22 July, 1916 05:15 morning mission Proville, Flanders Sector Kasta 17 Feldwebel Otto B von Kenobi
“- Nein, nein, nein! Your claim can’t be confirmed.” Artur’s squeaky voice was filling the operations room. His voice would always get like this when he was annoyed, or excited, or scared. “- It was not a Luftsieg. I will put it down as “zur Landung gezwungen” - forced to land. That is not a kill and will not be credited as such. Rules are rules, Gentlemen and there will be no exceptions. This is Imperial Army, not Royal Flying Corps. We don’t award victories for planes out of control or trailing smoke. Now, get out! I have work to do.” Otto and Karl-Albert were literally pushed out the door. So that was that. The apple barge they shot down yesterday would not be credited. “- Gott Verdammt!” Gunther kicked the dirt with his freshly polished boot.
This morning was Otto’s first strike mission. It was the enemy airfield at Bellevue. Leutnant Thiede was coaching von Kenobi on the fine art of dropping bombs: “- It’s easy. Follow my lead, stay close and drop them when I give the signal. And most important: stay on target!” Seemed simple enough. The bombs have been loaded on the planes, 4 per aircraft. They would be escorted by an Eindecker from KEK 1 but after circling the rendezvous point for 20 minutes and not being able to spot their chaperone, Thiede decided to press on alone. The Fokker jokey must have gotten lost, or had some engine trouble. They’ve arrived over the airfield which already was on fire with great columns of black smoke rising into the sky. It was the handiwork of Kette Eins, which arrived on the scene ahead of them. Kette Zwei was lined up and ready to attack. There, that was the signal! Otto dropped his first pair of bombs. He could only imagine the two projectiles finding their target. He couldn’t see a thing through the clouds and smoke. They’ve turned around for another pass. The signal again! And the last of the bombs were released. They were already on their way back. Fire and smoke attracted attention for miles. They didn’t want to be caught with their lederhosen down when an angry mob of enemy scouts arrives looking for blood. Their trip back to base was quiet.
"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."