Storm of War

This article is the first is an ongoing series we plan. The idea is to interview players who are regulars on the SoW server and who contribute either currently or in the past to the community. Hopefully these will be entertaining and also will provide the potential for us to share our skills and knowledge with each other.

Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Real name is Tom, I am in my 40’s. I was raised and still currently live in Kent in southeast England. Been into military aviation since I can remember. I grew up living next door to a former WW2 evacuee whose hobby was building model aeroplanes. He had a vast collection, mostly WW2, which I’d spend hours marveling at, with him describing what their names were, what they were for and how good (or bad) they were. Studied Music Production & Sound Engineering for my University degree but all the while the passion for aviation and flight simming remained. Many years of airshows, a bit of stick time in various light aircraft, gliders and a Spitfire and I’m now CAD designer, a father of one, and still as nutty about military aviation (warbirds particularly) as ever.

How long have you been playing flight sims?
Since Chuck Yeagers Air Combat on an old 286, some 23 years ago! Blimey, I suddenly feel old!

What other gaming interests do you have besides WW2 flight simming?
Some dabbling in FPS’s and – forgive me – Train Simulator (do love a steam engine!) but since becoming a dad mainly just flight sims these days

What’s your all time favorite flight sim and why?
Currently, DCS – for it’s depth of content, the incredible simulation of the aircraft systems and behaviours, the ability to jump from Warbirds, to choppers or fast jets, and it’s incredible beauty. I do also fly a great deal of Il-2:GBS. Historically, Il-2:1946, Cliffs of Dover, European Air War, CFS2, Aces over Europe, Jane’s Longbow and Jane’s US Navy Fighters got a lot of love from me.

What got you into DCS and the warbirds in particular?
The A-10 in LOMAC (always loved the A-10) then DCS: A-10C. When the P-51 came along I was excited as to what this could mean for the future, as I’ve always loved WW2 sims… and here we are!

Describe your play style/ what interests you as a player?
Historical/prototypical operations in both multiplayer and single, but with a definite bias to the former.

Are you in a virtual squadron?
Yes. For nearly 13 years now I’ve been flying with the DangerDogz.

Tell us about the DangerDogz.
A fantastic bunch of guys whose approach to flight simming is relaxed and more about having fun as a group than following strict prototypical procedures or methodology. Typically we fly a evening of sequential co-ops (Il-2:GBS) or a large ‘bit-of-everything-for-everybody’ dogfight server (DCS) on discrete evenings/afternoons of the week, though we raise our game occasionally flying organised online campaigns; Storm of War with CloD and Scorched Earth Online War with Il-2: 1946 being particular highlights. Some of us are also partaking in the 443 Squadron PvE campaign for DCS which is proving a very challenging but satisfying experience, and I myself have started an in house PvE campaign in Il-2:GBS using Pat Wilson’s Campaign generator to emulate the experiences of a P-38 Group flying ops over the German frontier in the Autumn/Winter of 1944. They’re a great bunch, and we spend as much time in gales of laughter as we do calling bandits. We’re always looking for new victims… sorry, members, so if anyone who feels this ethos may fit their bill, they are most welcome to drop by and say hi.

What kind of rig/ hardware setup do you have?
I am currently running an i5-8600K (3.6GHz) with a CoolerMaster MasterLiquid Lite 240 High Performance Liquid Cooler on a Gigabyte Z370 AORUS Gaming 7 motherboard with 2x16GB DDR4 3000 MHz Corsair VENGEANCE RAM and a GTX 1070 Ti. A 120GB Kingston UV400 2.5″ SSD, for the OS and 2TB Seagate Barracuda Pro 3.5″ which all my games run from. Controllers are a Microsoft Sidewinder 2 FFB, CH Products Throttle Quadrant and MFG Crosswind Pedals, with either a TIR3 or Rift S depending on my mood for head movement tracking/visual interface.

Are you unhappy with any aspect of your setup right now that you’d change if you could?
Unhappy, no, but you’re always thinking about the next (affordable) upgrade! Primary next upgrade would be either a graphics card to help push the VR frames up some or a large capacity SSD to host DCS and hasten the load times. Also, my arse would probably thank me for getting a new chair!

What’s the single best piece of Hardware you ever bought to make DCS WW2 (or WW2 simming in general) more enjoyable?
Tied between TIR and the FFB stick; both kind of essential to me now. Rudder pedals a close second and throttle third.

