Storm of War

PILOT AWARDS

The following pilots have received the below awards for their performance in March 2021.

25 Ribbons of each type were awarded for the month (based on the number of players who managed 10+ hours flying on the server). The ribbons will automatically show on your pilot profile on the SoW stats pages as soon as you start accumulating stats for the current month.

=== Anti Shipping ===

1. JG 53 Burrito [Milan 13]
2. JG 53 Plush [Milan 17]
3. VF17-Gabby Gabreski
4. VF17-Hammer
5. JG 53 Dusty [Milan 14]
6. 362nd Shooter
7. VF17-StuFly
8. NastyNate
9. [ugly]Nirvi
10. VF17-Knuck
11. IAF. Yuval
12. 362nd Money
13. MIDWAY
14. JG 53 Paddy [Milan 19]
15. EAF51_Cappe
16. VF17- 42sqd Slapbladder
17. EAF51_Snachess
18. [CoC]TheLittleEndian
19. VF17- 42 sqd walshtimothy
20. IAF.DMK
21. VF17-Blisters
22. AKA_MattE
23. 56th FG – Cypher
24. Wildcat
25. No.54 Mr Red

=== Ground Attack ===

1. Soda
2. MIDWAY
3. 122sqn Nematome
4. No.119_Bruv (VK-B)
5. 122sqn Jamz
6. VF17-Hammer
7. Littlelordlucan
8. [16AGR] Wex
9. nordliht83
10. 122sqn JMB
11. JG 53 Dusty [Milan 14]
12. JG 53 Burrito [Milan 13]
13. [vPoAF] Shrimp
14. VF17-Gabby Gabreski
15. [ugly]Nirvi
16. NastyNate
17. [vPoAF] Vass
18. VF17- 42 sqd walshtimothy
19. Gili
20. VF17-StuFly
21. No.54 Philstyle
22. MadDogS80
23. VF17- 42 sqd Kane
24. AKA_MattE
25. EAF51_Snachess

=== Air to Air ===

1. JG 53 Dusty [Milan 14]
2. 362nd Hiromachi
3. Baby_James
4. VF17-Hammer
5. Sniper 1-1
6. 362nd Healer
7. 362nd Campbell
8. No.119_Bruv (VK-B)
9. PFT_Weber
10. JG 53 Paddy [Milan 19]
11. JG 53 Burrito [Milan 13]
12. 122sqn Jamz
13. 332FG Magic Zach
14. Dr4v
15. VF17- 42 sqd Kane
16. JG 53 Plush [Milan 17]
17. [16AGR] Wex
18. VF17-Knuck
19. VF17-Ketchup
20. 362nd Andre
21. Willzah
22. BadAzz
23. sl
24. ZAVAR
25. Lykurgus

Information detailing how the Campaign Ribbons are awarded can be found here: https://stormofwar.net/2021/01/29/january-2021-campaign-ribbons-explained/

Over the next couple of weeks, we will be adding new anti-shipping related stats onto the stats display website.

It has always been problematic that only the very last person to damage a ship gets the credit for it. Whilst we know this issue also applies to aircraft and other ground units, it is particularly frustrating for shipping given how much effort (usually combined effort between players) and risk is required, especially to sink the larger ships.

Furthermore, the current system does not distinguish between the tiny landing craft which can be destroyed with a couple of canon rounds, and the USS Samuel Chase – which usually requires over 1,500kg of direct hits with bombs to sink it.

We therefore intend to start sharing the Loaded Displacement in metric tonnes of sunk ships between contributing players and AI aircraft. This means, obviously, that there is a far greater displacement tonnage to be claimed from participating in the sinking of the larger ships. The basic outline of HOW we will allocate the score is as follows:

The last player to hit a ship with ANY WEAPON, and any other PLAYERS or AI who ALSO hit that ship with bombs or rockets, will share in the tonnage, equally.

We are also using “loaded displacement”, which means the displacement of the vessel, plus the weight of any stores, cargo, fuel, troops, ammunition, etc. that it might be carrying at the time of its sinking. This is distinct from registered tonnage (which is cargo volume). We feel that this is a better reflection of the value of ships, not just for their logistics capacity, but also for their tactical value. By using loaded displacement it also means that there will be some variation in the tonnes of any given ship. This will be randomised along a normal distribution curve WITHIN what we believe is a realistic range for each vessel. Thus, this displacement range reflects the different chances that any given ship might be lightly, or heavily, loaded on any specific missions.

The ranges we shall be using are:
– Schnellboot 100 to 110 metric tonnes
– Higgins Boat 8 to 15 metric tonnes
– Light cargo ships (both variants) 1950 to 2250 metric tonnes
– Type VIIC U-boat 769 to 878 metric tonnes
– LST Mk2 Landing Ship 1780 to 3880 metric tonnes
– Tanker (i.e. Elnya Type) 3491 to 5045 metric tonnes
– Heavy attack transport (i.e USS Samuel Chase) 9000 to 16725 metric tonnes

In addition to the displacement, we will probably continue to display ship “kills” (which are allocated as they are now) to the last person to hit a ship before it sinks. We may also add a raw count of “assists” to players who hit a ship with a bomb or rocket before another player sinks it.

