Carrick, Good to you are still causing havoc to the enemy with your bombs and stopped playing with them around the mechanics shed. Wolfe, I do hope you are keeping your writings to make a book. Shoot, I would buy it. Great stories. Lou, I hope your new machine has a better engine than your last. Fullofit, You lucky dog you! A real fighting airplane! Good luck with your new squad! Raine, you rally are the ringmaster! Maybe I should try making the Major ill what with the big battle coming our way. Need more scout pilots, hint, hint. Seriously, I am enjoying the Morane. I would never had flown it if not for this campaign and it is not a bad machine.
Lt. Mark Jericho Auchell Aerodrome Feb.4, 1916
"How is the leg, Mark?" Swany asked.
"Oh, she's fine. You know, I have never been so embarrassed in my life. We get to the aid station and I can feel the blood pooling in my boot. Hurt like blazes too! When the doc starts to take my boot off I'm thinking the foot might come off with it. Well, he gets the boot off and rolls up my trouser leg and there is blood pouring all over the floor. I'm wondering if I'll ever walk again!"
Swany leans over in his chair toward Jericho totally absorbed in the story.
"So then the doc starts washing my calf off and low and behold, it ain't nothing! A pretty good gash for sure but I've seen men with a lot worse throw a little Kerosine on it and never look back. He told me I was lucky and would be back in the air in a few days."
"Its good to have you back." Swany said. After a few minutes of silence Swany asked Jericho, "How did you end up flying coming from out west."
"Well that's a long story Pard. After I left Mississippi, I ended up working on a ranch outside of San Antonio Texas. There was this girl there. Marjorie Stinson. She had a Wright model B. It was tail heavy and prone to stall"
"Wait, Marjorie, a woman!?" Swany asked in surprise.
""You bet, and easy on the eyes too!" Jericho replied. "Anyway, she gave lessons for a dollar a minute and I thought that was just about the most wonderful thing I had seen in my life.I didn't have much else to spend money on and was making $30 dollars and found per month at the time so whenever I could, I would ride down to her place and she would give me lessons. After that me, and another went to Montana and then Canada to see the country. I had saved up a good bit of money by then and not being wise to the world lost it all to a swindler selling stock in an oil company. Really didn't know what to do at that point and ran into a recruiting Sargent who promised me I could see the world and save it to boot. When he asked if I could drive a motor car I told him "no but I can fly an airplane" his eyes lit up like the fourth of July."Jericho stopped suddenly looking away at nothing in particular then back at Swany. "Now I'm in France sitting in a wooden shack talking to a Northerner I don't even understand half the time.... Heck of a world ain't it Pard." Jericho said with a grin.
"What does your family back in Mississippi think about you being in France" Swany asked.
"I'm glad you brought that up Swany" Jericho said as he reached under the mattress and pulled out a letter addressed to Deemer Jericho, Tupelo Mississippi. "If something ever happens to me would you see that she gets this? It's to my mother."
Swany had been with Jericho long enough to know that this was the end of the conversation but decided to pursue it. "Has your father passed?"
Jericho rolled the letter over in his hands looking at it. "He don't enter into the equation Pard" Jericho said matter of fact. "You hungry."
Note:In 1914, Marjorie and Katherine Stinson opened a flying school in San Antonio Tx. "$30 dollars and found" meant $30 plus droom and board. $30/month was average pay for a cowhand at the turn of the century Kerosine was used as a cure all for cuts, mange on animals and everything in between. I remember it being used many times in the rural south in my childhood
Last edited by MFair; 02/04/1909:52 PM.
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!
#4459958 - 02/04/1909:51 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
...BTW, what happens when the Dead is Dead pilot ... dies? How do we enlist the next one? Does he have to fly training missions? Start in a two-seater? Can he lead a normal life knowing that he has just died in his previous incarnation?
PM me with a new pilot bio and the Campaign gods will take it from there with full instructions. No training requirement, but your initial posting could be anything open to your selected nationality and service.
#4459962 - 02/04/1910:23 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
MFair, wait! Was Marjorie tail heavy and prone to stall? I'm so confused. Raine, thanks for the additional info. Just wanted to know what the price of death is.
4 February , 1916 9:15 Senard, Verdun Sector Escadrille N37 Sergent Gaston A. Voscadeaux
“- Bonjour, I am Sergent Gaston Voscadeaux. Reporting for duty!” Gaston saluted as he entered his new C.O.’s office. “- Ahh, Bienvenue! Entrez-Vous! You are the pilot who arrived late last night, n’est pas?” Capitaine Louis Joseph Marie Quillien, the commanding officer of Escadrille N37 lifted himself from the armchair and offered Gaston his hand. Gaston looked around the office. The picture on the Capitaine’s desk caught his eye. “- Is that ...” Gaston was speechless. “- Yes, he served with us before transferring to MS49.” Capitaine Quillien beamed.
