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

Friday, 23 November 2012

Phew, what a scorcher

Monday August 12th, 1940

The Bf109 and 110 formation was flying directly for Dover, then, as soon as they flew over the coast they suddenly turned and immediately attacked the tall towers of the radar installations. In a swift and precise move Dover CH was damaged and put off the air.....

Epro 210 squadron attacking Manston
1325hrs: The airfield at Manston was the first to be hit. Rubensdoerffer's Erpro210 was back again after the earlier damage it had done to Dover and Dunkirk radar stations. This time dropping bombs and machine gunning the satellite airfield just as 65 Squadron (Spitfires) were taking off on a routine patrol....
Things started off quite gently last night, having got airborne at Hawkinge to intercept the initial group of raiders that were out to destroy the chain home radar sites.
Forming up at Hawkinge
Patrolling down to Pevensey, we didn't see any sign of the raiders so headed back up the coast towards Dover.
Slipping through the net
Re-assurances from the in game ground control told us that the enemy was still about, then I spotted a small group coming in low over the Dover harbour. Within minutes there was Messerschmitt 110's all over the place. A quick couple of bursts and I had one streaming fuel and oil. More 110's were joining in, with no sign of 54 Squadron Hurricanes who were detailed to help out.
It was a hectic 10 minutes and I don't recollect much of it aside from firing at targets and watching my six.
Heading back to Hawkinge with WB we approached and with all the excitement I forgot the two stage undercarriage lever in the Hurricane.
Undercarriage lever a bit sticky, sir?
A quick transfer to Manston as trouble was brewing across the channel. We all jumped in our aircraft and were taxying out when the first bombs fell.
Don't just sit there, get one up!!
Climbing out with Brigstock, trying to gain altitude and looking for the bandits was proving difficult. Osprey and Splash both called that they were over the base a lot higher than us. Circling round, Osprey then informed us that 109's were diving on us.
Turning round, I could see four 109's screaming in and broke left. I lost one of my elevators, but was still able to maneuver. Osprey and Splash were now airborne and joining the fight, along with 65 Squadron who were hitting the 110's.
He wont make it back
The next few minutes were a combination of breaking out of the way and trying to catch the 109's on their zoom climbs. Splash, Osprey and Brigstock all managed to bag a 109. In the end I had to land as another 109 pass took out my port machine guns.
Before they had chance to land, Splash called out a large formation was approaching Manston from the sea.
Bandits - 11'oclock high
For an age it felt like I was the only one who couldn't see them, then finally I spotted two flights of Dorniers at around 13,000ft. As they turned I could see another formation of Dorniers co-alt behind me, so decided to turn and take them head on. It was a bit of a shock to find they were 110's as the bullets started whizzing by my head.
Taking out another 110, I headed back for base, or what was left of it.
Manston. A par 5, tricky dog leg to the right between the bunkers.
Good fun again. Congrats to Brigstock (ace in a day) and commiserations to Splash and Osprey who had some bad luck.
DiD scores below and full stats on the 92 squadron page.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Dover to Pompey

Sunday August 11th, 1940

"Fighter Command had been warned of the small build up that was moving in towards the coast at Dover, radar had supplied the position and direction of the enemy formation, and the Observer Corps reported the type and strength. Park was informed that the formation consisted of 30+ Bf110 and an equal number of Bf109s."

"But the Luftwaffe plan was to attract as many of the British fighters into the air as possible at Dover while the main strike of the day was to be concentrated much further west near Portland.........."

Me-110 bombing Dover

The first mission of the night was to defend the attack on Dover which hit around 8.30am on the Sunday. After some shenanigans getting airborne, we climbed out and formed into two pairs around 14,000ft just off the coast. We had two sections of 74 Squadron Spitfires high of us looking out out for the incoming attack.

Hun in the sun

Radar reports were a bit sketchy and the bombers managed to slip through before we spotted them over the town.

Closing in
I latched on to a 110 which tried unsuccessfully to give me the slip. The ammo change I'd made, removing the ball ammunition for AP, ripped the port engine to bits and started a fire in the wing. The pilot was the only one to bail.

Going down
74 Squadron were doing a good job in keeping the fighters at bay. I did see quite a few 109's and Spits wheeling about the sky around 2000ft higher than us, but was constantly checking my six to be able to watch it for long.

Damaged - 74 squadron Spit
Splash and Swoop had made early returns to Manston, with Brigstock and I being the last ones back. We hopped into the transporter room and appeared in the ready room at Tangmere. This time flying for 601 squadron in Hurricanes.

