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Sim Tutorial: A-10 Warthog


  • Senior Game Master

The A-10 Warthog in Sim Enduring Conflict

Hi folks!


This may turn into a little serie where I describe how I sue certain aircraft in War thunder, hopefully also helping other players employing and enjoying those aircraft as bes as they can in Sim battles.


The frist of the series is my current favourite, the A-10A Thunderbolt II, or more fondly named the Warthog or just Hog.


So let's have a look!

Preflight and loadout

Flying the Hog at all?


A good question, not to be underestimated! The Warthogs really excells in Enduring Confrontation Rotation 1 (EC7 with 9.3-10.3), as its top of the BR's there and faces less dangerous SPAAGs on the ground and enemy aircraft that may ruin your day.


Rotation 2 on the other hand is the least recommendable one: EC8 from 10.3 to 11.3, where you're at the very bottom of the BR range and thus face much more dangerous enemies!


Both other rotations 3 (EC8, 10.0-10.7) and 4 (EC8, 9.7-10.7) are moderate an d quite doable, but here you already face more dangerous enemies both on the ground and in the air.


Frankly, I usually avoid playing the Warthogs in Rotation 2, and on those days play ohter aircraft I like (e.g. A-7, F-8). But the days with Rotation 1, those are marked brightly and colourfully on my calendar as "Hog's Days"!


Then, yes it has powerful AAM's, but still, the Hog is slow (but not sluggish). If you like fighters only, you won't love the Hog. But if you love to kill things on the ground, the A-10's are possibly the best thing that can happen to you!


Which model to bring?


My choice from the two currently available Hogs depends strongly on map and - most of all - daytime: I prefer the "Early" model because of it's premium status and thus cheaper repair costs and better earnings, but their AGM-65Bs TV seekers can have issues in dusk and dawn situations due to low contrast if the light gets darker, and the TV-Mav's are of course quite useless at night.


So in those "low light" cases I prefer to bring the "Late" model with its IIR AGM-65D Mavericks, which make picking up hot targets easier (not only at low light but also in the day - see also later when I talk about engaging convoys). The thermal seeker of the 65D however comes at a price: less magnmification and resolution, making identifying the targets more difficult. But you detect them more easily.


Another aspect that affects my choice of the A-10 model is also the map, how far the EC mission has already progressed, and what targets are currently available: The "Early" works well in all maps, but if you are in  a situation where there are no ground battle events, and only bases and convoys to engage, often in the early stages of the mission, the "Late" model may be a better choice as the thermal Mavericks really help spotting and engaging those usually difficult to find convoy vehicles.


Little side note: In the 91 Gulf War - contrary to original doctrine and training - Warthogs were often operated at night, and there used the AGM-65D's IIR seekers as "poor mans FLIR" to seek for targets they otherwise had no means to find.



Armament and fuel


The A-10's have a large array of different weapon options available, ranging from dumb bombs and unguided rockets to Air to Ground and Air to Air missiles. Plus of course the famous GAU-8/A Avenger 7-barrelled Gatling canon with its tank killing DU (depleted Uranium) ammo.


My most common loadout is a mix of 6x Mavericks, bombs (usually 10x Mk.82 500 pounders), 2x (early) or 4x (late) AIM-9L's for self defense, plus of course the 30mm canon loaded with the anti tank rounds with priority on the depleted Uranium round, killing even MBT's.


I rarely use unguided rockets or gun pods, as they offer no advantage over just the simple Mk.82's. Also the heavier Mk.84's I never bring, as they rarely kill more than one target anyway, so I prefer a loadout with lots of 82's instead on few 84's.


As for countermeasures, I always bring an even mix of Flares and Chaff, as they offer best protection agains a multitude of threats, and with 480 cartridges carried, you get a comfortable 240 discharges of Flare / Chaff. I've yet to run out of countermeasures in a single sortie...


A well dressed Warthog...


For fuel, never bring less than 30 minutes worth of cerosene: The Hog is slow, and you may need to loiter a bit near or behind the front until good targets for you pop up.

Wuth 30 minutes you should do well in most cases, but sometimes that's cutting it a bit thin. If you often run inti issues with 30 minutes, bring 45 minutes of fuel, but be mindful that this also slightly affects your agility negatively.

Getting it into the air


After joining the match, set up your aircraft to fly: Close the canopy, start your engines, engage your SAS ("damping" mode which gives you a more stable weapons platform), set flaps for takeoff.


If you prefer - and have a setup that supports this - adjust your seat: Sadly the A-10's in WT suffer from an unrealistic head position, so using the "Head movement" commands, you can shift your point of view in the cockpit to a more comfortable and realistic position. Note however that those commands need both a button to move one direction (e.g. "move head up"), plus a button must be set to "Enable axis". This latter command is not a toggle, so the adjusted head movement is only working as long as this button is pressed. Works well if you have a controller (joystick or throttle or similar) where you have a free toggle switch. I for example have a Thruustmaster Warthog setup, which has toggle switches, and my switch to "Enable axis" is permanently toggled on (unless of course my boys playing pilot in my simpit fiddle with that specific switch without resetting it properly *sigh*...). I always move my head a bit forward, and a tad upward (note that the centerline of the HUD doesn't disappear upwards off the HUD's area. Best is if the control panel just beneath  the HUD is now visible, as in default viewpoint it's hidden by the glareshield of the cockpit).

