I ordered that the 29th be a day of rest for the Jasta so that I could personally interview each pilot and finish the necessary paperwork for the transference of command for both Jasta 1 and Jasta 2. I also thought it would be beneficial to the pilots if they could have a day to grieve the loss of their comrade. I started with Leutnant Böhme because he is the pilot I'm most worried about, but after our interview I think he has managed to put this tragedy behind him and move forward with his duty. He did have one request which I have granted and that is to fly lone missions for the next few days. Of course, I can completely understand his request as I believe I would also be hesitant to fly in a formation after what happened. My good friend Leutnant Muller is flying with the us and so his interview was a mere formality since I already know of his abilities. The one pilot that does stand out from the rest is a certain Leutnant von Richthofen. He is very keen and has already proven to be a successful pilot. I foresee him having a very successful career as long as he manages to stay alive. The rest of the pilots all are good men and quite keen to perform their duties to the best of their abilities. At the end of the day I was feeling much better about my Jasta and I'm quite certain that in the coming days we will give a good accounting of ourselves.
The 30th was the first day that I flew with my men and it turned out to be quite a successful day at that. The morning patrol consisted of Leutnant Böhme in schwarm ein and Leutnant Muller, Leutnant von Richthofen, and myself in schwarm zwei. The four of us circled the aerodrome gaining altitude and after some time Böhme waved and left for his patrol. It wasn't long until I turned my schwarm toward the front to begin our patrol. As we approached the front, I saw in the distance an aerial engagement in process and as we closed the distance I noticed that it was Böhme and he was engaged with two Nieuports and a Quirk. I gave the signal and we attacked but before we could get into position I saw that Böhme had flamed one of the Nieuports. Muller and Von Richthofen were chasing after the other Nieuport and I attacked the Quirk. I made short work of the Quirk and it was soon falling earthward on fire. I waited for the others to form up and then we completed our patrol. When we landed I learned that Muller had claimed the other Nieuport, so three enemy machines were brought down, not bad for a morning's work. The afternoon patrol was just as eventful. Leutnant Böhme was once again flying the solo patrol and I led Muller, Von Richthofen, and Gerlich on a line patrol of the front down near Bapaume. We had hardly settled into our patrol when a flight of three Nieuport 17s swooped down on us from the clouds that were hanging above us. Fortunately, they were hasty in their attack and we were able to counter and avoid their first pass. The engagement devolved into a melee with seven aeroplanes swirling and swooping around in the sky, a perfect situation for another collision. I managed to stay above the fray and saw a Nieuport chasing Leutnant Gerlich so I dove and was able to get a burst into the Frenchman which caused him to break off and attempt to run. Unfortunately for him, the Albatros is faster than my old Halberstadt and I quickly closed the distance. My second burst must have killed or wounded the pilot because it flipped over and began to spin. I watched until as a speck it plunged into the ground. I gathered my schwarm, completed our patrol, and headed home. The men were quite pleased with my double for the day, and to be quite honest, so was I. I am quite pleased with the performance of my Jasta today and especially with Leutnant Böhme's performance.
Member and provider of banjo music for the Illustrious BOC