In the school of aerial combat there’s a whole range of established maneuvers that are designed to, when employed correctly, put you in an advantageous position and enable you to engage the enemy. And then there are times where something a bit more crazy works and there’s no better place than in a flight simulation than to try and put off something a bit wacky in a desperate move to gain advantage. That scenario happened to me just a couple of nights ago on CombatBox and it’s been fun to examine it from a few different angles.
A whole swarm of fighters ahead
The story begins, as most of my more harrowing fights have with me getting separated from my wingmates. Diving into combat resulted in us being rapidly separated and losing touch while being simultaneously engaged and unable to support. Not a good situation to be in! Fortunately there were plenty of other friendlies around involved in a fairly substantial furball.
Ahead I spotted a friendly fighter being pursued by three or four bandits at different points in time. As you’ll see in the video footage I tried to whittle the number of pursuers down, although the better tactic would have been to keep on engaging them until there were none attacking the friendly – for whatever reason my split second decision making was that I had a chance, first at knocking the one Bf109 out of the fight by putting him defensive, before then following the Fw190 into a tight turn.
A few well aimed bursts and I clipped the Fw190’s tail off. What was that about .50cals not working? Anyways… In the heat of the moment you don’t know what has happened fully so you keep on firing until you’re sure. One Fw190 down!
At this point two more fighters have locked on to me. A Bf109 I don’t have the name of and CutCut from the Airwolves. The anonymous Bf109 made a high angle deflection shot, a difficult one to make given the speed and angles involved, and missed. That left CutCut who was a very real danger.
A little trick I learned…
At this point in the fight I’m nose high, going around 400mph with a lot of speed to bleed, and a Bf109 on my six. My instinct was to get on the rudder and the elevator and try and get as much angle as possible to get out of his gunsight or make the angle prohibitively difficult to match. As luck would have it… I did one better.
My P-51D-15 snapped into the turn, likely because of the rudder usage, and began to tumble. At this point it could have easily kept on tumbling, however, I did two things that I think saved me here. First, I immediately chopped the throttle. Lower RPM and less engine torque helping to keep the aircraft more stable and less likely to flop around. Second, an immediate hard hit to the rudder to counter the spin and get the P-51 flying right again. And it worked! The Mustang popped out of the turn somewhat slower and, fortuitously, right on the six of CutCut. Then it was a matter of putting my gunsight on target and scoring some killing shots.
I’m adding TacView to some of my Flight Journal pieces both to help visualize the fights and for my own personal learning. I’ve got the free trial running right now but I will be buying a copy very soon. In these next images you can see as I tumbled and then regained control behind the Bf109.
At that point it was a matter of putting the Bf109 into my gunsight and putting enough .50cals downrange to make a difference. Together with the K-14 gunsight I was able to hit the Bf109 despite CutCut’s defensive defensive maneuvers and was able to splash that Bf109.
Another Bf109 came into view and after a more prolonged fight I was able, together with another Mustang, splash that Bf109 as well.
At this point that was enough luck and fighting and it was time to get the heck out of there. No further enemy contact on the way home and when I landed I took stock of the situation. Three kills confirmed, one absolutely jaw droppingly wild defensive spin stall, and a bit of luck. I’ll be painting a shamrock on the side of a custom Mustang skin before too long!
Some video viewing!
Because this is a flight sim and because the IL-2 community is awesome, I feel compelled to share the rest of the experience here. First, IL-2’s fantastic track recording let me not only experience it over again but also make use of TacView to examine the fight in more detail and from a more top down kind of perspective. Second, credit where its due to the AirWolves for their good nature and fun videos which let me experience this from CutCut’s point of view as well.
First there was this video talking about the “flip und flop’ defensive maneuvering that they talked about in a prior video.
And then there was this great little video detailing the fight.
And not to be outdone, I put my own take on the engagement up on YouTube under the title “None of this should have worked.”
It really shouldn’t have
To end this journal off, I’m not at all suggesting that this is a good defensive maneuver. There’s untold number of ways that this could have gone where I ended up shot down or at least on the defensive. The great part of this hobby is having a little fun with all of the things that probably shouldn’t have worked and just happened to do so this one time in this one situation.
The ‘flip und flop’ as the AirWolves have called it is not a winning maneuver typically but rather a one born of some desperation. But occasionally… it works out. And as its often by written by combat pilots and pilots in general “it’s good to be lucky.” I’ll take it!
Cheers to the AirWolves for their fun take on this!