Great stories all. Wulfe; those screenshots are true works of art.
Aleck A. MacKinlay March 17, 1916
Major Mills informed us that we would be doing recon up north, scanning the enemy positions near Nieuport. I perked up when he warned us that the German fliers were much more active in that sector, with a significant base of operations at nearby Ghistelles. "Fokkers sir?", Norton enquired. "Yes, a Marine squadron for sure and possible one other."
This all put us on a higher level of alertness than normal. We have all become used to vacant skies and acquired a bit of an all-in-a days-work attitude to our missions. Good to be reminded that there is a war on.
I followed Norton as he flew unerringly to the recon area and was pleased to see Captains Davis and Buckminster already there, circling opposite us in their Bristols. They would keep us safe. Suddenly I saw two more dots in the distance, off to the northeast. These must be Hun machines! These lazy specks drifted slowly south, paying us no attention but heading straight towards our escort. We watched in fascination as the four dots converged and began to dance; our Bristols were mixing it up with a couple of enemy aircraft! As we came around on our long circling path we got a front-row seat as Buckminster pursued one of the enemy machines, an Aviatik, firing. The enemy machine began to smoke and then plummeted past our starboard wing. It was thrilling to watch, but then suddenly I was shaking, sickened by what I had just seen. Two young men, like any of the lads I see every day around the mess table, dying in front of me. What thoughts had run panicking thought their minds on the long fall? Family? The things they would never get to do? Disbelief?
We returned to Abeele, where Buckminster was the centre of attention and recounting the mornings events loudly and animatedly to a crowd of pilots and observers gathered outside hanger one. The matter doesn't seem to have bothered him a bit, nor anyone else apparently. I dislike a braggart (which Buckminster certainly is), but can't begrudge him this moment of glory ... he did exactly what he was trained to do this morning, and did it well.
Addendum, March 18, carried out artillery ranging NE of Ypres, no problems.
Last edited by 77_Scout; 03/20/1907:52 PM.
#4466754 - 03/21/1912:12 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Raine - Congratulations on your first Hun! Even better that you took him alive! It'll make for a great war story once this whole thing is over and done with!
lederhosen - unfortunate about the engine, had a similar problem the other day...curse these flimsy engines!
Scout - Great tale about MacKinlay's experience. Sounds like he's far more conscious of the depth of his work than that Buckminster fellow is...I only wonder what MacKinlay will think when it's himself sending the Hun down in pieces!
Sgt. Graham A. Campbell, No. 20 Squadron R.F.C, Clairmarais Aerodrome, France.
March 20th, 1916.
Before briefing I headed to the aerodrome to inspect my new machine - A5644. Cpl. Weston assured me that she was a steady bus, and not a troublemaker like 6338 or ‘Patchwork’. Directing my attention to the dashboard, he pointed out a small brass clasp he had screwed in. “That’s for yer charm, sir” he explained, and I patted him on the back. “It’ll do wonderfully. Thank you, Weston!”. He touched his cap to me, before taking his leave.
I headed to briefing, hoping for a quiet day. No such luck - we were being sent on a D.O.P. to Menen, past Ypres and into Hunland. Outside, Normie gave us the order of battle. To my surprise, I wouldn’t be assuming my typical position as ‘Tail-End Charlie’ - instead, that honour fell to Reid, who was naturally less than pleased about it. As he grumbled to himself, boarding his bus, I sweetly chirped to him “Oh, it’s lovely back there! Why, you’ll even get the first crack at the Hun!”. He shooed me away irritably, as Rickard laughed cheekily from the Nacelle of our bus. Bristow made a rude hand gesture at him.
Soon we were up, Normie and Archer climbing above us in the clouded sky and holding position there. Ahead of me, Graves flew on with his usual air of calm. Behind me, Reid and Bristow nervously kept their heads on a swivel. At 7,000 feet, as we continued East, I spotted faraway off our nose the shape of two machines over Poperinghe. They were Aviatiks. I pulled alongside Graves’ bus and pointed towards them, but after a glance he turned back to me and shrugged, shaking his head. I pointed again, insistent. Again, he shook his head, but now he put his machine into a gentle climb.
The Aviatiks turned south as we approached - but their turn was lazy and unassuming. They still hadn’t seen us. Graves had now picked them up, and tracked them intently with his gaze. Suddenly they snapped around Eastwards, and immediately I broke away from our formation to give chase. Slowly I gained on them, and they tightened up their formation, preparing to defend themselves. Archie begun to chase them, bursting behind their tails.
I caught up to them over Bailleul and got below the tail of the rearmost machine. Rickard was ready on his gun, and had just begun to aim when suddenly the front machine dropped to my level. His observer’s fire was accurate, and I skidded away in alarm as tracer flashed past our heads, striking our wings and snapping our cables. Gritting my teeth in anger, I turned back to face them, my sights now set on the offending Hun. Rickard opened fire - his tracers were finding their mark - but something was wrong with our bus. I fought with the controls as our machine threatened to stall, trying to hold it straight for Rickard. Suddenly, our target’s lower right wing buckled, twisting violently and tearing away.
The stricken Aviatik begun to list to the right, but amazingly stayed in the air. As the machine tipped onto its side, the Hun observer got another good burst into us, and I heard the crack of bullets passing close by my ear. Not a second after we had been hit, our bus was rattling viciously, and we begun to drop out of the sky. Panicking, I looked behind us - one of our propeller blades was shot away!
I immediately switched off the magnetos as Rickard angrily fired off the rest of his drum into our opponent, before circling away from the Aviatiks. As we broke away, our imbalanced engine falling silent, the other Hun machine flashed past us, and again I smelled the bitter scent of phosphor as tracers smashed through our machine. Mere inches behind my head a Cabane strut exploded into matchwood, and our machine was suddenly listing heavily to the right. Gritting my teeth, I pointed us into our lines and, sweating underneath my flying cap, begun to guide our stricken bus down towards terra firma. Looking for a suitable field, we skirted Bailleul. In the front seat, Rickard watched anxiously, gripping the sides of the Nacelle with both hands, as we descended.
After what felt like eternity, we touched down in a field just West of town. As we landed, the wheel struts on our right begun to splinter and warp, and when we finally skidded to a halt our machine’s rightmost wingtip was only inches off the ground. We both sat in silence for a few moments, before Rickard finally spoke. “So much for the new bus…” he muttered.
We listened to the booming of artillery and chatter of machine-gun to the East as we deliberated on what to do. At first, it seemed sensible to make our way to Bailleul, but keen-eyed Rickard spotted a Caquot balloon being winched up a few fields over, and so I marked the position of our damaged Fee on the map, retrieved my charm. We made for the balloon.
At the foot of the balloon were a pair of Sergeants, on standby beside the winch. I called out a hello to them as we approached. “Morning, chaps. Do you have a telephone we can use?”. One of the Sergeants looked us over. “You two were on the Fee that just came down?” he asked, and I nodded. He turned to his colleague, clearing his throat and holding out a palm. The other balloonist grunted, and pressed a pound into his hand. He turned, winked cheekily, and pointed to a small wooden hut nearby. “In there. The C.O’s office”. I raised an eyebrow, before thanking him and making my way to the hut, knocking on the door. “Come in,” a gruff voice said on the other side.
