This morning Toby found out five of his claims have been confirmed, including the red Albatros and the “black tail”. Toby’s flight would have it easy today. They would be patrolling friendly front lines near Vimy. It’s always safer to stay on your own side of the Front. As he was finishing this thought a gaggle of Halberstadts jumped his formation near Lens. Halberstadts?! This is insanity! No wonder they’re calling it Bloody April. It will be a massacre. Mulberry eliminated one over No-Man’s Land.
After this scrap Toby resumed patrol with Booker, but was bounced once again from above by another pair of Halbs. He shot one down in flames and found Booker still dancing with the other one amongst clouds of Archie. Mulberry closed the distance quickly to help his wingman and joined the fight. He had the Hun on the ropes and dropping to the ground when the earth beneath him began to highlight with strange spotlights. It’s like the Might Lord himself was showing Toby where the enemy was hiding. Mulberry didn’t know what to make of it. Should he continue to fire, or spare the Hun? His instincts took over and the Boche met his Maker soon after.
Carrick - I swear HQ is out to get Nigel killed, assigning him all that low altitude work over hostile troops. Congratulations on his promotion, he certainly deserves it.
Beanie - Congratulations on Karl's well-deserved promotion too.
MFair - Gunther picked a good two weeks to be out of the fight. He may be the only one of our men to survive the month because of it.
Fullofit - Toby just keeps right on knocking them down. Of course when they send up Halbs it's pretty much a foregone conclusion they're gonna be Tripe fodder. Congrats to Chesty on passing the century mark, divine intervention indeed!
And this congratulation roll just keeps right on rolling.
#4516629 - 04/16/2007:14 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
16 April 1917 66 Squadron R.F.C. Vert Galand, France
Captain Swanson and three other members of B Flight were out just after sunrise to escort a pair of R.E.8s on a recce of the lines at Monchy-le-Preux. They were going one man short after yesterday's loss of Dobbs and were hoping not to run into a large formation of Albs. However, upon reaching the lines, that is precisely what happened when not one but two separate groups of V-strutters descended on them. Swany counted twelve, there could have been more, but in the ensuing madness it was impossible to tell. Any attempts to outline the melee would fall far short of the actual events, so it will be left at this: One of the Harry Tates went down in flames; two Pups were forced to land in open fields south of Arras with varying degrees of damage; one Pup made it to the aerodrome at Boiry St. Martin and crashed there; four Albs were seen to crash in the lines, (two of which the Captain claimed); two were driven off trailing smoke; the rest left of their own accord. Swany managed to make a dead-stick landing at Bellevue after dragging five of the attackers with him that far, allowing friendly guns and AA a crack at them. While he sustained no injuries his kite was shot up considerably. By morning tea all other pilots were accounted for, with minor injuries to Lieutenants Montgomery and Corruthers, (both men were expected to make full recoveries in a week or so). It could have been much, much worse.
Looking ahead and thinking, "this may be a bad day".
Then looking behind and knowing it's about to get a whole lot worse.
#4516708 - 04/16/2004:11 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Bob – The unimaginably good-looking Major Harding-Royce. Lord of the Silver Bow himself. Yes, he is most definitely going to be a problem.
Raine – Oh No! - Bertie’s tale ended so soon. He would have caused such wonderful chaos with his Machiavellian shenanigans. I’d love to see you do another scheming anti-hero type, just because it would be so much fun. 😈 Thank you kindly. I’m just trying to keep pace with all the great writing here. As for the CCS plan, it was on a site of Surrey church members who were great war vets. https://halfmuffled.wordpress.com/2016/12/10/36-casualty-clearing-station-located/
Beanie – Herr Leutnant Karl is moving up fast. Has anyone said “I’ll have to watch you” to him yet? Mein Gott im Himmel! I was just finishing this congratulatory post, when the news came thru. I will miss Karl. I did so love the pics of his Alb against that slate grey sky.
Fullofit – Centurion!Centurion!Cen-tu-REEE-ON! Toby nailed that slippery Von Richthofen guy too?! Oh, the Binge is ON.
Lou – Well done by Swanny…”He’s bringing her in!” So sad about poor Dobbs. Swanny’s training of his flight is paying off. All his mates survived against 3-1 odds. Bravo. Btw, that one red Alb looks kinda familiar. As for Gen Trenchard's gossipy, tea time companion Capt. Ball, the Huns have a wonderful expression that fits him just right - backpfeifengesicht
MFair – How is Ganz getting along? Are Nurses Heidi, Helga, Hildegarde and Hannelore taking extra special care of the Fatherland’s wounded hero?
