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    A Tale of Two Triplanes

    33LIMA
    By 33LIMA,
    Back-to-back missions in Sopwith's trend-setter!     For most non-multiplayer combat flight simmers, can anything be more frustrating than losing the pilot you have been carefully guiding through the perils of a single player campaign? The answer, of course, is 'Yes' - losing two campaign pilots, one after the other.   It happened to me in Wings over Flanders Fields, yesterday. First to get the chop was my current German fighter pilot, who was flying an Albatros D.III with Jasta 5 in May 1917. The mission started normally, but soon after this picture was taken, shortly after take-off...     ...I noticed friendly flak bursts behind, in the direction of the airfield we had just left. Their target was a marauding flight of S.E.5s, and although I got one of them after a tough dogfight, when I turned back in search of the rest of my own flight, all I found was two more S.E.s. I did not survive the wounds which resulted, despite managing a forced landing.   Turning for succor to my concurrent Roland C.II two-seater campaign, things went rather better...for a while.     We soon ran into a flight of our opposite numbers, in the form of some Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutters, and although they started with a height advantage...     ...we seemed to be getting the better of them. I forced down one with hits from my forward-firing gun, but then allowed myself to become distracted, watching while my observer had a crack as the Sopwith went down...     This lack of attention to where I was going caused me to commit a cardinal sin in the WoFF Roland, which is to say, I let the nose come up too high, in a turn. I only noticed and recovered from the resulting loss of height in time to clip some trees with a lower wingtip. The crash in a field which followed robbed me of my second campaign pilot in the space of an hour!   They say when you fall off a horse, the best thing to do is get straight back on, so that's what I did. Except this time, I was in the mood to fight for King and Country, rather than Kaiser and Fatherland. And replaced both pilots by parallel ones - one each in Rise of Flight and Wings over Flanders Fields.   For a mount, I chose the Sopwith Triplane. I recall that my first serious knowledge of this machine came with one of the very first books I ever bought, the little Hippo Books Aircraft of World War 1, by well-known aviation writer JWR Taylor.This informed its readers that '...Triplanes were flown operationally only by Naval squadrons, who gained complete supremacy over the enemy in the spring and summer of 1917.' That's as may be, but the Triplane seems to have been a modest improvement over the delightful Pup and was soon overshadowed by the Camel. And it's not the most attractive of aircraft, to my eye - when RFC ace James McCudden wrote that he thought the reported Fokker Triplane was a rather quaint thing and expected that seeing one shot down would remind him of a Venetian blind collapsing, I suspect it was the earlier Sopwith Triplane he was picturing in his minds eye. Neverthess, the Germans were sufficiently impressed by the 'Tripehound' to embark on a serious bout of immitation, with many planemakers churning out triplanes, only Fokker's being particularly successful.   For both RoF and WoFF careers, I named my pilot Richard Collishaw, potentially a sibling of famous Triplane exponent Raymond Collishaw. Would the name bring me luck? Let's find out, starting with Rise of Flight!     ...to be continued!

    Rise of Flight: Combat Reports

    33LIMA
    By 33LIMA,
    Making good use of one of the many features of Pat Wilson's Campaign Generator!     One of the many good things that PWGC lets you do in Rise of Flight - apart from create and change RoF campaign settings in about as much detail as most would want - is write detailed combat reports. Some may regard this as tedious paperwork, but to me, it can be highly immersive. And while Wings over Flanders Fields will also let you describe your achievements for later review (as well as giving you the option of making acceptance of your victory claims dependent on your reports thereof), the equivalent PWCG facility lets you type onto a decent sized page, rather than into a single, short window; this encourages a fuller description.   As I'm still spending much of my sim time working on scenarios for the upcoming Panzer Elite Britpack '44-x mod, and just dipping into actually playing other sims for a change of scenery, I thought I might relieve the break in mission reports here on CombatAce by reproducing some of my RoF/PWCG combat reports, illustrated by screenshots taken at the time.  These are from my Richard Stachel campaign, flying the Albatros D.III with Jasta 2 in the heady days of Spring, 1917.   First off, here's one I see dates from a patrol up to the lines on 27 April. We took off at 10:30 and as usual, I had used PWCG to ensure that I was leading the flight (hence the blue streamer that's attached to my left upper mainplane) and had three other flight-mates with me, usually the same fellows each time. To 'get in character', I try to replicate some of the language of the time in these reports, complete with references to 'Englishmen' (or 'Huns' when flying for the British) and incorrect identifications - for example, the Germans tended to describe British 'pusher' aircraft as Vickers types, regardless of the correct manufacturer. Anyway, here's the report, as I recorded it immediately after looking at the handy animated mission 'debriefing' in PWCG.   "At about 10:40 I spotted five aircraft heading east over the lines at about 3000m, slightly above us. Although they were not being engaged by our flak, I observed that they were Vickers 2-seaters. One of the Englishmen broke off to the north-west and the others swung around to the south-west, flying in two pairs, one pair below and slightly behind the other.     By this time, I had drawn away from the rest of my flight. All the Vickers flew back towards their side of the lines, diving slightly, which made them hard to catch.     I finally got in range of the right-hand machine in the lower pair...     ...and hit his engine after several bursts, causing white smoke to trail behind. The other enemies did not intervene and I stayed out of the arc of fire of the enemy observer, despite the aircraft weaving from side to side. Finally I appeared to have hit the enemy pilot and the Vickers fell away to the right and dived to the ground, about 3 Km on his side of the lines.     I then spotted the second Englishman further west, still diving, and although I dived after him and hit him, my ammunition soon ran out and I had to turn east for friendly territory.     As I crossed the lines I was rejoined by Oblt Bohme and Lt Tutschek. I claim one Vickers-type 2 seater shot down and another one damaged."   The 'Vickers 2-seaters' are of course F.E.2bs, a type I haven't bought as a 'flyable' yet, but which still appears in-game as AI-flown.   Not a bad morning's work, it was. And although only two reappeared initially, I brought all three of my comrades home with me, which is always a priority of mine. The next mission was to be rather more eventful.   ...to be continued!

    Memorial Day Interviews

    Skyviper
    By Skyviper,
      CombatACE is an awesome site to talk about aviation, flight simulation, video games in general, and other cool things. We have a lot of members here, who have or are proudly serving in the military for their country. We've had the chance to interview some of them over the years and we thought you would like to take a stroll down memory lane and read their stories.     Interview with Jug (R.I.P) - United States Air Force   Interview with SidDogg - United States Navy   Interview with 331 Killerbee - United States Marine Corps   Interview with PcPilot - United States Navy   Interview with Dels - Royal Australian Air Force   Interview with Captain Robert Ward - United States Air Force   Interview with Wagsled - United States Air Force   Interview with Typhoid - United States Navy     If you haven't had the chance yet, we invite you to check out the article "A Chat with Reggie A United States Navy Veteran"     CombatACE thanks those who have served or are serving in the Armed Forces for their country.

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