WarBirds III Update, Part III

by Len "Viking1" Hjalmarson

Article Type: Feature
Article Date: July 08, 2002

Product Info

Game Title: WarBirds III
Category: MMOG WWII Air Combat
Developer / Publisher: iENT
Release Date: Released
Required Spec: Click Here
Files / Links: Click Here


The Bombing Run
In the first part of this briefing on the strategic air war in WarBirds III we talked about selecting your target, choosing ordnance, and getting into the air. Next we considered the target approach and the IP. This time around we look at the bombing run itself.

In any of the large bombers, you want to cruise at 12,000 feet or better. Unless I have good reason to expect no opposition, I consider 12,000 feet a minimum. It will take you about 15 minutes to reach that altitude, but may take you longer depending on how many turns you have to make and the amount of fuel and ordnance you are carrying.

B-24 panel

TIP: If I need to grab altitude in a hurry I waste a couple of bombs. If I have to waste two of eight 1000 pound bombs, I know I still carry a lot of hitting power.

Level off on a heading to the IP at 12,000 to 15,000 feet. This will keep you above the level of fighters, unless they are waiting for you. You can make an effective bomb run from 20,000 feet, but it takes a while to reach that altitude.

There are things other than fighters that can affect your approach to the target. Clouds are usually present around 10,000 feet, and depending on the density and the time of day, they can obscure your ability to sight the target. You may come in from the north but be unable to hit the target. This means a swing around to try the approach from another position. It will take about five minutes to make that turn and line up the target again; time you can’t afford to waste.

Nav Notes and Switching to Bombardier
I line up the target by using the in-flight map and my compass, then I move to the bombsight. It might surprise you that the cockpit compass is actually useful, but there are several occasions when I actually reference the compass.

I first reference the compass when I lift off the runway. Generally I am heading straight south, and I have already looked at the map and I know the general direction of the target area. This way when I reach my first waypoint (approximately), I know which way I have to turn my aircraft as well as the general heading. If the target is more or less to the west, my first turn is easy…reference compass heading 270.

I also find the compass handy when turning back toward the target after my first bomb run. You’ll work out your own method, but note that the compass DOES work and is useful.

Depending on altitude and conditions, I may also switch to external view using CTL E. When my approach is more or less accurate, I set level autopilot with the “X” key and then move to the bombsight view using the “Y” key. When in the bombardier position the down arrow on the keypad takes you to the bombsight view.

Line up the target

At this point it’s a good idea to reduce throttle, since you are probably cruising around 220 knots. Cut to about 65 percent to maintain 160 knots. This will give you more time to make fine adjustments over the target.

Next, open the bomb bay doors by hitting the “O” key. The red indicator will glow telling you that the doors are open.

First view of target area

The bombsight view carries virtually all the information you need to sight your target, correct your course, and drop your bombs. In the top left of the bombsight you will see interval, salvo setting, and ordnance type. Just below you’ll see your current altitude.

In the top right you will see view magnification and bombsight deviation. To the lower right you will see the current compass heading. On the lower left is the bomb bay door indicator. It’s a good idea to learn these cues and get in the habit of doing a quick visual scan before you hit the pickle button.

Target in bombsight

In this image you can see that I have zoomed the view to 2x using the square bracket key, and we are on course for making a hit on the fuel storage at this large airbase. The view from 12,000 feet is quite good, and not much different from 15,000. I will often zoom the view another notch to 3x and sometimes to 4x at 15,000 feet.

The fighters are our salvation, but the bombers alone provide the means of victory.
Sir Winston Churchill

When you first enter the bombsight view in WarBirds it appears partially automated, but in reality this is supposed to represent the gyros stabilizing. When the light goes “green” the sight is stable and you are ready to release ordnance. The sight will not stabilize until you are in the bombsight view (down arrow on keypad) so you need to go to this view well before you are over the target area. When you are around half a sector on the map away from the target you need to be in the bombsight if you are at 12-15,000 feet. With the map view zoomed in twice, you need to drop your bombs by the time the white arrow that indicates your aircraft touches the target.

When a target or airfield lines up in your bombsight view, and you aren’t quite on course for the target, you can use your joystick to make course corrections. As bombardier you have control of the aircraft. In this way it is even possible to hit a series of targets that are slightly out of alignment. Naturally, all this becomes more challenging if there are fighters on your tail. If it is possible for you to arrange an escort, it’s good company along the way and can help ensure you hit your target.

Bomb release requires a number of other considerations. First, the type of target. Hardened targets require more ordnance than AAA positions. This means that the bombardier is required to think about the type of ordnance he carries as well as the number of units required to do the job.

The mode of ordnance release is either single or salvo. To use salvo mode two elements are required. First, the player must enable salvo mode with CTL P. Next, a dot command is required and the player must enter it in the radio bar (hopefully this will soon change). The actual text to enter, minus the quotation marks is “.salvo 2” and then hit ENTER to enable a salvo of two bombs to release with interval of 250 ms. You’ll see the SALVO indicator in the top left of the bombsight view change from 1 to 2.

Incidentally, you should hit the pickle button when the target is dead center in the crosshairs. After you have released your ordnance, remember to close the bomb bay doors.

After the Target

B-24 gun position

B-24 gun position

Fighting from the gunner positions is fun. I wish I could assign the gun to my mouse for better pipper control, however. If things go well, you won’t have to fight your way home. Make three passes and then get out of Dodge!

If you do man a gun position, be sure to lead the target slightly, except in the rear or nose gunner positions if they are coming straight at you. You have a surprising amount of ammo, and you will rarely use it all before your B-24 will be blown apart, so don’t worry about firing too much. In general, open fire when the enemy icon reads 10.

Setting a slight descent as you make tracks for friendly territory will give you a good airspeed and take you quickly toward home. 300 knots indicated at 12,000 feet is really moving. You can use the angle AP setting for descending, just as you can for climbing to cruise altitude. Unless bandits are already close to your altitude, they won’t give you any trouble on your run for home plate. You can land at any friendly field; you don’t have to fly all the way to your takeoff point.

Ensure that you don’t exceed 300 knots in the B-24 J or it will shake apart. It will give you fair warning by nasty buffeting as you pass 300 knots.

On the 8th of May, 1944, I was diving and firing at a B-24 formation when I ran out of ammunition. Midway through my firing pass. I decided to ram a B-24 and aimed at one of the bomber’s ailerons. Unfortunately, the turbulence was so severe that I missed. I found myself out in front of the formation in a vertical dive. My Fw 190 was being shredded by many impacting shells. At 26,000 feet I bailed out and was lucky to get out because my aircraft was in a dive at full throttle, going more than 800 kph.
Oscar Boesch
IV Gruppe, 3JG, Luftwaffe
From “Bombers”, by Philip Kaplan

If you do encounter opposition, your gunners will take good care of you. They are good shots and very good at tracking, even better than most humans. Manouvering a bit rather than staying straight and level will extend your virtual life.

If things go wrong, hit ENTER twice to bail from the stricken ship. Hit ENTER again when you are near to the ground to open your chute. If you got the iron on target, there are worse ways to end a mission!

Note: If you are interested in flying in a historical WarBirds scenario, check out the Target for Tonight scenario at http://rhinobytes.com/ha/



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