ATTENTION! The content of this article is more than three months old and may not be relevant to the current version of the game
The R-Z is a light reconnaissance aircraft of the Soviet air force. It is cheap and easy to maintain and its forward and rear facing machine guns still poses a threat in combat if manned by a skilled crew.
The recon plane is great fun to fly and fight with, the rear gunner providing a lot of protection against enemy planes, and the pilot can often turn the plane so the rear gunner is able to harass and destroy both enemy infantry and light vehicles with his machine gun. Just as with other vehicles, the pilot is also rewarded for kills made by his gunner.
Last Friday we had well-known in game pilot iAmTheFlyingCow visit us here at Reto-Moto HQ and he took the plane for a quick flight, take a look below, or catch the entire Devstream on Youtube here.
How do I get one?
When you recruit a new pilot he will have the recon plane as his first plane. The plane has its own Specialist Ribbon that (for now) unlocks ammunition upgrades so you can get either light armor piercing rounds or HE rounds. This ammunition upgrade is only for the main gun, so having a rear gunner onboard cannot cost you anything.
The Fighter planes (Bf 109 for the German faction, Yak-9 for the Soviet and the P-38 Lightning for the Americans) unlock with the Dog Fight Ribbon grade 5. All planes get updated controls and flight model in the Ihlefeld update.
What is the strategic use?
Like all the recon planes, the Polikarpov R-Z is a reconnaisance (recon) plane fielded by the “Fighter Recon” assault teams. Recon teams are slower than Fighter Squadrons, but also cheaper to buy and use. Once a Fighter Recon assault team has earned enough experience it can be upgraded to a Fighter Squadron should the player owning the Assault Team choose to do so.
Its first use in combat was during the Spanish Civil War from 1937, where it could meet the German Henschel Hs126 B-1. A large number of Polikarpov R-Zs were delivered to the Spanish Republican Air Force, where they were nicknamed Natacha. These were heavily used, flying in tight formations and using co-ordinated defensive fire to defend against fighter attack, while returning individually at low levels.