|Genre:||Unknown Genre Type|
|Cover Art Language:||English|
|Machine Compatibility:||BBC Model B|
|Release:||Professionally released on 5.25" Disc|
|Available For:||BBC Model B|
|Compatible Emulators:||BeebEm (PC (Windows))|
PcBBC (PC (MS-DOS))
Model B Emulator (PC (Windows))
|Original Release Date:||2nd November 1984|
|Original Release Price:||Unknown|
|Market Valuation:||£4.00 (How Is This Calculated?)|
|Box Type:||5.25" Disc(s) Plastic|
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11th August 1940... Britain stands alone against the German war machine. In July, Adolf Hitler ordered his commanders to prepare plans for the invasion of Britain, named Operation Sealion. The German commanders insisted that they have air superiority, or the Royal Navy could destroy the invasion force before it reached the shores of England.
The Luftwaffe, under the command of Hermann Goering, was charged with the task of gaining air superiority over the Channel and Southern England. They set out, on the day they called Aldertag (Eagle Day) to destroy the Royal Air Force.
Battle Of Britain simulates the conflict that ensued. The player takes the place of the commander of the Royal Air Force, whilst the computer takes charge of the German forces. Under your command are the seven sector stations of Fighter Command, with the disposition of forces based on historical fact. You receive reports from radar stations on the coast, or if these have been bombed out of action, from the Observer Corps. Your forces are replenished from your fighter reserve and by production from aircraft factories - but you will lose both if the factories are bombed.
As if that were enough, if bombing raids get through to your airfields they may be put out of action for days, and forces still on the ground will take great casualties. All these and a host of other details are simulated by the Battle Of Britain program.
The game is set in the late summer of 1940, with Britain standing alone against the Blitzkreig. In early July 1940, Adolf Hitlet ordered his commanders to prepare plans for the invasion of Britain. Everything swung on the ability of Hermann Goering's Luftwaffe to win and maintain air superiority over the Royal Air Force. Without this, the powerful Royal Navy could use the English Channel freely, and could destroy any invasion forces before they reached the south coast.
On the 13th of August 1940, the Germans began their efforts to displace the RAF, in an operation they termed Aldertag - Eagle Day. Until this date German raids into Britain had been patchy, half-hearted affairs. The 13th of August marked the start of a concerted effort to conquer Britain.
The RAF lost over 400 fighters in Northern France and at Dunquerque, but by mid-July, Fighter Command had been rebuilt and consisted some 645 aircraft (mainly Hurricanes and Spitfires, with some older Blenheims and Gladiators). The fighter arm of the RAF was organized into Fighter Groups - Group 10 covering Devon, Cornwall and South Wales, Group 11 covering the remainder of south-east England. Fighter Group 12 covered a band from Coventry to Manchester, with the rest of northern England and Scotland falling to Fighter Group 13. The organisation of these groups was excellent - at the heart of the sceme was Fighter Headquarters at Stanmore, but each Fighter Group had a large degree of autonomy. Each Group was organized around a number of Sector Stations, each of which held several squadrons and controlled those on two or three airfields in the local vicinity.
Ranged against the RAF were three Luflotten of the German Luftwaffe. A Luftlotten was almost like an airforce in its own right, comprising up to three Fleigerkorps of bombers and one Jafu of fighter planes. Luftlotten 2 was stationed in north-western France, operating from the area of Brest to the east of the Seine Estuary, with Luftlotten 3 taking the rest of northern France and Belgium, and Luftlotten 5 in Denmark and Norway. At this time, Luftlotten 2 and 3 had a total of 875 high-level bombers (Heinkel He111, Dornier Do17 and Junkers Ju88), 316 dive-bombers (Junkers Ju87), 702 single-engined fighters (Messerschmitt Me109) and 227 twin-engined fighters (Messerschmitt Me110). Luftlotten 5 had 123 high-level bombers, but saw action in the Battle only once (on August 15th) when its losses were so high that it took no further part - though it did serve as a distraction for fighters in the North of England.
Supermarine Spitfire: The Spitfire was certainly the best plane the RAF possessed, and arguably the best fighter of World War 2. It had a top speed of 355mph, and carried 8 Browning machine guns.