“- You ... knew ... Adolphe Pegoud, the King of the Air?” Gaston could not believe his eyes and ears. “- Yes, we flew together for a few months, but enough about celebrities. Let’s get down to business.” Quillien sat back behind his desk. “- I’m afraid we’ll have to put you to work right away. Are you up for it?” Le Capitaine was looking at a chart behind him on the chalkboard. “- Oui, mon Capitaine. I am eager to serve!” In fact, Gaston couldn’t wait to get his hands on one of those single-seaters. “- Bon! You will fly with ...” Still looking at the chart Quillien couldn’t quite decide. “- ... with Caporal Durand. He will be your observer.” “- Ob... Observer?” Gaston was taken aback. “- Is that a problem, Sergent Voscadeaux?” The new C.O. was intrigued. “- I thought we will be flying the Nieuport scouts.” Gaston sounded disappointed. “- Oh, sorry to disappoint you, mon ami. The scouts are reserved for higher ranked pilots. But don’t worry. Work hard, fly well, stay alive and I’m certain you will find yourself sitting in one of them very soon. Be patient. For now it’s the Nieuport 12 for you. I’m sure you will find it to your liking.” Gaston liked this man, he had the qualities of a great leader. Something that’s been lacking as of late in the French Command. Caporal Christophe Durand, Gaston’s new observer/gunner was young, very young. His face was covered in zits and easily excitable. And when he was excited, Gaston found him speaking very fast. He reminded him of someone he knew, but couldn’t quite place it. It was only when Christophe spoke of his father that Gaston made the connection. What a small world, Durand’s father drives a taxi in Paris. Despite this being Gaston’s first mission in the new area, he was picked to lead the ‘B’ Flight. Caporal Mondeme would bring up the rear. They would spot for the artillery NW of the aerodrome just over the lines and they would get cover from the Nieuports 10 of the ‘A’ Flight, composed of S.Ltn. Medeville and Sgt. de Geuser. It was one of those overcast days, dominated by steel-grey clouds. They’ve been hurried along by Flak over the entire stay over the front. They didn’t see many troop positions and the artillery ranging shots never came. Gaston’s first mission at Senard aerodrome was a bust. Hopefully he would be able to prove himself more useful than this and soon.
"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."
#4459973 - 02/04/1911:40 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
There's always Comic Cuts, Raine. They've been going since 1915
The RFC Communiques, affectionately known as "Comic Cuts", reported on RFC activities on a regular basis from 1915 on. A Mention in Dispatches, however, required being singled out in the Army GOC's despatches and reported in a supplement to the London Gazette. Haig's first despatch hasn't happened yet, The main despatch was issued on 19 May 1916, with supplements to follow (including mentions). So I'm collecting the MiDs for later publication.
There was no medal or special award for an MiD at first. One received only the warm, fuzzy feeling of recognition. At war's end, there were two acknowledgements. First, the recipient got a nice certificate, suitable for framing on one's "I Love Me" wall. Second, a bronze leaf pin was issued, which was to be worn on the ribbon of the Victory Medal or British War Medal.
For the campaign, the Gong Fairy is planning to issue the certificate, I believe. Just pretend you (or your bereaved spouse / parents) got it after the war.
#4459979 - 02/05/1912:10 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Sgt. Graham A. Campbell, No. 20 Squadron R.F.C, Clairmarais Aerodrome, France,
February 4th, 1916.
The morning was typical for this time of year, with the frosted-over fields gleaming in the sunlight. By the time I had awoken, Jacky-Boy had already dashed off into town to see Jeanne. No such luck for me - instead, I made my way to the mess, where I found ‘Normie’ McNaughton reading through the latest Communiques, or ‘Comic Cuts’ as the RFC types had taken to calling it, and Archer, who was sketching away while looking out of the window. “Morning, Normie”, I greeted my wingman, and he looked up with a smile. “ ‘Hello, Campbell! Cold morning, hey?”. I nodded, flopping down in the armchair opposite his. “Yes, indeed, although I rather like the cold”. Normie cocked his head to the side. “Well, not me. Anyway, things might be getting a little warmer later on…”. I got the distinct impression he wasn’t referring to the weather. “Oh? How so?” I pressed, and Normie broke out in a fatalistic smile. “We’ve got the Lens show today!” he said, almost triumphantly.
To date, Lens had been the hottest shop that No. 20 has frequented, and every time we go over that way it seems to end up in a scrap. I rather wished that Edith would be flying with me, but he has since been assigned to another pilot, and I am to stay with Ackart. I only hope that he is as courageous as my Scottish ex-colleague.
After having a morning cup of coffee in the mess with Normie, we headed out, as the Ack-Emmas would surely be preparing our machines. I found Ackart waiting beside A6333, and we climbed in. He turned to face me, his face stern. “No antics, Campbell, I don’t want to end up shot like Edith” he said. Shooting him a cold glare, I replied “Certainly not, sir” and pulled down my goggles. I find Ackart more disagreeable with each morning.
Ahead of our machine, I noticed Kris Bristow walking towards Normie’s machine. He turned and waved to me, and I waved back, calling out “Not with Jimmy anymore?”. He shook his head in confirmation - it seems like I’m not the only one to have lost my observer.
We made our final checks, and Ackart loaded the gun as I tied my charm to the control column, and then we were off and headed out past St. Omer, to make our long, wheeling climb. There was plenty of low cumulus, and visibility was fairly poor, and soon we had lost sight of Normie & Tepes. When they finally reappeared - it was from behind the other side of a cloud we were rounding, and we all got the wind right up as we suddenly had two Fees about to barrel headlong into our formation from the left! Graves immediately threw his machine into a steep dive, just avoiding Normie’s undercarriage, and I watched in horror as his observer went over the side of the Nacelle, only staying aboard the machine by clinging to the forward Lewis for dear life! No doubt there would be one hell of a row in the mess later.
Shakily, Graves put his fee back in front of our now-reunited flight, and we headed out towards the lines before any other mishap could befall us. After a cautious flight, we crossed the lines at Neuve-Chapelle without any further incidents.
After a short while of patrolling, I saw movement in the mud below. Leaning over the side of the canopy, I made out the shape of an Aviatik, being escorted by a Fokker, down near the ground. Sitting ducks for the five of us! I tried to signal to Graves, but he would take no notice, so I expectantly turned to Ackart. He slowly shook his head; ‘NO’. Irritably, I slumped back in my seat. Out on the edge of our trench-lines, another Fokker, alone, weaved left and right through little white archie puffs. I gritted my teeth, anxious to attack something. There were five of us - what chance did the lone Eindecker have? But, Graves was immovable. Soon after, we turned for home. But, this disappointing show had one last unwelcome moment in store for me as, just short of Clairmarais, 6333’s engine cut out again. Switching to Gravity got the Beardmore humming over again, and I put in at Clairmarais, before fetching an engine fitter and informing him that the fuel line seal had gone again.
