War Thunder 109K4 Guide
War Thunder 109K4 Guide by Arkapella
I’m making this guide in light of a handful of German pilots talking about tactics and how to do well in the K4, that and I promised a couple of you I would tell you what I know and I haven’t really kept that promise.
Before I start I just thought I would like to say that I consider myself quiet a good K4 pilot and have well above 250 kills in it scoring 2-4 kills a game, so much so that I have difficulty flying anything that isn’t German due to the muscle memory of shooting German guns. I of course have no way to easily prove my ability so take everything I say as personal opinion rather than fact. I have quite a few hundred hours playing the game and have played since just after launch so take that as you will. Having said that, this is all about helping each other out and sharing knowledge, so if you have something to add or think I’ve said something incorrect then please don’t hesitate to voice your opinion. Also all of this obviously refers to RB, so while the doras can out perform the K4 in some respects, they are on the same team so there is no use constantly comparing the two.
Anyway onto the plane. The thing with the K4 is it’s a boat, there is no getting around it, but it’s a fast and well armed boat, think of it as a destroyer (not the best analogy I know but bear with me here). It has almost unrivalled straight line/dive speed compared to the Allies (F8Fs, jets, Mk20> spits and F7F being your only real problems here), It’s climb rate is also great, along with it’s energy retention and fire power. These 5 things cause it to be extraordinarily deadly and you need to make sure you use all of them to your advantage.
First things first, 20mm gun pods are a must in my honest opinion (Night fighter 30mm, AA 20mm, AT, tracer or HEFI-T 13mm). You sacrifice some of the above mentioned attributes but allows you to have a good chance of killing in one pass (this is key because the sooner you kill someone the sooner you can gtfo and the less altitude/speed you loose). You also have the ability of staying up all game without having to rtb for ammo. Another plus is you are even more deadly in head ons, damn near unbeatable in fact (except for possibly the F7F but there are ways you can overcome the F7F in a head on quite easily).
Secondly, always have speed AND altitude over your enemy, that means side climbing to 7km and keeping your speed at around 400Km/h while you coast along surveying the battlefield and looking for enemies (A little more difficult as of the 6km spotting patch, however mucking with your monitor contrast and in game view distance can allow you to see the black dots a little more easily, up to 10km away even if you are above them).
Thirdly, never ever turn fight ever, like ever ever. You’re an energy fighter, that being said there are some occasion where you will need to employ Boom and Zoom tactics, for instance you can’t really energy fight F7Fs unless they are retarded or low and slow. In the likely case they are paying attention and posses altitude and speed, you need to make a pass and pray you crit or destroy them, if you fail to do this just book it and make some distance before coming back for another pass.
Finally, and this is something you should always try do no matter the plane you’re in, is get another K4 (however any high tier fighter will suffice) to stick with you if you can. (Quick history lesson here, groups of two fighters were actually used in WW2 by the Luftwaffe, they were called Rotten, Two Rotten formed a Schwarm, threeSchwarm formed a Staffel etc. you can type that in chat and make yourself feel like a smarty pants ;).). The reasoning for this, is no matter how good an enemy pilot, it’s going to be really hard to take down two similar/superior aircraft, especially at T4. You can also evade enemies a whole lot easier.
