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beachav8r

Rolling Thunder (A) - Mission 03

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It's five days after our first strike against the barracks and we are slated to fly again. This time we'll be tasked to take out a bridge spanning the river just north of Dong Hoi. As usual, this will be a big package with other flights performing their various duties.

 

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For maximum punch, I'll be carrying five 2,000 pound bombs and my wingman will simply be carrying a pair of them in case I miss.

 

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I go into the pilot roster and chose a more experienced wingman, LTJG Meyers since I'll need all the help I can get.

 

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The morning is dark and murky with very poor visibility in haze. It is a challenge just to keep the airplane upright in such "milk bowl" conditions...

 

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As I head through the waypoints I look down and can see various other carriers at Yankee Station launching their fighters to take part in the attack.

 

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The cockpit instruments glow in the dark and hazy conditions. It always seems like time compresses and the flight to the coast occurs very quickly.

 

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We continue climbing, hoping to break through the high overcast layer above...

 

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Sunlight!

 

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The attitude indicator in the RAZBAM A-6 has a steerpoint indicator that matches the CDI needle on the OBS - simply steer an intercept toward the planned flight path until it centers up then match the needle..

 

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A Spad crosses inland to start pounding enemy positions...

 

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At the IP we turn inbound and I set my weapons to release three bombs at 140ms interval to give them a bit of a spread...

 

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Unfortunately, we need to descend back into the murk to get a visual on the target...

 

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The coast looms out of the haze...

 

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This time, just to be sure, I give my wingman the command to attack the primary target...

 

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To do so, I do resort to a bit of a crutch and turn the label system on to make sure I've designated the proper point. I've modified my install to provide a small 2 pixel box instead of the default large target box...

 

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With the bridge identified, and my wingman doing his own thing, I roll in as a bit of light flak puffs around us...

 

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Bombs away!

 

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Explosions in SF2 (enhanced by Stary!) are awesome... The bridge takes a direct hit from my bombs...

 

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A hard pull off to the left and I seek the safety of an easterly heading, not knowing if MiGs are in the vicinity or not...

 

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And then..it all comes apart. My wingman reports he is going down. My heart sinks.

 

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He is missing half his wing and the flames lap at the fuselage, but amazingly he continues to stagger toward the coast under control. In the back of my mind I'm hoping he can make it to the safety of the South China Sea so he can eject and our SAR boys can rescue him - but I know that is wishful thinking and that the AI isn't complex enough to consider all of that...

 

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He limps over the beach and the aircraft plummets into the ocean...

 

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I still have four-thousand pounds of ordnance dragging me down as I cross the coast I hit the jettison button to release them...

 

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I chose a maximum airspeed, slight climb to escape the coast...

 

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A look at the "AWACS" map shows multiple bogeys behind me, just offshore in pursuit...

 

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An F-104 zooms into the fray as AAA tracks him...

 

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To my relief, other flights converge on the airspace behind me and soon the MiGs are being dispatched one by one...

 

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Smoke trails arc across the skies and plumes of smoke rise from wrecked airplanes..gravity treats friend and enemy with similar indifference...

 

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I finally arrive near the carrier and it takes me a bit of time to find it in the poor visibility...I spot it making a turn..

 

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For some reason (too high on the first and poor lineup on the second) I screw up two passes and decide to go around on both. I finally settle into the proper groove on the third pass but catch a dangerous 1-wire..

 

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The mission is a success, but I'm really bummed that I lost my most experienced squadron member. A look at the after action report shows he was bounced by a MiG-17 about thirty seconds after the strike. Fortunately, he survived the ejection, but now must spend a long stay at the Hanoi Hilton. I'm not sure if I could have done anything better - perhaps waiting a bit longer for the CAP flights to do their thing, but there is a lot going on in such a short span that it can be tough to know what the right thing to do is.

 

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I'm still not sure how the SF2 campaigns work - so I don't know if I'm limited to sixteen airframes and crew members for the entire duration of the campaign, or if I will at some point be resupplied. It just makes me more aware that I have limited resources and mission failures and success can come at a steep cost.

 

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BeachAV8R

 

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You will probably be resupplied pretty shortly, and if the campaign is split into different sub campaigns you will probably have the full number of pilots and AC once you begin a new sub-campaign.

 

Anyways, love reading these! It also reminds us that SF2 is actually a game and not a modding toolkit  :biggrin:

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