 

 

vii

 

 

Book 1:

Game Guide

 

Great Britain and France declared war on Germany in early September of 1939, a mere

two days after Germany had invaded Poland. Less than a year later, France would be

occupied and England fighting for her own independence. Thus began the European

campaign of the Second World War. The conflict flared on ground and at sea, bloody

and hard-fought, but it would be in the air that the war was won.

Most of the fighting over Europe was too high for people down below to see. The sole

signs of the melee overhead were the distant buzz of engines and the occasional wreck,

yet battle was no less fierce in the air than on the ground. With only a thin skin of metal

as a shield, pilots had little room for error. Their fate was in their own hands. Success

was, of course, only fleeting—failure often final.

From the Battle of Britain in the summer months of 1940 until the day of Axis

capitulation five years later, the world’s military leaders engaged in a struggle for

control of the skies over western Europe. Aerial support was key to any offensive

assault and a principle means of defence as well. Crippling a nation was as simple as

wearing down its supply of pilots and planes.

In European Air War™, you step into the cockpit of a 1940’s fighter plane and join your

country’s daily struggle to achieve air superiority. Germany is wearing away the RAF’s

resources. The Allies strive to beat back the onslaught and shove their way straight to

Berlin. Now you assume your place in the pilot’s seat.

This book, the Game Player’s Guide, contains complete instructions on installing,

running, configuring, and playing European Air War™ The Pilot’s Handbook (later in

this manual) has historical background and a little advice on piloting. The Quick

Reference Card is a one-stop reference to all of the keyboard, mouse, joystick, and

other controls. Changes made to the game after this manual was written are described

in the Readme file; that file was written last, so any notations in it supersede all other

information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

Requirements and

Installation

 

You’ve got the box open, the CD-ROM in your hands, your flight jacket on,

and that manic gleam in your eyes. What do you do now?

 

The Technical Prerequisites

For European Air War to work, there are a few things your computer must have.

 

The processor has to be a 166 MHz Pentium or better. If you have a 3D

graphics acceleration card, you can play on a 133 MHz Pentium.

You must have at least 32 Mb (megabytes) of RAM (working memory).

 

You must have a CD-ROM drive.

 

Since the installation program will copy parts of European Air War onto your

hard disk, you must have a lot of empty storage space on your hard drive. How

much you need depends on how much of the game you choose to install; the

different amounts are calculated for you by the installation program, and it

shows you what you need versus what you have.

 

Your computer must be capable of SVGA quality graphics.

 

There must be a working mouse (or a device that fulfills the same function)

attached to the computer.

 

You must have DirectX version 6.0 (or higher). If you don’t have this, you can

install version 6.0 as part of the installation process. To use the game’s 3Dfx

Glide support, you must have Glide API version 2.43 (or higher) installed and

working.

 

There are also a few pieces of equipment that we strongly recommend you have:

 

To hear the game, you must have a sound card and the requisite drivers to

support DirectSound.

 

To fly well, we recommend you use a joystick. We encourage the use of

throttle controls and foot pedals (for the rudder).

 

For modem play, we recommend you use a modem capable of 28.8 kps or

faster.

 

If you think you have all of these, but still have a problem running the game,

please contact MicroProse Customer Support for assistance.

 

 

1

Installing the Game

Before you can play European Air War, the installation program must copy some

files onto your hard disk. To have it do so, follow these instructions:

 

Turn on your computer. Windows 95 should load the Microsoft CD-ROM

Extension when the computer starts up. (If you have problems installing, this

extension may not be loaded. Check your computer manuals for instructions

on getting it loaded.)

 

Open the CD-ROM drive, place the European Air War CD in it, and close the

drive.

 

European Air War is a Windows 95 “AutoPlay” CD-ROM. That means that just

putting the disk in the drive for the first time starts up the installation program.

 

Click on Install to continue. (If you change your mind at this point, click Exit.)

 

As is usual in Windows 95 installation procedures, there are two decisions

you need to make before the installation process can begin. The first decision

is to what directory you want to install the game. You can accept the default,

type in a directory path, or use the Browse button to seek out a directory. Click

OK when you’re done.

 

The second decision is what sort of installation you want to do. Pick one of the

options presented:

 

Typical installs the required program files and some other stuff. This type

of installation strikes a balance between the needs of game speed (more

files copied) versus conserving hard disk space (less files copied).

 

Compact is the minimum; it installs only the required program files.

 

Custom gives you control of what gets installed. How much disk space

this takes up depends on what you select.

 

European Air War will now copy the files you selected to your hard drive from

the CD-ROM.

 

After the game itself has been copied over, European Air War installs a few

necessary utility programs. These include Microsoft’s DirectX drivers (version

6.0). The space these take up was included in the total noted on screen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

Book 1: Game Player’s Guide

REQUIREMENTS AND INSTALLATION

 

Lastly, use the check-boxes to decide whether to add a shortcut on your

desktop for this game and whether to begin the game immediately when the

installation is done.

 

Once the installation is complete, the game is ready to play.

If you checked the play box, the game begins right away. If you forgot, you can

still start playing now:

 

Leave the European Air War CD-ROM in the drive.

 

Click the Play button.

 

To play later:

 

Make sure that the European Air War CD-ROM is in its drive.

 

If you checked the shortcut box, click on the European Air War shortcut on

your desktop.

 

If not, open the Windows 95 Start menu, then open the European

Air War sub-menu, then click the European Air War option.

You can also wait for the AutoPlay menu to pop up, then click the

Play button.

 

 

Have fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

The Controls

European Air War is an advanced, complex, historical military simulation.

You cannot play if you use only keyboard controls. Use of a mouse is

absolutely necessary, and a joystick comes in handy, too. In fact, we

strongly recommend that you use both.

 

 

 

5

 

 

What follows is a brief introduction to the use of the configurable game options

and the standard game controllers. European Air War is designed to work with

most of the available Windows 95 compatible flight simulation add-on hardware

systems (“peripherals”). If you follow the installation instructions and the

documentation that came with the peripheral you’re using, you should not have

any problems. Customer Support will likely be able to solve whatever trouble you

do encounter. Calibration settings for joysticks and other hardware is taken from

Windows data; if you installed the hardware correctly, you should have no need

to recalibrate just for this game.

 

Configuration

The first time you fire up European Air War, before you even consider stepping

into the cockpit, you should click on the Configure Game button. Use the

configuration set up to specify how you want to control the game, as well as to

adjust the settings of such things as sound, screen resolution, and level of detail.

 

DIFFICULTY

These three menus—Flight, Combat, and Display—let you adjust the level of

realism and difficulty of each mission you fly. As you enable more realistic

settings, the overall Difficulty Rating increases, thus increasing your score at the

end of every mission (a reward for playing at a harder level).

 

Flight

 

Flight Model

Depending on your abilities and what you want out of this game,

you can decide whether to use a Realistic flight model—with all

the difficulty of piloting a real aircraft—or an Easy one, which is

more forgiving.

 

Stalls/Spins

This option, when enabled, makes it possible for your plane to

stall (when your speed is below that needed to sustain lift) or go

into a spin. Turn this option Off, and stalls and spins will not occur

unless your plane has been damaged.

6

 

 

Torque Effect

Radial engines create a turning force known as torque (see the

Pilot’s Handbook for details). Pilots of single-engine planes must

take this into account. Twin-engine machines don’t suffer the

same pull, because their engines rotate in opposite directions

and cancel the torque effect. If Torque Effect is Off, your plane

will show no signs of pulling. However, when this is toggled On,

single-engine aircraft will pull one side according to their

manufacture. Torque has no effect when the auto-pilot is

engaged, since the auto-pilot makes the necessary corrections.

 

Black out or Red out

While designers can tinker with planes to make them react better

at high acceleration, it’s harder to enhance the human body’s

performance under similar conditions. High-speed manoeuvres

can prevent a pilot’s heart from pumping enough blood into his

brain. When an airman pulls hard out of a dive, turns his aircraft

tightly at top speeds, or performs other high-speed aerial moves,

he may lose consciousness—black out.

 

Forcing too much blood into the brain (as when throttling forward

into a steep dive) is also a problem. If the pressure becomes too

great, tiny blood vessels in the pilot’s eyes burst. This is known as

a “red out.” Severe brain damage or death can result.

 

Losing consciousness is especially dangerous at low altitudes,

when you have too little time to recover, but even at great heights

it poses serious risks. These days, pressurised suits help fighter

pilots maintain control at high speeds. During World War II, such

suits were too bulky and unpredictable to be practical, so pilots

had to know their own limits.

 

If you enable blackouts, you subject yourself to the laws of nature

and human limitations. If not, you’ll maintain both vision and

consciousness even when performing unheard-of aerial feats.

 

 

 

7

 

Engine Overheat

Even when equipped with complex cooling systems, engines

generate a lot of heat, and the harder they have to work, the more

heat they put out. It’s possible to damage an engine if you run it

too hard for too long. In some planes, holding the throttle fully

open for as few as ten seconds can lead to overheating, and

overheating can quickly escalate into permanent engine

damage—or complete failure.

 

When Engine Overheat is disabled, you can run your craft all day

without once approaching the danger point. If you opt for a more

realistic scenario, beware a heavy hand on the throttle.

 

 

Structural Limits

Even the sturdiest and most dependable of planes has its

limitations. When it’s pushed beyond them, anything can

happen, from the annoying—like buffeting in a dive—to the

downright dangerous. A craft can fall into a spin or a stall, or a

wing might break off in mid-flight and leave you plummeting

helplessly back to the ground.

 

By selecting On, you open yourself up to many irksome but

realistic problems that pilots of the day had to contend with.

Leaving the option in the Off position, you avoid such

troublesome issues and can push your plane beyond its

physical limits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8

Wind/Turbulence

When enabled, this option makes flying a bit harder, because

wind can slow you down, adjust your course, and generally

complicate things. Select Off if you do not wish to have your

course deviate due to the effects of wind and turbulence.

 

 

Combat

 

Enemy Skill Level

This option provides a quick and easy way to modify the overall

difficulty. You can choose between Green (to face inexperienced

pilots), Veteran (pilots who have been in a few dogfights), and

Ace (the most experienced the enemy has to offer). Be

forewarned that the enemy skill level Ace is designed to push

even the most fanatic flight simulation veterans to the limits of

their abilities.

 

Landing

A combat pilot can count on very few certainties, but one thing is

sure—what goes up must come down. Assuming that you haven’t

bailed out or showered down in a thousand pieces somewhere

over Europe, you know that you’re going to have to land your

crate. How you do that depends on your plane and your piloting

prowess. Some planes are easier than others to set down, but

bringing one in for a successful landing always requires skill and

an excellent knowledge of your machine. When you enable

Realistic, you must cope with the vagaries of bringing your craft

in manually. If you select Simple, touching down is a much

simpler affair.

 

Realistic Gunnery

In actual air-to-air combat during World War II, it was no mean

feat to hit your target. Pilots needed great skill and marksmanship

(and sometimes luck) to down an enemy plane. Fortunately, in

European Air War it doesn’t have to be that difficult. Using a

more blocky, less-than-precise silhouette of enemy aircraft to

determine hits can turn many near misses into scores. Of course,

if you’d rather have the greater challenge, that can be arranged,

too.

 

If Realistic Gunnery is off, you’ll have a slightly easier time

finding your mark. With the option on, hits on enemy aircraft are

determined using a slimmer and more realistic silhouette.

 

 

 

 

 

 

9

CONTROLS

Mid-Air Collision

The limited range of World War II weapons means that air-to-air

combat takes place at close quarters. For your guns to be

effective, you have to be frighteningly near your target. Mid-air

collisions are of great concern; especially in the heat of battle, it’s

easy to lose track of who’s around you and where exactly they

are. This can be a fatal slip if mid-air Collision is enabled—aircraft

coming into contact with each other explode in a fireball. With

quick reflexes you might bail out, but at best you’ll be headed for

a dirt bath or a dousing. If you leave this option off, one aircraft

can pass right through another without effect.

 

Unlimited Ammo

Ammunition is a valued commodity in aerial combat. Armed,

you’re a lethal threat, but when you run out of ammo, you must

break off the attack and head home, vulnerable the entire flight.

Every plane has weight and storage restrictions that limit how

much ammunition the ground crews can pack on board. During

the Second World War, a full load of bullets could be measured in

seconds of firepower.

 

In addition, most pilots had to estimate

their remaining rounds without benefit of the ammunition

counters now standard on warplanes. If you enter battle without

Unlimited Ammo, be advised to use your weapons judiciously. If

you opt instead for a limitless supply, just try not to give yourself

away by the unrestrained use of your guns. (Note that this option

is always Off in multi-player missions.)

 

 

Invulnerable

This option allows you to designate whether or not your plane

takes damage—from enemy fire, friendly fire, the ground, or

anything else. If you want to practice flying without having to

worry about damage, set this option On. When you’re ready to fly

in a real dogfight, turn this back Off. (Note that this option is

always Off in multi-player missions.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10

Display

 

Display Unit

This option controls what system of measurement is used by

your commanding officers, your cockpit instruments, and your

map. Select English to use the Imperial system or Metric for

(oddly enough) the metric system. If you choose Default, each

nationality uses the system they had in place at the time of the

war.

 

HUD Display

You can use this to turn on the cockpit Head-Up Display, which is

something no pilot during the war actually had. This projects

useful information in front of you.

Altimeter Display

There are two types of altimeter. The type used during the war

gives readings based on ambient air pressure. This is ASL (Above

Sea Level). Modern radar altimeters read altitude AGL (Above

Ground Level). During the war, planes did not use radar

altimeters, and the description of the altimeter in this manual

reflects that. If you choose to use AGL, that description no longer

applies.

 

Airspeed Display

Select the way you want the Airspeed Indicator in your cockpit to

work. IAS (Indicated Air Speed) measures your velocity relative to

the air around you; this is the type of indicator used in WWII-era

planes. TAS (True Air Speed) measures your actual rate of

movement relative to the ground below you; this is more reliable

for navigation, but less historically accurate.

 

 

CONTROL

 

This is where you designate exactly what hardware you’ll use to control which

aspects of the game—and exactly what controls correspond to which commands.

 

The Flight Control is the important one; it’s the main instrument for flying your

aircraft. Selections for the other options might change or be limited depending on

what you select here. In general, for instance, you cannot use the same

instrument as both Flight Control and for controlling the external camera—the

exception being that if your joystick is your flight control, you can use the joystick

hat” to manoeuvre the camera.

 

 

 

 

 

 

11

To customise (or completely reconfigure) the controls for the game, select

Advanced. This option gives you control over all four groups of controls—View

controls, Flight controls, Weapon controls, and general Game controls.

When you’re done, click OK to save your changes or Cancel to undo them.

 

GRAPHICS

 

The options on this screen influence how everything in every mission looks.

Generally, more detail makes playing the game more realistic and fun, but it also

tends to slow down the game’s operation. If you notice that your plane doesn’t

respond as quickly as you would like, or that movements on the screen are jerky,

you may need to lower the level of detail. Adjusting the settings to lower detail

levels or turning some of the options off should result in a smoother picture and

faster responses.

 

Make sure you select the correct 3D Render option—the type of 3D

acceleration you’re using. You can also adjust your distance visibility. The higher

the visibility, the farther you (and other pilots) can see.

 

If the background or the colour level is darker than you would prefer, try sliding

the Gamma Correction to the right to brighten the entire viewing area.

 

SOUND

The Sound screen lets you control not only the volume of game sounds but also

their quality. Choose between 8-bit and 16-bit sound. The higher setting (16-bit)

sounds better, but requires quite a bit more memory, as well. You can also

determine the number of sound effect channels; generally, more channels means

better quality, though you are limited by what your computer’s capabilities.

 

You adjust the levels for the different sound effects and the music separately.

Click anywhere along a line or drag the volume controls where you want them.

Bear in mind that the engine sound effects can clue you in to the health of your

plane—your engine may begin to labour before it actually fails. You can only react

in time if you hear the change in pitch. You probably don’t want to turn these

sound effects completely off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12

 

 

 

The last option in the sound configuration allows you to turn the subtitles on or

off. The officer presenting your briefings speaks in the language of his homeland,

as do all pilots on your radio. Thus, for example, if you are flying a German plane,

but you do not understand German, you would turn this option on to have your

briefing information and communications subtitled in your native language.

 

Keyboard

The keyboard is the primary control device for your computer, but it is often a

secondary controller while playing European Air War. Keystroke commands are

most commonly used to change the viewpoint while flying, to enter text in certain

fields (naming pilots, for example), and to control things like the throttle, gear, and

brakes.

 

Keyboard controls are represented in this manual by symbols. Thus, for example,

Function Key #1 would appear as F1, just as it does on the keyboard itself. Key

combinations that should be pressed at the same time are separated by plus

signs, as in CTRL+ALT+DEL. All keys will be capitalised, but you do not need to

enter capital letters. (A capital P, for example, would appear as SHFT+P, while a

lowercase p would be P.) We use the standard abbreviations for the special

keys.

 

Though some of the keyboard commands are described in the relevant sections,

please refer to the Quick Reference Card for the exact default keystrokes used

in controlling European Air War. You can change many of these defaults using

the Control option on the Configure Game menu, described in Configuration.

There are some keyboard command standards that are shared by virtually all

MicroProse games.

 

Note

On most of the game screens (not during missions), you can use the

SPACE bar to toggle labelling of all the hot spots on and off. This can be quite

helpful when you aren’t sure exactly what you can do on a particular screen.

You can also right-click to briefly view the hot spots; they stay visible as long as

you hold down the [RMB].

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 THE CONTROLS

PAUSING

At any time while in flight, you can press ALT+P to pause the game. All action in

the game will stop until you restart it, but you still have control of the external

camera and the viewpoint controls. Note that none of the controls except those

relevant to the camera and viewpoints will function while the game is paused. To

restart the action, press ALT+P again.

 

QUITTING

The Main menu includes an Exit option for leaving the game, but real life doesn’t

always allow enough time to work your way back to this menu to quit. To leave

European Air War at any time, you can press ALT+Q. The game prompts you to

verify that you want to quit. Note that if you are in the middle of a career mission

when you quit, your career continues with that mission when you come back to

the game.

If you wish to end your current mission without shutting down the whole game,

press q. You must verify this command. If you do, you proceed directly to your

debriefing, and the mission is counted a failure unless you completed your

objective before quitting.

 

Mouse

If you do not have a joystick attached to your system, the mouse is likely to be the

primary controller for European Air War. Even if you do have both a mouse and a

joystick, the mouse is important. The mouse is necessary for selecting from

menus and maps and moving around the briefing screens.

Mouse controls are represented in this manual in a manner similar to keyboard

controls. Thus, for example, the Left Mouse Button would appear as LMB.

Directional controls are represented by “mouse” commands in brackets—[Mouse

Left], for example.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14

 

 

 

Throughout this manual, we stick to the standard terms for using the mouse:

 

Click’ means to click the left mouse button (LMB).

 

‘‘Right-click’ means to click the right mouse button (RMB).

 

‘‘Drag’ means to hold down the LMB while you move the mouse.

 

‘‘Right-drag’ should be obvious enough.

 

‘‘Double-click’ means to click the LMB twice rapidly.

 

The mouse controls for the external camera are described in the relevant section.

You can also use the Quick Reference Card as a quick reference. The mouse

motions used to fly the plane are summarised here. You can change these

defaults using the Control option on the Configure Game menu, described in

Configuration.

 

 

 

[Mouse Fwd] Stick forward, nose down (dive)

 

[Mouse Back] Stick back, nose up (climb)

 

[Mouse Left] Stick left, bank left (left turn)

 

[Mouse Right] Stick right, bank right (right turn)

 

Joystick

If you have access to one, it’s best to use a joystick as the primary control device

for European Air War. Even in tandem with a mouse, the joystick is essential—a

joystick is the optimum controller for the plane in flight.

Directional controls are represented in this manual by “stick” commands—[Stick

Left], for example. Joystick controls other than those for flight are described in

the relevant sections. You can also use the Quick Reference Card as a quick

reference. The default joystick controls used to fly the plane are standard and

fairly obvious; they are summarised here. You can change some of these defaults

using the Control option on the Configure Game menu, described in

Configuration.

 

 

 

 

 

15

 

 

[Stick Fwd] Elevators down, nose down (dive)

[Stick Back] Elevators up, nose up (climb)

[Stick Left] Bank left (left turn)

[Stick Right] Bank right (right turn)

[Button 1] Fire guns

[Button 2] Fire Selected Weapon

 

Pedals

Foot pedals are optional hardware for controlling the rudder of the plane. If you

do not have rudder pedals, don’t worry; European Air War also allows you to

control the rudder from the keyboard, joystick, or mouse. Using rudder control,

several useful manoeuvres are available to you that are not possible using the

stick alone.

 

Rudder pedal controls (rudder controls in general, in fact) are represented in this

manual in bold type and enclosed in brackets. Thus, for example, sliding the left

pedal forward and the right pedal back would appear as [Rudder Left]. The

direction of the control (i.e. “left” or “right”) is based on the direction in which the

control motion moves the rudder, as is standard in aviation.

 

The rudder is the pilot’s only direct method of controlling the yaw of the plane.

(Please refer to ‘Yaw’ in the Glossary for a brief definition.) The primary uses of

the rudder are to counteract the adverse yaw caused by banking with the ailerons

and to steer the plane while on the runway. The rudder can also be helpful when

you’re making those little sideways adjustments as you approach the runway.

The two pedal controls are as follows:

 

[Rudder Left] Yaw left (counteract adverse yaw of right bank)

 

[Rudder Right] Yaw right (counteract adverse yaw of left bank)

 

 

 

 

 

16

 

 

The Main Menu

 

Once the opening animation has come to an end, European Air War’s

Main menu appears. From this panel, you control how you will enter the

European Theatre of Operations. You can join the battle for a few brief

months in the early years of the war, fighting over Britain and the English

Channel for victory and the greater glory of your country, or sign on in

1943 for the duration of the hostilities over Europe. You might even

choose to test your wings and your daring on a single mission into the

depths of enemy territory. Once the battle has cooled, you can brush up

on the overall aerial campaign with special features like European Air

War’s Newsreel, also found on the Main menu.

Main menu screen

 

17

 

 

 

 

Quick Start

This is the fastest way to jump into the cockpit and get your first taste of air combat.

Single Mission

Design and fly individual missions for either the Axis or the

Allies. Single missions are a good way to practice in

preparation for a piloting career.

Pilot Career

Start your career as a pilot for the RAF, USAAF, or Luftwaffe.

Configure Game

Choose how to control your aircraft and other aspects of the game.

Multi-Player

Test your aerial combat skills against those of your friends.

Newsreel

Watch brief films on some of the major aerial operations in

European Air War.

View Objects

Examinein detailall the planes in European Air War.

Exit

Quit the game and return control to Windows.

18

Our thanks to RAF Wing Commander James Isles (Retired) for these brief

insights into the air war in defence of England, and for all the other information

he so thoughtfully supplied.

 

A Personal Experience of a Civilian

 

The Sunday morning of 3rd September 1939 was beautifully sunny and warm,

with the first tints of autumn beginning to appear. On this particular morning, I

had motored from my home in North Berkshire to be with my future wife, who

was at that time nursing at Lord Mayor Treloar’s Hospital at Alton.

 

For many months, there had been speculation whether or not there would be

war or peace in Europe in our time, since Hitler was already using force to gain

his way with a programme of annexations. It was known that the offer of

British support in the event of anyone threatening the independence of Poland

had become relevant on the 1st September. Thus, Britain was under obligation

to stand by her treaty.

 

An ultimatum issued by the British Government to Germany for the withdrawal

of troops from Poland had been rejected by Hitler. Thus, the Prime Minister

made his radio broadcast to the British people. The Matron of the Hospital at

Treloar’s had invited me into the hall where staff were assembled to listen to

the announcement. I shall always remember the empty silence in that hospital

in the moments that preceded the broadcast. When Mr. Neville Chamberlains,

the British Prime Minister, came to the microphone to speak to the British

nation he said:

 

This morning, the British Ambassador in Berlin handed the German

government a final note stating that unless we heard from them by eleven

o’clock that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland, a

state of war would exist between us. I have to tell you now that no such

undertaking has been received, and that consequently this country is at war

with Germany.”

 

Those awesome words that came over the air on that peaceful Sunday morning

stunned everyone into a silence like that which precedes an approaching storm.

Within a few months, that storm front had broken for me, and I had become a

Volunteer Reserve in the Royal Air Force.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19

A pre-arrangement with a elderly aunt of mine living in London was that if war

was declared on 3rd September, I would drive direct from Alton to London,

collect my aunt, and deliver her to some relatives in Berkshire. The general

belief was that as soon as war had been declared, the German Luftwaffe would

release an onslaught of bombers against major cities in Britain—but particularly

on London. Having reached London in less than an hour and driving eastwards

along the Great West Road, I noticed that the streets were almost deserted. I

had seen some air-raid wardens ushering people into the shelters, and I realised

that an alert had been sounded. My aunt lived in nearby Hounslow, and I arrived

to find her and my uncle together with their dog in the air-raid shelter at the

bottom of the garden, where I joined them until the all-clear was given.

 

As we found out later, soon after the declaration, two officers of the French Air

Force had been on their way to join the Allied Air Mission in Britain. The

Observer Corps had spotted the French plane crossing the coast and flying

towards London, but they failed to identify the aircraft. However, it was plotted

and transposed to the Operations Centre at Headquarters Fighter Command,

who gave the signal “Air Raid Warning Red”. This brought the warning sirens

into use, and the civilian population—believing that the German air raids had

begun—made for the nearest shelters.

 

In the meantime, the French aircraft had landed at Croydon, a de-briefing had

sorted the matter out, everything was in order, and the all-clear was sounded.

 

As it turned out, this was an excellent exercise to test not only the Air Defence

System of the UK, but also the Civil Defence Organisation—all on the very first

day that war had been declared.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20

 

Quick Start

 

If you’re one of those people who like to leap straight into the

cockpit and leave the details for later, here’s the shortest route to

the open skies:

 

21

 

 

On the Main menu, choose Quick Start.

 

The game automatically recruits you for duty based on what plane you last

selected in the Luftwaffe, Royal Air Force (RAF), or United States Army Air

Force (USAAF) and designates where over Europe the air combat will unfold.

European Air War also selects your armaments and makes all other pre-flight

decisions.

 

Fly.

The plane is already aloft and engaged with the enemy when you slide into

the cockpit. The skill of your adversaries is based on the selection you made in

the difficulty options. Your objective is simply to down them all before they do

the same to you.

 

Quick Start missions use the same aircraft controls as the rest of the game. For

details on how to pilot your plane, please refer to the Quick Reference Card and

to the Flying a Single Mission section in this manual. Operations in Quick Start

are small in scope, covering less terrain than other available flights, but they let

you dive in and get your feet wet (preferably not in the drink). At mission’s end—

success or your own untimely demise—you receive a mission summary report

and then return to the Main menu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

22

Flying a Single Mission

 

In the thick of war, there’s precious little time for showing young pilots more than the basics, but lack of experience will get you killed out there.  Don’t risk it all—life, limb, and love of flying—without adequate training and preparation. European Air War’s Single Mission feature lets you test the waters. Take the opportunity to practice the same manoeuvres time and again until you master them. Train in a particular type of mission or plane, or strive to be an all-around pilot with superior skills in a variety of different circumstances. You might even want to try flying your enemy’s planes to see what advantages and disadvantages they may

have. Single missions are also perfect for those not suited to the rigours of military life.

 

23

 

The Single Mission menu puts you at the controls, helping you design and carry

out your own missions without having to answer to your superiors. You decide

what kind of sortie to fly, and in which model of plane. You determine what enemy

forces you’ll face. You choose your target. You even select the weather. Better yet,

since you’re not a career man, you’ve got nothing to lose. Here you have no past

and no future, but can afford to live for the moment. Carpe diem!

 

Once you have selected the Single Mission option from the Main menu, you see

a board posted with pictures of the different planes you can choose from. Each

board contains only planes from one nationality. You can select a different nation

by clicking on the name of the country at the bottom right, near the Exit button.

 

Since you’ll be flying one of the planes you order aloft, it’s a good idea to pick

something you actually want to pilot. Maybe you’re training as a specialist in a

particular make and model, or perhaps you’d like to try something altogether

new. In any case, be sure to settle on a plane that captures your interest. After you

select a plane, you can set your mission parameters.

 

The Hangar

 

 

British Hurricanes await servicing in the hangar.

 

In the hangar, ground crews have been working feverishly for hours to prepare your plane. Your fuel tanks are topped off. Now it’s time to make some final decisions before taxiing down the runway. Make your selections carefully, as they’ll determine how difficult a mission you face.

24

You have several options as you wander around the hangar waiting for orders to

man your craft. Use the mouse pointer to search the shed until you’ve found each

one, or simply press the zto reveal them all.

 

Mission Parameters

 

 

 

 

Mission Parameters screen

 

The first time you create a mission, the parameters are on their standard settings.

Thereafter, they default to those from the last sortie you prepared. Move around

the document, clicking on the highlighted words to cycle through your available

choices.

 

If, as you fill in your preferences, you find that things aren’t turning out quite as

you’d planned, don’t worry. You can go back and change things at any time; you

can even reload and edit a mission after you’ve flown it and saved it.

 

TIME PERIOD

Select the year of battle. The date influences which aircraft models are in the

mission; only those in production in the year you choose are available for you and

your opponents to fly.

 

TIME OF DAY

Adjust the time of your take-off. Note that as your mission progresses, the light

shifts to reflect the time of day (or night). Depending on the hour of take-off and

the length of your flight, the sun may rise or set while you’re aloft.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25

 

WEATHER

 

Even a Group Commander doesn’t have control over the weather during an

operation, but then, he usually doesn’t get to choose which planes the enemy

plans to fly, nor how many of them he’d like to meet in battle. So as long as we’re

departing from reality, we might as well go all the way.

 

 

 

 

Cloudy skies over England

 

 

Weather always has its say in determining if it’s possible to take to the air on any

given day, but during World War II this was especially true. In heavy cloud cover,

lacking modern instruments and technologies, bombers couldn’t bomb and pilots

couldn’t take off (or, worse, land). Yet weather could also turn the course of an

aerial skirmish; a pilot might use a well-placed cloud or a strategic moment in the

sun as effectively as a complicated manoeuvre to elude the enemy.

 

 

INSTANT ACTION

 

This option, available only on single missions, is for those players itching to get

embroiled in the fray. Click in the box to proceed directly to the combat area (as in

a Quick Start mission), with no lengthy flight to endure before you encounter the

enemy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

26

MISSION TYPE

 

There are five basic mission types from which to choose. As each kind requires

aircraft specially tailored for its different goals, your choice of mission will limit

the models of plane available. Possible assignments include:

 

Fighter Sweep

 A fighter sweep is a flight designed to clear the skies and ground

of enemy aircraft, often in preparation for a following strike force.

Fighter planes fly ahead and soften an area’s defences, clearing

the way for bombers or—less frequently—a second wave of

fighters. The more damage a sweep can inflict on its target, the

greater the chance for a successful follow-up strike.

 

Bomb Target

 This is a strike meant to damage and destroy enemy ground units

and structures. Oil plants, armament factories, sub pens, radar

towers, warehouses, bridges, hangars, and barracks all make

good marks. A strike often follows on the heels of a sweep,

hoping to catch fighters refuelling from the earlier contest. Ideally,

you want to pounce before the enemy has had time to repair any

defensive installations or grounded aircraft that suffered damage

in the previous raid.

Interdiction

Less structured than other types of operations, these “search and

destroy” flights generally patrol a particular area, attacking any

targets of opportunity encountered. These might include enemy

planes, air control towers, hangars, anti-aircraft guns, trains, and

convoys of ships or trucks.

 

Escort

Escorts protect other aircraft, most often ungainly bombers,

from enemy planes as they fly toward and over a target area.

Frequently, escorts pass in the wake of a fighter sweep, which

attempts to poke holes in the air defence system around the

mark. Escorts hover near their more vulnerable compatriots,

straying only as far as needed to protect against enemy threats.

The survival of escort planes is incidental; their primary concern

is to give the convoy safe passage to the target.

 

Intercept

Intercepts are defensive flights dispatched to head off enemy

aircraft. You must try by whatever means necessary to disrupt

and disband attacking formations before they can inflict any

damage.

 

 

 

 

 

27

TARGET

 

Each time you select a target, it is marked on a large map of the European theatre.

You can scroll the map in each direction by moving your mouse pointer to an

edge. On the map, each target available for the selected time period is

represented by a small white box. To select a target, place your mouse cursor on

or near the white box (until the name of the target appears), then click.

 

 

NUMBER OF AIRCRAFT

This determines the number of friendly aircraft. Depending on the number of primary

and secondary planes you order up, you have the power to crowd the skies over

Europe. If you’re angling for overwhelming aerial superiority, go for broke and

assign as many planes as possible, but if heavily congested airways don’t appeal,

you might consider something more modest.

 

 

CRUISE ALTITUDE

Select one of three different cruise altitudes: Low, Medium, or High. You can also

use Random, to make each mission different.

 

 

HOME BASE

To a career pilot, home base represents everything. It’s a safe haven after flying

an operation, the chance for a meal, a shower, and bed, and it’s where fellow

airmen gather to share harrowing tales and stories of stunning success. But for

you, home base is simply where all missions begin and end.

Your current home base appears on the mission parameter sheet. To specify a

new home base for your mission, click on the name of the base. A map of Europe

fills the screen, showing the available bases represented by white squares, your

current base represented by your national insignia, and your target represented

by a red square and an X. The white squares reflect the approximate locations of

your country’s actual bases of operation during the war. As you pass the mouse

over each square, its name appears.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

28

When you are selecting a home base, keep in mind your plane’s fuel consumption

and capacity. (Your range is marked on the map.) You need to have enough fuel

for a dogfight and the return trip home. Click on the base that suits, and you

return to the Mission Parameters screen, which now displays your chosen

command post. To return from the map without designating a home base, simply

press q. If you wish to view areas of the map that are currently off-screen,

move the mouse pointer to the extreme edge of the chart, and you can pan up,

down, or over.

 

FRIENDLY SUPPORT ACTIVITY: SECONDARY AIRCRAFT

Of all the criteria for your mission, none has more import than the planes you

send out for both sides. Different models of aircraft have different strengths and

weaknesses. Tightness of turn, dive speed, service ceiling, and acceleration all

vary according to a craft’s design, and your plane’s performance relative to your

adversaries’ determines whether you will be fairly matched. Each time you select

a plane, the second picture on the right side of the screen changes to show that

aircraft.

 

By opting for a specific mission type, you have already limited the models

available for your sortie; for instance, a bomber cannot be the primary aircraft on

a fighter sweep. The planes have to be suited to the mission at hand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

29

FORMATION SIZE

Determine the size of the formation of your secondary aircraft. Remember that, in

general, the greater the number of planes flying on a mission, the slower the

game performs. (This is also affected by the way you have configured the game

options.)

 

PILOT SKILL LEVEL

Most flight instructors say there’s no substitute for innate intelligence when it

comes to being a pilot. If you haven’t got it in the brains department, there isn’t

much anyone can do. But they also admit that grey matter isn’t all that counts

when it comes to being a good aviator. Experience and skill can carry you almost

as far.

 

European Air War allows you to adjust the skill level of the computer pilots, both

friend and foe. (Sorry—there’s no comparable feature to enhance your own level

of play.) Choosing between Green, Seasoned, and Expert, you can select the

average level of pilot skill. This is not a guarantee that you won’t encounter

airmen of different experience levels. When you check Seasoned, for example,

you might still run into the occasional greenhorn or ace.

 

 

EXPECTED ENEMY ACTIVITY: ACTIVITY LEVEL

Set this activity level to reflect the approximate number of enemy craft you’d like

to take on with each encounter. Whereas European Air War permits you to pick

exactly how many of your country’s aircraft set out on a mission, your choices for

enemy flights are limited to Light, Moderate, Heavy or Random.

 

 

PRIMARY AIRCRAFT

Select the type of aircraft you want the enemy to have as their primary plane.

Each time you click on a selection, the third picture on the right side of the screen

will change to the plane you just selected.

 

 

SECONDARY AIRCRAFT

Select the type of aircraft you want the enemy to have as their secondary plane.

Each time you click on a selection, the last picture on the right side of the screen

will change to the plane you just selected. Your choices might be restricted based

on the type of mission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30

AAA ACTIVITY LEVEL

Select the amount of anti-aircraft artillery activity you want to fly against. The

higher the activity level you ask for, the greater chance the enemy will have of

hitting you, since more flak with be flying in the air.

 

 

SAVING A MISSION

Once you have gone through and set all the mission parameters, chances are

you’ll want to save the script to fly (or edit) later. If so, simply click on the Save

button.

 

At this point you have a couple of options for naming the new mission. You can

save the scenario under the default name (the two primary aircraft), or type in a

different name.

 

When you’ve chosen a name for the mission, click Save. If by chance you should

pick the same name as an existing saved mission, you are prompted to confirm

your choice (and permanently overwrite the old mission). Click Change to enter a

different name for the scenario, or use Save to replace the older version with the

one you have just created.

 

Naturally, if at any time you decide not to save your mission, use the Cancel

button to return to the Mission Parameters screen.

 

But what happens if you elect to fly your mission without saving it, later to

discover that you’d like to keep the set-up after all? As long as you haven’t created

another scenario, you can still go back and save it. Call up the Mission

Parameters screen from the Single Mission menu. The settings reflect the last

mission you designed. Simply click Save and proceed from there.

 

 

LOADING A MISSION

Starting a mission that you have saved is a snap—just choose Load from the

Mission Parameters screen. A window opens listing all the saved missions. Use

the mouse pointer to highlight the mission you plan to fly (you may need to scroll

up or down the list) and then click on it. Next, click Load (again). The screen of

parameters should pop up. At this point, you can:

 

1) Fly the mission as is.

 

2) Tinker with the mission conditions and then fly it immediately.

 

3) Fine-tune the parameters and save the mission for future play, then fly the

newly saved scenario.

 

Click on Cancel if you decide not to load a mission design after all.

 

 

31

MAKING REVISIONS

Sometimes, after you fly a mission, you realise that it doesn’t quite measure up.

The plane doesn’t respond as well as you had hoped, or the weather’s not right, or

you made the enemy too weak. Whatever the reason, you can always modify an

existing mission. Load the old version (see above), which calls up the screen of

parameters. Make your changes, and then save the new edition. Saving it under

the same name will permanently delete the older copy, so if you wish to preserve

the original version, save your current changes under a different moniker.

 

 

Armaments Board

Before leaving the hangar, you should check out the Armaments Board. Here,

you select the weapons package you want the ground crew to load on board your

plane and your wingman’s. Click on the chalkboard to get to this screen.

 

 

Loading out

 

Your armament options vary according to the type of aircraft and the kind of

operation you’re undertaking. On a quick sweep, for instance, you might not be

allowed to carry bombs, since the extra weight would slow you down and limit

your manoeuvrability. On the other hand, a heavy external drop tank might be just

the thing; although it will initially curb your speed, it will also increase your range,

and you should be able to jettison the tank before it affects your manoeuvrability

in close combat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

32

 

Highlight and click on the first flight you wish to arm, then cycle through the

ordnance packages to be had. Your selections appear in writing next to the plane.

On the projection screen to the right, you can see a slide of the load-out actually in

place on the aircraft.

 

Select a load-out for each flight on the day’s run, then click OK to return to the

hangar. There you can at last begin your mission.

 

 

Ground crews like these, photographed in the early

1950s, stow your ammo and bombs aboard.

 

 

Fly Mission

 

You’ve now cast the players and handed out the scripts, but be ready for a little

improvisation once you get in the air. The beauty of European Air War’s single

flights is their lack of predictability. The game takes the settings you’ve plugged in

and, within that set of limitations, generates an encounter. This means that with

the exact same set up, you can end up in an almost infinite variety of skirmishes.

You never know precisely what to expect.

 

Now that you have your mission loaded and customised to please, it’s time to don

your flight jacket and boots. Click on Fly Mission to climb into your plane and

prepare to take the enemy by storm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

33

Take-off

 

It’s show time! Slip on your parachute, adjust your scarf and goggles, and join

your fellow airmen as they stride confidently toward their planes. Already, the

buzz of engines fills the air. The first few flights clear the runway. After a final

check with your ground crew chief, you climb aboard, strap yourself in, and

prepare for take-off.

 

Almost every mission requires that you get off the ground. There’s no two ways

about it, but how you actually rise to the skies is up to you. Takeoffs can be tricky

for the uninitiated. Lucky for you, European Air War lets you avoid them

altogether, if you so desire. Just sit back and let the auto pilot take over; it’ll see

you into the air and on your way without a hitch.

 

 

 

 

 

Lifting off

 

 

If, on the other hand, you think you’re up to the challenge, here’s the procedure:

 

1) Extend your flaps.

 

2) Start the engines by pressing SHFT+[ for a single engine plane and

SHFT+] to start the second engine in a twin engine craft like the P-38 and

the BF-110.

 

3) Give your engines 90 or 100% throttle by pressing 9 or SHFT+=.

 

4) Press B to release the wheel brakes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

34

 

5) Roll forward until your plane gains sufficient momentum. The exact speed

needed for a smooth take-off differs according to the model of plane, but

it’s roughly 100–120 mph (160–195 kph) for each of the aircraft you can

pilot in European Air War.

 

6) Pull gently back on the stick to ease your plane off the ground.

 

7) As soon as you are fully airborne, raise the landing gear (press G). This will

reduce drag and improve lift.

 

8) When you’re safely a thousand feet or so above the ground, pull in your

flaps.

 

Once aloft, climb to a comfortable cruising altitude. How high you want to fly

depends on your mission. To offer any protection, escort planes must remain

fairly close to their bombers, but on other types of operations, your intended style

of approach will determine your precise cruising altitude. Generally, greater

height gives increased visibility and a better energy state.

 

At this point you can loosen up just slightly and give yourself a small pat on the

back. You made it, but the best is yet to come.

 

 

Getting There

 

Career pilots are under orders to fly a particular plane and to assume a particular

role in flight formations. The pilot of a single mission does not have the same

constraints. As your mission gets underway, you will find yourself in the lead

plane of the primary flight (except on escorts, in which you will be the lead of the

secondary flight). If you’re comfortable with your plane and your role, great. If

not, you can always change aircraft. Inexperienced pilots, for example, should

probably not assume the lead; they have much to learn by trailing and watching

their more seasoned cohorts. (See Viewpoint and the Camera: Changing

Planes.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

35

 

Crossing the English Channel

 

 

Take some time at the outset to learn about your plane. The more you know

about how it handles in different conditions, the better off you are in combat.

Experiment with different manoeuvres and learn how to make your craft do what

you want it to do. You’ve got to control it, not let it control you.

 

 

The Cockpit Controls

 

Before engaging in battle, you have to know your way around the cockpit of your

craft. An explanation of the various dials and gauges can be found in the Pilot’s

Handbook, but here are a few notes on other features available as you pilot your

plane.

 

MISSION MAP

 

Conveniently stashed in the cockpit is your very own map of Europe. When you

press ALT+M, the map appears; it’s a good idea to give the auto pilot control of the

plane before you open the map. Otherwise, you might want to pause the action

once you have unfolded the map. Press ALT+P to do so. This allows you to take a

good, long gander without losing any of your flight time. To restart the action, use

ALT+P again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

36

Consult the map to review your intended flight path; icons plot the progress of all

friendly aircraft. Press ESC or any of the view keys to exit the map. You return to

the cockpit in the standard forward-facing view (or whatever view you selected).

Your plane is moving at normal speed (unless you chose to pause the action).

 

COCKPIT RADIO

 

Combat pilots rely heavily on their vision and intuition to see them through battle,

but their radio is also an important ally, a vital link to fellow airmen. European Air

War’s cockpit radio allows direct communication between you and the other

pilots on your side. Call out a warning—Bandits at ten o’clock—ask for help, or

listen in as your flight leader issues new orders. Just be quick about it; you’ve still

got a plane to fly.

 

To initiate radio communication, use the TAB7. A menu appears, listing the people

you can contact by radio—your squadron and Ground Control are on the same

frequency; if there are other squadrons involved in your mission, they’re on

another frequency, and you cannot communicate with them. Press the key that

corresponds to the intended receiver of your message.

 

When you’re prompted, choose what type of communication you wish to send.

If you don’t see the exact command you’re looking for, try the three menus—

Tactical, Formation and Navigation.