Carrick – "Welcome to the Officer’s mess, Leftenant. We have a tradition here for the new lads. No, it’s not the drinks thing. We’ve got a little job for you…" _____________ Strafing infantry. How hard can that be? Especially flying that iconic ground attack aircraft the…Nieuport?! Madness. Nigel did well to get home alive. He has as many lives as that wily Baron.
Last edited by epower; 04/16/2004:13 PM.
#4516710 - 04/16/2004:23 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Joined: May 2012 Posts: 4,499RAF_Louvert
BOC President; Pilot Extraordinaire; Humble Man
16 April 1917 66 Squadron R.F.C. Vert Galand, France
Captain Swanson stood in the apple orchard across the road from the officers’ huts. The afternoon sun of mid-April shone bright and warm on the fruit trees, their new leaves and buds a brilliant green. A gentle breeze brushed lazily through the boughs carrying with it the scent of spring. The young ace had with him his Hardanger fiddle and on it was playing a brisk and lively tune. The birds in the orchard chirped and whistled as well, each offering their own unique melodies, yet all blending into a marvelous symphony of joy and contentment. It was a stark and welcomed contrast to the death and destruction of the war.
But soon came the evil to disrupt this idyllic scene. A voice called from behind and Swany stopped his playing, the birds stopped their singing, and a shadow swept across the orchard as the young man turned to see who it was that summoned him. There, not three feet away, stood 2nd Lieutenant Dobbs, his once boyish features now burnt to a coal black, his physique twisted and crumbling away as he pointed a bent, grotesque finger directly at the Captain. “They want you, Sir”, was the ghoulish figure’s message, and then he disintegrated and drifted away, ash in the wind.
In the next instant two olive drab birds of prey lifted Swanson up into the sky, which was growing dark, the sun now blotted out by thick gray clouds. He looked to either side and watched as the great birds morphed into a pair of Sopwith Pups, with Jim Collins at the controls of one, and Mark Jericho at the other. Swany now too was in his own Pup, and the three friends climbed higher and higher into the dark, gathering storm above. The wind became stronger, lightening flashed, still the trio continued to rise. Bursts of Archie dotted the air around them, rocking the planes violently, and still they climbed. Suddenly, an orb of light opened above them. It blazed like a thousand suns, white hot, impossible to see into, and from it poured hundreds of tiny, dark specks. They grew in size as they bore down on the three chums, soon revealing themselves as V-strutters, each displaying a different color and pattern, but all having one common feature – their noses hollow, and inside each glowed the fires of Hell.
The countless craft fell upon the trio of Pups, swirling around them and spitting streams of liquid flame from their hollow noses. The Captain was helpless to do anything, his own gun jammed and silent. He watched as his two friends were simultaneously engulfed by the fire spewing at them from all directions. The Pups on either side became blazing comets plummeting towards the blackness below, yet from both appeared the same two olive drab birds of prey. The magnificent creatures winged their way upward, upward, disappearing into the blinding light above, while Swany fell into the swirling madness of unending Hun planes and molten volleys of flame.
Downward he fell, his plane endlessly twisting and turning as he continued to evade his attackers. He kept falling, still flying, but falling all the while. The ground below him tore open as he neared it, and the same fire that filled the noses of the V-strutters filled also the chasm underneath. Swany tried to climb away, but his attackers blocked his path, forcing him lower and lower, closer to the maw of the inferno. There was no escaping it, he knew that now, it was no longer an option. Perhaps it never was. The Captain looked around and saw the limitless Hun closing in for the kill, and suddenly heard a voice calling up to him from the pit below.
“Captain – Captain – you’re wanted – it’s time.”
It was hopeless, so he did the only thing left for him to do – he dove directly into the flames.
Swany awoke with a start. After making his way back to camp following the chaos of the morning sortie he had taken a post-lunch walk in the orchard and, resting against the trunk of one of the apple trees thereafter, had fallen fitfully asleep. Corporal Martyn, the CO’s orderly, was shaking him gently on the shoulder.
“Captain, it’s time, you’re wanted in the Major’s office. He’d like you to take one of the spare Pups and head up the afternoon show if you would, Sir.”
The young ace stood and stretched, then brushed down his uniform before responding, “Thanks Corporal. Let the Major know I’ll be along in a few minutes. I need to splash some water on my face and wake up first.”
As Martyn trotted off, Swany let his head clear while he shook the fears away, sending them back into the shadows. He wondered when, or indeed if, the dreams would end. They were nearly always there now, whenever he did manage to drift off. Nothing to do for it at the moment though, it was time for him to get back to the task at hand.
