Monday, August 06, 2007

The waters off Oygarden

I flew three missions tonight (local time). On Norwegian server my first flight occurred at night, my second just as the predawn glow begins to dominate the Eastern horizon, and the third occurred just as the the light level began noticeably improving, clouds started turning rose coloured, and I could switch off my cockpit lights.

There was always at least one german plane flying while I was in the air. At one point there were six pilots, four germans (FW 190 (fighter), He 111 (bomber) and two Me 110s (heavy night fighter)) and two allied (beaufighters). At no stage did I see any other fighter, though I heard them take off from my dispersal area and saw the explosion as one of them crashed. Certainly changed the dynamic of the game though!

Sortie 1: I head ESE to check out the extremity of the island chain. I fly at about 700 feet above the ocean, eyes peeled to the likely route of enemy aircraft to my North. Eventually I wheel up into the channel between the outer islands and the coast proper, and immediately spot a missile boat. I have dropped into my approach runbefore he starts to fire at me. My torpedo has thudded home and I am pulling up and away back to the Northwest before any of his bullets strike. I feel smug as I pull out of effective range before he is blown up by the torpedo.

I shouldn't have smiled, because I was immediately flying through a constant flak barrage for the next several minutes. I threw the plane around the sky a bit to avoid the worst of it, but still emerged at about 1000 feet without any rudder. Could be worse. I fly home, but find it difficult in the dark to properly locate myself for the perfect approach run that would be required to land safely without rudder. I am close, but not close enough, and flip my plane on landing into a nasty burning wreck.

Sortie 2: This time I strike at the Northern end of Oygarden Island, roughly 60 miles ENE of my airfield at Peterhead. This time I enter enemy territory at about 600 feet, and drop down to 400 on trim controls as I start searching for prey. From a distance of several miles I spot a tanker in the bay I had been attacking last night. I swoop in unnoticed, and am able to confidently drop my torpedo from a distance of a couple of miles. I sweep back out over the ocean in a level bank and am long gone when the exploding ship lights up the predawn darkness with an early orange sunrise. I again take a slight deviation for my trip home at under 500 feet so that I'm not entirely predictable to any FW 190s that might be drawn to the recent explosion in an attempt to get me. I make a regulation landing on my field.

Sortie 3: The sky is as bright as it's going to be for several hours. From past experience I know that this is likely to be the last sortie before the fog rises and makes flying too dangerous. There are also four german planes in the air somewhere, so it is going to be quite a challenge to get in under their noses and wipe out another of their ships. I take heart, however, that my low level flying seemed to make me pretty invisible to flak as long as I didn't fly right over it.

This time I head out to the North East, turning out at sea to sweep into the bay (at the mouth of which I'd got my tanker) from the North, crossing Oygarden Island at only a couple hundred feet above its fields and villages. I rely upon my speed to protect me, but spot nothing of interest on the island nor, for several minutes, in the waters to either side of the island chain. Eventually I notice a fishing vessel in the channel to my left, and wheel in and take it out with my torpedo. I think briefly of using my cannons and continuing on to find a juicier target for my torpedo. I reject the idea upon consdering the beacon effect my cannon fire would have upon any enemy fighters that might be in the area (I am flying offshore of Herdla airfield at this point). So, I loose my torpedo and wheel around for home long before anyone has noticed my presence. The fishing boat blows up several minutes after my departure. I am not shot at at all for the whole trip.

For some reason I don't understand I fudged the landing, found myself bouncing almost out of control towards a line of parked planes. Not wanting to destroy them with my crashing wreck, I force my bouncing plane in the other direction. I snap my undercarriage, and slide out of control into a parked truck. We catch fire, and the plane explodes before I can scramble out.

2 comments:

Oscar1986 said...

interesting

Pleader said...

Good.