Mission Date: 08-012-1940 1150-0000
Aircraft: Bf 109 E-3
Markings: White 2
Status: Pilot - Relaxing with Isabelle and Genvieve, Plane - 2 bullet holes in left aileron
|~12:15||North Foreland||Hurricane||KW-N||Yes - Hindsight, Maple|
I can confirm Maple's kill.
"Achtung!" Shouts Staffelkapitain Reinhart into 4 Staffel's barracks. "Grab a bite and be in the briefing tent in 20 minutes." We all agree he's a bit more coherent today than yesterday. "24 hours and a lot of coffee have done him well but I bet he can't wait to get to altitude and on oxygen" I laugh. "HA! Sure but nothing will erase the horrors he's seen and done." Shouts Casca from across the room. We all belt out laughing as we recall Reinhart's last promiscuous endeavor. For some reason the 'Save Monique' fund hasn't managed to collect any actual funds yet. Only gum wrappers and laughs. I'll keep you updated.
We make our way to the mess and grab some eggs and toast. Seems we're short of meat today. My hunch is 5 staffel beat us to it.
Unenthusiastically we make our way to the briefing tent which is close to the flight line. As we approach it's clear that the other two Staffels in the Gruppe are already there and we, once again, are the last ones to the party. As soon as the last Tiger was under the tent, Reinhart let out another obnoxiously loud, "ACHTUNG!"
"Damn" I thought. "He must know we went out again last night". "What do you think has him wound up so tight?" I asked the guys. Someone said, and I think it was the normally quiet Javelina, "Gonnorrhea." That was it. The whole Gruppe lost it and it wasn't until Gruppenkommandeur Pitti called us to attention that we managed to get our act together.
Pitti began the briefing, "Today's mission is a loose escort of Stukas to a convoy currently moving in the Thames Estuary. This isn't a close escort like the last few sorties, we only need to be within a decent proximity of the bombers. This morning we knocked out their radar so they should be blind. We'll head around North Foreland and try to stay feet wet. Rendevous at Calais and we'll head over together. Any questions? Good. Stay fast. Stay aggressive. Happy hunting men." In unison we shouted, "Ja Vol" and went off to our respective planes. Takeoff was uneventful as all 3 Staffels took to the skies like eagles. Soon we were over Calais and grouped up. Pitti gave the order and off we went to hunt Tommy.
As we approached Indian territory and our senses began to heighten I looked over to my right from the 3 position in our schwarm and saw Staffelkapitain Reinhart contrailing. "Wait," I thought. "We're only at 5km." Just then Maple came over the comms, "Reinhart you're streaming fluid!"
"Damn!" shouted our staffelkapitain. "I'm Havanna Havanna. Bear take the lead." The Staffelkapitain Split-S'ed for home and informed schwarm 2 of the situation. I did not have the proper frequencies to communicate with schwarm 2 or the other Staffelkapitains. Maple, Hindsight, and I were on our own. Less than a minute later, we spotted large gaggles of contacts directly over North Foreland. It soon became apparent there were simply too many planes in the air for them all to be friendly. I gave the order to climb at combat settings and continue W. This put us behind the enemy planes as we entered a a gentle left-hand descending turn and successfully bounced a flight of Hurricanes climbing to the E, opposite our original course. "Gunsights on, safeties off" I called just before we ripped through the formation. I let a long burst loose into the leading Hurricane and landed many good hits. We pulled up into a high left-hand yo-yo to repeat the attack but it wasn't necessary. It was clear my target had been hit significantly. I pulled up to his side and watched him slide his canopy back and climb out of his hopeless crate. I noticed several holes in his fuselage that could only have come from my 20mm's. This poor bastard's markings were KW-N. I didn't see his chute open but I hope it did. Surely he would have survived had it opened as we were very close to if not directly over North Foreland.
After this second pass, Maple became separated and much lower than us. Maple called "Horrido" and I saw his victim splash where he described. The pilot did not get out. Hindsight and I climbed to the E and extended to gain altitude. We were at 5k when the Hurricane pilot had bailed and there were many contacts above us. "This is quite a high fight." I thought to myself.
Not long after Maple scored his kill, he was hit himself and was forced to ditch. "Damn. I don't think our ASR will get to him before Tommy does" I muttered to myself.
We flew to nearly mid-channel before we turned around. We made sure we were clear and headed back into the fight. At 6.5km we began an easy left hand turn out over the bay looking for targets of opportunity. As we straightened out heading towards France and contemplating our next decision, I noticed two contrailers slightly lower than us but certainly following us.
It soon became clear they were a pair of Hurricanes and for some reason were giving chase to us far above their effective ceilings. At least compared to 109's. Having spotted them very early, I ordered Hindsight to bank left but not to make it look intentional. I intended for them to follow me but they stayed together and stayed on Hindsight. It didn't really matter. The goal was to make them choose and they did. I turned back into them hoping for a deflection shot and was honestly surprised when they didn't break as I came into their side. I hadn't planned on that and hadn't gained enough E to pull a steady shot and so just sent a few tracers across their noses.
That got their attention! From then on it was one big Thach weave as we drug them across the sky, slowly but surely getting them closer to France and away from any potential help. At times we neared 8km. We knew the Hurricanes were stuck in the fight now with few opportunities to disengage. They'd come looking for a fight and we were damn sure going to give it to them. They were a good pair though and offered few opportunities for us to get a solution. I have a feeling the lead Hurricane of this flight was the one they call "The Golden Boy." They say he's a damn good stick and this pilot sure proved to be. He's not a British national though, maybe Polish or Slovakian. I believe it was him and his wingman that had tried to find their stricken squadron mate yesterday off the IoW just as their friend stalled out. Had Scannon not called them out, Casca and I may have been in trouble. The fight ensued and 10 minutes went by with neither side landing hits.
Finally, I was able to feint a dive to avoid a head-on with the Hurricane trailing Hindsight. His pursuer stayed on his tail as I pulled up from his 12 o'clock low and fired a burst into his underside. I saw 20mm's land along his left wing root and tail section. "Hits hits hits!" I yelled. We knew then that even if nothing vital was hit. That Hurricane would be a liability with a reduction in speed. Soon he dove away and I gave chase to ensure he was truly diving away and not just feinting a retreat. I had to throttle back to keep from over shooting in the dive. Hindsight called out that his wingman was rolling in on me. Just as I was getting a good solution I asked, "How close is he?" and in that same moment I saw tracers fly past my left wing. The next burst from the Hurricane landed on my left wing and I slammed the throttle forward and escaped. I ended up with 2 bullet holes in my left wing but the aircraft responded like nothing had happened.
The Hurricane that had fired on me disengaged after I broke off his wingman and Hindsight and I extended to gain altitude again. We headed down the English coast towards Folkestone after we regained our altitude and once again we set out to hunt Tommy. Just as we passed Dover, Gruppenkommandeur Pitti came over the radio, "All pilots, Havanna Havanna." Hindsight and I vectored for Marquise-Ost. As we arrived over the field, Pitti ordered us to fly cover as 5th and 6th staffels landed respectively. They did so and we covered as 2nd schwarm of the 4th staffel landed. Hindsight and I were the last of the Tigers to set down. As I shut my engine down, Reinhart came up to me and asked what had happened to Maple. I shook my head solemnly. War is Hell.