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Is it the P-40, the Slot ... or me?

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SAS~Poltava:
Waiting (patiently) for the new mod pack to come, I'm busying myself with building a campaign for stock 4.10. It portrays the actions of the 44th Fighter Squadron, the "Vampires", on Guadalcanal during the first half of 1943.

During this I've built a mission trying to recreate the action the 44th FS was involved in on June 5, 1943, when they escorted some Navy bombers during an attack on Buin harbour, at Kahili on Bougainville, and ran into a force of Japanese interceptors. (I'm using P-40M's and the new Solomons map - a.k.a. The Slot.)

But I find this impossible to do! Even with droptanks the P-40M's won't make it to south Bougainville and back. The fuel eventually runs out, even without any fighting, and they drop into the sea on the return flight, somewhere around Russel Island, waaay short of Guadalcanal. :o It's no biggie. I've made the target Munda instead.

But I'm just curious: is it something wrong with the P-40, or the map, or is it simply me???  :-\

ringlett:
the game is not for those missions right auxiliary tank for the P-40

CWMV:
Ive always thought there was something wrong with the P-40's fuel supply. Not like you could check it since it doesn't have a working fuel gauge.

vanir:
straight off the bat I'd say you're biggest hurdle is AI, which has very limited development in il2 (sani has worked hard to help this, look up his and Cert's AI mods)

Secondly you must be following operating procedures to get certain performance from aircraft, this is modelled as much as possible in il2 and although fairly limited in simulator terms, it does model fuel consumption at various engine settings.

Operating at the maximum combat range requires strict piloting under the economy cruise guidelines if you want to go home again. For the F20R Allison motor you must maintain an altitude of 17,500 feet and set 2300rpm and 29"Hg and lean off the mixture. The aircraft will not return listed range unless you do this and carry a 75 us.gal. external tank.

Fuel consumption is 57gph at this flight condition and maximum range, without tanks if you strictly maintain the cruise as described is actually 695 absolute miles (1120km). Your total fuel load is 155 us.gal. and you have a 35gal reserve so with a conservative take off and no more than a few minutes at higher engine settings you can see you have a 3hr endurance without external tanks and using the 230mph TAS of cruise at 15000ft that's where your range is coming from.
So first up it's more like about 550 miles in the real world. Then you add a 75gal tank for another hour and a bit or about 820 miles, no time for combat but a little reserve for a safe take off, climb, slight navigational error and landing.
But if we want to take a stab at combat radius we halve cruise endurance, take off an allowance and minus combat time. Say ten minutes at 147gph military, there goes 25gals. Cruise speed with a tank is down to 220mph. That gives us 825 miles absolute. Minus reserve allowance, 700 miles. On the map that means 560 kilometres radius from the airfield, maximum with tanks, absolute or you don't come home.

What you can do about this is carefully use minimum fuel consumption to squeeze some extra range, it's an emergency procedure. You set 2000rpm and 23"Hg (lean) and just let the plane sink. Fly it like a glider and try to ride air currents and shit at sea level to 5000ft and you can cut fuel consumption down to about 28gph or less, basically halving it again from the normal cruise but barely maintaining powered flight.

How well the stock P-40M models these things I don't know but a P40 pack I've got in the works has much more historical engine performance characteristics, weights, loadings, ranges, piloting settings, etc. (stock P40s don't even have the WEP they should get).

The problem is AI thinks maintaining tight formations in the cruise is more important than fuel consumption and will frequently use military power to control positioning. The fuel consumption at that setting is 147gph.

You see the problem.

SAS~Poltava:
Vanir! Yes, I understand it better now.

The problem, gaming-wise, is that - as you mentioned - such a flight can't be left to the AI, not any part of it, and you will have to pilot the aircraft all the way from Guadalcanal to Bougainville and back, in real time, and that won't be too much fun. And your buddies still won't make it back, as they fly as there was no tomorrow and fuel endless.

So I'll stick to making Munda the target instead. But it was interesting to hear this. Thanks for the input. Looking forward to your mod!

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