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hames123

Il-2 ground attack missions

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I have noticed that in these, the Il-2s will attack until you have achieved the mission goal, upon which they all return home. However, it would make more sense for them to continue attacking and strafing until they have used up all their munitions and ammunition. In one case they even all turned back just as they got there because I had planted a Fab 250 right into the middle of a Zug of Mark IVs refueling. It is great to see the much better ground attack plane behaviour, but it would be even better if they actually hung around to strafe and such, because otherwise you either stay alone and die to the AA or you go home with your guns full. Il-2s were built for strafing, thats why they are so armoured, and it is infuriating to see the others in my flight just fly home while there are still dozens of German tanks and trucks all over the place(in the troop concentration attack I did, they killed most of the AA, losing 3/6 planes, before the remainer flew home, not having fired a single round from their guns(2 passes, one for the rockets and one for the bombs), and leaving the actual concentration nearly untouched). You cannot say it is realistic either, since in real life a notification will not suddenly come up that they have done enough damage. They would stay for as long as they can, and there are even reports of empty Il-2s operating over the front scaring the Germans into not moving. Please do change their behaviour so they stay until they have used up all their ammo(or at least all their munitions and cannon rounds). 

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Hang around the target area?

Are you serious?

 

Edit:

I do not want to sound harsh, but I think the AI stays in the target area way to long. Sometimes they all get shot down.

One should run in, release ordnance on target and get the h*** out of there. Mission accomplished or not.

Edited by Bando
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Historically IL-2s usually crossed the frontline a few kms away from the enemy, and made a large U-turn to attack the enemy from behind, flying towards friendly territory. Contrary to popular belief ("attacking tanks from behind"), the reason for this was that in event of fatal engine damage during the attack due to AAA, pilot had chances to glide over to friendly lines. So, they usually made only one single pass - dropped and fired everything they could and ran home. AAA was far too deadly to stay around and continuously strafe the enemy.

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I'm very much against this, currently the AI stick around to be killed way too long. Even when enemy fighters are in the area.

 

If anything the time spent on target should be reduced imo.

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Guys you are all right ihn some ways. In some missions AI stay too long over the target, especially heavily protected targets. But I know the same experience like OP from ground attack missions with the Bf110 E2 in Stalingrad. When we attack truck convoys, it is always the same, my squadmates attack the two recon tanks, that are escorting the trucks and then fly back home. They don't show any interest for the trucks, they should destroy. And, no, the AI is far from being magnificent, at least ground attacking AI. Ground attack- and bomber missions are still the big weak point in AI behaviour. Flying them is far from being enjoyable, especially the sometimes stupid turning over the target without doing anything, until the player destroys the one target, that is necessary for the mission being successful.

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In the troop concentration attack I did, my flight of 6 arrived in the target area. They dived down and killed AA(by the way, they need to break out of their formation and attack earlier, several Il-2s could not get a good angle and had to make an extra pass). AA splashed 2. Our flight ended up killing all the AA except 2 88s and 2 lighter flak guns. You would think they would now move to attack the tanks and trucks that appear to be our target, right? But our flight leader decides that it is time to go home, leaving the concentration untouched. That is why I say they should hang around as long as they have munitions or cannon ammo, unless they are badly damaged or the escort is destroyed. Otherwise, they should focus on taking out as many German vehicles as possible. I also did an armoured column attack, I dropped 2 Fab 250s and got 2 tanks(by luck). Our flight of Il-2s then ignored the column, but started dogfighting with 109s, despite us having 5 Yaks escorting us. Staying over the target longer would bring increased risk, but the Soviets really did do that(at least in the accounts I have read from German troops), and would prevent all these odd occurances where they just break off without seeming to attack at all if you go ahead, or press their attack on trucks and tanks that are unguarded or lightly guarded and extremely vulnerable. The AI logic needs to prioritise the complete destruction of the target or the expenditure of all ammunition over the danger of flak and fighters, especially since in the early days of Case Blue they were unavoidable.

