All the fiters planes in AW can be used to dive bomb. They all carry at least on bomb but three of those planes: the P38 Lightning, the P51 Mustang, and P47 Thunderbolt carry two. The P38 was designed to be a dive bomber, therefore it has dive brakes (SPACEBAR). Not a lot of people use them but good pilots do. The obvious advantage is that a diving P38 does not need to cut back as much on the throttle than other planes. In doing so, it conserves more energy once out of the dive. I guess you are aware by now that Energy management and Situational Awareness are the key of a good fite and/or longevity. The plane you choose is a function of the mission. If you just want to shot down ack and then furball over the field then a spitfire will do; however if you want to destroy maint, tower or ammo you will need a 2-egg fiter and probably more than one trip if you are alone.
Be aware that each bomb you take is 550 pounds. The plane will have increased drag, slower rate of climb and less maneuverability. Do not forget to arm your bombs before release (ESC A). I usually arm them right after take off. It is very frustrating to manage to reach target then enter dive and when you press B or your joystick second button the message 'bombs not armed' appears...
The CCIP is your guide in aiming at your target. It is switched on by pressing ESC SD. The thing you will notice about the CCIP (a large X in your pilot sight) is that when you turn it on, you do normally not see it. The role of the CCIP is to tell you where the bomb will impact if you would release it now. When you are flying in a straight line, chances are that the bomb will fall bellow your plane, therefore you do not see the CCIP. There are two ways to get the CCIP, the first one is a very high angle dive and the second is a low angle high speed strafe approach. In the later you see the CCIP because you have very high speed, therefore the bomb has more momentum and it will land in front of you.
It is essential to any bombing operation that you know where your target is. The best way to get that knowledge is to fly offline over the target. Change to the same country that your objective, take off from the nearest field, and when you are close enough, switch to map (F10) and magnify. In a dive bomb operation you will be given a particular building to hit, know its position relative to the runway. The runway is the first thing you see of an airfield. Once you have the runway on you radar screen position yourself for the best possible approach.
Wait a whole second between release and pull out. It takes a moment for the bomb to leave the plane and if you pull back too early, you'll pull the bomb off target. Also, you may occasionally see 'Bombing the ceiling is not allowed!'. This means that you are pulling NEGATIVE Gs (pushing down on stick) and forcing the bomb against the plane fuselage. Not a good idea...
The sure way to get ack down is a high angle dive bomb. You will climb to at least 10K, build up speed by flying level or slightly negative. You will give yourself a point to the right of your objective (let's say ack). Then having turned on the CCIP and armed your eggs, you will fly until you are almost over the point. You will roll left and push the stick to the point where your plane is almost perpendicular to the ground. Cut throttle immediately (and apply air-brake if so equipped). Then aim by turning the plane around it's axis, pulling up the nose if needed. If you are way off you can try applying a bit of rudder. When ack is very close to the center of the X release the bomb. You do not need a perfect alignment of the center of the X and the ack to get the kill. By then you will probably be at 3K or less, pull the stick, when you are out of the dive apply throttle again. The most common mistakes are forgetting to cut back throttle and diving too soon. By leaving throttle on, you might reach speeds over which the airplane is not maneuverable due to compression on the moving surfaces; but the most likely cause of a crash is just that you do not have the time to release and pull at 300IAS and up before you hit the ground. By diving too soon you will have to pull the nose up, then you will loose the CCIP because you have lost too much speed to do a strafe, and you no longer have the altitude to reenter a high angle dive. Anyhow if you were after ack, by that time you are probably dead...
Ack seem to especially like when pilots try to strafe it... but strafing can be used once you have killed ack with a high angle dive and then going after a building after pulling out of the dive. At that point you have converted altitude into energy. Apply 100% throttle just before pulling out (check you alt and speed before). Take some distance and climb to 4k, align with your target and then shallow dive to it building as much speed as possible. You will have to be quick on the release. When very close and low relative to target you will see the X appear, aim and release. Because you are at very high speed, the time between seeing the X over the target is very short. This technique requires more training that the high angle one in my opinion. If you are too close, less than 300feet above the explosion you will get killed by your own bomb. Furthermore a furball is usually occurring at the same time and although you are relatively safe during the course of the high angle dive you are not when doing a low angle dive. Of course the reverse may well be true once you're past your target. The strafing plane is more likely to run away (due to the speed you've built up).
