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#4058390 - 01/01/15 02:15 AM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign Ch. 2 AAR #1 prelude: Fat Fritz goes to War ***** [Re: HeinKill]  
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Heinkill: U have a true talent for writing AARs Great Reads Thanks.

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#4059263 - 01/03/15 01:38 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign Ch. 2 AAR #1 prelude: Fat Fritz goes to War [Re: HeinKill]  
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Excellent AAR's with great and fun readings.


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

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#4061479 - 01/09/15 05:57 AM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign Ch. 2 AAR #1 prelude: Fat Fritz goes to War [Re: HeinKill]  
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Thx next episode up soon...now that I have recovered from my New Year hangover.

H


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#4062267 - 01/10/15 10:08 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign Ch. 2 AAR #2 Jan 10: On a Wing and a Prayer [Re: HeinKill]  
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A wing and a prayer

"Fritz, what are you reading?"

I should have been asking him, "Why are you reading?" but after all we were still taxiing out.

"Nothing," Fritz replied, turning a page. Among his many failings, I forgot to mention, Fritz was also a True Believer. In the 1000 Year Reich. The infallible wisdom of our masters. And the justice of our cause.

"Fritz. You are reading Mein Kampf again, aren't you."



"Ja. Well, the part that is about Russia. It is always good to remind myself why were are here." he said.

"I can tell you Fritz," I said as we lined up on the runway at Barsagino, "We are here because you are unable to control your libido."

"No, I mean, why Germany is here."

"Even easier Fritz, Germany is here in Russia because your glorious leader is a deranged lunatic."

From the back seat came a wave of disapproving silence.

"What have I told you about reading that book in my airplane?"

"But the Fuhrer says..."

"Fritz, is the Fuhrer the pilot of this airplane?"

"No, Herr Oberleutnant."

"Then put it down and check that your guns are on safety please."

As we took off, I pondered the mission ahead. A deep penetration northeast into Russia to try to relieve some of the pressure on our positions by knocking out an enemy bomber base.





"Well, the Fuhrer says, in Russian bolshevism we must see Russia's twentieth-century effort to take world dominion unto itself. And he will continue to move farther on his fatal course, until another force opposes him and, in a mighty struggle, once more pitches the stormer of the heavens back to Lucifer."

"The Fuhrer said that?"

"Ja. Page 961."

I looked around us. All was snow and ice. I had imagined hell to be a little warmer.



"So we are driving the Bolsheviks back to Lucifer?" I asked him.

"Ja, all the way, Herr Oberleutnant. It says so here. Page 961."

"Why, then, are we surrounded in Stalingrad and retreating all over the Eastern Front?"

"A strategic repositioning," Fritz insisted, "Stalingrad is the rock upon which the Bolshevik wave will break."

I grunted and strategically repositioned my backside on the hard steel of my seat. Despite being on the back foot, we had managed however to summon up considerable strength for this raid. It felt a little better to know we were being heavily escorted. There was a flight of 109Fs overhead, and a second flight joining us a short way north.







And it was just as well. Not even halfway to the target, some world-domination-seeking Bolsheviks fell on us. Did they not appreciate we were saving the world from the 'spawn of hell'?





Apparently not. Our escorts and the Russian fighters joined with the ferocity of drunken lovers.





We soon left them behind, and thankfully none broke through to us.



After a short time, where I am sure he had fallen asleep with Mein Kampf in his lap, I woke him.

"We are approaching the target Fritz, what would you say the Fuhrer would like us to do now? Hit this target at all costs, or survive to fight the Bolsheviks another day?"

"I am sure he would like us to hit the target, and survive, Herr Oberleutnant. Let us send some Bolsheviks to Lucifer!" he said happily.

The airfield was underneath us soon enough. And the Russian guns, unlike Fritz, were not asleep. As I gave the order to attack, and rolled our machine onto its back, the sky around us bloomed with flak.





Involuntarily, I crouched lower behind the stick. I punched the dive brakes and yelled to Fritz, "Fritz, do you know any prayers?"

"Jawohl Herr Oberleutnant!"

"Then say them!"

He began praying as we fell through the sky...

Father in Heaven, resolved to the death
Kneel we before Thee, O answer us, then!




Does aught other people Thine awful command
More loyally follow than we Germans do?




Is there one such? Then, Eternal One, send
Laurel and victory to it, mighty with fate.








Father, Thou smilest? O joy without end!
Up! and onward, onward, to the holy crusade.










We made it out and rejoined, without even a scratch.



But then somewhere over Shishikin...





"What is that smell?" Fritz complained, "It woke me up!"

"We were hit by AAA," I told him, "But it was the smell that woke you?"



"Ja, pu ha, can't you switch it off or something?"

I toggled the left and right fuel tank switches, we were bleeding out pretty quickly.





There was no way to manually pump fuel into the port wing tank, but we wouldn't need it. We were nearly home.

"No. Just don't light any cigars," I advised him.

We were still streaming white vapour as Barsagino came into view.



I called an emergency and wasted no time on the approach.



But in the end, it was a non event, and we touched down with both fuel and runway to spare.



As we pulled off the runway, I heard Fritz heave a sigh of relief.

"Another mission without firing my guns," he said, "This is maybe not such a bad duty after all."

"A couple of close calls from the flak though Fritz. That was a useful prayer," I told him, "Where did you learn it?"

"Mein Kampf," he replied happily. "Page 993. It is a very useful book."



I was suddenly inspired, "Can I borrow it for the next mission Fritz?"

He sounded pleased as he responded, "Certainly, Herr Oberleutnant! We'll make a good National Socialist out of you yet!"

"That AAA came too close for comfort," I told him, "It is a nice thick book. I think I will sit on it."




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#4065441 - 01/18/15 10:53 AM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign Ch. 2 AAR #3 Jan 18: In the Cauldron [Re: HeinKill]  
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In the Cauldron

And then in the week from January 10, if you can believe it, it became worse.

The 'airbridge', well that was already a joke, but by January 18 if any Tante Ju made it through the blockade, it was a miracle if it could be unloaded before it was destroyed by strafing Russian fighters or artillery.

The casualties from the front lines kept coming in, but there was no way to evacuate them. The wounded were left out in the open under blankets because there was no room to house them. They rarely made it through the night. The bodies were just piled up in the trenches around the airfield.



The word among the pilots was that General Paulus had betrayed us to the Russians, and they were just waiting until we were too weak to fight back, before they walked in to slaughter us.

Fritz, a mountain of blubber that no Russian winter could bring down, somehow managed to scrounge food and water from thin air. He appeared in our bunker carrying a brown sack.

"Supplies!" he said.

I looked up wearily, "How?"

"I went over where that Junkers was shot down this morning," he said. "I traded a leather helmet to a guy who had found this."



He dropped the sack at my feet, "He said it was marjoram!"

I looked at him numbly, "Marjoram?"

"Yes!" he smiled, "We can put it on our biscuits!"

I sighed, "Fritz, do you know what Marjoram is?"

"He told me it was a kind of condiment..."

"It's a herb. Dried herb," I told him, and I rummaged in his sack and pulled out something else, "Pepper. I suppose we could throw that in the faces of the Russians when they arrive."

He looked, for just a moment, crestfallen, but then brightened again, "This must mean they are sending in pork on the next flight!"

I just shook my head, "Stay on your feet," I told him, "We have a mission."



We were going hunting for Russian convoys northeast of the Kessel near a crossing on the Don river. If it had just been us alone, I would have been delighted. We could have faked engine trouble and landed at a German field to the west, but Luftflotte 4 command had somehow managed to find bombs and fuel enough for a staffel of Stukas and a couple of escort fighters, so we were trapped into following our orders.



We tramped out to the flight line, past bomb craters and wrecked aircraft. In one of them, we saw the dead pilot and gunner still slumped in their cockpits, frozen solid. You would have needed an axe to remove them, so no one bothered.



"At least there is no mortar fire today," Fritz observed. "Or artillery. Not so bad."

"Fritz, shut your trap, I swear you are trying to jinx us."

Sure enough, as we formed up for takeoff, the jinx hit us. The air raid siren began to wail again. They might as well just have left it on permanently.

An airman ran up to our machine and jumped up on the wing, "Dive bombers coming in!" he yelled, "Cut your engine and run for a trench!" He slid off the wing again, fell over in the snow, and then disappeared.



I looked up. Our escort had already taken off and were circling above Pitomnik. I saw they were already engaged with Russian fighters. Our precious few remaining flak guns began to bark.





The bombers would not be far behind.

"Fritz, you want to run for it?"

