Storm of War

The poll asking the community for their wish-list of DCS Normandy map updates is now closed. The results are in. There were 157 unique user replies. Each unique voter cast 5 votes (max one vote per item).
More detail/ context regarding the nature of many requests was posted in the previous magazine article. This content is repeated below the chart and table.

The tally of results is shown in the chart below with the MOST voted for at the top.

A Tabular display of the results is shown below.

ITEMVOTES
Implement the same coastline tech as used on Syria / Marianas maps.96
Expand the map limits to the south to include Rennes and the airfield there.77
Fix reported Terrain Deformities (see text below the table)64
Airfield Dinan-Trélivan added in west of map as requested on forums (see text below the table)62
Anything that can be done to extend the detailed areas of the map, in any direction61
Add the Great Harbour walls of Cherbourg, which are missing60
Fix waterways which flow up hill as reported on forums (see text below the table)56
Change the hard-coded minimum temperature down from 10 degrees to around 5 degrees43
Add the St. Lo to Periers to Lessay road, which is missing from the map.41
Remove the permanent hangars and brick structures from Allied Landing Grounds30
Guard towers and chain link fencing should be removed from the allied ALGs29
Add in names to moderate sized urban areas in XV71, XV70, XU78 and XU3821
Correct the orientation of St Croix ALG as per report on ED forums (see text below the table) 20
Fix the railways around Rouen and the Seine so that they show in the mission editor when zoomed out.20
Fix Church near Argentan which cuts through trees as reported on the ED forums (see text below the table)14
Remove trees/obstacles from middle of airfields2
Pre D-Day map version (may44) without allied airfields in France2
Official implementation of Barthek’s ground textures1
The ground handling should be adjusted to allow for take-off and landing on flat ground with all WW2 fighters1
Add the iconic St Mere Eglise church1
Update runway “grid wire” mesh1
View of the rocks of the French coast as on the Channel map1
Add winter version with snow1
Add shrubs, like on the Channel map.1

CONTEXT / DETAIL of several of the highest-voted items:

Airfield Dinan-Trélivan added in west of map as requested on forums. https://forums.eagle.ru/topic/266650-suggestion-for-new-airfield-on-normandy-map/page/2/?tab=comments#comment-4726707

Fix reported Terrain Deformities:
– near Bernay – https://forums.eagle.ru/topic/221130-reportedterrain-error-east-of-bernay/?tab=comments#comment-4107485
– near Carbourg – https://forums.eagle.ru/topic/269026-terrain-deformities/?tab=comments#comment-4683984

Fix waterways which flow up hill as reported on forums. https://forums.eagle.ru/topic/233042-normandy-rivers-climb-hills/?tab=comments#comment-4376189

Remove large permanent hangars and brick structures from Allied Landing Grounds (St. Pierre du Mont, St Croix, Longues sur mer, Beuzeville). this is based on aerial photos which do the rounds on the SoW discord which show the absence of structures at least early on in the invasion. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c0/Saint-Pierre-du-Mont_Airfield.jpg
Further reference within this thread – https://forums.eagle.ru/topic/160689-normandy-map-inaccuracies/?tab=comments#comment-3245043

Fix the church near Argentan which cuts through the trees as reported on the ED forums. https://forums.eagle.ru/topic/231969-placement-of-church-near-argentan/?tab=comments#comment-232694

Correct orientation of St Croix ALG as per report on ED forums. https://forums.eagle.ru/topic/227142-st-criox-sur-mer-incorrect-orientation/?tab=comments#comment-227797

Add the St. Lo to Periers to Lessay road, which is missing from the map. This key road was the “start line” for Operation Cobra. https://www.b24.net/StLoPeriers.htm

Fix the railways around Rouen and the Seine so that they show in the mission editor when zoomed out. No reference for this, but when you zoom out in the mission editor, the railway network in the west remains visible. However the railways along the Siene river disappear.

Change the hard-coded minimum temperature down from 10 degrees to around 5 degrees. This means that early morning missions can be made with more sensible temperatures. https://forums.eagle.ru/topic/221009-hard-coded-minimum-tempreature-of-10c-and-no-snow/?tab=comments#comment-4106307

Add the Great Harbour walls of Cherbourg, which are missing. As reported on Forum: https://forums.eagle.ru/topic/160923-dcs-wwii-object-wish-list/page/2/?tab=comments#comment-4128711
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherbourg_Harbour

Guard towers and chain link fencing should be removed from the allied ALGs (at least St. Pierre du Mont, St Croix, Longues sur mer, Beuzeville) . This was raised on the forums within this thread: https://forums.eagle.ru/topic/160689-normandy-map-inaccuracies/

Anything that can be done to extend the detailed areas of the map, in any direction. This is a less specific request to generally expand the map’s detailed areas. This is most obvious in the south-west, the east, and in England.

Implement the same coastline tech as used on Syria / Marianas maps. No reference.

Expend the map limits to the south to include Rennes and the airfield there. This would allow for the primary active LW airfield that was used during and after the invasion in this area. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rennes%E2%80%93Saint-Jacques_Airport

Add missing town names to moderate sized urban areas in XV71, XV70, XU78 and XU38. See the mission editor/ map. These towns are obvious, but not named.

SoW player preferences for Normandy map updates

We have prepared a poll, taking in many bug reports and wish-list items that relate to the Normandy map. The plan is to collect “votes” from the SoW player base regarding their priority changes. We will then send a list of the top 10 voted items to ED.
You can submit 5 items in your top 5. More detail about each item is provided below the poll.

