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#4618269 - 01/05/23 09:16 PM DEAD IS NOT DEAD  
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DEAD IS NOT DEAD


There being so little going on in the Forum these days, I thought I’d try something new.

This story is something of an experiment. It is a departure from the usual tales presented in this forum, which are in the DID style.

The main character represents the way I usually play a campaign as opposed to the DID ideal. I sometimes create a short term pilot who dies after a few missions, but I prefer to stay around awhile. So, call me a FARB, but I tend to use most of the options that are available in WOFF which make a pilot immortal, as is the protagonist of this story. All of this will be explained as the tale unfolds.

I hope you will find the story engaging. I have a certain amount completed and will expand it between other projects. I’ll be monitoring the number of hits this thread gets so that I know if the story is being read or not. If it has no following I will discontinue it.

No living person or any fictional character created by another is represented here, the historical persons are fictionalized to one degree or another.

I receive no compensation of any kind for this story.




Last edited by jerbear; 01/05/23 10:10 PM.
#4618270 - 01/05/23 09:23 PM Re: DEAD IS NOT DEAD [Re: jerbear]  
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He is, as usual, smoking when he opens the door.

In German, he says, “I take it that you have decided to accept, as here you stand.”

“I have.”

“How about breakfast first.”

“No…I would like to get it over if that is acceptable to you.”

“Just so. Sit in the arm chair there and we will begin.”

In answer to my unasked question, he laughs and says, “Jünger, time is not as linear as is generally believed. What did Shakespeare say? There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy?”

I knew now that I couldn’t leave no matter how much my rational mind screamed at me to run.

Next to the chair are the boxes, the treasure chests for which I was trading…trading what? I really don’t exactly know. As I sit down, I ask, “What will happen?”

“I will give you the doorway picture.” He takes it from an end table and puts it into my hand.




[Linked Image]





This is the picture that had so fascinated me during my first interview with Herr Eber.

“I will sit next to you, so.” He takes the chair from the desk and sits in it.

“We pass through the doorway together to the moment this picture was taken. From that moment until the end of the Weltkrieg (World War) we will merge into one personality. On the moment the Armistice is signed we will once again be in this room as two separate persons.”

“You do not remember now, but I do. This merger is why I am able to guess what you are thinking and know what you will do.”

It sounds so ridiculous that I almost laugh, but I do as he requests, take the picture. As a trained psychoanalyst I feel compassion for Herr Eber, but I still don’t quite know what I will do when this delusional man realizes that this ability to travel to his past is all in his mind and that he’s not what he thinks he is.

I remember what he said during our previous interview when he opened the door to his room. I was shocked to find fifteen boxes there. “Come…have a look.”

I opened the first box, it contained his flight logs, the flight logs and diaries of other pilots, the war diaries, or copies of them, of several different Jagdstaffeln as well as that of Jastas 15 and 18. In another were carbon copies of combat reports, Kommandeur der Flieger reports that show the Staffelkennungen (Staffel markings) for each Staffel in their sector.

Each of the boxes were filled with unbelievable treasure. Every item was exactly the sort of thing I would have collected had I been where he had been during the Weltkrieg. What was more, there was nothing that did not appear perfectly authentic.

In yet another of the boxes was his erhrenbecker, medals, uniform and other personal items. In other boxes were things from Berthold and the other pilots. There were fabric samples, catalogued as to what aircraft they were from.

If authentic, the collection was beyond price.

I turned to him, “Herr Eber…this is an archive! Who made this!”

He laughed, “You!”

I became angry: ”Das ist verrückt! (That is insane!) What is this? These cannot be real! What are you up to?”

“I assure you. All of this is real and it is yours, but to have it there is a price.”

“So that is your game! Surely you know I do not have any money. Are you planning to sell this to someone?”

“I don’t want money, surely you can see that I don’t need it.”

I looked around at this room in the Hotel Bayerischer Hof on Promenadeplatz. ( a five-star hotel in the heart of Munich, built in 1841, destroyed in 1944 and rebuilt in stages between 1949 and 1951.) No, from all indications he had all the money he needed.

“And what is this proposition….my soul or some such thing?”

“Something like that.”

He did not approach me and did not appear to mean me harm, there was no agitation or aggression in his demeanor. So, I stood my ground.

“I will leave you for about an hour. I ask you to look further into these boxes. See what is there. Think about what I have just said. When I return, we will talk about the value you place on these things and about the proposition I have for you.”