"It's warmer here, Oberleutnant," he replied.

"My thoughts exactly," I told him and keyed my R/T, "Gull staffel to Pitomnik tower, we are taking off." I didn't wait for a response, but shoved the throttle forward, the engine began to roar and the Stuka began to shake as we began our takeoff roll.

Then I realised the roaring was not my engine, but bombs, falling across the runway.

One landed directly in front of us, scattering aircraft and debris.



We ploughed straight through it. The aircraft behind us were eviscerated - one of them, its wing torn off, ploughed into the machine beside him.



Others, their airframes chewed up by a thousand schrapnel strikes, rolled slowly to a halt, dead men at their sticks.



We stayed low, hiding under clouds and smoke as we pulled away from the field. Flak chased the Russian bombers into the distance.



When I felt we were safe enough to begin our climb out, I looked back. Only four had made it up. Should I have aborted and told them all to run for a hole in the dirt? Maybe a few men would have made it.



But if you ask me, the dead men were the lucky ones.

We had a nice thick layer of cloud to hide in on the way to the target area. As we had no escort anymore, I made the most of it, hopping from cloud to cloud.



As we passed over the River Don, I gave the order to the other Stukas, "We are over the target Gull staffel," I told them, "Break off and look for targets. Happy hunting." There was no whooping or hollering any more. Each man just quietly peeled away to find his fate.



I stayed high, near the base of the cloud, circling above a large town. Eventually I saw what I was looking for...a line of trucks creeping through the mist below.



"Target identified Fritz...a small convoy...we are going in," I told him. "Keep an eye out for fighters."

"Knock them on their backsides Herr Oberleutnant!" he said. "I want some bragging rights around the fire tonight."

"We are making one run Fritz, and then we are heading West."

"West?"

"Back behind our own lines. Nemkovsky field. Did you bring that pepper? We are going to be eating hot food tonight."

"Jawohl Herr Oberleutnant!"

It was too late for more explanation. The convoy was crawling around a bend in the road below, alongside a forest.



It was not a perfect approach, but the bend meant they had to slow and were grouped closer together. I came in at a shallow dive and released my bombs in pairs.







"Ha! Take that Ivan!" Fritz yelled.

"Did we hit anything Fritz," I asked.

"Two burning," he replied, "The rest have scattered."



It was good enough. I began to pull up toward the clouds again, thinking about the flight ahead. It would be nearly 100km, southwest, over enemy territory almost all the way. But then we would be back behind our own lines. I would call an emergency at Nemkovsky, and put down there. Tell them we had gotten lost in the cloud. Oh, they'd probably send us back, but at least tonight we would have food, and a warm bed. Maybe I could even find a way to sabotage the engine...they'd have to find us another machine, or...

I never saw the VVS fighter sneaking up below us.



He must have seen the smoke from the convoy and been following as we pulled away from the forest. He was a clever one, knew where our blind spot was.

The first I knew of him was when our machine started shuddering, huge holes appeared in the wing and a shadow flitted past as he soared up from beneath us and into the clouds above. Fritz grabbed his guns and started firing wildly but the Russian was long gone already.



And we were trailing fuel. There was no point trying to make altitude anymore. The clouds were still too far above us and climbing would just make us slower. We had to try to lose him in the treetops. Limit his options. I pushed us back down toward the ground.



"Where is he Fritz!" I yelled as I snaked across the forest, swerving left and right.

"I don't...oh scheisse," he said, "He's coming in again!" His guns opened up. I kicked the rudder, slewing the Stuka so that its nose was pointed left as we skidded through the sky to the right.



As he got within firing range, he lost his nerve and pulled away. I couldn't believe Fritz had scared him off, so it must have been his speed and proximity to the ground. As he pulled up and away, I saw there were not one, but two Russian fighters stalking us.

So it was just a matter of time. They could make ten runs like that, and it would only take one to kill us. We were low, slow and full of holes already.



And then a beautiful thing happened. In peacetime, a beautiful thing is a break of sunshine on a cloudy day. An apple, fresh from a tree in the middle of autumn. A steaming plate of schnitzel and a big black beer.

In wartime, a beautiful thing is when friendly fighters appear out of nowhere and attack your attacker.

I will always remember that German pilot because I owe him my life. He came screaming down from the heavens, all alone, like a Teutonic Knight on a charging horse. The two Russians saw him and turned up toward him.



They all opened fire at the same time, the German in his 109, and the two Russians. But he was outnumbered and his opponents were good pilots, they shredded him.



He kept diving, straight through them, and into the ground.

But by the time the Russians had regrouped and were looking for us again, we were gone.



With fuel pouring from our tanks, there was no question of trying for German lines anymore. Doomed, surrounded, cursed Pitomnik was our only option.

We go there on fumes, a thin mist trailing behind us. The wreckage of our takeoff had been pushed to one side of the landing strip, and we bumped down past still burning aircraft and frozen bodies.



"Welcome home Fritz," I said, killing the engine as close to our bunker as I could. Even with the cockpit still closed I could smell the burning oil barrels not far away. "Sorry we didn't make it behind our lines after all."



"It was a nice idea, Herr Oberleutnant, while it lasted," Fritz said. "When you said it, I could practically taste the coffee already."

I killed the engine.



"Don't worry Fritz," I told him, "The Poles, French and British couldn't kill us. I'll be damned if I let Paulus and Goering do it. We aren't going to die in the Kessel."








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#4066848 - 01/20/15 11:41 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign Ch. 2 AAR #3 Jan 18: In the Cauldron [Re: HeinKill]  
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OK, fair warning, the next mission turned out pretty...weird.

H


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#4068476 - 01/23/15 11:09 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign Ch. 2 AAR #4 Jan 23: Flight of the Eagle [Re: HeinKill]  
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January 23 1943

"Xotite potancevat? Xotitepotancevat? Xotite potancevat?"

"Fritz what are you doing?"

"Ostav' menja v pokoe! I am practicing my Russian Herr Oberleutnant. The rumours say that Paulus has offered to surrender and the Russians will be here any day now."

"You just asked me to dance with you."

"Nyet. I am pretty sure I said 'Let me be your slave.'"

"I have a phrase for you...'Moio sudno na vozdunoy poduke polno ugrey '."

"Moio sudno na vozdu...What does that mean?"

"Please shoot me I prefer to die quickly."

"That is defeatist, Herr Oberleutnant. I will be able to live off my fat for at least three months in which time the 6th Army will have broken through and liberated us."

I looked around us. Fritz was reading his Russian phrase book by the dirty light of a burning wick made from trousers taken from a dead man, soaked in oil from the sump of a destroyed truck. We had not eaten for three days. We had not flown for two. There had not been any fuel. A couple of our Stukas were still flyable, despite the constant shelling and bombing, but without fuel they had been as useless as any of the wrecks strewn around the field.

Like everyone else but Fritz, I had spent the day listlessly staring at the skies. Then we had heard it, the thrum of engines! A Ju57 loaded with supplies!



But not food. Just fuel and ammunition which was quickly rolled out and pushed aside. Starving men stormed the aircraft when they realised there was no food aboard. Some tried to hijack the aircraft and force the pilot to fly them out. He fought back and was shot. Then the Junkers was burned. German soldiers, drunk on white spirits, danced around the burning machine.

I had quietly asked the Kommandant for permission to take one of the remaining Stukas, fuel and arm it with the supplies the Junkers had brought in, and attack German troops advancing on Pitomnik, to try to stem their advance.

"It is pointless," he said bitterly, drawing on a brandy bottle. I doubted it contained anything like brandy. "You think one Stuka will stop them when the whole of Heeresgruppe Don can't even break their lines?"

"It is better to die trying," I told him.

He had shrugged and pulled out his map.

"If you want to do any good, go here..." he pointed towards the southern front. "Von Manstein is trying to break through here. A few bombs more or less won't make a difference, but it's your funeral." He turned and kicked a radio operator, sleeping at his radio set. "You, get onto Luftflotte 4 command. Ask them to send a couple of 109s over for an escort." He sat down heavily again, "They probably don't have any machines, and if they do, you'll be lucky if they don't shoot you down by mistake, they're so jumpy." Then he went back to his bottle.



I had looked closely. It was exactly the target I wanted.

Back in the bunker..."Fritz," I said, "Put down your phrase book. We have a mission!"

It took a lot of shouting to rouse the ground crew from their frozen stupor and for good measure, I had a detachment of guards accompany us to the plane, in case any of the desperate troops huddled in holes around the field were tempted to try to storm our machine as we were taking off.

"Where are we going Oberleutnant?" Fritz asked.