We know that this system does NOT perfectly allocate the displacement between the contributing players, however we consider this to be a far better system than the one we currently have. We have run through a large number of possibilities on this, all within the confines of the data that DCS makes available to us. We have also extensively tested various allocation concepts against our server log data to check for possible edge cases and exploits.

It cannot be overstated however, that we are limited by the data which comes out of DCS.

In our opinion, this is just about the most fair system we can come up with that recognises risk and effort with the appropriate reward for the individual AND for combined pilot attacks.

Some players have asked if something similar can also be used to allocate shared or assist kills for air-to-air or air-to-ground. Whilst a sharing system like we developed in Storm of War for Cliffs of Dover would be desirable – developing the code and systems for this is not on our current priority list.

Monday 08th March 2021. All was quiet. All was calm.

Suddenly a horde of nearly 20 red-team players arrived on the server. It was the unashamedly red-to-the-core European Air Force (EAF), and, Monday night is their squad flight night. They arrived, intent on raiding and asserting air supremacy.

The poor old blue team were caught with their pants down somewhat. There were few who are brave (or should we say foolish!) enough to attempt tackling this force alone. But the general reaction from the blue team was probably to steer clear!

The SoW discord was quick to see what is going on, but it’s not clear if the reaction was delight or despair!

It was at this point that a response somehow managed to half organise itself on discord. Within 30 minutes or so, some balance had been restored with 15 or so blue team player deciding to jump on and meet the EAF threat.

The word from our informants is that we can expect a repeat of this from EAF on a regular basis on Monday evenings, around 2000 Central European time.

If that is true, then Monday’s are shaping up as the idea time for a couple of Blue team squadrons to organise themselves also.

The result could be some almighty scraps of epic proportions. . . .

A ship slipped through the darkness, strong and proud and free,
Yet her wake was a ribbon of moonlight, over the purple sea,
The aircraft dived, the bombs were dropped; flame and spray leapt high!
The droning engines faded, and the sailors were left to die.

Each month, Storm of War awards campaign ribbons to the best results of those pilots who fly the minimum number hours. The results are reckoned per “pilot career”, thus rewarding those who can achieve victory for minimal loss. There are three separate categories: victories against maritime, ground and air targets. The same number of ribbons are awarded for each category. Both the air-victory and ground-victory categories are usually well contested. With the ribbon-earners generally racking-up 5+ successes per pilot-career (so, roughly “ace” status).

However, that is not the case with the ships.

Since starting the statistics, it’s been the the other way around… 1 success per 5 pilot-careers. Some months, it’s been even less demanding. For example, last month there were so few attempts on shipping that there was a ribbon given out for a single success from a pilot who flew 15 pilot-careers!. Yes, that’s right, getting 0.07 maritime victories per pilot carreer would have got you a ribbon in February 2021. Thus the maritime campaign ribbon is currently rewarding its pilots, not just for the skill in sinking these stubborn targets, but for being resourceful in the first place and exploring all that SoW has to offer.

But why are there so few ships sunk?

Well, there are number of factors. There are fewer of them, compared to other target types. They can sometimes be difficult to find, often difficult to approach and even difficult to hit. Some pilots just can’t handle that challenge. And others probably don’t even realise such targets are there. The top-10 list for both ground and air fill up quickly each month, but the seascape attracts scant attention. So here are some tips to surmount the difficulties, and to put yourself in the running for a coveted SoW campaign ribbon.

Finding targets
Finding ships out on the open sea can be challenging, just based on the sheer distances required to cover them. Altitude helps, but then there is the potential for clouds to obstruct the view. If you do spot ships out on the open water, report them via radio (SRS) so that others on your side, and your GCI controller (Kenway or JaFü), can respond even if you yourself do not.

Especially in the earlier missions which are set shortly after the landings, there can be a plethora of vessels along the landing grounds. Flying along the beaches can quickly spot the larger vessels and quite often there will be small landing craft in the vicinity, making their way to the sandy shore or pulled up on the sand.

Ships will congregate in the harbours too. Cherbourg, Le Havre and Grandcamp are well-known sites and both sides will make use of such havens when they have them. But there are lesser ports too. And sometimes barges and small craft can be found on the rivers and inland waterways (and, yes, inland shipping counts in the maritime category). Be wary though. Ships are generally good at self-defence, but these ports can be absolutely bristling with resistance.

Approaching targets
The large transports, and the LSTs (Landing Ship, Tank), are very well armed. Approaching them can be downright dangerous. And ships in ports will have nearby anti-aircraft emplacements on the docksides and shorelines. Harbours will often have multiple ships, multiplying the firepower even further. This can make a close approach suicidal for a lone, low-and-slow, fighter bomber.

Treat flotillas like bomber formations — hit the stragglers. Look out for those that are separated from the others and attack them orthogonally to the main group, so that the bulk of the guns will have to lead their shots against you. Of course, if you can find a lone ship somewhere, all the better.

