Tuesday, 21 October 2014

WarThunder - Gaijin's Russian Bias Shows Doesn't It.

Last night I went for a few flights in various BF109's in WarThunder... It was an utter and total disaster, I didn't make a single air kill, and twice ended up getting bounced whilst in the middle of my dive on a target and having to try and flee.  And only once did my attempt to flee and calling for help get a return from my team mates... So my thanks to those chaps that time, you kicked arse...

However, after a couple of hours I had my BF109E-3, BF109F-1 & 2, BF109F-4 and BF109F-4/trop all in repairs... My frustration was palpable.

I reviewed my replays, I thought about what I was doing wrong, and I thought about my opponents... Some of them were just excellent pilots and out flew me, I accept that, however, I looking at the roster of opponents who had shot me down... La-5... La-5.... Hmmm... La-5..... I-185... There were a lot of higher battle rating (BR) opponents than my measily E-3 or F-2 (the two planes I flew repeatedly)...

Now I'm no fool, my aircraft handling though not perfect is okay and in Simulated Battle you expect an amount of luck, but my luck was running so bad.  I switched to Realistic Battle, maybe I could identify what I was doing wrong by seeing the target tags coming towards me...

I could not see any tags... I don't know if this is a feature now, or something about skills, or just a bug... But I had to close to within 1km of a target dot before I got to see its label text... and when friendlies were tangling with enemy planes I saw the blue of the friendly from miles, but never saw the enemy... Tracers and flame and death, I saw plenty of, but actual aircraft/player legend text, not a jot of it...

So at one point I'm in the F-4, and I'm 800 meters above a pair of La-5's... I know I'm going to die, so I invert, pull through a half loop, and when out of the loop I'm the right way up going to opposite direction at about 550km/h... And I accelerate away, I'm going maybe 580km/h, and I reckon I'm around 10km away from where I saw the targets, I'm low on ammo anyway, and 7 minutes of fuel, so I report heading to base.

I check my shoulder, just as a stream of red tracer goes past... both La-5's are right there... they've climbed 750ish meters and caught up over 10km from behind a plane going away from them at over 550km/h... I dive away from them and am going 715km/h, opening the distance between us... But their fire is hell accurate, I can see the separation on the mini-map its over 800 meters between us, but they're still shooting...

These are La-5's... with twin 20mm cannon, their cannon should be dry>?!>?! What the hell... I lead them off and over the airfield, they break off only when the AA has holed one... but as I break into a rising climb turning my now 600km/h speed into about 900 meters of altitude and levelling off to assess my situation, the other LA-5 does what can only be described as a UFO move, it rolls and almost flat spins around and comes back at me, acceleration was incredible, the aircraft was level with me, having used his speed to climb... and he's flying straight and level.... over 8km... be cross the airfield and forced me into a split-S to avoid his head on in what felt like 10 seconds... I literally had no come-back.

When we read historical accounts of the performance of the La-5 it does not stand up to the scrutiny of its performance in game, I get that Gaijin have their own ideals of history, they say as much in one of their news posts:

"the British have their own history and their own view on the Second World War and we, the descendants of our Soviet heroes had our own war and own memories of it" - WarThunder Blog.

You don't have memories young sir, you are not over 80 years old and were of an age to have served, your parents at a push, or your grandparents certainly may have, but you do not have memories.  What you have are recollections, those rosey tinted, glossy postcard photograph ideas of what it was like.  And I can only really stress that in my opinion the balance of plane performance, especially Russian plane performance, is rather more rosey than it should be according to the history at hand.

"the La-5FN excelled at altitudes below 3,000 m (9,843 ft) but suffered from short range and flight time of only 40 minutes at cruise engine power. All of the engine controls (throttle, mixture, propeller pitch, radiator and cowl flaps, and supercharger gearbox) had separate levers which served to distract the pilot during combat to make constant adjustments or risk suboptimal performance. For example, rapid acceleration required moving no less than six levers. In contrast, contemporary German aircraft, especially the BMW 801 radial-engined variants of the Focke-Wulf Fw 190 front line fighter, had largely automatic engine controls with the pilot operating a single lever and electromechanical devices, like the Kommandoger√§t pioneering engine computer on the radial-engined Fw 190s, making the appropriate adjustments. Due to airflow limitations, the engine boost system (Forsazh) could not be used above 2,000 m (6,562 ft). Stability in all axes was generally good. The authority of the ailerons was deemed exceptional but the rudder was insufficiently powerful at lower speeds. At speeds in excess of 600 km/h (370 mph), the forces on control surfaces became excessive. Horizontal turn time at 1,000 m (3,281 ft) and maximum engine power was 25 seconds." - 

Or perhaps
"In comparison with the Bf 109 the La-5FN possessed a slightly higher roll rate, however the Bf-109 was slightly faster and had the advantages of a smaller turn radius and higher rate of climb." - Hans-Werner Lerche (ISBN 0531037118)

Even ignoring the performance issues, why was my BF109F4 being pitted against La-5's?... The F series of 109 was ubiquitous yes, but in 1942 when the F4 was really at its height the La-5 was still under development:

"from the first tests, which began toward the end of March 1942, it became clear that the new variant was a marked improvement over the basic model" - about the LA-5 from www.century-of-flight.net.

The timeline does not work out, the La-5 should not have been present to shoot me down perhaps?... But its UFO like performance is clearly not warranted from the history.

I know already what Gaijin's response would be, if they dained to give one, and that would be that this is a BETA, and that things can change, but I believe for too long and too many comparisons; which I have been through; the Russians get the better of it over the Americans, the Americans get the better of over the Japanese and the Germans generally struggle to compete save when we get to the very highest tiers.

The BF109F series under-perform, the accepted best aerobatically able 109's and they're pitted against floating Russian crates which historically were not overly available*, the BF109G series are often forced to fight off of their comfort zone, i.e. the BF109G-6 designed to intercept bombers is pushed into dogfights with other fighters, where its climb/weight disadvantage soon tell...

To then rub salt into already open wounds I flew out in a Russian plane, in simulated mode, for the first time ever, took the Yak-7 which was completely stock out for a fly out... Immediately entered a low-level dogfight and in both the horizontal and vertical could out turn and out perform German BF109F1's and an FW190A-1... And got two kills!.... I gave up playing for the night right there, disgusted how easy the kills were, when ammunition, aiming and the general low-tech of the Yak-7, a trainer pushed back into front-line service, bested some of the finest fighter aircraft the Luftwaffe fielded.

* Losses of La-5's in 1942 dropped dramatically, this wasn't because the La-5's were doing well, but that so few La-5 were produced that there were none-left for the jagdflieger to shoot down, only in 1943 as production ramped back up did losses increase in relation ship to the number of available aircraft.  This is the kind of history ignored by Gaijin and their apparent blanket rosey tinted view of history.


  1. Some good observations here, low level dogfighting invariably ends in disaster for me too but there's nothing more frustrating than being knocked out of the sky in the opening seconds of the flight by planes fitted with canons. I still think the turning circle on some of the Russian planes is completely biased and totally unrealistic but overall the game is a blast.

  2. You forgot one thing about the bf109 and its intake look into it also check out the forums for the spotting system raising your pilots level helps. Think like a gamer not a historian.

  3. there are many other obvious flaws to this game as well PC mouse players have a distinct advantage over PS4 or joystick players as the computer compensates for damage taken PS4 and joystick the pilot has to do so and often maxes out stick travel direction Also in the F4U corsair I have been outrun and out climbed by A6M3's look into that and you know that is not accurate either