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Siggi

Combat Reports from the Front.

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Gentlemen and our fairest of Ladies,

 

Makai has a great idea that we should keep you all updated, but not about how we're doing but how the game feels. How much more can you listen to how good the model of the Triple looks, or how well the AI flies the Spad as a B & Z scout? It's boring...

 

So we'll keep you all entertained by posting our official Combat Reports, which will tell stories of what we are seeing from Beta testing. From those stories you can see for yourselves how the game is doing, and what it's like to actually play it.

 

We respect the fact that many of you are pilots, enthusuasts, and fanatics of the like, and teasing you with shots of how good OFF looks is simply torture. We want you to know what the Campaign engine feels like, and what we meant by it being DYNAMIC. It's coming, very soon, you can tell because we have time to fly it now. So with that in mind, and you're interest in us at an all time high... we're ready to light the fire and show you what 3 years of waiting has brought you.

 

We hope you enjoy our idea, and enjoy our stories. If you would like to comment, please do so, but again, this thread is more for you to read and enjoy, rather than discuss subjects on. Please feel free to open a new thread to address any questions you might have in regards to the upcoming Phase 3.

 

All the best, and thinking of you first...

 

OvS

Edited by Siggi

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Thanks to Pol as well for suggesting we put together some of our test reports to share with everyone. Besides reports from the front I will be listing some survival advice as well that would have been useful for me.

I made the mistake of approaching this like a game. You have to approach it as an experience and really think about your course of action. You won't survive very long if you dive gung ho into a mission intent on banishing your foes without really thinking about how you are going to go about it.

The new AI changes everything. They remind me more of multiplayer action. The AI no longer split up and mill around aimlessly waiting for you to shoot them down. They are aggressive, they are in the fight, and they are out to get you.

It gets interesting from the time you take off on a mission. Sometimes you may be taking off with just a couple of squadron mates, but there are times you might be taking off with 10 other planes and if you are not paying attention and drift into one of your squad mates you will end up having a mid-air right over the airfield.

I was losing a lot of pilots to mid-air collisions in dogfights. You learn to work with your squadron mates instead of competing with them. If there are 3 planes going after one, circle around and watch the show. If you are chasing an enemy with one of your squadron mates hang back and watch him, when the EA pulls up and your partner overshoots you will be there to take over.

Like I mentioned before it is designed for immersion. It absorbs you into the era. Every mission has been a unique experience. be sure to learn the name of your wingman. If you claim a kill you will have to fill out a claim report. No witness no credit. It makes you approach the sim as more of an experience than a game.

I have been testing fighters and bombers on both sides of the line.

For general information, the screens I have posted are not on the highest settings. Graphic Detail 4, Aircraft 5, Terrain Detail 3, Scenery 4, effects 4, and clouds 2. I do not have the aircraft setting on ultra highresolution, but you can see they are still pretty sharp. Enough of a verbose introduction. The next posts will be reports from the front.

Edited by Siggi

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You are going to love the 2 seaters. They are not lumbering flying targets that help get your kills up. They have a bite as they did, and to attack a tight formation will result in significant damage. You will quickly learn to respect them and only press an attack when you have a good advantage.

I came across 3 DFW's during a Camel mission that were scattered apart. I went for the center one and was dipping and dodging taking shots at him and the next thing I know the other 2 closed in and started hitting me with a wicked crossfire. I was well over on the wrong side of the line and turned my camel for home with a little more ventilation than I had before. If you go down on the wrong side of the line you are captured and your career is over. On occasion your pilot escapes, but not very often.

Edited by Siggi

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I give up, for some strange reason the thread isn't allowing me to do individual posts, it keeps adding the reply into the previous post. Sorry.

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You could copy yarns to a txt and then post them with someone else, if forum is giving trouble with multiple postings from single user.

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Cheers Viper, good idea.

 

Last night's slip into the past was with Jasta 15, early May 1917. We had our trusty Albatros D.III Early's ready to go. Aces present were Ernst Udet, dressed in a beautiful brick-red fuselage and black rudder (D.1941/16) and a young pre-ace Heinrich Gontermann. We were up high on a patrol over freindly territory (we Huns never like to admit to being 'on the defensive'). A bright-sunny day. From the south, I spotted 4 Esc 80 Nieuport 17's heading for us.

 

The mele breaks out, I assigned a target and sent the dogs. Up and down and all around us were Noops jinking, speeding by, taking shots. I am very suprised how agile the 17 is, as it's hard to keep the angle on my target. I finally down one with a huge burst, and a deep black trail of smoke. Down he goes, spiriling into the trees below.

 

Next kill was a luck shot. I caught one on the break from the tail of one of my wingies. It looked like he got too close and pulled out. I swooped in and laid a trail of fire into his engine, but I passed him so fast, I did't think I hit him. Well, looking back, he started to trail a thin line of mist from his underside, and began a wide, circular death spiral into the dirt.

 

That left 2 more to deal with. At this point, satisfied with my tally, I played cover for one of my wingmen and watched my pupil tear the Frenchie to shreads. A natural born killer... good man!!

 

We never even arrived at the first check-point of our route! Low on ammo and seeing that 1 of my wingies was smoking, we headed for home.

 

Another 2 kills logged. I think Ernst is getting jealous. I am just under him at 4 and moving up fast.

 

Point to make here is that I have played MMP for a few years and I am using all those little techniques I was taught. I was a student of the best, Rittm. Wolfgang Jager from J23b. Every one of those things he taught me I use in this game, with success. That's how real the combat feels to me. Stay high, engage to disenage, keep an escape route handy and in sight, and never overestimate the skill of the pilot you are facing.

 

OvS

Edited by Siggi

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The mission is with RFC 10 Biffs, and 3 of us are to attack an airfield just over the line. It must be important as we have an escour of about 7 SE5a's. It is early morning, mid Summer and it is beautiful flying weather. we are informed that there is a major offensive going on. The battle of Bucher in Flanders and we are right in the thick of it. We are high and about halfway to the target when several Fokker DVII's start coming our way. It is Franz Buchner and his whole gang of aces from Jasta 13. I think we are in for a rough ride. I switch to the gunners seat and get ready for a fight. The twin Lewis guns on the Biff can do significant damage and with 3 of us close together we should be able to hold our own, but the fight doesn't come. I sit in the gunners position and watch the swirling mele as our escorts have it out with the DVII's. What a sight, and what a relief. We distance ourselves from the fight and continue on towards the target.

As we get close I start my gradual dive and line up on the hangars. There is a row of aircraft in front of the hangars and no one aloft. We have caught them completely by suprise. A rarity. I drop my bombs and watch as a hangar and a fighter go up in flames. I peel off and get away from the machine gun fire and assess the damage then signal my two squad mates to hit the flight line again and watch from a distance as they come in drop their bombs. we all head out as quick as we can, and get high over no mans land where we can see a major bombardment going on at the front. The battle of Bucher is raging. Flashes from exploding shells are everywhere and there is a large dust and smoke cloud covering the battlefield. We don't see our escorts again but make it back without incident.

Also a rarity.

The fun with the bombing runs is that after you drop your load you are still not finished with the fire works and can watch your squad mates add to the destruction. Safety tip. If you have stirred up a hornets nest don't hang around to watch your squad mates bomb hits. You won't make it back home for tea.

This mission was another indicator of how unpredictable each mission is. It is not a canned fight. I expected to be shooting at attacking planes from the gunners seat and ended up having a front seat position watching the escorts having it out with the jasta 13 Fokkers. As they would have.

 

Makai

 

This was one mission I have to share. It really demonstrates the complexity and quality of the game and was one heck of a mission. I have programmed my controls so I have a single button for screen shots and am always poised to grab one if a good image presents itself that demonstrates the action.

This mission was with a DR1 of Jasta 2 Boelcke.

A major battle is underway, Operation Michael. It looks like the whole squadron is going up. I look down the line and flight 1 looks like it is most of the squadron aces. We take off and my flight #2 forms up and heads for the front to patrol along the line of the offensive. We lose sight of flight #1. We arrive at the front and there is a massive barrage going on. Next we spot a flight of Camels out looking for trouble like us. The numbers are fairly evenly matched 6 DR1's and 7 Camels. The furball begins and the sky is full of swirling aircraft. I see one of my squadron mates with a Camel on his tail and I go after him. The first burst makes him break away and I am close on his tail but he is all over the sky. I don't like to fire unless I am assured a hit and I hold off. He is unable to shake me but is definitely not giving me any opportunities. I start to get that feeling that I am taking too long and can expect tracers from behind me any minute. I have lost too many pilots getting fixated on one target and finding someone on my tail sending my pilot down in flames. I push it a little longer then "Holy *%*&!! what was that? A DR1 flashes by so close it practically makes me jump out of my chair. It is Jasta 2 ace Karl Bolle. The aces have joined the fray and he jumps in on my oponent. I back off and let him have it. He is being more effective anyway and I feel a mid air collision coming on with all these planes swirling around. The fight has taken us from high up in the clouds to the ground and now I am right over the bombardment and a new attraction for the British troops on the ground. I swing wide to get clear off the gunfire and head back for my side of the line. I don't see any of my flight. At last glance the aces were making short work of the remaining Camels.

I head for home and when I am near the airfield I spot a lone RE8 heading back for the line. I can't outrun him but I am high and dive to get ahead of him. I have learned some hard lessons already trying to attack the 2 seaters from behind. I dive down and make a passing attack from his front left side focusing fire on the engine as I flash past from above down under and behind. I have made a lucky shot and see a fine trail of smoke streaming behind. I try to get under and pull up to get an underside shot into the engine, but the Triplane is too responsive and I shoot up above the tail firing into the Re right into the gunners line of fire and he lets me have it in the engine. My shots have been efective and a flame starts on the RE8 then he is engulfed in flames and going down. My engine is not doing well and I continue on towards my airfield trying to make it rather than setting it down in the nearest field. I can see the airfield but am crossing a heavily forested area with no where to land and just as I get to the field the engine gives out. No time for a down wind approach, I cut right across the field, touch down and roll up to the far hangar.

