The P-47D-11 in Aces High II
The P-47D11 is probably the least popular P-47 model from month to month. The main reason is the lack of the external options of the other P-47 models and a rather awkward forward view through a split front windscreen. It really does share most of the attributes of the other P-47s though and in some ways is a bit better because of it's slightly lighter weight. Really, there is nothing "light" about a fighter at 13,500lbs though. It is tough, has great high altitude performance, massive firepower, and remains totally controllable at warp speeds. It does suffer though in acceleration, climb, and when slow can feel a little clumsy. Still, the P-47 can be a formidable foe and works perfectly as a BnZ style fighter.
Don't rely on the P-47D11's engine to get you out of trouble. Top speed at sea-level is only 333mph (343 with WEP) which is low average and acceleration is in the bottom third of aircraft in the game at low levels. Climb rate is also non-spectacular at 2,900ft/minute though it only marginally decreases with altitude unlike some other aircraft. Improvements in top speed are fairly linear up to a ceiling of around 27K where the P-47D11 can pull an impressive 410mph which cruising. Acceleration at higher altitudes is also better, being more towards the middle of the pack. Range on internal fuel is 38 minutes plus the option to add another 9 minutes with a drop tank, shortest of all P-47 models. Considering that the standard tactic of the P-47 is a climb to higher altitudes, range can be a bit of an issue if you don't take enough fuel in the hanger. You don't need to climb into the nosebleed seats though as the P-47D11 is fairly respectable at about 15K, having a cruise of 375mph while also giving enough altitude to use in a dive to pick up speeds that are even higher. Remember to save your WEP time for combat though and ditch the external fuel tank as soon as you use it up. The external tank will be drained very quickly and the additional drag it imposes should be taken care of as soon as it is empty. Remember though that the P-47 feels slow because of the weight, so anything you can do to take that away helps. While a level acceleration run seems slow, a 0G push-over into a dive will actually accelerate pretty well. Also, the weight, once moving quickly, can be used to great effect in zoom climbs to recover the energy in altitude.
Aces High II Performance Charts
Where the standard in the game tends to be around four heavy machine guns the P-47 offers the option for six and even eight 50 calibre weapons. Sure, they aren't cannons but simply put there is something to be said for volume of fire. Each gun has the option for either 267 rounds/gun or 425 rounds/gun though I've found the light ammo load tends to be enough for me. It depends on what your purpose is though, for strafing the heavier load might be more appropriate but will double the ammunition weight on your plane. The six gun option is pretty decent but doesn't quite match the spectacle of eight. The guns are mounted mid-wing in a fairly tight package so convergence decisions tend to vary. Some people like a longer point convergence, others more of a zone, but I tend to feel the volume of fire allows a more distant convergence point to be set and thus I can take some longer ranged shots. Snapshots, high-deflection, crossing shots, you name it, take whatever shot you have especially if you've decided to load up on the heavy ammunition load. The eight gun loadout is almost like a saw and can quickly dis-member parts from enemy aircraft even at strange angles or short shots. With the heavier ammunition load you can also choose to simply shoot infront of enemy aircraft and have them fly through the stream with devestating effects. External ordinance is highly limited and for dedicated ground attack work one of the other P-47 models will offer far more options. The only real negative is that the windscreen has a seam right int he middle of the line of sight which makes your forward view seem off-center a bit.
Of the P-47s, the D11 is the most manueverable and the most stable. Something about the later bubble canopy P-47's gives a better view from the cockpit but also seems to have lost some of the satbility of the plane, especially at lower speeds. I think the D11's maneuverability is somewhat under appreciated though because most P-47's are fought at high weights where they before much worse. I really wouldn't consider the P-47 as a turn-fighter at lower altitudes where too many planes should be able to quickly overwhelm it. At altitudes over about 15K though the P-47 starts to shine as a turnfighter against many opponents. 109's and 190's really start to suffer against the P-47 at higher altitudes. The P-47 does have maneuvering flaps that can be used to improve performance but as in other aircraft they will quickly sap speed in extended use. While slow speed handling can be a little unsettling, high speed handling is another story. The handling of the P-47 at speeds over 400mph is excellent and a P-47 can be taken to speeds in excess of 550mph without any real trouble. This makes extending diving typically not a problem unless you are trying to break the speed of sound. Roll rate is also great at speed, with reversal of roll not a problem. Typically, this high speed handling is the reason that most people use the P-47 in a BnZ style of fight, using very high speeds while under full control to take their shot and escape.
