Five Corkscrews acted as escorts, their push-pull propellers working hard to keep darting ahead of the wing. All six planes were operating at a few thousand spans, practically on the ground compared to the wing’s maximum altitude. They could see farm buildings and occasional small towns, but very few military installations. So far their intelligence had been excellent, but the ‘screws stayed on fighter cover or ahead ready to strafe.
Harren decided to forgo his usual mid flight tour of the craft, there just wasn’t the room for it today. Instead he turned on the remote talker, “All stations report.”
They replied in the determined order- light gunnery, heavy gunnery, bombs, engineering and navigation. “We are on schedule, and have yet to face opposition. The drop to attack altitude begins soon. Gentlemen, I look forward to fighting alongside you.”
The navigator announced, “Point Bella reached, drop to a thousand counts.” Harren pushed the stick forward. “Come right to Oh Three Four.”
The wing wasn’t as agile with a full load of weapons, but still made the turn with the minimum of fuss. They were very close to the target now, and ahead there was a military convoy heading diagonally across their path. “Fighting faces everyone. Stereo, do you want to clear the way?”
“Smite, this is Stereo One. We shall clear the leaves from the road.”
The corkscrews formed up in a V and accelerated toward the convoy. They only made one pass, leaving fires and explosions in their wake, before climbing back to air support.
“Heavy weapons, the target is in view. Time to deploy.” Harren turned on the optics and studied the airfield. There was some movement, but not the complete panic of realisation. The wing shook as the front bomb bay opened and the guns were lowered into position. The four low recoil cannons, or stonks as they were called for the noise they made, rotated about a shaft. In the lower position they fired, in the upper they reloaded. The view on the optic shifted left and right as the gunner chose likely targets. Then he started firing.
Twelve rounds were fired in as many counts and the bomb bay was closing before the third one had even hit. Harren kept the plane steady, snatching glimpses of the destruction. The blister bays on the outer edges of the wing opened, dropping rockets that ignited when they had dropped twelve spans.
The line of planes on the runway exploded one after the other. Now there was movement, panicked running for cover, or to anti air defences. The two digit cannons in the leading edge of the wing opened up, cutting down the fleeing figures and splitting open soft skins. The rear bomb bay opened. As the wing cut low across the airfield it scattered the first load of bomblets and mines across the runway and ammunition sheds. A great explosion levelled most of the buildings on the northern side of the runway.
While the wing made a long, lazy turn to approach from the west, the Corkscrews attacked any of the anti airs they could see. A pair of tripod mounted autoguns caught one of the attackers in a cross fire, punching holes in the wing. As the Corkscrew tried to bank away, the wing collapsed around the damage and it began a slow death roll. The remaining four Corkscrews hammered the autogun positions.
The low recoil cannons were deployed again for the wing’s second pass, only fours shots this time. Aiming for the smoke of the shattered armoury, the second load of bomblets and mines were spread the length of the runway. There was enough loaded for a third run, but there was nothing left to destroy. The wing began ascending to cruising height. Ahead, the Corkscrews formed their flying V. The position of their fallen comrade, second from the right, was left empty.