I stepped in onto a frayed persian rug, hardened with mud and debris. Ahead of me was a modest oak desk, and behind that a wiry Captain peered at me over his glasses. “And who are you?” he asked coldly. “Sergeant-Pilot Campbell, sir! We’ve just been shot down. I was wondering if I may use your telephone to call my C.O”. The Captain scoffed. “Shot down, eh? Sound to me like you’re just a plain old Sergeant now, then”. He nodded to the phone on his desk. Reddening with anger, I picked it up and called Clairmarais.
I relayed what had happened to us, and where 5644 had been abandoned. The Major told us to head to the town centre in Bailleul, where a car would pick us up, and also said he would send a recovery crew for our machine. I thanked him and slammed down the receiver, turning to leave. At the door I paused, before spinning around on my heel. “You know, that bloody gasbag of yours would have been burst ten times over if we weren’t up there. Perhaps you want to stick a gun on it and do a bit of bloody fighting yourself for once” I growled, slamming the door behind me. As Rickard and I stormed away, the door flung open again. To my back I heard the Captain screeching “How dare you! I’ll have you court-martialed!” and so on.
We arrived at Bailleul within the hour, and the Car arrived an hour after that. We drove back in silence, and I reflected on my first time being shot down. Surprisingly, I found that I was embarrassed more than anything. It was past Three when we finally reached Clairmarais, and ‘C’ flight was just embarking on their patrol. As Rickard and I made our way to the mess, I realised I was exhausted and in need of a good drink. I pushed the door open, making a straight line to the bar and asking the bartender for a double brandy, thanking the brief welcome backs that were uttered to me.
As I sipped my drink, I realised the mess was unusually quiet, despite there being a good amount of pilots. I picked out Normie and approached him. “What’s going on?” I asked him, and he sighed. “After you went off after those Aviatiks we went into Hunland. The Fokkers were waiting for us, and we got into a scrap. It was only after we were all back that we realised Archer and Beckwith were missing”. I stared into my brandy, feeling miserable, and we sat quietly for a few moments. “It’s my fault” I blurted out, Normie looked at me confusedly. “If I hadn’t gone off after-” I was abruptly cut off. “Oh, don’t be stupid, Graham! There were four of us together. One more would have made little difference, so don’t feel so bloody well sorry for yourself!”. I flinched. “You’re right. Sorry, Normie”.
He held a hand up, signalling his forgiveness. “We don’t know what happened to them. For all we know, they could be perfectly fine. After all,” he paused for a moment, looking slightly embarrassed, “...after all, we thought those Aviatiks had gotten you when you didn’t show up”. To his surprise, I chuckled faintly. “Normie, my boy, they just about did get us this time”. “Oh?”. I offered him a cigarette and recounted the story of our scrap. More bad news came from the Adjutant, who came to inform me that my Fokker claim had been thrown out. “How can that be?” I asked, incredulously, “the bloody thing about fell on one of our balloons!”. The Adjutant held his hands up. “Sorry, Campbell. They claim they never saw it”. I thanked him and, in a huff, ordered another drink. In a flash I realised that the balloon my Fokker had fallen in front of was the same one Rickard and I had visited today. Those damned balloonists!
That night a gang of us piled into the old Bedford that sat parked next to the Officers’ quarters. I thought it would be good for me to tag along, and take my mind off things. With Edith at the wheel, we drove into St. Omer in search of alcohol and pleasurable company. We left the truck outside the Vincent, and headed towards the center of town. Switch-Off knew of an inn where the Flying Corps types tended to gather in the nights, and so he led the way.
The Inn was a quaint, homely place. We stepped into the doorway at the rightmost end of a lovely rectangular sitting room. In the centre of the wall, several pilots, mostly English but also some French, were laughing and drinking together, swapping yarns as they reclined in patterned armchairs. Against the leftmost wall beside the staircase was a piano, staffed by a Lieutenant-pilot who quietly played away to a pensive tune I didn’t recognise, swaying gently with the music. Stepping onto the large woven rug that covered most of the floor, I realised that the walls had been adorned with parts of machines, some English and some German. Between them were oil paintings of aircraft in flight, doing battle. I turned my eyes to the bar - above it was mounted a large two-bladed propeller - or rather, it used to be, for one of its blades was shot away.
Behind the countertop stood a thirty-something bartender with a thin pencil moustache and jet-black hair, neatly side-parted. Jimmy and I approached him, ordering two whiskies. To our left, propped up on the stools, were three aviators, who were regarding us with a keen interest. “Hello, chum!” one suddenly said to me, and I faced him. “I haven’t noticed you in here before”. “No, you wouldn’t have. It’s our first time in here”. The airman smiled, leaning against the counter. “Oh! Well, it’s a pleasure to meet you”. He extended a hand. “George Reid, 25 Squadron”. I took his hand and shook. “Ah! 25, you’re on Fees as well! Graham Campbell, 20 Squadron”.
Reid introduced us to his compatriots, George Maxwell and Douglas Grinnell-Milne, also of 25 Squadron. Together we chatted away the night, sharing scandalous tales and stories of combats against the marauding Fokkers as we slipped into an alcoholic haze. Suddenly, Grinnell-Milne turned to face the room and yelled out “The Young Aviator!”. Immediately, the soft piano notes broke into the tune of “Tarpaulin Jacket”, and as one the pilots let out a cheer and begun to sing.
“A young aviator lay dying, at the end of a bright summer’s day, His comrades had gathered around him, to carry his fragments away!
The crate was piled up on his wishbone, His Lewis was wrapped round his head,
He wore a Spark-plug on each elbow, ‘Twas plain he would shortly be dead!”
Grinning, we joined in, holding our drinks high in the air amd belting out the macabre lyrics. We felt no sadness at the fatalistic tune - quite the opposite. The song let us know we were still alive yet. With an arm around Switch-Off’s shoulder, we belted out our song at the top of our lungs, slipping into a dizzying alcoholic world and letting it carry us on. As we neared the end of the tune, we chorused louder still, relishing the moment. Our final chorus became jumbled - it seemed every man sung a slightly varied lyric, but the sentiment remained even between us all.
”Take the piston rings out of my stomach, And the cylinders out of my brain,
Extract from my liver the crankshaft, And assemble the engine again!”
Wulfe, that was an exciting air battle. Looks like Gaston isn’t the only one that will require a longer ribbon. Congrats on downing that Fokker. Looking forward to Campbell trying his hand at piloting the DH2. BTW, I’ve never thought of Gaston being likened to Rene. Hopefully he can follow in his footsteps. Great set of pics! Raine, finally a victory as well. This better get confirmed. Sgt. Wilson will be over the moon. Are you going to start a collection of silver victory cups? Lederhosen, what?! German engineering letting Willy down? What’s this world coming to? Scout, Aleck will soon be like Buckminster. Give him time and an opportunity to watch his friends burn alive. He may even one day brag to others about a crispy Hun. He may even get a medal for it.
