View Full Version : Dicta Fenrir... Or Surviving the online dogfight

08-24-2006, 12:44 PM
Well having seen a lot of new blood in here of late I thought it might be good idea to post a few pointers on things I have learnt in surviving the online fight experience. It may also serve as a refresher to you old hands, cos even we fall into bad habits.

These tips relate primarily to cockpit on/full switch servers (where i fly) but can be used to good effect in all areas (though some points will of course be less valid.

1. Communications - Get Some!

The chat bar is in NO WAY WHATSOEVER a valid form of tactical communications, particularly in the fast moving world of the air combat arena. Typing takes far too long and specific IDs and danger areas are very hard to relate with even the current rash of internet speak and/or contractions. Throw in typos for good measure and the issue gets worse.

A good server with a public TeamSpeak function is the way to go; you'll need a mic to be able to communicate back, but even patching in on speakers/headphones only will open up your awareness of the battlefield situation, allowing you to know where the fights are at what alt and also some helpful soul might even be warning you of a bounce.

On this note its helpful if some others are on voice comms with you which brings me to my next point...

2. Find a Friend!

A squad mate, ur best chum, that crazy guy on the street corner who smells like off yoghurt, or even some complete stranger from another country who happens to fly on your team; all (ok nearly all) are valid wingmen or leaders; another pair of eyes to check your tail, and if you have any decency you might check his for him too.
Plus when you do get bounced (cos it does happen to us all and will happen sometimes no matter what you do) there's another set of guns for the enemy to worry about and if he's on you you're gonna need all the distractions you can get hold of to get him off.
Then there is also the added bonus that if the enemy targets your wingie you have the opportunity to get on the tail of a target who is preoccupied with his own quarry - not exactly easy kills but far less dangerous than going 1-v-1.

3. CHECK SIX!!!!!!!!


Too many people get shot down by guys they NEVER see... so swing that tail around, check for that sneaky bastard trying to come up in your blind spot, look high to spot that guy bouncing you. IT TAKES AN AVERAGE OF FOUR SECONDS TO SHOOT SOMEONE DOWN - SO LOOK ROUND EVERY THREE.

When taking off - CHECK HIGH SIX!

When climbing to cruise height - CHECK SIX!

When cruising to target - CHECK SIX!

When you have spotted the enemy - CHECK SIX!

whilst manouvering with enemy - KEEP CHECKING SIX!

After destroying the enemy - DONT FOLLOW HIM DOWN, BREAK AND CHECK SIX!!

You get the point.... http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

4. Flying High...

<span class="ev_code_RED">Altitude is your friend</span>. No matter if your flying a Gladiator or Go229, altitude advantage gives you the upper hand. It will allow a good pilot in a technically inferior plane to take on a technically superior opponent and stand a good chance of victory.

What altitude you fly at will depend on map, mission, adversaries and your own plane type, but get a feel. 10,000-15,000ft or about 3000-5000m minimum is my general rule of thumb - gives you altitude to play with if you get into trouble, you can still spot enemies below.

When u see the enemy in time a way off at similar alt, for gods sake climb, get the advantage and quickly; if he's close at co-alt you've already consigned yourself to a 50/50 chance of survival.

Use every advantage in the fight to climb - if your enemy loses sight of you, CLIMB, GET ABOVE HIM. If he's at a high angle off and no immediate threat, CLIMB, GET ABOVE HIM.

Do NOT - whatever you do - try to out climb an opponent on or near your six; a straight climb at 140mph IAS is a good way to get shot down quickly - pick ur moments carefully.

And remember that whatever alt you fly at you can still be bounced - no-one is immune. Angels 10 gives you far more options tho than scraping the hedgerows.

Gotta go now I'll continue later...

Oh, and feel free to add your own pointers!

08-24-2006, 01:36 PM
5. SPEED IS LIFE! The counter point is "low and slow = dead!". Speed is absolutely essential, no matter what your flying. Get slow, and you have just lost the fight. Speed can be translated into hight as well, so having a reserve of speed gives you more tactical options in a fight. The bigger your bag of tricks, the better chance you have of living/winning.

6. Situational awareness is EVERYTHING in a fight. You may violate every other rule, but if you have good SA, and your oppenent doesnt, you can come back and win the fight. Keep looking around, check six, and try and keep track of where the other guy is GOING to be, not just where he is now. Being able to predict where the other guy is, and where he is going is half the fight!

7. When in doubt, RUN!! He who runs away lives to fight another day! If your unsure of the situation, or have lost SA, GET OUT! Get some speed, get altitude and then locate the fight! Better to back away and regain your SA then blindly turning tight circles hoping someone flys in front of your guns!

