Fullofit, at this point I'm surprised that the Hun over in Chesty's AO don't turn tail and run as soon as they see any Strutter approaching. Well done.
Carrick, Keith will find McCudden to be an outstanding asset. Swany worked with him back in Number 3 Squadron when he first got to France and at that time the fellow was the ace mechanic of the RFC. But even then it was obvious he was destined for greater things.
#4488137 - 09/01/1901:40 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Joined: May 2012 Posts: 4,618RAF_Louvert
BOC President; Pilot Extraordinaire; Humble Man
After two days of rain and wind that had cancelled all flights for 70 Squadron the weather cleared somewhat and allowed for the dawn patrols to get into the air. Captain Swanson led A Flight on a sortie down to Herleville and back, while B flight went north towards Arras. Nothing to report but the beginning of a lovely day and a sky free of enemy planes. Even the front lines were relatively quiet with only sporadic gunfire observed during the outing. After ninety-some minutes the flights were back at camp, and with the AARs turned in everyone headed to the mess for breakfast. A fine start to the new month.
Warming up the Strutters for September's first sorties.
Lifting off at first light.
Climbing to altitude as the eastern horizon take on a warming glow.
The fall sun crests the clouds to greet the lads of 70 Squadron.
A brightening sky free of enemy planes.
Back at Fienvillers and ready for breakfast.
#4488151 - 09/01/1904:25 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Soooo, the Albatros DI's had been pulled from the front. Willi now had the new Fokker creation, a sort of "Frankenfokker", at least to Willi. But orders are orders and Willi had no choice in the matter. Now that he also wore the "Blue Max" he was expected to lead from the front, no matter what aircraft he given. Today the Jasta was to look for trouble by flying to the front lines, to go a hunting. But the group of five didn't have to fly even halfway to find a good target. Three DH2's were spotted waaaaaaaay over the lines. Big mistake.
Willi gave the signal for attack, and Willi picked out the enemy flight leader for himself. To his surprize, and despite the one MG, the Fokker was quite good in a turn fight. Willi missed the power and lift of the Alb though. But he managed to force his foe down untill the EA had to make a run for it........
Last edited by lederhosen; 09/01/1904:26 PM.
make mistakes and learn from them
I5 4440 3.1Ghz, Asrock B85m Pro3, Gtx 1060 3GB
#4488156 - 09/01/1905:20 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Lou - beautiful scenery! And that strutter looks great!
Lederhosen - ouch! From an Albatros to a Fokker D! I wonder what inspired Idflieg to do that? Either way, it seems that it doesn't matter to Willi - good luck getting the confirmation...
Sous. Lt. James B. Fullard, Esc. N.124 'Américaine', Bar-le-Duc, France.
August 31st, 1916.
I awoke blissfully late in the day and, after lethargically throwing my uniform on, went downstairs just in time to encounter Norman Prince, who had spent his morning conscripting an expeditionary force to head to Verdun, in search of a piano for the sitting room. “Well, James, you in?” he asked me with a grin, and I shrugged. “Sure, why not. But who’s going to play the thing?”. Prince quickly scanned around him before answering. “It’s going to be a gift for Capitane Thenault. He loves to play, but since our hop over from Luxeuil we haven’t had a piano”. At that moment Bert Hall appeared from the dining room, yawning and stretching. “Hey, Bertie!” Called Prince, “We’re off to Verdun after first patrol today to find a Piano. How about it?”. He looked at us down the length of his crooked nose. “Hell with that! Sounds like needless work” he bluntly replied, and disappeared through into the sitting room. Rumsey raised an eyebrow. “Cheery guy, ol’ Bert.” he muttered. Bill Thaw scoffed. “Yep. Real joy to have around, ain’t he?”.
By the time Thenault had returned from his daily morning walk of his dog Fram, we had finalised our plans to head off to Verdun, as well as our means of transportation. Prince, Thaw, Rumsey, Blanchon and I would all head back to the villa after first patrol, where we would get one of the Corporals to drive us out in one of our Escadrille’s Fiat trucks. After having my breakfast I drove over in a Staff Car to Behonne, with Blanchon in the passenger seat. All the while we mused over our planned trip. “Verdun! It’ll be some excitement for a change, no?” Blanchon said, laughing. “That close to the lines on foot? Yeah, it’ll be exciting, all right…” I replied with a grin.
