Lederhosen, when you get to the Verdun sector, please do be careful when you shoot at the N10's. Gaston could be flying in one of them.
9 March, 1916 10:38 Senard, Verdun Sector Escadrille N37 Adjutant Gaston A. Voscadeaux Waiting for claim confirmation
Today was another large formation mission to escort two N12s north of St. Mihiel salient to direct artillery fire. Gaston was sitting in his plane warming his engine waiting for the rest of the flight to get the lead out when all of a sudden two Fokkers appeared over the aerodrome. Were they here to attack? Lost? Deliver a message? Gaston didn’t want to find out while sitting idly on the pitch. He was first up and chasing the intruders. As soon as the Eindecker pilots noticed movement below, they changed their course and raced north toward the frontlines. Voscadeaux was in pursuit, but wasn’t making up any ground. The two dots in front of him traded height for speed. It looked to Gaston that one of the specks traded too much height to get away and disappeared in the trees of the forest below. There was no sign of fire or smoke. The other monoplane was nearly over the frontlines and Gaston had to give up the chase. He turned around and took a wild guess as to where the rest of his flight would be when he gets back. They were circling the initial waypoint waiting for the ‘A’ Flight to join them. Gaston took his place in the formation and proceeded along the predetermined path towards the front, east of their current location. They were near their assigned target area when the flight leader noticed two more Fokkers patrolling the skies. Ltn. Dagonet waggled his wings and the fight was on. While the leader attacked Fokker 1, Gaston settled for Fokker 2. He was on his tail and getting ready to take the target out when shots were fired from behind him. The rest of the flight was right behind him taking potshots over his head. This was too close for comfort and Gaston was forced to disengage. If they want to crash into each other while chasing the foe, then they’re welcome to it, but he would have no part of it. He watched as Clp. Dreux and Adjutants Boillot and Barnay chased the Fokker, trying to outrace each other to bring the Boche down. Finally, Adj. Barnay dealt the final blow and the Eindecker crashed into the frozen ground below. Gaston looked for his flight leader but instead noticed the first Fokker running away across the NML. Voscadeaux didn’t waste any time and chased after him with his wingman closely following behind. The German had height advantage, but Gaston wasn’t giving up. He finally caught up with his target over the Bechamps aerodrome, but his wingman got there first and initiated his attack. The Hun was able to avoid him by tricking Dreux to dive and overshoot him. Gaston was observing the engagement cautiously from above and dove on the German when he saw that Dreux wouldn’t interfere. Voscadeaux’s bullets ripped through the monoplane’s fuselage. And the startled German pilot made an evasive maneuver that would have nearly worked if Gaston wasn’t watching him trick his wingman just a minute ago. Voscadeaux was back behind the Boche in no time and firing again. This time the Hun went into a spin, aiming for the middle of the aerodrome below. Gaston didn’t dare to follow for the fear of being cut to ribbons by the ground fire. Voscadeaux saw the Fokker recover from his deadly spin just above the ground and then disappear into the ground clutter. He had seen this old trick before and knew there was no point following. It would be too risky. Instead he pointed his Nieuport west and followed his wingman back home. Cpl. Dreux was already well on his way and anxious to reach the safety of the French airspace. They were more than halfway home, overflying Verdun and already looking forward to a hot meal with a glass of Bordeaux when Gaston noticed grey puffs of antiaérien on his starboard over the city. Some unlucky Boche was about to meet Adjutant Gaston A. Voscadeaux. He dove in the direction of the explosions and found his target. It was a lonely Aviatik making a reconnaissance run, most likely taking pictures of the damage German artillery had inflicted on the city during the last two weeks. His maneuver, despite being performed with the sun at his back was noticed by the Hun observer and immediately met with a hail of bullets. Some have found their way into Gaston’s top plane as he was taking up position behind the Aviatik. His machine wobbled but stabilized and Voscadeaux could align his gunsight with the target. He opened fire and watched as bits and pieces of the German aircraft were falling away and littering his flight path. Gaston was prepared to empty all his meagre ammunition stores, but the two-seater suddenly went into a nosedive and never recovered. Gaston hoped there were enough witnesses below for him to somehow make a claim, but was surprised by a sudden arrival of the rest of his flight. He had all the witnesses he ever needed and now, together with yesterday’s Fokker, he will keep the claims committee busy.
"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."