A Conversation with Ian Boys
by Guest Interviewer Mark “Raz” Long
The Eastern Front of World War 2 was the largest air battle in the history of the world. Stretching across Russia from the Barents Sea to the Black Sea, it covered a land mass of nearly 1700 miles. The arenas of battle covered by IL-2 Forgotten Battles are only a fraction of a front that shifted east and west over the course of five years of war. X1software’s ‘Ostfront’ upcoming add-on for IL-2 Forgotten Battles will allow players to fly over two areas of the front that were previously not addressed; Murmansk and Kurland. Ian Boys, who has been a key part of the development team through the IL-2 series, shares with us the outstanding new features of this much anticipated release.
Mark: What does the name ‘Ostfront’ mean?
Ian: It simply means “Eastern Front” and came at a time where the Pacific threatened to take over entirely for online games. The Russian title is “Falcons of the North”, which I like better.
Mark: What features will the Ostfront campaign generator have?
Ian: The main enhancements are:
Accurate month-by-month sub-campaigns in Kurland
- Player and AI planes set by squadron (i.e. JG54 will fly only Fw-190A’s at Kurland, NN only Yak-3’s etc.)
- New Recon and Torpedo bomber careers
- Custom weather for Kurland
- The ability to set the player starting base.
Mark: Does this mean we can begin an Ostfront campaign at the beginning of any given month?
Ian: In Kurland, yes, from July 1944 to April 1945. The sole exception is August and September 1944 which are in one campaign. The reason is that we don’t model the months arbitrarily but we model the monthly campaigns the Russians mounted to crush the Kurland pocket. In August the Germans mounted a counter-attack to free the troops trapped in Riga and they started in the middle of the month and went on into September. Most inconsiderate of them really.
In Murmansk we have two campaigns in 1941 — the beginning of the war (when the Soviets were terribly under-equipped and flying almost only Polikarpov fighters) and then the autumn when the Army Regiments had begun to re-equip with LaGGs and the Navy was getting Hurricanes and a MiG-3 squadron. The RAF 151 Wing operates during this period too. We then have the 1942 campaign that sees the Germans, having failed to capture the port, turn their attention to the convoys supplying it. 1943 is a fairly stagnant battle of attrition where the Russians start to get fighters that can seriously challenge the Luftwaffe and where they start to mount more attacks on the German supply shipping, then in 1944 we model October and November which was, of course, the big push into Finland and Norway.
Mark: Has each squadron in Ostfront been researched to see which planes were historically available at any given time during the war?
Ian: Yes indeed. For example not only are JG54 flying Fw-190s but during the winter of 1944/45 players who worry about such things will notice that Stab/JG54 no longer appears. This is because at this point the serviceable aircraft were passed to the 2 Gruppen in the pocket. Equally 10.(Pz)/SG3 have both Ju-87D-5 and Ju-87G-1 available because they flew both models in the anti-tank role. On the Russian side there is less information but we have been as accurate as possible: for example many B-25’s were shipped to Murmansk but only one was actually flown in that sector, so the chance of encountering one is very slim indeed. And when the A-20G’s attack Libau in December 1944 they will find the ships laid out in the harbor exactly as the skip-bombers of 51 MTAP found them.