By the time we were pulling into Behonne the rain had started to spit with increasing heaviness. Blanchon stepped out of the car and held a palm outward to test the weather. “Lá, Lá, we may be off to find that piano sooner than we think. It looks like it’ll be coming down heavy pretty soon”. He turned to me with a smirk. “Temps Áeronautique, eh?”. I smiled, but felt a stab of sorrow at the old French phrase. It reminded me of Devienne. The rain started coming down heavier still, and we darted into the nearest Bessonau for cover. As we did, Blanchon caught his foot on a box of tools, spilling its contents out onto the floor. “Careful, curse you!” came a roar from under the wing of the closest Nieuport. Surprised, Blanchon peered down to assume the identity of the offended man.
“Oh, sorry Luf. Working on your Ship again?” Blanchon said, scooping up some of the spilt tools and piling them back into the box. “Oui, the left wheel feels loose when I taxi. Pass me that spanner there, would you? The one with the handle painted red”. “You can tell? on this rough old airfield? Here you go”. Luf took the spanner from Blanchon and begun toiling away at the undercarriage. “But of course” he replied nonchalantly. I watched him as he worked, feeling almost as though we had intruded upon Lufbery’s inner sanctum. “You really love that machine, don’t you?” I asked. Lufbery paused as he checked the wheel mounting. “I look after her, so that she might do the same for me” was his answer.
Satisfied with his handiwork, we gave Luf a hand in getting back out from under his machine. As we did, De Laage stepped through the entryway. “Ah. Here you are. Thenault’s giving the assignments in the ready room in a few minutes”. We thanked him and followed him out towards the ‘ready room’, in reality just a small hut-like tent beside the flight line. “I think we should build a proper ready room, out of wood. We could find a boiler to put in it and make it quite cozy,” De Laage offered as we approached the tent. “Oui, a splendid idea! I’ll lend a hand” Blanchon answered.
In the room we found the rest of our pilots, gathered around in varying states of dampness, as Thenault stood with his arms folded behind his back. After a quick check of his wristwatch, he cleared his throat and we fell silent. “As you can see, Gentlemen, the weather’s taken quite the turn. Nevertheless, we have work to be done. The first job of the day is an escort patrol. Assigned pilots are Thaw, Blanchon, Rumsey and Masson, and Fullard shall lead. You are to meet two Caudrons of Escadrille 13 over their Aerodrome at Beauzee-Sur-Aire. A second pair of Caudrons will be operating near you, with an escorting flight from N.48. Remember, if you have to make a forced landing for whatever reason, look out for telephone wires. They’ll be harder to see in the rain. I’ll leave the rest of the assignments on the blackboard here, so make sure you check your assigned flights!”.
It was a comical sight, seeing my little Nieuport 16 with its leaders’ streamers alongside the larger, more powerful Nieuport 17s. Rumsey seemed to think so as well. “Well, at least we’ll have no trouble keeping up with you in the lead” he remarked, offering me a cigarette. “No, I don’t imagine you will”. Rumsey produced a match and lit our cigarettes. “How you keep on flying that nose-heavy pig is beyond me, James”. I shrugged. “Well, Laurence, you know, I’ve become quite proud of my little Ship. She may be a pig, but she’s been good to me so far”. Rumsey smirked. “How proud will you be when the rest of the formation leaves you in the dust?”. I grinned. “Careful, Sergeant, or I may just order you to swap machines with me!”. Rumsey laughed and punched me on the arm. I pushed him away jokingly. “Anyway, we’d better get on with it before the Capitane gives us a roasting”.
Our take-off was dubious, to say the least. Our machines had been turned against the Westerly wind, which left us barely enough room to clear the trees. Nonetheless, we all got up okay and, after the flight had formed behind me, I turned towards C.13’s aerodrome. There, we quickly found our friends in the Caudrons and assumed our place beside them. As one, we turned for the lines.
