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IL-2 Tank Crew Basics for Goons

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Configuration

Third Party Software

Third party tools are not necessary for all players, but can be useful for HOTAS and VR users.

  • VRNeckSafer
    • This tool allows VR users to have more exaggerated head movement, like TrackIR. Very useful for situational awareness in the Commander slot.
  • OVGME/JSGME
    • A simple mod management tool. Useful for managing startup.cfg files which have different graphics settings (i.e. for VR Aircraft, VR Tanks, and 2D Tanks).
  • VoiceAttack (PAYWARE)
    • May be useful for commanding your AI tank platoon in the campaigns or issuing orders to your crew. Have not experimented with this yet.

Controls

Default controls are Keyboard and Mouse. They work fairly well, but can become overwhelming in a close range firefight. I recommend using your HOTAS, especially if you are alone in your tank.

Step 1: Set your Tank Turret Control to Joystick

  1. From the main menu, click "Settings"
  2. Click "Input Devices"
  3. Open the "Tank Turret Control" dropdown
  4. Select "Joystick"
  5. Click "Accept"

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Step 2: Configure your bindings

Recommended HOTAS Bindings
Category IL-2 Keybinding Name Controller Controller Button
Turret Turret Control: horizontal (direct mode) Stick Roll axis (right +, left -)
Turret Turret Control: vertical (direct mode) Stick Pitch axis (forward +, rearward -)
Turret Machinegun: take/leave control Stick Paddle switch
Gunsight Nestle to the gunsight Stick Pinkie switch
Gunsight Gunsight range adjustment Stick Trim Hat down +, up -
Gunsight Gunsight horizontal adjustment Stick Trim Hat right +, left -
Gunsight Gunsight reset Stick TMS right
Weapons Primary fire (NOTE: Main Gun) Stick Trigger, second stage
Weapons Secondary fire (NOTE: Coaxial Machinegun) Stick Weapon release
Weapons Select ammunition Stick NWS/AR DISC/MSL STEP
Crew Switch to default position (NOTE: Driver) Stick CMS Up
Crew Switch to 1st firing point (NOTE: Gunner/Commander) Stick CMS Down
Crew Switch to 2nd firing point (NOTE: Commander/Radio Operator) Stick CMS Left
Crew Switch to 3rd firing point (NOTE: Radio Operator) Stick CMS Right
Crew Hatch open/close Throttle Uncage
View N/A Stick VRNeckSafer Left, Right (DMS Left, DMS Right)
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Movement Vehicle Acceleration/Brake Throttle Throttle axis
Movement Vehicle Turn left/Turn right Pedals Yaw axis
Movement Gear limiter switch up Throttle COMM up (UHF)
Movement Gear limiter switch down Throttle COMM down (VHF)
Movement Gear limiter switch up (NOTE: alternate) Pedals Right brake
Movement Gear limiter switch down (NOTE: alternate) Pedals Left brake

@TODO add control visualizations

Graphics Settings

Reference hardware for this section: i7 6700k @ 4.4 GHz, 2080ti, 16GB RAM, NVME SSD, Reverb G2 (SteamVR 100%)

2D: 1440p, 120-144 FPS | VR: ~45 FPS

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Disable Head Shake in the Camera Controls Menu

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Operating the Tank

Driving - How hard could it be???

Unsurprisingly for a simulator, you can break your vehicle by doing it wrong. Tanks can be damaged in many exciting ways, each of which take minutes to repair if they can be repaired at all. Managing engine RPM and keeping appropriate speed for the terrain is crucial. You can break your tracks on stumps if you race through the forest or injure your crew by running into things. You can also make yourself want to vomit in VR if you try to go max speed off road.

The transmission model in IL-2 is like an automatic gearbox where you set the maximum gear the driver can shift into using the “Gear limiter switch” control. You can also control how and when gears are selected via engine RPM. It takes a bit to get used to but with HOTAS controls quickly becomes natural.

Driving can be accomplished from any seat, but the driver’s seat shows the most HUD information for gearing and engine RPM. I find myself driving from the Commander position outside the hatch when not in combat, especially on roads or when navigating through forests.

Gunnery

Recommended Loadouts

Take lots of Armor Piercing High Explosive, some High Explosive, and some of the best armor piercing rounds you can get. In the T34 1943 this is 68 APHE, 16 APCR, 16 HE.

Gunsight Adjustment

Range is controlled with the “Gunsight range adjustment” control and windage is controlled with the “Gunsight horizontal adjustment” control.

Simple Sighting Procedure (this will get you pretty close)
Nation Procedure Steps
USSR
  • Range
  1. Fire coaxial MG at target
  2. Adjust horizontal crosshair to match impact point
  3. Repeat until accurately firing at the position with MG
  • Windage
  1. Fire main gun at range
  2. Adjust vertical crosshair to match impact point
Germany
  • Range
  1. Increase range until in coaxial MG range reticle
  2. Fire MG at target
  3. Adjust triangle tip to match impact point, note range approximation
  4. Repeat until accurately firing at the position with MG
  5. Decrease range until in the main gun reticle, match noted range approximation
  • Windage - N/A
USA Get Good (@TODO)