Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Carrier Swimming

Crash are 3 stories I wrote after several crashes I made in the Fortress Malta Campaign from vpmedia.

We are en route to Malta. Our carrier has been loaded with several Spitfires. The air force jocks will take off from our decks and join the defenders of Malta, provided we can get close enough. The whole trip we Navy boys have been comparing our Seafires to the Spitfires. Unlike the Spits this is not a one way trip for us. We have the hooks to trap the arresting cables on the deck. Suddenly the alarm bells sound. Radar has picked up several echos heading straight for our armada.

We are too far away from Malta, so its up to us sea lads to protect the carrier and its precious cargo for Malta.

All of us rush to our fighters, which are hastily brought up on deck. We quickly jump into our cockpits, performing the a quick check. My mechanic shouts something about tanks and half empty, before his voice is drowned in the sea of roaring engines. The deck rush below my wheels, before dropping away underneath me as I take to the sky.

Below is are small armada. As the ships anti-aircraft gunners prepare themselves for the German attack, we rush to the sky.

Several miles away, a large formation of He-111's lumbers towards our armada. Equipped with torpedoes and bombs, they have only one target: our carrier.

Soon we are on top of them. Their shadows racing over the waves, reveal their position.

The wing commander cries tally ho and one by one we dive towards the low-flying bombers. Soon my first target appears in the gun sight. Shells and bullets rain down on the helpless bomber.

Riddled with holes, the bomber lumbers on. I am sure it will hit the water before reaching our carrier, but I have no time to admire its demise. There are too many bombers and to few Seafires to send them to Neptunus'realm.

The rest of my squadron pitches in too, as bombers start catching fire everywhere around.

My second victim spins towards the sea, without an engine and rudder. There are no parachutes to be seen.

Circling around the enemy formation, I admire the strings of black smoke falling out of it. This Germans will learn that the Seafire is as deadly as it land-based cousin.

There goes my third victim. This is not an attack, its a turkey shoot.

By now we are within reach of the ships anti-aircraft artillery. Before me there is a wall of shrapnel, which I avoid by steeply climbing upwards.

While circling safe outside the flak zone, I notice that the drama for the German bombers does not stop.

A bomber tries to whiz by one of the escort ships, heading straight for the carrier, but our gun crews are bloodthirsty.

There is a huge flash...

and the bomber disappears in a giant ball of fire as the gunners placed a direct hit.

The poor escort ship is showered with debris as the bomber disintegrates.

But I can't let our ship gunners have all the fun. With disregard for the danger, I dive straight through our own flak barrage towards another bomber skimming the waves.

I pull the trigger, but only my machine guns fire. I am out of canon shells. I spray the bomber with bullets, flashing underneath it. I doubt the effectiveness of bullets against these heavily armored aircraft but they are far from home and maybe one of my wing mates can finish him off.

I scream past our carrier. Before the war, people said the bomber would always get through. But we have proved that theory wrong. There is no single scratch on the carrier. All bombers were shot down or chased away.

As I turn towards the carrier, ready to land, I notice the red blinking light that I failed to see during the battle. Suddenly I remember the mechanics words: fuel tank and half empty.

I lower the gear and hook, praying that I have enough time to make at least one approach.

Without a warning, my engine freezes. Out of fuel, in plain sight of the carrier. The fighter over, diving straight to the sea.

I pull as hard as I can on the stick. If I go nose first it will be the end of me. For a second I hope to make a glide approach but I am too far out.

Sirens sound on the carrier as my aircraft smashes into the sea.

I manage to struggle out of my cockpit, but the carrier won't stop, out of fear of U-boats. But one of the escorts lowers a lifeboat to pick me up.

That evening I am back on board the carrier, when one of the spitfire pilots approaches me asking what's the use of a tail hook if we naval pilots swim aboard.

The End