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Wings of Glory: A History of Jet Combat


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Wings of Glory Prelude: Fire in the Skies

 

“Odin Flight; ATC reports three to four radar intercepts closing in on your position.”

            The Lead pilot called into the radio as he flipped the lever that took his guns off safety, “Odin 1 acknowledging. What is their bearing and speed?”

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            “Odin 1 they are coming from the North-East traveling at 600 knots.”

           

            The three F-6 Comet fighters turned in unison as they prepared to meet their attackers head on with the lead calling back, “ATC Confirm enemy speed.”

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    A few seconds passed before the call came back, “Speed confirmed. Enemy craft still heading your way going 600 knots. Intercept in 2 minutes.”

“How in the world are they going that fast? Aren’t they stuck with piston aircraft?” came the confusion from his right side wingman, Odin 3.

“Apparently they have something new. Looks like we won’t be able to complete the bombing run, jettison the Mk-III Bombs and go to full throttle. Prepare to drop tanks and go into merge when we are in visual range.”
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So the three craft spread out and sped up as they prepared to get into a brawl with the Thean Empire’s own. Within a minute a glint of metal was seen topping low over the hills and the F-6s dropped their external fuel tanks banking sharply to meet the enemy.

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Suddenly the sky was filled with hundreds of tracers as both sets of aircraft exchanged fire with each other in a swirling frenzy.

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As the jets zoomed over each other’s canopies the Comets were able to recognize the swept wings and distinctive front end of the KUT-7. The KUT was the newest fighter jet of the Proecian Confederacy and a rare sight so far away from their borders, apparently they threw their hat into the ring of the Thean Civil war; backing the old Empire of the North against the rebels in the South.

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So used to fighting the old and slow hand me down planes that the Empire had used previously the Rebel pilots of Odin flight were overwhelmed by the maneuverability and speed of the KUT. Their own Comets were bought from the United Kerbos Territories as the UKT began to phase them out for their newer F-7s and F-9s. The Comet was slower, less agile, and less armed than the shiny new Proecian fighters.

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As Odin 1 banked to the right he saw an orange flash as one of his fellow Comets burst into a huge ball of fire.

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Anger overtaking him from the loss of his wingman he popped his speed brakes and made an aggressive barrel roll to invert himself over the canopy of, and then positioned himself behind, the KUT-7 that had been on his tail. He retracted the brakes and then ramped up his thrust and he held down the button on his stick that let fourth a burst from his four 50 cal machine guns.

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Black smoke belched from the engine of the Empire jet before the whole fuselage was ripped in half by his line of fire.

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 Odin 1 zoomed past the tumbling wreck going back into the fray. Odin 2 was being pursued closely by two KUTs taking turns sniping at his tail.

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He pulled back on his stick to lead the nose of the jet upwards and climbed as fast as he could to help out his fellow pilot. Still rising toward the battle ahead of him he peeked into his gun sights and began to line up a shot. There it was, the glowing tail pipe of the rearmost KUT ready to be shredded by pounds of lead. Then suddenly it wasn’t as the horizon became a tumbling mess of blurred colors.

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He felt the jolt as his tail dislodged itself from its perch, then a grinding sound came from his left side where he observed with horror as the wing ripped itself away from the rest of his plane. He was in a deadly spiral to the ground and had only seconds before impact.

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There was nothing more he could do as he pulled the lever below his seat as his vision began to grey out from the G-forces. His eyes snapped open to see a smoldering ruin of his former plane below as he descended on his parachute. In the distance he could perceive an explosion as one of the planes in front of him was destroyed. Any hopes that it was an enemy craft were dashed when he saw the exhaust trail of three planes meet up and speed away to the horizon.

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 He had flown on dozens of missions during this war; this was the first time that he had failed one. Worse yet, there were no other parachutes save for his in the sky.

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Wings of Glory History: The F-6 Comet and the Thean Civil War

Near the end of the Oceanic war the United Kerbos Territories brought fourth their first jet powered fighter to combat the jets used by their enemies. It was quite conservative in design with straight wings and no radical innovations besides the immensely powerful engine. Manufactured by the aerospace giant Belling in 1945 the P-72, later re designated the F-6 following the war when the Air Force became its own service and a unified naming system for all military aircraft was put into place, was faster than any piston powered fighter in the sky. Its speed, agility, and punch made the name of Comet quite apt among the highly skilled fighter pilots given the reigns of such an advanced design.  

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Jet engine development was quick in the early days and the F-6 found itself outclassed in only a couple years and pushed to more ground attack roles than active front line combat. Despite being designed as a day fighter its stability and carrying capacity made it a very effective bombing platform. As new designs were pressed into service the Air Force was left with a surplus of jets that were no longer needed, so in 1950 they began selling the F-6 along with other obsolete piston powered planes from the Oceanic War to other countries. Due to their low price and high performance they found new life in the service of poorer nations who had no domestic aircraft manufacturing of their own.

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Image taken by a fellow Comet during training flight-1948

One such nation was the Thean Empire who in 1950 began purchasing these hand me down planes to augment their fleet of grossly outdated planes, some of which were biplanes from the early 1930's. As the Empire was showing off their might the poorer farming communities in the southern region of the country began to grow discontent by these decadent expenditures by the Empire when many had trouble feeding their families due too massive crop taxes. This divide had been present for many decades following the discovery of precious metals in the northern mines which greatly improved the quality of life in the cities surrounding the capital but failed to trickle down to other areas. 

The Emperor of Thea suddenly died in his sleep on March 5, 1951, leaving a power vacuum that  soon spiraled out of control as his younger son Johase-Mun, who was seen by many in the south to be spoiled and selfish and completely unsympathetic to the plight of the poor, announced himself as the new Emperor. The oldest son who was the true heir and greatly admired  by the peoples of Thea was out of the country on a diplomatic mission and threatened with death if he returned and attempted to usurp power. The final straw that ignited the tensions was the declaration by Emperor Johase that a collection of 5000 yurin would be made from each town to pay for a lavish funeral for his father, which while pocket change from the mining towns, would decimate the farmers in the south. Thus the country of Thea broke out into a civil war that soon drew in the interests of the world. 

Seeing the plight of the rebels the League of Nations backed support for them and began to supply them with military and material aid in the fight. Within six months nearly a quarter of the troops and over half of the pilots in the South were made up of LN personnel. The influx of first generation jets by the LN countries quickly overtook the limited air force of the Empire reducing their numbers from 400 to only 70 by early 1952, with all 67 F-6 Comets which were their only jet fighters being shot down. This allowed for near total control of the skies and extensive bombing campaigned by the piston powered B-2 bombers remaining from the Oceanic war to take a heavy toll on the North. It seemed that victory was nearly there when two unexpected allies joined the fight to aid the Empire. The air dominance which allowed for quick advancement for the Southern forces was soon to come to and end.

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