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DD_Fenrir

443 Squadron Online Campaign

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Sorry I missed last nights Dogz DCS eve chaps, but I had been invited to partake in a Multiplayer campaign for the Spitfire Mk.IX on the Normandy Map and thought I'd check it out, partially cos it's something I have always wished to do but also because I could see an opportunity for more Dogz to get involved if they so desired.

Wiggy of 443 Sqn chased me down after seeing some of my YouTube content, and having had a chat he's happy to extend the invitation to the wider Dogz.

Here's Wiggy's overview:

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It’s a co-operative campaign in DCS using the Spit.IX.LF.  We’re following the operations of No.443 squadron from their arrival in England in April’44 until the end of August’44.  We have acquired their actual Operations Records books from the national archives and picked missions which we can recreate as authentically as possible using the Normandy map, arrange them, and fly them to as high a standard as possible, as realistically as possible.  This includes proper r/t, formation flying, lots of discipline, flying professionally, all that good stuff. We have status boards and rosters, a/c service boards, persistent a/c and hangar, briefing boards, verbal briefings with online whiteboards, modpacks for extra goodies, pilot checklists, all on a website. 

The focus is on immersion and ‘serious fun’ - we want to create an experience as close as possible to what those real chaps had to experience.

If you’re interested to know more, I can send you over an overview and SOP document of how we operate. 

If you’re still interested I can merge you into the campaign (we’re 5 missions into the pre-invasion campaign so far).  We also run an OTU environment to get everyone up to speed with our procedures and whatnot.

How does it all sound?

Oh, it’s a small group of us, 6 at the moment. Been running on and off for a year or so (depending on DCS bugs), although the campaign proper has only just started.  We run it in DCS OpenBeta. 

Oh and here’s a film thing I composed....

 

I played Mission 6 as Red 2, winging the Squadron Leader. We were dive-bombing a bridge near Carentan, having taken off from Funtingdon in England and flown at wave-top height in formation (which we changed using signals only) cross-channel in the early evening sun, climbing to Angels 8 about two thirds the way across, and hitting the French coast - all without having to use comms!

We switched formation from finger four to line astern as we ran into target and commenced our attack dives with 3-second separation; we all dive bombed the target, and whilst were all close, no-one actually hit the bridge - darn! AAA was pretty intense and on our egress and climb-out we bumped into a flight of 109s and had a proper scrap! I was hanging on to Red 1's tail as best I could through a series of gyrations when someone called I had a bandit sizing me up; a 109 was converging from my 7 and I had to break hard to avoid a volley of lead that passed a little too close aft of my rudder! Fortunately, White 1 was on him and clobbered him as he overshot me.

As I tried to regain a visual on Red 1 I spotted an aircraft at 9 low that was set to pass under me and as it closed I was able to ID it as a bandit. I performed a hard split-S rolling on the way down to drop on his 6 and as he pulled up and left gave him a good deflection burst; he was under my nose so couldn't see the results and as I relaxed the turn to re-acquire him, he appeared undamaged. So I re-saddled up as he levelled and then broke right, with me cutting inside and pulling in closer for a better shot. My next burst clobbered him properly and down he went!

After that I found a Spit to join with (turned out to be White 1) and the skies seemed to have cleared so we managed to get everybody reformed and cruised back across the Channel basking in the golden light of a setting sun.

Prior to landing we switched into echelon formation and ran into break in sections; it was getting pretty dark by then so landing was not as easy at it could have been but we all made it down safe and ambled back to our respective dispersals and shut down. Phew!

If the sound of this floats your boat, have a wander over to the 443 website and have a peruse: https://no443sqn.wixsite.com/443squadron

Some interesting documentation over there too that is relevant outside of the campaign environment so worth a shuftie...

So, to summarise:

  • No icons/labels
  • F2 own a/c only view
  • proficient formation keeping required (doesn't have to be Blue Angels but you will need to maintain a reasonably consistent position)
  • No F10 map icons so navigation can be challenging if you're not experienced and get separated and have forgotten the cardinal headings to get home. However, provided you can stay within the vicinity of your flight lead, they'll do the work for you.
  • Un-mission related comms chatter to a minimum.