Dagonet swerved violently. The entire flight scattered to avoid colliding with each other. Gaston desperately scanned the skies to see where the attack was coming from. There was nothing he could see. Was the Hun already below him, pulling out of a dive and training his guns on his Nieuport? Gaston banked to scan below him. Nothing. He checked the rest of the flight. They were flying straight and level, except Ltn. Dagonet, who’s engine was now leaving a trail of faint smoke behind him. He was returning back to the French side nursing a wonky engine. Gaston took over and led the rest of the flight and the lonely N12 on observation duty over the town factories at Martincourt. They were circling mostly between heavy clouds eluding the Flak for the most part of the patrol. Thankfully the Boche didn't feel keen enough to bother them for the entirety of the flight. They were in and out and soon entering a landing pattern over Senard aerodrome. As they were touching down, two Renault lorries with a recovery team were departing the aerodrome and taking the northbound road to the front to pick up Ltn. Dagonet’s Nieuport. The Lieutenant put down just beyond the trenches and was in need of a lift.
Ltn. Henri Marie Dagonet
"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."
#4466931 - 03/21/1910:02 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Wulfe, you've been very fertile lately. 2 exciting tales and telling off a superior officer to boot! What nerve. I’m surprised Graham got off Scott free for wrecking a brand spanking new bus. And I like the song too. Great shots of the A5644.
The thick fog around Senard aerodrome made it seem that it was much earlier in the day than it actually was. The maintenance work on the Escadrille’s machines commenced some time ago. The droning of engines circling overhead made some of the mechanics put down their tools and come out of the hangars into the frigid morning air. Their curiosity was rewarded by unfamiliar machines landing on the field.
The new silhouettes emerged from the fog and stopped at the far end of the aerodrome. Their engines switched off, their propellers winding down to a stop. Most of the pilots, along with Gaston, came out of their living quarters to see what all the commotion was about. They approached the pilots disembarking their machines and assaulted them with all sorts of questions. “- What Escadrille are you with?” Asked Gaston’s wingman. “- Oh, we are not scout pilots. We’re just ferrying these here. We’ll be taking your old Tens back with us.” Was the answer from the closest man in the flight gear. “- These are yours. Aren’t they beautiful?” He pointed to the row of Nieuport 11’s, making random ticking noises as their engines cooled down. The news spread quickly and was accented by whooping ovations and jovial exclamations. Caporal Dreux shook Voscadeaux’s hand and exclaimed: “- Congratulations Gaston, you are a father again. This is your third baby, n’est pas?” Gaston was still in the state of shock. They now have the best aeroplanes in the world! The Eindeckers will have nowhere to hide. He was excited as if he truly had just become a father and couldn’t wait to try his new mount against the hated foe. The fog started to lift, but instead of sun, they were met by heavy snow clouds. First flakes started to come down, then more of them, thicker and bigger. The inaugural flight would have to wait. It looked like a snow storm was on its way.
"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."
#4466940 - 03/21/1910:55 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Fullofit - A Nieuport 11!! Gaston must be a very happy boy! Those Fokkers better had just watch out. I hope the pilots are ferrying one of those old N10s to No. 20 R.F.C's aerodrome...
Sgt. Graham A. Campbell, No. 20 Squadron R.F.C, Clairmarais Aerodrome, France.
March 21st, 1916.
The rat-a-tat of rain beating against the roof of our billett set the mood of the morning. Switch-Off sat in the armchair by his bed, flicking through the recently-arrived Comic Cuts with Jimmy standing over his shoulder. Noticing me stirring, Switch-Off excitedly turned and proudly held the Communiques aloft. “No. 3 has done it again!” he cried, “One of their boys forced a Fokker down on our side and took him prisoner!”. Reynard ferried it over to me and I flicked through it, reading the account of one James Collins and his observer, and their duel with a lone Fokker over the lines.
“A find it hard enough scrappin’ wae they Fokkers in a Fee!” Jimmy exclaimed, and I agreed. We then shifted the topic of conversation to the foul weather outside. “Do you think we’ll be able to go up in all of that?” Switch-Off asked, gesturing to the window-pane, which was shaking precariously in the heavy wind. “Tough to say. If we were sensible, of course not, but we are in the Flying Corps, after all,” I responded, earning a laugh from my two colleagues. Jimmy turned to Switch-Off. “ Ne’er mind yir lucky red scarf, ye’ll need an entire red aeroplane te muster the luck needed te get back fe that show!”. Chuckling, Switch-Off reclined back into his chair. “Don’t be daft, Jim. Who would be stupid enough to paint their aeroplane red?”.
We opted to don our long leather flying coats on the way to briefing, leaning into the wind with our collars turned up against the rain. Eventually we slogged through into the briefing room. We found one or two pilots sheltering from the rain, but no Major. In his place was the operations blackboard, which simply read “ALL FLIGHTS CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER”. Sighing, I prepared to retreat into another soaking.
I emerged to a scene of chaos. Several Ack-Emmas were running, panicked, towards our Bessoneau Hangar at the end of the line, which was in the process of slowly collapsing in on itself. Eager to help, I ran too towards the commotion, stopping short outside the hangar. Two Ack-Emmas were lifting the tail of one of the Fees when Cpl. Weston appeared, drenched through and frantic. “No! Don’t wheel it out into the rain, you fools, we need to keep it dry!”. I noticed that similar commotions were taking place in other hangars, and poking my head into one I realised that they were slowly flooding up. By my own stripped-down machine, an engine fitter desperately tried with his colleagues to lift a Beardmore up onto a stack of crates, to save it from the pooled-up water. I ran to help, as did some other enlisted men who were nearby, and with a mighty heave we hoisted the engine up onto the crates. Puffing breathlessly, I turned to the fitter. “Lucky I was here to help!” I joked. Grinning, he replied “Lucky I thought to move it in the first place - it’s your Fee’s replacement engine!”.
Eventually, the Ack-Emmas were forced to make a mad dash with the Fees in the collapsing hangar, fitting them in whatever nook and cranny left in our other hangars that they could find. I stood beside Weston as he looked over Graves’ soaked bus. “This isn’t good…” he muttered, before turning to a group of his colleagues. “Right, lads! The moment these machines are dried we’re re-doping them!”. “The canvas?” a voice replied. “The whole bloody lot! Struts and Propeller!” Weston replied, before adding “So get all our cellon someplace dry!”.
Sensing I would only be a hindrance, I headed to the mess, where I found the rest of the airmen, most with beer in hand. We flitted away the day by playing cards, or chess, singing, and telling stories of home. And, of course, discussing our scraps in the air.
“Fokker Fodder - too right!” Edwards shouted, some cheers of approval following. “At least you’re flying the bloody bus - us poor sods can’t even get out of the way!” Bristow retorted, and we all laughed. I chimed in. “Well, come on now. It’s not that bad. We could be in Quirks!”. We cheered, and beside me Edith begun to sing:
“Oh! They found a bit of iron what some bloke had thrown away, And the R.A.F said ‘This is just the thing, We’ve sought for many a day,”
We broke into rapturous laughter, and all joined in chorus with the Scots Captain.
”They built a weird machine, strangest engine ever seen, But they’d quite forgotten the thing was rotten, And they shoved it in a flying machine!”
As we laugh-sung, Jimmy Reynard jumped onto Pierson’s piano, playing along a shaky rendition of the chords. The misplaced notes adding to the hilarity, we continued on, getting ever-more boisterous as we went. I noticed that some of us had gotten ahead of themselves, and had switched to brandies.
”Then they ordered simply thousands more, And sent them out to fight! When the blokes who had to fly them swore, The R.A.F said ‘They’re all right’!
The bus is stable as can be, We thought up every bit of it ourselves, you see, They were so darned slow, they wouldn’t go, AND THEY CALLED THEM R.A.F 2Cs!!”
