You blokes seem to be having an enjoyable time in those SE's! Can't wait to get my hands on one, it's probably my favourite WW1 aircraft.
And thank you for the kind comments, now, hold onto your hats because Sgt 'X' has been busy again.
9th May, 1915
Yes, now I'm talking to a bloody book, won't be long before I feel as though I truly belong here in Billy-o asylum.
Well diary, there are two types of things that happen in life, things that you can tell your dear, loving wife about and things that you ought not to. When it comes to war in the air it is better, for all of our sake's that I record what I am about to tell you here an not in a letter to my darling Hannah who would most certainly be unnecessarily alarmed by the news that I have today!
I've been assigned the privilege of a rather feisty Yorkshireman named Tony Walter as my observer and Captain Walter is one of these types who are mad keen to get to grips with the Hun. It's not enough for him that we should tootle along in our French umbrellas and chuck pathetically small bombs at them, oh no, Captain Walter is mad keen on the idea that we ought to be chasing their aircraft as well!
Now what kind of anarchy this type of sport shall lead to is obvious to even the tenderest of initiates in aerial warfare and it shan't be long before men of Captain Walter's mind-set are chasing each other up and down the front attempting to destroy each other's machines. I'm not overly keen on the idea myself since it involves more risk than seems prudent but I have to concede to Walter's experience and the instinctive feeling I have in my gut that investing time in studying this practice now will pay off in the long run. It's largely at Walter's behest that out Parasols are fitted with Lewis guns, he has been avidly petitioning Sir Salmond for some time for license to chase down Hun aviators and Sir Salmond is inclined to humour him despite the raised eyebrows he has received from HQ on the topic.
Walter wasted no time in appraising me of his philosophy of air combat and, as a good obedient little NCO I have little choice but to go along with the his scheme, not completely unwillingly as it does sound like capital sport if rather chancy. Walters idea is that we should attempt to close with an enemy aircraft and open up upon it with the Lewis gun if the chance should present itself and we have discussed how best to achieve this at length and into the early hours of the night.
Today we got our first real chance, it was on a bombing trip to the locale of Havrincourt. I'd seen my first barrage, Hun balloon, Hun Archie and as Havrincourt came into view Walter tapped me on the shoulder and I turned to see my first genuine, bona fide German aeroplanes. Aviatiks Walter told me later and there were three of them, slightly above and well behind us and they were watching curiously, but from a respectful distance, as we dropped our 40lb bombs on their field, destroying one of their hangars in the process (Smashing!). Seeing that we were done with our mischief they began to put down to land. Captain Walter urged me to follow them, a manic gleam in his blue eyes revealing itself as he gesticulated at the rearmost aircraft and leaned out of the rear cockpit towards it as though he wished to wrestle the thing from the air with his hands.
The German was below us now and a ways ahead. Walter and I had discussed our tactic and decided that we could probably overhaul an enemy aircraft and take a shot at him as we drew ahead before climbing back to safer heights. I wasn't entirely happy about the fact that we were still over their field and that observers on the ground may fire at us, especially since out pursuit would involve losing height behind the lines which would leave us on a sticky wicked if something should go amiss with the engine but it was clear that Walters fever for action would not be denied and, with an inward sigh I pressed forward on the stick and began my descent toward the Aviatik.
The distance closed rapidly between us, I held the stick forward as far as I dared as the air-frame of our Morane creaked and shuddered and I was about to overhaul the Aviatik when I noticed a stream of traced emanating from the rear cockpit of the enemy. It seemed as though we had encountered a German made in the mold of our very own Captain Walter in this chap and he gave us a good squirt as we closed. I dithered a bit at this point, not sure whether to continue the pursuit or call it off and it wasn't until the second burst from the Hun smacked into our wing, leaving a neat row of holes, that I decided enough was enough. My more sensible side said that I'd done my patriotic duty and it was time to desist in this nonsense before we got into serious trouble so I eased back on the stick and we climbed away on course for home.
Captain Walter was a little more subdued than usual this evening and in our tactical discussion we decided that more prudence would be called for, that we should seek our quarry closer to the lines and that we should only attack from a position that would allow us to overfly the enemy before descending so that we might be ahead of him when we came into gunnery range since. I have to say though, that despite my initial misgivings I'm showing signs of catching this fever myself. The next time we find ourselves on a suitable bombing trip we have plans to detach ourselves from the formation after our duty is done and do a little free-lancing!
1 Squadron en route to Havrincourt
Let's pretend I got the BWOC badge to embed here.
Wenn ihr sieg im deine Kampf selbst gegen, wirst stark wie Stahl sein. "The best techniques are passed on by the survivors." - Gaiden Shinji