As some of you might know Boelcke was a famous german ace of WW1. He worte an essay on aerial combat that still is used today, although it might be a bit modified in recent years.
In this guide I?ll sum them up, and comment about them in relation to WoWp.
It is my hope that new pilots and veterans will take the lessons of Boelcke to heart and have use for them ingame.
1. Try to secure the upper hand before attacking. If possible, keep the sun behind you
Pretty clear here, Only attack from an advantage, which ingame usually is height, as of now the sun isn?t a big factor, so you can ignore it, but if you do want that little edge it might help you.
2. Always continue with an attack you have begun
Boelcke saw rookie pilots break off their attack too soon, because they thought they wouldn?t have a clear shot, because they turned away too fast, the enemy pilot had time to turn around and meet the rookie and get shots off at him. So ingame aswell keep approaching the target(s) you are going for. While you are on the offensive towards them they?ll have to think about you attacking them, which keeps them defensive, so you can follow them easier.
3. Open fire only at close range, and then only when the opponent is squarely in your sights
This is one of the rules you can ignore for just a little, Close range is still good, but not a mandate. It was a product of it?s time. Machineguns in WW1 weren?t all that accurate and didn?t have long range, so to help the rookies Boelcke instructed them to fire at close range to make the most out of their limited weaponry.
Now that that context is out of the way, you can still use this to your advantage ingame, because one of the biggest mistakes made by new players is fire too early.
Early tier Guns behave much like the planes Boelcke flown, so his advice still applies, but even at later tiers you see a lot of people spray machinegun fire at a target 1200m away. Not only is it out of range, it would put you at a disadvantage for two reasons:
Reason one: When you eventually do get in range, your guns might have overheated, so you can?t finish the job.
Reason two: You alert your opponent of your position and intention. This way you have lost the element of surprise, so he can turn and attack you.
Now as a rule of thumb machineguns can reliably hit things from 500m and cannons from 800m, so keep those numbers in mind, they might actually be useful for avoiding as well!
But to get a better feel for this, get to know your guns, know at what range you can reliably hit a target and don?t squeeze the trigger before that distance.
Because of the biggish ranges in WoWp, I said you can ignore this rule a bit.
As for aim, work on your aim, get that crosshair on the lead aiming point and compensate from there, just to learn. I see a lot of undershooting targets because people shoot when the crosshair is on target. Usually these are Mouse players, because the plane can?t keep the turn up, but still, just avoid shooting untill you have compensated for lead, else you might overheat when you do have the chance to shoot.
4. You should always try to keep your eye on your opponent, and never let yourself be deceived by ruses
Two words every pilot should know are described here: Situational Awareness. Know where your enemys are in relation to you, be aware of what they are trying to do, and at the same time know where your allies are. Yes this is in plural! This is actually the hardest skill you will have to develop, and it will help you immensly. Knowing where your enemys are makes you able to dodge their fire, or get an angle on them. Knowing where your allies are helps avoid colisions with them, but also where to get help if needed. I?m sure they appreciate an easy target, and believe me, if a few enemies are fixed on you those are dead meat if they meet your allies.
Personally I once drawn an entire enemy team towards my own. They were all low and on my tail, and they dropped out of the sky as soon as I got near my team, I didn?t survive, but it was a lot of fun, and a lot of easy kills for my team.
5. In any type of attack, it is essential to assail your opponent from behind
Easy one, if at all possible attack from behind, that?s where his guns aren?t pointing, so you are safe there. Offcourse this doesn?t apply to planes with tail guns, which do have guns pointing your way, so stay out of those arcs and you?d be safe.
6. If your opponent dives on you, do not try to get around his attack, but fly to meet it
This one is a bit counter intuitive, but as soon as you know why it will make sense. Boelcke saw rookies run from someone who dove on them, this made they rookie vulnerable for one pass, but also the setup after that from the aggressor. If you climb to meet someone who dives on you, you?ll stay in his gun range shorter, so you?ll have a bigger chance to survive, also, because you traded speed for height, you will have an easier time diving on your opponent because now he is lower than you. It forces him to act in a defensive manner, so you are in a better position than if you ran from the dive.
7. When over the enemy?s lines, always remember your own line of retreat
Not much of this can be used ingame, but it?s an extention of rule 4, if you know where your allies are, or your friendly AA guns, and a relatively clear way to get there, you can draw your enemies in a position were they are at a disadvantage.
Or when you are the last plane flying with superiority on your side, know where you can go where the enemy is not or won?t be soon. This way you can stay alive long enough for the counter to reach 100%
8. Tip for Squadrons: In principle, it is better to attack in groups of four or six. Avoid two aircraft attacking the same opponent
This is one that I will modify the most for the game, because this is a product of it?s time. WW1 pilots saw themselves as knights of the sky, and saw aerial combat as a kind of gentelmanly sport, so 1 on 1 fights were commonplace, and usually preferred because they were more sportsmanlike and held up the ideal of a lone knight fighting for glory.
Now 1 on 1 fights are silly because of rule 1, to refresh: Attack from an advantage. Having more then one guy focussed on a single plane takes him out quicker. More guns on target, or he?s distracted by a engaging an ally, so you can easily turn on him and take him out. Later in WW1 they realized this as well, and it was preferred to attack a target with more than one plane. So staying in a group is smart.
Now for the second part, Avoid more than 3 aircraft attacking the same opponent is the advice I would give, 2 is actually enough, but if a 3rd guy has a better shot, do take it, also ingame you can make flights up to 3 people, so if they co?rdinate, they can take out a single target quite fast. Also, more than that on a single target leaves a lot of others open for attack, as mentioned before, I had a whole team on my tail, and my team shredded most of them, because they were focussed on me, and didn?t know they were lured into an amush. So if you see that one enemy while there are 3 allies near him, don?t approach and search for another target, unless they ask for help, or 2 of them are Ground attack aircraft. In that last instance there is only 1 threat the enemy has to deal with, so giving him another thing to worry about is good.
Well that is it for now, and I do appreciate healty discussion about this, or if you need clarification, just ask.
At least I hope you learned something from it, or you got confirmation you are on the right path
See you in the skies!