Flying the Ju-87 Stuka in Rowan's Battle of Britain
by Len "Viking1" Hjalmarson
Game: Battle of Britain
Version: UK Release
Category: Air Combat Simulation (WWII)
Developer: Rowan Software
Publisher: Empire Interactive
Release Date: Released
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Article Date: March 20th, 2001
Article Type: Training
Rowan's Battle of Britain allows you to fly the Ju-87 Stuka, or crew as gunner in the Ju-88, He-111 or Do-17. This article is a tour of the flying experience in the Ju-87.
Unlike the Do-17, Ju-88 or He-111 you cannot man the rear gunner position in the Ju-87. There have been rumors that a later patch might add this ability, but for now we are able to fly and use the dive bombing ability of this aircraft. Wouldnít a multiplayer bomber/pilot be a great combination for this one?
SOURCE: Jon Lake, The Battle of Britain
The Ju-87 was proven in the Spanish Civil War where it flew with Geschwader 162 starting in 1937. In the ground support role it was devastating. The scream of the siren often caused horses to panic and bolt, adding to the confusion and fear on the ground.
By 1939 the Ju-87A had been replaced by the B model, with an engine putting out twice the horsepower. An autopilot was fitted which pulled the aircraft out of a steep dive if the pilot blacked out.
Armament was two wing mounted 7.92 mm MG-17 machine guns, with the rear gunner using the 7.92 mm MG-15. The centerline bomb was usually the 500kg type, with four 50kg bombs on wing racks.
Over England the Ju-87B proved problematic. The Luftwaffe had quickly achieved air superiority over Spain, but the same was not the case over England. Against well trained British pilots, and often lacking proper fighter cover, Ju-87 squadrons often suffered severe losses. When you fly the Stuka, you will have plenty to think about!
There are two modes of entry into the bomber battle. One can fly and fight in the campaign mode, which allows an ongoing sense of the larger war. If the player is killed while manning the guns in one bomber, he finds himself back in the Operations Room and may then jump into another bomber in the same mission.
The other mode, used for the purpose of this article, is the Quick Shot mission mode. I chose the "Eagle Day" mission from the Historic mission selection, then clicked on Luftwaffe and selected the Ju-87 Gruppe.
Many players have noted the complexity of configuration in Battle of Britain. Rowan prefers to give players the game the way they want it. I donít believe there are any simulations which are as highly configurable as those designed by the UK firm.
Inevitably, this means that it takes some tinkering to get the simulation working the way you want it. Unless you spend some time with experimenting with the settings, you will find yourself frustrated at the way things work.
When flying as gunner I recommend choosing a LOW or MINIMUM setting on force feedback. Since this time we are piloting the bird, I recommend LOW setting on GUN FIRE and MEDIUM settings for buffet and airframe. Experiment with your stick for the best dead zone setting. With my Logitech Wingman Strike Force 3D a SMALL dead zone works well, with a MEDIUM resistance mode.
August 12th, 1940. Eagle Day
When you enter the Adler Tag mission and choose your bomber flight you will then find yourself in the air with about thirty other bombers. Use CTL Ė (KP) if you prefer a wider field of view. The incoming fighters will not be any smaller if you widen the FOV.
You will find yourself around 8,000 feet over land in a partly cloudy sky. You are only about two minutes away from bombs-away at this point.
Your squadron is not escorted. One of the variables in this mission is how quickly the RAF will engage you, and how the flight leader will react. If you are determined to tough it out, then it is best to jump into action as Cucumber leader. This will place you at the left rear of the Gruppe, and if you want to try and avoid engaging the Hurricanes pull a snap roll to the left and drop about 2000 feet. Donít worry, your Rotte will stay with you.
As Rotte leader you will have control over your two wingmen. Now you can choose your target, either proceeding to the assigned target area, or taking note of the airfield that is only a few miles to the south. In fact, you can see it if you pan your view left when you first enter the mission.
Play by Play
Iíll relate to you my own first-person account of some of the events that occurred on three different flights of this mission in the Stuka:
(Some of the images following will also show off the new paint scheme, which you can download at the end of this article. The paint mod was originally done by Cpt_Farrel, with some new textures added by myself).
We have flown almost half an hour when we near the target area. A moment ago I noted a British airfield just forward of our position and off my port wing.
The Gruppe has maintained excellent discipline up to now. My Rotte are maintaining about one hundred feet behind me at the same level. We are flying without escort.
Suddenly someone has spotted incoming fighters. They are Hurricanes and possibly some Spitfires also. We are only a few miles from the target.
The Stuka is a wonderful bomb platform, and quite a powerful aircraft, but has nowhere near the maneuverability of a fighter. There is at least a full squadron. I must choose to jettison my bomb and run or try to escape.
I call to my Rotte to follow, we will run. I snap roll to the left with full power on. I then dive vertically for the deck, quickly shedding 2000 feet.
Evading some fighters, we make a run for it by shedding altitude.
I glance backward to see if any fighters have followed us. They are pursuing the main group. We are in the clear and still have our bombs.
I make course for the airfield and set up my bomb run. We will aim for the hangars.
A moment later I catch something in the corner of my eye, and then a fighter bursts across my flight path. None of us spotted him until he was on us. He appears to be alone.
I am determined to maintain my course and I am almost in position. I check my position, then open my dive brakes and begin my dive from 6000 feet. The hangar comes into view as the siren begins to scream, and I release my cargo.
Lining up on the target airfield.
As I pull out of my dive tracers appear. Almost level, I snap roll to the left. The Hurricane is moving too fast and breaks off his attack. I spot him making a wide turn. At this speed my Stuka can easily out turn him and I take a snap shot as he attempts to evade me.
I could call on my Rotte to try to help, but the risk is too great. I hope they have used their bombs to good effect.
Now I am in a turning fight with an RAF fighter. I feel the cold sweat on my face. This is not a good place to be. My Stuka has much greater firepower, however, and if I can manage a single hit the fight could be over.
Turning fight with a Spitfireóbad!
I notice that the fighter is not turning as well as I thought it would. In fact, he appears to be leaving the area! Could I have scored a hit in my snap shot?
As I level off, the fighter is becoming a dot and running away! Luckily, there appear to be no fighters ready to scramble from the RAF airfield. I think it is a Bomber Command field. I notice what look like Blenheim bombers parked in front of some hangars.
It is time to exit the area. My fuel will not last forever, and I am in great danger of being bounced by another RAF fighter.
Time to head home
Scanning the sky I see two dots closing on me quickly. It is Jurgen and Adolf! We form up and I check in with them. Jurgen had tried to engage the Hurricane as the turning fight began but he was unable to engage before the fighter ran away. He thinks maybe I got a hit or even injured the pilot.
Soon we are over the ocean and on our way home. We are looking forward to some brandy and some rest.
AIRCRAFT SKIN DOWNLOAD: stuka-yellow.zip
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