Mission No. 7 for Hauptmann Otto v. Pranz, as Mission No. 2 for Hauptmann Eberhard Kiener
(note: all settings as for mission no. 6, with the only addition being the ver. 1.4 patch applied over ver. 1.2 of the GPU Tuner for WOFF - did not notice any significant fps hit when 1.4 is applied directly over 1.2, might be a slight hit if applied over 1.3 since 1.3 contains more "ringdims" than 1.2 - will try out that combo. in future missions, but pleased with the current combo. of 1.4/1.2/1.1.1 - very smooth fps and flying)
'And what kind of nonsense is this, enemy biplanes out of nowhere! - most strange that they never attack when I am here?,' asked the C.O. irritatingly. He was back from Zerkegem this afternoon of the 13th of Nov., having procured one Oberursel that was finally transported by truck to Ghistelles. The other two rotaries were found faulty and sent back to the factory, with replacements ordered that were to be shipped directly to the 'drome next time, no exceptions.
Hutzenlaub, the replacement pilot for Krebs and who arrived late last night, stood firmly and saluted - 'may I explain, sir?' 'Please do,' was the C.O.'s muted response. 'You see, we were to do a quick patrol at 8:30 in the morning, and, while our engines were being primed, there was a buzzing heard over head.' Hauptmann Keiner here interjected: 'In short, we were jumped by three Nieuports, sir, while the Aviatik was making a run to ascend. If we didn't get them, they surely would have brought the Aviatik down. Unteroffizier Hutzenlaub managed to bring down one of those rascals, while I brought down the other one - but a control cable snapped on my Eindecker, in the violent maneuvers, and I made a forced landing nearby. One of the Nieuports is still there behind that tree, with its tail up. The other disintegrated on impact and burned awhile. The third gave us the slip and disappeared somehow, possibly had a better-tuned rotary.'
'Indeed, a confirmed victory for each of you, gentlemen,' responded the C.O., 'including two honor goblets for your endeavors. And how did it feel, Kiener, your first real combat with another one-seater?' 'Well, sir,' Kiener here thought how to phrase his response - 'much like duelling in Heidelberg during my student days, but with a lot more wind and noise.' This received a loud laugh from one of the riggers who had been in the vicinity, outside the C.O.'s office. Kiener smirked, for he was never the most creative with his words, but he was pleased with himself and rightly so, having bagged a more maneuverable Nieuport; although, Von Schnapps had improved, as much as possible, the wing warping on the E.IIa variants that were slowly increasing in numbers here at Ghistelles.
'And now, to other important matters, concerning Hauptmann v. Pranz and Leutnant Seelig,' commented the C.O. 'For earlier this morning, I see that there are entries in the log-book, a flight around 7 a.m., with v. Pranz and Seelig going about their routine long circuit to the batteries at Ledegem and back, with you accompanying, Keiner?' 'Yes, sir, that is correct,' Keiner responded - 'but, you know how v. Pranz has a tendency to veer initially from the prescribed course - well, he and Seelig first attacked the balloon south of Niewpoort, and made a fireball of it - I was at a higher alt. and observing, as signalled by v. Pranz. Soon after, they were attacked by two Nieuports that, judging from their maneuvering, were likely in the hands of skilled flyers. A wild kurvenkampf
then erupted, with Seelig flying wonderfully and getting some shots into one of the Nieuports, a green one, that then managed to escape. In the meantime, he was attacked from the back and came down, on fire.'
'Who attacked him?,' asked the C.O. 'The other Nieuport, a cream-colored one,' responded Kiener - 'v. Pranz then engaged this fellow and a lengthy battle followed, with Pranz managing, amazingly, to outmaneuver the Nieuport, to riddle him with several shots, and the Nieuport then crash-landed into some trees, losing a wing in the process.' 'Excellent!,' responded the C.O. - 'that cream-colored fellow, as you call him, is the Britisher Roderic Dallas, a notable flyer and most meddlesome for our Aviatiks. It is even possible that Krebs was brought down by him - and what then transpired, Kiener?'
Kiener now more slowly responded to the query - 'well, as we were then heading further south, and towards our lines again, v. Pranz attacked another balloon near Diksmuide - he was doing well enough, but, as he was in a climbing turn to come back at it - some flak came horribly close to him, possibly severing his control wires, for the right wing was seen to dip, and a part of it came off. I noticed him using full opposite rudder to deflect this sudden deficiency but it was of no use - he sideslipped into the ground close to the balloon, with only the fuselage remaining intact in a ball of debris and dirt.'
'Uh, most nasty,' here commented Hutzenlaub, 'no way to survive something like that, sir.'
'That will be all gentlemen! - and hopefully, now that I am back, the war will return to a more peaceful tempo.' Here the C.O. lit his pipe and dismissed the flyers, and pondered, morosely, over v. Pranz's and Seelig's fates. The whims of war, fame and a roll of the dice - thought the C.O. to himself. If only Pranz had followed the prescribed route more stringently this time, thereby minimizing his exposure to enemy flak. If only - but, here the C.O. smiled - at least v. Pranz experienced a stellar rise in his short time at Ghistelles and would be remembered in the annals of Bosta 2 history - as the only pilot here who became an ace while he fell, to be awarded victories five and six posthumously.
Satisfied with these mathematical ideas that are in the spirit of good bookkeeping, the C.O. then thought about lunch, and also about v. Pranz's parti-colored Eindecker that was still in its hangar, having finally had its wings repaired.
It would henceforth be Kiener's mount - and may it serve him well.