Originally Posted by AlbrechtKaseltzer
The C.O. grimaced. "You're the worst two-seater pilot I have ever seen, and due in part to your ineptitude, we lost our only pilot with single-seater experience. However, be that as it may, we now have a vacancy in single-seater duty, and given your previous experience, there is a glimmer of a chance that you may be somewhat less of a negative to this unit in the cockpit of an Eindecker."

"You mean I'm the only pilot ready to fly the #%&*$# thing."

"You're the only one who does us less damage in a single-seater than in a two-seater."

"...Sure, I'll take that."

...not long after he'd gathered enough altitude to head west towards the front, he spotted a Nieuport 10 on the horizon...French Escadrille N69. It was "go" time.

With a little speed control, Kaseltzer found himself once again in firing range...Knowing that he had to deliver a strong, decisive knock-out blow, he went for it, delivering 70 rounds in the general vicinity of his opponent's upper wing. It worked: the Nieuport's upper left wing ripped off, sending the airman from N69 straight to the ground below.


15 November 1915
Bertincourt, France

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Well, sure enough, Al Kaseltzer's claim for shooting down a Nieuport 10C1 from Escadrille N69 got rejected. No eyewitnesses, apparently.

"I'm sorry, Leutnant, but we need more proof than this if you want Die Fliegertruppe to confirm this claim," the C.O. said.

I'm sure N69's got all the proof they need sitting in their empty shed back at Baizieux, Kaseltzer thought to himself. They're going to be out for blood. "Very well, sir."

Granted, Kaseltzer didn't really care one way or the other. This outcome was to be expected; what mattered was that Al had at least proven to himself that he could hang with the enemy.

The next couple days consisted of non-descript patrol missions, mostly artillery spotting, until the C.O. assigned flights for a bombing mission behind enemy lines on 15 November. It seemed like a fairly straightforward mission: Flieger Oglodeck would man the controls for the Aviatik C.I carrying the payload, with Beodachter Voss in the observer's seat. Kaseltzer and Gustav Leffers had escort duty.

Team made it behind enemy lines unnoticed - that is, until they got about 3 miles in (over the town of Albert) and started hearing the dreaded ping!-ping!-ping! from above.

Nieuports. Four of them. Kaseltzer recognized the N69 insignia on all of them, and could even recognize a couple faces from the papers. Paul Malavialle and Robert de Marancour had been somewhat of a thorn in Die Fliegertruppe's side for some time now, and it looked like this flight was going to be the next to get pricked.

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Photograph: Paul Malavialle (L) of N69 pursuing Gustav Leffers (R)

Kaseltzer soon observed that his second dogfight was going to be nothing like his first. He and Leffers were utterly outmatched, both numerically and technologically; with some clever maneuvering, Kaseltzer could get into position against one Nieuport 10, but he couldn't keep out of position of four Nieuports all at once.

There was a BOOM! to Kaseltzer's right - one of the Nieuports had struck the engine to Oglodeck's Aviatik. Pilot and observer were going down in flames. There was nothing anybody could do about it.

Oglodeck was evidently unconscious, assuming he was still alive at all, but Albrecht caught sight of Voss making a jump for it. From 1500 feet up, he was a dead man. This wasn't escape: Voss was merely choosing the means of his death, and he decided he'd rather jump than burn alive.

But the battle wouldn't pause, and Kaseltzer found himself swarmed by Marancour and another N69 airman. A bullet (or several) struck his Fokker's fuel lines. His seconds in the air were now numbered, and he had no choice but to get back. Making a steep dive, Kaseltzer directed his craft back to the east, in hopes of reaching German lines before running out of fuel.


He was approaching the edge of French territory.


No Man's land was in sight.


He could see the nearest German sector HQ.


He still had a ways to go before getting out of No Man's Land, but now all he could do was glide.

Unfortunately, N69 had caught up with him following his 1200-foot dive, and multiple Lewis guns were now on his tail.

This was a desperate moment - he HAD to get out of the air, German lines or not. Kaseltzer managed to touch down - however, he hit the ground running, ending in a violent crash-land in the middle of No Man's Land.

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Last edited by AlbrechtKaseltzer; 05/25/21 08:36 AM.