A Temperamental Fee!
At around half past One, after having my lunch in the mess with Normie, I returned to my Billet to find Jacky-Boy happily packing his things into a suitcase. “Going somewhere?” I asked. Without looking up from his packing, he shouted back “I’ve been given a 48-hour pass! I’m off to-” “St. Omer, perhaps?” I interrupted, teasingly. He turned, and winked at me, before going back to his packing. I left him to it, taking a stroll back to the aerodrome, to visit old A6338. I was happy to learn that the engine was to be fitted by the end of the evening, having arrived by truck shortly after ‘B’ flight’s departure. I looked over my machine, beaten-up and holed by Hun gunfire, and felt a great affection for the old girl. Suddenly, a thought occurred to me, and I pulled one mechanic to the side. “Say, do you think you could put in a clasp to hold this?” I asked, producing the small tea-bindle charm. The mechanic knowingly smirked. “Oh, no bother at all, ser! We’ll have it done just as soon as the new Beardmore’s settled in”. I thanked him, and turned to leave. As I went, one of the engine fitters called out “By the way, the new engine’s a peach - she’ll be the envy of the squadron!”. I turned back, grinning. “Excellent stuff! Thank you, gentlemen!”. As one, they touched their caps.
That night, Switch-Off, Jimmy Reynard and I saw Jacky-Boy off, before heading to the mess for the evening sing-song. Sure enough, Pearson was already in position at the battered old Piano, its endearingly out-of-tune voice filling the mess. Abruptly, he stopped, and turned to the crowd of us that had gathered, merrily securing our first drinks of the evening. “Okay chaps, any requests?”. Immediately, Edith called out “Mademoiselle from Armentieres!”, which was answered by an approving cheer from us all.
With our arms around each-other’s shoulders, spilling drinks down each-other’s tunics, we belted out the tune loud, of course reaching a climax at the ever-loved “Hinky-Dinky Parlez-Vous!!!”.
I stumbled back towards my Billet earlier than most, accompanied by Switch-off, who had quickly learned in France that he had no real stomach for alcohol. As we staggered down the freezing road by the aerodrome, I pondered upon my time in France, the reality compared to my initial expectations at Hounslow, in those early days flying B.E’s. Drunkenly, I turned to Switch-off, his scarf pulled up around his face against the chill.
“Say, Switchy, how do you find France?”. He turned to me, his boyish features wearing a look of surprise. After a pause, followed by a stutter, came his response: “Well, whatever do you mean, Graham?”. “I mean, when we were in Hounslow, with Freddy and the other chaps, what did you expect? Do you feel better off, or worse?”. Switch-off’s face tightened, as he begun to concentrate and feel out his response, and for a moment he looked almost of the same age and maturity as the rest of us. “I suppose,” he begun, before falling into another long pause. “I suppose that I am happy. The war is quiet in the air, and we don’t get shot at very much. The poor devils in the trenches must lose their friends an awful lot, but we seem to get on okay”. I nodded slowly. “True, we are lucky in that aspect. For me, I expected more fighting, for it rather feels like I’m not doing my bit”. Switch-off smiled, but looked saddened. “Don’t be so silly, Graham! We’re all doing our bit, you know. You, more so than most of us! Why, you’ve already gotten a Hun, and we all know you’ll jump at the chance to get another!”.
We had nearly reached the door to our Billet, and again Switch-off wore that serious look on his face as he turned to me, unravelling the blood-red scarf from around his throat. “I heard Ackart complaining after you came back today, something about trying to chase a Hun”. I opened my mouth to reply, but Switch-off continued. “You ought to be more careful, Graham”. I fell silent, surprised by the lad’s concern. As we stepped out of the cold February air, he offered one more insight:
“We were all in a terrible funk, the day you and Edith were shot down. Jimmy kept telling us all that you were made of sterner stuff. We tried our best to believe him. When you hadn’t arrived back by nightfall, well, we feared that you’d both been killed. Jack was especially down in the dumps - for days, none of us could say much to him. Only his visits to the Vincent, to see Jeanne seemed to cheer him up. She was terribly kind to him, and sorry that you were missing”.
And that was the first moment that the reality of our war truly set in. We had been lucky so far, at No. 20, with only two men lightly wounded, but the underlying reality of death seemed suddenly to appear from every shadow, whispering and inviting. I wanted to talk to Switch-off some more, but before I had collected my thoughts the boy had succumbed to the night’s decadence, and was sprawled out on his bunk in full uniform, peacefully dozing away. As I removed my tunic, crawling into my own bunk, I bit back a laugh at the thought that, out of our whole outfit, it was this youth, this child who had somehow been sent into this hellish war, who was the most prolific of us all.
Having a terrific time with the campaign so far! Looking at everybody's wonderfully fleshed-out personas, I'm trying to do a little 'character-building' of my own. Hopefully, Campbell, Jacky-Boy, Reynard and the rest of the gang will start to develop a bit more personality in time! Looking forwards to everybody's next installments
Oh - P.S - nice new bus, Fullofit! Here’s hoping you can ditch the spare seat soon!
Wulfe, that was a terrific story. Love how the characters are developing. There is so much depth to them and you want to dig deeper. Good on you. Can’t wait for more. BTW, that was a close call with the entire formation getting together. Should give Campbell an idea how to dump Ackart, literally.
"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."
