I haven't had much sleep since arriving in France. The NCO Pilots Quarters at the replacement Center was full so I took a small room on the local economy as I processed in. I asked about places, one old timer said that there was a place in town J ust look for a Red Light above the Door. The location is a Fete Maison 2d Floor, at Moncomme Les Rouge Lumirer. I say , it easy to spot because it has the only Red Light above the Door in the area and the people seem friendly. On the down side , the racket it seems to be a non stop Party with dancing and laughter. Oh well its just for a few days
Last edited by carrick58; 12/26/1806:04 PM.
#4454948 - 12/26/1806:55 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Greetings, all! hope you all had a great christmas! Graham’s made it to No. 20, and by a twist of fate has joined the Netheravon Mob! I wonder if any of our fellow DiD’ers will be joining Graham in No.20...! Very excited for the beginning of the DiD proper, come new years!
Sgt. Graham A. Campbell No. 20 Squadron R.F.C. Netheravon, England.
December 24, 1915.
Part 4: Welcome to the Flying Corps.
Jacky-boy, Switch-off and I said our good-byes to the training mob before heading off to clamber aboard the flat-bed truck that would take us to our new home at No. 20. Freddy Foster’s been assigned to No. 24! The lucky Kiwi’s switched to DeHavs and will be undergoing additional training as a scout pilot at Hounslow! Teddie Lawson’s off to No.1 - straight to France! The lucky sod was grinning all the way as his B.E lifted off, bound for the Channel.
We arrived at maybe quarter-past three, and upon excitedly piling out of the truck we were at once ambushed and snapped into an inspection line by a tough-looking Sergent Major, by the name of Brookings, who promptly took our names down in between frustrated ramblings about picnic baskets and aerial crashes, much of which went straight over our increasingly confounded heads. Happily for Jacky-boy and Switch-off, they were not subjected to Brookings’ unpleasant bawling for long, as a youthful Captain quickly arrived and saw them off in the direction of the Officers’ quarters. I, however, was stuck at the mercy of Brooking’s ramblings.
“Right, you,” he began, in an irritated tone, and gestured for me to follow. ‘I should ‘ope that you know what yer’ doing, Sergeant! My men are gettin’ fed up of fixing up aeroplanes thanks to the like of you carefree young types”. I made to respond, but before I could the Sergeant-Major abruptly stopped and pointed ahead to a smattering of small white huts, at the northern end of the aerodrome. “This is you - first on the far left. Drop yer’ kit off and report to the Men’s mess in a half-hour’. And with that, he marched off at a wicked pace, kicking up white dust-clouds from the gravel path as he went.
As I later discovered, I shared my hut with two other men, both of No. 20; Sgt. Pilot Edmund Archer, a well-mannered painter from Shropshire, and Sgt. Pilot Jim Reynard, a tough-looking Scotsman with an incredible head of wiry, bright red hair. Both men were my seniors, and at first I felt intimidated, but I soon discovered my two compatriots to be perfectly friendly and welcoming. I rather enjoyed the juxtaposition of the quiet, softly-spoken Archer and the exuberant Reynard. In the far-right corner, a fourth bed remained ready-made, awaiting an owner.
Netheravon is an incredible place, much larger than Hounslow. There are all-sorts here, Canadians, Kiwis, Australians, Scots, Irishmen, and even an American or two, I hear! There are also all kinds of aeroplanes here; Avros, DeHavs, B.E’s, and, of course, our F.E.2bs, or ‘Fees’, as Archer and Reynard call them! I saw one fly overhead as I was going about my business, and cannot wait to have my chance at flying one!
I met my C.O today, Major Wilson. After inspecting my file, he informed me as to the organisation of the squadron. At the moment, we had eight Fees, and four B.E.2s, divided between 14 pilots and their observers. As Jacky-Boy, Switch-off and I were the ‘new boys’, we’d be on the B.E.2s, I was disheartened to learn! However, my spirits rose considerably once I found out that this would only be until we reached France, and that I would still be able to fly the Fees as time allows.
Last week Hauptmann Boehm directed me to fly to another field and return. He originally said at least an hour away, but since the choices were either nearby Dusseldorf or else all the way to Berlin, he waived the time stipulation for Dusseldorf. The thing was, though, that when I landed, I very briefly hit the engine kill switch by reflex. I turned back on in time for the engine to keep running, but when I returned to Koln, Herr Boehm only signed my logbook for the time there and not also for the return leg. I argued that it wasn't even a blip, but he merely said "Nein," and walked away. Penalty for the closer aerodrome?
Well, next up, Herr Hauptmann directed me to go up and do "aerobatics." In the Aviatik. And he kept a straight face. So, off we went. I figured also to see if I could get up to 10,000 ft. I flew due east for about 20 minutes, and then headed back due west, simply climbing all the way. Imagine my surprise when my inner sense let me know that indeed we were at 10,000! If it could do that, maybe it was better than I was thinking, so I warned Herr Boehm and tried a roll. Actually just about made it, too!. In for a pfennig, in for a mark as they say, so I put the nose down (a feat in itself!) and as fast as I dared, I pulled back (actually, held the stick neutral) and would you believe that the crate just about flopped over in a loop. Will miracles never cease?! Of course, on the ground, Herr Hauptmann berated me for the sloppiest roll and loop he had ever seen. But I was ready for him: I pointed out that the real aerobatics were on the way out, during which time I flew in a straight steady climb, the whole time using one hand to drink a cup of coffee. Truly, with that plane, a masterful demonstration of airmanship. You've heard of the "Immelman turn?" I'm thinking of calling what I did the "Lofthoven Line." He stared at me without blinking, but in the end he signed my book before walking away.
