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Small-Brown-Dog's avatar

The hang up

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Things had changed and changed for the worse as far as Hauptmann Florian Keller was concerned. Just a few short months ago he, along with most of the German armed forces, was in good spirits and flushed with the success of their victories.  The war in the west was won and England would surely sue for peace and if not then there would be great sport in subduing the Royal Air Force.

That optimistic bravado seemed to be so far away now as day after day the young men of Germany hurled themselves against the young men of England and those that stood with her.  The never ending propaganda machine spat out such sound bites as “They are finished” or that old favourite: “they have but a handful of fighters left” but still they come ever more aggressive and, since the Luftwaffe turned its attention to the capital, they were coming in every increasing numbers.

No one ever explained to the front line pilots how a nation on its knees managed to introduce a new and superior design like the Supermarine Spectre albeit, thankfully, in as yet small numbers. Nor did they explain how the Hawker Hound was always there biting at their heels, a machine that is supposed to be so inferior to the Two Nineteen.

The frustration felt by Keller was compounded by fatigue and a seemingly endless string of stupid high command directives topped off recently with the order to equip some Two Nineteen units with bomb shackles. What was needed was more fuel but no, the high command had decided to remove even more of their teeth whilst ignoring the fact that the aircraft more suited for this role had needed to be withdrawn or be heavily escorted or the Hounds would decimate them.

To make matters worse the bomb shackles and release mechanism were field modifications and often failed to release the bomb. High command had thought it a good idea to combine both arming and release circuits as a Fighter pilot may well forget to arm the bomb before dropping. If it failed you had 250KG of high explosive slowing you down in the combat area and ready to blow. If you survived the Hounds and got back across the channel you couldn’t land with the damned thing, though some fools had tried, so you had to jump.

Luckily from staffel captain downwards it was unofficially agreed that on contact with enemy fighters the bomb would be jettisoned in order maintain the Two Nineteen’s optimum fighting performance. Hopefully the bomb would do as it was designed to and drop like a stone but many didn’t and just hung up as Keller’s did on the morning of 8th September 1940.

They had come across the channel low and were climbing to bombing height when the enemy fighter warning was given followed directly by and order to jettison. The enemy had been seen late and were almost upon them. Keller flicked up the safety and thumbed the release/arm button but the absence of the usual “knock” of the shackles springing open and the slight lift as the bomb dropped told him the bomb had not gone. With much profanity he thumbed the button again and again to no avail until all hell seemed to have been let loose in the general direction of his port engine nacelle and then the bomb dropped.

He had been a sitting duck while he foolishly wasted seconds repeatedly pressing the release button instead of taking what evasive action he could. Thankfully the attacking Hawker Hound was itself a victim of one of Kellers comrades and broke off the attack. The violent impact of the 20mm rounds exploding on Kellers aircraft was all that was needed to shake the bomb free and so Fronhofer escaped with his life but not his liberty.

Keller closed the port fuel cock, shut down the port engine and diverted power to both lift generators and began looking for a place to put down. Shortly the engine fire was nothing more than a thin trail of smoke but he had a decision to make regarding his undercarriage. There was a lot of damage at the nacelle/winglet area so not wanting to risk a partial hang-up of the gear he elected to but down on his belly. This was something he had done before and the Two Nineteen was a machine that a pilot that kept his cool could do fairly easily.

And so Hauptmann Florian Keller came back to earth not far from Maidstone in Kent. His war was over.

There is a picture of a similar aircraft to that of Keller’s belonging to Oberleutnant Wilhelm Fronhofer in the field he put down in late August 1940 here:

Both aircraft were part of the same production order constructed at the Modo 12 factory with Kellers aircraft having the Modo 13.2 bomb shackle modification whilst the unit was stationed at Render, France.

I have also seen squirrels operate forklifts as well as flying blue goldfish so it is obvious that I am telling the truth :)
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anonymous's avatar
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arfgard's avatar
The squirrels CAN "operate" certain makes of forklift, true, but they aren't very good at it. And not a one of em's in the union .....   Squirrel icon.14 
Small-Brown-Dog's avatar
There must be a breakaway clan of the little bugger then because these guys I see have custom rigs and hold race meetings . Funny thing is though I seem to be the only locally that has seen them!
people need to wake up to the possible threat of racing crazed squirrels speeding through the mall.
retromaniak's avatar
Superb as always, your mapping is awsum, wish Sketchup gave the same results.
Small-Brown-Dog's avatar
Thanks mate.
Luckily both were mapped when I modelled them sometime each last last year so this was a quick render only with everything else done on PS.
Magnus-Strindboem's avatar
I have seen that goldfish, too, so I swear you speak truth! (And what is more all your images are real!). Love it!
kceg's avatar
Perfection! You have mastered Modo, something I was unable to achieve many years ago.
Small-Brown-Dog's avatar
Thanks mate but not so sure I mastered it :)
In actual fact I don't use it to its full potential and its bloody expensive for a hobbyist!
kceg's avatar
I use Rhinoceros 3D and Maxwell Render now. Affordable, No annual subscription, and shallower learning curve for the less patient/talented like myself. Actually I still miss Bryce! Anyway, horses for courses, and you have obviously found the right horse for your amazing course. Cheers.
gusolsan's avatar
DavidR1958's avatar
Sometimes it's the little things that make me grin. Like the stabilizer struts on Keller's Bf219E3. Presumably they'd be missing from the F series ;)
Small-Brown-Dog's avatar
The 219 was not developed beyond the E series although there were more sub variants to come.
By very late in 1940 the 319 began to enter service which was a next generation single engined uncoupled thrust type like the Supermarine Spectre.

I have started the 319 many times but as yet I just can't get it right ... but I will ;)
Onesockoff's avatar
Looks like the Hound pilot had a case of 'target fixation'.
Small-Brown-Dog's avatar
Yes and learnt the hard way.
I have an idea for him as it happens :)
Onesockoff's avatar
Look forward to it (Did Hounds burn easily? - hope it doesn't involve the 'Guinea Pig Club)
Small-Brown-Dog's avatar
Yes, just like the Hurricane she had tanks at the winglet roots - it got hot very quickly :(
Onesockoff's avatar
When thinking of target fixation I always think of a really good piece of Luftwaffe camera gun footage shown in some Spitfire / BoB documentaries showing a Spitfire taking a deflection shot at a Ju88 (I think) and being attacked in turn by a Bf 109 (I assume) that he obviously didn't see. Even makes me look in the mirror when i'm driving the car (and not be fixated by anyone coming out of Scunthorpe and being annoying in front of me!) 
Small-Brown-Dog's avatar
I think I know the one you mean.
Do you often think you are in the middle of a dog fight  when driving :)
Onesockoff's avatar
I do quite a lot of driving and the mind wanders sometimes...anyway it makes me look in the mirror!
Very occasionally it would be nice to sport a pair of nose mounted 0.50s or 20mm cannon. And a car with VTOL capability would be great in traffic.Roll Eyes 
Small-Brown-Dog's avatar

I have to admit I too have often wondered about having access to concealed MG's and letting off a burst now and again
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BillyNikoll's avatar
The mood is just right. 
anonymous's avatar
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