The dropped ordnance for DCS WW2 is currently limited. There are no level-bombing sights for high-altitude attacks, nor delayed-fuse bombs for low-level work. And sea-skipping bombs is also not yet functioning. So this means a dive-bombing or shallow-dive attacks are your only options. Dive bombing can be difficult, as you need to get your speed under control to be able to maintain good aim, and then pull out in time. The upcoming F4U Corsair should be good for this. A shallow-dive approach is an effective bombing method, as very high speed (but still controlled) can be obtained, with minimal side-slip to ensure bombing accuracy. You can then continue the dive down to sea level to keep your speed up for the escape.

As with all attacks. There is safety and strength in numbers. Do not go in alone. Use numbers both to increase your firepower, but more importantly to distribute that of the enemy. Successful attacks on ports were done with a lot of aircraft. For example, there were two whole squadrons of FW 190s that attacked Bône Harbour on 1-2 January 1943, and they were additionally backed up with a squadron of Stukas.

Take with you all your squad mates or anyone else you can rustle up on comms. Fly out with an AI wingman to help disperse the return fire (even the wingman’s aircraft is not carrying bombs itself) and distract defending interceptors. Make use of AI raids too. Going in to support a squadron of Ju 88 torpedo bombers will definitely be easier, as they’ll break up the fleet and draw the AAA-fire away from you.

Consider also your approach direction. Are you coming in over land (and other Flak/AAA units), or are their other ships in the area? And what about barrage balloons? Having some good reconnaissance will help and knowing the placement and disposition of the docks and piers, and those berthed at them, will be of benefit in planning.

And don’t forget to use the radar reports and GCI fighter controller to warn you of potential interdiction.

Hitting targets
Landing bombs on ships is harder than it seems. Firstly, you need to manage your sideslip. Fly with the “trim ball” centred. This means that a longer, more deliberate approach can be more accurate, as you can ensure that the aircraft is not slipping. That will make your lateral accuracy very good.

Getting the timing and aim right for the bomb release is much more difficult. So attacking the ship along its length is a good idea. A slight error in release will still result in a hit, as the bomb falls further forward or aft on the target. In some cases, the very front (or aft) guns cannot track back (or forward) across the superstructure. Thus you might even reduce the amount of return fire you receive.

And, when bombing on water, a near miss is still a miss. Ground targets can be caught up in the blast, even if not hit directly, but this is not the case with ships. Well… not unless you hit the quayside.

Smaller warships, Schnellboote, U-Boote, etc., present a different challenge. They still carry a potent arsenal of anti-aircraft weapons, yet they are smaller in size and thus can be more elusive to your falling bombs. On the other hand, once hit they will slip beneath the waves more readily, so are susceptible to concerted rocket and cannon attacks.

The small infantry landing craft (Higgens boats) can be easy pickings for rapidly moving fighters to strafe. But they are tiny and are thus difficult to spot, let alone hit. And the plume of water that will erupt from near-misses can obscure them (and your vision more generally), so prepare for one careful solid burst. Note that you can hit and sink them with cannon fire from a fair way out, so don’t feel you need to close in to point-blank range to hit.

The catch with those Higgens boats is that there are usually LSTs and transports nearby. So come in very fast, obliquely to the larger ships, get one and then get out!

Leaving the area
Planning your egress is just as important as planning your approach. If you attack on the open sea, you don’t have many options, although a setting/rising sun may mask your retreat. However, attacking ports and shorelines will require some more tactical thinking. It may make more sense to attack from the sea, overfly, and then head inland. Thus, you can use terrain and port buildings to mask your departure.

Keep your speed up. Some maritime pilots (and this applies to ground attack too!) will make their attack and then pull up. As they climb out, they are slowing down, and remain well within the range of the guns of their targets. These aircraft become extremely easy to hit. Instead, level out and egress with your speed as high as you can manage until you are well out of range.

Resist the allure of a second pass. It is so tempting, I know. But do not do it! By now the ships are all alerted and all guns are training on you. Your turn back will bleed you of speed and make you even more vulnerable to the naval AAA. And, being low on energy is not a good idea for when those enemy fighters show up. And you can rest assured that they will be homing in on your radar mark, not to mention all the smoke and commotion.

Violent jinking (hard manoeuvring to avoid being hit by bullets) does not help as much as you might think. To the pilot, it seems like you are making huge corrections and are dancing all over the sky. But these are less than a degree in he sights of the AAA gunners who are just concentrating on putting maximum rounds downrange in your direction. Instead, arcing away means you are changing direction, and are forcing the guns to track you, but you are still keeping your speed up and thus are getting out of their reach quicker.

The reward

Landing safely after taking out a floating target, whether a tiny boat or a many-thousand-tonne behemoth, is most gratifying. Very few pilots are brave enough to attempt the challenge and even fewer can pull it off. So those ribbons in shades of purple, silver and gold, do actually make you one of the few. Even better are the sea stories of your exploits.

And those sea stories are actually sea stories.

March 2021: Sow Medals Investiture for February2021

PILOT AWARDS

The following pilots have received the below awards for their performance in February 2021.

22 Ribbons of each type were awarded for the month (based on the number of players who managed 10+ hours flying on the server). The ribbons will automatically show on your pilot profile on the SoW stats pages as soon as you start accumulating stats for March.

