The trees and scrub had to be cut back for the sides of the lanes because of the larger aircraft they were using. That could be put down to coppicing.
He could never have contemplated he would take to a plane like the little Auster he was in at the moment. 'Must get one of these after the war.' he mumbled.
He had, again, been forced, to use whatever came to hand, his beloved Ju-87 had been shot up badly a few days earlier. No chance to get that back in the air any time soon, if ever.
Some how it felt right. The right machine for the job it was designed for. The same, but different from the Stork. Still he wished for a rear gunner.
Then again what would the communists want with a little plane like this.
One more pass and he landed.
He called his officers and senior NCO's to a meeting an hour later. He ran over the good parts of how the airfield was being run.
Which were many.
Then over the not so good points.
Few in number.
Indeed very few in number, excepting those that could be fatal.
'As the leaves are now falling we must have more camouflage. Any thoughts?' he asked
A few men came up with plans. Some that might work others were outlandish.
'Take more time to think and come back to me. I will contact the British army for their input.' he could still not get used to the amalgamation of all land forces into one force.
'Sir?' asked a German pilot 'we had a lot of rain last night. We will have more rain, then maybe snow. How will we get our machines to the strip. Yesterday it took twenty men to get my Thunderbolt undercover and it messed up the ground so anyone flying over could see the tracks it left.'
'Yes I know Hauptmann. I was one of those men.'
'Sorry sir. I didn't know.'
'Of course you didn't you were in the cockpit. Didn't want to get your feet wet.' came a comment from the back of the tent.
Rudel smiled at that one, something a commanding officer shouldn't do, or so he was told.
But it was true something had to be done about the ground and soon. In a month or so they wouldn't be able to move anything to the strip. Tractors may work, then again they, also, would churn the routes to the strip.
No silly notion.
He didn't want to use a fixed undercarriage, unless, or course it was on a Stuka.
The next morning a RAF airman came to him.
He saluted 'Sir I have had some thoughts about the problems concerning wet ground.'
Rudel had a lot of time for, what the British call the lower ranks. They came up solutions that many officers couldn't. They thought as working men, not overgrown school boys.
Rudel could tell that the aircraft's man was nervous. He asked him to sit down.
'Now tell me what you have in mind.'
'It maybe an idea to use Bren carriers for getting the planes in out out of their tents. Even better if they drag chains behind them.'
'The chains will cover the tracks of, erm, the carries tracks.'
A nod from Rudel. The RAF man carried on.
'For the strip itself, coconut matting. May work.
'Coconut matting? I don't know what that is.'
'It's sometimes used for cricket.'
Rudel was lost now. He knew very little about cricket, only that you hit a ball with a bat, and the man with the ball tried to hit the some sticks.
'I am sorry I do not know much about cricket.'
The RAF man went on.
Rudel was surprised by the number of thoughts this man had. Promotion will be coming his way.
A number of hours later he addressed his pilots. He outlined the plan. Many of the flyers had no clue what their commanding officer was on about, but they still nodded their heads. If, only not to be seen not to look stupid. Inwardly Rudel knew they didn't know. He wasn't sure he himself, knew.
The gist was the that matting would be laid over Marsden boards. In turn the matting would soak up much of the rain that would fall in the couple of weeks or months. A sticky mess for sure. Not thirty centimeters, deep. Ten?
A few accidents?
A lot less than if they didn't, at least try it.
The next morning Rudel inspected yet another new plane, how many had he had now?
This was just another he would out last.
The Hawker Typhoon had a good reputation. A real fighter bomber. Good at all altitudes, two 20mm canon in each wing and four rockets, under each wing. Each rocket it could take out a Tiger tank.
If it could take out a Tiger it could take out any Soviet amour.
He liked the Hawker, it was like a Hurricane, but nothing like a Hurricane. That's war for you, ten years technology in five years.
The underside was painted white with the the same black lines the British and Americans had used after D-Day. The rest was a dark grey. Something that the British called special coastal duties scheme.
Special duties were good words for what he was doing.
The next morning was bright, sunny and of all things warm. The ground was drying out nicely, still the plans of yesterday would have to be put into operation.
Looking over the Typhoon he had been given, a four blade propeller, that took some getting used to, didn't look right in his eyes, but what the hell it worked. An RAF pilot had given him something called a crash course, how get the best out of the plane.
Hopefully not a real crash course, of course.
Something else couldn't get his head around. The English use of words which were opposite of what they meant.
He had sent two planes up to cover his take off. With eight rockets fitted it was time for a little fun, show those Reds who was in charge.
Three Thunderbolts and two Mustangs, also with rockets, accompanied him for the mission over France, and with them six Spitfires, which would hopefully keep any Reds away.
It was the usual type of mission for him, just hit and run. He wanted to do this kind of thing by himself and a wingman. Twelve planes was too big for what he wanted to do. Too small for a head to head and too big to go unnoticed.
As he continually looked about he saw for the first time what a motley collection his flight was. Never more than two the same, and if they were the same different marks.
Rudels flying circus.