Question: What did the campaign mean to you?

Posted by: RSColonel_131st

Question: What did the campaign mean to you? - 09/14/10 09:14 AM

Hi all (and sorry that I had been gone so long)

As we are nearing the end of this event, I as one of the organizers of this thing am curious mainly about one thing:

What did it mean to you? What did you learn from it?


For me, the main eye opener was how long two months can actually be if you have to fly an average of two, three sorties a day. I mean, as history and aviation buff of course I *knew* in a statistical way that the BoB ran from 10th July to mid September, but hell, I was getting a tad tired in late July already actually being "in it". But not "tired of the game", tired in a "how many more Germans do we have to shoot down for this to end" way.

Now I certainly have an increased respect for the real pilots, who faced this with the addition of the constant fear and danger. Lesson #1 thus is for me that being a combat pilot is nice in a simulator, where I can be a spaceship commander or race car driver the next day, but being a combat pilot for an entire war? It's much more of a hard bone-breaking job than I would have thought. If we think about combat aviation, we usually seem to think about that one particularly nerve racking dogfight, the one pinpoint ground attack that makes your red blood boil and wins the war - but in this campaign, we got the whole package, the "hours of endless boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror".

Lesson #2 was to learn how smallish stupid little things can get you killed. If you might remember, my chap in No.151 climbed trough a cloud layer, accidently almost touching a bomber formation he hadn't seen, and had his plane shot up badly. And to finish him off, the parachute didn't open. So I lived almost 30 days, surviving the worst scraps with German Fighters, coming home when most most other squadron pilots either had died or were in the drink... just to get shot up by some lazy bombers then to get killed by a malfunctioning piece of equipment.

All too real, I suppose. BoBII really does an amazing job of driving these points home, and I absolutly enjoyed the experience of flying "with" you guys.


Posted by: carrick58

Re: Question: What did the campaign mean to you? - 09/14/10 09:24 AM

I had a fun time. In the game, I learned that you just cant do a lot of dumb things and survive. For example, My 54 Sqn driver mixing it up with 9 109s when alone. Should have dove for the coast. Thanks to all.
Posted by: Cherkasov54

Re: Question: What did the campaign mean to you? - 09/14/10 03:07 PM

Hey 2 days still to go!

Its been a lot of fun certainly enthused me again about simming which I havent done for a long time.

I think we have pushed the campaign engine hard and there may be lessons to learn from that.

S! to all who took part and who read this.
Posted by: HeinKill

Re: Question: What did the campaign mean to you? - 09/14/10 05:38 PM

Respect for the pilots. Two months seems like such a short time, but when you are counting it day by day, or mission by deadly mission, it is an eternity.
Posted by: Bader

Re: Question: What did the campaign mean to you? - 09/14/10 07:09 PM

Damned shame I am away so cannot fly the last couple of days. But then the fact that P/O Cyril Walter has short leave is entirely plausible. It happened.

Two things struck me.
1) The relenting grind of patrols and uneventful sorties. It takes it out of you and makes you prone to stupid errors. Just as it was.

2) That there really was only a vague concept of what was going on strategically and that local events mattered more. There is also no start and end, only more Germans.

Now as it happens P/O Cyril Walter survived. But across two months of constant action it felt like a long time (with no real end in sight).

The sim also created highly credible relative kill rates and excellent variability (sometimes) as well as predictability (sometimes).
Posted by: Antares

Re: Question: What did the campaign mean to you? - 09/15/10 07:56 PM

Despite sporadic involvement in the campaign, I have considerably deepened my respect for the boys - for they were boys, really - who flew and fought for each other, and for their sides, throughout the war. On most of my missions I nursed my Zerstoerer home with one engine badly shot up which nastily frayed my nerves. Scarcely looking away from the holy trinity of R.P.M., oil temperature, and oil temperature, not knowing if and when the engine might fail... the heart stopping gamble of descending below safe bail out height with the knowledge that the engine could still fail on final approach with no way out... made me realise that I could not have done this for real. As a child, every boy dreams of ruling the sky from the mount of a Spitfire or Me... well for me, that dream was shaken badly.

