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View Full Version : Bomber toughness in 1.21



|CoB|_Spectre
12-19-2003, 05:21 AM
I am pleased with the 1.21 patch overall. Any change in a game's play characteristics is subjectively judged as a good thing or a not-so-good thing. I do a lot of mission building for my squadron's online co-op play and the addition of the B-17, Mustang and western Europe maps breathed new life in it for us. At first, I thought the difficulty in bringing down a B-17 with Mk. 108 cannon on a 109, 190 or 262 was due to the Flying Fortress' legendary toughness. Revisiting some other bomber intercept missions showed a marked increase in virtually ALL bombers. Previously it was very possible to set an He-111's engines ablaze with a Hurricane's .303 machineguns on limited (realistic) ammo. Now it is nigh impossible even on unlimited ammo. We flew one mission whereby P-39s and the "big gun" Yak intercepted He-111s and were astounded at the durability of the Heinkels against multiple cannon strikes on wings and engines at close range. From reading memoirs of Luftwaffe pilots engaging bombers and RAF pilots attacking Heinkels, Dorniers and Junkers in the Battle of Britain, it seems like the bomber toughness has been modeled a bit too much. Watching B-17s under attack, I have seen all positions strongly hit and have never been able to pinpoint a dead gunner. It is possible this aspect of damage has not been modeled in 3D, thus does not show onscreen. The sharpshooter skill of bomber gunners has been the subject of much lament since IL-2 and was, in fact, detuned at one patch. They seem to be back to their original skill level now and make some pretty amazing off-angle shots while the bomber is pulling some equally amazing aerobatic maneuvers. Don't misunderstand, I can live with it as it now stands and would rather do so instead of doing without. As with any product worth keeping around, it's worth continual improvement and 1.21 was a great step in that direction.

|CoB|_Spectre
12-19-2003, 05:21 AM
I am pleased with the 1.21 patch overall. Any change in a game's play characteristics is subjectively judged as a good thing or a not-so-good thing. I do a lot of mission building for my squadron's online co-op play and the addition of the B-17, Mustang and western Europe maps breathed new life in it for us. At first, I thought the difficulty in bringing down a B-17 with Mk. 108 cannon on a 109, 190 or 262 was due to the Flying Fortress' legendary toughness. Revisiting some other bomber intercept missions showed a marked increase in virtually ALL bombers. Previously it was very possible to set an He-111's engines ablaze with a Hurricane's .303 machineguns on limited (realistic) ammo. Now it is nigh impossible even on unlimited ammo. We flew one mission whereby P-39s and the "big gun" Yak intercepted He-111s and were astounded at the durability of the Heinkels against multiple cannon strikes on wings and engines at close range. From reading memoirs of Luftwaffe pilots engaging bombers and RAF pilots attacking Heinkels, Dorniers and Junkers in the Battle of Britain, it seems like the bomber toughness has been modeled a bit too much. Watching B-17s under attack, I have seen all positions strongly hit and have never been able to pinpoint a dead gunner. It is possible this aspect of damage has not been modeled in 3D, thus does not show onscreen. The sharpshooter skill of bomber gunners has been the subject of much lament since IL-2 and was, in fact, detuned at one patch. They seem to be back to their original skill level now and make some pretty amazing off-angle shots while the bomber is pulling some equally amazing aerobatic maneuvers. Don't misunderstand, I can live with it as it now stands and would rather do so instead of doing without. As with any product worth keeping around, it's worth continual improvement and 1.21 was a great step in that direction.

SKULLS_LZ
12-19-2003, 10:23 AM
S! I recommend you visit a DF server such as "Slam*Dedicated" on HL where bombers are frequently flown. Bombers are indeed a bit tougher than in RL, however I prefer it that way as it goes a long way towards game balance. The increased survivability helps to offset the unrealistically high skill level that on-line fighter pilots now enjoy (compared to RL combat pilots who usually did not live to learn from their mistakes). This is a tough call for Oleg's team, but I think they got it right, and this is coming from one whose favorite pasttime is bomber intercept. In spite of what some have said about off-line players being in the majority, it seems that most changes introduced in FB have been in response to on-line players. If Oleg and crew would cater to the off-liners, I would probably not even play in DF servers, but off-line campaigns are neither realistic or fun, at least DF is fun.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ask me about my "Free Wing Removal" program. Offer valid while my ammo supplies last.

