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Woolston raid?

Radar first, then the factory
- 7 (63.6%)
Un-subtle factory-crushing
- 4 (36.4%)

Total Members Voted: 11


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Author Topic: The End of the Beginning - Let's Play Battle of Britain II  (Read 8864 times)

warhammer651

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Re: The End of the Beginning - Let's Play Battle of Britain II
« Reply #30 on: January 20, 2013, 12:47:21 pm »

'Next to my keyboard' is what I've found, but your desk may vary. :P
college dorm.

storage space is already at a premium
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Fishbreath

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Re: The End of the Beginning - Let's Play Battle of Britain II
« Reply #31 on: January 20, 2013, 08:01:13 pm »

Later on in this scenario, when I have a larger complement of fighters, I'll be making raids morning, midday, and afternoon, and all of those will be about the size of the ones I'm launching now. My two-a-day schedule is born of necessity right now, and although I'm not satisfied with the results strategically, I am at least getting the RAF to come up and play.

The RAF is only able to come up and play at all thanks to Air Marshal Hugh Dowding, one of the only high-ranking members of any air force to disbelieve the view from the 1930s that the bomber will always get through. Dowding split Britain into four regions, each covered by an RAF group: 10 Group defended Wales and the West Country, 12 Group dealt with attacks against the Midlands and East Anglia, 13 Group covered everything north of that, and 11 Group held the critical southeast. Dowding hadn't counted on the threat to England coming mainly from the direction of France, though, so 10 and 12 Groups weren't required to support 11 Group (10 Ground often did; 12 Group's commander didn't get along well with 11 Group's and rarely lent a hand), and 11 Group was about 70% Hurricanes, even though there were more than enough Spitfire squadrons to fill 11 Group's airfields.

I was going to go into some detail on the way the Dowding system turned fighters on airfields into fighters shooting down bombers, but I want to read some later and I need to get this done. Fortunately, the news isn't all that complicated. I decided to target the Ventnor Chain Home station, which stands directly in front of the Supermarine factory at Woolston.



Predictably, Hurricanes appear on the scene, climbing toward the vulnerable bombers (these ones are Ju 88s, which are a little quicker than the He 111s I've used so far, and so a little less vulnerable).



I account for two Hurricanes, and I wing a Spitfire, but not enough to claim it as damaged. Unfortunately, I collide with the second one as I finish it off, and it wrecks my tail. I crash fatally in the Channel, but fortunately I don't lose if I die in a mission.

The claims come in. Bomber losses are not accurate (I can't have lost many more than 15 or 20, counting Stukas), but I'm pretty sure that 52 Bf 109s for 57 British fighters is accurate (to the extent that the Luftwaffe's claims are accurate).



In terms of Bf 109s only against RAF aircraft fallen to all methods, I'm scoring about 1.5 kills per loss. That's acceptable, but only just. I'd very much like to hit the Woolston Supermarine factory in the next few days, which brings me to the next decision point: should I work on the Ventnor Chain Home station more, which would probably delay interception and might reduce losses if the interceptors are late to meet the raid.

Or I could just order up a giant, Geschwader-sized raid to swarm in with 120 bombers and pound the factory flat. I wouldn't have to worry about escorting possibly several more raids on the Ventnor Chain Home station, but on the other hand, losses on the main raid would probably be greater. On the other other hand, the interception is also likely to occur over the Channel, and any kills I make over the Channel are practically definite pilot and airframe losses for the RAF.

Fishbreath's personal tally: 5 kills/1 probable/1 death

Spoiler: Special bonus picture! (click to show/hide)

Fishbreath

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Re: The End of the Beginning - Let's Play Battle of Britain II
« Reply #32 on: January 23, 2013, 12:06:19 pm »

The British system for welcoming aerial intruders started with the Chain Home and Chain Home Low radar stations. The former could detect raids at high altitude before they even left France, while Chain Home Low could spot low-level aircraft out into the middle of the Channel. Once aircraft reached England, the Observer Corps would phone in sightings, too. All of this information went to RAF Fighter Command headquarters at Bentley Priory, and also to the headquarters of various groups. Below is the map table in the operations room at RAF Uxbridge, 11 Group headquarters.