I was fortunate to be able to earn my IMC rating this summer over a two week intensive course. On most days, I was able to fly at least two sorties a day, ninety per cent of the time on instruments. This was a physically and mentally gruelling exercise; single pilot IFR is one of the hardest disciplines to master in aviation, and gave me my own personal demonstration of how tiring it actually is to intensively do this kind of challenging flying. As I tired I reminded myself of the incredible reserves of energy drawn upon by the combatants in the Battle, particularly the R.A.F., two sorties a day not for just two weeks but day after day after day for three whole months doing the sort of flying harder even than IFR and in aircraft far more unforgiving than the Cessna 152 I was making holes in clouds with...

... and my mind boggled at how they ever managed to do it.

On a lighter note, my faithful shark-mouthed 110 - Goering's famous "Destroyer" - certainly damaged my pride somewhat... its woeful rate of roll, poor maneuverability, horrible roll / yaw coupling, abysmal view over the nose in the cruise and the huge blind spots to the side and down caused by the large engine nacelles combined horribly to expose my deficiencies as a combat pilot in the most deflating and embarrassing manner. I guess I just need to practice more with it; in all fairness, the Destroyer made a fantastic fighter-bomber, and inspired by the silly Nazi propaganda song Bomben auf Engeland I thoroughly enjoyed success raiding the Chain Home Low installation at Beachy Head and would have performed more raids had time permitted.

Bo-o-omben! Bo-o-omben!! Bomben auf Engeland!!

Per Ardua ad Astra


- Argy
Posted by: Itkovian

Re: Question: What did the campaign mean to you? - 09/16/10 08:54 AM

I had an absolute blast flying the campaign, even though it certainly proved to be somewhat of a bother at times.

Flying every day can be very difficult, or even stressful for that matter. I do like the campaign's crescendo, as you go from the uneventful and tedious convoy patrols, to the furious raids of Eagle Day, to the absolutely stunning massive raids over London.

There's nothing quite as amazing as seeing the horizon fill up with AAA bursts, and seeing a raid in the distance take up half the screen, then noticing you've got about 10 other squadrons intercepting alongside yours.

And what I love the most is that _none_ of this is scripted. It all happens "organically" as the squadrons are scrambled, each with no real knowledge of the other squadrons coming in (as in real life), and everything coalesces into a mind boggling experience.

One of my favourite experience was to come upon a formation of Ju88s while about 4 or 5 other squadrons moved in to attack them, with no escorts in sight. Instead of joining the fray, I started orbiting the battle, flying top cover while looking out for escorts and watching the massacre. Sure enough, maybe 5 minutes into the fight the escort showed up and I set my squadron against them. It was the tactically sound thing to do, and it saved a lot of lives. Most importantly, it was completely unscripted, and it actually worked.

That said, I enjoyed a lot reading about the other AARs, and even writing my own (even though they probably need some help getting "britified"). I wish I had time to take screenshots and the likes, but I barely had time to do my AARs as it is.

Finally, it certainly put all those books I have read about the BoB into a different perspective. You cannot help but respects the pilots, on both sides of the Channel, who flew day in and day out that summer. Even more so when you realize that most of them kept flying throughout the war, in even more dangerous situations (like the RAF's combat patrols over France in 1941-42). Too often can we read about a pilot who survives the BoB, only to perish later on in the war.

Regardless, this was an _excellent_ campaign. We did it, and it was even better than I had imagined it so many months ago. Thank you everyone for participating, and thank you RSColonel_131st, Heinkill, Doug, and all of you for making this possible.

Posted by: Bader

Re: Question: What did the campaign mean to you? - 09/19/10 12:09 PM

Yes, great idea to set this forum up, so thanks for that.

Rowan really left us a gem with the campaign. That it plays out credibly in those huge battles is really an amazing feat. No other sim can do that.