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#4039478 - 11/22/14 07:05 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: a BoS campaign AAR: The Killing Field ***** [Re: HeinKill]  
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Lifer
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Vienna, 2nd rock left.
You really should be getting a job offer from the developers to do the campaign briefings and storyline.

Inline advert (2nd and 3rd post)

#4039700 - 11/23/14 08:23 AM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: a BoS campaign AAR: The Killing Field [Re: HeinKill]  
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Juergen Offline
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A joy to read! Thanks comrade !

#4043486 - 11/30/14 11:43 AM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: a BoS campaign AAR: One Fine Day [Re: HeinKill]  
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ONE FINE DAY

The German high command did not seem too determined to free the troops starving and freezing to death in the Kessel

They made a brave attempt to hold out, but there was no one trying to reach them from German lines.



The only supplies reaching them were those brought in by air, and our fighters were having a field day. Every day they brought down dozens of German Ju52s and He111s. The German airfields at Pitomnik and Gumrak looked more like junk yards than military airfields.



For us, those days were a blur of anti tank, anti troop, anti artillery missions.

One mission stands out, from start to finish.

A ground attack mission, inside the Kessel, where our troops and artillery were trying to root out entrenched German positions.



Petrovna arrived with a bruise on her cheek and I noticed she winced as she climbed into her gunner's position. Last I had seen her she was drinking a quiet beer with some of the other women.

I plugged in my radio cable and asked her over my shoulder..."So, romance or politics?"



She didn't reply. "Not romance then," I guessed. "So don't tell me, you insulted some general, or commissar, or someone's uncle who serves on the high command..."

"That damn Krymov," she finally said as we lifted off the icy runway, "She's a dubious character, I remember her when she arrived from Kiev, all full of herself and her time with the Trotskyists and Bukharinites..."



"There is not enough war for you down there...you have to also make war in your own barracks?"



"The new Russia," she grunted, "Has enemies everywhere. Now shut up and drive will you, it is too cold back here for chit chat."



But that is not why I remember the mission. We flew 40 minutes under a low grey sky toward the attack point, but when we arrived over where the front lines should be, I could see nothing.



No trenches, no dug in troops, no smoke or wrecked vehicles, the whole landscape below was snowy, white and undisturbed.

I ordered the flight to follow me in a racetrack course over the target area.

"Lost again," Petrovna muttered.

"Well, use your own eyes," I told her as we made another circuit, "Instead of just complaining."



"We're sitting ducks up here," she pointed out. "Why don't you just land and ask the Germans for directions?"

Then there was a mighty CRACK and a black cloud erupted behind us.



"Flak!" Petrovna yelled.

I pulled back on the stick, rolled the machine left and right, then levelled out. The controls were still responding.

"What damage?" I asked her.

"The tailplane is a mess," she said, "Full of holes, but seems to be holding."



"There's also a bunch of holes along the port wing root."



"And we're leaking something."



I called the flight to split up and look for targets. That flak position was down there somewhere!

I checked my gauges. Oil temp fine, water temp fine, fuel...I watched the needle on the fuel gauge carefully, was it...yes, it was our fuel leaking out into the air behind us.

There was some oil on the forward windscreen too, but through it I could make out...tracer fire. If they had just held their nerve we might never have seen them, but now I knew where the dug in German positions were.



"I can see a truck mounted flak gun, and two tanks, all dug in deep," I told Petrovna, "I'll take the flak position with bombs first."

"Just make it quick," she grunted, "I don't want to have to walk home again."

I pickled two bombs as we flashed over the top of the German position...it was firing at our comrades in front of us, so we got a clean shot.





It wasn't a direct hit, but I saw the Germans fling themselves from their position and dive into the snow.





Fuel was down to a half tank. Sixty kilometers home...we had time for one more run.

"He's smoking," Petrovna called, "Looks like he's out of action. I see two tanks to the right of him - Panzer IVs."



I pulled us around in a circle over our own lines, and then put the nose down toward the second german berm in the line, where a tank was dug in and firing at our troops in the treeline.



I lined up the 37mm cannons on the tank in the middle and began firing from 200 metres. 150. The guns hammering. 100. The Ilyushin bucking, throwing us forward as the recoil pulled on us like a tow rope. 50 metres!

Finally the tank went up in a yellow and orange ball of flame and I hauled back on the stick.







"Not bad," Petrovna said. I think it was the most effusive praise she ever gave me.

I called the flight to continue their attacks and told them I was heading straight for home. We made a beeline that would take us right over the middle of the Kessel, but there was nothing for it. Luckily we didn't pass any fighters, and soon the dark smoke of Stalingrad appeared on the horizon.





I was flying conservatively, and gradually all the others joined us. I sighed with relief. We made a fine sight for the troops as we crossed the Volga in perfect formation. Bloodied, but unbroken.



Only fumes left in the fuel tank.

The holes in the wing worried me. Would the wheels come down?



I pulled the gear lever and there was a satisfying bump. Both wheels down and locked.



I glided us down with the prop windmilling to save the last of the fuel. Actually, that sounds too elegant. The IL2 is like a flying cement truck. It's better to say I let gravity bring the runway to us.



The engine spluttered as we crossed the threshold of the runway and slid silently past the watching troops.



