Saturday, July 21, 2007

Beaufighter success at Historia

Between last night and this morning I have flown five missions on the 'Historia' server via hyperlobby. This server is run by the International Online Competition League. I have been quite impressed. It is almost full real difficulty, you have 'a speed bar' head up display of speed altitude and bearing so you don't need to look at cockpit instruments much, but apart from that it is all manual and no external views or icons.

On the first mission I flew in defence of Tobruk in a hurricane, but the mission ended before I had chance to get more than fleeting glimpse from a distance of a german bomber fleeing west across the desert.

The next two were flown in P40s, taking on the air defences over Palermo, Sicily. Packing a 500lb bomb each time, I mounted dive bomb runs on the ships and port facilities in the central harbour, coming in from about 3000m initially and dropping the bombs after a controlled diving glide to 100m over target. Not surprisingly, I got brought down by AA both times! But not until I'd sunk a freighter, wrecked a whole train and left half a road convoy in flames, however. Am making my ground attacks count for more these days!

There had been a lot of flyers at the start of the sesion when I joined the Tobruk game. There were only two others (Me109s) when I left. On the final flight, I'd had my engine destroyed by the AA and was somehow gliding back to my own lines. I was down to about 300m with the coast in sight, my airfield beckoning my wounded wings, when was shelled from behind by Flatspin in a 109. I managed to belly land the plane in the ocean at about 170kph, and evacuated the plane before it sank. At least I saved the pilot. Looking at the server stats page I see that I am Flatspin's first and only victim so far.

Flatsin is from Japan, the other 109 pilot was from Germany. Cool.

This morning I've flown two beaufighter missions against the airfields of Bologna in Northern Italy from my airbase about 50 km away. The first mission will have to go down as my first online genuinely successful mission, so will concentrate on that.

Got my 2 engine fighter bomber into gear at about 350 kph, followed the road map to my target area at about 600m. Swooped in on first run, depressing cannon at Junkers bomber near work sheds. Probably five shells and it blew up, together with the fuel starge tanks nearby. Swooping over the tarmac at 50m, did another shallow run at AA gun in front, missed because I got nervy as I dropped lower and lower. As I went over him, my right engine was shot out. I jigged up and away as fast as possible, then limped home over the mountains on one engine. Was getting more difficult as the other engine started to fade. Lucky my navigation skills are improving as I brought my wounded bird straight into approach run for my home base. Managed to get her down safely. Thus, after a successful ground attack I managed to land my plane on its wheels at its base. Success!

I returned for a final mission on the same Bologna map. This time I did a dog leg over Milan and approached target from the West. There were a couple Me 109s up and about, I didn't want to make it too easy for them. This time I also stayed down to about 100 m above ground the whole way. Had to keep my wits about me going through the mountain valleys. After initially becoming disoriented I recognised a goat track beneath, and used it to circle back over target airfield. I came in from the North, rocketed another bomber on tarmac from a couple hundred metres. This time, however, the AA got lucky and my pilot was killed by a lucky shot.

I really enjoyed flying the beaufighter again. It was the first plane I flew on Pacific Fighters. Have also flown one recently on Norwegian server, on a mission from Scotland to hit german ships in harbour in Norway. That was at night and ended messily with AA shells blowing me up.

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