Day trip to a Dornier
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Thread: Day trip to a Dornier

  1. #1

    Day trip to a Dornier

    By way of a prologue to this mission report, in my teens, I used to seek out a newsagent in the resort during the family's annual seaside holiday, looking for my paperback holiday reading. Those were the days (the '70s) when I was spoiled for choice. One of my favourites, which I still dip into from time to time, is James Gilbert's 'The World's Worst Aircraft' (Coronet, 1978). The author starts his chapter on 'Dornier's Giant Flying Boats' thus: "An aircraft salesman once invited me out to New York's La Guardia airport for a flight in a Skyservant, a modern Dornier light twin. 'Delighted' I said, and then added, thoughtlessly, 'I've never flown any Dornier. Been bombed by them, though.' This, I think, the American salesman thought in poor taste; at least I never did get to fly the Skyservant."

    Casting about for something different after my most recent CFS3-BoB mod fighter campaign ended in flames, I decided to try some of the included single missions. One flying the Dornier 17 caught my eye, so here we go.

    Here I am on the airfield at Abbeville, studying my map in the first light of dawn or thereabouts. Actually we're many miles south-west of that town - our base looks more like Capriquet, near Caen. But no matter.

    Right - I know where I'm going. This is what I'm going in. The 'Z' subtype of the Do 17 no longer merited the 'flying pencil' nickname given to the earlier versions but it's a more capable aircraft. The CFS3 version is a fine rendition and has the right unit code for Kampfgeschwader 2, U5 and accurate upper-surface camouflage pattern in Black Green 70 and Dark Green 71. Nicely-weathered, too.

    Engines running, flaps set, brakes off and away we go. To our right as we take off are some yellow-nosed 109s. The briefing mentioned we'll have some of them for company, and two or three more staffeln of Dorniers. The more, the merrier.

    Up we go and up comes the undercart, with a satisfying 'clunk'.

    Flaps up next. The early morning sun is just peeking over the eastern horizon as we climb away.

    Still climbing at full power, I set course to the north, out towards the Bay of the Seine.

    It's all very picture postcard, but I expect it won't stay that way, if the Tommies across the water have anything to do with it. be continued!

  2. #2
    Twisting my virtual neck around to the left, I get a good view of the French countryside slipping away behind and below.

    We're soon crossing the coast. If the briefing said anything about height, I don't remember it.

    As you can see, I'm assuming this isn't a low level raid, although Dorniers tended to specialise in this, apparently.

    Geography isn't my best subject, but I think that's the mouth of the Seine, over there on the right.

    The boys are soon in formation - echelon right is the order of the day. As CFS3 players know, this can't be changed in flight. Possibly just as well, as formation-keeping isn't a CFS3 AI strong point.

    Up ahead, there's a lot of cloud. I know that there are other formations up there somewhere, not far away but out of sight. Still, it's good to know we're not on our own. Only a complete nutcase of a staff officer would send eight Dorniers to London, except perhaps as lockvogel, bait for fighters. And the briefing made no mention of any such thing... be continued!

  3. #3
    As we fly out over the Channel, I decide to warp to get us up (or down) to mission height for the leg in question.

    This takes us up to just over 12,000 feet, so I haven't wasted time and fuel climbing up as high as I did. I exit warp some miles short of the English coast, and an pleased, despite all the cloud, to see a staffel of 109s ahead and left.

    The sun rises in the sky, the clouds lose their pinkish tint and then, there it is! Enemy coast ahead!

    I reckon we'll cross inland over the coastal town of Brighton.

    Up ahead and out of sight, another staffel is already fighting off attacks by a handful of Hurricanes.

    Our own nearest escorts are still close by, just behind and to our left, so I'm still feeling confident. Let the Tommies come - we're ready for them! be continued!

  4. #4
    As we cross inland, the clouds thin out in one direction and thicken up in others.

    As ever, the Tactical Display is a good way of getting a situational update that's based on what you should be able to see with the Mark I Eyeball. This reveals other, likely friendly, formations echeloned back to port, and what looks like a right old air battle in full swing, three to four miles ahead.

    From the cockpit without the visual aids, I can see nothing but clouds, sky and England's green and pleasant land.

    A small course adjustment to starboard is soon needed.

    All this cloud is a nuisance, navigationally and tactically! It does add a lot to the tension, though.

    By now we're well inland, at just under fifteen thousand feet, and still unmolested. For how much longer, remains to be seen. be continued!

  5. #5
    About half-way between the coast and the capital, I get a glimpse of another staffel of Dorniers, on the same general course but a few thousand feet lower. Hopefully the flak, if not also the fighters, will find them a more attractive target!

    A little further on, an airfield looms up. I'm not sure which one - Biggin Hill, possibly. It's more or less directly ahead and a tempting target. But orders are orders.

    Everyone's still with me despite the cloud, which is good.

    And there's certainly no shortage of cloud. It's at times like this that the artificial horizon earns its keep.

    Soon enough, we're back in the clear. For a while. I'm quite enjoying the flight, so far, action or no action.

