Ferdinand von Fracken has survived six months of misery flying Gothas. His first mission resulted in engine failure with a forced landing. His second was a very long trip to the southern region of the lines to drop bombs on an army camp. His third resulted in an attack by three winged enemy scouts in which he was badly injured. The missions start to become a very sadistic blur but at least the sojourn to England was uneventful! In further missions he took matters into his own hands and dropped bombs where he thought prudent... not where the staff decided! Most of the time the front lines were the recipients of 'fresh eggs'! He has now successfully transferred to Jasta 6 where he is flying Albatros D-II machines. So far so good!
Having recently missed an opportunity to see the SPAD of Georges Guynemer in person (Disneyland Paris was voted for instead ) I decided I needed to get my fly on. Not with the SPAD yet, but...soon! Henri Patois, having served in 1916 as a two seater pilot, has transferred over to No. 23 Escadrille. He is currently assigned a Nieuport 23...
Henri Patois Verdun April 3, 1917 Escadrille3 No. 23
My second flight in the new scout brought action! We went up over the lines where we encountered a flight of German Roland two-seaters. I dove with one and fired on him until his engine burst into flames! The observer must have been a spiteful fellow, as he continued to fire on me even as he was burning alive! In fact, he so shot up my engine that I needed to retreat from the front, lest it failed me. On the way back, I was horrified to see the scout of the Marquis de Monferato spinning down out of control. The rest of our flight watched breathlessly as he spiraled down ten thousand feet to smash into a thousand fragments on the trenches! Fortunately he was only lightly injured. I guess royalty has its perks...
I had to land, which was a shame as there were many other targets that needed the attention of my Vickers. Another day, perhaps. They tell me it is a two day repair job to patch up my engine. For now, I will kick up my feet with some sherry and fill out the form for my CII claim...
On 6th of December 1915 Flieger Hans Gruber landed his Aviatik C.I at home field after the second day of vicious bombing campaign aimed at a British airfield. The weather was slightly better than the day before: the rain and sleet only lasted half way through the mission and visibility was very bad rather than abysmal. The second flight was also led by Unteroffizier Burr (a fine fellow) who had had the good sense not to plan the flight path over every single enemy AAA concentration and airfield on the sector (unlike the persistently incompetent Oberleutnant Klemm).
The airfield was again hit hard by the oversized hand grenades blindly tossed from 2000 meters by the observer. The British would need several wheelbarrow-loads of dirt to fix the damage done to the runway and air raid had probably disrupted the lunch time of many. Several panes of glass were also destroyed and (mostly symbolic) interception flight was scrambled which no doubt would cause several cases of sore throat and maybe even common cold in the near future. Gruber also scored a direct hit on an enemy parasol. Not the aircract, mind you, a literal parasol attached to a coffee table left outside over winter.
Like Oberleutnant Klemm, Unteroffizier Burr also seemed to firmly believe that it's better to blindly drop the bombs at target over half a dozen separate passes rather than just one or two. Due to this loitering, two FE2b:s appeared above the circling Aviatiks but luckily they seemed to be more interested in rushing to aid the damaged parasol rather than intercepting the enemy bombers. Unteroffizier Burr was equally uninterested in attacking the landing FE2b:s and the flight safely returned home from their vital mission that had surely brought Germany's victory a few steps closer.
The tent making guild is devastated and the individual responsible for fabricating that particular tent is in shock and has been sent home due to obvious compassionate reasons. Way to go, Hans! Hit them where it hurts. I suggest strafing the C.O.’s dog next.
"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."
"It's not you, N16, it's me. Things have been moving so fast and I just...I just need some space and time to myself. Some spacetime, if you will. Oh, and if you hear any rumors about me seeing N23, it's just the h8trs talking, that's all! "
Henri Patois Verdun April 5, 1917 Escadrille3 No. 23
Another trip up today under bad weather. Unlike yesterday, we were just circling on our side of the lines. The Marquis de Monferato went up with us, looking remarkably well for having been smashed to death the other day. We had a go of it when we were set upon by a flight of six Albatros scouts. It was a furious affair for a few minutes, until everyone split up into little groups. The fellow I latched onto decided that he'd had enough rather early on and broke east, as I vainly tried to follow him in my slow little Nieuport. Giving up, I tried to look for others that were making a retreat and finally found one below me. I dove with him and made several turns until I came around behind him. I fired repeatedly, seemingly without effect, until I pulled away to avoid collision. Only then did he nose down and start a slow spiral into the ground. Despite bringing him down on our side of the lines near a friendly 'drome, my claim was rejected, which makes 2 for 2. What do I have to do for these guys?
Henri Patois Verdun April 11, 1917 Escadrille3 No. 23
Yesterday's mission was my first balloon busting mission. Four of us took off and headed for the front. As we approached the lines, I busied myself in navigation, and when I started to dive for the balloon I failed to notice that my flight had broken off to deal with some fighters determined to prevent our dirty work (who could blame them?) I managed to take the "sausage" down on my second pass (my rockets failed to fire on the first) when I was set upon by a single Albatros. I traded fire with him and he eventually settled down on a soft crash behind the lines. At this point I was very much alone and as I looked over my shoulder I noticed another flight of Albatros scouts above me. I immediately dove for the lines to put as much space between us as possible. They must have liked the odds, for the put in a fearsome pursuit. I dragged the flight back to one of our balloons, where the ground fire provided a bit of protection for me. I fired on one of the scouts until my Vickers clicked dry, seemingly to no avail. In frustration I started to pull off, only to see the enemy's engine start to smoke and then ignite, sending him down in flames! When I got back, I was awarded the balloon and the fighter that went down on our side of the lines. We lost one scout from A flight, but all my wing made it back just fine.