"I bet the b**tards were taking bets whether we would make it," I said to Petrovna. But I was happy. A fine mission after all. It was starting to look like we might make it through this war, Agrippina Petrovna and I. Our luck was holding. I had a good feeling.

"My face hurts, I'm cold, and I didn't even get to fire my gun," she said.

Yes, on that one day in November, all was well with the world.










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#4047178 - 12/07/14 08:09 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign AAR #7 Dec 7: Barsagino [Re: HeinKill]  
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Barsagino

"Seriously," Agrippina Petrovna complained, "Just look at it."

It was a fair comment. I tried to imagine seeing it again for the first time.

It was larger. About a metre longer and three metres wider than our IL2. It had a nose made largely of glass, where the engine on our IL2 was. Instead of one AM38 engine, it had two M105Ks cranking 1200 horsepower each. There was a 7.62 mm ShKAS machine gun in the nose, together with a 12.7 mm Berezin UB, the equivalent of the powerful .50 calibre gun on the American lend-lease P39s. Two rearward firing 7.62 mm ShKAS in the dorsal, one Berezin UB in the gunner's ventral hatch and 1 ShKAS you could stick out the side ports, both mostly for strafing.

"It's a Peshka," I told her. "Frontovoe Trebovanie - Request from the Front."

"I request," she said, "To be transferred back to our old unit."



"And I know it's a Peshka," she added. "I've been redoing my bombadier training all week. What I want to know, is...is it a bomber, or a dive bomber, or a heavy fighter or...just an uglier way to die. It looks like half of everything and none of anything."

"Two engines," I pointed out, "Twice the chance of getting home."

"Twice the noise," she replied.

"1600kg of bombs - twice what we could carry in the IL2."

"No rockets."

"Get in."

"I don't want to go inside it. I want our Ilyushin back. Besides, that fat moron is in there."

The fat moron was Seratov, who was neither fat, nor a moron. He was our new second gunner, and I knew it was only that she now had to share her guns with another, that was making Petrovna crabby.

She climbed inside anyway, and sat sullenly on the little bench inside the joint bombadier/gunner/radio operator station.



We weren't being given any time to familiarise ourselves. I had made a few circuits and touch and go landings in the Peshka over the last week, and we had dropped a few dummy bombs, but Petrovna had been mostly sulking in her barracks, before we had finally been called to a briefing for a raid on Basargino airfield inside the Kessel.



"Say hello to Seratov," I told her over my shoulder as I started the engines.





"Screw Seratov," she replied.

I had to admit, I was enjoying myself. Both her reaction, and also the feel of this machine. It leapt forward as I applied power and she fairly jumped off the runway.



The thought of having an extra gunner in the belly to watch below us, was also reassuring, even if it was more of a philosophical help than a practical one.



Seratov had to aim his belly gun through a periscope viewing port which steered the gun mechanically, and I had been told by the other Peshka pilots that I should load it with tracer and order my gunner to fire early, so that any attacking fighter would see it and make the mistake of thinking it was dangerous to attack from that quarter. "It is easier to hit a flying sparrow with a potato," they said. "While drunk." But it was very good for keeping the flak crews' heads down as you made your egress.



I keyed my internal mike, "All set back there Seratov?"

"My mother has warts on her knees," he replied.

"Moron," Petrovna muttered. Maybe she was right.

Soon we were sailing through the sky over the Kessel, watching tracer fly, and mortars crump. None of it looked real from up here and by the time we had registered what was going on below, it was already falling behind us. I liked the fact that this machine had a max speed of 540km/h, more than 130km/h faster than the Ilyushin. It meant we could climb faster, get to the target quicker, get away quicker, and...

"There's a furball below us, look lively crew," I said.



"Listen to him," Petrovna said, sliding behind her gun. "Crew. Like he's captain of a battleship now."

"I used to sail boats on the lake near our house. We used to have ducks," Seratov chimed in. "But no one told father you had to clip their wings, so they flew south."

At 450 km/h cruising speed, and a closing speed twice that, the furball came quickly back toward us. Suddenly I saw the shape of a German bomber in front of us, and I dropped the nose.



"Swan flight," I called to the other two Peshkas. "Ignore the dogfight, stay in formation."

But then the German levelled out in front of me and I couldn't resist. "Ah, cancel that. Swan flight, free to engage!" There were whoops and hollers and my two wingmen broke away, ditching their bombs.

What was the point of being in a fast, heavily armed machine after all, if you weren't going to make the most of it?

I banked in behind the bomber.





My plan was to try to hit it without having to ditch my payload. One straight run, and dive toward the west to regroup. I wanted to try out the Peshka's dive bombing properties with live bombs, not just making practice swoops over our home field.

At 200 metres, coming in at a rear 45 degree angle, I opened up with the two nose guns. They made a satisfyingly heavy rattle.



The Heinkel began trailing smoke and I dropped back out of range of its gunners.



I set us up for a beam attack. It took no time in the fast twin engined machine, even with a heavy bomb load, to catch up and pass the Heinkel, and then I swung in on it. It turned clumsily away...



But to no avail. The heavy calibre rounds chewed across the wings from wingtip to wingtip and both engines started trailing thick black smoke.