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Airfield Dinan-Trélivan added in west of map as requested on forums. https://forums.eagle.ru/topic/266650-suggestion-for-new-airfield-on-normandy-map/page/2/?tab=comments#comment-4726707

Fix reported Terrain Deformities:
- near Bernay - https://forums.eagle.ru/topic/221130-reportedterrain-error-east-of-bernay/?tab=comments#comment-4107485
- near Carbourg - https://forums.eagle.ru/topic/269026-terrain-deformities/?tab=comments#comment-4683984

Fix waterways which flow up hill as reported on forums. https://forums.eagle.ru/topic/233042-normandy-rivers-climb-hills/?tab=comments#comment-4376189

Remove large permanent hangars and brick structures from Allied Landing Grounds (St. Pierre du Mont, St Croix, Longues sur mer, Beuzeville). this is based on aerial photos which do the rounds on the SoW discord which show the absence of structures at least early on in the invasion. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c0/Saint-Pierre-du-Mont_Airfield.jpg
Further reference within this thread - https://forums.eagle.ru/topic/160689-normandy-map-inaccuracies/?tab=comments#comment-3245043

Fix the church near Argentan which cuts through the trees as reported on the ED forums. https://forums.eagle.ru/topic/231969-placement-of-church-near-argentan/?tab=comments#comment-232694

Correct orientation of St Croix ALG as per report on ED forums. https://forums.eagle.ru/topic/227142-st-criox-sur-mer-incorrect-orientation/?tab=comments#comment-227797

Add the St. Lo to Periers to Lessay road, which is missing from the map. This key road was the "start line" for Operation Cobra. https://www.b24.net/StLoPeriers.htm

Fix the railways around Rouen and the Seine so that they show in the mission editor when zoomed out. No reference for this, but when you zoom out in the mission editor, the railway network in the west remains visible. However the railways along the Siene river disappear.

Change the hard-coded minimum temperature down from 10 degrees to around 5 degrees. This means that early morning missions can be made with more sensible temperatures. https://forums.eagle.ru/topic/221009-hard-coded-minimum-tempreature-of-10c-and-no-snow/?tab=comments#comment-4106307

Add the Great Harbour walls of Cherbourg, which are missing. As reported on Forum: https://forums.eagle.ru/topic/160923-dcs-wwii-object-wish-list/page/2/?tab=comments#comment-4128711
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherbourg_Harbour

Guard towers and chain link fencing should be removed from the allied ALGs (at least St. Pierre du Mont, St Croix, Longues sur mer, Beuzeville) . This was raised on the forums within this thread: https://forums.eagle.ru/topic/160689-normandy-map-inaccuracies/

Anything that can be done to extend the detailed areas of the map, in any direction. This is a less specific request to generally expand the map's detailed areas. This is most obvious in the south-west, the east, and in England.

Implement the same coastline tech as used on Syria / Marianas maps. No reference.

Expend the map limits to the south to include Rennes and the airfield there. This would allow for the primary active LW airfield that was used during and after the invasion in this area. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rennes%E2%80%93Saint-Jacques_Airport

Add missing town names to moderate sized urban areas in XV71, XV70, XU78 and XU38. See the mission editor/ map. These towns are obvious, but not named.

Recently Storm of War did a detailed review of the Marianas Islands map, which has recently been released for DCS. While the Modern version is not relevant to Storm of War, we wanted to look into the feasibility of using the World War II version which Eagle Dynamics said that they were working on. Part of that assessment, meant looking at the scale of the map and how it relates to the size of the typical operating ranges of our aircraft and what our pilots typically expect to fly.

This is not the first time we’ve done this. A while ago we did a careful assessment of the Channel Map, looking at whether it would be suitable for World War II operations for our server. Like our study on the Marianas, scale, flight-times and combat vectors were considered. This then raised the question of the “other maps” in DCS.

Why maps?

Unlike the civilian flight simulators (X-Plane, Prepar-3D, MSFS-2020, etc.) DCS World does not include the “whole world”, but rather has terrain maps. These are limited regions, covering just a small part of the globe.

Now, this is completely understandable. You see, the difference is that unlike a civilian flight simulation, the scenery is a target. Bombs, gunfire, and rockets will (or at least should!) interact with the landscape to destroy buildings, crater runways, knock out bridges or char the vegetation. This is why combat flight simulators have limited areas or maps, in which the action takes place.

In total, DCS has seven maps. Two are free (the default Caucasus and the downloadable Marianas). The other five are additional modules which you need to buy. But this brings us back to our original consideration of the maps for DCS WW2. For Storm of War, the only map we use is the Normandy map. But we have thought about the other maps and part of that was wondering how they compare in scale with each other.

The project

So, what we’ve done is take every single DCS map. We measure the scale of the map in kilometres and take some screenshots of the map to show their full extent. Then, we calculate the relative scales of the maps and put them all on a single image, scaled to the same size.

The DCS maps are flat in the sense that there is no earth curvature and the east-west and north-south grids are linear and orthogonal. This means a direct comparison can be made. Additionally, it is possible to place nearby maps at the correct distances from each other.

So, in the composite image, we’ve grouped some maps together. Nevada and Marianas are completely separate from the others. The Channel and Normandy overlap each other. The Caucasus, Syria and Persian Gulf maps are near each other, but there is no overlap. We have spaced them the correct distance apart (and added a little bit of coastline of the Mediterranean and Caspian Sea to guide the eye).

A comparison of size

It is interesting to compare the sizes of the maps, but one needs to be careful! The “populated” (in a scenery sense) areas of each map are not the same. It is pretty obvious on the Caucasus where the fill-in area is. But, for example, the Romanian coast is totally empty. Likewise for the Persian Gulf, which has detail for the Strait of Hormuz, while Kuwait and Iraq are coastlines only. The Syria map actually has the most scenery-populated land area.