“And what is this proposition, exactly?”

“You might call it a Schnäppchen des Teufels (Devil’s bargain).”

Many relics of the war have been created by con artists over the decades. But this? And on such a massive scale? This was improbable. As improbable as his explanation of how this collection had come to be. How could I have done this when I was not even thought of at the time.

The final item that convinced me of the collection’s authenticity was an envelope containing photographs of which I had been told by one of my old gentlemen during our interview. Hans Holthusen took photos of every pilot of Jasta 30 and his plane before he transfered to Jasta 29 but they were lost in the Hamburg fire storm. In this envelope were copies of them. Eber left a note on the envelope, “copies of Jasta 30 photos from Hans Holthusen.”

I’m brought back to the present when he locks those cold eyes on mine again and I feel the full force of his will. “Auf geht’s!” (Here we go).

I look at the photograph. I feel nothing, no electric shock or dizziness, any of the things you might expect from such an experience, nothing. But suddenly I’m there, walking on the grass toward the line of machines. I am not a rider in Carl Eber’s body as it had been in the dreams I’ve been having since I first met this man, there is no other personality with which I shared this body. It is just me, one person. I’m not even surprised or amazed, everything is as it should be.

I am Carl Eber* and today is August 16th 1917.


* The surname Eber has its origin in Old German and Old English. It is from the given name ‘Eber’ meaning strong and brave boar.

This man has used the name a number of times as both a surname and given name.

It was chosen because of its association with the Roman Legio XVII, the first military command in which he served. This will be explained further as the story unfolds.










Attached Files Line up, sepia.jpg
Last edited by jerbear; 01/05/23 09:44 PM.
#4618271 - 01/05/23 09:47 PM Re: DEAD IS NOT DEAD [Re: jerbear]  
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AUGUST 1917








[Linked Image]



1

I am Carl Eber and today is August 16th 1917.

I’m walking toward the flight line at Harlebecke after quickly using my little American camera* to snap a shot of our aircraft in line, all now in the brilliant Berthold colors.

The camera I bought before the war, but the film now has to be acquired by back stair methods. But I have plenty of connections for what I want and need.



[Linked Image]






Before I snapped the shutter, I made certain that none of the pilots about to take off were in or around their machines. They wouldn’t have been pleased to have their photograph taken before a flight, a very superstitious lot, pilots, well…soldiers of any type or nation really.

On the airfield and among the tents and hangar sheds, there’s still some evidence of the damage done by the British bombers on the 14th and everything is damp with the drizzle that is falling and the rain last night.

I turn to see who’s beside me and I’m looking into the agreeable face of twenty-four-year-old Leutnant d R Paul Strähle, whom I have just met two days ago. He’s already in his Fliegerkombination ( the bulky flying suit issued standard in late 1917 and early 1918). I slap him on the shoulder as we part to go to our respective machines “Hals un beinbruch” Felix** he says. I return, “Und Sie Paul.”

It is 0805. This is the Staffel’s first combat flight to be led by der Eiserne.*** There are seven of us, the gangly Seppl (Veltjens) standing there, a head taller than almost everyone else, in his prized coat, lined with tiger fur, myself, Albrecht Weinschenck, the solemn Offz Klein, who has only been here a few days longer than those of us that came with der Eiserne, Otto Schober, Paul (Strähle) and ‘Vater’ Turck.****

We gathered in the Kasino earlier this morning as der Eiserne briefed us.

“Early this morning the Tommies launched a heavy attack at Langemarck and apparently all is not well in the Ypres salient. The boys***** are out in force.”

“Takeoff is at 0820, I will lead. We will fly in V formation at 3,000 meters to Warneton. From there we will fly toward Wieltje and Langemarck, the focal point of the British offensive.”

“If we are separated, we will rendezvous over Langemarck.”


* An American Brownie Vest Pocket Camera. When it went on the market in 1900 it sold for $1.

** Break your neck and legs, used as English and American actors wish their colleagues to ‘break a leg.’

*** Rudolf Berthold, at this time an Oberleutnant was known throughout the air service as der Eiserne der deutschen Jagdflieger; the Iron Man of the German fighter pilots. His pilots referred to and often addressed his as der Eiserne or simply Eiserne.

