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gun power vs durability discussion, also regarding fighter vs. fighter combat

 
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gun power vs durability discussion, also regarding figh... - 6/30/2010 5:31:25 AM   
Reddon45

 

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I donīt know how to start this correctly, but I want to share a few observations and suggestions and discuss them here. Itīs mostly BTR related, but since both are built on the same engine it propably can be transferred:

First things first, I`ve been allways very interested in aerial warfare of WW2, as my Grandfather was a night fighter ace in IV./NJG-1 (Greiner) and told me stories about the combat back then when I was young. Moreover my other Grandfather during his work at Siemens several times met with Galland , so Iīve have had some early and intense touch with the stories about air warfare. Since then I loved good air simulations or games like BOB and BTR, so donīt get my critics or suggestions wrong, I love this game and it really makes one somewhat addicted.

Now to the point:

1.
Iīll start with Night combat:
Imho the standard algorithm gun power (of SM) vs. durability of the bomber shouldnīt be used during nightfighter bounces vs. night bombers. They almost allways completely surprised the Noght-Bombers and had plenty of time positioning below the bomber to aim for the wings and shoot the plane in flames... it was almost certain death for the bomber, as the fuel ignited.

In the game, I assume the standard algorithm is used for comparing the SM facing gunnery with the durability of the bomber, which I donīt regard as satisfactory as about 80-90% of the bombers (previously undamaged, i.e. on their way to the target) get only damaged by the attack. OK, some often eventually perish during the later stages of the resolution phase, but the pilot doesnīt get the experience boost from a succesful kill then, does he? And experience is a very crucial factor for succesful night combat, with a very high (imho slightly too high for the frist two checks, some of my NJGr have their 30 kills just distributed among four or five pilots) emphasize on the experience to succesfully (1.) make contact (visually) and (2.) succesfully intiating an attack... not to mention (3.) the result of the attack.

While historically the pilots could often watch their victims perish, as they were torches in the night sky to more or less slowly go down to earth... so they also often knew when they scored a certain kill and when not. For gameplay purposes I suggest it would be better to change the way SM-gun attacks are calculated (high exp. give considerable bonusses to attack effecitivity of SM attacks, while lower experience gives less boost on these attacks) or increase the effect of the SM mounted weaponry at all (if there a weapon slots available to create different weapons, for SM mounted or forward mounted... Iīll come back to this later). Resulting in less bombers only getting damaged by the attack and later crashing somewhere else.

2.
Allied tactical bombers with forward mounted weaponry:
The later Allied Bombers (B-25J, B26G, a.s.o...) have their historical fixed forward mounted weaponry brought into the game data. While this is nice for database accuracy it has an imho unrealistic downside effect on fighter attacks vs. formations of the bombers. Since bouncing attacks in game terms use the forward facing weaponry of the bombers for their defensive fire vs. the attacking fighters, such planes as they also use these fixed forward firing weaponry, i.e. (the additional 6 0.50 cal MGs or the 4 20mm guns of the A20G) vs the fighters which in, say 95-99% of the cases is pretty unrealistic. The fighters would just have to attacck with a slight deflection from above, below or the side to avoid this fire completely and bombers flying in formation couldnīt just all deliberatly tilt their nose around to aim for any attacking fighters... this would end up with 10 bombers crashing into each other.

There were propably examples were the Bombers actually used their fixed forward firing weaponry vs. fighters while flying in formations, but certainly not many, as the good fighter pilots wouldīt be that stupid to attack these planes continously right from directly ahead without any azimuth or height deflection. Since they donīt serve any real usage in this game either way (their historic usage for ground strafing isnīt implemented in the game) and the only usage they are good for is quite ahistoric and inplausible in my view. In the game you sometimes get horrible results vs these bombers with far higher fighter losses than vs. the heavy bombers. Granted, it strives the bombers of their possibility to use their forward weapory when flying alone or in a small group (2-3 planes), which might be plausible vs. head on attacks. But such small formations wouldnīt be attacked head on either way by the fighters, as there is no need to fight small formations or single bombers that way... the far weaker combined defensive fire doesnīt make it nescessairy... the head on attacks were developed for large allied bomber formations by the Abbeville boys/Schlageter Geschwader.

Just a few turns ago I lost 4 top aces of two Grps of JG-11 (190Ds) (each more than 10 kills) vs. two Baltimore V squadrons in head on attacks. Thatīs almost ridiculuos, but itīs just one episode of the imho: problem.

3.
The effectivitiy of wing mounted vs. centrally mounted weaponry.
WitP AE has gone the right way and differed between wing mounted and nose (or wing root) mounted weaponry, which imho opinion is quite correct. Wing mounted weaponry makes it easier to hit and hence is better for rookies, but sprays far more. The perfect effect is only in the convergence range. Nose mounted weaponry was giving true killing power as all the bullets hit the other plane quite at the same spot and sprayed considerably less, though itīs harder to hit with it. Good pilots could act almost like a surgeon with such a weaponry and a short hit by 1 or 2 30mm bullets combined with 3 or 4 13mm bullets on the wing is certain death for all but the most durable allied fighters (P-47, Tempest), but even they can get in serious throuble after such a hit.

The 109 G-5 and G-6 were considered by the RAF the first One-shot-killer planes (even with just the 20mm cannon, not the 30mm cannon of later versions). Same for the P-38... its centrally mounted firepower has more killing power than 6 0.50 cal MGs spread over the wings, still it is the most woeful among the main US fighters in the game, if just checking aircraft stats.

