Flanders in Flames XXII – Session 3 AAR

Salute Gentlemen!

This is my After-Action-Report from Flanders in Flames XXII Campaign Session 3.

Session 3, Saturday 26th September, 2015 – 18:00GMT

In some aspects, war becomes boring after a while. Again and again I have to do escort for bombers, most of the time for these big birds, brought to us by Igor Sikorsky: the S-22 Ilya Muromets. Mate, I tell you, this is an ugly, slow and huge aircraft. It’s so huge, the German Eindeckers can’t miss if they’re shooting at it. I’m glad, that I’m not a bomber pilot and have to fly these coffins. But for some reason my comrade Adler feels very comfortable with this plane – He’s really proud of calling the S-22 his Baby. I always suppose, that he must have had a liaison with an Elephant-Lady.

However, as usual I was assigned to an escort flight for Adler and Falke who started in a S-22 from Udshtera field. Our escort flight took of from Ankjzobov field with Mueller. He was the flight leader which was a great hounor because he’s also Commander in Chief in our Sector. Our flight started with four S-16 but soon we lost one of our comrades. We three were heading North-East for a rendezvous with the bombers. After some minutes of constant climbing we spotted them and followed them in South-West direction. We have climbed at about 2200mtrs, right above the clouds and catched up with Falke when I spotted three Eindeckers ahead. They turned into our direction. Adler, who was at about 2500mtrs altitude and almost 1000mtrs ahead turned back, but too late. The three Eindecker attacked and damaged him badly before we could enter the fight. While our escort flight was going to enter a dogfight with these German fighters, Falke had turned North and tried to escape. When we got contact with the Fokkers, they entered into a diving spiral together with Mueller and another S-16. I lost my orientation for a moment and when I saw them again, the three Eindecker and my two comrades were far below. Adler was heading back home and almost save over our territory so I tried to find Falke to support him if there are some more German aircraft around. After one or two minutes I found him and surprisingly there was another S-16. It was the comrade we lost soon after take off. We followed Falke to the North. When we reached Markowsky, he turned West, now we were over German territory and somehow we lost the other S-16 again. While Falke was searching for his target I was wide awake, turning around him spotting for Enemys attacking us. And actually I noticed a small black dot in the blue sky. I kept an eye on that dot which soon became a silhouette of a monoplane. Damn Eindeckers I thought, but this time it was only one. The E.III was turning left in a wide bow which brought him finally to Falke so I started my pursuit. It looked like he haven’t spotted me and was extending from me but he came closer and closer to Falke in his S-22. I tried to distract him and fired a well aimed short burst from my machine gun towards him. And it worked, he turned and entered a fight. Hell this pilot wasn’t a rookie on that E.III. Most of the time I was turning and twisting like crazy trying not to be an easy target.

Ltn. Marwitz diving on Hardy

He managed his energy very well and stayed above while I was waiting for the right moment to gain some energy on my own. Then the moment had come and with a displacement roll I forced him to overshoot. Now I was above and behind, so I started my attack and surprisingly he made a mistake. He climbed up right before my gun and I pulled the trigger. I saw fabric, wood and oil coming off his aircraft.

Hardy firing on Ltn. Marwitz

After that he enterd into a steep dive and I was following him, aiming and shooting again. Then, after a while I noticed, that his Propeller stood still. I must have hit his engine. First I thought now he’s a static target, an easy kill. But while diving on him I thought that it wouldn’t be very chivalrous to kill a defenceless pilot so I rocked my wings and broke off. Later I learned that this was the famous Ltn. Hans-Georg von der Marwitz of Jasta 30.

I climbed again to about 1000mtrs heading East to find our airfield at Pjnko. There I spotted another S-22 circling over the airfield to gain altitude. I catched up and then I saw, it was Adler again. So he must have had a safe landing. I wiggled my wings and he turned West, heading for his target. I was turning around him watching out for any Germans when I saw his gunner waving at me on his prominent seat. With my next pass I got a little closer and recognised that it was our old chap Sturm. What a hell of a job I thought – Sitting with his butt on the tank on the top wing of an aircraft that is flying 110km/h and 2200mtrs high. I wouldn’t swap.

