The Diary of August Ege.

FFA 71. Frescaty-Metz.

Mitterwoch, 8.III.16, 8.00 Uhr nachmittags.

The push at Verdun shows no signs of ending and we're flying like madmen in support of the ground troops, weather permitting. It's been snowing a lot in the past few days, making artillery cooperation missions more than a little challenging. We have to go much lower than usual - only a few hundred meters - to see anything through the snow that the strong winds keep throwing at our faces. This is of course quite dangerous, as it exposes us to all kinds of fire coming from the French positions, but fortunately there have been no casualties among our men yet. The French air service's response to our actions has been quite limited so far. I've only spotted a few Nieuport two-seaters with my observer, Oberleutnant Balthazar, and they've left us in peace to pursue our objectives. We don't mind that and have returned the favour!

Things are very different on the ground. It seems like this battle is turning into one of the bloodiest in the whole war; maybe even the bloodiest? Obviously we don't know any casualty figures here at FFA 71, as it's all very top secret stuff. But our chief mechanic Grlitz returned from Metz last night (he was getting treatment for his bronchitis there) and told us that the hospitals in the city are absolutely full of wounded and sick infantrymen, with more being transported there all the time by lorries and trains. Grlitz is an old professional NCO like me and he's definitely not wet behind the ears anymore; yet he seemed quite shocked by all he had witnessed at the Kriegslazarett.

We can only hope that such sufferings and sacrifices by our men will not be in vain. The fall of Fort Douaumont on February 25th must have been a serious blow to the French - it certainly lifted everybody's spirits this side of the front!

"Upon my word I've had as much excitement on a car as in the air, especially since the R.F.C. have had women drivers."

James McCudden, Five Years in the Royal Flying Corps