Talk about a Harry flight, Blue section engaged 3 monoplanes flown by really good pilots. We were at 3000 and flying in Muck and dense cloud. I saw out of the corner of my vision smoke and flame as our # 2 a/c burned and went down. Breaking I got on an e/a's tail fired off a drum as I closed only to feel shuttering as I got hit. His mate was on my six so twisted and spun the went low level to shake him. Heading home I came across another E/a fighting a DH-2 I went for a belly shot only to find My elevator was shredded and I couldn't climb . Poured on the power and went home. Lost another DH-2 for 0
Last edited by carrick58; 06/23/1903:34 AM.
#4479626 - 06/23/1906:30 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Carrick: it wasn't Konrad's lot Be careful with those DH-2s! Glad you escaped in one piece.
CHAPTER EIGHT - NIEUPORTS OVER THE LINES
Konrad Berthold von Blumenthal June 22, 1916. Sivry-sur-Meuse, Verdun. KEK Sivry
Just as Konrad began to feel he was taming this beast of a plane, it would rear up like a wild stallion and give him a scare. The extra engine power certainly helped him to keep up with Boelcke and the others, but he still needed to develop a finer touch in dealing with it. As for the extra power of the twin Spandau MGs, Konrad was intent on saving them for 2-seaters.
The morning patrol was uneventful. In the afternoon they headed out over the lines. They'd been aloft for 30 minutes and were at 2500 metres or so when Bolecke made a sudden and fairly steep turn to the left. Clearly he'd seen something below. Konrad and von Zastrow followed him down. Nieuports! Konrad counted three. An evenly matched fight, except that Konrad didn't want any part of it. He retained his altitude as the other two dove into the fray. He saw one of the Nieuport climbing toward him, but now he had the engine power to be able to preserve his height advantage. The Nieuport flashed past about 70 metres below him, with Boelcke right onhis tail, firing. Konrad circled for a while, watching the action play out, then decided to get himself back across the lines. He caught sight of his flight mates just south of Spincourt and landed with them.
"Any luck, sir?", he called out to his Hauptmann.
"Put a few rounds into them but they all ran for it. Where were you von Blumenthal?". Konrad smiled uncomfortably.
"Oh, I was there, sir, but I was having a little trouble with my right alieron. Thought it best to keep my distance on this occasion".
"Hmm. Well you'd better have the mechanics take a look". Konrad sighed inwardly. He'd managed to get away with it.
Carrick, be careful bud, another close one. Lederhosen, I would think the 16 victories is the reason for the high rank. Harry, Konrad is a character indeed. Can’t wait to see where this goes. Hasse, one way to look at it is you can only go up! Fullofit, you nailed it.
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!
#4479641 - 06/23/1907:38 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Lederhosen - great writing style, Rosenstein's bleak outlook on the war, the way you describe his memoirs, really adds a lot to his character. Superb stuff.
Carrick - close call! Glad you made it back.
HarryH - Sounds like our Bosche Anti-hero might have literally dodged a bullet. I don't fancy my chances in an Eindecker against Nieuports! Good call letting the Hauptmann handle it
My bid to catch up continues.
Adj. James B. Fullard, Esc. N.124 'Americaine' Behonne Aerodrome, France.
June 19th, 1916.
As I reached the dining table, Balsley was excitedly talking away to Luf and Bill Thaw, both of which seemed to have a mixed look of confusion and mild annoyance on their faces. As I sat down beside them, I started to tune into Balsley’s narrative:
“...But, don’t you see? I woke up on my left side! Facing the wall! I always wake up lying on my right! I tell you, fellas, it’s a sign! Today, you mark my words, something is going to happen! I bet I’ll get my first Bosche!”. Luf made to reply, but only managed an exasperated sigh. Thaw shook his head, chuckling. “Clyde, my boy, you’re as mad as a hatter”. The effeminate young pilot laughed, embarrassed, in response.
On the airfield, Thenault gave us the day’s orders. A pilot from C.13 was scheduled to make an important reconnaissance sortie over Etain, and the American Escadrille was to cover them until they had completed their work. The photographs must have been very important indeed - seven of us were departing, lead by Thenault himself.
