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#2278237 - 08/07/07 02:32 AM Afrika '41 Campaign (IL-2: 1946)  
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Lifer

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Posts: 23,449
Alabaster, AL USA
Okay, folks, this is the saga of the very excellent Afrika '41 campaign as I've flown it. This is sort of a improved "cut and paste" from the thread in the IL-2 forums, and has many, many spoilers.

The most common complaint about the IL-2 series is that it is "without soul," but to my easily overworked imagination, it's immersive to the point of away-from-the-sim distraction.

First off, I twisted the tone of the campaign from the start, as my Oberst Willi Jedermann isn't a hardcore ace that has a chest full of medals and a long history of glory.

I was reflecting that Oberst Jedermann is supposed to be a veteran of Spain, Poland, BoB, etc., and it got me thinking - in IL-2, campaigns start one's avatar at zero kills and therefore awards medals based on score starting from a null.

It would be assumed that a veteran of previous campaigns would already have an Iron Cross, for example, and so wouldn't receive another one.

Naturally I reconciled the differences between the "legends" of the character.

Prologue:


Berlin, 1 April 1941:

"Herr Oberst, you have quite an interesting record."
"I'm glad you think so, sir," I replied, trying not to fidget; but it's not every day one is being questioned in the Luftwaffe High Command headquarters.
"Born in 1905 of a former Artillery officer in Ravensburg, Joined in 1930, commissioned in Infantry 1931, but transferred to the Luftwaffe after obtaining a pilot's license on your own in England in 1932."
"Yes sir."
"You went to University in Munich?"
"Ja."
"And what did you study?"
Mostly how to avoid food riots, I didn't say, taking "History" as a safer answer.
"And why did you go to England to learn to fly, rather than here in Germany? Were there no schools for flying in Munich?"
"I had no desire to learn to pilot gliders," I replied, my anger beginning to rise. Damned fool! Has he forgotten everything before Das Furer took over the country?
"You went to Spain?"
"Yes."
"And what were your duties, exactly, there?"
"I was air liasion officer."
"But it says you were on flight status."
"Yes, sir, mostly light aircraft."
"So no combat experience."
"In the air, no, sir," I said, the vision of tracers and the flash of explosions around my downed Storch as the Republican squad attacked leaping in front of me. I swear I could smell the cordite at that very instant!
"And after, your first command in Poland."
"A maintenance company for the squadron."
"Not very glamorous or distinquished, would you say?"
"Still, far better than commanding a squadron with no fuel and unmaintained aircraft."
"Then came France and England. What were your responsibilities, again?"
"I was Operations Officer in France and Executive Officer after," I remarked as cooly as I could. I didn't know where this conversation was heading, but I was warming up to the idea of hating this man. The idea crossed my mind that he may not be Luftwaffe at all, but some Reichssicherheitshauptamt pretender.
"It says you performed combat duties over England."
"No, sir, that is not correct. I did not fly over England. I was shot down over France."
"Ah, that would explain the medical leave. Would you tell me, in your own words, what happened?"
Why do that, when the words of the board findings are in your hands, I thought as I said flatly, "Simple enough. Our airfield was attacked as I was taking off and I was hit just I brought the gear up."
"Spitfire?"
"Our own twenty millimeters, who were firing at British bombers."
"The flight academy was for recuperation, then?"
"That and the fact that I have over two hundred hours in the Bf-109, as well as rating in every aircraft outside of multi-engine bombers that are in the inventory." I stared into his eyes, letting that sink in.
"And so you're the adjudant here."
"As well as senior instructor, teaching combat maneuvering and gunnery."
"You've done pretty well for yourself, having been promoted to Oberst without ever doing any real fighting."
I said nothing, knowing I would not be able to control my words.
"Let's turn to other subjects, shall we Jedermann?"
"Oberst."
"Pardon?"
"Oberst Jedermann, as you just pointed out."
"You were married in 1930, just after joing the ranks; your wife's name is Rebekkah."
"Yes."
"Unusual name for a German girl."
"No more than some."
"And her maiden name?"
"Wolfowitz." Swine! He was RSHA, no doubt combing the files of officers looking for those horrible Juden that were such a threat to the Fatherland that we had to close down their tailor shops and send them packing.
"Her address, please."
"In America, New York City."
"America? Why is she in America?"
Because I want her as far away from Germany as I can get her, I almost blurted out.
"Visiting family and friends she has there."
"And why has she not returned?"
"Transportation can be difficult across the Atlantic, and with the war we would not be living together. I decided it would be best if she remained there."
"America is a hostile nation to Germany," he stated, as if it were a well known fact.
"We are not at war with the United States," I observed, bringing color to his face.
"I will tell you what it is; don't question me!" he shouted, confirming that he was indeed part of the Gestapo gang, arrogant and imperious to a man, "Your wife is a Jew living in a hostile nation to the Fatherland!

"She is Catholic," I said as calmly as I could.

We stared at each other, leaning forward in our chairs, and the silence fell heavily around us.

"She is a Jew in her blood, and nothing will ever change that," he declared matter-of-factly.

"Is that why you called me here?" I asked, "To insult my wife and challenge my career? If so, I have better things to do with my time. Cadets are waiting."
"Not for you, they aren't," he smiled, "I am having you reassigned."
"To where?"
"A place to find out where your loyalities lay, if I had my way," he remarked, looking irritated, "but some senior officers have intervened on your behalf. They have a confidence in you I do not understand, but agree that we cannot allow you to be in the position to affect cadets with ideals that run contrary to the nation."

He paused, as if trying to think of way to be as insulting as possible and puff up his importance.

"Africa. You're going to Africa to serve your country in a combat capacity."
"Which squadron will I command?" I blurted out without thinking; this was not such bad news!

He smiled.

"You will not be given a command, Jedermann," he smirked, "you will be sent as a regular pilot filling a regular billet with a note attached to your record stating that you are not to be given responsibility beyond flight leader without direct authorization from Berlin otherwise."

I stood up, fists balled tightly at my side. I do not know what kept me from killing the man with my bare hands at that very instant.

Instead, I simply asked "When do I leave?"

"Immediately. Your bags have been packed for you and already on the plane waiting for you."

"Sehr gut," I said, rage boiling inside me.

==================================

So while the campaign as FlatSpin wrote it has a hardened combat veteran that is taking just one more adventure in a string of them against an illustrious career, my Jedermann has arrived in Africa rather jaded and upset with a black mark against him - and no real combat experience to go with his skills.

At thirty-six, he's an old man in fighter pilot circles, and knows that the real commands go to younger men, and commanders will become younger and younger as the war goes on; if he doesn't get killed in Africa his next billet will probably be a staff position, most likely away from aircraft, such as a logistical unit or perhaps an assignment POW camp looking after Commonwealth pilots.

I try to fly the missions like that, too, sticking to waypoints and the primary target, not taking targets of opportunity off the beaten path, and keeping always the goal returning to the base.

=====

Oh, and the campaign can be downloaded here: [url]http://mission4today.com/index.php?name=Downloads&file=details&id=2471[/url]


The opinions of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

More dumb stuff at http://www.darts-page.com

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Inline advert (2nd and 3rd post)

#2278242 - 08/07/07 02:41 AM Re: Afrika '41 Campaign (IL-2: 1946) [Re: Dart]  
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Lifer

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[Note: pics will be put in later, as I'm wrestling with my hosting company and my site is down; similarly, AAR's get longer and more involved as the campaign progresses]

My second day here and the Brits managed to sneak into the mix on a shake-out patrol just off the base!

I had no idea the situation here was this grim!

I understand why the Italians in their biplanes just seemed to disappear when the Tomahawks showed up, but it was disconcerting to say the least.

At any rate, my flight made a good showing of themselves - no doubt a shock for the Tommies - but I was a little chagrined that I had to take matters in my own hands and shoot down three myself. Hans in the number three plane certainly owes me a beer for getting that Tommyhawk off of him.

Certainly we're going to have to tighten up and improve tactics, flying higher and faster, and be on the lookout for late arrival of the enemy. I spotted two of the enemy crashing the party after it was well on the way, and had it not been for the good fortune of a half loop going the right way they would have bounced and killed me.

The airbase is a mess. Planes parked everywhere, stacks of supplies jammed all around, and men like bees around them in the hot desert sun trying in vain to disperse it all. I'm sure there's a system in place, but to me it appears the Oberfeldwebel is simply moving the piles around to keep the men busy. The Luftwaffe is putting ten kilos in a five kilo sack - not that they have a choice.

Later today I'm going to drive around the base and check on the defenses; any bomb dropped on us, no matter how poorly aimed, is going to hit something!

I've grown to dislike the desert on only my second day, a reticence that I doubt I'll overcome. The airstrip is little more than packed sand that blends in with the surround that makes landings a tough affair when the sun reflects off of it. I hope nobody was watching my arrival or realized it was me that stabbed rather blindly for it with a stall and a nasty thump.

