This is my second flight journal flying with the pre-release version of Team Fusion Simulations IL-2 Sturmovik: Desert Wings – TOBRUK. This time I’m recounting my experiences with the second mission of the RAAF ‘Desert Hawks’ campaign flying the P-40B/Tomahawk Mark II into combat.
As with my first post, this was written with a pre-release version of Desert Wings – Tobruk so I won’t be commenting on anything outside of the mission itself. What you will be seeing is an after action report from the second mission of the ‘Desert Hawks’ campaign.
Flying with the ‘Desert Hawks’
I’m a fan of the P-40 series of fighters and Desert Wings – Tobruk comes with a good variety of options. These are all British equipped versions of the aircraft complete with British gunsights and designations. The Tomahawk Mark II is roughly equivalent to the P-40B/C while the Kittyhawk IA is equivalent to the P-40E in American designations.
Here are, by the way, all of the P-40 variants available in Desert Wings – Tobruk:
- Tomahawk II
- Tomahawk II Late
- Tomahawk II Trop
- Tomahawk II Late Trop
- Kittyhawk IA
- Kittyhawk IA Trop
For today, I’m flying the Tomahawk Mark II with the No. 3 Squadron RAAF during Operation Crusader. This is the battle that started on November 18 and went to December 30, 1941 where British and Commonwealth forces are attempted to relieve the Siege of Tobruk.
Setting off from Fort Maddalena
Flying out of our base located next to Fort Maddalena, part of the Frontier Wire defensive system that the Italian’s built in the region in the 1920’s, our mission was to head to the frontlines well south of Tobruk and engage a vehicle convoy bringing supplies in to the frontline.
Dust from the desert strip was visible from a long way away as the four Tomahawk’s took to the air and climbed for altitude for the trip to the frontline.
That trip was largely uneventful but it did give me a chance to have a nice look at the Tomahawk’s cockpit, turn on and adjust the gunsight, and get the aircraft ready for combat.
Into action over the convoy
Passing over British and Commonwealth troops on the frontline below, we approached the roadway and our target. With the target spotted ahead, our Tomahawks went into immediate action rolling in for an attack across the path of the convoy.
The lead Tomahawk started taking fire but managed to put bullets on target with one of the trucks lighting up with thick black smoke pouring from the vehicle. I took up the trail position and engaged one of the trucks firing back at us. My shots went wide and I kicked the rudder as I flew over the convoy to avoid the tracers snaking up towards me.
Swinging around, the whole flight made a second pass on the convoy with more shots finding their targets. My second run was a success as I attacked from the back of the convoy with my twin .50cal and four .303 machine guns finding their mark and destroying the truck with a flak gun mounted on the back.
Still more tracers coming up from the convoy. Making another pass on the convoy, my shots once again found their mark. Two more trucks went up in flames.
Light machine gun fire hit my Tomahawk with a dull ‘thunk’ from the few shots that found their mark. Checking the instruments and visually inspecting the aircraft, everything seemed fine but it was clear that it was time to return to base.
Time for a landing back at home base. I was first in the circuit and came in for what I thought was a perfect landing, however, once my wheels were on the ground it was clear that I had landed a bit longer than planned and my urgent use of the brakes caused the aircraft to snake around on the ground.
Using rudder and brakes I managed to get the snaking under control, however, it wasn’t quite enough and the aircraft rose up, slammed down and then nosed over.
Crew chief isn’t going to be happy about that! My virtual pilot, fortunately, was no worse for wear.
This after-action report comes from the ‘Desert Hawks’ which starts around the beginning of Operation Crusader and works its way through the battle flying the P-40 through a series of scenarios. Good fun and plenty of challenge!
I hope you enjoyed this taste of one of the six campaigns that are coming from Team Fusion Simulations IL-2: Sturmovik Desert Wings – Tobruk which is coming out tomorrow. You can pre-order Desert Wings now from il2sturmovik.com with a pre-order discount of $59.49 USD or from the Steam Store starting on the August 6th release date.