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"Watch Your Six AAR 4-17-11" Topic

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698 hits since 17 Apr 2011
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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quidveritas Inactive Member17 Apr 2011 8:34 p.m. PST

High altitude recon photos had been taken. Submarines had laid their mines without detection. Enemy aircraft had been driven from the area where the battle cruiser squadron would bombard the English coast. All that remained to do was direct the fire of the battle cruiser squadron onto the selected positions along the British coast.

Some of the finest Rumpler C.4 crews were assembled to provide aerial spotting for the battle cruiser squadron's bombardment. Five of the six aircraft dispatched for this mission were flying in formation, engines running like clockwork, and morale could not be better. It was with high hopes that these intrepid airmen approached the English coast. Radio transmissions to the ships had elicited the proper sequence of flairs as acknowledgment.

Then disaster struck!

Out of the clouds below us, a flight of five Triplanes appeared. But for the experienced eyes of these superior crews things might have been much worse. As it turned out they were bad enough!

At the time the Triplanes emerged from the clouds they were nearly 2000 feet below us. The Triplanes broke formation almost immediately. Four of these conservatively positioned themselves behind and below our formation but one Triplane put on a show that will not be soon forgotten.

While our attention was on the other four aircraft, this incredible machine defied the laws of physics and climbed nearly 4000 feet in no time at all! [plane came very near to stalling but the pilot pulled off this fantastic climb against fair odds against success]. Then as our formation closed up, this solitary hawk swooped down and delivered a burst into Rumpler #3.

[Rumpler #1 was the flight leader and positioned at the tip of the wedge formation. #3 followed on the left and #5 was the last plane on the left wing of the wedge]

This attack took the crew of #3 completely by surprise! Seeing the observer wildly looking about for his assailant but not picking up the attacking Sopwith Triplane, the Britisher pressed home his attack, no doubt thinking he could kill the observer and down the Rumpler before anyone could react! So intent was he on driving home his attack, he failed to see Rumpler #5 until it was too late! The Triplane smashed into the rear fuselage of Rumpler #5 nearly tearing the enemy plane in two but not without cost, the Triplane's propellor was badly damaged in the collision.

As the pilot of the damaged Triplane struggled to retain control of his aircraft following the collision, Rumpler #5 went down out of control spinning wildly. The remaining Rumplers held to their formation and banked to their left. This had the unintended consequence of placing the observer from Rumpler #3 in a position where he could rake the damaged Sopwith Triplane [which had essentially stalled at this point in time]. The two aircraft were very close and the observer on Rumpler #3 could hardly miss [remember this was a picked man!] he emptied an entire drum of ammo into the Triplane over a period of several seconds. Fortunately for the pilot of the Triplane virtually all of these rounds impacted his 110 hp Clerget engine; virtually destroying every cylinder, and made match wood out of what was left of the propeller! The Triplane hung suspended for just a moment longer before it nosed down and began gliding back to the English coast.

By now the big guns of the Battle cruisers were firing at the English shore positions.

The remaining Triplanes remained low and positioned themselves so they might intercept any Rumpler that might attempt to fly toward the English coast.

The Rumpler flight leader had seen one of his aircraft go down and another was signaling that it need to break for home. Looking about the German flight leader didn't see any other English aircraft above him but who could say there weren't more just waiting to pounce! The Rumplers had lost any surprise that might have allowed them to perform their mission. Now the odds against them were just too great (4 untouched Triplanes v. 4 Rumplers, one of which was badly damaged and the formation was far from home (within sight of the English coast!). So the Rumpler flight leader began to climb and slowly turn to his left (south).

Now began a grim race with the Rumplers pouring on the power and climbing for all they were worth! The Triplanes not only climbed better but they were faster. The Rumpler's only hope was to climb above the ceiling of the Triplanes before the British scouts caught up with them!

As it turned out the Triplanes very nearly managed to close the gap but the air speed they lost while climbing to the Rumpler's altitude level did not allow them to close to a distance where they could deliver any effective fire. The Rumplers would have a long cold ride home to an equally icy reception by the naval officer in charge of their activities.

Rumpler #5 (the one that went spinning down after the collision) managed to recover while in the cloud bank and after some very bad moments where the crew totally lost their orientation entirely by chance, they exited the clouds heading for the Belgian coast. The damaged fuselage only just managed to hold together. No doubt the British had written this aircraft off when it went spinning into the clouds, there was no pursuit as Rumpler #5 limped home.

The mission was a disaster but Rumpler #3 recorded a confirmed aerial victory in front of the entire battle cruiser squadron; and no aircraft nor crew members were lost. Considering the situation and the opposition faced by the Rumplers, the result was probably as good or better than one might expect.

Game began around 11:30 a.m. and concluded before 2 p.m.

We played a 12 plane game of Albatros 1.5 with a couple new players after the main event this concluded around 3:30.

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