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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:


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
  • 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 ... 


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:


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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