Splendid reports everybody! It's going to take a while to read them all properly.
Here's the latest from Julius Schreck...
15. A NEW OPPORTUNITY
High Noon, 21 July 1916. Southeast of Arras.
The Blériot two-seater was desperately trying to get away from Julius’s Fokker E.IV, but it was too slow even for the now obsolete Eindecker. The British pilot attempted to maneuver his machine to give his awkwardly placed observer a chance to shoot at Julius, but the young German aviator was not so easily fooled. He waited until the two-seater filled up his gunsight and then opened fire. The twin Spandaus barked mercilessly, shooting bullet after bullet at the helpless two-seater. Then the nose of the British plane suddenly burst into flames. The fire quickly spread along the fuselage, engulfing first the observer and then the pilot. The Blériot went into a deep dive, which was too much for its wings to bear. Julius saw the enemy machine disintegrate in the air. Flaming debris rained down on a field near Arras. Among the falling pieces, Julius could see the ragdoll-like bodies of the British airmen.
It was his victory number four.
Bertincourt field, Midnight, 21 July, 1916.
The pilots of KEK Bertincourt had gathered in the living room of the chateau that served as both their home and headquarters. Despite the confirmation of Julius’s victory earlier in the day, the mood among the aviators was now glum. Hauptmann Bohnstedt, the commanding officer of FFA 32, the parent unit of KEK Bertincourt, had just delivered them devastating news about two of their pilots.
“The information I have is still sketchy, but this is what we know right now. Earlier this evening, Leutnant Parschau engaged a formation of English machines near Grévillers. Unfortunately, he was wounded in the chest by a bullet but still managed to land his Halberstadt safely on a field. He was then taken to a field hospital at Bapaume, where he perished on the operating table a few hours ago.”
Bohnstedt paused for a moment before continuing. The room was completely silent.
“Sadly, this was not all. The crashed plane of Leutnant Schramm was found near Grévillers. Schramm had been killed in the crash. We do not know whether he was shot down by the English or got hit by anti-aircraft fire.” Bohnstedt sighed. “I don’t have to tell you that this has been a grim day for all of us. But we all know these things happen in war. We must now redouble our efforts and avenge the deaths of our comrades by shooting down even more enemy machines – just like Offizierstellvertreter Schreck already did today!” Bohnstedt tried hard to sound inspiring, but he didn’t quite succeed. Nobody spoke a word, and Bohnstedt fell silent himself.
As Julius retired to his room in the early hours of July 22nd, he was still stunned by the day’s events.
From triumph to despair in a matter of hours! Otto Parschau, the mentor of Boelcke and Immelmann! And Otto’s friend Schramm, both on the same day! Good God, will any of us make it through this bloody war alive?!
There was no answer to that question. Thankfully, Julius was so exhausted that the oblivion of sleep came quickly.
The war did not care about the deaths of two men. It went on according to the schedule of the generals, business as usual. So did the pilots of KEK Bertincourt, with a grim determination to triumph against the odds of superior enemy numbers. However, the German Fliegertruppen simply did not have enough modern planes available to them to put a stop to the combined Anglo-French air operations supporting the Somme offensive on the ground. By August 1916, it had become evident that the Entente powers had won air superiority on the Western Front.
On August 1st, Julius was ordered to see Hauptmann Bohnstedt. As he entered the commander’s office, he had no idea what to expect from this sudden briefing.
Bohnstedt was standing next to the window with hands behind his back. He had a tired look on his face. He always looks exhausted now, Julius thought.
“Offizierstellvertreter Schreck, I will get straight to the point. According to an order by Chef des Feldflugwesens, you are hereby transferred to Flugplatz Johannisthal in Berlin, effective immediately. You will depart as soon as we get the paperwork in order.”
Julius was taken aback by this sudden news. He opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out.
