Wulfe, great stuff as always. Fullard is off to quite a good start with a confirmed victory already under his belt. That flamer was unnerving to be sure. To Metayer, I would start to wonder if the man isn't a sociopath given his total non-reaction to nearly everything.
Scout, a fine video and entry. I agree with Wulfe, it read very much like a diary entry of one of our RL counterparts.
Raine, it has been ridiculously soggy in our AO for the last week. Glad to see James has weathered it all in stride, too bad though about Lawley and Williams.
Carrick, looks like Emile will be sitting out the remainder of this war as a guest of the Kaiser. Here's to your next man.
MFair, there's little wonder what Jericho sees in the comely Camille. Hope she doesn't end up breaking Mark's heart.
Fullofit, Gaston needs to get himself some caution. Your man is going to get himself killed if he keeps going at it the way he is, perhaps this hospital stay will teach him to tread with a bit more care.
Hasse, congratulations on the first confirmed victory for Julius. Outstanding.
17 April, 1916 Candas, France No.2 Aircraft Depot, R.F.C. 2nd Lt. Randolph Arvid Swanson, MC & Bar 12 confirmed victories
Yesterday, shortly past lunch, and after days of delay due to mechanical issues, rain, and wind, the mock battle between the captured Fokker and the Morane at last took place. 2nd Lt. Swanson and Captain Thomas could have flown it on the 15th but they were asked to wait until the following day as General Trenchard himself was coming to Candas to view the show. The Depot had received word from Captain Baring, the General's assistant, that the two of them would be flying in on the morning of the 16th. Swany was fairly nervous as he and dozens of other officers and men watched the pair of R.E.7s settle gently onto the north field at half past ten. Baring climbed down from the number 2 bus while the Depot Commander greeted General Trenchard as he deplaned from the lead ship. After the usual formalities and a cursory review of the troops the General asked to meet the men who would be flying. Swany made a concerted effort not to let his accent get the best of him and, when Trenchard wished him luck, responded with a clear, nearly untainted "Thank you General, I vill do my best to give a good accounting of the Morane".
Two hours later the Parasol and Eindecker were sitting side-by-side in front of one of the large Bessonneaus, each machine receiving a final once-over before lifting off. The Fokker was sporting recently painted roundels and rudder stripes to cover the numerous Hun markings as a precaution against any uninformed ground troops who might fire upon it thinking it to be an actual enemy ship. It had been agreed in advance that the two planes would climb to 3,000' and begin the trial directly above the group of hangars along the eastern edge of the depot. The Fokker was to come from slightly above and head-on at the Morane. It had further been determined that each would do his utmost to get their gun trained on the other at every opportunity. To this end Swany would be flying with a Lieutenant Robert Beckman who was to act as his G/O and man the Lewis. Of course neither craft would be armed, and all concerned would be on the honour system when it came to reporting any firing solutions each had managed throughout the engagement.
The signal was given and the trial commenced as Swany followed his opponent across the field and up into the blue, cloud-dotted skies. The rain was gone and the winds were very light, thankfully. After reaching altitude Thomas climbed away from Swanson, and at a thousand yards out swung around and came at the Morane as it circled over the field. Swany turned to face the incoming threat and when the two ships had closed to within 200 yards of each other the show began in earnest. AM Dirks, as promised, had checked over the engine on the Parasol and had it ticking over beautifully, and the riggers had trimmed out the kite just as Swany had asked them to; it responded as well as any Morane ever did. It was a wonderful thing to watch as the two opponents twisted and turned and rose and dove, each attempting to gain the upper hand. Captain Thomas was having a hell of a time getting any shots of worth on the Morane. Just when he thought he was about to have a good line on Swanson the man would flip the Parasol into a gyration that suddenly had it coming back along one flank or the other of the Eindecker, which would present Lieutenant Beckman with an opportunity to rake the side of the Hun craft. After about fifteen minutes of putting their respective kites through its best paces each pilot signaled the other and the exhibition was concluded. The two planes glided back down to the field where the fliers were congratulated on a fine display and where General Trenchard asked each man to give his report and assessment.
Captain Thomas stated that he had only managed four clear "shots" on his opponent, none of which would likely have hit anything vital, probably only venting some canvas a bit. He added that the Fokker was not much of plane to fly as it tended to want to stall out and was a bear to turn. Its only real advantages he could see were its forward firing gun and its slightly better speed.
Lieutenant Beckman, (who truth be told was looking a tad wobbly after the go-round), noted numerous occasions where his pilot had offered him excellent shots into the engine and cockpit of the Fokker, provided he was able to keep his wits about him after certain of the acrobatics. He'd no idea the Parasol could do some of things Swanson had made it do but added that once he was made aware of these maneuvers and could come to expect them it made for some fine shooting chances.
2nd Lieutenant Swanson then gave his thoughts on the affair, again doing his dam'dest not to let his Norsk accent creep in. He stated that while the Parasol was indeed a match for the Fokker, it was only so provided you had it tuned up as finely as you could, and provided you had a G/O that knew how to shoot and a pilot that knew how to handle his bus. Swany went on to say that he had serious doubts the Morane would have much chance at all against the next new kite the Huns introduced as said kite would surely be more nimble and speedier than the Eindecker. When that time came it would be a different story.
General Trenchard was most pleased, not only with the trial, but even more so with each man's honest opinions. He noted that he too was mindful of what the next new enemy plane might be, which was why the British aircraft designers were being ever-diligent to create superior buses for the King's airmen. "Not to worry men, you'll have the newest and best ships, and they'll beat whatever the Huns might be coming up with. You just keep doing your jobs the way you've just demonstrated. You make me proud of the R.F.C."
That evening Swany was informed that he could leave the depot in the morning and make his way to St. Omer. As he lay in his bunk, staring up at the unpainted ceiling boards of his billet, listening to the rain that had begun again, tapping against the window, he thought about what the General had said and hoped it would be true. They needed better planes, much better than the Morane. He thought about his friends James and Mark and the rest of the crew back at Number 3; if they were to stand a fighting chance up in the clouds they had to have new mounts before the Hun got theirs. He wondered about his own upcoming posting and what the planes there would be, supposedly some of the "newest and best". That would be a godsend, but of course he would fly whatever they gave him. That was his job.
Preparing for the show.
Swany, with the advantage, gives Captain Thomas a wave.
Round and round they go.
Oh to have a forward-facing gun.
Wrapping things up.
NOTE: Trenchard and Baring actually did visit the Depot at Candas on the 16th to view a captured Eindecker, this being noted in Barings's ""Flying Corps Headquarters 1914-1918". A must-read, in my humble opinion.