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Thread: OTT-BYM - Mission 12 - C Flight Runs For Home - December 27th 1916

  1. #1

    Default OTT-BYM - Mission 12 - C Flight Runs For Home - December 27th 1916

    Well I’m back in hospital again, you might think that’s becoming something of a regular occurrence and I do believe there’s rumours going round that Nurse Schultz and I have a thing going.

    Whatever “a thing” is.

    No I didn’t get shot again and my flying armour didn’t save me this time, low cunning and a little cowardice helped me out but I’m getting a little ahead of myself and I’d better start at the beginning.

    As usual the Brass had come up with a spiffing plan to get us all killed by sending us far behind the enemy lines to photograph something really useful this time. To be honest I can’t remember what it was, but that wasn’t my job. Plaskitt-Smythe and Podgy Podgson had to do the hard work and all I had to do was follow them and stop any Hun’s interfering in this jolly important task. Well again to be honest I really only had to follow them and Biff my Flight Commander, he was in charge of the whole show and that was fine with me.

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    He’d given us a jolly good briefing, but again – to be honest I’d had a little too much to drink the night before and all I could remember was something about “when we break for home I want Vagabond on the left of the formation and Taki on the right”. He’d droned on about where everyone else should be and what they should do if we met any Huns on the way home but I’d looked at Taki and he’d looked back and we just rolled our eyes and grinned. I think Taki had, had a little too much to drink as well.
    We’d been celebrating him becoming an Ace, 5 kills is no mean feat on the Western Front, staying alive to do it is no mean feat either.

    Anyway, through rather blurry eyes, even though it was late afternoon we were flying home after completing our specific mission and I suddenly woke up with a start. Seeing Hun planes between you and home will do that every time.

    This must have been an important mission for the Brass because the whole of C Flight had been sent, although in my cynical moments I wondered if it had anything to do with our leave. The whole squadron was being rotated home for some R and R and I didn’t rule out the thought that the less of us to send home the cheaper it would be.

    There seemed to be quite a lot of black specs converging on us from the North and South and it looked as if the Huns were here to oblige our Brass.

    The nearest Hun was a big brown thing, probably a Halberstadt, the problem was he was nearest to me.

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    I reacted slowly with my usual routine, pulling hard to one side and then swinging in hard on the opposite lock. I’d had a long and slightly foggy conversation with a renowned pilot, A.I.Flash I think his name was. Anyway he’d talked about this manoeuvre as been a fight winner, I’d tried it a few times and occasionally it worked. It was certainly safer than a head on approach into the new 2 gun planes the enemy were flying.

    I think I said I was a little slow (could be the hangover, I’m not sure) then the blasted Halberstadt opened fire as I pulled to port, I could hear and feel his bullets drilling into Sweetheart. Her engine faltered and then picked up a little but with a stuttering noise I didn’t like at all.

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    Sweetheart responded like the thoroughbred she is and when I kicked the rudder control she pulled back to starboard and I opened fire. The Poteen must have still had some influence on my reactions because I could see the tracers going well behind the Hun, I completely missed him.

    What do you mean “Sweetheart”?! She’s my Nieuport 11, a Bébé as the French say and who can argue with them? Unfortunately she’s a little outclassed by the new Hun machines but she’s still the most beautiful plane built and I love flying her.

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    The brown Halberstadt slipped past me but there was another one approaching fast, this one was Clear Doped Linen, obviously a new plane that they’d not painted yet. Over to my right there was a single Albatros D.lll flying straight at the rest of C Flight. He’s not going to like their reception I thought before responding to the CDL threat in front of me.

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    Almost everyone had a go at him, Podgy was hoping for a 5th kill and he was the first to open fire but to no avail. Later in the Mess Edward Mountjoy or Toff as he’d become known said that it was his bullets that set fire to the Albi but everyone shouted him down, claiming it was their bullets that had done it.

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    Whoever it was, the green D.lll came out of the exchange well ablaze and looking like a goner.

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    With my engine shot to pieces I knew the best I could hope for was to make it back over the lines but I wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to inflict some damage on any enemy plane in my path.

