The Fighters of

P38 - The Fork-tailed Devil. The P38 is one of the most loved and hated planes in Warbirds. Loved by those that fly it, hated by those that face it. With a good rate of roll(many say too good, especially at low speeds), a good turn rate, good climbing ability and good lethality it is a very well rounded plane. With this all-around capability, the P38 typically can find a category to outfly any of the other Warbirds planes. Its twin engines allows you to bring one back with more damage then a single engine plane can take. These features plus its tricycle landing gear make the P38 a good plane for beginners.

The P38’s major faults include a seemingly weak elevator, a large planform that makes it a big target, and it is not as fast as several of the later war types. It is still one of the most used fighters in the arena. You should always avoid any P38’s above you. The best way to fight a P38 is to stay above them, to always work with an E advantage and make slashing passes. Just make sure you hurt them quickly or you may see that P38 quickly transitioning to your six!

The P39 - The Dog. This plane has one plus: a 37mm cannon that makes mincemeat of anything it hits. Unfortunately since it is slow, underpowered, turns horrible and doesn’t take much punishment, you never seem to get a chance to use that cannon much. If you meet one of these in combat, just stay away from that 37. Move on to his six, shoot him down and move on.
The P40. This is a new plane of version 1.11 and I haven’t flown it much. My general comment at this time is think of it as a slow P51. The dive is its best weapon so come in from above, fire and leave. Flying against it, turn into its attack.

The P47 - the Jug. Another new plane of version 1.11. Flys like a tank, especially loaded. Great for ground attack, it carrys a huge load, up to 3 bombs and 10 rockets. However it is not a good low alt dogfighter as it bleeds speed in a turn like a brick. It can dive, but does not climb too well. When fighting this beast, remember not to get in the way of its 8 .50’s! You should have no problem converting to the Jug’s six. Be prepared to have to pump alot into the Jug though, it is tough! Watch for his friends if it is taking awhile, they are probably converting to your six.

The P51 - The ‘Stang. A beautiful plane to look at and to fly. Fast! It’s not a dogfighter, B n Z is the name of the game. Armed with 6 .50 cals you have a tendency to pick up a lot of assists vs kills as compared to the Fw’s. The Mustang has great visibility and can outrun most all the other fighters. Just don’t turn much. Fighting the ‘Stang, you must turn into its high speed attacks. To catch one, start from high altitude and dive!
F4f and FM-2. The two Wildcat models are also new to version 1.11. They are similar to the Hellcat, only slower. That includes the bad six view. Although it turns relatively well, it doesn’t match the real turn and burners. Don’t expect to see this one much in the arena, it is simply over-matched. Just like in WWII, its ability to survive depends on its armor and its wingman.
F4u - The Hawg - Big, blue and beautiful. My personal favorite. Although really an early war plane, with its speed it fares well with the later war machines. Its six view is almost as bad as the F4f and F6f and bleeds speed horribly in a turn. Still its speed and fast roll rate make it deadly in the hands of an experienced pilot. Like the P51, boom and zoom is its forte. If you meet one, try to get on his low six where he can’t see you, or get him into a turning battle. Plan on hitting him several times as the F4u is one of the heaviest armored planes of Warbirds. Also check out Fletchman's F4u Page. It's a great detailed page on flying the Hawg!
F6f - Hellcat. A good plane but it makes me paranoid. Horrible six view. It’s also a little underpowered and therefore doesn’t climb too well. It can, however, turn with the Spits and dive with the ‘Stangs. When you are fighting in it, the trick is to keep your alt high or your E up so you can dive away if you get into trouble. If you are facing a ‘Cat, try to sneak up on that huge blind spot. If he sees you, try to bleed his E and work him down into a low alt fight. Low and slow the ‘Cat loses its teeth and it takes quite a while for the Hellcat to get a head of steam again. Watch out for that turn rate though!
Spitfire V and IX. The Spits are turn and burners extra-ordinaire. Because of this they make great field defense planes. Only the Zeke and Oscar can outturn the Mk. V. The IX can also boom and zoom although it loses maneuverability at higher speeds. Both also climb very well. They are not the fastest planes, but the IX can surprise you. Their main weakness is they have a very light ammo load. Don’t expect many multi-kill sorties if you fly these birds. Also watch out for their ground handling, those Merlin engines really are torquey. When facing the Spit, try to make slashing passes, staying within its turning circle. Many Spit drivers also automatically go into break turns, so often you can go vertical against them, even in a plane that doesn’t out climb the Spit.
Zero, or Zeke, and the Oscar. These planes are the gnats of Warbirds. Ultra-maneuverable, they are real pests but one short burst can bring them down. If you fly one, never fly in a straight line. Keep turning, up, down and all around. They have the ability to stay on any other planes six. Just remember to never go head on with anyone! Get some separation and lead-turn on to the enemy’s six. Conversely, if you are fighting against one, generally the only shot oppurtunities you get are head-ons. They should be trying to separate. Close on them but not directly head-on. Then about 1000 yards(D10) hit the rudder and put a burst of gunfire in their path. They should fly through it and take hits(this takes practise to get right so don’t expect wonderous results first time). Extend until you are at least 2000-2500 yards beyond the Zeke or Oscar. Then pull an Immelman and repeat. It should only take a couple of passes to either shoot him down or wound him enough to make it a matter of time.

A6m - Zero

Ki43 - Oscar

Ki84, the Frank. This is probably Japan’s best fighter of the war. Fast, maneuverable and packs a punch. It’s the same in Warbirds. The ammo load is light and it doesn’t turn as sharp as a Zeke, but still can turn with most other planes. It can boom and zoom too but really starts to lose maneuverability over 350IAS. Tougher than the other Japanese planes, it is still pretty easy to shoot down. Like the Zero and Oscar, front passes are the typical oppurtunities you get.
Me109F,G,K - a Mess o’ Messerschmidts. The Me’s are tough planes to master. The F is pretty maneuverable, and the K model pretty fast, but their real forte is their ability to climb, especially the K model. They have enough weaknesses though that only experienced pilots need apply. The G and K models do have good firepower, the K with its nose 30mm and the G-6 with its 20mm can really chew you up. Version 1.11 also adds the G-6/R-6 which is the bomber buster with 2 extra 20mm gun pods under the wings. When fighting the ‘Schmidts, use your ability to outmaneuver them to work toward their six. Don’t try to climb with them, they can pull over the top at very slow speeds. You will find yourself stalling out, then the next thing you will see is tracers!
Fw 190’s - The Butcher Birds. Aptly named, these planes(A-4,A-8, and D-9) will chew you to pieces if you give them a chance. Armed with lots of 20mm’s with oodles of ammo, they are easily capable of 4 or 5 kill sorties. They are fast and have an excellent roll rate. Boom and zoom is the only way to fly them. Come in fast, hit hard and leave fast. Never turn with any plane more than about 45 degrees or so. The best way to fight the Fw is with an E advantage. If you are faster than the Fw, he has no option but to try and split-s and run. If he has the E advantage, your only option is to turn into his attacks and outturn him and hope you can sneak up on him while he is trying to hit someone else. If you get on his six and he trys to run, try to ping him with short bursts(use primary guns only if you can). If you ping him enough, he will be forced to try some evasive maneuvers and will slow enough for you to catch him. The Dora’s can be a real pain as they are real fast and will be gone before you can even get close to their six. Always watch the high skies for the Fw. And never, ever, ever go head-on with a Fw! Also check out DocDoom's FW Page. He literally wrote the book on flying the FW. A sample from his bbok is downloadable from his site. Also check out the General FW Tactics page. A good quick read on flying the Butcher Bird.

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Updated 31 May 1997