No.401 Squadron Presents: FINEST HOUR

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No.401 Squadron Presents: FINEST HOUR

Post  Wolverine on Thu Jul 09, 2015 5:25 pm

It's been a crazy few months, but we're finally there. It's time to officially unveil:

No.401 Squadron Presents:
FINEST HOUR

First, I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in the creation of the campaign.


  •    |450|Squiz, |450|Kookaburra, and ATAG_Freya for helping with the creation of necessary mission target files and especially Squiz for creating all of the fantastic AI bombing raids available to the Luftwaffe team
  •    No.401_StiC for creating a very handy program that allows the admin of the campaign to quickly review and edit the various data files associated with the campaign persistence features
  •    Cassius_Calhoun for creating the custom spawn locations for all of the available Luftwaffe airfields
  •    ATAG_Colander for the Watchdog tool that allows us to keep the server running and rotating the campaign timezones with minimal effort
  •    Kodiak, Salmo, TheEnlightenedFlorist, Vogler, Reddog, and others whose code work has been instrumental in helping me learn how to create missions and whose scripts have been freely offered to the community to the betterment of IL-2 Sturmovik: Cliffs of Dover content everywhere
  •    And lastly to everyone who has helped to test the campaign map over the last few months and helped to find all the little bugs that needed squashing

Thank you!

Let's get to the meat of it then, shall we?

July 10th, 1940. The Battle of France is over. The Battle of Britain is about to begin.

THE SETUP
Finest Hour begins on the date most commonly accepted as the start of the Battle of Britain with forces arrayed as they were on that historic date.

The RAF begins the campaign with aircraft dispersed at the various 11 Group airfields in as exact an accounting of aircraft on that date as can be found. The number of serviceable combat ready aircraft as well as unserviceable aircraft at each airfield is as accurate historically as I can make it.

The Luftwaffe begins the campaign with airfields located in France arrayed such that the historical squadrons located at those airfields are represented as of July 10th, 1940. While Finest Hour does not track Luftwaffe serviceable and unserviceable aircraft (the reason being that resources for the Luftwaffe during the battle were not critical to the outcome of the battle), the dispersal of fighters and bombers across the map is as historical as I can make it.

Resources are a concern for the RAF. In addition to maintaining their stable of fighter aircraft, the RAF team must be aware FUEL, AIRCRAFT PARTS, MORALE, and CONVOYS.

FUEL - Every day during the battle, an amount of fuel will be produced by the fuel refineries located on the map. This fuel is then transferred to the various fuel depots located on the map. More active, undamaged fuel refineries equals more fuel produced and transferred to the fuel depots. The number of fuel depots on the map controls the amount of fuel that can be effectively held in reserve by the RAF. If a fuel depot is damaged, it will not hold as much fuel and will also begin to 'leak' fuel on a daily basis. Any fuel produced by a fuel refinery that cannot be effectively held by a fuel depot is lost. Fuel is consumed by each sortie made by an RAF fighter.
AIRCRAFT PARTS - Every day during the battle, an amount of aircraft parts will be produced by the aircraft factories located on the map. Some of these factories produce parts to service the Hawker Hurricane while others produce parts to service the Supermarine Spitfire. These parts are retained until days when repairs are made to unserviceable aircraft (every other day) and days when new production batches of aircraft are completed for delivery to squadrons (every 7th day). This is the only way in which damaged aircraft can be repaired or new aircraft produced.
MORALE - Every day during the battle, the morale of the British people is determined based on the successful actions of the courageous pilots in the air, how badly England is bombed that day, and how many targets have been damaged but are still in need of repairs. Civilian targets affect morale to a higher degree than military ones. If the morale of the British people falls too low, there may be consequences for the government and for the war in general.
CONVOYS - Every day during the battle, there is the possibility that a convoy of ships is sailing through the channel. These convoys will be carrying goods that impact the three resources of FUEL, AIRCRAFT PARTS, and MORALE. If these convoys are successfully defended and are allowed to reach their port of call, these resources are transferred to the RAF and can be a significant boost. These convoys can either be destroyed in the channel or they can be prevented from offloading their cargo by damaging or destroying the ports to which they are headed.

The Luftwaffe is responsible for destroying the RAF and paving the way for the invasion of England. There are three features of the campaign that will be integral to that end. LOSS RATE, RECONNAISSANCE, and RAIDS.

