Saturday, 25 May 2013

South by Southend

1750hrs: Flying back to Duxford from Coltishall, 19 Squadron Duxford (Spitfires) were given mid-air instructions to proceed to a vectored position just off the east coast at Clacton-on-Sea Essex. At first there was no sign of the raiders, but it was not long before a flight made contact with 70 He111 and about 50 Bf110s just south of Harwich. Joined by another flight, a strong and intense battle emerged with weaving planes and long glowing lines of tracer above the coastline. One He111 was brought down over the sea, but a number of Bf110s crashed into the Essex countryside.

Brigstock at your seven o'clock

The Team Fusion boys are really working wonders with the sim and it is starting to look like what might have been.

Our mission initially started with WB blowing his engine, us circling North Weald and itching to get on station.

The hold up meant we arrived in perfect time to see the 19 boys stream by with full contrails heading for the incoming bandits.

Seeing them come in over our left wing and head off towards the bad guys gave us some confidence that I've not felt for the last few missions where its felt like 5 vs 105....

Pretty soon 19 spotted some of the raiders and a proper BoB furball began.

Contrails off Southend
Rolling round I had a look at the bombers which sneaker below the fighters. I started to maneuver over the top and position for an attack. I'd heard WB getting stuck in, Brig had the 50 110's under control, so lets bag a Heinkel.

Sun glints off the He-111's
All seemed to be going well and then tracer was whistling past my ears and I'd picked up some of the 110's Brigstock had generously decided to leave for me.

The fight quickly decended to 4-5000 ft. I manage to give a couple of guys the good news, which resulted in them smoking, but no kills.

WB had done his best with the He-111's and Osprey was making the most of the superior numbers, we had to get some target practise done.

Eventually I was winchester, so headed back to North Weald with the sun setting over an eventful day.

Approaching North Weald, dog head out of car mode
Landing I realised I had no clue on how many snappers I had a go at. The other lads were the same. For me this was as good as it gets. Flying in with another (any) squadron makes it more believable for me. The furball off Southend was relentless, but also ended up with that "alone" feeling.

I'll be trying this formula next time.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Swanning about off Swanage

Thursday 15th August Pt 3 (17:00-19:00)
1700hrs: The combat areas now switched the west. Some 60 Bf109s and 25 Bf110s were escorting a formation of 40 Ju87 dive bombers and were detected to the south of Portland. 10 Group despatch 87 Squadron Exeter (Hurricanes) and 213 Squadron Exeter (Hurricanes) to intercept. Soon after, now realizing the size of the enemy force, 234 Squadron Middle Wallop (Spitfires) were scrambled while 609 Squadron Warmwell (Spitfires) were placed at readiness in case they were needed......
The combined strength of the British fighters was about 20 aircraft, while the German force boasted a combined strength of 125.     

109's at height
With the new Team Fusion patch, things have improved significantly. Aircraft performance is closer to the real life perfomance and flying at altitude is possible. Lots of additional goodies, like contrails and the superb reflections from the plane surfaces.
We took off as a four ship which had the hair standing up at the back of my neck, the noise was incredibłe.
Sun glinting off the starboard wing

We faced 40 Ju87's, 60 109's and 25 110's. Defending, we had 12 Spits and 6 Hurries, plus our 4 Spits, so in all pretty poor odds.
It didn't take long before we spotted the contrails high over us, we quickly got seperated and seemed to find a seperate part of the incoming enemy force to deal with. Splash had the 109's, WB and Osprey had the Stukas and I had the 110's.
For the next ten minutes or so, I was just trying to stay alive. I was having to lose height as the 110's were way above. During the odd break I got off a couple of snap shots and managed to get one smoking, though most of the time it was Split S, check six, locate the next attack, break, check six, break, split S, check six.....
110's with Swanage in the background
Having lost about 16,000 ft, the 110's finally broke towards the needles and I managed to pick off a couple of stragglers.
Splash, having escaped from the 109's with Brigstock had picked up the formation and got stuck in.
Osprey had to dead stick onto the Isle of Wight, whilst the rest of us headed back to base.
Splash returns to base
A good mission, with no lag/slowdowns - the modified netcode has probably helped. If this is the sign of things to come from Team Fusion, this game will soon begin to live up to what it should have been.
Congrats to Brigstock who picked up a DFC for his 10th kill in this life.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Combat off Dungeness - "the pointy bit of land"