Bohnstedt gave Julius a friendly smile. “You look like a fish on dry land! I know this is unexpected, but orders are orders. Major Thomsen personally chose you for this duty. I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do about it, as much as I’d like to keep you here with us.”
Julius had recovered from the shock. “Herr Hauptmann, but why? We need all the pilots here on the Somme! Surely the headquarters must know how difficult our situation is!”
“They have assured me that they are fully aware of it and are making preparations for a change. New airplanes – very promising airplanes – are about to be introduced to our service soon. And we also need to form new units to counter the growing enemy strength. Undoubtedly, they took us by surprise on the Somme. We mustn’t let that happen ever again!” Bohnstedt paused for a while to let his words sink in. Then he continued.
“This will be a great opportunity for you. Not every pilot gets a chance to fly our latest designs at Johannisthal! You will also share your combat experience there for the benefit of other, less experienced pilots. This is vital work in support of our war effort, and I expect you will not disappoint your comrades!”
Julius pondered the words of Bohnstedt before he answered. “Herr Hauptmann, I understand. I will do my best at Johannisthal.”
“Excellent! You have my full confidence.” Bohnstedt approached Julius and then shook his hand.
“Things may be looking desperate for now, but that will soon change. Mark my words!”
Later that day, an Aviatik two-seater was assigned to transport Julius to the army aviation park from which he would continue to Berlin by train. Gustav Leffers, Julius’s old comrade, volunteered to fly the Aviatik. As the old two-seater slowly climbed higher in the warm summer air, Julius watched the familiar fields of Bertincourt disappear in the distance. He thought about that day in January when he had first arrived at Bertincourt. It felt like it had happened to somebody else entirely, in another time and place. Without a doubt the months he had spent at Bertincourt had changed him forever.
Julius was convinced another major change was about to take place in his life.
"Upon my word I've had as much excitement on a car as in the air, especially since the R.F.C. have had women drivers."
James McCudden, Five Years in the Royal Flying Corps
#4490246 - 09/22/1912:13 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Joined: May 2012 Posts: 4,879RAF_Louvert
BOC President; Pilot Extraordinaire; Humble Man
Carrick, if the length of that dress is any indication the material shortages are getting much worse. .
MFair, thanks. Even without bringing that one down intact I've a hunch Swany is going to be sent back to Blighty, and much sooner than he will wish. But only time will tell. .
Hasse, you snuck in while I was posting. Wonderful catching up on Julius and his story. Sorry for his losses, but congrats on victory number four. So, the man is off to test out the latest planes the Kaiser's designers have come up with? The lucky dog! I'm looking forward to seeing how this work out for him.
#4490248 - 09/22/1912:15 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
It was shortly before two in the afternoon and three of Parliament's more conservative members were sharing a table at Rules. The lunch plates had been cleared away and the men now sat drinking coffee as they discussed, in semi-hushed tones, the matter at hand.
"We need to do something about this and dam'd quick. The highest scoring ace in our own air service and he's not British, not even a Colonial, but a bloody American volunteer. And now they want to pin the VC on him? Well I'm not having it!"
"Keep it down George. If we're going to put a stop to this we need it to stay between ourselves, at least for now."
"I agree with Robert. However, as much as we may despise the idea, if he's awarded the Victoria Cross it would make it far easier to pull this fellow away from the front and keep him away so that one of our own can pass him up. And isn't that what we really want to have accomplished? As you say George, it should be a son of England holding the honour of our highest ace."
"You're dam'd right it should be, Henry. Bloody American upstart."
"Maybe he'll get himself killed before then George, that would turn the trick for you."
"Bah, he'd be even more likely to get the commendation then, posthumous medals play so well with the public you know. It would put an end to his victories though, and then one of our lads would certainly rise to the top."
"There you are George, silver lining. But assuming he survives we need to whisper in the right ears and get this Swanson fellow reassigned to Home Defence for the duration."
"Exactly right Henry, and we can then put him to good use in our propaganda mill, once we have him here and under our thumb. We could puff him up for the Americans if we choose to, paint him a shining example as to why they should enter the war. Their very own hero who volunteered to serve valiantly in the Royal Flying Corps even before his own country realized the urgency to be in the fight - that sort of thing."
"I like that. Fine then, I'll stand down from opposing the commendation as long as it's understood that once we have this character back here we keep him here and use the hell out of him."
"I'm on board, George. Henry?"
"Of course Robert, you know you gentlemen can always count on my support."
The three MPs, feeling most pleased with themselves, ordered dessert and shifted their conversation on to more frivolous things. While somewhere in France Captain Randolph Swanson was going about his own business, oblivious to the fact that his future was being determined for him, and not by God.
#4490270 - 09/22/1906:59 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Lou, I wonder if Swany’s gunner had something to do with that little engine fire. But I guess Chatwick’s itchy trigger finger is the least of Swany’s problems. It sounds almost as if Swanson’s flying career is over. What do those politicians think this is, a race?
MFair, jammed gun is his own fault. He didn’t heed the lessons of Jean Reno from Flyboys. Short bursts: tock, tock tock, tock.
Carrick, that is a nice rack! The only problem I see is that big enema sitting there waiting for you. Be warned!
Hasse, finally Julius gets some rest from those bloodthirsty Englanders. Sounds like an excuse to ditch that Eindecker for good. Be on the lookout for Bruno Stachel while testing these new toys.
2 Fokkers over St. Dié yesterday have been confirmed.
It was a clear day with excellent visibility. The two elements reached Colmar aerodrome unmolested and dropped their cargo. Every bomb found a target, be it a hangar, a storage shed, a tent or a plane. Mayhem was reigning down below. Both flights regrouped and headed for home. It seemed like routine mission until Toby looked over at his wingman, Flight Sub-Lieutenant Rick Knight. The man detached from the flight and took a dive. Toby’s eyes followed the odd behaviour of his wingman. It seemed odd until he noticed another plane and the reason for Knight’s actions. It appears one of the Fokkers attempted to sneak up behind Mulberry from below. He would have no warning before the German ship opened fire. Thank God for a vigilant wingman. He will have to buy the man a round or two, but for now it was all business. Two more Fokkers arrived on the scene and Toby made a diving attack on them. He picked the trailing monoplane, which had just peeled off. Toby continued to check his six, as he had no idea what the leader was up to. He lost him from sight when he followed his wingman down. Mulberry made a weak attempt and fired at the diving Eindecker. The Hun continued to drag him lower to the ground. They were now skimming the tops of the trees and Toby was astonished how strong the smell of pines was. It nearly masked the stench of the castor oil and the exhaust fumes. If he could somehow harvest this smell of pines and simply hang it on his windshield, it would make all his flights that much more pleasurable. The Boche in front couldn’t care less for the forest fragrance at the moment. His life was hanging by a thread. And then it happened, the engine stopped. It was dead and pulling the whole Eindecker down. The forest sprawled out in all directions and he had to make a landing. He was up the creek without a paddle. Mulberry knew that too and did not attempt to shoot at his foe anymore. The nature would take care of the rest. The Eindecker was floating lower every second, then with a great crack the tip of one of the pines caught the undercarriage of the airplane. The pine snapped, but so did the Fokker. The next pine sheared off the wing and the next one cut the fuselage in half. The fall of the monoplane had been arrested by the forest and then swallowed whole, never to be seen again. Toby found the rest of the flight above and followed them home. Rick Knight claimed his first Fokker.
It was back to St. Dié for the afternoon mission. They were babysitting a Strutter from the ‘A’ flight on a recon sortie of the front line sector. While the two-seater went on about his business, the pair of single-seaters circled nearby looking out for trouble. The trouble arrived in the form of a pair of Eindeckers. It was a strange engagement. No one seemed interested in fighting. Toby received some stray shots to the wings. He eventually fired at one of the Fokkers. He must have severed control cables because the Fokker went into a flat spin and dropped all the way down to the ground spinning like a top.
As he searched for the rest of his flight Toby came in contact with another German patrol. This time it was a pair of E.IV’s. He attacked them head on. One of the Huns turned tail and left his companion to fend for himself. This Eindecker preferred to fight low to the ground, just over the trenches. Little did he know the trenches belonged to the Poilus. In addition to Toby’s salvos, he received small arms fire from below. The Boche crashed into the trees near one of the trenches. Toby’s wingman also claimed a Hun for himself. It was turning out to be a productive day for both pilots.
Hasse, Swany a Red Tab? I doubt that one, can't imagine the Brits wanting to be told what to do by an American.
MFair, it should be interesting.
Fullofit, Toby is just a non-stop Eindecker wrecker. Not sure why the Hun down in his AO even bother to send them up anymore. Super vids as always. As for what politicians think - who knows.
Carrick, good Day Nurse? Goodnight nurse!
23 September 1916 Fienvillers, France
Moods are sullen around 70 Squadron as their losses continue to mount. Two of the new replacements along with one of the new Strutters were lost yesterday shortly before dusk during a test flight. The engine conked just after take-off and the green pilot made the fatal mistake of trying to turn back. He stalled out and smashed into the earth not a hundred feet from the end of the runway. Bloody waste. Add to that the loss of another crew and plane first thing this morning during C Flight's recce of the lines north of Bapaume. They were caught by three of the new Albatros and did not fare well at all.
Captain Swanson led two patrols. The first resulted in the downing of a Halberstadt biplane near Flers with all crews of A Flight making it home unscathed. The second was less fruitful when, again, they were jumped by several of the Albatros scouts over Delville Wood. The ensuing furball ended in a draw with both sides flying away to their respective camps, their various mounts fairly shot up. Swany managed to coax his bus back to Fienvillers before the engine died and he had to glide it down dead-stick. The new Clerget the mechanics had fitted several days ago was proving to be a real dud.
A go-round that eventually ended in a draw for all concerned.
#4490313 - 09/23/1901:23 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Joined: May 2012 Posts: 4,879RAF_Louvert
BOC President; Pilot Extraordinaire; Humble Man
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 individual is hereby presented the Wounded Stripe:
Your King and Country thank you for your sacrifice and faithful service.
#4490317 - 09/23/1901:46 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Joined: May 2012 Posts: 4,879RAF_Louvert
BOC President; Pilot Extraordinaire; Humble Man
Fullofit, they need to call you the “Sopwith Scourge “! Hasse, congratulations on the gong. Lou, thank you so much for what you add to this campaign with the awards.
Feldwebel Drogo Dorn Martincourt, Verdun Sept. 22, 1916 At 4:30 am, Kette Zwei was on patrol southwest of Verdun. They had patrolled for 30 minutes with no contact when Marconnay signaled to head back. North of Verdun as they crossed over the lines, Marconnay pulled up and left with Drogo and Mayer following. Drago spotted the 2 Coudrons headed south. They closed the distance fast. Marconnay took one and Drago and Mayer took the other. Drogo made the first pass and the big machine tumbled like a stone from the sky. Drogo marked the spot on his map and they returned to Martincourt in high spirits. Marconnay was not so happy as his got away.
After lunch they were off again to Verdun to take down a balloon. Over NML 3 Nieuports dove on the trio. Drogo scored hits on one during the first pass but one quickly pounce on his tail. Drogo turned right as hard as he could making the Nieuports shot miss. High each circle and pass Drogo moved the fight further north and once back over the lines he headed home alone. Mayer and Marconnay soon landed. It had been a close call. Kette Zwei had got the sausage so the mission was a success.
Drogo’s Caudron was confirmed making him an ace and the highest scoring pilot in Jasta 7.
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!