I suggest, if any weapon slots are free to implement new weapons, to distinguish for (the same) weapons between wing mounted and nose/wing-root mounted weaponry, this ainīt much of a hard work and imho such a differentiation can be expected in a detailed simulation of the air war.
The wing mounted weaponry should remain about the same as now, while the nose/wing-root mounted weapons could have slightly lower accuracy, but increased effect. This should result in more killing power of nose mounted weaponry, IF they manage to hit, but less propability to do so.

4. Cannons vs. MGs
This one is propably controversial, but even with the last critical hit overhaul in the patch I regard cannons to be somewhat underrated vs. MGs (mainly in fighter vs. figher combat, the anti-bomber combat gives quite good results, after being downtuned). A 20mm shell has almost double the kinetic power on impact and for the charge (if compared with 0,50 APHE) double the explosive power. I donīt know which exact alorithm is used in the game, itīs quite strange to see a wing mounted weaponry of the P-51D of 6 0.50 cal MGs has (when just comparing plain numbers) an considerably higher gun value than that of the, say Ta-152H with 20mm cannons and one 30mm cannon centrally mounted. Even when implementing the higher chance of a critical hit by the Ta-152H, this is still too less of a difference. Such a weaponry almost allways scores a critical hit, IF it hits. When a short 0.5 sec burst of such a weaponry hits a Mustang, itīs hit by say about 4-6 20mm shells and 2-3 30mm shells in a rather small portion of the plane. If those hits are on the wings or anywhere on the fuselage at or in front of the cockpit, itīs an almost 99% certain "Bye, bye Mustang". One the other hand if a Mustang with 6 0.5 cal hits with 0.5sec burst Fw-190 it scores about 15 - 25 hits (more variance due to being wing mounted) on the 190. And these hits have a good chance of being more scattered over the aircraft and are not a certain kill, unless they kill the pilot. The plane will be seriously damaged though and is ripe for some vulturing of 15 Mustangs each crashing into each other trying to get their first kill.

Another example is the Me-262, with itīs deadly 4 30mm cannons centrally mounted. Way too often even my elite pilots in the game (99 exp) bounce P-51Ds (e.g. 4 Me-262 bounce 4 P-51D; I allways use only flights of 4 Me-262 for continuously harrassing the bomber stream) and in 70 - 80% of the cases the Mustang gets only damaged??? Since the 4 forward firing guns are very close together there is a high chance that if the Me-262 hits the P-51 it hits it with several shells... and this somewhere deep over the Reich. This should be more like 80 - 90% of the times P-51D Destroyed. Even if its only severly damaged (wings or fuselage) it most likely looses fuel or has an engine damage and the liquid cooled engine of the P-51D will quite quickly seize up, not talking about the problem of flying an airplane without gas. So itīs actually dead meat flying over Germany even if its structural soundness sometimes should allow it not just to fall apart after such a devastating hit. But the imho lack of a more realistic P-51 attrition rate for damaged P-51 is another story. Funny thing is that vs. the Mustang III escorts of the B-17 bomber streams. The Me-262 is considerably more effective in terms of damaged/destroyed than vs. the P-51B... could be a pilot experience issue... could be statisic coincidence ... but its considerably difference! But this short story just underscores the problems stated among 3.) and 4.) centrally mounted weaponry too less deadly and cannons underrated vs MGs imho.

5.
Fighter vs. Fighter combat in general
It often seems pretty ineffective unless the formations break up and the whole bouncing parade starts. But the latter I feel sometimes more of an exploit to bounce scattered US escorts to death. The initial combat often kills just one or two planes on either side and while the bouncing back home potentially allows for killing some 30 (on both sides). This relation seems a bit too biased in one direction, though I know that the latter fighting or to be more precise "butchering" played an important role in the Air War over Europe.


24 Fw-190A bounce 24 Spitfire Vs, 1 Spitfire damaged... this happens simply to often and they need a lot of time and fuel to get that bounce. Same for the Allied. Big formation bouncing should be somewhat more effective. But often enough the aircraft just tag along and no combat starts at all. If the bouncing attempt is unsuccesful than the aircraft should at least do anything, but very often (especially vs. aircraft with fast cruise speeds) nothing at all happens and the fighters return... the US escorts also being rather passive till then. And then most of the times Allied bouncing starts. While I donīt have a problem with this in general the quick fuel usage of the German planes is the problem then. When finally the combat starts the formations breaks and the axis planes flock home, even if their whole mission just lasted for 15 minutes till then (Iīm almost exclusevly using close interceptions) and the only combat which happened so far resulted in one or two planes damaged after 36 planes engage 36 planes.

Itīs simply too unbloody unless the planes of both sides somewhat get entangled on their home trips. Imho this has to do with to less anti-fighter firepower, see above, the too quick fuel burn-up by (axis?) planes and the game engine (allways liked the fighter vs. fighter combat already in BOB more than that of the BTR engine, as they often actually engaged somehow(!)). Seems the BTR engine too much takes speed difference into consideration for checking whether combat is initiated at all... see below for some interesting observations with the Me-262

One could argue that the described things happened and that there are certain incentives sometimes for the air units to behave that way, but imho it is really too often and also related to the fact that the defensive AI is to aggressive in sending out fighters and hence the combat had to be tuned down to create realistic end-of-the-day results. But for a human player who carefully sends out 2 or 3 JGrp to engage a 100 US fighters on a fighter-sweep or ground attack mission and then seeing at the end of the combat 3 US planes downed and a propably equal number of German planes this is somewhat of a weak effort by both sides fighters, for often they just tag along or sit on each other on the map (i.e. dogfighting?). Especially since it takes 2 days before you again can send out a full Gruppe, due to maintenance and the lack of reserve aircraft in the Jagdgruppen.

