Flying? Fun. Bombing? Funner. Getting paid to do both? Funnest.
The problem? You can’t let anyone know it’s you. Which is kind of hard to do in the Caucasus. Fortunately for us, a little bit of money in the right hands can cause more than a few people to look the other way. Getting a little improvised base deep in the mountains is the other half of the equation. Once that’s done, then the real fun begins!
We’ve already whizzed in Abkhazia’s wheaties on this one, so the next part is Russia’s doorstep. There’s an annoying little airfield not far from our position that has an SA-6 site and some jets; the goal is to hit them after their CAP flight leaves, take out the SA-6 site, then hit the munitions and fuel dumps at the field. That means flying on the deck and hiding behind the terrain – for two of us, at least. The other two are tasked with DEAD. In all, we have to do this before they call for help and bring Flankers down on us, which we really don’t want.
It’s a four ship element, consisting of me, Lieutenant Grumpy, Captain Woody, and Lieutenant Smarty. I’m not going to tell you what they named me. Grumpy and I will take out the dumps with iron bombs, while Woody and Smarty will pack Shrikes, rockets, and bombs.
Taking off from our base, the road is narrow but sturdy. Not the most favorable place to operate from, but at least the locals are enjoying our patronage. Or, well, the money we pay them for simple goods and stuff.
It’s not exactly early morning, but the fall days and mountains keep the sun from hitting us too early. There’s plenty of places to hide here, keeping us masked from prying eyes. Grumpy and Woody are off my 10:30 here, while Smarty is to my right.
Woody and Smarty will be flying a bit higher than us, but for the initial route they’ll be right there with us in case of trouble.
View looking back; I’m in the #1 bird for this sortie. Don’t ask me why.
We loop around a bit before getting to lower altitudes and the sun gets in my eyes. Grumpy is pulling well ahead of me because I had to play around with my navigation system a bit, but it’s all good; we’re operating semi-independently anyways.
Woody and Smarty split from us, on their way to start antagonizing the SAM site. While they’re doing that, me and Grumpy will floor it and hit the deck.
A small town south of our target. I’ve finally caught up with Grumpy, though we’ve yet to hit the deck and floor it.
We hit the final leg of our route and from here we’ll firewall the throttles and start a descent. Woody and Smarty are already getting shot at, but so far we’re masked by the terrain. If we have to, we’ll take out the Flat Face ourselves.
I only hope the people in the offices below think it’s some kind of military exercise and don’t blow our cover. Hey, it’s Russia, home of the dash cam video! I’m sure they saw more exciting stuff on their morning commute.
That SA-6 site is letting loose with everything they’ve got! I suspect that the crew is frustrated by Woody and Smarty playing hard to get.
Magnum! Woody and Smarty are now shootin’ back! Hope the Flat Face crew realizes this and either bails or shuts down. Bails would be better for us, of course, but Woody and Smarty can and will blow up their toys.
I pull out ahead of Grumpy – I’ll go in first and hit the fuel dump. I won’t be able to take it out completely, but I can put a big dent in it. I’ll hold my Mk82s in reserve in case he has problems.
You know how the A-4 is supposed to have tables, guides, speeds, altitudes, elevations, and all that jazz for bombing? Here’s some advice: throw that junk out the window. Get your butt going fast, as close to 90 degrees of dive as you can, then hit the brakes and kill the throttle, stabilize, and drop! In this kind of scenario you don’t have time to think!
Three Mk84s dropped, three fuel tanks busted. That’ll do!
Grumpy elects to use Mk82s on the munitions dump. I think he’s worried that he might get charged extra for using anything bigger.
I can’t argue with the effects, however. That munitions dump is pure explodium!
I saunter over to the SA-6 site, but Woody and Smarty have already taken out the important bits. I elect to drop my Mk82s on the fuel dump and get out of dodge.
As the pirates would say, every man for himself! We disperse and run at max speed and I elect to hit the deck. I’m pressing almost 600 knots!
Gotta love this area of Russia; looks pretty nice in the fall. Diving under some electrical wires for a little bit more cover, just in case Flankers are watching.
Getting back toward our place in the mountains, not much further to go.
Home base! We’ll probably not be able to stay here for much longer, not after what we pulled.
Touchdown! The road takes some careful flying to hit it just right, more for the elevation changes than the bending.
I have to be good with the rudder, set the nose down, and start gradually turning to keep up with the curves in the road. My rollout will take quite a bit, but it’s all good – I’m down in one piece!
First one home! We accomplished all our objectives with no losses and no interference from Flankers. Unsuspected and undetected!
I suspect the Russians are going to be boiling mad over our little strike. I can make a fair guess over where our next target is going to be after this…