Of course, water is water… so the Marianas has a minuscule landmass, but is still the largest map… assuming you like flying over the open ocean.

Conclusion

Although Storm of War will not be using any of these maps except Normandy, it is nevertheless interesting to compare what we are using to the other maps and their scales. Of course, new maps will no doubt come out for the simulator.Eagle Dynamics have already mentioned the WW2-Pacific version of the Marianas, and Razbam are currently working on a Falklands Islands map. We will no doubt examine each as they are released (or upgraded).

Downloads

Link to the full-size montage image:

https://stormofwar.info/maps/SoW-036-MapComparison_v01.jpg

Links to screenshots of the component maps:

https://stormofwar.info/maps/dcs_caucasus_map.jpg
https://stormofwar.info/maps/dcs_channel_map.jpg
https://stormofwar.info/maps/dcs_marianas_map.jpg
https://stormofwar.info/maps/dcs_nevada_map.jpg
https://stormofwar.info/maps/dcs_normandy_map.jpg
https://stormofwar.info/maps/dcs_persiangulf_map.jpg
https://stormofwar.info/maps/dcs_syria_map.jpg

In multiplayer WW2 DCS trains do not work. They do not appear correctly for all clients. They do not run correctly. In some cases, they simply do not appear at all. This is a MAJOR deficiency of the simulator, which has existed for year, and had led to a lot of frustrated customers. In this article we look at why trains are so important and the impact of their absence on our Storm of War pilots.

History and importance

The German railway network (Deutsche Reichsbahn) was the national railway system created at the end of the First World War. During its expansion in the 20s and 30s, it was considered one of the biggest industrial expansion programmes in the world, and one of critical importance to the infrastructure of the Reich: from food distribution, to industrial interconnectivity, and supplying the front line. When war broke out, these railways were hard-pressed to supply Germany’s war needs and, in many ways, they never were able to.

In multiplayer WW2 DCS trains do not work. They do not appear correctly for all clients. They do not run correctly. In some cases, they simply do not appear at all. This is a MAJOR deficiency of the simulator, which has existed for year, and had led to a lot of frustrated customers.

After the defeat of the Jagdwaffe in early 1944, American fighters were allowed to attack targets of opportunity after completing their escort duties. With the ease of finding those long silver lines and smoke and steam giving away their presence, trains were a primary target. With over 40 trains per day being destroyed, the loss rate outstripped production of locomotives and rolling stock (an experienced train crews), which was already in decline. The occupied countries had it even worse. In France, the railways were severely damaged during the Allied air-offensives in the lead-up to the D-Day invasion, and the subsequent Normandy breakout.

The railways operated right to the collapse of the Third Reich. Yet by the end, they were barely functioning, despite the heroic efforts of the railway repair teams, maintenance staff and train crews. The inability to have adequate supply exacerbated the chaos of the relentless and overwhelming Allied advances. With the flow of spare parts, replacement troops, fuel, munitions and rations slowed to a trickle by the collapse of the railways the effectiveness of German forces decreased dramatically.

For Germany, trains are a vital part of the logistics. While the Allied logistics was dominated by ships and trucks, the Germans had trains and horses. With Axis oil being in such short supply (and desperately needed for other areas), the coal and steel railways provided the only viable solution for mass-mechanised transport logistics. Without an adequate supply chain, no nation can wage war.

Trains in DCS

Within the DCS WW2 assets pack, there are some very special units. The DRG Class 86 locomotive, plus the G10 covered wagon,the DR 50-tonne flat type transport and others. These have been created in stunning detail. They are truly beautiful models.

In the Mission Editor, there are two types of trains.

  1. “Civilian traffic” trains. These are arbitrary and do not function well. If you are simply going to ignore trains, use them as environment-only, and fly single-player, then these are fine.
  2. “Placeable unit” trains. These “snap” to the rail lines and should spawn-in and move about on waypoints just like road vehicle units. For targets and a controlled multiplayer environment, this second type is essential.

And this is where it starts to hurt the players.

Currently, trains a dysfunctional. The railway key in the Mission Editor does not work. The levels-of-detail on the map are flawed. The logic by which they follow railways is indecipherable. The trains can only be placed in certain positions. They do not always render or appear correctly. They are often merely shadows on the ground.

But it gets worse…

Multi-player Frustration

Storm of War has always strived to create an immersive environment for World War 2 air combat operations. As far as possible within the limitations of the DCS simulator, we use extensive research and historical sources to create a set of historically minded and compelling scenarios. Part of that is the logistics. It is critically important to us to convey this aspect of the war to our vitual pilots. Not only does it provide vital context, but it also makes the ecosystem richer and our virtual battlefield less sterile.

Trains are also a critical target for the P-47D and the DH.98 Mosquito. It is difficult to justify the inclusion of these aircraft (particularly the Mosquito) in the absence of the provision of valid targets.

However, there is a more fundamental problem. Trains do not work across multiplayer DCS. What we mean here is that any train placed in the mission editor only appears on the server-instance of DCS. It does not appear in the clients. This affects not just persistent, multiplayer servers like Storm of War, but even just a couple of players wanting to carry out their own co-op mission.

Trains do not work across multiplayer DCS.

The fact that trains do not render in different clients, much less are actually synchronised between them, is not new.

This bug was reported back in 2017. Yes, twenty-seventeen. It comes up repeatedly on the forums. Numerous threads have pointed this out.

https://forums.eagle.ru/topic/165760-reportedinvisible-trains-in-multiplayer/
https://forums.eagle.ru/topic/189818-train-not-visible-in-multiplayer/
https://forums.eagle.ru/topic/193651-trains/
https://forums.eagle.ru/topic/204201-trains/
https://forums.eagle.ru/topic/272871-players-placed-trains-synced-in-multiplayer/

So this is not just Storm of War, but a much larger swathe of the community.