#4459995 - 02/05/1903:19 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
After a week on the road, it is great to get back into WOFF! There are so many great tales developing and the personalities are wonderfully real. Lederhosen, sorry to see the Blue Dragon dented! I'm glad you found a good place to put it down in the Alsace. Maeran, I always feel a little sorry for Stuffy Dowding. He was a truly great man cursed with terrible shyness. Your description of his dining-out and the new Major putting his stamp on 16 Squadron is first-rate stuff. 77_Scout, it will be interesting to see how Marshall develops. Congratulations on outflying the Fokker with your BE2. It goes to show us that aggression in the air is your best defence. MFair, thanks for the iron work for Collins's hut! I loved the story of Swaney's visit to him while recuperating and how he trained at the Stinson School in Texas. Great stuff. And I thought the story about Captain Chambers' apology was terrific. Get well soon.
Carrick, sorry to see your wingman go down. Please don't take too many chances in that BE. Lou, the tale of the burning Morane was a nail-biter.
Fullofit, the tale of Gaston Voscadeux just keeps getting better. Too bad the Fokker wasn't confirmed. Seeing two Caudrons collide must have been horrific. And once again, congratulations on your posting to N37. Finally, hats off to Wulfe. Every one of your characters is drawn expertly, and you can almost hear the mess piano playing as you read the stories. Also, the photos are really outstanding. Do you retouch them to make them so crisp?
Here is Jim Collins's next chapter...
An Airman’s Odyssey – by James Arthur Collins
Part Fifteen: In which I meet the ferryman who will escort me over the River Styx one day. His name is Corporal Wilson.
On 30 January my old observer, Russel, failed to return from a patrol with one of our new pilots. We have heard nothing and expect the worst. I became a fixture on Captain Mealing’s left wing, opposite Sergeant Bayetto. For a few missions I flew with a very nice fellow named Hoskins, but then fate intervened in the person of Sergeant-Major Street.
It was on the morning of 3 February, an unseasonably warm morning when the ice and frost was nearly gone and newly-thawed middens filled the air with the sweet odour of dung and dead grass. Swaney and I were laying out the posts for my hut at the far end of the field. We had measured and plumbed and such things, and then Swaney pretty much took over. Mealing had nominated himself managing director of the construction firm and was lending critical observations, mainly of my work. I was lighting a cigarette and considering a tea break when Major Harvey-Kelly and the good Sergeant-Major sauntered up.
“I do hope this will all be done in good taste,” the Major offered. I assured him that the hut would be a fine addition to the efficiency of the squadron and had been carefully designed to conform to the overall aesthetic of its surroundings -- two parts RFC maintenance shed to one part grimy French pit-head, with a dash of Klondike cathouse to make it mine.
“We’re a tad short of observers at present,” the Major said. "Russel’s replacement is delayed and Theobald and Carruthers are on leave. The Sergeant-Major has a solution, though.”
“Corporal Wilson,” the Sergeant-Major said. “You know him, I assume.”
“Haven’t the foggiest.”
“He’s the blacksmith’s helper. Scot. Glasgow man. Ex-P.B.I.”
I smelled a rat. “Why him, Mr. Street?”
“Indeed,” came the cryptic reply. “He’s a keen one, our Corporal Wilson. I’ll send him over before lunch.” We were on for a two o’clock patrol, a run over to Haubourdin to drop bombs on the Hun field. I hoped Cpl. Wilson was a good shot, for the place was rotten with Fokkers by all accounts.
Swaney quickly framed the walls and set the rafters while I did my bit by carrying heavy objects and swearing at splinters. By eleven, the hut had taken shape and Swaney was eying the corrugated sheets we’d pinched from a Welsh division that was in training near Bethune. As they say, if it stays in the Army, it’s not theft. A tall fellow with thin blond hair shambled up to us. He was wearing coveralls and a split-arse cap. He stood somewhat to attention. As I was not wearing headgear he did not salute.
“Surr,” he said. “Ah’m Corporal Wulson. Yon big bugger o’ a Sergeant-Major says ah’m tae learn t’ be a gunner fer ye, surr. If ye dinna mind me sayin’, it’s no my idea o’ fun, surr.”
“Wilson?” I looked him over. His eyes looked bright enough, but he was a big, formless soul with a drinker’s lip and a fairly scruffy bearing. “How long have you been a corporal?”
“Nine months the first time,” he replied. “Two months this time.”
“This time?” I asked.
“Aye, surr. It’s a guid tale. Ah wis a sergeant for a wee bit. But they wisna fair and a’, no surr.” I would get that story later, I decided.
“Can you fire a Lewis gun. Corporal?”
“Aye, sir. Ah’m a regular dead-eye wi' a machine gun, surr.”
That afternoon the Major and Talbot led our patrol, while I took Wilson up with me for the first time. The man managed to get caught on the gun mounting, and in so doing introduced me to a wondrous dockside vocabulary, followed by a meek “Sorry, surr.”
We flew north toward Choques and circled for height before turning east. No sooner had we come in sight of the lines that the engine began a terrible rattle and seemed fit to separate itself from the rest of the Morane. I shut off and looked for a place to put down. The field as Hesdigneul was visible off to the south, an easy glide. I took the descent in a straight line and waited until I was just short of the field to begin weaving in broad esses to lose speed. We settled easily onto the aerodrome and rolled up to the Bessoneaux. I unbuckled and turned to check on Wilson. He was staring straight ahead, pale as a sheet, his hands clamped to the sides of his cockpit.
"We settled easily onto the aerodrome..."
“Well, Corporal, I think that calls for a drink, don’t you?” It was then that I noticed the Lewis. There was no drum on the gun. I asked Wilson what he thought he was doing, and the man told me he was waiting for the order to load.
I am doomed.
#4460052 - 02/05/1906:32 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
“This war, like the next war, is a war to end war.”
- David Lloyd George (1916)
Early February, 1916.