**** Oberleutnant Ernst Wilhelm ’Father’ Turck, the senior Regular Army officer in the Staffel

***** Berhold often called the enemy pilots, ‘the boys’ whether British or French.





Attached Files line up color.jpga kodak vpk 2.jpg
Last edited by jerbear; 01/05/23 10:19 PM.
#4618272 - 01/05/23 10:02 PM Re: DEAD IS NOT DEAD [Re: jerbear]  
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[Linked Image]



“The Wetterfrosch* tells us that the wind is from the north. The low cloud cover and the mist are expected to hang on all morning.”

When he had finished, along with a certain amount of his ususal cursing, he left us with his three golden rules: “If we engage the enemy, I will accept nothing less than restlos auskämpfen ,(fighting to the very end); I will not have any abbiegen (turning away}; I will not have any Motordefekte (engine trouble} and I will not have any Munition ausgegangen (ammunition running dry) in this Staffel!”

He added, “If your guns jam you will not streak for home, the enemy will not know and will be more afraid of someone who doesn’t waste their ammunition at long range.”'

“You are dismissed…Gott mit Uns!

This was new to the others, but those of us that had come to 18** with der Meister had heard these words and others like them a thousand times.

After we had landed our birds at Harlebecke on the 12th, Berthold, Veltjens, Gerbig, Margot*** and I, Eiserne called the whole Staffel to a formation. He walked up and down, shouting like a drill sergeant. Primarily addressing the pilots he said; “I will train you to perfection, even if this is ruthlessly strict and I myself know no mercy as regards to duty. Practice takes place in all kinds of weather, and we do banking, attacking, defending and…top priority…shooting. I am mercilessly strict, but you will see results and be thankful for it.”

There had been little opportunity for any of this training yet, as we are in a very active sector and then there is the damage to clear up after the bombing, along with all the details der Meister has to deal with in taking over a new command. We have gone to the firing range with machine guns once, however.

* weather frog – weatherman

** A Jagdstaffel was sometimes referred to simply by its number.

*** Vfw Hermann Margot was a pilot in FA23 with Berthold. He also served with Berthold in Jastas 4 and 14 as well as Jasta 18 and later in Jasta 15. In Jasta 15 he was communications officer and later an assistant to the Technical Officer of Jagdgeschwader II. He’s never listed as being in any of the combat flights for Jasta 18 or 15 and had no confirmed air victories, so I believe he may have been employed in a technical capacity much of the time. He probably flew missions occasionally but I haven’t found any indication of it. I have made him Werkmeister -Technical Officer, a position which can be filled by an NCO, in this story.

Attached Files A 1st mission aaa a.jpg
Last edited by jerbear; 01/05/23 10:08 PM.
#4618325 - 01/06/23 04:12 PM Re: DEAD IS NOT DEAD [Re: jerbear]  
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2



I place my camera on a workbench in the hangar shed. No one is likely to try to take it as my reputation has preceded me and my riggers will keep an eye on it. I speak to Georg and Heinrich* while I take off my uniform jacket and tie a red silk scarf around my neck in the manner of the Focale** just as I did as a Legionarius. I do many things of this sort; it gives me a sense of identity. The Legio was where I grew to manhood and it was during those early years that my personality was formed. Somewhere in the back of my mind, no matter how many centuries I have lived, no matter how many places I have lived, no matter how many armies I have served with, the Legio is always home to me.

Now Georg helps me on with my Fliegerkombination. I wear only light clothes under my flying suit, it’s expected to be around 20 degrees (Celsius). During this warm weather it won’t be particularly cold, execpt at the very highest altitudes and then there’s the heat from the engine.

A Buntspect (great spotted woodpecker) lands on the fuselage, just behind the cockpit. Heinrich hurries over to shoe it away. I tell him, “Leave it alone.”

“He is going to peck holes in the wood.”

“No he will not. Leave him in peace.”

“You are crazy. If he makes holes you can patch them yourself.”

“Just so.”

I have no superstitious rituals to perform before a flight. I pull the leather flying cap over my head, slip the goggles over it. I put my foot in the sprung door footstep to place my broom handle*** under the seat cushion. That is what I rely on, leave nothing to chance. Heinrich places the step ladder, then Georg helps me clamber into my Haifisch**** with the horse-shoe and clover symbol, then helps me with the straps. The Buntspect stays and watches.


