Dauntless

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic
During the height of World War Two, American SBD-5 Dive Bombers confront a squadron of Mitsubishi A6M Zeros over the pacific ocean. Action-packed dogfighting ensues...

Submitted: March 20, 2017

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Submitted: March 20, 2017

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Jake emptied the last of his stomach's contents into the fifth plastic bag. "Awww jeez..." The turbulence that they had just encountered was responsible for his air-sickness. "You okay, bro?" his rear gunner, Tim, asked, his voice barely audible over the whooshing sound produced by the rushing wind. "I'm fine..."he coughed back, resting his arms back on the joystick.

"FZZZ...this is Raven-one, we have a visual, to our three o'clock."

"There we go," Jake muttered.

"FZZZ...this is Raven-lead, copy that. Raven squadron, bank thirty-degrees to your right, nose down by forty-five. Increase speed to 400 kilometres per hour. We're going in for a run, boys."

"Copy." "Roger." "Acknowledged."

Jake hesitated, before joining in:"Alright."

The formation banked a little to the right and nosed down. Jake eased down the joystick, sending his dive bomber into a gradual dive. He was at the left end of their "v" formation and therefore his view was not interrupted by the planes of his comrades. He turned his head and made sure that he was still close to the pack. Through the propellers at the front of the aircraft, he could pick out a white, long speck in the distance. The Japanese cruiser.

Weird. What was it doing alone in the middle of the ocean? Where was her fleet?

The formation shot through the bottom-most layer of clouds, roaring towards the Japanese vessel. "FZZZ...Raven Squadron, nose down by another forty five." the radio buzzed.

Jake followed the order, pressing the joystick forwards. The g-forces were starting to take effect now.

He began to notice the details on the deck of the cruiser. They were approaching fast...then, over the familiar din made by the whirling propellers and the engines of the Dauntless dive bombers came a much higher roar. "Uhh...Jake? We have company!"

Jake turned. Crap. Five planes shot towards them, the red circles on their wings standing out from their green body.

"This is Raven-three, we have five Zeroes on our six." Jake said calmly into the radio.

There was a pause, before the squadron leader replied:"This is Raven-lead. Break formation, now! Rendezvous back at the mothership. If you know that you are not going to make it, land as many shots on the cruiser as possible. Good luck."

"You heard 'em." Jake shouted to Tim. Tim yanked the two mounted browning machine guns in the rear into position. Jake then snapped his head forwards, and stared at the cruiser.

The SBDs on his right broke formation, flying in different directions. Jake, however, was determined to take out his target. He angled the plane right at the cruiser. He snapped the throttle forwards, and the 1200 hp -60 roared, delivering extra power and propelling the plane closer to its top speed. "You crazy?" Tim yelled. As if on cue, AA fire erupted from the deck of the cruiser. Tracers narrowly shot past Jake's cockpit. Jake piloted the SBD into a sharp dive. "Hey! A Zero's closin' in!" Tim hollered. He then opened fire.

"RATATATATATATATA...." The flashes from the rear machine guns reflected on Jake's windscreen, but that did not stop him from fine-tuning his path to the cruiser. He made tiny adjustments to the plane's course by shifting the vertical rudder on the tail. He pitched the nose downwards even more, concentrating hard despite the bone-rattling noise from the rear machine guns. The positive Gs compressed Jake's body into his seat, making it hard for him to breathe as the plane shot almost vertically downwards. A kilometre left. "Keep up the pressure Tim!"

Tracers from the zero shot past the plane to the left of Jake. "Holy..." The line of fire slowly edged towards the SBD. Jake then shoved the joystick from side to side, sending the plane curving upwards to the left, then dropping back and curving upwards to the right like a letter U, trying to avoid the shots. They were now close to the cruiser. Five hundred metres...four hundred...three hundred.....two hundred....the ship was really close now, and at the last second, Jake yanked the joystick towards him, sending the plane nosing back up into the sky. He could feel the stress in the metal structure of the plane due to the high Gs and in his own body as well. He could hardly open his eyes. At the same time, he slammed a fist into a button on the dashboard. A "clank" was heard. The bomb attached to the belly of the SBD was released. Jake waited for half a second before releasing the other two bombs mounted on the wings of the Dive Bomber. A loud splash was heard. His first bomb had missed. It was followed by two loud explosions. He turned his head and saw two huge plumes of smoke billowing out from the deck of the cruiser. "YES!"

"Mate, this is NOT the time to celebrate!" Tim yelled. The zero was closing in. Jake sweared. He yanked his joystick to the right, then to the left. "I can't hit! It's too quick!" Tim cursed. Jake turned, and saw the Zero dodging right and left, unleashing bursts of fire after fire. A volley struck the SBD. Glass shattered and holes were formed in the windscreen and the part of the canopy between Jake's seat and Tim's. Jake could also hear metal shred. Pieces of glass seared holes in Jake's flight suit. "Not good...NOT GOOD!"

