Fraud alert: I’m new with IL-2 Battle of Stalingrad, so any mistakes in this are due to my pure ignorance. Apologies in advance and happy to be corrected - this is meant more of a taster of PWCG can do!
PWCG is short for Pat Wilson’s Campaign Generator. What this does is produce long squad-based persistent missions set in IL-2 BoS and/or BoM. If you’ve ever wished for more of a longer running single player ‘saga’ where you get some background narrative and a set of chaps to fight and fly with then it’s worth a look. You get a journal, medals and you’re part of a squadron doing realistic things - it really enhances the single player game if you’re a WWII fan. A good place to start with this free download is here:
The ongoing plan seems to be that this will one day get included in IL-2, but currently it’s a separate you jump between with. The only gotcha on the install is to make sure you have the latest Java run-time installed. Make sure you don’t fall for the Oracle Inc comedy suggestion of ‘Install Yahoo as my Home Page, Oh Yes Please!’ (oh, Larry, how far you’ve fallen).
So we have IL-2 BoS installed and PWCG. Let’s take a look in an AAR format and start up the PWCG app:
What you do is start a new campaign with a time period (say, later in 1942 for Stalingrad) plus let the app know which planes you have. You then create a ‘character’ and go assign to a squadron with a realistic goal. You can fly fighters, do escort missions, bomb things, basically whatever the planeset is you have you can use. You can even swap roles by transferring to another squadron as well.
Here’s my Stuka homies (said no German, ever):
As you can see, I’m a junior frog with just the one mission under my belt. Let’s go generate a new mission:
Ok, looks straight-forward enough. Circle with some height before getting to the frontline, get a target approach point and then take out some vehicles (plus extra style points for siren). It’s worth taking notes about the mission here. Then once that makes sense, let’s choose who goes:
As I’m useless, let’s put me with some experienced officers, as flight 3. Ok, one final look at the summary and then we go jump to BoS to fly the generated mission:
What you do is use the ‘Mission’ menu to pick up the generated next flight. Remember, if you blow stuff up then it impacts the campaign, and if you die, you really do die.
Here’s my second mission ready:
It looks good in the BoS map, as before:
I do like my siren (everything is unlocked in IL-2, those days are long gone)…
You can even use a Squadron authentic paint scheme:
One of the nice things with the HUD or target icons on is that it uses the real pilot names. After a while you really get to know them, as in I’m planning on following the lead like a wee sheep all the way…
Here’s me and my gunner, Hans:
Off we go in the four ship:
Hans is not feeling good about this one. Can’t say I blame him.
You can sit up front…
…or enjoy the view out back.
To hit anything, you really need to lean into the sight:
Forming up nicely…
The HUD works well in VR too, but I use ‘H’ to flip it on/off when confused.
As per a proper mission, we have top cover. PWCG generates lots of things around you to make things feel more alive. Welcome gents!
While cruising along it’s fun to see the ground units and their toys:
This guy is especially proud of the wall he is guarding. Good job solider, don’t let that Russian crate move an inch!
After 10 minutes, lead calls out over the radio and peels off. He’s spotted a large hairy cow? Something called a Yak? Ah…
Here’s a closer shot of our Red foe:
We jink. Hans does not like.
Hans is happier when he gets a shot. It’s really hard to get a good bead. Keep still please!
Chaos ensues. Our cover finally arrives. No rush guys, take your time.
I think Ltn Staebler has been hit? His gunner has stopped firing.
That doesn’t look good.
Ivan is hit though, and I notice one of Stuka’s going down…
I spot a chute! That’s one of ours…
Two 109’s converge for revenge on the damaged Yak.
He is hit all over, can’t be long. Finish him off!
But whatever you two do, don’t follow him down too low. Oh, ok.
Good job, you’ve got him surrounded. Now go hit him with a bit of your plane on the ground, I guess we’ll fly home without escort.
Mission aborted, as the three of us left feel pretty vulnerable. Here I am on the home leg…
Oh dear, what’s that - something following us?
Get him Hans, but don’t shoot the tail Dr Jones!
Close to home, our airfield AAA opens up and finished him off:
So, mission summary - I’m alive and Hans is considering a career change.
Back to PWCG and let’s see what’s next. First up is to assign claims. Do I really want to give this one to the AAA guys when Hans was such a hotshot?
Ah, it was Ob Egon Sulzer that hit the sheet. He’ll be finishing the war elsewhere, but there’s always new guys to come in.
Besides, I have to write my journal (my awards are so far empty, just with my Heidi pic to keep my happy)…
Poor Sulzer - led from the front…
Looking forward to doing some more - it’s been great fun so far.