Boom and Zoom Tactics, Part Four: 2v1 Techniques
Feature by Andy
Be sure to read all of the parts
of this series
[ Boom and Zoom,
Part One ][ Part
Two ][ Part Three ][ Part Four ]
article is linked directly to the previous series on BnZ tactics.
While those articles dealt with the BnZ attack by focusing
on your techniques as a single attacker, this final article
is intended to provide you with some tips and techniques on
how to fly a BnZ HnC attack as a two ship.
What Im going to propose is
a set of simplified procedures that you and your sim partner
can use to attack a bandit. These procedures include good
piloting, effective radio communication techniques, and flight
path coordination. What follows does not cover all the possibilities
of a 2v1 engagement, but it is a way to get started in mutual
support flying in our sims. One thing to make clear...this
article is about procedures to use when flying with a human
wingman...unfortunately our sim AI wingmen are not quite advanced
enough to try these ideas with...not now, at least, but maybe
In the A2A world, air combat maneuvers
are grouped into three categories...basic fighter maneuvers
(BFM), air combat maneuvers (ACM), and air combat tactics
(ACT). When two aircraft maneuver together in a 2v1 engagement,
these maneuvers are known as ACM (air combat maneuvers) and
ACT (air combat tactics)
not BFM. It is not a minor technical
distinction. BFM is a term reserved for 1v1 maneuvering, either
offensive or defensive. ACM are 2v1 initial move
offensive or defensive maneuvers, usually practiced in a training
A2A mission profile, that do not end with a kill.' ACT,
on the other hand, is what is more commonly thought of as
a full blown engagement between two or more fighters and any
number of adversaries (two or more versus one or more) where
the maneuvering ends with a kill or successful separation.
In our 2v1 HnC maneuver, we will not
practice ACM. Instead, we will individually fly good BFM and
collectively fly good ACT
hope this clarifies things
a little! One other thing...before you and your sim buddy
fire up your sims, lets recognize what we are dealing
with. The 2v1 is not something often addressed in our typical
sim flying. There is a little more here than meets the eye.
The 2v1 is obviously a situation where
two friendlies are attacking a single bandit. In our case,
we are limiting ourselves to a HnC scenario. The 2v1 covers
many other options besides the HnC, but, for now, Ill
limit myself to that situation. As a result, this article
will be limited to a discussion of us and a buddy flying in
concert with a specific goal in mind. Seems simple enough,
but there are a couple of things that you need to know about
to make this work.
Number one...you will engage with
a specific tactic in mind...the HnC. Number two...this
will require you to follow the procedures of a specific
type of tactical employment...for example, Double Attack
or Loose Deuce, two attack types often mentioned in our forums.
Number three...you need to be in a specific formation such as combat spread. And number four, all of this will involve
a fair share of coordination and communication between you and your buddy. Not much has been said about this
in our sim literature...this article hopes to plug that gap.
Weve already covered the HnC in a previous article,
so this article will introduce procedures and techniques to
cover the other three areas.
Lastly, we should keep in mind that
it is a very real possibility that we may have limitations
to our sim flying that may present problems with our ability
to replicate a 2v1 attack. The two main limitations are the
ability to communicate in an effective and timely manner and
the ability to use the sim viewing system to keep track of
everyones position. These two factors will be mentioned
throughout this article.
Basic Concepts - The 2v1 Offense
begin by outlining the basic 2v1 game plan. This game
plan has four important elements...a specific formation, a specific formation tactic, Basic Fighter Maneuvers (BFM), and Air Combat Tactics (ACT).
Here is how these four elements relate
to each other. The two ship is arranged in a specific formation
to be use in a specific manner (tactic). The formation members,
the leader and the wingman, will individually max perform
their aircraft (BFM) to achieve a mutual goal through coordination
and communication (ACT). The point to keep in mind is that
BFM is only a single maneuver, while ACT is a series of maneuvers
flown in concert with other flight members to reach a specific
goal. Lets now look at each element in some detail.
