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Suggestion: SoW Italia'44

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Suggestion: SoW Italia'44

Postby Admin (Dietrich) » Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:16 am

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SoW - Italia'44

Disclaimer: this is just a suggestion, not a plan.

Following the failure of CloD "Blitz", we have been searching for a way to re-implement Storm of War in a new siumulator engine. There have thus been a few preliminary attempts and tests with jet-era scenarios. However, I have been personally keen to find something based during WWII. Following the recent discussion about DCS 2.5, I noted that there was a P-47D Thunderbolt in consideration by the developers. That led me to investigate how that aircraft would fit into a Normandie-based campaign. While it was certainly used in France, I also noted that it was used in Italy. Although it would be good to get a dedicated Italian WWII map, I did notice that the Italian coastline was similar to that in the Caucasus (REF). I would therefore like to put forward the idea of an Italian campaign, set in late 1944 on the Gothic and Arno lines.

Firstly, here is the historical map, showing the disposition of forces and the main defensive lines of the Axis.

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The following is the DCS Caucasus map. It is not 1:1, but it is pretty close.

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The third map shows the level of overlap. The purple box is the proposed area of operations. The solid blue areas are where the maps are totally different (mismatching coastlines/landmasses). The hatched blue areas are where there is topography mismatches (mountains where there shouldn't be mountains, etc.).

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The rivers and towns are not too well matched, but the main mountain range and nearby coast fit well. The large town of Sukhumi on the DCS map matches La Spezia. There is a problem with "modern" scenery in places. However, much of the countryside is not built-up and could be "camouflaged" with WWII assets to help with immersion.

Thus, the area of operations I am suggesting would be Tuscany area and coastal region around Livorno leading up into the foothills of the Apennines. This is marked with the purple box on the 3rd map. The campaign would focus on Allied operations in the west and central areas (Operation Olive). Historically, the central front made good progress, and the west area was limited. I don't think it will be possible to do the main offensive on the east (Adriatic), as the DCS map diverges too much there.

Still, from an air-war perspective, there would be plenty of operations off the west coast, mountain strikes to support the central column and attacks against the U-boat and surface naval base at La Spezia.

The ground units would be, mostly, the XIV Panzer Armee v the 5th US Army, with probably some elements of the British 8th Army and Brazilian Expeditionary Force. I am not and expert on the history of the Italian campaign, so would kindly ask others to chip in with an order of battle.

My guess would be that the timeline would be from approx. August 1944 until late October 1944.

DCS would have:

  • Caucasus map (free)
  • Bf 109 K-4
  • FW 190 D-9
  • TF-51 trainer/recon (free)
  • P-51D Mustang
  • Spitfire LF Mk.IX
  • AI aircraft: B17-G
  • The WWII assets pack (paid DLC, required).
  • There is supposedly an AI Ju 88 planned for the WWII assets pack
  • There is supposedly a flyable P-47D Thunderbolt in development
  • Plus community modded aircraft

In principle, only the WWII assets would be required, with the TF-51 trainer being used in a recon role. However, I am guessing that most pilots would have WWII assets and at least one paid DLC aircraft. What might be possible would be some community mods to pad out the aircraft set. However, I think it would be better to keep the requirements to an absolute minimum and focus on specific units and operations, rather than having a totally diverse (and confusing) scenario.


Conclusion

The similarities between the Caucasus and the Apennines make it feasible to consider a Gothic Line campaign set in late 1944. Obviously there are a LOT of gaps in the consideration. If anyone wants to add to the ideas (or find flaws and shoot it down), feel free to post them.


References

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Re: Suggestion: SoW Italia'44

Postby Barone » Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:18 am

Well, it could actually be a very good idea. It reminds me the good old days in il2 46 when people didn't have a map so they used a different but plausible map.
Also the fact that only assets and not Normandy maps whould be needed could help bringing more players.
And the plane set would be quite accurate for an italy theater. As far as I remember only the Dora wasn't there (A model were used in Italy). While K4 where delivered to the ANR at the beginning of the 45.
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Re: Suggestion: SoW Italia'44

Postby Admin (Dietrich) » Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:10 pm

Barone wrote:Also the fact that only assets and not Normandy maps whould be needed could help bringing more players.


