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#4022463 - 10/14/14 09:57 PM Read while u can, the pix are back!: LIFE AND DEATH OF YEKATERINA BUDANOVA *****  
Joined: May 2006
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HeinKill Offline
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HeinKill  Offline
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Not sure why but photobucket pix are showing again! Links to the full story below:

CHAPTER ONE: MOSTOVSKOY GOES TO WAR

AN UNORTHODOX APPROACH: http://SimHQ.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/4022463/Mostovskoy_goes_to_war:_BoS_ca#Post4022463

TAKING LESSONS: http://SimHQ.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/4022822/Re:_Mostovskoy_goes_to_war:_Bo#Post4022822

AN AWKWARD SILENCE: http://SimHQ.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/4023657/Re:_Mostovskoy_goes_to_war:_a_#Post4023657

VOLGA ON FIRE: http://SimHQ.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/4024365/Re:_Mostovskoy_goes_to_war:_a_#Post4024365

KILLING FIELD: http://SimHQ.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/4039364/Re:_Mostovskoy_goes_to_war:_a_#Post4039364

ONE FINE DAY: http://SimHQ.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/4043486/Re:_Mostovskoy_goes_to_war:_a_#Post4043486

BARSAGINO: http://SimHQ.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/4047178/Re:_Mostovskoy_goes_to_war:_Bo#Post4047178

THE BRIDGES OF ZHIRNOKLEEVKA: http://SimHQ.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/4049921/Re:_Mostovskoy_goes_to_war:_Bo#Post4049921

Ch.1 FINALE - AGRIPPINA PETROVNA: http://SimHQ.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/4049921/Re:_Mostovskoy_goes_to_war:_Bo#Post4049921

CHAPTER TWO: FAT FRITZ GOES TO WAR

FAT FRITZ GOES TO WAR
http://SimHQ.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/4053398/Re:_Mostovskoy_goes_to_war:_Bo#Post4053398

A WING AND A PRAYER
http://SimHQ.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/4062267/Re:_Mostovskoy_goes_to_war:_Bo#Post4062267

IN THE CAULDRON
http://SimHQ.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/4065441/Re:_Mostovskoy_goes_to_war:_Bo#Post4065441

FLIGHT OF THE EAGLE
http://SimHQ.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/4068476/Re:_Mostovskoy_goes_to_war:_Bo#Post4068476

FLIGHT TO FREEDOM
http://SimHQ.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/4074326/Re:_Mostovskoy_goes_to_war:_Bo#Post4074326

NO REST FOR THE WICKED
http://SimHQ.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/4074883/Re:_Mostovskoy_goes_to_war:_Bo#Post4074883

WEAPONS UNLOCKED
http://SimHQ.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/4075911/Re:_Mostovskoy_goes_to_war:_Bo#Post4075911

CHAPTER 3: YEKATERINA 'KATYA' BUDANOVA GOES TO WAR


PRELUDE:

http://SimHQ.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/4077963/BoS_campaign_Ch._3_AAR_#1_Feb_#Post4077963

KATYA'S FIRST KILL

http://SimHQ.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/4079060/BoS_campaign_Ch._3_AAR_#2_Feb_#Post4079060

**************



Mission 1 teaser: An unorthodox approach

PART 1

"Oh no, not you." These were the first words of the ugliest gunner in the VVS, Agrippina Petrovna, when she walked into the briefing room and saw who she was going to be paired up with, "My feet still hurt, and you still owe me for the cost of cleaning my uniform."

It was a long story involving a dark dance hall, some sad music, a lot of vodka and the things we regret doing when we think we could die any day. That was Petrovna's version anyway.

"You think I would go up with you if I had the choice?" I said to her.

She sat down heavily beside me, "You are lucky my gun cannot point forward, Mikhael Mostovskoy," she grumbled.

The briefing hut of the VVS 228ShAP was like every other briefing hut on every VVS airfield on the Don Front. Which was to say, it was unlike any other. Every Russian hut was unique, with its own life story. This one was particularly utilitarian, looked like it had been put together by a blind bricklayer, and was colder on the inside than on the outside.

A lot like Agrippina Petrovna.

I turned my attention to the briefing. We were going to attack a train, deep inside German lines.

[Linked Image]

"Right on top of the Luftwaffe field at Pitomnik. I am going to die," Petrovna moaned.

"If I'm lucky," I said, and she hit me with her lunch pail. She was the only gunner who took her lunch with her on a sortie, in a large tin wedged between her feet. It always took her longer to get out of the cockpit than it did to get into it, she ate so much during the mission.

Our route would take us west of Stalingrad, skirting our own lines before we swung in toward the train station at Voroponovo.

[Linked Image]

We were not told why this station, this train, at this time, but it was as good, or bad, a mission as any. It was only my fifth mission with the 228ShAP, and I had yet to score a victory. If you don't count my last gunner, who shot himself in his bunk two days ago. The joke in the unit is that he was afraid to go up with me again. They said I should paint a skull on my tailplane, my first kill.

But they don't joke too loudly because I am their flight leader. For this mission I had chosen to load both rockets and bombs. The rockets should be enough to take care of the train, and the bombs would be useful if we ran into any juicy targets along the way. It was about 5 pm as the three of us lined up on the runway, and already getting dark.

[Linked Image]

We had been given an escort of four LaGG-3s, and they hovered overhead, impatient to get underway.

[Linked Image]

As we lifted away from the field, I saw a lone soldier, run out of his hut and stand watching.

[Linked Image]

"Hey Petrovna," I said, "I think your boyfriend is waving goodbye."

"It's not my boyfriend, it's yours," she returned. "Just fly the stupid plane."

About five minutes into the flight, I spotted artillery below, "There are our brave troops, dropping heavy artillery on the heads of the poor Germans in Barrikady from the safety of their gun pits miles behind the lines." I remarked.