Basic Concepts - Formation
Ill start by discussing
how we put together a formation. The following discussion
only involves a two ship...if the formation is to include
more than two aircraft, additional info may probably apply
that will not be mentioned here. We have a number of choices,
everything from a close formation such as fingertip to a widely
spaced formation like spread. Most sim manuals include some
info on formation types. Do you know which one to fly in this
situation? Do you know why? The rationale for this decision
is based on real world considerations. Do you know what they
are? Here are some ideas to think about.
When the flight leader decides on
a formation type for his mission, he has a number of things
to consider...two of the more important are formation maneuverability and formation lookout coverage.
Here we are talking about two
things...the procedures the leader uses to maneuver the formation
and the adaptability of the formation to the conditions
that the flight is operating in.
To begin with, we tend to name formations
with reference to where the wingman is in relation to the
leader. Well consider two possibilities...one, the wingman
is line abreast (side by side) and, two, the wingman is placed
behind the leaders wingline at some angle. For the first,
Ill use the term "spread", and for the second,
Ill use the term "wedge."
OK so far. Now, do we have a viewing
system that will allow us to position ourselves in these formation
types? Yes. Lets start with spread. The side snap view
is good for spread formation for both the leader and wingman.
Position the other flight member in the middle of the monitor
screen...dont worry about where your wing is...in a
WW2 sim, you could put the other aircraft near your wingtip.
But in a jet sim, your wing may or may not be in view...in
that case, the middle of the screen will do fine.
What if you want to fly wedge instead?
Again, no problem. The forward side view works well for positioning
yourself off the other aircraft. If the view includes a canopy
bow, try putting the wingman just aft of the bow. If the canopy
bow is absent, just maneuver to place the other aircraft again
in the center of the view. In wedge, the lead can monitor
the wingman using the rear side view.
Padlock may be used for both the leader
and wingman spread and wedge positioning as long as your sim
allows you to padlock friendlies.
How do you determine distance? If
you do not have range labels available, just estimate it.
Here are a couple of screenshots to give you the idea.
You can stack high or low off the
lead if you want, but Im not convinced that this has
the same effect on complicating the bandits ability
to see you both at the same time in the sim as it does in
real life. It will make using the snap views more difficult
for not much advantage gained.
Finally, fly your formation with the
wingman on the side opposite where you think the bandits will
be. This will let him look through the leader into the direction
of the threat. This works particularly well if you beam the
fight...in other words, stay on the edge of the engagement
area with the fight off to one side or the other while you
look for the easy kill.
Formation maneuvering is not a simple
matter of "follow the leader." Instead, specific
procedures and techniques have been developed that spell
out both verbal and non-verbal communication procedures as
well as recommended pitch, bank, and power settings to use
during the maneuvering. Specific maneuvering geometry is taught
to cover a variety of turning options. The end result is a
far cry from what appears to be the leader going where he
wants and the wingman tagging along. The next discussion touches
briefly on a procedure known as the "tactical turn."
The "tactical turn"
technique has the wingman changing from one side of the leader
to the other as the leader turns. Rather than just following
the leader, the wingman uses cutoff and "S" turns
to maintain the desired position when using this technique.
In our sims, you can do the same using the snap views to monitor
If the leader turns into you, fly
straight-ahead while watching the leader. Plan to cross his
flight path slightly above his altitude. This helps in providing
you with some terrain clearance when you begin your turn.
Just as you cross his flight path, make an aggressive turn
into his direction. Switch your snap view to keep him in sight
as you roll out to parallel his flight path.
If the leader turns away from you,
make an immediate turn to cross his flight path to end up
on his other side.
These specific procedures have a direct
impact on the formations adaptability to the
operating environment. What does that mean? It simply means
that some formations are easier to fly in certain conditions
than others. Level flight cruising at altitude is one thing,
but high speed, low-level ingress in hilly terrain is something
Is there a rule of thumb? Yes. Spread
formations are good for cruising conditions where constant
turning is not expected. Wedge formation is well suited for
low level work where frequent turns are more common. By permitting
the wingman to look forward, wedge allows the wingman the
freedom to maneuver while giving him the chance to monitor
his altitude. In either case, the wingman uses tactical turn
techniques to remain in position.
