Journal entry: 30 June, 1916

It has been a while since I last wrote anything in my journal and that is probably because of the dull tedium that is life here on the front. The constant fear and stress of flying ever day tends to dull ones senses and it takes something big to awaken you from your slumber. This week there have been one such occurrence that I wish to describe in great detail. We have been flying the Fokker monoplane and for the most part it has been sufficient for our needs, but the Nieuports are being seen in greater numbers and as a matter of fact, there is a new model that has been making life extremely difficult for us. The situation was becoming so dire that I felt it necessary to express my concerns to Major Friedel, who once again told me to be patient. As usual, he was correct because on the 24th a large number of lorries arrived with three new machines for our KEK. These were the new Halberstadt scout that I had heard so much about and I was excited to get one into the air. The men spent the rest of the day completing the rigging and of course it rained all day on the 25th, so it wasnt until the 26th that we were finally able to fly them. I led Manfred and Max up to the front to see if we could scare up any business while Hans led Joachim and Georg on a routine patrol. Of course, the French didnt disappoint and it wasnt long until I spotted three small dots approaching from the north. I signaled the group and we turned toward the enemy. Once the range closed, I noticed that the French were a little unsure as to the identity and nature of our new machines. I took advantage of their uncertainty and quickly separated one from the pack and shot him down. Max and Manfred quickly drove off the other two French machines. What made my victory especially sweet was the fact that these Nieuports were from the vaunted Stork squadron. We completed our patrol and turned for home and upon landing we were understandably in high spirits. Our new machines are so maneuverable as compared to our old Fokkers and they give us a real fighting chance against the best the enemy has to offer. We were a little concerned when we saw that Georg was the only one returning from the other patrol but the others could have landed elsewhere so we didnt worry too much. When he landed we surrounded him to discover the fate of the others and the story he told quickly killed all of the joy that we had felt earlier. It turns out that the two Nieuports that we had driven off hadnt returned home, but had instead continued their patrol. They encountered our second patrol and made quick work of the Fokkers of Hans and Joachim. Georg was very fortunate to escape with his life. This horrid war continues to give and take away and I daresay will continue until its last gasp.

Member and provider of banjo music for the Illustrious BOC