On to defensive flying and evasive manoeuvres. (make sure you have pitch up and down bound to two separate keys, this allows you to turn in combat while using free look to get an idea of where your enemy is. I have pitch up bound to space and pitch down bound to left ctrl and will be referencing these as the buttons to use in this guide, thingy, whatever this is. note that whenever you are using a RUDDER+AILERON combo you should be pressing either the SPACE or LEFT CTRL button)
If something gets on your tail in a K4 there are a few things you can do to evade depending on the plane chasing you, however if you are low and or slow you are significantly reducing your chance of survival. Almost all your options involve the rudder, it is your best friend second only to that nose mounted 30mm in the K4. I’ll go over a few different situations here but you’re going to have to adapt and get creative depending on the situation. Firstly if your attacker is coming in quickly from behind or above, wait until you they are just out of firing range (0.78km is usually where I would judge that to be) then jam either Q+A+SPACE (QAS) or E+D+SPACE (EDS) depending on which direction they are coming from (you want to turn into them), now once you do this you have a few options, you can either do this and then suddenly switch from EDS to QAS or QAS to EDS depending on what you originally chose, then straighten up while still holding down you elevator, forcing them to overshoot, this whole time you should be WEPing so ensure you are maintaining speed. OR. You can alternate you RUDDER+AILERON combo as well as switching from SPACE to LEFT CTRL to essentially invert your plane and quickly change direction without rolling over first, this works especially well against planes with bad roll rate, lock up at high speed, or if they have rolled to match your roll, they will inevitably roll before following your manoeuvre, giving you precious time. OR. If you’re feeling risky you can go vertical at an angle and jam a RUDDER+AILERON+SPACE combo until you they follow you in the climb, then pop opposite RUDDER+AILERON and hit LEFT CTRL, pop your landing flaps and try stall them out, this is risky and very situational but what it does if it works is give you an instant firing solution as they will most likely stall out before you, again you are going to have to learn how to use this the hard way and I advise against using it until you are 100% comfortable with using the RUDDER+AILERON+PITCH combinations and 100% aware of your planes capabilities. If your attacker is coming from below you, you can very easily just out climb them and stall them out with the aid of landing flaps once you start to stall, manoeuvre if necessary to avoid fire but generally you want to refrain from that as if will cause you to stall quicker, however if they are right on you then you can just go in to a vertical corkscrew whilst using rudder and no pitch(don’t do this against mk20> spits, however you can sometimes get away with it against F8Fs and you can definitely do it against F7Fs). If they are at the same speed as you there isn’t much you can do against something like a griffion spit as they can keep pace, you can outrun the F8F but only just, certainly not while performing evasive manoeuvres but you can easily dodge F7Fs as their manoeuvrability is pretty shit, by using some of the above mentioned RUDDER+AILERON+PITCH combinations you can usually get the upper hand and sometimes even get a few hits on them. Finally, diving, there is nothing except maybe a jet that can out perform you in a dive, while the F7F can catch you in a dive it isn’t as manoeuvrable at high speeds and from what I’ve seen its rudder and ailerons lock up over 700Kp/h (perhaps some of you Tigercat pilots can clarify), the F8F is more manoeuvrable but it can’t pull as many G’s or go as fast, the mk20> spits can catch you in a straight line and can keep up with you in a dive until about 780kp/h. The thing with the K4 is that it can, for a short amount of time (8 seconds by my experience), go 860 kp/h before ripping however you need to be extremely careful when manoeuvring, if you’re at anything steeper than -15 degrees then you’re not pulling up without ripping your wings. It can also pull full (you still have to gradually apply them but it can do it) elevator, rudder and aileron manoeuvres at 790kp/h whilst I don’t think any other prop can do that bar the F7F, but at those speeds I always seem to be able to out turn them, maybe they are just being cautious.
Now to the fun part, killing stuff. As I said before I advise you use the 20mm gun pods in unison with the 30mm nose cannon (30mm Night ammo | 20mm AA | 13mm Armoured Targets damage control surfaces, Tracers if you can’t aim, HEFI-T tend to set stuff on fire a lot ) as it is not only far more effective but you can be a little more liberal with your shots, plus it’s fun seeing planes go boom. Having said that you still need to be accurate with the German cannons to be effective, once you get really good (I’m not that great at doing this but one of my mates swears by the 13mm on the K4) you can start alternating between MG and Cannon use (I bound Large calibre guns to LMB and Small calibre guns to RMB), try use your MGs to whittle down the enemy aircraft by wrecking their control surfaces making it difficult for them to evade your cannon, thus conserving ammo. However this involves a lot of pissing around and I generally just use cannons, once you get good with them, there is no substitute. On the other hand, using MGs to try spray at long range is a valid tactic, although you’re unlikely to score a kill, or even crit them badly, you will usually crit their cooling or some sort of control surface, forcing them to land or making them easier pray, I also like to use MGs if someone is flying directly in front of me because the convergence isn’t as much of an issue, plus MG ammo isn’t as precious as that of your cannons.