"RATATATATATATA....." The cockpit vibrated as Tim returned fire, but through the reflections on the windscreen, Jake could see that the Zero nimbly avoided the line of fire. The Zero unleashed another barrage on the Dive Bomber. The plane shook violently as the frame absorbed the punishment. Jake started to feel unresponsiveness in the controls. "Goddamit...they must've hit something important!"

He turned his head and could see smoke trailing from the left wing. "Oh no..."

The radio suddenly erupted with a voice:"FZZZ...MAYDAY MAYDAY! THIS IS RAVEN-FIVE! WE ARE GOING DOWN! I REPEAT, WE ARE GOING...FZZZZZZ...." The radio then burst into static.

As Jake busily tried to dodge the fire from the pursuing Zero, he turned and saw another SBD spiralling towards the surface of the ocean, the Zero responsible for the kill veering back into the skies.

He snapped his head back and concentrated on avoiding his pursuer's fire which was ever bearing closer to his aircraft.

"Tim! Remember the maneuver that we did during training back at Pearl?" Jake yelled over the loud bursts of machine guns.

"Oh no....argh fine! Do it quick! He's coming in fast!"

Jake pushed the joystick forwards, and the SBD curved and shot down towards the surface of the ocean. The g-force acting on his chest forced his lungs inwards, making it hard to breathe again. At the last moment, he yanked the joystick back towards him, and the plane pitched up parallel to the surface of the ocean, just mere metres above the water. The plane skimmed across the ocean, creating a trail of froth on the ocean's surface in its wake. The Zero nimbly followed. "Now Tim now!" Jake hollered.

Through his rear mirror, Jake could see the reflection of Tim firing his machine guns, but instead of aiming at the Zero, he angled the machine guns at the water surface. "RATATATATATATATA...." columns of water shot up high into the air. The Zero could not react in time, and was caught in the splashes. It wobbled unsteadily, but still pushed on and continued pursuing the SBD. "The pilot's bloody crazy!" Jake cursed. Tim continued firing at the ocean behind the SBD. The Zero veered to the left, and to the right, avoiding some of the columns of water, but one column impacted the nose of the aircraft,denting its propellers. The plane spiralled and crashed into the ocean, creating a big splash. "Yes!" Jim cried.

Then, another Zero burst into view from the left. "Incoming!" Jake yelled as he pushed the throttle to maximum and pulled the joystick towards his body. The SBD climbed back into the sky, with the Zero in pursuit. The Zero opened fire. Bullets tore into the SBD's already damaged framework. The aircraft shook, causing Jake's head to be slammed into the headrest of his seat and then into the windscreen in front of him. "Argh..." he muttered dizzily. "Hey! I'm taking fire...AHHH!" Jim cried before a volley of bullets tore into the back of the cockpit, the rear gunner's position, with the sound of glass shattering. "NO! Bloody @#$%!" Jake cried. Through his rear mirror, Jake could see part of Jim's body lying limp in his seat.

Smoke erupted from the wings, undercarriage and the back of the cockpit. His plane could not hold up any longer. The Zero was on his six, punishing his aircraft with volley after volley. The SBD was not very maneuverable, and with every attempt to dodge the Zero's line of fire, the Zero nimbly copied the move and continued blasting away. Metal shredded. Glass shattered. The tail fin was blasted off. The left wing broke under a torrent of fire with a loud, long painful screech, dropping towards the ocean. The sudden loss of weight on the left side of the plane caused it to roll to the right. "Ahhhhhhhh!!!!"

Jake knew that he was doomed. He lost control of the aircraft. He bit his lip, and with much effort, he heaved his body out of the pilot's seat. He climbed on top of the section of the canopy separating the pilot and the rear gunner. The wind blew into his face hard, and the plane was wobbling unsteadily, and the Zero continued firing, but he managed to plop into the rear gunner's seat. Jim's body was still lying on the seat, blood soaking into the sponge. There was still room, however. Jake sat next to Jim's body, clasped his hands over the machine guns' handles and swerved it towards the Zero. He pulled the trigger. Empty shells were ejected onto his laps as the guns fired rapidly, but the Zero dived away, sure that the SBD was spiralling to its doom and left it alone. Jake could not see the surface of the ocean from his position. However, he knew that it was shooting ever closer towards the aircraft.

The metal around him was suddenly compressed with a big splash and Jake was forced into the front of the rear gunner's cockpit, slamming into the metal and almost toppling out. Water then lapped into the cockpit. The plane was sinking. He ducked and looked under Jim's seat and pulled out a life vest. He donned it, body almost fully submerged under water, and struggled. He managed to pull his body out of the cockpit. As his head broke the surface, he blew into the tube which inflated the life vest. It kept him afloat above the waves. Jake panted and looked around. The Japanese cruiser in the distance steamed away, smoke still billowing from its deck after Jake's bombings. The Zero fighters regrouped and flew away in formation into the skies. There was no sign of any surviving SBDs from Raven squadron. He could only wait for rescue.  


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