BALLOON BUSTING ( Hopefully staying alive in the process )

Any Discussion about the proper method for destroying a balloon, should include how it was actually done. Let's get one thing straight, a balloon is a PRIME Target. You know it, I know it, and the enemy defenders know it, so to say it will rather heavily defended, is an understatement.

What is a balloon, but a bag of gas, which when mixed with air is extremely flammable. Your attack plans must differ throughout the war. Early on the incindary ammunition was highly unreliable. It was known to Light-Off from engine heat alone.

The Great Willie Coppens, Balloon Ace Extrodinaire, would purposely kill his engine at high altitude directly over the balloon, as noise abatement, as he did a full dive on the balloon. when within gun range he would restart his own engine, the gunners couldn't hit him because the Balloon was in the way. Soo he'd destroy the Gas Bag, only to fly away at full speed, he did this 16 times. It Worked, but the method was never copied


The more accepted method, is to ventilate the Gas Bag real good with your machine gun, so that the area near the Gas Bag is saturated with a mixture of Air & Gas, which only needs to be exposed to flame to destroy the balloon.

Enter the PRIUS Rocket, little more than an overgrown firework. Your aircraft carries 8 rockets, fired electrically, all at the same time, and they're none to accurate.
Sooo get close, fire your rockets, and hopefully set off the escaping balloon gas, destroying the balloon.

As soon as the incindary ammunition became more reliable, the Prius Rocket Disappeared.

The Rockets in OFF, belong on a P47 in terms of Range, Accuracy, and Destructive Power. However it's Hardcode CFS3, you want rockets, use these, or none at all. Said CFS3
PS . . Those rockets are great for Bridges and Locomotives

Just How close you wanna get before openning fire, is up to you, but there's no hiding why you're in the area

The diving attack has some merit as the defending Machine Guns can't hit you until 2000, but the AA fire has no limitation, plus you can't bob and weave on the way down. Once you Open Fire you're commited, and they know it !!

Balloon Busting is no Easy Job

Unless you're talking about the one every airfield features, you can destroy those just testing your guns

You could of course make a show out of the ballon mission, order your wingmen to attack, while you just watch.

However you can't claim the balloon, if they shot it down

If you're the guy who destroyed the balloon, go straight home, no dogfights along the way. You may survive, but your wingman has to, he's your witness, He dies, kiss that balloon goodbye

THE OLHAM METHOD OF BALLOON ATTACK

For balloon attack, I approach the balloon at 2.000 - 3.000 feet, zizagging first,
and find out, how he is lined out, cause I always attack them along their full length axis,
and if possible, from the sun side.
From the right position, I dive on it in a 30 - 40 dive, stabilise my aim, and fire bursts
at it, when it appears big enough.
I mostly destroy it in the first approach. If that fails, I go back to 2.000 zigzagging, and
then dive down on it much steeper (45 - 50 ), blow it up, and then pull out and away
zig zagging, not climbing too hard, as that would reduce my escape speed.
(I stop firing at the balloon at about 400 feet distance, latest, and pull out.)

NOTE: German aircraft can not carry rockets, of any kind, ever.

When out of reach of the balloon's Flak, I climb higher for crossing the line.

NEW PILOT'S METHOD AND IT WORKED

Long story: I went around the front and circled around from the east. The balloon was high in the sky by the time I found it. Wingmen went down to the deck and started suppressing the German defenses, I bored straight in on that sausage. Took a hit from something (no idea what) that knocked the Nieuport around like a kite. I had a look and my left bottom wing tip looked as though Superman had grabbed it and bent it upwards. It wasn't sheared off, it was just bent upwards. Very bad for the controls, I was sideslipping all over the sky and flak/mg fire all around. HOWEVER I was still able to flame the balloon and because I was already aiming west I was able to kind of make my plane coast towards friendly lines. The landing didn't go so well, I landed among the British troops in no man's land. "Landed" is overstating it since the plane crashed and sent me to the infirmary for 2 weeks.

ps. Seeing as how it's 'Bloody April', missing 2 weeks of it may not be a bad thing.

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