The Spitfire Mk I in Aces High II
A very early model Spitfire, this aircraft was added along with a number of like era aircraft to fill out an early war Battle of Britain role. Matched against a like era aircraft it is competitive but matched against the average Late War Main Arena plane it is seriously outclassed. Add to that a plethora of other Spitfires that can be flown and the Spitfire Mk I is something that only sees a handful of total sorties in a month and most of those are probably through error in selection in the hanger. If nothing else though, it shows exactly how far aircraft design came in the very short span of WW2.
Like most early war aircraft, the Spitfire I is totally under-equipped in terms of engine performance. Top speed of the Spit I is only 291mph (with WEP/ 278mph without) at sea-level, increasing linearly ( 4mph/1,000ft altitude gain ) to 353mph at 19K (comparing non-WEP numbers). Top speed is 360mph at 17.5K and WEP seems to add less and less to top speed as altitude increases (though the charts don't seem to show that clearly). Climb rate is around 3,000ft/minute at low levels, decreasing to 2,500ft/minute by 10K. Without WEP you can only figure on 2,600ft/minute up to 10K. WEP time is short, only 5 minutes, yet is so important to getting maximum performance. Acceleration is already poor at low speeds (bottom 5 in the game), but the plane really struggles to pick up speed over 250mph. A key feature is the lack of a 0G carburettor, which means that if you pull any negative Gs the engine will cut out, restarting after positive Gs are re-applied. This makes it common for the engine to cut in and out when in combat, a bad thing if you are trying to put out the maximum amount of power all the time. Fuel is contained in 2 tanks, top and bottom, unlike most Spits which only have 1 tank. This gives better damage resistance if one tank is punctured, something that seems to happen all too frequently in most Spitfires. Fuel duration is 35 minutes with no option to include a drop tank to extend range. Typically this should be long enough though as you will not be wanting to transit the Spit I very far to find a fight.
Aces High II Performance Charts
Firepower is stock early Spitfire - eight .303s mounted four to each wing with 300 rounds/gun. The .303s fire very quickly and you can burn through all 300 rounds in no time. Ballistics aren't that bad although at medium or greater range the hitting power drops dramatically even if you manage to land hits. The .303 simply doesn't have the mass to really punch through armour or cause serious damage with only a couple of hits like cannons may. There is also the fact that the guns in any one wing are spread along its length, all outside the propeller arc, but one being out almost at the tip. Typically, you will need to hold your prey in your sights, at a relatively short convergence, in order to put enough hits into him to cause any serious damage. Snapshots are unlikely to have any effect unless you are very lucky. Convergence is also a very important issue as you should try and focus your firepower into a very small zone, or point, at a reasonable range (350 or less). If you can get someone into your sights though and near your convergence setting then you can usually get a lot of hits very quickly. Quantity has a quality all its own.
The targets you'll want to engage least are P-47s and P-38s. These two fighters are among the toughest widely used fighters of AH II, and it will take nearly 500 rounds sometimes just to break a wing on them. Go for other Spitfires and A6Ms first since they can't take as much punishment.
Maneuverability is just not like a Spitfire in some ways. If you've spent any time in something like a Spit V or Spit IX you will know that some people consider flying a Spitfire to be easy mode, with no real shortcomings: gentle handling down to insanely low speeds and good high speed handling. The Spitfire Mk I simply feels heavy though and not very much like other Spit models. The Spitfire I is best between 160mph and 380mph though, with a good turn rate and a mediocre roll rate. Above 380mph the Spit I becomes quite heavy and while the speedometer doesn't show it, above 480mph the Spitfire is compressed and in real trouble. One good thing, it's extremely difficult to rip the wings off a Spitfire and the Spit I doesn't seem to ever build up enough speed to cause it to happen even with the speedometer wrapped off the end.
One major constraint to the maneuvrability of the Spitfire Mk I is that any significant negative G force will make the engine cut out temporarily.
Among good turners, perhaps only the Zero (Zeke) is equal to the Spit I. If fighting against a Zeke, don't be afraid to drop your flaps. You will drop down to 60-80 knots, but the Spit I can handle it and you can turn right with a Zeke.
Fighting in the Spitfire Mk I
You need to be a bit of a masochist or looking for a real challenge. Offensively you are going to have your work cut out for you and defensively you are likely to be a pretty easy target for anyone who realizes they are facing a Spitfire Mk I.