[Linked Image]

"Those are German guns," Petrovna said, "Firing at our troops. We still hold Barrikady, you fool."

"You fool, Sir," I told her. "Show respect for a higher ranking officer please gunner Petrovna." Having put her in her place, I reasserted my authority, "And mark that position on your map please, we may return to it after we have dealt with that train, if we have any ammunition."

"If we are still alive, more like it," she muttered. The German guns fell away behind us.

[Linked Image]

She stayed quiet after that. All I could hear was the drone of the engine, the whistle of air past the cockpit, and the crunch of her munching on a beet. As we approached the target though she called out, "German fighter! Six o'clock, five thousand feet! Go get him boys!"

[Linked Image]

The LaGGs rolled into action, a little reluctantly I thought, but they kept the German busy.

"Stay sharp," I told her, "We're approaching the target."

[Linked Image]

Spotting the train station was easy - a web of tracks led into and away from it and there, right on schedule (thank goodness for German efficiency!) was our target, a nice fat, juicy steam locomotive, pulling half a dozen wagons.

[Linked Image]

"I'll take the train," I told my flight, "You stay up here and deal with anyone trying to bother me."

I lined up behind the slow moving train and put my Ilyushin into a shallow dive. It was a beast of an airplane - heavy in the ass, wallowed like a pig if you pulled hard on the stick, but it had teeth like a shark.

[Linked Image]

"Rockets away," I yelled, as my 8 ROS-82s streaked off their rails toward the train.

[Linked Image]

And missed.

[Linked Image]

The train continued blithely on its way. Or not, actually, because we had at least woken up the gunners on the flak trucks and they began to fill the sky around us with HE. Something whanged against my starboard wing.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

"Chyort, voz'mi!" Petrovna yelled, "I knew it! We're hit!"

I looked out at the wing, and she was right. I could see daylight through the skin of the wing.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

I tried the controls. He still seemed to respond to the stick and the pedals. He's a tough bird, the IL2. "I'm going around for another run." I told her.

"What? No! Let the others!" Petrovna yelled, "You couldn't hit it with rockets, what makes you think you can hit it with bombs?!"

"Rockets tiny," I re-assured her, "Bombs big."

I hauled the Ilyushin around for a second run.

PART 2

I closed on the train again, tracer winked past the wings and exploded around us.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

"Did you maybe...ever think..." Petrovna said through gritted teeth.

"Think what?" I said, my finger poised over the bomb release.

"No, that's all...did you ever THINK?" she yelled.

I ignored her, and pickled the bombs in a salvo.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

They fell beautifully...

[Linked Image]

And missed completely

[Linked Image]

"What a surprise," Petrovna said. "Now can we go home?"

"That's...not certain," I told her. My stick was jammed back against my stomach. There was nothing I could do. The plane pitched into a rapid climb.

[Linked Image]

I had lateral movement, but the control wires to the elevators must have been jammed, and as hard as I pushed, the stick would not budge. The trim control was also kaput.

I tried rolling him onto his side, and he responded to that at least. I rolled first one way, and then the other.

[Linked Image]

"What the Ѡ&#1146 are you doing?" Petrovna yelled, "I nearly lost my lunch!"

I threw the machine back onto the opposite wing again, "I've lost vertical control," I told her, "But I think, if I alternately roll left and right, I can more or less keep us on the right...heading."

[Linked Image]

"More or less? Can you more or less keep us from crashing?" she gurgled. "Let's bail out!"

"Good idea dear Agrippina. And then you can use your feminine charms to ask the Germans to let us borrow an airplane and fly home."

That shut her up.

Unfortunately our zig zag path took us right over the German airfield at Gumrak. "Look," I said, our brave comrades are trying to attract their groundfire."

[Linked Image]

"Yes," she agreed, "They can't wait to see how this ends either."

A sickening fifteen minutes later, we miraculously neared our airfield. "The tail piece has a big gash all the way around!" Petrovna yelled, "It looks like it will fall off any minute!"

[Linked Image]

"Then I had better put it down," I told her.

"What? No! You have to pull up so we can bail out!"

"And trust your life to a few kilos of silk sewn together by a German sympathiser? Nyet dear Petrovna, I am going to land this beast!" I lowered the wheels, out of optimism more than anything else.

[Linked Image]

If she could have crawled out of her cockpit, over the canopy and shot me with her sidearm, she would have, I know it. But she couldn't and I had a cunning plan. I would roll right to put us at the end of the airfield, then I would sideslip left, lining up perfectly with the direction of the airstrip and touch down with my left wheel first, using my RPM and pitch to keep the nose from rising, The right wheel would come down, perhaps a touch hard, but it was built like a tractor, so that would be no concern, and then I would coast to a gentle stop right outside the mess hall to the cheers of the ground crew and disappointment of the ambulance drivers.

[Linked Image]

Petrovna began praying...

I didn't stop her. But apparently her deity was not listening.

We touched down beautifully on our left wheel, exactly as planned. Then on our left wing. Which sheared off.

[Linked Image]

Causing the right wing to lift suddenly and flip us on our back. The engine screamed in protest and died.

[Linked Image]

And then we skidded across the field like a loosely tied skate, canopy and tailplane crunching, and Petrovna screaming. Or perhaps it was me. Actually yes, I think it was. Petrovna was no doubt holding tightly to her lunch pail.

[Linked Image]

We came to a sudden stop. It was wonderfully quiet...no sudden WHOOMP as our fuel and ammunition exploded, which was good.

"When I get out of here..." Petrovna began. She was hanging upside down by her straps, the tough metal canopy of the Ilyushin had saved her from having her face scraped off - mind you that could have been an improvement.

"Are you dead?" I asked her.

"What?"

"If you are screaming at me, may I assume you are still alive then? And not a prisoner in a German love camp?"

"Why, you..."

I unbuckled my harness and landed unceremoniously in a heap against the top of my cockpit. "And tonight, you will be eating beet soup with the rest of us, and sleeping in your own cot, alone, all thanks to me and my magnificent flying skills," I told her.

