“Are you sure Thillot sous les cotes”, Willi and Pruess nodded quickly. The Hauptmann's finger moved over the map from Hadonville, then west to the front. “Heinz get on the blower to ...let me see here, 10th Infantry Div, perhaps 50 Rgt can have a look. Ask the Balloon section at Hadonville for confirmation too please Heinz”
The two airmen stood quietly looking at the map.
“Well you two had your hands full. Still, HQ will be a little unhappy about the bombing not being done. Suppose the weather wasn't good anyway. “
“No Sir. It was mostly cloudy with haze below 1000m. Rainy at times too.” said Pruess
“And you Willi, whats your excuse?”
“umm, I'm quite sure that we were found by two scout planes Herr Hauptmann. Looked to me as if they were diving towards us Sir.”
“That's correct Herr Hauptmann. I gave Willi the order to dump the bombs. We then went into a cloud bank where we lost sight of each other Sir.”
“ I suppose that was the right thing to do. I'm confident you made sure that no one was below when you dropped them?” . Two faces flushed and became very warm due to the blood rushing into them. Willi and Pruess realized that they hadn't bothered to look. If they hit someone below then they would be in a great pile of poo.
The Kasta Hauptmann sat back, keeping his eyes glued at the two of them, he already knew the answer. “Go on.”
“We made it to the front, patrolled the lines without incident. And returned for home.” Pruess said while looking to Willi for support.
Willi took the hint, “I decided to fly straight home. Hadonville is easy enough to make out from altitude. As we neared the Balloon position there we noticed Flak going of slightly behind us. Obltn.Pruess spotted these two scout planes heading west....or home for them. I went into a left hand turn to have a better look Sir. I was sure that they had not seen us..perhaps due to the cloudy sky Sir.”
“Yes I felt pretty sure of that too Sir, and it proved to be correct Sir.”
Willi continued, “Against all the odds they actually didn't see us coming Sir. I mean they must have been new pilots or flat out overconfident.”
“Willi did a good job creeping up from behind. The opening salvo sent the first one directly down into a spiral. I'm sure he couldn't recover and probably went in Sir. His friend must have been deaf, drunk or both. He didn't react one bit. Willi squirted a few burst and he also started falling Sir”.
“I followed him down Sir, as he made signs of gaining control again. When he righted himself I just dropped behind and gave him another burst. Eventually his engine stopped. Problem now was that the Roland can't fly that slow. I wanted to give Oblnt.Preuss the 'coup de grace' but it didn't work out Sir.”
“But time was running out now Sir,” Preuss interrupted, “The Franzmann was high enough to glide over the front, even with a dud engine. So I ordered Willi to finish him off Sir. Which he did. Flamer, so some one must of seen it Sir.”
“Heinz any word ? …...no. Keep on it old man. Well, put your claims in the two of you. I'll have to think up a story for HQ.” The Hauptmann looked over to Heinz,”any ideas about this cockup?”
“Jawohl Herr Hauptmann. It was a faulty release lever. Oblnt.Pruess would have had to of climbed out onto the undercarriage and manually release them Sir.”
“Really ! Good idea Heinz. Have that written into morning orders please.”