Thanks Wulfe, I think 1/10th of this value would be a more realistic number. This will become much more difficult when the Albatros shows up. Now, Fullard is keeping the Huns honest. Too bad about another unconfirmed victory, but a victory nonetheless. One less Boche to worry about.
The overcast skies seemed to press down on the land beneath it, but Gaston knew they only needed to rise above this low level cover and the view would improve. He wasn’t wrong. For some unknown reason the HQ decided to go easy on Escadrille 37 this morning. They were assigned to patrol above Villers-Bretonneux airfield. The airfield was practically next door to Cachy. They could have walked there. No need to waste time with long transit flights. As usual, the ‘A’ flight raced ahead. Voscadeaux was sure the 22 minutes will pass quickly and they’ll be back for second breakfast in no time at all. That was when he noticed one of the boys from the ‘A’ flight passing them and going in the opposite direction. “- Must be a wonky engine.” Gaston thought to himself, but then he understood the real reason for the pilot leaving the formation. The other two of his flight-mates were engaged in a twisting fight with a Walfisch. The sky-blue plane was rolling and diving with the best of them. The anti-aérienne was throwing up in the air everything they’ve got just to make it more interesting. Another of the Nieuports disengaged. Voscadeaux observed from above the last of the French scouts attack the German machine. Gaston and his wingmen were close now. He was waiting for the sign. The Nieuport below peeled off. That was the sign. Voscadeaux put Violette in a dive and placed the Boche just above where the flying wires were intersecting in front of his windscreen. He squeezed the trigger and the Belgian rattlesnake spat bursts of venom from its barrel. Gaston immediately banked to port to avoid a collision. The next time he saw the Hun crate it was on fire, dragging a long plume of black smoke. The gunner however was far from giving up. Voscadeaux could see the muzzle flashes from within the thick smoke. The Parabellum was firing blindly and then it was all over. The blue plane nosed down and impaled itself into the field below.
The ‘B’ flight returned to the patrol area just west of the smoking crater. They still had 9 minutes to go. The time passed quickly and Gaston was now following the rest of his flight in a landing pattern. Final scan of the skies before getting ready to put his plane down. Blue skies. Puffy, white clouds. Archie pale bursts. Yellow monoplanes. It was a pair of Fokkers looking for the Roland they’ve been charged with escorting. Instead the Walfisch they’ve run into Violette. Two E.IV versus one N16. The Boche were sure the odds were on their side, but it isn’t the machine, but the man behind the controls that ultimately decides who will fly home and who will fall. Obviously they haven’t heard of Capitaine Voscadeaux. The two sides were sizing each other. Gaston - cautiously, the Boches - boldly, sure they can easily protect each other. The circling continued to tighten, Gaston tried to keep both foes in his view. He saw one of them change direction, he was on him in a heartbeat. The Hun was spinning to the ground after Voscadeaux sent a well aimed burst which cut the control cables. It was one-on-one now and the French Ace could see the Boche was scrambling. There would be no mercy today. The Hun broke off and turned for the front lines at full speed. Gaston smiled, the German was good as dead. He took his time to aim, closed the distance and fired. Round after round ripped into the Fokker. The pilot in desperation put his plane into a spin. Gaston didn’t follow, but watched every move the Hun made. He leveled out and continued his escape, but Voscadeaux was above and quickly closed the distance in a shallow dive. He fired again, more hits, more damage, but apparently not enough to bring the monoplane down. Gaston was annoyed now. He spent the last of his ammunition and finally he could see the Fokker’s propeller come to a stop. The heavy engine pulled the little scout down. The Eindecker wasn’t gliding, it was in a controlled stall. Soon the ground came fast at the Boche. It didn’t float gently down. It didn’t bounce and float down. It smashed into the hill. Its airframe must have been critically damaged. It disintegrated on contact. Gaston turned back and came to a stop at his aerodrome very soon after.
The afternoon mission was a waste of time. The line patrol near Cappy proved to be uneventful with absolutely atrocious weather. Heavy, dark grey clouds saturated with precipitation dominated the local sky.
"Take the cylinder out of my kidneys, The connecting rod out of my brain, my brain, From out of my arse take the camshaft, And assemble the engine again."