Last week we were introduced to the IL-2: Battle of Bodenplatte’s rendition of the FW190A-8 and the F-8 modification which adds a key 1944 Western Front aircraft to the hangar. These are my first impressions on flying this aircraft for just a few days.
Packs a punch
The first thing that you’ll probably recognize about the FW190A-8 and F-8 is just how much of a punch this aircraft packs. First, the MG 17 cowling machine guns have been replaced by a pair of MG131 12.7mm heavy machine guns firing through the prop. These machine guns on their own are a powerful hitting force. They are backed up by four MG151/20 20mm cannons in the inner and outer wings in the FW190A-8 and by only two on the F-8.
Optionally, the FW190A-8 can also be fitted with MK108 30mm cannons. Two in the outer wings specifically. These replace the outer MG151/20s and that ensures that the performance penalty from their installation is minimal – if nonexistent.
It’s also the Jabo (fighter-bomber) supreme in FW190F-8 configuration with the ability to carry a variety of bombloads including some popular configurations from earlier models like the SC250 and SC500 under the fuselage and SC50s under the wings. Or, new to the F-8 model in the IL-2: Great Battles Series, a new loadout with a trio of SC250s with one under each wing and one under the fuselage.
My first flight with the FW190A-8 revealed an aircraft that is fast and powerfully armed but also one that you feel the added weight more than ever. The FW190A series gradually increased in weight as the series progressed and added more firepower and capabilities.
Although this new FW190 is equipped with its own engine boost function, it doesn’t quite make up for the increase in wingloading and that makes this fighter a little heavier on its feet than previous versions of the FW190. You could almost dogfight in some situations before but here you really need to use the boom and zoom capabilities of the aircraft – an ability that the A-8 particularly seems to excel at.
The stall is much more pronounced here and I was surprised by sometimes snapping out of a high angle of attack pull on target.
It takes some adjusting to but the A-8 isn’t a slouch either as it can hit hard, fly fast, and climbs well.
A little nostalgia for the A-8
I flew the FW190A-8 perhaps more than any other version of the FW190 in IL-2: 1946. It don’t know why because its not my favourite version but it was my German go-to on most Normandy and other West Front 1944 maps that I flew on – particularly in multiplayer matches. There was also my Green Hearts: Kurland campaign that I built once upon a time.
To say that I’m familiar with this version of the FW190 would be an understatement. Here, in IL-2: Battle of Bodenplatte, I find a similar aircraft with a similar feel and requiring the same kind of careful touch. A slightly nastier stall and heavier weight than earlier versions, the FW190A-8 rewards the fighter pilot who plans ahead and is deliberate and confident in their flying.
I need some more time with this aircraft before I write a full performance review but I do really like having this aircraft even if it is the trickiest FW190 to fly in the series so far.
The A-8 version is a powerful pocket destroyer aircraft while the FW190F-8 will likely be a favourite of mine in multiplayer scenarios being both fast and capable when unencumbered while able to hit targets hard with a variety of weapons. I haven’t even tried the Panzerfaust rockets yet.
Look for my full review soon!