Propably it would be good to have two possible calculation algorithms (fuel usage,fighter vs. fighter combat initiation): One for a play against an AI defensive side player and one for a human defensive side player.

6. An example, which makes things quite obvious:
One last thing I noticed in Fighter vs Fighter or combat initiation at all, which is worth mentioning here: Some of issues become especially appearant when using the Me-262. Since they turn back home very quickly after taking off (they behave more like a longer legged Me-163 and the aircraft immediately turns home after one combat result... too extreme imho). Some 20 Me-262 all manned with elite pilots (Doctrine direct!) and in the air for 5-10 minutes engage the a bomber/fighter package and all they manage in 8 out of 10 times is the damaging 1 or 2 planes and downing 1 or 2 in one or at best, two engangement checks vs the bomber/fighter package. Thatīs all then they return to base. ... and of course then suddenly the P-51 escorts get active and bounce the Me-262, right at the moment their box gets blue (killing one or two of them)... happens very often, Iīve even seen it twice with the escorts being below the Me-262 before the bounce happens. Their whole mission from take of till landing lasts just 20 minutes. (Please make the Me-262 endurance slightly higher. Jet engines donīt burn four times the fuel when they engage in combat. The nature of the jet combat is much more on high speed slashing attacks and staying on high speeds. They hence donīt need any acceleration boost and constantly remain between 70 an 90% of the the engine throttle.)

I found out to use a different attack tactic with her which requires micro-managing, but makes some problems quite obvious. To produce more realisitc results two things have to be done! Use only formations of 4 planes (even in bundles, but only bundles of small groups) and use them via patrol, e.g. start a number of 4 jet flights on 30000 feet and vector their patrol target right into the bomber screen (doctrine direct, not important whether fighter or bomber). They will engage far more instantly than by setting them on intercept. The latter sometimes just makes them do the usual formation flying along with the allied planes... and with their short fuel reserve they canīt afford that waste. This tactic also works quite well for faster piston engined planes to score a good chance for a real combat vs. escorts on the catch-up route.

The latter observation makes two things quite obvious: (1!) 9 * 4 fighters initiate far more combat combined than 36 do, especially if they have the intiative to do so, i.e. higher speed. They combined produce a lot more combat, 4 aicract attack... 4 aircraft bounce.... 4 aircraft bounce .... and score combined in the end more realisic kills and losses after the engagements than when you use 36 aircraft as a group (unless the backflowing axis aircraft get entagled with allied aircraft. (2!) More important and less historically plausible: the intercept mode, i.e. the box gets black, makes aircraft sometimes more passive, than when you set them to "patrol" into the enemy aircrafts (doctrine must be direct though, and patrol alt correct!)... the latter producing results close to that of the original BOB combat fighter vs. fighter combat with direct attacks and bounces.


So if someone managed to actually read through the whole novel I just wrote here: Congratulations and Sorry ! Propably itīs an incentive for discussion or even some changes within the game.




< Message edited by Reddon45 -- 6/30/2010 5:49:22 AM >


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RE: gun power vs durability discussion, also regarding ... - 6/30/2010 11:28:59 AM   
fochinell

 

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Hi Reddon,

My take on your points as a fellow BTR addict; what follows is just my opinion, and is made in ignorance of most of the game mechanics:

1. Night combat results. Yes, night combat does seem to produce more damaged than immediately destroyed, and I suspect this does under-represent the historical reality. Nevertheless, most aircraft lost in air combat were not immediately destroyed, and were lost to the cumulative impact of damage over time. This also applied to the night-bombers. To give one historical example, my great-uncle's Lancaster was attacked and critically damaged by a Ju88 attack in February 1944 but did not go down instantly, although it went down pretty quickly. Overall, the representation of damage rather than instant destruction resulting from combat has gone down over previous versions of the game and this is an improvement in my opinion.

I would agree that the game under-values the lethality of 20mm and 30mm cannon, and this affects the NJG in this area. I'd increase the damage of the cannon rather than change the combat routines at night, but my understanding is that this is a complex issue involving many variables where changes can affect the game balance.

2. The tactical bombers forward weaponry. Yes, these were very infrequently used in air combat (although it did happen...) and these weapons should not be as effective as a flexible-mounted gun in the same position for defensive purposes.

3. Wing-mounted weaponry. I think the difference between centrally-mounted guns and wing-mounted guns was in fact very marginal in combat conditions, and I don't think this was significant enough in reality to justfy being represented in game combat results.

4. Cannons vs. MG's. I agree that MG's are over-valued, or at least appear to be over-valued on the basis of my gameplay. Improving that would have a beneficial impact on some of your points (NJG vs Bomber Command; Lightning vs Mustang) but the .5in MG wing armament was effective enough and that is represented reasonably well in the current results. Overall I remain a strong supporter of damage or even no result from attacks, rather than 'destroyed' in air combat results.

5. Fighter vs. Fighter combat in general

It often seems pretty ineffective unless the formations break up and the whole bouncing parade starts.

