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Thread: Low level attacks on airfields - some thoughts

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    Low level attacks on airfields - some thoughts

    Since 4.5 came out I have been really enjoying doing low level attacks on airfields in the -110. The eye candy of all the flak etc and sense of speed at low level is great and doing these missions is making an excellent change for me from my previous high altitude hunting, especially seeing there are several new -110 fighter-bomber variants to choose from.

    So i thought i would share some thoughts /observations and if anyone else has any to add these might help new players also fly these missions. While this is written from a blue perspective some of the tactics etc might apply to the reds as well.

    Firstly a disclaimer - i take off every mission planning to land again and find the challenge of staying alive what keeps me hooked. So the following tactics/thoughts are from that perspective. There are other ways to attack airfields if landing afterwards isnt a high priority and they are just as valid as what follows and some players will find them more fun that they way i do it. One of the good things about ATAG is you can fly it in a way that floats your boat - for me staying alive and making it really really hard for the reds to shoot me down while still bombing and shooting stuff floats mine.

    So far i have discovered there are 7 things that are helping me to conduct effective airfield attacks and stay alive.

    (a) Speed. Speed is life and keeping your airspeed as high as possible while flying over the field reduces the time the guns have to shoot you as well as the time available for any nearby fighters to realise you are there and then try and engage. In the -110 i try and be at least ~400-420 km/h ias. You can go faster if you dive from altitude but that brings me to the next thing.

    (b) Surprise. If you dive on an airfield from 3k you can be doing ~ 550+ km/h as you cross the field which is a good thing. But by doing this type of attack the gunners have plenty of time to see you and bring their guns to bear, as do any fighters in the area. So i aim to be at low level (literally tree top height) at least 5-7 km out from the airfield to prevent the guns from seeing you coming.

    (c) Altitude. As mentioned when i'm within 5-7 km of the airfield i fly at tree top height and do nap of the earth flying (ie drop down into river valleys and behind slight rises etc). As I'm diving down to this run into the target i will zoom into the field to confirm I'm going more or less in the right direction before i lose line of sight with the airfield.

    (c) Surprise#2. As I'm running into the airfield i will also change my heading slightly (10 degrees max) and then fly for a 30 seconds or so and then go back to my original heading. This is designed in case the gunners did get a track on me prior to my dive and are watching alone this line of bearing as i come over the perimeter of the field. By changing this by a few degrees maybe buys you time as the guns then have to reacquire you as u come over the fence. I'm not sure if the guns work this way but so far it seems to be reducing the amount of flak coming my way as i cross the fence prior to bomb release.

    (d) Single pass only and keep running like the wind after bomb drop. Because of the way i like to fly i only do a single pass on the field and reduce the urge to pull up to check how my bomb went. If you have achieved surprise (one way to check this is the absence of bofors fire coming at you as you come over the perimeter) you will have lost it as you fly over the field and the bofors and larger AA will keep firing on you for some time after you depart the field. I try and change heading and drop down as low as i can immediately after leaving the field to make it harder for the gunners.

    (e) Stay low and fast for ~ 5mins afterwards. Sometimes fighters will see the flak over the field and then try and follow you. Even if you have no indications you are being followed still keep low and fast for ~ 5 mins just in case. I've learnt the hard way not to think all is clear too soon and climb only to find I've been spotted and then shot down by a fighter who was out searching for me.

    (f) Go to a second target or wait ~ 10 min before re-attacking. After your attack the reds might cap the field for a time so re-attacking while they are doing so isnt recommended. Either go to another airfield tgt or wait until the red fighters get bored cap'ing the field before rinsing and repeating the above.


    Doing the above I have been reasonably successful staying alive, bombing stuff and most importantly having fun. You will still get the random golden beebee that PKs you or find as you cross the perimeters that a Spit has just arrived at the base and has spotted you. Being chased at low level by angry Spitfires and now Beaufighters and either losing them by doing some clever nap of the earth flying or by using your rear gun is very satisfying.

    Anyway thats all i have. Be interested in any other tips/thoughts other players had or questions re the above.

    Ezzie

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    ATAG Server Operator ATAG_kiwiflieger's Avatar
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    Re: Low level attacks on airfields - some thoughts

    For those of you bewildered by this, no, it is not early April Fools, and yes, hell has frozen over and Ezzie is flying offensively below 3K. I have seen him with my own eyes...