"We're going to punch a hole in the Russian lines so that Army Group Hoth can charge through and rescue us all," I told him loud enough for all the men to hear. I showed him the map.



"But, that's..." he whispered, looking over his shoulder at me.

"Yes Fritz, only 10km from German held territory." I confirmed, just as quietly.

It was 1820 hours by the team the machine had been fueled, armed and manhandled onto the runway. We wasted no time, but ran it up quickly and took off under the angry and desolate stares of thousands of dying or soon to be dead men.



I had hoped that Luftflotte command had indeed deserted us, and would ignore the request for an escort, but unfortunately, as soon as we had taken off, I heard a voice over the radio..."Eagle flight, this is Eagle escort, we can see you. Proceed sector 771, we've got you covered."





There were two 109s circling above.

We would have to lose them somehow.

"What is the plan Herr Oberleutnant?" Fritz asked, "We will gloriously punch a hole in the Russian lines allowing the 6th Army to steam through...and then?"



"We will do no such thing, Fritz," I told him. "We will avoid any and all enemy contact. We will hope for cloud over the target in which to lose ourselves, or enemy fighters to distract our escort, and then we will make straight for Luftflotte command at Tatchinskaya airfield and put this machine down."

"But, we will be shot for deserting!" he said.

"I have thought of that, Fritz," I told him. "Trust me."



TO BE CONTINUED






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#4068772 - 01/24/15 06:44 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign Ch. 2 AAR #4 Jan 23: Flight of the Eagle [Re: HeinKill]  
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PART II

"Where are we Fritz?"



I heard him folding and unfolding the flight plan.

"Uh...somewhere near Generalovsky," he said, "About half way to the front line. Probably."



"And that damned escort?"

"Still with us Herr Oberleutnant, they are annoyingly attentive."



"There is not a cloud in sight," I observed. "We'll never lose them like this."

"Perhaps we will be lucky and get attacked by a swarm of Russian fighters?"

"Be careful what you wish for Fritz."

We plodded along, over the snowbound landscape. But at least we were getting further and further from the Kessel. I felt my morale improve with every kilometer that fell behind us.



"City below Fritz, what is it?"



"Nizhny Yablochny," he said.

"Gesundheit Fritz. But what is the name of the town?"

"That is the name. We are coming up on the target sector now."



I saw muzzle flashes below. Tanks advancing toward trenchlines. They weren't ours.



It was the Russians, pushing the 6th Army further west, further away from Stalingrad. There would be no miraculous rescue for those poor sods left behind.

Suddenly Fritz called out, "Enemy fighters! Six oclock and high!"





"About time," I muttered.

"Eagle escort to Ju87, you are on your own, we are engaging fighters," the leader of the 109s announced, as they pushed their noses down and dove for the Russian planes. They soon began duelling and we left them quickly behind.







"Time to get out of here Fritz. Dumping ordnance." I toggled the bomb release and the unarmed bombs dropped away as the Stuka bobbed higher and lighter.



"How can we land at Tatchinskaya without raising suspicion Herr Oberleutnant. They will accuse us of running from the Kessel and shoot us in an eyeblink."

"Not if our machine is badly damaged by enemy fire Fritz."

"Oh no."

"Yes."

"You are going to go back and try to get those fighters to attack us?"

I laughed, "Don't be foolish Fritz. No, you remember on our very first mission in the Ju87D, how you nearly shot our tail off?"

"Ja Herr Oberleutnant. It was not my proudest moment."

"Well, Fritz, I want you to nearly shoot our tail off again."

"Seriously?"

"Most seriously. We have to be able to plausibly claim we needed to land our machine due to battle damage Fritz."

"It will be my honour to shoot us down, Herr Oberleutnant!"

"Just a little damage Fritz, ja?"

But he was already taking aim.



Moments later I heard his twin MG81s hammering and the Stuka shuddered violently as the stream of lead chewed at our tailplane.





"Fritz! Cease fire!" I yelled.

"Just a bit more Herr Oberleutnant," he yelled over the rattling of his guns, "It is not so easy to actually hit your own tail..."

"Halt!"

It was too late. I had felt the Stuka begin to nose over, and the stick was frozen in my grip. I had lateral control, but the vertical control was stuck. One of his rounds must have jammed the elevator



"Is there a problem?" Fritz asked.

"Let's just say we aren't going to Tatchinskaya today, Fritz. My controls are stuck. Most probably, we are going to die."

"Ach, that's life, Herr Oberleutnant," he replied meekly, "And after we got so close. It is such a shame, ja? We nearly made it. It's not your fault the idea with shooting the tailplane was not a good one."

We began to descend, stuck at about 15 degrees nose down.



"Fritz, you better hope the crash kills you," I told him. "Because if you live through this landing, I am going to beat you to death with your ammunition belt."

But I was not giving up. I cut the engine to try to keep our airspeed down, and pointed the nose at a long flat stretch of snow. If we were lucky, it would be covering hard ground and we might be able to slide in.



If we were not, well, it would be over soon.

The steppe loomed up quickly and filled the front windshield.



As the airspeed fell below 200 kmh I dropped the flaps. Mercifully our dive flattened out.



We begin to float over the snow just above a stall. I tried applying more power, but the nose began dropping again, so I backed off until we were level again, but falling like a dead weight.



I could see grass poking up through the snow - at least it wasn't covering a lake or ditches! Then the wheels hit. We bounced hard, once, twice and then on the third time, the machine stuck to the ground and we went skidding across the hard packed snow.



I gently applied the brakes but this just sent us into a spin. One wingtip rammed the earth, we nearly flipped, but it turned us on our axis like we were in a carnival ride. Then the world stopped spinning.



We were down. I reached forward to kill the engine, then thought better of it. I left it ticking over.

"Are...are we...did we..." came a voice from the back seat.

"Yes, Fritz, we survived. Again. Before I beat you to death, have a look at your map and try to estimate where we are."

There was some humming and hawing, then he decided, "That was the Don River ahead of us. That forest looked like...I think its Filipovskaya."

"And was Filipovskaya in German hands when we took off?"

"There was some uncertainty about that Herr Oberleutnant."

I grabbed my own map and found Filipovskaya. "This other town Fritz, Chekalov, is that ours or theirs?"



"Most definitely ours," he said, "It is the headquarters of the 4th Panzer."

I had an idea. It was a crazy idea, but I didn't fancy our chances of surviving a night out in this field in subzero temperatures, with the Russian army just over the horizon. Even if we made it through the night, we would probably be captured in the morning.

I eased the throttle foward a notch. The nose pitched forward a little, then the snow and ice holding the wheels cracked and we began to roll forward.



"Buckle up Fritz," I told him. "We are going to drive to Chekalov!"

I ignored his protests. Yes, it was about twenty kilometres, across the steppes and through forested fields. Yes, there could be fences, lakes, creeks and ravines hidden beneath the snow. Yes, we would probably end up groundlooping and breaking our necks as twenty tons of airplane fell on our heads.

I didn't care. I pointed the nose northwest, turned on the landing lights to provide some idea of what lay ahead, locked the tailwheel and eased the throttle forward until we were bumping across the icy ground at a teeth chattering 20 km/h.





Using the rudder and brakes to steer, I pointed us at a gap in the treeline ahead.

The Stuka flew like a lumbering delivery truck. Now I was going to see if it would drive like one.

TO BE CONTINUED










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#4071291 - 01/29/15 04:47 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign Ch. 2 AAR #4-6 Jan 29: The Eagle has landed [Re: HeinKill]  
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PART III

"I...just...lost...my....breakfast..." Fritz yelled as the Stuka ploughed through another snow drift and then bounced two feet into the air.

"Well you can clean that up yourself if we survive."

"No, I mean, really. I brought a little snack in case we were thrown in prison when we landed, and it just flew out of the cockpit."

"Why was your cockpit open?"

"So I don't throw up. The fresh air helps."

It had been an eventful trip so far but the Stuka was holding up well. I had said to myself several times 'Mr Junkers, you build a darn fine all terrain vehicle.'

Steering was the hard part, as I was trying to avoid the deepest drifts, fence poles sticking up out of the snow, lakes and creeks.

We came a little too close to the trees a few times...



But most of the journey was over hard packed snow and ice.



Visibility was good. It was a star spangled night, and with the landing lights on, though we risked being shot at by Russian patrols, at least I could see ahead of us.



And in fact, if you were a Russian patrol who saw a Stuka passing you doing 40 km/h along the ground, wouldn't yhou be more likely just to have another shot of vodka, than take a shot at the Stuka?