 

What is required:

  •  OpenBeta (there are ways to switch your install to this version - and back again - if you only have Stable)
  • Spitfire LF.IX Module
  • Normandy Map Module
  • WW2 Asset Pack Module
  • A freeware WW2 Units ModPack (available from 443 Sqn)
  • Simple Radio Standalone 1.6.1.0
  • Discord - similar to Teamspeak used for pre-flight meet, Briefings & Debrief

 

Missions  are run on Thursdays if sufficient people are available to make it worthwhile. Whether we do this every week... I dunno. I still get a hankering for AVTUR and would miss my Tomcat too much I fear! Plus I wanna be available as the Dogz DCS Guru to those Dogz not wishing to partake in the campaign. We can discuss this aspect further going forward.

If you want to take part but are concerned about your proficiency then Wiggy runs an OTU training course to help bring you up to speed, and I of course will happily jump on our DCS server and assist anyone who wants to finesse any aspect of their flying that they may feel is not quite up to the levels demanded by the campaign on any evening after 2230 BST/GMT.

Let me know your thoughts chaps.

 

 

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Oh my my my ... mighty interesting and tempting...

I do see some issues - but those are mine only and very  personal ... 

Quote

Un-mission related comms chatter to a minimum

Oh Oh ... push to talk, use a key/button that is nearly out of reach :)

 

* Need to train myself on handling the Spit for longer flights, and high alt...

* Need to install da OpenBeta ...

At what time does a mission normally start ?

(Although my biggest issue is my current energy state - can't be in the cockpit for that long, with that high level of concentration... Should be better in a few weeks though... I hope ...)

But I do like what I see here, very much!

 

 

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2 hours ago, FoolTrottel said:

At what time does a mission normally start ?

 The ideal is:

  • 2000-2230BST/GMT, arrival and chat
  • 2030 Briefing
  • 2100 in cockpit
  • ~2200 landing & disco
  • 2200-2230 Debrief

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For those who've registered an interest I'll point you to here:

https://no443sqn.wixsite.com/443squadron/copy-of-advanced-training

Take note of the formation diagrams; some good clues as to what they're after. And don't worry if you're not exact, just at least attempt them.

And if it's a bit too challenging push out a bit to where you're just mildly uncomfortable! Better a looser stable formation than a risky close.

Biggest tips are to:

a) trim, trim, trim, trim, TRIM!

b) use stick displacements in the millimetric (or lower!) scale, particularly regards pitch

c) make 3 small displacements not one big one

d) be premature! Anticipate the correction and get it in a little sooner than you might expect - better to make it sooner and be a little too far out than too late and.. *crunch*

e) once in a stable(ish) formation get the the rudder trimmed and avoid making formation corrections on the rudder - use small/med-small aileron corrections as the spit rudder is a bit twitchy, unless...

f) large power changes affect rudder trim; be aware that if you're overtaking your leader and chop power, the nose will move right. Alternatively if you're falling back and increase throttle the nose will move left. Depending on where you are in the formation that might either push you out from your leader or pull you toward him so get ready to correct with either rudder (small smooth inputs required) or aileron (safer but looks a little sloppier)

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I'm available tonight for a formation flying practice session. Will be on from 2000BST. DangerDogz server.

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Debrief: Good start last night gents - not to say there's no room for improvement, but plenty to be pleased with.

Regards things to work on:

1. RPM - make sure once you are settled in formation in the cruise get the RPM back to the 2200-2500 range otherwise you'll be guzzling much more fuel than your leader. If your leader is on 2400, then aim to be 2450-2500 to give you a little more "bite" and RPM headroom for making the relevant throttle changes in order to catch up if you fall back slightly.

