Saturday April 7, 1917. First patrol in France with a new 56 Squadron career with British HA enabled (its complicated). 0815 take-off for a DOP with B Flight - Captain Ball leading,into the grey, cloudy skies. No sun today. Flying over the front. Either my new card or video settings are cool as the smoke used to flicker. Two days prior to the start of the Arras Offensive British artillery tunes up for the upcoming fracas.
About 6 miles behinds the lines Capt. Ball shallow dives in a gentle turn. I dont see them at first but they are Huns - 4 of them - either landing or taking off from a field I guess as there is one close by. As I am in my gentle turn and dive I hear this horrible noise. At first I think I am diving too fast or steep but no way. Look behind me and Maxwell (HA) has takeen a direct hit from AA fire and plummets down, minus his wings, on fire. First time I have seen a flight mate hit by AA. Guess I'll be a little nervous in the next barrage.
The Huns however don't care and continue their attack. I get behind this one and shoot him up till he goes out of control and crashes in a plume of dust near a treeline.
See another that Capt. Ball is trying to get a grip on and intercede and shoot him down in flames. He crashes about a half mile from the Hun Field.
Back at base B Flight files 4 claims two being mine. All return and land safely except for unlucky Maxwell.