Julius and the other pilots and observers of Feldflieger-Abteilung 32 were sitting in the living room of the brick building which was used to house the flying crews at Bertincourt. It was already dark outside and all the flights of the day had been completed successfully without casualties. Now the men could relax a little before retiring to their beds. The room was somewhat cramped for so many people, but it was comfortably furnished with sofas and a big table in the middle, suitable for playing cards, which was one of their most popular hobbies. Julius had received a letter from Leni, and was trying to read it among the rather noisy crowd. His attempt was suddenly interrupted by Offizierstellvertreter Martin Zander who had noticed the opened envelope and picked it up to look at the names written on it.
“Leni von Steinmetz, Berlin… She wouldn’t happen to be of the Steinmetz family? The one with more than a few generals in their ranks?” Zander held the envelope and gave a curious look at Julius.
“Well, yes, as a matter of fact, she is. Her father is a general in the Prussian army.” Julius lowered the letter he was reading, mildly annoyed by Zander’s question.
Zander slapped his thigh and let out a shrill whistle. “The general’s daughter! Boys, Julius is moving up in life! That’s quite the catch! Is she pretty?”
Now Julius felt even more annoyed. “She’s not a catch, and yes, she’s pretty. Please don’t talk of her like that.”
Zander grinned and made a dismissive gesture with his hand. “Don’t take it so seriously, Julius. I had no idea you were such a ladies’ man! I bet you could teach us valuable lessons on how to court the daughters of Prussian generals!”
Feeling insulted, Julius was about to say something uncharacteristically nasty to Zander, but their argument was then nipped in the bud by the good-mannered Leutnant Leffers. “Don’t push your luck too far, Martin. Otherwise Julius will probably challenge you to a duel and then Hauptmann Viebig will have to find another pilot to fly your Fokker.” Zander laughed and patted Julius on the shoulder. Julius rolled his eyes and returned to his letter.
Oberleutnant Weber, who often flew as Julius’s observer, then spoke. “I heard from my cousin serving in the General Staff’s transport section at Metz that there’s been a remarkable increase in heavy traffic down there in Elsass. Big guns and ammunition are being transported in numbers he hasn’t seen since the summer of 1914! What else could it mean but a new offensive in the West?”
“It could mean your cousin talks too much”, Leffers said with a wry smile. “I suppose a new push is possible, but personally I think the war will be decided in the East. Hindenburg is driving the Russians back there. No such movement has happened in the West in over a year now.”
Weber turned to Julius. “Your father works in the War Ministry. Do you know anything about a new offensive in the West?”
Julius looked up from his letter. “No, I don’t. Besides, my father would never tell me anything like that. He takes the rules very seriously.”
“Smart man! Army rumours are army rumours, no use worrying about them too much.” Leffers leaned forward in his chair and lit his pipe. Tasting the smoke, he continued. “If there is going to be a push, we will know soon enough. No modern military offensive can be carried out without air support!”
The conversation then drifted on to other matters and Julius was finally able to finish reading Leni’s letter. It was business as usual in the capital, with Julius’s father cracking the whip at the Ministry. Leni was worried about the food situation in the city, though the Ministry employees were in a better place than ordinary Berliners.
Julius would have welcomed an offensive, if it meant a quicker end to the war.
"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
#4460077 - 02/05/1910:00 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
The Major still seems to be in a bit of shock regarding yesterday's recon report that the Hun airfield at Lille is completely devoid of aircraft or activity. Seems his pet project these last few weeks has been a bit of a boondoggle!
The upside is that our attention switched today to a railyard north of Lens. The crackerjack lads in the mechanics pool have fixed up my bombing sight and it worked a charm. Four Coopers bombs nicely placed right in the middle of the yard. Corwin did well with his eggs as well and we were both quite eager to give our reports on return as I think we really stuffed up the enemies logistics in the area, at least for a few days.
We have seen no enemy aircraft for some time now and things are becoming rather a lark. I mentioned this to Chris and he got quite upset, saying that I would jinks us by saying such things. Didn't realize the old guy was so superstitious.
Lovely story, Hasse! I visited Bertincourt last year and it's all coming back.
Here's a quick one from Jim Collins...
An Airman’s Odyssey – by James Arthur Collins
Part Sixteen: In which a sentry become insentient
On making our dead-stick landing at Hesdigneul we trundled to the far end of the field before coming to a stop near a Bessonneau. Wilson and I clambered down and I fumbled for a cigarette to celebrate not ending up in a tree. Just then, a RFC sentry in greatcoat, helmet, and webbing ran up to us, bayonet fixed. “Get your bloody hands up, you Jerry b*****d!” the fellow shouted, waving the pointy end in my face.
“Look here, we’re British,” I said, and moved to push his rifle to one side. But the fellow gave me a poke in the chest, nearly damaging the leather of my flying coat.
“You’re not bloody British, you Hun. Get back,” he said, kicking out at me with one foot. He seemed not really in full control of himself.
That was when Wilson gave me my first lesson in Glasgow diplomacy. “Tak’ yer manky paws aff oor officer!” he said, and in one deft movement, he stepped beside the man’s rifle, crossed his forearms and grabbed the man’s greatcoat lapels. There was a loud crack as Wilson planted his forehead on the sentry’s nose, doing severe damage. I picked up the fallen sentry’s rifle and we made our way over to the nearest brick building.
A sergeant came running up, pistol drawn. I handed him the rifle. “You’ll need to post another sentry,” I told him. “That one’s broken.” An officer approached. I recognized a major’s crown and saluted.
“Have you just assaulted my sentry?” the major asked.
“I did, surr,” Wilson began. “The silly git...” I cut him off with the wave of a hand.
“I ordered the corporal here to disarm him when the man threatened to bayonet me and attempted to kick me, Major. James Collins, Lieutenant, 3 Squadron.”
The major looked from me to Wilson and back to me.