Lets now talk for a bit about formation lookout coverage. Lookout doctrine involves
both the leader and the wingman. Specific formation types
have specific lookout responsibilities for each position.
The next figure outlines the basic responsibilities of the
Up until the introduction of the all-aspect
missile, the primary threat to the formation came from the
rear. As a result, most formations were designed to provide
a six o'clock lookout capability. That sounds pretty obvious,
doesnt it? If so, why would I use the word most
in the previous sentence? For the simple reason that some
formations were designed to provide maximum offensive potential,
often to the detriment of defensive lookout...the best example
perhaps is the WW2 RAF vic of three fighters.
In the RAF vic, the intent was to bring the wingmen
into very close formation so that when the leader aimed his
own airplane at a target, he was, in effect, aiming three.
Thats different!! Why would he do that? The idea was
to mass the concentrated fire of three fighters armed with
eight machine guns apiece. The thought was that no enemy bomber
would survive that amount of firepower. Unfortunately, it
took so much effort on the wingmans part to fly the
close formation that he had little to no opportunity to check
six. The good news for the leader was that the bomber target
was in front of the formation...the bad news for the wingman
was that the escorting Me-109s were behind.
Hard-learned lessons like this resulted
in changes to formation doctrine that emphasized the improved
lookout advantages of a line abreast formation. Lets
pause for a moment to see why this was the case.
There are two things that affect the
wingmans ability to provide effective lookout. The most
obvious is that he must have the chance to take his eyes off
the leader so that he can look around. This is tough to do
in a close formation, so the first thing the tacticians did
was spread the formation out to give the wingman a little
freedom to check six.
The second was the realization that
formation geometry played an important role in lookout effectiveness.
Line abreast turned out to be much better than an angled back
formation when it came to formation lookout, at least as far
as the wingmen were concerned. Why? Because too many wingmen
were getting shot down!! Wingmen were doing a great job at
clearing the leaders six, but they were not doing such
a great job at clearing their own. If I were a wingman, I
would have asked why the leader was not clearing me. The answer
was not that the leader was paying too much attention to what
was going on out front. Instead, the truth was that the leader
could not easily see the wingmans rear area. Heres
The solution was to move the wingman
up to line abreast. In that position, the leader could see
the wingmans six as easily as the wingman could see
the leaders. Hand in hand with this position change
was the formalization of specific lookout procedures...specifically,
the areas of responsibility that each flight member was responsible
for. Here is the general idea.
Finally, we come to the issue of how
lookout coverage varies with the expected enemy threat. In
the case of a guns only environment, the lookout coverage
was based on the maximum range of machine gun or cannon fire.
But, when missiles such as the Sidewinder were introduced,
that type of coverage was totally inadequate. It was one thing
to defend against a gun attack that had a max range of about
3000, but in a missile attack, max launch range had
increased out to as much as 3nm (first generation IR missiles).
Well, thats easy enough to understand.
But what does this have to do with a formation? The answer
is the heart of the lookout coverage issue. Here it is. In
a spread formation, the distance between the two aircraft
determines the six oclock lookback distance.
How so? Simple math and the assumption
that the typical pilot has a max lookback angle of about 60
degrees behind his wingline. Certainly, if the pilot were
to really crank his head around, he might be able to increase
that lookback angle, but in practice, the 60-degree limit
is realistic. Here is how math figures into this situation.
We assume the two aircraft are exactly line abreast. By knowing
that distance, we can visualize a triangle with three points...the
wingman, the leader, and the point behind the leader where
the wingmans 60-degree lookback angle crosses the leaders
extended six oclock. This is what it looks like.