We lifted into a crystalline blue sky, accented by sizeable clusters of clouds. I breathed in the open air as we ascended. It was a good flying day. De Laage de Meux formed up behind me, and we circled as the others caught up, before Thenault turned us toward our Rendez-Vous point, splitting our flight into two elements in order to find the twin-engined machine quicker. We found the lumbering giant first, over Rembercourt, and settled into formation beside it. I allowed a faint smile to betray me - the giant, hulking Caudrons had always astounded me, and to see one so close, the gunners waving as we settled into formation, was a thrill.
Satisfied with our presence, the Caudron lazily swung around towards the front and begun to climb. We followed, weaving in gentle curves overhead. We reached our trenchlines, when suddenly the caudron dropped a wing and curved quickly away from the lines, headed West once more. Alarmed, I searched the skies around us. What had he seen?. Nothing made itself apparent. Puzzled, I leaned my head over the side of the fuselage and looked downwards. A few hundred meters below, three pairs of stark black Iron Crosses stared back at me, from the razor-wings of three Fokkers. Immediately I rocked my wings and dropped into a spiralling dive.
As we dropped, two more Fokkers appeared, seemingly from thin air, and in an instant we were in a twisting dogfight. I got behind one German machine and fired two short bursts, but the Bosche slipped away. I gave chase, but soon had tracer bullets soaring past my own machine. Pulling up into a zoom-climb, I found that I now had two opponents to myself. We twisted and danced around each other for a few moments, before one Bosche decided he’d had enough and ran towards his own lines. I got behind his unfortunate comrade and fired two longer bursts into him, at which point he slipped to the side and fell into oblivion. Turning back into the fray, I saw one Fokker fall while being pursued by Chapman’s startling blue Nieuport. Above my head, de Laage de Meux frantically twisted and looped, a tenacious Fokker harassing him with bullets. I climbed up and got behind the Bosche, firing an accurate burst into his back. At once his engine siezed and he dropped to earth, landing just ahead of the French trenches. De Meux gratefully sped for home, and I followed. Looking around, I saw another Fokker above us, ready to strike - but before the Bosche could, the yellow-white Nieuport of Thenault fell upon him, and soon three Nieuports were chasing him for home. What timing to find us on Thenault’s part! I left his flight to their work, heading after de Laage.
As I flew, I spotted Chapman’s blue Nieuport landed at Verdun aerodrome, beside our Caudron. I floated down to land and found my comrade cursing up a storm, a bloody rag pressed to his face. “Victor! You okay?” I called. Angrily, he called back “Nuh! Smh Shrpnnll h’ muh ‘n m’mouf!”. I blinked. “What?”
Angrily he dropped the rag from his face, revealing a nasty-looking cut on his upper lip. “I said - some damned SHRAPNEL, hit me in my MOUTH!”. He was seething. Despite myself, I tried to bite back a laugh, clearly showing more restraint than the Caudron crew, who were bent over and howling with hilarity at poor Chapman. He made a rude gesture at them, and waved me over. Still muttering curses under his breath, he pointed to an impressive twisted dent in his windshield. “There. One of those damned explosive bullets. I got a facefull of it”. I whistled. “Lucky you. But, hey, we stitched them up proper, didn’t we? I saw you send that one artist down into a picket fence”. He attempted to grin, which quickly turned into a wincing grimace. “Yeah, I got him good, didn’t I?”.
Our Nieuports were patched up and we headed back to Behonne for lunch. As we arrived at the Villa, James McConnell excitedly rushed out to meet us, frantically waving a newspaper in front of our faces. “Look! Look! Immelmann’s dead! He was killed yesterday!”. In disbelief we snatched the paper from him, scanning through the words. It was as McConnell had said - the ‘Eagle of Lille’, darling of Germany, had been killed in a fight with some Englishmen.
We sat down for lunch with Thaw, Cowdin, Luf and Hall before they went out on patrol. As he stood up from the table, Cowdin winked at us. “Well! I’m off to get my Bosche. Wish me luck!”.
Balsley’s prediction would turn out to be true. That is to say, something would happen. The atmosphere at the dining table that night was horror, sadness, quiet fury. The patrol, led again by Thenault, had encountered a group of Fokkers. Poor Balsley had been working one of the Bosches over when a second attacked him. One of those explosive bullets, so hated by Victor, had gone into Balsley’s cockpit and hit him in the thigh.
He had fallen into a spin, but miraculously recovered despite his appalling injuries. As we later found out from the medics that had recovered him, his pelvis bone had been split in two. As we sat quietly and ate, I heard Victor mutter under his breath that he’d kill every last filthy bosche he could. Nobody asked him to place a Franc in the jar for switching to English.