Yet for us, trying to run the Normandy Campaign without trains, is like trying have the Battle of the Atlantic without convoys. Logistics is a vital part of warfare. And working locomotives and their rolling stock are a critical part of the defending logistics, an important target and essential to the historical landscape.

*gasp* Multiplayer…

*gasp* trains…


Ref: https://uncpress.org/book/9781469613963/the-most-valuable-asset-of-the-reich/

When the Channel Map was released for DCS, the team at Storm of War did a detailed assessment of the map for possible use on a 24/7 multiplayer server. In the last week, Eagle Dynamics (ED) have released the Marianas Map. The map is FREE as a downloadable module/DLC. It is set in a modern era, with modern assets, airbases and urban areas. However, ED have stated that they plan to develop an historical version of map and assets. In a statement made by NineLine on the ED forums on 06-Jul-2021, he wrote:

“ WWII PTO assets will be worked on later, the map will be released in a WWII version down the road as well, thanks. ”

NineLine, 06-Jul-2021, ED Forums

This then begs an analysis of the map, the current aircraft and assets, and is it feasible as a potential scenario for Storm of War?

The missions

Storm of War has always been about historical scenarios. In order to assess whether there are any suitable options, research was done on the following historical events.

There was a 1st Battle of Guam: 8-10 December 1941, but that’s not suitable for a PvP server, given the unpreparedness of the USA, and the fact it is so early in the war (which means a lack of any flyable aircraft).

The significant action on this map begins in the far west. This is the Battle of the Philippine Sea, which was on the 19-20 June 1944. It was a single battle which was very much one-sided and is also not suitable for a PvP server. It is exacerbated by the requirement for carrier operations (which we’ll discuss later). This was the precursor to the Marianas campaign which ran from June to August 1944. It seems like the Marianas campaign would be a good set of missions for DCS.

The problem is that by the time the main action on the islands had commenced, the raids against the Japanese airfields had annihilated any aircraft or infrastructure. The only major attempt by the Japanese to fend off the Americans was during this carrier offensive, in February 1944, as they raided the islands and neutralised the Japanese air power in the area.

American aircraft raid Rota, Tinian and Saipan. The US forces are from Task Group 58.3 (Sherman) and Task Group 58.2 (Montgomery). The attack sinks 20,000 tons of Japanese shipping, destroys the airfields and damages the harbour infrastructure. These few days in February 1944 is when the air war occurred over the Marianas. Unlike Operation Hailstone, it was not well contested. And it limits the US aircraft strictly to carrier-based aircraft.

The Aircraft

Currently, we have the P-47, which took part in the invasion of Saipan as part of the 7th Air Force, flying onto the island in June 1944. It saw action in the ground attack role. However, its arrival was after the Japanese air force was decimated.

Magnitude 3 (a 3rd party developer) is producing the F4U1-D Corsair. It earned itself the nickname: “Sweetheart of the Marianas”. But, like the P-47, arrived after the Japanese airforce was gone.

We all know that Nick Grey (Co-founder of ED) Really Loves The Hellcat, and that this aircraft is on the way to DCS. The Grumman F6F Hellcat, was deployed in mid-1943, with first actions in Sep 1943. It is faster than the Zero at all altitudes and would make for a powerful carrier aircraft, appropriate to this area.

Other Allied aircraft are not so relevant for the Marianas, let alone the air war there. The P-51 was deployed late in the Pacific, for example, from Iwo Jima in 1945. It was assigned to B-29 escort duty and saw some large air battles, but these were over Japan itself (e.g. 29-May-1945). It is not so relevant for the Marianas, but could be squeezed in a a pinch. Other DCS WW2 aircraft, even less so.

But what about the Japanese?

A6M5 “Zero” was the naval fighter produced throughout the war. Magnitude 3 has hinted at producing an AI version of this aircraft, but nothing has been confirmed. That said, the A6M was already obsolete by this stage of the war, and will not fare well against the Hellcat or the Corsair.

If it is not flyable, then we’d need to use substitutes.

One option is the “Japanitfire” which uses the Spitfire Mk.IX also attired in Japanese colours representing any of the inline-engined Japanese aircraft (like the Ki-60).

The other option is the “Japanton”… this is the FW 190 A-8, re-skinned in IJN colours and used as a stand-in for the some generic radial-engined Japanese aircraft (say the A6M). This was even used by ED in their promotional video for the new map.

We already grieve needing to use the Bf 109 K-4 in Normandy as a substitute for the Bf 109 G-6. These substitutes are simply not acceptable.

The “other” aircraft

An ongoing problem with DCS WW2 is the obsessive focus on fighter aircraft. Any war is fought at multiple levels and, in order to support the PvP fighter-v-fighter combats, bombers, attack aircraft, transports, are also needed. This is what makes the air war ecosystem come alive and transforms it from a dogfight server to an historic server.

Thus, aircraft like Grumman TBF Avengers and Nakajima B5N2 “Kate” bombers are important. (As an example of a more contested air war, look at Operation Hailstone.)

Then there are the bomber raids against the Marianas (B-24 Liberators), the Japanese maritime aircraft stationed there (H8K2 Emily) and the long-range American aircraft that moved there post-invasion (B-29 Superfortress) to carry out the raids against the Japanese mainland.

Ground Units

From infantry, trucks and Sherman tanks, the Allies have enough ground units to supplement an amphibious landing. Additionally, there some anti-aircraft guns. The Bofors gun in DCS has a British crew, but could be pressed into service if needed. However, a better heavy US anti-aircraft gun is needed. There is a jeep too (albeit with a British driver).