One interesting thing - there are a large number of captured aircraft at one end of the airfield. While they look sturdy enough, I find them inferior to our own planes. That means that we only have to be better than the men flying them, not the aircraft!

Morale will be critical in the fight. Thankfully the three victories today have put to rest the questions of whether Herr Oberst from the flight academy is worthy of combat command or only fit to wipe the noses of cadets (which I suspect they feared). The men have replaced the mildly insolent Professor of this morning to a smiling Suchergebnisse over dinner.

I must say that being the school master in this classroom is going to be much harder than the clean lecture halls and manicured aerodrome of the academy.


The opinions of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

More dumb stuff at http://www.darts-page.com

From Laser:
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#2278243 - 08/07/07 02:42 AM Re: Afrika '41 Campaign (IL-2: 1946) [Re: Dart]  
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Lifer

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Today I am an Ace, though I have mixed feelings of it.

The Commandant gave me a desert-ready aircraft to take up with a wingman (Hans insisted to be my number two - I may regret ever having cleared his tail!). Like everything here, it is old, looks old, feels old, but has suprising teeth behind it.

I don't know if the ground crew is playing jokes or if it's just the Gottverdammit place, but I had to remove a lizard from my helmet before flight. Scorpions in my boots in the morning, flies on my food at lunch, and now lizards in my helmet. I'm fully expecting snakes in my coffee after dinner.

The mission was a simple patrol over our ships in the hopes of catching a British seaplane, but nothing is ever simple here.

First, the Italians made no mention of their own seaplane over the ships - if it wasn't for the fact they're using good German aircraft, there might have been some unpleasantness.

Second, they made no mention that the Tommy recon flights are preceeded by a fighter screen. It was only our good fortune that we were blocked by clouds in such a way as to see them without them noticing us.

The Englanders are still using a three ship "Vic" formation here, which is disconcerting. I ordered Hans to engage freely, and picked up on the tailing plane as they went after the Italian. Hans jumped behind the second plane, and though I was concerned, said nothing. I might get a free shot before he was in danger.

Luck held and I closed on the number three as Hans fired at the number two. It was a simple ten degree deflection at 300 meters, and he was hit just at the cockpit right at convergence. The sparks and orange flash of the cannon rounds made me blink, and horrible chunks of the P-40 flew off to my right.

The enemy slowly rolled into a dive and plunged into the sea.

Hans had the number two pouring oil, smoke, and fuel thickly behind him, and I called for him to rejoin rather than waste rounds. The plane was dead. If the sea didn't get it, the desert would.

The lead enemy either lost sight of us or had specific orders, as he had disengaged from us and was harrassing the Italian seaplane, who himself was slavishly circling the ships. Perhaps he was trying to get the gunners in position, but I definately was not envious of his position!

The Tommy didn't see me swoop in after one of his runs on the Italian (he only hit with withering fire) and a quick burst at thirty degree deflection at 250 meters disabled his engine. Incredibly, his wingman had attempted to climb up to us and was rewarded with his engine bursting into flames!

A heavy black dot lay on the horizon to the East. The enemy seaplane!

Still smarting from my first encounter where the Brits had fighters come into the battle late, I made a diving attack to the front of the four engined behemoth and extended long. I smiled and then grimaced when my intuition proved right - there was a fighter trailing our target!

Hans and I engaged the fighter at high deflection, and I got lucky with a hit to his wing! The aileron fluttered behind him and I could see a gaping hole right before I zoomed past him. I ordered Hans to finish the job and turned back to our primary target.

From five hundred meters I saw something drop from the wings - bombs! Either by bad aim or an effort to gain speed with me behind him, they missed wide of the ships as I closed up.

This plane was unknown to be outside of the roundels that marked it as a target, and I was unsure if it had gunners, how many, or where they were positioned. I gingerly approached from the low seven o'clock position and was rewarded with tracers from the rear and side of the plane.

Bringing the plane to five degrees deflection in my sights I fired into the rear of the fuselage, peppering from the rear of its wing to the tail. The tracers coming the other direction ceased.

I began to climb, only to be rewarded by more tracers from the top of the enemy's plane. A gunner on the top! I came out the side and snaked back in, keeping 300 meters between us, and walked my rounds through his position.

The big plane slipped, trying to avoid my fire, as I lined up again, now freed of it's defensive threat, and concentrated on it's number four engine on the right wing. The cannon clicked, empty, and I hoped the machineguns would be enough. I altered my aimpoint to between the two engines on the wing, guessing it was where the fuel tanks were.

I fired a full twenty seconds into that spot until I was rewarded with flames, a long bright column of flames that only come from gasoline, that validated my assumptions of its design. Hans rejoined, flying off of my wingtip, as we stood off and waited for the inevitable. She simply fell apart at the heat, buckling and spinning into the water. I counted three parachutes.

They found the Tommyhawk with the disabled engine in the desert off the front lines, but the pilot had escaped into the desert before the patrol arrived.

That's six planes to my credit in three days; the squadron commander placed the Iron Cross around my neck as I landed and thumped my back as if we were Americans or self congratulating drunkards after a long night.

Still, the picture of my guns raking that seaplane and the horrible silence of the guns (which meant the silencing of the men behind it) that was coldly satisfying and the knowledge that somewhere out there in the sand and rocks is a man walking about the desert with no more than his flight gear doesn't make me feel much like celebrating.

Not to say it's all maudlin soul searching!

Since there is no summer issue to be found, I've taken to wearing a blue mechanic's coverall while flying, which the men find endlessly entertaining. It's thick enough cotton to keep me from freezing, but wonderfully thin enough to keep me from roasting while waiting for take-off. I have found that the cooler I am on the ground the warmer I am in the air, as perspiration tends to negate the insulative properties of most clothing.

It caused some consternation with my Crew Chief, Vunner, who saw me preflighting from a distance with my back turned towards him. He came running with a large wrench in his hands, and if I had not turned around in time I do believe he would have struck me with it - and no doubt killed me. He's a Schwartzwalder, thick as an oak and strong as an ox, and one of the best I've ever had care for my aircraft - if a little over protective.

Gruss Gott, I smiled at him, and I thought he was going to have his heart jump from his chest!

We both had a good laugh at it, and I pretended not to hear him mutter something about verrckt schwaben as he walked away.

Tomorrow we have another "short familiarization flight" to the south of the base over the desert hills that grow out of the sand. I've come to take that as code for "combat patrol against undetermined, but certain contact with unknown numbers of enemies"


The opinions of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

More dumb stuff at http://www.darts-page.com

From Laser:
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#2278246 - 08/07/07 02:48 AM Re: Afrika '41 Campaign (IL-2: 1946) [Re: Dart]  
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Lifer

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Alabaster, AL USA
What a terrible day!

I eagerly await the briefing when they start telling the truth! Enough of this "shake out" business, it's all a lie!

The intelligence officer showed some as I landed and made himself scarce - I suspect the reason he isn't giving any warnings is his head is up his...

We almost lost Gerhart today.

First, the Italians don't seem to have any sense of planning or tactical sense. They're either in the middle of the fight shooting almost randomly or running off to who knows where!

I circled the field, awaiting my flight to take off and we shortly got into good formation. Twenty minutes into the flight and four aircraft approached from the southwest at approximately 2,000 meters altitude, and I brought us into the sun and high of them.

They passed under and to our left and I ordered the attack, as they were more of those damnable P-40's. We wheeled about as they dove in pursuit.

Apparently they saw a group of Italians down low that I had missed (they were behind us at maybe 500 meters) and it became a nightmare of slashing attacks and tracers of all colors. An Italian nearly shot my engine out, the white tracers flashing to the right of my nose, and I climbed out of the battle.

I spotted a lone P-40 climb out as well, and rolled over to him. A lucky shot at high deflection brought smoke piling out of his engine and he dove into the waiting arms of our Allies. They pounced on him unmercifully.

We proceeded on course, again climbing and reforming. I performed an S track, looking behind me and counting our planes. Two, three, four, five, six, seven aircraft total climbing up to take position.

Of course we are only a flight of four!

I turned our flight and ordered the attack - Tommie was trying to slip into the formation!

Cool customers, the English, but they would pay for their arrogance today.

I twisted over and climbed high, inverting and then rolling level behind an enemy. Three hundred and fifty meters, twenty degree deflection, and I tapped the trigger for the machineguns to get him to manuever. Incredibly, I saw a spark on his wingtip! He rolled and climbed, and I with him. Five degree deflection, rising shot, two hundred meters...and the most incredible thing happened.

His plane exploded.

I had read that it was possible, but it was shocking to witness. I blinked hard and pulled up, almost inducing a stall out of panic as chunks of his aircraft were all around me.

