Image by Al_HikesAZ via Flickr
Image by Whiskeygonebad via Flickr
Just wanted to update everyone with the current status of the blog, I also want to address my absenteeism.  I just finish a large project in my 9 to 5 life, and have been taking a break from a lot of things as well as taking care of some things on the home front that have been lacking my attention.

I will begin working on the blog again this week, and will be sending everyone a posting address in the next few weeks.  I have decided to just use e-mail posting, and commenting until there is enough of an interest to warrant money being spent.

As far as my absence from the game is concerned -- I am building a new machine, have sold the older machine which was the only one that I have that runs windows.  For few weeks I was running the game on my GNU/Linux machine, but was having far too many issues running DirectX to make it useful to continue doing so (*hopefully one day HiTech will decide to switch to OpenGL -- for reasons other than performance -- or port to the Linux / Unix platforms.

In other news, I just bought a new laptop so I have been playing with that and enjoying the nice weather for the last few days -- reason #420 to have 3g you can go fishing while updating your social network on your lack of actual fishing.



Some random WWII photos.

US Army WW2 Harley-Davidson motorcycle with rifle 

Floyd Bennett Field WW2 Power Plant 004 

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Air to Ground Attacks in WWII


A Soviet tank during the Battle of KurskImage via Wikipedia

© Anthony G Williams

This summary is based on material from 'Flying Guns: World War 2' by Emmanuel Gustin and Anthony G Williams

Amended 24 June 2004

The advent of highly mobile tank warfare at the start of World War 2 prompted a search for ways of destroying tanks from the air, with variable success. There was a preference in some quarters for using fighter-bombers armed with rockets or bombs, but while these were effective in general ground attack, including disrupting supplies to armoured units, they proved largely ineffective in directly knocking out tanks for the reasons spelled out in 'Flying Guns: WW2':

" The ineffectiveness of air attack against tanks should have caused no surprise because the weapons available to the fighter-bombers were not suitable for destroying them. Put simply, the heavy machine guns and 20 mm cannon were capable of hitting the tanks easily enough, but insufficiently powerful to damage them, except occasionally by chance. The RPs and bombs used were certainly capable of destroying the tanks but were too inaccurate to hit them, except occasionally by chance."

Experience showed that the best way of knocking out tanks was to use a cannon powerful enough to penetrate the armour. This article examines the weapons used and takes a retrospective look at an 'ideal' airborne anti-tank armament.

"The Gun Carriers: what of the aircraft?"

There were various possible locations for heavy cannon, but they all boiled down to two basic types - wing or fuselage mountings. Wing mountings had several disadvantages. First, they suffered the usual problems with this location of harmonisation; that is, the guns had to be angled inwards to coincide with the sight line, and this could only be for a specified distance. At much shorter or longer distances, the projectiles would not strike where the sights were aimed. Incidentally, it is worth mentioning that with all guns, wherever mounted, there was also a vertical harmonisation issue, in that projectiles followed a curved trajectory so at much shorter or longer distances they would strike above or below the aiming point. However, this would be much less of a problem with a high muzzle velocity. Other disadvantages of wing mounting peculiar to heavy cannon were, obviously, that the weight and drag penalties were much greater than with one fuselage-mounted gun, the wings were more flexible not just in flight but also under recoil (which affected accuracy) and the plane could be moved from side-to-side by the recoil if the guns fired at different instants, further affecting accuracy. The guns were also mounted under the plane's centre of gravity, which meant that recoil pushed the nose down on firing.

All of this added up to less accuracy and lower aircraft performance with wing-mounted cannon. This is significant because most single-engined aircraft fitted with large cannon had no option but to fit them under the wings, as few vee-engines, and no radials, were compatible with the engine-mounting of the gun. In theory, a gun could be mounted under the belly of the plane and synchronised to fire through the propeller disk, but in practice this became more problematic as the size of the cartridge case increased because of the variations in the burning time of the propellant (the Luftwaffe considered but rejected such an installation of the MK 103 in the Fw 190 for this reason).

Of course, none of these problems bothered twin-engined aircraft, which were able to employ a rigid central mounting in or under the fuselage, directly under the sights, to the great benefit of accuracy. They also usually had a much better forwards and downwards view (important for a ground attack plane), although blocked to the side by the engines. However, most twins were much bigger than singles, making them much bigger targets for ground fire. Attempts to use Ju 88s in the anti-tank role led to catastrophic loss rates. The only exception was the Hs 129, a very compact plane. However, while that was probably the most effective of all the anti-tank aircraft, it had a low performance and was relatively helpless against enemy fighters, not even having the benefit of a rear gunner.

.... Wing area is an indicator of apparent size, and therefore the risk of being hit by ground fire (although for a given wing area, twin-engined planes usually presented a bigger target). Wing loading is a double-edged sword: a low wing loading was useful for a good short-field performance and low-speed manoeuvrability, but a smaller wing was less disturbed by low-level air turbulence and therefore (other things being equal) was likely to provide a more stable gun platform for ground attack. The power loading (as with the wing loading, taken at maximum loaded weight) gives an indicator of performance. ...

Link to the full article -- Tankbuster Aircraft of WWII

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Tactics: Taking the fight vertical in the merge

The Merge is one of the most critical elements in a dog fight.  The cleaner the merge and the more control you have of the aircraft, the better your chances of gaining or retaking the energy advantage in the engagement.  Your understanding of your aircrafts abilities and those of your opponents aircraft are critical in choosing the right technique for the given situation. You can find a more detailed explanation of these techniques and more -- along with videos -- here

IMMELMANN(*pictured)  Aircraft enters in straight and level flight, pulls into half an inside loop followed by a half roll to upright.

You should enter the maneuver at 100% throttle if your aircraft has WEP and 75% if it doesn't.  This is to avoid a full power stall if you intend or are forced to take the fight into the vertical,  although this is a dangerious alteration when multiple enemies are present.

In any dog fight being patient will keep you alive; you don't want to force the aircraft into position for the shot, such extreme G's will bleed off precious energy. Turning at a constant speed is a much safer practice. If your flying a plane that does particularly well in the vertical it may enable you may to take the fight into the vertical using a stall turn to exit the climb behind your opponent, this is also refered to as a type of roping techneique. 

(*Picture from :http://cmreel.com/?page_id=220*)

Half Reverse Cuban - Enter the maneuver with 50% throttle (unless already within 10 knots of the aircrafts stall speed.) pulling the nose into a 45 degree climb, after approximately one second perform a half outside roll (against the torque of the engine) while keeping the nose at 45 degrees perform a split-S  immediately after becoming inverted. 

A video of a T67 doing the maneuvers talked about here over South East England. The Hesitation rolls shown here are a great  technique for controlling your energy, and disguising your intentions on the approach to the merge.

You can find a more detailed explanation of these techniques and more -- along with videos -- here. 

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F4U Fighter



A-10 Warthog


Air Combat Tactics of WWII

1940's Navy Training video

Speed Kills pt.2

Speed Kills pt.1

Status update #001

I would like to make use this blog as a Communication and Training tool for the squad, while still keeping it public, so the content needs to stay appropriate and on Topic. Anyone that would like to post is more than welcome, I will be adding permissions this week for all those that want to be involved. Send me an e-mail from the e-mail that you will be using to post including your "Aces High II" Screen Name and I'll add you.

Any and all Training materials that you think would be helpful would be appreciated. The more complete we can make the info the more useful this site can become.

If for whatever reason you need to add or remove something from a post simply email me the post title and the content to be edited. As I get a lot of emails, I would appreciate it if the subject read AeroFighter BLOG EDIT *blog entry title*, or something similar.