The P-47D-25 in Aces High II
By the model number, D25, this should be a intermediate P-47 between the D11 and D30 models. In some ways it may be although it has a character all it's own while still retaining most of what a P-47 should be. It is less maneuverable than the D11 but is almost 1,000lb's heavier so that isn't surprising. It has more engine power though it doesn't completely compensate for the weight increase and has a lower top speed. Overall though, it is a P-47, big, tough as nails, and great with speed.
Engine power in the D25 is uprated but not quite enough to handle the extra weight of this aircraft over the D11. Sea-level cruise is only 329mph (340mph with WEP) but increases smoothly with altitude improvement. As with any P47, the more altitude the better, and the D25 has a 370mph cruise at 15K and 400mph at 25K. Top speed is around 420mph at 25K with WEP. Acceleration is not good in level flight, being average at high altitudes and in the bottom third of aircraft at low levels. Climb rates are also not stellar, around 2900ft/min at low levels but barely decreasing with gains in altitude. Any external loadings will impact these numbers even more. Fuel duration is excellent on internal fuel, 45 minutes, and there is the option to carry as many as three addition drop tanks externally although these only add 9 minutes/tank. Loaded completely though, the P-47D25 has a range that approaches that of the P-51. WEP time is short, only 5 minutes, so save it for combat, even if that means your climb/acceleration in the early parts of your fight are slower.
Aces High II Performance Charts
If you can't have lots of cannons then lots of .50's will more than do the job. The D25 can mount either 6, or more commonly 8, .50 calibre machineguns in the wings. Each option also has two ammo loadings, either a 267 rounds/gun light load or a 425 rounds/gun heavy load. I think people go for the full package though, eight guns with heavy ammunition, but this does detract a bit from overall performance, though the difference is probably marginal . I tend to like the eight gun with light ammo package, it still gives all the firepower and enough ammunition for me to get at least 4 or 5 kills. Convergence settings are by preference, the eight guns give you all the options, either a point close, a point far, or a zone (which can be of considerable size). I tend to go for a point long, usually because I know I tend to strafe stuff and want the longer range. Also, the close proximity of the guns to one another in each wing (each bank) gives good convergence by nature. Honestly, even at wrong convergence, the guns spit out so many shells that targets tend to get cut to pieces. Simply aim in front of the target, pull the trigger, and let him fly through the stream, chances are what emerges (if anything) is pretty much shredded. Externally, the P47 have several options and combinations to choose from so makes a good attack aircraft. The wings have two mounting points for bombs up to 1,000lbs in size and the fuselage can take another bomb up to 500lb's. Drop tanks, if selected, replace spots reserved for bombs. You can also attach six 4.5 inch rockets, each roughly equivalent to a 100lb bomb. Total ordinance (including guns) is around 7,000lbs of destructive value, a little behind the P47D30 (~8,000lbs) but more than enough to put it in the top 3 or 4 attach aircraft in the game.
Brute force, that's what describes most P-47's and the D25 is of the same pedigree. The P-47's all handle high speeds very well with crisp roll and responsive controls up into the extremes (550mph+). Low speeds tend to produce a lot of wallowing and push, the wings unable to generate sufficient lift to give better response. Unfortunately, most people also vastly overload their P-47's, carrying lots of fuel and maximum ordinance, which impacts performance even more. A six gun, light ammo/light fuel, P-47 can actually be a very dangerous opponent but a bloated one tends to be easy pickings. Turn rate is generally not considered all that great although with careful use of flaps and light loads can improve the situation a lot. Energy retention is generally very good and often forms the basis of many P-47 tactics used by better pilots, it's just that building energy is not an area where the P-47 excels.
Fighting in the P-47D-25
A good aircraft, you really need to be careful that you don't fall into several traps that are typical to bad P-47 pilots. You should build you energy situation (speed/altitude) before the fight, the P-47 is one of the worst aircraft if you try and play catch-up in the energy game. That's why the P47D25 is generally considered a BnZ'r, that's where you use your high speed handling (in the dive), excellent snapshot firepower, and good zoom climb to the fullest. The P-47 can, if light, sometimes be flown a little more like a turn-fighter but generally isn't considered good in that role. Views from the cockpit of the D25 are better than the D11 (much) and the forward view isn't bisected by the glass-seam (like D11). The P-47's in general also make good slashing style attackers, building lots of speed from a good dive, then cutting through a pile of enemy aircraft, firing at any who stumble into it's path, then passing out the other side of the fight and regaining altitude/energy. While it can be tempting to run WEP a lot, don't, you really need that extra power for combat. Unfortunately, this places you in a realm of even worse climb/acceleration early in your flight. Don't fight uphill, by that I mean if you are only matching, or slightly superior, in energy and the opponent starts climbing in his maneuvers, you might be in trouble. Your initial mass may help you overcome your climb rate problems early but not for long, you will likely find yourself floundering around with no speed while watching the enemy climb above you.
In the attack role, the P47D25 gives good swing-role performance, strong enough to take some punishment from ground fire yet carrying enough ordinance to make a serious contribution to the attack efforts. Try and not leave unbalanced loads on the aircraft and don't carry any more ordinance that you really need. All too often people carry maximum everything, costing themselves upwards of 1,000ft/min in climb and possibly more than 40mph in speed. Those are serious penalties to pay unless you really require all the ordinance. A load of wing mounted bombs, 50% internal fuel, and a drop tank, gives you more options to lighten up quickly for possibly air-combat. A lighter option of the centerline 500lb, plus two droptanks (even dropping one immediately if you don't need it), with 50% internal can often accomplish the same thing.
Defensively, you don't want to get caught low and slow in a P-47, least of all the D25. Your chances of being able to accelerate out of trouble are basically nil. The P-47's in general can take quite a licking of damage but with all the multi-cannon birds in AH you simply can't assume it's ok to take a hit or two. Lighten up as much as you can and build speed for maneuvering. Set yourself a low "deck" after which you consider all actions defensive (i.e. your whole goal is to egress at that point regardless of what is happening around you). Don't wait too long or set the deck too low, typically it should be around 5,000ft in order to give sufficient dive potential. 0G push-overs are excellent, they remove any lift generating requirement and can actually accelerate the P-47 quite well. 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. The D25 is slower at low altitudes than the D11 or D30 and extended chases by the enemy are more likely to end up with you being caught. 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 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-25
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 D25 is poor, amongst the worst in the game for a fighter. Every defense should be an attempt to bleed away some altitude and speed from the D25, 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 D25 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. The D25 is slightly slower at most altitudes than other P-47's so should be easier to catch if given a chance for a long pursuit.
Offensively, the P-47 is a big target and when forced defensive and turning it tends to bleed away speed quickly. The D25 is neither a great energy fighter nor a good turner if still heavy, 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 but if you've caught the bogie while he's 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. The D25 is less of a turn-fighter though with the extra weight hurting the turn-rate.
Often, for reasons of the D25's use in ground attack, you may find him heavily loaded with bombs/rockets and can sucker punch him quickly before he decides to drop his external stores. Honestly, at the first sign of trouble or lack of advantage a P-47 should dump anything that is weigh, or slowing, him down. If he doesn't hit him quickly as his speed will be low (as much as 30mph slower with full weapons) as compared to when he is light.
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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