 

Finally, choose the statement you want to pass along. If you have opted to issue a

command, you must select not only an action, but also the specific target.

Pressing ESC at any time cancels your message.

 

Radio Commands

 

Commands are best sent before battle. How well commands are followed

depends on pilot morale and skill. Dogfights can be quite chaotic, and you can’t

reasonably expect a rookie pilot to be able to quickly and efficiently rejoin you in

tight formation during a heated battle. All pilots will do their best to follow orders,

but don’t always expect immediate compliance. As the British learned early on,

it’s difficult to remain in formation (which requires a constant eye to avoid

collisions), and watch your enemies (and dodge their guns). It’s normally wise to

break apart or at least loosen formation prior to battle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

37

If you are the lead plane in an element, you can send commands to your wingman

(you might sometimes have two), regardless of relative rank. If you are the flight

leader (number one), you can command your entire flight. Only if you are the

squadron leader can you send orders to other flights, or to the squadron as a

whole.

 

Depending on the situation, you can issue some or all of the following orders to

your wingman. (The default is Cover Me, so if you want any other behaviour, you

must order it.)

 

Engage Bandits

Attack the enemy. If enemies have been sighted, your wingman is

free to break off and engage. If there are no enemies in sight, he

waits, then breaks off as soon as you make contact.

 

Cover Me

Stay in formation, but if an enemy targets the lead plane (you),

break off and attack until the threat is removed, then return to

formation.

 

Attack Ground Targets

Drop bombs (or launch rockets) at the mission’s ground targets.

 

Attack My Target

If out of formation, but in the general area, attack whatever is the

lead plane’s target at the time the command is issued. If in

formation, stay in formation and fire at whatever enemy the lead

plane attacks. (As in all combat situations, self-preservation can

supersede orders; your wingman might need to break off from

time to time to avoid enemy fire.)

 

Disengage

Break off the attack on the current target. Lacking other orders,

your wingman will probably return to formation, but might take

shots at any easy targets on the way.

 

Regroup

Give priority to getting back in formation—avoid enemies when

possible in order to rejoin the lead. (In general, if you are trying to

get planes back into formation, flying straight and slow makes it

easier for everyone catch up and get in place.)

 

Target

Attack enemies. The target commands are on the Tactical submenu.

There are three choices: Target All, Target Fighters and

Target Bombers. These order your wingman to focus the attack

on the type of plane you specify (or all enemies). This overrides

the default attack orders for the mission (for example, on a

Bomber Intercept, the default is to target bombers).

 

 

 

38

Break

The Break commands are also on the tactical sub-menu. You can

order you wingman to break Right, Left, High, or Low. This tells

him to separate form you in the specified direction, generally so

that the two of you can attack a target from different directions.

 

Drop Tanks

Release the external fuel tank.

 

If you are the flight leader, you can issue nearly all of the same orders to your

flight. The exception is that you cannot order the whole flight to Attack My

Target. There are a few additional flight commands.

 

Tighten Formation

Close up the formation. This command is on the Formation submenu.

Tight formations look better, and when attacking bombers

can result in more concentrated firepower, but the disadvantages

normally outweigh the advantages.

 

Loosen Formation

Spread the formation out a bit, normally about double the current

space. This command is on the Formation sub-menu.

 

Checkpoint

You use the Next and Previous checkpoint orders to get a

loitering flight to continue on course or backtrack. (These

commands are on the Navigation sub-menu.) The map includes

navigation checkpoints, in case any plane becomes lost or gets

hung up engaging the enemy, and these commands tell the flight

to move to one of those checkpoints.

 

Loiter Here

Circle the current position and await further orders. This

command is on the Navigation sub-menu.

 

Return To Base

Ground control normally gives this order, but as leader, you can

decide (if you’re massively overwhelmed, for example) to retreat

and return home. Your mission will likely be considered a failure,

but that’s better than failing the mission and getting everyone

shot down. This command is on the Navigation sub-menu.

 

If you’re the squadron leader, you can give orders to flights other than your own,

and to the squadron as a whole. Squadron Commands are the same as the flight

commands, except that you can choose to issue them to the whole squadron or

to a specific flight.

 

 

 

 

 

39

Ground Control

 

You can use the radio to call ground control and request a vector to the nearest

enemy, a vector to your friendly bombers (if you’re on an escort mission), or a

vector back to home base. The vectors to the bandits and bombers are intercept

vectors—the suggested heading for quickest intercept. Note that ground control

is based on primitive radar and a network of civilian spotters. Therefore, some of

the ground control information might be less than accurate.

 

You can call ground control to request assistance—additional fighters scrambled

to help you out. Depending on how well the battle or war is going, there might or

might not be any available.

 

Cockpit Red Light

 

Night missions were perilous affairs prior to the advent of radar. Nonetheless,

wartime strategy requires from time to time that an operation begin before dawn

or near dusk, and so your plane comes equipped with a small light to illuminate

the cockpit dials. (In the dark, your instrument panel can be hard to read.) Since a

bright white light could significantly reduce your night vision, the bulb produces a

soft red glow. To turn it on or off, press SHFT+L. The light works only after dark.

 

 

AUTOPILOT

All of the planes come equipped with an auto pilot that can take over control of

your craft in flight. (Historical purists should know that few of the aircraft you can

pilot in European Air War actually had an auto pilot installed, and none had one

as sophisticated as this. It has been included strictly to ease game play in certain

situations.) Upon encountering enemy aircraft, the auto pilot notifies you of their

presence and disengages itself, leaving you once again at the helm. Auto pilot can

also assume command during take-off to ensure that you get safely aloft. Of

course, under no circumstances can auto pilot save you when your craft has been

damaged beyond control—you must bail out.

 

 

Viewpoint and the Camera

Now that you’ve had a chance to get acquainted with the inside of your cockpit,

take a peek at the world outside the plane. It’s time to try out the various

viewpoints and your external camera.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

40

F-KEY VIEWS

 

The F-key Views are a standard feature of many flight simulations. Pressing one of

the numbered function keys changes your point of view. There is a slight overlap

of views, so that you have no blind spots. The views are:

 

F1 Standard front-facing cockpit view

F2 Right wing, front view

F3 Right wing, rear view

F4 Over right shoulder view

F5 Over left shoulder view

F6 Left wing, rear view

F7 Left wing, front view

 

Use SHFT with any of these keys to get a 45-degree up version of the same view.

 

 

 

 

 

There are a number of other controls that change your point of view. Most of

these are for the external camera and are discussed in a later subsection. The

other important ones are listed here:

 

CTRL+1  Lap view  Lower your eyes as low as possible to view the

instrument panel

 

F8 Virtual Cockpit Activate the Virtual Cockpit mode (see below)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

41

SNAP VIEWS

 

Snap Views allow you to quickly scan a field of vision using the numeric keypad.

The key layout is designed in a very easy to use, logical order. The views are:

 

Numpad 1 Left Shoulder

Numpad 2 Six (blind spot)

Numpad 3 Right Shoulder

Numpad 4 Left

Numpad 5 Up*

Numpad 6 Right Rear

Numpad 7 Left Front

Numpad 8 Front

Numpad 9 Right Front

Numpad 0 Instruments

 

* You can use the Numpad 5 key in combination with the other snap views to get

a high view. For example, 5+3 looks up and over your right shoulder.

 

 

CHANGING PLANES

 

On single missions (but not on career operations or in multi-player games),

pressing ALT+J allows you to jump into the cockpit of a different plane. This

can come in handy. As a rookie, it might be more useful to assume position as a

wingman than to fly the lead plane. You can gain valuable experience just by

watching your more accomplished flight mates. Others (those with sadly

deficient morals) might want to change planes after their own has been badly

torn up. Repeatedly pressing CTRL+6 cycles you through each available aircraft

on your mission (flyable planes only). Cycle too far, though, and you’ll end up back

in your original crate.

 

 

TARGETING

 

As a convenience, and to help simulate the way a pilot locks his attention onto a

specific target and estimates the distance to it, you have the option of using the

not-quite-historically-accurate Targeting feature.

 

Closest Enemy

CTRL+T puts the target marker on the enemy plane nearest you,

and labels that marker with the name of the plane and its distance from you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

42

 

 

Next Enemy

T moves the targeting marker to the next enemy plane. Using

this, you can cycle through all of the enemies in sight.

 

Previous Enemy

SHFT+T moves the targeting marker to the previous enemy

plane.

 

Closest Friendly

CTRL+Y puts the target marker on the friendly plane nearest you.

Why would you want to target friendly planes? Hopefully, just to

find out who’s who and how far away they are.

 

Next Friendly

 Y moves the targeting marker to the next friendly plane. Using

this, you can cycle through all of the friendly aircraft in the mission.

 

Previous Friendly

SHFT+Y moves the targeting marker to the previous friendly

plane.

 

Clear

The BACKSPACE key removes the targeting marker.

 

VIRTUAL COCKPIT MODE

 

The game’s Virtual Cockpit view is the next closest thing to being in an actual

cockpit. You can swivel your head and crane your neck just as a fighter pilot does,

with none of the limitations (or frustrations) of static views. At first it’s easy to get

disoriented in Virtual Cockpit mode, but with practice, you’ll find it extremely

natural and useful in combat.

 

To access this virtual view, press F8. All the cockpit dials remain functional, and

you still control the craft, but the camera control now moves your “head.” Pushing

the control forward tilts your head forward (and your view down), while pulling it

back tips it back (and your view upward). Moving to the left or right pans in that

direction. (Please refer to the Glossary if you need definitions of ‘tilt’ and ‘pan.’)

Using the virtual cockpit, you have the same range of view as a pilot in a real

fighter plane.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

43

 

PADLOCK

 

An added advantage of the virtual cockpit view is its padlock feature, which

allows you to simulate the way a pilot keeps a single enemy aircraft in view at all

times. Activate the padlock mode by pressing Numpad* (the asterisk on the

numeric keypad). You can also turn it off with this key. Your view immediately

shifts to your current target and stays on him. Once you’ve locked onto a

particular craft, it’s easier to manoeuvre until you face him, and then go for the

jugular. Beware, though, the deadly threat of target fixation. That’s when you

concentrate on a single plane, completely forgetting about all the others training

their sights on you. To exit padlock view, press any of the other view F-keys.

Use the Numpad / key (slash) to padlock the plane nearest the centre of your

view. Note that this is not necessarily the closest enemy, but it’s the one you have

the best shot at that moment.

 

NOTE:

You can activate the padlock feature even if you are not in the Virtual

Cockpit. You are switched into Virtual Cockpit mode, then the padlock goes into

effect.

 

THE EXTERNAL CAMERA

 

Hanging out in the pilot’s seat is fun, but sometimes you want (or need) a

different perspective on the world. Time to dust off the external camera, which

lets you roam at will outside your plane, get a fresh view of a dogfight, or search in

the distance for signs of the enemy. If you plan to stray far, consider enabling the

autopilot—or pause the action altogether (ALT+P). This frees your hands and your

concentration while you set up any unusual camera angle. Leaving an external

camera view is as simple as selecting another camera viewpoint or any of the

static views.

 

 

 

 

 

The external camera gives you a bird’s-eye view of the action.

Camera Controls

 

 

 

44

Camera Controls

Some of the external camera views allow you to control the camera and some do

not. Some give you partial control. Regardless of what you can and cannot do

with a camera, if you can control a specific movement, the keys you use to do so

are always the same. The default mouse controls are:

 

LMB+[Fwd] Zoom in or move forward

 

LMB+[Back] Zoom out or move backward

 

[Left] Track left (clockwise) around the plane

 

[Right] Track right (counter clockwise) around the plane

 

[Fwd] Track up—over around the plane

 

[Back] Track down—under around the plane

 

RMB Reset to original placement

 

You can use the keyboard and joystick, as well—with one or two slight

modifications. If you plan to use a joystick with a “hat” to control the external

camera views, first configure which button or key activates the zoom functions

(which one acts in place of the LMB). You control all other camera movements

exactly as with the mouse. When you’re operating the external camera with the

keyboard:

 

H Track left (clockwise) around the plane

 

J Track right (counter clockwise) around the plane

 

U Track up—over around the plane

 

N Track down—under around the plane

 

Camera Views

 

There are several different views for the external camera. Each has its own

benefits, and the best circumstance for use of each depends on your needs.

(Keep in mind that the keys listed are the defaults; if you’ve re-configured them,

you must use the controls you set.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

45

Chase SHFT+8

This view has the camera fly along with your plane and keep it in focus. You can inspect your craft from any angle, check for damage, or just admire the sleek beauty of your plane.

 

Flyby CTRL+8

With this view, the camera positions itself ahead of your plane, then stays still and follows as you go by. It’s a nice view, but it’s not often useful.

 

Track Next  F9

Track mode functions much like the Chase view, except that it follows planes other than yours, and it sticks closer to the plane. This command changes the focus of the

camera to the next plane. If the camera is not yet in Track mode, this command puts it in that mode.

 

Track Previous SHFT+F9

Change the focus of a camera in Track mode to the previous plane. If the camera is not yet in Track mode, this command puts it in that mode.

 

Target F10

When you have a plane targeted (see Targeting for the scoop), you can get a close-up view of that plane using Target mode.

 

Player to Target SHFT+10

This Target mode view positions the camera so that your

plane is in the foreground and your target’s in the

background. The camera moves to maintain this

relationship, which can be handy when you’re trying to

get in position to fire. If the camera is not yet in Target

mode, this command puts it in that mode.

 

Target to Player CTRL+F10

This Target mode view is just like Player to Target, except

that your target is in the foreground and you’re in the

background. If the camera is not yet in Target mode, this

command puts it in that mode.

 

Bomb F11

Any time when one of your bombs has been released but

hasn’t yet hit the ground, you can switch to a camera

mounted on the bomb.

 

Player to Bomb SHFT+F11

Any time one of your bombs is in flight, you can watch it

from a camera under your plane.

 

Bomb to Player CTRL+F11

Any time one of your bombs is en route, you can look

back at your craft from a camera mounted on the bomb.

 

 

 

46

Accelerating Time

 

As any World War II pilot knows, getting to the target area can take considerable

time. Once you feel at ease in your aircraft, you can opt to speed up your trip. The

game provides a way to hasten your jaunt. While not historically accurate, this

feature nevertheless saves you the tedium of long stretches of flight with little

action.

 

European Air War’s time acceleration feature allows you to stay in the cockpit

and use any of the external camera views while you move several times faster

than normal. Pressing PAGE UP increases your rate of speed (for greater

acceleration, repeat), while PAGE DOWN reduces it. For anything faster than four

times normal, you’ll probably want to engage the auto pilot. At great speeds, even

slight movement of the joystick can cause you to swing wildly out of control, with

events happening so quickly that you may not have the chance to recover.

 

Encountering the Enemy

 

Sure it’s fun to fly—doesn’t everyone dream of sliding into the cockpit of a fighter

plane and soaring into the skies? Just don’t forget that there’s a war on. Sooner

or later, you’re going to come up against an enemy aircraft, and you’d better have

a plan.

 

If you’re new to flying, you should study the Pilot’s Handbook for the skinny on

combat tactics and manoeuvres, but in the meantime, cast a glance through the

next few pages. They’ll get you started on the basics of battle.

 

IDENTIFICATION

 

As a military pilot, your first priority is to identify any unknown aircraft you

encounter. Before you can take action, you’ve got to determine whether you’ve

spotted an enemy plane or one of your own, and you’ll have to do it without

benefit of radar or the IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) systems routinely installed

in modern warplanes. Sometimes you’ll know just by how the bogey acts;

opening fire on you is generally a pretty good indication of hostile intent. At other

times, though, you must get close enough to identify a plane by its shape and

markings. (If you’d rather not risk your own neck—and don’t mind being

unscrupulous—you can use the external camera to roam ahead and check

things out long before you arrive on the scene.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

47

As with unidentified planes, you should also verify any and all ground targets

before commencing an attack. If they’re in the vicinity of the target’s co-ordinates,

they’ll more than likely belong to the enemy, but they might not be your specific

mission target.

 

Take heart that the enemy has all the same technological restrictions as you.

They, too, must rely on visual identification. If you’re sneaky enough about your

approach, they may never even know that you are there.

 

 

 

Closing in on the enemy

 

GROUND TARGETS

 

There are a variety of objects on the ground at which you can aim. These include

bases, factories, forts, airfields, submarine pens, bridges, AA guns, and convoys

of ships or trucks. Each carries different strategic or tactical weight. Many will be

targets of opportunity on the return trip—a good way to rid yourself of extra

munitions and to curry favour with your commanding officers.

 

CYCLING YOUR GUNS

 

Because ammunition is such a precious commodity, a pilot will often try to

conserve his meagre supply by firing only certain of his guns. Every fighter in

European Air War comes outfitted with a feature designed to help you do just

that. At the outset, your guns are set to go off in tandem. Using S, however, you

can cycle through different combinations of firepower. (To cycle backwards, try

SHFT+S.) Since the guns are set up differently on each plane, cycling patterns

vary among the aircraft. You can review the selections by pressing CTRL+S.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

48

DOGFIGHTING

 

Dog fighting refers to a close-quarters combat between aircraft. It evokes

romantic images of World War I flying aces: the Red Baron bravely manning his

tri-plane, scarf swirling in the slipstream. Yet these dogfights are anything but

elegant. Your sole aim is to give the enemy a worm’s-eye view of the world before

he does the same to you. Speed, manoeuvrability, and a stout machine will all

stand you in good stead, but in a dogfight there is no substitute for pilot skill—

except maybe luck.

 

Fighter pilots entering battle must believe that they’re at least as good as the next

guy, and that means practice. Only over time can a pilot establish a repertoire of

trusted moves, and only through extensive combat experience can he cultivate a

strong situational awareness. These are the tools that will see him through a

dogfight.

 

The type of plane in which you enter a dogfight is important; generally speaking,

you’ll fare better if it’s nimble. More important, however, is to know and exploit

your craft’s strengths. A bomber cedes the advantage of manoeuvrability to a

lightweight fighter. However, if he plans it right, the bomber pilot has nothing to

fear in close-quarters combat. Because of his craft’s great weight, he can pick up

plenty of speed in a dive and outrun most other aircraft. Anyone senseless

enough to follow sets himself up directly in the sights of the tail gunner.

 

A few basic rules apply to dogfights. As in most forms of aerial combat, the

higher plane has a distinct advantage. While a plane at a slower speed is more

manoeuvrable than a faster moving craft and is capable of a tighter turn, it is

also an easier mark. Against another fighter, strive to get in position behind and

slightly above him. From there, you can dictate the course of the fight.

Conversely, don’t let your enemy linger long in that position, unless you can

spare a few tail parts.

 

 

PADLOCK AND TARGETING FEATURES

 

During a dogfight, it can be difficult to locate and follow an enemy. European Air

War includes a couple of features that, though not entirely historically accurate,

can help you in times of need.

 

You can activate a targeting marker by pressing CTRL+T. The marker places a box

on the enemy plane closest to the centre of your view and labels that box with the

name of the plane and its distance from you. (See Targeting, in Viewpoint and

the Camera, for more.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

49

Combine this feature with the Padlock feature (Numpad * and  /), which has

your view follow the targeted plane, and you should have no trouble keeping your

enemy in sight. With a little practice you should be able to use these two features

together to rack up plenty of kills. (See Padlock, in Viewpoint and the Camera,

for more.)

 

DIVE BOMBING

 

Bombers exist for a reason; they’re designed to pack quite a punch. Yet you’ll find

that with a knowledgeable pilot at the helm, other aircraft can also serve

effectively on bombing runs. With a bit of practice, you’ll hardly even miss having

a true bomb sight, and though your explosives don’t carry the same wallop,

they’re more than enough to do some damage.

 

 

All the same, don’t kid yourself; dropping your bombs is a harrowing task that will

push your aircraft to its limits. For one, your target is far from unwary. Enemy

fighters swarm in droves around the bomb site, even when a successful sweep

has recently blown through. There’s no end to the flak from anti-aircraft artillery

(AAA) on the ground, and to make matters worse, you have to fight your way

down through all the traffic to have a shot at delivering your packages. It’s a

daunting assignment. Hope you’ve got nerves. Press W to arm your payload.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flak from anti-aircraft artillery can be very dangerous.

 

 

 

50

 

 

Traditionally, a dive bombing run starts fairly high. In between jukes to dodge the

flak, you’ve got to dive long enough to line up with the target. When you’re almost

over the objective, push your nose down into as close to a vertical drop as your

plane can handle. (You’ll learn in time what your craft can tolerate.) Using Button

2 or ENTER, unleash your bombs before you’re directly above the target. Since the

explosives are moving with the same speed as the plane, they’ll continue to travel

forward after you release them. If you’re firing on a moving target, take its motion

into account as well.

 

The saying goes that a miss is as good as a mile, and generally speaking this is

true. However, bombs can still take a heavy toll, even without scoring a direct hit.

The closer you can get before releasing your payload, the better, but be sure to

leave enough room to pull out before the ensuing explosion.

 

 

 

Standard dive bombing approach

 

STRAFING

 

Guns blazing, you swoop low over a landing strip and pepper the ground with

lead—few methods of combat elicit the simple glee of a strafing run. Strafing

means firing your guns at a ground target while making a low-level pass

overhead. Most Allied fighter planes returning home from an escorting mission

would expel all remaining ammo on any ground target that was on the flight path

home. Many grounded Luftwaffe planes—as well as some train and truck

convoys—were destroyed in this way. Don’t underestimate the amount of

damage you can do to the ground targets, or how easy it is for them to shoot at

your tail as you pass by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

51

 

 

Strafing an airfield

 

 

The key to a successful strafing pass is to fly low and fast. Bear in mind that you

will lose some altitude during the course of the run. Get low enough to fire, but

not so low that you’ll end up brushing the ground. Speed is also essential. To

protect yourself from anti-aircraft fire from below, you must fly as fast as possible

without sacrificing the ability to aim your weapons. Fire off your rounds, aiming as

you would at any target in the air, then pull up at the end of your pass. If you’ve

got the bullets and the bravado to make a second run, perform a wing over and

have at it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Effective strafing can be as devastating as a bomb—note the damage to this hangar.

 

 

 

 

 

52

FIRING ROCKETS

 

During the later part of the war, both sides had the ability to carry and fire rockets.

These rockets were very basic, crude weapons that, once fired, followed a

straight course until they hit an object. Most of the rockets were meant for

ground targets, due to their inability to fly a straight path for a long distance. To

use rockets on a ground target, Press R to arm your rockets, perform a strafing

attack, and use Button 2 or ESC to release a rocket salvo just before you are

about to pull the nose of the plane up. Remember to get as close as possible to

the target, since these rockets have a tendency to lose accuracy as they travel

farther.

German pilots enjoyed using their rockets to break up bomber formations of the

B-17 and B-24. To fire a rocket effectively at a bomber, you don’t need to get

close—1,000 meters or so is a good range.

 

 

Getting Shot Down

 

No one likes to ponder his own mortality, least of all a military pilot who depends

on steady courage and confidence to get him through battle, but death is a fact of

war. No one is immune. Fortunately, as the pilot of a single mission, you have

multiple lives to squander. Each time you are shot down or bail out, European Air

War reassigns you to the least-damaged friendly craft remaining aloft, and you

find yourself in the cockpit once again. If the new plane doesn’t suit your liking,

cycle through the rest of the available aircraft and select another (see Viewpoint

and the Camera: Changing Planes). There is no guarantee, however, that it will

be airworthy. When the final friendly plane falls from the sky, your luck and your

mission come to an end.

 

 

Returning and Landing

 

Unless your aircraft has suffered heavy damage, returning home should be no

more difficult than the flight to the combat area. Just be sure to watch over your

shoulder as you speed away from the target. Even in the face of devastating

destruction, enemy forces frequently manage to mount an attack on parting

planes. Approaching from behind, they are hard to pick up. Your best bet is to fly

high and fast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

53

Once you’re out of immediate danger, it might be tempting to cruise home in

relative tranquillity by letting the auto pilot take over, but keep your eyes peeled on

the return flight for “targets of opportunity.” (This is when visual identification

becomes both more difficult and more important.) Laying waste to a target of

opportunity, in addition to raising your score, can help you dispose of leftover

munitions that might otherwise break free on landing and cause headaches—or

worse—at home base. If you plan on landing with bombs still aboard, you’d better

make it a gentle touchdown.

 

 

If you’d rather not land your plane, you don’t actually have to. Simply fly back

into friendly territory and then quit. You proceed directly to your debriefing.

(Note that if you quit the mission in enemy territory, you are not credited with a

successful sortie.)

 

 

Many World War II pilots enjoyed performing a flyover before landing, waggling

their wings to indicate a successful mission and a safe return. Unless you’re a

veteran, that kind of panache can get you killed; landing is the most difficult and

dangerous part of flying, and it requires all of your concentration. A myriad of

things can go wrong on a touchdown, any one of them enough to send you

crashing to earth.

 

 

To land, you need to allow yourself plenty of room to manoeuvre. This is the most

frequently ignored axiom of flight, and the most important as well. If possible,

begin your descent a full three miles or more from the runway. As you approach,

line your plane up with the edge of the landing strip, coming in only slightly above

stalling speed. Avoid going too slowly, though, lest you lose control or stall your

craft. Try also to refrain from making excessive corrections to your plane’s

attitude.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

54

 

In preparation for touchdown, lower the landing gear and fully extend your flaps.

Ideally, you’d like to come in steady and nose-high. Any tilt or sideways

movement can throw off your approach. Try to touch down simultaneously with

all three wheels. As soon as you set down on solid ground, cut the throttle and

apply your wheel brakes. You should still have enough steering (using the rudder,

not the stick) to guide your plane, just in case you’re veering toward the edge of

the runway.

 

 

 

 

Coming in with wheels down

 

 

Debriefing

 

Following every sortie, you receive a mission summary detailing your

performance. This info should be self-explanatory. It includes a recap of the

objective and a tally of enemy casualties. Your total score is based on what you

destroyed or damaged during the operation, as well as on whether the mission

was a success. This is then modified by the difficulty settings that you selected

before your flight began.

When you’re done here, you are free to go. You have your choice of two options.

 

They are:

 

 

Re-fly

Immediately attempt the same mission again. The objective and

all other parameters are exactly the same, although the point of

enemy contact and number of enemies might well be different.

 

 

OK

After a single mission, this returns you to the Main menu. If you

just finished a career mission, this is how you return to the

barrack.

 

55

 

A Hurricane Pilot’s Combat Report

 

 

Whilst leading Red Section on a patrol SE of London, I noticed AA fire just

west of London, and on investigation I noticed a force of some forty enemy

aircraft which I could not immediately identify. I put my section into line

astern.

I made towards the AA fire, when two ME109s appeared to my right. I turned

and attacked them. I gave one a burst, and it half rolled and dived vertically to

12,000 feet, when it straightened out. I had dived after it, and as soon as it

had finished its dive, I recommenced my attack. I was then going faster than

the 109 and continued firing until I had to pull away to the right to avoid

collision. The enemy aircraft half rolled and dived vertically, with black smoke

streaming—it seemed—from underneath the belly of the aircraft. I followed it

down until it entered cloud at about 6,000 feet and had to recover from the

dive, as the 109 was then travelling at something like 480 mph. I then made

my way through the cloud at a reasonable speed and sighted the wreckage of

the aircraft burning furiously.

The aircraft was painted yellow from spinner to cockpit.

I climbed up through cloud and narrowly missed a JU88, which was on fire

and being attacked by several Hurricanes. Unfortunately, as I was getting low

on fuel, I could not make further contact with the enemy and so returned to

base.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

56

Career Pilot

 

So you think you’re ready for the big time. You want to enlist, and not a moment too soon as far as your country is concerned; there’s always a need for more pilots. This war’s to be won in the air, and taking part is your chance for promotion, maybe a medal or two, and (if you’re really outstanding) a place in history and a wing in the Hall of Fame. That’s all well and good, but before you head to the recruiter’s office, make sure your life insurance is up to date. There are no guarantees in this line of work.

 

57

 

Creating a Pilot

Joining up is simple, but there’s still some paperwork to fill out before you receive

clearance to fly. Once you decide to enlist, click Pilot Career on the Main menu.

At this point, you choose the period in which you want to take part:

 

Battle of Britain: 1940 - Start a shortened tour of duty in the Battle of Britain.

European Theatre: 1943 - Sign up for a full-fledged career in the European theatre of war starting in 1943.

European Theatre: 1944 - Sign up for a full-fledged career in the European theatre of war starting in 1944.

 

In creating a pilot, your very first decision is whether to sign up for an abbreviated

stint that lasts only through the Battle of Britain or enter combat in the European

theatre of war. Click on whichever career you prefer. You must also to select

which air force you want to join. Point and click on the nationality you wish to

fight for. (Note that the United States did not participate in the Battle of Britain; to

fly for the USAAF, you must embark on a full European career.)

 

There are a few other options near the bottom of the screen.

Start - Begin the career, using the current selections.

Load - Resume the career of a pilot already in the game.

Hall of Fame - Rub elbows with the most celebrated aces of European Air War.

Exit - Leave this screen without starting a career.

 

 

 

 

 

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When you choose Start, the game presents the Personal Record screen, where

you set your name, rank, and unit. A name has been chosen for you, but if you

prefer, you can create your own. Simply highlight the name box, delete what’s

there, type a name, then press ENTER.

 

 

Personal Record screen

 

 

Next, using mouse clicks in the appropriate spots, cycle through the ranks at

which you can start. Rank defaults to the lowest standing in each of the three air

forces, but you are free to choose something a little more glorified. Higher rank

lends greater control over decisions, but also greater responsibility. Don’t get in

over your head.

 

 

Now, you assign yourself as a new recruit to a specific unit. The group or wing you

highlight determines which plane you fly in your initial action. For a European

career, it also affects the date of first combat. Highlight your choice of group or

wing and click on it. Then designate one of the squadrons or staffel detailed to

this group.

 

 

Finally, you have the option to change the settings that determine some of the

overall characteristics of your career.

 

Difficulty

Select the overall level of challenge you want to deal with; among

other things, this affects the flight and combat skill of the other

pilots.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

59

 

Length

Choose how long a hitch you intend to sign up for—Normal or

extra Long.

 

Limited Aircraft

If you turn this on, you can lose a career not only by being killed,

but by losing too many aircraft in the course of the campaign.

 

Limited Supply

When enabled, this provides the added realism of limited access

to vital equipment; the availability of drop tanks, rockets, and

other supplies might be curtailed by the vagaries of war.

 

You are now ready to launch your career. Click OK to accept your recruitment and

assignment. The pilot data is automatically saved (although you can’t load it until

you’ve flown at least one mission as that pilot). Military officials welcome the

newest airman to the conflict with a brief message (you can bypass this by

pressing any key) before handing you over to your commanding officer. Report

immediately to the Briefing Room.

 

If, for whatever reason, you prefer to scrap your career, click on Cancel, and you

return immediately to the Career menu. From there you have the same choices

as before: to create a new pilot, load an existing career, or exit to the Main menu.

 

Loading a Career

 

Sometimes, instead of creating a new pilot identity, you want to resume a career

in progress. No problem. From the Career menu, choose Load. (The option is

available only if you have previously created and saved at least one pilot career.)

European Air War furnishes you with a list of all the saved pilot careers, as well

as the airmen’s nationalities and present status. You can continue an active

career or permanently delete a pilot from the list.

 

Continuing

To continue a career already in progress, move the mouse pointer

to an active pilot and click to designate your choice. That pilot’s

career resumes when you click OK.

Deleting

For those undistinguished pilots whose careers are floundering or

downright dead in the water, or for any other airman whom you

might wish to polish off permanently, the Load menu offers a

Delete function. Remove any pilot from the list of saved careers

by highlighting his name and clicking on (surprise) Delete. You

must verify this choice, so that you can’t accidentally snuff out

your most promising pilot in mid-career.

 

As always, Cancel returns you directly to the previous menu.

 

 

60

 

The Briefing Room

 

The Briefing Room is your first stop after starting or loading a career. Here, you

join the others in your squadron and await the call to man your planes. You have

no idea what the day will bring.

 

Unlike single missions, career mission assignments are handed down from

above. Remember, you’ve officially renounced any ties to the civilian way of life,

including the right to act on your own initiative. You’ve got no control over the

planned strategy of aerial encounters (your chain of command reserves that

honour), and you’ll probably never even hear all the details—the less you know,

the better, lest you somehow fall into enemy hands.

 

There are a couple of things you can count on, though. You will carry out the

same kinds of missions that you flew in training (refer to Mission Type in the

Flying a Single Mission section for details), and you’ll never have a mission

completely free of enemy resistance.

 

Listen up. Your commanding officer is about to fill you in on the details of your

day. This is the only chance you have to learn about your mission—when it starts,

where the target is, what kind of enemy activity you can expect, and all the other

nitty-gritty particulars. Your life depends on knowing this stuff, and your fellow

pilots are counting on you not to let them down. The entire course of the war

could hinge on the success of this one operation, so pay attention.

 

Your CO begins to brief you on your mission. As you listen, you can follow his

words via the text at the bottom of the screen. During the talk, you view a

detailed map of Europe, complete with your intended flight path, expected flak

concentrations, and way points. Letters mark the way points in your journey—the

co-ordinates ending each leg of your flight.

 

As any air force man will tell you, commanders tend to get long-winded, even in

so-called briefings. If you’d prefer not to hear your CO drone on, just press ESC or

click anywhere on the screen. Nowhere else in the military can you so easily

silence those in command—and without fear of repercussions!

 

Following your leader’s prepared presentation, you have the option to review the

very same details at your leisure. Press the SPACEBAR to reveal all of your choices.

(Wait until he’s finished, though. Keep in mind that if you click anywhere, you’ll

cut your commander off—so take care not to use the mouse unless you mean to.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

61

Click on the map to examine your flight plan up close. Only a small area of the

map is visible, but you can access other regions by guiding the mouse pointer to

the edges of the chart. Press ESC or OK to return to the briefing room.

 

The mission description is also available for your reading pleasure. The better you

know the details, the more prepared you are for the operation. If you didn’t quite

catch all the information or want to re-familiarise yourself with it prior to take-off,

select the briefing room easel. Use ESC to exit the display when you’re done.

 

When you’re satisfied that you’ve absorbed everything possible about the

mission’s objectives, click Continue to move out to the hangar. Or if you prefer,

Quit your career and return to the Main menu. (Your career will be scrapped for

good, so don’t take this action lightly.)

 

 

The Hangar

 

The Hangar for career pilots resembles that in Single Mission, with a few

important exceptions. They are as follows:

 

ARMAMENT BOARD

 

Selection of weapons is contingent upon your rank. At low ranks, you may be

unable to choose even your own armament load, while higher ranking officers

can alter the ordnance selection for their own flights—and eventually armaments

for each flight on the mission.

 

FLY MISSION

 

Once you’ve finished poking around the hangar, slip into your Mae West, check

your dog tags, and click on Fly Mission. You’re set for take-off. (Refer to Flying a

Single Mission for details on getting aloft and piloting your craft.)

 

In contrast to flying a single mission, on a career mission you will not necessarily

be in the lead plane at take-off. Instead, you are assigned a flight position

appropriate to your rank and experience. You might want to glance around before

lifting off, to establish your position relative to the other planes on your flight. The

easiest way is to use one of the external camera views.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

62

 

Awaiting your turn to take off

 

 

The Aerial Campaign

 

Career missions play out in much the same fashion as individual ones, relying on

the same flight controls and types of encounters. Career flights, however, have an

added dimension—time—which changes certain aspects of the game.

 

 

BATTLE LINES

 

The battle lines drawn between the nations at war move periodically during the

course of the conflict. Towns and territories gain their liberty or learn to live under

the harsh conditions of wartime occupation. Each battle line’s movement more or

less follows a historical timeline, but depending on the damage you inflict on

enemy forces, you can hasten or put off the shift.

 

 

CHANGING BASES

 

During World War II, commanders constantly shuffled pilots (and other

personnel) from base to base as dictated by strategic and logistic needs. You, too,

may be called upon to move to a new location at any point for tactical reasons. In

that event, you and your unit will receive packing orders. Allow a 48-hour delay

while all support personnel and equipment arrive, and then you’re good to go. At

the next mission briefing, you get your first glimpse of your new home base.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

63

REPAIRS AND REPLACEMENTS

 

In the wake of a raid, no air base crew twiddles its thumbs and sits idly by waiting

for the next one. Instead, support personnel (and pilots) work feverishly to repair

the damage and brace for the next onslaught. This holds in European Air War as

well; ground targets undergo repairs and renovations. Just because you bombed

the starch out of an airfield last week, knocking out the anti-aircraft artillery,

munitions sheds, and runways, don’t think for a minute that they won’t soon be

up and running again.

The supply of planes and pilots, too, requires constant replenishment as a

result of wartime attrition. When necessary, your HQ furnishes replacements,

although—as in any war—your unit may not receive a full complement, supplies

being at times limited.

 

 

PILOT FATIGUE

 

Pilot fatigue was a serious problem in the Second World War. It arises when

airmen fly numerous missions in a very short period, with little chance for rest.

Flying every day, a pilot can never fully relax, and the mental strain takes its toll

over time. Fatigue threatens a person’s reactions and decisions, the very

cornerstones of a fighter pilot’s skills. Yet in the thick of the hostilities,

commanding officers can’t necessarily afford to ground their airmen or send

them away for a week of R&R. In European Air War, no pilot—except perhaps

you—is immune to the effects of fatigue.

 

 

COCKPIT RADIO

 

Your rank and flight position determine whom you can contact by radio and what

you can say. Anyone can make observations, give warnings, or request help, but

all other radio communications are restricted. Your options depend on your rank.

(Please refer to Cockpit Radio, in The Cockpit Controls, for details on using the

radio.)

 

 

RESCUE, CAPTURE, AND DEATH

 

Your plane went down, and now you’re stuck. All you can do is snack on bugs and

bits of bark as you wait for someone to happen by. Who comes to your rescue

depends on where you wound up.

 

 

 

 

 

64

If you landed in one piece in friendly territory, you’ll no doubt be picked up by

locals and wend your way back to your unit. Behind enemy lines, though, you

have a much slimmer hope of flying again for your country. Of course, there’s

always the off chance that the resistance might smuggle you to safety, but it’s far

more likely that you’ll wind up a prisoner of war, scratching out an existence in an

enemy camp. A POW’s career as a pilot is as good as over.

 

 

Death is the only thing worse than internment as a POW. How you die doesn’t

much matter; the result is the same. You’re history; your career is at an end.

Perhaps you can take some small measure of consolation knowing that your

death and discharge were honourable, so your family will receive your pension.

 

 

Debriefing

 

At the end of every career sortie, you get a written debriefing—even those of you

who didn’t make it back. If you thought that by dying on the mission you’d be

exempted, you were wrong; the military owns you in death as in life.

 

Medals and Promotions

 

Sure, everyone dreams of returning home a highly decorated war veteran, and

you’re no exception. You’d love to be the toast of the town. To be a hero, though,

you’ve got to act the part, which means earning your laurels in battle. Medals are

awarded in recognition of incredible feats of daring, bravery, and courage

performed in the line of duty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A slew of medals

 

 

65

Given a stellar service record, you might someday earn promotion to a higher

rank. In part, this reflects recognition of your increased knowledge and skill, your

growth as a pilot, and your battle experience. You must also have demonstrated

potential as a leader, and there must, naturally, be a vacant position. If chosen for

promotion, you should feel honoured and lucky to have made the grade. If the

chain of command passes you over in favour of another, climb back into the

cockpit and work out your anger on the enemy.

 

Barracks

 

Back at the barracks after the latest flight, some pilots catch a game of poker,

some read the mail from home, and the smart ones retire for some shut-eye. Drift

around the room to find all of your options. (Press the SPACEBAR for assistance.)

 

 

 

USAAF barracks

 

 

LOGBOOK

 

The Logbook lets you view the various missions you have flown throughout your

career. It details the date and type of flight, the target location, the number of kills

you tallied, and other statistics. To change the page and peruse missions not

currently displayed, use the Previous and Next buttons. Press ESC or click Exit to

return to the barracks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

66

VIEW MEDALS

 

After a particularly rough day in the cockpit, you might feel the need to console

yourself with  a memento of your past glory. If you’re a decorated veteran, View

Medals allows you to do just that with a simple click on the footlocker. You can

select any medal by moving to pointer over it and clicking. This calls up the

original citation. When you’re done, hit ESC or Exit.

 

 

RADIO

 

One way to relax at the end of a gruelling mission is to lie back and listen to some

of your favourite tunes playing softly on the barracks radio. The radio has a couple

of short selections of music from which to choose. A click on the barracks radio

turns it on, and subsequent clicks change the station.

 

LEAVE

 

The door from the barracks leads you directly to the Main menu. In the process, it

saves your campaign.

 

 

BUNK

 

Back in the barracks, select the bunk to advance to the next mission while saving

the previous day’s flight.

 

 

Tour of Duty

 

German pilots, once in the Luftwaffe, fought ’til the bitter end—either their own or

that of the Second World War. The only ways out of service were capture, death,

and dismemberment. American and British pilots didn’t have it quite so tough;

they signed up for a tour of duty, at the end of which they either retired or

re-enlisted.

You have it easier than they did. No matter which nationality you choose, each

tour of duty last approximately one year, at the end of which you have the option

to retire. If you re-up, subsequent hitches also last a year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

67

Squadron Commander’s Office

 

Hope you enjoyed the promotion ceremonies, because now that you’re

commander of an entire squadron, there’s going to be no more goofing around—

too many lives depend on you. As a symbol of your new status, you now have

your own quarters, complete with a softer pillow specially requisitioned for your

sleeping comfort. Not that you’ll get to use it much; as Squadron Commander,

you’re never off duty. While you pace back and forth across your office, keep an

eye out for the options you have, or use the SPACEBAR to reveal them. They

include, among others, viewing your logbook and medals or humming along with

the radio (all of which you should remember how to do from your time in the

barracks).

 

 

 

A squadron leader’s quarters

 

There are a few notable differences between your old digs and the new ones.

 

SQUADRON BOARD

 

The Squadron Board lists all the airmen in the squadron, their rank, missions

flown, and other data.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

68

 

 

Squadron Board

 

 

Don’t discount the data here; remember that experience significantly affects pilot

performance. If an airman has flown a few missions, his skills are likely to be

much improved over a green pilot right out of training. Fatigue is a factor, as well,

and both exhaustion (too many missions) and taking too many days off between

flights can strip a pilot of his fighting edge. It’s up to you to achieve the best

balance with your men.

 

 

The End of the War

 

 

Sooner or later, the war will come to an end. You can escape home life only so

long. And while we’re disillusioning you, there’s another thing you should know;

no matter what you accomplish as a pilot—even if you manage to win the Battle

of Britain for the Luftwaffe—the Germans are going to lose the war.

If you’re alive as peace breaks out, you receive a final tally screen listing how you

fared. Following a particularly distinguished career, you might even be honoured

with induction into the Hall of Fame.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

69

Hall of Fame

 

The Hall of Fame is a tribute to the all-time best pilots of the war. There you can

see the aces from each of the three air forces in the European Theatre of

Operations or view the best pilots from the Battle of Britain. With a little

perseverance and a lot of luck, maybe some day you’ll enter these hallowed halls.

For now, look but don’t touch. The top eight pilots in each category appear next to

their rank, kills, and other info. For more details on any of the men, click on a

name.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

70

Multi-Player Missions

 

Competing against computer pilots is all well and good, but think how great it would be to smoke someone you actually know—a friend, your roommate, or even your boss. European Air War’s multi-player missions are designed for those individuals who want to test their mettle against real live people, not mere machines. After all, other human beings can be

so much more devious than a computer—not to mention vindictive.

 

To get started, select Multi-Player from the Main menu.

 

 

71

 

Connecting

 

Once you have selected Multi-Player from the Main menu, the Connection

screen appears. This is where you begin the process of setting up or joining a

multi-player mission. The first thing you should do here is name yourself. Click on

the Player box (near the bottom) and enter the name you want to be known by

during the mission.

 

 

 

The next decision you must make—by selecting a Protocol option in the top box—

is what type of connection you want to use. The connection determines both how

many players can attach to the game and how their computers will hook up. All of

the available options use DirectPlay to connect; they are:

 

IPX Connect to a local area network (LAN). A local area network

is a bunch of computers all linked by a particular network

system, as in many offices. (We are not suggesting that you

play at work. Really.) Up to eight LAN players can do battle

between themselves or against computer opponents.

