The European Air War Family
by Edwin Rommel, Fieldmarshall, (retired)
In commemoration of breaching the 25 000 post mark since the inception of the new forum format during September '99, I though it might be a good idea to take a couple of steps back and do some introspection on what makes the EAW'ers tick!
First off, the common ground between some very diverse characters is the love of a "golden oldie" simulator, which like a good wine, has improved with age. Being set in the last "romantic" age of aerial warfare, a natural development under the addicts of this game would be to become immersed (arguably sometimes too much!) in the 40's genre (No pun intended on the mean age of the guy's on the forum!).
This in itself is a tribute to the memory of the people who lived through the hell of the "last great one" and the numerous sacrifices made. By the reliving of the memory we pay part of an un-payable debt of gratitude to the valiant airmen of all nations that were involved.
But let's get back to EAW today. I believe that Microprose would no longer recognise the game they released to an unsuspecting public all those years ago! (Feels like a long time- but it is not!). There has been a major branching out into new theatres of operations as the war in Europe started expanding into North Africa, the Mediterranean, Russia, and now even in the South Pacific, China and Burma.. All of this because the Tommies took that speech by Winston about "we'll fight them on the beaches, we'll fight them in the bars, we'll never surrender" so damn seriously!
New terrain implied new aircraft and camouflage requirements: Again, no problems. The ground crews took one look, kicked around some paint tins, mixed this, matched that, and viola; new paint schemes to match the new theatres of operation. But again the Americans started complaining that the Brit aircraft did not have the legs for Pacific operations, and the Japanese complained that the German aircraft was too heavy and used too much fuel, and that they could not understand a word of what the ground controllers said…
Well, again, no problem. A couple of guys went to an old Pacific Air War graveyard, scratched around amongst the wrecks, hammered out some dents, hammered in some new ones, and painted a bit here and there.
A couple of days later, tanks topped up, coolant levels checked, tires kicked, a bent wing Corsair takes off from Tarrawa, barely avoiding some trees left in the nearby surf by some reckless landscape artists.
Meanwhile, a special night school was held, often running into the early morning hours, and the recalcitrant ground controllers and squadron mates taught Japanese.
As time marches on, and seasons change (automatically), the leaves turn brown on the trees, and soon, in Europe, the first snow is falling. Ground crews work through nights to have planes ready in new camouflage schemes ready for operations the next day. The pilots are arguing tactics and flight models and comparing photo's of girlfriends, expecting the poor guys in the backroom to have everything ready tomorrow when the time comes to take to the skies again.
But all this is not taking place in a vacuum. Family crisis' are struggled through together using the "a burden shared is a burden halved" approach. A car smash by one of the main crew chiefs caused a rush of concern, while a close call by the son of another brought a rush of telegrams.
Marriage counselling is available on the fly- problems with girlfriends, boyfriends, friends- no problem, we even have a resident psychiatrist, some dentists, a few doctors and an attorney or two. We share a laugh or two, we share a burst of anger or two, and we share our lives. Yes we are a damn family!
What makes this EAW family unique: The cracking of the "impossible" code of three-dimensional airframes? The bold expansion where none has dared to expand before? The scope of this expansion, which has rarely been seen in the past? No.
I think what really makes us unique is the community that has grown around EAW. The thinkers, the do-ers, the jokers, the serious guys, the guys into the "babe" thing, the guys out of the "babe" thing: They are all there, everyday, making life more bearable in a world that often succumbs to hate, rather than one that champions tolerance. We have our own Moral/Morale officer, and our own "newbie" welcoming committee. We have it all, and above all we have peace amongst ourselves and acceptance of other points of view. There have been no flame wars here as far as I can remember, and our differences have been sorted out in an amazingly mature way.
Are we a bunch of weirdos? Maybe, but don't you dare mess with us! We are known to have taken to the skies in vintage WW II aircraft and gone up against a super modern "Flanker" threat. We came away the victors (Of course we wrote the story …. But that is another story!).
A big salute to COMBATSIM.COM for having us around: The happy. The few. The certifiable!