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IL-2... Pacific theatre?


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Watching several videos on IL-2 this evening to prep me getting back in the cockpit and I was thinking, has 1C ever dropped any hints to a possible pacific expansion? The pacific theatre is easily my favourite in WWII, I just adore the naval aircraft of the IJN and USN. Leatherneck studios dropped a massive news update for their utterly gorgeous looking Vought F4U Corsair and its left me wishing that we could see a pacific expansion for IL-2.

I'd be reliving my Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator 2 days in F4F Wildcats and Zero's or the B6N2's etc.

A man can dream... right?

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14 hours ago, Ludwig said:

Man... I can't imagine trying to fly Japanese assets against American.  

Yeah, they got better... but man.. I sure would not want to do it.

There was a late-war IL-2:1946 Ghost Skies campaign, once.  It was awful. The Corsairs would engage and disengage, at will. Only the Tonys stood a chance, but everything was a tinderbox. 

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Snaggle and I go back to "AIRWARRIOR" days when online flight sim was ....  ouch... painful.  The Dx 486 was a stud machine...  and internet connection was 99% of your game enjoyment.  We actually got in an "event" and the only open slots were on the Japanese side.  They called the Betty Bombers  "Zippos" and the plan was for the good guys that ran the thing to attack our formation with Spitfires. Our Zeros could turn like crazy but were about 50kts slower than the Spitfires. They wiped out the entire 12 ship formation in two passes. Yeah, that was fun. 

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I had fun in that Ghost Skies Campaign.  IIRC that was one of the catalysts for us playing both sides in every campaign.  I got a couple good fights in that and had fun but, yeah, American machines controlled the fight completely as long as they didn't get complacent and slow.  

I have flown Zeros against F6F hellcats and Corsairs in 1946 and you just have to be way ahead of their attacks.  It's a lot like fighting Bf-109s in CloD in a Hurricane or Mk.1 Spit.  Drag them down to the deck where they can't dive away and beat the snot out of them.  

Granted, shooting IJN/IJA planes in American planes was super easy.  Just have to watch out for the N1K2-J George and Ki-84 Franks.  Those things are mean.

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The aforementioned one sided slaughters is why I think an early war scenario would be best for any Pacific theatre scenario. The IJN would still have an intact aviation air wing along with their CV’s. That, and the A6M2’s etc would be more on par with the main US offering of the time, the F4F Wildcat (which I adore) plus P-40’s and whatever else.

It would be amazing to see the Dauntless, Avenger and Devastator also, some fun options for multi-crew. 

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Honestly, the biggest problem (for me) with a full-on Pacific module for IL-2 is that everyone wants the Battle of Midway.  But that style of carrier versus carrier operations just doesn't translate easily into a computer game, no matter how realistically that computer game tries to be.

Yes, even 1CGS can get aircraft carriers to work correctly.  But, that's not the issue.

The issue is that no server we play on is going to put the carriers at a realistic distance from each other, because no online pilot is going to want to fly 2+ hours out and 2+ hours back for a single sortie where they may not see anything.  And because of that, all in-game matchups will put the Japanese aircraft a major disadvantage.  Using extreme striking range, as well as the element of surprise, was a key feature of Japanese naval aviation tactics.  And the Zero was built as the physical embodiment of those tactics.

For example, the A6M Zero had a 2,600 kilometers (1615 miles) range!  To compare, the Wildcat had a range of about 1300 kilometers (830 miles).  The Hellcat, 1519 kilometers (944 miles).   The F4U Corsair, 1609 kilometers (1000 miles).  That meant that the Zero could strike out far beyond the range of any other carrier borne aircraft.  That's a huge advantage.  Especially if you didn't know where the carrier was.  You were always under a constant threat of attack. 

Whereas, head-to-head engagements where both sides are in close proximity and know exactly where each other is favors the faster, better armored and better armed USN and RN.  Even the supposed "dogs" of the early USAAF and USN can more than hold their own against Japanese aircraft when used properly.

For me, if they wanted to focus on a Pacific Module, I'd recommend something involving the land war.  The AVG and the Chinese Air Force against the Japanese Army, prior to Pearl Harbor.  Rabaul.  The Philippines.  Guam, etc.  But again, while that makes more sense game-wise, no on wants that.  They want Midway.

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Guadalcanal campaign is an excellent choice for Pacific focus.   Tight in air, land, sea action,  day and night, could use air starts to represent carrier/Rabaul strikes.  Henderson field, Japanese float plane bases, strikes on landing zones.

I've always wondered what it was like to see Hiei and Kirishima pound Henderson all night.....(not that great for an air oriented sim, but wow.....)

