WW2 combat flight simulators...

...what's out there for the PC that's good? The last one I played was European Air War.


Pacific Fighters is the newest - but it''s Pacific Theater. It''s by the Il-Sturmrovik people though, so it''s pretty feature complete. GamerDad.com Review is by Bernie Dy, a hardcore flight simmer who sometimes also writes for Smithsoneon Air & Space.

I know there is at least one WWII Western Front flight sims on the horizon - but I''m pining for a Red Baron III in the worst way... sigh.

Yep, EAW was the last, ''hard-core'' WW II one. Pacfic Fighter''s was talked about here and thought folks were going to get together and fight it out and use TS for banter

Microsoft''s WW II Combat Sim was o.k. too. imho.

There was something out in the last 6 month''s I think that was like SWOTL (can''t think of the title). Some thought it was fun, but on the light side. But gorgeous.

Hey, what about Battlehawks 1942 (loved that old

IL-2 Sturmovik and its sequel are very good and there are a number of expansions at Matrix Games I believe that add quite a bit of gameplay.... Pacific Fighters as mentioned is by the same crew...

Pacific Fighters is fun and you can set alot of different settings to make it more or less realistic as you want.

I live by IL-2. Great for quick fights and detailed missions.

It is the only WW2 air combat sim that I have played since Battle of Britain that was any good. I tried MS''s sims but they weren''t stable -- could''ve just been my PC though. BTW, aren''t they making a sequel to BB? I vaguely remember hearing that.

"Donan" wrote:

There was something out in the last 6 month''s I think that was like SWOTL (can''t think of the title). Some thought it was fun, but on the light side. But gorgeous.

Are you talking about my Red Baron 3 comment? If so, you probably mean Wings of War - which was good looking but just awful in terms of gameplay. I''m not even a realism nut but I like to have the plane perform somewhat plane-like otherwise - why play a WWI game at all?

Thanks for all the replies - it''ll help me in my search!


The same team that made IL-2 and Pacific Fighters (1C) is making a new WW2 sim. I believe the name is Battle Over Britain. Until it''s released, PF is the hands down winner!

A word of caution, PF is amazing in terms of plane representation and realism. It does take a bit of work to get proficient.

European Air War is my all-time favorite, but the recent IL-2/Pac Fighters games are very good.

Is anyone here playing the current generation of IL-2 Sturmovik (Great Battles)? It is apparently a merger of the IL-2 product line with the guys who did the engine for Rise of Flight.

I used to play a lot of IL-2, Pacific Fighters, and IL-2 1946 (poorly), until I packed up all my flight sim stuff in 2007 when we were trying to sell our house. This is the first flight-simming I've done since then.

I picked up one of the modules (Battle of Moscow) when it was on deep discount in early December. Since then I've spent a few hours just flying Free Flight quick missions to learn how to fly (and to set up my CH FighterStick/Throttle key maps). My first successful landing featured only minor damage to the horizontal stabilizer and propeller.

I've been flying mostly early Soviet fighters (I-16 and MiG-3).

I've also set up a few missions against unarmed German transports to practice my gunnery. Results so far have not been promising.

So far they've released three modules on the Eastern Front (Battle of Stalingrad, Battle of Moscow, Battle of Kuban) and the fourth on the Western Front (Battle of Bodenplatte). Battle of Normandy is next in line. The engine is common, so every update for the newer released means improvements in the older ones.

The three Eastern Front modules are currently on-sale 75% off until January 9 (directly from the devs, not on Steam).

I was looking at those recent games in the Il-2 franchise last year, but reviews I read seemed to indicate that

1) setting up controls was a nightmare depending on what joystick or HOTAS you used (in retrospect that may have only been the Battle of Britain release, but that was the one I really wanted to play)

and 2) they were really intended for multiplayer with single-player campaigns that were fairly shambolic.

So I lost interest. But maybe I was misled?

I've had a little bit of trouble getting my controls set up (CH FighterStick, Throttle, and Pedals), but nothing too serious.

