I have read many posts where pilots were complaining about
wingmen/squadmembers that - as it appeared - could not or would not perform
attacks as or when ordered. I too had this phenomenom, but BEFORE the patch.
I found out that - just as in reality - it is of great importance to make
proper use of the radio system. To give the right orders to the right men
at the right moment is the key to successful coop-fighting, and it
sure makes a good leader.
I will explain this by the description of a standard bomber-intercept
mission. Involved are 3 flights of fighters, 12 planes in total against some
15 bombers with 9 fighters on the other side. The battle actually starts the
moment that view contact with the enemy is established. Shortly before that,
the squad leader should make sure that all planes fly close to each other by
issuing the "tighten formation" command to his wingman, his own
flight and the other two flights. The reason for this is plain simple: the
tighter the formation, the harder it will be for the enemy to spot you.
You'll also make it hard for the enemy radar to determine the number and
type of aircraft, though I doubt that this is being simulated in the game.
At this point it is very important to get the right picture of the enemy.
How many bombers? How many fighters? (It will be hard at this time to tell
the type of enemy planes unless you use that "know all-see all wussy
aiming device - KASAWAD"). Next, you'll have to estimate the time
that's left for the attack, as this greatly impacts on the type of attack.
Let's say there's enough time and the enemy has a hard time spotting you. My
favorite approach is from the side, especially whe flying the 190. As soon
as I know the heading/bearing of the enemy I lead my squad on a 15° offset
pace. Before the enemy fighters turn in on us, I order flight 3 to target
them. Don't order them to engage the fighters before they actually attack!
Then, as my squad is about next to the enemy bombers (still some 4,000
meters away) I order flights 1 and 2 to target the bombers. We proceed but
change from the offset heading to the actual heading of the bombers. At this
point the enemy fighters should have spotted us.
Now everything goes very quickly: When we are a couple of meters ahead of
the bombers, distance about 3,000 meters, I order flight three (whom I have
already given the order to target the fighters!) to engage the bandits i.e.
the fighters. Right after that I order flight 1 and 2 to ENGAGE the bandits,
this time meaning the bombers. I then order my wingman to cover me, and we
all turn to approach the bombers from the side. What normally happens is
that flight 3 manages to keep the enemy fighters away and busy long enough
so that flights 1 and 2 have enough time to make two approaches (first
w/rockets) and "pick" 3 or 4 bombers from the sky. After the
second approach I order flight 1, 2 and my wingman disengage and then to
regroup. Then I lead both flights toward the enemy fighters, ordering flight
3 to disengage and to regroup.
Next step is to send flight two to dogfight the enemy fighters by
ordering to target them followed by the order to engage. At this point it is
important that we don't loose touch with the bombers. Now comes the next
important decision: is one flight enough to handle the enemy fighters? If
yes, I lead both flights 1 and 3 back to the bombers, otherwise I would just
send flight three to engage the bombers, attacking the enemy fighters with
two flights, 1 and 2, from then on. It is important to think of the fact
that each command consists of one or more sub-commands. If you forget one,
you'll have the whole flight confused what normally ends in unpredictable
actions. Make sure to stay in radio-contact with all flights throughout the
whole battle, and don't let your squad spread all over the sky. When sent
out to intercept bombers, that's what you have to do. Any bullet sent out
towards a fighter is WASTED. Just keep them away. And don't be too
trigger-happy - when you are the leader, your success is measured by the
success of the entire squad. Unfortunately, the EAW scoring system does not
Using the above tactics my squad is getting brilliant results, and on
almost every mission the other pilots from my squad have the same or even
higher kill rates than me. I salute Microprose for this terrific sim -
although I think that many things addressed later with the patch could and
should have been provided right out of the box. But that's another story :)