The rain was so bitterly unpleasant that I almost missed the looming hulk of No-Man’s-Land coming into view ahead of us. I scanned as far as I could around me. How am I meant to see anything in this? I thought to myself, before glancing ahead at the Caudrons. Never mind that. How can they effectively bomb anything?. Re-focusing, I made a thorough scan for enemy machines. Suddenly the forward Caudron’s right engine coughed out a thick plume of black smoke and it shuddered slightly in the air. Drawing a black line behind it, it immediately fired a distress signal and turned for home. Hard luck to have engine trouble here, and in a ship of that size… I thought to myself. We continued on with the remaining Caudron.
Just after passing Verdun, I spotted the silhouettes of four shapes high and to our left. Wiping the rain from my goggles, I strained my eyes at them. Yes, they were Bosches. Three Monoplanes and an Aviatik. I signalled them to my flight, before pulling aside the Caudron and pointing them out to the rear gunner. He looked up for a moment and then nodded once. Looking back, I saw the first Fokker point his nose downward. So, you want a fight? I challenged them in my head, and signalled the attack.
I kept my eyes keenly on the diving Fokker, anticipating his mistake that would allow me onto his tail. As he came closer, however, I suddenly had a strange feeling. Peering over my shoulder, I spotted a second Eindecker squarely behind me, lining up his shot! Immediately I kicked hard rudder and skidded away as tracers sliced the air where I had been a second before. I turned to retaliate, but before I could a Nieuport screamed past, firing a short staccato burst into the enemy. Immediately the Bosche fell into a spin. Another Eindecker crossed my front and I quickly got onto his tail, firing a short burst. The Eindecker immediately side-slipped and rolled lazily onto its back, falling down towards the city of Verdun in a lethargic spiral. I watched it fall, satisfied. However, just when I thought it would hit the ground, the Bosche sharply pitched up and turned for the lines. I dove down after him - this time he would not get away. I felt my anticipation rise as I approached, staring at the back of the oblivious Bosche’s helmeted head, and fired a second, longer burst. The Eindecker nosed up and slipped to the side again, this time impacting heavily with the ground. Looking around me, I saw one of my wingmen duelling with the last Eindecker. The Bosche broke off towards his lines with the Nieuport in pursuit, and both melded into the mist and out of sight.
Masson appeared behind me, and together we circled, looking for the other members of my flight. However, conditions were only becoming poorer. With neither my flight nor the Caudron in sight, Masson and I turned back towards Behonne. By the time we’d reached the field it was almost impossible to see, and I feared that I would crash as I came in to land. However, we both got down okay.
About an hour later Thaw and Rumsey returned, and from them I discovered that they had managed to spot the Caudron crossing the lines and had completed the escort. Blanchon, however, hadn’t been seen since the fight. “Well, I guess our piano-hunt is off,” Rumsey remarked with a sigh, as we took shelter from the rain in a Bessoneau. “Hm” I replied, half-listening and staring out into the rain. After a moment, Rumsey sighed. “You’re wondering where Blanchon got to?”. I nodded.
“I’m sure I saw him chasing a Fokker across the lines. I hope he didn’t go too far on his own”. “I wouldn’t worry, James. Blanchon aint stupid. He’d have turned back”. “Yeah, you’re right. Probably just landed somewhere closer to the front. Let’s go get some lunch”.
Blanchon’s call came just after lunchtime. He’d landed at the aerodrome at Verdun, but only barely. In the low weather, his undercarriage had brushed a telephone wire and nearly jolted the Frenchman into the ground nose-first. If he had been just a few centimetres lower, he would have been killed. Unsurprisingly, the next patrol was cancelled, and no visitors came to the Villa throughout the day. At around two O’Clock the rain had died down a fair amount, and so Thenault decided to lead an impromptu patrol. Luf, McConnell and Pavelka accompanied them.
Two hours after their patrol had set off, Thenault and Luf returned to the Villa. Immediately as they came into the sitting room I knew something was off - Thenault was wearing that frown of his. It was a pained expression that I’d seen three times before. “What happened?” I asked him, and he looked over at me. “It’s McConnell. He crashed his plane on landing, and he’s been taken to hospital”. I felt a chill run the length of my spine. “Hell! Poor old Mac. How bad?”. Thenault shook his head. “He was conscious and talking, but, well, something’s wrong with his spine”. The chill became a shudder. “Paralysed?” I asked, my voice hushed. “I don’t know, James”.
