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Tactics: Dive-Bombing Practice Mission Print
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Written by Paddles   
Monday, 26 June 2006

Dive-Bombing Practice Mission

Here's a dive-bombing practice mission that puts you right over the target from the git go! Now you can practice without wasting time getting to the target.

Here's the file: VMF-124 Death's Heads Dive Bomb Practice [3 KB]

Unzip it and place the .mis and .properties files in your Missions\Single\UN\SBD-3 folder.

To play, go to Single Missions and select USN as the Air Force and SBD-3 as the aircraft type. You'll see the title "VMF-124 Death's Heads Dive Bomb Practice".

Here's the write-up:

Name: VMF-124 Death's Heads Dive Bomb Practice Short Desc: Dive bombing practice mission using the SBD-3, 1941.


Fly over the enemy aircraft carrier, then chop throttle, extend airbrake, roll over and dive straight down onto the carrier. Read this entire description as there are useful bombing techniques explained.


The SBD-3, 1941 uses a simple bombsight; that is, it has no adjustments for speed and distance – it's just straight sight.

With the full cockpit ON you'll see a tube with a lens, that's the sight. You have two sighting options: use the iron sight or the magnified sight by looking through the tube.


To use the iron sight, just stay in the full cockpit view and you'll see two small iron sights on the magnifying tube that look a bit like antennae: one sticking up at about 10-o'clock and the other at about 2-o'clock. The one at 10-o'clock is the actual sight which you can use to line up the boat and drop your bomb. If you use the field of view (FOV) keys [del-end-pgdn] on your keyboard, you can get a better zoom in. I prefer this sighting option as it allows me to maintain better situational awareness.


The other option is the magnified view. Use the SHIFT+F1key combo to switch to this view.


You start out at 5,000 metres above the carrier. We need this altitude because this is going to be a straight-down attack.

You'll also find you are just behind and in line with the carrier going in the same direction. This is on purpose. Side-on attacks, although quite feasible, aren't as likely to result in a direct hit. For that reason, when given a chance, we'll always opt for straight-down, in-line dive bomb runs.


Within a couple of seconds of the mission start, you'll be passing just beyond the front of the enemy carrier. Don't waste time looking around: chop throttle, extend airbrakes and roll over into the dive.

In a real mission, you can use the F2 key external view to see when you are just beyond the carrier, or, if you're a hard case like me and like to keep the full cockpit on, keep rolling left and right to sight the ship below while staying in-line with the ship's path as best you can. When you are in the right spot, begin your dive.

You'll begin to descend very fast, but don't worry: so long as your airbrake is extended, your speed will max out at a safe 440 Kmh. So forget about how fast you are going and concentrate on lining up the enemy ship.


During the dive, you want to keep your wings perpendicular to the enemy boat (imagine your aircraft standing on its nose and the enemy ship driving right through the top of your cockpit). This orientation will maximize the chance your bomb will hit because the entire ship will be passing under its path.

If you get turned sideways (that is, with your wings parallel to the direction the ship is moving) your bomb release will have to be perfect in every regard or it will miss to one side or the other.

Cockpit view:

External view:


Aim for the front of the ship. In this case, the Japanese make it very easy because they painted a giant red rising sun on the front of their carrier decks. Besides, Veteran WWII dive bomber pilots used the same rising sun emblem for their aim point, so that's good enough for me.

Cockpit view:

You'll only need extremely fine and minimal rudder and aileron adjustments to keep the crosshairs over the target. Of the two controls, rudder is the most useful and the hardest to master. Again, very gentle inputs will keep you lined up. Even with the finest inputs, however, your bombsight is going to be swimming all over the place. Don't despair, with practice you'll be able to keep the herky jerkies to a minimum, but they'll always be there.

A final note about the bombsight. In my trials, I have found that there is a discrepancy between the iron sight and the magnified view sight (SHIFT +F1). At about 1,800 m above the carrier, when the iron sight is dead-on target, the magnified view is off to the left by about half a carrier width. In other words, if your iron sight is dead center on the rising sun emblem, your magnified view sight will be off to the left side of the ship in the water! Experiment with this yourself and you may find when using the iron sight you need to compensate to the right.

Iron sight perfectly aligned at 1890m altitude:

What's this? Magnified view at 1890m, but off to the left!


You want to release your bomb at 1,000 Metres (approx. 3,500 ft). Now, unless you watch your altitude, you'll probably want to release too early! Believe me, it feels pretty scary watching that ship loom up in your view as you swear you're going to crash. Be brave airman! Hold your course, keep making small adjustments with rudder and joystick and keep those crosshairs on that big rising sun until you see your altitude hit about 1,100 - 1,200 meters. By the time you look back at your iron sight and make the final adjustment and press the pickle button you'll be passing through 1,000 metres.

After the bomb is away, pull out of the dive and don't forget to retract your airbrake!

If all goes according to Hoyle, your bomb will land smack dab in the centre of the carrier. With other, shorter ships, you'll probably have to lead the ship by a length or two or use a shallower dive approach.

Good luck!

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