* My two riggers. They have come to Jasta 18 with the other ground staff Berthold brought along to his new command from Jasta 14. Riggers are primarily responsible for the airframe while fitters are responsible for the engine and most of the working parts of an aircraft. There is usually one fitter and two riggers assigned to each machine.

** The Focale, also known as a Sudarium (Sweat Cloth) was a woolen or linen scarf used to prevent chafing from the armor.

*** Eber always carries a Mauser automatic pistol, which was nicknamed the broom handle. The number 9 is engraved on the handle in red, indicating that it was 9mm to avoid confusion as it its ammunition.

***** Shark, nickname for the Albatros DIII



[Linked Image]


Attached Files great spotted woodpecker.jpgMauser pistol.jpg
Last edited by jerbear; 01/06/23 04:54 PM.
#4618327 - 01/06/23 04:29 PM Re: DEAD IS NOT DEAD [Re: jerbear]  
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Berthold, in that ludicrous little swimming cap and the rest of his oil-soaked kit, is now in his machine and several others are warming up. He is shouting something to Bart, who looks dirtier than usual today.*

Eiserne looks angry and is cursing at everyone about him. He’s always angry when going into combat.



* Berthold had a superstitious pre-flight ritual, dressing in exactly the same manner each time he flew.

First, he would put on his old, worn-out regimental jacket. Over that he wore a coat, sometimes fur, at other times an oily cloth overcoat, then a scarf, horn-rimmed spectacles and a large pair of flying googles. Next came a heavy wool balaclava. The final, and most important item was an oily leather beach hat which was too small for his head. Bart, his Bursche, had washed it once in hot water and it had shrunk. Be that as it may, he had to have it.

“Bart was also part of the ritual and had to be there to help him put on his flying gear and be present when he took off.”

A Bursche, literally boy, refers to an orderly.

I don’t know of any pre-war connections between these two men but Bart went to war with Berthold and soon demonstrated that he was completely unsuitable as an orderly. He is said to have been filthy at all times, but he was considered essential by Berthold.

Also, Berthold believed strongly in Der Gott der Deutschen, God of the Germans. The belief, promoted by the Kaiser and religious, military and civilian authorities that God was on the side of the German people and had a special affinity for the Kaiser as reflected in the motto on all Prussian military belt buckles, “Gott mit Uns!”;



This photo shows Berthold in his flight clothes, receiving a victory wreath. Veltjens, when still a Vfw, is on the left, Hptm Palmer, commander of FA23 is next to an enlisted man whom I believe to be Bart on right, but I have nothing to back this up, just a hunch.

[Linked Image]

Attached Files Berts flight clothes.jpg
Last edited by jerbear; 01/06/23 04:59 PM.
#4618328 - 01/06/23 04:39 PM Re: DEAD IS NOT DEAD [Re: jerbear]  
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I sit in the cushioned seat, I find the stirrups on the rudder bar with my feet, push it right and left, then rotate the joystick to check the controls. I use the hand pump to pressurize the fuel tank as the engine driven pump is not yet engaged. Turning to the Buntspect I say, “You should be off, there will be a lot of noise now.” He makes a loud squawk and is gone.

I know this Albatros well…her name is Beomia*…she came with me from Jasta 14.

“Off!” yells Heinrich.

I pull my goggles down and put my gloves on, then reach for the ignition switch. “Off!”

My Motorschlasser**, Dieter has filled the cylinder petcocks with a mixture of oil and benzene, and now pulls the propeller through several revolutions to draw the priming fuel into the cylinders. “Clear!” he shouts and steps back. I put the magneto switch key to M1 and crank the handle on the starting magneto like a coffee grinder. The motor says “phew” and belches a puff of black smoke.

Again, “Off!”…..”Clear!” Flame and more smoke shoot from the exhaust on my right. The shiny blades of the propeller slowly start to cut through the air. Now it becomes a blur. The valves and lifters tick in even time. I love the sounds and the breath of the motor warming up, the smell of metal, oil vapors and exhaust fumes. I listen to the grinding gears and the guzzling of the carburetor. This all creates an atmosphere of aliveness.

* Beomia – Saxon name meaning battle maiden. The name of one of Eber’s many past wives.

** Engine mechanic, equivalent to the fitter in British service, responsible for the motor and other working parts of the machine.



[Linked Image]





I listen and sniff and touch everything, check the gauges, move the control surfaces again. I signal that I want to race the engine then slowly push the throttle lever forwards. The propeller becomes a glassy disc of light and the puffing of the explosions in the motor blend into a single tone, swelling into a wild drone. The machine trembles. The stream of wind from the propeller whips around my head.