LOSS RATE - The Luftwaffe will be accountable for how many pilots they lose over England and the Channel during the battle. For the German high command to be committed to the final assault on England's shores, these losses must be kept manageable and not exceed a certain percentage of the historical number of pilots available to the Luftwaffe's groups in France in July 1940. If losses reach this number, the German high command will postpone the invasion indefinitely.
RECONNAISSANCE - There are many targets in England which can be attacked by the Luftwaffe's bomber groups. However, in order to send these groups to the targets, reconnaissance must be carried out. Each target must be identified by a player pilot flying directly over the target allowing for an accurate view from directly above the center of the target. There are no specific actions the player needs to take other than taking their aircraft through the correct position on the map. The target areas are not large, however, and aircraft without the benefit of using a bomb sight for accuracy may need to descend to altitudes where anti-aircraft gunfire can reach them as well as scrambled fighters.
RAIDS - Once a target has been recon'd, the next day and every day thereafter there will be the option to send an AI raid to that target. These raids follow routes deliberately designed to make their target difficult to identify, even after they have been used more than once. Several raids will use the same initial courses but then split to different targets close to England. Raids are the easiest way to successfully attack a target in England without suffering serious losses of player pilots.


THE TOOLS
Both teams during the campaign have access to various tools via the TAB 4 menu system that will allow them to keep track of the battle and take actions necessary to continuing the fight. The options are outlined below and, unless stated otherwise, are accessible though hitting the TAB key and then 4 (selecting 'Mission').

1. Ground Control
This option is available to both RAF and Luftwaffe teams and opens up a sub-menu with the following options:

Select Dispatch Controller
Get Enemy Contacts
Get Friendly Contacts
Daily Operations Report (RAF ONLY) / Wind and Operations Report (Luftwaffe Only)
Authorize Bomber Mission or Get Briefing for Current Target: X (Luftwaffe Only)


Select Dispatch Controller: This option must be selected before any of the others may be used. When selected, a list of available control dispatch towers will be displayed or, if the player is out of range of a control dispatch tower, the player will be notified that there are no dispatch towers available. Each dispatch tower is responsible for controlling the air contacts in their respective areas. For example, Luton (CH EAST) is responsible for watching the Chain Home radar that overlooks the eastern portion of the available map, while Alert (CH Low and Observer Corps) is responsible for the Chain Home Low radar that overlooks the entire coast of England close to shore and also the Observer Corps who observe aircraft which have made landfall. When you select a tower, the controller will contact you audibly to inform you that you are connected.

Get Enemy Contacts: This option will request enemy contacts that are present within your controller's scope of vision. The CH radar can observe aircraft at great distances but those aircraft must be at a certain altitude in order to be revealed on their radar screens. Similarly so for the FREYA stations, although they have a shorter range. Once contacted, the controller will ask you to stand-by and a period of time will elapse before the controller responds with any available contact reports. These reports will be displayed in your 'Server' info window, so be sure to have an info window that displays that text. You will also receive an audible message to inform you if bandits have been detected or if you are clear with no contacts. After another period of time, the controller will contact you to inform you that you are again able to make a request. Until you have been given this message, no other options will be actionable within the Ground Controller menu.

Get Friendly Contacts: Similar to the Get Enemy Contacts menu option except this report will display any friendly contacts locatable within the view of your connected Ground Controller. Keep in mind that your own aircraft will show up on the report. This is an effective way of locating your own position but also your friends and friendly bomber groups, making rendezvous flights more easy. Aircraft numbers reported in this way are exact whereas in the Enemy report, the number of aircraft detected is a guess (1+, 3+, etc.).

Daily Operations Report (RAF Only) / Wind and Operations Report (Luftwaffe Only): Selecting this option will give you information about the current day's operations and, depending on which side you are on, will display details about the operations of other systems. For both the RAF and the Luftwaffe, you will see the current wind strength and the direction the wind is coming from. If you were to turn and face the degree heading indicated in the report, the wind would be blowing at your face. Both teams will also be given information about the current day and time at which mission operations will conclude. Because the mission operates with random weather / time, this information is useful to determine how much time is left in the mission and to plan your sorties.
The RAF team will also get information about any convoys that are currently in the channel, including their cargo, where they started from, and where they are headed. In addition to this, the RAF will receive information about whether or not aircraft repairs will be made at the end of the day or if new production batches of fighters are being prepared for dispersal to squadrons.

Authorize Bomber Mission or Get Briefing for Current Target: X (Luftwaffe Only): Through the use of this option, the Luftwaffe team is able to send AI Raids to targets in England. If a target has not been successfully recon'd in days previous, the target will not be available due to lack of information. Note that the targets are organized by sector. These sectors correspond to the sector station airfields in 11 Group during the summer 1940. The targets are further organized into type: Airfields, Ports, Factories, Fuel, and Civilians.

