Flew a couple of missions last night on a server that I haven’t had a chance to check out yet: Combat Box. This new, North American based server, has been running for several months now with a special emphasis on late war aircraft compared to some of the other IL-2 servers out there. So, what did I do in a server full of some great late war aircraft? I flew an U-2VS. Hilarity ensued!
Flying a U-2VS in a server filled with late war aircraft
The server is catering towards late war aircraft fans and they have some really well designed missions that have players actions having direct impacts on aircraft available. Case in point, the mission we were flying had a jet fuel supply convoy driving towards a base – if it reaches the base then the Me262 becomes available in limited numbers.
Rocketing along at 142km/h, the U-2VS is considerably slower than most of the aircraft featured in Combat Box by contrast, but it seemed like a fun idea at the time. It’s also not without precedent as the U-2VS/Po-2 was used with effect against U.N. forces during the Korean War in 1950.
Take-off was not without incident as Jon (the developer behind Roger Meatball and big IL-2 fan) managed to spin out taxiing (and he fired a flare gun at me!). We re-discovered that the U-2VS doesn’t have wheel brakes so… that made things interesting.
Soon we were more seriously tracking towards our target – an ammo dump about 50-60 kilometers away.
Because of the slow speed, I find the U-2VS lets me appreciate the details of the map that I’m flying over. IL-2’s maps look really well realized even at slow speeds and up close – it’s something that the series does so well but its harder to appreciate at speed. With the U-2VS you can scrutinize every detail.
Calamity at target
Closer to target and we’re crossing a frozen Volga river before turning in on to our target and it’s time to check out our target. Two or three flak batteries, several bunkers and buildings and a few vehicles are on the target list. To combat that we have three U-2VS’ armed with bombs, rockets and a mounted machine gun.
Unlike other aircraft that can use speed for advantage, the U-2VS can’t really dodge AAA fire in the same way so more daring tactics were required. Fortunately, Stalingrad is located up on a plateau so we used the ridge to provide cover until the last minute.
And then… calamity.
First, our third U-2VS in the formation hit what appears to be a collision box around one of the bridges at Stalingrad and crashed right side up.
Then, Jon and I both took some flak fire before the flak batteries were silenced (we think by our gunners).
Finally, Jon and I ended up facing directly at each other and in the efforts to avoid a crash, Jon’s aircraft clipped the ground and flipped over.
Like I said, calamity!
Then it was just me but I did have a full loadout and I wanted to make the most of it. My first FAB-100 landed right in the middle of an ammo dump destroying it completely.
My second bomb drop landed less than a meter from a Panzer tank – also destroying it completely!
Then I went around launching rockets, largely ineffectually, at various bunkers. It looks like bigger bombs are needed to bust those.
Finally, the long flight home solo.
It was a great flight and so much fun to do despite our combat losses. If got my screenshots here but you can listen in and watch the hilarity on Jon Coughlin’s Twitch stream right here. We talk about IL-2, DCS, the Night Witches, Hot Shots, and more.
The U-2VS is so much fun
I know a lot of people are still skeptical of the U-2VS in IL-2 but with the right scenario and pilots the U-2VS can be tons of fun. With combat slowed down so much in this aircraft, you really appreciate the fine details of the IL-2 sim on a whole as well as the careful combat planning that you sometimes have to do with this aircraft.
As we said in the stream, the U-2’s combat experience is quite unlike a fast jet fighter or a quick action arcade game. This is a slow burn by comparison but that brings with it some of its own charms. The completely unique experience of having a small engine, a limited yet diverse armament load, and the right kind of combat approach makes this combat experience memorable and fun.
It’s worth a look if you find this kind of aircraft interesting to fly!
More about Combat Box
The player population for Combat Box is still growing but with a healthy number of players on this server last night along with some well designed, late war catered missions, I think there’s a lot for people to like here.
If you have Bodenplatte, Kuban or any of the later war Collector Planes like the La-5FN or Bf109G-6, you’ll probably find something interesting to do on this server. Or of course you can decide to do something a bit more silly and take off in a U-2VS too!