I push the throttle back again and the roar dies down, popping and sputtering as the motor calms down.

The wheels are freed from the chocks and George and Heinrich hold onto the wings.

I look to my left, Berthold’s hand goes up and he takes off down the field, followed closely by the rest of us.




[Linked Image]




I push the throttle once again and the riggers release the wings. The grass runs away beneath me into a rushing blur. Mud flung up by the rotating tires drums against the tight fabric of the lower wing. The bumps caused by the unevenness of the ground become milder, and then suddenly I’m softly swaying as though on a swing.

How amazing that I have lived to see man evolve from fleas crawling on the surface of the earth into this Wundertier,* I and Beomia as one being, both man and machine, like a god, flying in the heavens over the battlefield.



* Wonderful or magical beast. From Adolf Ritter von Tutschek’s autobiography, translated and edited by Jason Crouthhamel for “Memoirs of German Pilots in the First World War, Vol.1” from Aeronaut Books.

The description of racing the engine and taking off down the landing field is adapted from Otto Fuch's book Wir Flieger, translated into English as "Flying Fox" by Adam M. Wait. In his narrative, Fuchs is describing his first takeoff in a Roland CII Walfisch.



CAPTION TO THE SCREENSHOT ABOVE

This skin was made by the WOFF team for Walter Kleffel. The problem is, Kleffel is not featured by the Sim. as an ace. So, this skin has never, ever been out for a walk in campaign mode.

The personal marking itself can be found on the Wingnut Wings website and any number of publications. The pilot who used this marking is not known. So the design was used for Kleffel by the skinner, but historically it has nothing to do with him, as far as we now know.

This being the case, I commandeered this skin for my personal use.

The only change I made was to make the clover a pale green, which was suggested as a possibility by the Wingnut Wings folks.

I made a personal skin with this marking for every aircraft used by Berthold’s boys, both as Jasta 15 and 18, as well as the haifisch for Jasta 14. They can be found in my Alternate Skins Mod along with many other personal skins for this Staffel.

The airfield at Harlebecke is from Rob Wiggins’ Consolidated Custom Facilities Mod.

The weather depicted in all these screenshots is from BuckeyeBob’s Optional Clouds Mod. This particular sky is titled, BB Mist and Clouds, Low, in the Mod.









Attached Files A 1st mission aaab screenshot of cockpit.jpgA 1st mission aaaa take off Harlebeke Airfileds mod.jpg
Last edited by jerbear; 01/07/23 03:25 PM.
#4618337 - 01/06/23 06:40 PM Re: DEAD IS NOT DEAD [Re: jerbear]  
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Really enjoying reading your story..cheers Jerbear.


They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
#4618388 - 01/07/23 03:17 PM Re: DEAD IS NOT DEAD [Re: jerbear]  
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HELLO ADGER - Glad your enjoying.


3

We form up on der Meister* at the head of the V, circle to altitude, tighten our formation and away toward Ypres.

The Staffel is breathtaking in its new red and blue livery. Vater Turck, with his Eisernes Kreuz ribbon flies in the number two position on Berthold’s left while Seppl, crazy for American Indians, with his winged arrows, takes the right. I, as Berthold’s wingman, fly in the number four position behind and above Oblt Turck.

Seppl and I are used to the extremely, and unnecessarily, tight formation flying Berthold requires, but the others are obviously disturbed by it and have problems maintaining their positions. Several times I have to break formation to evade ‘Vater’ who wabbls entirely too close. Squeezing back in is very tricky. der feuerspeinde Berg, (fire spewing mountain/volcano) won’t be pleased when we come home.


* Another reference to Berthold. The Staffelführer was sometimes referred to as der Meister in most air units.



[Linked Image]




As we approach Warneton, first we see some new shell holes near villages and cross roads, gradually the number of shell holes increase and the zig zag outlines of the reserve and communication trenches appear. Finally, the last vestige of green vanishes from the soil, which is now dull gray or yellowish brown, torn by thousands of watery shell holes reflecting the sky.

The sky over Ypres is full of flying dots darting here and there. The Flak is very heavy and we zig zag to avoid it but this is barely necessary as the shooting is very poor. Below, in the milky pea soup, we can see the fires and explosions of the battle.

