April 1916 RFC 24th Mission assigned: Patrol deep in enemy territory. Target, enemy airfield east of Bapaume.
A Flight: cover B Flight: Ltn.Hawker - sLtn. Bellerue (me) - Ltn.Andrews - Ltn.Thinders
About 8:30am, close to the objective at 9000feet, Ltn.Hawker initiated a moderated dive. Followed about 150feet behind, after a while I spotted a white Aviatik two-seater, about 6000 feet.
Short after, spotted a flight of 6 ea, north of us, 1000feet above; 3 of them dived on us. Ltn.Hawker engaged the two-seater.
I keep following Hawker, while Andrews and Thinders engaged the three diving ea. Hawker fired few rounds on the Aviatik and zoomed away. I entered and fired few rounds from about 20m, and zoomed too. The observer fire was accurate, but I received apparently no hit.
Lost sight of Hawker and the Aviatik, I turned west to join Andrews and Thinders which were engaged with 3 Fokker monoplanes. Andrews chased a Fokker and put several bursts into it. I closed up and fired a long strafe to the same ea from distance. Andrews fired again, and the Fokker start diving, then burst into flames.
Suddendly bullets were hitting me, I made an evasive maneuver and spotted the white Aviatik passing under my plane, which observer was firing at me. Another Fokker closed the distance, so I turned west to the front and disengaged by speed.
Flaks were being fired so I guessed my squadron mates were heading the same direction away. The Fokker ceased the pursue after a minute. Looking behind I have seen the white Aviatik forced to land some hundred meters away from the aerodrome, and a DH2, probably Hawker, above it.
I reached Andrews about 5000feet above enemy lines, and togheter we returned to the base.
Witnessed: Andrews shooting down a Fokker monoplane in flame - Hawker forced to land an Aviatik two-seater.
Ps: during the after landing mission briefing, it turned out that A flight engaged the 3 Fokker monoplane which didn't dived on us and shoot down one. Nice mission, really.