Thought there has been a lot of speculation going and I’ve put in my own guesses, the latest news from the rumour mill comes supposedly from a 1CGS employee at the VIRPIL hardware event on the weekend. Two or three new Collector Planes might be the Yak-9, Yak-9T and Hurricane!
In a post on the IL-2 1CGS Russian forum, a developer account (IAmNotARobot) posted the following (translated from Russian to English):
I am somewhat surprised that this has not yet spread throughout the forum, but Daniel at the meeting with Virpil Controls on Saturday explicitly announced the Yak-9, Yak-9T and Hurricane.IAmNotARobot on the Russian IL-2 forum
If confirmed, this would turn my own thinking completely around as an additional pair of aircraft for Bodenplatte still seems like the best possible way to extend that aircraft set. That said, the Hurricane has topped the list for fan favourites in polls run by the community for years and the Yak-9 is a Russian community favourite.
UPDATE: September 2 at 9:35 PM EDT
The case for the Hurricane
As I mentioned earlier today, the two aircraft that have emerged appear to be aimed at a broad audience of players and targeting two fan favourite aircraft.
Since the release of IL-2: Battle of Stalingrad and with even louder voices after Battle of Moscow, players have asked for a Hawker Hurricane.
Though not used by the RAF in the 1944-45 scenario depicted in Battle of Bodenplatte, the Hurricane was sent in large numbers to the Soviet Union and one of its first major battles was the Battle of Moscow.
At least 6 units flew the Hurricane during the Battle of Moscow contributing to the defense of the Soviet capital in that battle. Following Moscow, several units were used to defend Stalingrad from attack as well. Hurricane’s were gradually phased out by newer, higher performing fighters into 1943, however it should already be clear that the Hurricane contributes significantly to two major battles that the series already represents.
The Hurricane II, the most likely model to be built, came in several variations. The Mark II was powered by the Merlin XX engine giving it enhanced power and boost over the earlier Mark I. The IIA came with eight .303 machine guns while the IIB was a definitive version with no less than twelve .303 machine guns. The Mark IIC could be fitted with four 20mm Hispano cannons while the Mark IID had the ability to carry the Vickers 40mm anti-tank cannon. All of these versions were sent to the Soviets. Additionally, Hurricane’s were often modified in the field with Soviet Berezin UB 12.7mm and ShVAK 20mm cannon. In the original IL-2: Forgotten Battles series, a Hurricane Mark II “Field Mod.” variant had a pair of UB 12.7mm and a pair of ShVAK 20mm cannons.
The Hurricane is also a fan favourite aircraft. It’s come out at the top of many polls run by the community over the years and people have asked for it over and over again.
The case for the Yak-9 and Yak-9T
Information sources on the Yak-9’s history are a bit diverse and that leads me to not be completely sure about their first use or activity. I’m sure 1CGS will fill in some details for us.
According to some sources, Yak-9 production started in October 1942 at Novosibirsk and in January 1943 at Omsk and that 42 IAP fought in defense of Stalingrad with their Yak-9s. Yak-7B and Yak-9 fighters continued to fight next to each other through 1943.
Only 500 of the initial Yak-9 series were produced before production switched to the Yak-9T which was the most popular variant with a production number of 2,748. The Yak-9T differed from the earlier version by the fitting of the powerful NS-37 cannon and a single UBS 12.7mm machine gun. The cannon required a change to the cockpit position which was pushed further aft.
The Yak-9T’s first use was apparently at Kursk although stories about it being used in the anti-tank role are likely a misunderstanding of the aircraft’s role. The 9T’s 37mm cannon was more about ensuring that pilots were able to kill their aerial targets with one or two hits.
Where the Yak-9 and 9T fit into the series’ single player is a little murkier to me than the Hurricane. Nonetheless, the Yak-9 and 9T are fan favourite aircraft and particularly so in the Russian market.
Though the Yak-9 and 9T were mentioned as two separate aircraft, it is possible that they will be sold as a single type with the 9T’s 37mm cannon and modified cockpit being included as a modification rather than a full on extra aircraft. How 1CGS chooses to do this will be interesting.
Sales will probably be good
As with most Collector Planes, they have to justify themselves in individual sales. While some aircraft are “necessary” though not necessarily popular, these individual Collector Planes need to make a case on their own. With these two fan favourite’s it seems likely that sales would be good.
I do still think that the opportunity to fill out the Western Front aircraft set would be ideal and everything from the Spitfire XIV, to the Meteor, to the Mosquito or Me410 would have been solid candidates. However, we still don’t know what 1CGS long range plans are and so making guesses at both short and long range plans have to be confined wishful thinking.
Remember, this is not yet confirmed information. We’ll know more soon no doubt!