I agree; the first is an accurate representation of reality, the second less so even though it does model factors which were present in air combat. I'd prefer to see small-formation or red-on-blue bounces remaining at a similar level of 'ineffectiveness' as large-unit bounces rather than the lethality of large-unit bounces increased. I try to avoid using sections/schwarm rather than whole Gruppen for realism, as it does skew the combat results (multiple sections used to intercept rather than complete Gruppen will generate more combats).

I do think the 'bounce when fuel state changes' pattern means that the short-legged fighters are at a disadvantage; this reflects the historical reality to some extent, but even after improvement on earlier versions, it still gives the long-range escorts too much of an advantage in my opinion.

In conclusion I would like to see the fighter combat adjusted slightly to reduce the impact of changes of fuel state on combat, and the lethality of cannon armament improved slightly. But I have no idea how this would affect the existing game balance.

(in reply to Reddon45)
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RE: gun power vs durability discussion, also regarding ... - 6/30/2010 6:29:58 PM   
Nikademus


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The losses in a2a overall feel pretty good to me, especially in comparison to WitP. The pattern of losses (typically ranging from 0-4 aircraft per engagement) is very historical based on my studies of multiple campaigns on a day by day basis, even when large forces are involved. WitP is far far bloodier because it tries to resolve each air combat on a plane by plane basis one at a time so the bigger the attacking/defending group...the exponentially bigger the losses.

I agree though that fixed forward firing weapons should have little impact on A2A. Believe the Devs are aware of this situation from a past thread.


(in reply to fochinell)
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RE: gun power vs durability discussion, also regarding ... - 6/30/2010 8:10:38 PM   
Erkki

 

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Cant but agree with anything... But the wing vs. fuselage mounted guns.

Not only is the grouping closer in the fuselage armed guns, but they are also easier to hit with - a typical rookie mistake was, and still is, to shoot too far. With wing mounted guns, you will score absolute no hits at, say, 500m distance. With the fuselage guns, the pilot may hit at any distance, from 0 up to that 500m, if only his taken lead is correct. The wing mounted guns do not point ahead, but slightly inwards, meaning that the projectile paths will "convergence" at a pre-set distance. USAAF used 250 yeards for this, RAF apparently 300, at least in the early war(when Spitfires and Hurricanes' main targets were supposed to be bombers, which pilots tend to shoot too far out).

The only drawbacks are limited amount of the guns that fit to inner wings and above the engine(or in the engine...), and the slightly reduced ROF of the guns that have to fire through the propeller arc.

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RE: gun power vs durability discussion, also regarding ... - 7/1/2010 10:08:42 AM   
fochinell

 

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Re: wing vs fuselage mounted guns.

I'm aware of the convergence of wing-mounted guns, but two factors arise in relation to that - i) the effective range of weapons extended beyond that convergence (e.g the 20mm Hispano cannon in Spitfire VB's and later could and did hit and seriously damage targets beyond the convergence distance which was typically 300 metres - those cannon shells did not vanish once they reached the convergence point), and ii) the effective range of weapons was dictated by the marksmanship of the pilot attacking more than it was by their installation, and that was dictated by the external factors involved in that combat situation.

In reality marksmanship in air combat did not provide the conditions for the difference between centrally-mounted vs wing mounted guns to be relevant in the vast majority of combat situations. Simply aligning a pursuing fighter in a position to make a correctly-anticipated deflection shot for a brief and fleeting period was a very difficult proposition in most cases. Judging deflection and range were hard, but if done correctly any aircraft in the 'beaten zone' of either wing or centrally-mounted armament was going to be hit.

The main limitations involved were human, and not determined by the armament installation. A high-deflection shot in high-speed combat did not get any easier with centrally-mounted armament, and a zero-deflection sitting duck did not get any harder with wing-mounted armament. Centrally-grouped weapons had a more predictable and more concentrated beaten zone, but this remained a marginal factor in the ranges, speed and violent positional changes involved in air combat, and not a decisive one.

Something that did make a more material difference to air-to-air gunnery was the gyroscopic gunsight, and that has a stronger claim to be modelled in the game in my opinion.

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RE: gun power vs durability discussion, also regarding ... - 7/1/2010 11:01:56 AM   
Erkki

 

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This is the problem with wing mounted guns:



And that only straight and level, it gets worse with different bank angles - taking the correct lead, if the guns had no dispersion, with wing mounted guns you can only hit the target's fuselage when aiming slightly off, or at the convergence distance. A 109 with just 3 fuselage guns can get more hits, at any firing distance, than a Spitfire that has 2 of its guns mid wing and 4 more guns even further from the fuselage.

Have to agree with gyroscopic gunsight. However, it has its limitations too, as it only shows correct lead when both target and shooter are in a constant-G maneuver, the distance and wingspan of target are set right, and the bank angle is the same... Helps greentags getting the idea of deflection shooting, but for those that had the combat experience, it was more of an annoyance. Some USAAF and RAF units received them, it might be a good idea to give the pilots in the squad +2 or 3 experience for below 80 exp pilots at the date the K-14 gunsights arrived.

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RE: gun power vs durability discussion, also regarding ... - 7/1/2010 2:50:32 PM   
fochinell

 

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Erkki, this probably risks overstates our disagreement, but what the hell, it beats working.

I do understand what convergence is; I dispute the significance of the impact of it on the basis of actual combat results.