What a ride that was.

 

Makai

Edited by Siggi

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I'm still trying to get my heart to slow down from the sheer jolt I just received in OFF P2, and I'm a young man!

 

It was my first mission as Jean-Luc Rene, flying for the French in October 1916. We took off from our airfield and headed out over the lines - as I've done thousands of times before.

 

I was feeling pretty drowsy, to be honest with you. I had just flown a completely uneventful mission in IL2, fired up some OFF and after a good half an hour in the air, the droning of my engine and the lack of any contact was beginning to numb my senses and lull me to sleep.

 

We were about halfway over the lines. The faintest rumble of artillery began creeping out ahead of us, still several miles away. I began wondering why I hadn't seen any enemy flak thus far, as we were surly within visual range of Archie by now.

 

*BAM!*

 

A horrendous explosion booms out of my surround sound system - which was already cranked up pretty loudly. I hear nothing but wind, breaking parts, tearing canvas, and the slow coughing death of my engine. My pilot is screaming bloody murder. My screen has flashed bright red, then black, then showed my poor Neiuport 17, falling lifelessly from the sky. The upper wings still attached, but very little else.

 

Just like that, on my first mission, only twenty minutes in: Death. I was startled so badly that my body shot enough adrenaline through my system that my heart was pounding from the fright I received when that incredible flash of light and the BANG! that nearly put me on the ceiling.

 

I'm beginning to think Phase 3 will be bad for my health!

 

Cpt Sopwith

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So on to our next mission. Another bright and sunny day in Flanders. We were assigned to partol the front, east of Arras.

 

While on the way to the target, we came across a group of DFW's from Flieger-Abteilung 13 (FA 13). I quikly noticed one was already smoking!! I was LIKING my chops at this one!!! I line her up, and get under her belly. The gunner opens up but he can't hit me. I lay into the belly and straff the underside, killing the gunner, and knocking out the tail. The pilot panics, and starts the decent.

 

I follow, keeping tabs like a starving vulcher. I pop some lead into her here and there, to keep the pilot honest, and bring her in. She goes down in a field, east of Arras. I not the location for the report.

 

We regroup and continue on... I take a quick count of ammo... 94!!! Goodness... I only have 94 rounds left! Man, I wasted too much on that DFW!!! I sure hope.... uh-oh... this can't be.

 

Sure enough. As my luck would have it. Jasta 11. Not just Allmenroder, Schafer, and Wolff, but none other than the Brothers Richthofen as well... and some extra Jasta 11 slob thet probably tossed in there for fun.

 

Great... 94 rounds, and I'm up against the best!! Well... I am Otto... so here goes nothing.

 

The mele starts with a break in all directions. The go everywhere, we break into pieces. 5 of us, verses 6 of them. I try to pick one out, but it's just too fast, and with my limited ammo, I have to make sure I am accurate.

 

Somehow, I break off from the crowd, and find myself alone. But I get the funny feeling I'm being stalked. Sure enough... here come Manfred, diving down on me... why me? This guy really wants a piece of me!!! For the first time in any WWI sim, I've ever flown, I actually felt like I was being hunted!

 

Now it really goes bananas! Manfred and I, twisting, turning, one-on-one. A fight to the death. I could not believe my eyes. I was in a dogfight with the best. This sim is truly unbelievable. I felt like Manfred was making fun of me. At one point, he passed me flying upsidedown, as if taunting me!! The combat ensues for a good 10 min. I must be making him really mad because he can't get a shot it. Same for me though. He's REALLY good... best I've ever seen. I can't stay on his tail long enough for a clean shot.. remember.... 94... that's it... well... now 71... ooops.... 65....

 

Well... it gets worse... Lothar decided it was time to help out his older brother and jump in. Not one, but two aces now. This is just getting ugly. Lothar gets a shot it and peppers my left wing. Damn... now I can't turn too well. The SE5a is still doing well though, and holding her ground. I'm down to 45 rounds now... and Kurt shows up. Nice.. now I am doomed.

 

I finally made that mistake books are written about, and Manfred lays the lead into me. It's over... I'm going down. I ditch on a hill behind enemy lines. Yes... I also broke all of Boelcke's rules, can you blame me?

 

Aside from the results, this was by far the best mission I have flown yet. The dogfight between me and MvR lasted for 15 minuets before anyone else jumped in, and truth is, I really felt like he was making fun of me. At one point he dropped in front of my nose, I lost him under me, and next thing I knew, he was behind me.... how... I don't know. I could swear the speed that he passed in front of me he'd loose it for sure. Nope....

 

Anyhow... I was captured, and thus ended my 2 mission career with RFC56. Another victum to the guns of Manfred. I have to admit, it was an honor to be shot down by the best. But I know he'll be talking about me for a long time....

 

OvS

 

 

Mission with SE5a's from 60 RFC. Lousy weather for flying, but my little squad of 3 goes up anyway to patrol along the line near the coast.

Who would be up in this weather? As we get near the coast I spot a couple of specs high above us on our side of the line going West that look like a couple of DFW's. I start to climb up towards them. As I get close to the first one I notice I have lost the rest of my troop somewhere in the clouds. The DFW's are from Ss-29 and they have made the fatal mistake of not staying close together, still one can be deadly if not approached with caution. I swing back and forth under his tail as the gunner swings left and right to get a shot at me. I hear hits go through my wings but nothing vital has been hit yet. I get some concentrated hits to his engine and the DFW flames and he goes down. I climb up after the other one and tracers from the gunner are coming at me but no hits yet. The gunner is firing from a long distance. I come up under the tail and pop up behind him, Lewis gun blazing away and pieces coming off the DFW. My shots must have finished off the gunner because there is no more fire coming from the back seat. More fire produces a trail of smoke then I run out of ammo. The DFW is still flying towards his target whatever that was but he is losing altitude. I fly along watching to see if he goes down. My squad mates have finally caught up with me and circle around the DFW but do not attack. usually they are merciless. They must know he is done for. I watch to see if he will land but he runs out of air over the forest and I just see a flash then a plume of smoke coming up out of the trees. The squad forms up and we head back to the airfield. We have saved our side from a potential attack, I guess the rainy day flight was worth it.

The weather is one of the major immersive elements in Phase 3. Historical weather has been programmed in the game. There will be days you go to the mission briefing then find that the flight has been cancelled. If you get consecutive flight cancellations don't think there is something wrong with the program. I have had missions cancelled 4 days in a row to bad weather before.

 

Makai

 

You never know what is going to happen. P3 is totally unpredictable. I think the flights where nothing happens are just as immersive as those full of action. The dynamic weather really adds to the realism. I had a flight with a small group of DVII's to patrol the front and we were warned by the met officer of impending rain. It was a dark and gloomy day with heavy clouds. We finished the patrol not seeing another plane and just as I was approaching the airfield to land it started pouring rain.

The mission I am going to share however was not one of those quiet missions, and I was going to do another squadron or Jasta since I have shared missions from Jasta 2 but I can't pass this one up.

As I cycle through the planes I am testing I have noticed that my Jasta 2 Fok DR1 pilot is having a particularly long life compared to the rest. 11 confirmed kills out of 16 claims. Most don't last for more than 2 or 3 missions.

There are some cancelled flights due to weather, then it is snowing. I take off and land. No weather to be flying in. The next day the storm has moved on, it is grey and there are patches of snow from the storm. (very cool) The mission is to attack troops that are building at the front for an assault. They send 4 of us off for the task. Things must be getting tough. The countryside with the patches of snow is very real looking and I am enjoying just sight seeing over the wintry landscape. We near the front and there is a brutal barrage going on on our side. The Tommy's must be getting ready to go over the top and we swing wide around the bombardment to get at the infantry positions and the next thing we know we are in a storm of Camels. 10 Camels have dropped down on us and we are in a fight for our lives. I am all over the place I get on one and land some hits and when he darts away I immediately pull up and go for the one that was one my tail not waiting to see if I sent the last one into the mud. I am holding my own and causing some damage. There are plenty of targets around. I get a glimpse of the mele going on over the barrage and I see 2 aircraft trailing smoke. I have a bad feeling they are most likely my squadron mates and I will soon be the only target around for everyones entertainment. I try a running fight for our lines and damage several more camels with bits flying off and trails of smoke. As long as I don't stay on one for too long I have a chance but my plane is starting to take some punishing hits. I feel they have all joined the chase now. I finally go into the ground and my pilot is captured. I start over with a new Jasta 2 pilot. What a way to go. The greatest significance of this fight was that I survived as long as I did and did some damage while I was at it. When I started testing I would not have lasted 20 seconds in this fight. It made me realize that you actually have a chance to survive in this game with a little bit of experience, getting familiar with how the different planes handle, and developing your marksmanship. That was a great action packed mission.

 

Makai

 

Originally Posted by ovs

For the first time in any WWI sim, I've ever flown, I actually felt like I was being hunted

 

Funny I had this exact feeling in a campaign mission yesterday whilst testing the Se5a Viper. 5 in my flight met head on with 7 DVII's from J18 over enemy lines.

 

Red and white merged with the dark Vipers. 17 seconds later I see one Se5 pumping out smoke with a DVII on his tail. I look behind and see 3 DVII's turning in to me coming around. I evade and manage to get a few wild shots at a passing DVII.

 

A few more seconds pass I see another wingman taking damage and he's already low, so my first bad move is I dive to help him. I get down there and fire at a few 100 yards to try to distract the German, too late. The Se5 is already going down and I fly through the crash smoke.

 

Twisting my neck to check my tail I see two trails of white and black smoke one an Se5 and one a DVII (thank goodness). Another DVII flashes past, but the Viper is already heading for the middle of an airfield nose down in an arc of smoke.

 

I turn again and see more smoke - yes another Se5a Viper being hit, then looking to the front again I see what seems to be a dust cloud very close- is it flak? No it's another Se5 heading directly for me taking hits and spewing smoke as he flashes over my right shoulder smoking, the DVII flashes by too, following very close behind him firing. As I look over my shoulder to see my fellow squad member's fate again I see the Se5 suddenly sharp spin and spiral in and crash, as I look up to the front another DVII flashes close over head.