Gerhart was screaming over the radio for help as I rolled to look down. A P-40 was sitting off of his tail firing a stream of red tracers at him. An ugly thin line of smoke and glycol streamed from his plane as I grimaced and pulled against the stick. 400 or maybe 450 KPH with only 200 meters to pull up after the attack. Slicing the air like a knife, she was a heavy cleaver as with both hands I strained to pull the stick back.

My aim was true, though, and the P-40 spun from the impact of the cannon into his right wing and he failed to recover in time to avoid a ridge sticking out of the sand.

Ping ping thwack ping ping and red tracers flashing past the cockpit!

Where the hell did he come from?

I slipped hard and rolled to see behind me. The enemy had attacked obliquely from my right and continued to the left. I continued the roll and pursued while calling for the flight to attack. We dove together and then climbed in a brutal turn...I must confess I blacked out momentarily, shaking my head as the effects wore off. Fortunately I was climbing at the time!

I lost the Englander, though, and repeated my command for the flight to attack. They responded heartily that they were already engaging.

A plane climbed hard towards me, and I cursed. My comrades were clearly engaging a different bandit from the one I intended!

I rolled high again to avoid a head on pass and performed a half loop to give me the Tommyhawk's tail. He tried the high turn they seem to prefer, but this time I was expecting it and fired a burst at ninety degree deflection, letting him fly through the bullets. I must have struck home, as he went into a flat dive.

I broke the wire and went to full military power. Enough of this fellow, I was going to shoot him down and be done with him, even if it meant having the mechanics rebuild this engine afterwards.

I was on him and poured machinegun fire at him from a long 350 meters but with almost no deflection. Sparks all around and bits of his airframe trailed behind him. I began to close and fired with my cannon. His right elevator fluttered past me as they ran out and only the machineguns vibrated my plane.

I saw the canopy fly free and let off the trigger. Unfortunately I could not stop the bullets already in the air as he threw himself out of his cockpit.

And right into their path.

Horribly he went limp in the air, tumbling without a parachute onto the rocks below.

I called for the flight to reform once again, ready to go home, when I noted that Gerhart was still trying to fly with us! Idiot!

Of course his engine ran out of oil and coolant almost as soon as he climbed to us and he was forced to ditch onto the sand. We marked his position and radioed to the airbase. Both he and the aircraft were recovered late this afternoon.

We chased a 110 as well, approaching cautiously until we saw the band on his fuselage.

Landing was without incident.

Approximate enemy force encountered - twelve to fourteen fighters; five shot down by our flight, confirmed destroyed, and likely four by the Italians (estimated).


The opinions of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

More dumb stuff at http://www.darts-page.com

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#2278248 - 08/07/07 02:53 AM Re: Afrika '41 Campaign (IL-2: 1946) [Re: Dart]  
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Lifer

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Alabaster, AL USA
Dearest Sophie,

Sorry for my delay in writing, but it's been a terrible couple of days.

Thank you for the photographs. It was good to see everyone took time off from the war effort to have a outing. Oh, how I miss the Bodensee! And it's good to read the sausage is as good as it ever was in Ravensburg!

By now you've probably heard of Johann's death. If you could go the three kilometers to [censored by Luftwaffe] and express my condolences to his mother I would be grateful. You can tell her he died bravely and will be missed.

The morning started out not so badly; we were sent to attack some ships that the [censored by Luftwaffe] at [censored by Luftwaffe] had [censored by Luftwaffe] to sink. Sometimes I feel there is nothing our pilots cannot do, as we were fitted with bombs under our fighters and skipped the bombs on the waves right into them!

There were enemy fighters guarding the ships, and after sinking their wards we sent them to the bottom as well!

It was decided that we immediately turn around and attack again. Enroute to the target we intercepted some Englanders over the coast and began a fight. We are rarely outnumbered, but this time it was against us. We're as good as any two British planes, though, and climbed into the attack. I managed to down one aircraft but had three on my tail. Johann came to my rescue, breaking them off and shooting one down in the process. He gained the attention of three more himself, and I tried very hard to come around to cover him. He fought valliantly, downing two more before his engine simply froze up due to enemy fire and they pounced on him unmercifully. His death was quick and no doubt painless.

If you received word that I was injured, think nothing of it. The British made a lucky shot on my plane and I was knicked in my shoulder. Unfortunately, I was forced to bail out of my plane and banged my head on the canopy. I picked up quite a goose egg for my stupidity. Still, I am fortunate and was picked up shortly by a patrol, and remain on flight duty.

You may notice that we have a new censor officer, [censored by Luftwaffe], that has taken to his job with a passion. It is good to know we are protected from divulging secret information unknowingly, such as the location of our airbase, [censored by Luftwaffe], or our commander's name, [censored by Luftwaffe], and even vulgarities such as [censored by Luftwaffe], [censored by Luftwaffe] and [censored by Luftwaffe].

With all my love!

[censored by Luftwaffe]


=====

Officially, Johann died rather badly without scoring a single kill. He had missed with his bomb on the anti-shipping mission and picked up some rounds from a Hurricane that was over the ships. I managed to kill the plane on his tail, only to have to do it again thirty seconds later.

When we were intercepted by fighters on the repeat mission, his plane was shot right after the merge, catching fire. Horribly, it didn't crash or explode, but took a sweeping curve across the sky ablaze, roasting Johann alive in the cockpit with his screams over the radio driving us insane.

My engine was hit, pouring smoke and sparks and filling the cockpit until I couldn't see the holes the British had put all through it. I bailed out, fearing Johann's fate.

My bomb rang true on the initial attack, and I managed to down three fighters while my flight claimed three more.

On the second sortie, two made it back, heavily damaged. Of the eight fighters I counted at one time against us, we downed two (one by myself).

On a personal note, I will be ever so glad to leave this "airfield" they scraped out of the desert for a more proper one.

[edit]

You may note that the number of enemy planes I report in the AAR's is different from what's actually in the mission. I'm writing what I thought we were against at the time, which isn't always accurate; on review of the tracks I've come to realize that I over- or undercount planes by about a third on any given mission. Often I mistake planes that have egressed away from the battle only to rejoin as reinforcements, or double count aircraft in a fight.


The opinions of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

More dumb stuff at http://www.darts-page.com

From Laser:
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#2278251 - 08/07/07 02:56 AM Re: Afrika '41 Campaign (IL-2: 1946) [Re: Dart]  
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Lifer

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I have arrived at a base along the coast, shaking that horrible scorpion infested "base" scraped into the sand. It was rather amusing to see that they had a poor fellow in a JU-52 fly my wing on landing with some poor sod sticking a movie camera out of the open door. They showed me the film last night - and the sand has already scratched the film!

I took a long swim in the ocean to get the dirt off of me, followed by a quick shower to rinse off the salt. Certainly I would have raised eyebrows on any proper beach, as I brought along a bar of soap!

Today was certainly eventful!

Yet another infamous "familiarization" flight, which caused us all to laugh out loud in the briefing room. One of the new pilots didn't get the joke; he soon found out that it was at our expense - but the price wasn't too high. There was also another flight preceeding us, so it wouldn't just be the four of us.

We climbed to 2,500 meters altitude along the coast and kept good order until we reached the front lines and intermittent 20mm flak came up to meet us. The boys were a bit disturbed by it and broke formation! Cursing, I took a broad turn to see where they went and spotted four dots moving across the water of the river that defines the lines very low - and red tracers!

The British were strafing our troops right under our noses!

I called for the attack and dove, accellerating to over 500 kilometers per hour and pulling the stick back slowly but firmly. At the last instant the enemy saw me and ruined my aim. Rather than his engine, I gained only hits on his wing. He wheeled over, but I left him to climb back up. My number three cried out - in trouble already!

Turning, I spotted the Hurricane lining up on him and red tracers reaching out for my comraden; This simply would not stand!

I took the shot at 300 meters (closing) and five degrees deflection, and the Englander's plane simply fell apart as my ten second burst of machinegun and cannon riddled him.

But now tracers were flashing under my right wing, and I split S, looking back. I swear the British pilot was actually smiling as he tried to follow in his Hurricane. I called for my wingman and broke right, rolled, and broke left. He did a very good job following, and sweat began to fill my goggles as I broke left again and dove. My wingman attacked from the side, missing, but it was enough to get him off of me. I climbed, extending away from the battle, and turned back in.

A Tommyhawk flashed in front of me!

Now it was four against seven, and once I again I called for the other flight I knew was out there. The responded that they had arrived to the party and were engaging.

A quick snap shot and I holed the wing of a P-40, watching him invert and dive away. Leaving him, I went after his wingman who was curving around a cloud. I guessed at where he would come out and climbed over the mid-air fog, rolling left and diving when I saw him. Miss and miss! Worse, machinegun rounds pinged against my airframe, forcing me to roll out. A damnable Hurricane!

I slipped hard right, avoiding his fire, rolled left and then slipped right. He wasn't expecting that! I raked his plane from less than a hundred meters, and he dove out of the fight.

