Next year promises to introduce some very interesting and exciting new content for the IL-2 Great Battles series as 1CGS announces three new pre-order products for us to buy. Two new Collector Vehicles, the Churchill Mark IV and the StuG III Ausf.G were announced together with the IAR-80/81 which was part of an earlier announcement but is now formally up for pre-order. Let’s check it all out!
Two new Collector Vehicles
Following the AAA guns that came out over this year, two new Collector Vehicles… or Tanks are on offer with this announcement.
First, the Churchill Mark IV tank of which 344 Churchill Mk III and Mk IV variants were sent to the Soviet Union as part of the lend lease arrangement. These tanks were used at Stalingrad and at Kursk which is where this tank connects well with the Tank Crew – Clash at Prokhorovka theme.
Heavily armored and protected from enemy fire, the Churchill Mark IV was primarily armed with the QF-6 Pounder. This 57mm gun is not to be underestimated as I’ve learned from tank aficionados that it has favourable penetration capabilities and that not even the mighty Tiger tank was fully protected.
6-pounder gunfire accounted for the first Tigers disabled in North Africa; two Tigers being knocked out by towed 6-pounder AT guns, while the 48th Royal Tank Regiment knocked out the first Tigers by the Western Allies in tank vs. tank action with their Churchill tanks, destroying two Tiger I (the same unit also knocked out the first Panther tanks by the Western Allies in May 1944 in Italy). The North Irish Horse disabled and captured Tiger 131 after the crew had abandoned it after it received several hits, most seriously a shot which struck the turret ring, making traverse impossible. The situation was somewhat improved by the development of more sophisticated ammunition in the form of the Armour-Piercing, Composite Rigid (APCR) shot and the Armour-Piercing, Discarding Sabot (APDS) shot, which was available from 1944 and made it effective against the frontal armour of Tiger Is and Panthers.Wikipedia
Some also were refitted with 75 mm M3 from the M4 Sherman tank. It’s unclear if this modification is on offer but it was mentioned specifically.
The Churchill gives the Allied side a legitimate heavy tank and it also gives us our second Western Allied tank that could be potentially useful for western European scenarios including Normandy.
We’re also getting the StuG III Ausf.G. This assault gun was Germany’s most produced tracked armored fighting vehicle with just over 10,000 built over the course of the war. The majority of those were the Ausf.G which were armed with the 7.5 cm StuK 40 L/48.
Fans of Tank Crew have been calling for a StuG III variant for some time and between that and the types prolific nature on the battlefield (especially at Kursk) it makes complete sense to me that 1CGS would offer the StuG as a Collector Vehicle.
IAR-80/81 up for sale as well!
Produced by a third party, the IAR-80 and 81 was announced earlier in the year but 1CGS wanted to hold off on offering a pre-order until the project had moved along a little bit further. Obviously its progressing well and so now it is up for sale.
The IAR-80 was involved on the first day of WWII and both it and the 81 fought their way through to 1944. Involved in the Battle of Stalingrad and in the battles along the Black Sea coast, there are plenty of opportunities for the IAR to fit in.
The initial version was armed with just four FN 7.7mm machine guns. Not much hitting power. Some versions were armed with six 7.7mm before it was upgraded with FN 13.2mm heavy machine guns before once again being modified to support the MG-FF and MG151/20 cannons. It’s not clear if all of these modifications will be available but the description does mention the heavy machine gun and MG151/20 armament configurations so I think it’s a safe bet that we’ll see those.
The IAR81 was also capable of carrying the SC250 bomb on a sling mechanism which, similar to the Ju87’s, would launch the bomb free of the propeller disk in a dive bombing attack.
There has been talk about performance. From my read of the aircraft’s history, the IAR80/81 was considered to be a good handling aircraft with a climb rate that was equal to the Bf109E but with a slower top speed. Addition of various equipment could also hurt performance. Nonetheless, these aircraft gave a good account of themselves over Romania during the 1944 bomber offensive (bringing down several B-24s) and it was also a capable fighter-bomber.
Pricing and … when?!
All of these collector aircraft and vehicles are now on the IL-2 webstore with a 20% pre-order discount. The IAR-80/81 is up for $15.99 USD (with $19.99 USD regular price) and the Chuchill and StuG II Ausf.G are up for $19.99 USD (with $24.99 USD regular price).
As for when, these tanks and aircraft are slated to be released sometime in 2022. Clearly, all three are in active development and the screenshots we can see show some advanced 3D modeling underway. Additional modeling, texture work, flight model programming, and other miscellaneous components will need to be completed before they are ready to go. Mid 2022 seems likely. Stay tuned for more information!