Mission No. 5 for Hauptmann Kiener

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'Today on the 20th of Nov. I was scrambled, in the morning, to intercept two Nieuports that had dropped down to Ghistelles to visit us, unannounced. I took up one of the extra Eindeckers that had arrived yesterday, since mine was still having repairs done to the fuel tank, while Hutzenlaub went up in the other monoplane. We noticed, once in the air, two of those English gunbuses at a great height, and that had dropped three or four bombs on the middle of our field, also next to one of the officers' quarters - but we considered it impractical to pursue them. We did, however, attack the two Nieuports, both cream-colored. I did not fire any shots into my opponent for he was maneuvering effectively - but so was I, and we made several tight circles around one another. This fellow then tried to enter a spiralling and tight dive, to fly underneath me, but clipped some trees and crashed, to break up and burn.

The other rascal was being dealt with by Hutzenlaub, but at times the Leutnant was seen to struggle. I observed the situation briefly and then went in, slipping by quickly and firing only a few rounds into this other Nieuport, which then fell into a wild spin and crashed and disintegrated immediately below. Hutzenlaub and I then did a flight at approximately 2200 m alt. to the batteries between Diksmuide and Niewpoort, to make sure that no other enemy aeroplanes were operating in the area, and returned to Ghistelles. I made two claims upon landing, for both Nieuports; the one that crashed on its own was immediately rejected, although I maintain that my maneuvering caused him to crash. The other fellow, for some odd reason only understandable to our C.O., has been filed as a pending claim. What will come of that I do not know.'

And so read Kiener's flight report for that day, with the statement, 'What will come of that I do not know,' being excised by the C.O. later in the afternoon, who suggested to him that such superfluous information does not contribute to the dignity of the flight reports, nor to the overall morale of the squadron. 'Do learn some tact from the late v. Pranz, Kiener,' was the C.O.'s comment, 'although I can understand your frustration regarding the claim that is pending.' Kiener thanked the C.O. for the advice, although he found the situation strangely amusing since most of the fitters and riggers had also seen the Nieuport spiralling down to a fiery crash - the one that he was most pleased to have brought down, with only seven, tightly-placed shots.
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Von S smile

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