Offensively, people might not notice you are a Spit I until very late, when they hear the .303s peppering them. Even then they still may think you are a Spit V that is just crummy with the aim of cannons. That can be an advantage because people are going to give you more respect than you probably deserve. Try and come in with a little bit of altitude to spare and use that to convert to speed when you need it. If you can't gain that extra speed then you are unlikely to catch anything other than an opponent who is already caught in a circling style defense. The Spit I actually performs pretty well with altitude so don't be afraid to take it up a bit, though not too high where some real high performance high altitude fighters will give you a tough time. 10K is probably good, giving you about a 330mph cruise speed. You need to get in close and saddle up, be very careful to watch your rear because you are likely to chase people in circles for longer than you would in other aircraft. Try and ensure that you reach your convergence settings when you open fire for maximum effect. Some people will simply run from .303s and accept taking dozens of hits that they know will have little or no impact on their plane. Always try and keep positive Gs on your plane too, if only slight, just to ensure you keep the motor from cutting out. Many enemies who realize you are a Spit I will push over in negative Gs (just like they did in real life) and leave you in the dust while your engine sputters and stops. One of the most frustrating things with some of these early war planes is, you may do all the work and still not get the kill. Even if you corner someone, wear them out and get on their tail, you may not land enough hits or do enough damage before someone else in a multi-cannon aircraft makes one pass and gets the kill. Set your convergence close (150 or 175 feet) and wait until you are at that distance or better to maximise the impact of your fire.
Defensively, you don't have that many options so the best thing to do is try and stay out of trouble. Most Spit pilots use a simple turning defense, which can also work in the Spit I, though you don't have as much engine power to work with. This tends to make the turning defense an altitude burning exercise over time. Usually this results in a merry-go-round look, with a string of people all chasing each other in circles. You really can't afford to take any hits as the Spit I is not very tough and a single well timed cannon shot might break you apart. You simply can't run away and diving away is often dangerous as your acceleration is not all that good (very poor). The Spit I does retain energy fairly well though so a few violent maneuvers are not likely to cost you as much energy as in some other planes. The Spit I is also very typically slow, so overshoots are quite common by enemies who mis-judge their closure.
Fighting against the Spitfire Mk I
It should be easy to beat a Spit I though you need to be a little careful of it. The Spitfire is very easy to fly and can thus remain in control under pretty awful conditions and at very low speeds. Don't let the Spit I dictate the fight though, be patient and work him over. Try and identify a Spit I as soon as you can so you know what you are dealing with. Look for the black nose spinner, all other Spitfires have a white nose cap.
Attacking a Spitfire Mk I should be easy, just be careful because it can be a slippery opponent and maneuver at very low speeds. Play the energy game with it though and it simply won't be able to keep up. Use superior acceleration and climb and run the Spitfire uphill to bleed off its energy. BnZ'ing is a good idea as you know it can never really come up to attack you and won't easily replace energy it uses to avoid your attacks. Don't Head On anything unless you really have to, but the Spit I is about the best HO you can hope for. It has lots of guns, but they are weak and poorly spaced for good convergence. Take your shot and break off as early as you can, you are much more likely to damage him than he is you. Always respect a Spitfire Mk I though since you won't know it is not a more dangerous model until you get close enough to identify it. All Spits, except the perk ones, carry the same icon. Usually the best thing to do is treat the Spit I like a Spit V for all intents.
Defensively, don't turn with it, keep your speed high, and dive for low levels if you need to escape. Try and get the Spitfire fast, that is where it is least effective. Anything over 400mph is taking the Spit I out of prime airspeeds and it is pretty average. If he is diving faster than that he is likely having problems with control so rolling and changing heading might be enough to defeat any possibility of a guns shot for him. The Spitfire is worst at low level and cannot sustain a chase or escape run. You can get aggressive pretty quickly if you can build up a little separation from a Spit that allows you to gain some energy, then come back and go offensive. Scissors is often good against a Spit I as they don't roll overly well though try and keep the speeds high. Another important point is to get the Spit into negative Gs as much as possible and as long as possible. The engine on the Spit cuts out under any negative Gs so effectively during that time it is an unpowered glider. A couple of seconds of stopped engine and the Spit I is likely far behind you. Don't Head On a Spit I unless you really have to and even then break off by D600 in order to avoid the zillions of 303 bullets he's spraying around. Usually if you can avoid the first attack by a Spit I you can immediately dictate the fight or at least leave the area. The Spit I isn't going far since it isn't fast and you can always build some quick distance and energy and come back to be the attacker and not the defender.
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