 

Turning my craft around to avoid being a target I see black smoke and fire directed down to the ground - an Se5 flames licking around the cowl hits the ground and his killer flashes close by me.

 

Here I am 1 minute 44 seconds since the merge, and already I am alone.

 

That feeling James had, I have right then. If they took out four so quickly what's stopping me being next, it is inevitable and they are hunting me.

Just for a moment I have taste, a small taste of how most pilots back then must have felt at one time or other. I am not invincible, or untouchable, I am part of the war statistics right here and now and nothing I can do will stop it.

 

The only saving grace is my Viper is fast, so thinking fast I remember to play to my craft's strengths. Sure enough mistake number two . At this the moment I break for home heading towards a distant DVII thinking I can fire as I pass him then go straight on for home. I should have played for one more turn to catch my break rather than just heading out immediately.

 

Before I close on him tracers flash past my head, then the engine is hit and I see the DVII on my tail. Nevertheless I look forward and fire as the previously distant DVII becomes very very close. Looking back now I see my Se5 is pouring white smoke and leaving a nice marker for all the Germans behind me and the once easy controls are poor and sluggish.

 

I have no option but to land; a crash landing, and I am captured. And I am in a way lucky, to escape what seemed certain death.

 

You are no longer in control...

 

Polovski

 

17 hours seems a LOT longer to reach in Phase 3, especially if you like 2-seaters.

 

On this mission with FA 3 Lb, we were assigned to recce some enemy troops positions over the front. I had a choice of 3 different missions, and the first seemed too long for me, but 2 had escorts, 1 did not... the shorter one, which I chose. Big mistake!

 

Everything is good, we get off, form up and a quick hop to the front. I see the target coming up and hop into the back seat to observe. All is quiet. Down over to the left, I see a scrap going on. Some Jasta 4 Pfalz's are having a go at a squadron of RNAS-10 Camels. No biggie, they're too low for me.

 

Well, they brought some friends, up high.... higher than me. I watch them for a little while, trying to get in position to defend, I'm close enough to run back to the lines. But it's too late. They charge at us really hard from above.

 

They came at us from the front and whipped by the left side as I got some wasteful snaps off from the Parabellum. Useless... a waste of ammo.

 

Four of them turned towards us while the other 3 headed low for the Pfalz melee.

 

Not long now... I try and defend, but there are bullets all around me. They're pouring lead at me like a free-flowing river!! I watch in horror as one of my wingies burst into flames and heads for the ground... will that be me? Hell no!!!

 

I take control of the plane and nose dive for the ground just trying to build-up speed. I can't get away. I'm crippled, and going in.

 

I find a spot to land, but this SOB is relentless. My observer is dead... now it's me. I try to land, but she flips and I crash. Dead.

 

Lesson learned... NEVER FLY A RECCE MISSION IN PHASE 3 WITHOUT AN ESCORT!!!

 

OvS

 

Wow Pol! That was great. Those Jasta 18 Ravens were brutal. This gives all a great sense to imagine the moving action that goes with all the reports from the front we have been posting.

Here is another one with the 94th Aero SPADs in the Verdun region.

Three of us start out on an early morning mission to attack an observation balloon that is directing fire on Allied troops.

It is a clear September day. The Verdun landscape is quite a bit different from the flat fields of Flanders I have been flying over in most of my test missions. The first thing that occurs to me is that there are going to be a lot less places to find to set down a crippled plane if you get into trouble.

As we cross the line and approach the offending gasbag we run into a group of DR1's from Jasta 36. My two wingmen take them on as I press on for the target. I am pouring a lot of lead into the balloon and it continues to grow in size as I get closer and closer. I know I may not have a second chance with those triplanes around and I keep firing until I am about to fly right into it. Just as I start to pull up it goes off in my face.

I shoot through the fireball a little singed but intact and turn for our lines. I don't see any furballs around anywhere but there are two specks coming at me. They are 2 of the Dr1's and one flashes by me at close range. I have used up a good bit of ammo on the bag and I am well over the wrong side of the line and now is not the time to get drawn into a turning fight with 2 DR1's. I put the SPADs nose down and head for home. Good old SPAD. The 2 DR1's quickly become specks, and behind them a smoke plume from a downed balloon.

Our side of the lines are a welcome sight as I cross no mans land.

The balloons are much more difficult to kill now, much more like they actually were. No more blowing up a balloon from half a mile away with a few shots.

 

Makai

 

Here are 2 missions that I feel are a classic demonstration of how complex, unpredictable, and intense OFF Phase 3 can be. I will break them up so they don't get too lengthy as one post but I think it is important to describe both of them.

This one is with 9 RNAS flying the Camel.

 

The First mission was to escort a couple of Strutters on a recon patrol over the line. There were 4 Camels. As soon as we crossed the line we attracted the attention of a flight of 3 DR1's and an Albatros from MVR's Jasta 11 Flying Circus. One of the DR1's is above the formation and I see that it is Jasta 11 ace Eberhardt Mohnicke. My squad mates are mixing it up with the main group and I am in a heck of a fight with the blue and red ace. If you are going to have it out with a DR1 Jasta 11 ace, the Camel is the plane to do it in. We are all over the sky and he is putting up a hell of a fight until I obviously hit something vital. This is another unique and immersive feature of P-3. You will know when your opponent is out of the fight. I watch him spiral down, not a death spiral but wide turns with a thin trail of smoke as I am looking down I see another plane going down on fire and crashing. I hope that wasn't one of mine. I wait to see if Mohnicke crashes and no sooner does he go in on a crash landing than I am being torn apart by one of the other DR1's. I got so caught up in fighting the ace that I have neglected to pay heed to one of my own rules of survival. As soon as an opponent is out of the fight break away and check your six. His attack is relentless and I loose controls and it is all I can do to keep the plane flying let alone fight. I crash land and am captured, but this time my pilot escapes after 20 days. This is rare, and I am elated because this pilot was just starting to accumulate some time and credited kills. He even gets a medal when he returns. You feel this is a big deal, not because he got a medal, but because he has lasted long enough to earn it. Mission #2 coming up.

 

Makai

 

This mission is the main reason I wanted to post these 2 missions. This was one of those missions that makes you wonder "what is going to happen this time" everytime you take off.

 

9 RNAS is taking off again with 4 Camels. We are sent across the line to attack an enemy airfield. It is lousy weather again and rains on and off at first then just rains until the end of the mission. When we get to the target there is already a lot of activity. There are a number of Nieuports from Esc 79, there are 3 Re8's circling overhead and a bunch of Pfalz's and Albatros from Jasta 35. We dive in and join the fray. I see a Pfalz flying across the airfield and dive on him. A Nieuport flashes by him in the opposite direction barely avoiding a collision. The Pfalz must have been distracted as he flew in a straight line long enough that I got in some good hits before he turned back towards the airfield. He suddenly slows and pulls up and I throttle all the way back to slow down and keep him in my sights and not overshoot him and just as he wings over and crashes my engine quits. I panic. I am in the middle of the enemy airfield drawing ground fire from all around and my engine quits. I put the nose down and hit the start switch and the Camel roars back to life. I am back in the fight. This sim is giving me gray hairs. Another Pfalz is coming around and I cut around behind him. My hits are starting a thin trail of smoke when I see tracers passing me from behind and my right wings take some hits. I am suprised as I didn't see any other EA around when I jumped on the Pfalz. I pull up sharply to the left hoping to throw off my attacker and watch as a Nieuport flashes by. He was so eager to get the Pfalz that he nearly shot me down. I pull up and away and look back and the Nieuport has abandoned the Pfalz and has a Jasta 35 Albatros hot on his tail and his engine is smoking. The little devil on one shoulder say "Let him take a few little hits" The little angel on the other shoulder says "he is a comrad in arms and it is my duty to help him out. I go after the Albatros and as soon as he starts taking hits he abandons the Nieuport. I do enough damage that he is leaving the fight and so am I as I am out of ammo.

The fight seems to have broken up and scattered and our whole flight forms up and heads for home. All are accounted for. We get close to the front. The weather is gray and rainy and you can't see the dirty brown swath that is no mans land, but we can see the flashes in the gray darkness from the bombardment that is in progress. I am just enjoying the fact that my Camel pilot has survived another wild mission when my engine dies again. What now? Can you believe it. I have run out of petrol. I hope I can glide across the line and try to stretch it out. My squadron mates circle around me as I slowly lose altitude. I am not going to make it and have to put the camel down in a field and roll up to a bombed out farmhouse. My pilot is promptly captured and spends the rest of the war in a POW camp this time.

One of the features I am seeing more and more is the mix of types of aircraft flying with the Jasta's as they actually did.

 

Makai

 

I took up a career with Jasta 78b down in the Marne/Alsace section of the Front. What a beautiful area! It's hard to focus on the mission goal when the countryside and mountains are so wonderful.

 

I'm based out of Habsheim and we're allocated the O.A.W. built Albatros D.III variant. A very good machine, in fact, better than the standard Albatros built D.III. Out mission was to patrol the front, and have a look around for any enemy acitvity.

 

Up we go, with Walter Boning leading Flight 2, myself in command of Flight 1. No sooner do we come across a small squardon of French Strutter B1's from an unidentifed Escadrille. They are too high though, and are not dropping bombs, so we ignore them. Stick to the mission.

 

We arrive on the front, it's hard to tell where it is as the hills and valleys strech all over from right to left. I notice there is little room to land if I have to put my Albatros down.

 

No sooner do we run into a group of Neiuport 17's from Esc 315. All with gold cowlings and yellow flags on the fuselages. We engage, and it's a decent mele. We're outnumbered 4 v 6, but I quickly dispatch one to even the odds. We spread out, and tactically dice up the Noops. I engage their ace, he's pretty good, but no match. I chew up his tail and he's helpless. It's a good turn fiight, but unlike the underpowered D.III, the OAW is much stronger and more responsive. I stay inside his turns and above his escape routes. He's mine, and down he goes. I note his wreckage and location for my report.

