I finally made the time to really try out the Normandy alpha map and take one of the campaign missions Wags and I have been working on up for a spin. He has been making it all happen in the mission editor while I have been providing the research and mission briefings so I haven't spent much time in the air yet. Here are a few shots from one of the missions:
It is a breezy day at Advanced Landing Ground B.3, Sainte Croix as we get airborne for an armed reconnaissance. I am leading the squadron east of Caen and maybe as far as Evreux looking for movement on the ground and in the air.
Flying was wiped out earlier in the day due to low clouds and muddy taxiways but it is looking much better now. We form up over the field as the skies continue to clear.
All eight aircraft are finally formed up and we proceed east along the coast in a climb. Caen, still firmly in German hands, is peeking out through the haze to our right.
Our good view of Caen means the flak gunners have a good view of us. We continue down the coast to Cabourg where we can cross into enemy territory in relative safety. This map was built for the campaign using the same info and same techniques as the real thing. I'm hoping to run across a real map from late June 44 so I can compare the results!
We should be just fine unless the Germans are on to our tricks and have moved some guns around. We turn inland at Cabourg and navigate toward the zone we want to cover.
Now over the coast and well clear of the German lines we descend to low level for the armed recce. The rest of the squadron looks out for the enemy as I focus on navigation.
They call out vehicles in sight, dead ahead. Ok, lets roll in!
This was repeated several times along the route with good results but I doubt it will be so easy once the flak units are added to the public alpha build. It is good practice in the meantime!
Now the course is slightly south of east again, along the Lisieux-Bernay railroad, and to the real prize at Evreux airfield. There is no sign of enemy aircraft yet but the Luftwaffe has been taking advantage of the bad weather to make more of a showing these last two days. This is a good chance to catch them in the act. We continue along the rail line with a view of rolling hills and the Seine to our left.
We set up and have quick peek from a distance. Do we risk going in for a closer look? Probably not once the rest of the flak units are added!
My flight was actually very low on fuel so we had to turn back right away. They called out bingo fuel in just the order pilots describing things at the time generally reported: four, two, then three based on how much work they had to do with the throttle to maintain their place in formation. Being a good flight lead, flying smoothly and not making the others struggle to keep up is going to be very important. Fuel management is definitely worthy of a few lines in the mission briefings so that is what I am off to add right now!