I thought it would be a good idea to restart Joe Bucemi's communication ideas thread again, since the original went off-topic onto another tangent fairly quickly (lets now give this topic the proper coverage it deserves).
To start the discussion rolling again, let me excerpt the following passage from Rudolph Stark's memoir Wings Of War, which was a book recommendation on this forum in fact (thanks fugglestone, and enjoyed it very much).............here's Stark leading his Jasta flight on a 2-seater escort mission at the Front:
We are now five thousand metres up. I see the observer of the Hannoveraner motioning us forward; he wants to get to work now. I wave back to him, and off we go. We climb a bit higher, close up our formation and hang on behind the two-seater.
The first puffs of white cottonwool make their appearance in the air and pass away under our wings. More and more of them come up, but they are a good five hundred metres below us. Now a couple of them rise up to our height and hover quite near to us. One hears something like a faint smack when they burst close to a machine, but we are used to them and do not let them worry us.
I search the heavens and then scan every fold in the ground-no aircraft about. Ever and again I look up into the sun, where the greatest danger lurks, whence sooner or later an enemy must make his appearance. Nothing!
The observer in the machine in front is photographing. He indicates his objectives to his escort and flies I
round them in wide circles. We hang on to him like a gaudy tail, flying wherever he flies. My ear listens to the roar of the engine; my eyes read the rev-counter, oil gauge, petrol clock. Everything in order. Then I count IImy flock. All there. We carry on with the flying.
The shell-clouds are now very thick. A mighty discharge from many batteries bursts at five hundred metres below us. We begin a series of erratic turns and zigzags-a trick!
A very old trick, but one that is good enough to catch the gunners down below and lead them to imagine that their bursts are sitting so near as to worry us. They blaze away with all the stuff they can get out of their barrels, hanging their white draperies on an invisible clothes-line well below us, while we rejoice in our safety.
The enemy aerodromes are below us, but they give no signs of life. What's up down there? The aerodromes are empty, but there are no enemy machines in the air. That means they must be busy somewhere else. Somewhere away to southward, perhaps-in the yellow haze. Are they taking part in an offensive?
The observer motions us homeward. A turn-noses eastward-push the stick down a bit to gain speed. Our job here is finished. I search the heavens and comb out the earth-but not a sign of an enemy. In the sun? No, nothing! Not one captive balloon up. The ground below us seems dead.
Archie's clouds diminish, but increase again as we cross the lines. At last a shell bursts in our midst. A couple of bullets rattle through my wings, but that is all. I count the machines; all there. Sergeant Schmidt sends a chuckle of pleasure across to me.
Nice fellow Schmidt. It does you good to know that there is a man just behind you who follows your trail like a bloodhound, who never swerves from it, but sticks in his place no matter how thick the shell-bursts may be or how wild the turns in a dogfight. I only need to bend my head slightly to the left to see his face, which is never without its friendly, cheerful grin.
Close behind me, but a bit above my head flies Schneider. An able, wary pilot, but one whose head is full of ideas that do not always work out so well. He would like to fight the war out all alone; he enjoys air duels and shooting up machine-gun nests.
When I turn my head to the right, I see another machine quite close to me. This is flown by Sergeant Prey, a serious fellow, who never laughs. But he never budges from his position, and nothing that happens in the air escapes his eye. But to-day even he is laughing with glee because we got away with it so nicely.
The observer fires a light-signal. We are dismissed. I fly close up to him and give him a parting handwave. He drops down and flies homeward.
Not only is this account excellent for it's portrayal of what it was like to fly escort to a 2-seater, but the degree of hand-signalling between aircraft, the reading of facial expressions from in-cockpit, and the use of flares is very illuminating in my mind!
Have we ever seen anything approaching this degree of visual communication duplicated in a flight sim before?
Is modeling visual communication of any importance for WWI simulation?
How could this be done in KOE if visual communication is considered important to the greater WWI-flight sim scheme of things?