On the Japanese side, there is nothing. Any WW2 scenario (whether PvP or PvE) in the Marianas is simply not feasible without infantry, mortar and crew, anti-aircraft guns and coastal defence artillery. (Japanese tanks are not relevant here.)

The Ships

There is a US Essex-class carrier being developed… we’ll get to that later, but it needs to be supplemented. Destroyers (e.g. Fletcher class or Benson class) are needed for this carrier escort work, but also for shore bombardment (an important part of the campaigns).

The Japanese carrier is sometimes mentioned. These operated on the far-western edge of the Marianas map (Philipines Sea). And the blue-water expanse of the map could be used for any carrier-v-carrier operations. However, for the plane-set that we anticipate F6F Hellcat, the carrier war was very lop-sided by this stage of the war and does not make for a compelling PvP scenario.

For the raids on the Japanese-held Marianas, destroyers and cargo ships will be needed.

The Map

The map has dimensions 1500\,km east-west, but 1300\,km north south. It is nearly all water. However, in the south east, there is Marianas Island chain. This comprises the islands of Guam, Rota, Aguijan, Tinian and Saipan. It also contains a number of very minor islands, such as Cocos Island and Farallon de Medinilla. We’ll assume that there are appropriate airfields added, and that it would be possible to fly from Guam, Rota, Tinian and Saipan. Historically, these islands also had significant seaplane bases.

Superficially, the Marianas looks comparable scale to Normandy. However, the Marianas island chain is linear. There is no “off-axis” fields, like we have Lessay or Evreux. This makes for linear gameplay as there is merely a stream of players taking off from nearest opposing fields.

The answer on the Marianas is the introduction of carriers to provide off-axis vectors. These can be randomised to add variety. But they have an additional set of complications.

The Carriers

It is known from the modern jet servers the challenges of carrier operations. WW2 aircraft will have serious problems here. Firstly, the launches are flown, not catapulted. The landings are precarious, at best… and the Corsair has a particularly nasty reputation in this regard (assuming it is used). Finally, the carriers themselves are small. This affects the amount of room for aircraft, but also the ship itself.

We already have manoeuvring problems on airfields due to the challenges of tail-dragger aircraft. The pitching decks of confined WW2 carriers will be particularly challenging, especially as they are straight-deck carriers, and not angled deck carriers like in modern times.

Naval operations also require working radio communications and equipment. At the moment, at least half of the WW2 aircraft in DCS have non-functioning radio navigation equipment. This would need to be fixed. Additionally, provision needs to be made for both sides to allow either Japanese or American aircraft to operate.

One of the biggest problems we see with the 24/7 server concept is the sustainability. Currently, SoW has 25 Normandy Campaign missions. These are massive missions with multiple objectives for both sides. The map spans a large area, but there are multiple deployment points and a large variety of mission-specific targets and static defences (e.g. ports and airfields).

This is not readily available in the Marianas scenario.

There is no real air war here. Like Unternehmen Bodenplatte in Europe, the defenders made some last assaults of significant numbers, but in total futility. The Allies flinch for a moment, and then continue their relentless advance with their assailants crippled and reeling from their last-gasp attack.

You can make a single mission of these such events, but it is not possible to make a 24/7 server from them.

Conclusion

We could continue to delve into the details. There are a lot of material here and we have written a detailed report on the topic.

However, our summary is that the Marianas will not be suitable for Storm of War. We anticipate that it will be good developed as a single-player environment, and that it would work nicely for a PvE co-op environment or one-off event. However, we do not anticipate being able to constructively utilise the map for an immersive, PvP 24/7 historical multiplayer environment.

SoW – Eagle Dynamics state of delivery and product maintenance communications

Many SoW users may have noticed that in recent weeks we have been more vocal about communicating issues and long standing bugs or deficiencies with the software that Eagle Dynamics has provided.

In it’s current state there are a significant number of long standing bug reports fort many of the software modules that have been sold and purchased and are being deployed by SoW. A list of these bugs for the FW190-A8 simulation alone have been posted on the SoW .info website which you can read here: https://stormofwar.info/fw190a8bugs.php

Dietrich in particular has been writing detailed, careful bug reports for years now (example: https://forums.eagle.ru/topic/181973-reported-incorrect-trajectory-of-the-br21-rockets/ ), with historical references, .trk files, instructions on how to repeat the tests, etc., etc.. The response has been underwhelming. Bugs have remained in the same state as far as the customer is concerned, for not months, but years. It is difficult to image how much clearer and detailed the identification of product issues needs to be articulated before it can be understood and resolved by the software developer.

There is now significant concern from much of the user-base that additional new modules being developed Eagle Dynamics (Such as the F6) are going to further limit the amount of effort to deliver on the incumbent projects. Among the apparently neglected deliverables are a significant number of aerial AI-only assets which includes (but is not limited to) the B-25, C-47 109G variant .

I often think of the 2018 “SoW Wishlist” video which set out a set of desired product improvements that were considered important (if not critical) for building a server-based simulation like we have with SoW. It is somewhat disheartening to see how many of those things remain incomplete. However, most of these items are wish-list requests. At the core of the current communications from SoW is the desire to see core “broken” elements of the existing software finally fixed.

To that end, regular communication of critical product bugs will be posted on the SoW .info website.

We also encourage the user community to continue engaging with the supplier, Eagle Dynamics vie any public or private channels you have access to. The hopeful result being that this long list of historically reported platform issues can be resolved as soon as possible.

SQUADRON AWARDS/ CITATIONS

Since January 2021, virtual squadrons are 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 glories by also wearing the unit citation on their pilot page.

The Unit Citation is a yellow ribbon, as shown below, “pips” are added for squadrons which receive the ribbon more than once, 1 pip for each subsequent award.

