22 January, 1916 11:05
Toul, Verdun Sector
Escadrille C17
Sergent Gaston A. Voscadeaux

Well, apparently the blind bombing of the factories didn’t go that well yesterday. The bombs either did very little damage or missed the target altogether. In either case, Gaston was now leading the new guy, Sergent Durand to do what they failed to do yesterday. Before takeoff Durand came up to Gaston and told him not to worry. All Gaston needed to do is to get them over the target and he’ll do the rest. The boy is full of himself, but better that than hiding under his mother’s skirts. A little cockiness never hurt anybody. Getting them over the target was easier said than done. Thick clouds laced the sky as far as eye could see. Gaston was afraid it would be a repeat of yesterday. The kid will be disappointed. They were to meet with their escort, a lonely Nieuport from Esc 65 halfway to the front and Voscadeaux felt relieved when the little scout appeared over their heads. It also made him feel more confident about his navigating skills. With the Nieuport watching over them Gaston concentrated on further navigation to the target, which consisted of looking out for small holes and gaps between the clouds and trying to figure out what that little view represented. It felt to him like he was playing a giant jigsaw puzzle. After 40 minutes of flying north Gaston estimated they should be somewhere near the target. The problem was there was no way of knowing with the thick clouds obscuring most of the ground. Voscadeaux decided to descend to a useful altitude. 1500m, 1300m, 1100m, 1000m, finally the landscape started to appear below. There it is ... a lake! What? There is no lake anywhere near the target. Gaston fumbled for his map and quickly realized he drifted by some 10 km to the west. He sheepishly turned east and started to look for additional landmarks. A gap appeared in the cloud canopy and sun started to peek through. It was at that exact moment that Gaston noticed the factory to his left with the walls bathed in the sunlight. It seemed like a sign from above. “Gott mit uns?” No, my little German friends. “Le Dieu est avec nous!” Voscadeaux aimed his Caudron at the “beacon” and checked on Durand. Still there, still following. As they approached the factories Durand pulled alongside Gaston’s machine. Seeing this Gaston smiled at the boy’s eagerness. Now over the target. Release! Voscadeaux’s and Durand’s bombs raced towards the target, impacting all around the large buildings and smaller sheds. Large columns of black smoke started to rise from the now obliterated factory. Durand went for another pass and more smoke and dust rose from the ruins. They will not recover from this one so quickly. Gaston was already pointed south for their return trip. As Durand rejoined the formation two more bombs hit the ground, too far to do any more damage. It must have been Adjutant Guytant in A flight, who opted for the blind approach from above the clouds. The return trip was uneventful and all flights landed safely. It was only 13:00 but Gaston was ready for a nap. A glass of wine and a nap.

"Take the cylinder out of my kidneys,
The connecting rod out of my brain, my brain,
From out of my arse take the camshaft,
And assemble the engine again."