I've heard that I will go with Herr Hauptmann sometime in the next few days to FFA 10 in Habsheim. When I asked him if he was sure he wanted me as his Emil, would you believe he said "I would trust no other. Besides, no one else gets my sense of humor." I swear my mouth was hanging open long after he had turned and left.
#4455092 - 12/28/1801:37 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
The comment made in passing by the woman outside the aerodrome haunted Stanley's thoughts. How had he fallen out of an aeroplane? What stunting manoeuvre could throw a pilot to his death? A loop?
William Stanley had been dared to loop and he was not the sort of man to go back on a bet, but he was haunted by the mental image of a body falling through the air. Arms and legs flailing helplessly.
As it was, bad weather stopped flying for a few days. Instead, students were subjected to lectures that bored William tremendously. He was sure that the engineers found the principles behind aeroplane propellers interesting, but he was a man of action and cared only that the spinning fan did its job. Lectures on the principles of reconnaisance were better, to Stanley's mind. Of course, much of it was familiar ground from his days in the cavalry, but the clues to look out for differed in the air.
If the weather should prove flyable, pilots who had completed conversion at Doncaster were mainly engaged in cross country flights. Using a map, and commonly a pocket Bradshaw guide, the intrepid young fliers would try to travel from one destination to another. This was to gain experience in flying hours and practice the navigational skills that Stewart had half listened to in lectures.
On one occasion Stanley resolved to fly north east to the coast near Hull. The reason for his choice was simple; the navigation was very easy. The river Don flowed north to meet the Ouse at Goole, just before the confluence of the Ouse and the Trent formed the Humber estuary. So long as you could see the rivers, anyone could find their way.
As his BE2 rattled its way above scattered clouds, William reflected on the loop. He reasoned that it would be better to practice out here, away from the instructors' disapproving gaze.
So it was that a BE2 came to be stunting over the Humber estuary.
Stanley's first attempt at a loop led to nasty feeling stalls as he failed to bring the aeroplane over fast enough. The nose suddenly dropped and Stewart was scared that the BE2 might spin, but the biplane was highly stable and recovered quicker than even the gentle Shorthorns at Reading.
The next attempt slipped out to the side as he failed to correct with the rudder. But after a while, Stanley was able to bring his aeroplane around on the vertical plane after a starting dive. He couldn't be sure if it looked good from the ground but it felt exhillarating to come back to level flight again in a controlled manner.
A few days after the trip to Hull, Stanley sent Barnstaple to inform the student pilot who had challenged him to make a loop that he should watch Stanley's flight with interest.
As he circled the aerodrome at three thousand feet, Stanley hoped that he had a good audience. "And I hope that I don't give that woman anything to talk about," he added.
Starting with a short dive for speed, Stanley pulled up in a series of zooming climbs. After warming up in this fashion, he dived again to begin a spiralling corkscrew known as the side somersault.
After this first stunt, Stewart righted his aeroplane and flew level for a little while before coming back around to fly over the aerodrome once again. He dived.
With a steady pull back on the stick and his feet gently holding position on the rudder, William Stanley pulled his BE2 into a climb that grew steeper until the machine was inverted.
Stanley felt an increasingly familiar shift in weight as the g-forces battled with natural gravity for his soul. He pulled back on the throttle to stop the engine racing and the BE2's nose came down again, completing the circle and winning its pilot £50.
William Stanley was rather pleased with himself.
On the ground student pilots applauded and slapped Stanley on the back in congratulations. Ground crew shook their heads at the wanton risk being taken with their precious aeroplanes.
Moller took Stanley one side after things died down. William thought he was in for a dressing down. "Not bad," the instructor admitted. "You need to ease off the stick near the top of the loop in order to get a good circle. What you did was more like an egg shape. Still, not bad." "Oh? Thank you sir." Stanley was a little surprised by this advice. "So good in fact," Moller continued, "that I think that you can take part in a Doncaster tradition." "What would that be sir?" "Glad you asked. As you know, there is usually a gaggle of civilian onlookers on flying days. We like to give them something to talk about, so every now and then we shove a dummy out of an aeroplane." The instructor saw the look on Stanley's face. "A tailor's dummy. We dress it up in flying gear. When it lands we make a big fuss, send the ambulances over quick so nobody sees. Good show all round!
"Anyway, it takes a bit of skill to drop a mannequin close enough to be seen but not so close as to give the game away. Are you up for it?"
#4455169 - 12/28/1805:05 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Reported in to 4 Sqn, The unit is UN-tidy with equipment pouring in, but not organized as yet. Only 2 pilots so far no observers or Tents. We are packed into a farms Barn on cots til the rest of the baggage arrive. Another problem is that for an Rfc Sqn there are No Aircraft just 2 trucks and a 75mm cannon some unit left and 3 en-field rifles with no ammo. On the up side, we do have a lot of bacon and eggs for meals.