My favorite focus areas have always been those that occurred when the outcome of the war was still in doubt.

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Seems to me that New Guinea would be best. Large land mass, high terrain, plenty of coastline for shipping and the P38, P39 and the A20 were in use and are already in the game. Usable historical airfields are pretty sparse though, especially for the Japanese.

Maybe the Philippines? Some Japanese tanks? ( Who in their right mind would take one of those?)

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There are several options available. They could even set it in the early Sino-Japanese war period on mainland China and the surrounding islands, the issue here though is that the aircraft that flew in that campaign (P-40's, Buffalos etc) were WOEFULLY inadequate versus the Zero. So if you were flying and allied aircraft it would be a bit of an unpleasent experience. However, something tells me there could be difficulties getting that scenario to work given how fragile the CCP are about depictions of their nations history, factual or not.

In light of that, the Guadalcanal campaign would be a good spot, but then you're really starting to see the Japanese aircraft fall from grace with the F4U introduced in '42 which would just utterly dominate. Ah, the perils of trying to have a historical simulator whilst also trying to retain a semblence of computer game "balance" 😅. The A7M2 would be an ideal example of a later war IJN fighter, however only eight were ever built and I don't think they saw any real active service. The Kawanishi N1K was a good aircraft, probably the only option for a mid to late war aircraft first introduced in '42 with multiple upgrades throughout its service life.

Midway would of course be popular, but given how airfields are a chaotic mess generally speaking I can't imagine any ability for people to use the correct stacking and protocols for recovery onto the carrier. It's bad enough in DCS with people throwing away the manual for case II recoveries and just zooming straight in, regardless of what activity is going on either in the pattern or on the deck. I'd like to see SOME carrier operations, but in conjunction with a sizable number of ground based airfields so people don't all try to pile onto just a small handful of fleet carriers and end up smashing into each other.

 

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I would also love to see a PTO of any portion of the war (if I can ever get IL2 working again). I will have to respectfully disagree with @Vogel about the adequacy of the P40 & F2A. Sure the Zeke was "better" but in capable hands Both the Tomahawk & Buffalo distinguished themselves well. The AVG in China showed what the P-40 could do when fought on its terms as did the F2A in Finnish service during the Winter War. 

The real reason the P40's & Buffalos earned such a bad rep was 3 fold. 1) Pilot skill. The Japanese pilots were much better trained & combat tested. 2) Tactics: On every occasion allied fighters were defensive in the engagement reacting to a Japanese attack. 3) Ignorance: Allied pilots did not know the Zero's capabilities & tried to turn fight them. 
All of these lessons were learned the hard way & paid in blood. Human nature being what it is they blamed the planes. 

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10 minutes ago, Yogi said:

I would also love to see a PTO of any portion of the war (if I can ever get IL2 working again). I will have to respectfully disagree with @Vogel about the adequacy of the P40 & F2A. Sure the Zeke was "better" but in capable hands Both the Tomahawk & Buffalo distinguished themselves well. The AVG in China showed what the P-40 could do when fought on its terms as did the F2A in Finnish service during the Winter War. 

The real reason the P40's & Buffalos earned such a bad rep was 3 fold. 1) Pilot skill. The Japanese pilots were much better trained & combat tested. 2) Tactics: On every occasion allied fighters were defensive in the engagement reacting to a Japanese attack. 3) Ignorance: Allied pilots did not know the Zero's capabilities & tried to turn fight them. 
All of these lessons were learned the hard way & paid in blood. Human nature being what it is they blamed the planes. 

Very fair points, I was only looking at win/loss ratios in general.

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The Pacific Theater is a horrible theater for multiplayer in every respect.  You have one side that is not an industrial power against the largest industrial power that had ever existed in the world in that time.  One side used long range to strike from ranges so great their opponents couldn't touch them.  Nobody wants to spend 6 hours flying to their target.  People fly like they can't be bothered to RTB in eastern theater maps where the home base is only 10 minutes away as it is.  So, realistic scenarios for most of the early pacific theater are out of the question.  By the time the Japanese are on the defensive and you have the ability to park American carriers close to Japanese islands like Iwo Jima the Japanese are so hopelessly outclassed in weaponry that no one would want to fly them.  Who wants to fly a matchbox against the much faster and rugged american aircraft?  There's a reason GS only did this theater once, and it's the same reason that Pacific Battles servers in 1946 were almost never full (save for when it first came out).  At least the European theater pits nations with similar productive capacity and fighter philosophy against each other so there is more parity.  As long as realistic numbers aren't employed, servers could hardly support enough people to produce accurate ratios in late '44 or '45 anyway, Germans in some cases still have a relative advantage in individual fighter match ups to give people on that side a fighting chance.