=== Anti Shipping ===

1. VF17-Gabby Gabreski
2. 362nd Shooter
3. No.54 Philstyle
4. Dr4v
5. 362nd SlickDevel
6. JG 53 Burrito [Milan 13]
7. VF17- 42 sqd Kane
8. Baby_James
9. VF17-Hammer
10. IAF. Yuval
11. Wicked Rabbit|PFT_Orphes
12. VF17-Ketchup
13. NastyNate
14. 334th_Charlie
15. Jetchuter
16. rolds
17. VF17-Knuck
18. JG 53 Dusty [Milan 14]
19. VF17- 42 sqd walshtimothy
20. IAF.DMK
21. VF17-StuFly
22. Popsablinkin

=== Ground Attack ===

1. 122sqn Nematome
2. VF17-Gabby Gabreski
3. Soda
4. nordliht83
5. No.119_Bruv (VK-B)
6. No.54 Thurmann
7. JMB
8. [ugly]Nirvi
9. Ramon
10. I./JG116 – Jägerfeger
11. VF17-Hammer
12. JG 53 Burrito [Milan 13]
13. Feder96v
14. Baby_James
15. Tremclad
16. NastyNate
17. Gili
18. Marinero
19. Spad
20. VF17- 42 sqd Kane
21. VF17-Ketchup
22. JG 53 Dusty [Milan 14]

=== Air to Air ===

1. FF*Stid*15
2. No.54 Philstyle
3. JG 53 Dusty [Milan 14]
4. Baby_James
5. 362nd Healer
6. VF17-Gabby Gabreski
7. JG 53 Paddy [Milan 19]
8. ZAVAR
9. VF17-Hammer
10. 122sqn JaMz
11. 122sqn Nematome
12. VF17-Ketchup
13. _=X@N=_
14. Ziggy
15. Eldorado
16. LeLv8_Archi
17. Dr4v
18. No.54 Thurmann
19. VF17- 42 sqd Kane
20. Willzah
21. 362nd Campbell
22. VF17-Knuck

Information detailing how the Campaign Ribbons are awarded can be found here: https://stormofwar.net/2021/01/29/january-2021-campaign-ribbons-explained/

Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I don’t have much of a background, no family, and I don’t belong anywhere. I’ve lived/worked in eighteen different countries and have visited or passed through a dozen more. At the time of writing this (2020), I’m in Arctic Norway, but I’m always moving, never settling (EDIT : update 2021… yes, I’ve just moved again). My education is in physics and mathematics. I do scientific research for a living. I also design and commission instrumentation: spacecraft, telescopes, radars, that sort of thing.

How long have you been playing flight sims?
I started WW2 flight sims in late 2014. I had been messing about with multiplayer Silent Hunter III before that, and some of my online group members were trying out IL-2 Cliffs of Dover (CloD). At that time, there was a crashed Junkers Ju 88 next to where I worked, so I asked if there was a Ju 88 in the sim. As there was, I decided to try out CloD. Learning flight-sims with a twin-engined bomber is hardly a typical beginning, but that’s where I got started.

What other gaming interests do you have besides WW2 flight simming?
Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim.
That one game makes all my other gaming interests look rather tame.

What’s your all time favourite flight sim and why?
Skyrim.
Dragon riding.
That should be pretty obvious, really.

Oh? If you meant aircraft flight, then none of them. Seriously, they are all sort of flawed and there isn’t a single one that turns it into an obsession. Rise of Flight has seaplanes (a passion) with superb water interaction, but its maps are dull and lifeless. X-Plane has a world map, which is great, but no history or combat. Cliffs of Dover is historically okay, but the AI is useless and the graphics look ancient now. DCS is most lifelike, but it doesn’t have any planes I’m really interested in. Still, DCS is the best of the bunch at the moment, so that is where I spend my aircraft time. That said, although the graphics and flight modelling are superb, the attention to detail on non-fighter weapon systems and avionics is not the best. DCS’s claimed high-quality is rather patchy… both generally for WW2 and especially for WW2 intel and air-to-ground ordnance. But things are steadily improving, and I see it being very good in future.

What got you into DCS and the warbirds in particular?
Frustration with CloD got me into DCS. I had been working with Philstyle and Reddog on their Storm of War project, but people were leaving CloD en masse to go to either DCS or IL2:BoX. Initially I went to BoX (= IL-2: Great Battles), as they also had a Ju 88. However it was really gamey and totally unconvincing, so I didn’t last long there. I tried DCS on a whim, and found it to be pretty good, although a bit limited at first. I’ve also tried the jets in DCS and they are excellent, but the ones that are currently available don’t hold my interest for too long. I love the helicopters (esp. the SA 342), but there isn’t a good multiplayer environment for them. Then, in late 2019, the revised Normandy map came out and FW 190 A-8/F-8 was announced, and that was enough to draw me back to the warbirds again. Unfortunately the A-8 is of rather poor quality and the F-8 variant simply never materialised. However, the updated Normandy map was very good and there were now enough airfields, aircraft and assets to make Storm of War feasible for DCS. We did some test runs and then got the current campaign system up and running in February 2020. Wow… it’s been a year already!

