Saturday, February 24, 2007

Fighter tactics

I'm still flying Pacific Fighters whenever I have the opportunity. I guess I've averaged around an hour a day over the last couple of weeks. It is a very difficult game to master on anything beyond 'basic' level. I haven't even mastered the simple missions I have set up for training purposes.

At present I have flown a selection of missions over the 'Pacific Islands' map. Each mission involves me flying a lone P40E RAAF Kittyhawk against some marauding jap bombers; 'Bettys', 'Vals' and 'Kates'. I generally set the bombers as a pair to come in and am flying out to meet them at about 1500m at scenario start.

Although I haven't set the game to disallow outside-of-cockpit views, I don't use them as a matter of discipline (with the exception of checking to check the extent of damage to my plane). As a consequence, in about 1/3 of my missions I lose the opposition and can't find them again.

In the remaining two thirds of games I generally damage or shoot down at least one of the bombers, sometimes both of them. Despite the fact that my reading tells me that the rear gunners on the Kates and Vals shouldn't be a problem, I find them as destructive as the rear cannon of the Bettys. I must be staying relatively stationary for too long.

Rarely I've shot down both the opposition and survived myself. Twice, without incurring damage.

Once I've upped the odds further, a slow process, I'll start taking on fighters. Once I can consistently knock them out of the sky, I'll be ready for online combat. I think that's still a while away.

At present I am tying together basic control of my plane with the plans necessary to put my guns onto the enemy for long enough to do him serious damage. Thus, situational awareness (not that good, as reflected by fact that I lose opposition about a third of the time) ties together with knowledge of my plane's capabilities relative to opponents, and the skills necessary to co-ordinate tasks so as to combine these elements of knowldege to put me there more often than he can cope with. This is tactics. In the fluid environment of real time air wargre, where the action happens in intense periods lasting no more than three seconds interspersed with maneuvering against a maneuvering enemy, tactics are bloody hard to master.

Just as well I enjoy it!

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