Last edited by carrick58; 12/28/1805:12 PM.
#4455244 - 12/29/1802:24 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Joined: May 2012 Posts: 3,488RAF_Louvert
BOC President; Pilot Extraordinaire; Humble Man
Another very enjoyable group of stories to go with my morning coffee, thank you all for sharing.
2nd Lt. Swanson managed to finish up his training at Netheravon despite nearly a week of foul weather leading up to Christmas that grounded all flights. Two days ago he was informed that he would be assigned to 3 Squadron, flying the Moranes. He cringed a bit at this, having heard horror stories about how terrible a mount it was going up against the latest Hun machines. However, being a relatively easygoing sort, he quickly took the news in stride. Swany packed his kit and was sent to Dover where, yesterday morning, he was told to shuttle a new B.E.2c across to the depot at St. Omer. It was a beautiful winter's day and he took to the air shortly before noon. All was going as planned until about midway over the Channel when the engine in his mount developed a miss and a short time later began spitting oil out against the forward cockpit glass. Fortunately Swany had just better than 5,000' of altitude and a helping wind and was able to nurse his bus across and land on the beach some miles west of the St. Inglevert aerodrome. Had it not been for the kind winds he would have had to ditch in the water. After a walk through the French countryside and a number of phone calls a truck and crew were sent from St. Inglevert to pack up the B.E., and Swany is now at the aforementioned aerodrome waiting for his bus to be mended, at which point he will continue on to St. Omer. All this excitement and he hasn't even met the enemy yet.
Lifting off from the field at Dover.
Watching the city and the white cliffs slip away below.
Waving goodbye to England.
Engine trouble at a most inopportune time.
The French coastline in sight.
Hoping and praying the winds continue to help and the engine holds.
Tensions lifting as the turn is made to land on the beach.
Hello France! Thank God I'm seeing it with dry boots.
This really was a white knuckle flight for me as I've only ever made one water landing in WOFF in which I survived. There were some tense minutes where I was quite sure I was going to lose Swany before even getting him to France.
#4455257 - 12/29/1805:33 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Yikes, now that was a scary flight, Lou! Glad to see your pilot made it safely across.
Fortunately the Huns don't suffer from ferrying problems!
Julius's first proper story chapter is ready. It became longer than I had expected, but I promise to write shorter ones in the future, once he gets to his squadron. I imagine Raine the Dungeon Master will soon inform me which unit that will be.
1. THE BEGINNING.
"Undoubtedly this is the most stupid, senseless and unnecessary war of modern times. It is a war not wanted by Germany, I can assure you, but it was forced on us, and the fact that we were so effectually prepared to defend ourselves is now being used as an argument to convince the world that we desired conflict."
- Crown Prince Wilhelm (1914)
Wednesday, December 29th, 1915. Leipziger Strasse, Berlin.
Julius Schreck stood on the sidewalk and watched the massive building of the Prussian Ministry of War across the street. It was the middle of the week and the streets were full of people going about their business. Nobody paid any attention to a lonely, short man wearing an army uniform. Julius was on his way to meet his father Georg, who was an Oberstleutnant in the Prussian army and currently the Chief of the Technical Office of Artillery in the War Ministry.
“No reason to delay the matter”, Julius thought and quickly crossed the street. He arrived at the gate of the ministry building, where he was stopped by a bored-looking guard. “Papers, please!” Julius showed the guard his documents. “I have a meeting with Oberstleutnant Schreck in the Artillery Department.” The guard took a quick look both at the papers and Julius and then nodded, apparently satisfied by what he had seen. “Very well, Herr Offizierstellvertreter. Do you know the way?”
“Yes, I’ve been here before.” The men saluted each other and Julius entered the building.
The corridors of the War Ministry were no less busy than the streets of Berlin. Officials of all ranks and stations wandered about, many of them carrying files and briefcases undoubtedly full of important documents. Sounds of telephones ringing and typewriters clicking filled the background. Julius didn’t want to be late from the meeting (his father was a very punctual man), so he hurried to the next floor where the artillery offices were located.
A long hallway opened from top of the stairs in two directions. A few chairs and benches were placed next to office doors. Some people were sitting on them. Julius paid no attention to them and checked his pocket watch: it was 8.50 AM. He still had ten minutes left, but nevertheless he hurried along the hallway towards the office of his father. The corridor opened into a large open space that was crowded with several writing desks and their assorted paraphernalia. A few clerks were at work there, but Julius had no interest in them. He turned left to his father’s office. The Chief was important enough to have his own secretary, and it was this person Julius now wished to see before meeting his father.
A pretty brown-haired woman with a heart-shaped face was sitting behind a desk that was placed opposite the door leading to the office of Oberstleutnant Schreck. It was the only desk there at the end of the hallway. A few chairs lined the walls, but they were empty. The woman was looking at an open file with a slight frown on her face when Julius approached her.
“Good morning, Leni!”
The woman looked up from her papers and smiled when she saw Julius.
“Good morning, Julius! You made it in time!”