I've only recently been involved with IL-2, but I believe that the single player Career Mode was something that they added in a recent update. I haven't trained up enough yet to jump into a career. However, I expect to be playing mostly or entirely SP.

Once I go back to work next week, I'll realistically only have a couple of hours per week to play, max, so would end up as little more than a target drone on a MP server. From reading the forum, it seems like most pilots fly MP, but an official forum is not usually a good representative example of the entire player base.

I haven't played an IL-2 game since Forgotten Battles (though I do have 1946). I wasn't aware that there was a new series of games. They do look good.

My Saitek x45 is ancient....wonder if it would even work.

Better question: when will I find any time for this

The old IL-2's never had any campaign to speak of. Their focus was also on single/custom missions and multiplayer. At least that's how I played them.

For a little challenge, I decided to run a QMB against a target that could shoot back. I flew my MiG-3 against a Novice AI MC.202 Series VIII.

The battle lasted about 30 minutes, until I was out of fuel. Maybe the AI was low on fuel as well, as he started heading West while I glided East.

As far as I know, the only successful shots were made by the AI, who somehow did all this damage without hitting my pilot.

He got on my six early, until I actually managed to disengage and gain some altitude on him. I never did get a good gun solution; more practice required.

AUs_TBirD wrote:

My Saitek x45 is ancient....wonder if it would even work.

Better question: when will I find any time for this

The old IL-2's never had any campaign to speak of. Their focus was also on single/custom missions and multiplayer. At least that's how I played them.

Yes, the time is the hard part.

I know that the x45 gets some mentions on the forum, but I think that the x52 and TM products seem more popular.

In the near future I plan to move from the QMB to a career. I've also read people speaking highly of the scripted campaigns which you can buy from the IL-2 store for about $10 each, although they're on discount right now. I might look into those after I go through a career or three.

There is also a forum specific to scripted campaigns which you can (apparently) download for free. I don't have any insight into the quantity or quality of these.

Their business model can seem a little complicated, so make sure you know what you're buying before you commit. I have to admit that the only reason I jumped in was because of the sale. Their regular prices ($50 for each of the older modules) are prohibitive to anyone who isn't sure they're going to like it.

Despite being totally unprepared, I decided to start up a pilot in Career Mode.

Junior Lieutenant Gerasim Belyakov trained to fly the MiG-3, then on 7 October 1941 joined the 233rd IAP, stationed at Inyutino, SW of Moscow and close to the front lines. His first mission was a scramble, as a flight of 6 aircraft was sent to intercept German bombers. As a junior member of the squadron, Gerasim was one of four pilots in this flight assigned an I-16 instead of a MiG-3.

Flight leader Captain Tarasov got them airborne, and they quickly found their targets, a bunch of He-111s being escorted by Messerschmitt Bf 109s. Gerasim was able to damage the wing of one bomber on the squadron's first pass through the formation. However, as they turned for a second run, Captain Tarasov saw Gerasim's I-16 start to plummet toward earth, his lifeless body draped over the edge of his cockpit, the apparent victim of a sharp-shooting 109 pilot.

Gerasim had earned his Aviation Badge, Medal for Battle Merit, and a a hero's grave all in the same morning.


On the heels of that success, I started up another pilot. Vladislav (Slava) Dyachkov is the newest member of the 34th IAP PVO, stationed at Rzhev. Rzhev sits on the Volga, West-Northwest of Moscow. The front lines are both west and south of the airfield. The 34th IAP PVO only flies the MiG-3, so Vladislav won't have to freeze his dupa off in the open cockpit of the I-16.

His first mission was on October 4, one day after he arrived. His flight was sent to attack a German vehicle column, traveling a road west of Novoduginskaya. The squadron flew about 75km south of the airfield, found the enemy, and dove upon them. Slava was able to destroy a truck with his bombs, then joined his squadron in strafing the column (with no success) and returned home once his ammunition was expended.