    Biff also turned into attack the CDL Halberstadt and Dusty Rhodes followed him in. I could see that we were all knocking lumps off the enemy but he manfully returned fire on Biff and if he hadn’t been such a lucky sod I’m sure his plane would have been scorchio.

    Lucky Pilot ignores Fire damage token.

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    Over in the distance the Toff continues to attack the green D.lll as the others make their way back home.

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    I get a final passing shot on the CDL Halberstadt, I can see that I’m causing damage, indeed 1 point more than that shown because it’s my second hit on him, but it’s not enough and he continues to fly homeward.

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    Biff and Dusty are flying away from the Hun planes who have started to turn and chase us down, I turn to follow them, well aware that Sweetheart is the slowest plane in the air and with a damaged engine I’m going to be the meat in the sandwich if I’m not careful.
    In the distance Podgy has continued to fire on the German plane and Martin the Butcher is taking a passing shot as well.

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    Podgy continues to fire but his aim is off and he’s not going to get his 5th victim today. The Yellow D.lll is well away from this fight but is between me and home.

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    Difficult to see in the heat of the action but the Brown Halberstadt on the right is homed in on me, as the CDL one heads for home. You can see the tail on Dusty’s Nieuport as he follows Biff off in front of me. What you can’t see is that the yellow D.lll is also in front and about to cut me off from home.

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    I make the gutsy/foolhardy decision to try and dodge both planes and get it completely wrong at this stage. Sweetheart shudders as the bullets strike home but I’m lucky and nothing serious is hit although strips of canvas are torn loose by the hail of gunfire directed at my beautiful plane.

    Firing back into the Yellow Albatros I am sure I’ve hit the pilot and sigh a small sigh of relief. Maybe because it’s not me that’s hit and maybe because it might put him out of the hunt.

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    The Halberstadt continues left and it looks like my dummy has worked. For the time being at least.

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    This is the rather disappointing view as I turn to starboard, the rest of C Flight are well ahead of me and behind are a lot of Hun planes. Oh and did I mention my engine is hit and not putting out much power, Oh and did I mention Sweetheart is the slowest plane in the air today.

    Maybe I did, it was something that preyed on my mind a little at the time.

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    The Pilot of the yellow machine might have been hit but he’s on Biffs tail in a jiffy, pouring lead in his direction and causing a lot of damage.

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    Without a pause he continues to hound my Flight Commander, much more of this and the Pup will fall apart from the pounding it’s taking.

    I’ve managed to open quite a distance between Sweetheart and the Yellow and the brown plane but the green Dlll pilot has managed to put out the flames that were eating his machine and he’s turning in my direction.

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    That’s when the yellow D.lll Pilot must have been feeling his wound and he did an Immelmann turn, obviously headed home. He was right in front of the brown Halberstadt when he made the turn but by a stroke of bad luck for us and good luck for him he missed crashing into the following plane by a hair’s breadth.

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    I think I might have mentioned that the green D.lll was turning in my direction. This wasn’t looking very good, I’d be lucky to give him the slip and Sweetheart was responding to my frantic manoeuvres in a slow and stately manner, more like a Dowager Princess than the coquettish nymphet that I know her to be.

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    It wasn’t long before he caught up and opened fire. Fortunately either he wasn’t very good or the blaze had rattled him good and proper because his bullets didn’t strike home.

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    Up ahead I could see Taki breaking formation and turning across the line of flight. I wondered briefly what he was doing?

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    I didn’t think about what he was up to for long though, because there was another burst of fire from the green chap. I held my breath and it must have worked because the bullets missed again.

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    I’d been turning to starboard and pulled the stick over to port and thought that might do the trick, sure enough he continued on a starboard turn but before he was out of angle and I was home free, he fired one last burst. Sweetheart shuddered with the impact. The engine which had taken damage already started to smoke like a 40 a day trooper and then there was a loud banging sound coming from the sickly Rotary.

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    I lost all power and proceeded to glide down into no mans land. There aren’t many flat areas down there and we went arse over tip, Sweetheart cart wheeled along before coming to rest with a sickening graunching sound that probably means I’m not going to be flying her again.
    I’d landed upside down, something I’m not unfamiliar with and I keep a small but very sharp knife to hand for these eventualities. Cutting the safety harness I dropped 5 foot to the ground, landing on my head which as you will realise is the hardest part of my anatomy and the one least likely to take damage. I was able to stagger away and hide in a shell hole not too far away.

