Online combat tactics discussion

Started by Foxbat, November 06, 2007, 01:15:39 AM

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S~ I thought it might be of interest to members of AH to start a thread with a sort of tips and pointers for flying combat online discussion. I have always enjoyed sharing things I have learned over the years of flying IL2 with other pilots who may be newer to the game and have some questions. We don't always have the time to explain in detail while we are flying so I thought we could start posting some of that stuff here. I hope to get alot of posts from all of the pilots because I think everyone has a great understanding of the game and some good info to share. I have been asked how I setup to attack an enemy fighter. So, for the first post in this thread I'll try my best to explain how I try to do it.
Just a mention here that I will be speaking as though we are flying our AH general settings of cockpit on with external views and padlocks enabled. We do have pilots who can referance this same tactic from a full switch situation using track ir who I hope will contribute to this.

Attacking a single enemy fighter from Altitude advantage:

So you are in the cockpit at Angels 4K plus and you are on the lookout for a tiny dot in the sky which might or might not be an enemy fighter plane that wants to shoot you down. You have got to spot him first to gain advantage in altitude and speed.
In this situation you are constantly scanning the skies by using a combination of the external view key F2 and external padlock nearest enemy air. The F2 key allows you to look unobstructed from outside your aircraft in all directions. This allows you to see not only enemy but friendly aircraft all around you. Using that method you spot a "bogey"
low and out out in front of you. At this point in time you are evaluating the heading and speed of the bogey. Is he climbing, decending or holding level? You need to move in closer to ID the contact but do so with caution. Move in with added power while maintaining your altitude. Get close enough to make out a tag or try to make sure of enemy or friendly by pressing the external padlock nearest enemy air key. In this case the bogey is an enemy AC. You now know you have a bad guy but of what type? This is important info here. Your whole plan of attack is based on the type of AC you will engage. Are you faster, more agile or does the bandit have the edge there? Carefully close further and go for a positive ID. Now you can see that in this case you are in an F4F and you have an A6M Zero below. You know from experiance that the Zero outclasses the F4F in turning abilty at slow speeds but you have the advantage of altitude and speed.
Move to a high 6 oclock positon on the bandit and stabilize your position there by matching or slightly exceeding the speed of the target. To start the diving run at the bandit I find it easier to roll the plane inverted as I pull through the dive and keep him lined up with internal padlock. It is important here that you can maintain a very smooth approach. Throttle back to 70-80% power in the dive as it really helps with control by lessoning the torque effect from the engine. During the diving run you must totally concentrate on the target watching for any change in movement from it. The idea is to shoot at him from the closest range possible without him even seeing it coming. When you have closed to a very short distance .30 or less you fire a shot which is aimed for maximum damage. If your sure of getting a hit don't be afraid to hold the triggger for a second or two. The object is to either take him out or severely damage him right away so you can avoid a long and dangerous dogfight. If succesful its over quickly.
However, the boom and zoom by suprise engagement vs AI aircraft is not likely in most cases. In this case the method of attack is the same at the start but adjustments are made related to the turns the bandit makes. Deflection shooting in this situation can be very effective. As you dive and the bandit commits to a turn, usually a mid to high speed diving turn you must be prepared to fire a deflection shot. During the dive you should not vary more than 10 degrees from your angle to achieve a good shot. You would think that this being the case you do not have much room to fire at a turning and diving target and stay within the 10 degree angle? True, but by increasing the distance from which you will fire the 10 degrees becomes a much wider angle. By closely observing the direction of the bandit you can learn to lay the tracer line right out if front of the path the bandit takes when he makes the breaking turn. When you feel that your begining to add too much control to follow him through the angle, you break off and climb back to where you started and set up again. Observe the damage on the bandidt and use that to your adavantage.
If his engine is smoking heavily do not re engage quickly and hand him a chance to gain a position to fire at you while he still has engine power. If only light damage patiently set up from a stable position on each run. But don't be predictable either. Slightly change the angles of attack and throw in a few fake runs. Get him possibly to stall by forcing him to climb to you. There are certain times when you have the bandit in a very weak position either stalled or severly damaged when its ok to slow down and "park" on his six.
Overspeeding is common in this situation. You should try to gradually close and fire rather than high speed. Close to a comfortable shooting distance and stabilize your plane. The firing platform is everything. Finally, finish him off by firing patient shots only when he is stable in the gunsight.
To cap, its very important to plan and evaluate each step of the engagement if you have the time and position to do so. If your practicing this with a wingman its the same principle but with offset timing between the the two of you. The technique is to have one diving on an attack while the other is climbing out of an attack run. This keeps the bandit constantly defensive and unable to get away. If multiple bandits are encountered always target the highest ones first. Maintain the advantage of speed and height and work your way through to the lower planes.
Looking forward to hearing all the tips the rest of you have!

Coming next,
Engaging enemy fighter from altitude disadvantage

Not Impossible!