 

Internet TCP/IP Connect to the Internet using a specific Internet address, or

attach to a local area network using the TCP/IP protocol. Up

to eight players can battle each other or the computer.

 

72

 

Modem Communicate via modem with a second computer. Modem

games are limited to two players, who will either go head-to-head

or work co-operatively against a common enemy.

 

Serial Establish a direct serial link to a second computer, using a cable

strung between the two machines. A maximum of two players

can join forces in battle or fight each other head-to-head.

Depending on the protocol you chose, you might need to enter some necessary

data.

 

IPX

There is no extra data to enter for an IPX LAN connection. If you’re connected to

the network, the game searches for games currently running and forming and

displays the game information for you.

 

TCP/IP

If you plan to join a game on the Internet, you must instruct the game to search

for a particular host. To do so, type in a specific Internet address when you’re

prompted for it.

 

Leave the box blank if you intend to play over a LAN.

 

MODEM

Prior to modem play, both players should agree which computer will serve as the

Connect computer and which will Wait on Connection. The player at the Connect

computer acts as the host.

 

Both players must be aware of which Comm Port their modem is attached to and

should know as well the baud rate of their modems. It’s also a good idea to have

the other player’s phone number at hand. This might seem obvious, but you’d be

surprised how often the most elementary things get forgotten.

 

Once you select the Modem option, you are prompted to specify whether you are

the Connect or the Wait on Connection computer. Next, you must choose

which Comm Port the modem is attached to and select the baud rate of the

modem. Note that no matter what speed you enter, the game will default to that

of the slower machine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

73

MULTI-PLAYER MISSIONS

 

Finally, the player at the Connect machine must enter the other player’s phone

number and, thus, begin the attempt to establish the connection between the

two computers. (The player whose computer is Waiting on Connection should

just hang tight until the Connect computer links up.)

 

SERIAL

A serial connection is similar to a modem connection, except that instead of using

the phone lines to hook up the computers, there is now a direct physical link—a

cable—between them. Because modem and serial connections are so similar, the

procedure players use for linking up with each other’s computer is pretty much

the same. Players must still agree whose computer will be designated to Connect

and whose will Wait on Connection. Each player also has to fill in the Comm

port and baud rate. In fact, the only difference between establishing a serial

connection or a modem link is that for serial connections, you don’t need to enter

a phone number.

 

 

Joining a Mission

If you’re joining a mission that’s being set up and run—hosted—by someone else,

then you’ve already done most of the work. Once you’re connected, the Games

Available box shows you the games you can access. (You can’t join a game that’s

already started.) The Players box shows you who is involved in whichever game

you select.

 

 

If you join a game, remember that the Flight and Combat difficulty settings for

the mission are determined by the host of the game. Your default settings are

not changed, but they’re overridden for the duration of the multi-player mission.

 

 

When you’re ready to join, select the game you want, then click Join. You

proceed to the Session Parameters screen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

74

Hosting a Mission

 

If you’re setting up and running the mission, you are the host. Hosting is not much

different from joining a mission, except that you have more control over the

situation. The first thing you get to do is name the game. Click on the New Game

box, then type in the name you want to give the mission. Consider making it a

name the other players you expect to take part will recognise easily.

 

 

If you host a game, remember that your Flight and Combat difficulty settings

are enforced on everyone who joins the mission.

 

When that’s done and you’re connected, click New to proceed to the Session

Parameters screen.

 

 

Session Parameters

 

Now that you’ve arrived at the Session Parameters screen, much of the hard

work is over. Here, the host sets the parameters of the game, and those joining

choose their own place in the mission. If you’re not hosting, your choices on this

screen are limited, since only the person initiating the game can control certain

parameters. If you’re the host, you have control of the scenario.

 

 

The Joined Players box shows you the players who have already chosen to join

the mission and the settings they have determined—name, nationality, and so on.

 

The Chat box allows you to communicate with other players before the mission

begins.

 

To change any of the parameters, click on the current setting to cycle through the

options. They include:

 

Air Force Choose the country you wish to fly for. This decision affects

which aircraft you can opt to pilot. Your air force also determines

your enemies and your allies—except in games of Total Mayhem,

where it’s every pilot for himself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

75

 

Aircraft Choose the type of plane you want to fly; your options depend on

both the time period (chosen by the host) and your air force. Your

weapons load-out is determined according to the needs of the

mission; you have no control over it.

 

 

Region The host determines the scene of the hostilities. The possibilities

reflect historical battle areas of the selected time period.

 

 

Time Period The host selects the year in which the engagement will take

place. Your choice influences both the battle region and aircraft

availability for all players.

 

 

Time of Day The host stipulates the time of day at take-off. Options include

anything from dawn all the way through nightfall, thus

determining whether the sun or darkness will be a factor in the

battle.

 

 

Battle Size The host selects the number of planes in the game. Settings

include Small, Medium, and Large. This selection is independent

of the number of players in the game; any planes without a player

pilot are controlled by the computer. The number of player pilots

can never exceed eight.

 

Pilot Experience

The host sets the experience level of the computer pilots. This not

only dictates the average skill, but also alerts potential players

before they join.

 

 

Mission Type The host chooses one of the usual mission types for this

operation. All forces on the same side as the host fly this mission;

the enemies’ objective is to prevent their success. For example,

if the host selects an escort mission, the opponents find

themselves flying an intercept. The exception is a Total Mayhem

mission, in which it’s every pilot for himself, with no allegiance

and no objective but to survive and destroy.

 

 

When you’re finished, click on Launch to begin (move on to your briefing) or

Cancel to return to the Connect screen.

 

 

 

 

 

76

Flying a Multi-Player Mission

 

Once you’re actually in the mission, you’ll find that the similarities outweigh the

differences. You get the usual briefing, then get airborne.

The aircraft in multi-player missions handle much the same as they do in Single

Missions, but you’ll notice a few slight differences. You can’t, for example, use the

time acceleration feature, and you cannot pause the action—period. That means

you’ll have to keep your wits about you at all times.

 

 

COMMUNICATIONS

In other missions, the cockpit radio is simply a means of communicating requests

and commands between you and the computer pilots (and ground control). In a

multi-player mission, the cockpit radio can be used in the same fashion, but it also

comes in handy as a method of chatting with other human players—enemies and

friendlies alike.

 

Press the tilde ~ to open the Chat menu. This gives you various options for

sending messages to the other players in the mission. Choose your recipient(s),

then type the text of your message. Press ENTER when you’re done, and the

message goes out.

 

In the heat of battle, it’s can be pretty difficult to type a full sentence without

getting shot down. That’s why the game includes some pre-set taunts that are

available at the touch of a key. Using the menu, select the recipient(s) of your

message, then hit one of the shortcut keys (F1through F12).

 

 

DEATH DURING TOTAL MAYHEM

 

Sooner or later, you’ll probably get shot down or forced from the skies. If you’re

playing a Total Mayhem mission, don’t panic—this isn’t the end. You and your

plane are “re-spawned”—recreated near the area of battle—so that you can

continue flying and fighting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

77

PLAYER KILLS

 

 

Multi-player games keep a running tally of every pilot’s kills. Players receive

credit for downing enemy fighters and bombers. On the other hand, points are

deducted for shooting down a friendly aircraft, for crashing a structurally sound

plane, and for other such bonehead manoeuvres.

If you’re interested in tracking other players’ records (as well as your own) during

play, use F10. This places a kill tally on your screen. These scores are continually

updated throughout the game. To remove this tally, press F10 again.

 

 

 

 

The End of the Game

 

At game’s end, you’ll no doubt want to know how well you did. That’s the whole

point, after all. Just sit tight, and the Final Tally screen appears (unless, of course,

you quit before the battle came to a close). The Final Tally, quite simply, shows

the statistics for all players.

 

 

The overall air force winner (not listed for a Total Mayhem mission) is calculated

based on the success or failure of each side’s mission. The triumph of an escort

mission depends on the number of bombers that made it over the target. Strikes

take into account both the damage inflicted on the objective and the severity of

one’s own air casualties, while for an intercept to be a success, you have to have

stymied your adversary. Sweeps are decided based on each side’s total kills.

 

 

An overall individual winner is recognised as well. The title Ace of Aces is

awarded to the player who, at game’s end, has the greatest number of kills.

This recognition is bestowed independently of the air force winner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

78

 

Newsreel

 

 

With the Newsreel option, those of you who aren’t up on your history can watch

brief snippets on some of the major aerial operations in European Air War.

Three-minute narrated films present actual footage from the battles as well as

commentary on the strategies involved. When you click on a particular battle,

you’re treated to a video of actual combat scenes. Once the segment has come to

an end, you may view another or return to the Main menu.

 

 

View Objects

 

 

A valuable resource, the View Objects archives store a wealth of information

about every plane in European Air War. Here, away from the frenzy of battle, you

can study up on the technology of your adversaries, review a plane’s dimensions,

performance, and standard armament at your leisure, or learn to recognise

different aircraft at a glance.

 

 

The SPACEBAR reveals your options. Click one of the decks to choose which set of

planes you want to peruse. Use the Previous and Next buttons to call up

different planes or models from the open deck. Whatever plane is currently

visible, the View Plane option shows you the actual in-mission object for that

aircraft, and Details calls up a listing of statistics for that plane.

 

 

For each plane, if the film canister is open and there’s a film inside, you can view a

one-minute multimedia presentation on that aircraft. The presentation includes a

brief history of the plane, as well as slides or film footage of the craft in action.

 

 

Once the presentation has come to an end, you can replay the piece or browse

through the exhibit at your own pace. Exit returns you to the Main menu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

79

Observations of a Flight Lieutenant

 

 

A Flight Lieutenant who had flown Wellington bombers during the earlier part

of the war, before being transferred to a Fighter Squadron, was making his

first combat trip in a Hurricane. Enemy aircraft, including bombers and

fighters, attacked Dover harbour in two waves, with their escort circling

several thousand feet above, and formations of Hurricanes and Spitfires rose

into the sky to meet the attackers. This is an observation of the combat made

by the Flight Lieutenant.

 

 

We were up bright and early waiting by our Hurricanes; suddenly we

received an alarm enemy bombers were over the Channel. We raced to our

aircraft, and just as the engines were starting up, the air-raid sirens sounded.

 

We took the air to their wail. When we were at 8,000 feet, we made a turn

and saw thirty or forty Junker’s 87s about to dive down and bomb four ships

in Dover harbour. As we raced to intercept them, I watched the first low

begin their dive. I watched their bombs falling when they got down to 2,000

feet and saw them exploding in the water around the ships. There were ten

bombs at one time, and the water all ’round the ships was heaved up into a

number of huge fountains.

 

 

As we raced along at 300 miles an hour, I saw the bombers waiting

their turn to go in and attack. Somewhere above were the escorting

Messerschmitt’s. They were being looked after by a Squadron of Spitfires, so

we had the bombers pretty well to ourselves. Not all of them got the chance

to attack. A number of them did not get their turn. But I shall never forget the

sight of them stepped up in the sky.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

80

It was only a matter of seconds before we were flying down to our targets. I

first saw a Junker 87 being chased by six Hurricanes, and I felt like cheering

when I saw the bomber go down in flames. Immediately afterwards, another

Junkers flew right across my bows. I raced after him, got him in my gun-sights,

and let him have it. I was overtaking him fast, and when I stopped firing, he

was covering my entire windscreen, only fifty yards away. I stopped firing

because he blew up. I had heard about enemy aircraft blowing up in the air,

and this was my first experience of it. Both his petrol tanks exploded at the

same moment. Pieces of the aircraft were blown in all directions, and I had to

dive away sharply to avoid being hit by the fragments. When I looked again, I

saw the wrecked bomber tumbling down towards the sea. Then, below me, I

saw three Junkers racing for home. They were only about thirty feet above the

surface of the water, going away as fast as they could. I dived and attacked

them in turn and chased them about a dozen miles out to sea. I gave the first

one a good burst, and I knew I hit him. Then I blazed away at the second and

hit him, too, before turning back.

 

 

Our Squadron came out of the combat untouched, except for one bullet through

the wing of one aircraft for four bombers destroyed and six others damaged—

and some of them didn’t even get the chance to drop their bombs.

 

When I first saw the Germans, I felt a kind of fascination. I was surprised that I

was able to see so much of the battle. After dealing with my first Junkers, I

was able to notice other members of the Squadron shooting down other

German bombers. I saw out of the corner of my eyes a short dogfight, which

ended in one of our Squadron shooting down a Messerschmitt 109.

 

One of the other things which stands out in my mind was a sailing boat with a

big red sail steadily passing down the coast. Aircraft were blazing away at one

another in the sky above. Occasionally, one would smash into the sea and

disappear, but that little boat with the red sail appeared to take no notice. It

seemed incongruous.

 

When the battle was on, I was surprised because there was no confusion.

Everything was very orderly. Each combat was distinct in itself. Things seemed

to happen as in a well-rehearsed play. I was astonished to find myself able to

be a spectator and a fighter at the same time. From the moment we took off to

the moment we landed, exactly thirty-six minutes had elapsed, though I

suppose the fight itself did not last more than five minutes. After that we had

breakfast.”

 

 

 

81

 

. INTRODUCTION

 

Book 2:

Pilot’s handbook

 

Welcome to the pilot training program for European Air War. The supplementary information in this portion of the manual is intended to help you stay airborne long enough to fulfill your duties. Though skill, daring, and marksmanship are extremely important factors in any aerial combat, it has been proven time and again that knowledge is the key to victory. When you

know the enemy’s strengths and weaknesses, you’re ready to go into battle. When you know your own, you’re ready to win.

 

82

 

 

Why You’re Here

 

By the outbreak of war in 1939, the aircraft had matured from the fragile,

lightly armed, wood and canvas kites of the Great War into fast, heavily

armed killing machines. In the 1940s, no army could win a battle on the

ground if their enemy controlled the sky. In addition, the battle was no

longer limited to the front lines. With bomber formations attacking cities

and industry far from the field of battle, whole nations finally understood for

the first time what it meant to be in a war. Combat aircraft had changed the

face of battle forever.

 

83

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THEORIES

 

Technology has always caused drastic changes in warfare. In less than three

decades, improvements in aircraft design changed the way nations plan and

prepare for war. Aircraft engines had become smaller, lighter, and more powerful.

By the middles of the 1930s, wood and canvas biplanes had been almost

universally replaced by all metal, mono-wing designs. Technology not only

creates weapons and equipment, but necessitates new tactics as well. During the

decade prior to the war, nations developed both aircraft and tactics to suit their

own concepts of what would be needed in the next war.

 

 

Unlike those of ground and naval warfare, the strategies and tools of aerial

combat changed radically between the First and Second World Wars. Whereas in

the earlier conflict individual dogfights had prevailed, by 1940, this was no longer

the case; whole new breeds of specialised planes had been designed that would

forever alter war in the air. The advent of bombers, for instance, called for very

different offensive and defensive strategies than those in use. Germany had spent

the previous decade experimenting with novel techniques of battle, both in the

Spanish Civil War and during top-secret training in Soviet Russia. Great Britain, on

the other hand, had not substantially altered its approach to aerial combat.

 

 

English flyers would now have to learn everything from scratch.

All nations planned on the tactical use of air power to influence ground battles.

Fighters, the theory went, would gain control of the skies over the battlefield,

much as their predecessors had in the First World War. Light bombers would then

range over the battlefield, attacking enemy headquarters and supplies—as well as

enemy ground troops. The Germans went an additional step, planning for their

aircraft to function as mobile artillery. As the war progressed and experience

mounted, the tactical importance of air power grew with it.

 

 

One of the most controversial developments during the Second World War was

the bombing of civilian targets. For the first time, more civilians lost their lives due

to military action than soldiers. The theory was that this “terror bombing” would

break the morale of the enemy’s population, forcing them to surrender. The

reality was far different. Germany was the first to use terror bombing, in the Great

War and the Spanish Civil War, and it continued to use the tactic in Holland and

Belgium. During the Battle of Britain, the Germans initially avoided bombing

cities, but then accidentally bombed London. The British immediately retaliated,

attacking Berlin and other German cities. This started a series of escalations,

resulting in both sides switching more and more to area bombing of enemy cities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

84

 

Back in the 1920s, the Americans had been the first to propose and plan for an air

campaign to destroy enemy production and military industry. American senior

commanders disliked the concept of area bombing. However, most of the Third

Reich’s factories and supplies were located inside European cities. The

Americans invented and emphasised the new term strategic bombing to

eliminate any criticisms, as their Army Air Corps developed the art of bombing

industrial sites inside a city. By the end of the war, U.S. bombers were able to

destroy their targets, but the collateral damage to surrounding areas was still

extensive. It would be another fifty years before their dreams of precision

bombing became a reality.

 

 

THE COMBATANTS

 

The Luftwaffe

 

The German Wehrmacht developed a combined air and ground doctrine, called

blitzkrieg, or “lightning war.” To support this doctrine, the Luftwaffe evolved into a

tactical air force the main focus of which was close air support of ground units. Its

aircraft were designed to attack over relatively short ranges, carry lighter bomb

loads, and hit small targets with precision. The German bomber force consisted

of fast, twin-engine “schnell” bombers, perfect for supporting advancing ground

forces, but inadequate for deep or so-called “strategic” bombing. This oversight

did not become apparent until the Battle of Britain, and could not be corrected

before the Allied bomber offensives began.

 

 

Until that battle, Germany had not needed a plane for those tasks; as each nation

fell, the Luftwaffe advanced its medium-range bombers far into the newly

conquered territories, where they could easily be launched against the next

victim. The German warplane industry had thus skirted the issue of a heavy

strategic bomber. Existing German medium bombers and dive bombers were

meant to support—and be supported by—infantry, much like artillery. By 1943, it

was too late. The Luftwaffe was forced to concentrate more and more on the

fighter defence of Germany and could spend fewer resources on bomber

development.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

85

 

 

The Germans used four primary bombers during the war. The first of these, the

Dornier Do17, was one of the Luftwaffe’s two principal workhorses during the

early war years. Known as the “Flying Pencil” for its long and slender fuselage, the

Do17 had been converted from a civilian aircraft at the outbreak of war. It was

considered the most accurate of the Luftwaffe medium bombers. The Do17 was

a favourite of both air and ground crews because of its reliability, but the bomber

did have some shortcomings. Among other things, it was slow and had scant

defensive armament. (Dornier crews were known to carry hand grenades and

toss them out at pursuing fighters.) The plane also lacked the payload capacity of

most other bombers. It took large numbers of Dorniers to inflict any lasting

damage. The Do17 was withdrawn from service in 1942.

 

 

The other workhorse of the early war was the Heinkel He111. During Germany’s

masked rearmament of the early thirties, it had been introduced under the guise

of a high-speed civilian transport and mail plane. At the outbreak of war, it was

quickly converted into a medium-range bomber. When it first went into military

service, the He111 could outrun most single-engine fighters, and it placed

Germany in the forefront of bomber technology, but by the Battle of Britain its

fangs had already begun to dull. This bomber could easily be overtaken by the

swifter English fighters.

 

 

The Junkers Ju87 “Stuka” (short for the German word for “dive-bomber”) had

earned great notoriety as a precision bomber during the blitzkrieg of Poland and

France. Its hulking form and fearsome whine damaged the psyche of the people

as surely as its bombs ravaged the land. During the summer of 1940, though, the

Stuka floundered badly—first at Dunkirk and then again in the opening

encounters of the Battle of Britain. The Ju87 served best in support of ground

troops. Unaided by soldiers and artillery, it was out of its league. It was extremely

slow and could not protect itself against a modern fighter defence, except when

accompanied by a large escort. Heavy losses in the initial weeks over England

led to the Stuka’s redeployment elsewhere, in areas where it could exploit its

strengths, but at lesser rates of attrition. Thereafter, it made only the occasional

raid over Britain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

86

The Junkers Ju88 was the newest Luftwaffe bomber. It was a versatile machine

that undertook all types of high-speed bombing. In addition, the Ju88 laid mines,

performed reconnaissance work, and provided close support. It was sturdier than

any other Luftwaffe bomber, and the plane’s high diving speed allowed it to

evade even the feisty Spitfire. The RAF considered the Ju88 the most formidable

plane in its class. As the war progressed, the Ju88 progressed with it, becoming a

night fighter, reconnaissance plane, and close support aircraft. This versatility

made it arguably the best medium bomber design of the war.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A band of Ju88s heads for Great Britain.

 

 

 

Besides its array of bombers, the Luftwaffe began the war with two fighter

designs, the Bf109 and Bf110, both made by Messerschmitt. These were

supplemented by both the Focke Wulf 190 and the Me262 as the war

progressed.

 

 

The Bf109 was one of the fastest machines of any air force at the start of the war.

It was an outstanding aircraft that outclassed its early opponents in most

categories. The 109 responded quickly and cleanly to the throttle, was good in

high-g turns and fast in a dive, and possessed remarkable low-speed handling.

The 109 was fitted with a fuel-injected engine, which allowed the plane to fly

inverted. The craft’s greatest deficiency was its range; it couldn’t go north of the

Thames except on the briefest of sorties, and it often had to turn back even before

it reached the target area. As a defensive fighter, the Me109 continued to be a

tough opponent throughout the war, undergoing numerous upgrades from the

E-4 model flown in the Battle of Britain, through the G-6 and on to the K-4 version

by the end of the war.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

87

The Bf110 Zerstörer (Destroyer), a twin-engine fighter with twice the range of the

smaller Messerschmitt, was built for both offensive and defensive roles. Its

designers envisioned a machine that could either clear a path for bombers

through the defensive fighter screen or defend a region from the approach of

enemy bombers. The Bf110, however, soon proved a disappointment. It was too

large and sluggish for a dogfight, and its top speed was slower than that of the

British fighters. Squadrons flying the planes took unreasonably high losses, yet

not until the end of the Battle of Britain were these planes taken off fighter duty

and limited to reconnaissance work. The 110 was used with some success as a

defensive fighter, and was a threat to unescorted bomber formations. Its

replacements, the failed Me210 and the Me410, both suffered from the same

basic problems. The Me410, with its massive armament, was a formidable tank

buster on the Eastern Front, and as a heavy fighter over Germany, it was a serious

threat to Allied bombers. On the other hand, like its predecessors, it was no

match for Allied fighters.

 

 

The Focke Wulf Fw190 was designed in the late 1930s as a complement to the

Me109. The success of that design and a shortage of fighter engines delayed

production until 1941. By this time, the need for additional fighters—and the use

of a radial bomber engine—solved both problems. The Fw190 was a fast and

highly manoeuvrable fighter, and was a favourite of many Luftwaffe pilots.

Produced in ten different versions, the Fw190 was a match for any Allied fighter.

The final version, the Fw190D, used a Junkers Jumo inline engine instead of the

BMW radial, had comparable flight characteristics to the P-51D, and must be

considered one of the best designs of the war.

 

 

The Me262 Schwalbe, or swallow, was the first operational jet fighter to see

combat. The Me262 was over 100 miles per hour faster than any Allied fighter,

and it packed a tremendous amount of firepower. Its quad 30mm cannon were

capable of destroying a bomber in a short pass. Unable to fight the 262 in the air,

Allied fighters learned to attack them while they were attempting to land, and

were therefore vulnerable. Many large scale dogfights occurred between Allied

fighter sweeps and the normal German fighters trying to protect the landing

262s. Although the Me262 had the potential to change the air war in the

Luftwaffe’s favour, it never lived up to this potential. Production was delayed for

over a year by Hitler’s insistence on a fighter-bomber design. This type of high

level interference continued to plague the program until the end of the war, as

production was needlessly diverted to production of night fighters and bomber

versions. Less than one quarter of the 1,430 jets produced were issued to fighter

units. Imagine the havoc that would have occurred if the American bombers had

faced numbers of Me262s in late 1943.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

88

The Royal Air Force

 

Across the Channel, the RAF had different aerial needs. As early as 1937, Great

Britain realized that it had fallen behind Germany in the production of bombers—

but bombers are not critical for defense. Instead, fighters would be the saviours of

the English. While bomber production never stopped, fighters were much

cheaper to build. They were also in greater supply. At the outset of the battle, the

English aircraft industry was suffering a shortfall against the number of planes

contracted. The manufacture of fighters, however, had flagged only slightly; it

had already been assigned priority, and the British were quickly tightening up the

system of production. Between May 1940 and the war’s end five years later,

aircraft production never fell below the planned numbers.

 

 

In 1940, the RAF relied heavily on two types of fighters to save their island from

invasion. When the battle began, more than half of Fighter Command’s

squadrons were equipped with Hawker Hurricanes, long a mainstay of the RAF.

For a fighter, it was considered slow—the German Bf109 was faster and could

outmanoeuvre the Hurricane with ease—but what the Hurricane lacked in speed

and rate of climb, it more than compensated for in other categories. It had a

greater range than any other fighter, enabling it to maintain a longer flight. The

plane had the added benefit of an older construction, which could be serviced at

virtually any RAF base in Great Britain. Perhaps the Hurricane’s greatest asset,

however, was its armament of eight machine guns. The craft amassed more

enemy kills during the battle than all other British fighters and ground defenses

combined.

 

 

Fighter Command rises to meet the challenge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

89

 

Enemy tallies notwithstanding, it was the Supermarine Spitfire that attracted the

public’s eye. With its graceful and distinctive lines, it stood for the English people

as the symbol of hope and victory. The Spitfire was not quite as durable as the

sturdy Hurricane, and it was more vulnerable in places to enemy fire, but it had

greater acceleration and was amazingly manoeuvrable. Pilots praised its superior

handling. The Spitfire could turn a tighter circle than any other fighter used

during the war, which let it get behind its German counterparts. Continued

improvements to the Spitfire kept it in the front line throughout the war. The

different versions, from the IXC through the XIVE, continually met the challenge

posed by the improving German fighter designs.

 

 

The RAF also fielded some of the best fighter-bomber designs of the war. The

Hawker Typhoon, which first saw service in 1942, was an excellent ground

support aircraft. It was superseded in 1944 by the Tempest. This new bomber

was one of the only interceptors with enough speed at altitude to intercept the V-

1 “buzz-bombs,” and Tempests managed to shoot down almost 35 percent of all

of the V-1s launched against England. The Tempest’s speed also made it an

excellent choice to send against the Me262 bases. Perhaps the role both of these

aircraft are best remembered for is as close air support fighter-bombers. After

Normandy and throughout the Allied invasion, squadrons of Typhoons and

Tempests ranged over the battle zone, attacking German units with cannon fire

and rockets.

 

 

The Army Air Force

 

The American Army Air Force had several advantages over the British and

Germans. The geographic isolation of North America had insured that the AAF

possessed both long range fighters and strategic bombers. Between the wars,

American aviators had led the world in strategic and operational bombing theory.

Finally, America had the advantage of two years of combat in Europe to prepare

for the war. These factors, combined with America’s industrial capacity, insured

that the USAAF would be a potent factor in the war.

 

 

American heavy bombers were unique in being designed from the outset to fly

long range, unescorted missions deep into enemy territory. They were built on

extremely tough airframes and carried an extensive array of defensive machine

guns. The standard American bomber at the start of the war was the B-17 “Flying

Fortress,” a name the aircraft more than lived up to. In Europe, the AAF fielded

two major types of bombers, the B-17 and the B-24 “Liberator.” The B-24s were

used in Africa and Italy, while the B-17 carried the brunt of the fighting in England.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

90

U.S. medium bomber designs were, in effect, scaled-down versions of their heavy

bombers. The best example is the B-26 “Marauder.” These aircraft were intended

to perform missions against the same strategic targets as the heavies, but only at

intermediate ranges. This would allow the AAF to attack in depth and spread the

enemy defences. During the war, the medium bombers came into their own on

interdiction missions, attacking transport and logistics targets and isolating the

German front lines from reinforcements and supplies.

 

 

The AAF relied on variants of three fighters in the European Theatre of

Operations: the P-38, the P-47, and the P-51. The P-38 and P-51 were excellent

air superiority fighters that could be pressed into service as fighter-bombers if

needed. The P-47, on the other hand, was a fighter-bomber that also made an

excellent fighter.

 

 

The P-38 “Lightning” was designed as a high altitude interceptor, but its speed,

power, and durability led to its use in almost every type of fighter-bomber

mission. Lightnings fought on all fronts of the war, and the aircraft remained in

production in several variations until the end of the war. The first P-38s were

deployed to England in 1942, but most were moved to Africa in late 1942,

forming the backbone of the 12th AAF fighter squadrons.

 

 

The P-47 “Thunderbolt” was considered by many to be the best heavy fighter of

the war. The Thunderbolt was an exceptional bomber escort and fighter-bomber.

With drop tanks, it could escort bomber formations into Western Germany.

Throughout 1943, the Thunderbolt was the main U.S. fighter over Europe. When

the P-51 began to take over the bomber escort role in 1944, the P-47 became the

main U.S. fighter-bomber. Thunderbolts earned a reputation second to none as a

close support aircraft, and any ground commander felt better knowing a “cab

rank” of Thunderbolts was overhead.

 

 

When most people think of a WWII aircraft, the P-51 “Mustang” leaps to mind.

Any discussion of the best fighter in WWII will include the P-51. This agile, fast

fighter was deadly in the hands of a trained pilot, and its ability to escort bombers

all the way to the target was unequalled. The P-51 served in all fronts and beyond

the war, remaining in U.S. service into the 1950s—and in some smaller air forces

for another twenty years or more. Arguably, the Mustang was the best piston engine

fighter in history

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

91

The Battle of Britain

 

In the spring of 1940, Germany was on the offensive in western Europe. It had

already conquered Denmark and Norway, and in early May, German troops

began an invasion of France. Few doubted that if France fell, Great Britain would

be next.

 

THE FALL OF FRANCE

 

Adolf Hitler’s true designs lay on Soviet Russia. As early as 1939, he had

expressed plans to invade the vast territory to the north east. Taking Poland by

storm had been the first step toward this objective, but it had drawn both the

French and the English into the hostilities. Since Germany couldn’t afford to

attack two powerful adversaries at the same time on two separate fronts, Hitler

wished to dispatch the threat from western Europe before proceeding on his

conquest of the east.

 

 

As the closest powerful ally to the European coast, England received numerous

appeals for military aid from countries already under attack. They poured in from

across western Europe—Belgium, the Netherlands, and France all requested

immediate assistance. Whenever possible, Britain responded. In France, the

British Expeditionary Force sprang into action, as did the Royal Air Force, which

committed both fighters and bombers to the battle.

 

 

There were those, however, who opposed such international aid, among them Air

Chief Marshals Sir Hugh Dowding and Sir Cyril Newall, responsible for air defence

over England. Arguing that committing more aircraft to the fray would do nothing

except expose Britain to possible attack, Dowding and Newall fought to keep

their men and planes in Great Britain. Air Ministry, however, was not swayed by

their pleas, and the two men watched with dismay while their fighter defence

was spread ever thinner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

92

The Germans marched with alarming speed across the European continent to its

western shores. French opposition did little to slow the advance, even with British

intervention, and in a matter of weeks the English began to pull out. The French

could muster no further resistance. It was time for England to prepare for the

defence of her own shores.

 

 

We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the

beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and

in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender…” Winston

Churchill, 4 June 1940

 

 

Under cover of the RAF, a massive evacuation took place in northern France. The

Royal Navy—with the help of French, Belgian, Dutch, and civilian vessels—

rescued more than 338,000 British and French soldiers from the besieged

beaches at the port of Dunkirk. During the evacuation, the RAF made numerous

reconnaissance runs and bombing raids, as well as nearly 2,750 fighter sorties.

For many pilots, the experience gained was invaluable. Yet the French campaign

took a serious toll; it claimed a number of front-line aircraft, including more than

500 of the RAF fighter planes that were soon to be in high demand. In addition,

vital stocks of spare parts were abandoned in the rush to flee before France fell to

the Germans.

 

 

Even more disheartening was the loss of skilled pilots. The majority of flyers

downed during the Battle of France had been trained in peacetime, before

extensive flight instruction had been sacrificed in the name of expediency. These

airmen had practised combat techniques and advanced flight manoeuvres. They

were far more experienced than those who would pass through flight school

during the summer of 1940. They were also the men most qualified to take over

command and lead newer recruits into battle. The loss of their expertise was a

huge blow to the RAF.

 

 

As England, despite her hopeless military situation, still shows no signs of

willingness to come to terms, I have decided to prepare and, if necessary, to

carry out a landing operation against her. The aim of this operation is to

eliminate the English motherland as a base from which war against Germany

can be continued, and if necessary to occupy the country completely.” Adolf

Hitler, 16 July 1940

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

93

On June 17, a mere two weeks after the evacuation at Dunkirk, the French

government requested an armistice. The next day, Prime Minister Winston

Churchill made a radio address from the House of Commons. In it he announced,

The Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin…

The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned upon us. Hitler

knows that he will have to break us in the island or lose the war.”

 

 

ENGLAND STANDS ALONE

 

 

In previous conflicts, England’s geography—her island status—had protected her

from much of the ruin inflicted on countries on the European mainland. It came as

a great shock to the British people that their country might soon fall into enemy

hands. Their armed forces had long been preparing for a German attack, but they

had planned for one originating in Germany proper, some 200 miles distant. That

attack could now be launched from anywhere along the French coastline, thirty

miles and less than an hour’s flight away. All of Britain battened down.

 

 

 

An invasion of England would have to come by sea, across the Channel, since the

massive numbers of troops needed could never be transported by plane. German

naval forces, however, were vastly inferior to England’s; outlawed at the close of

the First World War by the Treaty of Versailles, the German navy had not yet

recovered to full strength. If Germany was to have any chance of transporting a

landing force, the air force—the Luftwaffe—would have to attack British shipping,

and before the Luftwaffe could have a clear shot at shipping, it would need to

destroy the RAF.

 

 

 

The Luftwaffe, under the command of Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, was

organized into three Luftflotten (Air Fleets). In preparation for an assault on the

English mainland, Luftflotten 2 and 3 had moved into position in Holland,

Belgium, and France. Luftflotte 5, the smallest of the three groups, was stationed

in newly occupied Denmark and Norway. Each Air Fleet was separate from the

others. Each had separate supply lines for manpower and spare parts, separate

weather forecasting services, and separate chains of command. Each prepared

separate plans of attack to submit to Göring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

94

 

The RAF was also split into three primary groups: Bomber, Fighter, and Coastal

Commands. (Balloon Command and Reserve Command, introduced in 1938 and

1939 respectively, performed lesser roles.) Of these, Fighter Command—led by

Air Chief Marshal Dowding—was most crucial to the battle. True, ground

defences provided support and at times served to distract the enemy, and

bombers attacked German holdings on the Continent, but because England had

been forced into a defensive position, Fighter Command bore the brunt of the

work in the late summer and early fall of 1940.

 

Following the Battle of France, there was a stay as the Germans gathered their

strength, formulated a strategy, and re-deployed their forces. The Luftwaffe

continued nightly small-scale raiding of Great Britain, but these initial strikes were

little more than a nuisance. In England, nerves were on edge; there was no telling

how long the relative calm might last, and everyone knew it would be followed by

a fight for the very existence of their country.

 

 

To a great extent, the element of surprise that had served the Germans so well in

previous attacks on Poland, Norway, and even France was gone; both sides

realised that the weather would dictate the timing of the offensive. For the

planned invasion to have any chance at success, German troops needed to

capitalise on the extended summer daylight and the relatively sunny weather.

Conditions would soon deteriorate, preventing both air and surface crossings of

the Channel. All the English had to do was repel the Luftwaffe’s attacks until the

coming of the fall storms.

 

 

Great Britain was on full alert, but only the Germans knew precisely when and

where they were going to attack. This was a valuable advantage. England could

only respond, not take the initiative, and for the first time in memory, the British

had no one stationed on the European mainland to help warn them of impending

attacks. Crossing the Channel could take as few as five minutes, but for Spitfires

to gain adequate height to intercept incoming planes required at least fifteen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

95

If Germany could ordain when battle would be joined, England at least had the

edge of fighting over friendly territory. A Luftwaffe pilot who had to bail out of his

plane was doomed to sit out the rest of the war in a prison camp, while pilots of

the RAF were merely patched up and put back on the line to fly another day. Fuel

consumption, too, posed a greater problem for the Germans than for the English.

 

 

No single-engine fighter at the time was equipped to carry an external drop tank,

and so Luftwaffe fighter planes were limited to a mere 80 minutes of flying time.

An hour of that was used to fly back and forth across the Channel, leaving only 20

minutes over England itself. There was the very real possibility of ending up in the

English Channel if German airmen exceeded these limits. English fighters had

only to land at a local base and refuel when their tanks ran dry.

 

 

The Channel itself didn’t discriminate between Luftwaffe and RAF when claiming

its victims, and all pilots faced battle over the sea with a measure of dread. The

frigid water could kill a man in a few short hours if he wasn’t pulled from its grasp.

Many a flyer died within sight of his own shores. The RAF had no co-ordinated

system of air-sea rescue—not until August 22 would the subject officially be

brought to the table—but the Luftwaffe operated an efficient rescue operation. It

equipped its pilots with emergency flares, dye packs, and bright yellow skull-caps

to aid others in locating downed airmen. Inflatable dinghies and “lobster pots”

(sea rescue floats outfitted with everything from beds and blankets to food and

water) allowed the men to get out of the cold waters, and specialised air-sea

rescue planes diligently patrolled the Channel for survivors. In this way, the

Luftwaffe returned at least a few pilots to the cockpit.

 

 

CHANNEL RAIDS

 

 

From the British standpoint, the battle began July 10 with a Luftwaffe attack on

the large convoy “Bread” that was pushing through the Channel. An early

morning reconnaissance mission directed the Germans to the convoy, and the

dogfight that followed involved more than 100 aircraft. Only one of the bombs

dropped on the ships below actually scored a direct hit, but the message of

aggression was unmistakable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

96

 

 

At the time, although Hitler was proceeding with plans for a forceful invasion, he

still hoped for a swift and uncontested victory. Some estimates gave the RAF no

more than four days against the more powerful Luftwaffe, and Great Britain not

even a month before invasion. Hitler expected the English to concede rather than

face the ravages of an all-out air war. Nine days after the strike on Bread, the

Führer delivered his “last appeal to reason and common sense” in front of the

Reichstag. In it, he urged the British to surrender and avoid any further casualties

or conflict. It was a suggestion the British flatly rejected.

 

 

If this struggle continues, it can only end in the annihilation of one of us. Mr.

Churchill thinks it will be Germany. I know it will be Britain. I am not the

vanquished begging for mercy. I speak as a victor. I see no reason why this

war must go on. We should like to avert the sacrifices which must claim

millions.” Adolf Hitler, 19 July 1940

 

 

Hitler has now made it plain that he is preparing to direct the whole weight of

German might against this country. That is why in every part of Britain there is

only one spirit, a spirit of indomitable resolution.... We never wanted the war;

certainly no one here wants the war to go on for a day longer than is

necessary. But we shall not stop fighting till freedom, for ourselves and others,

is secure.” British Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax, 22 July 1940

 

 

In the following weeks, the Luftwaffe continued to make small forays against

English shipping in the Channel. Göring also kept up his harassment of coastal

targets. By attacking shipping, Göring hoped to draw the RAF into a small-scale

battle of attrition which it would be unable to withstand. If the RAF refused to

respond, then the Luftwaffe had free passage across the Channel and a clear shot

at both the Royal Navy and the British shipping industry. Disrupting British trade

would no doubt hasten the island’s need to capitulate, and destroying the navy

would open the English Channel to invasion forces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

97

 

THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM

 

 

July and the first weeks of August were a period of sizing up the enemy. Luftwaffe

fighter pilots tried to goad their counterparts into battle to see what they would

face when the invasion got underway. They tested out RAF response times and

British defences. The English spent the spell fine-tuning their early warning

system. Both air forces took stock of the planes to be involved in the battle.

 

By mid-July, Fighter Command had nearly 800 aircraft—100 Blenheims (which

were soon to prove ineffective and relegated to night flying) and a total of 700 or

so Hurricanes and Spitfires. These would face the more than 1,500 bombers and

1,000 Me109s and Me110s that the Luftwaffe devoted to the offensive. The

odds were grim.

 

 

In its campaign against Great Britain, Germany needed an air force of both

bombers and fighters. Its bombers would be key to damaging ground targets,

while its fighters would perform escorts, reconnaissance missions, and close combat

sorties. The Luftwaffe had a good numerical balance between the two

types of planes, and quality seemed to be on their side. As long as their objective

remained the destruction of the RAF, this force was adequate. However, if the

emphasis shifted to a general campaign against Great Britain, the Luftwaffe had

(as discussed earlier) overlooked a critical requisite for a successful assault: the

heavy, long-range, strategic bomber.

 

 

On the whole, the two sides’ planes were well matched. Although the Germans

had a sizable numerical superiority during the Battle of Britain, their fighters

couldn’t overpower those of the RAF, and as a result, pilot skill would weigh

heavily on the outcome. In this the German air force had an edge in both

confidence and combat experience.

 

 

At first the German pilots’ greater expertise was quite apparent. Seasoned

Luftwaffe veterans knew how to make the best use of the sky. They were famous

for swooping down out of the sun on the tight, highly visible British formations,

getting the upper hand in battle by spotting their opponents first. RAF flyers soon

coined the watch-phrase “Beware of the Hun in the sun.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

98

 

Fighter Command’s pilots learned the hard way that their tactics were obsolete.

They were accustomed to flying in rigid formations, with fixed battle manoeuvres

to guide them through enemy encounters. In the traditional tight V formations,

pilots flew in such close proximity to one another that just maintaining the proper

distance consumed much of their attention. They were often too close to their

leader and so had only an obstructed view of the skies ahead. Once the battle

disintegrated into individual dogfights, each English flyer was vulnerable and

alone. Over time, and after many painful losses, the British began to fly looser

formations, but not until the end of the battle did squadrons begin to adopt the

flexible “Finger Four” that the Germans used so effectively. In the Finger Four,

each aircraft took the position of a fingertip on an imaginary outstretched hand.

This decreased the flights’ visibility and let pilots concentrate more on spotting

the enemy rather than on maintaining a complex and tightly grouped formation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Finger Four formation

 

 

THE STORM BREAKS

 

Throughout the first month of battle, the Germans had no real plan of action. The

army, navy, and air force were all at odds over how to proceed. The army urged a

massive assault with three separate landings over a huge front. The navy,

concerned about holding its own against a stronger British fleet, preferred a more

concentrated front that would not stretch its resources to as great an extent.

While Hitler weighed the different proposed strategies, he ordered the Luftwaffe

to reduce its attacks on naval units and proceed with plans to overpower the RAF.

Ground installations, supply networks, and the aircraft industry were all to be

targeted—as were, of course, enemy planes. Once the RAF had been subdued,

the Luftwaffe would be free to work on the southern ports and the Royal Navy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

99

July’s clouds and rain precluded massive air assaults, especially by formations of

bombers. Instead, the German air force launched a number of smaller raids. As

British pilots rose to challenge the strikes, gaping holes appeared in their

defensive screen. Air Chief Marshal Dowding’s Fighter Command was unable to

plug them all, and Luftwaffe aircraft slipped through to wreak havoc on the

English countryside. The attacks grew in frequency as the month came to a close.

 

 

By early August, Fighter Command had lost nearly 150 planes, the Luftwaffe

close to 300. The numbers foretold a dire situation for Dowding and his men.

Although Fighter Command had so far withstood the swelling attacks, it would

be unable to if the size and number of raids increased or if they threatened a

wider area of coastline. Losses in recent days had begun to exceed production

from the aircraft industry, a troubling sign. The outlook to Reichsmarschall Göring

was less grim. His Luftwaffe could tolerate the current rate of attrition—as long as

Fighter Command was in the end rendered impotent.

 

Although the weather improved dramatically in the first week of August,

Luftwaffe activity came to a virtual standstill, and an uneasy calm ensued.

Dowding attributed this in part to the reduction in the number of convoys sailing

the Channel; throughout the battle, German air raid activity had been closely tied

to the amount of British shipping. Still, Dowding could take little comfort from the

slackening of the pressure. The RAF had yet to deliver a resounding defeat to the

Luftwaffe—their few victories had been modest—and so in all likelihood, the

Germans were gathering their strength for something more ferocious.