Fighting in the P-47D-11
Offensively, the P-47D11 is a great BnZ'r. The keys to a good BnZ'r are excellent high speed maneuvering (usually roll), strong instantaneous firepower, and good zoom-climb (to recover for your next run). The P-47 is exactly that and the D11 model fits in well. A climb above the fight will afford a good diving speed advantage while strong roll control and eight 50's allows you to position yourself on target and take deadly shots at sometimes difficult angles or closing rates. Post attack, a vertical zoom, aided by the heavy mass, tends to carry you nice and high back into position for your next attack. The keys really are to keep you speed up through the pass, make adjustments, and open fire with maybe a little more range than if you had tougher guns to aim. Turn fighting is not really advised though the D11 is the P-47 that can take the best shot at playing turn-fighter. When light on fuel, ammunition, and with the smaller gun package, the D11 can be a decent turn-fighter. Use flaps (only 1-2 notches maximum) to get firing solutions and then let the guns do their work. The first notch of flap can be used right up to about 425mph.
Another good use of the P-47D11 is in a slash attacking style, climb away from the fight, dive early and then come level into the pile of enemy cons at high speed and snap-shot anything you can without having to maneuver too aggressively. Once out the other side of the enemy pile, go vertical to recover your altitude, reverse, and repeat. The P-47 can carry great speed and retain complete maneuverability, thus allowing you to setup your shots while giving enemy aircraft very little time to take defensive actions to avoid you. This is particularly effective if they are already engaged with someone else and you can predict their position early. This is a similar tactic that is successful in the Corsair models since the P-47 hides energy in speed very well, just like the corsair, giving enemies false security in your energy state. When in a classic bounce situation with 1 or 2 lower enemies below I tend to use the BnZ, but in a huge furball I tend to prefer the Slashing attack working from side to side of the furball, not penetrating deep into enemy territory before slashing back out towards friendlies.
Defensively the P-47D11 has fairly few options. A good idea is to set a low altitude ceiling for your combat and break off when you reach that altitude and head back towards base. A typical floor would be an altitude of maybe 5,000ft, at which time you dive in a 0G style pushover in order to get maximum acceleration, then roll till you are facing the friendly side of the fight, and dash away in that direction. The P-47 doesn't just dive, it could better be described as a plunge, and it is not unusual to take a P-47 well over 550mph in near vertical dives then pull out to use the momentum of all the mass to carry you away to safety. Of course, in order to use this tactic you have to have altitude, so don't wait until it is too late. There are several planes who can match the initial stages of a P-47's dive also if you are not accelerating efficiently (with WEP and 0G's) but it is unlikely they can sustain the dive angle, speed, and maneuverability that you have for long. In a pinch the P-47D11 can turn-fight to buy time for friendly help though this shouldn't be used as a defensive tactic unless your facing a single opponent in a rather poor turn-fighter. The P-47's are all tough and can take damage, though extended periods of damage should be avoided since it will eventually catch up to you. A couple of pings on a merge or lucky bogie shot are unlikely to seriously hamper a P-47 though.
One thing that a lot of P-47 drivers use in defensive is scissors; vertical, horizontal, or rolling. Proper use of scissors though is really based on accurate timing and predicting enemy response so practice is required to become good at scissoring. It also helps to have an overly aggressive, if there is such a thing, opponent. Part of the reason the P-47 can do scissors so well is roll-rate, and that it can take a hit and still fly. Bogies who spend all their E on one good shot may find it ineffective and have placed themselves in a position that the P-47 will get the next shot, and that's typically fatal. Never spend all your E to take a single shot on a P-47. Always plan that you may need 2 or 3 solid passes where you land hits before you fatally wound a P-47, even with heavy cannons or lots of guns at close ranges. P-47's don't seem to fall apart easily.