Future-
12-19-2003, 10:38 AM
Well, I don't have to add much here, it's probably the first time this issue is stated properly.

S!, hear hear.

- Future

Commanding Officer of the 530th Bomb Squad
380th Bomb Group 5th AF USAAF

http://invisionfree.com:54/40/30/upload/p1083.jpg

Visit us at http://members.tripod.com/tophatssquadron , home of the 310th FS and the 380th BG

Griffon_25th
12-19-2003, 01:56 PM
a long burst at the wingroot will easily take out a bomber from high angles.

I frequently shoot down B-17s/pe-8s with that method in the G-2 with gunpods.

http://server4.uploadit.org/files2/151203-newsi.jpgg777

clint-ruin
12-19-2003, 02:53 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Griffon_25th:
a long burst at the wingroot will easily take out a bomber from high angles.

I frequently shoot down B-17s/pe-8s with that method in the G-2 with gunpods.

http://server4.uploadit.org/files2/151203-newsi.jpgg777<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Agree totally with that. High deflection shots take them down very quickly. IMHO the 'too tough' bomber argument comes down to much the same thing as the 'too tough' gunner AI - it's only a problem if you use a-historical tactics and expect to work miracles.

To take down a bomber in FB, you only need to set it on fire. Once. Sometimes that one fire will go out, but by that point the bomber AI has been set to "I'm RTB" and you've already scored a mission-kill on it. Pounding a super heavy bomber until it falls to pieces in midair, or attacking from behind [where on the B-17 you will have up to 6 .50 cal machineguns being fired at you, head on!] could be called a foolish choice of tactics.

As you said, even 20mm guns are very effective at bomber killing provided they're aimed at an engine or the cockpit. In terms of effectiveness it's almost like comparing rifle cal machineguns to cannons - 20mms like rifle cals go in the pit and engine directly, 30mm+s have enough punch to blast the structure apart.

ZG77_Spectre - the B-17s damage model can seem odd - I've observed one take several NS-45 HE shells, for instance - but watching the track on playback usually clears up what has happened as far as FB is concerned. As always in ORR if you think something is too bizarre or needs a bugcheck it helps to submit a trackfile. Thankyou for an unusually well-worded post :>

http://home.iprimus.com.au/djgwen/fb/leninkoba.jpg

Gibbage1
12-19-2003, 03:42 PM
ITs all in HOW you shoot it. Parking on his 6 and filling his tail with whatever wont do squat. You need too find its weakness and exploit it to the fullest. As in WWII, the Luftwaffa found that head-on shots work the best. They had a VERY hard time taking down B-17's and found it takes about 20-30 20MM's to do it. At about a 10% hit ratio, you need 200-300 rounts do kill a B-17!! I thing there is only like 120 rounds in a 109G-2 or 6. The luftwaffa also said 5 hits from Mk-108 was needed for a B-17. You have 60? rounds of that in later 109's. 10% is 50, so you have just enough ammo.

Go for wing on high deflection from above.

Go for the pilot on high deflection from the side and from head on

Dive down and come up and go after the wings from the 6.

Its all in how, not how much.

Gib

LuftKuhMist
12-19-2003, 05:28 PM
Gibbage, I heard ONE MK108 head on was needed to bring down a B17 and 20 hits of 20mm head on were sufficient. It was said that it was a SURE KILL. The problem is that the bombers are too accurate.

I can't remember the name of the pilot because I don't have my ref near.

Head on shots were not dangerous, the gunners could not keep with such a fast moving target. The bendix chin turret, top turret and ball turret were mechanically turned so they had a turning speed limit. In IL2 they can move damn fast.

I think the B17 is accurately resistant to damage, it's just too dangerous to approach one compared to reality. The Heinkel 111 is REALLY too resistant, it wasn't a great bomber actually. The Junkers 88 is ok I guess... that plane is great, it can do all, fighter, bomber, dive bomber, night fighter, I can't wait to pilot it... The IL4 is really too tough, and it can move like a fighter for some reason, I saw it outclimb my 262 and still shoot at my plane with its turret... I guess in a vertical climb the gunners would all fall in the tail of the plane...

