Mission No. 6 for Captain Dobson.
(Note: a newer version of the "GPU Tuner Patch" is still being tested and more info. will follow - the latest tweaks, with more lighting and specular shader calls enabled in the shaders.xml file, also with the pixel dim size of 400 applied to the two relevant d3d8 ini files, have been used for mission no. 6, see pics. attached below for comparison; also, those who enjoy reading of Cap'n. Dobson's and Oberleutnant Von Pranz's exploits might want to check out several tales of immersion based in the middle eastern theater in the second half of 1918, that were posted under the "DiD Single Missions" thread, for the centenary end of WWI, under the FE2 section of CombatAce - available here: https://combatace.com/forums/topic/92423-did-style-single-missions-for-fe2/
Today's mission required that I and another Parasol, flown by Sergeant Stephen Rhodes, observe the German batteries and their dugouts close to the lines, and slightly south of Bethune and Lens. The ascent was uneventful, although slightly windy, and we plotted a course towards our target, making sure to climb above 1000 m alt. before we passed the Lys and slightly veered to the left of our original flight plan, taking us over enemy territory already near Neuve Chapelle. I was carrying less fuel so that I could more easily carry four 20 kg bombs, while Rhodes, at my suggestion, was not carrying any - and would thus be able to provide us with immediate cover in case of any unpleasant surprises.
I dropped two of the bombs, at a rather high alt. of 1700 m, already over the enemy positions below Neuve Chapelle, but there was too much mist present to ascertain precisely where the bombs fell. We then floated further south, while veering a bit more to the left, to take us over Lens, and also to the outskirts of Lens, where we spotted a small factory complex of some kind. We flew dangerously low and did a few circles above the factory, while taking photographs, but were struck in the wings several times by German rifle fire. I dropped our two remaining bombs in the vicinity of the factory and then immediately opened the Parasol's rotary to full power, and we dashed away as quickly as possible, further south towards the Vimy area to do some reconnoitering there, and also to harass a solitary German balloon (one of those sausage types) - that was in the vicinity. I did several circles above and around the balloon, but owing to low altitude turbulence and rifle fire from below, Henderson my observer was unable to do any serious damage to it - although he is convinced that several of his rounds entered the gasbag. His Lewis MG also jammed a few times, further slowing our unsuccessful attack on the balloon. Having spent all of our ammunition, we then had no choice but to do a wide turn and to ascend northwards again. During our balloon attack, Rhodes, in the other Parasol, had kept watch slightly above us.
For the return flight, we climbed rather higher, to about 2500 m alt., to avoid any lurking enemy aircraft, but made sure to stay on the German side of the lines, for better spotting of trench lines and arty positions. Eventually, while passing Neuve Chapelle, we turned slightly to the left and plotted our way, through the broken clouds and low-lying mist, towards one of our aerodromes slightly to the north of the River Lys, and that I had alighted upon after my previous mission. Once again my petrol was close to the 50% mark and so, being prudent, we set down here, as did Rhodes in the other Parasol.
The landing went well since there is a fairly large field at this aerodrome that is laid out in a sort of half-crescent shape. We telephoned our own small 'drome above Armentieres, but, the winds having picked up speed in the afternoon, we were advised to spend the night here - where we were served up some fine entertainment, first enjoying Charlie Chaplin's film The Champion
and then a burlesque dance performance by Lady Harbury (who usually resides in Paris and has translated Proust's Remembrance of Things Past
into English; she is also known for her double-jointedness).
For dinner there was goose pate and other hard-to-come-by specialities, to be washed down with sparkling red Gratien & Meyer champagne that one of the pilots here, an NCO, manages to supply occasionally as we were told, ferrying the bottles down from the Meyer facilities in the Loire Valley - of all things imaginable - by an inconspicuous Be.2.