Normandy, France. T-86 days to D-Day. A date that I am, at this time, unaware of for what is about to happen. Fresh out of BF109 training, I’ve found myself assigned to Jagdgeschwader 26. The day is calm with only some low clouds to liven up the view. The wing commander wants to give me a check ride.
Since this campaign features historical skins, I decided to provide two versions of certain screenshots, one with political symbols blurred out (via Polar Distortion, to preserve the skin as much as possible) and one without. This way I had hoped not to offend any readers as I realize many families suffered during this war, including my own. You can reveal which screenshot you want to see by clicking the arrow.
Do you intend to enjoy the Jagdflieger campaign for yourself as well? ED forums user Funkyfranky mentioned that the new wake turbulence function could be problematic with formations as large as presented in this campaign. Disabling the feature enabled me to enjoy this campaign in VR with acceptable FPS.
Although it is not my intention to provide many spoilers, this AAR can reveal some of the happenings in this campaign. If you want an unspoiled experience when you fly Jagdflieger for yourself, I advise against continuing the read.
Getting her started up. “Red 7” is her name. Start-up went smooth, she only took a few seconds on the inertial before spooling on her own. She does take a bit of time before the engine is warm enough to taxi and fly with, though.
Wheels up! Time to find my leader and link up.
We perform a short patrol around the Carpiquet area, mostly dominated by the presence of Caen, Le Havre and the mouths of the Seine and Onre rivers. We encounter only friendly patrols, and the only real action we see is a little mock dogfight as orchestrated by the flightlead. Probably to test my mettle. For now it seems that the leader is content with my perfomance. I was about to comment on his barrel roll, which was executed flawlessly. But then I realised he made it to lead for good reasons, probably. Perhaps it was best if I kept silent. I called out the flights as I spotted them until I say “Uhm… aren’t those Mustangs?”
Before I as much as realized what was going on I found myself intertwined in this dance of death. Only once did a fighter pass my sights, but like the total rookie I am, I still had the safety on. A scrambled flight quickly intervened, shooting down a couple until the rest retreated. Although it was nice to have the triple A on my side for a change, I was still nervous with all the tracers going about. The ground crews were hungry for a hit and it seemed they didn’t care all that much for positioning of friendlies.
Both the flightlead and myself are OK and we head down to land. A few more patrols were performed which were mostly uneventful and certainly didn’t include trigger time for me. Then the order came, we were being scrambled into a large formation. Bombers had been sighted near Paris.
Big group of birds! 16 of our 109’s were going up, as well as around 12 190’s in another formation independent of ours. We were to climb up to 8000 metres and wait for orders from Siegfried.
Up at conning altitude and looking for trouble.
Siegfried calls in and mentions the bombers are on heading 151, on their way back to the UK after bombing targets at Paris.
Conning in the distance… These must be the guys. The order to drop tanks is given and we’re ready to meet our foes head-on. It looks like the bombers are flying somewhat low with their escorts about 1000 metres higher.
About to meet this bomber head-on. But like the total rookie I still am, I had the safety on again.
Pretty close on that pass. Luckily the turret gunners weren’t pointing at me. They sure were filling the skies with .50 cals later on. Although I had some intend to turn around and re-engage, I was sure the escorts were coming for us. Soon I saw one on the six of a friendly…
But any hope of helping him was gone as I saw him go down in flames. All I could do was try to get behind this Mustang.
I did get some hits in, but it was not enough damage to be decisive. I was way faster than him, so I pulled up and out. I had zero intentions of chasing and trully dogfighting these mustangs, there were just to many of them. Even if I could keep up in turns and get behind some of them, surely eventually one would find its way to my own six and that would spell big trouble. I was going to exclusively employ boom and zoom tactics, only engaging targets in a lower energy state or those unaware of my presence or position.
Soon, I found another fighter trying to link back up with the bombers and not aware that I was there, being faster but lower than him. I put a lot of rounds in him and zoomed up past him. He dove down, visually damaged but it didn’t look like he was going down. Atleast he was out of the fight for now.
One last fighter was encountered as I tried catching up to the bombers again. This guy got hit real hard, especially by the 30mm. Chunks flew off as his engine stalled out. As I flew past, I saw the pilot get out with a good chute moments before the plane caught fire and disintegrated.
Still trying to catch up, I saw a couple of straggling bombers at a lower altitude. Seperated from the flock and probably already damaged. I was about to give chase to one, when I saw another 109 dive for him. He didn’t seem able to pull out in time, possibly due to compression issues, and a freak accident occured. He impacted the right wing of the bomber, which promply flipped over. Nobody managed to get out of either plane…
I found one last straggling bomber, on which I expended my last couple of 30 milimeters and was emptying my MG 131’s. I was taking my sweet time as I decided to keep using BnZ tactics in order not to be turned into scrap metal by BMG rounds. I knew the escorts would soon catch up. And this guy just refused to go down.
Sooner rather than later I found myself back in this dance. I decided to follow along…
But he wasn’t alone for long, and I had no nearby friendlies to rely on as most were heading back as the order to retreat was given.
When the oppertunity presented itself, I dived out of the fight and disengaged towards a known friendly AAA position. I appreciated how fast the 109 truly is. But I knew if the mustangs really wanted they could try and catch me, even though we were below the altitude where their fantastic supercharger really shines. One Mustang ended up about 2 miles behind me with the other just one mile out. The one that was further away soon disengaged but the other kept giving chase for about 10 kilometres until the AAA started lighting up the sky and he too returned to the bombers. It was time to head back.
I ended up passing La Havre feeling awkardly lonely. I could spot only a few 109’s heading back and they weren’t keeping in a formation. Although I kept my head on a swivel I did lose track of friendlies. Perhaps we’ve lost more than I thought that day.
Back at the base I was in the pattern for just a short while as only 2 other 109’s were in the pattern at the time. I carefully lowered the flaps as I noticed one was damaged in combat. They deployed fine, and there was no notable assymetric lift despite the holes.
Rolling out and heading back to parking, I heard a lot of planes weren’t coming home today. Out of 16 109’s sent in combat, only 5 made it back including myself. Losses for the 190’s are unknown at this time since they’re based somewhere else. After talking about what happened and reviewing the tape, I was attributed with one kill while damaging 3 others. Perhaps the motto of the campaign proves true… “Survival is most you can hope for”, and I haven’t even encountered the legendary spitfire…
Thanks for reading!