A beginner's guide to the planes
This guide is mainly meant to help people who are new to the game, based on experience in-game. Because of this it might not correspond to your own experience, historical facts or Dogfights episodes. Before you start arguing about something in this thread, please be sure to have valid arguments, not
based on historical facts or similar.
As I've said before, even though most things mentioned in this thread can be backed up by facts, it doesn't mean they have to be, nor does it necessarily mean they have to correspond to them.
- Spitfire series
The Spitfires can all be described the same, although there are some small differences between the two. These planes are Turn&Burn fighters, meaning they're very good at turning, but the top speed is not the highest. They're pretty twitchy, especially when hit in the wings, and require some practice to fly. When you get the hang of them, they're lovely planes to fly, and very good in Realistic mode, since that's mainly about T&B.
- MkII -- 4 x 7.7 Brownings (M) -- 2 x 20mm Hispano-Suiza (C)
This is the earliest version in the game. It's a decent turner, although not the best, and has a pretty decent armament as well. Good choice for games with an early year limit on it, but not so much for the later periods.
- MkIX -- 4 x 7.7 Brownings (M) -- 2 x 20mm Hispano-Suiza (C)
The MkIX is a very good turner, high in the top 5. The armament is decent, and due to the high amount of tracers it's pretty easy to aim with. Good choice in general for T&B.
- MkXVI -- 2 x 7.7 Brownings (M) -- 2 x 20mm Hispano-Suiza (C)
Although a slower roll rate than the MkIX, it can definetely compete with it. The armament is a bit better, so it's a good choice if you're having trouble shooting someone with the MkIX. If you look at the hangar description of the guns, it says the MkXVI has 2 Browning Machine Guns, however, in real life it had 2 x 50 cal. MG's. Quite some people agree this is probably what's modelled in-game as well, since the MkXVI feels like it has better armament than the other Spits.
- Bf-109 Series
The 109's greatest strengths are its armament, speed and stability. These planes are the best at Boom and Zoom (coming in fast, shoot fast, and disappear fast). They can be outturned by quite a lot of planes, so be careful not to try to turn with a Spit. They're also easier to fly than most planes, due to their stability. They can also take quite a beating and still fly on. Due to it's big guns and very good stability it's loved by quite a lot of players. Note that the general performance of the Bf-109's will increase with at higher altitudes. You can use this to your advantage by luring low-altitude performers, like the Yaks, up towards a higher altitude.
- E-3 -- 2 x 7.92mm MG17 (M) -- 2 x 20mm MG FF (C)
It's the oldest Bf-109 in the game and you get it without having to unlock it. It has a relative weak armament compared to the fighters from the same period (Hurricane, Spit), however, it is a pretty stable gun platform and has little to no recoil. It's about average in manoeuvrability and speed (compared to other early period fighters).
- F-4 -- 2 x 7.92mm MG17 (M) -- 1 x 20mm MG151 (C)
It is a step up from the E-3. It is faster and has a better turn and roll rate. Out of all the 109's, this is the one you should pick if you are planning on turning a lot. It's aramament might seem less than the E-3, but the 20mm MG151 does a better job than the 2 x 20mm MG FF.
- G-2 -- 2 x 7.92mm MG17 (M) -- 1 x 20mm MG151 (C)
This one has a pretty noticeable increase in speed over the F-4, causing it to be faster than the Spits, making it an able B&Z plane. This speed does come at a cost: it turns and rolls slightly worse than the F-4. The armament is the same as the F-4.
- G-6 -- 2 x 13mm MG's (M) -- 3 x 30mm cannons (C)
This is the fighter with the biggest armament in the game. It has a massive 30mm nose cannon, 2x 13mm machine guns on the fuselage and 2x 30mm gunpods under the wings. This heavy armament certainly comes at a price: it has a big recoil. Small burst should take care of this. Its performance: about as fast as the F-4, with a slightly worse manoeuvrability than the G-2.
- G-10 -- 2 x 13mm MG's (M) -- 1 x 20mm MG151 (C)
The Gustav series are some of the fastest 109's. In-game it's just not as fast as it should be. The G-10 has the same 20mm nosecannon as the F-4 and G-2, but its machineguns are slightly bigger than the others'. This gives it just the extra punch you sometimes need. Again speed and armament are traded for manoeuvrability. Its roll rate is ok, but its rate of turn is quite low. It will take quite a lot of skills to avoid people getting on your six o'clock, making it a rookie unfriendly plane.
