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zardozid
06-20-2008, 11:35 PM
I'm just curious if anyone knows what a typical flight altitude might have been when US pilots where cruising around the country side looking for ground targets... 5000 feet? 2500 feet? What was the official recommendation?

zardozid
06-20-2008, 11:35 PM
I'm just curious if anyone knows what a typical flight altitude might have been when US pilots where cruising around the country side looking for ground targets... 5000 feet? 2500 feet? What was the official recommendation?

DKoor
06-21-2008, 12:03 PM
I think that depends on aircraft type and even more on mission type http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif .

mandrill7
06-21-2008, 04:58 PM
I would go in at about 500 meters over the combat zone. Ground targets are hard to see and getting low helps. But if you get too low, you lose track of where you are flying.

zardozid
06-21-2008, 06:50 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by DKoor:
I think that depends on aircraft type and even more on mission type http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-surprised.gif . </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


Fair enough...

Lets say P-51D's on a return trip from an escort mission inside Germany...they are looking for ground targets of opportunity. What would be a recommended safe cruising altitudes to search for targets, and then what would be a "safe" approach altitude?

You have to be flying high enough so that you can leave yourself options (and minimize small arms fire to radiator), but you need to be low enough to recognize targets and minimize approach time to target.

I know that their where no concrete rules but their must have been a "safe recommended approach altitude"...The Army (and Navy) has (had) rules for everything!

zardozid
06-21-2008, 06:53 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by mandrill7:
I would go in at about 500 meters over the combat zone. Ground targets are hard to see and getting low helps. But if you get too low, you lose track of where you are flying. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


1600 feet, interesting...

H-Rebel
06-21-2008, 08:01 PM
You just have to watch old gunsight footage to see that they flew real low, low enough to fly through secondary explosions:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6f9cqhuARrM

crucislancer
06-21-2008, 10:38 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by zardozid:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by mandrill7:
I would go in at about 500 meters over the combat zone. Ground targets are hard to see and getting low helps. But if you get too low, you lose track of where you are flying. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


1600 feet, interesting... </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Check out Dart's Page (http://www.darts-page.com/) for some great ground attack tutorials. The skip bombing tutorial helped me quite a bit, I rarely miss when skip bombing ships now.

joeap
06-22-2008, 04:42 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by mandrill7:
I would go in at about 500 meters over the combat zone. Ground targets are hard to see and getting low helps. But if you get too low, you lose track of where you are flying. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

BTW buddy, I'm flying your Bombardirovshchik-44 campaign and it is a hoot so far!!!

Skycat_2
06-22-2008, 11:38 AM
The US 8th Fighter Command published a confidential paper in August, 1944 that attempted to address this question with essays written by combat veterans involved in ground attack in France up through D-Day. The intention was to pass on the combined experience to new fighter pilots. The 60-page document reveals that a favorite technique was to come in very low, at treetop level usually, and pop up over the target for the attack. The advice does vary considerably however.

Col. Don Blakeslee's (4th FG, P-51) entry, the first in the document, will probably interest you:

