For years I’ve been dreaming of having the Hawker Typhoon make an appearance in a WWII combat flight sim. War Thunder has two variants but it wasn’t fully satisfying to me and so when news that IL-2: Battle of Normandy was bringing the British fighter to the sim, I was overjoyed. Recently I’ve been flying it a lot on Combat Box and I wanted to share some of my sorties with you.
The barge attack
In the later stages of the war in the west, most Allied fighter-bombers were called on to attack targets of opportunity including trains, truck convoys, static positions and barges. It’s this last one, the barges, that we attacked during this sortie.
Combat Box does a great job of including some interesting targets. Recently I think they have improved their targets adding more soft targets suitable for strafing and more unique target opportunities.
Three of us flew formation from our base to the frontlines and into the target area almost entirely undetected by enemy aircraft or ground positions. Low clouds at 5,000 feet as well as mid and high level clouds aided in the stealthy approach. We were already over the target before we actually spotted the barges in a neat row and then we set upon attacking them.
Each of us took turns using a circling attack pattern with one Typhoon attacking while the others circled around for a follow up attack. Very similar to the “wheel of death” tactics employed by IL-2’s on the eastern front and not unlike what Typhoons performing “Cab Rank” missions would do.
Diving in from cloud level, each of us would let loose with a pair of rockets before pulling away from the target. Each time a barge would go up in a brilliant sheet of flame.
Before leaving the target zone we eliminated the stationary AAA batteries as well as any soft targets nearby. The result? All barges destroyed, all vehicles and air defenses destroyed, and a mission success!
The airbase attack
It’s been called the “Battle of Dortmund” on more than one occasion. The Dortmund airfield is one of the many objectives in one of Combat Box’s missions and its well known for attracting attention from a wide variety of Allied and Axis pilots looking to attack, to defend and to get into some serious dogfights.
We braved this hotly contested environment with our Typhoons in a fast action attack. Flying to the north of the target at mid level before diving in enabled us to avoid fighter patrols while Allied and Axis fighters clashed overhead.
Diving in, the two Typhoons in our formation dropped our bombs on our targets. Hangars, parked aircraft and more exploded in big columns of fire and smoke. We had made our mark! But just as quickly, the Bf109s fell on us and as we attempted to egress towards the west, a Bf109 appeared on my tail. We scattered and the 109s got tangled up with the other fighters around us as well as with us. I managed to pull lead on one of the 109s but missed. Just as another opportunity came up, I found myself head to head with another 109 and we crashed head-on into one another. That was the end of that!
The artillery attack
Heading out over the skies of the Rhineland and into the rolling hills, we conducted another raid on some targets. This time it was the defenders located about 30 kilometers from the frontline. Armed with artillery and dug into bunkers, we had our work cut out for us as we attacked the target with 1000lb bombs.
Each pass saw us destroy another key target as trucks, artillery pieces, and bunkers were hit with high explosives. When the bombs were gone we switched to 20mm cannon and fired at the AAA and other light targets.
All of this action attracted friendly aircraft including a Tempest and a P-38 but it also attracted the wrong kind of attention as a trio of Bf109s came screaming in at high speed. I broke away just in the nick of time as a Tempest laid waste to the 109. Then the Tempest came under fire and another Typhoon cleared its six as I broke away to reposition. Finally a third 109 came in and was shot down as well.
The intense action and our lack of ammunition meant it was time to return to base.
More about the Typhoon
As I mentioned in the introduction, the addition of the Typhoon to the IL-2 series is a personal dream come true. Alongside the Tempest, these two Hawker aircraft comprise some of my all time favourites of WWII aviation. The difficult gestation period for the Typhoon leading into one of the ultimate tactical fighters of WWII in the form of the Tempest just adds to the interest, intrigue and even the drama that is the development of these fighters.
More practically speaking, the Typhoon makes a superb attack aircraft in IL-2 and its combination of speed and immense firepower work out exceptionally well. So does the bubble canopy!
There’s no doubt about it that flying as a fighter-bomber can be a difficult experience and in some ways it’s better to run these sorties when there are fewer people online. No matter what, it will always prove to be a challenge!
Can’t wait to take it back up again soon!