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#4497488 - 11/17/19 05:24 PM The King Should Demand a Refund  
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vonBaur Online cowboy
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vonBaur  Online Cowboy
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Was balloon busting with RNAS 9. After I hit "Go to field" it dawned on me that I should have seen if I could put rockets on my N11. When the mission started, to my pleasant surprise, I already had them. After we took off and formed up I noticed that all the Pups in the flight were similarly kitted out. "OK," I thought, "a little overkill, forty rockets for one balloon, but it's not coming out of my paycheck."

Considering I only carry 194 rounds of ammunition and I've already run out of ammo without knocking down my opponent twice and had one of my "buddies" steal a kill on earlier flights, I decide that I'm going to pull out in front as we approach so I can fire first, just to be sure I get the kill. As I approach the balloon, with my squadron mates well out of range behind me, I fire all eight rockets. They all leave their tubes looking good...and then the smoke trails bend down. I was so close that I couldn't see more than two thirds of the Kraut sausage in my monitor (max fov), and I swear I could hear the Hun in the basket cursing me out as I barely avoided a collision. And all my rockets went low. I could have thrown a rock and hit the damned thing. I think I could have thrown a piece of paper and hit it, I was so close. Not even wadded up paper, just a flat sheet.

So I pull out and watch as the rest of my flight dives down on the enemy balloon and think, "Well, there goes another one to someone else." I watch as, one by one, each and every one of them fires his rockets from close range at the gigantic target hovering motionless in the sky. And I watch as each and every one of them misses. Some low, some high. But not a single rocket comes close enough for even a spark to ignite the highly flammable hydrogen gas just waiting to light up the French countryside. So I swung around and brought it down with 30 trusty British incendiary rounds.

As soon as I get back to base I'm writing a letter to King George and telling him to demand a refund from the French government. I'm going to file my claim, first...let's not get crazy. I said from day 1 that rockets fired from aeroplanes are totally useless. And they always will be.


SALUTE TO ALL!
#4497513 - 11/17/19 08:26 PM Re: The King Should Demand a Refund [Re: vonBaur]  
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gaw1 Offline
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gaw1  Offline
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agreed.....I kept hoping for flammable results but unless I resorted to self-immolation...I left the rocketry to the AI. I saved 'em hoping for a spectacular score on an EA...and never made that either. But #%&*$#....they're fun to launch and look at....suspect that was the real deal in the day too. cheers

#4497623 - 11/19/19 03:07 AM Re: The King Should Demand a Refund [Re: vonBaur]  
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HumanDrone Online hick
Just shoot me...
HumanDrone  Online Hick
Just shoot me...
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Near Pittsburgh, PA USA
My father-in-law claimed that the only ground hog he ever managed to shoot with his air rifle ran into the bullet (err... pellet)***. I suspect successes with the rockets were much the same situation!

***He's too law-abiding. In theory, discharge of actual firearms within the borough boundaries is illegal. In practice, his own brother-in-law, a member of council for years, used his .22 to keep them out of his garden. Common sense and a clear shot with a safe backdrop..


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#4497685 - 11/19/19 05:02 PM Re: The King Should Demand a Refund [Re: vonBaur]  
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vonBaur Online cowboy
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vonBaur  Online Cowboy
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Update:
Well, we had to pop another of the Kaiser's birthday balloons (actually, it was the one they put up to replace the one described above, but I digress). Same plan with one slight modification. Because all the rockets missed either high or low I decided to approach along the long axis of the gasbag (suddenly my mother-in-law popped into my head...I don't know why*). I did make a slight miscalculation by committing too early to a north-to-south run, which put me coming at its nose instead of its tail, making for a smaller target profile.

Anyway, I fired off my rockets and this time I scored a hit. I was too close to see the impact, but my little Nieuport was rocked to the point of briefly losing control and my being wounded by the debris, so I must have hit it. SUCCESS!!! Or so I thought. Once I regained control I looked back and the balloon, though smoking, still floated. My flight leader and one other member then made a pass each, loosing their rockets in the standard broadside salvos and all the rockets missed. And then the balloon exploded.

As near as I could tell no one else had hit it, so I was curious to see how it would be scored. After the mission I was not "congratulated on my kill(s)" and when I checked the details it had been awarded to the last man to make a pass. Of possible note, even though six of my eight rockets stuck the balloon (which should have done the trick, considering flaming rockets passing through a few thousand cubic meters of hydrogen) he fired and scored two hits with bullets and I didn't. So next time I'm going to (a) make sure I approach from the low side to increase the target area and (b) fire a short machine gun burst immediately after my rockets.


*(I joke. My mother-in-law was a very nice woman and we got along very well.)


SALUTE TO ALL!
#4497699 - 11/19/19 06:37 PM Re: The King Should Demand a Refund [Re: vonBaur]  
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Maeran Offline
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Maeran  Offline
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UK
The wikipedia entry for le prieur rockets says that the normal approach was a dive along the length of the the balloon, as you found.

The accuracy was always terrible, but the more vertical dive increased the accuracy by reducing the drop off from gravity.

I have in the past read accounts about pilots firing bullets first to release some gas from the balloon. Then the rockets are let loose to ignite the gas/air mix.

#4498253 - 11/25/19 03:17 AM Re: The King Should Demand a Refund [Re: vonBaur]  
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HumanDrone Online hick
Just shoot me...
HumanDrone  Online Hick
Just shoot me...
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Near Pittsburgh, PA USA
That makes an awful lot of sense! Getting a mix of hydrogen and oxygen is definitely a good way to light those things off! Great info! (And I'm supposed to be an engineer - when you think about it, venting some gas & lighting it is simply common sense!)


Box: Win7 Pro 64 bit / I72600K @4.1 GHz / EVGA GTX580 OC'd / 16GB RAM / Corsair 240 GB SSD / WD 600 GB Velociraptor / 1050W Power
FS Stuff: Saitek X52 Pro Stick/Throttle & Combat Rudder Pedals, TrackIR 5
Sims: FSX Gold, REX 2.0 OD, UTX-NA, FSGenesis 10m mesh/ CFS3 ETO 1.40/Wings Over Flanders Fields Ultimate Edition (more gorgeous than ever!)
Proud BOC inductee 4/30/12!
#4498254 - 11/25/19 03:25 AM Re: The King Should Demand a Refund [Re: vonBaur]  
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Ace_Pilto Offline
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Ace_Pilto  Offline
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Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha
I usually leave the meme rockets at home. They just look silly.


Let's pretend I got the BWOC badge to embed here.

Wenn ihr sieg im deine Kampf selbst gegen, wirst stark wie Stahl sein.

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