June 13, 2010

The Battle of Britain II Day by Day Campaign
Your Opportunity to Participate in a Historic Flight Simulation Event

by Guest Writer "Heinkill"


70 Years Ago Over Hell's Corner...

"There were just eight of us, the total defence for the bomber force. All that could be mustered out of what should have been three full squadrons; the survivors. For us the odds were high, time was running out. The Battle of Britain had cost us dearly."

So wrote Messerschmitt ace Ulrich Steinhilper about the mission that was to end his fighter career, on October 27, 1940. Steinhilper had come a long way from the cocky young pilot who wrote to his mother earlier in the campaign...

"It is our hope the the Army will soon get started so that we will all have a small piece of land on the The Island (Britain!). It shouldn't last long, if it does then it's all going to become boring again."

Boring it was not.

This year is the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and the Battle of Britain Developers Group (BDG) is marking the event with one of the busiest programs of its several year history.

London was no sight seeing trip for Steinhilper in 1940. Contrary to popular belief that the Luftwaffe enjoyed both numerical superiority and high morale, after only one month of fighting it was under pressure and on the defensive.

"At first we had other Gruppen for company but when we got to London and the dog fighting started I suddenly found that there were only the five aircraft from our squadron still with me and about thirty to forty Spitfires against us... I have the order 'Liga, hinein (into them!)'. They were coming at us from all sides and our Me's were tested as never before."

The Battle of Britain II (Virtual) Day by Day Campaign

Next on the schedule for the BDG is to host a unique concept: The Battle of Britain II Day by Day Campaign.

The concept is simple — a sim pilot registers a British or Luftwaffe unit for himself and on July 10th starts a BoB II Single Pilot Campaign (SPC) in the Convoy Phase.

The game engine also starts it's dynamic campaign on 10th July, and the pilot then flies all missions for his squadron for that day.

On 11th July, he flies in-game the day of 11th July, and so on all the way until the Battle of Britain II Day by Day Campaign ends on 15th September.

If they miss a day of flying in real life, they just advance the game campaign to the correct date and then proceed the
next mission.

This is a simple tribute to the pilots who fought and died 70 years ago in this epic battle. The immersion provided by flying and fighting in real time the same missions and dogfights flown 70 years ago is expected to be very moving, and a very real chance to re-enact and educate ourselves on this historic clash of air power. How many sim pilots can make it through those epic two months unharmed?

SimHQ has created a brand new sub-forum of their popular After Action Reports Forum for this very special event. Rules / Structure of the Battle of Britain II Day By Day Campaign is organized there. Squadrons can be registered in the appropriate topic, and once the battle begins, each pilot can post his daily flight report there.

The End of Steinhilper's War

On that gloomy day in October 1940 Steinhilper's 109 was hit from behind after he saw what he called...

"...a staircase to the sun, a staircase of Spitfires queuing for the attack, the first one already with red flames dancing along the leading edge of his wings as his guns fired."

Steinhilper's demise paralleled the Luftwaffe's. By the time his Bf-109 bellied into a field near Manston after 150 sorties, he was one of only 12 pilots remaining from the 36 who had started the Battle of Britain with JG52. The rest were gone — killed or captured. Of those who were left, many were effected by "Kanalkrankenheit" or Channel Sickness, the symptoms of which included chronic stress and acute fatigue.

Like the Luftwaffe, Steinhilper entered the Battle of Britain arrogant and overconfident. He ended it broken and demoralized.

"I landed beside the embankment of a canal. I looked around at the countryside to see if anyone was approaching. Nothing. Only the grey wet drizzle, blown by the wind. I couldn't believe that moments before I had been flying in the bright sunshine. Above the clouds I could hear the throb of engines as my comrades made their way back to base. How far away I was from them now. I felt so alone, so hopeless, my throat tightened and I thought that I was about to cry."

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