We made good progress, and within an hour were halfway to Chekalov. We had no idea if Chekalov was still in German hands, but it had been when we took off, Fritz was sure.



Which meant nothing, I know.

"If we die in a ravine, it will be easy to find us," Fritz remarked.

"We won't necessarily catch fire," I told him. "We would probably just die in the impact."

"I know, but we are leaving a set of tracks in the snow which a blind man could follow."





As we approached Chekalov we came across a rudimentary road. It was probably a goat track, but it was smoother and safer than skiing along the snow and ice steppes, so I stuck to it as much as possible.



Then the track turned into a path, and the path into a road.

"That's what I call first class!" Fritz hooted, as we pulled onto the road and the teeth chattering bumps smoothed out into jitters instead.



It turned into one of my most fond memories of the war, strangely enough. Driving my Stuka across Russia in the dead of night, sure, with death ahead at every bump, but with the north star to guide us, and Fritz so beaten up by the buffeting that he wasn't talking the whole way.



Finally, Chekalov approached. We would be coming at it from the East, and it was possible, just possible, the Russians would hold the eastern bank of the Don River, and our troops would be on the other side holding them back. We had not passed a single trench or outpost yet, Russian or German, but that was neither bad, nor good.



As we approached the river, I started to worry.

"Fritz, I think that is the town, across the water there."

"Ja! Good driving Herr Oberleutnant, we are nearly there!"

"Anything strike you as strange Fritz?"



"No, looks nice and peaceful. No Russians shooting at us!"

"No Germans either Fritz. In fact, not even a light in a window."

"Ah."



"For the Headquarters of the 4th Panzer Division Fritz, there is a dismal lack of tanks."

"Uh, ja, I can see that," he admitted.



"Plus, that bridge that was shown on the map is actually a punt ferry, and the punt is stranded in the ice in the middle of the river."

"Not good?"

"Not good Fritz. Panzers need bridges to cross. A lot of Panzers, need big bridges. Do you see a big bridge?"



"Nein, I...oh, wait. Did you say Chekalov?"

"Ja."

"I thought you said Chersakov..."

"You thought..."

"Ja, the headquarters of the 4th Panzer is at Chersakov. How stupid of me. Forgive me Herr Oberleutnant, but your Russian pronunciation is not so good you know."

I sat for a moment staring out at the bridge we could not cross, toward the town that was probably full of Russian troops, or at the very least, hostile Russian farmers.



"Fritz," I said, calmly and softly.

"Jawohl Herr Oberleutnant?"

"Please hand me your reserve ammunition belt, and take off your flight helmet."

"Ja...uh, why Herr Oberleutnant?"

"Because I am now going to beat you to death, drink the last of the brandy from my hip flask, and then shoot myself."

"I have a better idea Herr Oberleutnant," Fritz said.

"I doubt that."

"Let's just wait until daylight. Something might turn up. Something always does."









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#4071440 - 01/29/15 09:07 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign Ch. 2 AAR #4-6 Jan 29: The Eagle has landed [Re: HeinKill]  
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A very interesting and imaginative AAR Heinkill yep I should be joining in the fun by next week hopefully.


“There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.”
#4071718 - 01/30/15 03:51 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign Ch. 2 AAR #4-6 Jan 29: The Eagle has landed [Re: Chucky]  
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Originally Posted By: Chucky
A very interesting and imaginative AAR Heinkill yep I should be joining in the fun by next week hopefully.


Welcome aboard! Though, my advice is don't buy yet if you haven't done so!

The devs 1CGS have advised they will be announcing on Feb 2 an option to remove the 'weapons/skins unlock' requirement that so many people hate - as well as other 'major news'. (As you may know, the current version of the game requires players who play online, to first unlock all the aircraft weapons in the offline campaign before they can use them online. Many people hate the idea they aren't competing on a level playing field online, just because the guy they are dogfighting may have upgraded to better armour or weapons by grinding through the offline campaign.)

Originally Posted By: Ghost_swe
By Zak:

"Loft (BoS developer) said that there will be a option to have all unlocks available without playing the campaign.
And that a pretty big announcement is coming up early next week."


There are a few ways such an 'option' could be implemented, among them:

- server side: ie server admin decides if unlocks are open to all online, closed to all, or still only unlocked by progress in the offline campaign. This would be a nice simple and fair option to implement (likelihood low, the devs make no money this way.)
- unlocks and mods as a free of charge option in the player settings, for online and/or offline play ie player can enable or disable the unlocks as they wish (likelihood low - the devs make no money this way).
- unlocks and mods are a paid option where players can 'purchase' weapons and mod packs for one or more aircraft either with real cash, or by grinding in the offline campaign (likelihood high, devs make money on this, at the risk of enraging existing players unless they find a way to give an 'unlocks discount' or something similar to existing players).

I'm also speculating/hoping that the 'major news' just might include the announcement of a free or cheap to play version (there is one already available on the Russian market). In this version you can either purchase the full plane set, or grind your way to aircraft/mods in the campaign. The obvious next step for this version is to release it globally, and make it so that you can buy these aircraft/mods as an alternative to grinding for them eg War Thunder style pay or grind model.

All of the above is just guesswork, I have no special insight.

But before you buy in, it would be wise to wait until after Feb 2 to see for certain what the future price vs feature set really looks like for this sim.

Cheers,

Fred


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#4071736 - 01/30/15 04:18 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign Ch. 2 AAR #4-6 Jan 29: The Eagle has landed [Re: HeinKill]  
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Too late but I'm not unduly worried about unlocks.


“There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.”
#4071812 - 01/30/15 07:01 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign Ch. 2 AAR #4-6 Jan 29: The Eagle has landed [Re: HeinKill]  
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Me either. I cant hit anything with the default weapons. Bigger guns and bombs just mean I miss louder.

biggrin

H


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#4074326 - 02/05/15 10:10 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign Ch. 2 AAR #7 Feb 6: Flight to Freedom [Re: HeinKill]  
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Flight to Freedom

Fritz was right. Something did turn up. It was called frostbite.

By the middle of the night, I could not feel my fingers or toes. By morning, my legs were numb too. There was nothing for it, we had to abandon our machine and pick our way across the floes on the icy river to the town on the other side. If there were German troops, we might get shot for deserting; if there were Russians, we would definitely be shot. Either way, it was better than freezing to death.

But when we entered the town of Chekalov, we saw why there were no lights the night before. All we found was death and ruination.



There had been German troops here. But they had pulled back, leaving scorched earth behind them. A few brave children threw rocks at us, old men and women cursed us, but there were no young men. We started combing the empty houses for food, but the town had been thoroughly ransacked. On the outskirts of town, we found the men, those who were left. They were busy moving bodies.



One started towards us with his fists balled by his sides, until I put my hand on my sidearm, pushing Fritz down the street until they were out of sight.

In a barn outside the town, we lit a fire and looked at our map.



"We flew over a Russian airfield on the way here," I pointed out to Fritz, "Here...Safronov."

"That is 40km back behind Russian lines," he said. "Isn't it better to keep going toward our own lines?"

"The whole Red army is between us and them," I reminded him. "We are more likely to get ourselves killed trying to get to German lines, than going back into Russia. If we can make it to that airfield, we might be able to steal a plane. Then we can make for this German field...Karpovka. It is far enough West that it must still be in German hands."

There was just the little problem of how to get there.

But God loves scoundrels. In the distance, we heard a whistle, and the unmistakeable chug of..."A train!" I yelled. "Come on!"

We stumbled through the snow toward the sound of the train and emerging from some trees we saw it, slowly pulling itself up the hill toward us. We waited until it drew level with the trees...



And after the troops in flak cars had passed, we rushed out and pulled ourselves up onto one of the freight cars.

It was headed directly north, and when it was roughly parallel to Safronov (as near as we could tell) we jumped off, and slogged our way West. We had gone a little too far north, and hit the forest, but we tracked down and there it was. A beautiful Russian airfield full of beautiful Russian aircraft. And cold, grumpy, Russian sentries.

We crouched behind some barrels at the edge of the field near some berms.

"What is the plan Herr Oberleutnant?" Fritz whispered, his teeth chattering. "Shall we wait until nightfall and then..."

I tested my feet, stamping them hard against the icy ground. I felt nothing.

"We won't last until nightfall Fritz," I told him, "We have to..."

Just then, the sky filled with aircraft, and one by one, a staffel of Russian heavy attack aircraft began landing, engines revving loudly as they began pulling into the berms right in front of us.

One of the machines nearly drove over the top of the bushes we were hiding behind, and close enough that I could see the pilots in their cockpits...



