War Thunder PS4: a beginner's guide to the RAF

The Royal Air Force, more commonly abbreviated as the RAF, is one of the most diverse and user-friendly air forces in War Thunder. Boasting a diverse roster of aircraft, the Brits are equipped to tackle almost any situation, and best of all, are the best air force to get to grips with if you’re new to the world of Gaijin Entertainment’s World War II flight combat sim.

In our latest feature for War Thunder, PSU examines the RAF to give beginners some basic info, outlining its advantages, disadvantages, tactics and more.

Tally-ho, old chum!

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One of most attractive aspects of the RAF is the fact its fighters - that is, the iconic Spitfire and Hurricane - are fantastic dogfighters. As such, they’re perfect for beginners, and you’ll be able to fend off aircraft of a much higher tier even if you’re flying a MKI plane. While their armament isn’t quite as punchy as others, there’s enough machine gun fire packed into each wing to do some decent damage, and most of all, the Spit’s maneuverability is outclassed only by...another Spitfire. Sure, the Japanese are also natural born dogfighters, but judicious use of your flaps will facilitate an easy victory in combat. Simply put, if you find yourself in a turning fighter with the likes of an ME-109, FW-190, Yak, and Mustang, you’ll almost always come out on top as long as you know what you’re doing.

THERE’S PLENTY OF THEM

What’s better than a Spitfire? Two Spitfires. What’s better than two Spitfires? Three...well, you get the picture. The pertinent point is, the RAF has an ample supply of its most iconic fighter up for grabs -- providing you have the crew space to take advantage of it, that is. Still, with over half-a-dozen Spitfires to choose from -- including some variation with 20mm cannons -- there’s plenty to tuck into. The Hurricanes only get two models, as is the case with the Hawker Typhoon and Tempest; but with so many Spits to play as, these make the perfect complement to a full squadron of eight aircraft. Again, their legendary attributes that make the Spitfire such a competent dogfighter remain pretty much intact across all variations, with only inconsequential differences in terms of turn time and performance.



SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

The Spitfires are probably the most popular offering in the RAF, but it’s not just about dogfighting supremacy for the Brits. In War Thunder, you need to adapt to many situations based on what game mode you’re facing online. After all, while downing planes is bread-and-butter, there’s also ground attack, bombing and other such activities to consider. As such, this is where the diverse line-up of the RAF comes in handy, and ranks among the best of their respective category. The Hurricane isn’t too shabby at dogfighting, but the Spitfire is unequivocally the king of skies in this regard. However, Hawker’s venerable aircraft is a great multi-purpose vehicle, able to carry a hefty payload of rockets under its wing, making it ideal for downing bombers and destroying tanks and artillery. SImilarly, the Hawker Typhoon and Tempest are also superb for this job, and can be equipped with an even more potent payload. Furthermore, they’re also able to fire 20mm cannons, making them ideal for dispatching heavily-armed planes like Bombers, as well as causing havoc to lightly-armored ground targets. The only draw back? They’re not all that nimble, so pick your targets perspicaciously.

CONS

LACK OF FIREPOWER

In comparison to the likes of the Germans and Russians, the British planes come up slightly lacking in raw firepower. Sure, while the likes of Spitfires and Hurricanes have a substantial number of .30 calibre guns on their wings, their armament simply lacks the punch of the USAF’s .50 calibre weapons, or indeed the deadly 20, 30 and 37mm weapons employed by the Luftwaffe and Soviets. As such, while they’re suitable for dogfighting against other nimble planes - providing you target areas highly susceptible to gunfire, such as the cockpit or engine - they come up worse for wear against heavily-armed aircraft like Bombers and Fighter-Bombers. Unless you score a lucky pilot kill, it’s going to take a lot of .30 calibre fire to bring down one of these behemoths, particularly the likes of the B-17s and British Lancasters. Typhoons and Spitfires equipped with 20mm cannons fare a lot better, though your best bet is to use planes with rockets strapped to them (Hurricane MKII, Typhoon, Tempest) and target the bombers’ engines.



LOWER SPEED

One major drawback of the Brits is that the RAF’s aicraft - notably Spits and Hurricanes - aren’t the fastest planes available. For example, in those battles where you are attempting to either flee or chase down an adversary, you will more than likely come out second best. The Spitfire in particular has a hard job catching something like the Focke Wulf 190, as does the Hurricane. Typhoons and Tempests are better at this, although what they deliver in speed they sacrifice in maneuverability -- dogfighters these are not. Overall though, the Brits lack the speed to really push them into the next level.

So, that’s the lowdown on the Brit monoplane fighters. Next time, we’ll be scrutinizing the Luftwaffe under the microscope for newbies.

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