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    From there I could see that Taki had turned around and was heading back to take issue with the German planes.

    Biff fired a red Very flare directly at him to indicate he should obey orders and head for home.

    I think I might have mentioned before that when the Samurai blood was up there was no stopping him. It occurred to me that he might be turning to take revenge for me being shot down, or maybe to give Biff the chance to escape.

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    Whatever his reasons he flew the SPAD straight at the D.ll, bullets flew and there was a loud and very bright explosion in the sky and then I heard German voices coming in my direction. There’s no shortage of dead bodies down here on the ground and I pulled a couple of them over me and lay very still. The voices came closer and then receded. When it got dark I was able to make my way through the lines and hitch a lift back to the Squadron.

    I was hurt, well you would be, landing on your head after crashing your plane in no mans land but Nurse Schultz’s ministrations eases my pain, as does the Poteen that the boys smuggled into the Hospital.

    Sorry - I suppose I should mention that Taki was home at the Drome when I arrived, like Biff he’s a lucky B and the explosion didn’t happen. For him at least.

    A most interesting game, the shortage of ammo didn’t affect anything but it could have. The chap who shot me down did so with his last burst of gunfire, after that I would have been safe. The brown Halberstadt chasing Biff just didn’t have enough speed to catch up, even though Biff had a duff engine, if it had been an Albatros Dlll it might have been different.
    I’d read Dave’s note about sending all his remaining pilots on the mission and liked the idea so I did the same. If it had been a proper dogfight I would have had an advantage but with this scenario I don’t think it made any difference.
    Cheers.
    Last edited by flash; 08-08-2022 at 06:54.

  2. #2

    Default

    Butcher's Tally

    The Damage card shown is the original damage from the earlier fighting, the rest of the tokens are from this round. The white discs are the amount of ammo left at the end of the game. I've just realised that I should have drawn further cards for anyone who got a 1, sorry about that, it wouldn't make any difference for Vagabond he would still be shot down and I've just drawn a 2 for Biff so he still limped home.

    The Old Guard

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    Lt Montague “Biff” Anstruther-Browne: FRTB-E 0 Kills
    Landing Rolled 2+6 = stuck the landing

    2/Lt John Vagabond: SD-NML 0 Kills, 1 Probable (Neuenhofen)
    C&W Rolled 6 +1Acrobatic Ace -1SD -1NML = 5 - Injured - Skip 1D3 scenario, rolled 2 = skip 1
    E&E Rolled 6 -1WIC +1NML = 6 - In Hiding - skip 1D2 scenario, rolled 3 = skip 1

    2/Lt Ichiro Takahashi: RTB 1 Kill (Dahlmann)
    C&W I realised late that he is a Lucky Pilot so ignored the explosion.

    Lt Charles Plaskitt-Smythe: (P2) Strutter - RTB 0 Kills

    AM1 Raymond Podgy Podgson: (O) Strutter - RTB 0 Kills

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    The Young Guard

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    F/Sgt William Martin: RTB 0 Kills

    Lt Barry “Dusty” Rhodes: RTB 0 Kills

    2/Lt Sir Edward “Toff” Mountjoy: RTB 0 Kills

    All 3 Pilots are on their 2nd mission and haven’t made a kill yet.


    Eagles:

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    ObLtn Edmund Neuenhofen: Yellow Albatros D.lll – FRTB-W / WIA 0 Kills
    Rolled 3+4 landed OK
    C&W Rolled 7 -1WIA +1RTB = 7 - Injured - skip 1D2. Rolled 5 = skip 2 scenarios.

    Ltn Fritz Krause: Brown Halberstadt – RTB 0 Kills

    Ltn Helmut Dahlmann: Cameo Albatros D.ll - SD-EXP-NML 0 Kills
    C&W Rolled 5 -3EXP -1NML = 1 Dead. RIP Dahlmann.