We broke out into loud cheers and applause, all cackling like madmen and knocking back our various drinks. Soon we had moved onto another number, and the booze was beginning to flow more freely. It was not long after that our Adjutant appeared from out of the storm and approached me. “Campbell, you are invited to the Major’s office” he bluntly stated, removing his flying coat and shaking it off, to the irritation of the nearby airmen. I thanked him, donning my own coat and wondering to what end the Major wished to see me. I made my way to the large country house in which our Headquarters section resided, and stepped into its luxurious foyer.
The Major’s office was at the top of the grandiose staircase - a warm, inviting room with ornate oak panelling on the walls. Standing in front of a large rectangular window that looked out onto the aerodrome, Major Wilson sat behind a sturdy wooden desk, on which resided a neat stack of paperwork, a crystal decanter of brandy (complete with two square glasses), and a small lamp. “Have a seat, Campbell” the Major offered, gesturing to a well-crafted wooden chair, complete with quilted leather padding, which sat on the opposite side of the desk. I obliged, still curious as to the nature of my summons.
As I sat, the Major poured out a glass of brandy. “Sit” he commanded, and I obeyed, feeling nerves start to get the better of me. Quietly, Major Wilson began to speak. “We’ve retrieved your bus”. I swallowed. “It was a damned fool way to lose a good machine, going off after Huns alone”. Feeling my brow turn clammy, I dutifully agreed. “Yes, sir. It was silly of me, and it won’t happen again”. “You’re bloody right it won’t,” he said, more firmly now, “but, that’s not the reason I wanted to see you”. Despite myself, I breathed out in shaky relief, causing the Major to smirk, to my embarrassment. “Actually, I have some good news for you. Despite your…overzealousness...to get at the Hun, you have been getting on well here, and your achievements have piqued the interest of H.Q. Certainly, your victory claims have not gone unnoticed”. I fidgeted nervously.
“So, upon my recommendation, you are to be commissioned. Congratulations, Second Lieutenant Campbell.”. I sat in gobsmacked silence as the Major poured a second glass of Brandy and pushed it across to me, before producing a scrap of paper, on which he begun to write. “Th...thank you sir,” I stammered, dazed. “You have been granted ten days’ leave, at the end of which you are to report to St. Omer.”, he continued, finishing his writing and setting his pencil down, before passing the scrap of paper to me. “Head to Calais and board the ferry back to England. You will need a new uniform. Once you’ve landed back in Blighty, board the train to London”. I looked down at the scrap of paper, marked with the Major’s impossibly neat handwriting. I read the address he had written down. Hawkes & Co, 1 Savile Row. Slowly rising to my feet, I saluted the Major with as much vim and vigour as I could muster in my surprised state. “Thank you, sir!” I barked in my most military voice. He smiled up at me, before quickly reaching into a desk drawer. “Oh, and take this. For the uniform”. In a small envelope I found a cheque for 17 pounds. My eyes nearly popped out of my head . Once again, like a broken record, I thanked the Major and turned to take my leave. However, I stopped short halfway out of the door, turning to face the Major once more.
"Er...may I make a request, sir?". "Go ahead". "Well, I was only hoping that...that I may have one more day with the Squadron, before I take my leave, I mean". Smiling approvingly, the Major sipped at his drink. "Very well. I'll put you on the roster for tomorrow, and you shall leave the morning after".
Back in the mess, the boys were just as elated as I. “They’ll make ye a flight lead!” Jimmy shouted, and I laughed him away. Switch-Off begun to list off items he wanted brought back from England. Graves proposed a toast, and glasses were raised as the boys cheered me on. Drinks were poured and songs sung late into the evening as we celebrated. We came to a climax around midnight, where in our rowdy, drunken state, we begun to smash all the furniture, allowing ourselves to devolve into sheer anarchistic revelry. Eventually, it was plain that the night had reached a conclusion, and Switch-Off, Jimmy and I drunkenly made for our Billett.
Walking down the near pitch-black path was hard going, but we eventually staggered indoors and found our bunks. Yawning, Jimmy casually mentioned “So, it’s yer last day tomorrow before yer’ aff hame! Let’s hope fir a quiet one”. I agreed. Hanging up his scarf, Switch-Off turned to me. “How long will you be gone?” he asked, a hint of sadness in his voice. “Oh, only a week or two” I mumbled, before slipping away into dreams.
I dove through the cloud, away from the swarming Fokkers. Coming out the other side, I saw that my trick had worked - at least, for the most part. However, two monoplanes had seen my deception, and came diving down at my bus. Suddenly, one was ablaze, spinning down to its doom. Ahead of me, Jacky-Boy cried out “Focus, Graham! He’s going to get us!”
The drainage at Clairmarais Aerodrome was notoriously poor, and the airfield suffered prolonged problems with flooding - a feature that was not missed when No. 20 finally relocated!
Once again, sorry about the hiatus. I'm just too busy at work to get anything going right now so I might have to delay indefinitely.
On the plus side, I'll have some dude holding my hand while I learn how to steer a bug smasher around the sky at the end of next spring (Southern Hemisphere so August/October) I'll post up more updates as they come in. Keep the spirit of WoFF alive guys, It's one hell of a game and we're lucky to have it.
Let's pretend I got the BWOC badge to embed here.
Wenn ihr sieg im deine Kampf selbst gegen, wirst stark wie Stahl sein.
#4467018 - 03/22/1902:54 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Wow, the stories of Raine and Wulfe have reached new levels of awesomeness! Excellent reading from everybody else too, so keep it up gents!
Here's the latest from Julius, who is now flying the Fokker Eindecker...
9. THE FOKKERS
“Hearsay and a few lucky encounters had made the machine respected, not to say dreaded by the slow, unwieldy machines then used by us for Artillery Observation and Offensive Patrols.”
- Cecil Lewis on the Fokker Scourge (Sagittarius Rising, 1936)
Late March 1916.
March had been a busy month at Bertincourt. To counter the growing power of the Entente air forces, the German high command had wanted to increase the efficiency of the air war effort, which in turn had led to increasing numbers of Fokker monoplanes being deployed to the front. Bertincourt was situated at a central location on the Somme front, which made the field particularly well-suited to function as the base for some of these new machines. Two-seater operations would continue, but new emphasis would be put on the training of fighter pilots. This included Julius, who returned from the hospital to Bertincourt at the height of reorganization activities.
Several Fokkers had been delivered to the field, including two brand-new models equipped with a pair of forward-firing machine guns. The base facilities were also being expanded. In recent weeks, the British had been launching several bombing attacks against Bertincourt. It was probably a worried reaction to the build-up of new German airpower taking place at the field. Fortunately for Julius and his comrades, the attacks had been carried out using only light bombs, which failed to cause any damage worth mentioning. Nevertheless, the 2. Armee headquarters had responded to these bold attacks by increasing the amount of anti-aircraft weapons deployed at the field, while also putting up some mock-up tents and airplanes to deceive the attackers into dropping their bombs over the wrong targets.
Since Julius already had some experience as an aviator, a couple of weeks of additional training were deemed as adequate to qualify him as a Fokker pilot. Flying the famous monoplane was a thrill after getting used to the slow and lumbering Aviatik. Operating the rotating engine of the Fokker took some time to get used to, and a few of his landings were less than stellar. The most impressive thing about the monoplane was its firepower. To be able to shoot through the spinning propeller was a true novelty for Julius, who was more familiar with the unsynchronized observer guns of the Aviatik.
