Help support TMP


"Teach me dogfighting!" Topic


28 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.


Back to the WWII Aviation Discussion Message Board

Back to the Modern Aviation Discussion Message Board

Back to the Biplanes Message Board

Back to the Spaceship Gaming Message Board


1,450 hits since 28 Sep 2012
©1994-2014 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Personal logo Barks1 Supporting Member of TMP28 Sep 2012 8:21 p.m. PST

Hi all,

I'd be grateful if TMP can explain dogfighting to me- I don't understand anything beyond 'get behind him, stay behind him, anticipate and out-turn him'.

Specifically, what is the role of a wingman and how do you fight many against many?

Diagrams, links, videos appreciated!

Sorry for crossposting, I feel this applies whether you're in a TIE fighter or a biplane.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP28 Sep 2012 8:37 p.m. PST

The wingman's role is to support the other fighter in completing the mission, and vice versa. That may simply be "watching your back," to acting as the backup attacker against the mission's target. Take a scenario where a patrol is sent to attack, oh, I don't know, a giant battle station. The lead fighter will concentrate on attack runs on the target, while the wingman will provide cover against enemy fighters. A fighter will also signal his wingman for assistance if he has an enemy he can't shake or faces more than one attacker.

Mako1128 Sep 2012 8:44 p.m. PST

From the master, Oswald Boelcke:

link

He developed these in WWI, but they have stood the test of time, and still apply today.

Some of the points may not be covered by your aerial wargaming rules, but many should be, if they are decent.

Last time I checked, there was still a German squadron named after him as well:

link

As for wingmen, its usually not stated directly, but essentially they are usually less skilled pilots, who follow their leaders, and provide protection from rear attacks (basically cannon fodder – not a PC term, but I think a reasonably correct one).

In some/many units, the lead pilot (who was theoretically the most skilled), of a pair, vic, or foursome, would engage the enemy, when attacking in formation, and their opponents were unaware of the attack. Depending upon the number of opponents, in some cases, only this person would fire, to prevent fratricide, and the others would provide cover from sneak attacks from the rear, or above.

Obviously, once a general fight broke up, it might be every man for himself, but whenever possible, the wingman was supposed to stick to his leader, and provide cover for him, so he could concentrate on shooting down the enemy, without having to check his six o'clock all the time for someone trying to sneak up on him from the rear.

Inari728 Sep 2012 9:00 p.m. PST

Read
Fighter Combat: Tactics and Maneuvering

It is THE book on fighter combat, written by a pilot for pilots.

link

Personal logo Barks1 Supporting Member of TMP28 Sep 2012 11:09 p.m. PST

So noone protects the wingman?! Pretty much what I suspected… I he more of a 'meatshield' taking the hits, or does he try to get behind the fighter attacking the leader?

Thanks Mako11, that link is nice.

BlackWidowPilot Supporting Member of TMP Fezian28 Sep 2012 11:53 p.m. PST

Barks1,

well, you. *might* consider investing in a copy of the Silent Death: Fighter Tactics Manual… Granted it's specifically written for players of Sient Death:The Next Millenium, but my co-author and I based our conclusions on actual fighter group tactics and feedback from actual fighter pilots (and included source citations and recommended reading materials while we were at it)… evil grin

Hope this helps!


Leland R. Erickson
Metal Express
metal-express.net

BlackWidowPilot Supporting Member of TMP Fezian28 Sep 2012 11:57 p.m. PST

So noone protects the wingman?! Pretty much what I suspected… I he more of a 'meatshield' taking the hits, or does he try to get behind the fighter attacking the lead?


Actually, the leader should ideally be just as willing to turn 'round and come to the aid of his/her wingman… At least that's the impression I've gotten from the accounts of fighter pilots from WW2 to the present whose accounts I've read and/or listened asserted…evil grin

Leland R. Erickson
Metal Express
metal-express.net

Mako1129 Sep 2012 1:40 a.m. PST

"Actually, the leader should ideally be just as willing to turn 'round and come to the aid of his/her wingman".

Well, yes, theoretically, assuming of course that one or more of the pilots see the enemy coming (otherwise – meatshield), in time to do anything about it.

A large percentage of the pilots shot down, never saw their opponent, or if they did at the last moment, were too slow to react.

More experienced pilots racked up lots of kills.

Less experienced ones were lucky to survive. If the fighter pilots survived past their third sortie or so, they had a decent chance of surviving their tour of duty. Many didn't.

Yes, if the lead pilot was attacked, he was supposed to be protected by his wingman, who hopefully could attack his opponent in turn, before he was shot down.

If several were jumped at the same time, it pretty much became a free for all, with a lot of pilots doing their best to survive.

Lucius29 Sep 2012 6:14 a.m. PST

Inari7's recommendation is terrific. It is a very, very detailed discussion of fighter tactics.

Parts of it can be pretty heavy reading if you haven't had physics in a while. But seeing as the subject matter is life of death for the target audience, I think that it can be excused.

I don't pretend to understand fighter combat, but I do realize how clueless that I was until I read this book.