He was doomed.

I didn't wait to see, I just pointed the nose toward the west and began calling my flight to regroup on me.

Petrovna kept up a running commentary.

"Going down in a straight line...no...coming level again....think you only damaged him...no...he's going in...there's a chute...yep, going down now..."



In no time at all we were over the target.



"What was the wind direction expected to be over the target," I asked Petrovna. Looking down at her small desk, she read from her notes.

"194 degrees," she said, "Seven meters a second."



"Hit the target from the northeast," I told my flight, "Break and begin strafing AAA while I go for the aircraft." They had ditched their bombs in the dogfight, but they could at least distract the AAA.

As I began to roll right, I saw a very unwelcome sight.



"Contrails!" I said, "High and 11 o'clock."

"Ours or theirs?" Seratov asked.

"We're over a German airfield, moron," Petrovna snapped, "What do you think?"





I wasted no time, pulled the machine around toward the northeast side of the enemy field, putting the German fighters behind us. But they had seen us, they pulled out of their circuit and turned toward us.



"Coming in!" Petrovna yelled.

"Two minutes to the attack run!" I yelled back, "Keep them off!" I fishtailed through the sky, not able to see where they were.

Her gun began a series of long chattering bursts, and then a dark shape flashed over my left shoulder. I opened the bomb doors.



"Missed him!" Petrovna cursed. I was just glad it seemed he had missed us.

If there were more of them, they were too late, I chopped the throttle, dropped the latticed dive brakes and pushed the Peshka into a screaming dive.



470 km/h..500...540...600...the ground billowed toward us and I tried to keep the nose pointed toward a line of parked Heinkels.



The machine was shaking like an express train, the wind roaring past the cockpit, I took my eyes off the airspeed - if the wings were going to rip off, then let them! We were pointed right at the Heinkels so if we went in, we would take half the airfield with us.

But she held together that tough new bird, and at 500 meters I hit the bomb release button five times, dumping half my bomb load...it was all I could do before I hauled back on the stick. I should have had Petrovna set the bombs to salvo; would have to remember that next time!



She was not only fast the Peshka, she was nimble, and she responded straight away. And as I levelled out, I heard the crump of my bombs followed by a satisfying secondary blast that gave us a small shove on our way.



"I'm counting three fires," Petrovna said. "You missed one."



Annoyed, I barked at her, "Fighters?! Where away?"

"Relax," she said, "They're busy playing with some fighter boys."









I'd had enough. We were well south of the target by now. I had five bombs left and I swung around to make a final run across the enemy field from west to east, and then I would continue home. I told the flight to finish their attack and make for home then lined up for a low level high speed run.

"This one is yours," I told Petrovna, "See if you remember anything from bombadier training."

"You flight straight and level at the target, I'll hit it," she said.

"OK, AAA emplacement, two kilometres dead ahead," I told her.



"Level at 500 metres, 470 km/h, you have the stick," I told her and switched flight control over to her. It would be a real test of her reflexes at this height and airspeed. She would have milliseconds to release.



The Peshka yawed a little, and Petrovna shoved it back on target.

"Bombs gone," she said, "She is yours again."



I banked away and watched a little jealously as the single 100 kg bomb landed right on top of the 88mm gun emplacement and exploded.



I dumped the rest of our bombs and pointed us away from the action. The sky was still full of swirling aircraft over the German field, and we had tested our luck enough for one day.





The rest of the trip went without incident.

Petrovna whistled to herself, in between chewing on a carrot. One of the disadvantages of having her inside the cockpit now.

Seratov said little, and what he did, was random noise.



I came in a little long on my landing approach, and had to pull up sharply, but it wasn't a bad landing considering I only had about five hours in the Peshka.

As I unbuckled, the two other machines both touched down and taxied past.



"So, what do you think now?" I asked Petrovna. "One Heinkel shot down, three destroyed on the ground, and you bagged an 88. All on one mission! We'll get a medal for sure."

"All that matters," she replied. "Is that today, the enemy died. That you managed to fly this thing without killing us, is a bonus. As for medals, your mother can keep them in her sock drawer when you are gone."



"My mother doesn't wear socks," Seratov said.




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#4047200 - 12/07/14 09:03 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign AAR #7 Dec 7: Barsagino [Re: HeinKill]  
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You pulled out of that dive at 500 feet?! biggrin Wowza, Must try that bird.


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"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
#4047209 - 12/07/14 09:40 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign AAR #7 Dec 7: Barsagino [Re: HeinKill]  
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Great writing.

Why not try one from the german side?

#4047224 - 12/07/14 10:02 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign AAR #7 Dec 7: Barsagino [Re: komemiute]  
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Originally Posted By: komemiute
You pulled out of that dive at 500 feet?! biggrin Wowza, Must try that bird.


Feet...metres...potatoes...potattos...

smile

Keep forgetting I'm Russian! (Did they even use meters?j

It is a great dive bomber tho. Great ground attack kite...looks and feels a lot like the British Mozzie, with a touch of the A10!


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#4047252 - 12/07/14 11:05 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign AAR #7 Dec 7: Barsagino [Re: HeinKill]  
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komemiute Offline
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No probs, I figured out it was a little "translation" error.