Suddenly I was alone in the sky.

I called for my flight, but they seemed to be quite busy - and having a good time of it. They were almost cheerful as they called out their victories.

I saw two of them flying towards the coast, low, and moved over to rejoin...only to note they were biplanes! I dove hard past them, and smiled when I saw they were British Gladiators. A few quick cannon rounds to the engine and they'd be done.

The flight began to rally around me and I ordered them to attack.

The tail Gladiator took an immediate hit and began smoking, so I went after the lead.

My slashing attack was good, and the English biplane was behaving well for me. I pressed both triggers hard...only to realize I was out of cannon rounds! Fabric shredded on the top of his wing, striking down through to his radial engine; it was not enough to down him, though.

I recalled the advice from the Great War pilots - aim for "meat and metal" on the enemy, as little else matters. The rest of the flight concentrated on the smoking wingman, allowing me a tiny duel.

He was a good pilot, wasted on a biplane, as he twisted and turned to avoid my fire. Time and again I put machinegun rounds into the front of his plane, somehow missing the cockpit but shredding his upper wing. How it was holding together was beyond me.

A few more passes and he was rewarded with a gaping hole in his lower right wing as well.

He slowed. I don't know if my hits to his engine were working or not, but he began slow turns, trying to wheel about to get guns on me. Finally he dove hard, and I after him, trying for the sight picture onto this canopy. He climbed with me right on his tail, each of us slowing in the vertical. His plane grew before me until it was all I could see. We were going to collide!

Kicking rudder hard left along with the stick, I cursed as my plane slid underneath him, missing by inches, bringing him behind me. But he was as shaken as I was, and did not take advantage. I rolled away and climbed. I placed a long stream of rounds into his plane one more time, shredding yet more of the center of his top wing. I had to be hitting his engine!

He slowed in the air and made for the beach behind our lines.

I took a quick circuit of the area. My flight reported no more fighters other than the lone wounded Gladiator, and I ordered them to return to base.

Coming back to my English friend, I decided to have some sport with him. Dropping flaps (and hearing that horrible warning horn) I eased behind him, squirted a few rounds into his wing, and settled on his wingtip right at the stall.

Now it was clear his engine had been hit hard. He was losing altitude and far too deep into our lines for hope of escape. His landing on the beach was a very good one. I circled, calling in the position for his capture, and climbed as he sat inside his aircraft.

I'll ask the troops to cut a roundel from his wing for the squadron briefing room and have a chat with this pilot tonight.

One of the pilots passed to my right and dove hard. I called for him to wave off, but he strafed the Gladiator, heedless of my orders. It burst into flames! Cursing, I saw the pilot jump from the inferno safely - but I had lost my trophy!

The Commander, after much heated debate, reduced the pilot's claim of a full kill on the Gladiator to a shared one. Lord spare me from glory hounds; I'll be sure never to allow this man into my flight, and will do my best to see him transferred away from this airfield.

I am told the Englander was wounded in the attack and won't be allowed visitors until tomorrow. I'll bring him some tea and have a chat with him.

Additionally, it seems the Hurricane I hit on my initial pass shortly crashed thereafter near our positions. The pilot was killed, unfortunately, as he cartwheeled into some large rocks.

Apparently I'm to receive some sort of medal for reaching twenty-two confirmed kills as well. I'd prefer a hot shower and a decent meal that didn't involve fighting off a thick blanket of flies.


The opinions of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

More dumb stuff at http://www.darts-page.com

From Laser:
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#2278254 - 08/07/07 03:02 AM Re: Afrika '41 Campaign (IL-2: 1946) [Re: Dart]  
Joined: Sep 2001
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Lifer

Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 23,449
Alabaster, AL USA
The crunch of the sand under my feet as I walked back to my aircraft was keeping time with my singing, and I was sure that the soldiers on the truck making their way down the road would think me mad from the sun.

But I couldn't stop from laughing and singing a silly song from my childhood as I looked at the large rough square in my hands.

Fate is a fickle thing, and not without its sense of humor.

We were to escort the Italians on a bombing mission, and had encountered yet more British fighters. I managed to down one, which was pretty good considering how well the rest of the flight dealt with them! I had made quick work of the Hurricane and turned about to see three others falling from the sky - the battle lasted only seconds with no injuries or damage.

Forming back up, we made for the bombers again, overflying the enemy airfield and turning to the coast.

Four large planes were below us and flying to us, and I banked high to confirm they were our charges.

They weren't! Roundels on the twin engine planes - Beauforts! I ordered the attack and dove, aiming for the fuselage nose and the cockpit and missing! Coming low, I edged in at forty degrees and fired, striking the right engine.

Tracer flew from the top of the aircraft - a gunner! A quick tilt left to pour machinegun and cannon into his station silenced him; but he managed to hole my oil cooler as his last act. Enraged, I held the trigger down at a hundred meters, firing even after flames erupted from the right engine.

Oil pressure was dropping quickly, so I began to climb as quickly as I dared over the beach. Ten or fifteen kilometers behind enemy lines, low, with a damaged engine and possibly some fighters around.

The engine began to grind, but I paid it no heed. I was at 1,500 meters and with enough power to continue to climb. My wingman appeared off of my left side, matching speed and shaking his head as he surveyed the damage.

I could see the river that defines the front line here and hoped they hadn't made an advance recently. With a little luck I might just make it!

1,700 meters, 240 KPH, and the river just before me through the oil covered windscreen....and the engine ceased completely.

At least it didn't catch fire!

I pointed the nose downward just a touch and began to glide towards our lines. A 20mm Bofors clacked away at me, but he was too far for accurate shooting. Still, I ordered my wingman to climb and return to base, as there was no need to take unnecessary risks.

The delta at the split in the river seemed wider and wider as I ghosted across the sky and the altimeter moved counterclockwise. The beach fell beneath me, making me smile. 500 meters altitude, plenty of airspeed, and level ground next to the coast road on our sides of the lines!

I did a respectable belly landing next to the road - no use in walking any further than I have to - and got out to have a cigarette while I waited for the inevitable truck to take me back to the airfield.

Oddly, where I landed looked familiar to me, with a large white rock next to the road on the other side of my aircraft, and a bend in the ridge to my left.

And then I knew why!

Not two hundred meters away was blackened object in the desert, sticking up out of the desert like a thorn bush. An airplane shaped thornbush. The Gladiator I had shot down the day prior!

I fairly well ran to it, heedless of the heat, like a schoolboy to the candy shop after class. I couldn't believe my luck!

There, about five meters from the skeleton of the fuselage, was a whole section of the left upper wing, intact. It must have blown clear when the gasoline tanks exploded, sparing it from the flames. I pulled my survival knife from my boot and got to work immediately, making jagged cuts until I had freed the roundel on the upper surface.

I got my trophy after all!

Smoking another cigarette, I pictured hanging it on the wall of the officer's mess when I returned.

In the two hour wait for a ride, I made a note that I must carry a canteen of water and some food in my plane from now on. If forced to ditch again, it may not be next to an often travelled road.

=====

The doctor refused me a visit to the British Gladiator pilot. He was more severely wounded than I thought, and they were forced to amputate one of his legs at the knee. A fever has taken him, and the nurse says he is delirious.

The doctor says he will be fine in a day or two. The look of the nurse when he was talking said otherwise.

=====

Today I stood my first inquiry board from the lone side of the table.

We were ordered to intercept some fighters that were attacking Italian bombers while on patrol and climbed to 3,200 meters, heading east.

The Hurricanes were above us, coming straight on as we flashed over our allies, and I ordered the attack as I climbed sharply. Incredibly, the Hurricanes didn't change course, perhaps thinking we were too far below them, and I lined up a shot from underneath at ninety degree deflection.

A hit! The Englander's plane shuddered and dove, engine smoking furiously, and I saw the canopy come off as he abandoned his mount before it caught fire.

That certainly caught their attention, and they dove down on us, forgetting the Italians.

In the distance, trailing, was a flight of Me-110's, and they joined the fray, intent on taking a fighter role and some of the notice that ground attack fails to garner in the dispatches.

It soon became an ugly affair where I spent as much time avoiding the tracers from them as I did the British. My brothers seemed heedless of anything around them but the Hurricanes, filling the radio with all sorts of needless chatter - exclaiming victories I didn't see in the sky or screaming for help the second a Hurricane approached their six, no matter how unlikely it would be that the enemy would get a shot.

I backed off in the interest of safety, and watched from a thousand meters away.

One of the Hurricanes slipped into a turning formation and began to fire at the tail of a 110, and I saw smoke from one of his engines. I dove into the melee.

My shots rang true, and the Hurricane twisted violently as cannon rounds tore rents into his left wing. I went high and then back down to finish him...only to see tracers flash past my right wing. The damned 110's, over eager for a kill, were shooting at him with me in front of them!

