26 July, 1916 132:15 afternoon mission Proville, Flanders Sector Kasta 17 Feldwebel Otto B von Kenobi 1 confirmed victory
Yesterday, Otto landed back at the aerodrome after completing the second bombing mission of the day. Artur Dietrich ran out onto the field on his stubby legs with a piece of paper in his hand. “- It’s confirmed! You have got him. Mein Gott, you have got him!” Von Kenobi didn’t understand. “- Have got what?” “- That ... Nieuport ... from ... yesterday!” Dietrich was out of breath. “- Un...believable!” “- Was? Das ist wunderbar!” Obi was elated. That evening the Kasino was much rowdier than usual. Kasta’s revelry continued late into the night.
This morning Otto was dragged out of his bed by the tall orderly. He never knew one’s head could ache like this until now. On the take off line he couldn’t tell if it was the propeller that was spinning or his head. His stomach churned as the Walfisch bounced along the grassy field during the take off and he nearly lost his breakfast when his stomach came up to his throat in a mild dive to form up. That is if he had eaten any breakfast this morning. Instead, his throat continued to burn from the regurgitated bile afforded by last night’s stomach contents. His only consolation was the thought that his observer, Gunther must be in similar condition. He continued to attempt to lean his head against the side of the fuselage. Needless to say it was a futile attempt. The fuselage was located uncomfortably low. His head simply lolled to one side. They’ve been tasked with recon of enemy front lines near Arras. Escort was supposed to be provided by three E.IV’s from KEK Douai but the Fokkers never showed up and Kette Zwei, after circling the rendezvous point for 10 minutes, gave up and continued unescorted. The skies were of the grey kind and the rain clouds were rolling in. Thankfully the patrol area was relatively clear and observations could proceed without any hindrance. The weather cooperated, unfortunately the French had not and had sent three scouts to intercept. They attacked from the east again. It seemed like déjà vu for Otto. One of the Nieuports raked von Kenobi’s plane along the starboard wings. There were bullet holes all across. Two more scouts were on top of Leutnant Thiede. Obi tried to help but he had problems of his own. He fired at the pair pursuing his leader and turned back to his attacker. After a few turns the Nieuport had enough, perhaps he was out of ammo. He had height advantage and extended quickly away from Otto. Obi attempted to pursue but gave up soon after. Instead, he turned back to lend assistance to Thiede, but there was no sign of his leader. Von Kenobi found a smoking crater and another Nieuport circling it. Where was Thiede and where was the third French scout? Whose remains were smoldering down below? Fortunately for Otto he had height advantage and could engage the Nieuport on his terms. After a few dives, turns and climbs, Obi found himself at the top of a climb, rotating and finding the French scout in front of him. He squeezed the trigger and his Spandau tore holes into the unlucky Nieuport. The damned thing continued to evade him, but eventually the engine failed and another volley sent the Frenchman to the ground. Otto turned for home. It was a disaster. Thiede survived the fight, but Kette Eins was obliterated. Leutnant Klaus Knapp was shot down while his wingman returned to base but died of his wounds in the hospital shortly after. Those damned lazy Fokker pilots. The score would have been different if their escort had arrived on time.
"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."