    Finally, through a gap in the ever-present clouds, we get our first view of the vast, sprawling metropolis that's the beating heart of the whole British Empire. We won't be able to stop it, but perhaps we'll make it skip a beat! be continued!

  6. #6
    oh, that poor old VC

    Nice screenshots otherwise

  7. #7
    Apart from the spindly MG15s and the equally-undernourished clutching hand of the observer, the VC I don't mind at all, and dynamic shadows bring it to life.

    Back over London's southern suburbs, the cloud seems to be pretty thick and I'm beginning to worry about the bomb run.

    Up ahead, I can see that Old Father Thames keeps rolling along, down to the mighty sea, as the song puts it.

    A check with the Tactical Display establishes that we're fourteen miles from our next waypoint, the target itself. And that other echelons of friendly aircraft are also running in with us. There's also some unidentified aircraft further out to our right rear.

    You can see two of the other Dornier staffeln in the next pic. The rearmost group is under fighter attack. Both seem to be aiming to attack from under the cloud base, which is probably below ten thousand.

    Coming out into a clearer patch I can see another airfield up ahead. It doesn't look like Kenley, whose runways crossed nearer their ends; Croydon, perhaps?

    The boys are still following faithfully and I'm hoping my mounting uncertainty isn't infectious. But the clearer skies work both ways, for now we start drawing flak.

    'Close in for fighters, spread out for flak' was the general rule but I can do neither. Nor to I want to make significant course changes, with the target drawing ever closer. So I settle for putting on a little more height.

    This, or more likely the extensive clouds, seems to help as the ground fire is not particularly intense, considering where we are. I just need to find that target so I can bomb on the first run! be continued!

  8. #8
    I feel the tension mounting. Six miles to target. Target no-where to be seen! The briefing didn't mention what specifically we were to attack, so I'm relying on the Tactical Display. With the horrible, arcade-y yellow target brackets permanently disabled, this is less easy than it might seem. What am I supposed to be looking for? A bridge? A factory? I can't see much of anything down there.

    By this point, we're the meat in a cloud sandwich. I really don't want to be stooging around over the enemy capital, like some tourist sight-seeing, but liable to be shot dead at any moment for his troubles.

    Three miles to go! In a state approaching panic, I jump to the bombsight. Where the Hell is the target?

    The aircraft quivers as I struggle to maintain control. Then the clouds suddenly part and as well as the flak bursts, I can at last see stuff worth blowing up. If I want to bomb on this run, it looks like I now have a choice of two worthwhile targets - a gasworks and a power station. Which is the right one I'm not sure, without those darned yellow brackets. But I decide the gasworks will do. I'll probably lose control if I try to steer for the power station.

    Bombs away! The first hits blossom as I make my turn for home.

    I don't see any other strikes. Has my unsteady approach put off the others? Have the clouds blocked their view? In desperation, I order the target attacked and let them make the best of it. My tight turn back to the south has probably completely ruined formation-keeping, so they may as well attack individually.

    Only a few gasometers have been destroyed, so if this the best we can do, the brass-hats won't be best pleased. No point fretting over that - my priority now is getting the boys back together - and then back home. be continued

  9. #9
    Time for some final sight-seeing before we leave? There's St Paul's Cathedral to the right of my tail. Off the lowered wing-tip is Buckingham Palace I think. By the river near the engine nacelle is the Palace of Westminster aka the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, with Westminster Abbey just visible nearby. The large rectangular building near the top of the pic is the British Museum, I'm fairly sure. Who says these mission reports don't have educational value???

    I settle onto a course to the south. Last landmark for this trip is the Naval College at Greenwich, at the base of the famous 'U' bend in the Thames.

    My departure is encouraged from the ground by the flak people, with the occasional, half-hearted farewell salvo. Meanwhile, the rest of the staffel is swinging back into position.

    My trusty observer is treating the whole thing with his usual composure. You never know quite what he's thinking, but he's a solid enough type, despite his spindly fingers.

    Soon, the last of the Dorniers is sliding back into formation. I'm impatient to put on full throttle for a bit, to get clear of London; rightly or wrongly, I'll feel a lot better after the capital is out of sight again.

    Right! We're all back together! I push the throttles forward and the nose down, to build up a head of speed. By fighter standards we are still moving relatively slowly, but it feels better, moving just that bit faster.

    Now, we've got the cross-country stretch back to the south coast. Then the Channel crossing of course, but if we can get that far, I'll start feeling safe again. be continued!

  10. #10
    I keep the dive fairly gentle as the CFS3 AI tend to be slow to respond to climbs or dives by the formation leader.

    We remain unmolested, so I level off and throttle back slightly before going into the clouds. I don't want to be within range of light AA, over land, and that means staying above about ten thousand. Or three thousand - playing Luftwaffe I suppose I should be counting in metres.

    It's not long before the Channel coast comes into sight, at last.

    Our routing is a bit unimaginative, as we're crossing out close to where we came in, near Brighton. But I suppose these more direct courses cut down the time we're exposed to enemy action. Which is no bad thing.

    I begin to relax as England falls astern. It looks like I'll be bringing all the boys home, even if we don't seem to have done a whole lot of damage back there.