"...kill you!!"

"And when I... ask you... for a dance next time," I told her, kicking out the side panel so I could crawl out, "I expect you to show some gratitude!"

[Linked Image]

(Note: this AAR will borrow liberally in thought and feeling from the classic Russian Stalingrad novel, 'Life and Fate' by Vasily Grossman, which was banned in 1962 before it was even published. It is a must read for anyone interested in Stalingrad.)

Last edited by HeinKill; 06/01/18 04:21 PM.

[Linked Image]
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#4022477 - 10/14/14 11:02 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: a BoS campaign AAR [Re: HeinKill]  
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letterboy1 Offline
(Heterosexual)Tchaikovsky Ballet Fan
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Lifer

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Columbus, GA USA
As cool as the screenshots are, I have to say, nice writing skills! Thanks! smile


The issue is not p*ssy. The issue is monkey.
#4022715 - 10/15/14 12:08 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: a BoS campaign AAR [Re: HeinKill]  
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FlatSpinMan Offline
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Land of the Rising Sun
How come you keep the HUD and icons on in the screenshots? Pushing 'H' will toggle them off.

#4022774 - 10/15/14 02:36 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: a BoS campaign AAR [Re: HeinKill]  
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komemiute Offline
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komemiute  Offline
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Once again Heinkill does it. Great skills. You should and could earn a living with that.


Click to reveal..
"Himmiherrgottksakramentzefixhallelujah!"
Para_Bellum

"It takes forever +/- 2 weeks for the A-10 to get anywhere significant..."
Ice

"Ha! If it gets him on the deck its a start!"
MigBuster

"What people like and what critics praise are rarely the same thing. 'Critic' is just another one of those unnecessary, overpaid, parasitic jobs that the human race has churned out so that clever slackers won't have to actually get a real job and possibly soil their hands."
Sauron
#4022788 - 10/15/14 02:57 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: a BoS campaign AAR [Re: FlatSpinMan]  
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HeinKill Offline
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HeinKill  Offline
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Cloud based
Originally Posted By: FlatSpinMan
How come you keep the HUD and icons on in the screenshots? Pushing 'H' will toggle them off.


Fair question. I did try without the HUD but for AAR writing in this game I decided to keep them on - ground targets are very hard to see in the screen shots (a bit easier in game) because they are usually small dots on a white background. It helps guide the reader/viewer's eye a little bit. I'm not trying to win any screenshot prizes, just illustrate the narrative.

Another thing is that in BoS aircraft in the same flight all have the same skins (no unique identifiers), so again it makes it harder for the reader to know which aircraft is which, without the HUD ID tags.

Cheers,

H




[Linked Image]
#4022822 - 10/15/14 04:26 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign Mission 3: An Awkward Silence [Re: komemiute]  
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HeinKill Offline
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Mission 2: Taking lessons



"So, you are so smart, what is right, and what is wrong?" Petrovna challenged me. "This war is right? Or this war is wrong?"

Most gunners want to talk about women. Even the women gunners, want to whine about other women. Or their mothers. Not Petrovna, no, she is a philosopher. Her father was an escaped Menshevik who fled to Paris in '21. I wished she had stayed there with him. What kind of a daughter leaves her elderly father alone in occupied Paris to go and fight a war?

We were on our way to the day's target, supporting our front lines against a German push.



Our targets were artillery and vehicles, tanks if we spotted them. I was not optimistic about the ability of my little tin rockets to make much of a dent in a Panzer, but I did have my VYa-23mm - that should at least be able to slow them down.

It was, unfortunately, a long flight to the target, but at least it was over friendly territory on our side of the Volga.



"The Germans are driving east toward Moscow, and you ask me that?"



"My family had our farm taken away from us, in the name of what is 'right'", she said, "Where acts of violence are committed in the name of 'right', sorrow reigns and blood must flow."

"With our 4 IL2s and 4 Yaks we will commit some violence," I agreed. "And that's very right if you ask me."



I wiped some sweat from my brow. The cockpit was stifling hot at these low altitudes, with the engine buzzing at cruising revolutions.



"Ask Hitler, and he will tell you what he is doing is right," she argued. "So who is wrong?"

We neared the target area and I saw artillery flash on the horizon, ours or theirs, it was too far yet to see. "Look," I told Petrovna, "Do me a favour. If you see a German on our tail, do him some violence. If you shoot him down before he kills you, ask yourself if that was right."



"Gull flight," I called to the other pilots, "Enemy targets to starboard. I see tanks, trucks, and arty. Gull 1 and 2 break right. Gull three and four break left. You are free to engage. Try to destroy those tanks first. Happy hunting."

I dropped my nose at a tank trundling underneath us, and selected rockets. They leapt off the rails. For good luck, I also thumbed my 23mm and felt the hammering shake the IL2. Now we would see what those ROS-82s could do against a German tank.





Not much, apparently.

"Useless rockets!" I muttered.

"You missed again," she observed.

"No, I straddled him with all 8 of my rockets, and he just kept on going," I said.



"Missed. You are the worst shot in the VVS. Seriously."

"Taking ground fire!" called Ikonnikov in Gull 2, "AAA in the trees!"

"Break off Gull2, try to make it home," I ordered him. "I did not miss," I told Petrovna. "That was a Panzer IV. These rockets are useless against them. I shall have to make a report for the intel officer."

"Yeah, report that you missed," she said. "Line of artillery in the treeline at 11 o'clock," she said, "See it?"



Suddenly her gun chattered. I screwed my head around and saw what she was firing at. A 109G peeled away from behind us, trailing smoke.

"Got him!" she cried triumphantly.



"He's still flying," I countered, sullenly.

"Not for long, look at that smoke!"



"It's probably just his reserve fuel."

"Definitely going down."

"To land, get some more ammunition."