The air was tense around the dinner table. Thenault’s chair lay empty - shortly after our conversation he had retreated into his office, awaiting a phone call from the Hospital. “Least he ain’t dead,” Bert Hall offered, and was immediately met by furious stares from the rest of us. He shrugged, his goblin-like face wearing a smirk. “Just sayin’! Could be worse!”. Beside me, I noticed Thaw’s hands ball into a fist. “Shut up, will ya, Bert?”. Hall shrugged again in response, but stayed quiet.
Our mess talks were unusual that night. Adding to the sombre mood was the news that our three Fokkers had all been rejected, due to the poor visibility. Nobody on the ground had seen anything whatsoever. Whereas we typically talked all things aviation, the subject of conversation had strangely shifted to mortality. “I wouldn’t really care if the Bosche got me,” Rumsey was saying, “But with my pay just in it would be a shame to not spend it”. Rockwell laughed. “Well, I’d sooner kill a Bosche before getting killed by one! You guys are lucky, you keep running into them. I haven’t seen a damned Monoplane in four days!”. As per usual, Rockwell’s attitude lifted our spirits. No matter how tough it all seemed, Rockwell was always ready for a scrap, always eager to return to the air.
“Well, that’s Nine O’Clock”, Masson pointed out. “I’m off to bed”.
Last edited by Wulfe; 09/01/1905:24 PM.
#4488164 - 09/01/1907:04 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Lou, I don’t think the Huns can tell one Strutter from the next and attack them all. Sometimes it works to their advantage. I’m pretty sure the Huns in your area recognize Swany’s machine only too late. Looks like Swany is taking it easy, with the Germans on some sort of holiday. Great shots.
Lederhosen, what gives? Is Herr Fokker meddling again, convincing Idflieg his machines are better? Doesn’t seem to stop Willi, though. Congrats on another kill. Hope it is confirmed.
Wulfe, that was a great story. I enjoy the battle descriptions and was disappointed the piano mission was cancelled. Or is it postponed? I just hope that when they finally get to go, they don’t come back with something else, like a lion or two.
Mulberry continued to check on his wingman. Colburn was new and danced around to keep in formation. He will learn. Toby reminded himself how he struggled to stay in formation not too long ago. They were flying over the Vosges Mountains and the gusts of wind were gently tossing them up and down. They were sent all this way east to spot for artillery over the front lines, just past Belfort. As they cleared the mountain range Mulberry noticed bursts of anti-aircraft fire in the distance to port. Two Fokkers were being harassed and for once he was glad it wasn’t them getting the treatment. But they weren’t alone. A lone Aviatik was leading the way some distance in front and receiving his own fair share of Flak. The two Eindeckers were coming closer and felt threatened by the two Strutters. The attack commenced and both Entente machines responded by turning into the assailants. Toby could see Colburn’s gunner already firing on the Fokkers. Alford simply sat in the back enjoying the views. Mulberry finally found one of the Fokkers in front of him and zeroed in on him when all of a sudden the other Eindecker dove right in front and he quickly fired his Vickers, but didn’t think any of the rounds connected with the diving monoplane. He continued after the initial Hun. They’d made a few turns, one following the other, but Toby had to disengage because the Fokker that earlier dove in front of him was now following him and Alford continued to be of no use. His face was petrified with fear and he simply held on to his Lewis as if it were a shield. Toby pulled up and lost the monoplane somewhere below. He reengaged and fired on his foe who suddenly slowed down and was getting close to the Strutter. Toby pulled up again to avoid collision and nearly stalled. The Fokker was just in front but accelerating out of range quickly. Mulberry continued to fire but it didn’t look like he was doing any damage. He followed him for a short while and was furious at his useless, coward of a gunner. He was furious with himself for letting the Hun get away. He was tiered. Suddenly something happened to the Fokker in front. The engine stopped and the propeller started to windmill and then stop completely. Mulberry was catching up and now preparing to finish the Hun off. He heard Alford wake up and fire his gun. Why bother now? Toby took aim and fired. The Boche spun immediately and continued to do so until he hit the ground. Mulberry could see an aerodrome nearby. He was sure they have seen it all. He turned back and headed for home. After landing he got out of the plane and pulled Alford to the ground as he was disembarking. “- What the hell do you think you are doing up there? I don’t chauffeur you around so that you can do some sightseeing.” Mulberry exploded. He couldn’t stand the man anymore. “- What’s the big idea? What are you doing?” Alford was dumbstruck. He had no idea what’s gotten into the pilot and what was his problem. “- You’ve nearly killed us again. Stop hiding behind the gun. Use it!” With that Mulberry walked away leaving confused Alford on the ground with the mechanics looking on.