"This is our chance Fritz," I told him, watching as another Russian pilot taxiied past, braked his machine to a halt and shut down his engine. I could see the kites were all carrying weapons, rockets slung under the wings. They must have been rotating in from another field. They were warmed up, and probably still full of fuel. The ground crews were busy with other machines, and this one was left alone as the pilot and his gunner climbed out, laughing, and then walked off toward a group of tents.

"This is it Fritz!" I thumped him on his back, "Let's go!"

We ran at a crouch to the Russian machine and threw ourselves up onto the wing. Fritz fell headfirst into the gunner's open position, while I levered myself into the cockpit. I could still feel the heat off the engine. The Russian pilots had left their headgear on their seats and we quickly pulled on the helmets and goggles. We wouldn't pass close inspection, but from a distance, it might be enough.



It would have to be. I scanned the unfamiliar cockpit.

"Schiesse!" I cursed, looking at the switches all labelled in Russian, "I have no idea...magnetos...fuel...oh come on!"



I started flicking switches and pressing buttons at random. I pulled a lever and heard something drop underneath the machine...could be the radiator vent? Another lever and the flaps fell open with a clank.



"Stukas!" Fritz called suddenly, "Overhead."

I looked up. There they were, the swines. Heading south, unmolested, totally ignorant of the two fools on the ground underneath, failing completely to steal a Russian aircraft.

Then the engine coughed. The prop kicked once, twice and suddenly the engine roared to life! I shoved what I hoped was the throttle forward, and the engine responded with a satisfying growl. We began to roll and I kicked the rudder to line us up with the runway.



It seemed like the damned thing would never come unstuck, but as we neared the end of the runway, the tail lifted, then with a lurch we were airborne. I eased into a gentle left handed bank. We were up!!



The Russian machine, an IL2, had two monstrous cannons on each wing which must have created massive drag. I estimated we could be doing no more than 250 km/h , at full throttle, (if I was indeed even looking at the airspeed indicator) though of course I hadn't any idea of how to trim the machine properly.



But the sky was clear, and we were soon barreling southwest, toward our own lines. I was nervously scanning the skies above.



But I should have been watching my six.

"Uh, Herr Oberleutnant?" came Fritz's voice over the intercom.

"Fritz, why are you whispering?" I asked. "Speak up!"

I could hardly hear him over the din of the IL2s engine, but what I did hear, I didn't like..."coming up on our wing. It's a Russian!"





I looked over my shoulder in panic, and sure enough, there he was. Another IL2, sliding into position on our wing!

Now the radio crackled to life, as our new friend babbled away in Russian, no doubt asking if he could join with us, or where we were headed, or whether we knew any pretty girls...I had no idea.

He pulled up alongside, frowning, looking across the gap between us trying to signal to us. I pointed at my helmet and made what I hoped were the universal hand gestures for 'I can't hear you!". After a bit more pointless waving, he seemed to give up, and slid back into place on our wing.



"Shall I shoot him?" Fritz asked.



"No!" I ordered. "Ignore him. He will eventually get bored or go away and do whatever he was supposed to be doing!" Do not shoot!"

"You are no fun Herr Oberleutnant."

Fun? We were about to learn the meaning of the word fun.

Side by side with our Russian comrade, we crossed over the front lines and suddenly the air was filled with aircraft. Overhead I counted at least a dozen machines, furiously engaged in a fight to the death.



It looked like Stukas, with 109s in escort, engaged by a squadron of Russian fighters...it was probably the same Stukas that had flown right over the top of us.





...and they were right on top of our destination, Karpovka.



"Oh no..." Fritz suddenly said.

"What now?"

"Enemy fighters, coming in! Six oclock and high!"

I jinked and then suddenly realised, this was good! Russian fighters? We were in a Russian machine!

"Good!" I yelled to Fritz, "The more Russians the better!"

"Ja, but...these Russians, are German!" Fritz said.





"You said enemy fighters Fritz!" I scolded him.

"If you are flying a Russian machine, then German fighters are the enemy!" he pointed out. "Evade! Land! Do something!"

At least it solved one of our problems. Our unwanted wingman saw the German fighters streaking toward us, broke away and dove for the trees.



I should have done the same but I was caught in a quagmire of indecision. Should I engage? Evade? Bail out? Turn toward them, turn away, give them a Nazi salute? Head for the trees like my much cleverer comrade? At least I dropped our nose, but it was too late.

"Firing to miss!" Fritz yelled. At least one of us was thinking.

As the first German fighter pulled in on top of us, Fritz opened fire and I saw his tracer leading the 109 and missing completely.



It was enough to scare him though, and he barrel rolled right over my head and disappeared to starboard.



His katschmarek was not so careless. He stayed well back, matched our speed, and opened up from long range. By now I was down too low, and out of options.



Fritz started firing again but this particular German was not going to be scared so easily. Heavy shells thudded into our airframe and he slid neatly off to port and pulled away.





"We are trailing smoke!" Fritz called. "But the airfield is right below us!"



I craned my neck and saw he was right. But which airfield? I had totally lost my bearings. Was it ours, or theirs?

I swung around toward the lines, scanning the skies, and the ground. We had lost the German fighters, or they had decided we were done for and not worth more of their time.



As a burning Stuka plummeted to the ground ahead of us, I pulled around to make a low pass over the airfield. If it was German, we would probably be shot down by flak. If it was Russian, we would probably be shot down by German fighters before we got down anyway. It was turning out to be one of those days. I grabbed the gear lever and as it came down, we bled airspeed dramatically. I shoved the throttle forward, but the engine had no more to give.



Through the side glass of the cockpit, rapidly smearing with oil, I tried to make out the aircraft below.



"What are they Fritz?" I yelled. "Friend or foe?" I couldn't tell! I threw back the canopy and stuck my head out into the ice cold slipstream.



"Well, it depends, are we Russian or German?" Fritz asked.

"German of course!"

"So if they are Russian, they are the enemy?"

"Yes, idiot!"

"Then they are ours," he replied, a little huffily. "Stukas Herr Oberleutnant!"



I gave a whoop of delight.

Now we just had to get down, without being shot down.

The front windshield was completely covered in oil by now, and the engine was starting to clatter like a clapped out tractor.



I leaned out again and got my bearings, and pulled on a few of the more likely levers until I heard the flaps come all the way down and felt the nose pitch up.





Some light MG fire passed under our wing as a gunner somewhere made a half hearted effort to warn us off, but there was no heavy AAA and without wasting a moment, I wheeled around onto the approach and bullied the aircraft toward the runway.



It was already near a stall, engine barely turning the prop, and we thudded onto the ground, bounced once, so hard I was sure the undercart would collapse, and then we began trundling across the field.





As we coasted to a stop, our prop jerking around as the last dying revs of the broken engine kept it turning, I saw armed German troops running toward us, rifles at the ready.

"Take off that Russian headgear and get ready to yell 'Tus Nicht!" Fritz," I warned him. It would be disappointing to get this far and get shot by our own troops without even the courtesy of a court martial.

"I think 'Heil Hitler would be better," he said. "Show them we are proper Germans."

"Whatever. And let me do the explaining," I told him, "It was going to be hard enough explaining how we got a Stuka out of Stalingrad. But how we got here in a Sturmovik, that is a whole other level of creativity."



"I cannot wait to hear it, Herr Oberleutnant."










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#4074346 - 02/05/15 11:12 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign Ch. 2 AAR #7 Feb 6: Flight to Freedom [Re: HeinKill]  
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Next one, next one, next one! Can't wait!

#4074883 - 02/06/15 10:42 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign Ch. 2 AAR #8 Feb 7: No rest for the Wicked [Re: HeinKill]  
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No rest for the wicked

As we were marched away from the wounded Sturmovik by the German airfield guards, any doubts they had that we were actually German were erased by Fritz reciting entire chapters to them from Mein Kampf.

I thought we might be taken straight behind a wall and shot for desertion, but instead we were checked by a doctor, told to take a bath (cold), get some food (hot) and sleep. We repeated this routine for three days and then we were ordered to see the II./StG 77 intelligence officer (grumpy), Hauptmann Friedrich-Karl Freiherr von Dalwigk zu Lichtenfels.

Yes, that was his real name, and with that many 'vons' and 'zu's you knew he was going to be totally incompetent and completely untouchable.



He looked at us from under thin eyebrows. We were made to wait at his desk while he sharpened his pencil, which he then began tapping on his front teeth.

Tap tap tap.

"So. You are the men who brought us the Sturmovik?"

Tap tap tap.

