We lost track of 2nd Lieutenant Bell during the flight. Let's land ... I am sure he will be along shortly. Oh, there he is, coming in to land from the other end of the field. He sees me, right? Bell? BELL?!?
Last edited by 77_Scout; 04/09/1901:31 AM.
#4469575 - 04/09/1902:28 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
"Two pilots dead and two machines lost. Where the hell where you?" The Major was livid.
"We stayed behind to circle at the rendezvous point. We hadn't met up with the Fee yet!" I should have realized that we had missed our rendezvous with the bomber and followed A-flight on towards Harbourdin".
"Well Yule made the right call when he pressed onto the airfield. You should have followed!" I looked at the floor and nodded.
"I decided to go back in case the bomber was waiting for us to arrive ... and we did meet up with a Fee! We followed him north for quite some time before realizing it was not the right aircraft."
The major calmed down a bit. "I see, just a case of mistaken identity then. Well let's hope you have better luck making these rendezvous in the future. That's twice you have failed to link up! I'll expect better of you MacKinlay."
I felt terrible. "Yes Sir, sorry Sir. I will speak to the other pilots and get some assistance with the join up procedures". (Help? Tips?)
ADDENDUM: April 8 and 9, relegated to follower on both flights. I think the Major has lost confidence in me. Griffith and O'Keefe shot down two aircraft on the patrol yesterday, yet somehow our B-flight saw nothing. What a string of bad luck.
Last edited by 77_Scout; 04/09/1903:47 AM.
#4469594 - 04/09/1911:03 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Carrick - Airfield raids, dangerous stuff. Hoping to avoid them for as long as possible....looks like you gave le Bosche a good seeing-to, though. Nieuport 16s, you say? N.26 must be a fancy unit!
Fullofit - That loaner's an old rustbucket! Seems all the same to Gaston though, Violette or not, the Fokkers keep falling! Might want to get the A.M's to give the engine a once-over, though...Great pic with the Caudron, they really are giants of the sky...bet the crew was pleased to see a gang of Nieuports turn up!
Scout - Tough day for No. 29. I, too, struggle with finding the buses I'm supposed to be escorting...keep an eye on that Bell fellow.
2nd. Lieut. Graham A. Campbell, MC, No. 24 Squadron R.F.C, Bertangles West, France. 5 Victories.
April 9th, 1916.
In the morning, Maj. Hawker had gathered the ‘C’ flight pilots in the mess. “Okay, listen up”, he started, laying a map flat on the table. We crowded round. “Our chaps on the ground near Fricourt have been having a rough time of it off of the Hun artillery recently, and H.Q. suspects that their Balloon at Delville Wood is to blame. So, we’ve been ordered to get rid of it. Make no mistake - this is a dangerous job, and I’m sure you all know that Fricourt is an especially Hot Shop at the moment, so I want you all to be bloody careful. The Archie Gunners there are also accurate, and you’ll be low, so don’t stick around to admire your handiwork!”
I watched at noon as our machines were rolled onto the aerodrome, Cowan’s machine being fitted with its two streamers on its rear struts. To my right, Saundby was giving a crash-course in war flying to the new pilot that had arrived this morning - Lieutenant Logan Osborn, a tall, slim Scotsman with a hard, yet youthful face. As Maj. Hawker had explained to us in the morning, Osborn was freshly out of training, but had shown some promising skill in the air, and so was immediately forwarded to a scout squadron. Needless to say, we were all dubious at the prospect of having a green pilot along for the ride - especially when we had a dangerous show.
We climbed into our machines and the Ack-Emmas prepared to swing our props. As I waited, I quickly looked over the route on the map. I then made sure my charm was properly tied to the flight stick, before looking out to my right. I felt a stab of misery as I saw Osborn’s unfamiliar face peering over the top of his cockpit, in the same spot where only last week Freddy’s grin would be flashing back at me.
Without any further ado we were off, and airborne, Cowan swinging us round into a long, climbing loop. 5986 purred smoothly as we climbed - she seemed to be eager for her first scrap - and I smiled as she obediently responded to the controls. You’ll see me through okay, won’t you? I asked her in my head as we circled upwards.
As we crossed over the lines from Beaumont-Hamell, I caught a glimpse far below of Courcelette, and the old couple’s house, still defiantly standing in among the death and misery, and I became emboldened, checking the skies around for any sign of Fokkers. We flew further into the destruction, as ahead of us the looming, dark shape of the Observation balloon came into view. As we approached, Saundby tested his guns, and the rest of us (save for a confused Osborn) did the same. Suddenly, there were two sharp percussive cracks as a pair of archie shells went off just underneath Saudby’s machine. A third followed, pushing Andrews upwards in the air. Dammit, I thought, they’re bloody accurate!. 5986 purred on, unfazed, as more bursts went off frighteningly close to our formation. They almost had us ranged - but the Balloon was rushing up fast, and Cowan was putting his machine into a dive.
Saundby, Andrews and Cowan all opened fire at the same moment, and as I approached I saw a trail of smoke beginning to rise upwards from the balloon. Immediately I pulled 5986 up, as below me the balloon went up in a terrific fireball, jolting me upwards in my seat. I narrowly avoided colliding with Osborn, who was still diving at the balloon, but I skidded away just in time, and our formation turned for home. Down the Hun lines, I saw a second balloon being hastily winched to the ground.
Furiously the Archie opened up a fresh wave of hatred, and shells burst on all sides of us, one almost flipping me onto my side as it exploded within inches of my machine. We broke formation, weaving and zooming up to avoid the barrage, and we had soon become separated. Eventually, with distance, the archie died down, and I looked around for my flight, eventually finding Andrews and joining up with him. Over our trench-lines a very light shot upwards, and I made out the shape of two more DeHavs. Andrews had seen it too, and we flew over to join them.
We turned East as we started to settle into formation, and I scanned the skies. Every air Hun in the region must have seen the fireball from our balloon. Suddenly Cowan again rocked his wings, and begun to climb. I intensified my scanning - and saw them. Three Fokkers, diving towards us from the West. We swung about and lifted our noses to meet them, and at my back 5986 roared in excitement. As they drew near, one of the Huns straightened out to stay above us, as the other two dove down into our formation.
Here they come...
They came screaming over my head, and a green one immediately rolled on his back, falling upon me. I skidded away and before I could respond I became overwhelmed in a mess of turning machines, narrowly avoiding slamming head-on with one Fokker, and then coming even closer to hitting the DeHav behind him. From out of the confusion I saw again my green Fokker, and now I got behind him, firing off a five second burst as he tried to loop away. I watched in grim satisfaction as he fell into a spin, crashing in the mud below.