You can see the squadron boards at the top of the picture, which lit up to indicate squadron status, and the map table at the bottom. Raids were plotted using the counters without the yellow bit on a stick, with the lower number indicating the size of the raid and the upper number indicating its altitude in feet (I've also seen counters with a raid ID, assigned consecutively based on order of detection). The other counters are RAF responses, the yellow bit with the number indicating which squadron the counter represents. Curiously, the counters on the table there don't reflect the usual reality—RAF squadrons almost exclusively flew in twelves, and it was rare for the Luftwaffe to encounter paired squadrons or larger groups because of the extra time it took to form up. As one RAF officer said, every minute's delay translates to 2,000 feet the RAF interceptors wouldn't have. A squadron would reach the raid, and, per Luftwaffe doctrine, and one Staffel of escorts would peel off and dogfight the interceptors to prevent them from reaching the bombers. I wondered if that was the best way to handle things at first, but I don't know that there's a better way—the Luftwaffe has no radar coverage of Britain at all, so they don't really know how many aircraft are scrambling to meet the raid, and it would be something of a waste to meet the RAF squadrons with, say, 2-1 strength, and then find that there are another two squadrons coming to pound the bombers.

Anyway, it's the morning of July 12th, and Herr Reichsmarshall Fishbreath Göring plans to exercise the RAF's defense to its utmost.





I've planned three raids. R001 is a Stuka raid against the Ventnor Chain Home station (the raid flying due north), followed minutes after by a low-level raid by unescorted Bf 110s (the raid flying northwest). Just over half an hour later, 96 He 111s will target the Woolston Supermarine Factory (flying west-northwest). All told, there are 374 aircraft involved in these sorties. It's the biggest flight sim scenario I've ever seen.





It's difficult to describe exactly how nerve-wracking this game is. As the Luftwaffe commander, I have very little information about the RAF response to my raids before the interceptors actually show up, and while I'm flying I don't even have access to that. I'm only able to swallow hard and hope for success when I see the raid again. I'm able to put it out of my mind this time, and flying escorts for both raids, I bag two Spitfires and two Hurricanes in total.



I run out of targets and spare fuel just about simultaneously at 8:10, just after the bombers should have dropped on Woolston. It doesn't appear that they hit their target, possibly due to cloud or to navigational failures. That's quite a shame, but it's about time that my best-laid plans were ruined by weather. Everyone heads home, and at least we got the radar station pretty good.





For good measure, I launch an unescorted, lone, low-level raid of Bf 110s at the radar station as night is getting close, but it's intercepted and forced to turn back, losing a handful of planes.

Luftwaffe intelligence suggests 15 squadrons of RAF fighters met us today across all three raids. My tally for the RAF's losses comes to 61. The escorts for the Stuka raids shot down nearly two full squadrons of Hurricanes. Luftwaffe losses, on the other hand, totaled 60: 36 Bf 109s (which are the important statistic), 4 Stukas and 5 He-111s, and 15 Bf 110s. Given the ratio of Bf 109s to British front-line fighters, I'm pleased with today's outcome.



Fishbreath's personal tally: 9 kills/1 probable/1 death

Spaghetti7

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Re: The End of the Beginning - Let's Play Battle of Britain II
« Reply #33 on: January 23, 2013, 12:36:00 pm »

Just thought I'd say I'm enjoying this, and wondering why I've never heard of this game before. How would you say it compares to, say, IL-2 1946? I know, obviously it has the strategic element as well, so it might just be easier to give a brief summary of it. Aside from the incredible losses ( :D ) it looks like a really good game.
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Fishbreath

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Re: The End of the Beginning - Let's Play Battle of Britain II
« Reply #34 on: January 23, 2013, 12:58:01 pm »

They both have things to recommend them. IL-2 has such a breadth of things to do and such a huge amount of aftermarket content, and for being able to fly things like Italian fighters or every variant of Hurricane ever made, I like it. BoB2's missions have context that missions in IL-2 (even with the fancy replacement dynamic campaign generator) lack, because I'm planning it all. BoB2 is also nearer a study sim than IL-2, focusing on fewer aircraft in greater detail, and they're modeled in what seems to me like a little more detail.

