Battle of Kuban Announced

Future plans for the IL-2 series have been revealed with a major announcement by IL-2’s Producer Jason Williams revealing that the Battle of Kuban will be the next installment in the series.

BOK_Cover_EN.jpg
Real boxes are a thing of the past so this is as close as we come to box art.

Jason’s announcement on the IL-2 forums came packed with a ton of information surrounding the next installment as well as their future plans. Fans of the series hoping to see a change of theater should actually find much to like in the details of the announcement.

First stop, Black Sea. Second stop, Pacific!

The Kuban region has Crimea to the West, Georgia to the East, and the rest of Russia to the north with the familiar Volograd/Stalingrad region very close by. To the south lies the Black Sea and the site of several significant naval engagements by the Russian and German fleets.

The region features plains, mountains, large lakes and coastal areas which gives us a much more varied landscape to fly over than the last two iterations. What the battle and region also do is prepare the technology to move to the Pacific theater.

Jason Williams: The Battle of Kuban provides a unique opportunity for us as a development team and for you as a customer. The Kuban theater offers some beautiful and varied scenery and interesting aircraft including Western Lend-Lease designs that played an important role not only the Kuban area, but all across the Eastern Front. The Kuban also helps the development team by providing an ocean environment for larger ships and other watercraft to do battle which will help prepare us for our eventual move to the Pacific theater.

The Kuban region is an ideal location to develop those technologies without relying on them fully. The Pacific theater, often fought from aircraft carriers, adds further complexity and before then you need to really make sure that things like ocean, waves, ship AI, and complex ship objects are up and running. For a small team, it’s best to break down some of that into smaller pieces and that means working up to something more complex.

From the announcement, Jason has said that their current plan looks a little something like this:

  • Battle of Kuban
  • Battle of Midway
  • Battle of Okinawa
  • Battle of ??????

This is not concrete. Its key to understand that the Battle of Kuban is a certainty, Battle of Midway is almost certainly the next one in the plan but the certainty of what comes next will be a little more fluid after that.

The Battle of Kuban

The Kuban river and the Kuban region were the site of a significant series of battles that followed the conclusion of the Battle of Stalingrad. From the spring until the fall of 1943, the German and Russian armies, navies, and air forces battled it out over essentially the same region with minor changes to the front lines.

It was a pivotal region as the major oilfields in Georgia lie to the immediate east.

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Roughly the area that will likely be encompassed by the Battle of Kuban map. Satellite and mapping info in this image come from Google Maps.

Famous Aces such as P-39 Ace, Alexander Pokryshkin and famous units such as JG52 and JG3 “Udet” operated in the area. Torpedo bombers regularly flew against shipping of all kinds up to destroyers and down to gunboats and cargo vessels. Tank and artillery battles were some of the largest of the war and massed formations of Stukas, IL-2s, and others roamed the battlefields.

Included in the announcement were notes about the new Kuban map and some of the new objects.

  • Kuban map 300x400km (Seaport, Towns, Mountains, Sea, Prairies, Large Forests, Part of Crimea)
  • Warships (Destroyer, Cargo ships, Submarines, Torpedo boats, Landing Barge)
  • Some New Ground Units

Many of the ground units will be carry over from Stalingrad (happening just a few months prior) with some variations. Having more significant ships such as destroyers, submarines, torpedo boats and cargo ships will be a major change to the type of scenarios that we will see.

The Aircraft

What are we flying in this next battle? We have a great selection of aircraft that fit really well into the battle as well as the overall IL-2 series.

Russian

  • Yak-7B (fighter)
  • P-39L-1 (fighter)
  • IL-2 mod.43 UBT (attacker)
  • A-20B (bomber)

German

  • Bf-109 G-4 (fighter)
  • Fw-190 A-5 (fighter)
  • Bf-110 G-2 (attacker)
  • He-111 H-16 (bomber)

Collector Aircraft

  • Spitfire Mk.Vb (Collector) (fighter)
  • Hs-129 B-2 (Collector) (attacker)

Needless to say, this list features some expected additions to the series as well as some exciting new possibilities. The He-111 H-16 is a revised version of the earlier He-111 that we already have in Battle of Stalingrad. This version features upgraded armaments including a very likely torpedo carrying capability. Similarly, the American made A-20B will likely have torpedo capabilities as well.

In addition to the aircraft that are listed here, we can easily draw on types such as the recently announced Yak-1B and aircraft we’ve had for some time such as the Bf109G-2, La-5 Series 8, LaGG-3 Series 29, Pe-2, Ju88A-4, Ju87D-3, and so forth.

For the collector aircraft, a Hs129B-2 adds a unique German attack aircraft option to the list that is in many ways, a counterpart (although a dramatically different one) to the Russian IL-2. Seeing it added to the list makes me very happy indeed.

The Spitfire needs no introduction although many would be surprised to hear about its service in the Eastern front. Hundreds of Spitfire Vb models were sent to the East. Their story is an interesting one. Slightly long in the tooth by 1943, the Spitfire Vb we’ll be getting wont tip the scales in the Russian’s favour but it will be a unique aircraft to add to the collection and absolutely one that fought over the Kuban river region. Its inclusion is an exciting one!

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A Russian Spitfire in the East.

I really want to dig into this list in some detail so expect a follow up in-depth post from me sometime this weekend with details.

There is more, much more

There is more to unpack including some major technology changes to the core of the product. These include the previously announced DX11 upgrade, improved VR support (reliant on the DX11 upgrade), a new Rise of Flight styled campaign system for all three products, cargo drops, gun misfires from overheating, new bombs and bomblets, torpedoes and more.

Check out the full announcement on the IL-2 forums!

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