Thursday 15th August

The RAF "scrambled" 54 Squadron Hornchurch (Spitfires) and 501 Squadron Gravesend (Hurricanes) to intercept the foreboding onslaught that was coming across the Channel. The Observer Corps had reported 60+ Ju87 Stuka dive bombers and an undisclosed number of Bf110 as escort. But this was a numbers game, it was going to be obvious that two squadrons were not going to be enough. The order went out from Fighter Command to Kenley and 615 Squadron (Hurricanes) was "scrambled" to join the other two squadrons already on their way towards Dover....
Part 1 of August 15th and we've started to notice that things are getting tougher. Around 70 Stukas with 30 Bf110's and 20 Bf109's approached Hawkinge and Lympne. Our meagre contribution of 4 Spitfire's didn't seem enough, even with the knowledge that we had two squadrons of friendlies helping out.

I think we all spotted the enemy around the same time, though different portions of the formation. I caught sight of the covering 110's, whilst Osprey and Brigstock had part of the Stuka formation and some of the 109's.

"Today, I will be mostly shooting Stukas"
 As I closed on the top part of the formation, the welcome sight of 54 Squadron diving in to take on the brunt of the 109's. The sky over the top of the formation was a mass of whirling aircraft.

54 Squadron take on the fighter screen
Not wanting to go through the middle of the formation and run the gauntlet of the rear gunners, I stayed high over the top and came round behind the Stukas. Osprey and Brigstock were calling out their engagement, Splash was in there somewhere, but situational awareness with all the targets and fighters became an impossible job. The only way to survive was look for target, check six, look below, check six, shoot at target, look high.

I had a pop at a couple of Stukas, then saw a couple of 110's engaged with a couple of the 501 squadron Hurricanes (when did they show up??) and closed on the rearmost one. After getting a couple of hits, a close group of tracer/cannon shells whizzed past the cockpit. I'd picked up another 110 having failed to check six for a couple of seconds. Snap rolling to the right, probably stopped me from being killed, but my engine was completely gone and I'd been hit so was out of the fight.

Approaching Hawkinge - Dead stick landing
With my engine out I headed for the nearest base, which was Hawkinge. Fortunately the Stukas had finished their attack, but Hawkinge was battered.

I landed and got airborne in a spare Spit immediately, giving chase to the retreating aircraft. I picked up a couple of stragglers off Dungeness (thanks Brig) - "pointy bit of land", but saw they were going in anyway so left them alone. Heading back to Manston radar picked up another smaller formation approaching.

A mixed fighter sweep of 110's and 109's came in, but again I picked up a snapper which damaged the guns on my port wing. Unable to fight, I landed at Manston and again climbed after the aircraft. Os and Splash were giving chase to a flight of 109's, which were dispatched, partly due to them being rookie/bug.

Back to Manston for Tea, Muffins and in Splash's case, medals.

Os pioneering the clip wing Spit
Great fun again, the missions are getting harder and this one cranked up the immersion level. I was genuinely relieved to see the Spits diving in and taking out the fighter screen. I was also relieved to get back to base.

From a mission planning point of view, I've now worked out the AI needs to be on "veteran" to engage properly and be agressive enough, so that too is helping.

Stats are here:

Get the kettle on
Congrats to Splash on his DFC - I wonder whether we'll see antics like this again, now he has the weight of his first gong. :)

Haircut sir?
I've got to post these last two screenies. This was from a mission test run just to check the Stukas attacked the airfields properly. I was sat in my aircraft watching the externals, then jumped back in and was happily thinking "Ha, you missed me" then the roof of the hangar came in.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Five bag a Hun or two

"....the weather was almost a carbon copy of the day previous but with this uncertainty prevailing, it was impossible to launch any full scale operation with the magnitude that Göring hoped for. The day continued with just spasmodic attacks, nothing of any great scale, actions were scattered and could be more rightly termed as nuisance attacks than anything else. It appears that the real Adler Tag would have to wait another day."

