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About Baldric

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  1. What? A Rick Rawlings Challenge?

    (Personal Journal & Log) 05December 1917 Mission 17- Cold and cloudy. Line patrol, both ‘A’ and ‘B’ Flights. A few more new guys. My right hand is still shaky at times, started just gripping my sam-browne belt and the shaking subsides. I’m up to two packets of cigs a day now. As I recorded in my report we repulsed two separate flights of enemy aeroplanes over Arras. Wallworks got one, then a minute later I sent one down into the Flanders mud. We lost two of the new boys. I put my leave request in. 06December 1917- Mission 18. It was a scramble this morning, Naps yelling at the new boys “Come on idiots, don’t just stand there, GET ONE UP!” MacLanachan crashed on take off, luckily wasn’t seriously hurt although his machine was a total wreck. The enemy must have been from Haubordin as they punctured a few tents. 07 December 1917 Mission 19- Revenge! Aerodrome attack at Haubordin. We put holes in their tents, they put holes in ours, then we do it all over again. I swear there are monkeys running HQ. This is routine, search lights, some mediocre ack-ack. Fire off a couple drums of Lewis, a bit of Vickers and Bob’s Your Uncle. Was given leave as of 08 December, the C.O gave me two 48 hour passes since the weather socked us in anyway. I spoke with Dorothy’s Matron and she was granted the same. I borrowed Dalgleish’s motorbike because it had a sidecar and we rode like mad people for Dieppe. Officially married there by a kindly old priest. No questions, just a donation, and it was done. The hotel we stayed at down by the beach was a fine establishment and treated us well. Dorothy’s French was very good (Leicester girls must get a decent education!)where mine was a smattering of bad Quebecois. Somehow we made it back safely. I need to be more responsible now. 12 December 1917- Mission 20– heavy weather, rain. Pesky enemy. Another early morning scramble. This time we all got up safely and we chased the rotters all the way back over German lines. We were embroiled in a massive scrap and I managed to assist Naps in knocking down two machines. McElroy went west. My claim was rejected. 13 December 1917- Mission 21--broken cloud cover- Escort of RE8's from RFC21 over the enemy sector at FA6102. We were met with heavy concentrations of ack-ack as the surveillance boys did their work. We were bounced on the way back over our lines by a couple of Albatrosses. ‘A’ flight killed them both, a revenge for McElroy. We landed after escorting the RE8's back over their field. I’ll write more later as I’m off to see my wife... So that's it for me I believe- 3 weeks x7 missions = 21 missions 11November1917 to 13December1917 which included two periods of washout days. Surviving is a first for me, I usually don't last that long, usually buying it on the first day or at the midpoint. I think the longest I've lasted was in one of Olhams DiD campaigns with Jasta V (but in the end Rolf Meyer still died). This RR Challenge was really fun. Some of my given missions were certainly lacklustre, but they were all exciting to fly. I felt it was more of a reflection of history-- not every sortie was a clash with the enemy nor very exciting (authors of that day didn't write about the boring bits I'll hazard). The weather in this campaign period also seemed to affect enemy activity, and may also reflect a need to preserve what they had for Ludendorff's Offensive. I'll send in the form. There are other survivors so I'm cheering them on.
  2. What? A Rick Rawlings Challenge?