A rough rule of thumb is that your
six oclock lookback distance is about one and one half
times your distance apart in spread formation. In the real
world, we like to have at least 6000 lookback at low
altitude...at medium altitudes (above 10,000), the desired
lookback is at least a mile and a half or more. One negative
factor in this concept is the size of your fighter. You dont
want to spread out your formation so far that your wingman
is too hard to see! For that reason, spread is easier in F-15s
than in Harriers!!
OK...so much for formation arrangements.
You now know why spread formation is best for mutual support,
and you understand how spread distance affects lookout coverage.
Great! Lets now take our spread formation and move on
to the type of tactical employment we are going to use.
In the introduction, I mentioned two forms of tactical employment
that are often mentioned in forum posts. These two forms of
employment are Double Attack and Loose Deuce.
These two concepts have been around for years now, having
been formalized in the post-Korean War era. Im not too
sure that everyone understands these concepts, so lets
take a look at them. Maybe a little more academic background
is in order!
Well start with the term "wingman."
In the normal sense, a wingman is subordinate to the leader.
Usually the leader is the more experienced of the two, and
their military organization has given him the command authority
for the flight. Whatever he says, goes. But in Double Attack
and Loose Deuce tactical doctrine, that practice is set aside
for the duration of the combat portion of the flight. As a
rule, the flight member that has the best opportunity to attack
is the one to initiate the attack, regardless of whether he
is the designated wingman or leader.
When one of the flight members begins
the attack, the other becomes, in effect, the "wingman."
At this point, lets stop using the word "wingman",
and start referring to the flight members as the "engaged
fighter" and the "supporting" fighter. The
terms Engaged Fighter and Supporting Fighter are defined in
the Engaged Fighter/Supporting Fighter Contract, a
set of responsibilities for each role during an engagement.
The responsibilities of engaged
(EF) and supporting fighter (SF) are the meat of this subject...and
the area that will become your bread and butter as you fly
the 2v1 in your sim.
The EF has one primary responsibility...kill
the bandit...but with that come some obligations. Energy management
is a major one. The EF should never maneuver such that he
loses his energy advantage over the bandit...excessive turning
to sweeten his shot leaves him vulnerable in the event he
has to pull out of the fight. On the other hand, he should
not be so aggressive in his attack that he blows through on
a low Pk shot while leaving the SF out of position to enter
the fight. What does the EF do? He manages his energy by using
the vertical to gain turning room and control closure...this
is a nice way of saying that he uses maneuvers like yo-yos
to keep his total energy level (kinetic and potential) high
while he maneuvers for a firing position.
Does this present a challenge when
we try to fly the 2v1? Not that I can see...just fly good
energy conservative BFM, and things should work out just fine.
As we will see in the next section, our sims offer views and
a communication capability that are sufficient to allow the
EF to meet his objective.
What about the SF? What are his responsibilities
and how does that fit in with 2v1 flying in our sims? For
our purposes, the SF needs to do two things. One, he needs
to watch out for other bandits becoming a threat. Second,
he needs to be in position to support the attack with one
of his own. His exact positioning will depend on whether he
is flying Double Attack or Loose Deuce.
Fine, but does the SF have the tools
to accomplish these two objectives? No problem with the first
one...our views are excellent when it comes to scanning around
for new bandits. But the second objective...now that is where
the work comes in. The SF must find a way to maintain an offensive
position on the bandit, remain aware of the EFs position,
and communicate his intentions. Later in this article, Ill
suggest ways of doing this.
OK! So much for the background info...lets
now move on to some Double Attack and Loose Deuce specifics.
For the purposes of this article, Ill refer to these
tactics in a 2v1 offensive context. This focus is intentionally
narrow, and I fully realize that these two concepts have a
far greater application.
These two tactics have their similarities
and differences. One similarity is the formation itself...spread.
In both, the distance apart varies anywhere from 1000
to >6000 and is determined by the anticipated threat.