- K-4 -- 2 x 13mm MG's (M) -- 2 x 20mm MG151 (C) -- 1 x 30mm cannon (C)
This is the fastest piston plane in the game. It can outrun most planes without effort, however, the turning is quite bad (worse than the G-10). This is not what you want to do with this plane though. Where the other 109's might be able to hold its own in a short turning battle, the K-4 will not be able to keep up in a tight turn. This is one of the best B&Z planes in-game. Its high speed and powerful armament make it perfect for coming in fast, destroying the enemy in one burst, and fly away.
- La Series -- Both: 2 x 20mm ShVAK (C)
The La's are prized for their speed, manouvreability and stability. The La-7 is one of the fastest piston planes in the game, and both the 5 and 7 are easy to fly, which is why they're probably the best planes to start with as a beginner. They don't stall very fast or violently, can compete with a Spit in turns, almost can't be outrun and are easy to land. The downside for beginners might be the armament. Although they have pretty big cannons which can make quick work of a plane, the rate of fire is not high, and it's tricky to aim due to the low amount of tracers. Because the La-5 has a smaller engine, it's a bit slower and has more recoil, but due to the reduced weight it does have a slightly higher rate of turn. The La-7's bigger engine makes it faster and it has less recoil, but a slightly lower rate of turn.
- I-16 -- 2 x 7.62mm ShKAS (M) -- 2 x 20mm ShVAK (C)
Flying this plane is just fun. It has a very small turn radius, can easily outturn a Spit or La and has nice guns. The big downside of it is it's top speed. This is about 100 km/h lower than most planes, if not more. It's possible to get a lot of kills when flying this plane, but if the enemy is on to you the tides can quickly turn. Due to your low airspeed you will have a hard time chasing planes, so your best (and usually only) chance is to get the enemy in a turning battle. Be careful to set the sensitivity way down with this plane.
- I-153 -- 2 x 20mm ShVAK (C)
This plane is basically the same as the I-16, except it has an even smaller turn radius, and an even lower top speed. It's a lot of fun flying it, due to it's manouvreability, but you can have a hard time getting kills. The armament is relatively weak, and you usually have a short window in which you can land a few hits, before the enemy roars off again. Don't expect to be able to chase any plane with this little thing.
- Yak Series
The Yaks are generally stable planes, not too tricky to fly. At low speed you might notice a small wingdrop or other miniature stall, but nothing too major. They can all compete in T&B, although some better than others. The armaments are average, good enough for any dogfight, although not the best around. All of them can take a pretty good beating, remaining more stable than the average aircraft when taken damage.
- Yak-1B -- 1 x 12.6mm Berezin (M) -- 1 x 20mm ShVAK (C)
The Yak-1B is the youngest version of the Yaks. It's good at turning and can keep up with most aircraft in your average T&B fight. The armament is relatively weak, although with some practice it can have a deadly effect. The advantage of this fact is that it has a very low recoil, close to none. The Yak-1B doesn't have the small stalls at low speeds it's bigger brothers have.
- Yak-3 -- 2 x 12.6mm Berezin (M) -- 1 x 20mm ShVAK (C)
It's safe to say the Yak-3 is the most popular among the Yaks. Good at T&B, stable, can take a beating and it's guns can do some decent damage. It only has very little recoil, making it easier to target someone. It's also the fastest of the Yaks, and pretty high up the list of fastest airplanes.
- Yak-9T -- 1 x 12.6mm Berezin (M) -- 1 x 37mm NS-37 (C)
The main characteristic of this plane is it's cannon, and especially the recoil it produces. Not as much as the Bf-109-G6, but definetely more than your average plane. Be careful not to hold the trigger too long. The Yak-9T can be used for both T&B and B&Z, but although it isn't the worst in either of the styles, it definitely isn't the best.
- Hurricane MkII -- 12 x 12.7mm MG's (M)
The Hurricane is loved by many, but most of this love is directed to the RL airplane. In-game it's not a bad plane to fly. It's pretty stable, even after taking hits in the wings, and has 12 (!) machine guns, which high amount of tracers makes it easy to aim. Don't be fooled by the big number though, the Hurricane's armament is definitely not the best in-game. The speed is also less than impressive. It can't keep up with a Spit, and it doesn't overtake the I-16 very fast either. Although it turns pretty well and can outturn a late-war Spit or La on occasion, it has a hard time competing with these planes due to it's lack in speed and acceleration. Because it's so stable, it's one of the easier planes to land.
The main reason the Hurricane is this moderate, is because it's outdated. Here lies also it's greatest strength: in games with the year limit set to 1940 it's one of the best planes to fly. It can easily compete with the Spitfire MkII, and will pretty much always win against a Bf-109-E3 in a T&B fight.
In short: A decent plane, good to fly for starters, but don't expect to compete with late-war planes. Definitely a good choice in a low year-limited game.