After a while, again I spottet an Eindecker on an interception course… but wait, there were two, no three of them. Finally there were four Eindecker and a Roland attacking us. I send a prayer up to the sky, fastened my seat belt and engaged facing the certain death, well knowing that there was no escape for us. Two of the Eindeckers attacked my and after seconds I was in the middle of a dogfight, fighting for my own life. I had no chance to support my dear mate Adler. He was attacked by the other two Eindeckers and the Roland. But soon I saw no more defence fire coming from the S-22. They must have wounded or killed poor old Sturm.

Hardy engaged with Shnoze Shmon and Husar – Up high the S-22 being attacked

But I had no time to feel sad about him. These two Eindeckers were Boom’n Zooming on me taking turns and I was contantly turning, avoiding them aiming on me. It was a hard fight, it must have been hours but from the beginning of the dogfight to it’s final down on the ground it lasts only 4 minutes. While turning all the time and trying not to loose to much altitude one of them pulld up and then turned left into a dive – straight ahead of my machine gun. There was the chance I have waited for.

Hardy shooting at Husar
Hardy shooting at Husar

Instantly I pulled the trigger of my gun, firing an angry burst from my Vickers into him. I must have hit, because after my attack he lost fuel and disengaged. One for me I thought, let’s go for the second one. I turned around to find him – Holy Jesus, he was on my six! I saw him firing and I thought, this is the end. But somehow I stayed unharmed. Although my engine was hit. I heard a loud ‘Clank’ and hot castor oil sputtered into my face and on my goggles. I broke off into a Split-S, the Fokker in pursiut. Again and again I rolled over and dove out. When I was at about 100mtrs I turned left, bliped my engine and watched out for a place to land my crippled plane. Through my oil splattered goggled I saw a forrest clearing that looked good and I started my approach.

Shnoze Shmon diving on Hardy
Shnoze Shmon diving on Hardy

Looking back, I saw the Fokker diving on me. I was a perfect target, defenceless with a damaged engine and elevator. I pushed on my stick to get some energy and to get out of the Fokkers line of fire. But he send some bullets into my upper right wing and one hit my right shoulder. I was so slow that he overshoot very fast and before his next pass I touched ground. I loosed my seat belts, grabbed the map and my compass and jumped out of my poor S-16 running into the woods. Looking back I saw the Fokker turning back and strafing my plane.

Shnoze Shmon straing my S-16
Shnoze Shmon strafing my S-16

I took a look at my compass and headed East starting my long walk home. My wounded shoulder hurts and I was thirsty.


7 thoughts on “Flanders in Flames XXII – Session 3 AAR

  • 2015-09-27 at 1633

    Nice read Hardy you are true gentlemen and tough opponent! BTW game account me as shot you down.

    • 2015-09-27 at 1801

      And vice versa. So I salute to you!

  • 2015-09-28 at 1220

    As usual, nice and interesting-to-read story, Hardy!

    If you allow – some words about this session from my side (yes, this time I got finally a possibility to take part in the Tournament too :) ).

    FourSpeed, Bidu, Trupobaw and me were assigned to the north field to fly S-16 and patrol area above the enemy trenches. This flight didn’t last long time.. Above the front line we have got the first contact – enemy Roland but it was much more above us and we couldn’t intercept it. At the same time, we noticed some dog-fight at 11 o’clock from us and decided to check it – hopefully that was at the our altitude.
    Some minutes later, 4 Sikorsky S-16 began a fight with 2 Halberstadt D.II. Despite Halberstadt has more performance as Sikorsky, this fight was enough successful for our flight – but unfortunately not successful for me personally. By diving, I damaged my engine and should left my comrades trying to return to the airfiled and save the plane. At that moment, 2 Halberstadts were shot down but our squadron didn’t celebrate triumph long time – a big group of Fokker E.III approached fighting place and battle for 3 Sikorsky has began again. This time it wasn’t so successful as before. Bidu and Trupobaw were shot down some minutes later and FourSpeed should made an emergency landing (btw thanks to Husar). This brave pilot has no luck – he landed at the enemy territory and was captured.
    Meantime, I with full-oiled face and little hope not to crash somewhere in the forest was flying home. Really saying, I was surprised about this little plane and its capabilities: arrow of the tachometer had a crazy dance and I didn’t exept that I approach my airfield safely. This but happens! The airfield was found, landing was successful and the aircraft was saved and I was ready to get new orders.