I looked around, trying to make sense of the fight. Above me, two DeHavs were tripping each other up while chasing the same Fokker. Apart from that, I saw nothing, so I decided to linger on the edges of their fight. Suddenly, the two DeHavs split away to avoid colliding, and the Hun flashed in front of me. I fired at him, seeing bullets strike his engine, and he immediately dove for the ground. I chased him, but was cut off by Andrews. Irritated, I broke off, before swooping back and shooting at the hun as he tried make a desperate run for home, zooming along mere inches from the dead treetops. I noticed two other streams of tracers, from Andrews and the other DeHav, all converging on the helpless Eindecker, and moments later his nose dipped down and he ended up wrecked in the mud, his tail sticking up into the air. By this point, we were at ground-level, and we hastily turned for our own lines. Before we could form back up, I spotted the shape of another Fokker diving on the unaware Andrews. 5986 roared out in eager defiance as I looped around towards the Hun. As I did, I saw another two Fokkers flash overhead. This was bad.
Coming head-on at the lowest Fokker, he was caught by surprise as my tracers whipped past him. Immediately he curved away, and the circling began. In dismay, I watched as he begun to gain on me, but then I felt a dull anger build within me, and pulled the stick as far back into my stomach as I can. Come on, girl! I pleaded with 5986, as first I equalised the distance, and then slowly begun to catch my opponent’s tail. I saw panic start to show on the German pilot’s face as my Lewis gun came around to face him. I had him!.
I fired continually into his machine, for ten seconds at least, and as I watched my tracers slamming into his engine the first licks of flame appeared. Suddenly black smoke shot out from behind his machine, blinding me, and I curved away in alarm. Staying at his flank, I watched in mute horror as the German airman desperately dove for the ground, his machine now consumed almost entirely by flame. I felt ill as I watched the man desperately trying to land the burning machine, before finally succumbing and rolling onto his back, crashing into the mud in a sickening shower of sparks. For a moment I circled above him, looking down at the still-burning remains of his machine on the ground.
A rotten way to go
The fight wasn’t over. Ahead of me, another Eindecker was chasing after a DH2. From the lethargic, uncertain manoeuvres, I realised that it must be Osborn. I gritted my teeth as the fight drew nearer, praying for the rookie pilot to hold out a little longer, before firing a long range burst past the Fokker. Immediately he swung around for home, but 5986 was too quick for him, and I fired away the last of my ammunition at him as he went. The poor Hun had the worst luck - just as my Lewis fell silent one round must have caught him in the back, for I saw him slip to the right, coming down in a slow descent, before finally his wingtip brushed the ground and the machine was thrown violently into a surreal cartwheel on the ground, the airframe tearing apart with each rotation, before finally the splinters that used to be a machine came to a stop.
Swinging around for home, my heart racing and my body feeling heavy, I looked for Osborn, but couldn’t see him. Poor fellow, the Hun must have got a shot in I thought to myself. With no trace left of friend or foe, I climbed a little to figure out where I was, and then turned my machine for home. 5986 sung happily to herself as we approached Bertangles, and I landed smoothly. Switching the magnetos off, I placed a hand on the side of the nacelle. Good work, girl, I told my machine, before shakily stepping out and, in a daze, making my way to the H.Q tent.
Never been so relieved to get home!!
Inside, Hawker was pacing in front of his desk, his arms folded and a deep frown on his face. He swung about to face me as I walked in. “Campbell! Where are the others?” he boomed, his voice a mix of tension and fear. “I don’t know, I’m sorry...we got mixed up with Eindeckers after we’d gotten the balloon. I think one got Osborn”. He groaned in frustration, as I turned to the Old Man to make my report, slowly listing what details I could remember. “What! Four?!” he cried, as I recounted the details of our aerial battle. I nodded, then swallowed as I added, my voice hoarse and quiet, “One in flames”.
I waited with them in the H.Q tent, as we sat beside the telephone. It rung about an hour after my return - Andrews. He had landed at Bellevue, near the lines, with a stopped engine. Not long after that, we heard an engine approaching and ran out onto the field, just in time to see Cowan’s machine make a shaky landing at No.3’s field, before ground-looping and tipping onto its wings, buckling them. I took off sprinting across the road, running out onto the field. No. 3’s Ack-Emmas were there first, and I felt a wave of relief surge over me as I saw them helping a pale-faced Cowan from the nacelle. “Cowan! Are you okay?” I cried out to him as I ran up to the wrecked machine’s side. As he took a drag of a cigarette, his hands shaking violently, he turned to me with a nervous look. With a weak forced smile, he said “Campbell, mate, I’m never going near Delville Wood again”. I gave him a pat on the back. “Kettle’s on. Get yourself into the mess and have a cup of tea”. He nodded, and wandered off in the direction of our airfield.
“You lot are becoming a pain in our backsides” one of the Ack-Emmas said to me, as he looked at the wreckage. I sighed. “Come on - I’ll help you move it”. Together we tipped the machine back onto its undercarriage, and wheeled it off to the side of a hangar, where we left it in a sorry looking state. The mechanic started muttering to himself. “Fifteen...sixteen...seventeen...”. I shot him a confused glance. Catching my eye, he grinned. “Counting bullet holes, sir”.
It was around three O’Clock when we found out what had happened to Osborn. He had come down not far from Bellevue, and had been found aimlessly wandering the side of a road by an infantry truck and driven to the airfield. From there, he telephoned Bertangles, and Powell was sent out to get him. To our amazement he seemed not so much scared, or shocked, as he did intensely annoyed by the whole ordeal. “Bloody Huns, a’ couldny see theim fur the damned great engine in the waiy!” he cried out, his arms out to his sides in an exaggerated manner. Despite our shot nerves, we chuckled at the display. “Dinnae you worry, big yin, ye’ll get them next time!” Milligan called over, with a foxlike smirk, to the amusement of the rest of us. It turned out that nobody had really known what was happening in the confusion - and, unfortunately for me, neither Andrews nor Osborn had seen any of my machines go down. Of course, they were occupied with duels of their own.
At dinnertime, the Old Man came to his feet in the usual manner. “Alright, you damned delinquents, here we are. It looks like you’ve at least managed to get a couple victories, in between wrecking your buses!”. We all cheered, and Wilkie cried out “Here’s to our wrecked buses!”. Saundby called back “The huns gave us a stir today!”, and from the far end of the table Andrews responded “Get the Parasols to go next time!”. We all had a good laugh, before the Old Man cut through the sound. “QUIET DOWN, you villains! Do you want to hear this or not?!”.
There were a few chuckled apologies, and the Old Man produced the telegram. “Firstly, our new boy has been given credit for the balloon. It seems even a green pilot can’t miss a sausage!”. There were raucous cheers and applause, as Osborn’s face lit up into a wide grin. “Secondly, I have had a very dubious report from 2nd. Lieutenant Campbell, who has claimed no less than four Fokkers today!”. “I think that was me you shot down!” Andrews shouted over at me. “Me, too!” came Saundby’s voice, as the table erupted into hilarity. I grinned, and made a carefully selected hand gesture at him, as he stuck his tongue out at me in response. “Well, he’s only three quarters of a fibber!” the Old Man cried. “The boys in the mud saw your flamer - in fact, you damned near landed it on their heads! As for the others - stop bloody making stuff up!”.