Last edited by Wulfe; 06/23/1907:44 PM.
#4479661 - 06/23/1910:24 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
1343 Hrs : The whole Hun Aero establishment was up. As Blue Section 3 a/c closed the lines on Patrol, I spotted over 5 flights of E/a's. My Lead a/c dove on a flight of Monoplanes and I followed. Twist ,turn fire ,run come about , Repeat with a few Chandells mixed in. I might have got a few hits then it was on the deck turning for home when a Hun Maching gun Nest opened up tearing wing fabric making the kite hard to fly. I had to force land in a field and ground looped causing more damage. E/a 1 down, Losses 1 Dh-2
#4479777 - 06/24/1908:08 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Promotions. Or a bit to quick in the German Army. So far Willi has been flying for about 6 months and he's already Hauptmann in WOFF. And thats probably just because of the 16 victory's he can claim. Wonder if "0" victory would result in the same. In RL I suppose that an Unteroffizier would of been noticed but promoted soooo quickly.
How shall we handle that here??? As far as I go Willi would still be a "Ranker" .....if only because of the lack showers
My preference in these cases is to continue to write about him in a lower rank until you judge that the promotion is merited. Or you can assign the matter to the Campaign Gods and we'll decide when he's a Hauptmann (we're mean).
#4479791 - 06/24/1909:28 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Joined: Nov 2014 Posts: 3,398Fullofit
Hasse, you should be proud. You’ve been singled out by the C.O. to be an example to other pilots. If you can be successful in the Einie, then certainly they can be in the Halbies. Besides, flying a Halb would be no challenge whatsoever.
Lederhosen, why so grim? I do like your tactics. Have the gunner take care of one crate while you shoot down the other. Two for the price of one.
Carrick, finally back in the air. I thought all this time spent with the nurses would make you soft. I should know better, the opposite is true.
HarryH, what’s this? A shirker? I would never have thought that of Konrad, no matter what he’s flying. He’s a villain AND a loafer.
Wulfe, too bad about Balsley. At least he survived, probably crippled for life, won’t be able to find a job and die somewhere in a gutter. What a way to go. In other news, congrats on a double kill. Hope they’ll get confirmed and how could we have missed the news of Immelmann’s death?! That is a big deal!
Raine, I like the idea of the Campaign Gods being in charge of the promotions. Going from Sergent to Capitaine in 3 months must be the butt of some joke. But how to deal with airplane assignment and (not) being the flight leader?
Gaston has finally been cleared for combat. He will start tomorrow.
"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."
#4479810 - 06/24/1911:27 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Joined: May 2012 Posts: 4,667RAF_Louvert
BOC President; Pilot Extraordinaire; Humble Man
It is the Kaiser's Royal and Imperial command that the following individual be recognized for his valor:
Citation to the award reads as follows:
Leutnant der Res Rosenstein, in the field since 3. 1. 16 and service with Feldfliegerabteilungen 9b and 45b as an NCO and Officer, has engaged in numerous severe combats over Alsace and Verdun. He has demonstrated unfailing courage, selflessness, and spirit under all conditions. His example to the other officers and men with who he serves is of the greatest value to his country. Leutnant der Res. Rosenstein has flown his two-seat machine like the finest scout pilot, engaging the enemy wherever he finds them without regard to personal safety and has destroyed more than fifteen enemy aircraft. Awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Royal House Order of Hohenzollern with Swords on 24 June 1916.
You make the Vaterland most proud.
#4479826 - 06/25/1901:08 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Joined: Nov 2014 Posts: 3,398Fullofit
Fullofit, congratulations to Gaston on getting the campaign's first Belgian gong! Maeran, I missed you last time. I loved the episode in which Stanley heads for 32 (twice 16). Beautifully done! Wulfe, terrific story about the explosive bullets and poor Balsley. MFair, congrats on the promotion. I've tried to set you up for your next chapter... Carrick, good to see Mallory back, but I do enjoy his hospital visits for all the obvious reasons. HarryH, the episode with Konrad torturing poor Sturze was delicious. I bet he tears the wings off flies, too. Hasse, your situation reminds me of an uncle's joke about the two fellows in Glasgow who buy a greyhound, expecting to make a fortune in the dog races. The hound comes in a distant last in every one of five races. They take the dog home on a ferry over the Clyde River. On the ferry they discuss what they're going to do about the useless animal. "Dinna worry aboot the dug," says one. "When the boat get tae t'other side, we'll just rin awa' frae the bloody thing." That's your friends in the Halberstadts... Lederhosen, many congrats on the big gong. You realise that the HOH is a precursor to the Big One, right?
