Inbound over the English Channel a raid of nine Ju88 bombers at 12,000ft escorted by four Bf110 at 16000ft.
“A” flight climb up to 13,000ft, Squadron Leader Cartier instructs both sections to engage the bomber first before the Nazi fighters can intercept. Some terrible initial shooting by both Red and Yellow sections leads to their formations being broken and then them being engaged by the Messerschmitt’s.
Flight Leader Heinz Todt causes the first casualty of the engagement, his 20mm cannon shells rip into the Hurricane of P/O Kneale and his plane disintegrates in a ball of fire.
|Kneale goes down in flames|
The remains of Red Section rip into the bombers, Cartier latches onto the leader of one of the bomber sections and fires several controlled bursts into the plane which soon drops out of formation losing height. Cartier follows the plane down, but takes concentrated fire from the desperate rear gunner. With flames streaming from the starboard engine the Ju88 crashes into the sea with no chutes seen. P/O Orwell’s guns jam and he takes little part in the action before breaking off.
|Cartier and Gatewood account for a Ju88 each|
Pilot Officer Gatewood puts in a fantastic display, engaging one flight of bombers, one Ju88 is easily dispatched with severe damage, although three chutes are seen emerging, the next plane in formation takes sever damage and heads for home with the gunners gondola dripping with blood. With only a few seconds of ammo remaining he engages another Ju88 first causing damage to the port engine he surgically takes out the starboard engine and the plane crashes into the sea. Two bombers shot down and one aborted, a fantastic display of skill.
A flight of three Hurricanes from 96 Squadron also joined the fray, accounting for another Ju88 but losing one of their number.
With serious damage to his engine and low oil pressure Cartiers bird pancakes on landing, wrecking the plane and breaking his left leg, he will be out of action for about a month.
Not a good day for 68 Squadron, although four of the nine bombers were destroyed and one turned back, one pilot was killed, one was seriously injured and three more precious Hurricanes destroyed.
|Gatewood bags another|
The game was played out at Maelstrom Games yesterday evening. I played the Hun, Greg, Ben and Steve played the RAF.
Next week - another game of Saga.