The crews sat around their hangers. General duties had ceased. The two Halby's were due back by now. All ears were staining to hear the motor noise of the returning pilots. Every one knew that „Sausages“ were quite dodgy to attack. Ltn's Willi Rosenstein and his wing-man Sturm had left about 1 hour ago to do just that.
Finally one man raised the alarm, waving and then pointing to some point in the sky. No one made a noise, all listening in that general direction. Then another man confirmed the first. The motor was quite clear now...but something was wrong. The sound of only one aircraft could be heard. Everyone knew this must mean bad news. Eventually the Halby came into sight. It was black and had a white heart; Willi had made it back but on his own.
Men rushed about to get ready for the landing. Everyone wanted to know what had happened. The Halby turned and landed quite neatly, Pilot and machine seemed well enough. Willi gave some throttle to turn around and park his aircraft. The mission was over. With a big grin on his oil stained face, Willi stepped out of his office to make his report.
Everyone who could gathered around Willi. The Hptm moved through the gaggle and Willi jumped to attention. “Herr Hptm, Ltn Rosenstein reporting the destruction of one British Sausage at Agny.”
“Good, but you forgot someone. Where is Sturm Willi?” “Sturm is very well Herr Hptm, I didn't see what happened to him but after our first run he turned away and flew for the nearest airfield. I finished the job and ran after him. He waved me off and gave the thumbs up, so he must have been having engine trouble. We both cleared the lines so my guess is that he made it too.”
“Well next time make sure and land with him. I take it by the happy face of yours that you got the bugger.”
“Wasn't easy I can tell you that much. I almost called the thing off. As we neared the lines at 1000m we had 3 Morons sweeping south to north at our height. They weren't combative and allowed us to cross over. No wonder, there were 3 N16's just above the Balloon Herr Hptm. I thought it best to move back and see if they followed. They did for a brief moment and then turned South as two Be2's arrived, so I'm guessing they were to be escorts. Finally they moved off and away. That was what I had hoped for. So quick as you like we turned and dived for the position. Pure madness. The Ballon was being hauled in fast. Flak and MG fire was all around us. The 2nd and last run was at 450m. We fired all we could and then I saw Sturm turn sharp left and a sudden, thick black cloud break open from the Balloon Herr Hptm. I hope the spotters were able to see our success this time.”
“Danke Willi, I'll get on the blower and find out. Ltn Sturm should of called in by now I should think. Well done, carry one then.”