Another similarity is that they both use the EF/SF Contract...but
they follow a different philosophy with regard to the wingmans
freedom to engage the bandit.
difference between Double Attack and Loose Deuce is when the free fighter can engage the bandit. In Double Attack,
the free fighter can only engage the bandit with the express
permission of the engaged fighter...while in Loose Deuce,
the free fighter is expected to maneuver to attack the bandit
as soon as he can achieve an entry into the fight. This is
a significant difference.
This allows us to think of Double
Attack as a "shooter-cover" concept and Loose
Deuce as "shooter-shooter." Either one is
workable in our sim flying...just decide which one you want
Is this decision that big of a deal?
You bet it is! This difference in the role of the SF has a
direct impact on how the EF flies his attack. In Double
Attack, the EF is free to attack as aggressively as he
chooses...the only restriction is that he should not lose
the offensive. While the EF is doing this, the SF flies a
cover position and maneuvers to be in a position to attack
if called upon.
Loose Deuce is different. The
EF in Loose Deuce is really a "herder"...his job
is to make the bandit predictable so that the SF can plan
and execute an entry into the fight. To be a "herder",
the Loose Deuce EF will avoid going for the throat
and possibly risking a bandit role reversal. Instead, the
EF will maneuver behind the bandits wingline to force
it to turn defensively. The EF will take a shot if he has
the chance, but he will never risk an overshoot or role reversal
in doing so. This reminds me of a line from the old Patton
movie. In Loose Deuce, the EF is going to lead the bandit
around by the nose while the SF kicks him in the tail!!
Which one will it be? Is one easier
to fly in our sims than the other? I dont think so...our
viewing system should offer the SF about the same chance to
plan and execute an attack in either tactic. It is the role
of the SF that determines the answer to those questions. I
think it is a toss up. In online sims such as Aces High where
a supporting bandit can show up unexpectedly, Double Attack
may be more advisable due to the greater lookout emphasis
in the SF role. If your sim mission is more predictable...as
in the case of a canned mission that was developed
using a mission builder within the sim...then Loose Deuce
may offer a greater potential for turn and burn fun flying.
Basic Concepts - BFM
The last two elements of our
basic game plan, BFM and ACT, deal with how
we actually fly our aircraft. The BFM element describes how
we as individuals maximize our performance within the
HnC maneuver. The ACT element describes how we, as a team,
communicate and coordinate our flight paths to attack the
Lets take the BFM first.
The focus in this article is on the vertical HnC fight. One
fighter is attacking as the other is providing mutual support.
Two things are going to make or break this coordinated attack
conservation and positioning.
How does energy conservation fit into the picture? As the EF or the SF, there are several
ideas to keep in mind. To begin with, dont get slow!
Avoid getting slow by using max power and watching your G
too much pulling on the pole can bleed your energy
down. Next, take full advantage of your ability to trade altitude
for airspeed and vice versa. As the SF, use yo-yos and cut-off
to keep your energy level as high as possible.
we want to be in the proper
here the focus is again on the SF. Be aggressive
with lead pursuit. Stay in close to the fight. Its far
better to be too close, than too far. If too close in, you
may be able to delay your roll in by turning to a lag heading
for a moment or two
but if you let yourself get too far
away from the fight, then there is nothing that you can do
but roll out and drive at the fight.
What does this look like from the
SF cockpit? Lets start from a wings level attitude.
Now, imagine lookdown angles extending down from you at 45
and 60 degrees. These angles form a lookdown "window"
that looks like this.
My suggestion is that you keep the
bandit generally located within this "window." A
lookdown angle of more than 60 degrees is probably too close
outside of 45 degrees is likely too far. Now thats not
a very big area. As a rule, I would suggest you keep the bandit
closer to the 60-degree area than the 45
again the idea
of aggressively crowding the fight. How do you recognize 45
degrees? Its halfway to the horizon when you are wings
level. Dont let the bandit get further away than that!
