Thundersword Bomber Guide

I'm happy to see so many people on T2, but I'm disappointed that everyone seems to be ignorant when it comes operating multi person vehicles. More specifically, the thundersword bomber. I find bombing with a competent crew to be one of the most enjoyable experiences in this whole game. Unfortunately, everyone I bomb with seems to just hop in with no idea of what do do and we ultimately fail.

To help remedy this, I thought I would write a little guide about how to perform well as part of a bomber crew and point out common mistakes I see. Most of this information will be common sense to anyone who has played very long, but it might be worth a read still. It took a long time for me to type up =)
Your job is to fly the ship and keep it away from danger (aka missile farms) as much as you can, while still providing your bomber with targets to destroy.

===Dealing with Threats===
The biggest threats to your ship come from missiles and shrikes. Your tailgunner is primarily responsible for dealing with these, but that doesn't mean you can ignore them. You need to realize where exactly your crew can target. The bomber's AA guns can only shoot at targets that are level with or below the bomber. Your tailgunner can only shoot targets above the bomber, unless they are behind the ship in which case he can shoot downwards.

When chased by a shrike, many pilots try to fly higher than the shrike since their bomber's AA guns can only shoot targets below the bomber. If possible, however, you should maneuver the bomber so that the shrike is BEHIND and below you. That way, both crew members can open fire on him. If this is not possible, try and keep him above the ship since a tailgunner can likely kill a shrike faster than the AA guns, which tend to be hard to aim.

If you get a missile on your tail, your best bet is to let your tailgunner handle it with a flare. If he is out of flares, let your shields build up and absorb the hit. It isn't worth the risk to try and burn your jets to outrun it. Most of the time, It's going to hit you anyway. If your tailgunner is out of flares and you have multiple missiles incoming, "good luck" is the best advice I can give you. Some advanced pilots can dive down between mountains to lose the missiles, but unless you know what you're doing this will likely be more dangerous than the missiles themselves.

The mistake I see most often is bomber pilots not realizing that their shields and afterburners use up the same energy supply. In other words, if you burn your jets, you die faster. When taking fire, you should only burn your jets if you are sure it will get you away from a threat. Otherwise, the shields will serve you better.

===The Bombing Run===
First of all, you need to know where your bombs will hit at any given time. You should read the bombardier section to understand this.

As for the bombing run itself, you should be flying HIGH. Flying low to the ground is the fastest way to end your bombing run in an explosion. If you aren't with an experienced crew, I find the best altitude to fly at is at the level where your bomber can just barely see his reticule. Once you get more experience, you can take it up past the fog level on most maps and rain down destruction from there.

Once you have a good altitude, it's time to pick your targets and start bombing. Usually this will be the enemy base, but you might choose another target such as a pesky MPB or a large enemy offensive. Start your run far away and go at it straight and level in order to carpet bomb the area (see below for other bombing patterns). If you are trying to soften up the enemy base, I usually start with their vehicle pad. Lots of times there will be many heavies there waiting for a ride armed with missile launchers (bad) and other people buying shrikes (also bad). By taking out everyone standing there, you deal with a good number of your initial threats.

When you finish a pass, don't try and turn on a dime and start another one. You should fly out a good distance then make a slow turn and line it up again. This is done for two reasons. First, it lets your crew deal with any missiles/shrikes that you picked up on the last pass. Second, the bomber doesn't turn very well and you will mess up your approach trying to do a sharp turn. Depending on the map, I usually take it out of the mission area (most maps have bases near the mission area border) then start to turn around.

===Types of bombing runs===
There are three types of bombing runs: Carpet bombing, spot bombing, and dive bombing.

1. Carpet bombing - This is the most typical type of run. The bomber runs by it's target at full speed and drops a long line of bombs. This is the safest and most efficient bombing run.

2. Spot bombing - This is just what it sounds like - Hovering over one spot and bombing the crap out of one area. Most of the time, this is too dangerous. You will get shot down in no time against competent people. If, however, your enemies defenses have been absolutely devastated and they can't fight back, it might be worth it to hover over high traffic areas and blast away.

3. Dive bombing - Dive bombing is probably the most advanced bombing technique. It is used to do massive amounts of damage to one single location. Normally you keep the bomber straight and level when doing a bombing run, but with a dive you can keep the bomber at high speed and also keep the bombing reticule roughly on the same area. This means that all your bombs will hit the same location at the same time. If done right, this will destroy anything in the game instantly. When dive bombing, you must remember to pull up at a good altitude. Don't buzz the ground or your own bombs will end up destroying you.

As for your loadout, it isn't critical but I would recommend taking a medium/assault armor version of my tailgunner build from below for reasons I will explain at the end of this guide.
The bombardier is probably the easiest position on the bomber to master. It's also the most rewarding, since you get all the credit for blowing the crap out of everything. You should read the pilot section of this guide to know what to expect from the pilot. You should be able to tell what he expects you to do simply by how he flies.

You need to understand that your bomber turret has three weapons: Bombs (obviously), an AA gun, and a targeting laser. Switch between them just like you would on foot. Bombs are your primary way of dealing damage to ground targets, the AA gun is how you destroy enemy flyers. The targeting laser isn't useful for much other than pointing out where you want to go to the pilot.

The most important thing to master is knowing when to release your bombs. The easiest way to tell is to keep an eye on your bombing reticule (a red circle on the ground that changes position based on the bombers speed). When you release a bomb, it will land EXACTLY where the reticule is. Simple as that. You should get to the point where you can pretty much calculate where the bombs are going to land without looking at the reticule, since you wont always be able to see it when flying very high or on a foggy map.