Keep up, man. You're really talented.


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
#4049523 - 12/12/14 11:19 AM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign AAR #7 Dec 7: Barsagino [Re: HeinKill]  
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Just learned from Zak that the Peshka is a 'she' (so is the Lagg) while all other VVS aircraft are a 'he'.

Makes me wonder what happens if you cross a Peshka with an Il2...

H


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#4049921 - 12/13/14 10:20 AM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign AAR #9 Dec 13: The Bridges of Zhirnokleevka [Re: HeinKill]  
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The Bridges of Zhirnokleevka

"It is bad luck."

Seratov was refusing to get into the Peshka. It was very early on the morning of December 13, which for him was already a test of fate. Unlucky 13. We had just been advised that our own machine had been damaged in the last raid, and was being taken out of service. We had been given a factory fresh new machine.

"Get in the damn plane," Petrovna said, and gave him a shove.

He shoved her back, "New planes are bad luck. Full of gremlins."

"You are a gremlin," Petrovna said. She pulled a flare gun from her greatcoat pocket and pointed it at Seratov, "Get in the damn plane or I will set your moron head on fire."

We all climbed in. The new machine still smelled of machine oil and rubber, not the usual smell of tobacco smoke, cordite and fear. It was so early we still needed to have the runway lit so that we could see it in the darkness.



The mission today was a bridge inside the Kessel. But not just any bridge.



When I saw during the briefing where we were headed, I had groaned. "Zhirnokleevka? Oh come on, that is pointless!"

The intelligence officer, Vladimirovna, had looked up from where she was holding her finger on the map, "What is the problem comrade pilot?"

"There are four bridges at Zhirnokleevka," I pointed out to her, "You know the problem. Every time we blow one of them up, they just move traffic to the other three, and then fix the one we blew up. Next time you go back, there are still four bridges. There are always four bridges!"



"It is a pointless mission!" I told her.

"That is why we are only sending one aircraft," Vladimirovna smiled at me, "Yours."

I reflected on this as we took off, the sky in the east just beginning to glow.





"You know every one of those bridges is guarded by flak guns, and every one of those flak guns will be pointing at us," I pointed out to Petrovna.

"Not all," she said, "Some of them will be firing at our escort."



Escort? We had been assigned a single fighter for this pointless mission. Apparently we weren't even worth protecting.

"Looks quiet down there this morning," Petrovna remarked as we passed Stalingrad off our left wing.

"Even the devil needs his sleep," I replied. "The moon is still up. Plenty of time for killing each other later."





"You know what I saw in the village yesterday?" Petrovna asked.

"Your huge backside reflected in a shop window?"

"Funny. No there was a queue of soldiers outside the clinic, waiting in the snow to go in and see the doctor. One of them had been hit in the head and he was blind, he had bandages on his head. And a stick to find his way."

I looked at her back in the bombadier compartment, her face serious as usual, staring out at the horizon.



"The queue shuffled forward, the person behind him pushed a bit, he tapped with his stick in front of him to find out where the soldier in front of him was. He kept tapping the soldier on his legs every time and after a while, the soldier in front turned around and said "Stop hitting me with that damn stick!" and shoved him into the snow."



She continued, "The others in the queue just stepped around him, so when he got back up, he had to go to the back of the queue again."

"It's everyone for himself these days gunner," I told her. "Sooner you realise that, the longer you'll live."

"Maybe in your Russia," she said, "Not in mine."

"My uncle is blind," Seratov said, "He has a Swiss cuckoo clock so he can tell the time."

We were both about to tell him to shut up, when there was a sharp report above us.



"Flak!" Petrovna announced, crouching down in her seat.

"We must be approaching the target," I decided, "Get on your bombsight. Seratov, watch for fighters."

Another flak burst just off our nose, and I was getting nervous now. We had two 500kg bombs slung under our belly. All it would take was one hot piece of shrapnel...

Zhirnokleevka was ahead of us and I dropped the nose briefly to get a better look. Our target was the second bridge of four.



Suddenly, I wasn't sure. Was it the second, or the third?

"Petrovna!" I called, "Is it the second or the third bridge we are supposed to hit?"

"How should I know?" she yelled back, "You are the damn pilot!"

"Well, you are the navigator!"

"Does it matter?" Seratov asked. "A bridge is a bridge."

I took us in low and fast so that it would be harder for the flak along the river to get a bead on us, and lined up on a road below, which led past the township and over the river.



"The moron is right," Petrovna said, "A bridge is a bridge."

"500 metres, target at two kilometres, 10 degrees off our nose, 500 km/h, you have the machine Petrovna."



"I have the machine," she responded, bending her eyes to the bombsight. I concentrated on keeping it level, and she used her own controls to slip us left and right. After some heart hammering seconds, she said, "Target in sight."





"You screwed up the ingress!" she yelled. The Peshka lurched violently as she corrected our course. Tracer screamed suddenly past our wing and then fell away behind us. Flak from German 88s filled the sky around us.

"This is bad. This is so bad," Seratov was almost singing to himself. I couldn't see him, but I could imagine him back in the fuselage, huddled in a ball, eyes squeezed shut.