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. Get to know your mount inside out so that you can predict what she’ll do in any given attitude, power setting and airspeed, particularly as the ASI starts dropping towards the 100mph/160km/h mark. All these birds behave differently with power on and at increasing angles of attack, some in ways that can bite, some that you can exploit. Get to know them so that you can be prepared to counter or even initiate these behaviours when you need them the most.
  2. Receptiveness – be open to new information, tips and hints, and be prepared to test them out and see if they work for you or suit your flight style. It’s easy after some time to get comfortable and a little bit blasé about some aspects of your particular mount and to fob-off new suggestions that can actually be of huge benefit. It may not even be directly related to the flight characteristics of your ride, but stuff as pedestrian as hardware tweaks, input curves or even something as esoteric as some sort of tweak to a behavioural pattern to increase your SA. Try it out – it might bring dividends.
  3. For those who multiplayer – be a good wingman; when the bloods up and that sneaky e/a has avoided your decisive burst for the umpteenth time but by god you want to smack him down, it’s easy to get target fixated and forget you’ve likely got some friends around you who might have better geometry to make that bad guy eat dirt. If someone else says I’ve got a shot, break off and cover his tail. The really good guys out there aren’t diving into a fights, cutting-off a chasing friendly and risking a collision for their next kill; they stay above the melee and tell the offensive friendly that his 6 is clear, or, if it isn’t, where the threat is coming from and that he’s rolling on in to do something about it. There will always be a fight, there will always be those making a bee-line for the tracer – if you can be disciplined enough to stay above and watch the friendlies tails, not only will you have the opportunity to pick up (and hopefully smack down) some inbound e/a whose so fixated on joining the furball he never spotted your eagle-eyed ass up there, but you’ll also earn the trust, respect and appreciation of those you fly with. In turn, the good ones will repay you for your selflessness by covering your butt when you’re stuck in a grinding swirling furball in the future. Among the community I fly with that counts for a lot, and vastly much more than any K/D ratio.

    What is the single simplest/ lowest effort thing that ED can change about DCS WW2 to have the most positive impact right now?
    Work on getting the rear echelon elements of the WW2 Asset Pack a little more fleshed out; be it the trains, or period cargo ships, or fuel bowsers, or radio trucks, or towed field artillery, these are the things that the fighter-bombers we have now in our hands in DCS focused on – tactical interdiction. The wealth of armour types is nice but somewhat irrelevant as DCS simulates – quite accurately – how difficult it was to destroy heavy armour from the air! The target types I suggest provide more achievable mission objectives, and ergo more satisfaction for the entry level simmers on top of being more prototypically common target types for the aircraft we currently fly under DCS WW2.

    What’s the most frustrating WW2 Flight Sim controversy that comes up over and over again but shouldn’t because it’s really resolved?
    150 octane, who used it and when. Every. Damn. Time. Would I like it as an option? Sure! Never have a problem with choice, but too many people come wading into forums demanding 150 octane power ratings for their Spitfire/P-51/P-47 who know nothing of the nuance and complexity of it’s use in operations and how these sync (or don’t) with what we have in terms of a WW2 environment in DCS. Or any late WW2 ETO sim for that matter.

Many thanks to Fenrir for being the first to provide us with a player interview for the storm of war community!


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.

The fact of the matter is simple …. communication ensures the team works better. When you are not talking to each other, things go poorly. When flying Digital Combat Simulator on the Storm of War (SoW) Server, this is absolutely true. Whether you are flying as a lone pilot or part of a virtual squadron, being on radio will help you be more successful and help your side achieve their goals.
Over the past year or so, a little add-on programme has increasingly started to take on the primary role of facilitating voice communication for DCS. This programme is Simple Radio Standalone, AKA “SRS”.

SRS is a fairly lightweight application that hooks into the aircraft radios in DCS. It allows players to broadcast voice to each other via the specific virtual frequencies that their in-game radios are tuned to. Naturally, this goes beyond other well known voice communication tools like Teamspeak and discord because of this unique connection to the aircraft radio. Having this functionality has been a massively immersive improvement for many online DCS players and SRS has been integrated into most of the popular multiplayer servers.
There’s no doubt that tools like SRS add to your experience and can improve your success on the SoW server as a pilot. SRS also allows non-flying players to join the “airborne” radio frequencies to act as Fighter Controllers or Air Traffic Controllers.

However, as with any third party tool, that’s not core to DCS, a number of frustrations can arise. SRS is always a step behind the core development of the game it hooks into. Any significant DCS might cause the loss of functionality for SRS, requiring an additional update. Not all servers will update simultaneously and players can be left with non-compatible versions of SRS.
As long as immersive radio voice coms are missing from the core of DCS, third party applications will also require players to conduct extra key bindings and hardware configuration in addition to that which they already have for DCS itself. In other cases, players might still prefer voice-activated style communication with their squad-mates. It’s not uncommon for players to have both SRS and Teamspeak or Discord running at the same time. Using SRS to communicate to the wider player base on a server, whilst using Teamspeak for coms with their mates or virtual squadron.
All of this configurating and additional installations can simply be too much of a faff for a lot of people. Furthermore, determining how best to go about deploying the increasing variety of voice coms applications can cause real problems within groups of players, as the following recent statement from Storm of War social media shows:

In the end, the best solution is most likely to come when immersive and configurable voice coms are finally integrated in the core of DCS itself. Hopefully, lessons can be learned from the likes of SRS and Teamspeak or Discord so that the most flexible, yet user friendly solution can be implemented.
For SRS information visit

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:

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:

SRS is available here:

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