Fighting against the P-47D-11
All P-47's can be a bit of handful as they usually pack a lot of altitude, make high speed passes that give little reaction time, and then when you finally get into position, they nose over, dive like a stone, and race off towards friendly protection. It's a solid game-plan from their standpoint, a hit and run thing where they make the decision to get out of Dodge before things get too hot.
Defensively, you need to be very careful of P-47's regardless of variety since you can expect that 90% of the ones you will face will have 8 50's mounted in the wings. The briefest of snapshots is most likely fatal so you can't afford to present them with opportunities if at all possible. You can be sure the P-47 won't be shy about trying difficult to impossible shots either since lots of P-47's will also be packing the heaviest ammunition loadout of 425 rounds/gun. Unless you've been caught in the sights of a P-47 before and know what it's like you probably can't really appreciate the experience. If one gets you in his sights for more than a half second you pretty much ensure that you will be pilot killed, cut to pieces, and the pings from the hits will continue for an additional second or two when you find yourself back in the tower at a friendly airfield.
If the P-47 is above you then you should watch him closely for the signs of his initial dive towards you. It is unlikely you can out-dive him but ensure that you quickly build enough speed for violent maneuvers in defense. You don't want to find yourself a slow and easy target by climbing up to meet him. Don't try to give up too much position though and plan to try and recover whatever energy and altitude you expend in defense immediately after the P-47 passes. Start your defensive maneuvers slightly earlier since the P-47 is more likely to fire earlier than most other planes. Barrel rolls, increasingly sharp turns (to start to sucker them in and then get them to the point of black-out when they are in firing range), or slipping/sliding maneuvers tend to work best. Remember that if you are fast enough to black yourself out and the P-47 is faster and trying to pull increasing hard angles on you then there is a good chance he is also blacked-out, or very close.
After avoiding the attack, immediately try and position yourself back to a position of advantage, or at least decrease the disadvantage. Lots of P-47 drivers will pull extensive maneuvers to try for a shot, bleed far more energy than they though, and find themselves with less advantage to repeat an attack. The P-47 is not a strong climber and the D11 is the worst, amongst the poorest in the game for a fighter. Every defense should be an attempt to bleed away some altitude and speed from the D11, two things which it will be difficult for him to replace. Eventually you may find yourself able to take advantage in position or energy, or maybe force the fight into one that better suits you, such as a turn-fight in a superior turner.
Often though, the P-47D11 will simply dive away at great speed once initiative is lost. Catching one is unlikely in the dive although if he is a long way from help then several planes should easily catch him on a level run (especially if he has to dive all the way to sea level). Always be aware of his zoom potential though, he may be able to out-zoom a poor zoomer if you follow him and can't catch him in pure pursuit.
Offensively, the P-47 is a big target and when forced defensive and turning it tends to bleed away speed quickly. The P-47D11 is neither a great energy fighter nor a great turner, so decide which type of fight your plane is better at and then use that style to attack it. Turn-fighting tends to leave the P-47 the most helpless although the D11 is a better turner and if you've caught him light on ammo, guns, and fuel you might be surprised at how nimble he is. In a turn-fight, try to stay nose high on him and spiral climb, he can't follow and will eventually have to break off unless he began with more energy/speed than you thought. Don't get into a spiral dive to keep your own speed up as he will be able to maintain a good turn rate himself.
In an energy fight, try and use your acceleration and better climb rate to open up an E advantage. Don't merge into a twisting turn-fight at merge, extending instead up and away, then reversing high. Continue this until you have a clear energy advantage and then go on the aggressive attack. The energy fight in this situation is mostly a setup to getting into a BnZ position, or to force a turn-fight with more energy.
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