I looked back but couldn't see where he was. Surely he could see me, though! More tracers flashed past me and I pulled up to climb out of his line of fire. He could have the kill; I just wanted to get home alive.

There was a horrible crunching noise and my nose bucked down and to the right. I continued to climb and looked to right to see a 110 wheeling into the ground, a section of his left wing missing. The rudder did not respond, so I looked back, pressing the pedal hard - but it wasn't there!

I abandoned the fight and returned to base.

The ground attack pilots were incensed at the loss of one of their own, and demanded a full inquiry. My pilots defended me, having seen the whole thing, and confirmed that the other pilot should not have pressed so close with me just 150 meters off of the tail of the Hurricane, nor should he have fired.

My plane had the "right of way," so to speak, and in fact he had struck my plane, not the other way around.

I was cleared, naturally, and in fact was more angry than scared of the proceedings.

The flight commander has given me a forty eight hour pass in order to "settle my anger" and suggested I not be around the airfield during that time. As if I have someplace else to go! The mechanics have built a shack next to the sea, outfitting it with a table, chairs, a bed, and a phonograph player (which is a secret I promised to keep, along with their verboten "Swing" records); I think I'll take them up on their offer of the retreat.


The opinions of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

More dumb stuff at http://www.darts-page.com

From Laser:
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#2278290 - 08/07/07 03:48 AM Re: Afrika '41 Campaign (IL-2: 1946) [Re: Dart]  
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Fort Worth Texas
Excellent read! I can't wait for the pictures.

#2279123 - 08/08/07 04:30 AM Re: Afrika '41 Campaign (IL-2: 1946) [Re: ndiguy]  
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Lifer

Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 23,449
Alabaster, AL USA
My forty eight hours was cut down to twenty-four, which was fine by me. I spent the whole of the day sealing the cracks of the shack with newspaper and bits of stuff I could find against a horrible sand storm.

In the morning it lifted and my batman came to fetch me. I guess I must have looked all the rage when I left, as he arrived with a thermos of coffee and a pack a cigarettes in the sidecar of the motorcycle and knocked as if the shed were a grand suite in a hotel!

With the settling of the sand, our ground forces started to push against the British and wanted some air cover against bombers and fighters. Heavy contact possible, though the storm probably had a number of their planes grounded.

We winked at each other and feigned concern, as we long ago decided that the opposite of whatever the intelligence officer said was more likely to be true.

A flight had proceeded us, and as we formed up they began to chat up a storm about enemy contacts, with one of them having to abandon the fight and return to base.

Our new number four man, Fritz, had engine problems on takeoff and had to return to base. It would just be the three of us.

Tightening up, we climbed to 2,800 meters, set throttle to three quarters and opened our radiators to full to keep the engines cool. The patrol area lay ahead, and I called for line abreast formation just to see my boys. Hans, my ever faithful wingman, waved to me with hand and wings and I smiled back.

We made one circuit, taking in the clouds and the sun and watching the tracers against the ground as our forces moved into positions below. Some withering AA fire came up to meet us, but I suspect they were more interested in the column of panzers than three Bf-109's just out of range!

To our east I saw four dots begin to grown on the horizon. Cutting left, we went to meet them.

Since the damnable Italians never say where they are or where they are going, we took a cautious approach. The Hurricanes flashed past us on the right, and I ordered the attack, turning right and towards them.

The Hurricanes split into pairs, one going right and level, the other left and climbing. I advanced the throttle to full, resting it against the emergency wire. The lead of the pair turned right, but his wingman was too slow. Five degree rising deflection at 200 meters (closing) and the flash of cannon against him caused me to blink! I pulled up hard to avoid debris and pushed the stick down. He was still in front of me, so I thumped him again! His plane started a slow diving turn, smoke pouring from the engine, and I faded right, looking for his lead.

Hans cried out that he had shot one of them down!

Tracers encircled me and I rolled left, looking back. The Hurricane had fired too early, from a good 400 meters, and the few rounds that hit had no effect on my aircraft. His closing speed was fast, though, so rolled right and pulled the stick up, full left rudder until she began to wheel about, rudder neutral and stick slightly downward - Herr Immelman would be proud! I kicked the rudder hard right, stick right and forward, and twisted her as she dove, neatly reversing again and giving me the tail of the Hurricane.

He dove hard, right down to 500 meters altitude, but I was right on him, anticipating the climb he wuld have to make to clear the small ridge in front of him. Levelling out rather than give me a clean rising shot, I'm sure he was working his neck double time looking for me.

I rose from his blind six at 250 meters and fired with both cannon and machineguns, negligible deflection, and raked his plane from tail to cockpit. I whooped as my fire tore the canopy off of his aircraft, sending it fluttering off to the side to follow all the other bits of his aircraft.

I pulled high and rolled left, looking down.

The pilot was still in the seat, looking up, no doubt dazed and shocked from having the top half of the canopy ripped off. We were close enough that I could see his mouth form an "O" and then close as I grinned back.

He immediately jumped out, all arms and legs flailing wildly.

Hans was back at my wingtip and we looked about. Gunter was nowhere to be found, and there were no more Hurricanes in sight. I called for a status, and he gave the standard "engaging bandits now." After five minutes I told him to rejoin over the patrol objective.

The gun camera footage will no doubt be classic Gunter: a thousand rounds fired and tens of them hitting. But this time the Hurricane was smoking badly, and we'll try to get confirmation of the kill somehow.

The first Hurricane I struck belly landed near the British position. Confirmed kill of the aircraft, but no pilot to remove from the other side.

We took up the rest of the patrol until reaching a quarter tank of fuel and returned to the base without incident.

It was quite nice to have a simple mission with quick but simple combat that results in no casualties.


The opinions of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

More dumb stuff at http://www.darts-page.com

From Laser:
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#2279124 - 08/08/07 04:31 AM Re: Afrika '41 Campaign (IL-2: 1946) [Re: Dart]  
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Lifer

Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 23,449
Alabaster, AL USA
Fritz was killed due to a mid-air collision! According to the story, anyway...I have no idea how he actually got shot down - haven't looked at the track.

====

"Fighter sweep!" Hans whispered knowingly, grinning.

While I am getting more and more tired and frazzled from the constant grind of missions, Hans seems to be more and more in his element; perhaps the Iron Cross to go with his fifth and sixth kills has something to do with it. The few newly arrived pilots seem to be in awe of him, and gather around him like pigs to a trough, trying to eat up whatever slop he can put out by way of wisdom.

From scared starling screaming for help as if I were his mother to noble eagle of the skies standing guard over the chicks in three weeks. All it took was some gasoline, bottled oxygen, and the death of six men.

The new sparrows flee him whenever I come near. The Schoolmaster and the Tutor, they call us; but it's really the other way around - I've given up conducting training, placing Hans in charge of the chalkboard and sticks.

Ignoring the way he's sewn his Iron Cross to his left breast pocket, I shake his hand and get the gist of the mission: we're to take up two of the newer pilots on a fighter sweep of the same area of the front our forces are pushing that we've been to before.

"We'll give them a real familiarization flight!" Hans laughed.

"And you'll be the number three, Hans," I decided, "with a starling on your wing."

He frowned. It will be only the second time he's not been my wingman since arriving here, and his first as a lead.

Still, the look of relief and awe in the new pilot's face when he heard that Hans would be his leader made him stand ten feet tall and did quite a bit to mollify him.

We made a respectable formation and headed out to the patrol area, full radiator and 70 percent throttle, easing up to around 3,000 meters.

Incredibly, three JU-52's crossed the sector, flying at 2,500 meters unescorted and in formation! What madness - they'd be easy prey for the P-40's and Hurricanes that frequent this area. I suppose the Army needed supplies dropped pretty badly. We left them to their fate, continuing south.

As we crossed to the flat sand over the ridges the radio rattled with calls for help - in Italian! Not understanding a damned word of it, we swept our eyes all over the skies.

Hans waggled his wings and pointed to his two o'clock. Tracers mixed in with the clouds below us, off three kilometers, red and white.

I turned and ordered the flight to attack, and forgetting it wasn't Hans off my right wing, instructed my wingman to attack freely. Swooping down, I aligned poorly onto a Hurricane and didn't even bother to press the triggers as I flashed past his tail. Up and right, a climbing turn, looking back for him, he vanished.

Making a mental note of where I thought he might be, I scanned high and spotted two shapes flickering right at the inner edge of a cloud in front of me going from right to left - Hurricanes! I turned left a bit and cut their turn, fading behind and to the right the second plane, coming up high in a sweeping roll all the way over and back to his left.

He dove to escape and then climbed with the distance closing. We went straight through the cloud above, but I was now close enough to make out his silhouette in the fog. Up through the top into the blue, he was at 100 meters and three degrees deflection. His left wing separated with one burst of the cannons and he cartwheeled back down into the mist.

