IL-2 aircraft review: The challenge of the DFW C.V!

In early December, Flying Circus Vol 2 added yet another aircraft to its release list with the availability of the DFW C.V. It’s taken me a while to circle back to this airplane but, as they say, this is better late than never! This scout aircraft and occasional light bomber packs in some interesting capabilities and some quirks as well. Let’s have a look!

A bit of history

Nearly 4,000 of the Deutsche Flugzeug Werke produced C.V’s were constructed during WWI making it the most numerous utility and recon aircraft in the German war machine.

Designed to be light and durable, the first of the DFW C.V’s came into service in late 1916 and the type was still in service when the war ended. Notably, over 600 were reportedly still in service when hostilities ceased although these were soon destroyed.

The type had a good reputation for handling and was reportedly able to out-manoeuvre many allied types that it went up against. The observer position also had good visibility making it a useful artillery spotting and reconnaissance platform and it was easy to maintain in the field.

The C.V was powered by a 6-cylinder Benz Bz.IV giving it 200 hp. A good amount of power for an aircraft of this era. That enabled it to climb to 2000 meters in 7 minutes and achieve a top speed of 155 km/h. A single 7.92 mm MG08/15 from Spandau was fitted on the forward position with interrupter gear and the default gunner position was fitted with a 7.92 mm Parabellum MG14 on a ring mount.

The aircraft could be equipped with bombs, a camera, or radio enabling it to be used for bombing raids, photo reconnaissance and artillery spotting respectively.

Flying the C.V

I found the DFW C.V to be easy to fly relative to other aircraft of the era. It doesn’t feel like it has the power of something like the Bristol F.2B but it is otherwise a stable and agile aircraft that lifts off the ground without too much trouble. Even when laden with bombs, the C.V climbs out respectably with only a slightly shallower angle.

Landing also proved to be relatively straightforward although I was nearly caught by the stall coming on more suddenly than I expected during one of my landings. Be aware of these things and you’ll fly with little trouble.

Roll rate is average to slow but turn rate is generally good and when in combat I have been able to maneuver around opponents to throw off their aim and avoid being attacked directly. Matching that historical reputation! Where the C.V suffers is in a prolonged series of maneuvers. You will eventually run out of energy in an extended fight with more agile scouts.

The observer station does indeed have great visibility all around. Spotting from that position is good even with the optional 20mm cannon taking up some screen real-estate.

The pilot position is something else entirely!

The DFW C.V’s compact design and exhaust and radiator position sits front and center on the nose of the airplane. It blocks the pilots view almost completely! To compensate, the developers at 1CGS have placed the default pilot viewpoint off to the left side to compensate. It’s a logical decision but it still feels weird to fly the plane from this viewpoint.

All of this is to say that, from the pilots perspective, visibility is impaired and searching for targets ahead is extremely challenging. On the other hand, it is authentic to the real aircraft so it is what it is.

Visuals and audio

The exterior model of the DFW C.V is very good. The skins are bright and highly detailed with 4K textures, the animations of the aircraft meet with the usual high standards from 1CGS, and the bomb bay is well detailed. Load the DFW C.V up with bombs and it even manages to look imposing.

The aircraft also sports the latest technology for the series. Dynamic vehicle damage and tactical codes are all in place. The available skins come with a number of generic options letting you put your own codes on the aircraft as well as some historical combinations too.

Some of the upgrades that we’ve seen for Rise of Flight aircraft have really impressed me but this one is not quite as good. I’m not sure exactly what to point at either because the textures are good but they don’t come together quite as nicely as in others. Maybe its the viewpoint and maybe I’m just being a bit fussy. As it is, it still looks fine and it is fully functional. I will point out that in evening flying with a light on it actually looks pretty good too!

Audio is the usual combination of sounds from the Flying Circus. They sound fine and are well matched with the rest of the series!

In combat

Most of my use for the DFW C.V has been as a light bomber. In the role, it does well lifting three 50kg bombs on external racks as well as four 12.5kg bombs in the internal bomb bay. Unlike the Halberstadt CL.II, the C.V doesn’t feel quite as overloaded when configured this way and it does fly substantially better to target when loaded down.

The C.V is just fast enough to be able to drop these bombs at low altitude (with a 5 second delay) and then get out of range before the bomb goes off. It’s close but doable with a slight dive. You can of course try and use the bombsight to drop them from altitude which it is quite capable of doing as well.

Modifications include two turret options, optional ironsights or Aldis telescopic sight, additional gauges for the cockpit, a cockpit light, varieties of P.u.W bombs, a camera and/or a radio.

Dog fighting, as I mentioned above, seems to go well during the first couple of passes but up against late war opposition as is usually the scenario online tends to favour those aircraft over the slower C.V. A couple of tight turns usually bleeds substantial speed which takes time to recover. And despite the pilot reports that it can match a F.2B I can tell you that I’d rather be in the F.2B in this equation both for the combat visibility as well as the speed.

The machine gun is awkward to use as it is fitted on the right side of the fuselage while the sight and pilot viewpoint is on the left side. This creates more of an incongruity than I would have expected and it really makes strafing and aiming at enemy aircraft hard to do. I’ve used the machine gun more in desperation to warn off attacking aircraft than as an actual weapon.

The gunner position is much better placed to spot and engage other aircraft and here the DFW shines. The available twin Parabellum machine gun upgrade is well advised if you’re going to run into enemy opposition. However, its the 20mm Becker that is the most entertaining! Enemy aircraft that are hit by the slow firing cannon can disintegrate with as many as one or two shots. It’s terrific fun when it happens… for the gunner at least!

Final thoughts

Overall I think the DFW C.V is an important addition to the Flying Circus roster because of its historical importance to the war as well as its multi-role flexibility.

The exterior model is well done and brought up to standards very well. It looks great actually! The cockpit is a mixed bag and I wonder if it might need another look over. It’s fine but just not quite as extraordinary as we’ve seen from some other releases.

As with most reconnaissance oriented aircraft, I also wish the DFW C.V had more to do with its camera or the ability to direct artillery but we know those might be on the way later on. In scripted multiplayer scenarios it can certainly perform the role and the DFW makes for a credible photo recon plane thanks to its great overall performance.

When compared to the Halberstadt CL.II you are faced with a tough decision. The DFW is more confident when carrying a bombload and it can carry an overall bigger loadout. But you do have to contend with the awkward pilot position and forward vision. If you can manage that then the C.V might be your plane. If not, the Halberstadt with its more conventional visibility might be worth taking.

The DFW C.V may have escaped most people’s attention in favour of more notable additions that have come out since its December 2021 release. However, this is a workhorse of an airplane both in history and in the sim and it doesn’t have to be sexy to get the job done. It’s not my favourite, but I’m glad its here.

Screenshots

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Tom Lewis says:

    155 mph, top speed ?
    Bloomin eck !
    I think either a KPH, rather than MPH, or the middle ‘5’ should be a ‘0’.
    Other than that, THANKS, enjoyed the read.

    Like

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Yep! I meant to write KM/H but wrote MPH instead. It has been corrected!

      Thanks for the readership! Appreciate the comments and the correction!

      Like

  2. CanadaOne says:

    Since it’s definitely been more than a month… coffee, coffee, coffee. 🙂

    Like

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Hahaha coffee has been noted! I have started on it!

      Like

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