I took the boys , B Flight 5 a/c plus 2 Rovers from A flight, to beat up a Rail yard. Results holes in the shed roofs and started a fire. Losses. 1 DH 2 shot down over target + 1 pilot wnd landed ok but caught a round in the Knee Cap so hes out. His a/c had heavy damage is only fit for the Scrap Pile.
Last edited by carrick58; 09/01/1910:43 PM.
#4488199 - 09/02/1901:34 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Joined: May 2012 Posts: 4,618RAF_Louvert
BOC President; Pilot Extraordinaire; Humble Man
Carrick, I'm not sure if one Airco and its pilot is a fair trade for a few fires at a Hun railyard, but then who said war was fair, eh. Also, that is one scary Hun.
MFair, can't wait to meet your new pilot. Sweet anticipation.
Fullofit, I believe it's time Toby put both Alford and his gun to good use by yanking the Lewis from its mount and beating the witless G/O with it.
Wulfe, a wonderful episode, very filling but leaving us wanting more. Poor Mac. And hard luck on those claims.
Lederhosen, who can understand why the General Staff does what it does, pulling the DIs like that. Love the screenshots.
2 September 1916 Fienvillers, France
It was shortly after three in the afternoon and Captain Swanson was sitting at a small cafe situated on the west side of the Rue des Tilleuls. While the day had started out rainy the storm clouds had moved off by mid-morning allowing for some fair flying. Swany had taken his flight out for a contact patrol to Delville Wood and back before noon, and then on an egg delivery to the Boche aerodrome at Hervilly shortly after lunch. With the day's sorties completed and the gray clouds replaced by a bright September sun the young airman had decided to run an errand and have a bite to eat in town. On his little table, situated on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant, sat a freshly refilled steaming cup of dark coffee and a plate with the crumbs from what had been a wonderfully delicious raspberry tart he had just finished up. Also on the table was a brown paper-wrapped parcel containing two jars of rose-hip syrup from the elderly woman who had found Swany along the canal nearly a fortnight ago and given him the sage advice on how to cure his headaches. As promised, Swany had stopped by her cottage and purchased some of the finished product rendered from the cuttings she had been gathering the day they met. The lady insisted that he take a taste of the syrup before settling on a price and thrust a spoonful of it at him. The Captain, being careful not to spill the thick, amber-colored liquid on his tunic, placed the spoon in his mouth and drew off its contents. It was marvelous and not at all what he was expecting. It tasted of almonds and apples and rose petals, or at least what he imagined rose petals might taste like. He gave the woman double what she was asking and would have taken all she had, but two jars were all she would allow him. Swany thanked her and asked if he might visit again sometime and see what other produce she may have available to which the woman replied, "Come back at the end of the month, I will have blackberry and blueberry preserves put up by then." With a large grin of approval Swany announced it was a date.
As the Captain sipped at his fresh cup of coffee he read an article in a four-day-old Paris newspaper about Italy declaring war on Germany and how this would now push their military activities well beyond the Italian-Austrian Front. He wondered if it would really change things much at all down in that theater. He doubted the Italians would or could send troops to a German front, nor was it likely Germany could spare any additional troops to further support its Austrian ally in that region, at least not given the current Somme push. It seemed to him to be more political posturing on Italy's part than anything else. It was a this point in his pondering that Swany was interrupted by a familiar voice.
"Well hello Captain Peppermint, out sampling the local fare I see."
He lowered the paper to find his friend, Lieutenant William K-C-Patrick, standing across from him.
"Hi Patty. I am for sure, and it's delicious. Join me." Captain Swanson folded the paper and set it aside as he motioned to the waiter.
