CAS - Close Air Support
Single target elimination. Vehicle attacks a tactical enemy of opportunity. In Tank Battles, this typically refers to fighting enemy tanks from the air with strike fighters and light bombers.
Close Air Support (CAS) are airstrikes by aircraft against enemy targets close by friendlies. Due to the close distance between friendly and enemy units, close coordination between air and ground is necessary for accurate deliveries of said support and reduce friendly fire. These support attacks can be done by low and high calibre machine-guns, cannons, unguided rockets, and bombs. The destruction of hostile ground targets such as tanks and pillboxes (as well as naval targets such as destroyers, landing craft, etc.) bleeds tickets away from your opponents score in virtually all Air Battles. If enough enemy Ground and/or Naval targets are destroyed, your team will win the match.
All ground attack aircraft have access to either bombs, rockets, and/or high calibre cannons. Some have access to all three, some have only two, and some only have access to one, although usually CAS aircraft with only one of these options have access to a more effective weapon of that type.
There are six steps to how a bomb causes damage
1. The blast wave from the explosion creates highly compressed air particles
2. Shockwaves carry energy throughout the medium
3. Fragmentation ( As a bomb typically refers to airdropped, unpowered explosive weapons most commonly used by air forces and naval aviation, these explosive weapons must have a containment method able to carry the explosive to it's target safely, thus some sort of canister, and thus creating something to break apart when an explosion is created.) throws shrapnel outward.
4. The exothermic reaction (in a bomb's case, an explosion) creates fire and heat
5. Intense heat can cause secondary fires or explosions.
6. The blast wind creates a vacuum that refills itself with air and pulls shrapnel back in.
In War Thunder, step three usually causes the most damage to vehicles and crew, as shrapnel penetrates the armour and rips apart crew most violently.
Rockets are almost exactly the same to bombs in terms of how it destroys a target, but:
- A rocket is sent to its target via its own propulsion system, rather than gravity and any speed the plane had at the time of the ejection from the aircraft.
- Since a rocket must carry propulsion to carry it to its target and not crash to the ground, a rocket contains almost always less explosive material than any conventional bomb, for the reason of weight so that the propulsion system can effectively maintain a constant speed horizontally until the fuel runs out.
- A rocket can penetrate armour via the force of the impact of the rocket to the armour and then detonate, generally not via shrapnel entering from outside the vehicle (but this can happen).
High Calibre Guns
On Aircraft, two types of high calibre guns can be carried.
Autocannons are high calibre cannons below the barrel size of 38 mm that deliver a bigger punch than smaller, less powerful machine guns, while still retaining "rapid" fire. They are the most common aircraft cannon. Some examples are:
- 20 mm Hispano 404
- 20 mm Hispano Mk.II
- 20 mm Hispano Mk.V
- 20 mm MG 151/20
- 23 mm NS-23
- 23 mm NR-23
- 30 mm MK 103
- 37 mm NS-37
- 37 mm BK 3,7
- 37 mm Ho-203
Aircraft Artillery are high calibre cannons that are designed for large aircraft, almost specifically meant for aircraft with CAS in mind, and do not have a "rapid" fire capability. Some examples are:
War Thunder community damage chart for ground ordnance: Google doc chart
Attacking a Ground Target
Attacking a ground target is an attack with three parts:
- Setting up for the attack
- Committing to the attack
- Recovering from the attack and setting up for a new attack
Setting up for an attack
This is the most important part to ensuring that parts two and three go smoothly, setting up for the attack is all about patience and preparation, although it will take place in the course of about 30 seconds to 1 minute, although times can vary. there are four steps to setting up for an attack.
- Acquiring a target
- Checking plane status
- Finding an angle of attack
- Committing to step 2
Acquiring a target
In Ground Realistic battles, ground attack is usually the first role that is taken by aircraft. This means that you will have Allies on the ground, it is important to communicate with your team. Asking them to mark targets on the map is a must so you should be sure you are playing on the server(s) that speak your language. If you need help with what to say, or forget to have your server set to a server that speaks your language, here are some useful phrases (in Russian, English, and Spanish) below.
English "Can everyone mark targets?" "Ground attack aircraft looking for targets, can you mark a few?"
Spanish "¿Pueden los tanques marcar objetivos? en aviones de ataque terrestre y en busca de algunos." "¿Todos pueden marcar sus objetivos?"
Russian "Мне нужны цели, можете отметить?" "Самолёту нужны цели, можете отметить несколько?"
Checking Plane Status
This is a relatively short step but an important one. It should only be one question: "Is my plane in good enough shape to effectively destroy a target and return to base without major damage, and if so, will that damage impede my return to base?" If you answer yes to the first bit of the question and/or no to the second question go ahead on to step three, if not, return to base and land. If your plane is too badly damaged or out of fuel to get back to base before moving on to step three, you may go for the kill, as there wouldn't be a situation where you could gain more kills afterwards.