“Of course! The Schreck family is the very model of punctuality”, Julius said with a smile.
“Indeed! And you are also known for your hard work”, Leni continued and nodded at the door with a knowing look on her face.
Julius lowered his voice a bit and glanced at his father’s office. “Does he even leave the room anymore? I’ve heard he’s been working harder than usual, if that’s even possible, because of the Turkish situation.”
“You’ve heard right. I don’t know where he gets all his energy! He’s exhausting the younger staff officers. One of them told me he’d have an easier time at the front - and he wasn’t joking!”
“Good old father! Has he been hard on you too?” Julius asked with a concerned voice.
“No, not at all like on his officers. Actually he’s quite nice towards all the ladies here. But of course we all have to work long days, with this little war being fought and everything.”
Their conversation came to an abrupt end when the door opened. Two men with bushy mustaches stepped out of the room. They were both wearing uniforms of the Ottoman army. Julius saluted the officers who departed without speaking a word. They had left the door open, probably on his father’s request.
“It’s nine o’clock”, Leni said with a quiet voice. Julius nodded without looking at her. Then a big man appeared in the doorway - Oberstleutnant Schreck.
“Julius, good, please come in!” Julius did as his father requested and stepped into the office. Georg closed the door, turned around, looked Julius in the eye for a while (it was a piercing gaze) and then gave his hand for his son to shake. Julius felt intimidated by his father’s presence. He had always been a small and thin boy, quite unlike his father who resembled a heavy-weight wrestler with his thick neck and hands like the paws of a grizzly bear. The elder Schreck was clean-shaven with a bald head. A row of ribbon bars decorated the left breast of his uniform, along with the Iron Cross, 1st class.
“It is good to see you, father. Sadly my time in Berlin is short. I’m to report at the Butzweilerhof field in Cologne on the last day of the year. It’s funny - I don’t even know where they are sending me! But my training is now complete, so I imagine any regular two-seater unit will do. I’ll just have to follow orders and everything will be fine, just like you told me!” Julius realized he had started talking more and faster than he had intended, so abruptly he stopped.
“Good, good. I knew you would make a fine pilot, so I never hesitated writing that recommendation for you”, Georg spoke and then moved over to his desk. “Your brother has been doing great deeds. He was recently awarded the Hohenzollern Order, and he’s now leading a company of his own.” The Oberstleutnant clearly sounded proud of Hermann's achievements.
“Yes, I know. He wrote to me about it. We correspond regularly, or at least as often as the war allows. They’ve been having some tough fights against the French this year.” Julius stood looking at his father, almost at attention.
“Now you will have your own chance at glory! But don’t take any unnecessary risks. A wise soldier knows when to fight and when to stay out of trouble.” Georg turned around and directed his piercing gaze again at Julius.
“I will do my best, father. We have been well trained by our instructors. So I’m not worried about the future.” Julius felt the whole discussion was very awkward. But that was always the case with his father.
“Quite, quite. Well, I don’t wish to delay you unnecessarily long here. And I do have a lot of work at hand! You may know that a British force is under siege at a town called Kut in Mesopotamia! The Turks have a chance at striking a heavy blow against our common enemy there. But they require lots of support from us, especially in matters of heavy equipment. Those two gentlemen you saw a minute ago are actually working with me on improving their artillery."
“Yes, father. I pray for our success.” Julius couldn’t think of anything more intelligent to say.
“Well, then. Before you go, I have a little something for you here!” Georg opened a drawer on his desk and took out a book bound in black leather, which he then proceeded to give to his son. Julius accepted the gift and looked at it. Written on big golden letters was the name of the book and its author:
HIMMELSGEDANKEN Gedichte von Karl May
It was a book containing poems by Karl May. Julius opened the cover and looked at the first page. On it was written a dedication: “With Best Regards to Hauptmann Georg Wilhelm Schreck. Karl May, June 15, 1905.” Julius was stunned. His father had given him a book by his favourite author, and it was even signed by May himself!
“I do hope you like it! I bought it back in 1905 and had May sign it for me at the bookstore.”
Julius collected himself and politely thanked his father. The older man seemed pleased by his reaction, allowed himself an uncharacteristic smile, and then escorted his son to the doorway - surprisingly gently, as confused Julius thought.
“Good luck! Remember to write regularly about your adventures!”
“Thank you, father. I will, father.”
Leni gave a puzzled look at Julius. “What happened? You seem like you just saw a ghost!”
Julius shook his head. “No, it’s really nothing. I was just surprised by my father”, he said and showed the book to Leni.
“Well, you’ll have to tell me all about it tonight then!” Leni said and flashed a conquering smile at Julius.
“I will, dear Leni. I will!”
"Upon my word I've had as much excitement on a car as in the air, especially since the R.F.C. have had women drivers."
James McCudden, Five Years in the Royal Flying Corps
#4455302 - 12/29/1810:17 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Wonderful writing gents. I have just been through all the stories but will have to give them another read to absorb them all. Lou, you gave me a fright there Hoss!
Jericho is in France with No3. I will start from there when I get home.
I have been in the woods pretty much since thanksgiving. Home before Christmas Eve and left to come back the day after Christmas. Fulfilling a life long dream since retiring. Boy howdy do I have a wonderful wife! But she does have her limits and I will be back home tomorrow.
