I’ve been doing plenty of IL-2: Great Battles flying recently on several of the series’ popular multiplayer servers. This won’t be a full flight journal but rather a summary of each and an example of the kinds of multiplayer experiences you can have on IL-2 right now.
Transport run in a Ju52
I wanted to start with something a bit unique. One of the flights that I flew just today was with the Ju52/3m on the Finnish Virtual Pilots – Dynamic War server. On this server, rear airbases are well stocked but forward airbases can run low on aircraft. In this case, a temporary airfield was down to just 4 aircraft left so it was time for a resupply run.
You can resupply bases in a variety of aircraft but I wanted to do the flight in a type that I don’t fly as often as I’d like – the Ju52! But I was on the Allied side (in my “headcannon” it’s a captured Ju52) so my choices for skin was limited to the pre-order special skin which features a brightly painted blue and orange skin with USSR painted on the wing.
My flight was uneventful save for a Yak-9 that intercepted me en route to the forward base but which broke away after realizing that the aircraft was a friendly. Definitely want to do more of these flights, maybe drop some paratroops at some point (that’s a mission objective on this server) and cross my fingers for a flyable DC-3.
Air superiority in the Yak-9T
I flew with indie flight sim developer Jon Coughlin (Roger Meatball) on a recent sortie on the Finnish Virtual Pilots server where we took the skies from a forward airbase in a pair of Yak-9T’s. Those of you who know my aircraft preferences know that I really love flying the Yak series and that the Yak-9T is one of my preferred types overall. We put the type to great use.
In a series of tense battles near the frontlines, we engaged 5 B109s and shot down each of them. We individually cornered two Bf109s for our first battle with me taking the lead while Jon engaged the wingman who had broken off and noticed us first. My fight with the lead took us low to tree top level I landed a 37mm hit on the Bf109 just above the trees. My last fight saw me enter into a tight rolling scissors where the Bf109 pilot tried to shoot me out in front but I managed to stay behind and use my remaining 12.7mm UBS machine gun to score catastrophic hits.
Jabo flying on Combat Box in the Fw190A-3
Out on Combat Box for a sortie on their new implementation of the Velikie Luki map. This 1942 scenario features some great new target areas with more detail than we’ve seen from target zones in the past. With few players on at this time we decided to turn to the Fw190A-3’s fighter-bomber (“Jabo” in Luftwaffe parlance) capabilities slinging a single SC500 bomb for maximum effect on enemy bunkers. Then we used the types machine guns and cannons to eliminate soft targets.
Enemy flak caused me some wing damage but I managed to make it home without incident. Good flying!
Thunderbolt scourges of the Eastern Front
In another flight the Finnish Virtual Pilots – Dynamic War server, we took out a flight of mixed P-47D-22 and D-28’s for a fighter sweep over Velikie Luki itself. Once there we found a fight going on at lower levels and we descended into the swirling fight.
I shot down one Bf109 low near the cities rail yard before climbing up and engaging a second Bf109. He managed to evade me but I then dropped in on a third who had just gunned down Wolfpack345‘s pilot hanging in a chute – I gave that one an extra burst of .50cal to ensure that his Bf109 was going down for good.
Before the summer scenario started, Finnish Virtual Pilots was also running a winter version of the Velikie Luki map. This is a challenging map to navigate with its untold number of small rivers and lakes carved out of shield and planform rock during the last ice age. During the winter the rivers and lakes become much harder to spot and navigation is even more challenged.
Despite that, we were able to find our target and engage them with a group of three IL-2 model 1943’s engaging first with bombs before turning to ROFS-132 rockets and then finally using our VYa 23mm cannons to eliminate the softer targets. The result? A frontline base almost totally destroyed.
Battles in the Bristol F2B
The news that Flying Circus Vol 2 is coming out was cause for much celebration and so I was out on the Flugpark server on Thursday (before the announcement) and again on Friday after the announcement. To my delight, the server was running with 30 and 40 players and we had some great air battles. The map makers have tightened up the target zones and increased the chances of you running into enemy aircraft before too long which is also great.
Although I was shot down twice, over the course of four sorties I was able to strike multiple frontline targets and get into multiple duels in the Bristol F2B. This capable attacker is also a decent fighter and my gunners twin Lewis machine guns can cause serious damage to enemy aircraft at all angles. I also managed to destroy a Halberstadt CL.II with my landing gear in a bizarre collision.
Great fun all around!
IL-2 multiplayer at it’s best
Final and overall thoughts on my recent flying has had me thinking about the experience of IL-2 multiplayer. Right now the series is having a really great moment where the performance, features, and variety of content are leading to some great experiences. We have tanks fighting each other on the ground, transport aircraft with which to drop paratroopers and fly supply runs, and a mix of WWI, WWII and eastern and western aircraft to fly in. All of my recent experiences have been different but they have all had a consistent and fun througline that is the IL-2 multiplayer experience.
It’s not a perfect sim but with player numbers increasing, sales bringing new people in, and there being a varied range of experiences for those interested in fighter, bomber, transport and attack operations that there’s something for nearly everyone.
Also great to see is all of the flying above the newly released Velikie Luki summer map. It, together with the winter map, were released not too long ago and are among the most beautiful maps in the series. They are truly impressive and feature some of their own custom objects and a lot of great scenery. They are a bit challenging to navigate but their overall impression is of a really high quality map experience.
Servers like the Flugpark, Finnish Virtual Pilots – Dynamic War server, Combat Box (and many others) offer great experiences. If you’ve not had a chance, definitely check these community hubs out and enjoy some content.