Gunship Academy

by Richard Sheffield

Chapter 8

Air-to-Air Combat

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Chapter 8

Just as tanks have always been the most effective weapon against tanks, helicopters are the most efficacious means of fighting helicopters. Use of helicopters by both warring sides will inevitably lead to clashes between them. Like tank battles of past wars, a future war between well equipped armies is bound to involve helicopters.

—Colonel M. Belov

  Soviet Army

  Published in Soviet Military Review

Since the beginning of warfare, similar weapons and forces have seemed to attract each other on the battlefield. Knights fought knights, infantry fought infantry, cavalry always seemed to find the opponent's cavalry, and tanks were used to counter tanks. It is a logical assumption then that sooner or later helicopters will fight helicopters.

The Soviets have realized this for quite some time now and, according to some experts, have a lead in the area of tactical development. They have taken a typically Soviet approach to the problem by creating a large, fast, armored, multipurpose aircraft (the Hind) and building it by the hundreds. What they lack in technology, they intend to make up for in sheer numbers. Consequently, NATO forces will face a larger number of fast, heavily armored Hinds on the future battlefield. Since the basic premise of war is for each side to shoot until one side can't shoot back any more, if the NATO forces are to win, each NATO helicopter is going to have to shoot down a number of Soviet helicopters.

That is the task you are presented with in Gunship. The enemy has plenty of Hinds to throw away, so you'll have to take them one by one until you complete your mission.

Figure 8-1. A Broadside Gun Attack on a Soviet Hind Helicopter

So how do you go about taking care of the never-ending stream of Hinds? Helicopter air-to-air combat is like fixed-wing air combat, with a difference. Due to the low speeds and low altitudes involved, a helicopter fight is more akin to a cat fight than a dog fight. It will be very quick and furious, and disengagement is almost impossible once the fight starts. The tactics, however, do resemble those used by fighter pilots.

This type of combat is relatively new and as such the tactics and guidelines are still being established, but a few nuggets of usable information have appeared. So pay attention—great rewards of rank, medals, and high point scores will follow all ye who observe these rules!

The Five Cardinal Rules of Helicopter vs. Helicopter Combat

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