Looking forward to this here upcoming rodeo! I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and blessings for the coming New Years.
Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear or a fool from either end. BOC Member since....I can't remember!
#4455352 - 12/30/1805:11 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
I have been in St. Omer for several days now, at the No. 1 Aircraft depot. What an amazing hub of activity; repair shops and supply buildings bustling with activity and lots of aircraft buzzing in and out on ferry flights and pilot refresher flights.
I am stuck here in what they call the 'Pilot Pool' awaiting assignment to an active squadron. Any day now!
The trip over from Dover was slow, but thankfully I was not stuck on a troop ship with a bunch of regular army sods. The quartermaster at the Dover Marine Station had the good sense to note that a shipment of two Be2c's (in pieces) were on their way to St. Omer accompanied by two mechanics and suggested I travel along. It worked a charm as I had ship and lorry service right to my destination. The one mechanic was a rather dull sort, mostly interested in gambling and booze, but the second chap was quite sharp about aeroplane mechanics and motorcycles so we had some good conversations.
Last edited by 77_Scout; 12/30/1805:18 AM.
#4455450 - 12/31/1812:50 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Ace_Pilto I get the impression that Drongo Drummond is goinng to be quite a character.
I've got two more stories planned for Stanley before the campaign proper starts. Here is a very heavily disguised bombing training mission.
Historical note: they really did drop a dummy from a plane every now and then at Doncaster for the benefit of public onlookers. It was also a tradition to dare trainee pilots to do a loop soon after arrival for advanced training.
The dummy was based on a tailor’s mannequin, but previous drops had knocked it out of shape so much that Stanley felt that he was looking into the face of a scarecrow. He was flying at 4000 feet with the dummy sat in the observer’s position in front of him. Unlike a normal observer, the dummy was slumped over the faring between the seats in such a fashion that Stanley could pull it back and over the side in relative safety.
While circling, Stanley decided that the best area to drop would be the northern edge of the landing field. The buildings, and with them most of the people on the ground, lay along the main road on the southern edge of the field. “Here goes,” Stanley said aloud to no-one in particular and reached around the windshield into the icy blast of the propeller. It wasn’t as easy as William had hoped. The aeroplane lurched and diped worryingly as he leaned forward to tug and pull the stuffed flying coat into position. Once all was ready, Stanley looked again at his position. He was well off to the right now. He had to circle around again.
When he judged the line of flight to be right he held the BE2 steady until the aerodrome passed under the front of his lower wing. With a last haul the dummy toppled out on the cockpit and down into space.
William Stanley breathed a deep sigh of relief when he saw that it had not clipped his tail on the way out. The body fell away, arms and legs waving in a hauntingly realistic fashion. Stanley knew he would have nightmares tonight. He saw that it was going to miss itstarget, but would instead drop into the farmer’s field beyond the aerodrome. “Good enough for now,” Stanley thought, “but if I were dropping a bomb it would be a poor show.”
“Well done. That looked good,” Moller grinned as Stanley climbed out of the lande BE2. “You really made it look like you were i distress before the drop, what with all the wobbling.” “I didn’t do that on purpose,” Stanley objected. “Well don’t tell anyone that old boy.”
Barnstaple found Stanley packing his valise bak at Lonsdale’s house. “Hullo Barnestaple. I’m off for Christmas. I have leave and I’’m taking advantage of being in England. Lord knows when I’ll be able to spend another Christmas with my family.” Barnstaple looked glum, “don’t I know it. I haven’t been so lucky, but perhaps I can pop home at some point. Have a good Christmas then.” He offered a hand, which Stanley shook. “And you too,” Stanley replied. “I hope you get to see your parents. Do look me up in France won’t you?”
Last edited by Maeran; 12/31/1812:54 AM. Reason: spacing. I have a new keyboard for my mobile phone and I'm still learning to use its layout
#4455557 - 12/31/1809:18 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Got word yesterday morning that I would be sent immediately to RFC-6 squadron. Was driven by motorcar east to Abeele airfield, arriving late-afternoon.
The place is a converted farm with two fields available for takeoffs and landings, separated by a roadway. Lots of barns and farm buildings converted to shops and hangers. Some of the senior officers are bunked in the old farmhouse, but I am currently billeted in a group of large tents set up in the lee of the south barn. Bloody cold and hopefully soon to move into more permanent lodgings.
Spent the day today getting oriented. We have 14 active pilots and an equal contingent of observers. The squadron has a mix of aeroplanes; the two senior Captains are flying Bristol Scouts, seven or so Lieutenants are flying FE2b's, and five lower ranking pilots (including myself) are flying BE2c's.
I have just met my assigned observer; a 2nd Lewwy by the name of Chris Bathurst. He is an older fellow (27 years old!) with 32 missions under his belt. Word has it that he is "an average observer but lucky". I think I have lucked out to have such an experienced and steady obs/gunner to work with. A little luck is exactly what I need as I have been told to expect my first official active flight soon.
Tomorrow I will be flying, but the CO has restricted me to a few circuits around the airfield so he can assess my skills.
Last edited by 77_Scout; 12/31/1809:32 PM.
