Stupid Luck and Happenstance, Thread III

Part 121, Chapter 2023
Chapter Two Thousand Twenty-Three



15th October 1970

Over the Saxon-Bohemian Frontier

The new plane was almost invisible in the gathering dusk as Ben was flying through the mountains at seven hundred fifty kilometers per hour almost straight west. This was the proscribed speed that they had been told to maintain during the mission briefing. They had also been ordered to maintain radio silence during this mission because it was supposed to be a simulated combat mission and they didn’t want the enemy to know they were coming. That made things a bit hairy in that Ben knew that his wingman was only a few hundred meters away and that made coordination difficult. Two airplanes trying to occupy the same space by accident due to one of them having made a sudden turn was a bad thing.

Ben knew that the latest Black Knight was a bit livelier in flight than the Pfeil had been. A faster roll rate most certainly. What it lacked was the instant power that the later versions of the Pfeil had in abundance and the internal bomb bay made it incredibly slick even with a full load of ordnance. Ben could tell that the handling of the Black Knight was considerably altered with two drop tanks and practice bombs on all the hardpoints. He had yet to take her out over the North Sea and really seen what she could do, supposedly she could nearly match the Pfeil clean at high altitude. Ben needed to see it in order to believe it.

What Ben didn’t quibble with was the paint scheme that Arado had done for them. It was two-tone, matte black with the underside painted grey. It reminded Ben of a shark, which was entirely the intention when they had discussed it at the assembly plant. The Balkenkreuz roundels on the wings and sides of the fuselage were ghostly symbols outlined in white lines along with the Unit markings. A fiery black Pegasus, the latest representation of the winged chess piece had been painted on the side of the nose. Only the small City flag of Berlin and blue Maltese Cross that told the world that Ben had been inducted into the Order of the Pour le Mérite painted on the sides of the vertical stabilizer broke with that theme.

“Mind keeping above the tops of these mountains” Wim said over the intercom, sounding annoyed. That much was back to normal.

“If you didn’t want to have a thrill you would have stayed at your day job” Ben said as the display told him if he needed to pull up, level off, or nose down.

The radar was allowing him to stay only a hundred or so meters off the deck over rough terrain. From Wim’s perspective it was one of those sorts of things that worked until it didn’t and by the time that they figured it out, they would have already smashed into the side of a mountain. Considering that Wim worked as a Computer Programmer for the City of Berlin, his general distrust of technology was probably warranted. With the “Moving Map” used to navigate, Wim could see exactly what the elevations of the mountains were around them which probably didn’t help his sunny disposition. Still, they had been told that in the evolving combat environment they should expect to find themselves staying low and fast just to keep themselves alive.

“Whatever” Wim said, “We are coming up on our next waypoint, turn on a course of 350 when we reach it.”

Ben saw the kilometers tick down until they reached zero as he flew over the crest of a ridge, then he rolled the Orkan into a tight turn and dropped into the valley that ran more or less in the direction they wanted to go in.

They continued north as Wim guided them through the designated waypoints until they reached the target. On the outer wing pylons and the belly were a number of the practice version of the Aerodynamische Sprengbombe 500, an updated and improved version of the old SC500 that was necessitated by no longer having an internal bomb bay. It was for practice because it was filled with concrete rather than an explosive mixture. There was also a version of the AS500 that was free fall nuclear bomb, but they weren’t supposed to talk about that.

“10 kilometers to target” Wim said calmly. Once he was focused on the task at hand, he was all business. It was strange considering that with his distrust of technology, he didn’t seem to have a problem with the autopilot essentially flying the plane on an attack run.

“Do you have visual?” Ben asked, knowing that Wim would be scanning the ground ahead with a specially designed Sperber device that allowed them to see through the darkness.

“Got it” Wim said as he locked the targeting computer on the designated target. “Separation in 3… 2… 1…”

Ben felt the plane lurch slightly as the bombs automatically dropped away from the Orkan at the precise instant needed to hit the target. As they sped away from the target, gaining altitude Ben knew what would happen next. Overnight, grunts from the Luftwaffe Training Cadres would be digging the “bombs” up and sending a report to Headquarters about if they had been on target. It was the sort of thing that was done to develop character in the new recruits, both Ben and Wim had done a great deal of that years earlier before Korea.

Ben heard Wim laughing. “I think I nailed it” He said.

“We’ll know tomorrow” Ben said, “Now, do you know how to tell if we have enough fuel in this thing to get us back to Berlin-Brandenburg?”

“That isn’t funny” Wim replied.
 
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Wait until the ground mapping radar is updated, Wim will be complaining about seeing sheep above them on the mountains as they discover what "tree top height" and "Zero Feet" really mean...


Oh, and someone will invent an analogue for the JP-233 anti runway bombs soon as well.
 
I've always pictured Wim as being something like the character Richard Hendricks from Silicon Valley, so of course, he would be a Computer Programmer.
 
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Wait until the ground mapping radar is updated, Wim will be complaining about seeing sheep above them on the mountains as they discover what "tree top height" and "Zero Feet" really mean...
Berlin-Brandenburg; a new aircraftman is scrubbing the green stains from the underside of the Black Knight 4 as Ben and Wim walk past.

Aircraftman: "Wow. The flyboys in this unit really do fly at tree top height, huh?"
Crew chief: "Tree top? That green shit isn't from trees, boy. Its from grass!"

Wim: "I told you we were too low."
Ben: "We weren't that low."
Wim: "I looked UP and there were squirrels looking DOWN at us. Squirrels, Ben. Actual. Squirrels."
 
