Flanders In Flames XXIIb – Session 3 AAR

Salute Gentlemen!

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

Session 3, Saturday 24th October 2015 – 18:00GMT

My name is Otto Kaminsky, Oberleutnant, 2. Königlich Preussisches Husarenregiment. I am on a secondment to the Königlich Preussischer Militärgeheimdienst, which actually simply means: I am a spy. When on August 1st 1914 Germany declared war to Russia, my commanding officer send a note to the military intelligence department and told them that I spoke fluent Russian, Polish, Hungarian and Finnish as well as English and French. So I found my way to the Eastern Front and since then I am in that espionage business.

For that special day, it was planned that a pilot of Jasta 99 should bring me far behind the Russian  front line to a place near Nezvys’ko where I was supposed to meet a secret informant of mine to get some news about what’s going on in the region as well as some highly confidential information I’m not allowed to talk about.

The evening before I told the commanding officer of Jasta 99 that we had to make a trip of about 150km somewhere into enemy territory – fast in and much faster out. He should choose for a pilot and prepare a plane for that task. After a short, but very amusing night with a cute ginger I was an the airfield at 0600am, jumped into the Roland, tapped on the shoulder of the pilot and commanded him to take off and go North-East on low level.

After we took off I asked him for his name and he told my that he was VFw Hardenberg-Reetz, but everybody called him Hardy. ‘OK, Hardy‘ I said, ‘now bring me to a place North-East of the city of Nezvys’ko, about 30 minutes by feet to the River Dniester. Find a place for a safe landing and takeoff. You have to wait there for about 2 hours until I’m back. If I’m not back latest after these two hours you’ll have to fly back and make your report to Major von Halbersleben. Got that?‘. ‘Jawohl, Herr Oberleutnant.‘ he replied and so we went on over a river heading North-East. High-Speed, low altitude. Hardy was following that curving river on 160km/h while the tips of the wings seemed to touch the trees sometimes. I got sick while he was almost laughing for the fun he got by that incredibly race.

Hardy running "high" over a river.
Hardy running “high” over a river.

After about 25 minutes he turned sharp to the right and dove into the valley of a small river with high trees to the left and to the right. That was finally too much for me because while my body was going down, my breakfast stayed up high. I leaned out to the side of the aircraft and send my breakfast downwards into the river, feeding the fishes. Hardy told me then, that this was a tributary river of the Dniester and we were close to Nezvys’ko. I send a prayer up to the sky, thanking god for being still alive after this torture.

 

Hardy on landing approach
Hardy on landing approach

After some more minutes I saw the city of Nezvys’ko in the South-West and Hardy pointed to a forest clearing next to the river. I nodded my head and he reduced throttle, preparing to land. What both of us didn’t know: There was a flooding a few days before and the ground was muddy and softened. Not the best place for landing a 1100kg heavy aircraft at the speed of almost 90km/h.

Hardy landed behind enemy lines
Hardy landed behind enemy lines

But he brought us two down safe. I jumped out and went for my meeting with Samuel Herschel, a merchant who lived and worked in Nezvys’ko. From him I got some worthy information, most of them I’m not allowed to tell about. But one was that there were some horse carriages full of salpetre awaited at the ammunition factory of Zhukotin for the next day. With these news I went back to the Roland and VFw Hardy.

When I arrived I noticed a worried expression on his face. He told my that he must have touched ground with his lower right wing while landing on the muddy ground.

Hardy touching ground while landing
Hardy touching ground while landing

The wing looked terrible and Hardy wasn’t sure that it would survive the 50km way  back home into our territory, but I had no choice so I demanded him to give it a try.

I jumped into the Roland and Hardy started the engine and throttled up. ‘Duck your head!‘ he shouted to me as the Roland came up to speed. Then I heard a terrible crackling sound and the lower right wing tore apart. The Roland bumped heavily, turned to the left and nosed over. Everything was getting dark. I was captured inside of the aircraft. The engine was switched off and I had the smell of petrol in my nose. I bumped against the window in the fuselage and was able to smash it so I could creep out. Hardy was heavily wounded. I bandaged his wounds, but he wasn’t completely conscious so I decided to ask Mr. Hershel for help while I tried to get home somehow to deliver the intelligence information.

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