Two points by way of example. First, a minor one. No Spitfire had a gun position in the 'red line' given in the diagram. This, along with the compression of range involved (i.e. see the same diagram with the correct gun positions over a proportionate scale of range to fighter wing-span) overstates the divergences involved. Secondly, and more significantly, even if a Spitfire had 50% 'dilution' compared to a Bf109G at a given range and position of beaten zone, this left them broadly equivalent in firepower terms - 1 x 20mm cannon and 2 x rifle calibre MG on both sides.

Finally and far more significantly, no amount of concentration (or tighter 'grouping') could counter the determining limits of marksmanship in air combat, e.g. correct range and deflection estimation against targets moving rapidly in three dimensions. Centrally-mounted armament was certainly desirable if possible, and generally an improvement over wing-mounted armament; but this was just not significant enough to merit a differential in game modelling in my opinion.

The same applies in reverse to the gyroscopic gunsight. I understand the limits to WW2 gyroscopic gunsights in fighter combat (e.g. maintaining a stable rate of bank over the time taken to allow the sight to calculate the correct lead; inputting target wingspan correctly, etc, etc) but these still left it having a more substantive impact on the results of air combat than wing- or centrally-mounted armament.

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RE: gun power vs durability discussion, also regarding ... - 7/1/2010 2:58:54 PM   
Nikademus


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quote:

ORIGINAL: fochinell


In reality marksmanship in air combat did not provide the conditions for the difference between centrally-mounted vs wing mounted guns to be relevant in the vast majority of combat situations.


I'd have to disagree with this. Ki-43 drivers in Burma greatly benefited from having a centerline armament which helped make up for their overall anemicness in weight of firepower. It also benefited many a German Experten when utilizing their cannon. American ace Richard Bong's style of fighting also highlighted the benefit of a powerful centrally mounted armament. Lastly, Soviet VVS drivers, using P-39's developed tactics that exploited the powerful central mounted weapons of the plane, even going so far as to eliminate the wing guns, considered superflous in the firepower equation.

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RE: gun power vs durability discussion, also regarding ... - 7/1/2010 3:33:00 PM   
Erkki

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: fochinell

Erkki, this probably risks overstates our disagreement, but what the hell, it beats working.

I do understand what convergence is; I dispute the significance of the impact of it on the basis of actual combat results.

Two points by way of example. First, a minor one. No Spitfire had a gun position in the 'red line' given in the diagram. This, along with the compression of range involved (i.e. see the same diagram with the correct gun positions over a proportionate scale of range to fighter wing-span) overstates the divergences involved. Secondly, and more significantly, even if a Spitfire had 50% 'dilution' compared to a Bf109G at a given range and position of beaten zone, this left them broadly equivalent in firepower terms - 1 x 20mm cannon and 2 x rifle calibre MG on both sides.

Finally and far more significantly, no amount of concentration (or tighter 'grouping') could counter the determining limits of marksmanship in air combat, e.g. correct range and deflection estimation against targets moving rapidly in three dimensions. Centrally-mounted armament was certainly desirable if possible, and generally an improvement over wing-mounted armament; but this was just not significant enough to merit a differential in game modelling in my opinion.

The same applies in reverse to the gyroscopic gunsight. I understand the limits to WW2 gyroscopic gunsights in fighter combat (e.g. maintaining a stable rate of bank over the time taken to allow the sight to calculate the correct lead; inputting target wingspan correctly, etc, etc) but these still left it having a more substantive impact on the results of air combat than wing- or centrally-mounted armament.


The picture was demonstrative only. I should have clarified, that not only is the 'grouping' larger if out of convergence, but without the same bank angle, the guns of one wing are going to miss entirely, if the projectile dispersion is small and the target doesnt "fly through" the stream of bullets.

With wing mounted guns, even if you had estimated the required lead right, you might not hit the target, at all, at 2 x convergence range and further. And the convergence range cant be set to 1000m because that way hitting at closer distances becomes a nightmare(a wing is thin at 6 o clock). Or why else, as you say, centrally mounted armament would have been desired, if possible? With a centrally mounted 20mm gun, it is possible to fire and hit aircraft up to 1000m, if only the aim is correct and burst long enough, to counter disperion. That cannot be done with wing mounted armament, retaining ability to hit from 6 o clock close up(without wasting tons of ammo). If you have played WW2 flight sims, you know what I mean.

Lastly, about gyroscopic sight, I meant that someone who already has the gut feeling in gunnery, the gyroscopic sight only annoys and increases his aiming time. K-14 had 3 modes, however: fixed, fixed + gyro and gyro only.

EDIT: just now I noticed the "based on actual combat reports" in your message, should have read it better. What combat reports? Do you have large amounts of both, say, Spitfire and Bf 109 combat reports available? Some Bf 109 pilots, such as Marseille, Rall, Hartmann and Krislawski hit with nearly every fired burst, at every given angle and distance, according to people that flew of them. I havent heard of such men existing in the RAF or USAAF, and I doubt it was because the Nazis thought they were Übermenschen. ;) Those 4 mentioned men didnt think so either.