The following images shows how it best looks, note the highlighted HUD control panel which is now visible as well as the slightly higher positioned centerline:





To take off, set your throttle to 95%, and let her roll, then pull her nose up gently at around 150kts. Then, once you got a stable positive climb, retract the gear, and "accelerate" (note quotation marks here - I still have trouble using the word acceleration in anything related to the Hog...), then later at around 200kts or more, take in your flaps.


Common blunder: Retract your gear before the climb is sure and clear! The Hog has a tendency to sometime just "skip", if you retract then you break your gear. You'll survive this, but landing will be bad. Trust me, I have enough reason to know...



To the Target...


Usually, I fly very low to the target, to prevent exposing myself to any potential threat as well as possible. I often see Hogs a few hundreds or thousands (!!!) meters up - easy meal for whoever wants it...




So low you're accompanied closely by your shadow...
I wonder if that  other, unluckier Warthog heeded that advice as well?


On my way to the battlefield I usually select the Sidewinders, to be able to react quickly if jumped, and only switch to the Mavericks once I'm maybe 20 miles out of my target (roughly 1 grid in the most large maps).


As to the bombs, I don't set their ripple quantities at all, as then the bombs carried individually on the pylons can be dropped one by one, and only the bombs carried on the TER's get dropped in pairs. This means you have 7 bomb drops available from your 10x Mk.82's instead of 5 if you select a riple quantity of 2. And for bases, [S] is of course the preferred ripple quantity, to drop all 10  in one go.


Common Blunder: What happens is one forgets he has Sidewinders selected, tries to lock up the dangerous SPAAG's with the Mavericks, surprised he gets no solid lock even if contrast looks good - only to realise Mav's only work when Mav's are selected! Immediately disengage and reposition, don't get greedy and cycle weapons around, as by the time you realise you'r blunder you may be in range of the AA. Killed me too many times, I must admitt...


Targets and missions.

Ground battles / CAS


Providing Close Air Support (CAS) in ground battle events is THE playground where the Warthogs feel most at home: You have a target rich environment for Mavericks, Bombs and your Avenger 30mm Gatling gun, and can easily kill a dozen or more targets in one single sortie!

Engaging a running ground battle event however needs an especially careful approach when you still have the Red Forces SPAAG's to worry about, so annihilating the enemy air defense is your first job!


The SPAAG you encounter depends on map and EC-bracket, and usually consists of 2 radar guided SPAAG's (e.g Gepards in Denmark, ZA-35 in Sinai,...), plus 2 (usually) visually guided SPAAG's (e.g. Ostwind or M42 in lower EC-brackets, SIDAM higher up - and those SIDAM's are very dangerous). So at first, select your Mavericks and try to spot, engage and kill those FLAK tanks.


Stay a few kilometers out, lock up the SPAAG's and let the Maverick fly!





The immediately and forcefully break away from the target, drop a bit of Flares and Chaff, and reposition to wait for the Maverick to kill the SPAAG, and then to engage again. If the landscape allows, get down to Earth quickly to get out of their firing arcs. Keep an eye or better two open for the tracers, and jink out of the bullets deadly paths as best you can...





Common blunder: Get impatient or greedy and try to kill two or more SPAAG's in one approach: It may work well for two targets if you start your run far enough away, but setting up for a third may get you already close enough for them to spot and engage you. And then you're very probably dead. Simple as that.


Next - once the air defense is dead and allows you to go close in - use your Mk.82 bombs to kill tanks and the often seen recoilless anti tank gun squads.


Tanks are actually quite easy to spot, but the AT guns are barely visible (especially if you use a VR set like me), unless you're nearly on top of them! But there's a trick: As the ground battle event progresses, both enemy and friendlies have fired a lot at each other, cratering the landscape with well visible black marks - and at the end of those marks is where the tanks and ATG teams sit!




Screenshot of a raging ground battle with enemy tanks and ATG's (yellow dots), nicely pointed at by the black scorchmarks (red markings)...



...and an enemy 105mm recoilless Anti Tank Gun close up, with the scorchmarks in front.



For accurate bombing, set your sight to the mode for bombs, which gives you the drop line and CCIP pipper, allowing you to hit those tanks and ATG's very easily.





Then of course it's also time to engage with the 30mm! Ste your sight back to ""Standard" if you desire, but the shell drop of the 30mm is flat enough you can also get good resulots just aiming with the centerline mark, tracers and impacts.


Approach the targets (tanks or ATG) in a shallow dive, and give a short burst with the canon. ATG's ar emostly killed immediately, tanks often get just critically hit, but you often also set them afire at least, and they blow up nicely while you disengage and reposition for another run on another target.