After getting airborne, there was a few comparisons with the Spit, but we were soon began enthusing about its roll rate and how steady she felt in the air.

Radar were on their game for this raid, which was approaching the Isle of Wight from Cherbourg. The naval base at Portsmouth was the obvious target. Climbing out we saw the barrage balloons had been put up.

JU88's with Heinkels

Swoop and I patrolled the southern edge of the Isle of Wight, with Splash and Brigstock over the Solent.

We spotted the formation first, which was a couple of thousand feet higher than expected. Climbing hard we moved in.

Closing in on a large formation
The formation split and we began to work on the stragglers, finding the Hurricane the stable gun platform she was reputed to be.

All to quickly we were out of ammo and landed at the nearest airfield. As there were still aircraft in the area, I took a Spit out of Gosport and saw Splash had similar ideas.

Climbing for the Isle of Wight, there were still bombers over Portsmouth. I was joined by Brigstock at this point and we hassled the retreating bombers for a few miles before we all landed back at Tangmere.

Swoop landing his Hurricane.

A location change after the first scramble was stretching the imagination a bit, but seemed to work quite well. The Hurricane is a delight to fly and hopefully we'll be using that some more in the next few missions.

As the formation approached Portsmouth we got some slowdowns. I can only assume this was either the built up area or the ships I put in the harbour firing at the aircraft. I'll re-run this mission this weekend and remove the ships firing. I also keep forgetting to reduce the amount of bombers firing back as this too can cause some slowdowns.

Monday, 5 November 2012

RoF 05/11

Yet another atmospheric Furball over Flanders Tonight was a balloon attack with Puff taking rockets. 

It was going so well on the approach to the front. 9 Pups in formation, everything looking good. 
There was even talk of some sort of tactic. We had surmised that there must be some sort of cover over the balloon. Half of us would tackle the protection the remainder would take care of the balloon.

This talk of tactics was probably just before Splash called out 10-12 bandits 11 o'clock. All plans out the window. Trust PWCG to spring something like this on us. The ensuing melee saw 5 of us downed. 3 killed, 1 captured and 1 wounded. 

........and one novice pilot stacked it on landing. I don't want to name and shame the pilot but it was Keets :)

Sunday, 4 November 2012

It takes two to Tangmere.

Thursday August 8th, 1940 Part 2, the afternoon....

....Further down the coast, the convoy ran into better weather, the low cloud had dispersed and the waters of the Channel were bathed in brilliant sunshine. Sperle had ordered Stuka and Bf109 Squadrons from his Luftwaffe 3 bases to attack and destroy "Peewit" just off the Isle of Wight........    
Convoy Peewit off the Isle of Wight
 The continuation of the defence of convoy Peewit had five of us scrambled from Tangmere, along with a squadron of Spitfires from Middle Wallop, to intercept a large formation heading in to the convoy from the SW.

On Patrol
We quickly spotted a large formation of Stukas, approximately 150+ heading in. Seeing such a large formation of aircraft is a daunting sight. With targets everywhere there was a feeling of futility in trying to stop them with just 20 aircraft in total.

Splash was lost to a lag induced collision, whilst the remainder of us attempted to bring down some of the Stukas.

I quickly ran out of ammo and headed back for Tangmere, forming up with WB.

On approach to Tangmere a couple of the escorting fighters had broken off from the main force and came in low over the airfield. Splash scrambled and took off after them with Whiskey. The pair of them quickly dispatching the 109's within sight of Tangmere.

We scrambled again as Marsh returned from baby duty.

"on your five"
We lost Swoop at this point to a disco, right at the point of seeing another formation of around 90+ Stukas heading in to the convoy. We gave chase as they headed towards Poole harbour.

South of the Needles
Concentrating on a few sections of aircraft, we had more success this time. With several aircraft catching fire.20 seconds isn't much ammo and we were soon heading back for Tangmere.

Heading home
Overall we faced around 270 aircraft. Just over 150 Stukas in the first wave and 30 109's, 90 Stukas in the second wave. Aside from the two to overfly Tangmere, we didn't see the fighters, but the boys from Middle Wallop were engaged for quite a while. Of all those aircraft, the numbers dispatched were quite low and realistic.

Scores on the doors
With various system capabilities, I think the first wave induced low levels of stutter on most machines. The second wave was much better, so as a guideline I'll leave the formations at around 90. I'm not sure how it looked visibly to you chaps, but I couldn't tell too much difference between the first and second wave.

Good fun all.