1st unit citation
2nd unit citation

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 January to June 2021:

  1. VF17 – https://stormofwar.info/vf17.php
  2. 56th FG – https://stormofwar.info/56thfg.php
  3. vPoAF – https://stormofwar.info/vpoaf.php
  4. No.119 Squadron (The Few) – https://stormofwar.info/no119.php
  5. No.54 Squadron – https://stormofwar.info/no54.php
  6. 362nd Squadron – https://stormofwar.info/362nd.php
  7. IAF – https://stormofwar.info/iaf.php
  8. 122 Squadron – https://stormofwar.info/122sqn.php
  9. EAF – https://stormofwar.info/eaf.php
  10. UGLY – https://stormofwar.info/ugly.php
  11. Jagdgeschwader 53 – https://stormofwar.info/jg53.php
  12. [>GSJ<] – https://stormofwar.info/gsj.php

PILOT AWARDS

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

26 Ribbons of each type were awarded for the month (based on the number of players who managed 10+ hours flying on the server). See HERE for a more detailed explanation. The ribbons will automatically show on your pilot profile on the SoW stats pages as soon as you start accumulating stats for July.

Pilots who are receiving a second award of this ribbon (i.e. they also won this ribbon last year) will receive a “pip” to their existing ribbon.

=== Anti Shipping ===

1. JG 53 Burrito [Milan 13]
2. 122sqn JMB
3. JG 53 Plush [Milan 17]
4. MIDWAY
5. JG 53 Tracer [Millan 15]
6. I./JG116 – Wilhelm Jäger
7. 362nd Money
8. JG 53 Dusty [Milan 14]
9. Saylors
10. Normandy 1-1 | Roger
11. VF17- 42sqd Slapbladder
12. 362nd Shooter
13. 122sqn Cowboy
14. 362nd Brannan
15. Buckshot
16. Willzah
17. 362nd Andre
18. VF17- 42 sqd walshtimothy
19. 71st_AH_Splinter
20. PeeGoose
21. IAF.Yuval
22. 56th FG – Brigg
23. RAPTOR RUSSIA
24. Belgriffen1-1
25. Paranoid
26. GODJENT

=== Ground Attack ===

1. 122sqn Bruv
2. MIDWAY
3. No.54 Philstyle
4. Soda
5. JG 53 Burrito [Milan 13]
6. [ugly]Derbysieger
7. Ben Dover
8. Cool Hand
9. LeLv8_Archi
10. [ugly]Nirvi
11. JG 53 Dusty [Milan 14]
12. JG 53 Plush [Milan 17]
13. No.54 Thurmann
14. VF17-Ketchup
15. 122sqn JMB
16. VF17- 42 sqd walshtimothy
17. SRF_Gadreel
18. Spad
19. Shafs64
20. Willzah
21. No.119_Viper (VK-S)
22. Cliffhanger31
23. Saylors
24. TheFlyingDutchman
25. invis
26. 56th FG – Brigg

=== Air to Air ===

1. River
2. JG 53 Burrito [Milan 13]
3. IKEA 24-7 | Bilishe
4. JG 53 Dusty [Milan 14]
5. PeeGoose
6. 122sqn Bruv
7. FF*Stid*15
8. ssun_g0d
9. Ben Dover
10. JG 53 Plush [Milan 17]
11. No.54 Kennedyoz (KL-K)
12. Willzah
13. 362nd Thompson
14. VF_#6|Biggs
15. 362nd Andre
16. 362nd Brannan
17. 362nd Campbell
18. 362nd Wallace
19. LeLv8_Archi
20. JG 53 Paddy [Milan 19]
21. =475FG= Iceland
22. No.54 Philstyle
23. [ugly]Nirvi
24. Cool Hand
25. BRUTUS 1-1 | GR?BER
26. VF17-Ketchup

Exactly 77 years ago this month, a pitched battle was raging in Normandy. The Allied forces, having made it ashore, tenaciously held on to their precious landing grounds, fighting desperately to establish their foothold on the continent and set in place the needed logistics basis, from where they could begin the long advance towards Berlin.

As June rolled into July, the newly-landed forces had secured their grip on the Normandy shores, acquired the harbours and were pouring in men and matériel. The advances started, and a month of even more brutal fighting began, as they pushed into the deep defences beyond the Atlantik Wall.

There is a mantra, that you can’t win a war from the air, and that ultimately boots are needed on the ground. Yes, we have a flight simulator and we are flying aircraft, but we are fighting in the context of a virtual war.

Although we take off, fly sorties, engage in aerial combat and (sometimes!) return to land, Storm of War is specifically about the Normandy Campaign of June, July and August for 1944. And that is a battle on the ground.

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.

Victories against land targets already have some contest but, this month, 77 years after those historic events, we are focusing on this ground war. This is a tough and challenging mission set. And it is actually a lot harder to accomplish it without loss. So here are some tips to help you get started.

Finding targets

Unlike roving air targets, or sailing ships on a vast expanse of water, the ground targets present a different challenge in finding them. They are small, often hidden amongst trees or behind buildings. They are also scattered over a wider area, so tracking them down can be difficult and sometimes the first indication you get is the stream of anti-aircraft fire rising from the green to meet you.

However, the briefings are clear for the majority of the ground targets. The coordinates are rather precise. This lets you carefully find the exact location where the enemy is likely to be. So take the time to carefully find and plot those coordinates. Mark them on the map. Make a note of the surrounding terrain and landmarks that you will use to guide you in. And, if needed, fly a reconnaissance flight first.

Avoiding friendly fire

A common problem for ground attack is avoiding hitting your own forces. Pay attention to exactly where the enemy will be. And bear in mind that enemy forces will generally have advanced to the front line, so there will be your own troops in close proximity. Be careful.

