21 November, 1917 Saint-Loup-en-Champagne, Marne Sector Jasta 19 Leutnant Zygmunt Dolf Hahn EK2 EK1 HHO PLM AO 90 confirmed kills
All four of Hahn’s last claims have been confirmed. Zygmunt had now 90 victories to his credit. He could not believe his luck with the claims board. He must have done something right. Bad weather rolled in just in time to start the celebrations.
"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."
#4545771 - 11/23/2012:03 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Back to the Jasta in time for an Intercept: Spotted and dove on 5 Spads. The Schwarm leader led us in a Shallow dive a mistake that we paid in machines. The Spads were apart and in circling we were slow low and massed together. 2 Albatros s went down in succession then the spads departed for 0 losses.
Last edited by carrick58; 11/23/2012:04 AM.
#4545778 - 11/23/2001:06 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
As it had for so many in the Great War, when the end came for Hans-Dieter Vogel, it came quickly. That morning he had received notice that he would attend new aircraft trials near Berlin in January. It was the first time, despite his successes, that he felt truly recognised. He walked to the readiness hut early that morning, full of confidence.
The task was routine. Meet to DFW observation machines south of Lille and escort them down below Arras. They would drop a few bombs and created a diversion to draw away British defenders before other raiders attacked their airbases. Until they reached Arras the sky was empty of enemy machines. Then they encountered the same group of twin-gun Spads they had met the previous week. These Frenchmen with their stork-emblazoned machines outnumbered the Albatrosen of Jasta 12. But Vogel had the measure of them and avoided allowing any of them to get a shot. In return, Vogel peppered a couple of Spads and chased one back over the lines until ground fire began to poke holes in its wings. At that point, Vogel turned eastward and climbed away, zigzagging to avoid the deadly fire from below.
Back above the German trench lines, he took stock of his position. He had stressed the airframe during the fight and would have to be careful. Several kilometres to the east, an Albatros was circling with an enemy machine. Another Albatros was flying home, a little to the north of Vogel. He searched the sky and saw nothing else. At that point he decided to go to the assistance of the Albatros he had seen to the east. He climbed it full throttle toward the two specks in the distance.
He jumped in his seat as a tracer round flashed past his head. He knew better than to turn – one had to immediately snap the machine about. There was a flash of light and then nothing.
Last edited by Raine; 11/23/2001:09 AM.
#4545780 - 11/23/2001:10 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
On Parade for a Visit from Count von Kluggerman. My commandant is being promoted to General Staff. Unofficially, the Count is looking for Test Pilots for the New wonder fighters that they have been promising for so long and the Countess is just looking. I kept my hand down.
Last edited by carrick58; 11/24/2001:45 AM.
#4545871 - 11/24/2003:19 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Once the weather cleared, Ziggy’s Schwarm was ordered again to take out the observation balloon west of Reims. Leusch got the gasbag, but there was another one up within hours. They were ordered to eliminate the replacement as well. On the way to the target Hahn’s engine went kaputt while over the enemy territory and had to turn back. He gained as much height as he could before the engine gave up the ghost. He was at 1500 meters. He crossed the front lines at 1000 and reached the rear lines with barely any altitude left. The papers reported the death of another German Kanone, Obltn Hans-Dieter Vogel. Zygmunt never met the man, but Vaterland could definitely use more of his ilk.
"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."
#4546017 - 11/25/2002:12 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Joined: May 2012 Posts: 4,499RAF_Louvert
BOC President; Pilot Extraordinaire; Humble Man
Close Call : Our Kette of 4 got jumped by 5 Camels while on AF Patrol. I had one on my tail ( Red wing tips ) and I could not shake him so spun out taking a few Mg hole in my a/c. At low level , I pulled into a turn and zoomed missing the Tress the e/a did not. A loud Crash bang and no more Camel. Total Score 1 for 1.for the flight. No personal Claim due to the E/a Crashed by pilot Error. not gunfire.
Last edited by carrick58; 11/25/2007:54 PM.
#4546074 - 11/25/2009:28 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Carrick, great work by Rupert! Those twin guns make all the difference, don't they?
Thanks to everyone for the condolences. I shall miss Vogel and Steinmesser. I think the latter will end the war running a Soldiers' Council and thieving his way back to Germany. Here is my first instalment for my newest reincarnation.
War Journal of Flight Sub-Lieutenant George Ewan MacAlister 8 Squadron, RNAS Mont-St-Eloi, France
Squadron Commander Christopher Draper
The Squadron Commander’s name was Draper. He seemed like a keen sort, unafraid of command yet slightly awkward about it, somewhat like a new prefect although more organised. He motioned for me to put my sea-bag and valise in the corner and take a seat. Then he put me through close questioning.
“Two brothers, HMS Valiant and HMS Penelope. One sister, University of Glasgow.” I watched as the commander scratched notes in his leather-bound journal.
“My father is a surgeon in Glasgow. He practised in London for many years.” Now he is at the Royal Infirmary and teaches at the School of Medicine. Our home is in Dumbarton, but Father stays in the city through the week.”
“So he was never a Navy man?”
I shook my head. “His two brothers are both retired RN, though.”
“Harrow, three years. Saint Bee’s before that, sir.”
Draper smiled. “That explains why I can understand you. Training?”
“I did basic at Chingford, sir. Then gunnery at Eastchurch and advanced at HMS Daedilus. Then I was drafted to Dover and got a few hours in on Pups and Camels, sir.”
“How many hours on Camels?”
“Ten, sir. Nearly eleven.”
“Nearly eleven? Splendid. And you haven’t killed herself yet. Even better. You’re going to need a bit more practice before your much good to us, I’m afraid. We have a few of the lads on leave so we need to slot you into patrols, but we shall do our best to keep your world Hun-free. Welcome to Naval Eight!”
Squadron Commander Draper pulled his chair back with a squeak. “Now let’s see who is in the wardroom.” Draper retrieved his cap from a hook by the door and led me outside past a row of Bessonneau hangars to an Armstrong hut that bore a hand-painted sign announcing that it was indeed our wardroom. The skipper entered first and I heard the scraping of chairs as the residents jumped to their feet. I gave a glance over my shoulder before stepping inside. It was raining hard and the guns pounded loud and close. There was a “push” underway a little to the south. The sun was setting and the gun-flashes rippled orange on the lowering cloud. Over by the squadron office, the White Ensign stretched out from its pole and snapped sharply in the wind and the ship’s bell swayed on its gantry.
Inside, it took a second for my eyes to adjust. The windows had no glass, only oilcloth. The heat in the room came from two fat iron stoves. Bits of German aeroplane hung from the walls and ceilings, interspersed with watercolour cartoons and dirty pictures. Two officers lounged over a battered billiard table and four others played a noisy game of ping-pong at the far end of the room. Newspapers and magazines littered odd tables. Armchairs showed stuffing where they had been nipped and torn by one of the several dogs that yelped and skittered about the floor. There were many introductions, and I came away with no memory at all of who was who. I have always been terrible with names.
Squadron Commander Draper bought me a whiskey at the bar. I asked him if he would remind me of the name of the flight commander he said was mine.
“Munday,” he said. “Good man on balloons. Bagged four of them so far. He likes to do it at nighttime.”
I’d had a long day getting here from Dunkirk, but I had to remain in the wardroom long enough to buy a drink for the skipper. That was enough to attract two or three of the other pilots and lead to yet another round. It was nearly midnight before I could leave. My kit was still in the squadron office and I had to find the Officer of the Watch to get the place unlocked. Then there was a long and muddy trudge to find the correct Armstrong hut in the dark. I stumbled about inside until I found a vacant place for my cot.
The next morning, 22 November 1917, I went for breakfast with my cabin-mates. We were all sublieutenants. There was White, a Canadian. He was born and raised on some island in Ontario and told tales of duck hunting and Red Indians. Sneath was a Londoner from Hendon, which explains his love of flying. He told me he grew up at the edge of a flying field. Rounding out our little band of novice pilots was Holmes, a Welshman. He told me his life story over a boiled egg and I did not understand a word. It had been a cold night in our canvas-sided hut. The others showed little sympathy and informed me that until a couple of weeks ago the squadron had been entirely housed in tents. I made a note to buy some blankets on my first trip into a town.
After breakfast, Flight Commander Munday met me at the sheds after breakfast and we spent a couple of hours with my rigger, Semple, and my fitter, Billington. The rain continued all day and the low cloud and high winds eliminated any chance of flying, but we were able to wheel my Camel over to the butts to zero the machine guns.
The skipper gave me a sheet of paper with a list of don’ts for the Camel. There were points on it I had not learned in training such as the importance of keeping the throttle open when the engine is off to let cool air run through the engine. It seems that each point on the list has caused someone to land in a field!
The gods conspired to keep me from the air again for two more days. Finally, on the late morning of Saturday, 24 November 1917, I flew for the first time with Naval Eight. Ours was a defensive patrol well back of the lines, the perfect introduction for a tyro like me. We flew north toward Bailleul, flitted about for a while, and returned home. I knew I was being tested for my ability to keep formation. This crowd keeps a fairly loose formation, the better for combat, I am told. That made it fairly easy. There were a few times when I fell a little behind or below, but I was able to catch up and take my place within less than a minute on every occasion. In all we were out for nearly two hours and did not see another machine. Or at least I did not see another machine. Apparently there were several, all friendly. I am assured that all new pilots have difficulty spotting other machines in the air at first. That is disconcerting, I must say.
The Camel is a lovely machine but a temperamental one. Like all rotary-engined machines, one is for ever fiddling with the mixture. It was drilled into me to ignore the gradients marked on the throttle and mixture quadrants and simply tune the thing by ear like a piano. Not being tremendously musical, this made me nervous, but I soon found it to be good advice. I took special care during turns to keep the nose of the machine on the horizon. That is no small feat in a Camel. Turn one way and the nose falls; turn the other way and the nose rises. The machine guns here have a much faster rate of fire than the guns of the Camel I trained on in Dover. I am told that this is due to a device that uses the escaping gas from the barrel to boost the gun’s recoil. I shall have to get the armourer to explain it to me.
On Sunday, 25 November 1917, the weather broke at last. Squadron Commander Draper was leading the show. He briefly explained to us that our forces, led by masses of tanks, had come close to a breakthrough near Cambrai. Today our job was to patrol the lines north of Cambrai and make sure that no enemy machine was able to spot for artillery or take photographs. We took off in twos and climbed away to the south, arriving over the lines at 7000 feet. I was stationed slightly above and to the left of Draper, with others stepping up on either side and another formation of Camels above and to our rear. It had been pressed on me never to fly more than fifteen or twenty seconds without a glance over my shoulder.
I probably forgot that instruction because of my intense concentration on station-keeping. We patrolled in this manner down to Cambrai and then turned north as far as Courcelles. We had just turned back toward Cambrai when Draper began waggling his wings and turned a little more to the east. We climbed for several minutes. I had been taught that such a wing waggling was a signal that enemy machines had been sighted, yet the sky was empty. I began to wonder what else it might connote when, almost directly in front of me and a little above, a large two-seater suddenly appeared. Most oddly, its wings bore crosses instead of cockades! I watched open-mouthed while Draper and another Camel had a go at it. The German machine, for that is what it was, turned about and passed overhead. I brought my Camel around to the left in a climbing turn, being careful to avoid the stall it was prone to in this manoeuvre. Suddenly there was a jolt and my Camel fell into a sideslip. Off to one side I saw another Sopwith spiralling down with a piece missing from its upper centre section. It seems I had collided in my first brush with combat. I continued my sideslip and watched as the other Camel – it was White’s – recovered control and headed back toward Mont-St-Eloi. My right lower plane was badly damaged. Still, I was able to recover full control and head home. I landed at a somewhat higher speed than normal as my machine threatened to stall at a normal speed. To my surprise, at the moment I touched the ground my landing gear went on strike and walked off the job! The Camel collapsed onto its belly and skidded to a stop. It was the consensus of the onlookers that the sodden condition of the field probably saved my life.
"My right lower plane was badly damaged."
There was little time to fret. Draper called White and me on the carpet and questioned us about the collision. I explained that I was in a hard left bank and had last seen White well off to my right and somewhat behind. White explained that he had also turned to the left and had glanced over his shoulder. When he looked ahead he did not see my machine as his view was blocked by the upper wing and he did not expect me to be in such an aggressive turn. We walked away from the experience having been reminded of how much money we had taken from the King’s pocket and how little brainpower the two of us possessed.
My machine was ready late that afternoon and we were bound for Cambrai and another line patrol. This one was led by Flight Lieutenant Compston. Compston is our leading Hun-getter by all accounts. We patrolled the lines north of Cambrai for nearly 40 minutes before Compston signalled that he had spotted a German. Again we climbed eastward. This time, however, I spotted the Hun when he was still a few hundred yards off. I had been studying the aircraft recognition manual and identified the machine as a Rumpler – a quick, high altitude observation machine. I was perfectly positioned to approach the EA from behind and below and flew under it until I could see its belly through the cutout in my upper wing. Then I pulled the joystick back and fired. It took only a second or two before I popped up on the German’s tail. This was a dangerous situation and one I should have avoided. As soon as one is high enough, the enemy observer has an easy shot at a stationary target.
My intent was to dip back below the Hun but I kept firing and saw my rounds hitting all about the sections of the machine where the observer and pilot sat. And then to my surprise, the Rumpler dipped its left wings and fell into a level spin. I circled about and watched as it continued to fall out of control for more than a minute. Eventually I lost sight of it against the ground, but by that point it was mere seconds from crashing. I turned away and looked for the rest of the formation. Not finding them, I flew to the most northern end of our patrol line, thinking this to be the safest location for a novice flying alone. Nearly twenty minutes passed before I saw a large group of scouts approaching. The distinctive lower wing dihedral of the Camel told me I was back in safe hands.
"And then to my surprise, the Rumpler dipped its left wings and fell..."
Back at Mont-St-Eloi, there were many hearty congratulations and more than a few drinks. It was considered a “bloody good show” to down a Hun on one’s first day over the lines. I was feeling very satisfied with my lot in life.
#4546095 - 11/25/2011:32 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Joined: Nov 2014 Posts: 3,269Fullofit
Lou, a Friday engine? That’s practically middle of the week for the Germans working through the weekend. It’s a perfectly good engine, probably just doesn’t like to be handled roughly. The Countess, on the other hand ...
Carrick, the Camel wasn’t claimed?! If it weren’t for you bravely running away he’d never crash. I say he’s yours.
Raine, great introduction to George and already in trouble on his first outing. Congrats on opening the scoreboard: 1 Rumpler and 2 Camels in one day. You know how to pick them. I wonder if any of the old hands will mention Mulberry? That Abbey nearby must be a nice landmark to get your bearings. Will MacAlister ever try to fly between the bell towers on a drunken dare? So many possibilities! Welcome George Ewan MacAlister.
Raine - Happy Thanksgiving to you and all too! Also, a brilliant introduction to your new man, and a hair-raising start as well. Let’s hope George’s incredible good luck holds. No more collisions though, OK? And first blood already to boot!
Carrick – Glad Rupert was able to miss those trees. I bet they jumped right up in front of him too, they’re nasty that way.
Fullofit - Ziggy’s at 90 now? Wowzers!
26 November 1917 65 Squadron R.F.C. Bailleul, France
The last week had not been particularly kind to the King’s airmen stationed near the Asylum. The weather had been, and continued to be, atrocious. Gale force winds and intermittent rain had curtailed most flying, with only the odd sortie here and there when a break in the gusts and showers allowed. It was on the 23rd during one such break when Captain Frederick Abbott led ‘B’ Flight on an O.P. of the lines east of Plugstreet. At the same time Captain William Higgins, (Higgy to the men of 65 Squadron), led ‘A’ Flight along the same route a thousand feet higher. It was over the front, amid dense clouds and high winds, when the incident occurred. Two of the greener pilots, 2nd Lt. Marshall of Freddy’s flight, and 2nd Lt. Rosenthal of Higgy’s, got turned round and confused in the haze and ended up colliding with each other. Both Camels broke up in the air and both men were lost. At the same time Lt. Keller, also from Higgy’s flight, had an engine failure and, having also gotten disoriented in the clouds, wound up landing in Hunland and was taken prisoner. The only upside to the disastrous outing came when Abbott caught sight of a lone Albatros well below him, dove and fired on it, crashing it into the mud south of Polygon Wood. Things were somewhat subdued during dinner that evening, however no mention was made of the casualties or losses, as per Major Cunningham’s edict, (the squadron’s CO, even before they’d left England, had ordered there would never be such talk in the officers’ mess - ever).
It was now three days later and a brace of replacement pilots had arrived shortly before morning tea: 2nd Lieutenants Charles Matthews and Harold Dyer. The first was your typical young lad fresh from school, while the second was more of an odd duck. Dyer was 38 when he’d learned to fly and signed on with the RFC, and before that had been an orchestra conductor and pianist of some renown. The two were introduced to the squadron properly that evening at dinner, and more so afterwards when things got squiffy as the men celebrated Captain Abbott’s thirtieth victory, the Albatros from the 23rd having been confirmed.
“Say Freddy, why don’t you tell Dyer and Matthews here what you said to the King when He was presenting you with the DSO last month”, the CO suggested as he took a sip from the round Abbott had just treated everyone to.
“Haw!”, Frederick laughed. “I will if you insist Major.”
“I do Freddy. Found it quite amusing actually, would enjoy hearing you tell it again.”
“Right-O then”, the Captain agreed, flashing his toothy grin before tossing back a scotch. “So, we were all at the Palace and it was quite a large affair, well over two hundred of us receiving gongs that day. They had us seated in the main hall, with an elevated platform at the front where the King stood for the presentations. They marched us up there, a row at a time, and we would parade up the few steps at the near side of the platform in receiving line fashion, each of us stopping and facing the King as our turn came. His Majesty would then hang the medals on us, offer congratulations and say a few words, after which we were dismissed and would continue on to the other side of the platform, down the far steps, and back to our seats. I was well towards the end of it all as I was receiving the DSO and they were presenting the things in prestige rank, lowest to highest you see.”
At this point 2nd Lt. Guy Knocker brought Abbott another scotch.
“Most kind of you Guy, thanks old top - Cheers!” Freddy raised his glass, drained the shot, and continued. “So there I was, standing in front of the King as He pins the medal on my tunic, and He says, ‘well done Captain’, and I say ‘thank you Your Majesty’, and I’m thinking we’re through when He then says, ‘your father is Mr. Arledge Abbott of Biddenden, is he not?’. And for whatever reason I reply ‘he is Sir, and I hope you won’t hold that against me’.”
At this point everyone in the mess bursts into laughter, including the two new men.
“Yes, you all laugh, however His Majesty did not. Rather He looked at me as if I had lobsters crawling from my ears. I didn’t know what to do next so I blurted ‘Haw, joking Sir, my apologies for the poor landing’. Thank God He smiled at that point and sent me on my way - nearly tripped on the steps making a hasty retreat from that faux pas I can tell you.”
More rounds were enjoyed and entertaining stories told. When it was discovered that 2nd Lt. Dyer was a master musician he was ordered to the piano were he promptly launched into a medley of popular sing-a-long tunes. Towards the end of it 2nd Lt. Knocker stepped forward and managed a fairly fine Scottish accent as he belted out a rendition of “A Wee Deoch an’ Doris” that brought down the house. It was an epic affair that did not come to a close until well past one in the morning.
NOTE: The majority of the pilot’s names as well as the three losses of the 23rd were referenced from Lt. Guy Knocker’s own diary and letters, all of which have been gathered and published by his grandson Christopher Burgess in “The Diary & Letters of a World War I Fighter Pilot”.