Describe your play style/ what interests you as a player?
Recon/bomber. I take pride in long-endurance flights and precision navigation. The idea is not to engage enemy fighters, but to avoid being intercepted altogether. I also work really hard on making it back to base. I am definitely not a single-engine fighter-pilot. Even fighter-bombers, although mildly more interesting, are still a bit bland.

Level-bombing is an excellent challenge, but Fernaufklärung (long-range reconnaissance) is what I like most. Going out, finding a secret target, taking a photograph and then getting that photograph back safely. This used to be my favourite activity in SoW-CloD. I do so wish there was a decent reconnaissance mechanism, and one from which we could derive target locations, damage results, and thus code pilot statistics and tactical consequences. Intelligence accumulation is another area desperately lacking in DCS. It needs false intelligence, old intelligence, lack of intelligence, a chain of intelligence… not just perfect Red/Blue icons on the F10 map.

I also love floatplanes and maritime patrols. I’ve spent huge amounts of time in Rise of Flight flying the Brandenburg W12 and Hanriot HD2. Floatplane flying is what I mostly do in X-Plane too, which has a world map. I add ships randomly and then go searching for them using an He 115 mod that I made myself. I wish I could do that in DCS. There is a DCS AI-seaplane mod now available, but nothing yet flyable… and certainly no map/scenario suitable for one. Seaplanes out of the Marianas would be cool though. PBY Catalina or OS2U Kingfisher, please?

So these days I find I am doing a lot of coding for SoW. And I mean a lot of coding.

Are you in a virtual squadron?
Yes. XVII.Fliegerkorps

Tell us about the XVII.Fliegerkorps.
The XVII.Fliegerkorps was founded in 2005-2006, originally as an online U-boat group (17.Flottille) fighting Arctic convoys in Silent Hunter III. I was living in Longyearbyen at the time. Hence there was a lot of local influence from there on the oiginal group’s graphics, style and theme.

In 2014, the group switched to flying WWII aircraft (CloD). In 2016, we dabbled in WWI floatplanes in Rise of Flight and jets/helicopters in DCS, before reverting to DCS warbirds in 2020. Numbers have ebbed and flowed. At our height, we had 23 active members. These days there’s only one or two. Not many people have the patience or aptitude for a dedicated recon/bomber role, so they drift off to the insta-thrill glamour fighters.

What kind of rig/ hardware setup do you have?
I’ve a couple of systems. One is a 2014 MacBook, but configured as dual-boot Windows 8N / Linux. The other is a 2019 PC with Windows 10. I have TrackIR (I’ve tried VR, but don’t like it whatsoever). I have a set of PFT-Puma controls.

Are you unhappy with any aspect of your setup right now that you’d change if you could?
Things are mostly okay, but I wish the Win10 machine was more stable. It has much better performance than the laptop, but I get the Blue-Screen-Of-Death quite often.

What’s the single best piece of Hardware you ever bought to make DCS WW2 (or WW2 simming in general) more enjoyable?
A Razer Taipan laser mouse. I bought this because it was cheap if you bought other Razer products. It cost me something like six euros. The other Razer stuff turned out to be poor quality, but the mouse was surprisingly good. Rugged, reliable, precise, smooth and comfortable. I’ve got well over 9000 hours out of it, and it is still going strong.

What are your top THREE tips for veteran players who have mastered the basics of DCS warbirds and are looking for that extra edge?

  1. Deep knowledge

Pick an aircraft and stick with it. Really study it. Learn its performance. Learn its weapon systems. Do you know the top speed you can get in level flight at each altitude, and different loadouts? Can you estimate the fuel requirement, so you don’t take more than you need? Do you know all those circuit breakers? Do you know the ammunition-type sequence in your cannons? What’s your advantageous altitude against each enemy?

Then invest some time into precision flying, until it becomes second nature. Doing “touch-and-go” landing practice might seem dull, but you are developing intuition. And that intuition carries over to all aspects of flight, so you no longer have to pay attention to it. It becomes instinct. And that frees your mind for other tasks, such as situational awareness, communication and tactics.

Often a type-expert pilot in a mediocre aeroplane is far more effective than a novice in the best one. And out-classing (or even shooting down) so-called superior aircraft is very rewarding.

  1. Optimise

When you know an aircraft well, optimise your key-bindings and control layout. Are your routine functions easy to get at? Are they logical? Are delicate functions accessible without compromising your flight precision? Sometimes a generic layout will serve a large number of aircraft, but if you truly want to get good at one of them, you need to lose that flexibility to improve the control ergonomics of your chosen machine.

  1. Planning

Just logging in and “winging-it” is not a plan; certainly not for bomber/recon missions. What is your start point, route, headings, distances, timings, altitudes, divert-fields, target, approach direction, fuel load, attack sequence, weapon selection, number of passes, drop-heights, and everything? Well-planned missions tend to go well.

What is the single simplest/ lowest effort thing that ED can change about DCS WW2 to have the most positive impact right now?
Implement a reconnaissance-photography mechanism!!

