Nothing like a new craft to pull one out of a funk, eh? Nice story Wulfe, and thanks for the encouragement!
CHAPTER TWO - AN INTERESTING LANDING
Konrad Berthold von Blumenthal June 2, 1916. Sivry-sur-Meuse, Verdun. KEK Sivry
After a night's sleep, Konrad felt refreshed. He had stewed over his carpeting by Hauptmann Boelcke but realized that the man was probably right. After all, this man had already been anointed as THE master tactician of the Imperial Army, with all pilots absolutely required to learn and adhere to the "Dicta Boelcke", the eight disciplines that would make a man as efficitve in the air as anything else. Of course It made sense to stick together on patrols, at least until Konrad had become fully comfortable with the wing warper. The problem remained though, how to keep up with his superiors' EIVs? He'd just have to try his best.
"Good morning!", said a cheery voice. Strunze had entered the hut having just been to wash and shave. "How are you today? Ready to go up again?". "Yes I'm ready. I would prefer to have a machine that could actually fly at speed", growled Konrad, pulling on his flying suit as he spoke. "Ah well, we're both in the same boat there". Strunze gave a wry smile. "At least we should stick together, yes?". Why was this man so damned reasonable all the time? He grated on Konrad's nerves already and he'd only known him for 36 hours!
Out on the field Konrad noted the absence of Boelcke for this patrol. Perhaps he had paperwork to complete, he thought. Nevertheless he had resolved to stay as close as he could and fly in formation for the duration of the mission. They went up to around 1800m and proceeded south east, parallel to the river Meuse, with the river on their right and the foret de Spincourt on their left. From there they made their way to the western edge of the Foret de la Reine, crossing the lines at Etain, eventually turning back to retrace their steps. Konrad kept a weather eye out for other machines the whole time, but none were to be seen.
Arriving back at the field in Sivry, Konrad made mental notes of landmarks to ensure he didn't make the same mistake as the day before. He followed Strunze down and they circled the filed in preparation for landing. Konrad worked the mixture gradually back to rich and began blipping the engine to control his descent, keeping Strunze's machin in front of him. Just as the were making their final approach, Konrad realized that he would not have enough room to land next to Strunze without switching to the other side of him. As a result, he had to execute a last minute manouver, causing him to land awkwardly on one wheel. Luckily he was able to settle the machine and bring it safely to a stop. He immediately jumped out and ran over to where Strunze was unbuckling his harness.
"What the hell do you think you're playing at?", shouted Konrad. Strunze looked at him, bemused. "You cut right across the front of me just then! I could have easily clipped your tail plane, you fool!". Strunze dismounted and Konrad immediately approached him and pushed him roughly against the fuselage. At that moment Leutnant Loerzer stepped between the two men. "Now then, what's all this about?", he said curtly. "We'll have none of this sort of stuff gentlemen, if you don't mind." "Oh, just a minor misunderstanding, sir", said Strunze. "Nothing serious, eh VB?". Konrad cringed. Now he had a bloody nickname for him. That infuriating man! He stormed off to his hut to get changed.