Wednesday, September 20, 2017

DCS Operation Epsom Campaign - Some Random Hints

As I mentioned in a previous post, this campaign is remarkable and sets the bar really high for other DLC content authors.

I am a bit surprised and disappointed about how little is written in the official forums these days. Ten years ago, virtual pilots used to discuss tactics, share experiences and fully illustrated debriefs. Maybe I am missing something. So I am posting here some observations and practices that are worth mentioning.

Pay attention to the briefing

Without any doubt, the briefings in this campaign are the best I've ever seen in any other flight simulation. The period maps are just fantastic. Many of the maps shown have been taken from real briefings. Go figure. Be a good virtual pilot and prepare properly for your encounter with the enemy.

Hot resource! The "flak map" shows the areas where AAA fire is likely. 

An up-to-date flak map can be viewed in each mission as a kneeboard item.

After takeoff, wait for your flight

Having your flight in formation includes you. Don't take off and run away from your pilots. They need you and you need them.
After taking off, I usually hold around the airfield until all the members of my flight are in formation.

There is recon in armed recon

The missions in the campaign are historical armed recon missions adapted for the simulated world. Those missions were basically searching for targets of ground targets of opportunity and engaging them.

There is plenty of flak to welcome you and your flight, so try not to take the briefed route too seriously. Avoiding overflying the known flak locations, take your flight to 7,000 ft and above and recon the hell out of the area. The virtual members of the flight have very good eyes. Listen carefully to their calls. Take your time to get a good picture of where targets and flak are located. Don't rush into any target area until the situation is clear in your mind.

Some ground targets are very obvious once you get acquainted to the complex landscape below.

The heavier flak guns can be spotted by their telling muzzle smoke. Given that DCS World 2 doesn't allow the AI to see through trees, flak guns tend to be in relatively open areas.

Get down and play 

There are several ways to attack the ground targets. Some players prefer to go after tracks and vehicles without engaging the flak guns defending them. Others prefer destroying the flak guns to create a less dangerous engagement area.

In the same way, there are leaders who never break their formation. Others engage targets as two elements (2 aircraft each). I have experimented with the two element approach and got excellent results.This an example from a training mission I made.

In this screenshot, I have ordered my second element to "anchor here". I left them at this position while I go down with my wingman  to the target area. The three airplanes from my flight are visible to the right of the screen, above the horizon.

A flak gun is trying to acquire my wingman and me (far background), completely unaware that I have ordered my second element to attack it from the left of the screen.

Both aircraft of the second element destroy the flak guns with ease.

Off course you will want some piece of the shooting. Which brings us to the particularly weird world of strafing in WWII. That topic deserves its own series of posts.


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