    Dohh, Spiv! (Personal Journal & Log) 03December 1917-- Intercept enemy, our sector FF8303...Early pre-dawn brief 'brief'. I found my right hand shaking slightly as we were given our coordinates...must be the cold weather. Forecast for snow and heavy cloud. We'll be lucky to see anything in the soup up there. We took off at 0700h, just 'B' Flight since 'A' had suffered a mauling late yesterday. I hate helping to clean up someones gear. I borrowed Spiv's pilfered motorbike and went into see Dorothy last evening. We talked about our upcoming leaves, trying to coordinate. London at Christmas would be nice. Bugger, I'm finding keeping the journal difficult...my thoughts are all over the map. Again as we flew over No Man's land the searchlights flicked their fingers around. The ack-ack that came up exploded pretty harmlessly below us. Then the nightmare...Naps got lit up like a Christmas Tree, then the same happened to me. Evasive action. Through the gaps in the thick clouds those bloody lights had found us and warned the enemy. It was a large flight of Albatrosses and they hit us hard. I almost got one but he was a slippery character. Tud's got his first-- that surprised me given how long he's survived in 40RFC-- I just assumed he never talked about his victories. After a short and violent scrap, the five of us managed to repel them despite their superior numbers. I'm thinking they had a lot of fresh out of school pilots. I think I'll go ahead and put in for some leave. Oh look now I've made a mess of the last line...this shaking hand is making me doolally. 04December 1917-- Attack enemy aerodrome at Haubourdin (The Reprise!). The hats must have thought the enemy aerodrome need more destruction of their tents. We took off smartly, formed up and promptly ended up all higgledy-piggledy near the target. The bloody snow and clouds...I wasn't even sure we were attacking the right aerodrome. I had taken a couple of coopers with me and dropped them on the grass where the enemy would taxi. There were no aeroplanes parked. We shot up more tents, I put a few rounds into a truck and parked staff car. The ground fire was heavy as usual, but the aerodromes ack-ack was, thankfully, lacklustre. I got lost on the way home and landed near the port of Dieppe. I managed to get a message to Dorothy that I would be really late getting back and not to worry. She called me a bloody idiot and burst into tears. I better see if I can buy her a bit of chocolate somewhere...
  3. Rear Gunner Blues

    I agree too. I recall being able to switch positions with the observer and be the gunner while the AI flew (that was hair-raising at times!) so if one was a relatively decent shot you could make up for the AI set to less accurate. I haven't tried it in current WOFF.
  4. Future plans ?

    *sits comfortably in a deck chair, just outside the dispersal hut. Swats away a lazy bluebottle. Early sultry summer 1940. You can hear the wind in the fields grass, the creak of a stool or lawn chair as someone shifts position. The article on fly fishing the Scottish streams grabs the attention once more...nothing quite like a nervous wait for the scramble phone to dingle...*
  5. Rear Gunner Blues

    I'm finding that you have to get right under them, yank the nose up and give them a good squirt thereabouts the cockpit area before falling/diving away. If you can't sneak up because they've already spotted you, snipe them if possible in order to wound the rear gunner or kill them. Another method I've used more recently is to dive directly down -- think upside down T- and not angled. I still take a lot of damage, nothing like limping home with an engine making strange clanking sounds...or hearing canvas rip while low and slow. It's just what it is, so if the mission builder still functions make a practice pilot and practice attacks on two-seaters from various altitudes, in various situations (clouds, thick clouds, clear etc). I've never played a WWI sim where the observers weren't (at some stage) godly marksmen or able to fire from impossible angles through their own craft. Iircc there was a period of time in another recent WWI air sim where the observers were absolute gods of laser beam accuracy. The great thing about WOFF is, as RR suggests, you can tone their effectiveness down a bit via the workshop settings. Have fun!
  6. What? A Rick Rawlings Challenge?

    The lads were barking up the wrong tree. Right, I'll get my coat...
  7. What? A Rick Rawlings Challenge?

    Thanks fellas. I'll have to find a better tasting mud for those speciality type coffees.
  8. What? A Rick Rawlings Challenge?

