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Storm of War

“Did you know” is a series of perhaps lesser known features and details about the DCS WW2 aircraft. though not necessarily important to know in order to fly the aircraft, they are still interesting and if known, may prove useful. In this article, we’re discussing some features of the Spitfire.

Morse Code Signal Lamp:
The Spitfire has a built in and fully functional Morse Code key and visual lamp system. A white lamp can be found just rear of the antenna behind the cockpit, a second laps on the fuselage underside between the landing gear.
In the cockpit, upper starboard side wall, just aft of where the front panel meets the starboard side wall, a component with three switches is mounted. Two switches enable/disable the lamps and the middle switch is actually a Morse Code key. Short tap for “di” and long tap for “dah”.
Used as a means of communication when radio discipline was critical, such as coordinating a fighter formation prior to an attack or perhaps as a identifier for friendly contacts in low light or dark conditions when regrouping, the Morse Code lamps could almost easily allow the pilot to clearly and quickly identify themselves to other allies pilots in their airspace. I say ‘almost easily’, because, if you fly the spitfire, you’ll soon find yourself doing a little hand gymnastics in the cockpit as you swap your left hand from the throttle to the stick, to allow you to use your right hand to operate the Morse key. Alternatively you could try using your left hand …. but that’s even more awkward. There’s something ‘very British’ about the placement of some controls in the cockpit after all.
Pilots were required to be proficient in Morse Code to a standard of at least15 words per minute (wpm)

Oil Dilute control:
When operating in cold winter conditions, the Spitfire cockpit has, accessible to the pilot, an engine oil dilution control which as the name suggests, dilutes the engine oil. Used typically during startup, these controls can be found beside the pilots seat, lower port side, under the elevator trim controls. There are three black cap covered buttons, aligned in a vertical orientation, with the top one being the oil dilute control.
The reason for this control is simple. In very cold and wintry conditions, when the aircraft as sat un-used for any reasonable length of the time, the engine oil, vital for the lubrication of and sustained operation of the engine, will have low viscosity, meaning it won’t be flow easily enough to properly lubricate the engine upon start up. Given the oil cannot do it’s job because it too cold and thick, this will prematurely damage the engine. After starting, the engine will eventually warm up, the lubricating oil will become more viscous and begin to do it’s job properly. However, without diluting the oil prior to start up, it’ll be too late and the damage will already be done.
The solution is to dilute this thicker cold less viscous engine oil before turning over the engine to ensure it can do it’s job straight away. This is achieved by mixing the engine oil with fuel from from the fuel tank, controlled by the button on the left of the pilots seat. The result required is an oil pressure of less than 120 psi and thereby, a more easily flowing (more viscous) engine oil. This cost merely a few quarts of engine fuel but can help ensure the engine wear is minimised when being started in very cold conditions. The fuel itself essentially evaporates from the oil soon after and causes not issues. There is a gauge in the front panel in the Spitfire which displays the oil pressure to the pilot. This is the long vertical gauge, marked in orange or yellow and located low center right on the front panel.

Once the engine starts, it is important to let it warm up before being put under load. It is unclear at the time writing, the extent to which Eagle Dynamics intend to implement engine management within it’s forth coming and much anticipated damage model update.
Do you have knowledge of other system in the DCS Spitfire which have been implemented yet mostly sit there quietly, unused or unknown. Do drop a comment below.

Taped Gun and Cannon Ports:
Perhaps you have noticed, perhaps you’ve not. The Spitfire’s gun and cannon ports are taped with red tape as part of the ground crews service and overhaul when you take a new plane. When you jump into a new aircraft, you’ll notice that read tape is applied on the leading edge of the wing and on the cannon muzzles. The reason is simple, it indicated that the guns and cannons have been serviced and are ready to go
However, say you land, taxi off the runway, stay in your aircraft and call your ground crew with an order to immediately reload and refuel. Your crew chief will get his team right on it and then let you know when the action is completed. You may notice that they won’t re-tape the gun and cannon ports.

Eagle Dynamics appear to have modeled this also and it makes sense. In this case, taping the gun and cannon ports wouldn’t make sense as it’s not at all important and would take unnecessary time. Pretty cool minor details I think


About the Author: Joker has been flying WW2 flight sims for a number of years and flies primarily on the allied side, with 54 Virtual Squadron. Joker also has a Youtube channel where he posts aviation and road vehicle simming videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2wB68fOiugO-KUXqU4fNlw

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AAR from our July 2nd flight on Storm of War, featuring Rob, Mother, Bowsewr and Chuck.

