My most well handled online combat,for some reason it all came together,(finally it feels like)airstart,locked in pit,no icons.
Recreated the mission offline in several FMB setups to try and capture it as i felt it.
Target...the island of Iwo Jima,softening up operations before the groundhuggers go in,weapon of choice,the F4U1D. The tough as nuts bent wing bird,which it would prove in this flight.Loadout..two tiny tim and eight five inch AP rockets.
Five minutes out from target over my fleet i work her up to twelve thousand feet in lazy circles.She feel's weighty ,slow and unwieldy,yet also imposing and safe.
As the island comes into view i grab another thousand just to be sure.
Passing over the transports and destroyers inbound to begin the landing , Iwo appears under a thick layer of fluffy stuff.It looks faceless and bland,not worthy of the knots in my stomach.
I see a dot low heading in for the ships,not my worry,another speck at my eight,about three thousand lower ,heading straight and fast..heartbeat skips.The clouds look comfy.But dead straight he continues unaware or uncaring.
Iwo is near and i begin my descent,cooling flaps open,prop windmilling,dropping down.From thirteen thousand to two there is no activity and the clouds grab me,still windmilling ,coasting.
Reassuring bumps , i know in the cloud i cannot be seen and gunning the engine i change direction still following the safety of invisibility.A brief gap shows a twin engined plane,looks like a Betty edging across the island,low,trying to hide,more twin engined jobs along the perimeter.White envelops me again but i have also seen the flash of an AA gun open up.
I drop the wing and point the nose down as i skim into the bottom of the cloud , the aa crew is well awake and laying fireworks just behind me,worrying, but not taking my eye of them i continue pulling around and losing height. I know they cannot hit me if i keep moving like this and that flak is worth the big boys,because if i miss with this weight on i am dead on the pullout,and they are for nothing.
The relief on the plane is evident as i now zoom ,angling slightly ,back into the safety of the clouds.Freed from the tiny tims it feels light..and i still have a bunch of groundpoundin' swinging off the wings.
Busting out of the cloud i see a plane heading low and up just behind where i hit, no chance of bothering me if i decide on another run,pulling around i see another a bit higher coming in from seaward,worth keeping an eye on.Down again to release this last weight,having now to hold back the speed,trucks and artillery in front of me,men running.Two second release time,eight seconds of death for below.
Up again ,all the time watching the two specks,now transformed into the nimble zero fighter,struggle to gain height in anticipation of the oncoming dogfight.I pick the higher one after my zoom, he is maybe 800 feet lower,dropping over at him after circling his desperate near stall in the climb,i find him low on energy and in a horrible position while i am once again nearly busting rivets.
A solid shudder through the whole airframe as i watch six streams of lead peel out from the side of my vision to concentrate in flashes all over the fuselage and tail.Passing beneath i hear his engine briefly,close and snarling.
Up again i see the other zero still gaining height and then i am surprised as the one i just attacked pops the cockpit and jumps,a white chute billowing.At the top of my climb i have a large advantage over the remaining one.Same tactic again,wait until he reaches the top of his climb and pounce.
Heading down above him , knowing he has to look straight up to see me, i curl ,losing height.He is different,even at low speed and so far below he is already making it hard for me to line up the shot.I shoot past him , trying to keep close and let him know i have the advantage.
Even so he turns into me on the way up,loosing a burst,knowing he will not hit , but needing me to realise he is there too.Instead of just climbing straight up i keep fast and extend,grabbing only 500 feet in height overall,but a lot of distance.
As i suspected he is still heading straight on and clambering for height, we go headon , me with speed and height not intending for this to be the killing pass,just looking for position.He goes over me ,wings flashing,off target.I pull up and over the top , on his six , perfectly set now to finish this.A shudder again and his roll is too slow to not be hit.He flys straight into the burst.
Rolling past i see the fight has dragged in range of our ships and everything is letting loose.Hey lads! I'm here too!
The zero is lost in the bursts as I finish my roll and grab the everwinning height.I see him hit the sea ,and crazily ,through the spray, another plane skids low heading for the ships.Turning,stressing the plane, i head for him,way to fast and close to saddle up, he flashes across,wings ablaze aiming at the small craft of the first wave ,a burst finds him,makes him lurch and peel down.
Still he hits the ship,even in death he takes more with him.
Low on ammo and an eye on the seemingly empty fuel gauge and despite two more dots appearing over now distant Iwo ,closing the cockpit i decide to call it a day,heading for my carrier.A quick high speed low level dash leaving the approaching planes behind i spot the safety of my ship,flanked by destroyers,two planes just leaving the deck.
Throttle back,drop the pith and begin my curve to the deck,combat flaps,and hook coming down.I open the pit again and wind noise invades my ears.lovely.as i pull in straight the engine coughs and dies,fuel is out,landing flaps are popped.
Still a bit higher than i would have liked,if the fuel had not have given out this would have been a turnaround,no choice now,point her down a bit and float her above the deck,hoping she will grab.She does,first wire,trusty and faithful.Jolts me forward and i hang onto her , trying to keep it level until those wheels touch.
Pulling the wire near half the ship she finally settles but still has enough forward motion to slowly droop forward on her nose,only a propeller and some bent pride , maybe some jeers from the boys , but an inner smile at death,cheated for another day.