Hawker Hurricane: The Hurricane was the mainstay of the RAF, with identical armament to the Spitfire, although slightly slower at its top speed of 316mph. Because of this, Hurricane squadrons were usually used to attack bombers in formation, whilst Spitfires were used to deal with the enemy fighters.
Messerschmitt Me109: The Me109 was almost equal in performance to the Spitfire - with an equal top speed, it could climb faster, and carried 2 x 20mm cannons (developed from experience in the Spanish Civil War) along with two machine guns. Its one drawback was that it did not have a sufficient operational range to provide fighter cover for the bombers all the way to their targets.
Messerschmitt Me110: The Me110 was designed to be a superb long-range fighter. In practice it was a sitting duck for all but the slowest British fighters, and though its official top speed was 349mph, it rarely exceeded 300mph, hence it was vulnerable even to Hurricanes and frequently had to be provided with its own fighter escort. It carried six machine guns and 4 x 20mm cannons.
The Bombers: The German bombers were all very similar in performance. They all shared a lack of sufficient defensive armament to fend off the British fighter planes. The German bombers had a very long range, and it could be reckoned that a trip deep into Britain and back to France would consume just one quarter of their fuel reserve.
The RAF had several advantages over the Luftwaffe that helped in the victory. Firstly was a ground-to-air ratio, which allowed fighters to be directed after they had left the ground. The Luftwaffe lacked this: they were given their orders before take-off and stuck to them.
The other major assets of the British Home Defence were the Observer Corps and the early warning systems (named Chain Home and Chain Home Low). The British radar could spot German formations heading toward the coast, and give estimated numbers, altitude and bearings. (The Germans also had a fairly advanced radar system, but failed to exploit it.) Once the formations crossed the coast, they could be tracked to their destination by the Observer Corps.
The rate at which fighter aircraft could be replaced once destroyed was another major factor in the Battle of Britain. The German war-machine was in full swing, and had been for several years previous to 1940. The British aircraft manufacturing industry was just reaching its full capacity. The Germans much underestimated the rate of production of British fighters, which for much of the time outstripped the loss rate. Whereas the Germans had a larger force at the beginning of the battle, their production was never sufficient to keep up with their losses. More crucial than the supply of fighters was the rate at which pilots could be trained.
At the start of the battle, the Germans had more pilots than they needed (and their morale was high after sweeping victories all over Europe), whilst the British training schools were turning out just six pilots per week. The RAF however had the advantage of fighting on home ground, so nearly 50% of the British pilots shot-down could be fighting again within a week. The Germans lost all the pilots shot down over Britain, one for every fighter, and five crew members for each bomber.
The Battle Of Britain program has been written to simulate the conflict that ensued between the two opposing forces. Within the program is the data concerning performance of all of the aircraft, and a set of rules for resolving conflict and the forces available to each side. The action is restricted to Fighter Group 11 and Luftlotten 2, who did most of the fighting. The game starts on the 11th August 1940.
Because of the large number of planes involved, it is obviously impractical for the game (or the player!) to handle each plane individually. Therefore the British and German airforces are placed into large flying forces.
In the case of the RAF, you are given seven units representing the aircraft controlled by each of the seven sectors stations in Fighter Group 11 (see table at the back of the manual). The initial number of planes in these units varies from 25 to 50, and is representative of the strengths of the sectors at this time, taking unserviceability into account.
For the Luftwaffe, each unit represents a Geschwader, of about 50 aircraft, though some contain more. Within this are two Gruppen of fighter aircraft and one Gruppe of bomber planes. This is about the ratio in which the formations flew, though as bomber losses mounted, the fighter protection was increased further.
The computer controls the German attacking formations, and you the player must control the British forces. Each sector unit is taken to be of one type of fighter (Spitfire of Hurricane) which all consume their fuel and ammunition at identical rates. These simplications have been made to make playing the game humanly possible!
Play takes place on a map of the south-east England and northern France. On this map are marked several features. The British sector stations are marked as small black squares (though these will be covered by the red roundels of the squadrons), radar stations marked as black crosses on the coast, and other targets such as ports and aircraft factories as small white dots. To the right of the screen are the current time and date, a report box in which messages are flashed, and a scale for the direction pointer used in altering the course of the squadrons.
