Last evening the Nachtjäger 5 fighter squadron reentered the night skies over western Europe to defend the Reich against incursions by the RAF’s nighttime bombers. Ufw Murphy was on leave to care for his aged mother and was replaced by a new pilot, Ufw Scott Williams, recently graduated from flight school. [Adjutant: A re-re-review of the rules cleared up confusion between Prestige and Experience and showed that the Bf 110 F-4a was beyond the level any player could get last game. Fortunately, the die rolls were recorded separately and it was determined that both bombers were intercepted and were shot down so that records did not have to be altered. Other errors were noted and the records updated, sort of a “Bank Error in Your Favor” type of thing.]
The squadron’s sorties began in the second week of September with minimal return for the training the pilots received, only downing 1-2 planes in total, per night. The one bright spot was when Ufw Koznarsky got his 5th bomber, a Halifax, achieving the squadron’s first Ace status. He was also able to upgrade to a Bf 110 F-4a following a mission in which his plane was shot apart by several British bombers. Lt Griess and his crew were quite lucky to survive being intercepted by a Mosquito which forced them to jump from their crippled plane to avoid a more serious fate.
In two hours play, the unit was blessed with good weather in 9 of its 11 missions, however, the hunting was hampered by short missions of 1-2 encounter zones and extremely poor interception die rolling. 5 of the 11 missions did not find any encounters with the British bombers and the pilots all worried that their lack of success would banish them to the Eastern Front of interceptions, daylight missions against the US Army Air Corps and B-17/24 bombers [Adjutant: In this game US daytime bombers fire THREE times the number of shots at the intercepting fighters and fire is simultaneous – not the best situation for one’s life expectancy!]
Still, the squadron did have some notable successes in the month: Ufw Mickel, who had previously had no kills, racked up 6 in this month to become an ace, Ufw Williams acquitted himself well by getting a kill in only his second mission and the final mission of this evening resulted in a total of 5 squadron kills! Near the end of October 1943 the kill tally stood at:
Ufw Koznarsky 7 kills, Prestige 3
Ufw Mickel 6 kills, Prestige 3
Lt Griess 4 kills, Prestige 3
Ufw Williams 3 kills, Prestige 3
Ufw Murphy 2 kills, Prestige 2
At this time all the pilots who could choose a better model of Bf 110 with radar, chose to do so. After the nights’ missions, the pilots were given a tally of Prestige and Experience for their Pilots, Funkers and Bordschütze. We are all chomping at the bit to get back up and flying next week – I might not be able to wait and may start my own solo campaign!