by Richard Sheffield
Multiple Bogey Situations
Sometimes you'll face two opponents, not just one. Learn how to handle them both and survive.
Occasionally, two enemy aircraft will appear on your radar. Both may even fire missiles at you. What you do at this point depends on a number of factors:
Your energy level.
Your mission: Are you closing on a bombing target?
Weapons available: Don't attack two planes when you have only one missile left.
Number of bombs carried: Speed and maneuverability both suffer with heavy bomb loads.
Fuel left and distance to base.
Two against one is a serious situation, and you must weigh all these factors before choosing your course of action. Depending upon your situation, you'll take a totally defensive, cautiously aggressive, or totally aggressive stance.
When entering into an attack on two opponents, you're violating Oswald Boelcke's first rule of air combat: Always attack with an advantage. Reconsider if you have several other factors against you, such as low fuel or control problems due to previous missile hits. If you decide to make a run for it, here's what you should do:
Drop all bombs.
Fire a missile at one of the targets, even if you're out of range—you may get lucky.
If you have the necessary altitude, perform a Split-S and begin an unloaded acceleration toward base (use the afterburners if you have enough fuel).
If you're at low altitude and have plenty of fuel, use your afterburners either to escape at low altitude or go straight up and hope they can't follow you.
To attack two opponents, your aircraft must be undamaged and you should have adequate fuel and weapons. But maybe you're still carrying bombs you'll need for a ground attack later; now is a good time to consider a cautious attack.
Arm and fire a medium-range missile at one opponent (1).
Light the afterburners and fly head-on toward the second aircraft, offering the worst possible missile target (2).
Pass beneath the enemy and try to obtain 10-20 miles of separation.
Shut down the burners, but stay at 100-percent power.
Keeping up your speed, make a broad sweeping turn, staying out of short-missile range but within range for your medium-range missiles (3).
Keep firing Sparrows at your opponent until one strikes home.
Close in for a one-on-one with the other target.
To carry out a totally aggressive attack on two opponents may be exciting, but it's also very dangerous (or as dangerous as a simulation can get). History, however, is full of successful one-on-two accounts, so if the right opportunity presents itself, don't hesitate.
To aggressively attack two opponents, your bombs should be gone, and you should have plenty of fuel and at least two Sidewinders and two Sparrows.
Fire off a Sparrow at one opponent to keep him busy for a minute or so (1).
Head straight for enemy aircraft #2. You'll certainly have to dodge missiles here, so keep an eye out. An extra pair of hands and eyes here is very helpful (2).
As you approach #2, cut power and try to out-turn your opponent for a gun shot (3).
Keep an eye on the Sparrow that's chasing target #1. If the missile hits or runs out of fuel, fire a Sidewinder at #2.
If the Sparrow you first shot missed and a Sidewinder shot at #2 also misses, break off the attack. Disengage and build up some airspeed; then repeat this procedure until one of the targets goes down.
Move in for a one-on-one attack.