 

 

Dowding’s fears were soon borne out; from the German vantage point, the battle

was at last to begin in earnest. Having spent the previous month studying Fighter

Command’s defences, Göring was now ready to mount a full-scale attack. Over

several weeks, the Luftwaffe was to engage in repeated, crushing strikes on the

airfields and radar towers dotting the southeastern coast. Known as Adlerangriff

(Attack of the Eagles), this period of extensive raids was expected to bring the

RAF to its knees, after which Germany could launch Seelöwe, or Operation Sea

Lion—the invasion of Great Britain. Ground troops would be ferried across the

Channel in converted river barges, tugs, motorboats, and large transport vessels,

to hit the south coast of England in three waves. Once they—and large formations

of paratroopers—had secured the English beachheads, they would push ever

inland and closer to London, in the hopes of cutting the capital off from the rest of

the country. British capitulation, the Germans believed, would surely follow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

100

ADLERTAG

 

 

The date for the start of Adlerangriff (called Adlertag, or Eagle Day) was initially

set for August 10. Heavy clouds and rain, however, forced a postponement.

Meanwhile, aerial activity over the Channel and English south coast gradually

increased. Every day brought larger clashes. Pilots on both sides spent more than

half of each day on alert. RAF squadrons flew an average of four sorties a day.

Luftwaffe fighter squadrons flew three sorties a day, and bomber squadrons at

least two. As the summer progressed, both sides routinely sent out almost 500

sorties a day.

 

 

August 12, the day before Adlertag, was consecrated to the wholesale

destruction of radar stations from Portland all the way to the Thames Estuary. In

1940, radar was still emerging as a technology. It provided the remarkable ability

to detect distant objects, revealing their location and speed. Both the German

and English militaries had systems of radar, but although Germany was far ahead

of Great Britain in actual technology, only the British had established a means of

incorporating radar into their air defence.

 

 

England had erected a large number of radar stations, especially on its eastern

coast facing the continent. Between these and the Royal Observer Corps (staffed

entirely by volunteers) the RAF could detect almost all aircraft activity along the

northern coast of occupied France and over the Channel. It could identify a

Luftwaffe attack and determine approximately how large a force was needed to

counter it, then dispatch the necessary planes to head off the offensive. Even

though Reichsmarschall Göring was aware that the RAF relied on radar to some

extent in their coastal defence (judging by the number of times German attacks

had been successfully intercepted), he did not understand quite how the

arrangement worked. Still, he wanted the system silenced.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

101

 

 

 

Radar stations like this dotted the English coastline.

 

 

 

Attacks on the radar stations went according to plan; bombers were escorted

through the fighter screen and unloaded their munitions on the seemingly

vulnerable towers of the Chain Home and Chain Home Low radar systems at

Dover, Dunkirk, Pevensey, Rye, and Ventnor. The Luftwaffe also carried out hits on

the British airfields of Hawkinge, Lympne, and Manston. Pilots returned with

reports of apparently extensive damage at each of the sites. German High

Command was ecstatic—they thought they had put the air defence system out of

commission for some time to come.

 

 

Despite heavy surface damage, however, the raids on the towers were largely

unsuccessful. Dunkirk continued transmitting without interruption, while Dover,

Pevensey, and Rye experienced only brief suspension of their signals, thanks to

their emergency systems. Ventnor was the most seriously damaged, and even it

was up and running within three days. In the meantime, its silence was partially

camouflaged by a built-in overlap of coverage and by the use of a portable

signalling unit. When the Luftwaffe flew sorties later in the day to test how well

they were picked up by Fighter Command, they found to their dismay that the

British responded appropriately to the threat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

102

 

August 13, the scheduled date for Adlertag, dawned cloudy and unsuitable for

the day’s planned operations. Despite his fears that Luftwaffe morale was

slumping, Göring again delayed the assault. Unfortunately, the orders came too

late for a flight of Dornier bombers and their Messerschmitt escorts, which had

already left to bombard targets in Kent. Feldmarschall Albert Kesselring ordered

the planes back by radio. Only the escort responded—the Dorniers continued

along their course. Due to faulty radio equipment, they never received the

message to head back to base, and in the heavy clouds they didn’t realise that

they were now flying unescorted. Ironically, that same cloud cover helped

conceal the bombers and deliver them unscathed to their destination. The

Dorniers unleashed their fury on a coastal air base at Eastchurch and a naval

station at Sheerness. Then, hounded by a force of Spitfires, they fled the scene.

Only four Luftwaffe planes went down on the mission.

 

 

When the bombers arrived back at base, however, they faced no hero’s welcome,

only a stern rebuke. Göring was livid that the flight had proceeded against

orders—now Adlertag’s carefully synchronised plan of attack was in jeopardy.

Worse yet, the morning’s effort had been in vain; the Dorniers had inflicted no

permanent damage on their targets, which returned to operational status a short

time later.

 

 

By mid-afternoon, the weather had cleared sufficiently, and Göring launched the

rest of Eagle Day. Raids were to focus on western and central southern areas, as

well as on a few selected inland airfields. Poor communication again threatened

the operation; several groups of bombers failed to meet up with their escorts or

rendezvoused only after considerable delay, throwing off the timing of the attack.

 

 

As a result of the confusion on Adlertag, the Air Fleets experienced heavy

casualties. All told, the Luftwaffe lost almost 50 machines, while nearly that many

more suffered serious damage. Fighter Command fared better; only 13 planes

were knocked from the skies. (Although the afternoon’s bombardment also

claimed quite a few grounded RAF aircraft, only one was a fighter.) Nevertheless,

Dowding did have cause for concern; under cover of cloud, many German craft

had roamed at will over the countryside. If the weather was to continue in this

vein, Fighter Command needed a viable means of detecting enemy planes even

behind the clouds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

103

The next day, Feldmarschalls Hugo Sperrle and Albert Kesselring continued their

raids. Kesselring launched a single, large flight on Kent, spurring a dogfight that

involved more than 200 planes. Sperrle, on the other hand, went with a strategy

of multiple smaller attacks across a 100-mile front in the south and southwest. In

the wake of the previous afternoon’s debacle, he intended to minimise his own

losses while forcing the RAF into the air, and thus into danger. Sperrle gambled

that Fighter Command would be unable to intercept all of the many simultaneous

raids. As had been the case the day before, the RAF was indeed sorely

challenged. Many Luftwaffe planes skirted Dowding’s defensive shield and

blitzed British targets.

 

 

 

 

A tempting target

 

 

 

The following morning, August 15, started innocuously enough, but by mid-day

the action had heated up. In southern England, the Luftwaffe pummelled the

British. They shuttled bombers continuously back and forth across the Channel,

their target the network of RAF bases. At any given time, Fighter Command

planes were outnumbered in the air by as many as 20 to 1. Bombs rained down

on the airfields, burning hangars, lighting up runways, and destroying precious

British fighters before they could even get off the ground. The toll in both men

and planes was heavy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

104

In northern areas, in contrast, it was the Luftwaffe that took the beating. Effective

resistance in the south during recent weeks had led German High Command to

believe that the RAF had committed all of its fighter planes to the defence of the

south and east. Göring therefore reasoned that he could send Luftflotte 5 from

Norway to attack the north with relative impunity. Unbeknownst to him, however,

Fighter Command had maintained a small force in the north to defend against

just such a raid—despite heavy pressure, Dowding had insisted on this point. He

frequently shuffled battle-weary squadrons to the area for a brief respite before

returning them to the main field of combat. By that mid-August day, the men in

the north were ready for a fight.

 

 

 

Air Fleet 5 was tracked by radar for an hour before it even reached the English

coast, and Fighter Command was waiting for it when it arrived. (Due to a

navigational mix-up, the main force of Luftflotte 5 had flown too close to its decoy

flight, making both detection and interception much easier.) The RAF dove on the

Air Fleet from out of the sun and quickly scattered the flight of escorts. The

formation of bombers, now unprotected, was decimated. Most jettisoned their

bombs before reaching their intended targets. Fighter Command’s force of

Hurricanes and Spitfires splashed nearly 30 Luftwaffe planes without losing a

single craft of its own.

 

 

 

The day saw the heaviest fighting of the entire battle. German pilots later dubbed

it “Black Thursday.” Altogether, the German air force flew more than 2,000 sorties

and British Fighter Command just under half that number. Losses were withering

on both sides—scores of Luftwaffe fighters and bombers against more than two

dozen RAF fighters, not to mention the pilots dead or captured. For the Germans,

the day was particularly grievous. The Luftwaffe had destroyed no vital targets,

had discovered no weak northern link in the fighter defence chain, and had been

dealt a staggering defeat to one of its mighty Air Fleets. This was the first and only

mass attack in daylight hours that Luftflotte 5 ever made, and the only major

assault it attempted on Great Britain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

105

THE BATTLE CONTINUES

 

 

In the days to come, Göring grew increasingly frustrated. Despite an astounding

rate of attrition, the RAF showed no sign of caving in. Fighter Command

continued to mount resistance in the skies. According to the Reichsmarschall’s

own calculations, the RAF should have had fewer than 150 fighters left. (In fact,

while the supply was certainly dwindling, it was nowhere near this level.) With

each day that the RAF clung to life, the proposed timetable for Operation Sea Lion

broke down a little further.

 

 

 

In anger, Göring berated the commanders of his Luftflotten. Little did he realise

that his own intelligence service was partially at fault; their reports failed to

differentiate between Fighter Command stations and those used by the other

services, like Coastal Command. As a result, the Luftwaffe spent much time and

effort bombing minor—sometimes even inactive—airfields. German intelligence

also mistook the functions of a surprising number of British factories; several vital

and highly vulnerable installations remained untouched throughout the battle,

while the Luftwaffe instead set their sights on buildings only tangential to the

war effort.

 

 

 

Göring’s task was further complicated by the system of individual and

independent Air Fleets—the lack of communication between the different

Luftflotten caused untold confusion. Furthermore, pilot claims inadvertently

exaggerated the number of downed enemy planes. Göring’s estimates of enemy

strength, based primarily on participants’ accounts, were thus inherently flawed.

 

 

 

As August progressed, the weather deteriorated, forcing the intermittent

suspension of full-scale attacks. In 1940, instrument flying, while not entirely out

of the question, was both tricky and extremely dangerous. Heavy clouds between

August 19 and 23 kept most flights from departing and let ground crews catch

up on their repairs, pilots on their sleep. The break in the action also allowed

commanders to reassess the course of battle. Some activity persisted—the

Luftwaffe, after all, wanted to keep the pressure squarely on the RAF—but after

the most recent spate, the action seemed to the English blessedly light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

106

The RAF had begun to feel the acute strain of battle. The problem was not a lack

of aircraft, but the lack of trained pilots to fly them. British airmen were pushing

themselves to the breaking point. The men were on constant alert. Pilots barely

had time to eat between sorties, and they slept in their flight gear, ready to

scramble at a moment’s notice. Since August 8, almost a hundred Fighter

Command pilots had died, and many more lay wounded in hospitals. Even after

shortening flight school and recruiting volunteers from other countries, Fighter

Command still had trouble putting men into its machines. On top of it all, the

Royal Navy had requested and received (albeit grudgingly) standing patrols.

Unlike Göring, who could choose to rest his men, Dowding was forced to put his

patrols up each and every day. During the current lull, he stood down as many

men as possible while maintaining adequate defensive measures. He also

shuttled his most severely fatigued pilots northward to recuperate.

 

 

 

Göring used the respite to retool his strategy. He removed the vulnerable Stuka

from front-line action and assigned Bf109 escorts to accompany all flights of

Bf110s. In response to recent losses, he also instituted a new policy limiting the

number of commissioned officers who could fly in a bomber at any given time.

 

 

 

As soon as the weather cleared, the Luftwaffe again pressed its advantage. It

kept the airfields of southeastern England under constant bombardment. Kenley,

Biggin Hill, Hornchurch and others hunkered down against the attacks. Manston,

the most heavily bombed of all British bases, suffered through multiple raids. The

Luftwaffe also took great interest in Eastchurch, one of Coastal Command’s

stations.

 

 

 

Any fighter losses were by now critical to Great Britain. The RAF needed every

plane it could muster; its aircraft were always outnumbered in the sky. Twelve

Hurricanes or Spitfires might meet a force of up to 40 bombers and their

attendant escort of a hundred or more fighters. In desperation, British forces

would often split into two groups—one to distract the escort, the other to take on

the bombers—but there were always more than enough enemy fighters to parry

both. The noose was beginning to tighten. Hitler scheduled a September 21

launch date for Operation Sea Lion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

107

 

The Luftwaffe claims yet another victim.

 

 

 

RAF losses continued to mount, at times now even surpassing Luftwaffe totals.

On the final day of August alone, Fighter Command lost close to 40 planes—its

highest total ever. Not surprisingly, by the first week of September, RAF fighter

reserves were at their lowest level. Still, the British met the Luftwaffe’s attacks.

 

 

 

Göring was beside himself. England’s supply of fighters seemed limitless.

Luftwaffe pilot claims indicated that the RAF had lost well over a thousand

planes, nearly all of them fighters. Even allowing for a few inaccuracies, the

Reichsmarschall felt the RAF should have been overcome by such staggering

losses. What Göring didn’t know was that Great Britain had one of the best

programs for pillaging parts from dead planes—including German wrecks.

Furthermore, the country’s aircraft production never once fell behind schedule

that summer or fall. No Fighter Command squadron had a full complement of

planes, but the service somehow clung to life.

 

 

 

The most grievous concern to the RAF continued to be the supply of pilots. As far

back as July, following the loss of more than 80 squadron and flight commanders

in the Battle of France, Fighter Command had felt a shortage of qualified flyers. By

the start of August, only about half of Dowding’s pilots had any combat

experience, and by mid-August the scores of dead and injured airmen far

outnumbered their replacements. In the eleven days between August 8 and 18,

more than 150 Fighter Command pilots were knocked out of battle. Training

programs covered not even a third that number. Across the Channel, the

shortage was less acute. Germany, long a country fascinated by aviation, still had

a large reserve of skilled civilian pilots from which to draw.

 

 

 

 

 

 

108

 

LONDON

 

 

When Göring had launched Adlerangriff, he had given his pilots permission to

bomb at will any target, with the exception of London. Hitler wished to delay for

now an assault on the city, and so the bombings of August encircled the capital

but left it untouched. Paradoxically, in England there were a number of people

who actually wished the Germans to turn their attentions toward London—Prime

Minister Winston Churchill, for one. He hoped that an attack on the British capital

would draw the United States into the war. Another was Air Chief Marshal

Dowding, who believed that the bombardment of London would divert the

Luftwaffe from his fighter bases and give them a much-needed respite.

 

 

On the night of August 24, Luftwaffe bombers set their sights on the oil storage

tanks at Thameshaven, only 15 miles from London. The planes were to fly in blind

on the suburb, following the Thames Estuary in lieu of other directional aids. This

decision proved a fateful one; in the clouds, one of the bombers strayed out of

formation and inadvertently continued too far westward before dropping its

payload. As it happened, the aircraft had drifted over the heart of London.

Damage from the errant raid was restricted primarily to residential areas. No

more bombs fell on London that night. The crew of the lost bomber was severely

reprimanded for its navigational error, and Hitler reiterated his ban on targeting

the capital city.

 

 

In the aftermath of the attack, Churchill ordered the RAF to retaliate with a raid on

Berlin. Massive formations of bombers set out on the night of August 25 for the

German capital, as they did on three of the next four nights. Their bomb loads

were invariably light, since each aircraft was already weighted down with extra

fuel, and the raids caused scant damage either to the suburbs or the city proper.

The impact on the morale of German citizens, though, was devastating. Their

Führer had intimated that the war was almost won, but now British bombers

rumbled in the skies near the capital.

 

 

Bombing Berlin got the reaction that Churchill and Dowding wanted; on August

30, Hitler met with his Reichsmarschall and withdrew the earlier ban on attacking

London. The German leader acted not merely out of revenge; he thought that a

massive assault on the capital city would demoralize the English people and

throw all of Great Britain into immediate and utter administrative chaos.

Surrender, the Führer believed, would follow in a matter of days. Hitler was also

convinced that bombarding the capital would be a healing tonic for the growing

frustration of Luftwaffe pilots, and he suspected that they could soon polish off

the RAF. On this, Feldmarschall Albert Kesselring agreed.

 

 

 

 

 

109

 

 

Amidst the cries for retaliation on London, however, there was a single voice of

dissent—that of Feldmarschall Hugo Sperrle. Sperrle felt that the Luftwaffe should

continue on its current course of multiple smaller forays that had so dearly taxed

Fighter Command to this point. A change in strategy now, he argued, could only

help the RAF. His warnings went unheeded. Göring travelled immediately to

France and took direct command of the Luftwaffe forces stationed there, in

preparation for the bombardment of the capital.

 

 

 

Nothing in the air on September 7 hinted at the Luftwaffe’s change of focus.

There were the usual early morning reconnaissance missions, followed by a

pause in air traffic. Later in the day, multiple Luftwaffe flights approached from

across the Channel, and Dowding sent his Fighter Command aloft to patrol the

same airfields that had for so long been under attack. The men waited and

watched. Nothing happened. Soon Fighter Command realised that the separate

strikes were moving in from different directions and at different times, but on the

same target: London. None of Dowding’s men was in position to head them off.

 

 

 

Wave after wave of bombers thundered overhead and let their bombs drop on

the city below. The ground shook with the force of the explosions. Buildings

crumbled, and factories collapsed. Much of London was ablaze by the time

Fighter Command arrived. Although Dowding’s men gave chase to the Luftwaffe

raiders, they claimed only a handful of bombers. Later that evening, in the

darkness, the Luftwaffe returned with full fuel tanks and fresh payloads to strike

again. More than 300 English civilians died in London that night. Nearly 150

more perished in the nearby suburbs, and over 1300 were badly injured. Thus

began the Luftwaffe’s onslaught on London. Many hundreds of civilians died over

the following weeks.

 

 

 

 

A pair of Me109s soars high over Great Britain during a daylight raid.

 

 

 

 

110

The daily fury of the bombing raids clearly seemed to indicate that the end was

near—similar brutal attacks on the civilian population had preceded Germany’s

other forced occupations. Moreover, despite England’s hopes, the United States

still refused to lend military aid. The British believed that the German invasion was

close at hand. But while the Führer’s newfound obsession with London

traumatized the civilian population, it gave Fighter Command just the respite it

needed. With the Luftwaffe’s attention focused primarily on the capital city, the

RAF could repair bases, rest weary pilots, and train a sufficient number of new

recruits to fly British warplanes. The interception of German aircraft also became

much easier; pilots knew where the enemy was headed on every raid. Fighter

Command—indeed the entire air defence system—had once been on the verge of

collapse. Now it was on the rebound, and with it the nation’s spirits.

 

 

 

German morale, conversely, was steadily sinking. Nothing had prepared the

country for a long-distance war of attrition with a truly powerful enemy. Their

blitzkrieg offensives in Poland, Norway, France, and elsewhere had met with easy

success, but conditions were different here. Lacking the ground support of

previous encounters, Luftwaffe planes had to clear the way single-handedly for

invasion forces. They were unprepared for the task. Nor were the Germans

accustomed to resistance. For weeks on end, Luftwaffe pilots had been told that

the RAF was all but extinct, yet Great Britain stubbornly refused to concede

defeat. The battle had turned out to be more than the simple river crossing that

Germany had expected.

 

 

THE CRISIS

 

September 15 signaled the turning of the tide. Mid-morning, Reichsmarschall

Göring sent out an impressive array of aircraft on a daylight raid of London.

Large formations of Bf109s and Dorniers linked up over the French coast and

proceeded toward the city en masse. Their number and strength easily

outmatched anything the English could muster. Göring didn’t count on meeting

much resistance. The sheer size of the flight, however, made it easy to pick up by

radar, and the RAF tracked its progress from the very outset. Fighter Command

ordered aloft a defensive force of Spitfires and Hurricanes—virtually every RAF

fighter available was running intercept.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

111

The two forces clashed over Great Britain. The drone of engines filled the air as

scores of German aircraft powered toward London. Fearlessly, the RAF attacked

the strike head-on, breaking it apart and leaving the bombers vulnerable. The

Bf109 escort was shortly forced to turn back as fuel ran low. Most of the Dorniers,

harassed from every angle, unloaded their munitions willy-nilly and fled the

scene. Damage was scattered and minimal. Even several direct hits on

Buckingham Palace had little impact—the bombs failed to detonate, and both

the King and Queen were absent at the time.

 

 

 

After a calm of several hours, the Germans came roaring back, this time with even

greater might, but with substantially the same results. The flight took nearly half

an hour to form over the Channel, and British radar again monitored every move.

A fighter force was waiting as the Luftwaffe crossed into England. For a second

time that day, the two adversaries locked horns, and for a second time the RAF

splintered the incoming formation. In the battle that ensued, the Bf109s (as

before) had to break off their escort early or risk splashing into the Channel on the

return trip. Though the undefended bombers gallantly continued toward their

target, they soon dumped their payloads and turned tail in the face of an

unrelenting defence.

 

 

 

The RAF downed 60 German planes that September day and lost fewer than half

that number themselves. Within 48 hours, Hitler indefinitely postponed his

planned invasion of Britain. England had withstood the threat and dealt Germany

its first decisive defeat of the war. Thus came to a close the first exclusively aerial

battle in world history.

 

 

The gratitude of every home in our Island, in our Empire, and indeed

throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British

airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and

mortal danger, are turning the tide of world war by their prowess and

devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many

to so few.” Winston Churchill, 20 August 1940

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

112

 

 

Fortress without a Roof

 

Hitler built a fortress around Europe, but he forgot to put a roof on it.” Franklin

Delano Roosevelt

 

 

Royal Air Force Bomber Command began night-time area bombing raids against

Germany in 1940 and continued raids against German cities and coastal

installations in France and the Low Countries. Attempts early in the war had

convinced them that daylight raids with unescorted bombers were too costly.

Imagine their disbelief when the Americans proposed just that.

 

 

 

The first units of the U.S. VIII Air Force arrived in Great Britain in the beginning of

July, 1942. Bomber command was very enthusiastic about the arrival of the

Americans, and provided much needed logistics and facilities for the fledgling

force. Co-operation between the RAF and VIII AF commanders had produced the

needed procedures for air traffic control, logistics support and multi-national

escorts. The first major problem facing the VIII AF was the level of training of its

crews. Due to the rapid expansion of the air force, units were filled out with half trained

crewmen. Many pilots had little or no formation flying experience, and

many units had only flown together for a couple of weeks before deploying to

England. Aerial gunnery standards were poor, with many gunners never having

fired their guns in flight, let alone at an airborne target. The RAF provided critical

training schools and equipment to the new American units, and within a few

weeks, they were combat ready.

 

 

THESE MAD AMERICANS

 

Many senior American officers, including the AAF’s commander, General H.H.

Arnold, and the VIII AF commander General Carl A. Spaatz, were proponents of

strategic bombing. They believed that limiting bombing to night missions would

not lead to any long-term success against the German war machine; the

inaccuracy of night attacks would limit their ability to cause lasting damage to

industry and other military targets. They favoured daylight raids against key

targets, with enough aircraft to ensure destruction of the target facility, but

accurate enough to avoid excessive collateral damage to civilian areas. The

British and many U.S. senior commands were sceptical, to say the least.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

113

 

Proponents of strategic bombardment believed that the defensive firepower of a

large formation of B-17s flying in a tight formation could hold off enemy fighters,

allowing the formation to hit their targets with the accuracy of “dropping pickles

in a barrel.” It was their belief that a force of bombers could penetrate and attack

strategic targets deep inside an enemy’s country while maintaining acceptable

losses.

 

 

 

Every theatre commander was pushing for more heavy bombers and more air

power. Early plans did not call for an extended air campaign against Germany to

begin until a cross-channel invasion was only a few months away, so the VIII AF

could not count on any immediate major reinforcement. In fact, their first two

heavy bombardment groups and four fighter groups were transferred in

November 1942 to create the XII AF in North Africa. If strategic bombardment

was going to work, the VIII AF had to prove the concept quickly.

 

 

 

The first B-17 raid occurred on August 17, 1942, against the marshalling yards in

Rouen. The attack consisted of 12 B-17s, escorted by RAF Spitfires. The Germans

did not intercept the attack, and damage to the target was disappointing. Raids

on this scale continued through August, with the first interception taking place on

August 21. In this case, a 12 plane raid was late to rendezvous with its escorts,

requiring the fighters to return early. The Germans had been waiting for such an

opportunity and attacked the formation with approximately 20 fighters. They

were totally surprised by the volume and accuracy of the defensive fire and

limited their attack to a lone straggler. This B-17 was heavily damaged, but made

it back to England. The Germans lost a few aircraft.

 

 

 

The number of bombers slowly increased during the next couple of months,

culminating in a 108 plane raid on the Fives-Lille Steel Works on October 9. Four

bombers were lost, and about 30 were heavily damaged. According to initial

claims, 56 German fighters were shot down, but this total was soon cut closer to

20. Bombing accuracy still needed improvement. Overall, the raid was deemed a

success, but this was to be the largest raid for the next six months. Bad weather

limited attacks through the remainder of October, and in November, the units

assigned to the XII AF were withdrawn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

114

The results of these early raids were definitely mixed. However, they were good

enough to justify additional equipment and time. Over the next six months, the

VIII AF, with just four active Heavy Bombardment Groups, had to either prove the

validity of strategic bombing or give up the concept.

 

 

 

During those next few months, attacks were mainly limited to targets in occupied

France and Belgium, with an occasional raid to the fringes of Germany. The initial

bombing runs on the submarine pens and yards yielded inadequate results to

justify an average ten percent loss rate. This very high attrition (a percent loss

near five was considered more acceptable) lowered the morale and effectiveness

of the American bombing crews. Planes began dropping their payloads prior to

reaching their target, to avoid the heavier flak zones. The B-17s started to fly as

high as 25,000 feet, trying to avoid the deadly flak. This higher altitude reduced

bombing accuracy, since the bombs scattered more on the way down. The

reduced damage required multiple trips on the same target. This meant that, in

the long run, more planes were lost on the same target.

 

 

 

The air forces learned many, sometimes painful, lessons from these early raids.

Luftwaffe commanders learned to exploit the weaknesses of the American

formations. The standard B-17 bombing formation always kept the lead squadron

in the centre of the group. As the first plane dropped its payload, the other planes

would release afterwards. If the German pilots could destroy the lead planes or

force them out of formation, the chances for the entire formation to hit the target

were reduced. The Germans also learned to co-ordinate their attacks on bomber

formations just minutes after the escorting P-47s and P-38s disengaged due to

low fuel. The Luftwaffe had a higher success rate against American bombers

without the protection of their “little friends.” While the results of the bombing

attacks continued to be mixed, they were just successful enough to keep the

concept alive. The most significant outcome was the increasing number of

fighter units the Germans were using to oppose the attacks. If they were hurting

the Germans, strategic bombing would continue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

115

The limited success of the American campaign gave rise to a strategy called

around the clock bombing.” The British would use their Stirlings and Lancasters

after sundown, while the VIII Air Force would head out as soon as the RAF

returned. What the Allies also agreed on was the importance of co-ordination, in

terms of flight paths, takeoffs, and landings, as well as military targets. This

pattern created separate bombing periods, allowing the AAF to work

independent of the RAF. The initial targets of priority that the Allies agreed upon

were the German submarine yards and aircraft industries. The Allies felt that if

they could crush a high percentage of these installations, Hitler’s war machine

would slow down enough for them to choose more targets of opportunity. The

next, obvious targets were the transportation routes, oil plants, and war

industries.

 

 

SCHWEINFURT/REGENSBURG

 

 

As the Eighth Bomber Command grew in strength, it began to search for a target

that could prove that daylight bombing was capable of inflicting significant

damage to Germany’s war effort—with acceptable losses. On August 17, 1943,

the anniversary of its first raid, the Eighth launched mission number 84. The

Schweinfurt/Regensburg raid was to be costly proof.

During the 1930s, Schweinfurt had become the centre of Germany’s ball-bearing

industry. Plants there produced the high quality ball-bearings necessary for

motorised vehicles, aircraft engines, and so forth. At the outbreak of the war,

these three plants began producing over half of Germany’s war-time

requirements, making this a prime industrial target. In 1938, a large aircraft

factory was completed at Regensburg. At the time of its selection as a target, this

factory was the single largest builder of Me109s, producing approximately 300

to 400 aircraft a month. Eighth Bomber Command believed that the destruction

of these two targets would have a major impact on Germany’s ability to continue

the war.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

116

 

The Plan

 

 

Eighth Bomber Command’s planners envisioned a simultaneous attack on the

ball bearing plants of Schweinfurt and the Messerschmitt factory at Regensburg.

They believed that this coordinated attack would force the Luftwaffe to split its

forces between the two, thus reducing the losses to both attack groups. The

Regensburg force, consisting of 146 B-17s, was scheduled to leave first, followed

fifteen minutes later by the Schweinfurt strike, 230 B-17s. Upon completing its

mission, the Regensburg force was to continue southward and land in North

Africa, while the Schweinfurt force returned to England. To sow further confusion

among the enemy, four diversionary raids were carried out against various

targets, in hopes of drawing some attention away from the main attacks.

 

 

 

The Mission

 

 

The morning of August 17 found the bases of the Eighth blanketed with a heavy,

low hanging cloud cover. The initial take-off time of 0545 was delayed one full

hour. After the delay, the weather still wasn’t co-operating, but time was now

crucial for the Regensburg group if they were to reach North Africa before dark.

At 0715, the latest they could leave, the Regensburg group took off. Time wasn’t

as crucial for the Schweinfurt group, and their departure was delayed by three

and a half hours. This decision would have grave consequences for both groups.

The Regensburg force crossed the Dutch border around 1000. At this point, two

fighter groups were supposed to meet them and provide escort to the German

border—but only one made the rendezvous. The Luftwaffe, alerted of the raid by

their radar, took full advantage of the mistake. They concentrated their attacks on

the two rear groups, in particular the low squadron of the low group. The further

the Fortresses pressed on into Germany—devoid of any escort—the worse the

opposition became. Me109s and Fw190s attacked singly, in pairs, and in waves

of four or more for the next 150 miles. Most of their attention was focused on the

100th Bomb Group (which became known as the Bloody 100th). Eventually, nine

of their aircraft were destroyed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

117

After the bombers passed Mannheim, the single-engine fighters—now low on

fuel and ammunition—were replaced by twin-engine Me110s and Ju88 night

fighters, which continued to harass the group from the rear. After nearly one and

a half hours of continuous battle, the enemy broke away and the bomber group

neared Regensburg—having lost seventeen Flying Fortresses. Leaving the factory

smoldering, the surviving bombers set course towards North Africa. They

encountered little opposition, as the Germans hadn’t anticipated that move.

Another reason for the light opposition was that the Germans had become aware

of another raid beginning to form over England. Around 1730, slightly over 11

hours since takeoff, the Regensburg planes landed in North Africa. They had lost

an additional 7 planes en route.

 

 

 

The Schweinfurt group began taking off slightly after 1100, and they proceeded

along the same route the earlier bombers had taken. The Luftwaffe, now fully

alert after the Regensburg mission, had time to concentrated thirteen

Jagdgruppe in and around the area. What they had prepared for was the

returning Regensburg force, but instead, they intercepted the inbound

Schweinfurt force. The failure of the escorts to make rendezvous with the

bombers provided the Germans with a golden opportunity that they didn’t let slip

by. Beginning near Antwerp, the bomber group was attacked intermittently by

roughly 200 aircraft—all the way to Schweinfurt and back. At the height of the

engagement, the Schweinfurt group faced nine full gruppen, approximately 180

aircraft, compared to the three (60 aircraft) faced by the Regensburg raiders.

 

 

Switching tactics from the morning’s fighting, the Germans attempted to

eliminate the lead formations. They nearly succeeded. As before, they initially

concentrated their efforts on the lower group, destroying nine of the 381st Bomb

Group. The Luftwaffe followed quickly with vicious attacks on the lead group, the

91st Bomb Group. This resulted in another eight bombers going down in flames.

While the lead groups suffered catastrophic losses, the rear bombers were totally

unaware of the disaster taking place in front of them, and were taking only

minimal losses. The German “golden rule” applied—attack the weakened groups.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

118

During the final leg to Schweinfurt, the Luftwaffe’s attacks began to subside, as

many of its pilots were running low on fuel and ammunition. They had destroyed

twenty-four bombers, compared to fourteen from the Regenburg force. The

running battle had lasted approximately one hour and fifteen minutes. At 1453,

the bombers began their bomb run, and six minutes later, Schweinfurt felt the

first of many explosions. During their time over target and their return flight, a

further twelve bombers were lost due to flak and additional interceptions. The

early morning decision to separate the two bombing forces allowed the Germans

to concentrate their fighter force against both, instead of separating them as the

attack had been designed to do.

 

 

 

Conclusion

 

 

On the anniversary of Eighth Bomber Command’s operations, they had

dispatched a force of 376 bombers to Schweinfurt and Regensburg. Of those,

361 crossed into enemy territory. When the day was over, 60 bombers had been

lost—the highest single mission loss to date—and another 162 suffered various

degrees of damage. On the other hand, Germany lost only 27 aircraft. For the

next six weeks, the Eighth Air Force’s attacks were confined to French and

Belgian coastal targets. The Schweinfurt/Regensburg mission was a clear victory

for the Luftwaffe, but the question remained—did the bombing results justify the

cost in aircraft and crews lost?

 

 

At Regensburg, the bombing results were remarkably good. Fully two-thirds of

the workshops were damaged, and production halted for a few months.

Approximately eight to ten weeks of production (800 to 1,000 aircraft) were lost

as a direct result of this raid. Learning a lesson, the Germans dispersed

production facilities into the surrounding countryside. On the other hand, the

bombing results at Schweinfurt were less fruitful. The raid failed to inflict any

serious, lasting damage. In fact, the raids gave the Germans a clear warning that

their ball bearing plants were vulnerable. As a result, they undertook protective

measures to strengthen the defences at Schweinfurt and protect the valuable

equipment located there. The Eighth would have to return to finish the job at

Schweinfurt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

119

WHY YOU’RE HERE

Book 2: Pilot’s Handbook

The Schweinfurt/Regensburg raid destroyed the illusion of the self-protecting

daylight bomber. American commanders learned that knocking Germany out of

the war was going to be a tougher and longer job than they had previously

anticipated. Furthermore, the need for a long-range escort fighter became

apparent, for without it, any deep penetration raid would again result in heavy

losses. The Eighth Air Force learned that it didn’t possess sufficient bombing

capacity to destroy two targets simultaneously. In October, the Eighth returned to

Schweinfurt with its full might and damaged the plants heavily.

 

 

OPERATION ARGUMENT

 

 

In 1942, the Allies had reasoned that a cross-channel invasion wouldn’t be

feasible until the German Luftwaffe had been defeated. They assigned that task

to the Eighth Air Force, and throughout 1943, the Eighth struggled to accomplish

this goal. Despite their efforts, control of the skies was still in doubt at the

beginning of 1944—which threatened the proposed invasion set for later

that year.

 

 

In late February, however, the Allies took a major step toward ending the

Luftwaffe’s reign. In a series of raids, Operation Argument, the Eighth attacked all

of Germany’s aircraft industry. The plan for Operation Argument required the VIII

AF to attack a series of critical Luftwaffe targets. This would, in theory, force the

Luftwaffe to make their own maximum effort to protect these targets, allowing

the VIII Fighter Command to engage them and destroy the Luftwaffe in the air.

 

 

The following targets were selected:

 

The Erla Machinenwerke at Leipzig, responsible for final assembly of one-third

of all the Me109s built (This same complex housed repair shops and assembly

lines for both the Ju-88 and Ju-52.)

 

Messerschmitt plant at Wiener Neustadt

 

Messerschmitt plant at Regensburg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

120

 

The Central Germany Complex, which included aircraft production facilities at

Oschersleben, Kassel, Warnemunde, Anklam, and Marienburg

 

The Eastern Germany Complex, consisting of facilities at Tutow, Poznan,

Gdynia, Sorau, Cottbus, and Kresinki

 

Aircraft Plants at Brunswick, Gotha, Augsburg, Bernburg, Munich, and

Budapest (these produced the Me110, 210, and 410, plus the Ju-88 and 188.)

 

Approximately 18 other factories in 14 cities that produced engines for twin engine

fighters

 

 

 

The raids provoked an all-out response, which was exactly what the Eighth was

hoping for. It was a costly week for both sides, but seriously affected the

Luftwaffe’s ability to defend Germany.

 

The attacks during “Big Week” deprived the Luftwaffe of many badly needed

aircraft, but the initial damage estimates were wildly over-optimistic. The German

dispersal program, a direct result of the raids in July and August of 1943, had had

a cushioning effect. The de-centralisation of production limited the ability of the

Allied attacks to hit critical industrial bottlenecks and forced the attackers to seek

out a group of smaller, dispersed targets. German fighter production took a

plunge after Big Week; the following month’s total was less than half of that

planned. This reduction was not permanent.

 

Another softening factor was that the bombs dropped by the VIII AF were too

small to be capable of destroying the vital machine tools inside the factories.

These were soon retrieved and reused. Fighter production returned to near pre-attack

levels within months. During the six day operation, Eighth and Fifteenth Air

Force bombers flew 3,300 sorties and dropped approximately 10,000 tons of

bombs, at a cost to the Allied forces of over 220 bombers and 28 fighters.

Afterward, the Luftwaffe was still capable of mounting a strong defence, but this

operation forever altered the course of the air war in favour of the allies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

121

 

BIG “B”, MARCH 6, 1944

 

 

Assuming that they had struck a telling blow to the Luftwaffe during Operation

Argument, the Allied air commanders wanted to keep up the pressure. They

made a point of selecting targets that the Germans would be forced to defend in

the air. It wasn’t long before they decided to attack the biggest target of all—

Berlin.

 

 

As a potential target, Berlin had many attractive qualities. Primary among these,

the Eighth Air Force reasoned that the Germans would defend their capital with

everything they had available. Drawing the Germans into combat would give the

Eighth the opportunity to further the destruction of the Luftwaffe. As an added

benefit, the city contained many strategic industrial targets, including a ball

bearing plant, an aircraft engine plant, and an electrical equipment factory (to

name just a few). Finally, the morale boost of bombing the Reich’s capital would

be tremendous. Berlin had been bombed several times by the RAF, but the

Americans had not yet paid their first visit. That was about to change.

The raid was originally scheduled for March 3, but due to weather conditions,

that sortie was scrubbed. On March 5, forecasters predicted acceptable

conditions over Berlin for the next day. The stage was set. On March 6, 1944,

Eighth Air Force Mission number 250 took off for Hitler’s capital (‘Big B’). This

mission would prove to be the costliest of the war, but it showed that the Eighth

could go anywhere it wanted to, and that no place in German territory was safe

any longer.

 

 

The Plan

 

The plan for Mission number 250 called for a maximum effort involving nearly all

the operational fighter and bomber groups of the Eighth Air Force—a total of 810

bombers and 796 fighters. The bombers were organised into three divisions, and

each division was assigned a target. First division targeted the ball bearing works

at Erkner, on the east side of Berlin. Second division drew the Daimler Benz

engine plant at Genshagen, slightly south of Berlin. Third division set their sights

on the electrical equipment plant at Klein Machnow, to the south east. The

Second’s original target had been an aircraft plant at Oranienburg, but weather

conditions had forced a change in plans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

122

 

The weather dictated that the raiders travel the most direct route, with only minor

deviations to avoid known areas of heavier flak. The bombers were to follow the

52 degree, 37 minute line of latitude to a town called Celle, after which they were

to turn east-south east and head to a point slightly north of Magdeburg. There, the

divisions were to split and make their way to their respective Initial Points, then

complete their bomb runs.

 

Afterwards, the First was to continue north, while the

Second and Third turned westward in an attempt to leave the flak area quickly. All

three bomb divisions were to link up north west of Berlin and use the same route

out as they had going in. During the return flight, the divisions were to fly line

abreast, instead of the column formation used on entry. This simpler formation

would make the job of the escort easier, by condensing the bombers into a group

20 miles wide by 30 miles long, instead of a column 1 mile wide by 94 miles long.

 

 

The bomber divisions were to be escort by sixteen fighter groups from the VIII

and IX Air Forces, as well as two R.A.F. squadrons. The plan had P-47s covering

the bombers’ outbound and homebound routes roughly as far as Brunswick and

P-51s escorting them to the target area. P-38s would assume escort duty as the

bombers left the target area. On paper, the plan seemed simple and sound, but

whether it was going to work was another question entirely.

 

 

The Mission

 

At 0745 on the morning of March 6, lead elements of the First bomb division

began taking off, followed by the Third and then the Second. As the bombers

began to form up over England, German radar picked up the force and alerts

brought their pilots to Sitzbereitschaft—cockpit readiness. After assembly, the

bombers headed out. They formed a stream of aircraft almost 100 miles long—so

long that after the First division crossed into the North Sea, around 1000, it was

fully 40 minutes until the last plane was over the sea. (The lead division reached

the Dutch border only a few minutes after the rear division had begun flying over

the North Sea.) The first group of escorting fighters, P-47s, moved into place.

Moments after the raid crossed the Dutch border, the Luftwaffe ordered the first

of its units into the air. When the First crossed into Germany, they had already—

unknowingly—deviated from the planned route.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

123

At 1130, German observation posts reported the enemy passing over the border.

As the stream of bombers flew deeper into hostile territory, over a hundred

German fighters began assembling over Lake Steinhuder. Ground control

directed them towards the bombers. Slightly before noon they made contact

near Lake Drummer. As a result of the first being off course, instead of

intercepting the vanguard of the bombers, which were well protected, the

German fighters found themselves engaging a group of relatively unprotected

bombers.

 

In the ensuing battle, which lasted approximately 25 minutes, a total of

twenty B-17s and three escorting P-47s were destroyed—for a cost of twelve

Fw190s and Me109s. The opening round was over, but even as this battle raged,

German controllers were assembling another large attack formation.

 

 

The controllers had organised a large concentration of fighters comprised of

Me110s, Me410s, and Me109s near Magdeburg. Together with some additional

aircraft, the group totalled 72 single-engine and 41 twin-engine planes. All the

twin-engine fighters were equipped with rockets under their wings. The Me109s

had strict orders to protect the heavy fighters until they reached the bombers;

then they were on their own. At 1230, this group received intercept instructions

from ground control. It wasn’t long before another great battle was underway.

 

 

The German fighters engaged the lead bombers approximately twenty miles

north of Magdeburg. The 25 escorting P-51s positioned themselves to cover their

bombers as best they could, but they were extremely outnumbered. Just as the

Germans began their attack, a timely reinforcement of P-51s showed up and

entered the fray immediately. The main battle lasted for a solid 25 minutes, with

minor skirmishes continuing for another half hour. The German force was a much

larger and more powerful one than in the prior engagement, but this time the

escort was able to effectively blunt their attack. Only eight B-17s and four P-51s

were lost. Conversely, the Germans suffered heavily—the heavy fighters in

particular—with sixteen Me110s and 410s lost and seven Fw190s and Me109s.

The bombers continued toward Berlin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

124

 

Arriving over Berlin a little after 1300, the Allied bombers were met by the

heaviest and most accurate flak concentrations they had seen to date, which

destroyed some and damaged many more. Poor weather conditions at the

targets prevented visual bombing. Unfortunately, by the time the crews realised

this, it was too late to attempt radar bombing. As a result, the bombing results

were poor, with most of the bombs falling on the wrong targets. Berlin residents

finally received the All Clear at 1408, after the last bombers had turned away.

 

 

After completing their bomb runs, the bomber groups turned north west to reform

into their divisional formations for their journey home. Of course, the

Luftwaffe wasn’t done with them yet. While the stragglers were being attacked,

ground controllers vectored in another one-hundred-plus aircraft for the last

action of the day. Some of these aircraft were flying their second sortie, having

participated in one or the other of the earlier engagements. At 1440, the last

onslaught began, near the German-Dutch border.

 

 

Unlike in the previous two major attacks, the Germans did not have time to

assemble into a large attack formation. The Luftwaffe fighters attacked in small

groups from different sides. The escorting fighters again intervened efficiently.

Between this attack and attrition during the withdrawal, an additional eighteen B-

17s, one P-47, and one P-38 were lost. The Luftwaffe lost seven Me109s and four

Fw190s for its participation. The first mission to Berlin officially came to an end at

1745, when the last bomber landed.

 

 

Conclusions

 

The mission to Berlin produced exactly the reaction that the Allied High

Command had been hoping for—a strong defence from the Luftwaffe. As a result,

the Eighth Air Force lost a total of 80 aircraft: 69 bombers and eleven fighters.