On the other hand, I think IL-2's engine is probably a little more reliable, and it has multiplayer. That's not really important to me, but it's a major driver of post-release sales, and so IL-2 has always been more popular. BoB2 definitely scratches my itch for early-war dogfighting and dynamic campaigns, though.

Spaghetti7

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Re: The End of the Beginning - Let's Play Battle of Britain II
« Reply #35 on: January 23, 2013, 02:08:11 pm »

They both have things to recommend them. IL-2 has such a breadth of things to do and such a huge amount of aftermarket content, and for being able to fly things like Italian fighters or every variant of Hurricane ever made, I like it. BoB2's missions have context that missions in IL-2 (even with the fancy replacement dynamic campaign generator) lack, because I'm planning it all. BoB2 is also nearer a study sim than IL-2, focusing on fewer aircraft in greater detail, and they're modeled in what seems to me like a little more detail.

On the other hand, I think IL-2's engine is probably a little more reliable, and it has multiplayer. That's not really important to me, but it's a major driver of post-release sales, and so IL-2 has always been more popular. BoB2 definitely scratches my itch for early-war dogfighting and dynamic campaigns, though.
Yeah, I like the idea of being able to plan my own raids, and wouldn't mind concentrating on a few planes. I might see where I can get it nice and cheap. :P
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Fishbreath

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Re: The End of the Beginning - Let's Play Battle of Britain II
« Reply #36 on: January 23, 2013, 02:14:20 pm »

You'll be lucky to find it for less than the $20 the download costs--it's not on Steam, so no chance of a nice fat sale.

Spaghetti7

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Re: The End of the Beginning - Let's Play Battle of Britain II
« Reply #37 on: January 23, 2013, 02:16:57 pm »

You'll be lucky to find it for less than the $20 the download costs--it's not on Steam, so no chance of a nice fat sale.
Couldn't find any cheaper D/L, but managed to find the History Of Aviation edition (which I believe contains 3 more games) for £3 on Amazon. That seems reasonable. :P
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Fishbreath

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Re: The End of the Beginning - Let's Play Battle of Britain II
« Reply #38 on: January 23, 2013, 02:18:04 pm »

I've definitely got $20 of fun out of it already.

Spaghetti7

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Re: The End of the Beginning - Let's Play Battle of Britain II
« Reply #39 on: January 23, 2013, 02:19:47 pm »

I've definitely got $20 of fun out of it already.
Yeah. I think the RTS element of it is pretty much an insta-buy for me, it seems like such a good idea. Also, for £3 and some other games, I can't see any downsides.
Can I just ask what OS you run it on? Just to check whether it might have issues with a 64-bit Windows 7 install.
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Fishbreath

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Re: The End of the Beginning - Let's Play Battle of Britain II
« Reply #40 on: January 23, 2013, 02:22:37 pm »

Nope, I've got it running fine on 64-bit Win7. Word of warning, though—in compatibility settings, DO NOT set compatibility mode for another OS. Just disable themes and desktop composition.

Spaghetti7

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Re: The End of the Beginning - Let's Play Battle of Britain II
« Reply #41 on: January 23, 2013, 02:23:46 pm »

Nope, I've got it running fine on 64-bit Win7. Word of warning, though—in compatibility settings, DO NOT set compatibility mode for another OS. Just disable themes and desktop composition.
Sweet. Thanks, I'll keep that all in mind. You've been real helpful. :D Good luck with the LP.
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Fishbreath

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Re: The End of the Beginning - Let's Play Battle of Britain II
« Reply #42 on: January 25, 2013, 11:32:58 pm »

Well, my investigation into the bomber bug has concluded with the unfortunate news that my save is corrupt. The fortunate news is that I didn't play much between discovering the bug and discovering the save corruption, so I'm just going to start over. I'll probably stick to the campaign map, hitting the Ventnor Chain Home station once a day until the 12th, then dive back in where I left off.