"Airdromes. Surprise, speed and a variation of the attack--these are the things to keep in mind when strafing a Hun airdrome.
I consider surprise as one of the chief factors in a successful strafe. When my group is assigned to strafe a particular target I ask for all the photographs available. I want to know what the airfield looks like before I get there. I want my intelligence officer to get the best information he can on the defense, the pin-point positions of flak posts, if possible. I want to know what kind and how many aircraft are reported to be on the field and just where on the field I can find them parked. I want to know what the terrain around the airdrome is.
With this I can plan the approach best calculated to achieve surprise. I use terrain--hills, gullys and trees for cover, and such airdrome installations as hangars, etc., to screen my approach, I never come right in on an airdrome if I can help it. If I have planned to attack an airdrome beforehand I pick an I.P. some 10 miles away--some easily recognizable place. I have my course from there to the drome worked out. Once in the air, I take my boys right past the airdrome as if I had no intention of attacking it at all. At my I.P. I let down and swing back flat on the deck. I usually try and have another check-point on the course from my I.P., not far from the airdrome, and when I pass that I know I am definately coming in on the right field. I don't like to end up on an airdrome before I realize I am even coming to one. But once I hit the drome, I really get down on the deck. I don't mean five feet up; I mean so low the grass is brushing the bottom of the scoop.
For a squadron attack on a Hun airfield I do not recommend sending sections in waves. This is a good way to get half the outfit shot down. In my own group, I want as many eight in at one time, if possible. These should be well abreast and, knowing our target beforehand, we go right in full bore in a straight line. Once you start an attack of this kind, don't turn or swerve. If you do there is danger of collision or entering another man's pattern of fire.
I plan on one pass on an airdrome and after my first pass I climb to three or four thousand feet well beyond the field and circle and look back to observe the damage in the form of smoke or fire. I see where the rest of the boys are and call up on the R/T and ask how the flak was. If there wasn't too much on the first pass and I figure we can afforde to have a second time, we line up and repeat the performance. This time I usually leave eight aircraft up for top cover. These should be at four or five thousand feet--well beyond the range of small arms fire. On the first pass I never bother with top cover as we are all on the deck and any Hun that wants to bounce us is welcome to try.
After the attack on the field stay on the deck for a good mile beyond the drome before pulling up. The break should consist of rudder yawing. Never coc.k a wing up. If you must turn on the drome, do flat skidding turns. Don't give the Hun a better target to shoot at.
I prefer to get down low and shoot up any aircraft on the ground rather than come in high and shoot down. Usually I fire a short burst from long range and correct for it as I come in.
My method of attacking an uassigned airfield--a target of opportunity, one I have noticed on the way back--is about the same. The only difference is that in one case I have quite a lot of information; in the other I have to get a mental picture of the field, the location of the aircraft and dispersals, watch for any guns firing--all in a few seconds as I go by. Once I decide to attack, my method is the same."

Blakeslee continues his discussion by considering targets other than airdromes. For convoys, trains, etc. he writes, "My methods are about the same. I usually let down to about two or three thousand feet and cruise around looking for targets. When I find one I get directly over it and go down in a 20 to 30 degree dive. I feel this enables me to concentrate my fire. The attack would be varied if the convoy was in a gully or behind trees."

Skycat_2
06-22-2008, 12:26 PM
An excerpt of the essay by Col. Avelin P. Tacon, Jr. (359th FG, P-51s) cuts close to the origninally posted question:

"Targets of opportunity fall into two categories--those you find in assigned areas and those you spot returning from escort missions. On the former we brief on the area in general. The topography is covered, main roads and railroads, marshalling yards, etc. we do not like to comb an area right on the deck. We feel this system has two disadvantages. First, when you do run into a target you're past it before you can identify it and draw a bead. This means you've got to circle back to attack it and thus you lose the element of surprise as well as speed. Secondly, you're being fired at constantly, particularly in Western France. Our method is to fly as a group with the low squadron, which is the intitial strking force, flying about 4,000 feet, medium squadron about 5,000 and top cover about 8,000. From 4,000 feet the low squadron can spot their targets, dive and attack with speed, which is like money in the bank. By flying at 4,000 feet if you are fired on by light flak it isn't very accurate and if it should become accurate you can dive, pick up speed, and get the hell out of there. When the low squadron attacks the other two orbit and cover it. We rotate the squadron if the expenditure of ammunition warrants it. When attacking targets whose defense is unknown the lead flight goes in first while the others hold back. We don't like to commit a whole squadron until we know what we're up against.
To date we haven't run into a target so large that the group, or a squadron for that matter, couldn't handle it. If we ever do you may rest assured that we won't hesitate to punch "C" button and let the other groups in the vicinity in on it.
In strafing targets of opportunity returning from escort missions the formation leader has to plan his attack as he circles the target. Every advantage must be taken of sun, cloud cover, terrain and speed. It is usually impossible to achieve surprise on a target of this type so we like speed, around 450 on the clock. It isn't easy to hit an aircraft going that fast. There is one point we insist on and that is that the flight leader must use good judgement and consider the results he expects to gain commensurate with the expected losses. This is particularly true of airdromes in Western France. Those things are poison. As a rule of thumb on airdromes in that area we estimate a loss of one out of every four pilots attacking. Seems high? Check the casualties on attacking those airdromes. As an example, we had two flights attack an airdrome down there one day, Rhiems-Champagne I believe it was. The eight ships that attacked lost three pilots, all old experienced boys, in fact two were flight leaders, and had another ship that just got back to England. On the other side of the ledger, they destroyed the only ship on the airdrome, an old beat up Me 110. Hardly worth while. In Germany our favorite targets are those little grass auxillary airdromes that are scattered about. They're usually either undefended at all or very lightly and have from 10 to 15 single engine fighters on them. However, we attacked one of these one day with FW 190's on it and the dirty Hun had drained all the gasoline from the ships. Although they were pretty well hit they just wouldn't burn. It was an auxillary field to an air part and evidently the ships were non-operational awaiting ferry pilots. Later we corraborated this practice of Jerry's of draining the gasoline from shisp in a British Intelligence Summary. The Hun is pretty tricky.
The Hun doesn't hesitate to hide his trucks in woods, park his convoys in the shadows of trees, and run his trains into tunnels.
On the mechanics of strafing there are as many opinions as there are pilots. Some believe in surprise at the sacrifice of speed. This is accomplished by getting down to daisy top level several miles from the target and following a road or other landmark into the target. Those boys like to avoid all villages and pop over the trees, shoot up the target and get hell away on the deck, reforming and regaining altitude some five or ten miles away. The other school of thought likes to come around the target at about 4,000 feet look it over and then dive in with around 450 on the clock, shoot up the target, stay low, and get away, reforming away from the target. Both systems have their advantages and disadvantages. Inasmuch as it's his own neck we let the pilots do it the way they prefer. One thing that everyone agrees on is the absolute necessity of aimed fire as opposed to "hosing" the area.
In attacking airdromes we usually do it by four ships abreast, each weaving and firing individually. If a pilot doesn't have a target ahead of him we don't like to see him turn and go for one on the other side of the airdrome as it usually interferes with another pilot. When intense flak is encountered we've found that the closer you are to the ground the better off you are."