Germany’s losses amounted to 66 fighters. The Eighth’s lost aircraft, though the

highest number of any mission to date, were easily replaced. On the other hand,

Germany had lost 46 pilots, either killed or wounded, who were irreplaceable.

The Luftwaffe’s training facilities had long since not been able to keep pace with

their rate of loss, resulting in a steady decline of fighter strength. Furthermore, the

pilots being turned out were inferior, due to their training being cut short as

demand grew stronger.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

125

Although the raid caused only minimal damage to the target areas, the Eighth

had shown the world that they could strike anywhere in Germany at will. They

returned to Berlin four more times that month, meeting substantially less

resistance each time. The first mission to Berlin could be considered a pyrrhic

victory for the Luftwaffe, but at that time, they could ill afford such victories.

Overall, the mission allowed the Eighth Air Force to continue its main goal, the

destruction of the Luftwaffe. By June 6, 1944, it was clearly evident they had

accomplished that goal.

 

 

PREPARING FOR INVASION

 

In the months leading up to the invasion of Normandy, the Allied Air Forces

found themselves filling a dual role. They had to both maintain the strategic

bombardment of Germany, in order to keep the Luftwaffe suppressed, and attack

the necessary targets to prepare for the invasion—Operation Overlord.

 

 

The Air Campaign Continues

 

The Allies’ most important strategic targets for bombing during this period

included V-1 launch sites and Germany’s synthetic oil production facilities. The V-

1 sites, code named NOBALL, were located in the Pas de Calais and the Low

Countries. Attacks on these targets had several objectives. The first (and most

obvious) was the destruction of the V-1 sites themselves. This would help to slow

or stop the V-1 attacks on England. The Allies also feared that the Germans might

begin to target the V-1s on staging areas and ports in southern England—those

required for the invasion. (The Germans never used this tactic.) Attacks on any

target in the Calais area also served to mislead the Germans that the invasion

would occur there, instead of the real target area in Normandy. Finally, the

weather over these V-1 targets was usually better than over target areas in

Germany. This allowed them to use NOBALL targets as secondary targets if the

weather was too bad for an attack into Germany.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

126

 

By 1944, General Doolittle, the new VIII AF commander, was opposed to

stopping the strategic bombardment of Germany just to prepare for the invasion.

Cloaking the attacks against oil targets under the pretext of destroying the

Luftwaffe, General Doolittle balanced attacks on the oil industry in Germany with

the required attacks on invasion targets in France. The German oil industry had

long been a favoured target of strategic bombardment proponents. There were

several reasons it had not previously become a target. Germany’s main source of

oil was the Romanian oil fields at Ploesti; over 75% of German oil needs were met

with synthetic petroleum. The processing and production centres for the

synthetic industry were scattered, and combat strength in 1943 did not allow for

the type of effort needed to attack such a dispersed target. Direct attacks against

Ploesti proved to be much too costly. Early 1944 was the first real opportunity the

Allies had for strategic attacks against the oil industry.

 

 

 

This series of attacks, including a record 1,282 bomber raid on May 28, saw

some of the most critical air battles of the war. Attacks by Luftwaffe fighters were

pressed home, with massed attack following mass attack. Bomber losses were

heavy, but these missions resulted in some of the best bomb performances of the

war. In the 12 May attack on oil targets in the Leipzig area, the 385th Bomb Group

dropped 97 percent of their loads within 2,000 yards of the aim point—an

outstanding success by the standards of the time. These attacks had two positive

results: the Luftwaffe continued to lose precious aircraft and pilots in the defence

of Germany, and German oil production was reduced in the critical months of the

invasion.

 

 

Preparing for Overlord

 

 

The success of Operation Overlord depended on three key actions. First, the

Allied air forces had to gain air superiority to allow the initial assault and build-up

to proceed unimpeded by enemy air attack. Second, the rail and transportation

network in France and Germany had to be destroyed in order to isolate the

lodgment area and prevent German supplies and reinforcements from reaching

the combat area. The third and in many ways most important objective was to

maintain the element of surprise for the assault.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

127

The battle for air superiority had been in progress for over a year, and by May of

1944, the Allies had succeeded. The Luftwaffe was a mere shell of its former self,

and it was totally committed to defending the Fatherland against Allied bombing

missions. German tactical units in France were desperate for pilots, aircraft, and

fuel. As a measure of Allied air domination, the Luftwaffe launched a grand total

of two sorties on D-Day.

 

 

 

The second part of the air plan, the interdiction plan, began in March, when all

Allied air forces were placed under the command of General Eisenhower. This

change of command responsibility did not sit well with the American air

commanders, who felt that diverting their bombers to interdiction missions was a

waste of their ability. As it turns out, it was critical. The interdiction campaign

started in March, with attacks on marshalling yards located throughout northern

France and a continual reconnaissance of enemy movements. In April, these

missions were expanded to include attacks on locomotives, barges, and vehicle

convoys—to disrupt the transportation systems. These attacks continued until the

last week of May, when all bridges over the Seine between Paris and Rouen were

targeted. These were destroyed by D-Day. In addition, permanent airfield

installations within a 150-mile radius of the beachheads were attacked. The

destruction of maintenance and repair facilities was followed by attacks on

hangars and runway surfaces. The German radar network along the French coast

between Dunkirk and Brest was also attacked, to prevent early detection of the

invasion fleet.

 

 

 

The deceptive part of the air plan required that for every target attacked within

the invasion area, two targets must be struck outside the assault area—an

attempt to cover the Allies’ real intention. Air crews did not know where the

invasion area would be; they were aware only of their target, not of its relative

importance in the invasion plan. These diversionary attacks placed a lot of extra

strain on the men and planes of the Allied air forces, but helped insure the

successful invasion of Fortress Europe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

128

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUPPORTING THE INVASION

 

 

The interdiction campaign continued after D-Day, delaying German

reinforcements and causing attrition in combat units before they could reach the

battle area. The Wehrmacht was forced to move its panzer divisions by road

instead of rail, resulting not only in delays, but severe wear and tear on the

combat vehicles. Divisions were forced to move only by night, and to remain

scattered along the road. Combat formations are only effective if they can be

committed in a body and with their supporting arms; the interdiction campaign

prevented this and allowed the Allied armies to win the build-up race.

 

 

During June and July, Allied aircraft flew close air support and interdiction

missions constantly over Normandy. A majority of the VIII and IX Air Forces were

dedicated to close air support and interdiction missions. There were over 2,000

sorties per day against transportation routes, convoys, supply lines, tank farms,

railways, and bridges. Many of the German communications installations were

destroyed or disrupted, causing havoc throughout the Wehrmacht. The VIII and

IX Air Forces played an important role in the Allies’ rapid advancement through

France.

 

 

During this period, General Bradley and Field Marshal Montgomery both

attempted to use the heavy bombers as artillery, trying to blast the German front

line with carpet bombing. The tactic had mixed results. On the positive side,

bombardment was devastating to any unit under it, destroying combat vehicles

and rendering most units combat ineffective. On the other hand, on several

occasions the bombers were off target, accidentally hitting friendly units, causing

tremendous casualties. In addition, the bombardment devastated the ground so

much that it slowed any advance through it almost as much as the defenders

would have. The carpet bombing technique was not repeated after the U.S.

breakout.

 

 

Throughout the period, General Doolittle continued to launch as many strategic

missions as possible into Germany. The main targets continued to be the oil

industry and Luftwaffe production facilities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

129

 

Just a week after D-Day, the Germans launched the first V-2 rockets against

London. This vengeance weapon was perhaps the one invention the Allies feared

the most—not because of the damage it could do, but the potential it would have

once perfected. The Allied Air Command frantically switched priority to any

factory that produced these rockets. Fighters returning home from escorting

missions often deviated from their flight path to unload any extra ammo on any

installation that could or would launch V-2s.

 

 

OPERATION BODENPLATTE

 

 

Adolf Galland, head of the Luftwaffe fighter force, had watch his fighters suffer

grievous losses to enemy incursions throughout 1944. In the first four months

alone, Germany lost over 1,000 pilots, including many irreplaceable veterans.

Galland’s report that summer stated, “The time has arrived when our weapon is in

sight of collapse.” In June, Galland watched his fighter ranks further thinned

when he attempted to contest the Allies’ landing in Normandy. By fall, Galland

faced the daunting prospect that the Luftwaffe was all but absent from the skies

above Europe. However, as he observed the steady decline of his fighter force, he

learned one valuable lesson—individual or small group attacks against the large

escorted bomber formations proved fruitless. Reasonable results were achieved

only when significant numbers could establish some semblance of numerical

parity.

 

 

 

Galland devised a plan known as Der Grosse Schlag, the “Great Blow.” His design

was to cripple the bomber force of the Eighth in a single, one-day, massive

retaliation. It would employ 1,000 fighters to storm the bombers of a single

mission headed into Germany. Furthermore, 400 fighters would fly a second

sortie, destroying any previously damaged bombers. Additionally, approximately

100 night fighters would be positioned to annihilate any cripples attempting to

make it to Switzerland. Galland believed that he could destroy upwards of 300

bombers, and he was prepared to accept an even exchange rate of up to 400

fighters. He hoped that such a blow would force a temporary halt to the daylight

bombing offensive against Germany. Luftwaffe Command allowed Galland to

build a large reserve, but they had other ideas for such a force—support for their

upcoming winter offensive. Galland’s plan was never realised, as a series of

setbacks in November and December decimated the reserve he had built up.

These setbacks, however, did not deter command’s decision to use the remaining

fighters in support of the planned Wach am Rhine ground offensive. As the

panzers ground to a halt outside Bastonge, the German air force prepared for one

last desperate gasp. The stage was set for the Luftwaffe’s death throes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

130

The Objective & Plan

 

 

The Luftwaffe’s overall objective was to destroy the Allied air power based in

Europe and regain control of the airspace over western Europe. Afterwards, that

would allow them time to create a strong defence against the daylight bomber

incursions. The plan called for a series of simultaneous attacks on Allied airfields

located in Belgium, Holland, and France early in the morning of January 1. Their

hope was to catch and destroy a majority of the Allies’ planes on the ground. The

operation involved every available unit, with the exception of the JG300 and

JG301. Altogether, 900 German aircraft in 33 Gruppen were involved in the last

major Luftwaffe offensive.

 

 

The Mission

 

 

On the morning of the first, German planes began to take off and proceed

towards their designated targets. All German flak batteries were notified of the

operation and had strict orders not to fire during specific times, to allow the

Luftwaffe to pass unhindered. However, an unexpected ground mist and some

delays in forming resulted in revised timings. Unfortunately, these new times

were not communicated to the anti-aircraft batteries, resulting in catastrophe.

 

 

The Germans lost upwards of a hundred aircraft to their own gunners. The

remaining aircraft proceeded to their targets.

The first attacks began shortly after 0900, with the last to begin just before 1000.

Navigational error resulted in some of the targeted airdromes being missed or

attacked by only a few aircraft. In addition, poor aerial reconnaissance led to

strong fighter attacks on airfields which contained only a few aircraft.

 

 

Furthermore, some aircraft formed up with the wrong groups, consequently

upsetting the balance of each planned attack.

Despite the problems and confusion, those attacks which found their marks

obtained varying degrees of surprise. Initially, the Allies’ response was slow, but it

quickly erupted like a stirred hornets’ nest. The ensuing battles above the airfields

were intense and bloody. At Eindhoven, the Germans managed one of its most

successful attacks, destroying the equivalent of a wing of Typhoons and several

Spitfires. The Allies also suffered roughly 25 pilots killed during this attack. On the

other hand, the raid on Le Culot was a total fiasco. Instead of attacking Le Culot, a

navigational error resulted in the Germans striking the airdrome at Melsbroek.

 

The error cost them dearly. After the day was over, only 30 aircraft returned out of

the 55 aircraft that had left that morning. A total of 23 pilots were killed or

captured. All of the other attacks had similar results, some with success and

others failure.

 

 

 

131

Conclusion

 

 

The attacks on January 1 had varying degrees of success. Of the nineteen

airfields struck, only two could be called complete successes—Eindhoven and

Evere. Meanwhile, Le Culot was total failure. The remaining sixteen attacks

resulted in some success and some minor damage.

Overall the Allies were barely affected by the operation. Although they had lost

close to 500 aircraft, both on the ground and in the air, the air forces didn’t flinch.

 

 

Within two weeks, they had replaced their losses. Furthermore, since a majority

of the aircraft lost were on the ground, few air crews were lost, resulting in little to

no effect on the units’ state of readiness. On the other hand, the German losses

were prohibitive. More than 200 pilots were lost, including many of the few

remaining experienced combat leaders. An estimated 300 planes were

destroyed, approximately 30 percent of the total aircraft involved. After that day,

the Allies encountered only token resistance from the once mighty Luftwaffe.

Operation Bodenplatte had been their swan song.

 

 

THE FALL OF THE THIRD REICH

 

The war of attrition was wearing down the once mighty Luftwaffe. American war

production was at an all time high. The VIII and IX Air Forces were reinforced at a

rate more than twice their attrition rate. Green pilots were getting front-line action

side by side with veteran aces. Most of the American sorties moved in large

formations, so the Luftwaffe could never muster enough strength to even the

odds, even when time allowed.

 

 

The Luftwaffe, on the other hand, had more

planes than pilots. Most of the German planes were waiting for an experienced

(or even inexperienced) pilot to fly them. The war on the Russian front, in

combination with the Allied march through France, crippled pilot training time.

 

 

Most of the Luftwaffe cadets had only enough time to sit in the cockpit for eight

to twenty hours before they were engaged in a dogfight. The only training

concept the Luftwaffe could create was, “real training with live ammo and deadly

opponents.” The German army had become so used to the idea of having no air

support that they had a simple saying, “If the plane is silver or blue, it is an Allied

plane. If it is invisible, it is ours.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

132

Conclusion

 

 

The nature of aerial combat changed in the six years of war as much as it had in

the twenty years between the two world wars. The successes and failures of the

various air forces are still being debated more than fifty years later. Let’s take a

brief look at the various strategies used and evaluate their success.

 

 

AREA BOMBING

 

The area bombing of enemy population centres was intended to break the

morale of the enemy’s population, forcing them to surrender. It didn’t work. The

bombing of English cities only hardened the resolve of the British population. At

no time did the British consider surrendering to stop the bombardment. Twice, in

the Battle of Britain and during the V weapon Blitz, the Nazi insistence on terror

bombing crippled their war effort. In 1940, it relieved the pressure on the RAF

and allowed it to rebuild its airfields and support structure. In 1944, a V weapon

bombardment of the staging and port facilities—let alone the Normandy

beachhead itself—could have lengthened the war or even stopped or postponed

the invasion. The British raids on German cities had much the same result.

Instead of weakening the German resolve, it actually hardened the German will to

fight on.

 

 

STRATEGIC BOMBING

 

The goal of strategic bombardment was to destroy industrial capability and

render the enemy unable to supply and support its military. In other words, to

bomb them into submission. When viewed from this perspective, strategic

bombing failed.

 

The U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey, conducted after the war, came to some

startling conclusions. The ability of German industry to recover from bomb

damage had been vastly underestimated during the war. The survey also

indicated that the German dispersal program was probably responsible for more

lost production than actual bomb damage to factories. The attacks on German

industry in 1942 and 1943 did not produce a lasting effect on German

production. Military production peaked in 1944, then fell sharply as the

production areas were occupied by ground forces. In retrospect, the technical

abilities of the aircraft available were not sufficient for a successful strategic

bombing campaign. In fact, it would take another fifty years before a strategic

bombing campaign was successful.

 

 

 

 

 

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This said, the strategic bombing campaign was critical in winning the war, but not

the way it was planned. The constant air attacks forced the Luftwaffe to fight a

losing, defensive battle of attrition and prevented the Germans from fighting the

tactical air battle in support of their ground forces. The overwhelming Allied

industrial capacity allowed them to replace losses much faster than the Germans.

This sealed the fate of the Third Reich.

 

 

THE INTERDICTION CAMPAIGN

 

 

The U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey also made some other discoveries. Over

three-fourths of the bomb tonnage dropped on occupied Europe was dropped

after D-Day. Of the targets bombed, the strike on the transportation and oil

industry produced the greatest strain on the German economy. The interdiction

campaign waged throughout 1944 crippled the ability of the Wehrmacht to fight

the ground war. This often-overlooked aspect of the war was probably the

greatest contribution to victory in Europe.

 

 

 

At the end of the war, Feldmarschall Von Rundstedt, German commander in the

West, stated that three factors defeated Hitler. The first was Allied air supremacy

over Europe, which made movement during the day almost impossible. The

second was the lack of fuel needed to fly their planes or move their panzer

divisions. The third was the destruction of all the vital railways and bridges, so

that it became impossible to supply or reinforce the front lines. All three of these

were results of the Allies’ domination during the European Air War.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

134

 

 

 

 

 

Flight School

 

This section is your basic flight instruction. Any of you who have  experience with piloting, especially combat flying, can probably skip over this part. The rest of you had better pay attention.

135

The Basics

 

Despite the differences in design between the several models of aircraft included

in European Air War (these differences are discussed in detail in the subsection

entitled The Cockpits), there are some features of flight that remain consistent

across the board. It is your responsibility as a pilot to familiarise yourself with the

essential basics of flight before you take control of any aircraft.

Those of you who think you know something about flying might find some of

these lessons overly simplified. Read them anyway. You won’t have this book

with you in combat, and your life will depend on knowing more and being more

skilled than your enemy. Besides, you might learn something.

 

ESSENTIAL AERODYNAMICS

 

This is the physics lecture. Literally hundreds of green pilots have lost their lives

because they thought they knew how their plane would react. The only way

(let us stress that—the only way) to really be in control of your aircraft is to

understand the forces acting on it and the way the control surfaces manipulate

those forces. You don’t need to memorise Bernoulli’s equation, but you’d better

understand what it means for your wings. The pilot who has the aerodynamics

ingrained in his head can overcome virtually any enemy, including the “ace-killer,”

an uncontrolled spin.

The Four Forces and Torque

There are four basic physical forces that you have to worry about when you’re

flying a propeller-driven aircraft. Most textbooks stop at those, but there’s more; if

you don’t know about torque, you’ll end up like the many inexperienced pilots

whose careers (and, too often, their lives) were ended trying to land without

taking the torque of their plane into account.

 

1) Gravity is easy to understand; you deal with it every day. Your plane and

everything in it are attracted to the surface of the earth. The more weight

(technically, mass) on your plane, the greater the attraction. If there were

no other forces acting on your plane, gravity would pull it to the ground and

keep it there.

 

 

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2) Drag would limit how fast you would fall. In simple terms, drag is the

resistance the air offers to anything trying to move through it. A moving

aircraft with no force impelling it would quickly slow down and stop

because of the drag of the air around it.

 

 

3) Thrust is how you force your plane through all that drag. The spinning

propeller pushes air backward, which action results in Newton’s equal and

opposite reaction—a forward motion of the entire aircraft. In a jet engine,

air is taken in through the front (the “intake”) and the oxygen in that air is

burned with fuel, causing exhaust. This exhaust leaves the rear of the

engine at tremendous speed, which causes the same sort of forward thrust

as a spinning propeller, but much more of it.

 

 

4) Lift is what keeps you in the air. The aircraft’s wings are designed to take

advantage of a side effect of the law of conservation of energy. The

curvature of the wing causes air to move faster going over the top of the

wing than it does going under. The side effect is that this faster-moving air

has a lower pressure than the slower air (the pressure is determined using

Bernoulli’s equation), and the difference in pressure between the bottom

and top surfaces of the wing lifts it. When the lift on both wings is great

enough, the plane is held aloft. With lift and thrust both working to

counteract nature’s attempts to keep your plane from moving, it flies. The

angle at which the wings meet the airflow—the “angle of attack”—affects

the amount of lift produced.

 

 

Bernoulli’s equation, as applied to the airflow around a wing (in case you really

want to know) is:

 

P + 1/2 pu 2 + pgy = K

 

That is, for any particular volume of air, the sum of its pressure (P), kinetic

energy (1/2pu2), and potential energy (pgy) stays constant (= K). Meaning,

roughly, that the faster a volume of air moves, the lower its pressure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5) Torque in an aircraft is roll caused by a radial engine. These engines rotate

in only one direction, and that direction coincides with the roll axis of the

plane. Some of the torque generated by the engine’s rotation is transferred

to the body of the plane, which makes the plane try to rotate in the

opposite direction as the engine (usually counter clockwise—the left wing

tends downward). If the pilot does not compensate for this, the torque will

cause the plane to roll. This is especially dangerous at low airspeeds and

when landing.

 

 

 

The Three Axes

 

 

Axes of motion

An aircraft can move in an essentially unlimited number of directions. For

simplicity, however, we use a system of reference based on three axes of motion.

By design, these axes correspond to the three main types of aircraft motion that

you can control.

 

 

Roll is rotation of the plane around its length, also called the “parallel

horizontal axis”. What this means in simple terms is tipping the plane to the

right or left.

 

 

Pitch is rotation of the plane around its “transverse horizontal axis” (the line of

the wings). That is, tilting the nose up and down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

138

 

Yaw is rotation of the plane around its vertical axis. If you were looking at the

top of the aircraft, moving the nose to the left or right (the tail would move in

the opposite direction) would be yaw.

In short, roll tips the entire aircraft to the left or right, pitch pushes the nose of the

craft up or down, and yaw swings the plane’s nose to the left or right.

 

 

 

Control Surfaces

 

 

Manipulating these basic forces is how you control the movement of your plane.

Your engine provides the thrust, thus you have control over thrust. Two of the

forces—drag and lift—do not act on all parts of the plane equally. Aircraft

designers have taken advantage of that fact to build in features that let you

control the plane. These features are called the “control surfaces.”

 

 

 

Elevators These are vertically-tilting sections of the horizontal part of the

tail. Through drag, they affect the pitch of the plane. You control

them with the forward and back movements of the stick. When

the elevators are down (stick forward), the imbalance in the drag

on the plane makes the nose tilt down. This is called “lessening

the angle of attack,” and it causes the plane to dive. Up elevators,

conversely, tilt the nose up, and the plane climbs.

 

 

 

 

Angle of attack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

139

Ailerons These are similar to the elevators, only they’re on the wings.

When you move the stick to either side, one aileron goes up and

the other one goes down. This means that one wing gains some

extra lift, and the other one gets more drag. The former wing

rises, and the latter drops. This motion is called ‘roll.’ Your aircraft

banks in the direction of the roll—the direction you moved the

stick.

 

 

 

Flaps Built into the backs of the wings are flaps, which you can extend

or retract as necessary. These are used most often during

landing, but they do have the occasional other purpose.

Extending the flaps (“flaps down”) has several results. First, lift is

increased, so the plane rises; next, drag is also increased, so the

plane slows. Overall (and this is most important), the flaps lower

the speed at which the aircraft will stall. This means that, when

landing, you can approach more slowly without stalling or,

conversely, dive to a landing more steeply (because the flaps

slow you), then “flare”—bring the nose up sharply just before

touching down—and the flaps will kill most of your speed. Keep in

mind that when you retract the flaps (“flaps up”), the plane will

drop a bit. Some pilots use partial flaps for extra lift during takeoff.

If you are one of these, do not raise your flaps too soon after

take-off, or you may find yourself at a negative altitude. Note that

in addition to flaps, the German Me109 also has slats built into

the front of each wing. These provide much the same function as

flaps.

 

 

Rudder The rudder is a horizontally tilting section of the vertical part of

the tail. Through drag, it affects the yaw of the plane. When the

rudder is moved left or right, the nose yaws to that direction. Not

using the rudder in turns can cause a rough ride, and ruddering

can be extremely crucial for lining up shots, aligning a straight

approach for landing, and recovering from a spin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

140

 

You can use the wings, indirectly, as a control surface to manipulate lift. When

you change the plane’s angle of attack (using the elevators), the airflow over the

wing changes. A greater angle of attack creates more lift—to a point. If this angle

gets too big, and the plane’s airspeed is not high enough to maintain a smooth

flow (you try to gain too much lift too fast without enough thrust), turbulence will

take away all of the lift. Without lift, the plane will stall and drop like a rock—you

go into a dive and sometimes a spin. At low altitude. this can be fatal if there is not

enough time to regain the thrust needed to re-establish the air flow. A lesser angle

of attack creates less lift.

 

 

Inertia

 

All good pilots are aware of the effects of inertia on their aircraft and on their

bodies. One definition of inertia is “the tendency of any object to resist a change

to its state of motion.” What that means is that if your body or your plane is sitting

still, it wants to stay that way; if it is moving in a particular direction at a particular

velocity, it wants to retain that speed and heading.

 

While in flight, inertia makes manoeuvres more difficult at higher speeds. The

faster your plane is moving, the more inertia it has in the direction of movement.

Thus, the engine and control surfaces have to do more work to get the plane to

change direction.

 

 

The most noticeable problem inertia causes is g forces. The ‘g’ is a standard

abbreviation for acceleration due to gravity; in this case it is used to denote any

acceleration experienced by the plane and pilot. Whenever you change direction,

you are subject to g’s. If you turn to the side (as in yawing or banking), you’re

putting a centripetal acceleration on the plane and your body. Inertia (often

mistakenly called “centrifugal force”) tries to keep you moving in your original

direction, causing “transverse g’s.” When you turn downward, “negative g’s”

make you feel lighter, as in a dropping elevator. If you turn upwards, as when

pulling out of a dive, “positive g’s” push you down into your seat. Positive and

negative g’s entail risks—black outs and red outs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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FLIGHT SCHOOL

LEVEL FLIGHT

 

 

Level flight is accomplished when all the forces are in balance. In this state, the

aircraft moves at a constant speed without changing its altitude. Most of the

aircraft in European Air War are stable by design. That means that if you leave

the controls alone, a correctly trimmed aeroplane will (eventually) go into level

flight at a particular speed and altitude. This is also called “trimmed flight.” If the

plane is going faster than the trimmed speed, then it tends to pitch up and slow

down. If it is going slower than the trim, the plane tends to pitch down and speed

up. A gentle hand on the stick and perhaps a little rudder is all it takes to maintain

level flight. If you find it difficult to level your plane, the control surfaces (rudder,

ailerons, and such) may have been damaged. Return to the base as soon as

possible for repairs.

 

 

Pilots generally make level flight easier by setting the “trim” of the aircraft.

Trimming is analogous to calibrating a joystick to centre. You can “calibrate” the

elevators to compensate for lift and the ailerons and rudder to compensate for

roll. In European Air War, all of this is done for you by the automatic trim feature.

Though this may seem unrealistic, the theory behind it is simply that trimming

comes effortlessly to a pilot as skilled as you, like breathing. You don’t think about

it; you just do it.

 

 

ACCELERATION AND DECELERATION

 

 

Acceleration and deceleration—speeding up and slowing down—are primarily

governed by the effects of thrust, drag, and gravity on the aircraft. To increase

your speed, you can increase the thrust (add throttle), decrease drag (pull in your

landing gear), or trade altitude for speed (dive). To slow down, decrease thrust

(less throttle), increase drag (take a turn), or fight gravity (climb). In general, more

throttle means higher speed, and less means lower speed. Drag is affected by

many factors, including the angle of attack, altitude, and airspeed of the aircraft,

as well as the flaps and landing gear settings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

142

LEVEL CLIMB AND LEVEL DESCENT (RISING AND FALLING)

 

 

Level climb and level descent—gaining and losing altitude without changing the

pitch of the aircraft—are accomplished by changing the amount of lift generated

by the wings. To start a level climb, increase throttle. This increases the speed of

the aircraft, and thus the amount of lift generated, and the aircraft climbs

gradually. To lose altitude without gaining speed, cut back on the throttle. The

reduced speed generates less lift, and the aircraft descends gradually.

 

 

 

Green pilots tend to fly at full throttle all of the time. That’s a bad idea, because

doing so consumes more fuel, and your engines can overheat. A veteran pilot

knows the cruising speed of the plane and maintains that speed until a combat

situation arises. This conserves fuel for the important part of the flight—keeping

yourself alive during the minutes of aggressive flying during a dogfight.

 

 

CLIMBS AND DIVES

 

 

Climbs and dives are more dramatic ways of gaining and losing altitude. To climb,

pull back on the stick. The farther you pull, the steeper the climb will be. Keep in

mind that the steepness of any climb is limited by your airspeed and the

capabilities of the aircraft. The best angle of climb (and most efficient) for most

aircraft is about 20 degrees above the horizon, at full throttle. To dive, push

forward on the stick. The farther you push, the steeper the dive. Be forewarned

that a steep dive will cause you to gain airspeed rapidly.

 

 

 

Climb and dive

 

 

 

 

 

143

The reason this works is that tilting the plane changes the angle of attack of the

wing surface. The angle at which air encounters the airfoil determines the

amount of lift acting on the plane. A greater angle of attack means more lift, so

your plane rises. A lesser angle of attack means less lift, causing your plane to fall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Angle of attack

 

 

Remember also that quick, steep dives are the main cause of red outs. Combat pilots

who want to lose altitude quickly will not normally push the stick forward. Instead,

they flip the plane over, then pull back on the stick to “climb” downward. Repeating

the flip and climb straightens the plane out again, or you can continue the

downward “climb” and end up pointing back the way you came (if you have room;

otherwise, you end up as a lawn dart). Please refer to the Split-S manoeuvre in the

Advanced Flight subsection for a detailed description and a diagram.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steep dive

 

 

 

 

 

144

SIMPLE TURNS (BANKING)

 

 

To perform a simple turn, push the stick to either side. The plane rolls in that

direction, which redirects the wings’ lift (remember, wing lift acts in whatever

direction the top of the wing is facing, not necessarily straight up). The plane

banks” to that side, and you turn in that direction. Pulling back on the stick

tightens the turn. You will notice that you lose speed as you turn, the nose starts

to drift downward, and you begin to lose altitude. Add throttle to speed up, then

pull back on the stick and ease the rudder in the opposite direction to counter this

drop. For every aircraft there is an optimum airspeed for making nice, tight turns.

If you are flying faster than this optimum, your turn will be more open than

necessary; if you are below the optimum airspeed, you will lose altitude more

quickly.

 

 

 

 

Simple bank

 

 

FINAL ADVICE

 

 

You can learn more advanced manoeuvres from watching your fellow pilots,

especially your leader. Analysing the tactics of the enemy is another good way to

learn. (According to Sun Tzu, your enemy is the most important teacher of all.)

During dogfights, though, you’re usually pretty busy, and there’s rarely time for

analysing every move. Just keep your eyes open and do the best you can.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

145

Instruments

 

 

The instruments in the cockpit do not vary substantially from plane to plane.

(German instruments are marked according to the metric system, while the

American and British ones are calibrated to imperial units.) Every aircraft in the

European theatre is outfitted with the same essential instruments, though they

are certainly not in the same place in every cockpit. European Air War

reproduces the most important instruments, leaving out some of the complexity

of the cockpit instrumentation to facilitate game play. The basic set of gauges and

dials is summarised here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

146

 

 

Remember that many (if not all) of the instruments in your cockpit will be located

below the “dashboard” visible in the standard cockpit view. Tilt your view down

and up or use the Virtual Cockpit mode view to get a look at these gauges.

 

 

COMPASS

 

The compass is a simple, magnetic direction indicator. Whatever heading

is at the top of the indicator is the direction in which the nose of your

aircraft is pointing. Headings are numbered from 000 (zero) to 360,

starting and ending at due North and proceeding clockwise. Thus, due

North is both heading 000 and 360, East is 090, South is 180, and West

is 270.

 

ARTIFICIAL HORIZON

 

The artificial horizon (also called the ‘Attitude Indicator’) is a floating ball

that indicates your plane’s relation to the surface of the Earth, or attitude.

This is extremely useful when visibility is poor or when for some other

reason you cannot see the natural horizon. If you are flying level, the

artificial horizon will be centred and flat. If you are banking or rolling, it will

be at an angle. When you climb, the light part (the “sky”) will cover more of

the gauge; when you dive, the dark part (the “ground”) covers more. Keep

in mind that the artificial horizon represents the actual, natural horizon. This is not

radar! Irregularities in the surface of the Earth (mountains and such) are not

reflected on this gauge.

 

 

AIRSPEED INDICATOR

 

The airspeed indicator is a dial that registers the speed of your aircraft in

relation to the air around it. This airspeed is indicated in miles or kilometers

per hour. Keep in mind that your airspeed must remain above a certain

minimum (different for each model of aircraft) to stay aloft. Lower airspeed

means greater control of the plane’s lateral (horizontal) movement, but less

power for climbing.

 

 

147

 

TACHOMETER

 

The tachometer dial measures the rpm (rotations per minute) of the

aircraft’s engine. Under most circumstances, this is also the rpm of the

propeller crankshaft. (Many planes had step-up gears and such, so this is

not always true.) This indicator of engine power is relative to, but not

directly determined by, the amount the throttle is open. Though the

tachometer can serve as a rough guide to how much throttle you have on,

especially during level flight, do not rely on rpm for an exact gauge. Knowing

your engine’s rpm is primarily useful when you are planning a manoeuvre that

requires a certain amount of engine power—climbing, for example, or pulling

out of a particularly steep dive.

 

 

ALTIMETER

 

The altimeter tells you how far above sea level you are. The short needle

indicates thousands of feet, the long needle indicates hundreds. So, for

example, when the long is at 2 and the short is at 4, you are 4,200 feet

above sea level. Since none of the aircraft in European Air War is

equipped with radar, radar altimeters are out of the question. Your altitude

is measured as a function of the ambient air pressure, not absolute

altitude. What this means to the pilot is that you can trust your altimeter

only when flying over ocean (which is pretty flat and by definition very close to

sea level). Over land, you must stay alert for changes in the topography. If you are

less than 100 feet above a 2,000-foot mountain, your altimeter will still read

2,100 feet. An inattentive pilot might feel safe making a dive and later (assuming

he survives) wonder why he crashed.

 

 

OIL PRESSURE GAUGE

The oil pressure gauge, like the one in an automobile, keeps track of the

pumping pressure of the oil that lubricates your aircraft’s engine. Since

your flight crew are the best your nation has to offer, you can assume that

there is nothing wrong with the engine when you take off. If you start to

lose oil pressure, there can be only one explanation—your engine has been

damaged by enemy fire.

148

The leak may not be a bad one, but you shouldn’t take chances. Try to return to

your take-off point right away. Otherwise, the oil will eventually all run out, and

the plane’s engine will seize (stop working suddenly). You might, with luck, be

able to glide to a safe landing, but it’s much more likely that you’ll end up a sitting

duck for enemy pilots to shoot down. If you choose to stay in the fight and then

wind up bailing out, fine. Living to fight another day is better than going down

with your plane. However, unless you had a damn good reason for staying,

expect a reprimand. Bringing your country’s plane home with you is more

important than seeking personal victories.

 

 

ENGINE TEMPERATURE GAUGE

 

The engine temperature gauge indicates the operating temperature of

your aircraft’s engine. As you warm up prior to taking off, this gauge should

rise from the bottom to hover approximately in the centre of its range.

Under normal conditions, engine temperature will not deviate substantially

from this centre. Note that combat flying at high rpm is not considered

normal conditions.

 

Performing combat manoeuvres, running the engine without oil, carrying heavy

loads, or remaining aloft when the engine has been damaged all may cause the

temperature to rise to dangerous levels. If it nears the top of the indicator’s range,

there is a good chance your engine will cease functioning. Avoid this if at all

possible! Although you will hear stories of overheated engines that were

restarted in flight after cooling off, these are almost miraculous exceptions to the

rule. Overheating causes permanent damage to the engine which must be

repaired to make the aircraft airworthy.

 

 

FUEL GAUGE

 

The fuel gauge, like the one in a car, tells you how much fuel is left in the

tanks. The level in your main tank is measured by the bright white “Main”

needle of the gauge, while the level of fuel in any external tanks is indicated

on the dimmer “Reserve” needle. When the reserve tank runs out, the

engine begins drawing from the main tank automatically. Once the

external tank is empty, you should consider jettisoning it. Without the

excess weight of the empty tank, your plane will handle better and fly

faster.

 

 

 

149

MANIFOLD PRESSURE GAUGE

 

The gauge labelled “MP” measures manifold pressure. This is an

approximate measure of the air pressure inside the engine. Taken together

with the tachometer reading, this information gives you an idea of how

much horsepower you have available. A lower manifold pressure means

less available power, while a higher one (always assuming that the

pressure is not great enough to destroy the engine) generally means you

have more power.

 

Note that the MP can also be a reliable indicator of engine damage. If your

engine is punctured by one or more bullets or chunks of shrapnel (or

anything else), the manifold pressure will start to drop. A drop in pressure all the

way to zero means one of two things: either you have turned the engine off, or it

has ceased functioning.

 

Manifold pressure has a habit of becoming slightly lower as your altitude

increases, reflecting the decrease in ambient air pressure. Thus, at higher

altitudes (usually above a certain optimum operating altitude, which is different

for each model of aircraft) you will tend to get a little less power for the same

amount of throttle.

 

RATE OF CLIMB INDICATOR

 

The ROC indicator lets you know how quickly your altitude is changing.

Though you can get a rough approximation of this by watching the

altimeter move, sometimes you need to know in a glance, and that’s where

the ROC comes in. If the needle is above the centreline, you’re climbing; if

it’s below, you’re diving (or falling). Different planes have different scales

(x10, x100, x1000, etc.), but the hash marks on the dial will always indicate

a number of feet per minute (or meters, in the case of German craft).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

150

 

AMMUNITION COUNTER

 

In contrast to the other basic cockpit instruments in European

Air War, the ammunition counter is not standard equipment;

it can be found only in German planes—and not even in all of

these. The counter, as you might have deduced, shows a pilot

exactly how many rounds are in his guns at any given

moment. Pilots of Allied planes (and those unfortunate

German airmen in older model aircraft) must resort to

estimating their remaining rounds.

 

 

Formations

 

If you’ve gone ahead against advice and flown a mission or two without reading

this, you probably noticed that the aircraft in your flight are flying in formation.

This is standard procedure, even if your flight is only yourself and one other pilot.

Your flight should stay in formation until the enemy engages you in combat or the

mission ends. All of the normal formations you will encounter in European Air

War are variations on basic themes.

ECHELON

Echelon formations come in two flavours: echelon left and echelon right. The

planes fly behind and to one side of each other, forming a diagonal or “stair-step”

line. This type of formation can accommodate any number of aircraft, although it

is not suggested for more than five. A two-plane echelon is the standard lead and

wingman formation.

 

 

Echelons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

151

V

V formations, or “vees,” are the standard formation for flights of bombers (and

geese). The lead aircraft is flanked by two planes flying slightly behind and to

each side, thus forming the V. Any further planes extend the legs of the formation;

the standard V does not include any aircraft within the legs of the V. When there

is an even number of aircraft in a V formation, the flight leader decides which leg

will be extended. The two-plane V is essentially the same formation as the two plane

echelon.

 

 

V formation

 

 

FINGER FOUR

The Finger Four formation, also known as the ‘Rotte and Schwarm’ or the ‘Double

Attack’ system, is a variation on the standard V. It was first designed and

implemented by the Germans, but both British and American forces quickly

adopted it as well. It is perhaps the most common flight pattern found in

European Air War.

 

 

Developed by ace Werner Mölders, it is an inherently flexible formation

consisting of two groups of two fighter planes whose flight pattern, viewed from

above, resembles the fingers of an outstretched hand (minus the thumb).

 

Each pair (‘rotte’ or ‘element’) consists of a leader and his wingman. The leader is the

senior flyer of the two and the better marksman. A wingman flies slightly lower

and behind the leader, with the sole responsibility of guarding his leader’s tail. In

the Finger Four, the two pairs (together called a ‘schwarm’ or ‘flight’) generally

work in concert and take direction from the senior leader.  

 

When forced to split up, however, each leader-wingman unit can act independently of the other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Finger Four formation

 

 

BOMBERS AND ESCORTS

Bombers and their escorts fly near each other, but not in the same formation. As

noted above, flights of bombers generally travel in a V formation. The escorting

flight of fighters should keep 1,000 feet above the bomber group and 1,000 feet

out in the direction from which the enemy is expected. Any formation is

acceptable for the fighters, as long as it maximises the protection of the bombers.

 

 

 

Bomber escort

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Simple Manoeuvres

 

There are several easy manoeuvres that are not only basic, but essential to

combat flying. You may already be familiar with some of them. Regardless, you

ought to practice each time you begin flying a new type of aircraft; every plane

reacts differently, and you should always adapt to your aircraft—it will not adapt to

you. Know your plane’s inherent advantages (like the Spitfire’s high rate of turn)

and use it against your opponent. Also remember that manoeuvres should only be

performed when you have enough altitude.

 

AILERON ROLL

 

This is not a stand-alone manoeuvre, but rolling with your ailerons is a basic

component of almost every other possible manoeuvre, trick, or trap you might

use. Pull back slightly on the stick first, so that the aircraft is in a gentle climb.

Next, push the stick all the way to either side, hold it there, and the ailerons cause

the plane to roll. Centre the stick again once you return to an upright attitude.

Now roll in the opposite direction. Notice how your plane acts during the rolls:

which direction it “likes” to go in, how much speed and altitude you lose, et

cetera. Little things like this get to be vital during a close-in dogfight.

 

 

 

 

Aileron roll

 

 

Now roll into the inverted position and centre the stick there. Spend a little time

upside down and see what the plane tries to do. Roll back over whenever you’re

ready (preferably before you hit the ground). The half roll is the first step in many

an important and useful manoeuvre.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BARREL ROLL

 

A barrel roll is similar to the aileron roll, but has a lateral component that turns it

from a spin-in-place to more of a corkscrew motion. Performing the full roll is of

value primarily as an evasive manoeuvre when the enemy is on your tail. The

barrel roll is similar to the aileron roll, however, in that a partial roll is often used as

a part of another, more complex, manoeuvre.

 

 

 

Barrel roll

 

 

To perform this roll, you push the stick to one side as in the aileron roll, but you

also pull it back a bit, initially swinging the plane out and slightly up. A perfect

barrel roll brings you back to the same position and altitude, but lowers your

airspeed. (Normally you will lose some altitude.) It is the lessening in your speed

that will sometimes trick your opponent into overshooting. When you recover

your position, it’s likely you’ll be sitting right in his “six” (flying at six o’clock, or

directly behind him).

 

 

LOOP OVER

 

The loop over is what most people simply call a ‘loop.’ A related manoeuvre, the

loop under, is also covered here; thus the slight difference in the name. The loop

is, essentially, a way to turn your plane over and end up back where you started.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Make sure you have plenty of airspeed and altitude before you try a loop over. If

you run out of steam partway through, you will stall and could end up in a spin,

which is bad. Pull the stick all the way back and hold it there. If you start to stall,

give the plane more throttle. During the first half of a loop over, you will lose

airspeed dramatically. This makes you an easy target for anyone who foresaw the

manoeuvre. If you do notice someone shooting at you, however, you can easily

roll out of the loop and enter a dive, using up some altitude to gain speed.

Unfortunately, an enemy who saw the loop coming will probably be ready for the

dive, too.

 

 

 

 

Loop over

 

 

After you reach the top of the loop, you won’t need the extra throttle any longer;

you’ll reclaim almost all of your lost airspeed from gravity during the second half.

At the end of the loop, if you’ve done it right, you should return to the same

heading and speed you started with. Centre (neutralise) the stick for level flight.

 

 

LOOP UNDER

 

The loop under is essentially a reversed loop over, except that it can be more

dangerous. It is also more valuable in combat, since you gain speed quickly early

in the loop. The loop under is used as one step in some more complicated

manoeuvres.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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You don’t need to worry about airspeed when you start, but you do have to

consider your altitude. If you don’t have enough altitude to pull out in time (at

least 5,000 feet), don’t try it. Perform half an aileron roll, so that you’re inverted.

Pull back on the stick and hold it there. During the first half of a loop under, you

will gain airspeed quickly. This can be pretty handy when trying to elude an

opponent. Do not do anything to slow yourself down, or you may not be able to

complete the loop.

 

 

 

Loop under

 

 

After you reach the bottom of the loop, you’ll stop accelerating and begin to lose

airspeed on the way back up. This is when you become vulnerable to any enemy

who sees what you’re doing. If it becomes necessary, you can increase throttle to

finish faster or simply roll out of the loop. At the end of an uninterrupted loop

done correctly, you should return to the same heading and speed you started

with. Flip right-side up, then neutralise the stick to return to level flight.

