Let´s start with an already known plane from older versions: The Heinkel He 111 has been in Battlegroup42 for some time now. We were able to replace our old model with the excellent new model which Jourein once created for Battlegroup:Frontlines but which never made it ingame. It was skinned by Postman.
The Heinkel He 111, one of the standard bombers of the German Luftwaffe, was created in the mid 1930´s and was based on a civilian plane. Since the He 111 was faster than most of the single-seat fighter planes of this time it wasn´t equipped with heavy defensive armament. During its first combat sorties with Legion Condor in the Spanish Civil War this concept worked quite well, but when World War II started a new generation of faster single-seat fighter planes showed up which could easily shoot down the He 111. The He 111 suffered horrific losses, especially during the Battle of Britain and on the Eastern Front, forcing the Luftwaffe to fly sorties mostly during the night. In 1943 the He 111 was actually obsolete. But since the Germans didn´t manage to develop a worthy successor it had to stay in service until the end of the war. The He 111 was also used in other roles such as reconnaissance plane and torpedo bomber against Allied freighter convoys.
The next plane we´re showing you today was also created in the 1930s. The single-seat fighter plane Bloch MB.152 now supports our French troops. The model had been created and skinned some time ago by SethSoldier, but wasn´t finished by him. This task was taken over by Cavesloth (model), Sarge31FR (code) and RuppDee (cockpit) and has resulted in an impressive model.
The Bloch MB.152 was armed with two Hispano-Suiza HS-404 20mm cannons and two MAC-34 7,5mm machine guns. It was an improved version of the MB 151, its maiden flight was in December 1938 and deployment to the French air force started in March 1939. 488 MB.152s had been built when the German attack on France started, and in May of 1940, although inferior in its flight characteristics to the BF 109, they achieved some successes against the Luftwaffe. Especially its stability and ruggedness helped the pilots to compensate the drawbacks in aerial battle a little. Approximately 150 German planes were shot down by the Bloch squadrons, with 84 own losses. The Vichy French air force later used the remaining planes until they were replaced with the better Dewoitine D.520.
The last plane we´re showing you today found its way into our mod as part of the trade agreement with FHSW mod. It´s the Aichi B7A Ryusei, code named "Grace" by the allies. This plane replaces the Aichi D3 "Val" on our late war maps in the Pacific.
The Aichi B7A Ryusei undoubtedly represents a highlight of Japanese aircraft design in World War II. Its design started in 1942 as a carrier based dive- and torpedo bomber, but at the time when it entered mass production the Japanese navy no longer had aircraft carriers to launch it from. Therefore the 105 build planes had to be used from land bases. The Aichi B7A had inverted gull wings like the American Corsair to give clearance for the propeller without requiring the use of long main undercarriage legs. Its flight dynamics were comparable to American planes like the Curtiss Helldiver. Additionally it featured self-sealing tanks, unlike most of the other Japanese planes. Its armament of two 20mm cannons and up to 1800 kg of bombs or two torpedoes made it a dangerous opponent, but it was unable to influence the course of war.
That´s it for today. The completion of the new version 1.6 of Battlegroup42 is advancing fast, and we can actually tell you that we will top even the superlatives of past releases. We´re far from having shown you all the new content which awaits you, so let yourself be surprised by our next news.