“Was that necessary?” he asked.
“Absolutely, sir,” I said.
“Och aye, surr,” Wilson added. “He was awa’ w’it, that yin, surr...”
“Quite enough, Corporal,” I said.
It cost me a few drinks, but we were spared a board of inquiry and I suggested a refresher lecture in aircraft recognition, as the sentry had clearly mistaken our monoplane for a Fokker. A tender arrived with a recovery team from Auchel and returned Wilson and me to our field. Wilson had met with a cold reception at the other ranks’ mess in Hesdigneul. I stopped the tender in Lozinghem on the way and bought a couple of bottles of beer for the poor fellow. I had some whiskey back in Auchel, but thought the better of becoming the man’s provisioner of fine spirits.
That night we visited Jericho, who is as he put it, “Fixin’ to get back in the saddle.” I took it upon myself to do a little scavenging and came upon a bin of discarded equipment that included two rubber cups with polished steel fastening that screwed into a length of flexible hose. I believe they were intended for administration of ether.
On my return to the field I spoke with the lead AM, explaining what I wanted, and by morning he had done his magic. One of the cups was fastened to a clip beside my seat and the other was similarly arranged in Wilson’s compartment. Each connected by a hose to a fitting in the side of the cockpit, from which a copper pipe ran from one cockpit to the other. With one mask held over the mouth and the other over an ear, it was possible to talk from one position to the other over the sound of the engine. The Ack-Emmas had even rigged a small red electric light that would illuminate at the press of a button to indicate that the other fellow wanted to talk. It involved struggling to adjust one’s helmet, but at least I’d be able to tell Wilson to load his flipping gun!
At two in the afternoon we flew with Mealing and Bayetto up to Ypres. The Captain conducted an artillery shoot while Bayetto and I covered his rear. We also had a French Nieuport watching over us all. After about an hour, Mealing signalled for us to head home. We were at 6000 feet, several miles northwest of Armentières, when I noticed several puffs of white smoke north of the city. There, down around 3000, were two Fokkers. It was most unusual to see them on our side of the lines. I signalled to Mealing and dived to check out the Huns, emboldened by the sight of the French Nieuport doing the same. One of the Huns headed east, but the other one had a mind to scrap with the Nieuport.
The Fokker had not seen us. I turned on the red light and grabbed the speaking tube, holding the mask to my mouth. “Get ready for a Hun on our left side and below. And be sure the gun is loaded this time!”
We came alongside the Fokker and the big black crosses seemed inviting. Wilson began firing short staccato bursts. The Hun began to tumble away. For a moment I was sure we had him, but he levelled out at 1000 feet. We dived on him again, but the Frenchman got to him first and gave him a good clout. Wilson fired a few rounds from long range. The Fokker spun into a beet field northeast of the city.
"We dived on him again, but the Frenchman got to him first..."
All credit to the Nieuport, I suppose, but Wilson and I both felt we’d done a good day’s work.
#4460102 - 02/06/1902:39 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
I turn my head away for a moment and there are more great stories. Raine, I was sure you will have to operate the gun yourself, even though it’s physically impossible. Glad Wilson was useful after all. In the sentry’s defence, all Parasols look like a Pfalz A.I Hasse, another masterfully crafted story. That Zander boy reeks of trouble. Good thing Leffers is looking after Julius. Scout, glad you got that bombsight sorted out. Expect more precise ordnance delivery from now on.
"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."
#4460108 - 02/06/1903:27 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Sgt. Graham A. Campbell No. 20 Squadron R.F.C, Clairmarais Aerodrome, France.
February 5th, 1916.
I was shaken awake by Jimmy Reynard as the sun was beginning its lazy climb into the sky, its rays bathing the land in gold. Overnight, France’s countryside had begun to thaw, the dew flattening the grass and flora with its weight. Nursing a thumping head, I pulled on my tunic and felt my way for the door. “Ach, c’moan, Cammie! We’re gonny be late to briefing!” came Reynard’s impatient voice, and I waved him away weakly. Resigning to my fate, we stepped out into the easy light.
After a brisk walk that turned my stomach, we made it into the briefing room just in time for the Major to grace us with one of his famous disproving looks, as we tried to make ourselves small in our seats. “Okay, chaps, here it is;” he started, once we had settled, and pointed to the blackboard, dressed in flight plans and pre-decided times. “A has the morning patrol over Bapaume at 0900”. There was a collective groan. “Oh, shut up, you lazy devils! ‘B’ Flight, you go up at 1300, and you’re heading to the Hun’s side on an Offensive Patrol over Lens. As for C, you are heading to Arras at 1500. Now, Graves isn’t well today, so, Reid, you’ll be leading ‘B’. That is all”.
Muttering among ourselves, we rolled out of the briefing room, complaining uselessly about our various jobs. Outside, Pearson offered me a cigarette, which I gratefully accepted. “The Lens show again, eh?” he teased. Sighing, I held my arms up. “What can I say, somebody has to go” I responded.
With some time to spare, I decided to head to the mess and write some letters, the first of which was addressed to my parents back in Nottingham. I included the usual information, the state of the squadron and the chaps, some anecdotes of flying. I left out the Aviatik incident, naturally. After sealing the letter and placing it to the side, I produced a second sheet of paper, and mulled over it for a moment. On the table, my lucky charm caught my eye. Of course - I would write Mrs. Baker, back in Salisbury! Leaning over the paper, I penned the following message:
Dear Mrs. Baker,
I hope this letter finds you in good health. You will be happy to hear that we are doing well in France - the Huns don’t bother us much, and the weather has been favourable for flying. Your presents have been well used here. I have only half of my green tea remaining, but I have fashioned myself a lucky charm, a bag of tea wrapped in a napkin, which I refuse to fly without. Young Switch-off puts a similar faith in the scarf you knitted him, and Edith’s brooch has brought him good luck also.