    Something I might add: Bring a friend or ten. Teaming up with a few other fighter bombers for low level raids draws flak off you individually, you have people to clear your six if someone does happen to turn up at the wrong time, you can do more damage to targets as a group, and the banter and feeling of flying in a formation adds to the fun.
    The only disadvantage I can think of is that you are easier to spot as a group, but careful route planning to avoid danger areas and NOE flying can mitigate this.
    Mixing it up with not only 110s but 109s as well gives you a much better chance against any single-engines that might engage you.


    "Speed is life. Altitude is life insurance. Surprise is key."


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    Re: Low level attacks on airfields - some thoughts

    What Ezzie is describing as tactics is exactly what the real pilots did historically.

    We are trying to make this game as realistic as possible... and trying to reward players who use historical tactics.

    Loitering over a field is going to see the players in a fiery grave very quick.

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    Re: Low level attacks on airfields - some thoughts

    TL;DR:
    “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting."
    Sun Tzu

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    Re: Low level attacks on airfields - some thoughts

    Thanks...I'll wait a little longer for you now in my spitfire...

    Good info...

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    Re: Low level attacks on airfields - some thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by gonk View Post
    Thanks...I'll wait a little longer for you now in my spitfire...

    Good info...
    D'oh Red pilots are so gullible !!!

    Can't u see it ??!?! That was all hogwash to get u flying low looking for Ezzie sneaking up on targets.
    This is just a ploy to get u to fly low at a few thousand feet while he careens down from 5 thousand meters to light u up like a new years eve party and climb away yelling out "come in sucker".
    Dastardly evil trickery here.
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    ATAG Member ATAG_Flare's Avatar
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    Re: Low level attacks on airfields - some thoughts

    Thanks for this wonderful guide, Ezzie. I will put the tips to good use in my airfield attacks -


    strafing Germans on the ground in my Beaufighter!

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    Re: Low level attacks on airfields - some thoughts


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    Re: Low level attacks on airfields - some thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by ATAG_Flare View Post
    Thanks for this wonderful guide, Ezzie. I will put the tips to good use in my airfield attacks -


    strafing Germans on the ground in my Beaufighter!
    LOL - I see Snapper is already doing this....

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    Re: Low level attacks on airfields - some thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by TWC_Sp00k View Post

    LOL

    https://www.urbandictionary.com/defi...Double%20Bluff

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    Re: Low level attacks on airfields - some thoughts

    I had hoped to do low level with Do17Z but AI wont do low level and Do17Z is not flyable.
    Thus the famous Kenley raid Aug 18 is not possible.

    Not until low level AI is written into TF5, I assume they are fixing the AI to do low level, is there a list we can view of whats being done ?

    BOBC

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    Re: Low level attacks on airfields - some thoughts

    We should use BOB 1969 more often for stuff like that. It's a real jewel..For both sides
    "It's not pretty. It's not "your girlfriend". It's not comfortable.....but it is extremely cool"

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    Re: Low level attacks on airfields - some thoughts

    Thanks Ezzie.
    Very sound tactics (not that I am disciplined enough to follow your advice generally).
    That's exactly what you should do in a Beau ... if the Beau only could carry a bomb or two.

    And on the other hand I discovered that low flying 110s are a nice sight to see for a Beaufighter pilot who is patrolling the airfields. Well, not if you are manning the rear gunner ...

    In fact, the Beaufighter now is the best plane to defend airfields from such 110 attacks. The Hurricane is just to slow and the Spit is very vulnerable as well and needs to get lots and lots of these 303s in to damage a 110 seriously.

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    Re: Low level attacks on airfields - some thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by DerDa View Post
    Thanks Ezzie.
    Very sound tactics (not that I am disciplined enough to follow your advice generally).
    That's exactly what you should do in a Beau ... if the Beau only could carry a bomb or two.

    And on the other hand I discovered that low flying 110s are a nice sight to see for a Beaufighter pilot who is patrolling the airfields. Well, not if you are manning the rear gunner ...

    In fact, the Beaufighter now is the best plane to defend airfields from such 110 attacks. The Hurricane is just to slow and the Spit is very vulnerable as well and needs to get lots and lots of these 303s in to damage a 110 seriously.
    Lol DerDa.

    One of my favourite rear gun moments was against a Beau low level near an airfield (wasnt you but wont name names). I was landing at bologne on one engine and was at about 50m alt when my rear gunner called out beaufighter 6 oclock. I was low and slow and couldnt do anything so went ahead and landed waiting to get smashed by those nasty 20mm. But as soon as my wheels hit the deck i jumped in the rear gun and fired at him while keeping my aircraft more or less straight as it rolled out on landing. I got some lucky shots and pk'd him before he hit me. I suspect he was lining me up nice and carefully and i got in first. He crashed in a fireball right near the threshold. Very satisfying....

    Ezzie

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