Last night I ventured onto Wings of Liberty on IL-2: Great Battles multiplayer with the express intention of flying a Yak-9T in one of their mid to late war scenarios and putting the new aircraf through its paces in a series of online battles. Here are some brief recaps and a few thoughts on using the 37mm in a multiplayer environment and does it even matter?
Flying with a pair of other pilots including Wolfpack345, we were flying in the western end of the Kuban map on Wings of Liberty. Our mission was to fly a combat air patrol over the Kerch Strait and try and protect a couple of targets along the coast line or intercept bombers and attack planes hitting targets further afield.
There’s a handful of aircraft in the original IL-2 series that I flew extensively and that I felt a that I could fly and fight in these aircraft better than many of the other types. The Yak-9T was firmly among them and I put quite a few hours into that version of the famous Yak fighter family. I wanted to see how my Yak-9 flying might translate into IL-2: Great Battles.
We struggled to find targets on the first flight flying a loose formation using the added room to constantly roll back and forth looking for targets. We never seemed to be where the enemy aircraft were but we did come across lots of friendlies.
The drought of enemy aircraft finally changed when we spotted aircraft attacking the sea port. Wolfpack and I swept in with a Bf110 deftly evading our first passes but on the second pass we had him and I was able to get a burst of 37mm fire (likely 3-4 shots) into the twin engine heavy fighter. That was enough!
We kept having trouble finding targets so we went after a nearby objective – an airbase with plenty of parked targets. My first two passes were successful with the 37mm cannon and a burst of machine gun fire taking down a couple of parked aircraft and a pair of flak batteries in one or two shots each!
I was making my last pass when I had an unfortunate incident with a tree… The tree won the argument.
Undeterred, I grabbed a new aircraft and once again took to the skies near the Kerch Strait. It wasn’t long before we spotted a pair of Fw190’s and go into a fight with them. A Fw190 locked onto the tail of Wolfpack but he was able to escape… the Fw190, as the replay later showed, hit the ground briefly before rebounding into the air and right into my gunsight.
A brief burst made sure he wasn’t going to be going anywhere…
Unfortunately sortie two wasn’t very long because that second Fw190 found me and four cannons connected with my Yak-9T. The damage immediately caused my aircraft’s fuel tank to explode, a wing to come off, and me to go down in flames.
Back into battle
It was time to head back into battle as the three of us once again took to the skies to hunt for enemy fighters. It was the last sortie of the night so we planned to try and make it a good one if we could!
Once again over the Kerch Strait and on to the Taman peninsula, we again spotted Focke Wulf’s and quickly got into a fight. Our number three got caught up in a battle with one and impacted the water during a difficult evasive fight. Meanwhile I was able to lock into one of the Focke Wulf’s also just out over the water and chase him to the deck.
A few shots of mine missed and hit the water…
… but on the uphill my aim was about to get a lot better.
That Fw190 promptly lit on fire and rolled away.
On to the next one and it was another tight battle with Wolfpack and I going up against two Fw190s that seemingly didn’t see us until we were very close in. A fight ensued with Wolfpack making a pass at the one before the Fw190 attempted to reverse the fight – before I latched onto him.
And then put a couple of 37mm rounds into his tail.
But the fight wasn’t over. It was a close battle with the Fw190 and my Yak-9T getting into a difficult rolling scissors. Each aircraft trying to force the overshoot or push the other out of the roll. The Fw190 pilot nearly succeeded except for two brief snapshots… the second was a 37mm cannon shell.
That Fw190 promptly rolled and dove for the ground trailing smoke and fire.
It was time to go home so we flew back over the channel and were setting up to land when a flare went up, the sirens sounded, and flak began exploding near the base. It was an enemy fighter over our friendly airfield and Wolfpack and I both still had some ammo left.
With plenty of speed and an unsuspecting 109, Wolfpack and I both independently rolled onto the Bf109 at about the same time.
I came in low on the 109’s 7 o’clock position while Wolf was higher up. Now on the 109’s six o’clock we both let loose with a burst of machine gun fire – this is when we realized we were engaging at the same time and we both broke off to (narrowly avoid a collision).
Wolfpack went in to finish off the 109 although a brief brush with the aircraft’s tail section and his propeller blade sealed the deal – taran style!
He glided back to base while I covered the immediate airspace and then too went in to land. What a sortie!
No problems with the 37mm
While some have reported problems with the 37mm cannon on the Yak-9T online, I experienced no such issues. Although I did manage to get a couple of one hit kills, in most cases the 37mm does need two or three hits to guarantee not only a kill but complete destruction.
Here I think the perception of what this cannon will do in a simulated damage model may not completely match with the reality. But there are so many factors in reality, nevermind the simulation, that a guaranteed one hit instant kill seems to be unlikely to me.
The tactic that I used in the past version of IL-2 and that I still do here is to get in a few shots in rapid succession. It doesn’t matter to me if its a 20mm cannon, a .50cal machine gun, or a large calibre 37mm cannon. The idea is to hit the target a few times in the same place. That almost guarantees more damage and ensures a kill.
It also helps with the concept of ‘dusting’ where a single bullet may not count because of packet loss or network troubles or some sort of server glitch. Whatever the case may be, the ‘double tap’ method is not a bad one here because at the end of the day you want to shoot down your target with a little fuss or time spent worrying about it as possible.
Your experience may vary but I had no problems with Yak-9T or the 37mm cannon that’s integrated into the nose cannon position. I had a great time flying the aircraft and it was a real pleasure to get back into this aircraft after so long!