10/10/1916 - Jasta 6 - Flanders

From the diary of Roland von Fnfkirchen:

After yesterday, which ended in a catastrophe for the Staffel, I had mixed feelings about this one.
I was a bit worried, if I might end up crashlanding again. But what if this time, I can't make it back to our lines? Yesterday I only got lucky with it.
I tried to get rid of these thoughts, as we prepared ourselves for today's first patrol. The sky was clean and the autumn air wasn't colder than it was supposed to be either. According to the plan, I was in Schwarm 2 and we were supposed to patrol the front lines, while Schwarm 1 will assist us. Getting into the cockpit, I quickly checked if everything is working. All looked good to take off. The moment, everyone was ready, the engines started. I love the sound of the Albatross, it kind of calms me down. Firedrich and Ernst took off without any problems, so it was my turn. It went well, no problems, everything was still working.
We flew a round above the airfield to form up, than, we hit the direction of our patrol-route and started climbing. The clouds were quite low, so we decided to fly above them. The skies seemed to be empty. We didn't see any movement, except for a squad of some Roland CII.s and their escort of Halberstedts, from a nearby airfield. Schwarm 1 was far faster, than us and they went ahead for some reason. After a few minutes, we saw them flying towards us. I tried to look at Friedrich on my right, but he was at the end of his wits, just like me. Same for Ludwig on our back. Ernst our flight leader sloved down a bit, so we could catch up with him. Schwarm 1, flew by above us and we spotted two enemy aircraft chasing them. They were quite far yet. Ernst waved at Friedrich and me to attack the enemy, while, he and Ludwig turned back and started flying home.
And then it hit me. I used to be quite a brave man in the trenches, but now I felt fear. It's only Friedrich and me against two Nieuport 17s and our Albatrosses. I spat out of the cockpit and started following Friedrich. He is our ace. Nothing can go wrong, if he is here with me. I was wrong. As I closed in on one of the Nieuports, I lost both Frierdich and the other enemy. The frenchman flew towards me, than turned. I tried to chase him, when I found the other one... or some of his bullets at least. The #%&*$# ended up behind me somehow. I stopped chasing the other one and tried to shake this clown off. He was good. Seemed to be better than me at least. He kept staying behind me, so all I could do is to try to avoid giving him a clean position to shoot. My plane still took some holes, but thankfully nothing serious. I took a steep dive, hoping, he will follow me and so he did. Shortly, before I hit the ground, I pulled the plane up while the frenchmen set his plan straight. This gave me the opportunity, I wanted. I was behind him and I didn't intend to let him go. I heard some shots from afar, which meant Friedrich and the other Nieuport are still fighting. I shot a few rounds towards the french and I hit. He tried the same moves, I did, to avoid hits, with lets success, so I could land a few other hits and he actually became slower! I was about less than a hundred meters behind him, when suddenly something crossed my path: the burning wreck of a Nieuport. It almost hit me! I closed on on the french from behind and shot another rounds. Suddenly his plane turned sharply to the left and fell to the ground in front ouf our observation balloon. I couldn't even believe, I won! As I looked around, I found Friedrich. He just landed his plane next to the same balloon. I saw him getting out of his plan, so I waved at him and started heading home. They will bring him back soon anyways.
When I reached our airfield, I realized, I was quite quick on the way back, as Ernst and Ludwig were about to land. I reported, I shot down a Nieuport 17 and Friedrich another one, but he will only arrive later as he was forced to land his plane. Thankfully, right next to one of our balloon-crew. Before the evening, Friedrich returned and confirmed my kill, while the balloon-crew did the same in their report.
I officially scored my first kill, after 6 days of service. It is a great feeling. I hope there is more to come. Tonight, we are going to celebrate a bit and tomorrow, we are ready to hit the skies again and hopefully we return in one piece again, but there is always the chance, that the french get the better of us next time.

Graf Roland von Fnfkirchen