IL-2: Great Battles fans have some new aircraft options on the horizon as four new Collector Planes were announced for the series. Two variants of the legendary DC-3 have been announced along with the first Collector Planes for Flying Circus in the form of the Sopwith Snipe and the Siemens-Schuckert D.IV fighter. I have the details and the significance of each of these aircraft to the series.
C-47 and Li-2 bring Allied transport ops to IL-2
The DC-3 is a legendary aircraft of history whose simple and smart design, robust construction, flexibility of purpose saw it first fly as an airliner before then being converted to military transport and used on both sides of WWII. It flew as the C-47 in the United States military service, the Dakota in the RAF and Commonwealth Air Forces, the Lisouov Li-2 in Russian service, and as the L2D in Japanese service – all during WWII. Total production including all of the various sub variants and license builds top 16,000. DC-3 variants are still flying in 2020 in active service making this one of the most successful aircraft designs in the world.
Introducing the C-47 and Li-2 to IL-2 I think it will leave a significant mark on the series as it will be the second primarily transport focused aircraft in the sim. It will offer the Allies an equivalent to the Ju52 and that hopefully open the door to more transport focused flying.
It’s paradrop capabilities are an iconic use during the Normandy invasion which should make for some interesting single player scenarios. In multiplayer, there are more servers that are beginning to incorporate paradrop and supply flights into their basic operations. None more than Finnish Virtual Pilots with their designated drop points and transport flights allowing essential operations from forward air bases. Adding a second aircraft will make this more enjoyable and reduce those friendly fire incidents when the Ju52 is flying on the Allied side.
The Li-2 will come with its own unique features including an optional defensive turret and a small bomb carrying capacity which makes it a light bomber as well as transport aircraft. It also comes with different engines, engine cowlings, instruments, cargo doors and other changes. There’s enough differences between it and the C-47 that the two are being offered separately.
Flying Circus gets its first Collector Planes
If there has been anything to critique Flying Circus’ aircraft set, it’s that it has relied on recreating and upgrading the aircraft models of Rise of Flight in the newer IL-2 engine. That has worked out exceptionally well in my estimation even if there are a few issues that need to be worked out over time. What we hadn’t seen are any new aircraft but that changes today with the announcement that the Sopwith Snipe 7.F1 and the Siemens-Schuckert D.IV are both to be created and sold as Collector Planes for the series.
To date, we’ve never seen either of these aircraft in Rise of Flight, so they offer a unique set of options.
The Sopwith Snipe was the Sopwith company’s attempt at creating a successor to the succesful Sopwith Camel. By 1918, the Camel was falling behind the newest German scouts and a better performing aircraft was needed. The Snipe was the answer with more power on tap allowing the aircraft to climb more quickly and increasing the top speed just a few notches over the Camel. It wasn’t quite as fast as some other contemporary aircraft but it had impressive climb rate. The Snipe became the post war RAF standard for several years.
It was conventionally armed with two .303 Vickers machine guns and optionally armed with 4x25lb bombs.
Siemens-Schuckert D.IV was introduced later in 1918 after the D.III model was revealed to have a critical defect in the engine caused. Despite the engine issues, the aircraft was apparently well liked and its strong climb rate was one of its positive attributes.
Like most other German scouts of the time, it carried a pair of LMG 08/15 7.92mm machine guns.
The C-47A Skytrain is available for $19.99 promotional price (normal price $24.44). The others will be offered once work has begun on them.