Oh by the way out of context, nice modeling work, Gibbage.

Gibbage1
12-19-2003, 07:50 PM
I heard it was "up too 5 Mk-108 shells". In German guncam footage you can see B-17's eat Mk-108 shells for lunch. I have seen 1 B-17 eat about 15 Mk-108 shells from a Bf-110. The 110 was also using its ther guns on the B-17 but you can see by the big explosions when a 108 would go off. But he was hitting it from dead 6. Another guncam shows a 109 attacking from the side. 1 Mk-108 shell removed one of the vertical stabs off of a B-24, but it was still well flyable. There is a very cool web page that shows photo's of damaged B-17's that made it home. These things took direct Flak-88 hits and survived. Also had 190's collide and came home. They were VERY tough.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by LuftKuhMist:
Gibbage, I heard ONE MK108 head on was needed to bring down a B17 and 20 hits of 20mm head on were sufficient. It was said that it was a SURE KILL. The problem is that the bombers are too accurate.

I can't remember the name of the pilot because I don't have my ref near.

Head on shots were not dangerous, the gunners could not keep with such a fast moving target. The bendix chin turret, top turret and ball turret were mechanically turned so they had a turning speed limit. In IL2 they can move damn fast.

I think the B17 is accurately resistant to damage, it's just too dangerous to approach one compared to reality. The Heinkel 111 is REALLY too resistant, it wasn't a great bomber actually. The Junkers 88 is ok I guess... that plane is great, it can do all, fighter, bomber, dive bomber, night fighter, I can't wait to pilot it... The IL4 is really too tough, and it can move like a fighter for some reason, I saw it outclimb my 262 and still shoot at my plane with its turret... I guess in a vertical climb the gunners would all fall in the tail of the plane...

Oh by the way out of context, nice modeling work, Gibbage.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Udidtoo
12-19-2003, 07:56 PM
Well put Gibbage. It is how, not how much. As I fly almost 100% offline I have ample time to practice bomber attacks.

Hi-deflection combined with accurate gunnery. Wing root is good, dead pilot is better.

Like someone else stated, a moter belching black smoke isn't returning to base 19 out of 20. Move on to another target and let em burn.

BTW, if those gunners didn't nail me once in awhile I would become to full of myself http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

..............................
I always have just enough fuel to arrive at the scene of my crash.

LuftKuhMist
12-19-2003, 08:13 PM
Well, if one MK108 would equal one kill, it is true that it would be dull. The MK108 was a good gun but it surely did not deal as much damage as a 37mm. I guess each hit in WWII was unique so...

I saw footage too of the MK108 dealing damage on the B17... the thing is we don't see the bomber slowly dropping out of formation after that attack, you don't need a wing cut off for a kill. Anyway I wasn't there...

Anyway I brought down on B17 with a direct MK108 on the nose, Pilot, Copilot, Navigator, Bombardier and engineer were dead... plus the plastic nose was gone.

Also When I attack from side I try to aim for the big fin and rudder... when it's gone, the bomber is a gonner too..

When I think about it, the bombers don't extinguish their engine fires or pump the gas out of their tanks... makes kills easier after all...

LeadSpitter_
12-20-2003, 04:55 AM
its kind of useless to fly bombers online, it use to be fun when the ai would get fighters who attack directly at your rear using no tactics to avoid the gunners, now they need no tactics on a bombers 6 and pull trigger goodbye bomber

http://www.geocities.com/leadspittersig/LSIG.txt

oFZo
12-20-2003, 05:40 AM
My succes rate flying the He111 online is about 75%, a manually aimed dorsal gunner is very deadly http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

-oFZo

Founding member and Offical Keeper of The Herbs of the Eurotrolls.

WhtBoy
12-20-2003, 08:43 PM
I did some tests and it's quite easy to demolish a B-17 with the heavier cannons on the German aircraft. If you think the bombers are too tough, check out the tracks in the zip file below. I threw in a Hurricane and the lighter armed 109 F models just for fun.

