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#4144832 - 07/10/15 04:36 AM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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Cleveland, OH, US
Ofz. Alfonse Straub
FFA 48; Aviatik B.I (Fokker E.I)
July 8-9, 1915



Some more quiet time on the Alsace front. On the 8th, wouldn't you know Sandleitner was right? The Army sent us right back to the same patch of ground we'd been watching for a week now to see if we could coordinate our cameras better.

This time it's Nebgen and Todt in one flight, while I take out Flieger Hammer. There really isn't much to say, except the Frogs in Fontaine were on a similar mission we were. Twice we saw flights of two Moranes a piece - or far all I know they were the same flight. Regardless, Papenberg and I watched as closely as possible to make sure they tried no mischief. They must have watched as well, to make sure we weren't ambitious C.Is, for after awhile we tipped our wings at each other. Their observer even waved.

When we landed, we found mechanics gathered around a new prize: A single-seater Morane!


(The Fokker E.I has shown up for our 'aces' to use. Since I use the Aces 0 mod, that means no one! Below I gave myself a free 'test' flight.)

During dinner, Offizierstellvertreter Sandleitner told us about her. Apparently some Dutchman named Fokker thinks he's figured out how to get a gun to fire through the propeller. There are already a small handful of these flying in Flanders and enjoying limited success.

"The Eindecker isn't cleared for use by our squadron," he told us. "There are too many questions, and anyway what would we do with our observers? No, it is here strictly for defending our airfield and for further testing."

Testing simply involved flying a few laps around the airfield and sharing our thoughts. Sandleitner offered the Offizierstellvertreters a chance to try her out on the 'morrow. We agreed eagerly. Neither Flieger would be invited to join us.

I was third in seniority, so took her up at about 9 AM. The Eindecker was...a nervous creature. While rolling down the field the plane tried to slip to the left. I compensated and took off, and now she tried to bank to the right. Indeed, her rotary engine made turning right a breeze.

Once underway with some speed, the plane settled down. Slowly I circled the field. Sandleitner asked we stay in sight, and also that we avoid being seen by people on the ground in case spies are about.



Isolated houses here and there made the latter difficult, but I figured as long as I didn't fire the gun or tarry any curious onlookers would mistake me for a Pfalz built Morane. Indeed, now that Fokker had solved the gun synchronization issue I wondered if they would put forward firing guns on the Pfalz as well. A plane that could shoot both forward and back would be deadly indeed.

Almost as soon as I had that thought, it occured to me how dangerous that would be. Up until now, except for a few isolated instances, aerial 'warfare' had been non-existent. We might take shots at each other with pistols and rifles, but the general expectation was everyone would make it home. Aeroplanes dedicated to hunt other planes would escalate the war. We build the Fokker, and of course the Frogs have to build something to compensate.

The days of two flights tipping their wings at each other and going about their business might be drawing to a close. As I landed next to Hammer's Aviatik, I wondered if newer in this case was really such a good idea.


#4144884 - 07/10/15 10:03 AM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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Germany
Bad day for Alfred I'm afraid...here's why







The patrol had ended. Sgt.Ball and his Observer Cpt. Clark were bombing targets around Ligney-Petit. Nothing spectacular, as the bombs were way off target. After making a target of themselves, Cpt.Clark pointed for home and a nice cupa tea. The flight home was uneventful and soon Alfred started to descend and follow the road to Poperinghe.

A few miles from the airfield Alfred noticed a lone lorry heading for God knows where. Cpt. Clark started to smile, as if he knew what was about to happen. Thus with no protests coming from the front cockpit, Alfred turned and dived for the unfortunate driver. The route wasnt that easy with large ugly trees near the road, but Alfred was sure of his abilities, and so, with the wheels just above the road he stormed towards his victim. Looking over the cowling Alfred could actually see the amazement in the face of the poor driver. By a very small margin Alfred just missed the Lorry while pulling up. Cpt. Clark was laughing, but he was moving his head rather slowly left and right as if he knew something.