8. CHECK YOUR TARGET! The single fastest way to get in someones bad graces online is to shoot down a friendly! Learn target identification! Learn what color tracers are for the different nationalities. Learn what the wing profiles of the various planes look like! Spitfires and 109's have completely different wing shapes, yet I have seen people blast friendly aircraft because they dont check their target!

08-24-2006, 01:41 PM
Never underestimate the power of the chat bar. Don't forget that EVERYONE on your team can see what's going on via the chatbar but everyone isn't necessarily on comms - that might make all the difference when you expect help to turn up.

Besides, with comms, when someone is yakking about what colour their new car is, or how many times their gf came the night before, it's not that effective.

08-24-2006, 02:00 PM
Originally posted by F6_Ace:
or how many times their gf came the night before,

came where?

08-24-2006, 02:01 PM
You know...in the Frankie Goes to Hollywood sense http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

08-24-2006, 02:14 PM
I will have to say this,It is just about essential to have TrackIR in a online dogfight.
I have only been online twice and get the tar beat outta me because I constantly lost track of my opponents.Among a hundred other reasons as a noobie.LOL I totally agree with comms,if for no other reason to warn a blue/red teammate.
One other thing I learned the hard way is how you start your career as a virtual pilot. A year ago I got PF and made the mistake of flying on easy settings,for a full year!Now that I have the Complete Edition and have finally decided to fight online I am at a tremendous disadvantage to other fighter pilots.I have to learn all over again.
BAD DEAL all around.I will probably be taking an a$$ whooping for some time to come.
But will learn eventually,albiet the hard way.:.} Great post Tom and others.

Craig / Gettin a whooping online as Savan :.}

08-24-2006, 02:29 PM
Check LOW six. That's where I'll be, lining up my solution from about 200 m or so to blow you to bits with my quartet of MG151/20s. I'll be there because that's where 90% of people forget to look.

08-24-2006, 03:02 PM
Fly some of the plane that you will usually go up against... always good to know their blind spot and limitation...

08-24-2006, 06:09 PM
Super, Track IR is a big help, but I flew very successfully on-line for about a year using just hatswitch and number pad. With almost everyone using TIR, it is a slight disadvantage, but not insurmountable. But, if you can afford TIR, GET IT!

08-24-2006, 06:48 PM
Extra points related to the side you play for http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

NEVER ever turn with the Spitfire, are you insane? Do you want to get us both killed? No? Then don't do that, roll, apply negative G, scissor, make the fecker overshoot, but don't turn with it. It's a single most irritating thing about Blue n00bs on Western front http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_mad.gif

NEVER follow a Fw190, on the deck, all the way to their base, yes I know you fly a UFO but you will get killed anyway, and I'm not going to be there when that happens. Want support? Then don't play the usual ufo suicidal spit-n00b routine because you will end up alone against a pack of bad@ss quad cannon FW's get it?

There is more but theese are the most annoying mistakes...

08-24-2006, 08:32 PM
Gentle curving climbs are, in my opinion, the best way to gain altitude (especially in 'safe' zones) without losing all of your power at once. If you do it right, you can climb quickly and still keep your airspeed (and in some cases gain some). But don't expect to survive if you do it in the midst of a heated furball.

08-24-2006, 09:52 PM
3000-5000m minimum is my general rule of thumb - gives you altitude to play with if you get into trouble, you can still spot enemies below.
Great advice, tommytheyak, and borne out by history...but not this sim.

You just cannot count on seeing **** from that alt. Believe me, I know: I make a point not to go looking for trouble below 3km. Works in many sims...but not IL-2.

In this sim, you have to dive into a "likely area" only to find, oh, lookee here! 6 x I-16s milling about, which a determined area search from above didn't uncover a HINT of. Of course, now you've lost every bit of that advantage you built up by climbing and are fighting for your life to get away from the supergnats.

This is a common occurance in IL-2, at least with an ATI video card. You can't see jack, especially on the Normandy and Finland maps. Much better if it's winter, there the grey dots turn up nice against snow. Almost anywhere else, fuggedaboudit.

08-25-2006, 12:58 AM


08-25-2006, 02:36 AM
Originally posted by Brain32:
NEVER follow a Fw190, on the deck, all the way to their base, yes I know you fly a UFO but you will get killed anyway, and I'm not going to be there when that happens. Want support? Then don't play the usual ufo suicidal spit-n00b routine because you will end up alone against a pack of bad@ss quad cannon FW's get it?