#4455563 - 12/31/1809:46 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Back from Christmas break. Looks like everyone kept themselves occupied.
31 December, 1915 Sergent Gaston A. Voscadeaux Somewhere between Marseille and Paris
Gaston was sitting in the train compartment taking him back to Paris. His pass has nearly expired and he had to get back to Le Bourget to obtain his transfer orders. He was finishing the last piece of far breton that Violette had made for him before his departure and was now occupying himself by looking through the window and enjoying the vistas going by. He had a wonderful Christmas with his wife and his children. Giselle had grown so much since his last visit and Bernadette followed him everywhere asking all sorts of questions. Girls are so inquisitive. Both girls asked for a little brother for Christmas. After not seeing Gaston for such a long time even his wife was warming up to the idea after the children went to bed. Gaston had to be firm and agreed to discuss it further AFTER the war. When will he see his family again? Will he ever see them again? Gaston flicked off the last of the crumbs from his uniform and adjusted his armband that displayed the pilot’s brevet. He was still getting used to it and the looks the ladies were giving him. By Gaston’s estimate the train will not arrive at its final destination for another few hours. Just enough time for a nice nap. When the train stopped at the Paris station, Gaston was refreshed and ready for the final leg of his journey. Outside of Gare de Lyon, among the usual turmoil and bustle where everyone appeared to be lost, Gaston was able to hail one of the famous Parisian taxis to take him to Le Bourget. It was difficult to see the road with the thick flakes of snow coming down all around. The taxi driver was an army veteran and the eyepatch he was wearing on his left eye betrayed his inability to serve. Hugo, the taxi driver had an opinion just about everything. The man would not stop talking. As long as his Renault was in motion, so was his mouth. Gaston was certain Hugo was related to his neighbour - Mme Ponsardin, the only other person he knew afflicted by such advanced case of oratory diarrhea. By the time the car stopped at the gates to the aerodrome, Gaston had been subjected to Hugo’s rants about his wife’s venereal disease and he couldn’t get out of the taxi fast enough. He gave Hugo a fistful of Francs and left as fast as he could without slipping and falling on the iced over path covered by fresh powder. He pretended not to hear Hugo yelling after him that he gave him too much. As far as Gaston was concerned, it was money well spent. The snow was now coming down harder in large flakes sticking to his nose, eyebrows and his moustache. It crunched underfoot and by the time Gaston reached the barracks he was covered in a thick, white coat. It looks like no one will be flying out on the New Year’s day.
Happy New Year to All!
"Take the cylinder out of my kidneys, The connecting rod out of my brain, my brain, From out of my arse take the camshaft, And assemble the engine again."
#4455569 - 12/31/1810:14 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
I say, More supplies. 1 wagon of Tin Hats and Raincoats and shoes and another of Tools, 303 ammo, Revolvers 32 cal. and Tins of corn beef. a few Veg's Bread( but it was stale ) and Dark Rum for our 2 spoon daily ration. along with the rest of the ground crews with Rigging equipment. I appropriated the Tins of the Corn Beef and some Tea and went to the farm down the road and traded for Milk and Cheese. I do say nice neighbor.
Last edited by carrick58; 01/01/1902:31 AM.
#4455598 - 01/01/1902:56 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Everybody's stories continue to inspire - excellently written, by all! I only hope I can keep up
Sgt. Graham A. Campbell No. 20 Squadron R.F.C, Netheravon, England.
January 1st, 1916.
The year has begun with snow blanketing the now-silent Netheravon. Through the window of the Sergeants’ mess, I have spent the first hours of my morning trying to penetrate with my gaze the thick wall of sleet that is whipping around angrily outside, beating at the doors to be let in. Early this morning Major Wilson assembled No. 20 and told us that there would be no flying done today - not that we needed to be told! I can scarcely imagine any aeroplane being able to fly in such unfavourable situations.
Jimmy Reynard had suggested that we attempt to procure one of the few motorcars scattered around the aerodrome and head into Salisbury, but, as Archer pointed out, the fierce winter frost in this time of year was treacherous, and often concealed obstacles ahead, and lay traps of invisible ice on roads; It was no friend to drivers and pilots, alike. So, instead, I strained my eyes into the snow and allowed my mind to wander, as Reynard busied himself loading his pipe, and Archer sat down with an Army notebook, sketching aeroplanes. As it turns out, Archer is quite the artist, and our quarters have slowly been decorated by thumb-tacked drawings of his.
Over the last few days, when the weather would allow, pilots have already started departing for France, and their assigned squadrons. The last pilots to have gone were Netheravon’s two resident Americans, Swanson and Jericho, who were bound for No. 3 Squadron. Rumour has it that No.3 are on Moranes. I do not envy them; The Morane Parasols look rather slow and unstable in the air, and every time I see one fly I am fearful that it will suddenly spin, as the poor No.29 pilot did back at Hounslow Heath.
