Mock and Dorn had a grand time feeling out their new mounts on the return flight from Ghent. They were both in high spirits as they took off with Marconnay to escort an Aiatik to bomb the front lines north of Verdun. Marconnay was their new flight leader since Dornhiem had transferred out. They had not had time to get to know him, only that he was an aristocratic and seemed a bit aloof.
They had just attained altitude south of Martincourt when Marconnay suddenly dove. Drogo and Dorn followed. Drogo was shocked to see 2 Nieuports coming at them. The 5 machines flashed past each other with their guns firing. Drogo pulled into a climbing turn and saw his flight leader following one of the EA. Dorn made a deflection shot at the enemy machine and he and Marconnay took turns trying to get on his tail. This Frenchy knew his machine and even put a few holes in Drogo’s machine during the melee. The Frenchman knew when it was a bad situation and dove out for home. Marconnay signaled to land over Stenay and Drogo followed. The was no sign of Mock. They flew back to Martincourt and word soon came in of a crashed D II 5 miles from Stenay airfield. Drogo was crushed. Mock had been his friend since he arrived at Jasta 7 and the only one left from the 5 pilots he started with. “Wether the trenches or in the air, death is death” Drogo thought. Mock’s death weighed heavy on his mind but there was no time to ponder. They were to be back in the air that afternoon. He had learned one thing. He could not outfly the a Nieuport, but he stood a better chance of surviving with his new machine.
They were back in the air at 2pm with Mayer taking Mocks place. Another escort mission to Verdun. As the escorted craft did their job over Verdun, Drogo could see a lot of activity around. Judging from the specks fleets about their was a fight going on south of them but it was none of their concern at the moment. As the bombers turned home, so did Kette Zwei. Over NML Drogo saw an EIll being chased north by 2 Nieuports. He signaled Marconnay who gave him the signal to “go ahead.” Drogo dove to engage. He knew the E IIIpilot was a dead man unless he intervened. As he was lining up on the trailing unsuspecting Nieuport he checked his rear to see another Nieuport on his tail. He immediately turned to engage. With one pass the Nieuport headed home. Drogo turned but could not see the E III pilot nor the Nieuports. Looking back he saw another Nieuport coming up on his tail! After two circles the Nieuport broke for home. By the time Drogo could come around and give chase he was 400 yards away. Drogo fired a parting burst and was shocked to see the Nieuport go into a spin. Drogo stood on one wing and visually followed the Nieuport down. Realizing there may be more in the area, as soon as he was sure he could not recover Drogo leveled out and searched the skies. They were empty. He headed home. His claim was rejected in short order.
Once the bedlam of the day was over, Drogo retired to his quarters. There was Mocks empty bed. Drogo shook his head and went to bed. He felt very alone.
Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear or a fool from either end. BOC Member since....I can't remember!