A lot has happened the last three days and if I were to include it all, it would fill quite a few pages in my journal so I will limit myself to just the high points. First of all, let me say a few words concerning our new machines, the Halberstadts. They are superior to our old Fokkers in every way that matters. The only thing I am missing is my second machinegun from my old E.IV, but I am willing to trade that for the increase in maneuverability. Each pilot now feels that he can fight on at least even terms with the enemy and that has gone a long way to increase morale. We received three new pilots, Leutnant Mulzer, Leutnant Muller, and Leutnant Parshau, on the 7th and that brings us up to full strength. These three gentlemen are energetic, aggressive, and professional in how they carry out their duties and I expect great things from each of them. With the addition of Leutnant Mulzer and Muller, we now have three Maxs in the KEK. I've named Muller "Max ein", Mulzer "Max zwei", and Unteroffizier Neeb "Max drei". With the British offensive in full swing the men are flying three time a day and it really helps to have a full compliment of men.
The excitement started on the morning of the 7th when the British finally started their offensive. No one was surprised and from what we could see from the air it doesn't look like their preparatory bombardment accomplished anything. Anyway, it was raining and I didn't expect to see anything when much to my surprise I spotted two enemy machines approaching from the north. When the distance closed I recognized that the enemy planes were a DH.2 and a Bristol Scout. Who in their right mind would send a Scout up to the front now? The British continue to amaze me in their powerful desire to die while flying old antiquated machines in combat. The DH.2 gallantly turned to engage while the Scout fled for home with Max ein, Max zwei, and Otto scampering along behind. I engaged the DH.2 and what followed was a battle of wills. Fortunately, I was able to damage his flying controls which allowed me to get on his tail and apply the coup-de-gras. Otto was able to chase the Scout down and put it out of its misery and we returned to base. The afternoon sortie is the encounter that I am still thinking about and why I am still alive. After lunch, I led Max ein, Max zwei, and Otto back up to the battlefield to prevent the British recce machines from carrying out their work and on the way I spotted two planes following us. I really didn't pay much attention because we had other pressing matters to attend to so I was a little surprised when I noticed that they were not only still following but had closed the range. One of the two machines was obviously a Nieuport but the other was unlike any flying machine that I have seen before. It had three planes. I had heard that it was possible to have more than two planes but I had no idea anyone had actually accomplished it. Well, this strange machine rapidly closed the distance and it began to attack us. In the meantime the Nieuport had decided it didn't like the odds and quickly disengaged. For lack of a better word, this triplane, could climb unlike anything I've ever seen and easily turn within our turns. The enemy pilot actually played with us for about 10 minutes and then just flew away leaving the four of us shaken and rattled. After we completed our patrol and landed I reported our engagement and was shocked once again when I learned that the High command had no foreknowledge of this new machine. What a difference that machine could make in the war.
The 8th was a dud day, but the 9th was quite productive for the KEK. In the morning sortie I shot down a BE.2C that was spotting for some Tommie artillery. I hope I made the lives of our Kameraden in the trenches a little easier. In the afternoon sortie I led Max ein and Max zwei up to the front to continue our harassment of the British. We didn't have to wait long before here came two BE.2Cs escorted by a DH.2 and another Bristol Scout. I just shook my head as I signaled the attack. The two Maxs attacked the escorts and attacked the BE.2Cs. I quickly flamed one of the Quirks but while I was engaged the other managed to escape. Max ein and Max zwei both took care of the escort and we head home. It was a pretty impressive three days for the KEK, we scored seven confirmed kills in three days.
Member and provider of banjo music for the Illustrious BOC