    Being ready to take off and come back to the enemy trenches, I saw commander Müller running to me. New order! I would be transfered to the southern airfield to protect our ship at the river near. Travel there didn’t take much time and my arriving was at the perfectly right moment. Still staying at the airfield, I heard already flaks explosions not so far from me. Quickly taking off, I saw a cause of the flaks shooting – our ship was already under attack, some lone Roland was bombing it. I was trying to protect the ship but without a luck – slow Sikorsky had no chances against the fast Roland. The ship was destroyed but Roland got a punishment too – thanks to the flaks firing Roland lost its wings.
    That time, Jenks from No.42 join me and we began a boring defence patrol over our positions. About half-hour later, this routine was hopefully finished – we should flew to our two-seaters airfield to escort a next flight. Being not so far from target airfield, we spotted group of Rolands attacking our facilities. Knowing that our bombers won’t be take off if enemy planes near, we decided to attack this group of Rolands. At that moment, I didn’t know yet that it was the beginning of my end. Right untill the attack, I was sure that Rolands’ group consist of 4 aircrafts – but in real they were 5 planes and I didn’t notice the fifth one flying below the common group. The turret of exactly this fifth Roland has began firing at me from bottom when I began my own attack. Jenks, because of disorientation, was far from me and couldn’t help me.
    By maneuvering, damaged wings of my poor S-16 were finally broken and began their own flight separately from the plane. Falling down in rotation, I saw a narrow river near me. I tried to direct the plane into the water hoping to save my life but damaged Sikorsky wasn’t so good controlled… baaaammmm!… Just some meters from the river’s bank… dead…

    • 2015-09-28 at 1433

      Nice Report Baron von Myakin. And yes, the S-16 is a little tough and nimble plane. I like it very much which I found somewhat confusing 😮

  • 2015-09-29 at 007

    Another fine AAR, Hardy!

    @Baron von Myakin,
    A good report as well… You’re right, it was a pretty short flight, but it was successful, as our patrol enabled to the trench mapper to complete his objective safely.

    You’re also right about my “Bad Luck” – at the end there, when I was forced to ditch my crippled S-16, in enemy territory, it felt like I had the whole German air force after me … and I couldn’t have been more than a couple kilometers from our side of the lines (iirc, I was East of their balloons) but it might as well have been the moon, for all the luck I’d need to reach them.

    On top of that – in the stats (though it’s very clear in the Sortie Log — #41086), I didn’t even get credit for killing J30 Turner Voss’ Halberstadt… Guess that’s what happens when the fight occurs over enemy territory, with nobody to confirm the victory… Just, Bad Luck… :-(

    After that battle, my “twin brother” served as an Fe2B gunner with #42-Cuban. He was tasked with recon (near the artillery positions). It was quite a “cat-and-mouse” flight, and on a couple occasions Cuban was forced to evade to avoid being spotted by Eindeckers and a Roland. Fortunately, he was successful with that, and we were able to return with the pictures. He flew flawlessly, and we never had to fire a shot.

    On our next sortie, we were tasked with one of the secondary targets, but it was nearly over for us at takeoff – Ushtera airfield was being attacked by no less than 4 Rolands! Luckily for us, there was at least one friendly fighter and another Fe2B engaging them. Hoping they’d get more help, Cuban elected to try to proceed with our mission. With a prayer for our comrades, and trees hiding us from the Rolands, we snuck away from the field as stealthily as possible.

    After that excitement, we had several minutes of pleasant flying to the SW as we overflew our southern airfield and followed the river deep into enemy territory. Unfortunately for us there was a full patrol of Eindeckers over the target area and it wasn’t very long till one of them spotted us. Cuban gave him a merry chase, but smartly, he popped flares to signal his comrades of our whereabouts, and shortly after that we were shot down.

    My “twin” was less fortunate than I, and met his demise in the crash — I think Cuban survived, but was, no doubt, taken prisoner.

    So ended our day….


    • 2015-09-29 at 722

      Thats a nice AAR too FourSpeed. Thanks a lot for posting it.

    • 2015-09-30 at 1123

      Cool story, 4!


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