#4516733 - 04/16/2006:01 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Still scrambling to catch up! I just can't seem to find the time. You'd think I could, being locked in the house and all
Raine - Sorry about the new man - and after such a fantastic introduction, too. It makes a chilling juxtaposition to Collins' long and illustrious career...
2nd. Lt. Evan C. Easom, No. 48 Squadron R.F.C
April 8th - April 10th, 1917.
Bloody April. The words had hung like a storm in the minds of the pilots of Number 48 Squadron R.F.C. since their utterance in the mess the previous evening. The wind seemed to whisper the phrase as the aircrew had stood, semicircular, around the funeral proceedings for Mason, Tidmarsh’s observer, as he was laid into a hastily-dug grave. At the end of the ceremony, Evan had craned his neck upwards at the faraway drone of an aircraft engine, and had spotted a B.E.2 flying Eastwards. Bloody April, indeed. What hope did a B.E.2 have against the Vee-Strutters of Richthofen’s Circus?
Breakfast passed quietly in the mess. Early on, word of two more official confirmations came in for Evan, over the two Albatri at Rumbeke. This had earned him celebrity among his Brother Officers. “Four in as many days!” Baker had said, a grin spread across his face. “You’ll go bankrupt!”. When Evan had asked what he meant, he laughed heartily. “What? You thought you were going to get out of buying a round for the mess?”
Looming over the curious mix of bravado and melancholia that now encapsulated the mess, always, was the operations board. As per usual, ‘B’ flight was on the morning show, and at 7 O’Clock the pilots methodically went through the motions of returning to their billetts, lethargically pulling on their flying gear and, for the quicker among them, returning to the mess for a last cup of coffee before assembling on the flight line, where their Bristols, all with fresh bullet patches from yesterday’s exploits, silently awaited. As Evan had walked from his Bell Tent to the flight line, he took note of two new Nissen Huts that had been freshly erected. One stood in the spot of his old hut. Both huts were without occupants, but he assumed that he and Ackerman, as well as the five newer additions to the Squadron, would be ‘moved in’ before long.
As Evan smoked a cigarette and chatted idly with Tidmarsh and Wilkie, the thin shape of Aldridge appeared from behind a Bessoneau. Gone was yesterday’s indifferent, bored expression. Instead, the man now looked on edge and alert. Evan thought he could detect a hint of fear in the man’s posture and mannerisms as Holliday gave the order to board the machines. The two didn’t exchange any words, and Evan tried to decide whether or not he trusted his life to a man he knew nothing about. He resolved that a couple of tall whiskeys shared in the mess later would give him a better idea.
No. 48’s first show of the day was a patrol at Gonnelieu, East past Bapaume and into Hunland. As the Bristols lifted into the air, Evan felt nervous anticipation building. From the pilots returning from ‘night raids’ into Doullens came whispers from the other Squadrons of increasingly heavy activity of ‘Vee-Strutters’. He was snapped out of his daydreaming by a great flash behind him. Turning around in surprise, he saw two hangars on fire, a thick plume of smoke rising from them as the mechanics tried to wheel the machines away. A second bomb exploded - but this one went wide of the aerodrome. Looking up in shocked outrage, he saw the orange-green shape of a Roland - its whale-fuselage unmistakeable - crazily spiralling down from out of the sun, directly towards the flight. Immediately he banked to meet the German, as did Holliday. The next few moments were a whirl of confusion, as Evan and Holliday climbed to meet their attacker and the other Bristols wildly broke formation.
The defiant German dove through the centre of the formation, aiming a burst at Evan who swung his Bristol clear. In a flash Holliday was behind him, his forward Vickers spitting hatred at the raider. Evan joined the pursuit as the German observer swung his gun around, firing a burst that sent Holliday looping away. Evan closed in for the kill, but a second burst from the rear-facing machine gun sparked across the metal cowling of his machine and shattered the windshield. At the same time, Evan felt a dull thud in his left arm, followed by a deep, hot throb. Oil spattered the fragmented remains of the windshield and burning hot splatters got onto his face. With a yelp he wiped them away and, as the engine began to vibrate viciously, he quickly looped back down onto La Bellevue. As he attempted to lift himself from his machine, a horrible pain seemed to shoot the length of his arm, and with a cry he dropped back into the wicker seat. Behind him, Aldridge moaned in pain, clutching at his side. “I’ve been shot!” he managed, his face white as a ghost as he removed his goggles. Evan turned to face him fully - and again the shooting pain coursed through his arm. He pressed his hand to it and it came away scarlet. “God, I think I have been as well,” he said, more dumbfounded than anything. As Evan saw a gaggle of pilots and NCOs running towards his machine, he remembered to switch off. A Sergeant appeared by his side. “Blimey! You alright?” he asked, wide-eyed, as he noticed the blood that was now flowing from Evan’s arm. “We’re both hit. I might need a hand getting out,” Evan replied, with a weak smile.
Both men were helped from the machine and rushed to the medical tent which, mercifully, had remained unscathed in the raid. The Squadron’s Doctor, whom had the unfortunate name ‘Graves’, methodically helped the two men to remove their gear and tunics, before slipping on a pair of half-moon spectacles and examining their wounds. As he did so, he chuckled to himself. “Well, boys, you’ll have identical scars! Why, I daresay that the same bullet grazed you both”. Evan raised an eyebrow. “Grazed?” he asked, looking down at his injury. Sure enough, the bullet had simply carved a neat, shallow semicircular line from the side of his arm. “Yes. You’re both lucky, you know. Five or six inches to the right and it would have been your heart. But, no matter. It’ll hurt for a little while, but you’ll live. I expect you’ll be flying again in two or three days”.
Dr. Graves bandaged their wounds, put their arms in identical slings, and sent them on their way. In the mess, some of the pilots made jokes at Evan’s expense - but all sounded relieved to see him reasonably well. It was only after lunch that Evan suddenly felt a wave of nauseating shock come over him. He had been shot. Five or six inches to the right and he would have been killed. For a moment he wanted to cry out in terror - but, with a deep, shaky breath he kept his composure, and the sudden fear slowly boiled over. That night, the mess celebrated the killing of the ‘Roland Raider’, who had eventually crashed under Holliday’s guns.
The next three days passed in frustrating boredom. In the morning Evan would come to see off the pilots of ‘B’ flight as they headed out on patrol, all the while feeling exactly like a coward for not being up there with them. Rumours of the losses the R.F.C had been suffering had been growing in frequency, and on April 8th the machines came back with their canvas perforated and their wires severed, having been attacked by a gang of ‘Vee-Strutters’. Despite the sorry look of the machines, however, Tidmarsh jumped out of his cockpit gaily, with a wide grin on his face, and happily shouted to whoever cared to listen “I got one! I bagged a Vee-Strutter!”. Sure enough, the confirmation was made later that day, and there was another celebration in the mess that night. “Finally you buy me a drink, Mary!” Evan joked, as Tidmarsh handed him a double brandy. “Well, don’t get used to it, dear boy” he responded, with a wink.
As predicted, Evan was moved into one of the newly-built Nissens, along with three other men. The first was a new arrival to the Squadron - a Welshman named Alwin. Evan was surprised to learn that he was intended to be Evan’s new observer - once he was fit for flight. “New observer?” Evan had asked, as he helped Alwin move his things in on the evening of the 8th, “What am I getting another new observer for?”. Alwin shot Evan a sideways look. “What happened to the last one?”. “Nothing! Well, not nothing, we were both shot in a scrap, but it was only a graze!”. Alwin squinted, letting out a low ‘hmm’. Once he had helped Alwin move in, and secured a cigarette off the lanky Welshman for his trouble, he headed to Holliday’s office, rapping gently on the door. “Come in,” replied the occupant, and Evan entered, standing to attention in front of Holliday.
“What can I do for you?” he asked, tiredly. “I was wondering why I’ve been assigned another new observer, sir?” Evan inquired. Holliday pursed his lips. “Poor Aldridge is in a bit of a funk after your incident, if you get my meaning. I think he’ll need a little more rest. You will fly with Mr. Alwin for now. Anything else?”. Evan looked at him for a moment, considering this. He recalled the nervous look in Aldridge’s eyes before their last sortie. “No, sir. Thank you”.
The other occupants of Evan’s Nissen were also new arrivals. He recognised Benny Isby, the enthusiastic new arrival that had come on the 5th, but something about the face told Evan that his initial bravado had been washed away by the experience of his first few days at the front. Indeed, Evan had only been at the front himself for 15 days, and already he felt like an old hand. The last man was Larry Audley - a short, muscular red-haired Scotsman, who seemed constantly lost in some impenetrable, deep thought. Evan noticed he carried a small notebook with him, and at random intervals he seemed to frantically write something down, before staring at it for a short while and returning it to his breast pocket.
The morning of the 9th saw La Bellevue come to life in a way Evan hadn’t experienced before. Each airman was woken at 4 A.M to assemble in the mess, where Holliday patiently awaited them. “Gentlemen. Today is the day. Our boys are making the push”. There was a great uproar of cheers from the aircrew. “A, B and C will be flying intermittent patrols all day to cover our reconnaissance friends. The idea is that we keep the skies clear of any air-huns for them. Now, we may be flying two-seat machines, but I want you to forget what you’ve learned up to this point. From now on, we’ll take the fight to the Hun. If you’re attacked, don’t keep formation. Get on the bastards’ tails and shoot them to hell!”. The second round of cheers was ear-splitting. With an eager grin, Evan checked the operations board - but his name was not on it. “Sir?” he asked Holliday, who gave him a sideways glance. “My name isn’t here. There must be a mistake”. The temporary C.O. sighed slightly. “No mistake, Easom. You’re still wounded. I can’t risk you and your machine yet. I’m sorry”. Evan reddened. “But that’s not fair! Today’s the big push, and--” “That’s Final, Easom”.
Bitterly, Evan watched the aircraft as they took off and returned throughout the day. At one point, ‘C’ flight returned with their machines shot-up, but thankfully with no airmen injured. As the day grew old, Evan, defeated, turned in early for the night, saying a quick Hullo to Audley, who was sitting by the writing-desk, quietly scribbling in his notebook. The Scotsman grunted a quiet response.
On the 10th, Evan revisited Dr. Graves, desperate to be cleared for flying again. To his dismay, the Doctor shook his head. “Give it one more day. You can have the sling off now, though”. The frustration was not so bad as it was yesterday- although Evan was still very bitter about missing out on the ‘big push’ (“You should have seen the tracers and the shelling! Like Fireworks!” Isby had reported back to him) - and in the mess that night he buzzed with anticipation of returning to flying duties. The spirits in the mess were higher than they had been in recent days - until Wilkie entered, his face solemn. Immediately Tidmarsh cottoned on. “What’s happened?” he asked, and some of the nearby pilots paused their conversations to listen in. “I went into town today for lunch, and met a pilot from Number 19”. “They’re those Spad drivers, right?” Letts then chimed in. Wilkinson ignored him. “Captain Collins was killed yesterday”. A morbid silence fell over the pilots within earshot. The newspapers, of course, didn’t report on the British Aces - not since Hawker’s death - but they all knew of Captain Collins, VC, the Zeppelin-killer. The man had become legendary on the home front for his exploits. Grimly, Letts sighed and raised his drink. “To Captain Collins”. The pilots toasted.
Bloody April. The words hung like smoke in Evan’s thoughts.
Last edited by Wulfe; 04/16/2011:14 PM.
#4516783 - 04/16/2011:34 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Joined: Nov 2014 Posts: 3,269Fullofit
Beanie, not you too! This seems to be the bloodiest April. RIP Karl. Most hours in a DiD career? That means you’re getting better. C’mon, roll out the next pilot.
Lou, yikes! It looks like the entire Luftstreitkräfte is after you in that rear-view picture. Those Jasta 18 flyboys are tough customers. And then the foreshadowing dream. Is Swany living on borrowed time, or just getting scared of the shadows? Sounds like battle fatigue. A trip to the States might brighten his mood.
Carrick, just a few rain drops and Nigel is already on the town taking in the sights, you dawg.
Thank you all for the congrats on making it an even hundred. It wouldn’t be possible without Toby being bulletproof.
Only one of the four downed Halberstadts could be confirmed. Still, I t was Toby’s 100th and the celebrations were scheduled for this evening. Toby and his flight reached their destination - the Ablainzeville aerodrome which they were ordered to patrol over. Soon after, he spotted a quartet of enemy machines gunning for him. It was a messy furball, but Toby was able to select one of the Huns and take him out. The Albatros caught on fire and ended up crashing right in the middle of the aerodrome below. Toby soon found another victim and chased him all the way past the aerodrome and over the woods east of it, where he promptly shot him down in flames as well.
He then proceeded to fly back to the patrol area. Mulberry was nearly there, when he noticed another furball in progress. A furball he quickly joined and found himself on the tail of an Albatros. He had him on the run and after a short chase killed the pilot with one long burst. He couldn’t see anyone else around and proceeded to return to Auchel on his own.
Wulfe - Great to have you back. We're the catch-up crew here for now That Roland is becoming tiresome. Glad it was just a superficial flesh wound for the boys. ________________________________________________________
6 April 1917 Chipilly, France
Off just after the morning patrol. My orders: Learn the territory. Put my time in the school room to good use. The Somme, like a green snake, pointed off east to the lines. I climbed North, up to 5000’, just under the cloud layer. I could see the torn landscape from last year’s fighting. There was the enormous mine crater on Hawthorn ridge, still wet and glistening like an open wound. Nearby lay Beaumont Hamel, and there Thiepval, Fricourt and Mametz. All graveyards of valorous men.
