A few weeks ago I wrote about losing the edge in combat flight sims. Faced with bad luck, poor tactics, and some broken flight sim hardware, my most recent sorties were mostly unsatisfying and it was time for a little break from flying. A few weeks does a lot of good because my most recent sorties in IL-2: Great Battles with the brand new Fw190A-6 have helped to get that edge back. Here’s just one of them that I was particularly satisfied with!
Back out of the stable
I’ve not flown all that much in the last three weeks. The biggest challenge was a broken joystick base (replacement part is on order) but I was also just feeling like I needed a little break. I did do some simming during my break and I’ve got an article coming up about that soon. But today I want to talk about a triumphant return.
I’ve flown it quite a bit over the last few days with my temporary flight sim setup. I got my old and well worn VKB Gladiator Mark I out of storage and introduced a brand new set of MFG Crosswind pedals (more on those soon too) to the mix. Needless to say, my muscle memory is all out of coordination right now. It’s meant spending a lot of time getting used to my old stick and adapting to using my feet for pedals again.
I’ve spent a lot of time in the Quick Mission Builder in IL-2 getting used to his new setup. I’ve been practicing takeoffs, landings, gunnery, and coordinating my turns all while trying to do those things in the heat of combat. It’s part of the reason why combat flight simming is so compelling. In some ways I feel like a newbie again. Fortunately, as I’m about to recount, some of my learned skills are still in there somewhere.
Hunting on the pastures of Combat Box
Flying together with Wolfpack345 (check out his YouTube channel and Twitch channel) we decided to check out the Fw190A-6 on Combat Box and put the new aircraft through it’s paces. It wasn’t too long before we were flying near the Rhine river and looking for trouble along the frontlines.
It didn’t take long to find it!
Spotting a pair of Ju52’s below, part of an airlift operation, we also saw tracers and the sleek profile of a P-51 Mustang. We quickly dove in to the action with Wolfpack345 watching my six and me laser focused on what the Mustang would do next.
With tracers flying back and forth from the Mustang and Ju52’s I pressed in for the attack at high speed. So fast that I needed to seriously throttle back for a moment to prevent an overshoot.
The Mustang, unaware of our presence, pulled up into a nose high maneuver and this is when I caught him!
Multiple 20mm cannon shells exploded all across his wing and after 2 seconds of sustained fire I broke off.
Zooming up and away, the Mustang’s starboard side flaps came tumbling off and the aircraft went into a death spiral. One confirmed kill!
We rejoined the formation and continued on our patrol. Wolfpack345 was now in the lead and I took a position on his right wing.
Another pair of Ju52’s was spotted low and under fire from an attacking Mustang and we rolled in to attack. Wolfpack took the first attempt on the Mustang but the P-51 had pulled into a tight turn and overshot. I rolled and repositioned for a second run while Wolfpack setup for the third.
My attack nearly failed as I came close to overshooting but I rolled and used the rudder to sideslip the aircraft until I was closer in speed to the Mustang. The P-51 was distracted shooting a Bf109 so I pulled into position and opened fire. My shots went wild but a few 20mm’s did hit. The Mustang rapidly went evasive and pulled outside of my turn.
Wolfpack had the next shot but had to break defensively when a friendly 109 fired at him.
Another Fw190 flashed through the formation and the P-51 went down. I count that as a half kill but the Combat Box server granted me a full kill for my trouble.
The fight continued on with more Allied and German aircraft joining the fight. Another P-51D appeared below me and I dove straight in. Firing and scoring hits all over the aircraft.
As I pulled away I could see him trailing smoke and headed down into the nearby forest. That’s three down!
Tumultuous Tempest trouble
Wolfpack and I linked up again but were quickly into the thick of another fight as Allied fighters came screaming down on us from higher altitude. In the mix remained several dozen fighters from both sides and the action was chaotic.
A Tempest pulled up sharply infront of me and I converted my substantial speed for angle and altitude in an attempt to get a shot. At first it looked like I had missed but the Tempest rapidly lost speed in front of me and I pulled tighter, now inverted, to get another shot off. I’d have only a brief snapshot moment and for just a moment the Tempest crossed my path.
My four 20mm cannons flashed again and the shells exploded on the wing of the Tempest. As I pointed the nose of my aircraft back towards the ground I rolled level and spotted the Tempest behind me at my 5 o’clock… trailing smoke and fire.
The Tempest tumbled out of the sky and crashed in the field below.
Unfortunately, Wolfpack was hit by an enemy fighter and his Fw190 was in trouble. He managed to find an open field and crash land the fighter safely. His aircraft was out of the fight but his virtual pilot lived to fight another day.
I took another shot at a passing Tempest but was unable to land a shot. Climbing up a Mustang appeared on my six and I did a tight turn and roll. The Mustang flashed in front briefly and I fired wildly. A could of machine gun rounds bounced off of him but no serious damage was done.
A low altitude chase would go on for several minutes without either of us securing any advantage in speed or altitude and eventually he and I both disappeared into the clouds. A salute to a tough fight!
The round ended not too long after that. I had been closing in on a P-38 that might have made this an ace in a flight. As it was, I scored 3 and a half kills (the server counts it as 4) and I felt pretty good.
Wolfpack and I would go on fly several more sorties that night with varying degrees of success but we did have a great time and I felt like I had some of my edge back. Hoping for more in the future!