It seems that we of No.20 will be in Blighty a little longer, but Cpt. Bistow, one of our observers, has let slip that we are soon to be bound for France ourselves, and war! According to Bistow, our four B.E.2s are to be replaced by F.E.2s upon our arrival. Jacky Boy, Switch-off and I are terribly excited at this news! A few days ago I met my Observer, Ken Edith, for the first time. To my astoundment, it is a Captain that I shall be ferrying across the skies of France! How amusing that I, a mere Sergeant Pilot, should be leading a Captain into battle! That being said, the broad-shouldered Scot seems completely impartial to rank, a rare trait for a British officer, and I have seen him more than once helping the engine-fitters to carry out their work in the aeroplane hangars and workshops. Edith comes from Evanton, a sleepy little town on Scotland’s Eastern coast, not too far from the Cromarty Firth. As he was happily telling me on our first meet, as a youth he would frequent the Fyrish Monument, from which there is a terrific view of the Firth and, on clear days, the looming, ominous hulk of Ben Wyvis can be seen in the distance.
The snow is falling ever-heavier. I fear that we may not be flying again for a while, and it seems to me that the weather may be sympathising with the Hun! By any means, it will not be long until we are in France, and Captain Boyd, or ‘Taffy’ as we know him, has already begun taking wagers as to which crew will shoot down a Hun first.
No rum, no streamers. Not even a firecracker. Just waves and waves and behind them, more waves trying to get past all the other waves. Drummond was sick of it. He was beginning to wonder if he shouldn't have simply let the troopers catch him and put him in goal. Some New Year this was turning out to be. Some of the troops and crew had started a feeble sing-song but it was too cold and they broke up after a few rounds of "Auld Lang Syne" to resume playing cards, trying to sleep in their ridiculous hammocks or just sitting together, huddled, speaking in low murmurs and staring out of the portholes while thinking of home.
The Omrah was approaching the Western tip of Spain according to the crew and Drummond had elected himself as an unofficial ship's lookout. He was quite keen to see something other than water since he'd been deprived of such amusements for longer than he cared to recollect. The ship had put out from Capetown a week or so ago. Was it a week? Drummond had lost track of time in the general malaise of being at sea and had assigned himself a routine of "duties" to prevent himself from going mad. First thing in the morning he took some exercise with the troops on board, they were fairly good natured about allowing him to join in and nobody paid any attention to him as he did jumping jacks, push ups and ran the length of the deck several times before breakfast. After breakfast he helped clear up and, by the time that was done, it was almost time to begin preparing lunch. Breakfast was porridge, or gruel as Drummond called it. He hated the stuff. 'Lunch' was an optimistic word for the flesh of some horrible origin that the cooks scraped out of the many tins in the galley and heated to lukewarm temperature before serving it on hard tack. Dinner was more of the same, to be eaten with a cup of tea and a lime, or, if one was particularly fortunate, an orange.
In between meals Drummond kept watch.
The sun grew weaker as they sailed further north and Drummond shivered, it was unnatural being this cold in January, something ought to be done about it. A fluttering of wings startled him, some kind of sea bird had alit upon the railing and was cocking its head, eyeing Drummond knowingly.
"Well now, what news Mister Gull?" Drummond asked of it.
The gull pecked at something on the railing briefly before letting fly with a stream of excrement and flying off with a harsh cry.
"I suppose that about sums it up." Drummond nodded, watching the gull lazily glide away east. If only he had wings, he'd be shot of this damned tub before you could say "Jack Sprat" and that's a fact.
Last edited by Ace_Pilto; 01/01/1912:47 PM.
Let's pretend I got the BWOC badge to embed here.
Wenn ihr sieg im deine Kampf selbst gegen, wirst stark wie Stahl sein.
#4455676 - 01/01/1905:43 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Mark Anthony Jericho RFC3 Auchel/Lozinghem January 1, 1916
Great stories Gents. Ace, it could have been worse for Drummond. He could have been down wind of the seagull! I knew it might happen but I was very disappointed to find all flights were cancelled
Jericho sat on his cot after putting a few more sticks of wood on the small stove to try and keep his humble abode warm. He had traveled many a mile to get to this point. After arriving at RFC3, today was to be his 1st real wartime flight, only to be told all flights were cancelled! He unloaded his prize Colt 45. He had given it to a friend in Canada and instructed him to send it to him in England once he knew where he would be. It caught up with him the day before he shipped over to France.
He had given his new machine a once over. He was not impressed with the Morane. It had to be the ugliest looking mount he had ever seen. The other pilots had warned him that it was not easy to fly and you had to keep your hand on her at all times. Also, he was told to be careful of the elevator as it was sensitive and would put you on your nose given half a chance. His observer, Captain Whorton seemed a fine fellow. He had flown 35 missions to date. Whorton was a quiet individual which suited Jericho just fine.
The weather had in a funk. He did not like sitting around. He put the 45 back in its shoulder holster and hung it near his cot. Reaching under his bunk he pulled out a book by Mark Twain. He had read Pudd'n Head Wilson before but decided he would give it another go. He lay back down on his cot and began reading.
Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear or a fool from either end. BOC Member since....I can't remember!
#4455711 - 01/01/1910:05 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
At last everything is here. Paired off in to Observers and Pilots then the Maj ordered everyone up. I say it was crackers. Machines getting very close. Upon landing , the ADJ posted a few more flights as Training before going Operational on or about the 3rd. All we need now is Fuel, Bombs, Film, Ammo, and Maps !
