April 26 1917 and the 3rd run on the same balloon as in run #2 the pilot who shot it down was himself shot down so no claim/confirmation apparently. Full strength squadron effort this time. Me leading 5 members of B Flight with 4 members of A Flight in support. Except for AA not much happens.
Near the target I order a flight attack on the balloon, while I fly cover, and it quickly lights up. Swing off target and fire a flare to form up so I don't lose the actual pilot who shot down the balloon (in hindsight being all HA this was probably not a concern - I think) and I set off for nearby British territory. Just over the lines the distant flight, which was following, now starts to thrash around. I try the Rejoin command again and circle when I am shot at. I am actually surprised by an attack of an Alb DII. Guess this is why the flight was acting all funny.
Quickly turning I shot him up and he rolls on his back and goes straight down and crashes on a road.
Committing the classic "Fighter Pilot Error #4" as I watch my foe go down I am surprised AGAIN and shot up! WTH are all these Albs coming from? This guys shooting is much better and he hits my engine which now sounds like a washing machine spinning a tool box. Normally I would make a run for it but I am over friendly territory and, while I still have power, turn into him and in two passes he goes down - apparently shot at also by Crowe. Took a screenshot but actually hit the key when I was looking down at my keyboard - oops. Guess I was all excited. Back at base everyone returns safe and the balloon is claimed. Ominously I see another flight mate also puts in a claim for a aircraft but I claim the 2 anyway. Well both are rejected (as Crowe actually shot down one of my claims apparently) but at least HQ finally decides we are done with the balloon. And a valuable lesson is (re-)learned at the cost of a new engine. Cheap!