A few minutes later and Be2#469 landed, another mission over.

You, that Man!!
Yes Yooou, you orrible little Man, barked the Squadron Sgt.Major, dont move. Headdress off! Attention! To your front in double quick time, quick maaarch! Left right left right left right leeffft!

Alfred wanted to know what was going on, Whats wr---

Shut your cake-ole Flt.Sgt. Ball, youre on charge is you came the reply. The two of them, one shouting the cadence the other looking quite funny trying his best to keep up. They entered B flight office where Lt. Dolly was waiting.
Left right left right left right.. Halt. Left tuuurrrn! Sgt Alfred Ball as requested Sar!



Thank you Sgt.Major came from Lt. Dolly, I see that Flight Captain Mannequin is waiting for you Sgt.Ball..good luck And so, with fear written all over his face, Sgt Alfred Ball went on to face his first, of many, charges during his time with the RFC. The little entourage marched into Cpt. Mannequins office, and with a huge Bang and a damn fine regulation salute, Alfred began to dread what was coming.



Sergeant Ball, do you know why you are here? Let me tell you a little story, one with a very unhappy ending.. for you in the end I suppose. Cpt. Mannequin sat behind his desk and glared Alfred in the eyes. You know why you here?

Well, yes Sir, you requested a Pilot I suppose

Yes, quite true. And have a guess why you are replacing a Pilot. Dont bother Man, Ill tell you why. This other Pilot decided one day that he was tired with military flying and wanted to do some stunting. He saw a car with a few Red Tabs sitting in it and decided to show them how good he could fly. Well he put on a fine display. Any idea what happened Sergeant ?

Silence

He put the wind up some General, and then flew his Be2 into a damn tree. The end result was 2 dead men and one of his Majesties aircraft STRUCK OFF CHARGE!! Not to mention the balling out this squadron had to endure because of this event. The driver of the Lorry today was bringing supplies to this airfield. Hes a bit upset and is waiting for you in the Sergeants mess. If I were you, Id apologize and buy him a beer and hope that this incident stays heredo you understand me Sgt.Ball ?

Yes Sir I do.

Good. Youre on 14 days extra duties, 30 days no grog and 14 days suspension of pay. Sgt.Major thank you.

Saar. Sgt. Ball left Turn! Out of the office, left wheel, in double quick time, quick Maaarch!. Left right left right left right Arms Straight! Thumbs pointing forward you Oribble little MAANNN!


make mistakes and learn from them

I5 4440 3.1Ghz, Asrock B85m Pro3, Gtx 1060 3GB
#4144941 - 07/10/15 12:49 PM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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a shack in da woods
Lt. Dolly & Captain Mannequin made my morning winkngrin

#4144989 - 07/10/15 02:05 PM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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Alabama




#4145001 - 07/10/15 02:20 PM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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#4145107 - 07/10/15 05:29 PM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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thumbsup Well done great stories to go with my morning Cup of Java.

#4145109 - 07/10/15 05:36 PM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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Sgt, Almost There
3 RFC
Flanders


July 10, 1915.


I say, frightful morning. I just couldn't aim the bombs on the run over Vimy Junction. T missed it completely even after I went down 1600 meters. My #2 Mac got the hits on target and saved the day. Good thing he came along Wot? Heard a banging noise on the way back so put down at Savy AF ( friendly) to have a look see.


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Last edited by carrick58; 07/10/15 05:39 PM.
#4145263 - 07/11/15 01:57 AM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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Banjoman Offline
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Antigua, Guatemala
Journal Entry: July 10, 1915
St. Pol-sur-Mer

Well, this has been a whirlwind couple of days. First, the mess is all abuzz with the rumors of the Huns having some new kind of aeroplane. Neither Thayer or myself are convinced that the Huns even have a new kind of aeroplane, I mean really, could the Huns have developed something that is qualitatively better than what we have, I think not. We are the British for Heavens sakes, we span the globe and I'm sure that if there was anything better than what we are flying then we would have it. We've both decided that we shan't believe it until we witness it with our own eyes. Enough of this talk of Hun super weapons, let's get to the exciting part, shall we.

Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were like every other day with morning and afternoon sorties. The pace picked up for Thayer and myself when we were fortunate enough to score our eleventh victory during the morning mission



and our twelfth victory during our afternoon sortie. This was our second double and we were feeling mighty proud of ourselves.



Thursday was routine and those kind of days are very welcome with this constant flying and the ever present threat of mechanical failure. Dinner was delicious as usual and the small talk centered once again on the reports of these new Hun machines, which caused quite the discussion when Thayer announced to the group that he thought these rumors were "pure rubbish". He went on further by stating, "With the success that Ethelstan and I are having, don't you think that if the Huns did have these super machines they would be using them against us? Furthermore, we haven't see hide nor hair of any such machines." Well needless to say, that started quite a row and it might have gotten out of hand if the CO hadn't stepped in and made a general annoucement to the men. We were told that there would be no flying on the 10th because some brass was visiting our squadron for a tour and inspection. Friday dawned sunny and beautiful and promised to be another glorious day. We ate breakfast, shaved and put on our best uniforms and sat around awaiting the arrival of our guests. Everyone was quite curious because we had never had visitors in the past and as you know dear reader, when routines get changed people get curious. It wasn't long before we were called to attention as three staff cars began to pull up to the airfield. Out came more brass than I've ever seen, there were men that I've never seen before and a few that I was familiar with. After they composed themselves, our CO called in a loud voice, "Flight Lieutenant Arthur Ethelstan and 2nd Lieutenant Edmund Thayer, step forward". We looked at each other and wilted, could we be in trouble for our vocal disagreements about the new Hun machine. We stepped forward with much fear and trepidation and awaited our approaching doom. Well, the older general, I believe Trenchard was his name, began to read and I started to hear words like valorous and above the call of duty. By this time I was so confused I hadn't any idea what was going on until I heard the general say, "It is my pleasure to confer upon each of you the Victoria's Cross." Well as you can imagine, I almost fainted. I was expecting punishment but instead was rewarded. I don't even remember what I said as the General stuck me with the medal's pin. As soon as he finished and we were dismissed, everyone swarmed around us. These Generals are shaking our hands like real chums and everyone else is pounding us on our backs. Afterward, the CO told us that he had decided that it would be a good surprise if he didn't tell us what was going to happen. The rest of the day is pretty much of a blur, with the party getting started around lunchtime and just ending after dinner.

Now that I'm all alone with my thoughts, I'm not sure that I am all that happy with receiving this medal. Our CO will now expect us to always perform at the level this medal requires and though the two of us are committed to always doing our duty, we aren't perfect. I'm completely honored and humbled by receiving this medal, I can't but somehow feel like politics were part of the decision. Certainly, we've been very successful against the Huns, but I wouldn't say we are any braver than anyone else in the squadron. I think the brass are hoping this will motivate the others to push harder and I also think this is going to be used as a morale booster for the other squadrons. Whatever the motivation, I will wear this with pride and hope I can live up to the expectations this medal requires.


Member and provider of banjo music for the Illustrious BOC
#4145368 - 07/11/15 12:48 PM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: Banjoman]  
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Originally Posted By: Banjoman
"It is my pleasure to confer upon each of you the Victoria's Cross."

Very cool, and good point about the pressure that kind of highest honor can put on somebody. I'm sure Alvin will have something to say about it in his Monday letter.

#4145430 - 07/11/15 04:08 PM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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a shack in da woods
Nice shooting Banjoman
11 is an impressive tally!

