With the announcement of IL-2: Battle of Kuban we get some spectacular aircraft to fly in an all new battleground. I wanted to do some of my own research to find out what each of these types represents. I also wanted to explore how these new aircraft fit into the overall product – beyond just the Kuban river battle. For this first article I’ve looked into some of the details behind each of the Luftwaffe aircraft.
NOTE: Updates will be made here periodically as I uncover more details and find photos.
The Messerschmidt Bf109G-4 is a top line Luftwaffe fighter that came into service starting in September of 1942. It differs only in very subtle ways to the already available Bf109G-2.
The biggest change for this fighter between the G-2 and the G-4 is the radio. FuG 16 VHF radio set made for clearer radio transmissions. Some versions of the G-4 also had the enlarged landing gear wheels. The enlarged wheels were designed to handle the increased weight of the Bf109G series and necessitated tear dropped bumps on either wing to accommodate the larger wheels.
Our G-4 version will also possibly be distinguished from the G-2 version by having the full engine rating. Stalingrad G-2s had a de-rated engine due to mechanical difficulties. With the full 1.42 ATA power rating (over 1.3 ATA de-rated limit), the G-4 should gain in speed across all altitudes (likely around 10-20kph).
Its armament will be the familiar 7.92 mm MG 17 synchronized in the nose along with a hub mounted 20mm MG151/20 cannon firing through the hub. Modifications will likely include a variety of general purpose bombs and MG151/20 gunpods.
Likely this aircraft will be seen mostly on Battle of Kuban and other 1943 scenarios as its performance suits it best to this time period.
FW190A-5 (fighter and fighter-bomber)
The FW190 made a significant appearance in the battles of 1943 on the Eastern front operating as both fighter and Jabo (fighter-bomber). We previously had access to the FW190A-3 variant as a Collector Plane and now we get to take that FW190 experience in as part of the basic collection of aircraft.
The FW190A-5 was marginally longer than the A-3 and A-4 variants with the engine moved forward by 15cm in anticipation of heavier armament being fitted (and a corresponding change in center of gravity). There were also a variety of minor equipment changes.
The FW190A-5s armament stays the same as the A-3. Namely a pair of 7.92mm MG17 machine guns in the nose, and four 20mm cannons in the wings with the inner two being MG151/20 and the outer pair being MG-FF/M cannons. A variety of factory and field modified variations came with an extensive array of bombs and external fuel tank options for longer range fighter-bomber strikes or heavier short range attacks as well.
Performance should be similar unless C3 fuel injection is enabled in our variant. Point performance should increase from 20-50kph at various altitude levels with the C3 fuel being injected.
The FW190A-5 is a deadly fighter and fighter-bomber. Rookie pilots tend not to get the most out of this aircraft but in the hands of an experienced pilot its excellent roll rate, heavy armament, and top speed performance should make it the most dangerous fighter out there. It was called “Butcher Bird” for a reason.
Some arguments in the forums remain on the A-3 models performance in the IL-2 series and that will likely be a topic of some discussion to come.
Similar to the G-4, the FW190A-5 is best suited to the 1943 timeperiod and we’ll likely see it only useful in Battle of Kuban scenarios.
Messerschmitts Bf110G-2 was a response in production to the failed Me210 deployment. When it was clear that the 110s successor would require further development, a interim design was produced in the form of the Bf110G-2.
There are some notable differences between the Bf110E-2 available in Battle of Moscow and the G-2 variant arriving with the Battle of Kursk.
New DB605B engines with 1,475 PS gave the aircraft a notable improvement in available engine power over the earlier DB601P engines with 1,175 PS available. The G-2 introduced a number of aerodynamic changes including the removal of the flip up gunners canopy in favour of a new fixed canopy design.
The default armament included the four 7.92mm MG17 light machine guns from earlier models and nearly all Bf110G-2s replaced the MG-FF/M 20mm cannons with two more effective MG151/20 cannons. The rear gunner station was also upgraded to the twin-barreled MG 81Z machine gun (we’ve seen this on the Ju87D-3).
The Bf110G-2 was an extremely versatile attacker so a variety of bombs and cluster munitions should be available including some of the larger ones like the SC1000. More exotic installations included MK108 30mm cannons (in bomber hunter roles) and the BK3,7 flak cannon installed in a gondola underneath the aircraft (and tested in Russia). It remains to be seen if we will pick up any of these modifications.
Deployed after the Battle of Stalingrad, this Battle of Kuban aircraft is best suited in the 1943 time period.
He111H-16 (bomber, torpedo bomber)
An upgraded version of the He111H-6 bomber currently available in IL-2: Battle of Stalingrad with heavier defensive armaments.
Defensive gun positions were given significant alterations. For the top gunner, a 13mm MG131 heavy machine gun was fitted in a now fully enclosed and armored position. A MG 81Z twin 7.62mm machine gun was fitted in the lower section and the waist gunner stations also were fitted with MG 81Z guns.
The internal bomb bay cells were retained in this version along with optionally fitting long range fuel tanks in some of the cells or mounting of external racks with bombs or, crucially for ocean operations, a pair of LT F5b torpedoes.
With more armour and heavier defensive armament, the He111H-16 should be more difficult to attack than the earlier version.
Hs129B-2 (attacker) (Collector Plane)
A dedicated attack plane with a similar role to the Russian IL-2, the Hs129 had a protracted and difficult development period. It was an effective anti-tank weapon when deployed with adequate support.
Early models of the Hs129 suffered from lack of engine power and poor engine reliability. These problems were solved with improved Gnome-Rhône 14M 4/5 14-cylinder radial engines and tropicalized filters useful for dusty and unprepared airfields.
Though handling was sometimes tricky, the aircraft had each engine rotating counter to the other providing a relatively stable gun platform.
The Hs129B-2 was fitted with a variety of weapons. A default loadout featured a pair of 7.62mm MG 17 machine guns and typically mounted 20mm MG151/20 cannons. Additionally, the aircraft had a mountable bombrack that could carry four 50kg bombs and two more 50kg bombs could be carried on the outboard wings. The bombrack could also be removed and a MK101 or MK103 30mm cannon with armor piercing ammunition could be fitted.
A more exotic prototype fitted a 37mm BK 3,7 flak gun with armor piercing ammunition – however the size and awkward fitting kept this in the realm of prototype only. The later model (1945) Hs129B-3 fitted an enormous 75mm artillery cannon.
This Battle of Kuban aircraft is best suited in the 1943 time period.