Poor Collins has had a difficult week.
An Airman’s Odyssey – by Lt James Arthur Collins, MC
Part Forty-Six: In which I experience loss
Day followed day. Up in the morning, over to Hunland. Take notes, take photos, call the guns, or practise contact patrols. Avoid the lingering Fokkers. Head home. Every day the massive creature that was the Army grew in its lair, preparing for the push to come. Guns were placed and netted over, brigades moved forward by night, and below the earth men laboured like moles, preparing vast stores of explosives to blow the enemy lines off the map.
Jericho was back in C Flight, and promoted captain. Already a flight commander. He brought the same decisive authority to the job that made him a master of his horse. It was a good decision by the Major. On the afternoon of the 19th he came to see me after his last patrol. We wandered over to the café where Mrs. Defossez put on the pot and brewed a wonderful coffee. I’d become quite fond of the French style of coffee with the warm milk and a bit of sugar. She’d made a fine lemon tart and we put our feet up on empty chairs and reminisced. Swany was back in France, we’d heard, but we were not sure exactly where. Jericho suggested we take the horses into Amiens when we got a day off, but days off were unlikely for the moment. I asked about Camille, and Jericho spoke more than I’d ever heard him. He was surprisingly serious. For a moment I suspected he was dead serious, but then he went quiet in his brooding, cowboyish way. I loved the fellow, but one couldn’t really get comfortable around him. He had his own little shell about him, a shell only that little coquette seemed to have pierced.
Jericho reached into his tunic and brought out a folded paper. “I owe you, pard,” he said. “I got a letter from home.” He glanced at it but didn’t read it. Instead he summed up the contents. His mother was well and massively relieved to hear from him. She’d done something to reduce Jericho’s risk of arrest for his uncle’s slaying. He didn’t reveal more. “We’ll talk another time,” he said. “But thanks a million.”
22 June 1916 was my twentieth birthday. I’d told no one. The morning was overcast with a threat of a storm that never came to be. We flew to the front near Peronne and mapped the lines. The afternoon was glorious and clear. We patrolled from the river south to Villers-Carbonnel, seeing nothing of interest. After completing our reports we picked up the afternoon post. There was a package from home, addressed in my mother’s handwriting! I walked from the squadron office to the hangar line, where I left my flying gear and boots. Savouring the moment, I tucked the parcel under my arm and strolled out to the road. Children were playing on the pavement, a form of hopscotch. They called out and waved as I passed. I went beyond the café to the mess proper, an old farmhouse. There I called to the steward for a champagne and brought it to a small round table by the window. I settled into the dowdy old armchair, veteran of a dozen binges, and unwrapped my birthday gift.
Drawing it out of the box, I felt a chill. It was a photograph of me, wearing my lieutenant’s rank and MC ribbon, in the brown leather and silver frame I’d bought in Albert. There was no note.
#4479835 - 06/25/1902:12 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Carrick - always scary when you drop down low in a fight and the MG's start up at you! Yet another close call for Keith.
Raine - very excited to hear about your man's exploits once the Somme kicks off. Great storytelling as usual.
Adj. James B. Fullard, Esc. N.124 'Americaine' Bar-le-Duc, France.
June 23rd, 1916:
Clyde Balsley’s condition was horrendous. After an eventless patrol on the 20th, Chapman and I had visited him at the hospital at Vadelaincourt. When we arrived, Balsley was asleep, but we were able to talk to the Infermarie Major, Madame Dorville, who had been selflessly and sleeplessly caring for our comrade since his arrival. Although she spoke kindly, she did not hide from us the gravity of young Balsley’s state. We listened with hatred in our hearts as the Madame told us that Balsley’s intestines had been perforated in several places by shrapnel, and that he would not leave his bed again for a year at least.
Chapman became increasingly aggressive in the air, and got into the habit of taking his Nieuport over the lines alone in-between patrols. Balsley was his dear friend, and he took it upon himself to seek revenge. Although Thenault did not like one of his pilots flying alone, he understood Victor’s reasoning, and made no effort to stop the hotheaded American.
