Saturday, August 04, 2007

Predawn (Norway)

I've just flown a couple missions in the afternoon (real time) - which is night time over Norway. Wandalen has jigged his server a bit and it is again updating its stats pages in realtime. Sadly, however, while he was out boating for a few days (possibly in the very same seas I was flying over in the virtual world), his sever didn't capture my great victories of recent days. Let's see I can keep it up now that the eye of the server is again upon me!

Night: Flew East with a torpedo, believing that there might likely be more target ships in the area. I was right, spotting a couple of submarines. I circled in to have a go at one once I realised which way it was facing so that I could come in on its beam. I think I completed one circuit of the target too many, however, as I gave it and its companion too much time to fire too many shells at me. Inevitable some of them hit, and I lost control in my attack run to crash in the sea nearby.

First Eastern Glow: Returning to the area as soon as I could (about 15 min later), I approached more cautiously from further south towards where I had roughly fixed the location of the U Boat. I overflew a freighter entering the channels between the islands at about 2000 feet, mentally marking its location for my future attention. I steadily descended to be about 1000 ft by the point where I expected to be able to fix target location visually. Imagine my surprise when, as I spot the U-boat in the distance, I am opened up on by a surface ship directly ahead of me, midway between myself and the U-boat.

Making a snap decision, I decide to attack the more immediate threat and increase my rate of descent to several hundred feet per minute. I level out about half a mile from the ship, coming in on it's stern. This is a difficult shot, not much of the ship presents itself to me. Thus, I have to fly far closer than I usually would. luckily, because I am coming in on the stern, not all of the ship's guns can shoot at me as I approach at point blank range. I release the torp from a couple hundred metres, and zoom up and out of there at full throttle. I hear the sound of the explosion of my missile destroying the motor boat as I straighten out on a bearing that will take me home. Landing is a bit hairy as my tailwheel is locked when I touch down, but I come to rest safely on the verge of the field.

Moonrise: The moon is rising, casting light sufficient to conceal the faint sun sign on eastern horizon. I head back on an almost identical course as previously to attack the tanker I'd seen. This time, I keep to below 1500 feet, and curl effortlessly into attack run at wave level. I release the torpedo about a mile from the target, a nice fat tanker! This gives me enough time to bank up and away, watching the silver track of my torpedo in the moonlight and the bright orange explosion as it buries itself in the enemy ship. Not wishing to prolong my good fortune, I return to base and make a regulation landing - cross coast at 1000 feet, reduce throttle and altitude as I turn onto runway approach, cross the runway line at about 100 feet, 15% throttle, drop flaps and roll to a halt just near where the turnoff to my dispersal point is.

I seem to have got the hang of landing the beaufighter, flying by instruments, trimming the aircraft to fly where I want it to with minimal effort. These are all good skills which I hope to translate onto the dogfight channels in not too distant future.

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