One thing I noticed is that you can set a fuel tank on fire and the crew will not bail, ever. If you can stop, or light an engine they will bail. The AI needs to bail more often. No one would stay in a burning aircraft.

http://www.whtboys.org/b17/b17durability.zip

-WhtBoy.

SkyChimp
12-20-2003, 09:21 PM
I've been reading Anthony William's book "Flying Guns WWII". It indicates that on average, at least 20 20mm rounds were needed to bring down a heavy bomber, and 3-4 Mk108 rounds.

Regards,
SkyChimp
http://members.cox.net/rowlandparks/skychimp.jpg

LuftKuhMist
12-21-2003, 12:03 AM
MK108 fires 600 rounds per minute, one second burst fires 10 shells. Easy to get 3-4 hits on a bomber, no?

By the way anyone tried the R4M now? Sure kill each time.

SkyChimp
12-21-2003, 12:26 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by LuftKuhMist:
MK108 fires 600 rounds per minute, one second burst fires 10 shells. Easy to get 3-4 hits on a bomber, no?

By the way anyone tried the R4M now? Sure kill each time.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Maybe in FB, but in real life apparently not.

"Another German analysis estimated that to have a 50% chance of success against a heavy bomber at 500m range, 200 rounds of 20mm amunition would have to be fired, or 48 rounds of Mk108 or 40 rounds of Mk103. An increase to 275, 88 and 76 rounds respectively was necessary to achieve a kill probability of 95%." (Flying Guns WWII, page 230)

FB does not allow for the appropriate presentation of the B-17. There are no box-formations. There are a very limited number of planes. The .50 BMG in the game seems pretty weak. All of this is SOMEWHAT mitigated by the fact that the gunners are accurate. But still, the defensive effectiveness of the B-17 is pretty poorly rendered in FB, IMO.

The Mk108 had a low muzzle velocity and a rainbow trajectory. A pilot had to get in close to have a good chance for a hit - 500m and 48 rounds for a 50% chance of a hit. All this while trying to avoid Mustangs, and 10, 20, 30 or 50 .50 BMG gunners hosing you down from all directions - and doing it long before you are in range to hit with that Mk108. Sounds like quite a chore to me.

I don't think attacking formations of B-17s is tough enough int his game.

I remember a quote from a German pilot - although I can't remember which one - thatn went something like, "One can take joy and even look forward to fighting Spitfires. But when I see a Boeing, the whole of my life flashes before my eyes."



Regards,
SkyChimp
http://members.cox.net/rowlandparks/skychimp.jpg

NegativeGee
12-21-2003, 05:56 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
SkyChimp wrote:
FB does not allow for the appropriate presentation of the B-17. There are no box-formations. There are a very limited number of planes. The .50 BMG in the game seems pretty weak. All of this is SOMEWHAT mitigated by the fact that the gunners are accurate. But still, the defensive effectiveness of the B-17 is pretty poorly rendered in FB, IMO.

The Mk108 had a low muzzle velocity and a rainbow trajectory. A pilot had to get in close to have a good chance for a hit - 500m and 48 rounds for a 50% chance of a hit. All this while trying to avoid Mustangs, and 10, 20, 30 or 50 .50 BMG gunners hosing you down from all directions - and doing it long before you are in range to hit with that Mk108. Sounds like quite a chore to me.

I don't think attacking formations of B-17s is tough enough int his game.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

The point about the formations is a good one as the tactical doctine of the B-17 for the high altitude raids revolved around the use of large, well flown formations designed to maximise the heavy defensive firepower carried by the planes.

In FB, this means the only way (currently) to represent the main use of B-17's is by setting up these formations using the FMB. I have played around with the 18 plane "Javelin down" formation used by the USAF in the early part of their campaign (not really realistic for the B-17G, but I had good data for the formation set up). Here is a piccy:

http://www.microsoft.com/games/combatfs1/img/bomber_formation.jpg

While it is staight forward (abeit time consuming) to set up the correct positions for the formation, each plane has to be an individual element. Even when flying a straight course the formation is prone to break up as the AI struggles to maintain crusing altitude and speed (which I took as 296 kph, 6100m mean for my example). Hence the slight differences in altitude between the planes in the closely spaced formation mean they are prone to taking evasive action to avoid a collison. Hence the only real use is to set up a mission where there is an interception about to occur (I won't get into trying to make the AI perform Luftwaffe style head on attacks) so the bombers do not have time to fly out off formation.