    Also playing catch up, spent last evening and this morning/early afternoon flying almost non-stop lol. Anyway here goes... (Private journal/log) 27November 1917 Mission 9-- A pre-dawn briefing then cold scrambled eggs, toast and bully beef. Tuds found a shovel, cleaned it off, dumped our plates on the shovel and set it in the stove over the coals...said it was a traditional British Rail 'fry-up'. Whatever it's called with a bit of HP brown sauce it was damn good. Any way we then took off to rendezvous with RE8's of AFC3 and headed for FF6226. We mostly arrived over the sector when the enemy sent up some Pfalz's whom we engaged around 6000 feet. I managed to get one, so did Tuds, and one of the new boys got 2!. All of us got back, including the RE8's. 28November 1917 Mission 10-- Not as early, which was good. My hangover was bad. I guess I had fired my Webley several times as I ran around the aerodrome in a state "unbefitting an Officer". It's a good pistol, served my dad well enough in the Boer War, and I take it up with me in case I'm set alight. Our patrol over our lines today was a bad one. We were bounced by Albatrosses...?Jasta 18? My machine was shot up but luckily I wasn't. 29November 1917 Mission 11- My punishment for letting off steam the other evening is an assignment as Mess Officer for a week. Good thing today's patrol was a bust. I've got inventory to count yet. Ugh. 30 November 1917 Mission 12-- No one liked my special cappucino with extra frothing so I've been pulled off Mess Officer duty and the hats warned me "no more indiscretions." I might go tobogganing later if Naps is up for it. Our sortie today was an attack on the enemy field at Haubardin. We were met with Ack-Ack all the way after crossing German lines. No enemy air though. The searchlights were annoying. We managed to wreck some tents. 01December 1917 Mission 13- A balloon attack was ordered by the rear chappies. Apparently they are thinking the German successes in Cambrai are due to the observer balloons spying on our troop movements and they caught the muddies in the middle of a unit change. It didn't matter much in the end as we couldn't locate the balloon we were supposed to attack. Only resistance where we were was some anaemic Ack-ack and some ground fire. I didn't even see a winch truck. 02 December 1917 Mission 14- I think I met my future wife last evening. We'd gone to visit Sanders in the field hospital nearby Bruay. Two nursing sisters were on duty, Abigail, whom all the fellows seemed to fall in love with immediately, and Dorothy. I don't think I've been more captivated. Bright smile, intelligent, pretty. When we left the ward she had said "Next leave, take me to London and we'll go dancing. Oh and since you forgot to ask, it's Lieutenant Stowell, Dorothy Stowell." I think I'll go see Sanders this evening, I'm sure he'll need cheering up. We intercepted a gaggle of DFW C.V's this morning in the clear skies. No escort! We caught them at the perfect time, the observers handling and manning large cameras over the side rather than their usual parabellums. I almost collided with one. Must not be so brazen. Kill confirmed later in the afternoon by a line unit's FOO. So that makes 4 confirmed. Screw this evening, I'm headed for the field hospital as soon as I wash up.
  9. What? A Rick Rawlings Challenge?

    Nicely done fellas! Well done on the silverware Catch. As to balloon winching...I'm thinking an early iteration of 'Rise of Flight' lowered the balloons but I could easily be misremembering lol.
  10. What? A Rick Rawlings Challenge?

    A sneer, a cuff upside the head and a large turnip hanging around my neck...lol The wing coming off whizzed by me on the right, while the rest of the craft whizzed by on the left. I'd slammed the throttle so hard and started an aileron roll to the right just in the nick. Just one gong so far, military cross thingy. I'll send it to my other mum in the London Zoo... Cheers m8y, keep Spiv alive
  11. In Bishop's book, 'Winged Warfare' (1918), he describes them strafing enemy trenches, very low and taking rifle and MG fire while the snow was falling around them during the Vimy assault by the Canadians in April 1917. It was nasty, dangerous work and that's conveyed. What's not described is the take off, form up and climb to to operational height prior to launching their strafing runs-- I'm assuming the writer decided to exclude such a 'boring' description and get right to the heart of the matter which would be more exciting to the general reader. I imagine most other accounts of these terrible times written at the time (or just after) are similar. My bet is that WOFF BHaHII gets this right. Luckily you can lead the attack yourself and fly however you want! Sim are great that way. This one especially.
  12. What? A Rick Rawlings Challenge?

    It's a first time for me, but I like the mixed bag of missions the sim throws at us; patrols, intercepts, strafing runs, and escorts. So far I'm finding the escort missions tend to bring the enemy up more often than not, although that second run at Loos was crazy with two separate enemy units trying to keep RFC 40 away. Heaviest losses so far. As an aside, maybe it's the time period and weather conditions but I've actually had a couple of pucker moments lol. I must say that this iteration of the sim is fantastic and you can really feel the fine effort of the dev team and testers.
  13. What? A Rick Rawlings Challenge?

