Monday, July 30, 2007

Torpedo Strike over North Sea

Have just flown two more missions over to Norwegian coast and back (to Scotland) in a Beaufighter. Each time, carried a torpedo and was looking for enemy shipping. I was alone in the skies throughout.

First mission, kept to about 2000ft altitude, and headed east. Once I'd been flying for what I thought was long enough to place me over the 'front' line (and in sight of norwegian coast near Herdla), I dropped down to about a thousand feet and resolved to attack the next ship I saw. Whatever I did, I didn't want to get any closer to the coastline, made deadly by its AA defences.

Spotting a freighter, I sideslipped a large descending circle on its seaward side and dropped the torp from about a mile away, 200 feet between me and the sea. Immediately banking and circling upwards, I was able to see my missile miss the aft of the ship by a few metres. I'd not taken note of the rate of movement of the boat (I think)!

Circling over the boat once more, and giving it a spray of cannon fire from funnel height, I turned for home. Navigating by the grid, I came across the scottish coast where I expected to, and swept in for a clean landing on the airfield.

Second flight, much the same except I came across the sea at between 800 and 1000 feet. I used trim controls to keep me pointed the right direction, and read my plane's attitude in the air from the instrument panel whilst I scanned the seas on high magnification. In about the same area as before I came across a freighter (possibly the one I had missed previously - at 200 mph or more they all look the same). I immediately swept into an attack. I released the torp at about half the distance I had previously, and from under 100 feet. I climbed up over the ship in a banking climb, and was over 1200 feet when I received notice that I'd sunk the ship.

Celebrating, I headed for home again. This time the landing wasn't so crisp, coming in at too steep an angle and hence too fast I put the nose into the ground and flipped the craft onto its back. It still counts as a 'landing', however, and I walked free from the upside down plane.

Getting better.

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