"Yeah, he's dead. Hey, you want to swap seats? I bet I could kill a tank if you let me."

I lined up on the artillery emplacements and selected bombs. I would show her what true marksmanship was.



Point blank, in a screaming dive, I pickled my FAB 100Ms.





They fell as true as a plumbers weight, straight at the German artillery.



The guns disappeared in a thundercloud with a clap we could hear even inside the cockpit as we pulled away.

"You missed one," Petrovna said.

"You mean I got three!" I corrected her.

"Sure, with four huge bombs, but you missed one," she pointed out, "He's still firing."



I gritted my teeth and whirled the IL2 around on its length, and pointed it back toward the target. Well, whirled is probably an exaggeration. Imagine a cow whirling on its length in a pool of mud - more like that.

I opened up with the VYa-23...



There was a satisfying krump as the enemy's ammunition went up, and the crew stumbled from the gun pit.



"Four out of four," I told Petrovna.

"Target destroyed," I heard Gull 3 call triumphantly. "Ammunition gone."

"Gull 4 report."

"Ammunition gone here too Gull leader," he replied, "Got a truck. Leaking some oil."

"Anyone see Gull 2 get away?" I asked.

"He went down near our lines," came the reply. "Looked pretty bad."



"Alright Gull flight," I sighed, "Let's call it a day. Gull leader to Gull escort, we are going home."

The Yaks acknowledged. They were also celebrating, having bagged a 109G themselves.





"We still have ammunition," Petrovna pointed out. "You only fired three seconds worth of 23mm."

"Thankyou timekeeper Petrovna," I told her. "When we get safely home, you can count how many shells I used."



I settled into the cockpit, sweat cooling inside my flight jacket. I realised I was still breathing hard. Lost a man dammit. Why hadn't we seen that AAA? We could have knocked it out first and had the battlefield to ourselves. Apart from those 109s of course. I had to admit, Petrovna had done her job well. I hadn't seen the 109 go in, but if it was confirmed, it was her first kill. I had yet to open my score.

Then suddenly the opportunity came to change that.

"Gull leader to Gull escort!" I yelled, "Bandits 2 o'clock, 4 of them, ten thousand feet, see them?"



There was a slight pause, then, "Acknowledged Gull leader, I count two 109s, two Stukas."



"Gull escort, you take the 109s, we'll take the Stukas," I ordered.

"Acknowledged," he replied, and I saw his flight peel off to attack.



"Gull flight, continue to base, I still have ammunition, I'll take a swipe at these two and see you back there."

"Going to get myself a Stuka," Petrovna announced.

"Not if I get him first," I told her.

"You'll miss, overshoot, and I'll get him," she said happily. "For sure."

As we closed, the Stuka drivers realised their escort had been peeled away, and they were alone in the sky. They broke in two directions.



23mm slugs and rockets might bounce off Panzer IVs, but they make short work of Stukas. A few short bursts and the first was ablaze.



"What is that smoke, is it us?" Petrovna cried in alarm, "Did you let him hit us?!"



"Calm down," I told her. "One down, one to go."

As he fell away, I got onto the tail of the second.



Three bursts this time, and he was smoking.



I saw one chute, and then his machine buried itself into the Eastern bank of the Volga. Well, at least one German had made it across the Volga, I reflected.



"Greedy swine," Petrovna muttered. "Couldn't let me have my victory could you. I got one, so you had to get two."

"Just doing what was right," I told her.



"Just doing what was right."






















[Linked Image]
#4022891 - 10/15/14 07:05 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: a BoS campaign AAR [Re: HeinKill]  
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Lifer
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Vienna, 2nd rock left.
I just love your talent for creative writing!

#4023241 - 10/16/14 03:17 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: a BoS campaign AAR [Re: HeinKill]  
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komemiute Offline
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Yup, he's doing it... right. smile


Click to reveal..
"Himmiherrgottksakramentzefixhallelujah!"
Para_Bellum

"It takes forever +/- 2 weeks for the A-10 to get anywhere significant..."
Ice

"Ha! If it gets him on the deck its a start!"
MigBuster

"What people like and what critics praise are rarely the same thing. 'Critic' is just another one of those unnecessary, overpaid, parasitic jobs that the human race has churned out so that clever slackers won't have to actually get a real job and possibly soil their hands."
Sauron
#4023292 - 10/16/14 05:49 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: a BoS campaign AAR [Re: HeinKill]  
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Para_Bellum Offline
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Germany
Nicely done.

smile

Just... how about switching off the HUD for the screenshots?


"...late afternoon the Air Tasking Order came in [and] we found the A-10 part and we said, "We are going where!? We are doing what!?"

Capt. Todd Sheehy, Hog pilot, on receiving orders during Operation Desert Storm

#4023325 - 10/16/14 06:47 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: a BoS campaign AAR [Re: HeinKill]  
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Amposta, Spain
Nice reading mate! Nice reading!!


-Sir in case of retreat, were we have to retreat??
-To the Graveyard!!

sandbagger.uk.com/stratos.html
#4023657 - 10/17/14 02:28 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: a BoS campaign AAR [Re: HeinKill]  
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HeinKill Offline
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HeinKill  Offline
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Mission 3: An Awkward Silence



I realise that in my old age, I talk about Agrippina Petrovna more than is strictly healthy. My grandson said to me the other day, "Dedushka, why do you talk so much about this Agrippina Petrovna, who you didn't even like?"

How do you explain that to a young man who was not there? With his iThis and iThat, who never went through a day of suffering in his life with any of his friends, or even better, his enemies?

How even though someone was in your life such a short time, even though they vexed you every day and called you names and made your life a misery, that you can also miss this person and still think about them seventy years later?

I may forget where I put my keys this morning, but I remember those days in 1942 better than anything else.

Like the attack on Pitomnik. We had been hammered all through September as the German forces drove a wedge into Stalingrad. On the day we attacked Pitomnik, the main Luftwaffe airfield on the Stalingrad front, the 228ShAP could raise only three IL2s for the attack.