17 June, 1944. D-Day is just behind us, but the war in the West is far from over. Allied forces have secured a beachhead in Normandy, but German forces still control Cherbourg and the majority of the Cotentin Peninsula.

We are assigned to the 336th Fighter Group, which is based in Saint-Pierre-du-Mont. A squadron of P-47 Thunderbolts and a squadron of P-51 Mustangs are both stationed there.

Saint-Pierre-du-Mont has great strategic value at this time since M64 and M65 bombs just got shipped from England, which allows us to support ground troops without having to fly all the way back to Ford or Funtington. As I fire up my trusty Thunderbolt, Rob, Mother and Bowsewr finish their engine run-up before taxiing to runway 27. We load up bombs and extra fuel in the auxiliary tank.

As we line up on the runway, we have a grim reminder that fighting is still going in the push towards Cherbourg. From the airfield, smoke columns are visible near Azeville and Sainte-Mère-Église. We perform last minute checks (trim, flaps, tailwheel locked, boost off, propeller at max) as radar operators inform us that no air threats are expected in the vicinity. However, we still have an uneasy feeling that this could change at any minute.

Our mission is to intercept a few German Schnellboots. According to intelligence reports, the flotilla is following the Cotentin Peninsula and heading North. Armed with this knowledge, we plan our flight accordingly and prepare for a long flight.

We throttle up and depart West towards Utah Beach. We start climbing as fast as we can using the best climb speed (160 mph). Down low, the Jug is a real pig… but up high it is a very potent fighter. We follow the coast towards Barfleur without seeing any sign of enemy aircraft. As we draw closer to Cherbourg, we realize that cloud cover will make ship spotting a bit difficult. Therefore, we decide to head North towards the Channel to try to find these ships.

After a good half-hour of flying, our auxiliary tanks are drained and we have to switch to the main tank. That still gives us a good 250 gal of fuel, which is more than enough for our mission. After roughly 20 minutes of flight across the Channel, we still haven’t seen any ship at all. The clouds make our job quite difficult since we can barely keep everyone in visual while flying between the puffy clouds.

We then dive down below the clouds to try to better spot the fleet, and steer South towards Alderney. Once again, no Schnellboots in sight. Could our intel be wrong? In hindsight, we suspect the flotilla could’ve been sighted much further South towards Granville or Mont Saint-Michel… but instead we elect to turn back towards the coast to strike some ground targets.

Our alternate target is a Telecommunication Station North-West of Valognes. Rob’s eagle eye finds the communications centre, and a few minutes later we all start our bombing run.

Rob and I go first, and the first pass completely smashes the communications center. Angry tracers graze us left and right. Bowsewr and Mother join the party and we end up busting a few bunkers. After a few more passes, the whole camp lies in ruins. We then head back to Saint-Pierre-du-Mont for some well earned R&R. Interestingly, what was originally meant to be an anti-shipping mission turned into a very successful air-to-ground strike mission.

About the Author: Chuck Owl is a keen WW2 flight simmer who has been part of the multiplayer community for a number of years. Chuck is also famous for producing the highly detailed “Chuck’s Guides” to DCS aircraft.

Incorrectly, Mark Twain is often credited with the quote “There are three kinds of lies; lies, damn lies and statistics“. It seems that statistics have an interesting following, particularly where competition exists. “We do so love to hate and hate to even admit we love looking at statistics don’t we?” Twain didn’t say that either.
Whether it’s racing (any format), football, hockey, chess or even poker playing, any following of competitive sport will almost never be without a crop of statistics near-by to provide additional detail and insight (or confusion). Usually used to either justify the reasoning behind an expectation, a bet or to satisfy a claim made prior, statistics are either praised as an oracle or dismissed as falsehoods when the final result comes in.

Storm of War has had statistics established since its beginning. Indeed, there has always been a results table in flight simulators and Storm of War server (similarly to all servers) leveraged it. However, it was quite quickly identified that the default flight sim results tables were not up the task for SoW and during the former IL2-CLoD days, much effort and design went into developing and managing statistics.

The vast majority of virtual pilots are, most likely, checking in on their stats regularly. Sure a very few claim no interest but I suspect they were sneaking a peek on the side anyway! It’s not vanity or even curiosity. It’s a natural response of any competition loving person. The latest evolution of Storm of War is on the DCS platform and the SoW statistics are again back and active. Hundreds of pilots are logging results every month.
There is a very important observation that came from the previous IL2-CLoD statistics days which is particular to how SoW is setup and that’s the Squadron statistics. As individual pilots, your performance is there to be seen and a good session at the stick can return some quite handsome results to be rightly proud of. However, if you are a member of the Squadron, then there’s a knock on effect from your personal score, of raising your Squadron’s profile and this is what SoW is really all about. To be clear, there is plenty of room for individual pilots to be fully catered for; after all, the base level for the statistics is the ‘Pilot’ level. It’s the fold up of these collectively into the Squadron level that provides the motivation and reason for Squadrons to fly on SoW to most all SoW pilots and virtual squadrons.

