I spawn on board my team’s aircraft carrier on the Iwo Jima map and board a landing craft which a team member steers for Mount Suribachi. With a commanding position on the top of the hill that overlooks the whole island and strong defences, Mount Suribachi’s a key point to hold, and the enemy has it.
We speed to the beach the runs around the bottom of the cliff beneath the position. It’s so sheer that you can barely see the sandbag fortifications at the top when you look up, but some steep paths zigzag up. Our hope is that the enemy hasn’t bothered to cover their base’s back so we can pop up and take the flag for our own.
We inch up, aware of machine gun placements and snipers, but we remain unsullied – though quite what lies in wait at the summit is another matter. And then, as we near the top, bits of tree begin to fall down from above. From an explosion? Gunfire? What’s seen us? The branches roll past us and I stop still, training my sights on the crest of the hill with my heart in my mouth.
Suddenly, an enemy plane bursts over the remaining vegetation at the top with an incredible roar. I nearly trip backward as I crane around to see where it’s going, only to see it explode behind us. My breath catches and I zip my view back to the crest of the hill and see a second plane, one of ours, howl over it in victory.
It’s enough to bolster us for taking the flag, and we do – if only because there’s barely anyone there to defend it.