    (Personal diary & log) 23 November 1917 The weather has been atrocious the last three days. The hats kept saying '24 hours...24 hours'. Not sure these guys could forecast their way out of a wet paper sack. Spent the time helping the boys maintain my machine. I've taken up smoking. Mom will kill me when I get home. Maybe we can go tomorrow. The C.O was unusual this evening, coming around to our tent and having a brandy. The man even tried joking. He didn't even suspend me for having Smithers race around the field on the messengers motor bike, towing me and Naps on a toboggan while we drank the last of my rye from home. All the old man said was "Take better care you bloody Colonial." 24 November 1917 Mission 6--Clouds and rain but okay to fly. Tasked to intercept a flight of enemy aeroplanes over FF2224 (I don't know why I bother writing this as I'm sure it will get redacted). Again the thick clouds were the enemies best friend. Somehow we all missed spotting them and they bounced us around 1012h. Pfalz's by the look of them. They tore into us pretty good, I saw the old man buy it. May have been a control cable hit as he just gently swanned in. Bugger. I helped Naps pack up Chickering's things. Pretty silent evening. 25 November 1917 Mission 7-- Better day for flying although I'm feeling a bit gloomy inside. I can see now why the old hands don't want to know anyone. Routine patrol over Bupaume. No enemy today, I guess the sky doesn't favour them. 26 November 1917 Mission 8--The hats tell us the old man's replacement will be here in four days. Watch it be Swaggers. Our job this morning took us back towards Loos rail junction and yard. Apparently the recce boys picked up on some irregular troop trains arriving. As we headed there, Tuds spotted some enemy Pfalz's and we engaged. I'm trying to conserve ammunition for the strafing runs on the railyard so I got nice and close this time and fired probably fifty rounds out of the Lewis and shredded his wing. I didn't watch him fall because we were being swarmed by a second enemy squadron. Very protective of the rail yard today! The second group were mainly Albatross fighters and gave us as good as we gave. I thought I got a second kill today but my target managed to get away from me. When landed my ground crew pointed out a bunch of holes near the cockpit and some stitching through the tail surfaces. The attack on the railyard was repulsed today but it cost them. 27 November 1917 Received a dispatch saying I'd been awarded a medal. Total of two confirmed kills now.
  14. What? A Rick Rawlings Challenge?

    Thanks Catch, I almost crapped my pants when that Jasta 30 boys burst through the clouds. Nice to get a surprise like that lol Well done Mandrews, a nice bit of 'shiny' earned. Tim Tully, you devil you...spending the rest of the war stuck in the Heidelberg Convent for Young Girls, teaching Home Ekonomiks!
  15. What? A Rick Rawlings Challenge?

    (I had severe runtime crashes during attempts to run missions on 18 November, so resorted to the Toolbox for repairs and slid into the 19th November) (Personal Journal entry) 19 November 1917- Mission 4- We were to head to Loos Junction and attack the rail yard there. 'A' Flight to provide cover. By 0900ish we were well over the front into Hun lands and the C.O. (Major Chickering) lead us down over the train yard. Surprisingly there was a locomotive just starting to fire it's boiler when we swooped down on them. These were my first shots since training. I watched the dirt and muck fly in a straight line and I riddled the boiler with Vickers and Lewis (sounds like a medicine!). We made three passes, then home for tea. Not sure what has happened to the Hun, but they seem loathe to come up and fight. Oh, and after the briefing today that was all about the ferocity lately of the Hun Ack-Ack, well, I think we saw four puffs tossed at us. Timely reminder about low level fighting and being aware of enemy rifles and MG's since Pixie bought it. A bit late that advice. 20 November 1917 Mission 5 Escort RE8's of RFC 21 while they photograph the front line and look for movement. A first for me. Tudhope has the lead today while I'm ass-end Charlie. We manage to almost make a mess of the rendezvous with the RE8's but by 0910h we were doing our escort job. The sky was clear in spots, a lot of broken cloud just a hundred+ feet above us. I was taken by surprise as a flight of enemy Albatross DV's swept out of the cloud above us and dove straight for the RE8's ignoring 'B'Flight. The melee was on. The gloves were off and these guys needed a pounding. I saw my lead dive so I followed suit but I lost him in the twisting diving fight. One hapless enemy flew into my sights and I gave him a hammering burst. When I thumbed the firing levers the whole aeroplane seemed to shake and I swear I was a mere hockey rink ice sheet length away. The main burst blew through his cockpit and followed him down. His craft quit twisting then it spun as he augured in. There were clods of grass and earth flying all over. I just managed to pull up when his machine torched. After the short sharp fight was over I eventually spotted the RE8's beavering away, so climbed up, joined by Mannock, Tudhope. We finished the escort, watched our charges safely home, then flew to Bruay. Both Tudhope and Mannock confirmed that I earned a kill when we went to file our reports. So, one confirmed. I've a ways to go to reach BB's heights but I'll try. The CO was 'chuffed' when he heard all of the RE8's made it home.

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