2. Make power changes much sooner than you think when re-joining; the planes decelerate/accelerate much more slowly than you anticipate so it's easy to overshoot, cut-power then end-up falling back too far because you re-apply power too late

3. If you're overshooting consider using lateral separation manoeuvres to try and stay behind your leader - use lateral rather than vertical as you will regain sight of your leader much more easily and will require less power changes and limit the problems outlined in point 2. If you have to use vertical separation, and you have room, go low to maintain visual. Going high causes all sorts of issues!

4. If you can, pull up as far forward on your leader as possible for the purpose of mutual protection - it's easier to check his tail, and just as (if not more!) importantly for him to check yours if you are almost along side.

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Will give this a try Tom ! Sounds challenging but fun ( very much like trying to understand a heavy Welsh accent) Will PM you ....

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So mission 7 went ahead last night with Wingflyr joining me to help flesh out the ranks of 443 sqn. A took Red 3 position with WIngflyr slated as my wingman in Red 4. Our mission was to escort a squadron of Mosquitos on an anti-shipping sweep of the Seine Bay.

Trouble was brewing as soon as we spawned in, with a solid overcast, rain and a gusting wind. Then Red 2 had "engine trouble" (DCS kept CTDing) and had to bow out which moved myself and Dennis up to Red 2 & 3 positions respectively.

Taxi was swift and organised but as we powered up for take-off the gusting crosswind certainly made things, well, shall we say...  interesting! However we got up without incident and after an orbit to join up we set course for our RV with the Mossies.

In the murky light of an overcast dawn holding close formation was somewhat more challenging than usual but it was when Red Leader, Wiggy, pushed us out into combat spacing that things got really tricky; references disappear when attempting to formate on a silhouette at 100yards! 

Half hour of this at wave top height was quite a workout and I was actually relieved to see the Normandy coast appear.  The Mossies turned West on their search and we gained a bit of altitude to try and cover them, dropping our jettison tanks as we went.

One flight quickly picked out a freighter of some description for attack and as I watched they ran in dropping clusters of 500lb bombs around the unfortunate vessel. A series of geysers erupted around the ship, punctuated with a few brief flashes of smoke and flame. As the carnage subsided we saw... nothing! The ship and evidently gone down in a matter of seconds. Good work Mossies!

We orbited and for a moment I picked up contacts against the lightening eastern horizon and called bogeys, but they soon resolved into the 2nd flight of Mosquitos and we continued round on their tails to escort them home. At this point they suddenly decided they'd had enough of the delights of the Seine Bay, powered up and promptly beetled off into the distance leaving us for dust!

Home then at a slightly more respectable altitude but still the vigors of combat formation on a silhouette! Then,  about half way back across the Channel Red 3 (Wingy) suddenly pulled up into a steep climb and was quickly engulfed in the overcast. Concerned he was under fire or had spotted a bandit on his 6 which the rest had missed, I frantically searched our tails but found nothing. A little while later I saw a distant contact emerge from the cloud descending fast for the sea. It kept descending until it I could no longer discern it from the murky waters below...

Concerned for Red 3s status I broke radio silence to establish if he was ok. Relief swept over me as Red 3s voice crackled over the radio in response - whilst cross checking some instruments he had become disoriented and found himself in the soup. He was heading home on the prebriefed courses and would either attempt to rejoin enroute or meet us at home base. Good show.

Wiggy pulled us into close formation not long after, and as we crossed the English coast we were ordered into echelon. A Long descending turn over Tangmere got us lined up for the runway at Funtington and we made a snappy show of our break to land. The cross wind again reared it's head as touchdown loomed and I made a firm if slightly untidy arrival on terra-firma. White section got down safe and we ambled back to our dispersals.

Red 3 was having trouble navigating in the murk so wisely decided to put down at the first airfield he happened upon, which turned out to be Ford so not a million miles away. Unfortunately the gusty conditions conspired against him and he 'pecked' his Spits propeller but aside from that and some bruising to his pride, both he and the aeroplane were otherwise undamaged.

Mission 8 next - late afternoon bomber Escort to Rouen!