"Bombs gone!" Petrovna yelled, "Machine is yours. Dammit, fighters overhead! Get us out of here!"







More tracer! I hauled back on the stick and it flashed over the top of us.



She was good. She was ugly, opinionated and bad tempered, but she was good.

It was a small target, just two vehicles wide. The bombs fell straight and true.







"Right down their throats!" Seratov yelled.

1000 kilograms of HE detonated right under the supports of the bridge, and a huge mushroom cloud of smoke rose up where it had been.







"Our escort just got it," Petrovna said. "There must be fighters around, I can't see them though!"

I felt for the pilot of the fighter as he dropped through the sky toward the bridge we had just bombed.



It would not be a friendly reception he would receive if the Germans caught him. I searched the skies frantically for the German fighters that must have brought him down, but I could see nothing in the grey dawn light. They must be up there!



If they were, we never saw them, and they didn't see us. Day dawned as we bolted back out of the Kessel and made our approach to Daviydovka field.





As we taxied toward the dispersal hut, I said to Petrovna, "We are both agreed, that was the right bridge, yes? We don't want Vladimirovna sending us back there."



"Vladimirovna is a cow," Petrovna said, "We should drop her in the Kessel."

"We used to have a cow..." Seratov began.

"Shut up moron!" Petrovna and I said in unison. And we both laughed.

I think that was the only laugh we ever shared together.






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#4051736 - 12/16/14 08:56 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign AAR #10 Dec 16: Finale - end of Ch 1. [Re: HeinKill]  
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Agrippina Petrovna

Dedushka, why have we never met this Agrippina Petrovna? Whenever you have too much to drink, you talk about her. Every Christmas, you talk about her. You see a young woman, you say, 'She looks like that witch Petrovna'. But where is she now?

My grandchildren ask me this.

Natalya, my beautiful daughter, even suggested when my dear Lyudmila passed away, Papka, you are so lonely...why don't you go and find that woman you always talk about from the war. Agrippina Petrovna? Go look her up. She'd be happy to see you!

She would be 92 by now, I told them. No one lives that long, except me.

No one lives that long.

Which brings us to December 16 1942.

It was another mission to attack a German airfield behind their northern front lines. We were slowly pushing them further and further away from Stalingrad, leaving their troops there at the mercy of our artillery and rockets.



I was in the mood to celebrate. It was only three weeks until Christmas. My mother had made me some small Matryoshka dolls from cloth, as ornaments, to hang in the window of my barracks. I was too embarrassed to do this, but as we walked out to our newly repainted Peshka, I fished them out of the pocket of my coat and handed them to Petrovna.

She looked at them suspiciously, "What are these?"

"Matryoshka ornaments," I told her. "My mother made them for me, but I thought of you."

"Why?"

"Well, I am sure that if someone could peel away all that dirt on your face, and your filthy overalls, and comb your hair, there would actually be a fine Russian woman in there somewhere."

She grunted, "You'll never know, that's for sure." She held them out to me.

"No, they're for you," I said.

She looked at me again, then shrugged and put them in the pocket of her jacket, and climbed into the aircraft. I took the shrug for a thankyou.

Seratov was standing there too. "What do I get?"

I patted him on the shoulder, "You get a free ride in this nice aeroplane son, now get in."



The target was Tarmosin Luftwaffe airfield. It was a distant target compared to what we were used to, nearly 160km return, but at least most of the flight was over territory we had won back. If our own flak left us alone, it should be a nice clean run.



The first omen, was as we took off. We cleared the trees at the end of the runway at Kalach, and began a sweeping turn to the right, when I heard a curse over the R/T.

"Prop strike!" it was Vasiliy, my number two, "Swan leader, we clipped a damn tree, I have to turn back! Sorry comrade flight leader!"





He quickly lost altitude and then fell away behind us. Now we were only three of a flight of four, with no escort.



"Four is an unlucky number anyway," Seratov said. "My mother said, 'Always light three candles with the same match Anatoly. It's lucky."

"Your mother was just trying to save matches, moron," Petrovna replied.

We were only ten minutes from Kalach and still climbing when I saw them below us. A caravan of German Stukas, circling over the heads of our troops.



"Stukas below," I said, "Looks like they are about to attack our positions."

"We have our own target," Petrovna said.

"We can surprise them, we have height," I said.

"They'll miss anyway. They just want to dump their turds and run away as fast as they can. They don't actually try to hit anything anymore."

"If that was your brother down there?" I asked her.



"My brother stayed in Paris," she said, "With a French whore. I wish he was down there."

"They have escorts," Seratov noted, "At least two, 109s."

"We're going in," I said. "Swan flight, change of orders. Enemy dive bombers three oclock and low. Dump your ordnance and attack. I'll scare off the escorts, you go for the Stukas!"

I toggled our own bombs loose and pushed the nose down.



"Oh, hell." Petrovna climbed behind her gun.

Our airspeed climbed rapidly as we descended on the Germans, who were still circling, preparing for their attack. We blasted past the first of the escorts. He rolled on his back and dived away in reflexive fear.



As we levelled out, I had one 109 and several Stukas right in front of me.



"Going for the 109," I muttered. "Ready on guns."

"Ready top," Petrovna said.

"Ready below," Seratov confirmed.