And where is 60 degrees? Take the 45-degree point and cut
it in half. In many sims, the edge of the canopy rail is a
The canopy rail is not an exact reference,
but it is a visual point that you can easily see from the
Another way of seeing this window
is to keep the bandit closer to your canopy than the wingtip
(in those sims where there is a wingtip!). If you do anything
using this technique, you tend to crowd the fight a bit. And
as I am trying to say repeatedly
crowding is not all
keep the bandit somewhere between half way to
the horizon and half way between that point and directly under
you. Here are some screenshots to help you visualize the point.
Basic Concepts ACT
OK. So much for the BFM
now, what about the ACT aspects of the 2v1? What is this
all about? Well, its about the "2" in the
2v1. Its about the coordination required to make
this concept successful
its about the communication needed to make this happen.
term deals with flight path control, and the other
is concerned with effective timing. Heres how
The first order of business is flight
then well discuss some techniques
on how to communicate effectively to coordinate that flight
When we talk about flight path
coordination, we begin by noting that this coordination
varies depending on whether we use a Double Attack or Loose
Deuce tactic. In Double Attack, the SF maneuvers to be in
a position to initiate an attack when called upon to do so...whereas
in Loose Deuce, the SF maneuvers to initiate an attack at
the first opportunity. The obvious difference in these two
results in different flight path options for the SF.
The Double Attack SF coordinates with
the EF by maneuvering with two objectives in mind. He wants
to maintain an energy advantage...this is usually in the form
of an altitude, rather than airspeed, advantage. Secondly,
the Double Attack SF wants to be in a position from which
he can make a timely attack should the EF so order. By "timely",
I suggest that the SF should be in a position to immediately
bring offensive pressure upon the bandit. Here is one way
to visualize this using the EF flight path as a reference.
Ill refer to the SF position as the "perch."
In the figure, the SF maneuvers to
fly in a rough sector behind the EF wingline. This sector
is as much as line abreast when opposite the bandit turn direction
and tends to be limited to a wedge-like angle back when on
the inside of the turn. The reason why you have this sector
of airspace to maneuver in is to allow you to maintain an
offensive position on the bandit. Use the 45-60 degree look
down technique from the previous paragraph to help judge your
position relative to the bandit. To maintain this position
without changing airspeed, fly a series of S turns
above and behind the EF flight path. Not only will this help
you maintain the perch, but it will also allow you to use
a pan view to look around for other bandits.
Let me say that again! Your objective
is to maintain an ability to attack the bandit quickly if
called upon. Do that by maneuvering using two references...fly
in the perch sector to provide cover for the EF...and maneuver
in the perch to maintain the desired 45-60 degree lookdown
position on the bandit. Often, this results in the SF maneuvering
out of sync with the EF. Heres what I mean.
If the EF is yo-yoing off to the outside of the bandit turn,
the SF will slide to the inside of the EF to maintain the
perch lookdown position. Then, as the EF rolls back into the
bandit, the SF will slide across the EFs flight path
to the outside of the turn.
The perch will effectively place the
SF in an advantageous attack position if called upon. By being
in a good perch position, the SF has met his flight path coordination
The Loose Deuce SF has got a tougher
job when it comes to flight path coordination. He is looking
for an entry to the fight, but, unlike the Double Attack SF
that maneuvers relative to the EF, the Loose Deuce
SF maneuvers relative to the bandit. The Loose Deuce
SF cannot simply follow the EF as he attacks the bandit. Instead,
the Loose Deuce SF must maneuver looking for the separation
needed to make his own individual attack on the bandit. One
of the more effective ways of accomplishing this is to use
As already noted, the Loose Deuce
SF should maneuver as quickly as possible to attack the bandit.
But...at the same time, he must honor the fact that the EF
is doing the same thing. The result is a time lag between
the EF and SF attacks. During this time lag, the
bandit will be maneuvering in response to the EF. The SF must
anticipate the bandits actions by maneuvering to the
bandits weak point...and that point is the bandits
In a counter-flow entry, the SF maneuvers
opposite the bandit turn direction to attack from outside
the bandits turn, in other words, on the belly side.