 

 

WING OVER

 

The ‘wing over’ is what was originally called an ‘Immelmann.’ However, there is

another Immelmann manoeuvre now, so this turn has been renamed. A wing

over is a handy way of turning around at the end of a strafing run, but it’s not

much use in a dogfight. Since you begin the turn by climbing, thus losing speed,

you’d be a sitting duck for any alert opponent. Note that you cannot perform this

manoeuvre unless you use the rudder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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As mentioned, you start a wing over by pulling back on the stick and climbing.

The idea here is to gain a little altitude and lose some airspeed. Therefore, do not

increase throttle to compensate for the plane’s slowing down. One of the

consequences of the aerodynamics of flight is that rudders are most effective at

low speeds.

 

 

 

Wing over (old Immelmann)

 

 

When you have sufficient altitude to begin another run and your airspeed is in the

good range for rudder control, it’s time to turn. Kick the rudder full to either side

and neutralise the stick. Your aircraft should do a quick 180-degree turn, exactly

like a car doing a J-turn. Push the stick forward and go into your strafing run.

 

 

Emergency Procedures

 

What distinguishes an extraordinary pilot from an average one is often the

same thing that separates the heroes from the corpses—how you deal with

emergencies. What really tests a pilot’s mettle (outside of combat) is the

terrifying, all-but-hopeless case when only nerves of steel and reflexes as fast and

as sure as instinct can save your neck. It would be nice to think you’ll never need

to know any of the emergency procedures outlined in this section, but let’s be

realistic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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RECOVERING FROM A STALL

 

 

A stall isn’t really an emergency—unless you don’t know how to deal with it. A

wrong move during a stall can easily put you into a spin, and if you can’t cope

with a stall, you sure as hell won’t be able to save yourself from a spin.

 

 

Your aircraft will stall when it does not have enough lift to balance out the force of

gravity. There are lots of ways this can happen, but two are most common. The

first is a simple lack of thrust. Since thrust is what keeps the air flowing around

the wing, and since airflow generates lift, lack of thrust equals lack of lift.

 

 

To recover control from this type of stall, you don’t really have to do anything. The

nose of the plane will dip when you stall, and you will start to gain speed as you

dive. The extra speed should cancel the stall, and you’ll regain control of the

aircraft. Alternatively, you could increase throttle. This is probably the better

option, since otherwise you’ll just stall again.

 

 

The second kind of stall is slightly more complex. Whenever your aircraft is

climbing, the angle of attack is increased. If you do not have enough forward

motion (thrust) to compensate for the loss of lift this causes, the plane could stall.

This is a more dangerous type of stall than the other, partly because of its

complexity and partly because you were probably climbing for a reason.

 

 

Regaining control of your plane can be troublesome. Since you were climbing,

your nose is pointed up. The first tendency of the aircraft, then, is to go nose down

and act like a rock. Let it. Neutralise the stick and you can control the

direction in which the nose falls using the rudder. If you’re not at too great an

angle, you may even be able to get the nose to fall forward into a standard dive.

 

 

Once you’re diving, neutralise the rudder and use the stick to straighten out. Pull

out of the dive as gently as your altitude and situation allow. Next time, be sure

you have enough airspeed for the climb, or use more throttle to avoid stalling.

 

 

One further piece of advice: If you go into the second type of stall too low, you’d

better bail out. Remember, you’ve got to have enough sky under you to safely

recover and get out of the resulting dive. Otherwise you haven’t got a chance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

159

THE POWER STALL

 

 

There is a third type of stall that you should understand—the power stall. Getting

out of a power stall is no different from escaping any other type of stall—put your

nose down first thing and you’ll be successful every time (assuming you’re far

enough from the ground). There is no better or faster way to regain control of the

aircraft in a stall. What’s different and difficult about the power stall is knowing

when you’re at risk and recognising the stall when it happens.

 

 

The reason a power stall is so vicious is that it usually comes as a complete

surprise. Most pilots realise that, when they’re flying at low speeds, yanking the

stick all the way back is likely to cause a stall. What is less intuitive is that the

plane can in fact stall at any speed. The only things that matter are the forces

acting on the aircraft and how they affect the angle of attack (AoA) at which the

plane is flying. The fact is, a stall is always caused by flying at too large an angle of

attack—that’s the definition of stalling. Knowing how manoeuvring affects your

AoA is key to avoiding power stalls.

 

 

 

Angle of attack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

160

In normal, straight (un-banked) flight, your AoA is directly related to the amount

you pull back or push forward on the stick. This gives you a reliable measure of

when the plane is likely to stall—until you start to encounter significant

acceleration forces. As you’re well aware, the direction in which the nose of the

plane is pointing is rarely the direction in which the aircraft is moving. The nose

aims in the direction you dictate with the elevators, but although the plane tends

to try to go in that direction, it generally moves in a slightly different direction—the

net result of the forces of gravity, drag, thrust, lift, and torque on the plane. For our

purposes, it will suffice to say that the difference between the two directions is

roughly equivalent to the AoA. (The exact angle of attack is the difference

between the direction of the relative wind and the “no-lift line” for each airfoil.)

Note that each wing has its own AoA, as does every airfoil that is part of the craft.

In straight flight, both wings have the same AoA, thus they will stall at the same

time.

 

 

When will an airfoil stall? It will stall when its AoA is high enough that the airflow

over the top separates from the surface and becomes turbulent. The loss of lift

caused by this turbulence is called a stall. The particular AoA that will cause this is

different for each wing, and often different for parts of the same wing. In fact,

many modern wings are designed to stall from the body outward, so that the pilot

has some warning of an impending stall, but still has control over the un-stalled

ailerons on the outer ends of the wings.

 

 

 

 

Stalling airflow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

161

 

Acceleration, also known as the g force, does not change the angle of attack.

What acceleration does is change the weight of the plane and its contents, a

process called ‘g loading.’ If you enter a full-power climb from level flight, the g’s

push you down into your seat. That’s because the change in direction—the

acceleration away from your original course—actually makes you temporarily

weigh more. This acceleration has the same effect on the entire aircraft. Since a

heavier plane with the same wing area has less lift, it will stall at a lesser AoA. The

acceleration has caused you to be suddenly and drastically closer to stalling your

plane.

 

 

 

 

Physical forces acting on a banking plane

 

 

 

When the wings are banked, things start to get complicated. First off, the turn

that results from the bank is a change of direction. Thus, the plane is accelerating

(and hence temporarily weighs more), and the AoA needed for a stall is smaller.

Next, the total lift generated by the wings is no longer directly upward. Part of the

generated lift must counteract the g force of the turn, leaving less to negate the

normal force of gravity. This does not directly affect the chance of a stall, but it

causes the pilot to take some action to keep the aircraft from losing altitude.

Usually, what the pilot does is rudder a bit and pull back on the stick, thus

increasing the AoA. Now the aircraft is much closer to stalling than in level flight,

and the pilot had better keep that in mind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

162

If the plane does stall in a banked turn, it is because the pilot tried to get the

aircraft to do something that it could not. Trying to turn more tightly than airspeed

and loading will allow is a common mistake of this type. The things that make this

more dangerous than a basic, wings-level stall are (1) you may not know that you

are stalled, and (2) each of the wings can stall independently and differently.

 

When the nose starts to drop toward the ground in a turn, the pilot’s natural

assumption is that more rudder is necessary. If the pilot is already using a lot of

rudder or foolishly applies heavy rudder suddenly during the turn, chances are

good that one of the wings will yaw ahead of the other, causing the aircraft to skid

somewhat. When this is the case, the backward wing—the one the pilot ruddered

toward—is at a higher AoA than the forward-skidding wing. That backward wing

will stall first, significantly ahead of the other, and the aircraft will enter a

dangerous spin so quickly that the pilot could be caught completely off guard.

 

 

The best way to survive a power stall, then, is to avoid it. Be aware of your

effective AoA at all times. But if you do find yourself suddenly stalled, don’t

hesitate to drop the nose and lessen your angle of attack—no matter what your

altitude. Even 50 feet off the ground, losing 30 feet while regaining control is

preferable to losing 51 feet and ending a promising career.

 

 

GETTING OUT OF A SPIN

 

Spins are potentially the most dangerous situation a pilot can get into. The pilot’s

handbook for almost every aircraft warns against entering a spin intentionally,

since they can be so difficult to escape. Unlike some other “unconventional

landings,” a spin will almost never conclude with a survivable touchdown. You

must either get out of the spin or get out of the plane.

If you go into a spin at any altitude below 3,000 feet, bail out immediately—you

do not have enough manoeuvring room to save your plane, so you may as well

save your life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

163

If you feel you have enough room below you, your first action should be to jam

the rudder hard (“with a positive motion,” the books say) in the direction opposite

the spin. That is, rudder left for a clockwise spin and right for counter clockwise.

 

 

Hold it there. At the same time, haul the stick as far as it will go in the same

direction as the spin. (Stick left for a counter clockwise spin and right for

clockwise.) Do not adjust the throttle at all. Soon, you should “pop out” of the spin

and regain control.

 

 

If you don’t, try again—and keep trying. Often, if you were going exceptionally fast

when you entered the spin, you should allow more time for the recovery. Unless

you feel you are gaining control, you should bail out when you get too low.

If and when the spin eases and you feel control of the plane returning to you, you

will find yourself in a dive. Ease out of it as gently as your altitude and situation

allow, so as to avoid going into another spin.

 

 

LOW FUEL

 

It happens. Maybe you get caught up in a long, drawn-out dogfight. Maybe you

have to go around one too many times to get your bombing run just right. Could

be you just weren’t paying attention, or you unintentionally jettisoned your

external tank. Whatever the situation, sooner or later you’re going to have to fly

home on fumes. In this situation, you have two problems: getting home and

getting down.

 

 

 

Don’t think, “Oh, no problem. I can just quit the mission and I’ll be okay.” It’s not

true. Assuming you’ve completed your mission objective and you do choose to

skip the flight home, European Air War decides whether you make it back based

on your current speed, altitude, attitude, and left over fuel. The auto pilot won’t try

to minimise your fuel use, either. The only way to get home on low fuel is to do it

yourself.

 

 

Your biggest problem when your fuel is low (unless you’re very near your home

base) is how to get the most mileage out of what little fuel you do have. There are

three strategies to consider, and the chances are good that your best bet is a

combination of these three.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

164

First, trim your aircraft for low-drag flight. Part of this trimming is getting rid of any

extra weight. Make sure you’ve jettisoned that empty external fuel tank, then

drop any ordnance that may still be attached to your plane. (Verify that there

aren’t any friendly below!) The other part of this tactic is a clean profile. Double

check that your flaps are fully retracted and your gear is up. Remember that

damage to your fuselage will add to the drag on your aircraft—but, unfortunately,

there’s nothing you can do about that.

 

 

Minimum Drag Profile Checklist

 

External fuel tank detached

 

External munitions detached

 

Flaps fully retracted

 

Landing gear raised

 

 

Next, there are some minor advantages to flying at a higher altitude. Flying higher

means flying faster and farther without using more fuel. Here’s how it works. The

higher you are, the thinner the ambient air gets and the lower the pressure. Lower

ambient air pressure means two very important things: less lift and less drag. The

aircraft in flight is designed to be a balanced, self-regulating physical system.

 

 

Therefore, as you rise and both lift and drag decrease, the forces acting on the

plane continually shift to stay in balance. Less lift means the plane “wants” to

nose down a bit and go faster. Less drag means it can go faster. Higher speed

brings the nose back up, and these forces eventually come into balance. Here’s

the key, though—they come into balance at a higher true airspeed with no change

in the throttle setting.

 

 

One thing to note is that this increase is in true airspeed, not indicated airspeed.

The airspeed indicator will show the same—or lower!—even though you’re

actually moving significantly faster in relation to the ground and the air around

you. This is because the indicated airspeed is a pressure-based measurement,

and is thus affected by the loss of pressure in the same way as the lift of the

wings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

165

Finally, the most important piece of strategy is the aircraft’s L/D Max, a measure

developed primarily for use with modern jet fighters, but perfectly applicable to

any powered aircraft. L/D Max is shorthand for “that airspeed which provides the

maximum coefficient of lift over drag.” In other words, the airspeed at which your

plane will fly most efficiently. For all of the aircraft you can pilot in European Air

War, the L/D Max is roughly in line with the plane’s cruising speed.

 

 

What good is that? It’s actually fairly simple. First, figure out how far you are from

your home base. (Consult your cockpit map; it’s not cheating.) Now multiply that

number by 200. The result is approximately the altitude you need to start from to

reach the runway if you fly at the L/D Max the whole way. Pull your nose up to a

20 degree angle and climb at full throttle to that altitude. Set the throttle to idle

(10%), then assume whatever attitude is necessary to stay at the L/D Max. This

will get you as close to the runway as is possible with your remaining fuel.

 

 

 

Note that if the altitude you need to reach is above 20,000 feet, you should

probably still climb only to 20,000 feet to start your power glide; if the runway is

more than 100 miles away, you can re-boost yourself later, as it becomes

necessary and as fuel allows. Once you’ve fixed your speed and attitude for

greatest mileage, stick with it. The flight home is going to be long and boring, and

there’s no movie, but it’s better than the alternative.

 

 

 

When you get there, follow the instructions for an un-powered landing. More than

likely, that’s what it’ll turn out to be.

 

 

DAMAGE

 

Even exceptional pilots get shot up now and again, so chances are you will, too—

in which case, you’d better be able read the signals and react quickly. The cockpit

instruments will be your first warning that your plane has taken a hit. Sluggish

controls or loss of command are also good clues. Unfortunately, there is

absolutely nothing you can do to repair your aircraft while in flight (except when

on a multi-player mission). Your only recourse is knowing how to cope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

166

 

This B-17 made it home because the pilot knew what he was doing.

 

 

 

Remember, once you’re airborne, you are in command. If the damage to your

aircraft is severe enough that you have trouble controlling your flight, you have a

command decision to make: whether to continue on and attempt to complete

your mission. Use your best judgement. Severe damage will make your mission

impossible, and you might need to return prematurely. If the damage is too great,

you may even have to bail out in order to save your neck.

 

 

COMING IN ON A WING AND A PRAYER

 

You’re out of gas, the engine’s been shot up, there’s a hole in the wing you could

drop a bowling ball through, and the rest of your flight is either home already or

never getting there. You’re on your own and you’ve somehow got to coax the

plane in. Don’t get your hopes up.

 

 

Gliding

 

If you have no power, obviously you’ll have to glide. Luckily, the plane you’re flying

glides much better, un-powered, than the average bomber would. Gliding, in

terms of speed and attitude, is similar to flying at the L/D Max, but with important

modifications.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

167

When there is no power, the engine becomes nothing more than a source of

drag. The propeller windmills (spins in the wind), causing even more drag. All this

extra drag slows the plane and steepen’s the glide slope. To regain your L/D Max

and, therefore, fly as far as you can from your present altitude, you will need to

drop the nose somewhat. How much depends on the characteristics of the plane

you’re piloting. Slowly stick forward until your IAS gets close to L/D Max. As long

as you’re at the right airspeed, you know that the plane’s glide slope is as

distance-efficient as it can be.

 

 

 

Unpowered Landing

 

 

The end of the long journey home is actually less difficult than you might think.

Landing without power is just like landing with power, except that your descent

slope is going to be steeper and you’re going to be in a hurry. The only other

problem is control; that is, you won’t have very much. Even with power,

controlling the aircraft is difficult at the extremely slow speeds necessary for

landing. Without, it’s just that much worse.

 

 

Gliding the landing requires more foresight and better reactions than usual. It’s

like everything happens in slow motion. The controls are sluggish, the response

reluctant. You can get better control by nosing down and picking up some speed,

but keep in mind that this will change your descent slope. On the bright side,

chances are your rudder will be more responsive, since it works best at lower

speeds. Beyond a certain point, however, there is simply not enough air moving

past the rudder to give you any control effect.

 

 

The best advice for un-powered landing is to get it right the first time. You don’t

get a second chance. Once you’ve traded in all your altitude and speed, you have

nothing left. If you miss the landing, you’ll just have to hope for the best.

 

 

FIRE

 

If your aircraft is burning, what you do depends on where you are. Generally, the

first warning sign of a fire will be the enormous, black billows of smoke coming

out of the rear of your aircraft. This means that the aircraft’s fire control system

has not been sufficient to extinguish the fire. You have only a few viable options,

and none of them is particularly pleasant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

168

 

This one’s a goner.

 

 

 

You should attempt to return to a friendly airfield only if you feel you have a good

chance of making it. (That is, if you can see the airfield from where you are.) Be

careful when landing a burning aircraft on a friendly runway; you can cause all

sorts of collateral damage during a flaming landing. Note that safely landing a

burning plane is extraordinarily difficult. Most pilots will not attempt such a

manoeuvre unless they’re suicidal.

 

 

 

If you aren’t close to an airfield, but you believe you can safely crash-land or ditch,

feel free to try. Then, too, you could always bail out. There’s no real difference

between that and a crash landing—except that you’re much more likely to survive

if you hit the silk. Whatever you decide, don’t dilly-dally; you probably don’t have

much time to act before the fire reaches the fuel tanks.

 

 

 

If you have no other options—you can’t bail out and your chances of surviving a

crash are nil—you can always use your wounded craft as an offensive projectile.

You will not survive, and this is not a recommended tactic.

 

 

BAILING OUT

 

Bailing out—abandoning your aircraft and parachuting to the surface—is a simple,

last-ditch attempt to save your life when your plane has been shot up. All you

have to do is get your plane as close to level flight as you can manage, then jump

from the cockpit.

 

 

Vital Note: It is not possible to bail out safely if your altitude is too low. If you

can’t get above 3,000 feet, attempting to land is your only safe option.

 

 

 

 

169

What happens once you’re on the ground depends more on luck and where you

landed than on your survival skills. Enemy territory is patrolled regularly, and very

few pilots have made it back.

 

 

One last bit of advice. Headquarters wants to assure you that parachuting pilots

are not considered viable targets. None of the reports of the enemy’s firing on

defenceless pilots and their ’chutes has been confirmed. You know how these

rumours spread.

 

 

The Aircraft, Considered as a Projectile Weapon

 

 

All that careful, drag-your-half-dead-body-back-to-the-base stuff is fine for some

people, but going out in a blaze of glory and carnage also has a certain allure.

Why go to all that trouble saving your neck, when you could slam a couple of

tons of flaming steel into a strategic target?

 

Most pilots like to wait until they’ve used up all their other destructive options,

though it’s not a requirement. Any bombs still attached to your plane when you

hit probably won’t go off (they aren’t armed), but any fuel left in your tanks

makes a nice fireball. Fact is, if you’re considering a “kamikaze” manoeuvre,

you’ve probably already got your plane toasted and are desperate for a way

to wreak some extra havoc. When your plane is damaged, you have less than

perfect control over it. Take these directions as guidelines, then; they’re pointers

to what you should do, if you can.

 

Approach your target (the nearest one or the one you think will look the most

satisfying in flames) as if you’re on a dive bombing run. Come in as high as you

can. The farther you fall, the more time you’ll have to aim yourself. Keep in mind

that any enemy planes are still out there trying to shoot you down, and the flak

isn’t going to go away, either.

 

When you’re almost directly over your intended victim, go into a 95-degree dive

with your flaps fully extended. Here’s why. At a 90-degree dive, your plane is

still moving forward, which will take you past the target. At 95 degrees, the

aircraft falls straight down like a rock, with the added convenience of being

able to see your target the whole way down. The flaps are to keep your speed

down, so that (hopefully) your plane won’t break up before impact; parts just

don’t hit with the same satisfying crunch as the entire plane.

 

Nobody’s aim is perfect, so you may need to make adjustments on the way in.

Remember that in a dive of this angle and speed, your rudder is of little value.

The ailerons, on the other hand, can come in handy. Use them in co-ordination

with forward and back control on the stick—much as in a Split-S—to keep

yourself on target. The ailerons can also impart a twisting spin to your plane,

which is quite a stylish way to smack into the ground.

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Advanced Flight

 

If you understand everything in the previous sections, then you’re well on your

way to becoming a useful pilot. At this point, you could probably survive for a few

whole seconds against an experienced opponent.

Now, you’re going to learn a few things which will help you turn that survival time

into a chance to perforate the enemy’s plane. Note that the potential uses of the

techniques described here are only suggestions; any manoeuvre is as versatile as

the pilot who undertakes to learn it.

 

 

A LITTLE AIR COMBAT THEORY

 

The idea of flying a fighter in combat can be intimidating. No matter how good

you are at cruising around, once you get into a dogfight situation, all of a sudden

you’re on your way to the ground. Your career is over, and you don’t even know

what happened. As a beginning fighter pilot, you might feel outclassed, but don’t

be hard on yourself. The fact is, the guy flying the enemy plane simply knew a

little more about air-to-air combat than you—this time.

 

There are several ways to overcome this minor hurdle. Many pilots just practice

and study flight films until they figure things out for themselves. Good for them.

The rest of us get a book out of the library and read up on tactics, then come back

to the cockpit and kick some butt. Some of us are lucky enough to have

experienced pilots around to ask for advice. Whenever these experts start in, they

always go for specific manoeuvres. There’s an underlying set of basic knowledge,

though, that they take for granted. Without getting into too much detail, here are

three of the more vital pieces of information.

 

 

Energy Management

 

 

What fighter pilots call ‘energy management’ is extremely important when flying

jets. It’s doubly essential when you’re buzzing around in a prop plane; you have a

tiny bit more leeway in timing, but you don’t have a huge afterburner to fall back

on. Any of you who don’t already know what energy management is, throw away

your first ideas. It not only has nothing to do with saving fuel, but it also doesn’t

involve the aircraft’s electrical system. What a good, experienced pilot always

keeps in mind is what your Physics 101 teacher called the Law of Conservation

of Energy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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There are two types of energy the pilot has to worry about in this context: kinetic

and potential. When you’re talking about the whole aircraft, kinetic energy means

velocity—airspeed. When you’re flying slowly, you don’t have much kinetic

energy; when you’re really screaming along, you’ve got heaps of it. Potential

energy is just what it sounds like; it’s anything that you can easily turn into kinetic

energy. Altitude is what pilots use as a rough gauge of how much potential

energy they’ve got; the higher you are, the more you have. Fuel is also a form of

potential energy, but it takes time to turn fuel into speed. When you’re thinking

about energy management, think of fuel as a distant second to altitude. Since

energy is easily transformed from one type to another, you can also turn speed

into altitude (by climbing) and fuel into altitude. (You cannot, however, turn

altitude or airspeed back into fuel.) The cornerstone of energy management is

that you have only so much energy stored in your aircraft—kinetic plus potential

plus fuel—you can’t ever get any more, and you want to have as much of it

available for quick manoeuvring as you can.

 

 

If you have sufficient airspeed, you can easily and quickly escape from an

unexpected attack or perform whatever manoeuvre you have in mind. If you don’t

have enough airspeed, but do have altitude, you can quickly turn your height into

speed by diving, then escape or manoeuvre. If you have neither, however, you

can’t do anything except pour on the throttle and wait. Waiting is bad when

someone is shooting at you. Any experienced pilot will tell you that “low and

slow” is as good as dead in a dogfight. Energy management is knowing what your

current energy state is—how high you are and how fast you are moving—and

knowing what your options are should you need to do something with that

energy. It also helps if you can estimate your opponent’s energy state, keep track

of it, and take advantage of the knowledge.

 

 

 

 

Low and slow” equals trouble.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

172

So how does this translate into useful advice? First of all, you never want to enter

a fight if the other plane has a significantly better energy state than you. Next, you

should try to avoid manoeuvres that will leave you going slowly at a low altitude.

If you notice your opponent using his energy unwisely, get ready to shoot him

down. Once the other plane gets into a “low and slow” situation, you have a

perfect opportunity to blast it apart—but only if you’ve been a smart energy

manager yourself.

 

 

 

Even when you’re finishing off an opponent, keep your own energy state in mind

and don’t get careless. The enemy you just shot down probably isn’t the only one

nearby, and one of his friends is usually right on your tail. That’s where situational

awareness comes in.

 

 

Situational Awareness

 

Situational awareness is an essential component of tactical success in airborne

combat”—that’s just the seven-dollar way of saying that to live through a dogfight,

you need to know what’s going on around you. Seems like common sense, but

many inexperienced pilots forget. It’s an artificial distinction, but situational

awareness can be split into six categories. All rolled together, these pretty much

cover everything that you need to be aware of at every moment of every mission.

 

 

The Environment: Is there any cloud ceiling? If so, how high? How thick? Where is

the sun? These things can be extremely useful to you and your opponents during

a fight, so know the situation before you go into it. It’s relatively easy to get this

info into your head and keep it there; it doesn’t normally change as the combat

progresses. Other environmental considerations that will be important (even if

you don’t use every advantage, sooner or later you’ll run into an opponent who

will) are the locations of nearby land features—hills, mountains, valleys, etc. Every

one of these is a potential hiding place, a shield, and a weapon for use against an

inattentive enemy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dangerous hiding places

 

 

 

 

Your Aircraft: Without a doubt, this is the most vital aspect of situational

awareness. Everything you can know about the state of your plane and its

aerodynamic situation will become important during the fight. You must protect

your weak points from your opportunistic enemies, and you should use your

strong points to advantage. Know your energy state (altitude and airspeed), what

your manoeuvring options are, and how many seconds of ammunition you have

left. Watch your fuel gauge and keep your engine temperature in mind.

Remember your aircraft’s strengths and weaknesses. Don’t forget what’s

attached to your wings and belly, in case you need to lose weight. Last, but not

least, stay aware of your position with respect to the target and your home base.

After some experience, all of this will become second nature.

 

 

 

Your Bandit: The state of the enemy plane that you’re currently engaging is

almost as important as that of your own aircraft. After all, you’re trying to kill each

other. With some practice, you will be able to read his energy state and know

what his manoeuvring options are. After manoeuvring skill, this is probably the

single most useful expertise you will ever develop for dog fighting. Watch

everything he does; every move tells you something about his energy and his

intentions. Most pilots can’t help but telegraph their next move, and that can give

you an advantage. Remember, he’s watching you the same way. Some of his

moves could be feints or deceptions, and he could be trying to lure you into a bad

energy state or some other trap. Know what his aircraft is capable of and try to

decipher his plans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

174

 

What’s he up to?

 

 

 

Other Bandits: Except for unusual circumstances, you’ll rarely be fighting in a

vacuum. The bandit you’re chasing (or being chased by) might be setting you up,

and you’ll never know it—until it’s too late—if you’re not aware of where his

buddies are. At the very least, you should try to determine as early as you can

how many of them there are, what altitudes and speeds they’re flying at, and

what formation they started in. You don’t need to watch the energy states of

every one of your enemies, but if you’re that good, it doesn’t hurt to know. Just

keep in mind that any one of them could be your next target or the threat on your

six (directly behind you). Try to know, at least in a rough way, where every one of

your enemies is. The enemy pilots will co-operate with each other, and you could

easily be the worse for it if you’re not watchful.

 

 

 

Allies: Good pilots try to watch out for one another. The rest of the planes on your

side, especially any bombers you’re supposed to be escorting, deserve your help

whenever you can give it. You should know where your friendlies are, just like you

know where the enemy planes are—at least approximately. Helping out aside,

avoiding collisions becomes a consideration in a tight dogfight; not every pilot is

good enough to both watch where you are and avoid the fighter on his tail. If you

get a free moment, without engagement, you might even spot one of your allies

getting a bandit into an “opportunity situation.” This is what happens when two

planes have manoeuvred to a stalemate (as in a matched one-circle fight) and

neither can escape or gain an advantage. At this point, a third plane can enter the

dogfight and easily shoot down one of the two combatants. If you’re attentive,

you could help a buddy and get an easy kill on your record.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

175

Surface Forces: Though less important than anything in the air, the AAA

emplacements down on the dirt certainly have an effect on your situation. Know

where they are. Even if the fight starts out a safe distance from anti-aircraft

emplacements, you’re going to be manoeuvring all over the place up there and

might very easily fly into their range unintentionally. Once the range closes,

you could be in heavy flak without ever realising you were getting into it. An

occasional glance down at the deck (easy when you’re banking) will keep you up

to date.

 

 

 

If you can keep all of these factors in mind and still remember your name, then

you just might make a good combat pilot.

 

 

 

Lethality

 

Fighter pilots in the WWII European Theatre have to think about lethality on every

mission. Lethality is a combination of factors—including firing rate, muzzle

velocity, effective range, deflection angle, calibre, relative velocity, drag, gravity,

time of flight, and g deflection angle—that determine the damage potential of any

gun burst. These factors are relevant to any shot taken with machine guns,

cannon, or even rockets. In most cases, you’ll have an almost instinctive feel for

the lethality of a particular shot, but it doesn’t hurt to have the details. Fairly often,

your instinctive feel is dead wrong.

 

 

Ace pilots fire only when they can “touch” their enemy. That means firing every

gun on the plane for that brief few seconds when the enemy is close enough

that the sight of his plane fills your cockpit glass. Being able to do this means

having the skill and patience to manoeuvre into position (while your enemy is

trying to prevent you from doing so), fire a short burst, then painstakingly

manoeuvre into position again. One mitigating factor is that if you damage his

plane on your first attack, getting lined up for a second attack becomes that

much easier.

 

The whole idea behind lethality is to maximise the amount of damage you do

with the amount of ammunition you have. If you shoot only when you know you

will hit, you need not fret over the other factors of lethality.

 

Note that lethality is an important consideration when the opponent is at a

distance of more than a couple of hundred feet; when he’s closer than that,

you’ve got plenty of lethality to spare, and you should be worrying more about

avoiding a collision.

 

 

 

176

The effects of the weapon’s Rate of Fire are pretty straightforward. The higher

the rate of fire (ROF), the faster the weapon fires and the more projectiles are

launched at the target per second or burst. Assuming that your aim is on the

mark, a higher firing rate means more damage per second of fire. Thus, a higher

ROF means a greater lethality. Of course, it also means fewer seconds of fire in

the long run, which doesn’t affect the lethality of any one burst, but it certainly

limits the number of bursts you’ll get.

 

 

 

Muzzle Velocity is the speed at which each projectile leaves the gun. This velocity

is all the energy the slug has to overcome friction with the air—Drag. Thus, muzzle

velocity and, to some extent, altitude and air density (which can change the drag

coefficient of the air) determine the Effective Range of each bullet. In simple

terms, the farther away your target is, the slower your bullets are going to be

moving when they hit it. The slower they’re moving, the less damage they’re

going to do. For rockets, these considerations are less important at close ranges.

Once the propellant runs out, though, a rocket acts just like a bullet; then, drag

begins to take its toll.

 

 

 

Time of Flight is a similar consideration, but a more elementary one. How long

does each bullet take to get to the target? Most of the factors that limit lethality

are time-dependent; the lethality goes down as the time goes up. Drag is

essentially a factor of air density and distance to the target, but you can easily

estimate the effects of drag as a function of time of flight. (The slug slows down

so much each second.) The effect of Gravity on your projectiles depends purely

on how long each one is in flight. Every second that a bullet is on its way, it

accelerates downward another 32 feet per second. (Thus, after five seconds of

flight, a slug will be moving forward more slowly, due to drag, and downward at

160 ft/sec because of gravity.) This will tend to throw off your aim and lower the

lethality of the burst. The effects of deflection are also time-dependent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

177

Deflection is a term you’ll hear bandied about frequently among people who

know a lot about air-to-air combat. What they’re talking about is the angle from

which you’re approaching your target when you fire (deflection angle). If you’re

directly behind another plane, you’ve got the best angle there is—no deflection at

all. Firing at a plane from the front is the same, except that you have a lot less

time. Any other angle is a tougher shot and will do less damage. In fact, the

farther you get away from the straight-on shots, the worse your chances get—

your lethality goes way down. To hit from a 90 degree angle, you have to lead

the enemy aircraft so much (offset your shot) that the target might not even be

visible! Note that the deflection angle works essentially the same way

horizontally and vertically. If you’re on a different level than your enemy, diving in

on him or climbing up under him, you’re deflected, and your shots won’t be quite

as damaging. On the other hand, the enemy may not know you’re coming, which

is certainly an advantage.

 

 

 

 

 

45-degree deflection

 

 

 

There is a related deflection effect that can ruin a shot when you’re turning; it’s

called G Deflection. Whenever you pull g’s, your bullets do, too. Despite their

muzzle velocity, the slugs are subject to all the laws of physics. As soon as a

projectile leaves the gun, it begins to travel in a straight line in whatever direction

the gun was pointing when it fired. Since you’re pointing in that particular

direction for only a moment, the shots will seem to lag behind your motion. To

overcome this, you must offset your shots to compensate for your turn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

178

The Relative Velocity of your target is another effect that causes a need for offset.

This one is more “natural” than the others—easier for most folks to estimate. If you

were sitting in a tower with a machine gun, you would know that you had to take

into account every moving target’s velocity relative to your position. The same

consideration is true in a moving gun platform; it’s just easier to forget. If your

opponent is coming into your field of fire from above, for example, you need to

fire a little below his plane—by the time the bullets get there, the aircraft will have

moved to meet them. The hard part is accurately estimating your target’s velocity

relative to you. Planes fly around at all kinds of bizarre angles, and it may take a

little practice before you get good at it.

 

 

 

Calibre is easy to explain. The bigger the projectile, the more damage it will do.

Thus, cannon rounds hit harder than machine gun rounds. (Cannon rounds are

also explosive, which adds to their damage capability.) Larger projectiles also

tend to incur more drag, so the effective range will be lower unless the velocity

is higher.

 

 

What all of this physics and dynamics boils down to is that some shots are going

to do more damage than others. The closer you are to your target, the better. The

bigger the slugs you’re throwing and the faster they move, the bigger the hurt

you’ll put on the other plane. The faster your guns can pump out lead, the more

hits you’ll get. If you’re directly behind your target, you’ll get a great shot. If you’re

approaching each other head-on, just make sure your aim is good. Coming in

from any other angle, it’s more difficult to get a hit. Never forget to lead your shot

ahead of a moving target and above where you actually want it to go. If you can

hit a running receiver with a ball, you should be able to shoot down fighters.

 

 

 

YOUR WEAPONS

 

Before we get into the discussion of your approach and combat, it’s a good idea

to have some familiarity with the weapons at your disposal. Naturally, you’re

limited to what’s available for the aircraft you expect to pilot, but there’s almost

always some room for choice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

179

Some description of every weapon follows. While most of the information is self-explanatory,

one thing warrants a little explanation. Whenever you drop, launch,

or fire a projectile, you’re hoping it will impact and damage an enemy structure

(plane, bridge, whatever). If it hits or near misses, your weapon might do damage

to the target. Here’s the part that needs explanation: there’s no way to know

exactly how much damage any particular hit does. A hit could ricochet, and a

bomb might be a dud. A near miss could spray shrapnel into a store of munitions.

There are always those factors, bizarre or ordinary, that cause more or less

damage than you’d expect. In real life, you take your chances. In European Air

War, the same rule applies.

 

 

 

Machine Guns and Cannons

 

Bullets and cannon rounds are best used against those pesky enemy fighters and

bombers. Nonetheless, those of you with a predilection for close-in destructive

action will find yourselves down on the deck again and again, strafing. There’s a

certain wild excitement to swooping in on some unsuspecting target and

toasting it with your guns.

 

In European Air War, there are some important qualifications to the sheer joy of

strafing. One is that you cannot damage any strategically valuable installation

with mere bullets. This is unfortunate, but realistically accurate. Your average

military installation is hardened, or armoured, to minimise the damage from

bombs and artillery shells. Thus, bullets just bounce off. A strafed area might

begin smoking or even seem to be burning, but no actual damage has been done.

You’ve just ignited something that was left lying around. Lesser targets, however,

are a different story. These you can not only damage, but also destroy with

machine gun and cannon rounds.

 

 

.303-caliber Browning Mk2 MG

Weight 22 pounds

Length 44.5 inches

Muzzle Velocity 2,660 feet/second

Rate of Fire 1,200 rd/min

 

The Browning Mk2 .303-caliber machine gun is the low end in firepower; you’ll

find it only on fighters of the RAF Its lack of punch is compensated for by the fact

that these guns are usually installed in foursomes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

180

 

7.92 mm Solothurn MG17

Weight 28 pounds

Length 47.7 inches

Muzzle Velocity 3,000 feet/second

Rate of Fire 1,100 rd/min

This Solothurn machine gun is standard armament on many Luftwaffe planes.

Adapted from another German stalwart (the MG15), the fixed-mount MG17 is

similar in firepower to the British Mk2.

 

 

 

.50-calibre Browning M2 MG

Weight 64 pounds

Length 57 inches

Muzzle Velocity 2,850 feet/second

Rate of Fire 750 rd/min

In the USAAF, the .50-calibre machine gun is the bread-and-butter weapon. In

fact, some fighters don’t have anything else. The ROF is lower than that of the

British .303-calibre, but the “point fifty” more than makes up for it in punch; its

large bullets have a devastating impact, and the gun is accurate even from a

distance. As an added advantage, you’ll usually have a wing full of them.

 

 

 

13 mm MG131

Weight 40 pounds

Length 46 inches

Muzzle Velocity 750 m/second

Rate of Fire 930 rd/min

The MG131 is the German equivalent to the Browning .50-calibre machine gun.

It’s a little lighter and shorter, and the ROF is higher, but the differences are

outweighed by the similarities. Don’t underestimate this gun; it’s everything that

the American point fifty is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

181

20 mm M2 Hispano Cannon

Weight 102 pounds

Length 94 inches

Muzzle Velocity 2,850 feet/second

Rate of Fire 600 rd/min

The 20 mm Hispano cannon, used by both the American and British forces, is

slow and dangerous. The ROF is quite low, which gives you plenty of firing time,

and each explosive shell does several times the damage of the .50-calibre

machine gun bullet. This gun’s got the moxie for some serious strafing.

 

 

 

20 mm Mauser MG151/20 Cannon

Weight 93.5 pounds

Length 69.75 inches

Muzzle Velocity 2,650 feet/second

Rate of Fire 800 rd/min

With a higher rate of fire than most comparable weapons, this cannon packs a

wallop. It has the same basic design as its smaller cousin, the 151/15, but it fires

explosive shells and can therefore inflict more damage—lots more. This gun is a

favourite on a number of German planes.

 

 

 

30 mm Mk108 Cannon

Weight 198.9 kg

Length 2,335 mm

Muzzle Velocity 500 m/second

Rate of Fire 380 rd/min

The German Mk108 discharges 11 oz. explosive shells that can take a serious toll

on any target. The rate of fire is low, but the damage each hit does more than

compensates. In the hands of a skilled pilot, this gun is quite effective.

 

 

Rockets

 

It was during this war that the first self-propelled air-to-ground projectiles were

put to regular combat use. Note that most of these miniature rockets—available

only on certain planes—are not really designed for air-to-air use. (The German 21-

centimetre rocket is the exception.) Rockets are, essentially, bombs you can aim.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

182

 

 

5-inch Rocket

Weight 90 pounds

Length 55 inches

Maximum Velocity 875 feet/second

Both British and American forces use a 5-inch rocket. For its part, the RAF

invented an entirely new weapon, while the USAAF actually recycled an existing

one; American rockets are nothing more than modified AA shells stuck onto a

3.5-inch, fin-stabilised rocket motor. The two rockets are nonetheless quite

similar, and each does roughly half as much damage as the M43 500 lb bomb. (In

1944, the Americans’ early rocket was replaced by the “Holy Moses” 5-inch

HVAR—with a full 5-inch rocket motor—though the new projectile didn’t see

regular use until ’45.)

 

 

 

M8 4.5-inch Rocket

Weight 38.4 pounds

Length 34 inches

Maximum Velocity 860 feet/second

Late in 1943, the American forces developed a tube-launched 4.5-inch rocket. It

does serious damage to anything it hits, but it’s quite difficult to aim; because of a

delay before the rockets reach their maximum velocity, gunners are hard-pressed

to estimate the projectile’s path with any accuracy. The four-and-a-halves are

installed in racks of three per wing and are available only on the P-47D

Thunderbolt.

 

 

 

21 cm Rocket

Weight 248 pounds

Length 42.44 inches

Maximum Velocity 650 feet/second

The German-designed 210 mm rocket, with its 80 lb. warhead, sits slung beneath

the wings of Luftwaffe aircraft. (Single-engine planes carry two of the 50 inch

launching tubes, while twin-engine craft can manage up to four.) The rocket’s

primary use is against bombers, in particular to break up large formations and

expose individual planes to attack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

183

Bombs

 

 

American ordnance comes in a few different sizes and types, and not all of them

will be available for the fighter you’re flying. The two you can regularly use are

both of the GP/HE (General Purpose/High Explosive) type—50 to 60 percent

explosive, and the rest steel. Though not designated armour-piercing (AP) or even

semi-armour-piercing (SAP), these types of bomb do have the potential to

sometimes damage armoured targets.

 

 

 

 

The USAAF thunders toward its target.

 

 

 

The M44 1000 lb. GP bomb isn’t the largest HE device dropped by American

aircraft, but it’s the biggest you can carry with a fighter. (It’s really only 965 lbs.)

This bomb can be used against industrial targets, as an antipersonnel ordnance,

and to put big holes in runways. It is not particularly effective against massive,

concrete submarine pens. The fuse was modified several times during the war, in

an attempt to produce as much damage as possible with one hit.

 

 

 

 

The smaller egg for the USAAF is the M43, a 510 lb. HE bomb. As you might

expect, it does about half as much damage as its bigger brother, although—unlike

some of the lighter USAAF bombs that are best against airfields and transport

lines—the M33 can still mete out punishment on industrial targets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

184

 

M43 500 lb. bombs hang beneath the wings of this American aircraft.

 

 

 

Like the Americans, the British rely on 1000 lb. and 500 lb. bombs to do most of

their dirty work. The RAF also makes extensive use, however, of a 250 lb.

explosive device. Because of its light weight, this bomb is of little use against the

majority of ground installations. It can’t pierce either thick, concrete walls or

armour plating. On the other hand, it’s quite effective at potholing runways,

roads, and bridges. Not only is this annoying to the Germans, but it also means

they must spend valuable time and resources to patch things up, thus sapping

supplies desperately needed elsewhere.

 

 

The German air force calls on two heavy hitters—a 500 kg (1100 lb.) and a 250

kg (550 lb.) bomb—to do most of its knuckle breaking. Slightly heavier than the

comparable American or British versions, these explosives put quite a hurt on

ground targets. Both are reasonably effective against industrial targets, and

either one is easily carried by a fighter.

 

 

 

APPROACH

 

Now that you’ve been introduced to the basic concepts of air combat and to the

weapons you might have on your plane, let’s talk about dog fighting. As soon as

you identify an aircraft as belonging to the enemy, the conflict has begun. Even

though neither of you can effectively fire on the other yet, one of the keys to aerial

combat is the balance of advantage and disadvantage in approach positions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

185

The first and most important consideration is Awareness. You are already aware

of the existence, the position, and the approximate speed of the other plane.

Depending on the angle at which you are approaching, he may not know you are

there. (The converse is also true; if you suddenly see tracers cross your line of

flight from behind, someone has gained a serious awareness advantage over

you.) You can usually tell by the other pilot’s action—or inaction—whether or not

he has spotted you.

 

 

 

The next thing to consider is Altitude. Whichever aircraft is flying at a greater

altitude has a distinct tactical and energy advantage. However, approaching

most bombers from above is a mistake, as their tail guns are designed to protect

from exactly that type of threat.

 

 

Speed is another vital consideration. The faster plane, like the higher one, has an

energy advantage. More speed means more climbing ability and outrunning

potential. Remember, though, that the slower plane is better able to manoeuvre

(to a point) when it comes to rudder effects and tight turns. The faster aircraft

may also be lured into overshooting, thus becoming a rather easy target.

 

The Deflection at which the attacking aircraft approaches is also critical. A pilot

gets his best shot (most likely to do damage) when he fires along the flight path of

the other plane. Otherwise, the uncertainty factor of leading the enemy comes

into the picture. Deflection is measured by the angle the attacker’s path makes

with the path of the target. The greater the deflection, the less likely the shot will

hit.

 

 

All told, the more advantages you have (or can create for yourself) before you

start the fight, the more likely you are to be the victor. Putting those advantages to

good use, however, is a matter of pilot skill and experience.