Despite the Escadrille suffering its first truly bitter losses, we tried to keep our tails up. Michael’s death still burned a horrifying agony into my soul, but for the sake of my fellow pilots I smiled, joked, laughed with my comrades. I had begun to find that, slowly, my smiles and laughter became more genuine. On the night of the 20th we had a celebratory binge, owing to the fact that one of my Fokkers had been confirmed along with Victor’s. My other Bosche was seen to come down from out of the scrap by the Poilus, but with no clear victor visible to them, it was officially credited to the Escadrille.
On the morning of the 21st Thenault saw fit to reinstate me as flight leader, and I led a patrol of five over the Bosche front-lines. The Capitane instructed me to take Blanchon along and give him some much-needed experience over the front. The Frenchman seemed only too keen to get underway, and in his eyes I saw that familiar burning desire for a fight that all misinformed rookie pilots share. I asked Johnson to keep a close watch on him.
I spotted four aircraft flying close to the front and approached for a closer look. It was a flight of Nieuports. We flew over their heads and continued on towards the German lines. The patrol was eventless, but as we returned I spotted three Fokkers flying over the Hesse Forest. I signalled to my flight and began to descend, keeping my eyes hungrily fixed on the machine at the rear of the German formation.
As we dropped upon them, the three Germans abruptly swung around to face us, and the inevitable dogfight broke out in full swing. One Fokker got behind me, but quickly was seen off by a Nieuport. I looked to my right and caught a glimpse of an aeroplane falling in flames - but I couldn’t see what side he was on. A moment later and a Fokker flashed in front of me. I got onto his tail and started firing, with a second stream of bullets passing on my right. Glancing over my shoulder I saw Luf on my seven O’Clock. Together we drove the Eindecker down into the trees, where he exploded in a blinding ball of flames. Satisfied, we turned for home.
Back at the aerodrome, we excitedly discussed the details of the scrap. It turned out that the aircraft I had seen falling in flames was a Fokker - shot down by Blanchon! We were all quick to congratulate the Frenchman on his first Nieuport victory. Luf and I also shared confirmation of our Fokker - my score now stood at seven.
As we sat around the dining table on the afternoon of the 23rd, an orderly arrived to tell Thenault that Cowdin had telephoned, and was holding on the other side of the line. Quickly he was up, as were the rest of us, as we piled into his office. After a brief exchange, Thenault looked over us. “He says he wants some fresh oranges. All they’ll let him have is orange juice”. Immediately Victor stepped forwards. “I’ll get him some! I can head into town right now and get them to him within the hour”. With a faint smile, Thenault agreed.
As we were not scheduled for any patrols, Kiffin Rockwell and I joined Victor on his hunt for the freshest oranges Bar-le-Duc had to offer. As we stood outside one market stall, Victor turning over one of the fruits in his hands with a critical eye, he muttered “Damned Bosches. Cowdin had better be okay”. Rockwell slapped him on the back. “No need to worry. He’s a tough little so-and-so”. Victor stood in place, staring down at the orange in his hands. After a long pause, he turned to us.
“Say, what do you think will happen to Cowdin, now? After the war, I mean”.
Rockwell and I shot each other a saddened glance, and the silence hung in the air around us. “Come on,” I eventually said, smiling. “Let’s pay for these oranges and get them over to him, eh?”.
We accompanied Chapman to the aerodrome and helped his mechanics wheel out that startling blue Nieuport of his. The hard part was figuring out where to put the oranges - at first we’d placed them on the floor of the cockpit, but that blocked his access to the rudder bar. Eventually we had Victor stand with his arms stretched out to his side as we filled his flying coat with the fruit. What ones we couldn’t stuff into his pockets were pressed down the front of his coat. Eventually, with an effort that brought us some amusement, Victor waddled his way into the Nieuport, spilling a few oranges as he went, and we waved to him as he soared up into the sky.
Thenault’s telephone rang again an hour or so later. Chapman, on his way to the hospital, had decided to turn to the lines in the hopes of finding a Bosche. There, he encountered a two-seater and attacked. The Poilus at the lines watched as the bright blue Nieuport dove towards the German machine, and a quick exchange of gunfire took place. A moment later the American was falling in a spin.