At the dawn of each new day, you will be given a report on the casualties from the previous day, and the aircraft production for that day. (Press Spacebar to move through the reports). Lastly, you will be given a progress report. The values given are a percentage of the I.E. (Initial Equipment: the forces available at the start of the battle). You will also have the opportunity to survey the damage at the radar stations (disc only), and to replenish the squadrons with fresh planes. After the previous reports, you will now come to a report of the RAF Fighter Reserve. The numbers used are representative of the historical values. This reserve is replenished by production from the aircraft factories, and you may draw on this reserve to make up the numbers of planes lost during the previous day.
Notice on the screen a small cursor. This is the method by which you give your instructions. It can be moved using the following keys:
Z - Left, X - Right, * - Up, ? - Down, SPACE - Select a unit, then deselect after use
(These keys are used for most of the controls in the game)
At the reserve stage, you may select a squadron and deploy new planes in that squadron by pressing RETURN. A display will give the name and strength of the squadron as it is altered. You may not put more than 50 planes into a squadron, due to the limitations of runway space at the airfields.
At this stage in play, you may also ask for information on your radar stations, by moving the cursor over a radar station and pressing f3 (disc only). More on the radar facilities later.
Once all this is to your satisfaction, you will wish to start the day's action by pressing f2. A further press of the Space bar will start the next part of the sequence...
Each day starts at 0900 hours. At this time, all is calm. The action in this part of the game is animated in moves of five minutes (scale-time), each of which is started by pressing f0. You are only able to make adjustments to your squadrons between these five minute intervals. Once the animation has started, all the moving units on the screen will move along their course at their particular speed, until the time period is over. The f1 key continues the animation until a fresh radar or Observer Corps report - similar in operation to repeatedly pressing f0. Thus it can be used to move quickly through long periods of inactivity. The ESCAPE key can be used to stop this in an emergency.
To scramble a squadron: To get a squadron off the ground the following procedure must be used: You should select the sector station using the Z X * ? keys and the Spacebar, as mentioned above. In the report box to the right of the screen, the status of the squadron will be displayed, including its name, fighter composition and strength, fuel, ammunition, speed and altitude. In the indicator bottom right of the screen the current heading of the squadron will be given (though on the ground of this will mean nothing). To scramble a squadron, simply increase its altitude from zero, and move the heading pointer to the desired course. The control keys for this are those given before:
Z - Anticlockwise, X - Clockwise, * - Increase altitude, ? - Decrease altitude
You will notice also the speed setting (just below the altitude). A squadron may have one of three speeds:
Grounded: Stationary on the airfield
Cruise: The most fuel-efficient speed
Combat: The top speed of the particular type of aircraft
(See tables at the end of the manual for interpretations of these speeds) A squadron will always climb at cruise speed and dive at combat. In level flight, you may change between the two speeds using the C key.
C - Cruise/combat speed (level flight only)
Once airborne, a squadron will continue to move in the given direction at the given speed and altitude until something happens (for example, the planes crash through lack of fuel). The course, speed and altitude can be altered to your requirements by repeating the procedure above.
German raids will be launched by the computer at targets in Britain. Initially, the German formation will probably be undetected. However, as it moves towards its destination, it will be detected by the British radar stations along the south coast. The range at which the radar can detect a formation depends on the altitude of that formation. For example, a formation flying at 5,000ft can be detected only 56 miles from the coast, whereas at 15,000ft or above, the maximum range is 120 miles - well into France, and actually off the map used for the game.
The British radar installations can provide information accurate to within 20% of the real value. This inaccuracy is simulated by the program. These inaccuracies are cleared up when a British squadron makes contact, or when the Observer Corps take over tracking a few miles off the coast.
When a German raid is detected, it will be flashed up on the screen, and a report given about its altitude and composition. Radar reports will be given as estimates, whereas Observer Corps reports are accurate. This information can be recalled at any time by placing the cursor over the German formation and pressing f5.
