The CIX VFR Club Biggles
Club Events - Something of a Marathon
A new Biggles Story by Capt. P.W.Dodds
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Briefing SEPTEMBER 2121
The Story

On 24th April 1944, the Special Boat Service ran a daring raid to liberate the Greek island of Santorini in the Aegean Sea. The whole of Greece and its islands was in Nazi hands, but their grip on these outlying places was weak, and Winston Churchill planned to liberate them one by one to weaken still further the Nazi hold on Greece. Although the raid was a success, the Nazis retaliated and stengthened the garrison there until Santorini was liberated in October 1944. Shortly afterwards, the RAF established a supply bridge for British forces on these remote islands, as the Nazis were still harassing shipping in the Mediterranean.

Biggles listened carefully as his Station Commander outlined this background to his next mission. "We want you to deliver a Typex coding machine toTatoi Airforce Base to enable the Greek Air Force to decode Nazi military signals in that area", Commander Raymond continued. Biggles would fly to the now safe Santorini, and await the instruction to fly the machine to Tatoi. There were two significant problems, Commander Raymond explained. Firstly, he would be unable to land at Tatoi for obvious reasons, being in Nazi hands, but would have to land at a small civilian airfield nearby which was unguarded, and secondly he would have to avoid German radar which had transmitters based on several of the islands However, which islands specifically had radar was not known to the Allies. What was known though, was that the German Radar did not monitor the area to the east of Tatoi, and also, with overflying Athens obviously being impossible, an approach from the north or east would be necessary in order to remain undetected.

"But Santorini is south of Tatoi", said Biggles, looking confused. "Precisely", returned Commander Raymond, "So with having to avoid all the islands between Santorini and Tatoi, plus an approach from the north or east, you are going to have to fly a bit of a long way round - a necessary marathon, I'm afraid. There are two further issues, although I don't think they will present you with a problem - as you are avoiding the islands, the whole flight is over water, except the last 10 miles or so, and naturally it will have to be flown at night, although due to the terrain and lack of navigation aids or lighting, if you aim to make landfall around dawn, you should be able to see where you are going for the last 10 minutes". Biggles bit his lip. "This guy doesn't ask much", he said to himself. "I'd like to see him try it!". Aloud he asked the obvious next question. "So if I'm not landing at Tatoi, where am I landing?" Commander Raymond looked embarrassed, perhaps for the first time in his new career as a manager of spy missions. "The Greeks haven't told us", he said, but we know that when you can see Tatoi, you can also see your landing airfield, as it is on top of a small hill. Good Luch old chap".

"Σ' ευχαριστώ για το τίποτα.", Biggles muttered under his breath. "What was that?" Raymond asked, raising an eyebrow in suspicion. "Nothing Sir", replied Biggles. (He knew that Commander Raymond did not know any Greek). "I hope you weren't being subordinate, Squadron Leader Bigglesworth", Commander Raymond rejoined, half joking. He had worked with Biggles for a long time and knew well his character. "No, Sir, Never Sir. We will successfully complete this "marathon" as you describe it".

Event Notes
  1. The flight may be made on any day in September and must be conducted on VATSIM or IVAO
  2. The preferred aircraft is any WWII era machine capable of landing on a 1400 foot long runway in poor or no light and capable of carrying a Typex coding machine (weight 54Kg).
  3. Radio navigation aids were not available during World War II. Don't cheat!
  4. There is a hidden clue in the text which identifies the destination airfield.
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