Skycat_2
06-22-2008, 01:02 PM
As I said, the advice varies between pilots. Sometimes it even seems contradictory.

Col. John B. Henry, Jr, 339th FG, P-51s, wrote:

"While searching for targets we prefer to cruise at from 12,000 to 14,000 feet with all flights line abreast. When a desireable target is called in, a squadron splits in two sections. One section conducts the attack while the other provides air cover. The first pass across the target is made at a speed about 400 miles per hour, if there is reason to suppose that ground fire will be encountered."

From Capt. B.M. Gladych, Polish Air Force (flying with 56th FG), P-47:

"Landfall in should be made at approximately 15,000 ft. That altitude is to be maintained all the way to the target area. The leader locates the target area. The leader locates the target and still flying on original course begins to drop down to the deck. Once on the deck the formation turns 180' setting course on target, flights dropping into line astern in about 1,000 yards intervals.
The approach is made at normal cruising speed, particular aircraft flying as low as possible. About 1 mile before the target the first flight pulls up to 100 feet., corrects for possible error in heading and gives full R.P.M. and throttle delivers the attack. Flight and element leaders concentrate on shooting up the target itself, whereas the wingmen act as "anti-flak" aircraft, picking out the gun positions and silencing them. The following flights act similarly. Having past the target every pilot stays on the deck until the leader of the formation gives the signal for climb.
In case of an intense light flak only one pass should be made, but should the target be undefended the leader sets the pattern detailing at least one flight to act as top cover. The top cover circles at least 2,000 ft. above the target in the opposite direction to the aircraft in the pattern thus being able to intervene, if necessary, without delay."

1st Lt. Horace Q. Waggoner, 353rd FG, P-47, wrote:

