Another three patrols for Roger Arceneaux (That's his name, I don't know where I got the other one from)
Anyway, after his escapades at the front after the great balloon adventure our hero found himself in the thick of it again. He and SGT Casale took off for a "patrol 'd bombardment" (Offensive patrol?) And met a lone Fokker coming the other way over the front. Casale and Arceneaux soon got the advantage over him and, seeing as Casale had latched onto the Fokker's tail quite firmly, Arceneaux was content to let him have it, keeping watch from on high and swooping down to pepper the German when opportunity presented. After one such attack the Fokker seemed to lose his will to fight and began descending. Roger could see that the E.III was done for, he must have done some serious damage to it, but Casale couldn't make such a distinction and continued to tail the Fokker at about 50 yds, hammering away at it as it lost height and drew nearer to the forest covered hillsides. Arceneaux knew what was going to happen, Casale had forgotten anything else in the world existed except for his target and, consequently, when the stricken Fokker ploughed into the treeline, so did poor Casale.
Roger then continued the patrol, flying over the lines alone at 6,000 ft and waffling about over a Bosche field. some Aviatiks happened along but they were too low for his tastes. Two of them lit out after seeing Roger lurking above and the third decided to land. Roger knew better than to interfere. Archie gets lucky more often that you'd believe and it's a long glide home with no engine. Eventually turning for home Roger was almost back tot he lines when he turned to look behind, just in case, and there were two Fokkers behind him about a mile back. They seemed to be gaining so Roger waited patiently before turning into their attack. A Green Fokker led the pair, Roger had never seen a green one before. The other was the typical dun colour and both of them were very interested in Roger. They needent have bothered, Roger's Nieuport easily outperformed them and soon he was in position behind the green one, firing a burst that caused him to initiate a descending corkscrew turn. Arceneaux didn;t follow, the other Fokker was his priority now and he gave it the same treatment, maintaining his advantages where he could find them and firing off the last of his ammunition into it before speeding away West. On the way home he found a mountain lake, a brief excursion revealed that there were no Chalet's of cabins by the shores which struck him as odd. Perhaps there might be some good fishing up there, maybe even some swimming if the weather got warmer.
Roger didn't even bother putting in a claim for the Eindecker, he was fairly certain that his shots had dome the fatal damage but it didn;t seem fitting. Let Casale have the honour, his final accomplishment with the Escadrille. The Adjutant asked him to write a letter to Casale's wife, Roger dutifully obliged and he put down that Casale showed "no regard for his personal safety". A polite way of saying that he was a careless idiot. Arceneaux was angry that Casale has thrown his life away so foolishly.
The next day B Flight went along to patrol the same area and didn't see a thing. Even Archie couldn't be bothered shooting at them.
Patrol number 3... Well it wasn't even a patrol. Clouds closed in again and the Adjutant sent Roger up to scout the path to the front. The cloud ceiling was too low for anyone to get through the mountains and Roger turned for home to report his findings. He spent most of the rest of the day resting and contemplating the events of his first week with the Lafayette Escadrille. Kiffin Rockwell and Jim McConnell invited him to play cards and they whiled away the long, dull hours in the crew room by the stove. Looking at their cards, each man pensive, drawn faces lost in their own thoughts but robotically going through the motions of playing five card stud for amounts of a currency they rarely had time to spend, nor even knew the value of compared to their American dollars.
Despite having a French name, Roger was not a Frenchman. His parents migrated to The US and had made their way west to California int he 1870's, they'd done quite well out of the rail boom and Roger had been attending an engineering school in England, preparing for a career in the railways when the war began. A short boat trip and several months of training later and here he found himself. Losing francs to two of his countrymen in a strange country.
Tomorrow it might be someone else playing cards in his place, or it might be none of them at all. Eventually an NCO announced that the mess bar was open for the evening and, to a man, they washed their thoughts away before dinner.
Let's pretend I got the BWOC badge to embed here.
Wenn ihr sieg im deine Kampf selbst gegen, wirst stark wie Stahl sein.