Heres one way to do this in our sims.
The SF takes his cue from the bandits
response to the EF. When the EF rolls in on the bandit, the
SF maintains an altitude advantage. The SF uses the same 30-45
degree lookdown cues that were mentioned before as a rough
estimate of lateral spacing. He is looking for the direction
of the bandit turn.
As soon as the SF sees the bandit
go into a defensive turn, he turns hard into the bandit while
maintaining altitude. The SF continues the turn to pull the
bandit across his nose and over to his 10:30/1:30 oclock
position (about 45 degrees one side or the other of his nose).
Now, the SF rolls back into the bandit
while maintaining altitude. He is looking for the bandits
nose to point in his direction as the bandit continues his
defensive turn. This "nose on" position is the cue
for the SF to roll in on the bandit.
In this "roll in" position,
the Loose Deuce SF has met his flight path responsibilities.
He is not conflicting with the EF. He has maneuvered in a
timely manner, and he is in a favorable position to begin
his own attack.
The second of our two basic ACT concepts
is communication. The heart of the 2v1 coordination
concept is the communication needed to allow the two attacking
pilots to interact effectively. In the real world, fighter
pilots practice extensive communication procedures used in
A2A engagements. This discussion will not attempt that level
of proficiency. Instead, Ill suggest a couple of simple
techniques that should allow you and your wingman to interact
effectively within the limits of the typical flight sim.
You will find that the greatest challenge
in communication in a 2v1 in a sim lies in the problem of
keeping track of the bandit and your wingman. Those sims that
offer a padlock for both target and wingman will be the easiest
to practice this profile with. For sims such as Aces High
that only have snap or pan views, this challenge will be more
difficult. Regardless of view type, coordinated attack communication
includes an initial specific radio call from the attacking
fighter followed by an acknowledging call from the second
These calls are of two types...directive
and descriptive. The EF is responsible for declaring his intentions
(descriptive) as well as issuing commands to the SF (directive).
As the SF, regardless of type of attack, you want to keep
the EF informed of your position and/or intention (descriptive),
and, when necessary, order the EF to pull off the attack (directive).
In both the Double Attack and Loose Deuce attack, once the
EF has made his initial call, most of the remaining communication
falls on the shoulders of the SF.
For the Double Attack SF, he doesnt
really get into the action until called upon by the EF. His
response then is a simple acknowledgement of the EF order
to attack. Additional commentary may include the direction
that the SF is in from and the direction the EF should pull
Things are a bit more complicated
for the Loose Deuce SF. His commentary is driven, not by the
directives of the EF, but by his own actions. The SF is going
to say three things to the EF...his initial intentions, his
in call, and, if necessary, a call to order the
EF to pull out of his attack.
Lets wrap this article up with
a couple of typical communication exchanges...one for the
Double Attack and the other for the Loose Deuce.
Communication - The Double Attack
We begin with the flight detecting
the target. The person sighting the target radios his tally
using this format" Bandit type, position (left
or right), clock position, elevation (high, level, low), range.'
Ill assume the person sighting the bandit is also going
to be the EF.
A typical call might be "Bandit,
109, left, 10 oclock, slightly low, 2 miles, engaged."
The wingman replies with either "Tally"
or "No Joy." If the call was No Joy, the first fighter
should provide additional descriptive info to talk his wingmans
eyes on to the bandit. Once the other pilot calls the tally,
he should include the term free to tell the EF
that he is accepting the SF role. Once he does this, the EF/SF
Contract is established. The pilot also includes the term
"visual" to indicate that he still has sight of
"Tally, visual, free."
The SF should then maneuver to the
side of the EF opposite of the bandits flight path by
taking the bandits flight path into account. In the
example above, if the flight was meeting the bandit head on,
then the SF should maneuver to the right side of the EF. This
allows the SF to look at the bandit through the EF.
The EF should radio his intentions
to allow the SF to start planning his own subsequent maneuvering
be in in ten
meaning that he will begin his attack
in 10 seconds.