There was another celebratory bout of cheers and laughter, as Whiskey, sitting next to me, shook my hand. The Old Man cleared his throat. “Actually, I do a disservice to poor old Campbell. For, in fact, one of his other claims did exist. It was even awarded. Just not to him! Congratulations, Andrews, that’s one Eindecker driven down!”. Three victories for no losses was more than enough reason to celebrate, and soon bottles of various drinks were appearing at our table, along with more food.
I smiled and laughed along with the chaps, but in my head the word ‘Flamer’ turned over and over. I suddenly lost my appetite as I realised that I could still smell the smoke from the burning Fokker.
Wulfe, another outstanding episode in Graham's saga, great storytelling. Watching those flamers though, that's tough no matter who it is caught in it, just gawdawful.
Scout, Aleck looks to be going through a rough patch. I feel for him, trying to link up with another flight for escort is a pain in the arse. They never seem to be where they're suppose to be, or at the correct time.
Fullofit, I hope Gaston can get his own mount back soon, doesn't look right him flying that drab machine. Great screenshots, I particularly like the one with all the Archie puffs.
Carrick, Emile looks like he enjoys messing about with those rockets. Quite the fireworks display.
Raine, some moving stuff there in Jim's most recent telling. Superb writing as always.
MFair, congratulations on Jericho's first confirmed victory, it's about time given the number of encounters he's had with the Hum. Well done.
9 April, 1916 Somewhere in France 3 Squadron, R.F.C. 2nd Lt. Randolph Arvid Swanson, MC & Bar 11 confirmed victories
The team of Swanson and Rankin were awarded one of their three claims from their outing of the 7th, it being the Fokker they had forced down intact. The Eindecker that had rolled over on its back and fallen was awarded to the gunners at the balloon position near Beaumont-Hamel, while their OOC over the mud was not confirmed at all. Captain Rankin was outraged. As a former officer of the 6th Dragoon Guards, having been in the current scrape since its beginning in '14, he was accustomed to being taken at his word. But this whole claims process was ridiculous to his was of thinking. If a gentleman said he'd shot down an enemy plane then by God he should be credited for it. Swany chuckled to himself as he listened to the Captain vent his anger. The younger airman understood exactly how Rankin was feeling, and in fact had made the same complaints himself early on in this combat flying business. But he also understood that no amount of protesting or arguing about it would change a dam'd thing as far as HQ was concerned. The Brass Hats decided what was what; whether or not it made sense to those who had to go along with it was of little concern to them. Swany had no doubt that the Captain knew this to be the case all too well, given how long he'd been in the game. The fellow was simply letting out his frustration.
And speaking of making sense or not, No.3 Squadron was ordered to move again, this time another ten miles to the southeast at a field near Lahoussoye. This was ludicrous, they hadn't even gotten things in order from the last move. None-the-less, camp was broken down, loaded up, and carted off to the new digs while the planes were flown over, and in the dark no less! Fortunately everyone made it without wrecking something. So now, the whole process can begin again, until the next relocation.
Circling to land in the dark at the new field near Lahoussoye, as a searchlight shines from Albert in the distance.
#4469688 - 04/09/1909:02 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Emile Benoit La Mont Sgt, N 26 St. Pol-sur-mer, AF Flanders, France
Apr 9 1916.
0805 hrs: The Esc had orders from Hq Armee to attack Zee Gas Bag at the western part of the line. Our lead a/c got Zee target. I fired off my Rockets at the Infantry positions on the wat back
1400 hrs: Up again for a defensive Patrol. Zee Bosche were up to The 5 of us flew under a Patrol then dropped down on a 3 a/c Section of Monoplanes. The Esc knocked down 1 for 2 N-11's damaged. I latched on to one and loosed off a drum No Hits ? Then another I got fire at as he came up on my wingmates tail another drum No hits ( well maybe 2 or 3 ) he dove away for Home. End of Flight.
Last edited by carrick58; 04/09/1910:12 PM.
#4469712 - 04/10/1912:54 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Wulfe, thanks for the kind comments. Your new DH2 looks smashing! And it certainly did the job on those Fokkers, even if three of the four were – in Wing’s eyes – imaginary.
Fullofit, that was a touching move, escorting the Caudron – and a great photo, too.
Scout, I take the view that it’s their job to find me. After all, they are escorting me, not the other way around. And they can buy dinner and bring flowers while they’re at it.
Lou, congratulations on number 11! See you in Lahoussoye (please check your PMs – you may be out of message space on SimHQ).
Carrick, how are you finding the Np 11. I’m very jealous.
An Airman’s Odyssey – by James Arthur Collins Part Thirty-Three: In which we move once more...
During the week we noticed a slackening in the enemy air defence of the lines. The constant offensive patrols of our new scout squadrons roamed deep into Hunland and, for the most part, kept the Fokkers well away from our hard-working two-seater squadrons. Although we were primarily an artillery support squadron, C Flight (for so we were now designated) was often tasked with dropping bombs on enemy rail yards and stations. When we were escorted at all, it was by the Bristols of 11 Squadron, the DH2 artists being assigned the job of sweeping the Huns from the air farther afield.
On 8 April, however, we were shaken out of our complacency. That morning up before first light and off to drop some bombs on positions near Posières. I didn’t fancy night flying. The Morane was hard enough to keep on the level without being unable to see the horizon and, as it stalled so readily in a headwind, one had to keep the nose down on the unseen horizon or risk falling out of the sky. We arrived over the front just as the sun emerged above the eastern haze as a blinding red flare, so it was no surprise that my first indication that three Fokkers had dropped onto my tail was the ripping of machine gun rounds through the Morane’s fabric. Wilson opened fire, but wildly, and he soon had a bad stoppage. I spun our machine down as steeply as I dared, levelling off at 500 feet over our lines. There I made for a balloon I saw that shone orange in the sunlight north of Albert. Two of the Huns followed and there ensued a ten-minute scrap. One of the remaining green-grey Fokkers gave up after a few minutes, but the other circled with me over the treetops. We each hammered at the other in turn until, bored with the whole affair, my Hunnish dance partner pointed his machine toward the rising sun and quickly vanished into the distance. We brought our machine back gently, for a flying wire was shot away and the right side of the wing quivered in the most worrisome manner. The ack emmas did a masterful job getting us ready for an early afternoon jaunt. On that flight a lone Fokker dived on us and holed our machine several times. Wilson was unable to hold him in his sights for more than an instant and we speculated that it must have been Immelmann himself. When we returned, our machine was a great attraction. The compass was shot away, the windscreen holed, the map clips were shattered, and I found a hole in the side of my leather coat and a round on the floor of the cockpit. Wilson’s Lewis had the sights shot off and one of his discarded drums had stopped a round.
