The Bf 109G-14 in Aces High II
The Bf109G-14 was introduced when the overall 109 lineup was revised a few versions back. The rationalization adjusted the 109 lineup to remove some hybrids that had existed prior. Some find the G-14 an awkward aircraft with the K-4 being better in a late war arena while the G-6 represents a high-end mid-war aircraft. Still, the G-14 is a pretty strong performer in its own right especially if you keep it light or can offer more external options than the K-4 if you want to really bump up the firepower.
The Bf109G-14 falls in a difficult spot in the plane-set, not really elite in the class of some other late war rides but still pretty capable at medium altitudes and lower. Flown to its strengths it’s a very capable aircraft with great firepower, acceleration and climb but with issues related to maneuverability and only an average top speed compared to its typical peers. Still, at the hands of a good pilot who manages his energy and maneuvers within the limits of his aircraft, the G14 can be an effective ride.
The G14 has good engine performance, similar to the K4 though tuned for slightly lower altitudes. The best altitudes tend to be more between 15-20K, making it more of a low-medium altitude performer. The engine is so powerful that even with autopilot the G14 will not track entirely straight, pulling to one side. Sea-level speed is 317mph, 357mph with WEP, and the internal ordnance choice doesn’t make any real difference. Notice that the WEP gives 40mph difference, a very important improvement, so use your WEP wisely. At 5K speed jumps up to 342/381mph, about 5mph/1K of altitude gain, WEP tops out at 404mph at 16K though military power continues to slowly climb up to 23K. External options hurt, adding either a drop-tank or cannon pods will rob you of 12mph at sea-level, 24mph if you add both. That type of speed loss will put the G14 at a serious disadvantage.
Climb rate is outstanding but follows the same basic pattern, a little over 4,000ft/min at sea-level, peaking at 4,850ft/min at only 6K, 4450ft/min at 10K, 3400ft/min at 20K. That equates to about 100ft/min drop for each 1K in altitude gain up to 20K. Above 20K it drops by 200ft/min and by 30K it’s down to only 1,400ft/min. You certainly don’t want to get caught in a climbing fight up high. These numbers are all at very low weights too, if you add weight/drag your values are not going to be as good. Acceleration follows climb rate, exceptional at low altitudes and slowly decreasing above 6K.
Fuel duration is similar to other 109s, 106 gallons internally with an optional 79 gallons in a centerline drop-tank. Most players will take the drop tank to extend their duration/range though pay a slight penalty in drag and weight, even after the drop-tank released.
Aces High II Performance Charts
Something that really sets the G14 apart is the number and type of options there are to increase over the basic internal gun armament. The basic package includes a 20mm Mg151/20 cannon with 150 rounds plus a pair of cowl mounted Mg131 13mm guns with 300 rounds/gun. This is a decent combo, it’s reasonably effective against most fighters but you’ll find it doesn’t quite match a multi-cannon aircraft. The guns are all mounted very near centerline so concentration of fire is very good and medium ranges but further out the difference in the cannon velocity starts to really show. There is also another internal option that switches out the 20mm cannon for a 30mm version (Mk108 65 rounds). This certainly ups the overall hitting power but the 30mm in general fires more slowly and has poor ballistics. For newer players, the 30mm is a handful but the potential to disable/destroy a fighter with a single hit is very attractive. Consider sticking with the 20mm to start and loading the 30mm only if you think you’re going to run into bombers or less maneuverable targets (where it really excels). The 30mm adds about 100lbs of weight, all in the nose, which has a slightly adverse effect on handling though it’s not really that serious.
External options are much more numerous. The aircraft centerline can take either a 300L drop-tank (79 gallons) or a 250kg bomb. The bomb could be useful but most players will take the drop-tank as the 109s in general don’t have a lot of fuel duration so the extra 79 gallons really helps. Of more controversy are the wing-mounted options, either a pair of podded 20mm Mg151/20 cannons (125rpg) or a pair of WGr21 rockets. Loading the podded cannons is not too unusual and certainly improves your snapshot with the extra volume of fire. It also adds a crippling edge if you plan to face bombers or intend to strafe structures though the penalty in drag and weight is very noticeable. The WGr21 rockets are interesting but even with practice they are very difficult to use against even bomber formations. Given that most people carry the drop-tank, adding all the other options causes the G14 to top out over 8,500lbs which has a dramatic negative impact on performance.
The G14’s weight can vary so much it’s hard to make any general comments but even at the lightest weights the G14 is not good. Starting out at 6,660lbs (25% fuel) the G14 is not good in turn rate or radius, falling in the bottom of the pack and second worst to the K4 of the 109s. Put the 30mm cannon on instead of the 20mm and it degrades a little but not too badly overall. The 30mm tends to make the aircraft feel a bit more nose heavy but not too seriously. It’s when you start to add the external options that problems really start. The drop-tank adds ~600lbs, the podded cannons another ~500lbs. For an overweight aircraft the addition of this additional weight is serious. The G14 also suffers from the same issues related to speed as the K4, it has a very narrow range of speeds where it doesn’t experience some sort of limitation. The weight rises to 8,533lbs if you load up all the external options. Turn rate and radius are not good even at light loads, so overloading the aircraft makes things even worse.
