Flight Sub-Lt Alex Ackworth - RNAS 4 - Coudekerque - 21 July 1916 (Mission 21)

Today I get the afternoon flight led by Flight Cdr Edward. I am tail-end charlie again on a flight of 5 Strutters for an artillery spotting mission over ground units east of Bethune. We are granted an escort of 5 Nieuports 11 of RNAS 1 flying from Furnes. At least these will be able to keep up pace with us ! A couple more Strutters will form flight A and finish the job if necessary.

As we cross the Lys river, there is a cloud across our path and I decide to go around its right and catch up with the flight on target zone. As soon as I separate right from the flight, they all make a 90 left turn heading north, followed by the Nieuports. Great ! I now just have to do the same and try to catch up... In front of me I see the Nieuports diving and after closing in I see they are all after three Fokkers. Looks like our leader forgot we are here for the arty guys ! Having no interest to dive in the furball, I circle above and wait while scanning the skies for possible new enemy aircrafts.

After a few minutes, I see everyone under starting to fly large circles to reform. Seems that the Fokkers are dead or running away. I think we will get back to our mission, but Flight Cdr Edward takes the flight west after reforming. So much for the arty boys, they will have to count on Flight A to spot their fire.

As we near Bailleul airfields, my attention is drawn by high white puffs and I start climbing, only to discover four Aviatiks drawing circles up there. I try to catch one of them but they are too high and head home. I make a large turn to take the heading of Coudekerque, and spot a Fokker that has been following me from the front and managed to catch up when I was busy with the Aviatiks. I draw him over Bailleul to have assistance from ground fire. At one point he stalls in front of me, motionless in the air. I shoot four bullets, one hit, and like the last one he goes into a flat spin all the way down. I think my ground crew has found a crate of silver bullets and used them in my front machine gun !

Back to Coudekerque, claim for a seventh victory and promoted to Flight Lieutenant. A good day again !

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Flying in FSX/Air Hauler, Wings over Flanders Fields, Rise of Flight, IL2 1946 Hsfx, Condor soaring.