Debrief for the 29th of September 2016

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Debrief for the 29th of September 2016

Post  MJDixon on Fri Sep 30, 2016 10:16 pm

Righto, a bit of analysis of the previous night's engagement.

Strategy

First of all, a note on strategy - this campaign is essentially a war of attrition, our job is to shoot down enemy aircraft, more specifically as a predominantly Spitfire based Squadron it is to shoot down 109s as our main target, the reason for this is if we shoot them down then their supply will be reduced, so they won't be able to fly as many 109s, likewise the Germans are there primarily to escort their bombers and shoot us down, mainly Spitfires - that way we can't intercept their bombers.

The supply hierarchy for this, from least strategically important to most strategically important is:

Open Aircraft (these are the aircraft that people not in Squadrons spawn, and which are essentially outside of the infrastructure game.)
Blenheims
Hurricanes (The factories build perhaps 3 - 4 of these per day for the side.)
Spitfire Ia (The factories build perhaps 1 - 2 of these per day for the side.)
Spitfire IIa (The factories build perhaps 0.5 of these per day for the side.)

What we had yesterday was 4 Spitfire Ias losing their energy and fighting near enough on the deck, right on the English Coast, which is as near enough the front line as you're going to get in the Battle of Britain - in an effort to shoot down one single Bf109E-1 from an Open Squadron, I'll let you consider the strategic risk of that sort of thing, though it's worth noting that we couldn't have known it was a 109E-1 from an open Squadron at the time.

Tactics

I've had a look at the track files, and quite frankly that was one of the worst attempts at a dogfight I have seen in a very long time, where we had four Spitfires struggling to shoot down a single rookie 109 Pilot with all of 6 sorties under his belt, who hasn't managed to hit a single thing in his career and was pretty much flying along in a straight line - something that should have taken us all of 10 seconds to deal with, yet somehow ended up in a 3 minute fight to the deck.

Firstly I take blame for not instructing this properly at the start of the engagement - but when we fly in a two element flight (2 groups of 2 aircraft) we have one element for one enemy, and a second element providing high cover and looking for other Germans - within the individual element we have one attacking aircraft and one defending aircraft, the attacker states that he is attacking by saying 'On', he then attempts to shoot down the enemy, and if he gets out of position he says 'Off', at which point his wingman switches to the attacking position and says 'On', etc - meanwhile, the defending aircraft holds back slightly to cover his wingman and look out for other enemies, whilst trying to position so that he can easily come in if he becomes the attacker.

What we should not have is four Spitfires all zooming around the sky trying as best as they can to crash into eachother, maybe saying 'on' every now and again if they feel like it.

I hope by now everyone has read the notice from Group that mentions how important it is to not get distracted and to reform properly etc, especially over the coast, especially over the example of Dungeness, which is one of the favorite places the Germans have for being sneaky buggers - at the time Razy mentioned that we were ok because he wasn't bait and if there were more 109s they would have attacked by now, and yes that is true, however in the same way that I gave the benefit of the doubt that we didn't know he was just some rookie in an E1, that also applies here, which is why we do not just wing it and hope for the best.

Always presume that the unknown contact you see is a 109E4 until you know better.
Always presume that the enemy you're fighting is the top scoring German ace until you know better.
Always presume that there is a flight of 109s higher than you, just out of visible range, just waiting for you to slip up so they can kill you.
That way you'll never get caught by surprise.

Lastly, disengage means withdraw, do not engage, cease attacking - if the order to disengage is given then the only reason you should be trying to engage an enemy or unknown contact is because you think you are under imminent threat of attack, or believe that one of your wingmen is under imminent threat of attack, yes - you should help your wingman is he is in danger, but likewise there is a trust envolved that means you shouldn't engage in reckless action, as that puts both yourself and your wingmen in unnecessary danger when they have to come and help you.

Disengage North means disengage to the North, not disengage East along the coast, then turn around, then disengage West along the coast, then finally turn North - if you're having trouble navigating, then 9 times out of 10 when disengaging it will be away from the coast, not along it, and remember that you disengage and then reform, not reform and then disengage.

In a way we've been very lucky as these issues have shown themselves without getting us all killed in the process, as such we will be having a training session at the earliest opportunity (probably Tuesday or next Thursday if Razy can't make Tuesday) to practice section tactics and gunnery against some AI 109s.

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"I look forward confidently to the exploits of our Fighter Pilots - these splendid men, this brilliant youth, who will have the glory of saving their native land, their island home, and all they love, from the most deadly of all attacks."

- Winston Churchill
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MJDixon

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Re: Debrief for the 29th of September 2016

Post  speedy77 on Fri Sep 30, 2016 10:56 pm

Yes, it wasn't a good show last night. I think part of the problem is the lack of things to shoot, so when something does turn up we all get a bit gung-ho.

When we are making slash attacks. The whole 'on' 'off' procedure needs to be clearer and call 'off' as soon as you've lost your attacking position, or energy, you should not manoeuvre with the target in that situation.

There were a couple of instances last night, where I held off while someone was 'on'. After some evasive manoeuvres, and some time (maybe 10-15 secs which is a lot in an engagement), the 109 then manoeuvred towards me presenting me with a clear shot, which I didn't know if I could take or not. One of those times as I lined up and called 'on' myself, I looked right found a spit right alongside me still 'on'. affraid

That said, I agree the 109 should have been dealt with in two or three slash attacks anyway. So the more gunnery practice for me the better.

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Re: Debrief for the 29th of September 2016

Post  MJDixon on Fri Sep 30, 2016 11:11 pm

Indeed, Speedy - that's one of the important aspects about the defending half of the element.

If the defender is holding off slightly and observing the fight then he can more easily drop in and engage a target once the attacker has called 'off', where as if everyone is closely manoeuvering with the enemy, then when he breaks and throws one of us off, then it throws everyone else off - which leads to a break in the engagement where everyone is trying to reposition to attack, giving the enemy some breathing room.

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- Winston Churchill
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Re: Debrief for the 29th of September 2016

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