Vizeflugmeister Albert Tross
Marine-Landfliegerabteilung III
16 sorties
1 confirmed kill
9th September 1915

"Ahh Tross"..."Good News....the Flak battery down the road are happy to confirm your victory, they have asked though, in future, could you try to ensure the #%&*$# thing doesn't land on their heads haha" said Ltn Kerndorf.

That evening was a joyous one, but it was back to business the next morning with a quiet jaunt over towards Oostende. A similar pattern followed for a few days. The nearest we got to action was scoring another moral victory over a Morane above the lines near Diksmuide but again he cut and run and again it was his 80hp engine against mine. 'Orders' Tross, 'Orders' I thought to myself as we turned and left him to run.

The next day I was due to fly a patrol at 4pm. At around 3pm we could hear flak batteries opening up a few miles away. Our watch tower then reported incoming aircraft. I threw my gear on as the mechanics readied my aircraft, which thankfully, due to my impending flight was already fuelled and armed. A few moments later I was airborne. It was quite cloudy but the sun was coming through the clouds. I could see the enemy aircraft high above and as I gained height I heard the thud as their bombs hit our airfield.

I continued climbing after the enemy and could make out they were both BE types. I continued climbing and circling underneath them.

I could now see they'd started for home so I went after them climbing àll the time. This time I knew what I was doing, I came up behind and beneath the lead aircraft, I don't think he even saw me coming, he certainly made no attempt to evade anyway.

I was so close now......NOW tac tac tac tac tac tac went my gun. Straight away his machine shuddered and smoked, I had to dip my nose underneath him as he slowed and came around I then heard a loud bang. I looked around and the BE was nose down and covered in flames, smoke bellowing behind him. He was done for!

I looked around but couldn't see the other BE type, most probably he'd headed into clouds. At any rate I saw no trace.

I took my bearings, our side of the lines, due west of Oostende and made my way home. This time I was quite calm as I landed, although my blackened face as I dismounted told my kameraden all they needed to know it seems. This time Ltn Kerndorf asked for full details, although he allowed me to freshen up first, thankfully.

The airfield had taken a pounding but repairs were underway, at least none of the aircraft or personnel were hit.

The armourers report showed I'd only fired 20 rounds as I completed my report and handed it to Ltn Kerndorf. "Two claims in a week Tross" are you trying to win this war on your own?" He joked as he countersigned it and placed it on his desk. "I'll let you know when I have news, now go and relax with the others man, you deserve it" said Kerndorf. "Yes Herr Ltn" said I as I left, closing the door.

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"A great deal of an aeroplane could be holed without affecting its ability to fly. Wings and fuselage could be—and often were—pierced in 50 places, missing the occupants by inches (blissfully unaware of how close it had come until they returned to base). Then the sailmaker would carefully cover each hole with a square inch of Irish linen frayed at the edges and with a brushful of dope make our aircraft 'serviceable' again within an hour."