While Julius practiced the basics of Fokker flying, his more experienced comrade Gustav Leffers was putting the dual-gun Fokker E.IV to the test. After initial excitement, Leffers was ultimately unsatisfied with the machine’s performance. While the additional gun greatly increased the plane’s firepower and undoubtedly pointed the way to the future of air fighting, the bigger 160 hp engine also made the scout much heavier and difficult to handle. The representatives of Fokker and the Inspectorate of Flying Troops (Idflieg) were not happy, but they couldn’t argue against such comments coming from the most experienced scout pilots of the Fliegertruppen. Meanwhile, there were worrisome reports about new Entente fighter planes coming into service. Was the dominance of the Fokker Eindecker coming to an end?
Julius was still much too excited about the Fokker to worry about such developments. And soon he would be given an opportunity to put his monoplane flying skills to the test…
"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
#4467061 - 03/22/1905:49 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Harrity dropped out of formation with engine trouble so Chris and I flew on alone to the recon area. Ahead we saw two dots in the sky ... Davis and Buckminster clearing our way as usual. But then there were two more dots, Higher and to the right. One pair would be Davis and Buckminster, but we had two mystery visitors that were likely to be German. I turned our BE2 towards the south and we waited and watched from a distance as the two upper aircraft swooped down on the the two lower. Our Bristols were obviously in a fight so i turned back towards them with some idea to assist. We arrived as the fight swirled ever downward and we had another ringside seat from our perch above. Two Fokker monoplanes in tan, each with a Bristol glued to its tail. Our boys were having it all over the Hun fliers. The fight spiraled away to the south but we did not try to follow, as we were over enemy trenches and beginning to attract some flak.
Arrived back at Abeele and reported the fight immediately. Everyone was anxious, waiting for the arrival of Davis and Buckminster, with fear gripping deeper and deeper each minute they did not appear. Finally two Bristols began to circle the field and we all breathed a sigh of relief.
Each Captain reported downing their adversary and Buckminster's kill was confirmed later in the day based on a report from a forward observation post. The next morning, Buckminster received word from St. Omer that we is being promoted to Major. Despite my general dislike for the man, I have to admit that he is a good pilot and deserves the promotion.
Last edited by 77_Scout; 03/23/1912:07 AM.
#4467110 - 03/22/1910:12 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Wow! I go away for a few days to play in the dirt and all manner of things happen. Just got caught up on some fine stories, screen shots and videos. Hope to catch up flying this weekend. Great writing gents!
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!
#4467125 - 03/22/1911:49 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Hasse - So, Julius is getting his hands on a Fokker! Us RFC boys will have to watch out...especially if he gets a turn in one of those E.IVs...
carrick - and the weather had turned so nice, too!
Scout - Congratulations to Buckminster! Glad your escorts are looking after you well. And good work too, downing huns with hose offset guns! A regular pair of Hawkers, there...
...as for Graham, it's off to Blighty! Safe from harm for the next couple of weeks. Phew!
2nd. Lieut. Graham A. Campbell, No. 20 Squadron R.F.C, Calais, France.
March 22nd, 1916.
The rain continued to pour over our heads as we sat in the mess. Delicate piano notes drifted from the corner - Pierson had arrived back at the aerodrome early in the morning and, due to all flights being cancelled again, had made for his usual haunt.
The chaps were talking about machines, ours and the Hun’s, eagerly. “The DeHav outmatches the Fokker in every way! I don’t see why they aren’t handing them to every squadron on the front!” Graves excitedly told us, as Tepes shook his head. “Yes, but it’s awful for spins. I’d much rather have a Nieuport. Did you know the RNAS fellows have them? Caudrons, too!”. Normie piped up. “I’d take either over our Fees. Did you hear that Edwards encountered a Fokker the other day with two guns at its nose? It must be a newer type, and I hope we shan’t see any more appear!”.
Eagerly they chatted, but I wasn’t listening. Instead, I was thinking of one of my first Solo flights on the old Quirks at Hounslow. I had seen a grouping of balloons toward the coast, which made me long for France, and war. It seemed strange to me now that I should be so excited. I thought back to the day Switch-Off, Jacky-Boy and I had been assigned to No.20, and how elated we were, three months ago in England. Had it been three months only? It felt like a year.
With no flying to be done, I had decided not to prolong my stay in France, and at noon I said my farewells before stepping into the front passenger seat of the Crossley bound for Calais. As the truck pulled away, and Clairmarais disappeared behind the trees, it dawned on me. I was going home. I realised that I couldn’t imagine myself walking the streets of London, enjoying the privileges of a Gentleman Officer’s life as the chaps were sitting, bitterly cold, at 10,000 feet, streaked in oil and filth and keeping watch for the deadly Fokkers. Graves had suggested to me that I enjoy my leave at the Cavendish Hotel near Covent Garden, a favourite of R.F.C types, but also of Socialites. As he had explained, “Everybody who is anybody in London knows Rosa Lewis, and her fine establishment! You simply must go”. I was apprehensive - I was not used to such extravagance - but as Normie had warned me, “As an officer, you are expected to be a gentleman. You’ll have to get used to it sometime, Campbell!”.
The sky was darkening as we reached Calais, and so I found a quiet little hotel filled up with infantry and airmen that overlooked the water, and turned in for the night.
2nd. Lieut. Graham A. Campbell, No. 20 Squadron R.F.C (On Leave), London, England.
March 23rd, 1916.
God speed, Tommy!
The ferry rocked precariously on the choppy seas as I held on tightly to the railing, trying to distract myself by watching the patterns carved by the smokestack above me. It didn’t work. Feeling my stomach churning, I wondered how our men in Sir Jellicoe’s fleet were expecting to live and fight in such unfavourable conditions. After an hour at sea, I hastily concluded that it must be flying for me, and if, by some cruel design of fate, I was transferred to the navy, an immediate request for a posting in the RNAS would be in order.
Turning my eyes forward, I watched as through the sleet and mist a great landmass appeared off the bow - England. One or two infantrymen whooped and cheered in delight at seeing home, and my own spirits were similarly lifted. However, the moment was spoiled when I was suddenly sick over the side of the ship. Still - it was better up here than it was below deck, where disfigured soldiers and airmen stood, sat and laid in quiet, private misery. I had come above deck to escape the disturbing sight.
Slowly England crept up, her arms wide, the white cliffs shining against the dull sky, as the Ferry lazily swung about for Folkestone. Another hour and we were pulling into the chaotic mass of bodies and ships that was Folkestone Harbor. As we approached the dock, a Ferry bound for France was pulling out to sea, packed to the brim with hundreds of bright-eyed infantry, waving to us vigorously at us as we passed. Towards the Stern, a group of Tommies hung a Union Jack over the side of the railing, grinning broadly. I waved back, as did some of the men on our boat. Others - the ones who had been in the worst of it - did not.
We came to rest alongside a concrete pier and the gangplank was lowered into a writhing chaotic mess of infantry. Above the din I heard Lieutenants and Captains barking orders at the masses of soldiers, forming ranks and lines in preparation for boarding. Alongside the edges of the Harbor were hundreds of smaller sailboats, around which was the commotion of men, women and children loading and unloading cargo. As I was bustled onto the pier, narrowly skirting around the side of a red cross stretcher, I took a closer look at the sailboats. They were crewed by tired, blood-streaked families with hard faces, although among the misery some smiles and joviality could be seen. The old boats were handsome, and as I studied them bobbing on the choppy sea I noticed that many of them had been daubed ‘Oostende’. Quickly I realised that they were Belgian immigrants, seeking shelter in England from their shelled-out homes, and I took a moment to pity them before being barked at to “Get out the way, flyboy!” by a red-faced Sergeant Major.
Belgian Immigrants at Folkestone
Fighting against the current of soldiers and skirting around stacked-up crates of supplies, I made my way into Folkestone, breathing a sigh of relief and lighting a cigarette as, more inland, the herd thinned out. It was only as I had begun to stroll down the winding cobbled streets that I realised I hadn’t the foggiest where I was supposed to be going. Fortunately, I quickly came across an MP, rushing up to him and stopping him. “Excuse me! I’m headed to London. Could you tell me how to get there?”. The MP eyed me irritatedly. “What! You came over from here, didn’t you?”. I shook my head and pointed to the R.F.C wings on my tunic, explaining that I had flown over. “Tch! Typical...you want to go to Folkestone Warren Halt” he explained, his annoyance growing, before pointing me in the right direction. I sarcastically thanked him and took my leave.
Mercifully, the station was a ways from town, and far less crowded than the chaotic port. At the far end of the platform a group of infantry were playing dice. To the other end stood a tall dark-haired Lieutenant, a riding-crop folded underneath his arm. To my delight, I spotted an R.F.C badge on his cap. Sheepishly, I approached him. “Excuse me, sir, is this where I get the train to Victoria station?”. He looked over, at first seemingly annoyed, but his face lit up as he spotted my wings. “Ah! You’re an airman! It’s dreadful to come home this way, is it not? Yes, this is the right stop”. I thanked him, as in the distance the smoke-trail of a steam train approached. The Lieutenant offered a hand to me. “Lieutenant Watson. 29 Squadron”. Shaking his hand, I exclaimed “29! My, you’re on DeHavs!”. “Oh, yes! Wonderful machine!”
The train at Folkestone Warren Halt
We boarded the steam-train, taking a booth together and sitting opposite each other as it pulled away from the station. “Oh! I forgot to introduce myself. Serg- er - 2nd. Lieutenant Campbell. 20 Squadron”. “Aha! An F.E pilot!” he eyed over my uniform. “And recently commissioned, I take it? Good stuff! Tell me, have you run across many Fokkers?” he asked.“Oh, naturally. Never done scrapping with them, it seems!”. Watson laughed. “Hard luck, old boy! I, myself, have only encountered two. But both times I gave them a bloody good hiding!”.
“Good! Did you shoot them down, then?” I asked. Suddenly he was flustered, beginning to stammer. “Well, er, not shot down, but they were quick to turn tail, I say! How about you, old boy? Gotten any huns?”. Despite myself, my chest swelled. “Four, officially! Two Fokkers. But I’ve left one or two extra wrecks in Hunland”. He was visibly surprised. “Four, you say? My, you must have some stories to tell!”. He snapped his fingers. “Oh! I’ll tell you what - you should come to the Savoy! That’s where I intend to spend my leave, and there are all manner of Airmen there with some truly ripping stories! Why, I’m sure I even saw Hawker in there once!”.
We flitted away the train ride discussing various aspects of the air war - encounters with Fokkers, our machines, the devilish Star Turn of No. 3 in his deaded Morane (Watson reckoned he had a more powerful engine fitted into his machine, owing in part to his success) , and on a more sombre note, the two dreaded Hun names - Boelcke and Immelmann. Before long we were pulling into Victoria, and again I had vast waves of infantry to contend with. As we departed, I felt a stab of sorrow as I recalled how Jacky-Boy had enjoyed spending his free days at Hounslow coming to Victoria, watching the soldiers leaving for the coast.
Watson bid me farewell, again urging me to visit the Savoy. In among the waves of soldiers on the platform were several booths, at which lines of Tommies were exchanging their Franks for Pounds. I decided to try my luck and lined up to cash my cheque. After a brief and curt encounter with the teller, I stepped out onto the street victorious. I was in awe of London - smoke from chimneys seemed to cancel the sky as on the busy roads motorcars and carriages zipped back and forth. I concluded that, before all else, I should find a place to stay. Recalling Graves’ recommendation of the Cavendish, I decided to head there.
Having 17 Pounds to my name, I decided to indulge myself in the luxury of flagging a taxicab down along Grosvenor Place. As we drove, I marvelled at Buckingham Palace Gardens and the Wellington Arch. I was awfully braced to see the Palace itself, atop which a Union Jack fluttered defiantly in the grey sky. At around Four O’Clock we reached Jermyn Street.
Immediately as I bustled out of the cab I knew I had the right locale. Officers of all kinds seemed to burst out of its seams, mixed in with well-dressed socialites and frantic attendees. Almost immediately my suitcase was snapped up by a Porter, whom I followed inside. Quickly, I was surprised by a lady in a flowing white dress, her bobbed hair level with her attractive rouged mouth. “My, what’s this? A Sergeant pilot?” she crooned. Feeling embarrassed for a reason I couldn’t explain, I mumbled “Recently commissioned, actually. I’m a Second Lieutenant now, but I haven’t yet bought my uniform”. Her head tilted back as she laughed, before she leaned in closer. “Not to worry, dear. We’ll sort you out a room right away. You can get settled in, then you must come and join us in the sitting room!”. In a moment I knew this must be the Rosa Lewis of legend. Feeling like a child, I followed her lead and was soon shown to a beautiful high-walled room, furnished by an impossibly soft bed, delicate velvet curtains, an assortment of sitting chairs and a tall wardrobe. Connected to my room was a bathroom, which I stared at longingly. I had quite forgotten it was possible to take a bath! “Get yourself settled in, dear” she smiled, and I turned, fishing into my pocket. “How much do I owe for this?” I asked, and to my surprise she simply winked. “Oh, dearie, that’s somebody elses problem!” and with that, she promptly shut the door.
I drew a bath, changing out of my dirt-streaked uniform. It was wonderfully relaxing to clean myself up, and I felt utterly refreshed. My next order of business was cleaning my uniform as best I could, before making my way to the lounge on the main floor. In there were all manner of pilots, drunkenly laughing and conversating. I caught Rosa’s eye as I entered and again she winked at me. I flitted around the room, chatting with some pilots and the odd gentleman or lady (the ladies gasped in awe at my stories of battling the Hun in the air), enjoyed champagne and caviar, and soon I was thoroughly enjoying the evening - for I rather felt like a gentleman myself! I had become something of a novelty to the airmen, many of whom had never encountered a Sergeant Pilot. Some were dubious about my claims that I had been promoted, and fewer still believed that I had downed four Huns!
At the height of the evening, I was surprised to hear a ladies’ voice crying out my name. Spinning on my heel, I was met with the unexpected sight of Aunt Ina, draped in a fine ballgown, who was rushing forwards to embrace me and kiss me on the cheek. The surprise was most welcome - I had quite forgotten that Aunt Ina lived in London! Grinning, I requested a servant to bring us a bottle of champagne and two glasses.
Aunt Ina bore no blood relation to me, but had earned her title as she was a very close friend of my mother’s. The two had grown up together in Scotland, growing carefree on a luxurious, wealthy youth. Oftentimes in their later years, Ina had given my mother money to help with her ‘situation’ - that is to say, her choice to marry my father, a working-class veteran of the Boer war. I had always greatly enjoyed Ina’s visits in my youth, as she would arrive with a case full of all manner of presents from the Capital. Now, as she stood before me in my uniform, I saw pride swell in her eyes. “Oh, Graham, how you’ve grown! Are you doing well in France? You must tell me everything that’s happened!”.
I talked for a long time about my experiences so far, of flying and fighting in the air, of camaraderie and bitter loss, of the tragically young Switch-Off and the devil-may-care Reynard, and of the two occasions on which I had been shot down. She flinched as I showed her the wound stripe on my sleeve, and sympathised as I recalled Jacky-Boy’s disappearance. Eventually, I told her of how I had been commissioned, and how I had returned to England to purchase my new uniform. At this news she jumped up out of her seat excitedly. “Oh! Splendid! We must buy you the best-made uniform that can be had!”. Before I could react, she had fished into her purse and produced thirty pounds, stuffing it into the pocket of my tunic. In alarm I protested: “Ina, you can’t!”. But she simply hushed me before becoming lost in a fantasy about the tailor taking my measurements.
I stayed and talked with Aunt Ina for the rest of the eve, and she promised to call upon my parents and tell them all about how I was doing. I walked her to the door, bade her goodnight, and returned to my room where I was almost immediately asleep upon sinking into the luxurious bed.
Big thanks to Raine for pointing out some of the historical locales that Graham might encounter while on leave in London!
Ah yes, another most enjoyable early morning catching up with everyone's pilots whilst sipping some fresh coffee. So many wonderfully written new adventures and reports, many thanks to you all for sharing them.
2nd Lt. Randolph Swanson and his G/O Captain Daniel Craig had several fairly quiet outings before the dud weather settled in two days ago. They only had to battle the Eindeckers in one sortie, and the two EA that did bother them did not hang around for more than one pass before turning tail to the east. Apart from that it was nothing more than a couple of recces of the situation at Vimy and a rail yard attack on Loos Junction. Then, on the afternoon of Tuesday the 21st, the wind picked up and the rain started and there has been no flying from Bruay since.
On the Saturday prior Swany had been talking with his friend James Collins, who stated that he was wanting to get back up to Auchel and do a thank you dinner for the Poiriers in return for all the kindness they had shown him while he'd been rooming there. Jim wondered if Swany's language teacher une copine, Georgette, would be willing to serve as head chef for the gathering, with themselves and Jericho acting as her kitchen staff. It was with this request in mind, among other things, that 2nd Lt. Swanson made the five mile trek on his own to the café in Auchel later that morning. James had offered to come along once he was back from his morning patrol, but Swany said that he'd prefer to make the visit alone, if Jim didn't mind. Collins laughed. "I imagine you would prefer to be alone, given the atmosphère d'amour that floats about her when you are there." Swany blushed as he stammered, "Ya, ya, I suppose."
Georgette smilingly agreed to do the favor for her star student and intérêt amoureux, giving him a large kiss on the cheek while she ran a delicate finger along the purple and white ribbon that now adorned the left breast of his tunic just below his RFC wings. However, her mood changed abruptly when Swany assured her that his friend Jim would certainly pay her for her services. She shot her pilote a dark scowl that made him want to crawl under the table.
"I do this for you because you ask, not because of your friend", Georgette scolded. "Would you pay me too? Is that all I am to you, kitchen help!"
Swany immediately began apologizing and assuring her he meant nothing by it, only that with money being tight and things hard to come by his friend simply wanted to help by compensating her for her time and culinary expertise. She would be doing him a very big favor after all and he didn't expect her to be using any items from her own larder to do it.
Georgette smiled, then acquiesced. "Oui, I suppose, I could use the money. And I am always fighting to keep enough food around for my own meager menu here." She gave her young man a hug around his neck. "It is settled then!"
With apologies made and accepted Georgette suggested the following Sunday, the 26th, as the date for the dinner. The café would be closed that day and she would have lots of time to prepare. She went on to say that, while she had most of the staples needed to put together a proper banquet, what would be required more than anything would be a main dish. She suggested a nice, large cut of pork and hoped Swany and his friend could provide it. The young airman was not quite sure where they were going to lay their hands on such a thing, given the shortages, but he assured her that he would do his best. He did make an alternative suggestion of quail, as he had come across several active bird runs in the woods near the field during his morning jogs, and he could easily trap a few of the tasty foul.
"Très bien! Yes yes!" Georgette cried. "Quail would be wonderful too. I could serve them as the rôti after the pork! You are so generous, my Swan-eee!"
Well this was certainly not what he meant, but there was no taking it back now. Swany assured his comely madam that he would do all he could to provide the necessary entrée.
It was quite late in the afternoon by the time the Lieutenant made it back to Bruay, and upon returning to camp he went immediately to find Jim and relay the pertinent information from his visit. He located Collins, along with Mark Jericho, in the makeshift stables where the two men were tending to their horses, having just returned from a ride. When Swany outlined the plans for the dinner there were raised eyebrows all around at the mention of pork. But a brief moment later Mark gave a sly grin and in a matter-of-fact tone announced, "You know pard, I might just have a thought as to where to lay my hands on all the pork you'll need for this little shindig, provided y'all don't mind wild boar as a stand-in for pig." Swany and James gave each other a nod and a smile. They had no doubts that their rusticated friend could do precisely what he said. The hunt would soon be on.
#4467181 - 03/23/1902:57 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Joined: May 2012 Posts: 3,474RAF_Louvert
BOC President; Pilot Extraordinaire; Humble Man
Operations have been rained out for the last few days. I was called into the Major's office this morning, which was quite unexpected ... wasn't aware of having screwed up anything lately. Turns out he had some big news.
"There is a new squadron forming up at St. Omer right now, and my superiors have requested recommendations for suitable promising pilots that might be a good fit with this unit. I have decided to recommended you."
I was quite taken aback. "Thank you, Sir! Might I inquire what this new squadron is?"
"RAF-29. Quite a different show altogether from what you are used to here. It's a new scout squadron; the latest equipment and all that ... DH2s I believe."
An assignment to fly the latest single-seater in a scout squadron? My head was slightly spinning. "But Sir, if I may ask, why me? There are so many other pilots here with much more experience than myself. Surely Major Davis or Major Buckminster ...."
The Major cut me off. "I have my reasons Lieutenant. Don't go giving yourself a big head. I am not sending them any of my most experienced pilots, I am sending them the best pilot that the squadron can afford to lose. And to your credit, I believe you will more quickly adapt to the new machine and tactics than most here. Bathust tells me you can throw a BE2 around like nobody else in our unit, and that's the kind of flying that will be called for over there."
So that's it. The papers are submitted and if approved I might soon be heading to RFC-29. It isn't up for discussion; the Major wasn't asking if I want to go, but telling me. It is exciting, but also dreadful. They will expect me to kill, to pull the trigger and kill. I need to think ...
Last edited by 77_Scout; 03/23/1906:22 PM.
#4467223 - 03/23/1911:47 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Wulfe, congratulations on the promotion. Well deserved! Enjoy the time off in the old Blighty. Hasse, finally out of the apple barge and into an Einsitzer. Look out for those Nieuports ... and Aircos ... and Fees. Just look out. Carrick, that’s another pretty screenshot. Keep ‘em coming! Scout, a transfer to No. 29! D.H.2’s! Finally the killing will begin. Yes, Aleck will be expected to kill another man. Congratulations! Lou, I’m surprised that Swan-eee isn’t coming back from the visit at Georgette’s with a hick-eee. It also appears that Jericho will have to save Randolph's bacon. Great stories everyone.
The snow continued to fall during the past two days. No flights were possible during this period, so the pilots decided to paint their insignia on the side of the fuselage to identify each other in the air. There were two types of markings agreed upon. Those pilots of machines with the green camouflage would have the first letter of their surname pained in white inscribed in a white circle. The machines doped in tan would have a red disc painted with the first letter of the surname cut out from it. The aeroplanes of Adjutant Voscadeaux and Cpl. Dreux were tan, so they’ve set to painting red discs on each side of the fuselage. Gaston painted his with a capital ‘V’, while Dreux busied himself painting a ‘D’, all the while keeping his tongue sticking firmly out of his mouth. “- C’est fini!” Announced Cpl. Dreux, presenting his finished work to Gaston, who himself was nearly done. “- It is a fine ‘D’ Roland, but there is just one little problem.” Gaston replied wondering how to best break the news to his wingman. “- I believe Lieutenant Dagonet has already claimed the letter ‘D’”. The paintbrush fell out of Roland Dreux’s paralyzed fingers when he realized his blunder. He stared at the ‘D’ on the red field that he had just painted, shifted his kepi forward to scratch the back of his neck as he pondered what to do next. “- Don’t you wish we never had surnames?” Asked Gaston, “You would never have this problem in the first place.” Roland gave Gaston a side glance and quickly placed a kiss on his cheek. “- You’re a genius, Gaston!” Dreux exclaimed jubilantly. Startled Voscadeaux staggered back while wiping his cheek with the back of his sleeve. “- What’s gotten into you?!” He watched as Cpl. Dreux picked up the paintbrush he dropped earlier and painted out the letter ‘D’, so that only the red disc was visible on the fuselage of his plane. “- Voila!” Roland was beaming. “Problem solved. I will fly as the nameless one.” Gaston simply shook his head and patted his friend on the back. With the job done they turned to the mess for a well deserved meal and to share a bottle of red. Today was the lamb stew with rosemary, turnip purée with gravy and steamed vegetables.
"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."
#4467226 - 03/24/1912:08 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
"I'm guessing you can ride?" Jericho asked Swany. "Ya, of course!" Swany replied.' "Well you saddle up Moon and Jim's mount and I'll be back in a short." Jericho said. When Swany asked where they were going, Jericho smiled, " We are goin' on a pig hunt Amigo." Swany asked," Is it legal, can we do that?" Jericho spit on the ground. "Pard, it shouldn't be legal to fly around the sky and kill each other but we're here in France doin' it by god! Now get those mounts in order and I'll be back."
Jericho got his 45 Colt from his hut and then went to Sgt. Jeremy. "Can I borrow your Enfield, Sgt.?" Jericho asked. The Sgt. looked at Jericho with a puzzled look on his face. "Look Sgt. I know this ain't according to the book but you would really be doing me a favor it I could borrow it for a few hours" "This is highly irregular Lt.!" The Sgt. said. Jericho rolled his eyes. "This whole d#@nned war is irregular Sgt.! I tell you what, if you let me borrow your rifle, I will let you shoot my 45. How about that? Nobody will be the wiser, I promise." The Sergeant's eye's gleamed as he looked at the stag handled 45 in Jericho's holster. "Alright Lt. but you best have it back in a few hours." Jericho nodded. "Thanks Pard. If you will go stand on that end of the field with your rifle, I'll be by to get in 2 shakes." The Sergeant looked puzzled. "Shortly Pard! Shortly!" Jericho said with a laugh.
As Jericho and Swany rode by the Sergeant at the northwest end of the field Jericho leaned down and took the rifle from the Sergeant. "Thanks Pard, be back in 2 shakes" Jericho said laughing. "Vere are we going?" Swany asked. Jericho answered, "You know that wood about 5 miles off." Swany nodded yes. "Well I reckon if there is a pig in these parts, he's in those woods." They rode through the snow at a nice trot. Jericho had not felt this good in a long time. It was not unlike the high plains in Montana. The war seemed a long way off if just for a few hours. As they reached the wood, Jericho and Swany circled it looking for a game trail. Swany spotted one in a short while and pointed it out to Jericho. "Good eye's Amigo, I see you have done a bit of tracking and trailing yourself!" Swany smiled, "Ya, a good bit." Jericho smiled back, "I knew there was some reason I liked you. You a good shot I suppose?" Jericho asked. "Pretty good" Swany replied. Jericho looked around. "Well, since we don't have a whole lot of time. What you think about you taking the rifle and setting up on this trail. I'll ride around to the other side and see what I can drive this way." Swany looked up and down the wood and nodded in the affirmative."Here you go Pard" Jericho said as he handed the Enfield to Swany. With the plan set, Jericho pulled Moon around and took off at a gallop.
When half way around the wood, Jericho slowed Moon and entered it. He walked him at a fast pace dodging low hanging limbs. Every so often he would let a whoop to drive game and to let Swany know where he was. About half way through he saw a sounder of pigs running ahead. He kicked Moon into a gallop and as fast as he dared he turned them in Swany's direction. All of a sudden a thicket ahead made him pull up and he lost sight of the pigs. "D@#" he said out loud. Moon was panting heavily and Jericho patted him on the neck. "you did good ol'boy. Real good." When the shot rang out it took Jericho by surprise and startled Moon a bit as he sidestepped. "Easy boy. Easy" Jericho said as he patted him again. He then took Moon at a trot toward the sound of the shot.
It was only a 100 yards or so when he could see Swany kneeling over a black hog. "That's some fine shooting Amigo! and it looks like a nice one." Swany stood up with a big grin. He had nailed the young 150 lb. boar with one shot. Jericho dismounted and got out his knife. "You bring that sack Swany?" Jericho asked. "Ya" Swany replied. Jericho ringed the pigs ankles with cuts and made one cut down the boar's spine. Then he and Swany pulled the tough hide down one side as Jericho cut it to free it. Once one side was done he took the backstrap off that side and cut off the front shoulder then disjointed the rear shank. They flipped the boar over and Swany handed the knife to Swany. "You do the honors on this side Pard," Swany, no stranger to skinning critters soon had the other backstrap, shoulder and shank loose. They cleaned their hands in the snow and tied the bagged meat across the back skirt of Moon's saddle and headed back to Bruay.
"Pard, I ain't had this much fun in a long time." Swany agreed. They rode back to the Aerodrome singing the "Yellow Rose of Texas."
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!
#4467243 - 03/24/1911:47 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
MFair, that was a great hunt description. I am curious how much of the sanglier is Georgette going to use for the dinner at Poiriers and how much of it will end up as bacon with the morning eggs. I suspect Collins will want to build a smoker.
"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."