Fritz and I had been here before. Gestapo, Abwehr, civilian police, at one time or other Fritz had been called in front of them all and I usually had to come and persuade them he was harmless. We knew the routine.

Don't answer until they ask you twice.

"And what, I wonder, should we do with you?"

Tap tap tap.

Fritz tried not to look bored. I found a spot in the wall behind his head and pictured it exploding in different ways, depending on what calibre shell would come through the wall.

He picked up a folder.

Tap tap tap

"Kanonier Fritz Neimeyer, enlisted 1938, twice failed physical, twice wounded...in gunnery practice. Served...Poland, France, Northern Russia," he looked up sharply. "Neimeyer...is that Jewish?"

Fritz smiled, "Is Von Dalwigk Polish?"

Tap tap tap

He took up the folder again. "Oberleutnant Kill...Poland, France and...Northern Russia. You two have served together for many years it seems? Unusual," he squinted. "Are you homosexuals?"

I smiled, "I don't think Fritz is even homosapiens, Hauptmann."

He reached into his drawer, and from within he pulled two small velvet boxes. This was new. Most interrogations did not involve small velvet boxes. With the pencil he pushed each box toward us.

I am not sure what I expected. Suicide pills?

"The glorious leader of II./StG 77, Major Kurt Huhn, has instructed me to present you with these," he said. When neither Fritz nor I made a move to pick them up, he opened his hands, as though completing a reverse clap. "You may open them."

Inside lay a small bronze badge. Von Dalwigk leered at us. "Please, put it on. It will look splendid on the pocket of your tunics beside your ground assault badges."



It was the Luftwaffe Oberserver's Badge, usually awarded to reconnaissance aircrew.

"I am to congratulate you on behalf of the Major, for your valour in reconnoitering the enemy airfield and obtaining a mostly intact example of his inferior aircraft." Fritz opened his mouth, and Von Dalwigk held up his pencil. "Speeches are not required. Your gratitude to the Reich for this highest of commendations is noted."

Tap tap tap

He reached into his drawer again and pulled out two envelopes, and as before, pushed them across his desk toward us with the tip of the pencil. This time I knew what to expect. New orders. They would be sending us somewhere bad, I knew it. But we were already at the Russian front - where could they possibly send us that was worse?

I opened my letter as Fritz opened his. We both spoke at the same time.

"Where is Tatchinskaya?!"

His thin lips closed on the pencil, then he pointed at a map on the wall.



"The most forward of our forward fields," he explained with a pleased tone, "10km behind the front line troops of Army Group Don, within easy striking distance of the two Russian airfields at Morozovskiy and only 10 minutes flying from the Red Airforce main base at Chernishevskiy"

Tap tap tap

"The Hauptmann was certain that two heroes such as yourselves would want nothing less than the honour of being at the point of the spear, holding back the Red Tide."

"How can a spear hold back a..." Fritz started to say, but I kicked him on the leg and stood up.

"Thankyou Hauptmann, if you will excuse us, we are keen to transfer to our new post."

We presented our orders to the duty controller, who pointed across the field, "Hein Kill, Kill...ja...here you are. You are taking a flight of replacement pilots and machines to Tatchinskaya yes?"

I nodded.

"You'll be flying E for Elefant," the others in the room snickered when he said this, and he shrugged, "It crashed last week but it has been refitted and declared operational. It probably is."

Fritz went ahead while I collected our things, such as they were. As I approached the machine, I sighed. The winter camouflage, if you could call it that, consisted of some white splotches that had been dabbed on the green factory paint with what was probably a roll of toilet paper.



Then I saw what was hanging under the wings of all of our machines, and I slapped my hand to my forehead.

I had heard about these, but hoped never to see them in combat.

The Giesskanne, otherwise affectionately known as the 'watering can'. It was a pod holding a trio of twin barrelled MG81z guns similar to those Fritz controlled. It could fire 1500 rounds at a withering 9000 rounds per minute with a declination of up to 15 degrees allowing a pilot to fly low and level above a target and sweep it from existence with a single burst.



This, at least, was how the Mauser factory sold it to the Luftwaffe. In reality it was a non aerodynamic airspeed killer that was prone to jamming at the first sign of actual combat, with a dispersion so great that with a zero point of 100m its 7.9mm rounds were spread over an area just a little smaller than a football field, with as much chance of scoring a kill as a dart, thrown at a barn. That, at least, was what I had heard about it.

I briefed our motley crew of pilots, then climbed in and coaxed the battered old Stuka into the air.



Actually, I had to admit, she didn't handle too badly. I banked sharply after takeoff and pulled back on the stick and the machine seemed to handle almost normally.



As we formed up, I settled into a nice 300km/h cruise, and still had a little to spare. The pods were lighter than if we were carrying bombs, even fully loaded with ammunition, as they were - at least that was something.



I began to think that really, it was a shame we were just ferrying those machines to Tatchinskaya...or...

"Fritz, give me a bearing to those Russian fields at Morozovskiy please," I said.

"Oh no," Fritz said, "Herr Oberleutnant, no..."

"Oh yes, Fritz," I said, "The proud German firm of Mauser-Werke Oberndorf Waffensysteme designed these mighty weapons to be used against the enemy, and use them we shall."



I gave the order to my flight to move to line astern, and prepare for a run against the nearest Russian airfield. As Von Dalwigk had promised, it was only a short distance from the front.



It was not unprotected.

"Fighters! Two Laggs at least!" Fritz called. "Wait! 109s coming in. This is going to be messy!"



"Break formation!" I called on the radio, "Good hunting men!"



I figured the MG81s would be best against soft targets like parked aircraft, so as the furball erupted around us, and flak began to bark, I pulled the stick into my stomach, sent the Stuka into a carnival ride of a zoom climb, then rolled it on its back and pointed it at the ground as I dropped the dive breaks and rolled wings level.



"Lagg coming in!" Fritz warned.



I ignored him. I was committed now, my nose lined up on a row of parked aircraft at the side of the Russian field.



I heard Fritz open up with his own MG81s, but it was just noise in my ears. My focus was in front of me.



I armed the Geiskanne as we closed at 400 km/h.

I thumbed the firing button.

The guns rattled like marbles in a glass jar as several thousand rounds of 7.9mm poured downrange!



I could see the shells peppering the ground ahead, small black puffs of smoke erupting from the parked aircraft.





As I pulled the stick back and climbed away, I could see we had shredded the enemy aircraft like paper targets.



Fritz gave them a beating of his own as we pulled up and into clear air, enemy tracer burning past our cockpit.

"That's for the boys in the Kessel!" he yelled.



There was a solid kerump behind us, as the combination of my fire and his set a fuel tank alight.



Fingers of AAA and heavy MG fire reached up toward us as we zigged and zagged away from the field, a line of Russian tanks stretched out in the snow below.



I ignored them, the Watering cans would have been useless against tanks. But that AAA emplacement just ahead...

I had about five seconds of ammunition left, and I kept my thumb down all the way in. With a hacking sound like an old woman's cough the guns ran dry, but again I saw the target erupt with smoke as ammunition ignited.





I had to say one thing about these guns - you didn't have to be a very accurate shot! Just point the nose toward the enemy, and fire!



I could hear over the radio that the other boys were having a slightly less easy time of it, and had attracted quite a lot of unwelcome attention.



I called them to break off and make for Tatchinskaya, only a few minutes flying away.

We soon left the dogfight behind us, and none of the Russian fighters followed.



Our new home looked slightly more hospitable than Pitomnik, that was for sure. We put down on the concrete runway with empty guns, and dare I say, optimism in our hearts.



It was a feeling that lasted a full 24 hours.



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#4075911 - 02/09/15 01:38 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign Ch. 2 AAR #9 Feb 10: Weapons Unlocked [Re: HeinKill]  
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Weapons 'Unlocked'

"Arkhangelsk," Fritz announced.

We were standing around an oil barrel, filled with burning wood we had ripped out of the walks of the abandoned hovels of Tatchinskaya. We were still cold, dying in large numbers, but at least we were getting some food each day, so it had one advantage over the Stalingrad Kessel.

"What are you talking about?"

"You asked, how could the high command have screwed up so badly they sent the German army into Russia without winter uniforms, waterproof boots, antifreeze for the engines and chains for the tires? And I said 'Arkhangelsk'."

I stamped my feet. "I know what you said, I want to know why you said it."

"It happened, because the generals of today, always think they know better than the generals of yesterday," Fritz said. "So they think they don't need to read history, because the world has changed, warfare has changed and new thinking is all that is required for victory."

"Fritz!" I said, acting shocked, "Is this you, criticising your beloved Fuhrer?"

