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"You can't kill a squadron..."

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Defending the Reich...with a difference!

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This mission report is designed to showcase another IL-2 Reich Defence campaign: this time FlatSpinMan's 'Luftwaffe Pilot - Defence of the Reich 1943', available over at Mission4Today, here:




As the campaign description says, "Fly as Willi Jedermann as he attempts to save the Fatherland from the murderous waves of Allied bombers. Over 20 missions flying for JG1 and JG 11 in their titanic struggle against the Allied behemoths. Get a taste of the spectacle, excitement and terror of the most massive aerial combats in history."


I was so pleased with the experience afforded by Boelcke's similarly-themed campaign that I thought I'd try a second one. This report is the result. As to the significance of the title - and no prizes for spotting that it was the closing line from that memorable 1960s air war movie, '633 Squadron' - well, the connection will become apparent, very shortly!


The first mission in the campaign came as a bit of a surprise. As you can see from the 'blurb' above, the campaign was billed as flying with Jagdgeschwader 1 and Jagdgeschwader 11 (the latter being spun off from JG1 to bolster defences in northern Germany and the Baltic coast area) so I was rather surprised to find my first mission involved flying for JG5 'Eismeer'. That unit's traditional stomping ground, as its name suggests, was Scandinavia. I neglected to take a screenshot of the briefing but the mission seemed to involve a transit flight, with myself and my wingman flying off to join my new unit. The map in question looked to be of Finland's Baltic coast [edit - I checked and it's actually Norway's west coast, which is fine].


My mount was a Bf109G2 and following the instructions in the briefing, I had selected a JG5 skin, which came with the skin pack which the campaign's download page recommends you install as well as the campaign.


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That's me, in Yellow 4. Evidently my pilot had previously served with the Kondor Legion in the Spanish Civil War; at least, I assume that's the reason for the small Spanish Nationalist air force insignia, on my fuselage to the rear of the cross. The badge on the cowling is, of course, JG5's.  It's a nice skin, with 74+75 upper surfaces and 76 below, and the fuselage sides mottled in 02 and 70 - textbook stuff, and the wing camouflage pattern is also a common factory standard for the time. Nice job.




...and yes, the mission was an air start. Most of this campaign's missions are, apparently. Personally, I prefer to start 'on the deck' but with IL2 not having a magic 'warp' or 'go to next encounter' facility, I can understand why the designer decided to spare us the long climb to altitude with which your average Reichs Defence sortie would otherwise have started.


In my previous, somewhat sporadic flying with IL-2, I never got out of the habit of flying with the map screen set to display my course and icons for other planes, including enemies. I generally prefer to minimise my reliance on such things. But given the IL-2 on-screen 'kneeboard' map is quite small and covers a limited field (even zoomed well out) I'm inclined not to baulk at using it both for navigation and to identify foes. I don't use the equivalent facility in First Eagles or Rise of Flight, for example, but in WW2, with fighters commonly flying with the assistance of ground-based controllers using radar and other aids, I consider the IL-2 map with icons on is a reasonable supplement to the sim's ground controller, who when asked, seems only able to give you an enemy force's bearing, not its course, composition or most importantly, height - European Air War was much better in that regard. Anyway, I was understandably curious to find out whether or not my transit flight was going to be uneventful.


So I turned on the map...and there they were!




But what were they? And what were they up to? One way to find out...I slammed the throttle forward, turned onto an intercept course, and started gaining some height.


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...to be continued!

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As our two 'Hundert-neuns' chased off after the unknown enemy formation, I asked the ground controller for a target bearing. I don't know what target he had in mind, but I'm glad I was relying on calling up the map and its plane icons at intervals, because the bearing he gave me - 090 - was in pretty well in the opposite direction to my quarry.


The enemy's height was my biggest concern. Looking up in their direction, there was nothing to be seen, but scanning down and to the right revealed two flights of three aircraft, flitting low over the island-dotted seascape and crossing left to right. I banked around after them and steered to intercept.




It wasn't much longer before I could make them out to be RAF Mosquitos - FBVI fighter-bombers (and, or course, the inspiration for the '633 Squadron' reference in this mission report's title!). Bombed up, they were likely on an anti-shipping strike. The Norwegian coast, rather than the Finnish, would have been a rather more likely setting for such depredations but this was no time for reflections on the limitations of IL-2's maps. [edit - as per previous post, the map IS of Norway]




The Mossies swung right, around the western fringes of the nearest island then tuned left, heading up a channel. I cut across the intervening headland and gained ground. As I closed I could see that matters were now urgent - the bomb-doors on the enemy aircraft were open. I was closing on the first flight, relying on my wingman to protect me, in the event the second flight of 'Wooden Wonders' decided to have a crack at me. Soon I was within range and let fly at the nearest Mosquito.


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The enemy rolled over and broke hard right and down. He was fast as lightning and led me a merry chase, but I managed to keep up with him and I got a good burst into him, at which point his port engine burst into flames and down he went.

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By this time, the other Mosquitos were getting stuck into some shipping moored in the channel. Clearly, there was no time to lose. If I could not prevent further attacks, I could at least make the remaining Englishmen pay for their temerity. I banked around and came out of my turn onto the tail of an enemy as he ran in for his attack.


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...to be continued!

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Leaving the Cold War era of radar-guided nuclear-tipped air-to-air missiles and returning to the days of reflector sights and cannon...though getting some hits, I was too late to prevent the Mossie I was tailing from letting go his bombs at the coastal defence ship or Monitor that was the moored convoy's primary defence. But fortunately for whatever was left of my reputation with my comrades in the Kriegsmarine, he missed. I pulled up after him as he broke away, with my wingman gamely keeping up, leaving the battered convoy behind.


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What I didn't realise until I looked at the mission replay, was that there were also some rocket-firing Beaufighters involved in the strike, preoccupied as I was with the Mossies. How I managed to miss them, I have no idea!


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Anyhow, I crept up underneath the Mosquito I had attacked, who was leaving behind him a thin wisp of dark smoke, indicating engine damage. Another burst finished him off, and down he went. You can see from the second pic that the two crew members managed to bail out. Hopefully, their 'chutes opened in time.


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At this point I called up the kneeboard map, rather than trusting to the limited abilities of the IL-2 ground controller to give me a vector (strictly speaking a bearing is all he gives) to the remaining enemies. This led me out to sea after a damaged Mossie who was making a high-speed escape just above the wave-tops.


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Diving to translate my height advantage into speed, I was soon able to catch him. He took no evasive action and after a series of short bursts, his right wing root burst into flames and he went straight into the drink at high speed, throwing up a terrific splash.


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By this time my ammunition - for my motor cannon, at least - was about gone so I checked my whereabouts on the map and set course to the north, back to the nearest airfield, with my faithful Katschmarek (as the Luftwaffe called their wingmen) still in tow. It was a short flight and I was soon back on terra firma.




Well, that was it. I was credited with three kills and got a gong. Not bad for a transit flight and a good start to the campaign, even if it was not exactly what I was expecting! It's the sort of variety you don't get from EAW's more repetitive mission-generator Reich Defence campaigns and I thoroughly enjoyed it, even if the Kriegsmarine, more conscious of the damaged shipping than a few lost enemy planes, might not have been as appreciative of our efforts as they could have been. I'm really looking forward to flying the next mission in FlatSpinMan's campaign, to see how that plays out.



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