Rubber Suit Theatre29 Sep 2012 11:04 a.m. PST

On wingmen: see also "Thach Weave"

link

BlackWidowPilot Supporting Member of TMP Fezian29 Sep 2012 12:18 p.m. PST

Well, yes, theoretically, assuming of course that one or more of the pilots see the enemy coming (otherwise meatshield), in time to do anything about it.

No more so a "meat shield" than say one's "battle buddy" in an infantry fire team IMHO. "Meatshield" is AFAIK *not* the principle job description of a fighter pilot be they wingman or tail end Charle.


A large percentage of the pilots shot down, never saw their opponent, or if they did at the last moment, were too slow to react.


Yes, and that still doesn't mean that a wingman is simply a mere "meatshield"… a wingman performs a crucial role in the two-ship fighter team, enhancing the odds of survival for both team members.


More experienced pilots racked up lots of kills.

Less experienced ones were lucky to survive. If the fighter pilots survived past their third sortie or so, they had a decent chance of surviving their tour of duty. Many didn't.


This I for one am very much aware of, as I am how the two-ship tactical element came to supplant the Great War era three-ship "vic" approach to fighter tactics, why the four-ship tactical group of two wing pairs was soon regarded as the most efficient "building block" for fighter tactical operations, et al.


Yes, if the lead pilot was attacked, he was supposed to be protected by his wingman, who hopefully could attack his opponent in turn, before he was shot down.

An ideal wingman has their head on the proverbial swivel watching for anyone trying to bounce the wingman or his leader. The wingman is not a mere "meatshield," but a dedicated pair of trained eyes to watch their and their leader's back first and foremost to increase *both* of their chances of survival in a combat zone.

If several were jumped at the same time, it pretty much became a free for all, with a lot of pilots doing their best to survive.

Yup. In a furball it comes down to individual pilot skill, luck, and who has the better hardware (and knows best how to use it). SA -Situational Awareness- is everything for a fighter pilot, and is the deal breaker in pilot survival in a dogfight.


Leland R. Erickson
Metal Express
metal-express.net

BlackWidowPilot Supporting Member of TMP Fezian29 Sep 2012 12:28 p.m. PST

Speaking of reading the wisdom of actual fighter pilots, I'd add the following to everyone's reading lists:

link

link


Hope this helps!evil grin

Leland R. Erickson
Metal Express
metal-express.net

21eRegt29 Sep 2012 12:47 p.m. PST

"Watch for the Hun in the Sun!" Or whatever opponent happens to be there.

BlackSmoke Supporting Member of TMP29 Sep 2012 3:37 p.m. PST

I would also add that you should always strive to be going faster and/or higher than your enemy. And I'd take higher over faster every time!

Mako1129 Sep 2012 4:50 p.m. PST

"And I'd take higher over faster every time!".

Yes, especially with prop-driven aircraft, which climb much slower than jets.

BlackWidowPilot Supporting Member of TMP Fezian29 Sep 2012 9:33 p.m. PST

Ooooh!! I'm such a silly ole' professor! I almost forgot to point you to video reconstructions of actual dogfights and interviews with some of the key participants:


YouTube link

YouTube link

YouTube link

YouTube link

YouTube link

YouTube link

YouTube link

YouTube link


And a personal favorite:

YouTube link


"Enough firepower to sink a ship."evil grin


Hope this helps!evil grin


Leland R. Erickson
Metal Express
metal-express.net

TheBeast Supporting Member of TMP30 Sep 2012 9:08 a.m. PST

Not a warrior, never have been one, but…

It certainly sounds like there is no structured duties of a wingman, however I hardly think useless except as meatshield is necessarily appropriate.

Everybody is looking everywhere at the same time, but the leader will be more focused ahead, oft on one target, with the wingman having a more general view, and watching for dangers more than opportunities.

Also, don't forget even a small separation can be the difference between 'out of the sun' and near the sun.

Now, extending Leland's comments, leaders and wingmen can and do fly with each other enough to form a partnership that can lead to anticipation of each others intentions, and moves that instinctively support each other.

The Thatch Weave was an example where, because of inferior maneuvering planes, each pilot protected the other and were, in effect, tandem wingmen. This was especially effective in craft that were better able to handle some damage, and against newer pilots who DIDN'T work so well with their fellows.

I'm not sure how true, but the Japanese pilots were supposedly laboring under a Samurai ethic, seeking mano-y-mano battles.

Doug

coopman30 Sep 2012 3:27 p.m. PST

Once these furball dogfights started, it was usually impossible for a pilot to keep from getting in a bad position to some enemy while trying to get himself in a better position with relation to another enemy plane. Situational awareness is certainly key, but it is very difficult to anticipate what every enemy pilot will do next.

Personal logo Barks1 Supporting Member of TMP30 Sep 2012 5:43 p.m. PST

Thanks guys, great advice. I'm trying to see how to translate this into tactics for winning tabletop flight games (OK so it's 2-dimensional, but still…)

Mako1101 Oct 2012 1:42 a.m. PST

Keep your nose pointed at the enemy, and hit what you fire at (e.g. roll dice well).

