Friday, 7 January 2011

Escalation of the air war

The Polishov region had only three airfields. The longest and only paved runway was in Niedzdrow and even that was too small to support a large force. Therefore, the Bordurians were forced to launch their major strikes from the across the border, severely hampering their efforts and combat air patrols. The effective time in Syldavian airspace for incoming Bordurian aircraft was low.

The first major Bordurian strike force comprised 36 aircraft, and was sent on 1 May, in the belief that the Syldavian counter attack was imminent or had already taken place. Only a section of Group 6 found Syldavian artillery, which were firing at Bordurian defences near Niedzdrow. The aircraft managed to attack the positions and return safely. This greatly boosted morale of the untested Bordurian pilots.  Meanwhile, Syldavian aircraft operating out of Birna intercepted other Bordurian aircraft. Two Bordurian fighter aircraft were shot down in the action.

Combat broke out again on 3 May between fighters of No. 5 Royal Air Squadron and fighters of Group 8. Both sides refused to fight at the other's best altitude, until two Bordurian aircraft finally descended to engage. One was shot down, while the other escaped but was damaged and without enough fuel to return to its Bordurian air base. The plane made for Niedzdrow, where it fell victim to friendly fire from the Bordurian defenders.  As a result of this experience, Bordurian Air Force staff decided to employ their BF 109’s only as strike units, the BF108’s as decoys to lure away the Syldavian fighter aircraft.

Niedzdrow was used as a Bordurian strongpoint throughout the conflict. Despite the Czarlitz raids on Niedzdrow airfield and overnight shelling, it was never out of action entirely. A mixture of AA defences defended Niedzdrow. Junkers W 34 transport flights brought in supplies, weapons, and fuel, and airlifted out the wounded up until the end of the conflict.

The only Bordurian Junkers shot down by the Syldavians was lost on 1 June when KT-63 was intercepted northeast of Niedzdrow.

The tempo of operations increased throughout the second half of May. The fighting in the Polishov region had a profound impact on the Syldavian public, bringing home the fact that the "Border Crisis" was now an actual "shooting war".

During the night on 21 May the Syldavian 1st corps under the command of General Sprodj mounted Operation Ottokar, in the northwest of the region. 

By dawn the next day they had established a secure position from which to conduct offensive operations. From there Brigadier Jazcek’s plan was to capture SpinalTap Grad and before turning towards Niedzdrow. Now, with the Syldavian troops in the region in force, the Bordurian Air Force began the night bombing campaign against them until the last day of the war (14 June).

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