The Spitfire Mk XVI in Aces High II
Spitfires have always been popular in AH as the lineup has evolved and changed over time. They typically were liked for their versatility but traded off some speed and roll performance that didn’t make them elite at the most common altitudes. The Spitfire Mk XVI changes much of that overnight by bringing the speed up to average and making the roll above average. Possessing great fighting attributes up to about 20K, the Spitfire Mk XVI really gave a ride that could at minimum compete and in many cases dominate a fight.
The Spitfire Mk XVI is a tough plane to fight but an excellent one to be in. At the low-medium altitudes of most of the fights it is one of the most dominant and well suited aircraft. It may not be the outright best at any one thing but it’s very flexible in almost any type of fight which is why it’s so well suited. Certainly it can make any average pilot very dangerous and an Ace death on wings and so it is always a difficult opponent.
The Spitfire Mk XVI really provides a ride for the low to medium altitude ranges up to slightly over 20K. Most fights in AH are under 20K (really under 15K) which is perfect and hence why the Spitfire Mk XVI is such an effective aircraft. Speed is not outstanding but is a bit better than average with WEP. Cruise at sea-level is only 315mph, not even average, but with WEP that kicks up to 342mph which is just above average. The numbers improve with altitude, climbing to 336mph/363mph at 5K, 357mph/384mph at 10K, 368mph/386mph at 15K and 383mph/405mph at 20K. Above 20K there are better Spitfires, and other aircraft, suited to this high altitude work. Climb is very good through the same range, easily enough to match almost all aircraft though the decrease in wing-area on the Spitfire Mk XVI leaves it behind some of it’s Spitfire peers (Spitfire Mk XIV and Mk VIII are slightly superior at high altitudes). Climb-rate flattens out around 15K and drops quickly over 22K. Acceleration, linked to climb-rate, follows the same pattern and is very good at low altitudes. Fuel range has never been a strong-point with Spitfires though the situation has improved with later models that could also accept a droptank. In the case of the Spit XVI, you have 102 gallons of internal fuel which is only 38 minutes or so, even when you are at very low power settings. At military power, you are talking more like 19 minutes. I’d suggest the drop tank is almost mandatory, it adds almost 40% to your duration at full fuel and the drag penalty after dropping the tank is minimal. The Spitifire has also gotten an update to divide the internal fuel into two tanks, a Top and Bottom, with 58 and 44 gallons respectively. This is actually a pretty important change for the Spitfires, it means if you manage your fuel better if you keep track of it manually. With about 68 gallons remaining, manually switch to the top tank (the bottom burns first) and that will leave you 10 gallons as a reserve in your bottom tank. That can be useful if you tend to forget about your fuel and run out and can help if one tank takes a puncture, something that used to be fatal.
Aces High II Performance Charts
Fairly good, the Spitfire comes with only one option of a pair of wing-mounted .50 caliber machine guns (250rpg) and a pair of 20mm Hispano Mk II cannons (120rpg). The .50s are credible when the target is at convergence and also tend to create damage with some well placed hits. They do not tend to give really quick results but they have to be respected as they tend to hole fuel-tanks, radiators and oil-coolers. The 20mm Hispano cannons are very good, they offer superior ballistics to any other 20mm cannon in the game and hit amongst the hardest of the 20mm class of weapons. Hispanos have been respected in the game for a long time and any aircraft carrying a pair of them should be effective against fighter sized aircraft with even quick snapshots. Firing time is a bit light, 18 seconds for the .50’s and 11 seconds for the 20mm, enough for a few kills at least.
External options are better than earlier Spitfires with wing mounts for 250lb bombs or a pair of 3.5inch rockets. While basically a token attack ability, it is none-the-less something and gives some flexibility over the target to knock out light structures or go after lightly armored ground vehicles. On the centerline is also a mount which can carry a 500lb bomb or 30 gallon drop tank. Typically the drop tank is taken to provide some reasonable range but the bomb can be useful in close. Performance suffers at high aircraft weights and high drags so flying around with a bunch of ordnance is not great if you are fighting.
The Spitfire Mk XVI weighs in at only 6329lbs when totally unloaded (no fuel or ammo), loaded with fuel/ammunition 7,241lbs. The Spitfire doesn’t handle the weight too poorly although if you add on external ordnance you can quickly find yourself over 8,300lbs which is a problem. Turn rate is good though the clipped wingtips do give a noticeable reduction in turn-rate and an increase in radius. That effect becomes especially evident at high altitudes. Still, the Spitfire Mk XVI is at least average and at speed can tend to pull enough lead for a shot without too much trouble. Low speed handling is a bit less stable and seems to be a bit oversensitive in pitch in my experience. Don’t use flaps, they are really only for landing and the drag they produce is a real disadvantage. General performance and stability are very good over the whole speed range and roll rate is very crisp and direct, something different from all the other Spitfires which tend to feel laggy in roll. With WEP power, the Spitfire Mk XVI can maintain a turn or replace lost energy.