I spy, with my little eye, something beginning with "S"
Nothing of great scale according to the day by day reports. We still had 80+ Stuka's and a couple of squadrons of 109's and 110's to deal with!!  It was great to have five of us in one mission and good to be back flying the Spit.

The bad guys

Splash seeking the enemy over France
Smoke palls over the hangars at Manston

Stats testing seemed to go ok, though a little on the high side due to the enemy AI having issues landing and us getting credited for the kills. I'll address that with scripting, which should give more realistic kills.

CoD Stats - BoB Campaign

Note: These will change dynamically whilst I'm continuing with the script testing.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Biggin Hill sunset

August 13th, 1940 pt 3 ( Late afternoon to dusk)

1700hrs: another sighting was made of a formation of enemy aircraft coming in across the Channel. This seemed to be made up of two separate formations. The larger coming across the coast near Dungeness that were identified as Ju87s from II/StG I, while a smaller group came in over Dover, these were identified as Ju87s of IV(St) LGI with both groups escorted by Me 109s.....

Stuka's invited to the party

An enjoyable first mission last night and a lot of Stukas to deal with. Flying from North Weald was interesting as was trying to find Maidstone. Chasing 70+ Stukas diving on an airfield was quite a sight.

"Splash One, request permission for fly-by?"
Heading for Maidstone

WB at Lympne, or is it Sheppey? :p

After the initial mission, night had started to fall. We had some difficulties taking off at Biggin, I swear there's a tripwire on the bottom runway, then heading west for Reading.

Biggin Hill sunset
Despite the frustrations of getting airborne, "Catseyes" Brigstock manages to find the incoming raiders after a long search over Reading.

Brigstock gives some good news
Having been unable to find Reading and only a rough approximation of where I was in the South of England, I began the search for a runway, anywhere. Splash had also begun to search for a landing site.

Finally, out of the dark, I spotted a larger looking field and descended. Fortunately it was a runway..... somewhere.

Head in the slipstream - where am I?
Miraculously we all survived and managed to land. WB and Brigstock at the same place. Even more amazing was 3 night kills for Brigstock.

WB looking for the runway... "Its behind you!!"
Whilst its not something I'd like to do every week, messing about in the dark was quite a good laugh. I'll get the searchlights working for next time. :)

Friday, 7 December 2012

An afternoon on the south coast

Tuesday August 13th, 1940
1530hrs: The large formation is now on radar just out from the Dorset coast and was approaching to the west of the Isle of Wight. It seemed as if this was to be a massive attack, and the German formations were heading in the direction of Portsmouth and Southampton. As predicted, the formations were now broken into groups, and consisted of 120 plus Ju88s from KG 54 and LG 1, these were escorted by 40 plus Bf109s from V/LG 1 that were coming in from the western end of the Channel. To the east came 77 Ju 87s from II/StG 2 and StG 77 and were escorted by 50 plus Bf109s from JG 27. Flying slightly ahead of the bomber formations were 35 Bf109s of II/JG 53. This was a total of about 450 German aircraft that was approaching the English coast.

KG 54 Ju 88's over the Isle of Wight

Being slightly down on numbers for one of the biggest raids thus far isn't exactly the ideal way to start, but with the Warmwell Spits of 152 Squadron and Exeter Spits of 238 Squadron it wasn't as bad as the three of us first thought.

Taking off from Tangmere as 601 Squadron, Brigs and I did a nice pairs take off and circled the base waiting for WB to get airborne in the late afternoon sunshine.

Circling the base
We climbed as hard to intercept the incoming contacts that were heading towards Southampton.

These few moments before the chaos starts are great, straining to see into the haze knowing that a large enemy force is approaching cranks up the immersion. WB saw them first.

Flying alongside the formation
Around 90 Ju88's with escort were heading north to Southampton. They were already over the Solent and heading up the Hamble river.

Starting in to the rear of the formation, we tried to find isolated groups. Almost immediately I picked up some engine damage and headed for the nearest airfield which was Hamble.

