This is my After-Action-Report from Flanders in Flames XXII Campaign Session 4.
Session 3, Saturday 03th October 2015 – 18:00GMT
Oh what a lucky guy I was! No escort for a slow Big Bird today. I was assigned to an escort flight for my comrade Trupobaw who was starting from Udshtera field in a R.E.8 for a photo recaonassance mission. And we got the brand new Nieuport 17 fighter, this would be my first sortie in that aircraft. It’s fast and maneuverable. It looked like the rabbit turned to become the fox in that game. But the Germans replaced their old Eindeckers as well. Now we had to fight against the Halberstadt D.II fighters. Since they are not as fast as our Nieuports, they can dive faster and are also quite maneuverable. We should not underestimate the capabilities of this plane.#
We, that was Himmelhund, von Bu, Spitfire and me, from Ankjzobov field. Adler should have started with us, but the engine of hie Nieuport seemed to need some maintenance. Also Falke should have been with us, but he was, as usual, late – either he was still sobering up from yesterdays party or he was still with that lovely black haired girl. I suspect for both. No we started our engines and soon we took off heading North to meet Trupobaw at our rendezvouz point over Lesnaya Slobodka at 2000mtrs. We all have had an additional Lewis MG mounted on our top wing, but even though the Nieuport was climbing fast.
We met Trupobaw and headed North-West to the starting point of his reconaissance area North of Vinograd. While teaming up with Trupobaw we somehow lost Spitfire, but there was no time to search for him as Trupobaws R.E.8 was pretty fast. As we entered the reconaissance area I spotted a single Halberstadt D.II diving on von Bu. I instandly fired my gun to alert him, but to late. The Halberstadt already damaged him, I saw black smoke coming up from his aircraft. I came close and fired a burst of bullets from my Vickers and Lewis guns into him. It looked like I shot him a fuel leak. Yeah – I was praising my additional top wing Lewis. The Halberstadt turned West, tried to run away, but I followed him with Himmelhund behind me, clearing my six. The German pilot tried to escape my faster Nieuport and was diving, so I signaled to Himmelhund that he should keep his altitute and went back to escort Trupobaw. And so he left me while I was still chasing that Halberstadt. After some time I closing up to hime and he saw, that running was not longer an option. He turned and we started our dogfight. Twisting around each other the Halberstadt twice came close to my six, but not close enough. I was cursing that second gun on the top wing, because it made the plane turning slower. And that German pilot was no rookie. After a while we were close to the ground and now I learned to know the advantages of my Nieuport. Down on the Deck it was turning much better than the Halberstadt and finally I got a free shot on the Halberstadt. Short after that the German broke out and flew in a straight direction to a forrest clearing. Is was following him, shooting once more, but then I let him land his crippled plannnnnne and headed east climbing up to 1000mtrs.
Later I learned that this German Pilot was the famous Ltn. Hans-Georg von der Marwitz of Jasta 30 who I already shot down during my last sortie. 2:0 for me!
I flew back to our base at Ankjzobov field where I met Trupobaw again. He returned to Ankjzobov field to get some aditional photo frames and had started again to finish his job. so I followed him. But as we reached the front, I noticed, that I had go return to the field again because I was running out of fuel. I reached the field and had a safe landing. The mechanics hurried to refuel the plane, reload my gund and hve a check on the engine. I also demanded them to dismount that Lewis gun. A few minutes after me, Himmelhund also landed safe on the field. From him I heard, that von Bu had to land after the short encounter with Ltn. Marwitz and that Falke finally found the R.E.8 but was involved in a heavy dogfight with at least two other Halberstadt who shot him down finally.
Together with Himmelhund and Adler, whose Nieuport was repaired in the meantime, I started for a front patrol. Soon we saw one of these new Halberstadt CL.II Two-Seaters and started out pursuit. But that CL.II is pretty fast and it took about 15 minutes to come close. The CL.II was already close to a friendly field and despite the altitude we first saw him we suspected that it was on a reconaissance mission so Adler attacked the German plane while it was landing in order to prevent him bringing his photos home. And really – he got that CL.II which was landing upside down. Adler had wasted almost all his ammunition on that CL.II and so we escorted him back to the Front where he was heading back to our base while Himmelund and I turned again to North-West continue our patrol.
And agan, soon after we crossed the front, I spotted another CL.II on my 11 O’Clock below, heading for home. I startet my atack, diving on him, but his gunner spotted me and fired. While flying some errratic maneuvers, I fired a white flare and after a while I noticed that Adler was coming back to support me and Himmelhund.
I closed up to the CL.II and attacked him from below, but holy crap – that gunner was a master shot! We were near to the German airfield at Pnchdpokt and the CL.II Pilot was approaching, going to land. With my last pass I probably came to near. However, the CL.II gunner placed a bullet or two directly into the engine of my Nieuport. Instantly my goggles were splattered with hot castor oil. I broke out and searched for a safe place to land for which was only a little time since my engine was damaged and I was at very low altitude.
I landed my plane upside down but escaped unharmed. From a distance I saw that CL.II already landed, but still firing on Himmelhund. But I had no time to watch that scene. I have landed on enemy territory, near to a German airfield. So I ran into the next forrest starting a hide and seek game with the Germans.