 

I look around for my flight and call to regroup. During the fight my gas tank was punctured, and as I thought before.... now I have to figure out where to settle down. I am running out of fuel and far from home. I find a nice open patch on top of a high hill, and set her down gentle up the hill.

 

Mission over for me, I survived. That's 4 kills for me now with Jasta 78b and I logged six flights. I think I'll stay with these guys for a little while, I've lived the longest so far.

 

OvS

 

It seems the Baron and I have both transferred to a quieter place on the front.

This mission is also in Alsace with Kek Habsheim in the winter of 1916 flying the Fok EIII. I was suprised to get a lone wolf mission as I have become used to taking off with numerous squadron mates.

It was getting rather peaceful flying through the mountains until I ran into 3 Nieuport 11's from Esc Laf. I dived into a canyon and they split up trying to maneuver around the terrain to get at me. I got some lucky hits on one and he left the fight trailing smoke. I broke away just in time to avoid another one and dived behind the ridge only to see one coming straight at me. We played chicken trying to get hits on each other and I broke off at the last minute as we passed withen inches (You won't survive playing chicken with the AI, they don't pull up) I came out in a position to get in behind the other one and we dived into the canyon. I landed some solid hits into his engine and a cloud of sparks came from his engine. He was smoking badly and rocking his wings back and forth making it hard to get hits but we got to the bottom of the canyon and he went into the trees and exploded. Now I am running out of sky and trying to climb out of the canyon. I am on the verge of a stall as the EIII struggles to get over the ridge and I manage to just clear the treetops on the ridge and expect to get jumped by the 3rd N11 but he is going away from me down the next ridge line. I dive after him and get some hits that start him smoking before I run out of ammo. They must have been rank rookies. I was shreded by N11's on a previous mission.

I enjoy the scenery on the way back, very much aware that I am still on the wrong side of the line and out of ammo. It was quite a fight and the mountainous terrain makes things real interesting. I got one kill with no witnesses. This is when you can at least recount the mission and the kill in your log even if you probably won't get credit for it.

The scenery is fantastic. The Baron was lucky to find a bare spot on the top of a ridge. There are not too many places to survive an emergency landing in this terrain.

 

Makai

 

Well... write off another pilot.

 

My Tour of Duty with Jasta 76b came to a gruesome end when I foolishly decided to entertain a 4 v 7 fight with Esc 87. They kicked our butts all over the sky. It was ugly.

 

I had the advantage, but they simply out number us in more was than one. Two of them got on my tail and never let up. The cut me to shreds. I tried to land her, but she was too damaged and I lost it.

 

No pics... only the grim reality that this game is more than just a game. You have to make educated decisions based on position and skill. I choose wrong and paid for it. Even the most experienced combat pilot will find this game challenging. It's definitely far from a 10 kill per mission laugher.

 

All the best... more to come.

 

OvS

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Hi Guys,

 

I have finally gotten my install of OFF P3 up to the final version. (long story dont ask why its taken so long. needless to say it was nothting to do with the program itself).

I have had several builds of P3 on my machine but now have the final release version up and running. and OMG!!!!

 

I recieved my DVD from WM and was immediately impressed by the new install functionallity, it is so much more straight forward, asking a series of simple questions that then set the scene for the install proper. including an option to install from the CFS3 disk1, which means you do not have to have CFS3 installed on your machine at all.

 

now before everybody starts jumping up and down about having to or having not to own a copy of CFS3, I'll explain.

 

This means you buy CFS3 but you havent gotten around to installing it. or maybe you do not have a Vanilla copy of CFS3 on your hard drive, so you run the OFF P3 installer, and select install from cfs3 disk option.

 

what happens next is the installer pulls all the required background bits from the CFS3 disc and then compiles it all into the OFF P3 install, including the required updates from the patches to get it upto 3.1

 

OK so its all installed (effortlessly) I fired up the game, and the feel to the manager is just superb, subtle changes have really picked up on the atmosphere of WWI, some of the button and options etc have been re-formatted (for want of a better word) to make it easier to understand what the required sequence of events are required to get your first fledgling pilot into the air. lots of small advice windows to help guide the new player through. now dont get me wrong having said this, it is far from being complex, its a piece of cake to get from first time entry of the manager to flying in game.

 

OK so I have my pilot signed up, pick a campaign mission and selected to fly. there has been a tremendous amount of work done over the last couple of years, we have all heard and seen the talk of skins and squads etc etc. but what really grabbed me was the change in the scenery and the way the whole dynamic world seems to have come to life. dont get me wrong the abundance of correct skins in game is amazing, but it all pales into insignificance when compared to the actual world in which we fly, there was just litterally a million (well you know what I mewan) things going on, as if other little men were living in my game and all doing their bit for the war effort.

 

the flight dynamics have been redone and then dredone again and again to a point were I can honestly say I have not felt the sensation of flight like this from any other sim. here I speak with some authority, I have flown just about all of them and have a fair amount of stick time in actual Biplane aircraft (all be it a WWII Tigermoth rather than a WWI fighter).

 

you have to realy feel the way the plane is flying, when you take off theres no pulling the stick back and just soaring into the blue yonder, rather you have to watch your pitch, your RPM, your air speed and be very mindful of the fact your on the knifes edge of controlled flight and stalled accent to destruction. how ever once in the air and having built up altitude and airspeed/energy you can really through these babies around, as long as you manage your energy. treat them badly and they treat you just as badly.

But really they are all a joy to fly once you have worked out what is just the right way to fly each one. with over 30 flyable planes it will take you quite sometime just to be able to call yourself compitent on each type. this truely is a flight sim and not an arcade shootem up. you need to take the time to learn to fly, and understand the basics of flight.

 

OK were airbourne, at around 7K feet I have spotted an EA (alb DIII) hes below and slightly to my right heading away from me. I drop the nose feed in some rudder, throttle up and find myself closing fast from just off striaght behind my EA. hes completely unaware of my approach, I close to with in 75 feet, I'm thinking I've nailed this swine, I pull the trigger, the single vickers pops away (Sopwith Pup), I have a couple of minor hits, some light smoke erupts from the cowl erea, and just when I think I'm the best fighter pilot to bless the planet the EA reacts to my intitial opening burst, its not the classic CFS3/OFF manouver though, no this bloke wings over dives, (I follow) then half rolls out to be flying in the opposite direction, then swings around on his left wing tip, fires a short burst as we go head to head for a split second. then the chase is on, it took about 10 more minutes of twisting and diving before I gained that postion were I could get a goodly burst and finally see him peel off and head towards the earth at an ever increasing rate of knots, black smoke thickening as he fell, and I can not be sure but I'm pretty sureI seen just the faintest hint of fire starting around the engine cowling just before he hit the ground.

 

I leveled out took stock of my situation and relised I had neither the fuel nor the ammo to complete my assigned task so back to camp I went, my first P3 flight over, mission not really accounted for but one less Hun hiding in the sun.

 

as I fly more, I will now continue to post my encounters.

 

to all a happy Christmas and I really hope the DVD people who are looking after the shipping get going soon, you are all going to be blown away, even you die hard Phase 2 players, your going to love it.

 

regards Rob. (Cpt Winters)

 

 

No screenies, sorry about that.

 

1st quick combat in BHAH - flight of 4 Halberstat DII's against the dread 4 DH-2's - random pilot ability for the bad guys, veteran for the good guys!

 

As noted elsewhere, right to the cockpit on the airfield, with krumpets inbound! Shades of scramble missions, but the DH-2s were far enough away for me to get about 900 feet under the craft before we joined. The Halb is a delightful craft that helped me to nick 3 DH-2s (with help from AA MG and rest of flight). I believe that 2 of the bad guys I downed were rookies, they pulled up into a near vertical climb at 200 feet or so - I didn't follow those antics and a good thing, too. I'd have crashed right along side them! I was angling on #4 when I noticed the ground approaching rapidly, I was banking left but kicking right rudder to bring the gun to bear, and I had stalled the ship. Instead of kicking left rudder and letting her fly, I kicked right even harder and ruined a perfectly good flying machine (and pilot)!

 

A GREAT deal of fun! I'm OFF to go again!

 

Windchill

 

Ok, its 1917 and I am flying a Fokker triplane. This is my third flight in the Fokker and in the first two flights we had two brief encounters and I never got a shot away. My wingman made a kill in the second flight and I covered his tail.

 

3rd flight. Evening and scattered cloud. We were just across the line when suddenly there were tracers zinging by me. I did a wing over and was side slipping at the same time and basically was just trying to survive. By the time I was reoriented it was quite a furball. I think they were mostly SE5s but there was at least one Camel in the mix.

 

This time I locate my wingman before much has happened and he has one on his tail. He's doing pretty well but he has already taken some hits so I come in there thinking I will be the hero. After about half a minute.. tracers again! So I'm dodging and finally I pull into a tight turn.. man this thing can really turn.. nearly stall out but the Camel (yeah Id fly a mile for a Camel) has decided this isn't a good idea and he is diving away and already has some good distance.

 

To my surprise (we are around 8000 feet) he dives into a cloud and I am wondering just how good the AI is.. sure enough, I dive through the cloud and no sign of a Camel anywhere. Damn.

 

Well I can tell you my pulse was about 140 the second time I was dodging tracers. My wingman somehow survived and we both made it back to base. Lost one in our flight but also took one out so we are still one up on the enemy. We'll fudge the numbers a bit for public consumption tho. Hey, three sorties survived isn't too bad for a rookie.

 

Have to say the terrain and aircraft, effects etc pretty damn impressive. I'll get my TIR hooked up over the wkend if all goes well.. may have to pay the wife off and send her to the spa.

 

Frame rate seems good, currently running a 4850 with 512 but a 4870 with 1 GB is on the way.

 

Leonard

 

Ol' Spaatz is at it again!

