5 April, 1916 05:15 morning mission Senard, Verdun Sector Escadrille N37 Sous Lietenent Gaston A. Voscadeaux 10 confirmed kills
The Fokker from the day before was confirmed, but yesterday's Aviatik was not. Gaston didn't object and agreed that the two-seater could not possibly be confirmed by anyone. He was too happy with his double acedom to complain.
Voscadeaux banked to port and followed the Fokker in a dive. He fired and missed. Another bank, starboard this time. He fired again and missed again. The Eindecker had nowhere to run. He gave up and started to fly straight. Gaston flew directly behind and squeezed the trigger. Nothing. He was out of bullets again. He pulled alongside the Boche and looked in his face. He looked familiar. It was Capitaine Quillen! Gaston woke up all drenched in sweat. He sat up on his bed and rubbed the corners of his eyes with his thumb and the middle finger. The night refused to be wiped off his face. Gaston was drowsy, but couldn’t fall back to sleep. He got up and dressed by the light of the lamp. There was no one in the mess hall. He made himself scrambled eggs with bacon. Voscadeaux wiped the plate clean with a piece of bread and saw through the window the eastern sky becoming lighter shade of indigo. It will be dawn soon. He greeted it with a big yawn. The first mission of the day was to patrol over enemy airfield at Bechamps. Gaston was glad Ltn. Dagonet was leading this flight. He needed an uneventful mission. Despite the frigid breeze he still felt as if he were half asleep and the gusts of wind made it difficult to keep in formation. The rising sun did them no favours either by blinding them for the final leg of the flight.
Apart from the full of vim and vigour Flak above Bechamps there were no Boche machines to greet them. The ‘B’ flight made its obligatory circuits overhead the aerodrome and headed for home. Gaston was glad the mission was over and was dreaming of his bed. He’ll definitely take advantage of the time between the missions to catch a few winks. It was at that moment that he noticed two specks north of their position. He hoped that was just another French patrol, but the telltale Flak was missing. Boche scouts! They were overflying the Spincourt Forest. Voscadeaux’s Nieuport was on top of them shortly and Gaston swooped down on the higher flying Hun. The wind buffeted his machine as he was nearing his victim and aiming had become near impossible. The French pilot squeezed the trigger and watched as several rounds hit the fuselage. He was too close and banked to starboard, but a sudden gust of wind pushed him back into the Fokker. His entire plane shook violently and the next moment he was falling. He fought with the controls to steady his mount and at the same time watched the Eindeckers for any signs of reprisal. It looked like they were only too happy to get away. They must have thought him crazy and if Gaston thought about it, they were right. He examined his port wing. The lower plane was in shreds and it took Gaston’s entire strength and will to keep his bird level, or as level as the bird would allow him.
“- C’mon Violette, let’s not fight. I know you want to fly left and I’m telling you to fly right. Let’s meet in the middle and fly straight. Deal?” Gaston cajoled his battered sesquiplane to take him home and as soon as they’ve crossed the lines back into friendly territory he begun to scout for a place to put down. A road would be sufficient, preferably with no trees on each side and relatively straight. Such a road was just coming into view. Gaston smiled and petted the coaming surrounding the cockpit. “- Good job! Now, let’s see what we can do about bringing you down safely.” Gaston didn’t dare to turn the engine off. The lack of torque would definitely put him in the opposite spin. Instead he gradually leaned the mixture and monitored his plane’s behaviour. So far so good. He had to kick a bit more rudder but the machine did not list and was losing altitude at a reasonable rate. Everything looked good, except ... a long line of lorries coming into view just now. It was not one of those supply columns with a few vehicles. This was the mother of all convoy columns. Longer than some trains and they were trundling right smack in the middle of the road where Gaston estimated his touchdown.
He had no choice but to enrich the mixture and look for another place to land. The road turned and Gaston repeated the procedure, this time letting the rudder do the work to align the plane with the new direction of the road. He was only a few meters above the ground. He made contact with the surface. The plane bounced once and he immediately blipped the engine until it stopped. Violette kept rolling, dragging behind the bits of the broken lower plane. The Nieuport finally came to a stop and Gaston let out a big sigh of relief. He looked again at the broken wing. He was lucky.
"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."