The two Fokker claims by the lake from yesterday have been confirmed.
Mulberry was flying north toward Lunéville. It was a high altitude ‘A’ flight escort mission to perform recon duties over the front. 12,000 feet, who flies this high? The voice in his head had an answer immediately. Nobody. Exactly, that’s why the recon planes fly so high to avoid harassment from the enemy scouts. It was difficult to climb to 10,000, even harder to reach 11,000 and it was a task and a half to get to 12,000. After 25 minutes of keeping the machine from stalling they were ready to get back. Armstrong was missing. Where could he have gone to? Toby looked lower and then even lower to see a flash of sun reflecting of a wing. There, that was him and a Fokker. Mulberry dove immediately and after some time got on the Hun’s tail and fired. It was difficult to keep his machine steady. They sparred almost to the ground level. He was surprised the E.IV could not get away by simply climbing and accelerating. What a difference dead weight of a useless gunner can make! Now he knew he had made the right choice. The enemy machine went down NE of the Parroy Pond. Armstrong claimed one more Fokker. It was a successful mission.
There were three of them. Flying in a formation over the front east of Belfort, their monoplane shapes clearly visible against the backdrop of a pale cloud layer. Toby was at a favourable altitude and could engage at will. Two of them came up to meet him, while the remaining Fokker flew in the opposite direction. Mulberry fought them both at once and after a while there was only one. The other disengaged at some point, leaving his wingman to fend for himself. It became easier from then on. The green Fokker came down north of the Holzweiher lake in the murk of the ghostly fog. Toby made sure his friend didn’t change his mind and quickly made his way back to camp. A nice, warm cup of tea with a splash of scotch was what he needed.
Looks like Chesty and Keith have been hard at work beating back those pesky Bosche. Good show! Taking on three at once, Mr. Mulberry? We have a regular Albert Ball in our midst...whoever that is...
Sous. Lieutenant James B. Fullard, Esc. N.124 'Americaine', Bar-le-Duc, France.
September 4th, 1916
Blanchon and I didn’t attempt to hide our amusement as Thaw returned in his replacement machine from the Depot at Plessis. Drifting down from the cool morning air was a Nieuport 16, and even behind his thick moustache, scarf and goggles we could see the disappointment on his face. As he landed and disembarked, I sauntered over to his side and threw an arm around his shoulder. “So, you’re one of us again!” I chirped. “One of who?” he asked, bitterly. “The Nose-Heavy gang! We needed a new member - after all, it was just ol’ Constantin and me!”. Thaw sighed, defeated, as I let out a hearty laugh.
With the morning post had arrived word from both Mac and Elliott Cowdin - both of whom were steadily on the mend. However, we were saddened to learn that the doctors had let slip that poor young Elliott would likely never fly an aeroplane again, let alone return to us in the future. For this reason we emptied the ‘language jar’ (We resolved to speak English in the day and French in the evening - any breach of this would warrant depositing a Franc in the jar) and put the money towards buying all manner of gifts for our young friend including chocolate, marmalade, jam, and other foodstuffs. Fortunately, despite his horrible intestinal injuries, Elliott was able to eat normal food again.
Mac, a true representation of the Escadrille’s spirit, was anxious to return to us. However, his back injury (a fractured vertebrae) would see him out of action until the end of the month, or so the doctor said. He insisted that we continue to write him of the Escadrille’s exploits during his hospital time, a task that had been voluntarily undertaken by Johnson. Thenault, tying in with his character, also vowed to pay both men a visit at the first opportunity.
Blessedly, I had managed to avoid being assigned to the dawn patrol, which had fallen to De Laage’s flight today and allowed us a well-needed long lie. We headed to the ready room after our breakfast and were pleased to discover that we were free to do as we pleased until noon. I contented myself with lounging around the aerodrome, watching the mechanics going about their business and Luf, as per usual, toiling endlessly over his aeroplane. At 10 O’Clock we were treated to a fantastic display of flying as, after making his adjustments, Luf took to the skies for a bit of lighthearted stunting. As we watched him, we were all in unanimous agreement that he was quite possibly the greatest flyer among us. “I don’t know about the rest of us,” Blanchon said to me as we watched Luf turn a perfectly-executed loop,”But ol’ Lufbery is going to get through the war just fine”.
Getting through the war. I realised I had never given it much thought after those first months waiting for my assignment at Plessis. Certainly, Michael and I knew there would be risks, but we were Americans! We were worth 10 Bosche, at least! Now, though, I no longer thought in patriotic terms, or with a sense of adventure. It seemed to me that I thought only in the moment, in the precise second I occupied. The end of the war? A faraway dream. It was almost a novelty when we talked about our plans for after the war, the way you might talk of someday winning the lottery. I amused myself by wondering if the others had similar thoughts to my own. I supposed that they must.