#4145460 - 07/11/15 06:12 PM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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Banjoman Offline
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Antigua, Guatemala
Journal Entry: July 11, 1915
St. Pol-sur-Mer

Woke up to a splitting headache and could hardly move, now I remember why I very seldom partake of alcohol. After splashing copious amounts of water on my face, over my head and just about anywhere I could reach, I drug myself to mess to scrounge up a cup of tea. Upon arrival I spotted Thayer just as chipper as a young lad, sometimes I have no idea what makes that man tick. Anyway, after some toast and tea I was feeling much more like myself and I learned that we had an easy day scheduled for today. The CO informed the two of us that we were going to do another run around the area to make sure our bus was rigged properly and everything was in order. That was sweet music to my ears and it wasn't long before we were in the air. It is amazing how the brisk, clean air of flying will clear one's head. We were heading out over the channel to climb to our operating altitude when I head a very distinct rumbling sound, not unlike thunder. I turned and blast it all, those Huns were bombing our airfield again. I quickly looked up and located the offending Huns, signaled Thayer and began to climb. It wasn't until we were just a little east of Dunkerque that I was finally able to get into our attacking position and Thayer with his usual efficiency made quick work of one of the Huns.



We were unable to bring down the second Hun because he was able to slink back across the lines before we could catch him. We turned for home and it wasn't long before I was landing, of course, everyone wanted to know if I had gotten either of those two Huns, and I assured them that we got one of them. At lunch, Thayer and I were discussing the morning's events and we came to the conclusion that we don't know if the Huns are incredibly brave or incredibly stupid. How many of these Huns must we kill before they stop coming? We've shot down thirteen planes and yet they still come, we wondered if maybe we put some kind of marking on our plane to tell the Huns who they are dealing with. We asked the CO and he gave his permission, now all we need is some kind of symbol that will strike fear in the heart of the Huns. I told Thayer that he could decide what the symbol should be, so I'm sure it will be something outlandish.


Member and provider of banjo music for the Illustrious BOC
#4145476 - 07/11/15 07:22 PM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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a shack in da woods
It is good to be a cat at this time of the war.
That second Hun was good at being a mouse. Probably a breeder, better eliminate that one or an infestation will happen.


Go pound their nest before things get outta hand.....bombing run smash

Last edited by MudWasp; 07/11/15 07:25 PM. Reason: forgot a thought
#4145543 - 07/11/15 11:00 PM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: MudWasp]  
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Combs Offline
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Still catching up from my R/L holiday week. Here's Sgt. Smythe's log book from 28 June-4 July:

Sgt. Bryan Smythe
Warbird Rising
6th Squadron, RAF
Abeele, Flanders, France
27 June-4 July 1915
I havent had much of a chance to catch up with this journal. No sooner did I get back from the mission on June 27, then I was told I had received a 48 hour pass, but I needed to get on the transport immediately if I wanted to spend it anywhere but at Abeele. Needless to say, I had my kit packed and was on the truck in a matter of minutes. I got as far as St. Omer, but didnt make it any further that night. While getting a billet, I ran into some Aussies who were heading east. We got to drinking, and when I woke up the next day, most of my money was gone, my jacket was ripped, and I somehow had lost my right boot, but had managed to replace it with a second left boot that looked to be about a size larger than what I normally wear. The Sargent Major took what was left of my money, saying that it would help to defray some of the damages to the lodging house down the road. He also suggested that I head back to Abeele. Since returning, it has been pretty pleasant flying. Im flying every day, and havent seen any Germans at all. Even their Archie has been very quiet, since we finished up the offensive near Lens two weeks ago.


No man commands safely unless he has learned well how to obey.
#4145848 - 07/13/15 02:17 AM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: Combs]  
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Sgt. Bryan Smythe
Warbird Rising
6th Squadron, RAF
Abeele, Flanders, France
5-11 July 1915






Last edited by Combs; 07/13/15 02:22 AM.

No man commands safely unless he has learned well how to obey.
#4145920 - 07/13/15 11:38 AM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: Combs]  
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Sgt. Bryan Smythe
Warbird Rising
6th Squadron, RAF
Abeele, Flanders, France

5-7 July 1915
The flying continues to be very pleasant. Lieutenant Lloyd and I are flying every day, but the missions are very routine. There has been a lot of talk about this new German pursuit aircraft, but no one in our squadron has seen one. In fact, the Germans have been very quiet-We havent encountered any German aircraft or even Archie since I returned from my leave.