"Not the Fuhrer, never," he said, chewing on a piece of dried horsemeat (not a pretty sight) "I am talking about Jodl and Guderain and their faith in Blitzkrieg. They expected a quick victory, and sent us here in summer sightseeing clothing expecting they would all be sitting snug and warm in the Kremlin by now."

"And what," I reminded him of my question, "Has Arkhangelsk to do with anything?"



He spat out a bit of hide which still had horse hair on it. The meat we were getting was not entirely fresh. "In the winter of 1918 the Allies were worried about the Russian revolution, some Czech troops were trapped by the Reds in Arkhangelsk defending a huge cache of weapons, but the war was over, so what should they do? The British and Americans had a few thousand troops they were planning to send to Denmark to supervise the handover of southern Jutland to the Danes, so without any preparation for a winter war in Russia, they put the poor sods on ships, and landed them in Arkhangelsk. The idea was a short, decisive victory that would put a stopper to any communist ideas of expanding to the West."

"And now you are going to tell me what lessons they learned, I suppose."

"Since you ask, Herr Oberleutnant," Fritz said, "I will. First, the attacking force was too small. When they landed, the 2000 allied troops had a numerical superiority, but within days they were facing not 700, but 7000 Red Army troops. Second, the Russians were equipped for winter, so they could sit in their foxholes in their white capes and fur lined boots and just wait out the Allies who had no choice but to make ill timed attacks, or freeze to death. Thirdly, the Russians had their artillery mounted on skis so that they could drag them over the mud and snow, while the allied artillery was on wheels and just sunk into the mud..." he took a breath. I really was quite impressed. I knew he could read, but I didn't know he read anything other than Mein Kampf. "...and finally, when the Russians counterattacked, they underestimated how willing the Russian commanders were to sacrifice their troops - you know in one single attack, the Russian commander Fillipovsky attacked with 1300 men, lost 450 of them without success, and then regrouped and attacked again the next day."



"Four hundred and fifty in a single attack..." I reflected on this. It was a lot of mother's sons.

"As many as the allies lost in the entire battle," Fritz said.

"How do you know all this Fritz?" I asked. "Unless I am mistaken, you did not attend the military academy..."

"My Poppa was there," he said, "Attached to the German diplomatic corps overseeing the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. He always used to warn me, this new generation of Generals has been brought up in the tradition of von Moltke who said a general should be concerned with grand strategy, and not with details such as winter capes and boots. He said that while our Generals were busy with their grand strategies, our troops would be dying without boots."

I looked down at my own feet, where I was still wearing the boots I had left France with, wrapped in blankets tied with string. It was a sad sight.

We had been in Tatchinskaya for several days now, flying mostly anti tank and anti artillery missions trying to hold back the Red Army, just like in 1917. But it seemed for every tank we killed, another 5 took its place. And we were not killing very many - trying to hit a fast moving tank with AP bombs was a joke. If you were lucky you might knock off a track and slow it down, it was rare you would ever kill it.

"Enough of the history lessons for today Fritz," I said, looking at my watch, "We are late for the mission briefing."



It was our first mission for today. This time we would be heading to front line to attack Russian artillery and tank positions. But we had been hearing noises for days that some of us would be getting a new anti-tank weapon on our Stukas, and the Kommandant, Major Kurt Huhn, confirmed it.

"You have probably already heard the rumours, and I can tell you they are true. High Command has unlocked its Christmas Chest, and we have got five new prototypes of the Ju87 Gustav 'Kanonenvogel' with two Bordkanone BK 37mm cannons under the wings, each with a six-round magazine of armour-piercing tungsten carbide-cored ammunition."



Someone whistled. All I could think about was 'Six rounds?! I can't hit anything with a Watering Can with hundreds of rounds, how am I going to hit a moving tank with six?'

Major Huhn must have seen the scepticism on my face, because he addressed the next remark to me, "Our own Hans-Ulrich Rudel, Knights Cross First Class, Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, who personally sank the Russian battleship Marat, has developed this weapon Oberleutnant - I trust it will be sufficient for you to stop bothering me with your excuses for why you are so ineffective in your attacks on Russian tanks."

I smiled at him, "The bigger the gun, the bigger the danger I pose to the enemy, Sir!" I told him.

And to myself, I added, quietly. In my head.

TO BE CONTINUED


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#4076103 - 02/09/15 07:27 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign Ch. 2 AAR #9 Feb 10: Weapons Unlocked [Re: HeinKill]  
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Weapons Unlocked PART 2

It was a 200km round trip that would take us within a few minutes flying time of the two Russian forward airfields at Morozovsky, which would be teeming with Laggs and Yaks. That was the bad news.

We got the good news as we looked over the new prototypes. Not only had the armourers installed the new 37mm cannons, they had added extra armour plate to the pilot cockpit to help protect his...dignity.



"Why don't I get armour plate too?" Fritz whined. "I am the one sitting right where the enemy will be shooting from."

"You ARE the armour plate Fritz," I told him. "Anyone shooting from our six has to get through you before they hit me - the Luftwaffe has already thought of that."

"It's just not right."

"Fritz, think of it this way. It is more important to protect the pilot, because without the pilot, there is no one to land the aircraft is there?"

"If the gunner is dead, he doesn't very much care whether you can land the aircraft or not," Fritz said.

"But the Reich does, Fritz, the Reich does - we do not have a limitless supply of Stukas do we?"



I slid back my canopy before we took off and leaned out of the cockpit. The long barrel of the Bordkanone stuck well out from the wing, more or less level with the prop. On any other front we would have been given the chance to at least train with the weapon before going into combat. But this was 1941 and the Russian front, what better testing ground than this?



They were based on Flak 18 AAA guns, and could be time or contact fused. These were zeroed at 200m, which was as close as I would want to be to an exploding 37mm shell, that was certain!

Like the Geiskanne or Watering Can, they were at least streamlined, and no worse than flying with bombs under the wings.



We settled into a steady climb at 250km/h and 10 m/s climbing rate, up to our mission altitude of 2000m. Along for the ride were a pair of 109Gs, which given how close we would be going to the Russian frontline airfields, was about 8 aircraft fewer than I would have regarded as bare minimum.



But it was another sign that the war was not going well.

The run in was quiet, but sure enough as we approached the target zone, we could see enemy fighters circling over their positions, 'riding shotgun' on the troops and tanks below.



One had already been in action, or had been hit by our AAA, because I could see it trailing vapour.





"Swallow flight, you are free to engage, watch for Indians and good hunting!" I called as I released my wingmen, and we scoured the ground below.

"Fritz, try to find me some tanks which are not moving too quickly," I told him. I did not fancy my chances with the new tank killing cannons any better than I did with the AP bombs I had been using, but it would help if the tanks were not moving.

After a few circuits, dodging only light AA fire, Fritz called out, "Starboard three oclock Herr Oberleutnant! Tanks in berms!"

"What type Fritz? T34s I hope?" A pair of 37mm shells would make a nice dent in a T34, that was for sure.

"Even better Herr Oberleutnant, these are KV1s."



KV1s! It could not be worse. The Kliment Voroshilov 1 was bigger and badder than any German panzer at that stage of the war. The Panzer III and IV could barely scratch it, and even an 88mm anti tank gun had to hit it more than once to stop it. It had 90 to 130mm armour on the turret, front and sides, and 20mm on the rear. That meant the only possible way to damage it would be to hammer repeatedly on the back door with the 37mm.

"Fritz, in what way at all can that be good news?" I asked.

"It would make me very proud to kill a KV1," he said, "I would write about it to my mother."

I let the tanks fall behind me and then pulled my machine up and rolled the wings over until we were facing back the way we came.



"Oh well then, if it will make your mouther proud."

I chose the centermost tank, whose berm was at least aligned so that the rear of the tank was exposed. As we closed I squinted through the gunsight...



"Fritz, was that a AAA emplacement next to those tanks?"

"Ja...perhaps...I didn't want to worry you."

We were falling toward our fate at a barely controlled 500km/h. There was no time for worry. I pressed the trigger and the wings blew off.

At least, that is how it sounded. The explosions from the Bordkanone were so loud I was certain the recoil had ripped our wings off, but I checked and they were miraculously still attached. Two harmless gouts of snow kicked up beside the KV1.





"I think you woke him up Herr Oberleutnant!" Fritz said as we pulled up out of our dive.

"That just means he'll make a run for it if he has any sense," I muttered unhappily.

"Flak, break right!" Fritz called.

Tracer flashed our wings and I hauled the machine into a tight climbing turn.



