Konrad Berthold von Blumenthal June 1, 1916. Sivry-sur-Meuse, Verdun. KEK Sivry
Konrad turned to look up at the person who had just addressed him, spat in the dirt next to his feet and wiped the sweat from his brow with a rag.
“Well, what did he say exactly?” He scowled at the orderly who was standing nervously a few feet away, puffing from the exertion of having just run across the field to where Konrad was working on his mount. The young man stammered, “He..he..he just said for you to come at once. He’s in his office. I’m sorry to have to trouble you sir, but he seems, erm..”, the orderly hesitated. “Well? He seems what??”, snapped Konrad. “he seems quite upset, sir”. Konrad sighed and dropped the spanner he was holding. “Very well” he replied, turning to walk across the field to the Hauptmann's hut.
“Enter!”, a voice from inside the hut commanded. Konrad took a deep breath, opened the door and went inside. Hauptmann Boelcke was seated at his desk by the window. He didn’t look up from his work. Konrad walked toward him and came to a halt with a click of his heels, saluting smartly.
“Sir!”, he barked, trying to stand stock still. Boelcke paused for a moment, and then raised his eyes to survey the young pilot. After what seemed an eternity to Konrad, the Hauptmann spoke. “Just what the hell do you think you were doing up there today? Your first patrol, with myself leading and you decide to go solo? Are you mad young man? I’m well aware of your connections but you are here to learn, and god #%&*$# it, you will start by learning to OBEY ORDERS!” “Sir”, Konrad gulped and felt his face flush. “If you ever, EVER do anything so stupid again, you are FINISHED here, do you understand?”. Konrad felt his anger rising but with great effort,managed to control himself. “Yes, sir”, he mumbled. The Hauptmann looked back down at his paperwork and Konrad took this as his cue to leave. He snapped off another smart salute, turned on his heels and left the office. Outside he cursed under his breath. Hadn’t he actually done rather well, considering this was his first time up in a single seater monoplane? It wasn’t exactly easy to fly, yet Konrad had managed not only to get it into the air and up to 3,000m, but had also started to get a feel for how to make the beast do his bidding. It was his first experience of a wing-warped design, and he soon found that it needed skillful rudder control to maneuver effectively. He’d even managed to be alert enough to spot a pair of enemy French reconnaissance machine lumbering along on his side of the lines, their presence indicated by a steady series of black shell bursts about 2 kilometers or so away. Konrad proceeded to pursue them, managing to put 12 rounds into one of them before taking return fire to his left plane, at which point he had decided to disengage. Admittedly, he had become confused on the return journey, not able to identify his home field. Eventually he landed at another field some 20 kilometers north east of his own, and had to be towed home, much to the amusement of the waiting KEK Sivry airmen and mechanics. #%&*$# them all, he thought to himself, he would show them! He walked back to his quarters and decided to turn in early. He was met outside the hut by his new wingman and room mate.
“Everything ok?", said Strunze, smiling slightly. "I presume our Hauptmann was none too pleased that you got your Eindecker damaged on your fist time up?”. Konrad decided not to take the bait. “It’s alright, we’ve all been through it", sympathized Strunze. "We call it getting a “Boelcke’ing”. Don’t let it trouble you!". Konrad knew the man was trying to make him feel better about things, but he didn’t want anyone’s sympathy, especially at this moment. “Just leave it, Kurt!”, he pushed roughly past his fellow airman and made his way to the wash room. He would show them. He would show them all!