 

 

DOGFIGHT VS. HIT-AND-RUN

 

The differences between the two basic types of aerial fighting are analogous to

the contrasts between boxing and wrestling. A pilot with an advantaged

approach often has the power to decide what kind of fight it’s going to be, but a

fast, manoeuvrable aircraft with an experienced pilot can force the fight to go the

other way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

186

When most people say ‘dogfight,’ they mean any mid-air conflict between aircraft.

For simplicity, that’s a good definition, but a pilot has to know better. A dogfight

develops when two or more planes close with one another, getting into a

close-quarters duel of manoeuvrability (usually a one-circle or two-circle fight).

Obviously, if your aircraft is significantly less manoeuvrable than your opponent’s,

you will want to avoid this kind of close-contact fighting.

 

 

 

The other option here is an open conflict, which is sometimes called a ‘hit-and-run’

fight. In this type of aerial combat, the aircraft involved make repeated

strafing passes (“slashing” attacks) at each other, depending on firepower,

strategy, and endurance to win the day. This sort of battle emphasises the

advantages of altitude, speed, and situational awareness (knowing what’s going

on around you). Of course, if you know your plane isn’t as tough or as hard-hitting

as your enemy’s, you should avoid hit-and-run fights.

 

 

 

IMMELMANN

The modern Immelmann is a time-honoured method of gaining altitude and

(potentially) changing direction. It is a combat manoeuvre, but not one that you

want to use when an enemy is on your six. At the beginning of the Immelmann,

you lose speed and become vulnerable to attack. For this reason, you should

use this particular tactic only when there’s no immediate threat. The modern

Immelmann is best used after a nose-to-nose pass, to turn for the next pass and

gain altitude for an advantaged position.

 

 

 

It is important that you have enough airspeed; the Immelmann is a lot like a loop

over. To start, pull back on the stick as if you are performing a loop. When you

are exactly vertical (pointed straight up), you are at the decision point of the

manoeuvre. This is where split-second thinking and reactions come in handy. If

you’re on the ball, you can roll your aircraft without losing your sense of position.

Whatever direction the top of your head is pointing in when you leave the

decision point is the direction your plane will take when you finish the

manoeuvre.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

187

 

Modern Immelmann

 

 

 

After the roll, which should take place almost instantly, continue the loop until

you reach the top. At this point, neutralise (centre) the stick. Note that you are, in

fact, moving in the direction that you chose at the decision point, though you are

inverted. Roll the aircraft over. You have gained altitude and changed direction,

though now your speed is significantly lower. If your opponent remained at the

original level, you now have an altitude advantage and he doesn’t yet know what

direction you’re going in.

 

 

 

 

SPLIT-S

 

 

The Split-S is really an inverted (vertically reversed) Immelmann, but nobody calls

it that. It’s a great way to drop a lot of altitude, gain speed, and change direction.

This manoeuvre is often useful for escaping an opponent who is just about to

shoot you down. Not only is it nearly impossible for your opponent to guess what

direction you’re turning in—making it difficult for him to follow you—but your new

airspeed should give you more than enough juice to run away and end the

dogfight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

188

In this case, airspeed is not important; you’ll be getting plenty right from the start.

To begin, invert the aircraft and pull back on the stick as if you are performing a

loop under. When you are exactly vertical (pointed straight down), you are at the

decision point of the manoeuvre. This is where split-second thinking and

reactions come in handy. If you’re on the ball, you can roll your aircraft without

losing your sense of position. As with the Immelmann, whatever direction the top

of your head is pointing in when you leave the decision point is the direction your

plane will take when you finish the manoeuvre.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Split-S

 

 

 

After the roll, which you’d better finish quickly, continue the loop until you reach

the bottom. At this point, neutralize (center) the stick. Note that you are, in fact,

moving in the direction that you chose at the decision point. You have lost

altitude, changed direction, and significantly raised your airspeed. If your

opponent remained at the original level, he now has an altitude advantage, but

he doesn’t yet know what direction you’re going in.

 

 

INTENTIONAL STALL

 

Despite what you may have read, heard, or seen, there is absolutely no reason to

stall the aircraft intentionally unless you are performing in an air show. In combat,

this will get you killed—period.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

189

SKID

 

 

Skidding is a rudder manoeuvre you can use offensively, but it takes some

practice. Sometimes, you’re behind an opponent (at about the same altitude), but

not at the right angle to take a shot at him. He knows it, and he’s flying straight,

counting on it. You’re both moving at below top speed. If you bank toward him,

you’ll get a short shot, but then you’ll be past and he’ll be on your tail. What you

need to do is swing the nose of the plane around without changing the direction

of your motion. Can do!

 

 

 

Jam the rudder in the direction of your enemy (that is,

rudder left if he’s on your left, rudder right if he’s to your

right). If your speed is right (in the range for good rudder

control), the nose will drag itself over until you have a clear

shot. Take it.

 

 

Skidding the shot in

 

 

SLIP

 

 

Slipping is another simple rudder manoeuvre, though you also need to use the

ailerons in this one. Its primary use is for momentarily dodging out of the line of

fire of an opponent who has got the drop on you. You could probably use it,

too, in place of a skid, to slide in behind the enemy plane.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

190

 

 

Slipping out

 

 

 

Rudder hard in either direction, while at the same time banking in the opposite

direction. This is a lot like compensating for a normal bank, but you want to use

more rudder. The key here is that the two forces cancel each other as concerns

roll; the plane should remain level. Level or not, your aircraft will “slide” to the side

you banked toward. This is as close as you’ll get to flying sideways. Once your

enemy catches on, he’ll slip, too, to catch you. You can repeatedly slip back and

forth, thereby eluding him for quite some time. (Maybe help will come, or maybe

he’ll make a mistake and you can escape.)

 

 

 

SCISSORS

 

The Scissors is a basic dog fighting technique. Two planes travelling in roughly the

same direction cannot easily line up for head-to-head passes. Rather, they engage

in a criss-crossing pattern of banked turns, each trying to out turn the other and

shoot first. Since lower airspeeds lead to tighter turns, the scissors is sometimes

called the “race to go slow.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

191

 

Scissors fight

 

 

 

The scissors is really just a series of banked turns, as tight as possible. Whenever

the opponents can get a clear shot on each other, they blast away for all they’re

worth. Firepower counts in this sort of fight, but manoeuvrability is more vital.

 

 

 

THACH WEAVE

 

The Thach weave (no, it’s not misspelled—it’s named after Lt. Cmdr. John F.

Jimmy” Thach) is an American tactic developed by fighter pilots for defeating

the Japanese Zero fighter. If an American fighter got trapped in a one-on-one

dogfight with a Zero, the Japanese aircraft had a big advantage. Sticking to

hit-and-run tactics helped, but with the Zeke’s extraordinary climb and

manoeuvrability, the IJN pilot could usually draw the hapless American into a

close-quarters fight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

192

During one particular air battle (so the legend goes), Thach had an inspiration.

When a Zero got behind another American fighter, Thach radioed to the doomed

pilot to fly as though he was in a scissors fight with Thach. When they came

around head-to-head, the unwary Japanese pilot followed and ran right into the

concentrated fire of Thach’s wing guns. No fighter in the sky could hold up to this

sort of fire for long, and there was no escape. Either the Japanese pilot continued

to follow his target, hoping to survive long enough to get one kill, or he broke off

to run, exposing himself to fire from both his opponents.

 

 

 

 

Thach weave

 

 

Though invented for use against the Zero, a Thach weave works just as well

against almost any enemy fighter. The key to the weave is teamwork. Once an

enemy gets behind one of your compatriots, you’ve got to start the weave pretty

quickly. The fighter pilot who’s acting as “bait” has to know his stuff, too. He

needs to survive long enough (with the enemy right on his tail) for the “hook” pilot

to get in and do his job. Executed correctly, the Thach Weave is a deadly trap with

little or no real hope of escape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

193

ADVANCED MANOEUVRING

 

 

As you fly and fight, you will almost certainly outgrow the small group of simple

manoeuvres presented in earlier sections. Like any pilot, you’ll develop your own

favourite moves and tricks. Some will be combinations of those basic

manoeuvres, and some will be completely new ideas. As happens in real life,

most of these will be pretty, but entirely useless in combat. The few that do

continue to work are not to be underestimated. Whenever you go head-to-head

against the enemy, it’s going to be your bag of tricks against his. Generally, the

fuller bag will win.

 

 

The advice and the few manoeuvres presented here are a little more advanced

than those presented earlier. Add them to your arsenal, practice them, and use

each as you can. Keep in mind, however, that any opponent you face may also

know all of this. Your invented manoeuvres, once they’ve been tested and proven

in combat, are likely to be more valuable in the long run than anything you learn

here.

 

 

The “Tightest” Turn

 

It would be a vast understatement to say, “The ability to make tight turns is often

important in air-to-air combat situations.” In a scissors fight, a one- or two-circle

contest, the Thach Weave, and many other, nameless predicaments, the pilot

who brings the nose around most quickly is usually the pilot who survives. So,

how do you make the best turns your plane is capable of?

 

 

First, you should recognise that the “tightest” turn—the one with the smallest

radius—is not the turn you want. If your airspeed is low enough, it is possible to

turn 180° in a very small area, as in a wing over. Problem is, at that speed the turn

takes a long time to complete (and you present a great target throughout).

 

 

The other extreme is the “fastest” turn. At top speed, your plane should whip

around any turn quickly, right? Of course not. If it was that easy, rudimentary

computers would have replaced pilots long ago. Taking a turn at high speed does

make you less of an easy target, but the turn is very open and uses up a lot of sky.

The turn you want to execute in combat is the one that maximises the degrees of

turn per second—the quickest turn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

194

Of course, every model of aircraft (and every individual plane) is different and thus

has different characteristics in a turn. It is impossible to give exact instructions for

getting the quickest turn out of any real plane. The planes in European Air War

are simulated, however, and are actually more similar than they are dissimilar.

There are some general considerations that will get you close to the quickest turn

for each plane. Tweaking the last second or two off your turn is up to you.

 

 

 

For every plane, there is a certain airspeed at which it is capable of its quickest

turn. This speed is a compromise, a balance between turning radius and forward

movement of the aircraft. The problem is this: the faster the plane is moving, the

faster it will get around the turn, but at higher speeds, the turn becomes more

open and, therefore, longer. At slower speeds, turns are less open (shorter), but

the plane traverses the turn more slowly. Somewhere in the middle is the

airspeed at which you get your best turn. Any faster, and the turn will open up and

take more time; any slower, and the plane won’t get around it as quickly or might

even stall.

 

 

 

That airspeed is between 220 and 280 mph for every one of the flyable aircraft

in European Air War. Note that you will lose airspeed during the turn, so you may

want to start your turn a little above this perfect speed and “fall into it.” Bank 80 to

90 degrees and pull back on the stick. (Don’t forget to co-ordinate the rudder.)

Increase throttle as necessary to keep your speed close to the magic number.

Most important—and this will come easily only after you are familiar with the

plane—do not pull back so far on the stick that you stall in the turn. Chances are

good that your opponent would not let you survive to recover from it.

 

 

 

One more subtle effect that you may want to be aware of is the difference in

airspeed loss according to your speed through the turn. The more slowly you are

moving, the tighter the turn will be. The tighter the turn, the larger surface area

your plane presents to the relative wind. Drag in a slow, tight turn will take away a

larger percentage of your airspeed than the same drag in a fast, open turn. In the

fast, shallow turn, your plane presents a smaller surface to the relative wind, and

thus a lesser percentage of airspeed is stolen by drag. In the quickest turn, at a

moderately low speed, the loss is average. If you do take the turn at just above the

best airspeed, you may save yourself a little speed. Why you might want to do this

is covered in the discussion of energy management.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

195

Turning With the Rudder

 

Now we turn from some of the most efficient turning techniques to what is

probably one of the least efficient, aerodynamically speaking. Though it is no

longer taught as standard practice (at one time it was), it is quite possible to

change the direction of an aircraft using only the rudder. The principle and

practice are fairly straightforward. The first question we need to confront, though,

is why anyone would ever want to turn this way.

 

 

 

 

Turning with only the rudder is slow and ungainly. It imposes forces on the plane

that make it pretty easy to lose control and drop into a spin. Clearly, this is not the

method of choice for pilots who want to see their next birthday—or is it?

Professional pilots steer with their rudders every day. In fact, most would

probably say that it’s nearly impossible to land well without doing so. During the

final few seconds of an approach to the runway, no intelligent pilot uses side

movements of the stick. (The wing tips, when banked near touchdown, have a

nasty tendency to hit the ground.) Tiny last-minute changes in direction are often

necessary to avoid touching down at an angle to the runway, and these moves

must be made with only the rudder for control. Other than fine-tuning a landing,

however, the rudder is best used along with the ailerons for co-ordinating three dimensional

manoeuvres—not for turning.

 

 

 

What happens when a pilot steers with the rudder? If all of the other controls are

held steady, left rudder quite simply results in yaw to the left. (We’ll use left rudder

as an example; you can extrapolate to figure out the effects of right rudder.)

Essentially, the extra drag caused by the extension of the rudder surface retards

the forward movement of the left side of the aircraft, causing the whole plane to

yaw in that direction. This yaw changes the direction in which the nose is

pointing, and therefore shifts the direction of the propeller’s thrust. For a short

time, the plane will move at an angle—skidding—with the propeller impelling it to

one side. The combination of the inertial skid and the forward thrust of the

propeller results in a curved path of movement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

196

 

Forces on the aircraft in a skidding turn

 

 

 

 

This curving movement is all well and good if the rudder is held for only a short

time. The aircraft does change direction, though slowly and skidding all the while.

(Pilots generally do not approve of skidding, as it is an inefficient and graceless

way to fly, and it causes a big loss of airspeed.) For small directional changes

when landing, this is quite enough. There are dangers, though, for anyone

incautious enough to continue to hold the rudder.

 

 

 

 

When the plane is skidding, one wing is further forward than the other in relation

to the relative wind. That forward wing has more lift than the other wing,

especially since the fuselage blocks some of the airflow that would normally hit

the back wing. The difference in lift causes the aircraft to roll (bank) in the

direction of the yaw (left). This secondary banking will tighten the turn and slow

the plane. No problem, right? It just makes the plane turn more. Well, there’s a

catch. Now that the plane has banked, any further yaw caused by holding the

rudder is no longer purely horizontal. The nose dips toward the ground. Airspeed

starts to increase, the plane rolls a little more, then yaws a little more, and so on.

Much more quickly than you might think, the aircraft is in a tight, fast, corkscrew

dive or even a spin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

197

 

Forces resulting in a corkscrew dive

 

 

 

So if your ailerons are not working, make sure that you never hold a rudder-only

turn for too long. Otherwise, you’re going in for a dirt bath.

 

 

 

Escaping a Scissors Fight

 

One of the first rules of dog fighting is: Never get into a turning fight against a

more manoeuvrable aircraft. The operative word here is never. It’s hard to

over-stress this. Don’t do it. Ever. Period. There are no exceptions.

 

 

 

 

The Scissors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

198

Now, assuming you’ve gone ahead and done so, you are probably going to get

shot down. If you stay to fight, you’re history. If you try to disengage, you’re toast.

There is no reliable way to escape.

 

 

 

What this little section is about is a more unusual situation. Let’s say you’ve

got into a scissors-type turning fight against a plane that is less manoeuvrable

than yours or just about evenly matched. After you’re committed, something

about the set up changes, leading you to decide that putting some distance

between yourself and your opponent is a good idea. (For example, you find out

you’ve been suckered in by a Thach Weave.) Even if your manoeuvrability is

better than your opponent’s, breaking off is going to give him at least one free

shot at your six. What to do?

 

 

 

Well, the fact is, there’s one point in the scissors when you can effect a pretty

clean escape. (“Pretty clean” means you’d better get it right, or you’ll end up with

a normal, vulnerable break-off.) At the exact moment when the two planes cross

paths, your enemy cannot see what you’re doing. He has to assume, for a second

or two, that you’re turning into the next leg of the scissors, just as he is. If, at that

precise moment, you invert instead and dive into a Split-S, you can get away

clean.

 

 

 

Before you actually pull this manoeuvre, there are a couple of important things to

keep in mind. First, where are all the other planes? Situational awareness is

absolutely vital in this case. Since at the end of your escape, you’re not going to

be in a very good energy state, you want to end up in friendly skies. The Split-S is

going to reverse your direction of flight, so make sure there’s nothing nasty

behind you when you start into it. The other thing to consider is the angle of

approach between your plane and your opponent’s. The larger this angle is (nose

to nose is 180°—as big as it gets—but if you’re in that situation, you’d better be

filling his engine with lead!), the better your chances of escape. The longer it takes

him to get turned around toward your new heading, the better.

 

 

 

Remember, in the first part of the Split-S, you gain airspeed rapidly. It will take only

a few seconds for your opponent to realise what you’re doing, so you have to gain

all you can get from those seconds. Ignore the decision point of the manoeuvre;

do not roll at all. You’re already in position to make the enemy’s turn take as long

as possible, and that’s exactly what you want. By the time he gets pointed in your

direction, you want to be far away or already coming back.

 

 

 

 

 

199

You can use your new found airspeed in several ways. One is to go like a bat out of

hell for distance, in the case when you need to escape. Another option is to

throttle up and carry the extra energy into a zoom, gaining plenty of altitude. This

gives you the advantaged position, from which you can come around for a fast,

slashing attack. Whatever you decide, at least you’ve left the scissors, which was

the immediate goal.

 

 

Some Further Advice

Here’s some more information for those of you who want to learn more about

flying, fighting, and landing. Just keep in mind that all of this advice is a

generalisation; none of it is reliable in every situation. What you learn in the sky

should always supersede what you learn from the books.

 

 

TACTICAL QUICKIES

 

This section is probably the closest thing to a BFM (Basic Fighter Manoeuvres)

tutorial in this book. Of course, these are only guidelines. Experience and the

advice of other pilots are your best teachers.

 

 

Fighter vs. Fighter

 

This is pretty much the meat of any fighter pilot’s career: fighter vs. fighter

Dog fighting. It’s beyond the scope of this manual to cover fighter tactics in depth,

but we can offer a few pointers. One thing you might want to keep in mind is that

just about every pilot has his or her own opinions about what’s important up

there. If you ask, most fly boys will gladly share them.

 

 

We’ve already covered the hit-and-run and escaping a scissors fight, but there are

three more bits of tactical lore that may prove useful.

 

 

A One-Circle Fight is something you’ll find yourself engaged in fairly frequently in

one-on-one situations. In essence, this is a turning contest like the scissors, but

one in which both aircraft are more committed to the fray. In the one-circle, the

two planes are turning in different directions, but in the same space—one

clockwise and one counter-clockwise. Both are vying for the earliest shot at the

other as their paths cross, and neither can break off without giving the enemy an

easy target. Sooner or later, both planes slow down to get a tighter turn. The

plane (or pilot) that can turn most tightly will usually win, though firepower is also

a strong factor. If the turning battle is a draw, whichever plane is the first to slow

down too much will either stall or be forced to trade altitude for speed, giving the

other pilot the advantage. If you’re high enough, you can usually use a sudden

Split-S to escape from the circle.

 

200

The Two-Circle Fight is also common. In this case, the two aircraft are committed

to a turning fight, but they’re turning in the same direction. Thus, each plane is

making its own circle. As in the scissors and the one-circle, the pilots fire at each

other at every pass, with the win normally going to the one with the fastest turn.

Firepower can also be a big factor in these fights. Breaking off is easier in the two circle

situation, but still hazardous.

 

 

The high and low Yo-Yos are manoeuvres that can help you maintain your energy

when you need to close for a shot. Let’s say you’re above and behind a bandit

moving away from you at the same speed (or faster). You go into a shallow dive,

trading some altitude for airspeed, then pull up again to convert that speed back

into altitude. At some time during the climb, your target will be right where you

want it to be. Fire away, then repeat the manoeuvre as necessary. This is the low

yo-yo. The high yo-yo is the reverse manoeuvre, used when you’re below your

target or moving faster. Some pilots will combine the two, firing on the way up

and the way down. When it’s possible, this is the more efficient method.

 

 

 

Fighter vs. Bomber

 

Bombers are really big, slow targets. Therefore, they’re easy to gain advantage

over, easy to hit, and easy to underestimate. The thing to remember is that you

can’t approach a bomber like you would a fighter. You do not want to wind up

directly behind a bomber. There’s a tail gunner in there. Keep in mind that there’s

a fan-shaped area behind the bomber that you want to avoid.

 

 

Approach bombers from the side, top, and bottom (with the sun at your back, if

possible). The exception is the B-17; you want to come at that one nose-on. Use

your speed advantage to the fullest—never give the pilot a chance to turn on you

while you’re in range. Just sweep in, pelt the fuselage with holes, and zip away to

line up another pass. Generally, bombers on a run don’t have much room to

manoeuvre, so they’ll not make things too hard for you. The toughest part of

shooting down bombers is getting through the escort.

 

 

If you run into a heavily escorted group of bombers, you can sometimes use the

bomber’s firepower to your advantage. If you notice an enemy fighter on your

tail, head toward a bomber, take a few shots, and turn away. Hopefully, some of

the bomber’s anxious gunners will hit the tailing fighter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

201

AAA

 

 

Dealing with enemy fighters is generally your biggest problem. No matter

whether you’re on the offensive or defensive side of the fight, though, you still

have to fly through the flak—the Anti-Aircraft Artillery (AAA). This stuff brings

down more pilots than anyone wants to think about. There’s really nothing you

can do to guarantee that you’ll get through unscathed, but knowing a little about

how it works might spark a few ideas.

 

The volume of effective AAA coverage forms a squashed dome of approximately

25,000 yards horizontal radius and 40,000 feet vertical height around each AAA

emplacement. These domes usually overlap and combine to form an almost

continuous coverage over a target area. The most obvious tactic for minimising

your exposure to AAA is to fly above 40,000 feet for as long as possible. In the

final stages of any attack run, though, you need to drop down in order to do any

damage.

 

 

The gunner at the controls of any AAA battery can’t just loft shells up at random

and hope you fly into them. Every time he pounds off a round, he first calculates a

firing solution based on the altitude, direction, and relative velocity of the target

(you). Since these shells aren’t self-propelled—muzzle velocity is all they get—they

can take quite a while to cover the distance. So here’s the punch line: every shell

that is flying toward your aircraft was aimed several seconds ago, based on your

altitude, direction, and speed at that time. Therefore, don’t stand still. Flying in a

straight line is the most risky tactic of all.

 

 

ALTERNATIVE DELIVERY TECHNIQUES

 

Even in a fighter, you often have opportunity to drop bombs. The standard dive

bombing run is pretty effective, but it does have drawbacks. Throughout the

actual dive, you’re vulnerable to any determined attacker—your aircraft doesn’t

have a lot of manoeuvrability at the speeds it can build up to in a dive. Add to

this the fact that most fighters aren’t built to sustain a steep dive, and that the

stresses—or AAA—can tear them up, and you understand why using a fighter as

a bombing platform can be prohibitively risky.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

202

 

Standard dive

 

 

Over the years, fighter pilots have developed other effective ways to deliver their

packages.

 

 

Cuban 8 Bombing

The Cuban 8 is not really an alternative to the standard dive bombing technique;

it is merely an “advanced” version—an elaboration on the details of the run.

Treating the dive bombing run as though it were a modified Split-S adds

adaptability to your technique. You’ll enter the dive more smoothly and have

a much better chance of leaving it alive.

The first difference from the standard bombing dive comes right at the beginning.

Many of you will already have figured out that going into a steep bombing dive

right side up causes a red out. The inverted entry that you would normally use to

go into a dive is safer. There’s no reason not to use it in the case of a bombing

dive. The key problem is the AA gunners. If you go into a truly vertical dive directly

over your target, you’re playing right into their hands, and your chance of survival

is minimal. Here’s where the Cuban 8 comes in. After you invert, drop the nose to

exactly the normal dive angle you’d use. When you get to your angle—without the

risk of red out—steady the plane and roll over. Works every time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

203

 

The Cuban 8

 

 

 

One alternative version of the Cuban 8 is a modified loop over. Fly past your target

lower than you expect to start your dive, then pull up into the loop. At the top of

the loop, when you’re pointed back in the direction of the target, use the same

Cuban 8 dive angle technique to start your dive, then roll right-side up.

 

 

 

The actual dive is no different from the standard vertical dive. However, there’s

something you can do toward the end of the dive that will greatly increase your

chances of making a clean getaway. The AA gunners who are trying to destroy

your plane cannot merely aim at you and fire; they have to lead you, aiming along

your supposed flight path. They know as well as you that when you pull out of the

dive you will be flying in the direction that your head was pointing when you

pulled back on the stick. (Remember the decision point of the Split-S?) They’re

watching you. If you roll the plane around a little during the dive (fighter pilots call

this ‘jinking’), you can quite effectively throw their aim off. Just be careful that you

don’t throw your own out of whack as well.

 

 

 

Before you release your bomb load, choose a direction. Immediately after the

drop, roll quickly to that direction and pull out. This last-second roll further

disturbs the aim of the AA gunners. Every little jink helps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

204

Popping Up

 

 

The term ‘pop-up’ is used to refer to two somewhat different tactics used by

modern combat pilots. Both involve a type of close-to-the-ground flying that was

not practiced by combat pilots until very late in the Second World War. Modern

pilots know it as “Nap of the Earth” or NOE flight. One type of pop-up is primarily a

helicopter technique, which is also quite suitable for propeller-speed strafing and

rocketry. The other is a form of low-level dive bombing, which can be used by

most bomb-laden fighters.

 

 

 

The first form of popping up—the helicopter technique—is most effective when

combined with self-propelled and self-guiding weapons. In the 1940s, weapons

with internal guidance systems were still science fiction, on the verge of

becoming reality. The rockets were about as self-propelled as an air-launched

weapon got. Give this tactic a try; if it doesn’t work for you, discard it. If it does

work, use it.

 

 

 

 

The first thing you need is a hill or a ridge. That’s right, you can’t use this tactic

over flat, open ground. The basic notion is that having a large chunk of dirt

between you and your target prevents two things. One, it lowers the chances that

the defences will be alerted to your presence. Two, it serves as a barrier to antiaircraft

fire. What you need to do is fly in low and fast, sticking to the lay of the

land (NOE). If you’re doing it right, your altitude will be less than that of the hilltop.

Now, obviously, this hill also keeps your bullets (or rockets) from getting to the

target. (It will also wreck your plane if you continue at your current altitude.) This

is where the popping up comes in. If you keep following the nap of the Earth,

you’ll climb up over the hill. As soon as you clear the top, level off and find your

target. (Note here that the closer the hill is to the target, the bigger advantage the

element of surprise will give you.) As soon as it’s in range, dive in and start

shooting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

205

 

Pop-up Bombing

 

 

 

 

Pop-up bombing is an altogether different tactic. For one thing, you don’t need

hills (or even land). For another, it’s a bombing technique, not well suited to

strafing and rocketing.

 

 

 

Start out moving fast at a fairly low altitude. (You can’t pop up unless you’re

down.) Essentially, you should be at the altitude at which you’re going to drop

your load, and you need to have enough energy (airspeed) to climb at least 2000

feet. When you get close to your target, go into a steep climb—10° more upward

than your dive angle will be downward. You’ll lose most of your airspeed, and you

should gain between 2,000 and 3,000 feet. At the top of your climb, roll toward

the target at 90° plus your intended dive angle. For example, if you expect to use

a normal 70° angle, you would roll 160°. When the target is dead ahead and

you’ve got to the dive angle you desire, roll right-side up and steady the plane

into a standard bombing dive. From here on out it’s just like a normal bomb run,

except that you’re moving relatively slowly. This gives you better control and

accuracy, but you’ll need to gain some speed to make good your escape.

 

 

Level Bombing

 

Level bombing is the only effective way to deliver a torpedo. Level bombing offers

a stable platform for dropping “sticks” of tens or hundreds of bombs over

mainland industrial targets. For single-shot bomb drops requiring precise

targeting, level bombing is practically useless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

206

Okay, it’s possible to imagine a few situations when level bombing could be a

good option in European Air War—for instance, maybe your elevator has been

shot off. The main problem is that level bombing is less precise than dive

bombing; it’s much more difficult to hit your target. Another concern is that

flying level over a target is a really good way to get yourself torn apart by flak.

Nevertheless, there might come a time when necessity corners you, and you

need to know how to bomb from a level attitude. To train for such an occasion,

your best bet is to practice on targets which have no anti-aircraft weaponry.

 

The approach is not complicated; you simply fly toward the target. If there is AAA

fire, dodging from side to side is encouraged. The altitude at which you approach

should be dictated by your grasp of the physics involved—the physics of the

trajectory of a released bomb, that is. The physical laws applicable to falling

bodies will also provide a good guide as to when you should drop your ordnance

for best effect (to hit something).

 

Slowing due to the resistance of the air is pretty much negligible in the case of

these small, aerodynamically designed bombs. Therefore, each bomb will fall

along the parabolic course dictated by gravity and forward momentum. As a

rough guide, the bomb will hit the surface at the point you are flying over when it

impacts (assuming you have continued flying straight). You need to learn how to

judge two things. The first is how long it will take you to fly from your present

position to a point directly over the target. The second is how long it will take the

bomb to reach the surface from your current altitude. When these two numbers

are the same (momentarily), that’s when you should drop your payload. In aircraft

of this sort, both of these judgements are built through experience and cannot be

reliably taught. A little physics, however, allows us to compile an approximate

guide to drop times.

 

Altitude (ft) Time (sec)

 

10,000 24.5

 

9,000 23.2

 

8,000 21.9

 

7,000 20.4

 

6,000 18.9

 

5,000 17.2

 

4,000 15.3

 

3,000 13.2

 

2,000 10.6

 

1,000 7.4

 

207 FLIGHT SCHOOL

 

Glide Bombing

 

 

The first aircraft to drop bombs (other than those thrown by hand) were glide

bombers. The development of explosive anti-aircraft fire was supposed to render

this time-worn delivery technique virtually obsolete, but pilots continued to use

variants of it well into this war.

 

 

 

 

Glide bombing

 

 

 

Although you give yourself more time to line up the shot if you glide it in, you also

spend a terrific amount of time exposed to enemy flak. Generally, it is unwise (to

say the least) to attempt glide bombing except against undefended targets. Even

then, the proximity of your plane to the explosion of the impacting bomb is a

grave threat. If you don’t get out of the way fast enough, you’ll get your wings

blown off and go ballistic.

 

 

 

 

Approach your target by the direct route, in a shallow dive at high speed.

Remember that the bomb has only as much force as your airspeed gives it. Also

keep in mind that you will have a very short time to get out of the way before that

baby goes off, and speed is good for escaping. When you’re close enough that

you cannot possibly miss, but not quite so close that you can’t pull up, loose the

projectile. If you’ve done everything right, the bomb will continue along your

flight path long enough to reach the target.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

208

As soon as you’ve let go of the package, you have three options, each of which

has its advantages. First, you can pull up just enough to miss colliding with the

target, relying on your airspeed to carry you out of shrapnel range. This works fine

if you’re going fast enough, but you probably aren’t—the bomb is moving as fast

as you are, right? Second, you can pull back hard on the stick and try to climb

(zoom) out of blast range. This technique will work about half the time. The

problem is the loss of speed as you enter the zoom; sometimes it’s enough to

keep your plane in the danger area. The third (and probably best) option is to bank

hard to either side and pull the stick far back. This should curve your plane quickly

out of harm’s way. Since you lose less airspeed in a bank than a zoom, your plane

will leave the blast area just a smidgen more quickly.

 

 

 

Lofting

 

 

Lofting a bomb—also called ‘lobbing’ or ‘tossing’—is much less dangerous than

gliding it all the way in. Unfortunately, it’s also much more difficult to do with any

accuracy. Lofting is effective primarily when delivering an unpropelled weapon

that has a large blast radius or area of effect. To deliver one of the “dumb” bombs

in European Air War accurately, you’ll need to let go of it fairly close to your

target—although not nearly as close as you do when glide bombing.

 

 

 

 

Lofting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

209

The key difference between the loft technique and a glide drop is the tangential

release. As pilot, you begin pulling up into your escape zoom before letting go of

the payload. Drop your egg when your nose has moved approximately halfway to

the zenith (45° above the horizon—the zenith is straight up). Since the bomb

leaves the cradle with the same momentary direction and speed of flight (velocity

vector) as your plane, it will fly off at a tangent to your vertical curve. As long

as you release at less than (roughly) a 50° angle, the subsequent upward

momentum of the projectile will add to the horizontal range of the bomb. It will

also give you more time to get out of the way.

 

 

 

Physics gives you a good idea how far a bomb will travel from any particular

release angle. Unfortunately, it’s pretty useless knowledge, since in reality you

never know the exact angle. Practice will give you a much better feel for it.

 

 

 

LANDINGS

 

European Air War doesn’t require that you ever land your plane. Once you’ve

accomplished your mission objective, whatever it happens to be, and returned to

within 50 miles of your base, you can quit the mission. That way, you shorten the

long flight home. You also avoid having to land. That’s fine if you’re in a hurry to

get to your next mission, but if you have ammo left and you’re in enemy territory,

there might still be targets of opportunity between you and your home runway.

Allied fighters escorting bombers (especially the P-52s and P-38s) wreaked

havoc on German railways and supply convoys by unloading their guns on the

way home.

 

 

 

Keep in mind that the planes in European Air War are all equipped with the same

standard landing gear configuration—nose-high with a short tail wheel. This set up

is great for take-off, but is much more unstable during the landing than the

modern tricycle gear. These “tail-draggers,” as they’ve come to be called, are

much more likely to lead you into a ground loop than modern aircraft.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

210

Step 1: Lining Up

 

 

The first thing most inexperienced pilots do when they want to land is also the

first thing they do wrong. If you fly in from the wrong direction or start your

approach too close to the runway, you’ve already doomed yourself to a failed

landing attempt. (If you don’t yet know the layout of the landing field, fly a pass

over the runway to check things out. You need to know in what direction the

runway runs.)

 

 

 

Start your landing run at a good distance from the strip. Most pilots like to have at

least the 3 miles that the Game Player’s Guide calls for. At that distance, you

should be able to see the runway, which is necessary for judging your angle of

approach. You also should have plenty of time to lose most of your altitude, bleed

off any excess speed, and make the necessary adjustments to your flight path.

 

 

 

Unless you know the descent characteristics of your plane pretty well, you’ll want

to fly a base leg to lead into the actual approach. A base leg gives you the chance

to judge the descent slope you’re going to be flying. It also allows you more time

to get your speed and altitude right. You start the base leg at the same distance

away from the runway, plus a mile or two (or more) off to the left of the point

where you plan to begin your landing approach.

 

 

 

Start your base leg at an altitude a little over 1,000 feet, flying roughly halfway

between the plane’s normal cruising speed and its level stalling speed. Extend the

flaps completely. (Note that this will result in a temporary lifting of the aircraft and

will drastically lower the plane’s effective level stalling speed.) Use gentle back

pressure on the stick to maintain a level attitude. Presumably, this will cause you

to sink (lose altitude) at a regular rate. If not, cut back on the throttle until you do

start to sink. Now comes the hard part.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

211

You need to estimate the angle at which you are losing altitude. If you were

landing an actual aircraft, you could use visual clues to do so. In European Air

War, you also use visual cues, except that it’s more difficult. Watch the visible

surface (below the horizon) in front of you. After a short time, you will be able to

differentiate between the three types of apparent movement taking place. Things

near the top of the view will seem to rise toward the horizon, while things near

the bottom will seem to slide downward and toward you. Ignore these things. In

the middle will be a narrow area where nothing moves up or down, relative to the

horizon. This area is where you would touch down if you continued exactly as you

are flying. Note how far this is from the horizon, then look out over your left wing.

 

 

 

If the near end of the runway is the same apparent distance from the horizon,

your rate of descent is perfect. Of course, this method is less than precise, and

you will need to make adjustments to your descent path as you go.

If your descent path is wrong, it’s pretty easy to correct. To make your path

steeper—that is, to drop more quickly and aim at a touchdown point nearer

(farther from the horizon) than your current one—point the nose up a little. At first,

it may seem as though you’re actually getting a shallower descent, but this is a

temporary effect. As long as you don’t touch the throttle, your descent will get

steeper and you’ll lose a little speed. If you have a Rate of Climb indicator in your

plane, the ROC reading will prove the difference in the angle of descent. If your

path is already too steep, point the nose down a bit. This will increase your speed

and shallow your descent.

 

 

 

Having set your aircraft in the correct descent angle, you need only wait until you

are aligned with the end of the runway. Turn toward the landing strip and settle

into the same descent as before. Once you’re lined up facing the runway, you

should have your altitude, speed, and distance balanced for a proper and

uncomplicated descent slope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

212

Step 2: Power Descent

 

 

This is the easy part. As you gradually settle toward the runway, be alert for any

minor changes you need to make to keep your descent angle where you want it.

From this point on, you don’t want to make any sudden or drastic control changes

(unless you abort the landing, of course). Make sure that you’re lined up correctly

with the runway. Last-minute changes to your direction of approach are not

recommended, as they tend to be difficult and dangerous.

 

 

 

Lower your landing gear. The extra drag this causes will slow you down and make

your approach noticeably steeper. You can compensate for this using the same

rules as in Step 1. Unless you are about to stall, don’t increase the throttle setting.

You need to keep enough speed that you have good control of the aircraft, but

you also want to be going pretty slow when you touch down. Your indicated

airspeed (IAS) should certainly be less than 100 knots.

 

 

 

Even if you have trimmed your rudder to compensate for engine torque, you’ll still

have to keep an eye out for a tendency to turn to the left. In fact, the lower your

airspeed gets, the greater the effects of torque will be. In extreme cases, you

could find yourself holding full right rudder against the engine by the time you

touch down.

 

 

 

Step 3: Final Approach

 

 

As you start to get really close to the ground, the tiny corrections come faster and

faster. Don’t worry. It’s just like dealing with a lion; if you remain calm and don’t

make any sudden moves, you’ll probably live through the experience. Once

you’re within a few hundred feet of the runway, do not use your ailerons at all

unless you absolutely have to. Touching down with your wings at an angle is a

really effective way to kill yourself—and everybody on the landing field. If you

must straighten out your approach, use the rudder. It’s less efficient and a little

slower to slip and skid into position, but it’s far safer in the long run.

 

 

 

The methods of changing your descent slope that you used before will still work

now. If you need more drastic changes in your slope than tilting the nose will give

you, however, you’ve probably botched the landing. A combination of throttle

and elevator control can often compensate for a bad approach, but if you have

enough fuel, go around and try again.

 

 

213

L

When you’re on the mark and ready to touch down, slow down as much as you

possibly can without stalling. You may have to lift your nose to stay aloft, and the

runway may not be visible. Don’t panic; it isn’t going anywhere.

 

 

 

Step 31/2: The Go-around

 

 

If you decide that you’ve botched a landing, you must abort and try again. The

first step absolutely must be to ram the throttle to full; nothing else you can do is

more important. You cannot stop the landing, regain altitude, or even control the

plane without getting your airspeed up away from the stalling zone. So, as soon

as you decide to do a go-around and restart your approach, go to full throttle right

away.

 

 

 

 

Sometimes a go-around is your best option.

 

 

 

Now raise your gear. This will lessen the drag on your plane and give you a little

more speed. You’ll need all the speed you can get for the next step.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

214

Pull back very gently and not very far on the stick. Do not bank at all. You want to

climb gradually, as if you just took off. Remember that a few seconds ago you

were about to stall, and the plane is still very near the stalling point. If you try to

climb too quickly by pulling the stick back, you’re going to stall and hit dirt. If you

bank, you will steepen your angle of attack, stall, and hit dirt.

 

 

 

Once you get some speed and altitude under your belt, you can bank around for

another try at it. Treat this approach just like the first one, except correct

whatever you did wrong that time. Don’t forget to put your gear back down at the

appropriate time.

 

 

Step 4: Flare and Touchdown

 

 

You’re dropping toward the runway near stalling speed. Your flaps are extended,

gear down, and your nose is up. The ground is coming up fast. Everything is

A-okay. Now what?

 

 

 

Well, you just continue this way until your wheels touch dirt. That’s all there is to

it. Some pilots perform a manoeuvre known as a flare, but it isn’t really necessary

unless the runway is far too short.

 

 

 

A flare, reduced to its simplest form, is merely an intentional stall. As you

approach the runway, your flight profile is already hovering near a stall

situation. When you’re ready to land—at approximately 100 feet for heavy

aircraft and 50 for lighter ones—pull back on the stick just enough to put your

plane over the edge into a full stall. This action should take just long enough

that the stall occurs less than 20 feet from the surface of the runway. The

aircraft will drop onto the runway with the least possible forward speed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

215

Step 5: Stop the Plane

 

 

The moment you touch down, immediately cut your engine and apply the wheel

brakes. Let go of the stick entirely; you can only get yourself in trouble with it at

this point.

 

 

 

There are just two more things to worry about. The first is: You came down too

hard and the plane bounces off the runway. As usual, your first instinct is wrong;

don’t force the nose down. If you just hold the stick steady, you’ll stall again and

touch down again, more lightly. If you were to push forward and nose down

toward the runway, that’s exactly how you’d land. Nose landings are pretty funny looking,

and a pilot who engages in one gets fitted for a dirt shirt.

 

 

The second worry is: here you are on the ground, still moving, and you find

yourself heading right off the side of the runway. This is not good. Your first

instinct is probably to grab the stick and haul it over to one side. However, if you

do this, you will likely perform what is known as a ground loop—one of your wing

tips hits the ground and the plane flips over.

 

 

 

What you really meant to do was to use the rudder. As soon as your wheels are on

the ground, the ailerons (and, thus, any sideways movements of the stick)

become useless. At the slow speeds involved in landing, the rudder is quite useful

for steering the aircraft, especially once it has touched down. Right rudder will

steer you to the right, away from the left edge of the runway, and left rudder will

take you to the left—away from the right edge of the runway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

216

The Cockpits

 

The following pages contain identification diagrams and important information concerning the enemy’s aircraft and all of the planes you might end up piloting. The American Armed Forces’ official designation names, where they exist, have been included for ease of reference You should review the figures on the aircraft you might be piloting or opposing. (There’s a reason they’re called ‘vital’ statistics.) In addition, we’ve included some notes on each plane compiled from the opinions of experienced combat pilots.

 

217

 

Background

 

At the outset of World War II, the air tactics in use closely resembled those of the

previous world war, but during the ensuing years of conflict, they underwent

extensive change. The change in tactics seems minor, however, when compared

to the dramatic transformation that the aircraft of the world’s armed forces went

through. Countries went from using light and fragile planes with limited range,

armament, and payload to flying the world’s first jet fighter, the German Me262.

In the process, specialised warplanes sprang up, including craft outfitted for night

flying, long-distance precision bombing, escort missions, and of course air-to-air

combat.

 

 

 

Air power became one of the critical factors in determining the outcome of the

war. Control of the skies meant the ability to bomb the enemy’s centres of

communication and industry and to thereby slow or disrupt production of

materials essential to the war effort. With air superiority, countries could also

provide much-needed support to their forces at sea or on land. Either side’s

success in the air was far from a foregone conclusion, so closely matched were

all the aircraft in the battle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

218

United States Army Air Force

 

 

 

During World War I, the American Air Service lacked any fighter planes of

American design and was forced to use aircraft from France and Britain. While

that was no longer true in the years leading up to the start of the Second World

War, American fighters were—with notable exceptions like the P-39 and P-40—

still far from overpowering. As the United States was soon to discover, successful

military operations called for a greater diversity of warplanes.

 

 

 

The British, too, found themselves in the position of needing new and more

specialised aircraft to cope with the German threat. In 1940, they requisitioned

an American aircraft built with a heavier (and thus more powerful) engine.

Eventually, this became the P-51 Mustang. So began the quest for warplanes

individually adapted for specific roles in battle.

 

 

 

The United States has since become a world power in aircraft design and

production, supplying planes not only to its own armed forces, but to those in

many other nations as well. The fighters you fly in European Air War helped

usher the United States into this age of aerial superiority.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

219

 

 

LOCKHEED P-38 LIGHTNING

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fixed Weapons: 4 nose-mounted .50-calibre Browning machine guns

1 nose-mounted 20 mm Hispano cannon

Ammunition: 500 rd/gun (mg)

150 rd (cannon)

Firing Rate: 750 rd/min (mg)

450 rd/min (cannon)

Span: 52’ 0”

Length: 37’ 10”

Height: 12’ 10”

Engines: 2 Allison V-1710s-89/91

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

220

Model H Model J

Max. Speed 402 mph 414 mph

Cruise Speed 250–320 mph 250–320 mph

Ceiling 40,000 feet 44,000 feet

Combat Radius 275 miles 350 miles

(with drop tank) (2,260 miles) (2,260 miles)

Fuel Capacity 300 gallons 410 gallons

Wing Area 328 sq. ft. 328 sq. ft.