Taking out fighters (of any kind). You always want to have an altitude and speed advantage when starting your approach however starting combat in the K4 above 5km is a bad idea as you do not have enough manoeuvrability at high altitude to effectively energy fight, in that situation either aim for a head on or dive depending on the enemy plane. I advise getting to about 2km above your target then dropping throttle where necessary so that you are still catching them at a pace they can’t easily avoid and can climb back to altitude somewhat whether you kill them or not, but also do not risk ripping your wings or not being able to react to their manoeuvres as a result of your approach speed. Dive in on them at a moderate angle and with luck they won’t notice you, wait until you are close enough for your 30mm to be effective (300-400m) then let it rip, if you completely miss that’s bad but not the end of the world, instead gain some altitude, roll over and pull in behind them or approach from the vertical to immediately begin another pass before they can react properly. If you critted them but not badly enough to bring them down simply do exactly them same as previously stated. if you kill them simply point skyward and get some altitude. However if they know you’re coming and suddenly react do not try and follow them at all, no matter the plane, point skyward, get some altitude, roll over and have another pass, they will have lost energy during the manoeuvre and will most likely expect you to follow them, at this point you will be set up for a perfect top down firing solution (the most gratifying type of kill in my opinion). There is obviously a lot more to it than that but knowing what to do comes with experience, that experience usually involves making mistakes.
Taking out Bombers. The K4 is entierly capable of taking out the likes of B17s and Lancaster’s with just it’s 30mm. however with ith the 20mm gunpods the K4 is a monster when it comes to bomber hunting. Ripping wings and tails off as well as pilot snipes or an all out explosion are not at all rare. With the correct placement of your shots and thought out strategy bombers become mince meat, you can usually kill them on the first or second pass (as of 1.43 that is. pre patch, with the woeful sate of the German cannons, you were more likely to run out of ammo before you killed a B17). I wrote this up in a different thread a few weeks before 1.43 launched but it’s just as if not more effective as of the new patch (plus I’m sure not many of you saw it as the thread was a few days old), I even drew some pretty pictures. What I usually so is approach from the side, and no matter what I do always attack so that I am showing the smallest plane profile possible and am only flying in a straight line for a fraction of a second when I’m lining up my shots, hook in while rolling and attack from between their 7 and 8 o’clock (just because I prefer shooting from the left side, call it habit) high at about a 55* angle and open up on the section of the wing (reference this, next to the outermost engine, you will usually rip it off in 5-10 hits with cannons, but could It depends on your aim), if for some reason you need to use your MGs then aim for the engines, tracers have a good mix of AP and incendiary shells which absolutely wreck engines (literally 1 or 2 shots and the engine it done). You can also aim for the fuel tanks here. Also never dive then pull up anywhere near the B17, instead go past them at a shallow dive then pull up after you reach a safe distance like this. Other than that just keep your speed up, also if you’re taking shots, however minor, just bug out, or if you attack speed means you’re going to be within 700m of the b17 for any longer than 3-4 seconds then gain alt/speed first then attack, also never attack directly from the rear. Not every situation is going to be like this, but you have to do your best to control the situation, if you can’t, back off and change it so you do.
So there you have it folks, a very basic idea of how I think the K4 should be flown, however there are many different ways to fly it and you just kind of have to make it up as you go along, forming your own techniques. If you have any specific questions, I will be more than happy to answer, If you have any issues with anything I’ve said then I’ll do my best to clarify. Anywho, I spent a good couple of hours writing this up, making sure to get my facts right, all I ask is that you read it and hopefully this helps get some more K4 pilots flying out in RB, see you up there :). Oh and if you made it this far, thank you, here is a screen cap I got a few days ago with a new found friend that I was going to post separately but it seems more at home here. my Rotten partner :D.