Carrick, it was fortunate that Keith was able to get his mount down on the ground in one piece after his last encounter. Losing elevator control can be a real ender.
MFair, Jericho and his crew most certainly had their hands full with those Rolands. There is no good way to go up against them. Condolences on the loss of Phillips.
Fullofit, Gaston should consider taking Vouillermoz into a dark alley somewhere and leaving him there. With wingmen like that who needs the Hun?
27 May, 1916 Fienvillers, France 70 Squadron, R.F.C. Lt. Randolph Arvid Swanson, MC & Bar, CdG 12 confirmed victories, 1 pending claim
After three days of rain at their new digs in Fienvillers Lieutenants Swanson and Dent flew their very first combat mission today in the Strutter, and what a fantastic treat it was! The new plane surely beats everything else currently in the skies above the front, hands down.
Shortly after breakfast Swany had been tasked to lead an offensive patrol across to Beaumont-Hamel. Three Strutters of A Flight, (in fact the only flight of 70 Squadron currently in France due to the continued aircraft shortages), lifted up into a beautiful late-spring sky. The young Minnesotan was feeling particularly proud of his own mount as it sported the new livery he'd come up with: a white swan emblazoned on crossed swords over a squared version of the flag of Norway. He'd also had the engine cowl painted in the same orange-red as the flag background, and had added a large white 'S' ahead of the roundels on the fuselage. Upon seeing all of this Lieutenant Dent had stated, "Well, isn't that spiffing, but what about me? Do I not rate any representation on this new bus of ours? You could at least give me my county's crest below my office, or is that too much to ask", the G/O had chided. Swany laughed and agreed, and a short while later a diminutive version of the blue shield and six yellow martlets of County Sussex had been added to the rig just under the rear cockpit. When asked if he approved, Chris chuckled, "Yes, that's very nice, but you should have made them smaller".
As the Sopwiths approached the mud they were met by a trio of Eindeckers who, upon seeing the new British mounts, immediately turned tail for home. But it was a futile move as the Strutters quickly caught them up over Bapaume. The Hun realized the situation and turned to fight, which was really their only option, poor as it was. Swany and Chris went after the leader, who was turning tightly in an attempt to get on the tail of one of the other Sopwiths. Swany began a short-lived game of cat and mouse with the poor Hun pilot, who hadn't a snowball's chance in hell of escaping. The Strutter could easily turn with the Fokker and could out-climb and outpace it in the process. In a few short moments Swany had lined up on the fleeing Hun and for the first time in his career was able to fire on his prey. He watched with great satisfaction as the bullets from his forward-facing Vickers ripped through the wing of the Eindecker, which immediately spiraled down in an effort to escape. Swanson dove to follow and as soon as the Hun straightened out to fly away Lieutenant Dent took his turn, banging away with the Lewis gun. Again the Hun tried to escape, and again Swany brought the Sopwith to bear on him and lined up for another volley, this time seeing his fire land directly in the cockpit of the beaten Hun ship. The Eindecker went into a lazy tumble that lasted all the way to the ground. Having baptized their Strutter with its first victory, Swany turned back to the west and headed for home, passing an enemy observation balloon that was swaying gently in the morning breeze some distance to the south. For a moment he thought about giving it a go, but decided discretion was likely the better part of valor. Besides, Archie was getting their range and he didn't want to give them more time to zero in.
Upon their return to Fienvillers Swany and Chris made their reports and cheerily talked with the rest of their flight about the fantastic success they'd all just enjoyed as the other two crews each had a claim as well. These new Sopwiths were the bee's knees!
The Sopwith Strutter belonging to the team of Swanson and Dent.
A proper cockpit.
A soon-to-be doomed enemy.
Absolutely no chance of escape.
The G/O takes his turn.
Swany delivers the coup de gras.
The long, slow fall.
A tempting target, but one best left for another day.