Henri Patois Verdun April 11, 1917 Escadrille3 No. 23
Yesterday's mission was my first balloon busting mission. Four of us took off and headed for the front. As we approached the lines, I busied myself in navigation, and when I started to dive for the balloon I failed to notice that my flight had broken off to deal with some fighters determined to prevent our dirty work (who could blame them?) I managed to take the "sausage" down on my second pass (my rockets failed to fire on the first) when I was set upon by a single Albatros. I traded fire with him and he eventually settled down on a soft crash behind the lines. At this point I was very much alone and as I looked over my shoulder I noticed another flight of Albatros scouts above me. I immediately dove for the lines to put as much space between us as possible. They must have liked the odds, for the put in a fearsome pursuit. I dragged the flight back to one of our balloons, where the ground fire provided a bit of protection for me. I fired on one of the scouts until my Vickers clicked dry, seemingly to no avail. In frustration I started to pull off, only to see the enemy's engine start to smoke and then ignite, sending him down in flames! When I got back, I was awarded the balloon and the fighter that went down on our side of the lines. We lost one scout from A flight, but all my wing made it back just fine.