Also, I shouldn't have to say this but NEVER NEVER NEVER release a bomb when the bomber is on the ground or flying towards the top of a mountain. It will hit the terrain and blow the entire bomber up. This happens FAR too often.

As for your loadout, it isn't critical but I would recommend taking a medium/assault armor version of my tailgunner build from below for reasons I will explain at the end of this guide.
The tailgunner is probably the most misunderstood position on the bomber. All too often I see people just using the tailgunner's slot as a free ride or to rain down mortars at the enemy (which will miss 95% of the time). In reality, the tailgunner is what keeps the bomber flying. Without a competent tailgunner, any bombing run is destined to fail. Tailgunning can easily be the most enjoyable job on the bomber.

As a tailgunner, you have two main jobs: Dealing with threats (missiles, shrikes, and other pesky flyers) and repairing the bomber (Yes, it can be repaired in flight with the repair pack).

Having the right loadout is CRITICAL to being a tailgunner. You can't just hop in with your spawn armor and expect to be useful at all. Below is my typical loadout and an explanation of why I chose those items and how to use them right.

Heavy Armor [The biggest reason to be a heavy tailgunner is your ability to hold more ammunition, simple as that. You can't restock mid flight. The only reason you should use a medium armor tailgunner build is if you have talked with the crew beforehand and they are going with a tailgunner build as well. I'll explain that at the end of the guide]

Repair Pack [Crucial item. The bomber is going to be damaged eventually and you will need to repair it. To repair, you need to look towards the front of the bomber and point your gun at the "meat" of the ship. Sometimes it can be tricky if the bomber is turning, just keep at it]

Flare Grenades [Don't even consider using any other grenade. This is what lets you deflect incoming missiles. When you hear the missile incoming sound, turn around and try to visually locate it. Once you see it and are sure it's going to hit, start charging your grenade. Once it gets within about 100 feet of the ship, throw the flare at it. Problem solved. Whatever you do, only use one flare per missile. Don't dump them all at one missile like many people do or you are screwed for sure]

Missile Launcher [Use this to shoot down chasing shrikes, simple as that. Even as a heavy you have very limited ammo (without an ammo pack you can hold 8 missiles I believe), so don't waste them on ground targets, players, other bombers, or transports (unless of course they have missile launchers themselves and are posing a problem)]

Chaingun [I find that the chaingun is the second best option for shrikes that are flying a little too close. Especially handy when you are out of missiles]

ELF Gun [Ah the lowly ELF gun. I wouldn't call it critical but it can certainly come in more useful than some other choices. Many times when a shrike is shot down in midair, the pilot will jump out and try to hover next to the bomber and deal as much damage as possible before his jets run out. The ELF gun ensures that his jets run out, well, instantly. You can then wave bye bye as he falls to his likely death. In addition to this, you can always zap the shield of an enemy shrike if he decides to get really close. With no shield, he will make short work for your chaingun]

All other slots are up to your own discretion, but I would recommend a disc launcher, plasma gun, and mortar. The disc launcher has a nice knockback effect on shrikes so if you can aim well enough to hit one midair it will likely knock his sights off for a moment, allowing some shield regeneration. The plasma gun has high damage but can be difficult to hit anything with while flying due to its low speed.

Now for the loadout tip I mentioned earlier. Eventually, the tailgunner is going to run out of flares and missiles, rendering him almost useless. If everyone is in a medium armor tailgunner build (heavies can't pilot/bomb), the pilot can stop the bomber in midair and swap positions. For example, if the tailgunner is out of ammo but the bombardier has a full load, they could jump out in midair and use their jets to fly into each others' position. Just be sure not to miss.


Whew, that was longer than I expected!

I don't claim to be an expert, so some of you might want to critique what I've written here. These are just some general guidelines based off of what I see when I play. Feel free to add your own tips.

I'll probably edit this a couple times adding/fixing things I forgot. Hopefully someone found it useful.


  • Very well-written. I'll definitely try to follow some of these guidelines next time I'm a tailgunner. :)
  • Also, one thing I forgot to mention is the viability of using a sensor jammer pack as a tailgunner instead of the repair pack. I haven't tried this considering how crucial the repair pack is, but if missile turrets are posing more of a problem than anything else I guess it could be worth it.

    Anyone tried this?
  • Sensor Jammer is my preferred pack of choice for TG. With it, we have absolutely no fear of any turrets of any kind getting in the way. AA turrets typically are nasty especially against dive bombing operations and unless your pilot is extremely capable of maneuvering they will tear things up. With the jammer, Only the occasional missile jettin at us is the problem, and even then because they are hand-dealt they often don't reach us in time, as opposed to a missile turret which locks on automatically and starts shooting.

    It doesn't help much against a foray with a shrike but it's not like you're going to start repairing the bomber with a shrike on yer back are ya? Figure that if the bomber is damaged, a pitstop far off with the pilot/bomber jumpin out for repairs is good enough.
  • You missed HAB - high altitude bombing. If someone is nice enough to place a beacon, say under a v-pad, and if the map lets you go that high, get anywhere between 500m and 1km up and go into first person. When in 1st person, you can see beacon signs on the horizontal axis centered in your screen. Hover up to the imaginary dot and try to get it as close to your face then stop moving. Now you can bomb the crap out of it for a prolonged period of time. Another bonus to this is the height can give you speed to do another dive bomb, and if you are a good pilot, you can use this speed to avoid missiles at the same time.

    Oh yeah, this isn't really the right place to put this, but if you are in a shrike and someone launches a missile at you from directly in front of you, shift about 40 meters to a side and then continue in your normal direction. Missiles are dumb and undercorrect for your position and will have to make a large arc to come back. This time is plenty enough to outrun it in base, assuming you are actually moving.
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