There has been a lot of controversy about the DCS Channel map, with people complaining that we don’t have the correct plane set for the Battle of Britain etc ….. If you study this highly detailed map you will note that there is a PSP airfield installed at High Halden . This was built at the end of 1942 and served as practice for engineers in the building of future advanced landing grounds in France. Early 1943 this airfield was occupied by a USAAF Fighter Wing equipped with P-47 Thunderbolts. By the way ED does say that this map is WIP and will have many additional airfields in the UK and in France, but even then it won’t be suitable for BoB unless it gets to be seriously extended to the west , north and south.
Now for 1943 in DCS we do have P-47’s, P-51’s and Spitfire MkIX’s that are are moderately correct for this period. This is not so for the LW who have late version Bf109-K’s and Fw190-D’s, but the Fw190-A model is also about right. So the long and the short is that we don’t have to wait years for other aircraft types to come along before being able to re-enact historically based missions – even though I am sure the community would love to have Bf109-G’s, Tempests, Spitfire MkXIV, Mosquito, etc etc.
This map can be used for all the pre D-day softening up of the German troop and armor concentrations in the area. Remember that Hitler was convinced that the Allies would attack over the shortest route – thanks in part to the Allied deception plan (Patton’s dummy army in Kent) and regular air raids on units, railways, bridges etc in the Pas de Calais area. So we can build missions where the Allies have to soften up targets in the area prior to D-Day, after 6th June air objectives were to stop the Germans from bringing in reinforcements coming from eastern France into Normandy. So plenty to keep the Allies busy there and plenty of scope for mission builders.
What was missing was the events that started from around mid-June, in particular the start of the V-1 campaign against London and southern England. This has recently been solved by Suntsag who has devised a flying V-1 mod for DCS. We can now undertake “anti-Diver” patrols and unleash medium, heavy and light bomber attacks on V-1 launch sites. This was a race against the clock as the Allied units got held up behind the beach head at Caen, and the Germans used this time to launch over a thousand V-1’s on Britain.
So today I had the chance to fly on LFDM’s Channel map server – you need to download Suntsag’s mods first. I took a Spit out of Detling and headed for the south coast. I then got a message saying that a V-1 had been launched from the Abbeville area. In the briefing it showed that V-1 tracks came feet dry between Dungeness and Dover so I first headed for Hastings and then turned to port towards Dover. I had no idea of V-1 cruising height, nor how to spot them in daylight, so I started off at angels 15. At one point some white smoke trails appeared low down off Boulogne and I first thought that this was a convoy. After a while it seemed that they were approaching fast and it turned out to be four V-1’s heading towards us in a staggered trailing formation. Not knowing their speed, but guessing it they would be fast I put my rpm to 2800 and boost at +12 and did a lag pursuit dive on the first one. I managed to line up somewhat behind and slowly started catching up. After a few long range bursts I decided I had to get closer and then after a second squirt BOUM it blew up just in front of me. My plane seemed OK so I pulled up left to get into position on the second of the bunch.
Again I tried not to get too close and seemingly wasted a lot of ammo to no visible effect. So I got in close again and saw the thing blow up. On the third I was less fortunate as we were getting near the coast and I wasn’t sure if the mission builder hadn’t planned a costal AA barrage. (In the real war, fighters were only allowed to do anti-Diver patrols out to sea and inland from the coastal batteries.) Anyway these V-1’s had all been down on the deck and I followed this one as it gently climbed to clear the cliffs just east of Dover harbour. By this time I was out of ammo and thought I would try the tipping technique – unfortunately the V-1 decided it was time to quit and plunged into some houses just behind the Chain Home radar site. On my way back to Detling I suffered some problems with the governor even though I had reduced power and rpm just after Dover. I just managed to put her down at base, but I must have taken some damage from being too close. Anyway an exhilarating first anti-Diver patrol.
So many thanks to SUNTSAG for the mods and to LFDM for hosting the server.
In conclusion, there’s no excuse to not have fun on this map right away. For LW targets, in my missions it’s easy to program some Allied convoys in the Thames Estuary and to set some Ju-88 torpedo bombers after them. This gives work for fighter escort type missions. Over France I place tons of Flak, searchlights etc, this really gives a good feel when Allies have to escort heavy or medium bomber formations. I also find it a challenge to find Axis units dispersed around Amiens or to locate ground units programmed to cross key road bridges.