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Waldemar Kurtz

Night Fighting with Jasta 73

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I was reading about night-fighting efforts by the German Air Force in WWI and WWII. and I learned that Jasta 73 was probably the most successful Jasta when it came to night-fighting. so I've been trying out a campaign where I never fly before 18:00 to see how far I can get. thus far I'm really enjoying this "Night Owl" campaign.

 

it's really hard, though. I'm always looking at my compass and checking the time! I can't recognize anything except the largest and most obvious of landmarks.

 

the first mission nearly got me killed. I was patroling over an enemy aerodrome (I was hoping to find bombers) and suddenly my machine gets shot to hell and I have to dive away as fast as I can. fighting at night brings new meaning to "didn't see that coming"! I was badly damaged. I had seen an artillery barrage lighting up the landscape 10 minutes earlier so it was clear that I was at least 10 miles behind enemy lines-- so all I could do was hope that if I headed north and dove at full speed that my black Albatros would disappear into the night and the French would see fit to let me go! I couldn't recognize the landscape-- and calculated that diving at over 100 mph for some 10 minutes would probably get me far enough where I could be safely behind my own lines. it wasn't until 15 minutes later when I crossed over the massive dark swath known as the Argonne forest that I knew I was safely behind German lines. when I landed it was impossible to keep my right wing from clipping the ground so the machine was a complete write-off even though I was able to land safely.

 

on the second mission it was quite the opposite: I managed to shoot down two Nieuports after 10-15 minutes of really savage combat.

 

10/3/1918 18h55 Verdun Mars-sous-Bourcq Patrol Friendly Front Lines Flying: Albatros DVa. On this day claims: 1 Single Seater Type. the weather is still good. scattered clouds, star-lit sky. east of Argonne at 19:15 I see flak bursting near a large cloud on my right. I turn over to investigate. as I draw closer the flak becomes more intense, and the bursts are moving away from the clouds. I see three glittering silver specks in the moon-light. Nieuports! they start turning towards us, and I give out the order for a general attack. I pick one fellow and stay on him. it takes all of my concentration to stay on this Frenchman. he's a nimble and crafty opponent. after a long series of turns, counter-turns, dives, and zoom-climbs I put several long bursts into him. the range of fire varied from 300 to 30 ft. I shot up him so badly he began spraying out fuel. with a fuel leak like that streaming across the sky, and with his silver-doped Nieuport, there's no way I could lose sight of him now. I move in for the kill and open fire. he bursts into flames and falls to pieces. I'm blinded for a minute so I start into a hard turn and close my eyes for a moment to get re-oriented. the Nieuport 24 crashed east of the Argonne at 19:20. this victory was witnessed by Otto Schneider.. Witnessed by: Otto Schneider Status : Pending .

 

10/3/1918 18h55 Verdun Mars-sous-Bourcq Patrol Friendly Front Lines Flying: Albatros DVa. On this day claims: 1 Single Seater Type. after destroying my first enemy I looked behind me and saw that the flak bursts were not relenting. I turned back into the battle and saw two fiery spiral plumes and feared that some of my men were now dead. it was hard to tell if they were friend or foe-- because all of the aircraft had the sesquiplane configuration. I saw a silver machine glinting past me at 2 o'clock high and turned into him. he was determined to stay above me. so I would turn against him and climb. if he got on my tail I would dive and reverse directions. once I managed to reverse our situation he proved even more troublesome! I fired several hundred rounds into him without noticing any sort of result! he went into a series of sharp turns that lost me. everytime I managed to get on him he'd turn sharply towards me and nearly ram my machine. then I'd climb and try to swing back onto his tail-- but it was useless. finally Otto Schneider came howling down from behind and gave the Frenchmen a good long burst. the Nieuport began pouring out fuel and I was certain that he would be done for. Otto must have had a gun jam because he mysteriously failed to follow through with his attack. so I once more tried to conquer this Nieuport. he went into a flat-scissors and made life difficult for me. I could not catch him. but I saw that he was getting comfortable. so when he turned to the left I went into a climbing right hand turn as hard as I could, then snapped back down and was lucky to land right behind him! I was barely 40 ft away when I panicked and fired everything I had at him! his lower left wing broke away, as did pieces of his upper left wing, as a result of my withering barrage. the Nieuport snapped over into a spin and began flying apart as it tumbled towards the ground. it crashed east of the Argonne at about 19:30. this victory was witnessed by Otto Schneider. Witnessed by: Otto Schneider Status : Pending .

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With your idea, you are adding some new terrain to the sim - the nightfighting has probably not been done very much

and with such conseqence. Great screenshots, Waldemar - almost spooky!

And that you chose an Albatros for this, well - wonderful. The black body and your emblem fit your tasks nicely.

Keep reporting in the "Screenshots" or "Reports from the Front" threads, please.

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