 

I'm all about flying off carrier decks and the scenery of the south pacific but the war doesn't sim well.   

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17 hours ago, Jaus said:

Guadalcanal campaign is an excellent choice for Pacific focus.   Tight in air, land, sea action,  day and night, could use air starts to represent carrier/Rabaul strikes.  Henderson field, Japanese float plane bases, strikes on landing zones.

I've always wondered what it was like to see Hiei and Kirishima pound Henderson all night.....(not that great for an air oriented sim, but wow.....)

My favorite focus areas have always been those that occurred when the outcome of the war was still in doubt.

I agree this period is a good one for the Pacific to focus on.  But the issue with Guadalcanal is that the Japanese were flying bombers from Rabaul which is a distance of about 650 miles.  No one would want to fly that.  (Though I suppose they could just start airborne at an appropriate distance.)

At the Battle of Coral Sea (a better battle than Midway to recreate, IMHO), the distances between the Japanese and American carriers was about 250 miles.  Which isn't too bad to fly in real time.

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It is true that the continuous-campaign map design of IL2 these days does make it hard to do a steady, balanced Pacific mission area.   I sure do miss Pacific theater though.   Back in '46 I put together a historic/fictional Guadalcanal mini campaign that included:

Raid on Tulagi the morning of the 7th.

Aug 7th afternoon air battle as the first wave of Japanese bombers met the Wildcat CAP

Aug 8th air battle when Japanese tried low approach to landing zone

Attack on the Ryujo (Eastern Solomons)

Pre-dawn sub-hunt

Low level surprise raid on Henderson by Japanese floatplanes  (this one was a favorite...no time to taxi, full flaps, firewall it, try to avoid hitting freindlies doing the same 🙂)

Cactus AF strike on fleeing Tokyo express vessels.

Cactus AF strike on Japanese landing at Lunga Pt.

 

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7 hours ago, Yogi said:

1) Pilot skill. The Japanese pilots were much better trained & combat tested.

That's it right there.

The Japanese Army and Navy pilots had been in combat since 1937, with outstanding and robust training, as well as an excellent retention of experienced pilots who could act as instructors.

3 hours ago, Lowengrin said:

At the Battle of Coral Sea (a better battle than Midway to recreate, IMHO), the distances between the Japanese and American carriers was about 250 miles.  Which isn't too bad to fly in real time.

Agreed.  Though, it's still an hour+ trip out and an hour+ trip back (if you assume your Zeke is cruising at 207 mph).

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I am really surprised here...  about a lot of things. Everyone seems to be in love with the Corsair (it was a hydraulic NIGHTMARE) and all agree that early Allied planes were slaughtered by the AGM2 and on.... but not ONE mention of the F6F which arguably was the best fighter of the war....  period.

Absolutely NOT my favorite by any stretch... but you know... if I had to go...   it would be very difficult to make a case for not wanting to be in that machine.  If you have not made a serious inquiry into the performance of this aircraft, it would behoove you to do so.... it is amazingly capable. 

The P-38 was in there as well as the P-47.... otherwise....

I totally agree that the "sides" are wonky...   you could do a scenario... that would work.  Have one sides carrier planes attack ships while the other side defends. Now... if you took the old AH Game Midway... or even better (albeit longer and more detailed) AH FLAT TOP (even has the image of Takahiro Tamura the actor that played Fuchida on the cover) and have a team(of our guys)  play out the search part of the board game and then take the assets that were allotted to each strike and apply them against the assets that were left to defend and NOW you have something. Again... play it out as a scenario. Talk about a playable "event" that would be pretty studly (IMHO) 

Combine the SEARCH phase of the board game with the live action of the Flight sim. Both sides had radar and knew the strikes were in the air, you still have to find the ships to attack them but you could start them within 10 minutes of the ships easily enough and limit fuel to represent the flight back to the carrier.. not having to deal with:

Night
The #@$ ship moved
The double #$% ship changed course and is not where they SAID it would be. 
The challenge of getting aboard. 

My mentor growing up was Gen. David Lee "Tex" Hill and I spent a LOT of evenings with him talking about the fighting in the CBI theatre. You would not like it as an "event." 

The AVG/CATF was well warned of the attacks coming in and were in position when they arrived. They dove through the formation and made one (1) pass and kept going. If you got something... GOOD for you...  if not... you could extend away (back side) of the target and climb up an repeat maybe a second pass...  three times was really rare because you were out of ammo. They just hosed as they went through. There was NO maneuvering... zero, nada, nuttin honey. They regretted the Chinese targets being bombed. They tried really hard to prevent their own fields from being bombed, but the bottom line was they could not afford to lose ANY pilots or planes. Frustration enough for all involved. 

