Friday, May 9, 2014

Tier 1 Banzai!

It's no secret that Japanese planes are some of the least used in War Thunder (as of version 1.39 at least).  Generally speaking, the aircraft of the Rising Sun are under powered with unimpressive bomb loads (not to mention lightly armed and armored).  Needless to say you're probably going to be handicapping yourself when playing as Japan.  That said, there are some basic strategies and tactics that can be employed to give players of this faction a fighting chance.  Let's begin by talking about the tier one planes.

The Ki-10 or "Perry," as it was code named by the Allies, was a typical interwar biplane that saw limited action in Manchuria before World War 2 began in earnest.  By the time open hostilities began in Europe though it was largely obsolete and as such was used primarily for reconnaissance and training purposes.   In the game it's your typical lackluster reserve plane roughly equivalent to what other countries start off with.  The sooner it can be replaced the better.

The A5M4 "Claude" was the first ever monoplane fighter designed for aircraft carrier operations.  Gameplay-wise it's highly maneuverable and a good climber.  The fixed gear also makes it easy to land which can be a boon on domination maps.  What keeps this plane from truly excelling though is its rather pathetic armament of two 7.7mm machine guns.  Countless times I've pumped hundreds of rounds into the fuselages of bombers without any noticeable effect.  Aiming for the wings or engines occasionally nets better results, but don't expect to rack up very many kills despite getting numerous hits.  On the plus side all those hits do add up to a lot of research points, silver lions, and pilot experience.

The Ki-43-II Hayabusa (Japanese for "Peregrine Falcon") was officially labeled the "Oscar" by the Allies, but more often than not was referred to colloquially as the "Army Zero."  Hands down it's the best tier 1 Japanese aircraft in the game with twin 12.7mm nose mounted machine guns and the ability to maneuver with most other aircraft of equivalent rank (particularly when the combat flaps are engaged).  An optional loadout of up to two 250kg bombs makes this a formidable dive bomber able to destroy most ground or sea targets (although long reload times make repeated strikes unlikely).  Regardless, make this aircraft a research priority early on.

The F1M2 "Pete" was a hybridization of biplane and float plane used mostly for reconnaissance and, in real life, launched from special catapults mounted on the aft decks of Japanese cruisers and battleships.  At first glance its gutless engine, poor handling and weak armament of two front mounted 7.7mm machine guns, one 7.7mm rear facing turret and optional pair of 60kg bombs may seem a bit pathetic, but this plane does have two surprisingly effective roles.  For one, its slow airspeed allows players to destroy soft ground targets with considerable ease.  Couple this with the fact that it lands on airfields quickly by skidding on its pontoons, and the F1M2 can actually be bizarrely useful on most maps.  Best of all the rear gunner will sometimes help fend off attacks, just don't expect to enjoy much success in straight up dogfights.

The D3A1 "Val" is historically famous for playing a major role in the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.  Basically, it's an A5M4 that has a rear turret, air brakes and a couple of bomb mounts.  In play I found the "Val" to be a jack-of-all-trades, not really excelling at anything yet still able to fulfill pretty much any role with some degree of capability.  Overall, it's a good plane to choose at the beginning of a match although I would not recommend going head-on against any other fighters.

The H6K4 was code named the "Mavis" by Allies, but in my opinion "King Snail" would have been a far more apt moniker.  Covered in turrets and engines, this slow moving seaplane is probably the most durable Japanese aircraft in the game below tier 3.  It also carries the most bombs and torpedoes of any Japanese bomber below tier 4.  The 20mm tail gun gives this behemoth a bit of a stinger.  I was once able to get three aircraft kills in quick succession from defensive turret fire alone.  Try keeping enemy aircraft above and behind for maximum effect.  A word regarding Japanese torpedoes; they have the best characteristics of all the factions in the game so use them whenever there are worthy targets available (as an added bonus the H6K4 can carry two torpedoes at once!).  Don't be afraid to land this seaplane on airfields either.  You'll damage the belly of this beast in the process, but provided you survive the repair timer countdown seaplanes will re-spawn in the air nearby.

One final thing I want to mention has to do with bomb selection.  At first glance it appears that Japanese bombers have redundant choices when it comes to bombs of equal weight.  However, there are important differences in that one type of bomb is armor piercing while the other is high explosive.   Generally speaking the former is for attacking ships and the latter is best when bombing ground targets.  So plan accordingly for maximum effect on the battlefield.  I'm going to stop here, but look for beginners guide to tier 2 Japanese aircraft in the near future.  Until then...Sayonara!

No comments:

Post a Comment