Still, there was no rest. 3 Squadron was on the move again, this time to a field called Lahoussoye, on the Roman road from Amiens to Albert. This field was somewhat closer to the front. After a long night of preparations, we slept under the stars, the tents having been already placed on lorries and departed. There was no need to rouse us in the morning, for the noise of machines being run up woke us at three-thirty. Captain Mealing and Sergeant Bayetto had gone with the advance party, so the Major asked Wilson and me to fly alongside his machine.
Lahoussoye village then...
Our squadron was part of the 3rd (Corps) Wing of the new 4th Brigade, under Brigadier General Ashmore. Also in the Wing were with 4 Squadron (BE2cs), 9 Squadron (BE2cs), and 15 Squadron (BE2cs), plus a kite balloon section. The Brigade also included 14 (Army) Wing with two scout squadrons, 22 with FE2bs and 24 – Lanoe Hawker’s crowd – with DH2s. Our brigade was to support General Rawlinson’s Fourth Army.
It was clear to us all that we would be front and centre in the summer’s push. All around us the fields were scribbled over with trench lines where new formations rehearsed and rehearsed. The roads, nearly empty by day, thrummed with traffic all night. Vast quantities of supplies were stockpiled in woods and barns, and new narrow gauge rail lines were being laid every day.
Lahoussoye was a new aerodrome, situated on the east side of a drab, stretched-out village of low farm sheds and low brick houses, each with its proudly-displayed midden. The field itself was wide and flat. A line of Bessoneaux was already taking shape, and our tents were being put up in the distant tree line. The rest of the day was spent finding our kit, stowing it, and sweating in a work party to get our mess tents and kitchen tents up. Dinner was tinned beef and crackers, but the Major had laid on two barrels of beer for the men and another for the officers and senior NCOs and we had an impromptu all-ranks binge under the trees before falling into our tents.
#4469713 - 04/10/1901:09 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Joined: Nov 2014 Posts: 2,586Fullofit
Wulfe, wonderful storytelling, as always. But I must remind you, they’re not called Fourkkers. Are you trying to become an ace in one day? Good on ya! Congrats on the confirmed one. Glad the Airco agrees with you. I kept spinning the bloody thing. Also, beautiful shots. Lou, we can all agree with Rankin for once. And may I say, that is what, fourth move in the span of a few weeks? That is crazy. When you get to Lahoussoye, don’t bother unpacking. Carrick, what are you aiming at? Make sure your aim point is above the crossed wires. You should land more hits this way. Scout, my only advice for linking up with escorts is to follow the route exactly. The map in the briefing room isn’t the best. If you can, use the mission editor map. The flight path shown there is much more precise and I’ve had successes following that path to get to the rendezvous point. Now finding that dot circling somewhere around is another matter.
7 April, 1916 05:30 morning mission Senard, Verdun Sector Escadrille N37 Sous Lietenent Gaston A. Voscadeaux 11 confirmed kills
It felt good to mount Violette again. (Lou, stop sniggering) The Ack-Emmas tried hard to match the paint colour on the new wing, but it still stuck out like a sore thumb. Gaston will just have to get used to it.
They were on their way to Stenay to attack the rail yard there. During the attack Gaston saw his wingman wobble a little. He didn’t think much of it at the moment, but when they've returned, he'd learned Adelus was hit and bravely continued until he brought his plane home. He was taken to the hospital. Other than that the attack would go just fine if one of the numbskulls didn't decide to fire his rockets just as Gaston was overflying the target. It nearly gave him a heart attack. He returned to base with his pride just a little bit on the well done side.
7 April, 1916 13:40 afternoon mission Senard, Verdun Sector Escadrille N37 Sous Lietenent Gaston A. Voscadeaux 11 confirmed kills
The afternoon CAS over enemy troop camp north of Chalons was supposed to be lead by Gaston with Adelus as his wingman. Since Adelus was in hospital, his place was taken by Sous Lieutenant Medeville. He even took Adelus' plane up. They were making good time to the frontlines. The camp was just beyond. Voscadeaux kept an eye on anything out of place in their vicinity. The trio of low flying Eindeckers qualified as being out of place. Gaston lead Medeville in a shallow dive to avoid over stressing their airframes, but Medeville was too impatient. He entered a vertical dive and went for the Fokker formation on his own. Gaston could only shake his head in disbelief, but followed Medeville nonetheless. He watched the other French pilot overshoot the Boches and spoil the element of surprise. Voscadeaux knew his speed would be too great to make an effective attack. He aimed for the leader and let off a few rounds, then dove under and pulled up. The forces pushed Gaston into his seat and he could feel his body becoming several times heavier. He clenched his teeth as the blood was leaving his upper body. He leveled out and took a deep breath, everything returning to normal. The Fokker he had just attacked was now attempting to return the favour and latched to Gaston's tail. Voscadeaux banked immediately and started to climb. Medeville was right there and chased the Hun away. It looked like the two will keep chasing each other's tail for a while. Gaston started to look for the remaining two monoplanes. He assumed they would try to run for home and directed Violette to turn north. He flew for a while and searched. How could two Hun machines disappear so quickly? He will never hear the end of it from Medeville. He turned back to rejoin his wingman, probably enjoying the view of his enemy's wreck somewhere over NML. Gaston was now flying south and he couldn't believe his eyes. There, dead ahead of him two specks moved west against the light grey clouds. His two Fokkers! His face must have looked like a snout of an old fox entering a henhouse. They haven't spotted him. He could see them clearly. One was typical tan colour and the other was green. Voscadeaux snuck behind the green one and opened fire. Solid hits all over the machine. The enemy banked to avoid further onslaught. Gaston let him go and switched to the tan one ahead. Another barrage of bullets. The French ace could see the Fokker taking massive damage. He had to let him go as the green one was back for more. The Hun was flying brilliantly, performing all the tricks in the book. He even faked an inverted flat spin. Marvelous show, but Gaston still came up on top and sent the Boche to his death in a corkscrew, trailing smoke. The green Fokker was now yet another crater in the landscape of the No Man's Land. Gaston couldn't help himself. He broke into a song:
To arms, citizens, Form your battalions, Let's march, let's march! Let an impure blood Water our furrows!
He flew on. At the edge of the German trenches soldiers were pulling out injured pilot from the tan Fokker. Gaston saluted and continued to sing the Marseillaise. Back at the aerodrome Medeville was already out of his plane and coming over towards Voscadeaux's machine. "- What took you this long? Lost your way? Ha ha ha!" Gaston pulled his goggles off and raised two fingers. The laugh stopped "mid-sentence" but Medeville's mouth never closed.
"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."