Three aircraft to attack the most heavily defended airfield on the front! It was home to the 109Fs and Gs of JG3 and they did not welcome visitors.



Command had been able to scrape together a few Yaks to escort us, but it was a miserable effort, and I couldn't help but moan about it on our way to target.



Even the new paint job the ground crew had given my machine, with its bold and confident colours, did not help.



"Did you listen to that briefing Petrovna?" I asked my gunner.

"Sure."

"You haven't said anything."

"What's to say? We fly thirty kilometres behind enemy lines, hit Pitomnik, and we either die, or get captured and die, or we make it back home and die tomorrow."



"I admire your optimism. You are like that idiot mission planner, who gave us a secondary target at Gumrak, in case we still had any ammunition left after attacking Pitomnik."



"So what?" she said, "Sitting there in your nice warm cockpit moaning. Would you rather be down there?"

She was talking about the city of Stalingrad, where our troops were huddled around lamps made out of shell cases with wicks torn from the ruined greatcoats of dead men.



Miraculously, we made it into the target area without trouble.

"You are the one who was talking about right and wrong yesterday," I reminded her, "Suddenly you are a fatalist and everything is fine?"

She was probably counting to ten under her breath, because there was a minute or two before her voice came into my helmet loud and clear, "Listen comrade. I was asking what you thought, not talking about me. I had to sell everything I had, and I mean everything, to get to England when Paris fell. It took me a year of bugging anyone who would listen, to let me get on a filthy rusting boat to Murmansk and I virtually walked all the way to Leningrad to enlist. Ask me why I did it."

I looked out the window, a train was pulling away from the town near the airfield. No doubt loaded with Swiss chocolate and German cigarettes for the spoiled German troops.



I keyed my radio, "OK Shell flight, we are going to make one pass at Pitomnik. Just one. You will go in, unload everything you have on whatever you can find, and then we are getting out of here. Forget meeting up near Gumrak, just get out of here, get back across our lines and head home." I turned the internal comms back on, "Alright Petrovna, tell me why. I suppose you will tell me anyway."

She spoke with a passion I had not heard before. "I did it, because every day that the state created by Lenin continues to exist, is a death blow to Fascism. Fascism has no choice, it must either destroy us, or it will perish. The hatred Fascism bears us is a proof - a far reaching proof of the justice of Lenins cause. The more the Fascists hate us, the more certain I am of our own rightness!

Then it was too late for more debate, as our escort of Yaks began tangling with the 109s defending the airfield, and I armed the rockets and bombs on our suddenly small and very lightly protected IL2.



Ground fire, break left! Petrovna called, and I kicked the rudder savagely, slewing us left as heavy calibre AAA flew over our heads.



By the time I straightened up I saw Shell 2, Kirillov, was about to make his run and flying flat out across the enemy airfield through a hail of ground fire.



I saw a line of Heinkels, with some trucks parked at one end. I hoped they held ammunition or fuel. At 400km/h, engine screaming, AAA guns hammering all around us, I let fly with my HE rockets.



Something exploded where I had aimed, looking like a hit.



To be doubly sure, I let fly with my external bombs.





Holyyou actually hit something! Petrovna yelled.

I barely heard her. Tracer was criss-crossing the air ahead of me and I pulled the Ilyushin into a sweeping turn. Up above I saw one Yak going down in a pyre of ugly black smoke, followed closely by a 109.



Hey, there is that train, Petrovna called. Right below us.



I had just cleared the worst of the flak zones. We had disrupted operations at Pitomnik and we were still alive. The fighters of LG3 were still tangled with our Yaks. It was time to leave.

Dont care. I told her. I pointed the IL2 toward our lines. The train fell away behind us. There was sure to be at least one, probably two flak cars on that train, and they would be wide awake after all our buzzing around over Pitomnik.



You still have bombs, you coward! Petrovna screamed. There is no excuse!

Thats you coward, Sir, I cautioned her.

Ill report you to the Commissar!

I sighed. Perhaps she was right. Die today, die tomorrow, what did it matter?

Dont pee in your pants gunner, I told her, Ill make a run on your train. Just one.

The good thing about trains, unlike vehicles and aircraft, is that they dont have much choice about where to go. I flew down the railway line, turned around, and headed back toward the fleeing train.



It was not a perfect approach, but I was not going to make another. As it entered a gentle curve in the tracks, I tried to match its curving path and let fly with my four remaining bombs in a string half a second apart. The first fell short, and the second fell wide.



But the third



It hit near one of the flak cars and exploded like a 500kg bunker buster. But by then we were already over and past it. It was the fourth bomb that nearly killed us. That one hit the locomotive, and it went up in a ball of compressed fury. The entire cockpit lit up yellow. Petrovna screamed. And the IL2 bucked like the hand of God had taken hold and lifted us out of harms way.





It is very possible, in that moment, as I fought to control the aircraft again, that I may have soiled myself, just a little.



I got the machine pointed toward our lines south of Stalingrad and trimmed for the fastest possible airspeed. Petrovna said nothing, the whole way home. I wrenched myself around in the cockpit to check she was still alive, and moving, called her a couple of times on the comms, but she would not respond. Not even when a flak battery opened up on us and a shell from an 88 outside of Stalingrad exploded right in her ear.





Petrovna! Agrippina? Nothing. Can you hear me you ugly old cow?

Even that got no response. I started to worry that she had been injured, maybe she was bleeding to death back there. I called an emergency and got priority to land at Pichuga. Agrippina! I called on the comms, Were home. Not long now.



As I pulled off the airstrip, soldiers ran to our plane to assist.



I jumped out onto the wing and grabbed her shoulder, but she shook my hand away roughly and looked at me.

If you everEVERdrop your bombs again at such low altitude I will rip my svoloch machine gun off its mount and shoot you in the head, she said fiercely.