Convoys are good targets for the A-10, but they are not easy to find and dangerous to engage. Where the ground battles rage, muzzle flashes and smoke are well visible from afar, and can thus easily be spotted, but a convoy traveling across the land may be much more difficult to spot.


Here, as mentioned before the "Late" models AGM-65D is very useful as its thermal seeker allows you to spot the hot tanks of the convoy easily. With te "Early" and the 65B, you often have to get much closer to be able to pinpoint the convoy exactly, and then you're in range of the accomanying SPAAG's which have an uncanny and annoying precission and accuracy and can down you easily even traveling at full speed over bumpy roads.


So, again as with ground battles, taking out the air defense is your first priority, after that you can quickly ans easily mop up the remaining light and medium tanks with remaining Mav's bombs and the gun.


Until a most recent Server Update, Convoy AA has been the most dangerous AA of the whole Sim EC business, and it was uncanny how even SPAAGs without radar (SIDAM) could down you even when driving at full speed over bumpy roads from (think in Shrek's voice...) Far, Far Away. Even M113 APC's with just a manually operated .50 cal on the roof would down an armored Hog quickly and easily from (again), Far, Far Away! Now however, this situation has improved considerably thinks to the accuracy of the Sim EC SPAA having been nerfed significantly.


Mission Targets (Bases)


Of course bases are also viable targets for the A-10, but less typical and less rewarding.


For one, they're often far behind the front, so travelling there and back with the slow Hog takes a looong time. Plus your armament options only allow killing two bases if you bring a heavy bombs only loadout (and careful trigger discipline), while it of course denies you any flexibility in engaging other, more typical targets. If you want to go after bases, better bring a Corsair II, or if you have it, an Intruder...


Still, engaging bases is something I do when there are currently no ground battle events, and I'm nearby and need something to do!

Then - again - I try to take out the defending SPAAG's first, because they will for sure get my slow aircraft while I trundle in to bomb (unless I fly higher that 2000 meters, which is also no place for a Hog...). After getting the FLAK tanks, I drop all my 10x Mk.82's on the base, which reduces its health to maybe 5-10%. After that, turn around and fire the remaining Mavericks at the base which will finally kill the base .


Countering air


The Warthog is slow, but very agile, and can for sure defend itself well, but it is not advisable to go hunt for air targets.


Most dangerous opponents of the Hogs are the Frogs, as those Su-25 like the A-10 bring all aspect AAMs, which is something otherwise rare at the BR's where the Warthogs are employed. Also, they're like you close to the ground, and camouflaged well.


Remember, always, the most dangerous enemy is the one you don't see, so keep your eyes open at all times!


Common blunder: Work busily killing ground targets, staying in that area for a long time and solely focus on your targets: The enemy will notice the constant pop up texts that their ground forces are being killed, so they don't have a hard time figuring out where you might be, and come looking for you! So eyes not only on the ground, but also scan the sky constantly.





What works well for me is running in, killing a ground target, then while disengaging and a bit away from the battlefield, fly straight and level and do a quick scan of the sky around to see if anything else is flying nearby. Of yourse this is where it's really helpful to have a VR setup, as it allows you to look all around your bubbly canopy, as above screenshot shows nicely.


When you are engaged from the rear, use contermeasures and jink a lot. Especially fast opponents like Fishbeds or Starfighters then often tend to overshoot, which puts them in a perfect position for you to send an Sidewinder up their tailpipe! I think most of my air kills in the Warthogs were done like this.


If you have no missiles left, you may end up in a close quarter gunfight. You'll most probably have better agility and turn radius than your opponent, but especially when loaded heavily you will loose a lot of energy in a turn fight, so it may actually be necessary to get rid of the excess weight and - hard as it may be - drop all your bomb load to get lighter.


Once you re light and nimble, use your excellent agility to turn your defense into offense and engage your opponent with the Avenger.



Getting it home


Once you have expended your air to ground armament and thus your usefulness, head back home to refuel and rearm, and head out on another sortie.


You may be battle damaged, and the Warthog can sometimes really take a lot of punishment and still fly, and even losing an engine and parts of its wings and/or tail surfaces may still let you get back to base, but it may take a while...


As to approach and landing, the A-10 is very easy to fly: Thanks to its low speed, reducing your speed to drop the gear can happen quite late in your approach, thanks to the very effective airbrakes you have.


You can set your flaps to take off position quite early, a ssoon as you're below 400kts / 740kmh, and the gear comes out below 200kts / 340 kmh.


Usually, no need to worry about setting flaps in landing position, as in most of the cases you're light enoght that take of flaps are perfectly fine.


Touch down, open your barn-door-like speed brakes, and gently break to standstill, then wait until the team on the ground has done its magic and prepped your Hog for another sortie, then head out again onto the battlefield...





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  • Senior Game Master

I've added a few points (especially common blunders), a n additional screen and added some more details...  = )

So, how do YOU user your Warthogs, and what lessons and Tips do YOU have for us?

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