[Boa's Note: Here is a film I made for one of our operations, Operation Swarm. It shows one variant High Angle dive bombing technique. Note that you won't see the CCIP in the film because of camera limitations. You'll note that I'm upside down as I make the actual drop. The reason why I roll all the way over is that I can pull UP to get the pipper on the target instead of forcing the nose down. This serves two purposes:
Also note that I kept the plane steady for more then a second after releasing the bomb. Common experience tells us that yanking the stick too early will pull the bomb off target.
Anyway, here is the film: CLICK TO DOWNLOAD cmc103.zip (Dive bombing example)]
The following bombers are available in RR Europe Arena: the B-17 Flying Fortress, the B-25 Mitchell, the A-26 Invader, the Junkers Ju-88, the Mosquito MK XVI, and the G4M Betty. For most purposes you will use only the B17 and the A26. The other bombers are either only as good as the 2 above or plain flying pigs (like the Mitchell).
Do not forget to turn on all the engines (press 8 for each engine)! The B17 has 4 and the A26 has 2. The A26 has a front gun operated by the pilot and flies almost like a regular fighter. It is not uncommon that an Ace flying an A26 to kill regular fighters. The B17 is more tedious to fly especially when carrying high fuel load. But that never occurs in mission because even to get to an Aircraft Factory a B17 will only need 35% to 40% fuel depending on how conservative the pilot is. A B17 can achieve a Climbing Rate (CR) of up to 2 hundred feet per minute at around 110 IAS (Indicated Air Speed). We CMCs try to stay at CR1.5. After angel 20 (20,000 feet or 20K) however the CR will fall at 1. Typical drop altitude for a spit fac mission is 30K. The A26 is powerful, versatile and you can do pretty much what you want to with it, especially low level bombing and then vulching.
A buff gunned by a good crew can be almost invincible ! If you are a gunner keep your ammo, guns are only effective under 800 yards. It's a good idea to check the level of ammo before takeoff as it's a terrible thing to find out that you have 0 ammo just when the enemy interceptors arrive...
Turn on 4 engines (press 4 times the 8 key). Throttle up to 100% engage WEP. Climb to 2K not higher that CR (climb rate) 1.5. Level the buff, WEP off, gain speed and turn to the missionís heading (hdg). Once the buff is not gaining any more speed at around 110IAS go to CR1.5. It will take approximately 20 minutes to reach 30K. Once mission is over turn and head back home. Start diving when you want, but you can delay that (to stay up where not a lot of fiters are) until half the distance to your landing airfield is left. Reduce throttle to 50% and dive CR-4. Do not go over 250IAS otherwise you risk tearing your wings apart. Approach landing strip as you feel like it but try to be aligned when 2K alt is reached. Go to CR-1, manage your speed to be under 90IAS. Taking out the landing gear above this speed will cause you dive and crash. At 300feet go to CR-0.5. Land the buff at 80IAS, brake (spacebar). No flaps are necessary. The A26 lands the same way although having more power you have more latitude and errors are less costly.
You can take up to 12 bombs in a B17 and up to 8 in an A26. Bombs are released one half at a time, so you have two drops to empty your belly.
Align with your target (using the rudder (A S D) at this points allows more precise control of the plane. Open bay doors (ESC A). Switch to bombsight (ESC Z), the plane will automatically go into autopilot mode. The bombadier (pilot) now controls the plane direction with the rudder. Once the timing is right (drop just as the crosshairs begin to cross your target), release the bombs, close bay doors. Just know that a single B17 can close an aircraft factory and that if you land the mission you will get in range of 40,000 points.
Note: A lot of good pilots choose to display their cockpit with only gray shapes in order to see as much as possible through the cockpit and to get the best frame rate. In order to get the bombsight you must revert back to the full-realistic option. It does not impair the mission if you are flying a B17. However if you fly an A26 you have a decision to make, do you go for the bomb accuracy or for the fite ?.
[a note from Boa: I never fly with the graphics turned on, however I often need to drop bombs via the sight. So what I do is draw a little circle on the computer screen using a felt-tip pen. I put the circle around the boresight in the forward view (note that the B-17 doesn't have a boresight, so draw your circle while you're still flying some other plane.) When the drop is made, I wipe off the mark.]
We hope you've enjoyed this class and hope to hear your comments (either on our public newsgroup or via e-mail). Please also checkout Beluga's advanced class, CMC203.
last update: 10/29/96
©1997 Nicholas Lemee aka "Beluga"