2. Battle Report
This option is available to both RAF and Luftwaffe teams and displays some common information as well as information that is specific to each team.

Both reports will provide information on number of sorties made by players, number of players who have been captured by the enemy, missing presumed drowned, returned safely to friendly territory, etc.

The Luftwaffe report will indicate the opinion of the Luftwaffe commander on the ongoing progress of the battle. A poor ratio of pilots returned safely to the number of pilots who have made combat sorties will influence this report and provides feedback on the possibility of losing the battle due to the attrition of pilots.

The RAF report will indicate the morale level of the British people and provides feedback on how effectively the RAF team is managing the protection and repair of targets in England.

The RAF report will also indicate current levels of other resources available. Fuel is listed as how much fuel is available and how much fuel can currently be effectively stored. Aircraft parts are listed in number of parts available for each aircraft type: Hurricane and Spitfire.

3. Asset Reports (RAF Only)
This option is only available to the RAF team and allows the RAF team to assess the current damage levels of each individual target on the map as well as the current operational status of the various airfields available to them.

This report is divided up into the various sectors based on the RAF section station airfields. The reports are then further divided into target type: Airfields, Ports, Factories, Fuel, and Civilians.

Airfield reports will indicate whether or not an airfield is Active and whether or not an airfield is Operational. An Active airfield is an airfield that has received no damage (or has been repaired to no damage) and is thus available as an airfield to be used without conditions. If an airfield is damaged, it will not be active. An airfield that is Operational has enough fighters based at it to be used as a point from which to take-off. An airfield may be Active but Non-Operational if that airfield does not have enough combat ready serviceable aircraft to be used. To make a Non-Operational airfield Operational, simply fly combat ready aircraft to that airfield or have a production batch of aircraft assigned to that airfield for delivery (more on this later).

Each report will indicate the level of damage that the target has received and if repairs have been sent to the target.

4. Send Repair Crews (RAF Only)
This option is only available to the RAF team and is used to send repair crews to the various targets in order to bring them back to fully repaired status. The number that is displayed in ( ) at the end of the sector options indicates how many repair crews are still available for that day. The targets are sorted in the same way they are sorted in the Asset Reports menu (by sector and then by type). When a repair crew is sent, a message will be displayed to all players of the RAF team to indicate such.

5. Assign Aircraft Production (RAF Only)
This option is only available to the RAF team and is used to assign the airfield to which production batches of fighters will be sent. The currently selected airfield is indicated in ()'s at the ends of the menu options for Hurricane and Spitfire. Organized by sector, the player simply chooses whether to assign the Hurricane production or the Spitfire production and then selects the sector and airfield to which they will be sent. On the day when production batches are to be delivered (viewable via the Daily Operations Report from the Ground Control menu), Hurricanes and Spitfires will be produced using any available parts and delivered to the airfields indicated in this menu.

THE CONDITIONS
The battle is intended to run for 70 days until the 17th of September, 1940 at which time the German high command decides to postpone the invasion of England indefinitely. Should the battle run this long, the RAF is declared as the winner. There are a few other ways in which the battle may end before this point:


  • The Luftwaffe lose too many pilots during the battle
  • The morale of the British people falls so low that Churchill is ousted from government and Britain makes terms with Germany
  • The RAF is completely destroyed as a fighting force and is unable to defend England's shores


TIME ZONES
There will be 6 time zones in which the battle will be available for 4 hours at a time. These are (in order in which they will become activated):

Australian Russian Eastern Europe Western Europe North America East North America West

The first official day of the campaign will begin on Friday July 10th at 7pm Eastern Australian Time (reference city: Sydney, NSW, Australia). For reference, this will be Friday, July 10th at 5am Eastern Daylight Savings Time (reference city: Toronto, Ontario, Canada).

Every 4 hours, a new time zone will launch and the battles will continue persistently from that point on. Therefore, those players wishing to participate in the North American East campaign will find that their campaign will always be available to them at 9:00pm Eastern Daylight Savings Time.

The reason for the separate campaigns is to allow players of one time zone not to worry that their campaign is being fought and lost while they sleep or work. It's potentially somewhat confusing, but note that you can always check which campaign timezone you are in by viewing the mission briefing in the game.

---

There are no further rules to be adhered to other than to be respectful of your fellow players on both sides, make every effort to help those who need it, and have fun! The server will be running with a password during the official campaign and it is: bob75th

Virtual No.401 Squadron would like to dedicate this map and the next 70 days to the brave pilots and crews on both sides of the war who fought and died 75 years ago.

"... Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'"

- Sir Winston Churchill, June 18, 1940

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Wolverine
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Join date : 2012-01-03
Age : 36
Location : Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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