Fishbreath

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Re: The End of the Beginning - Let's Play Battle of Britain II
« Reply #43 on: January 26, 2013, 07:55:14 pm »

Well, that was quick. Let me bring you up to speed on the 10th, 11th, and 12th: I flew one raid a day, targeting the Ventnor Chain Home radar station with Stukas and sometimes Bf 110s. They were nice simple raids:



On the morning of the 12th of July, the raid pictured above fell on the Ventnor CH station: one Gruppe of Stukas, escorted by a Gruppe of Bf 109s, and followed by a low-level un-escorted Bf 110 raid a few minutes after the Stukas go in. The Stukas were intercepted and forced back before they could drop their bombs, the efforts of the escorts notwithstanding. The Bf 110s slipped by fifteen thousand feet below the dogfight, though, and deliver their bombs onto the station. Intelligence reports heavy damage. The Stukas take some losses, but the Bf 109s shoot down 10 each of Spitfires and Hurricanes against only eight losses.



In a move I can only assume was calculated to cause me maximum heartache, intelligence now suggests that the Ventnor CH station is hardly damaged at all. I plan another Stukas-and-Bf 110s raid on the station, set to hit at about 8:00. 40 minutes later, Ju 88s will hit the Supermarine factory at Woolston.





I fly escort for the Stukas first. They roll over into their dives, and then the Bf 110s hit. A thick pall of smoke rises from the radar station.



The British intercept the Woolston raid over the Isle of Wight. The German fighters set upon the British fighters as they climb to the raid at 20,000 feet, and the dogfight quickly descends toward the deck. It's a bloody day over the English coast.



Bomber losses come to ten or fifteen. Fighter losses are in the same vicinity. Nearly 40 RAF fighters fell to the escorts, though, and the Ventnor Chain Home station plus the Supermarine factory and one of the factories near it are heavily damaged. Tomorrow, I intend to hit the factories again. That should really knock them down, and in doing so make nearly every Spitfire I kill one more that I won't have to fight again later on in the campaign.

The losses the bombers suffer still don't match up between the various sources of that information, but at this point I'm alright with ignoring that problem.

Fishbreath's personal tally: 3 kills/1 bail-out over the Channel

Fishbreath

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Re: The End of the Beginning - Let's Play Battle of Britain II
« Reply #44 on: January 27, 2013, 03:54:00 pm »

On the 14th, I intend to exploit the gap in radar coverage from the damaged Ventnor station to hit industrial targets at Woolston again. Raids target the Supermarine factory and Southampton Electrical Works, which intelligence claims produces Hurricane parts. I'm not sure I buy that assessment, but it can hardly hurt to try.



The raids hit twenty minutes apart; with luck, the bombers might catch some fighters refueling on the ground at Tangmere.

I hop into the cockpit of a Bf 109 for the industrial raids, scoring four kills on Hurricanes, including one with machine guns only. I must have wounded the pilot or damaged his elevator controls, because he dove straight into the Channel without bailing out or his engine smoking or stopping.

For the last raid, the one against Tangmere, I decide to try something different: I'll jump on the guns in a Ju 88. Several squadrons of fighters rise to meet me:



The bomber takes a number of hits, but we gunners are able to drive off or shoot down a lot of the fighters.



The guy in formation right across from me eats a long burst from a Spitfire, and ends up going down in flames.



It was nearly the case that my bomber went down in flames, too--a Spitfire snuck up behind us, in the arc of the empty belly gun, and then unloaded with a long burst into left side. Bullet holes decorated the wing and tailfin; the engine started to smoke, but fortunately didn't die. Only a few bombers fell to the British fighters before we shot down or drove off the remaining fighters. We reached Tangmere, and although we were in the clouds, the bombardier could see the target. Bombs away!





Intelligence reports that the airfield is heavily damaged. Woolston Supermarine Works is in bad shape, but the bombers aiming for Southampton Electrical failed to hit their target (I think they hit either Woolston or the automotive factory just south of Woolston by mistake).

Luftwaffe losses are light:



While the RAF is reduced beneath its strength at the start of the Battle.



Primarily, this is because we've shot down a lot of Hurricanes (it comes to nearly a squadron a day). Spitfires are proving tougher to handle; we've shot down about four a day, and we're not yet beating the British capacity to rebuild them. Continuing to pound Woolston will aid in that; I'm of a mind to send a big He 111 raid against it on the 15th, since the He 111s carry double the bomb load of the Ju 88s.

Fishbreath's personal tally: 7 kills/1 bail-out
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