Mission Nine "Gun Ho" 52 Sq.(The Bulldogs).
The whisper ran through the hanger where the mechanics were gathered, even before the Staff car bearing away Ernest Able had passed through the perimeter gates.
"Kytey and some Red Tab are back from HQ with some new secret orders for the Squadron."
Yes! The Squadron grapevine was still in full working order.
MISSION 9 OVER THE TRENCHES.
For once Major Kyte’s blackboard was conspicuously absent of names as we trooped into the briefing hut that morning. Not even the names of pilots due for that morning’s duty were to be seen on its surface.
Kyte began immediately the last pilot entered the hut.
“Right chaps I have a very important mission for you today. I have received orders directly from General Trenchard’s A.D.C. that we are to scrub all patrols until further notice. What I am about to tell you is strictly hush hush and must not go beyond these walls.
The Allies are about to make a big push in the Gullet Forest area, but somewhere behind their support trenches the Germans have established a large howitzer which is playing havoc with our supply lines.
Our squadron’s job is to identify the position of this gun by photograph, and then send in a couple of bombers to knock it out. In order to cover more ground each flight will take a sector each to investigate. The forward observation posts have narrowed down the areas in each sector to four possible positions. Your job is to escort a Harry Tate which will photograph these areas and then return to HQ. so that the back room bods can identify the actual position of the Big Bertha. The Harry’s will then arm up and go back and bomb the cr*p out of the area.
I will now hand you over to Captain Darling from GHQ. Who will brief you more fully on our options.”
“Good morning gentlemen!
We have a series of decisions to make about this mission. As we have only two RE8s available, do we A. Leave the photographs out of the equation, and take no rear gunners along so as to be able to carry enough bombs to hit all four targets with the element of surprise. Or B do we carry out HQ’s suggestion and do a photo recon first, thus alerting the Huns to the fact that we are about to mount a raid. If this latter, you can be assured that they will either attempt to get the gun away, or beef up the defences before we arrive.
Knowing that the Eagles Jasta is in the area, we can expect them to field at least one more aircraft than we can get into the air, plus a couple of Archie batteries for the actual bombing run.
If you opt to recon first, you will need to decide how many aircraft to use. Remember that two RE’s can do the work with less exposure over enemy territory, but may be hard hit in the process. Although any superficial damage can be repaired between raids whilst the photos are developed and aircraft are re arming, there will not be time to repair any special damage if we are to get back with our bombs before the Huns can re-deploy the gun elsewhere.
So if you send both RE’s on the first mission you may not have any serviceable machine for the second. Although I only expect minimal ground fire on the recon, we know that they have two Archie batteries at the very least in the vicinity which they can have in action by the time the bombing run starts.
The Jasta will undoubtedly be in the air whatever decision you make.
To this end you will each have a Scout aircraft assigned to escort each of the RE’s. In the event of a Scout being lost on the first mission, a replacement will be found from another squadron for the bombing raid.
That is all then gentlemen. Good day."
OPERATION BIG BERTHA or GUN HO!
The three aircraft approached the lines with Hawkwood leading the two RE8s. And almost immediately they had to lose altitude as they neared the first objective.
Unbeknown to the two crews of the Harry Tates they had already been spotted by a flight of four aircraft from Jasta Raban who were covering the lines for just this eventuality.
Just as the first of the photographs were taken the four Hun machines dropped onto the sixes of the Harrys. Hawkwood was too far in advance to help and both observers were busy taking photographs to man their guns.
Fortuitously the first fusillade from the Germans Spandaus did no damage,
and by the time shots were starting to tell Hawkwood had performed an Immelmann and was meeting the aggressors head on with both guns spitting lead, whilst the Harrys were attempting to sideslip out of the line of fire from the Huns, and the observers were starting to return the compliment.
The first ranging shot jamming the ailerons of an unknown Jasta 18 pilot who’s guns had already jammed in the first exchange.