Some aircraft in DCS have a “guncam”. Now imagine that same mechanism, but on a camera pointing straight downward out of the aircraft. And if activating the camera was an event, you could also log the postion/attitude of the aircraft at the time, and then tie that back into the mission. Having reconnaissance, both high and low altitude, was an important part of WW2 and something that no simulator has yet tackled satisfactorily. And, as mentioned, there are already guncams for some DCS modules (e.g. MiG-15bis), so the mechanism exists… it just needs to be in the WW2 aircraft as a photo-recon camera option, pointing down instead of forward and activating a trigger or event when a photograph is taken.

Hopefully this is something that ED will consider for DCS. And hopefully this is something that they would consider discussing first, so they can implement what is actually needed by the community, rather than what they think they think the community wants.

How important is historicity to you when it comes to Warbird simulation? Do you want to full whack (historical airfields, matching plane-sets, historical weapons and paint-jobs) or are you happy with well detailed aircraft in an anachronistic or modern setting?
History is vital.

It is the benchmark that we can measure things against. It allows us to envelop our hobby in something that really happened, thus letting us reach back and touch our past. It provides a standard to which we can pin our scenarios, allowing us to move away from contrived “perfect blue-v-red balanced match-ups with equally-spaced airfields on a cloudless day”.

DCS only has a few items in its arsenal to let us re-create the by-gone world, so we have to use imagination too. But every step away from fact, becomes a strain on that imagination which at some point will break. This is why getting as many details correct as possible with the things we have, lets us take liberties elsewhere.

It is heartbreaking when such beautifully-crafted aircraft are placed in a jarring, dissonant context. When the most sublime flight mechanics are daubed with the wrong markings, or when there isn’t a single appropriate (and appropriately laid out) airfield to take off from, in an otherwise meticulously-modelled 3D rendition.

What’s the most frustrating WW2 Flight Sim controversy that comes up over and over again but shouldn’t because it’s really resolved?
Laser-Flak. Players often think the anti-aircraft guns are too good and claim they are sniped out of the sky on the first shot. When you check the .trk file, they have actually been peppered for minutes with lots of misses, that they don’t see as they are looking elsewhere. They also fly as a lone aircraft, with poor tactics over a heavily-defended area. Then they’re angry that they were shot down and take it out of the server admins or DCS.

What’s your favourite DCS module, or what announced module are you looking forward to the most?
The SA 342 is my favourite so far, and I’m very eagerly awaiting the Bo 105. For WW2, I don’t think DCS will ever have the sorts of aircraft I’m really interested in but, of those announced so far, I’m very much looking forward to the F4U-1D and Me 262. 🙂

February 2021: Sow Medals Investiture for January 2021

PILOT AWARDS

The following pilots have received the below awards for their performance in January 2021.

27 Ribbons of each type were awarded for the month (based on the number of players who managed 10+ hours flying on the server). The ribbons will automatically show on your pilot profile on the SoW stats pages as soon as you start accumulating stats for February.

=== Anti Shipping ===

1. VF17-Gabby Gabreski
2. 362nd Shooter
3. No.54 Philstyle
4. xvii-Dietrich
5. Baby_James
6. Dr4v
7. VF17-Hammer
8. [vPoAF] Vass
9. VF17-drake
10. MadDogS80
11. ROSS_Baron_von_Harkonnen
12. Desertrunner
13. JG 53 Burrito [Milan 13]
14. I./JG116 – Jägerfeger
15. Tepl
16. TOPHATTERS 202 | Showtime
17. VF17-StuFly
18. 362nd SlickDevel
19. loxley
20. TOPHATTERS 201 | Prorok
21. =122Sqn=Shifty
22. No.54 Thurmann
23. VF17-Ketchup
24. IAF. Yuval
25. [E111] SEEADLER
26. 336th_Monk
27. invis

=== Ground Attack ===

1. FF*Stid*15
2. nordliht83
3. VF17-Gabby Gabreski
4. Ramon
5. [WBP] Mother
6. xvii-Dietrich
7. TOPHATTERS 201 | Prorok
8. VF17-Hammer
9. JG 53 Burrito [Milan 13]
10. [ugly]Nirvi
11. Soda
12. MadDogS80
13. No.54 Thurmann
14. VF17-drake
15. Intruder 1-1 | PFT_Weber
16. FF*CMF*04
17. [ugly]Derbysieger
18. Nematome
19. Baby_James
20. No.54 Philstyle
21. VF17-Ketchup
22. NastyNate
23. TOPHATTERS 202 | Showtime
24. Tremclad
25. Tepl
26. [WBP] Bowsewr
27. ROSS_Baron_von_Harkonnen

=== Air to Air ===

1. FF*Stid*15
2. Baby_James
3. FF*El_Babuino*16
4. VF17-Gabby Gabreski
5. FF*CMF*04
6. rolds
7. VF17-Hammer
8. =122Sqn=kurtj
9. JG 53 Dusty [Milan 14]
10. 78thFG Ratsy
11. No.54 Philstyle
12. No.119_Bruv (VK-B)
13. 362nd Andre
14. 362nd Wallace
15. [TWB]Kmac31
16. LeLv8_Archi
17. VF17-Ketchup
18. 9./JG27 MAD
19. I/JG7_G
20. 362nd Healer
21. JG 53 Paddy [Milan 19]
22. I/JG7_Killerfliege
23. JG 53 Burrito [Milan 13]
24. River
25. Willzah
26. VF17-Knuck
27. 362nd Larsky

Information detailing how the Campaign Ribbons are awarded can be found here: https://stormofwar.net/2021/01/29/january-2021-campaign-ribbons-explained/

The Storm of War pilot stats pages provide space for the various campaign ribbons that a player has won to be displayed. This is an explanation of how the ribbons are awarded.