The next morning, Sunday, Slava was part of a flight led by Captain Molchanov that was sent to destroy an enemy river crossing near Tyurmino. While his wingmates were able to destroy a handful of vehicles and AA emplacements, Slava's bombs destroyed the bridge they were using. Some German fighters arrived while they were strafing the remaining vehicles, so the squadron fled north. However, they left behind Slava's friend Roman Gavrilov, who was shot down and captured.

Monday morning arrived along with another mission to attack a river crossing, this one near Temkino. The squadron had great success, destroying 10 vehicles, 4 guns, and another bridge. Slava himself bombed the bridge and one gun.

After returning from the river crossing attack, Slava was assigned to be part of a 6-plane flight to attack an enemy vehicle column, led by Captain Polyakov. Slava's bombing was inaccurate, and he only managed to destroy one truck through strafing, while nearly crashing into trees on multiple occasions. Two of his squadmates did not return from this mission.

The following morning, Slava again joined Captain Polyakov's flight, this time to escort 9 Pe-2 bombers to their target. Strangely, no German fighters rose to meet them, so this mission was quiet. Slava received a bonus for completing his fifth sortie!

Two days later (Thursday 9 October), the squadron was informed that German ground attack planes were seen heading toward the Russian lines. Slava was the last MiG-3 in Captain Belov's flight to counter the Germans. They met a number of Bf-109s as they were attacking a Russian position just south of Konischeva, near the river Gzhat'. What ensued was a bit of a frantic furball, as Belov's flight engaged the slightly superior German force. A few times Slava managed to get on the six of a 109 and strike it with 12.7 mm fire, only be forced to disengage. Twice he was informed by a squadmate that one of the planes he had damaged had gone down; these were his first two air-to-air victories! Slava and his squadmates fought until their guns were empty, then moved east and north to return home to Rzhev.

Slava received a bonus for each 109 he had downed. Captain Belov and Senior Lieutenant Krylov had also scored two victories and been awarded medals, including a Hero of the Soviet Union for the Captain. For now Slava has contented himself with the fact that he is still alive.

Slava has also continued his tradition of damaging at least one portion of his aircraft during each landing.

On Friday afternoon, Slava will be flying in a wing led by Major Baranov, commander of the 34th IAP, to attack a German vehicle convoy. He hopes to perform a little better with the Major there to witness it.

Well, I didn't keep up with my diaries, but the short version is that Slava flew a few more missions, and once spent several days in hospital after bailing out of his MiG after it was shot up pretty well. He managed to glide back over the lines so that he bailed out over friendly forces. Most of his comrades on that flight didn't return at all.

On the same mission where he scored his fifth victory, he also blacked out while trying to pull out of a dive and never recovered.

I've since switched to fly the Yak 1, a more forgiving plane for newbies. I'm flying in the Stalingrad campaign, and have 3 victories in 4 missions. I've also spent two stints in hospital for minor wounds.

This image is from my third victory, against a Bf109 that attacked the IL-2s we were escorting. I spent almost my entire load of ammo shooting down this one fighter, so my shooting hasn't improved very much.


I picked up IL-2: Battle of Stalingrad while it was on sale recently. Got the Saitek x45 hooked up and.....couldn't get the throttle to work. Keyboard controls for that it is.

Then it took me a half dozen attempts to even get to the runway (rudder steering doesn't work if A. you're too slow, and B. you don't individually control the left/right wheel brakes. I made friends with a random bunker and a parked plane that way.

Managed to eventually take off by tearing diagonally across the grass. Flew around a bit which felt great, practiced shooting and dive bombing, nearly blacked out pulling out of a dive, and finally attempted to land. It was a textbook landing!

Let me clarify. It was what textbooks tell you a landing should not look like under any circumstances. Apparently the plane should not be upside-down and the wings and tail should still be attached. Talk about nitpicky.

It has been over 10 years since I last played an IL-2 game. It sure doesn't all come back right away like riding a bike supposedly does.