From the journals of Leutnant Rudolf Spaatz. May 22, 1916

KEK Avillers, Bechamps, France

 

As I walked out of my billet and across the yellow mud towards the hangers I couldnt help but remembering the previous days flight. Gerhard had perished, I shall never forget his look as red and yellow flames licked his face, while he reached for the revolver we all hoped we would never use. I climbed aboard my Fokker E.III. Snugged down my fur lined helmet and donned my goggles. It was a beautiful day, hopefully it will be an enjoyable one. We all need a break here, the dogfights have been furious, the new Halberstadt D.IIs would surely make life easier. No British or French machine can touch them.

Chocks away! I am barely airborne flying alongside Hans Berr, although he has no confirmed kills and has not yet even submitted a claim form, we are all sure he will become an ace. He handled that crate down the runway with grace that has yet to be matched. We are all off the ground twisting and circling to get into formation before we reach our first waypoint over Habshiem.

Over Habshiem I notice that the 'drome is rather sleepy. Must be out on a front patrol as thier planes are nowhere to be seen. I always love looking down over my wings and taking in the beautiful scenery of the Alsace. Today is no different. Admiring the landscape and the dense forests slipping away underneath me, I start to daydream.....home. What had mother and father thought as they read the news of my crash last month? Mother must be scared for my saf.....FWUUMP! Archie, and another, the black bursts engulf the sky below at my 10 o'clock. Viktor Adler and I disengage the flight to see what all the hubub is about, the rest of my flight carries on.

I count one...two....no three Nieuport 11's with a half moon insignia on the fuselage. Haven't encountered this squadron before. I think to abort our attack as we are outnumbered but, Viktor is a good pilot, I know he will have my back.

Lining up the sights on the nearest aircraft, I let loose with a short burst. I hear the familiar pinging of bullets ricocheting off of metal....but I see no damage on the Nieuport. SWOOSH. A fourth enemy pulls up right in front of my nose. I hadn't noticed him in the excitement. Then I realise...the pinging was coming from my Fokker! I spin around and as he is coming out of his climb I spray him with hot lead. He does his best to evade me, weaving about the sky like a madman. His canvas rips and the engine bursts into flames....."Thats for Gerhard" I say to myself. The sound of splintering wood alerts me to my other opponents presence. I twist my head around to see, but it is too late, my engine gives out and screeches to a stop. Poor Viktor is on his own.

 

And thats the end of my attempt at a story while trying to highlight the finer "in game" points of BHaH.

 

Sorry if I got a little carried away there, you should see my claims reports!........"Hurry go get me another piece of paper...and this pen is dried up too."

 

-Rooster

 

My fourth flight with Jasta 2 in mid September, 1916

 

Decided to take off with my lead, although I was third in a flight of four. I wanted to make sure I could keep track of him as there was another flight of five taking off with us. Looking over to my right, I could see my lead. He was just a bit ahead of me but I was sliding towards him as we lifted off. Crosswind was pretty heavy, I quickly looked to my left to make sure it was clear. I needed to get away from number one before we collided. Veering sharp left, I overflew Richtofen and Boelcke as they lifted off. Finally in the clear, I relaxed a bit and got sight of my lead again. He was starting a slow right turn and commencing to circle the field as the rest of our wing got up. When he saw all of us at about a thousand feet winding around trying to get on his tail, he headed for the first waypoint. Boelcke and his flight headed in the opposite direction following their own plan. Ours was a simple patrol over the front... shouldn't offer to much worry. The rain began to pelt us and the sky was black as we climbed away from the field. Although it was only just late afternoon, the sun's complete absence made it seem like twilight. As we tried to form up tighter, the wind kept buffeting us about so I maintained a decent distance above and to the right of the lead and his wingmate. My mate was below and to my right. We climbed toward the east then swung around to the west once we gathered a few thousand feet below us. As we approached the front, the rain seemed to slacken some and visibility improved slightly. We were just below a thick layer of angry looking clouds about five thousand feet up and the rain below us gave a certain fogginess to an already dreary landscape. Leagues of mottled brown mud sprinkled with small green patches where people were still trying to eek out an existence in their wartorn little villages. I passed over an apparently working farm whose farmhouse was in ruin. I assumed the farmer and his family must have been living in the nearby barn as the roof was still intact and I thought I saw light emanating from it. I felt a twinge of guilt for living in relative luxury while the squalor below was left for the people not actually fighting. While taking all this in, I had failed to notice that my flight was following the lead in a near suicidal dive. They were screaming down and towards the northwest. Looking that way, I saw several other planes. Too far to tell who they were, I raced down after my flight to investigate. As we got closer, I saw that the planes were swarming. It looked like a fight was raging, but I didn't see any tracer fire. Deciding to stay above it all until I could determine who was friendly and who was foe, I pulled out of my dive at about three thousand feet. Closer and closer we came. I could now see that the closest machines were definitely allied. Neiuports. Three of them. All brown in color. They seemed to be chasing another plane. That's when I first saw the tracers. They were shooting at one of my countrymen! I was not too concerned as two of my flight gave chase and scared off two of the attackers. This gave our faceless friend the room he needed to manouver and he started to tangle in earnest with the one who was closest on his tail. Still below and ahead of me there were six or seven more craft. Moving up further, continuing in level flight, I saw below one more Neiuport and three Spads tearing into two more of my comrades. The fourth Neuiport was dressed as the previous ones but the Spads were different. They were all tan in color but each had a distinct insignia on their fuselages. I stayed above the fray long enough to get to the other side of the fight as I wanted to begin my attack from the outside of the swirling mess of planes. Surely the Spads had seen me by now, but they ignored me and kept on their prey. Timing myself carefully, I twisted to the left and dove on one of the Spads as he passed under me. I underjudged my speed and only had time to give him a quick raking of my twin guns before I roared past, only a few feet above him. Continuing my turn, I tried to get above and behind him again. I had all the energy I needed from the dive, but it was escaping me as I climbed and banked. This was the moment when I realized that my thought of coming into the fight from outside of it was probably a bad idea. As I was halfway through my turn and facing the direction from where I'd commenced my attack, my nether regions were completely exposed to the other two Spads, who had downed one of their previous victims and were now opening up their guns on me! Hits to my right wings and tail echoed in my ears. I am sure my fear must have amplified the sound of the ripping fabric for I could clearly hear my wings being shredded even above the din of my engine and the clatter of the guns behind me. Luckily, the energy of my dive was enough to get me quickly away from my assailants, but I had taken a hit to the engine and it was coughing and spitting now fitfully. With thick black smoke trailing behind me, I managed to get a few hundred feet above the fight, but realized I was in no condition to continue it. Looking back, I could see my flight tangling mightily with the Neiuports, even saw one of the allied birds go down. My flight was holding their own... for now. There was nothing I could do. I had to abandon them and hope for the best. I spotted an airfield off in the distance on our side and thought I could make it at least that far. Couldn't have been more than two or three miles. That was my new target. I leveled out and found the first Spad I'd latched onto was coming round and lining up on my tail. Jinking and weaving as best I could, I manged to make him miss most of his shots. He would have missed them all, but my bird was in pretty bad shape. Pulling to far to the right forced those wings to stall, so I spent time slipping and sliding one way, until I was near stalled then bank as sharply as I could to the left which wasn't very sharp at all. Luckily, my attacker wasn't a good shot, or perhaps the wind was knocking him about too much for him to get a good line of fire. In any event, I managed to drag him over to the field I intended to attempt a landing on. The gunners there opened up and soon made swiss cheese of my predator. As I babied my injured crate onto the field and my wheels made contact, I looked up and to the right just in time to see a AAA shell explode just in front of the Spad. It seemed to blow his engine clean off as he plummetted to the ground just behind the tent hangars. Fascinated by this display, I paid too little attention to what I was doing and my own crate sagged to the right and my wings hit the grass and spun me around. I managed to walk away, but my bird was destroyed. I wanted to find the gunner that got the Spad and thank him heartily but I knew we would never be able to tell who it was. As the adrenaline settled in me, I couldn't help but wonder how Boelcke's flight made out.

 

Zommoz

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Flieger Geschosskopf found himself in the elite Jasta 11. He hoped being surrounded by such good companions would keep him safe, but was sadly mistaken.

 

31 March 1917, 0825

Some idiot, and no doubt noble, officer, decided the entirety of Jasta 11 should attempt to take off while a very large group of Nieuports was attacking the airdrome of Brayelles. Flieger Geschosskopf might have been a novice, but he'd studied air combat extensively before enlisting, and knew that being caught low and slow by more maneuverable planes was a bad idea. Why not sit in a trench until the enemy was withdrawing, then chase them home? But no, the young officers running Jasta 11 all seemed to want to grow up to be Falkenheyns.

 

Bullets impacted all around Geschosskopf as he waited to begin his takeoff roll. As soon as his wheels cleared the ground, he went into as hard a turn as his airspeed would allow, cutting across those behind him but he'd worry about the repurcussions of that later. He barely cleared a tree, then had to turn the other way to avoid another swooping Nieuport. The air was now full of twisting, zooming Nieuports and floundering Albatri. Geschosskopf tried to sneak off to the side and perhaps gain a little altitude, but he was attacked by one enemy after another, forcing him to turn as hard as he could and keeping him more or less in place at the end of the runway.

 

Geschosskopf occasionally got a quick burst off at a passing Nieuport and thought he winged one, but never had the time, airpseed, or altitude to press an advantage. He completely lost track of the situation, having to divide his time between staying in the air, avoiding trees, and dodging attacks. Periodically, bullets smacked his plane 2 or 3 at a time, but for a while the Albatross held together.

 

Eventually, inevitably, however, a burst struck home from an unknown direction, and his engine immediately quit. At the time, Geschosskopf was hanging on the edge of a stall trying to get his nose up at a Nieuport's belly just above him, so the loss of power put him right down. He went into a spin and pancaked from about 10m altitude. Amazingingly, Geschosskopf walked away without a scratch. Even more amazingly, the rest of Jasta 11 was also still alive, although only the Red Baron had scored.

 

Combat time: 5 minutes.