Actually, I'm not sure. Those who have DCS WWII assets are likely to have the Normadie map. And, I'm not sure I'd recommend getting one without the other.

This is actually a flaw in my plan. If we have WWII assets, and Normandie, then we might as well fly on Normandie.



Barone wrote:And the plane set would be quite accurate for an italy theater. As far as I remember only the Dora wasn't there (A model were used in Italy). While K4 where delivered to the ANR at the beginning of the 45.


Aircraft matchups in DCS are always a nightmare.

The delivered WWII map is Normandie, but the FW 190 D-9 and the Bf 109 K-4 were not present at D-Day, let alone before.

The first test flights of the FW 190 D-9 were in July 1944, with flight characterisation only having being done in May. Major production was reaching the front by December 1944. I can't find a "first sortie" report, but regardless, it is a long-shot to put it at D-Day or prior to it. Ref: http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.org/ ... erman.html

Series production of the Bf 109 K-4 started in August 1944.

Putting the D-9 and K-4 at the Normandie D-Day seems just as contrived as putting them in Italy.


This is the whole problem with the DCS series. The match ups are always forced somehow. To make things work in DCS requires some compromise.



And, from the other thread...
No.54 Joker (KL-J) wrote:Is this level of a map compromise actually feasible.

I'll be honest with my immediate reaction here ... it's more of a struggle to go along with the Caucasus map being leveraged for a WW2 scenario compared it being leveraged for a Korean scenario.

Update edit: Having seen your other thread, it's perhaps more feasible that my immediate reaction suggests ... hmmm


Fair enough. That's sort of the idea... to get a feeling as to whether others think it is feasible or not and work out what the appetite for it is.

Although not a campaign, there might be merit in making some stand-alone missions based on the idea?

Let's see what others think.



On a related note. Does anyone have any references to airforce units serving in Italy in late 1944? Thanks.
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Re: Suggestion: SoW Italia'44

Postby Barone » Wed Jan 31, 2018 4:49 pm

Aircraft matchups in DCS are always a nightmare.

Sad true.

Does anyone have any references to airforce units serving in Italy in late 1944?


The ANR (the fascist Italian air force) was composed of two main groups:
1°Gruppo that was made by three "squadriglie" ("Asso di Bastoni", "La vespa incacchiata" and "Arciere"). They operated from: Torino-mirafiori, Campoformido, Reggio Emilia, and some airdromes over Milano. They were mostly equipped with MC205 and Bf109


2°Gruppo that was made by other three "squadriglie" ("Gigi tre Osei", "Diavoli rossi" and "Gamba di ferro"). This gruppo operated during tha last years of war from different airports: Bresso, Cascina Vaga, Villafranca, Aviano, Osoppo, Orio al Serio, Ghedi-Lonate and Thiene. They were equipped with G55 and Bf109.

The ANR received from the LW over 200 Bf109s. They were mostly G6,G10 and G14. ANR also used about 4 Bf109K4.

The main command for the axis side was the luftflotte 2 until it was disbanded at the end of 44 I think.
The only german squadron in the area should be the JG77.
I don't know about allies air force I should make some research. But for sure ANR and ICAF (italian co-belligerant air force) never encountered since ICAF was operating in the Balkans.

I hope this could help.
Last edited by Barone on Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Suggestion: SoW Italia'44

Postby Admin (Philstyle) » Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:26 pm

I think a series of one-off event missions would be the best way to proceed with this concept.
Hosted on a sunday night or similar. .. it will take a couple of months to prepare I think.
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Re: Suggestion: SoW Italia'44

Postby Admin (Dietrich) » Fri Feb 02, 2018 5:11 pm

Thanks Barone for the information. Good point regarding the ANR. I've started looking into it and it seems that by 1945, they were the main force in that part. Certainly plenty of 109s, and some Ju 88s. But, as you mention, not a sign of any FW 190s.

Regardless, I've been continuing my research on a possible Italian Mission set for DCS. Here are some references I've found.