Listening to her foul mouthed abuse after that missionall the way back to the debriefing and well into the nightthat was one of the happiest moments of my war.

(With apologies to Vasily Grossman, for borrowing Petrovna's fascism speech from 'Life and Fate', which btw is one of the classic Russian war novels.)




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#4023661 - 10/17/14 02:36 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: a BoS campaign AAR [Re: HeinKill]  
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komemiute Offline
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Brilliant once more. Even though we now know he will survive. Precious writing. Congrats.


Click to reveal..
"Himmiherrgottksakramentzefixhallelujah!"
Para_Bellum

"It takes forever +/- 2 weeks for the A-10 to get anywhere significant..."
Ice

"Ha! If it gets him on the deck its a start!"
MigBuster

"What people like and what critics praise are rarely the same thing. 'Critic' is just another one of those unnecessary, overpaid, parasitic jobs that the human race has churned out so that clever slackers won't have to actually get a real job and possibly soil their hands."
Sauron
#4024025 - 10/18/14 06:26 AM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: a BoS campaign AAR [Re: HeinKill]  
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Bumfluff Offline
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More please

#4024365 - 10/19/14 10:59 AM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: a BoS campaign AAR [Re: HeinKill]  
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AAR 4: Volga on Fire

The battle moved into a new phase that November. Our forces began a counterattack at last, and started to choke the neck of the German salient.

Petrovna and I found ourselves leading several missions a day deep into the Stalingrad pocket. There was not much time, or energy, for banter and I barely remember each one. Only a couple stand out.



We were moved to Illarionovskiy airfield, and began flying from there. The first mission from that field was an attack on artillery positions behind German lines. We had to fight through a screen of German fighters to reach the target.



Our escorts fought bravely.





And we hit the German artillery hard.






I remember it because afterward, we got a little piece of tin to pin to our jackets.



On our next mission, I said to Petrovna, "So gunner Petrovna, you are now a hero of Kalach! How does that feel?"

She did not reply. Instead she said, "Look down there. It is like everything is turned around. The fire runs like a river, and the Volga is burning."



Petrovna was turning more and more in on herself, and getting angrier. Not just at me, but at everything.

I remember one mission, where we were sent out to hunt enemy supply convoys. We found one moving through an occupied village.





We circled the convoy, making attack after attack until it was a smoking mess, with German soldiers tumbling burning from their vehicles or running panic stricken through the snow.





As we pulled away after our final run, I heard Petrovna's gun open up, and looking over my shoulder, saw her standing up in her position, machine gunning the soldiers below.



"Comrade Petrovna!" I called, "What are you doing!"

Her gun fell silent and she fell back into her seat, reattaching her harness. "Some of the swine were still moving," she said.

She was never the charming one, never the life of the party, but after all, I met her at a dance - there was a human side to her then. It was slowly vanishing from view.

That night I saw her standing outside our bunker, smoking, and I joined her. "Clearing up," I said, looking up at the stars, "Good flying tomorrow."

"My father was executed," she said. "In Paris. A month ago."

"Oh."

"For listening to a shortwave radio, the neighbours said. He was trying to get Russian news."

"I'm sorry."

Her voice and eyes had the burning cold of alcohol.

Of course, another thing I remember from that time...I do remember the first time we were shot down.

We had been sent to ataack a train near Gumrak, but we couldn't find it, so we emptied our guns on a German field artillery position and were heading home when our fighters spotted some Heinkels with a small escort above us. They began to chase after them.

"Let's join them," Petrovna said, "Too few Germans have died on this mission so far."

So we went after the Heinkels. Of course, the fighters got there faster than our heavier IL2s.



One group of them went after the escort, while the rest latched onto the bombers.





By the time we closed, they were all trailing smoke, but I tried to get within firing range and get a few hits, if only for the sake of Petrovna's morale.



The Heinkel's belly gunner was not totally out of the fight though, and he put a few rounds into us from extreme range.



Soon our machine was trailing an ugly black plume of oily smoke and I had no choice but to let it sink slowly lower as the revs dropped away.



We were behind our own lines, but nowhere near an airfield.

The engine changed its note, and I knew our time was up.

"Petrovna!" I called on the internal comms, "It's no use, we will have to jump. I can't risk trying to land."

There was no answer.

"Petrovna, acknowledge!"

She gave a one word reply, "Acknowledged."

I unbuckled and threw back my canopy. "We are at 800 feet." I told her, "Pull your cord as soon as you are out! Going on ten," I said, and unplugged the radio from my helmet, counting to myself...6...5...4...3...2...

I threw myself out onto the wing and was tumbled through space, scrabbling for the parachute cord. Somehow I pulled it and got through that terryifying moment where it seems it wouldn't open, then it jerked me hard and left me floating in the air behind my doomed machine. I looked around for Petrovna's chute. I couldn't see it! I think I yelled, out loud, "Get out you stupid woman!" I could imagine her, still sitting in her position, arms crossed, waiting for the end. "Jump!"

Then a parachute bloomed in front of me, and I laughed like a fool.



Of course she jumped.

There were still Germans on Russian soil, and that was an insult more important than her own death.






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#4035583 - 11/13/14 10:09 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: a BoS campaign AAR [Re: HeinKill]  
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BlueHeron Offline
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Great writing, Heinkill. Really enjoyed this!

#4037708 - 11/18/14 10:17 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: a BoS campaign AAR [Re: HeinKill]  
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Lovely writing.

Reminds me of the Ciel en Ruine and Romain Hugault comic series (why the hell aren't those things translated into English by the way).

#4038314 - 11/20/14 11:28 AM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: a BoS campaign AAR [Re: HeinKill]  
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RSColonel_131st Offline
Lifer
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Vienna, 2nd rock left.
I can only echo the praise on your writing and story telling. Keep up the great entertainment. smile

#4038468 - 11/20/14 04:21 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: a BoS campaign AAR [Re: HeinKill]  
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Donk Offline
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That's it, I'm hooked! Keep up the good work.