Fighting in the Spitfire Mk XVI
Easily one of the best aircraft in the game, the popularity of Spitfires in general was always high due to their good balance of abilities. The Spitfire Mk XVI addressed the two largest issues that Spitfires suffered from, some lack of roll rate and a low speed at low-medium altitudes. The Spitfire Mk XVI may not be the "best" aircraft in any one aspect of the game but it certainly is better than average at most.
Use the excellent power and responsiveness when fighting and try to keep the fights at medium or lower altitudes. A quick climb for some altitude is never a bad idea and the Spitfire Mk XVI is no different (though it climbs like a rocket so it doesn’t take long). Other full-span winged Spitfires will have slightly better turn rates, especially as altitude increases, so slow turn-fights are not a specific strength. Sustained turn-rates are good given the engine power and the instantaneous turn-rate is also very good. Try and use the excellent vertical performance, quick aileron response, and solid turn-rate to win angles for a shot. You should be able to match the energy potential of most opponents and probably build an energy advantage over time due to a generally low energy bleed of most Spitfires. Don’t hang around in turn-fights if they start to slow down, the likes of the Ki84, N1K2 and P-38’s can give you trouble as they tend to gain advantage as the speeds slow. Also try and avoid high-weight fights with external stores, most of the time people will carry a drop tank but potentially forget to drop it, it will create extra drag and decrease performance. Also save your WEP for use in the fight, the Spitfire Mk XVI is a different beast if you don’t have the extra power of WEP. Be careful not to overshoot your target, the Spitfire Mk XVI generates energy so quickly that it is a frequent mistake to blow right by an opponent if you make a mistake.
Defensively you probably have a lot of options but consider the initial situation to determine your goals. The Spitfire Mk XVI is not a fantastic extender if you decide to run though it is quick off the line for short sprints of speed. Recovering energy to even out a fight is not too difficult if you are smart and that can get you back into a fight on even terms. Quick roll is also a big asset, it tends to keep the enemy out of phase with your lift vector and cause you to be a very hard target. Maneuvers in the vertical are good, be they defensive like a split-S and if given even a little time to recover some energy/position, the Spitfire Mk XVI can turn back on the offensive. If presented the opportunity, quick snapshots can be dangerous to discourage enemies who hang around to get sloppy near you.
Fighting against the Spitfire Mk XVI
Be careful, it doesn’t take a fantastic pilot to make a Spitfire Mk XVI dangerous. It has such quick hitting power and can adjust so quickly to defensive maneuvers that it can be a real handful.
Always assume Spitfires you see are Mk XVIs unless you know better. If you get over-aggressive and in close with a Mk XVI you can quickly run into real trouble and not be able to escape. Pick your spot carefully and make your attacks count. Given the balance in the Spitfire Mk XVI several other aircraft will have either a speed or turn-rate/radius advantage if the speeds get slow. Spitfires are typically don’t take damage very well, they tend to get holed fuel tanks and lose radiators to even quick snapshots so don’t be afraid to spray a little to try and inflict damage. A damaged Spitfire tends to have very little time before the fuel runs out or the engine overheats which will force the Mk XVI pilot to be very aggressive knowing his time is running out. Give yourself some extra leeway to escape if things turn against you.
Getting jumped by a Spitfire Mk XVI is a bad situation so try and avoid the initial attacks with some hard maneuvers. If you have an opportunity to get in a snapshot, do so, as Spitfires tend to overshoot if they are not carefully being managed well (the huge energy building potential and tendency to attack with lots of alt/speed causes this). Many aircraft in the late war arena are still going to have an overall speed advantage if they can build a little time to extend from the Spitfire Mk XVI although the margin might be a bit slim. In general I try and point out on most aircraft a specific weakness that can be exploited but in the case of the Spitfire Mk XVI there isn’t any one thing specific.Be careful, the Spit XVI has an amazing roll rate. If you are in a rolling scissors with a Spit XVI try and get out of it , the roll rate of the Spit XVI makes it dangerous and in the hands of a veteran you are almost certain to end up on a chute if you try and fight its fight.
It’ll come down to pilot skill and appropriate selection/execution of maneuvers that suit your aircraft. The margins are likely to be small and it’ll be a tough fight.
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