Fighting in the Bf 109G-14
Two warnings when flying the G-14. The G14 is not another K4 with more external options, it has a lower prime altitude band and doesn’t have the same engine power to pull you out of trouble in a pinch. Also, the G-14 can quickly overload itself with external options, fight the temptation to think 30mm and podded cannons is the only way to go. Fully loaded like that, as discussed above, the G-14 can be unwieldy and downright difficult to fight. There are the times/places to load up though, bomber hunting with some warning to get to altitude, a 30mm, twin 20mm plus some 13mm thrown in can give great results.
The term “interceptor” can be well used to describe the G14. That doesn’t mean you cannot get into some good-ole-fashion close-in scraps in one, it’s just that given the balance of abilities the G14 is more likely to be effective in a hit-and-run type of fight. The G14 is probably not well suited to newer pilots - other 109s handle much better with more flexibility. The G14, with its narrow performance band, not too fast nor too slow, makes this a relatively poor choice in terms of introductory aircraft.
Offensively you need to pay very close attention to your situation and let the aircraft's strengths - firepower and climb - work for you. While those abilities are not unique with aircraft like the La7 and Spit XVI around, the G14 offers the ability to rack up quick kills with the 30mm. It's well suited to the anti-bomber role: with cannon pods and 30mm you can make quick work of a formation of bombers in a single pass if you pick your shots well. Stay as light and fast as you dare in order to accomplish your goals, take shots when the opportunities present themselves and don’t over-commit to a bad position. The G14 is not good at catching up on angles to try and generate a shot so consider a basic 90 degree rule (in any sort of flat turn). If you haven’t built up enough lead in the first 90 degrees of an attack turn, then you probably won’t unless you have a serious energy advantage or can change tactics. Use vertical as much as possible and keep out of flat turns with almost anything. Be careful of the overshoot, the G14 has enough power that the drag won’t slow you down as quickly as someone who can drop a bunch of flaps (like the US birds) at high speed. Don't be shy about using the cowl guns, if only to remind someone you are back there, as the 13mm stand a reasonable chance of causing some damage or at least making the enemy think you are.
Defensively, hopefully you are as light as possible, but use the climb, acceleration and relatively small size to make yourself a hard target. Use a variety of defensive maneuvers but pure vertical dives and slow-speed stall fights are not likely the best choices. The G14 is not a very “tough” aircraft so tends to take damage poorly, especially against cannons, so you want to avoid any sort of hits you can. Use the “fear” of the 30mm to try and keep the enemy honest since he won’t know if you are actually carrying the 30mm or not (and usually people do even if it’s a bad choice). Head-Ons are risky - even with the 30mm you are still likely to take critical damage in return, but in a pinch it’s an option. Don’t waste your cannon rounds on low percentage shots; your cowl 13mms are plenty to put some fear in an opponent and so don't pass up an opportunity to use them (they have lots of ammo). There is certainly no guaranteed advantage the G14 has in most fights, it’ll come down to selecting the most appropriate defense and in the execution. Break-style turns are not typically all that brisk at heavy weights in the G14 but in a nice speed range between 250mph-350mph, they can be effective. Much slower and you’ll feel the relatively low lift and plow as much as turn, through the corner.
Fighting against the Bf 109G-14
You’ll always have to assume the G14 is a K4 until it gets close enough to know better but the G14 is certainly not a slouch so must be respected. Most G14 pilots will take the 30mm cannon and you’ll have to aggressively avoid any potential opportunity the opponent might have to take a shot.
If attacking a G14, be very careful of getting into an equal E position unless you intend to take the fight slow and can out-turn the G14. Not many opponents can out E a late 109 model, at best you’ll be at par, but that can spell really bad news. Watch out for a classic 30mm style defense, the Head-On. You’ll often see aircraft with big firepower tending to point their nose at you as an attempt to scare you off, you should respect that and not risk taking a 30mm hit that would end the fight quickly. Try and identify if the G14 you are attacking is carrying gunpods - if so the performance will be vastly inferior to one that is light. Heavy, the G14 can present far fewer options in defense so you may be able to dictate the fight a little easier. If you can’t tell though, then try and keep your energy up and work against the marginal turn-performance of the G14. The G14 tends not to be a good angles fighter, it’s not very flexible in speed range where it turns well and it also has a very narrow stall envelope. If you can keep the pressure up on a relatively inexperienced G14 pilot they will tend to make mistakes and lose control, if only briefly, but that might be all you need. If the G14 manages to break contact with you, be very aware that they can come back quickly, staying away a short time to put on some quick altitude/energy and then coming back to be the aggressor vs. defender.
If attacked by a G14, most aircraft can use quick changes in direction and break-turns to make nearly impossible situations for the G14 pilot, especially if they are packing the 30mm cannon. You never want to get caught flying straight because it only takes 1 lucky shot from a 30mm to end a fight. Be careful about getting slow, a slow target in a break turn can be a much easier shot than something that is fast which would require a lot more luck/skill to hit. Several aircraft can also exploit some of the average, or below, general characteristics of the 109s in general and the G14 is no different. The 109s tend to not be very stable at slow speed, they stall rather abruptly, then roll at average or worse at low or high speeds. There is a narrow band of speeds in the 225-250mph range where the G14 is pretty good though. Do not get into climbing fights unless you really believe you can out-climb the G14, which is unlikely, but some aircraft can go very nose high, matching the climb, but then combine in a spiral to push the G14 into a low speed stall. A rope-a-dope type zoom climb is also bad news, it typically will end up with you hanging on your prop while the G14 fires 30mms up at you from close range. That’s a bit like being a piñata.
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