So this is my first After-Action-Report from Flanders in Flames XXII Campaign.
Session 1, Saturday 12th September, 2015 – 18:00GMT
I was assigned together with my comrade Tornik to Red Flight as an escort for two S-22 ‘Ilya Muromets’ Bombers flown by Hihu and von Bu. They are real big birds, but slow like a snail. We started on Pjnko airfield immediately after approval from airfield command in our S-16 fighters, heading straight South to meet the bombers at our ballon in sector 6.3 at about 2200mtr altitude. After a while we spotted the big birds heading West to their main target, a factory in sector 5.4.
Somewhere between our Russian and the German territory we noticed a German Fokker E.III that was firing a red flare and soon after we saw a second one a bit higher. Tornik attacked the first Fokker but the second dived on him and oiled up his engine. I was a bit too far away to enter the fight in time to help Tornik. I dived behind that second Fokker that damaged Tornik and landed some lucky shots on him. Killed the pilot and the plane crashed to ground. But there was another Fokker, and he was already aiming on me, so I turned my S-16 hard into his direction and we passed with a few meters distance. I climbed in a chandelle and then again turned hard into him. He lost some altitude so I was in a better position and dived on him again, aimed and shot, but no lucky shot this time.
He pulled up and forced me to overshoot – nice try. But he pulled a bit too much and tried to gain speed and energy after that maneuver by diving into a cloud. Using my energy I pulled up and turned hard to follow him and I got him right before the clouds became to heavy – aimed, fired and then unfortunately ruined my propeller. I was too fast and too close and so I collided with him, ripping off my propeller. Now it was my turn to dive into the cloud. The Fokker tried to chase me but most likely lost sight in the heavy clouds. I used my S-15 like a glider and managed a safe landing on our territory. Tornik, my Wingmen, was also able to land safe. So we did our job and the two big birds were still on their way to the factory.
It took me some time to find a car that brought me to the next airfield, Udshtera, where I was surprised to meet Hihu, one of our Bomber Pilots. He and vonBu were also shotdown after they unsuccessfully dropped their bombs on the factory.
The airfield command at Udshtera was short on pilots and so we were assigned to an air raid on one of the German airfields. We got a F.E.2b and I was taking place in the pilots seat while Hihu manned the Machine Gun. We started, heading South-West, passing our airfield at Ankjzobov at low altitude where we spotted 8-9 aircraft in a heavy dogfight over the airfield. About 4-5 kilometers behind Ankjzobov we turned west and tried to climb to 3500ft, but with that double MG and 12 of these 20lbs bombs the brave F.E.2b climbed so slow that I decided not to go over the mountains. So we flew a bow to the south and approached the airfield in sector 13.1 from South-East, flying over the river. As we reached the airfield, we saw that it was already destroyed, so we headed for our secondary target: some German barges at sector 5.1. We were on our way, when Hihu pointed eastwards, he spotted some carriages loaded with bombshells. I turned East and we started our attack on the horse carriages. I’m a lousy bomber and was happy when at least one of my small bombs hit. While approaching one of these carriages again, we spotted a lonely S-16 – It was our friend Tornik! He managed to shoot the other two carriages to fire before he was badly hit by ground fire. I don’t know what happened to him, hope he survived.
We headed north again towards our secondary target. But soon after a few minutes we were attacked by a Fokker E.III. Hihu demanded me to go into a right turn and so I did. Hihu seems to be a good shot, after firing a few rounds, Hihu got the E.III down. Well done! But my brave F.E.2b was heavily damaged. However, we continued our way to our secondary target. Flying at low altitude over some woods, we spotted another Fokker on an opposite course mayby 200mtr above. We hold our breath and it looked like the pilot didn’t saw us, so we continued our way to sector 5.1. But a few minutes later we were attacked by a Fokker E.III from behind. We don’t know if it was the same or another one, however, this time we had no luck. I turned right to give Hihu a free shot, but no way, that Fokker pilot was an ace. He shot us down and after some seconds we crashed to ground.