Tank Crew reactions and personal commentary

1CGS’ new IL-2: Tank Crew – Clash at Prokhorovka is just weeks away from an early access release (sometime in July) and information has started to appear thanks to a major developer update that came out last Friday. In writing the article for that update, I posited the question to readers: Should I cover Tank Crew? I also have tried to gauge the interest around the community on Tank Crew as a concept. Here are some of my thoughts.

A tank sim inside a flight sim


Tank Crew is very much a part of the IL-2: Great Battles Series which comes with a whole bunch of advantages and possibly a few downsides.

Until recently, graphics weren’t really at the point where making something look good at ground level would fully translate into something that looked good at high altitudes. Especially when the world around was a few hundred kilometers square. We’re at the point where it IS possible to make it look good at all altitudes.


1CGS is building a higher detailed ground mesh for this map and then limiting the size of the overall map somewhat so that it performs well on most player’s systems. 100x100km square is pretty good for a flight sim map (being larger than the Lapino test/dogfight map) and that is explicitly because 1CGS wants this to be a combined arms experience.

Tank sims of the past have been developed as tank sims and then have include airplanes as part of the experience. In this case, the aircraft are already fully developed and done so to a high level of fidelity. Interactions between planes and tanks should therefore be at a very realistic level like never before.

War Thunder does this but the aircraft in their Armored mode are very much within the very limited tank sandbox while they are there. Calling them in as a kind of “power-up” further puts the experience in the realm of an arcade experience and that’s not what 1CGS wants to develop here.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with War Thunder’s model but it does change how players approach the scenario.

In a potential Tank Crew based multiplayer match, the teams would be divided into air and ground players with potential further interaction from things like artillery batteries and other static and mobile vehicles. Players in aircraft would have a fairly typical IL-2 multiplayer experience flying above the battlefields and conducting strikes and fighter sweeps. Dogfights would break out, bombers would hit bridges, ammo dumps, and industrial targets and attack planes would be hunting for ground targets of all kinds.


Plenty of gameplay possibilities

It will likely be the attack planes (like the IL-2, Ju87 and Hs129) that will probably interact the most directly with players who have Tank Crew. Driveable and usable self propelled AA guns will also have an effect.

Together, teams can accomplish objectives by capturing territory (on the ground) with success and failure determined by both the battles in the skies and on the ground. Left without effective fighter protection, attack planes may take out too many tanks for the team to capture a certain objective area. Or they may simply not have enough tanks to defeat the enemy team of tanks opposing them. A last minute airstrike could also turn the tide at a crucial moment. Or an attack plane could fall victim to a SPAA vehicle.

There are lots of possibilities for teamplay with the expanding ground forces combined together with an already well established flight simulator.

And the reactions are?

There’s a general sense that Tank Crew offers a net benefit to the IL-2 series. The reactions range from mild interest to gung-ho excitement as some players have said they won’t go back to War Thunder once Tank Crew becomes established. War Thunder does offer a good vehicle gameplay option and Tank Crew’s slightly more gritty realism probably won’t capture all War Thunder enthusiasts (nor does it try to be a direct competitor) but it will appeal to those wanting a more simulator driven experience.


1CGS is likely to spend a lot more time on each individual tank than other current titles do. Full interior modeling is there and crew AI is a major component. The player can jump between most of the roles in the tank (except for loader) which leaves the AI in charge when you’re not doing one of the other roles.

Also, 1CGS has put some serious effort into the VR support on the series and that automatically extends to Tank Crew being within the same engine. This makes Tank Crew the first, to my knowledge, VR experience featuring simulator level tanks and armored vehicles. That has people excited too.

Tank Crew on Stormbirds

Reading the comments and thinking a lot about what I want to write about on the blog, I’ve decided that I will be covering the development and general gameplay behind Tank Crew.

My decision on the types of content I cover does tend to change over time. I do sometimes cover off topic related items such as movies coming out that may be of interest to readers and less serious “sim lite” games like Ace Combat. I’ve also briefly touched on Star Citizen a few times as what happens with that title will sometimes have a major impact now or in the future on flight simulators too.

I have decided then that Stormbirds, as a blog and news site, is firmly staying the realm of a flight simulator blog (and mostly combat flight simulation at that), however, I think that the connections between Tank Crew and the rest of the IL-2 series are so deep that the interactions, gameplay features, and general development is worth covering. I may not devote as much interest to this title (my own interests remain mostly on the air) but I think its worth covering and having heard from some of you out there, it’s clearly of interest.

A lot of exciting news will hopefully follow on the heels of this developer update on both Tank Crew, Battle of Bodenplatte, and Flying Circus Vol 1! There will be much to write about! (Now we just need a few more armored vehicle game enthusiasts to join us)



9 Comments Add yours

  1. FrozenLiquidity says:

    While I don’t imagine that all pilots will enjoy the offerings that Tank Crew provides, I see this branch and pivot on 1CGS’s part as a good thing. There is a bit of a vacuum as far as realistic WW2 tank sims go and there have been some previous greats that never got followed up on. Providing that along with multiplayer components and the possibility of combined arms style maps could really open up the sim to quite a few new players. I’d be eager to see what they have planned and hope they can find a good way to bring the two together.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Agreed! There has been a big vacuum and 1CGS has a chance to bridge people interested in armored warfare simulation with the flight sim crowd. It could be a great thing!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Fafnir_6 says:

    I also agree. Please continue to report on the progress of Tank crew with the same vigor and passion that you do for the other Il-2 Great Battles modules.

    Cheers and thanks from a long-time reader,


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Michael Dwyer says:

    You just need to rename the blog to Sturm-Military-WWII things, it will sound fantastic in German I am sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. bjsracer says:

    I hope they can make it as easy to fly a KV-1 as it is to drive a La5


  5. herne says:

    I expect IL2 Tank Crew to be popular, I have a few friends who are really excited for it. I enjoy IL2 for the flight though, and to that end even though I really want to find more ways to support 1cgs. I intend to vote with my wallet. So will not be pre – ordering.


  6. Aaron C White says:

    This has always been a module that I wasn’t really completely thrilled about…buuuuuuuuut, after trying out the earlier version that was still pretty basic, I kind of came around to how it could be a fun addition, especially in multiplayer.

    I don’t do a ton of online play, but I feel like hopping on a server would be fun to do even as a quick mission when I’m in a tank, vs trying to fly in (I’m garbage at engine management and without a Track IR headset, I feel like I’d be eaten alive in the skies).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      I do hope that tanks will bring a new dimension to the multiplayer gameplay and add to the experience overall.

      Adding the current set of online flyers and adding in a whole new bunch on the ground could be pretty exciting!


  7. Air-Striegler says:

    I am very much looking forward to IL-2’s tank crew model and I definitely will support the developers with a prepurchase. I love historical aircraft and ground vehicles all alike. A comprehensive online MP air and ground vehicle game on sim level is an incredible opportunity for 1CGS to rise in popularity and to further set it apart from its competitors from Eagle Dynamics, Wargaming or Gaijin.


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