Just before our first sortie, a routine patrol over St. Mihiel, Prince gathered us around him on the aerodrome. “Listen up, boys. We have some new information that’s come in from H.Q. According to the recon boys at Escadrille 105 we have some new Bosche Neighbors that recently moved into the sector, flying a new German scout. We don’t know anything about them so far except that they are biplane single-seaters. Now, we don’t know what the new German machines are capable of in the air, but if the Rolands are anything to go by then they will probably be a step up from the ol’ monoplanes, so keep your wits about you and try to get a feel for the new type before committing to a fight”. We glanced at each other uncertainly. A new Bosche type? How would it hold up against a Nieuport 16? Of course, such questions didn’t concern Rockwell, who immediately blurted out that he should like to be the first of us to ‘bag’ one of the new German scouts. Typical Rockwell! He had a way of getting us all excited for the day’s fighting.
We stood around with cigarettes in hands as our machines were wheeled out of their hangars, and I strolled over to oversee the attaching of my leaders’ streamers to the struts of my ship. Before long we had climbed awkwardly into our combinations and raised ourselves up into our machines. Standing testament to the efforts of our French mechanics, the best air mechanics in the world, all of our Nieuports started up on the first swing of the prop, and with myself in the lead we lifted up into the sky.
The weather was fierce and unforgiving as we turned towards the great ruined city of St. Mihiel, but, thankfully, we had no rain to contend with. With Prince’s warning of the new German types fresh in my mind I opted to climb our formation up into the clouds. Weaving around the great massed cumulus, we steadily approached the lines at St. Mihiel. I turned back towards my flight and put two fingers to my goggles. Watch for Bosches. Over the lines the wind became more violent still, rocking my machine up and down ferociously until I felt my breakfast rising back up. Looking over my shoulder, I saw that my pals weren’t faring much better. I found myself dreading the appearance of the Bosche - be it in the new Biplane or not - simply as I was too miserable to fight! Fortunately, we got to the end of our patrol without seeing another machine and promptly flew home.
That night Thenault gathered us into the mess for an announcement. With glasses of Whiskey, Pinard, and whatever else we could find, we eagerly awaited Thenaults news. “My Americans,” he began, inspiring one or two whoops, “last night we received a call from H.Q informing us that Fullard’s balloon has been credited. I propose a toast, to the first of us to officially shoot down 10 Bosches!”. The pilots erupted into a cheer and I was heartily congratulated from all sides. Trying to hide my embarrassment, I waved away their congratulations. “Really, boys, it’s just luck! You’ll all overtake me before long!”. We celebrated with a binge until midnight, and even Bert Hall joined our singalong as we steadily set a course for complete drunkenness.
Last edited by Wulfe; 09/05/1904:16 PM.
#4488510 - 09/05/1904:15 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Joined: May 2012 Posts: 4,499RAF_Louvert
BOC President; Pilot Extraordinaire; Humble Man
Fullofit, there seems to be no stopping Mulberry now that he's rid himself of his useless G/O. The man is a Hun-hunting terror.
Carrick, any landing a chap can walk away from is a good landing.
5 September 1916 Fienvillers, France
No rest for the weary as the lads of 70 Squadron continue to provide support for the British and French troops fighting in and around Guillemont. Yesterday was another dawn to dusk show with every flight running four sorties each. Swany's A Flight has settled down into the following regular group:
Capt. Randolph "Swany" Swanson / Lt. Christoper Dent - leading Capt. Guy Cruikshank / Lt. Michael Walsh - left flank Lt. William "Patty" K-C-Patrick / 2nd Lt. Albert Stanley - right flank 2nd Lt. Awdry "Bunny" Vancour / Lt. Alan "Contact" Bott - tail watch
They are working well together and have coalesced into a very solid fighting unit and as such have tallied up many successful missions over the last several days with very few incidents, apart from a few mechanical issues and of course the run-in Swany and Chris had with the suicidal Boche pilot.
Today saw A Flight tasked with the following three sorties, all of which went exceedingly well.
The dawn patrol was a watch of the area just south of Courcelette. Shortly after reaching altitude a search light shown from Doullens indicating the sky Hun were about.
Brief minutes later Captain Swanson was sneaking up on a lone Aviatik.
After hitting the unsuspecting Boche with a solid initial burst from his Vickers, Swany broke away and let the rest of A Flight finish off their prey.