I felt proud, then. Invincible. Screaming through the skies over Russia, 550 km/h, straight at the foe. As we closed I opened up with the guns at about 200 metres The approach was perfect. I was fast, he was slow. I was behind him. If he saw us at all, I don't know. He pulled into a tight turn right in front of us, which slowed him down even more, and he flew straight into the lead from my guns.





"Hit!" I cried. "He's falling away to port."

"He's not falling comrade pilot Mostovskoy," Petrovna said. "He's coming around to attack us."



Sure enough, streaming smoke but somehow still flying fast, the 109 swung in behind us.

"Dammit." I cursed, and put the nose down for more speed. We would never out turn him in the Peshka.

"Coming in..." Petrovna said, "One kilometre...800...700...we aren't going to lose him...500"

"I'll take us into the weeds," I told her, "Try to lose him low."

"No!" she said, "Hold it level. I can finish him!"

"Petrovna..."

"Just give us a clean shot, comrade pilot," Seratov pleaded. "We can do this."

I bit my lip, "Very well. Levelling out."

"Here he comes," Petrovna muttered, "Straight up our chimney pipe. Not too bright are you Herman?"





"Come on, come on..." Seratov urged.

"Now!" Petrovna yelled, and as one, both of their guns opened up. I craned my neck to watch, but the German was hidden behind Petrovna's helmeted head.







The machine filled with cordite smoke and I heard Seratov yelling as loud as his gun was hammering.







Petrovna's gun fell silent and she whooped, "He's done for!" She punched the glass canopy above her head. "Going down."



"For Russia!" Seratov yelled, his own gun still firing as the German fighter rolled on its belly below us and fell away.







"Well done," I said, "Well done both of you."

"Let's get some more," Petrovna reached forward and punched me on the shoulder. "This is our lucky day."

"Told you," Seratov agreed, "Three is the charm."

I turned back to the distant dogfight, where I could see a couple of Peshkas tangled with the Stukas. No sign of the other 109.



In five minutes we were on them again, and I picked up a Stuka well away from the action, trying desperately to get some altitude, thinking it was all alone.



The engagement was over before it began.

I pulled into a gentle banking curve, coming at him from a low quarter.



Suddenly, the sun fell right across our nose. I lost him. I lost everything!





I threw my hand up to my face. When I pulled it away, there he was. Right under our nose and rushing toward us.



His gunner had a perfect shot. I heard the stuttering of his MG15 as if it was firing in my ear, and our port wing fuel tank caught fire.



It didn't matter. We slammed into him milliseconds later, his port wing burying itself in our starboard wingroot right between the engine and the cockpit.



There was a wrenching scream and we were pitched forward. I smacked my head into the gunsight.



"Get out!" I yelled, "Get out!" I have no idea if anyone could hear me. We were fused together with the wreckage of the Junkers, falling flaming through the sky.







As I tugged desperately at the canopy release, I saw the German pilot heave himself out of his machine and tumble free. Harness! I released my harness.





Out, have to get out! It was all I could think. The machine was corkscrewing now, throwing me from side to side.

The canopy fell away. Air blasted into the cockpit. Cold, freezing, beautiful air. I grabbed both sides of the cockpit and pushed myself up.



I had no idea how high we were. My chute jerked me to a stop and the Peshka kept falling. 1000 feet? Five hundred?

Over my shoulder I saw Petrovna lever herself out of the flaming aircraft.



But she was stuck. Her leg, her boot, I don't know. Something was jammed. She pulled frantically trying to free herself. Come on woman!

Finally she fell free and grabbed for her parachute cord.



I lost sight of her.

Seconds later, the Stuka went in, and then the Peshka, right below us. A hot pyre of smoke rose up toward me.



I floated right through it, my eyes stinging, lungs spastic as I tried to breathe in the oily blackened air.



Then I saw her.

Right next to the crater our Peshka had made.

She looked so small.



A tank crew found us. I think it was a tank. They transferred us to a truck, towing artillery. We rode in that back to Kalach. Me and the smashed body of Agrippina Petrovna.

Seratov? We never found him. I didn't see a chute. He wasn't in the fuselage. He never reported back in Kalach. He was reported MIA, and after the war I checked. He was still MIA. His bones might still be out there on the steppes west of Kalach for all I know.

But I like to think of him this way. I like to think he made it down. And he rolled up his parachute, and he scratched his moron head, and he thought, screw this, and he went back to his farm. And he looked after his mother, and he grew old there, and he died a happy poor farmer.

And I think of Agrippina Petrovna, who I only knew for three months in 1942.

Who I killed.

I think of her every damn day.

Because I know when I die, she is going to be waiting for me.

And she is not going to be happy.



[Linked Image]
#4051784 - 12/16/14 10:33 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign AAR #10 Dec 16: Finale - end of Ch 1. [Re: HeinKill]  
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Posts: 19,969
oldgrognard Offline
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oldgrognard  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 19,969
USA
That is some mighty fine writing. You sure do have a talent.

Really excellent!!!


Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

Someday your life will flash in front of your eyes. Make sure it is worth watching.
#4051823 - 12/17/14 12:27 AM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign AAR #10 Dec 16: Finale - end of Ch 1. [Re: HeinKill]  
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scrim Offline
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scrim  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2014
Posts: 1,180
Agreed, I rather enjoyed reading these!