Thank you for the information, it is good to see pilots sharing there skills. This would be a good platform to setup a training night to practice these skills just mentioned. I my self would like to improve my flight skill as I do need to improve mine indeed.  :help-sos-sos-29402:


great thread, Fox! I'm copying the text of everything in this post and wanna make a definitive book on online tactics! Keep 'er commin'.


S~ Glad that you are finding some good use for this Crash. I hope we get contributions to this thread from some more guys. I would like to see somebody do a write up to explain level bombing and how to use the tools in the game to get good at it.
Cmon guys get those typing fingers busy!


S~ Here is one you guys can try for practicing 1v1 boom and zoom tactics. Set up a dogfight room and have the host set the planes as invincible so they can survive hits from gunfire. All other settings as normal including limited ammo. Using a 1vs1 senerio, alternate engagments with one pilot starting off at the low position and the other from up above. Practice attacking and evading. The cool part here is that you will know when you made a bad move because you will see and feel the hits if your attacker is succesful. But, you will not be going down in flames right away. You both can call it when the hits taken would in reality have taken the plane down. Then, simply form up again and start over.
You can reverse the situation whenever you want. After a few rounds of this your ammo will be getting low right? Well, thats the point. This will also serve to build a habit of conserving ammo and only taking well planned shots that have a good chance of doing damage.
Try a few practice runs between some guys and come back here to post the experiances you had. That kind of info can be very useful to us all.


S~ All. great thread, Fox.   i can only level bomb successfully if i've got the bomb sight table running.  really it's just a handy gui .  if you were to have the same info on a spread sheet it would work almost as well.
   with the bomb sight table, there are two boxes where you enter your info..your altitude and  your speed .. and the bomb sight table displays what angle your bomb sight should be elevated to, in order for the cross hairs to appear as though they're on the target at the same time you should release your bombs  from that altitude and speed.
you'll need to set three controls in the game for effective level bombing..bomb sight elevation increase, bomb sight elevation decrease, and auto level stabilizer. the auto level stabilizer just needs one key that will toggle it  on and off.
  for the bomb sight table,  the keys you use to enter the info about your altitude and your speed are preprogrammed into it and are displayed the whole time the bomb sight table is running.
you'll see in the bomb sight table window that you use "SHIFT+ Page Up" to raise the altitude value, and "SHift+Page Down" to decrease the altitude value. To change the speed value use "Control +Page up" and "Control+Page Down".  As you raise and lower those values, you'll see the 'Angle' value displayed change..  the 'Angle' value is what you reference when you increase or decrease your bomb sight elevation in the game.
  Once your  altitude and speed in the game matches what you have in the bomb sight table, use the keys you programmed to raise and lower the elevation of the bomb sight  to what the bomb sight table has displayed in the Angle box. When you change the bomb sight elevation in the game, it will be displayed on the right hand side of the game screen, just like when you adjust your throttle or pitch, or lower your gear, etc.
   So you're at altitude, and lining up on the target area...toggle auto level stabilizer on,  move to the bomber seat, and use the same key you use  in the pilot seat to center your gunsight view, to go into bomb sight view..i think it's "Shift+F1" by default.
Tilt the bomb sight so it looks well forward by increasing the bomb sight elevation  to about 70 degrees or so.. that will vary depending on how high above and how far away you are from the target. While the auto level stabilizer is engaged, and you're looking through the bomb sight, use rudder trim to correct your course, decrease the bomb sight elevation as you get closer to the'll want to  adjust the altitude and speed values in the bomb sight table as you get closer to the target because the auto level stabilizer is not perfect. you are very likely to change speed and altitude when you engage it. some throttle adjusting can minimize the variance but you are likely to need to adjust the speed and altitude values in the bomb sight table as you get closer..keep an eye on the cross hairs, and the bomb sight elevation.. when your bomb sight  cross hairs are on the target, and the bomb sight elevation, altitude and speed in the game all match what is showing in the bomb sight table, release your bombs... go back to the pilot's seat, disengage the auto level stabilizer,   and fly home.

  (1.)Speed, (2.)Altitude, (3.)Angle/Elevation.. all three  in the plane match what's in the bomb sight table,  cross hairs are on the target, release the bombs.. you'll hit your target.   

   The cross hairs in the bomb sight will disappear when you make a turn. And they will take a while to re appear.. the length of time they won't be visible depends on how hard and long you've been turning the plane..after a steep turn, keep reasonably level for a minute or two and they will show up. 
the bomb sight table is not part of the game. it is a little third party  application  that puts a small window in front of the game screen and it stays in front of the game screen the entire game.. it takes a little practice to get used to opening it and positioning it so it won't block the more important gauges.. since ya can't see the gauges when you're positioning the bomb sight table window... since the game hasn't started yet.  but most of the guys that use it don't consider the positioning issue a big problem. 
look in the PX for the bomb sight table if ya don't have one yet and want to try it. 