To attack a German formation, a British squadron must be made to come into contact. Upon contact, a diagram will be given in the report box on the right of the screen, showing the respective altitudes of the two groups of planes - the British on the left and the German on the right. If the altitudes are sufficiently close, the computer will engage the two forces. The program contains a set of rules for dealing with such conflicts, and it will take into account the ratio of fighters, altitude advantages, the effectiveness of the guns on the fighters, and their armour protection. Also, unescorted bombers are much more vulnerable than those with fighter protection, hence their losses will be much higher.
Having calculated the respective losses, the program will report these in the report box. Each conflict will use one ammunition unit.
Eventually, it will be necessary for your squadrons to land. By selecting the squadron with the cursor, then pressing the f4 key, you will cause the squadron to move to its home base. A squadron is not allowed to land on another airfield, so you must allow enough fuel for the home trip. A small 'H' above the heading circle will indicate that the 'homing' mode is in force, and pressing f4 again will disengage homing.
Once a squadron has landed, it will automatically be refuelled and rearmed by the ground crew. This will take some time, so the squadron will not be ready for use for some 25 minutes after landing. A fully rearmed plane carries two units of ammunition. Should you be careless enough to allow a squadron to run out of fuel in the air, the consequences will of course be dire. The entire squadron will make a forced landing.
The German fighters were rather limited in their range, and could only sustain a good combat effectiveness for 75-80 minutes, so after about three-quarters of an hour in the air, they would have to turn back, and leave the bombers to themselves. Occasionally you will see this happen on-screen, as a 'hollow' swastika leaves the main marker and starts to move back towards France. This leaves the bombers without fighter protection, and vulnerable...
If the German bombers found the going too tough, they would jettison their bombloads, turn and run for home. This is simulated by the program, so you should try to inflict sufficient losses on the bomber formations to make them retreat.
All German formations returning home to their bases are marked as 'hollow' swastikas, to allow you to make a quick assessment of the display, and to evaluate the threats.
On the main map are marked many likely targets for the German attacks. Firstly there are the airfields themselves, bombed as part of Goerings' plan to crush the RAF. If the squadron happens to be on its airfield when attacked, there will be heavy losses amongst the planes on the ground.
Secondly are radar stations. The effect of a bombing raid on a radar station was rather limited. The tall radar masts made dive-bombing difficult. Also the Germans thought that the control stations must be safely underground, rather than "those small sheds on the surface!" Radar stations were rarely out of action for more than a day.
Thirdly there are aircraft factories - Supermarine at Southampton, Saunders-Roe at Ryde, Folland at Hamble, Short at Rochester, Vickers at Weybridge, Hawker at Kingston and Handley Page at Cricklewood. Any bombing of these factories will disrupt production. The fighter reserve was also held largely at the aircraft factories, so any bombing raid will destroy many reserve fighters.
Fourthly, the ports of Portsmouth, Southampton and Dover are likely targets, to hamper the Royal Navy.
If the strength of the British airforce falls below 40% of its initial Equipment value (the strength at the commencement of the battle), it will have been deemed to have lost the game. Similarly, should the German bomber strength fall below 40%, it will lose the battle.
f0 - Animate five minute section of action.
f1 - Animate until next radar/Observer Corps contact.
f2 - *Start the action of a new day.
f3 - *Status report of radar station (disc only)
f4 - Toggle homing for squadron
f5 - Current intelligence on German formation
f8 - *Save game (disc only)
f9 - *Load game (disc only)
* Only available at the start of a new day.
C - Toggle combat/cruise speed
The following keys have many uses, depending on context:
Z - Cursor left; anticlockwise
X - Cursor right; clockwise
* - Cursor up; increase altitude
? - Cursor down; decreate altitude
SPACE - Select/Deselect; move through reports
RETURN - Distribute reserve aircraft
|Plane||Cruise Speed||Combat Speed||Operational Ceiling|
The Second World War (Volume II: Their Finest Hour), Winston S. Churchill
History Of The Second World War, Liddell Hart
Cassette: CHAIN"" (RETURN)
Disc: Insert the disc into the drive and SHIFT-BREAK as usual to boot the game.
(c) Design People Software 1987
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A digital version of this item can be downloaded right here at Everygamegoing (All our downloads are in .zip format).
|Download||What It Contains|
|A digital version of Battle Of Britain suitable for BeebEm (PC (Windows)), PcBBC (PC (MS-DOS)), Model B Emulator (PC (Windows))|
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