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    Ltn Freidrich Schleiff: Green Albatros D.lll - RTB 1 Kill (Vagabond)

    Ltn Walter Hubrich: CDL Halberstadt - FRTB-D 0 Kills
    Landing Rolled 6+2 = Stuck the landing

    Bold Young Men

    It’s been a rocky road for C Flight over the last 3 months of 1916, Berry and Biff had a successful run in the first 6 weeks, scoring 3 and 4 kills respectively and then disaster struck in mission 8 and I lost 3 of my favourite flyers in that one. The last 6 weeks of 1916 has been quite successful for Taki and Vagabond with 4 victories each but it doesn’t make up for the empty seats in the Mess on these cold winter evenings.

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    Bouncer Berry shot down and taken prisoner, his only consolation was that he was credited with a kill in his last mission making him still the 2nd highest scorer in C Flight.

    Berry the Cad as he became, the man who stole my childhood sweetheart Bunty Hampster-Crust when he was laid up in hospital and she nursed him back to full health and rather too much vitality for my liking.

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    Jock 1, killed in a crash landing, after manfully piloting his plane back to the Drome, his Observer Jock 2 is still in hospital. I don’t see how anyone will be able to fill his slot, although amongst the latest draft to arrive at the front is a small dark haired youngster from the Highlands of Scotland, who might become Wee Jock.

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    Last but not least and the one that had the most potential for telling tall tales about was Bob. Bob had a slow start but then with kills in mission 6 and 7 was building a reputation only to have it cut short along with her life in 8.

    C’est la guerre as our allies say.
    Last edited by flash; 08-08-2022 at 07:09. Reason: Tally tidy

  3. #3

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    Nice wrap to the campaign, John. All on the Bulldog side survived HQ's plan to reduce R&R costs - so well done there. Rep is hopelessly delayed - probably rolled poorly on Dave's ammo rule.

  4. #4

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    Excellent storytelling again John with a lot of planes in the air, looks like you enjoyed that one, shame about Vagabond, but consolation with the nurse.

  5. #5

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    Great ending to the Bold Young Men campaign, John.
    Loved the finishing touches at the end, encapsulating all the members of 'C' Flight.
    REP has been sent, hope it makes before you all scarper to the promised R&R

  6. #6

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    Great storytelling and an excellent roll call for the end of the campaign. Lovely planes as well, especially 'Sweetheart'.

    Rep on its way.

  7. #7

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    What a magic AAR writer you are. Bunty Hampster-Crust was a nice touch too.

  8. #8

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    Yet another little gem John.
    Rob.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  9. #9

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    Another excellent show, John and outstanding story telling with it.
    Glad to see you went all in as well, that was a pleasant surprise.
    Sorry to see Dahlman went west (or is it east for the Hun ?) along with Vagabond's Sweetheart.

    Uncle says:

    Bloody good show chaps, mission accomplished, Taki bagged a Hun & you all got back eventually even if Vagabond had to do so via a trip to see his girlfriend once again !

    Belated award as Uncle realised the officer was improperly dressed:
    Lt Charles Plaskitt-Smythe is awarded the Military Cross for his continued distinguished service to King & country
    Our gallant allies have also been kind enough to award him a Croix de Guerre with bronze palm for this same service


    On t'other side:

    Ltn Friedrich Schleiff picks up his pilots badge for his first victory.

    PM me a replacement for MacIver, please John
    Last edited by flash; 08-08-2022 at 08:09.

    "He is wise who watches"

  10. #10

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    great story an d pictures

  11. #11

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    Thanks chaps, I'm glad you enjoyed it, as you know these things take forever to put together, especially editing the pictures, and then having to edit my bad grammar to try and get something that's coherent.

    Plaskitt-Smythe is relieved to have received the M.C. it might stop his Observer Podgy Pogson wearing his M.M. openly on the outside of his flying suit, something that grates with P-S who's a bit of a stickler for dress code.

    Dave I'll sort out a name for the replacement, I've got a face and backstory but he was to be called Foster which isn't very Scotish. Also I've not seen anything regarding the continuation of the campaign into 1917, did I miss that somewhere?

  12. #12

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    No, nothing missed, John, I'm just pausing for breath & letting chaps catch up while I prepare rosters etc, I'm at Colours and on hols next month too amongst other things so probably after that. I have a title in mind.

    "He is wise who watches"



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