"I think I will, thanks. Just out for a stroll myself after that go-round I and the rest of B Flight had over at Péronne. Those damnable Rolands again. No one hurt on our side but we did get some perforations. Sent one of the Hun off trailing smoke but that was all that came of it. Lucky really"
"Yes you were - I hate those tings." Swany grimaced as he made the statement, touching the spot above his right ear where the Roland bullet had creased his skull weeks ago.
"As does the rest of the RFC mate, but you more so than most I dare say", William agreed, giving his chum an acknowledging look. "So what are we having?"
"Try the raspberry tart, it's amazing. And the coffee is rich and black, cut it with cream if you must."
"Nope, it's just the way I like it." The Captain took a long, full sip to prove his point.
"Strong and sans cream it is then, and a tart to go with it", the Lieutenant proclaimed.
The two men sat and talked about nothing in particular for the remainder of the afternoon as they dined together, the sun and camaraderie warming them both. It was a welcome respite from the war, albeit a short one.
Back from an egg delivery to the Boche aerodrome at Hervilly.
#4488207 - 09/02/1903:51 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Fullofit - even in the mighty Strutter, the last thing anyone needs is a Dud observer! Hopefully a strongly-worded recommendation to the C.O will see someone more, ahem, appropriate occupying Chesty's passenger seat!
Lou - Raspberry tart? Blackberry and Blueberry preserves? Cream for your coffee?! Sounds like Swany's living the life! You'll have to make sure not to be relocated anytime soon!
Sous Lieutenant James B. Fullard, Escadrille N.124 'Américaine', Bar-le-Duc, France.
September 2nd, 1916.
On the morning of the 1st we awoke to find the rain more ferocious than ever, confining us to the ground for the day. Not a single pilot of the American Escadrille bothered even leaving the Villa for the entire day, and the only excitement to be had was a visit from the pilot of the Caudron we had escorted yesterday. Arriving with three jars of marmalade by way of thanks, the skinny young pilot, who can’t have been a day older than twenty, joined us for lunch, trying on his elementary English to amuse himself. “Sorry about losing you yesterday, pal,” I offered, “I couldn’t see a damned thing for all the rain by the end of our scrap with the ol’ Bosche”. The pilot waved my apology away. “Non, M’sieur. Wee should never ‘ave been flying in that weatheure”. “And how about your other man? The one who fell away with a busted engine?”. The French pilot’s eyes became glassy as they watered over slightly. “Oh. He caught a...how you say. câble téléphonique. I’m afraid he died, as did his observers“. The chatter around the table fell into a respectful quiet. “I see. That’s a real shame. Sorry to hear”.
The melancholy of the heavy weather was broken up in the evening, as we were lounging around the sitting room. I was mid-conversation with De Laage, discussing a rumour about a lightning-fast new prototype scout we’d picked up on, when the door flew open with a force that made us all swing around. Standing in the doorway with a childlike grin on his face was Thenault. “I’ve had word about McConnell. He’s going to be just fine! They say he’ll be back with us by the end of the month!”. An uproarious cheer rattled the mess, and promptly the whiskey and Pinard made an appearance. We toasted to the health of old Mac.
As is typical of French rain, it continued on throughout the night to plague us the following morning. However, it seemed that the worst of it had passed, and so Prince quickly set about the reorganisation of the piano hunting party. “We’ll go today, through this damned rain if need be!” he told us excitedly, “Caporal Gardet’s said he can drive us”. Our expedition consisted of myself, Prince, Blanchon, Thaw and Rumsey. Being the new man and eager to fit in, Paul Pavelka also said he’d come along. We welcomed the help. At the breakfast table Blanchon and I nearly gave the game away. We had been discussing how, if we did find an intact piano, to best load it onto the truck when Thenault walked in. “What’s this?” he asked happily, “What are you putting into a truck? Maybe I can help”. I was fumbling in my mind for an excuse, but my level-headed French partner in crime was sharper. Coolly, he waved Thenault’s offer away. “Ah, don’t worry, Capitane. We were just joking about taking our Nieuport 16s back to the depot and demanding Bebes instead!”. The Capitane laughed as I breathed out a sigh of relief. “Not a bad idea! Well, if you can get it done between patrols, feel free. I’ve tried to get in touch with those idiotes at Nieuport to have your new machines delivered, but they’re no help at all”.