 

1 April 1917

Once again Jasta 11 sortied at full strength, this time to attack a balloon just across the lines. The weather was appalling and Geschosskopf was never sure which Albatross he was supposed to be following. Apparently he picked the wrong one because it seemed to go off on its own away from the others.

 

After about 20 minutes, with the lines coming up ahead, Geschosskopf spotted a large, unescorted formation of BE2s slightly below heading in the opposite direction. Knowing he was far behind the rest of the squadron so had no hope of getting the balloon, he decided he'd attack the Quirks. However, his leader paid them no attention and kept on after the rest of the Jasta, which had disappeared far ahead.

 

Geschosskopf overflew the enemy formation and then swooped on the trailing machine. He gave it a good burst and was rewarded with seeing the observer slump over, apparently dead. Also, the BE2's engine began to belch large clouds of black smoke and large pieces blew back in its slipstream. Geschosskopf quickly zoomed up and came back for another pass, again pouring lead into the BE's forward fuselage. However, despite being totally defenseless and dropping further and further behind the others, the BE continued straight and level, pressing on regardless. Geschosskopf had to admire, and pity, the Englishmans' determination.

 

Try as he might, however, Geschosskopf couldn't bring the Tommy down. He shot it completely to pieces, and its engine was turning so slowly he could easily watch the propellor blades. By now, it was trailing a steady stream of black smoke. However, without losing altitude, the BE continued on and bombed a forward German field, before turning back towards its lines, completely ignoring Geschosskopf.

 

Geschosskopf made about 10 passes on the BE, scoring devastating hits each time. Yet the pilot miraculously survived (Geschosskopf could see him clearly due to the large missing pieces of fuselage), the engine continued to run after a fashion, and it absolutely refused to burn. The German lines were now below and there appeared to be some English scouts in the offing. Geschosskopf decided to make 1 more pass and then, if the BE survived, call it quits. He was determined to make this shot count, so closed in as close as possible. Too close, actually. There was a horrible crunch as the planes collided, then Geschosskopf quickly blacked out as the remains of his aircraft spun into the mud of the German trenches.

 

Combat time: 37 minutes

 

Bullethead

 

RFC-56, November the 10th, 1917

 

Day 1

 

Having just transfered into a new squadron one would've hoped for an easy first combat mission, but then in this great war all the logic seems to have gone out of the window.

 

It turns out my first flight in 56 Squadron would be a Balloon Busting mission in, as the chap from the met office put it - "Gale force winds."

 

Took off at 08:00 and joined up with the rest of the lads on the way to the front, turns out there was only a little rain and the wind wasn't too bad, seems the weather man isn't always right, thankfully.

 

The flight towards the lines was rather dull as you can imagine, it only started to get interesting near the front when I spotted a flight of four to five unknown craft heading across the lines, signaling my flight lead I, along with my Wingman Ren "Hoagie" Hogan, was ordered to check them out.

 

After closing with the craft we discovered that they were infact a Flight of German Albatros DIIIs that, it would seem, were just as interested in our Flight as we were with theirs, which resulted in something of a Dogfight.

 

I ended up in fisticuffs with a chap flying a Blue tailed crate with some sort of arrow painted on the side, needless to say he ended up on the ground in flames as one would expect.

 

For some reason this seemed to annoy one of his wingmen, flying with a shooting start painted on his Albie, Hoagie and I made short work of this Hun as well, with both of us getting several shots into him before he hit the dirt.

 

Having leveled out after giving those Germans a good lesson in flying, I noticed that the rest of my flight was nowhere to be seen and I was all alone over the front.

 

Remembering my original duty to destroy the Observation Balloon - and also wishing to get payed this month, I headed across the German lines alone in search of the target.

 

The Balloon itself was a rather easy target and only took one short burst to take down, leading me to think it was my lucky day - for all of one second until every machinegun and artillery cannon in the german army fired at my bird all at once...

 

Turns out one of the German bullets hit something important and made my engine make some god awful noise that you'd hope your engine never would make and so, having done my duty and having an irrational fear of crashing sausage side nose first, I decided it was time to run away back to the British side of the line.

 

Even with several new holes in the engine, the old girl managed to get me across the lines and even lasted long enough to get back to base, she'll probably not fly again however...

 

Thankfully I will!

 

Total Flight Time: 62 minutes

Kill Claims: 2 Albatros DIIIs

 

Mike Dixon

 

It was shortly after 0800 on 16 May 1916 and still hadn't flown a hop with my new mates of 20 Squadron. Every since I'd arrived at Clairmarais 3 days before, inclement weather had scrubbed all flying. But on this morning, it appeared to be a fine day with just a few scattered cumulus clouds. Still, the Met Officer didn't trust the weather to last, so I was ordered to fly due north some distance out over the Channel and report on what was blowing in from the sea, so the Squadron could plan missions for later in the day. Or not, as it turned out.

 

So off I went, with scattered cumulus here and there and cloud base about 4000'. But as I proceeded north, the clouds got bigger, more common, and lower, and there was the occasional bump from turbulence. It really wasn't so bad over land, but out over the water ahead I could see the clouds were bigger, darker, much more frequent, and somewhat lower. By the time I got to the beach, I could see I needed to descend into the fog/rain to go under the solid overcast at 3000', above which angry-looking incipient cumulonimbi stuck up at intervals.

 

So down I went. The cloudbank had some outlying fringes of thin cloud or rain some distance out from and lower than the main mass, but they looked harmless enough so I flew into one right over the beach. As soon as I did, however, I was snatched by the most violent updraft I've ever experienced. Needless to say, this surprised me; I was expected a strong downdraft near the edge of the cloudbank.

 

But there was no mistaking that I was going up. My plane tumbled wildly, too fast tell which way it was going. The camera, spare ammo drums, my map and my cigarettes, and quite a few other things went over the side, and I and my observer would have followed if we hadn't been strapped in. I only had fleeting glimpses of all this, however, because the tremendous forces of the tumbling caused me to black and red out several times.

 

Finally, I came to to discover my crate in a spin. Fortunately, the old Fee is a stable bird and I was able to recover easily. As I gathered my senses, I discovered that I was now at 5500', up from 3000' at the start of the updraft. The Met Officer's instruments later showed I'd achieve a rate of climb of nearly 6000 feet per minute!

 

Once back under control and breathing normally again, I flew east along the beach seeking away around these dangerous clouds to continue with my mission. However, there was no break in the wall of clouds, and in fact the whole mass seemed to be growing and getting closer to land. This made me look back south, and I got another shock. The way home was now mostly obstructed by scattered thunderstorms. If I was going to get home at all, I'd better start now.

 

The trip back to Clarmarais was something of an adventure, too. I had to weave my way between the storms and got bounced around quite a bit, but fortunately avoided a repeat of the updraft. Cloudbase was now down to about 1500' and Clairmarais had a storm directly overhead when I arrived, so I had to run around the neighborhood nervously until it passed over. I managed to get down safely in a brief interval between storms, and it took 6 men lying on the wings to get my crate safely into the hangar and secured. Needless to say, all further flights were cancelled that day.

 

Bullethead

 

After a weekend of tragic deaths and poor flying my skills in these WWI crates are final coming back. I fly with Realism at 100 percent. Now to the story....

 

 

 

Debrief of Dieter Klaus, flying with Jasta 2

 

On an uneventful patrol of our front lines my flight of 4 Albatros D.II's ran across a formation of British bombers and fighter on their way home. The flight leader turned hard to engage the formation and we followed closely behind. At about 2 miles out the screening British DH2 fighters wheeled hard right and dove straight for us.

 

I hung back waiting for the merge. The air was filled the crackling chattering din of machinegun fire as tracer rounds flashed out from both flights. The British had height and energy on us and they climbed for height as they pass through our formation. I had good speed and whipped my D.II hard left standing her on her wing in a screaming turn. Applying some rudder to bring the nose up I got one of the DH2's in my sights and poured three 4 second burst into the cockpit and engine. Black smoke erupted from my victim and down he went into the ground. Nosing down I dove shallow to pickup some speed and cleared my tail.

 

Scanning the sky I saw one D.II at 5 o’clock being hounded by a DH2 and being very roughly treated. Banking hard right I was determined to save my mate. Clearing my 6 I opened up at about 100 yards with a short burst to draw the Tommie’s attention and make him break off the attack. A few rounds found the mark and the Brit broke high and left turning into my attack. We flashed by barely 30 feet between us. My squadron mate had reversed his turn and was now on the tail of his tormentor. The Brit snap rolled into a Split S which my mate couldn’t follow. By this time I had reversed and was coming back at the fight about 500 feet above where the FE8 came out of it dive. Chopping throttle and light touch on the rudder pedals lined up this fellow for the kill shot. Three 2 sec burst into the cockpit and he side slipped into ground.

 

Turning hard left to clear my tail I was greeted by the rattle of bullets impacting my right wing. Another burst slammed into my kite behind the cockpit. I continued my roll going inverted and pulled through into dive. Picking up speed fast more tracers sailed by to the left missing me this time. Quick scanning the area I saw My squadron mate in the distance in no position to help out. I saw the DH2 about 300 hundred feet above me come on hard out of a turn. I jinxed like a mad man more hits in the left wing this time, my bird was responding less sharply now. With 120 knots of speed built up I break left hard pulling the yoke for all I was worth my plane protest the rough treatment groaning loudly from the stress. The Tommie had piled on to much speed to follow me and he rolled level and climbed away. Nosing down I fought the G forces an reversed my turn scrubbing off speed and coming out behind the bugger who over shot. Risking a stall I pulled the nose up and snapped off a long burst at the DH2. I was surprise to see the Tommie tail slide into the ground. Kill number 3 no time to celebrate I was low and slow and knew enough to know I had to move.

