There are several types of aircraft in Spring: 1944.
All aircraft are requisitioned from "Flight Detection & Control Stations" -- essentially manned radar stations that also detect enemy aircraft. You can requisition flights of aircraft similar to requisitioning ground units from Yards or Depots. Once a flight becomes ready, you will be able to select its menu icon and deploy it anywhere on the map.
The amount of time it takes a flight of aircraft to arrive depends on its type. Recon and Interceptor sorties often arrive within 15 seconds, while attack sorties, paratroop drops and glider forces can take up to 45 seconds.
When the enemy begins the deployment process, an air raid siren will sound to inform you and give you time to react.
Recon planes are cheap, light aircraft that are usually equipped with radios to allow it to communicate with ground forces. They fly low and slow and are very susceptible to ground fire. They provide large line-of-sight coverage, allowing you to see areas your ground forces can't get to, in order to gather intel about enemy defenses, spot targets for your artillery, or detect enemy forces trying to sneak around your flanks.
Interceptors & Air Superiority
Interceptor sorties are utilized by Germany and Russia. They deploy very quickly, but are composed of moderately underwhelming, but cheap, aircraft as quick solutions to enemy air attacks. While suited for air-to-air combat, they can also be used to attack ground targets -- they have a hard time picking off individual infantry but can pose a serious threat to lightly armoured vehicles, but will be unable to damage most tanks.
Air Superiority aircraft are heavier, more powerful fighter aircraft that are used to secure air space. Being more powerful than Interceptors, they are also more expensive. It is up to the player to decide between quickly-deploying, cheap interceptors or more powerful air superiority fighters are right for them.
Both the British and US factions combine both of these roles into one fighter type. With deployment times in between that of Interceptors and Air Superiority fighters, this often proves more advantageous.
Ground Attack aircraft are light monoengine aircraft designed and armed for attacking specific ground targets, especially tanks and other hard targets. Both the British and US utilize rocket-firing attack aircraft to deal extremely destructive firepower on heavy tanks that their ground forces may find difficult to counter. The Soviets utilize the Il-2, which is armed with both rockets and small bombs, effectively combining the ground attack and fighter-bomber roles; it can strafe enemy tanks with rockets and drop bombs on formations of soft targets and structures to equal effect. The Germans utilize the Ju-87G Stuka armed with a pair of underwing 37mm cannons. Although small, the Stukas attack from the air and so direct most of their firepower to the ill-protected top armour of combat vehicles. Both the Il-2 and Stuka are equipped with a defensive machinegun facing behind them to protect against enemy aircraft on their tail. The US and British ground attack aircraft are based on fighters and use speed as their defense.
Fighter-Bombers are also designed to attack ground targets, but in a much different way. Instead of firing barrages of rockets or cannons, fighter-bombers drop highly destructive bombs. Although somewhat inaccurate, bombs are often more than adequate to hit large stationary targets like structures or foolishly closely grouped tanks.
US air forces have Paratroop Drops available. On deployment, a C-47 will fly at high altitude to the drop location and unleash two platoons of airborne infantry, which slowly descend to the ground via parachute. This period of descent leaves the infantry vulnerable to attack and so is best used in somewhat remote locations. Airborne infantry are better trained than standard infantry. Because of this, the successful drop of 5 flights of paratroopers behind enemy lines can have devastating effects. Paratroopers will scatter as they land, which dilutes their combined firepower; however it also means that they can cover a broad area and greatly disrupt an opponent.
British air forces have glider assaults available to them. Like paratroop drops, this will deploy airborne infantry to the target location. Unlike paratroopers, glider troops are ready for action as soon as their glider hits the ground and are equipped with support weapons such as a mortar and a light field gun. The trouble, of course, is getting the slow-moving gliders past enemy air defenses; additionally fire from artillery, tanks, and machine guns can mow down the entire unit upon landing. Nevertheless, gliders are better than paratroopers at direct assaults; four gliders landing in a lightly defended base is a serious problem.
Aircraft by Nation
- Fi 156 Storch (recon)
- Bf 109K-4 (interceptor)
- Fw 190 (air superiority)
- Fw 190F-8 (fighter-bomber)
- Ju-87G Stuka (ground attack)
- V1 (flying bomb)
- Auster AOP Mk. V (recon)
- Spitfire Mk. XIV (interceptor/air superiority)
- Spitfire Mk. IX (fighter-bomber)
- Hawker Typhoon (ground attack)
- Horsa Glider (glider assault)
- Po-2 (recon)
- Po-2 Partisan Supply (partisan supply drop)
- Yak-9U (interceptor)
- La-5FN (air superiority)
- Il-2 (ground attack/figher-bomber)
- Il-2 PTAB (ground-attack/anti-tank bomber)