It’s been a while since IL-2: Battle of Moscow released and even longer since we first were able to fly that title’s two Collector Planes. So how are the P-40E-1 and MC.202 holding up these days? Not bad!
The MC.202 is probably the only aircraft that I can point to and say that it only barely belongs in the IL-2 series based on the history of the aircraft.
All of the others fought on the Eastern Front in a significant way while the MC.202 fought only a brief amount of time in the East. Yet, its a fun aircraft to have and Italy did contribute both troops and a good number of MC.200 and some MC.202 to the overall fight.
The MC.202 is probably the aircraft that least benefited from the flight model changes introduced in the 2.012 patch. It flies… basically the same. It’s stable, steady, agile and a lot of fun to fly. Nothing was wrong with the MC.202 before and its still good post FM update.
The MC.202 is a little slow versus the faster aircraft appearing in the series and that armament is still mostly woeful. The default twin 12.7mm Breda SAFAT machine guns are the weakest heavy machine guns in the IL-2 series and that’s about accurate. They do damage, but its less than you’d expect compared to the M2 .50cal on the P-40 or the UBS on the LaGG and Yak-1B.
Taking the MC.202 to the skies over Moscow and Stalingrad is a lot of fun but you do need to fight smart by preserving your speed and holding fire until you can hit your opponent hard for at least a few seconds. No one hit wonders here.
Overall the Macchi is just as fun as it was before though its feeling a little left behind compared to the 1943 aircraft.
The Warhawk is back
Since its introduction into the series, the P-40 has felt a little…. sluggish. Slow to gain speed, quick to lose it in a turn, and ultimately hamstrung by stalling out in all but the most coordinated of turns. Enter the new flight model and patch 2.012.
The new flight model is a revelation for the P-40 making it more agile, more capable in a fight, and more fun to fly. It still stalls but it doesn’t stall like it did. It won’t spin you into the ground with no provocation anymore.
The engine limits are still harsh and I’m hopeful that this will get better in time as 1CGS works on their engine limit system and hopefully introduces a better setup. No confirmation of if or when but it could happen at the least.
The P-40 still requires you to fight smart. Its climb is historically slow but it dives well making it great at an ambush doing boom and zoom hits on enemy fighters and bombers. It turns fairly well until the speed runs out but this is a little better than before. Its heavy firepower and fighter-bomber bomb and rocket loadouts make it ideal for strafing and other ground attack missions.
Bottom line? The P-40 is back and its worth flying.
Waiting for new content
While we wait for more new content like the new Career system, Co-op, and three additional aircraft I would encourage people to try out aircraft they may not have flown in a while. Both P-40 and MC.202 are great fun to fly and they are worth checking out again if you haven’t flown them in a while.