Oh no MFair, say it ain't so! What a gut punch. I hope you won't be out too long Sir.
Fullofit, wowzers, that was some kind of encounter. 4-to-1 odds and Chesty beat 'em all. Outstanding video and write-up.
Carrick, Keith and his mates at 29 Squadron are taking a bit of a thumping from the looks of it. Hope that changes for them soon.
26 August 1916 Fienvillers, France
It was shortly after eight in the morning and rain was pelting against the windows of the Officers' Mess at 70 Squadron. A storm front had pushed in from the Atlantic overnight and with it came not only the rain but dense clouds and fog. It was primarily the last of these that was now being waited out before attempting to fly the morning patrols. Captain Swanson was sipping at a fresh cup of ginger tea which had just been brought him. Earlier in the week Swany had provided the mess with a tin of powdered ginger and discussed with the head steward how it should be prepared, and the fellow assured him he would have the beverage ready for him whenever he might request it. As thanks Swany had slipped the good man several packs of Murads.
"What's the word Captain Peppermint, is this bloody fog lifting soon or not?" It was Lt. William Kennedy-Cochran-Patrick making the inquiry of his fellow pilot and friend, (as a result of his latest medicinal routine "Captain Peppermint" was now one of Swanson's new nicknames, along with "Gingerbreath Man").
"Ya well who can tell, Patty", Swany replied with a wide grin.
"How's the head feeling, you look like you're back in fine fettle to me", the Lieutenant noted as he sat down at the other side of table.
"Better and better every day. Just a dull pain on da right side most of da time now."
"Well that is marvelous isn't it", Patty acknowledge in a jovial tone, then continued. "Say, that was quite the show yesterday afternoon. We gave those bloody Huns what for, eh?"
The show the Lieutenant was referring to began shortly after lunch the previous day when a pair of Rolands had come over and bombed the field at Fienvillers. Every crew that could get in the air was ordered up immediately to give chase, and as it happened Swany and his G/O, Christopher Dent, were already suited up as they had been preparing to make a quick circuit to check the rigging and trim that had just been completed on their mount. The pair bounded into the sky as quickly as the Strutter could climb and as they made the turn along the row of Bessonneaus the Hun bombs fell. Several hit the field next to the end hangar and heaved up clouds of dirt and sod. Hot shrapnel also tore through the nearby structure and set it alight.
No sooner had the dust began to settle on the ground than the Rolands came screaming down on the few Strutters that had managed to get into the air during the chaos. Captain Swanson watched in amazement and wondered what had possessed them to make such a bold move against superior numbers, and so far from their own lines. Whatever the reason, one of the Rolands was now descending menacingly upon them. Swany raised the nose of the Strutter in an effort to bring his forward gun to bear and as he did so the Hun pilot banked his own craft to open up a shot for his gunner as the two planes merged. In the gun pass that followed the enemy G/O missed the mark while Chris found his with remarkable accuracy. The Hun suddenly carved away and tried to run, but Swanson dove on him and closed the gap. As he approached he could see the Boche G/O was pounding on his gun with his gloved fist, something was jammed up tight. Swany took full advantage of the situation and began firing long bursts into his target as it grew ever closer. He watched as the man in his sights tried in vain to free up his own weapon, but to no avail. Just before breaking off the Captain unleashed one final burst that laced the entire side of the Roland. Seconds later fire began rolling out from the engine of the crippled craft and it plummeted to its fiery end. As Swany swung the Strutter around he spotted two other teams chasing after the remaining enemy plane, which they dispatched in fairly short order.
But the excitement wasn't quite over for Swany and Chris as the Clerget in their mount suddenly spluttered, coughed, and went silent. Dammit, no fuel! Apparently the enemy gunner had managed to land at least one bullet on the mark. Fortunately the field was close and Captain Swanson had enough altitude to glide down safely and make a fine dead stick landing, passing near the handiwork done by the Boche bombs. Luck had clearly favored 70 Squadron, it could have been a lot worse. It certainly had been for the Hun.
Rising up to meet the threat.
A row of newly-formed craters and a smoking hangar, courtesy of the Hun.
The enemy diving fast and hell-bent on further destruction.
A sudden change of heart and a futile run for more friendly skies.
A jam for the Boche gunner - fatally bad luck.
Poor sod, he and his pilot don't stand a chance at this point.
A horrid end for any airman, friend or foe.
The second Roland being finished off by two other crews from 70 Squadron.
Gliding home victorious, passing the new landscaping along the way.