Last night I was winding up December 1916 for Capitaine Bonnaasie, when his flight of five N17s, patrolling well north along the front in Flanders, encountered three Fokker E IIIs coming south. They were from that naval unit way up North.
Five Nieuport 17s versus three Eindeckers at Chriatmastime 1916 was a recipe for slaughter. They were well flown, and did their best, but all three died.
Why anyone would send men into the fray in late 1916 flying Eindeckers is beyond me. That’s a WOFF career that would be extremely challenging. Good God! Not even an EIV! We are talking EIIIs.
I actually felt sorry for the last fellow, tangling with a trio of 17s by himself. I kept thinking he should just head for the ground and surrender. But he kept struggling until he was dead. At least he didn’t burn.
last night I was part of two flights of TWELVE SPAD VIIs that attacked three Rumpler CIVs behind French lines in August 1918. those poor Rumplers had escort provided by three Albatros D.Va from some awful Jasta.
the worst one I can remember happening to me personally is taking off in a Pfalz D.IIIa with three other planes to escort some two-seaters in February of 1918. as we're gaining altitude we got attacked by 12 Sopwith Camels in two flights that dove at us from above. while we were fighting those I spotted a flight of six SE5a showing up! I then decided that I would be better off abandoning my flight and heading towards the designated two-seater rendezvous points. I was hoping that the two seaters might provide some safety in numbers that our lousy Pfalz scouts could not. when I got there all of the two-seaters had already been shot down. then I went back to base and got attacked by a pair of Sopwith Camels and managed to shoot one of them down before the other one decided to run away. when I finally landed I was scratching my head.... "wait. why am I still alive?"
Sometimes it's pretty tough flying German birds. You are almost always outnumbered and, as you have pointed out, some of the missions are suicidal at best! Since the squadron mates don't really look out for you I don't do much to help them when they fly into 'traps'. If I can offer assistance I will but the odds have to really be in my favor like my side of the lines or very close, altitude, no previous damage, etc. Otherwise I bug outta there! There is always tomorrow. Needless to say, I am not popular in the mess! But... I am there! I really like flying some of the 'less popular' birds like Pfalz, DH-5 or some two-holers because it is very satisfying to best adversaries who have better machines!
April 16, 1917, and Rittmeister “Bones” Banco is leading B Flight of Jasta 11–six Albatros DIIIs. Above B Flight is A Flight, four DIIIs, led by that other Rittmeister. We are over Douai when I see MvR head to port. He’s spotted something. I signal my flight to follow. I can see two dots below. Ten Albatros DIIIs are diving on two DH 2s! A pair of Spinning Incinerators against ten Trosses with an altitude advantage. Deep behind German lines these two Lords face every quantitative and qualitative disadvantage.
I circled and watched. I didn’t feel like dieing in a collision. Ah! The pity of war.
What were the Brits thinking, still sending men up in DH2s at that stage of the war?
Had a running fight with 5 DH2’s and 2 Sopwith Pups just over enemy lines which sucked me and my Albatros B Flt (my flight busted up due to the dogfight) which occurred 2 kilometers east of Roupy airfield and Railyard fascility & eventually over Roupy. Lots of AA and airfield mg was of course encountered! We had to fight our way out all the way back to our lines. 7 vs 3. 1 Pup and 2 DH2’s were destroyed and our combined flight lost 2 Albatros’s from 6. My crate looked like swiss cheese but my engine was not damaged. Landed back at our airfield. This was so far my only lopsided encounter. 09 March 1917.
I had a great lopsided encounter! I was in RNAS 1 flying a 'Tripehound' and was able to stay on top of the Richtofen boys, Wolfe, Almenroder(?) and two or three others on our side of the lines, too! Manfred bugged outta there after going 'round and 'round' a few times. He knew I was trouble! I knew where their field was so checked my clock for time. I started the 'dippsy-doodle' moves shooting a round or two. I pipped one of the unknown Albi pilots in the head because down he went spinning. Then it was Almenroder's turn to tumble. Lothar got a taste of just three lead pills and he went down... where I haven't a clue! By now the filght of Albi lost too much altitude so I headed east toward Manfred's field. The 'Tripehound' easily outpaced the chasing Albi D-III birds, especially as I was descending. Over the 'mud' and boom boom boom in the air I went, checking my 'six'... often. There's the field and there he (or somebody) is! I flew right over and put holes in everything on that Albi but it always stayed under control and finally landed off field. Here come the stragglers! I had enough by then so started climbing. The stragglers just kept going for their field so I turned for mine. What a flight! Why Merry ol' England doesn't give us more of these airplanes is a mystery!