Approaching Hamble, with the docks burning
In the meantime, WB and Brigstock got stuck in as the formation carried on northwards. It soon became apparent that the docks were not the only target as the formation swung NW heading for Andover airfield. (In WW2 - the Luftwaffe mistook Andover airfield for Middle Wallop)

The Spits from Warmwell were dealing with the escort fighters, leaving the Hurricanes free to harass the bombers.

WB and Brigstock were still in touch with the main formation which was now NW of Winchester. Brigstock was now also Winchester himself and headed off for a landing to re-arm and get airborne again. I jumped in another Hurricane at Lee on Solent and headed NW for Andover.

Re-acquiring the returning formation just north of the Hamble river which was now spread out across several miles, I made several attacks damaging several aircraft which wouldn't make it back.

A heart stopping moment as a formation of fighters whizzed over my canopy, initially I thought they were 109's, but turned out to be a flight of Hurricanes from Middle Wallop who were also attacking the formation.

Bombers and the Needles in my sights
Brigstock and WB had now re-acquired the formation as it headed out over the Needles and began picking off stragglers.

Having now run out of ammunition, I headed back for Tangmere. I was shocked at how quickly the time had gone, 90 minutes had passed when I touched down. I didn't expect the mission to take as long as that, as it was getting late, we've left the second mission for Aug 13th part 3.

Brigstock and WB back at base

Claims board

Friday, 30 November 2012

East of Eastchurch

Tuesday August 13th, 1940
0645hrs: 74 Squadron Hornchurch (Spitfires), under the command of "Sailor" Malan, were ordered to patrol the Thames Estuary as a precautionary measure.... At 0655hrs, enough enemy aircraft could be seen coming out of the cloud to confirm that an enemy formation was coming in from the Thames Estuary and flying in a westerly direction.
1140hrs: A build up of a small formation was picked up by radar off the French coast off Cherbourg. It turns out to be 20+ Bf110s who were to escort Ju88s of KG54 on a raid on Portland Harbour. KG54 had received the message that the raid had been cancelled and they returned to their base, but the message was not conveyed to 1/ZG2 and the Bf110s continued their path across the Channel.
Due to Swoop growing up next opposite the old Croydon aerodrome, five of us took to the skies flying as 111 Squadron.  Spotting local landmarks we headed east over the outskirt of London thing.

Combat spread
Out to the Isle of Sheppey and the expected target of Eastchurch airfield. Fairly soon we could hear 74 Squadron already engaging the incoming Dorniers.

Over the Isle of Sheppey
We spotted the incoming bomber stream, to which the now familiar expletives were heard on the airwaves.

Join the dots

After previous weeks of barelling in through the middle of the formation and stopping quite a few rounds, we took the safer option of picking on one side of the formation on the first pass. Very quickly we were through the mass of bombers and climbing hard to come back in on the starboard quarter.

A flight of bombers that had started to struggle to keep with the main stream became our main focus.

Picking up the back markers
We seemed to be doing ok, then Splash was collided with a Dornier due to a lag collision. Swoop, WB and I continued firing peas with only a couple of bombers seen to be going down.

Quite quickly I had no ammo left and landed at Maidstone airfield.

A quick change of venue and I was at Lympne airfield to try and intercept the stream which was heading towards Folkestone.

Dornier down
Unable to catch the main stream and not wanting to head over to France (Dowding's orders) we headed back to Lympne.

Another change of venue and we took off at Tangmere with 601 squadron to intercept incoming raiders heading for Poole harbour. A loose form up and we were out over the Isle of Wight climbing hard.

When we spotted the raiders, 238 Squadron were well engaged and a large furball of Me-110's and Hurricanes wheeled about the sky. I lost everyone quite quickly dogfighting with a 110 who I proceeded to loose and didn't re-acquire.

As we started to form up again, Brigstock noticed we had been invaded by some uninvited guests (2 of the 1.Java boys and a random) who had guessed the server password.

Who are the #@$%! hell are you?? :)
Fortunately they were used to ATAG and headed to the usual places, which was well away from our operating area.

We all (ahem) landed at Tangmere again for tea and medals.

Splash's love affair with the Hurricane, continues....

and we didn't need this guy, even though I put him in the mission.

I am the walrus