- IL-2M -- 3 x MG's (M) -- 2 x 20mm cannons (C)
The IL-2M is an all-round plane. If you're looking to use it as a bomber, look for it under the Bomber section.
The IL-2M is a heavy plane, but when used right it's deadly in a dogfight. Due to it's weight its rate of turn is a lot lower than other fighters, but it makes up for this in armor and armament. It's massive guns can light up an enemy plane in no-time. It's also tough to bring down. Not just because of it's thick armor, but also because of the deadly gunner sitting in the back. Flying on it's six longer than a few seconds is suicide. It's low manouvreability makes this plane relatively harmless, except when you're on it's six or twelve. One of the best ways to avoid getting killed by this plane is usually ignoring it: it won't be able to get on your six when you're in a turning battle, and you should always stay off it's six.
- IL-10 -- 3 MG's (M) -- 2 x 23mm cannons (C)
The IL10 is basically an upgrade of the IL-2M: it has more manouvrability, more armour, more powerful guns and more speed. The same principles apply to the IL-10 that are with the IL-2. It's sluggish in a turn compared to the more nimble fighters, but if you're on its 6 then you're asking for trouble due to the rear gunner. Being on its 12 is also a bad idea. Like the IL-2 it's best to avoid this one if you can, if you need to engage it, try to strafe across the wings or the easier approach of attacking from below. Be prepared to use up alot of ammo though, as this is a tough bird to bring down.
If you have someone on your 6 in the IL-10, then always try to keep him above you where your rear gunner can get a few rounds of. If you're near the ground then hug it, making it impossible for him to attack you from below.
- P-47D -- 8 x .50cal MG's (M)
The P-47D is big, heavy plane that has excellent ground attack capabilities and some chance in an air to air fight if used properly. This plane has a potent armament for almost any situation. Its eight .50cal machineguns tend to make planes tear to bits if they are hit with a good burst. Only the more armored planes seem to hold up for any length of time under sustained fire. Between it's bombs and rockets, a single P-47 is capable of putting a little over 3000 lbs of ordinance on target with a single pass. This makes it fairly effective in CTA and Strike.
Its relatively ineffective in a dogfight, but it can still get some kills if used properly. Due to its massive size and weight, it has an extremely poor turning radius. Boom and zoom is the best option when fighting other aircraft, although the P-47 lacks the high speed to get out very fast. Still, if you can get your guns on target, most planes will disappear after a good burst or two, the difficulty is often getting them on target in the first place.
The P-47 is also an extremely tough plane. It's heavily armored over most of the airframe, and can usually take a good beating before going down. Its weakest points seem to be the cockpit and the front portion of the plane near the engine, and a solid hit in either has the potential to do some damage. Avoid head-ons and turning battles, and you can usually stay alive.The ideal scenario for this plane is CTA and Strike, where it can still give ground targets a pounding, and also transfer into air to air combat or bomber hunting when needed.
- Me-262-A -- 4 x Cannons (C)
Since the Me-262 is a jet airplane, it's way faster than piston planes, but also a lot worse at turning. A characterstic of jet engines is it's reaction time. It takes a while after making an adjustment to the throttle before it's noticeable. Due to it's characteristics this plane should only be used for B&Z. Starting to turn with a piston fighter equals death. The best escape is therefore just applying full throttle and leave. It's armament is decent, and has no problem taking down planes.
Jets are always tricky to use, even though you're hard to bring down, it's also hard to take down an airplane in one fast pass.
- Me-163-B -- 2 x Cannons (C)
Because this is a rocket, not a jet, it doesn't have the disadvantage of the delayed power application. It can accelerate and climb faster then any other plane. Due to this it's tricky not to overshoot targets. This can be overcome by practice. It's a very small and light plane. This has a couple of effects: It's the most agile 'jet' and it can turn with the heavier fighters, but it has to hand in on armament, which is relatively weak, and armor. Just a couple of hits can make it burst into flames. Although it turns quite a lot better than the Me-262, it's never a good idea to keep turning too long. As with all jets, it's wiser to use your speed to get away.
Again, since it's a 'jet', it's tricky to use, and although it sounds easy to survive because you're fast, it's also very hard to get kills.
The bombers are tricky to compare to eachother, due to the fact they can be divided in two categories: heavy bombers and light/dive bombers. Some bombers float somewhere in between these categories, some don't fit in them at all. I'll point out which bombers fit in which category as good as I can, PM me if someone doesn't agree, but give some good arguments (historical or in-game).
