The Diary of August Ege.

16.X.15 Frescaty - Metz. Evening.

What a day! I was ordered to get a new Aviatik C.I from the factory at Freiburg, then fetch a passenger (an important staff officer that needed to get to Metz ASAP) and fly to Frescaty field, my new home with FFA 71. I was on the move at 5 AM and boarded the Aviatik, which was still smelling of fresh paint, having been cleared for use only yesterday. It was exciting to get a chance to fly a brand new airplane (and it was about to get even more exciting very soon...)!

The staff officer (a Hauptmann Berger - he didn't say much, but I got the impression that he's an intelligence officer) joined me at the field and soon we were up in the air, heading towards Metz. The weather was partly cloudy and pretty good for this time of year, with no strong winds or anything.

Everything went well for about an hour. I was avoiding the front and approaching Metz on a circuitous route from the east. I stayed slightly below 2000 metres to avoid the clouds and get a better view of the terrain. I could already see Metz in the distance when suddenly the engine began to lose power. I noticed the oil pressure was going down quickly, and soon the engine stopped altogether. So there I was with the important staff officer, my Aviatik turned into a heavy glider!

It was quiet with the engine now off, and I explained our predicament to Hauptmann Berger. There was no choice but to bring the machine down as quickly as possible and hope for the best. There was a suitable field on the eastern side of Metz and we glided towards it. The Aviatik touched down, bounced a couple of times and then ended up on its nose into a muddy ditch next to a wooden fence. We were both scared as hell, but the gods of war looked favourably on us, and we weren't hurt.

I helped Berger out of the Aviatik and we moved away from the wreck just in case it would catch fire. It didn't. Our accident had been observed by the Metz garrison, and soon a whole battalion (or so it seemed!) of soldiers was surrounding the crash site, with more arriving by horse and automobiles.

FFA 71 was informed of my crash, and they sent lorries to fetch me and the wrecked Aviatik. Hauptmann Berger had already left to Metz by one of the automobiles. He shook my hand as he departed, though I don't think my piloting skills left a very positive impression on him!

I received a friendly welcome at Frescaty, even though I felt (and feel!) like a complete idiot for managing to wreck a brand new airplane on my very first mission as a military pilot! It happens a lot, they told me. Maybe so, but it doesn't make my embarrassment any easier to bear.

Tomorrow I'll be flying my first mission from Frescaty. It will only be an orientation flight around Metz - they don't take new pilots straight to the lion's den! I don't have confidence in the Aviatik after today's troubles; hopefully things will go smoothly tomorrow.

***

What an interesting first mission for Ege! In real life, I started from Kln as per rules of the DID campaign. But for role-playing purposes, I wrote about Ege flying from Freiburg, since Aviatik had a factory there and I couldn't come up with a good reason for why he should have been at Kln (Cologne).

Everything else happened as described. smile


"Upon my word I've had as much excitement on a car as in the air, especially since the R.F.C. have had women drivers."

James McCudden, Five Years in the Royal Flying Corps