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This is complicated.

 

Historically was tactic of Il-2s during 1941 usually one pass in very low altitude (200 m), unload everything at once and GTFO. While this was relatively safe, it was also pretty ineffective. So from spring 1942 Il-2s changed tactic, they were attacking in shallow dive from some 800 - 1000 m and at least three attack runs were executed - first pass rockets, second pass bombs, third machine guns and cannons. They don't usually stayed over the target for long time and they don't usually depleted all ammunition. 

 

Tactic of ground attack airplanes we have in game sometimes works very nice and sometimes not so well. Primary target for AI is almost always flak and I like that, it make sense. Unfortunately, sometimes when flak is gone and target is virtually defenseless, AI do not use this advantage ( for example troop concentration attack ).

My theory is that there is a point system. We don't see this points, but every unit (flak post, tank ...)  is equal to a certain number of points. To get Mission accomplished message, X amount of targets points must be lost. Mission accomplished is also telling AI - task is done, RTB. So solution could be to increase the number of points needed to get Mission accomplished message. Which can work nice in case of troop concentration attack with cleared flak, however not in other cases. Circling on deck over destroyed pontoon bridge in P-40 over 25 km in enemy territory just because there is one intact Opel and AIs are strafing tanks instead of this soft vehicle is not very wise tactic and increase of needed points will make it worse. Is up to player to destroy some targets, at least in this case. Which is good thing.

 

It can be better of course (as always), some missions need a little tune, but generally speaking I like how it works. If player is active, ground attacks are easier to survive, even for AIs. And what is most important - ground attack missions are FUN. 

 

 

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I think that maybe the flight leader should decide based on the amount of planes he has the amount of AA guns in the area and the amount of fighters, vs the potential gain(amount of vehicles in the area). Then he will make the decision to continue the attack or to go home.

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Or AAA (at least at fixed positions, not on vehicles) can be excluded from primary target, therefore supressing of AAA can not cause Mission accomplished. But to be perfectly honest, I really think that ground attack missions are generally ok. If I take a look on missions statistics, it seems ok to me. Few examples (all of them Mission accomplished ) -

River crossing - destroyed - 16 vehicles, 8 artillery (including AAA), 1 building.

Troops concentration - 9 vehicles, 12 artillery.

Artillery position - 3 vehicles, 5 artillery.

Railway junction - 3 vehicles, 6 railroad, 1 artillery.

Airfield attack - 9 planes, 1 vehicle, 4 artillery, 1 building.

Troops concentration - 14 vehicles, 12 artillery.

So nothing particularly wrong or strange. It's not perfect, sometimes are results rather odd, but most of the time it works for me.

 

As for decision of AI flight leader to continue or RTB - to me, Mission accomplished message means that flight leader is saying "ok, that's enough, time to GTFO". Unfortunatelly, we don't get this kind of radio call from AI flight leader, he just silently disappears. Anyway, if I am right and there is some kind of point system (I can be wrong of course) to get Mission accomplished, behavior of AI flight leader (decision to continue with attack) can be affected by points - excluding AAA (points for destroyed AAA) from primary target or something similar.

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How about a simple calculation? The flight leader will check the rough amount of targets that can be killed if they stay in the area, plus the amount of planes in the air, plus the amount of escorting fighters. From this value he will subtract the amount of AA still firing at his planes, the amount of damaged planes, and how many enemy fighters have been sighted in the area. Maybe to that add a certain random aggressiveness rating to every pilot, which should make your flight mates more individual, even if it only affects the actions of the commander. Based on this decision, the flight leader will either radio for you to go home or to press on and continue to attack.

Edited by hames123
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Yeah, but having the flight just fly away from a column of 30 German trucks after killing most of the AA is dumb. They should stick around and finish the job. In fact, if there are no enemy fighters the escorts should also join in and strafe the AA to allow the ground attack planes to attack the ground targets that actually matter, like tanks and trucks. Ground attack AI has be dramatically improved. It is just that I don't think this "fast in, fast out" approach is very accurate to the time period and theatre, or at least not based on the accounts I have read. Maybe for Bodenplatte for the Typhoons roaming the battlefield, but not nearly Stalingrad in 1942. 