Pearson is still at it in the squadron mess every night, tapping away on the piano, and the sheet music you gifted him has provided us with many enjoyable nights. I have had an idea. Once we are back in England, we should return to your Cafe, and have another sing-song, all of us together.
I must stop writing now, for I am due to go on a patrol soon, but I hope to write you again soon.
Yours, Graham Campbell.
I wrote one more letter, to my old pal Freddie Foster at Hounslow, after realising that I hadn’t yet heard any news of him since his DH2 crash. To him, I wrote: Dear Freddy,
It is your old pal from Hounslow, Graham Campbell. I received word of your crash, and hope you have recovered well. The chaps in France are doing very well, and my Observer and I have already sent two huns crashing down. I eagerly await your arrival at France, as I know you will give it to the Huns proper, as you did with the Ottomans. How is the De Haviland, by the way? It must be awfully exciting to fly such a fighting machine.
All the best, Graham.
After I had sealed each letter, and dropped them off back at my Billet to post later, it was almost time for ‘B’ flight’s show. I met with Normie and Bristow back on the aerodrome. “Afternoon, Graham. What do you reckon, today?” Normie asked, and suddenly I remembered Switch-off’s warnings from the night prior. “You know, I hope it’s a quiet shop today” I responded. Bristow nodded. “Me too, I’m fed up of aerial scraps - did Jimmy ever tell you about all the scraps we’ve had? That red-headed maniac has put me through the ringer, and I am glad to be rid of him!”. Normie and I laughed, and I patted him on the back. “Not to worry, Bristow, Normie here is perfectly sensible in the air. Never out of place”. “Never out of place!” Bristow roared. “Why, he nearly had me boarding Graves’ machine yesterday! You pilots are all mad as hatters, no mistake!”. We roared with laughter.
Ackart appeared not long after, offering me his usual cold hello, after which we headed to the ready line. To my delight, old 6338 was waiting eagerly for me on the field. As we climbed aboard, the Ack-Emma who was to spin my prop appeared by the side of the cockpit. “Tell us how she goes, Sir, for I daresay we’ve made her the best bus in the entire squadron!”. I grinned. “I can hardly wait to get in the air”. I responded, and the Ack-Emma winked, before disappearing back towards the Beardmore. Checking my instruments, I also noticed the small clasp that had been added to my dashboard, to house my lucky charm. Gratefully, I attached the trinket, and sat back, admiring it.
Without further ado our three machines were off, Reid leading Normie and I into the climb. 6338 roared into the wind with a reinvigorated power, and I failed to contain the foolish look of glee on my face, as I opened the throttle wide. After climbing, we headed to the front, crossing the lines at Loos without incident, and beginning our patrol. The skies seemed mercifully empty as we crossed into Hunland, and stayed so for the entirety of our patrol. In fact, it rather seemed like the war had packed-up, and we were the only three left, for not a single aeroplane, nor an artillery burst, was seen for the entirety of our stay.
After landing, I returned to my Billet, and took the letters to post in St. Omer. While in town, I decided to visit the Vincent, expecting to find Jacky-Boy there. Instead, I found only Jeanne and her usual crowd of RFC admirers - whom I may add, had more than once now given Jacky-Boy a hot time in the Waitresses’ absence. Upon my entry, she broke into a grin and skipped over. “Ah, Graham! How are you?” she asked. “Very well, thank you, Jeanne. What are my chances of a cup of coffee?”. In one exaggerated sweep of the arm, she beckoned me to sit by a small table by the front door. The table was covered by a red-and-white gingham check tablecloth, an intricately-woven bread basket, and two ornate candlesticks, with red candles half-melted down to wax. Pulling up a luxurious wooden chair and falling onto its blue velvet seat, I looked up at Jeanne inquisitively. “”C’est Romantique, no?”. She leaned over to whisper in my ear, and I felt myself redden with embarrassment as I felt her breath on my neck, while the scattered pilots all turned as one to drive their dagger-stares into me. “In the evening, I dine at this table with my...favourite guests…”. She pulled away. Trying to hide my flustered appearance, I smiled and nodded. “Jacky-boy must feel very lucky, then” I said. A wry smile appeared on Jeanne’s rouged lips. “Let me fetch you that coffee”.
I didn’t keep Jeanne, instead letting her flit about the Cafe, serving her admirers as I slowly enjoyed my coffee. As I had just taken the last sip, Jacky-Boy came through the door. “Ah, darling, you’re here!” I cried out, and he snapped round to face me. “Graham? What the bloody - “ “Now, come dear, sit with me!” I crooned. He tried at first to appear angry, but was soon laughing out loud at my silliness. “Fancy a drink, old boy?” he asked, sitting down opposite me. “I was just about to dash off, actually. But, tomorrow I will bring the chaps down and we can have a good old-fashioned No. 20 do, eh?”. Jacky-boy grinned, lighting a cigarette. “Alright, well, I will look forwards to it!”. I waved good-bye to Jeanne, affectionately punched Jacky-Boy on the shoulder, and stepped out into the cool, pinkish haze of the early evening.
Back at Clairmarais, we went through the usual evening routine of drinking and singing along to Pearson’s tunes. However, it was a more muted affair than the night before - I think the chaps may be getting sick and tired of rough mornings. I cannot say I mind, and I know that Switch-off certainly doesn’t.
Another round of fantastic stories Gents! Always good to see everyone survived the day. Wulfe, the scene with you and Jacky-boy at the special table gave me a laugh! Be safe folks, it’s gett a little edgy up there.
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!
#4460188 - 02/06/1905:03 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Excellent stories gentlemen. I'm going to be saying that a lot and I'm happy to be saying it. Special mention goes to Wulfe. Your characters are brilliantly written!