At 9 O’Clock the pilots started making their way to Behonne where we crowded into the Ready Room tent, studying the blackboard there which bore our assignments for the day. To our delight, we found that our flights had been cancelled due to the weather. Perfect! We can get away to Verdun for sure!. Nudging Prince in the ribs, I asked “So, lunch at 1 and then off we go?”. With a foxlike smile he nodded.
Back at the villa, the ‘Piano Hunters’ prepared for our sortie to Verdun, borrowing horizon-blue greatcoats from some of the enlisted men. Caporal Gardet, our chauffeur for the raid, greeted us from the cab of the Fiat truck as we stepped out, and we all piled into the back, with Prince going up front, and after the obligatory cigarettes had been passed around we set off for the wartorn city. After a long and cramped ride it became suddenly apparent to me the increased volume of the dull ‘Boom-Boom-Boom’ of the big artillery guns firing. At the edge of Verdun we were stopped at a roadblock by a small group of Poillus. From the front I heard a harsh voice demand to know our business. “We came to see the front” was Prince’s reply, spoken in accented French. I heard the guard call over his superior. After a moment, a second voice sounded, as a Poillu appeared at the rear of the truck, staring over us with a distrusting look before disappearing again. “More in the back,” I heard him say. A moment later and we were ordered out of the truck by a Sous-Lieutenant and lined up by the side of the road.
“Aviateurs without machines? How unusual” he said, his hand resting threateningly on the pistol at his hip. “What are you inferring, Sir?” Prince asked, irritation detectable in his voice. The Sous-Lieutenant snapped around to face him. “You claim to be pilots but you have no planes! You speak in French but your accent is foriegn! You say you want to see the lines, precisely where the Bosche have been trying to break through!”. With a sharp click, the brass button of his holster came undone. “We shoot spies round here, you know?”. Prince gritted his teeth, fury flashing on his face, and made to reply. I quickly put a hand on his shoulder to stop him, before stepping forwards. I locked eyes with the Frenchman. “What, did you think all aviators lived up there and never came down?” I asked. The Lieutenants mouth fell open in outraged shock. “As for the accents, Monsieur, we are pilots of the American Escadrille”. The Frenchman recomposed himself. “Is that so? Can you prove it?” he asked. Behind him, one of the Poillus shifted uncomfortably. “Ah, sir...they’re telling the truth. That’s James Fullard, l’As Americain. I’ve seen his picture in the newspapers”. The Lieutenant spun around to face the man, his face turning beet red, before swinging back to me. “We’ll be on our way now” I said coldly, before turning back to my fellow pilots. “Back in the truck, boys” I said in English. Snickering among themselves, they all piled back into the truck as the now-defeated Lieutenant watched on. Putting one foot onto the cab of the truck, I met the Lieutenant’s gaze once more. “Oh. By the way. Call us spies again and I'll put you on the floor”.
As the truck rolled through the ruined streets of Verdun, my fellow pilots burst into fits of laughter. Rumsey ruffled my hair and punched me on the arm, an ear-splitting grin on his face. “James, you devil! That was brilliant!”. I smirked. “Each of you owe me a Whiskey. And it had better be a large one!”. We disembarked for the second time and piled back out into the rain, splitting into two groups and making our way down the rubble-streets in search of our quarry.
After two hours’ searching, with various spoils obtained (including a fine little gramophone complete with a record mounted on it) we heard a cry coming from the end of the road. “Over here!” Pavelka was shouting out, “I think I’ve found one!”. We all rushed over and, sure enough, there was a Piano jutting out from the shattered wood and brick. Immediately we set about clearing the rubble, and with an almighty heave we lifted the piano down onto the road. The cover hung loose, one of its hinges buckled, and three or four keys were missing, but it was otherwise intact. “It’s a bit shabby, but so are we! It’ll do!” Prince exclaimed happily, and with a cheer we set about hauling our spoils back to the Fiat, loading them up into the back. In total we had obtained a new leather chair, our gramophone, and a second wooden chair to use as a piano stool. However, we found the fatal flaw in our plan - with all the gear loaded into the truck, we had to contort ourselves into horribly uncomfortable positions just to get back in, and by the end of the return trip we were all miserable with cramp.