#4038804 - 11/21/14 07:52 AM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: a BoS campaign AAR [Re: HeinKill]  
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HeinKill Offline
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Thx all, next episode 'in press'...was having probs with game freezing but updated drivers fixed that now.

H


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#4039364 - 11/22/14 02:05 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: a BoS campaign AAR: The Killing Field [Re: HeinKill]  
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HeinKill Offline
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The Killing Field

Two weeks later the ring closed around the German invaders. The 13th and 14th mechanised punched through German 6th Army lines from the east, while the 5th tank rolled them back in the west. By 22 November we had 300,000 German troops bottled up between Kalach and the Volga.

It was killing time.



I stepped out into the cold morning air at Kachalinskaya airfield above the Don river valley, looking for Petrovna. She was never hard to find, she would be somewhere near our new Ilyushin, unhappy with something.

Just then a loudspeaker struck up from beside the officer quarters. An immense voice began to sing.

May noble fury boil up like waves!
This is the people's war, a sacred war!


Since there were no human beings around, and since everything around about - the earth, the sky, the dirty river down in the valley - was lit up by flame, it seemed as though the war itself was singing.

I found her swaddled in five layers of uniform, thick gloves, fur lined hat, looking for all the world like a grubby potato picker, hammering at the barrel of one of our new Shpitalny ShFK-37mm underwing cannons with a metal pipe. A very concerned group of armourers hovered a short distance from her, looking relieved that I had shown up.

I watched her for a moment, as she lifted the heavy pipe up over her shoulder, and then swung it like an American baseball bat into the base of the cannon barrel. Then she stooped to peer into the ammunition loading port on the cannon, before standing again and repeating her brutalisation of the barrel.

After watching for a few minutes, I called out, "Did our machine offend you in some way gunner Petrovna?"

Whack, stoop, peer, whack.

"Perhaps our new anti-tank guns provoke you because your little 12.7mm Berezin is so tiny?"

Whack, stoop, peer, whack.

Suddenly there was a leaden clang, and a 37mm HE round fell out of the gun pod's ammunition port and onto the icy ground.

Exhausted, Petrovna lowered her pipe, panting heavily. The senior armourer, who I recognised as Smirnov, picked up the HE round from the ground, shrugged at me, and walked off to dispose of it.

"I test fired the guns, and it jammed," she said.

"So you decided the best idea to free a jammed HE round was to belt it with a pipe."

She pointed to a smouldering oil pot under the wing which I hadn't noticed, "I heated the barrel. To expand it."

"Ah. So you cooked the HE round first, before you belted it with a pipe."

She sighed, "Smirnov wanted to take our machine off the line, disassemble the cannon. We would been off operations all day."

"You could have been off operations for eternity, gunner," I told her. Such a shame she had cleared the jam. The thought of a day of doing paperwork rather than being shot at was obviously more appealing to me than to the homicidal Agrippina Petrovna.

The gun crew had hustled over to the newly cleared NS-37 and were busy feeding a belt of alternating HE and AP rounds into the gun port. I looked dubiously up at the barrel of the other ShFK-37.



We were one of only nine aircraft in the 688th ShAP of the 228th Attack Air Division to be equipped with the monster cannons and had only been using them for a week or so. We had yet to put them into action against a German panzer. They kicked like a mule, could knock 40km/h off your airspeed when they fired, and if the guns fell out of synchronisation, it was only the first rounds that went anywhere near the target, the alternating kick of the guns would cause the aircraft to yaw left and right - which was fine for spraying troop positions, but useless against armoured vehicles. And god help you if one of the guns jammed and the other kept firing, the yaw could just about rip the wing off and send you cartwheeling in.

Plus, if that wasn't enough, if you fired the guns in a dive, as you would against any ground target, they made the nose pitch down even further. The 300kg weight and drag of guns and ammunition pods gave us a top airspeed of just 372kph at treetop height, slowed our rate of climb and lengthened our takeoff.

"I don't like them," I told Petrovna.

"They can kill German tanks," she said, "Better than rockets. And a single hit will bring down a Heinkel."

"They make my Ilyushin fly like a pig."

"It already flies like a pig, with you at the stick."

"Alright, a drunken pig."

"Let me fly it then, I am accustomed to dealing with drunken pigs," she said, without a smile.

I showed Petrovna the target I had circled on the map. "Well, you will soon have your chance to see them in action," I told her. "We are going to Kalach to kick some tanks in the zhopa."



It was no longer a matter of having to find the enemy. They were huddled in holes and trenches and shattered buildings inside what they called the Stalingrad Kessel. Or trying desperately to find a hole in our lines so they could break out if Hitler gave the word.

As we took off, it occurred to me I had heard the term the Germans were using for their Stalingrad pocket, but I didn't know what it meant.



"Petrovna, you are so smart," I asked, "Why do the Germans call their positions around Stalingrad, the Kessel?"

"It means cauldron," she said.

I frowned, "That doesn't sound like something a soldier would say. Especially a soldier surrounded by the enemy shelling him day and night and facing certain death. They should come up with something more...manly and profane."

"It also means bowl, sinkhole...or toilet," she added.

"Ah, much better," I agreed.

I returned to my survey of the sky around us...left rear, up, left forward, up, right forward, up, right rear...I saw Petrovna also quartering the sky with her gun. New habits died hard. We had a few Laggs in escort, the 109s were fewer now, they had to fly further, and our own fighters dominated over the Kessel, but that meant nothing if we were unlucky.



The thought alone jinxed us.

"AAA!" Petrovna called, "Damn, Yakov is hit!"



It was almost impossible to see the hidden anti air guns and vehicles before they opened up, and we were supposed to ignore them until we had hit our target. We watched helplessly as Yakov's Ilyushin burst into flame.



His wing dropped and we saw one chute as the plane the fell from the sky, but only one.





