Anyone attending this class is considered to possess a basic knowledge of bomber operation (CMC103). I will only discuss here on how to shut aircraft (Spitfire) production by tactical bombing from 30,000 feet with a B17 Flying Fortress.
If you are not familiar with RR Europe Arena tactical map please get familiar with it. If you are a CMC you can download a .gif version from our private newsgroup to prepare yourself for the operations. It is absolutely crucial that you know what to hit and where to find it. No mission will be successful if you do not have that knowledge. Preparing your mission thoroughly is the first key to success.
[Boa's Note: one way to learn where everything is is to fly offline. Actually, it's funny I should say this because Beluga is that one that taught the CMC the value of flying off-line. <g>]
A typical mission will last 40 minutes. A loaded B17 needs about 20 minutes to reach 30K which translates into at least 5 sectors’ distance. Since B17s are slow, they are prone to enemy attacks under 20K of altitude. As a consequence front line airfields are not very suitable for departure of a bomber mission.
A B17 will consume 25% to 30% of maximum fuel load at 100% throttle to complete a mission. Obviously 30% fuel load is a minimum when taking off, since most of the mission, except release and descent home, is at 100% throttle. I usually take 40% in case I get pinged on the return and start loosing fuel.
You need to plan your approach for an east/west final over the target as that will give you the best aspect against the target buildings. Never plan to bomb in a south/north direction. Since the bombs (12 in total for 2 drops of 6) are released sequentially, you will miss almost every time by doing that.
[Boa's note: in general, buildings at the various factories and refineries are longer in the E/W direction which is why an east or west approach is so desireable]
At 30k you will release the bombs way before you actually fly over the target itself. In order not to get caught by surprise, plan to be aligned with the factory half a sector away from it.
After hitting the target I advise delaying the descent as much as possible. I wait until I have covered half the distance to my landing airfield to dive. As a B17 must not exceed 250IAS (unless you want to see the "you've ripped your wings off" picture), you will need to cut back on the throttle, but since you do not want also to be too slow, you will have to monitor you speed with great care.
You will come from the east which is the right of the picture. The central building is your first target. It has three stacks just before it, you must hit them too. Then, in sequence, you must it the small building north west. It also has stacks, and you must also destroy them.
[Boa's Note: it would seem at the time of this writing that you only need to hit ONE of these buildings to shut down the factory. These settings seem to be configurable by the sysops running the server so there is no guarantee that this lesson is 100% correct. However, the skills learned here can be applied to any high altitude bombing run]
You are half a sector away from the spit fac (as we call it!). You are at 30K on autopilot and the buff is aligned; no bogeys on radar and your fighter cover is keeping an eye out. In other words: everything is fine, so relax!
To check your hit, fly over the target, press F10 to go to radar screen. Magnify enough to see the buildings, your bombs will soon hit and you want to know if you got the targets right. If you have trained offline enough, your enemies are now short of Spitfires.
To our knowledge hitting the refinery, the ammunition factory or the maintenance factory has no effects on your opponents [Boa's Note: at least at the time of this writing]. I would like to see that change. First to divert us from the spit fac routine. But I would like Kesmai to add a twist in it. A lone B17 can shut the spit fac, I do not think we need some more loners to shut down the other factories. Therefore my idea would be that a complete destruction is necessary to close those factories. This would make the task a squadron job. I would also like Kesmai to reduce the ceiling of the ack over those targets to allow drops from 20k only. It would make it more defensible by the country’s fighters, as it is easier to climb to 20K to get some buffs than crawling to 30K. At the same time it would make it easier for us too for the same reason.
When we fly a formation a buffs to the spit fac we usually hit an airfield on the return. Hitting the small buildings of an airfield from 30K is pretty tough. Basically the same sequence of event is used. You will need to slow down even more, stay 5IAS above stall speed (around 75IAS). As in dive bombing, it is essential that you know the positions of the different buildings relative to the runway. They will come up in your bombing sight very quickly so be aware.
This concludes CMC203. If you have any questions or comments, contact Beluga or post to our public newsgroup.
Last updated: 10/29/96
©1997 Nicholas Lemee aka "Beluga"