Don't tell people that!! Spitn00bs are what makes this sim fun to play online!!!

08-25-2006, 03:54 AM
Great post Fenrir! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif
Agree 100% on every rule you mentioned. Whenever I go up in the sky I try to stick to these rules religiously (ok, I have to admit I have to work on that comms thing..).
It all boils down to securing all advantages on your side when you enter a fight.
Another advice could be this: Be patient, and be frugal. Impatience and greed will get you in a fight very quickly, and you might even score a kill, but in the long run you probably wont return to base.... and we all want to rtb, don't we? http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif


08-25-2006, 04:31 AM
9. Use correct markings on No Icon Servers

10. Do NOT shoulder shoot a friendly, watch his six until he disengages.

11. Have fun.

08-25-2006, 06:13 AM
Get in a close as possible before shooting, close means close enough to chop his tail off with your prop if you run out of ammo http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/784.gif .

Before you taxi out or open the throttle for a quick getaway, look around you and see if any other aircraft are landing, taxiing or taking off, this prevents unnecessary collisions. Putting nav lights on when landing also lets other people know you are coming in.

It's also usually poor form to shoot down someone on finals with lights on, and gear down, unless the server specifically says that is ok. I generally leave them alone, but some jokers still like to have a go at an easy kill, which brings me to my next point.

Try and leave a bit of ammo for the trip back to base, if you are out of ammo when returning the chances of some clown trying to jump you on the way back will be higher. Even if you're low and slow on finals it's nice to have enough left to get in a quick burst at them if you are still able to after their firing pass (fortunately most people who do this are not very good shots, or even pilots, which is why they have to resort to easy kills)

Dont fly in a straight line for too long, you will probably need to circle left or right to check six in most planes in pit on servers but the odd random break might just be enough to throw off that enemy ac who was diving out of the sun and lining you up for dinner.

Be a lunatic, do the unexpected, most people know the rulebook of standard combat tactics and moves, so try to avoid these and do something the enemy never expects.

Perhaps most importantly, know your aircraft's specs and limitations, a Mustang is perfectly fine with 25% fuel on most small maps, but a bf109 isn't going to last anywhere near as long with the same fuel loadout. Know how long you can use full emergency power or extra boost without overheating, know how long you can go on overheat before the engine dies. What is the max dive speed? How hard can you turn it without stalling? You should know your aircraft intimately, this isn't real war, you have the time to practice offline if you wish. I find just flying around and doing aerobatics is good for this, try flying under bridges and some other tricks like that, helps you to learn how to position your aircraft and how it will react in various extreme situations. Also try out your likely opponent aircraft as well, it's good to know their weaknesses as much as your own. Once you know one aircraft well, try some others out, your favourite wont always be in the server.

Another note on aircraft choice is to pick an unfamiliar aircaft, everyone flies stuff like Spits, Fw190, bf109, La7 etc so everyone knows how to deal with them, try and choose something not many other people use, the suprise and unfamiliar factor alone is often enough to throw some opponents off balance.

08-25-2006, 07:16 AM
lots of misleading advice in here http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif so i have to intervene http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Check six all the time? Blah. You will forget to check 12, 3, 9, and get into the habit of spotting enemies behind your tail, instead of spotting them while they are right in front of you. Your tail needs to be checked as regularly as all other direction, no less, no more.

Flying high? Blah. This is for B&Z-er airplanes only. Some engines rapidly lose power at higher altitudes. Go high with a sutiable engine only, and trick the upper guys in a lower level turnfight, if your engine cannot cope with higher altitudes.

Speed is life? Blah. You can easily break your plane into small pieces with too much speed. Speed in level flight is good if you have a faster airplane than your opponent. Otherwise no speed can save you, the enemy will catch up. For a significantly slower plane, actually slowing down at the right time can force an overshoot by your opponent.

Situational awareness is everything? Blah. Only if it makes you happy that you always know how you are being shot down. Otherwise it may be purely sufficient to be a good shot, and shoot out the engine of your opponent immediately. If you are a good shooter, let the others struggle with situational awareness, while you pick them away from 600 m.

When in doubt, run? Blah. Then no newbie would ever take off from the runway. Risk management yes, running away at the slightest doubt? No.

Get as close as chewing up his tail? Blah. Only if you are above your airfield, so if he chops the throttle, you can actually land without propellor or engine. You may consider also that your opponent may catch fire and quickly blow into your face, leaving you with minus 1 wing.

Be lunatic, do the unexpected? Blah. Only if you don't have any mission goal, and don't expect any help from your friends. Try formation flying while your are lunatic and do the unexpected to see my point.