"Gunner didn't make it," I guessed.

We flew on in silence, the trip to the target only broken briefly as we sighted a staffel of Stukas crossing our path.



"Imagine what a 37mm round would do to one of them," Petrovna said wistfully.

"We might find out one day," I promised her.

"No! The damn escort is going after them!" she yelled. I saw her shaking her fist at the Laggs as they peeled away, leaving us unprotected.



"Fighters..." she muttered, "All want to be Heroes of The Soviet Union, but the Germans are getting too rare."

"Let's hope they are rare over Kalach," I said. "We'll be there any minute."

Up ahead I saw a town burning and knew we were nearing our target. German panzers, using precious fuel and ammunition to try to force a hole through our lines, hoping someone could get through and rescue them.



Circling above them, I saw two fighters...German or Russian, I couldn't be sure. There would be no time to find out.



"Fighters 11 o'clock and high!" I warned, "Swan flight, circle and attack German tanks - a bottle of cognac for every panzer, on me!"

There was undisciplined cheering as the flight broke off to begin the hunt.

"You do not have any cognac," Petrovna pointed out.

"No. But I have vodka and brown boot polish. Keep an eye on those fighters."

Petrovna grunted, unimpressed.

I spotted a dirty white panzer, crawling across the snow beneath us, then a line of them, heading for our positions outside Kalach. I put the nose down and lined up behind the nearest.

"Fighter coming in!" Petrovna called.



"Then hold him off!" I ordered her. "Starting attack run!"



I tried to focus on the target in front of me, and shut out the evil silhouette falling on us from above.



Then it all happened simultaneously.

I opened up with the 37mm cannons, leading the tank, knowing the shells would seem to walk backward toward it.



The IL2 bucked wildly, yawing left, right, and left again.



At about 100metres I let fly with rockets, keeping my thumb on the cannons for good measure.



"You filthy Nazi swine!" I heard Petrovna swear over comms as her gun began hammering too. "He's right on us Mostovskoy, do something!"



The plane began to shake even harder and I knew it was not just our own guns this time, we were taking hits from the 109! I smelled oily smoke.

"Come on! Come on!" Petrovna yelled, at me, or the German, I couldn't tell.



Rockets and AP shells from the 37mm slammed into the back of the tank, and I pulled hard on the stick.



We kept sinking, sinking and the tank went up in a huge explosion right in front of us.



Then we were clear and pulling away, Petrovna's gun still hammering in my ears.



"Where are the fighters?" I called urgently.

"Right...on...top...of...us," Petrovna grunted.



"I tagged him!" she yelled then. "He's smoking."

As he screamed overhead, trailing thick black smoke, I ducked. Then as I watched, his machine rolled slowly onto its back and ploughed into the snow.



"Nice work Petrovna," I said. "For a ballroom dancer you are one hell of a gunner."

"Just get us home, hotshot," she said, but I could hear a smile in her voice.

It wasn't going to be easy. There were now four 109s circling around us like vultures, and not another Russian aircraft in sight. I pulled the Ilyushin into a series of tight half circles at treetop level, fighting against a stall. The Germans were taking turns, swooping, firing, pulling up again. Petrovna's MG barking back at them. It was hopeless. Unless...

"Laggs!" I called, "Escort is back!"

Our tardy friends had finally arrived for the party.



They fell on the Germans and scattered them and I rolled flat and headed away from the dogfight.

That was not going to be so easy. I turned the aircraft toward the nearest friendly field, but it was at least ten minutes away. We were bleeding oil, and it was spewing onto my forward wind shield.



But the other damage we had taken was superficial, so keeping him straight and level was no problem, and I nursed the engine until the airfield came into view.



There was no time for niceties, I dropped flaps and gear, noticing the airfield was deserted. At least there was no traffic to worry about.



Our Ilyushin was a mess so we had to leave it on the airfield and walk out to the nearest village. It took two days for us to get back to Kachalinskaya, Petrovna #%&*$# all the way about how we should be flying, not sightseeing. We hitched a ride on a truck to the Don, and then took a steamer north overnight.

"If you would learn to evade, we could have flown home," she kept telling me.

"If you would shoot better, they wouldn't have hit us at all," I grumbled.

"I shoot well enough," she replied. "You can ask that dead German when you see him."

I was tired of her moaning and my hands were shaking with cold when I finally walked into my quarters and threw my flight gear on my bunk.

I nearly didn't notice the small envelope on my pillow. Mail! The first letter from home that I had received since October. It was from Lyudmila, my wife. Postmarked from Kazan, 200 miles up the Volga river where they had been evacuated in the spring. She would be six months pregnant by now, working as a pharmacist in the famous Kazan Soap Factory, and trying to raise our two children at the same time, without grandparents to help.

I ripped it open, dreading what might be inside, and almost wept with relief at how normal the news from home was, after all this time...

A photograph fell out. After a moment I recognised in the middle, at the front, it was my wife, with my son, taken from behind and viewing a display of patriotic posters in Kazan.



Life at the factory is hard but it is hard for everyone...I am easily tired and need to sit down a lot...the way the factory is organised shows the benefits of the socialist system, the bosses have to arrive at six, but we workers don't start until nine!...the neighbours are stealing my laundry, I am sure...Natalya is convinced she is ugly and will grow up deformed by our poor diet...Viktor's biggest complaint is that the tea is always cold by the time he gets up in the morning....

And Lyudmila had sent a big list of her favourite boys names, in case we got another boy. But she couldn't think of a single girl's name she liked.

It was fantastically boring.

I resolved to write back to my wife straight away; to Viktor to tell him to get up earlier if he wanted hot tea (and go back to bed with it after) and to poor little Natalya. I would tell her not to worry about her looks, that the most beautiful women in our family also started life ugly like her.

And I would tell Lyudmila, for a baby girl's name...why not Agrippina? Especially if this one was ugly too.


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