Try to set up your aircraft for mutual support of one another, and/or if using pre-plotted, hidden movement, try to cover all the possible locations your enemies may choose with their maneuvers.

flicking wargamer Supporting Member of TMP01 Oct 2012 6:30 a.m. PST

The wingman is supposed to be watching for opponents coming to save whoever the leader is gunning for, watching where the leader goes, scanning for missiles, and stand ready to jump into the lead if the leader can't get a shot or has a malfunction.

In modern combat the spread is closer to a mile from each other going into combat. Formation flying is all well and good for the movies, but makes it hard to figure out who is getting shot at and limits evasive manuevers if you are too close. Makes it easier to spot things coming up at you from the ground and lets you turn to support each other. You also need to not fixate on the target but watch the larger situation. The wingman is there to remind you or point out a better or easier target presenting itself.

flicking wargamer Supporting Member of TMP01 Oct 2012 6:38 a.m. PST

Keep your nose pointed at the enemy, and hit what you fire at (e.g. roll dice well).

I love players that think like this. They are easy to anticipate and easy to shoot down while avoiding their fire. You can also set them up easily for your friends. They spend the whole time trying to fly straight at you. Nose to nose is a good way to get yourself killed.

Other tips are don't press a bad situation. It will not usually get better. Disengage, reorient, and then go back when you have a better opportunity.

Think in 3 dimensions. Rookie mistake is to only think in 2 (The line from Star Trek 2 about Khan is right on!).

Take the bad shot. Even if it misses it often rattles the opponent into making a mistake for the follow on shot. This really works with missile combat.

In one against many target fixation and poor situational awareness is what gets you killed. If you get one bad guy into a poor position but he is setting you up to get shot by 2 others (and praying they get you before you get him)then all you get is company in a parachute. Constantly change the threat. Watch everyone. Sometimes the best shot is further out than the guy close to you in a big furball.

billthecat01 Oct 2012 9:32 a.m. PST

Well, whatever happens, DON'T listen to the voices in your head and turn off your targeting computer in favor some mysterious mystical energy field…

TheBeast Supporting Member of TMP01 Oct 2012 10:23 a.m. PST

Take the bad shot. Even if it misses it often rattles the opponent into making a mistake for the follow on shot. This really works with missile combat.

True, but appears more so in 'real' life than a game. Targets tend to have less time to analyze how threatening the shot is, and, unless the game in comparison is Mag Blast, a heck of a lot more weapon noise to complete the shakeup.

Sometimes the best shot is further out than the guy close to you in a big furball.

Which I assume tends to work better in the game than real life. When told to take the long view, pilots tend to use the comeback, 'in the long view, we're all dead.'

More so when that shaking up is going on.

Wait, they let you fly with voices in your head? Get me the flight surgeon, pronto!!!

Laugh it up; don't forget some games include 'force points'.

Doug

Elenderil09 Oct 2012 4:43 a.m. PST

there are some good tutorials on the web for players of Rise of Flight and Over Flanders Fields videa games.

Dictate Boelke is required reading.

Basics are pretty straight forward. Height equals stored energy (at this point gravity is your friend). You can dive and gain speed which you can use to close on a target or to create seperation from an enemy. Finally the kinetic energy you store in your plan as you dive (ie the forward momentum) can be traded off for more height. You loose energy in each action but your motor is adding it back in.

Many tactics are about gaining or at least conserving energy. Turning hard spends a lot of energy and can leave you without the ability to manouver out of danger while turning more slowly both conserves speed and energy and hence gives you options.

Mind you in the PC games I tend to go for height, manouver until I have a good line of attack, dive in, shoot from close range and then climb away and go home.

BlackWidowPilot Supporting Member of TMP Fezian09 Oct 2012 11:58 a.m. PST

Dictate Boelke is required reading.


So is Mike Spick's The Ace Factor, as in the back of this handy and illuminating little book is an unexpurgated reprint of the Holy Writ of jet age gun dogfighting, Major Frederick C. Blesse's *No Guts – No Glory.*evil grin


Leland R. Erickson
Metal Express
metal-express.net

Oberst Radl Supporting Member of TMP09 Oct 2012 2:41 p.m. PST

For all its faults, the History Channel dogfighting series is still informative (despite the producers' best efforts to the contrary, I'm sad to say).

Last Hussar18 Oct 2012 2:28 p.m. PST

1) Speed and height are your friends
2) You trade fuel for speed, you trade speed for height
3) Anything you do will lose you speed and/or height, including turning.
4) Don't fly straight and level
5) #4 + #3 = #2
6) Turn into your enemy: ie if he is behind and to your left turn LEFT. This gives a high deflection shot. If you turn away, he can follow you
7) It isn't just turn radius that is important, it is rate of turn – it can be better to go through 90' in a large arc, than it is to go through 45' tightly.
8) Don't wait for the perfect shot.
9) Do the unexpected
10) Expect your opponent to do the unexpected.
11) Always have a wing man – the purpose of a two ship formation is to look behind your buddy into his blind spot. NATO pilots are VERY expensive to train, they are NOT meatshields.

Sorry - only trusted members can post on the forums.