The out of control claim for the Eindekker was rejected. That isn't surprising really. What is surprising is that Stanley survived what happened next.
-------------------------------------------------------- Houses of Parliament, London.
Lord Derby rose from his red leather bench in the house of Lords with a slight stiffness. This was partly his age and partly the result of sitting listening to the final reading of the Military Service Bill. He nodded gently and acknowledged other Peers as they filed out to lunch. There was a lot of talk about how divisive conscription was. Yes, there had been some resignations; but those were only from amongst the more populist of the Liberal party along with that man Henderson from the Labour party. Good riddance to him. What said it all was that the bill was passed within a week of its eventual proposal.
What was interesting was that Lloyd-George had been pressing for conscription. The prime minister on the other hand had tried to put off the question until the final failure of the Derby scheme had made it necessary. And yet Asquith had taken on the responsibility of introducing the bill himself. That might come back to haunt him.
And what of the failure of the Derby scheme? Lord Derby smiled gently as he anticipated the near future. He was a member of the Conservative party, which had always been in favour of conscription. He was still in charge of recruitment, and wouldn't you know? The Derby scheme worked better as a pre-registration for conscription than it did as an encouragement for volunteers.
Derby wondered what there was for pudding.
La Gorgue, France
2nd Lieutenant Stanley was beginning to feel a sense of déjà vu. “This is the third time we have been to Loos in as many days!” He protested. Captain Gould glowered at him. “There have been a lot of munitions trains sat there lately. Wing wants us to drop a bomb on them.” “We did that yesterday sir. With little result I might add. I don’t think our little cooper bombs are going to get the result Wing want.” “Just do it, Stanley. It’s you and Gilbert. Lieutenant Briers will be escorting you in one of the Fees. “Very good sir, I’ll go an get Digby.” “Air mechanic Digby is busy overhauling the engine on 2216.” Gould told Stanley brusquely. “You’re taking McLoughlan.” Stanley saluted and left his flight commander to go and find his gunner. McLoughlan was a Lieutenant from the Bedfordshires. He seemed a cheery enough chap, but pilots soon learned to be wary of a new observer.
It was mid morning as the three machines approached Loos Junction. Archie warmed up the air for Stanley as he looked for his target on the ground. He wasn’t particularly good at bomb aiming, so was hoping that he could stick close to Gilbert and let his bombs go when he saw Gilbert drop his.
Even as they approached the target, two Fokkers attacked from behind. Stanley loosed his bombs early so that he could concentrate on the threat from behind. He weaved gently right and left, trying to give McLoughlan a shot.
One of the monoplanes concentrated on Gilbert’s BE2. Gilbert banked right, turning away from the formation. Stanley could only watch in horror as smoke began to stream from Gilbert’s engine. Soon, fire was spreading along the fuselage. Mercifully for Stanley, the BE2 was now too far away for him to see what happened to his comrades.
The other Eindekker engaged the FE2 being flown by Briers. The fighting machine should have had a better chance, but Briers was flying straight and level. Stanley took advantage of his lack of an assailant and dived underneath and in front of the FE2. McLoughlan could not miss.
Stanley watched as his observer stared at the German aeroplane. His hands were on the Lewis gun but his the gun remained silent.
The Fokker’s gun was not silent. Bullets smashed into the tail and engine of Briers’ machine. Stanley saw the Fee tip forward as part of the tail plane gave way. Briers and his observer, Trevelyan went into a dive. Their engine was smoking badly and Stanley knew it was not an intentional manoeuvre . His gunner, McLoughlan had not moved.
The Fokker turned his attention to Stanley’s BE2. McLoughan just watched as bullets began to thud into the woodwork. Stanley had had enough.
He pushed the stick forward and they dived steeply. Stanley cut the throttle back and banked the dive into a spiral. When they had lost three thousand feet, he levelled off and sped toward the lines. The Eindekker was trailing them for a while, but apparently decided that he had done enough and turned away.
Stanley took them over the lines and past the balloon line before turning north for La Gorgue. McLoughlan was now slumped in his cockpit. Stanley was wondering if he had taken a bullet.
As soon as they landed, Stanley reached forward and checked his gunner. “Are you alright?” McLoughlan looked up at him muzzily, as if waking from a stupor. “Ah, what? Ah, fine. I’m fine.” “Come on, let’s get you out of there.”
Major Powell looked at the report again. Then he placed it back down on the desk and addressed Stanley, who was standing in front of him. “Grave concerns, Second Lieutenant?”
Stanley tilted his head slightly in a sort of shoulderless shrug. “McLoughlan outranks me sir, so I cannot reprimand him directly. However I must protest at his conduct sir. I consider his inaction a direct threat to any pilot that he flies with and any crew nearby.” “So you blame Lieutenant McLoughlan for the deaths of Gilbert, Howard, Briers and Trevelyan?” “No sir. The Hun did that. McLoughlan could have saved them, however, and he failed to defend our own machine.” Powell sighed, “What do you suggest, Stanley? Court-martial?” “No sir,” Stanley replied hurriedly. “The consequence would be too severe. I must request that I am no longer assigned McLoughlan as an observer. Furthermore, I would suggest that McLoughlan is not suitable for flying duties at all.” “Send him back to his regiment eh?” Powell squinted at Stanley. “That carries a stigma. It would mean disgrace.” “He might live to overcome it,” Stanley told him. “If he flies, then he will take good men with him.”
#4460249 - 02/07/1912:17 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Things have been quite routine these last few days. Today we bombed Loos Railway Station, yesterday found us doing photo recon of enemy lines south of Ypres (when the clouds would allow), and the previous day we battered the German airfield at Haborudin. The enemy has not shown his face in days and only some spirited bursts of 'archie' now and then have let us know that a war is still on.