HOW MANY RIBBONS PER MONTH?
The total number of ribbons awarded per month is equal to 15% of the number of players who flew for 10 hours or more. So, if 100 players flew for 10 hours+, then 15 ribbons in each category will be awarded. If 200 players flew for 10 hours+, then 30 ribbons in each category will be awarded.

WHAT ARE THE CATEGORIES?
There are three categories
Air to Air – based on victories against other aircraft versus “careers” flown
Ground attack – based on the number of enemy ground units destroyed versus “careers” flown
Maritime Strike – based on the ships sunk by the player versus “careers” flown
The same number of ribbons are awarded in each category.

WHO GETS A RIBBON?
Players who fly 10+ hours in the month are sorted by their kill:career ratio in each category. Once the sorting is done, the number of ribbons to be awarded (x) in that month are awarded to the (x) top players by K:C ratio. Pilots start each month with 1 career 1 death is counted as a further “career” 5x bailouts are also counted as a further “career” .
So, if 25 ribbons are being awarded, then the top 25 players in each category get a ribbon.

RIBBON DESIGN
The ribbons are intended to look historically neutral in that they do not mimic real world medal ribbons from either Axis or Allied sides. We don’t want to copy real world medals for two reasons:
1. Out of respect for the real thing,
2. Due to potential political debates about the appropriateness of certain awards and imagery.
By designing our own ribbons we can also have the flexibility we need to recognise the types of gameplay that matter for SoW.
Each category of ribbon has a “similar” design, so the colour scheme of the ribbons indicates the category. For example, Maritime Ribbons make heavy use of dark blue and purple colours. The image below provides a visual guide to the ribbon designs.


Furthermore, each month of the year has one campaign ribbon per category, which means a maximum of 36 (12×3) ribbons are available in a year. In subsequent years, if a pilot is awarded the same campaign ribbon again, a “PIP” is added to the ribbon, as shown below. There is room for up to 4 pips (5 awards of the same ribbon).

The following is a brief set up tips about flying and fighting in the Fw-190 D9 from Hexenjager. These are based on some posts over at the SoW Discord.

Generally speaking, my advice with the Dora is to stay above 500 kph as much as possible in combat, obviously stick to the basic rules of “Boom n’ Zooming” with the 190. If you have to turn for whatever reason, make sure your RPM is under 3000, as otherwise the engine torque is severe enough that your energy state will suffer badly.

Combat/takeoff flaps can lower your stall speed a bit if you really need it to pull lead on a target, and it can even get you through a tight (by 190) standards turn okay, but generally speaking you’ll end up slow enough to become a target for everyone else in the neighborhood with not enough energy to escape.

The roll rate is your best defensive tool with the Dora. It’s very easy to roll out-of-plane with an attacker on your six, and I’ve had some good results with rolling-scissors, particularly against mustangs and thunderbolts. I’m not as familiar with them, but I have an impression that at low energy states they have a hard time pulling AoA sufficient to stay in a killing position on while you do this. I’ll even drop flaps to take-off for this. You’ll get slow but the guys on your six will be slower and have a harder time accelerating.

Obviously the best defensive tool is to stay fast, stay situationally aware and make good decisions to avoid that situation in the first place.

Gunnery-wise I don’t bother with the gyro-sight. It can mislead you in ways that sneak up on you in combat. If you see a round wing-shape you think is a P-47 and you set your wingspan for that and you get close and see it’s actually a spitfire, you’ll either have to take your attention off the fight or have a sight that’s feeding you inaccurate lead information.

SQUADRON AWARDS/ CITATIONS

New in January 2021, virtual squadrons will now be recognised as a “unit” for contributions over a longer period (each half year). This recognition comes in the form of “unit citations” which all pilots within that squadron will wear on their uniforms, as long as they remain a member of that squadron. New pilots who join a squadron will also be able to share in past glorious by also wearing the unit citation on their pilot page.

The Unit Citation is a yellow ribbon, as shown below:

The award process for unit citations is as follows:

  • Each year is divided into 12 monthly campaigns.
  • In any given campaign, a squad is regarded as having made a “significant contribution” if:
    1. Two ore more pilots with their unit tags flew
    2. pilots with unit tags collectively logged 10+ flight hours
  • Unit citations are awarded every half-year (Jan-Jun and Jul-Dec)
  • If a squad makes 5+ significant contributions in the given half-year, it gets a unit citation
  • A unit citation is displayed as an extra ribbon on member pilots’ records
  • The unit citation belongs to the squad, not the pilots. Thus:
    1. new pilots joining that squad, will receive its past citation ribbon
    2. pilots leaving the squad will lose the unit citation ribbon

These Squadrons/ Groups have been given Unit Citations for the period June to December 2020:

  1. Jagdgeschwader 53
  2. No.303 Squadron
  3. No.54 Squadron
  4. 362nd FS
  5. European Air Force (EAF)
  6. 78th Fighter Group
  7. FF

PILOT AWARDS

The following pilots have received the below awards for their performance in December 2020.