 

 

 

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Sounds like you thoroughly enjoyed that Tom and Den. Well done for giving it a go on and representing the DDz . I will have a go as soon as I have my open beta install sorted 🤓

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Yes very well put Tom.  

The sheer atmospheric pressure of being alone was concerning until you my friend broke R/T silence to my relief. All this checking six and sky, for fear of getting bounced. Realistic feeling really. At the briefing I was comforted by the squad that those occurrences did happen and not beat myself up about it. The other point was the prop strike, not having to take this beauty up again for a while is little bothersome, she did get me back safely. Wind gust and track IR not centering for me was against me.   

All in all very excellent experience. Wingflyr  

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Good fun last night chaps, shame the mission was postponed due to lack of 443sqn numbers but in a way it was a good chance to get a feel for the way things run with 443 rules and settings in a practice session. Looking forward to next weeks mission.

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Oh my...

Today, we took part in another one of the missions in this campaign.

And... this really is something different, and something very special.

Is it hard? No, not really, but you need to be focused. And stay focused. And get the job done.

This one mission, this was a sweep/recce over France, North of Paris. And we did sweep and recce.  Over France.

As we did not come across any enemy aircraft during our designated route, we attacked ground targets, where at some point, White leader (the one leading our section: Fenrir, Wingflyr, Painless and FT) decided to fly over the target and draw flak, so Red section could attack it. And yes, rather unhappy being number four, like WTF! But, as it's your job, you go and do so. Somehow, we all four got out of that kinda okay. And next, even made some attack runs ourselves.

Now as I forgot to switch to the slipper tank on the way in, and only did that after the French coast had been in sight for a while, I was the first one to call out an RTB due to fuel state. Way too late mind you, cause I had the English coast in sight with like 2 Gallons remaining.  

I did not make it back, as I also had a different kind of liquid related emergency, and I had to be away from the controls for a bit, and my Spitfire wasn't trimmed as well as I had hoped it would be, so I ended up in the drink... all dead and shift.

One out of seven Spitfire pilots one had to bale out due to fuel, one crash landed in a field on the Isle of Wight ... the others made it back, and all were low on fuel.

Mind you, some ground targets were destroyed ... but in this stuff, it's not about the kills ... it's all bout the experience. The immersion. A huge difference from our GBS sessions - where we think 45 minutes is a long mission? Well... this one took two hours. But due to the environment, the setup, the immersion, you do not notice that, you do not feel it. After I was done for, I looked at the clock, and was like... eeerrmmm .... What? Really?

 

For sure one could argue GBS has better graphics, and looks better all around, and Cliffs has the Hurricane and the 110 (well, at some time at 20K over the channel today, somehow I wished I was in a docile and stable Hurricane in close formation - lol) and a flight model "feeling" a bit better, this DCS thing combined with the SRS radio module, and the discipline of radio silence just beats them. It really does.

Mind you, I enjoyed Cliffs in several SOW missions, flying with our lot of Dogz, Fenrir talking to proper human operated ground control in really Big Missions defending Britain - and that was really awesome - immersion wise - somehow this is a step up from there... 

 

So, if you got DCS, and the Spitfire ... please think about joining in. Rumors state it won't be long now - the invasion is imminent - we get to fly Spits with beautiful black and white stripes on 'm. W00T!

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Red section managed to stay together throughout the attack better than we did for sure. Could do with the four of us white section chaps practicing ground attack together particularly regarding egress/ form up plan after each run ? What do you think Tom for next Wednesday mate ?

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Nice video chaps - whats with the comms? no one asking about what they had for tea?

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@Painless.

Yes I agree Mick. Also better radio comms. Little sloppy on my part could use improvement. I will work on it.

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You are not alone Den, I keep reverting to Fire service radio procedure with things like “all received over” or “nothing heard” etc. 🤪

I just hope I don’t completely loose it one day and say “from Pilot officer Henderson, at Normandy, ... make pumps three over ! “ when we spot bandits ! Lol

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