Avoiding being shot down

Ground forces will not be shot up without a return fight. From small arms fire to heavy flak, you can always expect some retaliation (if not, then refer to the bit about friendly fire, above). But here are some tips to help keep you alive.

  1. Come in fast. Yes, you are slower from ordnance and ammunition, but come in at as high a velocity as you can manage; use altitude to your advantage. Reduce your fuel load if you have to. And remember that turning slowly onto your goal after lazily zig-zagging at low altitude, searching for the target, is a recipe for disaster.
  2. If possible, attack from out of the sun. We have tested this extensively, and it makes a BIG difference. Ground forces will be late to react if they cannot see you in the glare. And, but the time they’ve reacted, you are gone.
  3. Make a single pass and clear out completely before returning (if at all). A very common mistake is to attack and then climb (and slow down) and turn back all while still in range of the enemy guns. This makes for a very easy target for them. So get right out of range and re-acquire your speed before considering a second pass. Better still is to clear out completely.
  4. Single-pass attacks are the best when it comes to survival. Don’t forget that your attack is marking your position to all enemy aircraft in the area. And if you are turning and making repeat passes, then you will be easy to find and have low-energy. That makes for an easy kill for defending fighters.
  5. Don’t go alone. Take a wingman, take a squadron. Saturate their defences and dilute the enemy firepower. Take an escort with you to provide a more general surveillance of the area, while you concentrate on your target. Top cover fighters can call out approaching trouble if needed and then intercept it to keep you safe.
  6. Plan your attack. Work out a flight route, note your landmarks, decide in advance your compass heading for egress. If necessary fly an unarmed recon flight in advance to determine the location.

Effective attacks

Unfortunately, many pilots assume ground attack is merely pointing their aircraft at the ground and firing guns or releasing bombs at the last second. You will sometimes here the term “ground pounding” used. This was originally a slur leveled at infantry or non-flying officers, but it seems to have crept into virtual-fighter-pilot parlance. Then, failed fighter pilots think that if they can’t hit aircraft, then fixed units on the ground should be easy and they bring that term – and their lack of success – with them.

Effectively attacking ground units with high accuracy and low loss is difficult. Are they are in an aeroplane, moving at 500+ km/h with the pinnacle of technology and yet they cannot lay waste to their prey (without splattering themselves and their airframe across the landscape somewhere nearby)?

So, in addition to the above planning, use the right weapons and use them well. Do you have appropriate belt-ammunition sequences? Do you have the right bomb type? The correct fuse? Are you allowing for the problematic state of DCS dropped-ordnance and other bugs? Are you dropping it from the right altitude? At the right speed? With no side-slip? … so you actually hit? The flight planning should include weapon planning, and a checklist for ensuring that fuses, arming and sequences are all correct, so that you are not fiddling about over the enemy, or squandering the element of surprise and perfect line-up… because some circuit-breaker was not engaged.

The July Campaign

As mentioned above, this month, 77 years after those historic events, we are focusing on the ground war. Statistics will be sorted by ground victories, additional notable achievements will be up for grabs, and the fierce contest of the storm of war, will descend to ground level.

PILOT AWARDS

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

A maximum of 28 (or 27 in the case or anti-maritime) 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.

Some pilots might therefore be receiving their second May campaign ribbon. Second awards of the same ribbon are denoted with a “pip” on the ribbon itself.

=== Anti Shipping ===

1. MIDWAY
2. 362nd Money
3. 122sqn JMB
4. I./JG116 – Wilhelm Jäger
5. 122sqn Bruv
6. 362nd Shooter
7. Acer
8. Dunnock
9. Saylors
10. IAF.DMK
11. IAF.Yuval
12. 362nd Larsky
13. Desertrunner
14. nordliht83
15. xvii-Dietrich
16. JG 53 Burrito [Milan 13]
17. JG 53 Dusty [Milan 14]
18. RCAF 402 Sqn. Cub
19. Thor 01
20. ironbutterfly
21. Ben Dover
22. JG 53 Tracer [Millan 15]
23. Goodyear
24. JG 53 Plush [Milan 17]
25. Paranoid
26. 71st_AH_Splinter
27. Sukebe (Mike)

=== Ground Attack ===

1. MIDWAY
2. Soda
3. JG 53 Burrito [Milan 13]
4. 122sqn Bruv
5. Cool Hand
6. 122sqn JMB
7. [ugly]Derbysieger
8. JG 53 Plush [Milan 17]
9. LeLv8_Archi
10. JG 53 Dusty [Milan 14]
11. [ugly]Nirvi
12. nordliht83
13. xvii-Dietrich
14. VF17- 42 sqd walshtimothy
15. SRF_Gadreel
16. invis
17. ironbutterfly
18. Sukebe (Mike)
19. Crusader
20. Harold
21. I./JG116 – Wilhelm Jäger
22. TEXAS_RED
23. SRF_Knauf
24. Desertrunner
25. RCAF 402 Sqn. Nat
26. VF17-Captain Balou
27. Cyking
28. 332FG Magic Zach

=== Air to Air ===

1. 362nd Andre
2. JG 53 Burrito [Milan 13]
3. IKEA 24-7 | Bilishe
4. JG 53 Dusty [Milan 14]
5. 362nd Campbell
6. Baby_James
7. JG 53 Plush [Milan 17]
8. [LFDM] McPetterson
9. FF*Stid*15
10. JG 53 Trueno [Milan 11]
11. No.54 Kennedyoz (KL-K)
12. Cool Hand
13. CDS_Narigón
14. Willzah
15. HerrOberst
16. VF17-Ketchup
17. [ugly]Nirvi
18. 122sqn Bruv
19. No.54 Philstyle
20. 332FG Magic Zach
21. I./JG116 – Wilhelm Jäger
22. PeeGoose
23. Schimml0rd
24. 362nd Thompson
25. 362nd Larsky
26. Ben Dover
27. JG 53 Tracer [Millan 15]
28. Flash 1-1 | Quigley

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

This month was the second busiest month ever for the server in terms of both player numbers and hours flown.