< Message edited by Erkki -- 7/1/2010 3:35:43 PM >


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RE: gun power vs durability discussion, also regarding ... - 7/1/2010 11:19:48 PM   
retired08

 

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The following extract from a 1944 US evaluation may be of interest:
"As it is now, we have the 50-cal. gun which has reached its peak. The only improvements will be minor. The only good increase is to increase the number of guns. So it seems to be just about the right time to look for a better weapon. There are two possibilities here - the one we have and the one we might get shortly. The one we have is a 20-mm gun. I think very highly of it. In fact, it is one we have here, and it is one in hand. It won't do what the 60 will do, but we haven't got the 60, and we won't have it for a year. So, we are gradually working into all of our aircraft the 20-mm gun. To give you some idea of the 50 versus the 20 and dispel a lot of ideas that have bothered us, I would like to give you a comparison. When somebody goes from four 50's to two 20's, to the layman that means a decrease in fire power. Actually, quite the reverse is true. In the horsepower of the gun, one 20 is equal to three .50-calibers. In the actual rate of fire delivered at the target, one 20 equals three 50's; in kinetic energy at 500 yards, one 20 equals two and one half 50's.[N.B. This takes no account of the effect of the HE content of the 20mm shells]

That adds up to four 20's equaling twelve 50 calibers, judging by those standards. Of course you have other advantages of the 20. You have the much greater penetration of armor. The 20 will go through 3/4 inch of armor at 500 yards, while the .50 cal, will go through only .43. In addition to that you have one more great advantage - that is you can have longer and more frequent bursts without damage to the gun with the 20 than you can have from the .50 cal. That is important for the strafing airplane, because they are burning up their barrels and ruining their guns on one flight. Sometimes it is long before that one flight is over. They will come down with screaming barrels and get trigger happy, and then all the barrels are gone in one flight. It should not happen in a 20mm. Of course, you have disadvantages. You have a heavier installation, one-half as much ammunition for the same weight. Our standard ammunition in the Navy is 400 rounds in one gun. The Fleet has set up 30 seconds of fire as a minimum requirement for the .50 cal gun. We can't do that with the 20, so we give them 200 rounds. The 20 is lethal enough to get far more results out of that 200 rounds than the .50 ever will out of 400 rounds."

From: "USN Report of Joint Fighter Conference NAS Patuxent River". (October 1944)

Courtesy Tony Williams   

(in reply to Erkki)
Post #: 10
RE: gun power vs durability discussion, also regarding ... - 7/2/2010 3:23:40 AM   
3rd ACR Tanker


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Having operated machine guns both .30 cal (7.62) and .50 cal's when I crewed M1A1's in the army, I learned a lot about the mechanics you are discussing about the effectiveness of either set up. So, imho, I believe that in the discussion regarding wing versus Centrally mounting weapons are over looking one important aspect of all Machine guns and cannons. Contrary to Hollywood, and the typical urban myths regarding the flight paths of all automatic weapon rounds, they are not laser shots. Typically, the paths of all rounds leaving the barrel of a machine gun tend to vary widely at all ranges. Typically, all the rounds tend to fall into a "cone" shaped pattern as they go down range. For example, firing an m240C, coax, we discovered that although we were aiming at one troop target, at 800 meters, the rounds impacting not only hit the target but also laid down what is termed a Beaten zone roughly an oval shaped area on the ground, both short lined, left and right, but also behind the target.

So how does this affect the discussion, I believe that with centrally mounted weapons, be they all machine guns, all cannons, or a combination of them, will tend to create a cone of fire along the axis of the aircraft resulting a more compact and denser "beaten zone" downrange. This in turn leads me to believe that proper deflection assessment, proper lead adjustments and gun target alignment is more critical. True, just point the nose and fire, but if you are off by just a hair, then the strike chances also decrease. Only advantage in my book, is if you do get the proper firing solution, then the probability of a tighter damaging zone of impact is the result.

Now with wing mounted systems, the two wing "cones" are set to coincide at a specific distance, and at that distance, a higher concentration of rounds from both "cones" merging is the result. Meaning, that at that range, even if your aim is slightly off, you still have a chance of having one or both of your patterns edges strike the target. End result, a higher chance of strikes at all ranges, but less concentration of rounds within any one area closer than or farther away from the convergence range from the wing guns.

IMHO, both setups have their advantages, and disadvantages which I believe are factored in the game's mechanics. I personally believe that it is personal beliefs as to which is more effective, and all accounts published by pilots are antecedence's without a mathematical based comparison.

Again, this is/was just my personal opinion on this matter..



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Post #: 11
RE: gun power vs durability discussion, also regarding ... - 7/2/2010 3:39:04 PM   
fochinell

 

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Erkki, just to reiterate, I think centrally-mounted armament was desirable, but the difference between it and wing-mounted armament was marginal - particularly when wing-mounted armament was heavy enough to compensate for dispersal of convergence over combat ranges.

I completely agree that with wing-mounted guns, a target at 2x convergence distance might not be hit at all. However, this would represent a range of 600 metres and I suggest this was beyond the effective range of most aerial combat marksmanship, even with centrally-mounted guns.

My reference was to 'combat results', not combat reports, but as I happens I am familiar with some contemporary RAF reports and evaluations on issues such as the wing-mounting of the Hispano Mk II and V and the introduction of the gyroscopic gunsight.

As for the Luftwaffe experten, I have no problem accepting that many of these were exceptional deflection shots (e.g. Marseille) although some preferred getting to close range with zero-deflection (e.g. Hartmann) which was a widespread and successful tactic in most air forces at the time; including successful pilots on the FW-190 and various Bf109 variants which had wing armament (e.g. the Bf109E). By the same token, there were plenty of British pilots with experience of centrally-mounted armament, for example all Beaufighter and Mosquito night-fighter pilots. There were also pilots in the Commonwealth air forces (and USAAF) who were exceptional deflection shots (e.g Beurling) - that you haven't heard of them perhaps says something more about the relative levels of publicity involved rather than any objective difference in the levels of marksmanship involved.

retired08, the 20mm cannon (at least in the Hispano variants used by the RAF and in the P-38) was a formidable weapon, and more effective than the .5in Browning, but this should not obscure the fact that the .5in was in turn a significantly more effective weapon than the various contemporary .3in/7.6-7.9mm rifle-calibre MG's, and particularly with incendiary ammunition.

3rd ACR Tanker, I agree, and you'll see I did refer to the concept of 'beaten zone' in my earlier comments (as it happens, my own experience of this was also formed using an equivalent to the M240).

(in reply to Erkki)
Post #: 12
RE: gun power vs durability discussion, also regarding ... - 7/2/2010 5:56:22 PM   
Nikademus


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depending the exact circumstances, yes...advantages to both. For example, more than one BoB author has commented that the large # of small caliber weapons (.303) installed in the wings of the early Hurricanes was beneficial to the green pilots manning them, most with little actual gunnery practice. Combined with the number of weapons, and large ammo load due to the small caliber size, they could "spray" an area with fire and hope for some hits. Same token, a light wing armament makes hitting far more difficult....an issue that plagued some Italian fighter designs. A limited but powerful centerline armament favors an experienced pilot who is skilled enough to get in close or ambush and get in an aimed shot while conserving ammo. (aka...slower ROF...lower ammo load) All things being equal if comparing two diff planes however, i do feel centerline makes it easier. (certainly my flight simm experiences have backed that up as i'm a terrible shot!) unless i'm flying a P-47 with 8 x 50's.....then i can dispense with finense and do a Rambo midair. AAAAHHHH!!!!!! die COMMIE BASTURDS!

(in reply to fochinell)
Post #: 13
RE: gun power vs durability discussion, also regarding ... - 7/3/2010 9:54:44 AM   
HMSWarspite

 

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I have an issue with your supposition that, because 36 v 36 is barely more bloody than 4 vs 4, there is something wrong. In RL, (later war tactics), a 4 is actually 2 pairs, each with a leader who would be expected to be the more experienced, and whose primary role is to shoot down the enemy. The second is a wing man and is there to protect the leader. If 2 such pairs meet 2 more such pairs, you will tend to have a fight that almost instantly becomes 2, 2v2 battles, possibly having no nfluence on eachother. The result is most likely inconclusive followed by one kill on one side with the remaining pilot breaking off as fast as he can. This will hold unless there is a marked experience, plane capabilty or tactical advantage. In which case the most likely is one or both of each pair are shot down.

If the 2, 2v2 combats interact, the chance of a kill actually goes down - each pair will tend to interfere with the tactical set up of the other. This effect becomes more and more marked with more planes in the sky. Assuming some sort of command and control (i.e. radio equipped aircraft and adequate leader/doctine), the combat will not just break down in to a free for all, or (with 36 a side) 18 2V2 combats. For a start, no one (after 1940) tried to fly with 36 fighters in one formation - they would far more likely be say 3 12's relatively close but not together. If they met another group of aircraft, and tried to engage they would likely do so by bouncing the upper group of the enemy (say the 'top 12 aircraft') with one of their own '12s'. The others split in to a group to exploit any mistakes/break up of the enemy formation, and a group that remain as top cover to prevent someone new joining the party. Nothing gets a pilot shot down faster than a bit of concentration on a target, whilst a new aircraft he never even knew was there jumps him in turn.

Thus a 36 vs 36 combat will actually probably be a 12 vs ? 12 with a lot of spectators (or oblivious neighbours), not 9 sets of 4v4 combat as you imply.

The real effect of escorts (apart from shooting down the odd one or two), is to split up the enemy, spoil their tactical options, and nail the cripples and loners. Occasionally as a bonus you catch the interceptors at a huge disadvantage and spoil their day...

My humble opinion, backed up with years of reading...

This reason is why dogfights have been getting smaller since about 1918 - the days of a try 50 a side melee were ended by 300mph fighters.

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Post #: 14
RE: gun power vs durability discussion, also regarding ... - 7/4/2010 9:28:44 PM   
fochinell

 

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HMSWarspite, good points, however: My point would be that a 36 vs 36 bounce should indeed be determined by up to four pilots in the bouncing unit actually in a position to complete a decisive attack; but that should be little different from 4 bouncing 4. As it is a 'complete unit' bounce (and I'm confining this to bounces - i.e. attacks with a significant positional and tactical advantage) is less lethal than a small unit/individual bounce. I think the results of both should be broadly similar, rather than the current situation where 'whole unit' bounces are invariably significantly less effective than numerically smaller bounces. My feeling is that this is better than it used to be, but it is still present in the combat results in the game.

The pairs vs pairs stuff you mention is absolutely correct, and combat between equally-matched or positioned aircraft would tend to be inconclusive, bar a major aircraft performance advantage, but the issue (at least as I see it) revolves around the fact that a unit performing a bounce does, by definition, hold the tactical advantage.

