Please be patient, this page contains A LOT of pictures.
(This is the Allied mission map for this frame)
The flight leader of 73rd squadron was "-dins-", with "-lakc-" as AF/L. Since "-lakc-" seemed to show up rather late, "-dins-" made me AF/L at first. I got invited to the Allied Command Squad, even though just before takeoff I was relieved of my AF/L status (since "-lakc-" showed up).
(At T+19, just after take off, a group portrait of our squadron)
We took off from F11 at around T+19 and began climbing towards F12. The roster had only 4 pilots on 73rd RAF, but we managed to get 7 walkons, so our total strength was 11 planes (if I remember correctly).
(Another group portrait, with the Hawks of the 4eme, who also took off from F11, in the distance)
The climb out towards F12 was uneventfull, until at T+32 I got discoed. I Took off at F11 again, together with "wrench" who also got discoed at this time. Since the rest of 73rd Sqdn was heading back towards F11, we climbed south trying to meet up with them. There were some unidentified high dots above F11 at this time.
(Unidentified dots above F11)
At T+37 we saw dots on our high 11 o'clock, those dots turned out to be the main body of the 73rd Sqdn, and thus "wrench" and I turned around again and began to climb underneath the rest of the group.
(The main body of the 73rd at our 11 o'clock high)
Only two minutes later "-eric-" spotted several dots high in the sun. Those dots turned out to be a high 109 sweep. The high 109s attacked to main body of the 73rd Sqdn and Hurricanes began to fall out of the sky.
(Several 109s attack the main body of the 73rd!)
I was watching the fight above me and forgot to update my SA until I did a routine six check and saw several JU87s co-alt on my 6 o'clock, together with a couple of 109s. One of those 109s was on my tail, so I broke hard right, but the 109 managed to remove my rudder and left aileron. Things weren't going at all well for the 73rd Sqdn.
(Oops! A group of Stukas and a diving 109 on my six! Split-S time!)
I called out those JUs on squadron channel at the same time "wrench" did that on country channel, as the few survivors of the 73rd attacked the Stukas. I managed to ping several of them, got one assist as well, but due to the damage my plane had suffered could not aim effectively while attacking them.
(Attacking several JU87s, with rudder and one aileron missing from my Hurri)
When there was a small break in the bombing runs, at around T+46, I landed my damaged plane at F11. There was a second wave of JU87s above F11 just as I exited plane, so I decided to stay in the tower instead of trying to take off and get hit by a bomb. At this time there were no allied planes at F11 and at least 4 Stukas bombing it.
(Stukas having a field day bombing F11 with no Allies defending!)
At around T+50 some Hurricanes of the 85th Sqdn and Hawks of the 4eme arrived at F11, so I decided to take off again.
(Finally some Allies arrive to drive the JU87s away!)
I soon found out that I was the only survivor of 73rd Sqdn, and "dekker" (the Allied CO) told me to join with the 85th Sqdn. The 85th, under command of "-mixl-" (after "strife" had been shot down) was regrouping at F12, so after taking off from F11 I began to climb towards F12. The Hawks of the 5eme, under command of "tapewm", were passing over me at around T+1:00 when I was halfway between F11 and F12.
(Hawks of the 5eme passing over me as I fly from F11 to F12)
At around T+1:02 I met up with the 85th Sqdn. I was much higher than they were at that point, so I cut throttle to conserve fuel and held my alt, waiting for them to climb up while holding a lookout position. At around 14:08 we passed high above the Hawks of 4eme, as we were climbing to 17k and heading towards F17. (At this point I thought there must be some mixup in orders, why were Hurricanes heading to enemy territory at 17k alt, while Hawks were flying at 8k?)
(Why are the Hawks down there when us Hurricanes are up here??)
At T+1:17 we saw co-alt (18k) dots ahead, above F17. They were some scattered 109s, which we engaged. The fight started at 19k and went down to 1k with about equal numbers of Hurricanes and 109s originally, but during the fight many new high 109s appeared. I managed to get an assist on a 109 killed by "--rf-a". Pretty soon I lost sight of any other friendlies and was just trying to evade B&Z attacks by several 109s at around 1k alt. At around T+1:26 "dekker" showed up from nowhere, and proceeded to clear my six.
(Mixing it up with 109s)
I felt honoured, the Allied CO comes to rescue a lonely Hurricane in the middle of enemy territory! Soon the 109s left me alone and kept attacking "dekker", so I turned around and tried to clear his six. I managed to smoke the engine of one 109, but got no kill nor assist, so I believe he managed to land at F17. And then I discoed again. :-( Luckily I had only received two pings and no damage, so my disco was not counted as a death. I felt bad leaving "dekker" alone, though.
(Attempting to clear "dekker"'s six, after he cleared mine)
At T+1:38, while I was sitting in the tower at F11 (flight ops had been suspended for a while already) I was relieved to see Dekker landing his Spitfire. I even congratulated him on the fine landing (he killed his engine during that landing :-). The frame ended at around this time.
(Nice landing, "dekker" :-)
This AAR brought to you by Patrick -pate- Aalto.