The Captain was forced to make a quick landing at the field near Marieux due to a clogged fuel line. He and Lt. Dent were back in the air in less than 30 minutes and completed the patrol without further interruptions.
The mid-day sortie was a contact patrol from Guillemont to Péronne. A Flight no sooner arrived when a trio of Halberstadt biplanes pounced on them. Swany picked out a dance partner and the go-round began.
The Hun pilot was no novice as he twisted and turned, matching Swanson's moves time after time.
However, as good as the enemy was Swany and Chris were just a bit better and managed to score solid hits on the Halberstadt.
The Boche tried to run, apparently hoping Archie would dissuade his attackers from giving chase. It was a futile and fatal hope.
One final blast from the Vickers was all it took. Swany and Chris watched as their vanquished foe fell to the mud below.
The final outing of the day was an attack on the railyard near Marcoing. HQ was calculating that the destruction of the depot there would interfere with troop reinforcements being brought over to Péronne.
After diving below the blanket of clouds at 5,000' Swany lined up on the target and dropped the eggs. He watched with satisfaction as the two large warehouses erupted into flames.
He watched with further satisfaction as the remainder of A Flight found their respective marks as well.
With the job well done Captain Swanson swung the Strutter around, gave the signal, and led his team back towards home.
The Huns threw a lot of hate up at the retreating Sopwiths, but as usual Archie's bark was far worse than his actual bite.
Settling back down at Fienvillers after a very long but very satisfying day's work. The lads would sleep well tonight, and if things continue as they have been, the rest will be needed.
#4488511 - 09/05/1904:19 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Joined: May 2012 Posts: 4,499RAF_Louvert
BOC President; Pilot Extraordinaire; Humble Man
Wulfe, you slipped in and posted while I was doing the same. Another wonderful episode, and congrats to Fullard on his new "double ace" status - well done! But what can this new Hun scout plane be? Oh the anticipation.
#4488513 - 09/05/1904:24 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Wulfe and Lou, I keep repeating that Toby only gets to shoot the lame ducks that are the Eindeckers. No skill is required to bring those down. He hasn’t even heard of German biplane scouts.
Wulfe, poor Blanchon. Having tasted the power and performance of an N.17 he is now stuck with the pig. I guess that’s one way to teach pilots to take care of their machines and not to fly into telephone wires. I bet he’ll never do that again. Good news about Mac and congrats on double acedom. 4 more and you’ll be on par with Mulberry!
Lou, 3 missions a day?! Oh, the slave drivers those brass hats are. Are they allowed? I guess this is the penance for eating all those delicious preserves. Congrats on a downed Halberstadt. Is that the first in this Campaign? Great report format. Very visual. One step further and you could be narrating your own moving pictures, that is if they weren’t silent.
Toby was ordered to protect the ‘A’ flight on recon mission over front lines north of St. Dié. He thought: why would Strutters need protection and from what? They are the predators and the only thing that may think of attacking are those obsolete Eindeckers. As the word: “Eindecker” went through his mind three of them appeared on the horizon. They were all E.IV types which slightly complicated matters. Not because they were dangerous, but because it made it that much more difficult to decide which one to attack first. In the ensuing melee Toby tangled with one that eventually slipped away by climbing higher. He followed it for a while, noticing that another Hun did the same trick to Sharman and they were now both chasing two Fokkers together. He also noticed the third Boche flying lower. Mulberry switched to the Fokker below and filled it full of holes. Now Sharman also abandoned pursuit of his Fokker and joined the chase. The engine of the damaged Eindecker stopped, but the Hun remained afloat. Toby continued to fire, but at one point Sharman decided to butt in and steal Mulberry’s glory. That cheeky monkey. Toby, not to be outdone, reacquired his target and brought the Boche down. Sharman was not happy.
Ah, the modesty of Toby, as he continues to knock 'em down.
Wulfe, congrats to Fullard on # 10!
More super screenies, Lou, well done!
Feldwebel Lazlo Halász,
Jasta 1, Bertincourt, France September 4th-5th 1916
Lazlo was sitting in the canteen with his new chum Wintgens.
"Ho ho ho, it shoots like, well, how would you say... like an upside down banana!" Lazlo fell into another fit of laughter at the memory of firing his machine gun for the first time in his new machine. Kurt looked up at him from over the top of his small round spectacles.
"Indeed it does, Herr Halasz. It certainly requires some adjustments to one's aim."
"Ah, yes", smiled Lazlo in agreement. "and I will make those adjustments in time. What's for sure is, it's a lovely craft to fly, especially compared to those awful miniature monoplanes. I am very grateful to have seen the last of those." The whole unit had recently been upgraded to Halberstadt DIIs and DIIIs. Lazlo had watched them roll in to their camp at Bertincourt over the past week, while he convalesced. Yesterday he had gone up in one for the first time. It was decidedly easier for him to exit and enter and it felt extremely stable in flight. It was only the awkward position of the machine gun and its associated bullet trajectory that was causing Laslo any concerns. Today they had been up again early, before dawn. An enemy balloon just to the southwest of Albert had been their target and Lazlo's roommate had been the one to get the credit for its demise.
The following day it was once again an early start. Foul weather had settled in and they took off in a heavy downpour, to escort a couple of Wahlfisch over the lines. Lazlo soon had another opportunity to work on his gun mastery. They had only just linked up with the 2-seaters when Wintgens had gestured down and to his right. Lazlo turned and saw what had caught his flight leader's attention. Three BE2Cs were meandering back to the lines. Laslo's flight descended upon them in an instant. Soon he had picked one out for himself. Unfortunately he was just as confounded by the machine gun as he had been the last time. It simply wouldn't fire straight! That, combined with the fact that there was a 10 knot wind blowing them all over the skies, meant that the lucky British craft was able to make its escape under the cover of clouds. Lazlo couldn't help but laugh out loud once again. "Ho ho ho! What a dreadful mess I've made of that", he grinned. This wasn't going to be easy.
Back on the ground, Wintgens teased him afresh.
"Perhaps we should replace your weapon with an actual banana", he joked. "You might find it more lethal, especially if you can get a 2 seater to slip on it".
Later that afternoon they went up again, only this time Lazlo's engine almost seized shortly after takeoff. Spewing oil, he broke the rules and turned back toward their airfield, but luckily he was able to bring his machine down safely.
So much happening here in the last week! MFair, a hearty welcome to Drogo. He's off to a fine start. Carrick, your Airco is coming to the tail end of its time as King of the Hill. Be careful, and if you see any Albatri, run away! Wulfe, I really enjoyed the bit of pilfering in Verdun and the atmosphere you've capture in the Escadrille Americaine. And congrats on Fullard's 10th victory! Fullofit, your videos are excellent dogfighting lessons. Glad you've sorted out the HR problems in your Strutter. Lederhosen, fine job with Willi, and congratulations on his promotion and appointment as commander of Jasta 6. Harry, every Lazlo story is a treat. I hope he get used to his new machine quickly. Lou, I loved your photos -- the near miss at the tree line was a scare, but the shots of the low-level scrap with the Fokkers are stellar.
And Lou, Collins has been wounded once, a splinter laceration to his face at the end of April 1916.
An Airman’s Odyssey – by Lt James Arthur Collins, MC
Part Fifty-Eight: In which we teach the Hun a lesson
Life was a bit mad that week. I was given a lunch by the Lord Mayor of London and presented with a fine silver cup and several more cash gifts, including large sums from the Newcastle Daily Chronicle (which puzzled me), a shipyard owner in Paisley. There was a gold watch from the gentlemen of the Overseas Club and a carved elephant tusk from the Royal Geographic Society. Giving me things had become a national pastime and it had long passed the point of embarrassment.
Aitken had claimed me as his own, and I seldom got rid of the photographer and scribbler he assigned to me. Not to mention that he insisted on squiring me to various social affairs, showing me off like a prize spaniel. He introduced me to Lord Northcliffe at the Press Club. On Thursday, 31 August, he brought me – accompanied by his friend Winston Churchill – to a party in Portland Place in Marylebone. It was hosted by Lady St. Helier. This remarkable woman seemed to know everyone in London and spent a long time plying me with champagne and asking about the encounter with the Zeppelin. She then introduced me to absolutely everyone who was anyone in London, all of whom seemed to be regulars at her fine house. I spent a good fifteen minutes chatting with a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, who then introduced me to a novice Canadian pilot who’d ingratiated himself with Lady St. Helier and become a regular house guest. He was a wonderfully friendly fellow named Bishop who’d hurt himself in a fall. He was awaiting a medical board and was dead keen to get to France, where he’d previously served as an observer. He learned I'd joined the RFC directly and regaled me with tales of his time as a cavalry officer before transferring over. He said he preferred the sky to the mud of the trenches. I discovered only by direct questioning that he hadn't served at the front with the cavalry but had begun observer training with the RFC before his unit left England.