Over Wieltje Berthold makes a diving attack on a flight of REs. I’m close behind him. Veltjens, Strähle and Klein follow. Weinschenck and Schober stay above with Oblt Turck as there are three triplanes above us.

[Linked Image]





















Attached Files A 1st mission ab  tight formation.jpgA 1st mission ac Berthold attacking REs.jpg
Last edited by jerbear; 01/07/23 04:07 PM.
#4618390 - 01/07/23 03:31 PM Re: DEAD IS NOT DEAD [Re: jerbear]  
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Suddenly, a lone SPAD comes from nowhere to dive on Klein and I see Strähle go to his aid.

A number of Nieuports can be seen coming on the scene from the west.

Glancing above, I see the triplanes have produced offspring and now there are six of them.

[Linked Image]
















Attached Files A 1st mission ad tripes overhead.jpg
Last edited by jerbear; 01/07/23 03:36 PM.
#4618391 - 01/07/23 03:36 PM Re: DEAD IS NOT DEAD [Re: jerbear]  
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[Linked Image]

Attached Files A 1st mission ae lone spad vs Klein Bill Hewat RFC 19.jpg
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#4618392 - 01/07/23 03:38 PM Re: DEAD IS NOT DEAD [Re: jerbear]  
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[Linked Image]



CAPTIONS FOR THE ABOVE THREE SCREENSHOTS

Berthold attacking the REs: This skin for Rudolf Berthold in a new addition to the Alternatives Skin Mod - Off_Alb_DIII_OAW_ace_t_Jasta 18 1917_Rudolf_Berthold – This is a REPLACEMENT for the skin done by James Romano for the WOFF Skin Pack. The basic skin is James’. I have just altered the wings and personal markings.
A new photograph of Berthold’s crashed DIII OAW that has not previously been seen is on page 31 of Lance Bronnenkant’s “The Blue Max Airmen” Volume 4. It shows this variation on Berthold’s winged sword and another variation on his Albatros DIII, which, unfortunately is not used in BHH2.

‘Father’ Turck with the 6 triplanes above

The lone SPAD attacking Klein – the WOFF skin used here is that of Bill Hewat of RFC 19. This Squadron was stationed in the area during the Third Battle of Ypres.









Attached Files A 1st mission af RFC 1 Nieuport23 Cpt Fullard to join in attacked Strahl.jpg
Last edited by jerbear; 01/07/23 03:43 PM.
#4618393 - 01/07/23 03:45 PM Re: DEAD IS NOT DEAD [Re: jerbear]  
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I remain above der Eiserne as the little silver Nieuports dive in to join the dance. While he continues his attack on one of the REs, I entertain two of these newcomers.

I can see four of the Napoleons (slang for Nieuports) go after Strähle but I can’t assist him, I’m busy with my own two. I’ve lost track of Berthold and his RE.


[Linked Image]


CAPTION: OvStachel’s skin for Paul Strähle’s DIII OAW being attacked by four of the RFC-1 Nieuports.




Attached Files A 1st mission ag Strahl attacked by Napoleon.jpg
Last edited by jerbear; 01/07/23 03:47 PM.
#4618394 - 01/07/23 03:48 PM Re: DEAD IS NOT DEAD [Re: jerbear]  
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Attached Files A 1st mission ah Eber attacked by two N23.jpg
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#4618395 - 01/07/23 03:51 PM Re: DEAD IS NOT DEAD [Re: jerbear]  
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I drop down into the clouds and manage to shake my silver friends lose. As I climb out of hiding, an RE looms up in front of me. They do not see me.

The usual thrill of excitement runs through me as the crate fills my view. I’m in the moment and think of nothing, everything is done automatically. At this very close range, I press both buttons and my MGs spit at the REs brown underside.

I turn over and dive away as the machine begins to stink (burn). It goes straight down so I believe I’ve killed both Emil and Franz as I intended. This is best. I don’t have any second thoughts about killing them but prefer not to see them burn.



[Linked Image]

Attached Files A 1st mission ai RE8 going down.jpg
Last edited by jerbear; 01/07/23 03:52 PM.
#4618396 - 01/07/23 03:56 PM Re: DEAD IS NOT DEAD [Re: jerbear]  
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After the excitement, I feel limp, as if spent in another way.

I fly to Langemarck, where we reform on der Meister. Klein and Strähle do not appear but we’re low on fuel now and over enemy territory so we turn for home. Opportunities present themselves but we cannot oblige them.