Coming right, leveling off, I regained airspeed and looked about. A shape was flitting within the edges of the clouds to my south. I set up for the attack and dove, guessing my intercept point and ambushing straight through the wall of white below me.

I emerged in perfect position to strike, scaring the hell out of the....Italian, who, since we have arrived to do some actual fighting, is running away. Damnable luck! Half loop and return to the combat area, I look about, finding no one. Drifting between the columns of white, I scan the sky frantically. Out of the corner of my eye I spot a dirty smudge in the cotton and move left.

Ah, a Hurricane!

I'm invisible to him as I cut the corner, the mist collecting on my windscreen, and come out behind him. A quick burst of my guns from 200 meters out at five degrees deflection and he dives into the rocks below, engine on fire.

I climb to 3,000 meters and call for a status. The skies are clear of the enemy! We reform and I look down to my fuel gauge. A quarter tank - where did it all go? I bring the formation to the north, towards home, climbing to 4,000 meters, and release them to return to base. I want some time to simply fly alone.

Naturally, no sooner did I split off from the formation three dots grew in the horizon to the west.

Putting the sun to my back, I moved to investigate. It was the Italians, returning to base, and I zoomed down and came short on their right wing, falling into formation. Odd planes, with an open canopy and a bulge for the radial engine and another up to the cockpit. They made no movement as I slipped in - either they weren't looking or recognized my Bf-109 - and I left them for the airfield, arriving as my flight was getting into the pattern.

I called for permission to land and cut to the front of the line. Slipping and cutting the approach curve short, I was a little too fast and dropped full flaps.

My landing was a bad one, with the right gear buckling from a flare that was too high, and wheeled hard around. She looked okay (other than the snapped gear and the scrapes from scrubbing the sand), but would definately be out of action for awhile.

I rode the ambulance that arrived back to my tent and laid down without taking off my gear (save the helmet) and went immediately to sleep.


The opinions of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

More dumb stuff at http://www.darts-page.com

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#2279125 - 08/08/07 04:32 AM Re: Afrika '41 Campaign (IL-2: 1946) [Re: Dart]  
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Lifer

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Alabaster, AL USA
Ground attack. Well, perhaps it is best, with my wingman still without a kill and only one sortie under his belt. Hans has one of the starlings as well, and we line up with our bombs underneath.

Open radiator, 20 degree flaps, and start the engine. The control tower clears us immediately, though a Storch is overhead, flying in the same direction, and there's some truck traffic. Hopefully they know we have the right of way.

The Italians are bringing along bombers and fighters as well, and we're to join up with them.

Everyone's at idle, temperature looks good, and I advance the throttle, rolling long to take off and fading left to set a circle to allow everyone to form up.

The Italians are low ahead, flying JU-88's from the look of it, heading straight away down the coastline.

The radio crackles to life, and the Storch wings over back towards the base. Those aren't Italian bombers outbound, they're British bombers coming towards me! My eyes are saucers as I see four Beauforts flash past my right wing, followed by two Hurricanes diving behind them.

Banking right, I see Hans on takeoff just as the bombs drop. A huge flash and dust in front of him and I wince - only to see him fly right through it! They missed him!

The Hurricanes bear down on the Storch and I pursue back over the runway, heedless of the tailgunners of the bombers above me, full throttle, but I am too late. The Englanders murder him and his copilot and bank right.

I follow, furious, and close on the number two British plane over the water. He splits to the right, his lead to the left, and I close. My first shots are off, catching only his tail, the second burst wide, and force myself to relax. Closing, he tries desperately to evade, barrel rolling and going dangerously close to the water, but I am with him. He attempts to force scissors, earning some machinegun rounds as he crosses my nose. I roll with him, hitting him with two bursts of machineguns and cannon. The stress of his last barrel roll was too much against the damage I was pouring into him, and the wing separated, splashing up next to his watery grave.

Looking back, his number one was 600 meters off and closing fast. I climbed right and kicked rudder as he closed, slipping and forcing the stream of red tracers to miss. He went past my tail on the left, and I reversed rudder, rolling low and coming back high against him. He pulled into a hard turn, doubtless losing sight of me, and climbed. One hundred meters, twenty degree deflection on a rising shot, and his engine erupted into flames as I hammered him with cannon. I saw the parachute in the air, and bitterly hoped the sharks would eat him.

A Hurricane flashed over me, and I pursued, coming over the beach. There were two other planes as well, high and diving in. Bands on the fuselage - friendlies! I shot once at long range to get the Hurricane to turn with no effect. The two other planes - a German and an Italian, rushed forward, attacking.

Hans' strained voice filled my ears - he was in trouble! Looking to the water, I saw a stream of ugly black smoke coming from an aircraft and two other planes behind, high and turning to dive. I reversed course; the Hurricane over the beach was well escorted, and my flight was in trouble!

Cutting over, I confirmed it was Hans that was smoking and the British were in pursuit. They turned into me, and I nearly head on, showing them my presence. They needed to come after me, not my wounded number three.

They ignored me, winging hard to get onto Hans' six.

I had a tough decision - go after the British lead and spoil his attack and risk his number two shooting me in the back, or play it safe and work from back to front. Red tracers streamed out from the lead to encircle Hans.

I slipped hard, flying obliquely, and fired at the English leader, scoring hits but not downing him. It was enough to break his tail. Tracers flashed past my own cockpit, and I rolled to avoid them, ensuring that I would go in the direction of the number one.

The British pilot must have thought that I would naturally break off and work his wingman, and moved to strike down Hans. But I was lost of my senses and pressed forward, firing my cannon into his plane and sending him to the bottom. His own number two moved in, but from poor position, and I dove low and then rolled high behind him. He crashed into the ocean after a short burst.

Hans glided to the beach, ditching next to the fitter's shack by the ruins, and I called for my wingman.

The kid was high over the airfield, hammerheading while a Hurricane strafed the airfield. Attack! I yelled, and followed him as he finally slashed downwards. Staying off his right wing, I witnessed some of the worst gunnery every performed. Ten degree diving deflection on a level target and he shot from too far a range and missed every round on a three second burst.

Sighing loudly, I lined up and fired a quick burst into the Hurricane, forcing him to roll and turn right against the coast and the rocky ridgeline. I cut him off and fired my machineguns again, damaging his engine and forcing him to roll away from me. By some miracle he avoided crashing into the ground - I'm sure he picked up the scrub brush here in his tail wheel! and curved north towards his lines.

I called for my wingman to rejoin to put him in good attack formation, and then ordered him to attack the Hurricane. I would force him to shoot down this Tommy, even if I had to deliver him on a silver platter.

Again my starling missed! I slammed my left fist against my leg and lined him up again, telling him to rejoin, and damaged the Hurricane even further, making him less able to manuever. Perfect position...Attack!

Incredibly, the Hurricane was again untouched! I was wondering what more was needed - an orange paint scheme to go with the flight path of a towed practice sock, perhaps - and had him try again.

We were nearing the front lines, marked by a wide valley, and the Hurricane would be a perfect target. I ordered him to strike, trying to sound patient.

Machinegun and cannon erupted from the 109 from zero deflection from two hundred meters closing on a level target - and still he missed.

Fortunately, the Hurricane was forced to maneuver at the last (most likely to avoid being collided with), and brought himself too low to climb back over the cliff face in front of him. He smacked the rocks and shattered pieces of his plane slid to the floor below.

I landed at the base hastily.

Hans was uninjured. His wingman scored half a kill (it was he with the Italian I left to their business). My wingman was credited with his first half kill. Had he hit with even one of his rounds I would have given all of them to him. I wrote down his name - Joesph Meuller, and put a secret mark by his name in my log that would remind me he is an incompetent, and therefore a threat. Hans' starling, if he survives the week, might be worthy of learning his name.

====

The British pilot in the hospital tent was sitting up, alternating between a grimacing look of pain and one of amusement. The doctor and nurses were busy treating the minor casualties of the bombing raid, ignoring the Englander, the three shapes under sheets laying next to the door, and myself.

Still in my flight gear, stomping into the ward, he gave me a startled look, first to my eyes and then to the pistol on my webbing. He sat up straight as my hand went past it and into my pocket.

I sat down next to him and offered him a cigarette and my lighter.

"Oi, Fritz, you look like we put you through the ringer!"

I nodded, lighting and cigarette, and looked at him.

Younger than myself, but older than some rookie, his brown eyes were cut with the very same wrinkles from staring into the sun looking for contacts. I reached into my side pocket and pulled out my flask.

One drink for me, and I handed it over.

He hesitated, then accepted.

"Bloody schnaps," he grunted afterwards, and handed it back.

"I hear the Americans are coming," I replied, "and so soon we will have their whisky to drink to go with French wine and Polish vodka."

He laughed.

"Just don't count on Scottish single malt, Fritz."

"Jedermann," I smiled, offering my hand.

