Harry, Lazlo is just a teddy bear. One of those plush, stuffed ones that you see at the fairs. One of those large ones that will crush you if it falls on you. Great story and I’m looking forward to the target practice session. On the other hand, does he really need to shoot? He could simply fly to the enemy machines and rip their wings off with his bare hands, or is that bear hands? Just be careful when you attack those Strutters. They do put up a good fight.
Yours certainly puts up a good fight Fullofit
Feldwebel Lazlo Halász,
Jasta 1, Bertincourt, France September 7th 1916
Lazlo was in low spirits. He had all but given up on his claim for the Caudron being approved, until that morning at breakfast when Von Keudell walked up to him and slapped him on his broad back.
"Congratulations on your first official victory, Big Red! May there be many more!" The whole room erupted into cheers, whistles and applause. Lazlo beamed, unable to stifle his feelings of pride. "That's right, confirmation arrived just fifteen minutes ago. How do you feel now?", Von Keudell asked.
"Well, naturally I am happy, but it was just a lucky shot, certainly not good marksmaning".
"Marksmanship", Von Keudell corrected him. "I wouldn't worry too much about that old boy, a victory's a victory. Well now, that reminds me, how's the target practice going?". Lazlo's face fell again.
"Badly, if the truth I am telling. I cannot shoot straight with that damned thing." He had already been up early that morning, chasing the old Aviatik B1 around the field with its makeshift target trailing along behind. When they had come back down to inspect the damage, there had been none! Nearly 200 rounds had managed to completely miss the target. The mechanics had tried to cheer him up and offer advice, but he was unconsolable.
"I'll have a word with the mechanics. I think I have an idea of what the problem is", Von Keudell marched off in the direction of the workshops.
When they got the order to go up later that day, Lazlo noticed something different about his Halberstadt. The mechanics had repositioned the gun mount to be higher up. Now, although he still had to crouch low in the cockpit, he could just about manage to aim with the use of the sight. He thought to himself that this would probably lead to better success that simply firing aimlessly as he had been doing. Their mission took the southwest over Albert, accompanying a lone Roland CII. There was no sign of the enemy and so no chance to try the new gun sight. Lazlo's machine once again suffered an engine failure, but he was able to put down safely on the main road, about five miles short of his field. A tender was soon dispatched to collect him. After the engine had been repaired he went up one more time for a bit more target practice. It was awkward and uncomfortable squatting to line up the shot, but he managed it. Back on the ground together with the mechanics, Von Keudell and Kurt Wintgens, they inspected the target. Murmurs of approval went around the group.
"Very good, Big Red! I think you've found the knack! Watch out Wintgens, he's after your score". Von Keudell winked at his colleague and they both chuckled. Lazlo was as proud as punch and extremely relieved. Now to shoot down some more Frenchmen!