Some more quiet time on the Alsace front. On the 8th, wouldn't you know Sandleitner was right? The Army sent us right back to the same patch of ground we'd been watching for a week now to see if we could coordinate our cameras better.
This time it's Nebgen and Todt in one flight, while I take out Flieger Hammer. There really isn't much to say, except the Frogs in Fontaine were on a similar mission we were. Twice we saw flights of two Moranes a piece - or far all I know they were the same flight. Regardless, Papenberg and I watched as closely as possible to make sure they tried no mischief. They must have watched as well, to make sure we weren't ambitious C.Is, for after awhile we tipped our wings at each other. Their observer even waved.
When we landed, we found mechanics gathered around a new prize: A single-seater Morane!
(The Fokker E.I has shown up for our 'aces' to use. Since I use the Aces 0 mod, that means no one! Below I gave myself a free 'test' flight.)
During dinner, Offizierstellvertreter Sandleitner told us about her. Apparently some Dutchman named Fokker thinks he's figured out how to get a gun to fire through the propeller. There are already a small handful of these flying in Flanders and enjoying limited success.
"The Eindecker isn't cleared for use by our squadron," he told us. "There are too many questions, and anyway what would we do with our observers? No, it is here strictly for defending our airfield and for further testing."
Testing simply involved flying a few laps around the airfield and sharing our thoughts. Sandleitner offered the Offizierstellvertreters a chance to try her out on the 'morrow. We agreed eagerly. Neither Flieger would be invited to join us.
I was third in seniority, so took her up at about 9 AM. The Eindecker was...a nervous creature. While rolling down the field the plane tried to slip to the left. I compensated and took off, and now she tried to bank to the right. Indeed, her rotary engine made turning right a breeze.
Once underway with some speed, the plane settled down. Slowly I circled the field. Sandleitner asked we stay in sight, and also that we avoid being seen by people on the ground in case spies are about.
Isolated houses here and there made the latter difficult, but I figured as long as I didn't fire the gun or tarry any curious onlookers would mistake me for a Pfalz built Morane. Indeed, now that Fokker had solved the gun synchronization issue I wondered if they would put forward firing guns on the Pfalz as well. A plane that could shoot both forward and back would be deadly indeed.
Almost as soon as I had that thought, it occured to me how dangerous that would be. Up until now, except for a few isolated instances, aerial 'warfare' had been non-existent. We might take shots at each other with pistols and rifles, but the general expectation was everyone would make it home. Aeroplanes dedicated to hunt other planes would escalate the war. We build the Fokker, and of course the Frogs have to build something to compensate.
The days of two flights tipping their wings at each other and going about their business might be drawing to a close. As I landed next to Hammer's Aviatik, I wondered if newer in this case was really such a good idea.