6400+ hours of flight time were logged in May. This compares well to the 4200 hours from April and 6000 from March.

1449 unique DCS accounts logged on to SoW during the month. Around 300 players flew for 5 hours or more. This means that the vast majority of players are not flying much though, and we have a hardcore of pilots who keep the server populated. Part of this is probably explained by the rather brutal and unforgiving nature of the server, it is obvious from the stats and watching the trk file replays that newer players have a tough time on SoW. Unfortunately, the servers which are designed specifically to help provide a transition for newer players into the MP environment are not being as well patronised as we would like. We are exploring ways to try and promote those servers and other DCS WW2 online environments.

We are also thinking of ways to try and spread the “peak” of player numbers, which tends to be concentrated over a 3 to 4 hour period in the evenings in Europe. We’d like to see more activity in the evenings for the Americas. At the moment, the idea of getting some Americas/ Oceanic-based squadrons to join en masse during this time zone, perhaps one night per week, is something we are trying to explore.

We’ve now converted 9 of the old missions over to the 2.7 format. June will see a couple more added in also. We also have plans to increasingly track and provide stats on the completion of objectives and we are working on a basic system for rewarding the escort and interception of the medium and high altitude AI bomber raids.This might be trialled during June, however it is unlikely to be implemented until later in the year.

Stability wise, once the 2.7 OB was patched, the server has not crashed at all. In fact, this has now been the most stable the server has ever been. This has made server admin significantly less time consuming and stressful. So we have to take our hats off to ED for being so surgical with their response to the problem. Also a big thanks to the player base who reported issues and drew EDs attention to the problems we were having when the 2.7 patch was released.

The launch of DCS 2,7 open beta was rough for a few servers, in particular who are hosting warbird missions on the Normandy map. Thankfully, we now appear to have a stable Open Beta. After two days of running the server on the patched 2.7 we are happy that things are stable now. We’ve not had a crash at all since the patch. Thanks go out to the team at ED, including BigNewy and Nineline for tracking the bug reports and Rik who contacted us directly with some tools to help diagnose the issue. Also, thanks to:

  • SpecialK for his support testing and coordinating bug reports.
  • LFDM Maxime for sharing ideas and helping test one of our missions on the LFDM hardware.
  • The guys from JG3 for giving up time to test/ diagnose issues with us.
  • Burrito and Mr red for putting in some time painstakingly doing mission edits.
  • The player base for being supportive and especially to those players who provided bug reports/ data directly to ED (Gili, LeLv8_Archi, Nirvi).

Now Dietrich and I can get back to the slightly less stressful business of SoW maintenance, at least until the next thing breaks 🙂

You may have noticed a limited mission set remains on the server. This is because we are re-building every mission from the ground up now. We tested a complete mission rebuild as part of the diagnostics during the crash-period. It turned out to not be the fix we had hoped for, but on the upside – doing this has greatly improved the efficiency, consistency and load times of our missions so we are going to rebuild all of them up to the version 100 standard over the next few weeks or months.

Dietrich has also been able to improve some aspects of the stats coding in the interim too, so the down time has had other benefits for SoW as a whole.

The next steps will be to get LotATC working again soon, so that our team of controllers can jump into the plotting room and vector everyone about the heavens.

Luxta bellum, venit tempestas!

PILOT AWARDS

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

17 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.

This month marked 12 months since we started awarding campaign ribbons. Some pilots might therefore be receiving their second April campaign ribbon. Second awards of the same ribbon are denoted with a “pip” on the ribbon itself.

=== Anti Shipping ===

1. xvii-Dietrich
2. VF17-StuFly
3. JG 53 Dusty [Milan 14]
4. EAF51_Storm
5. 362nd Shooter
6. JG 53 Burrito [Milan 13]
7. VF17- 42sqd Slapbladder
8. JG 53 Paddy [Milan 19]
9. EAF51_Joker
10. VF17- 42 sqd walshtimothy
11. Saylors
12. EAF_T_Strale10
13. IAF.Yuval
14. JG 53 Plush [Milan 17]
15. Buckshot
16. Thor 01
17. JG 53 Tracer [Millan 15]

=== Ground Attack ===

1. [ugly]Nirvi
2. Soda
3. JG 53 Dusty [Milan 14]
4. No.119_Bruv (VK-B)
5. Baby_James
6. 122sqn Nematome
7. VF17-StuFly
8. No.54 Thurmann
9. 122sqn JMB
10. 122sqn Jamz
11. JG 53 Burrito [Milan 13]
12. xvii-Dietrich
13. JG 53 Plush [Milan 17]
14. VF17- 42 sqd walshtimothy
15. Gili
16. [vPoAF] Gullok
17. SRF_Gadreel

=== Air to Air ===

1. No.54 Kennedyoz (KL-K)
2. No.54 Philstyle
3. IKEA 24-7 | Bilishe
4. 362nd Andre
5. Baby_James
6. No.119_Bruv (VK-B)
7. BadAzz
8. JG 53 Dusty [Milan 14]
9. Willzah
10. VF17-Ketchup
11. VF17-Knuck
12. 122sqn Shifty
13. 122sqn JMB
14. Gili
15. [vPoAF] Shrimp
16. 362nd Healer
17. No.19 MJDixon (TONIC 1)

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