"Miller," he said as we shook.

The head nurse rushed us, furious.

"No smoking! What's this? No drinking! Do you want to kill him! Get out!"

"Shut up," I offered as an alternative course of action.

She picked up a length of wood near the stove with a look of murder in her eyes.

"Herr Oberst, raus!"

"Best go, mate, she's the Attila of Huns!"

I stood up slowly, and walked casually from the tent.

=====

The next mission was a simple patrol along the coast. No contact for once; we wondered that night if the British hadn't taken a holiday.


The opinions of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

More dumb stuff at http://www.darts-page.com

From Laser:
"The forum is the place where combat (real time) flight simulator fans come to play turn based strategy combat."
#2279134 - 08/08/07 04:45 AM Re: Afrika '41 Campaign (IL-2: 1946) [Re: Dart]  
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 23,449
Dart Offline
Measured in Llamathrusts
Dart  Offline
Measured in Llamathrusts
Lifer

Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 23,449
Alabaster, AL USA
The squadron commander called me into his office, a partition of the tent off the briefing room. I had a feeling I knew what it was about.

"Hans, take a seat," he said kindly as he returned my salute.
"Yes sir."
"Oberst Jedermann is doing well in the infirmary," he began at once, "he is physically uninjured."
"Excellent!" I said, meaning it. Oberst Jedermann had saved my life on my first combat sortie, taken me as a wingman until he felt I deserved to take a lead of my own. He has even trusted me with conducting training for our new pilots!
"The doctor says it is simple shock and some dehydration; he has been sedated."
"Ah."
"Hans, tell me what happened."
"Ja wohl," I started, then paused to collect my thoughts, "we were escorting the Italian bombers at 3,000 meters altitude, making an S around their path to stay with them but keep up combat speed. They began their attack when we spotted some fighters low."
"Did Jedermann see them?"
"No, sir, I did, and he ordered the immediate attack."
"You say he didn't spot them?"
"He couldn't. He was turning the wrong way and they were under his wing."
"But you could."
"Yes sir, I was in the number three spot and hadn't started to follow yet.
"There were four of them, and we dove to the north to intercept. The Oberst reversed in his dive, unfortunately, and no doubt confused by the Italians who were scattering all over the damned place."
"They say they were continuing the attack on ground targets, heedless of the enemy."
"Clueless, more likely!"
"That's enough of that talk."
"So, he began to climb just as two Hurricanes were coming up behind him. I'm sure he spotted them, as he steepened and slipped vertically, avoiding their fire.
"They were right on him, sir, dead six, no deflection, and I was sure he was a dead man!"
"Really?"
"Absolutely! And then he did the most amazing thing - he snap rolled his aircraft in the vertical in the opposite direction, tumbling it in the opposite direction! There was no way the Englanders should have missed him, but not a single round struck his aircraft!"
"Go on."
"Well, the plane departed flight, naturally, going into a flat spin!"
"The 109 does not go into flat spins."
"Sir, his Messer went into a flat spin at around 2,000 meters altitude, straight down at an amazing speed! I was sure then that this would be his death. The Oberst was clearly going to black out, and I don't know how, but he was moving the controls of his aircraft all about and even gunning the engine to get out of it, with the British flying about him, trying to shoot him!"
"They were shooting at him while he was spinning?"
"Oh yes! But again they couldn't touch him, and I was dealing with my own Hurricane and couldn't help. To be honest, I didn't think he'd recover anyway!"
"But he did recover from the spin."
"At around a thousand meters the spin became more normal, but too fast to stop by any other pilot. I saw his flaps come out and then his gear - you understand sir, he lowered his gear at five hundred meters!"
"Perhaps he had lost his senses."
"Impossible! At five hundred meters the spin resolved itself, bringing him nose first to the ground, nearly inverted. I still can hardly believe what happened next, and I saw it!"
"And what was that?"
"The Oberst retracted the gear and nosed up in controlled flight at less than 100 meters altitude, and pulled up his flaps, turning back towards the enemy!"
"And did he engage the enemy?"
"Sir, he immediately shot a Hurricane down, climbing from underneath and blowing the wing right off of it, and assisted with the downing of two more, directing us to the last one that was pursuing the Stukas!
"He called for us to form up, as the enemy was either destroyed or departed, and when at ten kilometers from the airfield, ordered us to land."
"His own landing was remarkable."
"Yes, I saw that, too. Undoubtably his aircraft was damaged from the stress of that spin, and he flared too high."
"It's estimated that his landing speed was under 150 kilometers per hour! It's a miracle that his landing gear did not break!"
"Sir, it appeared as though the brakes were locked shut, or a large rock chocked him, as he was wheels down on the sand and the nose simply came forward."
"He rode the propellor hub for five meters before the aircraft flipped onto its back, Hans," the commander said smoothly.
"I understand it is not destroyed, sir."
"Actually, it's out of action for two weeks; the engine will have to be rebuilt, the tail is damaged, and the cockpit had to be cut away to remove him."
"Yes, sir."
"Thank you for your candor, Hans. Do you have anything else you'd like to say?"
"Well, Oberst Jedermann never paints kill stripes on his aircraft, and my count is probably off."
"Yes?"
"That Hurricane, was that number forty?"
"Thirty nine."
"Och. I keep counting that one that he gave to Mueller!"
"It is his kill. Mueller's gun footage shows him firing just before the Hurricane crashed into the cliff face, and Jedermann's own film was somehow destroyed, so we have to go on his statements."
"Yes, sir."
"I have a question, though, that you may want to consider, thinking as a future squadron leader, and you need not answer now."
"I'll do my best."
"Jedermann's beginning to show signs of fatigue. After this mission and his hospitalization, what would you, as commander, do? The doctor says he should be taken off of flight status."
I didn't need to think about it. I gave him my answer immediately, as it was obvious.


=======

The morning sun shined through the open tent flap and onto my face, waking me. I was in the infirmary ward, still in my flight suit, barefoot, with my gear on the floor beside the cot I was laid out on.

"Good morning, you #%&*$#!" said the English pilot, grinning from the bed across from mine, "I see you lived through the night!"
"So I have."
"More's the pity. I fancy one of your boots and wrist watch. Mine's broken."
I sat up, aching over my whole body, and tossed my watch to him after unfastening the band.
"Thanks, Fritz!"
"Jedermann," I corrected, "Oberst Jedermann."
"Lay down!" shouted the nurse from across the room, "And no talking!"
"Bring me two glasses, nurse!"
"And no smoking!"
"Excellent idea!" and I withdrew my metal case from my breast pocket. It had an odd dent across it, and I had to force it open. Throwing a cigarette to Miller, I lit my own before tossing the lighter to him.
She stormed out of the tent and immediately returned with the Squadron Commander and Hans behind her.
"Bloody hell!" Miller exclaimed, "They've brought the CO in on a smoking violation, and quick!"
"Shut up," ordered the commander.
"I know I picked the right side to fight for..." he said sotto voce before laying down and turning on his side away from us.

"The doctor, Herr Oberst," began the commander, "thinks you warrant a medical suspension."
I could feel the blood run from my face.
"Hans and the others in the flight had a different idea of what to do with you."

And I was awarded the Knights Cross with Swords.

=======================

(A week later)

Finally we're doing things properly; rather than going up in single flights of four, we're putting up three flights to give us air superiority. We'll patrol beyond the front, almost to their airbase along the second ridge, fly the back end of the front, and then cross back over in from the coast.

The Intelligence Officer has once again shown his incompetence; he's going on and on about "drawing the Brits into the sky" while enforcing radio silence for the last week. When I asked him why we haven't been putting up a lot of traffic he looked at me like I was a moron and actually said that we didn't want to let the enemy know what we were up to!

At best we'll catch the regular patrols they send out rather than committing their forces for the showdown we need to have to cull their numbers.

Better still, he's suggested we fly in the mid morning, putting the sun to the high east and at our disadvantage.

We formed up in good order, stacking from 2,000 to 2,500 meters diagonally to around 4,000 meters across. The clouds were intermittent and below us, topping at 1,500 meters.

It was, as I predicted, a very lonely flight as we crossed the front lines and I made the turn behind their lines towards their airfield. The second staffel cracked the radio.

"May we engage the bombers below you?"

Ach! Nervy Brits! They had stuck to the cloud cover underneath us where our first flight couldn't see them!

"Attack at will," I said, sounding as bored as I could.

We turned back to watch the three bombers fall in shreds to the desert floor, and I called for the flight to reform.

Crossing the front lines, four dots ahead on the horizon. The number two staffel was in best position, and I released them to engage.

What a mess! The British were in three flights of four, uncoordinated, but we weren't much better, and it was a confusion of planes wheeling at 1,000 feet spitting tracers at each other. I split-S for a Hurricane that flashed over me, banked left, then right, and fired at 100 meters from forty degree deflection, rising. He burst into flames as I rolled clear of him. A smoking Hurricane was in front of me, climbing to disengage, as two more moved against Hans and his wingman in the third flight.