The news was delivered abruptly, and with no hint of pity, nor sympathy.
Victor Chapman was dead.
Last edited by Wulfe; 06/25/1908:02 PM.
#4479988 - 06/25/1911:49 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Joined: Nov 2014 Posts: 3,398Fullofit
Raine, looks like you’ll have your hands full soon with that hush-hush offensive. We need to see that framed photograph. Make sure it doesn’t say “Sanke” on it.
Wulfe, what happened to the ORANGES?! It must have been a hoot to see Victor being stuffed with those oranges. I bet they tried to stuff most of them in his chest area. What a way to go. I’m thinking marmalade. That is a double kick in the teeth in such a short span of time. The morale must be at an all time low. I wonder how Thenault will pull his pilots out of this funk? Congrats on number 7.
Voscadeaux is finally back in the saddle after 7 long days of sick leave. His head still hurts occasionally and the scar throbs every now and then. Gaston compares the feeling to something crawling on his head. There is still a small dressing he wears to protect his wound under the flight cap. He didn’t mind this mission to be yet another patrol of enemy front lines south of Spincourt. He just wanted to fly. The sky was a thick soup and it was impossible to locate any enemies. Unless the Boches flew right in front of Gaston’s nose, he would not be able to spot them. Obviously they didn't and the flight had to return to base with nothing to show for it.
In the afternoon the ‘B’ flight was ordered to patrol over enemy airfield of Tichemon. The skies were clear of any Hun aircraft. Not even Adjutant Boillot could find any Boche to attack. It was another eventless mission. Gaston was beginning to wonder if the Boche have moved out to another sector in preparation for some offensive. All of them?
"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."
#4479991 - 06/26/1912:12 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Major Rees was working through a pile of paperwork when Stanley found him.
“Captain Stanley reporting for duty sir, “Stanley saluted smartly. “Welcome, sit down Captain,” the CO of 32 squadron was an alert man in his early 30s with a brush moustache and a slight Welsh accent. The blue and white ribbon of the MC sat underneath the wings on his tunic. As Stanley took a seat across from him, the Major pushed the indents aside, with apparent relief.
“Major Powell sent me a glowing account, Stanley,” Rees told him. “You have been flying BE2s, but as I understand it, you have repeatedly attempted to get into a firing position on enemy machines.”
“Oh yes sir,” Stanley nodded. “The BE2 has only a small window of opportunity to hit the enemy, but it is there and should be taken.” “Indeed Captain. Well, we are flying DH2s here. Single seat machines with a fixed Lewis gun firing forward. Your aggressive approach will do well here. It is a pusher type, but forget the gentle handling of the shorthorn. The DH2 is a feisty thoroughbred. Now, here's how you fly her...”
Seeing the DH2 on the grass in front of the hangars took Stanley back to his days at Castle Bromwich. The forest of wooden struts made him think of a simpler time. It surprised him to realise that his time on shorthorns only ended 6 months ago.
The DH2 looked far more dangerous and powerful than the old Farman. The Lewis gun helped this effect, as did the more solid looking cabane. It was still hidden behind an obfuscation of control wires, which the would be pilot had to navigate first.
“Here goes,” Stanley thought and approached the waiting machine.
Ducking into the gap between the fuselage and two cables, he placed his right foot on the two foot high wheel and reached up with his right hand to grab the cabane strut. Next the left foot went up to the foothold. The next grip was the left hand on the spade grip of the Lewis gun. This notion alarmed Stanley slightly, but this is how he had been advised to climb into the DH2 by the Major.
Now Stanley had to pull his flying coat free of the cables before leaning backwards, seven feet above the ground so that he could swing his right leg onto the seat. Then he could lean on the far side of the cockpit to bring his left foot in before finally sliding into the seat.
Stanley settled and looked around him. He felt very remote from the ground here. And even further away from the brave ack emma who had ducked into the triangle formed by the propeller and tail booms. This man was in real danger and so was placed in control of the procedure.
“Mags off, throttle closed*.” Stanley confirmed for the prop-swinger. “Suck in.” “Sucking in,” the mechanic confirmed. He pulled on the propeller blades until the propeller had gone through a full rotation. The prop-swinger called to Stanley, “set throttle. Contact!” Stanley opened the fuel control and flicked the magneto switches. “Contact!” He called.
Phutt. The first cylinder sounded unpromising. The second cylinder coughed more forcefully. Then the engine caught and came to life in a cloud of whitish blue smoke.