At that awkward age where your brain has gone from " Probably shouldn't say that" to
"What the hell, let's see what happens"?  Me too.


#6 have just taken off ... check your six ... now you are locating your leader and you are tightening the formation ...check your six... now check your heading ...check your six... adjust trim ...check your six... check in with your flight lead ...check your six... verify your heading...check your six... climb to proper altitude depending upon mission...check your six... you see a dot in the distance ...check your six...  you close on the dot and it's an enemy ...check your six...  you are diving on the enemy and getting him lined up in your sights ...check your six...  you are just about ready to pull the trigger ...check your six...  now kill the SOB in your sights before he gets away!!!! ...check your six... get it? ...check your six... ...check your six... ...check your six...  even when you think there is no way he could be close, in the thick of battle and even when you are about to pull the trigger.... ...check your six...  (6)

...if it's just for fun, why do they keep points?


After you shoot him down,  Don't forget to ... check your six ...


Wow! Ty for posting the bombing instructions BBQ. Some excellant info in there and I'll bet it will be put to good use.


S~ all. Thanks go out to all the guys who have contributed to the thread so far. Its appreciated.

As promised gonna post a few tips here for defending against a fighter attack from above.

You have realized that your in a bad situation. You have an enemy fighter at a much higher altitude than yours and he is about to start a diving attack to shoot you down.
What can you do? Should you dive away, climb toward him or just pray?
Your options here are more limited than when on offence but you do have some options.
First you must again assess the situation. What are the strengths and weakness of each plane? Is your altitude the best performance situation for the plane your flying or for the bad guys plane? Working with that knowledge in this situation the goal is to survive the diving attacks long enough to put you in your best position to counter attack.
Ok back to the action. When the bad guy makes his diving run you must use good timing when making an evasive turn. Turning too soon as well as too late decreases the difficulty of the shot from the diving plane. You do not want to give the bad guy anything easy so make your moves in a way that make him really work for it. Keep your eyes on him when he comes at you and anticipate where you plan to turn and execute it.
  Every turn you make you should try to maintain your speed or even increase it.
Now, there is a very good move which I don't see alot of guys use which is the basic barrel roll. Its a bit risky but it can be very effective to acheive a close energy state between the two planes. As the the attacking plane begins to close for a shot at the target plane, the target plane uses the barrel roll at high speed to bait the diving plane into staying behind him too long trying to get a shot. Now the energy state is equal because the diving plane has slowed his speed to stay behind his target.
You can now engage the attacker by working for position on his tail with the same energy he has.
  If you have enough altitude, the Split S is also a good move. You will give up some altitude with this one but you gain speed if you did not have it. I feel that the Split S is best used if you don't have speed during the first dive the attacking plane makes.
If you have good speed say 350 kmh + then I think the horizontal turn with only a slight dive or climb with it is better. In this way it keeps you able to maintain your position in hieght and speed after the pass. As difficult as it is, you have to try to keep your speed up all through the engagement. This type of situation can go on for awhile and often does. You keep making turns while the attacker is patient and keeps up his boom and zoom tactic. It comes down to being stubborn here. Its the best way to describe it.
You have to stick it out and make the attacker lose his patience and make a mistake.
He might get too slow or not pull up enough as he passes by and give you an opportunity if you have the speed to do it.
Finally, if this seems to go on and on and the attacker will not disengage, you have a last resort. Last resort is exactly what I mean as I do not recommend head to head shots in most cases. But here if all else fails its the best thing to do. The need for speed is here again for this one. You have to have the speed to be able to pull up and face the diving attacker.
You need the speed to be able to hold the nose up and hold for a steady shot on the diving plane. Never pull up without enough energy to face the diving plane. If you do, you risk stalling before he passes by and giving him a very easy shot at you.
Its 50/50 of who hits who here but its the only thing left if you can't disengage.
Overall its very tough to get out of a position like this. If the boom and zoom pilot is very careful and patient, he almost always prevails over the lower one. But it is not impossible to reverse the situation if the opportunity comes during the fight.


S~ I have been meaning to post this link for awhile but kept forgetting. Go there to find a nice little program which uses animation to demonstrate dogfighting manuevers from both offence and defence. Its a small download. There is a bunch of other stuff there as well including a gunnery training tool.


S~ Thanks for the link, Fox.  lots of good little utilities there. ..the downloads there seem to be near the bottom of the page.. took me a while to scroll past all the formations and their descriptions.. cuz i kept reading them..  :happy-016:

At that awkward age where your brain has gone from " Probably shouldn't say that" to
"What the hell, let's see what happens"?  Me too.


Thanks for the link Fox cool tool ~S!


"I wish I was who I was when I wanted to be what I am today" - Jimi Hendrix


Here is a link to a dogfight video between American ace, Bud Anderson, and a german pilot: