World of Warplanes Air Combat Tactics and Maneuvers Guide by BLC01
The development of Air Combat Tactics:
In WWI on German side it was the pilot Max Immelmann and Oswald Boelcke, their experience and their approach to a general Air Combat Tactics formulated, which was then taught systematically.
These principles are partly valid today.
Boelcke carefully observed his pilots, their behavior in dogfight just to improve their performance further.
He summarized the most important rules in the “Dicta Boelcke” :
- Make sure you get the advantages of Air Combat (speed, altitude, numerical superiority, position), before you attack. Always reach out to the sun.
- If you started the attack, also bring it to an end.
- Fire the machine gun at close range and only if you have the enemy safely targeting.
- Do not let the enemy out of sight.
- In any form of attack is moving closer to enemy from behind required.
- When the enemy engages you in a dive, not trying to dodge the attack, rather turn to the enemy.
- When you find yourself over the enemy lines, always keep an eye on your own withdraw.
- For squadrons: Attack to principle only in groups of 4 to 6. When the fight individual dispersed in a lot of battles, make sure that not all comrades rush one opponent.
Air Combat Maneuvers:
The Immelmann is essentially a maneuver for repositioning. Not to be confused with it’s WWI namesake,
its main value lies in enabling the fighter to reposition at any angle with almost no lateral displacement.
A pair working as a team is much more effective than two fighters working individually.
They guard each other’s visual blind spots and, as illustrated in the Attack Section, hunt as a co-ordinated unit.
The wide spacing is dictated by two factors: the long reach of contemporary weaponry, and the large amounts of sky needed for maneuver at high subsonic or transonic speeds.
There are few set maneuvers for the pair; just a few general tricks to meet certain situations, as follows.
Back in 1916 the original Immelmann turn was more akin to the vertical reverse than its present-day counterpart.
The modern version of the Immelmann is a vertical climb or half loop, possibly aileron-turning during the climb, then rolling out into level flight at the top.
Its main value lies in using the vertical plane to change the direction of flight in the smallest possible horizontal space.
Horizontal turns at normal fighting speeds take up a lot of room laterally.
Using the vertical plane enables the fighter to turn square corners in relation to its position above the ground.
This maneuver makes repositioning for a further attack, or to meet a threat, much easier than would be the case using horizontal maneuver only.
This is used when an attacker is first seen or is already in the cone of vulnerability. Its purpose is twofold: to spoil the attacker’s aim and to force him to overshoot.
The break is always made towars the direction of attack. This generates “angle-off” as quickly as possible which makes the defender a difficult target.
The attacker may be able to cut inside the turn but he is forced to pull lead. To do this he must tighten his turn, which increases his angel of attack.
It is difficult for him to pull his nose around at high angels of attack to achieve a firing soultion. The defender should also alter his plane of flight to make himself a more difficult target.
The High Speed Yo-Yo
The High Yo-Yo was invented by a Chinese pilot named Yo-Yo. This maneuver is used to improve a pilots offensive position and to prevent the pilot from overshooting.
Overshooting is when the attacking aircraft is chasing the defender from behind and either the attacker is going to fast and passes the defender or the attacker turns inside of the defender during a bank.
The result in either case is that the attacking aircraft passes the defender and their roles reverse. Thus the attacker becomes the defender while the defending plane switches to the attacker.
The Yo-Yo works by causing the attacker to gain altitude therefor losing speed and decreasing the closure on the defender. This prevents the attacker from overshooting it’s target. Then the attacker dives downward while turning with the enemy aircraft. The attacking aircraft thus gains back the speed it lost from the climb and gains a better offensive position almost directly behind the enemy aircraft.
The Low Speed Yo-Yo
Another combat situation which can arise is a stalemate in either a tail chase or turning match. To break the stalemate, a low-speed yoyo is used.
This is based on the age-old concept of trading height for speed. If the pursuer finds that he is unable to close to within shooting range in straight flight, he can gain extra speed in a shallow dive.
This will allow him to close the horizontal distance and takes him into his opponent’s blind spot at six o’clock low.
When a suitable position and overtaking speed can be attained, the pursuer can pull up and attack. The counter? Keep a good lookout behind!
If the attacking pilot has tried to lead the defender by too much or dived too low by being greedy, the defender can also pull up and barrel down onto the attacker.
More often, the low-speed yoyo is uded to break a stalemate in a turning fight.
The attacker drops his nose to the inside od the turn, then cuts low across the circle before pulling up towards his opponent’s six o’clock.
The gain is often marginal, but repeating the process nibbles off a few degrees of angle each time, due to maneuvreing in the vertical plane.
The pull-up should be started when a position of about 30 degrees angle-off is reached. It is important that the angle of cut-off is correct or the attacker will arrive in a fly-through situation with too much angle-off as he approaches the targetr. If this happens then he must endeavour to pull up into a high-speed yoyo.
Defence against the low-speed yoyo takes two forms. The first is to copy the maneuvre while remainingin phase with the attacker.
This maintains the stalemate. The secound counter is more psitive, The defendeing turn into his opponent.
The Barrel Roll
This maneuver differs from the defensive high-g barrel roll in that a great loss of speed to force an attacking fighter to overshoot is not necessary.
The g forces can therefore often be quite small. Closely resembling the rollaway, the barrel roll attack is used to alter the angle of approach to the defender without losing a lot of speed. It is used when the attacker becomes aware that he is going to overshoot a turning target. He rolls the wings level, pulls the nose hard up, then rolls away from the direction of turn.
This three- dimensional maneuver is completed by sliding in astern of the target.
The counter to a well executed barrel roll attack is for the defender to dive away and increase speed. While doing this he must keep a sharp lookout for a missile attack and be ready to evade it. If he reverses his turn, he will probably set himself up for a gun attack.
The Split S
A Split-S is an aerial maneuver used during dogfighting in which a pilot half rolls his aircraft to an inverted position before executing a descending half-loop.
This results in the aircraft achieving level flight at a lower altitude in the opposite direction.
The Split-S is often used by aircraft to evade an enemy or break off combat. A Split S is the opposite of an Immelmann Turn.
Rollaway or Vector Roll Attack
The Rollaway, or Vector Roll Attack, is the perfect solution for out turning opponents that are out turning you.
In addition it usually confuses the opponent, making them do stupid things which will make it easier to make the kill.
Instead of making a Break-Turn rolling towards the target , roll away and climb, then dive while completing the roll.
The trick is that you make a roll while doing the turn, making it tighter, and as a bonus you get some leeway.
You can also use the effect in a Break-Turn, suppose you fly straight and want to make a Break-Turn.
Instead of rolling to the direction you want to go roll the other way while pushing the stick forward.
Now slowly pull back, crucial timing is involved here, and after completion continue the Break-Turn as usual.
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