I feel quite relaxed on the flight home, all I need to do is watch the interval between myself and the other machines and, of course keep my head turning to scan the air around us. I'm grateful for the silk scarf, as it prevents my neck from chafing with all this turning and twisting about. From long practice, flying itself has now become so much a part of my nature that I fly as automatically as I walk and swim.

Beomia sings to me as me as we make our way back to Harlebecke. You can hear her song, just below the engine noise. An old love song from long, long ago, before there was a Germany or an England or a France, when all roads led to Rome.



[Linked Image]



Attached Files A 1st mission aj going home after RE shot down PR Blanket clouds low.jpg
Last edited by jerbear; 01/07/23 03:57 PM.
#4618437 - 01/08/23 03:06 PM Re: DEAD IS NOT DEAD [Re: jerbear]  
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4


It’s nearly 0930 when Beomia and I touch the ground again. I can see as I come in that the last of the bomb holes have been filled. Strähle and Klein come in a few minutes after the rest of us. They’ve both taken a number of hits on their machines. Berthold too has holes in his wings courtesy of an English Franz.

After everyone has landed, we taxi our machines over to our respective wooden hangar sheds and die Schwarzer Mann* come and grab onto our wings to guide us in..

Seppl’s bursch comes running up as he gets out of his machine, pulled by Bella, Veltjen’s Alsatian, beside herself with joy. [Linked Image]





As we gather around after the flight, der Eiserne informs us that we will take off again as soon as the machines can be serviced and repaired. The men on the ground need us.

He says he saw a machine go down in flames near the rendezvous area at about 1,000 meters and wants to know if anyone else had seen it. Of those who saw it, none can tell whose it was. I make no mention of the RE.

I tell the armorer I don’t want more ammunition; I’m only down one-hundred rounds and I’ve filled my belts carefully. I do not wish it tampered with.

I know from experience that we’ll probably have about three hours before we’re in the air again. So, out of the monkey suit, and then light a cigarette, a quick visit to the Donnerbalken (latrine), a splash of water on the face, a glass of tea with a spot of rum, a brötchen and a rindswurst (a hard roll and a beef sausage). The casing is very strong and gives a satisfying snap as I break it with my teeth. Wonderful. One of the cooks, who is Jewish, makes them. One more cigarette, the last of my Ecksteins, before going back to the flight line with its fuel vapors.

Heinrich is up on a ladder filling the radiator from a water can. Two of the other Schwarzer Mann have just dipped the siphon of a red Allweiler pump into a barrel of fuel that’s been rolled over. The benzine gurgles as it shoots into the tank. I use this time to inspect the most important parts of my bird with Georg.

Paul comes over and tells me that he had a Sopwith lined up over Langemarck but the levers were broken on his guns so that he couldn’t fire. A great pity.

One hole was found on the port side of my fuselage but no other damage. Heinrich and Georg have things well in hand. I leave them to pump benzine and oil. I’ll take a short nap and return to check everything over again.

I’m back on the flight line by twelve, Dieter and I start the motor, listen, sniff, all seems well. George asks, “Do you want to put the monkey suit back on Vize?”**

Berthold calls all the pilots together in front of the machines at 1230. He is particularly elated, not as angry as he usually is before a combat mission. I wonder why?

We will take off at 1300, same route, 3000 meters. The wind has changed and now comes from the west. So much the better for us. The misty conditions below have cleared and there are some large cumulus clouds.

Berthold will lead again, we will be eight: Seppl, Strähle, Weinschenk, Schober, Klein, myself and now Otto (Gerbig), the Alt Adler*** is added. This time we will all take off together in the V formation in which we will fly.

Vater Turck will lead a lower patrol of three machines which will take off after we’re airborne.

Berthold now mentions, in an offhand way, the news that he has been offered command of Jagdgruppe 7, to which we belong. This was the reason for his high spirits. He’s wanted to be Kommandeur of a Gruppe or Geschwader since before Richthofen was given command of his circus. Now he has it and will be coordinating Jastas 24, 31 and the Jasta 36 Blue Noses, as well as ours.

He raises his voice, “Now to your machines you B*&@!#.

Heil und Sieg!”* (Good fortune and victory.}

Paul looks as though he had seen a ghost. Privately he says to me, “HerrGott!****To take off in this way is madness.”