Last edited by carrick58; 01/01/1910:06 PM.
#4455862 - 01/02/1911:52 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
My first flight has still not happened; two days of bad winter weather have kept everyone grounded. The C.O., Major Mills, called me in today for a quick chat. I get the idea he just wanted to assess the 'new man' and determine my level of training. He apologized for the dismal accommodations (tent!) and explained that the squadron has a slight excess of pilots at the moment in relation to barracks. Although he didn't say it specifically, I get the impression they were expecting me to fill the spot of a dead or injured pilot, but everyone has had the gall to stay healthy and alive due to quiet times at the front. Basically, I can expect to move into warmer quarters as soon as someone gets tagged by the Hun.
I was passed off to Captain Davis for some additional orientation regarding our situation at the front. He told me that most of the shooting will be on the ground ... we are the eyes of the artillery and will be spending lots of time ranging fall of shells around the Ypres salient. I asked about the likelihood being attacked by Fokkers but was assured that I would perhaps run into an Aviatik or two, but enemy single-seat scouts are rare and unlikely to be encountered. Plus, our two Bristol Scouts are available for escort duty so no need to worry. Seems quite reassuring!
#4455873 - 01/03/1901:02 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Sgt. Graham A. Campbell No. 20 Squadron R.F.C, Netheravon, England.
January 2nd, 1916.
As we had suspected, there was no flying today again; England is still gently sleeping beneath the snow. Fortunately, the inclement weather seems to have passed us by, and so Jacky-Boy, Jimmy Reynard, Wallace Pearson and I headed into town, bartering a ride with one of the Batmen, who was being sent in to town to pick up food for the kitchen.
On the Salisbury High Road we stopped by a quaint, modest little place to have lunch, named the "Dorothy Cafe". Above the sign of the establishment hung a second sign that read "DAINTY TEAS", and I rather decided that it was my duty to test the boldness of this claim. The interior of the place was very homely; simple oak furniture was dotted around, eight-or-so tables, and in the corner sat an old dusty piano, nestled in behind a slow-burning fireplace. By the entrance was a large window, which was bracketed by deep red curtains, neatly swept to either side, and on the walls hung quaint little oil paintings of some of the landmarks of Salisbury. One particular paining was newer than the rest - an image of a B.E.2 flying over the town. Clearly, the cafe had become frequented by us R.F.C types! I wondered if perhaps an old regular, or an ex-owner had painted the pictures - they did all look of one style. Maybe, whoever they were, they still now painted pictures to pass the time in the trenches.
As we cheerfully greeted the owners, asking for our lunches to be served up, Pearson flopped down onto the piano stool and proceeded to play a delicately subtle rendition of "Keep the Home Fires Burning". By the window, a lone infantryman begun humming along to the tune, staring into his mug of tea while appearing to be half-lost in some private, deep thought. After the first two bars, a faint smile appeared on his lips but, for some reason, to me it seemed like an impossibly sad expression. I only lingered on the face of the tired infantryman for a moment, before my comrades' idle conversations dragged me back in, and we took the table closest to the piano.With Pearson still gently tapping away at the keys, we spoke of the typical subjects; Flying, the identity of the pilot who would shoot down 20's first Hun, and, of course, girls! Naturally, the latter subject led to some outrageous tales, by far the worst coming from Reynard, who told us some stories I dare not repeat, true scandals that stood on the edge of disbelief! During our idle chit-chat, Simon Sarisbury stepped through the door, with his observer, Kris Bistow. Jacky-Boy waved them over, and they pulled up a chair around our table. The loud scrapes of Bistow's chair dragging along were accompanied by a disproving frown from the lady who owned the Cafe - not that the roguish observer took any notice - as Sarisbury went up to the counter to procure their own lunch. Walking up with him, I ran a critical eye down the list of 'dainty teas', and finally went with a liquorice-flavoured beverage (much to the amusement of my colleagues), which I secretly enjoyed, all the while feigning displeasure at the drink. Needless to say, the tea was, in fact, an appropriate level of daintiness.
Finally, once our late-comers had lunched, we packed out of the Dorothy Cafe, all of us leaving small coins as tips for our hostess, who beamed at us and wished us good luck in France. Despite the piano falling silent again, I couldn't help but notice the infantryman now quietly whispering the lyrics of Keep the Home Fires Burning to himself, his voice quivering. "And we gave our glorious laddies, honour bade us do no less" he crooned in his pitiful, teary voice, his palm pressed to his forehead. The sleeve of his uniform bore three wound stripes.
Unfortunately for us, our Batman chauffeur was long gone, and so we walked to the outskirts of town to the conveniently placed Bicycle Depot, the owner of which was a forty-something year old hulking brute of a man, whose grey hair stuck out wildly from underneath a dirty flat-cap. We were happy to discover the man was a fierce patriot, and insisted in a booming voice that we borrow the bicycles for free in order to get back to the aerodrome. As we thanked him and turned to leave, he roared out "For king and country, boys! Go and get those godless Huns!". Jacky-boy rolled his eyes, and whispered to me "Says the bloke who isn't going to France!". Snickering, I mounted the red Raleigh bicycle I'd picked out, and off we went, back to Netheravon through the snow.