Meanwhile in an attempt to get to grips with Hawkwood, Kurt Monnington collided with another unknown member of the Jasta.
Whilst Ginger inflicted severe engine damage and set on fire the Pfalz of Hans Muller.
The first of the RE8s, meanwhile, was taking his second photograph completely unmolested by any enemy aircraft.
Having completed his part of the mission he banked and turned for home only to run directly into the path of two enemy scouts at once.
Things now started to happen thick and fast.
His forward fire ignited the engine of the D.V. with the gun jam whilst the incoming fire from the second D.V. caused its guns to jam as well.
Hawkwood now delivered the coup de grace to Monnington by falling upon his tail and sending him down with a well placed burst.
The Harry now took some fire from the burning D.V. in front of it as they passed.
And its return fire wounded the pilot.
After another burst from Hawkwood it went down blazing.
Hawkwood and his cohort now dodged any last desperate fire from the Jasta and made for the lines with three successful photographs taken.
A last desperate attack from the furious blazing machine of Jasta 18 wounded the tail gunner even as he returned fire and damaged the engine of the perusing Hun.
As they crossed the lines they recoiled in horror as the fire finally took down their daring adversary, who wounded by the fire leapt from his blazing coffin rather than be consumed in the conflagration.
The outcome of the mission would be determined once the photographs had been developed.
The Butcher’s bill so far.
Hawkwood. Two enemy aircraft despatched. No wounds. Returned to drome.
Nigel Bouncer- Smythe. Two photographs. Woodhead wounded. Returned to drome with no serious damage. One enemy aircraft crashed in tail chase shot down by "Chips" Woodhead.. Unknown pilot killed.
Lt Farmer and Dodgeson. One photograph. Returned to Drome with no serious damage.
Last edited by Flying Officer Kyte; 07-18-2012 at 01:18.
Harry Tates ? Is that a restriction or may we select from the inventory ?
If it is a restriction what 2 seater will the Huns have to fly ?!
Any two seaters are fine Dave. I just cited those for fluff purposes, and because I used them for my run through to see if it was reasonable to expect a chance of sucess.
Nice intro, Rob. Goose skin I have after reading
See what you think to the first part of the mission now that I have added it.
Very civil of you old chap. We will drink to your Squadrons health in it.
Originally Posted by gully_raker
Now we just have the difficult part of the mission to achieve. Silencing that big gun.
Last edited by Marechallannes; 07-18-2012 at 00:11.
The 2 seaters are not that bad, as the only damage is going to clear itself as per the rules, and superficial damage can be dealt with. Wounded Woodhead will be replaced for the bombing run. So we may be O.K.
Originally Posted by Marechallannes
I don't know how you want to handle the crashed aircraft.
We always credit it to the man who last shot at it, but the official rules say that if it is not shot at during that phase it is not scored as a shot down. So it is up to you arbitrators to decide.
Ouch, my God.
Originally Posted by Flying Officer Kyte
A nasty result for the defenders. If you add my bill to yours, the sum would form a long bloody list of casualties. Although you do not have the fourth position photographed - your boys will surely know where to put their bomb loads anyway!
Above all - a very well written and pictured dynamic fight. Nothing to add!
Last edited by Nightbomber; 07-18-2012 at 00:47.
I will go with that then Sven.
Originally Posted by Marechallannes
So Chips Woodhead gets the kill. Something to cheer him up whilst in hospital.
Yes, you are right Dave. I was rushing to get everything finished before my Good Lady returned for lunch from her Embroidery club. I must have put the wrong aircraft down after setting out the cards. I'm also not very good at keeping the cards in chronological order, as I do a line and then shorten it to fit them all into the picture.
Originally Posted by flash
I am inproving gradually, but it don't come naturally in the scramble to clear up.
I could not believe how lucky I have been with the cards for months now. You only need to ask Stormkahn and Christophe about that.
I'm just dreading the change in fortune which must come soon as I have a lot of luck due to be paid back.
Brilliant AAR though mate - one for the scrapbook !