 

Scanning the sky as I banked left and right to clear my tail I saw nothing. The bombers where long gone and I didn’t see my mates or the last Brit. Turning for home I at last caught a glimpse of the last DH2. He was low on the deck head for the lines. Slamming the throttle to full, banking hard right I gave chase. As I drew closer I could see he trailing smoke. He made no moves to avoid me as drew slowly closer. I could see he was busy in the cockpit. I almost felt sorry for the fellow as I lined up a very careful shot. Pulling the trigger I was greeted by the rattling fire from only one of my guns but it was enough. A huge black cloud of smoke exploded from the Brits engine and flames followed. The FE8 crashed into the trees below and was torn apart.

 

…… 2 Weeks later all 4 kills where confirmed

 

Outcastt

 

25 April 1917

No. 15 RFC Field Hospital, Somewhere in Flanders

 

 

"Aufwiedersehen ins Massengrab

Wir sehen uns wieder ins Massengrab"

 

The Jerry PW in charge of the burial detail here was singing that yesterday as he made his rounds. His English and my German are good enough for me to understand that he'd been all through Verdun last year, where he learned the song. He did some instruction back in Hunland, was posted to Flanders, and was captured on the 1st day of our current "push". I envy him. Not a mark on him, although he's nearly deaf, coughs a lot from gas, and talks to invisible entities all the time. I've got the same afflictions, but am also missing the ends of my last 3 left fingers. Plus, unlike him, I don't yet know if I'll make it through this war...

 

At least I'm still somewhere IN Flanders instead of somewhere under it. The MO's say I'll be fit for duty in a few more days and I hear 20 Squadron's moved while I've been under repair. I'm none too anxious to return--chaps are calling this month "Bloody April", and it's been bloody enough for me already, with still some days left in it. But the clean upper air, with all its terrors, is preferrable to the stench of gangrene and excrement here. I still feel the guns rumbling in the air, and the occasional wisp of gas drifts by, bringing the charnal reek of the trenches. Besides, that Welsh tart of a nurse is starting to take our relationship too seriously. Best I was up and doing. I've no doubt left her some crabs to remember me by...

 

My last entries being all about said Welsh tart, I suppose I'd best record why it is I'm laid up now. It was the 15th inst. that we set out to raid the Hun aerodrome at Coolkerke with 8 Fees. We never came close to it, however, because we were bounced from high above by at least an equal number of Albatri about 5 miles this side of the front. A tremendous dogfight ensued that quickly spiraled down to near the ground.

 

A Hun was on our tail and put a few holes in the old crate but I twisted hard and he overshot me. I got on his tail and my observer, Sgt. Stackrock, got him with a couple of good bursts. He was obviously hurt and tried half-heartedly to weave around to throw me off, but the old Fee wins that game and Stackrock got him a couple more times. The Albatros burst into flames and crashed immediately, we being only about 200 feet up at the time.

 

Immediately another Hun got on my tail and more holes appeared, but Stackrock jumped to the rear gun and made him break away. Then I saw another Hun on the tail of Major Dillingham, so closed in on him. As Stackrock was beginning to hit him, suddenly my hand got knocked off the throttle by the bullet that took off the ends of my left fingers. Other bullets apparently took off something important from our old Fee, too, because she started tumbling and there was nothing I could do about it.

 

So down we went, and it looked like our number was up, but we landed in the top of a tree. And there we remained, upside down and soaked in leaking petrol, twenty feet off the ground, until the PBIs scrounged up a ladder about an hour later. I've been here ever since, with some broken ribs to go with my maimed hand. Good thing I don't play the guitar. Stackrock came through without a scratch, though, and was back on ops the next day.

 

Stackrock managed to smuggle me some gin, which as I've related elsewhere improved various relationships hereabouts. He also told me the honors were even in our scrap: 3 planes down on each side. Captain Chapman and his observer were killed, as were all the Huns, but our other plane force-landed without casualties. Apparently the Huns were from Jasta 2, one of their crack outfits. I suppose they'll give us old Fees a bit more respect now.

 

Bullethead

 

Having only just arrived in france the day before i was itching to get up and give fritz a good seeing to, the date was 1/1/1915 and i was posted to a fighter sqd'n what luck, i do feel sorry for those chap's in the bombers.

I was allocated a new bristol scout one with a lewis gun . We had our briefing at 0600 and i was told to stick to the leaders tail ( Major Dick Bath ) and not to try and be a hero.

We got to our mounts at 0700 and did the routing checks then the moment came, The engine kicked into life and the aircraft started rolling, i gave it full power and up she went.

Follow the major about 300 yards astren we climed to 2000ft heading for the front over Lens " what a life this is" i looked inside the cockpit to check my map,

alls well there, then NO .

When i looked up the major had gone!

I looked up ,down left and right he was no where to be seen then out of no where

ratter tat tat and my aircraft shook and i started to lose power. Panicing i threw

her into a steep dive and caught site of a German mono plane wizz by.

Down down down i went getting peppered all the way to the ground. Some how i managed to put her down, somewhere how side of the lines.

This might not be as easy as i thought!

After getting a ride back to my base i could'nt stop thinking about what the Major was going to do to me. I needn't of worried he never made it back.

This is going to be a long war............

 

Red-Dog

 

Voices from the Grave #2

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

19 May 1917

20 Squadron, Somewhere in Flanders

 

I've been at the Front now for 34 days, 32 of which have been in hospital. I've made 3 sorties, all of which have ended in tears. I'm missing 3 fingertips, have broken several ribs twice each, my jaw's wired shut, and my eyebrows are only just beginning to grow back after being burned off last month. On top of this, I think I'm becoming addicted to morphine. I'm beginning to think I'm the luckiest man in the world, because I should by rights have been killed at least twice already. Damn, now I've done it, mentioning my amazing luck. It's sure to go away now...

 

I returned to the squadron on 28 April, was re-united with Stackrock, and off we went that afternoon on a routine little patrol out to the coast. My ribs hadn't quite healed up from my first crash but were only mildly excruciating, and it was good to get above the ground-level stench of Flanders again. We hadn't gone far, however, before the Red Baron himself and all his Circus bounced us. It was over for us in a matter of seconds. One instant I was turning to dodge an attack and trying to give Stackrock a shot at a Hun ahead, and the next our old Fee just exploded. I have no idea what happened, but we again tumbled down end over end, this time envoloped in flames.

 

Many lads say they'll jump or shoot themselves to avoid burning alive, and I'd always thought the same way. However, the forces of the spin kept me so pinned down that I couldn't do either. On the plus side, though, they were also making me start to black out, so I didn't feel much of the pain this was causing my ribs, or the way the fire was eating my face off. But once again we cheated the Reaper thanks to handily placed trees, which broke our fall more or less. Stackrock and I were thrown clear, he again unharmed but I caught a large branch or two on the way to the ground. This broke my jaw and probably rebroke the ribs, but at least the impact also beat out the flames on my face.

 

I spent the next 20 days in hospital, fortunately not No. 17 this time, but I was too bunged up to take any notice of the fresh set of nurses. I spent most of the time chasing the dragon, and it was only a few days ago that I was able to remember what Stackrock told me during one of his visits. We had 1 other plane knocked down, with Capt. Morrison badly wounded, but Lt. Emerson managed to bring down 1 of the Huns, who was apparently a famous ace. I haven't been out here long enough to know his reputation, though. Apparently all the saved the others was the timely intervention of a flight of Camels, which arrived after we were already down.

 

Anyway, it wasn't until this morning that I was once again declared fit for duty and hitched a ride back to 20 Squadron, sneaking a good supply of morphine out in my kit, which proved handy during the long bounce in the springless lorry. I had a large stack of paperwork awaiting me, in which I found a confirmation for our kill of 15 April. Some good news at least, to compensate for being on a liquid diet. The food here is bad enough in its intended condition, but reaches new heights of wretchedness when reduced to slurry. I've found that adding a lot of gin to it is the only way to get it down.

 

Not wasting any time, Stackrock and I were sent out on the afternoon OP to Menen. We were number 4 behind Maj. Dillingham and Lts. Emerson and Byinton. This was my 1st time to actually cross the lines, and I must say that it gave me quite a feeling of dread. The ground battle was raging down below, with huge clouds of smoke, dust, and gas. The awful shelling could be felt even out our altitude.

 

As we went over the objective as high as our Fees could go, I noticed several Albartri coming up at us. I tried to draw the others' attention to them, because it seemed a good chance to bounce them for a change, but the others either didn't notice or considered such a course unwise, so just flew on serenely. I kept an eye on the Albatri, however, and sure enough, they followed us back towards the lines, gradually climbing up to our level and slipping in behind us. I could see now that they were the newer V-strutter type, which could manage such a chase.

 

I was quite concerned by this point, so I made a wide circle and came in behind the Huns, some of which had almost reached firing range on the others. They were still climbing hard and very slow, so I caught them up easily and Stackrock put some bursts into them. This made them dive away and I dursn't follow them, but made haste after the rest of the flight, who were now some miles ahead.

 

My maneuvers had cost me some altitude, however, and the Huns were now all nosing about behind me. They had trouble closing the range, though, and finally the lines reappeared ahead. I could see the rest of the flight was now diving towards the friendly side so I went down after them, pushing the old Fee to the very limits of her strength. As we came back over the trenches at about 3000' feet and I closed in on those ahead, I could see that they also had a Hun chasing them.

 

Looking back, I saw 3 behind me, who were now closing much faster than before. In fact, just before Stackrock could draw a bead on the Hun ahead, I had to break away to dodge one of those behind. I wasn't quite fast enough, though, and he put several holes through us. By the time I completed my circle, I could see that the Fees ahead weren't my lot, but actually A Flight, and one of them was going down steeply trailing black smoke. The others dove off to the west leaving me and Stackrock to face the Huns alone.

 

This was beginning to look ugly so I spotted an airfield and depot nearby and dove for them, hoping our archie gunners would discourage the Huns. But it was a 3-on-1 fight for a while, and our Fee absorbed quite a few bullets before the archie did its job, scaring 2 of the Huns away. Our engine was running rough and the controls were sluggish when the last Hun came at us head-on and gave us another peppering. He shot the rear gun right off the plane, which no doubt saved me from a face full of lead, but it apparently hit the prop on its way back because the Fee began to vibrate badly and I had to reduce power considerably.