The prop-swinger was warned by the second cough and had to drop down to the floor and roll out of the cage as the spinning blades quickly formed a deadly blur.
The engine settled after a few minutes and it was time to take off.
“So what did you think?” Lt Bonnel asked after Stanley had landed and delicately clambered down. Stanley's face was clear of dirt and oil. A refreshing change from his time behind an RAF1 engine. “She's magnificent. Unforgiving, but I can see the potential. I like it!” Stanley beamed.
On the 3rd on June, the aeroplanes of 32 squadron lined up on the field at St Omer. One by one they took to the air. Stanley was well aware that they were being watched from the ground. Seeing an entire squadron take off must really be a spectacle, he mused.
The target aerodrome was at Auchel but it was only a stop over. After a day or so in this dirty little mining village, the squadron would move on to their operational aerodrome.
B and C flights were messed in a little room one one cottage. The twelve seats crowded around one table filled the entire room. An affable old Frenchwoman looked on as the officers ate rations that had been brought from England. The squadron were not drawing on regular rations yet.
The anteroom was not in the same cottage, but instead was in another one across the street. There wasn't enough seating as the pilots smoked and chatted amongst themselves.
“There's been a naval battle,” Bonnel announced. “I heard it in the office before we came to dinner. It seems to have been a big one.” “Oh?” Stanley glanced up from the game of chess that he was losing against von Poellnitz. “How did it go?” “We must have won of course,” Simpson offered. “The Hun fleet have been skulking about avoiding a straight fight for too long.”
*I'm not too sure about this. My source is a description of a replica DH2 with a radial engine. The Monosoupape engine didn't have a throttle, but could have a simple fuel control. Would a pilot call this the throttle in these circumstances?
#4480065 - 06/26/1903:09 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Fullofit: Glad to have Le Violet back. I wouldn't worry about not seeing the Hun - they'll make a reappearance soon enough. In the meantime, perhaps the rest of us can start catching up
Maeran: Fantastic description of Stanley's arrival at 32. Very much looking forwards to hearing about his exploits in a DeHav! Nice touch, mentioning Jutland as well. As for the Monosoupape, I suppose the pilot could use the mixture as an impromptu throttle, although I think pilots typically relied on the blip switch.
Adj. James B. Fullard, Esc. N.124 'Americaine', Bar-le-Duc, France.
June 25th, 1916
The morning of Victor’s funeral, the sky opened up, pouring forth pathetic fallacy and drenching wartorn France in its misery. We stood in a semicircle around the closed casket, over which a local priest from Bar-le-Duc presided. Our heads were bowed and our faces serious. From underneath the black umbrella he held aloft shimmered rounded spectacles, two otherworldly eyes scrutinising us from within a sunken, gaunt face, accented by silver stubble. On the priest’s lips was a faint upward curve, almost a sneer, from behind which tobacco-stained teeth flashed.
Between the sentences, the priest’s tongue would slap around the inside of his mouth, flick over the corners of his cracked, dry lips, as if tasting the air. His mannerisms were slow, his head seemed to lull left and right to dramatize his ritualistic dialogue. He reminded me of my father in temper, cold and quietly scornful. Disappointed. Was this an agent of god? It seemed to me he was some ancient entity, sent to claim Victor’s soul from his body.
We watched quietly as Victor’s coffin was lowered down into the earth beside my brother’s grave, the second to be interned in the Squadron Cemetery, before we traversed the duck-boards back towards the edge of the aerodrome, where several Fords awaited us. There, we passed the day unenthusiastically reading through the newest American papers, and playing cards. Nobody had the energy to challenge Bert Hall’s cheating. In the French papers, I noticed the name of my old friend, Jean Chaput, who had already scored four victories with Escadrille 57, bringing his tally to seven. I should write Chaput, and the others at N.31 as well, I told myself.
On the 25th, two new pilots arrived at the aerodrome, one of whom was none other than the famous aviation pioneer Dider Masson. I distinctly remembered when I was seventeen, my younger brother Andrew and I pleading with our father to allow us to make the long journey to California, where Masson had been exhibiting his flying. Even in our current state of affairs, the men were excited to meet such an experienced aviator. Unfortunately, we would not be able to see a display of Masson’s skills quite yet, as the rain continued to saturate the land, and flying was impossible.