It was only light calibre, but it would only take a few rounds in the engine to ruin our day.

"We have to deal with that AAA vehicle Fritz, the tanks will have to wait." I pulled us up and around and began another approach.



Over the radio I heard the cool and calm chatter of our fighter escort as they kept the Russians busy. They were outnumbered at least four to one, so I had low expectations for their ability to keep our sixes clean for much longer.



The truck mounted MG was turned toward us and firing as we approached. I jinked a little until I was in range, but it was a matter of luck and fate who would hit first, him, or me.





It was me. This time.

The truck went up in a fiery yellow ball and I gratefully hauled back on the stick. Well, at least I could destroy soft targets with my new wonder weapons.



"What about those tanks Fritz?" I asked him as we pulled away. "Are they backing out of the berms?"

"Nein. I don't think they are too worried about us Herr Oberleutnant."



And why would they be. Up until now, the KV1 had been invulnerable from the air, to all except a 250kg AP bomb making a direct hit on the top of the turret.

Maybe they still were.

We would have to see. Once again I pulled the Stuka around. I could hear my wingmen calling targets and enemy fighters, but none had claimed a kill yet. The smoke from the burning flak truck made a good beacon for me to line up my next run. I only had four times two rounds left. The first salvo had been wasted, and I'd used one on the flak truck.





I waited until I was closer this time. With only four salvos left, I decided to give the KV1 two bursts.

The first fell short, but the second salvo caught it right in the ass.







"So then!" I yelled, pulling up, "That's how you kill a KV1 Fritz!"

"Uh, not dead, Herr Oberleutnant."

"What?"

"Smoking a bit. Probably you disabled it, maybe. But not dead. The crew isn't even bailing out."





"I don't believe it, that last salvo was definitely two direct 37mm hits in the hintern!"

"Well, they probably have a terrible headache now, if that is a consolation sir."

I was furious. I know it would usually take an 88mm anti tank barrel to disable a KV1, even with a rear end shot, and I was only packing 37mm. But gotterdammerung man, I had two of them, with tungsten carbide AP tips, and they were being delivered at a starting speed of 500km/h. That had to count for something?

I had two salvos left. I knew six salvos was not going to be enough for a poor shot like me, or a big ass tank like the KV1.

Now I was being more cautious. Surely I had at least weakened it. I got close, and then I got closer. I thumbed the trigger just once. The Stuka bucked like a constipated donkey.



And the KV1 went up with a very satisfying WHOOMPH!







So much for superior Russian armour.

"Nice shot Herr Oberleutnant!" Fritz said.

"Fritz, take a memo," I told him. "From Oberleutnant Hein Kill to Staffelkapitan Hans Ulrich Rudel."

"I don't have a pencil," he said.

"Then memorise it...you seem to be able to memorise whole chapters of Mein Kampf and obscure facts from the Great War. Ahem. Dear Hans Ulrich, regarding the field trials of the Ju87 Gustav with 37mm Bordkanone...I can say the results were...what would you say Fritz?"

"Ehrfrchtig, Herr Oberleutnant."

"Indeed Fritz. Most ehrfrchtig!"



TO BE CONTINUED


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#4076185 - 02/09/15 10:16 PM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign Ch. 2 AAR #9 Feb 10: Winter Campaign' Unlocked' [Re: HeinKill]  
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HeinKill Offline
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HeinKill  Offline
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PS This has always been my favourite version of the Stuka...the DGen Kursk campaign in 1946 was one of my all time favourites,

And the BoS model is even sweeter...


The old 1946 Stuka with Bordkanonen. Not bad for its age...but BoS version is v cool.


Cant wait for the full mission editor, and a talented mission maker, to whip up some real historical missions for it...

If I could wish for one other thing though, it would be a bigger recoil effect on stability and airspeed. I can't help think that you should be able to hear and feel them much more than currently in game.

H


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#4076392 - 02/10/15 09:55 AM Re: Mostovskoy goes to war: BoS campaign Ch. 2 AAR #9 Feb 10: Winter Campaign' Unlocked' [Re: HeinKill]  
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PART 3

We had one salvo left and I knew now it wouldn't be enough on its own to knock out the other KV1 in its berm. I also didn't fancy my chances of hitting a fast moving T34 with one salvo. I circled looking for other likely targets. Up ahead I suddenly saw something interesting. Two Stukas chasing a damaged Russian fighter?



"This is all very good Herr Oberleutnant, but it isn't getting us any closer to The Dream."

"Ah yes Fritz, The Dream," I acknowledged.

Every soldier has The Dream. It is the plan for What I Will Do If/When I Make It Home. Some agreed they would go into business together. Others wanted to buy some land and become farmers. Get married to their sweetheart, get divorced from that complaining witch. For Fritz it was to become a Metzger...his very own butcher shop, with imported Danish bacon, prosciutto from Italy, smoked hams from Baden-Wrttemberg, nicely marbled steaks from German Piemontese cattle, Bavarian White Sausages... I doubted any of it would make it past his stomach and into the display window, but a man can dream.

My dream was simple - a life without Fritz in it.

"You said after France we would go to a training unit. We ended in Norway fighting Russians. Now we are in Russia, fighting Russians. It was a miracle we made it out of Stalingrad Kessel. We are still on the front line, Herr Oberleutnant. The Dream is not getting any closer," he said.

"We are here because you diddled a Gestapo Major's daughter Fritz, had you forgotten? And besides, you had your chance to be quit with the war once and for all. But you didn't take it."

"What? When?"

"You remember August 13 1940?"

"Ja. Too much. You landed at Manston and sent me to challenge the English CO to come up and fight."

"You could have surrendered, and waited out the war in a prison camp in Canada. But instead you returned to our machine and your war continued."

"Ja, that was a bad decision. But I didn't want to desert you, Herr Oberleutnant."

"You are so kind Fritz."

As we got closer to the dogfight I could see the two aircraft were my wingmen, chasing down a wounded Lagg. It was cruel, merciless, and unecessary.

"Look at those two ahead there Fritz, brave German pilots chasing a Russian pilot who is trying to crash land."



"Swallow 2 and 3 break off, I repeat break off your pursuit!"

They grumbled, but I repeated my command and they complied, one breaking right, the other left.





I pushed the throttle forward. Now he was mine!

I had to catch him before he went in, if I wanted to be able to claim at least a partial. If I was carring MGs, or even my Watering Can, I could let him have it from long range, but I had only one salvo of 37mm left and had to be sure. I crept close and closer, as he got lower and lower.



Then, just as I was about to open fire, the coward jumped!





I let fly with my 37mm anyway, but they passed harmlessly between the pilot and his machine.

"Got him!" I called as the parachute drifted behind us, and the Lagg speared into the ground.

"But...I am pretty much sure I saw his parachute before you fired," Fritz said.

"You definitely did not Fritz."

"Ja, I did, he was..."

"Fritz, I have a plan for getting us out of here, and making The Dream come true...do you want to be part of it?"

"Jawohl Herr Oberleutnant."

"So, did I finish off that Lagg or not?"

"Most definitely, Herr Oberleutnant. In fact I think he crashed into a supply dump full of trucks and blew it up as well."

"Did he Fritz? Yes, it was a big explosion. I believe you, of course."

"Ja, you know, I think I saw Stalin's personal motor vehicle down there."

"Now Fritz, we mustn't embellish."

Approaching Tatchinskaya I was dismayed to see a dogfight in progress, right over the airfield.





But this time, the odds were in our favour, and as I watched, either the AAA or our fighters swatted the Russians from the sky.





It left us to make an uneventful landing, and as we came in, one of the Russian pilots was drifting down under a parachute, his war over.





We coasted to a stop with empty guns, two vehicles and one partial fighter kill to our names. Plus the rather lucky destruction of the enemy supply dump, of course.

"So, what is this great plan of yours Herr Oberleutnant?" Fritz asked as I shut down the engine.



"Simple Fritz," I said, "Fight. Win."

It did not satisfy him. Actually I did have a plan, a real plan, that would get us out of this war once and for all.

But when I returned to my quarters, I had to put it on hold.

There on my bed were new orders.

I was being transferred.

To bombers.

Major Huhn was pleased to advise that I was to take over a staffel of He111s with a handpicked crew of veterans. He hoped I would have more luck hitting large stationary targets than I had hitting small moving ones.

There was just one detail to attend to. The crew was missing a man, the navigator/front gunner/bomb aimer. Perhaps I should take my current navigator/gunner with me?

A quote from a favourite book of mine, came suddenly to mind. The world is full enough of hurts and mischances without wars to multiply them.








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