This is my After-Action-Report from Flanders in Flames XXIIb Campaign Session 2.
Session 2, Saturday 17th October 2015 – 18:00GMT
It has been a week since we had our first sortie at the Eastern Front. We were still waiting for our Oberursel U.I engines to finally assemble our Fokker Eindecker. Our CO Himmelhund was really furious about it. The engines, a complete railway carriage, has been lost on our way from Douai in France to Rosil’na in Galicia. What a mess.
However, after that first sortie we learned, that our Rolands had the capability to outrun every Russian aircraft around by at least 20Km/h and their fastest aircraft, the F.E.2b we were also able to fight. We spend some time to check our Rolands that were assembled in haste a week ago and finish the assembly of the remaining Rolands. So our squad was fully equipped with probably the most capable aircraft in that area. That was a real good feeling.
We got the orders for our next sortie. Our objectives were to destroy a vital bridge, a factory and some petrol tanks of a Russian airfield along a railroad track. One of us had to go for a photo reconaissance flight, one had to do some artillery spotting and one of us got orders to place a spy far behind the enemy lines. Therefore he had to land in enemy territory. Jeez, what a dangerous job. The tree chaps with these special orders as well as our flight leader Wrongway and his comrade DorpoffandPickoff were Pilots form other squads, assigned to us. And we were very happy to have them around, because they were flying in this area for a long time.
We started in the early morning around 0500am. A total of 9 Rolands were standing on the field, waiting for take off signal.
First, the three guys with special orders took off and went for their lonly way. One of them, Hornet, we saw for a while far ahead and above after we took off, because he was heading in the same direction.
It was a great spectacle to see all these Rolands taking off, one after the other, from the airfield.
After takeoff we turned East. Navigation was quite easy today. We just had to go East and climb until we found the rialway track that was going South from Markovsky, then wollow that railroad track South-East. Our targets were a road bridge at Lesnoy Khlebichin, the factory at Korchev and the airfield at Gody-Turka.
As we reached our first target, the bridge at Lesnoy Khlebichin, we noticed a flight of at least 3 Sikorsky S-15 about 700m below. One of our comrades stayed above the bridge, waiting for the S-16 to go away while the rest of us continued to the factory. At the factory we saw no enemy aircraft and so Himmelhund and von Bu started their descent to attack the bridge while Wrongway, Adler and I were heading for the airfield. It took only two or three minutes until we reached the airfield and this time it was Wrongway who entered into a steep dive going to drop his payload on the petrol tanks of the field. This was for sure a dangerous job as well because of all the Archie around the field. Adler an I turned East and went to the Russian bomber base at Udschtera. We had orders to look after some barges near some docks at Turka, and, as an opportunity target, watch out for S-22 of F.E.2b landing or starting from Udschtera field.
We didn’t found any Russian 2-Seaters of one of these legendary big birds. And god knows, I’m more than curious to see one of theses giant planes. But today we had no luck. So we went over to Turka and actually I spottet a lonly barge, heading for the Turka docks. I reduced throttle to zero and entered a steep dive that brought me about 1.5km astern of the barge. Then I rolled left and swung into the direction of the barge, approching it from astern, on a lowlevel so the FLAK on that ship couldn’t aim on me. I leveled out and gave full throttle again. The barge came closer and closer and my heart was heavily beating. One hand on the joystick, the other one on the bomb lever. Now! I released the bombs! One, two! I heard the bombs crashing into the barge and exploding, feeling my Roland bumping up and down twice. I felt stunned, blood was running out my ears. Our Roland was heavily damaged, the left lower wing came off and we crashed into the Dobrovidka river.
What happened? Being anxious about being shot by the barges FLAK, I approached the target too low. The shock wave of the exploding bombs hit me and ripped off my wing.
Thanks god, we crashed into the river. Being stunned but still conscious, my observer and I crept out of the wrecked Roland and swum down the river. When we were safe, we went to the edge and rested a while.
We looked at the barge, about one km behind and saw Adler in his Roland approaching the barge. Since the FLAK was already destroyed, he was safe and therefore he was approching the target on a higher level. And not to forget, he is an excellent bomber pilot. He dropped one bomb from about 100m, hit the barge and it sunk immediatley. He rocked his wings and went West, heading for home.
And we started our perilous way home in the same direction, about 30 km across enemy territory by feet.