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RedKestrel

How to be a good escort?

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Just how the question reads. In the career mode, the escorting AI sets up a pretty tight weave back and forth above the escorted bombers or attackers. When I match up with them I find I am spending more time avoiding collisions and trying to keep my squadmates and Big Friends in view than looking for danger. Usually I end up going higher than the AI, faster, and take longer, slower weaves to minimize the time spent flying and keep my head 'out of the cockpit' - this seems to work better for intercepting enemies and staying alive.  The downside is I sometimes lose track of the friendlies.

As far as MP play, I'm clueless when it comes to escorts. I've done ad-hoc escorts occasionally when I see friendly attackers or bombers heading into hostile space, but I worry I'm doing something wrong. Weaving back and forth above the friendly is a good way to keep speed up and keep them in view, but I feel like sometimes all I'm doing is drawing attention to a guy that otherwise might get through unnoticed.

So any tips on escort duty for online play are appreciated. What works, what doesn't, etc. And point of view from people who spend a lot of time in bombers and attackers is very much appreciated.

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IMO the best escort is a sweep. Especially in MP you know most of the time where attackers are lurking. Fly several km ahead of the bombers and engage the enemy fighters, keeping them busy for as long as possible. Best is if you manage to push them to lower altitude our lure them to a different direction. In the meanwhile, your bombers will sneak through and destroy the targets. My squad has used this approach very successfully in the AW war in Il-2 46. It's best to have one second line of defense (high escort near the bombers), and to communicate well with the bombers. It's too easy for the fighters to get distracted from the main goal.

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Well, interestingly enough, this is the debate that faced the 8th Air Force, early in 1944. Stay with the bombers, or sweep ahead of them. The bomber commanders, of course, wanted close escorts. They wanted to see the Little Friends weaving around them. It was reassuring. The more aggressive fighter leaders argued that hitting the Luftwaffe ahead of the bomber stream was a more effective way to deal with German fighters. Sweeping ahead of the bomber stream won out, when Doolittle took command. It was effective. German losses went up, bomber losses went down. 

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2 minutes ago, Poochnboo said:

Well, interestingly enough, this is the debate that faced the 8th Air Force, early in 1944. Stay with the bombers, or sweep ahead of them. The bomber commanders, of course, wanted close escorts. They wanted to see the Little Friends weaving around them. It was reassuring. The more aggressive fighter leaders argued that hitting the Luftwaffe ahead of the bomber stream was a more effective way to deal with German fighters. Sweeping ahead of the bomber stream won out, when Doolittle took command. It was effective. German losses went up, bomber losses went down. 

 

The same thing happened in BoB only thankfully the LW were much shorter sighted because the close escort tactics won out much to the detriment of the LW fighter force effectiveness.  Flying slow and weaving was not effective.

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Yes, hitting them while they were taking off and forming up was a much better method than to wait until the were killing bomber crews. 

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Due to the limited view distance ingame, staying at the same altitude as the bombers and close to them is a legitimate strategy, especialy if you don't know where they are going (although not a realistic one, with the exception of some early soviet tactics).

It allows you to easily track friendlies and spend much more time looking for the enemy whilst the bomber's gunners going active mean you have plenty of warning about any enemies you didn't spot.

Edited by [DBS]Browning

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What papafly say i think is the best for in game, and hardest to prevent bombers to hit target from what i expirianced playing online in this game.

Even if your alone i think thats best you can do, as most enemy fighters defending objectives are just staying in 5km around target ( as 9.5km visibiliity bubble makes it hard to interecept enemy bombers on rute you can easy miss them). And if your bombers are attacking from high you just need to keep enemy fighters ocupides at 1km lover alt, and if your bombers are coming from low you just need to keep eneym fighters on side of target your bomber is not coming from, or away from objective.

43 minutes ago, [DBS]Browning said:

Due to the limited view distance ingame, staying at the same altitude as the bombers and close to them is a legitimate strategy, especialy if you don't know where they are going (although not a realistic one, with the exception of some early soviet tactics).

It allows you to easily track friendlies and spend much more time looking for the enemy whilst the bomber's gunners going active mean you have plenty of warning about any enemies you didn't spot.

