I’ve been playing Career mode since the release of 3.001 and most of my experiences have been focused on the Kuban 1943 spring, summer and fall campaigns, however, I’m now fighting my way through a Soviet fighter pilot Career defending Moscow and it has some of the most dramatic bomber interception missions I’ve flown yet.
I put my new virtual pilot into the 495th IAP PVO located at an airfield just to the south west of Moscow. The 495th is mostly equipped with the MiG-3, however, it also has some I-16 Type 24s in the inventory.
Most of the missions I’ve flown so far have been escort and ground attack missions but a mission I flew most recently was of the more epic variety: A scramble to intercept bombers en-route to targets near Moscow.
The cool thing about this type of mission is that you get a basic flight plan to intercept the bombers from take-off but observers on the ground will project new intercept points for you as the mission continues. Those intercept points may not match with what you had initially counted on which means altering your interception plans.
Approaching the formation I spotted the two Bf109 escort fighters plus over a half dozen He111s flying in a stacked formation. IL-2’s growing ability to handle small formations of bombers has seriously impressed me and this was one of those times.
Flying co-altitude with the bombers I decided on a low-high attack angle pushing full throttle with a slight dive in order to build up the necessary speed. Pulling up just in front of the formation I attacked one of the He111s on the left side of the formation with a full burst from the twin 12.7mm machine guns in the nose of my MiG.
The two machine guns on the MiG may not seem like much but the Berezin, properly aimed, can cause major damage and this is what happened to the He111H-6 that I targeted as the 12.7mm hits raked the fuselage and wing root.
Smoke turned to fire as the He111 dropped out of formation.
The rest of the mission was no less intense although the drama diminished as I made a second attack on the formation this time targeting another bomber on the left side of the formation.
Though causing considerable damage, this bomber broke formation and from external views I know made it back across into friendly territory before crashing. Still, this was another victory in the short history of my newest Career pilot.
What followed was a long game of cat and mouse with the escorting Bf109s, one of which eventually fell under my guns. My two wingmen dispatched to assist with the bomber mission, both flying I-16s, were shot down although both bailed out successfully and returned to the regiment.
Yet another dramatic mission served up by IL-2’s Career Mode.