#4469738 - 04/10/1905:46 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Raine - shame to see our Parasol pals leave Bertangles, but they're not going too far. I'm sure No. 24 and No. 3 will cross paths again! Best of luck at the new field. Fullofit - Gaston strikes again! At this rate he'll have beat the Bad Baron's score by the end of 1916!! The German pilot was good - pity he ran into the wrong Nieuport.
2nd. Lieut. Graham A. Campbell, MC, No. 24 Squadron R.F.C, Bertangles West, France. 6 Victories.
April 10th, 1916 (Part 1).
We were awoken in the darkness by the sound of No. 3’s Parasols - all of them - starting up. From two tents down I heard Saundby cry out “Again!”. As a handful of us sleepily made our way onto the Aerodrome, we could see 3 Squadron lifting off, one at a time, into the pitch blackness. On the ground, mechanics worked by lamplight to deconstruct their Bessoneaux and hastily pull down their bell tents. “They must be moving on” Wilkie said, as he appeared beside me, and I nodded. “A quiet sector, I hope. Those chaps could use a break”. Feeling sympathetic for the night-flying Moranes, I turned back for bed.
As it happened, I ought not to have bothered feeling sorry for No.3, as it wasn’t even an hour later that Johnstone appeared in my tent, rousing me from my sleep again. “Oh, what is it now?” I asked, as I was handed a cup of tea. “Awfie sorry, sir, but you’re due on the dawn patrol in half an hour”. I felt anxiety wash over me - it was still dark, and the image of Freddy’s DeHav crashing in the night flashed through my mind. “Thank you, Johnstone” I murmured, as the orderly nodded graciously and moved along to Andrews’ tent.
Hawker was stood beside his bus, dimly illuminated by the glow of an ack-emma’s lamp, and as we approached we could see on his legs a bizarre pair of fur-lined boots that stretched all the way up to his thighs. Through his laughter, Cowan asked “What the bloody hell are those?” and Hawker shrugged. “I call them Fug-Boots. Yes, they look a little silly, but I’ll be damned if they don’t keep you warm up there!”. “Can I get a pair?” “No chance. There’s only the one pair and they’re mines. But, I’ve spoken to H.Q. about making some more sets up. But, never mind all that, we’re off to Peronne”.
We climbed into the machine, and I nervously switched on the Magnetos, as 5986 jolted awake behind me, confusedly idling along as if to say what are we doing up so early?. “I don’t like it either, old girl” I told her. Mercifully, the sky had begun to lighten when Hawker’s bus rolled forwards and, although still shrouded in pre-dawn darkness, we were able to see each other. About ten minutes after we lifted, I realised that Osborn was missing - and I felt a sense of dread. Night flying was hard for the old hands, but for a green pilot, even with this much light, it was a near impossibility. Fortunately, the Scotsman had had the good sense to stay in the air, and we found him wheeling over the top of Doullens a few minutes later, circling overhead until he climbed up to us. Over Bray I had a strange moment of peace as I watched the sun rise, basking the land and clouds in a warm gold, and for a moment the war was forgotten.
But soon the trenches were flashing below us, and I was whisked back into reality. Filled with tension and anticipation, I watched the edges of every cloud for signs of the enemy. It wasn’t long before I sighted a pair of Fokkers, patrolling far below us over Cappy. I expectantly looked to Hawker, but he hadn’t seen them.We can get them both, easy! I thought to myself, but still Hawker flew on. Reluctantly, I stayed put in the formation as the Fokkers vanished beneath a cloud.
Our patrol was otherwise uneventful, and eventually Hawker fired the washout signal. We all split off in our own ways home, and I decided to make the most of the unusually good flying weather, turning off North and skirting the edge of our lines and planning to turn off home at Fricourt. I had flown for about five minutes when I suddenly caught a glimpse of four machines, approaching from the East. I gave a start and was about to dive for home when I noticed that they were Biplanes. A closer inspection revealed them to be Nieuports, and curiously I climbed up to get a better look at them. As I flew alongside them, the leader of their formation turned and gave me a cheery wave, which I returned. We flew South together as I enviously looked over their machines - Nieuport 10s. They looked sleek, fast, and elegant, and I desperately wanted the chance to fly one.
Eventually, I thought it best to leave them to their work - at any rate, I must be running low on fuel. I rocked my wings in farewell to my Gallic friends, and over Cappy I turned back towards Bertangles, arriving back in time for breakfast. Hawker raised his eyebrows as I arrived, an hour late as I was, but said nothing of it. I understood the subtle gesture completely - Don’t wander off again.
Wulfe, I love those sunrise, (and sunset), shots. And Graham is not alone in his envy of the Nieuports. Oh to be flitting about in one of those, eh?
And speaking of that: Fullofit, good to see that Gaston is back in his Violette, (snigger snigger). Too bad the boys couldn't match the paint, but that is a tricky color to get just right, and there is a war on after all. He stirred up a hornet's nest at that railyard. And two more Eindeckers down, here's hoping your man gets credit for them both.
Raine, great background on No.3's new digs and attachment to the 4th Brigade. I am always amazed at how little some places change over a century, and Lahoussoye is certainly one such place. Now then, about all these sorties we're suddenly being tasked to fly in the dark - what do you suppose the Brass Hats are up to with that?
Carrick, I do believe Emile needs to look at having his gun sight adjusted. Either that or he needs to stop using bent bullets.
Wonderful reading as always Gents, thanks!
#4469785 - 04/10/1902:27 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Joined: May 2012 Posts: 3,686RAF_Louvert
BOC President; Pilot Extraordinaire; Humble Man
10 April, 1916 Lahoussoye, France 3 Squadron, R.F.C. 2nd Lt. Randolph Arvid Swanson, MC & Bar 11 confirmed victories, 2 pending claims
It was another day of fending off multiple Eindeckers for 2nd Lt. Swanson and Captain Rankin. B Flight was given a recce of the Guillemont area this morning, so two teams took off in the rain with Swany pulling lead again. Shortly before reaching their objective the second Morane dropped out with engine trouble leaving Swany and the Captain on their own. The reconnaissance went well and without interruptions, apart from the occasional "woomp woomp" from Archie. However, on the return trip the lone British bus was jumped by a pair of Eindeckers and a minor skirmish commenced over the mud. It did not last long. Rankin laced the side of the nearest Fokker in short order which sent it spinning down madly. This got the wind up of the other Hun who quickly turned away to the east. Swany continued on back towards Lahoussoye, trying to catch sight of the first Eindecker to see if it had crashed. It was nowhere to be seen which meant they could only claim it as an "out of control".
Some minutes later, as the city of Albert was slipping slowly beneath, Swanson was startled be the sound of bullets zipping through the wing cloth to his right. He immediately dropped the nose of his mount and brought it around just in time to see another Eindecker bearing down on them. Apparently Captain Rankin had been less-than-attentive, failing to see the threat until it began popping away at them. He quickly readied the Lewis and returned fire. The go-round lasted three minutes or more as the two planes dove and climbed and circled directly over Albert, giving those below quite a show. The AA guns from a nearby balloon position began blasting away as well, with no apparent regard for which of the two planes they were aiming at. The Morane was rocked violently when two shells went off dangerously close, sending shrapnel everywhere. Swany pressed on though and continued to jam up the Hun pilot, while Rankin took every shot he could. After what seemed like an eternity of looping about in the AA storm the Captain landed hits into the cockpit of their attacker. The enemy pilot immediately fell forward into the dash of his mount and within seconds it plowed straight down into a grassy square below, barely missing a row of houses in the process. Swany swooped low to get out of the hail of exploding shells, flying just above the housetops as he turned back on course towards camp. He could see dozens of people below, both soldiers and civilians, waving up at them and cheering as they flew over. The two British airman returned the waves enthusiastically, smiling down at their allies on the ground.
Upon returning to camp, Swany counted no less than fifteen rips and gashes in his bus from the AA shrapnel, along with another dozen holes caused by the Eindecker's bullets. He was amazed that neither he nor the Captain had been hit, (though upon further inspection Rankin discovered a fairly good slice to the back of his flying coat, no doubt caused by one of the razor-sharp shards that had been zipping about everywhere). After turning in their claims and filing their AARs, Swanson and Rankin went to the mess to grab a bite to eat and warm up. Major Harvey-Kelly was there as well, sipping on a cup of tea and when he spied the pair, he came over.
"Good job again you two, another fine show from the sounds of it", the CO said smilingly.
"Thank you Sir", the two men responded in unison.
"Swanson, when you've finished I need you to stop by my office, I've some things we must discuss." With that, the Major walked away giving no further clue, apart from a slight look of concern, as to what the "things" might be.
"Well Lieutenant", Captain Rankin began, as he finished off a slice of buttered toast, "something's afoot. You don't get called into the COs office for a chitchat."
"Yeah, dat's for sure", Swany replied in a slight edgy tone.
"No worries though. With your record I shan't imagine it will be anything too terribly awful." The G/O gave a strained smile. He still harbored a grudge towards his pilot from the stunting incident, but he was coming to appreciate the fellow's skill at keeping them alive.
"Thanks. Guess the only vay I'm gonna find out is to go over der." Swany excused himself and headed out to see what the Major had on his mind. As he did so he hoped Captain Rankin was right and that it would be good things being discussed, though the young ace had come to learn that "good" could be a very relative term, in particular when it came to the military's way of thinking.
(to be continued)
The battle above Albert.
#4469806 - 04/10/1904:15 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Wow, Lou - sounds like a tough day for Swany....again! And another two Einies swatted out of the sky. If Swany is this formidable in a Morane, of all things, I can't even imagine what kind of score he's going to build up once he gets his hands on a scout...that being said, BE CAREFUL!!! Every time you run into another flight of Huns I get all panicky, even if you are the top-scoring morane ace of legend.
Gotta tread lightly around Guillemont, Bapaume, Delville Wood...that whole section of the front is absolutely crawling with Fokkers - I'm yet to have a day of peace there myself! Definitely a hot shop - perhaps the hottest in the Somme region, dare I say? As for the AA gunners in the area - they're dubious at best. They've given Campbell one or two scares as well...
2nd. Lieut. Graham A. Campbell, MC, No. 24 Squadron R.F.C, Bertangles West, France. 6 Victories.
April 10th, 1916 (Part 2).
Our next show of the day was a One O’Clock O.P over Delville Wood - and I was in charge. Needless to say, I was racked with nerves, as we all were, as our machines were wheeled out. The area around Bapaume was a very hot shop, and we all knew it.
I shared a cigarette with Wilkie as we walked to our buses. “Good luck, eh, Cammie?” he said with an uncertain glance my way. I patted him on the back. “Same to you, Wilkie”. As Osborn climbed into his machine, I sidled up to the side of his nacelle. “Osborn - if we find trouble and it gets too hot, clear out back across the lines. Okay?”. He shot me a lopsided smile. “Aye, awricht, A’ wull”.
We rolled off the aerodrome first, closely followed by Hawker’s ‘A’ Flight, staying with them until we had found our altitude at Doullens, before turning East, where Hunland awaited with sinister, inviting arms. At 9,000 feet we crossed over, and the scanning begun. I looked over my shoulder to check on Osborn, and was pleased to see him neatly tucked in his place in the formation. Clouds shrouded No-Mans-Land below us, and in-between the great lumbering shapes I expected at any moment a flight of Fokkers to come swooping down at us - despite that, I took a moment to peer down into Courcelette at the old French couple’s house, still standing proudly. I also noticed, to my concern, that the house two across from theirs, which had previously stood also, was now mere rubble. Although it pained me to do so, I willed the couple in my head to abandon their defiance, to seek a safe place to live behind German lines. But, with a faint smile, I knew exactly that they never would.
Over Beaumont-Hamel I checked my dashboard clock, making a note of the time - five minutes to two. I then scanned behind us, recalling the Hun’s trick last time of waiting until we overflew the city below, then circling around behind us. No Fokkers to be seen. Cautiously we continued deeper into Hunland, until slowly the great shape of Delville Wood appeared from beneath the clouds. It was at that moment that the archie started up at us, first sparsely, inquisitively, trying to figure out who we were, and then aggressively and with more frequency as our identity became apparent. Still, we went deeper into their territory.
We overflew a Hun aerodrome, Bertincourt, before weaving back West, back towards the trench lines. I gave a start as three machines suddenly made themselves apparent to us, rounding the edge of a cloud, but I quickly recognised them to be Hawker, and his ‘A’ flight, going the opposite way to us. We waved them hello as we crossed paths. For the next ten minutes nothing appeared to us, and as we circled round again at Courcelette we started to think that no air-Huns would appear. But, then, I saw something that sent a chill down my spine.
Below us, weaving in a desperate evasive dance, was a lone DH2 being chased by an Eindecker. From out perch on high I could see the tracer of the Hun as they shot past our man, and immediately I rocked my wings and put 5986 into a sharp dive, straight at the tail of the Hun. She roared alive in excitement, the airspeed indicator showing 110mph, 120, 130, as the Eindecker grew larger in my sights. We caught up just as our man was desperately trying to land, still under fire, at Bellevue on the edge of the mud, and immediately I let my Lewis bark into life, sending a venomous burst into the German machine. I saw the moment the Hun turned around in surprise, before his face was painted in sheer terror at the sight of four of us diving down to send him hellwards. It was hopeless for him. Within moments, under simultaneous fire from four Lewis guns, the Fokker burst into flames and fell towards earth. At that moment, a torrent of machine-gun fire flew upwards from the aerodrome below, several bullets smashing through my machine, and undoubtedly hitting the others’ buses as well. “Stop, you bloody idiots!” I cried out, as ahead of me the Fokker smashed into the ground.
As soon as it had, the guns below fell silent. Our friend in the DH2, which I now recognised to be Saundby, put down at Bellevue below, and I fired the washout signal before following him down, rushing to his side. He sat pale-faced, shaking like a leaf in his nacelle. “Saundby! Are you okay? Are you shot?” I asked him frantically, but he seemed not to even notice I was there. A corporal came running over to us, a wide grin on his face. “Did you see that! Got him down in flames!” he shouted to us, and I slowly turned to face him, rage burning within me.
Grabbing the corporal by his collar, I pushed my face close to his. “If you ever put bullets into my machine again, you b.astard, they'll be burying you next to that Hun” I growled, straining not to throw a punch right then and there. The corporal looked at me, wide-eyed, in confused fear, and with a growl I released him, turning back to Saundby, who was starting to show some signs of life now. “Campbell?” he asked weakly, and I placed a hand on his shoulder. “It’s me. What happened, Saundby? Where are the others?”. As if to answer, another DeHav appeared overhead, circling once then swooping down to join us. It was Hawker. Climbing out his machine, he came our way.
“Hell of a scrap,” he told me, “Four Eindeckers, from right out of the sun. I sent one off with his tail between his legs, but lost the others. I recognised your buses as I was flying past. Are you okay?”. Without saying anything, I gestured to Saundby, who was rocking back and forth gently in his cockpit, still white as a ghost. The Major sighed in understanding, and went to his wingman’s side.
It was an hour before Saundby had calmed down. Eventually, we had our buses patched up and took off towards home, arriving in good time. Lethargically I made my report to the Old Man, who said he’d call in my claim. After a few moments on the phone, he shot me a questioning glance. “Oh, really?” he was saying, “Okay. Well, our man says the same thing. Yes. Yes, okay. Thank you”. He hung up. “The gunners at Bellevue are claiming your Fokker. Same story, shot down in flames”. I nearly exploded with rage. “They’re claiming it?! Do you want to come to the hangars with me, I can show you exactly what bus they were shooting up!”. The Old Man held his hands up. “It’s not me you need to convince! I’ve told H.Q. your side of things, now there’s nothing for it but to wait for a confirmation”. Trying to hold my temper, I thanked the Old Man and left.
Word came from No. 20 that evening - a letter from Jimmy Reynard. It read:
How about that new single-seat job of yours? Gotten any huns in it yet? I’m sure you have. McHarg’s got a 48 Hour Pass, and said he would visit you if only you weren’t so far away. We have some new laddie in the cottage, taking up your old spot, named Billinge. Nearly as young as Switchy, he is! I feel like an old man, sharing a Billett with those two, now that McHarg’s not around.
Speaking of Switchy, he’s been worried of late. We saw a name from No. 24 come up in Comic Cuts - 2nd. Lt. Fred Foster - and Switchy says that you both knew him at Hounslow. He was distraught at the news, inconsolable for the past two days, but some brandy has sorted him out. But, he worries about you. If Comic Cuts is anything to go by, all the real scraps happen in your neck of the woods.
Feel free to visit any time, we miss having you around, as boring as you are.
Your pal, Jimmy”.
P.S: That one lad in the Morane is up to 11 now! Aren't you neighbours with No.3? Tell him that the great Jimmy Reynard says 'Well Done'. He'll be chuffed.
I smiled as I read the letter, and resolved to write back, to Switch-Off, Jimmy and McHarg. It was only as I fetched pen and ink that I realised how desperately I missed the old crowd at Clairmarais, and I decided that on my next leave I would have to visit them. Smiling fondly as I wrote, I detailed my time in No. 24 - the air fights, being shot down, my midnight escape across the lines...it seemed astounding to me that so much had happened in only nine days! Although I was happy to be in No. 24, I thought that perhaps I would be having an easier time if I’d stayed with 20.
10 April, 1916 Lahoussoye, France 3 Squadron, R.F.C. 2nd Lt. Randolph Arvid Swanson, MC & Bar 11 confirmed victories, 2 pending claims
"So that's the situation, and let me add that we will miss you around here." Major Harvey-Kelly looked across the desk at his star pilot and gave a forced smile. He was having to cut the fellow loose at a time when he could ill-afford to be short a good airman, given the current sitation with the air Huns.
"Thank you Sir, I vill miss you folks here as vell."
2nd Lieutenant Swanson had been standing silent up to this point as the Major explained the turn of events. The late afternoon light was slanting through the lone window, throwing shadows about the makeshift office. Swany wondered how long the Major would be working from this place before HQ ordered him to pick up and move again. Whenever that might be, Swanson wouldn't have to help pack things up anymore for the old Number 3. He was moving on.
The situation, as explained to him by his soon-to-be-former Commander, was this: A new squadron was being put together at Farnborough and the Brass Hats were tagging qualified personnel with combat experience from other units to man it. These individuals would be flying some of the newest machines available, and if things went as planned they were expected to become one of the crack flying outfits at the front. Swany had been chosen as one of the pilots for this project and he was to report to Farnborough no later than the 23rd of April. Because of his outstanding service thus far he was being given leave until then, with a proviso; he was to report to No.2 Aircraft Depot at Candas by tomorrow afternoon as his expertise with the Morane was required. A demonstration was being planned that involved the Eindecker which he and Captain Rankin had forced down intact some days earlier. Said Eindecker was to be flown by one of the Depot's best pilots against Swanson, who would be manning the Parasol. There was interest to see firsthand just how well the Morane was holding up against the Fokker.
Once this demonstration was completed Swanson would be allowed to continue along at his own pace up to St. Omer, where he was to report in at the Pilot's Pool and fly a retired bus back across to Dover. From there he would go on to London, with a second proviso; he had to be at the Palace on the morning of April 20th for the investiture of his MC & Bar. Apart from that, he was free to do whatever he wanted while in Blighty, within reason.
"I don't need to tell you Swanson that we'll be having a blow-out in the mess tonight, with the best we can muster, given the unfinished state of things around here." The Major had come around from his side of the desk and placed a hand on Swany's shoulder. "And this time, you will not be required to buy the first round, unless of course one or both of your claims from the morning's sortie are confirmed by tonight. Then all bets are off."
Swany laughed, "Dis war is getting expensive, Sir."
"Indeed it is my boy, indeed it is."
#4469841 - 04/10/1907:19 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Wow, lots happening out there. Lou with a long overdue transfer and, what's that? a palace visit? Well deserved!! And with Fullofit and Wulfe knocking down all the Eindekkers it is no wonder I am not seeing any action.
#4469901 - 04/11/1912:04 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Joined: Nov 2014 Posts: 2,586Fullofit
Gentlemen, you’re having too much fun with these Fokkers. Raine, that was a harrowing battle with those Eindeckers. Glad you were able to keep up with them all. Great comparison of the then and now Lahoussoye village. Hopefully you won’t have to move around too much anymore. Wulfe, so let me guess. Graham fancies the fug-boots and it looks like he’ll have to fight for them. Where do you guys find all of these Eindeckers? It’s like an endless supply over there in Flanders. Too bad about that one getting stolen by the gunners. Next time aim for them instead of the Fokker Also, it looks like Saundby will need something stronger than tea this time. Hoping Graham will be able to visit the boys at No. 20. It would be a touching reunion. Those DH's circling the burning Hun look like sharks. Lou, I told you not to bother unpacking. Ha! Love that picture of the melee in the rain and the story to go with it. I can’t wait to see where Swany is going to end up. And what of the pals Collins and Jericho? Make sure to take lots of pictures at the palace. Carrick, I’m glad to see you are taking good care of the Caudrons. Scout, what is your activity set to? Maybe it’s too low and that’s why you’re not seeing much action, which is not a bad thing I hear.
8 April, 1916 05:30 morning mission Senard, Verdun Sector Escadrille N37 Sous Lieutenant Gaston A. Voscadeaux 11 confirmed kills Waiting for 2 claim confirmations
The morning patrol of enemy front lines north of Verdun was a quiet affair. Gaston relied on Boillot's eagle eyes to sniff out the enemy, but despite heavy mist and significant cloud cover, the skies remained clear. After doing their rounds the duo of Voscadeaux and Boillot returned home for some well deserved hot meal.
8 April, 1916 13:35 afternoon mission Senard, Verdun Sector Escadrille N37 Sous Lieutenant Gaston A. Voscadeaux 11 confirmed kills Waiting for 2 claim confirmations
They’ve been sent on a patrol over enemy aerodrome of Thiacourt this afternoon. S. Ltn. Medeville insisted on using Adelus' aeroplane, while the poor man was still recovering in hospital. It irked Gaston to no end. At least he could count on Adj. Boillot, who kept both his eyes open throughout the entire flight for any enemy activity. The weather must be changing with all the clouds forming over the front. The mission was uneventful. Back in the mess hall, Medeville announced that while rummaging through Adelus’ craft he found the notebook he used to scribble in. It was all the advice Gaston gave his wingman. The notes had a title: Rules. 1. Protect Monsieur Voscadeaux’s back. 2. Stay close to Monsieur Gaston. 3. Don’t fly straight and level in a fight. 4. Keep your head on a swivel. 5. Beware of the Boche attacking from the direction of the sun. 6. Try to attack from sun’s direction. 7. Lookout for enemy fire while flying low over the Front. 8. Don’t gang up on a single enemy. 9. Finish your attack. 10. Come back home in one piece.
"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."
#4469929 - 04/11/1905:15 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Lou - wait a minute...Farnborough? New Machine...? Oh.....OH.....if Swany's going where I think he's going, Kaiser Bill should just call the war off now and be done with it!!
Carrick - a quiet day at the front isn't always a bad thing!
Fullofit - Good rules to follow! Hopefully Medeville takes them to heart. Love the shot of Gaston and Boillot going along!
Now then - bad news from Bertangles, I'm afraid.
April 11th, 1916.
At Clairmarais, Jimmy and Switch-off happily read through Graham’s return letter before their morning patrol. McHarg was still off gallivanting around St. Omer, on leave, but he, too, would be thrilled to hear from their old Billet-mate. It was a good morale boost, since Bristow had caught a blighty - again. Smiling softly, Switch-Off read aloud:
“Dear Switchy, Jimmy and McHarg.
Life at No. 24 is good at the moment, but I’m keen to get away soon and visit. We’ve been doing a lot of shows at Delville Wood, and let me tell you, that is one hot shop. In the last few days I’ve been shot down, had to escape across the lines, and have knocked down at least five Eindeckers. As it happens, though, not many have been confirmed, and my tally now stands at six.
The DeHav is a very good fighting machine, much faster and lighter than the fee, and my own machine is one of the best in the Squadron. Our C.O, Major Hawker, must be the greatest airman of the Flying Corps, for his skill in the air is second to none.
How are the rest of the boys at No. 20? Keeping well, I hope. I will visit you all soon.
Your friend, Graham.”
“Well, sounds like he’s doing well!” Switch-Off said to Jimmy, who laughed. “Aye, a regular hunter, our Graham”. Switch-Off’s face then turned to one of distant sadness. “Although, it sounds like his neck of the woods is quite dangerous. I hope he’s not doing anything silly…”
At Bertangles, the Old Man stood up to give his speech. There was no pomp and circumstance, no over-exaggeration, no friendly insults. To the silent table of pilots, he quietly declared “One aviatik shot down, awarded to Lt. Andrews”. Silence. The Old Man slowly sat down again, and quietly they ate together. No Champagne was served. At the far end of the table, Saundby took a swig from a hip flask with a shaky hand. Once the dinner service was over, the pilots shuffled back to their bell tents, the melancholy trailing at their heels.
Near Doullens, a Tommy whistled as they pulled the broken airman from the wreck of the machine that had fallen there that morning. “Poor fella” he said to his comrade, who nodded solemnly. “You won’t catch me in one of those bloody flying deathtraps” the man responded. Laying the dead airman flat, they grimaced as they went about the unpleasant, but understandable work of clearing out the man’s pockets for anything of value. One soldier slowly removed the revolver from the airman’s holster, holding it up and inspecting it. It was a black webley with an ivory handle. Pocketing it, he winked at his colleague, who was frowning and shaking his head. “Well, he won’t need it anymore, will he?”. “You’re a nasty piece of work, Johnny”.
The following day, Powell’s fiat pulled up alongside the wreck. He was his usual smiling, joking self, but given the circumstances it seemed a little forced. “Poor bugger wasn’t wif us long, was he?” he remarked. Miller shot him a disgusted look, before inspecting the wreck. After fifteen minutes or so, he held up a length of severed cable. “It was a single bloody bullet, a lucky hit, snapped his elevator control…” he murmured, before angrily throwing the cable to the ground. “This damned war!” he cried out, kicking the shattered tail.
Hawker kept his speech short at the funeral - there was work to be done, and ‘A’ flight had the dawn patrol. In his mind he replayed the incident. Their dive at the Aviatik, the first DeHav to attack suddenly and inexplicably falling into a spin, three hundred meters from the enemy machine. He saw the flash of blue and white striped struts turning, turning, before disappearing below the clouds, closely followed by the burning Aviatik.
It was not an epic involving scores of planes, nor a daring raid deep into enemy lines. Not a duel between two skilled opponents, a chivalrous joust, nor was it a tense last-ditch bid for safety. It was simply a single and unexpected bullet, that offered no warning before finding its mark. Graham Arthur Campbell was dead. The war would go on.
Graham Arthur Campbell, MC, No. 24 Squadron R.F.C.