It was nothing to apply slight rudder, five degree deflection, rising, to chop the smoking Hurricane in two, cut left, and engage the Englander on Hans' tail. The last of my cannon sent him into the rocks below.

Someone was shouting into the radio in a panic, so I looked about to see another Hurricane take a wild ninety degree shot at one of ours. Fat chance of getting hit, yet this Lion of the Desert was squealing like a stuck pig.

What a merry chase! The pilot realized that he had the attentions of no less than six of us, and whipped his plane all about the skies, no doubt relying on the adreneline to keep the blackouts at bay as my fellows took turns sending withering fire at him. I stood back to watch as they repeatedly were denied solid hits as he toyed with the ground.

An Emil nearly struck the ground in pursuit, and I jumped into the fray to finish this fellow off before one of our own killed themselves.

Lacking cannon, I was reduced to trying for a cockpit shot, ninety degree deflections as he tried desperately to scissor. His engine began to smoke and he rolled low in a wadi, hoping to have me overshoot and give him a chance at my belly, but instead I elected to roll right and cut back in left, handing him a full twenty seconds of machinegun fire for his trouble.

He tried to go high, but his machine was spent. Too slow, too little power, and the sands claimed him on its rock lined ridge.

We landed without incident.

Three bombers, twelve fighters (two and two halfs for me) for a loss of one. That stupid Mueller crashed during the melee with no others around him, no doubt in a panic. I will have Hans write the letter, calling it practice; in fact, I could not write flowing prose for him without becoming physically ill.

==========

Putting my head in the hospital tent, I saw a familiar face sitting next to the wounded British pilot - Herr Oberst Karl Straub, fresh from the Fatherland!

"Willi! I heard they had sentenced you to this hell!"
"Klaus, what did you do?" I asked, grinning, "Was it the wife of anyone I know?"
"Miller here says you have been fraternizing with the enemy," he said, switching to English.
"Ja," I admitted, "It does me good to see the low quality of their pilots."
"Stick it up yer arse, Hun," Miller said, as if offended.
"Why is he still here?" Klaus asked.
"Oh, no transport, and he's a Sergeant; no priority for him."
"And you are in no hurry to send him off."
"Actually, I don't have any authority," I admitted. "I'm a flight leader and forbidden to command anything more than that."
"Rebekkah?"
"Ja wohl."
"Well, it was a matter of time only," he said, resigned, then lightened "But cheer up, your new Executive Officer is a fine fellow with a keen sense of looking out for those who perform for the Fatherland rather than simply fit in the check marks of National Socialism."
"Oh, no."
"Yes, Willi, you've not gotten rid of me!" he stood clapping his hand on my shoulder, then turned to Miller. "I've been hounded by Jedermann since Spain. Everytime I get a posting, no matter how far away I think I am, here he always is waiting."
"Bloody good for you," Miller deadpanned, "but did you bring cigarettes?"

We laughed.

======

A few days later Klaus and I shared a quiet moment next to a small fire we had set next to the ocean.

"You look tired, Willi."
"Give it a month here, you will, too. There are bed bugs and sand to keep one awake."
"No, I mean really tired. The Commander is concerned you're losing your edge."
"Forty three confirmed kills in two months, Klaus. I'm pulling my weight."
"Maybe too much. I have a little mission for you."
"There are no brothels here," I grinned, "Unless you count the sheep of the Islamic herders. It's not my style anyway."
"No, a 'recon' mission to a little oasis to the south of the base. There is a ruin there and a rough airfield."
"Surrounded by British flak batteries, no doubt."
"No, but I hear the water is cool and clean," he laughed, "I want you to fly down there, land, and scout out whether or not it is suitable for an emergency base, or at least a recreational area for our troops."
"Who am I taking with me?"
"Nobody but yourself. There is a shortwave radio in the small hut just inside the compound, and rations, a generator, and a grammaphone with contraband records in the main tower. Listen to some verboten swing, relax, and call me every day at 1100 and 1900.
"It's an order, Willi."

The next day at noon I took off for the oasis, being met by a flight of three unescorted JU-52's at the midpoint to my destination. I made a mental note to meet the pilots. This is the second time I've seen them flying in an area where the British patrol in strength unescorted; they must be madmen to do such things.

Circling the oasis, I frowned at the site. Trees, trees, and more trees. Finally I picked out that a narrow strip of palms had been cleared coming off of a draw. I'd be threading the needle on this one.

The radio crackled faintly with the sounds of combat, but it was far away from the sounds of it, and I settled in on my approach. Full flaps, gear down, slip down the wash in the ridge line, avoid the brush in the center, and gently touch down, ignoring the trees standing off of my wingtips. I ran her long, gentle on the brakes, and spun her around to face the other way at the end.

=======

Two days later, sunburned and feeling very much at ease with myself (regardless of the slight hangover from a discovered bottle of whisky), Klaus was on the radio to demand my immediate return.

It took me two hours to find the crank handle for the starter - some idiot had placed it under the seat in the cockpit - and another half hour to figure out how to get it out without damaging the canopy.

The take-off was much better than I had hoped for, and I returned without fanfare or adventure.


The opinions of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

More dumb stuff at http://www.darts-page.com

From Laser:
"The forum is the place where combat (real time) flight simulator fans come to play turn based strategy combat."
#2279145 - 08/08/07 05:33 AM Re: Afrika '41 Campaign (IL-2: 1946) [Re: Dart]  
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 1,168
JAS39 Offline
Member
JAS39  Offline
Member

Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 1,168
NYC
Great Stuff!!!!!!!!! THanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Apple Macbook Pro Generation 10.1 (Summer 2012)
15", 2880x1800 IPS Samsung Display
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#2279539 - 08/08/07 05:12 PM Re: Afrika '41 Campaign (IL-2: 1946) [Re: Dart]  
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 231
Simon Read Offline
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Simon Read  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 231
Australia
Beautiful writing Herr Oberst! As you point out, the real key to immersion is within us and our own capacity to inhabit the sim world. This campaign creates a remarkable location.

#2279993 - 08/09/07 01:51 PM Re: Afrika '41 Campaign (IL-2: 1946) [Re: Simon Read]  
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,244
FlatSpinMan Offline
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FlatSpinMan  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,244
Land of the Rising Sun
Just reread the last report. That touch about the crank handle was a good one. Makes the LW seem much more human when people misplace things. this was a very relaxing, almost soothing report to read all in all.
I'm amazed how many people have read this already. Obviously word of your writing prowess gets around. I enjoyed your TS article, BTW. Very pertinent and fun to read through.

#2284629 - 08/14/07 07:20 PM Re: Afrika '41 Campaign (IL-2: 1946) [Re: FlatSpinMan]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 2,122
theKhan Offline
resident pacifist (sic)
theKhan  Offline
resident pacifist (sic)
Member

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 2,122
Canada
Brilliant read.


I used to work for a living, but then I took an arrow to the knee.
#2285685 - 08/15/07 09:20 PM Re: Afrika '41 Campaign (IL-2: 1946) [Re: theKhan]  
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,801
Heretic Offline
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Heretic  Offline
Member

Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,801
GER
Nice job, but as a native german speaker I'm not fond of some errors in the use of the language... ;\)


If you want to straighten out some terms, I'll be glad to help.

#2287439 - 08/18/07 12:01 AM Re: Afrika '41 Campaign (IL-2: 1946) [Re: Heretic]  
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 3,118
purolator Offline
Senior Member
purolator  Offline
Senior Member

Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 3,118
The Ruhr, Germany
Native German speaker myself here, and I couldn't care less about any slight errors in the use of language - it has been a most entertaining and delightful read, really excellent! Vielen Dank, Herr Oberst!

#2287575 - 08/18/07 04:04 AM Re: Afrika '41 Campaign (IL-2: 1946) [Re: purolator]  
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 23,449
Dart Offline
Measured in Llamathrusts
Dart  Offline
Measured in Llamathrusts
Lifer

Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 23,449
Alabaster, AL USA
Heretic, you may have a problem....the only smatterings of German I learned was from my schwaben parents.

Sunday comes a very important episode, a thrilling ride with a plot twist involving our one legged Flight Sergeant.


The opinions of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

More dumb stuff at http://www.darts-page.com

From Laser:
"The forum is the place where combat (real time) flight simulator fans come to play turn based strategy combat."
#2287766 - 08/18/07 02:18 PM Re: Afrika '41 Campaign (IL-2: 1946) [Re: Dart]  
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,801
Heretic Offline
Member
Heretic  Offline
Member

Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,801
GER
Originally Posted By: Dart
Heretic, you may have a problem....the only smatterings of German I learned was from my schwaben parents.


Swabians!

Aaaaaargh!

*Runs away in fear and terror*

;\) \:D

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