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I think the Shinden-Kai would be more than capable of going toe to toe with late war allied fighters. They could take the A7M2 also, despite only 8 examples being completed. It all hangs on how much documentation survives for such aircraft. 
 

Also we see people outplaying other pilots in inferior machines all the time in any sim. MiG-15’s hunting down modern jets in DCS or taking early war fighters like the Hurricane Mk.II up against the best 109’s and 190’s. I’m sure in the right hands a good pilot will be able to take A6M5’s etc and kill “better” allied aircraft, just how allied pilots in China did with P-40’s or Buffalos etc. 
 

It would be a shame to see such an important theatre of WW2 be ignored because people felt the Japanese weren’t “competitive” enough. 

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1 hour ago, Vogel said:

Also we see people outplaying other pilots in inferior machines all the time in any sim. MiG-15’s hunting down modern jets in DCS or taking early war fighters like the Hurricane Mk.II up against the best 109’s and 190’s. I’m sure in the right hands a good pilot will be able to take A6M5’s etc and kill “better” allied aircraft, just how allied pilots in China did with P-40’s or Buffalos etc. 

I have flown Pacific events in both Warbirds and Aces High.  Was a part of a F6F-5N and then F4U-1 squad.  So when the Pacific came up we got to fly allies every other event was were needed.  We also flew P40s in AVG scenario I had fun in them all despite having the advantage or being at a disadvantage. 

We can talk all we want about this plane has advantage or this country has advantage. The thing that is left out is time and time again is that I have seen inferior planes take out the so called uber planes. Whether it was because they were flown by a great squad or because they had an altitude advantage and used the sun. I could fly a Zero but there were pilots in that game that could beat me in a Wildcat. I was quite good in the Hellcat but there were guys that could beat me in a Zero. Now granted that was 10 years ago and I have learned since then but guess what so did they.

I recall flying in an event with Hellcats and getting jumped by Zeros from above. They were not only above us but happened to be one of the best squads in the game. So half of our flight got chewed up before we dove out and regrouped. 

 

On 1/25/2021 at 9:48 AM, Klaiber said:

The issue is that no server we play on is going to put the carriers at a realistic distance from each other, because no online pilot is going to want to fly 2+ hours out and 2+ hours back for a single sortie where they may not see anything

In Aces High the events were set up so each side had 3 targets. All three targets had to be defended and all three targets had to be attacked.  No rules on how and when the targets had to be attacked.  I do recall a time sitting in Corsairs with drop tanks and hitting a target 1:45 into the mission. Philippines if I recall. What we would do is drain internal fuel for a bit then switch to external. That way if we got jumped on the way we wouldn't be heavy with fuel.

Midway is a terrible map choice unless it was for free. New Guinea, Guadalcanal, Burma, Okinawa and the Philippines would be good maps. The Philippines would allow early and late war scenarios.

I am not sure if I'm in the minority here but I would rather fly one long sortie than 3 short ones. I miss flying with drop tanks.

1 hour ago, Ludwig said:

I am really surprised here...  about a lot of things. Everyone seems to be in love with the Corsair (it was a hydraulic NIGHTMARE) and all agree that early Allied planes were slaughtered by the AGM2 and on.... but not ONE mention of the F6F which arguably was the best fighter of the war....  period.

I actually preferred the Hellcat over the Corsair as long as I have a good wingman. That rear visibility is atrocious in the Hellcat. In fact when I left Warbirds I had a 6 kill streak going in the F6F-5 in events.

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Do not confuse the exception to the rule as refutation of the rule.  Sure, a good pilot can kill a bad pilot while flying inferior aircraft.  I've done it.  A lot.  But this is an exception.  The vast majority of pilots don't really know how to fight.  They're going to make a lot of mistakes.  They'll win because they have better equipment or their opponent makes more mistakes.  Then there's always going to be the newb who tries to turn with a Zero or just can't see anything until it shoots him in the back of the head.   

Unless it is some kind of dynamic campaign you won't get any numbers.  TAW might be able to do it but still, the ranges TAW operates with ain't a damn thing compared to what the Pacific brings.

If they do the Pacific I will likely get it, but I don't think it will be a great success on multiplayer servers.

2 hours ago, Razwald said:

I actually preferred the Hellcat over the Corsair as long as I have a good wingman. That rear visibility is atrocious in the Hellcat. In fact when I left Warbirds I had a 6 kill streak going in the F6F-5 in events.

I love the Hellcat.  Especially if you have a wingman.  The Corsair is fast but the Hellcat is easier to fight with.  It it more maneuverable and has better visibility over the front.  There is a reason that plane was so successful.

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