The Hawker Tempest was a powerful British fighter that appeared late in World War II. Despite having a short operational life, it left a mark on history as one of the Allies’ best fighters of the war. The Hawker Tempest Mark V is now available for owners of IL-2: Battle of Bodenplatte thanks to patch 3.201 and it’s time to have a look at this incredible aircraft. Does it match up to it’s real life reputation? Let’s have a look!
Tempest, not a Typhoon
The Hawker Tempest Mark V has as slightly complex development history that lead to the Tempest you see in IL-2: Battle of Bodenplatte.
In 1937, Sydney Camm, working as an aircraft designer at Hawker Aircraft Company, began work producing the next generation of fighter as a follow on to the Hawker Hurricane. The Hurricane was a half step behind the Spitfire and was beginning to show its age in the face of faster and more capable German fighters. The Typhoon was the result of that work.
Teething troubles with the early Typhoon, especially with elevator flutter problems, tail section failures, and disappointing high-altitude performance dampened its reputation. Despite this, the Typhoon would go on to be a very effective counter to the low altitude ‘tip and run raiders’ of 1942. It participated in plenty of cross channel fighting as a fighter before it was discovered that it was well suited to becoming an effective fighter-bomber.
Camm was intent on solving the Typhoon’s problems and a major redesign effort was launched. Five versions of the Typhoon Mark II, later named Tempest, were designed with each mark using a different powerplant.
The RAF ultimately decided that the most conservative of the five redesigns, the Mark V, was the one that they wanted as a quick to deploy stop gap solution. The Mark V re-used the Typhoon’s Sabre II engine and chin radiator design albeit with some significant changes.
The new Tempest had multiple features that helped improve performance over the earlier Typhoon. A new wing with a thinner laminar flow profile and a semi-elliptical appearance made the biggest difference with speed increasing dramatically. Roll rate was also improved and turn and other handling characteristics remained about the same as the earlier fighter.
Early Tempests were reserved by the RAF to defend Great Britain from V-1 attack and so for the first few months the Tempest operated as a V-1 chaser. Later Tempests came with some changes including changing the reflector gunsight to project directly on the windscreen and new short barreled Hispano Mark V 20mm cannons (boasting improved fire rate with only minimal loss of muzzle velocity) were flush fitted with the leading edge of the wings. These and other various refinements were all grouped under a Series II designation though many Series I aircraft were updated as well.
That’s the brief history of the design but how does it stack up in IL-2?
Storming around in the Tempest
The Tempest Mark V’s primary use as a tactical fighter flying medium and low altitude sweeps across the western front fits in perfectly with the nature of the IL-2 tactical warfare. The Tempest in IL-2: Battle of Bodenplatte combines speed, firepower, agility, excellent visibility, and a clean sight picture to come together as one of the most effective Allied fighters in the sim.
The Tempest can be compared as something of a cross between a Spitfire, a Thunderbolt, and a Mustang. In dives, the Tempest gains speed with extraordinary quickness. Roll rate is about average and turn at high speeds is good though the Tempest is no low speed turn fighter and turn fights under 250 knots are not recommended.
The elevator in the Tempest is particularly effective which is both an asset and something to watch out for. In high speed dives, a pilot can easily black themselves out if they pull too hard. Stalling a Tempest is not ideal as the stall can be very pronounced, however, the aircraft does communicate the stall allowing careful pilots to take corrective action before it goes too far.
The Tempest has another advantage over competitors. At lower RPM and boost (say around +3lbs) the Tempest’s low drag design maintains a high cruising speed meaning the Tempest can cover ground quickly while keeping the engine relatively cool.
The Tempest V also comes with an engine modification for its Sabre IIA engine giving it the high quality 150 octane fuel and allowing the engine to be boosted up to +11lbs of boost. The modification increases the top speed of the Tempest at sea level by 14mph (or 23km/h) making the Tempest the reigning king of low altitude high speed performers in IL-2: Great Battles (though the FW190D-9 comes awfully close).
When it comes to armament, the default four Hispano Mark V cannons firing from the wings have a 750 round per minute fire rate (150 rpm better than the Mark II). They offer an impressive weight of fire deadly to all types of aircraft in just a very short burst.
The 20mm cannon firepower makes the Tempest a capable strafer with good enough stability to keep guns on target and enough firepower to wreck anything that is lightly armored. Trains, vehicle convoys and artillery batteries are all easy targets. When armed with the available 500lb or 1000lb bombs, the Tempest becomes a capable fighter bomber able to take out much larger targets.
IL-2 Lead Producer Jason Williams had to go on a tour to the UK to gain access to a Tempest in order to get the visual and systems details right for the aircraft. That effort has paid off in the final production.
1CGS boasts that the Tempest we have in IL-2: Great Battles Series as being the most accurate representation of a Tempest in a sim yet. Based on everything that I know about the aircraft – that would be an accurate statement.
The cockpit itself is up at 1CGS’ typical quality levels. Texture work is good and all of the systems, buttons, dials and lights work the way they should. The reflector gunsight is interesting in that there’s no frame for the sight in the later series aircraft and that makes the picture very clean but occasionally the sight itself can be hard to find. I’m not sure if this is an issue in the real aircraft but it occasionally happens to me in combat with the simulated version.
On the exterior, 4K textures help bring out the fine details of the aircraft and an ample collection of skins provide a variety of different Tempests from famous ace’s such as Fairbanks and Closterman as well as some of the lesser known pilots who flew the Tempest in combat. The default skin represents a January 1945 Tempest while some skins show off their post D-Day stripes and sky coloured nose (painted black by January).
The whole, the visual representation of the Tempest is bang on and it brings with it all of the grace and character associated with this British fighter.
The Tempest is in the list for my favourite aircraft of all time and in my opinion, 1CGS has done everything that they can to make this aircraft a reality in the IL-2: Battle of Bodenplatte sim. I’m overjoyed to have it and love what they’ve done!
Attempting to be more objective, the Tempest V is an ideal aircraft for a sim like IL-2 that favours tactical game play. Packing the firepower, speed, relative agility, and flexibility to engage both ground an air targets with plenty of firepower, provides for ample game play opportunities in the sim.
The Tempest is one of the most competitive late war types to fly and a solid contender against the best that the Luftwaffe has available. The Tempest is just one of several aircraft that can go toe to toe with the best of the Luftwaffe. That means that online duels and offline challenges will be determined by piloting skill and tactics. And that makes for a lot of fun in a combat sim like IL-2!
Requiem’s “Learn to fly” videos are essential to getting you up and flying with the Tempest.
Robin Takolander takes the Tempest for a test drive.
Arianne Scharfi goes for a 6-kill victory spree in the Tempest.
Froggy Frog 9000 has put together a compilation of Tempest clips.