Battle of Moscow and Battle of Stalingrad both brought with them 8 flyable aircraft plus 2 Premium aircraft. This is a good number with the ability to represent each battle well with some of the key types in each but it also ends up missing out on several notable types in the typical combat roles as well as in other unique roles.
The announcement that Yak-1B and Ju52 preordering would begin soon along with the name change from Premium to Collector suggests that a new paradigm outside of the 8+2 arrangement that we’ve seen so far will be the way of the future.
A Collector aircraft to my mind is an extra type outside of the 8 aircraft added from each battle. They are aircraft like the P-40 which isn’t necessary to the Moscow lineup but adds to the diversity and gives a unique option (an American fighter). The same could be said about the other three former Premium and now Collector types. They aren’t strictly necessary and having them won’t make you a better fighter pilot but they do add to the overall experience.
What a Collector aircraft shouldn’t be is an aircraft that is superior to the rest currently available. Arguably the FW190 and La-5 Series 8 are excellent aircraft but they are also not inherently better than the other aircraft available. The same goes for the P-40E and MC.202 which are fascinating aircraft but aircraft available in the Regular edition of Battle of Moscow aren’t lacking in performance in comparison.
So I’m approaching this list with what we know and what I can speculate on as excellent additions. Types that fill out the variety and the diversity of the time period currently being represented (from late 1941 to the early months of 1943) without adding a ‘super fighter’ that would be a pay-to-win aircraft.
The Yak-1B represents an improvement on the Yak-1 Series 69. Progressive updates added aerodynamic refinements, a refined cockpit, bubble canopy providing superior rear view, and greater weight of fire from the aircraft’s armament.
A flyable Yak-1B will represent the best of the Russian aircraft lineup currently available in the IL-2 lineup. It, however, isn’t a dramatically better plane than the Yak-1 Series 69 already available and will provide an incremental improvement to Russian aircraft performance.
Junker’s Ju 52 is the trimotor aircraft you think of when talking about the Luftwaffe’s air transport capabilities. Hundreds were used by the Luftwaffe from 1934 until the end of the war.
A flyable Ju 52 is an interesting proposition. As a combat aircraft it has limited capabilities with a single defensive turret. On the Eastern Front, the Ju 52 was used for cargo transport, personnel transport, and for deploying paratroopers. Famously, the Ju 52 was the key type used to attempt to keep the German Army at Stalingrad supplied with thousands of tons of supplies.
New mission types will be required to make the most of the Ju 52.
Designed and developed in Romania (with some French and Polish influence), the IAR was used in small but significant numbers during World War II. It was used as an interceptor during the later stages of the war but was also used as a dive bomber and attack fighter during the Battle of Stalingrad.
The later variant, the IAR 81c, was powerfully equipped with MG151/20 cannons and 7.7mm FN Browning machine guns while the early IAR 80 was equipped only with the machine guns.
An interesting and well liked fighter, the IAR 80/81 could be used on the Odessa map in development by a third party mapping team, and it could be fully utilized with the Battle of Stalingrad.
One of the last bi-plane fighters to see combat in the world, the I-15 and I-153 fighters are the ultimate bi-planes. Commonly equipped with four ShKAS 7.92mm machine guns and possessing high agility, the I-153 fought primarily during the first year of war between the Soviet Union and Germany (as well as against the Japanese during the Khalkin-Gol battle).
Useful on the Odessa map (third party) as well as having a limited role during the Battle of Moscow, the I-153 would be a welcomed collector aircraft.
Serving with distinction, the FW 189 was a battlefield reconnaissance aircraft which was also very occasionally pressed into service as a bomber. It’s distinctive twin engine, twin boom design and a canopy design offering an incredible 360-degree view made it ideal in the reconnaissance role.
The FW 189 would add a recon option to the battlefield and would enable different types of missions from the usual fighter/bomber/attack types. Artillery spotting, photo recon, and very occasionally a light bomber role (the FW 189 could carry up to 4 x 50kg bombs), this would be a versatile option.
The Yak-7B served with some distinction from the Battle of Moscow through to the Battle of Stalingrad and beyond. Its twin Berezin 12.7mm machine guns plus ShVAK 20mm cannon were heavier hitting than most other fighters of the period while its speed and handling were only slightly less than that of the Yak-1.
An aircraft of interest to a Collector, the Yak-7 is the predecessor of the definitive Yak-9 and was originally designed as a trainer. Its heavier construction, armament, and its role in the Moscow and Stalingrad battles would be a good bridge between the two battles (depending on the model and engine fitted) and an interesting (but not crucial) type to add to the hangar.
More Collector Options
These are just a few possibilities for new Collector planes that help fill out the Moscow and Stalingrad battlespaces with more aircraft and more variety. They add to the lineup, they generate development revenue for 1CGS, and although they aren’t necessary, they do add to the diversity of aircraft types available.
What do you think? A Po-2 or an Hs123? Maybe I’ve missed something from the list that you think is absolutely necessary to the lineup. Let me know in the Comments.