From my expiriance thats the easyest way to eliminate escort and then bomber, many times i encounter enemy bomber flying with hiis fighter escort at same alt as him, and they are easyes to eliminate. Bomber has fals fealing of safty, and fighter guy is easy detectable to enemy and is usealy aware of enemy presenc to late (when frendly bomber gunners report its already to late for him to do anything). Short vidibility should be used by you as bomber lets say flying at 3km your fighter should be at 6km and atleast 3-4km on your side from what you dont expect enemy to come, then enemy fighter will see big bomber dot, he will think oh nice jucy target, he will check if there is any escort and see non as your fighter ecort dot is smaller and not close to you, and he will then hopefuly be to focused on you as bomber and your fighter can get him maybe before he gets you. But again in this game i think close escort is nothing els then just aditional easy target for enemy or fals confort for bomber, most effective is to overwhelm enemy defencive fighters exactly over objective or at part betwen your border and objective.

Only when one objecuve is alive whole rute is danger zone and bombers should avoid directly going for targets, they should use this short vis range to their advantage by going in unpredictable routes.

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12 hours ago, [DBS]Browning said:

Due to the limited view distance ingame, staying at the same altitude as the bombers and close to them is a legitimate strategy, especialy if you don't know where they are going (although not a realistic one, with the exception of some early soviet tactics).

It allows you to easily track friendlies and spend much more time looking for the enemy whilst the bomber's gunners going active mean you have plenty of warning about any enemies you didn't spot.

 

I find the opposite.  If you are on an escort mission in a career, you absolutely know 100% that any attacking fighters will come from direction of travel and co alt.  So go high and become escort for your flight and the bombers.  If you attack an enemy fighter and it dives away, let them because they will be out of the fight for a time.  Though enemy AI rarely disengage after diving away, so be assured they will come back until you damage them enough, or kill them.  Resist any urge to follow them to the deck because you will find it hard to catch back up to your bombers.

 

Use the AI's total lack of imagination against them and you will rack up unrealistically high kills per mission.  My most recent Mig3 Moscow career ended with me on 48 kills in something like 20ish missions.  I died because I hit some bomber debris and bailed out over a forest, which resulted in death because I ended in the trees.

Edited by ICDP

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41 minutes ago, ICDP said:

 

I find the opposite.  If you are on an escort mission in a career, you absolutely know 100% that any attacking fighters will come from direction of travel and co alt.  So go high and become escort for your flight and the bombers.  If you attack an enemy fighter and it dives away, let them because they will be out of the fight for a time.  Though enemy AI rarely disengage after diving away, so be assured they will come back until you damage them enough, or kill them.  Resist any urge to follow them to the deck because you will find it hard to catch back up to your bombers.

 

Use the AI's total lack of imagination against them and you will rack up unrealistically high kills per mission.  My most recent Mig3 Moscow career ended with me on 48 kills in something like 20ish missions.  I died because I hit some bomber debris and bailed out over a forest, which resulted in death because I ended in the trees.

SP is totaly differant then how you do it effectivly in MP, both can be predictable in their own way but behavior of human bomber and human fighters intercepting them is usealy nothing like you see in SP with AIs flying both.

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Truth is escorting is a team job.  All methods work and if you could find the willing participants, then you could have close escort, sweeping escort, and high cover, all working together to protect the package.

 

cant do it on your own without letting your bombers get a little chewed up or shot down.  Too many variables to worry about.  So, fly to enemy targets, take out AA defenses, then fly CAP by enemy targets - your bombers will come and the enemy will be so focused on you, because you were easy to find, that they won’t attempt to find the bombers en route.  Honestly, after a bomber has dropped its payload, it’s pointless to attack it unless you just want the kill - which is what motivates all the fighter jocks in the sim.

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Well, on most servers with target objectives you hurt your team's efforts by killing bombers who have already dropped as it just allows them to respawn and hit the target again faster.

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On 2/14/2019 at 8:00 PM, ICDP said:

 

The same thing happened in BoB only thankfully the LW were much shorter sighted because the close escort tactics won out much to the detriment of the LW fighter force effectiveness.  Flying slow and weaving was not effective.

 

I think the issue here is even more important than as seen at first glance:

 

It's a difference in leadership styles.