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It all depends on the target. When I attack a heavily defended target, I don't attack the AAA, but the target, I was sent to destroy, as fast as possible, and then RTB. IRL you would not be celebrated for destroying the AAA, but leaving your real target alive. Destroy what you were sent for and RTB. You might have losses, but that is war. Your duty is to destroy targets, so the ground troops have less losses. Otherwise you could stay at home, would be much saver, than fly to the target area and destroy the AAA, that defends your target.

It is something completely different, when there is no AAA around, then feel free to destroy as much as possible, like hames wrote, but despite him, I would say the escort should stay above, to cover you, because you never know, when enemy fighters arrive to attack you. I was flying several ground attack missions, where the enemy fighters attacked when we were already about to leave.

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One pass attack are ineffective and were only used during 1941 or against heavily guarded targets with lots of AAA in particular against the enemy airfields.

 

Once the fighter production ramped up and combat experience increased, many passes were preferable. Sometimes as many passes as possible to keep the ground troops pinned for longest periods of time.

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1 hour ago, PatrickAWlson said:

Does the AI unload in one pass now?

 

No, usually it's rockets first, then bombs.

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2 hours ago, PatrickAWlson said:

Does the AI unload in one pass now?

In Bf110 E2 missions in the career they pretty often take two or four wingbombs back home.

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15 hours ago, Yogiflight said:

In Bf110 E2 missions in the career they pretty often take two or four wingbombs back home.

 

That's what I have always noticed too.

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When they take rockets home (IL2 does that on a regular basis) and they split up to land, they salvo the rockets away in a "not so very safe" direction.

I remember one time I was landing ahead of the force and them rockets ended my career just as I touched down.

With friends like that......

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Maybe you could circle and wait for them to land first. :salute:

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8 hours ago, Bando said:

When they take rockets home (IL2 does that on a regular basis) and they split up to land, they salvo the rockets away in a "not so very safe" direction.

I remember one time I was landing ahead of the force and them rockets ended my career just as I touched down.

With friends like that......

 

This explains something that I saw in the career mode the other day and could not figure out what had caused the explosions as I was landing. I may even have the video handy, they lit up the forest right behind the hangars as I was touching down.

 

8 hours ago, Thad said:

Maybe you could circle and wait for them to land first. :salute:

 

Is it possible that the AI expects you to land in order? If so that's actually pretty cool and would explain it. If the AI is programmed to ditch its rockets before landing, and you cut ahead of it and get blown up, then the best way to avoid it would be to wait your turn. When you're a wingman instead of a flight leader you have to try and think like the AI a little bit, and cut it some slack.

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I have at least one very close call during landing, when more than 10 ROFS-132 rockets hit the runway. AI pilots always ditch all remaining rockets and bombs before landing. Exact moment is when you hear radio call "Break formation, land individually". It doesn't matter if you land in order or not after that. You should return to the base in formation with your flight of course, just like in real life, but this is not always possible. You can get lost or your engine can be damaged for example, so you need RTB alone (just like in real life). If you are landing for whathever reason ahead of your flight, watch out for that "Break formation, land individually" radio call, rocket strike on your airbase can be on the way.

 

Developers already know about this issue (it was reported in bug forum section), it will be hopefully fixed somehow.

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They should expend all munitions and most ammunition before heading home. The losses of a few planes will save the lives of many infantry.

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On the other hand, if you loose pilots and airplanes today because you stay over target for too long, how many lives can you save next day with less airplanes?

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I just want to see the AI consistently unload in a reasonable fashion.

Rockets/bombs - two passes

Bombs only - one pass

Dive bomb - one dive

Level bomb - all at once

Guns - multiple passes as long as the attack area is active.

 

If I had a better idea of what the AI was going to do I could reduce the length of the attack area timer and get them in and out faster.  

 

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