Even with all those planes, I still find the quality of the B-17 AI to be the pivotal factor in the effectiveness of the defensive fire. At average or rookie, the bombers do not fare well against the fighters, but at veteran or ace they become very effective indeed.

It would be nice if FB had a feature that allowed you to set the positions for aircraft in a flight as opposed to the default, as this would make large formations easier to construct. It would also help them maintain formation as well.

"As weaponry, both were good, but in far different ways from each other. In a nutshell, I describe it this way: if the FW 190 was a sabre, the 109 was a florett, or foil, like that used in the precision art of fencing." - Gunther Rall

http://www.invoman.com/images/tali_with_hands.jpg

Look Noobie, we already told you, we don't have the Patch!

SkyChimp
12-21-2003, 06:56 AM
Negative: I agree with you. One problem is that hitting one B-17 usually causes the formation to break or that plane to climb or dive near vertically. I can see a plane falling back or out of formation, but the acrobatics of the B-17 in FB (or any bomber) once it is hit is sort of humorous. And the formation should never fall apart as a result of one plane being hit.

Regards,
SkyChimp
http://members.cox.net/rowlandparks/skychimp.jpg

Jaws2002
12-21-2003, 09:31 AM
The sniper gunners online are just the result of them being preset to ace or veteran in the mission. This aspect i think is well modelled. Is just how the mission is set. In some online fights you can come in close from behind and survive, But i had experiences when I'll dive in from like one o'clock high, at 800 km/h shoot and have my FW190 A9 short to pices when i pass the B17. I think this aspect is just a matter of setup.

Future-
12-21-2003, 12:08 PM
Unfortunately, it seems it's randomly determined at what difficulty setting the gunners are operating everytime the server is starting the complete game new (in other words, I think on scripted servers the ai level remains as-is from one map to the other, until the server is shut down completely).

So, on a "good night", the gunners are pretty useful for me, they fire enough and have an acceptable hit rate, along with some occasional nice critical hits on enemy planes.
But on a "bad night", they sometimes don't even track a close enemy, and also sometimes refuse to shoot at all.

Maybe a server-side option to set the gunner's ai level would be a good solution - or setting the ai gunners permanently on one difficulty level (veteran for example) for all multiplayer games.
Something should be done so this randomization stops.

S!

- Future

Commanding Officer of the 530th Bomb Squad
380th Bomb Group 5th AF USAAF

http://invisionfree.com:54/40/30/upload/p1083.jpg

Visit us at http://members.tripod.com/tophatssquadron , home of the 310th FS and the 380th BG

LuftKuhMist
12-21-2003, 12:25 PM
Chimp, I agree that a 24 plane formation is tough to approach. But four bombers are pretty easy to down.

Tell me then why the US air force suffered excessive losses without escort? The B17 is a great bomber but alone it is STILL cannon fodder.

The rate of fire of the MK108 IS STILL 600 rounds per minute, I don't need to quote any source, you can find that info pretty easily in any book or on the net. The shells don't have a high velocity, true, they arc, true, but still, two (3-4 maybe, whatever) hits on a B17 wing cuts it off. It is probably one of the best air cannons... even if it's not american....

The .50 is strong enough, it's not a wonder gun damn it! It's a very very good machine gun (the best maybe) but STILL doesn't delivers as much punch as a 20 mm shell. The kills of the 8th air force have been greatly inflated for propaganda needs AND because ONE plane flying through a box had approximatively 20 gunners firing at it and maybe 10 reporting it as a kill, sometimes the plane not even downed, the german fuel being of bad quality and leaving a trail of smoke behind the fighter.

Then again, a guy who got 2 B17 got also a medal. The problem here is that the bombers are tougher than fighters. Wouldn't it be great if just bagging 2 planes would make us happy?