#4051832 - 12/17/14 01:12 AM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign AAR #10 Dec 16: Finale - end of Ch 1. [Re: HeinKill]  
Joined: Mar 2008
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Bumfluff Offline
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Bumfluff  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 774
Lovely.

#4051845 - 12/17/14 01:54 AM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign AAR #10 Dec 16: Finale - end of Ch 1. [Re: HeinKill]  
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CyBerkut Offline
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CyBerkut  Offline
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Hotshot

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Posts: 6,715
Florida
You killed off Petrovna! Noooooooo....

OK, OK... It's alright. I'm better now.

I have to agree... you have a real talent for this, HeinKill. Well done!

#4053326 - 12/19/14 06:41 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign AAR #10 Dec 16: Finale - end of Ch 1. [Re: HeinKill]  
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 3,629
HeinKill Offline
Senior Member
HeinKill  Offline
Senior Member

Joined: May 2006
Posts: 3,629
Cloud based
Thx all for the nice words.

I will give a little taster for Ch.2 before I go away on holidays...

Hope you all stay safe and have a fantastic holiday wherever you may be!

H


[Linked Image]
#4053398 - 12/19/14 08:25 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign Ch. 2 AAR #1 prelude: Fat Fritz goes to War [Re: HeinKill]  
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 3,629
HeinKill Offline
Senior Member
HeinKill  Offline
Senior Member

Joined: May 2006
Posts: 3,629
Cloud based
FAT FRITZ GOES TO WAR: THE EASTERN FRONT

If this is your first acquaintance with Luftwaffe kanonier 'Fat Fritz' you are welcome to start here:

http://airwarfare.com/sow/index.php/foru...-aars-raf-1#596

and catch up on the adventures of Oberlt. Hein Kill and Fat Fritz during the Battle of Britain.

Otherwise, read on:




"Well, this is another fine mess you've gotten us into Fritz."

"Oh come on Oberleutnant, how was I to know it was a Gestapo Major's daughter?"

"Perhaps because she had a picture of the Fuhrer over her bed?"

"True. I thought she was just patriotic."

"With a camera behind it?"

"Well I didn't check that, did I?"

"No, which is why we are here, Fritz."

'Here' was Barsagino airfield, inside the Stalingrad pocket, January 1943. If there was a worse place for a Stuka pilot to be in the entire world, I would like to trade with him.



We were completely surrounded by very annoyed Russians. The only supplies getting through were fuel and ammunition, and very very occasionally, some food.

Fritz and I were still dressed in the uniforms we had been wearing when we were summarily marched from the cosy barracks in Norway where we had been attached to a JG5 Bf110 Zerstorer unit, doing not very much at all and having a lovely war.

Now, thanks to Fritz and his penchant for officer's daughters, we found ourselves in the Kessel. Which we quickly learned, was slang for 'toilet pot'.



And we were right in it.

If there was a worse duty in the world than flying Stukas out of the Kessel with the entire Russian VVS overhead waiting to swat you from the sky, I would gladly take it.

But we were here, leading a flight of fellow war criminals on a mission where only certain death awaited. You don't believe me? Not only were we flying Stukas, the only bombs available were huge 1800kg bunker busters which had been adapted from Heinkels.



Seriously, the smallest piece of flak and we would be vaporised instantly. There was no question of maneuvering with those monsters slung underneath us. And the German flak gunners were so starved and deranged, there was just as much chance it would be German flak that killed us.

It was our first sortie. Fritz was still settling in.

"Oberleutnant, what marque is this Stuka?" he asked.



"It is the mighty Ju87-D3," I told him ironically. "King of ground attack aircraft."

I could hear him settling his large bottom on the hard metal seat. "I like it. Roomy."

"Roomy? What is 'roomy'?"

"And a good view too," he said. "Plus, a two barrelled MG81Z."



"Yes. Leave that alone."

"But, Oberleutnant, I am your gunner," he said proudly.

"Fritz, you have not managed to hit a single target through the whole of the Battle of Britain..."

"We were withdrawn too early," he said sullenly.

"...or over Murmansk," I added.

"We hardly ever saw the VVS over Murmansk," he complained.

"So just leave those guns alone, it will be best for all of us."

He was quiet for a while. Clearly I had hurt his feelings. I sighed. We were in this nightmare together...I guessed I would have to try to keep him motivated somehow.

"Oh very well Fritz, you can test fire them, but then leave the safety on," I told him.

"Danke Oberleutnant!" he sang happily.



I heard the staccato chatter of the twin MGs. Then I heard something much worse. There was a metallic screeching sound, the Ju87 slewed suddenly to the left. I jammed my foot on the rudder and held the stick hard right as we began to slip to port. I looked frantically behind me.

"Fritz! Did you just shoot off our starboard tailplane?"

"Jawohl Herr Oberleutnant!" he replied, "A bit. Well, mostly. There is still some left."



"I don't believe it."

"But...on the Ju87C, and in the 110C, there is a metal plate blocking the traverse of the gun Herr Oberleutnant!" he protested. "It is not possible to shoot off the tail!"