    Now then, back to Capriquet or Abbeville or whatever they're calling it - to us, it's home, sweet home! be continued!

  11. #11
    The Channel crossing is happily uneventful and we're soon letting down over la belle France. Our grass airfield is not far inland.

    Time to cut the boys loose. I don't want any near misses, mid airs, or any other needless drama at this stage in proceedings.

    Right, where are we now? At a distance, one green field looks very much like another from this height.

    'There it is', my observer's srcawny outstretched fingers seem to be saying.

    I make a leisurely approach, with everything hanging by the time I'm on short finals.

    And we're down, past same the row of 109s that was there when we took off.

    Job done! Not massively well - the show was rated a failure, despite my being credited with ten out of ten hits from my 50Kg bombs. More practice leading level bombing missions would be in order, but at least I brought everybody home. Purely down to not being intercepted no doubt, but I'll take that above a massacre, any day!

  12. #12
    And just to prove my claim of bombing accuracy...

    I look a bit downcast at the overall result, don't I? Never mind - I thoroughly enjoyed the mission - a super element in an excellent mod which does great credit to all in the CFS3 community who contributed to it.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Aotearoa, New Zealand
    Hi 33Lima, great mission reports as usual! I'm testing some "escort" campaign missions from Luftwaffe France, over the channel to coastal targets. This is a campaign MissionType without specific editable spawn sets. So presumably the best way to go is to set up the air.spawns with a mission modifier at the bottom of the spawn table, for "Escort".

    Thus far my attempts to get some RAF interception have failed, I'm not sure why. I have set up the RAF intercept formations to spawn only in enemy territory, using Flags="enemy" (flying as Luftwaffe, Britain is enemy territory). This is because I don't want to meet swarms of RAF fighters off the coast of France, because that was not the tactic employed by the RAF in the Battle of Britain. But, like you, the balance is not right yet, opposition is light and my bomber companions manage to do their runs relatively unmolested.

    Did you have much trouble taking off from your airfield in France? Most of the airfields only have an 800m runway which is woefully inadequate (being addressed in the campaign package).

  14. #14
    I don't recall having any diffs getting away Daiwilletti, and that was with a full bombload. Although I may have held her on the brakes while throttling up. The steep climb-out may indicate a dangerous pull-up to avoid incoming trees, or it could be poor trimming or just poor flying

    I'll vote for bigger bases. I hate WotR's Audembert. Every take-off, I felt I had to hoick my undercart smartly for fear of catching it on the tops of the trees that ran right up to the small airfield's boundary.

    With an RAF bomber campaign and your ETO BoB campaign spawns, we could rarely leave the airfield without the enemy showing up, so I'm sure it's a difficult balancing act and a certain amount comes down to personal preference. I'm don't like completely uneventful missions but I equally dislike a campaign which results in a desperate fight on every trip with losses that would have seen the unit rested or disbanded. OTOH lots of action can be fine, provided there isn't also the bane of many flight sims, disproportionately heavy losses every time.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Aotearoa, New Zealand
    Rest assured, 33lima, the balance is much better with the beta package I am testing! Spawns are not so manic, even in a CAP mission. The CAP missiontype in CFS3 always came with inbound aircraft close to the airbase. So if you choose that CAP option, there will be enemy aircraft close to your airbase. That being said, the balance is better in the BoB package compared to the ETO spawns which were knocked up in a couple of hours some months ago.

    You can probably appreciate that refining spawning events for campaign missions is a never-ending project. That being said, the current batch is much improved. The Intercept missions which were the mainstay of the RAF are not too molested by enemy aircraft until you get some way towards the interception point.

    My recent efforts are more aimed at the LW side - getting RAF to intercept close to their shores, but not all the way across the channel. LW aircraft should not be "bounced" at their airbases, it just didn't happen in the BoB. You probably know when the Rhubarb missions started (I don't). Anyway, I'm starting to get a balance of RAF interceptions so that bombing/escort LW missions are not a cake-walk. But they need to be survivable too.

    As you say it is not much fun flying a few campaign missions where all your wingmen perish and the frontline walks back rapidly.

  16. #16
    Will be great to have this improved campaign for the BoB mod. I finished a short RAF campaign in the BoB mod (fireballed on landing after wrecking my engine through over-use of emergency power - or maybe it was Stuka return fire) and while fun, the Huns always seemed to come in at under ten thousand and in penny packets. In my final mission the Stukas climbed rapidly up to contrail height, which was weird while I struggled to catch them. I must add the new contrails to the Stukas, in case it happens again!

  17. #17
    Member sixstrings5859's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Sulphur,South West Louisiana in the good'ol USA
    Blog Entries
    Real nice shots ! Great action...

  18. #18
    Where can I get that nice Do 17 skin?

  19. #19
    The skin comes with the Dornier 17Z that's included in the BoB mod '(Alpha 01', home site is here: ). Not sure if/where it's available outside of the mod, but if you like the Dornier, you'll like the mod

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by 33lima View Post
    The skin comes with the Dornier 17Z that's included in the BoB mod '(Alpha 01', home site is here: ). Not sure if/where it's available outside of the mod, but if you like the Dornier, you'll like the mod
    Thanks for the info

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