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Avia S-199 in Israeli Air Force Service

Another nifty tie-in

I was doing some online research for the book, specifically on John McElroy and when he passed away.

One of the hits that turned up was a piece of mechanima called “Brothers in Arms”. Produced in the IL2 family of flight sims, this video tells the story of McElroy and Chalmers “Slick” Goodlin, who as volunteers in 101 Squadron flew a patrol over the southern front on January 7, 1949 – the last day of hostilities in the war.

My drafts of “101″ also have this battle, as a third-act affirmation of the squadron’s survival and development after – well, I’m not going to give it all away. Regardless, I thought it might be cool to compare the mechanima with the same events in my script. Among other things, mine’s more accurate in the details. And Goodlin was not a southerner (gosh, that accent’s grating) – he was born near Pittsburgh. Also, my dialogue is better. It had better be.

Let’s start with the mechanima, in three parts on YouTube. (If you want to download the video in a single file, you can get a .zip file of it here.)

Part 1:
YouTube Preview Image

Part 2:
YouTube Preview Image

Part 3:
YouTube Preview Image

Now, six pages from the third act of “101″:

INT. DISPERSAL HUT, QASTINA AIRFIELD – DAY

Goodlin and McElroy, in flying gear, play poker with Augarten. Goodlin reads a copy of the Egyptian newspaper Al-Aharam. Two Arabs pose in a photo with the remains of Vickman’s D-110.

SUPER: “January 7, 1949″

MCELROY

What time does the truce come into effect?

AUGARTEN

Four.

MCELROY

You know that other patrol’s been out for over an hour.

AUGARTEN

Uh-huh.

MCELROY

I got a funny feeling they’ve run into something. What do you say we get down there? Just in case there’s any trouble, you know.

GOODLIN

Hell, I’m up for it.

AUGARTEN

You really want to go?

(off their smirks)

Okay. Check what’s available.

EXT. QASTINA AIRFIELD – DAY

It’s a chilly winter day. McElroy briefs Goodlin with a map spread on the tarmac.

MCELROY

…then follow the tracks to Rafah. If there’s no trade, we’ll tool along the border.

I/E. SPITFIRE COCKPIT/OVER RAFAH – DAY

McElroy flies Spit 15 with his knees while he consults his map. He fingers Rafah and confirms his bearings with the terrain 16,000 feet below.

MCELROY

Okay, Slick, let’s head south now.

I/E. SPITFIRE COCKPIT/OVER RAFAH – DAY

Goodlin holds up a “wait a second” finger. He keys his mic.

GOODLIN

Come on up, Packard! Ellsworth! We’re waiting for you!

I/E. SPITFIRE COCKPIT/OVER RAFAH – DAY

McElroy sees Goodlin speak but hears only static.

MCELROY

Slick, I think your R-T’s gone tits up.

Goodlin taps his helmet earpiece and gives McElroy a thumbs-up. McElroy hears a faint voice cut through the static.

VOICE (V.O. RADIO)

(English accent)

…El Auja… stay… fifteen hundred feet… smoke… fire…cover….

MCELROY

Slick, hear that?

Goodlin shakes his head.

MCELROY (CONT’D)

I think my R-T intercepted some Gyppos at Auja. Follow me.

McElroy fiddles with his radio, but can’t tune into the mysterious transmission. He consults his map, shoves it under his thigh, then turns south. Goodlin follows.

I/E. SPITFIRE COCKPIT/OVER NEGEV – DAY

Three pillars of smoke billow 1,000 feet into the sky ten miles ahead.

MCELROY

Let’s have a look at it.

He noses over into a shallow dive.

EXT. NEGEV ROAD – DAY

Smoke rises from three burning trucks, part of a column of trucks, jeeps and light armor. Israeli flags are painted on vehicle roofs. Israeli soldiers have scattered to either side of the road. The smoke and a dusty haze limit visibility.

I/E. SPITFIRE COCKPIT/OVER NEGEV – DAY

Gliding above the top of the haze, the two Israeli Spits approach the vehicles at 5,000 feet.

MCELROY

Who the hell does that the last day of a war?

McElroy scans the sky deliberately, sector by sector. As he passes east of the convoy, his radio crackles to life.

ISRAELI VOICE (V.O. RADIO)

Two friendly… north… keep eyes… turning… aircraft.

MCELROY

Slick, climb right, bogies about.

The two Spits complete a half-turn to north when McElroy spots two pairs of enemy aircraft low to the west, heading for the column. They are barely visible in the haze.

MCELROY (CONT’D)

Slick, four bogies, eleven o’clock low.

One enemy pair dives toward the column while the other stays at 1,500 feet. The diving pair disappear in the haze.

EXT. NEGEV ROAD – DAY

Two RAF Spit RF18s buzz the column in a photo pass. Israeli machine guns reach for and cut into the lower Spitfire. Its engine streams flame. The RAF Spits climb several hundred feet and the pilot of the stricken Spit bails out.

I/E. SPITFIRE COCKPIT/OVER NEGEV – DAY

McElroy watches the surviving Spit rejoin the higher pair of enemy aircraft. In the haze, they are only silhouettes. They orbit the parachuting pilot in close formation. An explosion and fourth column of smoke mark the end of the wounded Spit.

MCELROY

Spits. Not ours. I’m in.

He waggles his wings and dives steeply, Goodlin right behind.