Churchill confided that he’d heard I was up for a decoration. I enjoyed listening to him hold forth on the summer offensive on the Somme. He held it to be a tragic disaster, and believed it had weakened the Imperial forces enough that the Hun could divert his attention elsewhere. He seemed to suggest that the Cabinet should dictate strategy to Haig. Gallipoli, it appeared, was well in the past.
I flew each morning and was in the city most days. For two days I was ensconced at the Regent’s Palace Hotel with the painter Jackson, sitting for a portrait. I made it a point to be back in North Weald by nightfall in case of a raid. There were masses of letters and I was trying to answer each personally. The replies to young ladies’ letters had become formulaic, but I made a special effort to add something personal when writing to the very old or very young.
On the night of 2/3 September, the Huns returned to London. It was about 11:45 pm when the call came that Zeppelins were moving westward up the Thames. I was airborne within five minutes and Jack Ness right behind me. Somewhere out in the darkness were machines from Sutton’s Farm, likely including my old chums Billy and Fred. I climbed through patchy cloud into a breathtakingly lovely night sky. With the city darkened, every star in the universe showed its finery. I was so captivated that I found myself at 10,000 feet over the Thames east of London and still had the little light over the instrument panel on! I shut it off and continued to climb to 12,000 feet, turning east.
Spotlights appeared near Gravesend, brushing across the darkness. I steer away so that the Zeppelins could pass and I could approach from the rear should one appear silhouetted on the clouds below or suspended in the spotlights.
A noise and a flash immediately in front! I slammed the stick forward. It was Ness’s BE12 and it had already vanished. In all the immensity of the sky we had nearly collided twelve thousand feet over Gravesend. Ten fruitless minutes passed and then I noticed that several searchlight beams had converged. A Zeppelin was transfixed in the beams. It was a fair bit lower and several miles to my west, which forced me to throttle back and spiral down. As I did so, I saw a cloud of flame several miles ahead to the west. Someone had bagged a Hun. I levelled off at six thousand and opened the throttle. My prey was lost again for a couple of minutes. Then I saw it, caught in a single beam now. A little higher and slightly left. I closed quickly. At 400 yards I throttled back and began to fire 5-10 round bursts of Buckingham and Pomeroy, holding my aim at the same spot just under the tail of the Zeppelin. I fired more than 200 rounds in this manner and then saw a dull pink glow appear. I was close to the airship now and pulled away quickly. It went up with a roar easily heard over the noise of the engine. I watched it fall away, somewhere close to Dartford.
"I fired more than 200 rounds in this manner and then saw a dull pink glow appear...It went up with a roar easily heard over the noise of the engine."
Another Zeppelin was caught in lights two miles off and I gave chase. I approached it exactly like the first Hun, behind and below, firing from 400 yards. I’d scarcely fired 100 rounds and was still a good way back when this airship began to glow. I hooted and screamed in joy, but then saw another aeroplane illuminated by the fireball. The other machine had been firing too and was much closer.
I test-fired the Vickers and the belt ran out after about five rounds, so I turned for home. I was now the victor over two Zeppelins, and at least two others had been destroyed. When I landed I learned that both Leefe Robinson and Sowrey had put in claims. The week of celebrations was clearly not about to end.
#4488598 - 09/06/1904:48 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
From British General Staff to all Commanders in the Field:
Army Order 204, dated 6 July 1916:
The following distinctions in dress will be worn on the service dress jacket by all officers and soldiers who have been wounded in any of the campaigns since 4th August, 1914:
Strips of gold Russia braid, No.1, two inches in length, sewn perpendicularly on the left sleeve of the jacket to mark each occasion on which wounded. In the case of officers, the lower end of the first strip of gold braid will be immediately above the upper point of the flap on cuff. Warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and men will wear the gold braid on the left sleeve, the lower edge of the braid to be three inches from the bottom of the sleeve. The additional strips of gold braid, marking each subsequent occasion on which wounded, will be placed on either side of the original one at half-inch interval. Gold braid and sewings will be obtained free on indent from the Army Ordnance Department; the sewing on will be carried out regimentally without expense to the public.
Pursuant to above order the following individuals are hereby presented the Wounded Stripe:
Your King and Country thank you for your sacrifice and faithful service.
#4488638 - 09/06/1901:39 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Thanks so much for the capital G Gong! It will make a great addition to Collins's story. And wound stripes. too! This is a wonderful first. Swany needs to take care, though, or it will be a case of "continued other sleeve."
#4488640 - 09/06/1901:48 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Joined: May 2012 Posts: 4,499RAF_Louvert
BOC President; Pilot Extraordinaire; Humble Man