Just over a month ago, owners of IL-2: Battle of Boddenplatte received a free Scripted Campaign to help pad out the single player experience. It features the Tempest Mark V (Series 2) introduction on the front-lines following the conclusion of the V-1 interception campaign. If the first three missions are any indication, the following seven missions are a lot of fun too. Here’s what the first three missions look like!
Mission 1 – ‘In the Land of Belgium’
Your first mission is a transfer flight from further back on the Allied lines up to what would become the home for No. 122 Wing and the RAF’s front-line Tempest squadrons. I am talking of course of B.80 Volkel, which, prior to the Allies capturing it, was bombed relentlessly and accurately by Allied tactical bomber squadrons leaving the whole base cratered and looking like the surface of the moon. Despite this, the base was ideally situated allowing the Tempest squadrons to roam along significant portions of the front-line.
After taking-off, we set course towards the north east and Volkel. BlackSix’s usual mission design forte comes into play here as there’s plenty of aircraft activity going on to make the airspace feel just the slightest bit crowded. Bombers overflying the base, more bombers egressing from a target area along the way, and then… enemy fighters!
A flight or more of Bf109’s were closing on the last bomber group’s six but fortunately other Allied fighters had already spotted and engaged and we joined the fray. The first Bf109 I got behind benefited from my recent lack of time on the Tempest as the first shots went wild… except two… which caused a fuel leak and clearly destroyed a control cable as the Bf109 spun quickly out of control.
Another Bf109 was circling the fight and soon I was behind this one as well and my shooting was once again slightly off… but it didn’t matter. This second Bf109 also went spiraling out of control similar to the first. Then it was time for the third and here I was able to close behind, undetected, as this Bf109 was attempting to leave the combat space. But no Bf109G-14 is going to outrun a Tempest V at full power at medium altitude and with a brief burst it was over in a flash. One more Bf109 down!
With ammo low it was time to disengage and Volkel was fortunately already in sight as the flight reformed on me and we headed in to our new home. Mission accomplished!
Mission 2 – ‘The Train Would Not Come’
The most typical mission type of the Tempest V on the continent was the tactical reconnaissance. Usually conducted in two flights of four, Tempests would fly into a designated area with the intent of shooting up anything of the enemy that was moving. Aircraft, trucks, trains, barges and any other target of opportunity was all a legitimate target. The Tempest’s low level speed and firepower made it well suited to the task.
Enroute to the target zone we passed a formation of six Spitfire IX’s on return from their own patrol and spotted air combat off in the distance – but we had our job to do. And very quickly that job was realized as we arrived at a junction with a couple of trains below.
We pounced on both trains as all eight Tempest’s, once ensuring the nearby airspace was clear of German aircraft, engaged the targets. In my first pass on the first train I went for the locomotive and tender causing crippling damage and causing the train to come to a stop.
My flight was just behind me and began strafing the rest of the rail cars. Soon another train was spotted and the eight of us switched to the undamaged train – the first one having been left a smoking ruin behind us. I once again attacked the locomotive and on my second pass caused it to explode in dramatic fashion.
With two trains down and no enemy aircraft spotted and ammunition running low, we headed back to Volkel which was very much still in a state of disrepair although clearly more aircraft were arriving as Tempests and Typhoons lined the field.
Mission 3 – ‘Never Push Your Luck’
The third mission briefing began with news that Wing Commander Roland Beaumont had been shot down by flak. A reminder of a real event that happened to the wing and the hazards of low level operations with the Tempest squadrons during this time.
Our mission was once again of the tactical recon variety. This time a four point patrol with truck traffic as the primary target though the ‘TacR’ style was very much to shoot at anything of the enemy that moved. That would be put to good effect as we arrived at the first patrol point and discovered an enemy convoy below us.
Overflying the convoy on the first run, I swung around and let off several short bursts against this convoy on my follow-up passes. Supported by the seven other Tempests flying with me on the mission. With one convoy now destroyed it was time to fly on to the other points. Soon three shapes appeared on the horizon which, after a short pursuit, turned out to be Ju52’s!
The first one exploded almost immediately as several 20mm cannon shells from my Tempest destroyed it. Another Tempest made a pass on one of the other Ju52’s but was unsuccessful in shooting it down. I swung around on this Ju52 and quickly dispatched it as well. The third Ju52 attempted to make a break for it but my cannon shells found their way to that Ju52 as well – which I later discovered was not counted as a kill as it must have survived despite its crippled appearance.
Finally onto the third waypoint and there was no time for convoys as another Ju52 appeared below us. I maneuvered for a difficult head on pass and lined up the target perfectly. Pulling back the trigger and…nothing happened. *click* *click* I was out of ammo! My flight then engaged it and shot it down.
We then made our way back to base and a successful landing.
1CGS’ scripted campaigns, be they a separate purchase or part of a pack, are all really fun and this one stays with that overall design goal. Though these missions are by nature longer ones, they aren’t overly long and they are usually packed with plenty of aircraft both enemy and friendly – more friendly at this stage.
I have only good things to say about the campaign so far and will do a write-up once I’m finished with it.