EXT. OVER NEGEV – DAY

The RAF Spits lazily circle the parachuting RAF pilot. Behind them, the two Israeli Spits dive in an attack.

I/E. SPITFIRE COCKPIT/OVER NEGEV – DAY

The enemy Spits grow large in McElroy’s windshield.

MCELROY

Slick, you take the last one.

McElroy chops throttle. At 200 yards, he fires at the middle Spit. Small explosions dance on its wings and fuselage.

I/E. RAF SPITFIRE COCKPIT/OVER NEGEV – DAY

Cannon fire rocks the aircraft. The RAF pilot, turns to see where it come from.

RAF PILOT

What?!

His Spitfire explodes.

I/E. SPITFIRE COCKPIT/OVER NEGEV – DAY

McElroy flies through the explosion. Pieces of Spitfire ding his prop and tail. He looks around, spots another Spit at two o’clock low.

I/E. SPITFIRE COCKPIT/OVER NEGEV – DAY

Goodlin chases his target in a steep climb through the haze. It’s hard to see and pulling away.

Goodlin breaks into clear sky. The enemy is now coming down toward him. Goodlin rolls into a knife-edge turn. The enemy’s guns throw tracers but they fall far behind Goodlin. Goodlin notices its RAF insignia as
it flashes past him.

GOODLIN

Oh, shit. Just go home, junior. Don’t make me shoot you down.

EXT. SKY OVER NEGEV – DAY

Goodlin’s and the other Spit scissor through the sky. The enemy fires a few erratic bursts and misses badly.

I/E. SPITFIRE COCKPIT/OVER NEGEV – DAY

Goodlin keeps his eyes glued to the enemy as he maneuvers. He rolls his Spitfire faster, pulls crisper turns. The enemy overshoots.

Goodlin leads it in his sights. He plants a short stream of shells in its engine. Its prop disintegrates. Another short burst knocks off its canopy. The Spit rolls onto its back and its pilot bails.

Goodlin salutes his fallen opponent in the British style.

GOODLIN

Sorry, Tommy. Happy landings.

EXT. QASTINA AIRFIELD – DAY

Ground crew work on Spit 21 in the open and on the two Mustangs in hangars.

Spit 15 buzzes the field with a victory roll. Spit 16 trails, also rolling.

EXT. QASTINA AIRFIELD – DAY

McElroy examines his damaged Spit 15 as ground crew service it. A handful of other pilots listen to him. Goodlin climbs out of Spit 16 in the background.

MCELROY

We caught four Spits strafing them and clobbered them. Piece of cake, really. These guys had no mustard.

McElroy uses his hands to demonstrate the fight.

MCELROY (CONT’D)

My second one just hung around scratching his ass while we took care of the first two. I just dropped my sights on him in a turn and let him have it.

RUDY

Johnny, take your gear off and come in for a formal debrief.

Goodlin approaches.

GOODLIN

Notice anything odd about those Spits, Mac?

MCELROY

What do you mean?
GOODLIN

They were R-A-F.

RUDY

Excuse me?

MCELROY

Oh, no. You’re crazy. The British wouldn’t be down there. That’s behind our lines.

GOODLIN

Scout’s honor.

MCELROY

That was, what, three or four miles inside our lines? There’s no way.

GOODLIN

Oh, there is a way, alright.

McElroy blanches. He buckles, holds the Spit wing for support.

MCELROY

Why would they attack like that? I can’t….

GOODLIN

Why? What do you mean why? You can’t ask why. It’s our job. Control the air. We’ve done that. No more, no less. You did good up there.

MCELROY

Nobody told me I’d be fighting the British.

GOODLIN

Don’t crack up over this, Johnny.

Rudy’s thinking. Nobody knows what to do.

EZER

That’s three kills for you now?

McElroy sinks to a crouch, puts his head in his hands.

Bonus name-dropping:

I think I caught a sore throat from Telefilm’s Greg Dunning at Alex’s schmoozefest last night.

One Response to “Another nifty tie-in”

  • Hi Lawrence, your book looks really interesting and I look forward to reading it when complete.

    I’m glad you liked my movie. It’s a sad and ironic story that I wanted to tell. The guy who wrote the screenplay for me (aka Wiley) tried to keep as true as possible to the events but within the limitations of the game and fitting it all into 20mins.

    You will have full freedom to put in writing what I couldn’t do in a flight sim game (IL2), though I do notice a very important missing detail. I won’t say in case it ruins any surprise you have in store.

    Anyway, I used your site extensively for historical research, cross referenced with http://www.spyflight.co.uk/iafvraf.HTM and other sources including my local library. I’ve linked to your site in our forum http://forums.ubi.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/65710358/m/8071039484/p/5 and there’s also a whole flyable IAF campaign for IL2 in the next page. If any of you use IL2 you will love that campaign by Billy Pryce. If you visit that forum, please post a comment. People will be interested, and it’s also good bumpage ;-)

    Now, as to the Southern Drawl, well, we had to give the pilots ditinctive accents so the viewer will know who is talking (there are no decent faces or bodies in IL2!). The Southern accent is pretty ditinctive, yer? Interestingly enough, Hollywood also gave Slick a Southern Drawl in ‘The Right Stuff’. Here’s a clip:

    http://www.fileden.com/files/2006/6/26/91081/slick_and_yeager.zip

    Well, good luck with the book.

    Russell (russellboyd90@yahoo.co.uk)

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