= Heavy bomber
= Light bomber
- Po-2 (O) -- 4 x 50kg (B) -- 3 x 100kg (B) -- 2 x 50kg & 2 x 100kg (B)
This plane is great for CTA, and pretty much that only. Unless you enjoy sightseeing in training mode, where the po-2 is also great fun. It's got a very low top speed, and no forward firing guns, so you can absolutely forget chasing anyone down. The great thing is you can come in to land from a steep angle, and still maintain a good landing speed. Other than that, you can use your rear gunner to defend yourself as best as possible (though it doesn't have much range) and use bombs to take out those planes already parked on the ground.
- A20G (H) -- 4 x 500lbs (B)
The A20G is a good combination of characteristics, although it doesn't excel in anything in particular. It has a relatively low payload, relatively good gunners, can take a beating and is one of the faster heavy bombers. It's very manouvreable compared to it's counterparts, making it a good choice for beginners not too familiar with pulling up after a dive, or those who are too impatient to wait too long to turn around. However, due to it's lower payload it's important to make every hit count.
- IL-2M (L)
The IL-2M can be used as both a fighter and a bomber, so it actually needs two descriptions. For use in a dogfight, look at the description above, in the Fighters section.
The IL-2M is one of the, if not thé most manouvreable bomber out there. It has a relatively low payload, but it's very diverse. It can do major damage to grounded planes, but has trouble with destroying other ground targets. Its rear gunner is a meager defence compared to other bombers, and covers only a small angle. It can be useful in Capture the Airfield, but don't expect to make a huge impact with this plane in Strike.
- IL-10 -- 2 x 50kg (B) -- 4 x RS-82 (R) -- 2 x 100 kg (B), 4 x RS-132 (R)
The IL-10 is very similar to the IL-2, both in flight characteristics and usage. It has better armor, armament, speed and manouvreability. As a bomber it's useful in CTA, but it won't make a huge impact in Strike.
- IL-4 (L) --
The IL-4 is probably one of the easiest planes to handle. Due to it's smaller size it's more manouvreable than the bigger bombers and more stable than fighters. Although it can take a beating, its armament is relatively weak and doesn't have a lot of range. Because of this, fighters can quickly approach and try to take it down, even before the gunner in the IL-4 has time to react. It's speed is average for a light bomber.
- B-17 (H) -- ... -- 16 x 500lb (B) -- 2 x 2000lb (B) -- 8 x 1000lb (B)
The B-17 is easily the most disputed bomber on BoP. It's payload is unrivaled, as is its ability to fend off attackers. With its five gun turrets it can defend itself from almost every angle. Its armor is average at best, and shooting one of the engines can make for a quick kill. Due to its size its not very manouvreable, causing it to take a relatively long time between two bomb runs on a target. The speed is also unimpressive, making it a good target for B&Z tactics. The big ordnance can deliver a heavy blow to enemy tickets, making it both popular and unpopular in Strike games: it's tough to win against a B-17, if there's only one in-game. The B-17's weak points are the engines, and the fact that it can't defend it's belly too well. However, caution should always be taken attacking one of these Flying Fortresses.
- He-111 H-6 (H) -- ... -- 32 x 50kg (B)
The He-111 H-6 is one of the first bombers unlocked in the game, and very popular in Strike. It's biggest advantage is it's payload, which is pretty high compared to others in it's class. With the He-111 it's important to get in fast and drop your payload, as it has pretty weak defenses. It's turrets are average, but leave a lot of angles uncovered. It's armor seems to be pretty weak as well, and it can be hard controlling your plane once you've taken damage. Despite of this, the H-6 will pack a big punch if you can avoid enemy fighters or if you have some friendly cover.
- Blenheim MkIV (H) -- 4 x 250lb (B) -- 2 x 500lb (B)
The Blenheim is one of the fastest, if not the fastest, piston-engine heavy bombers. Speed is it's biggest advantage. Because of its relatively weak gunners and armor it's important to get to the target fast and drop its payload. In a game with limitid ammo this might not be the best choice, since it's payload isn't very big.
These are the planes of which a description has been contributed (either by me or by others, see credits below). Feel free to correct me where I'm wrong.
I'd appreciate it if people would add descriptions of planes, in case of bombers including the payload (including rockets), in case of fighters including the armament (excluding bombs/rockets). Please make sure these descriptions are of your experience in realistic or sim
. Arcade may be fun, but it's not possible comparing planes to eachother on that difficulty setting.
Hope it helps
-- Click the links for original posts
for the expanded 109 series
Thanks Soviet Ace
for the Yak series
and additional info on the La's!
for the Po-2, A20G
for the P-47D
for the Blenheim MkIV
(Original Thread started by Ju-87
Last edited by Ancient Seraph; 10-22-2009 at 09:00 AM.