Sorry guys, couldn't resist. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-tongue.gif

08-25-2006, 07:18 AM
Fly a Dora, keep the throttle at 110%, and keep rolling.

08-25-2006, 07:59 AM
A splendid if rather charitable post Fenrir http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/11.gif
http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/10.gif A certain Captain "Don't tell 'em your name, Pike!" Mainwaring would have you locked in the vestry by now, with Cpl Jones guarding you! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

I dug around for the generally accepted version of the original Dikta of Oswald Boelke, to see if it stands the test of ninety years and has any place in the dicussion:

1. Try to secure advantages before attacking. If possible, keep the sun behind you.
2. Always follow through an attack when you have started it.
3. Fire only at close range, and only when your opponent is properly in your sights.
4. Always keep your eye on your opponent, and never let yourself be deceived by ruses.
5. In any form of attack it is essential to assail your opponent from behind.
6. If your opponent dives on you, do not try to evade his onslaught, but fly to meet it.
7. When over enemy lines, never forget your line of retreat.
8. For the Staffel: Attack in groups of four or six. When the fight breaks up into a series of single combats, take care that several do not go for one opponent.
__________________________________________________ ____________________________________

Given that Comms were limited to waves and wing-waggling, the last rule still makes clear the need for teamwork and understanding between the group. In the on-line sense it translates into the sensible idea of joining a squad, or at least joining the TS channel in an arena.
Although the then-undefined notion of situational awareness isn't actually mentioned above, to me the whole thing is alive with the elements. 1, 4, 5, 6 & 7 are all about it, from the stealthy sun-up approach to the dive-out on a known course.

Number 6 is a strong point that is worth noting at any time. Boelke's rules of engagement can be criticised for seeming to ignore defensive advice, but perhaps this can be found by translating what should happen if the rules are followed:

"If your opponent dives on you, do not try to evade his onslaught, but fly to meet it."
Several advantages are gained through this course of action. The chances of a round hitting your machine are reduced in line with the profile you present, and head-on is the smallest aggressive target you can be. Secondly, you will obviously come out higher than you were when the attack started. And even though your opponent may zoom upwards again, you have still gained precious altitude. And thirdly, while the fragile kites of the era were less suited to violent evasive action, it makes good sense if tied in with rule 8. Although the leader may miss you, your sudden turn can present your biggest profile to any of the 3 or 5 who are following him down.

"....When the fight breaks up into a series of single combats, take care that several do not go for one opponent. "

There's no doubt Herr Boelke predicted the gang-bang and the team-kill, and the advisability of avoiding it http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif And it's clear that this is not some romantic nonsense about one-on-one (dare I say it?) knights of the sky chivalry. The point is that one determined pilot, with the advantage, can more easily destroy his opponent if his wingman's tracers are not whizzing by him! The wingman's only task is to give him clear space to complete the job by keeping his 6 o'clock clear.

(Ironically, Boelke's end came through a similar situation, when he accidentally collided with his wingman's undercarriage in a combat manouevre and died in the subsequent forced landing.) Viz. (http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/Zone/4914/dicta.htm)

Two things strike me. One is that Boelke was aware that poor flying would result in a permanent boot from the only server around and his rules stressed winning and staying alive. Despite the ever-handy refly button (and the temptations it brings) it is still worthwhile following these rules in our personal battles in FB.

Lastly, I find it pleasing to see these explanations of combat awareness aired in such a fresh way. Well done Fenrir for raising this thread. Hopefully it will also raise the game for those reading, which definitely can't be a bad thing.



08-25-2006, 08:36 AM
In the
Thanks for the great posts guys, I know I find all of these very usefull.

08-25-2006, 01:13 PM
A bit towards the human side of online flying.
I have to say mistakes are going to be made.
Wether it is friendly fire or firing on a landing aircraft it is going to happen.As soon as this happens guys start screaming vulching when in fact it was an HONEST MISTAKE.On AFJ Dedicated DF server the pace of the action is fast,furious and downright brutal.There is freindly fire,collisions,etc. constantly.
Most apoligize and get on with the show.
But some raise holy h@ll &start a tirade of insults.
This just isn"t necessary,not at all.
At 49 years old ,I and others don"t need to here this stuff.
Make an apology and get on with the fight!
If someone does you dirty CONSISTANTLY then he nees to be told to cool it or leave,there is a difference!
Lets enjoy online,I am having a total blast with it.
See you online and good luck!

Craig / Gettin shot up online lol as Savan