Berlin-Brandenburg; a new aircraftman is scrubbing the green stains from the underside of the Black Knight 4 as Ben and Wim walk past.

Aircraftman: "Wow. The flyboys in this unit really do fly at tree top height, huh?"
Crew chief: "Tree top? That green shit isn't from trees, boy. Its from grass!"

Wim: "I told you we were too low."
Ben: "We weren't that low."
Wim: "I looked UP and there were squirrels looking DOWN at us. Squirrels, Ben. Actual. Squirrels."
I am reminded of accounts in Vietnam of tree branches found lodged in the underside of Phantom IIs and the airframes rattling because so many rivets popped loose from being over-stressed.
 
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ferdi254

Banned
Similar stories I know from UK, German and Russian pilots in WW2. Branches picked up somewhere.
The old airport in Hong Kong must have been a thing with the planes literally picking up clothes hung up on rooftops to dry.
 

ferdi254

Banned
I do not know about Argentine but it seems in New Zealand there is a saying about sheep on the southern island. What happens on the meadow stais on the meadow.

And for the Pizza: Tuna, Olives, Feta and Chili.
 

ferdi254

Banned
Oh and I once had a comrade who still owns the price for the most terrible Pizza: Hawaii with a double portion of garlic on top.
At least it made absolutely sure he never was asked to share.
 
Didn't the terrain following radar used in the F-111 light up every passive radar detector within 50 miles? I'm assuming the German version will do the same. Like shining a flashlight on a dark room. You'll see what's in front of you but everyone will see you.
 
Didn't the terrain following radar used in the F-111 light up every passive radar detector within 50 miles? I'm assuming the German version will do the same. Like shining a flashlight on a dark room. You'll see what's in front of you but everyone will see you.
I think all of the early radar sets did.
Could be something for a university Physics lab to start testing.

Even more fun, have Wim attached to an Army AAA unit experimenting with radar guided missiles. Scare the crap out of him for real when the Army guys spot the Orkan coming early because of the ground following radar.
 
Didn't the terrain following radar used in the F-111 light up every passive radar detector within 50 miles? I'm assuming the German version will do the same. Like shining a flashlight on a dark room. You'll see what's in front of you but everyone will see you.
You just described every fighter with active search radar ever built. There have been a lot of jokes about the F-22 Raptor being a "Stealth" until it functions in its intended role, then everyone within a hundred miles can detect it just the same as the F-15 is was supposed to replace. In OTL the Panavia Tornado was built a decade after the F-111 and uses two radar arrays, one was the typical of the kind of search radar found on most multi-role aircraft that is for searching the sky ahead of it and the second being a smaller, more focused array that is used for TFR.
 

altamiro

Banned
You just described every fighter with active search radar ever built. There have been a lot of jokes about the F-22 Raptor being a "Stealth" until it functions in its intended role, then everyone within a hundred miles can detect it just the same as the F-15 is was supposed to replace. In OTL the Panavia Tornado was built a decade after the F-111 and uses two radar arrays, one was the typical of the kind of search radar found on most multi-role aircraft that is for searching the sky ahead of it and the second being a smaller, more focused array that is used for TFR.
My understanding of the primary effect of stealth, in RL, is not "plane is invisible to radar while in full function" but rather "plane is sufficiently weakly reflecting that a relatively weak radar of an AAM doesn't get a proper lock".
The ground based passive radars can nowadays detect even the stealthiest plane but that requires a detector far more sensitive than one you can mount on a missile, at least now. So you can roughly track a stealth plane, but not precisely enough to guide a missile into, except by pure luck.
 
What Ben didn’t quibble with was the paint scheme that Arado had done for them. It was two-tone, matte black with the underside painted grey. It reminded Ben of a shark, which was entirely the intention when they had discussed it at the assembly plant. The Balkenkreuz roundels on the wings and sides of the fuselage were ghostly symbols outlined in white lines along with the Unit markings. A fiery black Pegasus, the latest representation of the winged chess piece had been painted on the side of the nose. Only the small Berlin City flag of Berlin and blue Maltese Cross that told the world that Ben had been inducted into the Order of the Pour le Mérite painted on the sides of the vertical stabilizer broke with that theme.
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I can dig the grey belly, my car is a grey Mazda 3 hatch. My favorite active IndyCar driver, Will Power, will be running a matte black Verizon 5G livery most of the season. So, yeah. Personally, thanks for the mental sploosh, P-M.

The Blue Max & Berlin flag are nice touches, too. It's a mixed bag that ceremonial paint schemes for warplanes never took off. Mess Dress for the doom steed and whatnot. One of my best friends over my life was a next door neighbor who was a USAF (E-3 Sentry) aircraft maintainer. Making folks like him do more bs work is suboptimal.
 
Another excellent series of updates.
The new plane that Jasta 18 is getting and the paint scheme that Ben had put on should be worth a few stories in the local Berlin newspapers and television reports with mentions of the unit's record in the Sino-Korean Conflict.
The stories will surely mention that Ben's wife is currently deployed in Argentina and speculation should be made about the unit being shipped out there soon.
Also part of the stories being reported on is other planes having personalized paint scheme and how it is Luftwaffe tradition that there is only one plane in active service with a Crimson paint scheme.
 
Great to see my ‘participation’ in this world beginning between Chapters 2022 & 2023, with (assuming other things happening ITTL as in IOTL) my birth taking place in Sydney, Australia the day after Chapter 2022‘s events.
 
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