A short story about teamwork on the Combat Box server. Flying together with Peregryn, a virtual pilot that I fly with regularly, we were happy to see that Combat Box was running with around 30-40 players and so hopped into the server. I had SRS started-up (after all, I made a call for people to make use of it not that long ago) and I’m very glad that I did because it showcased everything that you want to see from SRS.
Defensive operations on the Western Front
Blue team was down a few pilots so we picked the Axis side and found our mounts in the FW190A-6. I maintain that the FW190A-6 is one of the best balanced versions of the Focke Wulf and one of the best Luftwaffe fighters available and we proceeded to have a great time flying the aircraft in a couple of sorties. Our mission? Defend our targets against Allied attackers and there were a lot of them.
Even before we took off, the SRS radio came alive as three different groups were coordinating combined strike and defensive operations along the front. The chatter was regular but with short bursts of information – exactly the kind of communications that you need on something like SRS.
“Three bandits spotted at 2,000 meters over Wert. We’re engaging.”
“Three Bf110’s attacking the mechanized infantry group near Arhem.”
“My wingman is down, five bandits spotted north of Duisburg.”
“We need someone to cover the bridges north of Wert.”
To this last one we answered the call.
“Shamrock, flight of two FW190, heading to Wert. ETA 5 minutes.”
And away we went. Before we arrived another group of friendlies had arrived and started providing ample defense. But just 15 kilometeres to the west was a friendly airbase under attack and here we is where we made our first contact with the enemy.
An A-20B let loose a string of bombs on the target while we dove in for the attack. Peregryn made the first pass damaging the A-20. But it remained flying and so I lined up and fired a second burst. Unluckily, both elevators came flying off the aircraft and hit my propeller. I glided in to a landing at the base.
Back on defense
Meawnhile, things were heating up near Wert again. The bridges were under fire and Peregryn and I rendezvoused near the target zone before starting our hunt for enemy aircraft. We didn’t have to look hard as a swarm of aircraft had developed and SRS once again provided us with critical intelligence.
A combined force of FW190s, Bf109s and Bf110s fell on the area. I took a shot at a P-51 before breaking off as a Bf109 was in a better position for the killing shot. I picked up an assist on that one. Suddenly more Mustangs fell from high altitude and once again SRS was alive with information as we were warned of the attacking aircraft.
A P-51 locked onto my six and I began rapid rolls to left and right with tight turns attempting to force the Mustang to overshoot. Peregryn engaged the Mustang damaging him before breaking off with a Mustang on him as well. I continued the defensive as the lead Mustang pressed home the attack. Then a Bf110, already alerted to the action, hit the Mustang with a well aimed burst. I was saved.
Meanwhile a P-47 attempted to take advantage of the confusion and attack but was spotted and downed quickly. The Allied attack on the bridges had been at least partially thwarted. We patrolled for a while before heading home.
The other night was the almost textbook example of people making use of SRS to communicate across groups/squads in an informal yet ultimately organized fashion. The teamwork happened spontaneously and without a need to do anything more than tell everyone else what your plans were and then report contact with the enemy.
Although I walked away with a dubious claim on just a single aircraft and an assist on a P-51, I came away from the evening with an immense sense of satisfaction that everyone was working together on a common goal.
On a related note, it was fantastic to see Combat Box with a population again. It’s been quiet on there but I’m glad to see pilots returning to the server. I’m sure as interest in the Western front picks up again and as Normandy gets closer to release, we’ll see more on there again. Their SRS setup with voice activated commands plus the interactive element of other humans using the service are truly refreshing.