(in reply to HMSWarspite)
Post #: 15
RE: gun power vs durability discussion, also regarding ... - 7/4/2010 9:42:44 PM   
fochinell

 

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Nikademus, I stand by my contention that there was no equivalent substitute for accurate combat marksmanship which involved factors such as speed, range and deflection estimation which were far more significant to combat results than the location of the armament. The removal of P-39 wing armament was also affected by issues of weight and loading; in those circumstances two outboard .5in or four .3in MG's were always going to be of relatively limited value compared to the centrally-mounted 20mm or 37mm cannon and twin MG's; the USAAF was happy enough to have the wing-mounted MG's in the P-39 upgraded to .5in MG's.

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Post #: 16
RE: gun power vs durability discussion, also regarding ... - 7/5/2010 12:53:40 AM   
Derfel


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Regarding your 4th point I think that cannons are a bit underrated too.
As we have these factors in the game:
Effect, Penetration, range and accuracy:
2 1 1500 27 .303 (7.62mm?)
2 1 1500 33 MG17 (7.92mm)
3 2 2000 29 .50 (12.7mm)
3 2 2000 29 MG131(13mm)
4 3 2500 21 MG151(20mm)
5 4 3000 13 MK103(30mm)
5 4 3000 18 MK108(30mm)
4 7 3500 10 BK50 (50mm)

We can 'play' around with them a bit.

As I understand, then the accuracy or chance of a hit drops accurately as the calibre of the guns increase, which model the reduced numbers of rounds fired. Exception is the .50 which looks like it has a higher rate of fire than a .303.

The range goes up, as the shells fly further with a larger calibre gun,as it has more propellant. Exception is the BK50 which looks like it is armour piercing, not explosive.

The 2 unknown factors here is effect and penetration.
Effect might be the effect a hit has on an enemy plane.
Penetration might be how much power the shell have to punch through the armour of an airplane.

As all weapons are the same,then it does no difference where that weapon is located, they are all located in F(=Forward).
So where to go from here, well it looks like we could use the 7.62/7.92 as a baseline, then you get 1 effect for every 4 millimetres. wow easy math Then a 13mm will be 3, 20mm would be 5 effect and 30mm would be 8.


If we had an editor, then we might have tried giving different weapons stats as they were located in different locations wings or engine area. More or less chance to hit.



(in reply to Reddon45)
Post #: 17
RE: gun power vs durability discussion, also regarding ... - 7/5/2010 5:34:59 PM   
mikemike

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Derfel

As all weapons are the same,then it does no difference where that weapon is located, they are all located in F(=Forward).
So where to go from here, well it looks like we could use the 7.62/7.92 as a baseline, then you get 1 effect for every 4 millimetres. wow easy math Then a 13mm will be 3, 20mm would be 5 effect and 30mm would be 8.



Actually, the disparity is quite a bit bigger in RL, as the relationship caliber/effect isn't linear. A good comparison can be found on http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/WW2guneffect.htm

According to this table, if a rifle-caliber gun has effect 1, then
MG131.............3.2
.50 Browning......4.6
MG151/20..........16
Hispano...........18
MK 108............58
MK 103............99
37 mm M10.........64

But as this is a Grigsby game, any playing around with those two numbers effect and penetration, taking them beyond the creator-mandated range, will probably lead to quite weird effects. You could see this with modding results both in PacWar and WitP, which use the same kind of numbers.

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Post #: 18
RE: gun power vs durability discussion, also regarding ... - 7/6/2010 3:20:13 PM   
Nikademus


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quote:

ORIGINAL: fochinell

Nikademus, I stand by my contention that there was no equivalent substitute for accurate combat marksmanship which involved factors such as speed, range and deflection estimation which were far more significant to combat results than the location of the armament. The removal of P-39 wing armament was also affected by issues of weight and loading; in those circumstances two outboard .5in or four .3in MG's were always going to be of relatively limited value compared to the centrally-mounted 20mm or 37mm cannon and twin MG's; the USAAF was happy enough to have the wing-mounted MG's in the P-39 upgraded to .5in MG's.


Ok. I'll stick to what i've gleaned from my own study. . In regards Russian Airacobras, I repeat the primary motivation for the removal was that the pilots felt the additional wing mounted weapons were not necessary. The small boost in roll rate and speed was a bonus but not the reason for the removal of the weapons.

(in reply to fochinell)
Post #: 19
RE: gun power vs durability discussion, also regarding ... - 7/7/2010 10:11:40 AM   
fochinell

 

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Re: P-39 wing guns. Bell were pressuring the USAAF to remove the wing guns in May 1942, undoubtedly in response to criticism of Airacobra performance in the South-West Pacific, on the grounds of the weight saving involved and the improvement to climb performance. Although Larry Bell himself claimed the weight reduction would boost speed, the primary reason was to improve rate of climb.

By contrast, the initial response of USAAF pilots using P-39D and P-400's in New Guinea in their first combats with the Japanese in April 1942 was not to demand that the wing guns be deleted, but that the .3in MG's in the wings be upgraded to .5in ones.

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Post #: 20
RE: gun power vs durability discussion, also regarding ... - 7/7/2010 2:20:18 PM   
Nikademus


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see post #19.

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Post #: 21
RE: gun power vs durability discussion, also regarding ... - 7/7/2010 2:31:15 PM   
fochinell

 

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see post #16.

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Post #: 22
RE: gun power vs durability discussion, also regarding ... - 7/7/2010 8:50:50 PM   
K.Pooley


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Nikademus

see post #19.


quote:

ORIGINAL: fochinell

see post #16.


Point(s) taken. And now before this whole thread becomes completely iterative can we make that the last post please?

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