Airfield reference Luftwaffe. There are a series of these documents, and are an excellent resource for information about airfields and how/when they were used historically (@TFS take note!). http://www.ww2.dk/Airfields%20-%20Italy ... rdinia.pdf


Next is Luftwaffe squadrons in Italy: https://italy1943-45.blogspot.no/2015/0 ... italy.html

This is a good overview source and seems a good place to use as a lead for more investigation.

1944-45

Because of the growing needs of the eastern front, throughout 1943 the strength of Luftflotte 2 had been cut in half and its area of operations reduced from the whole Mediterranean to the Italian peninsula only. From late 1943 on, operations in the western Mediterranean were covered by Luftflotte 3 units based in southern France while air activity in the eastern Mediterranean fell under the responsibility of the newly formed Luftwaffe Kommando Süd Ost (South-east Luftwaffe Command.)

As strategic bombing raids over Italy intensified and Allied troops gradually advanced in the southern part of the country, fighters and reconnaissance aircraft became much more important than bombers. Unfortunately fighters were also increasingly needed for the protection of the fatherland and therefore by the end of 1944 all fighter units had been recalled, leaving two fighter groups of the Aeronautica Nazionale Republicana (ANR) as the only defensive asset in the country.

In May 1944 Luftflotte 2 consisted of:
  • JG 4 - I. Gruppe (15 Bf 109G's)
  • JG 53 - III. Gruppe (18 Bf 109G's)
  • JG 77 - Stab, I./II. Gruppen (78 Bf 109G's)
  • NJG 6 - II. Gruppe (13 Bf 110G night-fighters)
  • LG 1 - Stab, I./II. Gruppen (44 Ju 88A's)
  • KG 76 - II. Gruppe (26 Ju 88A's)
  • SG 4 - Stab, I./II. Gruppen (45 Fw 190F fighter-bombers)
  • Nachtschlachtgruppe 9 (night-attack unit, about 45 Ju87D's and CR.42's)
  • Aufklärungsgruppe 122 (reconnaissance unit, about 10 Ju 88A's and Me 410's)
  • Aufklärungsgruppe 123 (about 6 Ju 88A's and Me 410's)
  • Nahaufklärungsgruppe 11 (short-range reconnaissance unit, 14 Bf109G-8's)
  • Bordfliegergruppe 196 - 2. Staffel (6 Ar 196 maritime reconnaissance aircraft)
  • Transportgeschwader 1 - II. Gruppe (45 SM.82's)
The fighters were complemented by two groups of Fiat G.55's, Macchi 205's and Bf 109G's of the ANR, for a nominal strength of about 70 machines (of which some 70% serviceable.) The ANR also incorporated a torpedo-bomber unit, the "Gruppo Buscaglia" (some 30 SM.79/II's), later renamed "Primo Gruppo Aerosiluranti" (1st torpedo-bombing group) when the CO Major Buscaglia opted to fight with the co-belligerent air force.

By the year's end, all Luftwaffe fighter units had been transferred and less than 50 serviceable aircraft remained in two reconnaissance Gruppen, a night attack Gruppe and an experimental Ju 188 unit (Kommando Carmen) of half a dozen bombers which rarely saw service. By contrast, the strength of the ANR had remained about the same, although all Italian-made fighters had been retired (mostly for lack of spare parts) and replaced by the Bf 109G's left by Luftwaffe units recalled to Germany to fly on newer models.

In the first four months of 1945, the ANR continued flying anti-bomber missions right until the day of the armistice, facing impossible odds. A handful of these brave pilots would often attack a formation of up to 500 enemy bombers, escorted by some 300-400 fighters. Needless to say, casualties mounted rapidly, and when these men were not shot down in the air, their aircraft were blown on the ground by tactical bomber raids on an almost daily basis. Despite all of this, the ANR would receive replacements on a monthly basis until the end of the war. In April 1945, Mussolini's fighter force consisted of modern Bf109G-10's and Bf109K-4's and arrangements had been made for the shipment of a dozen Me 262 jet fighters to Italy by June. The end of the war, however, came first.



And this is a supplementary website to accompany the book Ghost Bombers. A wealth of very interesting and obscure material about the Luftwaffe air-war efforts in the latter parts of the Italian campaign: http://www.ghostbombers.com/


Of course, if anyone else have interesting information, please post it up. Thanks!
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