I laugh, “Welcome to Berthold’s Tollhaus (madhouse). This is what he considers to be training. It is useful for saving the time it usually takes to form up, so it does serve a purpose. You are last, hang back a little if you need to. He will not like it but there are worse things than his disfavor…I think.

As with most dogs, the bite is seldom as bad as the bark, even with Eiserne, though he can bite quite hard.”


* Black men – the ground crew personnel, so called because their canvas work clothing was died black.

** Vize – short for Vizefeldwebel, this is like calling a sergeant in the British or American Army Sarge.

*** Old Eagle Otto Gerbig was a pre-war flier.

**** Swabian expression, something like Good God!

Attached Files veltjens and bella.jpg
Last edited by jerbear; 01/08/23 03:39 PM.
#4618476 - 01/09/23 03:14 PM Re: DEAD IS NOT DEAD [Re: jerbear]  
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5

The whole airfield is in motion, clattering, roaring, shouting, cursing. On some of the machines the propellers are turning slowly like windmills. On others they’re whipping the air while dust flies and caps swirl through the air.

I adjust myself in the seat, Georg bends over me and fastens the shoulder and body harness. A quick check of the controls. Goggles down…gloves on….ready. The engine starts on the first try.

Berthold raises his hand and leaps onto the field. ‘Vater’ Turck and Seppl begin moving as soon as his tail has cleared the line of planes.

“Clear!”

The answer comes from behind me, “Clear.!”

Now, vollgas! (full throttle) Beomia rushes forward with a loud roar, I see Klein taxiing out to my right. Ahead of me, I see Berthold’s bird detach itself from its shadow. Beomia rocks, hops, then floats. The eight of us are climbing together like a flock of geese, a beautiful site, but so very dangerous, and needlessly so.

We reach the lines at Warneton. Pillars of smoke and dust rise from the Massenkempf (mass struggle) below.

Over the lines there is still much activity in the air. It’s impossible to tell whether they’re friend or foe from any distance. All the formations are circus flying* and we can’t get into a good position to attack.

At the north end of our patrol area, over Westrozebeke we’re attacked by six SPADs. They dive down on us, then use their great speed to climb away before we can react. This is very effective and the clouds hamper our counter maneuvers making it difficult for us to keep track of our opponents.

Eiserne tries furiously to gain enough altitude to take the fight to the SPADs but only makes himself a more conspicuous target. He takes a number of hits on his machine from these diving attacks but is not put out of action. He pulls his Kiste (crate) up like a fish gulping for air and opens fire. Wasting ammunition. Poor tactics for an experienced Kanone.

* maneuvering for advantage with enemy squadron for position and altitude.


[Linked Image]







Attached Files b 2nd mission ab Bert attacked by SPAD.jpg
Last edited by jerbear; 01/09/23 03:34 PM.
#4618478 - 01/09/23 03:21 PM Re: DEAD IS NOT DEAD [Re: jerbear]  
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Beomia receives several hits to the fuselage and wings as well, I feel every one of them as if they were striking my heart. I can do nothing except stand by to escort der Eiserne home if he’s wounded or his machine seriously damaged, while I try to stay out of the SPADs way myself.

One of the Cockades* latches onto Berthold’s tail and I fire short bursts at him, using tracers, so he can see them, and let him know he won’t be allowed to finish his meal. The range is too great for any real chance of hitting the ‘me Lord’** but he put himself into a spin to get away from it. Good enough.


* A slang name for Entente aircraft and pilots.

** Another slang term for British aircraft and pilots.


[Linked Image]




Attached Files B 2nd mission aba.jpg
Last edited by jerbear; 01/09/23 03:36 PM.
#4618479 - 01/09/23 03:28 PM Re: DEAD IS NOT DEAD [Re: jerbear]  
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The ‘Joffre wind’* blows the fight toward Moorslede, where Klein damages a SPAD** who has been too daring so that he was not able to climb out of our reach, forcing him down. The Engländer appears to have been able to land safely enough. That one will live, if the Feldgrau*** are in a good mood.

* wind blowing from France.

*5Greg VanWynegarden believes this was a Lt. Shipwright of No. 19 Squadron.

* Field Gray – slang for the German ground forces, like Americans referring to themselves as G.I.s.


[Linked Image]








Attached Files B 2nd mission ac Klein and Spad.jpg
Last edited by jerbear; 01/09/23 03:30 PM.
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