June 27, 1916

After an injury and enforced hiatus due to my not understanding how transfers worked, Albert Nuts is finally back in the saddle.

Our mission was...questionable. A flight of three FE2bs was to fly 40 miles north to Ypres, patrol, then come back home. We're not exactly patrol craft, and there are 8 airfields closer to Ypres, but so be it.

Still, for a two seater you have to admit the FE2b is an interesting looking machine.

Well, so be it. Somewhere south of Belieu our flight leader suddenly loses his engine. He flutters up and down like a kite. I make one, two, three passes to keep an eye on his descent and he crashes in a wheat field. Both pilot and observer are severely wounded, the craft is a loss.

So there's two of us, and no shame at all in going home, especially as following our leader down has dropped us below 2000 feet. Still, I want to complete the mission or at least get some more flying time in. On to Ypres!

Before I can even think of regaining altitude, we're approaching Belieu Wood aerodrome when I spot two dots ahead. My first thought was: Friendlies going home. Then I realized one of the dots was charging us: An E.III looking for a quick kill.

An E.III with an HA (Constantin Kreft).

I am much better at this game than I was 20 days ago. One of the things I learned, was that running away without speed superiority is an awesome way to die. Better to try to tire your opponent out. It helps I have a forward firing observer. I turn into Herr Kreft like I'm a fighter. He may or may not have fired - my observer sure did. He passed me and began climbing rapidly. I turned past him to pursue, but now he had the advantage. I kept chasing him until I was sure he wouldn't double back, then turned back towards Belieu Wood.

That's when I realized dot # 2 was below me. Another E.III HA - Max Ritter von Mulzer. Von Mulzer currently has 6 kills (including one yesterday) on the way to 10 before being slain in September.

Von Mulzer is strangely low: Perhaps 1000-1500 feet. I drop down behind him surprisingly easily, and my observer goes to work. He spins away. I momentarily lose him as he is THAT low to the ground, but manage to give my observer a leading shot. One last swipe, this time from behind sends his machine screaming towards the ground.

NOW...no flight leader, one claim, and no reason at all to continue to Ypres - except that frankly I'm enjoying myself. The FE2b isn't that hard to fly (at least until the wind picks up), so we continue.

My wingmate and I arrive at about 7000 feet altitude. The winds are harsh up here, the rain driving, and I stall/spin several times. Fortunately there's plenty of room to recover, but now I've had enough and we begin the long slog home.

While passing Belieu I once more admire the graphics:

Before landing without incident.