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Barton

Almost got got

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An overview of the flight as a supplement:

 

In the first furball I was over an enemy forward airbase to try to help clear it for strikers.  Most of the action was taking place below me and I played it safe keeping my speed and altitude up with an eye over my shoulder.  I was looking for a target of opportunity and in a tight, low fight like that they can be a bit hard to come by.  I did end up finding a couple.  Caught a MiG in the vertical which was a remarkably reckless maneuver on his part that I didn't fully punish.  Later I pressed an attack on an La-5 after seeing so many friendlies in the area I felt I could get away with it.  Although it was pure luck that I lit him on fire with that shot as he dove for the deck.  Kill or not I was pulling away to avoid getting over committed.  I was surprised to find the Yak chasing another 109 in a slow climb in such a hot area and was able to make good on a blind side attack.  Looked at attacking a low P-40 but he turned around on me.  He knew I was there.  I knew CIA_Elanski was on the server and that was probably him.  I wanted to press the attack but I found another fight up high.  It likely wouldn't have interfered with me if I did attack the P-40 but I figured there may be more enemies up by the clouds so I switched to the high fight.  I did get a good hit on a well set up attack but I pulled out seeing the other 109 all over him. 

I had done very well until now but I chased him low after the other 109 broke off and he hit the deck, feeling all mighty.  I didn't want to commit too heavily and leave myself too exposed but if he was going to fly level and not check his six I'd take an easy kill.  Unfortunately, he saw me and evaded and I was going to call it off but I saw the other 109 join back in so I turned around to engage again.  The other 109 got him turning pretty hard but misjudged an angle and flew into the trees.  This left the bandit low and slow and I was able to pick him off.  Fortunately nobody else saw the fight.

I picked up an Pe-2 and thought about giving chase but I have my reservations because gunners have a habit of being ungodly lethal when they are not completely incompetent.  Also, a Pe-2 when flown well can be a hard target to kill all on its own.  I also spotted an enemy Yak high above me and decided to climb up under him and try to attack.  He dove down below before I could get to him and I found another bandit above me as I gave a bit of chase so I peeled off and took stock of the situation.  I engaged some of the fighters but really couldn't do much on my own as the only other 109 got himself shot to ribbons pretty quickly.  After the Pe-2s vacated I looked for the fighters down low and found one.  I set up an attack but his early evasiveness indicated he had a friend close by or he just had very good SA.  I did find his buddy behind him but the one I didn't see was the buddy in front of him.  I thought I had the lead guy when I had the middleman.  I managed the situation as best I could as a 2v1 and managed to keep them from being able to coordinate too well but this allowed the third guy to climb and chase me.  As I made my came down off the perch into a run on the second enemy I saw him pitch up into a vertical maneuver and I remember thinking, "this guy is baiting me" but I knew where enemy #1 was and he wasn't going to touch me so I pressed the attack.  Upon taking damage I immediately turned for the trees and friendly lines.  Fortunately I was able to keep ahead of him despite the damage I took.  I had more energy than he did to begin with but I'm not sure if it was bad engine management or what that kept him from closing on me.  He eventually clobbered a tree.  The MiG didn't give up and chased me for a bit until it was obvious he wasn't going to catch me.  I had thought about turning to engage him but I realized he wasn't gaining on me and if I turned to fight him I definitely wasn't going to make it home.  He rolled into a split S to try to escape but he wasn't paying quite enough attention to his altitude and hit the deck a little more literally than he intended.  Damage I had caused him earlier ensured I got credit for a kill when he went in. 

I tried like hell to make it home but with no radiator fluid to keep the engine cool I turned into a glider and ended up ditching about 5km outside the airfield.  When the engine started to overheat I had two thoughts.  Either cut throttle and try to putt in or run wide open and climb as much as I could until the engine gave up.  I'm not sure option 1 would have worked, but option 2 definitely didn't.

At different times in the flight I told myself to go home but I didn't.  I had enough fuel and ammo to keep up the fight but one small break of my personal rules of engagement lead to another, and another, and before I knew it I was running home with my tail between my legs because I had bit off more than I could chew.

 

Listen to your inner voice.  When it speaks, its because you've subconsciously recognized something and you need to listen.  If you don't think you have an inner voice you probably just aren't listening.

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