 

Still, Stackrock had given as well as we'd taken, and the Hun wobbled away to the side before we passed. I immediately swung after him, but stalled due to our low speed and did a snap roll that nearly threw Stackrock out of the plane. Somehow, despite the shredded controls, I managed to recover just above the treetops, and there was the Hun right in front of us, a sitting duck. Stackrock lined up his sights and pulled the trigger, but only fired 3 rounds before the gun jammed. His shots were right on target, however, and again the Hun wobbled and began to trail a little steam from his radiator. He immeditately headed toward his lines with us in pursuit, but we were hurt worse than he was so he gradually pulled away. All this time, Stackrock was struggling with his gun but was unable to clear the stoppage before the Hun got out of range. We last saw him heading east low and slow, still trailing a bit of steam.

 

By that time, though, we had other things to worry about. I could see an airfield a couple miles ahead, but our poor old Fee was just barely hanging in the air and losing height gradually. I knew we'd never make it so I put us down in a field that was just ahead. It was one of the best landings I've ever made (according to Stackrock), especially considering I hadn't attempted one since early April.

 

The old Fee was in such sorry state that she was condemned and left to rot where she sat. The whole airframe was riddled and stressed, the motor shot up and overheated, one Lewis gun missing and the other with a burst gas tube and burnt-out barrel. The only thing salvaged from the plane was the pin-up photo of Mata Hari that I keep wedged under one of the instruments. But at least I had escaped unscathed for once, apart from a few tiny bits of Lewis gun stuck in my nose.

 

I'd best close here. It's now late in the evening; debriefing takes forever when your jaw's wired shut, and of course I then had to write all this down. It's time I slipped off into the embrace of Morpheus. But with my left hand still bandaged, I'll have to get somebody to shoot me up.

 

Bullethead

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It certainly wasn't the most succesful for my part and it certainly didn't have the most spectacular dogfight either. That last award goes (so far) to the fight between nine Jasta 5 Albatroses and twelve Pups and Camels. Instead, I felt it became an accurate portrayal of why Bloody April became known as Bloody April. Even if it was in March.

 

 

I was leading my flight of five DIII's on a photo recon op, we were on our way to target, slowly clawing our way to 10.000 feet. When we were slightly above 7.000 I spotted an enemy formation crossing our path at around 10-11.000. Four Strutter two-seaters from RNAS, probably on their way to bomb something near Douai. I started climbing even more aggressively and put our flight between them and their line of retreat. Then we slowly, gently swung around and followed them, climbing all the time. When we were slightly above the Strutters, yet well behind, I ordered Grabenhoff and Moller to attack the rear machine farthest to the right while me and Richter went for the other rear machine. We started pouring lead into our target from over 100 meters out, hoping to quickly knock out the rear gunner. I came in slightly too fast and a little too high, my craft was hit and I spun away. The engine wasn't running as smoothly as before and my guns had jammed. I ordered Richter and Huber to continue attacking ”my” machine as I waited and prayed for the gunjam to clear.

 

 

Moller had by now worked on his Strutter for some time, it started smoking and losing altitude even faster than the now diving remaining Strutters. He kept at it though and it went into a doomed dive, never to recover.

I had just managed to clear my gun when I noticed another flight coming toward us. If it were fighters, we would be in trouble as we by now were scattered around the Strutter formation.

 

 

As luck would have it, it was another flight of Strutters with two BE.2's lagging slightly behind. I decided to ignore them and dove below ”my” Strutter, raised the nose, throttled down and started firing in one second-bursts. The wingleader shot my wings full of holes and just as I broke off my targets engine started burning. I swung away, my craft now limping badly, and watched my Kette hacking away at the other two remaining bombers. Soon they were falling toward the ground, one was in flames. I looked for a place to land and set down in a field. My Albatros was a write-off and I didn't get to claim my Strutter but I didn't care. This was what the Jastas were all about, shooting down the two-seaters!

 

Geier

 

I posted this separately, but thought I'd stick it in here as well. Hope nobody minds.

 

Stan Goble, a historical pilot and one of the first aces in a Pup, is flying out of Vert-Galant for 8 RNAS.

 

Late Winter, 1916

 

The past few days have been truly nasty weather. Rain, mist, low clouds, and did I mention rain? Buckets of it. What a mess. My fingers are constantly wet, stiff, and numb, and I almost never can see clearly out of my goggles. There have been two a day missions patrolling the front. It's a messy ride, tossing us about a fair bit, and so far, nothing to show for it. I've taken to taking pot shots at balloons and enemy aircraft parked on the sod, I'm so bored. This afternoon it looked to be more of the same. Seems like HQ realized these missions were mostly for show as they only sent two wingman in this flight with me, Luke and Frank. We headed for the front as high as we could, about 5000 feet. We were over the line, loitering, and I was about to turn for home when I spotted, far off, what looked like aircraft. We headed for them. As we neared, it looked to be two aircraft. Finally, some action. Boy, was that an understatement.

 

The two turned, heading back behind their lines. We followed, and almost immediately, from the right, another flight of 6 EA jumped us. Must have been behind some clouds. I recognized the markings on all the planes. They were all aces. Discretion and valor and all that....I started climbing and turned for home, gesturing for my wingmen to follow. They were scrappy lads, though, and instead turned to close with the flight of six who were only a few thousand feet away now, and about 1000 feet lower down.

 

So I started turning up high, trying to conserve my advantage against so many, probably superior enemy. My wingmen found themselves with two enemy each on them and headed down to the deck. As the two that singled me out kept climbing to reach me, I took quick dives and bursts and then climbed again. This looked like it might have a chance of working, and I got one of them shot up fairly good when I noticed the first two chaps returning....with some friends. Here came 8 more EA.

 

These were not survivable odds, so I turned for home and started climbing. I looked around and saw that one of my wingmen, Luke, was down (leaving the odds at 14 to 2). Luke has all the worse, or best, luck, depending on how you look at it. Seems to get shot down almost every flight, but he wanders back into the barracks every time so far. Beat up and the worse for wear, but ready to fly again.

 

Frank was still tangling it up with two EA. They were a bit off from the large group, and against my better judgment, I turned to help him. He's my fast comrade. I've come to count on him. And it's what I'd expect from him. As I did, he got a good burst into one EA and I watched it spin in and explode. Guess I'll be his witness on that one. I dove on the other and got in a burst and gestured for Frank to form up on me and headed deeper away from the lines.

 

Unfortunately, by then, four of the aces had caught up with me, and tracers whizzed by my ears. I lost track of Frank in the wild maneuvers following. I saw that I wasn't going to outrun these guys, so the only option was to turn and fight. Four aces against me and my Pup.

 

We started the dance.

 

I tried not to ever stick on any one, no matter how tempting the shot. I was constantly swiveling my head to keep situational awareness of all four. Luckily, two of them seemed determined to fly as a pair, lead and wingman, and they were therefore the least of my concern as long as I kept both of them from getting behind me. I turned and took any burst I could on the other two. Mostly high deflection shots, but some hit home. I lucked out and wound up right behind one of them after exiting a tight turn and put a good burst into him at close range. One down, three to go.

 

But I wasn't getting off scot free either. A few times I took hits and my control authority started to suffer. I couldn't roll well to the right, and had to use rudder to pick up a wing after rolling.

 

But, I was still fighting. The two who were paired up split up and all three came at me. I got bursts into all three at different times, but I was running out of ammo, even shooting as conservatively as possible.

 

Where were my buddies? We were at least 2 miles back into friendly territory, and there were airfields nearby.

 

I had just about crippled another of the planes, but had only a handful of bullets left, about as many as there were in my service revolver at my hip. I leveled out on the tail of the one I'd come to think of as my personal enemy. He was one of the ones that first attacked me over the line right under the thunderclouds and had followed me deep into home territory. I was preparing to spend my last ammo on one last effort to down him when one of the others got a good burst into my plane and engine. Don't know how they missed me. The engine died, but, thankfully, didn't flame. I was only about 100 feet off the deck, so I dove to treetops and broke to shake the one on my tail, and then leveled out, which was very hard to do (I was basically flying by rudder alone at this point), pointed the crate at the nearest open area wider than my wingspan and set her down, hoping that one of the three left weren't lining up on my tail ready to finish me off. When I looked around, fearing the worst, I saw three new Pups entering the area and turning to engage the remaining EA. I got my crate on the ground without a spill. And the mission ended.

 

I hope my boys got those other EA and taught the enemy that incursion deep behind our lines doesn't come without a very high cost.

 

I shot down my first ace. None of my kills have been confirmed so far. This one was witnessed. I have high hopes for confirmation. And I live to fly another day.

 

See you in the skies over Flanders Fields.

 

Griphos

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Siggi, what is your air activity setting? Looks like you're toiling in a pretty crowded sky.

 

Thanks,

Dirk.

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Siggi, what is your air activity setting? Looks like you're toiling in a pretty crowded sky.

 

Thanks,

Dirk.

 

Mine's on heavy, but none of the posts above are mine.

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Mine's on heavy, but none of the posts above are mine.

 

Sure, I was coming back to say I realized those were posted long ago, lol.

 

Thanks anyway, will switch to heavy.

 

Dirk.

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Hey Dirk,

 

That last one was mine. I'll check my settings when I get home. Lots of missions I don't see much, although when reviewing after, there seems to be quite a bit of activity I don't see. But some missions, such as this one, seems to have birds all over the skies.

 

Anyway, I'll holler back after I check the settings.

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Hey again Dirk,

 

I checked and my setting was medium. Like I said, lots of time I don't see much, but there have been several times when the there were lots of planes in the air. I just set it to high though. Why not!

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Hey again Dirk,

 

I checked and my setting was medium. Like I said, lots of time I don't see much, but there have been several times when the there were lots of planes in the air. I just set it to high though. Why not!

 

Thanks griphos! I set my own flights @high, tight formation, high area activity and even high ground objects count. Woohoo! Having a blast with it.

 

Dirk.

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