8 July 1915
I had a minor adventure today. We were assigned to do a bomb drop with Lieutenant Dixon and Sgt. Garfield. The bomb run went without a hitch. My string landed fairly close to the trench line, but I fear not close enough. Shortly after we made our way home, my oil line broke, and I lost all oil pressure. I shut down the engine to prevent damage. Although there were no airfields nearby, I was still at altitude, so I thought I might make Bailleul. I managed to stretch out my glide, and ended up in a pasture about 500 yards south of the field. Had there not been a line of trees right before the field, I might have made it all the way in, but I thought the better of trying to risk getting over the trees with a dud engine, so I set the bus down in the field. We were both very pleased with our effort, and had a very nice lunch at Bailleul while the mechanics fixed our bus.


Bombs Away

Dead Engine



Last edited by Combs; 07/13/15 11:38 AM.

No man commands safely unless he has learned well how to obey.
#4145924 - 07/13/15 12:09 PM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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#4145925 - 07/13/15 12:11 PM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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#4146087 - 07/13/15 07:12 PM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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Sgt, Almost There
3 RFC
Flanders


July 13, 1915.



The section was sent over Haubourdin AF for bombing today. My bombs seem to slide sideways and short as they went down missing all the tents but throwing up alot of dirt. The other a/c got hits and RTB as I dove and made a firing pass for my rear seatguy. I dont know if he anything, he shot off 40 rds and we had a good time. The kite did pick up 2 hits 1 in the wing and one in the elevator .


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#4146229 - 07/14/15 03:31 AM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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Banjoman Offline
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Antigua, Guatemala
Journal Entry: July 13, 1915
St. Pol-sur-Mer

Yesterday was exciting and that would be the understatement of the month. Thayer and I had a line patrol sortie for our morning's work, which was just fine for us. We took off and proceeded up to the front and arrived at our usual patrol area without incident. It wasn't long before Thayer was tapping me on the shoulder and pointing off to starboard. There is one thing you can say about the Huns, they are a prompt and predictable people. This Hun was arriving almost like clockwork. Well, if they are going to keep coming, then we will oblige them by shooting them down. I got into position and assumed that things would go as they had in the past. Thayer, is my closest friend in this blasted war and I count on him to protect us, but sometimes I think that he might be addled in some fashion. Anyway, he starts firing like usual but this time he begans to yell rather vigorously. I'm busy flying the plane, so I can't see why he is yelling, but it isn't long before the Hun has burst into flames and begin the long dive to Earth.



It wasn't until we landed that I could ask him why he had been yelling. he just pointed to the tail. I turned and that's when I noticed the bullet holes, in his exuberance to shoot down the Hun, he had actually shot our tail. I'm sure all of the color left my face as a cold hand gripped my heart. The dolt just gave a weak laugh as I staggered away.

I really don't understand the brass at all. This afternoon, the CO called me into his office. After the usual formalities he asked me to sit, I took a seat. He then informed me that I had been promoted to Flight Commander effective immediately. I was stunned and began to protest, "Sir, I haven't served long enough to deserve this promotion." He allowed me to stammer a few more protests and ended with a brusque, "Ethelstan, what's done is done. I expect you to do your duty and if the higher ups think you can handle this new responsibility, then your duty is to accept it." I stood, saluted and left his office and wandered around the airfield for a while. First the VC, and now this promotion, I truly am dreading what the future might bring.


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#4146473 - 07/14/15 04:49 PM Re: DiD Centenary Challenge [Re: CatKnight]  
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carrick58 Online content
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Sgt, Almost There
3 RFC
Flanders


14 Jul 1915


Up to the lines dropping bombs, some hit, but not mine. This high altitude 2000 meters or more dont seem to be practical for me to hit anything.


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