Once the EF has declared his intent
to attack, the SF should maneuver to place the bandit in the
30 45 degree area described earlier. In this position,
the SF is essentially on the perch.'
The next radio call is the "in"
call from the EF. As discussed earlier, the EF will make every
attempt to kill the bandit as quickly as possible. If the
EF is successful, the attack is over at that point. But what
if the EF is unable to kill the bandit for some reason? The
answer is to call in the SF. This will require both directive
and descriptive calls from both flight members to keep themselves
separated and ensure that the EF/SF roles are changed safely.
The EF should, if possible, make a call that he is about to
discontinue his attack. That call will alert the SF to be
ready to accept a command to enter the fight.
"Ill be off in 10."
Hearing this, the SF should clear
the area one last time for other threats and then turn towards
the bandit. He also keeps a visual on the EF...he needs to
be ready to attack or separate, depending on the decision
of the EF. Well assume the EF will want to keep the
flight engaged, so the EF adds a directive call and ends with
a descriptive call that tells the SF what the EF is doing.
"Engage the bandit, Im
coming off right."
The SF then responds by acknowledging
the directive call and adds his own descriptive info to update
the other pilot on his position.
"Roger, Im engaged...Im
in at your 7 oclock high."
The old EF now looks back to pick
up the visual on the other pilot. Seeing him, he radios that
he sees him and still has a tally.
With those words, the EF/SF roles
are changed. The new EF dives in to attack the bandit while
the new SF maneuvers back up to his own perch to await the
outcome of the new EFs attack. Should the need arise
to exchange roles again, the process would be repeated just
Communication - The Loose Deuce
Lets assume the engagement
begins as before. But once the initial calls are completed,
the SF does not remain on the perch.' Instead he will
aggressively maneuver to an entry on the bandit.
As the EF attacks, the bandit breaks
to the right...into the SF. The SF decides that maneuvering
to the right will take too much time, so he elects to go left
and set up a counterflow. The SF flys straight-ahead for a
few seconds to get some turning room and then turns hard left
to kick the fight across his tail. After turning about 90
degrees, he is able to pick up the EF and the bandit and then
plans a slicing left roll in on the bandit.
As the SF continues his left turn,
he varies his turn to set up a belly entry on the bandit.
As he nears his roll in point, he makes a descriptive call
to alert the EF that a second attack is imminent and includes
info such as direction and time remaining.
"Ill be in from the west
The EF should roger that back and
continue to herd the bandit by making the bandit
predictable for the SF.
The SF now turns hard to the belly
of the bandit and closes for a kill. He radios that he is
attacking and adds a direction to allow the EF to pick up
"Im in at your 12."
The EF then answers back, "Tally,
visual." It is at this point that the Loose Deuce situation
gets a bit fluid. Since the objective is to kill the bandit,
in combat the SF would get the kill and the engagement would
be over without the need to exchange roles. The EF retains
that role despite the fact that the SF is actually getting
That is not to say, however, that
the Loose Deuce cannot evolve as did the previous Double Attack
example. How could this happen? One way would be for the EF
to force a role reversal by pulling out of the fight. For
"Tally, visual, Im off
to the south, free."
The attacking SF hears this and confirms
the role change.
"Roger, tally, visual, engaged."
Now the new EF assumes the role of
"herder" and the new SF maneuvers for his new entry.
Once he is in position, the process begins anew.
This brings us to a close in our look
at the BnZ and 2v1 tactics. While the situation above is a
little simplistic, it does give you an idea of what you can
do given the capabilities of our viewing systems and communication
programs. If you are getting tired of the same old thing,
you might give this a shot.
I had the help of several people in
putting this last article together. Many thanks to Chuck "Vadr"
Grimes, Kommandeur, III/JG2 for his suggestions on comm procedures.
Also to John "Spoons" Sponauer and Dan "Cras"
Crenshaw for their enthusiasm in boom and zooming me in a
2v1 in the AH training arena.
to go to top of this page.