Mission Date: 25 July 1940
Aircraft: 109 E1
Markings: Black 6
Aerodrome: Marquise East
Status: Pilot OK, Aircraft slight flak damage, in repair.
Helga is in a foul mood. His gruff voice perfectly honed to drown out a DB 601 as his ground crew frantically run around preparing our aircraft for yet another sortie. We have lost a few brave comrades in the past few weeks, and one of them was his favorite pilot, Gunter Krapp. I have been 'volunteered' to bring him news of a party tonight to welcome our new recruits to 5th Staffel, but I decide a large message on the staff blackboard is perfectly fine.
We have only been back from our latest attack on the Tommy's for a few hours, but we are all eager to enjoy a little respite and let our hair down. The Staffelkapitän is already in the spirit of things, and looks resplendent in his shiny black Lederhosen and polished helmet. Everyone is glad to see the new pilots, they seem more experienced than the usual we get from training school , a good thing too, the RAF are proving a stubborn and tenacious enemy.
As we bring in the bottles of requisitioned French wine, the mood is suddenly changed. We are given new orders to immediately scramble our 109's for an escort mission to England. We are getting used to constant action these days, and this is confirmation that the big push on the Tommy's is really on. The new pilots are going to get a very quick baptism of fire..
Within minutes, we are strapping into our 109's as the men in black start up our engines. Today, I am assigned to 2 schwarm as wingman to veteran pilot Unterfeldwebel Grey. We will have one of the new pilots, StarryM with us today and I check he is OK as he tucks in behind me. Marquise east is a frenzy of noise and dust as the mighty Staffeln of JG26 roll down the runway and take to the air. We head out over the channel and begin our slow climb to meet up with the bombers. Soon we are near the cliffs of Dover, and we catch sight of the bombers below us. As we continue our patrol we find ourselves in the middle of a flak barrage and I suddenly feel a bang very close to my plane. I check around but all seems fine for a few moments. Then our new pilot, StaryM, who has flown exceptionally well and stuck with me throughout, tells me I have a leaking radiator and I look to see the tell tale signs behind me. Damn this flak!
I need to head for home as my engine will soon seize, so I wish the remainder of my shwarm good luck and begin the flight back. I stay high ready for the inevitable engine failure, which comes as I finally make French soil. Flaps down and praying for more lift from the flimsy French air, I touch down within yards of our airfield. The short walk is filled with disappointment I couldn't help my comrades. Now I have the unenviable task of explaining to Helga I left my aircraft in a field for him to pick up. Maybe a few bottles of that French wine will help with the recovery..