Carlton von Fisk
Kasta 33b, Verdun region

July 19:

Today's mission was to be a quick jaunt to the front with 3 Rolands. 2 Eindeckers would meet to escort us over the lines. Or, given the way the air war's going, perhaps we're protecting them. Something to think about.

In any event, they never showed. We hung around for awhile waiting for them to find us, then our leader diverted towards the front. Okay, fair enough.

Then he diverted again, this time for Mercy le Haut, an aerodrome only 2 miles or so from home. I fell back a little to try and find out what had happened: Were we aborting because of our lack of escort? Was someone having engine trouble? Were we being chased by two biplanes? Yes to # 3. I couldn't tell for sure given the range, but until Albatroses and Halberstadts show up I'm going to assume anything with two wings is hostile unless I can see their cross.

So my two partners tamely start circling Mercy le Haut. Standard landing procedures with two incoming probable hostiles sounds like a really bad idea, so I stayed low and kept going. I..uhm...can't read my writing, but there was another airfleld near by. (Xiary Cricourt? Something like that) No one chased me and I landed without incident and met a new friend.

During debriefing I learned the two incoming had been hostile and shots were exchanged. No one lost on either side.

July 20:

Another day, another chance to be chased out of the sky by Nieuports.

This time was a simple recon with only two airplanes. 'Eine' flight was supposed to help, but once we climbed to altitude they decided to do their own thing and leave us to our fate. Thanks guys.

While en route to the front... I don't know. I steadily lost ground to my flight leader. My engine sounded fine, but for some reason I just couldn't keep up. Nor did he show the least interest in waiting for me. When we crossed the lines he was 1.2 miles ahead, barely a dot.

Speaking of which, there were plenty of German planes out today. Right at the front I noticed an Eindecker flying high at right angles to us, apparently patrolling. Perhaps he saw the trouble before anyone else, for he lazily turned in my flight leader's direction.

Speaking of which, he first banked in a lazy circle, no doubt reconning and giving me a chance to catch up. Then he turned towards me fully.

I'm starting to be able to notice potential trouble before my TAC (at 1.1m) warns me, which is good as I spot the two dots closing on him. Zoom. Biplanes. Just so. I don't even bother waiting for my flight leader to catch up - I turn and run for the lines.

The Eindecker...finds something else to do. One of the biplanes starts duelling my leader. The other, a Nieuport 11, begins a full chase.

Plan A is to lead him over a nearby German regiment, and between their guns and mine we can either finish this guy or at least get him to leave. I cross the lines at 4K feet and begin my slow, waddling turn to the incoming Nieuport.

Unfortunately he flies over me and I can't bring my nose up in time to get a shot off. I continue the turn, and just like in Carlton's first flight this guy ends up at about 7:00 trying to get me in his sights while I hard left rudder. I can see the craft begin to shudder and force my nose down - harder than it looks - to pick up a little steam.

My observer is busy filing his nails, so it's the Nieuport who fires first. Nothing vital, but I've been watching a second dot slowly closing the gap. Friend? Foe? I can't take the chance. I dive to the deck and run.

The Nieuport chases me. The second dot, which also turns red, chases me. Two new planes join the chase. Zoom. Biplanes. It would be moderately glorious if they weren't trying to kill me.

My engine. Sound difference or no, there HAS to be something wrong. I couldn't keep up with m y flight leader, and now I can't outrace a Nieuport 11 even though on paper I should have a slight speed advantage (103 mph vs. 100). I'm flying as low as I dare over no man's land. The Nieuports chase me. The same guy fires again - miss. Then again, and fabric tears.

I have a goal now. An aerodrome - I forget the name, but I'm on course and it can't be more than 4 or 5 miles away. It's tempting to just land in no man's land and call it a day, especially as a huge forest now looms in front of me, but if I actually make it to the field that'll be moderately glorious.

So, we're flying over the forest at ... well, I'm going to guess it's tree top level. With the Roland's build my only clue as to my true height is to look down and between my wings, and I'm finding the trees whipping past my view rather intimidating. My observer FINALLY wakes up and opens fire. This answers for one of the Nieuports, who turns away only to come back about 15 or 20 seconds later.

The two latecomers to our chase have broken slightly to my right and are turning towards me, almost as if they were trying to steer me. They aren't the threat though: That one guy on my tail just won't give up. Another stream of bullets. I'm hit! Tearing fabric, and another sound I don't recognize. I lift my nose slightly, expecting a decline in aircraft performance: We're only 1 mile away now. It would be a shame to lose it this late in the race.

No decline in performance though, just an inviting target and he fires again. This time it's my Observer who's hit. This only seems to torque him off, as he replies with a furious barrage.

There's the aerodrome! I'm approaching it side on. I'm FACING the hangers. Too bad. Cut the engine at the last second and sail into the runway.

Bad angle! I jerk the nose up at the last moment, which causes the plane to bounce. Nose down, and I land on one wheel and my right wing! I must be going slow enough - the wing holds. A hard jerk on my rudder stabilizes the craft.

Mein Gott that was close.

Too close.

I'm out until Tuesday with a light wound. In the end, we lost our flight leader. We shot down zero of them.

Last edited by CatKnight; 07/20/14 05:48 AM.