The sky had darkened by the time we returned. Spotting us at the foot of the steps, Luf rushed out to give us a hand in hauling our spoils into the Foyer of the villa. Hearing the commotion, Hall and De Laage appeared from the mess. “Merde! Where did you get that?!” De Laage asked, astounded. “Never mind that, give us a hand in getting it through, will ya?” Rumsey replied. After much back-and-forth, accented by the odd argument about which way to swing the cumbersome instrument, our piano sat in its new home against the farmost wall of the sitting room. Our Gramophone was installed on a reappropriated writing desk. As our gang had a late supper in the dining-room, we heard the thud-thud of Thenault coming downstairs from his office. We shot each other excited glances as we heard the door to the mess swing open, and with the cry of “Mon Dieu!” we all gave a cheer.
That night we had one of the most pleasant and memorable evenings since my arrival in France some months ago. Thenault wasted no time in trialling our new piano, playing away softly as we cultivated a merry drunkenness. Then, for the first time, I heard the pilots break out into the Escadrille’s favourite song from their Luxeuil days. Sipping at my whiskey, I allowed myself to be lost in the words.
We meet 'neath the sounding rafters, the walls all around us are bare. they echo with peals of laughter, it seems that the dead are there. so stand by your glasses steady, the world is a web of lies! here's a toast to the dead already, hurrah for the next man to die!
Last edited by Wulfe; 09/02/1905:47 PM.
#4488223 - 09/02/1907:58 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Drogo D Dorn Jasta 7, Martincourt Verdun September 2, 1916
Drago had arrived at Martincourt yesterday. The home of newly formed Jasta 7. It was his 21st birthday today. How he had lived this long so far was beyond his imagination. He had spent a year in the trenches just south of here at Verdun. He and his best friend, Bruno Stachel, had joined the army together in 1914. Having enough of the mud, filth and death of the trenches they had both been able to join the new German imperial Air Corps. Drogo was a farm boy from Mainburg, north of Munich. His father, like his father before him grew Hops on the 50 Hector family farm. His friend Bruno's father was an inn keeper in the main part of town. He owned a small inn. Five rooms. Bruno had been assigned to a Jasta in Flander. Now, on his birthday, Drago was on the eve of his first flight.
The Commandant, Dornhiem, would be leading himself and Mock, another new pilot to patrol southwest of Verdun. "You will find the French also patrol this area" Dornhiem had told him before adding "stay on my right and a little above. If we encounter the French, head home. Is that understood?" "Yes Sir" Drogo and Mock replied at the same time.
Drogo and Mock were flying EIV's. Dormhiem was flying the new Fokker biplane. It was slower than the EIV but much more maneuverable. Over Verdun, Dornhiem wagged his wings and dove. Drogo and Mock stayed high. Drogo could not see anything and went into a slight turn to see what was happening. He saw Dornhiem gliding away smoking and a Caudron turning in the opposite direction with a smoking engine. They were told to head home but this seemed to easy. Drogo banked over and dove down to the injured machine and with 2 short bursts its upper right wing collapsed and it went into a spin crashing near a French airfield. Drogo could not believe what he just saw! He had just shot down his first plane. He looked around and saw Mock still high above. He climbed back to altitude and headed home. He was elated at the event but wondered what had become of Dornhiem. As they crossed the mud, ahead and above were two more Coudron's headed south. He looked at Mock who gestured toward them. Drogo nodded in agreement and they both started a climbing turn to chase the two beasts down. Nearing Verdun they made their attack. Drago could see pieces flying off the big Coudron but it would not fall. He had to dive below it to avoid a collision. Coming around he saw Mock send one down spinning. Before he could climb back up Mock had the other one in flames! They joined up and headed back to Martincourt.
Back at their home field, Dornhiem was there. He had made it back, crippled engine and a bullet graze to boot. Drogo and Mock excitedly told of their victories. "Fill out your reports and I will see you in the mess" the Commandant said with a smile.
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!
#4488225 - 09/02/1908:29 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)