But …(like some cringy TV infomercial selling you overpriced ‘amazing’ cotton socks) …there’s more !
The SoW Campaign summary is the summation of every individual pilot’s record during the month of operations combined to provide a ‘quick glance’ state of play.

Every time a pilot chooses to fight with a sense of self preservation and bring the plane back to base instead of risking all, it has a positive impact on the teams overall result.

One other pretty cool thing that SoW does (it’s not exclusive or original to SoW) is the issuance of medals at the end of each month. The statistics reset, with that previous months results archived and available to see. Pilots who have had a good month and achieved notable mentions, may in some cases receive additional medals on their name to reward them for exceptional results. This is all to recognize those pilots who have put in the seat time, flown tactically and in doing so, enhanced the furthered the strategic aims of their side.

The true motivation of the SoW statistics, even though there is individual pilot information available, is aimed at explaining the overall monthly score for each team and through this, to encourage teamwork, cooperation and flying together with purpose. Just as the server missions track the history of the WW2 air war, the statistics are very much a nod to the reality of all sides back then, when blood and treasure was spent in the pursuit of victory.

Besides providing performance data back to players, the presentation of statistics can also be used by the server to encourage certain types of game-play. But highlighting certain types of successes, player behaviour can be adapted to better reflect the intentions and design philosophy of the server (such as team-play, and providing a diverse target environment for both air-to-air and air-to-ground combat).

Storm of War, for anyone new to this server takes no side, promotes no political point of view and is focused on the simple idea, yet challenging task of creating a fun environment to fly simulated warbirds.

About the Author: Joker has been flying WW2 flight sims for a number of years and flies primarily on the allied side, with 54 Virtual Squadron. Joker also has a Youtube channel where he posts aviation and road vehicle simming videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2wB68fOiugO-KUXqU4fNlw

Eagle Dynamics offered, during the early Covid-19 pandemic, free access to their aircraft modules for a limited time. This attracted significant numbers of new players to DCS, many of whom are joining the online flying community for the first time. This article is a personal description of how I found my way into the SoW community in particular.

For years, I flew alone in single player and I had good fun too. However, looking back and comparing my single player experiences with my current multiplayer experiences, I am glad I jumped in and started to chat and say hi. I soon found folks to fly with, which significantly improved combat flight simming for me. Thanks to the development of some really nice Voice-Over-IP tools like SRS multiplayer communication is at a level now where all sorts of play styles can be enhanced with online radio coms. Despite this obvious enhancement, for some players, using voice coms can still be a little intimidating.

When I first joined a multiplayer server, it was actually not a lot different to playing single player. I was going about my usual solo routine. But then, as I taxied out to the threshold, I received a message that a pilot was coming in to land at the same runway I was taxiing towards. I halted my aircraft to wait for his landing to be completed. Just after he set down right in front of me the radio came alive, “ Spitfire at threshold, thanks for waiting, runway clear, have a good one”.
Whaat?!! That was a message to me! Wow! Somewhere I mustered the decision to press the Transmit button and radio, “Spitfire, runway 16, taking off, departure to the west” and then I rolled and made sure I performed a good takeoff, maybe someone was watching.

After a few sessions, I began to recognize a few names and soon enough, I would meet them in the air and perhaps co-ordinating our efforts in a dogfight. Not long after, we got talking.This is how I ended flying with a group of folks and ultimately becoming good friends.

By regularly flying with others, the benefits have been huge. My skills have greatly improved and it is way more fun. However, the biggest benefit is that you can protect your flying buddy or wing-man and they can protect you also. This means you’ll be more tactically aware and successful more often. Simply flying with one other pilot on your wing can make a huge difference.

I really encourage everyone to get onto SRS on SoW and if you are flying alone, look out for opportunities to join up in the sky. You wont regret it.

About the Author: Joker has been flying WW2 flight sims for a number of years and flies primarily on the allied side, with 54 Virtual Squadron. Joker also has a Youtube channel where he posts aviation and road vehicle simming videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2wB68fOiugO-KUXqU4fNlw

SRS is available here: http://dcssimpleradio.com/

Look out for “Radio Check”, my next article specially about SRS on Storm of War server.