Yesterday, patch 4.603 for IL-2: Great Battles arrived and I set out immediately to test out the brand new Hawker Typhoon Mark IB. These are some first impressions of the new aircraft and how it shakes out after just a couple of hours of use.
Typhoon, not Tempest
A lot of people confuse the Tempest and Typhoon. To be fair, they are related directly to each other with the earliest versions of the Tempest being called the Typhoon Mark II.
The Typhoon was the earlier iteration of the fighter with it coming into service in 1941 and serving first as a low altitude interceptor. Although struggling at high altitude, it was well placed to chase down Fw190’s and Bf109’s flying high speed fighter-bomber attacks against the south of England.
Later, it was discovered that the Typhoon made for a potent attack aircraft and it was pressed into service as a fighter-bomber after a brief trial. It was modified with provisions for bombs and rockets, a bubble canopy was added and the striking force that the Typhoon became was used heavily in the lead-up to D-Day and until the end of the war.
That’s a bit of history so let’s get on with the actual flying of the aircraft.
Into the air with the Typhoon
Sitting in the Typhoon for the first time is a very familiar experience for Tempest pilots. The cockpit is different in some details but everything is located in basically the same place. Takeoff is also similar to the Tempest although it feels ever so slightly more challenging to keep it tracking straight down the runway.
The Typhoon is very similar in handling to the Tempest in some respects and different in others.
From a speed and performance perspective, the Typhoon is a slower Tempest with it’s best speeds being found generally below 10,000 feet. Depending on the modifications used, the Typhoon will differ by a few miles per hour or a few dozen miles per hour. The modifications include a three or four bladed propeller (four is faster) and a standard +9lb Sabre II engine setup as well as a high octane +11lb boost Sabre II engine. The modifications can add substantially to the Typhoon’s speed and lets us tailor the aircraft to the time period it’s operating in.
Climb and turn are also relatively similar to the Tempest with the turn feeling very similar and the stall being similar too. The thicker wing does make the aircraft fly slightly differently with less available zoom climb. The stall feels a bit less pronounced with more shaking before departing. It also seems more violent after the departure.
I should also mention the roll rate which is slow. Historically so as the Typhoon is one of the worst rolling fighters of WWII.
Blowing things up
Perhaps it is here where the Tempest and Typhoon differ the most. While the Tempest makes for one of the best fighters of World War II, the Typhoon has less of an edge and so most of my flying with this aircraft is in its true 1944 role – as a fighter bomber.
To aid in the role, the Typhoon has plenty of ways to make things explode.
The are three modifications that bring RP-3 rockets to the Typhoon. The first is a Mark I rail system with 8 RP-3 rockets of either the HE or AP variety. The second is also a Mark I rocket rail system but with four additional RP-3 rockets strapped to the first batch adding to the firepower. The third is a Mark III rocket rail system which is somewhat cut down and offers less drag than the Mark I system. That also has eight RP-3 rockets in HE or AP variety.
Aiming is a bit of a challenge here and it will take a bit of practice to get the aim point just right.
The Typhoon can also carry 500lb bombs and 1000lb bombs. The 1000lb bombs were not originally part of the Typhoon’s ground attack spec but was modified in the field and then became standardized on using the bomb later. A document from The National Archives reveals a letter from Wing Commander Healy stating that they had been making use of 1000lb bombs despite clearance from the Air Ministry. Humorously it suggests recovering any 1000lb bombs dropped in error.
Full review coming soon
I of course love the Typhoon and am extremely pleased to see it come to IL-2: Great Battles. The Typhoon is an essential fighter of WWII on the western front so I’m very glad that 1CGS has chosen to simulate this aircraft.
I will be digging in deeper and will be covering more on the Typhoon soon so stay tuned for that.