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#657376 - 03/30/01 09:12 PM Training mission for Whirlwinds  


Circling at about 8,000 feet, I could see below me British, US, and German forces slugging it out, fire and smoke contrasting against the snow as Panthers, Tigers, and Sherman tanks fired on one another. (Set this up to practice setting the ground war). Out of curiosity, I banked sharply and strafed a German tank. It seemed to have little effect; no matter, other targets were waiting. I turned to the next waypoint, looking for the Whirlwinds I knew were out there.

Finding the first one alone, I readied my rockets and dove in on it. Once you know what youre looking for, you really can see them from a ways off. I unleashed three or four rockets and held down the trigger on my eight fifties. My aim was off, so I circled around and did it again. This time I refused to pull up and I could feel several 20mm rounds slam into my Jug; I refused to pull up until the last moment, barely 20 feet above the targetbut I got him that time! Great! On to the next one!

I found the other Whirlwind about 7 miles away, and again dove in for an attack with rockets and guns. This time my aim was better: he never had a chance. As I pulled away, I noticed another ground target! A single German, possibly from the Whirlwind, was running for the forest!

(Really! What a cool sim!)

Thoughts of chivalry and honor streamed through my head as I banked around the lone figure; I had destroyed his equipment, he was no longer a threat. Aww, hell, he just tried to shoot me down. Im gonna strafe is butt! A quick check showed 250 rounds left, enough for one pass.

No sooner had I made that decision than 20mm slugs again ripped into my trusty steed: a Focke-Wulf appeared from nowhere and was on my tail!

(Okay, it was a trigger, but I really had forgotten about it!)

Jinking hard to the right, then left, and the 190 pulled out in front and away from me. He had angles all over me, and I was down at about 200 miles per hournot enough smash to do anything with. I turned into him using combat flaps, forcing a head-on fight. I couldnt make the angles, so I rolled out of plane and watched as he flew past barely 30 feet from me. Turning again, I would force another head-on pass; but it would have to be a good shot. My one pass of 250 rounds now became my one hope. The 190 and I lined up on each other. Ollie Oliphints description of his head-on pass in a Thunderbolt with a Focke-Wulf raced through my mind; incredibly my gunsight found the nose of the enemy fighter and I pressed the trigger just as his 20mm rounds started ripping panels off my plane.

He passed underneath as I spent the last round out of my fifties. I knew then that it was just a matter of time before I was going to be shot downuntil I looked back over my shoulder.

(Okay, it was the F7 key)

There was the 190, rolled over on his back, smoke streaming out, heading for the ground! What luck!

My sturdy Jug was about finished. The engine was running rough, smoking; it wouldnt be long before I would have to find a place to land. The town several miles to the North was friendly. I nursed the big plane over, throttled back, and set her down one last time in the snow. She slid several hundred yards and stopped about a quarter mile away from the small town. Sliding the canopy back, I made my way to the nearest building.

(I turned off the computer and made my way to the bathroom)

As I approached, I saw a figure waving from the doorway; a young French girl, long auburn hair, beckoning.

(My wife, her long auburn hair spread out on the pillow, snoring)

I followed her into the wrecked structure,

(I crawled into bed, my wife asking if I was finally done)

finding shelter for the night.

( )

Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum


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#657377 - 03/30/01 09:13 PM Re: Training mission for Whirlwinds  


Lt John Oliphint's version of the Jug:

Combat in the "Jug." My 40 combat-mission experiences in the P-47 Thunderbolt had proved to me that the "Jug" could take and deliver extensive damage. After escort missions, it was easy to "get lost," go to the deck and use the plane's eight .50-caliber machine guns and ammo to their best advantage. A touch of the trigger would cut an enemy plane in half, tear out an engine, or cut off a wing; it would leave a truck loaded with soldiers with nothing recognizable; it would knock the tracks off tanks; and it could cut through a tank's steel right over its engine and set it afire. A squirt of armor-piercing ammo drilled two- to three-foot holes at water lines to sink barges; it would destroy the front of a train engine and wipe out the rails; it would cut off a train's front wheels, topple radar towers and wipe out a parade ground of soldiers.

Example: after an escort, I arranged to "get lost," went to treetop level to avoid flak and followed a railroad track between two cities. Gun-camera film shows 14 railroad engines destroyed before I ran out of ammunition on my way back to base. Another example: returning from a mission, I encountered a new Fw 190D model armed with four 20mm cannon and two machine guns in the cowl head-on between cloud layers over Amsterdam. He fired; I fired. Neither of us would move, and how we didn't crash still mystifies me. When he passed under me, he was deadplane shredded, on fire and going down. My Thunderbolt's left gun and ammo covers had been blown away, its left wheel and engine cowl had gone, there were numerous one-foot holes in both wings, the number seven and eight cylinders had been blown away, the prop blades had holes, the tail was shredded and pieces of my plane were coming off all over. I flew back to Manston and crash-landed. At least 423 holes were counted in my airplane before it was pulled to the scrapyard and I walked away. I had been to heaven and hell many times, and I guess neither wanted me, so they sent me back to fly again. My God was good to me.



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