"There are no steadfast rules to be followed when a target has been sighted.
The initial pass on any field should be made from and altitude of from 6,000 to 8,000 feet. Come in out of the sun or through a cloud if possible, aiming at a point just short of the field to you. Have a target picked out as you go down -- a plane, a hangar or gun position. Level out as you approach the deck, so that you will pass onto the field and onto the target at an altitude of 50-75 feet. This will give you a chance to carry on to your target with plenty of room for firing. At the same time your chance of being hit is very slight as a result of your speed. For gun positions or large targets, such as hangers, you can start firing early, in fact in the case of gun positions it is imperative that you start firing early. Above all, know your gun sight and do not spray the area.
For the getaway stay flat on the deck till clear of the field a half to a full mile then pull up and climb back to 6,000 to 8,000 feet for another pass. Be careful to pull up away from possible flak positions such as town, barracks areas, etc. On the initial pass one man, preferably the Flight Leader, should pull up early and look for flak. This will give him a basis for his decision to go back or not.
An airfield should not be attacked line abreast, nor should the approach be made on the deck. A diving attack as outlined above made by elements of two following each other closely is best. The wing man should be just far enough away from the leader, well up, so as to be able to make an individual pass on target. If four ships attack at the same time they should be in elements of two and attacking two separate parts of the field.
For attacking trains, and here is a place for one steadfast rule, always take the engine first from 90 degrees. This gives you a chance to look over the train and see if it is to be thoroughly beat up or left alone. No. 1 and 2 in the flight should be able to take care of the engine sufficiently, leaving No. 3 and 4 ready to strafe the length of the train if it looks profitable.
Attacking trucks is variable, so much so that I might say take them as they come, however a good idea is to make the primary pass from 90 degrees watching for possible flak. Again it is important to know your sight; you might need those bullets later on.
In conclusion I would like to say that the best possible team for strafing is a section of eight -- one flight up and one flight down. Whenever you find yourself on the deck, always, if possible, keep a flight or element up. At any rate always have half an eye above and behind you."

slipBall
06-22-2008, 01:22 PM
This type of question and the responce's is what this forum lacks. Great question and answers! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

zardozid
06-27-2008, 04:21 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Skycat_2:
As I said, the advice varies between pilots. Sometimes it even seems contradictory.

Col. John B. Henry, Jr, 339th FG, P-51s, wrote:

At any rate always have half an eye above and behind you." </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


Wow... I missed this, but thanks for the very interesting information. This is more then I was hoping for...


<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> posted by Slipball


Posted Sun June 22 2008 12:22 Hide Post
This type of question and the responce's is what this forum lacks. Great question and answers! Thumbs Up

</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/agreepost.gif
I'm not tooting my own horn as much as I'm applauding Skycat 2's answer.

tragentsmith
06-27-2008, 05:43 AM
I fly a 110 most of the time on Warclouds, and we have a lot of ground targets to attack on every map. Now I would ask at first : What do you wanna do ?

Do to the enemy the maximum amount of damage disregarding safety ?

Damage the enemy but maximising you chances of survival ?

Attack the FlaK locations ?

Attack an airfield ?

Because all this questions have different answers.

For the number one, maximum amount of damage, you fly around 2000 meters with escort, then dive on target, drop your bombs and then engage all the soft targets with guns till there's no more or you are out of ammunition. It is very effective if your escort is providing a good cover during the 3 - 5 minutes where you are over the objective, but a diving enemy plane can come through you escort and put the 4 - 5 rounds that will kill your aicraft before your escort can even spot him.

Second question answer is, you fly around 2000 meters with escort, dive towards the target, drop your bombs on the hard target and run away. A variant on it is that you can set a timer on 2 minutes and disengage from the target after that time has expired. It's quite common that the bandits need around 3 - 4 minutes to react and engage you over the target.

Attack FlaK : First step of every scaled attack. You send a decoy 500 meters in front of you that will drag the flaK fire making large circles over it. You attack 20 seconds after him while the flak is firing at the decoy with low strafing attack. It usually works.

Attacking an enemy airfield is the hardest, but we had good results. You get the most JaBos that you can, you fly really low ( 20 - 40 meters), make a big detour and come from the side of the base where it is the least expected by the enemy. Then every plane attack fist the AAA guns while your escort ( 1 or 2 fighters should be enough) strafe the planes attempting to take off or land. When it's done, you can just stick over this airbase...

Well, now it's just my experience. But it gave pretty good results.

rnzoli
06-27-2008, 06:26 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Skycat_2:
As I said, the advice varies between pilots. Sometimes it even seems contradictory. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Now this is a big surprise to me http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

I mean, we all know how air-to-air combat memories can contradict each other head on (who knows the amount of fuel on board, pilot skills etc.), but I did not expect such stark contradictions with air-to-ground attacks. What, a flak gun can out-turn some planes, but not others? http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif