Carrick - Welcome to Jeffrey! Excellent pics as always. I like the one of Jeffrey lurking below the Hannover. Stay fast but keep an eye on that temperature gauge. The SE Hispano is more temperamental than Eliza with low blood sugar... Cruising at 1800 RPM seems to work well through 12K. Gods below! I just realized I've been misspelling "termperamental" for over 40 years. If there's a 'Comeback player of the DID Campaign' award, you've got it locked up. I wish Jeffrey a long career. BTW, he wouldn't happen to have a cousin named Yukon, by chance?
Lou - No worries at all. So many references, so little time. Rather like historical aerodromes... In the words of one of Oliver's ghosts, "there will be a test later." Shame about poor Dyer. I fear he won't be the last. I have no doubt that Freddy and the boys will give him a proper send off.
Raine - Posts passing in the night. MacAlister using the Stewpot method for 2-seaters with success. Well done. Every time Oliver tries it he gets well-ventilated. Close one there for the young George! Sluggish controls are never fun and I can't imagine what they must be like in the torque-monster Camel. I was worried there that he might be forced down in Hunland. Stark and terrifying screen cap. Brilliant.
Fullofit - How is Ziggy getting on with the nurses in the Marne sector?
À la Recherche du Temps Perdu - Part 47 of many
4 November 1917 56 Squadron RFC Estrée-Blanche, France
Johnson left for HE this morning and A-Flight are much the less for it. Another old hand gone.
9.00 Escort of 2 R.E.8s on bombing run east of Oppy. Hoidge, Turnbull, Harmon, Dodds, Cawson and Roy. Lost Dodds to a dud engine on way to the lines. After seeing the Harry Tate’s to the target and safely back through Allied lines we returned to Hunland looking for trouble.
3 Pfalz over Houplin aerodrome all wanted to kill me. I dragged them in a line while A Flight shot them down in turn. Reformed and climbed to 10000 ft heading SE toward La Petrie and Bersée aerodromes.
A single DFW over Bersée. My guns jammed after 20 rounds. Hoidge finished the job
Over Lens more Pfalz! This one shot past me and went after Cawson.
I broke into their circle. The Hun fell, thunderously, and his armor clattered upon him.
Another Pfalz stormed down into the fight. He was too keen and joined his fallen comrade.
No word yet on today's claims.
Hubert Charles, our indefatigable genius of an Equipment officer and my tentmate these past three months, will go to 9th Wing tomorrow. We threw a raucous party for him tonight.
Beery, slightly the worse for wear, pulled me aside. “Ripper, what was it Lewis said about the SE when in first arrived? Oh blast, you weren’t here then. Georgie, what did Lewis call it?”
“An abortion,” Hoidge replied. “The SE5 as turned out by Farnborough was an abortion.”
The entire squadron and for that matter all who fly the SE5 stand in Hubert’s debt. It was his modifications of defective designs which turned the SE into a killing machine. Grandpa Marson made one of many fine speeches to that effect.
5 November 1917 56 Squadron RFC Estrée-Blanche, France
Guy Fawkes Day, so my English comrades informed me. No bonfires possible but Wing had thoughtfully provided orders to strafe one of Kaiser Bill’s balloons NW of Marcoing, near that devilishly accurate Flak Batterie. There would be fireworks. Was this the same inflammable gasbag from August?
No Archie on the way to Marcoing. I went in first and put a full Lewis drum and 200 Vickers rounds into the balloon. Nothing. Made a second pass with Hoidge and Cawson. Same result. Two more firing runs to no effect whatsoever. Just like in August! All ammunition expended we slunk back to Estrée-Blanche. There is something very fishy with this balloon battery. I swear I saw the observer smoking a large pipe!
Major B-B sent a report of our findings up to Wing.
Only one of yesterday's Pfalz was confirmed. Eighty-seven.
6 November 1917 56 Squadron RFC Estrée-Blanche, France
We would have the balloon! Back to Marcoing, viciously archied the moment we crossed the lines. The observer parachuted to safety when we were still a half mile off. The balloon looked to be of a different fabric this morning.
It burned beautifully
Over Brayelles, 3 blue Albatri attacked from the East.
This one fell near the aerodrome, clawing the dust in his fingers.
Wing rejected both the balloon and the blue Albatros.
7 November 1917 56 Squadron RFC Estrée-Blanche, France
Morning patrol of enemy lines. On our way to Bapaume, another cooling line burst. Landed safely at Lozinghem aerodrome.
8 November 1917 56 Squadron RFC Estrée-Blanche, France
Morning line patrol Mossy Face to Cambrai. No e/a sighted.
4.00 Very late afternoon escort of 3 RNAS DH4s to bomb Hun positions near Monchy-le-Preux.
We took off to a gorgeous sunset only to land in total darkness.
A dull patrol. A terrifying landing. By guess and by God. I could scarcely make out the flare path. Amazingly, all made it down safely. Roy ran through into the field beyond but neither man nor machine suffered any damage. Not doing that again.
C Flight lost two men on the afternoon patrol, Cobbold and Cowan. Bowman reported Cowan attacked by an Albatros and as he went to Cowan’s aid saw him spinning into a cloud and the Hun exiting to the East. Cobbold got separated when C Flight attacked a flight of Magpies. Nobody saw him after that.
9 November 1917 56 Squadron RFC Estrée-Blanche, France
8.45 Early morning escort of 2 Harry Tates to bomb the Roulers Rail Junction. Weather rainy with occasional squalls. Barely flyable. Visibility extremely poor. With C-Flight trailing high we slogged through the rain.
Periwinkle Abs attacked at the lines. In the ensuing scrum, more akin to blind man's bluff, I nearly collided with Hoidge, after which I pulled up high and flew top cover dropping in to clear the occasional SE. The Huns were badly outnumbered and when we returned to Estrée-Blanche Grandpa was writing up claims for six of the seven. A flight bagged two, and C flight the other four.
10 November 1917 56 Squadron RFC Estrée-Blanche, France
Morning patrol was another balloon strafe, this time opposite Vimy Ridge.
Tremendous hail of ground fire on the attack run. I could hear the canvas ripping as the bullets passed through B.35. I’d nearly emptied the Lewis drum when both guns stopped.
Wing once again claimed we'd hit the wrong balloon and questioned why was a claim being forwarded when the dirigible had failed to explode. Grandpa was on the phone for nearly an hour attempting without success to explain the difference between flammable and inflammable. Claim denied.
11 November 1917 56 Squadron RFC Estrée-Blanche, France
10.00 Escort 3 R.E.8s from RFC-13 on recce of enemy lines between Lens and Athies. Hoidge, Turnbull, Cawson and Roy. The Harry Tates would go in very low, barely 2000 feet. I kept A flight above at 3000. Even so we had a hot reception from the Boche gunners.
On the first turn south, Albatri attacked. Magpies of Jasta 26!
One chased Roy, but when I attacked the Hun made a run east.
He didn’t get far. East of Lens his life and strength left him.
A second flight of three joined the fight. I went round with one and after landing a few hits he tried to spiral climb away. When I landed another burst he dove and we scissored downwards, rolling.
When he crossed back in front of me, I put a solid burst into his engine.
The Hun fell off to the left and crash landed in a field 2 miles SW of Haubourdin aerodrome.
On my return Harris had my entire kit packed. It’s official. 56 Squadron transfer to 13th Wing tomorrow.
No news on the claims but the evening dispatch contained something even better. Jeffs is alive! He is unharmed, and officially reported as a prisoner of war.
#4547897 - 12/10/2012:34 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
I've been a bit caught up recently, so I'll have to go back and catch up on everyone's stories!
A Sky Torn Asunder: The Memoirs of William D. Grey.
Part 4: Car Trouble.
Word finally reached the pilots of SPAD 31 over breakfast on the morning of December 5th. Jayaud had never made it out of yesterday’s combat - his Spad had been discovered two miles North of where our battle had taken place, resting among a small copse of trees. He had been hit by a single bullet, just below the back of the neck.
The younger pilots of the Escadrille had mixed reactions - equal parts anger, fear and shock. The older pilots allowed themselves a moment of quiet, introspective sadness, and murmured quiet farewells under their breath.I was mildly surprised at the pilots' muted reaction, but I supposed that they had become used to losing pilots. By any means, the pace of life went on unaffected at Fere-En-Tardenois, and at 9 O’Clock the C.O sent his orderly to summon Davet and I to his office.
“Good morning, gentlemen,” the C.O. greeted us. “Sgt. Amette, I have a task for you. We’re down two Spads since yesterday’s fight, so I’m sending you over to Le Bourget to fetch a couple of replacements. Take Sgt. Grey with you and show him around, then both of you can ferry a Spad back each. Pierre can get you there”. “Shall I pick us up a couple of those new 200 horsepower coucous?” Davet asked, and the C.O. laughed out loud. “Sure! If you can find any!”. With that we saluted and turned to leave. As Davet swung the door closed, the Capitane called after us. “Oh! And this isn’t a sightseeing trip! You’d better be back before the sun starts to set!”.
After a brief search we found Pierre hanging around the hangar which belonged to SPAD 48 and chatting to (or rather, by their expressions, irritating) a mechanic, who was trying to ignore the distraction as he reassembled a stripped-down Vickers.
“...I tell you, man, you won’t find a year better than this in all of France! What, you don’t like wine?” Pierre was frustratedly asking one of the mechanics, a rather cheap-looking bottle of Vin Rouge extended out before him.“I like wine just fine”, the mechanic responded, “...but for the last time, if you want a Bosche’s rudder so badly then get one of your damned pilots to bring you one! But look, here’s your chance! Here come two of them now!”. Davet waved to the pair as we approached. “What’s up, Pierre? We have a job for you” he said, and the little chauffeur let out a sharp, exasperated breath. “Now? Merde! I’m busy!”. Davet raised an eyebrow. “Busy how?” he asked, incredulously. Pierre waved the question away, but the mechanic was happy to oblige. “He won’t shut up about trying to bargain a Bosche rudder off of us to hang on his wall. I told him he ought to get you to fetch him one”. Davet laughed. “Pierre, you should ask our American friend here to get you one! He can't seem to help knocking down Bosches whenever he flies!”.
I waved the suggestion away. “Just luck is all” I replied. Davet patted me on the back. “Oh, I don’t know about that, mon ami. It’s not a common thing for a new pilot to do. But anyway, forget that. Come on Pierre, you’re driving us over to Le Bourget”. The Chauffeur threw his arms up in exasperation.
“Le Bourget! That’s ages away! What, are you picking up a new ship?”. “Yup. Capitane’s orders”. “Merde! Fine. Grey, you’d better get me that damned rudder”. “I assume I’ll be getting that bottle of wine for my trouble?” I asked, jokingly. “Like hell you will! You’ll be paying me back for the taxi service!”.
Begrudgingly, the little Chauffeur led us to his Fiat, parked at the end of the thin, straight road that led up to the aerodrome, and after pausing to watch a flight of nine Spads lifting off, we set out, with Pierre’s little fiat darting precariously down the winding countryside roads towards the great sprawling hub that was Paris.
Strangely, I didn’t remember much of Paris upon my arrival into France. I suppose this was due to the enormity of it all - on every corner were crowds of Poilus chasing women, bustling Cafes with soldiers and aircrews on leave, seas of uniforms - French, British and Belgian - intermixed with the city’s civilian population. I did, however, remember the little Cafe that sat below my modest little second-storey hotel room opposite the Gare du Nord (on the outer steps of which could be seen a myriad of sleeping soldiers), which had taken to serving “Style Anglais” breakfasts in very generous portions, alongside some of the finest coffee I had ever had. I hadn’t been to Le Bourget before - I wondered if it was close to that little Cafe.
I had just grown used to Pierre’s recklessly fast driving, and had allowed myself to begin to slip into daydreams as I watched the green blur of the countryside sailing past, when there was a sudden loud BANG, followed by a shouted expletive from our driver and a metallic groaning. Snapping my head forwards, I saw smoke escaping from the car’s engine, as we rolled to a grinding halt by the roadside. “Salaud!” Pierre spat, punching the steering wheel. We piled out of the motor, waving wisps of smoke away from our faces, and shuffled to the edge of the road to assess the damage. After a short while’s inspection, Pierre let out a long sigh. “Well, looks like we’re stuck” he concluded, before reaching into the cab and pulling the roadmap from its position on the front passenger seat.
“We shouldn’t be far from Quincy-Voisins,” he finally said to us, returning the map to the front seat. “Maybe there’s a mechanic in town who can help us out”. We agreed. With that, Pierre opened the rear door to his fiat and stretched out on the back seat. “What? You mean to say you’re not coming?” Davet asked, and the little chauffeur scoffed. “No chance! I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you two! Besides, somebody needs to watch the car”.
What followed was an hour-long walk down the roadside to the accompanying sound of Davet going into great length about how irritating he was finding the walk. I was much relieved when, after cresting the top of a slope, the dainty little chimneyed rooftops of Quincy-Voisins came into view. Spurred on by the sight, we quickened our pace, but we soon found that there wasn’t an awful lot to the little town, and doubtfully I wondered if they’d even seen a motorcar, let alone had anybody in town who could fix one. Owing to my less-than-fantastic French, I let Davet do the talking as we searched, but my suspicions were quickly confirmed. Disheartened, we decided to stop off in a Cafe for some lunch to cheer ourselves up.
After making the hours’ return trip and waking Pierre up we deliberated on how else we might get out of our predicament. Both our airfield and the depot at Le Bourget were too far away to realistically walk to, and another review of the roadmap revealed no other nearby towns. Finally we resolved to attempt to fix the engine ourselves. The work was agonizingly frustrating, but after a long period of toil the motor finally rumbled back into life. It groaned rather than purred as we set off back along the road, and Pierre had to go easy on the speed to avoid frying the motor again, but we were finally back on the move.
By the time we had gotten to the fringes of Paris the land had been cast in a sheet of gold, as to the West the sun slowly sunk beneath the horizon. “Well, no way we’ll be getting any coucous home today” Davet concluded, grinning. “There’s nothing for it. We’ll just have to stay overnight!”. Pierre let out a whoop of joy, and I couldn’t help but be excited at the prospect of a night on the town - although, I wondered what the Capitane would have to say.
We checked-in to a little hotel on the Western side of Paris and dropped off our Combinations (Brought with us in our kit-bags) in our rooms, before Davet used the reception’s telephone to call SPAD 31 and let the Capitane know our situation:
“Allo? Oui, it’s me. Well, what happened was…what? Oui, I know that you said...oui, I know...oui...oui, I know! But, you see, we broke down!....What? No, the car! ….about three miles from, ah…”
He cupped his hand over the receiver and turned to me. “Bill, what was that town again?” he asked. “Which one?” “The one we walked to from the car, idiot!” “Uhm….Voisins-something?” “Ah, mais oui!” He un-cupped the receiver.
“...Three miles from Quincy Voisins….no, we had to fix it ourselves….what?...no, by ourselves, I said! ... Oui, it was already dark when we got here…..Ok…..Ok…..Merci….what was that?.....what?.....really?”
Davet’s face broke into a grin as he turned to look at me. “Oui, I’ll tell him! ….Ok! …. Salut”. He clicked the receiver down. “Mon ami,” he happily exclaimed, “tonight the drinks are on you! They’ve confirmed your Bosche!”.
I must admit that the details of that night are lost to me, although the horrible pounding in my head the next morning informed me that I had, apparently, enjoyed it very much. It took two whole minutes of pounding on Davet’s door before he finally awoke, in a similarly sorry state. Pierre was equally hard to rouse, and after getting an earful from our little Chauffeur we sleepily climbed back into the car and headed out for the Depot at Le Bourget.
[To be continued]
#4547898 - 12/10/2012:36 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Epower – wonderful episode since Oliver's return. Is it "lucky with claims, unlucky with love"? If so, Oliver and Eliza should be back by the weekend.
Wulfe – I love your title, "A Sky Torn Asunder". Little Pierre is a real character. Congratulations on Bill's latest confirmation. I think all our characters are putting their livers through an endurance test. See below…
War Journal of Flight Sub-Lieutenant George Ewan MacAlister
8 Squadron, RNAS Mont-St-Eloi, France
Friday, 7 December 1917 – cloudy with occasional snow. Dinner was set early – six-thirty for seven. But first there was the small matter of an offensive patrol. Normally Munday would have led, but when I walked out to the sheds I saw the patrol leader’s streamer affixed to the rudder of my Camel. Munday was chatting with the skipper, who was joining us. “It’s your show this morning, Mac,” said Munday as the skipper nodded in agreement. “I’ll give the patrol orders when everyone is here, but you will be in charge of executing them.”
“And don’t get us lost,” added Draper. “I haven’t eaten yet and I’ll be hungry.”
The others were along in a minute – the Canadian, White, and our newest addition, Colton. We were heading up north toward Bethune and from there we were to cross the lines and deny the aerospace over Haubourdin and Phalempin, two Hun aerodromes. The idea left me a little uneasy. Although we were only a few miles over, I understood this to be a busy sector where it would be easy to run into several formations of enemy machines at once. But, in the best tradition of the service, our job was to close with and destroy the enemy regardless of numbers. I’d signed up for this and heartily supported the concept. I simply hadn’t had to do it, and doing it made it all seem quite different.
The flight north was uneventful. We had full cloud cover at seven thousand feet so I stayed below that altitude. I did not have to worry about keeping station because I was leading. There was more time for checking the sky systematically for enemy aeroplanes and for confirming landmarks. At length we approached the southern edge of Bethune, where smokestacks from the mines still poured out black soot. There we turned east and arrived over our patrol area ten minutes later. We carried Cooper bombs and took turns dropping them on Haubourdin aerodrome. Because our main task was control of the air, we did not dive low over the field and our bombing was not very accurate. Squadron Commander Draper managed to set a building alight, so that was some consolation. We sighted enemy machines twice. They were two-seaters and were too high and far-off to be worth chasing. Finally our time was up and we headed southwest toward home.
Munday saw them first – seven Albatri at least a thousand feet above and skirting the base of the cloud ceiling. He dashed in front of my machine and waggled his wings. Then just as I was about to give my first command, he waved for us to follow him as he turned westward. I fell back on his starboard wing tips. The idea was to drag the Huns closer to our lines. But it was already too late. The enemy were dropping on us like falcons. Now it was every man for himself and we turned about to meet the attack. For several minutes it was wild and dangerous. Twice I got a snapshot at a Hun flashing in front of my Camel. And then phosphorus rounds began whipping past my head and leaving trails of smoke. I rolled and dived beneath my attacker. I turned about to find him and more rounds hit my wings. Now I tried a climbing turn, thinking for a second this would fool him. But the Hun appeared directly behind a moment later – a yellow Albatros with a black tail. More phosphorus rounds flashed past.
So it continued. I tried every trick I knew, yet a moment or two later the Albatros would appear on my tail. He was outflying me. This is how it ends, I thought. And then without explanation the German went home. I found myself shaking and covered in sweat. By the time I was on the ground in Mont-St-Eloi, I was as cold as I have ever been.
The dinner could not have come at a better time. We spent the afternoon drinking tea and eating my mother’s shortbread while we cleaned and pressed our clothes. No one, except perhaps the squadron commander, had brought mess dress to France so we were to wear our monkey jackets with winged collars, trousers, and black shoes. If we couldn’t look fancy, at least we would look clean.
I mentioned the wardroom earlier in this journal but did not describe it. It consisted of two Nissen huts joined by a wooden Armstrong hut. The Armstrong housed an entranceway and small cloakroom in the front and a compact kitchen at the back. The Nissen to the left served as the bar and anteroom. Two Canadian stoves in the middle of the room provided heat. A motley collection of armchairs, rocking chairs, and a threadbare sofa provided seating. An overhead wire circled the room in a U-shaped pattern and from it dangled a half-dozen electric light bulbs. There were several kerosene lamps about the room for those who wanted more like to read. Bits of Hun aeroplane adorned the walls. A large, framed print of Trafalgar hung on the end wall above along bookshelf, its glass cracked in two places. A fine oak card table with green baize nestled in one corner and a ping-pong table held the place of honour in the centre of the room. Closer inspection revealed framed Kirchner girls and selected delicacies from La Vie Parisienne scattered about the walls between Hun serial numbers.
Tonight, however, the card table had been moved to the entrance hall and on it was a detailed seating plan for the dinner. I was pleased to see that I was not at the absolute low end of the table. Colton had that distinction, seated across from another new arrival, a Canadian named Cumming. We gathered in the anteroom for cocktails. The steward was mixing up drinks called Manhattans. One of the Canadians, Fowler I think, had brought in a couple of bottles of their native poison, a rye whisky called Yukon Gold. It was mixed with red vermouth and served with a candied cherry. The overall effect was tolerable. There was another new face in the crowd. Reginald Johns was returning to the squadron after recovering from a slight wound that he incurred two or three weeks before my arrival. He came from London. We didn’t get long to speak because he was enticed into telling a story about a nun and an archbishop. Two Manhattans in and some fellow began blowing a boatswain’s whistle. This, I was told, was the signal for “pee parade,” the five-minute warning before mealtime. Once the meal began there would be no getting up from the table before the Loyal Toast.
We settled in and the stewards poured a very nice white wine. They had a gramophone on the go with lovely violin music. I’m not awfully familiar with such stuff but it was pretty. Soup came. A lobster bisque that needed a bit of salt but was very tasty. More wine arrived, red this time. I could feel my cheeks getting flushed and told myself to be careful. The main course was roast pork, served with roast apples, green beans with bacon, and potatoes. It all demanded more red wine. There was seconds for anybody who wanted. I wanted. More red wine.
The tables were cleared and the stewards brought out sherry trifle, fruit, and cheese. Then came the port. Cumming was the youngest and therefore had to propose the Loyal Toast: “Gentlemen, the King.” A little bit up the table, McDonald passed his port glass over his water glass – an old Jacobean trick. “The King over the water.” Bloody Canadian. There are more toasts: “Naval Eight,” “our countrymen in the Royal Flying Corps, ” and the traditional Friday toast of “a willing foe and sea room.”
Draper spoke of how proud he was of the whole squadron. He welcomed and introduced the new men and then said some very kind words about my success in the air.
More port circulated and cigarettes and cigars emerged. The air was heavy with pungent smoke. Decanter can’t touch the table. Keep it moving. I tried a cigar passed to me by Dennett. Another glass of port helped. And a wee bit of brie. Och aye, it’s a grand nicht the nicht. There was a portrait of the King on the wall, but the poor fellow kept drifting away to the right. This was not good at all. I rose slowly to my feet and made for the door, clutching at shoulders and door jambs on the way. The cold air washed over me as I stumbled along the duck boards to the side of the Nissen. There I rested my head against the cold wood, braced myself and stepped back from the wall, and was vilely and enthusiastically ill.
I wandered over to the hangars, where I found Semple and Billington truing up my Camel. They were pleased to see me and overly enthusiastic with the greetings. There was no hiding my condition and I found an oil drum to sit on. “We’ve all been there, sir,” said Semple.
“Been there? Jings, man. I’ve been bloody there and back. Canadian rotgut. Terrible stuff. Red vermouth. Puke in every colour of the rainbow. Oh Christ, I forgot my cigarettes.”
Billington gave me one of his and lit it. “Perhaps the pudding was a bit too rich?” he said.
I nodded. “Very perceptive. That’s exactly it.”
My head was beginning to clear. We chatted a bit about the damage the Camel received that morning and I thanked them for understanding about the pudding. Then I made myself walk as steadily as possible back to the wardroom. There was still coffee and tea to be had and I drank two cups of coffee. The whole squadron repaired to the anteroom. I found a chair in the corner where I could pretend to sip a drink and look dignified. The skipper sat down at the piano and began knocking off show tunes. He didn’t have a bad voice either. Holmes joined in with his Welsh tenor. The show was on. Jordan began with “Poor Blind Nell.” Oswald followed with “Going to the Races” in his best Dan Leno voice. Finally, I was sobered up enough to lead a round of “The Massacre of MacPherson,” complete with Gaelic chorus. Not to be outdone, Johns began a note-perfect impersonation of General Trenchard inspecting the wardroom. It was absolutely hilarious and completely improvised. He dragged Squadron Commander Draper about the room, demanding that he “Make a note of that, Draper.”
I’d had two more drinks by now and wove my way to the latrines where I spent a couple of peaceful hours asleep on my throne before I woke up covered in snow and headed to my cabin.
#4547906 - 12/10/2001:55 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Assigned to B Flight sharing a/c # 3 from C Flight. What a brawl, we had just reached operational height and the e/a were on us. Zoom ,Shoot, turn and run. I lost height and had to get down on the deck to get home. Some how I fired off 100+ rds at the enemy. B Flt 5 a/c lost 2 a/c destroyed + holes in all of them. A Flt had 1 damaged + 1 pilot wnd. Claims were for 2 e/a. A Flt's Lead said later that the Bloody Ring master was up there today.
#4547908 - 12/10/2002:51 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Epower, you have to excuse some of us. Some of us are Philistines and have never even heard of London. Does crying in shower help? I may have to try it one day. These Pfalzen are no good. Easy meat. Not so much with Jasta 36. Congrats on that first pair. Too bad about Read. As to B35, it would be nice to get that Hispano-Hispano. It was a wise decision not to engage those low flying Albs with another swath more above especially this deep into Hunland. Rugby then, does Oliver like it more than the American football? Better keep that sanity intact, Oliver. We don’t want our ace losing it now. There are still issues unresolved between him and the women. Why can’t he dream about them instead?
Raine, I take full responsibility for this thread derailment. Lou is innocent, like Mata Hari. Too late? He’s been shot? Too bad. Now, back to MacAlister. Reading your report about enemy protecting the balloon I made myself try to remember last time I’ve encountered any during the attack. Not very often was my conclusion. I wonder if devs could assign a flight to look after the gasbags. This would make the balloon attacks a bit more interesting. We can dream, can’t we? George was lucky to land his wonky controls bird in one piece after the run in with those Albatrosen. Could the luck have left MacAlister with all those unconfirmed claims? Or did the two Albatrosen outfoxed the intrepid flier? Perhaps it was simply the lack of witnesses. Good luck with the Haubourdin raid!
Lou, more losses don’t do much good for the men’s morale. I think a Freddy-initiated binge is in order, especially that the weather appears to be cooperating.
Epower, another exciting catch-up. Great images and ... what can I say? Poor Pfalz drivers. They had no chance against Oliver’s abortion. So, the Huns have put up one of those PanzerBallon, huh? And what’s this with Wing rejecting Winninstad’s claims? Is this how the British repay Oliver for remaining loyal to the Crown? Fingers crossed for at least one of those magpies to be confirmed. As to Ziggy, no nurses. He was repeatedly told his wound to the left arm was insignificant and not requiring any length of hospital stay. The Jasta pilots continued to punch his good arm for good luck, except Tybelsky who sometimes confuses left with right.
Wulfe, bad news about Jayaud. Bad business this war. That was some adventure. No, not the trip. The night on the town! I can imagine it already. Congrats on the confirmed victory.
Raine, looks like George is being groomed to be a flight leader in such a short time. But what’s this? Our hero bested by a Hun? MacAlister needs to take better care of himself. A hole in the wrong place and he’s going home in a box. On the other hand, if he doesn’t take care of himself at dinner the same will happen. But then what else is there? Livin’ it to the fullest.
Carrick, that’s one lucky pilot you have there. He should be swatting Huns like flies with his S.E.
"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."
#4547922 - 12/10/2004:03 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Mixed it up with some Green Tails On Patrol when spotted a big flight of Huns . I dove fire a Lewis Drum full + 40-50 Vickers rds. I got some hits seeing Dust or fabric ripping off a top wing then I was gone going full bore. By the time I zoomed and turned back the fight was over. We lost 1 SE, but claimed 2 Destroyed + mine as damaged.
#4548054 - 12/11/2005:13 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Fullofit - At this point in history, American football is barely distinguishable from Rugby football. I always find it fascinating to stumble on the rugby antecedents in modern times. Free kick after a fair catch, for example, or the occasional maul. Football in 1917 was 3 yards and a cloud of dust. If you've ever seen an American football from those years you'll know the reason why. That pipe-smoking Observer, Oliver has definitely seen him before. Not sure what's going on with that particular balloon. Something not right there. Dreams of his women prove elusive for Oliver however much they may occupy his mind. As ever, the grim threshing floor of the war god is where he treads his measures. Excellent news about Ziggy's healing arm. Not so much Tybelsky's dyslexia. Ouch!
Raine - A fantastic account of young Mac. Easy for a reader to get lost in the rich historical detail. Well done, sir. He's moving up fast. Mac may need to learn a flick roll sooner than later if he is to stay alive. I was worried for a moment with that great bloody Hun latching on like the proverbial Gila monster. And what a binge! Pleased to see Commander Draper has both a sense of the moment and a sense of humor. Now, to stay alive...
Carrick - Red noses! The Baron's men! Those d*mn Huns can fly, that's for sure. Good show from young Thorpe giving it right back to those Hun rotters!
R. Talbot - The true historical approach. Excellent! Looking forward to Thomason's next adventure. I see his Logbook was once in the Scott Rall Collection. Is that what you were able to purchase?
Wulfe - Another tour de force. I concur with Raine that you have the feel of the Aviation Militaire like no other. Grey has fallen in with a rogues gallery to be sure. Pierre is truly a rascal. But now Paris sans supervision. Do tell. Inquiring minds. Congrats on the confirmed kill. May it be the first of many.
12 November 1917 56 Squadron RFC Estrée-Blanche, France
Twenty minutes past Noon, with stomachs growling, A-Flight departed Estrée-Blanche for our new home at Laviéville. Weather unsettled and growing misty. Lost two pilots early. Harmon’s engine failed to start and Hoidge returned after takeoff with engine trouble.
I’d planned a stop at Izel Le Hameau, home of No. 84 Squadron
Our hosts provided the latest intelligence on the weather and a fine lunch as well.
2.30 Airborne again en route to Laviéville. Just West of Albert, our new home was in 54’s old neighborhood. Chipilly and Corbie lay within easy reach. Once settled, I would call on the divine Madame de Rochefort at Le Café Fou.
The landing ground at Laviéville was a bit tricky for the uninitiated but A Flight landed without incident. Standing with Turnbull in the hangar watching C Flight plus Harmon make their landings, it was soon clear that Harmon had badly misjudged the approach. He was nearly down when he realized his error and opened the throttle wide. Too late. His stalling SE came dancing forward on it’s tail straight for our hangar. We ran for our lives. Harmon swerved at the last second, obliterated one shed then ran halfway through a second.
Two sheds written off and one bent SE5. Harmon was undamaged.
“Is there any truth to the rumor that Harmon is joining the Tank Corps?” remarked Turnbull.
Settling into proper Winter quarters. Laviéville boasts permanent Iron Hangars and Nissen huts for all. No more canvas! I’m with Mac, Beery and Maybery.
Maybery, or Richard as I’ve come to know him, is a Welshman, and one of the bravest men I've met in France. He passed out of Sandhurst in 1913 then took a commission in the 21st Lancers (Empress of India) and saw action in the first years of the war but on the Indian Frontier. Wounded, he transferred to the RFC, qualifying as an Observer in Fall of 1916. He took his wings in April 1917 and joined 56 Squadron. An exceptional pilot, Richard is one of those individuals who excels in any endeavor. Were he not the humblest of men, he would be insufferable. From what I’ve been able to learn, Arthur was in love with Richard’s cousin Nasra.
13 November 1917 56 Squadron RFC Laviéville, France
A day of orientation flights and shuffling of aircraft. Mac will take my B.35 in a few days time. My new machine, fresh in from the depot, is B511. Moody and Allyn had it ready for test flights by late afternoon. It has a real Hispano Hispano that is the most powerful engine I’ve flown in France. Finally! Another day of tuning and she’ll be ready.
Both Albatri from two days ago confirmed. Eighty-nine now. Two more and I will draw level with Captain Swanson.
14 November 1917 56 Squadron RFC Laviéville, France
9.00 First patrol out of Laviéville was an escort of 3 R.E.8s from RFC-59 on their recce of enemy lines between Bapaume and Bullecourt. B511 made her first combat patrol. A-Flight was Hoidge. Turnbull Dodds, Cawson and Roy. Crossing the lines at 4000 feet, Albatri attacked from on above. Green tails! Jasta 5.
In the confused melee I latched onto the nearest Hun. After 20 rounds the Vickers jammed.
I put half a drum of Lewis into him at close range
He dropped then from the chariot and his armor clattered upon him.
Climbing, I pulled the Lewis gun down but lost grip on the drum which flew over the side. After three minutes of cursing I cleared the stoppage. Circling north of Riencourt I attacked a green Albatros.
He too journeyed down to the house of the Death God.
There were no friendly aircraft nearby. Unlikely the kill would be confirmed. Alone and low in Hunland I made for Allied lines finding Hoidge along the way. Continuing west we intercepted a silver-colored Green Tail racing for home. Painted on his fuselage was a red dragon breathing fire.
Through the rain he fell, bursting into flame before he crashed 2 miles west of Riencourt.
Circled the rally point over Bapaume with Hoidge for 15 minutes then returned to Laviéville.
Took Roy, Cawson and Dodds up on a practice patrol this afternoon. The youngsters learn quickly but they are too eager. I admonish them but in truth I was no different. Let us hope their Gods are as merciful as those who watch over me. Flew B511 again and she is a marvel. At last, a first-rate machine! All honor to Corporals Moody and Allyn.
As predicted Wing denied the Green Albatros but confirmed the other two. 91 now.
Tonight after dinner I raised many toasts to Captain Swanson, whose score I equaled this day. I staggered back to our Flight Commanders hut much inebriated. Despite the occasion I couldn’t help but feel regret. I had such high hopes of meeting the man.
15 November 1917 56 Squadron RFC Laviéville, France
9.00 Telephone report of heavy Hun activity along the Bapaume- Marcoing road.
With B flight in trail, we circled the intercept point for 10 minutes before sighting a lower flight of Albatri. I led A and B flights around to the North then dropped on the septet of Huns. Red noses! Jasta 11 again.
Two Albatri took a malicious interest in me but B511 had enough speed to zoom above them. One broke off. I gained position on the other, hitting him with a 30-round burst, before he dove out. Staying high with the fight, I saw a red Albatros chasing Hoidge. Attacking, I landed a burst from 80 yards.
Is it really you, my dear Baron?
I broke hard as bullets tore through B511. White hot iron seared across my arse.
As the Hun flew past, I kept sight on the Baron from the corner of my eye.
B511 flew on. Incredibly, my stinging backside and two bullet holes through the windscreen were the only meaningful damage.
The red Albatros dove left and I followed. Inexplicably the Baron’s rescuer was nowhere to be seen. A third burst of 60 rounds sent the Red Albatros sliding off to the right. He began a powered circling descent, gaining speed as he went. I followed but could not close. Crossing below 3000 feet I thought he might level out, but his spiral continued into the ground 3 miles NW of Old Mossy Face.
Was it Von Richthofen this time?
Lucky B@stard, Oliver. That wingman nearly killed you! Stupid Stupid Stupid!! You should be dead! DEAD!
I’d fixated on the Baron and neglected to check my tail. Lucky to get off with just another graze. Whether Eliza’s prayers, grey-eyed Athene, or vagary of chance, I couldn’t say. I’d made an inexcusable mistake and lived. I flew home much chastened and grateful to be alive.
“...straight ahead by the flank the spearhead shore through his tunic, yet he bent away to one side and avoided the dark death.”
Downward graze of left buttock. It stung but wasn’t serious. Had I not been leaning into the right-turning break the bullet might have caught me in the back or somewhere more vital. Still alive.
Grandpa was incredulous at first then sunk his teeth into the CR once the others described the fight.
The evening dispatch from 13th Wing brought confirmation. 92
Had I really slain Achilleus, or was it Patrokles wearing his master’s bloody-red armor?
Arthur was with me the last time, grinning wildly. He was so happy for me even as I downplayed my success. His long-ago toast from the night of all our decorations echoed in my mind.
“Von Richthofen, our worthy enemy.”
Arthur. I miss him greatly. I cling to the hope that he might be alive and a prisoner, but that fades with each passing week.
Last edited by epower; 12/16/2007:31 PM.
#4548158 - 12/11/2011:56 PMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Joined: Nov 2014 Posts: 3,479Fullofit
Epower, a transfer to new digs! That’s convenient to get a place with walls not made out of canvas. And that Mayberry chap does sound like an upstanding squad member. Wow, a Hispano-Hispano! You will enjoy this one. And the score keeps climbing. Congrats on matching and surpassing Swany’s record. The man would have been proud. Excellent aerial photography, by the way. Especially when it involves the Baron. Speaking of which, Oliver was so hellbent on finishing off Manfred that he’s committed the cardinal sin of not checking his rear. Instead, now he will have to forgo any spanking should a girl wish to bestow such pleasure on him. Not that it would be easy to find one willing in the middle of a war zone. Count your lucky stars Oliver, count them carefully.
11 December, 1917 Saint-Loup-en-Champagne, Marne Sector Jasta 19 Leutnant Zygmunt Dolf Hahn EK2 EK1 HHO PLM AO 97 confirmed kills
Zygmunt was excited. Tomorrow will be his first flight since being injured. He was itching to get back up there and repay the Snaileaters for the extra hole in his flight gear. The Kasino was unusually loud. Everyone was talking about the fliers the French dropped at night. They must have ran out of bombs. The fliers depicted hordes of Amerikaners landing in France. The caption read “The first million”. Jasta 19 C.O. walked in and saw Ziggy peruse one of the propaganda leaflets. He leaned over and gave Ziggy a nudge. “- The HQ says one German soldier is worth ten Amerikaners. I think we have them outnumbered.” Zygmunt wasn’t as optimistic. This war better be over before the Indianer get here en masse.
"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."
#4548177 - 12/12/2001:51 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Afternoon: Escort 2 RE 8's to bomb troops behind the lines. B flight had 5 a/c up when e/a came screaming down in a dive. How Many ? I couldnt get in a shooting position then One Green Tail dropped on my tail. I did all the standard stuff as we flashed by and thru more a/c. Finally , lost him so 180 ed back to the fight and caught a slow V Strut fired all the guns till I passed over the e/a and he dove into the ground. Looking at my Temp gauge as it went over to the Red. I cut power dove and landed at St Martin AF for repairs. Score 1 e/a claimed lost 1 SE5 1 RE 8 + 2 lt damaged.
Last edited by carrick58; 12/12/2001:55 AM.
#4548185 - 12/12/2002:32 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
It was a good first mission for Zygmunt after his return. He was rested well enough but not completely sure of his aerial skills. The empty skies during their front line patrol between Reims and Sillery proved to be a good test ground of his flying abilities without the enemy complicating things. He was now ready to meet the enemy.
"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."
#4548310 - 12/13/2003:15 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
Carrick - Nice kill. Looks like that Richard Flashar fellow, he of the red dragon, did indeed survive his encounter with Oliver. Good to know. I hope Thorpe nails him good when next they meet. Very wise to eyeball that temp gauge.
Fullofit - Yes, our boy was very fortunate indeed to escape so lightly. Oliver probably deserves some corporal punishment after such an d@mn fool stunt. Sitting for the next few days will be a less than pleasant reminder of both his foolishness and dumb luck. As for additional women and a sound thrashing, there's talk of the nearby Chateaux sporting a Chalice-shaped beacon. Chateaux Anthrax if memory serves. Good to see Ziggy back in harness and flying a nice uneventful patrol. These million Yanks might be causing some problems, on the ground anyway.
R. Talbot - Oh No! Thomason we never knew ye. Brilliant employment of historical docs. They bring home the news of your man's demise in a most brutal fashion.
16 November 1917 56 Squadron RFC Laviéville, France
9.00 On Standby - a good thing since sitting down brings me a painful reminder of both my stupidity and amazing good fortune. Huns reported south of Arras. Broken cloud layer at 5000 feet. Patrolled at 4000 feet for 30 minutes. No e/a sighted. Climbed to 10000 feet and commenced free hunt: Havrincourt Wood-Marcoing-Oppy-Arras. Nothing. Heading south to original intercept station we ran under 7 high Albs. One came down alone, the other six bided their time then dropped en masse.
A bit eager, meine herren?
I went round with the two homicidal periwinkles eventually landing a snapshot on the training Hun, who immediately dove for safety. I fought the other Albatros down to low altitude before I lined up a shot.
He fled east but would not see home again, crashing two miles south of Monchy-le-Preux.
Over Monchy a second blue-nosed Hun attacked.
My first shots struck the pilot. The Albatros nosed over and went straight in.
Returned to Laviéville with Maybery to find the bag hanging in the corner of A Flight hangar. Spent the remainder of the day working with Moody and Allyn on B511, and the bag. No word from Wing about today’s Albatri.
17 November 1917 56 Squadron RFC Laviéville, France
10.00 Later morning patrol of our lines between Vimy Ridge and Lens. Hoidge, Turnbull, Harmon, Cawson and Dodds. Our orders were to patrol at 4000 feet looking for two-seaters and the new Junkers ground attack machines. Lost Hoidge to a dud engine 10 minutes after takeoff.
Sky noticeably clear with only patches of low cumulus. Nerve wracking being this low with such good visibility.
Stumbled upon a single machine flying directly across our line of travel. A solitary Pfalz with the yellow nose and tail of Jasta 10. He must have been new. The poor devil never saw me.
“To those who study it closely enough, the limitless open sky becomes as good a place to lie in wait for an unsuspecting passer-by as a darkened alley off a sleazy street, and the sudden act of violence, when it comes, can be as deadly.”
Climbing west of Vimy a second Pfalz, blue-tailed this time. He dropped onto Turnbull who dragged him masterfully right in front of my guns, both of which stopped after 30 rounds.
The single burst was sufficient. The pilot slumped forward, and his right arm dangled from the cockpit as the Pfalz fell off left.
Afternoon on practice patrols Cawson Dodd, Roy, also Woodman who arrived only 4 days ago. The push in front of Cambrai begins on the 20th. 56 will fly Distant Offensive Patrols and keep the Huns away from our PBI.
The evening dispatch rider was late, arriving well after dinner, but he brought excellent news. Yesterday’s Albatri and today’s Pfalz all confirmed. Four more. I have ninety-six now.
18 November 1917 56 Squadron RFC Laviéville, France
11.00 An uneventful morning waiting for news of incoming Huns. When the call came Wing sent us 40 miles north to patrol the area west of Loos. Ran the lines at 3000 feet from Bethune to the Loos road then maintained station for 30 minutes. No Huns. Mac led B flight in high trail as we climbed to 10000 feet.
Chased a single high aircraft south. DFW!
I had a front row seat as Mac sent the Hun down neat as you please. ***
Mac led B Flight off on their own hunting as we continued south down the lines. Northeast of Lens a single Albatros flew 1000 feet above. I thought he would climb away but down he came. Almost comically the entire flight dragged the hapless Hun into position for me.
He was frightfully keen. Too much so.
Falling in flames he crashed south of the Loos road.
Spent the afternoon with the youngsters on another practice patrol. Tonight is ‘Georgie’ Hoidge’s farewell dinner. After a month of refusing any posting sent his way, he will end his tour and move to Home Establishment. Much needling that he was cutting out with the job half done since he, the only architect in 56, had not yet designed a fireplace for our new mess as he had for Estrée-Blanche. The end of an era, Hoidge was the sole remaining member of the original squadron who flew to France in April.
Wing’s denial of my periwinkle Albatros did nothing to spoil what was a grand evening celebration.
19 November 1917 56 Squadron RFC Laviéville, France
Noon escort and the only patrol of the day. Turnbull, Harmon, Dodds, Cawson, Roy and Woodman who was making his first combat patrol. The 3 Harry Tate’s from RFC-12 failed to make the rendezvous. Circled for 20 minutes then flew NE looking for trouble.
South of Arras, Archie puffs low! Turnbull, flying with Woodman did as instructed and sent the youngster back to Laviéville. We dropped on three low Albatri who promptly fled east. A Flight scattered in pursuit. I caught one just before our support trenches. He fell on the Arras-Bapaume road.
Returned to Laviéville to see the remains of an SE a mile north of the field. John Patrick Waters dead. He took B502 up on test flight, and entered a spin, engine full on. The SE broke apart at 1000 feet. He was here 9 days. Senseless! Why do these needless deaths continue?!
20 November 1917 56 Squadron RFC Laviéville, France
The balloon went up on the Cambrai show. Attempted a distant offensive patrol but the weather forced us back to Laviéville. Visibility terrible. No e/a sighted Struggled to find aerodrome on return. Mist was down to 200 feet in some places. Maddening to be grounded in the middle of a push.
Walkerdine neglected to adjust his tail plane wheel correctly and made a hash of his landing. No damage to the SE but he received what is becoming an all-too-common strafing from Major Balcombe-Brown. “Try and land on the world next time!” I’d no problem with him taking a strip off Walkerdine for a careless error, but that upbraiding should have been followed by instruction.
I have reservations about our new CO. He gets his nose in the air when dealing with the less experienced fellows, as if he is not entirely secure in his position. I wonder if his age plays a role. He’s so much younger than my previous COs, only a year older than I am. Major Horn at 31 and Major Blomfield at 28 years of age carried themselves with a certain gravitas. It can’t be easy for B-B as a flying CO with but a single victory, not with the elite of 56 Squadron. Taking myself out of the calculation, our flight commanders hut alone boasts 57 victories (Maybery 18, Mac 19 & Beery 20.) Hoidge had 27 when he left for HE.
He definitely carries some traits of the martinet, but I’ll say this for B-B; he’s not shy about telling Wing where they can stick their more hare-brained orders. He steadfastly refused to have 56 join in with today’s ground attacks. Said it would be a waste to lose top-notch scout pilots and flight commanders to a lucky shot from a German private.
Yesterday’s Periwinkle confirmed. Ninety-seven.
21 November 1917 56 Squadron RFC Laviéville, France
Heavy fog intermittent rain. Flying impossible. What a disaster with this push going full bore. We’d go mad pacing about Laviéville so after some arm-twisting, Mac proving especially reluctant but relented at last when I proposed that it was my treat. With Hut mates in tow, I appropriated a Crossley and just before noon we headed off to Corbie. Strange being back in Corbie. Mac and Beery also knew the Somme area well from their time with 29 Squadron in 1916. The Café Fou was exactly as I remembered it. Afterimages of my time here with Eliza remained strong and Madame’s greeting did nothing to dispel that. Seeing my entrance she immediately glided forward.
“Ah mon Cher Oliviér,” she cried kissing me on both cheeks before looking more closely at my companions. “Cinquante-Quatre?”
“Cinquante-Six, Madame,” I replied and introduced my incredulous companions, Beery, Mac, and Richard.
“La belle Elize?” she asked. “Tres bien,” I replied, the lie coming far too easily to my lips.
We sat at the same table I’d shared with Eliza in May. “I say Ripper, you’re a smooth one to stand so high in La Grand Dame’s favor,” remarked Beery.
I left everything to Madame who did not disappoint, providing us with a lunch Escoffier himself would have been proud to serve. It was two hours of solace and good company with friends. We spoke not one word of the war. ________________________________________________
A letter from Clarissa along with a parcel greeted my return. A silk underlining that fit perfectly over my head, dropping below the ears, exactly as I had described to her. This would come in handy with the weather turning so bitterly cold.
22 November 1917 56 Squadron RFC Laviéville, France
Rain and heavy mist. Additional work on B511. Late afternoon test flight. Everything perfect. B511 purring like a great cat.
Coote leaves tomorrow for HE. With Muspratt departed last week, Coote was the last of “The Children.” A subdued but heartfelt farewell dinner this evening.
*** In an incredible case of life mirroring WOFF, on November 18, 1917, James McCudden downed a DFW for his 19th victory. How amazing is this game?!
Last edited by epower; 12/16/2007:32 PM.
#4548312 - 12/13/2003:36 AMRe: Deep Immersion DiD campaign -- Player Instructions (UPDATED 28 Nov 2018)
C Flight had the duty today, although their was passing Rain showers. so stayed down to work on my Assigned Aero machine. She was put together out of old but still serviceable equipment. I helped tighten the flying wires, patch fabric and load the ammo belt for the Vickers Oil pressure is low ,But she fly's. Besides as tail end charlie in the Flight, I stay at lower power settings.