On one side you have the german Nazi-buddy system that promotes loyality over intelligence or ability. That way you'll have all the opportunists, yes-men and sycophants gather around the highest leadership-positions. Ideas are not followed on whether they're good or not (or if they're working out), but based on who spoke them out.

 

On the amrican side (and the Brits), there was a battle of ideas and while not always perfect, this system made sure that ideas could be tested and trialled. If they didn't work, another approach was taken. The emergence of the escorting scheme is one very good example for that.

 

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22 minutes ago, Bremspropeller said:

 

I think the issue here is even more important than as seen at first glance:

 

It's a difference in leadership styles.

On one side you have the german Nazi-buddy system that promotes loyality over intelligence or ability. That way you'll have all the opportunists, yes-men and sycophants gather around the highest leadership-positions. Ideas are not followed on whether they're good or not (or if they're working out), but based on who spoke them out.

 

On the amrican side (and the Brits), there was a battle of ideas and while not always perfect, this system made sure that ideas could be tested and trialled. If they didn't work, another approach was taken. The emergence of the escorting scheme is one very good example for that.

 

 

Oh absolutely, I could have elaborated in my post but just wanted to show that these were tried and tested tactics before the Allies adopted them.  I would like to make clear that this would most likely not have changed the outcome of BoB.  The real problem was lack of endurance for the 109E which became their principal fighter after Bf110 failed in its intended role.

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2 hours ago, Bremspropeller said:

It's a difference in leadership styles.

On one side you have the german Nazi-buddy system that promotes loyality over intelligence or ability. That way you'll have all the opportunists, yes-men and sycophants gather around the highest leadership-positions. Ideas are not followed on whether they're good or not (or if they're working out), but based on who spoke them out.

 

I don't really agree with that, especially when thinking of early war. I think that early Luftwaffe was actually more flexible and more open to new ideas than other major air forces. As it was created from scratch, people that demonstrated their skills and abilities got promoted to positions that otherwise could have been occupied by "old guard" officers. When Luftwaffe updated it's fighter tactics, based on Spanish Civil War, it was done by people that had proven their abilities in action, like Lützow (notoriously anti-nazi) and Mölders. Another big name from these times, Adolf Galland, had huguenot ancestry and French mother, so definitely not a nazi-ideal. 

 

What comes to the change to close escort tactics during BoB, then Luftwaffe bomber losses actually went down a bit, but fighter losses grew a lot, while RAF fighter losses went down. So the loss ratio became worse  for Luftwaffe, but bomber crews felt better. Luftwaffe actually tried lots of other things, from free hunts to using smaller decoy bomber flights, to lure brits to combat, where Luftwaffe fighters could use their strengths, but RAF Fighter Command was able to manage these things quite well.

Edited by II./JG77_Kemp

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On 2/14/2019 at 11:04 AM, Poochnboo said:

Yes, hitting them while they were taking off and forming up was a much better method than to wait until the were killing bomber crews. 

 

I agree but just wait for the complaints of Vulching...   😲

 

Pretty dangerous unless done as a group sweep. Even then your group will probably lose or have damage to one or more. Best to hover just out of AAA range at altitude.

Edited by II./JG1_Vonrd

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As an almost exclusive bomber/attacker pilot, I’d prefer a sweep to pass over the target area before I get to it.

 

I’ve seen fighters flying close escort not see attacking interceptors until they got bounced. I’d also prefer not to be dragging my own flying circus weaving at medium altitude if I’m tearing along over the deck at 100ft trying not to be spotted.

 

Even if a fighter sweep doesn’t gain air superiority it’ll get the defending fighters tangled up so they’ll not be able to chase me and any other bombers down, plus the laser lightshow of the tracers lets me know the rough disposition and locations of any enemies so I can avoid them and exfil via a different route. 

 

 

In all all honesty though, getting any sort of escort in MP is quite rare so I’m appreciative of any support from fighters. Would prefer knowing there was a sweep though, if I could choose. 

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Maj. James Howard was awarded the CMoH for an escort mission where he and his wingman continually dived on the attacking fighters and then pulled up, forcing the latter to keep on their guard. Not sure if he claimed any victories, but it broke up the attackers in a very economical fashion given the relative forces.

 

Suggests one way of flying ‘close’ escort and offering support through disruption rather than destruction of the opposition.

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