Combined arms in IL-2 is really cool

Over a year ago, 1CGS released a patch for IL-2: Battle of Stalingrad that enabled player controllable tank warfare in the game. Tanks, in a flight simulator is just something that hasn’t really been done very much.

DCS has Combined Arms and War Thunder has an armored tank mode. I have no experience with the DCS module, however, its description sounds like it functions more as a JTAC (forward air controller) with the ability to command armored groups and take control of individual tanks.

WarThunder’s armored mode is a separate module that integrates some planes into it but its very much an armored scenario with small maps well suited to that mode.

In IL-2: Battle of Stalingrad, the tanks are part of the overall scenario. There is no special mode where there are tanks in one map and airplanes in another – these are fully integrated parts of the battlefield.

Currently available in IL-2: Battle of Stalingrad are:

  • PzKpfw III Ausf. L
  • T-34-76, Model 1942

The tanks are simplified slightly in their controls, however, they are absolutely authentic with restricted view-ports and slow turret travel times.


Today I was in a multiplayer server where tanks were part of the scenario. It was immensely cool to be an IL-2 flying over the battlefield with intense air battles above and equally intense ground battles below – battles being conducted by players in both areas. Yes, AI were involved on the ground too but this was an incredible experience in my mind.

It’s an experience that I hope 1CGS can nurture. Although the focus should definitely be on aircraft, having these tanks on the ground both expand the series scope and expands the depth of the air campaign as well.

In the Q&A session we had with Jason last weekend, he wasn’t too optimistic about any more tanks coming in the near future, however, the HQ controller mode that he described had both air and ground versions – potentially separate controllers for ground and air. How these become integrated into multiplayer scenarios and what role the tanks, aircraft, and controllers play is still somewhat murky.

I’d love to see at least two more tanks added to fill out the ranks a bit and a little more love to this area where time allows.

More of this please – yes, more of this!


6 Comments Add yours

  1. Pixel Dust says:

    I agree; I think IL-2 is missing a great opportunity here, because all of the terrain elements are already available. It requires development of new tank models, but authenticity isn’t the key here, given the way the two available tanks interact; the T-34 would easily dominate the German tank, the PzKpfw III Ausf. L, which is lesser model by far.

    However, in IL-2, the German holds it own, which makes for good game play.

    To expand this, they only need make more tank models, since FM/DM is not an issue. Seems like an easy-peasy cash cow.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. SAG says:

    I think that the only reason why -to paraphrase jason- ‘ tanks didnt prove profitable’ is because they added two very unbalanced tanks, the t34 can get the PzIII every time in a one on one match. Plus they didnt integrate them fully into the game; theyre only available in some very few MP servers with Icons ON witch makes them extremely easy targets for ground attack aircraft.

    Its very frustrating to drive around for 20 minutes in your panzer to get destroyed by a single shell from the russian tank. Or get strafed/bombed by an aircraft with aiming AID on.

    I would pay for a dlce that added two more tanks to balance the gameplay out and even more money for them to add manned AAA and integrate evrything into the game properly.

    My two cents


  3. SAG says:

    Oooh well, my long reply i typed in my phone didnt send for some reason… 😦

    it went something like this…

    the reason why tanks “didnt prove profitable” is because the two tanks chosen are in completey different classes, the PzII will lose every engagement with a t34. also the tanks are not integrated into the game, only in some normal servers you can use them and that is a great disadvantage since anyone in the map can know where your are and bomb you with aim assist! so its not that popular to drive around for 25 minutes only to get one shot by a t34 or bombed by someone who didnt have to really aim or Recon to find you..

    i would pay for a tank DLC that added a good match for the t34 and a suitable match for the PzIII and would pay even more to have AAA or truck fully integrated into the game as a stand alone expansion. well i understan that its primarily a flight sim but tanks are truly great here but lack “gameplay” opportunities

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Hi SAG. Your first post went through just fine. I moderate every post on the blog to keep quality discussions going only.

      You make some great points. Tanks are not fully implemented into the game. They are more of a tech demo – a very good one but nonetheless not a full implementation.

      What Jason has told us is that the tank models were actually completed very early in the IL-2: BoS process – possibly before that game was given a full go ahead. They were implemented later when there was a lull and they were at a level which they thought was useful to test.

      I think they wanted to see if more tankers might join in the game. But I think they will need to work a bit harder before that might happen.

      Still… my experience the other night with a real combined arms of tanks and close air support (plus dogfighting fighters) was incredible. I hope to see it given more depth.


  4. Pixel Dust says:

    I understand you can put tanks into Mission Builder scenarios, so you can play as SP against whatever AI you set up.


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