MFair, looks like a busy week for your pilot. Congrats on the kill count, despite the rejections and what crawled up Cpt. Gally's behind? Wulfe, you're caugt up to date. I guess I'm the only one left behind - getting difficult with these loooong flights. So N.17, but none for Fullard. Luck is not on his side, but he still manages to bring the Boche down. Hope this rotten luck doesn't stay much longer with him. Lou, everything seems to be going well for Swany. Headache manageable, claims getting confirmed. Things are looking up. Congrats on number 25! And Lederhosen, with machine like that there is no way Frenchies have any chance in hell. Fingers crossed the new claims get confirmed.
Drops of rain were dribbling down the leading edge of Toby’s Strutter. He was about to take off on his own. All other machines were kept in reserve for the bombing mission to Mulhouse and the Captain decided to send Mulberry on a recon mission ahead of the main strike force. Toby didn’t mind especially that earlier today he heard the news his Fokker from the Colmar raid had been confirmed. Ray continued to call him ‘the Killer’ and that was bothering him. He’ll have to talk to him about it when he gets back. He gave the signal and the mechanics pulled the chocks away. It lurched forward and began to roll. Toby was soon in the air and gaining height. He looked around and settled in for a long flight. The engine sounded good and he was looking forward to getting above the rain clouds as quickly as possible. A burst of Archie exploded far ahead, then another. What’s going on? Training exercise? Toby strained his eyes to see better and each of his hairs stood immediately on its end. It was a raid! Fokkers were coming straight at him! One, two, three. Four! Four Eindeckers were barreling down straight at him. What to do? Turn back? Get close to the aerodrome and the safety of the artillery? He was too far away. They would be upon him before he could get there. Mulberry decided to fight. Maybe he’ll sill be able to land if he doesn’t get shot up too badly. He dove to pick up speed and get extra distance as the Huns flew above. They were on him instantly. Bullets slapped the fuselage and the wings. Alford was firing his Lewis madly. Two Fokkers chased after him, while the other two stayed high. A tan one and a green Eindecker were now circling with the Strutter close to the ground. The rear gunner seemed to focus his energy on the green one. Toby decided to keep the tan one in his sights, but as soon as he came anywhere close to the Strutter’s propeller, the Eindecker would dive away and the green one continued to stay on the tail despite Alford’s best efforts. The ant-aircraft batteries opened up on the intruders and Toby could see tracers fly nearby. “- Careful, down there!” He thought to himself as he brought his machine to bear. Finally they were too low for the Hun to dive away and Toby found his mark. The bits and pieces of the monoplane started to fly off as his Vickers hammered away. The Fokker’s engine started to smoke and one of the bullets caught the pilot in the back. The whole machine spun to the ground near the aerodrome. The green Fokker behind hit him one more time and Toby banked hard. They were almost over the airdrome now and the Strutter turned inside the Eindecker. The green monoplane was now in front. Toby’s Vickers barked again and another German pilot was falling helplessly to the ground. “- Not there! Not there!” To Toby’s horror the stricken Fokker was falling directly toward one of the hangars. It smashed into it with a sickening crunch, setting the structure on fire. He could see people running. A few were dragging their mates from the crash site. Toby was sick to his stomach - it was his fault. He looked around. The skies seemed to be clear and there were no more Archie explosions anywhere near. He’d decided to land his damaged machine. There was no way he would complete his reconnaissance mission now. Mulberry pointed his machine towards the aerodrome and settled into a landing pattern, but something didn’t seem right. Toby looked up to his starboard. There! The two remaining Fokkers were coming down on him out of who knows what concealment. Mulberry winced. He can’t do this again with a damaged machine. An E.IV zoomed by. Toby’s Strutter banked to follow. He could see the second Fokker in the corner of his eye. Alford will have to deal with that one. The Strutter continued to follow the German monoplane hoping for a lucky snapshot. Toby fired and the shot connected with the other plane right at the instant when he crossed in front of the British pilot. The Fokker dove to evade any more fire and turned east. Toby dove after but the E.IV was faster. Mulberry fired at the receding silhouette, but it was a vain attempt. He abandoned the pursuit and concentrated on the final Fokker behind. A simple bank and a 360 degree turn brought the Fokker in front of the Strutter. The last Eindecker attempted to dive in order to escape, but Toby had him back in his sights soon after. He fired two more bursts and then his gun fell silent. For the first time he depleted all of his ammunition. It was now up to Alford. Mulberry brought his bus close to the Fokker to give his gunner the opportunity to bring the Hun down. That’s when he realized how poor of a shot his gunner was. The man couldn’t hit the helpless monoplane despite plenty of opportunity. It was also then that Toby realized the German must have had a gun jam and wasn’t able to retaliate. Mulberry continued to bring his plane alongside the enemy’s to give his gunner a chance to shoot it down. It was after the fourth or fifth attempt that Alford got a break and a single solitary bullet hit the Fokker, which immediately went into a spin and crashed below. The Strutter didn’t linger around. Toby brought his plane quickly back to the aerodrome and landed. The mechanics, who witnesses the entire ordeal came close to take a look at the machine that took on four Fokkers and survived.