23 Ribbons of each type were awarded for the month (based on the number of players who managed 10+ hours flying on the server). The ribbons will automatically show on your pilot profile on the SoW stats pages as soon as you start accumulating stats for December.

=== Anti Shipping ===

  1. VF17-Gabby Gabreski
  2. 362nd Shooter
  3. VF17-Hammer
  4. VF17-StuFly
  5. MIDWAY
  6. VF17-drake
  7. 362nd Andre
  8. JG 53 Dusty [Milan 14]
  9. Shanks
  10. VF17-Ketchup
  11. Gravblu
  12. Slegawsky_VR
  13. VF17- 42 sqd walshtimothy
  14. MadDogS80
  15. DocInAB1RD
  16. JG 53 Frislev [Milan 44]
  17. JG 53 Tracer [Milan 15]
  18. JG 53 Plush [Milan 17]
  19. VF17-TeufelHunden
  20. loxley
  21. VF17- 42sqd Slapbladder
  22. VF17-Knuck
  23. Cozens

=== Ground Attack ===

  1. MIDWAY
  2. TOPHATTERS 201 | Prorok
  3. Soda
  4. nordliht83
  5. VF17-Gabby Gabreski
  6. rolds
  7. VF17-Hammer
  8. JG 53 Paddy [Milan 19]
  9. JG 53 Burrito [Milan 13]
  10. VF17-drake
  11. Knauf
  12. No.54 Thurmann
  13. VF17-Ketchup
  14. Popsablinkin
  15. 78thFG Ratsy
  16. Ramon
  17. MadDogS80
  18. 56th FG – HuB
  19. Slegawsky_VR
  20. Thorschi
  21. [ugly]Nirvi
  22. VF17-TeufelHunden
  23. [ugly]Derbysieger

=== Air to Air ===

  1. rolds
  2. JG 53 Paddy [Milan 19]
  3. JG 53 Dusty [Milan 14]
  4. FFStid15
  5. VF17-Hammer
  6. 78thFG Ratsy
  7. 78thFG Wiggy
  8. FFCMF04
  9. VF17-Gabby Gabreski
  10. EAF331_Stuntman
  11. No.54 Philstyle
  12. =KK=Des
  13. 332FG Magic Zach
  14. 362nd Healer
  15. 362nd Andre
  16. SPARE 78 | =STP= Schnarre
  17. MIDWAY
  18. 362nd Campbell
  19. Willzah
  20. JG 53 Burrito [Milan 13]
  21. Wilbuz
  22. JG 53 Plush [Milan 17]
  23. No.54 Thurmann

The following pilots have received the below awards for their performance in November 2020.

13 Ribbons of each type were awarded for the month (based on the number of players who managed 10+ hours flying on the server). The ribbons will automatically show on your pilot profile on the SoW stats pages as soon as you start accumulating stats for December.

=== Anti Shipping ===

  1. VF17-Gabby Gabreski
  2. VF17-StuFly
  3. VF17-Hammer
  4. rolds
  5. MIDWAY
  6. JG 53 Burrito [Milan 13]
  7. VF17- 42 Sqd Raven
  8. JG78_horΛz
  9. VF17-drake
  10. Baby_James
  11. JG 53 Paddy [Milan 19]
  12. <64>NoWheels
  13. SlegawskyxVR

=== Ground Attack ===

  1. Soda
  2. VF17-Gabby Gabreski
  3. MIDWAY
  4. VF17- 42 Sqd Raven
  5. VF17-Hammer
  6. No.54 Philstyle
  7. 78thFG Ratsy
  8. 56th FG – Cypher
  9. No.54 Thurmann
  10. VF17-Ketchup
  11. Baby_James
  12. VF17-drake
  13. 78thFG Wiggy

=== Air to Air ===

  1. Miro
  2. 78thFG Ratsy
  3. Sniper 1-1
  4. No.54 Philstyle
  5. JG 53 Dusty [Milan 14]
  6. VF17-Hammer
  7. -Slayer-
  8. rolds
  9. JG 53 Paddy [Milan 19]
  10. VF17-Gabby Gabreski
  11. JG 53 Burrito [Milan 13]
  12. 303_HOLY
  13. 78thFG Wiggy

This Handy Guide was posted on the SoW Discord recently:

DCS Warbird buying guide:

1. Buy the plane you always loved the most.

2. Get frustrated and buy the opposing plane that seems to shoot you down the most.

3. Buy the plane from the side you were originally on that now seems to be constantly shooting you down.

4. Get shot down by all planes and realize that you really just need to get back in the plane you love and learn to get the most out of it.

5. See a sale and buy all remaining WW2 planes.

Thanks to YoungGun for his insights…. for many of us, this rings all too true.