Horsepower 1600 hp (x2) 1600 hp (x2)

Weight Loaded 16,300 lb.s 17,500 lb.s

 

 

Pilot’s Notes:

 

The P-38 Lightning was the first American fighter to be designed as a long-range,

high-altitude interceptor. However, due to technical problems, it failed to

successfully fill its intended role in the European theatre, and was quickly

replaced by the P-51 Mustang. The Lightning did perform well when used as a

tactical fighter-bomber, thanks to its long range, heavy armament, and its ability

to carry a heavy bomb load. Despite its size, the P-38 could manoeuvre with the

best of the German fighters at low altitude, and was often referred to as the

Twin-Tailed Devil” by the German pilots.

 

 

The Lightning has also proved itself competent for long-range escort and

reconnaissance missions. In addition to being an effective fighter at low and

medium altitudes, it also provides good ground support. A P-38 is difficult to

destroy—if one engine is damaged, the other is more than capable of carrying it.

 

 

This fighter (like most) is most vulnerable when alone, so a wise pilot avoids oneon-

one dogfights. If you’re smart, you’ll work with a wing-man, using a hit-and-run

strategy. If an enemy gets on your tail, try to exploit the P-38’s manoeuvrability—

ditch the bogey with a series of sharp turns, then head for the clouds. Due to

severe tail buffeting, the Lightning is not particularly good in a dive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

221

 

 

REPUBLIC P-47 THUNDERBOLT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fixed Weapons: 8 wing-mounted .50-calibre Browning machine guns

Ammunition: 300 rd/gun

Firing Rate: 750 rd/min

Span: 40’ 9 “

Length: 36’ 1”

Height: 14’ 2”

Engine: Pratt & Whitney Double Wasp R-2800

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

222

Model C Model D

Max. Speed 419 mph 436 mph

Cruise Speed 210–275 mph 210–275 mph

Ceiling 41,000 feet 40,000 feet

Combat Radius 275 miles 315 miles

Fuel Capacity 305 gallons 370 gallons

Wing Area 300 sq. ft. 300 sq. ft.

Horsepower 2300 hp 2600 hp

Weight Loaded 13,500 lb.s 14,500 lb.s

 

 

 

Pilot’s Notes:

 

Often referred to as the “Jug” by its pilots, the P-47 was designed around the new

Pratt & Whitney Double Wasp 2,000 hp radial engine—the most powerful

available at the time. The Thunderbolt was also equipped with a turbo-supercharger,

which allowed full power even at an altitude of 30,000 feet and let

the P-47 outperform any German fighter at high altitude. This plane also served

well as a low-altitude fighter-bomber due to its heavy firepower and its ability to

sustain heavy damage.

 

 

 

The Achilles’ heel of the P-47 is its poor rate of climb. This is countered by a first class

diving ability, which you can sometimes exploit to regain height rapidly.

Once you lose momentum from the dive, your best bet is not a steep and straight

ascent; instead, climb in gentle turns to reach your desired altitude.

 

 

 

In the Thunderbolt, your strongest individual defence is generally to initiate the

attack. Use the plane’s superior speed and the quickness of its dive to make a

pass at an enemy, then drop sharply down and away. When threatened in

combat, if all else fails and you just can’t shake your attacker, take comfort in the

Thunderbolt’s reputation for surviving a heavy beating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

223

 

NORTH AMERICAN P-51 MUSTANG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fixed Weapons: [B] 4 wing-mounted .50-calibre Browning machine guns

[D] 6 wing-mounted .50-calibre Browning machine guns

Ammunition: [B] 350 rd/gun

[D] 400 rd/gun 2 inner pairs 270 rd/gun outer pair

Firing Rate: 750 rd/min

Span: 37’ 0”

Length: 32’ 3”

Height: 13’ 8”

Engine: [B] Packard Rolls-Royce Merlin V-1650-3

(Allison V-1710 early)

[D] Packard Rolls-Royce Merlin V-1650-7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

224

 

Model B Model D

Max. Speed 439 mph 437 mph

Cruise Speed 210–320 mph 210–320 mph

Ceiling 42,000 feet 41,900 feet

Combat Radius 450 miles 450 miles

(with drop tank) (750 miles) (750 miles)

Fuel Capacity 269 gallons 269 gallons

Wing Area 233 sq. ft. 233 sq. ft.

Horsepower 1600 hp 1720 hp

Weight Loaded 9690 lb.s 10,100 lb.s

 

 

 

Pilot’s Notes:

 

Considered by many to be the best fighter of the war, the Mustang originated

with an Allison engine as an under-powered, low-altitude attack aircraft meant for

export. However, when mated with the Rolls-Royce Merlin 61 engine, the P-51

was transformed from a modest low-level fighter-bomber into an excellent high altitude

escort fighter. With a pair of drop tanks, the Mustang could escort

bombers from England to anywhere in Germany. Entering service in early 1944,

this aircraft was to be a vital lifeline for American bomber crews throughout the

remainder of the war.

 

 

 

With its vast range, great manoeuvrability, and a speed no other fighter can beat,

the P-51 is the shining star of the USAAF. In the European theatre, this fighter has

more enemy kills than any other plane. This fighter will be breaking records long

after the war is over. The Merlin engine gives you the power for quick, steep

climbs, and the Mustang has the firepower to take care of any situation. It’s both

accurate and stable in the dive.

 

 

 

The biggest shortcoming of the craft is the guns; in the B model, they can jam

during tight turns, when swinging ammunition belts cause the gun breech to

block. The P-51 is also unusually vulnerable to enemy ground fire, due to an easily

punctured cooling system.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

225

Royal Air Force

 

 

 

On the eve of the war, British aircraft designs were more traditional and less well

developed than those of the German Luftwaffe. Though the RAF had designed

and produced many new models of aircraft in the years since the First World

War—including the Spitfire and Hurricane—they had continued to lay stock in

biplanes until well into the 1930s. Though engines had become increasingly

more powerful and aircraft more manoeuvrable, the British planes were little

changed in other essentials. Whether for lack of budget or foresight or both, the

RAF wholly neglected the issue of armament and instead persisted in using the

same planes for both offensive and defensive purposes.

 

 

 

Once the war began, the British soon realised their mistake. The RAF determined

that it needed a long-range plane to fly coastal patrols and minimise the threat

from German U-boats. None of the available aircraft, British or American, could do

the job effectively, so the RAF commissioned the design of a new plane, one

specialised for the task. For the Allies, this was the beginning of an age of

specialisation in warplanes.

 

 

 

In addition to soliciting an entirely new line of planes, the British also upgraded

older designs like the Spitfire and Hurricane, both of which had been flying for

years. Using aerodynamic innovations, more powerful engines, and improved

armament, the RAF transformed its stock of warplanes, tailoring them to suit a

variety of combat conditions. Combined with a well co-ordinated system of radar

and a rigorous training regime, this helped the British to defend their country

against the tide of German aircraft flooding to their shores. The RAF triumph in

the Battle of Britain led to the first widespread acceptance that air power would

be one of the keys to winning the entire war.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

226

 

HAWKER HURRICANE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fixed Weapons: 8 wing-mounted .303-calibre

Browning Mk2 machine guns

Ammunition: 334 rd/gun

Firing Rate: 1200 rd/min

Span: 49’ 0”

Length: 31’ 5”

Height: 13’ 2”

Engine: Rolls-Royce Merlin III

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

227

 

Max. Speed 316 mph

Cruise Speed 242 mph

Ceiling 33,200 ft

Combat Radius 140 miles

Fuel Capacity 110 gallons

Wing Area 258 sq. ft.

Horsepower 1030 hp

Weight Loaded 6600 lb.s

 

 

 

Pilot’s Notes:

 

The Hurricane entered service in 1937, and was the first monoplane fighter used

by the Royal Air Force. It was also the first to be armed with 8 machine-guns, and

the first to exceed 300 mph in level flight. It is best remembered for its actions in

the Battle of Britain, during which it claimed more enemy aircraft than any other

fighter involved. Although it was outclassed by most of its opponents in a straight

dogfight, it remained in RAF service in various roles throughout the war.

 

 

 

The Hurricane is a workhorse—simple and tough, with a fixed-pitch prop and a

sturdy, old-fashioned, canvas, metal, and wood construction. The design also

incorporates many practical advances, such as a retractable undercarriage,

enclosed cockpit, and a plate of armour behind the pilot’s seat. The craft is steady;

some would argue that it’s a better firing platform than even the Spitfire. Cockpit

visibility is also far superior than in many other aircraft.

 

 

 

The Hurricane handles well and is remarkably manoeuvrable, but it is hampered

by its utter lack of speed and its sluggish acceleration, even in level flight. That’s a

pretty big drawback, considering that speed and acceleration can mean the

difference between life and death. While entirely unsuited to ground support, the

Hurricane is otherwise quite adaptable, serving in all the other possible roles for a

single-seat fighter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

228

 

 

HAWKER TEMPEST V

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fixed Weapons: 4 wing-mounted 20 mm Hispano cannon

Ammunition: 150 rd/gun (inner pair)

140 rd/gun (outer pair)

Firing Rate: 600 rd/min

Span: 41’ 0”

Length: 33’ 8”

Height: 16’ 1”

Engine: Napier Sabre IIA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

229

HE COCKPITS

Max. Speed 427 mph

Cruise Speed 310 mph

Ceiling 36,000 feet

Combat Radius 245 miles

Fuel Capacity 162 gallons

Wing Area 302 sq. ft.

Horsepower 2420 hp

Weight Loaded 11,500 lb.s

 

 

 

Pilot’s Notes:

 

The Tempest was developed from the Typhoon, using an improved engine and

a redesigned wing. Fast and manoeuvrable, the Tempest has proven to be an

exceptional interceptor, a role in which it was widely used in the pursuit of the V-1

flying bombs and the Me262 jet aircraft. Armed with four 20mm cannons, it also

served as an excellent fighter-bomber.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

230

 

 

HAWKER TYPHOON MK IB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fixed Weapons: 4 wing-mounted 20 mm Hispano cannon

Ammunition: 150 rd/gun (inner pair)

140 rd/gun (outer pair)

Firing Rate: 600 rd/min

Span: 41’ 7”

Length: 31’ 11”

Height: 14’ 10”

Engine: Napier Sabre IIA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

231

Max. Speed 412 mph

Cruise Speed 300 mph

Ceiling 34,000 feet

Combat Radius 200 miles

Fuel Capacity 154 gallons

Wing Area 278 sq. ft.

Horsepower 2200 hp

Weight Loaded 11,7800 lb.s

 

 

 

Pilot’s Notes:

 

 

The Typhoon was designed around the Napier Sabre 2,000 hp engine, and this

aircraft was meant to be an interceptor. Plagued with technical problems and

structural weakness at high speed, “Tiffie” failed to fulfil this intended role.

However, when used instead as a fighter-bomber, the Typhoon quickly proved to

be formidable at low altitude. Armed with rockets and four 20mm cannon, it is

considered one of the best fighter-bomber aircraft of the war.

 

 

A heavy plane, the Typhoon is accomplished at low altitude combat and

interception missions, but does not fare as well in high speed, high altitude

situations. With an experienced fighter pilot at the controls, the Typhoon can hold

its own in direct combat with most other fighters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

232

 

 

SUPERMARINE SPITFIRE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fixed Weapons: [Ia] 8 wing-mounted .303-calibre

Browning Mk2 machine guns

[Others] 4 wing-mounted (outer) .303-calibre Browning

Mk2 machine guns 2 wing-mounted (inner)

20 mm Hispano cannon

Ammunition: 350 rd/gun (mg)

120 rd/gun (cannon)

Firing Rate: 1200 rd/min (mg)

600 rd/min (cannon)

Span: 36’ 10”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

233

[1a] [IX] [XIVc]

Length: 29’ 11” 30’ 6” 32’ 8”

Height: 11’ 5” 12’ 7” 12’ 8”

Engine: Rolls-Royce Merlin 63 Griffon 65

Merlin II or III

Model IA Model IXC Model XIVE

Max. Speed 355 mph 408 mph 448 mph

Cruise Speed 270 mph 325 mph 362 mph

Ceiling 34,000 feet 44,000 feet 44,500 feet

Combat Radius 190 miles 145 miles 150 miles

Fuel Capacity 102 gallons 102 gallons 138 gallons

Wing Area 242 sq. ft. 242 sq. ft. 242 sq. ft.

Horsepower 1030 hp 1565 hp 2050 hp

Weight Loaded 5784 lb.s 7500 lb.s 8500 lb.s

 

 

Pilot’s Notes:

 

 

The Spitfire, most often remembered for its role in the Battle of Britain, entered

the British service during the early days of the war. With its elegant line and

remarkable performance, this fighter became the symbol of the nation’s defence.

It has superb manoeuvrability, excellent handling qualities, and has been

described by pilots who flew it as, “aeroplane par excellence,” and the “aeroplane

of one’s dream.” The Spitfire was originally designed as a lightweight, short range,

defensive interceptor, and it has remained the RAF’s main front-line fighter

throughout the war.

 

 

In the hands of a competent airman, the Spitfire is a match for the German engineered

Me109, surpassing it in all but dive and initial climb. Later models,

including the IX and XIV, can hold their own against an Fw190. Rely on your

exceptional turning capability against these high-performance German

machines, since they can outrun you in straight flight.

 

 

There’s a good chance that Me110s and other enemy craft will try a defensive

circling pattern against the Spitfire. It’s tricky to crack this defence, but consider

circling in the opposite direction—you might manage to shoot a couple of them

down, and at the very least you’ll disrupt the formation. When they scatter,

they’re easier marks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

234

Luftwaffe

 

 

From the earliest days of combat flight, Germany has always been a leader in

military aeroplane technology, a master in design and innovation of both engines

and aircraft. During the first half of the century, the entire country was consumed

with a passion for flight. State-funded flying and gliding clubs flourished and

provided a fertile training ground for many a future pilot. Small wonder that

 

 

Germany entered World War II with a decided edge in the arena of aerial combat.

Yet in many ways, their superiority was surprising; in the wake of the Treaty of

Versailles, ending the First World War, German innovation was so respected (and

feared) that virtually all military aviation was banned, as was aircraft construction

of any kind. Several years later, though, the country received permission once

again to design and build civilian planes, and non-military aircraft production

mushroomed.

 

 

Scant evidence exists that the Germans built actual warplanes during the 1920s,

but they did marshal the personnel and facilities that would one day permit them

to do just that. They also devised civilian models which could later be converted

with few complications into military aircraft. When, in 1935, Germany

announced the formation of a new Luftwaffe (air force) and again began full-scale

production of warplanes, they had top-of-the-line technology. They quickly

developed beacons and radio stations to aid night flights, and they tested many

of their fledgling aircraft and combat strategies in the Spanish Civil War. Entering

World War II, Germany was in a very powerful position indeed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

235

FOCKE WULF FW190

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fixed Weapons: [A8 and D9] 2 cowling-mounted

13 mm MG131 cannon

[A8 and D9] 2 wing-mounted (inner) 20 mm

Mauser MG151 cannon

[A8 Only] 2 wing-mounted (outer) 20 mm Mauser

MG151 cannon

Ammunition: 475 rd/gun (13 mm)

250 rd/gun (20 mm inner)

140 rd/gun (20 mm outer)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

236

 

Firing Rate: 900 rd/min (13 mm)

800 rd/min (20 mm inner)

400 rd/min (20 mm outer)

Span: [A8] 10.5 m (34’ 5”)

[D9] 10.5 m (34’ 5”)

Length: [A8] 8.84 m (29’ 0”)

[D9] 10.24 m (33’ 5”)

Height: [A8] 3.96 m (13’ 0”)

[D9] 3.35 m (11’ 0”)

Engine: [A8] BMW 801D

[D9] Jumo 213A

Model A8 Model D9

Max. Speed 654 km/h (408 mph) 685 km/h (426 mph)

Cruise Speed 480 km/h (298 mph) 518 km/h (321 mph)

Ceiling 11,400 m (37,403 feet) 12,000 m (39,372 feet)

Combat Radius 266 km (165 miles) 282 km (175 miles)

Fuel Capacity 524 liters (170 gallons) 524 liters (138 gallons)

Wing Area 18.3 sq. meters 18.3 sq. meters

(196.98 sq. ft.) (196.98 sq. ft.)

Max. Horsepower 1770 hp 1776 hp

Weight Loaded 4415 kg (9750 lb.s) 4293 kg (9480 lb.s)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

237

 

 

 

Pilot’s Notes:

 

 

The Focke-Wulf Fw190, designed by Kurt Tank, is considered Germany’s best

fighter of the war. When the first version entered service in 1941, it showed

marked superiority to its opponents in almost every aspect—the Fw190 could

outrun, out turn, and out climb anything it encountered. However, the later models

(including the A8) were primarily intended for bomber intercepts, so they carried

more firepower and armour, but were therefore considerably heavier and less

manoeuvrable. Heavily armed with four 20mm cannons and two machine-guns,

the Fw190 was Allied bombers’ most dreaded enemy.

 

 

 

The Fw190 is a joy to fly. You have excellent visibility from the cockpit, an

unequalled rate of roll, and take-off and landings are a breeze. In flight, the craft

reacts quickly to the slightest command. It can both climb and dive with ease. The

improved turns of the D models, coupled with an impressive armament, compact

shape, and superior handling, mean that this plane is more than a match for the

best enemy aircraft. It is an excellent fighter at medium altitudes, and it also has a

respectable record as a fighter-bomber.

 

 

 

Against most American heavy bombers, use a strategy of frontal assaults. Fly

high and fast to gain position ahead and above, then turn and dive toward the

approaching targets, levelling out at the last moment. If you time it right, you

should have up to fifteen seconds to fire away before diving out of shrapnel range.

Defensively, if you’re attacked in a turn, you can use your superior rate of roll to flick

over into a dive. Only the best Spitfire pilot will be able to stick with you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

238

MESSERSCHMITT BF109 (ME109)

 

 

 

 

 

Fixed Weapons: [E4] 2 wing-mounted 20 mm Mauser MG151 cannon

2 cowling-mounted 7.92 mm Solothurn

machine guns

[G6] 1 engine-mounted 20 mm

Mauser MG151 cannon

2 cowling-mounted 13 mm MG131 cannon

[K4] 1 engine-mounted 30 mm Mk108 cannon

2 cowling-mounted 13 mm MG131 cannon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

239

Ammunition: [E4] 60 rd/gun (cannon)

1000 rd/gun (mg)

[G6] 150 rd (20 mm)

300 rd/gun (13 mm)

[K4] 60 rd (30 mm)

300 rd/gun (13 mm)

Firing Rate: 1100 rd/min (mg)

900 rd/min (13 mm)

400 rd/min (20 mm)

500 rd/min (30 mm)

Span: [E4] 9.9 m (32’ 4”)

[G6, K4] 9.92 m (32’ 7”)

Length: [E4] 8.8 m (28’ 4”)

[G6, K4] 9.05 m (29’ 8”)

Height: 3.4 m (11’ 2”)

Engine: Daimler-Benz DB 601N

Models E4 Model G6 Model K4

Max. Speed 570 km/h 620 km/h 727 km/h

(354 mph) (385 mph) (450 mph)

Cruise Speed 483 km/h 520 km/h 590 km/h

(300 mph) (320 mph) (366 mph)

Ceiling 11,000 m 11,750 m 12,500 m

(36,100 ft) (38,550 feet) (41,000 feet)

Combat Radius 200 km 240 km 210 km

(125 miles) (150 miles) (130 miles)

Fuel Capacity 400 liters 400 liters 400 liters

(106 gallons) (106 gallons) (106 gallons)

Wing Area 16.17 sq. meters 16.05 sq. meters 16.05 sq. meters

(174 sq. ft.) (172.75 sq. ft.) (172.75 sq. ft.)

Max. Horsepower 1,100 hp 1475 hp 1550 hp

Weight Loaded 2500 kg 3148 kg 3370 kg

(5520 lb.s) (6950 lb.s) (7440 lb.s)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

240

 

 

 

 

Pilot’s Notes:

 

 

The Messerschmitt Bf109, which served as the Luftwaffe’s standard single-seat

fighter from 1936 until the end of the war, was the one of the greatest combat

aircraft of its era. First appearing in 1935, it was the forerunner of all the modern

fighters, completely outclassing all its early opponents. The Bf109 was not an

easy plane to fly—it had weak landing gear and high wing loading—but its enjoyed

a great capacity for progressive development. Later models sported increases in

engine power, firepower, and armour. Though they were considerably heavier

and less manoeuvrable than the earlier models, they were still very capable

fighter planes.

 

 

 

This short-range, front-line fighter is quicker, lighter, and more stable than many

of its contemporaries. Its structure is incredibly tough, and you should be able to

roll and recover with relative ease, but it’s no mean feat to fly this beast. From

take-off to landing, the pilot must fight for control. The aircraft pulls hard to the

right and requires a delicate balance between elevators, rudder, and throttle on

take-off. Complicating matters, although cockpit visibility is generally good, a

high ground angle limits the field of view while taxiing. Landings prove equally

difficult. The 109 tolerates few last-minute corrections and is prone to crashes

when the approach speed falls too low.

 

 

 

A favourite strategy of many Bf109 pilots is the negative-g roll, which leaves

Spitfires and Hurricanes shooting at air. The 109 is vulnerable to deflection

attacks—the armour is located a full 50 inches behind the pilot’s seat—and to fire

from below, due to the location of coolant reservoirs. When overmatched, the

craft’s speed and durability allow for a hasty exit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

241

 

MESSERSCHMITT ME110 (DESTROYER)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fixed Weapons: [C] 2 nose-mounted 20 mm Mauser MG151 cannon

4 nose-mounted 7.92 mm Soluthurn machine guns

1 rear-mounted 7.92 mm Soluthurn machine gun

[G] 2 nose-mounted 30 mm Mk108 cannon

2 nose-mounted 20 mm Mauser MG151cannon

2 rear-mounted 7.92 mm Soluthurn machine guns

Ammunition: [C] 180 rd/gun (cannon)

1000 rd/gun (forward mg)

750 rd (rear mg)

[G] 135 rd/gun (30 mm)

325 rd/gun (20 mm)

800 rd/gun (rear mg)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

242

 

 

Firing Rate: 1100 rd/min (mg)

400 rd/min (20 mm)

500 rd/min (30 mm)

Span: 16.2 m (53’ 5”)

Length: [C] 12.1 m (39’ 8”)

[G] 12.1 m (39’ 9”)

Height: 3.5 m (11’ 6”)

Engine: Daimler-Benz DB 601A-1

Model C Model G

Max. Speed 560 km/h (349 mph) 550 km/h (342 mph)

Cruise Speed 420–480 km/h 420–480 km/h

(260–300 mph) (260–300 mph)

Ceiling 10,000 m 11,065 m

(32,810 feet) (36,300 feet)

Combat Radius 290 km 290 km

(180 miles) (180 miles)

Fuel Capacity 1270 litres 1270 litres

(336 gallons) (336 gallons)

Wing Area 38.5 sq. meters 38.5 sq. meters

(413 sq. ft.) (413 sq. ft.)

Max. Horsepower 1100 hp (x 2) 1475 hp (x2)

Weight Loaded 6740 kg 6988 kg

(14,884 lbs) (15,430 lbs)

 

 

 

Pilot’s Notes:

 

 

Messerschmitt’s Bf110 Zerstorer (destroyer) was designed as a strategic longrange

fighter—a heavy fighter capable of escorting bombers to and from their

targets. However, it was soon found to be ineffective at its intended role; it was

too heavy and not manoeuvrable enough to compete with the single-engine

fighters in combat. The Bf110 came into its own as a Pulk-Zerstorer (formation

destroyer), employed against the large American day-bomber formations.

 

 

The Me110 has armour only against the head-on attack. Its heavy armaments are

all trained ahead (beware a fearsome barrage of bullets when approaching from

in front), but the plane lacks any effective rear guns and is badly exposed to fire

from behind the pilot. Impact at close range often causes the Zerstorer to

disintegrate, owing to its light construction. The craft has trouble competing with

smaller fighters, and the pilot can’t always coax out of it the necessary speed or

turns to beat a hasty retreat.

 

 

 

 

 

243

MESSERSCHMITT ME262A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fixed Weapons: 2 fuselage-mounted 30 mm Mk108 cannon (above nose)

2 fuselage-mounted 30 mm Mk108 cannon (below nose)

Ammunition: 100 rd/gun (above)

80 rd/gun (below)

Firing Rate: 500 rd/min

Span: 12.5 m (41’ 0”)

Length: 10.605 m (34’ 9”)

Height: 3.83 m (12’ 7”)

Engine: 2 Junkers Jumo 109-004B-4 turbojets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

244

 

 

Max. Speed 868 km/h (540 mph)

Cruise Speed 670 km/h (416 mph)

Ceiling 11,448 m (37,560 feet)

Combat Radius 241 km (150 miles)

Fuel Capacity 1670 liters (440 gallons)

Wing Area 21.7 sq. meters (233.3 sq. ft)

Thrust 1,980 lb.s/engine

Weight Loaded 6385 kg (14,100 lb.s)

 

 

Pilot’s Notes:

 

 

The Messerschmitt Me262 was the world’s first truly effective jet fighter to reach

operational status. This aircraft enjoyed a speed advantage of more than 100

mph over the fastest prop-driven plane, which allowed them to sail past escort

fighters and attack bombers with impunity. The main battery of four 30mm

cannons was devastating to any bombers caught in its sights. However, the

Me262 is slow to accelerate and not very manoeuvrable, and Allied pilots soon

learned to attack them when they were most vulnerable—during take-off and

landing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

245

Glossary of Terms and Acronyms

Absolute Altitude Height of the plane above the surface of the ground, as opposed to the

height above sea level, which is “true altitude.”

 

Acceleration Any change in velocity, whether positive or negative. Generally used to

mean an increase in velocity, with the related negative “deceleration.”

 

Ailerons The aerodynamic control surfaces, usually located in the wing, that are

used to produce roll.

 

Air Strike An offensive manoeuvre in which aircraft fly to and attack a specific

target.

 

Airfoil Any surface on an aircraft the major function of which is interaction

with the air to produce a specific effect.

 

Airspeed The plane’s velocity with reference to the air through which it is

moving, not the surface of the Earth.

 

Airspeed Indicator Cockpit device designed to display to current airspeed of the plane.

 

Altimeter A device that measures altitude.

 

Altitude Distance above the surface of the Earth. Altitude may be measured

relative to the actual ground surface—”absolute altitude”—or as a

function of air pressure, relative to sea level—”true altitude.”

 

Angle of Attack The difference, measured in degrees, between the pitch of the plane and

level flight.

 

Artificial Horizon A cockpit device much like a gyroscope that displays the deflection of

the aircraft from level flight.

 

Attitude The deflection of the aircraft from level flight.

 

Attitude Indicator See Artificial Horizon.

 

Autopilot A device for controlling the flight of an aircraft without input from the

pilot.

 

Bank Leaning, and therefore turning, of an aircraft to one side due to the

position of the ailerons. The pilot causes this by pressing sideways on

the stick.

 

Bearing Horizontal direction to or from any point, measured clockwise in degrees

from North.

 

Bernoulli’s Equation A mathematical description of the physical effect that causes lift to be

generated by airfoils of a certain shapes. Roughly, the idea is that as air

velocity increases, the pressure of that air decreases, and vice versa.

 

246

Blackout Loss of consciousness due to a lack of oxygenating blood flow to the

brain; in aircraft this is usually caused by excessive centripetal

acceleration.

 

Brakes, Dive Airfoils used in dive bombers to allow these planes to dive more steeply

without gaining excessive airspeed.

 

Brakes, Wheel Devices used to slow an aircraft on the ground by retarding the rotation

of the wheels.

 

Cannon Weapons mounted on an aircraft that are too large in calibre or bore size

to be considered machine guns. A cannon fires shells (often explosive)

rather than bullets.

 

Ceiling The greatest altitude a certain aircraft can attain. The related term

service ceiling” is the greatest altitude at which a given aircraft will

function controllably. Ceiling is primarily a function of available thrust

and the lift potential of the major airfoil.

 

Centrifugal Force A non-existent force, believed by some to be the name for the outward

acceleration caused by inertia when turning.

 

Centripetal Acceleration The real name for acceleration due to turning; this acceleration is

directed inward, toward the centre of the turn. Inertial effects cause the “g’s” experienced by pilots.

 

CH The standard aviation abbreviation for “compass heading.”

 

Climb Aeronautic term for an increase in altitude—i.e. going up.

 

Cockpit Where the pilot sits; this area includes all of the devices and

instruments necessary for controlling the aircraft.

 

Compass A magnetic device that indicates the direction of the aircraft’s flight,

measured as a function of magnetic North.

 

Compass Heading The magnetic heading, as different from the bearing.

 

Compound Emergency A situation in which a pilot faces more than one emergency condition.

 

Co-ordinated Turn A turn (bank) during which the rudder is used with the ailerons to

prevent adverse yaw.

 

Cowling The structure that covers and streamlines the plane’s engine and

channels cooling air across it.

 

Deceleration Negative change in velocity; slowing down.

 

Ditching A forced landing in the water.

 

 

247 GLOSSARY

Dive Any nose-down, substantial loss of altitude.

 

Dogfight Combat between aircraft in the air.

 

Dorsal Located on the “top” of the aircraft, but behind the pilot and cockpit.

 

Drag The force that opposes the movement of the plane through the air,

sometimes called air or wind resistance.

 

Drift Deflection of the plane from its intended course due to the wind.

 

Dud Any explosive device that does not explode when it is supposed to.

 

Echelon A standard flight formation in which each plane flies behind and to the

side of the one in front of it, forming a diagonal or “stair-step” line.

 

Element A pair of planes consisting of a leader and his wingman. The leader (the

senior flyer and better marksman) attacks the enemy, while his

wingman guards against assaults from behind. The wingman flies

slightly behind and to the left or right of the leader, on the same side as

the sun.

 

Engine, Radial Any engine with the cylinders arranged in a circular fashion, usually

around the length wise axis of the aircraft.

 

Engine, Piston Any engine with the cylinders arranged in a straight-line or “V” fashion,

as in most automobiles.

 

Engine Temperature Gauge The cockpit instrument which displays the operating temperature of the aircraft’s engine.

 

Escort A defensive flight pattern in which certain planes, normally fighters, fly

ahead of (but near) another plane or group of planes in order to detect

and defend against intercepting aircraft.

 

External Tank A fuel tank carried on the outside of the aircraft, usually able to be dropped  in flight.

 

Final Approach A flight path that is lined up with the runway, in preparation for landing.

 

Finger Four A flight formation made up of two elements (or rotte). Viewed from

above, the planes are spread like the four fingers on an outstretched

hand.

 

Flak Slang term for anti-aircraft fire (AAA) or other non-missile Surface-to-Air

munitions.

 

Flight Term for a pair of elements flying together in formation.

 

Flight Crew The personnel who prepare the aircraft for take-off. Their tasks include

fuelling the planes, performing service checks, and loading munitions.

 

248

 

Fuel Gauge The cockpit instrument that measures the amount of fuel remaining in

the plane’s tanks.

 

G Force Acceleration due to gravity. In aeronautics, the term is also used for the

forces on the bodies of the crew that are caused by the inertial effects

of high-acceleration turns.

 

Glide Flight without power or without thrust.

 

Go-around An aborted landing attempt, wherein the pilot has to “go around” and

begin a new approach.

 

Greyout A partial blackout or semi-consciousness.

 

Ground Effect An apparent gain in lift when the aircraft is flying at or below one

wingspan’s height above the surface. This is caused by the reduction in

drag due to the diffusion of the plane’s down wash against the surface.

 

Ground Loop A landing in which a wingtip touches ground, causing the aircraft to flip

and crash.

 

Ground Speed Velocity relative to the surface of the Earth; true airspeed corrected for

wind effects.

 

Gunner, Belly Term widely used by allied personnel to refer to a ventral gunner.

 

Gunner, Dorsal Same as the rear gunner.

 

Gunner, Rear That crewman who mans the dorsal weapon(s).

 

Gunner, Tail Term widely used by allied personnel to refer to a rear gunner.

 

Gunner, Ventral That crewman who mans the ventral (belly) weapon(s).

 

Gunner, Waist That crewman who mans the side-facing weapon(s) located near the

middle of a plane.

 

Heading Essentially the same thing as bearing.

 

IAS The standard aviation abbreviation for “indicated airspeed.”

 

Immelmann A manoeuvre for gaining altitude and changing direction.

 

Indicated Airspeed The airspeed displayed by the airspeed indicator.

 

Instrumentation All the stuff in the cockpit that tells the pilot what’s going on in and

around the aircraft; the gauges and dials.

 

 

 

249

Knot One nautical mile per hour, abbreviated “kt.” A nautical mile is

approximately one minute of latitude, 1.15 statute miles, or 2,000 yards.

 

Land Flow Turbulence A turbulent airflow caused at low altitudes by winds passing around

obstacles (hills, buildings, coyotes, tanks, etc.).

 

Latitude Distance north or south of the equator, measured in degrees, minutes,

and seconds.

 

Load-out The ordnance carried on an aircraft, not including ammunition for fixed

guns.

Longitude Distance east or west of the Greenwich Meridian, measured in degrees,

minutes, and seconds.

 

Missed Approach See Go-around.

 

Negative g’s G forces acting in the direction opposite that of gravity; these are the g’s

that make the pilot feel “lifted” and can cause red outs.

 

Oil Pressure Gauge The cockpit instrument that displays the pressure of the oil running

through the aircraft engine; a good indicator of the amount of damage

the engine has taken.

 

ONC The standard aviation abbreviation for “operational navigation chart.”

 

Operational Navigation Chart The cockpit map.

 

Ops Standard military shorthand for “operations.”

 

Pan Motion of the camera from left to right or right to left around a centre;

roughly equivalent to the aircraft motion “yaw.”

 

Payload Drop weapons carried on the aircraft; same as load-out.

 

Pilot The person who is the primary controller of the aircraft.

 

Pitch The angle of the aircraft’s long axis in relation to level flight.

 

Positive g’s G forces acting in the direction of gravity; these are the g’s that make

the pilot feel “forced into the seat” and can cause blackouts.

 

Propeller The airfoil attached to the engine, used to generate thrust.

 

Radar Radio Detection And Ranging equipment; this is not standard equipment

in the aircraft of the early 1940s.

 

Radar Altimeter A modern device used to gauge the absolute altitude of an aircraft using

radar.

 

 

 

250

Redout Loss of vision and possibly consciousness due to bursting blood vessels

in the corneas or other parts of the eyes. This is usually caused by

excess negative g’s.

 

Roll (1) Motion of the aircraft around its long axis, as when one wing rises

and the other falls; (2) Motion of the camera around its parallel

horizontal axis, roughly equivalent to the aircraft motion of the same

name.

 

Rotte German term for “element.”

Rudder The control surface mounted on the tail of the aircraft and used to

control the yaw of the plane.

 

Schwarm Word in German for a pair of rotte; same as “flight.”

 

Scissors A two-plane manoeuvre in which opposing aircraft repeatedly attempt

to out turn one another in order to get the first shot.

 

Sea Level Zero altitude; the altitude at the surface of the ocean.

 

Sink Rate Vertical speed of descent.

 

Skid Sideways motion of an aircraft in flight, generally caused by over-ruddering.

Unlike slip, skid does not involve the ailerons.

 

Slip Motion of the aircraft that is not in line with the long axis; sideways

flight. This is generally caused by intentionally over-ruddering in one

direction while banking in the opposite one.

 

Spin Rotation of the plane around its centre of gravity during a prolonged

stall, usually coincident with a pronounced loss of altitude.

 

Split-S A manoeuvre similar to an Immelmann, but involving a loss of altitude

rather than a gain.

 

Squadron A group of military aircraft.

 

Stall A condition in which the aircraft has lost all of its lift; this happens

when the plane’s angle of attack exceeds that required for maximum lift

and thus gives rise to turbulent airflow around the wing.

 

Stick The pilot’s primary device for controlling the ailerons and elevators.

Tachometer The cockpit instrument that displays the revolutions per minute of the

engine crankshaft.

 

Thach Weave A three-plane manoeuvre used by two co-operating planes to bring a

third (enemy) plane that is behind the leader repeatedly through the line

of fire of the wingman.

 

Throttle The pilot’s primary device for controlling the RPMs of the engine and,

thus, the thrust.

251 GLOSSARY

Tilt Motion of the camera up or down around a centre; roughly equivalent to

the aircraft motion “pitch.”

 

Torque The twisting effect on the plane of the rotation of the engine crankshaft

and propeller.

 

Track Motion of the camera from one location to another, as distinct from the

motion about a centre described in pan, tilt, and roll.

 

Transverse g’s G forces acting in a direction perpendicular to that of gravity; these are

the g’s that make the pilot feel “pushed to the side.” Transverse g’s are

much more dangerous than either positive or negative g’s, since they

can rapidly causes organ damage.

 

Trim Repositioning of the primary control surfaces to correct for tendencies

of the aircraft.

 

True Altitude Distance from sea level, usually calculated as a function of ambient air

pressure.

 

V (or vee) The standard formation for a bomber. The lead aircraft is flanked on

each side by a plane flying slightly behind, thus forming a V. Any

additional planes extend the legs of the V.

 

Velocity Distance travelled over a period of time; speed.

 

Ventral Located on the lower surface or “belly” of the aircraft, usually behind

the wing.

 

Visibility The distance the pilot can see from the cockpit; visual range.

 

Windmilling A propeller that is in motion due to the effects of wind and airspeed,

rather than impelled by the engine crankshaft, is said to be

windmilling.”

 

Wing The primary airfoil for generating lift.

 

Yaw Movement of the aircraft about its vertical axis.

 

Zoom (1) Change in the focus of a camera. Zooming in causes the camera to

focus on objects that are smaller or farther away, thus limiting the

horizontal scope of the focus; zooming out causes the camera to focus

on closer or larger objects, thereby expanding the horizontal scope and

bringing more of the scene into the view;

(2) In flight, a fast, steep climb. Generally, a zoom is preceded by a dive.

The dive provides the speed necessary to climb more steeply, without

stalling, than would be possible using the engine’s thrust alone.

 

 

 

 

252

CREDITS

 

Producer Martin De Riso

Game Design Tsuyoshi Kawahito

Design Support Tim Goodlett, Warren Capps

Programming Tsuyoshi Kawahito, Lead Programmer

Rob Hafey

Brandon Gamblin

Chris Coon

Will Gee

Rob Knopf

Art Susan Clausen Paquin, Lead Artist

Dave Thompson

Rob Cloutier

Matt Bell, Erik Ehoff

Sam Laskowski

Evan Brown

Mike Reis

John Cameron

Stacey Tranter

Music Composed by Roland Rizzo

Audio Design & Mark Cromer

Recording Mark Reis

Voice Talent

Jonathan Bryce, Brandon Gamblin, Mike Dubose

Dave Ellis, Mark Reis, Mark Cromer

Documentation Anne Stone

John Possidente

Tim Goodlett

Richard Henning

Reiko Yamamoto, Layout & Design

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

253

Marketing Tom Nichols, U.S.

Adrian Turner, UK

Thomas Sewing, Germany

Kathy Sanguinetti, Public Relations

Quality Assurance Steve Purdie, Test Lead

Mark Gutknecht, Test Lead

Paul Ambrose

Tim Beggs

Matt Bittman

Ellie Crawley

Mike Davidson

Rose Kofsky

Charles Lane

Jason Lego

Brandon Martin

Rex Martin

Sal Saccheri

Rick Saffery

Jeff Smith

Localization Karen Ffinch

Sarah Collins

SDL

 

Special Thanks

 

Tom Basham, Brian Workman, Doug Jeanes, “Lad” Doctor, RAF Wing

Commander James Isles (Retired), Marisa Ong, Kathryn Lynch,

Amanda Colliss, Christopher Eldridge, Ming Cheung

and Sammy the Wonder Beagle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

254

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European Air War Default Key Commands

MP193 300MANR (ENGLISH) MADE IN THE UK

FLIGHT CONTROLS

Nose up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Z

Nose down . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .W

Turn right . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .S

Turn left . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .A

Rudder left . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ,

Rudder right . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . /

Rudder centre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Rudder left full . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . s,

Rudder right full . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . s/

Flaps up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . sF

Flaps down . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .F

Wheel brakes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .B

Landing gear . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .G

ENGINE CONTROLS

Engine 1 start . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . s[

Engine 2 start . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . s]

Throttle up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . +

Throttle up full (100%) . . . . . . . . . . . s+

Throttle down . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .-

Throttle down full . . . . . . . . . . . . . . s-

Throttle 10% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

Throttle 20% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

Throttle 30% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

Throttle 40% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

Throttle 50% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

Throttle 60% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

Throttle 70% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

Throttle 80% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

Throttle 90% . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9

Throttle 1 up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .[

Throttle 2 up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .]

Throttle 1 down . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ;

Throttle 2 down . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . '

GAME CONTROLS

Pilot map . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . aM

Autopilot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .A

Next waypoint . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .P

Previous waypoint . . . . . . . . . . . . . . sP

Accelerate time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . U

Normal time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Y

Skip to next encounter . . . . . . . . . . aN

Jump to next plane . . . . . . . . . . . . . aJ

WEAPON CONTROLS

Fire guns (if no joystick) . . . . . . . . . . . z

Next gun . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .S

Previous gun . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . sS

All guns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Z

Machine guns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .X

Cannons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .C

Display active guns . . . . . . . . . . . . . cS

Fire selected weapon

(if no joystick) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . e

Select bombs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .W

Select rockets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .R

Drop tanks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . sD

TARGETING CONTROLS

Target next enemy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .T

Target previous enemy . . . . . . . . . . sT

Target closest enemy . . . . . . . . . . . cT

Target next friendly . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Y

Target previous friendly . . . . . . . . . sY

Target closest friendly . . . . . . . . . . cY

Target next ground object . . . . . . . .E

Target previous ground object . . .sE

Target closest ground object . . . . cE

Target closest runway . . . . . . . . . . sR

Deselect target . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . B

DISPLAY CONTROLS

Flight info . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . aF

Target info . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . aT

Target director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . aD

Target box . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . aO

Target ID . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . aI

Target range . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . aR

COCKPIT VIEWS

Front . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

Right front . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

Right . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

Right shoulder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

Left front . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

Left . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

Left shoulder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5

Front up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . s1

Right front up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . s2

Right up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . s3

Right shoulder up . . . . . . . . . . . . . s4

Left front up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . s7

Left up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . s6

Left shoulder up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . s5

Instrument view . . . . . . . . Numpad 1

Front snap . . . . . . . . . . . . . Numpad 8

Right front snap . . . . . . . . Numpad 9

Right snap . . . . . . . . . . . . . Numpad 6

Right shoulder snap . . . . . Numpad 3

Left front snap . . . . . . . . . . Numpad 7

Left snap . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Numpad 4

Left shoulder snap . . . . . . Numpad 1

Up snap . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Numpad 5

Rear snap . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Numpad 2

Instrument snap . . . . . . . . Numpad 0

Virtual cockpit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

Padlock toggle . . . . . . . . . Numpad *

Padlock closest to centre of view

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Numpad /

Cockpit toggle . . . . . . . . . . Numpad .

Zoom in . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Numpad +

Zoom out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Numpad -

EXTERNAL VIEWS

Chase view . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . s8

Fly-by view . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . c8

Track next plane . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9

Track previous plane . . . . . . . . . . s9

Target view . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

Player to target view . . . . . . . . . . s0

Target to player view . . . . . . . . . . c0

Bomb view . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .-

Player to bomb view . . . . . . . . . . s-

Bomb to player view . . . . . . . . . . c-

Action view . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .=

Dogfight view . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . s=

Zoom controls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .mouse +  forward and back

Reset camera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . :

Camera up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .U

Camera down . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .N

Camera right . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .J

Camera left . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .H

MISCELLANEOUS CONTROLS

Cockpit lamp toggle . . . . . . . . . . . . .L

Radio mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . t

Chat mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Bail out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . aB

Pause . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . aP

Sound toggle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . aS

Quit mission . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . q

Quit to desktop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . aQ

S = SHIFT KEY C = CTRL KEY A = ALT KEY