Doullens to the north and to the East, I could see Bapaume and the Bois de St. Pierre. Important landmarks when the time came. On the way home, I flew over Grovetown twice and waggled the wings in greeting. 55 CCS were only 3 or 4 miles behind the lines last year! They’re much farther back now. I wonder if they’ll move forward soon. At last, the Étang de la Hutte, our neighboring pond hove into view. It was visible for many miles. A Pharos to guide me home in the coming days.
Spent nearly 30 minutes with Mitchell and Johnson discussing the particulars of my flight. I’ll stunt her a bit more this afternoon and see if anything needs adjusting.
1440. Joined the afternoon patrol with strict orders to disengage and run if e/a spotted. Our mission was a defensive patrol between Chipilly and Étrun, one of my missing forward ‘dromes from Professor Strugnell’s School of Map Reading.
Climbing out South, we did a racetrack circuit or two to gain altitude, then headed North. By the time we reached Étrun we’d levelled off at 13500’. Approaching the airfield from the South, Stewart suddenly broke formation and zoomed up next to my machine. He swept his outstretched arm back and forth several times and pointed Southwest. That was my signal to depart. Saluting, I peeled away for home. Were the enemy near? I saw nothing but A flight high above.
Walking back up to the mess, I saw the CO, who waved me into the office. “Winningstad, tomorrow you’ll join B Flight on the morning patrol. I do wish we had more time for you to get settled, but the match is starting, and we need the entire side. I know I can count on you.” “Thank you, sir.” I stood on the stoop of the Squadron office. Tomorrow, my first combat patrol! I started back to my hut when I heard voices through the office window. I paused. Shouldn’t be eavesdropping Oliver, yet some instinct told me to stay and listen.
It was Captain Nicholson speaking to Major Horn. “You can’t send him up now. Give him time. The main show’s still days off.” “Wing were most insistent,” said Major Horn. “They want every man in the air and I agree with them.” “Do you remember why he’s even here? What happened to his predecessor? That boy would still be alive if he’d been allowed time to learn something!”
There was a long silence as the accusation hung in the air.
“That’s not fair, Uncle. Not fair at all,” said Major Horn. “Now, as you say, the big show won’t kick off for a few days yet. He might learn enough in the next few patrols to survive when the curtain rises. I spoke to Strugnell on this. He said our Winningstad did very well at Upavon. Has an inquisitive sort of mind about flying, among other things. Always asking questions. Gave the staff instructors fits, apparently.”
I walked back to the flight line and waited for the patrol. Shortly thereafter the klaxon sounded its long whine, and there above the Étang were one, two, three… seven! All accounted for, but one Pup was smoking badly. Ground crews sprang into action as the flights landed. Ack Ems armed with fire extinguishers surged forward to deal with the smoking plane. It was Reg Charley’s.
Back in the mess, I found Stewart, drink in hand and well on his way. “What happened?” I asked. Were there Huns about when you sent me home?” “Not then,” he replied, “but we soon got mixed up with some V-strutters. Turned into a huge scrap. I climbed up out of it and then dove back in. Shot a Hun off Reg’s tail.” It was Stewart’s first kill. _____________________________________
I left the celebration early. I needed time to clear my head and think. Eliza. I’d dreamed of our reunion for so long. It wasn’t supposed to be like that. I just wanted to kiss her, feel her touch, tell her … tell her what, exactly? That the Leftenant is a bumbling ass who can’t find the right words in any of the languages he speaks?
I was no stranger to women when I met Eliza, but those women with whom I lay fancied sailors, especially sailors with coin to spend on gifts, and … other things. I knew those waters well. We met to fulfill our different needs. There was affection, but never any talk of love. All very straightforward.
Uncharted seas now, neither stars nor compass to guide me.
Last edited by epower; 04/19/2004:14 PM.
#4516797 - 04/17/2001:57 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Joined: Nov 2014 Posts: 3,269Fullofit
Wulfe, that was some adventure! I wonder if anybody will want to be his observer? Another observer, but ... whatever happened to Wickham? Looking forward to reading of the Brisfit exploits in their new role.
Epower, sounds like Oliver is about to be pushed into the deep end of the pool. Hopefully he’ll be able to hold his own. I have a feeling he’ll do just fine. Big push or not.
"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."
#4516798 - 04/17/2002:13 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Beanie, I’ve been trying to catch up since losing my first pilot and saw your 10th victory. Just as I was making notes to send a citation to the Gong Fairy, I read of Roth’s demise. Bloody April has been rough on everyone. Please hit the reset button and introduce your new pilot quickly!
Fullofit, congratulations on hitting a century! That is an incredible achievement. We may have to take you up on your offer to transfer to DH4s soon. I wanted to say that Toby should come a bit further south and take care of the Richthofen circus for my new pilot, but I see you’ve already done that. There is no stopping Mulberry!
Epower, a great introduction to 54 Squadron and Chipilly. Lovely to read the encounter with Mannock at the pilots’ pool in St Omer and the reunion with Strugnell. Good on the captain for filling in a rainy day with productive homework! The reunion with Eliza was a great piece of writing, as was the overheard conversation outside the squadron office. Thoroughly enjoying Winningstad’s account. And Backpfeifengesicht – what a wonderful expression. It’s like one of my favourites: “A face one would never tire of slapping.”
Lou, that engagement on 16 April reminded me of how I lost Jim Collins. Twelve Albatri! Swany did very well to bag two and get his machine back with his skin intact. I suspect that livery is like blood in the water to the flying circus. Your last post with the dream sequence was a miniature masterpiece. Well done!
Carrick, another ground attack mission? Did know one tell Nigel about the old trick of leaving the Scotch bottle in the OC’s mail box? I thought not.
Wulfe, another stellar episode! Sorry to hear about Evan’s wounding. At least it let you get caught up a bit. Now that Evan is able to fly the Bristol as he wants to it should be a very interesting April. And I was very touched by the toast to Collins at the end. I miss the fellow fiercely.
#4516800 - 04/17/2002:22 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
A Bluenoser’s War: the letters of 2d Lieut. Michael Colin McKinnon, R.F.C.
14 April 1917
Master Robert McKinnon C/O Kings Collegiate School Windsor, Nova Scotia Canada
When I was about to leave Canada for England, you asked me to write you now and then and let you know how your big brother was getting on with the business of beating the Kaiser. Until now I have addressed all my letters to Mum and Dad, as they have mostly had to do with training and schools and shopping and sightseeing. But now that I am finally bound for action I will begin sending “special” letters to you at last. The post here is censored and they likely won’t let me say too much of interest. I have figured out a way around that little problem. Keep this to yourself. I met a fellow at Saint Omer, the place in France where new pilots report for service and where new aircraft are delivered from England and from which old aircraft are returned so that trainee pilots can kill themselves in them. Anyway, this fellow and I worked out a deal. For a small fee, he will ensure that my letters to you get to an American I know in London who can get them into the US diplomatic post. Every so often you should get a parcel from Washington with my last batch of letters. This whole arrangement is a bit risky so the parcels will be sent to you at Kings Collegiate School. You will have to arrange for someone there to receive and hold them for you when you go home at the end of term.
You must swear to keep this all to yourself as many people will get in trouble if you don’t. If Dad learns of it, his job with the government will be on the line, as will yours truly’s rear end.
Okay, now for the good stuff! France is interesting. I got here a week ago on a ship to Boulogne. The harbour there is as full of ships as Halifax and the place seems more British than French, except that the omelettes are better and the kids in the street are dirtier. They put me straight onto a train for the “aircraft depot” in St Omer. The trains here are execrable. Still, it’s easier than walking though half as quick. I got to the depot in the morning after a mostly sleepless night. There I had a billet in a small hotel. The days were spent trying to get a few minutes in the air in one of the machines they had for us to practice with. I had a flip on a Sopwith Scout and a Nieuport Scout. The latter is a French machine fitted out mainly with English instruments. When we were not flying, the new pilots gathered in the mess at the “pilots’ pool.” There were all kinds of rumours fgoing about. Right now there is a big push on. That’s what they call an offensive against the Germans (whom, by the way, are always referred to as “Huns” or “Fritzes”). They say the Canadians are front and centre this time and I hope we will do ourselves proud. Every day we get some chaps called over to the office and dispatched to squadrons who have lost a pilot. It was a bit disconcerting to see how many of these calls have started to come in.
Finally, a couple of days ago I got the call. Together with another fellow named Stratton I was ordered to report to No. 60 Squadron. I am told that I am lucky as this is a crack unit. They fly Nieuport scouts.
The tender (i.e. a smaller Crossley lorry) that brought us to the squadron entered a village whose sign announced it as Le Hameau. From there we turned onto a rutted dirt lane that passed by tall hedges until it descended beneath the level of the surrounding fields for nearly a mile, emerging by a large farm complex surrounded by trees. The only signs of an aerodrome were several wooden sheds that backed onto the embankment by the road and a muddy cutting into the embankment up which the tender slithered precariously. Once in the field above we could see a row of Bessonneau hangars (large wood and canvas sheds for aircraft). Behind the hangers we could see the corrugated metal roofs of the line of Nissen huts. We were met by a sergeant and two men whom he ordered to move our kit into two of the Nissen huts. He then pointed us in the direction of the squadron office. It lay beyond the officers’ huts at the far corner of the farm and backed onto a lovely orchard. The place is called Filescamp.
I met the commanding officer, whose name is Scott. He invited me to sit down and grilled me about my training. I told him about my time in Upavon and my advanced training at Joyce Green. He said that I could take a couple of days to get more time in on the Nieuport and become familiar with the landscape around the aerodrome. He made it clear to me that he would accept nothing less than determination and valour and that he was determined that 60 Squadron should be the best and most renowned unit in the Royal Flying Corps. Major Scott was a barrister and a country gentleman. He has a clipped yet reassuring way of talking to you and my first impressions of him are good. He is lame from a flying accident and walks with two sticks. Despite that, he led me briskly out of the office to the mess to introduce me and Stratton to the rest of the pilots. They are really a mixed lot. Let me start with the flight commanders. Our squadron, like all the rest, is divided into three flights. Each is commanded by a captain. Sometimes the flight commander is only a second lieutenant or lieutenant “substantively”, but they make them up to temporary captains when they get the job. They wear the pips of a captain and draw the pay yet it can take a long time for the real rank to catch up. My flight commander is Captain Caldwell but as he is on leave anyone can be assigned by the boss to take his place. Then there is Alan Binnie, an Australian, and Lt Pidcock, whom they call “Pidders” in the mess. Pidders has just taken over from the previous flight commander who was killed shortly before I arrived. His temporary captaincy is expected to be confirmed any day.
I haven’t met everyone yet. There are a few Irishmen, Captain Molesworth and a chap named Gregory, by far the oldest one of the bunch. Someone told me that Gregory is a champion cricketer in Ireland! Scotland is represented. I forget all the names but there is a fellow named Young who was with the Seaforths and one named Napier who was an Argyll. We have South Africans, too. I think the rest are mainly English. I shall have to sort them out later.
Now for the Canadians! There are three of us, I think. Rutherford was studying engineering at McGill before heading for England and the RFC. Then there’s me, of course. The third, like myself, transferred from the CEF back in 1915. He has had a turn in France as an observer and then went to England to learn to fly. He arrived back in late March and has been putting on quite a show since. His name is Bishop and he is from Ontario. The CO makes a bit of a fuss over him as he has already bagged seven Huns! Some pilot, eh?
I share a hut with three others: Horn, Pope (I forgot – another Irishman – the place is rotten with bog trotters), and Redler. Oh, and there are two dogs, a black terrier sort of thing and a real stew pot that looks a bit like a small labrador. Their fleas entertain the earwigs that have started to come out. Each hut has a soldier-servant. Ours is named Kennedy. Yes, he’s Irish too and is a sullen sort.
I have already been on four patrols so far and have been up to the lines or over each time. Yesterday we did two patrols without seeing a Hun. Both were what they call line patrols. You parade up and down the front about a mile or two over German territory. They call it “Hunland.” When we do these patrols they are termed either north or south. North means that you go up the lines about as far as Lille. South means that you head down the lines as far as Cambrai. We also sometimes get signed to distant offensive patrols where you have to go 10 or 20 miles into Hunland and show the flag. Everyone hates those.
Return to Filescamp Farm
We always fly as a group of one or two flights at least. They say that the air war has become a lot more dangerous this year. If you’ve read in the papers about the British pilot Albert Ball you will think that everyone heads out solo and bats Huns out of the air. That is poppycock. Mind you, our man Bishop has gone up alone a few times and made some kills. It’s not supposed to happen very often but Major Scott lets him.
This morning we did a line patrol to the south and Major Scott led us. At one point, he waggled his wings and pointed upwards. A group of eight aeroplanes was passing us high overhead. He did not try to engage them as they were far too high up for us to catch and we were getting low on petrol. We typically fly for two hours and then have to return to refuel. This afternoon, we had a long patrol farther over the lines because we had to escort a couple of our observation machines. The observation machines are two-seaters and are very slow. These were an older type of machine and everyone agrees that it is a rotten thing to be assigned to a squadron that flies them. In any event we were lucky today because the weather was rather poor and cloudy and we did not see any German machines.
Well, Robbie, that is about all I have time for as I have to be up before dawn tomorrow. I will write again in a few days and continue the tale. I hope you are studying well and holding up the family name. With luck the war will be over before you are able to join up. I know you don’t want to hear that but it is the best thing. Be sure you are able to get into university and get a good job when your studies are finished. The Royal Flying Corps will be my university and I will probably have to mooch off you the rest of my life!
Your better-looking brother,
#4516801 - 04/17/2002:23 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Joined: Nov 2014 Posts: 3,269Fullofit