"Well, apparently is IS possible in the Ju87D Fritz."

"Ja, apparently."

"I am just glad you are not a belly gunner, Fritz," I told him.



"Ja, me too."

Suddenly the radio crackled. Our escort. "Sealion flight, we can see a furball ahead. We will investigate, you hold your course," the fighter leader said, and our precious, inadequate escort of three 109Gs peeled away.







"Well, now we're stuffed," I told Fritz.

"What is the plan, Herr Oberleutnant?" Fritz asked.

"Generally or specifically, Fritz?"

"Specifically generally, sir."

I recalled our briefing. "Well, specifically, we are supposed to attack an enemy supply dump outside the pocket, at Nemkovsky," I said.



"Is that bad or good?"

"Anything which exposes us to a violent death is..."

"Bad?"

"Bad, Fritz. Yes, you are learning."

"So, generally..."

"Generally, we are going to do the absolutely minimum necessary to get out of this alive Fritz. Which means, we fly to the combat zone, we make a show of putting bombs on target so that we cannot be shot for cowardice, we avoid any and all flak, fighters, or recreational sports involving parachutes, and before the Russian tanks roll in, we commandeer a plane and fly out of Stalingrad."

"Good plan Herr Oberleutnant."

I nodded. It was a good plan. It could, and would probably, be ruined by Fritz sooner or later, but I enjoyed the simplicity of it, while it lasted.

The Russian steppes rolled on underneath us, uniform, white and dull.



Above us, a dogfight raged, as our escort and a gaggle of other fighters, duelled in the frozen skies.











Leaving them to fight it out, we chugged toward the enemy supply depot. Soon it lay below us, calm, quiet. Even the flak crews were mercifully somnolent. I keyed the R/T.

"Sealion leader to Sealion flight, target below, line astern, keep your spacing, starting attack....NOW!" I said, and rolled the Stuka onto its back as the Russian town disappeared underneath my nose.



I reacquired it as we went vertical.





I had no desire to let the automatic dive recovery system pull us out of the dive. That would mean going as low as 500 metres, which would put us in range of both light and heavy AAA, and actually hitting the target was irrelevant to our survival.

I pickled our bomb at 1000 metres, and pulled out.







I guess it hit the ground. Gravity tends to take care of that. I didn't even bother to look, but Fritz couldn't help himself.





"Two bombs on target!" Fritz cried. "Those muttis are huge! We wasted half the town!"



"Be glad there is not one slung under our belly anymore, that is all," I told him. "Now let's get home."

I called the flight to rejoin and we headed east, at best possible speed. We were low. That was not good. But I did not want to waste time climbing.

Sure enough, it turned out, it was the wrong choice.

"Fighters above!" Fritz called. "Dogfight in progress! Someone hit!"





Luckily, most of the aircraft above were our own. And the victim was Russian.









I tried to fly invisibly. A stealth Stuka. I willed the Russian pilots on high to keep their eyes on our fighters, and not on our lumbering Junkers so low and slow below them.

"Train below" Fritz called.



"Don't care."

"But Herr Oberleutnant!" he complained, "A nice, juicy, fat Russian troop train."



"Yes, with nicy juicy fat Russian flak cars," I said, "Forget it."

He sulked the rest of the way home.

I was immune to his moods after two years and three battlefields. Fritz was the worst shot in the Luftwaffe, the most dangerous drinking companion, the most unlucky in love, but he was lucky in war. We had been shot at, shot down, crashed, burned, half drowned, but we were still here.

Despite my missing tailplane, I manhandled the Junkers into a reasonable approach at Barsagino.



We bounced a few times on the icy runway, but we got down.



"And that, Fritz," I told him, "Is how we are going to get through this nightmare. I am going to fly safely and drop bombs uncaringly, and you are not going to shoot at anything."

"That is a deal, Herr Oberleutnant," he replied. "We will be gloriously incompetent."

Well, it sounded like a good plan. But like all good plans, it did not survive contact with the enemy.

TO BE CONTINUED



[Linked Image]
#4057031 - 12/29/14 03:22 AM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign Ch. 2 AAR #1 prelude: Fat Fritz goes to War [Re: HeinKill]  
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theKhan Offline
resident pacifist (sic)
theKhan  Offline
resident pacifist (sic)
Member

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Posts: 2,122
Canada
Fritz is baaack!!!


I used to work for a living, but then I took an arrow to the knee.
#4057587 - 12/30/14 09:40 AM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign Ch. 2 AAR #1 prelude: Fat Fritz goes to War [Re: HeinKill]  
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,244
FlatSpinMan Offline
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FlatSpinMan  Offline
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Posts: 1,244
Land of the Rising Sun
Excellent fun to read. Thanks very much.

#4057680 - 12/30/14 04:28 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign Ch. 2 AAR #1 prelude: Fat Fritz goes to War [Re: HeinKill]  
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 57
SoupyC Offline
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SoupyC  Offline
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Posts: 57
Biggest Little City
LOVE your AARs Heinkill! Always so entertaining! Thanks for sharing!


"A desire not to butt into other people's business is at least eighty percent of all human 'wisdom' . . . and the other twenty percent isn't very important." - Jubal Harshaw
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